It’s devastating to find out that someone has lost a battle with substance abuse. Even worse? When a person loses the battle because of the unfair stigma of addiction.
Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Nelsan Ellis. He passed away while attempting to detox from alcohol on his own because he was ashamed of his addiction.
Let’s repeat that: He was ashamed of his addiction.
The Raleigh House was founded—in part—to help prevent that shame from claiming lives. It’s possible to confront addiction head on and live a full and meaningful life. But it’s the shame and stigma of addiction that prevents so many people from embracing hope and getting well.
Ellis was only 39 years old when he died. He was best known for his role as the flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds, a charismatic medium, on the HBO horror-drama series True Blood. But he was also a beloved father, son, grandson and nephew—as well as a friend to many.
Ellis is certainly not alone. How many of our friends and family members are suffering—and putting their lives at risk—because they are too ashamed of their addiction to get help?
We’ve come a long way as a society. But there are still those who hear the word “addict” and sneer. How many more needless deaths will it take before we handle addiction like the disease it is? How long until we treat people suffering from addiction with the same empathy and love that we shower on those fighting other diseases?
That’s not the only lesson to be learned from this tragedy. Because it’s legal, many people think of alcohol addiction—and withdrawal—as less serious than an addiction to heroin or cocaine.
Here’s the truth: Alcohol is the most dangerous substance to attempt to detox from without medical supervision.
This is what can happen when someone suddenly quits drinking on their own: hallucinations, convulsions and cardiac complications. According to published media reports, Ellis’s father said that his son’s blood pressure plummeted and “his dear sweet heart raced out of control.”
Ellis never should have died. But the sad truth is that there will be many more like him. They may not be famous. But they will all be loved—and missed.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at The Raleigh House
The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver where you can find the help you need to safely detox from alcohol and rebuild your life. Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. Our team of experts works together to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of addiction. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program.