From the first post I saw on Facebook, I knew this would be a day of tributes and Tweets. People reminiscing about their favorite movies and lamenting the loss of an amazing actor. There'd be speculation concerning the details of death and the circumstances surrounding his mental state, but I wondered how many people would talk about addiction.
There were people who reminded me that Hoffman was sober for over 20 years:
for people in recovery one of the scariest things is when an "oldtimer" dies (thats what we call people with many years of sobriety)
— Amber Eeeeeee (@rare_basement) February 2, 2014
She's right. There is something unsettling about hearing someone with "long-term" sobriety has succumbed to the disease again, but also an incredibly harsh reminder that no one ever is cured. That addiction is a cancer that is put in remission daily, but always and forever has a potential to make an appearance without maintenance on the actions, attitudes and avenues that got one sober and/or clean in the first place. Other tweets of the same ilk also brought up the fact that he had three small children, the eldest only 10 years old. Another reminder that addiction robs people of the ability to think of anyone else, even the people they love the most. It's not a choice -- anyone would choose differently if they could.
After so many famous people have overdosed on Heroine, I always wonder why/how well-off/educated individuals try it that first time.
— Len Kendall (@LenKendall) February 2, 2014
Addiction doesn't play favorites. It's not the disease of poor people or homeless people or a particular ethnicity. It doesn't care for a particular gender or socioeconomic class or upbringing. There are statistics that show there are reasons that it might come up more in certain areas, but there is no one that is immune. Education and money won't help you. In fact, you often can be too smart for your own good when it comes to recovering. The mind is the thing that is your own worst enemy, and the spinning wheel of shitmaking will lead you back to a drink or a drug faster than anything else.
But there were eloquent eulogies as well. I leave you with a most poetic offering on the situation from Sondra Morin, one that is graceful and gentle:
Compassion for the addict who is swallowed whole by the labyrinth, at the youngest hour. May angels find you, #PhilipSeymourHoffman
— Sondra Morin (@sondramorin) February 2, 2014
A statement from Philip's family:
Statement from the family of Philip Seymour Hoffman: pic.twitter.com/HBRqYP4bft
— Miles Doran (@MilesDoran) February 2, 2014
Keep up with my head ... type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. You will NEVER get anything else from me (no SPAM, and you can opt out at any time).