Read an Edited Transcript of the Show:
Welcome to Sex Afflictions & Porn Addictions, I am your host Craig Perra from themindfulhabit.com. I’m the founder of The Mindful Habit System, a step by step plan to freedom, to healthy sexuality, and a purpose driven life. This is a program built on failure, my failures, and today I want to talk about failures. I want to share with you the four very specific actions that you can take right now to get out of a rut. Wherever you are in your pursuit of healthy sexuality and a great life, you will find yourself in a rut. You will find yourself stuck. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when, and today we’re going to talk about four very specific things that you can do about it.
For those of you getting to know me, I’m Craig Perra, A former executive and attorney, a husband, married 22 years to my incredible wife, Michelle, and the father of two incredible teenage children, and I’ve struggled with sex addiction, porn addiction, drug addiction, for most of my adult life. Rock bottom affair with a prostitute and pornography about 10 years ago. And I had this crazy idea that I could leverage all my failures, and my executive training, to create a system, a model, a step-by-step path towards self-control, towards self-awareness, towards healthy sexuality, towards sustainability. And so I built what clients call a world-class at home bootcamp intensive that you do on your time, with days, nights, and weekends sessions. It’s science-based, and it’s not rooted in the disease based model of addiction. And I believe that for most men, that’s our strength, that’s not a liability, that’s our strength.
And so I want to talk today about some specific actions that you can take when you are in a rut. So let’s first, what the rut, what am I talking about? So you struggle with compulsive sexual behavior, some form of sexual expression is your primary numbing, coping, and escaping strategy. So in this rut, you’ve likely stopped doing the things that made you successful. Your systems, if you have any, have broken down in connection with one of life’s inevitable challenges. Maybe you failed, maybe you’ve experienced lost, maybe you’re getting pounded with triggers, maybe you’re slipping. What you are doing is your needs are being met reactively instead of proactively.
And I want to break down the difference between a rut and a failure, or a loss. And here’s what I mean by that, because you can experience something as serious and as painful as a loved one’s death and not be in a rut, or not be stuck. If, God forbid, someone you love passed. You are using that opportunity to reflect on your own mortality. You’re using that opportunity to connect with family. You are being present in the pain of that loss. That’s not being stuck, that’s not being in a rut. You can fail hard, you can feel that sting of failure. You can sit with the discomfort of failure, yet not be a failure. I’m talking about the rut, the belief system where you are stuck, and it’s why I have one of my favorite expressions, the cure for your addiction is the aggressive pursuit of a great life.
So I wanted to separate a rut from either a loss or a failure, and the reason why is because you will experience loss in your life, you will experience pain, you will experience failure, and you could do those things without being in a rut. Kobe Bryant said, “I love failure, gives me an opportunity to learn and to grow. Sometime, no, every time.”
The first thing that you can do to get you out of a rut is, number one, you can set small ridiculously attainable goals that move you towards success. And here I’m talking about Kaizen goal setting. If you do not know the word Kaizen, K-A-I-Z-E-N, Google it, learn about it, it will literally change the way you respond to life, you deal with life, the way you counterbalance your crazy, the way you work, the way you play, the way you care for yourself, it’s going to change it all. Here’s an example of a Kaizen goal. Well, first the definition. Kaizen means continuous improvement. An example of continuous improvement is in the personal development space, and in the corporate sense, or manufacturing industry, is setting small ridiculously attainable goals. Literally so easy to accomplish that you’d be embarrassed telling someone you paid for that advice if you were in my program and I told it to you.
So here’s some examples of Kaizen goals, one pushup per day, meditating for 60 seconds per day, one burpee, one extra glass of water, one extra serving of fruit. And listen, there’s something so obvious about Kaizen goal setting, but there’s a philosophy here that I want you to understand, and understanding this philosophy is mission critical. The primary problem, or a primary problem that we are trying to solve is, you’re setting goals that aren’t attainable. And when you fail and fall flat on your face, that reinforces the belief system that you’re a piece of shit, that you’re a failure. It confirms the corrosive belief systems. That moment, the momentum that you were using to propel you forward, with that same amount of force that propelled you forward, has you with your face in the ground. Acting out, numbing, coping, and escaping, getting defensive with your partner.
So Kaizen goal setting embraces a philosophy, and that philosophy is very simple. Something is better than nothing. So you can literally, and I recommend you do, live your life where you are always in one of two places, you are either on the right track, or you are on the wrong track. And why, why is that so important? Because in your journey to your rut, you stopped doing the things that made you successful. You were treading the water of mediocrity, of average, of okay, of meh. Status quo. Status quo isn’t a static place, it is the top of the downward spiral. You want to create a belief system in your life that drives action as soon as you’re on the wrong track because you know in the fiber of your being where it goes. Average is keeping you stuck.
So upon the realization of this low point, wait, I’m in a rut, instead of setting goals that are too audacious, that aren’t attainable, at least not are attainable right now. Instead set small, ridiculously attainable goals that move you towards success, that create a culture of success in your life instead of a culture of failure, and small improvements over long periods of time equals massive, massive, massive growth.
And number two is to set those small attainable goals around self-care. So not only embrace the Kaizen goal setting principles, but create small, ridiculously small attainable goals, around what I call the fundamental five. Eating, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and practicing mindfulness. I am almost embarrassed every time I teach that section in my program. I remember teaching it to a client who was able to do triathletes. What am I going to teach him about self care and the fundamental five? But here’s the thing I learned about myself, I never acted out. I never got my needs met reactively when I was meeting them proactively, when I was paying attention to hydration.
This is so simple and so transformative, remember right track, wrong track. You can have a massive impact if you set small… I mean, listen, if you’re in a rut right now, perfect timing. Picture two weeks from now, you’ve done one push-up a day. How many more pushups is that than in the previous month? You’ve done one minute of mindfulness. You had one extra cup of water. You went to bed 10 minutes earlier, or at least as part of that sleep, there was a routine. You eat, slept, hydrate, exercise, one burpee a day, down on the ground, jump up in the air, that’s it. But here’s what happens when you commit to doing the one, something very special happens. You do two, you do three, there are scientific principles, and the brain, and the fear, and the amygdala, that’s all involved here, which makes Kaizen goal setting and self-care so, so, so important.
So if you are stuck in a rut, number one, set small ridiculously attainable goals that move you towards success. Number two, nail the basics, set small attainable goals around self care, eating, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and practicing mindfulness. And I promise you will find that when you are executing on those five areas, when you are on the right track, you have a ridiculous level of self control. When you are living your purpose, even if that pilot light is just burning such a teeny tiny bit, you can barely see it sometimes, but there it is, that beacon in the dark pulling you towards. Nail the basics, set small attainable goals around self-care.
Next, the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection. Number three, find an ally to help hold you accountable. First the science. The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit it to someone. You have a 65 increased chance of completing a goal if you’ve commit it to someone, and if you have a specific accountability appointment with the person you’ve committed to, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
Think about your professional life. Do you work harder when your boss is away, or do you work less when your boss is away? Now I know an ally is different, but there’s something about that relationship that creates accountability, and that’s what having an ally is all about. Covenant Eyes, which is the blocking software, did a study. I talked to their marketing company, fascinating, great, great, great company, the Harmon Brothers, they do those amazing commercials. Really, really smart people, and they told me that Covenant Eyes, they use the word ally. They used the word ally because having an ally makes you feel good, and makes you feel strong, instead of an accountability partner for my addiction.
So there is a history and a legacy of that word. Now it shouldn’t be there, it shouldn’t be there, but it is. It connotates weakness for some people. Weak people need an accountability partner. Please throw away that notion. Successful people have accountability partner. Any entrepreneur that has accomplished anything has goals, has someone that they’re sharing their goals with. It’s so important, it is so important. The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection.
So find an ally, and just a tip about finding an ally, that relationship does not even have to involve your addiction. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with your shameful secrets. You could have that relationship exclusively for the goals that you want to accomplish in your life. In fact, in my program, we recommend people have an ally, but the sexual behavior, that’s last on the list. And the reason it’s last on the list, because to break a habit, you have to make the right habit that meets the right need. We going to focus on making those right habits. The system has to focus on making those right habits. Your system has to focus on making those right habits that meet the right need. So your needs get met proactively instead of reactively.
So find someone in your life. If you are in a relationship, there are studies that say that couples that share goals together are happier. How’s that for some science? It’s obvious, I know it’s obvious, you know it’s obvious, but it’s true. Are you sharing what it is you want to accomplish in your life? Are you sharing the goals, the things that you want to do? So, number one, if you are stuck in a rut, set small ridiculously attainable goals that move you slowly yet sustainably towards success. Number two, nail the basics. Set small attainable goals around self-care. I recommend couple in the morning, couple in the evening. Number three, the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection. Find an ally, find an accountability partner to help hold you accountable. And forth, ground in your truth.
And let me tell you what I mean by this, because this is something that has really moved me recently and I found to be a very important, wait, I’m stuck here, these belief systems are keeping me stuck, I need to break free of those belief systems, so I had to ground in my teeth. And let me ask you this question. What do you know about you in the fiber of your being, something positive. Something positive. It might be around your fatherhood, it might be around a friendship, it might be around a skill set that you have, and I’m going to share you where I ground ground my truth in.
But what do you know in the fiber of your being that is incontrovertible, incontrovertible, cannot be disagreed with. That you know, you know about yourself, and let me tell you mine. Sow this is my truth, it’s now, well, maybe it’ll be perceived as conceited. There was a Roxanne Shanté song she used to say, “I’m not conceited, I’m just convinced.” Here’s my truth. I am highly gifted and skilled in helping people. I am very, very good in what I do. Am I good? Am I great for everybody? No, but when I find that match, boom, we bring it, and I know that I am great at helping people. Then I want to share with you why that’s important. This isn’t just a commercial, I’ve been vulnerable and shared with you my colossal failures, and of course my successes.
So almost 10 years ago, I destroyed my family’s financial situation. I got fired from two jobs, the last one after moving my family cross country. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on recovery. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on my addiction. I ruined my family’s financial security. Almost 10 years ago when I got fired, when they locked me up for three days, 51/50 is not just a Van Halen album, it is the code section for when you are admitted to a hospital. And I was not 51/50, I was given a choice, and I made the right choice, go in. I’m in an inpatient facility, I’m out of my mind. I am literally crashing and burning, a mental health downward spiral, a weak suicide attempt, and I got fired.
I’ve been getting a paycheck every two years since I graduated from law school. I always had a job, I was blessed to have been successful in my life as an attorney, and as an executive. And that was all gone. And just to add to that, this was a ridiculously unsafe time for Michelle. She’s the child of a Holocaust survivor, her grandmother was in Auschwitz, financial security, or the lack there of, touched her trauma wound. It was scary, and it was terrifying. And so it was very, very unsafe. So when, for example, we have a slow week, we have a 30 day money back guarantee, someone asked for their money back, and of course we quickly give that person their money back. There’s this wave of dread this, this insecurity, that I am triggered by going back to that time with my wife looking at me saying, “What the hell did you do?”
And it’s scary, and it’s scary. Can you imagine the look on my father’s face, my father-in-law’s face, when I said, “Hi Papa, I’m going to be a life coach.” I’ll never forget it for as long as I live, and God bless he was supportive, for lack of a better word. Certainly my mother-in-law was. So when does this truth come in handy? When do I need this truth? So I mentioned when business is slow, I have to ground in my reality that I am skilled and gifted at helping people. And so in your grounding, so when you examine my needs that are met by financial success, it’s my identity, it’s at the core of my value proposition as a human being, I am successful in helping people.
Now, listen, I’m working on this, right? This is where I need to be mindful, and I’m fully aware that my self worth is tied to my success. I have a thorough understanding of how important the role of significance plays in ones life. It’s critical to feel significance. They’ve done studies, people who feel significant live longer. Think about that for a second. People who feel significant live longer.
When you’re numbing, coping, and escaping with sex, you don’t feel significant, you feel like a piece of shit. So this grounding in my truth is part of what I call my piece of shit protocols, which recognizes that I will be in a rut, that I will feel stuck, that I will feel low. That I’ll make a mistake, that I’ll upset my wife, that I won’t be there for my kids, or I screw something up professionally, I’ll make a mistake. So this truth is so inexorably intertwined in my significance, and I’ve learned that if I want to be successful, I am going to feed the right wolf. Be significant, go for it, be as significant as you possibly can helping people. Be as successful as you possibly can showing your best self to the world, and acknowledging the darker aspects of yourself to help people.
I tap into that significance when the waves are rough, when I feel insignificant and insecure, I ground in it. It lifts me, it carries me. I am great at helping people no matter what happens, I know that, and that has value. People are always going to need help. I use my truth to anchor me so I don’t get lost in the undertone. I use my truth to manage my fear, stress, and anxiety, just new words for fears, it’s grounding. And it tells me that everything is going to be okay.
So lets recap. Four things that you can do to get you out of your rut, to get you from going status quo, or worse, wrong track to on the right track. Number one, set small ridiculously attainable goals that move you towards success. Number one, set Kaizen goals. Number two, set Kaizen goals in connection with self care. Do something small to honor your fundamental five, eating, sleeping, drinking, exercise, practicing mindfulness. Number three, find an ally to help hold you accountable for these goals. Number four, ground in your truth. If you believe in the principle that you need to feed the right wolf inside you if you want to be successful, if you believe that you must get your needs met proactively instead of reactively, then you will find the value in grounding in your truth. All right.
So, thank you so much for listening. Now, if you need serious help fast, and willing to make an investment in yourself, you can visit themindfulhabit.com to learn more about my self study program, my group coaching program, my program for partners, which is included as part of my group. I’m so proud of our support for the wives who are so hurt by our actions. So honored and privileged to be in a place to help them. Just remember, please embrace your power of choice, and please feed the right wolf inside you always, because you deserve it. Thank you for listening, make it great, and feed the right wolf.