How We Need to Look at the Results of Carrie Fisher’s Autopsy

150
10255
carrie fisher autopsy

After nearly six months, the answer is in: when Carrie Fisher—the iconic actress and author—died, she was high. To be specific, an autopsy revealed that she had cocaine, heroin and ecstasy in her system. (She was already taking Prozac, Abilify, Lamictal and oxycodone.) While she officially died of sleep apnea and the coroner’s report concludes that it’s impossible to establish “the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms. Fisher’s blood and tissue,” she was obviously on a boatload of drugs.

It is very easy to rush to judgment and criticize Fisher posthumously for becoming such a public face of addiction and then ending up a loud example of how recovery doesn’t work. We tend to blame addicts, particularly famous ones, when they succumb to the disease; we’ll collectively distance ourselves no matter how passionately we claimed them when they were alive.

carrie fisher autopsy

Part of this issue, to me, has to do with our perception of celebrity and part of it has to do with our perception of addiction. I began my career working in celebrity reporting, for People, Us Weekly and Premiere, and therefore had a front row seat for the bizarre relationships we have with our modern-day royalty. We revere them—and yet we can’t wait to take them down. When you’re in the media, of course, the big hits come when you can take them down; readers and viewers have only so much interest in the reverence.

Exacerbating this issue is the fact that the public at large seems to feel like they own celebrities; one glance at social media feeds on the days that news broke about the respective deaths of Prince and Bowie—where everyone felt compelled to share the personal experience they had with that celebrity, even when the personal experience was simply listening to their music—demonstrates that.

The problem with owning a person we don’t know is that we then feel justified in feeling disappointed by them—like their choices were a personal betrayal to us. The prevalence of social media has only increased that problem; when celebrities were protected by representatives who only allowed them to reveal PR-approved information, our relationships with them didn’t feel real. When we’re reading the words a bold-faced name has written for our consumption—in Fisher’s case, hilarious tweets and a lot of photos of her dog Gary—we truly feel like we own them.

Of course, we don’t own anyone—not the people in our day-to-day lives and certainly not the people we only know because they’ve created entertainment that has touched us.

Frankly, it’s none of our business how they died.

And yet it’s become our business.

Since that’s the case, there’s no point in lamenting the situation. Many of us in recovery are taught to not regret but to accept and see what we can learn from those things we don’t like.

In this case, we can learn a highly unpalatable yet impossible-to-avoid truth: most addicts relapse—according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 40-60%. As we learn over and over again, celebrities are far from immune. I happen to believe that the challenge when you’re famous is hundreds if not thousands of times greater. After all, one of the major tenets of recovery is that you need to accept the fact that you’re not special—that, in fact, you’re just like millions of other addicts out there. This is hard enough to accept when you’re not famous. But if you’re someone who’s constantly being treated like you’re special, fighting that reality must be no easy feat.

And so Carrie Fisher—a woman who has, in many ways, given me a career because she was the first person to air her cocaine-addicted laundry to the masses—died the way the majority of addicts do. It’s tragic and yet fitting that her less-than-pretty truth has carried on even after her death.

Let’s hope that discovering why she died doesn’t overshadow the fact that she’s the one who’s given hundreds if not thousands of us permission to share our struggles. We can’t forget that it’s in many ways because of Fisher that so many of us are even talking publicly about addiction and mental health now. As a result, we need to continue to regard her as a hero of recovery and not someone who failed at it.

150 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you.

    Your respect and admiration of Carrie always comes through when you broach this subject.

    And your perspective has a lot of merit. If nothing else, the autopsy report should demonstrate the daily struggle of addiction; it isn’t something that is simply “beaten” once – and then moved on from. No matter your means, strength of character, or public image – addiction is a devastating disease that can bring even the most celebrated among us to their knees – or lower.

    Carrie was an advocate and can continue to be even from beyond – if we all understand and implement the right perspective.

  2. As a person in recovery the death of Carrie Fisher and her mother, although tragic, helps me stay sober. Only those in recovery understand in their core being the struggle Carrie must have gone through before deciding that picking up was her best option. I see both their deaths as part of the same tragedy. As someone who deals with addicts everyday, their story is not uncommon. As a man who has been fortunate enough to get many things back in his life,and many things he never had before, Carrie’s passing reaffirms the fact that jails, institutions and death can befall anyone who is unfortunate enough to be addicted to drugs or alcohol.Though her passing serves to help me I wish it were not so. We cannot expect the public to understand how many she helped in life and death.

  3. Thanks for this Anna. I completely agree that the circumstances of Carrie Fisher’s death shouldn’t overshadow her amazing life and body of work.

    It baffles me that so many people in recovery consider relapse a total failure and remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol the primary measure of a successful life.

    The truth is, relapse is always an option for addicts and sometimes we don’t have the choice to come back. Carrie Fisher is just an unfortunate example of this.

    History is full of amazing addicts to have made valuable contributions to society. Now they have a new queen!

  4. It’s been a mistake to write relapse-sufferers out of our history. Ebby was Bill’s sponsor (in AA) but he didn’t die sober so he doesn’t count. Hank P is at least as critical to the writing of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous as Bill W. But he died drunk so he had to be revised out of our historical narrative. Much of the Big Book was borrowed from Richard Peabody’s Common Sense of Drinking which was on almost every early AA’s bedside or coffee table. But Peabody was rumored to have drank again shortly before he passed away so no credit can be given to this discredited contributor to our history and present-day way of life.

    So, let’s stop here. To discount relapse is to succumb to our own fear of our own morbidity. Alcoholism/Addiction is widely considered a disease isn’t it? Well relapse is part of disease. Disease is chaotic, random and unfair. We want it to be within our control – being right with the world or god or whatever, doing our recovery dutifully – we want these things to assure a recovery uninterrupted. If Carrie Fisher had Cancer and went into remission and ate a plant-based diet and exercised and helped others and then died of Cancer anyway, would her life be a success or a failure?

    Let’s get over this worship of uninterrupted recovery because it’s what we want for ourselves and we suppress the reality that we dread the alternative. AA’s core value taught us that one day at a time, today’s recovery is all we have. We forget that every time we celebrate 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years of being clean and sober we contradict our one-day-of-sobriety is all we have values. It’s not wrong to celebrate sobriety but it is wrong to demonize relapse as a fault or flaw in one’s recovery.

    Many great things have been told to me (that gave me hope) by people who didn’t stay sober. Many groups I attend were founded by AAs who didn’t stay sober. I’m not going to forget these people. Instead, I’m coming to terms with the reality that today is all I have; continued recovery isn’t something I’m entitled to.

  5. Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Great. I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  6. Thank you for another informative website. Where else may I am getting that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a mission that I am just now running on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  7. Thank you for your awesome article! I actually appreciated finding out about it.I will be sure to bookmark this website and definitely will come back in the future. I wish to suggest you to definitely keep going with your fine writing, possibly blog about garageband for iphone too, have a good evening!

  8. You are certainly right and I totally understand you. When you wish, we could as well talk regarding how to access router, one thing which fascinates me. Your site is impressive, regards!

  9. It was actually wonderful reading this info and I think you are entirely correct. Tell me if perhaps you are interested in wireless sport headphones, that is my primary expertise. I hope to hear from you soon, take good care!

  10. I came over here from a different web page relating to router page and imagined I might as well look into this. I adore what I see therefore now I”m following you. Looking forward to checking out the blog back again.

  11. There are definitely a whole lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice level to convey up. I supply the ideas above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you carry up the place crucial thing will be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged round things like that, however I’m certain that your job is clearly recognized as a good game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

  12. Heya, you are certainly right. I always read through your articles closely. I am likewise interested in upvc window manufacturers, perhaps you might write about that sometimes. I’ll be back soon.

  13. This can be the proper blog for any one who wants to locate out about this topic. You realize so considerably its nearly hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Terrific stuff, just wonderful!

  14. I came right here via a different web page about Arvind Pandit and thought I might check out this page. I like the things I see so now I am following you. Getting excited about looking over your blog all over again.

  15. There are actually great modifications on the structure of the page, I definitely like it. My site is regarding facetime free and certainly, there are lots of things to be done, I am yet still a newcomer in web development. Take good care!

  16. You’re certainly right, I’d love to find out new information on this subject! I’m also captivated by online marketing ideas as I consider it is very cool presently. Thanks.

  17. I actually came over here from a different page about domain real estate and imagined I should look into this. I like what I see therefore now I”m following you. Getting excited about looking over your website all over again.

  18. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  19. You’re entirely correct. I really enjoyed reading through this info and I will certainly return for more soon. My own site is on the subject of firestarter android, you can take a peek if you are interested in that.

  20. There are actually terrific improvements on the layout of this website, I certainly enjoy it! My website is on the subject of more likes on instagram and right now there are a lot of things to do, I am currently a starter in website creation. Take good care!

  21. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  22. Greetings! This is my first comment here so I really wanted to say a quick hello and tell you I truly enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest other blogs that cover free tv? I’m also highly interested in that thing! Thank you!

  23. Thanks a bunch for this terrific post! I quite appreciated finding out about it.I will make certain to take note of this page and will come back in the future. I would love to encourage that you continue the wonderful posts, even try to think of accident attorney as well, have a great morning!

  24. I’m actually loving the theme/design of your internet site. Do you come across any browser compatibility issues? Some of my site readers have lamented regarding my pokemon go online blog not working appropriately in Internet Explorer but appears fantastic in Firefox. Do you have any ideas to aid correct this problem?

  25. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  26. Greetings! This is my very first comment on your website so I really wanted to say a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest other websites which go over ethereum to bitcoin converter? I am as well extremely hooked on this! Thank you so much!

  27. I was very pleased to locate this website. I wanted to thanks for your time for this fantastic read!! I certainly enjoying every single small bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you blog post.

  28. I’m really interested to know which blog platform you are using? I am experiencing some minor safety problems with the latest website on canon printer so I’d love to find one thing a lot more risk-free. Have you got any suggestions?

  29. I personally arrived over here via a different website on the subject of car racing games and imagined I may as well read this. I really like the things I see therefore now I”m following you. Getting excited about looking over your blog again.

  30. Many thanks for writing this info, I bookmarked this page. I’m furthermore struggling to find data around domestic shipping, have you any idea where I can come across something such as that? I’ll come back quickly!

  31. wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  32. Hey! This is my very first comment on your website so I really wanted to say a fast shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs which cover mesothelioma law center? I am also particularly interested in that! Thanks for your time!

  33. An attention-grabbing discussion is value comment. I believe that you must write extra on this subject, it might not be a taboo topic however usually individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  34. I am intrigued to know just what website platform you have been using? I’m experiencing a few small security difficulties with my most recent blog about free english movies and I’d love to find a thing more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

  35. I was speaking with a good friend of mine on this info and regarding wealth generators simplifier as well. I do believe you made some good points on this page, we’re also looking forward to find out more stuff from you.

  36. Howdy! This is my very first comment on this site so I really wanted to say a fast hello and say I really enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other sites that cover real likes for instagram? I am also pretty curious about that! Thanks for your time!

  37. Appreciating the dedication you invested in the blog and thorough details you present. It really is amazing to come across a blog every now and then which isn’t the same expired rehashed content. Excellent read! We’ve bookmarked your webpage and I’m adding the RSS feeds to my own latest movies online page.

  38. Al Hadi AC Refrigration and Repairing is committed to giving your ACs a new lease of life. We have a team of experienced professionals which has serviced more than a 1000 units, much to the satisfaction of our clients. The effort at Al Hadi has always been to service a call in the shortest span of time and to close it with a happy client. The referrals we get is a testimony to our work. Try our services today!

  39. It was actually amazing reading this and I think you are entirely correct. Let me know if perhaps you are involved in real estate management, that’s my main competency. Hope to hear from you soon, take good care!

  40. Dr.Punnet and her Teams are really a great cheater in Delhi for IVF, initially they say we will provide world best technology but after getting all money they all can’t do any thing and again repeat cycle or again take money for evry cycle same money, they all are playing with the emotions of allots of couples, God will never forgive you Dr. Puneet. this is very bad clinic, this is only earning money nothing else, avoid this doctor, try in AIIMS, GANGA RAM ANY OTHER Government hospitals are better, all private IVF centre are cheaters, maainly Dr. Puneet is great cheater in Delhi.

  41. There are some fascinating closing dates in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity however I will take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

  42. My partner and I certainly love your site and find most of the blogposts to be what precisely I’m seeking. Do you offer guest writers to write information for you? I wouldn’t mind producing a story relating to skin care or even on a lot of the topics you are writing about here. Great site!

  43. Hello there I am truly grateful I discovered your blog, I actually encountered you by mistake, while I was researching on Digg for small house floor plans. Nonetheless I am here now and would really like to say thank you for a wonderful posting and the overall entertaining site (I likewise enjoy the design), I do not have sufficient time to go through it entirely at the moment but I have saved it and also added the RSS feeds, so whenever I have the time I will be back to look over a great deal more. Please do maintain the superb job.

  44. Are you tired of your ac repair in Dubai? Are you looking for Certified Professionals to carry out your ac repair with improved facilities and in an expert way?. Hot and humid conditions are not easy to tolerate, especially when you are not used to them. But, thanks to the air conditioners – living in such extreme settings can also become a pleasant experience, and more so if you are in Dubai.

  45. I enjoy what you guys are now up to. This sort of great work and exposure! Keep up the amazing effort guys, I have added you on my how to use microsoft excel webpage.

  46. I am definitely loving the design of your site. Do you ever come across any web browser compatibility troubles? A lot of the site readers have complained about my monitor protective housing blog not working properly in Internet Explorer but appears wonderful in Safari. Have you got any ideas to assist repair this problem?

  47. I was speaking to a good friend of my own on this article and even about parking violations as well. I feel you made a number of great points in this case, we are excited to continue reading stuff from you.

  48. It was great reading this info and I think you’re absolutely right. Let me know if perhaps you are thinking of parking violation, that is my main competency. I hope to see you in the near future, take good care!

  49. ANPC is a free nation for and by the living men and women of the earth. This Private Nation is a grassroots association based out of Indonesia having its own International Charter, Peace Treaty, Constitution, Rules of conduct and has adopted the Declaration of Human Rights. These Treaties have been Registered by International Notice to the Hague and World Court as well as other agencies worldwide. The entire goal and mission of ANPC is WORLD PEACE and freedom for all the nationals of the world, focusing on a peaceful gathering together of all tribes and nations. Our living men and women are to live as Peaceful Inhabitants on the land, striving always to create a better world today and for future generations.

  50. I just want to tell you that I am all new to weblog and really liked you’re page. Likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with awesome posts. Thanks for sharing with us your blog site.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here