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As much as we hate to tackle this sensitive topic only days after the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, its relevance cannot be denied. Quite frankly, the premature death of Whitney Houston this weekend didn’t come as a surprise to some people. Her battles with drug and alcohol treatment, or lack thereof, have been well documented for many years. Although only rumors as to the specific circumstances persist, news of Houston’s death was met with most assuming that it had to be drug and alcohol related. The sad matter is that when an addict or alcoholic is a celebrity with whose well publicized struggles with drug and alcohol dependency make daily media fodder, the automatic assumption was that of yet another in a long line of celebrity drug and alcohol casualties.

Pardon the pun, but when someone famous like Whitney Houston dies, it is a sobering reminder that addiction and alcoholism can be lethal. Although a drug and alcohol treatment program may have helped her, there is no guarantee that the addict or alcoholic will drink or use again. For instance, Whitney Houston’s cocaine habit wasn’t a mere “habit”—it was an addiction. Alcohol abuse, cocaine abuse, or any other kind of substance abuse is different from addiction or alcoholism. Abuse implies that the person in question has control, or has the ability to quit, yet decides not to. The true addict or alcoholic has lost that ability to control how much they take. It doesn’t matter what the consequences are for the person or the impact addiction takes on family members and loved ones. The most tragic of elements are far more subtle, however. Despite the pain and injury experienced by those closest to the addict or alcoholic and/or the addict themselves; the desire to stop gets trumped by the addiction cycle. And although those with drug addiction or problems with alcoholism are still accountable for their actions no matter what, they are helpless to control the impulse of addiction.

In many cases, this is where treatment begins. Starting with a drug and alcohol detoxification is a hard but mandatory experience. No matter how an addict handles the detox process; most will admit that it is something they would not want to experience again. The professional counselors and staff who work at 449 Recovery have seen the worst of the worst that comes from the detox process. But a good drug treatment rehab is used to seeing that ugliness of the detox process, and 449Recovery is no different.

Unfortunately, detox is something that keeps many addicts and alcoholics in the cycle of addiction as the pain of detoxification is so inherently strong that ceding to a previous vice is an easy, quick solution to a long term problem. The world lost a great talent this weekend to a malady that may have been prevented. Alcoholism and addiction don’t care how famous you are, how rich you are, what race, what age, what sex, how educated you are—it doesn’t matter. If you’re wondering, “Does rehab work?” or if you know of an addict or alcoholic who is seeking addiction recovery or alcohol treatment, 449 Recovery in San Clemente is a fantastic facility with a loving and knowledgeable staff. Please call—they are always happy to help!

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