Jan. 23, 2024 – I was sitting on the bathroom floor, sobbing. The room was spinning. It was the heart of lockdown and I wasn’t coping – or, rather, I was attempting to cope by drinking heavily. My nascent alcoholism, bobbing at a functional level since I was 14, was finally dragging me under.

Beneath the hopelessness was utter self-loathing. As a full‑time crime author with eight published books under my belt, I had a packed schedule – editorial deadlines, publicity commitments – and, on top of it all, the next morning I had to home school my two small kids. Deep down, I already knew that tomorrow would be a write-off. My alcoholism had been like a hard seed, digging uncomfortably into my life for the past 25 years. Now, it was blooming into a blowsy acceptance. My addiction was killing me. The worst thing was that I didn’t care.

The next morning, hungover and shot with anxiety and shame, I made the call that would change reality as I knew it: I booked myself into rehab.

My memory of what happened next is hazy. Checking in while still clamped in the sweaty embrace of alcohol withdrawal was a horrible blur. Alongside the humiliation of being searched for drugs and the ringing shame of admitting my addiction, I remember the gothic styling of the building, with a lot of carved wood. It’s hard to describe the strange juxtaposition of a facility that is luxurious yet clinical.