The Daily Beast, 2/2/14: Philip Seymour Hoffman lay dead on his side on the bathroom floor clad in a T-shirt and shorts, a hypodermic needle sticking out of his left arm. In the trash, police found five empty heroin envelopes. Nearby were two full envelopes. (Michael Daly)
The Telegraph, 2/3/14: Philip Seymour Hoffman was clean for 23 years before apparently checking himself into rehab last year. To stay away from drink and drugs for nearly a quarter of a century – and then relapse? Some people will be puzzled by that. They shouldn’t be. (Damian Thompson is the author of The Fix: How addiction is taking over your world.)
Jeff’s Reaction: Addiction doesn’t discriminate. This week we saw one of the world’s most talented actors die to street drugs. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death is a stark reminder that addiction is always there, patient and waiting to pounce. No matter how much clean time we put together, sobriety is a life-long journey. It’s easy to forget how bad things can become when we open addiction’s cage.
A sober ,sad reminder to us all. Thank you Jeff , for wise words. All the more reason to keep working our programs and working at what works. Fear not. Stick together. Speak up. Reach out. Pray.
You’re so right. I asked Jeff how this death made him feel. He said, “Afraid.” It make me feel afraid, too. The words about opening addiction’s cage are so true. We all pray for our children’s strength, but that’s all we can do. It is their walk, their journey. Yes – Fear Not. Speak Up. Reach Out. Pray.
Love to you.
Another lost soul to addiction. I feel so bad for his partner and family and friends. I will pray for them.
Drug addiction should be fearful, but it grabs you and will not let go. I have so many questions and so little answers.
Thank you Jeff.
Sadly this doesn’t surprise me as we just found out last week that our son is using again after going through detox as well as a 28 day treatment program and the methadone program that he was on for a year or so. This time I am trying hard to be supportive instead of angry as I know he himself is upset and discouraged to find himself back at square one but it is really, really hard some days. Also our daughter is on methadone and has been “dabbling” here and there and this scares us as well. It really makes us afraid that they will never beat this monster called addiction but I keep praying and I try not to lose hope. They can put a man on the moon yet they can’t find a cure…. disheartening.
Addiction is a disease. Cancer, diabetes, cardiac disease kidney disease. We don’t get the opportunity to pick our poison or our day of demise. A reminder that we are all terminal and will all die of something one day. We have today, this moment. Live life, laugh, love, and try to stay healthy, sober, in recovery, in remission, in balance. Try not to be afraid. God is with us on this journey.
I write this to Jeff, and for the benefit of us all.
I agree that, for certain, our disease is always lurking, doing push-ups, taking steroids, and wearing a bullet proof vest. Addicts die after sustained abstinence because they zoom back to their previous level of use and of course their bodies just aren’t ready for that onslaught.
Sobriety is a gift, but along with it comes a great responsibility. I’ve never known of a person who has relapsed after sustained abstinence completely out of the blue. Sure, there is such a things as “hindsight bias” in which things, through the lens of hindsight, seem crystal clear and predictable. It’s impossible to see things as they are happening the way that they look in hindsight.
My experience does tell me that there is always a trail of breadcrumbs to be found leading to relapse, and in this way, you can prepare:
Go to meetings
Call your sponsor
Make program calls
Pray and meditate
Watch you’re A&B’s (attitudes and behaviors)
It does work, but you have to work it, diligently, though it’s not a guarantee.
Mr. Hoffman gave us a gift, I think, to continue to work our program, perhaps even more stringently, this is how we can best serve his memory.
Very wise words JR. I read last night how, because of Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s death 10 others probably were saved. Maybe they went to meetings and renewed their program, maybe they went to detox, maybe a family member intervened. Hopefully his death elevated awareness of the monster lurking.
Yes, JR, very wise words. And, I hope (like Jane mentioned) that some lives were saved by the death of Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s death. Drug relapses are always eminent. I don’t think I’ve ever met or heard of an addict that didn’t relapse at least once. JR is right, if an addict has been sober for a long time and uses at the strength he used before sobriety, he doesn’t realize (I don’t think) that he will die. My son did it and he died.
Jeff, you should be so proud of yourself for staying sober, today. And, hopefully, for the rest of your life. Life is the gift.
I’ve just signed up for your weekly meditations. I read your book several years ago while researching material for the book I’m working on about my daughter’s unresolved violent death in 2001 when she was twenty-four. Your book came to mind today as I work through a chapter on the frustratingly limited time allowed for chemical dependency rehabilitation in the US. I was impressed with the program you got Jeff into in Italy that was so effective after your years of heartache and failed programs for Jeff. Years, rather than weeks. Have you seen any change in drug therapy and insurance policies in the US that show a greater understanding of the issues?
Thanks for reaching out about San Patrignano. They require a three- to five-year stay and they have a 83% recovery rate as opposed to the States where most programs are 30 days and have a less than 30% recovery rate.
As for improvements and changes in the US system, I don’t know. Maybe someone else reading this will know better than I. In Italy, addiction is considered a health issue and receives medical care, free.
That said, a story comes to mind: When I told a PR agent in NYC (on Madison Ave) about the Italian model, her response was, “No one cares what they do in Italy. We’re the United States.”
My best wishes to you and my prayers for enlightenment about addiction.