Grief is about all I got, but I know that a lot of people in the world are taking the opportunity of Amy Winehouse’s death to say all kinds of things about addiction and rehab.
Maia Szalavitz has a thoughtful, introspective piece in her Healthand column, which ends with these thoughts:
Only if an alternative method of reaching that state can be achieved is recovery possible. For me, that came in learning that my belief in my own unlovability was a delusion and that my pain could be reduced by sharing it. Unfortunately, you can’t forcibly teach this. Even if Winehouse hadn’t said “no, no, no” to many rehabs, no therapy would be able to reach her if she couldn’t first come to believe that her intolerable pain could end without self-medication.
And that’s why rehabs that use coercive tactics are often so counter-productive and why trying to force abstinence can backfire. We know that the British system of addiction care offers more access to “harm reduction” programs that don’t require abstinence — but we don’t know whether Winehouse was offered this approach, what the circumstances of her death were and whether anything could have prevented it.
And here’s and excerpt from Stanton Peele’s Winehouse post:
So, was Amy’s dislike for rehab the cause of her death? Not only an addict, Ms. Winehouse was too stupid or too much in denial, in this view, to recognize rehab or a 12-step group would be her salvation.
Except Ms. Winehouse had been in rehab any number of times. In fact, she had just gotten out. According to the BBC: “She had recently finished a course of alcohol rehabilitation in London and at the time was under strict instructions not to drink.”
Which reminds us that overdose deaths are much more likely after individuals leave institutions such as prisons or hospitals. They then return to accustomed levels of consumption of a substance after having lost their tolerance for it.
Hyacinth requested a dedicated thread to discuss the subject and the public response to. So, here you go…