Four months into the supervisor’s recovery, he spoke to the Chronicle about his “whole new chapter,” and even his political enemies say he’s more pleasant to be around these days.
There were a number of good government concerns, and certainly also some blood in the water for his adversaries, when District 3 supervisor Aaron Peskin announced in June he was seeking treatment for alcoholism. Peskin did not step down from the board, and attended a board meeting five days later to give a pretty solid apology. And it is a ubiquitous refrain that folks in recovery take it “One day at a time,” but four months into his recovery, Peskin spoke to the Chronicle about his newfound sobriety, and a few of his (many) political enemies agree he’s turned over a new leaf.
San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced he was entering alcohol treatment four months ago.— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) October 18, 2021
Now, he says has stayed sober and has entered a “new chapter.” His City Hall colleagues say his behavior has improved.https://t.co/FjVS0zozfY
Peskin did not “go up north,” or take the common recovery tactic of going off the grid for month at a treatment facility. Still, it seems clear that Peskin has committed to his treatment, unlike Gavin Newsom’s fake rehab in 2007, which may have merely been a front to conceal, umm, other issues.
“I’ve literally had people come up to me on the streets and asked me to take them to AA meetings,” Peskin told the Chronicle. “If I’m helping other people, that’s icing on the cake.”
The Chron notes that City Hall colleagues say Peskin often rattles off the number of days he’s been sober, a telltale sign of someone doing the work.
“It’s been a whole new chapter in my life at the age of 57,” Peskin said. “I have really appreciated the outpouring of support from friends and colleagues and even many people that I don’t know. It’s been a humbling and gratifying and life-changing experience."
It turns out that Supervisor Hillary Ronen, a political ally whom Peskin would nonetheless belittle at board meetings, actually called Peskin out over his drinking the day before he went public. She told the Chronicle that he “took the situation seriously and got the help that he needed to really change his behavior at work,” and that “I feel like he has been at his best in the board meetings ever since.”
The Chron notes that “Colleagues, friends, political rivals and community members who spoke with The Chronicle almost all said they’ve noticed a positive change,” with the supervisor, with one notable exception, and golly can you guess who that is. Mayor London Breed commented opaquely that “I’ve had productive conversations with the President of the Board about the conduct of some of his colleagues and I’ve had frank conversations with those colleagues directly to make it clear where I draw the line, but ultimately these are independently elected officials and it is their responsibility as leaders to conduct themselves in a professional manner.”
In the wake of Peskin’s June admission, there was a very odd discourse on bullying at City Hall, which seemed a little absurd, as there are very sharp elbows at every single city hall in America. Politics attracts that kind of person! But whatever his past demeanor, Peskin did not have to go public with his recovery but he chose to anyway. There are plenty of officials in SF City Hall, and the Sacramento statehouse, and probably Congress who are in recovery and keep it secret. Peskin made it public, perhaps as damage control, but it seems he's being public about it is a source of strength and stability for him.
Related: Peskin Apology Adds to Already Dramatic Board of Supervisors Meeting as Tensions Mount With Mayor [SFist]
Image: @AaronPeskin via Twitter