We learn from Whitney Houston's drug addiction, not her voice


"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it".

This simple quote by Philosopher George Santayana, represents the most fundamental truth regarding the progress we -as individuals, as a Country, and as a Planet- make. Essentially:  learn from the mistakes and successes of the past, and act and/or adjust accordingly.

After all, another somewhat smart individual once defined insanity as,  “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

So if we hold the aforementioned as inarguable fact, then how, then why, must we collectively hit the “mute button” when it comes to discussing the mistakes of the deceased?

Why is it only acceptable to learn from an autopsy of the body-and not also an autopsy of the character…of the life lived?

Why must we remember Whitney Houston for only her voice, and not also her vice?

Whitney Houston was an unparalleled talent-the likes of which makes the phrase “forgive the hyperbole” unnecessary. Her voice was beyond moving, her appearance beyond striking, and yet for all of her extra-ordinary features, she had a certain charm which made her seem relatable, from a distance-approachable.

However, if that was all we remembered, if we were to simply celebrate the “good”, as many have suggested we do , if we were to simply “white out” and forget the “bad”…what exactly would that accomplish? What would we learn?

How many people will have learned to sing.. just like Whitney Houston?

How many people will have learned to become famous…to be beautiful…to be a celebrity…just like Whitney Houston?

To cherry pick the desirable details of Whitney Houston’s life, is to rob it of possibly it’s most enduring and applicable lesson, it is to say: “Don’t learn from the past….just revise it”.

Whitney Houston was a drug addict.

Whitney Houston was an alcoholic.

Whitney Houston was unable to avoid self-destructive behavior and unhealthy relationships.

No talent, no song, erases those unpleasant truths.

Addiction does not discriminate, it doesn't care where you live, or what color your skin is, or what your College Degree is in.....

Or what kind of voice you have.

It ignores those "minor" details, it supersedes the 'desirables"...

It kills.

Ultimately, Whitney Houston was both a remarkably talented and a fatally flawed human being, whose life sadly but instructively speaks more to the power of drugs and alcohol, then to the power of voice and music.

To put a muzzle on such an important lesson, is not to let Whitney Houston Rest in Peace, but rather to let her die in vain.

Be Good Friends,



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  • I couldn't agree more with you. While the people who knew her must be truly grieving, I'm getting a little fed up with the "facts" that are being glossed over. Yes, she had a magnificent voice, and yes it's sad that she fell, and fell, and fell. But perhaps if we talk a little more about the fall, one person might be saved from it in the future.
    As we've seen with Amy Winehouse and too many others, there is only so much the human body can deal with. Having two teenagers myself (one who's heavily into music) I won't hesitate to make these points to them and show Whitney as just the latest example.

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    +1 Always appreciate your spot on commentary my friend. Thank you as always.

  • In reply to koolking83:

    Wow, (blushing), thanks.

  • fb_avatar

    Boy, sadly this is so true. Many people only remember her problems not her wonderful voice.

    Learn more about drug addiction

  • In reply to Ned Wicker:

    Ned- thank you for reading and moreover for the link you provided. I don't think...rather I know.. 'addicts' need not necessarily 'turn to the Lord' to beat their addiction(s), but I cannot argue that it certainly seems to help and 'save' many. (including loved ones of mine). Take care.

  • fb_avatar

    You have a valid point. Just like so many other greats that have gone too soon (Billie Holiday, John Belushi, River Phoenix, among others), the sad fact is that Whitney's demons were as much a part of her as her angelic voice. If the stars of today don't learn from the mistakes of those before them, they too will see their stars shine brightly and burn out way too fast. I will miss Whitney's beautiful voice and spirit, but her musical legacy I will have forever.

  • Well said Donna...sadly that list you started could go on for pages. Thanks for your comment friend.

  • We will remember her the way we remember Elvis.

  • In reply to siblingless:

    ...images of women dressed up as Whitney skydiving from a plane over Vegas just flashed through my head.

    On a side note, was Santayana Italian? I know he retired in Rome, but he was born in Spain and considered himself American. I know Hispanic-Americans would claim him dearly.

  • In reply to gwill:

    I owe you $0.01 of the $0.04 I'll make from AdSense today.

  • What we're hearing now are the eulogies. Eulogies typically highlight the good and downplay the rest. Whitney's checkered life is more or less an open book, a cautionary tale for anyone who is not blind to the truth.

  • I like your perspective. Thanks for writing that. My question after watching the Grammys is whether people should revisit the term "hero" as it was used so frequently during the show and during the eulogies to describe Whitney Houston. I guess she can be someone's hero for her successes, but what about the other?

  • Nice, man. Crack is whack. Remember that, kids.

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    Everybody needs to just let Whitney Houston rest in peace. She wasnt the 1st to get on drugs & she wont be the last. But bcuz of who she was, everybody feels entitled to be in her business. Yes she was on drugs ( but she didnt have to admit that bcuz she owes us nothing) Whitney shared her beautiful voice & diva personality and made everyone fall in love. Thats what she should be remembered for... Unless you saw Whitney personally doing any type of drug, back the hell up!!!!!!!!!!

  • Fortunately for us Whitney admitted her drug use on television. I sincerely hope her intention was to help others not make the same mistakes. She called herself her own personal demon. That took courage and to deny it is not a way to honor her memory. Her voice was her blessing. Her vice was real. May she rest in peace.

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