Another one bites the dust
Well, shit. The trouble with wobbly trains on wobbly train tracks is that, sooner or later, those motherfuckers come off the tracks and then there’s a heap of twisted wreckage and smoke, and those of us who were standing trackside as the train wobbled by all look at each other and mumble, “Well, kinda told you so, no?”
Amy Winehouse, dead at 27. People die from addictive disease. You keep doing the shit and getting fucked up and bouncing in and out of rehab, and sooner or later your number is gonna come up. Sooner or later, you’re not going to get another chance. Those of us who have spent any time around what’s euphemistically called “the rooms” recognize this. We’ve gone to the funerals, and when that broken-hearted parent or sibling or child asks us “Why?” we shrug our shoulders and respond: “Because that’s what happens to alcoholics and addicts.” It’s no mystery. You either accept the gift of sobriety and recovery when it’s offered to you, gratis, and then you treasure that gift by putting it into practice and then paying it forward to others who need it the way you needed it, or else you bounce back and forth until something like this happens.
So, yeah. I look at an event like this filtered through the prism of, at this point, 18 years, 10 months and two days of continuous sobriety, with periods of solid recovery interspersed with other periods of being a miserable old cuss because I wasn’t working it. I’ve also buried a few people with similar stories who weren’t famous. It’s always the same with people who don’t understand addictive disease: “Why?”
Anyway, I’m not one of those people who thinks that anyone who picks up a drink or a drug is an alcoholic or a drug addict, but I sure can recognize a drunk or a junkie when I see one, as in: takes one to know one. Oh, well. Rest in peace, sweet wasted princess, and hope that others can learn from your example.
Last night I played music in Stockton, at a cafe I got permanently 86’ed from 30 years ago for drunkenly heckling poets. I get to play places like that now, because I’ve learned and accepted what happens to me when I take that first drink or do that first hit or line or pill. Shit happens. Handcuffs mysteriously appear out of the blackness of night. So, instead, I just show up with my guitar and songs and goofy stories, and if the stars are aligned nicely like they were last night, a good time is had by all.
I wish that Amy Winehouse could have experienced what I have in sobriety. Sadly, she won’t. —Jackson Griffith