Amy

I watched this ‘movie’, or more accurately documentary about the life of Amy Winehouse a few days ago. Of course we all know the tragic outcome of Amy’s addictions, but the film shocked, saddened me in several ways I didn’t expect.

I completely accept that we are being shown a version of Amy’s story, that others will have different perspectives and that the “truth” of Amy’s life is different depending on your place in the story. But …

  • She was SO young. And vulnerable.
  • Neither of her parents were really engaged with her as a person. Her mother seems shadowy, her father blind to the reality of her addictions, interested (and I’m sorry if this seems brutal) only in her fame, pleasing her public and making more money.
  • She had really good friends, from childhood, who tried extremely hard to help her
  • No one in her management / publicity team seemed able to protect her from herself. The shambolic appearances on stage when she was too smashed to even stand up were painful, embarrassing and simply should have been stopped. Cancelling a gig, at short notice, is bad… This? Β this was carnage.
  • She could sing. My god she could sing. What a voice, what a talent.

Amy Winehouse started off as an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent, the early videos and stills of her life seem very “normal”; she has great friends, she plays music, she’s a bit wacky, but she’s ok. And it all fell apart as she became increasingly famous, and was introduced to drugs.

I know my recovery is from alcohol addiction. I’ve never taken drugs, but if you are as famous and wealthy as Amy, the usual barriers to drug taking don’t apply. And Amy was vulnerable, insecure, in love with a man who then left her (and she herself said “I’ve fallen in love with a man I would die for”) she had eating disorders and couldn’t step outside the door of her flat without being mobbed.. It’s not that surprising she found something to “take the edge off ” … And then of course it spiralled. The man she loved introduced her to hard drugs and she couldn’t stop … Amy was shy, she described her anxiety before performing,

Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home in Camden Town, north London, 5 years ago last Saturday. She was 27. Amy died of acute alcohol poisoning . Alone.

I’ve vomited in my sleep before. Unconscious from alcohol poisoning – there is no other word for it really . By great good fortune I was sleeping on my side, not my back, or I might not be here today either.

I felt so sad watching that film. Amy wanted attention and love, she needed someone to love her unconditionally and stand firm with her. Watching her get thinner and thinner, more shambolic and reading the increasingly cruel, critical and personal insults in the press – I can’t help feeling that I would have coped no better than Amy and that her death was inevitable… What a terrible waste.

I don’t know why she didn’t go to a proper rehab, maybe it had something to do with the awful stigma that still exists in relation to addiction and the fear (at least amongst her management and family) that if /when it was discovered her career would be damaged. So they left her, alone and struggling till she died 😟 I don’t know if there are lesson to be learned here, on a wider scale, I expect there are. For me, I will remember to reach out and offer a supportive hand to my fellow addicts, maybe if Amy had had access to the sober support I do, she could have kicked her demons .