Whitney Houston’s Life and Death: What Should We Learn?

| February 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

whitney houston's death


Author: Sylvia Burley

As more details come out about Whitney Houston’s death, and it appears that she may have died from a prescription drug cocktail mix, my heart grows even heavier because I know the pain of having loved an addict.  I am haunted by her death even as I celebrate her life.

Some people want to whitewash Whitney’s death and are saying we only need to remember the good about Whitney, but to do that would be wrong and a true disservice to her life.  Although it is important to remain respectful, we need to remember and discuss ALL of her life… the good, the bad, and the ugly… which should serve as a cautionary tale, especially to young people and those in the entertainment industry.

We need to be honest and say, like so many others, no matter how much we hoped and prayed, rehab was not successful for Whitney.  She had not truly changed her associations and habits which MUST happen for a successful healing.  From looking at her recent photos, it’s obvious she was bloated, probably from drinking to the extreme, as a substitute for using something harder.  If it is true she was taking prescription drugs including Xanax , what doctor in his right mind would have prescribed it to her?  Prescription drugs are too easily accessible, easy to become dependent on, and extremely hard to kick, which is why thousands of people die each year from prescription drug use. (see video below for more on this)

Television shows like Intervention and Dr. Phil help many now to better understand the dysfunction of enabling and co-dependency as it relates to the disease of addiction.  When you love someone, it is so easy to blur the lines between helping and enabling.  Her apparent penchant for unhealthy relationships was apparent in her on again, off again relationship with Ray J who is, in my opinion, an opportunist willing to sell his own soul for his 15 minutes of fame.  Did Whitney only surround herself with people who may have aided her in her addiction?   Today on Yolonda Adams’ radio show, actress/director Kim Fields, a one- time good friend of Whitney’s, said that Whitney had distanced herself from those who may have had a more positive influence on her, including CeCe Winans and her own mother, Cissy Houston.  Whitney knew she had many “saints” (her own words) praying for her, but it appeared she gravitated towards those who may not have had her best interest at heart.

People are also yet again attempting to demonize Bobby, but in the wise words of a friend, Whitney getting with Bobby Brown only showed who she really was….a “down home” black woman who liked a  real and down to earth brother.  Whitney struck me as being very headstrong, and I don’t believe Bobby could have gotten her to do anything she didn’t want to do.  They had a classic co-dependent relationship…volatile and destructive.  Whitney’s not being willing or able to live up to the ideal image many had of her could have very well contributed to her need to self-medicate.

Bobby Brown & Bobbi Kristina

Now we have to wonder how Bobbi Kristina will fare.  Coming from two parents with addictive personalities, it is highly likely she has one too.  Add to that her having grown up in the limelight and no word of her attempting to find her own place in this world (is she in school, learning a craft, or what?), she is a prime candidate to be a lost and lonely young woman and already has the prerequisite toy dog in a purse to prove it!  If they had only let Cissy Houston raise Bobbi Kristina, she might have a fighting chance.  One can only hope that,  above all, she learns the lessons apparent in her mother’s mistakes, to not just survive but to thrive.  Otherwise, the sins of the parents might be revisited on their child.

In the coming days and weeks as we await the autopsy reports, there will be much speculation as to the “how” and “why”.  Let us not forget the “who” as well, including the many that are still here and, famous or not, need rehab and not jail, tough love and not enabling, empathy and not condemnation, and above all honesty (or “real talk” if you like) because denial only serves to prolong and make even the worst outcome inevitable.

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About the Author ()

Sylvia Burley is a Freelance Writer and Integrated Marketing & Communications Consultant. She writes on various topics including marketing, politics, entertainment, current events, and living green. A native Detroiter, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and loves singing, foreign movies and rollercoasters. She currently resides in Atlanta because she doesn't like the cold.

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