In an 11-minute video posted on Instagram, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum spoke about recovery from alcoholism and steps forward. The video marked his first public appearance since he announced that he would enter a rehabilitation facility after anin March, where police found him “inebriated” alongside another man who may have overdosed on crystal methamphetamine.
“Having grown up in a household where my father battled addiction to alcohol, and later died from complications from that deadly addiction, I know well the toll that alcohol can take on not only the individual but also on the family,” said Gillum with pictures of his family in the background of his recorded message. “I knew that if I didn’t want to recycle many of those same issues for my children that I had to do something about it and I had to do it now.”
The video, which had more than 191,000 views within a few hours of it being posted, is the first time Gillum posted on the social media platform in four months. In April, CBS News Miami reported that photos and 911 calls released by police revealed an unsettling scene on the night of the incident. In the video, Gillum said he “totally underestimated” the impact his loss in the Florida gubernatorial race in 2018, had on his life. Gillum lost the highly-contested race by less than 0.4%.
“I didn’t want to talk emotionally or really deeply about what had happened in the race for governor because it was a constant reminder of failure, and my own personal failures. It was a reminder that I had let so many people down,” said Gillum “All the things that I wanted to suppress and numb and forget about, that depression around what I was experiencing there, became far too much for me to keep down.”
Gillum launched his political career in Tallahassee, where at the age of 23 — while still a student at Florida A&M University — he became the youngest member elected to the City Commission. In 2014, he was sworn in as mayor of Tallahassee, where he served one term.
Gillum, a father of three, thanked his wife for standing by him and encouraging him. He said that he’s currently writing about his experience partly in hopes that it can help to heal others.
“This is a tough moment not to be out in the world and contributing. I have found it particularly difficult but I want you to know that although I can’t be what I would love to be for you, and for myself, and for my community at this time, I hope you know that I couldn’t be those things because I couldn’t be what I needed to be for me first,” said Gillum. “I know that there is better, that there is a promise for better, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.”