are not simply a matter of individual, personal failings.
P.S. Hoffman had help, plenty of it. A celebrity culture
that obviously allows and encourages alcohol and drug
use, because mere reality "ain't good enough" is part
of it; needing to be part of a wide acquaintanceship
circle, therefore not being selective, is another;
generally, our American denial, escapism and frantic
focus on fun underscores much of this.
Then there are personal life and family factors: Mr.
Hoffman's parents were high achievers (she, a judge,
he, a tech exec) who divorced when Philip was nine.
Study after study and anecdote after anecdote
demonstrate how difficult and life-changing divorce
is for the child, even in the most amicable separations.
Look at a bit of Philip Hoffman's existence: he was
quite overweight (-all food is "comfort food"), had
a partnership with a woman which produced three
children, but no marriage, after 15 years. It may
well hark back to little Phil, age nine.
Whether there are emotional issues, addiction
problems or criminal behaviors (often all three)
look at the whole life circumstances to get a
fairer understanding of what has brought
someone down. Chances are excellent that
other people played a significant role, even
if it is also true that adults must take
responsibility for themselves.
The demons that possess us should be
fought with every ounce of strength we
can muster. It is a worthy and important