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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse Passes On

Today, singer and songwriter, Amy Winehouse was laid to rest and for many, it is a sad day for people around the world. When someone famous passes on due to the harm caused by years of addiction, we usually talk about the circumstances of her death, we talk about what could have been done differently, and furthermore what you (the reader) can do to help someone caught in the death grip of addiction. Amy Winehouse is not too dissimilar from Hendrix, Joplin, and the likes; she suffered from the same heartbreaking disease as millions across the globe. However, not everyone had the resources for help that Winehouse had, let alone the financial ability to seek help from the greatest experts - yet none of that made any difference. That is the irony of this type of disease; you can have it all while having absolutely nothing.

I have heard many people say in response to hearing of her death, “Big Surprise” or “It’s about time”. As cold as those words are to utter, let alone hear, that happens to be the sentiment of a lot of people. People who believe that in some way this was what Winehouse was looking for, or that because she had unlimited resources that she had no excuse for succumbing to such a common disease. Sadly, to the dismay of many, sometimes death happens, there is no formula to success and even people with the strongest recovery can fall back down into the darkness of addiction.

It seems that with the disintegration of the stigma associated with addiction, people sometimes believe that it is not that big of a deal and the problem can be easily rendered with a little treatment and twelve steps. We all wish it were that easy, but the reality is that there is a lot more to a successful program of recovery than that. For each individual what “that” is is always a little bit different. For some it is love, and others God, some even look to the nature surrounding them for strength in battling the disease. What I am saying is that we cannot do this alone; everyone needs somebody to lean on from time to time. Our heart goes out to Amy’s family as they sit shiva.

I wish to leave you with the wise words of Rabbi Shais Taub:

“King Solomon said, "The living shall take it to heart." There is a lesson to be learned from every death. To anybody out there going through the living hell of active addiction -- whether you yourself are an addict or you are someone who loves an addict -- here is my message to you. Please know that it's not that you haven't tried everything there is to try. It's not that you're not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, determined enough. You could multiply your efforts and your will power by literally a million times, you could have the whole world on your side, and still face the same heartbreaking outcome in the end. But there is hope. Let Amy's example not be in vain. There is a Power greater than all of us. May all those who seek in truth find that Power now.”

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