Not only was Whitney Houston a great singer, she was an icon! I ironically recall when she first came out that critics were questioning whether or not she could make it as a singer because at the time she was known more as a model. I guess we now resoundingly know the answer to that question.

More than just a great singer, Whitney has been more of an inspiration for many. She had great voice control, a beautiful smile, a pleasant personality and set the standard for many other great voices to follow.

Of course like every other great pop star she had to deal with the scrutiny of the public eye. Her greatest controversy came from her relationship with fellow singer Bobby Brown which was sometimes tumultuous and from rumors of substance abuse.

First let me say that this isn’t intended to focus on Whitney’s shortcomings in life. None of us are perfect and we all have challenges to conquer. Every person wants to be recognized for their totality rather than just their mistakes. I think it is safe to say Whitney has done more good for people in general through her music and charitable efforts and whatever areas in her life that may have been troublesome were primarily to her own detriment as opposed to hurting anyone else around her.

As a person who has dealt with family and loved ones who have struggled with substance abuse issues over the years, I understand the hurt and pain of those relationships. We’ve heard a lot of people try to blame Bobby Brown for Whitney’s struggles in life but in truth no one is to blame for another person’s addictions regardless of how they may have been introduced to it. Likewise it is also true that no one can save another person from addictions until they themselves find the resolve and determination to change their lives around.

I am grateful that I’ve never personally had to suffer from drug usage but I’ve witness people close to me who have and I’ve seen the consequences first hand. When you’re trying to support someone who is having that difficulty of wanting to break an addiction, you try everything from intervention to tough love to compassion to cutting them off completely to empathy to arguing to finally realizing and accepting that there is nothing you can do until that person is willing to do what is necessary to save themselves.

Science and experimentation has not yet been able to determine why some people can use certain substances without becoming addicted while others can become addicted after first try. People may try certain drugs for fun, out of boredom, from peer pressure or curiosity. Before you try any type of drug it is important to look at your family history and know what demons your ancestors may have had to fight. I personally think all drugs whether illegal or prescription should be extremely minimal for only health purposes if not completely avoided.

For the most part there is no evidence that drugs typically make anyone’s life better. Steve Jobs is perhaps one of a select few that believe that their drug usage somehow made them better “qualified” as an artist. The truth is we can go down the list from Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and many other celebrities who have suffered as a result of their drug usage with their lives.

The point is that the same way that no manager, agent, parent or lover can take credit for another person’s talents, it is equally true that they shouldn’t have to bear the unfair burden of being responsible for another person’s decisions. We all must take accountability for our own choices in life! If we are successful it is most likely because of our own determination and if we constantly struggle then it is most often because of poor decisions.

Whitney chose to marry who she married, she chose to indulge in certain behaviors and she also chose to try and get help for herself. Sometimes help from others just isn’t enough. Sometimes the only thing that can help us is surrendering to a Higher Power. This is why spiritualists over the ages have promoted meditation and yoga. These practices have been shown to help a person learn to better deal with the struggles of life by developing greater clarity of mind, non-attachment, faith, understanding and stronger resolve.

I encourage anyone who is dealing with chronic repeating cycles of struggle to try to overcome those shortcomings by seeking professional assistance but by also knowing that you must be the variable that changes. The most effective way to free yourself from what may be genetics, karma or environment is to find spiritual strength by realizing that the Source for all experiences begins with you and that Spirit is greater than any problem you may have. And to Whitney may you Rest in Peace. We "will always love you!"

Author's Bio: 

Lateef Terrell Warnick is an Author, Licensed Financial Advisor, Social Entrepreneur, Political Scientist, Yogi and Founder of 1 S.O.U.L. at He enjoys writing about current affairs, politics and pop culture from a spiritual perspective with an effort to share pearls of wisdom to help others in their spiritual growth.