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Chris Taylor
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Sharper Point: Why quitting is winning for Arizona congressional candidate

Chris Taylor (Facebook Photo/Chris Taylor Safford City Councilman)

One of the largest congressional districts in the country is Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.

The member of Congress who is sent to Washington from AZCD1 (as it’s known among political insiders) has to cover 58,000 square miles and has constituents who stretch from Pinal County to the White Mountains of eastern Arizona and all the way up into Page (almost three hours north of Flagstaff), where I grew up.

I take a special interest in who is serving Congressional District 1. Currently, my dad’s congressman is Tom O’Halleran.

But I’ve also taken a special interest in one particular candidate for the AZCD1 seat. Actually, former candidate for Congress.

I’ll tell you in a second why Chris Taylor, a combat-tested paratrooper and small-town councilman from Eager, Arizona, has dropped out of the race; but first, I’d like to tell him something: I’m glad you quit the race, man. 

Not because I don’t agree with him on the issues, or because I don’t think he’d do a good job as my dad’s congressman, but because quitting the race will probably give him his best chance for staying quit – of his drug of choice.

Chris Taylor is no longer running because he relapsed.

After what he described in a press statement as “many solid years in sobriety,” he overdosed. Thankfully, a family member found him and paramedics were able to revive him.

I hate the disease that Chris Taylor suffers from – a disease I also have – but I love that one of the first things he did as he prepares to exit public life and enter treatment is take responsibility for his actions, saying he will “fully cooperate with local authorities” on any matters arising from his relapse and overdose.

Hearing about someone else’s relapse doesn’t discourage this alcoholic; it just reminds me that I have to put my recovery first – or everything else will fall apart. And I have to treat my disease every day.

And Chris Taylor’s relapse, in particular, reminds me how many of our vets are dealing with addiction problems. An attempt to blot out what they’ve seen in battle can lead to a never-ending war against addiction that us alcoholics and addicts must take on every day.

When I was a political consultant living in my disease (and in a lot of bottles), I don’t know what advice I would’ve given Chris Taylor about his congressional race. But as a sober, recovering alcoholic, he’s already following the advice I would give now: Bow out and get better.

Quitting the race means you have a much better chance of staying quit from the substances which will kill you.

Maybe you can revisit a political career later, Chris.

But live now to fight another day – and fight now to live another day. Many more days. 

Arizona's Morning News