Doug Bopst – The Adversity Advantage | The Obvious Secret to Conquering Addiction & 3 Steps to Building a Better Life

In today’s episode, we cover how to conquer addiction with Doug Bopst. Doug is an award-winning personal trainer, author, speaker and business owner, who turned his life around from felon and drug addict to help countless individuals build the confidence and strength to succeed in life. 

Substance abuse and addiction goes beyond simply using drugs to experience a temporary high, so what can you do to identify the cause of an addiction, how can you rebuild your life after addiction, and why is physical exercise so important in the recovery process?

What to Listen For

  • Doug Bopst’s Story
  • What made Doug turn his life around after being convicted of a felony?
  • How did Doug Bopst’s childhood lead to addiction and crime? 
  • Improving Your Life After Addiction – 8:25
  • What can you do to remove toxic relationships from your life?
  • How do you leave one social circle to build a new one?
  • What do you look for if you want to make new friends that won’t lead you down a path dangerous to your future?
  • Conquering Addiction – 21:50
  • How do you break an addiction without simply ending it and replacing it with another as many do?
  • Why is physical exercise so important when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and mind in addiction recovery?
  • What can you do to build will power so you can build a healthier lifestyle to replace your addiction?
  • Building Relationships After Addiction – 31:55
  • What can you do to repair the bridges you burned while you were battling addiction?
  • What happened to the cell mate who inspired Doug Bopst to turn his life around and become the best version of himself?

The source of addiction is not simply wanting a high, but filling a void that can exist in all of us due to pain, trauma, loss, a lack of love, etc. What this means for those suffering from addiction is that the pain is still there even if you stop abusing the substance in question. Addicts use in order to fill that void, so to properly recover, you must find a healthy way of slowly filling the emptiness with a love for yourself. You must become the source of your own fulfillment and happiness.

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Resources from this Episode

Speaker 1: And the smart person, the person who had confidence and self-esteem and himself, and the person who took care of himself would say, you know, probably a good idea to stop doing drugs and change your friends. But for me, I was like, I need to do whatever I can to continue this lifestyle because they're like family to me. And if I leave them, what are they going to say about me? Or I feel some sense of loyalty to them because they've had my back in certain situations. I want to remind people listening to this. If you can take anything from what I'm sharing is just make sure that you align people that have with yourself, that you have common futures and that common past, right? Because I think we get attached to people that we've had in our life that are bad influences because they've been in our life for 10, 15 years, but they're halting your success. And they're preventing you from getting to where you want to go.

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Speaker 2: The accountability, support, and skills you need to build better habits, grow your social skills and unlock your X factor to make 2021 your best year ever apply today at unlock your X-Factor dot com and reach your full potential with the support of the art of charm team for an entire year weekly coaching calls, a motivated network of top performers and five core modules to unlock success in business love and life. Unlock your X-Factor dot com. Thank you again for joining us. Let's kick off today's show today. We have Doug boats joining us. Doug is a personal trainer and the author of, from felony to fitness, to free the heart of recovery and faith, family fitness. He's a former felon and drug addict who has an incredibly inspiring story to share on reinventing himself and growing confidence. Now, I even open up about my struggles with addiction and what it takes to win the battle. We are so excited to chat with Doug and share this story with you. Welcome to the show. Doug, based on reading the book, you've had a turbulent past, can you share with our audience a little bit about your journey as we start to unpack all of the skills you've learned along the way? Yeah. And I really,

Speaker 1: We appreciate you guys having me on the show. And I guess just to, to say first, it's funny that, you know, I host a podcast today called the adversity advantage and in fitness saved my life from the depths of despair when I was incarcerated. And before I kind of talk about how I went from there to where I am today, just to paint like a little bit of a backstory for your audience. I used to manage adversity, insecurities, trauma stress in the worst possible ways. When I was younger, I was facing all kinds of insecurities, such as parents getting divorced. When I was five, I was bullied when I was at school. When I was in school, I was picked on, I was told that I don't think I had down syndrome. I loved sports. Always had a passion for things like basketball, football, baseball, you name it.

Speaker 1: The problem was I was as unathletic as they come. So of course that creates even more insecurities. And I was always, I feel like looking to escape my pain in whatever way I could. And at first I think it was food. When I was 10, 11, 12 years old, I would eat breakfast, sausage, bacon, cinnamon bonds. I mean, things that kids would eat, but I would eat it. I think more in access to numb the pain. I think the first real moment or chance that I got to escape was when I was offered a, hit off a marijuana pipe when I was 14 years old. And it's funny like today, you know, even sharing this story, how I want to say that, you know, pot's legal in many States these days, right? There's a lot of people that smoke it recreationally and, and that sort of thing.

Speaker 1: But for me, it wasn't that I was smoking it. It was why I was smoking it. So when I first took that hit, I felt this monkey come off my back. I felt like I could be at peace with who I was. I didn't have to worry if I was ever going to find lugs. I never had a girlfriend growing up. I didn't have to worry if I was ever going to go to college and have to worry if I would be liked, didn't have to worry if I was gonna be successful. All these fears that I had were gone when I took that first hit. And also I want to say that there's a lot of people that when they first start smoking, they never think they're going to end up in jail. Like for me, if I knew in that moment, that dog, you're going to take your first hit.

Speaker 1: You're going to end up in jail with a felony conviction on your record. I probably would have fought a bit differently about those choices. And then also on top of that, not only was I selling a little bit of pot to support my habit, I was selling it to make money. So I was picking up a few pounds a week and starting to really turn a profit. But the problem was I wasn't making any money because my profits were going up my nose. Cause I started developing a cocaine habit. And what ended up happening was from the cocaine in my life, just being in turmoil I developed, as you can imagine, crazy amounts of anxiety, everything kind of came to a head for me on Cinco de Mayo of 2008, which at the time in that moment, I thought it was my biggest setback, but it ended up becoming my biggest blessing.

Speaker 1: And I'll get into that in a minute. So I'm riding around with a few of my friends who can pick up some Oxy cottons a night is Cinco de Mayo. One of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. You know, me who was as clueless as possible, had a busted headlight that I knew about, but I was riding around with it because if it didn't involve me scoring drugs, buying drugs, or doing drugs with any kind of people or anything like that, nothing else mattered. And so that included my headlight and a cop was running radar. And I flashed my high beams at the police officer to hide my bus. That headlight gave him a reason to pull me over. One thing leads to the next I'm out of the car. And he searches it because I had a half a of pot in $2,000 in cash.

Speaker 1: And the trunk that he found, I got taken to jail. I was charged with a felony intent to distribute marijuana. A few months later, I go to court. The judge throws the, let me rephrase that. The judge threw, what I felt was at the time was the book at me, but he ended up giving me a huge blessing. I ended up reporting the jail a few weeks later. He gave me a few weeks to kind of gather my stuff, get everything situated with my family, I guess. And my soon to be cellmate was sitting at a Scrabble table during my detox. I remember looking at him and him being like, you know, what are you doing here? And I was like, you know, I kind of told him what happened. And then he told me his story. We kind of relay a little bit. And then he said, you're going to start working out with me one day.

Speaker 1: And I was just like, dude, are you kidding me? Like at the time I could have been a model for Pillsbury. I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now. Let's do, there's no way I'm going to exercise. And he's like, all right, man. And that night I saw him work out, like do this thing he had asked me to do. And he was like a more jacked version of Brad Pitt from fight club is kind of how I describe him just to give the audience some context. And he was doing thousands of pushups, hundreds of pull-ups running all kinds of labs, work hours in this common area of the jail. And I was like, who is this guy? And I've been a trainer now for almost a decade. And he's still, I would say to this day, like the most, one of the most fit people I've seen.

Speaker 1: And after kind of nudging me and nudging me, you know, in our cell about exercise and then me kind of building more of a relationship with him, friendship. I decided to kind of give it a try. And what Rose, one of the real pivotal moments for me was when I was sharing my story. And I was blaming people for my problems. I was blaming my parents. I was blaming the girls. I was blaming my friends. I was blaming the drugs and he just told he's like, dude, you got to stop being a victim. And he's like, you're blaming every single person for your choices, bought yourself. And there's plenty of people whose parents got divorced, who got picked Don who went through abuse, who didn't have a girlfriend. They're not in jail. He's like that. Somebody holding, you know, he pretty much was getting me to understand that no one held a gun in my head and forced me to use or sell drugs and resort in a response to my problems.

Speaker 1: A few nights later, I gathered up some courage and got down and do a pushup. Couldn't do a pushup for my feet. Couldn't even do one for my knees and with his motivation and encouragement. And they're training me in there every day. During my 90 day sentence, I was able to do a set of 10 pushups and run a mile, which was one of the goals that we set. And I had this new sense of self-confidence self-esteem belief in myself that I never had ever. And I don't think it was, it wasn't like it wasn't because I just did push-ups and sit-ups, it was because of how they made me feel. It was the ability to stick to something that I knew I didn't really want to be doing. It was my choice to get comfortable being uncomfortable and setting and achieving goals. All of these things that really changed the way I was responding to them.

Speaker 1: I learned how to channel that pain into something positive and meaningful. And for those listening, if you're experiencing some sort of pain, there's so much power in pivoting that negative energy and that negative buildup or whatever you have into something positive. As I stated before I cried, when I walked into jail, I cried when I left, because I didn't want to leave. I did not want to leave jail. It sounds so weird. And I asked my cellmate, I was like, how can I ever repay you for helping to save my life? And he said, don't mess up and pay it forward. And I didn't know what paying it forward meant back then. I hadn't really done any quote unquote personal development works. I didn't really know what that meant. And he gave me a workout plan that I still have framed in my place. And so I never forget where I came from, got out, uh, lost a bunch of weight and then got to a place fitness wise, where I wanted to help other people use fitness to change their lives.

Speaker 1: And that's why I became a personal trainer. And so I wrote my first book from felony to fitness, to free, to inspire people, to make the most of their second chance, turn a negative into a positive and focus on how far they've come and how far they have to go. I wrote that, I believe it was back in 2014, 2015. When I publish, I think don't quote me on that. And then got voted as a fitness hero by the Baltimore sun back in 2015. And I, and I was just been on a mission to share my story, to help other people become the best version of themselves. And if you want to change your life, it's up to you. All of them.

Speaker 3: Well, us as young men find ourselves with a lot of energy. And if that energy isn't channeled in the proper places, then it becomes a destructive energy. All of us, as young men get picked on teas. However you come home and your parents focus you to channel that anger and the creating, or perhaps take you to a class or take you to, to a martial arts class or give you good instruments so that you're able to express yourself and channel that into something that's productive. So were, was that missing in your life, the, where that energy then had channeled into other places? Or were you with mom or dad? And were they just hands off that you would figure this out on your own?

Speaker 1: My mom, as I look back, I think was emotionally unavailable a lot, you know, should we, you know, we, we split time and it was me and my two brothers right. There was I wasn't just myself. And she was working full time. We would spend the days after school at my grandparents house because my mom wasn't getting off work until well, after we got out of school. And then my dad and I, you know, we always butted heads growing up. It wasn't the greatest living situation back then for me. And I really didn't feel that they understood what I was going through. I didn't really have the courage to speak up as much and say, Hey, I'm getting bullied at school. People are telling me, I think I had down syndrome a because I was embarrassed and B because I didn't want to be the tattletale.

Speaker 1: Right. And then I just didn't really, I never really felt comfortable talking to my, especially my dad. I never felt comfortable talking to him about things, you know, it was him and my step-mom. So to look back and say, did I have any opportunity to channel that into something positive? I mean, there really wasn't because, you know, like I said, I was, I played sports that kept me active, but as much as it kept me active, I was always also the, always the last one picked and wasn't making the travel teams and that sort of thing, so that, you know, created even more insecurities with inside of me. And not that that was an excuse to go down this rabbit hole of addiction. But as I look back, I really didn't have that, you know, an opportunity to say, you know what, like I'm struggling right now. What can I do to take these, this aggression and these stress and put it into something meaningful,

Speaker 3: Very important for young people to realize that that's why I wanted to dig into that a bit, because certainly if you're unable to channel that energy while you're looking for something that you're not getting in your, with your family, you're going to search it out elsewhere. And that's where you begin to let in influences that certainly are probably looking for the same thing. And now we have several people who needed, who have negative energy that needs to be channeled in the proper directions and rather than it being, so it finds its way into what you can do to comfort yourself in those moments, you know, and have food and video games are not going to do the trick. Certainly drugs will.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And we've talked a lot on the show about, you know, you are the sum of your five closest friends in that we create norms in our peer group. And those norms inside the peer group may feel completely okay to you. But looking outside of that peer group, obviously doing hard drugs, snorting pills is not acceptable. Behavior is certainly not behavior that leads you on a path to light. So, you know, what was that struggle for you in that peer group? Because we're going zero to 100 here. You know, there are many people listening to the show, living in States where weed is legal, where they can smoke it and it's fine, but to get to a place where you're actually selling it, it's accepted in your social group to sell it. And then all of a sudden, you know, the harder and harder and harder drugs are on the table as options.

Speaker 1: Was there any moment that you went through self-doubt around this group and, and feeling like, you know, I should escape this group or did it just sort of snowball without you really feeling the willpower to pull out? Yeah. I mean, there was definitely plenty of moments where I felt like I should, I should roll problem was my self-esteem was so low at that point that I didn't have the confidence that, that to think that I would be accepted in other friend groups. And so the rational person and the smart person, the person who had confidence in self self-esteem and himself, and the person who took care of him himself would say, you know, probably a good idea to stop doing drugs and change your friends. But for me, I was like, I need to do whatever I can to continue this lifestyle because they're like family to me.

Speaker 1: And if I leave them, what are they going to say about me? Or I feel some sense of loyalty to them because they've had my back in certain situations and all these other kinds of questions that go through people's minds. And I can remember, I want to remind people listening to this. If you can take anything from what I'm sharing is just make sure that you align people that have with yourself that you have common futures and that common past, right? Because I think we get attached to people that we've had in our life that are bad influences because they've been in our life for 10, 15 years, but they're halting your success. And they're preventing you from getting to where you want to go and just know that if you are wanting to better yourself and get to a place where you're living a healthier lifestyle, you're investing in personal development, you're kind of trying to make a difference in the world that makes sure you're surrounding yourself with people that are shooting towards that as well. I stopped having things in common with them anymore. I think the chemistry of our conversations just changed. Yeah. Right. The communication was awkward. Cause it wasn't like I was interested in talking about getting high or who was partying, where it was more like once I got into fitness, it was like, well, you know, how can I grow some chicken breasts or what kind of workout program are you doing? What was going through my mind and my friends at the time, weren't really into that.

Speaker 2: Well, what stands out for me? And this is that you're in a situation where the drugs were easier to kick than the friends. Yes. That is why we started the show is the importance and the influence of relationships on our life. Like, yes, we all know that those drugs are bad. And we all listening to this story know that, you know, that is a dead end and that is a very dark place to be on. So many people in our audience have negative influences on their life and, and toxic people in their life. That exactly, as you said, they are loyal to, and they stick with because of past experiences and the fear of what will happen if they are alone and they don't have that peer group. What steps did you take when you made that realization? That not only do I not have anything in common with these guys, but if I keep on this path, I'm going to end up back in that cell with that cellmate is going to want to kick my teeth in. And how did you then build up the strength to say no to these friends? Because I can't imagine that that was easy for them to just let you go as a friend either because they're used to the past, they're used to those experiences and what you brought to that group. So what was that process like for you?

Speaker 1: So it started with like just simple things. Like I would just get annoyed and I would leave early because I would honestly be sitting there by myself. Maybe I'm looking at like reading something on my phone and I'm reading like a health magazine. And I would, you know, I would get made fun of a little bit like in a joking way, but the more I just started opening up my eyes and being like, you know what? I think these, I think people are just jealous of me that I've actually managed to, you know, leave that situation and quit the drugs and that they, some reason wish they could do what I'm doing, but just aren't. And then I also began to have this realization that I don't like to be alone. And I knew that that was part of my downfall was that I always had to be around people.

Speaker 1: I always had to be with somebody at all times, whether it was parties doing drugs, you know, throughout my teenage years. And so I was living with my grandparents at the time and I ended up, I don't know what it was just, something just came up, came with me. That was like, you know what? I have two choices. I can either go and hang around the same people. And there's a chance that I will end up back in jail or I can maybe spend some time with my grandparents, develop a deeper relationship with them, work on my health, um, spend some time alone and that'll hopefully get me into another place. And so I ended up spending more time alone. The weekends I would stay in with my grandparents, watch things like the food network, dancing with the stars. And it, it taught, I learned how to cook by way, by watching the food network and being around my grandparents.

Speaker 1: And it inspired me to develop new skills and I ended up going back to college and then I went to the gym. I joined a local gym because now like the biggest issue, I think with people in confidence, in going into the gym is what other people are going to think of them when they're in there with if maybe they're not doing a certain way, not running fast enough. But I had been in a front in front of a bunch of grown men in jail, not being able to do a single push up from my knees. So I had squashed Def those fears were gone. Like I couldn't get any worse than that. Right. And I don't, I'm not going to say that the people I met in the gym or like lifelong friends of mine, but what it did is it taught me to go up and talk to people I didn't know, and develop conversational skills that I never truly had.

Speaker 1: And then the combination of that and exercising, I started of course increasing my self-esteem self-confidence. And I always tell people, if they're looking to find a new circle of friends, they think about like where those people would hang out. Like, is it at a seminar? Is it at a personal development conference? When easy place? Is it a gym? Because most people that are going to the gym or health conscious they're goal oriented, they're positive. They're trying to improve themselves. I mean, you don't see a lot of people that are just completely hammered or stoned out of their mind bench. I mean, I'm not saying that people don't do that, but most don't right. Yeah. Self-selects for the people you want in your life. Yeah. And so over time I began developing more confidence in who I was as a person being comfortable with who I was, it was easier to say no to certain opportunities.

Speaker 1: It was easier when my old friends would call me to not answer, to say, Hey, I'm busy. Or to say, I'm not interested in doing that. It was easier if somebody said something to me, like, don't be, uh, a worse or whatever to say, you know what, like, why are you I'd? I would say like, why are you coming at me like that? I'm trying to better myself. Like, do you want me back in jail? Like, is that what you want? Do you want me to come hang out with you and make a bad choice again? So I go back in jail and it really opens up a level of perspective because now you're standing up for yourself and setting your feet in the ground somewhere and kind of pushing back. And I think if people can do that and it starts with being self-aware of yourself being comfortable, being alone, because the fear people have is that these people will reject you, your old friends, whoever it is.

Speaker 1: And now you're stuck alone. Why had already been alone with my grandparents? I was cool with that. And I was just trying to take one step forward. And slowly over time, the more confidence I built, the more courage I had to go to conferences, personal development things. And I've met new people along the way. And I slowly started building a good, solid core group of people that were like-minded. Um, that may, because I was putting that kind of energy out there. I was doing those things. So you start to align yourself with people that are doing the exact same things as you. It's just like, if you want to go, if you want to start doing drugs, you'll find other people in your life that are doing drugs.

Speaker 2: Changing social circles is not like changing clothes. It's not like you take off this friend group. And all of a sudden you've got this new friend group, you just put on a new shirt. It does take time to build up that new friend group. Yeah. It's not going to be easy, but it's a very important process for you to start looking at what is the future that I want to build for myself and how do I want to help those around me build that same future for themselves versus how do I feel about the past and the fact that these friends aren't going to be comfortable with you changing, you know, those friends who are drug users were not comfortable with you being Mr. Fitness now, and being someone who conquered his addiction like that, doesn't make people comfortable when they know the old you, they know the pre jail you, so there is going to be tension.

Speaker 2: There's going to be people making fun of you, judging you. And it's going to feel weird and awkward because it's like, wait, these people were my friends and they cared about me. I'm doing something wrong. I need to go back and switch to who I was, but making that conscious choice. And that effort is what allowed you to come out the other end of this. And when it comes to building these relationships, you know, you, you made some great points that look for environments that have the mindsets and the people that are who you want to become because we are the sum of our five closest friends, and then realize that it's going to be a process of self discovery. But that's the exciting part too, because now you're in control. Whereas you let the drugs choose your friends. You let, what other people thought of you choose your friends.

Speaker 2: Oh, you're not cool enough. I'm not doing these things. Now you've instead taken back that responsibility and you've made it a choice to assemble the people in your life that, you know, make an impactful future. What I want to talk about is something that you brought up that, you know, in my experience of losing my dad and, and substance abuse, there is this feeling of a monkey on your back and the drugs alleviating that monkey on your back. What I've experienced in that moment is that the chimpanzee is off my back doing the drugs, doing the substances, but the gorilla is in the room. The next morning, you're sacrificing your future. And that weight gets heavier and heavier and heavier. And if you could speak to that for our audience members who, you know, might not be on the path distorting pills, but they have friends who are doing these heavier drugs. And that opportunity is in front of them. It's easy to get on that slippery slope. Ultimately, yes, jail can, can clean you up. But many of us want to get to a place where we don't have to be in a cell to break these addictions.

Speaker 1: You brought up a really interesting point. And it's like, I think if people can really figure out a deep enough why to the change they want to make before life attaches it for them, they will win. And what I mean by that is no one thinks about when they're snorting, that first pill that they're going to get in jail. No one thinks about if they snort that first pill, they get overdosed. No one thinks about that. It could ruin a marriage until something bad happens until someone close to you overdoses until you get arrested until your husband or wife comes in and says, you know what? Like I'm taking the kids I'm out. I think we really have to think about that. Like really take a deep inventory of ourselves and self-awareness of where our choices leading us in our lives. And from that, like you said, when we use drugs and specifically when you're using them to numb pain, you have to figure out a way to continue to numb that pain.

Speaker 1: The pain is not going to go away. Like when you lost your, you know, losing your dad or anybody else who loses a loved one, or when you lose a job, whatever it is, that situation is still there. Like my crap from my childhood and my memories. And not that I haven't dealt with all that I have, but a lot. I mean, it's the stuff's that is there. And it's like, how do you deal with it? Because people think that once you stop using drugs, once you stop drinking, all of a sudden life is easy. No, it's harder because now you actually have to look yourself in the mirror and say, why did I do this stuff in the first place? What relationships do I have to men? How do I have to, how can I better myself? Where's my health at? And if you don't have a Rolodex and a tool belt of things in your life to deal with the discomfort and the pain of which, why you were using the drugs in the first place, you're going to be more likely to go back.

Speaker 1: So for that person, that's sitting on the couch using and abusing drugs every single day, that feels hopeless. I just want that person to know that if anyone is going to change, it's going to be you. If anyone's going to change you, it's going to be you. It can't be your friends. It can't be your parents. It can't be a coworker. It's gotta be you and really make sure that you are just doing everything you possibly can in that day to feel good about yourself in a positive way, having things in your life like exercise, positive influence of people, meditation, podcasts, breathwork I go on and on. So that when that monk, you are looking in the mirror and you're seeing that monkey, you know, creep up on your back a little bit, and there's the gorilla in the room. The gorilla starts to leave the room because you've now, you're now learning to deal with your pain in a healthy way.

Speaker 1: And I think when you can do that, you begin to reattach behaviors to emotions, because what happens is we get emotional, we get anxious, we get stressed, we get angry. And they're the default for a lot of people is drink pill, Coke, pot. But if you along enough for, I mean, I don't know the exact science of how long it takes to, to, uh, make or break a habit. But if you know, over time, you start to say, okay, I'm going to now go for a walk. I'm going to do some pushups. I'm going to call a friend. Whenever I feel that emotion over time, your new default will be like, where can I go find a run? Who can I call? That happened to me when I would get stressed out? When I, shortly after I got out of jail, because in jail, I had learned to reattach behavior to my emotions, my first instinct wasn't like, where can I get high?

Speaker 1: I was like, where can I go and run? Who can I call? Because I had rewired my brain. And also what people don't think about when they're doing drugs is the it's like a short-term gain for long-term pain. Instead of when you're exercising and doing the healthier things, it's more of a, like a longer, it subsides it a little, you know, less rapidly, but long-term, you're building equity in your health. You're building equity in your confidence, in your ability to manage your stress, your pain and emotions in a way that's going to position you to be a better version of yourself in the future.

Speaker 2: And with exercise, you're building the neuro-transmitters internally, instead of taking them externally through prescriptions and drugs, we're playing with the same exact dopamine signals. And we've talked about this with BJ Fogg, that whether it's a good habit or a bad habit, it's wired due to the positive emotion you feel after doing that behavior. And you can either artificially evoke that positive emotion through substances, or you can create it yourself and you can celebrate the second pushup and create that positive emotion that wires your brain to say, pushups actually make me happy. And for anyone who's starting out, I want to talk a little bit about building the willpower because staring down the barrel of that sentence, being in a cell with someone else who's pushing you around. Certainly he helped you with some motivation willpower, but it's not easy. If you've never been able to run, you're not used to making, to doing pushups and being physically active. And how are you then able to keep that willpower and that motivation outside of jail? Because it feels like in those four walls, you know, there aren't as many options, our willpower and motivation depletes when we're free men. And there are a plethora of other options to things to be doing.

Speaker 1: I mean, there's a few number one is kind of swallow your pride, drop your ego and know that every, and this sounds cliche because everyone says it. But in the fact that matters, that's true. Like everybody started where you were, everybody who ran a marathon had to start with walking. Everybody who made a million dollars had to start with making a hundred. I may go on and on with examples and just know that, just so just know that, just start with where you're at, focus on you. That's the first thing. Number two is really attach a deep why. So for me, when I got out of jail, I wasn't running it first or exercising to lose weight. I was running and exercising because I didn't want to go back to jail. And I knew that that was like the deep meaning for me, that was the deep emotional, why that I connected to that was so beneath the surface that struck a nerve in me for some reason.

Speaker 1: I mean, obviously I didn't, I was scared and terrified of going back that I knew that if I didn't keep exercising and I wasn't consistent, there was a chance I was going to go back to jail because the old Doug didn't exercise, the old Doug quit on himself. The old Doug made poor choices and I didn't want to be that guy anymore. And I would also think about things like when girls rejected me or being called fat or not making the teams. And that would fuel me because I was, it was almost like I was going to prove people wrong. And I think that's the, there, there can be some, a healthy sense of that proving people wrong and also proving myself wrong because my track record up until that point was that I was a failure. I was a loser. I was an addict, all these things.

Speaker 1: I would tell myself that I was like, you know what? I'm going to prove to myself. I can actually do this. So those are two things to start with is to attach a deep emotional why? I mean, so many people that talk about this too, is to kind of start with where you're at. And then the third thing is just incremental progress. Consistency is everything. Consistency will Trump trying to make some dramatic statement every day of the week. So whether it's you just committing to walking 10 minutes every single day for a certain amount of time, or if it's writing in a gratitude journal, or if it's tracking your food or just drinking more water, whatever the habit is, consistency is key. And you build off of that because what happens? You talked about dopamine. So odds are, if you've never walked a day in your life, and we know the benefits of exercise and movement on the brain, if you walk for 10 minutes, you're going to feel good and what's going to happen.

Speaker 1: You're going to want more dopamine. So you're gonna want, what would make you feel good? So you're going to walk more. So the 10 minutes becomes 15 minutes and 20, and sure enough, you're running a 5k six months later. And you're like, how the hell did this happen? And as you look back and you track your steps, you're like, wow. It started with me walking for 10 minutes. I saw the benefits of this. I felt great. And then you build off of that and you start to build equity in this confidence bank of things that challenged you to be a better person and doing the things that made you feel uncomfortable, because I believe that true confidence and meaning in our lives comes from doing the small things every day, that know we should be doing to help us feel better. When I tell people, I say, you know, when you're in a bad mood, you're having, you're having a bad day, you're in a rut, whatever it is, go to. The things that you know in your mind will make you feel better. We all know what to do. It's just a matter of doing it. And then the second part is the things that you're doing, they must align with who you want to be in the future.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. The deep whys is such an important part of unlocking the motivation and the willpower, you know, coming full circle and thinking about your relationships now, as they stand, we talked a lot about, you know, your family and your upbringing. How is your relationship with your parents now? And, and whatever happened to that cellmate,

Speaker 1: Everybody asks about the cellmate. Well, first I'll say my relationship with my family has really come full circle. My mom and I clearly butted heads as a kid. She kicked me out when I was 16. And, uh, we weren't, we worked in a relationship together and it started with me owning my stuff, not blaming her and saying, you know what? Like if this relationship is gonna improve, has any chance it starts with Doug. Bokes working on himself. And if she's going to come around based on my actions and seeing a change, I mean, she will, if not that's on her. Cause I think a lot of people, they want to improve the relationship with people in their lives. And it's like, you know, you come to me, you come to me, I'm going to pull you. I'm going to pull you. You need to change.

Speaker 1: It's like, wait a minute. Like, well, what are you doing? What's your part in this? Because a lot of times we, we neglect to do the work on ourselves and it can create even more strain in the relationships because we all, we, all of a sudden we get almost upset that people aren't coming around when really, if you've broken, somebody's trust for 15 years and all of a sudden you're feeling good for 10 days. And you're like, why aren't you trusting me? Well, it takes a little bit more time to establish authentic trust. If you've pretty much given people a reason, not to trust you for 15 years. So you've got to continue to do the work yourself, show people with your actions and your behaviors, not just with words. And then I ended up walking her down the aisle, my brothers and I walked her down the aisle.

Speaker 1: And I was obviously one of them who walked my mom down the aisle last year when she got married. So it just shows how things came full circle. My dad and I, and my dad. I, like I said, we, we never really got along, but now even the last few years, I've really made it a point to kind of accept him for who he is and just do my part to show up. I mean, I've forgiven him and gotten past a lot of what I was holding onto with him. And just knowing that someday it's going to be the world's going to end and he's going to be gone. So just knowing that I have a choice now, how I'm going to show up and maybe the way that I act in my energy and my behavior will reflect on, you know, him. And then it's created like a, a more, honestly a more calm relationship between us and even with my friends now, it's, I'm so grateful that a lot of people have paid it forward for me and helped me out along the way that I do my best now to, to be the guy who's helping people around me in the best way.

Speaker 2: That's so important to take those lessons to heart and realize that you can't expect others to change. If, if you haven't put in the work and change yourself and not in a, you know, change for one day, two days a week, but core level changes that we're talking about here in your behavior.

Speaker 1: Well, I think everyone's looking for someone to come save us. And I think at the end of the day, it'd be nice. I mean, be nice. If somebody, if you had all these problems and you were had all this, uh, these mistakes you've made and you can just press a button and boom, you were saved, be great, right? But it's not reality. Reality is no one's going to fix us and we can't fix anybody else. We have to put in the work. And it's our responsibility to act in a way that's going to bring those relationships closer together. If that's what we truly want and you'll know by the way you act. And it's a hard truth sometimes to hear. And I, I, I think, you know, one of the biggest things we can do is tell ourself, uh, a short term, hard truth versus a long-term life.

Speaker 1: We're lying to ourselves over the years and saying, it's their fault, their fault, their fault. I'm not doing anything wrong. You know, it's going to prolong the inevitable and people end up leaving our lives. Relationships will get worse, will become worse. But if we're really able to sit to look at ourselves in the mirror and give ourselves like a cold, hard truth and say, you know, I've been a horrible friend, I've been a terrible son, whatever the case may be. And it's on me to not do the work to mend, not only the relationship with them, but with ourselves. I think it starts with us. Like one of the things I try to tell people is you don't have to forgive other people as much as you have to forgive yourself. Because if you don't forgive yourself and all the bad choices you've made, you've made the mistakes you've made along the way. It's going to be a lot harder for you to forgive anybody else, because you're still holding on to the, all this resentment about who you are as a person. And you'll never grow.

Speaker 2: Yeah. That's the monkey on your back. And this cellmate let's see up to

Speaker 1: Cellmates. So, yeah, cellmates. So, uh, it was funny when I got out, I, him and I would exchange letters. And I remember like one of the first letters we wrote, I was complaining and, you know, I was just like, man, it's cold. I don't feel like Rodan because again, it's a process. It's not like when I first got out, I was like, all right, my life's changed. I'm going to be a podcast host. I'm going to be a trainer. It was a process. But I had that. Why in my mind that I was gonna do what it took to not go back to whatever it took, have to go back to jail and to not let my cellmate down. And he wrote me a letter back was like, you know, in a PG version was like stop playing in. I don't train. [inaudible] go buy yourself a pair of sweatpants and get outside and run.

Speaker 1: And then over time he got out, we ended up grabbing a few workouts together outside, which was cool. Cause I was able to actually not do Doug's like novice workout where he was training me. It was like, I was able to keep up with him and do a workout with him. And we stayed in touch. You know, I dedicated my first book to him and I owe the guy my life and we kind of lost touch. I think he kind of went back and forth in the system. I was funny. I was actually had reached out to him. I was like, man, I want to get you on my podcast. I'm thinking it'd be cool. Like I tell the story from my perspective, but it would be cool to hear him being like, dude, you don't even want to know what this guy was.

Speaker 5: Uh,

Speaker 1: But again, like I said, I, I still have the workout plan that he gave me. We've talked a decent amount. I haven't talked to him on the phone probably in a few years. I mean, I think we exchanged texts not too long ago. Um, but yeah, we did where you were able to kind of reconvene and the ABI, he knows, um, how much he meant to me. And I think I've, I, it's funny because I think now I've inspired him. Like he just as seen what his work did inside of me and how I've taken it and kinda ran with it. And the only, the last thing I want to say on that, just, it just came to me that I never believed when I was in jail or even when I got out of jail that I would be where I am today. Ever.

Speaker 1: A lot of people, they think when they're in that moment of darkness, they look at somebody. I mean maybe my, like myself, maybe like you or Johnny or whoever and say, well, I'm never going to get there. Well, I bet you guys, when you were kids or growing up or whatever, didn't think you'd be where you are today either. But what happened was you just kept taking small steps, having little wins. It built your confidence. You met this person, met that person. This didn't work out, that didn't work out and you just keep going. And eventually you develop and cultivate your purpose along the way. And things just kind of unfold organically, but it requires you to take steps in the right direction. As far as your actions, who you're surrounding yourself with what kind of things you do on a daily basis, take care of yourself and you will get to that point and whatever you're looking to go.

Speaker 1: And it was me. It was more of the mindset for me. It was like, what's next? Okay. I can do a set of 10 pushups when I couldn't do one. Well, what's next. I'm going to run a 5k. Well, what's next. I'm gonna start bench pressing. Well, what's next. I'm going to get a job as a trainer. And then I'm going to write a book and I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. And then sure enough, I look back and it just started with what's one what's next. And here I am, you know, talking to y'all hosting a podcast, you know, written three books and that sort of thing. So it's, uh, it's amazing what life can do and how life can unfold if you're patient consistent and you just make the right choices.

Speaker 2: I love that. And we love asking one last question of all of our guests, what their X factor is, what skillset and mindset combination is unlock success in your life. What do you think your X factor is

Speaker 1: Being tenacious, I think is just not giving up. Whether it was a lot of it was as correlated into my career, whether it was being tenacious in not touching drugs, again, being tenacious and my workout routine or when I was in jail, not giving up on myself, finding new friends, getting on different, so like podcasts or sharing my story or getting guests on. Like, it's just, there's so much correlation. And I think in life, if you want to get what you want, you have to get after you have to go after it.

Speaker 2: It doesn't matter what it is. No matter if you're trying to set a pushups or if you're trying to host a podcast, you gotta make decisions. You gotta go. You gotta just kind of fall a little bit. You're gonna fall a little bit. You get back up, you fall, you get back up, you get rejected here, you get rejected there and you just kinda go. I love that. Thank you for sharing your story with our audience and the lessons you've learned along the way. Thank you, Doug. Thanks for having me. I love it. I appreciate it so much.

Speaker 6: [inaudible]

Speaker 2: I have to say Johnny, that's quite a journey that Doug has been on. I know with my own struggles with addiction, it's tough to find the support that you need at times. And boy, did he find it in a jail cell?

Speaker 3: Well, it is good to know that when you get knocked off the path, you can find your way back on it. And all of us have trauma loss coming for us at multiple times in our life. And we're going to need to be able to have those skills, to find our way back to the straight and narrow. And Doug's story certainly gives us hope vision and allows us to know that we're, we're not.

Speaker 2: If you're listening and your struggling with addiction, get the help that you need.

Speaker 3: I want to shout out to Amy Renee, who just wrote us to tell us how much the show has helped her. It has given her a better outlook on life, and she's so excited to implement more of the AOC ideas in her life, from our toolbox episodes. Thank you for listening, Amy Renee, we love hearing from everyone and enjoying the show and how you guys are implementing these ideas and concepts into your own life and make sure you reach out, head us on social media. You can find us at the yardage charm on YouTube and Twitter and Instagram. We love talking to you guys.

Speaker 2: That's right. Are you ready to help us grow the show in 2021, head on over to Apple podcasts and rate the podcast for us, your reviews and ratings, help us bring on these amazing guests and dig deep into your favorite topics.

Speaker 3: John podcast is produced by Michael Harold and Eric Montgomery. Everybody. We want you to have an Epic week

Speaker 6: [inaudible] [inaudible].

Check in with AJ and Johnny!

AJ Harbinger - author of 1156 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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in Art of Personal Development, Confidence, Empowerment, Finding Your Purpose, Health & Fitness, Life Hacks, Podcast, Podcasts, Self Mastery

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