Psychedelics changed Robby Apples life.
In his early twenties, Robby was in a dark place, drinking heavily to deal with social anxiety and low self-esteem.
We had the chance to interview Robby, who kindly shared the story of an experiment with magic mushrooms that profoundly altered the direction of his life.
What was your relationship with alcohol prior to making a change, and why did you decide to make that change?
I was really against drugs and alcohol when I was growing up. I was so narrow-minded and I thought it would get in the way of me being a professional skateboarder.
I started drinking socially at about 18 or 19. I don't know, I just found myself at home editing skate videos by myself and I was like, “wait where are all my friends?” Everyone had started partying at that point. I was like, “I have to put myself out there, I want to start getting laid, I have to figure this out.” I had some pretty paralyzing social anxiety and low self-esteem in situations outside of riding a skateboard, so I began using drinking as a confidence crutch.
I had cared so much for so long about what other people thought about me and it felt good to finally not care but it was a terrible tool, and it got really ugly when my depression ramped up. I started drinking more, and I got more reckless at parties.
I hit rock bottom around 21 years old. I was super depressed and thought I was going to move up to harder drugs in an attempt to end my life. I started smoking pot, and I got incredibly lucky, within two weeks I realized that I had no more suicidal thoughts and now had a huge boost of curiosity towards life. I started thinking, “oh my god, I need to really understand the science of this.” I started reading about plant medicine and somewhere along the way, I found the science on magic mushrooms. I read something from Terence McKenna on how to do mushrooms with intention, for the purpose of healing myself, and I decided to try it out.
I ended up having a profound magic mushroom trip. The trip basically showed me, that I'm one with the universe, that I've always been one with the universe, that I've been a total asshole to myself, and that it didn't have to be that way. Things could be any way I wanted if I surrounded myself with love. After this profound vision of the universe flowing through me and the replaying of my life, it also told me that nothing good was going to come from my drinking. I listened. After experiencing all that, it's pretty hard not to. I was done with alcohol.
I was working at a bar at the time, and I had to learn how to build my confidence without alcohol. It was kind of excruciating at first.
So you kept working at the bar after you went sober?
Yeah. I remember we'd always close up at the bar I was working at and then go to the neighbouring bar and hang out. I remember just itching in my skin, just absolutely itching, not knowing how to relax around people. But I stayed with it and gradually over time it got easier and easier. I realised, “wait, everyone's drinking. They're not focused on me. They're not focused on that I'm not drinking.”
How has choosing not to drink affected your life since then?
I mean I’ve saved a lot of money that’s for sure! I think the biggest thing is that I stopped using this crutch to build up a false sense of confidence. I had to build my confidence from the ground up, and that was tough. It took many years, I had to go through a lot of trial and error. I spent so many years watching other people socialize and studying them and figuring out like, “oh, okay, this is how you can talk to people, these are things that you can say,” just trying to pick up social queues from the people I hung out with. If I were just drinking I wouldn't have been doing that work. I would have just been leaning on that crutch.
Do you ever get pressure from other people to drink in social situations?
Yeah, but I’ve found it’s easy to deal with. After my mushroom trip, I became a huge psychedelic evangelist and if I had any opportunity to tell someone about my experience with psychedelics and how I think alcohol is terrible, I’d take it. That would get people to back off.
These days I'm much more graceful about it, I wasn't very graceful back then. But I’m also not pressured that often anymore. I'm really comfortable with telling people that, you know, I'm not a fan of alcohol. I usually order a club soda and lime or something if I'm out at the bar.
Actually, funny story. My wife is from Venezuela and I was meeting a bunch of people at her family's New Year's party this year. I'm being introduced to all these people, and I got kind of anxious. There were so many people coming up and saying “hi.” People were speaking Spanish and I'm new to Spanish. I think it was my wife's godmother, she was like, “what would you like to drink? Would you like wine?” And I was anxious and was just like, “uhh sure!” I haven’t had a drink in a really long time. But I just kind of got socially frazzled and I didn’t want to be rude or ruin the festivities.
The in-law effect! What did you do?
Yeah, it was really tricky, I ended up drinking about a quarter of the wine and you know, it was a good reminder. Alcohol has such a short window where it feels good, you know? You have to keep drinking and then you get diminishing returns very quickly. I was comparing it to Psychedelic Water when I was having it. I realized there's this short little window drinking alcohol where you're like, “oh, okay, yeah, I'm back, I feel like socializing,” and then it's fairly quickly just clouded thinking and feeling achy and impulsive. Whereas with Psychedelic Water, I never feel that. I feel like Psychedelic Water really opens up this channel for me where I'm really engaged with what people are saying. My mind isn't elsewhere. I'm very present. It doesn't cloud my thinking. It doesn't make me impulsive and I don’t get that achy feeling.
Robby Apples is a Los Angeles-based adult film star and artist. In addition to his successful career in the adult film industry, Robby is also an accomplished oil painter and printmaker. He has a passion for creating unique, surreal compositions with urban contemporary-style characters. To learn more about Robby Apples and his work, visit his websites at RobbyApples.com and FollowTheSeeker.com