Michael Kovac/Getty Images for P.S. Arts
Shawn Pyfrom has bravely opened up about his addiction issues in an open letter on his Tumblr blog.
The 27-year-old actor, best known for playing Bree Van de Kamp's gay son Andrew on Desperate Housewives, shared his story with fans on Sunday, Feb. 2, just hours after Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment. "Against the advise of others; I had to write this open letter. I can't stay quiet anymore about this...I am an alcoholic and a drug addict," Pyfrom wrote.
"And yesterday I celebrated five months of sobriety. I'm relatively new to being sober, considering the scope of time that I've been an addict. But within that scope, this is also the longest I've been sober; since I began using," he continued. "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."
"When news reaches us of a public figure, like Mr. Hoffman, passing away from such a terrible affliction; we tend to get the feeling of great loss. It is a great loss. I feel grief when I hear of such a talented human being leaving this earth...But every life is important. There are just some that hold the public forum. The loss of their life is no more, or no less, of a loss than anyone else's," the Tanner Hall star said. "And anytime a person uses drugs, they are taking the chance that their life will be taken from them. Whether they steal your breath, or rob one last beat from your heart—that is left to fate. But they will steal your life from you. Whether you are the occasional user, or someone that uses every day. Every moment spent using drugs (alcohol included) is a moment stolen from your life. A memory you will only recall with vague reflection—through fogged glass. Leaving an imprint in your memory, like a stamp without it's ink. That is, of course, my own realization."
Pyfrom shared his struggles publicly because he "could not hear of another person being robbed of their life, due to addiction; knowing that I stayed quiet about mine. Knowing that if, by sharing my story, I could potentially save a life—and didn't; that I would no longer be able to look myself in the mirror with the same pride I've allowed myself to have, for overcoming the thing that almost took my life."
"For several years, I lived for drugs. I lived for other things as well. But drugs dictated the other things I lived for. I thought more about using, than I thought about any other 'pleasures.' I put myself in places I never would have ended up, otherwise, for the sake of getting high. There are countless nights of blacking out, and making poor decisions as a result of my overusing. I wasted the time of valuable people, who worked so hard to pull my career to a higher place, by allowing my addictions to tug me out of their grip. I worried the people that care about me. My friends. My parents. My siblings. All for the sake of something that I believed I had control over. I didn't even realize how low drugs and alcohol had pulled me. But I stand now from a higher place. Not higher than anyone else, or anyone that is using. Just a higher place, than I was before. My thoughts are clear. My body is energized. And the creativity now flows out of me, easier than it ever had when I was using. I wake up looking forward to my days, rather than looking for a way to get through them. I feel the life inside of me now. The life that I deprived myself of for so long."
Pyfrom doesn't judge others. Instead, he said he only has "compassion for those who currently struggle with their addictions. I am fortunate enough to no longer struggle with mine. 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... I thought I had control. I thought...but now I know."
"I am an addict," he reiterated. "And I've never been more proud, saying it. Because when I think about where I've been, and where I am now...I am proud of the man who has addressed and admitted to himself, what was once a clouded denial. Self-pride and love are two things I've never had for myself, until recently. I hold them closely, now, by my own humbled awareness. And I wouldn't trade that in for any pill, line, or drink—on any day. I could go on, but I'll leave it here, for now..."
Pyfrom concluded his letter by offering words of "encouragement" and "strength" to those who "are currently battling an addiction" and those who "have never even sipped a drink."
"You may be one of the lucky ones that leaves unscathed from it all. With all sincerity; good for you. But I leave it to you to decide if it's worth risking; finding yourself on the unfortunate end of things," he said. "Just know that either way, I'm pulling for you. With only love...I hope you can save your life."
Pyfrom reached out his fans for sending their "love and support" after he'd published the blog post. "I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude," the TV star wrote in an Instagram caption. "Thank you for letting me share. And thank you for sharing your love with me."