Last night I heard about Phillip Hoffman’s death. I didn’t know the details on how he died but because I was aware of who he was I was taken back. I’m not big on following news of those who die in Hollywood but then I heard the details of his death. And the lump in my throat was formed. My stomach threw heavy fits and I literally felt sick. Addicts pass all the time, succumbing to their sickness and allowing the poison to win so what made this so different? I wasn’t sick by his death but I was sick to hear that he was twenty-three years sober. And that scared me. Twenty-three years of having the itch, the cravings, the mind’s devilish whispers that seems to always tell you “just one more time”. Then I began to read comments by strangers and peers and was frightened to see that they bashed this man’s choice to relapse after so long. I couldn’t grasp it – I could not fathom why anyone would criticize anyone’s death. And just like that, it dawned on me and somehow – I was frustrated with everyone. Who are they to judge him?! What individuals do not understand is that addiction is just like everyday coffee for many Americans; addiction for many like a perfectly baked strawberry shortcake, it’s like a special date with your love one, it’s like a wish that has come true, it’s like a new opportunity in life. It’s that feeling that you get in the middle of your gut. It’s like a young boy’s dream to get his dream crush’s attention and when he does, he relives that moment over and over in his head. Everyday your an addict. Just look at this — everyday Americans allow technology to run their life not noticing that they mimic the behaviors of an addict. When the battery dies on your cellphone, when the screen breaks, when someone steals your phone, when parents remove technology from a child’s room because of their behaviors, when you forget to pay your telephone bill and its shut off.. YOU begin to feel something. Your stomach bubbles, you feel anxiety, you get angry, you feel disappointment, you feel the need to get your technology back in your possession, you may even hear your cellphone’s ringtone although it isn’t ringing. And regardless, you know one thing – you need your phone back (Notice, your cellphone has become a need and not a want, it has become a component of survival). Addicts feel that. Yet, our emotions are for poisons. Poisons that will change our mentality and will have our behaviors portray us in a different light. And for us who do fight to maintain without such – we will not know of our existence. We will be stripped of who we are. We will be provided with a new canvas and be asked to paint another masterpiece because our first ones were too flawed to be understood. We will be bare. We will be naked. And we have two options – to go back to the familiarity (a world that takes us where we need to be) or to pick a road of uncertainty knowing that just MAYBE we can do it RIGHT this time.
I heard of his death and I cried. I cried because I understood and I too, felt his loss. Addiction is real and it’s nothing funny about it.