Kudlow Delivers Emotional Speech on Recovery From Addiction at White House Event

September 4, 2020 Updated: September 4, 2020

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow shared his personal story of recovery from drug addiction at an event organized by First Lady Melania Trump on Sept. 3.

Kudlow was fired from investment bank Bear Stearns in the mid-1990s as he struggled with cocaine addiction.

Speaking at The White House National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month Event: “Recovery at Work: Celebrating Connections,” Kudlow revealed that he celebrated 25 years sober in July and that it would have been “unthinkable” 25 years ago that he would be able to occupy his current position, which he called the “greatest honor of my professional life.”

“I was a hopeless abuser of alcohol and drugs. I had tried several times unsuccessfully to get sober,” the economic adviser said. “Like a lot of my peers and friends, I went through bloody hell and suffered significant consequences. I’m not alone, most of us have the same troubles. I was unemployable.”

“By the grace of God I did stay married, my wife is a saint, Judy. I’ve said that before, I’ll repeat it, we’ve been married 34 years, it’s a miracle. But it was difficult. The whole story was difficult. Having said that, I will offer this: It is because of my stubbornness and wilfulness and the difficulties and consequences and the fact that I had to learn how to change my behavior and follow a few simple steps, guidelines.”

“I believe sincerely today that it probably was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because it forced me to change, and seek a new path, and return to faith,” Kudlow said. He added that he learned that “God could and would” help him beat his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“You will, you can get sober, you can. For those who are still sick and suffering, you can. It’s not easy, but you can get sober and you can stay sober and you can lead a productive life. And most importantly, hopefully like myself, we can learn to help other people get sober and stay sober so they can be productive and contribute to society and to life,” he encouraged.

Kudlow added that it was “phenomenal” that the first lady has “engaged herself in this battle.” Combating drug addiction is one of the three pillars of the first lady’s ‘Be Best’ campaign. He also thanked President Donald Trump who he said has been “remarkable.”

“I’ve known him many years, he bought me into this position, I didn’t ask for it. I’ve served him to the best of my ability, he has been remarkable to me, accessible, we have great discussions, sometimes even debates. He’s a remarkable man and if I get time off for good behavior and write another book, I’m going to write about that.”

He added that there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t think about his addiction, that he doesn’t talk to his friends from Alcoholics Anonymous, and that he doesn’t do his meditations and serenity prayer.

To employers at the event, he said: “Give us a chance, that’s all we ask. … I think recovering alcoholics make great employees myself.”