DJ: A friend's encounter with Robin Williams provided hope in the midst of depression

It is astounding to hear, via first-person account, how quickly and totally Robin Williams' world crumbled beneath him.

Last August, a friend of mine needed to address an alcohol issue and enlisted the help of a highly regarded and very high-end treatment center in a San Francisco suburb. My friend, who will remain nameless, is, like Williams, a gifted overachiever. A natural-born leader with personality and energy to spare. But with a major chink in the armor.

What follows is an unexpurgated note sent to friends and family from the sequestered and very discreet facility. It is chilling to read, considering the events of the last 72 hours. My friend starts off by extending gratitude for encouragement and understanding and requested prayers embarking on a harrowing life quest. And then things got interesting. This is the message as I and others received it:

Subject: Quick Report from Day 2

Date: August 7, 2013 at 7:45:00 PM

On a lighter and more inspiring note. 26 hrs into my time here, 3pm group session guest lecturer is introduced. Well, really, just casually walks in. It's....hold on...(the) Robin Williams. No kidding! He lives in the area (Marin). He was unbelievably down-to-earth, honest, candid, authentic, approachable, and genuinely interested to know your personal story (mine included). He talked really candidly about his twisty, ugly self-sabotaging alcohol-fueled path - and his 7 years of sobriety and working his recovery program. He infused his story with unfiltered sordid details along with clever wit, sarcasm, self-deprecation, compassion and caring. Absolutely amazing, and inexplicably inspiring. Again, I feel sure I am in the right place.

With love .......

My friend fortunately had more success in rehab than Mr. Williams and was understandably stunned when I called with news of his demise. To think he could descend to such depthless despair one calendar year after providing unbridled hope to others likewise afflicted, points up the insidious nature of addiction, especially when compounded by depression. If only he had taken stock of what his words meant to those assembled in Marin County last August, the sad vigil being played out now might not be necessary.

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