How Trump Helped This Miss USA Get Sober

'He saw the good in me,' says a triumphant Tara Conner, who fought her way back from disgrace

by Diana Falzone | Updated 14 Jul 2017 at 10:53 AM

It’s been almost 11 years since Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner was nearly stripped of her crown amid scandalous reports of underage drinking and a positive test for cocaine.

But 11 years later, the Kentucky beauty queen is sober and engaged to be married. In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Conner, 31, opened up about how President Trump helped her get on the path to recovery, her passionate advocacy for mental health and substance abuse awareness, and her engagement to actor Dan Sanders-Joyce.

Question (Fox News): You credit President Trump with saving your life. Do you still stay in touch? What words of advice did he give you that have stuck with you?
Answer (Conner): I credit President Trump for giving me the opportunity of treatment. Ultimately, I feel as though every American should be afforded the same opportunity that I was given. Addiction is a progressive disease, and substance misuse is the leading cause of death for those 50 and under. I believe he saw the good in me and had a deeper understanding of what I was dealing with, having lost a brother to alcoholism. We have stayed in touch over the years and have also raised money together for the Caron Treatment Centers. I was given the gift of recovery, which saved my life. At this stage of the game, he could save millions more.

Q: You have become an advocate for sobriety and mental health awareness. Why are these missions so important to you?
A: I am passionate about sobriety and mental health because I have been so deeply affected by both. I spent my entire life feeling different from people, and completely unmanageable emotionally. I had to push myself so hard to achieve things.

Many days, brushing my teeth in the morning felt like an accomplishment. These issues are so important to me because when I got sober, I faced the stigma of addiction and mental illness head-on. I was a walking target, and even now, over a decade sober, I still get shamed on a daily basis.

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I've said this many times before, but I wasn't a bad person that needed to be good. I was a sick person that needed to get well. My addiction was in full force at 14 years old. My brain wasn't fully developed, yet people were claiming that I chose that life.

Suffering from addiction, ADHD, a panic disorder, and severe depression feels like living in a prison. I liken it to being in solitary confinement with no hope of release. No one chooses that life. Thank God for my divine intervention, though. In recovery, I found a way out, and everyone should be afforded that opportunity. (go to page 2 to continue reading) 

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