Andrew Sullivan offers a more sympathetic version of the free will meme:
Tragically, Amy Winehouse finally got what she sought for so long: death. It must in some ways be a relief for her. Her addiction was so obviously overwhelming she couldn’t bring herself to master it and made a decision not to. She even wrote a song defending her desire to die. If someone suffering a terrible disease refuses treatment for it, they are choosing death. That’s what she chose. We have to respect that decision even as we mourn the loss of a brilliantly original artist.
First, she may have given up (I honestly don’t know enough about her to have an opinion.), but if all it takes is a decision to overcome addiction we would lose very few people to it. Addicts make the decision to quit all the time but the illness itself makes it very difficult:
- It compromises their will in ways that make it impossible for some of them to execute and sustain that decision.
- It clouds their thinking about what is necessary to quit.
- It robs them of recovery capital that makes the path to recovery a little less difficult.
- Within the context of the culture, what does it mean to accept a diagnosis of the illness and be identified as having the illness?
- What are the cultural narratives about the illness?
- What are the expectations for recovery or relapse?
- Is there going to be adequate support for an adequate duration of time?