I often see articles asking wether sex addiction is real or not, and in my opinion it is very real. I identify as someone who has struggled with sexual addiction. It is as debilitating as diabetes and insidious as cancer. I am grateful to be alive. So, for me, sexual addiction will always be real. The pain I suffered was real, and, so is my recovery. I say those who don't believe are those who have not suffered. It doesn't mean your suffering or my suffering isn't real.
So, what is sex addiction?
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) defines “sex addiction” as “a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others.” (www.sash.net)
Out of control sexual behaviors can include:
2. Simultaneous or repeated sequential affairs
4. Multiple anonymous partners
5. Partner sexualization, objectification
6. Sexual aversion
7. Cyber sex, phone sex
8. Unsafe sexual activity
9. Strip clubs and adult bookstores
Those struggling with sexual addiction typically present in my office with anxiety about the type of sex or amount of sex they are having; relational difficulties around sexual dysfunction; depression related to low self-esteem about sexual difficulties; or they already have awareness about sexual addiction and they are referred to me by a current or former client.
I always feel a great deal of empathy and compassion for anyone struggling with sexual addiction, because I know exactly what it feels like. And sometimes, people seek me out because they have heard my story of recovery from sexual addiction.
Seeking treatment, whether for sexual addiction, or the presenting issues of depression, anxiety or trauma, is a courageous act. No one is immune to sexual addiction or addiction in general. The disease doesn't care who you are or where you are from; if you are experiencing pain or have experienced trauma in your life, and have limited coping strategies, addiction or numbing can become an unhealthy coping tool.
You don't have to fight the battle alone. Schedule an individual therapy or coaching session with me today. I can help you navigate the complexities of sobriety and recovery. There is a solution; just ask for help.
You may also benefit from attending 12-Step programs for sex addiction (Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous).
Ciao, from Reggello, Italy!
I have been here for seven days and it has been a wonderful experience. I am blessed to be in such a culturally rich environment full of amazing people, beautiful views and so much history. I have dreamt of this my whole life and because I believe in creating visions and asking for what I want and need, I have this opportunity.
This is the first time I have been to Europe and this is the first time I will be away from my family, home, and practice for this long.
Moreover - It is also the first time I have been away from my recovery community for an extended period. About a month before I left for Rome, I reached out to about 10 people in my circle to ask if they would be a part of my recovery support while I was away. I knew they would, but it never hurts to ask.
I specifically requested prompt – 24 to 48 hrs. – responses whenever I would reach out. I also asked some for periodic check ins.
I knew by leaving my primary support structure, I would be potentially at risk, especially since I knew my colleagues would be drinking, and I didn't want to be too vulnerable.
So, I asked for help.
Not only did I ask for help, but I asked for specific help prior to any challenges. I learned a long time ago, I must take my recovery with me.
I am living in the Tuscan hills for the next week and a half and there are zero meetings of any kind nearby. I have to take what I can from my established system and bring it with me. I have my recovery books including the Big Book, Steven C’s Amends, Apologies and the Myths of Forgiveness: a Guide to the Eight and Ninth Steps (because I am working step 8 in one of my programs), and I have access to 12 step speaker audio from online sites.
Every day I have reached out to my community, whether to ask for a prayer, show a pic I had taken, or simply say what my current struggle was and ask for support or feedback. This is essential to my sobriety and recovery.
Today, I felt particularly challenged when a colleague asked me to join her and some others outside. I had avoided them because they were drinking and I have probably told half a dozen people I don't drink. Maybe she didn't get the memo. I said, “No, I don't drink, and y'all are drinking.” She said, “That's okay, I won't judge. I drink water, too.” I told her it would be triggering for me.
She didn't get the memo and that's all right. It's not her job, but it is mine to maintain my sobriety, even in an environment where 33 out of 35 people are drinking, daily, in front of me, several times per day.
So, what did I do next? I pulled up a speaker audio, sat out on a wall overlooking the Tuscan valley and listened to the speaker. I felt so calm and relaxed. My Higher Power guided me to a place of serenity, free from distraction. It was blissful.
Today's episode of Journy On is a really important one. In this episode, I am talking with James Reyes. James is a sexual abuse survivor and a predator. James' story comes to us from Tennessee and he is going to share with us what it has been like for him to be a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and to go on to be known as a sexual offender. I think this topic is very important. I think we need to talk about it. In fact, I checked it out with some of our listeners. Some of the folks in my support system to say hey, would this be okay for you to hear on the Journey On podcast because we traditionally talk to people or survivors only. The fact is, there are survivors out there who have gone on to offend and they've gone on to offend and not receive the treatment that I think that they need. James' story is one that is exactly that. James has been in the system as a sexual offender and has yet to receive treatment. What is preventing him from going out to reoffend if he is not received treatment must work I want to talk about this. I want to have a conversation, dialogue about this. Be sure to send me a message on social media or send me an email at journeyonpodcast@Gmail.com. I want to hear your opinions. I want to hear thoughts. Know that I'm not putting this episode out there to cause harm to anyone but I definitely want us to have a discussion about this because we need to solve the problem. We can't solve the problem if we can't talk about it
DJCan you tell us your name and where you're from?
JamesSure. My name's James Reyes and I'm from the middle Tennessee area.
DJHow old are you James?
DJ38 years old. I found your story on line... The headline was pretty gripping. I wanted to know little bit more but can you tell us how you got to the point where you are being interviewed for the previous podcast and then tell us about your story.
JamesSure. I'll be happy to. I'm not sure how far back you want me to go. To kinda give you a nutshell synopsis of it. I personally was sexually abused as a child. It went on for between 5 to 6 years. That occurred so from around the age 4 to 5 up until somewhere around 11 or 12. Obviously, when a child gets abused at that age, it really messes with them, causes what therapist my call a deviant sexuality at times. It doesn't happen to everybody but it can be a result. That, not to blame that entirely but really. I know you to be editing this. Today's been an emotional day for me. I'm having a little bit of a hard time my words together.
DJI truly understand that.
JamesIt really did cause quite a bit of damage in me. I if first kind of manifested in me with an eating problem. When I was four years old I was a normal-size child for one I was five or six I had basically doubled in size. It was just a struggle throughout my childhood. Flash forward to quite a bit later in my late teens, I developed a very heavy Internet pornography addiction. This is right around the time the Internet kinda came into fruition. It was the nascent days of the Internet and still dial-up but that's when I discovered Internet pornography. That strange Lee satiated the needed within me that I think that have been caused by some of the abuse. That stayed with me for quite a number of years. It stayed with me throughout my time at college and throughout even meeting my wife to be. Into my entire adult life.
Basically, then in 2009, I had gotten desensitized to regular pornography. To me Internet pornography is a drug that the more you do it, the more used to you get and the less affected has on you. So I basically discovered for the first time underage or child pornography. I happened across it by accident, by happenstance. However, it put a thrill and mean that I hadn't had in quite a long time. It really, I had really felt anything for a long time and I mean in any sort of way. It provided that thrill for me. It was very secretive so that developed a basic interesting job pornography. At that point flash forward another few years and I do want to go into lurid detail because obviously, it can be triggers for someone who might hear, you know the podcast itself. It ended up being where I was arrested for solicitation of a minor and aggravated or attempted aggravated sexual battery of a minor. I think God and never actually went to the point where I ended up touching a child but a got to the point where I did get arrested and did face criminal charges for that. When they came to arrest me for that, they took my home computer as well. They took my home computer, I obviously had several instances of child pornography on their so I got arrested for additional charges for that ended addition to the in-person victim. There were the victims of the child pornography. That is one thing I want caviar and say very clearly right now that I've come to realize and I think it's very important is to really stress the fact that just because a you know a child pornography is not in person victim, that those children are victims nonetheless, you know. I think that's glossed over quite a bit and people try to minimize the fact that you know all it was only child pornography but obviously, you're looking at pictures of molestation than that of the child being abused so that is just a much a victim and get re-victimized every time.
I then did one year in an institution in jail and was released on 10 years’ worth of probation. At that point, I moved from the Nashville Tennessee area to California to where my wife's family was. I was there for about six months when to my shame, I say this now... When I got out of jail and had been at a very low point, I had gotten back into child pornography. I had a surprise visit by a probation officer and a team that found the iPad that I had thought I'd kept hidden and found the pornography on that. I got new charges there in California and did a years’ time in California as well. Now prior to those new charges, I had maintained with my family that I had been innocent. Obviously, I wasn't getting the help I needed in therapy and counseling. After that, I couldn't tried to maintain that in a sense any longer so due to that and did my actions, my wife and I did divorce. I did spend one year of time in a California institution or correctional facility. The day that I paroled from California, I was basically picked up by a transport company, sent by the county local in Tennessee that I originally had my charges in on the accounts of violating the probation I've been on. I will say granted, I very much needed to face those charges and understand that, but I will say for everyone out there and for anyone that has been through those transport companies, that, the weight prisoners are transported interstate but honestly is just inhumane. I'm just saying that because I really think there needs to be awareness on that issue. It was a horrendous journey. I am insulin-dependent diabetic and it took them eight days to get from California to Tennessee and we were all over the nation on day two they broke my insulin by also I didn't have insulin for almost a full week. I ended up in the hospital. You're basically riding in a van and you don't have any access to any showering facilities. You're basically you don't have access any hygienic facility. I got a really bad staph infection. The trip itself is in complete darkness. It's in a prison van and it's completely blacked out so you have no clue the time or the day or anything.
I then came back here and got back here to Tennessee. I faced you know was incarcerated and bailed out and prepared for my trial. That happened on 24 March and during that time my mother who is supporting me 100% and I had located the only facility that we could find in America that specifically was an inpatient minimum-security treatment facility for sexual offenders. And they didn't treat sex addicts. As you know that's actually a whole other ballgame. Sexual addiction and sexual offenses are obviously not the same thing. With this specialized treatment needed for sex offenders, this was the only inpatient facility that we were able to find in the nation at all. We were actually able to secure a expert to come down from that facility to hear to basically talk about the program and to go over statistics to let them know that I had been accepted into the program. Unfortunately, the judge decided that he didn't want to release me to the program and instead said that I was gonna go face part of that incarceration time. So right now, I am looking at pictures with reincarceration. As did the original charge. Again, I really want to state that I'm not trying to stay that things are unfair. I'm not trying to minimize anything with someone who's it a sexual offender, there are consequences to your actions. My mom who I mentioned was very supportive of me, was completely flabbergasted that I was not allowed to go to treatment. So she ended up contacting the media and that is how the first podcast and story had come to fruition.
DJWow! That is a story for sure. It's all over the place. So much has happened in your life that contributed to the crimes he committed and to the upcoming jail sentence.
JamesVery much so.
DJI want to go back and I want to learn more about what happened when you were younger and if there has been some work around that early trauma. Because that's something that is important for us as survivors that it's important to work on or we will continue to be in pain. And when we're in pain, we run the risk of hurting others.
JamesYou know, that's very true. Especially in your line of work. You've heard that her people hurt people. And I agree with you that that is 100% true. None of the, it was three separate people that abused me as a child. None of them have ever faced formal charges or conviction. Therefore, I'm not really, just for liability say, not mention specifically who they were, but it was three separate individuals and it did occur for quite a bit of time. During my childhood,itself. Honestly, when you're that young, it severely alters and SKUs in your view of sexuality. Again, there are so many, even as you stated in some of your statistics on your side, that there is an amazing amount of even boys that are physically and sexually abused. I know the vast majority of them do not end up become sexual offenders. I don't want to make it sound like I'm saying that one plus one equals two that sexual abuse as a child equals a sexual offender. That would obviously be an unfair blanket statement to make. I know that it definitely was a contributing factor to the path I went on.
DJSure. There's a lot of contributing factors. So this abuse is happening to you, and I'm assuming at your age, did you know what was happening was abuse?
JamesNo. No I didn't at the time. And one thing that was very confusing for me was that as I got older and to my preteens, I guess it was right before I was a teenager when the abuse stopped. At that point in your life, especially at that age, there are going to be hormonal reactions in your body and your body is going to react to some things regardless of whether it's desired. That really caused a lot of guilt in me as well. You know, children are so self-centered. That's just reality. I'm not saying that in a negative way. Children are self-centered. Everything's about them. Obviously, in my mind everything that was happening was caused by me. I didn't realize there was something wrong. I didn't like it. I just didn't understand it to be abuse as we understand today. One thing is that when you're a child you're always taught the famous phrase stranger danger. None of these were strangers. These were all people ingratiated within my circle. There was no one just out of the blue to someone at the park. It very much was something that was unfathomable to me.
DJI think the majority of time it does happen by people we know, people who Artie in our lives whether that's a parent or a coach or a sibling. These are the stories I've heard and have experienced myself. I truly understand and have empathy for you and your situation because it has left devastatingconsequences for you.
Jamesit really has. It obviously has devastated my life. More so is the collateral damage. I should even caught that because it sounds like I'm making light of it but it really, the impact to my ex-wife my gosh to my mom who was literally sacrificed everything and you would be amazed at what she's done to try to get me help. From writing to governors and to public officials and famous celebrity’s TV doctors, not to mention any names. All sorts of, I mean local government on up. She is done her best to try to get help for me because, DJ, I'll be honest. There's not a lot of rehabilitative help available to someone who's a sexual offender. One thing you pointed out earlier was that something that I never got to was through cause. I was the abuse. That has never been addressed to my own life. In any correctional facility that I've been in in either Tennessee or California, there's a multitude of programs and offerings to assist people who have drug problems, who have problems with alcohol, who even have problems with domestic abuse. They're in there for beating her spouse or for abusing their children physically, but there is absolutely nothing available to anyone who is in there for a sexual deviancy or for being a sexual predator or even for someone who's acting out someone who is acting out for having been sexually abused in the past. It is just honestly woefully lacking. The one thing that I really, the reason I want to share my story is that I want transparency to be out there is much as possible so that it would be beautiful if we get to the point where even someone who is younger as a teenager starts to have any sort of sexual deviant thought, that they have a safe place that they can go so that we don't have sexual offenders in the future. I'm not trying to make laws easier for sexual offenders. I realize that there has to be strict control over that population, but it would be great to have preventative measures so that we don't have people falling into that. So that children are victimized in the future.
DJI agree with you a hundred percent. I hundred percent agree. We need more services. We need more people to stand up and show up for survivors of these heinous crimes because maybe we can prevent future crimes from happening. Part of the reason I doing this podcast is continue to have a discussion. We need to have a discussion. We need more people to know what's going on.
You mentioned that you had some therapy, was, would you say that any of that was helpful?
JamesThere's two types of therapy that are available. The first is going to be the state-mandated therapy. I understand the purpose of it. I do understand that they have this because it's obviously necessary for them to be able to send in the public that look, where providing that extra step. This extra bit of oversight. This extra service to keep the community safe. However, unfortunately, it's just not going to be, at least for me, the minute contextualize that to within my own experience. For me, it was not effective, because it is a group setting. So, there's anywhere from 12 to 1215+ men in a circle. It's an hour a week. There's absolutely no time to get into it. As a survivor yourself, the deep rootedness of the issue. It takes a lot of intense, one-on-one therapy and that's not something that can be managed or dealt with in a one hour a week session.
JamesIt really can't. Like I said that was my own experience, because other people may have different experiences, but that is what I found. The other option that is available is of course private therapy but becomes a catch 22. Private therapy can obviously be very expensive and if you're a sexual offender, your job and income options are very limited if there are any at all. See the catch 22. If someone can afford therapy that needs it there are some great local nonprofits that do offer counseling in that time for people on a sliding scale. That is based on your income, and does a great, but there are only so many of those resources I don't know what the answer is but I know there's gotta be something better than what were doing already.
DJMaybe by hearing your message and our stories those programs may be created. You're right about the lack of availability of services for sex offenders. As a treatment provider, there was a one time in my practice where the lease that I & said I cannot see sex offenders in the building. There are sometimes those stipulations that we as professionals have to abide by. Therefore, lack of resources are available to the population.
JamesSure. DJ, honestly, the balancing act comes from balancing legitimate need of the security of the community. Obviously, that has to be first and foremost. I don't think anybody can deny that. Stopping the victimization has to be the first and foremost goal. Unfortunately, with that comes a lot of a lot of red tape. You said regulations as to the assistance that someone who is truly trying to get help and receive. I do understand that obviously because the public needs to know that law enforcement is taking this seriously as possible. As many preventative measures are put in place as possible. It does come to a point where there are some things that are prohibitive for someone who really does want change and outside the system and able to get help.
DJMy strong belief is that incarceration is not treatment. If we’re going to incarcerate people who are once abuse themselves, that we have to provide treatment. We have to provide some type of treatment.
JamesI mean, I hundred percent agree with you because regardless of the fact that I was abuse, I broke the law. There are consequences that come with that. That is 100% obvious. And in no way shape or form can I blame my previous sexual abuse as a child to the fact that I broke the law. In the very egregious manner. It's not as small as a speeding ticket. It was very, what is probably one of the most stigmatized and hated crimes in America. However, on the flipside of that, while I agree with you that incarceration is a factor in their, there is no rehabilitated portion of that. I think the recidivism of offenders can be so affected if there was a good program in place. In a safe environment in the prison system. As you know, in the prison system, obviously, sex offenders are not even on the pole. There below the pole. They are the most, extorted and abused population within present. As you know, everyone needs someone to look down upon. I do say it, but it is just human nature. Everyone needs someone that is lower than themselves, that they can look at themselves and say I'm not that bad. It's not a safe environment imprisoned. In fact a lot of sex offenders tend to get a lot more reticent and closed in because you don't want people to know about you. You don't want your secret to get out. You live in fear every day. It's almost such a stressful environment. That literally the last time I came out, the very light trimmer is almost PTSD, even to this day I am very agoraphobic even in leaving my house. If I may be transparent, I hate even going to Walmart, just because of that constant fear..
DJSometimes we hear about sex offenders being assaulted sexually imprisoned. So, here you are, for someone who is, not you specifically, but may have been abused as a child goes on to defend and then is assaulted in the prison system where they're supposed to be rehabilitated. It just sounds really fucked up.
JamesIt truly is. If there is one thing that would cause such as schism in someone's already fragile psyche it's something that someone who has been abused and because of that has turned around and act as an abuser, to get further abuse, would eliminate any progress they had made. It would just send them straight back. I knew of people that that it happened to. Unfortunately, the person that does, especially the sexual offender is abused in the present. There are more the one to get moved and put someplace segregated and separated and for lack of better terms, just completely isolated instead of the abuser themselves.
DJ you're right. Dreadfully right. I hope that's not something that you have to encounter as your face saying six more years in jail, and prison really. You've already had two. Is that correct? Even in two years. Now you're going back for an additional six.
JamesSix years as the length of term, but I might be eligible for parole earlier than that. I don't know. I have no clue what the plans of God are. I will say one thing, I have had very strong faith is since I was a child. Obviously didn't walk accorded that for a good portion of my life. I let the demons inside of me when instead of. I've seen too many times especially people who are imprisoned for sex crimes suddenly find God, by religion. I think they can be a therapeutic factor, you obviously think something more than that. That's their only source of any sort of rehabilitative therapy. But, I know that it's good tool for me as I go into that. I'm honestly not worried. I'm not scared of going into prison. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm more and sad about leaving my family, my mom. My little blessing of a dog is kept me alive for last couple of years. I'm unhappy about that. Yes, in me sharing my testimony can be a light of any kind, while I am incarcerated, if there's anyone in there that is in a similar position that I can provide hope for, all for the ultimate point of helping someone to get therapy and not reoffend, not have another victim. Then, it's hundred percent worthwhile.
DJPretty impactful statement there. I'm curious if you consider yourself a sex addict?
JamesYes. I definitely do. In fact, I would say that would be, for lack of better term, and will use in medical jargon, I would say almost a morbidity to go along with the sexual symptoms. I'm deathly sex addict. That very much stems from the pornography addiction. The risky behavior. The classic signs. Say so.
DJI had a very often.
JamesI definitely think that sexual addiction is, I'm not gonna say it's the route, but it's very much a symptom of that deviant sexuality. I've known sex offenders who have also been drug addicts. I think it expresses itself in more than one way.
DJAbsolutely. It's the whack-a-mole principle. You know, you knock one down, another one comes up. The fact is, I hear, you know you said something earlier in your share how you are watching pornography and then you started noticing that you are looking for more exciting and tantalizing images. That is a hallmark for someone who is addicted. We keep searching out for something greater to give us a greater high. The fact is, we won't ever get that original high-back. So, we're just pursuing this, this false belief that there is something better on the other side and then we get tricked. We fall, some of us fall down the hole into really dark places.
JamesVery dark. Very dark places. Your hundred percent right on that. I think that at least for me, the sexual addiction was trying to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. If that makes sense.
DJIt makes a lot of sense.
JamesI think that I was trying to do. I think it's very similar to any drug addict why some people escalate their drug use. Again, whether sex, whether it's some sort of narcotic, whether or not it's alcohol, you become desensitized and you need more. It's the classic and it's this cycle of that sexual addiction during that first ritual listing phase, the hunching, the gathering, the ritual that is the most placating to the sexual addict. The complete despair after the sexual act is done just leads you to start the cycle all over again.
DJAbsolutely. I want to ask you, have any of your treatment providers been specialized in areas of sex offender or sex if pending behaviors are sexual addiction and or other process addictions?
JamesThe ones that we see the state-mandated counseling are licensed to provide therapy to sexual offenders. So, yes. Very true. The therapist that I have recently been seeing privately at a local nonprofit mental health organization specializes in sexual addiction.
DJGood. I'm glad! Have you been doing 12 step program?
JamesNo. No I haven't. It's odd, because within the area of sexual offense, there is a bit of divide over essay 12 step program is beneficial for sexual offenders. Primarily for the portion of the 12 step where you have to it's admit where your powerless over your addiction. It's not something that a lot of sexual offender therapists are comfortable putting on to someone who is a sexual offender because they want them to be responsible for that. I mean, I understand the dichotomy on both sides, but I have never done a 12-step program.
DJI'll say this, being powerless over an addiction does not mean you're not responsible for the consequent is a behavior. That's what I get out the 12 step. I've been in 12 step for almost 5 years. In multiple programs. I know people who are sexual offenders who benefit from going to 12 step meetings primarily with sex and love addicts anonymous or sex addicts anonymous. I think you could get help their as well.
I would encourage you that if you ever get an opportunity to check that out.
JamesI will be very transparent with you also. I did intend to begin attending and SAA, sex addicts anonymous, sexaholics anonymous, but was told by my supervising authority here, obviously, I'm under probation that that was not allowed. They, they can I don't know you can't tell you what the limit of the power is, they can direct the type of therapy that you can get. So, that's another problem, that sometimes even if you want to get that extra therapy or go to the meeting like I did, someone who is a sexual offender, who is having to follow the guidelines of whether it be probation or parole whoever the governing authority is. Sometimes not even allowed to do that.
DJYeah. Man, I hate to hear that. I really do. But, you know what? In prison, they may have some twelve-step programs in prison. Even if it's not specific to sexual behavior, I recommend you go because you know, the one thing that I have learned about the 12 steps is that the steps are the steps. You can substitute alcohol for drugs, substitute after sacks, substitute that for food, gambling, whatever. The 12 steps will get you through just about anything. That's my experience. My personal opinion.
JamesWell, even if you just look at the evidence of how many lives have been changed through something like an Alcoholics Anonymous or eight Narcotics Anonymous, obviously, they're doing something right.
DJYeah. Absolutely. I'm curious, what are the things that you have learned about yourself through all of this?
JamesI learned that I am a lot more broken and that I had originally thought. I learned that I am not in as much control as I thought I was originally. I am a person who likes to the control. To the point of manipulation. If you think of exactly the cognitive distortions that anyone who is an addict has, I have had a quite a few of them. It's been a very revealing look at myself, that I am completely able to manage this on my own. I've learned something else. It's one thing that I take from the verbiage of Alcoholics Anonymous. Someone who is and a recovering alcoholic is always an alcoholic. Even if they been sober for 30 or 40 years. There always a recovering alcoholic. I can't say. I don't think that right now in my own personal belief is, sexual offending is not something that necessarily can be healed because it's something that it broke within someone's nature. But it can be something that someone can be equipped with the tools to manage. To mitigate and control. Something that it will require my vigilance. I need to be smart. Going into the future, my biggest thing was hubris. A lot of pride. I thought that I could handle things on my own. I thought I could buy above the law. I thought I could manipulate my way out of any situation. Having those facts come crashing down around me has been the most eye-opening aspect of this entire journey.
DJMy hope for you is that you get to heal. You can't to be on the path of healing because it sounds like that process has been interrupted multiple times. I understand why. That doesn't mean that it is right. Yes, you have committed crimes. Yes, there has to be a punishment. But I strongly believe that there has to be treatment too. My hope is that you get on a path of healing, because it is important for you and for all of us to be on that path of healing. What happened to us is not our fault. But we are responsible for what we do as a result of what happened to us. So, I encourage you to do what you can to heal.
JamesThat is very much my hope as well. If anything, I'd don't want any sort of future victim. Whether that be a victim of in person or as it's tended to be, online you note child pornography. I don't have a place for that anymore. Thank you, the future healing is a large part of my journey.
DJYeah. Absolutely. Do you have any words of encouragement to our listeners who may find themselves in a similar predicament?
JamesYes. I would answer with probably send them to three different people. The first is a man who a survivor of sexual abuse. I think one thing that you said and has to be stressed so many times is that we absolutely have to understand it in no way was at our fault. I think that is such a hard concept to grasp. If is due to someone's sexual abuse or even if someone was in his sexual abuse but just notices that they have what we will identify as a deviant sexuality if that is an attraction towards children or anything that it might manifest as, I would beg you to seek out help before you become a sexual offender. In whatever way, you can seek out help, preferably through a mental health professional. If that's not available then some sort of pastoral or religious counselor whatever your faith may be. That would be something the first group I would say something to. The second would be to loved ones of that person. You know, when you been keeping secret and hiding for so long was a fear that I was gonna lose everything. So, what something that someone is so brave and courageous to make that step, what they needed to support encouragement for the people around them. Just be careful that it's not enabling. In other words, if there's been a crime committed against child, you can excuse that. It can't be dealt with. It has to be dealt with in the correct manner. That can't be swept under the rug. If someone struggling, but hasn't acted out or even has a pornography addiction or is just suffering from a severe depression because they were abused as a child, what they need to support. Then he did not have a safe secure environment. Last, for me personally one of my goals is to help bring a light to the subject within the realm of faith, within religious institutions, specifically in churches and even if his church is our be a mosque or temple, my faith would be obviously the Christian faith so as churches. Leadership, really educate themselves on this. It's not something that can go way. People who need help my comp to a pastor or church leader and that person needs to be prepared. It needs to be something that people need to know how to deal with. And to minister to that person and get them the help they need. They also need to know that it's something that can be handled just a religious counseling but they need something additional to that. So, at the church can provide a safe place in the home can be a safe place, then I think it would provide an opportunity for people who are struggling with that issue to get that help before someone else's heart.
DJPowerful words, James. Very powerful. I want to take this time to really thank you for being willing to come on to the show and be vulnerable and put the story out there. As someone who is also put his story out there, I know how challenging that can be. I can only imagine what it's like to say to the world, I am a criminal but I also was abuse. And to let go of what everyone my think about you, for being someone has broken the law but to to really put your story out there. It's powerful. It's just truly powerful. I am so glad that I was able to hear your story and to witness this part of your journey because I strongly believe that there is more to come for you and my hope is that you do your time and then you get out and you create a life for yourself that is full of healing.
JamesThank you for that. Think of that DJ. Thank you for providing the platform and for the work you are doing and that. You're right, it's difficult. But if you can have one person, then I guess it's worthwhile.
DJThat's why do.it.
JamesYour mom made mention that you were being picked up tomorrow. Is that accurate? Yes, it's possible. I'm supposed to report to the probation office tomorrow at 8 AM. What the outcome of that will be I don't know but it's very possible that tomorrow I will be reporting to the correctional facility.
DJWell, I wish you luck.
DJI hope you stay safe I hope you get the help you need. Thank you for sharing story with all of us.
Think you are turning into this episode of Journey On. I truly appreciate the effort that James made and come onto our show and be authentic and transparent. The topic isn't easy to talk about. It's not easy to listen to. So, I advise that you take care of yourself today. Spend some good quality time engaging in self-care behaviors. Make sure that you are talking to others in your recovery circle. If you don't have a circle, you gotta find one. You don't have to do this in isolation. If anything, that was brought up in today's show was triggering for you, then you gotta talk about it. Don't keep it bottled up inside. I appreciate that you keep coming back every week and you listen to the stories that we have for you each week on Journey On. Next week is a special episode as well because were to be talking to James's mom. She went to come on the show and sharing her experiences of supporting her son as he goes into this transition. I agreed to hear a story because I think it's important to hear from our families too. About what they have experienced as they are coming to an awareness about what is happen to us. So, tune in next week and will listen to James's mom's story and after that will have one more episode before we go on hiatus. So,stay tuned for the season finale of Journey On in two weeks.
The good news is that you can hear more stories like hands on each episode of Journey On. Don't forget to subscribe today on iTunes or Google play. Also check out our website at journeyonpod.com. I want to thank Ken once again for sharing his experience strengthened hope today. Ken has been integral to my recovery process and I believe his story of survival is profound and inspiring. Thank you for listening to each episode of Journey On!
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Until next time, breath deep [inhales] [exhales] and Journey On.
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