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I was so drunk that I merely stumbled home. No shame, no regret, no embarrassment - I was simply numb.

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Alcohol soon became 'a gateway' to other excesses. At 24, fuelled with drink and encouraged by friends at a Notting Hill soiree, Tania tried cocaine for the first time. She says: "It balanced out the feelings the booze gave me. Cocaine was easy, as everyone seemed to be taking it, and there was always a steady supply. She was to try heroin just three years later: "It was at a party and, of course, I had been drinking. My close friend mixed with a crowd who dabbled in heroin, and when she told me she had some of the drug, I wanted to try it more than anything else.

Cleaning Up: How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived by Tania Glyde | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & NobleĀ®

It made me feel wonderful - the shadow of depression which had hung over me for so long lifted in an instant. Because the aching - physical need for my next drink dominated my waking hours, there was simply no time for any stable relationship, and I lurched from one financial crisis to the next. Perhaps that pointless existence would have gone on indefinitely, but the milestone of Tania's 35th birthday served as a wake-up call that her problems were out of control. I looked around my pitiful flat and I thought: 'I've got nothing and I've got nobody'.

I washed down valium and temazepam tablets with vodka and lay down, preparing to die. She woke up 18 hours later - alone, hungover and still alive. I somehow managed to get to the local hospital, but I was told to simply take a bath and have a sandwich. They didn't have time to deal with drunks. But I was a depressed middle-class girl who was a danger to no one but myself. I walked around, naked, crying all the time and going back to the fridge to pour more vodka - in full view of the windows, but not caring who saw me.

I slashed the skin but I couldn't face going deep enough. The pain of my cuts and the physical pain of still being alive was overwhelming. At some point, Tania composed a farewell e-mail for her friends - one which she keeps on her computer to this day as a reminder of the true desperation wrought by drink. I went to sleep - and woke at five in the morning, in a freezing bath with a stiff neck.

I realised, in an instant, that I had survived three attempts at suicide - and that perhaps it was time to change my life. Alcohol had wrecked Tania's life for two decades. First, I cut down from drinking one bottle a night to half a bottle - then two glasses, one glass - until just one beer was enough. I walked out of the front door that evening without having to first prop up my courage with a drink. Her body took six months to wean from the effects of alcohol: "I suffered from terrible night sweats, and my skin broke out in spots.

My parents didn't realise I had problems with drink throughout my 20s. I had an unhappy childhood, we are not close as a result. I have not seen her for many years. Sometimes, I smell alcohol and it whisks me back in time to the depression and desperation. But what is truly terrifying is how I managed to hide the extent of my drinking from those around me. Tania's book is a testament to her lost years and her new sober life. She hopes it will help others who secretly drink to overcome their addiction. But I wore designer clothes and hid my drinking behind a smile," she says.

The day she left Oxford University with a degree in English. The publication of her first two novels. Book launches with London's literati at The Groucho Club.