Random Thoughts, November 2019: The Person I Can’t Forgive, A Book Push Coming, Gratitude Proven Healthy

It’s another one of those days when I’m ready to start writing but my mind is so full of multiple things that I don’t know where to go with it, so a random thoughts entry seems best. Strap in and we’ll see what comes out of my fingertips.

For those of you who check in here almost every day, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your continual support. You have been a piece of my ongoing recovery that has been like a rock I can always count on and I thank you.

That said, I’m going to warn you in the next month or two, there’s going to be a lot of messaging about my new book appearing on the site and it might get old or boring if you’re here every day. I apologize in advance.

First and foremost, this site is a great tool for marketing. Based on the search terms and how many people come here from search engines, I know there are a lot of new visitors here daily. They may only visit once in their lives and I have to let them know the book exists. Also, if anybody hears me on a podcast or radio show (of which a lot are coming – I’m recording 3-4 a week right now) and they visit the site, they need to easily figure out how to get the book.

I would really like this book to make some money and I’m going to try and do my best to make sure it gets into as many hands as possible. I know that I’m doing a good thing by producing the information in the book, but if I want to write more books, the publisher needs to make money and if I want to justify the time it takes to write the books, there has to be a few dollars in it for me. So anyway, thank you very much in advance for understanding I’ll be a little bit more in sales mode when the book goes on Amazon pre-order next week.

And of course, feel free to buy many copies. They make wonderfully awkward stocking stuffers.

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I’ve let go of so much resentment in my life and given internal apologies to so many people who did me wrong in my life as part of my recovery. It’s been a crucial part of getting better. Letting go of bad feelings has freed up plenty of space in my head and my energy can be used for more productive things.

There’s one person who I’m still having the hardest time of forgiving and it’s my fourth grade teacher. I know that sounds strange and I keep running through incidents in my head that more than prove she was a cold, narcissistic phony with little regard to children or their mental health. It doesn’t make sense why of all people, she’s the one I’m holding a grudge against. Why could I forgive the others and not her?

I could share a lot of stories that would make you dislike her, too. She wasn’t a good person. But even if I easily convinced you of that, why does this stick with me?

I remember once she said something to the effect of, “I’ll have you children know that you may think I’m not fair now or I give you too much work, but I can’t tell you how many of my former students come back and say, ‘Thank you Ms. G. You were the best teacher I ever had.’” I think she couldn’t tell us because it hadn’t happened yet.

I recall the moment she said that I thought to myself, “I’m going to come back and tell her how terrible she was and I hope I hurt her feelings.”

My position hasn’t changed in nearly 35 years, and I don’t know why.

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Speaking of productive things, for those of you who read this entry from a few weeks ago, you’ll be pleased to know I cleaned the garage enough to get a car in their during winter storms. Or, rather, I threw about 10 trash bags of junk away, made around 20 trips to the basement moving stuff I wanted to keep, then was exhausted, moved everything into a big pile on the right side, and called it good. I’ll either finish the job in the spring or die before that. I’m not sure which is worse 🙂

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Finally, I finished reading a study about gratitude yesterday and while I’m not going to write a full entry about it, in the last few years, science has made amazing strides toward connecting those who regularly, consciously practice gratitude vs. those who don’t.

From quicker recovery time from major ailments and procedures, to a better overall performance at work, some of the statistics blew me away. Part of me still wonders if there is some other common thread that researchers are missing, but it’s hard to deny that aside from just making you anecdotally feel good, practicing gratitude will make you a healthier, more productive person.

So, I guess this means we should stop throwing up in our mouths a little when every perfect family shares on Facebook how much they are blessed. Apparently, it’s healthy.

Science is cool.

My Return, and Lightning-Fast Exit, from Facebook

I wasn’t on social media, specifically Facebook, for 5½ years. I returned earlier this week, and it took me less than 72 hours to leave again.

I wasn’t trying to re-launch my personal page. That ship has sailed. I can just imagine people who turned their back on me back in early 2014 getting a friend request now.

“Wait, that bastard’s still alive and living around here?” would probably be the typical response. Those who might be more willing to welcome me back would probably be hesitant for what those friends who still hold a grudge would say. It’s just not worth it.

It was, however, worth it to see if I could create some kind of presence that could serve as a conduit to get people over to my site and blog. The WordPress community is a wonderful, supportive place that in some ways has become a surrogate friendship circle for me. But, it reaches just so far.

I created a page titled, “Joshua Shea, Pornography Addiction Expert” because I thought it sounded professional. I put a few links to things I’d recently written on this site and a link to each of the two books I’ve written about pornography addiction.

After a day, I noticed nobody had been to the page. Facebook offered a $15 credit to run ads promoting the site, so I took them up on it. My hope was to generate enough likes to encourage other people to automatically visit the page, and hopefully harvest a few new regular readers for this site.

Listen, I know pornography addiction turns off a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Whether you’re a victim of abuse, simply squeamish when any sexuality topic is discussed, or hiding the fact you’ve got a problem, I understand that I’m not going to get the quantity nor diversity of traffic on my Facebook page that a pop culture page will. I expect that.

I also understand, based on first-hand experience, that there are people who will judge me without knowing anything about me. I came to terms with that a long time ago and it no longer bothers me…or at least I thought it didn’t.

This all said, I decided that I would target the Facebook ads to mental health professionals in the United States and Canada. I figure if there would be any group who was at least open to exploring what I had to offer, it would be those who have a professional interest or potential curiosity in what I was offering.

So, I turned on the ads and sat back.

The first 12 hours were as slow as I suspected. A nurse from Michigan liked the Facebook page and a couple dozen people clicked over to look at it.

Then, somebody put an emoji on one of the posts that I had to look up. Since I left Facebook, they added a laughing face. I didn’t understand why this person put a laughing face, and when I tried to look up his page, I was only met with far right-wing memes. Along with porn addicts, he didn’t seem to like anybody who wasn’t a gun-owning, meat-eating, Ford F150-driving, country-music listening, Islamophobic, homophobic, 40% of my clothing has a flag or an eagle on it, white male.

In the next couple of hours, I received five more of these laughing faces. In the limited amount I could see their pages, they were either the same kind of right-wing person as the first guy or far-left anti-porn zealots who gave me the vibe that since I once saw a woman naked, I should be castrated and sent off to an island. Given a few more hours, there actually started to be “Get the F off Facebook” messages under my posts.

Except for that first nurse, I could not confirm if any of these people worked in mental health. I hope not, but I’m also smart enough to know that who people present themselves as professionally is not always who they are behind closed doors. My optimistic belief is that there was one or two who got an ad, commented and that was passed on to their equally intolerant, but not mental health sector employed friends.

I could pretend that I’m worried those kinds of negative actions toward my Facebook page will hurt my “brand” or that I don’t want other porn addicts to view my site and see my being laughed at and fear they will be, too. The reality is, I just don’t have the time or space in my head to deal with small-minded people. I spent too much of my life worrying about what everybody thought of me or how I could win their attention and affection. It got me nowhere.

I’ve learned to turn off political news and not watch movies or TV shows that upset me. I don’t get involved in causes that I used to work myself up about; I had to let the polar bears and voter registration go. My loud aversion to religion is now barely a murmur and I’m actually open to hearing another’s point of view without attacking it. I look for opportunities to laugh and smile, or engage in discourse with people who – even if they disagree with me – do it in an intellectual and civil way.

Recognizing this, I should have known Facebook was the wrong move from the get-go.

 

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

 

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.