When the news came out that Whitney Houston's body had been found (in a bathtub, in a Beverly Hills hotel, the night before the Grammy's), people were shocked. Shocked! Shocked? I was more saddened, I'd say. Shocked implies a moment of disbelief. But, sadly, after spending so much of my life with addicts of all sorts, I tell ya, I believed. Addicts die from addiction, all the time. Not shocking, just very, very sad.
Here's what was shocking to me: That with the sphere of knowledge Western Medicine and Modern Science have at their fingertips, they named the cause of death "Accidental Drowning." How is it possible that in 2012, the Western World can not accurately identify the Disease of Addiction? Sure, the DSM mentions "Alcoholism," and "Substance Abuse Disorders", and we're all very glad they took those diagnoses out of the "Personality Disorders" section a few years back. Way to go.
Whitney's death is about the Disease of Addiction, which kills thousands every year, and which destroys people's lives, their families, scares children, and wreaks havoc through homes and communities. But no one talks about it. The coroner is basically saying she died of Warm Water Asperation. So 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now when they talk about Whitney's death the way I used to talk about and idealize Jim Morisson's death, he died in a bathtub too, by the way. They'll say, "Yep, poor Whitney... Bathtub killed her." And no one will learn about this disease or its treatments. And people will continue to be forced to go to anonymous meetings and sit in crappy chairs, and drink really way too strong coffee, and hope they can find someone like them to talk to, someone who knows about this disease, because no one else talks about the truth of this illness. And maybe if we can learn from this, people like Whitney, people who are suffering from a disease few want to recognize, they can start to heal.Any recovering alcoholic will tell you, and I believe this is true for us all, we are only as sick as our secrets. So, as long as the true cause of death remains hidden by the words "accidental," "heart disease," or "sudden," these people will stay sick. And when they stay sick, sadly, they often die.