Podcast: One Man’s Journey From Coma to Corrections Captain

To Wayne Torres (08:00), who will celebrate his fifth year of sobriety this November, it always seemed normal to him to use alcohol to celebrate special events, to cope with stress, and just because.

To help manage the difficulty of his job as a lieutenant at a correctional facility, Wayne would drink for 4-5 hours a day. Drinking wasn’t a pleasure for Wayne, it was a necessity. After branding himself ‘a fat drunk who hated life,’ Wayne went through a horrific detox that landed him in a coma. His addiction to alcohol nearly killed him.

Despite unsuccessful attempts at therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Wayne finally received the treatment he needed to overcome his addiction. Now a captain at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne spends time helping his fellow officers when they are struggling. From creating a peer support group to driving his coworkers to and from detox centers, Wayne wants everyone who struggles to know they are not alone.

Watch Wayne’s incredible journey and learn more about the power of recovery.

Episode Transcript

Trevor: Yeah, you can come out from... You don’t have to hide behind the door. No, and you under the bed, under the bed, I see you, I see your hands. You can come out, it’s okay. It’s okay. I understand. The last two episodes were, they were intense. We’re going to try and lighten it up a bit. I don’t know. Can we lighten it up? I don’t know. We’re going to try. We’re going to try and take it easy on you this week. Yeah, yeah, come back. You can come back now. Yeah, come on back. Yeah. Did anybody come back?

That Oxnam interview, got a lot of feedback on that. I’m really proud of that one, and I appreciate the kind words that I received for that interview. It’s one that stuck with me, I had a really good connection with Oxnam. I didn’t give an update on myself. The last podcast, I’m not going to give much of one this time because it’s not good. I don’t want to push anybody over the edge. One thing I want to talk about real quick is taking a loss. This kind of goes in contrast to something that I said a few podcasts episodes back.

I said even if the toughest times you just got to force your way through it. You do have to do that. Depression is an everyday battle. That said, every once in a while, you got to have mercy on yourself and take an L. I remember one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt, described his depression as being in his bathrobe for three days and watching the Princess Bride 50 times in a row. Okay, I don’t do that, but I get that. I get that. I took an L over the weekend. I had a lot of stuff to do. Didn’t do any of it. I sat back, and I finished up on this mini-series that I’d been trying to complete for weeks. Chilled out with Newt, my cat. Just kind of, I don’t know, zoned out.

Tried reading the David Lynch autobiography that I’ve been trying to read for the past year. That’s a tough thing to do when one of your favorite filmmakers publishes his autobiography, and you’re struggling to get through it, that’s not a lot of fun. But yeah, I took an L. I was like listen, I’m... and you got to know when to do that. You got to know when to have a little forgiveness and just know I can’t do it today. I can’t. I think the important thing is that you at least try to get through every day.

And if you can’t kind of accept the loss, write it off... I mean listen, if you got kids, you got to take care of... if you got immediate responsibilities where people depend on you. I actually think that’s kind of the safest way to take a loss for the day. Having my cat, I actually feel okay with... Saturday night I went to bed at... well, I crawled into bed at 8:30. I don’t think I fell asleep until about 1:00 am. My cat was up on the bed. She was kind of pawing at me and crying the entire time. You don’t do this. You usually don’t go to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. What is this?

Wake up. What she was doing is I think she kind of knows when I’m going to take a loss for the day. That usually results in me sleeping for about 12 to 16 hours straight, which did happen. I think my body had enough of sleepless nights, or if I did get sleep, it was at most three to four hours. My body had just had enough, my body and mind had enough. It’s funny she sees me crawl into bed, and she comes up and she cries, not because she’s hungry, but she knows in about 10 hours, she’s going to run out of dry food.

And then she’s going to be hungrier then and then I’m going to be dead asleep. She’s like go fill up. Give me an extra portion of food so I have something to eat for the next day while you sleep. The second I do that honestly, the second I just take the cup and I pour the Crunchies into her bowl, she’s quiet. She doesn’t even go to eat it, but she knows she’s got food. She’s like okay, now, you can go to sleep, do your thing. I don’t know. Maybe I’m making that up in my head but, that’s just how it seems.

And then after I finally woke up yesterday, I felt a little more refreshed. Felt a little bit more motivated. Went back to working on my taxes. Felt a little better. Sometimes you got to take the loss. But make sure that your key responsibilities are covered, and I think I started to say this before, but I feel more comfortable taking a loss having the cat because just like the food situation, she’s like no, no, no, no, no. You need to take care of me first. And that’s really important. That’s really important to pull me out of myself.

Yes, folks, it’s okay to take a loss. It’s okay to write off a day. It really is. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just try and make an effort and try. If you don’t try... that’s when it gets... that is where a real deep fall is coming. That’s a sign that things are about to get a lot worse. So today on the podcast we have Wayne Torres. Wayne had done a video for us before. There’s going to be a link to the video in the show notes. And I recommend you all watch the video. It’s really compelling.

Wayne is going to be coming up on his fifth year of being sober. He had a long battle with alcohol. Goes into all of the details regarding that battle on the podcast. This one was a little weird. We couldn’t record it in the studio because there was some construction being done and then things got moved around and Scott ended up asking the questions. It came out fine. Wayne is a talker. There really wasn’t a lot of room for questions. Wayne knows his story and shares it with a lot of conviction. So I hope you enjoy it and meet me after the interview for the wrap up, okay? Okay, here I am, or here Scott is, and I am kind of interviewing Wayne Torres.

Wayne: It’s kind of funny with this stigma thing because that’s the verbiage I use when I presented this because... prison is a testosterone-run place with a bunch of correction officers that... bunch of alpha males. And then the inmate population, on their part, it’s a very big clash of right and wrong and dealing with offenders no matter what their crime is or what their situation is. It’s testosterone run of who has the bigger chest and this and that and who can get things done.

You learn along the way how to talk to people or certain dominance way or control. It does, it becomes your personality, and one of my things was I was on high alert for so long. My alcohol was creeping up on me because it was my only way to shut it off. Locking myself in a room. I was a family guy and drinking hard liquor to try to say I’m getting myself out of this environment that I’ve spent—at the time it was over 12 years. I got 15 years in the department now, and it catches up to you because sometimes you just don’t shut it off.

And it affects you and then the wife who married you ain’t the same person and then you kind of have an attitude to civilians in the street. I don’t want to be that person. So that stigma of alpha male, I embrace it when it’s needed. But it has to be another side. The Jekyll and Hyde and that balance has to come. And then it’s the stigma of for me I can relate to alcohol and the self-embarrassment and self-denial. So it’s like grow up and be a man, help the next person, admit when you have a problem, pay it forward, we’re all human beings on different paths, but we’re all trying to better ourselves in the end.

I destroyed that stigma because I was out at jail for a long time on the tactical team, a lieutenant for years and then I go away to a rehab. It’s very humbling to come back saying I need to address a lot of things, and it ended up being great. I’m not embarrassed by it at all. I was for years, but I embrace it now. It is what it is. It made me who I am today, and I liked the version of me. I didn’t care for the version of me five years ago, so yeah.

Scott: No, that’s fantastic to hear, honestly. I think this resonates very much with the warden.

Wayne: Right.

Scott: Warden has the same outlook. He’s been through a lot of stuff, and he was first of all quick to anger.

Wayne: Let it polish you, not destroy you.

Scott: Exactly. That’s what I was talking about. He started heading down this path that he’s not comfortable with. The point of him bringing us up there and try and do all this work is to encourage mostly, they said, the guys that have been there 15, 20 years, they’re a lot tougher to reach. But they want the guys that had been there five, ten years not to become the guys that have been 20 years, and they got the hand up and don’t talk to me I’m all set, I’ll deal with this on my own. You got younger guy —

Wayne: Then the suicide rate goes up, and substance abuse, sick time, or abuse on the outside. I am the 15-year guy. And my outlook with the new guys is that during the new academies when they come in, they have me come in and do a little spiel. I have a lot to say about it. I’m very passionate about positive mental health and feeding the good side. Feed the bad just get stronger. It’s working on yourself and there’s a lot to it. To me I wouldn’t change... I just wouldn’t change but one step of the journey I’ve had.

Scott: That’s great.

Wayne: Yeah. It’s worked out good. I always tell people my drinking could put out a cowboy and a pirate to shame. It was bad.

Scott: I’m sorry, It’s not funny, but I love the way you put it.

Wayne: My thing is I liked to get a laugh because I cried enough about this, that when I tell a story when I do it I’ll use myself as the punch line in the example because it’s a lot better than feeling sorry for yourself. And poor me, I’m not the type to play victim. We all tend to sometimes when we’re surrounded by nothing but negativity and addiction and depression. We become a victim of our own circumstances. My detox led to DTs, and I didn’t even know what that was. Delirium tremens, which is the hallucinating and my whole system was off.

I turned into werewolf mode, and they had to ship me from here to Mount Auburn, where I was a maniac. I used the Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing a lot, but I was a madman over there. I recall some things almost like a dream. You know when you have a dream and then you wake up, and you don’t remember it and then something throughout the day happens and bang —

Scott: It brings it back.

Wayne: You remember your dream.

Scott: Yeah absolutely.

Wayne: That’s what happened with my detox and my experience, but I woke up from a nine-day coma. My detox was a nine-day coma. When I woke up from a coma, it’s like the movies. You see the eyes, you see the light, you see some shadows around you and then they clapping they hands calling your name. And then I look up I see some people I don’t know. I look up, and I see my mother and my wife. I go to wipe my forehead like what the hell happened to me, and I’m in straps, like a madman, because I was. Then really, I make the joke of you could have told me I was a World War II veteran shot down by Nazis.

It’s the 1940s, and I would’ve believed you. I couldn’t tell you my name. It was scary because it was like where am I, who am I, what happened? And then slowly, and it was slowly they come in, and I ask, and they say what year is it? What hospital are you at? And what year, hospital, and who’s the President? From the beginning I’m like it’s 1984, no, I’m at Charlton because that’s the local hospital for me, but I was in Mount Auburn. An hour later, what year is it? And I give the same answers and then finally, I was telling myself I go, it’s Obama, it’s 2014, and I’m at Auburn Hospital.

And it’s a struggle because when he asked me, I said it. He go, “Good, you getting it.” And something like slowly clicked. It clicked, and I couldn’t walk. And again my legs were shot. I had a really bad hip. I ended up having a hip replacement three years ago. I’m good with that. But I couldn’t walk, and I was dizzy, and I was hooked up to wires and tubes, and I was strapped in my bed for a while because I was unpredictable. I was good when I got up from my coma, but my saying I use is, when I look back and then I realize what happened.

I said you kind of wake up after a coma in so many different ways. Like you were explaining when the guy woke up in the hospital, and something just snapped. It was something different. He could put things behind them. That coma did something to me, and it’s unexplainable unless you go from it and then you see I was 80 pounds overweight and weak and sweating vodka and whiskey for still weeks. And then when I got cleared, the doctor says you know, “We don’t know how, but you went from coma to you’re getting cleared from the hospital in two days.”

It was a nine-day coma, two days later I’m getting out. I was going to the Leader Program. Day before Thanksgiving, I had a medical emergency. They had to call my wife saying, “We don’t know if he’s going to make it through the night.” She told my son, “Dad’s not doing good. I got to go see him.” So this is just dramatic on him. My wife goes up, and she just stood by my side. And then the next morning I made it through the night, and they slowly drew me out of the coma nine days later. The journey began. It was rough.

Scott: How old was your son at the time?

Wayne: 14, 15.

Scott: So old enough to know exactly what’s going on?

Wayne: Yeah, yeah. Me and my son, we’ve always been tight since the day he was born. The version I was turning in wasn’t the best father. A lot of regret time, but I’m making up for it. I used all the self-hate and disappointment I had for myself as fuel. I’m like I can’t change it. I can sit there and dwell on it, and I did for a long time, but I used that as fuel to move forward, and I shared everything. I spoke to them about everything, everything. Every feeling I have, you ask me, I’ll tell you the honest truth because it was I had lied to myself for so many years about my alcohol issue, lied. Lied about how much I was drinking, lied when I drank, lied about I was detoxing daily.

I went to work all the time, hung over, vomiting, shaking. There was some days I couldn’t even type a report. I have to deal with forcefully putting cuffs or using OC or fighting a guy to get out a cell. I always did my job even though there were circumstances. But I could act like that, but when it came time to focus with my hands, I couldn’t even type. I would be so upset. In my detox and shakes would start around noon, 11:30. So I just said I’ll do the report tomorrow so when I come in my hands wouldn’t shake yet.

Because I drank the night before. And then I hurry up and do my report because I know my shakes were coming in. I dealt with that for years.

Scott: Were you ever able hide this or did anyone ever point it out over the years?

Wayne: There were a few people that... “Man, you’re not looking good. Your blood pressure you always worked out, you always carried yourself good, what’s going on.” “Nothing. I’m fine.” “And then you put on a lot of weight.” “Well, I’m 40. What do you expect to happen?” I had excuses for everything. I knew, I knew I had a problem is when I didn’t drink because when I was at work, and my body was itching. It was like I had flu symptoms. So I drank. I used to have a couple of nips in the car just for the ride home.

My hands would shake. My vacations and days off, especially my vacations, I drank in the morning as soon as I got up. It was just drank and slept and drank and slept and drank. I get up in the middle of the night, 3:30 in the morning, take a piss. I call out sick. I tell my wife, “Hey, I can’t sleep. I’m not doing good.” I pour myself a drink. When I say drink, I’m talking about a glass of vodka with some ice and a little bit of juice. Hitting it from the bottle, hitting it and watching TV and sleeping and not remembering a lot.

And then calling out sick. I was supposed to go back to work on a Sunday, and I’m like I’m calling out, and I drank again. I tried to stop drinking on my own, and it’s like detoxing, and I felt like I was starting to lose my mind, and I was getting sick, and I tried to go to sleep. I take sleeping pills to try to sleep as long as I could. So if I slept for 10 hours, I would say I hadn’t been drinking for 10 hours. It was horrible. It was horrible. It went on and on and on, and I’m vomiting, and I’d vomit violently at work.

I’d be doing my job and eating breath mints and not eating. Guys would make a joke because where I work is the land of ball busting. So people could see me shaking. “Wayne, when’s the last time you had soup?” like, you know what I mean? It is funny. It is a funny joke.

Scott: That sounds about right for that environment —

Wayne: It is, so I embraced it. But I know I had a problem, and I tried to take care of it. My wife brought it to my attention, you drinking too much. Like any family we have our issues with the family and the kids growing up and different things and conflict. I wasn’t the best person to talk to because I always had alcohol in my system. I was blunting, I was nasty with my mouth. I stopped working out. It was a lot going on. When my wife finally, she called a friend of mine who’s been a friend since day one.

I work with him, Jeremy Carlton. He’s been a union steward and a friend of mine for years. She called him. They called the state EAP, and I had a guy, Kevin Scales, come to my house. We were talking, and I couldn’t do it myself. I couldn’t call a rehab or detox myself. I was too proud. I was having some issues and also my wife’s upstairs as I’m talking to the guy, and she comes out with a suitcase. That’s what started it all. You have to go away, you have to get help.

Scott: You said you were too proud, was there more afraid or more I can handle this myself?

Wayne: I can handle it myself the alpha male —

Scott: Nothing you can do.

Wayne: Nothing I can do.

Scott: Sure.

Wayne: Yeah. Then I accepted the fact that when I drank and I vomited, I was shaking, I was sweating. I used to take pictures of myself. I’m not a selfie guy. By no means am I selfie guy.

Scott: That doesn’t surprise me.

Wayne: Yeah but I take a picture because my eyes would be bloodshot, I’d be dripping sweat. I’d look a mess. Like I said I was 80 pounds overweight. I take a picture of myself. I put it on a timed text back to myself at 3:30 because that’s the time I would get home. When I get home, I had hit the bottle because I was shaking. I had flu symptoms, I was detoxing. My son was talking to me about his day. He was like... well, let dad wind down, I had a bad day at work whatever.

I go in my room, and I hit the vodka. The text would come. I see myself, and I said, that’s what you’re going to look like tomorrow morning. So stop drinking. I just look at the text. I delete it. I hit the bottle. My blood pressure would calm down. My shakes would stop. When I’m talking about drinking, the big bottle of vodka. I could kill half of that in about two hours, two and half hours. By the time my wife came home, I’m holding a perfect conversation with her.

Scott: Of course.

Wayne: I’m helping out with dinner, my hands ain’t shaking. I’m normal. I’m talking to my son. So then now when I wanted to drink to relax and watch a movie, my alcohol in my system was so ridiculous that the next day I would wake up sick. Well, I would wake up all right. By the time I was going to work I was sick. But I come home, and I tell my son, I go, “Aye, you want to watch whatever movie?” “Dad, we watched that last night.” No recollection. And he says, “Oh, you were laughing and this,” and then my wife just got sick of it. She got sick. She knew.

Scott: Sure.

Wayne: I don’t remember. Do you remember what you said to me last night? You were nasty, you were this. I’m like how many times you going to use the excuse you know I’m sorry I was drunk. I’m sorry I was drunk. How many times you going to use it. I have to give it to my wife, I do. She stood by my side no matter what the asshole, monster I was becoming. It’s been a long journey but at the end the turnaround, me starting a peer support group with a group of people. November is five years, not a drop. They did that video which I was... it’s an embarrassing situation.

It became the best thing because there’s others like you. I hung my problem on a lamp post. I lied to myself. So I became such an open book, so if you ask me a question I’ll give you the answer. I’ll tell you how weak I was. I’ll tell you how many times I cried. I’ll tell you how many times I wanted this to stop, and I didn’t care how it was going to stop. I wasn’t the best version of myself. That detox and that experience that Leader Program and I needed that poison out of my system.

When I came home, I took a week off. I talked to my mother, and my mother say, “Well, you know it’s really not your fault. It’s kind of like your grandmother drank. You come from a family of drinkers kind of thing.” I’m like, no ma. I don’t want to take that as an excuse. Like this is my destiny. I don’t want my son going through this. Because I was a drinker he has to be a drinker? I don’t get that. Then I did like a shotgun blast of therapy where I was going to try everything.

I went to AA. When I went to AA I liked it. I think I was talking to you about it, Trevor, a little bit. I liked it. It was a bunch of cops and this and that, and they were telling their story. I can relate. My story kinda goes over the top how much I drank.

Scott: This was at Leader or before Leader?

Wayne: This was at Leader Program. They have a thing on Friday nights, and I think it’s called a Badge Meeting. It was good. When I went to AA in my hometown, Fall River, I didn’t care for it. It was a different vibe, I didn’t care for it.

Scott: Because it was tough to relate to the folks in the room or no?

Wayne: It was and then I realized too it was some people had their own agenda. So you get a little notebook or whatever it’s called, and it said AA meeting here. AA meeting at this time there. AA meeting here. And then one was just religious-based, and they read verses from a bible. And here I am, and I’m like I don’t... to me religion should stay personal to yourself. Keep it in your own house. It’s a bit of a battle over 2,000 years of what’s the story, what’s the deal, just keep it.

No one’s going to agree on this. It’s your own belief system. Let it be. I have my own thoughts on it. This does not help me. Then I went to other ones where it was just a guy yapping about his situation and talking about this like I’m not relating to that. I can’t relate to that. When I went to outpatient, I went to a therapist. I’m talking to him, and that wasn’t working. I go there weekly because I was supposed to, and I’m talking to him, and I’m venting and then he turned me off, and he says, “Well, you know when alcohol and when you relapse you’ll realize this and that.”

I go, “What do you mean when I relapse? You’re supposed to say I’m on path and this... no, you’re going to relapse.” “You’re an alcoholic, and you’re going to relapse. Alcoholics relapse.” I’m very blunt. If I got something to say, I’m going to say. “If you’re going to give a person with an addictive personality an option to fail, you just opened the door.” I said, “Why would you... I’m not going to relapse.” He goes, “Well, all I’m saying is you’re an alcoholic.” Yeah, I get it. I drank. I almost drank myself to death. I know what I did. I know the effects. This is my family.

I need this out of my system. I been working out every day. I’m into nutrition. I become obsessive looking up why my brain got addicted. Why alcohol, why. I looked it up, Google. I studied, I looked. If something kicks my ass, I want to know the defense, how to beat this. AA wasn’t working for me. That kind of AA. This one over here, I enjoyed. That guy, I ended up telling him just, “This is the last time I’m seeing you, I’m not coming back, you can take me off the schedule. You are not going to see me.” “Well, if you relapse”... I go yeah, “That’s exactly why I’m not going to see you.”

Thank you. I went forward. Then when that video spread around this and that, then people came to me and said, “Hey, I heard you had a drinking problem and this and that.” I was doing good. It was like a year and a half out or two years and then the video was kind of obvious it was out then. People shared it, and some people wanted to talk shit. Let them. There’s no stopping those people anyway. I ended up helping one guy who had some problems. I hooked him up with a guy who helped me.

They came here. I went to visit. And then he told somebody I went to Wayne, he helped me out. Then somebody else came to me. And then a couple, maybe six months later, someone else came to me. We have a local EAP, but I hear that they’re not very relatable. So a lot of people just come to me. I’m known in the jail... I have a good reputation. I have a reputation of being the fat drunk who used to puke, shake, and do a cell extraction all on the same day. So I took some pride into that too.

Under the worst circumstances, I was a polished turd. So the next thing I know I went to my friend Jeremy, and I mentioned, I said... he helps out guys with the union and this and that and issues they’re having. So why don’t we join forces, and we start our own peer support thing? It’ll be something positive. It’ll be something for the officers. And end this stigma. You know this pride stigma. If I can do it and I can say, here I am, this is the condition I was in. You want to talk to me? You can ask me anything, I’ll give you the answer. And I’ll help you. I made a little presentation to the superintendent, chief of staff, and I went to the sheriff. I shared that video with them, and they didn’t know.

Here’s one of the employees we have here for 13 years at the time. We didn’t realize it. I went on that path. I still did my job regularly. I took a lot of pride in that after that. I got to make up for lost time. I got to be the best dad version, the best husband, the best son, the best friend. And then the department supported it. Bristol County Sheriff’s office, they supported it. They respected it. They assisted with everything they could. There was a lot of leg work. We ended up getting a poster.

It’s actually me, one of the posters is me. And it has little this help and this and that. It’s kind of end the stigma kind of thing.

Scott: I’ve seen it.

Wayne: Yeah?

Scott: Yep. It’s right here.

Wayne: It was the first time, and I met with IT, and I didn’t want nothing from the department. I wanted to give to the department. I surely did. I don’t want a personal department phone. I use my own. I make it available to everybody. You can dial the hotline and say, press two to talk to Wayne. Press three to talk to Jeremy. I got some volunteers, some people handpicked. We have a veteran, we have a civilian, another female. We try to get a little diverse section of... so somebody ain’t going to come to me if they’re not comfortable with me for whatever reason, and they can go to Justine, or if it’s a veteran they can go to Ryan.

And it worked out very well. It slowly grew, and to me, that was my best therapy was helping people along and sharing my story. I’m here today to pick up somebody I had dropped off two weeks ago. Then I realized this podcast, and I love to. If anything that would end this stigma, help people go forward and to me failure wasn’t an option. People are going to have their slipups and this and that. Learn from it and move on, but that was my therapy for me. It was no turning back.

Scott: How’s peer support been in terms... I mean you have infrastructure now. Are people using it?

Wayne: Yeah, yeah. It’s been great.

Scott: Awesome.

Wayne: Sometimes we’ll go two months, not nothing going on and all of a sudden one month it’ll be... a lot of the guys on the team call me say I got this situation going on, and it’s just to let you know. The superintendent has been great. He really has. There’s always that idea of the big boss is just there to drop the hammer, and I have to say in my outlook just be honest. Tell me what’s going on. Don’t lie to me. And I’ll help you. Lie to me, be shady, do this, go sideways on me, there’s consequences. The best thing in my life was when I stop lying to myself. Once I accepted the responsibility that I put myself here.

It’s not an excuse because I was in a motorcycle accident. I was pissed or work or somebody else got a promotion. My household was falling apart. I’m having trouble raising the kids or money. If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll always find it. Once I started really feeding the good side, and I just said I’m not allowing this negativity and this bad energy towards me. I’m just going to give good energy, and it comes back to you. I been on a roll ever since.

It’s been a good experience. I just accept it a lot. There’s a lot of lies in life. As a kid, even as a parent, be good, Santa’s coming. There’s this, the tooth fairy or this or that. There’s a lot of lies in life. Lies in life. The worst thing for me was when I started lying to myself, and you believe your own bullshit. How many masks are you going to wear? To me that coma and setting my priorities where they should be and my health and I hate to say that was the worst thing and the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Really has.

And then I have no fear of what people think of me. It’s kind of just shut off. I like people to like me. Yeah, I like it, and I like helping people. But sometimes my bluntness or my attitude sort... in the meantime I got promoted too. This past year I made captain. I wouldn’t have made captain if I had my head up my ass drinking the way I was. So it refocused me so much that I became nothing but this power load of nothing is going to stop me, nothing is going to bring me down. I got a lot of making up to do.

I have enough fuel of self-loathing and hate and disappointment on myself that I go over the top with things. And that’s what I keep on going. We’ll go from the video to the stress unit. I won a citation award for starting it up with the crew, the team of guys I have. They got a nice award. I was very proud of that. I’m not a guy that says I’m proud of that, I’m proud of this, I’m proud of them. I’m an individual, I take a lot of pride in myself, but I’m not the type to say I’m proud of that, I’m proud of this.

But to say I’m like five years ago hey I make a joke from Coma to Captain, the Wayne Torres Story. That’s it. It’s funny. The motivation I have towards it and then I see people struggling and I can relate. I can relate to those dark secrets of the drinking and the drinking and the drinking and the embarrassment situations you put yourself in and your family. I said that version of me died in the coma. And it has to be there. So that’s it. There’s no looking back. I look back to see how far I come. Now, I truly want to see how far I can take it. I’d like to do some public speaking.

Talk to other officers. I done it a few times, and it’s enjoyable. I like it. I don’t mind doing that as a side gig for retirement or helping out in the future with therapy or helping the guys. I want to do that. It’s very self-satisfying.

Trevor: Is there anything else you want to say Wayne before we wrap up?

Wayne: Do you have any questions? I thought we were going to have the conversation.

Trevor: No, it’s good.

Wayne: Good. There’s a few things in this journey. And I’m always looking for motivational stuff. I listen to motivational things every day on my drive to work or anytime I do a drive, I put in something to listen, and I feed myself good vibes, all the time. But there was one story that I heard, actually read, and it clicked with me. It clicked with me, and it stayed with me, and I’m like I share it. I share it with the people that are struggling with any situation. There was a troubled boy. He was a brat in the tribe.

Always getting in trouble, always fighting with the other kids. Always doing things he wasn’t supposed to do. The mother couldn’t take it no more. So she brought him to the head chief, an old man. And the old man says to the boy, he goes, “Inside every man there’s two wolves. One is full of jealousy, rage, hate. The other is kindness, love, sympathy and respect.” And the little boy goes, “What wolf is in me?” And the old man says, “The one you feed.” It clicked with me, and I’m like the more you dwell on poor me or look at what happened or I’m not where I’m supposed to be because of him or that.

It starts taking over you. The more I say... well, I’m only going to act toward things that I have some kind of influence on that I can change. The things that I know I can’t change, you can’t change people. You can’t change other people. I can share my experience, give them some guidance. It’s hard enough to work on yourself. So once you start feeding yourself positivity, and I’m big into working out and nutrition. I’m like this with my diet though, I love my ice cream at night. It became something.

When I feed that side of the wolf would say or I would say Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, it works positive. You give good energy out it, comes back to you. The more you give out you take some shots on the chin sometimes because you get hurt but you stay hurt, you remember it. I’m not the forgive and forget type. I’m more like recover and move on. And the more you just say I’m not focusing on that negative stuff because it’s always going to be there. The more you dwell on it and think about it, the more it takes over.

The more you focus on health, nutrition, helping out, being positive, getting somebody to smile, helping somebody out, the better your life becomes. I turned away from that negativity. I ain’t feeding into it. I’m not giving my energy to it. I’m not wasting time with negative energy. A lot of people got put on a chopping block in my life too. My circle’s small. The older I get, more in my career, the smaller my circle becomes because I want it that way. And I’m more than willing to open it up and trust people and like people.

I want that. But you realize in life on the path I’m walking, not everybody’s going to be there. And that’s fine. I’m good with that. I want positive people in my life, and I want to do good things with the shit history that I created for myself. I own it.

Trevor: All right. What you think? Share any feedback, any thoughts. I want to hear it, I need to hear it. I wouldn’t say that Wayne’s story is an easy listen, but hopefully it was an easier story to bear than what we been throwing at you the last couple of weeks. I promise that the extreme sadness and pain will be back eventually. I have no shortness of that on my side. Well, two weeks, two weeks, yeah? You going to come back? I hope so. Tried to lighten it up a bit. Once you come back, I’ll be here in two weeks. So we’ll see you then. Thank you for listening to Mindful Things.

The official podcast of McLean Hospital. Please subscribe to us and rate us on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. And don’t forget mental health is everyone’s responsibility. If you or a loved one are in crisis, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day at 877.870.4673. Again, that’s 877.870.4673.

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The McLean Hospital podcast Mindful Things is intended to provide general information and to help listeners learn about mental health, educational opportunities, and research initiatives. This podcast is not an attempt to practice medicine or to provide specific medical advice.

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