I drank every night.

For years I’d brew a witches cocktail of cider and cheap white wine in a two litre jug. No fruit. No ice. Just skip the food and down to the serious business of getting hammered.

I’d get to work totally wiped-out and bloodshot with terrible hangovers. Never shaved much before 6pm on a Saturday. Lunchtime I favoured something with garlic in it, figuring it’d give me a few per cent extra in the health stakes.

Booze and unwashed and garlic. My sex life was shit.

Pulled a tooth out one night; a healthy tooth. I was drunk and found no use for it so I worked it loose. Took hours. Used to run every evening, before the booze, three or four miles, just to work up a thirst. Twice a week I’d turn up for my kickboxing club, blood pumping round my head as I warmed up and stretched, thoughts clearing by the time I got in the ring to spar. Usually.

From around one in the afternoon I’d be planning my drinking. I woke early every morning fresh and with a crunching headache but it got so that I ignored the pain.

But I didn’t drink at lunchtime – apart from my devotion to alcohol, that was my only discipline. That was what kept me holding on, just, above the precipice.

Three nights in three years I was sober. I got flu. Couldn’t get out of bed to pour a drink. Then I felt a bit better and got drunk. Then sometime later, I stopped. My drunk time was over. Whatever was that wounded me, whatever pain I hid from had diminished. My glass shield was no longer needed.

But I never felt the same, sober. Things were never as clear. No exhilaration like that first drink of the night.

Life was duller around the edges. Diminished.

I started writing.