A common struggle
In one of my articles on creative people and addiction, I quote Philip Seymour Hoffman about using drugs and alcohol earlier in his life:
“It was anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.” He got sober, he says, because “You get panicked. I was 22, and I got panicked for my life.”
[He died in Feb. 2014 of “acute mixed drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine,” the New York medical examiner’s office said, according to news reports.]
He is far from alone in using drugs.
Many artists and performers – not to mention many of us who aren’t – use and sometimes abuse. Sometimes they get addicted.
In an article, Ryan Thomas notes:
“Tales of performers who have struggled with addictions — be it alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, or sex — are nothing if not common.
“In a profession filled with feelings of perfectionism, egotism, intense competition, and irregular paying work, the headline-grabbing exploits of a Mel Gibson or a Robert Downey Jr. barely raise eyebrows anymore.”
Speaking of Downey Jr., his former wife Sarah Jessica Parker has said, “Fairly early on, he told me he had a drug problem… In every good and bad way, I enabled him to show up for work… He was like a broken pipe with a leak that you’re constantly putting tape around and tape over tape, but you can’t stop the leaking.”
Downey admits “the actions I took and the decisions I made tied my shoelaces together.
“But I’ve never been as trustworthy or worked so hard as I am now [being sober].”
[From my article Actors and Addiction]
[Photo is from his Facebook page – also used in my article Addiction and Creative People – Many talented, creative people use or abuse drugs, including nicotine and alcohol. Actor Michelle Rodriguez was released from a Hawaii jail (in 2006) after being found guilty of drunken driving. She said she was thankful for her arrest “because of the fact that I didn’t acknowledge my own behavior and how sporadic it was until all hell broke loose in my life.”]
Costs outweigh benefits
Ryan Thomas goes on to explain some of the other personal and career influences that can actively encourage or enable use.
“Alcohol and drugs have long been a part of social networking within the entertainment industry. Camaraderie among showbiz types is often manifested at bars or at cast or wrap parties.
“Indeed, some maintain it’s that prevalence of booze and drugs that can help get performers started in the first place. Even at work. Especially at work.”
But, he adds, “Whereas a Lindsay Lohan will have plenty of work waiting for her when she gets out of rehab, the performer who is scratching and clawing for parts could face a potentially crippling drop in recognition if he or she takes time off to deal with a problem.
“On the other hand, given the havoc an addiction can wreak upon a career, can that performer afford not to?”
From Stuck on You, By Ryan Thomas, BackStage.com May 18, 2007