Monday, July 25, 2011

The Monkey on your back....

Over dinner with friends Saturday night, I learned of Amy Winehouse's death. I knew of her music, that she was talented, but was often overshined by her addictions. Winning five grammies is nothing to sneeze at, and being called a genius by her peers is nothing to dismiss either. But was scares me is the fact that she couldn't outrun what chased her the most. Drugs and alcohol. We see this all the time. Many young stars dead by the age of 27. Gene Simmons commented that the secret to his long term success as a rock musician wasn't that he avoided partying and women, but he didn't get addicted to drugs. Drugs will get you everytime. Now there are people that will dismiss this young woman's death as a life of "overindulgence", imaturity, not giving a damn, selfishness etc. and I must admit that at one time I would have voiced that sentiment as well. How different it is when you sit in rooms with addicts, and when you yourself are one. When no matter how many days of sobriety you have just seeing a glass of wine can trip your mind up to say, "oh, you can handle this now, besides it's just one drink, what can it hurt?!" I do not pretend to have any answers, I only know that some people make it, and some don't. Russell Brand who has struggled with his own addictions summed it up best when he said of Winehouse, "When you love someone with an addiction you always wait for the call". For some that call might be a call for help, if they are lucky the call to surrender, but too often than not its the call that they have succombed. It's done, the demon is finally quiet. I no longer judge people who struggle with addictions. I struggle with my own on a daily basis. I know how fortunate I am to get this program and I also know that it can disappear in a day. Not too long ago I was shopping with a friend when my phone rang. I answered it and proceeded to listen to five minutes of non stop drunkaloge. This woman was sober for seven years, but a chain of events sent her right back into her addiction. The reason she drank on this particular day was that someone had removed the pot of flowers she had put on her parents grave. When I was finally given the opportunity to talk, I asked her to go get some coffee, she said she wanted to go to sleep, I told her to call me when she woke up. As I placed my phone back in my purse my friend asked, "where you able to help her?" I replied, "I don't know, but she sure helped me". She gave the jolt, the little pinch that says, "don't get to comfortable because it wasn't too long ago that you would have been in the same position with even less of a reason". I thanked God right then and there for the reminder. It's sad how society can feed off tragedy. When I see Lindsey Lohan laughing or smirking in court, I don't feel animosity, I just feel bad. Sooner or later that monkey will either be taken off your back by yourself, or it will hold on until the end. I have seen the look of dispair in people's eyes, they want so badly to escape but they just can't. It's heartbreaking. Another life gone, too soon. For me it's a reminder that my disease is still growing, the more I stay sober, the closer I am to a relapse. Take nothing for granted, for sooner than later there's a monkey looking for a new "owner"....


  1. it is sad that she succumbed to her addictions and a life so young and creative was snuffed...yes, we can never get too comfortable...nice write...

  2. You say so well what we all feel in our hearts. And--that wake-up call has rung too many times this year in my groups. When I see a few Peeps wearing ties, I know that probably someone else has rung the wake-up bell--for the rest of us.

    Bless them all, and us too!

  3. Yes, the call certainly comes one way or another

    While cutting cukes saturday afternoon I randomly turned the radio on and immediately the news of Amy was reported.

    Reflecting about this later in the day it occured to me that I was completely unalarmed, not shocked in the least! A sad testimony for someone so gifted that fans would hear of her early demise and sort of think, saw that coming. Really really tragic when you think about it.

    But Brand had it right when he quoted the BB. There are only three things remaining for the addict who refuses help: jails, institutions, and/or death.

    Listened to her "rehab" lyrics again after reading a quote she made, [paraphrase] "no one is going to help me out of this shit. I have to do it for myself."

    "Do it myself"
    Fatal words for an addict

  4. Winehouse will becoming a caricature of herself - in a decade she will be a silent footnote of the fallen addict. What a shame. A waste. Nothing more.