Interview with Scott Doughty – My journey to sobriety and the challenge that started it all

“Sobriety kills 99% of bad decisions.” ~ Scott Doughty

An interview by Jason Baker & Rose O’Callaghan

I love it when I come across people in the media industry that have a shared story to me, are out there promoting wellbeing and most importantly a sober way of living (For those that need it or want it that is!). When we were about to sit down and start this video interview, there was a slight delay in the procedings. It was during this delay that our interviewee said “while I am waiting I’ll use the time to finish my morning meditation” I knew from that moment, I was going to talk with a man who has a way of living that I like…

I started Citrus Ornge with the core ambition to generate new career opportunities for both ex-offenders and those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Everyone’s journey is different but it is my firm belief that one of the ways that people manage to maintain sobriety and addiction after stopping using by creating a new, fulfilling life where it is easier to not drink or use. If they don’t, then all the influences, causes and conditions, which brought them to their addictions, can or will eventually catch up with them again.

According to the Alcohol Change UK, in England there are an estimated 589,101 dependent drinkers, to which less than 20% are actually receiving treatment. New research released by the National Health Service this year reveals that one in 10 people in a hospital bed in the UK are alcohol-dependent and one in five are doing themselves serious harm by their drinking. On a global scale the World Health Organisation says that the “Harmful use of alcohol is accountable for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden for males and females respectively. Alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among those aged 15 to 49 years, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in this age group.”

With such alarming statistics in the UK alone, it is crucial that those suffering with addiction can feel safe in the knowledge that they not only have the support to surpass this time in their lives but also the prospect of working toward furthering their career goals.

Scott Doughty is a Tech Vice President turned Transformative Coach & Mindfulness Trainer, who now dedicates his life to helping high-potential leaders elevate their companies, teams, families and communities to their full potential. Having been alcohol-free for almost 4 years now, I personally see Scott as an information powerhouse and inspiration to those who want not only to survive but thrive when it comes to creating the best possible new lives for themselves.

Scott was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to speak with myself and Rose O’Callaghan from Liberate Media and share his soul-stirring recovery story with us.

First things first, changes start with challenges

The date was the 22nd February, 2016, and Scott was attending a work conference in the US. Tired, jet lagged and feeling inspired to change the trajectory of his life, Scott wrote a list of the major changes he wanted to make in his work, personal, social and family life in order to create the life of his dreams, it became swiftly apparent that alcohol was the one thing that could get in the way, it was the elephant in the room.

The decision to reduce alcohol was one that Scott had toyed with for 8 years prior to this day. He had, in fact, made the decision “100 times before.”

What really moved him to action was the inspiration he encountered from a friend of 15 years who at the time had been off of alcohol for 7 weeks. When Scott asked why he had taken a break from alcohol, he explained that he wanted to remember what life was like before alcohol. Scott was motivated by his friends enthusiasm for freedom from alcohol, seeing it as a gift, not a punishment and in that moment made his own commitment to a stretch of 21 days without drinking alcohol and that, in turn, enabled him to adapt to a positive habitual change over time.

It was this initial challenge that set him on the right path. He stuck to the 21 days without consuming any alcohol strictly and then decided to gradually extend the period by another month, then another, until he had found that drinking just wasn’t a necessary part of his life anymore. What’s more, Scott began to recognise that his positive lifestyle change started to have an impact on those around him.

“On the first day of my alcohol-free challenge I was at the conference, and went to an Indian restaurant for lunch with my manager and peers. Beers were ordered in the typical manner, and there I faced my first obstacle to overcome, choosing to go against the group and order a soda water. “Would you like a pink cocktail umbrella with that?” I was asked … and I knew I simply had to smile and joke along. I was, of course, met with the expected reactions of confused faces and even encouragement to have a “real drink.” I commented that “I was doing a challenge with “mates”, and by keeping to the challenge I felt all the stronger and galvanised towards my end goal.”

“My commitment was tested even further within the 21 days when meeting a VP at a casino operator regarding a business contract. It has become routine for our executives to to have big drinking sessions with this client so before I even arrived at the casino, I was under pressure to participate in drinking alcohol with them in order not to offend their hospitality nor deviate from the norm. However, I was honest with them from the start about the challenge I was undertaking and they showed me tremendous respect and understanding. I am happy that our team managed to win their business without me having to consume a single drop of alcohol.”

“What really surprised me was that the next time we saw the VP at our celebratory partnership lunch; I found out that they had also started an alcohol-free challenge themselves. It felt incredibly gratifying and encouraging to know that by remaining true to my decision, I helped change someone’s life for the better. You can really can do great business without alcohol and even connect on a different level than you originally planned.”

Scott continued to explain how he has noticed that social activities in most workplaces seem to revolve around consuming alcohol. What is really needed is to expand people’s horizons by originating a new shift in the way people view it.

“It is crucial to lead by example as policy makers and members of management. Especially within larger corporations where the general assumption when organising events is that employees will not want to show up without the promise of alcoholic drinks. It is more often an unconscious decision. Equally, employees tend to believe that if they don’t ‘drink with the boss’, they will be viewed as outsiders. Budgets for networking and general social events can be drained on purchasing bar tabs. Providing more options could drastically transform the way businesses operate and allow people to see that life is amazing without relying on alcohol.”

How can the media industry help businesses with our sector with employees that might have a problem?

“Inspiration has been the most effective way for people to change their opinion overnight. The simplest thing one can learn in business is that people buy ideas from people and respond well to them when they are sharing their own truths. I try and do this when attending global large-scale speaking events. By not only speaking but by creating a platform where others feel safe and welcome to contribute. It is an effective way to appeal to otherwise hidden addiction recovery communities within our industry.”

“Inspiration has been the most effective way for people to change their opinion overnight. The simplest thing one can learn in business is that people buy ideas from people and respond well to them when they are sharing their own truths. I try and do this when attending global large-scale speaking events. By not only speaking but by creating a platform where others feel safe and welcome to contribute. It is an effective way to appeal to otherwise hidden addiction recovery communities within our industry.”

Conversion is happening. Scott mentions that the risks of alcohol addiction within the workplace were not even on the radar but now the approach is in the works, and on a global scale.

Citrus Ornge is now acknowledged by IAB UK for our contribution in helping to build a more sustainable future within digital advertising. Our social mission is one that focuses on building new opportunities within digital for those recovering from addiction and ex-offenders returning to the workplace. We endeavour to do this through several work experience and mentoring initiatives with local community partners in Brighton and Hove. Take a look at our partners here.

What do you think about the stigma attached to addiction and is it different in Asia where you currently live?

“Talk about alcohol dependence in Asia is non-existent, which is why we need more courageous industry leaders to step up and let people know that it is ok to take a break every once in a while to focus on their health. We can learn how to breathe an air of consciousness into this ancient way of conducting ourselves. In reality, we are talking about putting poison in our bodies. People often wonder why they don’t feel so good about themselves both physically and mentally the day after. Drinking alcohol doesn’t necessarily respond well to everyone! If there were any chances of breaking this cycle, there definitely needs to be a thought shift in the way we approach alcohol as a bonding and rewarding experience within the workplace.”

Is there any advice you would give to people in full-time employment wanting to give up alcohol for good?

In my experience, that initial conversation with my friend changed everything for me so I’d highly recommend talking to friends, family, colleagues, or engaging a coach, helpline or therapist to bring the subject to the surface.

Changing your relationship with alcohol begins with understanding your current beliefs around alcohol as these will be the determining factor to your success.

As a more pragmatic and self-reflective exercise – and what really helped me at the very start – is to journal on a future timeframe of your life, say a year from now. Write down what you think your life would look like if you continue doing what you are doing. Go deep and really be as honest with yourself as you can – it may give you the wakeup call you truly need, trust me. On the flip side, write down what happens to your life should you decide to take that one step and change your relationship with alcohol. What becomes available in your life? How are your relationships improved? Your health? Your career? Your finances?”

“Lastly, I would suggest looking toward people who have gone through / are going through a similar experience. Nothing beats inspiration, encouragement and a bit of motivation from someone you know has travelled the path already… I often coach executive clients who tell me alcohol is the one biggest thing they wish they could change in their life, and In the same session I have them making the commitment to take a 21 day break from alcohol, and once they start your journey with it, they just want to keep going.”

I will say I am incredibly proud to be able to give something back with our social mission so woven into the fabric of Citrus Ornge by helping people get back into paid employment.

Brighton & Hove is one of the most inclusive cities in the UK and I am excited that Citrus Onge is working with partners to make a real difference to people’s lives through our social mission. We are also pleased to be part of The Skills and Talent Manifesto, which is a collective commitment which addresses our community’s aspiration to make Greater Brighton the best place in the UK for anyone to have a fulfilling career in the digital sector and we also are delighted to be recognised for Inclusion, Diversity & Equality by the IAB UK for being a performance marketing, technology & publishing business that creates employment opportunities for ex-offenders and those recovering from addiction.

Employment can bring real and tangible economic and social benefits, not only to those employed, but for the community as a whole so we will always do our best to encourage others and share our experience.

Citrus Ornge’s core offering is the generation of new leads and sales for B2B and B2C marketers using digital media and advertising tactics. The business also can provide the full suite of digital services for clients including all paid media opportunities, website builds plus social media management and execution. We generate leads, drive revenue and help you acquire new customers online on a cost per lead, registration, sale, view or download so pure performance marketing.

If you would like to find out more, please do come and visit us or take a look here at what we do, or better still email or give us a call on +44 203 887 3647.

You can contact Scott for coaching, workshops, speaking engagements, interviews and retreat enquiries via 

Also here is the full audio recording of this interview

“Get sober, get some purpose and build a life that you don’t want to lose” Jason Baker 2019 🙂 


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