Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Crazy Day




I woke up early on NewYear's Day, after a wonderful, life-affirming New Year's Eve party with old friends, and all our children, up in Scotland.

We had to pack up and do the long drive south, in time for me to get to the BBC studios the next day, as I was booked to appear on Radio 4's Woman's Hour to talk about my book, The Sober Diaries.

I was terrified. I'd never done a radio interview before, let alone a live one.

I quite often find that I get half way through a sentence and then completely forget where that thought had started and where it was supposed to be going. The idea of drying up like that on national radio was horrifying!

Plus, I hadn't been booked to talk about a fabulous charity initiative or an innovative new business, I was expected to discuss all my darkest secrets - the ones I've spilled out over this blog, while hidden behind a cosy little pseudonym.

So, on the drive down, I asked the family to give me some interview practice.

"Go on," I said, "ask me whatever you like."

"Who is your favourite child?" Asked Maddie. I was pretty sure that Jane Garvey wasn't going to ask me that one!

The next day, I arrived at Broadcasting House and was shown into the green room.

Here's a secret, my friends: It's not green. Not even a green sofa, or rug. Not even a plant. You heard it here first.

Luckily, I wasn't doing the interview alone. I was joined by the lovely Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. As she's read my book and I've read hers (it's great), I felt like we were already old friends.

We had a short chat with the wonderful Jane Garvey, who is every bit as brilliant and lovely as you would imagine from hearing her voice, and then took our seats in the studio and watched the clock count down to ON AIR.

And you know what? It was okay. It was almost, but not quite, good fun!

I was reminded of the quote by Will Smith that I've posted on before: On the other side of your maximum fear are all the best things in life.

Shortly after finishing at Radio 4, I arrived at Radio 2 for a pre-recorded interview with my hero, Steve Wright.

While I was waiting, Steve's sidekick, Janey, came over to see me, clutching a copy of my book.

"Please will you sign my copy of your book?" She asked, "I totally loved it." And, you know what, she wasn't kidding, because she quoted several scenes from it.

Janey's enthusiasm and general loveliness (I now have a total girlie crush) meant that I was way more relaxed by the time I went into the studio with her, Steve Wright and the third member of the trio - Tim.

And they made it great fun! It was like a mini cocktail party, but without the booze (obvs).

At the end of the interview, Steve asked one last question: "Which was your favourite interview? This one or Woman's Hour?" It struck me that this just like being asked which is your favourite child, so perhaps I should have practiced that one after all!

If you'd like to listen to the Woman's Hour interview, you can find it here, and the Steve Wright interview is here.

By the time I got home again, I'd been inundated with amazing messages, on this blog, on the SoberMummy Facebook page and my e-mail. Many of them said I heard you on the radio and you could have been describing me. I'd thought I was the only one...

And I remembered that that's why I'd decided to write the book in the first place. Because I haven't forgotten how scared I was when I was first contemplating quitting the booze and, in the words of President Snow in The Hunger Games, "the only thing stronger than fear is hope."

That's what I think my book can do for people like me. Provide hope. Hope that a life without booze is not only possible but wonderful.

And it is. It really, really is.

Love to you all,

SM x

66 comments:

  1. YOU’RE AMAZING!!!! Annie x (from A Dappled Path - I can’t get my usual Wordpress thing to work when I comment here; I’m not usually ‘anonymous’!)

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  2. Heard u on the radio on the way home from a drink filled New Years holiday. I knew my life was all wrong, now I realise why. After 32 years of drinking I have stopped and I’m determined to beat this. Thank you.

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  3. Great interviews ! I also can't moderate crisps, but I'm 52 days without wine or any form of alcohol. Well done for bringing this discussion into the limelight.

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    1. Huge congrats on 52 days! It'll start getting easier soon! xxx

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  4. Wow it feels like thinks are really taking off for you Clare and so much positivity around your book, blog and sober living!!!!! Hooray!!!!! Xxxx

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  5. What a Day for you (and many who did not expect 2nd January 2018 radio to change their lives!) I'm glad you did enjoy the interviews and had to chuckle this morning re the last question from Steve!!
    Congratulations ... Be Proud :-)))

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  6. I've just discovered you and Catherine thanks to the BBC. I am an occasional binge drinker and before Christmas I decided I wanted a Baileys.. I meant a glass. not a large bottle. I may not have had a drink for about a month before that but enough is enough. and yes Crisps are a problem as well. I am loving your book and finding so much of it is relevant to other areas of my life as well so you and Catherine are really helping me with my quest for being a non drinker. Long gone are the days where people assume you smoke and offer you one but we are a very long way off that being true of alcohol and it's getting past that request without launching into justification that is an issue. So I'm just going to go for a request for a lime and soda and then if pushed a simple 'I don't drink' and if someone asks 'why' I shall deliver the look if I don't like their intrusion or a 'I just don't' if I don't mind them! Thanks for your help and support and I look forward to the rest of the book.. (p.s. Does the publishing world have more drinkers or are they just the section of the world that has the skills and confidence in them to write about it! - I'm one of them!)

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    1. so glad you found us! I think the issue is that in the media and creative industries it's always been so ACCEPTABLE to drink to excess. So many of my old advertising buddies have now given up completely (having got into a pickle like me!)

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    2. David J Campbell5 January 2018 at 07:01

      Hi, I’ve just heard your interview on Radio 2....Awesome to say the least...I myself gave up drinking 3 years ago after what can only be described as a battle war front..me and it, for most of the time it won, until one Saturday 3 years ago, I woke up angry and determined to beat the demon, I put myself in front of a mirror, I looked a mess but I could see beyond that seeing a man screaming to get out...I grabbed my demon by the nuts and squeezed hard, telling it who was boss.....I haven’t looked back since, my life has changed in every aspect giving up smoking a year later......well done to you ����

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  7. Thanks Clare for lighting the way for all of us in the dark, your bravery in outing yourself is truly inspirational. Still stumbling but you give me hope x

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    1. There IS hope! More than that- there is LIFE!

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  8. I listened to both interviews as although I live in Australia , I am from the UK and addicted to BBC podcasts. I enjoyed them both so much. Thank you and Congratulations !

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    1. Hello down under! and thank you! x

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  9. I have just finished reading your book, I am 25 and I may not have realised some of the behaviours i was displaying for another 20 years had I not read it. Absolutely fantastic book. Time for a change. Thankyou.

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    1. I wish I'd quit 20 years ago! Well done you!

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  10. Day 1. Started your book yesterday. Was like reading my own story. I identified with so much. Was a genuine encouragement. Am contemplating what my ninja visualization witch beater should me!

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    1. Day 3 for me , also identified so much , good luck Anon , I know I’ll need it ! carnt let that which take over any more of my life 🙏

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    2. It's incredible how we are all the same! xxx

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  11. I felt like I spent the whole day with you yesterday. I finished the book at breakfast(brilliant), and listened to both interviews also brilliant. In fact you are generally brilliant! X

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    1. Aw, thank you Dr C. You rock x And HUGE congrats on 2 years! That's awesome!

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  12. Meant to say that today is two years alcohol free for me. For all those finding your blog for the first time and beginning their sober journey, good luck to you all. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and this blog and its community made it so much easier for me.

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    1. Big congrats on 2 yrs dr C - I remember that we share a soberversary. Isn’t sober life fab. How lucky we both found this blog. Best wishes

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    2. And to you SFM. Sober life is indeed fab. I can't imagine ever going back. X

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    3. Huge congrats to you too, SFM! How amazing!!!!

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  13. Congratulations on publication and being interviewed.

    Ordered your book a while back; it was "delivered" on 28th. That is, it was left outside on window sill. Arrived back after a short visit to family (in Berner Oberland), found it soaked through. Will send back to amazon; have asked for a replacement.

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    1. Oh no! So sorry about your soggy book!

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  14. Oh my goodnessssss - so excited to listen to my fave radio show woman’s hour and hear my dear friend Being interviewed - (yep - because although I’ve never met you - I feel like I know you). So lovely to put a voice to the wonderful writing I’ve been enjoying for months now. Congrats lovely lady. I’m away from home at the mo but can’t wait to get back to my waiting post so u can get stuck into your book! In all this excitement I also forgot that yesterday was my 2 year soberversary which I definitely could not have done without you - how poignant and fitting to have heard your voice for the first time in my 2 year soberversary - all best wishes to you for 2018. And for anyone out there lurking on the sober fence - please jump over into the field of bunnies - your life will be better in every way.

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    1. whoop whoop! You feel like a friend too, SFM x

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  15. Tickled pink to hear you on Woman's Hour yesterday. You were brilliant. Flossie x

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  16. Started reading your book, when I saw you in the daily Mail, a few days ago, I’m tearing now because I know I’ve got to do this , this poison ☠️ is Has taken over my life so many things you mention I’ve been right there and worse x thank you so much x Lou

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    1. Don't cry, lovely Lou! Be excited! It's going to be amazing!

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    2. Now you’ve made me cry 😁having coffee and up to the green vomit 🤮 banker ps just been to bathroom to check my boobs x

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  17. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!! I loved both interviews, but the second was better, LOL! Keep smiling, things will only get better. I'm so happy I was there almost at the beginning of your turn-around; you are the first famous person I can say I knew when!!! xoxo, ll

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    1. So happy you were with me too, lovely Lia! Happy New Year!

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  18. So very happy for and with you. A huge step i was worried about you losing anonymity but it's great to see you in person after reading the blog for two years. I'm much better than I was but not quite there yet. 2018 is very much alcohol free. Tesco do some nice individual bottled af beer. One is enough! Well done C. Xx

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  19. Love the interviews Clare. Your warmth, intelligence and kindness that we see in your blog is on prominent display.

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  20. I heard your interview with Steve Wright I cried because I identified with everything you were saying, I down loaded your book the same day it made me laugh and cry! I don’t feel alone and isolated now thank you for giving me the strength to see more clearly and understand that it’s a terrible addiction.......3 days sober wish me luck!!
    Love Boosha xx

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    1. Sorry I made you cry! You are NOT alone! Good luck - you can do this! xxx

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  21. I'd not come across you or your blog until the R2 interview. I've been reading your blogs from the beginning and it's been a total wakeup call for me. I associate with so much of what you said and like you and others, moderation has *never* worked for me, but I persisted in thinking that I could make it work. No longer. It's Day 2 for me and I sincerely hope I can be as successful as you have been. Thank you for opening my eyes. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to even tell my husband right now - did you tell yours on day one?

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    1. I didn't tell the husband for a little while. Like you, I was ashamed and embarrassed, but DON'T BE! Alcohol is an addictive drug, it is not OUR FAULT for becoming addicted! Kick its arse! Go girl xxx

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    2. Thank you SM :) I told him on Thursday night. Last night we had neighbours over for a get together - usually the ideal opportunity for me to crack open a bottle while I was preparing. Interesting how easy it is to lose track of timers and your temper after a few vinos! I found it easy other than one moment when I really fancied a wine. It actually helped that I'd told the husband, as I'm being held accountable (by me). He complemented me on how well it, and I, went. Thanks for everything you are doing. I've got books coming and am continuing to read your blog for strength. You are amazing!

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  22. So I got your book! Loving it. So funny and so you. Very "Bridget Jones Gets Sober". Yay you. I'm almost inspired enough write THE BETTY CHRONICLES.

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    1. You should! You are a way better writer than me! xxx

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    2. Oh shut up!! Am not! Btw, Anne had to point out that you mentioned me in your acknowledgements! You are such a doll! Really I am so proud of you. Well done Lady.

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  23. Cannot put your book down. It arrived today, Mum bought it for me as the kick up the arse I need to quit the wine-o'clock of doom which seems to hit me at exactly the same times as you... I could in fact be reading my own diary it's so uncanny. I even have a fridge of Becks blue...

    Thank you Clare. I think reading this book may just be the start of the rest of my life x Katie x

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    1. Whoop whoop! So thrilled Katie! God on your Mum! I hope you didn't shout at her like I shouted at mine! xxx

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  24. Hello , day 4 , just wondering if anyone has tips on the Food/sugar wanting🙃 reading lots of stuff, I know I need to eat well but I’m getting cravings for sweet stuff and food in general ahhh help

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    1. Hi loobylou well done on day 4 that’s amazing!! You know what I just ate whatever I wanted in the first 3-4 weeks ( I gave up end of November 2016, and I sort of just let myself enjoy all the Christmas treats or ate whatever I fancied) I know it’s january and every thinks you should be eating healthy but your stopping drinking which is amazing so give yourself a break, have what you fancy for a few weeks, treat yourself, nurture yourself, I found myself having a lot of hot chocolate and cake!!! But by not drinking you learn to listen to what your body actually wants, and now I have the sweet stuff if I fancy it but I crave the healthy stuff more!!! Your doing amazing, keep on going one day at a time 👍🏻💗xxxxxxxx

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  25. I’ve just finished reading your book. I managed 198 days last year then fell off the wagon big time. Now it makes sense! I’ve got my own wine witch, but I used to refer to her as “the voice”. I went to a support group for people giving up alcohol and felt stupid when I mentioned the voice - but everyone else said they had exactly the same thing! I wasn’t crazy after all.
    I haven’t had a drink since Xmas day. I’m aiming for a sober 2018. X

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    1. Good for you. The voice ( aka the wine witch ) will tell you anything to get you to drink again. My personal favourite is the one that says "I'd rather live a passionate life roaring drunk than the insipid and self-righteous little half life of moderation or sobriety". That one had me until I realised most of this 'passionate life' was lived in front of a computer screen alone with a bottle in my hand.

      Our addictions lie to us using our own voice!

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    2. We all know 'the voice'! w3stie - I LOVE that quote. Can I post it on my Facebook page???

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    3. I picked it up somewhere Clare, so please use it.

      love

      Rob

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  26. hiya, I'd been thinking of doing dry january just to see if I could (which basically meant that I'd figured I couldn't do it but at least wanted to try). I was then by chance listening to Steve wright and you were talking about being an all or nothing person and the penny dropped, that's me. I bought your book and am reading my way through. I'm finding a lot I can relate to and it's not taken me many pages before I'm thinking that my dry january is hopefully just the start. day 5 so far and doing well . thanks for inspiring me to think beyond the end of the month and for making me realise i'm not the only one. so glad i turned on the radio. xx

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    1. whoop whoop! So glad you found me! Huge hugs to you. xxx

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  27. Just started on the book, love it! I've loved your blog but seeing it all come together in the book is wonderful. I was laughing out loud last night before I went to bed, thanks for that!

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    1. lovely to see you HabitDone! Happy New Year to you, and thank you xxx

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  28. Claire, you're a warrior. You have been so generous to write your diary and share your experiences. I bought a copy for myself and my BF. We both worked in London ad agencies in the 80's and 90's and all of them had bars on the premises, JWT and LHS. BBH, no but the pub was next door! Read Allen Carr last year, worked for a while but I must have mis-read some of the suggestions because I failed for a couple of weeks. After reading your diary, it's put me back on track. Feel like we're part of a gang and that's what will keep me and Jo going. Being 50ish and caring for elderly parents and in my case a nearly 17 year old daughter, alone, it's not been a glittering time and other sadness along the way, hey ho! I'm definitely a part of your tribe and feel I belong. Thank you so much.

    I wish you continued good health and humour. We love you!

    xx

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  29. I'm so glad I heard you on Woman's Hour. It was a turning point for me - since then I've stopped drinking, I'm reading your book for the second time and I'm keeping a diary (not yet for public consumption!). I have given up drinking so many times. This time I have given up for ever and it's different because before I used to give up in order to ultimately drink less. To reach that holy grail of 'moderation'. To be honest, I don't drink very much. Volume wasn't really an issue. But it's the regularity (like every day!) that I have known for years is the problem. Like you, I have three children. I (still) work in marketing and I had a glass of wine to switch between work and home, with homework, bath time and (last few years) on my own. I'm now really excited to have given up for ever and enjoying the next fifty years sober. Thank you so much Clare.

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