You don't need to have suffered from addictive illness (although it undoubtedly helps) to understand that abstinence-based recovery is the only method that really works - in the sense of bringing the individual completely face-to-face with the underlying psychological problems that cause him or her to use drugs and alcohol in the first place. Nor do you need to be an addict (although, once again, in indisputably helps), to know that the current Kafkaesque condition of our prisons is a direct result of addiction treatments that are really nothing of the sort.
Gold offers no yield. There is no reward for holding it other than the smug feeling that you are protected from any potential economic Armageddon that's on the horizon. If you believe that's on the cards, then go right ahead and back up the truck and load up on the yellow metal until you're heart's content. Otherwise, you're best to leave it well alone.
When I told people I was going to go around the country and talk to dozens of people about their depression, the common response was "Oh, that sounds really depressing." But it was actually the opposite. The remarkable courage and creativity that people - dealing with depression and striving to get better - demonstrated, showed me the human spirit at its best.
Nobody likes a pretty-girl drunk. That's a deal-breaker right here. A pretty-girl who is a little bit tipsy? Cute. A pretty-girl a little unsteady on her feet? A bit giggly? Charming. But a pretty-girl who is a messy, sloppy, belligerent drunk receives twice the vitriol reserved for even the most unsavoury of drunken characters. It offends us, seeing this pretty girl displaying her internal ugliness for all to see. It's like taking a shop window display and covering it in garbage. Nobody wants to see that. Keep your window displays clean and bright.
Only two people have ever told me it is possible to recover completely from an eating disorder: the psychotherapist who I did an internship with last year (who had, herself, 'recovered') and my boyfriend. Before I met these two people, I was firmly of the view that 'recovery' meant learning to cope with the illness in everyday life.
This morning I received a call from my friend in Australia letting me know that one of our friends had taken his life over the weekend. I have suffered grief and loss before and today I did not know what to do - go to work and carry on? Stay at home and take it easy? I went to work and whilst there I listened to every early 80s tune that reminded me of my friend who I now will never see again.
But while there are endless studies, research groups and counsellors looking at the interrelation between addiction and crime, Malton takes a different approach. For her, addiction isn't just a force that leads people into crime as a means to finance their habit. For many, she believes, crime itself is the addiction, committed first and foremost to satisfy a need to do so within the criminal.
My nan is all kinds of great. She is strong. She had six kids in nine years. She worked. Raised a big family on very little. She's seen a lot of life and she never judges anyone. But there are some problems outside her realm of experiences these days. So as much as my nan remains my favourite person, she's not always the most relevant. Oldest is not always best.
Downing a full beer in one go has never lost its allure as a party trick, but it's also the length of the drinking session. Downing ten beers and four bourbons in an hour is impressive, but not as impressive as downing forty beers and twenty bourbons in twelve hours. Or being out for over thirty-six hours. I've done all three.
I don't like it when I hear people talking about "giving up" drinking. I don't like it because it doesn't really work. It's not about sacrifice. The very term "giving up" alcohol I take issue with. Nobody "gives up" drinking, the same way nobody gives up at a traffic light when it turns red. You just stop.
I don't frighten easily. I lived in a constant state of fear for so many years that it takes a lot to reignite it and take me to that dark place now. But when I see people using end-stage alcoholics to measure their own drinking against? It frightens me. When I see the media latch onto one person, the exception to the rule that has been able to subject their body to horrendous amounts of alcohol abuse and still just about function? It frightens me. Alcoholism is not a p*ssing contest. There is no glory to be had in being further up the sliding scale than these individuals.