In an age where the tragic deaths of beloved and talented public figures have become unfortunately more frequent, it is up to young Hollywood to step up and set a positive example for the next generation. So when yet another Hollywood icon lost their battle with addiction this past weekend, Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van de Kamp, Desperate Housewives) knew that it was his turn to speak up.
Just hours after actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment, Pyfrom took to his Tumblr to pen an open letter to his fans. In the letter he admits that he himself is, “an alcoholic and a drug addict.” He begins the letter saying that he is publishing it against the advice of others but goes on to state,
“…if these words can encourage someone to hold on to their life… to keep from ever using, or to find the strength to stop; then it’s more important that these words are shared. I’ve considered what’s at stake, for myself, by sharing this – but I find myself without regard for that. I won’t allow my selfish needs to get in the way of potentially reaching another human being’s life.”
In the letter, Pyform admits that he had been addicted to alcohol and drugs for years before coming around and admitting himself for treatment. He is now 5 months sober and seemingly determined to reach out and help as many people as possible battle their own demons,
“…if you’re reading this letter, I hope it comes to you with only encouragement. I hope it provides you strength, in the way that I’ve intended it. Whether you are currently battling an addiction, or have never even sipped a drink. I hope it gives you strength to consider the potential it has to take everything, that is dear, from you.”
Shawn also doesn’t sugar-coat the fact that his addiction robbed him of opportunities and his creativity at a time where his career had the potential to sky-rocket. He speaks of all the uncomfortable and unsafe situations he got himself into for the sake of getting high. Like many addicts, he believed that he was in control of the addiction, when in reality; it was the other way around, “…I didn’t even realize how low drugs and alcohol had pulled me.”
Thankfully, Shawn sought out help and fought to become sober, even if it was a struggle,
“I can say with all honesty, that I have no desire to ever use again. But it took a long time, and a lot of struggle, to finally reach that place. We sometimes have to learn through our own experiences – as I had to with mine. I was too strong-minded and wrapped up in my own addictions to listen to anyone.”
The sentiments expressed in the letter are not of someone wanting everyone to conform to their way of thinking; which is exactly how Pyform intended it to sound. As he states in the letter, addicts are a strong minded people. They do not wish to be talked down or preached to. It is often up to an addict to personally come around to the fact that yes, they do have a problem and then prepare to fight back against it. Shawn ends the letter by offering words of encouragement not only to addicts but also to everyone,
“…I leave it to you to decide if it’s worth risking; finding yourself on the unfortunate end of things. just know that either way, I’m pulling for you. with only love… I hope you can save your life.”
The actor also took to his Instagram (@shawn_pyform) to reach out and thank all those who had taken the time to read the letter and offer him words of advice, encouragement and thanks.
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