February 13, 2012

No lesson, just loss, in Whitney Houston’s death

Whitney-Houston11Posted Feb. 2012
Whitney Houston’s death Saturday in a Los Angeles hotel room at age 48 sent an all-too-familiar shock wave through the music and recovery communities. Just months after the loss of Amy Winehouse, Houston’s death serves as the latest reminder that the disease of addiction does not discriminate between the famous and those who buy their albums.
 
When it comes to addiction, we are all just another drink or drug away from ending up just like Houston. And so the recovery blogs and comments online and in meetings return to the familiar refrain: that this life cut short will serve as a reminder not to pick up today.
 
As fellow addicts, our heart goes out to Houston and those whose lives she touched. Whitney was more than a 80s pop-star and fodder for gossip. She was a person, an addict who lived her struggle in the public eye. The facts of her death have not yet been made clear. Reports say mixing alcohol and prescription medications contributed to her death, but nothing is known for sure.
 
What we know is that Houston has had a long and very public battle with alcohol and drugs, that she attended rehab last year and that her behavior and performances in recent weeks and months reportedly were erratic. We addicts, while supporting each other, can also be as prone to gossip and judgement as anyone.
 
“It’s so easy to speculate and blame,” said Pat Olsen on MalibuBeachRecoveryBlog.com. “As one commentator said, let’s leave her be now. Let the family mourn. As I’ve said before about anyone who becomes addicted, there are friends and family members who love the person. She was a mother, a daughter, a goddaughter, a friend, and so much more.”
 
Watching the Grammy Awards last night, I was blown away by Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of one of Houston’s classic songs. It was the only fitting tribute. I was also impressed to learn about the organization MusiCares, the Grammy Awards’ foundation and charitable arm.
 
According the foundation’s website, the organization provides services to people in need within the music industry and focuses the resources of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. Addiction in the music world is one of those issues.
 
The MusiCares MAP Fund provides financial and supportive assistance for music people in need of addiction recovery services. MusiCares also partners with In The Rooms, a free online global recovery community and social network to create the MusiCares In The Rooms website.
 
“As many musicians struggle with addiction or are in recovery, MusiCares In The Rooms is a safe and secure place for people in the music industry to share their recovery and experiences, while providing strength and hope,” says a statement on the MusiCares website.
 
If you know of someone in the music industry who is struggling with an addiction issue, contact MusiCares, at 800-687-4227.
 

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