Cory Monteith Gone Too Soon
Yesterday, I was so sad to read about the death of Cory Monteith. Cory was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room after missing his checkout time on Saturday. If you never watched the television show, Glee, you may not know the 31 year old actor who in his mid-twenties got his big break in Hollywood playing a high school football player on the show. Though he became closely associated with the character he played, in real life, Cory dropped out of high school.
Cory’s parents divorced when he was seven, and he first began using drugs at age thirteen. After an intervention from his family and friends, he entered rehab for the first time at nineteen years old. He later stated, “For me it wasn’t so much about the substances per se, it was more about not fitting in … I hadn’t found myself at all.”
I think he had good insight there. Many times, we turn to substances because we are uncomfortable with who we are. This often manifests as general anxiety or social anxiety which goes hand in hand with “social drinking.” We may also use substances simply out of a desire to avoid how we’re feeling or as to escape from a difficult situation. We can begin with substances in this way, and then the interplay between psychological and physical dependence begins to further complicate the problem. In 2010, I saw Cory Monteith as I sat in an outdoor café in Prague. It was exciting to see a celebrity, and I enjoyed his work on Glee. I watched as fans approached and talked to him. He appeared to be especially kind to them if not a little uncomfortable with the situation. I thought at the time about what an odd experience that must be to be famous and have people approach you as if they know you when really they only know a character you play on TV. This is unfortunately an all too common scenario where someone with pre-existing substance abuse issues pursues a career that is wrought with aspects that can exacerbate the problem.
Cory had entered rehab once again for one month at the end of March of this year. By all reported accounts, he had been doing well in his sobriety since then. We don’t know what caused his death. An autopsy is scheduled for later today, but with initial reports of “no foul play suspected,” assumptions have already been made. Cory wanted to help others by being open about his struggles with substance abuse stating, “If I can, through my experience, shed light on the way out of a difficult situation, that I know many kids are experiencing, just like I did when I was a teenager, that’s, that’s huge.” I hope this loss, this life ended way too soon, will lead to someone getting the help they need.