Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death has brought the subject of addiction out into the forefront of people’s daily chatter lately. I find it interesting that it’s his death that’s doing so and HOW it’s doing so, as opposed to the death of someone that we may have “seen it coming” with. Rock stars, people who just “seem” like they could be junkies (I mean look at them, right?), or your cousin who was never going to amount to anything anyway.
But, for some reason, Hoffman’s death has us all talking. About this guy a lot of folks reacted with, when they heard of his death, “Who?” followed by a “OH HIM! Wow, I did not see that coming. I really liked him in…that one movie! How sad…”
Or, when you’ve got it all figured out on how people should work, “What a fucking idiot. He deserved to die like that.”
It’s interesting to hear how some people react to the demise of an addict. I think it says a lot about that person.
Perhaps you come from genetics that just aren’t prone to addiction. And, you know what? GOOD for you. Seriously. Maybe you’ve dabbled with substances over the years and did not become addicted. And, because of that, you think you are somehow much smarter or have fantastic will power – unlike the idiot who just lost their battle with whatever their demon is. Of course.
Maybe you DO have addiction in your family, but you’re so disgusted by the behavior that comes with that particular addiction that you’ve told yourself that it does not apply to you. Even though you, yourself, are an addict. It must be extremely easy to be smug while smoking your sixth cigarette of the day – even though you’ve said four times since last month that you will quit. Tomorrow. Or to have that self-righteous look on your face upon hearing the news of some junkie’s death – a few short hours after you parked behind the drive-thru with your McWhatever because you are ashamed to bring it back to the office to eat in front of everyone. Because, while you know you’re an addict, it’s not the same. You’re not that kind of addict.
Perhaps you don’t suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other ailment that a lot of the population has chosen to self-medicate themselves over. And that’s wonderful. A lot of people would love to be you. What’s that like? To be you that is. What? So many of us would love to know. I bet it’s wonderful.
Or perhaps you do have a mental illness, but your way of unsuccessfully convincing people that you are above it all is to demean anyone else who may be suffering.
It really doesn’t matter if you “agree” that Phillip Seymour Hoffman died from reckless self-medication for whatever it was that plagued his mind and body. It doesn’t actually matter if you agree with the sad circumstances of my friend’s sister’s death about a year ago after fighting her demons for the better part of her life. Or the unpleasant manner in which my own sister died over 15 years ago…same description applies. It doesn’t matter if you agree with people who are troubled enough to drug the pain away or, in a more direct fashion, kill the pain away.
Because you – in your smug superiority of, “What an idiot. Anyone who does this is a selfish prick. What about their family?” about a person who, most likely, is tormented to the point that your opinion wouldn’t begin to make a difference in how they suffer because THEY KNOW, they really do, how the fallout from their addiction affects their family – you are not saying anything relevant to the situation. Much in the way it does not matter if you believe that addiction is even “a thing”, nor does it matter if you think the sky is blue, water is wet, or the Earth is round.
It just is.
The answer is…what? Well I certainly don’t know. I am an addict myself, so, clearly, I do not have the answer, though I am a very lucky addict. I stayed away from the heavy drugs because I watched all three of my siblings do irreparable damage to themselves by the time I hit puberty. My drugs of choice were (are?) whiskey, cheeseburgers, and reckless sex. All dangerous for an addict, but hey, they’re legal right? Still, I do not sit where those who are able to make their sweeping judgments sit. I sit with a mix of fear, empathy, disgust and sorrow. Every time I see a story like this.
Every time I lose a friend. Or a sibling. And I hope that someone will come along with the answer for people like Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Only before it’s too late. Those of you with the answers…can you hurry it up?
Thank you in advance.