Shaun Ryder: Cycling helped me kick heroin for good

·3 min read
Shaun Ryder said cycling was the thing that helped him kick his drug habit (Photo by Carla Speight/Getty Images)
Shaun Ryder said cycling was the thing that helped him kick his drug habit (Photo by Carla Speight/Getty Images)

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Shaun Ryder has always been known for his wild lifestyle. In fact, The Happy Mondays frontman took so many drugs, he lost all his teeth – but that all changed when he hit 40.

Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Ryder said reaching the milestone age was the right time to tackle his addiction – which he did with the help of a bicycle.

“When I hit 40, I didn’t even bother with rehab: I went on my bike and just went cold turkey because I wanted to do it,” he told podcast host Kate Thornton.

Read more: Shaun Ryder on the ‘eureka moment’ of being diagnosed with ADHD

The star, who started drinking at 13, had tried several times over the years to kick his addiction to heroin and crystal meth — even trying a stomach implant — but nothing worked.

Watch: Shaun Ryder reveals how he felt about living with "a load of lovies" in the jungle

“I’ve been in loads of rehab and stuff over the years, but I was always going in them for someone else or for some reason that wasn’t me wanting to get off it,” he admitted.

The big change for the singer, who recently took part in a stand-up comedy routine for Stand Up To Cancer, said as well as finally wanting to do it for himself, there was another major reason for him to kick his addiction: his kids. 

Read more: Shaun Ryder says he knows "how many grams there are in an ounce"

“They were getting a bit older and weren’t infants,” the singer told Thornton. "They were getting older and becoming aware of what their dad like. I didn’t want to start embarrassing them!”

Listen: Shaun Ryder talks about why neurodiverse kids need more support at school

Ryder admits he became somewhat of an exercise fanatic in his bid to rid himself of his addiction, but sadly had to stop all that when he needed a hip replacement in 2019. 

The star, who is waiting to have the other hip replaced, has also struggled with thyroid problems, which has impacted on his health.

Shaun Ryder and Bez of the Happy Mondays, Looking wasted. Live at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. 18.11.1989. (Photo by: Peter J Walsh/PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Shaun Ryder and Bez of the Happy Mondays, live at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. 18.11.1989. (Peter J Walsh/PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I've got an under-active thyroid, so I don't even have a thyroid,” he said.

Read more: Davina McCall says overcoming heroin addiction made her a 'much stronger person'

“Under-active makes you blow up and also when your thyroid goes so does your testosterone, so I have to use testosterone replacement. Then — because my thyroid went — loads of other things go because your thyroid controls a lot of stuff!”

While the singer revealed he has loved spending time at home with his wife Joanne and their children, he’s also looking forward to hitting the road this year with The Happy Mondays.

Shaun Ryder can't wait until he can get back on the road this year with The Happy Mondays (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
Shaun Ryder can't wait until he can get back on the road this year with The Happy Mondays (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

“I enjoyed it because you never get to spend this much time at home, but I'm ready now for going back out there,” he said.

He continued, laughing: “Joanne's made up, you see because she won’t see me now for about five years - and she's very happy!”

Hear Shaun Ryder talk about living with ADHD on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

Pre-order: How to Be a Rock Star by Shaun Ryder | £20 from Waterstones

Watch: Shaun Ryder opens up about how his ADHD led to his drug abuse

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