To the best of my knowledge, the cause of death is still uncertain. Tests have returned inconclusive and we may never know for sure. However, Winehouse's lifestyle points to a sad possibility. After reaching a good level of success and fame, she began abusing alcohol and drugs, harming herself, and spending time in rehab. This has led many to speculate that her recent death was an overdose.
Chris Farley, Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger, Judy Garland, Billy Mays, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and the list goes on and on. Whether or not Amy Winehouse's death had anything to do with an overdose, there are a frightening amount of celebrity overdoses.
But how? How does it get to that point? How does anyone come to the place where they are not only abusing drugs and alcohol, but abusing them to the point of killing themselves?
It gets even worse. Sure you may have done some stupid things when you were high or drunk, but it felt good and was a lot of fun. When you try to go back to that high and get back to that place, eventually your body needs more and more of that substance to get the same results. But you felt good those times you used. Really good. So you drink more alcohol, take a bigger hit, or move up to a harder drug in order to feel that high again. Pretty soon, your life revolves around getting a bigger and better fix. Pretty soon, you don't know how to deal with real life at all without the help of a substance to take the edge off of the pain. You're making huge mistakes that you really regret but none of that matters anymore. All that matters is getting back to that place where you are happy. You need to get that high back.
Drugs have this terrifying way of making you escalate and it happens fast. Most people I've known who were addicted never thought it would end up that way. They thought they would have been able to control themselves. And then, somewhere along the way they became enslaved to this habit. And the drugs and alcohol begin to ruin everything around them. Relationships. Family. School. Work. Friendships. Health. But none of that matters, as long as they can chase that next high.
A promise to make you feel good and happy. A result that doesn't last. A spiral that takes you farther than you planned on going. Sad consequences that hurt your relationships and things that matter in life. You know what it sounds like?
"But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers." James 1:14-15
Sin lies to us the same way drugs do. It promises to make us happy. It promises fun. It promises to make our problems go away. Whether its the lie that will get your parents off of your case or the non-Christian girlfriend or boyfriend that tells you how much they love you. Sin lies. And it lies very, very well.
Like drugs, sin drags us to places we didn't ever plan on going. We find ourselves doing things to hold onto our sin that we are ashamed of and regret. Eventually, it gets totally out of control and sin gives us what it had in mind all along. Death. Sometimes this is the death of trust in a relationship when you sin. Other times this is the death of your walk with God. Still other times, it can literally lead to death.
As much as we might be tempted to look down on Amy Winehouse and the others like her, we would be hypocrites to do so. Because each of us has been fooled and dragged off by sin, lost control, and made huge mistakes. The only difference is our drug of choice wasn't necessarily a drug at all.
So what do we do to keep our hearts from being deceived by sin and sucked into a world of trouble?
Have a different kind of drink.
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14
Whether it is drugs or a sinful relationship, our pride or our popularity, sin deceives us by promising to satisfy us in some way. The solution is to stop turning to the things that will only leave you thirsty for more. Take a drink of the living water that Jesus offers. Jesus will never leave you unsatisfied. Jesus can meet every need and desire you have. Jesus can offer true joy and when you turn to Him, you will never thirst again! You see, unlike everything else this world has to offer, Jesus is able to quench the thirst of not just your body or mind, but He is able to quench the thirst of your soul.
Turn to Him to meet your needs when sin tells you lies and Jesus will satisfy in a way that sin never will.
If you are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, get help. Talk to someone immediately and ask for help. Don't try to do it alone, chemicals have an awful way of making you physically addicted and you will need help in overcoming this. Pray for God's help, talk to a pastor, and give your life over to Jesus. He is able to help you beat this.
For the rest of you...
What sin has you deceived? What sin has tricked you into committing it? What are the common lies you fall for when you are tempted? Identifying them will help you see through the lies next time.
What hole are you trying to fill with those sins? How can you bring that desire to God to be filled?
Jesus is the only drink that will ever satisfy your soul. Don't buy the lies of the counterfeits. Learn the lesson that have cost so many their lives. Don't be deceived my dear brothers and sisters, sin is out to trick you and only Jesus can give you what you are really looking for.