Whitney Gets Holistic Treatment...

[From CBS News]

Whitney Gets Holistic Treatment

LOS ANGELES, March 23, 2004

(CBS) Haunting lyrics from a Whitney Houston song ask, “Didn’t we almost have it all?”

It certainly seemed so. Houston had a successful music and movie career, a family, and fans worldwide. But last week, after years of speculation about her rampant substance abuse, Houston entered an undisclosed rehabilitation facility for help.

Over the years, her troubles made headlines. In January of 2000, Hawaiian police allegedly found marijuana in her possession. In March of the same year, she was scratched from the Oscar telecast for forgetting lyrics to her song. In September of 2001, her extreme weight loss led to worries that the star was near death. In May of last year, following her rocky performance at VH1's Divas Duets concert, she was encouraged by her family to get help. Whitney sought solace from a trip to Israel, meeting with African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem.

Today, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, Houston’s spiritual advisor, tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, Houston is well on the way to recovery.

“She’s under the medical care of her doctors," he says, "and her family is giving her the kind of love and support. The fans should be pleased that we’re on the road to full recovery again.”

Having planned the trip to Israel that Houston took with her husband, Bobby Brown, the ambassador of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem says Houston’s problem is prescription drug abuse.

“You know, when you’ve got the demands of the press and the demands of your public, you’re trying to take a pill to stay up and one to lay down," he explains. " I think it’s that kind of life-style.”

When Houston was interviewed by Diane Sawyer two years ago, she denied having a drug problem. Asked what has changed in the last two years, Ben Israel says, “Those are very personal kinds of things, but I think it’s a spiritual journey and I think that with the support from the family and friends, you come to grips with these kinds of things and finally say, 'There must be something I need to do.' I think that’s where we are.”

Last May, her family asked Ben Israel for help after her appearance on the VH1 special, he says. “Whitney comes from a very spiritual family. And we provided an environment where there is no violence, no drugs, and the kind of comfort that a family could involve themselves in. That’s why we wanted the brother, the mother, the sisters, and the children to come, because all healing is holistic and that’s what we really wanted.”

When they visited the African Hebrew Israelites in Israel, he says, Houston found a special connection.

“She found family. She found love. She found comfort. She found support,” he says. “Can you imagine a young Christian girl finally waking up in the holy land in Jerusalem, in Jericho or the Jordan river? It was fantastic, Harry. It was the beginning of her healing.”

As for Bobby Brown, some speculate he is the root of her problems. He was released from jail Monday to face other charges in Virginia. He allegedly struck Houston last December.

Ben Israel disagrees about Brown.

He says, “Based on what I know, you look at Bobby Brown, a young man. At 20 years old, he was a millionaire and married an icon, a musical icon. That kind of pressure brought about another kind of mental and spiritual change. I think again with those of us who love, we’re trying to work both of them through the social issues, which many couples who are high profile experience.”

The spiritual adviser says he is planning to reach out to Brown now.

"I had a talk with him," he says. "Bobby’s drug problem is not as deep as most people think it is. I think that there are a lot of assumptions that are being made. Based on what I know, I didn’t see it as a real serious drug problem.

"I saw it as one of an emotional and an environmental. You must remember, married to Whitney Houston, it’s got to be great, but it’s got to be a lot of pressure.”

©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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