Amy Winehouse was a multi-grammy winning music sensation and a household name across the world. She had a classic and phenomenal voice that was beyond her years. It was no secret in the media that Winehouse struggled with addiction to alcohol and narcotics. The media perceived Winehouse in a rebellious nature, glomming on her many appearances out in public appearing to be intoxicated. Despite Winehouse’s fame and success, addiction eventually took her life on July 23, 2011. The events leading up to her demise were perhaps a cry for help. She struggled for many years with addiction and her fame is believed to have put a catalyst on her struggles.
Winehouse was born on September 14, 1983 in London, England. She dreamt of becoming a musician from an early age. After her parents divorce when she was nine years old, she was left with a feeling of sadness and used music as an outlet. At age 12, she applied to the Sylvia Young Theatre School and started writing songs with her friends at the age of 14. Winehouse was ambitious and knew what she wanted, even in her adolescence. At age 16, her demo tape was passed along to a label that was looking for a jazz vocalist. This tape eventually led her to her first record deal, which she signed at the age of 19. Even from the beginning of her career, she had a reputation for being a party girl.
As her album started to bring great success, reaching the number three album on the British Charts, she began to feel nervous around the large crowds while performing. Winehouse spent much time at local pubs and bars, where she met her future husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. Many speculate that this relationship contributed greatly to her addiction. The couple partied and did a lot of drugs together. Winehouse’s drug of choice was initially alcohol and marijuana. However, after meeting her husband and as her success grew, Winehouse started to experiment with crack cocaine and other hard drugs.
Winehouse’s first manager, Nic Godwyn, proclaimed that “Amy changed overnight when she met Blake.” Godwyn also stated that she became more distant and became even more immersed in drugs. In 2007, Fielder-Civil and Winehouse eloped and got married in Florida. They decided to tie the knot after being on and off for quite some time. Their marriage was very dysfunctional and often in the headlines and on newsstands. Winehouse’s husband also struggled greatly with substance abuse. They were a toxic couple and contributed to each other's struggles with drugs and alcohol. When a person has the disease of addiction, they often turn into someone completely unrecognizable. It was no secret that Winehouse needed help, but due to her marriage with her husband, she did not want to receive any help. They enabled each other’s drug addiction. With fame and plenty of money at her disposable, she did not feel strong enough to get the help she needed.
Winehouse was unable to attend many concerts and shows because she was too intoxicated to perform on stage. In 2008, she reportedly stopped using drugs. However, she still continued to consume alcohol, which contributed to her death. It is hard for some to understand that all mind altering substances need to cease when getting clean and sober. Some individuals may believe that quitting their drug of choice, yet continuing to use other drugs and alcohol, constitutes as “quitting.” However, this is hardly the case. Substituting one substance with another often leads to the same unfortunate ending. Winehouse did go to rehab several times. Furthermore, she did relapse many times and ended up finally divorcing her husband in 2009.
In 2011, Winehouse kicked off her Comeback Tour starting with a performance in Belgrade, Serbia. Unfortunately, it ended in disaster. Winehouse was on stage, clearly intoxicated, and was unable to remember the words to her songs. She was booed off stage, leaving behind thousands of disappointed fans. Winehouse’s doctor, Christina Romete, was extremely concerned, despite her many efforts to help Winehouse get clean. Romete prescribed her Librium to help with alcohol withdrawal and anxiety. Winehouse reportedly did not take her medication as prescribed and did not take her sobriety seriously. Winehouse had about three weeks of sobriety before she relapsed the day before her death on July 22, 2011. On July 23, 2011, she was found dead in her home from alcohol poisoning.
Amy Winehouse was a music icon with an unfortunate ending. Fame often brings unlimited resources and not enough people to tell you “No.” Winehouse struggled many years with alcohol and drug addiction. If she would’ve accepted the help she needed and took her recovery seriously, she may have still been alive today. Ultimately, it is up to the addict to decide to get help. Drug and alcohol addiction has no bias. Amy Winehouse has a powerful story that can be used as a lesson to many, and her music will forever go down in history.
Margaritoff, Marco. “'I Don't Want to Die': The Story of Amy Winehouse's Death and the Tragic Spiral behind It.” All That's Interesting, All That's Interesting, 22 July 2021, allthatsinteresting.com/amy-winehouse-death.
Zakarin, Jordan. “Inside Amy Winehouse's Downward Spiral and Tragic Death.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 16 Nov. 2020, www.biography.com/news/amy-winehouse-death.