Drug related death — or when death calls too early, not a cheery subject, but one worth a great deal of thought

The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel that adorns the reporting around them is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he “went back out”. In spite of his life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead. This voice is the unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void.

via Russell Brand: Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Annex - Reid, Wallace (World's Champion, The)_01

Wallace Reid’s Death

While on location in Oregon, filming The Valley of the Giants (1919), Reid was injured in a train wreck and, in order to keep on filming, he was prescribed morphine for relief of his pain. Reid soon became addicted but kept on working at a frantic pace in films that were growing more physically demanding and changing from 15–20 minutes in duration to as much as an hour. Reid’s morphine addiction worsened at a time when drug rehabilitation programs were non-existent, and he died in a sanitarium while attempting recovery.

via Wallace Reid – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Those words of Mr. Brand’s, and the circumstances of Mr. Reid’s death, resonate deeply. In certain ways I think a “theatrical life” attracts a kind of intellect or personality that thrives on a challenge. In Hollywood the persistent, intense, round of activity and achievement creates a pleasant storm in the mind, that when it calms, can leave you feeling hollow and undirected.

If that unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void gapes open at a quiet moment no needlepoint, no knitting, no walk with a friend, no talk with a loved one will fill it. The only way to bridge the abyss and stop the echo is… If I knew the answer I wouldn’t be writing a blog.

I have a suspicion the answer is unique to the individual, and lies within, something to do with a steely determination to survive and a small spark of awareness that death is calling too early.

Like Mr. Brand, I make no judgement. I have seen too many friends, too many of my parents friends, burn bright and then slip away by the tip of a needle, or in a haphazard swallow of pills and alcohol.

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  1. February 8, 2014

    Dear Vickie,
    This is a beautiful, poignant post. Reason fails the individual involved. That is the hard part for those around their circle; we can’t understand their actions, they do not make sense. To us. There is a vulnerability to the soul of one so tormented. I have only felt pity, sadness and forgiveness; a wish to find the key that will help ease their pain and suffering. Usually, these struggling souls are the most beautiful, the gentlest, and the most talented of people. Unfortunately, those left behind can spend a life time trying to understand, the answers never to be, the if only,… Such a sad, sad, loss.

  2. February 8, 2014

    normal people want to be accountants and lead quiet lovely lives.

    those who fly too close to the sun risk being burnt up or illuminated so bright that the world finally turns towards them and gazes on in wonder.


    mr. brand said it well.

  3. February 8, 2014

    I know…I know too well. Thank you for reminding me of those who are gone too soon from my life because of a needle, a pill or a pipe.

  4. February 8, 2014

    The secret is acceptance- as simplistic as that may seem. We spend our lives torturing ourselves trying to achieve a combination of expectations that are set by ourselves, our loved ones and society. Expectations that have nothing to do with achieving contentment or happiness.
    I used to watch the White Linen/Calvin Kline guy being tanned and sailing and wonder why I wasn’t like that. And then I wondered why I wasn’t like my artist friend who lived in a loft in NY. And I wondered why I wasn’t like _____ who was shaking up Paris society. And I wondered and I wondered- and then one day I decided I either had to accept I was me or spend the rest of my life in an absurd world of what ifs.
    I look the way I do. My house is what it is. My career is the one I have- and no degree of lament or wishful thinking is going to make me be reborn as the fantasy of uber-perfection that only actually exists in my mind.

  5. February 9, 2014

    No judgement. We are human. We all struggle. Why some give up/give in/succumb, and some don’t, is always a closer call than we like to believe.

  6. February 9, 2014

    Beautifully expressed. And may grace and mercy be to us all.

  7. February 9, 2014

    Dearest V
    Too many gone far too soon.
    By pill and powder, needle, liquor and simply up in smoke.
    To judge is so unnecessary, death has, sadly spoken.
    And his word, as always, is final.
    Better to do only what’s available and remember and maybe learn, a little.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

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