We’ve lost another tremendous talent to a horrific disease. Whitney Houston died much too soon. And though the official cause of death may not be listed as “Addiction”, one cannot help but speculate that it will prove to be a contributing factor. This, of course, becomes fodder for the would-be comedians again. As someone posted on facebook today, “Whitney Houston picked a good time to die. This seems like the only was she would get mentioned at the Grammys again.” (sic).
You probably know by now that I won’t join in the chuckles. I won’t laugh, though I can’t imagine that I’ll shed many tears, either. I’ve done enough of that over the years, though to what purpose, I’ll never really know. It’s not as though I have known any of these superstars that have died too young. I have known others that shared the same fate, however.
I don’t think it’s funny when someone dies. Period. I certainly don’t think it amusing when they die of addiction. Of course, there but for the grace of Bob, and all that…so yes, I take it to heart. The only difference between someone like Whitney and someone like me is that I didn’t have millions of people watching every time I stumbled. (Well, income differential might indicate that she had access to better drugs, but that’s neither here nor there) And I did stumble. I fell. I constantly failed to live up to any standards or resolutions that I laid down. Quit? Sure! Absolutely. Hundreds. Of. Times. What did I do to finally succeed? How did I earn the right to keep on living, when those who have so much more to give die one after another? Fuck if I know.
I also don’t know if it will ever be enough. This disease, and yes, it is a disease, so quit your morality-laden willpower bullshitting already, is never cured. I may never use again. I may never drink again. But I will ALWAYS be an addict. And if some future use doesn’t get me, it’s always entirely possible that some past use will rear its head and wipe me out in some other fashion. Don’t believe me? Ask United Health Care. I told them I went to rehab and they said “No, no, no.” As in “Your stint in rehab makes you too much of a risk for us to provide life insurance at this time.” I didn’t bother to ask when might be a better time.
Want to know the truth? Want to know how we know we have truly succeeded at staying sober? We die of something else.