If you connect to any form of news media you cannot have failed to have heard about the untimely passing of the actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Now I can’t really comment on his abilities as an actor, I’m not qualified and frankly I’ve seen some films with him in but can’t say I was a “fan” who’d seek out his work.
However I would like to say farewell and thank you to him. The story is a brief one, a man who had a drug habit and decided in his early 20s, smart man, to get out of that game. Over 20 years sobriety/clean time – that take some effort my friends, I’m coming up to 10 years sober and that has required me to work at it. I know others with 10, 20 etc. years clean/sober all of them have worked for it. Then a slip – he picks up again. He acknowledges this and goes off to rehab. He is found dead probably from an overdose.
His story will be repeated over and over and over again – you get clean/sober something happens and you lose that precious ability to stop yourself saying “I need a drink/fix etc. I’ll help me feel better… or I’ll be better able to cope with this stress… or I just want to fit in with these others..” etc. there are as many “excuses” as there are addicts/alcoholics who fall off the wagon.
So I thank him – I’ve had people close to me who have dropped off their sobriety and then I hear that they are ill or dead etc. I thank those too – they remind me that I can never take my sobriety for granted. I’ve woken today with no intent to have a drink and no plan to have a drink. Great! I do not ever take that for granted – that thought could hit me out of the blue at any time on any day and I don’t have any real defence against it. However all the work I put in is to try and live my life a different way now, process stuff inside of me my feelings and thoughts differently so that I don’t have one of the “excuses” appearing in my head in a way that is louder than than the voice saying “Hold on – you know you can’t drink safely. You know only one will actually turn into only 17 in no time at all. You know if you drink again there is no knowing where you’ll end up mentally and physically.”
So RIP Mr Hoffman but from me a huge thanks for today your death has not been in vain it has made me look at myself and say “There but for the grace of God … and actually how good is my sobriety – am I ok today”.
Also here is an honest interview with someone who knows a lot about addiction talking about his death. I’m where I am today due to this man and many others.
PS – I acknowledge Dr Lefever’s concerns over anti-depressants but I have no opinion on that other than if you are on prescribed medication use it as prescribed, if you have an addictive personality and are concerned about your prescription medication talk to your doctor honestly about it.