Sees the Day
Sees-the-Day operates transitional housing programs, also known as Recovery Houses, for men and women in the south-central Pennsylvania region. Partial Residential programs, providing a more structured environment as well as therapeutic services, are also available.
Transitional housing differs from the halfway house, in that no professional counseling is provided onsite…
Sees the Day Programs
American Society in Denial
It is quite evident by the language used by many of the talking heads and media experts in describing the alleged overdose death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman that American society still fails to grasp the disease concept regarding addiction. Evidence can be found in the words used to rationalize Hoffman’s long standing bout with heroin as someone with “problems” or someone who struggled with internal “demons”. If an educated person today referred to someone with cancer or heart disease as person with “problems” or internal “demons” we would more than likely either question their sanity or sarcastically ask what century are they from.
Not one media expert, except for Dr. Drew, mentioned the word disease when explaining Hoffman’s struggle with opiate addiction, leading me to conclude that most of society still sees addiction as a moral issue or lack of will power rather than a medical issue. It is difficult to believe this attitude exists in modern America 30 years after the American Medical Association deemed drug addiction a chronic, progressive and fatal disease.
The disease as described by AA and NA is cunning, baffling and powerful, and in Hoffman’s as well as many other heroin addicts case, fatal. It explains how a successful, talented and brilliant, Academy Award winning actor, some calling him the “character actor of a generation” at the pinnacle of success , can stick a needle in his arm…baffling It also explains the power of the disease, particularly the euphoric effects of opiates. I once described the high from heroin as having the best sex and eating the most delicious dessert at the same time, a very powerful and alluring combination
Hoffman was no different than any other addict however. Once his disease was activated and no longer in remission all bets were off. I tell many people that their next shot could be their last shot. And that was the case with Hoffman and like most junkies he tragically died alone with a needle stuck in his arm, the end result of the disease. Unlike most junkies he died in a $10,000 a month apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which too many people is incomprehensible.
Addiction is an equal opportunity disease and we need to begin treating it as such. It is not a character flaw or moral issue but a disease that has a proven course of treatment. Apparently, Hoffman had spent 10 days in rehab recently and quickly thrust himself back into work. Many professionals will tell you long-term heroin addiction requires at least 3-6 months in treatment. Obviously, he went back to work too early before the recovery process took hold. .Moreover he failed to execute his recovery program upon leaving treatment, which is not uncommon. This was evident at a recent Sundance Film festival event when a journalist asked “who are you”, a disheveled pale Hoffman jokingly replied “I’m a heroin addict”
Society needs to somehow come to the same realization as the American Medical Association did over 30 years ago that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease and needs to be treated as such. I guess if many people are having difficulty accepting this fact it should be at least part of the national conversation. How many people need to die of this deadly disease until America wakes up and wages awareness and treatment on addiction rather than a war? Until then…. there will be unfortunately many more opiate addicts that suffer the same fate as Phillip Seymour Hoffman. May he finally find peace.