What About Everyone Else?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Philip Seymour Hoffman and his untimely death this week, apparently from a heroin overdose.  Mr. Hoffman was an amazing actor, and a charming man who I was fortunate enough to meet more than once.  According to the reports, he had been sober for over 20 years, relapsing in just the last year.

Some people think dealing with addiction is simply about willpower – hopefully more know that it is a disease, and one that can only be managed, not cured.  But that’s not what I’ve been thinking about, really.

What has really bugged me about the conversations surrounding Mr. Hoffman’s passing is that all of a sudden, people are talking about how tragic it is that addicts die from overdoses, and how we should help them more.  Seems odd that that would bother me, I bet.  Well, it does.  Because frankly, a celebrity has far more access to, and certainly more money to pay for, help.  In fact, checking into (and ideally completing) a rehab program has sadly almost become a rite of passage.

I’m upset because we need to have this conversation about those suffering from the disease of addiction EVERY. DAMN. DAY. and we need to have it on behalf of everyone – not just celebrities.  It’s hard to find an accurate statistic, but my lazy, on-the-couch research suggests that over 100 people on average die each day from overdoses.  This number does not include those who are struggling, but surviving, by the way.  Nor does it include those whose drug is alcohol.

So while you gossip about/criticize/sympathize with/mourn for the famous among us affected by the dread disease of addiction, spare a moment for everyone else.  You may find that everyone else includes friends, family members, colleagues….in fact, I would bet a dollar I don’t have that all of us know at least one person in need of support.

So again, please, think of everyone else.  And perhaps try to help.

P.S.  I’m not the kind to post a bunch of links to helping organizations, but if you need help,  Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are among the best – and have resources for your family and friends through Al-Anon.  And if you, like me, are in the entertainment industry, try The Actors Fund.  Please.

P.P.S.  There’s really no appropriate photo for this post, in my opinion.  Just look with love on the everyone else – that’s your picture for today.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. teenieyogini
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 20:02:04

    This is such an amazing post, very, very true!


  2. Anne
    Feb 06, 2014 @ 08:32:26

    Indeed. Thanks.


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