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While some are so easily judging Philip Seymour Hoffman for being weak, succumbing to his addiction, and leaving his three children behind, others see his death as a reminder to seek help. Addiction is a disease that doesn't care about your age, gender, race, financial status or profession. It couldn't care less about your willpower or desire to do the right thing. Addiction is an illness that requires help, or it will eat you alive.

By Hoffman's death, his addiction tells us:

* You can be talented, functional, productive, achieve great success, win Academy Awards, be the talk of the town, and yet be lonely, emotionally bankrupt, self-loathing and die a horrible and humiliating death.
By his death, his addiction tells us:
* You can stay clean/sober for a while, but when you stop seeking support, or start thinking you're 'cured', you can easily be sucked back into the disease, even though you already know when the high wears off, the real pain will come back. It always comes back; because having been clean, you also know using/drinking is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
By his death, his addiction tells us:
* You can have a partner, children, family, and friends who love you - and still wonder how they can love you, because you hate yourself and you hate how you have hurt them.
By his death, his addiction tells us:
* You can also be dealing with severe chronic depression or bipolar that may or may not have been duel-diagnosed. You can be suicidal. You can be a victim/survivor of rape, physical, and emotional abuse. And you can be in the majority of those who die from this disease.
Anyone who has suffered, or is suffering, from the disease/illness of addiction, understands Philip Seymour Hoffman. Each hell is different. I lived in mine for over 25 years, before finally hitting my bottom and seeking help. And now, even with 15 years of being clean and sober, I know I am not cured. Because there is no cure, and if someone tells you there is, they are misinforming you. There is help and recovery. For me that help came from the kindness, love, and support from people in AA/NA, a sponsor, family, friends, and a Higher Power. It is working for me, but it's different for everyone. And though I rarely think about using anymore, I'll never forget the obsession. I know I'm only one drink/use away from dying the way Philip Seymour Hoffman did. His death is a reminder and there are many. We often hear of people dying from overdoses, liver disease, or from the many lethal results of drinking and using drugs. I see newcomers who come into AA/NA desperate, overwhelmed, and on their last hope. That was me. From all walks of life, most newcomers can't imagine a day, or even an hour, without wanting/needing to use. They remind me I never want to go back to that hell. And it me brings joy to see some return and learn to stay clean and sober one day at a time. Watching them is like witnessing a miracle. Sadly, the majority never make it back.

So thank you Philip Seymour Hoffman. My heart aches for your loved ones, and I have cried over the emotional/physical pain and torture you must have felt before you stuck that last needle in your arm. You did not die in vain. Your death will bring awareness to many. And ultimately your death will save lives.

Please note: I cannot, and do not, speak for AA/NA. I am only grateful for the support I found through them. If breaking my own anonymity means someone will seek help, then so be it. No one should have to struggle with this disease alone.

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 02:40 PM PST.

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