Some of you may know from reading The Last Relapse that I do a bit of pro bono work, mentoring young men who long to be healthy in their sexuality, business, and faith.
Recently, one of my mentees was starting to feel burnt out. He has been working tirelessly the last year or so to build up an audience regarding a subject he is deeply passionate about. But it was starting to become exhausting.
He wasn’t quite burned out YET, but he could feel it was just around the corner if something didn’t change.
I started to poke around (as a mentor does), and began to observe a lot of ‘obligatory language’ – some of it explicit, some of it implicit.
“Well I have to do XYZ…otherwise my audience won’t grow.”
“I need to do ABC…or else I’m going to fall behind.”
This was a man who had set high expectations for himself and was meeting them exceptionally well, but was depleting his resources in the process.
So I started...
I don’t know about you, but this season has caused me to think more seriously about the things that really matter in life.
Between pandemics, wars, inflation, government overreach and the many other geographical, political, and spiritual dynamics that have marked these last 2 years, I view life very differently.
I imagine some things may have changed for you too…
However, something that has always kept things in perspective for me is observing historical trends. As an example, typically every 10 years a major event takes place that has a global impact.
COVID-19 most recently. Ten years prior it was the financial crisis. Another ten years prior was 9/11. The list goes on…
It reminds me that while we are in unusual times, experiencing circumstances and situations that no humans previously had, ultimately, we will make it through.
The fascinating part for me is that we will not make it through equally. Some will come out thriving, others will struggle. And...
For many years the operative term for success in addiction recovery has been "sobriety" The last few decades, "freedom" has become a more common term in this arena, and for good reason. While it may appear to simply be an upgraded word that means the same thing, the reality is these two concepts are miles apart, and understanding the difference is critical for your long-term success.
Sobriety is a behavioral concept that refers to the absence of substance use or a behavioral engagement. This is where you will hear phrases like "Been sober for X number of days". As you may know, we don't count streaks here at DeepClean because we are not concerned with behavior modification.
Instead, we are more interested in freedom. The difference is that freedom deals with the internal elements of one's life. Freedom means having choices in the heat of a moment, control over yourself, a comprehensive understanding of your tendencies and patterns, and a conscious effort to make better...
Since starting DeepClean in 2018, I have had the privilege of speaking with thousands of men about porn, sexuality, and masculinity.
As much as I can, I try to put on my listening hat in these conversations. I want to learn, stay curious, and grow.
The best coaches provide little to no advice, but rather they ask questions. Good advice only guarantees the acquisition of information, it doesn’t guarantee action.
However, question-asking is often much more compelling as the one providing answers starts to reach their own conclusions (a very empowering experience).
So over the years, I’ve gotten better and better at asking questions. Still plenty to learn, but it is a skill that I am happily refining.
Lately, I have stumbled upon a particular question that quite literally makes grown men cry. In fact, there was a specific week where I saw this same question cause 3 different men to cry mid-conversation!
There is nothing fancy about this question.
No big words or...
Oxytocin is commonly known as the "love hormone" primarily because it is secreted in notable amounts during breastfeeding. This hormone is believed to be the physiological catalyst for the emotional experience of mother-child bonding. But studies over the last 20 years have revealed that oxytocin is also involved in the male orgasm, revealing that orgasm is not simply a sexual event even from a biological perspective. Understanding the role of oxytocin in your own body is tremendously helpful for managing cravings, learning to love your body, and ultimately, making better decisions for it.
It is helpful to know that oxytocin is especially high in your system the first 30 minutes after orgasm. Really think about that. The same chemical that bonds a mother to child is pumping through your system after you orgasmed – whether it was induced by a person, computer screen, or imagination. You may tell yourself that it's innocent and it's 'not affecting anyone' but your biological...
This weekend marks Mother’s Day, one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. While the dates may vary, nearly every culture sets aside a day to honor their moms.
I remember hearing about an assessment conducted by the US postal service many years ago that revealed the busiest day of the year for their workers was not Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day or the like. It was Mother’s Day.
It looks like we all inherently know just how important our relationships with our moms are.
Working through my childhood relationship with my mother was one of the most critical parts of my recovery from a 15 year addiction to porn.
In fact, I can confidently say that had I ignored this aspect of recovery, I could very well have an addiction still today.
After getting to a place where I was watching porn every couple of months, I hit a plateau. And when I did relapse, it would be intense. Something still wasn’t right.
I remember being in a counselor’s office, and...
The age-old question for a man struggling with sexual misbehavior is "How does he involve his significant other?" We know that transparency is important, but how much is too much? Is there such a thing or should the woman know everything? Based on experience, there are actually some very clear answers on the matter.
For starters, you should know that I have mixed feelings about this whole "accountability partner" thing. Many of the accountability systems that exist today are deeply flawed. When I was addicted, I had an accountability partner at one point. He was a friend who was also struggling. We signed up for a accountability software that tracked our web viewing and would compile a report of any illicit websites we viewed, and send them to the other. I'm sure you're familiar with these kinds of arrangements.
The problem is that the URLs in the report were hyperlinked, so these reports of my friend's slips suddenly became catalysts for my own slips as I began to click around.
A while back, a movie called The Social Dilemma swept across the world, explaining the dangers of social media at both an individual and societal level.
It was one of the first times I finally grasped the impact of Big Al – or as most know it – the algorithm. The reality is that in this day and age, Big Al is EVERYWHERE.
My Mom was looking to buy a dress for my brother’s wedding. She had a conversation with the mother of the groom who mentioned a little boutique store in the area that was a hidden gem of sorts.
Then Mom went home, and as she logs into Facebook, wouldn’t you know it – there are ads from that very boutique store in her news feed!
“It must have been the Holy Spirit,” my Mom excitedly said as she told us the story.
Damn you, Big Al.
I didn’t have the heart to tell my Mom it was the algorithm that day, although we have had other conversations since explaining that some coincidences are actually more...
Recovery can be exhausting at times. You may find that you have moments of great inspiration and motivation, followed by moments of frustration and hopelessness, and a whole bunch of moments that fall somewhere in between! This is normal, but there are a few tricks to keep you inspired throughout the entire recovery journey.
For starters, understand that motivation is not about psyching yourself up. Yelling feel good statements while you beat your chest like Donkey Kong isn't going to bring the kind of motivation we're after. When I say "motivation" what I really mean is a desire that is deep and strong enough to outlast the resistance(s) you'll face along the way.
Notice that we are not after motivation that louder and prouder than the resistances. We're after depth. Inner strength. Things that keep us grounded and focused on the things that truly matter in life. Here are a few of our best practices in this regard (some of which I still use to this day).
In case you...
"Let's face it, without triggers, we are better decision makers, more present in our relationships, and have a higher quality of life. If you're anything like me, you read that sentence and think, ""How do I live without ever feeling triggered?"" Logic is a beautiful thing. While this thought has merit, it takes a long time and a pile of maturity to reach that point, but there is a much more critical step that must take place first.
I personally believe it is possible to reach a point where you are rarely triggered. This is the by-product of self-care, time, processing, maturity, development, and re-conditioning your nervous system. The way you get there is by learning to manage your triggers first. In other words, the initial goal is not to eliminate triggers, but rather to mitigate our response to being triggered.
Let me illustrate with an example. Let's say that I walk down the street and see an attractive woman who looks like a porn star that I used to frequent. While I wish my...