• Diana Rickman

Sean Douglas - The Power to Transform

In 2008 Sean Douglas hit rock bottom. His heavy drinking and partying had taken over his life and as an alcoholic he was close to losing his military career and had separated from his wife.

Overcome by negative thinking Sean almost took his own life but thankfully with help and support he began his recovery and now through his faith helps others before they travel down the same dark road.

Sean Douglas is a US Air force Veteran who enlisted straight after 9/11. He's performed a multitude of duties all over the world and as a drill instructor in Air Force training he's developed over 600 young men and women into military leaders.

He's energetic and passionate about inspiring others to succeed and teaches mental, physical, social and spiritual resilience skills that focus on equipping people to manage change effectively.

Sean's Amazon 5 star rated book Decisions-The power to overcome self defeating behaviours is based on his own experience and learning.

His intention for this book is to inspire others to change but he also hopes they'll be moved to help someone else through their struggle. He says “You never know who's battling and struggling.”

I hope you enjoy our conversation

Diana x

Sean Douglas is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, Motivational & Inspirational Speaker, Master Resilience Trainer, Author, & Life Coach

If you'd like to contact Sean or find out more about his book and work here are some links you'll find useful:-

www.facebook.com/SeanDouglasSpeaks www.linkedin.com/in/sean-douglas-a0890473 Radio Show - www.blogtalkradio.com/LifeTransformationRadio www.StoneHouseConsultingLLC.Com

Show notes follow:-

Diana: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me.

Sean: [00:00:03] Oh I'm so excited.

[00:00:05] Your book Decisions - The Power to Overcome Self-Defeating Behaviors. It's an interesting title. Especially the word power. I wonder if you'll talk to us about the idea behind how you can have some sort of power to overcome or to take back control of the way you behave and particularly how that showed up for you in your life. What drove you to write this book.

Sean: [00:00:32] Well the power is in the decision. You know when we make the decision it's like a step forward. If we sit there in indecisiveness then we're stuck.

[00:00:44] And making that decision empowers ourselves and empowers our minds and says I'm already committed and I've committed to this. I'm going to do this or even if you say I'm not going to do it like I'm not going to do that. I mean even if it's a no. Either way you've still made a decision and you are one step closer than you were before you made the decision. So when I wrote this book I mean I know I wanted to put something out there but I just wasn't sure how I wasn't sure what it was. And so I was laying in bed and I was just thinking I'm like man I've so much to say I just don't know how to say it in the structure because everything sounds so much better in our heads doesn't it. And then when we put it on paper or we say you know we record ourselves as something it's like oh my gosh I sound ridiculous right? So I was you know so I went to sleep that night went to sleep and then I woke up about 3 o'clock in the morning. And I remember it like I felt like someone was standing on my chest and I'm trying to wake my wife up and I couldn't breathe. I literally could not breathe like I'd got the wind knocked out of me. I was trying to force air in my face. I'm like freaking out.

[00:01:51] At the same time all these thoughts and feelings and emotions everything were coming up from my childhood from the military from moving and sleeping in my car and suicidal thoughts. You know what I'm like what is going on. And I kind of jotted some notes down or whatever. My wife you know she revived me I guess she can say. Calmed me down is like what's going on I kind of told her an she thought that's really weird. So a couple days later same thing happens. Like what is going on. But they're completely different thoughts different thoughts and feelings and emotions and and why like what is going on here some writing things down right and things down. And then a couple of days later I you know I look at the paper and I literally had like notes scribbled everywhere I organized them kind of like shuffling a deck of cards. And I had thoughts that were organized and I had chapters.

[00:02:43] It was it was incredible. So I don't know if it was God. I don't know what was. It was just like you know I woke up to all this stuff came out.

[00:02:53] But as I'm writing the book I would tell you that when it's a personal book like this autobiographical, your journey and you're writing about it there's this therapy in there. And it really was therapy. And you physically when you're done write you shut your laptop. Right. So I got to the last page saved it and I was like it was like I'm done. Like that's it. I'm done. And at that point I shut my laptop and it was like all of my thoughts feelings and beliefs and emotions and everything. For the past 30 years we're in a laptop and I shut the lid and I was like I don't feel that weight anymore that I'm carrying around all this stuff. And the response to this book has been tremendous. I've gotten messages from Facebook all my gosh this book is amazing changed my life you know so that's awesome.

Diana: [00:03:45] And it's a real validation for you as well. I mean it wasn't just about getting it out for you know there was a purpose behind it as well this sharing and that's the next big leap of faith isn't it once you've downloaded all this stuff and you feel good about it you know how do you take that next step and what makes you think sharing this is going to be helpful. How did you know that was the next thing to do?

Sean: [00:04:09] That's an awesome question. I wasn't really sure. I just like you said leap of faith that's all it was. It was it was written. All right here we go. You're committed at that point. You know so you just got to keep on going. And I did a ton of research really like OCD and I was like I can't do things half heartedly and I can't do things on a whim. You know what I mean? And I can't do things without research and planning and organizing and having three different directions I can go in for backup plans and you know what I mean. So a looked up Create Space it sounded like the thing to do. And and so I did it all through Create Space in my books available on Amazon and I looked at different books that were kind of what I was taught about like self defeating behaviors and addiction and like overcoming obstacles.

[00:05:06] And so I looked at how they were marketing and promoting their book. And I looked at what makes me different and the fact that I'm different is because I'm a mental emotional social and spiritual resilience trainer. I'm an expert and knows those realms of resilience. So I marketed it according to that because that was my story. There was a story of resilience.

Diana: [00:05:27] Now you spent many years in the U.S. interest in your training as an instructor. I'm interested in your own journey you talked about these suicidal thoughts and having to overcome addictons to some substances and things that you were relying on or leaning on for support. So how were you working in this job. But also having these demons chasing you.

Sean: [00:05:57] So my first duty station was RAAF Lakenheath England.

Diana: [00:06:03] Ah! I know it very well I know it really well.

Sean: [00:06:07] I love that place. Oh my gosh. Like what. I mean some of the most amazing beautiful cities and buildings and disgusting streets and pubs and it's so awesome. And so I fell in love with like that culture I'm like wow this is so amazing.

[00:06:31] You know because I'm thinking like British people are all reserved and you know like hello you know like like they're there but they're not there just like everybody else. They're just like me or you know whatever but. So I fell in love with the drinking and the partying and the lifestyle because those guys can put it away. Let me tell you they can put it way. And so I fell in love with the drinking and that that party lifestyle that I was chasing and that high that I felt because I was having so much fun and oh I need alcohol because it makes me a better person. And you know because we're kind of already dealing with things anyways. And we're kind of already having past hurts and guilt's anyways.

[00:07:10] So I fell over that so much that it became an addiction and I had to have it. And I can't function without it. And over that two year period that I was over there that's all I did was drink every single day. And pretty soon I wasn't even dealing with problems. I was just drinking them away and then I moved from England back to the states in 2004 and by 2007 I was a full blown raging alcoholic drinking every second of every day because I literally couldn't function without it. Like I just I'd been through so much stuff. I felt like I needed the alcohol because I didn't want to deal with any problems. I just really didn't.

Diana: [00:07:49] Yeah it's a great escape isn't whole thing has its brings its own problems with it of course. So what was the turning point then. Because if you change things around what was the point where you said ok enough of this.

Sean: [00:08:04] So my house burned down like this is how bad it was. I mean I was drinking I had huge parties and then my house burns down. I'm like well this kind of sucks. Like I can't party anywhere you know. So my wife and I were friends we weren't married we were just friends at the time and I was staying in a hotel. Red Cross had given me like a thousand dollars or something like three night stay in a hotel or whatever. She said come stay with me like come live with me. We'll figure this thing out. So OK. So you know I was staying on her couch for a little bit and then eventually you know things progressed and then we got married like you know a while later. So that was 2007 all that happened. And it was St. Patrick's Day 2007 my house burned down. And by the end of summer we were married. And so it was I mean we've known each other for well over a year at that point you know and said Well you know we kind of fell in love. But when I got her I was like yes. So my life is going to be great now and I can go back to drinking and I go back to partying and you know I didn't learn you know but she saw who I was and she's like I'm not going to be with you if you're going to keep drinking . And I went right back to what I was doing. I went right back to the same lifestyle.

[00:09:20] It sucks. And she had enough and said I'm divorcing you and I'm out. And so we fought and argued and argued and then Christmas of 2008 I actually put a gun to my mouth. I was done. I just I wanted to I wanted to end it. I was done. So I had a gun in my mouth and a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other hand.

[00:09:40] And I just I could not live the life that I was living anymore and I figured this was the only way. Right. I mean we go to the extremes. You go. Oh my God. I have to have alcohol to live right. Oh my gosh I can't live so I'm just going to end my life like I mean we go to one extreme to the other. But my dad called me wondering how I was and decided you know I needed to reach out. And so he made me call the Chaplain and call some other people. And so I reached out and said I need help. Otherwise I'm going to kill myself. And so I made that decision that says enough is enough like enough. Something has to change. Either I'm not going to live or I'm going to fight like hell to change my life. And that's what I did. And so for the next three months I fought like hell to change my life. And then my wife saw the transformation that was going on and we reunited.

Diana: [00:10:32] That's a wonderful story in fact honour that struggle there it's a very raw story. And you know you've told it very quickly there but that's a bit of a journey.

Sean: [00:10:44] It's a dark place. It's one of those things. You know sometimes we live in a place of residence where we shouldn't be living we live in the past. We live in everybody's else's expectations we live in our our own expectations really. But I don't want to live there. It's just a kind of a place of reference and I can go back there and say this is how I was. I haven't drank since. Man. Like two thousand twelve or thirteen.

Diana: [00:11:22] And so that comes down to these choices again doesn't it. Decisions as you've named them.

Sean: [00:11:28] Yeah. Oh yeah. Every decision you know you're free to make any choice or you're free to make any decision that you want to but you're not free from the consequences positive or negative. Every decision has a positive or negative consequence but you can make any a decision that you want to but you are not free from those consequences that come from those decisions.

Diana: [00:11:45] Yeah. And you know what I'm curious about is so often when people are sharing their story with me it's this place they get to which is their rock bottom. You know however you want to name it. And at that point there's this decision again in many cases they didn't know what they were going to do next. But their decision was I'm going to change this and I'm going to find out how I can change it. And interestingly it's been so very different. You know some people started writing you know. I had a conversation with a woman right at the very beginning of creating these podcasts. And at her very lowest moment she picked up a notepad and started writing poetry and she'd never written poetry. And she just spilled out everything she was feeling into this little notepad and it made her feel a bit better. So she did it the next night and the next night you know and she said I had never written really anything you know just I'd just written for my job but not written or written at school you know writing was something that you did as part of work not something that was a release or a passionate thing to do. And it's interesting isn't it other people took up yoga or walking you know just that one thing they focused on that one thing. So I'm just interested in what did you what did you fix on then. What was your thing that made you realize you know amongst all the hard work. What were you focusing on that pulled you out.

Sean: [00:13:25] It was a couple of different things. So it had to have been No.1 like my wife and two kids. I mean because I didn't want to lose what I had. And you really I mean as cliche as it sounds you don't know what you got till it's gone. Great song by the way. You know so as I'm sitting there I mean I tell people that I fell so hard. I mean I was the life of the party like I was a party animal like let's do shots like everybody get wasted like I mean you know I'm the crazy guy jumping off the house and jumping into a pool somewhere like I'm the life of the party right.

[00:14:04] So I fell so hard I tell people that I bounced off the rock at the bottom twice. Like I hit it and then bounced up and then bounced again I fell so hard. But what really pulled me out was that I cannot live this way anymore. I cannot do it. And so I saw what was happening. And I mean I loved you know my wife and kids. So for me to do that to them just I mean it tore me up even more because I grew up as a child. I grew up in an abusive alcohol dominated domestic violence household. So I was falling right back into that trap. I said you know I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to be another statistic where my grandfather was that, way my father's that way, I'm that way, my sons that way. like I'm not doing that. So that was a real motivator too. So between my wife and kids and mean not following in my family's footsteps and my ex stepdad who you know was abusive and an alcoholic. And you know all that stuff. You know I said I got to make that change you know if not for me then at least for my kids who will eventually see what I've become as they get older. So and then they really didnt want to lose my military career too.

[00:15:15] That was a big thing. I was literally about to be kicked out like dishonourably discharged.... like this sucks.

Diana: [00:15:22] That's amazing just the way that you are able to think about it. In the way that you could bring it in together but also seeing that I'm going to finish that line now that family line of abuse that's going to finish you know I'm not passing it on to my children.

Diana: [00:15:47] TI think the other thing that occurs to me is you must have lost a lot of friends around that time as well because you know if you're the guy who jumps off the roof into the swimming pool you would have attracted a lot of people who would have enjoyed that behaviour.

Sean: [00:16:01] Yep absolutely. A lot of my family to my family didn't want anything to do with me. I mean my Mom would constantly holler at me. My sister was just like I don't even know you like you're so ridiculous She would call me and say you're so ridiculous like why are you acting so stupid. You know I don't know. Is just you attract what you put out. You know so if you're a bad person or whatever that's who that's who you attrack if you're a good person that's who you attract. Your behavior and how you are and what you put out is really who you attract. And I attracted not too good people.

Diana: [00:16:42] Again that strength to be able to say ok I'm going to lose these people too. I wonder did you realize when you set of on this path that it would mean not just changing yourself that you're going to effect everybody around you in this way too and theyve all had to adjust and make changes. And presumably in some cases rejected you and in others excepted you now as you are changed.

Sean: [00:17:08] I had no idea. I mean really I was like oh I'm going to change for the better and I'm going to be this better person. But when you become that better person and other people see you succeeding they try to bring you back down. And then because maybe they don't think that they can succeed. I mean I know that I used to hang out with other alcoholics just because I didn't want to be the only one in the room. I would find people like me so that I could have a conversation with them or identify with them or drink with them. We do that a lot. You know we have things that we're hiding you know because everybody has a self-defeating behavior their either compare somebody else's journey to theirs or they compare their blessings to everybody else. Well how come they got this awesome house. I mean I should deserve a house like you know me and my wife are going through this right now I'd love to buy this house but I don't know it's kind of a lot of money and worry about the credit. But somebody else has a house like that. Like how come I can' have a house you know.

[00:18:03] So you get trapped in that limiting belief you know of they have blessings too and I should deserve those too and then you start getting bitter and it takes you down that road. And so you know when that happens you start losing friends that you thought were friends really. But you start gaining a different crowd each journey of your life you start gaining a different crowd. So I atrack successful people now.

Diana: [00:18:33] So tell me a bit about what your life is like now then what are you doing?

Sean: [00:18:37] Oh my gosh my life is you know it's so hot and cold. Like my wife and I were sitting there yesterday it was like Man we got a lot of stuff to pay for coming up like how are we going to do this you know. And then the next day we're like Oh look I got hired to speak. That's how we're going to pay for it. It's just it's so hot and cold we start to worry about things and they just kind of work themselves out. But I'm still active duty military and still leading the resilience program and outside of the military. An author and an inspirational speaker and I just today launched my radio show on Blog Talk Radio called called Transformation Radio just launched today.

[00:19:31] So I was just talking to my pastor friend about the radio show and I'm super excited about it. And my guest is going to be on Wednesday. So it's a live radio show too it's so awesome it's a live radio show and Blog Talk Radio. So we're kind of living on the line there because listeners can call in and talk to the guests. so we haven't figured it all out. We're living dangerously.

Diana: [00:20:00] You haven't lost some of that spirit obviously.

Sean: [00:20:06] No not at all I just do it safely and leagally now.

Diana: [00:20:06] So look Sean the reason behind these podcasts and my passion is to explore a emotional strength and how we can grow our strength and nurture it and how we can encourage and help others too. And I just wonder just emotional strength mean to you?

[00:20:28] Wow. Wow. How do I respond to that. That's a very good question. Emotional strength. My wife is my emotional strength and God. As much as we get mad at each other for craziness. I mean at the end of the day it's all about just being together and living life together and doing it. I mean just one flesh. You know what I mean.

[00:20:57] That's the best way I can I mean I don't know. I don't know what I would do. Like I said we get mad and like man she makes you mad or he makes me mad or whatever but I mean at the end of the day when you go to bed I mean I am so grateful for my wife and my kids and now we have a two year old together and it's just I mean without my family I don't think I'm nothing without my family.

[00:21:22] So like I said as many times as we might get on each other's nerves which is sometimes very fun if you do it playfully. But as far as emotional strength my wife gives me a lot of emotional strength. And then God. Yeah definitely.

[00:21:42] You have to have somebody that's going to elevate you and you have to have somebody that's going to push you. You know because we sometimes can't do it all on our own. We have to have people who are with us in our journey you know and without them then we're just stuck.

Sean: [00:21:58] So that's my take on that.

[00:22:00] It's a very good one. I'm with you on that. thank you so much.

Sean: [00:22:06] Oh thank you. This was oh my gosh this is awesome.

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