National Press Club

Bill Moyers and family describe how drug addiction ravaged their lives

February 28, 2013 | By Joseph Luchok |

“Stunning shock,” “exhausted” and “no more.”

Those were some of the words noted broadcast journalist Bill Moyers and his wife Judith used to describe the ravaging effects of drug addiction on a family In an informative and emotional discussion before a large National Press Club audience in the Club Ballroom Feb. 27.

Also speaking was their formerly addicted son, William C. Moyers, author of a new book on his addiction, “Now What?” He that his addiction to cocaine “filled a hole in his soul,” and was an escape from living with the fact he was not perfect.

Although had been through rehab and had relapsed a couple of times, he said the last rehab “worked” because he wanted to live. He said he wrote his book to help people find hope.

Judith talked about how little she knew about addiction. When she first learned about her son’s addiction, she said had no idea what about what to do next. She said she had to learn that she “didn’t cause, can’t control, and can’t cure” the addiction.

She said there is a stigma attached to addiction that prevents people from learning what they need to know about it. She described a dream in which she saw William in an open coffin and she closed it. That was when she realized she couldn’t fix her son.

Bill said that at first he was in denial and did not push his son. By the time of William’s third relapse Bill was “exhausted” and decided “no more, I am finished.” He spoke about the collateral damage of addiction to family members. Eventually he learned he was not alone and could turn to others for help.

William concluded the discussion by saying, “A time not that long ago we didn’t talk about things like this in a place like this.”

The discussion was moderated by author Susan Cheever. Larry Lipman, a member of Book & Author Committee, introduced the panel.