Debate Magazine

Actor Hoffman Who Died from Heroin Overdose Wrote of “demons” in Diaries

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

In my post of Aug. 26, 2012, “Psychiatric nurse says half of patients have a spiritual affliction,” I wrote:

It is partly through our faculty of reason that God protects us, so any activity that impairs our mind and will is a threat to the integrity of our selfhood. Any activity that involves an abandonment of self-control can provide an opening to the demonic. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the invitation is extended for something or someone to enter in to fill the void. In that light, it is interesting that an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor once told FOTM’s Joan that a recovering alcoholic’s mental age is much less than his chronological age; it is the individual’s biological age when he first began drinking. In other words, the person was not really present during the alcohol-soaked years, which raises the troubling question of who — or what — was there instead.

Why is it that when alcoholics or drug addicts say they’re fighting or struggling with “demons,” we don’t take them at their word?

The latest example is actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, winner of an Academy Award for his portrayal of the writer Truman Capote in a 2005 movie, who died of a heroin overdose on Feb. 2, 2014.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

A friend found Hoffman’s body in the actor’s Manhattan apartment, with a syringe still in his arm. Hoffman was only 46 years old. He left an unmarried partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, and three children they had together, ages 5, 7, and 10.

Since a young age, Hoffman had abused drug, alcohol, and in his words, “anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.” After graduating from college at age 22, he went to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction, but relapsed more than 20 years later with heroin and addiction to prescription medications. In May 2013, he checked himself into a drug rehab for about 10 days. He was also attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in New York.

Richard Esposito reports for NBC News, Feb. 11, 2014, that when police searched Hoffman’s apartment, they found 49 full bags of heroin, 23 empty bags of heroin, four bags of white powder believed to be cocaine, various prescription drugs, and two small diaries — one measuring about 6 by 8 inches and another approximately 7 by 9 inches.

Those diaries reveal a man who was troubled by “demons” and struggled to control them.

According to multiple sources familiar with the diaries’ contents, the hand-scrawled entries make reference to drug deals, to the actor’s struggle with his “demons,” and his attempt to stay clean by attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

But the diaries are also hard to read, with scribbled lines, and sentences that run into each other. The handwriting sometimes starts out clearly and then becomes illegible, as if he had written parts of the diaries while high.

Sources say “It’s stream of consciousness and difficult to follow. In one line he refers to ‘Frank who always owes money’ and on the same page he writes about a 15-year-old girl from Texas”; and “It seems he did at least part of it in rehab. It definitely contained some soul-searching. But there is also a fair amount of rambling that doesn’t make sense.”


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