Philip Seymour Hoffman – He Chose to Use

Philip Seymour HoffmanYesterday, a wonderful actor was found dead in his apartment in New York.  Philip Syemour Hoffman‘s 23 year career (that started out on Law and Order) came to an abrupt end, and he will be missed on screen.  However, because of these events, we are left discussing who (or what) to blame for his death.  It has been reported that he overdosed, and an autopsy will confirm or deny this soon.  My personal Facebook and Twitter was overwhelmed with conversations about him, and about drug addiction.

As addicts, we know what it’s like to live with this physical plight.  As quitters, we know what the hard truth is:  Hoffman was a victim of his own actions.  He chose to use despite seeking help and getting “clean” recently.  He chose to put his addiction over his needs, and he paid the ultimate price.

According to Wikipedia:

In a 2006 interview, Hoffman revealed that he had suffered from drug and alcohol abuse after graduating from college, and went to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction, recovering at age 22. He said he had abused “anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.”[22] Hoffman relapsed over 20 years later, checking into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days in May 2013 because of problems with prescription pills and heroin.

Hoffman has struggled with addictions since he was young.  Last May, he checked into rehab for 10 days.  Hoffman knew he had an issue, and (more importantly) he knew what it’s like to be free.  Now, not knowing the man, I cannot comment as to when he started using again after his first bought.  But, if he acknowledged this in 2006, I wonder if he had managed to stay clean until that point.  Like most addicts, he may have been proud and thought “I have this” and let down his guard.  His last attempt at rehab may have been a flailing attempt from a man who still thought “I have this”.

Unfortunately, I cannot hold this man blameless.  Needles did not appear in his arm by themselves.  This man cannot claim ignorance of his issues as he sought help multiple times.  He chose to use.  It’s sad, but it is a hard truth that all addicts have to face:  There are consequences to our use.  Some drugs work quicker than others (heroin vs nicotine), but they still ultimately lead to the same place with continued abuse.

I’m no saint, and I have my vices (pasta, not enough exercise).  But since I’ve become a quitter, I know that small moments of euphoria are not worth the consequences that are attached to them.  I know what it’s like to run around as a slave feeding my habit, and I know the physical pain that exists when I quit.  I know how hard it is just to NOT do something, but to have every molecule of my body scream for it.  Addiction is a sickness, but the physical feeding of it is not.

And I know how to say no to that.

Ultimately, every addict has to realize a few things:

(1)  The pleasure of using is temporary, and your body builds up a resistance to the drug requiring more to get your fix.

(2)  The pain of quitting is temporary, and life does resemble “normal” again.

(3)  Addicts are never cured, and they are one bad decision away from the gripping claws of slavery (or death).

Hoffman will be missed, but don’t think that he’s blameless.  We are not feathers in the wind in our lives.  There is one thing and one thing alone in this world that I can control:  My actions.  You yield the same power.  So did he.

And he chose to use.

Wastepanel, 950 days quit

10 Replies to “Philip Seymour Hoffman – He Chose to Use”

  1. Ya know, I just got done leaving a post pertaining to this sort of thing over on, on their forum, berating their website for spreading the same disinformation you are spreading in your article.

    For the most part, you got it right. Except, the part you got wrong is the worst part to get wrong.

    You said:

    “Addicts are never cured, and they are one bad decision away from the gripping claws of slavery (or death).”

    To me, this is the biggest piece of satanic shit, bold-faced lie man has ever embraced. With a logic like this, are you really surprised that Hoffman is dead?!

    You write such an intelligent sounding article. How can you be so blind as to swallow a line of bullshit like that? Listen to the logic you are embracing (which, ironically, is actually very ILLOGICAL!)

    If addicts are never truly cured, then what in the fuck are they going to doctors to get cured for?! Huh?! Ever notice when folks are addicted to heroin they are told that you will probli never beat this, it will probli kill you because you now have to be perfect cuz if you make on mistake, you will die?! And the sad answer the defenders of this crazy ideal give is this: it’s totally true, look! They’re dead!

    That’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s like everyone saying that there would be some big terrorist attack on American soil. What do ya know! Next thing to happen: big terrorist attack on American soil! Wow, we can sure trust the politicians now, they were dead on the money! Good grief.

    Same goes for this tripe folks are fed in rehab. It’s counter productive and keeps them enslaved to a system that regards them as nothing more than a paycheck, a money tree.

    What would happen if they took these folks out to a ranch, put em to work, give em some fresh air, let em relax. Teach em that they are worth something, that they have skills, teach the about who they are, what they wanna be, what they want their limits to be, that they are in control of their destiny, not some crazy lust or addiction.

    Until we start actually teaching people about empowering ways to live their lives where they are the ones in control of their own actions and not some invisible ‘addiction’, you will continue to see this.

    I also feel sorry to all the addicts who buy into this shit, I really do. And, for what it’s worth, from a FORMER addict, yes, you can beat ANY addiction if you so choose, wish to, long to and go to work to defeat. YOU control your actions, not the other way around. YOU control what your body craves, not the other way around. And don’t let some asshole taking thousands of your dollars to help you feel better tell you differently. Grow up.

    1. I’m not QUITE sure what your “theory” is, but what I’m getting here is that you believe there will be a time in your life (in your recovery) where you truly will be “cured”. You believe this is possible, because you believe it. You think that because you think it’s possible to be cured, and you feel sorry for people who believe otherwise.

      Is that a fair assessment? I don’t want to rip it apart until I’m sure what I’m ripping apart.

  2. Glad you liked the article.

    Why do you feel sorry for me? Because I embrace my addiction? Because I actively pursue being quit?

    Here’s the thing: I’ve had relapses.

    In my last stoppage, I quit using the program you’ve read about on killthecan. I used it for the first 125 days or so, and then thought I had it licked. I faded away, and thought I was cured. Long story short, I caved. It didn’t happen immediately, but it happened 3 years later when I thought “I can have just one”.

    That “I can have just one” was disgusting, and I didn’t even think about it until a few weeks later. That’s when I realized I was cured, and that I could use whenever I wanted to. I started using on occasion. It wasn’t any big deal, and I wasn’t hurting when I wasn’t.

    But then it escalated so quickly, that within 4 months I was back to my old levels and beyond.

    In 2011, I came crawling back to the board and I have embraced my addiction completely. I feel stronger than ever, and it helps me immensely to help others there. I do it for free, and I’ve yet to shell out a dollar for the support of the site.

    The example that you sight is flawed, and I’m not sure how to respond to it. People go to see doctor’s about addiction because they are seeking medical advice. Some people require a doctor’s oversight to quit drugs because the quitting process can kill them as well. Quitting is not just a decision. It is constantly making decisions to be quit. Sometimes you have to think harder than other times, but sometimes you do.

    No, my addiction won’t kill me unless I use. How is that a self fulfilling prophecy?

    As an addict, you can do this. Get through the moment and don’t worry about the future. If you’re quit right now, continue to be quit right now. No excuses.

  3. @ Wastepanel

    You missed the point of what I was saying, I will have to try and be more clear.

    The very fact that you state you ‘thought you were cured’ is what my theory is about. You were still addicted to tobacco. It’s not what we consciously think but what our SUBCONCSIOUS thinks. You relapsed, why? U said it had been 3 years. So my point is supported: time, at least as we physicially measure it, does not apply.

    U say it did not take long and you were back to using worse in 4 months. My theory says that in those 4 months, you were still aware that you were now using tobacco more frequently than you had in the past 3 years. If you still felt cured and that it was fine to use, then you were lying to yourself and that led to your using again.

    For me, 2011 marked when you realized what addiction’s reach could do, when given control. It does not mean that control was always there. It was gone for 3 years. Perhaps the temptation existed and that may be indicative of the level of ‘quit’ you were at (you were not at that time fully free from a tobacco addiction though it seemed you were.) But the addiction had no control at that time. It was in the shadows.

    What I am talking about is ousting it from the shadows forever. As long as we believe that is impossible, it is. If we believe that it is possible, than it is possible. Does not mean that any specific amount of time could achieve that: could take 6 weeks, 6 years or never happen.

    What I am saying is that I believe it is possible and should be what we are working towards, not simply the stage where we’re keeping the addiction in the shadows because we watch really closely and vigilantly every day. I’m saying the victory is when the addiction has been slain because all the shadows he had to hide in have been removed. In my hypothesis, these ‘shadows’ are deeper problems and issues we have to deal with that modern psychology and treatment simply fails to address, whether it be purposefully or negligently.

    In my theory, the ‘quit’ which is where the addiction is in the shadows (the quit, the remission) and this is good. Now we learn how to live without the crutch of our using. But the ‘quit’ is no type of victory and offers no such victory: the ‘quit’ is the post, the watch, the training, the rehab, the transition. The ‘cure’ is the goal. And it is possible. It is not something you consciously recognize, which is what you mistook my theory for. If you consciously feel ‘cured’, that is the addiction telling a lie from the shadows so that you might release him from the shadows because you are fooled that he is left. His second lie to you is that you can never get rid of him, that he will always be there.

    And that is where my theory comes in: that that is a simple lie: remove his shadows and he will no longer be there. And he can be ousted forever. And you can let down your vigil because there will no longer be a prisoner to keep watch over. Then, you can live your life free from the use of tobacco and the horrible addiction that goes along with it.

    1. I’m not going to debate these point by point, as that would be… well… pointless.

      I will speak to a couple of them. The first link is talking about how addiction is a “disease”. I personally have never equated my addiction to nicotine as a disease. I don’t THINK anyone else at KTC does either, but I won’t speak for them. What I WILL say is that my “addiction” is in fact forever. Can I beat it? Absolutely. Could I ever have “just one”? Probably… but would that lead me back to my addiction? Positively.

      This first link also talks about the “fallacy” that people need some sort of a group / program to overcome their addiction. At we’ve NEVER (as far as I know) said people NEED to join our group to quit. We feel (very strongly) that our way is the BEST way to quit. But its certainly not the only way and certainly not a necessity.

    2. The second link here is written by Adi Jaffe. He’s an addict… just like I’m an addict. Not sure why his opinion on addiction should be held in any higher esteem than my opinion on addiction, but I’ll play along.

      Myth No. 1: There is an addiction gene – I never said there was.

      Myth No. 2: Marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’ – I never said it was. I’ve never smoked pot, and have no desire to smoke pot. That said, I still was addicted to nicotine for 18 years. I don’t “blame” pot, and I don’t blame an addiction gene. I tried it, I loved it and I was hooked… for nearly 2 decades.

      Myth No. 3: Addiction is for life – Jaffe states that, “This simply isn’t true”. But he’s stating an opinion. My opinion… a very educated opinion at that… is completely opposite. Remember… opinions are like assholes.

      Myth No. 4: Drugs ‘fry’ your brain – I never said they did.

      Myth No. 5: You have to hit ‘rock bottom’ – I never said you have to. Though I will say that many people decide to take control of their addiction after hitting a bad spot. Call it rock bottom, call it a decision.

      The bottom line is this particular article, which you’re citing as “proof” that your theory is correct, is someone’s opinion and has nothing to do with your theory.

    3. This third link talks more about addiction vs. disease. Again, I’ve never stated that addiction was a disease so I’m not going to comment further.

      1. Thank you Chewie. You were the only one to enter into the debate and simply state why you disagreed.

        You state your points well and I like that you address each point concisely and accurately.

        The only thing I really disagree is that your addiction is forever but, if that is true FOR YOU, no individual can make it not true for you except for you yourself (from your responses here I see that you understood my point there and I thank you for that.) And if another dip would lead back to your addiction, no one but you can change that either.

        I assume you also realized that my point was not to be ‘able’ to have another dip some day but that some day an individual who was once an addict could regain enough self control and outgrow their addiction forever, even if you do not agree with that mindset.

        Cheers, Chewie

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