I hope you enjoy this interview with Joshua Shea– I think it’s incredibly informative and insightful. Just a disclaimer, this interview discusses pornographic material as well as addiction so if that is something you are sensitive to please do not read ahead. If you are currently struggling with an addiction please talk to a professional and seek help immediately.
1. Thanks so much for being a part of this interview. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.
My name is Joshua Shea and I was born and live in Maine, USA. For those unaware, it’s about 3 hours north of Boston and 6 hours north of New York City. My blog, RecoveringPornAddict.com has evolved into a place where you can learn both about pornography addiction and my journey as a former addict turned educator/author. There are plenty of articles and resources about addiction, along with links to the books I’ve written about the addiction and my coaching services for both addicts and their partners dealing with betrayal trauma. I was an addict for 24 years and have been sober now for 7. I want to show people that you can get through it to the other side, and give them some tools to get there.
2. When did you start your blog and what made you decide to start blogging?
I created RecoveringPornAddict.com initially at the end of 2017 as a place to process my ongoing recovery from pornography addiction (and alcoholism) and as a place to promote my first book. I was completely surprised by the supportive community that embraced me immediately and continues to do so to this day. As much as I know I’ve helped people, they have really helped me as well. My stats are higher than they’ve ever been and my hits were up by almost 60% from 2019 to 2020, but more importantly, my visitors were up by 80%. The more people who get the information I provide, the better we’ll be as a society.
3. Your blog discusses pornography and your experience with addiction to pornography. This is a subject that not a lot of people talk about so what made you feel like this was something you wanted to openly discuss?
I was a journalist for nearly 20 years. I am a decent communicator and I also knew that nobody was talking about it. I didn’t learn the term “pornography addiction” until I was in rehab for alcoholism. I thought it was just a result of bad choices of my drinking, but it turned out to be a separate addiction and it pre-dated my alcoholism. As a former journalist, I tried to do research and while there was some academic texts, there was nothing for average people, so I thought I could learn about the addiction from those texts and translate it for regular people, while including my own experiences. I wonder if I had seen something like my blog 20 years ago if my addiction would have got so bad. My hope is that I can stop at least some people from going down the road I did. What if I help stop someone from becoming an addict who is destined for great things? I just don’t have the personality to sit back and watch things happen. I need to help.
4. What are some signs of pornography addiction that people should be aware of?
Funny you ask, because it was almost the very first entry I wrote and it is still as true today as it was then: https://recoveringpornaddict.com/2017/12/11/spotting-the-signs-of-pornography-addiction/
5. In your opinion what is the difference between addiction to pornography and using pornography responsibly?
Addiction is a brain disease. Those who are seeking out pornography because they are addicts are doing it calm the storm they have going on in their head. Those who are using porn recreationally (not really sure was responsibly means) are doing it to achieve orgasm exclusively. The soundbite I use often is “Recreational porn use is about what’s going on between your legs and addicted porn use is about what’s going on between your ears.” Addiction consumes your life and your addicted behavior becomes the centerpiece of your life. Being addicted is a way of life that you are constantly dealing with.
6. When should one seek help for this kind of addiction and what are some of the resources that are available for people who are addicted to pornography?
The moment somebody asks themselves if they have a problem, they need to not dismiss that thought. Think about everything in this world that you DON’T ask yourself if you have a problem. If you wonder, you probably have a problem. I would suggest that somebody read the link I provided above and see if it describes them. If it does, seek help. That could mean inpatient rehab, one-on-one or group therapy, 12-step groups, online forums, research, coaching, or simply finding someone like me to talk to one-on-one. You need to figure out how bad the addiction is before you can create a strategy to defeat it. Unfortunately, resources are still thin, but more are being created every week. If you like to read, Amazon is full of books. There are plenty of interviews online about it. I’d urge people to check out my website if you want to learn more and listen to or watch some of the podcasts I’ve been on.
7. What are some resources available for people attempting to help someone in their life with a pornography addiction?
Largely the same resources I listed in the last question. Ultimately, knowledge and education is key. What works for one person may not work for another, so knowing the addict’s personality can really help in figuring out what is the most effective way to get through to them. Ultimately though, it’s important to realize that only the addict can quit. You can’t do it for them.
8. In what ways has your life changed since you began working on your addiction?
I’m a different person and it’s a different life. I now realize what life was supposed to be like. Doing the very, very hard work on myself that isn’t just about quitting has been the best move I’ve ever made. My relationships with those close to me are better than they ever were and I feel healthier — mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually — than I was in my first 37 years. Overcoming addiction isn’t easy and it’s why so many people fail, but I think if they truly knew how great recovery is, more people would seek it.
9. What is your favourite food?
Almost anything with shrimp. I also love lobster and sushi. I’m one of the least picky eaters you’ll find.
10. What is one of your favourite childhood memories?
In fifth grade, I won our school’s science fair. I didn’t think there was any way I could beat our like 120 kids and was just amazed that I made it to the finals, as only three kids in each class had that happen. There’s an old videotape (this was around 1986 or 1987) of me when they announced I was the winner at a night-time event at the school and I genuinely appear shocked and surprised. It was totally involuntary and I like seeing the sheer joy in 11-year-old me. I think it was important to show me if I worked harder than everyone, I could be the best. It was a turning point in self-belief.
11. What is one place you would love to visit?
It’s a three-way tie. I want to go to Utah, Colorado and Alaska because they are the only states left out of the 50 I haven’t been to yet. I’m probably getting Utah and Colorado out of the way when I help my brother move in a couple months. I will see all 50 states before I die. Internationally, I’ve been to a lot of places in Europe and lived in Tokyo for 6 months, so I feel like I kind of got international travel out of my system at a young age.
12. Cats or dogs?
I have three dogs and four cats so I’d have to call it a tie.
13. Do you think aliens exist?
I think it’s hard to believe that in the vastness of space that the combination of things that needs to happen for life hasn’t occurred at least once. Of course, there may be forms of life that we don’t recognize as “life” out there.
14. Thanks again and please feel free to share anything you would like to add for the readers.
I just ask people to check out the blog at RecoveringPornAddict.com and if you think you’ve got an issue with porn — or drugs, gambling, food, whatever — don’t let it slide. You need to do what it takes to get better because the alternative can be tragic.
If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Joshua’s blog by clicking here.
If you would like to be interviewed please send me your name (optional), the name of your blog and a link to your blog via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a little busy at the moment and have quite a few interviews ready to post so please don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. I will definitely respond as soon as possible.