Where We Stand in Late 2019 with Pornography Addiction Being Recognized As a Diagnosable Condition

I haven’t shared many pornography addiction statistics in the last 6-to-8 months because it’s really been a matter of waiting for science to present more information. I asked a few months ago for people to forward new links to me if they ran into anything, and I appreciate those of you who forwarded a few along. I’ll be pulling data from these sources to share as it appears there are a lot of new 2018 and 2019 studies being released.

I’ll start with an overview of where things stand with pornography addiction from a clinical, scientific standpoint, looking at the results of a catch-all survey of the situation from a team of Spanish researchers released earlier in 2019. I’ve included the actual abstract at the end of this post, but I’m translating it into everyday English for you here:

 

  • Scientists still can’t tell the exact moment that porn use becomes a problem, affecting someone on a deeper level than just a casual user. This isn’t that surprising as science still hasn’t been able to figure out when someone goes from being a liar to a pathological liar, despite knowing that condition has been around for more than 100 years. My guess is that it’s a little different in everyone and there will never be a specific black-and-white test to determine when one has crossed the line into problem use.

 

  • The only behavioral addiction accepted by the DSM-5 (the manual of diagnoses preferred by most North American mental health providers) is gambling addiction. While the World Health Organization has adopted Sexual Impulse Disorder as a diagnosis in its ICD-11, it has still not officially recognized pornography addiction as a diagnosable condition. Based on reading I’ve done, it sounds like video game addiction may be the next behavioral addiction to be formally recognized. While most seem to feel its inclusion one day is a given, most experts seem to believe it is still going to be a while until enough data supports its inclusion in the DSM-5.

 

  • There has been recent attention paid to pornography addiction in the world pre- and post-introduction of high-speed Internet. While I understand the Internet has provided the tools to make pornography addiction more prevalent, I still need to do more reading on it to understand what the difference between the actual addiction would be before and after. I got hooked a decade before high-speed internet was made available, but used that exclusively in my last decade of addiction. Aside from the startling ease by which to access copious amounts and exotic varieties and genres of pornography, I don’t know what the difference is. A new designation (POPU) appears to be a favorite among researchers, standing for “Problematic Use of Online Pornography). Yeah, the letters seem to be in the wrong order to me, too.

 

  • POPU may have adverse effects on young people’s sexual development. It seems like a given, but even up until a few years ago, there were many studies doubting this. Science often has to prove the obvious again and again until the vast majority agree it’s the best conclusion based on the provable data. It’s a slow process, but getting pornography addiction officially recognized is getting there.

 

The actual abstract from the survey overview:

“In the last few years, there has been a wave of articles related to behavioral addictions; some of them have a focus on online pornography addiction. However, despite all efforts, we are still unable to profile when engaging in this behavior becomes pathological. Common problems include: sample bias, the search for diagnostic instrumentals, opposing approximations to the matter, and the fact that this entity may be encompassed inside a greater pathology (i.e., sex addiction) that may present itself with very diverse symptomatology. Behavioral addictions form a largely unexplored field of study, and usually exhibit a problematic consumption model: loss of control, impairment, and risky use. Hypersexual disorder fits this model and may be composed of several sexual behaviors, like problematic use of online pornography (POPU). Online pornography use is on the rise, with a potential for addiction considering the “triple A” influence (accessibility, affordability, anonymity). This problematic use might have adverse effects in sexual development and sexual functioning, especially among the young population. We aim to gather existing knowledge on problematic online pornography use as a pathological entity. Here we try to summarize what we know about this entity and outline some areas worthy of further research.”

 

Of All The People In The World To Teach Me A Valuable Recovery Lesson…

I think there are many components to successful addiction recovery, and that’s why so many people fail. One that many people gloss over, despite the fact it’s preached in 12-step groups, is being available and of service to others. I believe both the kindness of fellow addicts, coupled with my efforts to educate about porn addiction have helped me immensely.

Addicts are selfish. We lie and we take, take, take. To become a selfless person who gives is a massive paradigm shift. This is one of the reasons I tell people that inpatient rehab is important and valuable. While it does keep you away from your drug or bad behavior, it also creates an environment where inner change can happen, and be practiced before returning to the real world.

Early in my recovery, shortly after I returned to freelance journalism, I had an encounter with a recovering alcoholic and drug addict that really stuck with me.

I wrote an article for a recovery website about the history of substance abuse in professional wrestling, tracing the arc of the hard-partying, painkiller-abusing 1970s and ’80s to the radically different modern day with frequent drug testing and much cleaner lifestyles.

One of the reasons I love being a writer is because it allows me access to people I otherwise would never get to talk with, and this was one such time. As a kid, I loved wrestling, but I wasn’t into the guys like Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage who yelled into the microphone. I preferred guys who could talk great smack without raising their voices like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Nick Bockwinkel and especially Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

Roberts has been a poster boy for recovery in wrestling. Among the hardest partiers, it’s amazing he’s still alive. Having essentially spent all of his money on drugs, he was living in squalor in Georgia until seven or eight years ago when fellow wrestler “Diamond” Dallas Page rescued him and put him on a lifestyle regimen that changed things. This journey can be traced in the film “The Resurrection of Jake The Snake” which is a fantastic documentary.

Roberts seemed like a perfect interview subject and while it took a little bit of effort, I was able to connect with him. I admitted to being a huge fan as a kid, as I always do when I interview anybody I admire. It just seems phony for me to pretend I didn’t know his vast body of work.

We talked his recovery for about 20 minutes, and I mentioned that I was very new to recovery. At the time, I was only about three months out of my first rehab and it would be another six before I went to the sex/porn rehab in Texas. I was just really focusing on alcohol at the time.

“You’re taking notes so you got yourself a pen and paper there, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Write down this number,” he told me, giving me a telephone number with a Georgia area code. “That’s my personal cell number. If you ever find yourself struggling. If you’re at the grocery store and you think you’re going to buy beer or if you’re at a bar and you’re having a bad day. Whenever you need to, just call me and we’ll work through it. I don’t care if it’s the middle of the night.”

“Wow,” I said. “That’s a really nice thing to do. Thank you.”

“We gotta stick together if we’re gonna beat this disease,” he said.

A few minutes later, we said our goodbyes.

I never called him. The few times I felt skittish, I was able to get through the moment on my own. Despite still feeling the occasional craving to this day, I’ve never come what I’d say is close to relapsing.

In truth, I would have felt incredibly weird calling him. I know a former wrestler means nothing to 99% of the population, but he had a big impact on me as a kid. His character was the loner who did what he needed to do to survive to the next day. And as it turned out, the real guy was a lot like me, too. Calling on him to help would have been like a football fan calling Joe Montana or a basketball fan calling Michael Jordan. How do you seek help from people you’ve put on pedestals for decades?

Roberts’ kindness and reaching out really touched me. It sticks with me to this day. Somebody who I view as a superstar, but knew the same challenges of recovery as I did, wanted me to know he was there for me if I stumbled. The “bad guy” who once threw a snake at Andre the Giant wanted to help me if I needed it.

Thankfully, I didn’t need the help, but he did teach me a valuable lesson that day.

Sobriety Remains Intact, But Still The Dreams Come

Aside from people telling me what they see in the clouds beyond shapeless blobs, I find listening to them prattle on about their dreams to not only be annoying, but borderline painful. So you if you don’t want to read this, I get it, but I think it speaks to how addiction is always going to own a piece of my brain.

I was told by many addicts at my first rehab who were hooked on heroin that almost every night, they had dreams of using. Some of their dreams would stop before the needle went in, while others got the drugs in their system and then felt horrible guilt.

I’ve never had a pornography dream since I’ve entered recovery, and it took nearly a year for me to have a drinking dream, but recently, they’ve taken a weird turn.

For 3-4 years my drinking dreams have all followed along the same path. I’m usually at a bar or restaurant and there’s a pint of beer in front of me. Then, through the magic of the subconscious, the dream jumps forward in time and there’s an empty glass in front of me and I know I’ve drank it. I usually get somewhat upset at myself, but then I have the ability to tell myself it’s just a dream. I’ve had that ability since I’ve been a kid. I think it’s why I can’t recall ever having a nightmare. So, I wake up and I’m relieved I didn’t actually drink. The dreams probably only happen once a month at most.

In the last couple of weeks though, I’ve had two dreams and they’ve taken an interesting turn. Instead of that jump in time, I’m actually drinking the alcohol in the dream, except it’s always hard stuff, like a shot, not a beer. I think this may be because it only takes a second to down a shot where a beer takes longer.

The reason for drinking is always the same – there is none. I just have a momentary lapse, like I forgot I’m not supposed to drink. It’s totally an ignorance, not a craving, thing.

In the new dreams, I have a much stronger reaction after recognizing I’ve just tasted alcohol, too. I don’t have the ability to wake myself up because I’m convinced it’s real. I get very, very upset with myself and tell people around me about the old drinking dreams, but now it’s become a reality and how I’m a stupid idiot for letting it happen. The dream dissolves into whatever at that point, but I can’t wake myself up from it.

I’ve tried to figure out why the dreams have just changed. The only thing I can think of is that while I was on probation, drinking was illegal. Now I’m off, there is no actual punishment if I drink. But, I’ve been off probation like three months at this point. No idea why they just started and why I can’t get them to stop mid-dream. It’s got to mean something to my subconscious.

Anybody else with addiction issues ever have dreams like this?

Do Not Waste Your Time at a Therapist You Feel No Connection With

I just came back from my therapist’s office after our first meeting in nearly a month. We had to cancel an appointment from two weeks ago for whatever reason, and I think it’s been the longest gap between appointments we’ve had since I started seeing her in late March 2014.

She’s not the first therapist I’ve ever had, but she’s the best and I know that I would not have been able to process the boatload of mental health and experiential baggage I brought to the table following my arrest with just anybody else.

The first time I was seen in a formal therapy setting was in 1996, shortly after one of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver. The therapist let me ramble for a few weeks, wrote some stuff down, but after a month or so of grieving, I recognized this guy, at least 30 years my senior, was no help at all. I could have been talking to a cardboard cut-out of Michael Jordan and got the same feedback.

In 2000, I went back to therapy, with an overall feeling something was wrong. He diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder, which was just the tip of the iceberg of diagnoses to come, but I connected with him in a weird way. He was always telling me about his problems, which were way worse than mine. I was 24 at the time and he was probably 15 years older. It seemed like he made many choices in life he wished he could backtrack on, but didn’t have the courage. I saw him for about a year, took about six months off, then saw him for another year. This was around the time I was put on medication for bipolar disorder.

I had another 6-week stint with a therapist around 2005. He mostly wanted to talk about football and I probably wasn’t completely into it either, complaining of general malaise, but unsure what the real issues were and not in a place to delve too deeply.

And while I mostly stayed on my meds, I went almost the next 10 years without seeing a therapist. I had determined that my problems where chemical, not emotional. While the second guy was some help, I told myself that I’d never received that “magic bullet” piece of advice that would turn my life completely around, so clearly therapists didn’t “get me” and it was a waste of time.

I was referred to my current therapist immediately after I was arrested by the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. I learned years later that I wasn’t supposed to end up with her, as I was referred to someone else in her office. As the owner of the practice, she seemed interested in the brief bit she heard of my story and took me on.

I only saw her twice before I went off to rehab for alcoholism. The last thing she said to me was “Do me a favor and give it a chance.” Those words stuck with me and I don’t know if I would have come to terms with being an alcoholic as quickly without that advice.

Early on, the work was intense. I’d see her either twice a week for an hour, or once for two hours. There are benefits and drawbacks to each set-up. We’d talk about things I learned at my two rehabs, go over my mental health history, and talk about how my experiences in life led me to where I was at the time. It was very tough work a lot of the time. I think she’s seen me cry more than anybody else in the last 35 years. Two years after first meeting her, when it was time to do my six months in jail, I was a healthier version of myself than I’d ever been, with her deserving a lot of the credit.

She testified in my favor at the sentencing and visited me in jail. I resumed a steady schedule of therapy upon release and although it was part of my probation conditions, it’s not like I would have stopped seeing her. Off probation now, I’m still not quitting.

As I’ve continued to move in healthier directions, writing books and trying to educate about porn addiction, she’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders and I don’t know that I’d have the confidence to keep going if she didn’t boost me up from time to time.

I read so much about people who are just not connecting with their therapist. I have to admit, I was not always 100% open and honest about everything with my former therapists, so some of the problem was likely me. With my current therapist, I can tell her anything, even things that are uncomfortable and shameful.

I wouldn’t have ever thought a woman who’s only three or four years older than me would be the one I clicked with, but she was the one. Her practice has expanded mightily to several offices over the last few years and despite transitioning most of her client load, she was gracious enough to continue seeing me. That meant a lot as I can’t imagine the time it would take to not only get up to speed with another therapist, but also be lucky enough to make that connection.

If you’re not connecting with your therapist, and you’ve given it four or five sessions, stop wasting your time. Just because they have some letters after their name does not mean they are instantly the perfect one for you. I needed someone who asked a lot of questions and who understands my strange sense of humor. I needed someone who shared a bit about her life, but didn’t make it about her. I didn’t want someone who ended every session with “homework.” I didn’t do my homework in high school, what makes you think I’m going to do it now?

She’s never given me the “magic bullet” piece of advice to change everything for the better. She helped me learn it doesn’t exist. While I don’t need the intense therapy I had early in recovery, it’s reassuring to know we can check-in every 2 or 3 weeks, even if it’s just for chit-chat. Hopefully that will continue for many years to come.

Find a therapist you connect with because it will make a world of difference. It did for me.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Pornography Addiction in Yourself or Others

It’s been quite a while since I’ve talked about this, and I always worry that some of the more important, educational articles get buried by ones that might be more entertaining, so I think it’s probably once again time to talk about the signs of pornography addiction.

As always, I want to mention that I am not a doctor, and this should only be considered a guide. If you see these behaviors in yourself, I urge you to do more research and schedule an appointment with a professional addiction therapist to establish your current condition and plot a recovery path.

If you see these behaviors in loved ones, remind them that they can always talk to you, that you are not there to judge them, nor shame them, but you’re concerned they may have a problem and if they ask, you’re there to assist them getting help.

These symptoms were taken from Addiction.com:

Early Warning Signs

  • Lying about, keeping secrets about and covering up the nature and extent of porn use
  • Anger or irritability if confronted about the nature or extent of porn use
  • Sexual dysfunction with real-world partners, including erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and an inability to reach orgasm

Just because these are the early signs, it doesn’t mean that they ever go away. I was confronted by two women in I my life long before my addiction reached a critical point. One was a girlfriend when I was 20 who happen to see I had a pornographic video tape among my collection of non-porn tapes. She was very anti-porn, so I threw it away in front of her. She didn’t know about the box full of porn I had hidden elsewhere.

I gave that box of porn away before I met my wife. She discovered I looked at porn when I accidentally left it up on my computer. Because we didn’t have problems in the bedroom, she let it go, but I greatly underreported my use of porn to her and passed it off as a “boys will be boys” thing.

Ongoing Signs

  • Escalating amounts of time spent on porn use, with hours and sometimes even days lost to pornography
  • An inability to form lasting social and intimate romantic relationships
  • Intense feelings of depression, shame and isolation
  • Disintegration of relationships with family, friends and romantic partners
  • Loss of interest in non-porn activities such as work, school, socializing, family and exercise

The shame and isolation I felt was because I knew I had to keep my dependence on pornography a secret. Unlike my alcoholism, porn wasn’t something I engaged in around friends, so the feeling of isolation was certainly there. I never lost days to porn, but before I entered the critical phase, just as my life was starting to take a turn, my usage certainly increased. Instead of just looking at it late at night for 20-30 minutes, I was also starting to view it during the day, and I might look up at the clock and realize 2-3 hours had elapsed.

For as long as I can remember, I was never able to just sit and be with myself. Deep down I knew who I was – a scared little kid not built for the adult world who was faking his way through. As my world started to crash, I withdrew from so many people and activities, but porn was always there for me. Even if it was bad for me, which I knew on certain levels, it was always there and I could count on it.

Critical Signs

  • Viewing progressively more intense or bizarre sexual content
  • Escalation from two-dimensional porn viewing to use of technology for casual, anonymous or paid-for sexual encounters, whether in-person or via Webcams
  • Trouble at work or in school (including reprimands and/or dismissal) related to poor performance, misuse of company/school equipment and/or public use of porn
  • Physical injury caused by compulsive masturbation
  • Financial issues
  • Legal issues (usually related to illegal porn use)

And this is where it all went bad. Thankfully, I believe I was only in this phase for 6-8 months before the police intervention served as a major wake-up call and was the impetus to turn my life around. I made that move to webcams because I needed to escalate the addiction to the point of interacting with somebody else. Could that have eventually led to meeting someone in real life? I’ll never know, and for that I’m glad.

My business was falling apart, my finances were crashing and in the end, the legal issues hit me like a ton of bricks. All because I didn’t get help in time. I wasn’t aware of porn addiction and it’s a big reason I talk about it now. The more people know, the more likely they are to get help. I implore you, if you think you may have a problem, or even if this blog entry just raises a few red flags, seek help. A place to start can be the RESOURCES page on this site.

Is There Anything Wrong With Following Blogs of People You Disagree With?

I’ve been adding a lot of blog sites to my Reader list recently and I have noticed a trend that many of them actually stand in contrast to my core beliefs, or are so out there philosophically that I’m drawn to what these people have to say.

I first came in journalism in the mid-1990s. While Rush Limbaugh had figured out it was a good business ploy to play to the right claiming that the media was bias, we really didn’t have sides in the media at that point. Today, I have a bit of a different opinion about how things have changed, but that’s not the point of this.

In trying to not take sides, I was always taught to cover both sides of an issue, without making any value judgments in what I was presenting.

Sometimes that wasn’t simple. I heard the Grand Wizard of the almost-defunct Maine chapter of the Ku Klux Klan lived a couple of towns over, so I basically knocked on his door and asked to interview him. Despite the fact he was well spoken and treated me with kindness and dare I say, warmth, I still found his core beliefs repugnant. Nonetheless, I reported what I saw and what he said, talked to a couple of anti-hate groups, wrote down what they said and was done with it.

Up until that point, I couldn’t tell you what the modern KKK stood for, or against. I just knew it as the southern cross burning and lynching group of 50 years earlier. Was it wrong that I learned this information and shared it?

I loved being a reporter. I met famous people, got to experience things for free people spend a lot of money on, have seen historical, dangerous, exciting and tragic events unfold in front of me and genuinely felt a duty to be the eyes and ears of the community – the entire community.

More than two decades later, I still like to get both sides of the story and learn people’s takes on what is happening in the world. I find people, especially those who disagree with me, fascinating. I think that I should be able to hear what the KKK guy has to say without it making me racist or pro-KKK. Allowing someone to share a differing opinion does not, by default, mean you share that opinion.

But it seems like today, we live in a culture where you have to agree 100% with whatever ideological camp you’ve assigned yourself to and if not, you’re a traitor to some indefinable cause.

Here’s a thought for you: Somewhere out there, you will find somebody who has the completely opposite world viewpoint as you. How you feel about Donald Trump, education funding, military exercises, sexual culture, religion/spirituality, abortion, the death penalty, etc., there is somebody out there who opposes you on each of those things.

Are they completely crazy? If they’re half crazy, doesn’t that make you the other half? Are they not crazy at all and just wrong? What makes them wrong? What makes you right? Can you intellectually, and not emotionally or ignorantly, defend your positions?

Many liberal people were freaking out this week when openly gay liberal talk show host Ellen Degeneres was sitting with former President George W. Bush at a Cowboys football game. Why? Because Bush has beliefs that don’t completely line up with Ellen’s. Many people feel that their beliefs are in lockstep with Ellen’s and for her to sit with a Republican that hasn’t prioritized an LGBTQ agenda makes her a traitor.

I loved her response: ““I’m friends with George Bush,” DeGeneres said. “In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK.”

Michelle Obama seems very close with George Bush and has said he’s a warm, wonderful man, despite their political differences. I’ve read accounts from CIA agents who say that he was their favorite leader to work for because he was the most decent, respectful President.

George Bush probably made the most mistakes as president since Jimmy Carter – who by all accounts is another amazing human being – yet is that any reason to shun him? These days, many say it’s the very reason you should shun him.

In real life, I don’t know anybody who blogs on WordPress, despite sometimes knowing a lot about them. I don’t know if I’d enjoy their company or become genuine friends regardless of our similar or different beliefs.

It’s easy to read the blogs of people who have beliefs I agree with and would be even easier to stay away from people who I think have fundamentally flawed viewpoints.

I follow blogs from many people who live in Africa or South America. They seem like wonderful people, although most of their views on marriage and sexuality differ than mine. I follow blogs from a few who do not believe the way the mental health community handles medication is correct, despite the fact I know my bipolar medication has saved my life. I disagree with them vehemently, but still read one blog from somebody who thinks all addiction is nonsense. I read blogs from Scientologists, anti-vaxers and conspiracy theorists. Despite not being religious, I read blogs from people who constantly refer to their religions or religious texts of different varieties.

I would not want to get in a talking head opinion/fact debate with them, and don’t usually leave dissenting messages. Those are the things that turn me away from traditional news these days. Let’s talk, not argue.

The only thing I don’t think I could read is a blog that advocated violence against children or animals or anything containing actual hate speech; real hate speech…not disagree-with-me speech. People confuse the two these days.

We’re living in a world where “cancel culture” is all the rage these days. If your tribe finds something that somebody else did offensive, you attempt to boycott them into oblivion. This allows us to skip due process and punish who we decide are offenders of our opinions directly. Why deal with the courts when you can just render a verdict on Twitter?

I think it’s fine to have opinions and I think it’s natural to find yourself drawn to others with the same opinions. I just think you’re missing out on a lot of perspective, and potentially some genuinely good people, if you allow your opinions to rule out learning about those who are different than you.

 

My Podcast Appearances Are Best When They Are Like Public Therapy Sessions

Since I have a new book coming out in a couple of months, now is the time for me to be booking and appearing on podcasts, since many of them tape up to two months in advance. Whether it’s because I already have one book on the shelves, or because I’ve been beating this porn addiction education drum for a couple of extra years, I’m being booked on overall higher quality shows that when I did the circuit after my first book came out.

Let me make it clear I don’t think any of these shows are bad. I think somebody who wants to express themselves through the medium is great, and allowing me to come on their show to talk about the issue, whether 34 or 3,400 people are listening, is going to be a step forward in normalizing the need to talk about pornography addiction. I appreciate every show I’ve been a part of and have only turned down two requests to appear because I could tell I’d be the butt of jokes, or porn addiction would be, and that doesn’t help anything.

I recorded a show four days ago on Friday afternoon, and a show earlier today, that were among the most grueling I’ve done because the hosts really knew their stuff, came prepared and had no problem challenging things I said. A great thing that came out of these podcasts is that I was asked questions I’ve never been asked, even by my therapist or any of the professionals I’ve worked with in the past.

Instead of focusing on my crime, which was the topic for most of the early podcasts, there’s now more philosophical questions about addiction origins and solutions to the problems we face. It’s less about my story and more bigger picture issues. Personal questions focus on my overall addiction, not just the crime.

The podcast taped on Friday was with Dr. Mark Goulston. He’s written what many consider the greatest book about listening in history. That one, and his other books, total nearly a half-million sales over the last 25 years. After our interview, he was jetting off to Russia to co-present a lecture with Daniel Kahneman who wrote “Thinking Fast and Slow” which won Kahneman a Pulitzer Prize and is among the greatest, yet most difficult, books I’ve ever read.

It was an honor to be on his show and his questioning, both in content and methodology, was unlike any interview I’ve had. Do you know when you’re in the presence of greatness? That’s how I felt here.

Dr. Goulston asked me a question I wrestled with all weekend that I’d never heard before. Once I was arrested, why did I almost instantly decide to turn things around and make the best in both the short- and long-term out of my situation when the vast majority of others run from similar situations or try to fly under the radar? Since there’s almost nobody else out there talking about this stuff like I am, what is different about me than the others?

I talked about how I am a “project person” who is at his best when he’s working on something and I simply decided that becoming mentally and emotionally healthy was the project. And once that project was mostly finished (it never is completely) I began the writing, website and interviews because education became my project.

I think this is part of it, but I’ve been turning this over in my head again and again. If they default position taken by 99% of the population in my situation is to shut their mouths, sit down and never raise their hand, why am I doing the opposite? Does that say more about something being wrong with me than them? Why am I the outlier?

The interview was full of questions like this and I really look forward to hearing the edited final result. When I was finished, I felt like I’d had a grueling, yet productive, therapy session. I’m hoping that comes through in the audio.

With the other show, I wasn’t interviewed by anybody famous, but it was a two-hour discussion that really went deep into what addiction is and how much the addict can be held responsible for the condition they end up in.

My opinion on this has changed over time, but it’s still a bit murky. I know it’s not the same for everyone, but it forced me to confront what role I consciously played in my downfall. How much can I claim is brain disease and how much can I say was poor decision making?

I had to interject a few times to say things like we need to create a safe space and not judge addicts, as I felt the host reflected certain ideas about addiction that are held in mainstream society, but many people are afraid to say. I didn’t take anything personally, and he forced me to really think about things, even if I believe he doesn’t have a great true handle on what the critical phase of addiction is like. As with Friday’s interview, I was exhausted when it was over.

I don’t necessarily have the right answer for any of these questions because it’s not like an objective math equation. There is no across-the-board correct answer that covers every alcoholic or porn addict, but these two podcasts made me recognize that I may not even have the answers yet for questions I’ve never considered.

It feels good to be challenged and process these questions further. I think that’s the only way we evolve and it doesn’t matter if it’s a clinical therapy setting on a podcast. Growth is the goal.

When these two appearances make their debut, I’ll not only link them here, but also on the main page and Interviews page on the website.