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Joshua Shea

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Joshua Shea last won the day on December 10 2018

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About Joshua Shea

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  • Birthday 02/08/1976

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  1. The biggest alternative to 12 steps is probably the SMART program. Not only is it non-spiritual, it takes a very scientific look at recovery. Instead of the 12-step mantra of "I am powerless to stop" it flips the script to say, "I am the only one who has the power to make myself stop." Whether it's a problem or an addiction, you may also want to find a therapist who has expertise in addiction. There's a reason you use beyond "it makes me feel better" and I found that once I went to an addiction specialist and begin to understand why I used, I was able to walk away from the rigorous dogma of the 12-step programs. Being able to talk 1-on-1 to somebody was like packing 10 12-step meetings into an hour. I appreciate their success rate, but like you, had some issues with the God stuff and cookie-cutter way it looked at addiction. Good luck to you.
  2. Joshua Shea

    Concerned About Son

    You could say he's acting like an addict....or you could also say he's acting like a teenager. I know the brain injury caused mental damage, but physically, he's still a teen soon to be in the prime of his sexual life if you believe men hit their peak in the late teens/early 20s. I don't know enough about his condition to speak with any degree of certainty, but is it possible he's simply acting on physical urges? His behavior sounds like that of a typical, physically healthy 16-year-old. While he may or may not understand the context of what he's looking at, he clearly still wants it. And like any kid over the age of 5, mental or otherwise, he'll lie to his parents to get it. Let's admit, sexual urges are the most basic of human instincts and are one of the only things we share with every other species in the animal kingdom. I guess what I wonder is how much of this is your concern about him watching porn -- which statistics suggest is typical among today's 16-year-old males -- and how much is that you simply don't like pornography? I understand your fears that he will descend into addiction, but it sounds more like he's simply hiding it from you because he knows you have a negative reaction. Saying that sex/nudity isn't bad, but then banning him from seeing it sends very mixed messages. I can't tell you what to do, but I think a professional doctor who had dealt with people with brain injuries, or perhaps even issues like autism, might be able to better guide you through this time. I'm not a fan of pornography...I became an addict and it ruined my life (or I should say I let it ruin my life)...but I also understand there are many people out there to whom it is passing fancy at best. I don't know where you son fits on the spectrum, but professional help is the way to go. I wish you the best of luck.
  3. Joshua Shea

    Husband addicted to cstfishing

    Your husband clearly has a problem (or problems) that have made your life a living hell and you shouldn't have to stand for it. If you want a divorce, don't ask for it. Demand it. Get it done. I won't get into my entire story, but I did a fair amount of catfishing back in the day, but this brings it to another level. He's pimping you out and forcing you to film in. That could be considered a criminal act depending how he coerced you. At the least it's mental cruelty. This is just me, I but after seeing what he's done with your stepson, it's just another step before he's messing with your daughter. He's clearly and unwell man and for the sake of the children, and you, this is not somebody who should be in your life when they are this sick. I do have pity for your husband. He is very ill and needs some serious long-term help and while you can nudge him in the direction, it's on him to get himself well and it's on you to make sure your kids and you are safe. Don't call the cops...it feels like the right thing to do in the moment, but it will embarrass your son and put your husband through a series of situations that you may not fully understand. I would not do this without speaking to your son first, and I'm still not sure it's the right thing to do. Who cares what you tell people? Tell them: "We've grown apart" "He made some decisions I don't agree with" "It's run it's course" "We fell out of love" It doesn't matter what people think about your divorce. It's a lot easier to tell them about your divorce than about the stuff he's been doing. For your sake and the kids' you've got to get moving on this.
  4. While gaslighting may be something he's doing, if you looked in my spam folder you'd think I buy tires all the time, have a garden, want to be on a game show and yes, engage in behavior outside my marriage. Odds are, it's spam. I know when I did anything demanding an email address, I created a new one. Nothing under my regular email address has anything to do with my behavior of years earlier. It just shows I'm on too many mailing lists.
  5. Joshua Shea

    We are here for help.

    I would suggest you Google "World Health Organization" and "sexual compulsivity disorder". You'll find a lot of articles that will explain how this past summer WHO finally included this disorder as a treatable condition. You being a porn addict is not a moral failing of a weak man. You have/had an illness. If she can view this in terms of a mental health problem, you may find that she can put this into better perspective. Good luck, mate.
  6. Joshua Shea

    How do I forgive and move on?

    So sorry this took me so long to respond. Been down with pneumonia most of the last two weeks. It depends what cured means to the individual. I haven't touched porn (or alcohol - which was just as much a problem) in 4.5 years, but I don't think I'm cured from anything. I believe I'll be in the recovery process until the day I die. Yes, it's now much easier for me to live a day-to-day life and the triggers are few and far between, but I'm not going to fix the brain chemistry that I damaged with years of addiction. I look at it like a tattoo. It makes things different, but not all that different. He has quite a robust SAA schedule there. If it's working for him, that's tremendous, but I wonder if he's really getting at the underlying causes for his addiction. As I'm sure you know, addiction is almost always a coping mechanism for something else, and since 90-94% of porn addicts have some kind of childhood trauma, odds point to that. I'm not going to bash SAA simply because after several months I decided it wasn't right for me, but just make sure he is taking care of his demons and not just window-dressing what's happening on the surface. You may be in this position in 10 years again...or 2 years...or 20 years...or never. Relationships are delicate things. And while I appreciate the fact you think porn is filth, try not to harp on that opinion too much since it's very judgmental. Recovery doesn't happen in unsafe, judgmental environments. It's OK if you think porn is immoral, disgusting, etc., but for the addict, it's very easy for them to hear, "YOU are immoral, disgusting, etc..." Good luck to you.
  7. Joshua Shea

    How do I forgive and move on?

    It's good that you know his story, but you didn't get it through the most honest means. If honesty and trust are things you want in the relationship moving forward, you're going to have to practice them as well. I understand and appreciate your reaction, though. It's like being hit with a ton of bricks and you wonder who that guy you first fell in love with really was. SAA works for some people and not others. I went three times a week for about two months, then once a week for four months. At that point, I recognize I got everything out of the program I was going to get. The weekly meeting was mostly guys complaining about their wives with no real benefit to me. I have also never relapsed and I'm at 4-1/2 years, but I don't attribute it to SAA. It's because I was given the tools in rehab and counseling to stay away from sexually explicit materials. More importantly though, the therapy helped me understand how I got to the point that I did. I had some theories, and a few proved to be true, but there was also much deeper stuff I never would have got at without the aid of a mental health professional. I don't think you should pretend it never happened and if bottling it up and trying to forget about it is going to be bad for your mental health, don't do it. That said, if he's making the effort and doing the hard work, that's all you can expect from him right now. I would suggest that you find a therapist because you probably have a lot of serious things to discuss and having the aid of a professional can help.
  8. Joshua Shea

    Confused, angry, hurt, upset!

    This is tough because everyone is different. I'm working with a therapist on a co-authored book geared toward women in your situation. He and I had a discussion about this very topic last week, when the husband said he's done and you need to stop nagging. There are women out there who find out and experience severe betrayal trauma. I get that you're hurt, but I don't think you're in this group. These are the women who can focus on nothing else and even when their husband goes above and beyond, they simply can't get over it. I think you're in a situation where he doesn't want to do the work, doesn't want to face what this is really about and may not have the tools needed to prevent relapse. You really only have two choices here. You either just accept where you are with this and move on with your life or you create some boundaries/ultimatums. The trick with those is that you actually have to be willing to enforce some kind of sanction if he breaks them, up to and including leaving. You have a right to a marriage with a healthy, non-addicted partner. He either wants that marriage too, or you're not on the same page. I can't tell you exactly why he doesn't want to do the work, but it's never a good sign for a healthy future. How badly you want that future is up to you.
  9. Joshua Shea

    Confused, angry, hurt, upset!

    Hi Carrie, I'm about 4-1/2 years sober from pornography and alcohol, so maybe I can lend some insight. And while I'll always be an addict, I believe I am truly recovered. It sounds like he started to do the recovery work, but stopped. That's like filling a tub with only a few centimeters of water and calling it good. It's better than an empty tub, but it's still not suitable to bathe in. I don't know exactly his situation, but he sounds a lot like me when it came to how he treated the women on the other end of the computer. It not only was about "getting back" at women for those who physically, sexually and emotionally harmed me when I was young, but it was also a way for me to exert control over the situation and my life. Here's the kicker...in my intense therapy, it went even deeper than the stereotypical abuse stuff and it took a long time to get there. That road is paved with sadness, anger, embarrassment and shame. Its much easier to say "Hey, I got this" on your good days than to delve into that deep subconcious stuff, but for me, it has changed my life for the better, and I think my wife and kids would agree. Be angry at the addiction, not at him. Anger, resentment, judgment...they come natural...but they only make the situation worse. Why would he open up to somebody who harbors such negative feelings toward him? If you haven't read everything yet, just type my name into Amazon and you'll find a memoir I wrote that was published earlier this year. Good luck, and remember to keep yourself healthy. You're the only person you can truly control. Joshua Shea
  10. Joshua Shea

    Some advice

    Hi Jermaine, I'm sorry to hear about your return to pornography. The thing that's really screaming here is that you're not in some kind of therapy. For the most part, addiction is a reaction to something else. It's a bandage you put on a wound. Until you treat the wound, the bandage isn't going to heal anything. Odds are if you started at 11, you have some idea why, but a professional could probably guide you through more of your story, helping you to remember, and understand things better than you do now. I think 12-step meetings are good, but you don't get to talk a lot. It's mostly listening. Find someone who can help you as a professional to get through this. I'd also urge you to do a little research. Do some reading. Check out other online forums. There's a lot out there that may help. No two people have the same recovery path, so the more you open yourself up to recovery options, the more likely you are to succeed. Josh
  11. Joshua Shea

    New and ashamed

    Here's the way to get rid of your profiles. Write down some random code on a piece of paper...like 6h8884knsdf Something that you'll never remember. Then go to your profile settings and change your password to that. You'll have to type it in twice, so make sure to write it down. Then, once that password is changed, destroy the piece of paper. Yes, you can always go back and launch a new profile, and you can even contact support...but what you've done is create a small hurdle...and that small hurdle may be enough to stop you in your tracks.
  12. Joshua Shea

    New and ashamed

    Get a therapist, go to a 12-step group, buy a book, keep posting here or other places, start a blog, exercise...there's so much you can do. The more ropes you have, the less likely you are to slip.
  13. Joshua Shea

    New and ashamed

    First, take a deep breath. You're still here. Just be in the moment. Take a few deep breaths. In the through the nose, out through the mouth. You didn't break up those marriages. I'm not claiming being a party to adultery is morally OK, but those marriages broke up because of the decisions that were made by the people in the marriage. Odds are, if you weren't "the other person" that somebody else would have been. Unless someone is mentally deficient in this equation, you don't have to believe you were the reason those marriages broke up. At most, you were a prop. You've got enough other things to deal with. Don't make this about you when it really isn't. It's about their failed marriages. Learn from this, work on yourself because you have no control over others and try to be better next time.
  14. Thank you very much for the shout-out for my recoveringpornaddict.com website...helping you, especially those first couple weeks, has been just as rewarding to me and has been a big part of my recovery. Once you move beyond these early phases, I have no doubt that you'll be there for others the way you feel I was there for you. My final bit of advice to you publicly -- though I hope you'll continue to check in with me privately from time to time -- is that you are in charge of your recovery. Your sponsor can guide you, these boards can guide you, SAA can guide you, I can guide you, but ultimately this is a trip that you take on your own. If you feel like you're every with the wrong therapist, or wrong sponsor, or getting bad advice from someone, it's OK to make changes. Just because there are "experts" and those with "experience" out there doesn't mean that they have the answers for YOU. I always encourage people to try everything and talk to as many people as possible because that's how you find what works for YOU. I say good luck to you for the things outside of yourself that you can control, but I don't think you need too much luck when it comes to you. You'll be fine.
  15. Joshua Shea

    New and ashamed

    That's a very wise thing to say. It wasn't until I was in rehab that I could actually trace my addictive behavior back to being a kid. The guy who ended up with the alcohol and porn was the same one who needed to collect over 200K sports cards when he was 10 or had to beat every videogame he owned the day he got it when he was 12. He was the one who would work 80 hours a week to impress the boss at 22. I knew that my biggest challenge was kicking my addictive personality more than my specific addictions. Alcohol could become food and porn could become gambling very easily. Are those worse? It's really just a matter of semantics. I don't want to end up on a gambling message board anymore than I wanted to end up on a porn one.
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