In her first ever visit to a prison, the Duchess of Cambridge today visited Send Prison in Surrey to view the RAPT addiction treatment programme. This is a huge honour for us - we are flattered that the Duchess has chosen to come and look at how we help women prisoners to confront and overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to build a positive and crime free life.
I held a mistaken belief for a long time that sober was a static place of being. That it was starting with an instantly perfect package. Luckily I was wrong. Because if I had been right. If sobriety had turned up in the guise of instant perfection? Well that would make it the end, rather than the beginning. I couldn't have gone anywhere from there.
The nature of addiction means it's never possible to know if you'll become addicted before trying a substance. Nor is it simple to pinpoint the moment that a habit becomes an addiction. Taking the idea of 'illegal' drugs out of the equation might help you think more about what you're predisposed to - most people underestimate the dangers of alcohol as a drug, too.
Isn't it about time we afforded society and all of its members the dignity of treating a possible dependency through professionalism and basic levels of understanding. We set ourselves up for a fall when we try to distinguish who's entitled to care based on the noun of what their problem may be. Addictions shouldn't be feared, but they should have default impartiality.
The media after her death in July 2011, focussed on her alcohol and drug abuse. But they didn't mention her bulimia, nor the depression she wrestled with since she was a teen. The new documentary film on her life directed by Asif Kapadia sets the record straight, telling the tale of a brilliant woman who was plagued with self-doubt and deficient in resilience.
In 1999 I worked with a group of men looking to offer younger men in trouble the chance to find a way in to a better life. This led to the founding of the charity abandofbrothers (ABoB) in 2008. This ground-breaking organisation offers a new way to address issues arising from mental ill health, crime and addiction.
Despite what the game developers might claim, Candy Crush etc are basically games of luck where it's impossible to predict when you're going to win, and you're permitted to win just often enough to keep you coming back. The exact same theory applies to the matches provided by dating websites, pies at the football and late night kebabs.