As I hit my late twenties, I was spending as much time as a non-smoker as I was a smoker. I would wean myself off, stay off for a while (once even an entire year) then suddenly that feeling of missing a vital part of my identity would over-ride logic (usually following a glass of wine or four) and before you know it - bam.
Companies design for planned obsolescence - so that products breakdown forcing us to buy more and more often. But it was us that created psychological obsolescence. We want the newest, shiniest whatever the second it is available regardless of whether the slightly older, slightly less shiny thing is still working perfectly or is in no way demonstrably inferior.
I make no secret of the fact that I don't like addiction counsellors. The methods they work from are totally outdated. They are obsessed with dragging up the past instead of focusing on the present... most of all I dislike them because an addiction counsellor is a role undertaken by people who leave Rehab and don't know what to do with their lives.
I used to be addicted to busyness. I could not sit still for longer than five minutes without feeling the urgent need to be doing something productive. There was always something drawing my attention for me to work on. I was unaware that I had made busyness the purpose of my life. In all of my busyness I forgot to look after myself.
I was eight years old when I accidentally walked in on my mum injecting heroin in the kitchen. I'll never forget the confused look on her face - the warm embrace of the opiates blunted any acute feelings shame and panic, leaving her with an ugly, dumbfounded grimace. Luckily, this episode was the turning point in both our lives...
One thing that I am certain of after nearly 20 years working as an addiction therapist is that current drug policies in the UK are simply not working. As a society we have chosen to deal with the problem of drug addiction mainly by banning harmful substances and pursuing users and suppliers through the courts.
For years I allowed myself to believe material things were the key to happiness, love, admiration and friendships. I wanted people to respect me, believe in me and see me as the confident and vivacious woman that I truly didn't believe I was. Credit cards were like gifts from heaven as they hit the floor by the letterbox and the more I had in my purse, the better I would feel.