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.

Plotting a Revolution: Leenaarts’ New Book Brings Unique Twist to Introspection

A personal note before I get to the main body of this book review:

They say when it rains it pours and I guess when it comes to my life and books, this is the week of the Noah’s Ark-like storm. Obviously, I was thrilled and excited with the fact that my new book was released earlier in the week, but I’m also excited to share with you a book project that I played 0.0002% in.

Jason Leenaarts, who I met through his podcast when I was guest last year, has just released a fantastic daily devotional-like book for those who want to spend the next year focusing on their health, both inside and outside. I am so proud to contribute two quotes to the book (June 21 and August 7, if you’re scoring at home).

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I highlighted his website when I wrote the very popular 10 Blogs I Love That You Should Follow, But Probably Don’t Know About

Anyway, here is my more formal review of a book I hope you’ll consider picking up:

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Before I appeared on my first podcast in late 2017, I had never listened to any and now that my job title could be “professional podcast guest” I hate to admit that there are very few I continue to listen to after my one-and-done. As a guest who speaks about a delicate subject – pornography addiction – I make it a point to listen to pieces of at least a couple of episodes before I ever appear on somebody’s podcast. Jason Leenaarts’ Revolutionary You! was no different.

I loved what I heard. It wasn’t going to be another dreary appearance on a strictly-addiction show. I listened to a guy who lost 200 pounds and another who had to deal with the unique situation of physically training celebrities. Jason did such a great job being present in the moment, talking to the guest like they were the most important person in the world. So, I went for it and there I was, front and center, sharing my story with a unique audience on Episode 156.

Appearing on Revolutionary You! gave me the confidence to know I could appear on non-addiction shows and share the greater themes and lessons of my experience. Jason and I kept in casual touch, and I remained a regular listener because he continued with fascinating guests and great conversation.

Jason contacted me earlier this year with a bit of a random request. He wanted to know if he could use two quotes from my episode for a book he was working on. I said sure and aside from the occasional update, never thought much about it until he sent me a copy, which is now available on Amazon.

I was absolutely floored at the creative presentation of A Revolution A Day: Daily Musings and Motivations for The Health Enthusiast. Jason combed through hundreds of hours of archives from his podcast and pulled his favorite quotes from around 200 episodes.

Set up like a daily devotional, each day begins with the quote from a guest and the episode they appeared on. This is nice because you can always go to the Internet and listen to that episode if a quote is of particular interest. The quote may be about diet, exercise, mindfulness, society, science, self-improvement, general lifestyle, or in my two contributions, addiction. While the quote may have some specificity to it, Jason write a paragraph under the quote giving it a broader meaning and making it relevant to every reader.

Then, Jason asks the reader to reflect on the quote and his expansion of the idea with two or three follow-up questions and enough room to write a decent answer. Not only does the reader get a fantastic quote, an interpretation and introspective questions, but also a space to actually become part of the book itself.

For instance, my June 21 quote is: “I’ve got a lot of different coping mechanisms and one of the best ones is to get up and leave the situation.” In context, I was talking about triggers that come with early recovery. Jason expands the idea, talking about all temptation and the need to change one’s scenery to disrupt ingrained patterns of behavior. He then asks: “What needs to change in your environment? Where do you feel the most pressure to succumb to your areas of weakness? How can you change that?”

Those are great questions I want to answer in regard to my professional life and not always carrying my fair share of the load at home. With the way Jason expands the concept, it really isn’t about addiction triggers – unless you want it to be.

A Revolution A Day is really about the revolution always going on inside of you and pausing to recognize it. I don’t know if Jason thinks there’s a best time of day for the reader to enter their thoughts, but I plan on making my daily entry in the late afternoon or early evening, when I transition from my professional endeavors to my home life. That’s one of my more chaotic times of mindset shift and I think this book will help ease from one life focus into the other.

I’ve looked ahead in the book and can’t wait to put my thoughts down on some of the topics, but I wonder if come next November I’ll feel the same way on things. I think that’s part of the revolution aspect to the book; you’re not the same person from day-to-day.

Let me make it clear I don’t get a dime whether Jason sells 5 books or 5 million, nor do I have any affiliate links, but I think this might be the perfect kind of book for someone who wants to journal or keep a diary, but just doesn’t know where to start. If I was this kind of person, I might pick up several copies. I think comparing the you from 2020 to the you in 2023 would be fascinating and the format of this book makes it easy.

If you happen to be reading this review just after I wrote it, this book is a perfect holiday gift, but I think it would also be a wonderful present for birthdays and other life transitions like becoming a new parent or a graduation. It screams “thoughtful” and for those of us who head straight to the customer service counter for a gift card, this book will score some points – even if the gift is to yourself.

If you’d like to see the book on Amazon, click Here
If you’d like to hear my appearance on Revolutionary You! click Here

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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.

Random Thoughts, October 2019: Weird Podcast Experience, Suicide Prevention, Halloween Dangers and More

I haven’t done a random thoughts article in months, and there’s just too much bouncing around my brain lately, so I’m going to throw it on the page and see what happens.

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I’ll do podcasts with anybody, regardless of who they or their target audience are, as long as I, or porn addicts, are not made the butt of a joke.

I taped one yesterday and when it is available, I’ll have it on the front page of the website and on the appearances page as I do with all of them. This was one of those appearances that was far less about my story and more about pornography in general.

What was really out-of-the-ordinary for me was that this gentleman hosting the show was trying to draw a lot of conclusions about what he felt was the disintegration of our society and porn’s role in it. That’s not an objective viewpoint, and the world is misinformed about pornography enough that it doesn’t need me making stuff up off the top of my head.

My view of society is that it changes and evolves. As individuals we can interpret whether those changes are good or bad, but there is no correct or incorrect answer. It’s all subjective. Was society better in the 1950s when the woman stayed home with the 2.5 kids and the man was the breadwinner? I don’t know because both of my grandmothers had jobs, so my parents weren’t raised in that environment. I know there is a segment of society who feels the world was better with that as the stereotypical family dynamic. So, which culture is better? I guess it depends on your personal opinion of a lot of factors.

As the questioning moved forward, I shared the true statistic that straight women watch more lesbian pornography than straight men watch gay porn. When he asked why, I shared an expert’s opinion I’d heard and agree with, but since I had no hard data, it was really only a guess, and it had nothing to do with morality. That opened the floodgates to questions about homosexuality and its place in today’s society, and the questions started with wording like, “Wouldn’t you agree…” instead of “Why do you think…”

He was a good interviewer in clearly trying to get me to say something I don’t believe, but I’ve been interviewing people professionally since I was 17. I’m not easy to trap. I’m very curious to see how this one turns out.

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Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 6.15.21 PMCheck out this congratulations logo I got from WordPress during the day yesterday. Why the heck am I congratulated for this random number? Why not 1,400 or 1,500? It’s very peculiar. Thanks to everybody who has liked what I’ve written over the last two years. I’ve really felt a deeper sense of connection over the last few weeks since I’ve started writing almost daily than at any other point.

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Sometimes the search terms that people use that lead them to my site are downright cryptic. I have no idea what “resentment porn on Tuesday” means, but I hope they got their answer. The other day, somebody visited the site after searching for “I’m a porn addict. Is life over?” I’m hoping the person meant in the hypothetical sense of if they have no possibility of having a “normal” life, however they define it.

If they meant the idea that their life should come to an end, that makes me sad. I hope that nobody who is struggling with porn addiction – or any addiction for that matter – thinks their addiction is an unwinnable battle that should end in suicide. I’m proof that there’s plenty of hope. I know there was a strong possibility I would have gone down that road had the police not intervened. I had seriously considered it once, but thankfully woke up from that haze before I went through with it.

If you’ve got an addiction of any kind, or think you’re going to commit suicide for any reason, take 10 minutes and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There is nothing that you can go through that can’t somehow be made better. And I understand seeing it as an option, believe me, I really do. It does feel like things will never get better. Just give them a call.

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Ashley L. Peterson reviewed my first book today at this link. I think it’s a very fair reviews, as I wrote in the comments. It’s always harrowing when somebody gives a review because I feel like since it’s my story, it’s almost passing judgment on who I am. I walked away relieved.

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While I abandoned my re-entry to the Facebook world, I have entered the world of LinkedIn for the first time. I’m still not totally sure how to use it, but at least it’s a place where I don’t have to read how blessed, psyched to go to the gym or ready for the weekend everybody claims to be. If you’re on there and want to connect, just send an invitation to Joshua Shea. I’m the one who is getting tattooed in the photo. Yeah, maybe it’s not professional, but I am who I am, and that’s a guy with nine tattoos he likes wearing far more than a suit and tie.

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As Halloween approaches, you may get the typical media hysteria in states like Maine, Kentucky or Indiana where there are no laws about convicted sex offenders (with either hands-on or hands-off offenses) passing out candy. These are actually the forward-thinking states.

Did you know there is not one confirmed case of a sex offender abducting or harming any child they did not know in the history of our country as result of a visit to their door on Halloween, yet dozens of states have laws against sex offenders of any kind handing out candy? The reality is 90% of hands-on sex offenders know their victims, with about half being family members, and the vast majority are groomed over time without force.

And while we’re talking about Halloween misconceptions, did you know that there have been less than 10 verified cases of candy tampering in 60 years, with only one happening since 1999 and of those cases there was only one death? Almost every reported incident (about 80 between 1959 and 2010) has been proven to be a hoax. So, there’s another thing to not be so scared about on Halloween. The media is good at hysteria because hysteria sells.

My Podcast Appearances Are Best When They Are Like Public Therapy Sessions

Since I have a new book coming out in a couple of months, now is the time for me to be booking and appearing on podcasts, since many of them tape up to two months in advance. Whether it’s because I already have one book on the shelves, or because I’ve been beating this porn addiction education drum for a couple of extra years, I’m being booked on overall higher quality shows that when I did the circuit after my first book came out.

Let me make it clear I don’t think any of these shows are bad. I think somebody who wants to express themselves through the medium is great, and allowing me to come on their show to talk about the issue, whether 34 or 3,400 people are listening, is going to be a step forward in normalizing the need to talk about pornography addiction. I appreciate every show I’ve been a part of and have only turned down two requests to appear because I could tell I’d be the butt of jokes, or porn addiction would be, and that doesn’t help anything.

I recorded a show four days ago on Friday afternoon, and a show earlier today, that were among the most grueling I’ve done because the hosts really knew their stuff, came prepared and had no problem challenging things I said. A great thing that came out of these podcasts is that I was asked questions I’ve never been asked, even by my therapist or any of the professionals I’ve worked with in the past.

Instead of focusing on my crime, which was the topic for most of the early podcasts, there’s now more philosophical questions about addiction origins and solutions to the problems we face. It’s less about my story and more bigger picture issues. Personal questions focus on my overall addiction, not just the crime.

The podcast taped on Friday was with Dr. Mark Goulston. He’s written what many consider the greatest book about listening in history. That one, and his other books, total nearly a half-million sales over the last 25 years. After our interview, he was jetting off to Russia to co-present a lecture with Daniel Kahneman who wrote “Thinking Fast and Slow” which won Kahneman a Pulitzer Prize and is among the greatest, yet most difficult, books I’ve ever read.

It was an honor to be on his show and his questioning, both in content and methodology, was unlike any interview I’ve had. Do you know when you’re in the presence of greatness? That’s how I felt here.

Dr. Goulston asked me a question I wrestled with all weekend that I’d never heard before. Once I was arrested, why did I almost instantly decide to turn things around and make the best in both the short- and long-term out of my situation when the vast majority of others run from similar situations or try to fly under the radar? Since there’s almost nobody else out there talking about this stuff like I am, what is different about me than the others?

I talked about how I am a “project person” who is at his best when he’s working on something and I simply decided that becoming mentally and emotionally healthy was the project. And once that project was mostly finished (it never is completely) I began the writing, website and interviews because education became my project.

I think this is part of it, but I’ve been turning this over in my head again and again. If they default position taken by 99% of the population in my situation is to shut their mouths, sit down and never raise their hand, why am I doing the opposite? Does that say more about something being wrong with me than them? Why am I the outlier?

The interview was full of questions like this and I really look forward to hearing the edited final result. When I was finished, I felt like I’d had a grueling, yet productive, therapy session. I’m hoping that comes through in the audio.

With the other show, I wasn’t interviewed by anybody famous, but it was a two-hour discussion that really went deep into what addiction is and how much the addict can be held responsible for the condition they end up in.

My opinion on this has changed over time, but it’s still a bit murky. I know it’s not the same for everyone, but it forced me to confront what role I consciously played in my downfall. How much can I claim is brain disease and how much can I say was poor decision making?

I had to interject a few times to say things like we need to create a safe space and not judge addicts, as I felt the host reflected certain ideas about addiction that are held in mainstream society, but many people are afraid to say. I didn’t take anything personally, and he forced me to really think about things, even if I believe he doesn’t have a great true handle on what the critical phase of addiction is like. As with Friday’s interview, I was exhausted when it was over.

I don’t necessarily have the right answer for any of these questions because it’s not like an objective math equation. There is no across-the-board correct answer that covers every alcoholic or porn addict, but these two podcasts made me recognize that I may not even have the answers yet for questions I’ve never considered.

It feels good to be challenged and process these questions further. I think that’s the only way we evolve and it doesn’t matter if it’s a clinical therapy setting on a podcast. Growth is the goal.

When these two appearances make their debut, I’ll not only link them here, but also on the main page and Interviews page on the website.