"What the soothing people at Alco­hol­ics Anonymous don’t or won’t understand is that suicide or self-destruction would probably have come much earlier to some people if they could not have had a drink. We are born into a losing struggle, and nobody can hope to come out a winner, and much of the intervening time is crushingly tedious in any case. Those who see this keenly, or who register the blues intently, are not to be simplistically written off as 'dysfunctional' cynics or lushes. Winston Chur­chill put it very squarely when he defined the issue as, essentially, a wager. He was a lifelong suf­ferer from the depression that he nicknamed his 'black dog,' but he could rouse himself to action and commitment and inspiration, and the brandy bottle was often a crucial prop. I have taken more out of alcohol, he said simply, than it has taken out of me. His chief antagonist, Adolf Hitler, was, I need hardly add, a fanatical teetotaler (though with a shorter and less wholesome life span)."

"Living Proof," Vanity Fair (March 2003)