COMMENTARY | After the news was released that Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse had died at her house in London on Saturday, messages immediately started circling the Web. Most felt sad about her passing, another unfortunate tragedy in the world of rock ‘n roll.
The 27 Club is not something that one wants to join. Many of music’s exceptional artists have died at the age of 27. In 1970, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died within weeks of each other. In 1971, Jim Morrison, was taken, and Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994 after suffering from drug addiction. Now Winehouse becomes yet another victim
Did these wildly talented people choose to become addicted, only to have their lives end in tragedy? I don’t think so. I doubt as a young child, that any of them thought, “I want to become a drug addict or an alcoholic.”
As I listened to a so-called Christian spout her views on addiction, I was saddened. I believe that true Christianity should be about having compassion and love for our fellow human-beings. Yet once again, it seems that a judgmental attitude came into play as this woman insisted that addictions are a choice, and that individuals have the option to choose their destructive path.
One common denominator in the people who believe it is a choice is, “Well, I made the choice not to become addicted. I chose not to abuse it.”
It’s wonderful that those people have not become addicts, but just because they didn’t doesn’t mean everyone else can do the same thing. How can we judge a person if we have not walked in their shoes?
There are many reasons that people turn to drug and alcohol. Often times, it is to relieve either emotional or physical pain.
Are you going to tell me that a child who was physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused chose to have that happen in their lives? I don’t think so. When they become teenagers, they start seeking ways to separate themselves from what happened in their early childhood years, and turning to alcohol or drugs is one of those ways. If addiction runs in their family, they are highly likely to develop that themselves.
There are many mental disorders that cause a person to turn to substance abuse to relieve the symptoms of their illness. Did you know that 35 percent to 50 percent of addicts suffer from a mental illness? Did these people choose that illness? No, they did not.
Children that grow up in a home where alcohol or drugs are abused have a greater chance of mimicking this behavior and becoming addicted as an adult. Genetics also play an important role in whether or not an individual becomes addicted. If they also grow up in an environment that is conducive to addiction, their chances become even greater.
No matter the cause, I believe we should have compassion for our fellow human-beings who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and hope that their lives are not taken on the same heartbreaking road that leads to a premature ending.