Read an Edited Transcript of the Show:
Welcome to Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions. I am your host Craig Perra from TheMindfulHabit.com. I’m a former sex, drug, and porn addict who found his purpose helping others. I’m the founder of the Mindful Habit System, a behavior change model recommended by and trained to therapists and counselors, and this is a podcast to empower you to create healthy sexuality in your life and a great life.
So today, we’re going to talk about the coronavirus. Now, I’ve got very little to add substantively to what you may have read medically about the coronavirus. What I’m really want to talk about is fear, habits, and patterns. Okay? So people are scared, the market yesterday was a blood bath, the market’s are scared. Resources appear strained. Quite frankly, we don’t know how bad it’s going to get. Um, and, and I think there are a lot of people, um, using this as an excuse to numb, cope, and escape. So I want to challenge that, and I want to talk, um, about, um, seven ways. I said six ways, but there are seven ways, seven things that you can, you know, use this, this crisis, this challenge, um, as an opportunity. Use it as a growth opportunity to transform your life for the positive and, and use this external event to examine your life, to examine your habits, to examine, uh, ways that what you can do to make it better so this internal event does not kill you because chances are it will not but make you stronger.
But first before I dive into those needs, a warning I like to disclose self interest. I run a wildly successful online group coaching program. So there’s no one getting in groups. There is no chance of getting the coronavirus in participating in one of our seven group coaching calls per week. It is a six month intensive with long term support opportunities, intensive support for your life. It’s done entirely online. We have group and one-on-one options available. We have earned over 230 verified five star excellent reviews. So, listen, some of you are in a place where your family, your job, your marriage, and everything you hold dear rests on you making the right decision. So no one’s served by me self deprecating and not putting my best foot forward.
So I want to share with you a recent testimonial that I received in my group coaching program. Shout out to Riverside County, my brother there. Here’s what he has to say, “About halfway through the program, I can tell you that the Mindful Habit has already transformed my life. It is taken me 63 years to figure out that I needed to fix the relationship with myself first and understand my core issues before I can have meaningful relationships with others. My addiction and intimacy disorder resulting from childhood sexual abuse has burdened me my entire life. High functioning at work, I just could never break through to reach my potential at home and in my personal relationships. I have trusted in the program all the way through, and it has exceeded my wildest expectations. It’s the reason I can finally begin to forgive myself, love myself and others, and because of that, it is the reason I’m still married. More to come.”
So I am so amazingly proud of the work that we are doing. If you want a part of that, um, go to the MindfulHabit.com if you have any questions. It literally is the best program in the world if you’re struggling.
All right. End of commercial. The six growth opportunities presented by the coronavirus. Actually, we’re going to do seven. There’s a bonus one at the end. One of my favorite.
So first, a reminder to always be on the lookout for growth opportunities, and ask yourself this question, um, do you have a culture of failure in your life, or have you created a culture of success? And just when I’m doing with these words and this podcast, I’m examining something that’s freaking’ some people out and exploring it and using it as an opportunity to look in the mirror. Right? To mine it for growth opportunities. And I encourage you to do that with everything in your life, and it is so, so simple to do. Here’s a simple way to do that. Make a list of the five things about your life that you hate or the five things that suck about your life, where you’re struggled, where you’re challenged, where you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Brother, those are your opportunities. So that shit list, that why my life sucks list, those are your opportunities. Those are the places where you can grow, those are the places where you can use whatever crisis it is that you’re dealing with, um, to grow, um, in a powerful way. So, so first, always be on the lookout for growth opportunities.
Second, use this as an opportunity to do a self care check-up. Self care, you, not only prioritizing your self-care, and you, um, you know, doing that long term, that’s the secret. Right. Because what happens to everybody, right? What may have happened to you in the past. You, um, you hit rock bottom. You, um, dive into recovery. You sprint as far and as fast as you can, and there comes a point where you stop doing the things that make you successful. You can’t stop doing the things that make you successful. And one aspect of that must be self-care, eating, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and practicing mindfulness’s and training your brain must be at the heart of not your recovery.
Someone asked me a few months ago, how do I stay motivated, um, with recovery? And I said stop calling it recovery. Recovery’s boring. Okay. Listen, I get it. There, there’s a point in time where (laugh)… I’m going to dust myself off, got to collect my-, myself, got to put the pieces back together. But it’s not a place that you want to stay in forever. Right. The cure is the aggressive pursuit of a great life. I want my program to be about high performance because it’s the only way you’re going to proactively counterbalance that powerful sexual energy. You have to create a great life. You have to proactively manage your powerful sexual energy. You must practice rigorous self-care. So grade yourself A, B, C, D, F. Eating, how’s your diet? You’re putting good stuff in your body that’s going to immunize you from disease. You taking care of it. Are you gobbling down those sodas and those diet sodas and high fructose corn syrup, essentially poison? How’s your sleep? Are you hydrating? Are you exercising?
Now that people… I’m a little nervous about going to the gym so I’m exercising around my house. I’m exercising outside. I’ve got my bike out. I’m riding my bike with my kids. So I’m not going to use the virus, um, as an excuse to stop doing the things that make me successful. I can’t stop doing the things that make me successful because I know if I do, I will go back to my old ways. I, I, I, I, I, I’ve convinced myself of that, and I’m glad I convinced myself of that. There’s an input that I’m required to deliver to create an output that I seek that requires intension and self-care is at the heart of that. So use this as an opportunity to reflect on your self-care.
Third, use this challenge to question your habits around news consumption. Let me tell you what I think. I think the 24 hour news cycle is poison. If you are in it, you are addicted. Uh, if you’re in it, cloaked with this need to stay informed, the world’s going to go to Hell in a hand basket if you do not, you’re addicted. You’re in too deep. You’re not just addicted to pornography or compulsion sexual behavior. You’re addicted to consuming information. You’re addicted to reacting to it. Maybe you’re getting significance by screaming about this issue or screaming about that issue. Ask yourself is the news that you are consuming making you better? Do you have more self control or less self control?
See, now is the time… Listen, I think now is the time where you want to be informed. So be mindful of where you get your news from. Avoid the propaganda and spin, whether you’re on the left, whether you’re on the right. Whatever your political affiliation is, get the facts. Study the impact of your higher news consumption and note how it makes you feel. But stay informed.
Fourth, examine your relationship with fear, and what potentially, in this case, the coronavirus triggers in you. So, so for most of us, this is something that’s far removed. Since I have clients all over the world, there are some man where they are not far removed. They are in this. They are either quarantined or they’re close to quarantined. There has been major, major disruption, and so fear is an inevitable consequence of being human. No matter how recovery work that you do, no matter how much therapy that you do, no matter how much talking about it, there’s never going to be a place where you’re going to eliminate that fear. So you’ve got to proactively manage it, and stress and anxiety, those are just two modern words for fear. So ask yourself, how are you proactively managing fear? And, and just get to specific for a second. How are you responding to fear triggers? Another question, where is fear showing up in your life? And what are you doing about it?
It is my belief that we all must proactively manage fear. There is no universe where you will not be afraid. And, and, and accordingly, because, um, most of the behavior is numbing, coping, and escaping behavior from, what? From fear. You have to proactively manage it. This isn’t primarily a sexual issue. I have yet to work with a client in the past eight years… I have not had a single client whose primary issue had anything to do with sex. They are numbing, coping, and escaping from, what? Fear. Mindfulness, mindful meditation will help you manage fear. It will help reduce the stress level cortisol in your body. It will reduce the attachment to your thoughts. It’ll help you be less reactive.
Download the app Head Space. Download the app Calm. Go onto YouTube and Google John Cabot zen videos and learn about mindfulness. It is changing the world, and if you don’t know anything about it, you, you better go find out. The mindful in the title, the Mindful Habit, which is the name of my system, is there for a reason because it is so, so, so important to learn how to manage the monkey mind, how to manage an organism that has been trained to react to fear, and those trained condition responses in response to fear, that’s your acting out. And because to break a habit, you have to make a habit, you must be deliberate, you must be intentional on what are you going to do instead. How are you going to proactively manage fear? So look in your life to see how you maybe feeling about the coronavirus, maybe it’s something else that’s going on in your community. Maybe, certainly this is one of many stresses in our lives.
Fifth, regarding the coronavirus, conduct a family risk assessment. And here’s the question that I’ve asked myself. If what’s happening in other countries in terms of quarantine happens here, am I prepared? And, and, and the answer’s no. But we are as a family getting prepared. We’re reading what we’re supposed to read. And by the way, this, this, this is not telling you what to do, how to do it. You follow the CDC. You go to the right websites. You get the right information. You do what you, you need to do, and also look for trends. Look, look, look where this is going. Look, um, what happens to this disease in 30 days, in 60 days. If you have elderly parents, as I do, make sure that they’re taken great care of themselves and they’re not, you know, doing any unnecessary travel. So conduct a family risk assessment, okay? We’re going to get through this. There’s no question about that, um, and let’s be prepared. Okay.
Sixth, reflect on how you are connecting with friends. So, so the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection. Jonathon Hari said that in his wonderful video Everything I Learned About Addiction Is Wrong. His last name is H-A-R-I. The title of the video is Everything I Learned About Addiction Is Wrong, and he bases that statement on the Rat Pack Studies. And what they found is that they’ve got these rats addicted to heroin, and those rats stopped using heroin when they were put in constructive social environments with other rats. They were in this little rat Heaven, this little rat park where there was a rat jacuzzi. There was a, um, a rat, um, wheel, and there was cheese, and there was social games, and there were fun things that rats like to do. And those rats stopped using the heroin water on their own.
So there is a tendency, particularly I’m talking to you brothers out there, generally speaking. Women do a better job connecting. Guys, we are terrible at it. And the more that I’ve been helping men over the course of the last eight years, the more I see where I’m challenged, the more I see where they’re challenged. We do not connect. So, so instead of… Right, let’s do action reaction. Instead of using this as an excuse not to connect with other people, um, make a list. Who do you need to connect with? Who do you want to connect with? Who do you want to share… Who do you want to share your life with? The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection. Okay. The actions we take is the life we make.
Next, next, um, s-… The next one is use this as an opportunity to study your sexual energy. Okay. Um, there’s a lot of people that I talk to reporting. They, they feel like they’re entitled to act out, that this, this, this, this, um… And that’s this… Not everybody, not everyone, by the way. I’m just saying that I’m hearing this that there’s this pull. There’s this, this… What is it? It’s a need to escape. The primary driver of acting out, as I mentioned before, are numbing, coping, and escaping from, what? So, again, using this opportunity to study your sexual energy, right. How is it being pulled? In what direction is it being pulled? What’s pulling it in an unhealthy, destructive way?
And, and listen, you’re never going to get rid of that. I want to be clear about that. Your sexual energy will be pulled in an unhealthy direction. There are decades of programming, objectification, unhealthy belief systems around sex and natural biology that make that a guarantee. But what you can learn is… Doesn’t mean you have to do anything. You can use that, um, that, that… The fact that it’s pulled to, to not react, to create mindfulness, to not numb, cope, and escape, to channel and direct that powerful sexual energy. Brother, it’s going to go somewhere. Might be intentional about where it goes. Direct it. If you are in love and you’re in a relationship, direct that energy towards your partner. And if you remember from that testimonial up above, our brother from Riverside County talks about his intimacy disorder. That’s what I treat, intimacy door-, disorders. There’s reasons why, why that sexual energy flows in an unhealthy, destructive, self-harming way, and why it doesn’t flow in a natural, um, uh, uh… Why doesn’t it flow to my partner. There’s reasons for that, and you’ve got to figure those reasons out.
So use this crisis as an opportunity to study your sexual energy. Always be studying your sexual energy. Always be on the lookout for how it’s being pulled and when it’s going in an unhealthy direction, boom, there’s your opportunity to bring it back.
And seventh, or last, I did lose track. Um, is my favorite stoic quote, and that is memento mori. That essentially means remember death. Now, now the overwhelming majority, overwhelming, whelming, whelming majority with the multiplier times something else of anyone listening to this podcast, you’re going to be fine. See, I don’t think thinking about death is morbid. In fact, I’ve got a tattoo on my arm that’s got a skull with wings, and at the top it says memento mori. This was an old, um, Christian gravestone that existed in the, um, Northeast, Boston. You see it on some of the old cemeteries in Boston Commons. There’s old fashion symbol, and I love it so much because it’s not a morbid thing for me. But it, it, it’s I always want to remember that my day could come. I hope it’s far away. I hope I’ve got many years left on this planet bringing love to my family, to my friends, and to you in sharing this amazing life together, and doing fun, incredible things. But I can’t guarantee that.
Tonight, I’m going to a movie with a friend of mine who had a massive stroke a year and a half ago. I’m 48. He’s at or around my age. Boom, went to the gym, headache, pop. Massive, massive, massive stroke. And he’s been doing everything in his power, um, to, uh, to regain. And he has hit so many challenges. In certain areas, there were improvements. In certain areas, things weren’t going well. And, and, you know, I’m like, “Oh.” My kids are like, “Oh, it’s so nice you do that for him.” For him? I get more out of that than he does. I get more out of that than he does. Memento mori. You never know what’s going to happen.
And here’s the thing that I’ve learned now approaching 50. I learned that if you are listening to this podcast, and you have your health and your family has your health. Oh my god, fall on the ground right now and kiss it, and look up to the sky and thank God. Thank God that you have your health, that you’re here. It’s a miracle that, that with all the things that could go wrong, here we are. You listening to me right now. Memento mori. Use this as an opportunity to examine and study your fears around death. What are you afraid of? Do you feel that you’ve lived a life that you wanted to live? If you were to pass right now and you’re old and sitting in that home, are you… Are you… Do you feel fulfilled? Do you feel fulfilled?
And I want to share one story. I’m going to be general, but I have a client whose wife was diagnosed with cancer. And was diagnosed after discovery where she learned things about him that broke her heart. And as she’s going through chemo, fighting for her life, on his mind is, “This is my legacy. This is how she’s going to remember me. This, this… Look at the mess that I have made. Instead of me supporting, instead of her thinking, feeling loved, instead of her feeling nurtured, instead of her feeling honored, she feels broken. She feels empty. She feels sad.” So I just strongly encourage you before this day is out, that you reflect on how grateful you are that you have someone in your life who loves you, someone in your life who’s upset about what you did because they care about you that much. And if you don’t have someone in your life, you’re going to find someone in your life if you work on you and you put your best foot out, your best self out there. Right. You like a like attracts like. Like attracts like.
But for, um, my brothers in a relationship and for the partners who are listening now, just a dose of perspective. If you have health, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve. There’s absolutely nothing that you can’t achieve. Memento mori. Remember death.
So those are my lists of opportunities that the coronavirus present for you. You could clearly apply this to any challenge in your life. But there are some unique things around the news cycle, um, around self-care, um, around us as men protecting our families where I believe that this crisis, this challenge gives us an opportunity to take a long hard look in the mirror to study ourselves and to come out of that stronger. To learn and to grow by creating a culture of success in our lives where we are moving towards healthy sexuality, where we are moving towards the aggressive pursuit of a great life.
Thank you so much for listening. I have reserved five scholarships this month that are receiving the deepest discount that I offer. I cut the program in half, make it payable over six months. So if you are interested, call 877-769-3790, mention podcast or email [email protected], mention podcast. Sign up to connect with me on my website www.themindfulhabit.com. I honor your quest for healthy sexuality and a great life. I am honored and privileged that you have chosen to share your most valuable resource with me. Time. Know that your sexual energy is powerful and must be controlled or it will control you. So choose well, embrace your power of choice, feed the right wolf inside you, and I will see you at the next podcast. Thanks for listening.