Amy Winehouse and rehabbing the stigma of substance abuse

I’d wager that Amy Winehouse fans – casual or otherwise – had a similar reaction to the 27-year-old singer and fashion muse’s death: tragic but not entirely unexpected. You’d only need to listen to a few tracks off her brilliant 2006 album Back to Black to know that Winehouse’s demons were the crux of her too-short existence.

Winehouse’s struggles with drugs, alcohol and mental illness became as much of a part of her identity as her black eyeliner and beehive hair. Her personal battles were relentlessly demonized in all-caps headlines splashed across the front page of tabloids and celebrity gossip websites.

We rolled our eyes when she was arrested – yet again – for drugs, assault or whatever trouble she found that day. We chuckled at yet another disastrous live performance caught on YouTube while quietly willing Back to Black producer Mark Ronson to dust her off and drag her into the studio for another round of that soulful, hip-hop-infused blues-rock we all craved – like in “Love is a losing game.”

Perhaps we owe it to Winehouse to take a step back and consider the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on our friends, families, neighbors, co-workers – and how these struggles are stigmatized by media and society. We run marathons for lymphoma, wear red for heart health and convince pro athletes to don pink cleats for breast-cancer awareness. What about depression? Eating disorders? Alcohol abuse?

We loved Winehouse for her unapologetic honesty and her take-no-prisoners attitude. But addiction and mental illness are far from easily conquered for even the strongest among us with a hearty support network. Now as we’re left to shudder when Rehab pops up on our playlists, let’s start reconsidering how we view substance abuse and mental illness before we lose another star, famous or otherwise.

–By Meg Wiegand

237 thoughts on “Amy Winehouse and rehabbing the stigma of substance abuse

  1. Your comments are eloquent. Yes, absolutely, substance abuse is a disease that lacks the “popularity” of cancer or heart disease. It is a terrible, unforgiving disease. But with the added aspect that it is subject to moral disapproval.

    • I agree, Jenny. Stigmatisation of substance abuse is not new and people need to understand that substance abuse does not discriminate anyone according to social class, age, appearance and wealth.

      • Just saw a comerical last night with Huge Downs, who suffered(s) from depression. It is the only person, celeb, That I have ever seen get on TV and Say hey I am a person, a regular guy to most people who, regardless of success has struggled with feeling down, depressed and needed help to conquer it. There REALLY needs to be more awareness and support for those who struggle with “needing something to get through the day” whether it is a perscrition given by a Doctor or a drink, some made up concoction of crap that someone can buy on the streets, or even other behaviors that maybe physically destructive like “the over-doers”. This world is hard, it is rough, it is tough and we as a Human Being race are struggling everyday with knowing of horrors we have no way to help or prevent. Couple that with the fact that there is NO WAY to EVER have enough money to just pay what you owe for most people and the fear we are subjected to daily and it is a wonder we are not all one wild night away from being Amy, Heath, Jimmi, Janice, Marilyn or so many others who names never make a head line…..Great Post. I have been wondering what cause to back when I start my own foundation, and now I think you have given me the Best cause that fits in with the work I do. Have a wonderful week! AmberLena

  2. Yes, it was really tragic that the life of the 27 year old star, but I was not shock to hear the news. Some might say that we should just judge Amy’s “legacy” by her music. True. But let’s not forget that her substance abuse and her other demons cut her life short. We shoul make this a reminder to ourselves what these demons can possibly lead us too. May she rest in peace.

  3. Wow…I had never thought of that. I mean, when I heard that Amy Winehouse had died, I thought, “How sad. Another shortened life due to substance abuse”, but when a friend passes away due to another form of disease, I’m always pumped to do something about it, something that will beat that disease for generations to come.

    Very inspiring and thought-provoking post. Thanks. :)

  4. Beautiful thoughts here — there must be something good that comes from this tragedy.

    I have known many people who struggle with addiction. Many have gone through rehab — many multiple times. It is only through the support of family and friends that I have seen my friends TRULY succeed.

    Thank you for sharing,


  5. Mental illness and substance abuse are often blamed on those that suffer from them. As if putting in a little more effort would surely rid them of their demons.

    If we all practice compassion, we can find a little bit of love for the people around us that need it the most.

    • That’s very true, so often people just say “well she chose to take drugs and she had lots of help and rehab”, but addiction is so much deeper than that. As is any mental ilness. It’s so sad that she died. I think fame caused her life to spiral out of control. Her voice was so special and unique but she never seemed comfortable in the spotlight. She was riddled with insecurities and couldn’t ever gain control over her life after the fame bug struck. R.I.P. Amy

  6. I like your blog, poor Amy Winehouse’s death really is awfully tragic. She was such a great talent. I wrote my own blog about her. In my opinion, this is yet another lesson on drugs that people just refuse to acknowledge. But what also gets me is that so many people claim that she “deserved to die” and that she was “just a druggie”. It’s such a shame that people can’t realise that Winehouse was suffering from severe depression that resulted in self harm and eating disorders. Her drug use was just her way of chanelling her hurt that she was feeling inside.

    • I totally agree.I was devastated for 2 reasons when she died.One was sad that she had not made it past these demons that plagued her..also the media onslaught that was to come. I have never felt so sad about humanity. We did not know her, only what the media painted her to be. I wish people would realise that the music industry has a huge part to play in these things happening. Musicians dont ask to be catapulted to the top over night, going from a ‘who?’ to’ ‘everybody knows’ person over night. They change who you are, stripping you of your securites and replacing them with anxieties, no privacy and no time to yourself WITHOUT their say so. She used to play her own instruments but the industry said Nah, not the image we want..can you dance instead. she was NOT a dancer . They tell you where you go, when and you can not say No. They then demand you perform, no matter what, and does you up to make sure you still make their millions , as they only see you as a dollar sign . Sad.
      She is, and always will be my favourite singer/songwriter. (very rare in this day and age) I am grateful we get to keep her art flowing through our veins:)

  7. I agree, I think addiction and mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized like they are and should be seen in exactly the same light as other illnesses, then maybe people like Amy Winehouse will get the help they need before it’s too late.

    Great post – I have also written something about Amy Winehouse’s death, check it out

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed by the way


  8. As a veteran of the Music Industry I’ll say it’s stressful enough as it is without the booze and narcotics to help you cope with the pressures of this business. It’s very sad to see this happen because she did have real genuine talent

  9. Amy Winehouse’s tragic death is sad indeed. As a person in recovery myself from drug and alcohol abuse I know a bit about the problem and the solution. I can testify to the fact that someone can put this disease in remission, if they are willing to make some tough changes in their lifestyle and perceptions. Family members and friends can intervene, in a loving caring fashion and help the suffering person get the help they need. For more information about addiciton and interventions, go here;

  10. I think your post is right on. Artistically, Winehouse was a talent of generational significance. Her life and her art was in the same glass. She drank from it until it was empty. I think her death causes me to consider how we grant adulation and acclaim to genius and self-destruction without getting some space between the two….and perhaps we need to be more sober-minded and discerning, expressing concern about art that suggests that the artist is in trouble.

    • I think it would be a huge error on anyone’s part to read and interpret artistic works-of-art as a “subliminal” message of the artists internal balances and imbalances. Many artists write and create from emotion caused and triggered by external conflicts, disrespect, negative and positive energies within the universe, newly formed discoveries, and political/organized art of war and peace. So, to suggest, Amy Whinehouse “created” or expressed the demise of her death is to disregard the deeper root of destruction within the networked circles around her! I

      I do not believe she is to blame for her death! Her death is a “tool” used to seek a much deeper societal issue! There is always the “what ifs” and never the discovery of truth! Sweep everything under the rug and blame the victim! Afterall, Amy Whinehouse was a victim!

  11. First off- Drug abuse is not a disease. It was choice that people made and eventually pay the price just like this Winehouse junkie did. I have no sympothy for those who continue to make knowingly bad choices in their lives. My sympathy goes out to the real victims of these addicts. The families. They are the ones who are being put through total hell and embarrassment by their addict family members. As harsh and insensitive as I sound, you know it is the truth. Our young society needs learn what public condemnation is and as a responsible society we need to stop sugar coating drug addiction with this false excuse as a disease. It was a conscious decision Winehouse made and has now payed for it.

    • But, who gave her the drugs? Who taught her about drugs? Did anyone teach her about healthy choices? Did anyone teach her about her own self-worth? I do believe you must be willing to look deeply to a situation because, you will find addiction goes much deeper than a choice!

    • I don’t agree with you but God Bless you anyways.. the AMA (American Medical Association) classified alcoholism as a disease over 50 years ago!

      • When you die from a disease the coronor report says “died from natural causes” When you die from an overdose it says “caused by an overdose of xxx”

      • You’re going to believe the AMA? That shows your lack of knowledge. Most doctors don’t subscribe to that minority union. Do some research.

      • I have done plenty of research. There seems to be two schools of thought, its a disease or its not a disease. The people that think its a disease have witnessed first hand what it can do. They have literally seen how destructive.. or chronic, progressive and fatal it is. And then there are the individuals that believe its a character issue. A moral deficiency. Either way addiction is a mother f***** and I don’t need to debate with you about it because I know what it is..

      • and i personally know at least 15 doctors, personal friends of mine, that know its a disease.

      • I was married to an alcoholic for 22 years. My opinion comes from both doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists who I spent plenty of time dwelling over her problems of self destruction. They all shared the same opinion that it was not a disease. It was a conscious decision made that resulted in an addiction which then became an illness.
        I agree that there is an argument to be made on both sides. I choose not to believe that it is a disease based on my own life experiences.

    • Mr Roycroft,
      As a Substance Abuse Therapist with a Master’s in Addiction Counseling I can assure you that research has found that while it is a choice to drink or drug, it depends on your genetic make up as to whether one will become addicted. Addiction is a disease. Once addiction has been triggered, the brain’s pathways change. It makes the drink or the drug the number one priority. People begin using substances for different reasons such as casual social drinking, anxiety, coping mechanism, peer pressure, etc. While some people can socially drink all their life, others can not without becoming addicted.

      With that said, I am a child of an alcoholic. I will defend the families with all my might! After much research, sole searching, and prayer, I have been able to come to terms that someone else’s addiction is not my fault, I didn’t cause it and I can’t cure it. Addiction is a horrible disease that as of today has no cure. Recovery is long, and relapse is probable. As family members, we need to take care of ourselves. Alanon is a great place to learn about the disfunction and learn to move past this whether the addict comes with us or not.

      I am sorry you have had such a tough time, and I pray that you are able to come to terms with this and move on with your life.

      It is a shame that Amy Winehouse has lost her life way to soon. Education is the key for those who need help and for those who want to help others. Be good to yourself.

  12. Amy’s song about rehab almost encapsulated what may have been her belief that she was going to live her life without curbing her temptation, even if that meant she would die early. Sad, unhealthy and unwise. Tragic, but bold. As was Rehab.

  13. This is so well put. Thank you. People are too quick to jump the gun & judge others who have issues with mental health or substance abuse issues. We need to raise awareness about these diseases – they’re just as life-threatening as other diseases we run/walk/climb stairs for.

  14. Some of the stigma may surround the issue of choice. You cannot chose to have cancer, nor leukemia, MS, etc.

    You can chose to take a drink, pop the pill, take a toke, etc.

    As for whether or not addictive behavior is inborn or not, or depression is inborn or not, it’s irrelevant. EVERYONE has the potential for addictiveness, period. Whether it’s work, money, sex, drugs, porn, alcohol, sloth. Addictiveness is started by habits. It is a fool who believes they don’t suffer from or have an addictive personality. Every person has an addictive personality, just as surely as every person is a sexual creature. We are inborn with these desires, but it’s choice as to what we do with them. No one is born a drunkard or alcoholic, nor did they catch it like tuberculosis.

    Addiction is not a disease nor it is something you have no choice about. Depression is not a disease and while a person might not have some choices about it, similar to addiction, you can cope with it and control it.

    The music industry and celebrity seems to lend itself to destructive behaviors. Perhaps more blame needs to be leveled at those around her, not merely her own weak will and actions to fight her addictions and demons.

    Stigmas will remain around substance abuse because it has its base in personal choice and poor decisions and behaviors. The reality is that even if a crusade to end alcoholism or drug addiction worked, people would inevitably find another behavior and substance to destroy their bodies in the name of temporary pleasures or “release”. And they’d have just as much problems stopping that addiction because the body hates to get rid of habits, even if they’re self-destructive.

    The key to it is God and finding another, good habit to replace the bad ones.

    • “Addiction is not a disease…” “Depression is not a disease…”

      Wow, so sad that’s what you think. As gravity shifter stated, you are entitled to your opinion, but sadly it is sooo misinformed.

    • personally i found that physical/ sexual and emotional abuse by my good christian family was the root cause of my eating disorder/ depression. the serious issues kicked in in my late teens, a time in which i did not have the emotional maturity to make the wise decisions that may have saved me years of suffering. taking the moral high ground in relation to these issues is ignorant and lacking in compassion. casting the first stone, judging not lest you be judged etc.

    • I agree with some things you have said. turning to drugs because of depression is a choice, a choice she was glamorising therefore giving other people this idea that drugs are the right way out.


  15. It’s just a shame to me how so much talent can goto waste. I can understand where she’s coming from as an artist perspective and how getting you can get caught up in substances. Your in the middle of trying to express the pain your feeling but while your in the feeling it’s hard to channel it at that point, so she used drugs as her psychologist and the songs as rehab.

  16. Brilliant singer. Unfortunately, in the arts there is always someone to offer the drugs … And for those who consume them. Even when drugs replaced that empty hole in the soul of someone?
    He died so young … And the producer will live and spoiling new talent. Does not he saw and did not notice anything??

  17. Great post – yes, I think everybody has pondered the reality of abuse since her premature passing on Saturday 23rd, especially when they have personal experience of loved ones in similar states of distress. May she rest in peace.

  18. “Rehab” shuffled up on my ipod just as I started reading this post and, as you predicted, I shuddered. Everyone wants to act as if there’s no way they or anyone they care about could ever be in this situation, and that’s so untrue. We always urge people to get help and when they do, or fail in the attempt, we judge them so harshly. Why would they ever want to try again when they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t?

  19. Well said.
    I was just watching an old episode of House, in which the title character argued that smokers with lung cancer actually die of “guilt” because instead of receiving the usual support for cancer patients, they are blamed for bringing their illness on themselves with their addictive “lifestyle choice”. I see truth in that sentiment, and I see truth in what you have written here.
    We vilify weakness, and do not treat related illnesses as objectively or as compassionately as we could.

  20. Her death really hits home with me because I am a recovered alcoholic/addict and I have seen many of my friends die to the disease of addiction. Whenever a celebrity dies as a direct result from drug and/or alcohol abuse I feel like we have lost another one.. We have lost one more person to the darkness.

    Getting sober is enlightenment. I wish Amy and many other less known people could have received this wonderful gift. Young kids OD every single day in cities across my country. People that I am close to just give up and say f*** it. “Lighten up the darkness!”

  21. Having been born with a very addictive personality,I understand why Amy fell so hard when it came to her drug addiction,which sadly,was the death of this starlet. The addictions try to conquer you,they attempt to suck out everything else out of your heart,as well as your head,until the addiction is all that you think about,all you feel. I too have my own additions(we all do),but alas I have not turned to drugs or alcohol. Winehouse did reach out for help though at points,and if she would have gotten the correct treatment,she might have still been belting out”rehab”,and feeling as she had won over what had caused her so much emotional,and quite possibly physical agony. Knowing that Amy’s addition got the best of her kills a little part of myself. However,I now have more strength to overcome my own personal issues,she makes me want to fight,to fight for what life I could have,and fight to place myself on the path to self discovery,without having something fogging up my mind or my beating heart.
    Lily Hex

  22. my dad treats addicts and i know it’s a difficult thing to do. often it’s one step forward then two steps back. too bad the world lost such a talent, but i also think it’s sad the number of people lost to this disease that go unrecognized. because many don’t view it as a disease, rather, a bad choice or bad habit.

  23. Yup. We lost a young music genius, just because of DRUG.
    But frankly, Winehouse’s music is somehow “triggered” or inspired by drug, like Rehab.
    I believe, without drug, without depression, without alcohol, she may not create all these wonderful music.
    We love Winehouse and we love all her act and awful behaviors.
    But still, she needs to pay it off. So, drug takes her life.

    This is a really sad story…
    RIP Winehouse.

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  25. i am so glad that wordpress finally chose to pick a post about amy winehouse for freshly pressed. and i am glad it is your post that was picked because your points about addiction and mental illness are really important. i also wrote about amy’s death and specifically why it affected me as much as it did, all the way here in kenya. thanks for your post. R.I.P Amy Winehouse.

  26. Well said, Amy Winehouse was a vulnerable individual blessed with a beautiful and soulful voice. Yes, she made some poor choices in life and will no doubt be used as poster girl warning others of the dangers of drug abuse but it demonstrates the extremes a troubled soul will go to to ease life lived in the shadow of mental illness.

  27. Thank YOU for providing an understanding of the illness, and its cousins, brothers and sisters. From the male view I can only imagine the HORRORS that present themselves to the sisterhood.

  28. I must admit, while I am saddened but not shocked by Amy Winehouse’s passing, I have thoughts of my own about what brought her to this terrible place, and will only say I suspect it has a lot to do with her father, as with Lindsay Lohan.

    Amy’s quite a loss to music.

  29. I feel like people get way too caught up in shaking our head at those who are acting crazy. We’d would rather post a video making fun of them, rather than reaching out to help them. Then when they are gone we all kick ourselves because they were crying out for help and we didn’t do anything about it. Tragic!

  30. I echo your words on this. I remember being shocked at the sight of Amy when she came out with the Back to Black Album. I had discovered her a few years ago with her first album and I remembered thinking where had all her cuteness and meat gone. To me it was clear something had gone very wrong in her life despite the brilliance of her. I always felt a tinge of sadness when the headlines reported one of her benders and yes knew the day we heard of her untimely death was likely to come sooner than later.

    Addiction and mental illness are as tragic in every which way as any other illness – the way it ravages the body (like a cancer), the mind (dementia), the family (who live powerless and on tenderhooks dreading that phone call). But I think the worst tragedy is that we focus the arguments at the wrong end – legalising or not legalising drugs, the war on drugs, etc – instead of demonstrating and passing on life skills to those who are and are not at risk.

  31. I am deeply saddened by the death of Amy Winehouse.

    I am saddened as well by the stigma and blame that those among us who struggle with addictions and mental illness face in our supposedly enlightened society.

    I believe addiction is a disease, and the vulnerability to addiction genetic.

    I also believe that drinking and taking drugs are a way to self medicate deep seated emotional pain and unhealed wounds. That at the core of addiction lies the addict’s mistaken belief in his shame and unworthiness. That he is bad–rather than his behavior is unskillful.

    I believe that compassion for others–and for our selves–is the first step in addressing this terrible issue. And giving p the judgement and blame

    • YES!!!! Compassion for others! Wow! Who can honestly say “I have it all together, and I have a perfect life, childhood, profession, etc”. We all have scars whether physical or emotional. Mental Illness is more than half of the cases that suffer from substance abuse. Going to a doctor to get the appropriate medication requires one to admit they have a mental issue, have insurance, or pay for the visit and the prescriptions, and to have transportation to get there. Most who have had this problem can not maintain employment. And that is where things go down hill. There is no shame in getting help. We all can use a little help every now and then. People who want help, or those who want to find help for a friend or family member need to let the stigma go. Are the people who are going to judge you, save your life? Addiction is a disease and it should be treated as one. If you have a disease like diabetes would you go to get help?
      Who are we to judge how the client got in this kind of trouble? The focus should be helping them get up from rock bottom. Compassion and empathy are a learned response. Parents can start instilling this into their children and teaching coping skills.

      When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
      – Mark Twain

  32. We run a addiction guest blogging program over on our blog. I’ve heard a few of our guest bloggers (specifically one whose son is a heroin addict) express your same sentiments over fundraising for diseases (but not Addiction as a disease) and the stigmas that come along with being a substance abuser.

    Thanks for putting it (your honest thoughts) out into the blogosphere.

  33. No shame – if you need help with addiction or mental illness, advocate for yourself. It takes great strength to go after treatment. The alternative is incalculable loss for those who love you.

  34. I agree…substance abuse is rampant in my family…. actually addiction. It is one of the hardest diseases to heal from and addicts are often seen as less than human or people who deserve what they get because of their bad choices. People do not realize that addiction is not a choice. Yes…there are choices involved, but no one “chooses” addiction. The stigma that is placed on addicts makes it even more difficult to get help in our society. Addicts are treated like criminals instead of hurting sick people. What would happen if being addicted to food , sugar, or carbs became a crime? There needs to be a shift in our ways of dealing with this horrible and deadly disease. It hurts my heart.

  35. As a recovering alcoholic, my empathy for people in general is much greater now. It is especially tragic to see people suffer from addiction to me though. Good article.

  36. Thank you for the post, femthreads. Amy’s death is not only tragic but also it highlights the issue of substance abuse as a disease as well as its stigmatisation by society. People need to wake up and stop passing judgement on people with substance abuse. They need help not scorn and stigmatisation. Substance abuse does affect anyone regardless of wealth, social class, gender and age.

  37. I was having brunch with a friend when my iPhone buzzed with a text from another friend, “Amy Winehouse found dead.” The news was alarming to the brunch-friend and I, but we agreed that it wasn’t exactly unexpected… which is the saddest part. I’ve been listening to Back to Black and Frank all week. She was genius, and it really hits me hard how we all saw this coming but couldn’t do anything about it. Addiction is a crazily intense disease, and it can debilitate the strongest among us. I wish her passing was sparking a real discussion on the need for better understanding of this disease, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  38. I think its obvious there were problems long before Amy Winehouse needed “rehab”. Consider the names and the lyrics of her songs. Most afflictions/ addictions are a band-aid to cover an open wound and a signal that something else is going on or has gone on in the past- emotional that has not been dealt with. Most people fail to understand or even WANT to recognize the spiritual world and its power. Breaking the chains absolutely depends on getting in touch with a power greater than ourselves if we have dabbled in the darkness.

  39. Yes it’s really hard to break a habit that makes one feel so right. Addicts out there know what I mean by that. Perhaps Amy knew she had to quit one day, but she just couldn’t get passed the way drugs made her feel as yet. Sometimes it can take 4 to 5 times or even more in detox then rehab before you actually quit. Sometimes you just use alittle too much and thats all it takes. You’re gone for good. It’s still a shame though for those who die way to young due to this overwhelming addiction. I’m saddened by her passing. My deedpest condolences go out to her family. R.I.P. Amy Winehouse. Gone too soon.

  40. You raise a very valid point and I couldn’t agree with you more. As a person who sees the various degrees of mental illness and substance abuse everyday I go into work at the pharmacy, it truly makes me wish that there was just as much — if not more — attention put into mental illness and substance abuse. It’s time to help these people just as much as those suffering with other illnesses as well. Mental Illness and Substance Abuse are hard diseases to fight but it can be done.

    • Well said. The low priority (read: “high cost”) given to mental health services/addiction/substance abuse issues by the medical/pharmaceutical/insurance business often makes treatment inaccessible in addition to the social stigma attached to it. I suffer acutely as the curator of an alcohol-addicted mentally ill brilliant musician/composer/family member whose illness turns him into an abusive, toxic psychopath much of the time while making him effectively unemployable. But what to do? Dump him on skid row and make him a “public charge” in a city where the need utterly outstrips the ever-contracting supply of available resources and services to take care of such people? The second post down on my blog details a typical evening at our house.

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  42. you know what i think is hilarious? how all of the news stations that reported this story said what a “shock” it was that she passed away… Really??? She’s been a hardcore drug addict her entire life and didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was addicted to drugs. Is it really that big of a surprise that she died?

    When Layne from alice and chain’s OD’ed I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. Everyone knew he was on heroin and everyone knew if he didn’t stop he’d kill himself and that’s what happened. I don’t see how amy is any different.

  43. great post and well said! we have lost way to many incredible artists to this terrible illness. they have all gone too soon and it’s sick how there are still many who have not learned from those taken from us.

  44. You hit it right on the nail. If the world spent as much time watching/writing/photographing about these dramas with our mouths gaping open (doing nothing more than spreading “the word”), and instead invested the time, money, effort in to prevention of such tragedies we might be a few thousand steps closer to the mindful, whole, & healed humans we have the potential to be.

  45. And that’s just it. We can’t be so whatever about somebody’s dead daughter no matter how her downward spiral played out in the press. Gosh, I miss her.

  46. Drug abuse is something so dominant that the effect lingers and unstoppable. The least we can do is avoid it, it should start from oneself. The awareness must always be there and respect for one’s dignity.

  47. Winehouse to me was not an artist I connected with.I have various songs of hers on my ipod but I didn’t feel like she shaped the music industry. I felt sorry that she couldn’t cope with the fame that was bestowed on her,she felt the need to be skinny and I believe that if there were a wider variety of shapes and sizes in the media then less people will suffer anorexia and bolemia. I really respect her decision to support her goddaughter in her courier and that she made the right descisions in the end.So in her death I find myself with huge respect to Amy and let her rest in peace.

  48. Wonderful post. Loved the video. I adored Amy, and not just because i am a suffering addict. I am forty two and battle this disease every. damned. day. It is a Godforsaken life to lead. With highs and lows and yes moral judgement at every turn. Will i survive it? I pray I do for life is a smorgasbord of colors, light and wonder. Even to a burnt out old junkie/ starving poet like myself.

  49. Beautiful post. We need to stop blaming drug addicts for their addictions; a lot of other stuff around them forces them to come to it, and after they are hooked, the world doesn’t try it’s best to help them, considering them a lost cause even before they do become one.

    Kurt Cobain RIP.
    Amy Winehouse RIP.

  50. Very respectfully written. Well done for highlighting this growing problem in our society. Drug abuse leads to mental issues which most of the general public walk away from and don’t want to be associated with such issues. Sad thing is that the drug issue is getting worse and unless we all make a stand to fight it and help those who want to be helped then problems wont go away. Amy was a talented young woman who in my opinion was a lost soul led by people who took advantage of making money out of her raw talent. RIP Amy.

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  53. I really don’t think I could have put it better myself. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of negativity surrounding Amy’d death- with people making uneducated statements about her bringing it on herself. These people clearly have no understanding of what depression and addiction are- illnesses. These illnesses are as dangerous as cancer or any other life-threatening desease.

  54. I agree with your points. Substance abuse, depression and eating disorders are serious problems but more often than not, these get few attention in the society.

  55. Very well-written post. Thanks for sharing it, and opening our eyes. We have to stop blaming addicts for their addictions, and help them instead of pushing them deeper into addiction. Amy was talented and could’ve gone a long way. RIP.

  56. People at large feel more sympathy and rally around diseases such as Lymphoma, for instance, because they feel the victim does not choose to have the disease. They are truly a victim who shows up one day to the doctor and learns “you have cancer.” With mental health, this area is just not understood and – frankly – it’s rather pathetic. No one chooses, for instance, to be bi-polar. But, there it is. A real diagnosis that impacts someone’s life and family. A student might get a diagnosis in the middle of the semester. There is no “choice.” People just don’t understand this area of mental health. A student could get diagnosed in the middle of a semester. I’ve seen it happen. Everyone gets the 101 of a lifetime. Last, there is addiction. This is the toughest one of them all. People use the term “addictive personalities” and, truthfully, certain individuals are more prone to addiction than others. But, the pubic at large feels that if you brought that pill to your mouth; or that needle to your arm; or that drink to your mouth – then YOU did that, and it was your choice, so there is no sympathy. There is not any knowledge of the long history of that person for 5, 10, or 20 years before feeling depressed, having no help, feeling they have no options and that – in some ways – this is a stop before suicide. It is the escape. I have a friend in this bus stop right now. I hope the bus never comes, and that they leave the stop and knock on my door someday. But they may not. And it’s sad. And what’s more sad is no one cares. Not even them. So, the worst part about being an addict is that it’s too late. By the time they are an addict, there is a wall and it is very hard to get through. People who are addicts and “come back from the dead” so to speak are freaks of nature (in a good way). That’s why this post is brilliant. There are so many ways to help…at least we can try, and say we did, before dropping them off at the bus stop. Because, that IS what this post is saying. It’s saying, ‘You know what? We’re forgetting and abandoning these people and picking up our pom poms for other people.” And it’s true.

  57. When the news of Winehouse’s death broke a week ago today, it was so disheartening to read so many unsympathetic and cruel comments. Over the past decade, there have been times that I really thought people in general were starting to understand and accept those who suffer with mental illness. With all of the commercials for Anti-Depressants and the countless TV programs that have focused on various disorders, it seemed that the dialog about mental illness had become more open. Unfortunately, the death of Amy Winehouse shows that we as a society still have a long way to go in having a better understanding of this issue.

  58. Pingback: Rest in Peace, You Soulful Little Angel « Life According to Mold…

  59. When I see the struggles of young celebrities like Amy, Lindsey, Brittany, and Paris my heart goes out to them as a mother. There is no class discrimination when it comes to mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, etc. My daughter is 28 and we have been consumed by her struggle with substance abuse, eating disorders, and mental illness for over 10 years. She is currently (finally) in a good treatment program. I also have a son 26 with a mental disorder which lead to substance abuse or self medicating. Both have had contact with law enforcement. It is very much a stuggle, even with diagnosis, to get your loved one to continue with treatment. That is the nature of mental illness. Many times I have feared I would receive the phone call that Amy’s family did. My heart goes out to them. She was beautiful.

  60. True. We have to show that even if we were deep in the grasp of addiction there is a way out and an amazing life to live. We have to show those who look down on addicts as weak, that we are actually strong…so strong that we hada problem controlling our power and used
    drugs and alchol to find some weird balance or numbness to our life. When we are free of addiction our power is still there and we find great ways to use it and show everyone how truly stong and creative we are.

  61. I shared the same song “Tears Dry On Their Own” for my music post on Monday. I am still haunted by what has become Amy’s fate. Was it a surprise? No. Did her family and friends suffer right along with her watching the toll of her drug abuse? Yes. And that is why this end, as the end of many young celebrities before her, is so tragic. As we all enjoyed her rich talents and cringed while watching the spiral down, there was nothing we could do. No power anyone could use to tap into the pain and make her change. They say where there is life, there is hope. I’ve always held a hope that something could turn around and now that is no more.

  62. We are a society obsessed with watching people of influence fail. It’s some shared masochism. I have faith that in the future these behaviors will become less interesting and more disturbing, until then people will need us mental health professionals.

  63. I agree with you. We need to pay more attention to addiction and mental illness, but without this eye of “You´re dusted and I´m so much better than you”. We need to design awareness campaigns that really have impact, without moralism and prejudice.

  64. I was deeply moved and wrote about her passing in my blog, as well, and certainly can relate to “shudder when Rehab shows up on our play lists.” Very well written post. Thanks for sharing!

  65. What good little gullible people we are. We’re all parrotting the official story to eachother over and over again, just as is expected of us. ‘Oh, amy this and Amy that. We all loved her so much, what a brilliant singer she was, etc..’ While the truth of the matter is the music industry is run by the same bunch of satanic maniacs that rule the world in secrecy who pick our idols for us so we can whorship them and feel insignificant at the same time. When will all of you people wake up from lala-land and start to realise this is all a cult. Winehouse’s death was, like so many others in pop history, a blood sacrifice. And a diversion from the Oslo-killings and the Rupert Murdoch phone tappings. Don’t believe me?
    Do the research, there’s plenty of material on this topic available nowadays on the net, i should think. Or are you too scared to discover the truth?

    Rancilio Silvia

  66. If you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict, or if you have never suffered from depression, you are not qualified to comment about the disease. All you see are the symptoms, you will never experience the unending, everyday struggle to contain or express the sorrow, anguish, and pain you feel. If you have never truly been there, you will never understand.

  67. This (creativity & self medication) is something I’ve been on both sides of for a long, long, time. I think each person/life is in a way a perfect storm; and the really creative persons are always on the outside looking in; and that takes a toll. There is an alienation factor that comes with being super creative and the drugs & all are a way to escape – a time out – if you will, from a brain that won’t quit. And if you were to “Rehab” the genius, you are f_ing with their soul. It did not save David Foster Wallace to get clean. I’m thinking there’s a way – but Betty Ford ain’t necessarily the best way for the truly creative – which Amy Winehouse was. She was Amazing!

  68. Great post! We are who we are(nature and nurture). Mental illness is still the least understood medical disease, probably because of it’s wide spectrum, a simple example is Autism, ADHD, ADD, ranging from —-mutism——severe hyperactivty. There is need for more research and empaththy for sufferers, irrespective of it’s manifestation.

  69. I’ve escaped from alcohol just in time. Didn’d like cocaine or marijuana. I have being taking adictive substances, government approved. I live, underlive. Adiction is not healthy, I mean, nobody get adicted because he or she desire. It’s chemical, it’s inscripted in our gens. Amy has been just another one. I question, though, if her career has anything to do with.

  70. A very necessary post, in my opinion. While grieving for Amy, it’s important not to forget those who still continue to suffer as she did. It’s too late for her, but there’s still hope for them. It disturbs me how much the press enjoys milking her suffering without bringing the seriousness of her addiction forward.

    I welcome your opinion on a little something I wrote about mourning Amy, despite the grave tragedy in Norway

  71. Great point. Especially enjoyed your example of promoting awareness/fundraising for certain causes but not others. If people have gotten over the stigma of AIDS and Cancer – there’s no reason we should be so quick to dismiss your other examples (depression, addiction, etc) as taboo.

  72. Mental Illness? Substance abuse like heart health and cancer? Regarding cancer, people don’t choose to have cancer. People choose to be alcoholics and abusers. They are weak. But yes, like cancer victims, they do need help, only their choices brought them to their unfavorable state, not a quickly sprouted “illness.”

    • “…people don’t choose to have cancer.” Many people end up with cancer due to lifestyle choices (poor diet, too much alcohol, smoking).

      “People choose to be alcoholics and abusers.” Hmmm, no. Some people are genetically predisposed to addictive behavior. People addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc. don’t usually want to stay living that way. Many struggle to get back on track and need help.

      “They are weak.” Most ignorant comment I’ve seen yet.

      People don’t choose to have depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness hence the reference that people with mental illness should be represented, supported, and treated just like people with cardiac, cancer, or other medical conditions.

      Many “abusers” do so due to an underlying condition, often depression, with the substance of choice being used to mask the pain. Believe me when I tell you, the pain from depression is unlike any other and it literally takes away the very energy/spirit/fight that you need to get yourself to feeling better. That is why I label depression, “human kryptonite”.

      I obviously can’t say specifically what was going through Ms. Winehouses’ mind, but I think it’s safe to say she suffered terribly on the inside. At least now for her that pain is no more…

  73. It feels different if we lose such great talent….Good riddance Amy.. your one of my idols..

  74. Anything a celebrity undergoes is usually regarded as another “touch up” to their glam lifestyles — others forget they are people too.

    Its a tragedy her death…

  75. Amy Winehouse who cares! Look she had more than most and SHE chose to kill herself. Nobody forced her to take the drugs and nobody can say it was a good thing either. The point is we have to stay strong on the NO Drugs, and send a message to all her fans and all people all over the world who feel pity for a drug taking law braking fiend and I for one want all the younger and vulnerable people out there to realize it wasn’t nice and it isn’t pretty.

    Anyone can kill themselves needlessly it takes real courage to live and fight and do well for yourself and your family.

  76. R. Kemp is right. Mental illness is all in people’s heads. They are just weak people. Maybe we even can save money and reduce the deficit if we close all of the mental wards in the country. Maybe we should just do away with them. Hitler tried it in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s when German soldiers who came back from the war with major head trauma and were useless to Germany were gassed and cremated. Germany didn’t have a mental illness problem. I think that R. Kemp should post a plan for the irradication of mental disorders for this county. If R. Kemp can’t do this, then maybe he or she should read some books on mental disorders and how and why people have them.

    People who have mental disorders do not want them. Some are genetic, some are situational, and some have had problems in childhood that has led to their illness. Drugs alone are often not the problem but are used as a solution to a person’s problem. It is a form of self medication. The mental disorder comes first and the drugs are used so the person can feel better. They don’t know any other way out. Many people who are drug addicts have other problems that develop first. That is where the work must take place. People need to be diagnosed early and not when they are near death.If society stops stigmatizing mental disorders and treat it like other diseases then maybe progress can be made. The really sick people are those that just don’t care.

  77. Normally I would not respond to this, because Amy’s tatoos really scare me, but I think that it would be really cool if we could rehab rehab. I have lost so many friends to substance abuse to the point now in a way that I am slightly isolated at times. Plus I became a LDS back in 1999 and turned away from alcohol completely and that makes me even more difficult for them to understand. Really I only drank for 7 years of my life so it shouldn’t be all that complicated for them, but apparently it is. I am from Vermont a state known for maple syrup, milking cows, corn fields and woods, lots of woods and deer … I am a mom now and I enjoy taking pictures and carving pumpkins, grocery shopping, clothes shopping (not with a glass of wine after wards or whatever they do) walks on the bike path, etc. playing the piano, cooking for guests, but I never see my old high school and grade school friends, because I lost them all to a better bottle of beer, even my little brother.

  78. I would have to disagree on drug abuse being a disease. I think it can be harmful to assign that label as it can diminish personal responsibility. It is not like a drug addict catches an addiction while visiting a third world country or riding the subway. It is a choice to be addicted, just as it is a choice to not be.

    The problem with all the drug and alcohol abuse is that Hollywood and the music industry glamorize it. They make it cool to drink and do drugs. The only way to really impact the affect that drugs have on people is to destroy its allure. Will music and movies do it?

    Very unfortunate story (Winehouse death).

  79. I really appreciate your post. I’m not a huge Amy Winehouse fan, but her death was absolutely tragic. My brother overdosed on heroin at the age of 27, when I was in 7th grade. My mother has not been the same since. I will never forget sitting next to her on her bed, listening to her making phone calls to get his affairs straightened out and to get his funeral arranged. After ending one of the calls, she looked at me and started crying. She told me she hated that people treated her like shit because of how her son died. I hated it to.

    I’m glad that people like you are around trying to change that mindset. Thank you.

  80. As someone with a mental illness (Bipolar) herself, you hit the nail on the head with your blog. People say they understand but they really don’t. The people with mental illnesses, drug and substance abuse are thought of as the underbelly of society. In many cities in North American there aren’ t the resources to fund rehab and mental health facilities for the marginalized, which includes all of the above. I live in Canada and things aren’t much better. They have closed a lot of places that could have stayed open and helped people. I think we need to have telethons and marathons to raise money so we can keep the rehab/mental facilities open, as well as build new ones. Thank you for remembering and writing your blog….I wish more people understood….it is a really lonely place being inside our bodies and minds. Sometimes, it is very difficult to ask for help.

  81. That’s why I’d never get why some people have gone ridiculing Winehouse’s death. I loved her and no amount of “demons” ie drug abuse, etc. can make people judge her completely. She is an artist, and she has contrrbuted something to the industry down to its soul, I must say.

    Let’s just say hope this remains a lesson for all of us.

    RIP Amy.

  82. mental disorder is a very big handle for a lot of issues people are facing daily, there is no quick fix, but that doesn’t mean we should just accept it and then glorify an ill person just because she was famous. my point was there are a lot of ill people out there and many of them are young and defenseless and by not addressing the point she was a drug taker and drugs are wrong when commenting on how sad we all are at the loss of a life we are in some ways condoning her behavior to the less fortunate among us.
    This is a scary scenario, because through time we as a society have in many ways publicized the antics of Rock Stars and given it almost one could say a legitimate status if your a musician and famous.
    Now for the fix you mentioned, we should when clearly the person is on a troubled path as drugs is a killer treat it socially, by that I mean force the person into rehab not for a 2 week holiday but until they are cured and use their money to do it. Yes mental camps if you want to use the same language but instead of detention as the main gain rehabilitation. I believe stars nowadays just go to rehab as a publicity stunt in many cases for a rest and to get out of the public eye for a while. Then straight back to the drugs because nobody has any say on what they do. We should try something radical now as it is clear nothing else is working and relying on ill person to understand they have a problem is outdated and not working.

  83. So true. I know of Amy Winehouse but I would not be able to name one of her songs. I don’t think that it matters that she was famous or not, her death was a sad loss. Many people lose their lives to the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. It is such a sad thing. She was far too talented and far too young to be so lost, yet millions watched it all happen and still she seemed to have no help.
    I feel for anyone who was close to her.

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  85. I would like to reply to a couple of comments at once:

    Firstly as to whether drug addiction is a disease. I think we must look at the basics of our understanding of diseases and then broaden our understanding of what constitutes a disease. This is also a fundamental need to my points made and the essence of our discussion.

    Would you agree its an illness and if so would you consider that because the “illness” has not been contracted from a physical source but a moral / society infectant then it could be classed as a disease.

    This is paramount to our understanding and the help we then offer. Its clear that when we have the experts who have read all the books and have some very cool answers, we still don’t have the definitive cure. The cure as it were, is and has to be based on some form of control, and not to be just left in the hands of the infected person. Yes infected by our social and moral standing on drugs and it is our responsibility to accept this and to try and do something positive.

    Please read some of the comments here and read behind the lines, in every single case there is a point when the person in trouble tries to reach out and often there isn’t a hand out there to grab them and bring them in. Thats because no matter how many books we read and how educated and socially correct we become, we DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER AND WE DON’T OFFER MUCH HELP TO THE MASSES.

    Now if we lets say stole a car, we could assume its a safe bet we would be made to pay for it and given help to stop us doing it again, if you take drugs your on your own until it effects us then we punish you. Jeepers it makes me so mad this subject because i like I suppose everyone here reading it are so helpless.

    I want society to realize its a disease and then to help treat the disease both with the ill person and then with the ill society

  86. Great post- lots to think about there. Such a beautiful, talented girl. RIP Amy. I’ve known too many people struggle with mental illness and drug addiction- and a few who have died. I am in Australia and here there is nowhere near enough funding for research into these topics; such a tragedy.

  87. aye she was bound to die from her spiraling substance abuse.

    *reading some comments left behind* … but describing this as a disease? (looking at you expert bloggers)…. c’mon. though I do not know much about her Music and her history (besides news headlines) describing it in that way may fit that description…. bleh tiered.

  88. I have been saying this lately and it seems like no one has really listened yet, but I went to rehab a couple of times before I was 21 I think around those years anyway. I also did AA and all sorts of different counseling that I did not appreciate or enjoy, but then something magical happened. On my 24th birthday I was in college…I got up, my boyfriend drove me from AZ to Mexico as my birthday present. That morning I had a couple of glasses of a wine cooler type of wine while I did some of my homework and then he asked me to marry him and I almost never had a drink again and I quit smoking pot. That morning that was my last intake of any altering substance like that. It is now 12 years later. It was something about that birthday + my age + I was in love.. Yes, I was in love so the chemicals were right there, but it is 12 years later now. I think that my anti-substance abuse education perhaps accumulated with in me and then kicked in when I was mature enough to obsorb it. I was 24 years old. No AA is not perfect they talk about some foreign God, but if you have abuse problems I suggest you pull yourself up by the boot straps an get all of the help that you can.

  89. true words. very sad storry with amy. it reminds me m. jackson’s. i guess for some great stars, beeing so great is too much to take care of. they become stars of drama where the world is a scene and people are audience. the audience which thinks is outside the play. but they are not!

  90. Thank you for sharing your emotional past with us.

    The point you are making I believe is that YOU cured yourself, and my goodness well done girl. I refer to a small point you mentioned that the chemistry is right, well in most cases where abuse is high on their mental state the chemistry is all wrong.

    Chemical depression can be cured overnight with Ciprimil, however, the main problem here is first understanding you have depression and then finding someone to listen to you and then finding someone to help you. Wow a bit like the never ending story,

    It is a never ending story and will be until we have an agreement and a socially aware program which is clear with no PC correctiveness just good old fashioned help. In the UK we can get all the help we need and its free !!!!

    But most dont use it, instead they go thieving and continue their needs becasue, they are a little weaker in their resolve than most non addicted people and nobody can tell them what to do. If you have an infectious disease here in the UK the authorities contact everyone you have been in contact with sexually and then treat everyone. Why not do this with drugs and addiction.

    The underlying issues some users face is I agree something to do with the past and abuse and depression and possible all, but I am fed up with hearing this to be fair, I want to see what about the future the good treatment we receive not abuse. The good help we got not a smack in the face, the authorities saying enough is enough your going to rehab for 5 years if needed, as they would send you to prison for committing an offence they dont send drug addicts because it would fill the prison.

    Lets get off our arses and do something positive as it may be you or your children we are writing about next week

  91. I watched a program last nigh about our galaxy, how the stars are formed and how many stars are out there and how far away. I watched with interest about our galaxy and the milky way, how if we the earth disappeared it would be like a grain of rice dropped from a billion tons of rice.

    Then it went even further where if we sent a message back to earth it would take 7 billion years to reach us, and yet there is billions more galaxy’s and an infinite number of stars and possible inhabited planets like ours.

    My point is we seem to be spending our time and resources searching the universe and feel like we are the only ones here, much as we do on our own planet. We are socially conditioned to protect ourselves and more importantly our property yet on the scale of things we are but a microbe in the cosmic arena.

    We generally treat people who are different with distaste or simply ignore it and hope it goes away. We let people with depression and illness such as drug addiction go their own way until it effects us then we put them in Jail or bury them.
    I am here to tell all that I R Kemp do care and do want to help, I am here not to tell you your wrong but don’t tell you why. I am not here to lecture but to in form and if I could I would be next to you and give you my strength.
    I wont tell you its ok to take drugs and I wont listen to your excuses for taking drugs. I will give you my friendship and my help and I wont let you down.

    The adage 90% don’t want to hear your problems and 9% will use it against you is WRONG.
    People do care and if you reach out there is a hand and there are people who want to be with you.
    I am advocating a buddy system with a stranger, someone who is perhaps a little stronger mentally and is versed in mental coaching, without the mightier than thou approach.

    If you are having issues try it, if you know someone who is having issues reach out.

  92. Its all about you here isnt it !!!!

    What have I done about it……..

    look, with an attitude such as this, you would be classed as a feeder, a person who has a view, but nothing to add. I have written these comments, that’s something isn’t. I am trying to be positive, I am offering my help, I am willing to talk, I am here and not in a book.

    I could tell you about my medical background and the charity work I do but then you would of brought me here to your level when this isnt about you or me. Please feed from someone else and I will try to feed the people who really need it.

    I can help you if you need a friend, I may even be able to find you one on this Blog if you need it. Please tell me why are you angry with me, is it you have read a book on mental disorder and you think I have not ?.

  93. Thank you for giving the millions of people with mental health and/or substance abuse problems a much needed voice. I suffer from depression myself, and after fighting it for a long time, mainly because I was brought up thinking that depression was something that could be solved by going out and mowing the lawn, I’m on medication and see a therapist regularly and I am in the best place mentally and emotionally than I have been for most of my life. Addiction is still much MORE stigmatized in our society; people see it still as a ‘choice’ but true addicts have as little choice in using, as I do in being depressed. Having dated an addict for a number of years, I can say with first hand knowledge that addiction is a disease, as much as depression is and both require treatment in order to heal. Some never step up for that help, but those that do should be embraced for their emotional strength, because it takes a lot to be humble enough to ask for help.

  94. You are very welcome, and may I say well done you !!!

    Its as you say the most difficult thing in the world to reach out to someone and generally a stranger.

    Jesus 54 by your comments one would assume you have read a book, I applaud you but this isn’t the forum for feeding, please use another as here people are trying to be genuine and are opening their inner most fears to us, in the hope it helps other people.

    This is the perfect illustration of our discussions re feeders and there needs. I appreciate they have issues too but I am on this one for the moment, the same applies to the feeders however, just reach out and someone will help you. It can be a little draining and your helper will need to re charge now and again but its a healthy way to join the new social order.

    My mother used to say “charity begins at home” well in a way she was right, help can be from anywhere and dont throw your family and existing friends into the fire just yet. Feed and be happy and then as the movie said “Pass it on”

  95. Dear All.

    I would like you try this:

    Lets say its not a disease, just for a moment, although we can easily show it is a disease. Now we have taken this away from the issues we can now concentrate on the real facts.

    its a “problem” which society is avoiding, whilst we spend time politically determining the right classification, we do nothing for the sufferers either the addicted or their family and friends.

    These forums typify our inability to stop the blame throwing and pissing contests on who has read what. It isn’t about getting your name in the medical journal with a miracle cure all, its about us helping a single soul at a time and as they say “one brick at a time”.

    How nice it would be if we went back to the old traditional support function of family, friends and neighbours. Then add to the this our ongoing education process along with our ability as human beings to heal our selves and others and we may just start to make a difference.

    Our minds are a powerful tool which we know so little about, we see the damage it can do to ourselves and we still c an not control it. I had cancer recently and was diagnosed T5 they gave me a 30% chance to survive and I underwent the normal Chemo and Radio intensive treatment.

    Now I was offered no end of drugs for the pain and sickness etc and decided to manage this myself by control of my own pain. I never took a single tablet or dose of pain killer, 4 operations later they took all my teeth out and fed me through a tube in my stomach.

    Three days after my last operation I walked out of the hospital and went home, I made sure I was not going to just roll over as many of my poor bed mates had done and died.

    My Family friends and strangers helped me through this and my mind was strong enough to get over the depression and pain and within three weeks I was well and drinking beer and felt great.

    My mind did this for me and now I want to use this new found power to help other people do the same. This is my point re drugs and addictions its a cry for help because they cannot manage a day or an hour without the support of the addicted subsatnce. Please try to be that substance for the person you know with the disease and please be strong for them, once they see that they are part of our lives and we want them to be they will grow stronger and their minds will kick in.rkem

  96. A truly tragic occurrence, however, what bothers me most is the media. Nowadays, you are correct, there is hardly any popularity for substance abuse as with other diseases. The part that is worse than that is that the media makes the substance abuse a popular and normal part of fame. Nobody blinks anymore when another start hits the pit. The more drugs, the more fame. I feel like we can’t ignore it, but we should find a better way to publicize and show that it is a bad thing, and a disease that requires help.

  97. So true, and what a great eye-opener. While others are downplaying this loss, I applaud you on addressing it as it is, a tragedy from illness that gets little support!

  98. We can all make comments and pass judgement but how much of us really know the struggles Amy Winehouse had in her life? Yes we can all agree that she was somewhat self destructive; but did she have true friends who where there for her to help her through her tough times? Apparently not. You see most of us are quick to pass judgement but few of us are willing to take the time to motivate and help others. She clearly had problems and I have a feeling not many friends to motivate her. At least that is my opinion. However she is gone. May her soul Rest In Peace.

  99. Our society seems to feed on other people’s addictions. Hence the popularity of tabloids and endless reality shows that showcase other people’s pain and heartache. We are all complicit, particularly when it comes to artists of any sort. We all seem to believe in the whole idea of the tortured, struggling artist that self-destructs, but not before giving us endless entertainment as they implode, live, in front of our very eyes.
    It is rare that we see the examples of the many fine artists who are not imploding and who are living relatively “normal” (I put that in quotes because who knows what normal is) lives but who also happen to be creative human beings. Let’s see more examples of those people. Oh, wait, those people don’t sell magazines or create lots of ratings on television.
    Thanks for your post. I am so sad that we lost Amy and all the music that she could have continued to create.

  100. I totally agree with this post! I know all too well the stigma of mental illness and I am, in my own small way, attempting to re-adjust the balance, albeit through an anonymous blog. I believe that drug addiction, self-harm and alcoholism are all symptoms of the same group of diseases – those relating to mental health.

    RIP Amy.

  101. I have always felt this way. We make a big deal about cancer but depression is something swept under the rug. I made this argument when I participated in the NAMI walk, National Alliance on Mental Illness walk. I did not reach my goal, but it seems my other friends who walked for Breast Cancer and St. Jude’s were able to. How sad.

  102. Can you ask their doctors to start advocating it? I do not know what information my friend in Sao Paulo, Brazil and my cousin in CT or MA are getting for their cancer treatment. I hope that it is the best.

  103. I buy mine from vitamin depot but I am sure there are many outlets for it, I must say my throat cancer and my well being improved due to it. Check google and make sure you get the right one

  104. Awesome post! There are thousands of people fighting addiction and, unfortunately, many of them are going through it alone. Drinking is so celebrated that it shouldn’t be surprising that people have problems managing it. However, we think it’s normal to have a drink or get a little drunk so lots of people have a hard time understanding why anyone would have a problem. On the opposite end of the spectrum is drug use, which to completely discouraged, so when someone has a problem with drugs, some feel as thought it’s their fault for starting. Sadly, this type of thinking leaves most people to struggle alone. Why not have some type of support for people struggling with addiction? It’s a serious issue that affects many lives.

  105. Good post.

    Unfortunately, treating substance abuse as the illness it is in popular culture and media isn’t entertaining and therefore doesn’t create revenue. Sad commentary on today’s culture.

  106. In any event, one would expect hindsight bias and rationalization to fuel debates about what could and should have happened to Amy now that she has passed on.
    the only solid fact is that the entire train of events started as a set of choices that were made and ended as a set of consequences that were inevitable.
    if we refuse to face this fact ,then we might not be able to gain much from her death. I think her death teaches us that we cannot afford to make destructive choices because we found ourselves in a defective society or among depraved peers.

  107. You are so right about her sultry-jazzy voice. “Love is a Losing Game” … was one of my favorites along with … “Back to Black”. I have been a follower of hers and had hopes of more CD’s each time I heard her mentioned in the news. It is a great loss to have so much talent gone so soon and so young.

    YES … we need to stop looking at mental illnes as something you can turn on and off. It is, indeed, a disease that needs more attention and, defintely, more compassion.

    Great post,

  108. Pingback: For: Jay Ranae «

  109. It is not uncommon for mental illness and substance abuse to go hand in hand. I have a father and a sister who struggle with both. It is easy to remember them, but almost impossible to help them. The line between the illness and the addiction becomes increasingly blurred with time, and they have no desire to fix either. I desperately love my dad and sister. I cannot cure them. I , too will show no surprise when I get the phone call that my sister or dad has overdosed or taken their own life. My lack of surprise, however, will not nullify my grief. I grieve for them every day. I remember them. But I cannot stop living because they are dying. It is the epitomy of a losing battle.

    • And that is exactly why Amy is dead. She cried and no one wanted to hear just like you are doing to your sister and father. You know what is going on but you’ve taken the defeatist attitude to wait until they die. Think about it before you go snapping at me for lacking consideration for your self pity.

      • I think you misunderstand me. I do not mean to sit in self pity, but to attest to the power of the disease. On the same front, before you judge me take a moment to consider what it is like to grow up with a mentally ill and drug abusing father. He committed offenses in his derranged states that no child should ever have to experience.
        Still, even now, I reach out to him and bail him out. I do not wait for them to die, I wait for them to choose to live.

  110. I was really touched by this tender and provocative plea– you are absolutely right to look at the tragedy of Winehouse’s death through a deeper lens: should she have died of cancer like Frarrah Fawcet or Patric Swayze recently, she and her illnesses might have been more legitimized, instead of being seen as the inevitable outcome of her fame and disease. More certainly ought to be done to bring her battles into sharper focus. Really well said, thank you.

  111. Pingback: Amy Winehouse and rehabbing the stigma of substance abuse (via FemThreads) | sallyann16

  112. I agree with everything Meg said in her excellent piece, this is the kind of piece I wanted to write but fell short in some ways.But this isn’t about me, it’s about what we do with this information now. How do we end the 27 Club?

  113. Quando falamos de algo tão gravíssimo como a “dependência”, seja qual for sua natureza, podemos observar as varias formas que os Órgãos, as famílias, os amigos, muitas das vezes o próprio dependente, chegam a lutar de varias formas, maneiras para combater e mesmo assim não é facíl. Deixo aqui para os amigos uma pergunta? Será que não poderia ter ao menos prorrogável mais a vida dessa diva, se os pais delas e empresários pessoas ligadas a ela, estivessem eles pensado um pouco nela e não apenas na carreira melhor (dinheiro) não poderia ter evitado ou ao menos prorrogável essa tragedia?

  114. Coming from someone with an anorexic sister, I support your post. There are lots of people in the world with depression and other mental illnesses who don’t get the same amount of awareness. They have to struggle in their daily lives too, and I think it’s time to inspire people to give help to those in need.

  115. Great post. Interestingly, I was thinking today about how her eating disorders were much more stigmatized than her substance abuse. I keep finding that that is common – substance abuse is much more out there than eating disorders or bipolar disorder, etc.

  116. Pingback: Amy gone!… black day « Darkforbid

  117. Mental illness is getting less of a fair deal everywhere it seems. I know that here in Raleigh, NC., mental health facilities have closed down, state and private, forcing those residents to seek outpatient MH treatment. I beleive that the entire country is giving the population of substance abusers and mentally ill people an, “I couldn’t give a damn,” attitude. Maybe we need to educate people more on these illnesses and diseases that they obviously don’t understand, and, it appears, don’t care to understand as evidenced by what’s happening in the country today with the mentality and resultant actions that surround such issues. I think it’s entirely sad, I hate that Amy Winehouse died, I was a fan of her music. In all reality, I can’t see any major changes being made into helping people like Amy anytime soon.

  118. The problem is that there’s so little you can do for an addict I suppose. They’ll never get clean till they’re ready – however hard you try to fix them. I feel sad for Amy’s friends and family as people are so quick to point the finger and ask ‘why did nobody help her?’

    The world would be a better place if people weren’t so ready to blame.

  119. The focus should not be on substance abuse for it is a choice one makes. What everyone fails to mention is the young and tender 27 year old woman died not because of drugs rather; the leeches who lived off the sweat of her brow who ignored her cries. It’s always the same script when the media covers tragedies and itself ignores the real factor for fear of defamation lawsuits and jumps on the drug bandwagon. You telling me her leeches did not know about her self destructive behaviour? It was well publicized and what kept her name alive since she hadn’t done anything in 4 years. The industry thrives on drugs and it is what it is.

  120. Great post! I think the reason people rally behind breast-cancer awareness, diabetes, etc. is because they view these diseases in a different category than eating disorders or substance abuse. I believe the difference is the general public believes substance abuse is an individuals choice versus breath cancer with no choice involved.

    As one who has struggled with substance abuse and eating disorders, I want to affirm you in your post and firmly believe we should raise awareness and support of the diseases and issues that take inviduals lives — whether its cancer or substance abuse. Both individuals are suffering and both need support and encouragement.

    What happened to Amy is heart-breaking. It feels like the demons she fought against finally won. How tragic!

    • It’s leeches like you that killed her. WTF DOES BREAST CANCER GOT TO DO WIT FUCKKIN AMY? Talentless leeches like you who live off others’ talents and capitulate on their misery. Gimme a break, breast cancer and heroin use are the same? Get out of the house more or keep your opinions to yoursel.

  121. We do love to demonize substance abuse and non-neurotypicality, don’t we? I think as a culture we pushed her in this direction, giving her media coverage when we should’ve been pushing for her to get help. It’s tragic, and I wish it could’ve been prevented instead of unconsciously encouraged.

  122. Good article from the New York Times Health section titled “Who Falls to Addiction, and Who Is Unscathed?” referencing Amy Winehouse. I’ve posted this link at the end for anyone interested in reading the article. I’ve seen many people with some strong comments about Amy Winehouse, addiction, mental illness, etc. So sad that so many people still perceive drug addiction, mental illness, etc. as somehow being due to moral or personal weakness. Maybe someday it will be treated with equal fervor as other illnesses (cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, etc.).

  123. I’ve had several friends who died by abusing legal drugs and illegal drugs alike. There was no help to be had for them stigma or not.It’s like any addiction, they have to wqant help, and Amy didn’t seem to want it.

  124. Maybe you rolled your eyes and chuckled, I didn’t. I winced. I wept to hear of her death. I was hoping against hope and I knew this. Yet I held on to hope. Marianne Faithfull survived, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker. But some didn’t: Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix. Johnny Thunders lived longer. Some make it, some don’t. Russell Brand wrote the best tribute.
    By the way, Amy Winehouse wasn’t hip-hop. Not even remotely.

  125. Amy just like most vulnerable people had no choice, I knew the person who supplied her on a regular basis, and he had no choice. Amy head butted my friend in the Camden pub Bartock, and he had a choice.

    My point is having no choices is usually difficult for anyone whose life is shall we say “on track socially, and mentally”, we can normally deal with life’s curve balls and move on.

    People like Amy did not have this opportunity (choice) as she was ill and couldn’t move on due to her addiction, the seller was an old man and he had no choices due to his financial situation and his moral standing and his addiction. My friend however had the choice to go away and he did not so Amy head butted him ( good Girl).

    When will someone help people with no choices, and give them some choices whether they want it or not, when will there be people with something to offer be able to offer these choices, when will councils and governments give people with addictions and illness the support, which they cry out for everyday of their lives.

    We all need choices………….

  126. Oliva K., I was thinking about my father tonight. He and my mother have commited serial offenses against me from the time that I was 16 on that I never would have expected. I have a 6 year old son now and I take him to my parents house often now and he gardens over there.

    • I think that it is the right thing for my son to know his grandparents while they are still alive, but I do not know if it is the right thing for me. I feel uncomfortable over there, like they do not give me enough personal space and I never know if they are going to be honest in their speech or say something horrendos. Then sometimes I get so tired from them that I get really lofty headed about it and I think (I am a Latter Day Saint) I think well, if Christ returns this is one thing that I have to say for myself… I can say, “My parents are still alive. They live in Montpelier, Vermont, up the road from me”. I used to defend my parents a lot as a child.

      • I, too, have children. I believe that they need to know their grandfather as much as their grandfather needs the compassion and love that comes from knowing them. I keep boundaries: I do not leave them alone with him, I make sure that he is somewhat stable, and I redirect inappropriate conversations. There are so many things from my childhood that I could not process as a child. I long to spare my children that same anguish. It is a fine line with no clear direction. I try only to err on the side of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

        You are not alone in your struggle, trust your instincts and teach your child the power of love.

  127. There is hardly any doubt on how talented and honest musician Amy was… Great Britain has lost one of its brightest talents. We have seen plenty of musical geniuses wasted on substance abuse… Syd Barret, Morrison and Cobaine… recently Pete Doherty is walking on its border line too. I can sort of understand why they seek for some help from drugs but it is extremely unpleasant to watch gifted musicians pass away like this… RIP Amy Winehouse

    • I knew Amy but that doesn’t mean I taught her to sing. What I was saying is that the local drug dealer was an old shabby guy with the same old pathetic story everyone else uses.

      It was in response to the comment re mental disorder, people use this label to excuse anti social behavior.

      ” My point is having no choices is usually difficult for anyone whose life is shall we say “on track socially, and mentally”, we can normally deal with life’s curve balls and move on.”

      A good example is the riots this week, we just had 4 young guys speaking the truth for once, when Sky news asked why they robbed, they said MONEY not disorder poor living or mental disorder.

  128. WOW. London riots, breast cancer, heroine addiction all related to Wynehouse death. The London riots are a result of the racism in that country and the staging of events to justify more police brutality. A black kid was gunned down by the London pigs for no reason other than he was black and you link this to Amy? You’re an ignoramus

    • I see by your comments you are looking for someone to take you seriously and this may be wrong forum.
      You might try www. I am a fukkin idiot .com then you may be introduced to some people with the same mental capacity. This forum is for adults where their brain is in their head not their arse.

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