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Mary Kennedy DUI: Get Help Before It's Too Late!

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Jennifer Ginsberg: Mary Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy and mother of four children between the ages of 8 and 15, has been charged with driving while under the influence, according to the police in Bedford, N.Y.

Mary kennedy

Apparently the cops saw her car jump a curb outside a school, where she reportedly was picking up people at a carnival.

Mary Kennedy's husband, Robert Kennedy Jr., is the son of former Sen. Robert Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

Lieutenant Jeff Dickan of the Bedford P.D. stated that Mrs. Kennedy had failed a number of sobriety tests done in the field. Her blood alcohol level was 0.11 when she was arrested Saturday night, with the legal limit under DUI law being 0.08. It is unknown whether any of her children were in the car when the incident occurred.

Last week, a domestic-violence report was filed at the Kennedy home. Lt. Dickan, however, said that that visit (which was unrelated to the DUI incident) had been due to a fight between the Kennedy children. I can speculate that Mary Kennedy was under extreme stress after the police visit, and that her home life was chaotic -- which may have contributed to the reckless behavior that led to Saturday's DUI.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the drunk-driving incident -- which is a miracle, given the fact that it presumably occurred around a lot of children. It is frightening to think about how many people drive drunk every day and never get caught. It's truly just a matter of millimeters and seconds that differentiates this incident from horrific tragedies that leave behind innocent victims -- those maimed and killed at the hands of drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

Those who are unfamiliar with alcoholism may wonder why a woman would get behind the wheel (to pick up children, no less!) while intoxicated. The answer is simple: denial. Alcoholics and addicts are in pathological denial about the gravity of their problem and are unable to rationally evaluate the consequences of their actions. This defense is the necessary, albeit toxic, ingredient that enables alcoholism to fester.

People may also wonder why Kennedy's husband, friends or other family members didn't intervene before she got behind the wheel. As a therapist who specializes in alcoholism and addiction, I frequently encounter people close to the alcoholic or addict who are unable to acknowledge the gravity of their loved one's disorder. There are many reasons why family members deny an alcoholic's problems, but commonly it is due to a deep sense of shame over the alcoholic's behavior, or an effort to maintain the family's reputation and project the illusion of a "perfect family." The Kennedys have a long history of trying to maintain a perfect image despite serious family dysfunction.

With denial comes enabling; an enabler is a person who subconsciously supports the alcoholic by denying that the drinking problem exists, and helps the alcoholic get out of the scrapes caused by his drinking or using. The enabler makes excuses for the alcoholic, thus allowing the alcoholic to continue her destructive pattern.

My hope is that Mary Kennedy now gets the help she needs, and finds sobriety before she has to hit an even lower bottom -- a bottom with consequences that are far greater than getting a slap on the wrist from the local police department.

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53 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 21, 2010, 4:16 AM

She’s just another Kennedy who is a drunk. Atleast she didn’t kill someone! I don’t know how you expect anyone in her family to call her out on this when most of the family is either drunks or drug addicts. What a waste.

Anonymous May 22, 2010, 4:20 AM

What an incredibly arrogant and stupid article. Why would you think you know anything about the circumstances of Mary Kennedy’s life? Are you so insecure and threatened that you have to put everything into a neat box. Why do you think any other family members were there? I know for a fact that you don’t know the answer to that question yet you pose it.

And how many people have driven drunk? Yet because she’s married to a Kennedy you’re assuming that she’s a full blown alcoholic in need of treatment.

I’m glad you are so perfect. I’m glad that you’re so judgmental. I’m not glad that probably few, but some nonetheless are reading this moronic article where you are summing up the life of not only a woman you know nothing about but her husband and his entire family as well.

Wow. You really think you know what’s going through their minds? You are also so intimidated by them that it’s necessary for you to believe you know the details of her drinking and also to vilify the entire family.

I suppose they’re just not allowed to be human. Your father is assassinated, yet that wouldn’t possibly have any bearing on any future issues. There’s one incident Mary Kennedy had and without any regard for her children and their feelings, you’re labeling her a full blown alcoholic.

Who decided you should be writing this? Well, I have no desire to keep reading or read again, but I suppose that nobody else is much better on this ridiculous site.

Won’t you at least feel some compassion for people whose circumstances you don’t have a clue about instead of this simplified analysis that’s either worthless or harmful?

It’s not an ethical stance to take. I hope articles that are more ethical and intelligent are published in the future.

someone not all knowing and cruel.

tabitha May 22, 2010, 6:58 AM

I didn’t think that the author was calling her an alcoholic- she was just explaining the nature of alcoholism and addiction. But let’s be real…Kennedy was driving with a .11 alcohol level and failed 2 sobriety tests. If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck….

perryrants May 22, 2010, 9:34 AM

“but commonly it is due to a deep sense of shame over the alcoholic’s behavior, or an effort to maintain the family’s reputation and project the illusion of a “perfect family.”

actually it is NOT about shame, guilt or any other “social worker inflicted nonsense”. it is all about the fact that IT IS EASIER NOT TO TRY ANYMORE.

Canadagirl21 May 25, 2010, 3:57 PM

I agree with anonomous (May 22 4:20 AM)

Point .11 is certainly drunk, but I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this has been this drunk or more at some point in their lives. It doesn’t classify her as an alcoholic.

Getting behind the wheel was a stupid, dangerous decision, and she should be held as accountable as anyone else. However, she’s a 50-year-old mom of 4 with a husband who travels a lot and a house full of animals. Isn’t it just as likely that she’s just having a super-tough time with menopause? (and a very public one at that)

Give the woman a break!

JH July 10, 2010, 4:03 AM

I’m not defending her stoopid decision to drive drunk (especially to a kids’ carnival - sheesh!) but there is a REASON she drinks. Hubby can’t keep it in his pants.

He’s also a verbally and physically abusive jerk who would drive *any* formerly sane woman to jump off a balcony.

I’m worried as hell for Mary’s safety and that of her kids. I honestly do believe they are in imminent danger living with him, and that’s no laughing matter. Mercifully he is absent from home most of the time.

Spoken from personal experience with him. I am female, btw.

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