Addiction is the most dangerous terrorist in our culture.
It does not care about success, status, fame, family, children, or wealth. It is a predator always hungry for its next victim. Once hooked on the drug, the addict has no choice left but to consume.
We call rich and famous addicts “troubled souls” or “frustrated artists.” The homeless are “junkies” or the dregs of society sucking on the teat of the sober who take refuge under taxpayer supported bridges. Addiction does not care about any of this. If it can bring down the rich and famous the prize is only that more valuable.
Philip Seymour Hoffman died not because he was a depressed artist, a man with demons he could not get rid of, or someone who succumbed under the pressure of fame. He died because he went back to drugs and took another hit. He was an addict who chose to get high again. It is the same for him as it is for any addict. Addiction killed Amy Winehouse, Cory Monteith, Whitney Houston, and a slough of others.
Once Hoffman used again, he gave up his choice to stay sober. There is no “cure” to addiction. Addiction is a chronic illness that needs regular treatment with people who can help the addict work through the symptoms that could lead to using again. The key is that you have to want to stay sober. One has to make the choice to continue that treatment and to keep it as the priority in life. Without sobriety everything else is placed in harms’ way of being destroyed.
There is no justifiable reason to drink or drug again.
Hoffman’s “demons” are irrelevant. They are no more and no less than the demons for the addict who has nothing after his or her addiction took away every material thing and meaningful, human relationship.
What could he have done? Gone back to meetings, found a sponsor to help him get back on his feet, got honest with the power that the drug had over his life, and started the process of healing all over again. This is the same solution that has worked and continues to work for thousands.
The AA “big book” calls alcohol “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” There is no reasonable explanation for why addiction terrorizes us. Perhaps we are looking for easy answers to rationalize death from addiction. These easy answers let us dismiss the problem and move on with our lives as if the problem will never touch our families, friends, and loved ones.
Tell that to Hoffman’s family and the families of the thousands who die each year to addiction.
Addiction is a terrorist. It is laying in wait to jump you at the right time and place.
Be aware. All any of us have to do is not take that first hit. Not using is the only guarantee any of us has that we will not be taken captive by this insidious foe.