Real life isn’t all rainbows and wildflowers. Sloane Brown is the Hunting Marketing Manager for one of the hottest name brands in the entire outdoor world, but that’s what this episode is about. At all. Sloane’s circuitous journey to the top began at the very bottom. Hunting fueled an addiction that ultimately became personal salvation, compelling him to new highs. Proving it ain’t where you start but where you finish, today’s episode is unvarnished testimony that you absolutely do not want to miss.
Truth-Telling & Silver Linings
…if there’s something you’ve been dreaming to do, now is the time to do it…
Ramsey Russell: I’m your host Ramsey Russell, join me here to listen to those conversations with the hottest brands in America, we’re both at Dallas Safari Club wrapping up a heck of a show, a surprisingly good show, as far as I’m concerned. And despite being a titan in his area and his base in the outdoor world, is still a pretty likable fellow and good guy, Mr. Sloane Brown of Yeti, how are you man?
Sloane Brown: I’m good. That’s a mighty kind introduction. Maybe some little semi truth in there, but the definite truth is Dallas Safari Club is a great show, and if you’re in Texas, you should come check out.
Ramsey Russell: I really came to this show after a year or two away, not knowing what to expect. I mean, with the pandemic and the news media and all, I didn’t know what to expect and Martha came up from Argentina, she was with us, and she said that Friday was our best Friday ever – which I’m going to tell you that 2020, the last time this convention was held, was unbelievable. Right out the gate until the time the show ended, it was unbelievable. She keeps up with the numbers and said it was way better.
Sloane Brown: We did a happy hour in that booth with free booze and we knew it was going to be big, but let me tell you what people are fucking sick of what’s going on. They’re sick of people telling them that they have to stay inside and wear a cloth mask over their face and that’s going to keep them safe. They’re looking for experiences and they got a lot of money to spend. It may be inflated right now, the economy, but they’re looking for experiences and they want to get out, and they’re sick of all the bullshit.
Ramsey Russell: We were hearing Tiger King stories last night at dinner. I mean, you never know who you’re going to meet.
Sloane Brown: How cool is that. The tattoo artist.
Ramsey Russell: The tattoo artist. And he was on here last week. But what blows my mind is how Tiger King defined for me the world shut down pandemic.
Sloane Brown: It was four days after the shutdown.
Ramsey Russell: Would I ever have watched that if I hadn’t been stuck at home?
Sloane Brown: Nobody would have. But I tell you what it did, it was a bright spot for a lot of people. It gave them something to do, people sat and binged it for days.
Ramsey Russell: Oh, I bet they did.
Sloane Brown: And Season Two is out apparently, I didn’t know that.
Ramsey Russell: I don’t even know they had a Season Two. I thought Joe was in jail.
Sloane Brown: Joe might get out of jail in Season Two is what I was told.
Ramsey Russell: Oh my gosh, but it’s a crazy. And it’s like —
Sloane Brown: Hey listeners, because this is audio only, Ramsey and I are packing Char Dawg.
Ramsey Russell: Oh yeah, we got to have that Char.
Sloane Brown: Morning medicine.
Ramsey Russell: That was my pandemic experience and the world started moving a little bit.
Sloane Brown: It was like 95% of the world’s —
Ramsey Russell: And the minute I can move and go and get back to my normal world, go to Canada, start traveling, I’m all in man. And I’m seeing that these guys, everybody’s ready to get the heck out. And if you hadn’t learned but one thing in the last couple of years, if there’s something you’ve been dreaming to do, now is the time to do it before somebody else crazy comes along and locks us down again.
Sloane Brown: What else are you going to do? I remember that — I think it was probably two or three weeks after the shutdown and I went for a trail run, I was in Austin, stuck at home and I needed to get out, and I remember going on that run, and like the only thing I thought about for like two hours was what can I cut from my life? What are my expenses right now? How can I get them to zero? How much money am I going to have left over? Where am I going to go and what am I going to do? And I had plans to sell it all and go to my family’s place and homestead. Like that’s where my brain was at, and it was scary for a while.
Ramsey Russell: No, I think that that’s where it needed to be because mine was very similar. I had certain ideas in January of 2020 and had different ideas in March.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, totally. It was totally different. I think I may have gotten Coronavirus in the very beginning of February at Outdoor Retailer in Denver. Tell me that that virus wasn’t in that show room with all the people from china, the manufacturers. It was there. But I think I got it then, and I have been exposed so many times since then, and I haven’t gotten sick.
Ramsey Russell: I haven’t gotten sick either, knock on wood. Of course, I hadn’t caught the flu since I was in college.
Sloane Brown: I could have gotten it. But I’ve been asymptomatic.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. What have you been doing since?
Sloane Brown: I never stopped. I stopped for a month maybe when it was crazy.
Ramsey Russell: Y’all just kept going? Well, we stopped.
Sloane Brown: I don’t subscribe. And it’s a really cool thing and I think a lot of people are going to learn a lot from this deal. It doesn’t matter man, I knew that I was such low risk after we learned a little bit more about this thing as a young and healthy male, and I was like, man, if I get it, I’ll be fine. There’s no reason to stop living. Because you could wreck your car at any moment and honestly like that’s killed way more people, but what’s even worse is Fentanyl right now. I saw a post yesterday, insurance companies, people aged 18-40, there’s a 40% increase in deaths right now, this year, from Fentanyl. It’s an opioid, one of the strongest on planet Earth. The problem is the news outlets aren’t talking about it. It killed more people than COVID and car wrecks last year. Why are they not talking about it? Think about the major media outlets, who keeps the lights on there besides the people who pays the ad dollars? Brought to you by Pfizer, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, and those are the same motherfucker’s manufacturing Fentanyl. They’re legal drug dealers. It’s all a cycle. And I think that’s what I was saying earlier, is the silver lining from this whole deal is that people are becoming more and more skeptical of all the legacy media outlets. Fox News is just as bad as CNN, they all have an agenda. So step outside of that shit, and you realize like, oh, all the racial riots and this nasty COVID virus, and all the things that they talk about the Orange Man, that insurrection riots, it’s all fake. Because they’re in a bidding war for your attention, they want to keep you sucked in. And once you realize that and you step back, and you go into the world, you realize people aren’t racist. This virus isn’t as bad as they say it is, the hospitals aren’t that crowded. That have been all of it is fake.
Ramsey Russell: They describe the January 6th riots, and understand, I haven’t watched any mainstream media to amount to a hill of beans since the Presidential election, but they make out like all these millions of people just stormed the capital and were looting, and rioting, and doing all this stuff. And I saw a picture of him walking in and there’s these velvet ropes in the statuary room and they’re walking to go back —
Sloane Brown: Once those people go back and watch some of those videos, watch those people’s faces, they’re all paid actors.
Ramsey Russell: Of course, they are.
Sloane Brown: There’s one guy that there’s been like four or five different videos of and he’s sitting around and he’s trying to convince people to go and — they don’t want to go. And they’re like, no, we’ll just stay outside and peacefully riot.
Ramsey Russell: It’s political theater.
Sloane Brown: He pushed him in there and he doesn’t have a single charge pressed on him. I don’t know if he entered the building. I think he just pushed people out and then left.
Ramsey Russell: My wife grew up in that part of the world and she describes that there’s a protest at the National Mall 365 days a year. The whole town around that is built to contain it and let them demonstrate, see buffalo man go in and put his feet on a congressman’s desk, go try that. Go put on your best suit, make an appointment, try to do that.
Sloane Brown: Why?
Ramsey Russell: It’s political theater. I agree with it.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, it is. They had a moment, they were smart, they pushed in there. You know that kills me even worse is that candlelight visual they held the other day and the narrative that the White House is pumping out. Why the fuck aren’t they holding candlelight vigils for all the Afghani, for people that fucking, they killed? They killed them. And they killed a lot of Americans pulling out like that, fucking cowards. The thing is it all boils down — I don’t necessarily think they’re really bad people. I think they’re totally inept and I think they’re lost.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I would agree with inept and we’re lost. It’s the political system, but now I’m going to change the subject.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, let’s do it. We’re done.
The Healing Power of Nature
All these pills that big pharma throws down your throat when you’re hurting like that, that can all be solved with nature, and plants, and shooting ducks in the face.
Ramsey Russell: I like to hunt and fish to get away from all that politics, and I entertain myself without watching Fox News, CNN, any of it. How did your hunting season go this year Sloane? What are you doing? What do you do when you’re not doing this?
Sloane Brown: Like work wise or for fun?
Ramsey Russell: For fun. Life is about fun, not work. We all got to work.
Sloane Brown: Well I live in Austin, so it’s fun. My version of fun is different in Austin. It’s a lot of like brunches, and happy hours, and dinners, and nice good restaurants, and I enjoy that. I like being out in the woods and going on adventures. That’s what I love and I’m so lucky that I get to do that through work. But even if you don’t have that option for work to do that for you, you can do it on your own, and you should, and that’s all my whole story. I was thinking about what I was going to talk about on the way over here and I want to talk about how much healing powers that nature and the wild have on people. I mean, it my life, changed your life.
Ramsey Russell: It changed my life. Life’s Short, Get Ducks.
Sloane Brown: And I listened to that little video you sent me after I got out the shower this morning, and I cried.
Ramsey Russell: I’ll get out of here.
Sloane Brown: No, I did dude because it’s powerful man, and people need to know that. All these pills that big pharma throws down your throat when you’re hurting like that, that can all be solved with nature, and plants, and shooting ducks in the face.
Ramsey Russell: Talk about that. Talk about his, how old are you?
Sloane Brown: I’m 33. I just turned 33.
Ramsey Russell: How old were you when you killed your first duck?
Sloane Brown: Oh man, probably like 25-26. Like properly doing it, going after them.
Ramsey Russell: How old were you when you went hunting for the first time?
Sloane Brown: Probably like 12 or 13 years. My parents divorced when I was like 10 or 11, and my dad took me out shortly after that.
Ramsey Russell: What’d you hunt?
Sloane Brown: White tailed deer. My dad wasn’t a hunter, but he knew that that was like something that he could do with us.
Ramsey Russell: Great way to connect with kids. We talk about it all the time.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. I shot a dove my first time with a rifle.
Ramsey Russell: I did too.
Sloane Brown: I don’t think he knew how to gut a deer at the time, but he’s a doctor. He’s a dentist. I understand anatomy. Let’s do this. I wish I could see how we gutted that deer.
Ramsey Russell: Talk about that hunt? I just want to hear about this hunt. Because your dad, I mean —
Sloane Brown: My dad is an amazing person, he doesn’t hunt. My parents divorced when I was young and like, I remember it crushed me, right? They talk about children of divorced parents and how our timelines are. Whatever it is, no matter how old you are, when it happened, if you remember that you split your life into what happened, oh, that was before the divorce, and then there’s a moment, and then that was after the divorce, and that’s how we identify everything. That’s how we date things in our head. Because it’s extremely – like it rocks the foundation, I cried for days. And I’ll actually tell you the story. My best friend’s dad, he’s at this show, he’s the reason I got into hunting really, his name is Alan Curry, phenomenal person. His parents divorced when he was young. And I remember when it happened, my grandparents were in town. They told us first, we sat down and our parents told us, and I all I wanted to do was stay in my room and cry. And my best friend’s birthday party was that afternoon. I got invited to the birthday party and everything, and I was like, no, I don’t want to go, I’m so sad. I just want to stay here and cry and be with my mom and my siblings, and like, grieve. And Alan, my best friend’s dad called me, he said, listen Sloane, I went through the same thing, but if you sit around and sulk about it and act like a victim, it’s only going to get worse. Like, you got to get out and grab life by the horns and do it. And I did, I went to the birthday party, and I had the time of my life, and quickly after that I remember thinking, this divorce makes sense, and they’re both happier. Maybe not right now, but they will be, because all I remember is them fighting.
Ramsey Russell: That’s right. And my parents divorced. My parents were going through the initial phase of a divorce when I got hurt. And when I came home, not only was I different, but things were different cause dad was gone, and that’s just how it is. I saw an immediate change. They were happy and I’m proud to say they stayed happy.
Sloane Brown: And had they both found somebody that they love more?
Ramsey Russell: That’s right.
Sloane Brown: Are they remarried?
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. They did.
Sloane Brown: That sucks as a child. My mom was so cool about that. She started dating somebody three or four years after my parents divorced, and she talks about it now how she didn’t have any confidence dating, she didn’t know what to do. She met this guy, he’s great. And they made a promise that they would not get engaged or married until all the kids were out of high school. And so my little brother — they dated for like nine years I think — and then I think my brother graduated high school in May or whatever. They got married the day after.
Ramsey Russell: Really?
Sloane Brown: Yeah. That’s cool.
Ramsey Russell: So you were 12 or 13 years old. You’ve been hunting with your dad some.
Sloane Brown: I hated his guts – I hated my mom’s boyfriend’s guts. I didn’t want him anywhere around the house.
Ramsey Russell: I can see that.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. You’re not my f***ing dad.
Life’s Different Trajectories
We say there’s a time and a place for everything, it’s called college.
Ramsey Russell: You’re not my dad. Did your life take a different trajectory? That’s a very emotional thing for a 12-13-year-old kid to have to go through, there. You are happy like the Cosby kids, this big one big happy family like depicted on television all of a sudden real-life creeps in. Did it affect you? Did your life go on a different trajectory?
Sloane Brown: 100%, yeah. And I want to say this again. I’ll say it at the end of the podcast, I’ll save it, because it’s my line. It’s not original, it’s from somebody else. But yeah, so they divorced. I finished up high school. I did well in high school. I graduated at the top of my class, and I could have gotten into a lot of cool colleges, but I wanted to go do something different, so I went to Auburn. My youth minister told me about it. I had a really cool youth minister in high school that basically shaped my life. Like I could be in a totally different place if it weren’t for that guy. He was a young guy that just graduated North Carolina, and he moved to San Angelo, Texas, where I’m from, to be a youth minister, and he came into my life exactly when I needed him to.
Ramsey Russell: Wow.
Sloane Brown: I was starting to do a bunch of cocaine and stuff and —
Ramsey Russell: In high school?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, I was 15 years old the first time I tried cocaine. I was 14 when I first had that, like, triggering “aha” moment with drugs and pills. My friend was prescribed to Xanax, which is horrible that you put a child on Xanax before their frontal lobe is done developing their brain. Men’s brains don’t finish developing until we’re 27. So you start injecting chemicals like that into it, and it fucks everything up. America thinks that we should not have any of these bad feelings, right? So they numb it, they numb the anxiety, it’s an anti-anxiety pill. And I remember feeling so right about it that my dad picked me up that night and I almost told him in the car that I need a prescription for Xanax. It felt that comfortable. That was the first time that I ever felt comfortable in my own skin, and you can probably relate to that after your what happened to you. So anyways, I went on, and like I remember getting my wisdom teeth pulled, and getting prescribed painkillers for that, and eating them in the first afternoon, telling my dad that I flushed them down the drain because I didn’t want to get addicted. So I knew I was manipulative, and like outside looking in, nobody would have a clue that I was doing that many drugs. I did my first line of cocaine when I was like 15, and like had this really romantic relationship with it at first, I was listening to like Incubus and Third Eye Blind and —
Ramsey Russell: I’ve heard it’s like that the first time.
Sloane Brown: Yeah and you’re chasing that forever and it’s never that good again. You feel connected with people.
Ramsey Russell: What year we talking about here?
Sloane Brown: This would be so I graduated high school in 2007, and this would be like 2005 -2004.
Ramsey Russell: Was that a school party?
Sloane Brown: My best friend lived down the alley. He was a year older than me and he got into it, he was selling it, and I walked down his alley, did a line off a mirror. The movie Blow had just come out and that was like I thought George Young was the dude, right? I wanted to look up to him. And I remember actually the first time I saw somebody in real life on cocaine, we were at a house party, and everybody was drinking and having a good time, and my buddy was sitting around playing guitar playing some Third Eye Blind for the entire room. He had everybody’s attention, and I was front row, and I was looking at him like, what’s all that white stuff on his nose? I was like, ahh, that’s cocaine. I was like, this dude is having a really good time on cocaine and everybody is digging what he’s doing. I was like I want to do that. And shortly after I did.
Ramsey Russell: Talk about that first relationship with it.
Sloane Brown: It was similar to the first time I took a narcotic pill. It’s like, I feel right. Like we watched a concert at my house, “Incubus Live at Red Rocks” and I remember being like holy shit, I love everybody in this room, and I love this music, and this is – I could do this forever. And then I remember it was Saturday night. Sunday morning I felt horrible, and I went to church with my mom, and I was so depressed, and all my brain was all screwed up from zapping it the night before. I didn’t have any of the good juices left. I drained them. Yeah, but I went on and kept numbing myself from the pain.
Ramsey Russell: Self-medication. Would it to medicate or hurt?
Sloane Brown: I’m sure there was a little bit of pain that I was numbing. But really, I just like the way it made me feel.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah.
Sloane Brown: We’re going to pick up this audio or what a little bit.
Ramsey Russell: But that’s okay. We’re on the convention floor before the show starts.
Sloane Brown: We got an hour before people start coming in. But anyways yeah, I’m sure I was numbing some of the pain, I was medicating, but I really —
Ramsey Russell: But mostly it was just fun.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, I liked the way it made me feel, and it was fun for a long time. So fast forward, I got accepted to Auburn University and I knew I wanted to go to school there. I got accepted early in my senior year and I was like, well, party time. I worked semi-hard in high school and all my friends were a year older, so they had graduated, and they were in school, and none of them went to Auburn, and I didn’t know hardly anybody there, but I got accepted so I just coasted the rest of high school and really started doing a lot of drugs then.
Ramsey Russell: We say there’s a time and a place for everything, it’s called college.
Sloane Brown: It’s such a waste of time.
Ramsey Russell: Was that your experience.
Sloane Brown: No, no. Yeah, I mean sure we did it all there, but in college is great. I learned a lot from college, but I missed a lot from college.
Ramsey Russell: What did you major in?
Sloane Brown: Well, I started out Pre-med because my dad’s in medicine, my brother wanted to do it, and we’re medical family, my mom is a dietitian. And after my freshman year, I was like, it’s way too much chemistry. I hate chemistry, it’s dumb, this ain’t me. I had an economics class like a basic, and I was like, I like this stuff, it makes sense to me. So I did that with a social-sci minor, but when most people ask me, I tell them that I majored in substance abuse. I’m doing a lot of field research. That was my jam.
Ramsey Russell: Chemistry wasn’t my forte either. I took a lab, we had a —
Sloane Brown: What’d you major in? Biology, probably?
Ramsey Russell: Wildlife Management and Forestry, but I had to take Organic Chemistry and that took me two tries. The first try we blew up the lab with an old sock because we were told by our graduate student lab instructor to watch it.
Sloane Brown: Where’d you go to school?
Ramsey Russell: Mississippi State.
Sloane Brown: Nice.
Ramsey Russell: And we watched it, all right —
Sloane Brown: Reminds me of an old parking lot that hadn’t been used much and there’s all the cracks in the grass, I love it man.
Ramsey Russell: It’s home.
Sloane Brown: Good home. Yeah, what’s home for you?
Ramsey Russell: I live in Brandon, Mississippi. I’m originally from the Mississippi Delta, which is where the duck hunting origin comes from. But I’ve lived elsewhere for a long time. We blew up the freaking lab and I just knew right then –
Sloane Brown: Back up a little bit, you got burned up when you’re 16?
Ramsey Russell: Yeah.
Sloane Brown: But I’m just asking because what the hell was college like?
Ramsey Russell: Man, my college experience was a lot different maybe than a lot of people, because I had gotten hurt when I was 16 years old, the parents divorced, I went through a bad time —
Sloane Brown: When did you parents’ divorce?
Ramsey Russell: When I was 16. It had been brewing for a long time, and I got back, and I think I may have attended half, I skipped so much school my senior year.
Sloane Brown: To duck hunt?
Ramsey Russell: No, to do something. No, just not to go and to do anything but go. And it was a lot to cope with. When you’re that age, it’s great time. But it is a lot to cope with this young man. Throw that on top of it. It was it was just too much, it was a breaking point. I skipped so much school that if my mother wrote me a legit note, I had to get my friend girl Lana Sparkly to forge it because they would only recognize her writing. I’m going to say I attended half the days of my senior year.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, and today, they’d diagnose you with ADHD and they shove your body full of Ritalin.
Ramsey Russell: I was, they tried to give me some of those pills and it just didn’t make me feel right.
Sloane Brown: I broke my hand and I got prescribed my sophomore year of high school, and I was doing some homework one night at the dinner table, my mom was right there like cooking dinner and stuff, and I couldn’t find an answer in the textbook, and I got so angry. I just started – like it was probably my first day taking Ritalin – and I punched the kitchen table and I broke my hand.
Ramsey Russell: Jeez.
Sloane Brown: That stuff changes people man. And I remember like walking to class, and seeing my buddies, and then one of them would like punch me, they’d frog me in the arm and I’d be overly mad.
Ramsey Russell: By the time I went to college, I went to Junior College, majored in Accounting – for a kid that doesn’t even balance a checkbook. I did good, but it wasn’t my call into life, transferred to Mississippi State. I was 21-22 years old. I had drank enough alcohol to float a battleship. I was older, I lived on my own. I was that guy.
Sloane Brown: Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: I went to Mississippi State to learn and it was a logical step to where I wanted to go with my life, and I drank very little. I had outgrown all that stuff by the time I moved on to Mississippi State —
Sloane Brown: Yeah, I can relate to that. I was so tired of all of it by the time I went to college, but I couldn’t stop it. I don’t have an off switch, but yeah anyways.
Ramsey Russell: But it was in college you, I mean —
Sloane Brown: I think before going to college, I think you should go enter the workforce for a couple of years and learn the value of a drug.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, do something.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, something because your brain is not developed yet, and you’ve got to make this decision what you’re going to do, or try to do the rest of your life.
Ramsey Russell: I don’t think that everybody has to go to college.
Sloane Brown: If I had kids right now and they were 18, I’d push them to trade schools because of the labor.
Ramsey Russell: Don’t be scared to get a callus on your hand, don’t be scared to sweat, don’t be scared to work.
Sloane Brown: Well there’s a shortage of skilled labor.
Ramsey Russell: And I talk about it all the time.
Sloane Brown: And you can make more money you could make — if you finished trade school as a plumber, you could probably go out and make 75K a year.
Ramsey Russell: Or an electrician, or anything that you like. But it’s like, I told a young guy at my booth yesterday, when you come to a fork in the road, take it, just keep moving forward. And what I would tell anybody, I talked to a kid one time he had season days like I did in high school and what are you going to do? We’re going to go to college. So why what are you going to are you going to do in college? What are you going to do after college? Well I don’t know. We’ll figure it out. I said, you can figure it out working.
Sloane Brown: Go be a hunting guide.
Ramsey Russell: You can figure it out working. To me, where do you think you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. What do you think? What do you think you want to be? And if college gets you there, go to college, or not, go this way.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. Well, so many of the universities are so indoctrinated right now with bad fake ideals.
Ramsey Russell: It’s just since I was in college.
Sloane Brown: There’s one popping up in Austin called Austin University, a lot of really smart people behind it and it’s going to be cool place I think.
Ramsey Russell: Let’s get back on your college experience. I want to hear about this.
Filling the Void
It’s our solution for a long time and it works. And then one day it turns on you.
Sloane Brown: So I went to Auburn my first year, I pledged a fraternity, and it was awesome. I don’t think it’s for everybody, but it’s amazing that there’s still a thing, because there’s so much racism, and just nonsense liability in it. But I did that and had a blast. But my best semester of college was my first semester of my freshman year, Fall. And it’s because I had structure and we had any time we weren’t in class, we had to be at the fraternity house helping out – 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM structure. And so I’d get like two hours of study and I’d actually go study versus the following semester, took 12 hours and fucked off the whole time, and I couldn’t study, I couldn’t retain anything. So yeah, I did that, and then like I was pretty straight laced my freshman year, and then sophomore year, a little more freedom, a little more time. I started doing a lot of Xanax and pain pills. I went on a hunting trip back home with my best friend from college, and we were a whitetail hunting, Christmas time-ish, and I think we shot some deer, and I was taking a bunch of Xanax at that time. I came home and I ran out of Xanax, and I didn’t know where to get it, didn’t really care. And I was driving my dad’s car with my best friend in the passenger seat, we’re heading to the airport to fly back to Auburn, and I was feeling weird man, like, real weird. And I had a seizure when I was driving, going like 60 miles an hour down the highway. My best friend pulled the emergency brake, pulled us into the to the center lane and stopped us, and I woke up in the hospital or like in the back of an ambulance with guys like yelling at me. I’m like, whoa, what’s going on here? My dad came in, met me at the ER with the freaking neurologist, and my dad starts feeding him with bullshit, like oh it’s sleep deprivation, and all this nonsense to keep me out of it. I knew deep down, I think I told my dad it was Xanax. And yes, I recovered and went back to school, right back at it. It was the first thing I did when I got to Auburn, buy some Xanax. And so I started doing that and it got worse and worse, and there’s a lot of crazy stories in that time, but my fifth year of college, after two stints in rehab, hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses to my family, which I’m so fortunate that they supported me and stuck by me the whole time.
Ramsey Russell: Are you the only child?
Sloane Brown: No, I’m a middle child, I’ve got an older brother who’s an ER doc, and then younger sister, younger brother, amazing family. And so I was like, man, all my friends are gone from Auburn. I was almost going into my sixth year trying to finish up to classes and Spanish too, and econometrics, and I couldn’t pass them, I couldn’t hold it together, and I hated it. I was living in a studio apartment in Auburn, it’s a piece of shit, and I’d be lying on the couch watching TV, and I would wake up, and the coffee table would be thrown across the room, and I’d have blood coming out of my mouth, and my shoulder would be dislocated, and I would be coming to from a seizure all alone in my —
Ramsey Russell: And this is Xanax-induced?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, you become physically dependent on it, just like booze, it does the same way and if you stop cold turkey, you get seizures. And I had a lot of them, gosh, I bet I had 20 and nobody knew. I was like, I got to get out of this place, I’m going to die in this studio apartment, I knew it. I knew it man, I was ordering pills online. I have tons of money from a fucking trust that should have never been given to me by my grandfather, total rich kid piece of shit, right? But I was nice to people still. I mean what does it matter at that point? I mean flushing hundreds of thousands, like literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on drugs and stupid shit. Living off of McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and Reese’s cups. And so I called my dad, and I was applying to TCU to finish up my last two courses because I thought a geographical change would heal me of running from it. And my dad is like, yeah, you can come home for a couple of weeks until you apply. He’s like, but I fucking mean it, he’s like if you are doing drugs in my house, I will kick you out to the street and you’ll be on your own, and I knew he meant it. He was so sick of it. And my dad’s a master enabler; he’d write the check to kill me. He didn’t know any better. He just thought that was how he was supposed to protect me.
Ramsey Russell: Can’t beat the damn.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, he didn’t know. And so anyways, I ran out of everything and I went into the worst withdrawals in my life. I was in my bedroom and I didn’t leave the bed. I don’t even know how many days it was. I was hallucinating, I couldn’t differentiate from reality, defecating in the bed. My dad would bring me a glass of water every day, check my vitals, make sure I’m alive. And then finally one day I was like, I got to go to the hospital, Dad.
Ramsey Russell: You’re going through withdrawals?
Sloane Brown: Yeah. My body as all —
Ramsey Russell: It was Xanax?
Sloane Brown: Xanax, and OxyContin, heroin. So I started shooting heroin.
Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk about this.
Sloane Brown: You don’t know anything about it.
Ramsey Russell: Oh boy, I know pharmaceuticals, but not that.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. So everybody should watch the show Dope Sick and you really understand a lot about the FDA and the government.
Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk about your situation and get into that.
Sloane Brown: So I don’t remember. I think the first time I was prescribed pain pills was probably for like my wisdom teeth getting pulled, or something. Like I said earlier, I ate them all in a day and told my dad I flushed them.
Ramsey Russell: And that was OxyContin?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, some kind of form of it. So then OxyContin, I get introduced to that. And I mean, that’s heroin, right? It’s just made in a factory by a fucking scientist.
Ramsey Russell: Did you ever inject it?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, I’ll get to that. So I started —
Ramsey Russell: Most people listening it taking myself included for years are definitely afraid of it.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, I was too man, I was too. And so I started eating the pills, then I started snorting the pills. Then I started free basing the pills, and then somebody introduced me to shooting up and needles.
Ramsey Russell: Crush the pills.
Sloane Brown: And then OxyContin got changed, pulled off the market because it was so bad, and so many people were overdosing, good people who were prescribed. And so they pulled it, or changed it, or something where you couldn’t get high, and it was hard to find. And so the girl that was my first kiss in seventh grade, she shot me up with heroin for the first time when I was like 22 years old.
Ramsey Russell: Wow.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. And it was off to the stupid races after that overdose. I overdosed once at my heroin dealer’s house in the slum of San Angelo. They drug me out to the curb and called 911, and I was like three blocks from the hospital, and I woke up in the ICU with my family standing over me crying. My chest hurt from them doing CPR. My back was all scraped up from where they drug me on the asphalt. And that was the first time that I saw the damage that I was doing to my family. I was like, I’m killing myself, but I’m killing them, and it’s way harder on them because I’m numbing the pain for myself. And I was like, oh my God, I got to do something now. And there was a nurse sitting in my room because it was considered a suicide attempt, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t trying to kill myself. And so I went to rehab that time, got out, got high again. That was the second trip. Same place. I make a joke – I went three summers in a row to a place called La Hacienda in Hunt, Texas, which is a phenomenal place. But I said that I was on a camp for three summers in a row because if you’re not laughing about it – don’t take life so seriously. And so gosh, I remember the first time I got out of treatment, my dad was picking me up, and he was signing paperwork with the doctors and talking about anti-relapse and medication, like that was going to work. And I looked in the back seat, and he had his briefcase back there, and his mom – my grandma – had just had a surgery and he filled a prescription for her. And I saw the pill bottle in his briefcase and I got high before I even left the treatment center while my dad was inside.
Ramsey Russell: God.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. So then, that was the first time. The second time I went in off an overdose, I wanted to get sober. Fell in with the wrong crew.
Ramsey Russell: Sloane, is that kind of addiction, was it emotional or was it physical?
Sloane Brown: Three parts. Mental, one, that’s the hardest part because your brain tells you have to have it to survive. Two is physical, your body becomes dependent on and you get sick when you don’t have it. And then third is spiritual. We drug addicts have a void inside of us and that’s what we’re feeling. We’re unhappy and it works. It’s our solution for a long time and it works. And then one day it turns on you.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. And so the whole solution to this, I am a firm believer in a 12 Step program. What you do is you realize, like the first three steps is realizing that you’re powerless, you don’t have control and that a higher power is going to be able to restore you to sanity. Then you do a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself. Like everybody you’ve harmed all your years, all your sexual partners, and you write it all down, and then you read it to somebody, and they help you identify patterns, and shortcomings, and character defects. Everybody should live this way, everybody should. You can tell it to a Pope. I mean you can tell it to a preacher, if you want, in the confession booth, or you can tell it to your AA sponsor. I shouldn’t say AA on press. You can show it to share it with your 12-Step sponsor. And then you can go light that thing on fire, that paper on fire. And then you meditate on your shortcomings and you ask God, or a higher power, to remove those shortcomings. And then you start working with other people. And that’s when I had my spiritual experience, when I saw the lights come on for another drug addict, and my spiritual void was full. So if you can remove somebody from the temptation for 90 days, or as long as you can, your brain can heal itself, your frontal lobe will heal from all the damage you’ve done to it. And then you can start working on the body and the spirit piece. And it works. But it’s hard, it takes work, right, from the individual. There’s not a magic pill for this thing and there’s not a magic pill for anything.
Ramsey Russell: How many years did you imbibe with heroin shooting up?
Sloane Brown: Probably like three.
Ramsey Russell: Three years?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, and they say that heroin is actually like the best drug health-wise for people because all it does is pickle you, you just sit there and fall asleep. If you don’t get Hep C, AIDS, or die from an overdose, it just pickles you. Like meth, you’ll lose your teeth, all the other stuff, like, molly or whatever, you fry your brain. So anyways, I went to the hospital and the only way they’d let me out – this is the third time, this is 2012, Aug 2012. The only way they had released me from the hospital is if I agreed to go to treatment, so I did. I was at my dad’s house, he pulled me out, we got out of the hospital and we were going to treatment the next morning. He ran to the store to get me some like toiletries and stuff that I need. I ran into his bedroom, I grabbed my car keys, I had like hundred bucks’ cash in my pocket and I drove like 50 miles an hour across town to my heroin dealer’s house. Got heroin, I was like, oh gosh, do you guys have a needle, fresh needle, unused? And they’re like, yeah, they gave me a needle, and I got back to my dad’s house and he was out running errands still. I ran into his bathroom and started like fixing up a shot of heroin, and I’m like, shit, boom. All of a sudden, he pulls up into the house, and I’m in his bathroom right there, and I’m like shit, I don’t have any water, I don’t have cotton to like do this thing. The things that I need to do it safely. So I pulled off the back lid of the toilet, pulled up some toilet water out into the syringe, mixed my shot of heroin, start to inject it, and like this needle, I can barely get it into my skin, and this needle’s used, my dad’s here, he’s coming. This is my last shot to get high, to medicate myself. I couldn’t find a vein, I couldn’t get it in my arm and so I just freaking stuck it in my skin, and took a shot of it, toilet water heroin. Heroin which I have no idea – it could have been rat poisoning and killed me, and I didn’t care because there was a chance I could have gotten high. It’s a black tar, it smells like hell. So I didn’t get high, but I did it. My dad didn’t know. I got out and went to treatment the next morning at the same place, La Hacienda, third summer in a row, tail tucked as far between my legs as I could possibly tuck it. I was so broken.
Ramsey Russell: Your dad take you?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, he drove me up there. My dad’s a saint man, he’s an awesome guy. I had scars all over my hands and arms from shooting up and people were like holy shit. I was probably one of the worst cases in there. A young, upper middle-class white kid, and I started healing, and they knew that I was serious. They kind of fast-forwarded my treatment, and they were like, we got to get him out of here, you need an extended care facility. And so they sent me to Carbondale, Colorado to a place called Jay Walker Lodge and it saved my life. It’s a men’s treatment center. It’s like a giant fraternity house in the mountains and they have an open-door policy for their alumni on Wednesday nights, they come in for dinner. I remember sitting around the dinner table, too long a dinner table, and these dudes are coming in, wearing their ski gear, waders coming off, going elk hunting or whatever. And they’re stoked and they’re sober, and I’m like, wait a minute.
Ramsey Russell: I’m not doomed —
Ramsey Russell: They had that mountain glow from being out in that area and chasing those elk.
Sloane Brown: All of it. Yeah. And I remember, I’m like, I’m not doomed. Like the highlight of my week is not going to be making coffee for my home group, my 12 step meeting because I thought that was what it was going to be. Because that’s all I knew. And so, I’m like, oh, this is badass. Like I plugged into one of them that took me through the steps as fast as I could, I got some relief. I started healing, mind, body, spirit, feeling good. I met some of the best guys in the world that were fighting the same fight as me, and we got after it, like we started hunting and fishing our asses off, and skiing, and just having a ball. It’s all about man community, having that community is so important for a drug addict, that accountability and that environment, right? Like being in a healthy environment and everybody’s like, why would you choose Aspen, Colorado to get sober because it’s a party town? And I’m like, look how much stuff you can do here outside. And so I started working in the treatment industry, first I was working at the detox, like bringing drunks off. Basically, the County set it up because the jails were getting too crowded from drunk people, a revolving door of the same six people. And so I worked at the detox, and the cops would call me at 2:00 AM, and they’d be like, hey, we got somebody, and I’d drive up to Aspen, Colorado and check them in, start drug testing them, give them whatever meds they needed. I did that for like six months and it was hard, but I kind of liked it, I needed it right? And then I got a job as a Valet at a five-star hotel in Aspen, the little really cool crew of guys, and I was skiing like 100 days a year. It felt like I was in college, we’d go skiing at Aspen Mountain, and we’d start with two guys, and by the end of the day there’d be 17 guys, maybe, mopping down the hill, and people would have to split and go to work. So I’d ski all day and then go to work, and I was like a doorman, wearing a Burberry coat and scarf, checking Donald Trump Jr. into the hotel. Yeah, it was amazing and then they had an adventure program in the summertime. So I applied for that and I ran their little fly fishing shop and Jeep tour center in the summer times, and started guiding a lot of fishing trips. I had a buddy named Dave Santini who picked me up, he was working at the treatment center, awesome dude, Italian guy, well he’s fishy, such a fishing dude, and he taught me how to row a boat and fish. Because I remember, me and my buddy Sam, we had fished all summer, that first summer we didn’t catch a single fish, we didn’t know what we were doing. Dave took us under his wing and taught us everything, and I started guiding, and did that for a few years, met some amazing people Fly fish guiding, that clientele, all it is is hand holding and not untangling, but people loved it, right? And the money was good, cool job. Everybody thought it was awesome. And there was a Facebook post about a job opening at Backbone Media, an outdoor PR and advertising firm.
Healing in the Great Outdoors
It was a surrogate for that void you were talking about earlier.
Ramsey Russell: Wait a minute, you were fishing.
Sloane Brown: Fishing mainly, and yeah, we’re elk hunting.
Ramsey Russell: Do you remember your first elk?
Sloane Brown: Oh yeah.
Ramsey Russell: Tell me about it.
Sloane Brown: I was by myself, it was my third season chasing those things and like —
Ramsey Russell: Archery?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, archery, I love bowhunting. And there wasn’t the information like there is now, like the DIY guys weren’t on YouTube telling people how to kill elk. I’m sure Cory Jacobson was, but I didn’t know. So we got our asses kicked the first three years, and I went out one morning to this close spot for just a little while.
Ramsey Russell: That’s, okay, the chase — you were into the chase you into the experience.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, hanging all outside.
Ramsey Russell: That in itself was therapeutic.
Sloane Brown: Oh absolutely.
Ramsey Russell: It was a surrogate for that void you were talking about earlier.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, so me and my buddy, Sam Augustine, who’s in real estate and a highly successful guy now, it’s just so crazy, I’m so proud of him. We were supposed to go hunting one morning at the spot like 20 minutes away, easy hiking, a couple of miles in, and it was raining all night, and I was like man, I’m going to go regardless. So I went out, it was like a Sunday morning, I think. I had clay, it was like that real soupy clay, and it was sticking to my boots on the way in and I knew enough that elk are kind of like people, right? When it’s raining, they kind of hunker down, but once it’s nice outside and that storm breaks, they come out and they party. And so I caught him partying that morning, it was like 10:00 or 11:00 AM and I’m like, man, I’m hiking out, I’ll come back in the afternoon. And I’m walking out, and all of a sudden, I hear it calling. I’m like, whoa, I’m 10 minutes from the truck, a little sliver of public land with a shitty game trail on it. And I’m like, wow, that was close. And I look down and see an elk track, like, oh buddy, notch an arrow, go to my knees, layoff calm, and I see this bull step out from behind a tree, and he’s 12 yards from me. His head’s covered, his vitals are wide open broadside, and I pulled back and I dusted him, and he runs 30-40 yards and piles up, dies. I hear him do his death moan and I’m like, oh my God, it just happened, that died right in front of me.
Ramsey Russell: How high were you then?
Sloane Brown: It was like shooting a fat shot of heroin, man, that euphoric rush, you get the same thing. Your brain does the same thing and it does the same thing when you go reach for a chocolate cookie.
Ramsey Russell: Is that how life is now?
Sloane Brown: It’s amazing, it’s healthy. I walk over to that elk and I’m like, oh my God, it was a little rag horn, like two-year-old bull, probably three-year-old maybe. And I’m like looking at this 700 lb creature, and I’m like, oh my God, I just killed this thing. I cried. Like, what am I going to do? How am I going to get him out of here? He was only 10 minutes from the truck. I turn around and there’s a hunter behind me, another public land guy. And he’s like, dude, you got him, I heard the death moan and he’s done. We high fived, and hugged, and I cut my tag, and put it on the antlers, ran out. I told all my buddies, we got a bunch of ice and coolers, and we went back out there, and chopped that thing up, and hiked him out. And that was my first bull.
Ramsey Russell: Man, you’re just smiling outside your face right now.
Whole & Homebound
It feels right, I’m back, I got the job.
Sloane Brown: I got that bull hanging in my house and every time I look at him, I’m like dang, that’s my favorite kill maybe in my entire life. And it’s a little rag horn shitty bull, public land. But got it done, killed a few more in the coming years. So to go back to work, there was a Facebook post about a job opening for a PR Public Relations Manager for a hunting brand. Actually, I think it was like a junior level, entry level position, and I didn’t know what Public Relations was, but I had like four or five different people send it to me, okay, you should apply for this, Backbone is a great place. So I did, interviewed with them, and they had a client, Vista Outdoors, was their main client and it wasn’t going well. And they were talking to Sick Gear at the same time. And so I interviewed and they loved me, and they were like, hey, we’re going to give you a job but we have to have a brand for you to work on. Vista’s coming out and they’re like, well just stay in touch. And sure enough, Vista dropped them as their agency and then they signed Sick Gear, and they called me that same day. I got the job and did it for like 18 months and loved it. But I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at first. But got a really good rolodex of nice awesome industry —
Ramsey Russell: What was the job title?
Sloane Brown: Public Relations Coordinator, I think.
Ramsey Russell: People person.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, people person and I was cold calling and emailing writers, and trying to get them to review Sick Gear, and spread the Sick Gear gospel. And then I got Felson as a client, and then I got Thermacell, and Mountain Tops, and Boulder Boat Works, drift boats, and I learned it, and it came naturally to me and I got a strong rolodex of connections. And then my buddy shoots me a text with this job opening at Yeti, Hunting Specialist.
Ramsey Russell: Had you ever heard of Yeti?
Sloane Brown: Oh hell yeah. Yeti was a client of Backbones. Backbones was doing PR for them, but I didn’t touch that account, and Yeti was a beast. This was 2018 like crazy, crazy successful. Like, it’s a household name in the US.
Ramsey Russell: Well, break break. I’ve got a Yeti ice chest. I bought in 2000.
Sloane Brown: No way, 2000? It must be like an Icy Tech or something.
Ramsey Russell: It’s a Yeti. Maybe 2001-2002.
Sloane Brown: We didn’t make the Tundra until 2008.
Ramsey Russell: This is a 40 quart, well maybe it was 2008, and it seemed like 2000 back in the day that I can remember I was still in camp. But anyway, it’s been around forever.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. So I used all my connections to apply for that job. I talked to my boss and he was super supportive and his name is Nate Simmons, he’s a phenomenal person. He owns Backbone Media, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him taking a chance on a fishing guide, and he’s awesome. He taught me a lot, and he’s a hustler, and I just love that guy. But I worked at Backbone for 18 months and then got the job at Yeti and moved to Austin. But when I was applying for the job, the guy that had the Hunting Marketing Manager, his name is Ben O’Brien, awesome dude, but he had started a podcast, and I knew he and Steve Rinella were buds. And I was like, oh man, I see the writing on the wall, like he’s going to go leave Yeti and do this podcast. And I was like, this could be a really good opportunity for me. So I get the job, get to Austin, I’m back home, it was homecoming, I’ve been gone for like 12 years, right, going to college and then living in Colorado. I remember that drive home and seeing bugs splattered all over my windshield, and drinking a Dr. Pepper out of a Styrofoam cup, and I was like, I’m home. It feels right, I’m back, I got the job.
Ramsey Russell: You were whole.
Sloane Brown: I was home, I was back home.
Ramsey Russell: You’re home, you’re whole.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, and healed and happy. Went on a journey to find myself, and got the job at Yeti, and loved it. I probably came in too hot, too heavy. But my boss, Bill Neff, who is another amazing person that I love – and I’d do anything for that guy. I would go to war with that guy. But he gave me some really good advice early on. He’s like, just be humble. Remember that people don’t care about the name on the back of your football jersey, they care about the Yeti on the front, and I do, I remember that. And it’s tough because there’s so much affinity for this brand and everybody, I remember when I changed my Facebook, and my LinkedIn, and Instagram – made an Instagram post about working for Yeti – and all of a sudden people come out of the woodwork, and they’re coming after me because they want a piece of Yeti. I knew that right away, but all of a sudden I’ve got a following on social media, and I’m like, what is all this? This is crazy, but every day I got to wake up and check my ego at the door, right? Because they don’t want me, they want Yeti, and I think I had a gift to see that pretty early on, I’m aware of that. Who the good characters are, who the guys are, that’re just looking for something for free. So here I am, I got promoted. Ben O’Brien left two months after I started, I think, and it was me and Bill Neff, and he was teaching me everything. We were doing road trips together and I didn’t know what I was doing, right? There’s a term for this but like it’s a graph, right? Like you come in and it’s a big steep line, you think you’re learning everything, and then all of a sudden it drops off and you’re like, I don’t know anything. And so luckily that happened early for me, and I was had enough humility to listen to other people, and it’s just been an amazing job, and it’s taken me to some of the most amazing places on earth. But my favorite part, people ask me all the time what’s the best part of your job? It’s the people.
Ramsey Russell: Absolutely.
Sloane Brown: It’s guys like you and we just met really yes, two days ago?
Ramsey Russell: You just come out of the blue, I’m sitting there minding my own business in my booth, you come sit down and introduce yourself and talk about it all.
Sloane Brown: I’m like, yeah, this guy’s awesome.
Grant Me the Serenity…
…I’m like, oh man, this universe is my tailor, and he tailored this thing right.
Ramsey Russell: I got a couple of questions I want to ask you about healing yourself, about finding yourself, about overcoming that addiction, that big hole you had inside. Two questions, how has that experience shaped you for your career? There’s something in all that struggling, all that stuff you did. Besides the therapy going out hunting, fishing, there’s got to be ways, I know, you’ve maybe got certain elements in your toolbox that help you cope with your work day and your professional life than a lot of folks that haven’t struggled like you did.
Sloane Brown: There’s a lot of answers to that. Maybe there’s some truth in this, but one of my favorite analogies is they say sobriety is like a jacket. I tried it on those first two tries and I think this doesn’t feel right. I don’t like this jacket, ditched it, third time I tried it on, I’m like, oh man, this universe is my tailor, and he tailored this thing right. It’s on the money, and I wore that thing, and I was so proud of it. It was my varsity letter jacket, and I did that. And yeah, and then community was another big part of that, but I’m so lucky because my work, I love what I do, right? If you can marry passion with career –
Ramsey Russell: Amen.
Sloane Brown: My dad always said, he told me from the time I could remember, you’ll never work another day in your life.
Ramsey Russell: It’s not work, it’s just life.
Sloane Brown: Yeah and so I don’t think I went searching for that, but it just happened, and I got really, really lucky because there’s a lot of people that hate what they do. They dread going to work every day. But the thing is, you can control that, right? 12 Steps teaches you to control the things that you can, and search and pray for serenity for the things that are beyond your control.
Ramsey Russell: And it brings a little structure. And I think I need structure.
Sloane Brown: Oh yeah. And my friends, my best friends in Austin are the guys that I sit next to and the gals I sit next to at work, those are my people and it’s so damn fun to go to work every day and have that culture. Culture is so important to a workplace, to anything.
Craving Communication & Connection
You can learn that from nature if you just get out and listen.
Ramsey Russell: The second question I got based on that experience. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. Describe the parallels emotionally, and spiritually, and mentally of when you’re hunting. Like you’ve got a great, great little short film.
Sloane Brown: Rocky Mountain elk hunt.
Ramsey Russell: I mean I don’t elk hunt, but I want to haven’t seen that, it’s beautiful.
Sloane Brown: Let’s go elk hunt.
Ramsey Russell: I will.
Sloane Brown: You like talking to ducks, it’s no different.
Ramsey Russell: I do, but I just saw this parallel. Can you articulate that?
Sloane Brown: Tell me the parallel again, I will.
Ramsey Russell: Between the synthetic high —
Sloane Brown: And the real high?
Ramsey Russell: And the nature. That communication, that connection with the animal, with the people. Is that what was missing? It was connections? Is that what that hole you were trying to feel?
Sloane Brown: Yeah, and then learning the tools to cope with fear, and insecurities, and resentments. That’s what the 12 Steps teaches you how to do. And there’s a lot of that. You can learn that from nature if you just get out and listen. Spend as much time as you can man try to watch every sunrise and sunset. Get into that circadian rhythm. That’s the way humans are meant to live, we’re animals. Connect, get outside, we need strain, right? Our bodies crave it. Otherwise we just turned into these amorphous gender fluid blobs that are just married to technology.
Ramsey Russell: You started off way back when in this podcast talking about the Fentanyl –
Sloane Brown: Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: – Epidemic. And now see why it’s so important to you.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, because that didn’t work for me. That’s poison and I’m trying to, right now, if anybody knows if there’s any lawyers or attorney is listening to this, please reach out to me because there’s I think there’s a class action lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and OxyContin – $4.5 billion dollar payout. And I want to go get some money from that. I want to reimburse my family for their expenses. I want to take care of my mom and dad, because they took care of me, and then I want to take the rest of that money, and I want to go do something good with it.
Ramsey Russell: Wow.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. Yeah.
Adversity is a Good Thing
So when life throws you a curve ball, stay on that back foot, wait on that pitch to break, and send it to left field.
Ramsey Russell: If you got any advice for parents, moms and dads that are listening, thinking God, I mean, I’m sitting here in my mind blown. I grew up a few decades before you did Sloane. And I grew up in the seventies and eighties, Colombia gold floating around, and stuff like that. But nothing, none of the big pharma type stuff. That was so it’s scary to me, and I thank God my children are older, but it’s scary to me that 14, 15-year-old kids can get their hands on this. What would you tell a mom or dad? What can a mom or dad do?
Sloane Brown: Just love your kids and listen, regardless have an open dialogue. Don’t put up too many parameters because those kids are going to want it. It’s human instinct to break the rules, I think. At least for a lot of people, for me. So just be open, talk to them about it. Talk to them about the dangers of it early on. Try to monitor who they’re hanging with, but don’t like let them fail, give them enough rope to hang themselves. Don’t let them get too bad.
Ramsey Russell: You learn from mistakes.
Sloane Brown: Yeah, but be there, be supportive, and be involved in their life, and you’ll know if something’s not right.
Ramsey Russell: That’s right.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. You’ll know and don’t try to prescribe another pill to solve it. It takes work. Like I said earlier, if you want to heal, you’ve got to work on it. And one of one of my mentors, his name is Michael Fink. He runs a program called Heroes and Horses. On September 11th, 2001, he was working as a electrician lineman in New York, in Manhattan. And he saw the planes hit the towers, and he’s always said, I think his dad or his grandfather said, figure out what everybody else is doing in life and go do the exact opposite. And on September 11th, he did that. When everybody was after the buildings collapsed, and everybody was running away from the wreckage, he and his best friend ran towards it, and they spent three- or four-days digging people out. He said, it’s the saddest feeling in the world. And they were sitting in the rubble and his friend looks at him and goes, what are we going to do? He said, I’m going to kill the motherfuckers that did this. And he enlisted as a Navy Seal and went on and did 13 tours, and he’s an amazing person. But he got out, started a program called Heroes and Horses, and it’s horsemanship. And it’s all the things that I’ve been talking about.
Ramsey Russell: The show’s opening up folks.
Sloane Brown: He’s my hunting guide in Alaska.
Ramsey Russell: Heroes and Horses.
Sloane Brown: Yeah. Heroes and Horses. So he does a 41 day backcountry horsemanship program, brings in like eight Vets, they apply, and he selects them and they get off all the meds. He tells stories about guys coming in on 13 different psych medications from the VA. And he kicks some cold turkey testosterone points jumping by 200 points. Every 64 minutes an American Veteran commit suicide. And a lot of them do it in the parking lot of the VA.
Ramsey Russell: Wow, that’s sad.
Sloane Brown: There’s 50,000 nonprofits focused on Veteran affairs and issues. 50,000 in like the last 20 years. We’ve spent some kind of billion, billions of dollars. And it’s only getting worse.
Ramsey Russell: How can people connect with you, Sloane?
Sloane Brown: Social media, I guess. I hate social media in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of good that comes from it. So they can find me on Instagram or whatever. And I try to respond to as many messages as I can, but I can’t get to them all. But yeah, you can text me, email me, call me whatever.
Ramsey Russell: Appreciate you sharing your story.
Sloane Brown: There’s so many parallels with yours and mine, right? And one thing that I want to say, and I tried to say this earlier, is adversity is a good thing. We need it, we need it. So when life throws you a curve ball, stay on that back foot, wait on that pitch to break, and send it to left field.
Ramsey Russell: All you can do is swing, man. I mean, you got to just keep plugging along. I really look back at my life and I think adversity made me better. It spared me, I really think my getting hurt really probably helped me avoid a similar trajectory of your own, and I know that the outdoors helped me through it.
Sloane Brown: Oh yeah.
Ramsey Russell: It was my salvation.
Sloane Brown: Instead of pharmaceuticals, look to nature.
Ramsey Russell: Absolutely.
Sloane Brown: Look to nature, and there’s a lot of plants and stuff that can heal you way better than those pills can.
Ramsey Russell: Absolutely.
Sloane Brown: What else do you want to talk about? Any other burning questions now?
Ramsey Russell: No, we’ll probably have you back on Sloane.
Sloane Brown: Let’s do it. Let’s do it in a duck blind.
Ramsey Russell: Do it in a duck blind. That’s the plan.
Sloane Brown: Or better yet, in a wall tent chasing elk.
Ramsey Russell: I’m in. You talked me into it. Folks, you have been listening to my buddy, Sloane Brown at Yeti. A lot of truth to what he said, isn’t it? Think about it. Thank you all for living this episode of Duck Season Somewhere. See you next time.