Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman – A Man, Not An Addict

This week the world was rocked when the death of another great actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was announced. It quickly became even more saddening to realize he’d died of a drug overdose.

Since then, the online world has been abuzz with tributes to his mighty work as an actor. And he truly was amazing at his craft. Someone who excelled in the arts and seemed to take his job seriously. We love great storytellers like Hoffman, because they help us understand what it is to be human—in all its glory and grit. Mr. Hoffman was fine actor and should be remembered for the fantastic contributions he made to the craft.

I’ve also seen a shocking number of callous observations about his death. Many people feel it comes as no surprise, that he brought it upon himself because of his addictions. This negative kind of sentiment troubles me on a personal level.

As an adoptive mother of a son whose birth-parents are lifelong addicts, it’s incredibly important to remember that behind the addiction, there is a person. A soul deserving of love, attention, care, and respect. The addiction often overtakes this personhood, and we forget exactly who it is there underneath. Just as Mr. Hoffman can not solely be defined as an actor, his memory should not be solely tainted by the stigma of addiction. We are all people. And we all have ways to deal with the pain of this world, some ways more healthy or destructive than others.

There are a myriad of components that go into the formation of a man or a woman. Our souls are complex and beautiful and dark and light; all at the same time. My wish is that when one of the greats, like Philip Seymour Hoffman, succumbs to something like addiction, all of us left here reeling would remember that he was a man, not an addict. The addiction is not something we can judge. Instead, it should be worthy of our action. His death should propel the world into creating better care for those suffering with addictive behavior, fostering more support groups and treatment centers, funding research about breaking addictive habits, and so forth—we should come together around those who need our help.

Mr. Hoffman’s family will surely not be remembering him as an addict. They will be remembering the way he laughed, the way he drank his coffee, what kinds of books he liked to read. The things that made him a unique individual. This is what we should focus on when thinking about addiction. There are real people behind this pervasive, gut-wrenching problem. And those people need treatment, but they also need love.



  1. Excellent reminder and right on target----so easy to forget the person behind the addiction and that our first response must be compassion and love--- thanks guys!

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  2. Amazing Post!!!
    I do agree with this..Everybody deserves to be get loved & everybody needs it too.
    Thanks for sharing:)

    Vashikaran specialist


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