Simple words, aren’t they? And yet, they are the hardest words in the world to imagine, let alone say. There are, literally, millions of people that say those words every day. Some are new, in their first 30 days of sobriety. Some, like myself, are coming up to their 30th anniversary. Most are in between these two extremes. All of them came to the realization that they and they alone are the ones responsible for their addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, food, whatever. They all took responsibility for their addiction, and they sought help for it. Many, again like myself, have stumbled and fallen off the path of sobriety. Many, again like myself, have crawled (in my case literally, and more than once) back to an AA or NA meeting.
Which, inevitably, brings me to Amy Winehouse and her death earlier this week. I love her music, and I celebrate the genius that produced it. Unfortunately, like almost all genius, the person in whom the genius resided was insane. She started off with youthful rebellion, progressed into social activism, devolved into an alcoholic, and degenerated into a drug addict. In 2005, she went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use, violent mood swings and weight loss. People who saw her during the end of that year and early 2006 reported a rebound that coincided with the writing of Back to Black. Her family believes that the mid-2006 death of her grandmother, who was a stabilizing influence, set her off into addiction. This was, in essence, the triggering event that spiraled her drug addiction out of control. In August 2007, Ms. Winehouse cancelled a number of shows in the UK and Europe, citing exhaustion and ill health. She was hospitalized during this period for what was reported as an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol.