A sad story from Washington as Congressman Patrick Kennedy was seen drinking heavily in a bar after accepting an award for his battle against substance abuse.

Roll Call newspaper reported that at 11. p.m on Tuesday Kennedy was seen entering the bar , the Capitol Lounge and taking a seat at the counter.

In the space of a few minutes Kennedy downed six vodka shots and only stopped when the bartender refused to serve him

Earlier in the night, Kennedy had received an award for his work on addiction issues at the annual fundraising dinner for N Street Village, a local charity that helps low-income women battle homelessness and drug addiction.

Kennedy was introduced at the event by his one-time substance abuse sponsor, former Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.).

He talked about his personal history in his acceptance speech and recalled the late night in 2006 when he crashed his car into a Capitol Hill barricade and was sent to rehab for a prescription drug addiction.

Kennedy was in fine form in the bar according to the newspaper, letting people buy him drinks and saying that President Obama was "the best president ever.'

When asked about his own uncle John F. Kennedy , Patrick replied " he wasn't too bad either."

Patrick's battle against the booze and drugs has been very public in the past.

After the Capitol Hill incident with his car he admitted hr was an alcoholic and drug addict.

Both his mother. Joan Kennedy and father Senator Edward Kennedy were alcoholics for long periods in their lives. Joan has been hospitalized many times for her condition.

Teddy could drink with the best of them and only quietened down after marrying his second wife Vicki.

Give that reality Patrick was almost certain to carry the destructive gene within him.

Patrick has seemed a a particularly lost soul since his father died. He seemed the family member most stricken by the death of his beloved father.

He has admitted that he has a bipolar disorder which makes it very difficult for him at the best of times.

Now he will no longer be in Congress after November, having stepped down soon after his father's death.

It may have been the only lifeline he had in a sad life that started off with great political promise as one of the first of the new generation of Kennedys to enter politics.

Let us hope it does not end up in the gutter like so many fine political careers before.