When I heard the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent heroin overdose it surprised, shocked and saddened me. Here is a man of incredible artistic talent, who had a loving family and who also knew that drugs were bad for him. But whatever personal demons he was facing drug use seemed to be what he thought of as his way out, a way of coping.
Unfortunately his death reminded me of the homeless people that we help on a daily bases, and the homeless people we are trying to help. They too are fighting their demons. The difference is that the homeless do not have fame and thousands mourning their death if they pass away. Most people just turn their backs and blame the homeless for having to deal with their drug addiction, mental health issues and chronic health problems. “It must be their fault for being homeless.”
Addiction is addiction, your personal demon follows you through all socioeconomic lines. There are no boundaries. Mr. Hoffman had the benefit of money, family and friends to keep him together when he was battling his demons. We can’t judge Mr. Hoffman; we were not living his life, just as we can’t judge those that are homeless; we aren’t living their lives. All we can do is help whenever and however we can those who don’t have the benefit of wealth and status. Is a famous person’s life more valuable than a man living on the street? That is for you to decide. I would argue that they are people whose lives have fallen apart, they are former businessmen, cooks, mothers, soldiers and child care workers.
When we provide to those who don’t have the resources or ability to help themselves we may allow that person to regain some of who they were and that can be a very powerful thing.