A few years ago, I would host parties at my house in LA where there would be 50-100 people raging out of control. While everyone thought I was enjoying the party as much as they were, little did they know I was secretly going into the master bathroom and snorting as much coke and drinking as much alcohol as I could. When I was done, I would grab a beer and get back into the party as if nothing happened.
When I heard of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, it brought me right back to those days of partying where my addiction was so bad that I didn't care who was around, how loud the music was, or how fancy the party was. It wasn't about the party at all -- all I cared about was using and escaping reality even if it was by myself in a bathroom.
I immediately began seeing comments all over the Internet about Hoffman's reported overdose -- remarks to the effect of "it's his own fault," "he got what he deserved," and "that's what you get for partying too much." Philip Seymour Hoffman reportedly died in his bathroom with a needle still in his arm after spending over 20 years sober. This wasn't a result of just feeling like using drugs or partying too much, but instead it was a snapshot into what the life of an addict can truly become.
Hoffman's death was so unexpected. He had gone from a past of substance abuse to winning an Oscar and succeeding in his recovery. I truly believe that addiction is preventable, but I also know that it can get so complex that addicts won't go get help, but instead cry out for it. It can be incredibly hard for people who haven't been afflicted with addiction to understand the thinking and behaviors of an addict. All they can do is educate themselves about it so they can become aware of addiction as a disease.
I have witnessed just how close-minded some people can be when it comes to addiction, and combined with the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, it only drives me to keep pushing to raise awareness. Unlike some other major celebrities who never made it out of active addiction alive, Hoffman was able to put a face to recovery. It's my hope that his passing isn't in vain, and that I can continue to educate more people about how important it is to not only get into treatment if necessary, but also to continually stay connected to prevent relapse.