Community, Sustainability, Hopelessness and Suicidal Ideations

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Support Suicide Prevention –

[00:00:10] You’re listening to Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions, a broadcast to help you create healthy sexuality and a great life for those of you joining me live. Welcome. You can subscribe to me on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn. And one other place you can find on the website that allows you to join me when I do these live broadcast or if you’re listening to me later. Welcome. Thank you so much. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of your journey. I know your time is precious. I want to bring in a jump in really to what we’re talking about today for everybody on this journey of healthy sexuality and a great life. I want to start with one rule to live by. I like rules, I like guidance, I like structure. There’s parts of me that hate that I even say that sentence. But I know it’s critical to long term sustainability and success, and that is sustainability is everything. Everything, everything. And I say that because I want to stress at the earliest, earliest of our engagement, you might be listening to me for the first time and you may get some value in this broadcast. And something that we talk about, about community hopelessness and sustainability clicks in you, right? But if it doesn’t drive action, if it doesn’t change the system, what have we accomplished? And we’re so listen, it’s good, right? We have these moments. We have these you know, we learn something and it lifts us. It gives us like that hit, you know, that elevation. And again, you got to keep asking yourself, what do I do with this information? How do I create sustainability? So one of the things that does create sustainability, which is long term success.

[00:02:21] Is having a community. Man I’m talking to you is having a community where you are vulnerable and where you are accountable. Okay, so the science intersects here. You may have heard the expression the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection. One of those great quotes that underneath it has an awful lot of science supporting it. When you look at the efficacy of 12 steps and those wonderful felt free fellowships that they have all over the world, what the data suggests brings people the most value and everybody is different. Is that? Connection. Is that not just connection? Is that vulnerability? And if you have not heard Brené Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, that is mandatory. Mandatory. Like. Absolutely. Make sure that you. Watch that. TED talk because it’s a game changer. And she talks about how it’s critical for us, all of us, to have vulnerability in our lives, how the data demands it. If you want to be happy, if you want to be healthy, if you want to be successful. And so when you look at us guys, no, obviously I’m generalizing, right? I’m talking to Usman. What are we not good at? We are not good at connecting. We are not good at or around being vulnerable. And the result of that is. The the impact of that is is massive. And what brought me to this subject and why I wanted to talk about it was an article that. So so it’s March. I’m doing a walk for the Association to Prevent American Association for Suicide Prevention with I’m doing it with my dog. I get to walk 50 miles during the month. It’s one of those things, you know, people are, you know, raising money for this organization. And so, you know, it’s got me thinking about my journey because I did try to hurt myself at a very, very low point.

[00:05:01] Certainly, I’ve had and had suicidal ideations. Thoughts of wishing you were dead right And in those, while not uncommon, can be can be really scary. And so so the article that brought me to this topic was how and why the five steps that you can take for someone who is really depressed feels hopeless. And. Maybe suicidal. So one of them is ask, right? Ask them, are you thinking about suicide? Now, the data says that that doesn’t increase suicidal ideations, it decreases it. So being blunt and upfront. But the thing that I wanted to really talk about, because I’m coming at it from like, wait, this helps you being is be there, right? Be there being physically present for someone. Being on a video call. Having that sense of community, having that sense of vulnerability is literally like one of the five things that you can do for someone that statistically, statistically says you can most increase the chance of saving someone’s life. And it’s it’s so, so so being there for someone who’s thoughts of suicide is lifesaving, increasing someone’s connectedness to others and limiting their isolation, both in short and long term, has shown to be a protective factor against suicide. Connectedness is one of its main components, specifically a sense of belonging. And this connectedness that is not only a preventative factor against suicide. But in terms of escalation and connectedness, here’s the punch line that I want to deliver. Connectedness asks, asks acts as a buffer against hopelessness and psychological pain. Connectedness acts as a buffer. Connectedness helps counter hopelessness. It helps counter physiological pain. So I share that with you because I want. I’m. Here’s how I think of things. Okay. In. Please, if you are having suicidal ideations. And you are in that dark place.

[00:08:03] There’s hope. I have it in my phone. So if you were here locally and I knew you were struggling, I can share with you the nine, eight eight number. It will pass. Get help. And that’s a hotline that people can call when they’re struggling. So if you’re in that dark place, you should be speaking with a mental health professional locally and congratulation for being here. And I didn’t want to entirely go down this path. But everybody who has struggled with sex addiction, porn addiction, compulsive sexual behavior, which means you felt shame around that behavior. It’s not just that you did the behavior. It’s how you felt about that behavior. There was deep shame and maybe you caused someone in your life great pain. And that even makes you feel even more pain. And maybe what you were watching may be what you were doing, right. There’s an innate sense of dirty and disgusting. And who knows, you know, how the sexual part of you was trained in childhood. Maybe there was fire and brimstone. Maybe it was. You know, I joke, but. But it was very serious and impactful. Sex was dirty and disgusting. And you saved it for someone you love. And so that may have been a factor in your shame, in your isolation, in your dis. Connectedness in your disconnectedness. The counter is connectedness. The counter is community. The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. Its connection. So I want to. Share that reminder with people who. Stop going to their groups. Who stopped going to their meetings. Whoo! And listen. COVID has had. We already isolate as men. Now we’re even more isolated. Some of us of people report this moment in time being more isolated than they’ve ever. Like, what am I trying to say? That since they’ve been tracking it, people are feeling more isolated now than ever before, despite the incredible levels of different connections that we have.

[00:10:57] Horn addiction, sex addiction, whatever you want to call it. Is an isolating condition. The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. Connection. So what does that community invulnerability look like in your life and what does it look like? Beyond your. You know, very narrow training, a symptom of compulsive sexual behavior. How does that community contribute? What does that look like? What is the aggressive pursuit of a great life look like? If you believe the data says community is ridiculously important to being successful? Particularly important for us men who tend to isolate, who hide this whole condition is hiding. Born in isolation. Think how far this goes back. Think how far this goes back. And I have a proposal for you. I invite you to come up with an older and more impactful habit in your life than you. Hiding. Sneaking. Some aspect of sexual expression. Older and more impactful. So when you go back to, you know, so So let’s take the normal childhood shame. It’s you know, it’s one of the other shame. Fire and brimstone or neglect like this wasn’t talked about at all. But it was talked about enough for you to know that this wasn’t something you did in public. In public. You waved to people. Hello. Your hand came up, You waved. Other people waved back. Right. You knew very early on and learned that this is not something that you play with out in public. Yet there was this contrast where waving might a few dopamine hits because people wave back. And that was exciting to me as a human, but touching this part of me. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. How can I not share this with the world? It feels so amazingly good. So we before we even hit puberty.

[00:13:27] We were trained to hide the isolation begin. Not that it shouldn’t. Right. Obviously, we need to be coached and trained not to expose ourselves and touch ourselves in public. I’m noting the training. I’m looking at it and invite you to look at it from how was this hiring trained? And I’m proposing that you will be challenged. You will be challenged to come up with a habit. That is older and more impactful than you lying, hiding, sneaking, some aspect of your sex, touching, touching. And so think about the first round of don’t do that. Don’t touch yourself. Not over here. That’s something you do in private. If you were lucky, that was the messaging that you got. And then, you know, whatever shame or, you know, this massive force existing like this big elephant in the room as you went through puberty. And maybe it wasn’t talked about at all. It grows in isolation. It grows in darkness. Obviously that goes back a very, very, very, very, very long time. Not only that, but it has also become your primary numbing, coping and escaping strategy. I’m sharing this with you to to, to to frame the scope of the problem that you’re trying to solve. This is not not looking, you know, simply. You know, and sometimes the women say, like, just stop. Just stop, right? You’ll. You don’t. Something’s bad for you. You just stop. But obviously. There are barriers. There’s reasons why that solution is like the just say no campaign of the eighties. Just say no. Abject failure, right? Had the exact opposite reaction. No one likes being told what to do. So the just say no campaign doesn’t work. Just stop. Doesn’t work because we are literally dealing what’s one of the oldest and most impactful habits that you have in your existence in using your pleasure reward system.

[00:15:46] Escape to to manage. Fear. Anxiety. Stress. Feelings of insignificance managing the dark times. Well, my addict, when I talk to him, says, Hey. When you were at your lowest. I was there for you. Remember that escape that we had. But yeah, no, but listen, it sunk us further down on the on the downward spiral. Yeah, but remember when we escape from that other feeling that you had. Member. I was there for you. I was serving a purpose, this attic part. And those Are you just getting to know me. You’ll keep digging. Great book on this part. Stuff is No Bad Parts by Dr. Richard Schwartz. That’s mandatory reading for all of my incredible, wonderful listeners and for my Catholic brothers and Christian brothers and sisters all together. You by Jenna. I don’t have that book handy, but I’ll tell you, go into YouTube and put in all together you and Jenna parts work. Amazing book. Amazing book. So. So I digress. So the scope of the problem that we are trying to solve. Oldest, most impactful habit. An incredibly effective. Hey, Parker. An incredibly effective. Manager of the central nervous system, like one of the most effective, like you’re going to get some really good drugs to regulate your central nervous system better than. Porn, masturbation, orgasm, other behaviors. So I share that with you. Not to be doom and gloom. But this isn’t simply about not doing something. That’s such like a teeny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny bit of the problem. Right. And you think of that again, that darkness. Oh, you know, here’s a kick in the nuts statistics. Hey, Nathan, what’s up, my man? Here’s not a statistic in experience, Do you know? That it is professionally irresponsible, unethical and unprofessional to as a clinician or as a provider, to encourage, push someone to stop using porn again.

[00:18:23] We’re all it’s all legal here. Legal. We’re only talking about illegal to encourage that person to stop doing that thing. If he’s in a mental health crisis because that thing is holding it all together. And listen, there may be shame around that thing. All Yes, all bad. Like. Like, like objectively causing negative outcomes. Those things are all true. And as a coping strategy to manage this person’s mental health condition and to help him to create positive outcomes and not, you know, avoid the low lows and mindful of the high highs, certainly to quit. Hey, maybe we take a slower approach. The reason I share that with you, because to do so is so destabilizing. It can send someone into a mental health crisis. That’s how powerful. And impactful. This behavior is from a emotional and physical regulatory perspective. When you really, really think about the job that it’s doing. Hmm. It is so. Most powerful. Part of that coping strategy. And listen, it’s not just only sharing about this. In fact, I recommend that this you know, what not to do is like 1/10 of the relationship. Certainly no more than one fifth of the relationship of that accountable relationship of that community where that accountability is taking place. And it’s that community. Community connection. The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection. That connection comes in in community. So where’s your community? You’ve got one at work. Got it. But you can’t be vulnerable at work. Anybody who’s being vulnerable at work, you’re being too vulnerable. I almost promise. You can almost guarantee. Right? There’s a line. There’s a line. And I certainly don’t want to be talking about the subject matter of the title or the name of the symptom. Sex addiction and porn addiction.

[00:20:55] I like calling those the solution. Not the not the the even the simp, not even the symptom. It’s a level even away from the symptom, a solution. A solution and why? I love that perspective of saying your sex addiction and porn addiction is a solution because it is serving a purpose. It is meeting a need. It is serving a purpose. It is meeting a need. And the sooner you understand that, the better off you’re going to be. And no matter how good you’re going to be without community and connection, you’re still going to be struggling. You’re still going to be struggling in. And you know, what did the article say? I’m. What’s up, Titus? He’s thinking about hopelessness. And like in in a world that is saturating and drowning and filth and disease and and and, you know, the bar is getting lower and lower and lower, right? All of it. Like, listen and look at some of my older podcasts, man, I was on that way. But that and that’s not where I choose to place my energy anymore. I want to control my environment. I want to be part of the solution. I want to be all be responsible with social media. It’s all of that that you’re talking about has forced me to create hope, fall in my environment. Because if you spend too much time out there. You’ve got to fit. You know, you take care of what’s in front of you first. At least that’s my rule. Before you go out there, be passionate about issues being inspired by issues. All those issues inspiring you towards or away from the person that you want to be? And for me, listen, I’m zealous. You don’t have to be like me. But I am very careful about what I put in my body, my eyes, my ears.

[00:23:20] I go on social media breaks, I go on news breaks. I’m probably a lot less informed maybe than no, I am way less informed than I used to be. But I was caught up in that 24 hour news cycle, always activated, always, you know, kind of just just caught up in that. And I found it to be a significant contributor to my problem. But. But. When you have community and you have connection and you have accountability within that community and connection, you have vulnerability and that vulnerability for us men, I am more and more convinced when I look at the that so so when I first started this work, there was no value in the groups from my perspective. Why? Because I didn’t offer them. I’m being, like, really narrow, myopic. Like. Like, like, like a intentionally so. And of course, there was great value in the meetings for some people, but I didn’t offer it. And quite frankly, my clients wanted a one on one experience and many of them still do. But now I am much more adamant about saying, Hey, I know you want that and that’s great and I’m going to do it. Deliver on my promise to you to help you kick ass and take names. But part of it is this community thing. And so I don’t know where you’re going to get it. I don’t know how you’re going to get it. And we have a long term support program here called The Next Level. Which we try to package it, but that’s not a fit for everybody. You got to find what works for you. And so the more I learn, the more I know, the more community, the more connection, the more vulnerability in that community and accountability, the more those terms are intersecting.

[00:25:16] And so when they intersect, what do I do about it? How can I help those guys? How can I help you by talking about it? But how can I help those guys in the program to operationalize that, to bring that into their reality? So so just an example, whatever. But when we do one when I do one on one, it includes three months in the next level program. I tell people it’s mandatory. There is so much value and you could be doing a smart recovery group, you could be doing a 12 step group, you could be doing a local spiritual growth in your church focused on many issues of which healthy sexuality might only be a part, should only be a part, should be at the bottom. The make a habit must dominate that community. The make a habit, I believe, or at least what works best for me, is that make a habit, you know, make a habit, break the right habit that meets the right. Need that break a habit, make a habit. You know, one gets the result, one gets the result of not doing it. And that’s making new habits. So framing that community around making new habits is important. And again, to your point, being mindful of what you put in your body because there’s a lot to feel hopeless about, I have to acknowledge that there is. It’s a little you know, I don’t know how old you are, but some of my older brothers are like, hey, we’ve got to you know, we’ve got to remind each other. We’ve got to keep the spirit. Right? Other generations have felt this sense of hopelessness and they rose to the occasion. And we’re going to rise to the occasion, I hope.

[00:26:55] But certainly talking about it and and again. But I got in front of me. That’s what I can control, what I got in front of me, and that’s what I got in control. So what do you say? Here’s another question. And I have not answered this question publicly yet, so I have not prepared an answer for it. What do you think about Jesse Rodger’s return to the porn industry after all these words shared with you during in an online interview some time ago? How should we understand each step in decision? So. Obviously have no idea why she made the decisions that she did. And. It’s not. How do I. How do I say this? Obviously, I’m still thinking it through. So please give me grace. And what my reaction was, I was definitely surprised. The thing that she shared with me that. She really changed me is her statement that So for those of you guys who are listening on my YouTube channel, I interviewed world famous like A-list former adult actress Jesse Rogers, who left the industry after allegedly being sexually assaulted on set and went on to speak about the horrors and harms of an industry. Very, very powerful. And one of the things she said to me was there is no love in porn. She said to me, she goes, Let me tell you something, Craig. There is no love in porn. There is no love in porn. And. Whatever she’s doing, for whatever reason, she’s doing it, you know, God bless her. I. I wish her well, you know, And I hope she finds peace and love and all the wonderful things. So that that reality. There is certainly no love in what I was watching. Right. There’s certainly no love in what I was watching.

[00:29:20] So in the other thing, Titus, why it’s so important is because for whatever pad she went down, she came to conclude. And maybe it’s for economic reasons, maybe it’s a combination of economic reasons. And this is something she loves to do and said, I’m going to profit from it, you know, And that’s the choice she made for me. It’s not healthy for me like that. Nothing about that changed. That reality is just as real to me today as it was yesterday when she didn’t do the videos and now she does. So and that is so important to build an identity. But I’m a sex addict. I’m a porn addict is a temporary state from which you develop an identity around healthy sexuality. And what’s right for you might be wrong for someone else. And guys, you want to hear a curveball? Eventually, I’m going to talk about this. There is a growing. This stuff is complicated. Okay? And there’s. Yeah. No, I think it’s so it’s so controversial. I don’t want to be a troublemaker. And I’ve avoided controversy my whole life. There is a growing. Movement. Of of of porn that targets Christian couples. And the thought is that we learn to do everything via video. And these days the real porn where there is no love, is hijacked our sexuality so much people don’t even know how to touch. They don’t even know how to connect. We can do that in a godly way. And I remember reading about that, and I thought to myself, Well, goodness gracious, this is really, really complicated. I haven’t touched that issue in a while, but I put it out there as it’s it’s for you to build your identity that’s healthy for you. So whatever happens around you, right, there’s a rock, there’s a center that says, Oh, this is interesting.

[00:31:44] I find this arousing. This is curious to me. This is healthy. And that’s the framework men you know, women to healthy unhealthy. Let that be your guide because you’re going to get sober. And of course, you’re going to find yourself nibbling around the edges on the Internet or something. Somewhere, a work project all of a sudden turns into a newspaper article, turns into something else. So anyway, I digress. I digress. So what do I want to say? And I want to thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for being here. My wife was texting me saying, My in-laws are here, so I’m going to let everybody go. And community. What is your community look like? Where are you being vulnerable if you’re not being vulnerable? Find an ally. What we call an accountability partner. Bring someone in to the make a habit part of the equation. Find the buddy in your life. Your cousin, your brother. There’s someone out there dying to talk to you. There is someone literally out there, man. Oh, my God. Now, listen, it might take you a few times to call. And might take a few time for them to pick up and respond. Because you know how you are and how we are and how I am. And you are. We are terrible. Where it can you be a little more proactive? A teeny tiny, tiny bit more proactive because community is critical to sustainability. And sustainability is everything. On that note, I will leave you, my men by ladies. See you on the next one. Embrace your power of choice and feed the right wolf by everybody. Oh, and before I go. Oh, my gosh, I almost forgot. So speaking of community, for those of you people who know me, I don’t think I’ve ever endorsed the product.

[00:33:46] I do love the app relay our relay y on the App Store. It creates little pods, little communities Anonymous to help you on your journey to create healthy sexuality. They’ve got a way to track your team metrics, your KPIs, which is really, really good. So download the app relay in the link. There’s a link to when I had Chandler on in the blog. He’s the guy who founded the app. I had him and his wife on a great couple doing some great work. I like this app. They actually think about it sometimes and I ruined it when I was in it. It took like 5 minutes before I told them who I was because I was looking for accolades and praise, you know, total ego thing. But the time where I was vulnerable and it felt really good. It really, really did. It really did. Having a place where you could share. I’m a mistake. A failure. No, I think you can hear it in my voice. It was it was moving and I had to that that. That was part of my. My community sucks right now. It has to change plan. It was at that moment when I realized how much improvement I needed in my life and how I knew I needed to be more proactive and how I isolated, etc., etc.. And so I want you to put that on your list when you look at your sustainability plan. Community right track. Wrong track. My connecting with people. My being is there someone in my life I can be vulnerable with at least a little bit? Little lady a teeny, tiny bit. You are welcome, Nathan. You are welcome, Titus. Thank you guys so much for joining me. Hope to see you on the next one.

[00:35:34] I’m going to think long and hard. Gosh, this field is ripe with so many jokes. I have been thinking a lot about her return to the industry. And, you know, maybe it comes up in a thing like this. I always want to bring value and help people. And maybe there’s a teaching moment there. I haven’t figured it out yet, but except for different strokes for different folks. So anyway, thank you, guys. You’re good love. Yeah.

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