John Belushi was a brilliant comic lost before his time, due
to the influence of his drug addiction. He could have been so
much more than a "dead junkie", as police described
him when they found his body in 1982. But drugs were something
that Belushi could never quit.
He was a key player in the movie industry, but he was also pressured
by that position. He used drugs, in part, to find inspiration
and energy, to deliver all the humor that people expected from
Old friends of Belushi argue
that he really wasn't an addict, but almost anyone on the outside
looking in was able to see what drugs did to him. He was the classic
addicted man, not only to drugs, but to alcohol as well.
Belushi tried to quit drugs on many occasions, but he tried to
do it through only willpower and resolutions. When he lost the
will to keep trying, he lost the game. He lost his life. He attempted
to quit drugs by changing the environment he lived in, but he
couldn't leave the drugs fully behind.
Lesser Evils ...
He even used trainers whose job it was to guard him, and tried
switching to the "lesser evils" of beer and pot. But
they led him back to his drugs of choice, cocaine and heroin.
Belushi died on March 5, 1982 from a fatal injection of these
two drugs in what is known as a "speedball".
Belushi's widow, Judy, remembers making him health shakes in
the mornings, when he would go on a health kick. But when you
abuse drugs, your body can't properly utilize healthy nutrition.
He saw doctors, some of whom made the situation worse by prescribing
tranquilizers for him. He also saw psychiatrists, who tried to
explore his childhood to get a handle on his adulthood.
Belushi really did try to quit, just not in an effective way.
People who have come back from where he was and lived to tell
about it say that to quit, at his level, means abstaining completely
from all substances that alter mood, then admitting defeat and
accepting help. It's also vitally important to seek support, often
from a group like AA.
Stopping drug use by doing only that - stopping - left the odds
stacked against Belushi. He was rarely off one or another drug
for much more than a couple days. He tried using Quaaludes or
Valium to substitute for his real drugs of choice, and he got
clean occasionally, for a movie or a deadline.
There were times when Belushi looked
like he really had quit drugs, when he brought one of his
drug guards with him to movie sets. He called them "trainers".
But his career was falling apart. The box office failures led
to more alcohol and drug abuse, which alarmed his family.
Belushi's widow stands by
certain "facts" that lead one to believe
that it was his career and hectic filming schedules that led to
drug abuse, rather than drug abuse that led to the days lost when
he was supposed to be filming.
For someone who is addicted, there will always be times when
they can't get through without alcohol or drugs. But those situations
are brought on by alcohol and drugs. Life for everyone involves
pressure, and it's much easier to handle it without resorting