Ryan O’Connell on two groundbreaking seasons of ‘Special’ and writing his way to sobriety

Ryan O’Connell joins Metro Weekly to discuss the new season of his show ‘Special’ on Netflix and how he wrote his way to sobriety during the pandemic.

Ryan O’Connell writing his way to sobriety

I probably read three books the entire quarantine. Which is LOL because I wrote a book, but somehow I can’t read a book, I don’t know. Please let’s figure that out. Let’s get doctors on that, figure that out, if that’s possible.

I think my attention span has really been shortened. It’s really hard for me to focus. I wish I could say that I used quarantine to reconnect with all the books that I promised myself that I’d read. I didn’t read any of them. One book I did read is called This Naked Mind by Annie Grace, and Quit Drinking Without Willpower by Allen Carr. I got sober through reading those books.

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An Exercise in Writing

Honestly, that was sort of the impetus for the novel. When I wrote it, I started writing a thousand words a day. Not intending to write a novel. I just wanted to write something.

It was a writing exercise that I really, truly, truly, truly did not know where it was going to go. The character I started writing was a high-functioning alcoholic. I had been in a really kind of TBD relationship with alcohol for many years. Really I was looking for a change, but not quite sure how to do it. I realized I used this character as a way to be honest with myself about my true relationship with drinking and how I viewed it. Once I was honest and I wrote all those thoughts down, once you see, you can’t unsee. So I kind of felt like writing this novel could force me to get sober and it sort of did. I read those books while writing my book. I got sober probably two or three months after I started writing the novel. So people say, “Writing this novel saved my life.” Well, honestly, it kind of literally did in my case.

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