Post written by The Inside Job’s Nick Evans
I was going to write about The Wolf of Wall Street today. A 3 hour glorification of excess, drink, drugs, money and greed. Some funny bits but it left me bored and just a little angry at how Hollywood continues to glamorise addiction/alcoholism.
However, Oscar winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman has died of a heroin overdose and today is his funeral. According to news reports he was found dead at his home in New York, with a needle hanging out of his arm. A sad end for a fine actor. A sad end for anyone. Another soul lost to addiction.
He really was a fine actor. Displaying both artistic merit and popular appeal. A rare feat in modern cinema. His range was immense. He had integrity in his performances. From Boogie Nights to Magnolia. However my personal favourite was supporting Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War. He was genuinely superb in that. Very funny.
According to those in the know. He was one of the most gracious and humble humans. A true gent. Clean and sober for 23 years up until a relapse in May 2013. He had everything one could ever want. Popularity, critical acclaim, money, fame, family, 3 kids. But he also had addiction.It cares little for status, power, wealth or social standing. Addiction cares little for anything other than killing you. It is a deadly foe. A terminal illness. A deadly disease.
He was a big Hollywood star so naturally there will be huge publicity. Social media is buzzing full of R.I.P’s, and rightly so. However did you know that 822 people die every day worldwide from addiction? That’s another 821 Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s who will not be getting a status update on Facebook. Nobody will know other than their family/friends. Perhaps we should spare a thought for those too. That’s 300,000 people every year who die of addiction and overdoses.
If you add alcoholism and alcohol related deaths, which is 2.5 million a year worldwide, or 7,000 people per day. That means today there will be 8,000 dying of drink or drug related deaths. A truly frightening statistic.
Do not judge them, criticise them, moralise on them. Do not say it is their choice. Do not say they were just unlucky or doing it to cover up their problems. Alcoholism and addiction is a disease. Plain and simple. See the statistics above if you don’t believe it. And if you still don’t believe it go and ask the family members, the children, the partners, the ones left behind.
I feel sympathy, empathy and sadness. I feel the same for anyone lost to cancer. Addiction is the rapacious creditor. It will take everything from the addict and sadly as we’ve seen today it won’t be happy until it has taken a life.
RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the other 7,821 who passed away today and fuck the Wolf of Wall Street. Do something useful with the proceeds from the film.
Together We Are Stronger.
Nick writes daily for The Inside Job (he has set himself the challenge for the whole of 2014)
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‘Edgy & funny self help through self discovery. The Inside Job is daily account of one man’s struggle against the alcoholic ego. 12 years sober in recovery, looking great on the outside but what about in? This is about trying to change habits, addictions and negative thinking. It is about change, change, change but not necessarily in that order. If I can do it, you can do it because the truth will set us free.’
If you like the idea of reading someone’s inner most thoughts (the stuff many of us struggle with but none of us actually want to talk openly about) and you enjoy honest, frequently inappropriate and top quality writing… Nicholas Evans is your man.