In January 2020, I was going to bed with a knife under my pillow. It’s intended use: to end myself. I’ve drunk heavily ever since I was 18 and worked behind the bar of my local country pub. I’d finish my shift then spend my tip money on pints of ale. From then, I’d regularly binge drink on weekends to the point of vomiting or passing out. At the age of 28, my relationship with alcohol changed. I was in an abusive relationship, and I had just lost my best friend to undiagnosed cancer. I thought “”fuck it” and started to buy bottles of spirit (liquor) on the way home from work most nights to drink it alone and in secret. I felt trapped with no way out and no longer had my sole friend left. I drank to block out the emotions, to forget my own helplessness. Two years later I left the relationship with my partner… but my relationship with alcohol was now firmly established. I felt like I’d missed out on the whole of my 20s living monogamously with someone I didn’t even like. I started using hook-up apps to make connections with people and feel desirable. I wanted validation after feeling like nothing. My life from this point spiraled. I was drinking, taking drugs recreationally and my mental health was at its nadir. I was put under the care of the mental health team and back living with my parents. I’m now 39. I’m 10 months sober. And life has never been so good. I keep down a job, I keep a tidyish home, I have an active social life that doesn’t involve booze or drugs. And I’m content.