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Mental Illness, Alcoholism, and Suicide: The Dark Past of the Duck Dynasty

Si Robertson, lovingly known as Uncle Si on the popular A&E hit series Duck Dynasty, is now revealing a family history of alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness and even suicide attempts that, in the past, plagued the Robertson family in his new book, Si-cology: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle.

Beginning with their childhood, Uncle Si and brother, Phil, grew up in a home with a mother who suffered what was then diagnosed as manic depression, which today is known as bipolar disorder. Si describes how he and his brother endured hardships due to their mother’s mental illness and recalls how she “spent a lot of time in hospitals and the state mental institution.”

Also in the memoir, Uncle Si opens up about his past with alcoholism and the violent impulses he fought while serving in Vietnam. The book also reveals that Si isn’t the only member of the Robertson family who’s had hefty struggles with various demons — including drug use, mental illness, and an attempted suicide.

Of his own substance abuse problems, Si writes that he had free and easy access to both alcohol and women during his one-year tour in Vietnam, which quickly led him on a downward spiral. At one point he even found himself battling violent impulses toward innocent civilians. Once he realized what was happening to him, Si resolved to make a change.  “I saw what alcohol was doing to me in Vietnam and realized I needed to stop for good.”

While Si kicked his own habits, his brother Phil battled problems with drug and alcohol abuse and, like Si, found strength through his faith. Si explains “to be honest, Phil was not a very good person until he found Jesus Christ.”

Si goes on to describe his son, Scott’s struggle with mental illness. He says, “Scott was suicidal from the time he was about five years old” and describes his behavior as “really erratic as a child.” Things came to a head when Scott was 11; his mother caught him attempting to jump out of a second-story window. Scott was born two months premature in 1977, and “was trouble before he was even born,” according to his father. He had suffered brain damage due to a liver problem not long after he was born, which led to his behavioral issues. His son was later diagnosed with Asperger’s, and Si writes that he lives a full life today.

Si and his wife struggled with difficulties getting pregnant. He describes how his wife “went to all the specialists and they all said, ‘You’ll never have kids.’” His wife didn’t want to marry him, knowing how much he loved kids; he recalls consoling her, saying, “Hey, don’t worry about that. The doctors don’t have the final word. I believe in a higher power.”

And, today, Si states: “I’ve got what you call two miracle babies, my daughter and my son and they gave me four grandsons a piece.”

Just as it is on the show, Si’s memoirs reveal a family that has its problems, but they find strength and happiness in each other and their faith.


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or mental illness please call toll free 1-800-951-6135





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