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Whitney Houston tragedy illustrates travails of addiction | News

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Whitney Houston tragedy illustrates travails of addiction

ATLANTA -- For millions of families struggling with addiction issues or substance abuse, the death of Whitney Houston strikes a particularly painful chord because her story is, in many situations, similar to theirs.

It's no secret that, even, as Houston's career struck a high-not, she was still dealing with the lowly struggle of substance abuse and in that regard she was no different than Bernard Lewis.

"It affected my daughter, my son, my parents, my wife," said Lewis, who also battled addiction. "It affected everybody. But most of all it affected me. "

Fortunately for Lewis was able to receive help from Robert Barber and his wife Martha, who run the Atlanta Step Up Society in Midtown. However, for family members dealing with the crisis, things can be very different.

"They didn't understand," said Lewis.

"I didn't have anybody in my family who was addicted to anything, so they didn't understand that I would have to steal to get the drugs; that I would have to hide the liquor bottles under the table or in the bathroom. They didn't understand that. Once I got educated on it, I was able to talk to them and tell them that I have a disease of addiction."

Singer, Houston also sought help. But unlike Lewis, she had the eyes of the world watching her every move, as well as, her every setback.

"She's like millions of Americans who struggle with substance abuse," said psychologist and author Dr. Sherry Blake. "So often we see her as a superstar. But she's someone's mother, someone's daughter. She's a family member. So they see a family member who happened to be a superstar. We see a superstar that happened to be a family member."

Dr. Sherry says Houston's family needs to go through the stages of grief in private for her daughter's sake.

"Like any child that loses a mother, she has had a great loss," said Dr. Sherry. "And for her, all the drama adds to all her mixed feelings, all of her anxiety, all of her fears."

Dr. Sherry, also, added that counseling will be crucial to Houston's family members during their healing process.


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