Here’s Your Chance to Redeem Yourself…

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 12.54.52 PMYou really wanted to buy my new book and support me when it came out in softcover in December, but either the $19.99 (plus tax and shipping) cost or the fact you’d have a book laying around the house that said “Porn Addict” on the cover was too much for you. That’s OK, I understand. And now, both of those excus….err….reasons have been taken care of as I am proud to announce He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions is available in Kindle!

Now, with a low price of $9.99 and no shipping costs, you can show you support, learn a few things, and prove that reading isn’t dead. With Amazon’s gifting and lending program, if you know somebody who should have the book but isn’t going to pick it up for whatever reason,  you can share with them in a much more subtle way than giving them an actual book.

Hope you’ll pick up, or download, your copy today!

Link to the Kindle:  https://amzn.to/2NyIWAT

For those who purchase the Kindle (and those who don’t, but whatever) my first book is available on Kindle for $3.99 for a short time for only HERE

Q&A Time: What’s The First Advice You Can Give an Addict or Partner?

Note: I answered this question on Reddit today and it seemed like the perfect thing for a short Q&A on this site. I also liked the way she referenced my book. Big news coming about it very soon!

QUESTION: Given your experience, what is the likelihood of someone kicking this habit and if I decide to stay, what advice might you have to follow initially? I will get your book if I do decide to stay for the full advice.

ANSWER: I’ve never seen any actual statistics about recovery, but I have seen many men (and several women) successfully kick this habit. They all had the following in common:

  1. Every addict admitted they had a problem, decided they wanted to fix it and committed themselves to it.

  2. Every addict had a supportive partner. I truly believe partners need to learn the ins and outs of addiction to understand what the disease is on a scientific level. Once you understand, it’s easier to accept the fact it really has nothing to do with you, never did and never will.

  3. Every addict sought professional help. Addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem. With porn addiction, 90% to 94% of addicts have some kind of trauma in their background, wit 81% reporting sexual abuse as a child. Until the addict can figure out why they developed their addiction, it’s not deal with the root cause. That’s why I’m not a fan of the NoFap culture. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a much bigger wound.

  4. Every addict had some sort of fellowship. Be it a 12-step group (whether they followed diligently or not), group therapy, and online forum or another means, addicts need to talk to other addicts who are in recovery.

I hope this helps a little bit.

———————————————————————————————-

If you liked this Q&A, check out the others HERE

You can check out my Resources page if you need a place to start getting help. Click HERE

If you’d like somebody to talk to who has been there about porn addiction, be it yours or someone you love, but aren’t ready to make the leap to get help from the medical community, I can be a great resource. For more information, click HERE

DISCLAIMER: I have no formal training in counseling or medicine. My advice comes from experience as an addict and as someone in recovery for over four years. Please take my words only as suggestions and before doing anything drastic, always consult with a professional. If you’d like me to answer a question publicly, either post it in the comment section or visit the contact page. Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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.

It Was Harder Growing Up With Religion Than Recovering Without It

When a new book comes out, I generally get a lot of messages and while it’s happening again, I’ve had several this week that had deeply religious connotations and I don’t know if they don’t read the site or I haven’t explained it well in a long time, but I figure since it’s Sunday, it would be a great day to get into the whole spirituality/religion thing with you.

I apologize up front as I know this is going to be all over the place, long and I’m sure unintentionally offensive to some.

I was raised by a devout Catholic father and a hugely, hugely devout Catholic mother. They were raised by largely absentee, alcoholic parents. Their faith was something they pursued as they both went to parochial school. They didn’t meet until college, but I think the fact their religious upbringing was so similar helped things.

As I told someone the other day, words like “God,” “sin,” “Bible” etc. are a little bit triggering for me and I think I know why. I have started to draw a lot of parallels to my need for control that was borne out of the environment where my abuse took case. Let me stress I was not abused in the church, but being in a place where I felt completely helpless and lost was not good for my mental health.

I was the inquisitive little kid who had questions at Sunday School or for my mother. The answer was usually the same, “Don’t ask questions” or “It’s God’s Law.” That’s not an environment for somebody like me, who already had power and control issues, was going to thrive.

The rare answers I got didn’t make any sense and attending church was a miserable experience, only second to Sunday school. I would say that other kids around me were having a better time, but based on the exodus from the Catholic Church in America, they just weren’t marketing it to kids in the ’80s very well. They did not communicate what God was supposed to be in a way that we understood. Like chemistry or physics in high school, eventually one gives up trying to understand.

Back then, you went through Confirmation at 15 or 16 and I made a deal with my parents that I’d agree to be confirmed, but at that point, I was going to stop going to Church. They did their job getting me that far, but I was done. I think they recognized I wasn’t joking. I didn’t hate their faith, but I didn’t have it.

My Higher Power, The Afterlife and Mom Gets Mad

Keep in mind that while I attempt to be respectful of people’s religious beliefs, I think the biggest thing missing from the religious (not necessarily spiritual) is the ability to put themselves in the shoes of someone who doesn’t subscribe to the exact same doctrine that they do. I mean, you only have to look at history’s great wars; almost all have a religious angle to them. One of the reasons that 12 Step Groups were not my ultimate answer was (aside from the fact that they don’t really mean “higher power of your choosing” because they end every meeting with a Christian prayer) there is no room to talk about what not having a higher power means.

I have never felt powerless over alcohol or porn because despite my lowest points, I was the only who actually had the power. I just chose not to use it. Today, I have a concept of a higher power that I simply call “the universe” and it doesn’t really have a set of rules, dogma or doctrine you have to follow. It doesn’t care if you get a midnight abortion or if gay people marry. It isn’t about raising a dime, nor about any particular book. I don’t pray to it, nor does it threaten to smite me when I don’t. My concept of it is vague, but I don’t need to have all the details. It’s a balancing energy in the universe and that’s all I really need to know. I have a Higher Power and that’s that. It just doesn’t have a name tag or handbook.

People get awkward fast when I tell them that I don’t really care if there’s an afterlife. I don’t think there is, there has never been a single piece of proof there is, and while it’s a pleasant story, I believe that you get your years on Earth and then you’re done. And I’m far more OK with that than the people who hear me say it, because they can’t believe I’d have such a view. It’s fine because it doesn’t have to be your belief, and vice versa.

This is clearly turning into a ramble, but here’s a quick story for you. As I mentioned, I was raised Catholic by two very devout, wonderful people. I was baptized, did the first communion and confirmation all in the same church. Saw many of my relatives married and memorialized there as well, and midnight mass on Christmas was a regular stop for me even long after I left my parents’ home. There was a purge here of Catholic churches in Maine about 10-12 years ago. The numbers of parishoners had dropped so dramatically, the diocese said they couldn’t afford to keep the churches open. My family’s church ended up on this list of closures, like 5 of the 7 churches in our town. With our particular church, the reason given was that it was too expensive to heat the church between September and May. It’s a valid argument. The place was huge and old members were dying off like 8-to-1 against bringing in new members and tithing just wasn’t what it used to be.

My mom asked me to come on that last day and being a sometimes sentimental, nostalgic person, I said OK. I didn’t enjoy the thousands of hours I spent there, but knowing it would be my last hour was a little sad. When the service was over – ironically to a packed house like they hadn’t seen in years – there was an organization in the back that was collecting money to try and overturn one of Maine’s gay rights laws. It didn’t bother me because it’s an issue that’s been decided and the right side won. When we got to the car, my mother let loose on the Church, I think for the first time in her life and I wouldn’t have believed it unless I was there. I’ll spare the long diatribe, but she thankfully saw the complete hypocrisy and overall wrongness of a Church that couldn’t stay open because of lack of funds collecting funds for a group that wants to discriminate. I pointed out how well the UU church was doing in town in terms of both attendance and funding. They, of course, were gay-friendly. Since that day, my mother still goes to church elsewhere, but it’s with far, far less devotion than she did in the past. She’ll even skip Sundays if the mood strikes her. She’s finally come around to what I recognized a long time ago – you need neither a book, nor a building to have a relationship with a Higher Power.

In losing a giant chunk of my mom, the church lost one of its staunchest advocates.

Religion is Not The Only Road to Recovery

I promise I’m about to wrap this up.

I think that there are really three main branches to pornography recovery. Maybe it’s true of all addiction, but since I’m immersed in this culture, it’s what I see. Those three branches are religion, will-power, and science. People can absolutely dabble in more than one, but I find a lot of people who are into things like NoFap (will-power) refuse to see a real therapist and many religious people think you can pray away a medical condition. Obviously, I’m a big believer in the science side of things because that is my experience and it was successful.

Nonetheless, if you go to the WordPress reader and type in “Pornography Addiction” or “Pornography Recovery” you’re going to probably find 75% of the entries have some reference to The Bible. Beyond the whole shaming thing that religious people are so good at doing to others which is an entirely other issue, the overall theme of these entries is that one must follow a religious path to addiction recovery, just like you have to follow their religious path to the afterlife.

It’s just not true. I mean, I can point to plenty of people it worked for, but I can point to plenty of people, myself included, who are happy and healthy without a word of Scripture read in recovery.

I’m OK if you want to use God as a tool for pushing recovery as long as you’re not shaming the addict, but it can’t be the only tool used and it can’t be preached that without God, recovery is impossible. That’s plainly wrong and frankly, a dangerous thing to say for two reasons: a) You wouldn’t encourage a person with cancer or severe hemorrhaging to only pray…you’d get them real medical treatment; b) Somebody believing your attitude may be stopped from recovery if the religious route doesn’t work for them. Is it better they go your way and fail or go their own way and succeed?

I’m sure many of those who actually got this far were offended along the way, and I apologize if my words were ever poorly chosen. There were a few places I debated writing certain things, but went for it anyway. I know that my personal issues with the church and religion are just that – my personal issues – and I know they carry over into my writing, but in a space where I try to be honest to a fault, even when it rankles some feathers, I thought it was time to explain myself.

I don’t know if there was any theme here but I guess sometimes these blogs are just for ranting and working things out.

 

 

Random Thoughts, December 2019

My mind is buzzing today. Trying to focus on one topic is impossible. Thankfully, I’ve built this escape hatch that lets me get away with being scattered once a month.

One of the ironies of what I do now with pornography addiction awareness and education is that I have to keep up-to-date with changing technology and how people are utilizing their porn and how porn is essentially sold online – all while not using it myself.

The situation makes sense when you think about it. I couldn’t lecture about the evils of video game addiction, telling young people what playing too much Pac-Man on Atari or Legend of Zelda on Super Nintendo will do to their brains. I have a feeling with our current crop of young pornography addicts, Playboy sounds more like an antique than a source to get your fix.

I was kind of reminded this when I had a conversation with a couple of people in their 20s who know what’s going on and laughed when I asked if people were still hooking up over Skype. Apparently that’s like asking if they still post to Facebook. I was just showing my age.

Thankfully I have a daughter who knows what’s going on. I’m 99.99% sure that she doesn’t engage in any of these activities, but she’s able to keep me abreast of how the young people are making their own porn and how camgirls now mostly use Snapchat and cut out the third-party cam sites so they can keep all the money themselves, minus  the small percentage they kick back to Venmo.

I don’t quite understand Snapchat because I’ve never used it, but the entrepreneurial side of me says good for you getting more of the money. The anti-porn side of me screams that you’re selling your body for what an appetizer at Buffalo Wild Wings costs. This is why parents need to start talking to their kids early about pornography. You don’t want it seeming like a viable option as a part-time job.

 

I haven’t asked anybody on here to buy my book in the last week. One of you has an extra $20 in your pocket and appreciates what I do on here, right? Be a pal and go support me. The first 10 or 11 days went well, but it’s leveling out and I need to keep showing my publisher it’s a viable entity to put their marketing resources behind. If nobody knows about the book, it was a pointless exercise in writing it because it helped nobody. And I know you may only think you’re one person and one book doesn’t make a difference but with this genre (sexual health recovery) it really does make a difference to the bean counters. As I mentioned before, if you don’t need the book, donate it to your local library, women’s charity or church. Doesn’t donating stuff at the holiday season warm your heart? Follow the link… https://amzn.to/2qvxVbm

 

In a couple of weeks, PornHub releases its annual statistics report to show how pornography viewing trends have changed in the last year. I was surprised to find out as of November 1, PornHub has actually fallen to the third most popular pornography website after years of being on top. It’s ranked as the 10th most popular website on Earth. The other sites are No. 7 and No. 9, but since they don’t hand out analytics, I’m not going to mention them. When you realize that these three websites get more individual traffic than Yahoo, Amazon, Netflix and Reddit do, it shows you just how silently the world is using pornography. There are also porn sites at No. 21 and No. 48.

 

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 8.06.05 AMThis has nothing to do with pornography addiction or prevention, but it does speak to a tone-deaf response to addiction in general. On my massive road trip through America earlier this year, my favorite state was South Dakota for a bunch of reasons. One is not their ability to clearly get an idea across. The state, which has a massive meth problem, launched an advertising campaign last month designed to get the average citizen to start caring about the problem and start doing something about it. You know how when somebody asks you to do a task and instead of saying “Ok,” you say, “I’m on it.” Yeah, well, for the nice people of South Dakota who are going to tackle the meth problem, they’re on it. That’s like a state deciding they’re going to tackle porn addiction and using the slogan, “Let’s examine pornography” or sex addiction and saying, “Sex Addiction, let’s do it.”

 

It often flies under the radar, but I added an amazing link to pornography addiction resources for both the addict and the partner on the Resources page on this site. I hope if you get a chance, after purchasing my book, you check it out. I feel like I’ll never have to update that page again, it’s so comprehensive. https://amzn.to/2qvxVbm

 

I was watching a documentary last night and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. It dawned on me that it was the first time I was getting emotional about something in a long, long time. I know that I had my recent bout of mild mania that I think has settled, but it made me realize that before I got into recovery, and even through the first couple years of recovery, while I was waiting to find out my legal fate, I got emotional very easily. I think this shows some level of getting better, but crying is a fantastic way to get stuff out of my system. I’ll have to engage it more often. The only sure-fire way I know of making myself cry is listening to this song: Click Here I’m not even going to tell you it’s cultural significance and thankfully, if you’re under 40 you probably have no idea. If you like it, that’s the standard version…here’s one that really gets me: Click Here

 

My website numbers are off the charts lately. I don’t know if posting daily has made that much of a difference or if there are now more bots visiting or if it’s just a series of a lot of little things happening, but 9 of the top 10 days for views and 10 of the top 10 days for visitors have happened in the last 45 days. Thank you all for sticking with me. Now go buy my book…please. https://amzn.to/2qvxVbm