“An Avoidable Tragedy”

            Heartbreak. That was my initial reaction to the death of actor Corey Haim, who died March 10th, 2010. He had a long and hard battle with drug abuse for over 20 years. He started taking drugs at the age of 15. He died at age 38.

            Corey had a successful career in his teens, starring in movies such as “Lucas,” “The Lost Boys,” and “License to Drive.” It was during this period that he would meet his best friend and fellow actor Corey Feldman. The two went on to appear in almost 10 movies together and were infamously known as “The Two Coreys.”

            Whenever a celebrity dies, the world takes notice. Just look at Michael Jackson. Paul Newman. Heath Ledger. The list goes on. Some die from illness (Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett had cancer) but many die from drug abuse. Is this just a natural result of the Hollywood lifestyle? I don’t believe so, because thousands die from drug abuse all around the world. When a celebrity dies from a drug overdose or drug related causes (such as the case with Corey Haim), the issue is in the spotlight and pushed to the front of our minds. We become more aware of the problem. But it doesn’t just apply to the rich kids and party animals of Southern California. Look deep in the streets of many small towns and you’ll find the same problem.

            What does this tell us then? It tells us that many people are not happy with their lives. It tells us that many people want to escape reality and the pains of life. It tells us that drugs are a dangerous and powerful source of addiction that destroys people. And yet, those who do them feel it’s the only way out.

            I came across an ad in a magazine promoting TLC’s new program “Addicted.” The ad features a woman with words scribbled onto her face in black ink. One phrase said, “When I’m high even hell feels good.” How sad is that? And yet, this woman might not be as far away as Beverly Hills. She could be our neighbor, our co-worker, our fellow student. She could be the person that we go to church with. No one is immune from the snares of drugs and no one should judge someone who is ensnared by them.

            However, there comes a choice from the individual who is fighting the battle. Corey Feldman was addicted to drugs just as Corey Haim was. The only difference in their stories is that Feldman was miraculously able to quit after 2 years. In an interview with Feldman on the Biography Channel, he described it like this: “We were both like trains heading in the same direction, except I got off on the platform and Corey [Haim] kept going.”

            It’s not like Haim didn’t try to get clean. He went to rehab several times. He tried to revive his career and take back his life. He even requested that no alcohol or drugs be present on a recent movie set that he was working on before he died. Perhaps he put forth an effort, but unfortunately, it seems as if the effort wasn’t enough to combat the demons he had invited into his world many, many years ago… 

            Friends, those of you who find yourself addicted, trapped, beaten down, and lost: please don’t give up. Please know that no matter what you feel like when you’re high, it doesn’t matter in the end. It only leads to death. No good comes from drugs. Please know that there is hope, even if it seems so far away. If you find yourself in this situation, please read a blog I wrote in light of the death of Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein. It addresses addictions and how we can break free from them.

            To everyone else: don’t live your life with blind eyes. Take a look around and reach out to those who are hurting. Don’t judge, don’t scoff, and don’t walk away. Extend your help and if it is unwanted, then please pray for these people and pray that someone else will come into their lives and be the ones to pick them up out of the darkness. 

            The death of Corey Haim is so incredibly sad. But, no amount of sadness can bring him back. That’s why it is so important to be thankful for what we have and live our lives to the fullest, while we have life left. It is a gift and once it’s gone, there is no getting it back…

And on I read,
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
– “Like a Stone” by Audioslave

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