Posted by: Leah | July 30, 2011

Feeling Righteous

I must admit I sometimes feel I am very very smart. It often happens when I am at work, after that thought I normally make some silly mistake. You get the pattern, right?

So, back to the topic that captivates me these days  – Amy Winehouse. I guess most of us know that Amy had substance use issues. What I have noticed is that people can get extremely hostile towards people with substance use challenges. As though it unleashes a special type of righteousness that allows them to say : well, no matter how dull I am I have made better choices in life. I do not destroy myself with drugs. Ithink these people get a special kick out of it. There is something in the world that did right.

Yes, I realize that most substance users are not as phenomenally talented as Amy Winehouse. In fact. 99% are like you and I. Ordinary. What I am trying to say here that there is no such authority that gives us the right to feel that we made better choices and to say that others had a choice but did not get it right. Not always. Somethimes there is no choice. Sometimes there is a mental health issue to go along, and sometimes they are born into the family like that.

Back to Amy though. I can’t really speculate on choices that she had or did not, but her life strikes me as an example of how you disintergrate quickly and how people start treating and profiling you. If you are curious just google and see Amy in 2005 and her performing in Serbia in 2011. Watch carefully the Serbian part. This is a real face of addiction. It ain’t pretty. It is very painful to watch.

What is more painful though is how media and people around treated her. As though addiction is so easy to overcome – put yourself together, Amy. You have a problem, Amy. What is wrong with her? Then comes profiling. Let’s face it – anyone with susbstance use issues is treated differently in many places including police and doctors’ offices. Especially doctors’. The chances are high that a doctor might overlook a problem on grounds that do not listen to complaints of a person with substance usage history as carefully as they should.

This is all sad. This shows how biased we all are. I can understand why – substance use is not easy for family, friends, government officials and doctors. I can see why. I have seen why. However, this all does not give us the right to judge and feel righteous because we do not do something. If you ask me, we only can feel righteous if we do something. for example, domate to CAMH – Cetre for Additction and Mental Health.



  1. it’s a stigma. crimes have too often become associated with substance abuse. well we can’t blame people though because it’s true. i’ll admit i’ve done a number of extremely regrettable things in my youth because i was either drunk or high with something, but i’d like to believe that like me, all substance abusers have a chance. it’s just their way of coping with a world that has not been kind to them. at least that’s how i was. right now i’m on my 3rd beer and i still got another 3 to finish and i’m drinking alone in my room and why? because i still love alcohol but i’m trying to avoid humiliating myself or hurting someone once im drunk.

    • I agree it is a stigma. I just do believe that people don’t have any right to feel they are better than someone else just because their chances in life and circumstances have been different.

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