ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan announced Friday his intention to take a leave of absence in order to help overcome his battle with an alcohol addiction.

In a statement, Flanagan said he recognized the “need to seek some additional help to overcome my battle with alcohol dependency”.

“This was a difficult choice, but is the right one for myself and my family,” said Flanagan. “I must now make my health and well-being my number one priority.”

According to Flanagan, he will likely miss the beginning of this year's legislative session. In his absence, State Senator Joseph Griffo of Rome will oversee operations.

Flanagan has served in Albany for 33 years. He was first elected in the Assembly, then the Senate and then served as Majority Leader when the Republicans had control. He currently serves the 2nd District of New York State, which includes portions of Suffolk County.

“No man or woman is perfect, but it does not mean we all shouldn't strive for continuous and daily improvement. I will attempt to do that with every fiber in my body,” said Flanagan. “I thank my friends and colleagues for their patience, for their love and for their understanding, and am very much looking forward to the upcoming legislative session. This brief period of time away is necessary for my overall well-being, but will in no way impact my ability to serve my conference or my constituents.”
“I have met so many good and kind people along the way, and for that I will forever be grateful. I know their thoughtful words and heartfelt prayers in the days ahead will give me the strength to fight and win this battle once and for all. “