Philip Seymour Hoffman was found unconscious on his bathroom floor at 11:15 February 2, 2014. He allegedly died with a syringe in his arm. Hoffman had 23 years of sobriety under his belt, but suffered a fatal and tragic relapse.
Police found 50 bags of heroin, 20 used syringes, and many prescription drugs including the muscle relaxer methocarbamol, anti-anxiety medication hydroxyzine, attention-deficit disorder Vynanse, blood-pressure medication clonidine hydrochloride, and the addiction-treatment drug buprenorphine.
Relapse is always a possibility, even if you have a long period of abstinence. It takes a lifetime of vigilance and commitment to stay clean. Dr. Joseph Shrand, a professor from Harvard says, “they get it in their mind that they can go back to using just once or just a little. Or maybe they think that they can use another substance other than their substance of choice and be fine, but they can’t. It just takes one moment of weakness to lead them down a path of destruction.”
Many people who aren’t suffering from addiction have opinions and questions surrounding Hoffman’s death. They think he had a wonderful career and family, all the opportunities in the world, why would he choose to throw it all away? This isn’t the correct question to ask. The right question would be, when did he start the process of relapse? In the beginning stages of relapse, it’s possible to change the outcome, but if an addict doesn’t put sobriety as his top priority every day, it may become too late.
Addiction doesn’t go away with even 23 years of sobriety. The disease is doing pushups in the parking lot while the addict is in sobriety. Addiction can be curtailed, but it never disappears. Even taking legitimately prescribed medications can be dangerous for addicts because prescription pills can trigger the brain causing cravings, something that an addict cannot control.
If you are in recovery, or wish to be, help is here through addiction treatment programs. Addiction never goes away even with years of abstinence. It’s possible to lead a sober and fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol, but sobriety must come first each day.