ATLANTA (CBS46) -- For more than three decades, political insider Jeff Breedlove has worked for elected officials on the congressional and county levels.

“Friends were saying to me, I had a couple of friends that were like, you need to go get help. And I’d say, what if someone sees me in recovery at a meeting. That might hurt my political career,” Breedlove said.

Yet during the past 30-years, very few got a glimpse into his private life and his struggle with drug addiction.

“I manipulated people, I hid my disease. I did it out of shame, out of fear and out of the fact that I was sick,” Breedlove said.

Jeff Breedlove 03/14/2019

In October of 2016, his world came crumbling down. Breedlove got caught up in a drug bust at the Budget Inn and Suites Hotel on Memorial Drive in DeKalb County. He told police he was a victim of false imprisonment. It turns out he wasn't.

“It was cocaine. Crack cocaine,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove admitted to using crack cocaine. It’s a drug he was first introduced to 30-years ago in college.

“I said, well, I want to talk to a supervisor. Well, the supervisor was in the hallway and he came in and he was a detective and he said you know what we’re going to do; we’re going to save your life. You need this,” Breedlove said.

Since that dark day, Breedlove has been in recovery and facing his addiction head-on with humility.

“I look back on it as I needed to get arrested. I needed the arrogance that I felt, the insanity that I was in, I needed it to be disrupted,” Breedlove said.

And two weeks ago, he went back to work. This time for the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse with a mission of saving other lives.

“I want everybody who’s struggling to know this, you’re not alone, you have a ton of peers, recovery is real and you can reach out to places like the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse or any reputable place and there are people that love you and will help you get help,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove is now calling on politicians, the very people he once worked for to join in the recovery effort, calling addiction a national emergency.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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