Longreads

At Vogue, Mimi O’Donnell reflects on her late husband Phillip Seymour Hoffman, his very public death via overdose, and overcoming loss as a family of four.

Twelve-step literature describes addiction as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” It is all three. I hesitate to ascribe Phil’s relapse after two decades to any one thing, or even to a series of things, because the stressors—or, in the parlance, triggers—that preceded it didn’t cause him to start using again, any more than being a child of divorce did. Lots of people go through difficult life events. Only addicts start taking drugs to blunt the pain of them. And Phil was an addict, though at the time I didn’t fully understand that addiction is always lurking just below the surface, looking for a moment of weakness to come roaring back to life.

In the fall, Phil finally said, “I can’t do this anymore,”…

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