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How Amy Winehouse saved my life
IT IS a date that will forever be etched on her memory.
It was July 23, 2011 and Bryony Fry was wrapped up in a duvet shaking, unable to get off her sofa.
She was trying to recover from the cocktail of class A drugs and alcohol she had pumped into her body.
Just two days before, she had passed out behind a brick wall in Camden having lost all her possessions and only got home thanks to the kindness of some total strangers.
But then it happened and the drug and drink haze abruptly cleared as the bulletins came on her laptop.
Her idol, Amy Winehouse, had died aged 27.
The shock of the star’s premature death forced Bryony to battle her own drug and alcohol addiction.
Now the Hampshire singer songwriter has turned her life around.
She said she will never drink or take drugs again and spends her spare time raising awareness about the dangers of addiction.
In just a few weeks, Bryony will be among 30 people to jump out of a plane with Amy Winehouse’s mum, Janis, and the mayor of Camden.
The daredevil parachute jump will raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation and mark what would have been her 30th birthday.
Bryony, 25, said: “I have to admit, it’s not every day you can jump out of a plane with Amy Winehouse’s mum. It’s going to be extremely emotional for me.
“When I meet her it will be hard not to cry. I owe so much to her daughter. She saved my life.
“Looking back, I realise I was getting myself into some seriously vulnerable and dangerous situations and it was inevitable it was only a matter of time before my body couldn’t take anymore or I got myself in a situation I’d have never been able to get out of.
It is really scary. “Amy Winehouse gave me the strength to be who I am today. To this day I owe my life to the fact she lost hers.”
Bryony said she began drinking as young as 13 and even when she left Hardley School, in Holbury, her friends all wrote messages about her being drunk all the time in her leavers book.
But it was in 2007 her life spiralled out of control.
Bryony explained she struggled to come to terms with the death of a close friend, had a turbulent family life and had come out of a difficult relationship.
Her childhood had also been difficult. She had been the victim of a knife-point attack as she walked home from school and suffered from bullying.
The solo indie/folk artist who performs under the name Bright Smoke moved to London. Her life involved partying and regularly drinking alcohol and taking class A drugs including heroin and cocaine.
She said: “It was a dark time of my life. There was no drug I didn’t try and I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
“My life had deteriorated into a debilitating mass of drugs, alcohol, sleepless nights and emotional distress spanning across many years of unbridled hedonism.
“It literally did take Amy Winehouse dying to make me reassess my life.”
Bryony recalled the moment she watched the newsreel on her laptop with pictures of Amy flickering over clips of her music as a newsreader explained she had died.
She said: “Tears were streaming down my face. I desperately wanted to lay flowers outside her house, but I felt so physically sick and weak from my own comedown, I could barely lift myself off the sofa.
“I was completely alone, exhausted and I knew right there and then I needed to get help. It was such a wake-up call. You just don’t realise at the time that you’re killing yourself slowly.
“I realised I was the only person who was stopping myself from being able to wake up and smile each day.”
Bryony moved back to her New Forest home with her parents and broke her addiction to drugs and alcohol.
She is now teetotal – despite performing at festivals and going to after-gig parties.
The journey has been difficult and she said her music, artwork and writing has pulled her through.
She said: “Reality is hard. Suddenly a cloud disappears and everything becomes clear so you have to face reality.”
But Bryony is passionate about putting her health, happiness and family first and hopes her story will encourage substance abusers stay clean.
She said: “No matter what you’ve been through, no matter what your vices or demons are, you have the choice to wake up and smile each day.
“I knew I wanted to live and I knew I wanted to be a successful musician and make my friends and family proud of me. I wanted to keep Amy’s legacy alive and as soon as I heard about the foundation being set up, I knew that I felt instantly connected to it and now I want to help others going through the same thing I did.”
Bryony, who has Oscar Wilde quotes tattooed on her arms, added: “We underestimate ourselves, but we’re capable of achieving anything we want to achieve. I’ve suddenly become a version of myself I never thought I could be. For the first time in my life, I finally feel in control and happy and every day I feel so lucky to be alive and it’s all thanks to Amy.
“To this day I owe my life to the fact she lost hers.”
- Bryony will take part in the sponsored parachute jump on September 29 with Amy Winehouse’s mum, Janis and the mayor of Camden to mark the star’s 30th birthday and raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. To support Bryony go to justgiving.com/Bryony-Fry
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