When I go on podcasts or radio shows to discuss my pornography addiction and people ask what’s the worst thing that has come out of my last five years, first from my heinous mistakes, then my legal ordeal, and the fallout since, I usually talk about how I’ve created victims and can’t change that fact.

I still think that is the worst part, and I hate to be at all self-centered or self-pitying, but I personally underwent massive seismic changes in my life and none has been more unexpected than losing 99% of the people I used to call acquaintances and friends. I have to say this is second place in what has become the worst part of things.

Most of the time I handle this OK. I’m actually a very solitary person. I’d rather work from home doing my own thing than a cubicle farm in some office. The only thing I liked about working at those places in the past was the interaction with co-workers a couple times a day. I’m a loner who doesn’t like to be alone.

I feel that longing for human interaction most of all when I’m dreaming as I sleep. Or, I should say I feel it most when I first wake up. The subconscious is a weird thing. One moment you’re in high school, the next you’re on a road trip and the next you’re in the hospital. The mix of people is just as random, but for whatever reason, our brain makes sense of the crazy narrative thread, even if your fifth grade teacher is interacting with your first boss.

When I wake up, I’m so, so sad. Nobody asks me about my crime in the dreams. In real life, people ask how I’m doing out of duty because they ran into me at Home Depot or just flat-out give me the cold shoulder. That doesn’t happen in dreams. When I wake up, I recognize I haven’t talked to any of those people since the day I was arrested. I haven’t talked to some of the people in a much longer time, but most are people who were part of my life at that point everything changed.

The only ones who are more recent are the people I met at one of two rehabs I attended. It’s hard to explain just how close you get so quickly to that group of people. I’ve been told it’s like being in a foxhole by people who have done both. The problem is, once you’re out of that incredibly intense bonding experience, you see all the differences. While I’ve tried both times, I haven’t been able to maintain casual friendships with people outside of rehab.

I’m not going to get into specific storylines in dreams, because let’s face it, nobody likes to hear other people explain their dreams. As these dreams are unfolding, they are in a world where I haven’t committed a crime by encouraging a teenager to perform sex acts in a computer chat room. Nobody ever asks about that in the dreams. Nobody seems to know it ever happened.

It’s almost magical being able to escape that, because it’s very different in real life. When something like my entire ordeal happens, you understand certain things will change. But then there are little things, like when I was in jail and would see restaurant commercials on TV. You enter jail worrying about getting beat up and what the shower situation is, but you never think about seeing things you can’t have on TV.

I think this dream world is like that. In my blissful slumber, I’m devoid of the self-inflicted shunning. In the next, I’m awake, and mourn a world that I will never be able to go back to in my waking hours.

I’m not asking for pity or ideas to recirculate back into society as I know that ship has sailed. Instead, I just urge anyone who is doing anything illegal, pornographic or not, to try and think about all the little things you’ll miss if you’re caught.

I saw a guy leave my pod in jail to head to state prison where he was to serve 20 years. My sentence was nothing compared to his and his crimes deserve that long. But he was also a human I got to know.  A human who won’t see his friends at the bar he talked about often, a human who won’t have a steak dinner until 2036 and a human who will wear only khaki or blue for the next two decades. Those may seem like little things, but when you’re living them, they’re not.

I’m 4.5 years away from that fateful day I was arrested and regardless of any jail, probation, offender’s registry or anything else the legal system throws my way, I’ll be paying for this crime in ways I never imagined for the rest of my life…except when I take a nap.

8 comments

  1. I know you are not asking for pity. However, this came from your heart. It’s sad…..
    Think of all the people who do HORRIBLE things and do not have themselves labeled like you do…..
    We have all done things that we are ashamed of. We should NOT judge others because of their crimes. A sin is a sin. We should judge others by how they have turned their lives around. You are a living example of this. Keep up the good work Josh!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can definatey relate to this. The absolute worst part of my day is waking up.

    When I’m asleep, I am healthy again, I have friends, I have boyfriends, perhaps even a job…. All the things that life has taken away from me. And I haven’t even done a crime, all I did was get sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did a Q&A one time and somebody asked what song lyric best described my situation, and I had to go with one from Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”:
      I used to rule the world
      Seas would rise when I gave the word
      Now in the morning, I sleep alone
      Sweep the streets I used to own
      One minute I held the key
      Next the walls were closed on me
      And I discovered that my castles stand
      Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.

      That was me in so many aspects of my life. I rarely paid for meals, never paid for tickets to anything, and could get great sold-out seats when I wanted. Everybody knew my name and even if they didn’t like me, they knew smarter than to get on my bad side…then one day that all disappeared. I remember the first time I heard this Coldplay lyric after I was arrested. It was like they were talking specifically to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad to hear about the battle you’re having to deal with going on between your conscious and subconscious states. I pray you’ll find a way to forgive yourself for past mistakes. Take it from me, your “awake” life gets a little better one day at a time when you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine a lot of mental stress will disappear when I finally come off probation after 3 years next summer. While I’m a model citizen, it is still a black cloud I take with me everywhere.

      Like

  4. I have always had great respect for how you own and take responsibility for everything about your addiction and its consequences. You are a skilled educator in practically informing and teaching all the different aspects of porn addiction. But you are more than just a recovering porn addict and/or a porn addiction expert. Today you gave us a glimpse into the heart of the man.

    Liked by 3 people

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