Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler Talks Sobriety

By Kelly Burch 11/22/17

“I got stuck in this bad vibe. Everything for me started revolving around drinking. It became a serious problem for my mental health.”

Ryan Scheckler
Ryan Scheckler Photo via YouTube

Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler was a star at a young age, first in the skateboarding world and later as the central figure on MTV’s hit show Life of Ryan. However, like many young celebrities he got tangled up in drugs and alcohol and now says that he had to leave that hectic energy behind and reconnect with his passion for skateboarding in order to stay sober. 

“I used to say it all the time, that I liked the hectic energy. Well if you like hectic energy, you're always talking about it, you're always going out aggressive, talking about fights and things like that, guess what you're going to find? Fights and the hectic energy that just cause nothing but pain. So I stopped looking for that hectic energy,” Sheckler, 27, told ESPN’s X Games

When he changed his focus, Sheckler said that he lost friends for all the right reasons. 

“The people that did not care about my well-being or me succeeding are out of my life. The people that wanted to party with me at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, those people disappeared. My energy and my positivity has created this barrier,” he said. 

In 2016, Sheckler checked himself into rehab and he has been sober for about 18 months now. He has enough sobriety under his belt to recognize the patterns that caused his destruction, including putting his own needs on the back burner. 

“I got stuck in this bad vibe. Everything for me started revolving around drinking. It became a serious problem for my mental health,” he said. “I ended up wanting to take care of everybody around me. Everybody around me was way more important than myself. I never took the time to care about myself because what I thought made me happy was taking care of other people, trying to be a problem solver.” 

Eventually that became a serious problem. 

“When you take on that many people's responsibilities and you can't deal with your own self, it's a recipe for disaster. That's exactly where I was. Then you add Jack Daniels to the equation, and it's just all bad news,” Sheckler said. 

However, a year and a half after hitting his low point, Sheckler said that he is feeling better physically and mentally than he ever has, which means that he’s also skating better than ever before. 

“I'm 27 years old and I'm getting more flexible, stronger and smarter. It gives me chills because I love it so much,” he said. “I get into my park and I'll start skating, then I'll look at the clock and three hours passed. My body is ready for anything. Not just skateboarding, just life in general. Whatever gets thrown at me, I'm ready for. It's a powerful feeling.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.