Esme’s Blog: Amy Winehouse: A Predictable Tragedy

News that 27-year-old singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at her home in London sadly comes as a shock, but not a surprise.

In her 2006 smash “Rehab” she boasted of refusing to get treatment. There were, of course, well-publicized stints in various treatment facilities. And there was as much publicity every time she publicly fell off the wagon.

Her music is her legacy, but so too is her death — a reminder that addiction is a curse that transcends the ages and holds captive even the brightest minds.

Several years ago, I interviewed Winehouse fans as they waited for her concert at the Varsity in Dinkytown. She showed up to the show an hour late, and the show lasted only 45 minutes. Fans said they were disappointed, but not totally surprised.

She is her generation’s troubled talent – a figure similar to Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobaine. One wonders if the 24/7 world of internet coverage of her stints in rehab, struggles with eating disorders and botched concert appearances contributed to her death.

Ultimately, however, her loss is a reminder that the most talented among us can also be the most tortured, and that addiction doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age, gender, income or success.

Click here to see a slide show of Londoners mourning Winehouse’s death.

More from Esme Murphy
  • dahder

    What a sad event= NOT , never care when lifetime addicts overdose, Ive tried enough drugs but also have a sense of responsibility to not be so weak to get hooked.

    • EJ

      You are wrong. Getting hooked is NOT a choice. It is a disease and it kills. Some people can try alcohol and drugs without getting hooked, but for those who have the disease don’t you dare minimize it with such an uninformed comment. Yes I am a recovering alcoholic and have more first hand experience living with the disease than you.
      It is always a tragedy when someone dies of their disease whether it is cancer or drug and alcohol addiction. They are both diseases.

      • realityslap

        Getting hooked is a choice, you don’t think i don’t want to drink every night, I smoked pot for 8years then got a job i could no longer smoke, so I made an adult decision and fought the urge and stopped, yes its difficult but its called being a responsible adult.

      • truth

        alcoholism and drug addiction is NOT a disease!! what a cop-out excuse, ‘the devil made me do it’ excuse. Its a CHOICE one makes to drink and do drugs,,whether you get hooked or not, thats the risk you take with your choice. be wise, be a responsible adult and make smart choices.

      • See BS

        Chemical addiction is a choice, not a disease. Calling it a disease is just a crutch and gives people an excuse to keep using.

    • Recovering Addict

      dahder = denial

    • Hopeful

      Guess what? Yhere is an addict and alcoholic in almost every family.

      If it were just a case of being more responsible, we would of solved it years ago. Your relationship to drugs/alcohol is different from the relationship that others have.

  • Corinne S. Rockstad

    You are so wrong! Why it is callled a drug because it is a drug and people who take drugs are not iin control of their life. We do not know what was going on in Amy Winehouse life but I can rest a sure she did not want to die at the age of 27. Not that talented person. If you can go back and see her performance when she won the Grammy and it was recorded live from London. It was fresh, tight and Adele will tell you that on your next interview!!!

  • Jack Mehoff

    Another freak bites the dust. Can’t weep a tear about it either. So long, loser…

    • usuk

      Many people probably feel the same way about you.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    My son is the same age as Amy Winehouse (27).He completed 12 years of school, got his diploma, and has been in the workforce ever since. He has never tried any drugs, never had an alcoholic drink or touched cigarettes. As a regular follower of the show “Intervention”, I wonder what causes people to turn the path towards addiction. Some of it is genetic, some use if to escape a painful past, and some unintentionally cross the danger point. I am talking about nice people finding themselves addicted to prescription drugs. I was not well acquainted with Ms. Winehouse’s music, but I saw her as a troubled soul. Unfortunately there are others alive that share the same beaten path (Lindsay Lohan and Whitney Houston). I pray they receive the power to overcome and find peace.

    • EnuffsENUFF

      You’re so naive Nancy A. your son is 27 i doubt you spend every second with him, he’s probably done much more than you think, also Your self righteous comments always make me sick because you once commented how you lost a child that was in a facility with disabilities, Why wasn’t he at home with you, you chose to pass him off because it was to much for you to handle, so hop off that high horse and open your eyes your son probably is no saint either, does he still live with you at 27 lol.

      • Nancy Aleshire

        For your information my 27 year old son almost died from Crohns disease. No parent should ever see their child in so much pain and on life support. He did recover by the Grace of God. Aaron would have every right not to feel like going to work, but he loves his job. Regarding my oldest son who was killed as a result of being restrained at his workplace, Tim was schizophrenic and used to come after me with knives or choke me. It was my duty to make sure our home was safe for my other son, and that was the only reason why he was in a group home. I maintained active contact with Tim until the day he died and I am fighting for justice over his death. So unless you know the circumstances you shouldn’t be passing judgments over people. By the way, I do not condemn those who are addicted. I have seen people who were labelled as train wrecks get deliverance.

  • TwinsRAwesome

    Life is full of choices and choices have consequences, period! I am surprised that all the “legalize drugs” crowd isn’t out tonight.

    • psyd

      As a psychologist, every comment here proves why I am not only in demand–also why demand is so large. Denial and ignorance abound.

      • TwinsRAwesome

        I am thinking that if someone criticizes opinions by calling someone ignorant, THEY may be the truly the ignorant one! Opinions are opinions! Am glad you have a job though!

        • psyd

          Opinions are opinions. You are right. Except facts are facts and they are readily available to all so that “ignorant” doesn’t have to happen.

          • Chimp

            You should be busy prescribing some anti-depressants to some person, you know someone out there is waiting to get hooked on them, maybe a young person so they can later flip out, this world is full dependants, I have 2 alcoholics in my family who both attended Hazelden it worked for a year or two and they were back to drinking, perfect example of it not being a disease, they stopped, but eventually wanted to drink again. Two doctors i would never see a shrink or a chiropractor, both survive on making you feel like you need them forever when in reality neither serves a purpose, and I work a back breaking job yet would never see a chiro. because they make you rely on them, but seriously a shrink is even more comical of a job, rather tell my problems to a bartender.

            • psyd

              -Psychologists do not prescribe medication. Psychiatrists do.
              – Your family members, again, prove my point that it is addiction. That’s exactly what addiction is.
              – Not all professionals are frauds. We actually do our jobs well.

              • C'mon

                Psyd I want to drink everyday and smoke pot everyday, but I choose to be strong and act like an adult, I wish you understood mental weakness because it does exist.

                • psyd

                  That’s the difference c’mon. I can’t believe I even continue this discussion! You WANT to drink and smoke everyday. When and if it gets to the point that you NEED to drink everyday….that’s where the conversation changes. Addiction is real. If crack babies could talk, they would tell you and they could tell you without ever taking a hit (no choice involved). If you want to actually look into this, read about the olympus center of the human brain. It’s scientific fact that brain changes are a result of abuse and is not something that a recovering addict or addict can undo. Once the changes are made the damage is done forever. This is why “once an alcohoic always an alcoholic the only thing you can be is recovered” is a mantra. I’m talking science here not opinion or judgment…or for any matter…being a blow hole. I know of what I speak.

      • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

        @psyd What? Excuse me? Shrinks have more mental problems than the average person. Check out NE Journal 2006, I think your in denial

        • psyd

          Psychologist–NOT–psychiatrist. There is a big difference. I see that people not only can’t make the distinction here–but simply can’t understand the topic at hand.

          • fact

            The only distinction I can make is normal functioning people have 0 use for either of these so called professionals

            • psyd

              I turned away one of you last week. Some can’t be helped. So,no charge.

  • EJ

    Ask any doctor ant they will tell you that alcoholism and drug addiction ARE both considered to be diseases. Don’t believe me? Prove me wrong and ask a doctor. There are too many uninformed and angry comments on this to ignore what a huge problem this is in our society. Sad to hear.

    • Mark from Minnesota TAx Waste

      @EJ I pray you don’r believe every thing your Dr tells you. Step up!! I think your the angry one because you have no self worth!

  • Nancy

    This makes me sick. To be honest. I don’t really give a flying f—k. Smoking is more addicting than any other drug. I quit cold turkey. I have no sympathy for this bi-tch… One song doesn’t make greatness. The media has hounded her. Why, I don’t know. EJ, in this day and age, everything is classified as a disease. It is pathetic. It only enables the weak. Amy died because she loved a high that she could not get because Darwinism wasn’t allowed to take her out of the gene pool.. Sorry to see that she passed, but there are many more people that are much less fortunate than her that beat the habbit and become clean. She couldn’t because she was weak, or simply didn’t want to. If she can’t write music if she isn’t high, then why should the rest of us try to relate to it? You can’t live in society high…. So why expect it…. Grow up…

    • You have some problems sister

      Nancy, are you a fattie too?

      • Nancy

        NOT AT ALL!! I’m just big boned and have poor impulse control.

        • Minnetonka

          your fat and have no self worth! You can’t face yourself in the mirror because you hate yourself!

          • Minnetonka

            I’m sorry, I meant, “YOU’RE” fat. My third grader pointed this out to me. Now I have to leave because my self worth has been damaged. I can’t face another sandwich. My welfare check won’t cover it.

  • Terry

    It’s what she wanted.,attention. No talent so she found it another way. Not sad at all Blame it on TV and internet.

  • Makes as much sense as the other posts here

    Her problem started in fifth grade when she received “hooked on phonics” The addiction process is very complex and starts at a very young age. If you would have checked first you would have know she was next hooked on suppositories and coco puffs. A very predictable progression not to be ignored. Her mommie and grand mommie (the one who purchased hooked on phonics) should be put to death by a firing squad withour masks or blindfolds.

    • Tony Rozycki


  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    Poor me, I can’t make a choice to take drugs or not! I need someone to help me talk about my feelings and what I should do. I can’t make it on my own because I don’t know how or my mother or father hated me! Step Up!!

  • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

    Or how about I am bigged boned, I love that one? Your not big boned, your fat! Get up and do something about it!

    • Mark from Minnesoita Tax Waste

      Sorry, I meant to say “You’re” big boned. My second grader just pointed that out. I can’t get up and do anything about that one folks. I’m just plain slow. You know how it goes, ‘the empty drum makes the most noise.’

  • jan

    If you want to say, “you are” most of you say “your”. Please, the word is “you’re” Your means like your book, it’s used to explain whose it is, i.e. your, my, her, his.

  • bye Amy

    Maybe we could make a Constitutional amendment so that we could end this problem especially since the Constitution seems to have become a dumping ground for whatever people don’t want to deal with.

    • Tom

      Did. Was called prohibition. Repealed.

  • c'mon

    @phyd no1 needs to drink everyday to survive, its in their heads, don’t compare a crack baby to some adult who chose to try crack and then decided to keep doing it, you help make excuses for the weak thats part of your profession, it’s quite sickening.

    • psyd

      It appears that some think of psychologists and psychiatrists as they are portrayed on the big screen.

      • psyd

        Like people who watch CSI and think they are experts in law enforcement. That is a far stretch from reality. 1)Clinical environment, administering baseline testing to frame a foundation of functioning. There’s no couch or hourglass. 2)Family histories and personal histories. 3)Fact check and re-check. 4)Typically a bridge between the justice system (court ordered) and community. The practice is based on solid facts and not “daddy issues” or regression. If a psychosis is detected, a psychiatrist is required for treatment. It’s not smoke and mirrors. There’s no Mr. Freud on the bookshelf and no referrals to hypnotists. The cases of addiction are vast. The majority of us can have a couple drinks and never see a day of dependence. The majority of us could live among a deregulated/legalized drug society and never touch it. Yet, there is a percentage among us that cannot. Call them weak, damaged, genetically apt—doesn’t matter. It exists in lab mice, South American goats, crack babies, rich and poor–regular old humans that lost the “choice” and lost control, for whatever reason. It’s just like all of the ignorance displayed here. It’s out of control, uneducated reaction, that some spew with no understanding whatsoever. So– you continue, like an addict, to prove how you are right and others simply must be wrong. “It’s all about me” and “I’m kind of a big deal” self-perceptions are rampant on message boards because they are anonymous. There’s a word for that…narcissism.

        • @phyd

          Wow because I choose to drink when i want and when i don’t im a narcissist, this is not about me it’s about some personal responsibility, your opinion is that every person smoking crack or meth or drunk everyday became that way because of a trigger in their head, it had nothing to do with any personal responsibility, I get you make your living off others head issues. I just wish you realized that there are people that choose this way out and you help them enabilize this thought process, by saying it’s a disease, the real disease is that addiction is so accepted, I nowhere stated I was a big deal or it’s about me, I just think it’s obsurb you label every addict has a disease.

          • @phyd

            Absurd lol

            • psyd

              Alright….go back and recover the lost data you seemed to have missed. Are you drunk right now? Do you ususally have trouble staying on topic? Is it typically hard for you to interpret and understand written word? Ah, forget it–lost cause.

        • Tony Rozycki

          In 2005 I fell in love with reruns of the TV series JAG, but it’s a far cry from & more glamorous than my real experience working at JAG in 1971 & ’72. Another stretch from reality. Addiction vs choice strikes me as an unending & usually unproductive argument. Hooked on peanut butter with a weakness for narcissism.

  • Reasonable

    Quite the shame. I saw her in concert before she lost it and she was absolutely amazing. She had vocal range that most don’t and her backup band was just astounding.

    She’ll be missed, too bad there are only two albums to remember her by…

  • Bob M.

    As a person in recovery, do you think for one minute, when I was young I said to myself: “you know, I think I’ll become an alcoholic, go through numerous rehabs, put myself, family and friends through hell, spend sometime in jails and loose countless jobs ect..ect..? I think not. Alcohol was a way for my to deal with, or not to deal with my emotions and in the meantime tore down my spirituality and not without physical ramifications. For those who think its NOT a disease, how many of you are doing something that your impulsive at right now, that you know is wrong or out of control and effects you and your morals, spirituality and physically ripping you apart?
    Dont throw stones at glass houses. So, choice? maybe so in the beginning..but it got me.
    Religion has nothing to do with it. Religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell..spirituality is about those who have lived it.

  • Bob M.

    By Mayo Clinic staff
    Alcoholism is a chronic disease in which your body becomes dependent on alcohol. When you have alcoholism, you lose control over your drinking. You may not be able to control when you drink, how much you drink, or how long you drink on each occasion. If you have alcoholism, you continue to drink even though you know it’s causing problems with your relationships, health, work or finances.

    It’s possible to have a problem with alcohol but not have all the symptoms of alcoholism. This is known as “alcohol abuse,” which means you drink too much and it causes problems in your life although you aren’t completely dependent on alcohol. If you have alcoholism or you abuse alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. A number of approaches are available to help you recover from alcoholism, including medications, counseling and self-help groups.

  • EJ

    Thank you!! Finally somebody who knows what they are talking about.
    To the rest of you….good luck.

  • Zeek

    You can’t compare her to Janis, or Hendrix or Cobaine. The only similarity here is they were musicians who died at age 27 and had drug issues. In the end, she will be a footnote in music history. Sorry to hear she died so soon. She wasted all her talent on drugs. In the last few years, she was mainly the pick on celebrity dead pool lists and not doing anything more notable than that. There was no surprise or shock here. Just some sadness that she couldn’t get out of the hole she dug.

  • Tony Rozycki

    Facebook Friends Standings

    Sid Hartman 4882
    Don Shelby 4412
    Esme Murphy 1948
    Dave Mona 1106

    • Tony Rozycki

      Lady GaGa 41,374,019
      Amy Winehouse 2,927,480
      Mike Lynch 722

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