Addiction: the Stranger in the Family

Addiction: the Stranger in the Family

The death of Whitney Houston reminds us that the addiction struggle is hardly uncommon

Sil Lai Abrams

by Sil Lai Abrams, February 13, 2012

Addiction: the Stranger in the Family

towards addiction as a culture. 

The reality is that we are in complete denial about an issue that affects a disproportionate number of our brothers and sisters.  Black people don’t like to talk about addiction or its often co-morbid disease mental illness until someone is locked up or six feet under.  And because of personal shame and family pride, there are too many of us careening towards destruction while wearing the mask of health.

Instead of celebrating Houston’s life with Facebook “likes” and Twitter musings, we should use her death as an impetus to confront the issue of addiction in our own lives.  If there is someone you know who is caught in its throes, take a real stand and help them face it.  Let me be clear:  it’s not our job to get them sober…that’s their job. It is our responsibility however, to stop pretending that Uncle Joe’s daily marijuana habit is just a habit, or that Cousin Barbara’s nightly ménage with wine and Xanax is just her way of getting some sleep. The bottom line is that we need to get honest with ourselves about what’s really going on and stop doing whatever it is that may be enabling their illness

"The greatest love of all" isn't  just “learning to love yourself"…it’s loving another person when they’re messy and inconvenient.  It’s loving them enough to confront them on their addiction… even if they end up hating you for doing it. 

Sil Lai Abrams is’s Relationship Expert and the author of No More Drama: 9 Simple Steps to Transforming a Breakdown into a Breakthrough and a board member of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  Follow her on Twitter: @sil_lai and connect with her on Facebook

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