Episode 149: Overcome Pornography Client Interview - Josh and Amber

Jul 10, 2022


Hey everybody, welcome to another Mastery Monday here in the Self Mastery Podcast.

Today, I have plethora of guest not just one, Darcy?


Darcy: Hi


Zach: Hi, how are you?


Darcy: I’m good


Zach: Good!


I also have Amber and Josh, tell us something a little about yourselves?


Amber: Hi, I’m Amber and Josh, we’ve been married for fourteen years. We have three kids a ten, a seven and a three. We live in Texas right now. That’s the basics. Do you have anything to say about that?


Josh: We are a member of the church, grew up in a church. I think what’s permanent to this is, this kind of my experience is growing up, younger kid. Some sexual abuse kind of took place and make some poor choices throughout middle school, high school. (?) thought about solved everything and came back and dealing with thoughts of the poor choices. Me and Amber wanted to make some changes, just be more honest. So, that’s kind of how we started out with our marriage. That’s us. Love each other, have three great kids, love being in Texas. [1:44]


Amber: Yeah! I think something that impregnates to this too is like speaking of pornography. I was completely aware that Josh use pornography before we were dating. So, I knew something before going into the relationship. Different from some people that I know that usually a blinded sided thing. [2:08]


Zach: I think, especially, in older generations. And in my generation, I don’t think we even talked about it. The way that it talked about now. Darcy talked to girls from BYU, “Can you just help me?” and though we like “I know everything”. But were like “What do I do with it?”.


I think your experiences is awesome. Because is goes to show how much this is really about porn and something else. Josh and I work together, he would always say how awesome you are, Amber. And how you like “It’s not about me, you’re going to figure it out, I will be here to support you but I’m not going to make it about me.” So, I think that is a best component of your relationship that I just love. You guys are amazing! [3:11]


Amber: It’s a learning process, for sure.


Darcy: Hey, I’m going to be nosy, Can I ask how old were you, guys?


Amber: I’m thirty-four and Josh just turned?

Josh: Big four zero.


Amber: So, I was nineteen when we got married. I was young.


Josh: Yeah.


Amber: Josh is my first boyfriend. You know, type of things. I felt like I was blessed for being understand it all means. I’m not like “Oh no way, I’m done, I’m out.” I was like “okay, we can work with that.”


Josh: She shattered my concept of “Get away and never talk to me again!” And I was like “Oh my gosh, this is great.”


Darcy: She’s a keeper.


Zach: I imagine you guys have tried all kinds of things. You probably went to the 12 Steps.


Amber and Josh: No.


Zach: I can’t believe that’s true.


Josh: We did Life Star. And we did one on one counseling with LBS Counselors. Bishops.


My coping mechanism honestly, I feel like I’m getting more ableist but ever since I had a problem with pornography and masturbation. I think reading the book of Mormon it’s been really truly helps. Its one of those things get wicker pocket quotes like “changes behavior instead of behavior improve behavior”. I feel like doing some of the studying behavior along with scriptures it can improve behavior faster than just study scriptures won’t improve behavior. That’s kind of open my mind to try new things and coping for so many years. It helps and it was good but opening up to modern techniques is often beneficial. [5:23]


Zach: What was different about working with me versus working with all those other parents?


Josh: What do I say?


Amber: Well, in my opinion, I think, so, I started to see my weeds growing, right? And you’re going to bishop or any of these things or cut the weeds down and you go to the lawn and cutting them down. But they’re going to grow back up. But I feel like this approach, going to the roots of it and pulling the weeds out. So, it’s never come back but it’s very less likely you’re going to root of the problem it’s not like “Hey, buy this filter for your internet and set time limit this way.” That kind of things can control behavior a little bit but you’re not actually getting into what causing the behavior. So, I think that’s the bigger difference. [6:14]


Josh: Yeah! A lot of this things coping mechanism and buffering techniques. All these things will it to happen. I feel like there’s things you can think about it and process to them. Analyze to them. Plan for it. It’s going to happen! It is not like all of a sudden you’re going to be a unique for not having urges at all, whatsoever. Like you’re a normal being human being. You have sexual urges and you have to learn how to adapt to them and figure it out and channel it in appropriate ways. And I think also going below and finding out what you’re feeling and okay for being uncomfortable. We’re talking about reminders of the Grinch, “Didn’t mean you feel uncomfy!”


I thought about that a lot after we talked. And you’re going to be okay for being uncomfortable. You just going to be there and sit with it and process it and think about it. I think it’s a good job if I probably could have, should have, would have. We can still move forward and move on and work it some more. I think, it’s good for me to be okay and processing your feeling, “why am I feeling this way?” And I did choose it. Own that.


I know some of the things a little about earlier as well as I know I talk about this. Talking about intimacy and what that is. I’ve been able to talk about it and some of the things I haven’t talked and haven’t share before with Amber about “this is how I plan it” and “this is typically what I go to with and I choose it” My thoughts and my feelings is I think I deserve it. That’s kind of things I never had share before. I think that’s kind a… I don’t think I’m gonna feel good about intimacy, obviously. Not only sexual but deeper trust. Be able to open up and talk about things. I think that helps. [8:20]


Darcy: Which could be scary, cause your partner could reject you. Like you could share something and they’re like not handle it. The way that you wanted them to.


Amber: Absolutely!


Darcy: Willing to share still, its huge.


Zach: I think often times Darcy deals with women who are not the same way as Amber is and they very much make it about them. And I think that’s where Darcy was in the beginning or struggle this place where, if I had share what you’re talking about there, “This what I plan it, this is what I do” Darcy would make all of that means something about her. And Amber had already done that work and I already have in the position. That wasn’t really the issue for her and all she had to do was know you! And knowing you that’s what intimacy really is, right? Being too exposed and feel that exposure and not necessarily worry about “okay, well she might reject me, she may not reject me” But in this case it worked out in exactly the way the I hoped it’ll work out. And it wasn’t about rejection is about seeing you of who you really were. And that to me is gold! [9:33]


Josh: Yeah! I think the hard part is sometimes when I’m ready to talk about things and she’s not and the reaction were like just she has feelings and I can’t control those and I have to be okay if she processed those. If it’s awkward and weird. I want it to be “it’ll be okay” And I’m saying these things and I’m ready with these things and you should be too. Don’t feel that way and I think that’s the hard part knowing that she ‘s has her own feeling and I have to be willing to accept whatever those are. And move forward with that and I can’t make her feel a certain way or move past in certain way of time. Or something like that. [10:24]


Darcy: And I think too, her, having those feelings and you being able to acknowledge those feelings but also not feel like you’re in charge of them or you have to fix it. But you can be okay of who you are, even if she is not okay in that moment. [10:44]

Josh: She’s been really okay most of the time. There are few times “Okay!” I’m really… because it’s not like you’re going through this spin.


We talked once and all of a sudden I don’t look like anything and I’m perfect in every way; I’m still struggling and still working through it and still talking about it. It’s a process that feel like it’s been good for that intimacy to talk about things. And kind of get past on the “I’m sorry, I move on, I’ll fix it and do better.” And be able to go deeper and try to process it.


Darcy: [11:26] I like what you’re saying, that you’re not perfect, right? like your making strides you’re continuing to do the work and moving forward. Instead of I feel like it’s easy to beat yourself up about it and fall back into the self-loathing and the…


Josh: Shame


Darcy: That. The shame and feel so defeated and you know “I wanted to give up!” and all those- kind-of-feelings.


Zach: You’ve talked about a little bit of how you are more able to express things. More able to have conversation that you never probably thought that you ever have had before. How else have things that change to you as a couple?


Amber: [12:You mean goes back to like; the intimacy but on a different level. Not just physical but emotional, spiritual we can be. We can talk about it. Before I was like tiptoeing around. Like subtle but now it’s like “Hey! This is how I’m feeling”, “I want to talk about this” or “how did your coaching going?” It’s more comfortable to talked about and not protected and I feel like we’re hidden.


Josh: Our taboo.


Amber: Yeah! It is what it is.


Josh: I told you when we get married, so don’t ever bring it up again. You know.


Amber: Yeah.


Josh: I feel like the openness has been; I think for me like nab it’s the best things for us. We’ve talked about that a lot. It’s just being able to notice a name, allow and asked. And the one thing I struggle with the most is the breathe and be kind. Cause I’m a “go, go, go” kind-of-guy. And I don’t want to do that last step, I don’t want to take inventory and breathe and be kind to myself. That I was able to move forward and move past. But that one acronym, that technique has been kind of my favorite one. That best one for me at least. [13:22]


Amber: But not like just in pornography but other things like in our life. Like “Hey, this is how I’m feeling” even if is just an over whelming stress not related to any choices but just we’re able to recognize that “this is what we’re feeling, you don’t need to fix it. That’s not what I tell you”.

You know?


Zach: I think that goes right back to that amazing analogy that you have. “We’re not just mowing a lawn” “We’re not mowing the weed down we are pulling them out of the room.” That is what technique is designed to do. It’s design to help you to deal with, that weed, all the way down to the bottom of what’s going on with it. Whatever that weed is in your life. Whether is pornography or overeating or emotional stress or whatever it is. This will help you to go through that process. And of course, I don’t know if that technique will work with everything all the time. But it certain that it has works a lot of things for me. [10:16]


Josh: It’s like the same things I’m talking about with the simple tools. Like planning it out. When its going to happen; I just think that something else is different from other things that we try versus these. Kind of forward thinking and forward planning. Being able to… I don’t know…


Amber: Very intentional?


Josh: Yeah! You really want to just; process if it moved forward. And I think, I like your making mistakes, you move forward. You learn, you move forward.


Zach: The mistakes are data! They’re not a problem, they’re the next thing you needed to learn. [14:56]


Josh: And I think going back to shame. We talked about the guilt that comes on. We were talking one of our first sessions. You were just like “how many times your pornography last month?” and I was like “Oh! It’s been this or that” and you said “Oh, well!” 99.97%...


Zach: 99.97% of the time you’re good.


Josh: Right? I never thought of it like that. I was just like I think being kind to your self is something that needed more especially because is such a shameful thing. Especially in the church.


Darcy: And I felt like our coach, we expect such perfection around this; like immediate result; like “okay, I want this gone and I want it gone now!” “I never wanna go back” that kind of mentality. And not just like any other struggle you have in your life. Like how often your able to hold a turkey and cut it out? I know I can’t, maybe other people can. I’m not that awesome! [15:58]


Zach: Not here either.


Darcy: And I think that it’s awesome just be able to realize, we can still move forward. Even things aren’t perfect. [16:10]


Zach: I think that’s literary means of atonement. That is the essence of what the atonement has provided us. Where going to make mistakes, there’s the question. That’s agency in a nutshell. I think often times, in the way the I explain it. Agency have this capacity to choose but really when we fought to the agency, we fought to the capacity, the ability to make mistakes. And then the atonement pays for them! And that was the whole set up, those two things side by side, that is the plan. There some new ones around it but that’s really the whole plan. And the fact that we have this agency thing and then atonement pays for those mistakes. Not because we’re trying; sometimes people will say “well, when you talked about it that way, why would I’ve just keep making all of the mistakes? And just eat, drink and be merry?” as they say, right? And that’s not it nobody is doing that if they care. If we care, were not just doing it because its willy nilly whatever. [17:15]


I can let this go because in know somebody is taking care of it. And now I can grow. I can grow beyond it. And not have to wallow it. And that was; that was a mind shift for me. You know, sometimes at churches say things like that, people are “what about personal responsibility?” and I’m like “C’mon!” [17:36]


Darcy: You can’t atone for your own sins. [17:38]


Zach: You can’t, right?


Josh: [17:49] Speaking of modern scriptures, often some people saw forgiveness in real intent, they’re forgiven. Like, is that really intense I want to try that again. I think going to these, for me at least, are taking that sacrament. And you were like “Hey! I made mistakes these past few weeks.” It’s a new week and the savior’s there and his atonement is real. And you can move forward just ask for help. Just ask for help! And figure it out! Say “I’m gonna do better, I’m gonna try again” And it’s there, and I think that something – for me at least – forgiveness is at least to allow the savior. The savior wants me to ask for help. The savior sitting here and say “Yes! Please! I wanna help you. Let’s try again this week is a new week. Let’s do it!” And allowing him to be kind to me. Allowing that kindness to come in. [18:32]


Zach: Yeah! And I love that particular aspect of it. I think we often punch ourselves in the face. I’m going to beat myself up enough to succeed. If you look at the atonement, right? And all of that amazing work; that is available; that grace; that is available to us. [18:50]


How has the work that you and I have done, augmented your capacity to move beyond the struggle? How have you gotten better to move beyond struggle because of this work? And having that atonement there behind you?


Josh: I think, to start from the beginning, we talked about that agency. I think I have the ability to choose and I was like “Oh… I could choose that” or “I’m going to but I’m going to do it this time.” And if I want to, I think it felt so uncontrollable before. It felt like you can, it can; it’s going to ram against you, and ram against you and all of a sudden, the door is gonna burst in and you never control it. You can’t control it. You can’t keep it at bay and you can’t hold it back. And I think the ability to say “Oh. This is my choice!” I think that, that is helps. And when you make mistakes, you will, that it’s like you’re doing pretty good; like analyze it. Learn something and move forward. And I think that; for me that choice at that agency put process that I think it’s been able to help me because I can choose to repent and choose to change and choose to try again – when I do make mistakes. I think that I like that works that we’re done there. [20:18]


Zach: [20:19] I think that one of those things that we too often forget is that the mistakes are built in. They’re part of the process. Who is it the All Things New book? The Gibbons! So, there’s a book called All Things New and in there Fiona and Terold Gibbons. He is maybe the professor at BYU but they’re both very scholarly. They talked about sin not as a crime but as a wound. And often times as a theology and also as a general people we just gonna think that when we sin, we’re committing a crime but in they’re research and in there understanding of the way. Maybe old testaments and pre old testaments. Theology talks about sin is really about the wound talks about Christ is the healer. His not the punisher, His not the jailer, His not the guy who necessary let’s you out of the jail. He’s the healer. And you can look at our missteps as wounds that our healed through Christ. That’s a different conversation than necessarily the one that we were all thought.


Josh: And you must have payment.


Zach: Right. And we can never pay for anything because we don’t have that capacity.


Is there anything else that stands out to you?


Amber: I do. I think of few, one of the biggest one’s it’s been a process but like your talk about; I had friend thought that we were struggling, like her husband struggling in pornography and started things; I don’t think that she even knew that Josh been in a rehab. She’s been telling but it shouldn’t be big of a deal because it’s not about me. And it kind of hit me like “Yeah, your right, it has nothing to do with me”. And I quit the mental work, life coaches and that kind of stuff. Yeah, I can’t control him and his choices. And I know a lot of women think, maybe if I look better, if I were skinnier or if I did this or if I did that. It might actually you can be like whatever. And it will still… [22:42]


Darcy: A porn star.


Amber: [22:42] Right! And it will still so happen that it has nothing to do with his choices and separate that, because it’ll be a big whole moment for me to think like, I don’t know… This is his journey and my journey but like we’re so married but we can both have out own experiences. And that’s gonna be the big one.


[23:02] And I think talking about being perfect. And I used to have a thought like you can never look at pornography again because that’s the end goal; that’s the what we’re going for and it would happen again and I was like “oh, my gosh! Here we are again.”


Zach: Starting over.


Darcy: Ground zero!


Amber: [23:18] Yeah! But that kind of realization let’s say your working on a tool or something like “Hey, I’m going to call you.” And be like “Hey, I want to look at pornography.” Like whatever goal your set together, this is it. And let’s say he does that; like in your sense that was perfect because that is skill you are working on. Like you made progress now, instead of expecting perfectionism. Why not set our goal and let’s used this tool and you did it, look at the progress you’ve made, right? Instead of expecting perfection but it’s like finding ways along the way. Like I know some of our goals were like sit and often talked about it and if we did that, that’s a win! Like you know; so…

Darcy:  I once worked for a lady that was like “I don’t wanna talk about it, I don’t wanna talk about pornography like it’s so uncomfortable; like how do you get comfortable talking about it?” Right? And I was like “You just talk about it; Like the more you talked about it the more your comfortable you’ll get with it” Just like anything in life. Like the more you do something the more familiar it is, the easier it is, the more comfortable it is. [24:26]


Amber: Yeah! I say one more is I like to tell my brain a lot of times “nothing is going wrong here” Like we in pornography or our relationship. Nothing is gone wrong. Is all part of the plan. It’ll supposed to happen. Sometimes you like to freak out when it’s not perfect, is not like what we expected but I’ll like to say “It’s okay! Nothings gone wrong. You know. We’re figuring out.” [24:59]


Darcy: I loved to know how many couples got married and it’s just perfect? That it was exactly how they envisioned.


Amber: Zero!


Darcy: I know.


Amber: [25:12] I know pornography is like something else but the thing about church is hard because it’s like a lot, like shame and different things around it. And kind a feel heavier for some people.


Josh: I think one of my humble moments was were talking to Amber and expressing that I made poor choices and looking at pornography. She said “I just want to know if your committed from improving?” That’s what I want. She didn’t give me an ultimatum and say “you need to stop or never see us again. Are you committed to progress? That’s what I wanna know!” And that to me was very validating to say “Yes. I am.” I love my family, I love you, I want this to forever and I made a poor choice. I want us and I want our eternal family and I think that I can progress and I can able to move forward and that’s for me is very validating. And that was good, a humble (?) between us, as a couple that I will remember. [26:20]


Darcy: The best thing that came to my mind when you’re saying that. Last night I read a post about this lady that her husband is relapses like every week on by looking at pornography. And she doesn’t wanna have sex, you know right after.  It’s just like a cycle and most of the comment was “that’s not a relapse!” “she’s not even trying.” But I want it to be like he could be making huge progress, he could’ve been looking at porn every single day, right? Or like hours and hours every day to one day a week. You know like we automatically assumed that the person not doing the work when you don’t know where that person started. It’s huge to be able to look at where are we, where are we started and how are we making progress versus that perfection you’re talking about.


Amber: [27:15] It always different from everyone, you can’t compare yourself to other people. Even you read or hear them out because it’s not you, you know.


Zach: But I think the attitude the you brought is are you committed, which is our Heavenly  Father asks us to bring to be committed, to do the work, to move forward, to learn, to grow, to progress as best we can. Not be perfect. But unfortunately, I think we have this cultural idea about this one arena you must be perfect otherwise you destroyed your marriage. [27:50]


You guys, do you think your marriage can destroy by porn?


Amber: No!


Josh: No!


Zach: Let me ask you because we talked about this very often our position in pornography is strengthen our marriage not because watching it is good for us but because…


Darcy: I didn’t watch it. Just clarifying.


Zach: Just make sure but because the process of moving beyond it.


Josh: I think Amber is in the same boat. Just you and me, man! You and me.


Darcy: The way you said that, sounded like we were watching it together.


Zach: Not because I was watching porn was good for us. Let me just restate that so I could back in.


Darcy: Thank you!


Zach: [28:37] Not because me watching porn but because the process of moving beyond it was the thing that help us grow as an individual and as a couple. So, would you say to that has been your experience?


Amber: [29:13] Yeah! I think so. And I don’t say this to brag or anything but our marriage is pretty great otherwise. Like I don’t see any issue or problems. So, this is the one thing that we’re working through, I’ll take it. Because if it’s not that and maybe something else, you know? And so…


And I’ll add something like people always think greener on the other side and it’s like you found someone else there’s gonna be something else and you still have your same brain so, you’ll still have same issues, right? So, if you’re gonna work on yourself, no matter what the issue that your spouse has so… [29:30]


Josh: Amen


Zach: Do you guys talked to your kids differently now like you did maybe a year ago, about pornography?


Darcy: Their kids are pretty young.


Amber: I’ve always been pretty open like with them about it and…


Josh:  [29:45] Yeah! I think we talking about them like “kids are gonna show you stuff and your gonna see things, that’s kind a..” and we talked a lot about I think like ways we wanted to introduced technology to them because we can’t let them live other a rock or in the middle of nowhere and like “what is this!”


Darcy: And they get on their mission and “Whoo…”


Josh: Yeah. And I think…


Amber: Maybe agency? Like choices. Also, I think helping them like “oh, you seem really upset now?” or maybe helping them name their feelings. It’s been one thing, I think… [30:20]


Josh: And I think one the thing is “you’re gonna make mistakes the important part is to repent. It’s change. It’s okay” Like we talked about it as a couple for our kids are at the party and drunk and they; we wanted them to call us. We’re not gonna be happy but we go get you. We’ll have a conversation later. Like “You made a mistake, let’s work on it.” [30:45]


Zach: I love it. Any last thought? Any wisdom you wanna share with the wider world of The Self Mastery Podcast?


Josh: To the million of listener out there…


Amber: I like that you’re manifesting that.


Zach: Thanks! I appreciate that.


Darcy: Not millions. Hundred thousands but…


Josh: Millions. It’s going to be millions. The podcast is something that you give away all your... I don’t want to say everything because they wanted you to sign up but…


Zach: You can because I do. But the truth is I give it away but that doesn’t mean that you can implement it. That’s why you need a coach.


Josh: Yeah! During the coaching has been awesome. I know for us it’s like we’re waiting for bonus if it is okay, are we gonna do this? Sounds like “Life coach school let’s see if it’s a legit thing” And we were like what we’ve been doing for the last few years got us were we are and we try to see if we can move forward and do even better. We we’re like let’s put the money down because it’s awesome to do that. I think it’s been worst in every way, in every penny; the access to the podcast, the access to the online tools and for you to listen and learn. Something that’s gonna be utilizing for years and years and years. So, it’s a… I think that’s been awesome. So, to anyone out there that need consult, go do it! Please! [32:31]


Zach: with me. Just scroll to the bottom of the page.


Darcy: How scary is Zach?


Zach: I am scary.


Josh: No, his super fun and he makes it real. I think that’s the thing that calls whatever it is. Your being around the bush trying to describe like is he like this? That’s what to afraid to say. Look… I think just getting past the awkwardness and been able to talk about it and in a way. That’s been really good. Zach’s awesome. You need to sign up.


Zach: I didn’t even pay you to say that.


Amber: I know.


Josh: I know. I paid you to say that.


Zach: You paid me to endorse me. I like that.


You guys are amazing. We really appreciate you guys. We really appreciate you willing to share. We really appreciate you coming on the podcast and I have grown to love Josh, you know as someone who struggled like myself. Seeing where Josh was and how it’s just gonna ate up him. And I was like I gonna get this guy to where he wants to be. And I just come to love and enjoy our conversations and it’s been wonderful to talk to him. Thanks again. Later.


Amber and Josh: Goodnight! Bye!


Zach: Bye!

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