Some of you may not recognize the face pictured above. His name is Adam Goldstein. He was a disc jockey and musician who went by the stage name “DJ AM.” He was found dead in his apartment August 28th. He died from a drug overdose. He was 36 years old.
At first hearing of this news, I was shocked and saddened. Do you want to know why? Because last year, DJ AM and his friend and fellow musician Travis Barker, were involved in a plane crash that left four dead. They were the only survivors. Four people lost their lives, but Adam and Travis were given a second chance. “I have another chance,” DJ AM acknowledged in an interview with MTV, “So I have to do something better with my life this time.”
Fast forward to nearly a year later and the DJ finds himself in a low place. Low enough to resort to drugs. The sad thing is, Adam had apparently been sober for almost 10 years. He had cleaned up his life and wanted to help others with their addictions. Unfortunately, his trials and struggles seemed too hard to overcome and he relied on crack cocaine to solve his problems.
I wonder how Adam lived his life between the moment he survived his plane crash and the moment he died that Friday evening. Did the motivation and inspiration from his survival wear off? Did the pains of life become too much? Did he feel like there wasn’t any other way out except through drugs?
This is a heartbreaking story. Some may shake their heads in disappointment; some may close out their browser and not think about it any longer. But, don’t we all live our lives like this? We make a mistake and are given a second chance. We are faced with death and are given a second chance. We promise ourselves that we will do better from then on out. We promise ourselves that we will make good use of the additional time we are given. But do we?
Speaking from personal experience, I know what it’s like to be at the very bottom of one’s being. I’ve been in dark places. I’ve felt alone. I’ve been hopeless. And I’ve looked in all the wrong places to find solitude, peace, and comfort. We all do this. Instead of running to the only thing that will heal us, we turn to addictions. Now, before I lose anyone’s attention (I know some of you are thinking, “I don’t have any addictions.”) look at the definition for addiction: 1. a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a drug liable to have a damaging effect, 2. great interest in something to which a lot of time is devoted.
When you are hurt, angry, or depressed do you depend on alcohol to make you feel better? Do you devote your time to feeling sorry for yourself and closing yourself off to other people? Do you feed your anger, even though you know it will have a damaging effect on you? We all have addictions.
This is an art based website, right? So what does this have to do with artists? Musicians, like DJ AM, struggle with things just like the rest of us. Keith Urban’s song “Nobody Drinks Alone” is a powerful story of his alcoholism and the pain it brought him. Keith went to rehab and is now sober and happily married with his first child. The Classic Crime’s song “Medisin” speaks of the iron grip addictions can have on us. “I know there’s more to life than slavery, I’m tired of dying,” the singer writes, “I know there’s more to life than drinking this soul sick medicine.” Redemption and hope can be found. Others have broken free, and you can too.
For Adam Goldstein, the second chance he received was his last. Maybe you’ve been given a second chance. Maybe you are longing for one. What are you going to do with it? Will you break the chains of your addiction, whatever it may be, and live your life in freedom? Or will you fall back into a pattern of destruction that you are fully aware of?
Friends, it’s never too late. No problem is too big for God to fix. “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). You can get help. You can be healed. You can be free. Don’t waste another chance to get it right. The love God has for you is more than you can know. No amount of shame or brokenness is too much for Him to handle. “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Cry out to Jesus and He will hear your prayer. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Depend on Him, not addictions.