Houston: A Reminder of the Perils of Addiction

Getty Images

Recounting her own battle with drugs and alcohol, author and minister Barbara A. Reynolds writes in her column at The Root DC that Whitney Houston's story is a cautionary tale about the cost of remaining silent about addictions.

I cried as I watched the spirited homegoing service for America’s diva, Whitney Houston. I cried for daughter Bobbi Kristina. I cried for her mother Cissy Houston. Then I cried for myself.


For many years I was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs, the kind of toxic cocktail that reportedly caused Houston’s untimely death at 48. At her funeral, preachers, musicians and movies stars kept respectfully silent about her drug dependence.

But we can’t afford to remain silent on this issue.

If it were not for divine intervention, I would have met the same fate. Fortunately, since the 1980s, I have been a member of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in the District.

Bishop Alfred Owens preaches deliverance and instituted a faith-based program — CATADA HOUSE — to aid those addicted to drugs and alcohol. After my own deliverance, I now serve as director of the Harriets Anti-Drug ministry there which for 15 years has helped scores of addicts break free.

There remains a terrible stigma to admitting that behind the Sunday-best faces, some of the so-called righteous are struggling with addiction. Silence and shame cloud a disease that impacts more than 22 million people. Overdoses claim a life every 14 minutes. Continued silence, however, cannot protect us from the scandal of how our drug culture with its baggage of pampered entertainers, glitter and self-indulgence is killing us from the top to the bottom, where people die with only a few remembering their names.


Read Barbara A. Reynold's entire column at The Root DC.

Share This Story