EPISODE 100 – Drew Manning
Hey everybody, welcome to episode 100 of the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. We’ve survived 100 episodes, which is unbelievable. *laughing* I never thought that this Podcast would become something that I am actually passionate about, and that I love to do. I was challenged to do a Podcast by a good buddy of mine, Shawn Stevenson from The Model Health Show. He’s like top 3 all the time, in health and fitness on ITunes. And I am so glad he did, because it’s caused me to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve met some amazing people, learned so much from some amazing guests and I’ve been able to open up to you guys as well, through this platform.
Now today, for the 100th episode, I’ve kind of contemplated about what I wanted to do. I remember that like Tim Ferriss …. like where he ‘drunk called’ some followers and answered their questions, which I thought was really funny. I am not doing that. *laughing* Actually, today is a special episode, because this is the first time publicly that I am coming out and talking about why Lynn and I got a divorce. We’ve talked about how we have overcome our divorce and how we have gotten to a good place to talk about it mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We’ve never discussed why. A lot of people are going to wonder why I am doing this, why I am talking about this, because honestly it is nobody’s business, you know? It’s me and Lynn, it’s our business and so I obviously don’t have to say anything to anybody. I’ve opened up to close friends and family about this and received a lot of overwhelming support. The reason I am doing this now is because if I had done it 3 years ago when we got divorced, I wasn’t in a good enough place, emotionally and spiritually, to talk about it on a public platform, like my podcast. I’ve been putting in a lot of work the past few years to get to a place where I am good to talk about it now. I totally own my story and have no guilt or shame or nothing to hide. The reason as to why I am doing this, I am sure you guys are going to wonder, is for my own personal growth. This is for me, not for everybody to listen. I don’t care about what people think about this, because that’s their business. So, I want to walk you through what happened exactly. It has a lot to do with my background and how I grew up. So I am going to open up a can of worms here and get very personal with you guys, but it’s not all doom and gloom. I don’t want to focus so much on the details and that …. the dark side if you will, which is where I was for most of my life. I want to focus also on how I’ve gotten to the place where I am at today to talk about this. So, there’s going to be a lot of surprises. Some of you might be hurt or upset or offended or….I don’t know, I can’t control what your feelings are after talking about this. But I know for me, it brings me joy and happiness, being able to talk about this openly. I do feel like this story can help a lot of men out there that struggle in silence with similar things. Because I struggled in silence for years. We’ll see, who knows if it will help anybody. I really don’t know, but for me, I am doing this for me and my own personal growth. *chuckles* Bear with me y’all and here we go.
It all starts from the beginning, right? That’s where we have to start. A lot of it has to do with my perception of how I grew up. I grew up in the Mormon church, very strict, very conservative, at least that was my perception of the religion. My parents raised me in it and it was all I knew. Like I said, my perception of the religion was for me from a young age …. I tried to put on this face to be perfect so that other people didn’t know I had weaknesses. But here I was, a normal kid with weaknesses, but I didn’t know how to handle them. Because in my family, the way I grew up was you know, we don’t talk about our feelings, we don’t talk about our weaknesses. My perception of the way I was raised was, if you didn’t get an ‘A+’, you weren’t good enough. And that’s kind of how my perception was as a kid. Like, unless I was perfect, I wasn’t good enough. And so I would beat myself up on the inside to try and become better or try to get the ‘A+’ or try and be perfect in sports. So this was like a combination of my perception of my religion, my family upbringing and the culture of sports even. You know, if I messed up, I got yelled at. *chuckles* You know, if I sinned, there was a ‘quote unquote’ punishment included where I had to sit out or couldn’t participate in certain church activities to go through what’s called, the repentance process. Or if I messed up at home, you know, some type of punishment, grounding or whatever it was. So for me as a kid, I developed a very unhealthy habit of hiding my weaknesses, or my mistakes, or my sins as much as possible, so that I didn’t look weak on the outside.
For example, I am going to open up and talk specifically about pornography. In the church I was raised in, it is taught that pornography is a sin, it’s evil. But here I was, a normal kid, being exposed to it all the time. *chuckles* My perception of it was like, it created this …. for me, it created this forbidden fruit syndrome. I knew I couldn’t have it and I couldn’t touch it. But man, it seemed so exciting when I did see it. I didn’t know how to control it. And so from a very young age, I felt like an addiction to it, if you will. Because of that forbidden fruit syndrome of, I know it’s bad, but man it’s so good, kind of thing. Your supposed to go confess these, especially at a young age, to your church leaders, if you do look at pornography and you do masturbate. And like I said, I am being totally open here and honest with you guys and vulnerable, so I hope you can respect that and appreciate that. It’s not awkward for me to talk about, I know it’s awkward for some people, it used to be awkward for me, but it doesn’t bother me. So hopefully it doesn’t bother you either. Yeah, pornography and masturbation, from a very young age, you know, I was exposed to it. I just couldn’t …. I knew I couldn’t go to my parents, because I felt like, my perception was that they would have killed me. *chuckles* They would have, you know, been upset, like really mad at me. I just didn’t have that outlet. I’ve never felt comfortable going to them to talk about my weaknesses. First of all let me say, I totally respect and love my parents. They truly did the best they could with the way that they were raised, based on their experiences. I really have no ill will towards them and the way they raised me. Because knowing them and their parents and the way they were raised, I can only imagine how hard that was. I know that they did the best they could with all 11 of us kids. *laughing* So I have nothing but love and respect for my parents. I’m just kind of telling you how it was from my perception. I didn’t feel comfortable going and talking to them. I went to my leaders of the church. If you do that, then like for example, you can’t partake of the sacrament when you go to church. They pass around the sacrament trays with bread and water and if you’re unworthy, you are not supposed to take it. And so, looking at pornography and masturbation, technically I wasn’t worthy. So I’d be told, ‘ok for 3 weeks you can’t take it’. I’d be so embarrassed because everybody can kind of see who’s taking it and so I would feel like people were judging me. So my perception was, oh my gosh, I don’t want people to know that I am struggling with something. So I started to lie to my church leaders, that’s how I dealt with it. I’m like, you know what, I’m just going to deal with this on the inside and I can do this. If I beat myself up enough and have more discipline, then I’ll overcome it. It’s just willpower, it’s just a choice. Obviously that didn’t work. *laughing* I was a teenager with raging hormones and pornography and masturbation was too strong for me to 100% resist. I tried, trust me I tried. So, from a very young age, I developed a very unhealthy habit of just keeping it in and beating myself up. I felt so guilty, so dirty, so ashamed, every time it happened. Like, as soon as I was done, I was disgusted with myself. Like, what is wrong with me? Why can’t I stop? I couldn’t control it and I just felt so disgusting afterwards that I would be like, you know what, I am never doing this again. Just like everyone else with an addiction to something says to themselves. That guilt and shame was created from a very young age and my perception was that I’m a failure. My perception was that I’m not good enough and so I beat myself up over and over again. Thousands of times this happened, right? I just didn’t …. there was no outlet for me, no one to talk to me about it.
There were a couple of defining moments that I want to talk about that really cemented in these thoughts about myself and the things that I struggled with. The first one was after high school, I went to college. It was my first time away from home, away from my parents where we were kind of forced to go to church. My parents didn’t ask us, you know, ‘do you want to go to church today?’ It was like, ‘hey, get up, get dressed, we are going to church, otherwise your grounded,’ kind of thing, for the most part. This is my first time away from them. There was no church run, no accountability, so I just stopped going. I started partying with friends and drinking, just going through a rebellious phase, I guess, if you will. Just kind of giving in to peer pressure, because I had low self esteem at the time. So, I was like, oh these friends were giving me attention, I’ll go hang out with them. But of course, I didn’t talk to anybody about it, I was too embarrassed. I came home for Christmas that year and there were pictures of me at a party drinking beer or something. They were in my backpack …. and I tried to hide it from them. I remember thinking, oh I need to go get those pictures and hide them and put them in a safer place. I went to go get them and they were gone, someone had taken them. I remember this very vividly, my heart just sank, because I knew that someone in the house had found them. I’m like, oh my gosh, what do I do? A few days went by, no one said anything. And then I remember my mom and dad were like …. they came up to me like, ‘Drew, we need to talk to you in our room alone.’ And I’m like, oh great, here we go. Super embarrassed, super ashamed …. from what I remember, my perception of the situation was my mom was crying, saying things like, ‘where did we go wrong’, making me feel so guilty, so ashamed …. you know, with those types of things. Basically making me feel like I was a failure and like, where did they mess up, like trying to put the blame on them. Because here I was, this kid who drank and did these things, which were sinful. For me, I couldn’t face them. I turned away and mom was crying and I was crying. My dad, from what I remember was like, ‘how could you be so stupid, how could you be so dumb?’ ‘Don’t you know this is bad for you?’ ….. And that …. It was just the mixture of those two things, I turned away and I couldn’t face them. I was like, I’m never telling you guys …. I can never tell you guys anything again. This is the worst experience of my life. So that was a defining moment for me, to never expose my weaknesses …. like, just hide it, so that you never have to go through that again. And that’s kind of what I had been doing, it didn’t make me want to open up anymore to them, or to anybody else, like coaches, or church leaders.
Fast forward a little bit later, you know, I was dating Lynn at that time. This was like way later …. *laughing* Fast forward 7 years. And another moment that was kind of a defining moment, here I was still going to church, believing and everything. I remember one time, we were dating, or engaged I think even. Lynn asked me if I looked at pornography and I still did at the time, I just didn’t talk to anybody about it. It was still like a ‘quote unquote’ addiction. I told her, yeah I did and I felt horrible and disgusted and ashamed. I remember she was like devastated, she was like heartbroken that I would do something like that. I thought she was going to break up with me. And I don’t know if she remembers that, but maybe she almost did. I didn’t know what to say other than I promise it will never happen again, like I swear to you, I can control this. It won’t be an issue, I promise, let’s still get married. Saying all the right things, right? Convincing her that it’s a good idea to marry me and that this will go away. I figured that …. you know …. in the church like I …. we’re taught to get married in the temple, get married with someone that’s a member, for time and all eternity. And for me, I thought maybe if I do …. like if I do what’s right, follow the commandments, this temptation will be taken away from me, like it will just be taken away. Once I get married and I can have sex now, I won’t have these *chuckles* temptations anymore and I won’t have to look at pornography and masturbate, like it will be gone. Obviously that didn’t happen. But of course I couldn’t go to Lynn, because I was like, man if I tell her, she will divorce me …. it will not …. and then my world will be over, right? Everyone will see me as a failure because I couldn’t …. I was just this disgusting human being that looked at pornography and masturbated. And those were the thoughts that would go through my mind.
With all of these experiences, I grew up on the inside hating myself. I figured that was good for me, that was discipline because it made me try harder, made me work harder to hit …. you know certain goals. But it was super unhealthy and eventually it broke me, and I will tell you how. So, those were two defining moments in my life that kind of cemented, ok, I have to hide these things from people. Because I can’t take the shame and the guilt I feel when someone finds these things out …. like I just feel like a failure. So then I got married, I continued to look at porn and hid it from her for years. There would be times when she would almost catch me and I would make up some lie, like super conning …. not conning, just very good at manipulating words to make it sound like …. oh that wasn’t me, it was this …. this or this. Doing whatever it took not to get found out. She just went on like living in this fantasy world where, oh my husband is so great, he’s a good guy. And I felt like I was still a good guy, but at the same time, like I was a failure in this other area. Because I couldn’t control my thoughts or my actions, I couldn’t control my pornography addiction
We were married and had two kids in 2009, and I am going to make these details brief, just to protect certain people in the situation. I took a job where I had to leave, I was gone for like 6 weeks. Here is something really interesting, Lynn had a dream the morning that I left, that I had had an affair. And she had had multiple dreams throughout our marriage that I had cheated on her. And she would wake up just bawling her eyes out and I would say all the right things, like Lynn I would never do that to you. And I really believed in my mind, in my heart of hearts, that I would never cheat on her, because I truly loved her. I told her, Lynn, I would never do that to you and she, you know …. she recovered from that dream that morning that I left. She kissed me goodbye and I went. Long story short, I had an affair. I cheated on Lynn. I won’t go over the details of the circumstances of what happened, it happened and I had no idea what happened ever in my life. But my reaction was, ok this happened, I have to hide it. If I tell Lynn, she will divorce me, she will be heartbroken …. because that was like her biggest fear, I could tell. So my reaction was, pretend it didn’t happen. *chuckles* It sounds ridiculous talking about it now, but that’s kind of what a lot of people do. Oh, just don’t talk about and move forward in life and that’s what I did, kept it on the inside. But on the inside, I felt so disgusted and horrible about who I was, like if you really loved her why would you do this? Like how could you do this? Even though she had that dream, like what kind of disgusting human being are you? That was the self talk I had, and I just kept it inside, didn’t tell the church leaders, didn’t tell my family, didn’t tell my closest friends, nobody. For about a year, I kept it from her until she found an email and confronted me, because there was some explicit stuff in that email. She was devastated, I didn’t even have the guts to go and confess to her what I had done. She had to find it out on her own and she was heartbroken, I was heartbroken. I was disgusted, she was disgusted and it was like one of the hardest …. most …. darkest lowest moments of my life. For her too probably. Like it’s such a shock, like here you are, like what kind of person are you? Your living this double life, like who are you? It was just so, so sad, so heartbreaking, so many emotions at this time were going through both of our minds. And all I could do was say I’m sorry and I had no reason …. the hardest part for me was I couldn’t figure out why I did it. And for her, that was hard for her to, like why would you do this? Like we had a good marriage, we’re both in this church together, we had a kid, we had good jobs, we had a good sex life. There was no reason, not that there is ever a reason, but there’s no reason …. like real reason, like an abusive relationship or something, to go and do something like this. I struggled with that, like why did I do this? And I couldn’t figure it out, I did eventually and I will get to that in a little bit.
So at the time, she was ready to divorce me right away. She called a close family member to come …. what’s called …. give her a blessing, it’s kind of, you know, won’t get into details of that. But someone from the church, you know, gives her like a spiritual blessing to kind of help her. And then we went and met with our local leaders to confess my sins and I went through the repentance process. Because in my mind, I was like, Lynn I still love you, I’ll do whatever it takes to change, like I promise you. Saying all the right things, right? But my trust was out the window, I didn’t get to chose whether or not she trusted me. Fortunately, she stuck around a little bit, like we went to counseling and I went to an addiction recovery program through the church, which actually did help. Because here I was, meeting with other guys with the same addiction, and they were just normal dudes like me. They weren’t some weird creepy guys, in the basement that, you know, that have no life, they were just normal dads like me. And it helped me to see that, you know, a lot of people struggle with this. I went through that process, went through this repentance process, still hid it from everybody. Didn’t tell family, didn’t tell friends, nobody knew, I hid it as best I could. And I just was full of shame and guilt and disgust with myself and hate for myself. And wanting to do whatever it took to stay married to Lynn, to earn her trust, earn her love back. And we went to counseling, which helped out for a season. But here is the problem, as she stayed with me, there would be times where we would laugh and be intimate again and date again and then all of a sudden something would happen. Like I would go on a business trip, and then in the back of her mind, she is thinking, you know, who’s he talking to, what’s he looking at on his phone. I would come back and she would ask me …. did you do anything, or did you look at pornography or did you talk to anybody and I would be like, no. But there was no way she could ever know for sure. I was like, here look at my phone, I promise you…blah…blah…blah. Or we would watch a movie, like a chick flick and someone would be cheating on the other person and all of a sudden, she would just start breaking down crying and I would just feel so full of shame and disgust with myself. These triggers happened so many times that, you know, I thought maybe we can make this work if we pray harder and have more faith. But now that I look back on it, I was doing all of these things for practical reasons. One was because I was doing whatever it took to save our marriage, because I was so worried about what other people would think of me. And that’s why I never told anybody, is because I knew if someone found out, we would get a divorce. I would be seen as a failure, no one would like me. Like I would be this miserable failure for the rest of my life. *chuckles* That was the story that I was creating inside my head.
There were ups and downs, for years she stayed with me, tried to make it work. We had 2 beautiful daughters and they are the most amazing things in this world. Then she met a life coach, her name is Kathryn Dixon, she is here in Salt Lake City Utah. The name of her business is called, ‘Clarity Coaching.’ I highly recommend her because she changed both of our lives, mine especially and I will tell you how. So Lynn, through a friend, got a reference to her and went to one session and liked her so much she booked me a session. She said, ‘hey, I booked you a session with this life coach, you need to go see her.’ I’m like, I’m in, I’ll do whatever it takes, right? That was my mentality. Literally, I have never cried *chuckles* as hard as I did for 3 hours straight. Like broke down, finally opening up and talking to somebody about these issues, where there was no judgement, it was a safe place. Man, like that was something I needed, probably for like my entire life …. man, I was like, you know, snot coming out of my nose, like …. just crying. I went through a box of tissues probably and she was sitting there with …. patiently helping me out. But it was amazing. So the biggest thing I took away from working with Kathryn, the life coach, she finally taught me, for the first time to learn how to love myself. Because I couldn’t learn that, even through religion, through family, through friends. I’ve never been able to fully embrace that, until I worked with Kathryn, to learn how to love myself.
Another thing I learned was that there are 3 types of business in this world. There’s God’s business, there’s other peoples business and there’s your business. And so my mentality going into this session with the life coach was, you know, ‘I’ did this to Lynn. ‘I’ broke her heart, ‘I’ caused us to ….‘I’ ruined our marriage ….‘I’ …. ‘I’….’I’, like it was all about me, right? And that was my story that I was telling myself in my head. She taught me that anytime you are living in God’s business, like why did this happen to me? Why do I have this affliction? Why do I have this temptation? Why did God do this to me? Or you live in someone else’s business, like worrying so much about what other people think of me, to where it was paralyzing. To where you would do anything it took to hide stuff from people, that’s where your miserable. When we live in God’s business and other people’s business, we are miserable. But when we learn to live in our own business and realize that everything that happens in this life is for our greater good …. and we can work on ourselves and not worry about other people’s reactions to what we do. Or not worry about God’s business, we can truly finally be happy. I learned so many valuable things from her, but those were the biggest takeaways from that first session. I came away just feeling like all this weight off of my shoulders and truly learning to love myself and not defining myself by who I was based on all the lies I was living. That was just such a small part of who I was, although that was the part that was ….*chuckles* that was consuming me, right? Because I had looked at myself as a failure my entire life. Then it helped me to realize, working with Kathryn, why I ended up cheating. Why did I even give in to that, which I am sure a lot of people are wondering. Why? Why did I do that? If I really loved her, why would I do that? Honestly, it had nothing to do with Lynn. I truly did love her. I really do feel that people that have affairs still love their spouses. And I know some people are going to disagree with me there. But I know for a fact, for me inside, it had nothing to do with how I saw Lynn. It all how to do with how I saw myself. So here I was, saw myself as a failure my entire life. And forgive my language here, but I saw myself as a fuck up my entire life, so why not go and do something like this? You know, why not? You know, I am already a failure, why not have an affair. Like, it was exciting, you know …. the infatuation was there, it was nothing like I had ever experienced, kind of like a drug. The front of my brain was like shut off *chuckles* I was thinking primal at the time. It had nothing to do with how I felt for Lynn. It was really interesting for me to finally discover that, like it all had to do with how I viewed myself. If I truly learned how to love myself, I wouldn’t feel the need to do certain things that make me feel like a failure in life. And hopefully people can relate to that and hopefully that is insightful for some people, I know that it was for me.
I grew so much during these sessions with my life coach, Kathryn Dixon. I finally got to a place to where I had to let Lynn go, because I could tell she wanted to get divorced. It was hard because of what family would think of us, friends. And here it was, this was all you guys …. this was all during Fit2Fat2Fit. When all this was going on, we both had to pretend, especially Lynn, that we were in love. I was on Jay Leno, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, my book came out. All this media attention, oh Drew and Lynn, this happily married couple, you know, no problems, like this perfect couple….blah…blah…blah. Here we were hiding this deep dark secret, Drew’s this failure that cheated. We had to hide that. I can only imagine how hard that was for Lynn, but for both of us too, that was in the back of our minds all the time. So anyway …. where was I going with that? Sorry, I lost my train of thought there *chuckles* What I came to realize was like, I know Lynn didn’t look unhealthy at the time, but she was literally dying on the inside. Her hormones were off and it was just consuming her. She couldn’t ever fully trust me, she couldn’t ever fully trust what I was doing when I was alone. She couldn’t watch me and babysit me the rest of my life. I learned that I don’t get to chose whether or not she trusts me. No matter how perfect I was, and I will be honest with you guys, I did change my ways. I will explain how, and hopefully you can feel that rather than me just saying, I promise I’ve changed! *laughing* Hopefully you can feel that through energy and through the way I am saying my story. I did change and I will talk about pornography and the way I view it now, just because my perception of where I’m at today. I am in a different place spiritually and emotionally and I view this life in such a different perception than my perception before. But anyways, I will get to that in a second.
This was literally, in a way, killing Lynn, emotionally, on the inside. I knew it was super unhealthy and for me, it was really unhealthy and hard for me to always try and prove to her I had changed, what with her not believing me. I knew after meeting with Kathryn, I had to let Lynn go. Like, I had to let her go. And so we both finally agreed to get a divorce. It was super easy, we wrote everything down on paper before we hired a mediator. I think we paid like $900. We didn’t argue over anything, we agreed on everything. It was fair, it was even. There were no issues there. Luckily we were both in a good place emotionally when we went through that. I know certain divorces are not that easy. *laughing* There’s a lot of friends that we know with ugly divorces, and I can only imagine how hard that would be for both parties involved and the kids. We both wanted to do what was best for our kids. And had Lynn divorced me right away, I could only imagine how much different it would be, you know? I know that a lot of people with ugly divorces are trying to punish the other person for what they have done to them. And luckily we were in a good place emotionally when we made that decision and so everything was very amicable. That’s why Lynn and I are still friends today, because luckily we both put in the work to get to a place where we are in a good place emotionally individually. So that when we work together as co-parents, we are doing what’s best for our kids at the end of the day. That’s why we got divorced. It was a mutual decision on both our ends. I had to be in a good place to let Lynn go, because I was holding on before, like I said, for prideful reasons. I was so worried about what the world would think of me, if they found out about our divorce and why we got divorced. But I had to put in a lot of work and I will talk about what has helped me get to this place, other than working with Kathryn, my life coach. We’ve both had to put in a lot of work to get to where we are at today.
We went through that whole process. We actually lived together during that whole process, we didn’t separate yet, because we didn’t want the world to find out. We moved to Hawaii, as a divorced couple, with our kids. We lived together in Hawaii for about a good 5 months before we finally separated into different houses and we told our kids. We did the best we could in that situation. Here we are today, still friends, still good co-parents, still business partners. We’re both very fortunate to have it the way it is today.
Getting back to my story and where I am at today. Pornography is what it is, like I know it can be damaging for some people. For me, the way that I saw it before …. being in the religion I grew up in wasn’t healthy for me and isn’t healthy for me currently. I still have respect for my family, my friends that are in the religion or in any organized religion, I respect it I really do. But for me, I had to break free from that to get to a place where I am authentically me with no guilt and shame. Now I am not saying you can’t do that within a religion, I think you can. Like I said, for me, it was all about my perception of the religion I grew up in. For me …. but it broke me …. and for me, I am healthier outside of it. I mean, I still go every once in a while, like I don’t mind going to any church really. It doesn’t bother me. For me also, I am big into meditation and I have a good relationship with God. Like me and God are in a good place. I feel like God led me to where I am today, even though it’s not the way I was raised to do it, right? The way to pray, the way to receive answers to prayers, the way to do every little thing, isn’t managed to me by …. you know, the way it’s been taught. I’m in a different place now. For example, pornography it is what it is. And here I am a single guy, with literally no desire to look at pornography. The old me, I would go out of my way to get it whenever I could, when I was by myself. I would, you know, sneak into the bathroom, do whatever it took. Like it really did consume me and control me. But here I am, a single guy today, with literally no desire to go out of my way to look at pornography. I still see nudity/pornography everywhere, it’s on Instagram, social media, everywhere, especially in our society. But it literally has no effect on me, to where it causes an action and causes me to not think rationally. And I can totally look at it for what it is, it is a naked person, a naked woman, which is beautiful and amazing, but it doesn’t cause me to react to it, does that make sense? Hopefully that makes sense to you guys. But before, when it was this forbidden fruit, it totally consumed me. That’s why, right now with where I am at today, I am in a much better place where I am authentically me and I love who I am finally. For me, having a good relationship with me, which it has taken years for me to develop and ‘undevelop’ unhealthy habits. When your in a good place, and you have a good relationship with yourself, I feel like your in more control of what you really want, what really brings you happiness. What is really fulfilling to you, you know? Looking at pornography and masturbating isn’t really fulfilling to me, it’s cool like I said, you know, like when I was a kid, it consumed me. Or you know 20’s or even early 30’s, but here I am, 36, single guy, I could look at pornography whenever I want to. I literally just don’t have that desire because there is so much more to life. And I have such a good relationship with myself, that I want to do things that are fulfilling, life’s too short. I want to do things with my kids, I want to go out and travel. I want to go work out, go for a hike, watch the sunset, meditate, be by the ocean, be by close friends and family. My relationships are so much more fulfilling now. Like being authentically me in front of my family and not feeling ashamed or guilty of my past or trying to hide something from people. It’s so much more freeing in this life, just being vulnerable.
A couple things that have helped me are not just the life coach, Kathryn, that was the huge first stepping stone. And then I started to read books, Brene’ Brown, I have to give her a shout out. ‘Daring Greatly’ was the first book I read, and that just brought me to tears. Because the guilt and the shame I grew up in, or my perception of how I grew up, she totally helped me break free of that. And let go of any guilt or shame, the more you talk about the things that brought you shame, the less power that has over you. For me, I’m totally open in talking about this in a public platform now. I’ve been able to talk to close friends and family about it, with no issues at all. Whereas when I first told someone, I was shaking and crying uncontrollably, to where that was my first time opening up. And now, like I said, I am on my podcast talking about these same things. So her book ‘Daring Greatly’ and her other book ‘Rising Strong’, have helped me push forward into helping me develop this love for myself, which affects my other relationships in my life and has helped me be in a good place emotionally and spiritually. A couple other books, ‘The Four Agreements’ and ‘You Are a Bad Ass’ by Jen Sincero. Another one is ‘The Love Warrior’ by Glennon Doyle Melton and her story and her perspective really helped me to relate to the struggles that Lynn had to go through, which were in a way very similar. These books have really helped push me into a place to where I am finally in a good place. I am who I am and I’m happy with who I am, but I’m still working to becoming a better version of me. I think you can truly love yourself the way you are, while you’re working on a better version of yourself. These are the things that have helped me get to where I’m at today. Those books, if you want to check them out, for sure I highly recommend them to everybody that’s going through something similar.
So, if you’re a man suffering in silence with pornography addiction, or you know, whether it’s a physical affair or an emotional affair, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to suffer in silence. If you learn to embrace vulnerability as a strength, your life will be changed. And yes, it sucks, it’s hard going through it, don’t get me wrong. Going through all of this has sucked really bad. It’s been really, really hard to get to a place to where you’re finally ok with it and it doesn’t have power over you, where you feel so guilty and ashamed that you go into this depressive state again. If you can learn to embrace vulnerability, talk about it openly, to someone that you trust, obviously. Your spouse, your parents, even your church leaders, you need an outlet. And as men, it’s hard, because we have been taught, ‘hey, it’s not manly, it’s not cool to talk about your feelings.’ ‘It’s not manly, it’s not cool to talk about your weaknesses.’ ‘Like, dude you look at porn, what’s wrong with you, just stop looking at it.’ You know, that’s the way we tend to help each other as guys. But man, if you can really open up and have someone to talk to and discuss these things without judgement, that’s a great first step. Reading these books by Brene’ Brown, Glennon Doyle Melton, I think are great first stepping stones. The other book that I forgot to mention is ‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie. It’s another one that you realize that you can’t change what happened in the past, you can only learn and grow from it. So, instead of defining yourself by the past, instead of living in the past, learn to live in the moment, right? Because that’s the only place you can truly be happy. If your living in the past your whole life or worrying about the future, you’re never going to be happy. You will always be looking for the next best thing, or you will always be thinking, ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’, right? So that is the other book that I would throw in there as well.
If you are someone struggling, I would highly recommend finding someone you could be vulnerable with and truly embracing vulnerability as a strength, that’s my thought, that’s my opinion. And the more you talk about it, the less power it has over you. That is what I have learned and hopefully you can learn that as well. At the end of the day, you guys, man, life is a journey. Life is crazy, there are so many ups and downs, but I really truly honestly believe that everything that happens to us in this life, happens for us, right? It doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us. Like how is this going to make me a better person, how’s this going to make me a better dad? How’s this going to make me a better church leader, how’s this going to make me a better son, or daughter, or employee? If we look at that, if we look at the situations that we go through in that way, it’ll be so much easier to get over the pain and heartache from a lot of these things that suck in life. There’s a quote, I can’t remember who its by but, “This world breaks everybody.” Everybody gets broken by this world, in one way or another whether you live here in the United States …. and you know *chuckles* you’ve had a stressful day at work and you just want to lose your mind. Or you live in a third world country and you barely have any food or water, like this world breaks every single person. I really do feel like everything happens for our greater good, even though at the time that thing that happened was a ‘quote unquote’ bad thing. I just think life is such a crazy, ridiculous journey, it’s so amazing and beautiful at the same time. Don’t focus so much on ‘why me, why did this happen to me’, and focus more on, ‘this happened for me, what can I learn from this?’ For me and my situation, I am grateful. I really am grateful, you guys are going to think I’m crazy. I am grateful for everything that I went through, the pornography addiction, the affair, I’m grateful for it. Why? Because I am a better human being now than I was before. I’m authentically me, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life, and Lynn is authentically her now and she is happier than she’s ever been in her entire life. Even when we were happily married and she thought everything was great, and so, in a way, it’s freed both of us and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why I feel like God has led me down this path, and some people might disagree, some people might want to crucify me or do whatever, it’s fine. I get it. Anything people do to me is just a reflection of how they see themselves, and vice versa. If someone is mean to you or rude to you or hates you, that really has to do with how they view themselves. That’s another lesson that I’ve learned to help me be happy in this life. *laughing* Everything is a reflection of how we see ourselves. So if you can learn to have a good relationship with yourself and love yourself, your relationships in your life are going to be so much more …. so much better, so much more fulfilling, so much more full of love. Why? Because you can truly love somebody, if you truly love yourself. If you hate who you are, it’s hard to truly love someone else, right? Because you’re always looking to please that person, because you get happiness from causing them to be happy or making them happy. But in reality, you …. if you aren’t the source of your own happiness, then this life, people, your relationships, this world’s going to let you down. Why? Because we are all imperfect. If you can realize that you create your own happiness, and happiness comes from within, it doesn’t come from outside sources, it doesn’t come from other people, it doesn’t come from a book or a movie, or a spouse even. If you learn that you can create your own happiness, you’ll be so much better off in this life.
These are my thoughts, these are my opinions you guys. Take it with a grain of salt, if you want. This is just my own experience. And hopefully some people will learn from this, maybe, it might help some people. I know for me, I’m in a much better place than I was 10 years ago. I never would have thought, I would have talked about this. I am a little bit nervous about pushing the button to send this, right, and get it sent out there. *chuckles* Because I have no idea how people are going to take it. But you know what, people have their own life to deal with. People will talk about this for a week or whatever, and then they have their own life to deal with, right? Life’s too short to worry …. live in other people’s business, right? But hopefully we all can learn from other people’s mistakes and other peoples journey’s. I just appreciate any of you that got something from this and I just appreciate you listening to this. Here it is, here’s my story. I am, you know, *laughing* fully naked in front of you guys, not literally but figuratively. Kind of exposing everything, the deepest darkest secrets of my soul, and it’s freeing and I’m happy. My relationships in my life are so much more fulfilling because of this. I am grateful. My mission in life is to be a good man, a good father …. to love myself, be proud of myself and to hopefully be worthy of love.
That’s all I have for today. So I appreciate you guys. Now, next week, *laughing* Lynn’s going to come on and share her story. Because I really do feel like her story of how she has overcome what she went through can help a lot of women who have been on the other side of the coin, right? Like in Glennon Doyle Melton’s book, ‘The Love Warrior’, I think that helped a lot of women who have been through similar things with their husbands. So that’s why I wanted Lynn to come on and share her story of what she went through and how she has grown from this and learned to be in a good place as well. Hopefully you guys stick around for that one and if you guys still love us at the end of the day, cool. If not, that’s ok, you know. *laughing* It’s all good. Life’s good, life’s too short to live in other people’s business, so live in your business, live in the moment and be good. We’ll see you guys next week.
- Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown
- Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- You Are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero
- The Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
- Loving What Is by Byron Katie