Let’s Have A Positive Discussion About Voldemort….I Mean Pornography (part 1 of 2)

Tony shares his thoughts on how to best talk about a topic that carries with it so much fear, guilt, and shame…pornography! In part 1 of 2, Tony talks about the difference between guilt and shame, and why people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like pornography when they aren’t feeling connected in other areas of life?

Tony mentioned his interview with Russ Catanach on his podcast “Learning More,” you can listen here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/learning-more/id1551590647?i=1000547740442

And Tony discusses the article “Let’s Talk About Porn: Is it as Harmful as Society Says It Is?” https://fightthenewdrug.org/3-reasons-why-watching-porn-is-harmful/

With the continuing “sheltering” rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony’s pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript, click here¬†https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ

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Speaker1: [00:00:02] The. The. Come on in and take a seat.

Speaker2: [00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode three hundred and four of the virtual couch. I’m your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mindful habit coach, a writer, a speaker, a husband, a father of four and creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that is helping all kinds of people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And yes, if you read in the title today, we are going to be talking about pornography, and I realize I’ve been doing this long enough that I need to update my references because my first thought was that we are going to talk about Voldemort in the world of Harry Potter, and we used to talk about Voldemort and a sense of he who must not be named. And I feel like when I used to speak a lot about pornography struggles with pornography, pornography, addiction, turning to pornography is an unhealthy coping mechanism. A decade or more ago, I could pull that reference out of my head, and people really knew what it meant. But I think we’ve talked about Voldemort enough that maybe that’s a great way to say that we need to get to the point where we’re talking about pornography and the challenges just as much now as Voldemort doesn’t carry very much weight. But again, I need to absolutely update those references. So I want this episode today to feel more like we are just having a conversation.

Speaker2: [00:01:34] And hopefully you can share this with someone. If you know of someone that’s maybe struggling with the challenges of pornography as well, that this is something that you can just sit back, relax. And we’re just going to have an open, honest conversation about this because I get to speak about this topic often. I have a book about this topic. I get interviewed about this. And so it does need to be spoken of without this doom and gloom and cueing the ominous music around pornography because it’s here and long gone are the days where we used to say, Hey, we need to prepare you if your kids see pornography, because now it’s absolutely prevalent. We see it everywhere. So we need to accept the fact that it’s there so that we can talk about it so that we can get on top of the best way to help people not turn to pornography as a coping mechanism. And let me just point out to I did an interview. A couple of actually the interview was a couple of months ago, but it just came out last week and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The host name was Russ. The podcast is called Learning More. I’ll include a link in the show notes, but Russ and I had a very open, candid and easy flowing conversation about sex and pornography addiction, so you can go check that out as well.

Speaker2: [00:02:44] That’ll maybe be some supplemental material for what we’re going to talk about today. Talking about pornography can really carry. There are a lot of uncomfortable vibes that can be in a room. And again, that’s part of the problem, and it’s part of the challenge for those of us who work in this field who are trying to help people turn away from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. Because we will often run into the people that when they come into our office, those shoulders are slumped, the head is down and they’re already coming in with this assumption that we’re going to judge them as this horrible individual and part of what we’ve known for a long time and we need to get this message out to the masses is that that is exactly the kind of behavior that just makes the problem worse because people are already so wracked with guilt and shame that when they come in, there’s already this assumption that they’re broken or what’s wrong with them. And there’s this expectation of perfection, even when someone walks into a therapist’s office. And I often say that I feel like someone’s going to come in and they’re anticipating that you’re going to either just tell them all the same things that they hear. Or do you realize that you really need to get over this, that this could be a bad thing. This is going to affect your life in a negative way, or they’re coming in thinking, OK, maybe this person has this magic bullet and they’ll say the right combination of words or tell me to do the right series of maneuvers that then won’t cause me to not want to turn to pornography as a coping mechanism.

Speaker2: [00:03:59] So regardless of how somebody is coming into the office, it’s typically with that. I know I’m broken and let’s go ahead and just agree that I’m never going to be able to get over this so that I can then go back and just resume this unhealthy coping mechanism or these behaviors that that I really don’t want to bring with me further on into my to my adulthood. So whether we’re talking about turning to pornography as an unhealthy coping mechanism or gambling, or whether it’s people’s phones or whether it’s food or work or you name it, there are so many distractions that we can turn to. And while all of them can be categorized as unhealthy coping mechanisms, some of them really do start to do a number on the brain and and actually cause us to want to do them more and more, especially those coping mechanisms that really play with that reward center of the brain. So here’s what we’re going to do today. We are again going to have an open, honest conversation around pornography. Is pornography an addiction or we’re going to talk about is a little bit of pornography, OK? We’re going to talk about how to talk to your teens, your kids, your spouse about pornography.

Speaker2: [00:04:58] And I am going to quote the heck out of an amazing article called in the website Fight the new drug. And it is called Let’s talk about porn. Is it as harmless as society says it is? And we’re going to get to that. And there is not an author on the article. I think it’s a culmination of people who. Amazing work on the fight, the new drug website, so I will be saying they a lot and I’m going to buy they I’m going to be referring to the folks on the fight, the new drug website, because again, they do phenomenal work and there is so much data on there. If you’ve never been to fight the new drug dawg, then go take a look at that and I’ll talk a little bit about working in this field myself. And when I was promoting my book, he’s a porn addict. Now what? A couple of years ago at that time, I was saying that if I had done my math right that I’d work with about fifteen hundred or so individuals helping them turn away from pornography as a coping mechanism. And it is a process and it’s something that it just carries again, so much guilt and shame with it. And as I often say that in the in my work in this field and going back 15 years that I have never and I’m not a big fan of all or nothing statements, but I have never seen shame as a component of recovery.

Speaker2: [00:06:02] So let’s start there remembering that there’s a big difference between guilt and shame that you can feel like a behavior or what you’re doing is something that you would rather not do or you’re not a big fan of. You feel like it’s bad, so guilt can often be viewed as a stop sign. Shame then comes in and says, And you are a horrible person because of what you’re doing. Everybody is going to hate you. You’re going to lose everyone. And so a quick example and this is very relevant. So I saw recently, thanks to social media, that I forgot someone close to me. I forgot their birthday a couple of days ago, and I feel bad. I feel guilty. That guilt is a stop sign. And then I believe that that guilt can bring me some awareness that I would love to change. I would love to be more on top of birthdays of those who I love. So when guilt can act as that stop sign and it can help motivate me for change, then I really would like to once and for all, put people’s birthdays in my reminders on my phone. I’m a big boy. I can take responsibility for that so that then I can remember to check in with people that I care about on their birthday.

Speaker2: [00:07:02] Now, shame would say that you forgot this person’s birthday and that you are a horrible person. And what kind of person forgets people’s birthdays, especially somebody that is close to you. And you must be absolutely despicable and deplorable as a human being. And when people find out that you are a birthday for glitter, they’re going to leave you, they’re going to abandon you. You will be you’ll be alone, and no one will ever love you again. So there’s that difference between guilt and shame guilt me. And I feel bad. I forgot the birthday. I can do something about that. Shame is you’re a horrible human being and everybody is going to find out. And so our brain or even people that we, we interact with often feel like they need to go big on shame in order to motivate change. But all shame does is it can further drive someone into this place of what’s wrong with me, which then will have them or find them turning to these unhealthy coping mechanisms so that shame again, what it does is it drives us into secrecy. It drives people into loneliness or isolation, which then causes them to want to turn to pornography or whatever that unhealthy coping mechanism is. And let me share a little bit of background the virtual couch now it’s incredible. It has over five million downloads and I checked this morning and the stats haven’t done that in a little while, but it’s been listened to in over one hundred and seventy countries.

Speaker2: [00:08:12] And as far as I can tell, and the three hundred and four episodes I have now talk specifically about the topic of pornography. About five or six times. But when I started the podcast, I initially thought that I would be talking about pornography if not every episode, every couple of episodes. Because a lot of the work that I was doing up to that point was working with individuals who were struggling with turning to porn as a coping mechanism. I spent 10 years in the computer software industry, and I felt this calling to go into counseling into the mental health field. I wanted to help men become better husbands and fathers, and I go through grad school in my early thirties, and the joke that I often tell when talking about this is when we would go around the room and talk about why we got into the field of counseling and mental health. I would say that I wanted to help men become better. Husbands and fathers and fellow classmates would look impressed. Many of my professors would then take a look of, Oh, how sweet. Good luck with that. So fast forward to me starting to see clients early in my practice, and I realized that men represented a very small percentage of the people that were voluntarily coming into counseling in hopes of overcoming things such as anxiety or depression, or wanting to be a better parent or just proactively wanting to do better in their marriage again.

Speaker2: [00:09:17] Blanket statement But that was my experience. But when they were coming in, it was often around working through addictions. They had been caught. They had been gone and confessed to a bishop, a priest, someone like that, their spouse, and saying they really needed to do something about this or they were trying to to lessen harmful impacts of the harmful impact of impulsive or compulsive behaviors, including sexual compulsion or turning to gambling or work or video games, as well as pornography to tune out or check out from their lives. And as many clinicians find when working with addiction or compulsive behaviors, especially when you’re brand new, you are trained in a lot of behavioral mechanisms or behavioral interventions. If you think this, if you think about turning to porn, then just do this. So if then? So when you think these thoughts of wanting to look at porn, then see you go and do some push ups or find a phone, a friend or something like that. And I would go pretty big on that at first, and you can motivate somebody in the room and they would leave and say, I’ve got this, but then you would find that people would often return. The office, because they would have had a setback, they would have been human. They would have not addressed really the core issues around why they turn to pornography as a coping mechanism.

Speaker2: [00:10:22] And then they would even beat themselves up more. Now I’m actually going to see a therapist. He’s telling me these things. I can do them. I get a little bit of success and then I have a setback or a relapse. And when that would happen, then they would beat themselves up even more and almost come into the office saying, Well, what are we going to do? I’m super broken because I’ve come here and look, I did it again, almost as if they’re wanting you to say, Oh boy, yeah, you know what? I’ve never actually worked with someone that has then done the behavior another time. So, yeah, you’re I don’t know if I can help you, so you might as well go and continue to act out and turn to these impulsive and compulsive behaviors, which is absolutely not what a therapist is saying. But I feel like you can maybe get the vibe of if somebody is coming in and they are anticipating or expecting perfection, that then if they are human, if things are happening in their life, that that still don’t address the really core need of why they are turning to this unhealthy coping mechanism. Then there’s there’s going to be setbacks in that situation. And when there are setbacks, then the person can actually even feel worse and wish they had never even come in and started counseling or wish that they never would have confessed to, let’s say, a priest or a bishop.

Speaker2: [00:11:26] Because even in that scenario, this is some of that shame that drives that continues to just push these behaviors underground is that let’s say that you go and you confess to your spouse, you confess to your bishop, your priest, and then they say, Man, thank you so much for coming in, and I’m grateful and we’re going to get on top of this. So just don’t do it again. And and we’ll text each other every day. And then if I didn’t mention already, don’t do it again. And then the person goes and they haven’t addressed the real core issue, so they don’t feel connected in certain areas of their life. And then they find themselves and what I call these crimes of opportunity. They have the opportunity to act out. And they do. They don’t want to text anybody. Now they feel like, Oh my gosh, I really am bad. I really let this person down. So I’m not going to let them know, and I’m just going to really, really try hard and not do it again. And that is the, you know, that old story that is what will continue to drive this behavior further and further under underground. But if we aren’t talking about it more openly and having these be more conversations out of curiosity because every single person is going through a variety of things in their lives that causes maybe one person to feel a need to turn to an unhealthy coping mechanism and another person.

Speaker2: [00:12:33] It might not even be those same triggers. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’m working with these behavioral mechanisms, and I started to look at, Yeah, really? Why do people turn to pornography or any unhealthy coping mechanism? Why do the people find themselves going there again and again when after every setback or relapse, they say, Well, this is the last time I cannot do this again. And that continues to be the pattern over and over until they finally seek help. And then they’re not really addressing the core issues, then they can even feel worse after seeking help. It’s fascinating. It really is. And I hope that this is resonating with anybody that’s hearing this, that’s either sought help and maybe not had the success that they had hoped for and then not gone back for additional help or people that have been afraid to even seek help. So then you need to really start looking at why do people find themselves going back to these unhealthy coping mechanisms? And again, I felt really that it was like because they were unsure of themselves are lacking in different areas of their lives. I started to identify him and call them these voids. There were five voids and the voids were did they feel connected in their marriage? Did they feel connected in their parenting? Did they feel connected in their faith or their career or their health? And that is where the journey of becoming a therapist just exploded, and it was one of the greatest journeys I think I’ve had in my life.

Speaker2: [00:13:46] I needed to go find an evidence based model to address parenting. And what was that? The nurtured heart approach my parenting program talks about that. I’ve done podcast about that. The marriage I never set out to be a marriage therapist, but oh my goodness, I enjoy that now because there is a framework. My four pillars of a connected conversation based off of the incredibly successful and wonderful, emotionally focused therapy developed by Sue Johnson, that there is a framework of a way to communicate that allows these connected conversations and allows people to, if they really lean in to be able to go to their spouse and talk about anything. And we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So when we isolate ourselves, that is exactly the behavior that then drives us into this isolation and shame, which then will cause us to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. And again, it may be pornography for someone. It might be their phone. It might be Instagram, Facebook, social media. It might be games. There are so many things that we can turn to because there are so many things to turn to.

Speaker2: [00:14:43] Oh, let me get back to center. Let me get back to grounded. So as I started to help people fill in these voids and finding out I love, I love working with people that are going through the faith transition, a faith journey. Some people call them faith crisis. Sometimes that can sound too heavy, but helping people just really connect with who they are that they are the only version of them. Walk in the face of the Earth. If you are a spiritual person, you are a child of God and the only version of you. If you are looking at this from an acceptance and commitment therapy point of view, you literally are the only person that is. Ever walked the face of the Earth with all of your experiences, your nature, nurture, birth order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, all of those things? So you’re doing pretty good because this is the first time you’ve ever been in any of the experiences that you’ve been in. So we need to look at that with curiosity, and we need to look at that without that shame and judgment. And we could get into that. We could talk about that so much. Maybe we’ll get to that here in a little bit as well. But so as people started to shore up things in their marriage, their parenting, their career, their faith, their health, then the siren song of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism lessened over time.

Speaker2: [00:15:46] But it wasn’t maybe as immediate as people wanted. It wasn’t as all or nothing as people would like, but as people started feeling more of a sense of purpose and they started giving themselves a little bit more grace and forgiving themselves. Then they started to put some traction on this battle against turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And so I really do feel like that is the message that we need to get out there more and more. And this ties into one of my favorite phrases. That acceptance does not mean apathy. Meaning that we need to accept where we are at right now in our lives with more grace, more compassion so that we can move forward. If one accepts the fact that they may not feel as connected in these areas of their life, then they stop beating themselves up and thinking, What’s wrong with me? But they can start to look at, OK, what do I need to do in order to feel more connected in my marriage, my parenting, my faith, my career, my health so that you can start operating from a place of strength and knowing that when you let your foot off the gas that your brain is already wired, your path of least resistance is going to go back to the same behaviors. So that is where one absolutely needs to give themselves grace. And then when they notice that they are feeling or thinking or just doing something that they do not feel is what they want to do, do, then just drop the rope of the tug of war on what’s wrong with me story.

Speaker2: [00:16:57] Nothing is wrong with you. You’re going through this the very first time that you ever have this moment in your life. And so when you notice that just center yourself, do something through the nose out through the mouth breathing, come back to the present moment so that you can turn to healthy things that give you a sense of purpose and value in your life. And the more that you do that, the more that you will start to feel less of a pull and a tug toward unhealthy coping mechanisms. You are good. You do so many good things throughout the day. I did not know I would get into this motivational speech right now, but I can’t help myself. So even those people that are turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms. That is something that you do, but that’s not who you are. You are the only version of you’d ever face on the foot of the Earth and you you’ve gone through things that you’ve gone through in your life again, be it your nature, your nurture, your DNA abandonment fears, your attachment wounds, your hopes, your dreams from the successes to the setbacks so you behave the way you do because that’s the way you’re behaving. And this very moment that you’re listening to my voice, this is the very first time that you’ve been in this moment of your life.

Speaker2: [00:17:54] So you need to operate more from a place of curiosity and compassion, not shame, acceptance that the things that you have been through or the things that have happened have happened. And they’ve done just that. They’ve happened. And there isn’t anything productive or helpful about ruminating about your past, certainly not about beating yourself up about the past. No, those are the exact things that people do that will keep them stuck in shame, wondering what’s wrong with them and the brain? Oh bless, it’s pink. Squishy little heart ultimately wants to feel great, and it wants that dopamine spike of feel good chemicals. So currently your brain is convinced that the road to a quick release of dopamine is by way of a shame train. If I can get this person to feel bad and then it’s just a matter of time before we’re going to get that dopamine spike and our brains are really, really good at finding ways to get that bump, and they will regularly turn us sometimes like to think about this. Our brains will regularly turn to a greatest hits album of sorts, featuring classics such as This is the Last Time I’m Going to do this, or now that you’re thinking about that, you’re going to do it anyway. You start thinking, OK, now that I’m triggered, I know where this is going to lead, so I might as well just go out and do it, get it out of the way so I can be more productive.

Speaker2: [00:18:59] My brain has all kinds of things that have worked in the past, so of course it’s going to continue to try to use those things again and again and again. So acceptance does not mean apathy if you accept that. Yeah, this is where I met in life, that does not mean that this is your lot in life. If anything, it will help you start to move forward to acknowledge that yes, you may want to look at porn and when you take the shame out of it now, you can start to invite all those feelings that come with wanting to look at porn to come along with you while you start taking action on things that matter. I remember a client once said that, yeah, he wanted to look at porn, and he said just the acceptance of that was empowering. And it’s hard to talk about this part out loud because it sounds like I’m saying again, it’s this vibe of acceptance means that I will now just this is my lot in life. It is absolutely not. He talked about he accepted the fact that, yes, this was what he typically did to cope. So acceptance of he wanted to look at porn. He was stressed out. He wanted that spike of good chemicals. But by taking the shame out of it, he was able to look at it with more curiosity.

Speaker2: [00:19:56] Ok, why do I want to look at porn other than the fact that it’s going to lead to a momentary feeling of intense chemicals that come from an orgasm, which the brain is pretty much OK with saying, Well, that’s a good enough reason. But with that curiosity, you may then also notice that that desire is often there when you feel, in this particular situation, this person. Overwhelmed with school, they felt overwhelmed with their work, they felt overwhelmed in their relationships for others. If you haven’t been intimate with your spouse or partner in quite a while again, you can start to look at the patterns that lead to your brain, saying, Hey, we’re going to do this right, this is what we do. We get down, we beat ourselves up, and then we look for this chemical release. So look at that with curiosity and not shame. Turning to an unhealthy coping mechanism like pornography does not define you. I like to often say that it descends upon you when you feel stressed. There’s an acronym halt when you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired. There’s another one called blasts that I often forget what all the letters are, but it’s something similar. But I think it’s bored, lonely, angry, stressed and tired. But quite frankly, a lot of times for most people, it’s just when there’s opportunity. Often say that the number one trigger of people turning to pornography as an unhealthy coping mechanism is the what I call crime of opportunity.

Speaker2: [00:21:03] It’s simply because you can because nobody is at home or people are sound asleep or you have the technology not only to stream motivational content, maybe like this in the palm of your hand, but you can also stream pornography and so you must give yourself grace. Your brain is smart. It’s not is as much of a genius as we like to think your brains wired for survival and to try to feel good. So if you give yourself this grace and can look at that oftentimes when people do pull out their phone, their brain says, Hey, we can look at porn on that. And that’s where that acceptance comes in. Yes, we can. But right now I’m going to listen to a podcast or I’m going to look at a motivational YouTube video or I’m going to text a friend and then the brain saying, But you can also look at porn, and that’s where I feel like giving ourselves grace, looking at things with curiosity, not beating ourselves up. Stepping back from the moment, then we can say, Hey, brain, you are absolutely correct, but let me do these other things first. So give yourself grace when you were looking or when you have that desire to look at porn or when that descends upon you. There’s a concept in talking about overcoming turning to porn as a coping mechanism called narrative therapy or externalizing that problem.

Speaker2: [00:22:04] This kind of where I’m talking about right now. So again, you are this amazing person with so much potential period into a story, and I know that that is a fact. Despite what you may feel at times or what others have told you in their attempt to help. And what I mean by that is that the message that you may have been told by people in positions of authority, be it parents or teachers, coaches, bishops, priests, even spouses, is the story of do you realize how bad this is? Do you know where this can lead? The answer to anybody that is listening that is struggling with this at all or has or will is the answer is yes. Yes, they do know, and the reminder absolutely does not help. If anything, it only makes the problem worse. So you are this amazing person, and the key to tapping into your awesomeness is actually to forgive yourself. Give yourself grace, give yourself some hope and then find things that matter to you and start to do them, even if only doing them a little bit. Because that is where the growth occurs. You, you start to do things. And then again, path of least resistance. Let’s say that I figure out that I really feel a connection with writing. So when I noticed that I am feeling triggered and I want this spike of dopamine and feel good chemicals to then acknowledge it, absolutely brain.

Speaker2: [00:23:10] I see where you’re going. Bless your heart. But now I’m going to come back to center. Take a few in through the nose out through the mouth. Breaths, get squared up and then I’m going to start writing. And then the brain is going to say, when we look at porn, we’re going to do it eventually anyway. Might as well get it out of the way. And again, I love the fact where we can say, we’ll note that right now, let me get back to the writing or let me get back to doing something that really matters to us. Some value based goal is ideal. But even if you can’t find a value based goal in that moment. One of the keys is just to do anything. This is where distraction can actually be a good thing and sometimes turning to play a game in order to get out of that scenario of turning to pornography is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Can then allow you to move from that game to the writing or that game to connecting with others. Sometimes it’s this almost this gradual ascension out of this depths of wanting to turn to an unhealthy coping mechanism. So give yourself grace. I often talk about this tractor beam effect as well that people will tell me, and I became aware and before I knew what, I was just kind of locked in.

Speaker2: [00:24:11] So it’s almost like this tractor beam that has a pull. So when that happens, it’s still absolutely imperative to give yourself grace and to step back and say, OK, let’s rewind that game film. Where did I start to go off the tracks when my when my spouse left for work and I found myself all alone? Then that’s the part to then say, I think I better go to the gym or I think I’m going to just go to work a little bit early, not saying, OK, I’m aware of that. And now the brain starts saying, OK, here’s what we do. Here’s the ritual. Go lock the door and do whatever you’re going to do. So being aware of how far back in the story you can go in order to start to change that whole narrative or change that dynamic. So that is where growth occurs, not in beating yourself up. So again, you you’re amazing, but pornography or the desire to look at porn or act out envelops you. It descends upon you. And when you are experiencing certain things in your life or when you find yourself in certain situations, so again, give yourself grace. Look at the game film and step back and look at the context of when porn comes knocking at your door. Externalize it. Give it a name. I love alliteration. Porn starts to the p. Name it Paul or Perry or Peter or Poindexter.

Speaker2: [00:25:15] Kind of like that one. I don’t know a real poindexter in my life. So when does Poindexter knock on your door? And sometimes when couples even need a way to communicate about it instead of saying, Hey, did you mess up today? At times I will have people say, Hey, do you hear from Poindexter today? And so that is what I think is so fascinating now. We’ll talk about that. Maybe down the road a little bit about even talking. Who do you talk to? How do you talk to him about it? What’s the best way to communicate about this? And do you need to communicate about this with your spouse or with an ecclesiastical leader? So what? We’re going to cover that as well. But just look at when does Poindexter come knocking at your door when you’ve only slept a few hours? Do you find yourself stressed at work or does he come knocking every couple of weeks after you pay your bills and feel disconnected with your job? So start to take a look at that with curiosity so you can fill in these voids because I really do. I remember working with this long enough ago that we would talk about that. If someone sees pornography, then what are we going to do? And now we’re to the point where it’s everywhere. It really is. And I’m not saying that in a negative, ominous, cute, the scary music way, but it has become absolutely not a if, but when.

Speaker2: [00:26:17] So it’s so with that acceptance that it’s everywhere. It’s pervasive. And again, not trying to say that, no, we’re all doomed. What are we going to do? That’s actually the thing that keeps it going is when we feel doomed and what are we going to do? We need to look at that with acceptance so that now we can look and be able to talk about it more so that we can take action so that we can be able to give people the tools to be able to connect with others or connect with things that are important rather than turning to these unhealthy coping mechanisms. We’re going to be inundated with these visuals and those sort of things in our lives, so we really need to learn how to communicate more effectively without that shame and in a perfect world, we also need to learn how to not be reactive when those, let’s say, if you are parents and your kids come to you and they say that they’ve seen porn or you catch them because that’s the way this often happens is to be able to go in there and just be able to take a pause, take a breath to be able to go in with a sense of calm, a sense of peace and be able to have these conversations. I real quick, I’m coming back in and recording a bit more right now.

Speaker2: [00:27:11] I finished the recording, but we’re going to intentionally make this a two part episode because I want to sit. I want you to sit with the fact for a little bit that you are a good person, you’re a normal human being, and we need to practice giving yourself some grace over the next few days before we get to part two of this episode. Because as I said earlier, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never seen shame play a healthy role in recovery. And let me share a couple of quick things to set the table then before we wrap up part one and then set the stage for the Part two episode. So my book is called He’s a porn addict. Now, what an expert and a former addict to answer your questions. So I use porn addict right in the title. The truth is that we had meetings about the title because he’s turning to pornography as unhealthy coping mechanism. Now, what an expert and a former addict answer your question is just didn’t quite have the same ring didn’t really roll off the tongue, but the question I often get is is pornography and addiction, and the answer is yes and no, depending on your definition. And I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of labels unless they help the person move forward. So addict or not an addict, what do you want to do with this with this issue? I made a hard shift a while ago in my practice and in my path back program, calling going from calling it a pornography addiction recovery program to just simply a pornography recovery program.

Speaker2: [00:28:17] Because I want people to know that those coming to the path back or those coming into therapy, or those that are going to listen to this podcast that they may want to come to me from a place of wanting perfection. And sure, I’m going to meet you there, but that can be a real challenge for me because perfection and sure, it can be done in a sense of people not looking at porn again, but for many if they want to. Move away from turning to porn is as a coping mechanism and stop beating themselves up and find purpose and direction in their lives so that they will feel less and less of a draw to turn to pornography. Now we’re talking because the key isn’t just not doing it. The key is doing more with your life. And that is the journey that’s going to lead to a much more fulfilling life, which in turn will lead to less and less and less of a desire to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. All right. Hey, thank you for joining me on the now part one of this two part episode. If you get a chance, go find that podcast that I talked about earlier with Russ, where we talk about sex and pornography addiction and always a quick plug for Betterhelp.com.

Speaker2: [00:29:16] Go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch. If you need help in turning away from unhealthy coping mechanisms, there’s a way in the intake process to say that this is something that you would really like help for, and maybe you can even talk about its negative self-talk. It’s because that’s a lot of what drives the shame that then leads people to turn to these unhealthy coping mechanisms. So go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch, get 10 percent off your first treatment services, and it’s very easy to switch counselors or therapists if you’re not feeling a connection or a vibe. And feel free to share this episode, and we’re going to talk about a lot more in episode two are part two of this episode. We’re going to go over that fight the new drug article, and I’m going to get into a whole lot. It’s a matter of fact. If you have questions and you’re still listening, head over to Tony over, shoot me a question through the contact form and we can answer that on Part two as well. Hey, thanks for being with me. Have an amazing week. Taking us out per usual is the wonderful, the talented, the amazing Aurora Florence with her song, which is so apt for right now. What we’re talking about because I want you to get to this place where life really is wonderful. We’ll see you next time when the virtual capsule. Compressed emotions flying

Speaker1: [00:30:20] Past our heads and out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind, it’s wonderful. And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most wonderful.

[00:30:48] Needs my mom. May 12.

Speaker1: [00:31:18] News of discount price, a million opportunity, the chance is yours

[00:31:25] To take or lose, it’s one.

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