Think twice before condemning Amy

Think twice before condemning Amy

Posted On: July 27, 2011
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My name is Rob Bainborough, I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict of 6 years.  I spent about 25 years in active addiction.

Every day was like groundhog day.  I thought I was enjoying myself.  I didn’t think I was a an addict. I thought everyone was like me.  Or if you weren’t, YOU were the strange ones.

90% of that time I was in full time work.  I didnt steal to feed my addiction.  I did lie a lot to BIG myself up.  And to downplay my problems.  Even when I did start to realize things were not right, I would carry on regardless, I would sit in bars thinking a miracle would happen to change things.  I knew I had no control.  Then within a few days, I lost my job, flat and girlfriend.  My rock bottom.

I managed to get into a dry house in Cornwall.  Spent a year there. And kept clean and sober by doing the AA/NA program.  I did 90 meetings in 90 days.  And still keep up my meetings (not as many as I should though).

Since giving up alcohol and drugs my life has changed beyond recognition.  I have learned to drive, Ive nearly finished my divemaster qualifications.  I’m in a loving relationship.  My partner has two daughters.  And we have a 14 month old baby boy.  I’m now starting starting my own gardening and chimney sweeping business.  So it is possible to get clean.

This week we heard about the death of the singer Amy Winehouse.  A woman from an ordinary background.  But an amazingly talented singer/songwriter.  Even if you didn’t like her, you couldn’t say that wasn’t true.  And in true rock & roll style she went mad for drugs and alcohol.  She got into trouble.  Her shows suffered.  She DID “go to rehab”.  Went on tour again (too early in my opinion).  Went on another bender.  And was found dead in her flat.  This is a shortened version of what happened.

I found her death very sad and was pretty shaken by it.  And was more shaken by some people’s reaction to it.  Comments like ” she had loads of money and so could afford all the support she needed to have given it up”. “It was her own fault, she deserved everything she got.”  These people have no idea of what happened.  They don’t realise she had a mental illness.  They said she was “Not a very good role model.”   I don’t remember very many rock & roll role models.  The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Sex Pistols.  Need I go on?

They said she was seen getting in and out of taxis off her face. Is she the only person to do that?  I don’t suppose any of the people who slagged her off have ever done that.  As far as I’m concerned she was an ordinary 27 year old young woman struggling against drugs including alcohol.  That struggle is so difficult to understand for anyone who is not an addict.  Even professionals don’t understand it.  It is a long slow horrific death.  A bit like Russian roulette.  Some OD’s don’t even kill you.  The guilt we feel for all the people we’ve wronged can drive us to get hold of our drug of choice.  And so the madness continues its cycle.  This is the same for all addicts, rich, poor, famous, not so famous.

Before condemning Amy, take a look at yourself.  Are you really so flawless?  And have a bit more empathy and compassion for her family, friends and fans. She wrote some amazing songs. She was Very ill. She was not a bad person. So why treat her like one?