The A&E premiere of Dope Man spotlighted the seemingly unstoppable drug epidemic that has been plaguing our country for decades. While there is no one person who can single-handedly stop lives from being lost to drug overdoses, Tim Ryan is a man in motion to make a difference. His approach is unique. Working with the police who arrested him multiple times, with the judicial system that twice incarcerated him, Tim Ryan takes a save-everyone approach to fighting opiod abuse. His daily mantra is a powerful plea: to educate more people, reach out to more addicts, and attend fewer funerals of friends and loved ones lost to the scourge of opiods. Dope Man showed that there is ALWAYS help, and Tim’s mission is to make sure people get the help they need.
Tim wasn’t always a do-gooder. Now, that’s not to say he was a bad person, but unfortunately like most addicts, Tim made bad choices that led to bad consequences. These included jail time, divorce, and the overdose death of his own son. Tim had a love affair with heroin and he shared that love in the most heart-breaking way possible: he got high with his son, Nick, who tragically lost his life to a drug that would not let him break up and leave it alone. There were two roads Tim could’ve gone down after losing Nick, and rather than picking up and using and inevitably dying, Tim decided to turn tragedy into something positive and started A Man in Recovery Foundation, opening his arms to everyone who was battling addiction.
Like many other addiction recovery advocates, Tim emphasizes the need for people to get educated about the disease of addiction so you can better understand that your loved one isn’t choosing to ruin their lives and hurt the people they love. They made a choice that led to something more powerful than themselves hijacking their brain and removing any self-control or rational thinking the person once had. Once someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, nothing else matters other than getting more drugs and more alcohol, at any cost. Your loved one is still in there, they just need help getting back to themselves, and that’s where Tim comes in.
Chronicling a day-in-the-life of Tim, Dope Man showed us the lengths people will go to in order to get money to feed their addiction, and how their families are at the end of their ropes. An expert in having done it all and understanding how to lie and manipulate, Tim doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to getting through to addicts. They’ve got nothing left at this point. Their families have had enough, they could be in trouble with the law, they’re one use away from potentially dying, and Tim isn’t going to mince words: “Because that’s what some people need…to have everything taken away from them,” he explains. Sometimes literally having nothing will be what someone needs in order for them to realize they need help.
Tim’s motto is if you have a heartbeat, there is hope. And he’s right. It’s not too late until you’re in a morgue with a toe tag. You don’t want to end up on a cold, metal table, surrounded by your anguished loved ones fighting their conflicting feelings of being so mad at you for leaving and also mad at themselves because they wish they could’ve done more. Don’t end up just another statistic or another name on a long list of those taken by addiction. If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. It’s so easy to pick up that needle, or those pills, or that bottle of alcohol. That voice in your head is telling you that if you just use one more time, everything will be okay and you’ll feel so much better. That voice is lying to you. That voice is not you. That is the sound of drugs and alcohol trying to kill you and today, right now, you don’t have to listen. Drop everything, put your hands up, and ask for help. It’s only a phone call away.
To learn more about Tim Ryan and the work he does for Transformations as well as the entire addiction recovery community, click HERE.