“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” Russell Brand

russell brand amy winehouse
Photographer Dave Hogan for Getty Images

Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse:

‘We have lost a beautiful, talented woman’

July 24th, 2011

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. 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. It is impossible to intervene…

 Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre Focus 12 I found recovery. Through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts that are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.

[Focus 12, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, UK]

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.

We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

via Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse: ‘We have lost a beautiful, talented woman’ « Russell Brand.


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One Comment

  1. August 6, 2014

    Looking at heroin addiction from the back side, I agree with this post. But it’s the front side that gets me. There’s a big sign hung over a door that says “Certain Death This Way” … and they turn the handle and walk through – at the cost of their families, the rest of society, and ultimately their lives. There were 3,094 heroin deaths in the US in 2010. You don’t see headlines about them, because they couldn’t sing. And the media hypocrites tore Amy Winehouse apart while she was alive, posting photos and videos of her wandering the streets with her wig sideways and one shoe on, making fun of her addiction and ridiculing her, and then she dies and they’ve painted tears on their cheeks and thrown ashes on their heads.

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