I’m nearing the middle of my revision of my YA book Dear Dead Drunk Girl. And often when I tell people about my book they think perhaps the topic of alcoholism is taboo, that an eighteen-year-old alcoholic is not the stuff of young adult fiction.
But addiction is current and it doesn’t discriminate against age and the world is catching on.
This is how Mary, my main character, defends herself:
How can I explain my need? My need for love and how that love has come from a glass because I couldn’t give it to myself. And even though it didn’t feel good I couldn’t walk away from what I thought I had. Because it was always there for me, no matter what, no matter how large or small a glass I knew how to fill it.
I knew it would greet me and hide the things I couldn’t face– the thoughts that haunted me the regrets I refused to name. Drinking blurred my humanity.
Until the day I got to the bottom of the glass and thought I’d run far enough away that nothing could touch me – except I was still there. There was no running away from me.
It took me a long time to understand that I was an empty rocks glass. My thinking all crooked, infused and alcohol addled. I didn’t master sobriety the first try, the need still too strong in my bones. But I didn’t quit trying.
Sobriety is tricky but the reward is love and acceptance.
I stumbled across this TED talk by Johann Hari: Everything you know about addiction is wrong. And I like what he says and it makes me believe there are many out there who will get Mary and our story.