This is Not How I Thought It Would Feel

Most of you are probably sick to death of me mentioning my book, but I wanted to comment on the conflicting feelings, both emotional and physical, its release is causing me. On a completely objective level, as someone fascinated by human behavior, it’s been interesting to experience. On a personal level, it’s a roller coaster I can’t say I’m enjoying.

For those who are new to my story, my book, The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How I Let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroy Relationships was released January 10. Buy a copy for every day of the week!

So, I’ve been told 95% of the books produced today are self-published. It’s great that this is possible as it gets so much more knowledge and experience into the world. It also keeps the book alive in the age of the Internet. But, there are many writers, editors and executives in the publishing industry who believe self-publishing comes with a certain stigma. This stigma is why I looked for 4 months before I found a publisher who would tell my story the way I wanted. I could have self-published much earlier.

Of the 5% of books that are actually published, only about 10% of those ever see a shelf in a bookstore. Unfortunately, the book store – like encyclopedias, travel agents, newspapers and stationery stores – are dying in our increasingly digital world. This means only about 1 out of 200 books ever sees a shelf in any bookstore.

Today, I found out my book is going to be in at least one store. By the end of the week, I’ll likely have more. It’s surreal…and utterly nauseating.

Yesterday, I finally received my author’s copies of the books. I won’t explain why there was a mix-up, but there are people who ordered the book on Amazon who got it before I ever had an actual copy of my book. Now, I sit here, with several copies next to me. The thing that I poured 18 months of my life into is here…and it’s real. It’s not just on a screen. I’m vulnerable in a way I’ve never known. The closest feeling is when you wake up from that dream where you’re naked walking around high school.

Over the last 10 days, I’ve been doing a lot of media for the book, much of which hasn’t yet been released, and that’s going to continue for a while. It feels like there are two people being interviewed. There’s the guy who has the story in the book about his descent to rock bottom and implosion of his life with porn addiction being the central theme and then there’s the guy who can rattle off statistics and provide factual information and resources about the addiction. That first guy wants to vomit when people are asking hard questions about what he went through. The second guy is cool, calm and collected.

There’s also the proximity to where I’m doing interviews. Yesterday morning, I did a call-in interview with a radio show in Napa Valley, California. I think that’s roughly 3,000 miles away. When it was over, I moved on with my day. When my hometown newspaper did a short article and the largest TV news station in Maine did a story, my stomach was in knots, especially immediately before the stories were released. Thankfully, I was happy with the way both turned out.

I follow the Amazon Best Seller Rank listings like it’s the stock market. Am I up? Am I down. One hour I’m listed worldwide at 73,492 and the next it’s 240,314. Oh, no! I’m dropping. Then the next hour it’s up to 111,845…we’re gaining again! Then there are all the sub-categories. For the last week, I’ve consistently been the third best-selling new sexual recovery book. That’s a very specific audience…but can I officially say it’s a “best seller”?

I don’t know how to regulate my feelings, be it emotional or physical, with this. I have a feeling my bipolar meds are like, “Dude, chill…we can only work so hard.”

I know I don’t have an international best-seller on my hands. I’ll be lucky to sell a couple thousand. It’s a taboo topic with a limited audience. I know in a year I’ll probably be shopping my next book around to publishers and not thinking a lot about this one.

For now though, it’s an awesome experience…and makes me want to puke.

My First Television Interview Is Now Available to Watch

They say the camera ads 10 pounds, so just subtract that from what you see. They also say it’s all about the editing. While it’s always really hard to hear other people tell my story, I don’t think I could have asked them to do a better job with this interview. It was scary waiting to see how a 40-minute interview would be boiled down to 2 minutes, but I’m pleased with the outcome… Click Here to Watch

Today is the Day I Never Thought Would Arrive

So, this is it…no more rewriting, editing, pre-sale, debating whether or not to chicken out and pull the whole plug during the pre-sale. As of this morning, January 10, 2018, my memoir is available to the public and has begun shipping to those who have already ordered it. There is no turning back from telling my story now.

When I was a little kid, one of my first career goals was to be an author of books. At that point, I was going to create some kind of series with clever character like my favorite authors Judy Blume or Beverly Clearly did. I would never have guessed that it would take 30 years and be a non-fiction book about my descent into pornography addiction.

I would have been excited about the premise for much of the book. I launch a successful magazine in my hometown, win in my first attempt at public office and co-create what MovieMaker Magazine once called one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in America.” Never would I have imagined I could have so royally destroyed things.

Immediately after I was arrested, I thought to myself, “If I could have actually tried to screw things up worse, could I?” At that point, in my self-loathing and self-pity, I didn’t think so.

I saw myself as a guy who never addressed the demons of abuse from being a little kid, let himself develop a hefty alcohol problem, became a raging narcissist, alienated my family, ignored my well-established mental health needs and watched as a business I worked hard to create circled the drain. Oh yeah, and I began talking to women in chat rooms, sometimes leading to inappropriate sexual exchanges. Thank God the police got involved or I’d be dead.

Today, with this book on the market after more than 18 months of work, it’s my first major step toward setting things right. I have many goals with the book but the overall theme of those goals is to spread some good in the world.

I don’t ask much, but if you were ever going to consider picking up one of my books, today is a good time. I don’t know exactly how the book world works, but for whatever reason, both Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com are selling my book today at about 35% off. You can get it for around $11.50. Thanks for giving it some thought.

I Have a Cover!!!

Front CoverI was so psyched to get the cover of my first book sent to me by my publisher over the Christmas holiday. For the first time, it feels very, very real, which is both scary and exciting.

I’ll talk a lot more about the book when it becomes available in January, but from what I can tell, it’s the first memoir about pornography addiction where the author uses his real name and shares the story of ending up in jail for making poor decisions. Many publishers were scared to take on this book, but thankfully Joshua Tree Publishing out of Chicago understood what I was trying to do.

I saw the book typeset for the first time as well. It’s one thing to work on a Microsoft Word document for 18 months, and then it’s another when you see it in a real-life 251 page layout. I think it’s a good length and hopefully will inform and yes, entertain, people as well. It’s not a dry recitation of statistics, nor a graphic tell-all. It’s basically about a guy who seemingly had it all, didn’t see the warning signs he was sick and saw his entire life implode by his bad decision making. The book flashes back to parts of my life that likely contributed to my attitudes toward sexuality, while also chronicling my descent to rock bottom with pornography and alcohol.

It’s ironic that, technically, this is probably by 15th or 16th book. I’ve done a lot of ghostwriting and have released a book under a pseudonym. Despite all of those, this is the one that leaves me feeling raw and exposed for the first time.

I’ll be letting everybody know more about the book release in the upcoming weeks. If anybody knows of particularly good book review blogs, I’d love to hear about them. I need to start making a list for my publisher of where I want promotional copies to be sent. Thanks.

And the Liebster goes to…

“For the ones who don’t know, ‘Liebster’ is a German word which means ‘dearest/nicest’.

First, allow me to thank Let’s Talk Depression for nominating me for this honor. I appreciate it immensely. While I’ve made my career as a writer dating back to my first real newspaper job as a senior in high school, I’ve only been blogging a few months. I know pornography addiction isn’t exactly a fun topic, but when I realized just how off-the-radar it is for the general public, I thought I could help try to spark a discussion. In a month or so, I’ll have a book coming out that is far more memoir than self-help. If you follow this blog, you’ll be the first to find out when it will be released.

I like this award because it calls attention to blogs you may not know exist, but also allows you to learn a little bit about the person behind the blog. I have my nominees for this award further down. I hope you’ll visit this diverse mix of quality work. If I nominated you, the rules on how to pay it forward are listed there as well.

One of the tasks is to answer 10 questions posed by the person who nominated you. Here goes:

10 QUESTIONS:

What prompted you to start a blog?

My life imploded big-time toward the end of 2013 and start of 2014. Various addictions, mental health issues, a crumbling family life, a business that was dying and demons from my past resurfacing all collided into one magnificent shit show. I did things completely out of character for myself, including manipulating a teenage girl to please herself on her webcam for me. I spent the next several years working on my mental health and figuring out how everything went so wrong. Two rehab stints, a ton of therapy and six months in jail have done more good for me than I ever would have imagined. I know there are other people who are suffering with porn addiction, and like every addiction, it escalates. You need more. You need different. But unlike many addictions, nobody talks about porn addiction. It’s time to start and this blog is my contribution to the conversation.

What is your goal for this blog?

I would like it to be a place where the general public could come and learn some basics and see that porn addicts aren’t immoral, evil people or complete losers who live in their mom’s basement. Statistics suggest porn addiction, especially online porn addiction is far more rampant than you could imagine…but nobody talks about it. I hope the non-addict can see this site as a place where the curtain is pulled back. For the person who may be wondering if their an addict, or the person who is well aware they are, I hope this can be a judgement-free zone where they are free to be open about who they are. I hope they realize they are not alone. My long-term hope is that I can become a louder voice and a leading voice in the porn addiction community.

What is your dream job?

It’s very Office Space of me, but my dream job is to not have a job. I have probably loved 97% of my working life since I was 17 years old. This also led me to being a workaholic. I don’t think I have a dream job, but it is one where I feel like I’m contributing something positive to the world, enjoy what I’m doing, feel challenged and make enough money to not worry about my living expenses.

What is the best thing that has come out of you starting a blog?

I think it’s the sense of community. Not just among pornography addicts, addicts in general or the mental health community, but even just the average person who takes a look at the blog and recognizing what I’m trying to do. I burned a lot of people in my area on my way to rock bottom and many will never have the capacity to either forgive, understand what happened or understand what I’m trying to do now. That’s OK. That’s their right. It’s just a little discouraging when you live in the middle of it. On here I have people from all over the world who “get it” and that’s what keeps me inspired to keep going.

How much time a day do you spend on your blog?

I usually do one post a week that I write over the weekend and post on Monday. I spend some time at The Community Pool on Monday as well, finding new blogs, giving feedback to those who ask and trying to get a little feedback of my own. If something is really digging at me, I’ll post again, but far more of my time after Monday is spent reading other people’s work.

What is the best advise you have for new bloggers?

First, do it for yourself. If this is a vehicle for fame, attention or money, there are far easier ways to find all three. On a technical side, take care of the website part of things. When I see an unfinished About section or somebody who just leaves the widgets untouched, I rarely follow. On a content side, have something to say. Don’t start a blog for the sake of it. The first Monday I have nothing to say, I won’t post that day. If you’re just doing it for the sake of it, go use social media. It’s the place for inane chatter.

Where do you see your blog in 5 years?

This is starting to feel like a job interview. Hopefully with the same mission it has now, just reaching exponentially more people.

What do you define love as?

The source of all positive energy in the universe.

If you could inspire just one person, what would you tell them?

I was honored to give the commencement address at my former high school in 2013. I thought it was a pretty inspiring speech. You can watch it HERE.

Are you having fun in life?

My brand of fun hasn’t always been healthy, so that’s not exactly my criteria for happiness anymore. I simply try to find what is fascinating and interesting, even in the worst situations. Jail sucks, but you meet some fascinating people. The recovery process is often painful, but always interesting. I look at this world the way I looked at it when I was 5 years old, with awe and wonder. As long as I’m able to do that, i’ll be OK.

MY NOMINEES:

I nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award. If you’ve been nominated before, consider it like an Oscar and not chickenpox…you’re allowed to get it more than once. I thank all of you for bringing honesty, information and entertainment into my life on a daily basis. I am lucky to have found your voice.

The Wrongs I Must Write

Work in Progress

New Pattern Counseling

My Casual Trainwreck Life

Sunflower Treehouse

Phoenix With A Pen

A Small Journey

PornFreePoolDude

Game Books App

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, provide a link to their blog.
  • Include award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Make a new set of 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate 10 recently followed bloggers and share your post with them so they see it.

YOUR 10 QUESTIONS:

  1. What was your initial goal in starting your blog?
  2. Has that goal changed? If so, how?
  3. Do you see yourself blogging for years to come?
  4. What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
  5. What is one thing you would like to change about our society?
  6. If you could magically make a 15-second phone call to the person you were 10 years ago, but not say who you were, what would you say?
  7. What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
  8. If you could go back and do things differently, would you? When would that be, knowing that from that point forward, everything you’ve experienced will change?
  9. What is a great movie that you think doesn’t get enough credit?
  10.  Nietzsche said:  “That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.” What do you think he meant by that?

 

Once again, I’d like to thank Let’s Talk Depression for nominating me. This was a fun exercise on a day I have been avoiding real work.

Preparing Those Close to Me For the Release of My Book

The final edit of my book is taking longer than I thought it would, but that’s OK. I’d rather the publisher take his time and go through it with a fine-toothed comb than put something into the world that is full of mistakes or sentences that make sense to me, but is incoherent to others.

One of the things that this extra time has allowed me is the chance sit down with a couple of people close to me who I haven’t really spoken with in the last few years and give them a chance to ask any questions they may have and fill in the holes between what they heard vs. what they think they know vs. what they actually know.

I don’t want them reading something troubling in the book they had no idea about. It’ll probably be rough enough without surprises.

They didn’t know much about my addictions, both alcohol and porn, because neither involved those who were close to me. The porn was all online and when it involved people, was total strangers. The only time anybody saw me drink alcohol publicly was at professional social functions and while I often had more than I should, nobody saw a falling-down drunk.

With close family and friends, they were mostly kept in the dark. At the extended family Christmas party, there is routinely a bottle or two of wine and a case of beer available. In the 20 years it’s been legal for me to drink, I believe I had a bottle of beer once, about 15 years ago.

I knew that at the core, my drinking was shameful and I didn’t want to put it on display. I couldn’t only have one or two and be satisfied, so why would I start, especially in front of the very people who I wanted to hide my dysfunctional relationship with alcohol from the most. Instead of getting the machine in my head going, it was better to wait to get home and get hammered on the hard stuff, alone.

It was the same way with the porn. I think it is for everybody, but even social events like going to a strip club were things I did solo. If buddies ever brought up porn or anything like that, I took steps to not be part of the conversation. I didn’t want to suddenly blurt, “But I prefer Jess Franco’s style of directing Italian porn films from the late 1970s” and be outed at someone who clearly had a problem.

I was never a Casanova or a guy who hit on the girls, going back to being a child. If a girl showed any interest in me, I tried to steer her toward a relationship, not a one-night-stand. I don’t think there was anything in my demeanor that would suggest to anybody close to me that I had an unhealthy fixation on porn.

Maybe those close to me simply don’t want to accept that I have these addictions and prefer to see the destruction of my life as the result of an isolated incident. I’ve written, re- written, edited, re- written, re-edited and re- written my book so many times, it almost feels like I’m deal with a character and not me at this point. Maybe that’s how they prefer to view it.

Nobody asks graphic or detail-oriented questions. Most don’t know where to start with their questions. I let them know that I was very ill and tell them what I did. I talk about starting the book during the six months I was in jail and how the recovery process has changed me.

I know that they see somebody different, but I think they’re still having trouble assimilating that – despite their belief at the time — they never really knew the person I was.