You Laughed at a Dead Man

Yeah, let’s laugh at and deride Philip Seymour Hoffman.

For some of you, he’s just another disposable celebrity who couldn’t handle his addiction and ended up dead because of it.

After all, he was just one of 23 MILLION AMERICANS addicted to alcohol and drugs.
(Multiple sources confirm that approximate number. Don’t believe me? Google it.)

Oh, and only 11% of those struggling with addiction seek and receive treatment.

So laugh it up if you must. Or spout off with these old chestnuts of ignorance:

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“He should have just gone to rehab.”

He did.

And like more than half of people who go to rehab (also confirmed by multiple online sources), he relapsed.

He knew he had a problem. He had the resources to fight it. He worked at it and got clean.

And it still got the best of him.

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“He had kids.”

And you think he didn’t love them as much as you love yours?

Does that maybe give you an inkling of how powerful an addiction can be?

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“Where were his family, friends, agents, entourage?”

I’m sure they gave as much love and support as they could.

What more could they do? Handcuff themselves to him 24/7?

Nobody can just “fix” another person or cure them of an addiction. It’s a lifelong battle.

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“All he needed was to toughen up and find some willpower.”

He had every reason to quit and every reason to live.

A partner and kids. A wonderful career with awards and respect.

And his addiction overpowered all of that.

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Until we as a nation wake up and understand that our views on addiction and mental health issues are incredibly ignorant and just plain wrong, sad deaths like this will continue to happen.

To bring it home for you, imagine the 100 people in your family and close circle of friends.

Statistically, 7 of them are addicts. (317 million Americans, 23 million addicts = about 7%.)

If any of them die too early, I wonder if you’ll laugh at them as easily as you did at some celebrity.

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I’m not saying you have to mourn Philip Seymour Hoffman and rip your clothes and cry your eyes out.

But it is too much ask to show a little empathy for another human being?

Someone struggling with demons that we may be lucky enough to NOT understand?

Are we that cold, callous and unfeeling?

I sure hope not.

 
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6 thoughts on “You Laughed at a Dead Man

  1. Thanks, Harley. I have struggled with my reaction to his passing . . . and it’s mostly because, as a non-addict, I can’t fathom allowing a substance to take away everything, especially given that his “everything” as quite a lot. Thanks for the reminder that kindness, love, and empathy are always the right choice.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, TGB! I’m just getting more and more upset (as I get older, haha) over the selfishness, ignorance and misplaced anger all around us. We all have our struggles, some bigger than others, but struggles nonetheless. I’m just hoping we can all learn to be more understanding of each other.

  2. I am an addict. Always will be. But I’ve been in recovery for almost a year now. No one understands the power of addiction unless they experience it first hand, either through their own struggles or watching a family/friend in theirs. Thank you Harley.

    • And thank YOU for sharing, Val. I just hope more people give a second thought to what people living with addictions deal with every day. You’re a brave, strong person and you have my utmost respect.

  3. Thank you Harley from the bottom of my heart as I am the parent of a recovering addict. If only people knew just how much their words hurt…not only the addict but their families who struggle everyday to help them stay clean. <3

    • You’re so right. And I thought I would feel better about things after posting this…but then stupidly read some Facebook comments on an article about PSH and had to re-post. People just want to point the finger of blame, but so few people realize that it’s a disease, not a choice. Wonder how many of them blame the workers who get cancer because they worked with asbestos for all those years. Must be their fault.

      I just wanted to acknowledge the people who struggle with addiction, whether it’s the addict or their loved ones. I hope your family stays strong and sober!

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