Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Recovered Addict Shares His Book to Encourage Others

Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services is part of the virtual book tour to promote Darryl Hagar's new book, The Man Overboard, How a Merchant Marine Officer Survived the Raging Storm of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. This book is a vivid account of one man’s tumultuous 25-year round-the-world odyssey, shrouded in the haze of drugs and a sea of alcohol, punctuated by indulgence, abuse, fear, illicit sex, violence, and frequent jail time. Clean and sober for four years, and retired from the shipping industry since 2005, Hagar has dedicated his life to helping others find the path to recovery through public speaking, and leading group sessions in colleges, churches, high schools, prisons, hospital recovery centers, and other settings.

Writers in the Sky: Tell me something about yourself and your writing background.

I navigated 900 foot supertankers around the globe for 20 years including re-fueling the US Navy during two Persian Gulf wars. Unfortunately while attending Maine Maritime Academy my dad committed suicide and instead of seeking therapy I succumbed to numbing the pain with drugs and alcohol for 27 years.

My memoir, The Man Overboard, shows how alcoholism and drug addiction starts, progress, and destroys one’s life. Fortunately for me I believe God had greater plans with my life and lived when I probably shouldn’t have with all the risky dangerous behaviors.

I have devoted the rest of my life to helping others combat this disease and I decided writing a book was the best way to reach the most people. I was an avid reader and writer as a younger man.

Writers in the Sky: What is the title of your book? Give us the basic story line so we’ll know what it’s about.

The Man Overboard, How a Merchant Marine Officer Survived the Raging Storm of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Here is a brief summary of my memoir:

Darryl Hagar is a man who on the eve of losing custody of his son, refused to give up. Call it kismet, eleventh hour grace or the gentle hand of fate, but Hagar, a hard drinking, aggressive merchant marine, learned that the power of a father’s love and an incredible will to survive was within him all along.

With demons at the helm, his life spiraled out of control after his father’s suicide. Somehow he made it through the maritime academy to serve as a ship’s navigator and first mate. As an officer, this drunken sailor was charged with the daunting responsibility of safely navigating 900-foot supertankers carrying millions upon millions of barrels of petroleum through the dangerous and unpredictable oceans of the world—all while living a double life. With a professional life of discipline and order, Darryl led a clandestine, chaotic existence of alcoholism, drug abuse and crime.

Today, he and his son are proof that through the darkest tunnels of addiction, one can survive, thrive and sail to peaceful shores. Share in Darryl’s personal triumph as he entered a life of sobriety that includes his personal mission to instigate powerful social reforms and reverse the hidden reality of the widespread epidemic of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Writers in the Sky: What inspired you to write this book?

I am very passionate about helping others recover from drug abuse and alcoholism and also in going to 12 step meetings, a sponsor; sponsee whom I direct and help stay sober. I'm very close to God and when I finally surrendered I made a pledge that if the good Lord helped me get sober I would help others do the same. Thus The Man Overboard memoir.

I worked on my sobriety every day going to 90 meetings in 90 days. Sometimes I would attend two 12 step meetings in one day. I learned to pray at the foot of my bed asking God to keep me away from a drink and a drug for that day. I got a sponsor and started to work the 12 steps and cleaning up the wreckage of the past. I began to journal every day putting down all my drinking mistakes and who I needed to make amends to.

I attended therapy for two years and at that point my head really started to clear and I began dreaming about writing my memoir that would detail my horrific life of alcoholism and drug abuse while all the time operating 900 foot supertankers. I verified in the book all my stories with police reports, United States Coast Guard letters, medical paperwork detailing broken bones, medical surgeries, 1st hand eye witness' accounts and finally a drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

After talking about my chaotic life in the first half of the book including my dad’s suicide and the birth of my son when I was intoxicated, I then wrote about my recovery. I detailed everything I did, how diligent I paid attention to my recovery, and all the actions I took to get and stay sober and clean. I believe this book, The Man Overboard, will be used as a guide in how to conquer severe alcoholism and drug addiction. I thought if I wrote The Man Overboard and showed how low I sank and still recovered, others would be inspired in their own lives to give an alcohol and drug free life a chance.

Writers in the Sky: Is this the first book you have written

Yes, it is and it took all my energy, all my patience, all my courage, and all of my strength. The Man Overboard took two years to write and caused me many sleepless nights.

Writers in the Sky: How long did it take to write this book? Any interesting tidbits about your writing method or how the book developed?

It took two years to write this book because it was so intense writing and almost re-living all of these stories that took place in my 27 year battle with drugs and alcohol. I worried of legal problems, personal shame, and embarrassment to my family, friends, and former employers. I felt the pain of writing down my life’s journey was worth the sacrifice in helping other people struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Many times I had to write in spurts walking away from my computer when the pain got to be too much. I would walk away periodically and pray to God to empower me to finish the book.

I took a huge poster board and broke my life up into two year columns and wrote down all the major events in my life including all my arrests, ships I sailed on, death of father, medical operations to repair my broken body, birth of son, sobriety date, baptism date, etc etc.

Then I went to 9 different police departments, 7 or 8 hospitals and doctors, and collected all the police and medical reports. I then interviewed 5 or 6 1st hand witness to different events i.e. (my jet blue pilot neighbor who witnessed me running into the side of my house drunk on my 35th birthday) and wrote the book. It is all true and all verified.

Writers in the Sky: How did you publish your book? Tell me about your publishing experience and what you learned from it?

I published The Man Overboard through booksurge which is an Amazon company. It was fairly affordable and self published so I had the freedom to include 142 images, 50 actual pictures of 50 foot waves and 900 foot supertankers, me intoxicated in uniform, me working hard on the ships sober, my baptism, my son, as well as 55 full page pen and ink drawings of what is taking place in that chapter.

I learned to always check the editors, publishing company, and everyone else involved because there are always mistakes, especially with a 604 page book. I have spent many hours getting things perfectly correct.

I also learned how much perseverance is involved in getting a book from your mind into the book store shelves. It’s an incredible undertaking.

Writers in the Sky: Did you work with an agent? If so, how did you find the agent? Was it beneficial to you?

I have not worked with an agent. I think there’s obvious plus’ and minus’ using an agent. I do intend on finding a good agent in the future to help book sales.

Writers in the Sky: Where is your book available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we can learn more about you or your book?

The Man Overboard is available on as well as on my website

If people buy it through my website I will mail a signed copy to them. There is a lot of information about alcoholism and addiction on the site as well as 11 graphic novels, which are very affordable at $7 each. They are two illustrated chapters directly out of the book and drawn by Glenn Chadbourne, one of Stephen King’s artist. also has many articles for free to help you or your loved ones struggling with substance abuse.

Writers in the Sky: As far as marketing, do you do more online publicity or print/radio/TV promotion? Tell me some ways you have promoted your book. Give examples and links to any sites you feel might help other authors.

I have done a little of everything including RTIR ads which brought me significant amount of free radio interviews. Also Nikki Leigh’s Virtual Blog Tour has been very good promoting my book and website.

I’ve recently found that making a press kit and making phone calls to magazines, newspapers asking for a book review really gets an author’s book out there to the masses.

Writers in the Sky: Have you hired a publicist to help promote this book? If so, what was your experience like?

I have a publicist called PromotioninMotion which has been helpful landing additional radio spots and book signing events. They are quite affordable and would highly recommend them. Irwin Zucker is the owner one of his guys, Brad Butler, has been working with me closely.

Writers in the Sky: Any other comment you would like to share?

No matter what, no matter where you've been or what you have been through, you can still recover. Read my story, I'm living proof. You have to admit the problem and then take action. Nothing changes if nothing changes.


1. The wise still seek him.

2. I am willing and able to help anyone that asks. Go to my website and just send me an email and I will respond. God Bless you all.

Writers in the Sky:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you and learn about your book. I wish you well in your journey as an author.

See Darryl's virtual tour schedule

The Man Overboard
Darryl Hagar
Trade Paperback
590 pages; 6” x 9”
Pub Date: March 24, 2009

Drawn in by the compelling tales and sometimes exotic settings, readers will be shocked at this glimpse into the little-exposed epidemic of addiction at sea, and will come away amazed there aren’t more shipping disasters like the Exxon Valdez. But it’s the drama when Hagar returns home and his struggle through recovery that makes the book real and easy to relate to. A broken relationship, nearly losing custody of his son, and alienation from his family and friends are just some of the costs Hagar pays and portrays faithfully in his 500 page memoir The Man Overboard.

About the Author, Darryl Hagar

Darryl Hagar is passionate about his recovery and committed to helping others find the strength and support needed to reclaim their lives from the insidious affects of addiction. As a motivational speaker, Darryl has addressed hundreds of groups and shared his message of empowerment and responsibility. Today, Darryl adds the title of author to his resume with the release of his memoir, The Man Overboard How a Merchant Marine Officer Survived the Raging Storm of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, class of ‘85, Hagar went to sea as an Able Body Seaman with Military Sealift Command where his role focused on ship maintenance, maintaining mooring lines as the ship’s cargo was loaded and unloaded, and steering the ship in and out of port. After a year-long stint with Crest Oil Tankers, in 1987 he moved on to Maritime Overseas Corporation and gained the designation Third Mate where he was responsible for standing the bridge watch, supervising the able body seaman, ensuring shipboard safety practices were adhered to and was in charge of running the ship’s pumps and valves during the loading and unloading process. Promoted to Second Mate in 1990 Hagar attained his professional goal of becoming the ship’s navigator. The navigator’s primary role is laying out the voyage, maintaining charts, radar and other electronics and includes the responsibility of ship’s radio operator. Moving on to Alaska Tanker Company in 1999, Hagar earned Chief Mate status. He retired from the industry in 2005.

Darryl Hagar is a native Mainer and a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy. He rose through the ranks to attain Chief Mate of Motor and Steam of any Gross Tons Upon Oceans. Clean and sober for four years, and retired from the shipping industry since 2005, Hagar lives in recovery and hopes to reach people in crisis and help them on their voyage to sobriety.

Each time a blog visitor comments on any or all of The Man Overboard blog tour stops, they will be entered in two random drawings. The first is a weekly drawing. Weekly winners have the chance to win one of Darryl Hagar graphic novels Commenters who participate on the tour also will be placed in a random drawing to win a copy of Darryl Hagar's book. One copy will be given away midway through the eight-week tour and the second at the conclusion.

Use the comments feature below this post to share your thoughts and comments with author Darryl. He is passionate about his recovery and committed to helping others find the strength and support needed to reclaim their lives from the insidious affects of addiction. He will check in throughout the day to answer questions. You’ll learn more and have a chance to win a graphic novel or a copy of The Man Overboard. You can order his book at

1 comment:

Susan Wingate said...

What a wonderful and inspiring article. It seems your road has cleared the way for you to do a greater work. It must be freeing to understand your life's purpose.
-Susan Wingate