Robin Williams, 63, an improvisational genius as some recall, passed away from suspected suicide yesterday after battling decades of alcohol and drug addiction. The brilliant successes of this man who charmed the world with his explosive humor could not conquer the lightening force of substance abuse.
From his early introduction known fondly as Nano Nano, in Mork and Mindy and his incredible performances in movies such as Good Morning Vietnam and my favorite, Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams consistently performed throughout decades of excellence, and one of the best prodigious actors of his time.
Williams grew up in Chicago born at St. Lukes Hospital and began his early years on the North Shore and then in Lake Forest. During his life, Williams made many return appearances to Chicago, joining Second City comedians and sharing his enormous talent.
Though we still believe and sometimes always will that stardom and money will make us happy, the struggle with depression, alcohol and cocaine takes precedence. Williams had been sober for two decades but relapsed on alcohol in the early 2000's and then last month, he returned to Hazeldon in Minnesota to fine tune his commitment.
Even with sobriety, depression can be a next door neighbor because while under the influence, we may have shown behaviors that are unspeakable, disgusting and we don't know how we are to be forgiven. Substance abuse victims feel those releases during the time of relapse are true demonstration of their core personality.
Alcohol and drugs do not reflect our true being. Years ago, many were told that a few glasses of wine could help us to relax, smile and laugh. Many felt that a few beers would reveal our true essence, letting go of the real me. That is so far from the truth; substance abuse brings out a personality that is totally alien; only a distorted role that an actor like Robin Williams would play on film.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is more likely among Baby Boomers, according to 2013 studies. You can have it all; fame and fortune but without your inner peace, that you are worthy of life and love; you are generally subject to despair in the end. That is when we need to reach out to doctors, community groups and most of all, a higher source to help us understand that mistakes are lessons; they are to build character not destroy it.
Everyone has an obligation to believe that their life is worth living.