Expert Profile - Theo Fleury
Canadian former professional ice hockey player, author and motivational speaker
One of the founders of #SameHere Author Alliance
Theo Fleury’s Bio:
Theo Fleury is perhaps best known for his time on the ice where he played for teams like the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks. But off the rink, his life once carried the markings of a troubled childhood, abuse, and coping with emotional pain through addictive and self-destructive behaviors.
Today, Theo defines himself as a victor over trauma and addiction and a facilitator to those still trying to find their way. His best-selling books, Playing with Fire and Conversations with a Rattlesnake, encourage open sharing and provide practical tools that people seeking help can personally use. These tools are also useful to those who want to lead a productive conversation, called “Real Conversations”, with anybody else experiencing trauma.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to write and publish your book(s)?
I had lived in the trauma space until 2009 when my book was written. It was a time when I was still early in my own healing process. The process of writing my story, put me in the emotional space I needed, to help other people face the full gamut of trauma they had been through.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all, did those events impact the storyline or characters in your book(s)?
Although the life challenges we go through might be different, the trauma we experience shares many commonalities. My goal is that my book can help to alleviate emotional suffering from this planet and create a new conversation that is focused on healing.
When and why did you decide to focus on writing and publishing your book(s), specifically, how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
I wanted to share my own spiritual healing process. Even though it can be difficult, acknowledging the truth of one’s trauma is instrumental in the process to heal. I have always believed the truth will set you free. Writing this book felt like a bigger part of the plan, one that would not only help me but also help others.
How do you feel your book(s) have helped connect society through the commonalities of challenges we all face?
Those who have read my story are able to relate to the trauma I’ve experienced, because we all go through life challenges. Those life challenges can impact our mental health in a similar way. Early on, I didn’t realize my diagnose. I was getting an education on the fly.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write and publish a book, but may be apprehensive about sharing their life challenges or personal experiences?
Put your story on paper. Initially, it can be a challenge to relive traumatic events in your life, but it’s part of the process to heal. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the moving pieces of publishing a book. Whether your book is published or not, just writing it can be an effective therapy process.
If you have told your story before, how did people react when you went public? If you have not previously shared your story, how do you think people will react?
Whether at a book signing or an event, the two most common words I hear from people who know my story are: ME TOO. It’s an immediate connection, because the trauma we have experienced is similar. I am grateful my story has inspired others to heal.