Likewise, every time Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” comes on the radio, I cringe and turn the station. Just those first lyrics of “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, ‘No, no, no‘” make me shudder. I don’t understand why radio stations feel it’s appropriate to play a song about an individual refusing to go to rehab when the singer herself died at age 27 from alcohol poisoning likely due to an unintentional overdose. While I’ve never liked the original song or this remake, I do understand it was popular in the general culture. However, it seems to be the song of hers that is most played on the radio almost four years after her death; I only rarely hear “You know I’m No Good” and “Back to Black.” Somehow I doubt that the song is being played as reminder to listeners of the consequences of overdrinking. I often wonder, though, if I’m the only one who sees the irony in "Rehab" being the primary song of hers that is still played.
Our society’s relationship to alcohol is a strange one indeed. We know it’s a problem, and yet we refuse to see the problem right when it’s in front of us. We continue to celebrate a singer who died from an alcohol overdose by frequently playing a song about refusing therapeutic treatment for alcohol addiction. While drunk driving rates have been cut in half in the past 35 years, almost half of all driving fatalities still involve alcohol. I know of too many adults who, despite being educated about the dangers of drunk driving, continue to drive under the influence. I hope that our society will someday start to understand the discordance between our words and our actions around alcohol use and abuse. By ignoring alcohol-related problems, we compound the issues rather than helping solve them.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC