I loved and will always love her talent. Her voice gives me goosebumps. She reminded me of past famous Jazz artists like Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald. When I first heard her sing on the local radio I turned it up announcing I was listening to the Janis Joplin of our time. I was unaware they shared any similarities past their amazing voices. Unfortunately both travelled an unfortunate path with addiction.
I've done work experience in a detox that was attached to a rehab. I got along fabulously with many of the consumers even though I couldn't always relate to them. Some poignant events happened which changed my life. I remember talking to one older guy who actually broke down because of the mistakes he'd made, people he'd hurt and what his life had become. After comforting him I remember walking into the office where I was told to read his file and find out how nice he really is. I chose not to as I didn't want to be shocked and act differently around him after reading about his actions while under the influence. Another time a man working in Housing came in to assign someone to a half way house. He asked me what I would do if I found out a consumer was a convicted rapist, would I still work with them? I replied I would but I'd be on guard. He then asked if I thought that a person could be evil and bad? I couldn't answer. He could, with a no. I think back now and I think that there are troubled people, people who haven't learned good coping mechanisms and people who make bad choices.
Why am I including this? It's part of why I was so appalled at the lack of compassion I witnessed on Twitter. People saying they don't feel sorry for her, why should we mourn a worthless drug addict etc. Disgusting tweets about a fellow human being. It got to the point where I couldn't sit back and say nothing so I tweeted the following;
I expected to lose followers and I did. I didn't expect to have over ten retweets and over fifteen new followers. People who were sick of the callous tweets and found my honesty refreshing. I didn't think of it like that when I tweeted it. I just wanted to shock people into thinking about how it's not always so black and white. Drug users can and are anyone. Drugs and addictions don't discriminate.
I should back up and tell my story. I've touched on my past drug use in some posts but have never felt the need to go any further with it. Until now. I should disclose that my loved ones know about my past use (I haven't used anything but alcohol, cigarettes or prescribed medications since August 2008).
In late 2006 I found myself single after a two year relationship that I couldn't fight for anymore. I wasn't working and made the move to my mum's on the Gold Coast. After spending my past weekends watching DVDs, playing scrabble or studying I felt free. I lived on the Gold Coast during the week and at my dad's north of Brisbane on the weekend. I partied. It began innocent until I felt attracted to a user. A real party boy. The furthest away from my ex I could get, the complete opposite. He looked like he had fun through my rose coloured glasses. In reality he always looked like he had one or five too many.
Until then I thought he was the only person I knew who did drugs apart from pot. It turned out a lot of my friends had done drugs. Mostly ecstasy, speed, pot and acid. I'm not going to blame anyone for my drug use. I was influenced, yes, but I chose to do what I did. I made the choices even after working at a detox. I look back now and I know I didn't have a healthy self esteem. I'd come out of a relationship I thought would last with a guy I thought loved me and found out he didn't, never had, just thought he did. I wanted to feel pretty, feel valued and wanted again. Most of all I wanted to be happy. Ecstasy promised me I would. Sometimes it did, sometimes I felt in control but other times I'd lie on my couch watching infomercials unable to move or sleep feeling like shit.
I've always been a binge drinker. I've been classed as an alcoholic due to not knowing when to stop, say no or not self medicate using alcohol. I can now so don't think I'm an alcoholic instead I believe it's more a lack of self restraint. What attracted me to amphetamines was the control I felt while on them. What scares me about amphetamines is the actual lack of control I have while on them. I've passed out, vomited, hallucinated, forgotten nights and cheated while on them. I've been carried out of clubs, caught taxis home alone, walked in freezing temperatures and stayed awake for days on drugs. Nothing I have done on drugs I've been proud of. Sure I've met some wonderful people who are still my best friends while on drugs but most I've lost contact with.
The scariest thing ever was being given GBH (a drug I never wanted to try) without my knowledge by a 'friend'. I nearly died. I had to have tests to make sure I didn't have brain damage from it or epilepsy as I fitted for hours. Rather than being a wake up call I saw it as a personal attack and went harder. My friend's didn't appear to really care, in fact the next time I saw them some were high on GBH. I found myself single, living by myself and felt free again.
One night I hit it too hard. I'd been drinking doubles all day then shots all night. I couldn't sit up by the time the mister picked me up. The next day I had a shocking hangover and my body was aching all over. Three days later I found out I was pregnant. Obviously I wasn't healthy and doctors were inundated with questions about the health of our unborn baby. A week later I left to live on two mango farms for three months with the mister following a few weeks later. We quit smoking, I stopped drinking and we cleaned up our lives. It was easy as we didn't have the habit there. It was harder when we came home. The habits were here.
Lufflump was born healthy and I have been drunk maybe five times since he was born. At a music festival my drink was spiked by a security guard. My choice was taken away again. I passed out and Lufflump had his first bottles of formula. I'll never forgive that asshole but I've been overly cautious since.
Will I do drugs again? No. I see people on them and I don't miss it at all. I believe drugs have caused my anxiety to get worse. Do I judge others that do drugs? No. Will I tell our children about my drug use? Yes. I'll tell them everything I know. Kids know more than you think they do. You tell them drugs are all bad and they'll go out and try them to prove you wrong. Do I regret my drug use? Some. I regret I took it too far, I stopped caring about myself, my safety and my life. I don't regret the people I met through the lifestyle, some are too precious to me.
Judge Amy Winehouse and you judge me too. The difference is I was saved, I decided the life we made was too precious to harm or lose. We were also helped along the way with our move to isolation. Unfortunately Amy wasn't saved and she will go down as one of the legends who were troubled and lost too young.
Judge me on my past and you could be judging your neighbour, best friend, boyfriend, sibling, parent or yourself. If you judge someone on their addiction ask yourself why? If you aren't an addict or alcoholic count yourself lucky that you can stop at your second glass of wine.