The Fifty Minute Hour

Thoughts on therapy and life

Philip Seymour Hoffman – loving an addict.

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ImageI keep thinking about Philip Seymour Hoffman; it’s bizarre, I had no connection to him beyond  admiring him as an actor – and I did admire him greatly, working on a general rule that if he was in a film, it was probably worth watching. But that’s not the same as knowing someone. Between films I don’t think I ever saw him in a gossip column, or even interviewed on a late night sofa. so why do I find myself caught short every now and then by the thought of him lying cold and dead in his bathroom surrounded by drug paraphernalia?

Well, it’s because of the drugs, the addiction that claimed his life even as his three children ran around in a playground near by. It makes no sense does it? 23 years clean and sober, critical acclaim, a long term partner and three healthy children, why chose to go back to drugs when you have all that? I don’t suppose we will ever really know, and in a way it doesn’t matter because that is the nature of addiction and the question asked by people who love addicts the world over.  I think to lose a loved one to their drug of choice reflects a very primal feeling of abandonment. Like a mother who abandons their baby, it makes no sense. That very basic question at the root of all relationships – am I enough for you? is answered with a resounding “no” by an addict.

To know that whatever you offer, that your self and your love are irrelevant against their drug, in all it’s squalid destructiveness is heartbreaking. So my loss of a screen presence, who made even the Hunger Games bearable, is minuscule in comparison to the grief and the confusion and the anger of those who loved him and indeed all those who love addicts.


Author: Johanna Sartori BA MBACP Accred.

Finding my way through life, and travelling with those on the same journey

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