The twins, 35, confessed thats alcoholism was never discussed in their home as children; instead, the former president took them on a walk when they were 23-years-old to discuss his alcohol abuse.
“The night before, we had celebrated the wedding of one of our cousins, where the guests, including us, grew raucous with hours of open bar and champagne,” Jenna recalled. “My dad called us the next morning and asked us to go on a walk, something that had become far more rare now that he was in the White House.”
“Above the sound of waves and the ocean wind, my dad talked to us about alcoholism,” she continued. “He talked about himself, saying that when he was drinking, he didn’t like the person he was becoming. He said that overdrinking ran in our family, and was something that Barbara and I needed to watch out for.”
“I remember being a bit irritated listening that afternoon, nursing a headache and a case of fuzzy mouth,” Jenna recalled. “But now I see it as a brave and responsible conversation, one that he could have easily avoided, but didn’t.”
Barbara explained that she barely remembered her father’s drinking, saying: “I don’t remember if he was too loud or boisterous or too willing to make a flippant remark or needle a friend. Jenna and I were four and a half when he stopped. What I knew was that he didn’t drink, that when everyone else had a beer at a baseball game, he was the person without a cup in his hand. It was confusing as a child. I didn’t grasp the importance of his desire to choose his kids and his family over anything else that might get in the way.”
She recalled that his speech about alcoholism on Father’s Day 2015 brought her to tears, saying: “I listened as my dad spoke about struggling with alcohol, about how before he came a dad he might have been ‘slightly self-absorbed at time.’ And then he said the lines that made me cry: ‘You see, what happened to me was alcohol was becoming a love. It was beginning to crowd out my affections for the most important love if you’re a dad, and that’s loving your little girls. And so, fatherhood meant sobriety from 1986 on.”
The former first daughters later confessed to secretly boozing while underage in the White House, and the former president, 71, later detailed his addiction in his memoir, Decision Points.
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