Why did I choose to read this book?
I had never heard of Tim Ryan, hope dealer, before I stumbled upon his Instagram page. There I found a link to his website where I encountered a video of him humbly speaking about the destructive road of addiction he traveled on, which wasn’t unfamiliar to me as a recovering drug addict. But then I heard him say something that jolted me—that he contributed to his son’s death.
I didn’t plan on my eyes welling up that day, but Tim’s sobering description of the path he took and the damage done caused them to do just that. I didn’t plan on buying a book that day either, but my curiosity about Tim’s story along with with my desire to get involved with the recovery community (I live in China and am unaware of a recovery community existing here) inspired me to upload it to my kindle.
Tim doesn’t sugarcoat what he has been through, and it’s recommended to go into this book with a sturdy and nonjudgemental heart because what you’ll read is enough to make you squirm in your chair and maybe even curse him from a distance for his tales of drug fueled treachery and deceit. Or, if you’re anything like I am, maybe this read is enough to make you look in the mirror of your past and realize you have traveled on a path with similar patterns. In the introduction he tells us…
You’ll come with me as I lie, cheat and steal my way across the country to feed my demons. You will rot with me in a prison cell I shared with gang leaders you’ve read about in the news.
But Tim doesn’t only feed his demons…
He doesn’t only rot. Those elements of the story are a prerequisite to his transformation—they are tied to the challenges and temptations he encounters on his hero’s journey—they are linked to the dragons that need be slain in order to make them allies.
The introduction continues…
You’ll break down with me as I come face to face with repentance. You’ll rejoice with me when I find recovery..
Tim found recovery in prison, organized a roadmap for the A Man in Recovery Foundation and was subsequently released into the world to have his heart torn out his son’s fatal overdose.
What caught my attention was the way in which Tim used the death of his son as a force of motivation and a force of change. His diligence and determination to turn the weight of tragedy into something that could save lives reminded me of an alchemist turning lead into gold—transforming a negative situation into something that can benefit. As readers, seeing Tim do this with his life (which seemed to have at one time been so far off center that the fulcrum wasn’t visible) reminds us of the potential to make drastic changes despite the depth of the holes we are in.
And finally, I hope you will join me on this crusade to help others who struggle between life and death.
They say the return phase of the hero’s journey is often the most difficult, as the hero is sometimes reluctant to re-enter the world (where he came from) to share the knowledge he learned. It’s evident though, Tim has returned and is now making use of his past by shaping a more optimistic future for not only himself but for the whole community (not only the recovery community).
He has appeared on national television, major magazines and radio shows, spreading awareness of this lethal disease and knowledge of how to prevent it from taking more lives. Aside from this, him and his team help hundreds of people a month, regardless of financial status, get into treatment.
Have you read Tim Ryan’s book, From Dope to Hope? If so, leave a comment below and tell us what you thought.
Jacob O’Cain is a recovering drug addict and teaches ESL to kids in China. He’s the author of The Addict with a Thousand Faces (not yet published) and believes we are all on the hero’s journey. He is actively looking to connect with people in the recovery community. Send him a message on Instagram @jacob_ocain or contact him through www.jacobocain.com.