So I was really looking forward to getting back to England for a few days and hanging out with the 'homegirls'.

 My husband understands that I'm lonely here in Switzerland and haven't been able to forge friendships like the ones I have in the UK.  I asked him if it would be alright for me to go for a few days and he was like 'have a good time and bring me some marmite!'

Not so long ago I was considering (for the first time in 8 years) what it would be like to live in the UK again.  After this weekend, I know I'm better off where I am.

 My best friend was, essentially, drunk all weekend.  Actually, none of the family (except the brother who's done a stint in rehab and is now rarely to be seen) appeared without a drink in hand the whole time I was there.

My best friend has ceased to work and, indeed, to function.  When I came downstairs on Sunday morning, she was on the sofa bed with a duvet full of spilled yoghurt (the other half smeared all over the dog) and a drink still in hand.

I asked her what she wanted me to do.  Did she want me to say nothing and go home or be a friend and tell her I was concerned?  I told her I couldn't sit there and say nothing.  I told her if I'd had more time, I would have dragged her ass to an AA meeting.

Now that I'm home, I'm full of mixed emotions.  I'm sad because I know she's got a lot to be depressed about.  I feel useless because I know she has to do this herself.  I feel angry because she's so pathetic and she can't see the good things she does have.  People won't like me saying that but unfortunately, it's the truth.

What I have learned is how people must have viewed me over the last years.  The reality is that depression is a true evil that slowly devours from within – it can destroy people in different ways and the people who have to watch.

What also frightened me was the levels of alcohol being consumed on a 'normal' weekend.  Binge-drinking used to be something of a rarity now it's a regular occurence.  Let's not forget there's safety in numbers.  Drinking alone is no fun.  But would anyone consider drinking those quantities in a room full of teetotallers?  I don't think so.

 Any form of enhancer (be it alcohol, cigarettes or drugs) is a crutch.  If we rely on crutches to get us through life, we just become weaker, not stronger.  If the human race is to survive, it needs to learn to get through the hard times without them.


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