In March, back when the coronavirus pandemic was still a figment of our imagination, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was involved in an alleged crystal meth-related incident at a Miami Beach hotel.
The details weren’t pretty and the rumors circulating around social media were even more gruesome. But instead of cowering in the shadows, Gillum opted to be proactive. As we reported at The Root, days later, the 40-year-old decided to put his political career on pause in order to seek treatment for “non-methamphetamine-related alcohol addiction.”
“After conversation with my family and deep reflection, I have made the decision to seek help, guidance and enter a rehabilitation facility at this time,” he said in a statement. “Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
Then COVID-19 arrived and made us all forget that any of this ever even happened—until now.
On Monday, Gillum appeared out of thin air, courtesy of an 11-minute Instagram video, during which, he chronicled his battles with shame, depression, failure and alcoholism.
“I totally underestimated the impact that losing the race for governor had on my life, and on the way that those impacts started to show up in every aspect of my life,” he admits in the video, adding that he’d prefer not to revisit his 2018 loss to Gov. Ron DeSantis because it serves as a “constant reminder” of his own failure.
He also discussed the shame of his March hotel incident and described it as “something different” that “cuts you.”
“My stuff had to be public and cause great embarrassment and rumors, some false, some true,” he says. “The shame that I felt from all of that [...] was tearing me up. I needed real help to try to unpack that.”
In being beautifully candid, he even explored the source of his own struggles with alcoholism and how guilt has allowed him to be more accountable for his actions.
“That’s how you know you’re human,” he says. “That’s how you know you’re not a sociopath.”
The former Tallahassee mayor’s quest for redemption won’t be easy, but at the very least, it will be a road paved in sincerity.
You can watch the video in full below.