You may be Philip Seymour Hoffman, but have been loathe to admit it.
He’s the hail fellow well met guy at work, always friendly, but often late with important reports, the one who lunches alone at the tavern around the corner.
He’s the old high school chum you hadn’t seen for years, when you ran into him on the street on your way to the car after office hours, the one whose first words to you were “Where’s Happy Hour?”
She’s your old sorority sister, the one who oddly put vodka in her milk in the dining room, the one who flunked out after first semester.
He’s your good friend, the member of the gang who never stopped partying, while you and the rest got married, started families and wonder how and why it is that he always slips out of parties early without saying goodbye.
She’s the young woman, the one who moved next door about a decade ago with her eight year old, a cute kid with sad eyes. The woman, who always appeared disheveled, whose “Hello” was muted and terse as she scurried from her dented old car to her door, whose windows were always shuttered, from whose doorway, different guys would exit several times a week.
She’s the same woman, who, several years later, started being more friendly, whose kid began laughing more than you can ever remember, who stopped to chat. The woman whose hair was in place, and proudly mentioned her new job and that she was taking classes at night. The woman you figured must have found God, the one who made passing reference to her support group and meetings that were helping her stay clean and sober.
She’s the same woman, whose kid came running to your house the other day, scared, screaming, “Come help, something’s happened to mom.” The woman you then saw prostrate on her bathroom floor, a syringe protruding from her arm, dead.
Drug addiction/ Alcoholism — It’s the same thing whether you choose to believe that or not — is a confounding and mysterious disease. And way more prevalent than you’d ever guess.
Why can’t some people stop drinking?
Why do some people, those who experiment with drugs, never stop?
How is it that some people can find a way to stay sober — through the church or counseling or 12 step programs — and live a long, clean, sober and responsible life?
How is it that other people, more than that last group of people, people who find a way to stay sober — through the church or counseling or 12 step programs — only stay sober for awhile only to return to their drugs and alcohol?
From the outside, it appeared that Philip Seymour Hoffman had it going on. Incredible talent. Universally lauded for his craft. Father of three. Financially secure. Aware of his disease. At one time, committed to recovery.
What we don’t know was what was on the inside? What nourished that inner demon, the drug addict inside that never moved on, the drug addict inside that convinced him after two decades of sobriety that he needed another shot?
Drug addiction/ Alcoholism is a baffling menace. To those who have studied if for decades. To those who keep it at bay through daily vigilance.
It cannot be treated with will power — Whether you choose to believe that or not.
It is an insistent and decimating cancer. It is a disease that, while ravaging your body and psyche, tells you all is well, not to worry.
We asked how this could happen to Philip Seymour Hoffman, to all the Philip Seymour Hoffmans we know? We ask why would he shoot heroin, why would they drink and drive drunk after four DUIs, he/ they had so so much going for them?
Sadly, it is the nature of this beast.
More succumb than escape.