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Author Interview "Tom Sawyer"

Tom Sawyer had struggled with addiction and drugs for decades. He attended his first AA meeting when he was 18 years-old and then managed to get sober at the age of 22. From there, he earned a college degree in psychology and became an addiction counselor working inpatient and outpatient therapy. He went on to get a graduate degree in business and have a successful career in the corporate world until one day he relapsed. His world then began to crumble around him as addiction and alcoholism once again had him in its grasp.

Ripcord Recovery is the tale of Tom's success! It is his message not-in-a-bottle for addicts struggling to hang on. Tom is living proof that you can turn your life around. You just have to have the right tools at your fingertips to make it happen. This book is that toolbox!

Exclusive Interview

Tell us about your background and how it led to writing this book.

Thirty-six years’ worth of battling alcoholism and addiction, combined with education, experience and some lucky trial and error brought me to the story of Ripcord Recovery. I attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting when I was eighteen years old and got sober at twenty-two years old. Earning a college degree in psychology I went on to become an addiction counselor working inpatient and outpatient therapy. Over two decades later, a graduate degree in business, and a successful career in the corporate world, I relapsed. The death spiral of opiate addiction and alcoholism had me in its grasp once more.

Another attempt at rehab and I was on the road to recovery again, or was I? With everything to lose, the desire to drink and drug were omnipresent once more. I had PTSD style nightmares and corporate burnout from two decades of being a workaholic. The fifteen-hour workday was a burden I couldn’t carry anymore. Another relapse seemed imminent, and Ripcord Recovery is my story of success. It was the time I didn’t relapse. With everything on the line, I had to re-engineer my recovery. I had to draw on everything I had ever learned to find a solution. And when I did, the solution dazed me to my core. The elegant simplicity of the solution was a marvel.

What do you feel you learned while writing the book?

I’ve struggled long and hard with whether I should publish this story or not. At over fifty years old the most important things I’ve learned came about as a result of developing Ripcord Recovery. I’ve been a therapist, executive, carpenter, plumber, rancher, taxidermist and more. I’ve traveled around the globe several times in both directions meeting people from over a dozen countries. Yet, when I discovered I was on to something revolutionary, the pursuit led me to places I never imagined.

In defining my body-mind-spirit prism for the sake of my recovery, the enhanced clarity led to my own understanding of the universe. It was my spiritual awakening. From that understanding I was able to finish refining my own personal Ripcord Recovery formula. I’ve discovered how to tap into my spiritual strength in ways I never thought possible. My spirit is awake.

Would you consider this book a memoir or more of a self-help book?

This book is both a memoir and a self-help book. It is my own personal memoir of how I helped myself, including the details of how I got started down this path to recovery. Everyone in my life was against my course of action, yet the effectiveness was undeniable. Day after day, the protocol continues to deliver positive results. Unfortunately, I’m a scientist with a sample of 1 in this experiment, so I’m not advocating this as a cure all. Yet, my own personal results were so profound I had to put it on paper. I wanted to remember what I went through to arrive at this leap of logic. After the book was drafted I still couldn’t decide on a genre, but I wanted a succinct compelling description of what I did and how, while concentrating on the principles. These are the principles I apply to the specifics of each day in an ongoing effort to help myself. Ripcord Recovery is the tale of how I got there.

You had a spiritual awakening and that's when things started to turn around for you. Can you tell us about that?

Yes, it was during this time that I had a moment of insight transforming my spiritual understanding. I was studying history, medical science, psychology, chemistry, physics, theology, and quantum mechanics. I was correlating these sciences alongside my three-decade association with recovering addicts. The moment the insight flashed before me I knew there was truth in the insight, and I’ve spent the last five years evolving that discovery even further. I haven’t found any evidence to prove this theory wrong given that science, history, and archaeology continue to support the theory. But that’s not what Ripcord Recovery is about.

Ripcord Recovery is an application of the theory that the human spirit is a real tangible body part. The disease of addiction affects all three facets of an individual, body, mind, and spirit. Thus, any treatment protocol must treat all three. This book is the practical application of that one simple truth. The spirit is real and tangible.

Your book is titled, Ripcord Recovery, what made you choose this title?

I chose Ripcord Recovery partly because it had a nice rhythm to it, but also because it was an apt description of my method. Ripcord Recovery is little more than a minor twist on an otherwise traditional method of recovery from alcoholism. Yet, since this method was developed in the face of imminent death, a ripcord seemed like the perfect analogy. In skydiving, the ripcord is the device one pulls to open the parachute. It’s the device that prevents an imminent splat at the bottom. It is also highly recommended one pulls their ripcord before they hit the ground. In this context my ripcord is my spirit. It’s the thing I must activate to live another day and thwart inevitable catastrophe.

Who did you primarily write this book for?

This book is written for every alcoholic and drug addict out there who is still suffering. I’ve been at this game of recovery and sobriety for almost forty years, and I’ve learned that misery is optional. Sobriety can include all the adventure and fun imaginable, and it doesn’t have to include years of suffering through the recovery process. I could easily revel in my own success, but if this story can inspire anyone I feel compelled to share my discovery. As counter intuitive and fraught with risk as it sounds, my method might just save a life. It saved mine, and I want this method available to my children if they should ever need it. Perhaps that’s why I constructed this story to be family friendly including insights on why addicts do what they do. Nonetheless, this is a story of success. I want to inspire other addicts to recover as well.

My solution may not be perfect, but I’m convinced Ripcord Recovery can save lives. At a minimum it will buy addicts another day to find a better solution. Medical Marijuana isn’t legal in my home state, and even I don’t have access to anything except cartel street weed. What I really need is legal access to medical grade cannabis extracts. Sadly, I can only hope that politicians and medical professionals alike will see the wisdom of this treatment protocol and make it more accessible. By the same logic, acceptance within the recovering community would be useful as well. This disease is treatable and together we can find new ways of achieving sobriety.

What is the underlying message you want readers to take away from the book?

In addition to inspiring addicts and alcoholics to get up and try again, I want to challenge the status quo relative to how we view and treat addicts and alcoholics. In the 1990’s we were only getting about 15% to 20% recovery rates for alcoholics, and I find it disconcerting that in 2013 we were only getting 40% success rates. I published Ripcord Recovery in 2018, but it seems like my message might still be of assistance. I haven’t seen any progress around recovery rates and methods for decades. Additionally, I understand from current treatment professionals that coronavirus isolation is creating an avalanche of relapses. Accordingly, now might be a good time to raise awareness of treatment options. Now might be a good time to try something different.

Are you currently working on any upcoming projects?

No, my current project is to get Ripcord Recovery circulated and a helping hand extended. I started a follow-up addition that would detail my spiritual discoveries and theories about the universe, but that project stalled out. It was turning into a surprisingly good science fiction story. I’m a new writer attempting to craft a compelling story, but my style is still developing. It just seems that I need to finish this project before I can move on to the next.

Dejectedly, I continue to hear about people committing suicide rather than relapsing, or people who can’t or won’t even give sobriety a try. My goal is to educate people that sobriety can be fun, especially the Ripcord Recovery way. Consequently, my current project to circulate and clarify Ripcord Recovery. Let’s all get sober and have an adventure.

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