Judith Grisel's first drunken experience was no different to that of most middle-class teenagers – having had the odd sip at family gatherings, she and a friend managed to get their hands on a bottle of wine aged 13 and downed the lot. In many ways, she wishes she'd had a bad time; instead, she recalls feeling "physical relief and spiritual antidote" to her adolescent angst and ennui, which just left her hungry for more.

Soon, she was outdrinking most of her friends and veered down a steep fork in the road – via every drug she could get her

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