03 February 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman's options

Addiction is awful. I have my own issues or baggage or whatever you want to call it, and I lost a few years in a relationship with someone who was "leaving Las Vegas"; but since I'm not addicted I'm sure I can't fully understand what's going on with someone who has a monkey on their back.

And I'm a civil libertarian. We get just one trip through life, and personally I don't like to spend too much of it disengaged from what's going on around me. I definitely try to avoid risks that will make my trip shorter. But it's not up to me to keep someone else from spending their trip chemically disengaged from the horror of knowing that the end of this trip is oblivion. If it helps you to deal with that horror, then by all means, smoke, drink, snort, chew, pop, shoot. Do what you gotta do; drugging the horror away is certainly an option. Other options include therapy, detox, rehab, or, if your resources are limited, sweating it out.

Absolutely: using is an option. And I think risk reduction is a better idea for public and individual health than prohibition. However, once you have a kid, the option to use goes away.

And if you're an Academy Award-winning actor with three pre-teen kids, then it's even less of an option because your other options include some of the best therapy, detox, and rehab solutions that money can buy.

I don't know what was going on in Philip Seymour Hoffman's present or past. I've thought a lot about addiction before, though it's been just over 5 years since the end of my relationship with an alcoholic. Since I don't know Hoffman and his family, and since I write from a perceived position of safe pseudonymity, my initial reaction to the news of his overdose death was a visceral, "Fuck Philip Seymour Hoffman. You don't get to do that when you have kids."

It's a harsh, insensitive thing to say. Maybe it comes from not a little bit of envy, as well. If I had Academy Award-winning money, I could maybe hire me some childcare and go on a stupendous bender every once in a while, or get better therapy, or, you know, turn my thermostat up in the winter. But mostly it comes from my heart, breaking for three pre-teen children whose father completely failed in his duty to put their needs above his.

1 comment:

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

I'm on your side, you have kids, you give up your right to take drugs. No insensitivity about it.