“Clean” by Michele Kirsch

Clean: here’s a good book to take with you into the business end of Lent – a story of “addiction, recovery, and the removal of stubborn stains.”

Published a few weeks ago by Hackney author Michele Kirsch it tells the story of her addiction to prescription drugs and how she managed to get clean – as a cleaner.

Actually Michelle is also a former parishioner in Stamford Hill – until she took a detour via rehab to a new life in the south of the borough.

Her staging posts include The Hackney Drug and Alcohol Team as well as a social enterprise in Shoreditch called the Paper and Cup Café.

Help comes in all sorts of guises – public sector, voluntary sector as well as the give and take of the informal street economy:

The best place to buy prescription sedatives is off heroin addicts who sell them to buy heroin. The sedatives are to help them ease off the harder drugs . . . It’s win-win in some respects, except we’re all a bunch of losers

Above all it’s clear that a prerequisite for any sort of lasting recovery is the practice of humility, seeing through the bullshit to how things really are in this community of ignorance and error we call Human Being. That’s where clean begins.

Funny, rude, painful, pretty nuts: what more could you want to accompany you through the mysteries of Holy Week?

Michele dancing to “walk like an Egyptian” without any chemical assistance.