A leaked voicemail revealed Joe Biden's message to his son Hunter as he struggled with addiction. Recovery groups hope it can inspire others to show empathy.
- This week, a private 2018 voicemail from President Joe Biden to his son Hunter was leaked.
- The message revealed a concerned father pleading for his son to get help amid his drug addiction struggles.
This week, a private and emotional voicemail President Joe Biden left for his son Hunter Biden back in 2018 was made public.
In the voicemail — obtained by The Daily Mail and later aired by Fox News — Joe Biden expresses his love for his son as he pleads for him to get help amid his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction.
"It's Dad. I called to tell you I love you. I love you more than the whole world, pal. You gotta get some help," Biden says in the message. "I don't know what to do. I know you don't either, but I am here no matter what you need, no matter what you need, I love you."
Recovery advocates told Insider they see a familiar situation in the president's concern for his son and they hope that it inspires others to show empathy to those battling addiction.
"In all of this, Joe [Biden] has become one of the most relatable characters in this unfolding story of addiction," said Chad Moses, the director of outreach at the nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms.
Moses said that the president's voicemail paints a picture of a "caring father" as well as an "everyman."
"I hope that people can hear that, that if the most powerful man in the United States can also be overwhelmed, can also be not just overwhelmed by the circumstances, but overwhelmed by the sense of love he has, that he can't be shamed out of his belief in his son," Moses said.
A voicemail like the one Biden left for his son is "infinitely" important to someone struggling with addiction, said Moses.
And though Moses believes "sacred ground was kind of tread upon" with the release of the private voicemail, he hopes it can be a source of inspiration for others.
"I can't wait to see people encouraged, that maybe they can be reminded that family exists, that unity exists, that there are people that believe in you, even if they don't know what the next step is," he said.
Gary Mendell, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Shatterproof, told Insider of how he related to the president.
"My son, Brian, faced addiction for almost 10 years. Like President Biden, if you know someone who has struggled with addiction, you know all too well the pain and anguish of watching a loved one in the clutches of this disease and feeling helpless and isolated," Mendell said.
Mendell's son died by suicide in 2011 at the age of 25 "after having not used a substance in more than a year," said Mendell. "He felt shame related to his addiction."
Mendell said that ways for parents and loved ones to help someone dealing with a substance use disorder include showing "empathy in addition to love."
"As a parent, avoid feeling guilt," said Mendell. "Your loved one is dealing with a disease and you can help them through love, dignity, compassion, and perseverance."
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