Addiction was news once again with the death of the beautiful, talented Whitney Houston. Unfortunately, the world gets a chance to experience the devastating effects of this deadly disease on a frequent basis. (Think Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson.) Each death reminds us that untreated addiction is fatal. It’s easy to see the debilitating impact of a support system that is more invested in enabling the addict than in holding them accountable.
Whitney’s death is poignant because she had made progress in her efforts at personal recovery. She’d left the unhealthy marriage, gotten treatment and brought in a few folks who understood what she was up against with her disease. But, there is no room for negotiating once use and abuse has crossed the line into addiction. Celebrity recovery – just like everyone else’s – is a daily reprieve. It does not allow for creative interpretations of what chemicals are okay to use in recovery and what’s not. A couple of pills of Xanax, or sips of champagne is enough to change the game in a heartbeat. Or end it all together.
Check out Hazelden’s William C. Moyers video interview on the perils of celebrity recovery here.