Posted by: mzbitca | August 25, 2008

Leave Amy Winehouse Alone

Disclaimer: I work in the field of addictions in a county that has a significant problem with Heroin.  People are dying and younger and younger kids are becoming addicted and having difficulty pulling themselves back out. In my work I have come across 21 year olds who have been doing heroin since they were 15, girls who are ODing at 22, girls who have an 18 year heroin habit and are trying to finally get clean and get their children back.  The term War on Drugs pisses me off because I’m with the people who are the real victims and it’s sad that many of them are just written off and locked up without a real chance at affordable treatment. 

This lens has led to much of my discomfort with the portrayal of Amy Winehouse in the gossip blogs around here.  The blogging world likes their bad girls, the Lindsey Lohan’s and Paris Hilton’s DUIs and whispers of cocaine usage and Amy Winehouse started much in that frame.  But things changed with her, see, her drugs are not the demon alcohol, they are drugs that ruin lives(alcohol ruins lives too, just not as quickly) and do it quickly and tragically.  Seeing pictures of her on blogs with comments about her being a stupid crackwhore just break my heart.  This mentality that all drug users have it coming and are completely at fault piss me off.  I have talked to users who say that every day of not using is complete hell, they feel horrible, their thoughts are racing, they are usually trying to pick up the pieces of a life that has been rocked by drugs and they need to do all of this with whatever legal limits they have. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, drug addiction is drug addiction and there really is no difference between Amy Winehouse and some of the women in my group.

Through these blogs society has a change to really see the horrors of drug use, the scars, the weight loss, the utter spiral downward and instead of realizing the danger of these drugs and that something needs to be done they call her a crackwhore and disgusting and insult her sexuality.



  1. […] This lens has led to much of my discomfort with the portrayal of Amy Winehouse in the gossip blogs around here. The blogging world likes their bad girls, the Lindsey Lohan’s and Paris Hilton’s DUIs and whispers of cocaine usage and Amy … Source: Leave Amy Winehouse Alone […]

  2. Calling her a stupid crackwhore is pretty disgusting, and it’s sad that the victims have to go through that, but they are ultimately at fault. It might be hell to go without the drugs, but they never had to start them in the first place. If they were just ruining their own lives then fine, but all too often drug and alcohol addicts are ruining the lives of the people around them who care about them most.

    As for Amy Winehouse specifically… I really resent her for making a song about how she’s way too cool for rehab. It’s almost like a taunt to me about the people I’ve had to deal with in my life.

  3. ghost,
    I’m not denying that she is responsible for her behavior and until she accepts responsibility she will never get better. However, addiction is a hard thing to deal with and in an industry that can promote it and celebrate it I am not surprised people get swallowed. I feel her case is so compelling because, aside from her money, she is very much like many of the women I deal with on a day to day basis and no one cares about them. We have a real chance to show the horrors of drug addiction and work to make people more aware but instead she is used as a punching bag.

  4. I don’t want her to be a punching bag, but I don’t want her to be a martyr either.

  5. Looking at all the stupid shit Amy Winehouse has done she deserves to be criticized as much as possible as far as I am concerned. Really is it any wonder people say bad things about her? I have no sympathy for those who are as famous and wealthy as Amy and screw up as bad as she has and continues to do so.

  6. I have personally dealt with somebody close to me that had a drug addiction. And while a relatively “compassionate” p.o.v. is that drug addiction is really really hard to give up…I feel that this is not always the case. As outsiders looking in, we use this analogy to explain the behavior of drugs abusers that we don’t understand. But sympathy is NOT the solution. I believe an abuser, if he/she really wants to, can set their life straight. But they have to have it in their hearts to. No amount of therapy or rehab or understanding from friends/family can do it unless they have taken a sincere vow and change within…

    This goes to say that as onlookers there are things we can do…to keep our distance, and objective when dealing with drug abusers, because they don’t think like non-abusers…and I think this is the most compassionate thing you can do for them…

  7. The point is she’s still a druggie. And as she is constantly in the public eye she should be setting an example to the public.

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  8. I agree with the comment higher up – she should not be seen as a “role model” that kids look up to in the sense that she is in a bad way but she’s still alive kind of attitude.

    Frank Polenose of

  9. I am not saying that she is not at fault for her behavior, or that if we just say “poor amy” she’ll get better. I am just not happy with the gossip bloggers who rip her to shreds, calling her a crackwhore. Again, I have also not said that she is a role model, in fact most celebrities and singers are far from role models. All I want is a little compassion and for people to treat her like a human being and not a total punching bag.

  10. moonshade: Sympathy may not be a solution, but even people who have it in their hearts to set themselves straight will need some help. Addiction is a physical dependency and withdrawl has physical symptoms. In addition, as mzbitca said – society, law, and personal situation can be in the way of being able to beat an addiction.

    Do you think less of people who quit smoking with a patch than people who go cold turkey?

  11. The reason people denigrate drug users as “crack whores” is because it makes them less than human and the person using the term can then imagine (falsely) that such a thing could never happen to them.

    No one starts using drugs with the idea that they will become a crack whore. No one starts using tobacco with the idea they will become adicted and die of emphysema and lung cancer. No one starts gambling with the idea they will lose their house, their retirement and become homeless. No one starts drinking alcohol with the idea they will die of liver failure. No one goes back to her abusive partner with the idea that he will kill her.

    These are difficult situations to deal with. We don’t make them easier by treating the people involved in them like crap.

  12. As the daughter of a recovering alcoholic and narcotics addict, I’d like to say that calling names helps nothing. It is a very sad thing that she’s become so dependent on drugs that she’s ruined herself like this. However, people choose to do what they do. While you don’t think about losing your house to gambling, or losing your life to drugs, it is a completely conscious decision whether or not you try it in the first place. And as they say, “It only takes one time.” People go into drugs and alcohol knowing full well the risks they are taking. That’s why people should have the common sense to know their family history and know if they’re at risk for drugs and alcohol addiction. So, while it’s sad that she became addicted, she made the decision to start it in the first place, and for that I have no sympathy.
    P.S.- I also agree with Moonshade. People have to have a want to change in their hearts before they can ever make a true effort to really change themselves. For my father it was having his best friend and my mother sit him down and show him what he was doing. For other’s it’s a completely different situation. To Anonymous who said: “Do you think less of people who quit smoking with a patch than people who go cold turkey?” There is a HUGE difference between smoking a cigarette and lighting a crack pipe. While they are both addictive and have risks, one is so much worse than the other. You absolutely cannot compare them to one another. AND, that wasn’t even what moonshade was saying. What they were saying was simply that while you can have compassion for the abuser there’s nothing you can do about it until they’re ready.

  13. Why is she idolised so much? Clearly talented but massively flawed.

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  16. Hindsight is an exact science

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