President Bush on Tuesday referred to his former struggles with alcohol as an "addiction," a blunt characterization of his less disciplined adult days before a reliance on faith help him turn his life around.

"Addiction is hard to overcome," Bush said in speaking at a faith-based center that helps former prisoners get job training and other help.

"As you might remember, I drank too much at one time in my life," Bush said. "I understand faith-based programs. I understand that sometimes you can find the inspiration from a higher power to solve an addiction problem."

Increasingly, Bush has reflected in candid terms about his days of drinking. Last month, he told some young recovering addicts to stick with their fight against drugs and cited his own experiences with alcohol years ago. He said then that "addiction competes for your affection ... you fall in love with alcohol."

Bush, 61, decided to quit drinking alcohol after a boozy night in 1986 celebrating his 40th birthday. He went on to win election and re-election as Texas governor before bidding for the White House.

The president spoke Tuesday at the Jericho Program, which helps former prisoners get their lives in order and contribute to society. The stop came as Bush sought to keep some attention on his faith-based programs, one of the themes from his final State of the Union address on Monday night.