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.
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.
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.