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Saving Amy

posted Jul 29, 2011, 8:13 AM by Rose O'Rourc   [ updated Oct 27, 2011, 2:01 PM ]

"Amy Winehouse found dead in her London home." That's not the headline I wanted to read after writing a book where the male protagonist goes to great length to support a star in her journey to break her addiction to alcohol. Is my premise just plain wrong? Must the story of Marilyn Monroe or the "Forever 27" club, celebrity musicians like Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain that died at age 27, repeat forever and ever?

I don't think so. In "Romy by any Other Name" Peter has a chance encounter with famous actress and singer Rose after her latest stint in rehab and jail. Determined not to let another girlfriend go down the deathly, destructive path of alcoholism, he showers her with love and affection, while firmly imposing rules to limit her consumption. Amy had no such person.

Winehouse died alone from as yet unknown causes. Rumor has it she had a fight with her supposed boyfriend over her relationship with her ex-husband. Had someone been with her that night, he could have called paramedics when there was still a chance to revive Amy. Only a boyfriend could realistically be with her in her bedroom all the time. The security man who checked on her was in the apartment, but in another room.

A boyfriend like Peter could have possibly prevented the chain of events leading up to her death to begin with. Winehouse's management tried to ban all alcohol from the hotel before her disastrous concert in Belgrade. Amy managed to get drunk or high for the concert anyway. A boyfriend that was with her most of the time would have made that much harder. As it says in the book, Peter is in Rose's room, between her and the mini-bar. Alone the embarrassment of Peter catching her with alcohol may moderate her behavior.

After all, others can push and prod, the addict herself has to decide to change her behavior. Someone she loves very much can provide the motivation to kick the habit that so many addicts cannot find on their own. Amy supposedly said so to a former British tabloid in 2009: "I'm in love again, and I don't need drugs." While her father pushed her in the right direction, a boyfriend may have had more and lasting success. Blood ties are one thing, but someone who loves her for herself out of his own volition can be a much more powerful motivator. Especially if she fears losing that love. Feeling loved by someone special also can help deal with many root causes of addiction such as depression and self-doubt. The behavior of Lindsay Lohan, who many people suspect will suffer a similar fate as Amy, also seemed to moderate when she was in a stable relationship.

Of course, this double-edged sword cuts both ways. Loved ones often allow the addictive behavior to continue by being enablers that engage in denial. Many claim that it was Amy's beloved husband that led her down the destructive path of drugs and alcohol. For love she jumped off the cliff with him. Then she could not find a lasting love to climb back up with.

Admittedly Peter's positive influence on Rose is the most unrealistic part of the book. Dealing with an addict is difficult. Although psychologists agree someone with long running addiction problems like Amy Winehouse or Lindsay Lohan requires intense one-on-one counseling, they are thinking of trained professionals. Most boyfriends lack the knowledge or experience to stand up to an addict. When the going gets tough they are more apt to leave. I acknowledge as much in the extremes I had to go through to guilt Peter into supporting Rose. It is an idealized view where the motivation for "counseling" is higher than going to an untrusted, unknown therapist. It also takes away the excuse of high costs that both Amy and Lindsay have cited as a reason against individual counseling sessions.

Could love have saved Amy Winehouse? We will never know. Her death should encourage us to learn how to better deal with addiction, for ourselves and our friends and family: get help, give support, and intervene firmly when needed. It's difficult to pull off, I'll admit. That's why my book is fiction where I can pick the ending. To paraphrase another quote from it: real life often does not have a Hollywood ending. Rest in peace, Amy.


Published at http://socyberty.com/sexuality/saving-amy-could-love-have-saved-amy-winehouse/

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