POLITICS
03/14/2011 11:54 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John Sweeney: I Contemplated Suicide After Second Drunk Driving Arrest

Former congressman John Sweeney (R-N.Y.) described a rough patch in his life in an interview over the weekend, which began with his electoral defeat in 2006 and nearly ended with suicide more than two years later.

In an interview with The Saratogian, Sweeney explained the 2009 nadir of a downward spiral that had started after losing his congressional seat to now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

"I was contemplating hanging myself," he said, recalling his thoughts as he lay in bed after his April 5, 2009, drunk driving arrest, his second in less than two years. "I found myself in a place of despair that I couldn't get out of. I had reached an end."

According to Sweeney, he had been led to the edge by a lifestyle that glamorized alcoholism and partying.

"It was almost a manic existence of go, go, go, go, go, until you couldn't go and then you slept," he told The Saratogian. "For a couple of years it was a lot of fun, I won't deny it. I was invincible, at least that's what I wanted you to think, and I wanted me to think it, too."

But as he hit bottom, Sweeney explained that he experienced a "moment of clarity" which caused him to reconsider his life choices.

"I thought about what I had left on the shelf that I hadn't done as a parent. I made the decision that I needed to surrender to something else," he said. "There had to be something else out there that would help me change. I wanted to live."

Now, Sweeney is going on two years of sobriety. He has a girlfriend and a baby daughter and is working in a program that provides support to addicts and the homeless.

Read the entire profile at The Saratogian.