Choice

I am really angry with Whitney Houston.

Wait. Before you get all up-in-arms, let me explain myself. I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I’ve been down that road myself, so I’m not talking out of thin air here. I went into rehab in 1988 and haven’t gone back. I got sober not because I wanted to – because I did not want to, believe me. I got sober because I HAD to. Because I knew that if I wanted a life, there was no other choice. Because those I loved let me know that there was no other choice. And I stay sober for those same reasons. Some days it’s not so easy. Some days I just wish I could have a glass of wine or even go pick up an eighth and get a nice buzz on. But I can’t. Because I put my family ahead of my desires. Because the thought of my children seeing me out of control is completely unacceptable. And because those around me aren’t afraid to say “no, you can’t do that”.

I said all that because I want y’all to understand that I know something about this issue.

So, back to Whitney. Here is a woman to whom so much had been given. A voice that any singer would have cut off a digit to have. Beauty, fame, money, the ability to do practically anything she wanted. She got involved with drugs – pretty early on in her career as I understand it. Actually, my husband used to work security at a local concert venue back in the 80s. He tells me that he remembers when she did a concert there and he and another security guard had to literally hold her up for her first couple of songs because she was too wasted to stand.

I don’t fault her for getting involved with drugs, really. I understand it. I don’t know what her childhood was like or her growing up or any of it. Lots of people make a bad choice and end up getting involved with drugs. I do, however, fault her for not stopping.

Before you get all, “But, Christy, it’s hard!! Getting off drugs is so, so, so hard!”, I know that. Believe me, I know that. However, when your life falls apart so dramatically that people are making fun of you on television and your child has to be the parent, you absolutely have to reevaluate. You HAVE TO. You have a child – you have to get yourself together. Whatever it takes, you have to.

Here’s the thing. Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix…..the list could go on and on. They surrounded themselves with people who didn’t tell them “no”. People who didn’t put their foot down and say, “You are not doing this any more. Either be done with it or we’re done with you”. It could have been the money, the association with someone famous – I don’t know. But you have to have people like that in your life. You have to have people who will hold you accountable. Who won’t let you destroy yourself. Who will make, enforce and carry out consequences for refusing to stop. Who won’t just stand there and make sure you have your drugs, get you whatever you want and pretend like it’s normal.

Officially, I hold Whitney responsible for her choice not to get healthy. Same with all the others I named. But they sure didn’t get help, either.

I don’t know. I’m just disappointed. Every time I hear about someone who let their addiction win, I get so frustrated. It doesn’t have to end this way. It shouldn’t end this way. We should all make the right choice – whatever it takes. Seriously. No matter how hard it is, how insurmountable it feels. Because there really isn’t an option. Our children deserve better. Our families deserve better. And especially each person involved deserves better.

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