The death of Whitney Houston has only recently been announced and already speculation abounds that her untimely departure from this world was drug or alcohol related. First and foremost, Mrs. Houston is of course due the respect and closure in life that she deserves. This is true of any person – celebrity or not. But if her life was taken as a result of the disease of addiction and/or alcoholism, it’s important to understand what happened in an effort to help those who still struggle with substance abuse every day.
In the last couple of years a number of prominent singers have perished, all with drugs or alcohol cited as the possible primary cause of or contributing factor in their deaths. This included international superstar Michael Jackson and legendary soulful singer Amy Winehouse. However, while Jackson’s drug use was relatively unknown and Winehouse’s was blatantly exposed to the world, the death of Whitney Houston only brings more questions about her drug use.
With a well-connected, musically-oriented upbringing that included Aretha Franklin as a Godmother and Dionne Warwick as a sister, Houston was bound for stardom. Her music career began in earnest in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and it wasn’t long before Houston’s powerhouse voice had made her a household name around the world. Her sensational vocals and wholesome image propelled her to superstardom throughout most of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
But in the early 2000’s, things began to change for Houston. According to the Wikipedia entry for the singer;
“Though Houston was seen as a “good girl” with a perfect image in the ’80s and early ’90s, by the late ’90s, her behavior changed. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, and canceling concerts and talk-show appearances. With the missed performances and weight loss, rumors about Houston using drugs with her husband circulated. On January 11, 2000, airport security guards discovered marijuana in both Houston’s and husband Bobby Brown’s luggage at a Hawaii airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive. Charges were later dropped against them, but rumors of drug usage between the couple would continue to surface.” (1)
During the next decade, Houston became one of the most decorated singers in history, setting world records and signing some of the biggest recording and movie contracts ever offered to any star. However, reports of drug and alcohol problems were issued frequently during this time, until media sources reported that less than one year ago in May of 2011, Whitney Houston was again admitted to a drug rehab center;
“Singer Whitney Houston is back in rehab. Her spokeswoman Kristen Foster said in a statement to ABCNews.com, “I can confirm that Whitney Houston is currently in an outpatient rehab program for drug and alcohol treatment. Whitney voluntarily entered the program to support her long-standing recovery process.” (2)
The star would be dead a mere 9 months later amid reports of poor performances, cancelled concerts and media accounts that Houston reeked of booze and would behave erratically. And while it’s still uncertain at this time what the exact cause of her death was, it’s difficult for many people to imagine that drugs or alcohol were not involved in some way. But whatever the case may be, Whitney Houston’s sudden death is a reminder that recovery is a lifelong process – it is a process that must be worked every day in order to be effective.
If you or someone you love is in danger of heading down a similar path, you can get help confidentially simply by picking up the phone. After all, one of the major lessons to be learned here is that if addiction can happen to a person as powerful and talented as Houston, then it can happen to anyone. We can only hope that the death of Whitney Houston will prompt others – perhaps even you – to take action and save their own life. You can start right now – just call us 24/7/365. We are ALWAYS here for you.
(1) Wikipedia Whitney Houston
(2) Fisher, Luchina Marikar, Sheila Whitney Houston Returns to Rehab ABC News