3 out of 4 stars
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Addiction is never fully cured; at best, you’re granted a reprieve. Everyday life feels like a struggle to remain sober, and relapsing or fear of relapsing can lead you to despair. Is there any hope, a way to turn sobriety into a joy rather than a long punishment? T.T. Sawyer asked himself the same thing when he relapsed after twenty-two years, coming up with a unique solution for himself. Ripcord Recovery chronicles his physical, mental, and spiritual journey to recovery.
The book starts by briefly recounting Sawyer’s first journey of rehabilitation before skipping twenty-two years to talk about his relapse. Caught by his wife, he has no choice but to tread the same path again, but something is different this time. Though on the surface the program seems to be working, the author still feels terrible and starts to wonder if he’s missing something. Thus begins a long journey of experimentation and self-discovery.
A refreshing aspect of the book is the author’s anonymity. Already leading a successful executive career, he doesn’t want to sell anything or become famous; quite the opposite. His only wish is to share his experiences in hopes of helping others in similar situations. This allows him to be honest and straightforward, even when talking about his darkest hours.
Spirituality is a core component of Sawyer’s recovery process, so readers who dislike the subject might want to look elsewhere. The book is never explicitly religious aside from a brief mention of God, however, and the reader can adopt secular practices to achieve the same results. One can still appreciate things like mindfulness and adopting a positive outlook on life without religious beliefs.
We also need to address the elephant in the room: the use of medical marijuana to reduce cravings. The author admits there isn’t much research on the topic and he’s only tried the substance as a last resort. Still, by being willing to use himself as a test subject, Sawyer provides a successful case study. Can this work for other people? We’ll never know unless we start looking at marijuana with an open and objective mindset. Demonizing something based on preconceived notions could rob us of valuable opportunities for improving everyone’s lives.
Another round of editing would benefit the book. There aren’t that many objective errors (I found six in total), but the author’s unusual use of commas can be distracting. He uses commas before “and” when it’s joining dependent clauses, and he sometimes places a comma after “but” at the beginning of sentences. There are no issues in the formatting or layout, however, and the book also features hand-drawn doodles that add charm and humor to it.
Ultimately, Ripcord Recovery is not about promoting a magical fix. Rather, it’s about the willingness to take control of your recovery and never give up hope. If addiction is akin to parachuting, everyone has to find their own ripcord. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars, deducting a point for the editing issues. It’s a short read that could be useful for recovering addicts and their friends or relatives, though the author himself stresses that you should stick to your treatment plan if it’s working. There are no profanities whatsoever, but the book is unsuitable for young audiences due to the mature themes.
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