In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Bush describes years of heavy drinking that caused embarrassing moments and even strained his relationship with his family.
"It became a love and, therefore, began to compete for my love with my wife and my daughters," he said, according to People.com.
"I wasn't a knee-walkin' drunk," Bush said in his interview with Lauer. "I could easily have a beer or two, or a martini, before dinner, bourbons, B&Bs. I was a drinker."
In an interview promoting his memoir, "Decision Points," the 43rd president said he got caught driving drunk on Labor Day weekend in 1976 after a night of "drinking no hands at a bar" -- meaning he picked up and tossed back a drink using only his mouth.
Bush didn't discuss the DUI until days before the 2000 election, when it became a scandal. Trying to keep the story under wraps for so long is a choice that Bush considers "one of the top stupidest decisions I made."
"Was really a bad choice. And if I had to do it -- look, you don't get to do it over again. But if I had to do it over again, of course I would have disclosed. I mean there was nothing to hide. I -- yeah, I drank too much. I had been pulled over. And I quit. It was a good story with a good ending, poorly timed."
In the interview, which will air at 8 p.m. EST Monday on "Matt Lauer Reports," Bush also describes a humiliating drunken gaffe in which he asked a "beautiful woman" about her sex life.
The room went silent, and Bush said his wife and mother gave him "serious daggers."
Bush said he later apologized to the woman.
Though drinking took its toll, Bush says his inebriation came to an end years before his inauguration. The former president noted that he gave up drinking cold turkey on his 40th birthday in 1986 and hasn't had a sip since.