Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebrity Drug Deaths

I've been reading all the articles online about the death of Glee actor Cory Monteith over the weekend and while it's sad, I'm morbidly amused that others were surprised this happened.

Fellow celebrities took to Twitter to express surprise and shock that this could have happened.  Now, I've never watched Glee and had no idea who this bloke was until this weekend, but anyone who has ever had any experience interacting with an addict should have known that death by overdose is a very real possibility, even with someone who is allegedly clean.  His death hasn't been ruled an overdose yet, but that is the assumption being made at this time due to his previous struggles with substance abuse.

Addiction isn't something that one can "beat".  It's a lifelong condition that has to be managed constantly, like any other illness.  Call it a mental illness or disease if you will (or not, whatever), but an addict is not going to suddenly wake up one morning "cured".  An addict who wants to quit using drugs and get well can do so, through a shit ton of hard work and support, but they will never not be an addict.  Stop managing the condition, and relapse is a certainty.

I like to use the analogy of a cancer patient who goes through treatment and the cancer goes into remission. The cancer cells are still in your body, but no longer active.  You have to continue making healthy choices, to try and keep those cancer cells non-active.  With addiction, after treatment, you have to continue making healthy choices (counseling, meetings, etc) so that the demons in your head don't get the upper hand again.

Cory Monteith was open about his past struggles with drugs from an early age.  Who knows what the details of his recovery were, but from my point of view, as a recovering addict myself, to put an addict in the spotlight with lots of money, is a sure recipe for disaster.  I can't imagine the pressures of dealing with fame and living your life in a fishbowl.  I also can't imagine having that kind of disposable income.  What I can imagine, is that it would take an extraordinarily strong, stable person to deal with it.  Go into a situation like that not strong and stable, and being an addict to boot, and you're playing with fire.

Lots of comments following articles about Cory's death ask why didn't he have people looking out for him....someone with that kind of prestige and money should have been surrounded by people.  Well folks, addicts who want to use will find a way to do so, and will alienate everyone around them in order to be alone so they can do it.  Short of having a bodyguard chained to him 24/7 to keep him from harming himself, there isn't anything anyone could have done to prevent this.  Assuming, pending the toxicology reports, that it was an overdose, he made that choice himself.

Others who spoke to him that same day reported being shocked because he "seemed totally fine", and "he said he was feeling fantastic".  Well, addicts, especially functioning addicts, learn to become very good actors.  And this one was an actor by profession.....I'd say he had everyone around him fooled.  Even himself, perhaps.

It's sad that another young talent has joined the club of celebrities dying alone in a hotel room.  It should be a cautionary tale of how harmful drugs can be, and that addiction cannot be taken lightly.

Oh and, hello, by the way.  I know it's been ages since I've posted anything, I just haven't had any real desire to.  Sorry.  I'm doing alright though.  Still clean, employed, and have a roof over my head.  Dealing with the ups and downs of the mundane, and continuing the journey that is recovery, with all of its ups and downs.  Life goes on.