Charles Smith Practical Awareness

Charles Smith

Audio Episode

Charles Smith is an army veteran, author, and inspiration guru who has written seven self-help books. He experienced much trauma in his life, including his mother's death when he was six, his father's death when he was eleven, and living on a Navajo reservation and in a Mexican town. He discussed how society has lost the ability to connect and openly discuss even the hard things and how people are afraid to live life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He shared his 7-11 breathing technique, which helps to calm anxiety, and his coaching program, which focuses on mindfulness techniques and preventing self-sabotage. He encouraged people to reach out for help if they are feeling alone, confused, or in a suicidal ideation phase and to support veterans organizations, such as Project Hope, by adopting a child for Christmas.


Action Items

  1. Support veterans organizations, such as Project Hope, by adopting a child for Christmas.
  2. Reach out for help if feeling alone, confused, or in a suicidal ideation phase.
  3. Utilize 7-Eleven breathing technique to calm anxiety.
  4. Utilize mindfulness techniques and prevent self-sabotage.
  5. Become more practical aware in order to protect oneself.
  6. Live life despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
  7. Connect and openly discuss even the hard things.
  8. Write books and discover how to write books.



My story starts with being the best dressed little kid in town, I had everything I wanted in life. My father owned multiple Nursing Homes in the Worcester MA area which would be my legacy. His Nursing Home in Millbury is where he met my mother who worked for him as a CNA. When I was about 3 years old my life changed drastically as my father lost everything due to an unknown reason in one day at least we kids never learned why.

When I was 5 years old my mother died, and my father moved me and my sister around a lot. This included a Navajo Reservation in Arizona where I was the only white boy on the Res and was treated as such. I was actually forced to become a blood brother when some of the kids held me down, cut me, forcing me to exchange blood with another. This was some sort of ritual to make me more like them I guess.

We moved to the US-Mexico border in the small town of Van Horn Texas after that, where again I was the minority and treated as such, I was bullied and in fights every day with the other kids. At this point when I tell my story, some have asked me if I ended up prejudiced, and I reply with "nope and I got a son that is part Spanish and part Hawian to prove it, and his mother is one of my trusted friends to this day". When I was 11 years old my father died, I held his hand as he died in the hospital leaving me and my sister, now as orphans without any family around; in that part of the country anyway.

My family up in Massachusetts heard about what happened and sent my Uncle down to rescue us, we were flying back so my sister and I had to leave just about everything behind, including my dog Max whom I hear was taken in by a neighbor. My Uncle could only describe our living conditions to my Grandfather as unlivable when he asked. My father did the best he could for us, but we still lived extremely poorly.

When my father died I was in a deep shock, unable to speak for about 6 months. I ended up getting through this, but it was replaced by hatred and resentment. I ended up being a kid who hated the world for what happened to me, and anyone who tried to be my family, thinking why did my life end up like this? I felt like the world owed me for my loss. I went through most of my young adult life like this too and became an addict, addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and smoking a lot of marijuana!

I ended up going into the military because I screwed my life up so much my Aunt that I lived with told me to go out and get a job or don't come home, which now I see as a blessing! I came back and told her and my Uncle I joined the Military, and I'm leaving home! I went to Basic Training in Fort Benning Georgia, I was so skinny and weakened that it almost killed me, but I began to see what I was capable of as I was fighting for my life! After graduating Basic & AIT and being the only soldier without family at my graduation, I went to Fort Carson Colorado where I spent the next 3 years active duty being my CO's Bradly Driver and finding a place I could excel, I also found myself in a tank explosion and Gitmo Bay Cuba for 6 months, but I gotta save some for my autobiography.

After the military, I worked odd jobs including security and sales until my Uncle who raised me and my Grandfather died a month apart. When this happened I ended up in a dark depression, I became a carver, cutting into my skin to feel something other than the hellish pain I was feeling. I wanted to have them back now after resenting them all these years. I wanted to tell them, show them I loved them and could change! I was so darkened by this depression that I tried taking my own life with a bottle of sleeping pills and the words "f** you world" carved into my arm. Some of my friends found me the next day and got me to the hospital. I remember hearing a Dr. say he's amazed I was still alive, he wasn't the only one! The hospital sent me to the VA Brockton Mental Health facility where I spent a few days before they sent me away and I ended up homeless on the streets of Boston for a while before finding VA Homeless shelters where I began to see things in a different light. I was finally diagnosed with P.T.S.D. which the Dr's tell me I had since my mother died, my family and I never knew, and P.T.S.D. was unheard of in someone who wasn't in a war zone until a few years before. Who would have thought a child had what was known as "battle fatigue"? I went undiagnosed for decades, but now that I knew I could begin proper recovery.

I have seen all the homeless heroes/veterans and began to realize I wasn't alone, life kicks a lot of us in the ass and it's up to us if we lay down and die with the words "f** you world" carved in our arms, or we get up, brush the dust off and keep moving forward! I ended up brushing the dust off, it took me a few years but I got out of that situation and found peace in my life for the first time since I was a child. I began to find coping skills that worked for me such as martial arts and exercise. I also began to realize one of my best coping skills and qualities was helping others and sharing my story. I began working as a Private Investigator and Security Consultant for a time, and as a Peer Support Specialist including addiction recovery, and a Case Manager, oh, and an author of some great self-help books! Like I said though I have gotta save some for my autobiography.

These days life is not perfect, I only see my son on the weekends, but I talk to him daily. Not the life I want for either of us, especially given how close we are, but this is how life turned out for us. I still have tragedies like my cousin whom I idolized going missing for 6 months 2 years back, this guy had all the girls, money, the biggest truck, and the title for being one of the toughest people in Worcester! The only thing that was stronger than he was, was the opioid epidemic we currently face! His body was found in the woods with Lyme and drug paraphernalia around his body and worst of all they had to do dental recognition to identify him when a hunter was walking his dog and found him. It was pure hell searching for him for 6 months, it engulfed me, my entire life at that time, and when he was found it was like someone stabbed me in the gut! Instead of letting this pull me back down though I used my coping skills to remain strong and help those whom this epidemic is killing! I began helping to find people who are missing in my area, especially those who are affected by this epidemic were facing. I now live for the memory of those I lost in my life, being the person they would want me to be. I tell my story to inspire others and show them no matter how bad life gets if you keep pushing, fight hard, and refuse to be put down then you can rise above and have a good life no matter what cards you're dealt with!

Charles Smith

[00:00:00] Charles Smith: Well, being practical aware, the first thing that comes to my mind is the white stage of mind, which is unalert, unprepared, and unaware. And back when I wrote that book, 78% of people go through their lives in that way.

[00:00:23] Ed Watters: That blew me away.

[00:00:25] Charles Smith: Yeah, yeah. Like, uh, going to work every day. How many of us go to work the same exact way? You know, get up,

[00:00:40] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:00:41] Charles Smith: get in their cars, go to the same road every day and then come back the same road every day. You know, I, I worked as a PI for a time and a lot of times I had to follow people first thing in the morning. I didn't have to, I didn't even have to wait in front of their house or anywhere near their street. I could wait at their Dunkin' Donuts because I knew that they were gonna be at their Dunkin' Donuts and follow them from there.

[00:01:11] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah.

[00:01:12] Charles Smith: You know?

[00:01:12] Ed Watters: Creature of habit.

[00:01:14] Charles Smith: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, that, that's what I teach in that book, like discovering new ways to get to, to work. Like I know, I mean, I, I work from home with Aware Recovery Care, but I know that when I used to work at, you know, buildings, places in Worcester, there was like 10 different ways to get to work, you know? And I, I would, I would actually go different places, you know, different ways to work every day just to, just to keep my mind from not being in a zombie-like state when I went to work, you know?

[00:01:58] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:02:03] To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand, the way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:02:55] Today we're speaking with Charles Smith, Charles Smith is an Army veteran. Thank you for your service, Charles. He is an author, an inspiration guru, and he has written seven self-help published books. So Charles, could you please introduce yourself, let people know just a little bit about you, please?

[00:03:20] Charles Smith: How you doing, Ed? Great to be on this podcast. I've been, seems like I've been waiting a while to be on here. This is one that I've really wanted to be on.

[00:03:30] Ed Watters: Thank you.

[00:03:31] Charles Smith: You're welcome. Um, little bit about myself, I, I'm a father first and foremost to a 10 year old boy and a 12 year old girl. Um, I've dealt with trauma pretty much my whole life from my mother passing away when I was six, which today is actually her birthday. So today is pretty much a, you know, a good day to have a great podcast. And, um, yeah, and I've been in the military, like you said, I've had a lot of life experiences, like in the military. I was in a tank explosion and I just found out that I have T B I because of that. And, um, I have 30 years in addiction recovery, I have, um, 43 years dealing with ptsd and I'm a suicide survivor. The list goes on and on.

[00:04:50] Ed Watters: Yeah. Life, it can throw some wax at you and that's one of the things I, I noticed through the research, you've been through that trench. And what I mean by that is, life is not easy and you have to struggle through sometimes. I came from a place where I was raised by Indians and I spent a lot of time on the reservation. I received my early healthcare, provided through the Native Americans. And my adopted father, I've, I've really been through some of those experiences that alcohol and drugs and violence and all of these things can really twist you as a child. And they tend to stay in the back of your mind until you start digging in and releasing those memories. Those things can really stack up and make you feel just dead, dead in America.

[00:06:03] Charles Smith: Yep.

[00:06:04] Ed Watters: What, what was some of those traumatic experiences that brought you to where you are now today, helping people recover from addiction and self-sabotage, basically?

[00:06:22] Charles Smith: That's a long list for me, um, the first one would have to be my mother's death when I was six and then my father moving us around. I actually have a book, 10 Homes in 11 years because my father moved us around 10 homes before he passed away when I was 11. And, um, when he passed away, that was one of those moments when I was just 11 years old where, um, I woke up one night and, I mean one morning, and I remember seeing him making coffee and I was just like, ever have one of those moments where you know something bad is gonna happen?

[00:07:18] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:07:20] Charles Smith: I had that moment. I went over there, I went over to him, I hugged him. I said, dad, I wanna stay home from school. And he said, no, you've missed too much school already, you gotta go to school. So I went in my bathroom, I stuck my finger down my throat so I could throw up and tell him, Hey look, I just threw up, I'm sick, I'm staying home. We ended up driving my sister to her school and I stayed home from school with him. Right after we dropped her off, we went to get some groceries and he passed out in the store on me.

[00:08:02] Ed Watters: Wow.

[00:08:02] Charles Smith: Yeah. And then he, um, he came to after, the clerk then knew him, gave him some orange juice, he was a diabetic.

[00:08:14] Ed Watters: Oh.

[00:08:15] Charles Smith: Yeah. And then we, we went home and he passed out on me again. So I ran over to my neighbors that I knew, brought her over to my, my house and we brought him to the hospital and then he passed away shortly after we brought him to the hospital. I was holding his hand and he passed away. So I was,

[00:08:42] Ed Watters: Yeah, that, that can be traumatic, that's for sure. You know, and, and you were, what, 11 you said

[00:08:49] Charles Smith: I was.

[00:08:49] Ed Watters: at that time?

[00:08:50] Charles Smith: Yeah. Yep, yep.

[00:08:51] Ed Watters: Yeah, so we, we lost our fathers right around the time, that's about when I lost my real father. Uh, I say around 11, 12 years old, somewhere around there. And my father, World War II veteran, and

[00:09:10] Charles Smith: My father too.

[00:09:10] Ed Watters: I remember, yeah, I remember as a child going through the foot locker, a little Cedar chest, and he brought some of those Holocaust photos back with him and, I, I still don't know where those photos are today, but I remember seeing bodies stacked as cordwood. And these are photographs that he took dealing with Auschwitz and, you know, the Nazi concentration camps.

[00:09:46] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:09:47] Ed Watters: I, I often look at my childhood because I got very upset and angry with my father, uh, a hatred built inside of me [00:10:00] because I didn't understand why he was an alcoholic and why he chose to be gone all the time. But now with that experience under my belt a little bit, I understand a little more and I empathize and I regret a lot of those things that I chose. And how I chose to react because I didn't understand fully what the situation was. Now I, I really concentrate on that a lot in my life. Yeah. What, what were some of those experiences that your father passed on to you?

[00:10:51] Charles Smith: Well, a lot of like, um, moving around, like, uh, you mentioned being part Indian, I lived on a Navajo reservation because my father was a, um, a chef. And they needed a chef on, I forget what college it was exactly, but um, the Navajo reservation in Arizona has a college on it, and they needed a chef and yeah, that, that was an interesting experience in itself. Because I was one of the only white boys, and I really

[00:11:32] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:11:33] Charles Smith: didn't belong there, you know?

[00:11:35] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:11:35] Charles Smith: I, I was on, I was on their land, you know, and I was honestly treated as such, you know. And I, I ended up being like a, um, a blood brother, you know, how they cut your hand and, you know, shake their hand and exchange the blood. I ended up doing that with a fellow, with an Indian, I, I even forget his name now. But, um, yeah, I ended up doing that and they, they would like, uh, tell me about skin walkers and all those different types of, uh, folklore.

[00:12:21] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:12:21] Charles Smith: Yeah, and that would, I was like 9, 10 years old at the time. That would scare the crap out of me, you know?

[00:12:30] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:12:30] Charles Smith: And you know, another experience was living in, um, Van Horn, Texas, where I was, well, the only, uh, the only white boy on a Mexican, um, town. And

[00:12:50] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:12:50] Charles Smith: I always, I always bring up the fact that my, my son is half Hispanic and half Hawaiian, because at that time, people tend to wonder if I'm, if I grew up prejudice .

[00:13:03] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah. Well, the funny, the funny thing Charles, is, uh, I've been assaulted so many times because people think that I'm Mexican , and it's like, uh, I'm a Caucasian white guy here, you know?

[00:13:21] Charles Smith: Yeah, yeah. Yep.

[00:13:23] Ed Watters: Some of that prejudice that, you know, just looks are deceiving and people really tend to measure you and judge you based on just your looks. I, I find it interesting. When, when you, when you deal with some of these issues that you've had to overcome to be a good father, and is still probably a learning process today, uh, as we all grow more and more, as we recover more and more. Uh, I know

[00:14:05] Charles Smith: Right, right.

[00:14:07] Ed Watters: back in the eighties I got hooked on that cocaine and the methamphetamines and, you know, I grew marijuana, I dealt with that a lot. And that lifestyle, it's kind of, uh, self-defeating, but yet very intriguing in many ways. I, I felt at home there, I felt a comfort because not a lot was expected of me just

[00:14:43] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:14:44] Ed Watters: keep that status quo going.

[00:14:47] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:14:47] Ed Watters: But so, so talk to us about that. What, what was some of the feelings that you had about, you know, keeping the status quo going just to live and survive?

[00:15:00] Charles Smith: Well, I'll, I'll tie in the last two. Um, sure. My one thing, uh, my mother died of drugs and alcohol. And my father owned a, uh, nursing home and she got some of the medication from, um, uh, some of his patients. And, um, something I've never shared on any podcasts, you'll be the first one. But, um, he, uh, according to my family, he was an enabler for her. And once they both passed on, and I came back to my family in Massachusetts from Van Horn, Texas, and I just found this out recently, but my, I mean, I had suspicions, but my family had a hard time with me because of the trauma that I've been through at a young age, but also because I reminded them of my father.

[00:16:17] And so they, they were trying to raise a kid that they seen someone that they, they despised in me because of my father. And they, um, you know, they, they were trying to help at the same time. So that, that, that was a really hard situation. And then I grew up, and my cousin, who I idolized when I was like 17, 18, 19, he had the biggest truck in, uh, you guys probably say Warchester, Massachusetts, we say Worcester, but, um,

[00:17:06] but, uh, yeah, we, he had the biggest truck. He had tons of money flowing out of his pockets, he had women on each arm, you know, you're, you're a couple years younger, he's your idol. He's who you want to be with, he's who you want to be around. And he was doing crack cocaine and I wanted to do crack cocaine, so I started doing crack cocaine and that was a lifestyle that I fell into. And I remember being around 20 and asked them, no, I was older, I was like 30 asking my aunt, like, how did my mother really die? Because a lot of my, a lot of my life, I thought that she died of a heart attack and my family came clean and said that she died of, um, uh, overdose. And I was just, I was pissed, I was like, if I knew that, I probably wouldn't have done what I did in my youth, you know?

[00:18:17] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:18:18] Charles Smith: I probably would've changed my life.

[00:18:22] Ed Watters: Yeah. Well, you know, that's part of growing up though, Charles. We,

[00:18:27] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:18:27] Ed Watters: we learn as we grow up that, oh, well if I would've done this, I could have done that, but

[00:18:35] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:18:36] Ed Watters: some of, some of those failures, really I call them building blocks of life.

[00:18:43] Charles Smith: Oh, definitely.

[00:18:44] Ed Watters: And we definitely learned from those mistakes. Sometimes they're easy mistakes and sometimes they hit you very hard. Uh, I, I was a wild child when I was young. I, I used to say I wouldn't make it past 25. You know, I, I told my wife back before we got married, Hey, you, you don't wanna waste your time, uh, you know, it can be fun, but you don't wanna go on this ride. And thank God she took the chance on me and helped me develope out of my weaknesses, my discomforts. Because I, I really found companionship finding the individual that believes in you no matter what, that can help us change in many ways. Uh,

[00:19:43] Charles Smith: Oh, definitely.

[00:19:44] Ed Watters: Did you have somebody like that in your life?

[00:19:48] Charles Smith: I had my, ironically, my cousin's brother, who, I, I, I always say I should have idolized, who was the, uh, exact [00:20:00] opposite.

[00:20:02] Ed Watters: Yeah. Isn't that

[00:20:04] Charles Smith: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:20:06] Ed Watters: goofy, huh?

[00:20:07] Charles Smith: Yeah. And going back years, years back, it's funny, I was just, um, talking to, well, I, I, I just lost a, uh, good friend, lifelong friend, brother even, to cancer last month. And he lives up in Vermont. Me and, um, me and a couple of the other childhood friends went up to see him before he passed on.

[00:20:36] And I, because of my PTSD and my TBI, I forgot a lot of my youth, you know? So I asked my friends like, what was I like when I, when I grew up? And they were like, I, I was looking for family, for exactly what you were just saying, you know, I was looking for, um, I couldn't find what I, what I was craving in my own family. Probably because I knew subconsciously that, you know, they seen my father in me. But I, I couldn't find what I was looking for in my biological family. So my friends became my family and my friends lifted me up and my friends kept me going, you know, even in my hardest times. Like there was times where I was breaking down and, you know, we didn't have cell phones back then, but I would, I would call him on the phone like, Hey Rob, come up here, I need you. You know, and he would

[00:21:48] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:21:48] Charles Smith: right down the street and he would just fly up here and, you know, be on, two minutes and yeah, be on, on the couch with me talking, you know, and

[00:21:58] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:21:59] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:22:00] Ed Watters: That's a solid connection.

[00:22:01] Charles Smith: Exactly. Yeah. Yep.

[00:22:04] Ed Watters: Yeah. You know, there's, there's those individuals in my life that it doesn't matter what time of day, night, pick up the phone, knock on my door, whatever you need to do. And we all need somebody like that in our life to actually recover from, all of our childhoods have been kind of hard to deal with because we don't get an owner's manual for life. And

[00:22:39] Charles Smith: Right, right.

[00:22:40] Ed Watters: I mean, uh, I know my, my family at that time didn't have time to sit down and talk to children about life, you know?

[00:22:52] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:22:52] Ed Watters: We, we were kind of pushed to the side, go play. And from the time that door opened in the morning before the sun came up, you were out. Go do something, find something to do.

[00:23:09] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:23:09] Ed Watters: Sometimes it was good, sometimes not so, you know, and

[00:23:13] Charles Smith: Yep, yep.

[00:23:14] Ed Watters: you had the learning choice. That, that is so often denied nowadays, that, that ability to learn.

[00:23:27] Charles Smith: Yeah. You know, it's, it's funny,

[00:23:30] Ed Watters: What do we do about it?

[00:23:32] Charles Smith: I was talking to, uh, a client of mine cause I work for, um, an addiction recovery center and, uh, I was talking to a client of mine. Like we, we live in a time now where, um, you know, friends don't get together outside, friends don't get together, you know, they get together online. Like the movie, Stand By Me. If the movie Stand by Me was made now it would be made online. Like friends, friends meeting each other.

[00:24:07] Ed Watters: Exactly, I'm with you there.

[00:24:08] Charles Smith: Friends meeting each other and going on a raid, you know, like,

[00:24:16] Ed Watters: I long for that Charles, uh, but that's a good point. In our society, we have lost the ability to connect and openly discuss even the hard things. Back then, it was easy to talk about the hard things and everybody knew, Hey, it's just a thing, get over it.

[00:24:41] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:24:42] Ed Watters: But we don't, we don't get over it. We harbor these anxieties, these animosities and, you know, ill, ill-gotten feelings towards each other because we, we really don't face one another face to face anymore and have that human connection. And I think we really need some of that back. How long has it been since you've had a picnic and seen other families in the park playing ball or just having a good time together?

[00:25:25] Charles Smith: Oh yeah, definitely. It's, I couldn't even tell you because

[00:25:31] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:25:32] Charles Smith: I don't, I don't, I don't do it myself, to be honest with you. I mean, I, I have, um, times where me and my, me and my family get together, but we get together at a lake house that we have, so we don't get together like in public. But, um, I do have a park near my, near my house that I see, um, people at. But you don't see as many as you used to because I think it's because of Covid, unfortunately.

[00:26:07] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:26:08] Charles Smith: You know, a lot of people are like, oh, I don't want my kid to go out because he's gonna get Covid, or the flu, or something. And, you know, people are afraid to live life.

[00:26:21] Ed Watters: Yes. And even prior to Covid, we were dealing with things, you know, the haunting of the mind, if you will, about things like Halloween. Back in the seventies, we grabbed a pillowcase and ran until midnight sometimes. Uh, if, if we could push the boundaries to 2:00 AM we would. But

[00:26:48] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:26:49] Ed Watters: that, that freedom is lost. And I, I think it was a, a part of American culture that kept us willing to do the hard things. And you, you've been in the military, uh, during the early mid nineties. So,

[00:27:12] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:27:13] Ed Watters: talk to us about, that's about when the military was really taking a change and reinventing itself, if you will. What was that like?

[00:27:28] Charles Smith: Well, when I went into basic training, it was, I think we were like the first round that they stopped slapping, hitting, whatever,

[00:27:43] Ed Watters: Aah.

[00:27:43] Charles Smith: the, the recruits.

[00:27:44] Ed Watters: Oh, you were right there then.

[00:27:46] Charles Smith: Yeah. Yep, yep. Like I, we, we had one guy, I forget his name, but he caused so much trouble that I remember we, we were at a, um, at attention in a, you know, after, um, in a, a, um, a training that we did. And he messed up again in the training and it almost got somebody really hurt, I remember that. But, um, the drill sergeant had us all standing at attention, had us all about face, which is turnaround, except for such and such. And he's the only one that didn't, didn't turn around. All of a sudden you hear, and then he says, Everybody about face again, and the guy is just sprawled out on the floor. The drill sergeant's like, Anybody see anything? No drill sergeant. Good.

[00:28:50] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah.

[00:28:51] Charles Smith: And that, that was it. But, um, yeah, we, we like, um, hand to hand training, we, we skipped hand to hand training.

[00:29:04] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:29:04] Charles Smith: And I remember that time because my drill sergeant was extremely pissed off because he, he just heard from his, his commander that they were skipping hand to hand training this round because they didn't want the soldiers getting hurt.

[00:29:26] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:29:26] Charles Smith: He's like, Half of these guys are going in Iraq, Afghanistan, and my commander's afraid of you guys getting hurt.

[00:29:36] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:29:37] Charles Smith: Where is the common sense in that?

[00:29:41] Ed Watters: Yes. Well, this, this really is alarming to recognize that, well, there's this attitude about the bonuses and the education that you can get out of going into the military and doing your [00:30:00] stint and getting out. And, I, I've witnessed, I, I'm not a veteran myself, but I was raised there. I, I talk to, I have a veteran that I have living on my property. I, I help veterans, this, this is one of my passions. And I really believe that the, the ability to stand up and serve when, when it's your choice, that's honorable. There is something very tangible there that I, I can really wrap my mind around. But when we go off and allow our military to become a basket for, you know, looking for a good time, an easy place, this is dangerous. And

[00:31:01] Charles Smith: Oh, yeah.

[00:31:02] Ed Watters: I still respect our military and everyone that stands up to do that duty. But I really think that we need some George Patton's back in the military. And some of that behavior, maybe not so physical that they're hurting soldiers, but really, so they recognize you're here to do a job, a duty. And when you're called up, you should be able, and willing, and sometimes even eager to do that job. I, I don't recognize that anymore. How do we change that?

[00:31:47] Charles Smith: You know, you, you, you should, I mean, I, I know a lot of kids go in now looking for a college education. And I went in during the time of Iraq and Afghanistan, a little bit towards the end of that. But, um, I ended up in Cuba for six months, I had no idea I was going in there. And when I, when I went into Cuba, when I left the, the Fort Carson where I was stationed to go to Cuba, we were going for one month and then we went for six months. You know, and then we ended up, uh, doing riot control for six months and some of us got really hurt. You don't know what you're gonna go into, but you should be prepared for anything at that time, you know? And that's one thing that I think is really lacking is, not only is a lot of people not, um, wanting to go in anymore, there's not the, uh, the numbers anymore that there was back when I went in. Or you, or,

[00:33:07] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:33:07] Charles Smith: a lot of veterans that you know, probably went in. But um, yeah, I think that they need to go in for the right reasons. But how do I say this without getting in trouble? The country needs to be great again in order to get people to wanna defend it.

[00:33:33] Ed Watters: Yeah. Well, well, it's a very tough,

[00:33:35] Charles Smith: You know?

[00:33:36] Ed Watters: touchy subject, Charles, because, you know, we don't wanna offend the men and women that protect us. And it,

[00:33:45] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:33:45] Ed Watters: it really needs to be a passion about our freedoms, and our rights, and our responsibilities because freedom is never free. And I, I think we have, we have had the easy road for a while and we, we just need to be reminded once in a while. And we have events like 9/11 and little things that have said, Hey, we need one another, we need each other,

[00:34:19] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:34:19] Ed Watters: this is important. And I think there's a lot of divisions in our world today that are manufactured. And I, I really think each and every person that is truly an American has that, just, uh, how do you say it? That built in desire to see America do well.

[00:34:47] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:34:47] Ed Watters: We, we disagree about how to do it sometimes, but I believe in what we have as a country. I believe that those people that stand up and serve our country, when it's really time, they pull it together and we wake up to the situation.

[00:35:14] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:35:15] Ed Watters: I think we really need that.

[00:35:18] Charles Smith: No, I, I, I totally agree with you, I think we really need that now more than ever.

[00:35:24] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:35:25] Charles Smith: Yeah. I mean, with everything. Like we're, we're not as bad as some countries, of course.

[00:35:34] Ed Watters: Right, of course.

[00:35:36] Charles Smith: You know, like I was on a podcast probably a month or two, well, a couple months ago now, an Australian based podcast. And, um, it was based on the stigma behind, um, PTSD and first responders.

[00:36:01] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:36:02] Charles Smith: The podcast got shut down by their local police

[00:36:08] Ed Watters: Oh, wow.

[00:36:09] Charles Smith: because they didn't want a bad reputation.

[00:36:14] Ed Watters: Yeah. That's gotta stop, that political correctness.

[00:36:19] Charles Smith: Yeah. I was like, Are you kidding me?

[00:36:23] Ed Watters: Yeah, I, I really think right now it's kind of disgusting what's happening politically in our world, not only here in America, but through the top leaders of governments around the world.

[00:36:40] We, we really need leaders that are going to not be childish and really open to understand why people are feeling the way they are. And, and we as Americans, we have led that in the world for many, many years. And people look up to us and many countries aspire to be like us. And I think that's still true today in many ways because we, we have this sense about us that when things are really screwed up, uh, I think we remember World War II and I think we remember those lessons that were learned back then. And the, the less we listen to our elders and those people that have been through service matters, this is when it gets dangerous. So we really need to have a strong relation with our veterans and our first responders. You know, they get a bad rap now, and we need these people. These people are the people that rush in when things happen and

[00:38:11] Charles Smith: Oh yeah.

[00:38:12] Ed Watters: for, for people to try to tear that down in a mental or a physical way, that's very dangerous. The institutions that we've established and built since World War II, they've not been perfect, but they have good intention and

[00:38:34] Charles Smith: Right.

[00:38:34] Ed Watters: they say, Hell's paved with good intention, but yet that's our duty, that's our job as Americans to protect that right of,

[00:38:47] Charles Smith: Okay.

[00:38:47] Ed Watters: you and anybody else that wants to speak and give their opinion about matters. And we need to bring back, uh, uh, a way of doing this that is adult and professional. We really have let these people get out of control. So we need people like Charles and people like you listening and watching today to stand up and take the responsibility back and be that beacon of hope and truth. Truth will set us free. And it's really time where we stand up, take offices, positions that require you to be better than you are. This is the service that we really need to get back into,

[00:39:49] Charles Smith: We need people like you too, Ed.

[00:39:53] Ed Watters: Well, I'm doing my part as much as I possible, uh, I'm always willing to do that part.

[00:39:59] Charles Smith: [00:40:00] Oh, yeah.

[00:40:00] Ed Watters: You know, and I think everybody needs that. But you're doing things like writing books and bringing up subjects like practical awareness. I was digging into your YouTube about being prepared, and being vigilant, and being aware of what your surroundings are.

[00:40:21] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:40:21] Ed Watters: Because that's why, uh, Nazi Germany got carried away, they shrugged their responsibilities. What's your thoughts on that and how, how do we become more practical aware, Charles?

[00:40:42] Charles Smith: Well, being practical aware, the first thing that comes to my mind is the white stage of mind, which is unalert, unprepared, and unaware. And back when I wrote that book, 78% of people go through their lives in that way.

[00:41:05] Ed Watters: That blew me away.

[00:41:06] Charles Smith: Yeah, yeah. Like, uh, going to work every day, how many of us go to work the same exact way? You know, get up,

[00:41:22] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:41:23] Charles Smith: get in their cars, go to the same road every day, and then come back the same road every day. You know, I, I worked as a PI for a time and a lot of times I had to follow people first thing in the morning. I didn't have to, I didn't even have to wait in front of their house or anywhere near their street, I could wait at their Dunkin' Donuts because I knew that they were gonna be at their Dunkin' Donuts and follow them from there.

[00:41:53] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah.

[00:41:54] Charles Smith: You know?

[00:41:55] Ed Watters: Creature of habit.

[00:41:55] Charles Smith: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, that, that's what I teach in that book, like discovering new ways to get to, to work. Like I know, I mean, I, I work from home with Aware Recovery Care, but I know that when I used to work at, you know, buildings, places in Worcester, there was like 10 different ways to get to work, you know? And I, I would, I would actually go different places, you know, different ways to work every day just to, just to keep my mind from not being in a zombie like state when I went to work, you know?

[00:42:40] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:42:40] Charles Smith: And being in the store,

[00:42:43] Ed Watters: That's interesting.

[00:42:44] Charles Smith: Yeah. Small stuff like that, like being in a store.

[00:42:48] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:42:48] Charles Smith: You know, like so many active shooter events happen when we're in a store.

[00:42:53] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:42:54] Charles Smith: You know, like you, if you see something, or hear something, or even any of your scenses, smell something that is out of the ordinary, you know, see where you're at. Definitely do a visual where you're at but you should already know where the nearest exit is, where, um, you know, what's around you. Like, not every second of every, every time you're in a store, but what can you use as a weapon if you need to? You know, what can you use as a barrier between you and someone else if you need to? You know, just, just a mental check-in, you know? Um, in schools too. Like, Ulvad, uh, Ulvade, is that, am I, am I murdering that word? Or,

[00:43:50] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah. I couldn't tell you, I, I'm staying away from that, Charles.

[00:43:56] Charles Smith: No, but, um, but, um,

[00:43:58] Ed Watters: Uvalde. Yeah.

[00:43:59] Charles Smith: Ulvade, yes. But the amount of time that it took them to get in that school

[00:44:06] Ed Watters: Response, Yes.

[00:44:07] Charles Smith: was just a shame, you know, to say the least. You know, teach people, even, even the teachers or the kids, like my, my kid knows the basics of, you know, situational awareness, practical awareness.

[00:44:30] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:44:30] Charles Smith: Um, you know, even, even hand to hand, you know, he, he knows the basics because daddy's not always around and he's only 10. I mean, his sister's a star on the football team. But, um, yeah, he's, he's

[00:44:46] Ed Watters: Right on.

[00:44:46] Charles Smith: Yeah, you know? But you, you can never be too sure about where you're at. Even, even when I, um, I have a place called Purgatory Chasm where I like to walk. And there's hardly anybody up there, but I always have a knife and I always have a baton on me when I'm walking up there cause you don't know if you're gonna run into an animal or if you're gonna run into a human that acts like an animal, you just never know.

[00:45:20] Ed Watters: Same thing sometimes.

[00:45:22] Charles Smith: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So you, you wanna, you wanna always be prepared. I mean, that's what that, that's what that book is all about. It's about using your mind instead of using, using your, your hands. Like, I remember years ago, I worked as a shuttle driver for a college. The kids had to park a couple miles away from the school and go, you know, to school.

[00:45:54] And I seen this one girl that was walking into a, uh, darkened area behind the school. I'm like, Oh, great, I don't, I don't like that. You know, the back of my head, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The next day I heard that she got raped. You know, it's stuff like that, you, you, you've gotta just have, you know, some, you know, practical awareness, aware and

[00:46:31] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:46:31] Charles Smith: aware of like being, your situation, being aware of your situa, of your surroundings, your situation, like proper lighting. Um, I, I wrote that book because somebody actually told me that they, they had a, um, a building that they worked in and the garage was like a hundred or more feet away and the lights in the garage were horrible. And there was a couple times where people were held by knife point in the garage, and they wanted me to run a program for them at that, at that building. I ran the program for them, but that became a book that became that enlightened book that I wrote.

[00:47:23] Ed Watters: Interesting.

[00:47:24] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:47:25] Ed Watters: Yeah. And, and that's one of those things that you're doing is, you're taking the, the knowledge and the awareness that you've built, and discovered, and transferred it into books, and helping people discover how to write books even. That's, that's kind of unique. Excuse me.

[00:47:48] Charles Smith: No problem.

[00:47:50] Ed Watters: So, uh, I, I noticed through the research, you developed a technique or learned of a technique called 7/ 11 breathing, seven seconds in, 11 seconds out. Where did that come from and how does that help you?

[00:48:12] Charles Smith: It helps you by calming, calming you down when you're anxi, when you're anxious. And I wish I could tell you where it came from, but, but I forget exactly where, where it came from. But, um,

[00:48:27] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah.

[00:48:28] Charles Smith: yeah, you, uh, you breathe in slowly for seven seconds and then exhale for 11 seconds. Do that a few times, and that calms you down. I, I, I actually, um, seen something the other day that reminded me of something about breathing. Um, I was watching the news and they were talking about taking a deep breath, you know, how everybody says if you're anxious, take a deep breath. I guess now they're saying that that's the worst thing you can do.

[00:49:07] Ed Watters: What? Really?

[00:49:08] Charles Smith: Yeah, yeah.

[00:49:09] Ed Watters: Interesting.

[00:49:10] Charles Smith: Yeah, because, um, I guess when you're anxious, your lungs and your heart are in a certain way. So when you take a deep breath and you take it quick, your lungs can, um, can, uh,

[00:49:27] Ed Watters: Hyperventilate.

[00:49:29] Charles Smith: Hyperventilate. Yeah. Yep, yep. And

[00:49:33] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:49:34] Charles Smith: Yeah. So

[00:49:35] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:49:35] Charles Smith: The 7/11 breathing is a lot better because you're slowly breathing in for seven seconds and then slowly exhaling for 11 seconds. And then,

[00:49:45] Ed Watters: Right. And, and that's a controlled breathing system and,

[00:49:50] Charles Smith: Exactly.

[00:49:51] Ed Watters: and that's actually putting your mind into, uh, a state of awareness. [00:50:00] So, so I, I really think that's a unique way. I, I've talked to a lot of people about breathing techniques and a lot of different people have different ways to breathe. And I, I haven't heard of the 7/11 breathing technique and I, I think that's really one of those that just gives you something to bring your mind and your thought back to where it needs to be, in calming state. It helps you grab that moment you need.

[00:50:43] Charles Smith: Yep.

[00:50:44] Ed Watters: So,

[00:50:44] Charles Smith: It's part of mindfulness.

[00:50:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:50:47] Charles Smith: Yeah. Keeping your mind, um, focused.

[00:50:51] Ed Watters: That's right. Do you have a coaching program that you work with people about these mindfulness techniques and how to just help yourself from self sabotage and learning how to be at one with yourself?

[00:51:17] Charles Smith: I did before Covid, I, I did locally before Covid. But then, um, things got shut down and then I started, uh, working with Aware Recovery Care and that takes up a lot of my, my time. And, um, I love Aware Recovery Care because I have the client for a whole year and I can actually spend a lot more time than I could working, like in a detox, or an ATS, or a CSS with the client. And we have a much larger success rate than even AA and NA, because we're,

[00:52:03] Ed Watters: Really?

[00:52:04] Charles Smith: we're hands on. Yeah. Yep. Because we're hands on with the client and we're meeting them where they're at. And I, I can, I can teach them mindfulness, and meditation, and all that. And they, they let me run my program the way that I wanna run it with my clients.

[00:52:24] Ed Watters: So this is like an in-house thing where you go to a client's home and,

[00:52:29] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:52:30] Ed Watters: uh, mentor and just kinda talk to them?

[00:52:36] Charles Smith: Exactly.

[00:52:36] Ed Watters: Discover what, what the underlying situations are and bringing those things to the surface to help identify and discover how to release

[00:52:48] Charles Smith: Exactly.

[00:52:49] Ed Watters: from it?

[00:52:49] Charles Smith: Yeah. Yep. Yep.

[00:52:50] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:52:51] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:52:51] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:52:52] Charles Smith: It's a, it's a great,

[00:52:53] Ed Watters: Discovering,

[00:52:53] Charles Smith: it's a great program. Yeah.

[00:52:56] Ed Watters: Yeah. I, I like that, that's a good approach.

[00:52:59] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:53:00] Ed Watters: So I, I've kept you here quite a bit, Charles. Uh,

[00:53:05] Charles Smith: That's okay.

[00:53:06] Ed Watters: Do you have a call to action for our listeners today? What, what is something you would like to see them do for you?

[00:53:17] Charles Smith: Um, one thing that I, I did today was I, um, it was a vet, it's a veterans organization near my, my home called Project New Hope. And I'm sure everybody has a, their own veterans organization near their home. And I am gonna be adopting a, uh, a child for Christmas, you know, just buying the, buying the gifts for, you know, they're coming, coming from Santa, you know. And I think that that is gonna have to be huge this year, you know, a lot of people are gonna need that this year. So I'm making sure that I'm, I'm definitely gonna be a part of that and that's my call to action, you know?

[00:54:13] Ed Watters: That is awesome, I, I love that. You know, and it's one of those things that my wife and I, we, we really love taking one of those little names off of those trees where you find them, there's many places that do certain things like that. And, you know, I, I really believe we should stand up and show concern, care, and hope for a brighter tomorrow through programs like that. That's a good call to action, Charles, thank you for that.

[00:54:50] Charles Smith: Thank you, thank you.

[00:54:51] Ed Watters: How can people locate your books, get ahold of you and find the services that you provide?

[00:55:00] Charles Smith: That can all be done through All my books, every podcast that I've been on, um, all, all the merchandise that I've created over the time, I have cups and all kinds of stuff. Um, yeah, it's all on And, uh, one thing that I like to leave people with is, um, I had a suicide attempt about 20 years ago. And I, um, actually just now my kids were trying to call me as I was on here, but, um, now I, I have a, a 10 year old son who's my biological son, and his sister is a 12 year old. If I, you know, did that back 20 years ago, not only would he not be here, but I wouldn't have her in my life. You know, I would not, and I wouldn't be here talking to you,

[00:56:12] I wouldn't be a seven time author, the list goes on. I wouldn't be able to help out a veteran's family this holiday, you know, like I said, the list goes on and on. So if you ever feel like you, you're at the end of your rope, just grab that rope and hold on. Because, you know, it can and does get better if you just hold on. I've seen so many people take their lives before, you know, before their time. And every time is just still a tragic,

[00:56:55] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:56:56] Charles Smith: Because you just know that, you know, life can, life can get so much better for them, but they chose to take it.

[00:57:06] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:57:07] Charles Smith: And yeah.

[00:57:08] Ed Watters: I, I've seen it happen.

[00:57:09] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:57:09] Ed Watters: And, and, you know, that's, that's a good way to end this program is, you know, people, you never know where they are. We, we put a good show up front up and many times, the man inside of us, and even the woman inside of us, we, we tend to deny our own need. Recognize you need help sometimes. And when you're feeling alone, confused, and in that suicide ideation phase, go to the fire hall, go to the hospital, go to a library, ask for help. Yeah, find somebody in a public space. And, and yes, if you have to make a scene, make a scene, survive that incident. Know that you matter and what you're going through, like Charles just said, it's gonna pass.

[00:58:20] And it's so important to remember, we never know where people are right here in their head. So always try to leave them with kindness, and care, and a sense of humility. It, it really can save lives and I'm so glad that you brought that up at the end of our episode here, Charles. Thank you for spending your time with us and thank you for what you're doing out there, it's great.

[00:58:59] Charles Smith: You are very welcome, Ed. It was glad being on your, on your podcast. Like I said, I feel like I've been waiting forever to be on here.

[00:59:07] Ed Watters: Awesome, you've made it.

[00:59:09] Charles Smith: Yeah. It was worth every minute.

[00:59:13] Ed Watters: Great, yes. You know, it's, it's powerful when we can sit here and share stories, experiences, and traumas.

[00:59:21] Charles Smith: Yeah.

[00:59:22] Ed Watters: Those traumas can really set us free because we're not alone and it's, it's just gold right there. And these podcasts, these books, these videos that we make, somebody needs it or else it wouldn't be produced and put out there in the ether anyway.

[00:59:44] Charles Smith: Exactly.

[00:59:44] Ed Watters: Thank you, Charles.

[00:59:47] Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational, in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back [01:00:00] here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.