The Wrestler, addiction, recovery

A good read (at link below, excerpt follows) --

The Wrestler — Medium:
" . . . He also knew that I was in recovery and we chatted about that a bit. In that context, he was authentic and insightful. Now that he is gone, much has been said about his failure, about his fall. I don’t really see it that way. He got in the ring with his addiction and battled it for two decades successfully, creating amazing film work along the way and doing the hard stuff to keep ambitious theater alive in New York. And then something changed and he used. Everyone is surprised when that happens to someone famous, but it happens routinely everywhere else. Rooms of recovery are full of stories of people with long-term sobriety who went back out and some of them, as a matter of mathematics and pharmacology, don’t make it back. Chemical dependency does not change — have one and you might die — and recovery does not change — have none and you might live. Addicts live between those two poles, but the hole that they once tried to fill with chemicals always remains, pushed back on a daily basis. Addiction, whether you believe it is a disease or not, is a pirate, constantly on patrol and looking for a weakness so it can climb aboard...."

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The Last Relapse of Philip Seymour Hoffman, RIP

He died, by all accounts, an addict’s death, with periods of outward normalcy interrupted by erratic behavior. Shooting a blockbuster film. Business meetings. Ballgames. Binge drinking. Drug buys.(source infra)

A Complicated Actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in His Last Days - "...Mr. Hoffman had admitted to a drug relapse at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in December, where a leader asked if those in attendance were counting their time sober in terms of years, months, weeks or days. Mr. Hoffman said, “I am counting days,” according to a person at the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the group’s rules. “He raised his hand and he said his name and he said he had 28 days or 30 days sober,” the person said. Mr. Hoffman was clean-shaven and well dressed. “He looked great, he looked totally, totally normal.” It was a struggle he took seriously. “Phil was sober for over 25 years and conquered it to the greatest degree one can, given the nature of it,” said David Bar Katz, a playwright and friend who was one of the first two people to discover Mr. Hoffman dead. “He was against every aspect of drug use.”..."

Cunning, Baffling, Powerful

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Quitting the Addictions

I Tried to Quit & It’s Too Hard! : zenhabits: By Leo Babauta
zenhabits : breathe
"I Tried to Quit & It’s Too Hard!
" . . . Have you tried giving up alcohol? Marijuana? Biting your nails? Complaining? Cigarettes? Junk food? . . .  The Physical Addiction - The suffering of withdrawing from physical addiction really only lasts a few days. I’ve seen it with alcohol and drug addiction (in others close to me) and I’ve gone through it with cigarettes. It’s a tough time. . . . Hard things aren’t things to be dreaded. We can make it through them, and be stronger and better off having done it.Some tips to get you through a hard few days of overcoming physical addiction:
Be accountable. Tell others you’re doing it, and ask them to hold you accountable. Just telling them won’t get you through it, but knowing they’re watching and checking on you and encouraging you will.
Have support. Ask a few close friends to support you. Call on them when you get strong urges. Ask for their help. Lean on them.
Distract yourself. Keep yourself busy. Don’t dwell on the suffering. Do stuff.
Create your environment. Get rid of the cigarettes or sugar. Don’t go out with friends if you’re trying to quit alcohol or cigarettes or junk food — just for a few days. Stock up on healthy stuff. Make your environment friendly to your change.
Get good at getting through an urge. An urge isn’t an absolute command. It’s an itch. You can overcome it. Watch the urge, let it rise, and know that it will pass in a minute. Get through it. Then you’re good.

"Find the strategies that work for you, but you can do it.
Your Coping Mechanism
One of the biggest problems with quitting an addiction is that you use it to cope with real problems. When you are stressed, or sick, or sad, or depressed, or going through a crisis, or lonely, or need to socialize in an uncomfortable situation … you use the addiction to cope.
But it’s only a crutch. You can cope without it. You just need to find new strategies.
A few strategies for coping that might help:
Stress: I’ve learned to use exercise, meditation, and simplifying as ways to cope with stress. Going for a run or a walk have helped me tremendously. Talking to other people about your stressful problems also help. So does a mindful cup of tea.
Sad: When I’m sad, I find things in my life to be grateful for. I connect with loved ones. I acknowledge my feelings and realize that it’s OK to be sad sometimes — it reminds you that you’re human. Then I take action and find something I’m passionate about.
Lonely: Actually, while most people would seek the company of others (which isn’t a bad idea), I like to learn to keep myself company. I’m great company when I want to be — I play, I imagine, I write and read and meditate and learn.
Crisis: When there’s a crisis, does leaning on an unhealthy addiction actually make it better? Only in that it gives you a temporary reprieve (going out to have a smoke or a drink) or temporary pleasure (having a cupcake or soda). They don’t take care of the problem, and can actually make it worse (try solving a crisis while inebriated). Instead, allow yourself the reprieve without the addiction — take a walk or meditate. Getting away from the crisis, even for a few minutes, can give you a breather and some perspective. Then figure out what you can do, let go of what you can’t control, and take one action.
Need to socialize: Often we use smoking or drinking or eating as ways to lubricate awkward social situations. But they’re just crutches — you can actually do without them and get stronger without them. You can socialize without these things — try it once and see. You’ll get better at socializing if you do without the crutches. Sick: Unhealthy addictions don’t help you when you’re sick. Shoveling junk food into your face when you’re sick (I’ve done it many times) might make you feel comforted, but you aren’t doing your health any favors. Instead, nurture yourself. Give yourself some healthier food to fuel the healing process. Give yourself a rest, and a hug. . . . Quitting something can be hard, it’s true. But not quitting them is harder — you have to live with health problems (or other problems) for the rest of your life. That’s years of pain vs. a few days or weeks of struggle. To me, the choice is clear — choose yourself. (read more at links above)"

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, a life could have been saved

Addiction, treatment, and saving lives --

"Proper addiction treatment works in many cases, but the most tragic fact of Hoffman’s and others’ addictions is that they could have been prevented in the first place. Addiction is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. For now, genes aren’t fixable, but it’s possible to protect people from becoming addicted by improving their environments and addressing their psychological stresses. Risk factors such as mental illness; learning disabilities; ADHD; trauma; poverty; and growing up in dysfunctional families, where there’s violence and abuse and in neighborhoods defined by drugs and violence, can be mitigated and replaced by protective factors including counseling, social programs, therapy, education and a range of other interventions. If they are, drug use can often be averted or nipped in the bud ... These days, most heroin addictions are preceded by addictions to prescription opiates like Oxycontin and Vicodin. These drugs can be hard to get and expensive compared with a cheaper opiate: heroin. If we can prevent prescription-medicine misuse, we can prevent many instances of heroin addiction. If pain-medication abuse is effectively curtailed, so will the sharp rise in heroin addiction. If the treatment system adopts evidence-based practices, heroin addicts like Hoffman can be saved." Read more: David Sheff: How Philip Seymour Hoffman Could Have Been Saved |

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Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis (video)

Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis

Experts: Heroin Is A Public Health Crisis « CBS Minnesota: "The drug that apparently killed Philip Seymour Hoffman is becoming increasingly common, and dangerous, in Minnesota. “When parents and families hear celebrities overdosing on heroin, the story seems so far away from home,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, “and people need to realize the story is actually in our homes and in our neighborhoods.” Lee has seen it firsthand at Hazelden’s youth campus in Plymouth, where almost half of the patients are addicted to opiates, up from 10 percent 10 years ago."

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