#318 – A Story of Resilience With Bruce W. Brackett

I think that you have to be resilient in this world and whether you realize it or not, no matter who it is or what they’ve gone through, you too are resilient and powerful in your own way. And once you embrace that and you harness that your life becomes limitless. You can really achieve and do anything. If you get out of your own way and show up and be your own advocate and do it. The to screen podcast is owned and made possible by ethical marketing service. If your business is struggling with Google or Facebook ads, maybe you’re frustrated figuring it out or there’s a performance issue. Ethical marketing service has worked on hundreds of accounts and we can help in this area if you would like to find out if we can help. It’s a free no salesy consultation call and the link is in the description. Enjoy the episode. Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today we have Bruce Bracket Bruce. Welcome. Hi, Thomas. Thank you so much for having me. It is very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?

Sure. Yeah. Hi, everyone. My name is Bruce W Bracket. I am a social media influencer, uh, author, a motivational speaker, international motivational speaker and currently getting my, uh, certificate and license to be a life coach. And what I do is I am known mainly for my negativity begone catchphrase on social media platforms. As someone who has overcome from bullying trauma, mental health addiction, I find a huge responsibility now that I’m on this side of that to give back to others who still might be left in the dust and they’re still trying to figure out their way out of that. So I find a great responsibility on my side to show that no matter what it is that you’re facing or where you’re from, that you too can overcome and recover. That’s an amazing message. And um thank you for doing that work. It’s also twofold. So, um when I checked out the socials, I am a big fan of the positivity stuff.

I think we, we lack some of that in the world and I think you’re exemplary in that in that way. Uh But then also from the sort of more meaningful perspective of, uh you know, people who are going through tough times and you, you help them along with that. So thank you very much for doing all that. Um And if you wouldn’t mind, uh wherever you feel is relevant in terms of your story um, you know, what would you share? Oh, my goodness. All of it. I don’t think we have enough time. No, I, ok. So, like I said, I am a recovering alcoholic and addict. I have gone through many years of therapy, overcoming my own uh trauma experiences, my own mental health, being diagnosed, bipolar and manic depressive, uh being diagnosed HIV, positive at a younger age when I was 21 going through my drug addictions and um the whole spectrum of that of where that led me in life. But if I were to share my story, it started at the beginning letting people know that I was born into detox from drugs and alcohol.

That was the entrance of my life. And from that, the odds were pretty much stacked against me. I went home from the hospital being born and went home to one of the worst reported cases of abuse that Montana had seen in the early 19 nineties. Again, the odds were really kind of stacked against me. Uh fast forward by a very powerful force of the heavens that be or a higher power removed us from that situation and placed us into foster care. We went through the foster care system very briefly, which is really unheard of, especially with the family with many siblings. Typically, when you’re placed in foster care, the siblings are separated and they continue going through the foster care system only to later be adopted or worst case scenario, they graduate out of the foster care system when they’re 18 and then have to just face life on their own as an entering adult into the world.

And that wasn’t our case. We were all kept together and adopted together. We only went through two foster homes. We were very fortunate in that, in that respect. And I owe everything to my mom and dad, my adoptive parents uh for they really provided love nourishment, the resources that we needed, like trauma therapy, overcoming everything that we faced in our early adolescent or in my case, the first cognitive years of my life. And although we were you when that happened, I’m sorry, what age were you around when that happened? I was removed from my birth family when I was three and adopted at the age of like 6.5. So it, you know, the adoption process and everything it takes some time. There’s a lot of case workers involve social work and workers involved paperwork going through, making sure that the adoptive parents are the correct fit for the Children in need. And so it definitely took some time and when I was six, they finally adopted us and although we were removed from a traumatic experience, it doesn’t mean that that trauma just ends and then everything’s hunky dory, you know, we spent years and years in, in um and hospitals and um therapy just going through the aftermath of all of that.

And I don’t know if you can tell, but I am very openly gay and uh grew up me and, you know, that’s another really amazing gift that came from my adoptive parents is they were so open minded and loving that they knew from the very beginning that I was gay and had no issue whatsoever, very open and um embracing with that, which I also understand that that’s not many people stories. Um They, you know, they’re rejected for just being who they are as a living breathing person. And that wasn’t necessarily my case. But in the small rural town that I grew up in, in Montana, outside of the family and just in the community, I was not accepted and I was relentlessly bullied in elementary junior high throughout even up into in high school was a little bit less because we ended up moving out of the small town called Twin Bridges and I ended up going to school in Butte Montana where ironically I went to a Catholic high school and there was no bullying but um you know, it was sprinkled here and there but in terms of how it was in Twin Bridges, it was, it was awful just the amount of fights that I was in or being beaten up having a bag, a Ziploc bag of urine being thrown on me.

I mean, the list can go on and on of the bullying that I faced, but it was really AAA challenging time growing up in Montana in the early nineties just being me. And um yeah, the, I mean, the stories that I have, well, they’re all in my book, How To Breathe while suffocating. I really dive deep into a lot of that. Um And when I was 16 years old, I ended up really, that was kind of the time that I entered my first mental health crisis and I really disassociated and I ran away from home for essentially a summer. I was missing for a summer. And I went to a whole bunch of different cities. I reintroduced myself to drugs and alcohol and uh careless anonymous sex and sex work and all of everything that happens. Uh When you reintroduce yourself to drugs, that’s the avenue I took.

And that really put obstacles in my adolescence or growing into the person that I am. And it helped shape me to become the person that I am today. So I don’t necessarily regret any of those experiences. I again did a lot of therapy to overcome some of those experiences, but it really helped shape me who I am today. And you know, like everything life is gonna throw hurdles and obstacles and mountains in our way and they come like the waves of the ocean, they come and go and it’s really a matter of mindset what it is that you want to get out of your own life. You know, we make the wake up list every single day if we’re fortunate enough. So we always have an opportunity every single day. And that is what I am dedicating my life to um just in my own personal life. But let alone that on social media, that is my advocacy work. And that’s what I focus on.

Amazing um amazing story. I empathize a lot with your, with your situation. And um everything that you’re going through Um, the, the first follow up that I wanted to ask you about was, um, just regarding sort of, uh, having to be taken away from your birth parents, um, for your own safety, I think is, um, the reason and I wanted to ask you about maybe the inner work that you’ve done later on in life about, I don’t know if it’s quite equivalent, but the, uh, divorce is sometimes is the analogy I’m gonna make in the sense that adult Children sometimes give that meaning and they carry that meaning around with them. Um And then, you know, when you get to reflect on it later on in life, you get to have those sort of, you know, what did I in interpret that to mean? Did you have any of those, um, thoughts or did you carry it around with you for a while? And what was that process? Like? Absolutely 100% for a long time because I was removed. I felt like I was worthless and I was easily discarded, which is not true.

That’s not the case. I was removed for my own safety and for my siblings safety. And I felt a lot of anger and resentment towards my birth mom thinking that I was discarded and that I just, I was a crap kid and just wasn’t loved. And it took me a long time, a long time going through years of counseling and therapy to discover that that’s not the case. And in terms of no matter what it is that you’re going through, whether you’re a child, product of divorce or you yourself went through foster care and was adopted or not adopted. There is a level of anger and resentment that comes with that and we can harbor that and we can hold on to that for as long as it’s needed. What I discovered through my practice and through therapy and meditation and prayer and all, all of the like is that forgiveness is key.

I was so much more joyous in my life. Once I started to forgive, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t forget. But when I realized that there’s the famous quote, hurt people, hurt other people. And once I started to really realize that my birth mom, she was a hurt person. So of course she took it out on drugs and alcohol and everyone else that was around her, which you know, we were in the, the the aim of fire for that later on. In life after years of being angry with her and just blaming everything on her. I started to realize that really, you know, she was a child herself, raising five other Children alone. And I started to gain a lot more compassion for her and realizing that she was only human and we all make mistakes. Oh my God, none of us are perfect. None of us know what we’re doing. You know, I’m not um belittling or minimizing or excusing what it is that she did or what she has done in her life.

But I do hold compassion for her and for people like her or for people who just couldn’t make it work in their own marriage and they found that maybe the best thing is to divorce and although that might have negative impacts on the Children or even if they don’t have Children just in their own relationships in general, the negativity that can follow suit with that forgiveness is key because once you can forgive someone else and love them from a distance, just because you forgive them, doesn’t mean that ok, everything is fine and you’re welcome back into my life. No, you can love them from a distance or respect them from a distance. And while doing that, you still hold a lot of self worth, self love and self respect for yourself. So uh if you haven’t read the book, uh The Wisdom of Forgiveness, an interview with the Dalai Lama I highly recommend it because that helped to change my world in a much better way.

I haven’t read it. So, uh, I’ll put it on the list. Thank you for the recommendation and great thoughts on the topic. The next thing I was gonna follow up on was, um, the, uh, the, the bullying of, um, being, well, I don’t know whether it’s, that you’d come out at that stage or that, you know, people were just, well, kids, ruthless kids were, um, picking on you just because you’re quote unquote different. But, um, the reason why I follow up on it is because it’s, I don’t think it’s known how bad that can be in, um, you know, how bad that can get for a child when they’re, you know, targeted and terrible things, uh, can happen to them. And, uh, the question is around, how does someone deal with that? Yeah, that’s a good question. Uh, for, well, you know, it, kids are kids and adults are adults and bullying happens at any stage in our life in many different levels of degree.

And for me, yes, it was bad for me. However, my experience might be a cakewalk for someone else. And, you know, we look at what just happened with next Benedict who their life was taken because of bullying. Um So it’s really all in my utmost respect and heartache and prayers go out to Nexus family. It’s really devastating and, you know, that’s just a story that hit the media where this happens so often all over the world in different levels. And for me, my experience was not that yes, it it was bad and it did bring me to attempt suicide and it did bring me to really dark and dangerous places again, hurt people, hurt people. And especially like I have to sit back and realize for myself, yes, I was bullied relentlessly, but I also bullied people in my life, whether I was a kid or in my active addiction, I was a horrible person.

I said awful things I stole from people. Um So it, it’s really about the learning experience of how do you want to become a better person. Do you wanna be a better person or version of yourself than you were five minutes ago? And that’s something that I hold near and dear to my heart every single day, moving forward for myself. My mom, she had enough of the bullying in twin bridges and with the school system doing absolutely nothing about it. So she did her own research online and came up with some pamphlets and we practiced at home. She would literally push me around the living room, calling me names slurs, all all of the stuff. And I had, she taught me how to combat that and the way that we approached it was one ignore it as much as possible because when you just ignore it and you don’t feed into it, the bullies, hopefully, and usually will find it less fun to bully you and they’ll move on to someone else, they’ll move on to another target, which is unfortunate, but that’s what happens.

And in my case, that for the most part worked, did it stop the bullying? 100%? No. Um but it, it reduced it to a state where it was livable and it was manageable, which is also an unfortunate thing to say, but it did become better. So just by ignoring it or even going along with it, you know, when someone would say, for example, you know, your mom lives in a dumpster or something, I would respond with. Yes she does. And after school I’m going to get some thrill pillows that we can like decorate the rest of the dumpster if you, you’re more than welcome to come help me after school if you want and they would be like you’re what? You’re you’re crazy. Like that’s not the response that I really wanted from you. They want you to get upset, they want you to become hurt. And when you don’t give that to them, it makes it less fun for them. And again, hopefully they move on or it reduces the impact it is that they were looking for.

So um just to realize that what someone else is doing to you has nothing to do with you. And again, to hold compassion for hurt people that are hurting other people because in my experience and looking back at it, those people that were bullying me were learning that somewhere else and chances are they’re learning that at home, they themselves are being bullied at home and then they come to school or to the workplace where wherever it is that it’s happening and they’re spewing that out onto other people because it’s also happening to them. So once I realized that it really shut it down for me to just be kind to anyone, uh because I have no idea what they’re going through. And yes, I have bullied. But once I realized that I really put my foot in my mouth and stopped that in its tracks. You mentioned about um your mum sort of helping you prep for that.

It was actually gonna be my, my next question, which is, is there anything parents can do to address? Um you know, if their kids going through a tough time. Um Is there anything in addition that you had had? Yeah, I would add to speak up because, and speak up in any situation where you were being violated because when you speak out in loudness, it takes the power away from the impostor or it takes the power out of, out of the toxicity. And when you speak up loudly about it, you are assertive, you are respectfully demanding your own self worth. Um Parents can do this instead of just brushing it off. And being like, uh, kids are kids that can be a really toxic thing to say kids are kids. Well, yeah, they are. But doesn’t make it right. So for parents to speak up about it and to not let a simple answer from the school district or, um, to not let that one off answer be enough and expect it to be resolved.

Follow up with it, be an advocate of your Children. Uh, by doing so you’re being an advocate for yourself as well. So to speak up loudly about it, it really takes the power away from the others. It’s a great answer. Um And I just wonder if, uh, if you had, let’s say, um, there’s a, a kid who’s going through the same thing and they’re really struggling. Um, and you wanted to give them the best advice you possibly could. Uh What would you say to them? Screw everyone else be you be you. No one else is gonna be you. No one else is able to be you and that you are so powerful and so important and that you were not replaceable. It, it might really be unfortunate and it might really feel like it sucks now, but it’s not gonna be this way forever. And, you know, I feel like the oddballs out are the ones that end up becoming really successful in life. So ride the wave, buckle up.

It gets so much better and just don’t pay attention to what other people have to say or think about you because at the end of the day it has nothing about you. And if they are going to say something about you or they are going to do something to you, let them do it, let them because you can’t control what anyone is going to say or do. And if they are going to speak about you help there, you’re the main subject, you’re the center of the, of attention, whether it is that they’re trying to give that attention to you in that way, that spotlight to you in that way or not. Um Let them because it has nothing to do with you. You mentioned um sort of the way that you uh you dealt with it was um you know, drugs and alcohol and that sort of thing. Um Is there anything, have you come to any conclusions about that topic in terms of what it has meant for you and what perhaps you would encourage other people to do or maybe not to do?

Well, uh everyone’s journey is completely different the way that I handled it. Yes, was with drugs and alcohol. Uh I’m a recovering addict from meth and crack and cocaine. Ketamine, Molly, MD Ma. I mean, I did everything under the sun and I dove really, really deep into that just to numb and not feel my feelings or I really hated myself. So I was just trying to avoid just living with myself. I don’t reme I don’t recommend doing that. That’s not the way that I would really go. I struggled a lot through that process. Um But I think to be able to be ok with spending time as you are with who you are and embracing that allows you to overcome and face obstacles in your life that you never even dreamed that you would overcome or be able to overcome.

I’m not perfect. It took me years. I’m not a first time winner. I’ve relapsed so many times from drugs and from alcohol and I eventually just had to get to the point of being willing to surrender was I ready? Not necessarily, but I was willing to no longer live that life. And once I started to take those steps of going to 12 step programs or outpatient rehab or reentering myself into therapy, doing the work, realizing that I really just, it was too much for me to do alone. So I needed to be ok with asking for help. And by doing that, the options became limitless. My life opened up in ways that I can’t even begin to explain. I, I, you know, again, I dive really deep into it in my book of How To Breathe while suffocating, which is I think a perfect title because I was suffocating for so long.

How did I manage to get through that? And at the end of the day, sometimes it was as simple as I have to take a deep breath here and let that moment pass and if that moment doesn’t pass, take another deep breath and just keep breathing until eventually I find that my heart rate has gone down and I’m a little bit more calm, then I’m able to make a rational decision or choice where before I would just impulse control was, there was no control and I would just go for something and it shattered my life. Well, thank you for that. Um I think I, I think I answered your question. Well, you actually answered my question and then you answered my next question, which was uh how does someone else get out of it if they uh if they’re in it as well? Um But uh anything else you would add other than what you’ve, what you’ve just shared for people to realize that recovery is not a cookie cutter program.

One shoe may not fit the other what works for. One person may not work for someone else to take what works and leave the rest and to realize that this is your journey and recovery, no matter what it is that you’re dealing with is not linear. There is no destination. It’s a roller coaster. We all spiral and spiral and spiral and there’s gonna be the ups and the downs and the sides and the in betweens. But eventually, if we keep spiraling, we will find our center and that center is our peace. You always have peace. It’s just a matter of getting out of your own way and realizing that for yourself. Um, and to take your time, my God again, no one knows what they’re doing. This isn’t a race. We’re all on this rock being yed through the universe trying to figure things out and be human, make mistakes, learn from them and embrace them and love them.

That’s great advice. Um, You’ve mentioned the, the book a couple of times. Would you mind uh sharing a bit about it and the process and uh how it went writing it? Yeah. Uh So it’s next to getting sober. The largest thing I have ever done in my life and I am so proud and so excited. Um Again, I’ll show how to breathe while suffocating. This is the advanced copy uh by Me Bruce W Bracket. How to breathe while suffocating a story, overcoming addiction, recovering from trauma and healing my soul. It is being published by Wiley and will be released April 9th globally and it’s available on preorder now, anywhere that books are sold and it really dives deep into the full story of my life from the very beginning of being born into detox from drugs and alcohol going through. Um my adolescence being bullied, finding my adoptive family, reintroducing myself to drugs and alcohol, feeling so alone, so helpless in my teenage years and my early life and living in New York City and again, reintroducing myself to sex work and drugs and just feeling so alone and helpless.

And as if I was suffocating, and I know that so many people, the reason why I wrote this book is because I know that so many people can identify in so many different ways, whether you have addiction issues or you have been a sex worker or not. It, it really doesn’t matter. We’ve all faced trauma, we’ve all faced some level of depression or isolation or um or mental health in our life. And that’s part of the beauty of being human, which is why I shared the story is to allow other people to forgive themselves, to allow other people to realize that they too are human and that their journey is so important to be able to become a better version of themselves and to allow them to feel less alone, to show them that they too can overcome and recover again. I think that when we speak up and we share our stories, it opens up the way for others to be able to come out of the flames themselves.

And a huge inspiration for me to write. This book is my following on social media. I have to give huge credit to all of my, my following um on all of my different platforms who really encouraged and motivated me to pick up this dream and to accomplish it and to arrive to the finish line and to actually finish something that I had started 14 years ago when I began to write it. And then I put that dream on the shelf and did a whole bunch of drugs and went down a road that, you know, I’m not necessarily proud of, but proud to have been delivered on this side of it. And it, it’s really about, it’s really about everyone else in the world who is going through this. I wanted to share the story. I was immensely inspired by Dave Kesler, the author of uh the lost boy and a child called it I, the way that they shared their story of abuse and experience, strength and hope and how they overcome overcame and what they’re doing with it, it uh with their own journey and how they’re motivating other people.

I was one of those people that they motivated, which motivated me to become a motivational speaker and a life coach and to share my story so publicly and authentically on social media to 1.4 million people every single day. I am just so honored for those who have paved the way before me so that I can follow in their path and in my own dreams and aspirations start to create my own path. Um It’s huge and I’m, I’m just, I’m so excited to share this story with the world and um I really hope it helps someone congratulations on becoming an author. Um I’m sure it will uh because, um, got one question actually, which is, would you say that you are a resilient person? Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s a story of resilience. Right. It absolutely is. It’s the phoenix rebirthing themselves and coming out of the ashes and spreading their wings and taking a chance and trying again.

And, um, I absolutely think that a word that describes me is resilient because like I said at the beginning of our podcast, the odds were really stacked against me from the beginning and every single mountain that I’ve had to climb, I climbed it and I didn’t do it alone. I had professionals. I had my, my mom and dad, I had therapists. I had counselors. I had friends. I had uh I had mentors. I had people that had done this before me and I followed and I got to the top of that mountain and I rested and I looked at the view and sure I took a glance towards my past to see where it was that I had come from. But I prepared to keep climbing even though I was on the top of that mountain when you reach the top of the mountain. Yes. Observe the view, be proud of your progress, but begin and prepare yourself to continue climbing because at the top of one mountain begins the next.

And that’s just life. That’s how that goes. Um So I think that you have to be resilient in this world and whether you realize it or not, no matter who it is or what they’ve gone through, you too, are resilient and powerful in your own way. And once you embrace that and you harness that your life becomes limitless, you can really achieve and do anything if you get out of your own way and show up and be your own advocate and do it well, if the book is anything like this podcast, I’m sure it’ll do well because uh I feel more inspirational, more motivational right now. So I appreciate that. And thank you um for people who do want to buy the book, where do they go uh anywhere books are sold. So, um, a big one is bookshop.org. Um You can go to Wiley’s website directly. You can go to How to breathe while suffocating.com uh Amazon Walmart, Target youtube or not, youtube.

Um Barnes and Noble, you can go to your independent local bookstore and you can preorder it there. Um But again, it’ll be available and on the shelves, April 9th and is available for preorder now. Um really anywhere books are sold and again, it’s called How To Breathe While Suffocating by Bruce W brackets, being published by Wiley. Well, I will put those links in the description and um Bruce, thank you for being a great podcast guest today. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Thomas. It was a pleasure to meet you and a privilege to be a guest. Of yours?