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:

Random Thoughts, Feb 2020: Super Bowl Halftime, Porn is Everywhere, Contact Your Local Library for Me

Being a New England Patriots fan, one of the few perks of living in the tundra known as Maine, this year’s Super Bowl was far less important than most in recent memory. I did watch the game, however, and while it was tremendous, I’m hearing a debate between those who enjoyed the dancing and pageantry of the halftime show and those who thought it was an oversexed, adults-only debacle.

For those who missed it, the halftime show featured Jennifer Lopez, who returned to acting last year as an aging stripper in the film Hustlers, taking certain inspiration from that role, including a brief pole dance and Shakira, known for her belly dancing-inspired moves, doing some kind of oral sex equivalent tongue wagging that has become the most popular meme this week.

Taking a cue from both women’s Latino roots, the music was fast-paced and they were usually surrounded by dancers who one may feel were gyrating in a sexual manner in too-revealing costumes while others might defend it as a normal piece of the Latin music culture.

Despite my strong desire to educate the world about pornography addiction, I’ve got to be honest, I find both sides a bit extreme. It was a Super Bowl halftime show. I’m not a fan of either woman’s music, so I was playing on my phone. I think the last one I watched was Lady Gaga a few years back when the Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit. Take that, Atlanta fans.

Could the halftime show possibly trigger someone who is new to recovery or send a person in their addiction off to the computer for a round of watching pornography? Sure, but as with my alcoholism, I don’t think the world should stop because I had a problem. I had to get over the fact people drink around me, not that they needed to stop drinking because of me.

I just looked it up and the highest-rated halftime show ever was Katy Perry’s, so apparently they keep track of things like that. If you’re offended by what you’re watching on the halftime show, turn it off. Sports and television are entertainment mediums that depend on audience engagement. The less eyes on the product, the less money they make.

Ironically, the Super Bowl is great for anti-porn advocates as PornHub always reports a sharp decrease in consumption on Super Bowl Sunday. And seriously, do you really want them to bring back Up With People?


I did a podcast recording a week or so ago and somebody asked a question that I have never been posed. Aside from simply being refreshing, it was a terrific question and I thought I’d share the answer here.

I was asked: “You say that you are nearly six years sober with no relapses. Are you saying in those six years, you’ve never seen pornography?”

I gave my typical response to the question “What is pornography?” in that it’s two-fold. First, anything can be pornography if you use it in a certain way. One person’s Victoria’s Secret catalog is a junk mail nuisance while it’s another’s main source of visual stimulation. More pertinent to that question is the second definition, which is what we can all agree is pornography. That’s the XXX stuff that is shown on the pay-per-view channels with names like Spice and Xtacy, in magazines like Hustler and Penthouse, and on websites like PornHub.

Have I seen any of this second classification of pornography in the last six years?

Of course. I have no idea how I could have avoided it.

In jail, there was a guy who had a couple of small hardcore sex photos taken from a magazine. I’ve seen street vendors in NYC selling the stuff. As a guy who writes regularly about pornography and includes pictures with his blogs, sometimes the Google search terms bring up pictures that go well beyond an R rating. And there’s been more than one movie I’ve seen in the last six years that while not technically pornographic, sure pushed the boundaries in the name of “art.”

So, do I feel like I relapsed? Not at all.

I’ve seen alcohol plenty of times since I got sober. Hell, we have some here in my house. Have I drank it? No. Am I still sober? Yes. When I saw any of that pornography, did it give me urges to engage in self-pleasure using visual aids? Nope. Did I engage in self-pleasure using visual aids? Nope. Do I reasonably try to avoid seeing such pornography? Absolutely.


My book He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions has been performing decently. It was the publisher’s best performing new title over the last two months and ranked in the top of its “new release” category in three categories on Amazon during that time. You’re still invited to buy a copy.

The rollout of an “evergreen” book (meaning that there is no huge element of time involved) is a slower process than many books. First, the softcover comes out, then the Kindle and in this case, we’ve been lucky enough to also have a hardcover run. It is very cool seeing my book in hardcover. It makes me feel like a real book writer for the first time.

Marketing has involved blanketing just about anybody who would listen to me, as I started doing multiple podcasts every week dating back to November. That schedule is finally slowing down as I now am more selectively targeting audiences.

One area that my first book did well and I’m hoping this one also will also is with libraries. A lot of people don’t realize it, but libraries purchase their books like anyone else. Sure, there are certain titles that are gimmies like Stephen King or the next political tell-all, but for most of us, we are competing for limited shelf space.

How does a library decide what’s important? From its patrons.

I’m going to ask you, especially if you didn’t purchase a copy of my book, to do me a solid favor right now. Go to the website of your local library. Usually the site will have a search function that lets you search their catalog or the site. Search the site with the phrase “suggest a title for purchase.” Most of you will find a link to the form you need. If you can’t find this, and the link isn’t in one of the drop-down menus, just simply go to the “contact us” or “ask a librarian” form they all have.

Then, fill in the blanks. By you simply saying you want He’s a Porn Addict, Now What? and listing my co-author Tony Overbay in the author field (he’s listed first, so it’s easier for them to find if you use his name), you’re doing a lot to increase the chances of getting the book into your local library. You may not need it, but there are probably people who do, and your library may never get the book if you don’t suggest it. You’re doing a good thing for me, and for those who may benefit.

So, go do that right now. I’ll wait. Seriously. It takes 2 minutes. Please.

Thank you.

 

Here’s Your Chance to Redeem Yourself…

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 12.54.52 PMYou really wanted to buy my new book and support me when it came out in softcover in December, but either the $19.99 (plus tax and shipping) cost or the fact you’d have a book laying around the house that said “Porn Addict” on the cover was too much for you. That’s OK, I understand. And now, both of those excus….err….reasons have been taken care of as I am proud to announce He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions is available in Kindle!

Now, with a low price of $9.99 and no shipping costs, you can show you support, learn a few things, and prove that reading isn’t dead. With Amazon’s gifting and lending program, if you know somebody who should have the book but isn’t going to pick it up for whatever reason,  you can share with them in a much more subtle way than giving them an actual book.

Hope you’ll pick up, or download, your copy today!

Link to the Kindle:  https://amzn.to/2NyIWAT

For those who purchase the Kindle (and those who don’t, but whatever) my first book is available on Kindle for $3.99 for a short time for only HERE

Guest Post: Meet Tony Overbay, My Co-Author of ‘He’s a Porn Addict, Now What?’

Note from Josh: I’ve talked a lot about the new book I’ve co-written, but not too much about my fellow author, Tony Overbay, LMFT. He’s a great guy who is hilarious, and as we’ve built our friendship, has made himself very vulnerable over the foreign process of writing a book. While this is only the second book I’ve written that has my real name on it, I’ve either written nearly 20 books under pseudonyms or ghostwritten them for other people, so I forget what a scary experience it can be for a rookie. Tony’s got a great personal story and earlier this week wrote this entry on his Facebook page. I think if you read it, you’ll see why I wanted to work with him. Also, we recorded a new episode of his podcast on Thursday that will debut on Monday and I will post it to this site.

_____________________________________

Over 15 years ago I started thinking about changing careers. I was writing a humor column for my local newspaper and many of my articles had to do with becoming a new father. I loved being a father and that was when I first felt the “call” to want to help other men become good fathers as well. I wrote more about being a new father and eventually I put together enough chapters that I thought I could turn it into a book. That was one of the first times I also felt the pangs of “Impostor Syndrome,” meaning I couldn’t get past “why would anyone want to listen to me, who am I to write a book? I don’t have any credentials.”

I eventually headed back to school in the evenings, with four small kids, a day job and an incredibly supportive wife. I wanted to study counseling, but initially, I thought having a master’s degree in counseling would be enough, and I would write, and help men become better husbands and fathers. I didn’t anticipate seeing clients.

During the course of getting my masters in counseling, I had to do a practicum, aka fieldwork. I had to start seeing clients at a non-profit clinic. That was when I first realized that this career was more than just wanting letters behind my name in hopes of selling a funny book or two, it was truly about following a call, it was about helping others. I had found my passion, my purpose, and my desire to help grew.

When I first started seeing clients out of school, I learned that men weren’t typically seeking therapy, so I found myself working with a population that was coming in to see me because they were in danger of losing their marriages, or careers, to addiction, in particular men who were struggling with compulsive sexual behavior, typically acted out through repeated, and continual viewing of pornography, even when they had tried to stop many, many times.

I learned so much about addiction, compulsive behaviors, and I knew many of the ways to truly help with both the behavioral and the mental (cognitive) aspects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism or acting out sexually to fill a void. That work led me to the creation of The Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that has helped many, many people break free from the chains of compulsive sexual behavior.

I started The Virtual Couch podcast a couple of years ago as a way to share a lot of what I was learning as a therapist, but also as a way to promote The Path Back recovery program, and the podcast began to grow like nothing I ever anticipated. That growth led me to the opportunity to interview more and more interesting people who had overcome a lot in their lives. One of those interviews was with a former politician, magazine editor and film festival organizer, and pornography addict, Joshua Shea. You can hear Josh’s story in his episode on The Virtual Couch, but after doing 70 or more podcasts and radio interviews for his first book The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About, Josh approached me with the concept of another book, “He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” (Click Here to See the Amazon page for the book) and I was immediately honored, and I was in! We would answer questions from real people about pornography addiction, and we would both answer them without knowing what the other had written. What we now have is a book that is receiving incredibly positive reviews from the professional community, a community that can be quite harsh with concepts or ideas that don’t bear fruit. It is overwhelming, humbling and motivating all at once.

I now have the letters after my name, and over a decade now of one-on-one experience with over 1,000 men and women who have struggled to overcome turning to pornography or other compulsive sexual behaviors as a coping mechanism. I know it can be done, but I also know it takes time to believe that it can be done. I am confident that this book will help expedite this process significantly, whether you are the addict, the betrayed or someone who loves, counsels or works with someone struggling with this challenge.

So while this isn’t the humorous first-time dad book that talks about blowing out diapers in public or having to give up Oreo shakes for a year thanks to my wife getting sick on them during pregnancy, I am extremely proud of this book and I hope that it can positively change lives. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I changed careers when I did, I still don’t see myself as “that guy,” but I now can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not followed a bit of a calling, and truly decided that I needed to love what I did, and do something that hopefully can and will impact lives for the better.

Book Review: He’s a Porn Addict… Now What? — Mental Health @ Home

Ashley at Mental Health @ Home has released a great review of the book. Please check it out when you get a chance.

He’s a Porn Addict… Now What?: An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions by Tony Overbay and Joshua Shea is written to serve as a resource for partners of men with pornography addictions. It’s a unique combination of viewpoints – Tony is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Josh is a former…

via Book Review: He’s a Porn Addict… Now What? — Mental Health @ Home