It has not been absolutely ascertained as to what killed Amy Winehouse — the latest thoughts suggest even heroin while the singer's parents continue to maintain she was sober when she died, and that in fact, she died from alcohol withdrawal – though only about 5% of alcoholics suffer the DT's (delirium tremens) from withdrawal that can be associated with deadly seizures. (Time Magazine). It beats me that either way alcohol can kill from drinking in excess or seizures from withdrawal ... still most consider it relatively harmless in manageable doses.
In the Bible, alcohol was ominously first mentioned as responsible for the indiscretion that earned Ham the father of Canaan a curse from Noah. Lot also fathered children through his daughters who got him drunk. The Apostle Peter describes excess of wine as should only be part of the past life of saints. The question many have not been able to answer is how much is excess?
I Peter 4  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
Titus 2  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
(Time magazine reports further ) A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which dug more deeply and included more indirect causes of alcohol-related death, found that nearly 76,000 American deaths involved alcohol in 2001. About half of those deaths were related to chronic conditions linked to heavy drinking; the rest were caused by acute incidents like drunk driving accidents and homicides. About three-quarters of those who died from alcohol were men over age 35, but 4,554 people under 21 also died from alcohol-related incidents, mostly accidents.
Here are the top causes of alcohol-related death based on the 2004 CDC research, and the number of people killed:
1. Alcohol-related liver diseases: 19,616
2. Accidents involving transportation (mainly cars): 14,368
3. Injuries including falls, fires, firearms, hypothermia, choking and drowning: 7,716
4. Homicide: 7,686
5. Suicide: 6,995
6. Alcoholism and chronic alcohol abuse, unspecified causes: 5,841
7. Alcohol-related heart disease and stroke: 5,157
8. Overdoses of other drugs, which included alcohol: 3,694
9. Cancer of organs other than liver: 1,625
10. Pancreatitis and other damage to pancreas: 1,261
11. Damage to brain (including some cases of death by withdrawal in alcoholic psychosis or DT's): 1,033
12. Alcohol poisoning/overdose: 333
If 76,000 died in 2001 ...how many do you think were hurt directly or indirectly in 2010. Still the Bible accepts the medicinal value of little quantities of alcohol in exceptional cases... but largely frowns at its general or widespread consumption. True, wine was served at the last supper ... though some debate the level of alcohol it contained ...we can assume it must have been negligible or free of alcohol as they were to be filled eventually by the spirit of God. Or this will contradict Paul’s assertion in his letter to the Ephesisans.
Ephesisans  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is .  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
The prophet Isaiah typically puts it rather indelicately ... Isaiah 5 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: (KJV) ... Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine...and champions at mixing drinks, (NIV)
Someone had asked me once “Pastor how much is safe to drink ?” and I gave the safest answer “none at all” and asked “what could you lose if you got the threshold level wrong – assuming you decided to manage your drinking?...and the answer was a lot - if a fatal situation arose...” Then I probed again “ what would you lose if you withdrew completely from alcohol “.... he was uncertain but looking at the many who have embraced a healthier lifestyle - eliminating alcohol related possibilities of death sounds at least on the surface like a good thing.
But then, the mirth...the joys and the highs that can make an evening memorable ... how about those ...what would be life like without those ? I do not have all the answers but remember that these pleasures are only for a brief passing period while awful consequences can potentially linger for far much longer....Teenage pregnancies, accidents, drowning, regretted acts of rage, crime - have all been associated with a little too much.
The Old Testament is full of types that use wine to represent joy ...but David who prophetically saw into the New Covenant in Christ wrote prophetically of a different gladness that added no trace of sorrow and would not lead to any disease or death when he wrote ...
Psalm 4 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
The Bible warns us that our bodies should not be a house of wine but of the Holy Spirit. I do not know nor do I judge Amy, but pray God will somehow give you a vision or taste of His own wine – the Holy Spirit ...the best wine that was saved for the last times. Perhaps then I can be bold to ask you to decline the next offer of alcoholic drinks... and seek help from Christ to be free.
Our prayers for comfort go out to Amy Winehouse’s friends and relations. If you are seeking some sort of fulfilment that has led you to drink pls consider the thoughts in an earlier blog post Relationships, Happiness and Aspirations,