The news about the results of Carrie Fisher’s autopsy report haunted me all day.
Checking the trending news of the day mid-morning. Exiting a Starbucks. Dropping my 10-year-old to a sleepover with her aunt.
I would remember that I read Fisher died with cocaine, heroin and ecstasy in her body. I finally realized why I couldn’t shake that Fisher had drugs in her system when she died.
Too close to home
For anybody or any family who has ever struggled with addiction, that bit of news killed some hope.
Fisher’s official cause of death was “sleep apnea and other undetermined factors.” What role, if any, drugs played in her death is unknown.
That doesn’t matter to me. Don’t get me wrong, I mourn the loss of Princess Leia as much as anyone. She was a fierce but compassionate female role model 40 years before Wonder Woman dominated the big screen.
But to families who have seen drug use and addiction consume the vibrant, intelligent and promising people they love, it’s heartbreaking that Fisher was using at all when she died at age 60.
It could happen to the addict you love
I wring my hands. I pray. I’ve sacrificed the wishes of my own glimpsed shooting stars and blown-out birthday candles that the addicts I love will get sober. I believed there is time. But Fisher’s death reminds me that we never know when addicts will run out of time.
You’re never free from worry
Maybe you know an addict who has put his or her addiction issues in the rear-view mirror and you can exhale. I do too. But Fisher’s death recalls the truth that there is no cure from addiction aside from stopping using. And addiction — which often goes hand in hand with depression or mental illness, as was the case with Fisher — means that becoming sober and staying sober is never a one and done.
‘She ultimately died of it’
Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd says it best.
“My mom battled with drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it,” she said in statement included in the toxicology report.
Lourd continued with a plea for people to talk about addiction and mental illness to kill the social stigmas of such diseases, like her mother did. “She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles.”
Watch: Fisher’s only child, Billie Lourd, speaks out