The preternaturally gifted jazz singer and notorious party girl, Amy Winehouse, died this week in her London home at only 27 years old.
Contrary to what everyone might have thought about the hard-partying Winehouse, and that is that she died of a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning, stories are beginning to circulate that quitting drinking might actually be what killed her.
Amy had been told that she had to cut down on her drinking - but that she should do it gradually because she'd been partying so hard for so many years. She decided she wanted an all-or-nothing approach and quit cold turkey instead.
Her family, and especially her father, have come forward saying that the shock of total abstinence was too much for her body and that it may have given her a seizure which caused her death.
This is the first time I've read about a public personality who may have died from quitting drinking. But it reminds us of a couple of things: if you have been drinking very heavily for years, please consult a physician or some other professional you trust with your health before you cleanse. Your system may be too delicate to handle it well. Also familiarize yourself with the symptoms of withdrawal and if you experience any that worry you, seek professional help.
But Amy's story also reminds us of the power of addiction and alcohol in general. And of the strength in moderation. Because ultimately "cleansing" is a way of becoming a moderate drinker. Sometimes you drink. Sometimes you don't. Your tolerance levels start to change naturally so you never have to bombard your system with too much of one lifestyle or another. Not that I care for the term "moderation" - but there's something to be said for it sometimes.
Of course, the toxicology reports on Ms. Winehouse are yet to be completed. There may be any number of factors that contributed to the stress of quitting drinking on her body. But cutting alcohol out of your life is a change of habit that can sometimes be very drastic.
So be careful. Look after yourself. This is really what cleansing is all about. Learning to take care of yourself - not abusing or hurting yourself further.
Amy, I will not make any jokes about that big Winehouse in the sky. Instead thank you for your ethereal talent. Your incredible energy. All the tabloid stories. And a lesson in moderation. Rest in peace.