“I changed my mind.” Those will be my last words, no doubt, if I ever give in to my recurring ground rush and jump out of a 30-story window. Although it would come out more like, “I changed my miiiiiiiiiiiii……”
I wonder if those were Keith Moon’s last words. The drummer for the Who, whose signature lyric was “I hope I die before I get old,” died at the age of 32 from an overdose of the drugs he was taking to wean himself from alcohol. At the time, 32 seemed to me perfectly old enough to die. Today, I’m not convinced that 32-year-olds should be allowed to cross the street by themselves.
Which brings us to Amy Winehouse, who famously sang “I don’t wanna go to rehab” while turning her body into a bouillabaisse of drugs and alcohol. She died Saturday at the age of 27. Although the sad fact is, the recovery that Amy Winehouse needed might not have been on offer at those rehabs. If the latest news reports are accurate, the worst pain the singer suffered was from her love addiction.
Winehouse died alone in the bedroom to which she’d retreated after her boyfriend, director Reg Traviss, left her a month ago. It wouldn’t be the first time a love addict in withdrawal withdrew into a room with no company but the Bottle Brothers: a bottle of pills and a bottle of booze. Nor would it be the first time Winehouse exhibited symptoms of love addiction: Only weeks after meeting Blake Fielder-Civil, in 2005, she tattooed his name across her heart. They married in 2007 and divorced in 2009. This is the trouble with love at first sight. Damn x-ray vision never works right.
The Daily Beast called their marriage “a death spiral of addiction, self-mutilation, knock-down, drag-out physical assaults, and bad tattoos.” Highlights included Fielder-Civil going to jail (twice), Winehouse carving “I love Blake” on her abdomen with a shard of mirror during an interview, and the two of them sexting one another 10 times a day even though he had a girlfriend and she had a boyfriend. Oh, and he was in prison at the time.
All of these are what we veteran love addicts call “a clue.” When someone is so numbed by their addictions — drugs, alcohol, sex, fame… pick your poison — it takes this level of chaos and drama to feel something that might possibly resemble love. It takes this level of chaos and drama to feel anything at all.
Amy Winehouse’s signature song may turn out in the end not to be “Rehab,” but rather “Love is a Losing Game.” Which is a shame, because love isn’t the problem. Love addiction is the problem. Love is great. Love addiction, like any addiction worth the name, is a killer.