Many mourned the loss of a good man last month: Senator George McGovern. Of McGovern’s many accomplishments, his best may have been using his own personal tragedy to help raise awareness of alcoholism and how the disease affects family and loved ones.
Senator George McGovern’s daughter Teresa, or “Terry” as he liked to call her, suffered for years with alcoholism and had an astounding 68 visits to detox facilities during the course of her life. Teresa eventually died in 1994, leaving her father completely heart broken.
After the death of his daughter, McGovern wanted do something to raise awareness about alcoholism. Hoping to help prevent others from feeling his terrible pain, he wrote “Terry,” a book illustrating his hardships in coping with a daughter who was caught in a deadly disease. He also opened the Teresa McGovern Center in Madison, WI.
When McGovern opened up about how alcoholism affected his life, he showed people it was a disease that could happen to anyone. It illustrated how neither his wealth nor his political stature could make any difference in his daughter’s addiction. His book helped people understand alcoholism wasn’t just for the poor or the weak.
He also shed light on what alcoholism really was, and he helped alcoholics realize they had nothing to be ashamed of. He encouraged people to seek help from an alcohol treatment facility for their illness before they were lost, like his beloved daughter.
Senator McGovern has been an important figure in alcoholism awareness. May he rest in peace knowing his loss was not in vain. Thanks to him, we have a better understanding of the true nature of alcoholism. If you know someone who is struggling with alcoholism, encourage them to seek help from an alcohol rehab center.
Posted on November 27th, 2012 in Help Blog