Thursday, April 11, 2019

Interview with the FREEDOM junkies' Ryan Swainson




After episode after episode of me chattering away, I thought it was high time for another interview, so I cornered Ryan, my partner, fellow Freedom Junkie and sober buddy, and convinced him to sit down and chat with me about the whys and wherefores of his sobriety journey!

This sobriety lark is a serious business. 

His story is pretty different to mine - he’s no stranger to taking breaks from drinking and smoking over the years. But this is the first time that he’s made the decision for the foreseeable future, rather than just for a short time. Now there’s no end point he’s had to adapt, and try to understand why he was using certain substances in certain situations. 

One of the biggest realisations Ryan’s had in this year of sobriety is that he’s a pretty extreme introvert. It seems like he was masking it with drinking and smoking in social situations so that it was easier for him to do things that now seem to drain his energy really quickly. It’s been so interesting for both of us to learn more about introversion and extroversion - Ryan’s written a blog post which you can check out here if you want a more in-depth view of what it’s like to party like a sober introvert!

Another thing that makes Ryan’s experience perhaps more challenging than mine is that he’s pretty immersed in party culture because he’s a musician and performer - our whole trip around Germany was essentially a Junkie Kut tour! So he ends up in a lot of situations where people are consuming substances of all sorts, and it’s taken a while to adjust. He has found, like I did when I stopped drinking, that usually without fail he finds the one other sober person in the room - he often comes home from gigs and tells me how he had a really great and interesting conversation with someone else who’s decided to give sobriety a try, or someone who’s been sober for years. 

We had a good old chat about van life as well - it’s Ryan’s first time living and travelling in a van, and life on the road has taken some getting used to. But we both agree that we wouldn’t have it any other way. In lots of ways being sober and van life compliment each other - both involve the stripping away of elements of your life that don’t serve you or are unnecessary so you can focus on more meaningful pursuits. 

One thing we both agree with is that being sober is definitely not as boring as people often make it out to be. We mention earlier in the interview about Alan Watts’ excellent quote about psychedelics, that once you’ve got the message you don’t need to stay on the phone. We feel like we’ve got the message from our time of substance use (and/or abuse) and now we’ve hung up the phone and are focusing on other, exciting future plans. 

I hope you enjoy the interview - thanks to Ryan for sharing a new perspective on being sober, and for being an awesome exit buddy!

-Ems-

If you can relate to what you've just read, let's continue the conversation! Sharing stories is one of our most powerful tools, so leave a comment below, check out the FREEDOM junkies' facebook page, or join our group.

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