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

I Want to Be a Talk Show Host When I Grow Up

Actually, fun fact is that even before I went to work at the local newspaper when I was 17 years old, I was given a radio talk show in the summer of 1993 at the Bates College radio station, WRBC. I ended up getting my job at the newspaper after it ran a story about my radio show being a hit with the kids in my high school. The station manager wanted WRBC to run year-round, so in the summer months when only about 15% of students were on campus taking classes, they opened it up to the public and I seized the opportunity. They allowed me to continue through the school year.

Instead of being a talk show host, I went down the road of the written word, which has done well by me. With the exception of a few months here or there, I’ve consistently made my living as a writer or editor since I took a job in the sports department of the local newspaper about six months after the radio show started.

Fast-forward 25 years. One of the very first interview shows I went on as a guest after my initial book came out was The Virtual Couch with Tony Overbay. I found it in a list of mental health podcasts and wrote to Tony seeing if he wanted a guest to talk about pornography addiction. I was scared to death to talk about my story, but knew I’d have to be vulnerable to promote my book. I was still feeling my way through my new world and was still processing what had happened to me over the last several years.

Tony could not have been more non-judgmental, welcoming and ultimately made me feel like mine was an important story to tell. Not every podcast has been like that, and if I had found one of the more confrontational hosts, or one of the hosts who doesn’t care what I’m talking about, I’m not sure that I would still be doing this. I need encouragement in the early stages of a project, and then can deal with later slings and arrows. Start with negativity and I bail out quickly.

When the brainstorm hit me to write a second book with a therapist, I had a short list of about four I wanted to approach, all who had interviewed me. Tony was the top of that list and while he understandably hedged a bit, calculating the time commitment it would take, he welcomed the opportunity and our professional relationship changed, but we also began building a personal one.

I think one of the things that works with our relationship is that we defer to each other’s strengths, which is why our book has been well-received. I’m not a therapist and he’s not a recovering addict and we don’t try to play each other’s parts. Conversely, I don’t live on the west coast, am married to my high school sweetheart, have four kids, am very spiritual, understand anything about computers or enjoy running. Tony isn’t an east coaster with two decades of professional writing experience, an ex-convict or former politician. However, we’ve both operated businesses we lost passion for, made poor decisions for security-blanket purposes, and like to have our hand in many projects at one time. We have similar personalities with very different life experience and it compliments each other.

We also are immersed in the world of podcasts in very different ways. Tony has been hosting the Virtual Couch for nearly three years and until today, published 199 episodes, almost all interviewing people in various aspects of mental health. He constantly has to produce different and interesting ideas. I don’t know how he manages the consistent quality output, but he deserves the tens of thousands of hits he’s getting. I, on the other hand, have been on around 150 podcasts since I first visited Tony on Episode 27, and it’s rare when I get a question that I haven’t answered before. Instead of telling the same growing audience different things, like Tony does, I’m telling different audiences the same thing most of the time and never know if 20 or 20,000 will get the message.

For his 200th episode, I pitched the idea of him being a guest on his own show and letting me interview him. We spend 20 minutes talking about the evolution of his podcast, the next 25 minutes talking about his personal journey in life and the last 15 minutes is reserved for the rapid-fire question round. I had a great time playing a different role and it’s made me think that at some point, I may enjoy having a podcast and it doesn’t have to be about pornography addiction. And as a guest, Tony was terrific, holding nothing back. If you have some time, check this out:

From the Department of Things I Never Thought I’d Say: Watch Me Coach the Naked Podcaster

I like doing podcasts. It scratches a few internal itches that I have. They provide me with someone’s attention for an hour, help continually remind me of my battle with pornography and alcohol addiction, allow me to spread an important educational message and are the easiest way to market my books.

One of the things I don’t do enough of is talk about my advising/counseling service. I love doing it and while I usually only have 1-3 clients at any given time, it does help justify the time I spend since I get a few dollars. But, for whatever reason, I don’t promote it as much as I want and I’ve been wanting to revamp that section of my website for over a year. I wish I had 5-6 clients at a time because I genuinely enjoy hearing people’s stories and helping them.

I made a conscious effort to pull back on the number of podcasts I was doing a couple months back, which has led me to turn down a few offers and not spend very much time looking for shows that would fit my message. I used to say yes to almost everybody, but I’ll actually check out somebody’s credentials first and see what their podcast is like before agreeing to it.

There have been a few times where it’s clear I’ve been invited to a show to be attacked. They are usually shows that market themselves as “pro-healthy sexuality” but in reality they are just about justifying hyper-sexual behavior. I’m not necessarily against that if you’ve got the right partner in the right situation, but I’m always cast as the frigid anti-porn guy who just doesn’t get it. I’ve learned to spot them a mile away and pass.

Back in late December or early January, I was asked to appear on a show called “The Naked Podcaster.” I almost tossed the email before reading it, but the first line that read: “I’m not even sure that I should be writing you about this…” It was clear that Jenn Taylor had a different kind of show and that while she was naked on her end of the screen, she never showed anything and it was as much a metaphor, and marketing gimmick to gain eyeballs as anything else. I still was a bit hesitant, but realized that this was a controlled environment that would not cross any lines and would ultimately show people that pornography addiction is not about a naked person. It’s about what the mind is seeking but looking for pornography. I also knew that seeing someone from the shoulders up has never been triggering for me. I’m just not a collarbone guy.

So I recorded the show in early January, it appeared a week later and I posted it as I post every other podcast. It was a good appearance and we had a nice rapport. Sometimes people who decide to have podcasts are not good conversationalists. Lord knows why they want to be part of a project that forces them to talk. These are the shows that are tough to get through. It wasn’t like that with Jenn and I thanked her for giving me access to her audience. If you’d like to see that appearance, it’s available HERE.

About a week after it ran, I got another email from Jenn saying that she was looking to do online coaching with former guests. She was upfront with her reasoning… it provided interesting content and she gets free coaching. It reminded me of how many times I’ve written the “man goes to a spa” story in my life for various publications just so I can get a free facial, massage and pedicure. I always had to play dumb and ask, “I’ve heard there’s some kind of wax treatment for your feet?” That’s when you soak your feet in a paraffin wax bath. It feels like you’re wearing slippers for a couple days after that. Anyway, I digress.

I also knew that doing this with Jenn, while different than what I do when I’m coaching or advising someone (or their partner) about porn addiction, would give the overall feel for what I do with people. I think what keeps a lot of people away is the fear of the unknown and this shows that I’m a guy just asking questions, prompting the person to speak, and I come with no judgment and throw out some possibilities to get the person on the other end to think about once we’re done. It’s easy to do, but not easy to start.

So, here are the two coaching sessions we did, via YouTube. It’ll take two hours of your time to get through them, but I think it’s interesting and I’m curious if others will reach the conclusion I did at the end.

Here is what Jenn wrote for the introduction on the YouTube video:

It might seem strange that a porn addict is coaching The Naked Podcaster, however, when I read Josh’s book, “He’s A Porn Addict… Now What?” I realized that I have triggers from my past. 3 of my 4 serious relationships had porn as part of the mix and I became curious about how that impacted me, how I was attracting people and if I could have handled it differently. I also felt a little confused about my reaction to pornography. In Session 1 we dive into my background and set the stage for session 2. I was nervous about this discussion but excited about the possibility of learning more about myself. Welcome to my porn journey and brace yourself for session 2.

In Session 2 you will learn more about me from a sexual standpoint than you ever wanted to know.

If you don’t have the time to watch, or just want the spoilers, here is what Jenn wrote following our session:

In the end, with some great coaching from Josh, he determines that I am an open, healthy sexual person, evolved, transcendent and willing to openly discuss sexuality and I’m not in your face about it. In my mind, I feel I should have a more open, healthier attitude by LIKING porn but I DON’T LIKE IT. I don’t want to admit that because in my mind it pokes holes in the balloon of being openly sexual. My definition of being openly sexual is defined on INCLUDING porn, so because I don’t really like it, I struggle with if I can be healthy sexually when I don’t really have that openness. In the moment I wasn’t sure if that was accurate or how accurate it is, but with hindsight, I believe it’s spot on. I DO like lower-key sexual encounters in an R rated movie, but once it’s blatant, I’m actually uncomfortable. What this has meant since we recorded, is embracing that having a healthy sexual relationship does not have to be all-inclusive and that’s OK. I also don’t want to have a 3-some, am not interested in women and have never wanted to attend a sex party and those things didn’t determine feeling that I’m sexually open. We all have to determine what’s in our comfort zone. I appreciate that Josh was willing to have me as a coaching client since I”m a bit removed from my engagement with porn and to explore difficult conversations with me to uncover what my triggers are.

While I’m going to be revamping things on my advising/coaching page, if anybody is interested in my services, please get in touch with me at jshea.writer@gmail.com

Stringing Sentences Together When You Don’t Know What Else To Do

I’ve tried to write this multiple times. In fact, I’ve written the phrase “I’ve tried to write this multiple times” multiple times. I’ve created lists of what I’ve wanted to say and tried small chunks. This is the first paragraph you’re reading but it’s probably the 30th paragraph I’ve written.

I don’t get writer’s block, and this doesn’t feel like writer’s block. It’s not apathy. It’s not melancholy.

I’ve gone back to the TV news and most print/online news blackout I put myself in immediately after recovery began. I don’t find myself getting overwhelmed, nor do I want to share all of my opinions like I once did on every subject.

Objectively, I understand that people get through things by talking about them, and the kind of people who feel the need to become pundits, columnists or online forum commentators use their opinion as a shield to get through things. I was that person. Still am, but to a much lesser degree. Unlike them, I realize now sharing my opinion has never been about changing your opinion…it’s about processing my own thoughts and looking for a feeling of control over a situation.

I once had 4,000 Facebook “friends.” I wrote the editorial for a newspaper that reached almost 20,000 people. I was regularly quoted and on television for things I did in my community reaching who knows how many. Now? Since I stopped posting every day on the blog part of my website, hits are way down. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of only 200 people who will read this in 2020…or even fewer in future years. That’s OK. I’m not writing it for you. I’m writing it for me. Most people who share their opinion don’t recognize it.

I would bet less than 1 in 1000 people will have their opinion of Donald Trump altered to the point it changes their vote in November over how he’s handled the COVID-19 crisis. It’s only going to strengthen what people already think. I’ve heard people carefully defend and brazenly attack that think line between being prepared and hoarding – and it has nothing to do with their politics. And of course, this has helped everybody recognize what’s really important… as long as it was already really important to them (and hopefully this is a wakeup call that it should be important to you and it turns out, I was right all along).

I guess what I’m noticing more than anything else is that I’m at a stage of irritability with people where normal isolation usually works. What happens when the extroverts are forced to become introverts? The introverts really have to go to their secret happy place.

My problem in trying to write this has been that I can’t tie everything together in a nice bow and give a great line of summation. As a journalist, I always prided myself on the endings of my stories. I thought they were more important than the beginning. Sure, 100% of your readers start the story and only 30% ever reach the end, but I think you have a duty to leave that 30% with a feeling of satisfaction and my ability to bring it all together and end on some kind of takeaway was honed over years of writing thousands of articles.

Just not today.

LinkedIn vs. WordPress, a Tale of Two Mental Health Communities

I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn these days, both to try and get my book into the hands of mental health/addiction professionals and to make connections with those professionals as I still figure out how my pornography addiction education mission can best move forward. It’s a very different world than WordPress.

Before I get into it, I have to say the No. 1 strangest thing that I’ve witnessed among mental health professionals on LinkedIn is just how many of them like to create memes where they quote themselves. It’s seriously fucking weird! I don’t know if it’s a marketing thing where they hope others will share it or if it’s just a narcissistic side of them that sometimes comes with people who are smart and have the capability to heal, but I’m never going to get comfortable with it. You let other people quote you. You don’t quote yourself.

meme

Anyway, for me, the biggest difference is that the community I’ve cultivated on WordPress are either struggling addicts, former addicts, people with mental health issues, or empaths. Demographically, it’s all over the spectrum from teenagers to people in their 70s, male, female, located all over the world in various socioeconomic conditions, but there is also a comfortable sameness with just about every person, including me. It’s a firm understanding that we don’t have all the answers. That kind of self-awareness and humility is quite often not seen among the ranks on LinkedIn.

I remember being introduced to the street smarts vs. book smarts theory when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. There were those kids, like I was expected to be, who excelled in their studies and would go on to do smart things in smart careers and then go home to their smart wives and smart children at the end of the day. Then there were the other kids, they were the ones who would fill the labor and service jobs, but they’d have a real-life worldliness that I couldn’t understand because things came almost too easy to me. While I could do the taxes of the other group, I’d be dependent upon them to protect me in a fight.

As I’ve learned, that concept is moronic. Facebook proved that some of the kids who should have died by accidentally electrocuting themselves because they were so stupid go onto great things and some of the kids with the most potential flame-out the hardest.

The one place I do see this idea somewhat played out, though, is in the world of addiction. When I got into my first rehab, I met people who I thought I’d have nothing in common with. Many became good friends. A guy who got kicked out of the Hells Angels for being too violent and getting in too much trouble with the law was probably my best friend in my first rehab. What did we have in common? We knew addiction and it was enough to bond us. I learned this lesson again at the second rehab, and at the limited 12-step meetings and group therapy sessions I attended. Addiction made us street smart whether we were an 18-year-old meth addict or a 68-year-old sex addict.

But, if there is street smart in that equation, there has to be book smart, and I’ve finally met this side of the coin on LinkedIn. I like LinkedIn because it is kept professional, relatively politics-free, yet there is still a lot of inspiration and videos of dogs doing cute things.

There are a lot of people in mental health/addiction who have dealt with an issue, but on LinkedIn, not every one of those people are quick to share. Part of my recovery is being as honest as I possibly can as often as I possibly can, so I don’t go to any length to hide my history with pornography or alcohol.

The book smart are the mental health professionals who have never had a major issue with addiction or their own mental health. They’ve witnessed health conditions that they are very qualified to diagnose and treat, yet they don’t know what it’s like to have been there. It’s like someone who is an expert in ancient Egyptian history. I still think a goat herder who actually lived in Egypt during the building of the Pyramids could probably beat them in a game show, even if they were only a peasant. There is just something to be said for experience vs. theoretically knowledge.

In dealing with the LinkedIn community, I’ve gotten a vibe again and again that I’m dealing with people who think they have answers to our world’s growing pornography addiction problem, even if they haven’t dealt with a lot of clients who have it yet. They have the answers because, on an academic level, they’ve always had the answers.

Depending on who the person is and their exact background, the answer may be 101 different things, but they are relatively sure they have the answer, even when the answer is that porn addiction isn’t a real thing. Whether it’s sweat lodge workshops, filters galore on your computer, or the same tired arguments against porn that have been around for 50 years and never worked, they have THE answer.

Now, I don’t want to slam all of them. I’ve made some great friends and important contacts. They know who they are and I’m grateful to have you in my life. But, I’ve also met people who wouldn’t give me the time of day because I’m just a former addict with no letters after his name. It feels like those who even bother to acknowledge that I’m trying to actually bring resources to the table for addicts with my books, presentations and website mostly just pat me on the head and tell me to run along while the grown-ups figure out the answers to the world’s problems.

On WordPress, there’s sometimes a victim mentality of people who just can’t get out of their own way, and I think on some levels don’t want to, in order to get better or improve their situation. WordPress has a lot of wallowers, and they frustrate me to no end. On LinkedIn, that frustration comes from a superiority mentality of people who have plenty of knowledge, but very little experience. I think the real money will be in creating the social media app that exists somewhere in the middle.

What’s most ironic is that I spent no time on LinkedIn before my newest book came out, yet it basically is a street smart/book smart take on porn addictions for partners of addicts. If you want to support a street-smart troll, click HERE to learn more about the book.

And of course, all of this said, if you want to join me on LinkedIn, feel free.