With the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Facebook has been abuzz with people making, at times, condemning commentary about his addiction. I have kept silent, until this post.
Yesterday when I saw the announcement of his death, it made my heart hurt. It hurt for the loss of another soul. It hurt for his children and for all who loved him. I hurt for these people, because I know their struggles.
I know the pain of standing in front of someone that you love dearly, with tears streaming down your face begging them to turn away from their addiction and the clear, nasty refusal that you get in return. Or having that loved one clearly assure you that everything is great, when you know factually otherwise—that you know that they are still using, that it is getting worse and that they have no problem lying to you about it.
I know what it feels like to cry myself to sleep knowing that there is nothing I can do to help or prevent the self-destruction that I’m witnessing. To wonder what happened to the sweet innocent soul that I watched grow up, knowing that buried beneath the addiction is the warm generous heart of my memories.
I know what it feels like to get a call in the middle of the night, wondering if this call is to tell you that the person that you love so very dearly is in fact now dead, because death is more likely than the call to ask for you to take them to rehab.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was an addict, just like any other, who needed to take control of his addiction. Unfortunately he, like many, allowed his addiction to control him and paid the ultimate price.
I don’t know what it is like to be an addict, but I do know how it transforms people, the struggles they face, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. For the family and friends of this actor, and all people who have lost someone to an addiction, my heart and prayers go out to you.