This morning I woke to the news of Whitney Houston’s tragic death. It stopped me in my tracks, not because of who she was or the amazing talent she possessed but because it appears preliminary that addiction has taken another soul from this world too soon. Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and now Whitney Houston, to name only a few were silenced when addiction took a hold of their lives. But how many die each day we never know about. The ones who are not in the limelight, but are everyday people who fell to addiction just like the megastars we hear about in the news.
Then my thoughts turned to a friend of Widgets and when we will hear the news that addiction caused her death as well. I am sure many of you remember me talking about Widget and her best friend in previous posts. Well around Christmas her friend stopped coming around and I noticed Widget was also not on the phone with her constantly. When I asked Widget where her friend was, she said she was angry at her and did not want to talk about it. I did not press her because when she doesn’t want to talk about it, she is too upset to discuss it.
Then a few weeks ago after picking her up from school she just let loose. Her friend had wanted her to get high with her like they had done on the past (marijuana). Widget declined more than once and their paths began being different. Widget cannot understand why her friend doesn’t get it. That school is important if they want a future. That drugs and alcohol is not the answer. I tried to explain that people mature at a different rate and that she is just further ahead than her friend. That she was making mature decisions about her future, and hopefully her friend will catch up and start making decisions with her future in mind as well.
I will admit I did not fully believe that, because her friend comes from a home in which drug use and trips to jail are the norm, and education is not important for success. Granted Widgets biological family are the same, but Widget realized that to succeed she cannot follow the path of her mother and needed to try and do well in school, and plan for college. Her friend however, has not realized that and may never do so.
I say that because Widget ended the friendship fully and refuses to speak to her until she gets clean. Widget chose the path to success and to leave marijuana and drinking behind. She is even joining the track team at school, and has never done sports in school before. Her friend on the other hand has dropped out of school, and graduated from smoking marijuana to methamphetamines and who knows what else, and she is having lots of unprotected sex according to Widget.
Widget made the decision she had to end the friendship when after she tried to reason with the friend and promised to stand by her if she would get clean and the friend refused. I am very proud of our Widget for trying to help and for realizing sometimes you can’t and have to walk away to save yourself. Now I worry about Widget and what will happen if her friend doesn’t get help and we get the news of her friend’s death due to addiction. She will be one who never makes headlines, the world will not mourn her passing, but those of us who knew her will mourn her passing. To be blunt if she friend continues being an addict she will die sooner or later.
Addiction is a dangerous thing that is taking a large portion of our population. Often once a person is addicted nothing else matters. I am thankful some to seek help and get clean, many do not. We will never stop the influx of drugs in society and alcohol is legal. So, I wonder what causes people to seek drugs even when they knew the risks for the first time. How the decision is made to try them that first time, or is it different for everyone. Better yet how do we stop those who have not tried drugs yet, and help those already in the grip of addiction? Why do ones like Widget realize to succeed she had to leave drugs and alcohol behind, while others like her friend dig deeper into the pit and keep trying harder and harder drugs. Is there nothing we can do? I wish I had that answer.
Rest in peace Whitney Houston and all those like her whose life ended way too soon. May they all find the peace that evaded them in life.
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
I truly believe the lyrics above from “The greatest love of all” by Whitney Houston. It is why for years I was a foster parent and then decided to have Widget join our family, because she and other teenagers like her will one day lead the way, and run this world. I just wish we had been able to each her friend. Hopefully she will decide to change her life as Widget did before it is too late.