Hoffman, heroin and happiness: On the death of Phillip Seymore Hoffman

On February 2, 2014, Academy Award winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose in his New York City apartment.  Fighting against his inner demons, drug addiction took his life at the age of 46.

My question is:  Why do some of the most famous, talented and loved celebrities throw their entire lives away?

Acknowledging that Hoffman possessed abundant resources to acquire treatment and professional help, what happened?  Was the fame and fortune not enough or was it too much?  Honestly, it is a difficult question to answer.  On one hand, perhaps there was a lack of happiness or love, and he was trying to fulfill a void that could not be satisfied.  On the other, maybe the pressures of fame drove him to negatively direct his energy toward drugs. 

Unfortunately, drug usage has always been a part of celebrity culture.  Many have delved into the dark depths of addiction, succumbing to the temptations of fatal substances.  Recent examples include Amy Winehouse and Glee’s Cory Monteith, both of whom were young and in the limelight.

On the positive side, Hoffman’s death did, in fact, bring national attention to the horrors of drug addiction.  According to the Washington Post, “3,036 people died in the United States from heroin overdoses” in 2010, “up from 1,960 in 1999.”  People are realizing that even those with millions of dollars and fame are vulnerable to addiction.  Perhaps Hoffman’s tragic passing can serve as a reminder to those struggling with substance abuse, revealing that death may be just around the corner.

One thing is certain:  one must maintain equilibrium.  It’s true that reality does not make it any easier to achieve such a balance—however, it is essential.  Living in the extremes of life will only lead on a path self-destruction. 

So how does one ever accomplish a happy medium?  Start by taking one day at a time, following God’s guidance.  And the rest is up to you.