Congress

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick seeks treatment for alcohol addiction after fall

Arizona Democrat is taking a leave of absence from her office

Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is recovering from a fall and will seek treatment for alcohol dependence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick will take a leave of absence from her office to seek treatment for her alcohol addiction, she announced Wednesday.

“I am finally seeking this help after struggling to do so in the past, and I am ready to admit that I, like countless other Americans, suffer from this disease. Hard work and determination — which have brought me success in life — have not been enough to win this battle,” she said in a statement.

Kirkpatrick said she had a “serious” fall last week and will recover with physical therapy.

“I do, however, have another challenge I must face, which was the underlying cause of my fall. Beginning next week, I will receive treatment that I have struggled to ask for, to treat my alcohol dependence,” she said.

Her offices in Washington and Arizona will remain fully operational for constituent services, she said, and she will submit her recorded vote positions to the Congressional Record.

The congresswoman is in her first term representing the Tucson-area 2nd District. She previously represented the 1st District in northern and eastern Arizona for three terms. 

Fellow Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran praised his colleague’s decision, tweeting “asking for help is hard,” and Senate candidate Mark Kelly called it “courageous.” 

Her admission represents a rare flash of candor for a sitting lawmaker. While others have dealt with alcoholism, few have taken time away from work. One who did was then-Rep. Karen McCarthy, who went to rehab in 2003 after falling on an escalator.

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