It’s hard to miss the news from the weekend that has overshadowed the loss of nearly one hundred lives in Norway; the death of Amy Winehouse.
Everywhere you turn, whether you log onto any of the social media forums or read the newspapers, you see the tragic face of a young woman that made the wrong decisions which ultimately caused her to the path of her death. People have commented that it’s a shock to hear the news that she has died, but personally I am not surprised at all.
I find it a difficult subject to think about. On the one hand she made her own decisions and chose the route she took. I shivered when I saw news about her, time and time again, doing concerts and gigs and being completely incoherent and off her face. It concerned me that she might be a role model to the next generation of young girls pushing their way through society like new plants through the surface of the soil, and that she might be the person that they looked upon as someone to aspire to. Once upon a time she was a young girl with a soulful voice who could have gone so far in being someone to look up to; a girl that didn’t concern herself with the faddy diets of the masses, dye her hair bleach blonde and colour her skin orange to be part of the popular contingent of Barbie girls who all look the same. Yet on the other hand she was only two years older than me; and it’s difficult to think that there are paths that I might have taken in another life that could have taken me to the same route as her. For every girl like me who has a few glasses of wine with friends, dances around her handbag and laughs her cares away, there is another in the grip of an addiction, vodka in the morning to help them start the day or a white line in the bathroom of the bar on a Friday night to get the party started. When the sun shines on one, a shadow is cast on another.
Addiction is defined as being abnormally tolerant to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming or an abnormally strong craving, and an addict is defined as being someone who is dependent on a substance and without it may suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
However you define an addiction, it is widely agreed that is something that takes a strong grip on you in many cases, something that is often out of your control. And I think that this is the case with her. For every person that is out there bashing her and talking her down, she was ultimately just someone’s daughter, who made the wrong decision and messed up somewhere along the way. We all do it, don’t we? But we need to take a step back and appreciate that yes, we don’t tend to make a decision that ends so badly, and thank our lucky stars that we don’t.
One night in Camden a friend of mine was at the bottom of the flight of stairs in a bar, making her way up a floor. A girl fell from the top and my friend instinctively stuck her arms out to catch her. The girl was disorientated; high on one drug or another and dusted herself down and moved on. I can relate to that. There have been nights where I should have known to call it a night, shouldn’t have gone back to the bar for another shot and should have taken myself home to my bed to feel bad in the morning. I’m just lucky that I only felt the wrath of a hangover; wanting to die as my brain thudded and the waves of nausea flooded my atmosphere. I have never felt the pains of withdrawal, never craved my next fix with a ferocity of soul and never hurt my family as I chose a chemical over them. The girl was Amy Winehouse. My friend and her passed; but who would have thought a few years later one of those girls, both not yet thirty, would be dead.
If you get the chance then read this touching post by Russell Brand remembering the friendship that they had from an addicts point of view. Its heartfelt yet chilling, and really makes you stop and be thankful for what you have. Spare a thought for the parents grieving over the loss of a child, a family torn in two that will never recover from the gap left by their daughter. Think of a mother who will never see her baby again, and for the girl who could have made such a difference in the world, had she been able to save herself. Rest in peace Amy, at last you can be free.