Monday, 25 July 2011
To say drugs have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, both voluntarily & involuntarily, is probably the worlds biggest understatement. I try to not let that define me, but it is difficult not to at times. Despite realising I don't have to follow a career working with addicts or develop friendships & relationships with certain individuals because my primary motivation is to save them from themselves... it is still hard to divorce myself from all things drug related. I don't know how detrimental that is at the moment- I mean, it is not stopping me from moving on and I'm getting a good political and social education as I am constantly following drug policy in various countries, and drug cultures around the world for example. Though, its inevitable I remain pretty sensitive when people comment on the subject, especially if it is derogatory. When Amy Winehouse was found dead this Saturday 23rd July, the news spread rapidly aided by Facebook, Twitter & texts to name a few. I found out within moments of the news breaking; I turned off my TV, locked up and left for my sisters house a mere 10 minutes away. When she opened the door she asked me "Oh my god, have you heard the terrible news?" and I must say, my stomach knotted as it was the same thing I had been told when I lost my close friend to suicide. She must have picked up on this because she immediately told me, stopping my mind from conjuring a list of disasters that might have befallen one of my family in the time it took to leave mine and arrive at hers. This is the same thing I do when I get a phone call in the early hours of the morning, before I pick up the receiver my mind is racing through a million-and-one tragedies that I might be told in a moment, and I guess its my way of preparing. As I logged online, I prepared myself for the harsh comments and cruel words and I wasn't let down I can assure you. They seemed to outweigh the 'with sympathies'. Maybe I shouldn't expect too much of others who haven't had direct experience with addiction, or at the very least learn to not be so offended. But I can't help it. And I couldn't. I went through a list of them, declaring she was just a dirty junkie that deserved to die. "Good riddance smackrat" was another. "She bought it on herself", "She wanted to die", "So what?" and "What about soldiers dying for our country? Or the tragedy in Norway. Why is she getting all this coverage?" I probably shouldn't have wasted my time but I felt I needed to explain to the person that our culture holds celebrities in extremely high-esteem and they always receive major coverage, and until we find politics more pressing than reality tv stars or singers, deal with it. Or buy a different paper or watch a different news channel. People were saying she got what she deserved, and she wanted it. I very much doubt it. While you are in the depths of addiction, you care little for living and you think little of life and you may believe you would prefer death to it. But once you get clean, that feeling goes instantly in most cases. Others commented that she didn't want to help herself, even though she had access to some of the best. Who knows, if she had lived longer, her recovery may have been right round the corner, or a year, 5 years or 10 years down the line. It takes people a long time to end up like they do, so its only plausible it will take an equally lengthy amount of it to change. An addict needs to hit rock bottom, I know that is a cliche but it is true, and only then do they know things have to change, and they either make the first step or they don't. Up until then, you can try whatever you want and so can they- but it will be unsuccessful in getting them to get and stay clean. Its absolutely awful she will never have this chance. Any loss of life is greatly sad, but it especially leaves a bitter taste in the mouth if they happen to be young, and at 27, Amy was precisely that. When a death occurs at the age of 80 or so, you can console yourself with the fact they had a good innings, and lived to really experience many things... and despite the lifestyle she had 27 is still far too young to go. I am 23, 27 is not that much older, and I don't believe at that age you are remotely wise or mature enough to decide whether you wish to piss your life up the wall until you end it. You may think you want to, but on reflection- on sober reflection, they usually discover its not the case. I cannot begin to imagine for a second how her family must be feeling. As it is so soon, there will be feelings of utter disbelief. Comments suggested it was a long time coming, and her family would be prepared, but thats not true. It doesn't matter how long somebody has been carrying on living a destructive life, no matter how much you think you are prepared for it, when it happens, its surreal and unreal. In fact, the longer somebody goes on with their hard living, the more shocking it usually is because their bodies coped through such abuse, you think it will forever. I know this from personal experience. The grieving process is notoriously difficult. I can't imagine what it would be like with the added pressure of being in the spotlight, and having all and sundry commenting on your daughters life and what you should of done to help her, what you didnt do..,. and of course those comments on how she put herself there and basically deserved it. Poor family. I hope wherever she is now, she is at peace. I know I am totally oversensitive to the topic of drugs, and I probably need to toughen up. I can take it when people say things against me, I have incredibly thick skin, but I always feel more hurt for others and feel the need to defend them. And this case is no different, even though I never knew her. I have to wonder though, would Amy be dead if our drug policy weren't so bloody useless? Maybe not. Probably not.
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