Audrey Pihulyk

Frank is one of our coacheséspeakers at Executive Winners. Are you looking for a lifestyle change and ready to take a deeper look at yourself and your current situation in life. When you need a motivational speaker or a life coach to assist you with: addictions (alcohol, drugs,etc) hardship (medical disabilities, physical and mental abuse, depression and suicide) or topics related to military service (career transition and family dynamics) and other challenges that poses stress on family relationships. If you have answered yes to any of these concerns than you need to speak to Frank Thomas.

 


FRANK’S BIO

Frank has a very diverse background.  His collective medical conditions have cost him his military career and his civilian career and his addictions cost him marital, legal, health and financial difficulties.  Throughout his 25 years of sobriety Frank has learned that there is quite a bit of work in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. His battles with depression and suicidal thoughts are dark reminders of how fast things can spiral out of control. After years of learning new coping skills, Frank is ready to pass on his experience and knowledge.

He grew up as a “Base Brat” living throughout eastern Canada until his father retired from the Canadian Forces and settled in Burton, New Brunswick in 1977. At age 12 Frank realized that he could escape his physical abuse at home by drinking and smoking marijuana. By 13 he was writing for the local newspaper, and by 14 he had become a regular volunteer in the community. Just after he graduated from high school he stood up to his parents form of physical discipline and was kicked out of his home. Eventhough he was allowed back home he joined the military to escape reality once again. Little did he realize that these events would impact him for the rest of his life.   His passion for being involved carried over to his passion for knowledge – whenever there was an opportunity to take a course Frank quickly accepted so he could understand and overcome the challenges he would face.

After 16 knee surgeries, a back surgery, battling addiction & alcoholism, years of military service, and being diagnosed with Hemochromatosis, COPD, Peripheral Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and Clinical Depression (over a 6 year stretch) Frank is ready to share his experiences – after all he believes that sharing is a huge step to healing.

Military Service & Alcoholism

Frank joined the Canadian Forces straight out of high school and followed in his father’s footsteps by choosing the Steward trade (Retail Hospitality). He took full advantage of working around alcohol on a daily basis. Alcohol and drugs allowed Frank to lead a double life during the first five years of his military tenure. There was the bright young man and the angry intoxicated man fighting his way through life. His lack of respect for authority and his continuous alcohol induced blackouts eventually caught up to him. His wife of eight months left him and his military career was hanging by a thread. Fortunately he listened to the Base Surgeon in CFB Portage la Prairie and entered rehab in September 1989.

Rehab enabled Frank to recognize and accept his anger along with teaching him to respect himself and others. With these new tools, Frank advanced quickly in rank and moved forward with his personal growth. Just under two years sober he met his current wife. She was proof that you can’t expect somebody to like you if you don’t like yourself.  They also had the military change their wedding date as they were about to be transferred to two different cities. Frank managed to complete 13.5 years before he was medically released due to knee and back injuries. With meditation and soul searching Frank learned to accept his injuries and alcoholism – he now uses his past as one of his best assets. Frank has looked into the mirror and reflected on his accomplishments and mishaps during his time in the military – his speaking sessions reflect on the  struggles during this time and how he turned them into positive learning experiences.

Post Military

Thankfully, Frank has been clean and sober since June 2, 1989 and he has a lovely wife and three kids who have never seen him drink alcohol or truly lose his temper. His life was coming full circle as he jokes about his last posting on his fourth naval ship. He was the Retail Exchange Manager and he was also the Addictions Facilitator. He would sell everybody their alcohol and tobacco and then he counselled you if you had an addiction problem. Frank was released from the military in June 1997. He took his naval uniform off on a Friday in Halifax NS and wore a suit on the following Monday in Edmonton doing the same job. At this point in his life, the questions he reflected on changed. The focus became transitioning from military service to the private sector. He was never prepared by the military for this and there was a lot to learn and discover which was right up Frank’s alley of knowledge acquisition.

Frank always had a desire to be his own boss and finally became a small business owner in 1999. Even though his business was unsuccessful Frank as usual took this time to learn as much as possible from the numerous business owners he met. Instead of focusing on a lost opportunity he moved forward with his new knowledge and went back to work for the military again.

With many life lessons filling his tool box Frank spent two years working for the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program. He encountered many angry people while working as a SIU Officer. Needless to say all of his addictions, anger management and counselling courses were put to use during a very fast two years.

Next stop, was as a warehouse manager position. He was hired because of his extensive experience in personnel management. It is amazing how your past supervisors will form you as a supervisor. How many times did you hear your mom say, “treat them the way you would want them to treat you”? All your life you are a piece of play-do slowly being molded by many different people. I don’t think there will ever be a finished product.

Community Volunteer

It has always been important for Frank to give back to the community. Prior to joining the military he was a softball coach with his father and he would continually fundraise for the ball teams. The coaching bug never left as he coached military men’s hockey and softball teams. Once his children started playing hockey and soccer, he volunteered to coach their teams. Unfortunately, his health caused him to step away from coaching. Frank was involved in three different community councils and served seven years on his local community league council in various positions: Sports, VP, President, Past President and Finance.  The most rewarding volunteer work was working with the Young Offenders Centre in Portage la Prairie

Frank’s Current Life

After 14 knee surgeries and one back surgery Frank was put on permanent long term disability for chronic pain in September 2008. Within the next four years he another bilateral knee surgery and was  diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome, Hemochromatosis, COPD, Peripheral Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Clinical Depression. Talk about an eventful time. Frank resorted back to his previous training and tried to learn as much as he could about his medical conditions. There was no “why me” instead it was how do we deal with this as a family? He has learned to follow a strange routine of napping every day and crashing for 15 plus hours once a week.

Frank’s positive attitude and sense of humour keeps him going one day at a time. After six years Frank is ready to talk about the many facets of his life experiences. He truly believes sharing is a huge step to healing.

Courses

  • Suicide Intervention
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Counselling Skills
  • Military Continuing Care Coordinator
  • Tactical communications
  • Conflict Management and Resolutions
  • Supervisory Development Diploma
  • Military Retail Hospitality Management