tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN May 29, 2011 4:30am-5:00am PDT
catherine, it's been a lifesaver since credit dried up. the banks won't give you credit but you can borrow from yourself. >> exactly, this was why it was put in place, a mechanism to save me if i need to. as you can't get credit i've got the money put aside, why can't i tap into it to save my financial situation. >> a special conversation with patrick kennedy talking about his life, his addiction and famous family. sanjay gupta, md, starts right now. ask not what your country can do for you. >> it was the dawn of a new hopeful age. >> the problems are not all
solved and the battles are not all won and we stand today on the edge of a new frontier. >> president john f. kennedy, jfk, and then there was bobby. >> we have to make an effort to understand and get beyond or go beyond these rather difficult times. >> and teddy, the third to reach the u.s. senate. >> too many of our senior citizens are being forced to choose between neglecting their ing aments are or being authorized by them. >> at home there was ted and his wife joan. teddy, jr., kara, and patrick, who was the youngest by six years. it was july of 1967, patrick's birth made headlines. just five days old and people wondered if he would run for president. did you surround the dinner table and the same issues you'd
talk about in public, did those sur surround the dinnertime discussion? >> my dad and my uncles always included all our family in anything that he was doing. of course i probably caught less than 10% of what was actually being said, but i caught the sense that there was something being discussed that was big and important. i felt like i had a front row seat to american history. >> i admire their spirit and their ability to get along with it is really something. >> reporter: in the pictures, there's glamour, ease and beauty. but life wasn't always easy. not for patrick. >> you know, he was sickly. he had asthma. he talked about how his father would stay up with him at night. >> reporter: susan milligan, a reporter for the hometown paper,
"the boston globe," came to snow kennedy pretty well, later in the 1980s. >> even when he would have people over to the house for dinner, it was to talk about some issue or to get to know some of the other members or some staffers or so forth, it was his life. it really was. >> reporter: as we now know, for patrick, home wasn't always a refuge. >> he had a mother with a very severe alcohol problem. his brother had cancer and had a leg removed. that's very stressful. the parents divorced, his father's difficulties. it's a lot to deal with. >> his father traveled a lot. his mother was an alcoholic. he was lonely a lot. >> political signs professor darryl west wrote the book on patrick kennedy. he says that patrick's troubles got worse once he went off to boarding school. >> he experienced his first issues with substance abuse as a high school student and actually as a senior had to check into a substance abuse clinic. >> reporter: it was cocaine, and
patrick was just 17 years old. >> how are you? good morning, thanks very much. >> reporter: none of it would keep him out of the family business. >> i've been taking my campaign door to door and that's been the only way to campaign. >> reporter: at age 21, still a student at providence college, he made his first run for office. >> he looked like a college kid when he was first running. he was socially awkward. he was kind of tall and gangly, and it was very difficult for him. >> reporter: even so, he won. six years later, he made it to congress. >> patrick kennedy, the next congressman from the second district of rhode island. >> reporter: but his personal problems kept intruding. >> congressman patrick kennedy reveals he's re-entering rehab. >> reporter: and the hits, the kind that most people would like to forget, they just kept coming. shoving an airport security guard, a fight on his yacht that caught the attention of the coast guard, and then the one
that really made waves. >> the story involves a car, allegations of intoxication and special treatment and a kennedy. >> reporter: crashing his car just down the street from the u.s. capitol at 2:30 in the morning. >> i'm traveling to minnesota to seek treatment at the mayo clinic to ensure that i can continue on my road to recovery. >> reporter: this time patrick blamed the crash on sleeping pills. kennedy didn't keep his problems hidden. it may have been impossible anyway. instead of running away, he made addiction treatment and mental health care a central issue. >> i have an addiction. i have a mental illness. >> reporter: but i have never heard patrick or any politician for that matter as candid as he was now. how much of this is personal for you? >> i am a recovering addict, an alcoholic, i suffered depression in my life. i have seen in my own life friends of mine including family
members suffer the ultimate in losing their lives because of this illness. >> what was your family's response when you told them you had addiction and you had been addicted to painkillers and talked about cocaine at a very young age. >> yes. >> and you talked about bipolar and diagnosed with it may or may not have it now and depression. what was their reaction? >> their reaction was informed by open minds. so they weren't so set -- >> they didn't just want to sconce you off and put you in the corner? >> no. there were those immediate inclinations as there is in every family but ultimately my family was the family that was part of the civil rights fight was part of destigmatiing developmental disabilities with special olympics. >> when you first talked about it? >> the kennedy family is known for being persevering on the football field, active, winners, so of course, how did i feel? i felt like a loser. i felt like i'm not living up.
what a shame. i am a shame on my family by needing treatment, for getting mental health treatment. i luckily had help. i also am lucky because that help made a difference in the quality of life that i have today. >> just ahead, more of patrick kennedy coming clean and his controversial theory of addiction. i'll be right back. [ female announcer ] prepare to ace your dental check-up. fight plaque and gingivitis and invigorate your way to better check-ups. new crest pro-health invigorating clean rinse.
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kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy. when my husband was a young teen, he went to washington, d.c. and teddy was mesmerized. >> >> reporter: the day i met with patrick kennedy, it was a special day for the kennedys, ground-breaking for the new
edward m. kennedy institute. how significant is today for you? >> it's obviously great to see my father's legacy still so alive and well and see so many people turn out to honor him in this way and to keep his legacy alive. on the other hand, it's just a reminder that i don't have him in person anymore and that it has to come through this building and memories in order for me to, you know, think of him and he isn't just in front of me or by my side or able to share a conversation. >> do you think about him every day? >> it depends on the situation and clearly i just took my fiance to meet my aunt and it was moving to me because i hadn't realized that i didn't get to introduce her to my dad. so, it's -- >> it's tough. >> yeah, he is with me every day. >> that would have meant a lot. on this bittersweet day, kennedy wanted to talk about a new campaign. he calls it moon shot. ramping up research on the brain
and all kinds of brain disease. the cancer that killed his father but also things that patrick has struggled with, like mental illness and addiction. let's talk a little bit about you. people obviously want to -- people are fascinated by you. you are completely clean now. >> yes. >> when is the last time you had a drink? >> i do it for today because if i think about my sobriety as anything but within today then either i'm complacent because i think i have strung too many days together to worry about it or i'm not thinking about what i need to do today. >> how many times did you need to go to rehab? >> i would say i've been to rehab easily over half a dozen times. >> was there a time when you said this isn't working? this just doesn't work?
>> well, one of the things i knew i needed to do was to live a life that could support my recovery in a way that was more conducive to long-term recovery and that's why i chose not to run for re-election because frankly, living in the public eye and political life was not conducive to really getting that kind of long-term steady recovery that is absolutely got to be the number one priority in my life. >> people say that if someone is an addict, they usually have an enabler. someone who is enabling them or groups of people who are enabling them. who was enabling you to do this? >> well, obviously when you are an elected official, you have lots of people want to endear themselves to you and not always
in the most healthy way. clearly as i said the stress of the job but also the attendant enabling that allows you to try to continue your job in the short run often compromises your long-term recovery. you think i need help now or need someone to give me a pill. if you're not going to give it to me, i'll find someone who can. >> did this happen in the office? were you doing this in the office? >> sanjay, i think the point of this is that i clearly had treatment while i was a member of congress. >> when i ask you these questions, even now in fairness and part of it is because it can be destigmatizing to have someone actually talk about it candidly. >> it can. other reporters have asked me, which drugs did you use? did you use alcohol? did you use cocaine? did you use narcotics? i said it's like strapping up
sneakers. who cares what color those sneakers are? you use the same sneakers to run away from your problems whether alcohol, whether it's cocaine, whether it's narcotics. you're using something to run away. that's the operative issue here. >> coming up, patrick kennedy's new passion. as a neurosurgeon, i was eager to hear about this moon shot to the mind. what is it? that's next.
we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. >> reporter: it was 50 years ago that president kennedy launched the space program. within two years, there were americans in orbit. within eight, there were men on the moon. now the late president's nephew, patrick kennedy, out of congress, out of public office for the first time since college, he's launching a moon program for brain research. hunting cures for addiction, mental illness, traumatic brain injury and other problems with the mind. you look at that long speech from '61 and there are those lines that stick out including that one that says we'll put a man on the moon and return him safely. what is it that equates to putting a man on the moon? what is it we will look at and say we did it. what is it?
>> we helped our loved ones and our family members live a better life because this isn't about neuroscience. it's about finding a way to take care of the people we love. it's about keeping the people like my dad around longer because a neurosurgeon was able to give him an additional year of life because that neurosurgeon knew the brain so well. and gave me the most important year that i ever had with my father. that's as personal as it gets. >> how much of what are you talking about right now is inspired by your father and what happened to him over the last year, 14 months of his life? >> well, it's very much inspired by it. because my dad got the best care. and, you know, that's what informs me just as he was informed in his fight for health care by my brother's struggle. again, it's personal. the laboratory person doing this research is a hero to me. >> reporter: this is one of
patrick's heroes, major kit parker, a bioengineer at harvard, who happens to be an explosives expert. he's done two tours of duty in afghanistan. >> i've been about 16 years in the infantry in the army so i know a little bit about what happens when things blow up. >> reporter: back home, began to study how an explosion rattles the brain and can damage it permanently. >> what happens when the brain gets hit by a blast wave and it slams up against the inside of the skull? >> reporter: with colleagues at northeastern university, he's found ingenious ways to simulate the mechanics of the injury. >> you can imagine that when you drop a rock in a puddle and you see this wave propagating out, that's what's happening when this blast wave is pushing through the brain. >> reporter: kennedy says this kind of new approach to an old problem could translate to other fields of brain research. >> if we don't have neuro scientists working together, if they're not all working together, you're never going to find the answers to get us to
that proverbial landing, whether that landing is michael j. fox getting well or someone with alzheimer's not suffering from dementia. this is a thousand moon shots in order of complexity. that's the chat length and for our generation, this is the chance to make the difference. >> coming up, patrick kennedy on losing his father. and finding a new family. you're watching "patrick kennedy coming clean." t rare and magical fruit, which provided for their every financial need. [ thunder rumbling ] [ thunder crashing ] and then, in one blinding blink of an eye, their tree had given its last. but with their raymond james financial advisor, they had prepared for even the unthinkable. ♪ and they danced. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you.
>> i make sure i try to get all my e-mails and phone calls out of the way during the day so that by 3:00 when my fiance comes home and brings her daughter, we're able to play, have an early dinner, then get her to bed. we have a long bedtime routine that involves sharing stories and i'll read curious george one night or fancy nancy another, and that's the best therapy i've ever had. >> what's it like being a dad though? you're almost a dad. >> i'm just, right now, loving on this amazing little girl is the daughter of my fiance and looking forward to the opportunity to just providing that kind of support and family structure to them that they are to me. because really, in a way, i would not be living, breathing, smiling,ize sparkling, if it weren't for them in my life. >> so being able to have someone and amy and her 3-year-old
daughter to be able to talk to about this. >> just to share life with. because the greatest determinant of you not recovering not having love and connectedness in your life. >> reporter: after finishing the interview, i asked patrick to go with me to the jfk library. >> well, right here at the front of the presidential library dedicated to my uncle and his presidency. >> i get goosebumps when i come in front of the john f. kennedy presidential library. do you still? >> every time i go in this place. i don't think there's a person who can't be inspired by something that's going on in here. >> thanks! good to see you. welcome, everybody. i hope you have a great tour of the library.
we're saying we need to go to inner space of brain research for our moon shot for today. >> reporter: and just like that, i was reminded what it must be like to be a kennedy. ♪ from the land of the free notes ♪ and the home of the brave >> what do you think he would say right now if he were here and you described "moonshot to him?" >> while we walked, patrick got back to his father. >> he gave me an implicit message when he asked me to be around him at the end of his life, to spend time with him. at the end of the day, that's the only thing that mattered. he could have all the laws in the world, he could have all the
accolades in the world, but the only things that ultimately mattered to him when he was alone at the end of his life was not being alone and being surrounded by the people who he loved the most, who he knew loved him the most. not because he was a senator, because he was a famous guy, but because he was our dad. >> reporter: it was obvious, the pain was still there. but then -- >> more than that, you can meet my fiance. amy. >> amy. nice to meet you. >> amy's not only a schoolteacher, but, i mean, she cares so much about childhood development which is all about understanding these things, too. so we're a real team in the effort. >> reporter: and as we talked, patrick was smiling, ear to ear, he was happy. >> let the word go forth from this