Celebrity Deaths from drug and alcohol abuse in the news

The recent deaths of Celebrity’s that have been publicly dissected by the world’s media shocked and rocked the nation. The question was asked, that why with all the money at their disposal and huge world-wide success did the likes of Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse die.

The Coroners verdict of Whitney Houston’s recent death returned that the 48 year old US singer died of accidental drowning, but that test results showed she was a chronic Cocaine user and suffered atherosclerotic heart disease. Whitney tragically died alone in her hotel room on the 11th February this year possibly due to her addiction. The toxicology report showed that Whitney also had quantities of an anti-anxiety drug, Marijuana, a muscle relaxant and antihistamine present in her blood stream, although these were deemed not to be contributing factors to the singer’s untimely death. Likewise the passing of Amy Winehouse at her home on the 23rd of July last year was equally sad, especially given that the 5 times Grammy award winner in 2008, was only 27 and had a very bright future ahead of her, having seemingly beaten her battle against drug addiction. Yet the inquest found that her blood contained more than 5 times the legal drink drive limit of alcohol, and that these levels of alcohol were considered lethal. A verdict of misadventure was returned.

Both Whitney and Amy had previously attended rehab, and there was much media coverage and speculation around their own individual battles with drugs and alcohol. Their deaths saddened me, but unfortunately didn’t shock me, given the grave nature of alcoholism and addiction. Despite their family’s unwavering support and healthy bank balances and undeniable talent, they both fell victim to the illness of addiction. This to me just confirms that the illness of addiction can affect anyone and that no amount of money can buy sobriety.

Of course I cannot comment on individual lifestyles or attempts at recovery, but my own experience showed me that in order to obtain and maintain sobriety, I had to achieve the following, first and foremost I had to arrive at a point where I wanted sobriety more than anything else, even if that meant completely changing my lifestyle, relationships, friends, jobs in order to maintain it. I had to be sick of being sick. Secondly, something had to replace the space in me that the drugs and alcohol took, something more meaning full and deeper, that enriched my life and whole being. Thirdly I had to undergo a radical change in my thinking and attitude towards life, myself and others. Ask anyone with a happy and healthy recovery and their experience will probably be similar to mine. All I know is that recovery is possible, even for the most hopeless of cases and that today I’m extremely gratefully to be alive and happy and free of my addictions.


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