By Michael Soter
We buy her albums that glorify addiction, albums that talk about her maintaining sickness instead of seeking health. We go to her concerts, reveling when she is too loaded to perform. We devour magazines depicting her as a train-wreck.
The Al-Anon program directs family members of alcoholics to stop enabling the one who is sick. But as a public figure, she had the entire world enabling her habit. A coworker told me that she got wasted singing-along to Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab, belting, “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said ‘No, no, no.’”
We enjoyed watching her choose death over life.
We might have enabled her continued downfall, but we should also pay heed to the other Al-Anon slogan, “We didn’t cause [her addiction], we can’t control [her addiction], and we can’t cure [her addiction].” Though we are not culpable, we do need to take a look at the role society plays in standing idly by while people shatter into a million little pieces.
Our society is addicted to addiction. We like to see the hero struggle, we feel better about ourselves when we see a picture of the “perfect” woman sporting cottage cheese on her legs, and we get a rush from seeing the heroin addict use.
In the recovery community, we need to defy this societal norm. We need to be the example of health, of bettering our own lives. People like Russell Brand and Eminem have shown that celebrities can get better. They are open about their recovery and show that we do not have to glamorize addiction, but we can instead romanticize recovery.
We are not responsible for Amy Winehouse’s death. We couldn’t do anything to save her. If she wanted to use, she was going to use. But we have a responsibility to be open about recovery, to show the world that for every person dying a tragic death, there is someone reclaiming their life with sobriety. To show that for those who want to better their lives, to save their own souls, there is a way. We can and will lead the way— if they are willing to take the necessary steps away from death and toward life.
- Read Russell Brand’s moving tribute to Amy Winehouse in full (heatworld.com)
- Daily Recovery Reading – July 27, 2011 (12stepsthinkaboutit.org)
- Amy Winehouse’s Father Wants To Build Rehab Center In Her Memory (perezhilton.com)