Four Years and A Feeling of Distance

Today is the fourth anniversary of getting sentenced in court. It was a Friday and like they were there through most of my ordeal, my wife and father accompanied me to the County Building.

I was full of anxiety, fear, hope, nausea, etc. My emotions were pinging far harder than they are pinging today. In fact, I’m barely registering the anniversary today.

This may sound like a strange analogy, but I can’t immediately think of anything else that springs to mind. When 9/11 happened, it was a huge, huge deal. You know what I mean if you were around at the time. It changed so many things in the world in an instant. The following year, every TV network had memorial shows. Then, as time went on, the networks stopped covering the anniversary and left it to cable channels. Eventually, the only cable that seemed to care was History Channel, but even they stopped making new documentaries eventually. Now, we have a world where many people who could remember 9/11 are dead and many who can’t because they were too young. Hard as it is to realize, someone coming out of college now was alive for it, but doesn’t remember it.

My sentencing was a pivotal piece in my legal ordeal and it was the unknown hanging over everything in the two years between arrest and sentencing. I was a healthier version of myself than I’d ever been walking into that court room, but I knew logically, you can’t just let someone who did what I did go free. You have to send some kind of message and the six months that was handed down seemed fair to me. I would have felt lucky with six weeks and totally screwed with six years. I know others still have differing opinions, but as I always mention, none of our opinions matter, just the judge’s, so I’ve learned to accept it. It’s also much easier to accept now that it’s so far in the rearview mirror.

This is the first anniversary of sentencing since completely being rid of the legal system, as I left the probation system in mid-2019.

I hope it’s a sign of progress that I’m moving on from an anniversary day causing deep emotions, and not that I’m somehow becoming cold to the events or what I did to end up in that position. In many respects, I can never just “move on.”

The day makes me a little sad because it reminds me of my wonderful lawyer who died a couple of years ago. He was a class act who never judged me and just wanted to help a guy who clearly made a horrible mistake but was trying to fix himself. His nudging toward rehab and reminding me multiple times it was about getting better, not about pleasing a judge, have stuck with me to this day.

Even if I’m not feeling strong emotions today, I thought it was important to at least mention it, remember it, and pause to check in with myself how I’m feeling over the whole situation against the backdrop of where I am now.

Highlighting the Personal Development Areas that Need Attention in the New Year

I never used to make New Year’s Resolutions. I was too much of an edgy individual who wasn’t going to kowtow to pack mentality. That was before I recognized that certain types of conformity are important and are actually the glue that holds a society together.

The always worthy of a read Coaching Skills International posted another great, simple piece on Jan. 1 that was titled Tips for Getting More Out of Life. While I think I’ve developed the ability to accept and/or follow Tips 1-6, it’s those last four I need work on. So, I decided that these will be things to work on in the immediate future. Since I resolved this on Jan. 1, technically it’s a New Year’s Resolution…I’m such a commoner.

These four tips were:

Schedule margin into your life – as something unexpected will often change your plans.

I love the irony of the timing of this bit of advice. This morning, only hours after reading this last night, my wife’s car was dead. So, I gave it a jump this morning and she made it work barely, but it sounds like there’s something well beyond a battery happening. Now, I’ve got to get it towed to a garage to be looked at and who knows the cost of fixing it. In less than one week, we’ve gone from a three-car household to a one-car household.

This would have really set me off in the past with anxiety, but I’ve made some strides in this area. I know in a few weeks things will likely be back to normal, but in the interim, the four of us all have such tightly packed lives I have no idea how it’s going to work with one vehicle. I’m now running through ideas of how to handle this. I really should run through other “when the shit hits the fan” solutions in my life before they occur. What happens if the hot water heater or furnace die today? What happens if my wife loses her job? What happens if my parents die or one of the kids gets sick? You can never predict the unexpected, but you can be better prepared than I am.

QTIP: Quit Taking It Personally.

Do you know the one word you’ll never read on a box of Q-Tips? Ears. You’re actually not supposed to stick them in there and the company will never tell you it’s OK. I can’t think of another product where 99.9% of people using them are doing it for a purpose the company won’t acknowledge…but I digress.

This is another work in progress. I’m much better at this than I was five or six years ago, but I’m not as far along as I wish. Just when I think I have this one nailed, I get bombarded with a bunch of negativity and shaking it off isn’t as easy as I tell myself it is in simpler times.

I think it’s not just attacks. I think it’s not being heard, or at least not having my opinions considered that feels so bad to me. As a journalist, I’m trained to hear all side of things, even if I disagree, and to do so with logic and measured emotion. There are a lot of people who will just trash you and not listen to reason. I guess I take not extending the same courteous to me as the personal disrespect part.

Define what’s necessary; say no to the rest.

You would think that somebody like me has a really easy time saying no to people, but it’s always been a problem. Despite being seen as a bad guy by many people, I hate being seen as the bad guy. It’s ironic. I’ve always, at least in my mind, tried to keep conflict to a minimum with others. I know the way I used to carry myself and conduct my business rubbed many people the wrong way, but I never set out to upset them.

Saying no is difficult for me. It led to too many good causes getting free advertising in my magazine, sometimes subpar movies getting into the film festival I helped produce and spending taxpayers money on a lot of social issues as a city councilor. I don’t like saying no to my kids, wife or parents. I don’t like being the negative guy. Saying no and stepping away is a challenge I face in 2020.

Take a deep breath and wait before responding. Don’t react, and say something you’ll regret.

I’m much better at this than I used to be, willing to say something deeply biting if I felt the situation called for it. Now, I can usually shrug things off one or two times, but if someone keeps poking the bear, I’m really, really, really good at saying hurtful things. Like, if there was a game show where you won prizes saying things that cut people deep, I would have been the James Holzhauer of it in 2004.

I think this goes back to not caring what people say. I’m improving and think that I consciously try to diffuse situations and/or walk away, but if the other party isn’t interested in letting things go, they can goad me into not letting them go. Then I say something truly horrible that surprises even myself.

Maybe by the end of the year I can get it to the point where I don’t react after 2 or 3 times but put it to 4 or 5. I mean, after four time of telling someone to back off it seems fair to go Hulk mode on them.

 

 

Closing out a year, and some kind of chapter in my life, with the end of 2019

By the way, 1990 was 30 years ago…

I’m not posting this one publicly, so I think it’ll be read mainly by just the regulars. If you’ve tried to access at my actual site at all in the last 48 hours, you’ll notice a very different look, which in all likelihood will be mostly a transitionary look until I figure out exactly what direction I’m heading in with this pornography addiction education/authoring train. Frankly, I need it to look less like an amateur blog and more like a website of somebody who is an expert in the field.

I released my first book two years ago this coming week. While it wasn’t available for a window earlier this year after a dispute with the first publisher, it is now back up on Amazon. I’m very proud of that story, and it really kicked things off for me, but it’s a version of my story that I feel like I’ve told very well and I need to now tell other stories.

The story I’m telling about partners is being well received and the new book outsold early projections. I’m told the Kindle is coming this week and will let people here know when, and there is a hardcover version coming in late January/early February. This one is geared more toward libraries that won’t take softcover, but it’s cool I’ll finally have a hardcover book. Makes me feel like a grown-up writer. When I was a kid and told people I wanted to write books, it was a hardcover that I pictured holding. It wasn’t about porn addiction, but hey, dreams have a funny way of morphing into realities.

I like this story and it’s an important story to tell, but what’s the next book going to be? Am I going to keep doing small and medium-sized podcasts or can I land some big-ticket ones? Should I focus on other mediums to get the message out there? Should I pour time into the advising/consulting side of things that I’ve been doing, but not really promoting? Is it the time to be pitching articles to national magazines? Since the religious/faith market is so large, should I explore that? Is going back to school and starting a track toward being a mental health professional the right long-term move?

I’ve been kind of doing the same thing for two years now and I feel confident I’m good at it. You tell the same story 100 times, you get good at telling that story. I see how stand-up comedians hone their craft as I now sometimes repeat, verbatim, parts of my story without thinking about it. I don’t want to be doing this same routine on podcasts listened to by only 39 people for the next 10 years. It’s just not who I am.

There has been thought of walking away. I reached a lot of people, and will continue through the books and recordings of those podcasts. If I bowed out now, I could devote my energy to something else. I don’t think that’s the right move though. This is the stage I’m supposed to be on, but I don’t know what part is best for me.

I’m trying to make this website a little more friendly to people who use their phone to access the site. Apparently, that’s like two-thirds of the audience. I hate reading sites like this on my iPhone and rarely check everybody else’s blogs on it. My dad brought home the Apple IIe when I was six years old, and I’ve never been a big fan of laptops, tablets or phones for anything computer related. I guess if you update your site through your phone, you don’t even think of it as computer-based activity.

The future of porn addiction education and the place it’s going to have its biggest impact is with the younger generation. I think the way you reach addicts over 35 is to go through the spouse. I think those who are under 35 can still be approached directly. That is an audience I need to look to connect with more.

I feel like I’m sort of babbling here, but I really just wanted to say while things will be changing a bit, this blog will always be here and will always be a place I know that there’s a small devoted, supportive community. It doesn’t make business nor education sense to keep preaching to the same group. I’ll keep talking to you moving into 2020, but I’m still not sure the frequency, duration or content. I just know it’s time to evolve this thing I’m doing.

If anybody has any feedback, I’m always open to ideas and suggestions.

 

A Not-So-Serious Look At the Questions The World Is Asking

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Ashleyleia, this is all your doing. Her post made me laugh so hard, and I’m avoiding real work, so I’m stealing her idea.

Google puts out its analytics every year and includes the most frequently asked questions by different countries, so I thought it would be fun to take a handful of them and provide answers. These are just a sampling from the many questions asked in many questions. Obviously, people view my site from around the world, so I don’t want to leave any of them out…

Australia:

Q: Why is Instagram not working?

A: The IT guys will get to it, they’re just busy looking at the bikini pictures their college girlfriends posted and wondering what they could have done differently.

Q:  Why is the Amazon burning?

A: The mom-and-pop stores got sick of everybody turning to the Internet to buy stuff and finally took things into their hands.

 

Austria:

Q: Wie wird das Wetter heute?

A: I don’t know. I prefer Drier heute myself.

 

Belgium:

Q: laat is het in Amerika?

A: Laat is indeed het in America.

 

Brazil:

Q: O que e libido?

A: Ummm…

Q: O Que e golden shower?

A: What the hell are you people doing in Brazil for these to be two of your top questions?

 

Canada:

Q: Who killed Jimmy Hoffa?

A: I’m not going to risk getting whacked telling you.

Q: Why am I always tired?

A: You’re not always tired, you dramatic Canadians.

 

Denmark:

Q: Hvad dode Master Fatman af?

A: I have no idea what you’re asking, but I totally want to know who Master Fatman is.

 

Egypt:

Q: مباريات الدوري المصري

A: I think you and I both know the answer to that: Of course not.

 

Germany:

Q: Wo ist Rebecca?

A: John Stamos’ first wife.

Q: Wo is Sri Lanka?

A: John Stamos’ current wife.

 

Hong Kong:

Q: JOKER小丑

A: Yes, take that out of the deck before playing Hold ‘Em.

 

India:

Q: What is howdy Modi?

A: It’s how Texans greet Modi.

 

Ireland:

Q: What is Area 51?

A: It’s where we Americans send the Phish fans who believe in aliens.

Q: What is a dead ting?

A: A ting dat was once livin’.

 

Japan:

Q: mdma とは

A: Just put it in your mouth and enjoy the music, you’ll be fine.

 

Kenya:

Q: What is INEOS?

A: Kenya’s most rockin’ INXS cover band!

 

Lithuania:

Q: Kaip deklaruoti pajamas?

A: No, you don’t have to declare your pajamas at the border.

 

Netherlands:

Q: Wat is Pinksteren?

A: Red and white steren mixed together.

Q: Wat is een podcast?

A: It’s what een is doing since he got kicked off traditional radio after the scandal.

 

Nigeria:

Q: What is Terrorism?

A: If I tell you, you must promise not to try it.

Q: What is Justice?

A: What happen to terrorists.

 

Russia:

Q: с чем носить ботфорты?

A: Yes, your question does look like The Zodiac Killer’s cypher.

 

South Africa:

Q:  Why were cornflakes invented?

A: The real answer is actually more hilarious than anything I could make up. Google it.

Q: How long is a rugby match?

A: For all the blood, pounding on each other and fisticuffs, surprisingly still too damn long.

 

Spain:

Q: Cuando es carnaval?

A: I prefer Royal Carribean.

Q: Cuando es semana Santa?

A: No, Santa can’t have kids.

 

Switzerland:

Q: Was tun Blasenentzündung?

A: Depends on your interpretation of Blasenentzündung.

 

UK:

Q: What is the backstop?

A: February 19, 2005. When America finally had enough of the Backstreet Boys.

Q: What is D Day?

A: The fourth day of the alphabet.

 

United States:

Q: What is a VSCO girl?

A: The evolutionary step between cockroach and flatworm.

Q: Where is the hurricane now?

A: Not sure, but he is still the man the authorities came to blame for something that he never done. Put in a prison cell but one time he coulda been the champion of the world.

 

 

 

There’s a Reason Even the Best Still Have Coaches…They Work

Technically, I’m a life coach. I took a basic course online about 18 months ago to learn certain techniques of talking to people and helping them reach certain conclusions on their own. I did this to help me as I launched PornAddictCounseling.org which was my first attempt to make a few dollars off of my experience and knowledge of pornography addiction.

I’ve probably worked with 16-18 people at this point, half-and-half between addicts and partners. It’s evolved kind of into a service where I’ll generally listen, provide some basic feedback, but answer a lot of questions and nudge them toward professional therapy. I’m sure my life coaching skills have paid off somehow, but I’ve never tried to be anyone’s life coach.

I realized why after a great telephone call I had the other day with an actual life coach I met through LinkedIn. His name is Joseph F. Price and I cannot recommend him highly enough. I felt completely in focus after our 90-minute call.

If you’d like to learn more about Joseph or engage his services, click HERE.

I wrote a post earlier in the week about stepping back from this blog a bit over the next several weeks to recharge batteries, but Joseph really helped me see that while a recharge of batteries is an absolutely important thing, it’s also important to have a tangible list of goals I’d like to pursue in the new year.

There are days that writing these blogs is tough, and tiring, and I don’t look forward to it. God bless the Guest Post on those days. There are also days where I look at my schedule and see a podcast interview coming up in a few hours and the last thing I’m feeling is the desire to tell my story to a new audience for the 20th time that month.

He helped me ask myself a few important questions about what I get out of the frequent posts on the website or the non-stop grind of podcast interviews and I realized as much as I like helping people, it gives me that low-hanging fruit fix of instant feedback. I write a blog post, I know between 5 and 15 people will have a comment within a couple of hours. I record a podcast and I’ve got instant feedback from the host. I think that I’ve mistaken interacting with anybody in any situation for interacting with the optimal audience in the right situation.

In other words, work smarter, not harder.

I don’t really get to market PornAddictCounseling.org and have never really defined what it is or how I should be positioning it because I’m busy with the other stuff. I don’t look for bigger radio/TV/podcast opportunities because I’m too distracted chasing quantity over quality. I know I need more speaking gigs, but who has time to cultivate that?

I mistakenly value being on five podcasts with 100 listeners each for being on one podcast with 500 listeners. I have been posting daily to this site when, let’s be honest, nobody is going to disappear if I only post three times per week. There is so much I could be doing with the extra time that a reduced podcast and posting schedule would provide that may actually lead to me helping more people, and God forbid, supporting myself.

I always knew this stuff, but having Joseph guide me to saying it out loud and recognizing it to be true was of key importance. He also shared a few models for life-balancing and a few anecdotes to help me understand certain points he was trying to make. In a lot of ways, he seemed like a therapist who didn’t get too hung up on the mental health side of things and focused more on the practical application of living life.

New Year’s Resolution time is coming up. If you’re struggling in any areas, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out and asking for help, even if it’s just help verbalizing what you already know to be true. I may technically be a life coach, but Joseph is the real deal.