Time to Evolve into the Next Chapter of this Journey

At the moment, I’m taking a break from writing the intro and conclusion of my TED Talk. Despite the fact I don’t give it until December, there is a lot that goes into the preparation. For the first time in a long time, I’m nervous about something, which is probably good.

If the speech is posted on YouTube and goes unnoticed, then not much will probably change in my life, but if it goes viral, as many TED Talks do, things could get interesting. Somebody explained it to me like this the other day: I’ve been living the life of a road comedian, touring from town to town and trying a lot of material to see what’s good. Except instead of telling jokes on a stage, I’ve been talking about pornography addiction on podcasts. I’m now at the point where I probably have two hours of really good material and I just shape the interview around whatever the theme of whatever particular podcast I’m on at the moment.

Now, with the TED Talk, it’s like The Tonight Show is calling. Instead of two hours of material, I have to think about my best 15 minutes. Back in the day, being on The Tonight Show for a young comedian could make or break your career. If Johnny Carson invited you over to the couch after your set, you were the next big thing. If he didn’t, it was probably time to look for a job writing TV or jokes for other people, because you weren’t going to make it as a performer.

Those of you who have followed me on here the last three years know that I have struggled at time with monetizing my story. I didn’t want to feel like I was exploiting myself for financial gain. Many of you helped me see over time that I was too much in my head about it and the only way to be able to continue on my pornography addiction education crusade was to generate income so I could live my life. It’s taken some time, but I arrived at that place not too long ago. The reality is, I don’t want to be a freelance writer or ghostwriter for anybody beyond the couple of clients I still have. I don’t want to hustle to find new clients and write books or blog entries for other people. I need to figure out a way to pay the bills as part of my new life addressing porn addiction. The TED Talk is the best opportunity I have to make that happen on a grander scale as it will expose me to an audience that I would otherwise never reach. It could be a couple thousand, it could be a couple million. If it’s a couple million, I need to be prepared.

There are some things going on in the background now, and one of them will be revamping this site. I’ve hired a professional and I will not only be giving them 99% autonomy, I will be leaning on them to help create a strategy for what content is appropriate or not, and a schedule to produce it. I know that I’ve been leaning a little too heavy into the political lately, and I’m not sure these rambling kind of pieces like you’re reading now have much of a place in a future site. It allows me to clear my head, so I’ll have to figure something else out.

Right now, I have three books, an online course and a coaching/advisement offering that I have promoted to different degrees. They are the ways that I generate revenue. Hopefully they get more attention after the TED Talk, but hopefully I can also land a speaking agent to book me gigs once the world gets beyond COVID. I also know that a successful talk will lead to other opportunities I probably can’t imagine at the moment.

This feels a little bit like a goodbye note, but it’s not. I just need to take the next steps necessary to position myself for success. This site will become a hub for activity and I will be directing people back here for just about everything. I hope you’ll still like and comment on my stuff so it doesn’t look like a graveyard and I will continue to respond in comments. I will also continue to read other people’s blogs, although I must admit I have slacked on doing that daily. I also want to thank those who have been with me for so long, pushing me, adding their two cents, encouraging me, telling me when I dropped the ball and reminding me what I’m doing is important but that I can’t let it consume me. I wouldn’t have got to this point without you.

Here’s to whatever happens next…

On World Suicide Prevention Day, a Very Personal Story

As I write this on September 10, 2020, I’m reminded that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you count yourself among the lucky few who have never lost a friend or loved one to suicide, I hope you still understand the depths that one has to reach to end their lives and the trauma and damage it does to those left behind.

In the world of addiction and recovery, I don’t think it’s possible to not have been touched by suicide one way or another. Unfortunately for many of us, we also have a story of considering, or attempting. I am no different.

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from my first book, “The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroyed Relationships” about the only time in my life when I came close to ending things.

If you’re contemplating suicide, please consider reaching out to one of the following resources before doing anything:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Online Chat https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741741

From Chapter 19 of “The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About”

Late Christmas night of 2013, into the early morning of the 26th, I watched the Doctor Who Christmas episode as I did every year. For whatever reason, during the closing credits,

I broke down crying, a quivering mass of sadness and despair. The only thing that felt right at the moment was to stop it all. I’d never had that feeling before, but it was crystal clear.

While I’m sure everyone would deny it, most people have probably pondered how they’d kill themselves. I always thought carbon monoxide poisoning was the logical choice. You painlessly fall asleep and don’t wake up. I don’t know if I planned on killing myself, but the idea of going into the garage, starting the car, and sitting in it seemed like the right thing to do. It didn’t feel like I was getting ready to go kill myself. It felt like I was getting ready to see if I could perform a dress rehearsal of killing myself.

I went toward the garage but realized we took separate cars to my wife’s parents’ house earlier in the day. Both cars were in the driveway. Even in my darkest hour, I’m a lazy piece of shit. Putting on my shoes, going outside in the cold, opening the garage door, getting a car in the garage, shutting the garage door, and starting the process was too much work . . . and I knew my wife might hear me. I looked through the window of our mud room into the garage at a beam but realized you can’t rehearse a hanging. I didn’t know how to tie a noose or if we had any rope. The idea of hanging did not sound peaceful either.

Then the thought hit me, “It would not be cool for the kids to find their father dead in the garage the day after Christmas.”

The fog, almost a buzz of sorts, lifted, and I went back inside. I sat on the couch, in mild shock over the last few minutes. How serious had I just been? Had I let the thought of suicide become an actual possibility? It wasn’t a bad idea for a few minutes. I was legitimately suicidal for a few minutes and didn’t recognize it as it was happening.

Despite the drama of the next several years to come, be it in a courtroom, rehab center, or just sitting at home, I never once returned to this dark place. I’ve told myself if it happens in the future, to think of my kids, but I was so detached from rational thinking, I don’t know if that will happen. When I look back, those few minutes are the scariest of my life.

If You Took My Survey on Porn Addiction Recently, Here are the Results

In late July and early August, I launched a non-scientific survey to help me better target the TEDx Talk I’ll be giving in early December about pornography addiction. The survey was designed to capture the current beliefs of a wide group of people and better understand how best to give my presentation. I thought I’d get about 50 responses. I got over 800.

Response was far bigger than I could have imagined and there was fascinating information to come out of this survey that I wanted to share, especially to those who participated. Now I don’t know the difference between scientific and non-scientific when it comes to surveys, but I do understand that there has never been information taken from another person and then disseminated without some form of bias. If you want to read my take on the bias in this survey, I added it to the end of this article.

All right, now that you’ve read the disclaimers and caveats, let’s look at some of the results:

While I know that there are likely many people who fit into two or more categories, I wanted people to self-label themselves with only one tag. Parents ranked 7.7%, Mental Health Professionals at 7.1% and Teacher/Educator at 6.5%.

The few people who have seen these results to this point have told me they were surprised by over a quarter of the people taking this labeling themselves as an addict, but since “student” was the second highest group, it makes sense. A study from 2017 by The Barna Group interviewed more than double the people that I did and they found 32%-33% of respondents in the male 18- to 30-year-old group were self-diagnosed as having a problem with pornography. I didn’t ask for gender in this survey, but knowing those Barna numbers, the 25.6% saying they are addicts doesn’t surprise me at all.

These two questions were just to get a handle on what the people who were taking the survey were thinking in terms of pornography addiction having the potential of being a real problem or addiction. In both of these questions, I was really only interested in what percentages would be represented by the blue parts of the pie. Both of these results confirmed that this is a topic that needs to be talked about and it’s perfect for a TEDx Talk.

I think it’s telling that a combined 77.6% of people who answered the survey said that those under 18 are most at risk for developing the addiction. I think this shows an understanding of where the seeds of addiction are sown. I know that there are those who become addicted after 25, but I’m still surprised that 6.1% of people think they are at the greatest risk.

Like the last question, these are another two that made me feel good as the responses came in. Only 6% of people don’t think that porn addiction should be addressed in either high school, college or both. If 94% of people think it should be addressed in school — why aren’t we doing it? This should be some ammunition toward getting it normalized in health curriculum. If you need any more proof that people think we need to do better, 96% think we’re not doing a good enough job. These are important numbers for educators to consider. If we can’t count on parents, we need to count on the schools and there’s clearly a need for it.

That last number is the headline for me. Only slightly more than 1 out of 4 people don’t have some connection, either through themselves, a family member, partner or friend, to pornography addiction. Think about that for a second. That’s 27.5% who believe there is no connection to people and porn addiction in their life — but it’s 72.5% who do have a connection! If well more than half of us have a connection to porn addiction in my life, why isn’t anybody talking about it??!!

The next newsmaker here for me is that 42% of people who took this thought they may have a porn addiction. Of the 812 people who answered the question, 342 may be porn addicts???!!!! Almost 1 out of 4 think they’re partner is an addict??!!!

The child questions are somewhat moot because I made the mistake of not qualifying it by finding out how many people answering had kids. Once again, not a scientific survey, but these other answers did come in higher than I expected. They don’t surprise me, but I wasn’t sure if people were seeing what was happening around them and would report it.

This one bothered me the most because I think it plays into stereotypes about who pornography addicts are or aren’t. Nearly 9-in-10 people are worried about male teens become porn addicts, but only 1-in-4 is worried about a teen female. Half of respondents say that they’re concerned about adult males become addicts, but only 1-in-10 is worried about adult females.

Just when I thought we were waking up as a society, we’re met by these numbers. I’m not going to go into a litany of statistical quoting showing that the number of female addicts is growing by leaps and bounds, nor am I going to go into my diatribe about how porn is now available cheaply, targeted at all demographics and easier (and more anonymous) to access than ever before. I can show you were we actually are, but I wanted to know where people thought we are, or needed to be. I felt good about the responses until this question. There’s unfortunately still a huge gender gap when it comes to understanding who are pornography addicts. Yes, historically men have always outnumbered women when it came to consuming pornography and reporting as addicts, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be the case.

If any female porn addict says she feels invisible to society, all you have to do is look at the answers to this question and you can understand why.

There were several other questions that asked about presentation style, but I won’t bore you with the answers here. They’ll help me figure out how to communicate the information and you can see if it all comes together when the event takes place.

My TEDx Talk will be part of TEDxHartford on Dec. 6, 2020. While there will be no live audience in attendance because of social distancing, people are invited from all over the world to attend virtually at no charge — although donations are accepted. If you’d like to get a virtual ticket to the event, check out TEDxHartford online.

Caveats on Methodology: In the case of this survey, everybody asked to take it was online, which almost certainly skewed the average respondent younger than in if it had just been taken on the street. Along with sending it to a few heterogenous mailing lists, it was also posted on my website and LinkedIn page, so those who have some interest in following what I’m already doing had the opportunity to take it skewed in their favor. Finally, I posted it on many online forums, bulletin boards and subreddits. I tried to get a mix of people – I wanted young adults, and therapists, and parents and former addicts and partners of addicts, and religious people and a few other groups to specifically respond – so I looked for places online where some of these groups congregated. Considering over 800 people answered every question, I feel confident enough in the results since even another 25 responses would not change any answer by much.

My First Online Pornography Addiction Education Course Geared Toward Partners is Now Available!!!

I am very psyched to say that after many weeks and probably nearly 100 hours of work, my first online pornography education course is available through Udemy.

It’s called “Pornography Addiction Education for Partners” and for the next THREE Days (Sept. 3 to Sept 6, 2020) it is available for FREE. After that, it goes to $19.99 to the general public, although if the free window is closed, contact me and I’ll give you a coupon to take $5 off and make it $14.99

That’s about 10 minutes at your therapist, ladies. I’m upfront in letting people know I don’t have all the answers, but based on the feedback to my bestselling book “He’s a Porn Addict, Now What?” this should provide a very inexpensive perspective, some basic science and the understanding of self-care among other important highlights.

The course features 10 modules, each with its own video and worksheet that can allow you to personalize the information from the last section and understand how it fits into your life.

For your FREE Trial, click HERE

A New Project, An Empty Studio and A Call for Social Media Help

This is just going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness pieces that I don’t really advertise anywhere and most people who read it will be regulars or at least WordPress users who found me in the Reader. I tend to not promote the rambling posts anymore.

  • I’m writing this today because I’m avoiding work. For the last few weeks, one of the reasons I’ve been somewhat absent on here — and I apologize to everybody whose blogs I usually read — but I’ve been busting my butt creating an online course based on my second book, the one for partners of porn addicts. It’s still easily the best selling book I have. If you haven’t purchased it yet, 1) Shame on you and 2) It’s on Amazon right now at 43% off the cover price. That’s right, you can get it for under $12 Check it out at this link. The course will likely be ready in a week or so and I’ll announce more about it, but it’s been a lot of labor and me doing things that I’m not so comfortable with, like editing video. Oh well, we have to push ourselves to learn new skills or be left behind.
  • I found out my December TEDx Talk will not be given to a live audience in attendance which kind of bums me out. I usually speak well with people in the room. I’m not sure how I’ll be in the new scenario, filming it a TV studio in East Hartford, Connecticut. It’ll be streamed live and the most important thing is the video hits the Internet not long after, but I’m kind of bummed because it means I need to pull the funny lines I use because they will be received by crickets.
  • The picture with this article used to be the one I always used on these rambling pieces. No idea why I stopped, but seeing it today made me realize it was necessary to purge my mind of lots of little things.
  • My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary this last weekend. My brother and I were remembering going to my grandparents 50th anniversary party 24 years ago and agreed that our parents didn’t look as old as our grandparents did back then. Or we’re just a lot older. I grew up basically across the street from Bates College. When I was 10, the students looked like 30-year-olds. Now that I’m 44, they look about 12. I guess it’s all about perspective.
  • If you’re in the US, it’s time to get your absentee ballot. I just filled out my request for mine. Go ahead and vote for Trump. I’m just going to cancel you out.
  • Finally, I had the best week on this website going back at least six months, last week. I posted a link to my article about OnlyFans onto Linked In and thankfully hundreds of people came to check out my website. Quite a few also subscribed, so I feel good about that. It’s made me realize that I really do need to get more onto social media — but based on my last couple of weeks, I don’t feel like I have the time nor desire to learn and I know I’m going to be left behind. If there is anybody out there who is an inexpensive social media manager that is interested in managing my social media presence, please get in touch with me. This is one of the weakest areas I have, but I can’t let it continue to be that way.