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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse - Gone Way Too Soon

When I read on a Friend's Facebook page that Amy Winehouse had died I audibly gasped. I know I shouldn't have been surprised given the singer/songwriter's history, but still, I was stunned.

Winehouse had a talent rarely seen in this world of Rebecca Black and Auto-Tune. Her bluesy, rich voice was completely recognizable. Her talent unsurpassed - evidenced by the five Grammy's she won for her album, "Back to Black." An album so full of great songs it catapulted her to a level of fame few ever reach.

Sadly, there was a very dark side to her life. That of addiction. In and out of treatment countless times her life became a caricature of the drugged and drunken rock star. Arrests, bizarre behavior and bad relationships with equally unhealthy men took her on a downward spiral she was never able to pull herself out of.

As the mother of a recovering heroin addict I know this hellish merry-go-round all too well. I am one of the lucky ones with a son who has almost four years clean and sober. Sadly many, like Winehouse don't make it. It's with news like this that I have a huge, there but for the grace of God go I moment.

My first thought went to her parents. Unless you've been through the meat grinder of having a child who's an addict you can never truly know that pain. Loving someone so much who seems hell bent on destroying their life is virtually indescribable The cycle of getting clean, relapsing, rehab, jail, hospitals, overdoses and homelessness is not anything any parent signs up for willingly. And Winehouse's parents had to do all this under the eagle-eyed paparazzi's unending glare. I was lucky, only those closest to our family knew what we were going through. Now, on this side of it I feel it's my responsibility to pay it forward and tell our story to help others. As they say in AA, "You're only as sick as your secrets." The more we talk about addiction and bring it out from the shadows the more who can be helped.

Every night when I go to sleep I say a prayer in gratitude that during that day I didn't have to face the news Amy Winehouse's parents got today. Every. Single. Night. I know just like that it can all change and I could be standing right where her parents are, grieving their baby, and I never take it for granted.

No matter how messed up she was, or for that matter, how many Grammy's she had, at the end of the day she was Mitch and Janis Winehouse's baby. And now she's gone. The world lost a huge talent today, but they lost their daughter.

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