- Thursday, December 21, 2023

I’ve been lucky to live two lives so far: a drinking life and another life completely free of alcohol.

Putting down the bottle in 2015 helped me save my life, keep my family and rescue my spiraling career. It also allowed me to become the communications director for President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign — the most-watched political campaign in world history (to that point, anyway).

Those two events — quitting drinking and then working on the 2020 presidential campaign — loom so large in my life that I’ve written a book about them. It’s called “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It: My Escape From Addiction and Shot at Redemption on the Trump Campaign.” It can be preordered now from Amazon and other retailers, with a publication date of April 2, 2024, through Bombardier Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.

I don’t think it’s like any book you’ve ever read written by someone in politics. It’s about waking up in jail one day, faced with the prospect of near-total personal and professional ruin, yet recovering to travel on Air Force One with the president less than four years later.

It has details from my drinking life, describing the problems I created for myself and others, including the extreme predicament I was in by the very end. In 2015, I was still on probation for the second of my two convictions for driving under the influence when I found legal peril once again, facing the prospect of a significant jail sentence that represented the unserved bulk of my punishment for the DUI.

Looking at nearly three months in jail, I knew I had to stop drinking right then and never look back. As of today, I haven’t had a drink for more than 8½ years — since May 16, 2015.

Because it feels like I’ve lived two lives, that’s how the book is structured. It alternates between the drinking life and the sober life, with most of the clearheaded chapters detailing my experiences on the 2020 Trump campaign. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Trump, because serving in such a senior role on his campaign is the highest honor of my career and is the prime reason I was able to write the book — and the column you’re reading right now, for that matter.

There are tales from campaign rallies and stories about dealing with the hostile media, trudging through painful television interviews with hateful hosts on CNN and MSNBC, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, battling through the presidential debates, Election Day itself, and then, of course, Jan. 6 and the aftermath. And while I think this is a redemption story unlike any other, it certainly doesn’t come with a happy ending in a political sense.

On that campaign and continuing to this day, I have been openly and aggressively critical of Hunter Biden and his influence-peddling schemes that involved the selling of access to his father, President Biden, at times that included his years as vice president. All those things were fair game then and remain so today, but I was careful never to attack Hunter Biden for being an addict, a condition that is well known today.

I empathize with him because I know what it’s like to be addicted to a substance, and I know how it destroys lives. I also feel sympathy for Joe Biden because he doubtless has suffered much while worrying about his only remaining son’s lifestyle and addictions. My wife and my parents went through the wringer similarly with me and alcohol, and so I get it.

But we shouldn’t use our problems as excuses for our bad behavior, and I paid a price when I ran afoul of the law. I served five days in jail for my first DUI, 10 days for my second (with 80 days suspended) and was arrested numerous times for more minor alcohol offenses. That’s another difference between me and Hunter Biden — I was never able to hide behind a family name to escape responsibility.

It’s because of the consequences I faced that I know how it would be if I picked up a bottle again. Like many, I am just one drink away from seeing it all go out of control again. Writing this book helped me stay on the right path.

The title — “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It” — is something my father used to say when I left for baseball practice when I was young. That’s a pretty good philosophy for any aspect of life, if you think about it, and that’s what I tried to do with the book.

If you like politics and you like comeback stories, I hope you’ll give it a read.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist, founder and principal of Line Drive Public Affairs LLC, co-host of the “Line Drive Podcast” and author of “Swing Hard in Case You Hit It: My Escape From Addiction and Shot at Redemption on the Trump Campaign.”

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide