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March 7, 2022

E231: Healing Porn Addiction with Sathiya Sam | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Coach

In this episode, we have guest speaker Sathiya Sam, a coach for pornography addicts. I know if you read the title of this healing porn addiction, it might have been a little unsettling, might be a little uncomfortable, might even be a little scary. I...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e231-healing-porn-addiction-with-sathiya-sam-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-coach/#show-notes


In this episode, we have guest speaker Sathiya Sam, a coach for pornography addicts. I know if you read the title of this healing porn addiction, it might have been a little unsettling, might be a little uncomfortable, might even be a little scary. I don't want you to run.

If you are a person right now who in your life is facing the reality that maybe pornography is negatively impacting your life, you're going to want to listen to this episode. And the reason why is because the truth is that porn impacts people, men and women doesn't matter all across the world in ways that are so negative and detrimental even myself I've been through my own battle with it. And in that coming out the other side, looking at my life now, one of the things I'm happiest about is going through the process of healing map; that I was exposed to pornography at an incredibly young age, 7 years old and that kind of set the precedent for me in my life. And what I will tell you about my own journey without going too deep, because we're going to have a conversation with Sathiya here in a moment is that being willing to acknowledge the impact that it was having on me from a negative aspect is one of the only reasons I'm here. I would apply that to any of the addictions I faced in my life, food, money, clothes, cars, whatever; step one is always that.

And the reason why I wanted to bring him on today was so that we could have this conversation and open up this taboo that I know is impacting people because it has impacted me. As a reminder, I want you to know that you're not alone in this journey and healing process. There are tools; there is help; there is a community out that can support you and whether it's 12-step or coaching or whatever it may be, just know that if you are facing struggles in your life of any addiction, there is support there is help.

Unbroken Nation, Let’s get into the show!

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Transcript

Michael: Hey! What's up on broken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Sathiya Sam who is an entrepreneur with a passion to see people's lives transformed. He has the Deep Clean Program that helps men overcome pornography addiction. Sathya, my friend, what is happening in your world today?

Sathiya: Michael, thanks for having me, man. Glad to be here.

Michael: Dude. I'm so excited to have you here because this is such a fucking taboo new subject that I already know that people are going to listen to it and they're not going to talk about it. And what I think I would love to be able to do with you is for us to just break down the wall of this, because so many people are negatively impacted, both men and women. Yes, I realize you specialize in working with men, but across the spectrum and I think it's only getting worse, destroying relationships, destroying intimacy, destroying work-life balance, the whole nine, it's insane to me. And so I'm super, super pumped to have this conversation with you today, my friend. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about your background, your history and how you got to where you are today?

Sathiya: Yeah, I mean, for starters men, just kudos for being willing to talk about the subject like you said, it's very taboo, a lot of people are willing to go here myself included. You know, I grew up in a Christian home, my dad was a pastor, my parents actually, forked out the money for us to go to Christian school. So, my life was pretty sheltered I would say and you would think somebody with that kind of upbringing would probably not fall into things like pornography, especially when you have, you know, like a moral compass, that sort of installed at a young age. I got exposed to porn in the computer lab of my Christian School when I was 11 years old and that was in 2001, bro like this is before broadband internet before the smartphone, you know what I mean? And it just goes to show you that like, the rampancy of pornography is unreal and we'll get into all of that but that began a 15-year journey with it, gradually got worse and worse in high school, I was dependent on it and I would say in universities where I was really addicted, I needed it pretty much every day, I couldn't go without it. It took the edge off, it was kind of my reward system for a long day of work at school. And then I tried to get some help, you know, and people weren't talking about it, there weren't tons of resources out there and it was never really crystal clear, like what's actually required to somebody to get for your porn addiction because it was really relatively under-researched and just not really known much about. So it was a lot of experimentation, guessing and checking was a bit of a human guinea pig I think and so I purpose in my heart that one day I'd figure this thing out and when I did, I would do everything in my power to help as many other people as possible, get free.

February 2016 to be exact, was the last time that I engaged with any sort of compulsive sexual behavior porn, masturbation, anything along those lines I said, no to it after that and I've been running deep clean for about three years now, helping guys around the world get free as well.

Michael: Man, that's so beautiful. And I think about the reality of exposure to porn, probably being more detrimental than ever, you know, I got a little bit of age on you, and I remember the first time that I saw porn, I was actually only 7 years old and it was on a VHS tape and this was something that was in my home because my uncle who had been in prison had it there and I didn't really understand what I was looking at or what I was watching and it really impacted the way that I thought about sexuality, human beings and everything for a very long time, and you lead to that place where, you know, you do the fifth grade class, where they separate the boys and the girls, and they talked about sex and then you're like, okay, we gotta go figure it out. You know, and I think now it's so rampant your phone as a walking porn library, I mean, I remember a few years ago, I was on a bus in Portland and the guy in front of me was literally watching porn on his cell phone, and I'm just thinking to myself in this moment like that is compulsive behavior, that is trauma behavior very likely, obviously, I don't want to diagnose someone I don't know. What I want to start with here is like and I just feel so deeply that right now, people are being impacted by this in ways that (a) they probably don't even recognize and (b) that is destroying their life and they're trying to wrap their head around, what's happening. So what I'm curious about from a starting point, how would you define pornography addiction and what are the signs that one should look for as self-awareness or acknowledgement if they feel like their life is being detrimentally impacted by this?

Sathiya: Yeah, it's a great question. And the reality is like, if you look at the DSM, porn addiction is not there, you know, there's other behavioral addictions like gambling, like video games even are acknowledged but the research on pornography is really behind because it's such a taboo subject. What we know though is that when people have an unhealthy damage, really damaging relationship with anything, whether it's smoking, video games, alcohol or porn there's a couple qualities that start to surface.

Number one is desensitization, and that is where the content you are watching no longer gives you that same stimulation or that same arousal and so it leads to an unseen or search for more intense content, so that might mean a greater level of volume but usually what it means is people start watching stuff that and they never thought they'd watch in a million years, but they're experiencing that classic addictions symptom of desensitization.

Second one is that you start to engage in risky behaviors to acquire the substance, or to engage in the behavior.

The gentleman on the bus watching pornography on his phone is a great example, that's actually a high-risk situation. He's in a public environment, he's going to get exposed, he doesn't care, he's going to do it anyways, very classic indication of an addiction.

I think the other one that we see really quite often is that it starts to impact your day-to-day living in a negative way. So, you're not able to maintain social commitments, when guys come to me, sometimes it's because I got fired from their job because they were watching porn at work, or they weren't showing up to calls on time because they stood stayed at home and watched porn instead, there's a whole gamut there, but when it starts to impact your day-to-day functioning that you can be pretty much assured that you have a very damaging relationship with pornography and anything like it. So, I think, as a starting point Michael that would be the outline.

Michael: For people who – I don't necessarily want to step in this from a twelve steps perspective, I know we're going to talk about some of the pillars of deep clean with you. But what I'm curious about is, when I found myself in my late teens, early 20s consuming porn every single day, multiple times a day, I didn't feel like anything was wrong it wasn't until I started to notice like, holy shit I have no intimacy with partners, it's the only thing I'm thinking about it's impacting my life to this point where I can't do anything, did I change and what I'm wondering is in that acknowledgement and looking at perhaps behaviors that you have is there a way to mitigate a risk of like hitting a rock bottom with this where it starts to destroy your life?

Sathiya: It's really hard to say I mean, like my personal opinion is that porn is basically like cocaine, it's just a behavioral version. So like, you ask yourself, what could I do a little bit of cocaine and not get addicted to it? It's like, well, good luck with that, I think, it's a very slippery slope. The research shows that when porn is involved in a relationship if one person is viewing porn relationship satisfaction goes down in a marriage context, the rates of divorce spike. We see that rates of erectile dysfunction are at an all-time high even in guys, under the age of 40, it's reported as high as 45 percent of that demographic are experiencing. A lot of it points back to pornography and I think for me, I don't see any element of it that's really healthy or helpful, all the research is indicating that the more this is a part of your life the more damaging is really going to become, so the earlier you can nip it in the bud, the better.

Michael: Yeah. And I think, it's really fascinating to me, because it is we live, especially if you're in Western cultures, in such this weird, like puritanical/taboo culture, where sex is everywhere around you all the time, but it's like the healthy conversation isn't there. And I think that this is one of the unhealthiest conversations that is not being had or vice versa and what I'm trying to think about here at in real time, has for people who are now in this position than listening, this their deep into this, they want to know more, they want to try to start to create some type of changes around their life, but it just feels like they're holding on so tightly, this is the one thing that they have that brings joy, pleasure, happiness to their life, even though if you look at it from a biological and chemical release perspective it's actually destroying you. Where does that person begin?

Sathiya: I think; you have to acknowledge it. You have to own it. One question I really like to ask people is just what would change in your life, if porn wasn't in the picture and that usually starts to make people really aware of like, oh, well, I would have more time, my relationships would be healthier, I'd have more self-confidence, you know, the list goes on, you have to start there. One of our mantras in deep clean is that a mistake made once is a mistake, make a mistake made twice as a choice. And the idea there is that you have to actually own it, you have to take responsibility. It would be so easy for me to just keep blaming the guy who told me to go that website that pornographic website in my computer lab, when I was 11 years old it'd be so easy to blame him to say, you know, if that never happened, I would never have this problem, it'd be so easy to blame the internet, to blame the poor man industry, you know, the porn industry knows what they're doing, they know how to groom people that young age to get them engaged in their content. There's all these places we can deflect responsibility towards but ultimately, I think somebody just needs to say, hey, I'm actually responsible for this, I'm going to do something about it.

The next thing you want to do just to get really granular and really practical is, you have to start talking to somebody and it could be a stranger, some people would rather not talk to anybody, they know and I totally get it, I was more that can't myself just dealing with the shame of it was much easier to talk to somebody who didn't know me at all personally or it could be somebody that you feel safe with that you can trust and eventually that's kind of the direction that I took long term and that's another really good place to kind of the shame vocalize it a little bit and at least start to begin that healing journey.

Michael: And it feels like so much of this is shame ridden, right? I mean, you look at the amount of consumption. I think I read somewhere, I may be wrong, you might know better than me, but I recall that a few years ago there was a porn company that did an ad during a Super Bowl halftime show and more people watched that on website than the entire Super Bowl combine and it's like, there's something there to that where you go, like, where does this really come from? So, let's break it down a little bit because I know that there are people who enjoy this, and we're not shaming people, we're not guilting people here, that's not what happened, that's not we're talking about because the reality is some people do have that and some people at self-expression and things like that, what we're looking at and talking about here, are people whose lives are so negatively impacted, and what I'm wondering is in this process and when you're looking at it and you're holding onto this, is it truly behavioral, is it chemical like what is it about this particular about porn addiction that keeps people so tight in?

Sathiya: Yeah. I mean the honestly it's all of the above. I mean the biology of it is really clear like porn is highly addictive, it's targeting people's or it's an impacting people's centers, right? Like one of the most central parts of your brain and it's the reason that guys under the age of 40 are experiencing rampant rates of erectile dysfunction, because their brains are actually being conditioned to experience arousal through a super stimulus, that's what porn is categorized that biologically speaking, so super stimulus. So you're seeing a rewiring of the brain on an emotional level, a relational level, we say that porn is fast food intimacy. So the same way, that a fast food diet is really not sustainable because it's going to temporarily satisfy the craving, but it's actually going to do damage to your body long term porn has that same impact on the heart. So it might give you that initial feeling of connection of intimacy, a lot of guys are going to pornography at least in our groups they admit that they go to porn because they don't have to risk being rejected by somebody, they don't have to deal with any of the hard work of cultivating, true intimacy, it's just easy, quick, fast food intimacy. And so long term, it starts to erode their capacity for meaningful relationships, their ability to actually show up emotionally and the other arena. This is the angle I come from because I am a faith background identifies a Christian and the spiritual components really important and you know, morality aside and even the specifics of Christianity aside, we could categorize spirituality as purpose and values. And when porn really starts to get a stranglehold on your life it starts to impact your outlook, on your future. The hope that you have that you might actually do something great in this world, and the confidence that you carry to actually carry it out and all of those areas are big enough that they're worth us paying attention to because we don't want to see, we don't want to be damaged biologically, we want to have healthy relationships and we want to have a strong spiritual life. And I think, if we don't, then point can really wreak havoc in those areas.

Michael: Yeah, and it feels like to me that I think about this idea of intimacy being so much greater than sex and I think people often misconstrue that and so what I would love for you to talk about is in your own journey because I think perspective and context matters so much what I'd love for you to talk about as kind of the shifts, the changes, the steps, the approaches that you've taken and kind of where you started this journey, and what practical things you implemented in your life to get to where you are today?

Sathiya: Yeah. So, this is the question, isn't it? So as I mentioned, I started by kind of reaching out and talking to people about it. I had so much shame that the mere act of just talking to someone else was like, a thousand pounds off my shoulders.

Michael: Let’s me ask a question really quick, I think this would be really important for that context, specifically and I apologize for interrupting, I try not to do that but I think this is important. How do you get yourself to have that conversation when there's so much shame that you feel inside?

Sathiya: For me, I had to weigh the pros and cons. Like, would I rather stay stuck in shame, feel terrible about myself every day and continue this habit or take a risk, but know that on the other side could be some liberation and at least a step towards recovery. And I had reached a point personally where I was so sick of it, I was so sick and tired of the shame, I was sick and tired of feeling like a failure, experiencing all this impediment in my life that I was like, I'm done, I have to do something, so that's what it was for me. I was willing to kind of take a risk that make sense, Michael.

Michael: Yeah. Absolutely. So you make that decision, you're looking at your life was there; I have come to find unfortunately, that typically a rock bottom for lack of a better term is often needed to create massive change in one's life. Can you paint is a picture of what your life looks like as you stepped into that step and then again, if you'll kind of like go into the practical steps, you've taken over the years to get to where you are?

Sathiya: Yeah, the biggest thing for me was potential. So I really felt like, you know, I had all these big dreams, I wanted to make a difference in the world and I was very aware that porn was affecting my productivity like at a really kind of surface level practical, kind of level. And so I was able to do as much but I could feel it starting to erode my self-confidence and so for me that was like, oh my gosh, like I know there's people out in the world that I can be helping that I'm not going to help if I keep struggling with porn. Relationally, I was way too scared to get into a romantic relationship because I didn't want to bring the baggage, I think I just knew enough, I knew that having point in a relationship for me was not going to work, especially for the kind of people that I wanted to be with, like I said, identifies a Christian. So in that circle, you know, porn it's not within our moral framework and for me, I was just too scared; I was too scared to get into a romantic relationship and bring the baggage in but again, I also just had no confidence, I felt like who would want to be with me because I felt really worthless about my own behavior. And then the spiritual thing was also really motivating for me because I thought for me to really express my spirituality, the way I want to, I didn't want to be a hypocrite and I sort of had a bit of an internal conflict going on there, and for me, I wanted have a strong spiritual life and so those were the things the kind of the state of affairs when I was actually making some steps towards freedom.

Michael: And in that again, I think a huge part of that is acknowledgement and looking at it and being willing to have for lack of a better term, the courage to take that first step, I mean, I apply that in the same capacity to the people that I coach in the trauma space because I believe entirely, you've got to be willing to see what's on the other side of that decision. And I know that there are people who have had, and I think you're right, I think porn is like cocaine, I've never done cocaine but I've done a lot of porn. And let me tell you this, one of the hardest things I've ever done was be able to remove it from being a negative implementation in my life, remove it from being this thing and for clarity like it's something that on the occasion, I consumed with partners and things of that nature like, I just want to lay it out here to keep it honest with the audience and you for this conversation.

When I had never stepped into the ideation of doing the work, discovering trueness about myself, what my values were coming to your point, which I think often are the most important things to dictate what you do with your life I think you kind of get trapped and things. And so when you started to step into this and I don't know if this is true or not, but we're their fallbacks we're their relapse has in this process or was this just a complete cold turkey for you. The reason I'm asking you this is because when I have an unhealthy relationship with it in the same way I have with many other things in my life, including eating food and exercise in the whole nine, being an addict, I will self-proclaim. I have found that there have been these moments where it's, I fall back, I go do the same behavior again, and then I course, correct because I have a better understanding of myself and then it just becomes eventually I think it's do education and being aware of myself that I remove those habits, from my life. What I'm curious about because I know that so many people and myself included in this conversation have gone to this place where like, I quit no more, I'm buying the app, I'm doing the thing, I'm deleting it, I'm gonna turn off the internet, I'm gonna get a flip phone, I'm not even gonna go to the bookstore, right? And I don't want to call everyone an addict I think that'd be unfair and generalizing, but because of that impulse that we have there still that moment that we go back. What do you do in that moment and did you have that moment for yourself?

Sathiya: Yeah, I had tons. And we really teach our guys, that relapse is a part of recovery in the sense that the goal is not to go 90 days, we want you to go 90 years and to really effectively have any kind of long-term change. It's much more interesting to have gradual progress than dramatic progress because dramatic progress is hard to sustain long-term gradual progress is much more manageable. What we encourage people is actually when you have a relapse, you want to leverage those experiences by asking yourself two things. So we actually have two things in our group that we always have guy's ask; Number one, what need, was it meeting?

So, trying to identify what was the underlying driving force that led you to watch? It's so easy to just be like, Oh, I'm a guy, I was horny, I just have these urges, it was just a weak moment or whatever, whatever, there's always something underneath general I should say always, but generally, there's something underneath and the better you can articulate the need and the underlying force that drove you to make that decision the more you're going to be able to learn from it.

And then the second question we ask is what would you do differently?

So next time, you're in that situation where you're really stressed or you're vulnerable or sometimes guys have a hard time when they travel and they're alone or they're out of their routine. What are you going to do differently next time to make sure that doesn't happen to make sure that there's a better outcome? So that's a great starting point, but I would just like, let people know I had tons of relapse is along the way. For me, it was about three or four years of really earnestly, trying different things and taking it took me time to really figure out what works for me and what was going to actually help me stay away from the stuff long-term. So, yes, there relapse is along the way.

Michael: Yeah, and I have found that one of the things I always convey to people is, can you increase the distance of time, between, right? Because that means you're learning, you're growing, you're really starting to sit with it, right?

Sathiya: Yes. Okay. So I'm so glad you mentioned that. So the word we use in our community is trendline. We're always saying it's we're not counting streaks; we don't really count how many days are you free, but what we're looking at, is the trend line like what is the gap between and if that gap is that is progressing, it could be small or it could be large doesn't matter but as long as it's progressing, then we're super happy and I think that's the mentality you have to have when you're focused on inner transformation. If all you care about is outer transformation and just trying to modify the behavior, then you can count your streaks and whatever else but because we're interested in long-term that's in the transformation of the heart, and the individual, the person then yeah, we do the same thing, Michael, we really pay attention to the gaps.

Michael: Do you feel like having a time restricted calendar against this as a bad idea? Because I'm just curious because I think what happens is people go like I made it 37 days or I made it 90 days or whatever the arbitrary number is and then it's like, boom, right back to the old behavior.

Sathiya: Yeah. I mean, we really don't encourage any of that kind of stuff, not against it like I think if you can go 90 days without looking at porn, that's fantastic but like I said for us, we're trying to play the long game and so that means, we don't really try to put deadlines or time frames instead we're trying to tell people focus on the internal aspects and then the behaviors will take care of themselves. 

Michael: What do you think are the internal aspects that people should be focusing on?

Sathiya: So we have three core pillars of recovery and deep clean and each pillar has a mantra. So the first one is self-awareness, and the idea is that if you are not Where it cannot be repaired. So cultivating that self-awareness is really helpful to get started.

The second part is healing and Michael, you are like, so, excellent in this area. This is where you're recovering from traumas, you're paying attention to parts of your passive contributed, you're really just seeking a place of healing and health and wholeness for your emotional and your psychological life and our operating sort of Mantra there is he who is the most vulnerable gets healed the quickest. And so the idea is that the more transparent you are, the more willing you are to be vulnerable, especially in our community, the more quickly you will get healed and you'll be able to move on to our third pillar, which is identity and identity is really just seen yourself for who you really are understanding yourself as a person of value, someone who is worthy of unconditional acceptance. It's one thing to understand it in your head is another thing to really understand it in your heart and the operating Mantra there is that I would rather be 100% true self and rejected, then 80%, my true self and accepted. And so those are sort of the three pillars that we encourage people along the way in their recovery process. To me this is kind of what inside out transformation really embodies.

Michael: Yeah. I think that's really special because there is something so incredibly powerful about owning who you are 100%. And to your point, you talked about this being a transition like, from two to three, I am such a huge proponent about this idea of vulnerability, because the truth is, that is where you create connection, that is where you create relation, that is where you ultimately create intimacy is you have to be able to be willing to put yourself out there. And look, I think like, I would dare say this and I don't want to put words in your mouth but you and I are able to have a conversation like this because of all the work around vulnerability because of all the, who knows, how many hours and hours and hours of life of trying to understand ourselves better to get to the point where you can have the conversation. Vulnerability is a terrible conversation for most men, most people in general but definitely men were growing up were told don't cry, put some dirt on it, don't be a bitch, don't be a pussy like all of those things even though contextual I think the world is changing that still holds true.

Where do men start to step into vulnerability because I feel like even right now real time in this conversation, there are people you are going to see the title of this in the podcast feed and they're not going to ever tell a human being that they listen to this conversation and I'm terrified of that because I don't believe change will ever happen for them. So, how can we give men and women everyone tools to step in the vulnerability not necessarily only specifically in this context but in life in general?

Sathiya: Yeah, I would ask this question, what is the safest place or who is the safest person that you could engage in this conversation with? And I can pretty much guarantee you when you ask that question if you think about it, you'll eventually you will find something. It might be an online forum where you're completely anonymous, that's a great starting point. Everything we do involves Community, I know you have a community of Unbroken Nation, Michael that's because you and I know how powerful it is, maybe somebody's not ready to quite put their face out there and really plug in at least start by engaging somewhere where you can even be anonymous, but I think finding those safe places online or in person, really, really important to actually breaking out of this a little bit and realizing you're not the only one.

And the number one piece of feedback that I get when guys do join our community and after the first session and I'm always like, okay, how was it? What did you think? They're like, honestly, I just I can't believe there's other guys who have had the same thoughts, the same struggles. My wife said, the exact same thing to me, you know, like they just they can't believe it and the reward is so worth the risk and I know how scary it is. But for anyone who is listening, who's on the fence I highly highly doubt you will regret it if you find a safe Community where you can plug in, it's going to be so worthwhile not just for your recovery, but for your overall quality of life.

Michael: I completely agree. And I have found that in those times personally, when I take the biggest risk of my life, what at least in that moment feels; it feels so risky to walk into a support group, it feels so risky to join a men's group, it feels so risky to go into an online form, all of these things I've done and every single time on the back side like I feel so empowered, but to your point, more importantly, I feel like I am not alone and we get caught up in this idea, and I think this is probably one of the most dangerous parts of mental health, right now, is that somehow we're alone? Yo, they're eight billion people on planet Earth, you are not, but whatever the crazy shit happening life, I promise it is not only happening to you, it is happening to other people as well, and you have the ability to step into that, right? You have the ability to go through that, right? And self-awareness that healing then ultimately, creating identity, that's so profound.

One of the things I want you to talk about here as well as the identity aspect of this that third pillar of yours because (A) I don't know that necessarily people understand what identity is and if you could define that that would be incredible and then (B) how do you start to frame and create that identity in your life as you step through this addiction?

Sathiya: Yeah, for sure. Identity is simply asking that question, who are you? How do you answer that question? And the more unconditional your responses the better, if you answer that question, who are you by your career? You know, I'm a podcaster for me I'm a coach, obviously these are the things we put on our public facing profiles but if that's actually your identity statement, then your value is determined by how well you can carry out that task or perform in that job. So identity is learning to define yourself and finding unconditional places to find your affirmation and sort of that solidification of who you are, that's sort of the basis of it. May be the best way I can summarize it is this and this is what we tell our guys in our community as we say, you cannot out behavior beliefs. So, in the addiction conversation, you know, I'm personally not a huge supporter of 12-step because one of the first steps is; ‘Hi, I'm Sofia, I'm an alcoholic or it's you call yourself an addict.’ Now there's nothing wrong with labeling or identifying it for what it is but the problem I have with some of these processes and systems is that label never changes, it's like, once an addict always an addict and we personally don't agree with that. We believe that if you think you are an addict, then you will engage in addiction by faith because that's what you believe about yourself. And so are huge part of helping guys along the way is changing the way they see themselves apart from their behavior, apart from their baggage and their past and when they start to see themselves that way, the more productive behavior and the better decision-making starts to follow. So that's sort of the framework that we give them.

Michael: I often think about this truth. What you think becomes what you speak, what you speak become your action and your actions, become your reality. And that is the same exact hold up that I've always held with 12 step programs as well. You know, the first time I ever walked into an AA meeting, I was like nine years old, going in there with my mother and sitting here and looking at all these people. And I remember this distinctly sitting on these awful gymnasium cold metal chairs in this freezing, Indiana day everyone's a bundled up sitting there and they're introducing themselves and saying they're an addict. And I distinctly remember, even at 10, 11, 12 years old going to these meetings with my mother which children shouldn't be involved in that's another conversation. But sitting there and thinking to myself, these people are making a choice to be an addict because they are already predetermining that's who they are, and I've stepped deep into my personal healing journey.

I remember most of my late teens early 20s being the role of victim, blaming saying it's everyone else's fault being like, I am this way because of them and that's the ultimate fixed mindset, right? When you shift and you start to step into the reality that you can have this parallel of healing and changing your identity at the same time, I think, truthfully, that's where you find freedom.

So, I'm going to ask you a question, which I don't know if you've been asked before, but let's find out. Who are you?

Sathiya: Wow! Okay, I don't ever ask me that before. So this is where my faith really comes into play. One of the Christian doctrines is that we are children of God and you know, that just sounds like maybe fluffy Faith language, but I'll explain what I mean by answering the question. I would answer that question; I am a Son of God. Now, here's why that's really helpful for me, that identity statement has nothing to do with my behavior, being a son is relationally defined and what that means is, as long as God doesn't change his mind, then then we're good, right? My identity stays intact, and I know that to be true about God, but if you wanted to transfer that like and it when your identity is identified or is defined rather by relationship it can be really, really powerful. One of the things that motivates guys to get free and deep clean is they want to be a better husband; they want to be a better father, they're very relationally centered terms and what that means is those relationships, they don't change, they don't change.

So I can be really confident for me, being a Son of God, that I am unconditionally loved, he unconditionally loves and accepts me, I'm worthy, I'm valuable as a result, and that will not change regardless, if I had a relapse today, Michael my value does not change, my value as a person literally does not change and that's personally how I choose to answer that question.

Michael: Yeah. I get that. I totally resonate with that in the reason I ask you that is because I really want to hit home because at one point you may have had a thought like I feel like an addict, I feel like I no control over this and I think there's something about in my journey when I actually realized I was in control as opposed to not being in control, I promise you, that's when everything changed like, I use the word control all the time, right? Control what you can let go of what you cannot. From a relationship standpoint, because I'm really curious about the impact this has had on your life. What were relationships like for you before and where are you at today?

Sathiya: So, I mean, poor really stop you from engaging in meaningful relationships and it's just a simple thing of like, if you get too close, you're going to see my pain, you're going to see my brokenness and that's scary. So, it's not that I'm very extroverted, I'm super friendly and warm, I had no problem, making friends, but deep meaningful relationships, that was really difficult. And the romantic relationships I was in that was always the complaint I got was like, you never actually share about what's going on within you, just tell me about what you did in your day and I was like, kind of did have the skillset but even if I did, I would not have gone there because I was too ashamed of my brokenness and porn addiction.

One of my mentors actually taught me this that he said marriage is a magnifier and I always want to get married I know I'm sure there's different opinions about marriage amongst your audience but for me, I've marriage was important thing that I wanted to eventually experience and what my mentor was really saying is ‘dude, whatever issues you have in your life right now, a lot of single guys think that a long-term committed relationship, marriage, or just you know, the relationship, a lot of them, think it's going to fix their problem, it doesn't. Marriage is a magnifier; it makes your problems worse.’

So, when we go on the subject of porn addiction, he said that was something that you're going to want to take care of because that's going to become a bigger issue on the other side of marriage. And to be honest, I always thought, how could that be if I was in a long-term committed relationship, and if we have a healthy sex life, like, surely my issues with pornography will just go away but he was absolutely right. And so for me, I actually was free of pornography before I did get married before I met my wife and on the other side, what it looks like now, Michael just going back to what we talked about before is I am consciously choosing to be vulnerable on a regular basis, with my wife, with some of my really close inner circle friends, because I know it's necessary for me to stay healthy and to stay whole and to continue to grow as a person. So it's taken me a long time to get here, a lot of conscious efforts, and some bumps and some scrapes along on the way as well, but because I'm free I really am able to relate on a much deeper level.

Michael: Yeah, that's really beautiful and congratulations. One of the things I'm curious about is what if which I believe it is that many addictions are behavioral. What have you done to replace those behaviors? What behavior is now having you intermingled into your life to keep you afloat?

Sathiya: Yeah, I mean a huge part of the recovery process really is self-discovery, it's just learning more about yourself and what makes you tick. I have two things in particular that really helped.

One is physical fitness, taking care of your physical health is really, really good, it reinforces your personal value but it's also just very healthy for your brain, healthy for your mind, keeps you in good space. My other Mantra is work hard rest heart and so I really make sure I get gaps in my day. I take Saturday's off, I fast 24 hours a week, I do a 24-hour phone detox, Tech detox every week. So I have little practices like that in place, that just keep me healthy, they keep me sharp and they allowed me to really show up in my meaningful relationships to show up here when I'm doing work, and I would say just make better decisions and really stay focused on a dream and a vision.

Michael: Yeah, do you have a level of clarity around the kind of life that you live right now? I think often people just nonchalantly for lack of a better way to phrase, move about the world. Have you had to get extremely clear about who you are?

Sathiya: Yeah. Big time. I mean, especially I would say the last 34 years of my life I made some pretty radical changes, I've decided to be more of an entrepreneur, I quit my nine-to-five, I'm actually doing this interview from Jamaica, my wife and I have decided to move here for the winter. We made some radical decisions because we're like, you know what? Life is short and we're not going to get caught up in a rat race, we're not going to get caught up just trying to keep up with the Joneses. We've just tried to identify what really means the most to us, what do we want to do with our lives and then figuring out what's it going to take to do that? And so yes, the short answer is, yes, and if I can just say it, one of the things that we talked about on our podcast a lot actually is that this is why getting free of pornography and any kind of addiction is so powerful because it gives you your life back and like, I see the difference I'm making another people's lives now. The idea of being on a podcast like this to me is like an incredible opportunity and experience that I just would not have had if I wouldn't have got rid of my addiction.

So yeah, absolutely man, we've gotten super clear on what we want and we're going after it without any apology.

Michael: I love that and that's beautiful. And I look at my life too and I go, man, if I would still be doing all those things I used to do I promise you, I would not be having this conversation right now. And one of the things I want to bring attention to, as well as you in this relationship, you have a wife, you have a partner, you have someone who is, I assume obviously very supportive of you. What is your advice to people who are going through this process they're struggling, maybe that beginning or someone has called attention to it in their life, then they're starting to recognize the addictive behavior patterns as a spouse, as a partner, as a support for that person going through this, what advice do you have for them?

Sathiya: That's a great question and one that we work through a lot. I actually, I have the privilege of these days I work with a lot of professional athletes, doctors, entrepreneurs, that kind of thing. And one of the athletes I'm working with right now, we're working through this exact conversation because he's to have a conversation with his fiancee and explain to him part of his past. So, what I always say, is as long as you go into the conversation with you being the priority, it will be a failure. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for maybe having this dialogue, which, I guess maybe that's should be my answer first, is you do have to have the conversation with your significant other but we want to actually figure out is, how do we do this in the best way possible? And a lot of guys go in being like hoping that the you know, they don't respond too much and hoping they don't get to hurt in the process and they're so self-focused.

So the first exercise I have people go through, is I say, alright, what you're going to do is you're going to pull out your journal, we're big on journaling in our community and I want you to just imagine what it is like to be in her shoes to hear that news. Imagine what it's like. Imagine the roles were reversed, you know, and she finds out that I'm in a past life that you were buying sex or that you've been watching porn for twenty years, imagine that you were finding out those things about them, what would be your response? Just really coming from it with empathy and an understanding heart and it does two things of course, it's going to give you a framework to sort of, I guess comprehend what they're actually experiencing when you share this news. So that you're not so focused on just getting everything off your chest, but that you're actually really conscious of them. But secondly, in much, more importantly, if the conversations are done correctly, they will actually foster connection, as opposed to, you know, interrupting it and I think when it's not done properly, people do feel disconnected and they feel like, oh my gosh, I've driven a huge wedge between us, I should have never told them but actually it is okay if there's some friction in the conversation, I'm not saying it's gonna be all daisies and roses and they're just going to take it in stride. But if you do it with the heart of, I want to increase our connection and I know we have to keep having this conversation that goes a really long way. So I think that that would be a good starting point.

Michael: And on the other side, as a spouse or partner, receiving this information. What advice would you have for them in the best way to be supportive or to hear or just to be there, what are your thoughts there?

Sathiya: Yeah. My first thing would be, it's okay like you're probably going to feel really upset, you're going to feel betrayed, you're going to apply our feelings of maybe not being good enough or that kind of thing, all those feelings are totally valid, if they're totally legitimate. And the worst thing that a somebody who's experiencing betrayal could do is, invalidate their own experience in their own emotions, so it's okay, sit in it. And then I would encourage them to find some community and support themselves, there's actually lots of betrayal communities out there for betrayed wives or spouses or partners or whatever, that's a really, really good way to just give yourself a place to process.

One thing we see couples do is they try to process things with each other when they get starting the conversation and it usually does more harm than good it's much better to have like the resources where you can go and have those conversations and then come back and talk together once you've just processed it a little bit. So, that would be my biggest thing is your experience is totally valid and if you're feeling hurt or pain, you should you know, it would actually be weird if you didn't. And the second thing is there are supports out there for you as well and you deserve those things and that's probably going to be necessary for you to heal from the experience.

Michael: I agree with that and one of the things I teach my clients all the time, if they're in a relationship and they've gone through something pretty traumatic in it is, you got to go through the process of healing both together and separately because you know, you cannot be each other's therapist, you cannot be each other's coach, that's not your job. My friend, it's been so incredible having this conversation with you before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Sathiya: Yeah, so somebody's looking to get started on the journey or they want to understand our framework a little bit better, they can go to ultimaterecoveryguide.com and I will give them a free ebook, it's just a small ebook that kind of explains our processes and how we walk people through the recovery journey, and you can actually add some other resources like I said, we have a podcast mailing list that kind of thing, but that would be a good place to start and you can find the rest after.

Michael: Amazing! And of course, we will put all of those links in the show notes for The Unbroken Nation. My friend, my last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Sathiya: You know; I think it goes back to what we talked about earlier Michael. To me being unbroken first, means accepting your brokenness, and that vulnerability piece of just loving yourself who you are in this moment right now, and then, I think, you know, we often talk about in spirituality we say that, you know, God loves you so much that he'll meet you exactly where you're at but he loves you too much to keep you there. And I think true to be unbroken means that you embrace the broken parts of you and then you move forward and you heal and you take steps and you become everything that you were made to be make this world a better place.

Michael: Beautifully said, my friend. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

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Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Sathiya Sam Profile Photo

Sathiya Sam

Founder of DeepClean

Sathiya Sam is an entrepreneur with a passion to see people’s lives transformed. DeepClean™, a program that helps men overcome pornography addiction, is Sathiya's most recent work to date. His proven process for freedom has helped everyone from college students to medical doctors regain control of their lives. He is married to his lovely wife Shaloma and based out of Toronto, Canada.