You Don’t Have to Be An Angry, Resentful Person Just Because Everyone Else Is

I don’t think this entry needs a trigger warning in the traditional sense, but perhaps a “take offense” warning is necessary. I’m not attacking or critiquing any specific individual with this entry, although if you take offense, maybe you should stop for a second and figure out why.

One of the biggest parts of my recovery journey is the conscious attempt to be a better human being. I actively work on skills like empathy, inclusiveness and compassion. While I still certainly have a long way to go before I’m the person I’d like to become, I feel that while my life is swinging in one direction, the attitude of the population in general is swinging the other way.

It could be the 24-hour news cycle, more social media than we know what to do with or some other factor, but people seem to have no problem putting their lack of compassion and empathy on full display. Instead, those traits have been replaced with resentment and anger.

I’m not going to get into politics, religion, science, patriotism, parenting or any of the other areas that seem to set people off. I’m far less interested in the specifics of peoples’ opinions than I am in the way that many people present those opinions these days.

I think there are reasons that people become addicts, but there are only excuses why they don’t seek help, especially after learning why they have the problem. I also believe there are reasons that people turn into who they are with the belief system that they have, but only excuses why that belief system allows them to present themselves as boorish oafs.

I’ve been trying to figure out the cause of what feels like this massive pendulum swing in the attitudes of our society. I know it can’t just be the fact that I’m actively trying to become a better person. I’ve come up with a few theories:

The world is moving too fast. While older generations always make the argument their experience and wisdom trumps youth and inexperience, our older generations have seen exponentially more change than those before them. I think this is also filtering down into middle-aged generations. Technology moves at such speed that it seems like only 17-year-olds can keep up with it because the rest of us don’t have the extra time to learn. With all of the new media we have, getting glimpses into the past is easier than ever. I’m sure because of television and the Internet, I understand the culture of 1955 far more than the people of 1955 understood the culture of 1895. I believe this causes a bit of romanticism of the past, forgetting the negative and remembering only positive. The feeling you’re being left behind doesn’t feel good.

People are smarter than you. This has always been the case, but with the Internet and 500 TV channels, we’re constantly exposed to people who are more intelligent, deeper thinkers and understand things many of us could never grasp. I think we also are aware that most smart people recognize their intelligence and far too many of us make the leap that they therefore believe they are better than us when that has never been established. There is deep resentment in this world toward people who act like they are better than someone else, but we seem to be at a point where we invent the idea that others believe they are better without them doing anything to suggest it.

There’s more diversity than ever. I’m sure there have been studies done and I’ve just never had enough incentive to look them up, but I’d like to know when it comes to fear of people who are different how much is nurture and how much is nature. Somewhere, there is somebody out there who has 100% the opposite views as you when it comes to politics, culture, entertainment, etc. They are the bizzaro, anti-you. And guess what? They’re not a crazy psychopath either. It’s not just diverse ideas, it’s also basic demographics. Communities are not as homogenous as they once were. Different languages are being spoken, even in small towns and people who don’t look like previous generations now live there. This is scary to many people.

The recognition you were wrong. I think at one time or another we’ve all recognized we were incorrect about something and instead of correcting course, we doubled-down, despite being wrong. I believe this also extends to those around you who you discover were wrong. Many people directly get their beliefs from their parents and others they knew when they were young, but how many of those beliefs ever get questioned? Something isn’t OK just because mommy or daddy acted like it was. Your friends may all think one way, but that doesn’t mean it’s the correct thing. When recognition that those around you made poor decisions, it’s often hard to stand up to them and blaze your own path.

Simply because you can’t relate to someone does not make them a bad person. Moreover, simply because you can’t relate to them does not mean that you have to present an argument why they are not a good person.

A changing world does not mean it is changing for the worse. Yes, new things – including attitudes and societal norms – take adjusting, but that does not mean they are bad. Despite what people who eschew change believe, most change is designed to make the world a better, inclusive place. Yes, it takes getting used to new ideas, concepts and technology. Changing who you are does not mean you are any less or more of a person before and after that change.

I think most people today are of a mindset of looking for what makes them different than the next guy, and whatever that difference is, it becomes the weakness of the other person, ripe for attack. This is also true with thoughts. The general rules seem to be that if two people think differently, one must be wrong, and it’s always the other guy. In most cases, neither – or both – are wrong.

We live in a world full of angry, sad, resentful, non-compassionate, close-minded people. Standing behind the fact you have the God-given or governmental-given right to be that way doesn’t make it OK. Feeling emboldened by like-minded people to share your negativity doesn’t make it OK.

There is someone, probably more than just one, who is reading this feeling attacked. I’ve shared no actual specific opinions here. I’ve isolated no specific group or type of person. If you’re feeling attacked, I hope you’ll take a few minutes and figure out why.

 

Recovery Wouldn’t Have Been the Same Without My Dogs

We’re having our first measurable snowfall of the year and as I look out of the windows of the office that doubles as my bedroom, I can see our three dogs playing outside, reminding me of how I used to play with my brother or other neighborhood kids on a snow day when we were little.

We always had cats growing up. I liked cats because they fit my general detached, non-empathetic mindset. They, too, also seemed to have the bipolar disorder I had not been diagnosed with yet, either running around causing havoc at full speed or taking long naps wherever they could find a flat surface.

My family had one dog that we got when I was about five and I think lived 12 years. The dog and I never bonded. It needed too much attention and too much care. It demanded things yet didn’t follow commands 100% of the time. In essence, I had no control over the dog and that made me uncomfortable, so I never got close to it.

It was probably two or three years after getting married before my wife brought up getting a dog, but I shut that down quickly, and did every time it was brought up afterward.

It took almost 10 years for her to wear me down. It was in the early years of running the magazine, so everything was going well, and I was usually in a good mood. Our daughter was 12 or 13 and my wife thought it would be a great Christmas gift for her. I relented and my wife stood in line for nearly 7 hours at the shelter one cold early December morning for a chance at one of the retriever/lab mix puppies that were going up for adoption. Her face day home is the lead photo on this entry.

In the late morning, the Saturday before Christmas, she came home with Finley, who is now eight years old. I never remembered the puppy from my youth, so this was really a chance to have one for the first time. I was up at all hours, so Finley would stick next to me while everyone was awake and slept with my wife and I most nights. My daughter revealed herself to not be willing to care for a dog, so it fell on my wife and I. Living near my office, I’d come home at lunch to let the dog out.

It would be hard to say that Finley and I deeply bonded, but we certainly had a decent thing going. I laughed at any suggestion of a second dog and life took such a crazy turn not long after that any talk of new pets stopped as I went through my legal ordeal.

Fast-forward about three-to-four years. I’m several years deep into recovery and doing a very good job turning my life around. I’ve been out of jail for eight or nine months, and building a decent little ghostwriting and freelance writing business from home. However, with both kids in school and Finley now mostly just a fan of laying in my bed, I was lonely.

One weekend my wife made an off-hand comment about a post she read on Facebook that the local shelter was taking in 40 puppies from down south after some kind of disaster. I don’t know why, but I knew at that moment I was going to get another dog. About a week later, after everyone had gone to work and school, I went to shelter, waited in line about two hours and eventually took the puppy that ran at me from the holding pen. I was probably 20th in line to pick and I have no idea how this one slipped through the cracks.

I took her home, after swinging by wife’s office. She was upset I got a new dog without telling her…for about 15 seconds. My wife and daughter named her Scout and while we were told she was a Shepard mix, three years later, it’s clear she’s mainly a begel mixed with a couple other things. I thought I was getting a big dog, but she’s half the size of Finley.

Thankfully, she and Finley got along immediately, and she helped Finley lose a much needed 10-15 pounds with the playing they did. I couldn’t believe I was a two-dog household.

I’ve never bonded to anything except my kids and wife as much as this little dog. She’s slept next to me since day one and is the most loving dog I’ve ever seen in my life. I never thought it was possible to love an animal, but I love this one. I like our three cats and I like Finley, but I finally understand that bond with an animal, and no, she doesn’t always do what I say and she’s the first one up in the morning, usually around 4:45, which means I’m up to care for her (and by default the other dogs).

In the summer of 2018, my daughter – who was leaving for college just months later – somehow convinced my wife she was ready to take care of a dog and was willing to spend money to get one. I think this shows just how much recovery mellowed me because I didn’t fight it too hard. I was concerned about being the one to be at home trying to work with three dogs, but didn’t sweat it.

On a late June day, we went to a breeder about an hour away and my daughter dropped $1,000 on a purebred German Shepard. She named him Arlo and he was the naughtiest puppy to the point that it took me a long time to like him, but now, as he approaches his second birthday and is a huge beast, we get along very well. He sleeps at my feet in the bed and Scout is tucked into my neck and head. Finley loves this, because it gives her the entire couch in the living room.

I was never a dog guy, but I have to say, having these dogs during my recovery has been terrific. No, they don’t always listen. No, I don’t always have control. The feeding duties fall to me and I spend way too much money on grooming and vets throughout the year.

Scout broke her leg around the time we got Arlo and the surgery was over $1,500. I just handed them my credit card without thought. My wife and daughter both told me that I never would have done that five or six years earlier. I also never would have been the guy whose phone was 75% pictures of his dogs.

The dogs don’t know what I do for a living, or what I used to do. They don’t know about my legal ordeal or how big my bank account is or isn’t. They don’t care. They just need me to be there for them and that’s a healthy thing for me now.

Book Review: He’s a Porn Addict… Now What? — Mental Health @ Home

Ashley at Mental Health @ Home has released a great review of the book. Please check it out when you get a chance.

He’s a Porn Addict… Now What?: An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions by Tony Overbay and Joshua Shea is written to serve as a resource for partners of men with pornography addictions. It’s a unique combination of viewpoints – Tony is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Josh is a former…

via Book Review: He’s a Porn Addict… Now What? — Mental Health @ Home

The Book Made it to No. 1!!!

I sold a few books over the weekend, although not as many as I had hoped. That’s OK. There’s still plenty to do in promotion and I feel good about getting the word out there. This is going to be a multi-month push to get into the right hands and the longer it lives on Amazon, the more likely it is to be discovered without any work on my part.

I mentioned in a post this weekend that it was important the book rise to the No. 1 spot at least once on the best-selling new sexual health recovery releases chart on Amazon and it happened! Big thanks to Try Not to Cry on My Rainbow for pushing us over the top late Saturday night.

Here are a few screen captures I grabbed of the moment:

Thank you to everyone who reposted my Friday article. And thank you to everyone not buying the banana blow job book.

Give them a listen

I know most people who frequent this site don’t listen to the podcast appearances I post, and that’s OK because most are me just telling a lot of the same stories over and over, and you’ve either already heard them or read versions of them here. I get it.

However, two new ones dropped over the weekend and I’m extremely proud of both of them. Neither are too long, either. I’d love if you would just throw one on in the background while you’re doing other things and let me know what you think.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 12.18.03 PMFirst was Dr. Mark Goulston’s My Wakeup Call. This one so shook me to the core when we recorded it back in October, I wrote an entire entry on it the day after it happened. You can read about it HERE. Although Dr. Goulston may have a name you don’t recognize, he has sold over 500,000 books in his career and is more accomplished than I could ever hope to be. This 45-minute podcast is one of the most interesting discussions I’ve had. Click Here to take a listen.

 

 

FBTB 089 Joshua A. Shea Instagram (New)Then it was From Betrayal to Breakthrough with Dr. Debi Silber. Sometimes, when I know a show is only going to be a half-hour long, I worry that some of my more important messages are not going to get across. Often, the host will get lost in my personal story, missing the larger picture. Not only did that not happen with Dr. Silber, but we had a great discussion of having age-appropriate conversations with children about staying away from pornography. This is the podcast that I’d urge any parents to listen to who are worried about a world where kids get sexualized too young. Click Here to take a listen.

 

Other Random Stuff

I really need a new headshot. I’ve been using that one for two years now. I don’t look different, but I’m just getting sick of seeing this same one on all of the promotional material. I bet my wife never knew that a random picture she took on the steps of our home would be used so much. In the full version, my shirt is also wrinkled all to hell, but if you know me, that’s pretty typical. I put the shevel in disheveled.

Starting tomorrow I’ll go back to writing more traditional entries. I understand that’s what this site is about, although it’s ironic that I had great numbers over the weekend. That softened the block of lower sales. People were clearly venturing over here to take a look and in the grand scheme of things, the education I hope that I offer on this site is just as valuable as what you’ll find in the book.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t jam another opportunity to buy the book down your throat. You had all weekend to think about it. You feel bad you didn’t step up to the plate before now. You know it would be a nice donation to your church or local social agency that helps women or as a resource for your therapist. Click Here to Buy through Amazon.

My Book Officially Goes on Sale Today

Well, today is the day the book is officially released. By the time you read this, it will be live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a few other online booksellers.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 12.54.52 PMToday, I have an Ask Me Anything event happening on Reddit, starting at Noon EST. I’ll be hanging out there a couple hours talking about the book and pornography addiction. If any of you would like to stop by, just visit https://www.reddit.com/r/AMA/ and if you don’t see it on the page after a bit of scrolling, just search my name Joshua Shea from the top search bar.

I’d love it if you’d stop by and say hello. Hopefully the trolls stay off their keyboards, but this is the Internet, so I’m sure I’m putting a target on my back.

There’s supposed to be a big snowstorm up this way tomorrow, so I’ll have time to begin working a few other angles in pushing the book. As I mentioned in one of the comments yesterday, it took several months before I had my biggest sales stretch on my first book, so I’ll try to remind myself that.

I do want to thank the regulars for constantly supporting me. It does mean a lot.

Perhaps I’ll write a little more later in the day…

And as always, if you want to buy the book, click HERE