There is a sadness when anyone dies unnaturally, and the younger they are, the worse it seems. When a loss is related to drugs or alcohol, we often feel that the death was unnecessary and many people can become judgmental and critical of the person that has died.
Such attitudes are often built around prejudice and ignorance. Addictive issues, like many other behaviours, are the symptoms of inner causes, and the idea that addicts should simply ‘pull themselves together’ is misplaced.
I was surprised and saddened by the tsunami of negative vitriol that followed the death of Amy Winehouse, and by the clear lack of understanding that people have about addictive behaviours.
The assumption that addicts are as they are through choice is wrong. It is true that each of us is responsible for what we do with our life, and that we can all change once we understand, but addictive behaviour is always a symptom of an inner unresolved cause and not a problem itself.
… the idea that addicts should simply ‘pull themselves together’ is misplaced.
We all have inner unresolved issues that affect our behaviours. The person who needs to go to Mass every day to pray is chemically addicted to an emotional state of well-being created by the prayer. The act of going to church and performing the service creates an internal hormonal environment that leads to a sense of well-being. We would not describe that person as an addict, but they are.
The person who runs regularly, or goes to the gym habitually, is also an addict. We are all addicted to something. It may be being miserable, or moaning; it may be being happy and jolly. We each create behaviours that are symptoms of our inner causes, good or bad, that we play out.
Breaking habits and overcoming addictions is rarely an easy thing to do. In our effort to overcome our addiction, we usually seek to treat the symptom and not the cause; when we do this, nothing ever changes, and we revert to our old and learned behaviours.
We all know this. When we attempt to make changes in our life and make a New Year resolution only to give up by the second week of January. Or the many, many people who are overweight and fail in diet after diet. Any smoker will tell you that quitting nicotine is a fine idea but a completely difficult task.
For us all, our behaviours are simply symptoms of our inner causes. When our behaviours do not serve us well, then the inner causes require attention. In the main, that is what my work as a psychotherapist is about, about how we can each resolve the inner self that does not serve us well and create behaviours that allow us to create the life that we desire.
It is true that our behaviour has consequences and when those consequences are death, and death in a very public forum, we are open to the views and criticism of every crackpot as much as every wise and caring person. When someone dies, it always leaves a hole. The larger the personality, the larger the hole.
Like many people that live in the public eye, Amy has left in a sad but loud way. God bless you girl and wherever you are, I hope you find the peace that eluded you in life.