|Jane Velez-Mitchell: |
iWant, My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption
to a Simpler, Honest Life.
Over the weekend, we lost another amazing talent to the disease of addiction. There have been numerous reactions to Whitney Houston's death, ranging from empathetic to pathetic. There are debates over whether or not she is an icon or passing fancy. My own reaction was one of sadness and anger. She in no way should be looked upon as a passing fancy, because if she is, we miss a moment to change the course of America's addiction crisis.
In my own reaction to Whitney Houston's death, I am saddened for the loss of a one-of-a-kind voice, but more so, am saddened that addiction has robbed another woman of a life that could have been beautiful. And of course, my thoughts are heavy for her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. My hope for her is that friends and family rally to support her through her journey of grief and on her road to recovery as an adult child of an alcoholic.
I am angry by some of the reactions I have heard in the media and seen on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Reactions like, “who cares, I thought she had been dead for years,” or “she never should have married that loser.” These types of apathetic and judgmental comments are cause for a missed opportunity to examine a social crisis—the crisis of women and addiction. My hope is that we do not let yet another talented person’s death be in vain. For that reason, this week’s Wednesday's Woman is a recovering alcoholic with 16 years of sobriety, Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Jane Velez-Mitchell is a best-selling author and anchor on HLN and can also be seen covering high-profile cases on CNN. I have not read her books and have not seen her on HLN or on CNN. Honestly, I had not heard of her until this morning. I found her after an extensive Google search for a famous female recovering addict. There were few to choose from, most being already gone, like Betty Ford, or still in the throes of addiction, like Lindsay Lohan. What stood out to me about Jane Velez-Mitchell was her willingness to cover the Whitney Houston story for CNN without glossing over the fact that Whitney’s death was one that should be examined as a national crisis of our unwillingness to accept addiction as a disease. From the CNN transcript, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, February 13, 2012:
Addiction is a disease. It`s not something that one casts judgment on a person for having. It is a disease. Just like you get cancer or you get another disease. We`re looking at this as a possibility, this idea that her disease took her down.
During the broadcast, Jane Velez-Mitchell made strong points about our responsibility as a society to stop ignoring the disease, to learn about it, and to support people who suffer from it. I recommend examining the transcript and putting her latest book, Addiction Nation: an Intervention for America, on your reading list. I am putting her on my list of people to follow and will definitely read her writings. As a mother of two daughters, and knowing of the history of addiction within our family, I owe it to them to continue to educate myself about the disease of addiction. Thankfully, I know enough already to talk to my girls about the tragedy of Whitney Houston’s death. I know enough already to be angered by ignorant comments regarding the way she died. And I know that it is important for this week’s Wednesday’s Woman to be Jane Velez-Mitchell, a recovering alcoholic and courageous advocate for those who suffer from the disease.