The world is reeling right now from the death of comedian-actor Robin Williams. His untimely passing brings opportunity to reflect on his life and his career. And hopefully, such reflection can help those with addiction renew their determination to do those things that bring about and retain sobriety.
It is publicly known that early in William’s career he used both cocaine and alcohol. He quit in 1982 and remained sober until 2003 when he began drinking again. His life shows that people can quit alcohol and cocaine. And they can remain sober for years.
When Williams originally quit, it wasn’t a therapist or a rehab center that influenced him. Rather, it was the overdose-caused death of a friend and the upcoming birth of his child. In his words, “I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that sort of life.” (People magazine, 1998) This is an example of a person seeing into the future the possible outcome if he continued living with addiction. In Addiction Rehabilitation Tools vernacular, one might say that seeing his Addiction Destination (where his addictions might take him) gave him the necessary motivation to stop alcohol and cocaine.
However, Williams’s life also shows that those who are living a sober life can relapse and re-enter their addictions. His experience underscores the importance of keeping oneself constantly fortified and surrounded with allies, or people who strengthen us in our sobriety. When Williams started drinking again, it wasn’t in the company of his family. It was when he was far from home and feeling alone. Work was taking its toll.
We see the reverse effect in his recovery, which shows the importance of allies. It was the intervention of family that finally led him to receive treatment for his drinking.
We can learn from Robin’s life how crucial is the daily renewal of our commitments, the daily reminder of why we want to live a certain way. His life can remind us of the power allies can have in our lives, and the danger we face without them. We learn that we need healthy ways to strengthen and invigorate ourselves.
His dying has produced sadness around the world. But perhaps in this final scene he can bring a few more smiles to people’s faces as they learn from his experiences and renew their own resolve to live sober.Regain Hope