LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Mindy McCready stepped onto the country music scene in the mid-nineties, putting 14 songs and 6 albums on the Billboard country charts, but over the last ten years, her battle with drug and alcohol abuse overshadowed her achievements.
What began as a promising career for Mindy McCready quickly turned into a life plagued by addiction. Drug overdoses, stints in jail and two suicide attempts turned the attention from her music to her personal life.
"I was never in a state in which I was conscious and with it and said, 'Oh I want to die.' It was after a depressing moment or a crushing thing had happened to me that I would drink too much and then I don't remember making those decisions," said McCready in a 2010 interview on ABC's Good Morning America.
That same year, McCready's struggle with alcohol and drug abuse became public on VH1's reality show 'Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.'
"Her biggest fear was the stigma of doing so and what people would think if she, God forbid, took care of herself," said Dr. Drew Pinsky in an interview on CNN Sunday night.
It is the stigma of moral weakness that Carol Baxter with Recovery Centers of Arkansas said keeps millions of Americans from seeking treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
"The research consistently shows that this is a brain disorder. The sad unintended consequences of the stigma is all too often people do wait too long to seek help and consequently, it's a very hard uphill battle for them," said Baxter.
The battle for McCready ended Sunday night with a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after being released from treatment on the same porch where her boyfriend took his life just one month earlier.
"This to me is the most distressing part of this story. She is a lovely woman. We have lost her, and it didn't have to go down like this," said Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Baxter said the stigma of addiction is such an issue for patients that in the 1970s, the US government passed legislation giving them a right to confidentiality. It is that condition of confidentiality that finally brings most patients into treatment.
Lisa Hutson, KTHV