Chasing Amy

“The man said, ‘Why you think you here?’/I said ‘I got no idea.'”~ Rehab

The death of Amy Winehouse hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. She was an addict and the life expectancy of addicts, especially ones that refuse to seek help, just isn’t that long. Here’s the thing: everyone who “expected it” and “knew it was coming” somehow sound callous and cold to me. I understand the matter-of-fact nature of blaming a drug addict’s death on their chemical dependency, but one would consider saying it was “expected” when an obese diabetic dies “suddenly” or an uneducated thug hanging on the corner is shot and killed to be cruel. I approached Amy Winehouse’s life, downfall, and death a lot differently than one might expect; I live my life pretty logically, seldom straying from the deductive reasoning of if A, then B. Perhaps it’s because I understand that often times, drug addiction is a manifestation of a more serious illness: despair and unless that despair is treated, drug treatment is useless.

Shortly after my daughter was born, my ex-husband began using heroin again. He said he was having a difficult time being a husband, provider, and father. I believe he started using sooner than he claims, but one thing I learned about addicts is that they truly believe the lies they tell. I’ll never understand why he began his downward spiral, why he chose to escape from reality using a substance that could eventually kill him, why he didn’t seek help for his true ailment elsewhere. I look at Amy Winehouse and see the same tortured soul that I see in my ex. Both are creative and damaged, damaged by the burdens that life placed on their backs. Some of us are mules, able to carry the load along as far as necessary. Others are unable, understand their limitations and seek help before ever lifting. Finally, there are those who take one look at what has been placed before them and run. They run to drugs, alcohol, anything that allows them to escape from what they consider their personal harsh reality no one else could possibly understand. They see their problems as unique, a novelty, unable to be comprehended by anyone. They’re a bit a narcissistic, slightly immature, and their coping skills are non-existent. Deep inside of their drug ravaged bodies, beyond their bizarre behavior, despite their inability to function within the normal realm of society lies the soul of fragile human being.

We mock them. We make jokes at their expense. We treat their illness as fodder for our superiority. We’re better than them. We have to be. We would never turn to drugs. We have way too much respect for ourselves to ever allow drugs to ruin our lives. For the majority of us, this is true. The number of people who seek solace in substance is minute. Very few people decide that drugs are the only way out of their misery; those that do find themselves in a situation none of us truly understand. We will never get why someone would choose the life of an addict, very few of them understand it either.

I’ve spent the past six years of my life trying to figure out why my ex prefers his addiction to the joy that is our daughter. I watch her grow and am saddened by the fact that not only is she missing her father, but that he is missing his daughter. So, on July 23, 2011, when Amy Winehouse left this earth, I cried. It made me realize that the days of an addict, no matter how brilliant they are, are numbered. I almost called my ex, just to check on him, to make sure he’s still alive. I wish I could say I expect him to get better, to be able to one day walk his daughter down the aisle, but instead, what I expect him to do is chase Amy.

That is all.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Carl
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 11:54:31

    I truly understand what you are saying. I grew up watching all of my older siblings battle drug addiction for years and despite the financial and emotional stress they put my mom through, to this day, years later they are still battling their addiction.

    My youngest sibling is 10 years older than myself so me growing up the youngest in my household I pretty much existed as the only child seeing as though my siblings were so much older than me. It kind of hurt though growing up knowing I had a 2 sisters and a brother but never being able to have a bond with them like other siblings had with their sisters/brothers.

    One will never understand why addicts do what they do or why they choose to destroy their life and relationships that they have with people because of a drug. To this day my siblings and I are like distant strangers, I know that they exist because of my mom and have brief conversations with them maybe once or twice a year.


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