Warning: You’ll Never Get the Three Minutes Back It Will Take to Read This

I’ve been trying to write two blog entries a week and trying to make sure at least one of them is about pornography addiction, but some weeks are easier and some weeks are harder to get up for research and this is one of those difficult weeks, so maybe it won’t happen.

In the past, as recently as four or five months ago, I would have been a little more down on myself for not hitting a blogging deadline, but I’ve learned not to treat this as such a lifeline to a world, or to look for my blog for as much interaction as I was getting. Yeah, my views are down 50% what they were when I was writing every day and that would have killed my spirit in November, but now, I think I have the healthier “it is what it is” mindset. If this blog was monetized, that would be one thing, but a steep dip in stats is yielding just as much money as it did before: Zero dollars, zero cents.

I stopped blogging as much because I had a few projects I wanted to start. Some happened, some are still on the to-do list. And of course things pop-up, like a once-in-a-lifetime plague.

I’ve been recording a lot of podcasts lately because I’ve been following the effect of the pandemic on porn and a lot of people have wanted to talk to me about it. I very much appreciate the slow movement away from my personal story and into one where I serve the role of pornography addiction expert. If you’ve never checked out my podcasts page or listened to one, many of the recent podcasts have been quite good. I haven’t gone back and listened to any of my first from early 2018 in a long time. I’d probably be embarrassed by it.

I also had the very cool opportunity to play interviewer to Tony Overbay on the 200th episode of his podcast, The Virtual Couch. Tony was the co-author of my latest book and I actually first met him through his podcast back when it was only episode 27. These days he gets thousands of hits and is one of the most popular mental health podcasts. Tony’s story is amazing, and it gives a lot of people to see the roles reversed where I’m the interviewer and he’s the subject. When I was a full-time journalist, I was always the interviewer. It was nice to see I hadn’t lost it.

I actually have to play catch-up on my to-do list, since I’m already a day behind this week. Had one of those days yesterday were everything I wasn’t planning jumped ahead of the stuff I was, including reading other blogs. I hope to get to them later today when I need a break from the writing.

Hope you’re hanging in there. We are going to get through this. If you live in a state where things are reopening, be careful. And remember, doctors and health officials know what they’re talking about when it comes to public health… politicians just play to the masses. There’s an election coming up and every politician’s actions right now should be looked at through that lens. Catchphrases like “We can’t let the cure be worse than the disease” make great soundbites, but when there are still states like Texas where 1,000 per day are reporting infection rates and the peak is now, the disease is still much worse than the cure.

I really hope these mainly Republican politicians aren’t wrong with their decision making. If they are, and we see a spike worse than we had before, I think the Republican party can kiss its control goodbye for a long while. Conversely, if everything goes well, I can see them getting stronger. The Democrats have nothing to lose, so standing on the sidelines of caution and staying closed is their best tactic. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months, with the real fallout coming that first Tuesday in November.

I know 45% of people will vote Republican and nothing will change their mind, and 45% will vote Democrat and nothing will change their mind. I’m in that 10% in the middle. I’d guess I probably have voted Republican far more times for national elections and Democrat far more times in state and local elections. I’m going to be one of the few people who help decide the presidential race and right now, I don’t know what I’d do. Both parties could get my vote, but they both have a lot of work to do before November.

No, I have no idea why I chose a picture of Donny and Marie Osmond from the late 1970s for the picture. None at all.

Stay safe, use your head and we’ll get through this.

And then one by one, we will all eventually die someday because that’s the way it works.

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.

Questioning the Changes in My Attitude Toward Healthy Sexuality

I’m anti-pornography, but I’m not militant about it. I understand that pornography has been around as long as man could draw on the wall of a cave, and getting into a battle you can’t win seems like a waste of time, energy and resources. There’s also the civil libertarian in me who doesn’t want to tell you how to live your life because I don’t want you to tell me how to live mine. But, yeah, I’m anti-pornography.

When you’re a heroin addict, a gambling addict, an alcoholic, a video game addict, a cocaine addict, etc., the goal is clear in recovery: Stop using or stop behaving that way. My goal was clear, too; stop using pornography. But, much like with food addicts still needing to eat, a further goal for a sex or porn addict is that they are supposed to develop healthy sexual habits and attitudes. Moving completely away from sexuality is known as being a sexual anorexic and that can be just as unhealthy as being an addict.

Without going into too much intimate detail, I feel like I’ve achieved much healthier sexual habits, but I’m wondering if my sexual attitudes, which were once “anything goes between two or more consenting adults” have swung too far in the other direction.

In researching several podcasts that I’m going to be on, I have spent a fair amount of time being exposed to the titles and icons of a lot of sex-based podcasts out there. Some pitch themselves as lurid (usually hosted by someone in the adult entertainment industry), others as health-based (usually hosted by someone with real credentials, or some sort of “sexual shaman”) and there’s a segment that just seems to treat it as matter-of-fact (usually a couple of friends just talking about sex.)

I’ve looked at the descriptions of some of these shows, because they seem like perfect places for someone like me to warn the masses about the potential dangers of pornography. I mean, I’ve got a pretty good story and I’ve got a ton of statistics on my side. I don’t see myself as a missionary, but you go where they need you – even if most reject you.

Further, I’ve been connecting with a lot of people on LinkedIn lately, mostly medical professionals. I have stumbled upon many people who fall into that “sexual shaman” category where they may have some degree they earned in the 1980s, but they’ve taken a New Age approach to sexuality. I tend to not connect with these people.

Frankly, what a lot of these podcasts and alternative sexual healers are pushing scares the hell out of me. I don’t think it would have 10 years ago. Back then I probably would have wished I had gone down their road of openness and experimentation. Today, though, I’m kind of repulsed.

I’m not sure that should be my reaction. If you and your partner (or partners) decide to embark on a journey that is far more kinky than anything I’d be comfortable with and it’s consensual, or you’re able to talk communicate about sexuality on a level with a frankness most people can’t muster, is there anything wrong with that?

I’ve never been a BDSM guy, but 10 years ago, I was a live and let live guy. If whips and chains do it for you, just have a safe word and don’t hurt anybody. Today, I tend to gravitate more toward a “they are deviants” point of view. Nothing changed with them. It changed with me.

I’ve been to red light districts in a few major international cities and I’ve stayed at a clothing optional resort in the Caribbean. Those places now seem gross and I really don’t want to judge the people buying or selling the sexuality, but I can’t help it.

Maybe I’m just getting more conservative with age. Maybe all of the fallout of my recovery has caused this shift. It could be I’m just a hypocrite and dismissed that extreme sexuality before because I was hoping to be a part of it. Something has caused a change in my attitude toward what “healthy sexuality” means.

Objectively, I still say if it’s between two or more consenting adults and you can keep it behind closed doors, I really shouldn’t have any input into your sexuality. I also respect the First Amendment enough that I’d stand next to these people and fight for their right to say whatever they want on their podcast. Nobody should ever dictate Free Speech.

Subjectively, none of it’s for me and I wonder if going that far in the other direction, unintentionally or not, is a good thing.