You could take away every positive non-drinking has ever given me. You could bring back into my life every negative that dissolved as a non drinker. I'd cope with them all. Everything except the itching. The feeling of having never had enough. I will never, ever stand for such a feeling in my life again. Nothing is worth that.
Both my uncles are obsessive shoppers, both of whom are equally obsessive about paying the bill at any given restaurant. Both my grandfathers died from a smoking addiction and my Grandma has a tendency to clean manically when stressed. Three members of my family have a tendency to over-eat and are incapable of stopping and my mum can't sit still until all the drawers and doors in the house are shut.
George Osborne is already coming under fire for using the 'tampon tax' to fund women's charities, particularly those responding to abuse. Many are (rightly) asking whether women should have to pay tax on essential items to fund the services that help them escape abuse predominantly perpetrated by men. But despite these concerns, more money for chronically underfunded women's services is welcome. Now we must look at how we spend it.
I was lucky and never had any of the frightening effects spice can have, but I saw others who used it have 'spice attacks'. It's like they were having heart attacks, not knowing where they were, collapsing. Men would smoke half a gram in one go. They'd wander out of the cell, and the next thing they'd be on the floor or in health care. A lot would call for their mums.
While addiction is considered a mental illness medically, the public opinion of addiction is typically far less sympathetic when compared with other mental health disorders. Society tends to be more charitable to someone who is bipolar or depressed, but is that because most people don't have a clear understanding of addiction?
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.