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Missing Amy Winehouse

Posted: July 28, 2011 8:19 a.m.
Updated: July 29, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a serious Amy Winehouse fan.

And I’m not talking about the “serious Amy Winehouse fan” who only has a copy of her 2007 multi-platinum album, “Back to Black.” No, I’m the fan who knows not only every single word to all of her songs on that album, but also all of the words to the songs on her 2003 debut album “Frank” and pretty much any other single she’s ever released.

Pathetic?

Perhaps, but Winehouse has always ranked pretty highly on my “Favorite Artists of All Time” list. Erratic behavior aside, the woman’s voice and song-writing abilities were no less than magical.

So I’m sure you can imagine how shaken I was when I heard that she passed away last weekend.

Even given Winehouse’s constant flirting with death, I always expected her to pull through and overcome her addiction.

I never thought she would die at 27 years old, which is only one year older than I am. Most people in their 20s feel some sense of immortality, and Winehouse’s death served as a reminder of just how false that sense really is.

While an autopsy this week proved inconclusive, most people have drawn their own conclusions that her demise may have been brought about because of her heavy and much-publicized drug use.

But to simply dismiss her death as just another case of a druggie or cracked-out singer is both irresponsible and insulting.

No one chooses to be addicted to alcohol or drugs.

I doubt Winehouse sat at home as a child, wishing that she could be rich and famous in her mid-20s, and strung out on drugs at the same time.

I’m sure she never said she wanted to be booed off of the stage at one of her performances, because she showed up so heavily intoxicated that she could barely stand up or remember the lyrics to songs she wrote.

Addiction is a disease, perhaps the most cunning of all diseases – and it’s time it is treated as such. Addiction can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t care if you’re famous and rich, or a loner and broke.

In a heartfelt blog post to his former friend, comedian and former drug addict Russell Brand said society needs to change the way it views addiction.

“Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent, or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction,” he said. “All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We may all know someone who is or has struggled with some sort of addiction.

Perhaps if there can be one positive thing that comes from Winehouse’s death, it’s that her demise and struggle against her disease could serve as a call to action for us to do more than just shake our heads in disgust.

Maybe her death can spark greater understanding of those with alcohol and drug problems.

Then, maybe, we can save someone else from a life of addiction.

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