I’m now officially offering peer support counseling for pornography addiction

I’ve decided to leap in with both feet and begin formally providing peer support counseling to people who are dealing with pornography addiction or those who have porn addicts in their lives who are directly affected. I appreciate the encouragement from the people who have urged me to direct my energy in this direction. It will be interesting to see what happens.

You can view the site for the new venture at PornAddictCounseling.org

Almost nobody knows just how many people I have been providing support and advice to in the last three or four months. Once my book came out and I started doing podcasts and interviews, I started getting a lot of email. That only increased when I was introduced to a handful of online forums.

Before I recognized it, my morning routine involved answering email for 90 minutes to 2 hours every morning after dropping my son off at school. There was usually another hour after lunch and sometimes another hour in the early evening. When people are writing to you from all over the world, stuff comes in around the clock.

I really like helping. I feel like it gives me purpose. I have a lot of knowledge about pornography addiction and I’m a former addict who is successful in recovery who doesn’t mind talking about it. It makes me rare and makes sense for someone to seek me out for advice, suggestions or support. I’ve enjoyed helping and it gives me such a sense of happiness when something I’ve said has helped someone.

In early March, it became very clear to me that the time I was devoting to helping people was eating into the time I use to make money as a freelance writer. Thankfully, I have a couple of steady clients who pay well, but that “extra time” I used to pick up odd jobs here and there was gone. Those odd jobs can mean 20%-40% of my income many months and without it, things were getting tight.

A close friend suggested a fee for my peer support and counseling in late March. I did a bit of research and it’s far more common than I realized. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so crazy and there was now a way I could both help people and replace the money I’m not taking in from writing anymore.

After talking it over in early April with my wife and therapist who both thought it was a good idea, I enrolled in a life coaching course (which frankly, I’m not sure was worth the money or my life has just provided ample training) and finished in early May. I built the website last week.

So today, I officially launch this side affair. I’m not going to push it like I’ve pushed my book. (Have you still not bought one? What’s wrong with you? Cool people buy it and you want to be cool, right? Super cool people buy two.) I’m going to treat this organically. Maybe putting a price on this scares people away. Maybe it’s the start of a second career. Time will tell.

I hope you’ll check the site out and let me know if there’s anything that’s missing or if there’s something you’d like to see there. It’s not meant to be an active blog like this site, so I want to get it right in the beginning. And nothing should change about this site. I’ll still post something original on Monday and then either do a Q&A, statistic of the month or “Getting Trivial Things Off My Chest” on Thursdays.

Finally, I want to thank people for their support leading to the start of this endeavor, especially those who provided name-changed testimonials.

The one thing I don’t have yet is a clever name for the whole thing. Any ideas?

Once again, you can check it out at PornAddictCounseling.org

If what I’m offering is not the kind of professional help you need, but you’re anxious to meet a psychiatrist face-to-face, I urge you to check out this site and learn more about finding help online. Click HERE for more information.

 

Ask Me Anything… And They Are

So Monday is my usual day for an entry on my site but I have been absolutely slammed with questions for the Ask Me Anything I’m doing over at AMAHost.com  I didn’t know anything about this site until I was asked to do it last week, but I’ve now got over 30 questions answered and have actually tackled a bunch of topics that I’ve never talked about on this site beyond my porn addiction, in more depth, like my alcoholism and process for writing my book. If you have enjoyed my writing in the past, I hope you’ll click over to this site and check it out.

Click Here for my Ask Me Anything event

In Overcoming Addiction, Long-Held Dreams Can Still Come True

It’s fascinating how things work out. Andy Dufresne just wanted to work on a boat project and the younger version of Joshua Shea just wanted to walk into a library and see one of his books on a shelf. Life got in Andy’s way. He was falsely accused of killing his wife, ran a sweet embezzling scheme while behind bars and escaped prison. Of course, he was also a fictional character in The Shawshank Redemption. I, on the other hand, am as real as my mind allows me to be.

Life got in my way, too. When I was 17-year-old high school senior, I saw an ad in my local newspaper’s sports section advertising the position of “sports clerk”. The clerk’s job was to take calls from coaches whose games we didn’t cover either because they were too far away or because we didn’t have the staff and it was deemed unessential for real coverage.

One day, about six weeks after starting, the first round of fall playoff games were rained out. Since the department was down two people, the “real” adult writers were overworked and instead of giving them overtime, they gave them the day off. The editor thought we’d just fill the section with national stories.

A few hours into our shift he came to me and said, “Hey, this is the first year in like a decade the Lewiston High School field hockey team made it to the playoffs. Why don’t you call the coach and have her give you a sense why she thinks they may go far in the playoffs?”

Since I went to Lewiston, I said to my editor, “I’m friends with the two captains, I can call them both, too.” He was impressed I went the extra mile. The next morning, my first bylined story was in the paper.

I almost never had to take another sports clerk call after that day. I was given a staff writer position and was still a high school student. A couple months later, I had proven myself enough that when a job opened in the regular news department, I took it. I fell in love with journalism and never looked back.

Fast-forward 15 years and I’m a magazine publisher, I’d started a film festival and was a local politician. None of this was young Josh’s bucket list stuff. It paid the bills and helped fuel my narcissist side while I hid my addictions, but this stuff was never part of the “dream” plan, they were just good gigs.

As you probably know if you’ve read this site in the past, my world ultimately imploded with my very public arrest for an inappropriate chat room session with a teenage girl. I lost everything I’d worked for professionally. After an intense recovery, I went to serve 6 months in jail. While there, I finally wrote a half-decent book about my addiction. That process revealed to me that I want to help people who are dealing with this issue and help educate those who know nothing and live in a world of stereotypes and assumptions.

When I got out of jail, I continued with recovery and spent the next year editing and polishing the manuscript down to a workable document. I finally found a publisher who would print it.

What’s interesting now, several months after it was officially released is that it’s popping up on the radar of libraries. They automatically get most best sellers or books from the “Big 5” publishers, but little books like mine often go unnoticed.

Thankfully, mine is starting to gain a little bit of traction in the library community. There really isn’t a book written from a male perspective using real names and real events that illustrates a descent into addiction like mine out there. Like the book or hate it, it still can be a resource unlike anything out there and I think that’s why it’s gaining traction.

Not too long ago, I walked into a library that I knew had the book. I went to the New Arrivals section and saw it sitting there, on a shelf with books by authors I recognized and books on subjects I’d want to read about.

Twelve-year-old Josh wouldn’t have believed the subject matter, nor would he have believed that he would write over 2,000 newspaper or magazine articles before his first book would come out, but he would have been psyched to see a book he wrote sitting on a library shelf.

It was a bumpy road on a route to hell and back I’d never advise anybody to take, but there it was…a dream come true.

Morgan Freeman has one of his best voiceover lines of all time at the end of The Shawshank Redemption: “Andy Dufresne crawled out through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.”

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Kennebunk

If you’d like to see a list of libraries my book is in, Click Here

If you’d like to buy the book, Click Here

A Tale of Two Interview Experiences

Call me crazy, but I have come to believe that one of the reasons I was put on this earth was to talk about pornography addiction. With every interview I give, it becomes a little clearer to me that I’m supposed to create awareness for those have none and be a voice of hope for those who are dealing with it. I know it sounds simultaneously spiritual, egotistical and insane, but it feels more genuine and authentic than few things I’ve done in my life prior.

I rarely say no to interviews because my feeling is I should be flattered and honored if somebody wants to give me a few moments on their radio show or podcast. They have worked to cultivate an audience that neither my book nor message may reach if I don’t take the opportunity.

Sometimes this leads to what the Ancient Egyptians called clusterf*cks. And sometimes it leads to a great exchange that I walk away re-energized from, ready to continue spreading the message. I had both happen to me over the last week.

About a month ago, someone sent an email identifying himself from a radio show and asked if I’d appear a few weeks down the road. I did a Google search to confirm it was a real show and a real radio station, then said OK.

I followed the call-in instructions. Aside from guest booker, I have no idea what role he plays in the show. I was put on the air with a very religious evangelical preacher lady.

The first couple minutes went OK as she “mmm-hmmm”ed and “Amen”ed her way through my story. I started to push the conversation toward the public health part of my message, sharing statistics and she started making up her own truths. I tried to be polite, while saying I couldn’t confirm her information. She then launched into a judgmental piece on pornography itself…how the content is disgusting.

Internally, I don’t disagree, but I also know my battle isn’t against pornography itself. It’s not against the industry and it’s not against what material specifically “does it” for you. My message is it doesn’t matter what the pornography specifically is, it’s all about the addiction and I think judging people on what they like is part of the problem of secrecy. When you condemn someone’s tastes, they’re not going to confide when they decide to look for help.

We moved on from this and she started asking me to quote Scripture. Those of you who read my site regularly know I’m spiritual, but have many issues with the religion I was raised in. I tried to be polite and decline for fear of misquoting, but by this point, I felt backed into a corner. I said I think spirituality plays a role in recovery for most, but the few verses I can quote have more to do with reading prayer cards and signs at sports events.

She ended the interview casting out the demons of addiction in all of her listeners. Suffice to say, we’re all cured now.

I thanked her and went on my way, but for most of the day, I wondered if it was my fault for not doing a deeper due diligence about the show and I should have known what I was getting myself into, or if this guy was intentionally vague about the show, both being the host and the subject matter.

Maybe it helped somebody. Maybe it was the most effective interview I’ve done. But, geez, it left me feeling like something just didn’t click and it’s not like on live radio I can say stop and have a discussion.

On the flip side of the coin, there are those that I do and feel like I want the world to listen because we hit every beat and delivered the message in an easy-to-understand and hopefully entertaining format.

I recorded a video podcast with a pair of doctors last week that was posted over the weekend and while I rarely listen to the podcasts I appear on except to hear the quality, I was actually sucked into this one and listened.

The show was called The Mental Breakdown and unlike many interviewers (probably 95%), they had read the book, so they could ask questions about my story that were interesting. I’ll answer the prompt, “Tell me about your book…” all day long, but when the host can tell me about my book, it’s a much better interview for the listeners. The host should be a guide for the audience, who knows nothing about me, not just another member of the audience learning everything for the first time. That’s part of the reason I try to send materials in advance. Even if they don’t read the book, they can know some information.

I guess it felt more like a conversation than a question-and-answer session. I’m including the links below, both the video and the audio. If you have any time, or you’ve been looking for one thing I’ve done to listen to, this is it.

The book has seen an uptick in sales over the last two weeks. Thank you to anybody who purchased it. As of writing this, Amazon is offering it at 11% off. Random, huh? Click HERE to buy.

Audio Only from ITunes

 

Check out my feature story in ‘Recovery Today’ magazine

I was honored and excited to write a story for this month’s issue of Recovery Today magazine that dropped on March 1. Whether you have alcoholism, drug issues, an eating disorder, sex addiction, gambling addiction, etc., this magazine is a great read. I highly urge you to visit the App Store or Google Play to get it.

If you’d like to see the entire issue, click Recovery Today Latest Isssue for a PDF.

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Why You Shouldn’t Believe Anybody Who Says They Are a “Best-Selling Author”

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I have a # 1 Best Seller!!!!!

….only on Amazon
….only in the UK
….only on Kindle
….only in the Pornography Biography category
….only as long as it’s a new book

Ignore the fine print! It still counts, damn it!

Call yourself a best selling author, everyone else does. I feel “pornography addiction expert” is a much better title to hang my hat on.

Links are on the Home Page if you’d like to buy it. It really would mean a lot to me.

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.