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Hunter Biden’s New Memoir Is an Honest Look at Addiction

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Editor's Note

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, the following post could be triggering. You can contact SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

The president’s son, Hunter Biden, has struggled with crack-cocaine and alcohol and lived to tell the tale.

Hunter Biden’s new memoir, “Beautiful Things,” dropped last week and it is a vivid portrayal of Biden’s addictions, his relapses and his eventual return to grace.

“I’m a 51-year-old father who helped raise three beautiful daughters,” writes President Biden’s son in the new book. “I’ve bought crack cocaine on the streets of Washington, D.C., and cooked up my own inside a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles. I’ve been so desperate for a drink that I couldn’t make the one-block walk between a liquor store and my apartment without uncapping the bottle to take a swig. In the last five years alone, my two-decades-long marriage has dissolved, guns have been put in my face and at one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59-a-night Super 8 motels off I-95 while scaring my family even more than myself.”

It’s an all too familiar refrain for us addicts. I fell down that crack hole too as you can read in my own personal memoir, The Bipolar Addict. It was short-lived, and I never got addicted but I did smoke crack and snort heroin for a period one winter seven or eight times. Really, my drug of choice was alcohol.

Why do we behave this way? Well, addiction is an uncontrollable urge. It craves escape, numbness and a reprieve from reality. It is a disease– one that captured the soul of Hunter Biden.

The reviews of Biden’s book are streaming in and they are overwhelmingly positive.

“This is not the way we’re used to reading about a child of the president,” says CNN. “Hunter’s accounts of drunken benders and crack-fueled odysseys are downright scary. And his recollections of his brother– wish you could’ve known Beau– are sorrowful.”

 Publishers Weekly describes the book as a “courageous self-assessment [that] makes the despair of substance abuse devastatingly palpable.” But the MAGA crowd has been circulating hurtful memes about Hunter and his addiction.

Deep in his drug use, Hunter Biden found himself picking through his rugs for bits of crack, admitting on CBS last week he resorted to smoking “anything remotely resembling crack cocaine,” mistaking crumbs of parmesan cheese for the substance, which prompted another mean meme.

The cruelty, the memes, the jabs at his character and family, all of this hogwash is completely unfunny and absolutely uncalled for. Hunter Biden is only human and like all of us, does not deserve to be ridiculed or shamed for his illness.

According to his book, Hunter Biden’s controversial job with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma and the salary that came with it, fueled his habit.

Biden became the butt of nasty jokes ever since the 2020 presidential campaign.

At last September’s presidential debate, President Trump raged against the Bidens, distorting Hunter’s military service, and saying falsely he was “dishonorably discharged.”

Then Joe Biden shot back. “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem,” he said with urgency. “He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son” 

Around that time, Donald Trump Jr. called Biden a “crackhead” on ultraconservative talk show host Glenn Beck’s radio program. And Fox News host Sean Hannity made fun of Biden’s teeth on the air recently in a photo from the infamous lost-then-found laptop supposedly belonging to Hunter. 

You see those teeth? Yeah, a well known side effect for huge amounts of drug abuse especially with crack cocaine.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. — who is in hot water right now for possible sex trafficking — shamed Hunter Biden on the House floor during Trump’s impeachment trial, saying Biden was “wandering through homeless encampments” in search of crack.

At the peak of his son’s addiction, President Biden once turned up at Hunter’s apartment, “He looked aghast at what he saw,” writes Biden. He told his dad he was fine. “‘I know you’re not fine, Hunter,’ he said, studying me, scanning the apartment. You need help.'”

Dad saved me. When he knocked on my door, he jolted me out of whatever state I was in and saved me by making me want to save myself. Left on my own, I was certain I would not have survived,” writes Biden. “That was Dad. He never let me forget that all was not lost.”

The president’s son indeed got help, eventually marrying South African film producer Melissa Cohen, with whom he has a new baby. 

Biden has been sober since 2019. He is no different than the 20 million Americans above age 12 who have had a substance-use disorder, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ tally in 2017. And as the National Institutes of Health says, 75% of those people never get help, often because of shame and stigma.

I don’t know of a force more powerful than my family’s love,” Biden said recently. “Except addiction.”

Lead image courtesy of CBS Sunday Morning YouTube’s Channel.

Originally published: April 14, 2021
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