EVERY POLITICAL candidate dreams of having a cadre of volunteers whose devotion to the campaign borders on messianism. State Representative Martin Walsh, who is running for mayor of Boston, enjoys such a following from a group not often associated with elective politics: recovering addicts and their families. This under-the-radar recovery movement could make the difference in Walsh’s effort to break out of the crowded mayoral field.
Bostonians account for about 18,000 admissions each year to substance abuse programs. Nearly all of these addicts have upended the lives of loved ones, many of whom also live and vote in Boston. Then consider the roughly 200 meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous that take place each week in Boston. They brim with people eager to help themselves and society. You begin to get the picture. There is a hidden voting bloc in Boston made up of survivors of booze and drugs.