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Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse

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The square where Amy Winehouse's body was found

Source: Getty images

“I told you I was trouble,” Amy Winehouse sang, “You know that I’m no good.”

For me, that’s the most poignant lyric she ever wrote. It sums up the mind of an addict. You see, it wasn’t a brag; it was a mixture of ‘keep away’ and ‘help me’.

How do I know? Because not so long ago, I was Amy Winehouse.

For most addicts, there’s a constant presence on your shoulder telling you you’re not good enough, that somehow, you’re ‘less’ than everyone out there. Your thoughts go round like a washing machine on high-speed. The noise in your head is constant, loud and harsh. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a rich and famous popstar, or Mary Taylor in Islington, homeless and sleeping rough in a shop doorway; it’s that same mindset. Alcohol and drugs are merely the medication.

Addiction isn’t fun. Addiction isn’t “Let’s go to the pub and get pissed and have a right laugh” or “Let’s get fucked on drugs and get up to mischief”. Addiction is lonely, terrifying and insidious. Oh, sure, you start out like everyone else, a few drinks here and there, a dabble or two in something a little harder. You don’t realise when it stops being fun, but it does. Suddenly you find yourself alone in a room, afraid to go out, because ‘outside’ is too damn scary.

So you take that hit, and for a short while, the noise stops. Peace through oblivion. Then you come around and the noise starts again, louder this time, and coupled with the anxiety, fear and terror that come with withdrawal. So you take another hit. Sweet, blessed relief. And somewhere in the back of your mind you hope you don’t wake up from this one. You’re nothing but trouble, you see. All you cause is pain and worry.

I read a fantastic blog by Russell Brand today, in which he said:

“When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction, you await the phonecall. There will be a phonecall. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone. Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make — it must be received.”

The problem is, addiction is the only disease in existence that tells you that you haven’t got it. Lock an addict away and they’ll be looking for an escape, or biding their time and playing the ‘yes, I’m fine now’ role until they’re alone again. I’ve had people in the kitchen pouring drink away while I’ve been climbing out of the bedroom window on my way to buy more.

I’ve been a day out of hospital after being found in my flat, hours away from death, and already I’m figuring out where I can get hold of some gear. I believed the booze and drugs were giving me something. In fact, it was the opposite. They were hollowing me out, alienating my friends and family and slowly stripping me of all that was real and good.

Sadly, all the love and support in the world wasn’t going to help Amy get better. She was trotted out on stage at every opportunity to make money for her record company. She didn’t have the luxury I’ve had of anonymity, of being left alone so she could get better. Contracts had been signed and albums were due. Her star had to keep shining, and all the while the press were snapping at her heels, waiting for her to fall again.

I can’t imagine anything more frightening than the whole world waiting with bated breath for me to fuck up, then posting it on YouTube when I do.

Yesterday evening, people shut down Facebook and Twitter on their computers, still in shock and disbelief at this tragedy, before heading off down to the pubs and clubs for a well-deserved weekend blowout.

Mary in Islington sits down in her shop doorway, begging for a few coins to get a can of beer. Just a little something to help take the edge off. You might have seen her last night, she may have come up to ask you for some change, desperate and devoid of pride, but like a lot of people, you probably looked away, annoyed and uncomfortable.

Sunday morning rolls around, and half of London wakes up with a hangover. Some might even still be going. iTunes seizes the opportunity to promote Amy’s albums on its homepage to make some cash, and somewhere in Islington, an ambulance arrives to take away the body of a homeless woman found dead in a shop doorway.

And all over the world, recovering addicts wake up and pray to a God they’re not even sure exists for the strength to stay clean one more day.

The world carries on. Then somewhere, a phone rings.

Written by guy_interrupted

July 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

125 Responses

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  1. This is an amazing post Guy, and you shouldn’t have been scared. It’s the most courageous you can be to be completely honest and upfront with not only yourself but the entire world who logs on to read blogs. I’m glad you managed to find a way out of it, and for Amy, the world should be sorry she’s gone and take note of why she went so early. x

    geoffwakeling

    July 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

  2. A very true and emotionally written blog Kris! Well done. As ever, you always nail the point. Xx

    Chrispjcurley

    July 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  3. Another great an poignant post.

    Unfortunately I’ve seen the other side of addition. I’ve been the person waiting for the call. My ex (who is now one of my closet friends) had a drug problem which I discovered when we were together. The signs had been there from the start, but I guess in the first throws of love I was blind and was coming up with my own reasons for his behaviour. Thankfully he has been one of the lucky ones and came to me for help. Yes it was horrible to deal with. Having to confiscate his supply and ration him and ween him of what he was taking.

    Yes we had the odd lapse, but so far things are good and he seems to be sorting himself out. However, we live some distance from each other and there is always that little feeling as to what is he up to when I’m not there. I am hoping that I will be able to fully trust him again and not worry about receiving that dreaded phone call.

    Trevor Cosson

    July 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm

  4. I have to say it is an amazing post as well, It is well written and it is written from the heart in a way that can is exposing yourself to all the readers. All i can say about that is thank you for sharing your inner and deepest emotion so well with us, thank you for finding us deserving this.

    Yes, addiction is a hard and harsh disease which cost dearly for the person itself but even more to the ones who care about the “sick”. It is indeed a way to escape the hard life we all living, when we can not see the brightness in anything around us, and it is not curable until the sick itself wants to be cured.

    I can only wish that people will take to mind what you wrote here, and learn from that.

    wishing you all the best and again thank you for sharing your private life with us

    lastdance

    July 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm

  5. His doctors, psychologist, psychiatrist and rehab councillors gave me three choices:

    1. Stay and he will kill himself with his addiction to alcohol quickly.

    2. Stay and he will kill himself slowly, it will take many years. In either case if you stay you risk your safety, as his alcoholism becomes more engrossed in violent psychosis.

    3. Leave him and he may clean himself up, but then again hey may not.

    It took many attempts to leave. As a carer I felt guilty (I never drank or took substances). I was mentally exhausted. For more than a year I had hospitals from all over the city call me. Usually from icu, where he had attempted suicide or taken something.
    When he woke he asked the nurses to call me and beg me to visit. I never do. I am not able to trust him

    This has been the last 4 years of my life. I am sure one day that terrible call will come.

    Willow

    July 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    • Leave, do what ever you have to do for you but don’t give up on him…..loneliness and rejection is killing me faster than drink. He begs you because he like you he trusts you more than himself.

      When you sit in a hospital bed after an OD you ironically feel safe and relieved and believe someone, anyone will come and this time you will get your life back. You pick yourself up and decide today is the day and no one comes and you gather your last bit of hope and no one comes. You stay clean a week and no one comes. A month and no one comes. When you fail at being clean and fail at suicide and no one comes its hard to even want a different life. When you sit in a hospital ward of people and their visitors watching you cry & beg the people that once loved you to come, the people that stop you from jumping under a bus every day…when you do that and no one comes it’s hard to be anything but a terrible phone call. Look after yourself always Willow but please don’t ever give up on him. Looking after someone with cancer is exhausting but no one ever leaves.

      Thanks for the original post Kristian, very brave. It’s made me very emotional, probably to emotional to make much sense but thanks I feel less lonely. Good luck x

      Me

      July 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      • Addiction is a terrible thing. I left because I had to. It became too dangerous.
        I was attacked many times in the last months.
        (He destroyed the property we lived in the 4 days after left. 15k damage such was his rage).

        The doctors said leaving offered him the best change of recovery. I never gave up on him.
        I still want the best for him, but he needs to want that for himself.

        Thanks for your kind words, and Kristian for sharing his story

        Willow

        July 25, 2011 at 7:28 am

      • @WILLOw Its OK Willow you don’t have to defend your actions or decisions in anyway. If my post came over as critical of your decision it was intended to. I was very emotional when I wrote it. The fact you have posted here shows how much yo care and that you haven’t given up. I was just feeling a bit bitter/poor mw….im an addict but I’ve never stolen, lied, been aggressive etc…Its just hard sometimes to be rejected by people simply because of an addiction…but I don’t need to tell you that Im sure you’ve heard it from him a million times. When I wrote that I just wanted to give people like me a voice. In terms of addiction victims you generally only here from the friends and family and recovered addicts. I just think that often the voice of the addict in the midst of addiction is often lacking (usually because its incoherent or poisoned by drink and drugs).

        I wish you and your Ex all the best. Until reading your post I took pride in the fact that I had never ‘given up’ on anyone in my life……but I now know that if i had the strength like you to say enough is enough and look after myself I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m sorry if I seemed critical of you because today I find you inspirational.

        Me

        July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      • PS don;t assume a failure to do it for himself means he doesn’t really want it.

        Me

        July 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      • The middle paragraph of your comment here has moved me enormously. I dont think i have ever heard anyone describe this issue so well, it is in fact heartbreaking to read this. Thank you for sharing something so personal, allowing people a true insite as to what it’s like trying to stay clean. Everybody needs love, forgiveness and hope. It’s easy for people to say ‘an addict has to want to get clean for themselves’, but when someone feels no self-worth and everybody who once loved them has gone, what is there worth staying clean for?… I understand the ’12 step plan’ much better now. It works through finding a higher love, this is oftan ‘god’, but not nessessarily. I remember watching Elton John being interviewed once and him saying ‘the plan’ only worked for him when he found his own personal interpretation to replace ‘god’, as without this it would not have saved him. (Im not an Elton John fan by the way, i just found it very interesting).
        Im sure im not the only person your comment has touched.
        I seriously do believe one day you will look back upon the dark times with immense relief that you held on to life. Life takes unexpected turns, dont shut yourself off and take any help that’s available to get through this.
        My thoughts are with you.
        Stay strong x

        TheOtherSide

        July 29, 2011 at 1:35 am

      • Thank you for your kind words. I wish I was brave enough to put my name to it. I’m OK thank you and getting lots of help for my main problem which is depression.

        I’m not sure what my idea of god is but I think I stumbled on this blog for a reason.

        Have a good day x

        Me

        July 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      • Hey Me, no offence was taken. I applaud everyone for sharing there stories and experience.
        And to you I wish you nothing but the best, and a life well lived.

        For an update on my ex, I have heard that he is currently sober and looking for work.
        Fingers crossed.

        Willow

        July 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

  6. I have seen the dehumanisation of a man on crack looking to me for his next fix, like a caged animal, claws rifling through carpet threads to unearth a little snowfall, curled up foetal, eyes glaring focused anger if I didnt give in: the choice? put him out of misery or take a beating.
    Through it all I wanted to reach out to this intelligent human.
    The drug agecies in my city defeated, i was told nicotine, alcohol, heroine would be easier to wean him off as a stone was £10 and he belived himself a cleaner addict because he didnt do brown.
    unbelievably sad, defeated i had to leave.
    But I wait not on a phone call but hearing through the grapevine.
    it is heartwrenching to witness how much a person can despise themselves and how willing pushers are to capitalise on this desperation.
    I wish strength to all who are dealing with addiction and pray the right intervention for you comes soon. Be open to it.

    Kathleen Charters

    July 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

  7. We just want to say “Thank you” to you Son for taking the steps you have taken, so that your family may never receive that call we have all so often feared. We all love you very much and are proud of what you are doing with your life. Love Mum and Dad and I am sure your Sisters as well xxxxxxxxxxx

    Your parents

    July 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    • You are so lucky to have a supportive family – go on and live life to the fullest, but cleanly – I wish you all the best wishes in the world – you are a star for sharing. Oh and well done ;-) xxx

      Karen Anderson

      July 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  8. Thank you for this compassionate post. I grew up with an addicted father & now my brother and I have the disease of alcoholism. My Father’s was alcohol & drugs. It’s a miserable world and one we’re constantly judged for trying to navigate. I’m always in pain & hate myself & am disgusted with the world most of the time. Thank you again for your compassionate post. I could not have said anything (incl praying to a god you’re not sure even exists) more eloquently.

    Demi

    July 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  9. I’ve been there myself, and just pulled back from the brink of losing everything.
    A great blog, it captures the feelings of someone locked in the cycle of despair.

    The irony is that only through complete surrender was I able to get better. It’s now 988 days since my last drink.

    Kevin

    July 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  10. Beautiful post. Thank you.

    Smedette

    July 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

  11. “different from”

    Kit Marsden

    July 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    • It’s a differentiation in style, similar to a colloquialism. The Brits say “different to”, some people say “different than” (which actually is incorrect).

      Tina Shontz

      July 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  12. An excellent post. I’ve been on the receiving end of someone with addiction, and yesterday I squirmed when others could only criticize. I’m not particularly religious, but I do believe in the saying ‘There but for the grace of God, go I’. I dislike that empathy for those suffering on both sides of addiction seems so lacking. A sad state of affairs for everyone involved.

    Sratune

    July 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  13. You’re my hero, sir. Thank you.

    Xia Harris

    July 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  14. Wow, that has really made me cry. The message from your parents, tipped me over the edge. We cannot judge others over their demons, but pray that it never happens to someone we love or indeed ourselves. xxx

    Frances

    July 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  15. Guy, I’m in tears while reading this. Several years ago I received the “other call” with news of a family member’s death. He had been sober for more than a year, but as addicts and those who have lived with addicts know, you cannot take sobriety for granted – and he had. Those of us who have lost family and friends to this insidious disease – addiction – always ask “what else could I have done?” Perhaps we should ask instead “what else can I do to help those who are still struggling?” By taking a homeless person to a shelter, by making sure a friend isn’t drinking too much night after night — by those simple acts of human kindness – compassion, caring, listening. Peace be with you and many prayers for your continued recovery.

    InMemory

    July 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  16. what a beautiful piece, thank you for sharing it with us, and thanks to stephen fry for retweeting it so we could read this

    enaj34

    July 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  17. Beautifully, painfully said. Addiction is such a complex thing, and those who have never been through it – whether as addict or someone who loves an addict – are lucky enough not to understand its depths. But I do think that because Amy’s life was so public these last few years that it’s led to people thinking they understand. It breaks my heart to see the hatred from some people in reaction to her death, as if it’s less tragic because she was an addict.

    Anni

    July 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  18. You speak the truth (from a fellow addict).

    david

    July 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  19. Dear Guy hoping you will always find courage to live life. NO is such a simple word which people tend to ignore it.

    Maryanna Matias

    July 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

  20. I’m in recovery, too. We all recognize each other, don’t we? It breaks my heart every time this disease claims another life. Thank you for sharing your heart-felt story.

    Ms. Grrrkitty

    July 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm

  21. Thank you for this post. That call is something I feared for many years as my man dealt with his personal hell.

    Cass

    July 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  22. Thank you so much for posting, so articulate and honest. If more people acknowledge such truths, there’d be outcry at the media vultures and public ignorance. One day at a time and all that… Thank you.

    druid_cat

    July 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  23. As a teacher, your blog was very touching and I believe a great tool for me to use with my students. I posted a link on Facebook. I am bookmarking also. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I was truly touched.

    Deborah

    July 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

  24. As a parent who used to live in fear that I would get “that call,” I applaud you for being so open as to write something this powerful. Thank you — and may you continue to be strong.

    Heather

    July 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  25. hi there – i am 38 years old today and 13 years clean and sober –
    i woke up this morning feeling there but for the grace of god go i – and the sadness i felt was that perhaps the public perception of addiction will never change to understand the nature of addiction, and that only us recovering addicts can only know how close we all came – love rachel x

    rachel fuller

    July 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

  26. Thank you for this.

    Ariadne Dee

    July 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

  27. OMG why is this man not being published and been shown as the inspiration that he is to all of us – i too have had many addictions and all to hide one fact that i hated myself so much it was the only way in dealing with my feelings from being gay to becoming HIV+…i have tears in my eyes as i read ever blog and responses to them. Your family are your rock but my was my friends as i have not and can not tell them the truth (they know i’m gay) – my father was an alocholic and died of cancer due to this fact as such they have been through enough already.

    I have now been clean and sober for the first time in years – i have depression from years of abuse and self loathing, so have to deal with my feelings head on – its scary but my support network is great.

    Its sad about Amy and the many others who can not beat these addictions but there are many who have so we need to look at them – such as KJ – and realise that there is life afterwards.

    I love you KJ for your frank and honest blog – i love following you on twitter – I love how humble you are – I love that your out and proud – you are an inspriation and don’t ever forget it…..

    Shaun (@charliboyz)
    xxxxx
    (ps sorry about spelling but i have that non spelling gene..lol)

    shaun

    July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  28. The thing that probably choked me up the most was the reply from your parents. Very touching post Kristian. You are loved. x

    Jon

    July 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

  29. Fantastic post. I decided today I didn’t want to read anymore sad news, but people like yourself give me hope that not all people in the world are nasty, two faced and vicious. So I’m reading these blogs and each one lifts my heart a little because there are people who do care about people they don’t even know, just because it’s the right thing to do.

    I’ve been thinking about how Joan Crawford reacted to Marilyn Monroe’s death. They were not friends, and Joan publicly disliked Marilyn.Yet, what she said is especially relevant now.

    ” ‘Joan came to my house that evening’, said (George) Cukor. ‘She was in bad shape.She had been drinking. She was very angry. I thought at first she was angry at me. She kept saying,’Damnit, George this shouldn’t have happened! Something should have been done!’ I felt she was being a hypocrite, as were many others in town. People who were nasty to Marilyn when she was alive, with good reason perhaps, were now gathered in a weeping circle. Eventually I said to Joan, ‘What is this? You never liked Marilyn.’ Joan answered, ‘Yes! You’re right. She was cheap, and exhibitionist. She was never a professional, and that irritated the hell out of people. But, for God’s sake, she needed help. She had all these people on her payroll. Where the hell where they when she needed them? Why in hell did she have to die alone?”

    The whole world knew Amy was sick. All addicts are. I know no one chooses that kind of life. But she should have been better placed, being in the public eye, to receive the help every addict is entitled to.

    Congratulations to you, and good luck and health on your continuing recovery.

    mizsilverside

    July 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm

  30. Wow awesome post

    kambabe

    July 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  31. [...] Johns wrote a wonderful blog post about his own experience of struggling with addiction, providing a perspective I [...]

  32. Unfortunate as it is that you were drawn into the dark side, strength & courage resounds in your words. You were brave to accept and face the reality. You are a great inspiration to many other people who aren’t ready to combat the state in which they are. I adore your honesty and hope that this helps millions of addicts around the globe learn from you.

    Rinchen

    July 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  33. I’ve been clean since rehab, 1984. Addiction split me into two identities. On my way to score I always had an internal dialogue along the lines of the good me saying “Don’t score, buy some food and go home”, but the bad me always winning with “Yeah, give it up – tomorrow.” I had to hit the lowest of the low before I sought help. “Rehab” was the saddest of Amy’s songs.

    zen cat

    July 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm

  34. I too have been an addict, hopelessly enslaved to those brown and white powders, and – thank God – have emerged, not unscathed but thankfully unbeaten. I carry the physical and mental scars of some very, very ugly times, but mostly I have learned to live with them. Unless you have been an addict you simply cannot possibly understand what it does to you. You don’t set out to do bad things, or want to hurt your loved ones, but desperation does dreadful things to a fragile human psyche. And until you, the addict, decide to claw your way back to civilsation, there is nothing that anyone can do. I felt very sorry for Amy Winehouse, her every frailty exposed and her every move followed by paparazzi vultures. Hopefully her pain is now gone, but for her family the anguish and the guilt (“could we have done more?) is just starting. Addiction is stll not well understood…

    Christina

    July 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

  35. Everyone needs to read this! This is one of the most poignant and true posts I’ve ever read on a blog. I’ve had close friends who I expected better of posting some outrageous things about addiction and how she was “just a drug addict”. I met some prisoners a while ago on a college trip, who were promoting an anti-drugs message and saw first hand the effects and the difficulties that people with drug addictions suffer day in, day out and it was tough to hear these things. I used to get so upset seeing the images of Amy being trotted out for the cameras to make more money for the music companies when she needed help and love. It is so awful that such a young life has been extinguished and I sincerely praise you for your honesty and bravery in writing this, because it must have been tough to. I will be reading more of your posts from now on, as I’ve only just discovered your blog, but this truly is an amazing post. xxx

    Natasha

    July 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  36. I think Amy’s record company have some serious questions to answer.

    Kevin

    July 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm

  37. Poetic, sad, courageus . Thanks for sharing

    Lee Valadez

    July 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

  38. Very touching piece. Keep writing.

    Gabi Coatsworth

    July 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

  39. What a wonderful, insightful post. Thank you for sharing.

    Beth

    July 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  40. “A weak or absent parent is a major contributive factor in the dependent personality.” Having got clean many times, this statement was an epiphany for me and probably saved my life at age 30. It meant it was’nt entirely my fault, though it was my responsibility to undo the damage. I find it difficult to sympathize with her father who continued to “manage” her in recent times. It must require immense denial to ignore what was obvious to anybody who could read or watch the news.

    Tim Morton

    July 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    • Being an addict doesn’t require any neglect/abuse, underlying issues, weakness or poor management etc All you need to be an addict is to really like something and have access to it until like becomes need.

      Me

      July 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  41. Thank you for this. Addiction and recovery stories have to be out in the world.

    Voix

    July 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  42. You are different cos you are still alive and not a cold corpse on a mortuary table

    Bill Smith

    July 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  43. Brian: RIP
    Scott: RIP
    Josh: RIP
    Sean: RIP
    Jenn: RIP
    I’ve gotten far too many of “those” calls. The world is poorer for having lost some truly amazing people.
    Thankfully, I’ve gotten some of the other kind as well. There are people alive and thriving today that I was sure I’d have to see buried.
    Addiction is every bit as horrible as you describe (I know first hand) and it’s hard enough to get clean with people who support you. What it must be like when people are cashing in on your misery, when people everywhere wait eagerly for you to abase yourself even further. I’m not saying Amy’s death is more tragic than any other addict who dies from the disease. I do think it sheds light on an even greater sickness in our culture. A rampant, pathological lack of empathy.

    mykill furie

    July 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

  44. Great post, Kristian. Very moving.

    mater1alboi

    July 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

  45. Stunning post – simple, touching, and so, so true. If only more people could convey something so complex, so simply, then those around them might start to understand.

    purplemidget

    July 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm

  46. dont know her background

    but when Amy W left countless rehab sessions [i gather]

    somebody must have actually then bought more drugs FOR her

    not like she can go out herself and score a few

    john powell

    July 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm

  47. Thank you guy.. perspective = right and proper…

    Colin McAllister

    July 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm

  48. This is such a beautifully-written and truthful post about the realities of addiction. I had to comment along with others because since my friend posted this on Google+, I too have shared it with my friends on FB and Twitter. The response of my friends has been wonderful, with notes and posts of thanks to me for linking them here. I wanted to let you know how far and wide this post is reaching, from my friend in Spain to me in France, and back to the US with friends and family reading and being very touched by this post.

    Thankfully, the addict in my life has found recovery. But it was a close call… I hope that he can continue living sober, one day at a time.

    Thank you so much for writing this.

  49. God bless you son..and your wonderful family..from a fellow addict 22 years clean & sober

    Cockney Mick

    July 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  50. how is this “An amazing post” – you have basically taken Russal Brands thoughts and turned them into your own.

    People like you make me sick, you always have to make yourself the centre of everything. Amy Winehouse was talented, the only talen you have is blowing smoke up your own arse (and no doubt its the cleanest bloody arse in london!)

    The only thing you are addicted to is yourself.

    stuart

    July 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    • Was there really any need for this post?

      Cockney Mick

      July 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      • Guess he just felt the need to make himself the centre of this blog…maybe he’s addicted to himself?

        Me

        July 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  51. What an honest post. Thank you for writing it. My blog is about Amy Winehouse today, as I, too, am struggling with her death. Not as a recovering addict though…as a musician who was touched by her music. Thank you so much for these amazing words that really puts it all into perspective. It’s almost like you’re writing for her, because she is unable to have her words heard anymore. Awesome, post….and very well said.

    tucsonsongstress

    July 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

  52. This is a great post for me. My daughters father is an addict. He is currently at a correctional facility safe!! We where together for 3yrs before the addiction too over our relationship where I would sit up till 3-4 am waiting for him to come home scared would this be the night be doesnt come home. When I became pregnant with our beautiful daughter I told him clean up your act or it’s over!! I refused to raise my daughter in that environment!! Needless to say he couldn’t do it so I moved back home. I have always kept in contact with him for our daughter because he had always been great with her and never allowed her to see the addict side of him! He is clean now because he is in the facility but Iam so scared when he gets out in December of this year he will go right back to it. I mean he might stay clean for maybe a month but given the oppertunity he will be right back there. How can I help him get help when he dosnt think he has a problem. I have tried to get him into programe’s but he refuses!!! How can I help him before I get that inevitable call!!!

    Tina C

    July 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    • Wash your own bowl . . .

      Picaress

      July 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

  53. This was a really Excellent blog in terms that it was so informative and eye-opening. From a person who hasn’t been exposed to this it is a real revelation as to how addicts feel! Keep strong and keep writing!

    Qaqamba

    July 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

  54. Amazing!

    Yvonne

    July 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

  55. I know exactly where you are coming from. I recently came out of a two year relationship -, the last 18 months living together. When I joined my partner, I thought I could help and fix him. I couldn’t. The result almost two lives destroyed.

    Luckily my partner has now left London to be with his family, something even in the dying days of our relationship I asked him to. Diagnosed into our relationship with Bi-Polar, I tried to stop his drinking, made sure there were no drugs. The result I became his dad and it pulled us apart. He lost his job, my friends refused to see us…most of his are gone.

    His problems overwhelmed me and brought out my demons, to the fact that my my life reached the point of collapse. Of course his friends blamed it on me and became the facilitators of his drinking, seeing nothing wrong in feeding him a bottle of gin in the afternoon.

    I tried the opposite tact, to let him do his own thing and come back to me if he needed. Last thing I heard on the Clapham weekend through a friend, he ended up in a meth crystal orgy and ended up in hospital. Thankfully I think he knew he over stepped the mark and had to go home.

    This is the point, in the Independent it discussed how Amy and all addicts are responsible for yourself. It’s tough. I come home this evening disappointed with a friend who I moved in less than a month a go, coke on the table, wine consumed..with him moaning before that he was going to tackle his demons and stop it all. I now look at him and immediately think this is not for me..I can’t be surrounded by this I can’t have that conversation and so ultimately have to go myself. But it’s the choice, the choice we make each day – who we are, who can support us and make sure that we deal with our demons.

    Now I am no angel, have done drugs in the past (not much) and since my break-up drunk more at the weekends than I have since I was about 25. But ultimately you realise you have look after yourself.

    thomas

    July 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  56. Wow, saw this via Stephen fry on twitter. Amazing writing. I’m lucky enough to live in a drug free bubble, I don’t take drugs, none of my friends or family are addicts and yet I am now slightly scared of “the phone call” perhaps not for me but for everyone else outside my bubble. Going to sleep feeling blessed.

    Janine scobie

    July 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  57. Insightful and honest. Thank you for sharing. Peace and love.

    B in the Making

    July 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm

  58. Such a beautiful commentary.

    Glenda

    July 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

  59. This is so very true. I got the call on Friday, July 15 about my 22 year old brother and am still in shock and disbelief.

    Sara

    July 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

  60. Wow, this was extremely eye-opening for me. I have never done a drug worse than marijuana and can’t handle alcohol, so I am clueless to what addiction is like. I won’t say I have never judged an addict, and I have always wondered why they do that to themselves. To me it is obvious that an awful drug like meth is hurting your body and very addictive, and I have often thought that addicts are at fault for being foolish enough to try a drug like that in the first place.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I was incredibly glad to see in the comments that you have a loving and supportive family. It makes me sad to know that addicts don’t see themselves as “less” than everyone out there. So not true.

    I felt like the media and the public fed into Amy’s downward spiral (like they do to so many celebs). I was horrified when I saw some of the videos published showing when Amy was really messed up on drugs – it’s almost like people were filming her for entertainment purposes instead of stepping in to help her. So sad.

    Kari

    July 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  61. Amazing post truely griping and heartfelf

    Melissa

    July 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

  62. When my parents would tell me “no” as a child, I always assumed it was because they didn’t want me to have any fun. I realized I was finally growing up when I realized that they were telling me know because they DID want me to have fun. I know this is simple, and perhaps even simple minded, but it was a “lightbulb on” moment for me. And I think very similar to what an addict has to realize in order to get sober. My father was a raging alcoholic who fought the demon for 50 years. Everyday I miss what he would have been like if he had lived past 67 and had been sober, because I could see glimmers of it here and there throughout our relationship. I never hated my father, but I did hate his disease and how it stripped our family of him. My father died two weeks before his first grandchild was born. The irony of life strikes again.

    Liz Savage

    July 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    • Isn’t it odd that I wrote ‘know’ instead of ‘no’, but that that oddly makes sense in the context as well?

      Liz Savage

      July 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm

  63. The last ten years have been trying times for everyone, as in the West, aside from personal misfortunes, most people had the institutions and a stable society to fall back on. As economic security has eroded and the news is typically bad, people are turning to their addictions to escape the ugly realities of economic blight. The best thing we can do for the memory of those that have passed is to support each other by sponsoring small business and getting back to a natural lifestyle that enhances the creativity we are born with. I will be doing a post about karma hitting back the technological Establishment soon, as well as continuing to mention survival tips for all the things we are going through now.

    tarotworldtour

    July 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  64. Don’t ever give up!!! Your life has much purpose!

    bayareamomma

    July 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

  65. [...] nice entry from guy-interrupted’s blog about addiction. Click here to read [...]

  66. My turn…
    I’m Irish, so please forgive the verbosity.

    One of the most moving, and at the same time, terrifying pieces, that I have ever read.

    There is nothing easy about “that phonecall”.
    Particularly, when it is probably about you.

    So far, so good – I’m still writing.

    Perhaps, we all lose sight of the fact, that there are troubled people around?

    Perhaps, we don’t want to see them?

    Perhaps, we should have a slightly different perspective?

    No use to Amy, but might help someone?

    Buckers

    July 25, 2011 at 1:15 am

  67. This has brought such an emotional response from so any people around the globe! We can all relate to the loss of somebody who has been affected by an addiction but your strength in being able to write about this subject so close to your own self is amazing Kristian. We spoke to your mum last night and she said how proud they are of you! Keep up the good work Kristian and you will reap the rewards! xxx

    Ann Fisher

    July 25, 2011 at 2:12 am

  68. as a parent who lost a child to this awful disease I thank you for posting this .. so much of what you wrote is what Kailtyn shared with us about her addiction .. I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers and hope you continue to fight this disease so that your family never has to get the call

    all my love
    Cheri Vallery
    forever mom to kaitlyn

    Cheri Vallery

    July 25, 2011 at 3:02 am

  69. very nice post dear. you are great.

    wallpapersinbox

    July 25, 2011 at 4:40 am

  70. This is a moving post, and a welcome look at the issue from another angle.

    However:

    “The problem is, addiction is the only disease in existence that tells you that you haven’t got it.”

    No, there are a number of mental illnesses that tell you that you don’t have them. Your point, however, is taken. That is what makes these illnesses so terrible.

    Naamah

    July 25, 2011 at 5:58 am

  71. Beautiful. Gripping, emotional.

    metapham

    July 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

  72. [...] Re: Amy Winehouse has been found dead. An interesting blog entry fromthe other side.. Yes, I [...]

  73. Your blog has inspired me today to come out too. I too am an addict, at one point in my life the addiction was drugs. I was one of the lucky ones that managed to rechannel it into something more productive and became addicted to long distance running.

    My addictions change over time, currently it is studying, but I pray every day that they never change back to something that has the power to end my life that I have so much more of to live

    JR

    July 25, 2011 at 8:40 am

  74. [...] help. For an insight into the mind of an addictive you might want to read these terrific posts by guy interrupted and Russell [...]

  75. Great blog for it’s honesty! I was sad to hear about poor Amy on Saturday, but then immediately thought of all the others suffering in our community, neighbours, loved ones, etc., who we pass by all the time. Maybe they have died or have family who have died too, but we don’t extend our empathy or sympathy to them because their story is not known about or publicised, but they perhaps need our help more. My thoughts go out to anyone else suffering despair and who need support too. X

    philosofiez

    July 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

  76. As I read through the post and the many very moving replies I am debating with myself whether or not to post my opinion on here as well. Before I start I need to make a few things clear. I am not an addict and don’t know anyone who is unless you count the many friends and family who smoke. While not as fast acting or devastating as alcohol or drugs, it is still an addiction and one that can kill.
    Now any death is tragic and I don’t know everything about Amy Winehouse but I have seen pictures of her early on in her career and she looked nothing like she did at the end of it. Drugs and alcohol kill, we know this for a fact. I can only presume that Amy did too the first time she CHOSE to take them. While I can accept that some people’s circumstances dictate, the majority of people are free to choose. Early in her career things were no doubt going great, party everynight, endless amounts of money and always someone to spend it with. Excellent, enjoy it you’ve earned it.
    Now we read about the consequences of the CHOICES she made. Yes there may have been peer pressure from the industry she was in but at some point way back when it was her CHOICE to take that drug or wake up on a morning and reach for the bottle of alcohol instead of a bottle of juice. This is a woman who unlike many other addicts have the funds and the means to get into the best rehabilitation units only to get clean come out and again make the CHOICE to start again, knowing that clinic will gladly take her money and pick up the pieces when she checks back in.
    The true victims are the people that truly loved her and for them I am deeply sorry. Bit of you live the life she CHOSE to live then unless you are very lucky or extremely strong and you are able to make a CHOICE and stop, then the outcome is inevitable. You will jotice that one word stands out in this post and there is a reason for that. Many things are decided for us in life but if there is one thing that we are able to control and that no one can take away from us, it is our right to CHOOSE!

    One more thing. I am not concerned whether the war in Afghanistan is a just war or not, it’s a subject I don’t know a lot about, but 5 days ago a true british hero was killed fighting for our country.
    Did you know this?
    Do you know his name?
    Did you care?
    A singer addicted to drugs and alchohol dies, and its all over the news, facebook and twitter in minutes!!!​ ! RIP Corporal Mark Anthony Palin from 1st battalion the riffles!

    If you feel you need to comment on this post please do it’s not my intention to upset or anger anyone it is merely an opinion

    Dave

    July 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

    • I haven’t heard about Corporal Mark Anthony Palin, but I will say a brave hero like him deserves to RIP. Maybe you should right a blog about him and bring his service to our country to wider attention.

      I understand what you are saying about choice but I think you are missing the point about addiction. I’ll ask you if you drink? Have you raised a glass in celebration for a birthday or xmas? If the answer is yes then you did so with the full knowledge that you could become an addict. That’s no different to Amy. The fact that she was so privileged and was able to get the best help available and still failed (although the she might not have, the results of the post mortem are still inconclusive) should speak volumes about how much of a grip addiction can take on a person and how addiction disable personal choice.

      Me

      July 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

  77. This is an excellent and insightful piece but I have to take issue with your argument that “She was trotted out on stage at every opportunity to make money for her record company.” This just isn’t true.

    Island Records showed extraordinary forbearance and support for an artist with troubles beyond the wildest nightmares of most people in the business. They paid for several rehab sessions, allowed her an open-ended period of recovery including an 18-month break in St Lucia, and never forced her to record. She spent *five years* without making a new album, and how many 10m-selling acts would be allowed to do that, especially now that the business finds successful artists so hard to find?

    As for live shows, they are the preserve of her management and not her record label. Amy was certainly not on the 5-shows-a-week treadmill that many artists must live on. Regarding the abortive European tour, the feeling seems to have been that a tentative return to live work would help her stabilise – she was, after all, a musician. This, sadly, has turned out to be a misjudgment but who can blame them for not being able to predict the future?

    I agree with much of what you say but the picture of a vulnerable woman destroyed by the business is simply not true. The real tragedy of Amy Winehouse is that she destroyed herself, and that’s what we all find impossible to accept. There’s excellent insight to be had from a fellow recovered addict here: http://www.holymoly.com/celebrity/blog/addict-intervention-why-did-amy-winehouse-not-receive-help-she-needed58270 – I am sure you will recognise many of the sentiments.

    (By the way I don’t work for her record label or management)

    Andrew

    July 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

  78. [...] Sex, drugs and sausage rolls: London life, love and other random stuff Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different to Amy Winehouse [...]

  79. Thank you for your honesty. The phone call is my biggest dread and worst experience. Helplessness and ill-chosen words…

    sharpspear

    July 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

  80. [...] or alcoholic, take a moment to think about how the problem could be fixed. Listen to words from a recovering addict. Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed Why It's a Bad Idea to [...]

  81. I too read Brand’s article and thought it was terrifically written… shared it on my wall on Facebook. A friend commented that everyone has addictions,and that some are just heathier than others. I kind of envy his black and white view on the topic… but I think comparing an addiction to chocolate, or adreneline rushes, or whatever to a drug addiction is bordering on rediculous. But at the same time, some simplific beauty that he doesn’t realise how rediculous it sounds. And I hope he never finds out.

    brokenbelladonna

    July 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  82. i like it..great post..

    daypoint

    July 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm

  83. i am encouraged reading your post..

    changnaga

    July 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

  84. thank you for explaining how it feels. I dont unsersdatand how so many people can think its our fault.

    Victoria

    July 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  85. beautifully written, it truly touched me to read this.

    BrokenOrchid

    July 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  86. an amazing post… a wonderful bit of perspective on the tradgedy.

    danielledawes

    July 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  87. Continued success to you and yours in Recovery, from me & mine xxx

    Annemarie Ward

    July 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  88. No one WANTS to be an addict. No one WANTS to OD and die. No one WANTS this disease. This disease killed two of my siblings. I and others in my family struggle against the depths of the disease. Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated like diabetes or cancer.

    CleLover312

    July 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  89. God Bless you. This is a profound post, and makes me stop and think. As one who has been very unsettled by the death of Amy, this is a posting that stands out in the flood of commentary on her death.

    Thanks again,
    Scott Masters
    jesseleeproject.og

    pastorscott2007

    July 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

  90. A great lesson for better life.

    missteen

    July 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  91. I’m hoping your blog reaches out to those who need that step up to get some help. I sit here tonight hoping the one I love has read this as I am sitting here again wondering why I’m sticking with them when the help I try to give them hardly dents the surface. I’m torn between knowing that leaving them could and probably will make things worse and needing some happiness of my own.

    Your blog and all of the comments posted have given me a new perspective on things and think I know now what I need to do to help. Thanks for your wise words and the comments of your readers.

    Looking forward to your next blog post :)

    confused

    July 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  92. <3

    Abby

    July 26, 2011 at 2:54 am

  93. beautiful! great post.thanks..

    ilmol

    July 26, 2011 at 7:09 am

  94. nice post. good job

    furios4you

    July 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

  95. [...] Why I’m No Different From Amy Winehouse [...]

  96. Well said. Clear and compassionate. My thoughts on artists who are are damaged by “success”: http://scottseesthings.blogspot.com/2011/07/sometimes-we-help-kill-things-we-love.html

    Scott

    July 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm

  97. I appear to be one of the lucky ones – I am not an addict and I have no friends or family who are affected by this illness that I am aware of. I just wanted to comment that I agree that we all make choices. We can choose whether to drink or take drugs and we can choose not to. Some people can also make a choice to stop drinking or taking drugs. Others cannot – they are the unfortunate ones who have the predisposition to addiction that stops them putting a choice to stop into action.
    Addiction to any substance usually involves the physically addictive properties of the drug and the psychological predisposition to addiction. On top of that there MAY be other perpetuating factors such as low self esteem, abuse, trauma, mental illness. We can all be affected by the physical feelings of addiction, not all of us will be so significantly affected by our psychological make up.
    It’s too easy to say it’s about choice. People with substance addiction do eventually have to make a choice to challenge their addiction but then the support needs to be available to help them put their choice into action.

    Zoe

    July 27, 2011 at 9:22 am

  98. Well written but you could not know the cause of the death of Amy Winehouse, just assuming
    therefor i can not appreciate this story so much, since you said:

    “I can’t imagine anything more frightening than the whole world waiting with bated breath for me to fuck up, then posting it on YouTube when I do”

    Well, you are doing it on WordPress,,

    Would you wrote this if Amy Winehouse was still a live?
    Would you talk about her then?

    Sonny Chapelle

    July 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  99. the problem with blogs is that they are usually written by people who have failed as writers or who have never got anywhere as writers. there’s usually a reason for this.

    Mary Sue

    July 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    • Out of pure curiosity, why did you feel the need to write this?

      Personally I think it’s an amazing piece of writing both in terms of style and content. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and a window into someones life and experience. A glimpse of a kind soul.

      The value of the internet and blogs is that it gives a voice to everyone outside of the the media economy. I sorry that you feel this is a bad thing.

      Why comment this way…..why not explain what those reasons are. Why not comment on a blog/article etc on blogs and authorship.

      If you have some underlying reason that gives you the need to post this let us know and I and I’m sure many people who read it will be happy to offer their opinion and advice.

      Say something nice today…make someone smile…it might make you feel better.

      Me

      July 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

  100. Hi! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great job!

    Shu Demorest

    November 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  101. This was an awesome read I can truly relate.

    Calvin Nokes

    January 1, 2012 at 2:29 am

  102. [...] Johns wrote a wonderful blog post about his own experience of struggling with addiction, providing a perspective I [...]

  103. Christ. I never saw this one. Scary, Kristian. Very scary. :-(

  104. [...] Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse – by – Guy Interruptd / Kristian Johns [...]

  105. [...] that only possibly he could have explained and expressed as effectively as he did in his post “Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse” on his blog ‘Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls’ and he says sighting the example of Amy Winehouse [...]

  106. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
    it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?

    Anonymous

    February 4, 2013 at 12:16 am


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