PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Maricopa County's top prosecutor said she's going to rehab to treat several unhealthy habits that she's struggling with since she fell, which resulted in a brain bleed last year. In a statement released on Friday, Allister Adel said she is going to get treatment for anxiety and "unhealthy coping behaviors, including an eating disorder and alcohol use."
Adel said she's not stepping down from her job, adding that she'll be in daily contact with her leadership team at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office while she gets the treatment she needs. "I am committed to rising to meet this challenge and I thank you for allowing me the grace to do so," Adel said in the statement.
Last November, Adel fell in her home and was rushed to the hospital. She had to have emergency surgery to stop bleeding in her brain.
The last time Adel was suffering a health problem there were some decisions made by her office that were not communicated to her that are now under investigation. That was the decision to charge protestors as gang members.
"Being a county attorney is a very tough position. It's very stressful," said attorney Benjamin Taylor. Taylor says he has known Adel for years and has even gone up against her in court. He says admitting you need help is a courageous and hard thing to do.
"I'm an alcoholic too and an addict. So I have 8 years sober," said primary therapist Lorraine Mischke. It affected every part of my life. It affected my relationships, it effected how I did my job."
Mischke works at the Scottsdale Recovery Center. She says it's very common for clients to have alcohol abuse issues and a co-existing disorder like depression or anxiety. She wants everyone to know there's nothing wrong with coming forward for help and it's important to treat everything someone is dealing with at the same time.
"If you treat one and not the other, one of them will take them back out," Mischke explained. "So everything should be treated, ideally, at the same time."
Just last year U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who represents a district in Tucson and southeastern Arizona, took time away from her duties to get treatment for alcohol dependence.
She released the following statement to Arizona's Family on Friday: "It takes immense courage to admit to oneself when you're struggling and need help, let alone share it with the public. I want to thank Allister Adel for her honesty and heartfelt message because I know it's not easy; it is brave. I send all my support to Allister and her family throughout the recovery journey. It's important that when we talk about addiction we have an open mind and an open heart. It's estimated that over 21 million Americans struggle with some form of addiction; I want people to know they are not alone. Seeking help is worth it; we take it one day at a time, and from there, we become stronger each day."
In a phone call with Arizona's Family on Friday, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley says he's wishing Adel and everyone in her office the best and his thoughts go out to them. It's an extremely difficult and stressful job, he says, and he thinks it will create significant challenges for the office going forward. They need a strong leader at this time, Romley said.
If you or someone you know is struggling, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, national helpline that can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Here is additional help from the Scottsdale Recovery Center.