Litro #172: Editor’s Letter

Dear Readers,

This issue of Litro Magazine explores Addiction – addiction and addicts and the hope or possibility of recovery. It’s a pressing concern for modern society – just look at the ongoing tragedy of the opioid crisis in the States – as we persist with prohibition even as we know it doesn’t work. Seems like everyone’s addicted to something: whether it’s merely caffeine or chocolate or tobacco, or whether it’s alcohol, or drugs from moreish prescription medications to legal highs to illicit substances from the softest weed to the hardest crack or smack…

But we’re also addicted to technology of one kind or another, to our tiny screens (maybe you’re reading this on one right now), to video games (the World Health Organisation recently added “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases), and of course to social media (follow us @LitroMagazine).

In this issue, a couple of stories are about wasted potential, about successful people or nearly successful people brought low by their addictions: “The Earth at Her Feet”, by Ishita Marwah, follows a girl’s evening with her aunt, a former small-time Bollywood actress now alcoholic; while Luke Mulia’s story is about a professional footballer once tipped as “the future England captain”, “d FEC”.

We have nonfiction too: “I Shall Not Want”, by Wendy Cobourne, is a personal revelation of addiction; and “The Body Is a Battlefield”, by Jenny Valentish – author of Woman of Substances: A Journey into Drugs, Alcohol and Treatment – explores how women feeling disempowered might choose substance use and other self-destructive behaviours to seize back control.

There’s also some brutal work from Rob True – “Back to White”, a short fiction – and Tabatha Stirling – extracts from a fictionalised memoir, Dust and Needles. Tabatha and Rob are contributors to A Wild and Precious Life: A Recovery Anthology, edited by Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert, which will be published by Unbound next year and is crowdfunding now. You can pledge to buy a book or support someone in recovery at https://unbound. com/books/recovery/. Fifty per cent of editors’ profits will go to St Mungo’s and Hackney Recovery Service.

Finally there’s an interview with Janelle Hanchett, author of the addiction memoir I’m Just Happy to Be Here and the blog Renegade Mothering; and “The 12 Steps”, a series of narrative art by Kelly Lyles bringing a personal face to addiction (the full series can be seen online at

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