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Gaining Insight from One Man’s Recovery from Addiction

Updated on May 26, 2020
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Thanks for stopping by! My name is Monica Viera and I'm an author who interviews different artists from around the world.

Inside The Process of Writing a Recovery Memoir

If you’ve ever needed inspiration on how to get and stay sober, Ripcord Recovery is a wonderful resource. It can also be used to inspire others in your life who are struggling with an addiction and need a light at the end of the tunnel. The author, Tom Sawyer, details his own battle with addiction and maintaining sobriety, leaving the readers with uplifting insights as he shares his story. As Tom writes, “It is a description of the time I did not relapse. I have attempted to create a description that is both entertaining and informative, devoid of blame or finger pointing. Perhaps it can even offer a potential opportunity for those who haven’t found one yet.”

Here is an interview I recently had with author of Ripcord Recovery, Tom Sawyer:

What was your main impetus for writing Ripcord Recovery?

The driving force behind writing and more importantly publishing Ripcord Recovery was the question, “what if I’m right?” After almost four decades worth of surviving the disease of addiction, I finally felt as though I had the upper hand. I was no longer at the mercy of my “mental illness”. Consequently, it appeared to be a risk worth taking. Just as Ripcord Recovery continues to work for me, it may also work for others. I had to try.

Can you tell us a bit about the book?

After twenty-two years clean and sober I relapsed on pain killers and booze. Ripcord Recovery begins with my attempt to get sober yet again. The book is my description of that experience – the experience of finding a new path. Integrating Medical Marijuana and the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was counterintuitive, but it worked. Ripcord Recovery is intended to be a concise easily readable description of that discovery, inspiring and enlightening, without the drudgery of drunkalogues or blame. It is my beginner's version of what works for me.

What would you like readers to take away from reading the book?

There is no such thing as a “no-win scenario.” As a recovering opiate addict and alcoholic, there is always another path, and to the extent I can keep a spiritual focus, success is almost guaranteed. Don’t give up!

It’s a very personal book about your road to recovery from addiction, what do you think those not struggling with addiction can learn from it?

Every successful person I have ever met had one thing in common. They were pursuing their passions, whether it be flying lessons, skydiving or stock trading they were all doing what they seemed to be best at. It’s that pursuit of spiritual strength I’m referencing in Ripcord Recovery, plus the spiritual pursuit is fun in and of itself.

What was the most important thing you learned about yourself throughout the writing process?

There are too many insights about myself to name a specific one but refining what was working for me paid huge dividends as opposed to analyzing what didn’t work. It provided a framework to continue building upon. In addition, I learned to trust myself and my instincts.

How has your life changed since you implemented the steps you discuss in Ripcord Recovery?”

The biggest difference is that life is more fun, and each day is its own adventure. The last time I went to rehab was in June of 2013, and I haven’t had a drink of alcohol or taken a valium since that day, opiates have been by temporary medical necessity only. I’ve been living the same program of recovery every day since then and it has become a natural routine encompassing every aspect of each day. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed relative to my focus.

It looks like it was a long journey to get to where you are now, if you could go back and time and give one piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?

If I were restricted to only one piece of advice for my 16-year-old self, it would be to “find your spirit and hang on for the ride, it’ll all work out just fine”. However, I would probably find a way to bypass that restriction and tell myself everything. I would want my younger self to be equipped my plethora of experience and hopefully wisdom. He could then be trusted to make more informed decisions. Wouldn’t that be grand, to start with the reality rather than spend a half a century searching for the right question?

Are you working on any other projects?

No, my only project right now is to survive coronavirus-land just like everyone else. I started a follow up edition to Ripcord Recovery, but I need to see how this story evolves first. Spreading this message to those who need it is my mission, for better or worse. Nevertheless, it seems like a risk worth taking. I continue to see too much misery where there doesn’t need to be any. Hence, for now this is a full-time endeavor.

If you are a recovered addict per chance and have an interest in one day writing your own memoir about your struggles with addiction, the structure and layout of this book is great to reference.

To get Ripcord Recovery for your own reference or maybe as a gift for a friend, visit:


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