February 15th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Opinion: Terrie Williams: We need to stop masking our pain

Editor's Note: Terrie M. Williams is the author of "Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting" and the co-founder of The Stay Strong Foundation. You can follow her on Twitter @terriewilliams.

By Terrie M. Williams, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Another one of our greats has fallen. It was only a week ago that I was moved to put pen to paper about the suicide of Don Cornelius. Now it’s Whitney Houston. This was a slow suicide, but a suicide nonetheless. We won’t know for weeks whether it was accidental, on purpose or even related to drugs at all.  But it almost doesn't matter, because most of us saw this coming.

Sure, we hoped, prayed, and thought she was going to make it through – that the years of drug and alcohol abuse, the destructive marriage, the waning career, and an increasingly impaired voice weren’t going to break our beloved soul princess. We just knew that our unbelievably gifted church girl from Jersey with the noble music pedigree was going to be alright. She was our gift to the global stage. Our Barbra Streisand. We wanted so desperately to believe her when she said in the 2009 Oprah interview that God, her family, a couple of stints in rehab, and divorcing Bobby had helped her make it through the fire and on to the other side. But in May of last year, after a world tour that garnered poor performances and vicious reviews, she voluntarily entered an outpatient program for drug and alcohol treatment. We knew then that everything was not well.

Now we want someone to blame – the enabling entourage, the music industry, the tabloids, and, indeed, Whitney herself. Why would someone with so many riches – model good looks, a voice from the heavens that made her millions, a beautiful daughter, and a loving family throw it all away just to get high? Was her constitution that weak? Why couldn’t she just snap out it? We’d seen so many other talented entertainers, like Samuel L. Jackson and Mary J. Blige, battle their demons and, seemingly, win.

I asked psychotherapist friend, Mary Pender Greene, her thoughts on Whitney’s inability to overcome her struggles even though she clearly had a strong faith in God, a loving family, and, in fact, she did seek treatment. She said, “It is clear in the end that she could not, had not repaired her damaged self, reconciled her feelings toward her failed relationship, confronted her dependency issues, or accepted that her voice had suffered. It also appears that being involved in an unhealthy relationship helped to cause her to lose her sense of self, her personal power and her footing, all of which helped to further weaken her self-esteem.”

As one who has been there and is still there, I second that emotion. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important one we will ever have. If it is strong, it can help buffer you from the outside influences and the kind of pressure that caused Whitney to fall. Personal pain obviously caused Whitney to be her own worst enemy. I strongly believe that a consistent relationship with a therapist would have allowed her to have a different ending.

At some point all of us may encounter that one thing, person or event that breaks us into separate pieces; and the life we built or least portrayed can’t keep going without the other part being self-medicated. That self-medication can come in the form of drugs (illegal or prescription) or alcohol. It can be engaging in inappropriate relationships, risky sexual behavior, overeating, gambling, working, and violence. These are all symptoms, that, yes, need to be treated, but don’t get at the heart of the problem – undiagnosed and untreated depression. It is the devil that gets a hold of your soul and your spirit and proceeds to wreak havoc on you, the victim. And those of us whose loved ones are going through this are often at a loss about what to do either because we don’t know, want to respect that person’s privacy, or because we are eating off of that person’s wellness and look the other way. Yes, a strong belief in God can save you. But for some of us, God can only save a piece and we need to do more than pray.

In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, long-time friend Robyn Crawford commented that “[Whitney] shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that's what made her tired.”

And so, Whitney continued to wear the mask - that façade of wellness under extreme pressure that allowed her to keep giving to the world, but not enough to herself. It caused her journey to end much too soon. It has left a daughter without her mother, a mother without her child, and the world without an amazing talent. I would argue that it didn’t have to be and I can’t help but wonder: who is next? How many more have to fall before we begin to really address our own pain and our collective communities’ pain in healthy ways?

I treasure my weekly talk therapy sessions-they are my lifeline. It is an opportunity for me to speak my pain, my struggles, my gains and losses with a professional who is trained to hear what my family and friends and can’t. I have learned to let the tears flow, to slow down, to seek professional help and to look for healthy ways to put my pieces back together – through exercise, proper nutrition, planned downtime– and by surrounding myself with people not afraid to pull my coattails when they see something is wrong.

Noted author Asha Bandele, recently and profoundly said, “But even as we know, too often we don't ask why. We don't pull that person close; settle in for long night's journey back into day. It doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to suffer by ourselves and we don't have to sit by feeling helpless perhaps, whispering... wondering but never really walking into full engagement with that person who we so love and would be devastated to lose.”

I leave you with one of my favorite verses from the famed Paul Lawrence Dunbar poem, We Wear the Mask. It is the last verse and it is cautionary.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask.

Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Terrie M. Williams.

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • Health • Race • What we think
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. MarcV

    Overall this article makes great points. However, there is no need to "claim" Whitney Houston for one group of Americans. Like me, I would hope all Americans, black and white, can enjoy and appreciate the talents of Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, and others.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ...really?

    i absolutely despise people like Terrie Williams

    February 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jake

    Although I am profoundly saddened by the loss of this great talent, I am a bit perpelexed by this article. Many people with much less to lose have overcome drug addiction and mental illness. Whitney had one of the greatest natural talents ever known and, to boot, was an absolutely beautiful woman. At some point, she made choices not to honor these unprecedented gifts and to do a disservice to her position as a role model. There has to be some accountability for this. I don't think it helps to beatify successful people who throw away the advantages they have been given, even in spite of the very tragic outcome.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • KnowinSamoan

      Well said.

      February 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ConcordantMind

    No. We need to start caring about other peoples pain. I can unmask my pain all day long and not ONE of you people would give a damn. Then you will all whine about how you didnt see it coming.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      OMG that would be called "compassion". something that appears to be missing from the keyboard commandos on here. But of course you and I know if they were in a similar situation, they'd be crying their eyes out for someone to help them.

      February 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cindy

    Millions of people everyday go through life taking their medications exactly as prescribed by their doctors. They do not get into any trouble. They help people maintain a normal life. These celebraties will always be able to get what they want and take these drugs for whatever reason they want. This young woman was in a self destructive mood and was living her life as "Whatever will be, will be" carefree mood. This young woman has only herself to blame for her death. If she had not taken these drugs, she would have taken street drugs. When you burn the candle at both ends you have a short life.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. therapist

    A person can get anti-depressants, and there are MANY to choose from. Getting high on drugs feels way better then just not being depressed. She was not willing to live a stable life and use positive coping skills. I see it every day and this need for drama costs tax payers billions. Refusing to grow up is a personality disorder- they stay emotional two year olds.
    As for the decriminalize drugs proponents- yes, I like that idea. Unfortunately, people decompensate on drugs, fat, alcohol, and break down their body and mind. Guess who ends up paying for this? The tax payers.
    . Humans are messy, miserable, and impulsive. We have NEVER had more medical support then now- people will always make poor choices.
    Ninety percent of the “mental health” issues I see are from personality disorders who refuse to become responsible adults. You work every day paying/enabling most people in mental health services to act like babies.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConcordantMind

      Laughable oversimplification of the hell that is life.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blondie

      Your clients are being ripped off.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. commenter1

    Nobody should be surprised.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |

    Whitney Houston was not "masking pain". She was a CRACK HEAD who liked feeling high more than her daughter, her family, her career, her talent, her fame, her fans and her life. Quit trying to idolize someone who did nothing more than sing and then make a mockery out of the gift of life.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConcordantMind

      Oversimplification of what you do not understand.....

      February 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • TEXASONE

        The more simple the truth, the less people want to accept it. At some point, even in those with a genetic predisposition, addiction is a choice. Plain and simple.

        February 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mitt







    Everybody go to this site:





    February 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 4commonsensenow

    Don't idiolize or envy, just admire and adore her voice and message about in the faith in God.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. maxine

    open letter to Whitney, Heather Locklear Demi Moore....Ladies, most people wish they were you and had your lives. You have/had daughters you are supposed to be examples to.
    Grow up, be happy with what you have, say no to drugs/alcohol.
    It's a shame i even had to put this out there. You have/had it all. Be grateful for everything.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Carl

    Enough! Certainly she led a life that ended in tragedy, but let's not begin rewriting history to claim that Whitney too was simply a victim. Come on people, it's time to start accepting responsibility for the lifestyles we lead. For every Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson there are dozens of celebrities who had the moral character to overcome the "stresses" of a life of fame and luxury. It's not the media's fault. It's not the fans' fault. It's not the paparazzi's fault – it's Whitney's fault that she led the life she led. Let's stop trying to change the world to adapt to the needs of the few and instead build the moral character in individuals so that they make better choices, and can better live with the consequences of those choices. It all boils down to personal responsibility. Some have it, and some will never accept it, provided they can get someone else to shoulder their burden.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      Sounds to me Carl that you don't have an understanding of the disease of addiction. It isn't something that can be turned off that easily. An addiction is just that, an unsurmountable craving for something. Their bodies require it to get them through the day . Some are able to stand up to it, some are not. It doesn't mean they are weak if they are unable to. Some do not have the outside support that is needed to conquer their demons. But they are not any less of a person. They are very hurting, unhappy human beings that need our compassion and understanding.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    I'd like to see if this holier-than-thou blogger would still be saying "don't mask our pain" if she had fibromyalgia, cancer, migraines, crohns or any other disease. What a dimwit..because a junkie celebrity kills herself lets all overreact to compensate.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • So moved

      You missed the point–She DID have a disease: The disease of depression.
      That is clearly stated in the article. It's also a disease that most people are told not to talk about or acknowledge, because it is a mental disease. I also have chronic migraines, but found that the disease of deression, was far more debilitating.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • So moved

      You missed the point–She DID have a disease: The disease of depression.
      That is clearly stated in the article. It's also a disease that most people are told not to talk about or acknowledge, because it is a mental disease. I also have chronic migraines, but found that the disease of depression, was far more debilitating.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LivingWithFibromyalgia4TenYears

      The first thing that caught me with this article was the word "black." Do you think white, red, pink and blue do not endure this pain, depression and confusion? I am so against people who label comments on other articles as a "black thing" or a "white folk problem"....so why would you lump this into an issue for black people??? I BET you would flip if you read an article labeled "White in America." I am totally equal rights, color is just the difference in the shade of your skin, but please....if you don't want to be treated different....don't ask to be!!

      February 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • ObviousBias

        There is very subtle, but very real racism in this blog. "Our Barbra Streisand." Are you kidding me? And you want to end racism? Who did Barbara Streisand "belong" to? The whites? The Jews? You simply cannot ask for equality and the breaking of barriers while at the same time clearly and overtly creating racial distinctions that serve your sentiment. Unbeleivably ignorant and racist.

        February 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mrdifficult

    We need to stop giving two squirts about hyper-priveleged losers.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |

      TOTALLY AGREE! 100%

      February 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. So moved

    This article moved me to tears–it touched the core of what so many of us are going through. I am watching a loved one suffer through addictions rght now, when I know at the core of his behavior is the deep, soul-eroding, self-esteem, destroying depression that the author speaks of so knowingly and eloquently.
    Unfortunately, in our culture, depression is seen as a greater weakness than all of the various addictive behaviors we use to mask it. It is time to change this, and allow our love, and concern to reach into that darkest place with out judgement. Depression, is an illness–and it can be healed.
    It's almost impossible to heal an illness if their is a collective judgement of it as shameful and weak.
    My heart breaks for all the fallen–because of their burden and our unwillingness to see beyond the masks, with compassion. We focus on the Whitney's and the Michaels, because their artistry moved our collective souls and became part of us–This doesn't mean that the other losses aren't as profound or important. Thank you for the bravery in writing this article. PS I suffered silently with a debilitating depression for years, behind a big smile, and trying to help others. A major loss in my life, shattered the final pieces and I could no longer pretend. I told my family one night, around the kitchen table, that I was scared and that I couldn't go on any longer. I said I thought I needed to go to the hospital. They were loving and supportive–and relieved. I checked myself in, and spent the next 6 weeks in intensive treatment (3 inpatient, 3 outpatient). The devil I had come to believe was part of myself was eradicated. The destructive thoughts and feelings I harbored towards myself and had come to believe in as "real" lifted, and I learned to separate them as the *voice of depression*.
    It's been 2 years. The only mask I keep, is the one I made in art therapy on the psychiatric ward.
    It was frightening to admit to a mental health issue at the time–but it saved my life.
    A life I no longer devalue–I hope we can all learn to stop judging behaviors i.e masks, and with courage and compassion help our loved ones heal what is at the core.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      Blessings to you! To put into words the suffering you have endured and live to tell. You are inspirational. Thank you!

      February 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • juju

      The sentiments of this opinion piece are spot-on.
      However, speaking as someone fully employed in a "good" paying job with health insurance, it's often difficult to 1) resolve depression and/or other mental health issues in the paltry 5 or 6 covered weekly sessions most insurance companies give you, and 2) after using up those sessions, continue your therapy regularly, paying upwards of $75-150/session per week or every other week) to continue important personal work that, most of the time, cannot be resolved in 5 sessions.

      The point is, the healthcare industry needs to recognize the importance of covering mental health care in a more realistic way that makes it more affordable – and effective – to the public. But of course, this idea of affordability applies to all areas of health insurance coverage nowadays, so I'm sure the wait for changes in mental health coverage issues will be very long.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jlsr

      You have eloquently expressed how we as a culture need to address these diseases that are so intertwined. I lost my father to addiction – a very talented man who gave and gave, but never to himself. The fact that society (as displayed by so many of these comments) views these diseases as "weaknesses" or "less than" only perpetuates the problems of those suffering from the debilitation of depression/low self worth and the addictions to mask that pain. I do commend you for your bravery and your willingness to get well. I hope that you continue to have the inner strength to continue on your path to wellness and that your loved one battling addiction does the same.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Janet

    She lost her voice through drug use, yes. But she also smoked like a chimney. That raspiness she developed was the raspiness of a smoker.
    I'd like to get some insight as to the relationship she had with her father. I know he managed her career for awhile and is gone now as well. You hear little about him. Sometimes downwardly spiralling women have unresolved Daddy issues.
    I'm no psychologist. I'd just like to know about the other man in her life, her Dad.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • LivingWithFibromyalgia4TenYears

      Google....they had a very negative relationship. I believe no contact until a year or less before he died.

      February 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Just a Nurse

    "Whitney continued to wear the mask – that façade of wellness under extreme pressure that allowed her to keep giving to the world, but not enough to herself"

    When was the last time you saw Whitney look "well"? She wasn't portraying any sense of "wellness", she had just fallen out of the proverbial spotlight and folks stopped caring about her. Now that she's made the headlines again, masses will rush to her defense & cannonize her. Stop it. 6 months ago you didn't care. Don't pretend now.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • indira

      could not agree with you more

      February 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  18. blake

    Violence, alcohol, drugs destroys lives and causes pain. Stop promoting them in movies and music. Stop looking the other way when they enter your community. Stop allowing your children to gravitate toward them.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • juju

      Sorry blake, but our infamous War on Drugs in this country proves we're losing. You can't and never will get rid of intoxicating substances. If a person or a child wants them, they'll find someone willing to provide them. Period. That's reality, like it or not.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Bill

    I agree with the article but for people who are famous their pain is much worse because every failure and loss becomes public. Then, the public reads about your divorce etc. and your are seen as a loser. On top of this no one wants to see you age. Booze/pills numbs the pain and periodic use becomes chronic without you really fully realizing how dependent you are. When you stop using drugs you do not know how to deal with the emotional pain because you now have no experience dealing with loss and failure. I think this is why some move stars move out of Hollywood. They want to escape the constant
    stardom and live a sane life.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |

      This famous people have all the money to buy a good therapist etc. so, no sympathy here.
      If they do not like to be the public eyes then, change professions.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • juju

        Since you completely missed the point here, I will break it down: people, famous or not, think depression is a sign of weakness so they are reluctant (that means, "scared") to make their pain known to others or even admit it to themselves. In other words, WE ALL - famous or not - need more education and awareness of the underlying mental health issues that often CAUSE addiction. The fact that W. Houston was rich and famous had nothing to do with this article. The end.

        February 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |

        Stop complaining about how hard it is to be rich and famous, if you do not like it , go do somethng else, nobody is forcing you to stay ( maybe your big ego is preventing from leaving) , yes, we humans suffer the same but the rich and famous thing they are above us , so crack heads, burn in hell.

        February 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Bookldy209

    No need to label it black or white or anything in between. It's "human" pain and a reality. As someone with three decades of sobriety, let's please understand addiction as a disease but also acknowledge personal responsibility and one of the few disease in which the individual can choose to manage. Even after all these years, I have to understand that I am an addict and cannot let all the crap of the world and other human beings push me to even have one little drink or a pill just to ease the pain or pressure. It's about choosing life.

    February 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Billy

    Crazy Baptists and their deadly vices...

    February 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  22. tcp

    OUR Barbra Streisand? What does that even mean?

    February 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1 2 Many

      The real problem is the "Our" part of that statement. As long as people continue to think in terms of "us" & "them", there will never be a "we" and no chance for an improvement in race relations.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. lindyhop

    I agree with those who write SHE alone is responsible NOT Bobby Brown or anyone else. If her relationship was so toxic she should have gotten out of it a lot sooner. I suspect like her addiction to Alcohol & drugs she was addicted to Bobby. SHe was a very self-absorbed person. I saw her in concert once and was struck by how arrogant she was it overshadowed any appreciation for her music.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • HPNIII

      I am not an addict but of those I have observed, it is when things are going the best that they are the most vulnerable as they think they can handle it. At first a little of this and a little of that and they think they can handle it as so many average people do. But they are not average, whether it be physical or psychological, or likely some of both they just can't stop doing more,then more, then totally in the gutter and time to start all over again.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • HPNIII

      I kinda got that impression too. As long as someone was writing the words to come out her mouth or she was in acting mode, like for an interview, she was this dear sweet person. But let her go off on Bobby Brown outside the courthouse and the real person did not at all match up with the characters she has portrayed in the movies.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mark

        Agreed. The author tries to desperately paint her as some angelic, small town church girl, but her behaviors in many incidents showed a very different side. Does that make Whitney bad? Of course not; but she doesn't walk on water – but for the judgmental here, neither do any of us. She made mistakes, yes its possible those mistakes may have even led to her death – isnt that steep enough a price?

        February 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tr1Xen


    February 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  25. BeenInTheThickOFIT

    Denial! Americans are far too willing to accept the unhealthy choices and diseases? that the unfortunate, and the super-fortunate make for themselves (disproportionately to the main-stream population in the US).
    Reality! IS that those personalities Are Unbelievably difficult to live with harmoniously – incredibly Destructive to Relationships (we only hurt the one that love us, etc.), selfishly destructive to themselves – proudly!
    The TRUTH IS only known in the closest circles of 'Addicts & Alcoholics' lives (where it is Most Difficult to Accept- "There's always Hope?), Avoided – pushed under the Needed Recognition and Intervention which require too much devotion from those who would Help! OR is it the Rejection and Destruction of Trust & Love? that restrain reversing the self-destructive paths 'thrill seekers' & 'addicts' choose. Pick your Karma.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealityChecker

      Jared? Jared Loughner? Is that you? Your rambling jiberish seems awfully familiar.....
      Did you um, used to live in Arizona?

      February 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. 1 2 Many

    I don't know the person being written about, and I am sorry she went through so much pain. What stuck out to me, however, was the writer's statment that God can only "save" a piece of you. Anyone with any knowledge of the Bible knows this is as INCORRECT as it gets. God saves all of you or none of you; there is no piece-rate with God. And, if as the writer says this person had a strong relationship with God, then she has been saved and everyone should celebrate her new eternal existence with the creator. Where she is at, there is no pain or tears, just joy!

    February 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • wilcu

      There is no GOD.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • 1 2 Many

        It's perfectly OK with me if you want to live your life believeing that. Just please don't get upset with those who do believe.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate Dogg

      That's the god you imagine. Apparently the writer imagines her version of god differently.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • 1 2 Many

        I don't try to determine what is in other peoples minds because then you are playing God. I only try to live and let live.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nate Dogg

        So the way you live and let live is by saying someone is INCORRECT? Brilliant!

        February 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • 1 2 Many

        No, I also apologize when I have accidentally made someone else upset. Please accept my apology and God bless.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |

      in this world. I always wondered why ther is so much misery , suffering and poverty , it there is really God. Why some people have all the money in the world and some don't . Maybe God is selective and likes to punish people.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |

        So , God is love they say, well, he can prove me and the rest of the people who are in pain that God also care for us and not just for the few.

        February 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • juju

      I dont' believe in a Christian god either, but if I did I would be smart enough to realize that 1) he/she/it is not Santa Claus, or a magician when it comes to addiction and mental health issues, and 2) he/she/it put brains in our heads and people in our lives that can help us fix the other pieces that he/she/it cannot magically fix.
      The childish simplicity of Christians could be the downfall of American life and I'm sick of it. Yes, dinosaurs existed. Get over it. No magicians created the world in 7 days. Facts disprove it without out a doubt.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  27. jj

    Well said.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  28. peekandseek

    Wow! This article really touched my heart. It was so inspiring. Sisters, we must love ourselves more....Not only ourselves, but our sister friends. We are so hard on each other. Lets make a promise to love more, to listen more, to appreciate more. We must be there for each other. I mean be there for each other. If something is not right, help make it right. Whitney, was in so much pain. IMHO, "she was still in love with Bobby". And she never really gotten over him. Rest in peace my sister. I will always love you.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • blackperson3

      this "sister" you refer too, is a nasty crack smoking dirty hole! get your facts straight you dumba$$

      February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • hellonews

      "The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important one we will ever have"...this is the essence of the problem and the route of selfishness...this propaganda continues to be spread by secular psychology and now the Church...we are created beings and we will never solve our problems by"looking inside ourselves" or "loving ourselves more"...human beings have absolutely no problem loving themselves...drug addicts love themselves plenty...they do whatever they want whenever they want...self love is not the problem...fearing God (and the consequences of sin) and loving others (like their families and those that depend on them) is the issue ....fyi I had an uncle that OD'd on cocaine

      February 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  29. The Logical Truth

    CNN, why do you keep blocking my comments anytime I mention "Christians" on this opinion piece? reinadelaz expressed exactly what I wanted to say and you let his/her comment go thru

    February 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      well you let that one go thru. Was it the combination of Christian and Hypocrites?

      February 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Logical Truth

        Ok, that was approved as well. I really dont get your message board rules. CNN, you should post some simple rules and not the legal jargon of your terms and service agreement

        February 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando

      Hans Christian Andersen
      fartlek workout
      milk jugs
      Hows's your aspen?
      To what do I owe this pleasure? To what?
      Below me..............................is the valley.
      Mice teats

      Just testing if they have contextual or phonetic screening capability. Thank you for your patience.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Logical Truth

        Lol. Good experiment. So it looks like the screening capabilities are not contextual. I think it differs though if one of your previous comments has been flagged

        February 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm....

      OK...do you do this often? 🙂

      February 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Ken

    Fame and wealth are hard on an already fragile yet large ego.
    We love and admire these people to death.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • blackperson3

      it depends on how people manage 'wealth and fame'. houston did ok at first, but once she became associated with bobby brown, it was nothing but downhill from there! bobby brown is the devil!

      February 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  31. reinadelaz

    It really bothers me when those who claim to be people of faith in the Christian God talk (or write) in sanctimony about anyone else, famous or not. If you believe in the God of the Holy Bible, then you ought to believe what it says. GOD is the giver and taker of every breath we breathe. None of us can possibly know where Whitney Houston (or any other than ourselves) was in her walk with God. He may have given her the last breath she took as an act of His love and mercy for her. She may well have died in deep and agonizing prayer, who knows? Maybe she was begging God for there to be no coke at the party she was said to be getting ready to attend, and God may have said to her, "Okay, Baby, there is gonna be coke there, but you can come up here and sing with the rest of the angels now." When was the last time any of you got up out of your pew or out from in front of your TV preachers and went to somebody to ask how you could help make this life better for them? I have to say, I sure haven't been asked in recent memory. So let's get off our high horses and remember that we ALL fall short of the glory of God. Let us practice humility in our faith. God bless you all and send the comfort of the Holy Spirit to all who mourn the loss of loved ones.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      Great comment, it needed to be said. I was trying to post a similar comment but CNN wont approve it for some reason

      February 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |

      I God really exist why there is much pain in this world. I always wondered why ther is so much misery , suffering and poverty , it there is really God. Why some people have all the money in the world and some don't . Maybe God is selective and likes to punish people very much.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  32. jrksun


    February 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Sissy

    My high school health class taught me that street drugs are made by greedy people. These people don't care about the harm they cause. I have since learned that legal drug companies are greedy, too. Why else would they sell drugs with serious side effects? I agree that absent fathers cause horrible pain. I always wondered why mine didn't love me. He didn't ever read me a bedtime story. He never tucked me into bed. He never came to my school programs. He never took me to the park.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEM

      All drugs have "side effects" of one sort or another. Even Aspirin can damage the digestive system and ibuprofen can cause nerve damage.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      Hi Sissy. I am sorry your father wasn there for you. Dont let that define you though. I am glad you found out that legal drugs can be just and sometimes even more dangerous than illicit drugs. The #1 addiciton in America right now is legal opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and Oxycontin

      February 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • HPNIII

      Don't leave out our upstanding medical community who doctor to pharmacists, prescribes these drugs with full knowledge they are being misused. And you can't tell me in todays world of computers that a national prescription drug database can't be established to keep people from doctor shopping.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  34. masking the pain? HAHAHA

    who cares about houston dying? i dont she was a drug addict and got what she deserved...so what she had a good voice...but its not like it amounted to much because it enabled her to get all the drugs she could take. masking the pain? nah im jumping for joy. 1 less junkie in the world. 1 more spot for someone who can do something with their lives and not waste away on drugs. im suprised she didnt die sooner.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      We all have our own faults and demons. Are you so perfect that you have never done anything wrong, never hurt anyones feelings, never made a mistake in your life? True drug addiction is a disease rooted in physical parts of the brain and neurochemicals like dopamine and seratonin. Yes, it is a choice to pick-up a drug the 1st time. Some people get addicted and some dont. The people who get addicted and and ruin so many things in their lives are predisposed to addiction. It rasises their dopamine and seratonin levels in the brain, then when they dont have the drug, their levels drop to way below average and they feel very depressed and crappy until they get the durg to raise the levels back up. That is the science of addiction. Like cancer, some people beat it and live while others dont and die.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceMan

      @HAHAHA Maybe you could list all of your great achievements – so far. I'm sure there are many more to come.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm....

      Ahhhh...a game of hide and seek I see.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Bill Wilson

    Whitney Houston was an alcoholic, a real alcoholic and, as such, she was not someone who could recover from attendance at rehabs or ongoing therapy sessions. Whitney had the chance to recover through Alcoholics Anonymous, a way of living that has helped millions of active alcoholics recover from alcoholism, and she would have been exposed to AA through her attendance at rehabs (most rehabs acknowledge that they can't guarantee recovery from alcoholism through attending their programs alone and usually strongly suggest membership in ), but she never wished to embrace that program. Those of us who have recovered from alcoholism, which is a promise of the AA program, know that our recovery depends on embracing this 12-step program which includes helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Wilson

      Whitney Houston was an alcoholic, a real alcoholic and, as such, she was not someone who could recover from attendance at rehabs or ongoing therapy sessions. Whitney had the chance to recover through Alcoholics Anonymous, a way of living that has helped millions of active alcoholics recover from alcoholism, and she would have been exposed to AA through her attendance at rehabs (most rehabs acknowledge that they can't guarantee recovery from alcoholism through attending their programs alone and usually strongly suggest membership in AA ), but she never wished to embrace that program. Those of us who have recovered from alcoholism, which is a promise of the AA program, know that our recovery depends on embracing this 12-step program which includes helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BluedHawK

      Nice advertisement for AA. AA believes you can never *be* straight, sane,that no matter how hard you try, how long you've been clean, you are MORE likely TO relapse.This is such a sad self-defeating mindset.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • BluedHawK

        Even worse, they believe YOUR sobriety depends on *other* people to stay straight. This is the opposite of CBT, where *you* take responsibility of your own thoughts, emotions, and actions. Anything else is a cop out.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Quit trying to protect people from themselves

    If someone has the addiction and the money, they will always find a way to get the drugs they need. They only blame should fall on Whitney. A certain percentage of humans will always be prone to addiction, stop trying to make laws that will fix it, they don't work. If you want something that works offer free rehabilition to anyone who wants its reguardless of ability to pay. Stay out of my life and I'll stay out of yours unless you ask for help.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeenInTheThickOFIT


      February 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Sam

    Celebrities do drugs because they WANT TO. Drugs are cool, they are a status symbol, they are the modern-day apple, and they make you feel good. "I make too much money to do crack, we don't do that". That my friend is profound. Whitney wanted people to see her life like a video – diamonds, champaign, playboys, rehab.....it all generates publicity. She was an attention junky. I saw her on 12/20/11 at Hartsfield and it must have killed her that not 1 person in baggage claim recognized her or called her name. Her death is a consequence of the bad choices she made.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  38. cdeu_220

    Amazing articl – straight, no chaser. Probably some of the most truth-filled words written on this......"Yes, a strong belief in God can save you. But for some of us, God can only save a piece and we need to do more than pray." Thank you, Ms. Williams

    February 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Primitivethoughts

      " straight, no chaser " is appropriate for your comment. An alcohol-lingo statement of approval of a writer who is essentially providing excuses for addictive behaviour. Reminds me of the "crack is whack" interview.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • cdeu_220

        If you read the article and 'understood' it, the writer made key points all related to how Whitney had real issues that were never really dealt with by Whitney herself.....no excuses being made or supported.

        February 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Primitivethoughts

    This author has in the past propounded the pain and strain of being Black (see her book on the subject – which she could have written I'm sure regarding any race for any audience she was trying to snag); and has to top it off now with essentially bewailing the pain and strain of fame. Oh, please. Is there nothing that is not fair game as an excuse for complaining and even... as this opinion piece suggests... deadly drug use? As I said, Oh, PLEASE!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  40. blackperson3

    you can take the **gg** out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the **gg**

    February 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  41. edmundburkeson

    Too many accidents is no accident!! This was no accident! And if there is no pain it is because drug users make us numb to tragedies like this!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  42. tbrnotb

    Maybe we should start worrying about the "pain" of everyday people instead of those incredibly blessed with talent who can't handle it and throw it away. Whitney, Michael....what sad endings to your lives. This article is total baloney!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      I believe the author was talking about everyday people. Those in the spotlight are merely pictures with which we are all familiar, to use as examples. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and if you are "supposed" to be the one holding it all together, whether for family, staff, friends, or the public, since it is not alright to show depression, those who suffer must wear a "mask," as the author said, to keep the image going. That just makes things worse. It doesn't have to be a professional, but they are trained to listen, and talking to someone is always preferable, to begin with, to taking any kind of drug for depression.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  43. coder

    too much money in masking pain – the lobbyists will never allow the politicians to change the pharmacy business

    doctors and drug makers would loose billions of dollars – money they worship....

    February 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc L from NY

      Are you serious? You are blaming the politicians, drug companies, and capitalism for a person's dependence on drugs? I guess the millions of people that these drugs help mean nothing because of the few who are weak?

      February 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • email

        we should all be blaming politicians for dependency on drugs. you go to a doctor for a prescription because a drug is a drug. and all these drugs given by doctors are processed. marijuana comes from the ground and it can be used for medicinal purposes so why is it illegal? alcohol is a drug. how many times can we prove that alcohol kills every year and let beer still be so easily accessible? how many times has marijuana killed someone? and i'm talking about actually smoking a lot of marijuana and somebody dies, not a drug deal gone bad. how many people in the 60s and 70s smoke marijuana and killed someone because they were violent after smoking? i don't know anybody who smokes marijuana and gets violent. alcohol makes people violent. alcohol kills thousands every year from drunk driving. how many dwi charges are made against people driving under the influence of marijuana in comparison to DUI charges for alcohol. wake up people. pharmaceuticals, politicians, and insurance run this country.

        February 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jupiter

        i agree with email. also, cocaine and pure heroin are natural products as is mescaline. these are the things we should be using!

        February 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ib42

      The pharma gods dispense poison with the blessing of the powers that be. For every Whitney, there a thousands of unknowns who suffer and die from the evil psyche drugs prescribed by monster psychiatrists, and/or handed out by MDs as samples.
      Psychiatry is a profession that pays extremely well, and a large part of that remuneration comes from the criminals who manufacture these drugs.
      Sick people, suffering humans who go to these very bad people for help just pay, and pay and finally pay with their sanity and their lives.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • ib42

        I must add that in severe, even extreme cases, some of these anti psychotic drugs do benefit the suffering. But for 'normal' depression, anxiety and stress, it should be illegal to hand out brain damaging substances like clonazepam, to name just one. Read Stevey Nick's story on the eight years of her life that were destroyed by the drug named.

        February 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • KED

        Somewhere in our esteemed history, we, as an American society, have lost our sense of individual accountability and moved to a desire to shift blame, shift accountability to someone else, or something else. When a tragedy happens, there's an immediate clamoring for WHY or HOW or WHO did this. There's a difference in searching for an explanation for why something happen so you can learn from it and hope to avoid it in the future and searching for an explanation only to allocate blame and responsibility or achieve financial remuneration. There's no more learning going on.
        ib42, you know very little of what your speaking of. Psychiatrists, physicians in general, receive no reimbursement from pharmaceutical companies (as long as they're not directly involved in the research or development of that product). Physicians make no money from writing a prescription or placing an individual on drug x, y, or z. Clearly Stevie Nicks is not responsible for her own addiction problems. Neither is Whitney. Neither Michael. Yes there are enabling physicians. But to shift the blame to the physician or the drug company is far more enabling because it overlooks the INDIVIDUAL most accountable for the problem – the USER.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Rick

    Disgusting article.. exactly who is "OURs" that you refer in your article? ? ? ? ? ? ? Everyone has pain... and not EVERYONE gets absorbed in the drug culture. This was her weakness... not some self absorbed feeling of pain for being black.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      If you have to ask who is "Ours" then she wasn't talking to you.

      February 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Jimbo

    People use drugs and booze for lots of reasons and lots of them have nothing to do with masking pain. Not everyone that uses drugs and booze are addicts either. Just becuase you smoke a joint here and there, dropped acid or ate mushrooms for the experience, or took multiple whiskey shots when your old college budy visited you does not mean you are trying to mask pain or you have addiction problems. Some people have addiction problems and drink for many reasons, but many people use substances that don't have any problems.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  46. bspurloc

    bobby brown is to blame that everyone knows why dont u?

    February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikemiler33

      It is Lebron James fault, just like everything else.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Not Flex

        Actually, like everything else, it is Obama's fault!

        Darn Liberals!

        February 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Rob

    The 2009 Oprah interview will air tonight at 9 PM in OWN. When I watched it back in 09, I knew this girl was not serious in her recovery. Not serious. . . because she was still drinking alcohol. There is no recovering if you are drinking. I was addicted to prescription drugs, and the first thing I was taught was I could not do any mind altering drugs and that included alcohol, because I could transfer the addiction. What this lady was doing was "controlling" her addiction, and one cannot do that for long. She knew she was not clean during that interview and so did Oprah. If you don't get educated in addiction, there is no god, or faith or family that will save you!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Steve

    What a bunch of gushing, overly obvious, drivel. I knew after the first couple of sentence I was wasting my time. Tell us something we don't know. Something new and enlightening or say nothing at all.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Pilgrim1

    Give Me A BREAK!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  50. JS

    'Greats"? Houston was a drug-addled loser.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |

      If a regular person dies even you own family people do not react the same, why? because in this country people care more for the rich and famous than for their own family. That’s a tragedy...Whitney was an addicted singer, she is gone lets move on. Take care of the ones, who are close to you, they need your prayers.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ib42

      A bit extreme! Yes, under all that 'stardom' she was an unhappy person who couldn't handle reality, and used legal medicines, illegal drugs and alcohol to help her get through ti all. Just like many other great talents. Elvis and Michael spring to mind.
      BUT...she was a phenomenal singer and a very beautiful woman. Her life is over, too soon. A little less crudity would be a nice sign of your own human frailty.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  51. The Beagle

    Ms. Williams' was refreshingly honest when she says that even Whitney's "strong faith in God" was not enough. As the closing verse stated, there are a lot of folks out there who are in pain but are faking happiness. They sing ever louder about their faith and smile ever broader, hoping that faith will make them well. What a tragic misdirection of effort.

    Believe in an all-loving, all-powerful Friend in High Places if you must, but don't count on him to do as much for you as even a decent friend here on Earth would.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad Umland

      There is a big difference between general faith in "God" and actually having a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. Those with an active personal relationship find God to be more than enough through thick or thin. Whitney's lifestyle tends to suggest that her relationship with God became inactive long ago, when the fame and riches caused her to rely less on faith and more on self-satisfaction. She turned to drugs and alcohol before she turned to her faith, despite the occasional lip service to the contrary.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Judie from NC

        So true, Brad. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Nothing can take its place as we have an empty hole in our heart that cannot be filled by ANYTHING ELSE.

        February 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ib42

      An honest, well thought out response.Thanks.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  52. jj

    This may be tragic...but if I gotta hear that freakin song one more time!!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  53. daveil

    Maybe we need people to stop masking and facilitating substance abuse by public figures to "protect" their public image.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  54. More2it

    Beautifully written article.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  55. ZorakLives

    Compared to people who lived any time before the 20th century, we all live in an Edenic paradise devoid of unpleasantness. Even our most back-breaking jobs are cake walks compared to the dismal labors of earlier generations. Ironically, the fact that we have the luxury to whine about how unhappy we are as a society is indicative of the fact that we have little or nothing to whine about.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Me

    In the end, one can only receive help eradicating their demons only if they want that help. Did Whitney want that help? She may have taken that answer with her to her grave.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  57. RLA

    GOOD ARTICLE AND THE QUESTION THAT I AND A LOT OF WHITES ASK IS WHY THIS HAPPENS TO ANYONE OF ANY COLOR??? I think we all need to stop living in the past really reconcile with family, friend, political foes. I find no one to hate??? I find it curious so many do!
    I particurally wonder at the leaders who support steryeotyping for their own power and hurt the ones they are suppose to serve, Get some backbone America-ANY - DRUGS and the bane of any society, but we have the hollywood wlites being glamorized by the faux media while Dr Phip prospers??? Get some backbone America== SAY what is right and wrong and if you can't tell the difference than you are lost to the PC world.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |

      This is not a race issue, addiction you find everywhere,Terrie Williams, millions of people wear that façade of wellness be at work, at home and in front of others because in this society of us, it is expected that we act and look happy, if not, then, we became a burden to society.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Romanoff

    I hesitated with reading this at first. What with all the Whitney should have , could have or would have opinions that are being written about Ms Houston. This was one of the best blogs I have ever read about a celebrity passing. It would be a perfect eulogy for her upcoming service. I have never heard of Ms Williams before but will certainly be reading more of her in the future.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Liza

    Ms. Terrie Williams, this is a fantastic article. You are right, that we choose to mask pain in destructive ways. Besides Whitney's personal demons, I think people just thought Whitney cold belt out "I Will Always Love You" over and over and over without effort. I'm not so sure that's true. Can you imagine having to perform that song with the great expectation that Whitney would just do it again, knock 'em dead with that voice? I think so much was taken out of her by having to give us that voice each and every time. I cannot imagine the pain Whitney went through when soon, her voice began to fail not only us–but herself. What an amazing talent. She said she wanted to meet Jesus, so perhaps now she has and she is in a good place.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Mom in MA

    I think it's interesting that we have thousands, probably millions who are addicted to drugs and booze in this country and yet we view many of them as simply druggies, losers, pariahs, and when one dies there is never much sympathy ... but when it's a famous person who is an addict, someone who had the money , resources, and opportunities that most of us will never have it's suddenly a tragedy. Where were all these adoring fans when Whitney was the running skit on Mad TV and Saturday night live... all sweaty and strung out, yelling out 'Bobby, Bobby' and 'crack is whack'?? ...where were they when she was drunk on stage getting booed and forgetting words to her songs... or screaming and acting crazy at the Prince concert and was thrown out. Suddenly now Whitney who hasn't done much of anything for years is a lost American treasure? Yes she had a good voice in the early years but other than that she's done nothing that should elevate her to American treasure status.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ilene Bilenky

      I work in addiction and psychiatric services. People are not necessarily using and abusing substances to mask pain, or mask pain that "other" people don't have. They are vulnerable to becoming addicted genetically, and then starting to use lights the fire. People do addiction because that's what they do. Any drunk will tell you this- one needn't understand or have one "reason," and then be able to stop. Addiction leads to jail, insanity and death, for rich and poor alike. Rich people have more resources for treatment, but they also have much more access to getting their substances and being enabled to continue. I am sorry to lose any talented person's work to premature death, and sorrier for any person's family/loved ones when someone dies from drugs and alcohol. (And of course, we know they needn't be currently physically addicted to something to use and abuse and die). RIP, all those who have left.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      I agree with " Mom in MA." When I see clips of the Bobby Brown show with Whitney, I see that she was not the polished woman we maybe saw in the early years. She was an angry, mean, arrogant woman. And people are mourning the loss of her voice, but she lost her voice years ago due to her drug abuse. Why are many obsessed with a woman who was not a role model, not someone I hope anyone would aspire to be. She whittled away millions on drugs, and the country is taking the approach of "poor Whitney."

      February 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Let's Put This in Perspective

    Okay, I am sorry that Whitney is dead...that IS a tragedy.

    However, do we give the same consideration and attention to fallen soldier, or fallen police officer/firemen? Hardly...they are lucky if they are given a footnote in the local paper beyond a 5 second blurb.

    Let's focus on the true heroes of society

    February 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bambam

      What a typical hypocritical thing to say. I hear it all the time. Until we, as a society, stop elevating singers, movie actors and athletes to be gods, we'll never have the proper perspective when it comes to the real heroes and contributors in this world.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Let's Put This in Perspective

        That's what I am saying. Where is all the coverage for the police officers that were killed in the line of duty protecting someone.

        Or that soldier dying to protect someone's rights?

        We give more coverage to sports stars, celebrities, etc, than the real heroes of the world

        February 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |

      So many heroes die every day but the media such as CNN gives coverage day and night to drug addicted celebrities just because they are rich and famous, that's show how sick this society is.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  62. The Logical Truth

    CNN, can you please post my comments and stop denying my freedom of speech. I didnt say anything offensive

    February 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hypocrisy Hunter

      Illogical Falsehood, First of all, no one is denying your right to freedom of speach. You can SAY anything you want. CNN has no obligation to give you a platform on which to say it.

      Second of all, YOU are not the judge of whether your comments are offensive. No one ever thinks their OWN comments are offensive.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Logical Truth

        There are much more offensive comments on this message board. If CNN keeps blocking my comment they should at least tell me why?

        February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      learn to not write NO NO words correctly, if u dont see your post post it is because u used a NO NO word aka....
      MO RON cant be spelled correctly or it gets secretly flagged.... best bet COPY what u typed when it doesnt post, paste it back in and find the TRIGGER word..... you cant type K ILL either.... TY.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  63. The Logical Truth

    CNN, why arent my comments posting? Is there a word limit?

    February 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Janet

    You hear little about Whitney's father.
    Who was he? Was he a presence in her life? What role did he play, if any?
    Interesting that so little is said about him. Fathers can be critical to a young woman's self-esteem. I didn't know her and surely can't psychoanalyze her, but I'd love to know what kind of relationship she had with him, if any.
    This lovely, talented woman was so damaged.

    February 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  65. max

    is it only a tragedy because it happened to someone famous?

    everybody has a crutch. some people do drugs. some do religion. some abuse someone else. some abuse themselves. etc. i dont consider her special because she could sing. if anything i consider performers less valuable to most of us than the person that watches our kids or fixes our car or collects the trash from the cans.....

    February 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      You don't consider her special because she could sing? Well, I do! Her voice will never be replaced. R.I.P., beautiful Whitney.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NobodysGuru

      I agree with you Max and it certainly isn't a black thing either. Everybody, regardless of race, color or creed goes through pain in their life in one way or another. Why do people like this author try to make it about race and their suffering? Love everybody and try to help if you can and become colorblind in your daily life and things will get easier.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Liza

        I'm not black, but I do agree that black culture approaches their battles and issues in which to deal differently in many cases–especially when it comes to things like addiction and abusive relationships. A lot of light was shed on this when I took a couple courses in African-American studies. The black church: very different compared to the white church, etc., etc. And this is what makes us all different and interesting–hence the word "culture."

        February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • jkrizan

      While I don't agree with religion being seen merely as a "crutch", I do find myself agreeing with the rest of max's comment. Untold numbers of everyday people suffer with similar addiction issues. We are all equally valuable in God's eyes and should be worthy of our deepest compassion and concern. Also, while therapist can and do play vital roles in helping people overcome issues, I don't think they should be a constant source on infinitum as the author (Terrie Williams)seems to imply. By all means use their services, but with an eye towards ultimate victory over whatever issue there is. Perhaps a little of that "crutch" called religion would be helpful!

      February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  66. yicel

    I wish we did not have to hear so many of the negative things in Whitney's life. People we need to understand that she does have a family and all of these comments that her family is hearing and her daughter are doing them so much damage. I lost my dad when I was 13 and the one comment that never leaves my head was "you guys will be better off now, now that he is dead". That comment haunted me for many years and I thank God that I had a mother that was able to hold me down and be there for me. Because there was many times that bad thoughts did go thru my head. We all have someone in our family that has issues but now when someone has passed is not the time to hear such disregard to a human life. Yes she was a celebrity but she was someones Daughter someones Mom . Lets stop being so careless with our comments and the damage that they make. Lets give this Family time to greive and heal this is not an easy thing to do. And the media should be more responsible with letting anyone that has an ignorant comment to go on TV and voice it.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |

      Let’s face it, the true is that this woman was a drug addict and made fools of herself in public, more likely her daughter Bobby was very aware of that. By pretend otherwise.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Jeff

    A performer is under the microscope and it can lead to the breaking point. Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson are examples of the greats that were lost along with Whitney to addiction. Very uplifting blog. I hope we can all learn from this.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  68. Dwayne

    The family cycles that begin when men leave the home will not stop until we realize that the belief-system set into the depth of our psyches have struggle to survive the departure of males in the lives of young women. Fathers who leave or are kicked out are never quite replaced. And the modelling of relations with men is often that after what we saw as kids. When we realize that healthy relationships breed healthy relationships, we will realize the negative effect on our children is by our hand and that Whitney's inability to believe she deserved better stemmed from her inability to deal with her father's departure nor to have a father figure take up that empty space. Mothers are wonderful and they try to shower their kids with attention and love when the men are gone. Yet chaos kids are most often created when the men in their young lives was not a stable, present and positive role model. When we as adults begin to understand our responsibilities to our children better, we will make better children who have the self-esteem and believe they deserve the best, because we will have given it to them, not in objects but in kindness.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  69. arpad golgoth

    I have 2 severely arthitic knees and love to hike and play golf. Perocet is the only thing keeping me from being a shutin.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Me as Well

      I have severe pain constantly, but am allergic to almost all pain medications. The FDA removed Darvocet from the market about a year and a half ago and since then my life has slid downhill fast. Most people with a back broken in multiple places would have been given stronger pain medications, but I got by on just Darvocet and remained active. Now I am innactive, and have lost muscle tone. Breathing has become very labored without exercise and chest pains have started, removal of Darvocet is leading to my death! And that was because of some do-gooder group that lobbied the FDA to remove Darvocet. As far as I'm concerned Ms Williams can keep her thoughts to herself, last thing I need is someone else helping me out with what they think is good for the average person.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • basketcase

      Way to completely miss the point of the article. She wasn't talking about physical pain at all.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • spike

        People in pain are loosing access to drugs because idiots overdose. Sorry, but the fact that some people are unable to use drugs sensibly is not a good reason to restrict access to drugs. Doctors are put in jail when their patients overdose while not following the doctor's instructions. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. If not drugs, people will simply drink themselves to death.

        February 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  70. alateos

    Because it might reflect on your physical health.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  71. Mike

    She was a crack head. Not a hero or even close. Just because you obtain fame, it doesn't make you a god. Hence her death.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster

      And you are??? Jesus Christ? Or so you probably believe. I believe you have expressed a lack of respect for all, not just Ms. Houston. Why throw insults around like you do? Not very intelligent.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Silvia

    Thank you Ms. Williams for this beautiful article. Everyday a figth with my own demons and everyday a break in


    February 16, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      should have never got involved with those demons
      that's a pretty simple answer to me
      I didn't, I had tons of problems like the rest of society, yet somehow I made it

      February 16, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  73. Joyce A. Nash

    I appreciate this article and I could not have said it better. I once struggled in my womanhood trying to please everybody and fell into depression and it had me breaking. Thank God and it is true, I was praying, but I had to also want Joyce to live and fight for me and did not care what it cost. People can take from you and when you have spent yourself, sometimes they walk away and find someone else to take from. Now, I am living for me which may include my children, family, love ones and friends, but it starts with me first. Off with the mask and I did not care what anybody thought because you have people, especially women that live everyday masked and hate their life. I am enjoying life. I am enjoying Joyce and breathing much, much better than ever before.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • day2dayca

      Not everybody diagnosed with depression are actually suffering from that serious illness. Many, and maybe most are actually deficient in magnesium. You can do an Internet search on depression and magnesium and see for yourself. You will get almost as many hits as a search for depression and Prozac. It is very sad to see so many people suffering needlessly only to support the drug industry.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joyce A. Nash

        I understood my depression. It was from a deep hurt and wound from childhood and I could not get over it. I never used any kind of medication, but I was tripping and no matter what I did, it came back to the same thing the hurt from the past. Most mental illness or depression that is being called is from internal issues that need to be dealth with. Some of it maybe psychological. There are thousands of women across this nation that needs someone to help, minister or therapy whatever you want to call it, to their womanhood. Being a minister is what I do. But I am a woman, a person and when that is not be helped, healed or directed right, the real me, the inner me will start to crumble and fall. I was at a point that I needed to be reached because I was about to reach for things that I never did or used to do. I had one person that stood with me besides God. I understand where Ms. Houston was at as a woman having a gift and nobody understanding that is what I do, but that is not who I was. I needed somebody to help me and He did.

        February 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • day2dayca

      Why don't you try some magnesium? It won't change your childhood hurt or hurt your faith but it could give you some additional help to continue on your mission in life. The FDA recommends a daily intake of about 400mg of elemental magnesium per day. Most North Americans get less than half that. Some magnesium compounds are more easily absorbed than others so do some homework. Magnesium also helps the heart and blood pressure.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joyce A. Nash

        Thank you and I will look into that. My childhood hurt is in the past. God has granted me the strength to walk through it. I am a living testimony what God can bring you through, if you trust Him. I am living a full life of love and peace. Not angry at any one, holding grudges or even harping on the past. The depression is something I share for women to hear and need to know that they are not alone.

        February 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Tina

    Those of you who dance on the grave of Whitney Houston as a platform to display your hatred to the president need to get lives.

    Or better yet, funerals. The world doesn't need your kind of hate and it will be a better place when you are no longer on it.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      please dont' call yourself a christian woman with an ending statement like that
      guess that's how all crackheads talk

      February 16, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Margie

        There was no mention of being a Christian in the comment. However, the world would be a better place without people like you in it.

        February 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Jorge

    NO BUT HECK NO, give us a way out, a way to escape from the pain of this unnatural, artificial thing that we call society and order, a way to keep slogging on for the company, religion and country, -all of which we have become slaves to- until it kills us, but without pain. That is what our brainwashers in school and our rich leaders in government and the boardrooms want from us, isn't it? Let them stop pretending that they care to see us beyond the draft animals and voting livestock that we are to them, let them admit that their loathing of suicide is because it is the ultimate expression of exasperation with the world they have made for us, the ultimate escape beyond which their hedonism dares not follow. Let us have our respite from our fragile, aching nature, our sores and our hurts, it cannot kill us off more than war and greed.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  76. H H

    There's a fair chance she wasn't taking illegal drugs. Everyone close to her says she had been clean. She WAS taking an antibiotic and a sleep med. Perfectly legal prescriptions. She went to the party, had a drink or two – and the reaction with those meds knocked her out while she was in her bath and she probably drowned. It's a tragic accident that happens more often than you think. People who take allergy meds like Benadryl have used the med so long that they don't even stop to think before they drink a beer – and a couple of hours later, they're dead. It's not stupidity, or poor character.

    Let Whitney rest in peace. Let her family grieve their mother, daughter, cousin and friend. Have some compassion for grief. Death comes to us all, and a society is judged by the dignity with which it regards its dead.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      u r dumb and brainwashed like the rest of your race

      February 16, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  77. rob2tall

    Isn't it time to re-regulate alcohol as a narcotic? Tobacco also? Pot is less dangerous but illegal. Alcohol is a dangerous addictive drug. Why is it legal?

    February 16, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      rob2tall, look up the 18th ammendment and prohibition. In the 1920's and 1930's alcohol was made illegal across the country. Did it get people to stop drinking, NO, everyone just started to drink illegally at speak easies (illegal underground bars), turning a whole nation into criminals. Did it reduc crime, NO, it gave the business of alcohol production and distribution to the mobs and gangs (see Al Capone) who viciously fought and killed each other over their market share. Prohibition doesnt solve the problem, all it does is increase crime and violence.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
      • PatriciaD

        That's the same thing that is happening by making marijuana illegal.

        February 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Robert - Atlanta

        I think that was the point – sarcasm is often hard to detect.

        February 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me as Well

      Guess you haven't seen the recomendations today from the WHO. They are about to make alcohol consumption "almost illegal" worldwide. Limits on sales, ads, instant prison for anyone with any trace of alcohol when driving, massive price hikes. I don't drink, but know this is going to lead to more deaths rather than less. More do-gooders taking away decisions from individuals.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  78. gulnaz

    Beautiful article... Sometimes we need to be pointed out the simple truth. Thank you for bringing it to surface. Perhaps we all need to stop at one point from running from ourselves and analyze and try do change. Thank you for eye opening essay.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  79. bails

    thank you for this article. As a mother of a son who struggles with addiction and mental demons everyday, I agree with you wholeheartedly! We have a strong faith in God, but tell our son daily how important his therapy sessions are. And pray like heck all the time!! I will print this up to share with him.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  80. Darlene Buckingham

    Time for open honest discussion in our world. This is the only way we move forward and healing. Masking pain only makes it worse. Our world now is filled with so much deception that all of us are hurting in one way or another even those we think have it all. Another reminder to live an authentic life. PEace to ALL.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  81. Denise

    Very good article, thanks. I too agree with the sentiments expressed by the author having been in a spiral of sorts myself. For me, it was about making a committment to myself, therapy was important. It is really unfortunate that people do not understand depression, really understand depression. Not really a matter of "snap out of it", take a few happy pills and everything is fine, one must get to the root cause. Making a committment to yourself is the most important thing. For those who have left comments criticizing Ms. Houston, there but for the grace of God go you.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  82. sammy zoso

    This should be required reading for all Americans. This is the great silent tragedy of life in America, the great pretense that all is well hidden by addictions, alcoholism, gambling and other pain killers. We need to encourage people who are troubled to seek help and feel no shame in doing so. Beautifully written Miss Williams.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  83. Sally

    I appreciate your writing this article. Very poignant and uplifting. Thank you.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  84. The Logical Truth

    Everyone has their faults and demons, no is perfect. I am tired of people minimizing the disease of addiction and saying Whitney should have just easily stopped self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. It isnt as easy as you think. True drug addiction is a disease rooted in physical parts of the brain and neurochemicals like dopamine and seratonin. Yes, it is a choice to pick-up a drug the 1st time. Some people get addicted and some dont. The people who get addicted and and ruin so many things in their lives are predisposed to addiction. It rasises their dopamine and seratonin levels in the brain, then when they dont have the drug, their levels drop to way below average and they feel very depressed and crappy until they get the durg to raise the levels back up. That is the science of addiction. Like cancer, some people beat it and live while others dont and die.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  85. LB

    Excellent! Thank you so much.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  86. rufus

    I think it is clear that our government has failed us in the case of Whitney. We simply need more government so these things do not happen. Our President has pointed out that he has made governmental websites easier to navigate. Fine, but don't we need MORE governmental websites?

    February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  87. jona

    We need to stop honoring people who kill THEMSELVES. We need to STOP reality TV shows where THEY make money from their own demise. It is POISON for our youth. We need to stop making ANGLES out of stars who fell into the depths of drug abuse YEARS before they killed themselves. We need to stop the PITY and START with the tough love.

    Why is it that black America doesn't understand the simple principle of cause and effect. Why do you continuously praise dopers, killers, degenerates.. are you THAT desperate for positive role models?

    This article was a vain attempt to sugar coat the situation, something that would make the author feel good. Whitney didn't touch any lives in these last ten years. She made money from making an a__ of herself on reality TV and embarrassed herself nearly everywhere she went. Where where you and your articles then? Who stood up publicly and told her she was going to die? No one. Everyone took her failures as a cue for them to get up and blather righteously, as this author does here. Booby Brown? what a perfect P.O.S. and Whitney Chose him.

    I NEVER feel sympathy for filthy rich 'entertainers' who squander their money and lives away. Their contributions to this planet are largely irrelevant and vaporize into thin air as MOST of pop history does. Quickly.

    There are MILLIONS of people in trouble who had far fewer choices and chances than this idiot and they NEVER make the pages or have whimpy articles written about them. Pathetic.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • rufus

      Ha! I tried sarcasm, but I like your approach better - pure, unadulterated reality check. Sadly, most people don't/won't get it. They want to wallow in the "RIP, Whitney, sentimentality."

      February 16, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      My condolences to the people that have to live with someone as selfish and cold hearted as you.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        I second this.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
      • rufus

        Jim, take the binkie out of your mouth and replace your mush with brains. Ever hear of "tough love"? People who face reality are not cold and heartless.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        Where are all of these people while she is destroying herself on Reality TV and at just about every performance she does intoxicated? Nowhere. They come out of the woodwork after she kills herself and write their sanctimonious articles which , at that time, help NO ONE. Are they afraid to shout at her? The condemn her publicly?

        You're all right. I have ZERO sympathy for Whitney. But those of you who CAN read should have read my last line. You're all caught up in your emotions and lacking simple common sense here.

        You can't judge Whitney who you KNOW is destroying herself in public but you think you know everything about me after one post. See a problem there?

        If you want America's children to repeat Whitney's mistakes just keep going about things the way you are. If you don't then it takes touch love and that hurts feelings sometimes. Don't expect everyone to feel the same level of compassion you do when they've been watching the degradation and self destruction of those who have ALL of the means to change their lives. Spread that compassion around to those who do NOT have the means to change their lives and try to improve the world. Something Whitney should have spent more time doing.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        Jim.. they don't need your condolences. I raised three of them and they're popular musicians who don't go near the dope. We're VERY close and they love me as much as I love them. Mostly BECAUSE I did the right things and wasn't lazy and pathetic as a parent. So .. stuff your condolences.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
      • Margie

        I third this.

        February 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sammy zoso

      Apparently empathy is not your strong point.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      Jona, please get off your high horse. This article isnt praising drug addiction or sugar coating the situation, it is doing the opposite in fact. It is making light of the reasons people turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and the sad nature of the disease of addiction. This is an important dialogue we must have. The author is using Whitney's failed battle with addiction as a teaching tool and to encourage others to reach out for help or help others hoing through emotional pain and subsequent drug addiction before its too late. We all have our own demons, some of us defeat them some of us do not. Drug addiction is a particulary nasty one that is rooted in physical parts and chemicals in the brain. Should we not have sympathy for someone who gets cancer because of a poor diet? Should we not have sympathy for people who get seriously injured in sports? It was their fault they ate too much or decided to play that sport, huh?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        If your fictional cancer patient KNEW they were eating the wrong foods and pushing the envelope , inviting cancer.. then no.. no sympathy there. Whitney wasn't tricked into being an abuser, an addict she CHOSE it. It wasn't a joke played on her. She CHOSE it. And of all people, she had the capability to get out of it. Instead, she did a reality TV show. We live in a sick society where articles like this are only written after people die and expectations of sympathy extend into the ridiculous but where are the equivalent public displays of disgust when people waste their lives.. they're nonexistent because we're all too busy watching them destroy themselves.. between commercials.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
      • The Logical Truth

        Jona, I agree with you that these articles come too late and that we live in a sick society where we like to watch people destroy themselves and we promote negative attention as good attention. "Reality TV" has been one of the worst things for society. Whitney did have more resources than most but being famous and having your every move watched and tracked is not easy. Imagine if your whole life was out there for the whole World to see, that is not good for mental health

        February 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • H H

      Doesn't surprise me that someone so cold-hearted and insensitive doesn't even know how to SPELL "angel."

      February 16, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Righteous

        Yes. Those heartless people are terrible spellers. Everyone knows that.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        It's called a typo and this blog has no edit feature. Get over it.. even if it takes the entire day

        February 16, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Blondie

      The article was good. You are being very judgemental. How clean is your slate, darling? IF we don't talk about this stuff-the reality that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is a reality in our society and affects millions and millions of americans, white, black, hispanic, rich, poor, than the problem is never going to shift. So before you cast your stones, do a few things. First, arm yourself with facts. Second, go look in the mirror and ask yourself if you have ever made a mistake.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Righteous

        Speaking for myself, I've made many, many mistakes. I blame myself for them, not society, or wealth, or my parents, or drugs (a decision itself). I've had drug abuse in my family, and just like Whitney, they were a low-life loser. Eventually you write them off for you're own well-being and self-preservation. But Whitney had money. So people cling and make excuses.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        How clean is my slate? Well.. I'm older than Whitney and I am still alive. Having made it through many opportunities to turn my life into the drug addicted hell she was in. But you are mistaken. If you think one has to be a saint to speak their mind then you need to get over yourself! Darling.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • tuttysan

      I agree that we need to care more for the living and show a little tough love for those we care about, when there is still hope. However, I find nothing wrong in mourning someone we barely knew, who touched our lives with her songs, even if decades back. This article is right on. We need to stop masking the pain and start being more humane, not tear each other apart, in person or online.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Hypatia

      Your complete lack of compassion illustrates brilliantly the reasons that people do not discuss anything.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
      • jona

        If your concept of a discussion is hearing only what you want to hear and never having to digest an alternative viewpoint then.. yes.. I would have to agree with you.

        February 16, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • blackperson3

      Well said Jona. your comments speak greater truths than this article!

      February 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zzz

      I totally agree JOna. This country has a serious issue with reality, and I believe that tough love is a much better way to conquer it than constantly baby-ing everyone. Everyone has pain, everyone has suffering, everyone makes mistakes. But when people start using their pain and suffering so they can blame the rest of the world instead of just dealing with it, then they have a problem. When people make mistakes, it's acceptable, because we're all human. But when someone keep making the same mistake over and over and over and over and over again, they're just stupid and beyond help. No one wants to see the reality of it because it's either too hard to handle, too mean, too inconsiderate, etc.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Keith

    This is the best article I've read about Whitney since her death. There have been so many ugly things said about her. Thank you for approaching this with such understanding and compassion. I've had my own struggles with alcohol abuse. I lost two parents to addiction. I don't wish that fate on anyone. Not even those who only want to judge and call names. The addicts I know are the most miserable of people. Again, thank you for such a wonderful and enlightening article. And god bless to Whitney and her family.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  89. Sandra Zerner

    "Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all." Whitney Houston sang this so beautifully, but, sadly, didn't seem to be able to live it. Thank you for an excellent article raising such an important message: we all need to learn to love ourselves, which would lead us to avoid problems with addiction to hide our pain. I believe the Hollywood community is just a mirror for the rest of society; they are just showing us what we need to see in ourselves. I teach kids in my book IT'S GOOD 2B GOOD that by being good to yourself first, you can then be good to others. Same message; different words. Thank you Terrie Williams for opening up this valuable dialogue.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Righteous

      This says it all really.The whole concept of this article and this line of thinking.
      Learning to love yourself is the most selfish love of all. Learning to love others is the greatest.
      Am I the only seeing this 80s me-ism crap for what it is?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  90. PeterD

    Barry is sad and in pain because he lost one of his Million Doller (Crack Head) Baby Campaign Donor.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • rufus

      Don't worry. There are plenty more low-life Hollywood millionaires and billionaires who feel guilty about the money they have made and will donate to the Chosen One and beat the drums for higher taxes on "the rich."

      February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  91. crappyname

    What is the big deal? seriously, the woman hadn't had a song on the radio in how many years. She is famous for singing someone else's song (I will always love you, written by Dolly Parton). This shows how screwed up America is, we worship a junkie that killed herself. So Sad. She chose to take drugs so she paid the price, just like thousands of other junkies that die everyday. We don't mourn them!

    February 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Amazing

      Need I remind you of the worshiping of Elvis Presley that continues to this day!

      February 16, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  92. Birgit

    Such a truthful and needed essay. Thank you. We are responsible for ourselves.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  93. Aja

    This article is wonderful. It's unfortunate that sometimes in life altering crisis that no... we can't summon enough faith to hold it together. Even with her incredible gifts Whitney was only human.
    We all make our mistakes and it's even more punishing if you're in the public eye. None of us are saints, it's just you or I make bad choices and it's not splashed in the tabloids.. Like Al Sharpton said basically let he who is without sin cast the first stone...word

    February 16, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ...Really?

      So, that was Al Sharpton who said that first...?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • jona

      Al Sharpton? LOL!!! He also said "Resist we much" and lots of other stupid things.. Daily.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  94. howard

    why don't we all insist that the Entertainment Industry stop promoting and pushing a culture that encourages substance abuse? not just in the movies but in their real life parties etc.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • jona

      there ya go.. What a hack job. Masking Pain? BS.. she even made money from her fall from grace.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  95. catherine

    Outstanding !

    February 16, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  96. open400

    What concerns me about this the governmnet will create a whole bunch of federal laws that will cause all kinds of frustrations for the average consumer; while the rich and famous will still get their drugs anyhow. Right now in Kansas you cannot get a number of cold remedies without standing in line and explaining why you need the medicine. BTW If we had a single payer health care system, we would know who and how people are drug shopping.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      So we would know if she was buying stolen drugs on the street corner?

      February 16, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  97. Flex

    Yeah...let's open more of the "Pandora Box"......enough of this BS. Pain is part of life, deal with it, learn from it and move on. Now, everyone will come crying to you....are you kidding me, we don't need a prescription for every freaking thing that might go wrong in our lives, this is insane and overboard, its produces more weak people, God all mighty help this hippy generation that does want everything for nothing to snap out of it, and come back to "REALITY".

    February 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert - Atlanta

      You mention Reality and then call on GOD??? You need to get real and stop believing in fairy tales! Help yourself, help your family, friends and anyone who needs help and stop waiting on some god to save you! She’s busy with her own problems.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Flex

      Stomach meds I take prevented a serious bout with esophageal cancer. These meds also prevent persistent acid backwash from a defective stomach valve. They are an ersatz pain killer.

      My heart medicine kept my heart rhythm working correctly until I could have heart surgery. This heart medicine started out to just treat discomfort from rapid heart beat and arrhythmia. It kept me from having a stroke until my surgery.

      Both of these medicines were used to alleviate discomfort, and both saved my life. Without doubt...

      How would have "walk it off and get tough" saved my life?

      I AM a hippie, and I approved this message.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Richard

    Oh please! More eulogizing the death of a drug addict. Is this the sort of role model you 'd want your children and friends to emulate – a self-serving albeit talented doper? Whitney Houston died doing what she loved best – drugs!

    February 16, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      In my observation about Whitney is that she was a very highly social person, and loved to "party" with others. Unfortunately, when people "party", alcohol and drugs enhance the experience. Whitney was a "party girl". It is like dangling a piece of chocolate cake in your face when you are trying to diet. Very few people have the strength to resist that.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Do you not take a pain reliever for a headache? Have you sworn off antibiotics for you and the loved ones in your care? When you are discharged from the hospital, do you say, "Oh, none of those evil pain pills for me?" Just like physical pain, some need medicine for other types of pain. It's when they don't seek help ot the help they do find treats them incorectly that bad things happen. Go be tough someplace else on the internet.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        I wish this had gone under the post of Flex, where I clicked reply. Sorry, Richard. You are wrong for other reasons.

        February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Not Flex

        What you said...

        Life is too short to ignore pain.

        February 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Logical Truth

      Richard, we all have our own faults and demons. Are you so perfect that you have never done anything wrong, never hurt anyones feelings, never made a mistake in your life? True drug addiction is a disease rooted in physical parts of the brain and neurochemicals like dopamine and seratonin. Yes, it is a choice to pick-up a drug the 1st time. Some people get addicted and some dont. The people who get addicted and and ruin so many things in their lives are predisposed to addiction. It rasises their dopamine and seratonin levels in the brain, then when they dont have the drug, their levels drop to way below average and they feel very depressed and crappy until they get the durg to raise the levels back up. That is the science of addiction. Like cancer, some people beat it and live while others dont and die.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  99. Mike Reidy

    God gives everyone of the freedom of choice. The world insinuates Fame and fortune is the path to Love, Joy, Peace and honor and there are some truths to this misconception; initially otherwise who would believe it. What can’t be clearly seen is the bitter reality that waits. The world, the flesh and those fallen angels; the depth of their “Lies” are inconceivable. What was Gods 1st commandment to us?

    February 16, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      Is it similar to Santa Claus's?

      February 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • abaddon

      what god? the same one who doesn't give us anything we can't handle?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      which god? last I checked the Incas and Mayans and all those that fell to the crusades were NOT given a choice... well ok they were it was BELIEVE or DIE.....

      February 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Been there

    I just loved this article.... so uplifting and encouraging. At some point in all of our lives, I believe we all have been to this place Ms. Williams "speaks" of..."all of us may encounter that one thing, person or event that breaks us into separate pieces." However, I believe that If we are receptive enough all it takes is for the the right words at the right time and place to change things in us. The true evilness of the drugs that Whitney took, is that they not only blocked her perception(s) of herself and her life, but equally they blocked her ability to receive similar words of encouragement which would have ultimately transformed her life.

    February 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
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