Craig Perra is world renowned for transforming the lives of people who struggle with compulsive behavior, chronic self-deprecation, and sex & porn addiction.
With success stories and clients in over 20 countries and 6 continents, Craig has made his mark as the top coach for professionals, executives, musicians, personalities, professional athletes, and men in need of fast results and changes for the sake of their sexuality and relationships.
Craig has been featured on a number of international media outlets including The Katie Couric Show, Good Day Sacramento, The Steve Harvey Show and Lifetime TV.
He also has a passion for yoga and is a yoga instructor in Roseville, CA.
Hi. I’m Craig Perra and I know what you are going through.
And I’m sorry. It’s hard, and it’s heavy. I know.
Welcome to my online home. I’m honored that you’re here. I truly hope I can help you create the profound life change you seek.
My wife, Michelle, and I created The Mindful Habit System to empower people to create great lives and relationships, free of compulsive sexual behaviors.
We wanted, or rather, we needed to create an action oriented, goal centric, and structured alternative to traditional recovery models like talk therapy and 12 steps. Personally, I needed results in a big way. Because …
I struggled with compulsive sexual behavior since childhood.
My journey began when I was very young. I experienced some wonderful moments as a child and also, a number of powerful challenges. I was given up for adoption, raised on shame based sexuality, and exposed to porn when I was very young.
I was also touched many times by an older neighborhood boy.
This had a powerful impact on me mentally, spiritually, and sexually. I now had two distinct parts of myself. The kind, successful, loving part – and a dark, angry, hypersexual insecure egomaniac junkie.
My early childhood programming produced a lifetime of struggle – I lied and cheated on just about every girlfriend I ever had … and I watched porn … a lot of porn, which got more and more graphic as the years progressed.
I used porn and my other sexual behaviors to escape, numb, and cope.
Despite these problems, I still managed to create a very successful career in business and law. I’ve served in leadership and executive roles at multi-billion $ U.S. Companies. I’ve been a leader in my community sitting on the Boards of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and The Boys & Girls Club and other local charities. I was even written up in local newspapers for my mentorship of an inner city child.
On the outside life was amazing.
I married my college sweetheart, Michelle, and we created an incredible life for ourselves. We had an adorable Pekingese named Chewey and made two beautiful children. We had everything we could possibly dream of, an amazing job, a big house, money, we went on nice vacations and had all the outward appearances of success.
But I had a secret – I was broken. I was addicted to porn and sex.
And this secret, as you know, wouldn’t stay bottled up forever. Over time, these problems got worse and worse, the porn more and more graphic, the behavior more and more risky, until it consumed me. I completely lost my ability to connect with my wife and I was a below average father.
Things got so bad, I lost a brand new six-figure executive job at a $1 billion U.S. company – not because they caught me doing anything, but because I wasn’t getting the job done. How could I? I was consumed with sex. I also almost lost Michelle, my wife, and my children – I hit rock bottom.
I was 39 years old … alone … I was out of control and I wanted to die.
At my lowest point, I made the decision to kill myself when I stuffed my face into a pile of drugs hoping my heart would explode. I wanted the pain and failures to go away so badly. I loathed myself. Fortunately, I didn’t really want to end it and I obviously lived … but these were my darkest times.
Unemployed and broke, I was at my lowest point.
It was so bad I ultimately checked myself into an inpatient facility for help with my sexually compulsive behavior and drug use (you name it, I did it). My pattern of numbing, coping, and escaping was over.
The gig was up. The lies were exposed. The mask was ripped off. Everything came out.
I was done lying. I was done living in shame.
I will never forget the pain I caused Michelle. And she was done. Michelle only stuck around to get me back on my feet since I was the primary bread winner … She had one foot practically out the door and started preparing for a life without me.
My family was falling apart and I destroyed it.
Hitting rock bottom altered my state of mind in a powerful way. Being fired from my job woke me up and opened my eyes. Watching my family nearly torn apart from the seams was the sucker punch to my gut that I needed. I vowed to do all within my power to salvage my relationship with my wife and to keep my family whole.
I sought out professional help. I saw a self-declared sex addict for a counselor; he taught me alternative methods of treating my behaviors instead of going the route of the typical disease-based recovery programs.
This is how my healing began and it was a powerful start.
I dedicated every fiber of my being to becoming that man I knew was inside.
I had all this potential and despite superficial success, I had been wasting it – drugged in a sex and porn induced stupor. But those days were over. During this time of unemployment, I consumed myself with the study of human behavior, addiction, habits and any other behavior modification technique I could get my hands on – failure was not an option.
I lost my job, but I was not surrendering my wife and kids.
I vowed never to surrender again. I consumed myself with learning about human sexuality. I read everything I could get my hands on about healthy sexuality. I knew I had to define my destination. What was healthy sexuality? What did it even look like?
I consumed myself with all the different theories on sex addiction, porn addiction, hypersexuality, problematic sexual behavior and as it’s now often called compulsive sexual behavior. I needed and learned tools and techniques and when I couldn’t find them I invented them.
I learned some powerful teachings that forever changed my life.
- I learned that sex is powerful – that it’s one of the most powerful of all human desires and that I couldn’t keep it locked up in a dirty disgusting closet. I had to channel it and embrace it’s power. Either I controlled it, or it controlled me. It was that simple. I no longer saw it as a minor character defect, or something guys did. My sexuality was broken and I had to fix it and prioritize healthy sexuality for the rest of my life.
- I learned that traditional recovery methods like 12 Steps fared poorly when studied for drugs and alcohol. I asked myself, “how could 12 Steps work for compulsive sexual behavior, if it wasn’t working for drugs and alcohol?” This doesn’t mean that these programs don’t save lives. They do. It’s just that our knowledge of this affliction is evolving and that better and more effective techniques exist beyond 12 Steps, and the disease based model of addiction. Some think it’s the only path to recovery. It’s not. So I created a buffet – I took what was proven to work and disregarded the rest. I wasn’t powerless, I didn’t have a disease for life, I didn’t need to surrender.
- I learned that sex addiction or porn addiction is not a recognized disorder by the American Psychological Association . . . – Huh? Every professional I saw officially diagnosed me as a “sex addict” – no one mentioned any of the challenges inherent in this “off label” diagnosis. No one told me that a number of very well qualified experts in human sexuality have been vocally protesting the use of a 75 year old program (12 Steps) and the disease based model for years. I learned that there were other powerful tools out there that could help me move forward faster.
- I learned the scientific fact that my triggers were biologically hardwired and that they weren’t going away . . . wait … what???? What do you mean my triggers are biologically hardwired and that they aren’t going away? All that shame I experienced when I got triggered to act out after my therapy sessions wasn’t because I was a dirty disgusting scumbag? It was because I’m human. I learned that, since these triggers weren’t going away, I had to use them to drive position action. I had to use my triggers to “hack” or interrupt my habit cycle.
- I learned that I could get further, faster in my growth and development by moving towards the life I wanted. Instead of obsessively focusing on the life I was running away from, I started to obsess on the one I wanted to create and my progress exploded. Who was I? What kind of man did I want to be? What did I want to accomplish on this earthly plain? In answering and acting upon these questions my evolution accelerated … and I was happy … and hungry.
- I learned that to break a habit you must make a habit – this is a scientific fact. It told me that I had to do something else. I could no longer obsessively focus on what I didn’t want to do. I had to take action and do something else.
- I learned that mindfulness was one of the most powerful behavior change modalities on the planet and I knew nothing about it. I consumed myself with this discipline and my life literally changed. I could better manage my triggers, repel negative thoughts quicker and I simply felt better.And when combined with habits, these two teachings together are nothing short of revolutionary. When I realized that I was either mindful – living in the present moment, on purpose, without judging the dialog in my head and NOT automatically responding to external stimuli or triggers – or … I was stuck in Habitland – not being present, judging the negative self talk, living in reaction to my childhood stories and patterns, … and AUTOMATICALLY responding to my external stimuli – my life changed.
I consumed myself wit the study of these two disciplines. I used all these tools to repair myself and my marriage started to improve dramatically.
And I wanted to help other people going through what I went through.
I was at a breaking point, sick and tired of being torn between two worlds, where I had to choose between the nice, successful Craig, and the shameful, perverted Craig. I had had enough of the shame I felt over my actions and the secrets that I kept and had carried for almost my entire life.
At this moment for me, I couldn’t find anyone else to relate to what I was going through- especially couples going through it together. This entire experience made me feel so disgusted and so emboldened to do something to change it.
Before I could figure out what to do, my wife, Michelle, created an anonymous blog outlining our journey. She Called it, “Mishka – Wife of a Sex Addict” This blog is very raw and very heavy; I still have a hard time reading some of the content.
Nonetheless, the blog grew more and more popular and suddenly we had people reaching out to us for help and direction. We were in shock; they were asking US for help? They called us inspirational and brave…I felt that my wife was very brave but that I was merely a broken many trying to piece together my life. My mind was blown by all of this.
We started an anonymous podcast and called it Sex Addictions & Porn Afflictions; it was hugely successful. We had thousands of listeners as we shared the experiences and practical tools and tricks that we’d strengthened along the way to help other couples who could use them in their path to healing. Couples were coming out of the woodwork, desperate for some concrete plan or structure, really for a pathway to get out of the situation they were in- preferably together. Michelle and I felt honored to provide them with a path.
Then Michelle’s powerful blog caught the attention of the Anderson Cooper Show and she shared our story.
This was terrifying – my wife was going on national TV to tell the world I slept with prostitutes and watched porn!!!! It felt empowering though. I was so proud of her performance. Watch it below.
This is when we officially decided to stop being anonymous – knowing that it would help more people … and it helped us immensely. We communicated and connected in ways that we never knew imaginable.
And around this time the counselor I was seeing saw a gift in me. He saw how I had mastered the concepts and how I was helping others. He told me that I had to dedicate my life to helping people – that it was my calling.
I spent most of my grown up years in corporate America doing lawyerly things so initially, this was tough to swallow. But I soon I realized he was right. I did have a gift. Michelle had a gift. And by now 10s of thousands of people had listened to our podcast and read Michelle’s blog – we had touched people’s lives all over the world. It was awesome. It felt natural, and it felt right. I found my calling.
So Michelle and I got certified as professional coaches and we started empowering men, women, and couples all over the world – and the results were miraculous. We were blown away.
People had often come to me after they tried everything else . . . in-patient treatment, counseling, therapy and 12 Steps . . . and despite failure after failure before they created powerful results working with me. And the word continued to spread.
That’s When The Katie Couric Show called and we appeared together.
This had to be one of the most terrifying and powerful experiences of my life. I was so excited to share my journey and so scared over what people would say. I was so afraid of being judged in my community, by my family, and by my friends. Instead of being judged I was embraced … at least by the people I cared about. Here’s a video of us on the show.
I’m so proud of what we accomplished. But the truth is we were just getting warmed up.
Things exploded when I started to Feed The Right Wolf
Are you familiar with the website Feed The Right Wolf (www.feedtherightwolf.org)? This site is all about taking action and feeding the right wolf (vs. the wrong one) inside of you. It has helped millions of people with their struggles with sex and porn addiction. And it helped me … a lot!
It was founded by my now good friend Alex and check this out!!!! I became the first and only Official Coach for this site. I was now helping people on the exact same site that helped me. I still get choked up when I think about. This gave me an opportunity to share my message with more and more people …
My clients learned a lot, and I learned a lot too. Obsessed with results, I continued to refine and re-shape and tweak and test and refine all over again what is now called The Mindful Habit System.
I wanted to create an action oriented, goal centric, metrics driven modality with tools and exercises and structure. I knew I had to create a system or a blueprint that clients could implement in their lives that drove ongoing improvement. Here’s where a lot of my Executive experience came in very handy. The Japanese call this system Kaizen – continuous process improvement, and that’s what I did.
I built a powerful system that moves men forward fast.
And this excites me to no end. It just blows me away. And I did it with my wife by my side.
My life is amazing. I’ve worked one on one with me in 18 countries of all different ages and cultural and religious backgrounds (I work with men of all faiths).
And the results have transformed for my clients in ways well beyond not doing something. In addition to empowering men to break free of compulsive sexual behavior, and to save their relationships … I’ve had so many clients that completely transformed their lives – I’ve had clients lose over 100 lbs, double their income, get new jobs, start new careers, take up new hobbies, be better leaders, fathers, brothers, spiritual leaders, lovers, and friends.
I’ve worked with professional athletes, actors, executives, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, truck drivers, students, IT, engineers, religious leaders, Law Professors, factory workers, Project Managers, professional musicians, Security Consultants, Soldiers & Officers, therapists, and even a martial arts master – I am blessed. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing that feels.
And The Mindful Habit System has since changed thousands of lives.
I’m humbled and honored – every day I touch someone’s life and empower them to create healthy sexuality, to embrace their power of choice, and to create a great life.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you so much for reading this. I wish you the best on your journey and thank you for letting me share mine.