UKGR: we’d like to welcome Darren, from Liam Livings’ latest novel, Wrong Room, Right Guy. Darren, please could you tell us a bit about what brought you to the village hall at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting?
Darren: I didn’t think I had a problem with it, see. I thought a bit here and there wasn’t affecting me. I can handle this, with my job, it’s all find, I thought.
UKGR: and was this the case?
Darren: the ex lost a lot of money. Money we’d been saving and scrimping for a long time and then it was gone. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil the story for readers, but yeah, I thought I’d cheer myself up.
UKGR: and how did you cheer yourself up?
Darren: to my shame, I treated myself to a bit of sniff.
Darren: coke, cocaine.
UKGR: and then what happened?
Darren: the ex was well into sniff too. And it sort of spiralled out of control from there. I don’t like talking about it really. Sorry.
UKGR: yes, it must be a sensitive subject. And how have you found attending the group meetings?
Darren: a life saver. Literally a life saver. I’m not the only one who’s still here today for going to the groups. It’s something regular in my routine. Somewhere where I can share my experiences without anyone judging me. It’s a place where I know my rock bottom moments aren’t going to shock everyone, like if I told you right here.
UKGR: can you say a bit more about rock bottom moments please?
Darren: It’s like, in every addicts life they do something that’s so bad, so terrible, that’s the thing that makes them realise they’ve gotta sort things out. That’s the rock bottom moment.
UKGR: what was your rock bottom moment?
Darren: I’d rather not if you don’t mind. Not here. I told people about it in the group, but the whole point is it’s in the group. Here, I don’t feel comfortable. If that’s all right with you.
UKGR: how has the addiction to cocaine affected your job?
Darren: lots of guys from the group, they lost their jobs cos of the sniff. Some of ’em worked in the city, in London. Apparently it’s like a snow storm in some places there. It’s like a time warp into the eighties. Apparently. Not everywhere mind, and not everyone. Just the blokes who talked about it at the group. I’m lucky I suppose, cos I’m self employed. I don’t have a boss to fire me. I’m a self employed plasterer. I bid for jobs on this website, quote them, then go and do the job. Bish bash bosh. In and out. If I was having a bad day cos I’d stayed up all night on the sniff, I didn’t work the next day. Otherwise it was flexible I suppose. That wasn’t the reason I went to the group for help. I could have carried on with the job and the sniff. But I knew I had to knock it on the ‘ead.
UKGR: why was it you sought help, what made you go to the group for the first time?
Darren: it was my rock bottom moment I suppose.
UKGR: which you’re not going to tell us about?
Darren: we talk about gateway substances in the group too.
UKGR: what does that mean?
Darren: it’s the substance, or the situation that leads you to then take cocaine. For some people it’s alcohol. After a few pints they have to have some coke. For others, it’s a situation, going to the pub drinking, or having a cigarette, or a celebration, or something like that. These are all the gateway to the substance you’re trying to avoid.
UKGR: can you tell us about Simon?
Darren: I could, but I don’t want to say too much because Simon tells it all in the story.
UKGR: a little bit?
Darren: all I’ll say is he’s a wonderful, caring, awkward man and I’m glad to have met him. However, I wasn’t always as happy as I am now. He did a lot of things I had trouble forgiving him for at the time. He was a bad man. All’s well that ends well, and all that, but it wasn’t really that simple at the time. But I can’t say any more, because, well spoilers…
UKGR: unless there’s anything else you’d like to say, I think we’ll close the interview there.
Darren: not really, but just to say how lovely and sensitive Simon is, and I hope you enjoy hearing his story and sometimes good people do bad things.
UKGR: thanks very much, Darren. If you’d like to win a copy of one of Liam Livings’ ebooks, please answer the following question in the comments: What do you think about good people doing bad things?
WRONG ROOM, RIGHT GUY by Liam Livings
Simon’s the wrong man in the wrong place; trying to teach English to kids who couldn’t care less, he’d really rather be a writer – but it’s only when his best friend bullies him into it that he takes the plunge and joins his local creative writing group. Even then things don’t quite work out the way he planned; blundering into the wrong room at the Village Hall he encounters a group of recovering cocaine addicts and he wants to know more … which is the start, for Simon, of a double life and a whole new secret identity, not to mention an intriguing relationship …
About Liam Livings
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
He has written since he was a teenager, started writing with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.
You can connect with Liam