Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.


So I’m breaking my February blogging leave to post these photos of another spirit lost to addiction. Just a year older than I. Whether the drugs actually caused her death, addiction took its toll over 25 years. Look at the evidence below.

Acceptance of reality, especially self-acceptance, is the basis of recovery from addiction. What addict or alcoholic hasn’t suffered from self-hatred? … Whitney Houston (and Amy Winehouse, and Michael Jackson, and Heath Ledger, and on and on) did not rest in self-acceptance.

Other people help me with this. I cannot do it without other people. While you look at the photos, listen to Elton sing: “I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.”


Recovery is a spiritual thing, a trust in that inward light. (I don’t necessarily think of it as the “light of Christ,” the way it says in the wiki; I think of it as the divine spark, the still small voice, the “intuitive thought” the basic texts talk about.) The “God thing” is not just “faith,” it’s not a feeeeling—it’s making choices based on surrender to an “other” power. (And I have to pick one that’s beneficial.The celebrity machine is a power greater than me, but it’s not beneficial) It’s about trusting in an internal guide, rather than external validation.

Read what Rabbi Shais Taub said about the spiritual thing the other day in the New York Times.

<sigh> Whitney.

Whitney Houston, 1985. We all thought she was impossibly gorgeous, and her voice was a powerful force.

Whitney Houston at the Grammy Awards, 1985.

Whitney’s boob job: self-rejection.

Whitney Houston, 2011. The New York Times obit said her voice was “frayed.” Drugs, the obit said (the media never uses the word “addiction”), made her voice “smaller, scratchier and less secure” and her performances “erratic.”

Whitney Houston, on her way to rehab, 2011.



  1. Love you, my friend.

  2. A very sad end-kind of makes me grateful I am not famous and rich. Even if she did not die from the addiction-that is how she will be remembered.

  3. Ain’t famous but…*there but for the grace of god go I.*
    Grateful and sad.

  4. Just very sad what this disease has taken from us seeing this to often lately thanks G for writing about this

  5. What a startling difference. Yes, she is older and some of us age better than others. But I suppose that she had a difficult time accepting herself, just as she is. Sorry for her death–too young to go so soon.

  6. You can now rest in peace, Whitney. I’m sure you’re singing in the choir and we are blessed to have had you among us. As a addict in recovery, my heart breaks for you and those/us who loved you.
    Boys Town, by the way, is a remarkable organization doing extraordinary work. My family has been strong supporters of theirs, both here and in Israel, for many years and we marvel at their dedication and commitment to youth.
    Chesed … kindness changes lives. We can all use a little more of it.
    Glad you posted, G. I’ve been missing your blog.

  7. Whitney’s death raises a couple issues that touch on the challenges of recovery, and of which I don’t think the general public is aware.
    1) Relapse is common. I’m only eight months sober, so I’m new to this but my counselors at the rehab I attended, and where I still participate in a monthly support group, emphasize that relapse is common. They are not trying to set us on a path to failure but one of success by letting us know that just because we slip once, twice, or more times, we shouldn’t give up. What is it you hear in AA all the time? Keep coming back. Each time Houston fell out of sobriety, she was labeled a failure. For many of us, relapse is part of the recovery process. It’s always a possibility even for people who have many years of sobriety. “I’m always just one drink away from a drunk,” a wise old guy in one of my AA meetings often says.
    2)The dangers of cross-addiction. Reports talk about Houston’s reliance on Xanax to help her calm her nerves before performances. And there were reports that she had valid prescriptions for Xanax and Valium. BUT, once an addict to one thing — alcohol, pain pills, cocaine — you can’t switch to something addictive, without the risk of relapsing back into self-destructive behavior. I hear that not a lot of doctors understand this. So, if you’re a recovering alcoholic and you go to the doctor for a bad back or other injury, doctors will readily prescribe you Vicodin. That’s something we’re taught to avoid

  8. Thankful that I did not have the pressures of celebrity to deal with…doubt I could handle that even now

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