Searching for Reasons

As I’m sure, most, if not all, of you are aware of Whitney Houston’s death.  As of the time of this blog, no official cause of death has been reported.  Many are speculating that drugs could have been the cause or a factor in her death, especially since she was so young (48) and her problems with drugs have been very public.  While the world reacts to this news, I find myself wanting answers.  Obviously, many of us want to know what happened to cause her death, but many want to know issues deeper than that.  How come Whitney Houston found herself battling drugs?  How come she ended up dead at 48 and others who have had the same battles end up okay?  Interestingly enough, I posted yesterday about the song, Hold Back the Rain, and its connection to John’s drug and alcohol battle.  Whitney Houston’s death has me thinking more about John Taylor and his battle.

After yesterday’s blog, I saw and heard a number of comments about the timely of the song.  Many people did not realize that John had been using back in 1982.  Before I go further, though, it is worth noting that he wasn’t the only one in the band.  Other band members have admitted to using drugs and many of them still drink.  I also feel it necessary to note that I’m not judging John or any other member.  That said, while other members of Duran might have used, as far as I know John is the only one to have gone to rehab and is now clean and sober.  This, of course, leads me to wonder what was different about John.  How come his use became an addiction?  How come it didn’t happen to the rest of them?  Obviously, I don’t have the answers, but I suppose that I could speculate.  Was John more likely to become addicted?  The only thing I could guess here is what I sense about who John is.  I have heard people describe John as intense, that he doesn’t do things half way.  Perhaps, then, this applied to partying, too.  I don’t know.  It also seems to me that John isn’t naturally comfortable, socially.  Even now, he seems to be the member who is least likely to go out of his way, in person, to interact with the fans even in situations removed from partying.  For example, John typically heads back to the hotel immediately after a gig.  He doesn’t greet the fans outside venues.  I have also heard that he isn’t very social during meet and greets.  Maybe he is uncomfortable there.  I don’t know.  I even find it interesting that he uses twitter so much.  Perhaps, this is a safe and comfortable way for him to interact with us.  Therefore, maybe, his substance abuse started by him using to be more comfortable in social situations or be the life of the party that people assume rock stars are.  Again, I don’t know if any of this is true and is just me guessing.  I’m also not judging here, especially since I, too, can be intense and can be uncomfortable in social situations.  Anyway, just some of my ideas about maybe why he started using to begin with and why he got addicted and the others didn’t. 

Then, I wonder why John was able to battle his addictions and others aren’t.  Did he have enough people or the right people around him to give him the support that he needed?  Did it help that he decided to become clean when Duran wasn’t in the spotlight as much?  Did he have the right motivation?  If so, what were his motivations?  We know now that one of the motivations he had for quitting smoking was that he kept getting sick and that non-smokers don’t get sick as much.  No matter the reasons behind him entering rehab, I think it absolutely is a testament to his character.  He wasn’t afraid to get the help he needed and isn’t afraid to admit that now.  On top of that, he has been successful.  I can only imagine how much strength it takes to fight addiction, especially since it is something that never completely goes away.  He must remain committed to being clean and sober everyday. 

I suppose, in the end, it doesn’t matter what lead John down the path to being addicted to drugs and alcohol.  It doesn’t even matter why he has been successful in fighting his addictions as long as he keeps doing what he needs to do to be clean and sober.  What does matter is that he has the strength to keep fighting and how lucky we are that we still have him and the rest of the band.  Deaths like Whitney Houston are extremely upsetting and tragic.  While I don’t have the answers for a death so young, what I can do is appreciate what I do have and support my idols in their quest for healthy living and long life. 

-A

12 thoughts on “Searching for Reasons”

  1. It's been my experience that people who have family and friends who aren't afraid to confront them and be there for them do better with overcoming addictions than those without. In Duran Duran's case, their relationships with each other and their loved ones has to have made a difference. But end the end it comes down to the individual and his or her desire to be well. I will be interested to see if Andy responds to the question I posed via Twitter. Maybe he'll blog about it.

    For me, being a friend to an addict is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's really difficul to confront someone and then not back down when they start to deny or ignore you. I have so much respect for Simon and the others who supported John and Andy in their recovery for their persistence. ~Betsi

  2. Betsi-I absolutely agree that it is really up to the individual person to get help. As for John, I don't know what his relationships were like or if/how they helped since HBTR was written in 1982 and he didn't get help until the 90s. That's a long time…

    -A

  3. I do know John's said he doesn't know what might have become of him if not for Nick and Simon. I mean I'm sure it wasn't smooth sailing and when he left there were hurt feelings BUT I think one or the other or both of them were there at the right times to sort of push him back from going over the edge a little. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is always someone there to “keep an eye on” someone, the difference can be in moments, if someone is there at key moments. So between his bandmates and his caring family, I think John was fortunate that there were people who happened to be there at those key times, because it ultimately gave him enough time to be able to “save” himself.

  4. Anonymous-You might be right. I don't know as I wasn't there. I would like to think that the rest of the band was supportive at the right time. John was a user for a long time for whatever reason(s)

    -A

  5. Some of the traits shared by addicts are low self-esteem & lack of boundaries. It takes a long time to (re)learn these skills, which many of us acquired in childhood. I really admire the way John clearly now shares our love of his playing when he's live onstage – did he always interact so naturally at gigs or did he need something extra to get him out there? He also has clear boundaries around the way he tweets, where I don't feel Simon does.

  6. I happen to be in agreement with your speculation that he wasn't always comfortable in his own skin or in social situations. The impression I get from John is that he had a somewhat sheltered childhood and that he was insecure with himself for the longest time. I think Duran Duran (positively) and the drugs (negatively) provided outlets for him to break away from those early constraints and inhibitions…a means of breaking out of his shell. With the sudden rush to fame, the drugs became a coping mechanism to deal with all the pressures he and the band faced. It's only within the past 12 years or so that he seems to be more content with himself and life in general.

    There are various reasons why people have addictions and why some are able to get better while others can't. The three main things that I feel are necessary for recovery are 1) The addict must acknowledge that s/he has a problem and wants to get better, 2) That person has a dedicated, non-judgmental support network to help keep him/her accountable and to also offer encouragement, a listening ear, practical assistance…anything the person needs to move forward in the direction towards recovery and 3) The addict has access to treatment (rehab, medication, psychotherapy, etc.). It's clear that John has achieved all three. I'd also add a fourth factor that's particular to JT's case–one that tends to get overlooked–and that would be submitting to a “Higher Power”. John has participated in the 12-step program which, as most of you well know, acknowledges the concept of a “higher power” but doesn't define it for the addict. John has never stated publicly whom or what he regards as his “higher power” and I doubt he's a subscribed member of any organized religion…but he has admitted that he prays. For all we know, it might be a form of meditation instead of praying to a specific deity. In any case, I sense that it is a practice that he holds dear and that he views as necessary for maintaining balance in his life.

    It's now being speculated that Whitney Houston had drowned in her bathwater after taking prescribed medication earlier. Of course, we won't have any concrete information until the full autopsy/toxicology report is done. Nevertheless, her death is truly a loss. Regardless of whether you were a fan of hers or not, she was and will always remain a legend thanks to her incredible voice.

  7. @Bryony-I don't know if John was always natural at gigs. It seems to me that he stood in the back a lot in early live clips. I also noticed that he wore his hair over his eyes like he was hiding.

    @madame duran-John might have been sheltered as a kid. His parents were older with more significant life experience. Perhaps, they were overprotective. As for John's belief in a higher power, I really hope that he addresses some of this in his book. Of course, as I say this,I wonder how Duranies will deal if his beliefs do not match theirs.

    -A

  8. JT is a beautiful, kind, gracious person. I hope he stays healthy and happy for the rest of his life. He's an inspiration; not perfect, but a fantastic example of recovery with grace, humility and honesty.

  9. As I recall John was pretty active on at least 1984 tour and I think on the 1987 tour as well. I think he's even mentioned purposely doing things to get the girls to scream louder. Prior to that I don't know, he may have stood back a little more. It was after that the drug problems got bad which meant it was probably hard enough to just to play the right thing never mind do a lot of extras(though he did take part in the dance routine during All She Wants Is in 88-89) and then he started wanting other things so wasn't as “into” the band anymore. Now he's where he wants to be so he can enjoy it more.

    I do agree he was probably overprotected. It was probably because his parents most likely believed and accepted they'd never have children at their ages(they both must have been at least 40) and then along comes John, so he may have been not only overprotected but perhaps a little bit coddled as well.

    “He also has clear boundaries around the way he tweets, where I don't feel Simon does.”

    I don't think Simon needs the same kind of barriers. It's not that they aren't there, they just look different. I'm pretty sure one of the authors here says Simon's tweets/blogs tend to be confusing/nonsensical almost every time they are mentioned so that may be one way. 😀 I've found many of them very entertaining and sometimes quite imaginative myself, even thought-provoking on occasion. Sometimes gorgeously written, especially in the case of his blogs. The occasional embarrassing TMI may have made my right eye twitch but that's Simon for ya!

    When it comes to twitter, unless you are going to post lots of controversial opinions(which I don't think he has), talk trash about people all the time(he's entitled to opinions like everyone else but I don't think he's trash talked much) or post nude pictures(not so much as a Speedo, even the dWogs are wearing fur:), what kind of barriers do you need, besides a better password(Simon got hacked a couple weeks ago)?

    I was reading an excerpt from something from @ 1982, the band were asked to describe themselves. One thing that was interesting is that both John and Simon described themselves as sensitive, but for John it was the thing he listed as a flaw in himself(“My biggest fault is my sensitivity”), whereas Simon seemed to view being sensitive as a more positive or at least a neutral thing. I have to admit whenever I see someone list something like that as a flaw I do tend to think of it as the “Job Interview Flaw”. They ask you what you view as your weaknesses but really what they want you to do is come up with a weakness that is actually something that is viewed by other people as good(see Spud in Trainspotting –“I'm a perfectionist ya see, it's got to be the best, or it's nothin' at all” said at high speed, fueled by amphetamines:)). But accepting it at face value, I think its interesting that they viewed the same personality trait in opposite ways.

    I think all the band members are admirable in their ways. After all they are all still here and none of them really had it any easier than anyone else, at least not in the sense of how their lives have treated them since they got famous. It's admirable that John was able to overcome his problems, it's admirable that Roger was able to walk away from a life that wasn't working for him, become a stronger, more confident person and then come back to that life 15 years later and it's admirable that Simon and Nick were able to hold themselves as individuals and the band together long enough for what we've had over the last 10 years from the band to happen. Simon may have gotten terribly depressed and gotten writer's block but he did give Nick a choice and Nick made the right choice. Nick could have chosen Warren after all, Nick owned the name. 😉

  10. This blog was originally written by Amanda…but I wanted to comment on something the above person mentioned regarding Simon's tweets. I'm the one who feels that his blogs and his tweets can be nonsensical at times. It's true. I've also often commented that I need to have been drinking to understand them. Did you know that they did a study and apparently alcohol can make someone more creative?!? I'm just saying that for me apparently alcohol opens up that locked up section of my brain. ;D In all seriousness though, I think you hit the nail on the head with regard to Simon's tweets and blogs. The way he writes them is very much his own sort of boundary and security measure – he writes them not as Simon the father, husband, etc….but as the Simon WE all know from Duran Duran. He writes the way we would expect him, and being the frontman is a role he plays (and plays very well, I might add). I'm not saying it's all an act, but I *am* saying that I believe it's very much a way of compartmentalizing, and before anyone says otherwise – I don't blame him. That's one of the reasons celebrities and even musicians take on stage names. It's a way of keeping the private and public personas separate, and for many – it works.

    I still think his blogs can be crazy, but you know – I'd miss them if they suddenly stopped. 🙂 -R

  11. True – it takes some people a long time to come to grips. Hard to say for sure since I wasn't there. I wonder if John even realized that song was about him. When you're in the midst of an addiction things don't always connect. Denial is its own kind of addiction.

    In any case, I'm just thankful whatever or whomever it was that helped John did so and it seems they have all learned from their mistakes and bad choices. The saying “what doesn't kill us makes us stronger” is mostly true – if we let it make us stronger. ~Betsi

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