Read an Edited Transcript of the Show:
Hey, welcome to Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions. I am your host Craig Perra from www.themindfulhabit.com. I’m the founder of the Mindful Habit, which has become, I’m so proud, a world-class at home addiction program for men struggling with sex and porn addiction and their partners. We have a … Super proud of our program, the partner empowerment group for the women who had to live through our lies, and our gaslighting, and our secrets. And so anyway, really proud of that program.
I am here because of colossal failure. My addiction to sex, my addiction to porn, compulsive prostitution, incredibly risky behavior, adult bookstores, hookups, chronic infidelity, absolutely shame filled behavior brought me here. It also brought me to a place of suicide. I tried to kill myself 10 years ago, ended up three days in an inpatient facility, almost lost my family. This behavior cost me two jobs and I’m still married and built this amazing company, and since then I’ve picked up the pieces and in a powerful way, and worked with over a thousand men. Over a thousand men and their wives. And we’ve even been translated into Spanish. And I have learned so, so, so much over the years and helping me proactively stay ahead of and manage my issues. And we’re going to talk about that today and helping men overcome theirs.
And so today, I want to help you create healthy sexuality and a great life by helping you proactively manage pain. Okay, I’m going to share with you three key principles that I invite you to incorporate into your internal code, your rules of life, incorporated them into the fiber of your being so you can be successful. And I’m going to identify also what it is that you actually need to accomplish to be successful long term when it comes to emotional and physical pain, and what specific actions I performed to help create desired outcomes, more peace, more joy, self-control, satisfaction, connection, love, et cetera.
So, first, if you are listening to this podcast, I propose that you are struggling to manage pain. You may be defining that pain as emotional, but regardless that your compulsive behavior is meeting needs in your life, and it is serving a purpose, it is doing something for you, and it has been doing something for you for a very, very, very, very, very, very long time. These patterns go back to childhood.
So you are struggling to manage emotional pain and physical pain. In my mind, I have no distinction. There is no distinction between the physical pain that I have to manage. And I’ve been in seven car accident, six concussion, fractured skull, low back surgery, jaw surgery, fibromyalgia-like pain called chronic inflammatory response syndrome. And most recently I herniated a disc in my neck. I was in almost dial 911 pain. I’ve lost feeling in my arm. I’ve lost feeling and strength in my fingers. And an aspect of my life has changed.
And so as a result of this pain, it was terrifying. It was an acute sharp pain. It was causing panic attacks, fear of what I don’t have control of, not being able to access medical services as quickly as you’d expect them to because of COVID, not being able to get the appointments. Just highly activated. Highly activated. I don’t think that I’ve been this activated. What I mean by activated is these pangs, these pulls of anxiety, fear. Fear, scared. Scared this pain has literally brought me to my knees weeping.
There was a period of time where, and now we’re a month past that acute event, and thank God the aggressive steroids has significantly altered, minimized the pain. But so much of my life has been managing pain because of all those conditions. And how did I manage it in the past? With sex and drugs. Numbing, coping and escaping.
So today I want to share with you three rules that have become critically important to me as I stay ahead of my pain. And before we get to the three rules, I want to start first though with a framework. Maybe there should be four rules. Let me get my water bottle here. So the lens, I encourage you to eliminate the distinction that you draw in your mind between physical pain and emotional pain, because, let me give you an example. When you get triggered to act out sexually, is that not a physical event? And see, because it’s in the body, you need a body response.
And so many people are talking about it. They’re talking about it with their therapist, which is great. They’re talking about it at meetings. They’re talking about it, maybe journaling about it. I just want you to know, or I encourage you to obliterate that physical, mental distinction. You don’t have physical problems. You don’t have separate mental problems. You have problems in both of those, your physical problems have a mental component to it. I have learned that in the past 30 days of intensive study, of how chronic pain, it’s in my face. So I’ve been diving into some really, really powerful neuroscience around pain. My physical pain has an acute, powerful mental component and the mental pain has a physical component.
So eliminate that distinction. From this moment forward, you don’t have mental issues, you don’t have physical issues, you have issues. And what that’ll do for you, it’ll help you embrace the three rules, and I’m going to talk about, but it’s going to help you create better results because it’s in the body. You need a body response. Take that in. Because it’s in the body, you need a body response. So that’s why mindfulness is so important.
So anyway, I hope that makes sense. I hope that brings incredible value to your life as it does mine. Here are my three rules. Number one, stay ahead of the pain. You must stay ahead of the pain. And what I mean by that is, and listen, let’s take a physical injury, for example. You go to your doctor, he goes, “Here, take this pain medication.” You got to stay ahead of it. And what that means to me is that in order for me to counterbalance my deep family of origin wounds, my decades of problems, is I got to stay ahead of it. And how do I stay ahead of it? Rigorous self-care rooted in self-love. Practical tools to manage those in the moment. Panic, those flare ups, if you will, those triggers having an in the moment response, self-care routine and self love, and we’re going to come back to self-care, an in the moment response. I tap into my purpose every single day. That’s how I stay ahead of it.
So my question for you is, what are you doing? What actions are you taking to stay ahead of it? To stay ahead of it. And listen, when we talk about pain, we’re talking about the inevitable consequences of being a human being. The Buddha said of his first of four noble truths, “Life is suffering.” Life is unsatisfactory. And what I mean by that is, and what this lesson has taught me is, you will experience pain. I have planned for this event. Now, I didn’t know how it was going to come. A year ago was the driving lesson in the garage that resulted in my son hitting the house. Felt like a piece of shit. I was prepared for that. I knew that piece of shit energy would come back. So that’s what I mean by staying ahead of it. What actions are you taking to stay ahead of the pain?
Okay. Number two, that’s a philosophy. Staying ahead of it as a philosophy. But borne out in action. Number two is self-care is fundamental. Self-care is fundamental. That reality has never been more real to me as it is today because I’ve been researching the physiology of pain, and guess what? Ready for some rocket science? If you sleep really, really well, that’s going to help you manage pain. You eat well. That is going to help you manage pain. Listen, self-care is how you stay ahead of it. Self-care is stout. You stay ahead of it. Rigorous self-care rooted in self-love.
And so recently I’ve been learning about the physiology of what it’s like to have that poor diet and how that puts you at a disadvantage to stay ahead of it. One of the great tools I learned about diet is to pay attention to your poop. Now, I know that’s maybe a little uncomfortable or maybe even weird advice. And most of you, unfortunately, it’s going to go float away. But for those of you who are at a place in your lives to receive that information, input equals output, your body keeps the score. Great book, by the way. Your body knows what’s good for you and what isn’t good for you.
My body knows and tells me. They’ve got the toilet manufacturer Toto was in the news recently because it analyzes your poop. So I just want to share with you a really easy way to identify if you’re eating well, because it’s so complicated. There’s so many places to go on the web. There’s so many … You eat this, you eat that. Let your body tell you. Let your body tell you. And that’s just one aspect of self-care. You must eat well, you must sleep well, you must hydrate well, you must exercise, and you must practice mindfulness. Those are my fundamental five.
And assume, assume, and again, bring this into the fiber of your being that I will not be successful without those five things. And when you think about it, I love this expression. When there is a lack of control somewhere, there is a lack of control everywhere, because some of you men who are trying to work on their compulsive sexual behavior, your diets are out of control. Or you’re still getting angry, or you’re pathologically lying about other things.
When there is lack of self control somewhere, there is lack of self-control everywhere. Think about that. Think about that. So here’s the other powerful lessons that I’ve learned about pain, and I’m exploring this as we speak. I’m figuring out what it means to me. But Dr. David Hanscom who’s a pioneer in pain management, he’s got a website here. What is a website that I absolutely love? Backincontrol.com. Yeah, the four. Anyway, so he’s got a process, just like the mindful habit is a process, he’s got a process and it’s some really, really amazing stuff that I’m learning about it.
But one thing he says is, do not identify with your pain. Don’t talk about it all the time, and Eckhart Tolle, If anyone read his book, A New Earth, he’s got a whole section dedicated to identifying with the pain body. Identifying with the pain body. And let me tell you where that’s relevant for some of you men. It’s relevant in the identification with addict. Hi, my name is, I am a addict. That self declaration, for some men, that’s your salvation. For some men that is empowering. And for some men that is bringing great value.
And for my clients, for the men who don’t connect with powerlessness, surrendering, this something that is inherently troubling about identifying with your worst part. I am an addict. Now, if that declaration means you are connecting, that’s a representation of your wounded self, the freedom that … I have a hard time reconciling that. So do not identify with it. I’m sharing with you and inviting you to question this identification with addict. This I am a. And the reason why I invite you to question that reality is because that what you resist persists. That what you resist persists.
And so through that self identification, the result is not do something, not do something, not do something, not do something. And that makes that entity more powerful in you. So really, really reflect on the impact when you say I am an addict, what do you mean? Translate that. Translate that and see if you are identifying with the worst aspects of yourself. If you are connecting with the weakest aspects of yourself or the parts of yourself that you want to change. And let me tell you, when you guys do the work, when you connect to that addict part and you unmask that addict part, behind the mask of addict is a deep and profound love for self. And that’s why identifying with the pain body, that’s why identifying with addict, is so harmful for some men. I say some men, because every program, everybody connects with different things. I want to make room for that.
So do not identify, do not let it become the center of your existence, this pain, this addict. That what you resist persists, and there is, I think, our problems for a lot of people in identifying with that part. So I invite you to examine your own exploration or your own connection to that part. So I want to give you three tips. Excuse me. Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Drink of water here.
All right, I want to give you three tips. And so the first tip I already gave you. So what have I done to help manage this acute physical injury? This reality that there’s … By the way, unlike appendicitis, we have to fix this thing. There’s a clear protocol. We have to do this. I’ve got multiple levels of degeneration, arthritis, compressed nerve roots. There are multiple nerves that have been impacted by the injury in my arm. It’s not just … Anyway, it’s complicated. It’s complicated. So this has really forced me to practice what I preach. And one of those key, key components that I see, even reinforced, I had the opportunity, a client, very successful surgeon client recommend that I speak to someone he really respects around pain management.
And anyway, to make the long and short of this incredibly expert advice from a very well-respected pain management clinician, breathe and practice gratitude. Oh God, I can’t do it. and listen through the breath, through the breath. A monk was able to light himself on fire, emulate in the sixties, and he didn’t move out of Lotus position because of the power of the mind. Because of the power of the mind. So merge your emotional and physical regulation, your emotional and physical pain. When you really understand what’s going on in the body, when you get activated, when these parts awaken, ultimately you realize that you are solving a problem that has mental components to it and physical components to it. It is in the body. You need a body solution. I don’t think I’d be standing here without the power of yoga, for example.
So number two, when I was in six out of 10 touching, seven out of 10, can’t function at seven out of 10 on a pain scale. One of the things that really helped me change my relationship with my pain is whenever I walked from one place to the other, I would say to myself, “I walk with power and purpose, and my pain is my gift.” And I would say it again. “I walk with power and purpose, and my pain is my gift.” And what that mantra did for me was reminded me of the intentionality of all my actions. I am a need-seeking being, every action I take, every word that I speak, every step that I take is to meet a need. And I walk, I walk with power. Resolve, strength, and intestinal fortitude of fire and purpose, and my pain is my gift. My pain is my gift. Even this pain? Yep. Even this terrible one that has you crying? Not now, but before every day. The one terrified … Yep, that one too. My pain is my gift.
Find your truth. Find your truth and repeat it to yourself over and over and over again. Where am I? I got the rosary. Rosary beads, and you guys having challenging times with your religion, you can get the Buddhist beads. You can get the rosary beads and you count. I walk with power and purpose. My pain is a gift. Pick your mantra. Find your mantra. And if you’re listening to this on YouTube, let me know in the chat what your mantra is.
Next. That has been so powerful for me. So, so powerful for me. Next is what I like to call mindfulness cues. So I carry rocks in my pocket. Seven rocks in my pocket, and each rock has its own special healing power. I don’t know anything about rocks having healing powers, but what it reminds me of and what it represents to me and knowing that my wife gave them to me, that she cares about me. So having those rocks in my pocket, are mindful anchors. Their mindfulness prompts that help me stay awake. I feel them, I hold them, they’re grounding. They help me stay awake. They help me stay present.
So what I want you to do, I’m going to share with you some of the things that I use, and I want you to create your own. Another one, I’ve got a wolf over here that reminds me to feed the right wolf. I’ve got a Memento Mori picture over there, and here it comes. Shameless self plug. I have an amazing a friend who’s an artist, his name is Scotty. And I wanted to create this skull image, this Memento Mori. And so if you’re listening to this, you can’t see it, but I’ve got this skull with wings. If you’re curious to see this image, go to powerpurposegear.com.
Michelle and I started a clothing line inspired by the work that Scotty did. And we give 10% of the proceeds to charity. The first check we cut was to Special Olympics. That’ll probably be the next one that we do. Our son participates. It’s such an amazing organization that truly represents the dignity of the human spirit. Something, an organization, my uncle wasn’t involved in, and I was involved in as a kid. Anyway, that was our first check that we made.
So this hat, this sweatshirt, this clothing that I had, every time I look in the mirror, Memento Mori. Remember death. I am going to die. Live like I’m dying. It’s a reminder. It’s a reminder. The clothes that I wear. Here’s my sweatshirt over here with the same logo. I’m going to put this on right now. And so having these mindfulness cues, whether it be my commandments up on my bathroom mirror, my purpose statement over here, hanging up over here, the wolf statue, the hat. And if you want your own hat or shirt, sweatshirt, powerpurposegear.com. And this concept of Memento Mori, I’ve talked about it in another podcast, the Latin stoic phrase for remember death. Remember death. How do I want to live? How do I want to live? This ain’t permanent. And so that really inspires me. Now, if that doesn’t inspire you, you focus on the other side of that coin. You’re alive, you’re alive.
So those are three tips that I encourage you to modify, to embrace, to take with you, to help you manage the inevitable challenges that you’re having. I want to tell you that you’re a hero for being here, for prioritizing your self-care, for my men in the program who’ve taken that other step. I am so blessed and humbled to be part of your growth and journey. For you men who haven’t taken that step, please get a counselor, find a program, join my program, do something. Do something, because there are people in this world who can help you get from here to there quicker. And I hope that you’ve gotten value from my pain management journey. It continues. It continues, it is not over. It has just begun for me. But what I do know that I am going to come out of it stronger. I’m going to learn about myself. I’m going to be able to share that with you. I feel so blessed and privileged that I’m in a place where I get to share what I’ve learned about myself. I hope you got value from this podcast.
And our next episode, we’re going to … You feel like this part of you is out of control? This part of you of doing things that you can’t control. Next podcast, we’re going to talk about assuming intentionality, assuming that you’re not out of control, assuming that there is a part of you that intends to do whatever it is you’re doing that this other part doesn’t want to do. And I’m going to share with you the value in assuming intentionality, as ridiculous as that sounds. So stay tuned for my next podcast. Like, subscribe, whatever you’re going to do to get notifications.
And, if you are in a place where you are ready to get some structured help, you want the Mindful Habit system package and put in a nice box for you, that is my Self Study Program. Go to the website, themindfulhabit.com, check out the self study program. We’ve added a weekly call to that. So George, I call him, he’s the mindful habits fire-breathing dragon. He’s been with me for six years. He runs a call every Thursday, a Q and A webinar every Thursday at 2:00 Pacific, 5:00 Eastern. So if that time work for you, maybe this program works. Podcast25 is the coupon code. Enter in the coupon code Podcast25, and you get 25% off the fee for that program. And as everything that we do, you have 30 days unconditional money back guarantee to make sure that you’re getting value. So you get to try it for no risk.
So go to the website, themindfulhabit.com, check out the Self Study Program, and if it’s a fit for you, enter in the coupon code Podcast25, and you get 25% off. So thank you so much for listening. I hope this helped you embrace your power of choice. I hope it helped you question some of your belief systems and how you’re living your life, and hopefully provided you with a compass, with a code to help you live better, and to help you feed the right wolf. Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening.