The Toughest Addiction to Quit

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on July 6th, 2009 - Last updated: March 6th, 2020
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Headline: Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has been arrested and charged with stalking a woman.  Remind you of any other politicians?

When Marion Barry’s arrest was announced on various news media, each recapitulated how Barry had previously been videotaped – and arrested for – smoking crack, as though that were his main addiction.

But he was addicted to something worse.  Barry took the crack offered by a former mistress in the employment of the police after she repeatedly rejected his sexual advances. Crack was a poor second choice to Barry’s jones for this woman.

People forget Barry’s remarkable story – one of ten children in a fatherless Mississippi family, he became an ardent supporter of civil rights in college. He earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry, but left a Ph.D. program (in which he was the only black candidate) to lead the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Barry quit SNCC when H. Rap Brown became director, and created a job training program in Washington D.C. In D.C., he became president of the school board, a member of the city council, and was elected to four terms as mayor. During his tenure in the city council, Barry was shot near the heart during a siege by radical Muslim activists.

So Marion Barry was a man of accomplishment and purpose – that is, until he ran into girlfriend (Barry was married) Hazel “Rasheeda” Moore. After they broke up, police engaged Moore as part of a drug sting on Barry. Moore invited Barry to her room in the Vista Hotel, where, according to the Washington Post:

“At the beginning of the Vista tape, Barry lounges on the bed inside room 727 of the Vista, reaching out occasionally to touch Moore or fondle her breast or leg.

‘Can we make love before you leave, before you leave town?’ he asks. When Moore declines, laughing, he presses the issue.”

Only after repeatedly wheedling Moore for sex – and being finally and thoroughly rejected – does Barry turn to the drug Moore produces. He takes two drags of crack and reaches for his coat to leave the room.

You tell me, is Barry more addicted to _____ or drugs? If so, would his latest charges reflect a relapse to the worst addiction of all?

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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