Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Struggle With Recovery
Some people who can’t stick with their recovery go through relapse and an overdose, and then they wake up with tubes and wires coming out of every orifice. Even if they haven’t attempted suicide, people look at them oddly. For others, there has been a close call that nobody knows about, something that scared them a bit. That’s when it’s time to be in a residential opiate treatment program.
The news has been full of the death of famous people lost to opiate addiction—both Corey Monteith and Phillip Seymour Hoffman died within six months of one another. Their families undoubtedly wish that they had waked up one more time to hear how worthwhile they were.
Many people who work in substance abuse clinics as well as their clients resent the general brouhaha made over Hoffman’s statement, shortly before his death, that he was a heroin addict. If you have begun in recovery, you already know that you will always be an addict. If you are just beginning to recognize that you need some kind of treatment, you are about to learn that addict is not a dirty word; it just means you struggle with the medical diagnosis of substance use disorder.
It’s very possible that this is what Hoffman was referencing that day at the Sundance Film Festival. Maybe he knew he looked bad because he had been using and he wanted more drugs. Maybe he knew he needed to return to treatment, call a sponsor, or simply work his recovery.
The best thing about residential treatment services is that you leave the facility where you’ve stayed for 90 or more days with a real game plan for your life. You move forward with a recovery plan.
A recovery plan means that you know how to go into a 12-step meeting and ask for a sponsor. Twelve-step meetings no longer terrify you: They’re just a group of people who come together to share stories and support one another. Nobody condemns anybody else, because they’ve all been there and done that. Many of them embrace religion, but plenty keep their spirituality to themselves.
A recovery plan also means that you have become educated about drugs. You understand your drug of choice and just what it does to your brain and body. You recognize that you developed a dangerous relationship with that drug that can no longer be a part of your life.
Your recovery plan returns you to the family fold, because it’s amazing how much the people who love us will give us that one last chance. Even if it takes more than six months to regain their trust, at least you have reestablished relationships with your loved ones.
If you’re struggling with addiction, you have to remember that you are worthwhile. Learn to embrace the day and realize your self worth. Of the people involved in your treatment, many of them have been there themselves and will make themselves known to you. Phillip Seymour Hoffman had been there, and he knew that he had worth, and he knew the dangers of his drug, but somewhere along the line his recovery plan failed him. So if you’ve participated in a residential opiate treatment program and you’re struggling, reach out and call somebody—your old counselor, your sponsor—to get yourself back on track. Let that be Hoffman’s last message to us. He would want another addict to succeed.