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'Desperate Housewives' Shawn Pyfrom Pens Open Letter: 'I Am An Alcoholic & A Drug Addict'

In the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death by apparent drug overdose, actor Shawn Pyfrom, best known for playing Andrew Van de Kamp, the gay son of Marcia Cross's character on Desperate Housewives has posted an open letter admitting to his own battle with drug addiction.

In it, the 27-year-old actor and artist pleads with others to "Hold on to your life."

Here's a short excerpt Pyfrom's Tumblr blog:

i just read the news about mr. philip seymour hoffman, and against the advise of others; i had to write this open letter. i can’t stay quiet anymore about this…

i am an alcoholic and a drug addict.

and yesterday i celebrated five months of sobriety. i’m relatively new to being sober, considering the scope of time that i’ve been an addict. but within that scope, this is also the longest i’ve been sober; since i began using. i’m not sure what to approach first, with regard to this letter — my head is still spinning from the news. i even question whether or not i should publish this, as i type out these words. but if these words can encourage someone to hold on to their life… to keep from ever using, or to find the strength to stop; then it’s more important that these words are shared. i’ve considered what’s at stake, for myself, by sharing this - but i find myself without regard for that. i won’t allow my selfish needs to get in the way of potentially reaching another human being’s life.

Head over to Tumblr to read Shawn's full blog post, which we feel is quite honest and brave. 


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This article inspired me.  I am now 2 days sober (with money to buy alcohol) and having not done so.  Other than that I have been drunk every night for at least the past 7 years.  The only other times I went to bed sober were when I had absolutely no money to buy it, and nothing to sell to get some.

This is the hardest thing that I have ever done, compared to this, my quitting smoking 25+ years ago was nothing.  I had patches then.  There is no patch for Alcholism, a disease that I have.  Meetings on past attempts and not finding a comfortable sponsor that I could trust meant that I just went back to what I know.  What I knew is that being drunk stopped my mind from thinking about anything and everything and that I could fall asleep.

I will admit that it's hard to fall asleep so I got some Melatonin that is good for sleep and that although it takes a while to fall asleep now, waking up clear headed is a better feeling.  Thank you Shawn for your letter to me.  Yes, I believe it was for me, because it hit me hard and made me really think about it.

Again, thank you Shawn.  Big hugs from Robin.

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Kudos for opening up and sharing your story. Hollywood is such a judgmental industry, yet temptation, and "pushers" and enablers are everywhere. I applaud your bravery. 

Thank you for stepping up

and being able to speak from your heart. My prayers are with you during your recovery. Addiction is a terrible thing and I've seen it first hand from my friends. Best of luck and again my prayers are with you to stay clean and stay alive. Your life is valuable. 

For some people it means taking it one day at a time, for others, one hour at a time, and a few, one minute at a time. Congratulations on your sobriety enjoy every second! Each one counts and each one matters.

I am currently undergoing treatment for painkiller addiction (which has gone on over ten years) and I thank you for your honesty.

Mr. Shawn thank you for your honesty. You never know who needs to hear our stories, just know it touched someone. I have learned to thank God for waking me up each morning cuz not everyone did today, then I ask myself am I going to be held hostage by my ego, or an I going to be a host to Gods Grace and mercy? By asking those two questions closes the loophole of justification we are so good at. The guys sponsor do the same. I or we never have to drink or shoot dope again if we surrender every part of our lives daily, help someone else, attend the rooms on a regular basis, go thru some suggestions and traditions (12 of them) with a person who's done the same thing and be honest to yourself and others. Coming from a molestation, abuse background in church and at home I never thought I would talk about God. I now freely talk about God who continues to show up and show out! After 40 years of wreckage, I had my last drink and IV drug use on September 28, 2006. I'm a blessed man with no desire to be "that guy" any more. Thank God we don't look like what we've been thru! Good Luck to you Shawn, keep it pushin and stay in the middle.

Louie Smith, Alcoholic/Drug Addict in Dallas, Texas

Love You Shawn

Thank you! I was 32 when I finally got clean and sober. I am now 61 and am anticipating celebrating 29 years on March 1st. Life is awesome and I thank God for twelve step programs and all of the people who helped me to hang on to my life. Keep up the great work one day at a time. It works!

Congrats Shawn,  I am glad you published your letter, and congrats for 5 months clean.  I am in recovery and I recently celebrated 7 years and I used for well over 25 years.  I got clean at 40 and I could never have imagined the life I have today.  Your open letter will help so many people and your compassion for others is awesome.  I felt compelled to write an open letter today on my facebook page.  Check it out if you get a chance.  Rock on Brother!!  

Please hang in there. You have just begun on one of the most wonderful journeys you could ever imagine. You are a very talented actor and I'd like to see just how far you can and will go. Wishing you the BEST. Lou H Atlanta 4-8-84 

On Feb. 6, 2014 I will complete my one yr. of sobriety. I could not had done it without the help of AA. I tried on my own to quit, only to end up drunk and wasted again and again.  Anytime I here of someone dyeing because of alcohol or drugs.. I understand what they were going through, but I also wish they would had made it through the doors of a 12 step program.  I am grateful for AA and my sponsor and the blue book. . I will pray for you and for all those still suffering.  i remember the first meeting I went to. Somebody said  "you can get lock up, covered up, or sobered up."  I think about that all the time when I think about having a drink.  the 1st. Step. does not say.. you have to admit that you are an alcoholic or and addict. The first step says. We addmitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our ives have become unmanagable.  One day at a time.  

COURAGEOUS!!!  I have just over 100 days of sobriety myself.  Keep up the good work.  You and others like are you setting a good example for others and may never know who you will reach for the positive!!

You are a beautiful soul. Keep your head up & let the past be where it is. Thank you for sharing & best wishes <3

I applaud Shawn for sharing his story! A week from today, I will be seven years sober. When you overcome your addiction, your life gets so much better. You always have to fight the urge to relapse, but over time, it becomes more of "want to fight" rather than "have to fight". Shawn, I hope you have many happy years ahead of you.

May you be blessed with the strength and courage to continue your path toward health happiness and wellness. 

We in Recovery know it is One Day at a Time. I may not be a big name but all who know me have seen a change thanks to 2 and a half years of being sober, Every day is a challenge. Stay strong. Good Luck brother.


Thank you for your powerful witness to the disease so many of us share. Only by coming out of the shadows are we given the great gift of helping others, and your writing will do just that. Perhaps it will save a life tonight, tomorrow, or at some point in the future. Perhaps it will save your own. We in the recovery community are grateful for you honesty, integrity and strength. Know you and all of us are in my prayers. Every blessing.

Talking and sharing will garner you even more love and support young man. Bravo. You are well on your way.

You're only as dark as the secrets you keep.  Thank you for being so brave to speak out.

Thank you for such courage....the loneliness only leads to  darkness..a darkness that words  can not describe.  Right now somewhere in the world a mother sits at her son or daughter's bedside as they die as a result of an overdose.  I have no words to make it better....I am tired of witnessing such a scene...the .all I can wish is peace and love to the families left behind...and if you are using....stop and consider the effects of what you do.   There is always someone who loves you.

I too have suffered the battle with addiction and although many in AA feel strongly we must remain anonymous, I have always felt that rigorous honestly was a better path for me.  I did embarrasing things when actively using but I am not embarrased to admit what I have been through and am working to fix. My hope too is that someone in pain who battle with addiction will hear the words and join us in sobriety.

On January 24th I celebrated 3 years of being clean and sober and my life continues to improve and through the program, I am treating the issues that drove me to drugs and alcohol to escape the feelings I have had all my life.

I commend you on your five months and for having the strength to share.

Bill C

Positive Strokes for Your Willingness to help others & in turn, Yourself!  Keep Up The Good Work One Day At A Time.  Saying "Please" every Morning ... & "Thank You" each Night ... is a Powerful Tool ... as Is Reaching Out, Giving a Call, Talking to Others With Experience Whenever, Wherever You need to find Them.  Repeating The Serenity Prayer, Watching My "H.A.L.T." & Keeping Coming Back, It Works, If I Work It have also been a help ... Along with some Regular Reading.  I also was very young when I began this whole New Journey of Living & Last Friday Celebrated 33 years Living In Sobriety Happily, Healthfully, Positively, Constructively, Sanely & Humbly with the Constant Help of A Loving Power Greater Than Myself.  Peace & Best Wishes!

I applaud your efforts to overcome your addictions in order to reclaim your life.  It makes me so angry when gifted people with all the wherewithal throw away their lives and their God given talents. Such a tragic waste.

i hope you find peace and strength in your difficult fight and I wish you success and happiness.

Thanks for your brave, sincere words. I have 26 years sober but it is one day at a time, isn't it?

You're very brave to write this letter and admit that you're an addict. Thank you and best wishes on your sobriety and being clean. 

Congrats on your five months, keep it up, you're worth it. Clean sober and serene for over six years, I'm a miracle, thanks for your honesty I'm sure it will inspire many.

Thank you so much for sharing such a painful and personal part of your life. You were terrific in Desperate Housewives and I miss you. I hope some casting agent gets you a job so you'll have something to distract you from alcohol and other drugs AND so I can see you again.

Beautiful helps to get them out! I hope to be where you are at some point soon! Never give up :)

Well done wanting to help others, you have helped yourself in ways you may never realize....sobriety requires caring friends, and you have just made many more friends who will support you when you need it

First, we need to support Shawn cus he needs this now.
Winnipeg feels this too Philip Seymour Hoffman's death mourned in Winnipeg - and having lost a few in the local movie industry recently, this adds to our awareness of life's fragility and the importance of mental health and personal efforts to overcome demons. Shawn is trying to overcome his - hugs.

Thanks for your bravery Shawn and good luck with your sober future.

Wow! That took courage .... AND ..... compassion!!! Two thumbs up!! Stay the course Shawn, I'm here to say it's all worth it. This past August I celebrated 30 years without drugs or alcohol and don't miss it one tiny bit!!

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