First and foremost, thank you. Your prayers, support and encouragement remind me just how much I love our community.
While I am thankful, I am still remorseful. I let you down. For that, I am profoundly sorry.
My recovery is underway and ongoing. I have and will continue to build a support system to rely on for the rest of my life.
While in a voluntary rehabilitation program, I began a step-by-step process that will aid me in recovery one day at a time. This includes lifestyle changes, from daily meetings to reconnecting with my spiritual side.
To be clear, alcohol is the problem for me. It was selfishly fun but became an issue when it led to poor choices and missed opportunities. It never interfered with my congressional obligations. However, it led me down a path that chipped away at my relationship with my wife, my child and God. It also led to bad decisions.
While I am sorry, that sorrow has led to a positive transformation in my life and a renewed focus. I am putting the important things - God and family - first because when I have to account for my life, that's what will matter.
Personally and professionally, I am proud of my accomplishments. In just the last decade, I have had incredible blessings, including marrying the love of my life and bringing our baby into the world.
And on top of all that, I am so honored to have this gift to serve you in Congress.
Moving forward, my passion remains undaunted. My priorities are clear. I stand ready to serve you in the House of Representatives. I don't care if you're a Democrat, a Republican or not involved in politics at all. I am here to serve our entire community.
As your servant in Congress, my voting record is indisputable when it comes to fighting for you and your family. Your health care, our economy and our environment have always been my top priorities. I have fostered solid relationships with both parties to find solutions and get things done. I have been and will continue to be one of the most accessible members of Congress, personally taking your calls and emails, and, of course, visiting you in person.
My wife, Amy, and I are vested here. We will raise our kids with your kids and your grandchildren. You are not just my constituents. You're more than that. You're our neighbors, our friends and our family.
Your gracious support and prayers are more appreciated than you will ever know.
I have returned to Washington to work for you and continue to do what's right for our country. In the spirit of Christmas, thank you for this gift to serve you.
God bless you for your friendship, love and support. I hope you and yours had a merry Christmas and enjoy a happy New Year.
Trey Radel is a US Congressman serving Florida's 19th District, which includes Fort Myers Beach.