Tom Barthel came from a happy home and had a normal childhood growing up. Good grades in school and no troubles. Yet somewhere deep inside him he always knew that he was different, something was up. By high school that mysterious thing he felt inside showed up as a self esteem issue. After meeting some of the “bad kids” he found a way to express himself and be accepted for who he was, he had come out of his shell. “Despite the trouble these kids got into all the time, they were extremely welcoming, non-judgemental, and eager to make friends” says Tom when he thinks of how parents criticized his peers.
From there it started. The discovery of alcohol and drugs. A seemingly harmless activity at the time while he maintained an honors average in high school. Discovering that he too had a thrill for adventure deep inside him. Tom and his friends turned 18 years old and used the city of Red Deer as a virtual playground. A lot of alcohol, drugs, and wild times lent to close calls with danger and appearances in newspapers. What started off as a party turned into a business as Tom and his pals grew to have hundreds of friends. The drug dealing business. After an embarrassing firing from a job, Tom started selling drugs for a living and became rather good at it. A “social butterfly” his network of friends and customers grew past a thousand people.
“Life was an endless child hood” is Tom’s favourite way of putting it. The fun slowly stopped when repeated drug use was leading to emotional problems. Stress was mounting at the thought of his future and how he would ever get into the workforce for the long term. A mounting police investigation was bearing down on him and the idea of going to jail was hard on him. That is when “it” began. Starting one day he had difficulty controlling his thoughts. Five days later he woke up out of bed in a schizophrenic psychosis. Something he didn’t know how to fight. Four months of struggling with a useless battle Tom arrived at a final conclusion to commit suicide. During the attempt a certain psychological experience happened which caused Tom to “re-birth” himself.
Admitting defeat and giving up his struggle he turned himself over to anyone who could help. Gravitated towards anything that is “out of the box thinking” Tom came across alternative strategies for healing. Employing these strategies and using his “unstoppable” determination Tom conquered his addictions, got himself employed, and lifted his psychosis to a state of mind he can function in. Fascinated by what happened and how it worked. Tom got involved in many other people’s recoveries to study how people get better, and why some don’t. Self teaching himself about psychology, philosophy, and the human body he studied the countless people he had sold drugs to and known over the years. Discovering that what he had learned about successful recoveries has many consistencies. Inversely, there were also many consistencies amongst people who failed to change.
These consistencies boiled down to the most important. Total misunderstanding of addiction and mental health issues, and the role of parents. Specifically the way parents communicate and behave with their child. Frustrated that these were mostly overlooked by the medical community and professionals Tom opened up his own counselling service. Intent on teaching people practical, real life, street smart knowledge of what to do if you have a problem. What to do if you are a parent of someone who has a problem, and what to do if you are a professional trying to help someone who is suffering.
With incredible hands on experience and unique way of looking at things, Tom delivers knowledge and strategies that %75 of his clients have successfully used to make their lives significantly better. Audiences of people have their complete attention devoted towards him when he speaks and gives him proof his message needs to be heard. He continues his quest to share his message through public speaking and private counselling.