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,