Bob Bray Life Coach, Counsellor and Author. Dealing with PTSD, Abuse, Stress, Anxiety and Much More.This is my story.
I have tried a few different jobs but could never exactly what I wanted to do with my life. After being involved in the Cadet program for a couple of years I served a year in the Canadian Army Reserves, and in 1970 I decided to join what had become the Canadian Forces regular component as an infantryman. Enjoying many parts of the military I completed grade 12, so I could pursue officer training. Eventually, I was recommended for officer candidate training, but applied and was approved for University Training Plan for Men, which allowed me to attend university and receive full pay. This would enable me to travel, but now I would have to attend amilitary college. While I was on exercise, I lost a son to crib death and started drinking.
In January 1975, I was accepted to Regina Police Service. There were some issues as I was always outspoken on issues or problems that I could find many ways to solve problems, which fit with the military but not with my role in policing. By 1981, I was pretty good at drinking and my next wife wasn’t as keen on all the booze as I was. I switched departments and worked in race relations and became a race relations trainer, but I saw the problem wasn’t racial, but human relations based. I received excellent training in race relations, management, experience working with and helping victims. Towards the end of my policing career,I was becoming bitter about the job, the administration and the treatment of minorities. As a police officer, I had been reading about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and tried to practice many techniques for creating change in myself and others, change wasn’t always as welcome as was common at that time. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, depression, stress, abuse and anxiety weren’t talked about back then like they are now. The stigma of being perceived as weak or not a man forced many people to turn to other means of treating their mental illness, such as drugs or alcohol.
In 1990, I made a life changing decision and decided to leave the police department and complete my degree and attend university full-time. To support myself during this period I was working as a teaching assistant. I also started a part-time consulting & training business in race relations. Throughout my career as a soldier and a police officer I had been continuously working on completing my degree and finally in 1991 I had earned a four-year degree in Adult Education. I decided I was okay with being a slow learner.
After completing my degree, I took a job with a multinational security guard company and rose to a regional manager within a year but left after two years when they decided not to pay a promised bonus. Based on what I learned, I started my own security business and later purchased a janitorial company. We became a regional company with offices in three cities with about 160 employees in total.
Life moved on, and I thought that I had reached a certain level of success, family, house, cars, church, etc. I had no patience with family, few relations with my estranged kids, not a great relationship with my second wife, anger, road rage, impatience, etc. Alas, after a lifelong struggle with illness our 13-year-old son died of respiratory failure. It devastated us, and I began to have more addiction problems. After attending counseling for a couple of years, I learned I was an alcoholic who hadn’t been a hard drinker in about 30 years and having being abused as a kid surfaced many times.
I have learned that we can give up the booze that is about 15% of the problem but being a jerk makes up the remainder of the problem which doesn’t go away so easy. So I got hooked up with AA and started an incredible journey. After a few years at AA I met this guy named George I told him I wanted more, I didn’t want to be an alcoholic anymore. He hooked me up with a counselor named Cheryl and under her tutelage I learned much more about recovering from my problems and practicing NLP. By the way, we became good friends and associates. George had provided a workshop that I attended and learned how to overcome issues such as anger, depression, sadness or any imaginable mood with almost the blink of an eye. I still had to come to grips with problems, but it was easier without the stress or moods.
I spent many years working with youth groups in churches, Sunday school teachers, church boards. I served in the cadet program as a reserve officer, coach, and instructor, and later becoming a commanding officer achieving awards for results through team development. I’ve received excellent management, leadership, and instructional training courses.
Recently, I have received Dale Carnegie training, served as a coach for two training courses, trained as an NLP Practitioner and received training and personal experience in releasing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was only later when I looked back on my experiences in the military and the police force that PTSD was an issue to many people.