I loved my Dad. He was my hero. My Pal. I admired and respected him. He was the ultimate family man. As a family we loved him and he loved us. I grew up in Rexburg Idaho. On a beautiful clear morning on June 5, 1976 I heard on the radio that the Teton Dam had broken and a tidal wave of water was rushing towards our quiet little town. We fled to a hill that overlooked the valley to watch as we lost everything we owned. Later, as we worked hard to dig what was left of our house out of the mud and debris we could see my dad wasn’t feeling well. We thought it was the stress of having lost a lifetime of work. However, one month after the flood my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and one month later he died. He had stopped smoking 15 years earlier. It was the most difficult thing he had ever done. Tobacco killed my Dad. I hate tobacco. There is only one purpose for cigarettes — to regulate the amount of nicotine in an addict’s bloodstream. People who sell tobacco do so for money at the expense of many lives; the lives of the addicts themselves, but also the lives of the ones they love most.
Pornography and sexual addiction are just as damaging as tobacco. Pornography is insidious — proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects. When people are addicted to pornography it infiltrates their lives and leaves a shell of a human being left. People who are addicted to pornography lose their motivation, time, self-respect, joy of living, connection with others, and free will. They have to sneak to hide their activity in isolation. They become depressed and anxious, irritable and withdrawn. They eventually become out-of-control, but can’t really tell anyone. They hate pornography and themselves, but as often as they try to quit they often fail, thereby increasing their desperation.
I remember the account of a fourteen year old daughter and her friend walking in on her dad viewing pornography. She was horrified, embarrassed, ashamed and disgusted. Her friend never came over again; her mother wouldn’t let her. This fourteen year old daughter asked her mother, “Those girls that Dad was looking at weren’t much older than me! Does Dad look at me like that?” Their relationship has never been the same; it has been two and a half years.
Countless marriages have been destroyed because of pornography. Families have been torn apart and children deprived of the stability of a two-parent home. Immeasurable pain, guilt and suffering have occurred. I have seen the effects on families who are left when a father or brother have committed suicide because they can no longer carry the burden of a pornography addiction.
I am a Psychologist and I know better than to blame the addict, who is a victim along with their family. I hate pornography! I hate tobacco! My Dad died abruptly, but with dignity and honor. Pornography is worse. It is easy to understand a tobacco addiction; it is difficult for loved ones to understand a sexual addiction. It is insidious. It is devastating. It takes away someone we love.
In this episode, Mark Kastleman speaks about how internet pornography is likened to a drug. Mark goes on to state that if that is true then internet pornographers are “Drug Dealers.”
In this episode, Mark Kastleman speaks about how viewing pornography can literally alter the makeup of the brain. Mark goes on to discuss how through using the tools taught in the Candeo Recovery Program the brain can be “re-wired.”
In this episode, Mark Kastleman speaks about how viewing pornography can literally effect the judgement and thinking centers of the brain.
My first real job out of college was the ideal scenario for me. It was a company that I loved, the culture was a perfect fit for me, I was empowered by my managers, and I excelled in the areas of my influence. The company grew to a point where our founders decided to sell. Not surprisingly, with the sale came some staffing shifts, so I volunteered to temporarily shoulder a particularly burdensome responsibility on top of my regular duties, until a new person could be hired. We already had approval for the new hire, and I was told they would be interviewing for the position within a few days.
My entire work day was spent on these new responsibilities, which forced me to work late most nights in order to not fall behind in my regular responsibilities. At first, I handled it fine. It was only temporary, after all, and I can work through just about anything if I see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But as the days turned to weeks and eventually months, life began to take its toll. Essentially I spent so much time on a task I didn't enjoy, that I was underperforming in the things I did enjoy. I felt as though I was being punished for being a good employee.
When the weekends came around I was so mentally exhausted that I was constantly disengaged from my family. Internally, I was frustrated that it was taking so long to resolve my situation. Frustration eventually turned to hopelessness, and because nobody likes to feel hopeless all the time, my emotions shut down. The only emotion that remained was anger. I did my best to control my anger, but would often get upset at my wife or daughter, with little or no justification for it.
What I was experiencing was burnout, which is essentially mental or even physical collapse. It's mainly brought on by overwork and stress, as in my case, but can also come seemingly out of nowhere. People who suffer from burnout often feel as though the effort they put in is more than they're getting back. This leads to a loss of motivation, and loss of hope. People with high expectations of themselves, a tendency toward perfection, and who place high value on achievement may be more susceptible to burnout. Work and personal life factors (such as parenting) are also major contributors.
The key to overcoming burnout is recognizing it, and stopping the cycle before your brain develops a habitually depressive state. It's important to talk to loved ones about the way you're feeling, and make time to do healthy activities that you love. When you get home from work, you may want to sit on the couch and watch TV. This is a mindless activity that doesn't require you to really engage with anyone, so it's appealing. But in order to build up your healthy brain activity, you need to engage with the world around you and actively focus your brain on things you enjoy, rather than your daily stresses. Some healthy activities may include:
These activities, and many others, can help your brain clear out the stresses of your day. Taking time to reset your mind after a long day of work or a stressful day at home with screaming children is crucial to maintaining balanced brain chemistry, and breaking the cycle of depression. The key is to do something mentally engaging that you enjoy, and that isn't stressful.
Final Note to Parents About Burnout
I'd like to say one last thing to anyone suffering from burnout as a result of parenting (especially you stay-at-home moms who keep this world turning). Many parents feel that taking time for themselves is selfish, and they're bad parents if they aren't always with their children. The fact is, when you're suffering from burnout, you're not in a place to give your children the love and attention they need. When I'm burnt out, I get angry with my daughter for making messes. She's 3 years old, for crying out loud. Any rational adult knows that my daughter isn't being bad; she's being 3! But when I take even 30 minutes for myself, I am more in control of my emotions and handle the messes just fine. So in short, taking time for yourself is not selfish. It's best for you, and your children.
As with just about anything, overcoming burnout and other depressive symptoms is easier to talk about than to accomplish. If you or someone you know is suffering from burnout and needs guidance on how to improve your life and your relationships that are suffering as a result of your depression symptoms, let us help. You're not broken, weak, or flawed, and your symptoms don't have to be permanent.
What is the very purpose and meaning of life? It is to be happy. If we are not happy, what is the point? There is only one way to be happy–through love! Love and respect for ourselves and for others. Misery comes from deep loneliness and isolation. As human beings we were made and created to love. Without it, we experience shallowness, void and despair. We NEED each other! People need people. The deeper and more affectionate our love, the deeper and greater our happiness.
Because of insecurity, shyness and lack of courage too many isolate themselves. They want to love and be loved, but find themselves alone. Their lives are often tortured with loneliness and secrecy. Too many are afraid to be honest, open and transparent with others–to be fully known. Because we are social beings too many assuage these feelings with fantasies and imaginations of love and connection. Too many are vulnerable to the emptiness of pornography. It gives them pleasure, but not satisfaction; lust but not love; objectification of the body but not commitment to the soul. Love is rich, satisfying, respectful, devoted and committed. Pornography is cheap, fleeting, isolated, shallow and superficial. One is real nourishment, the other is empty calories; with one we live, the other we starve.
It’s interesting to note that in my treatment of sexual addiction, as my patients give and receive “real” love, they move away from pornography. If the expression of love is affection, then I say be abundantly affectionate–not out of selfish interest, but with a motive of true commitment and forging a bond with another person. When I was getting my Ph.D. one of my colleagues found in her research that the more a father loves his daughter the less likely he is to sexually abuse her. She found that love is a prevention and protection from using someone sexually for selfish pleasure.
Shouldn’t we all develop within ourselves genuine and deep love–first, for those close to us, and then for everyone around us? The reward is our own deep happiness, respect and richness in life. “If you want to be good at something, what do you have to do?” I challenge all of us to develop and practice being loving, helpful, deeply committed to those around us and genuinely and abundantly affectionate to all. As we habitually care about others, serve others and love others, we become the beneficiaries of truly abundant living.
I have seen countless elementary school aged kids who are addicted to porn. I remember one little boy who was out for recess playing softball on a spring morning. There was a group of boys huddled in a group on the other side of the field. After the game he went over out of curiosity. They were looking at pornographic pictures that one of the boys had snuck from his Dad’s collection at home.
This innocent, sweet little boy related to me that he was intrigued and then quickly addicted. He kept one of the pictures and carried it with him and hid it under his mattress at home. He searched for other pictures. He was in the second grade. A few years later, when he was 11-years-old, he molested his sister and was removed from his home and placed in a residential treatment facility for over a year. What a childhood this sweet innocent little boy experienced after he was introduced to porn and became addicted.
I will never forget a mother who came into my office ten years ago, eyes swollen and red. She related a story about her 24-year-old son. He was the Valedictorian in High School; popular, affectionate, loving, a leader. He was a spiritual young man and loved going to Church and participating. He had even gone on a mission for our church to share with others the love he felt for the Savior. After he returned from his mission he went on to college and was on the high honor roll. Just the week before I met her, she had come home after shopping at the grocery store. She saw that his car was in the driveway so she knew he was home. She and her son had always had a very special bond and relationship. He was the kind of son who would say to his friends, “Of course I’m a momma’s boy” and he was proud of it.
After setting the groceries down she called his name and went downstairs to his room to find him. The door to his bedroom was ajar. She knocked, but when he didn’t answer she opened the door and found her beloved son lying in a pool of blood. He had shot himself in the head. She screamed and held him in her lap. She lost consciousness. It was too much for her to bear. When she came to she was covered in her son’s blood. Hundreds came to his funeral. They were confused, shocked. How could someone who had so much talent, life and enthusiasm have taken his own life? He had left a note.
“I am sorry. I can’t go on. I am so ashamed. Please don’t blame me. I have been struggling with pornography for years. At times I have gone months without viewing it, but I always fail. I am so ashamed. You know I respect women; I can’t believe that I can’t quit. I hate what I look at. I hate I can’t quit. I can’t take it anymore. I hate myself for what I have become. I love you. Please understand. I would rather be dead than alive and living with this horrible secret and repulsive craving for something that disgusts me. Your Son.”
In despair, shame and desperate hopelessness he killed himself.
Since then I have seen many Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and friends who are left heartbroken after a suicide. Whenever I hear of a suicide, I always wonder if it is from someone who has struggled with a sexual addiction alone. I have seen many, way too many.
The Candeo program is designed to help you achieve positive, lasting change, as opposed to a quick-fix that lands you right back into old habits. Successfully breaking free of unwanted behaviors takes time and consistent effort.
Our experience with individuals across the world has clearly demonstrated that those who experience lasting success stay with the Candeo program for at least 6 months. We have designed the Candeo program to reflect the minimal time frame that you need to succeed—our program is just $49 per month.
I have noticed that some people coming to the Candeo website see the cost and don't know if it's worth it or wonder if there's a cheaper alternative. As someone who suffered with porn addiction for many years, and broke free using the Candeo program, let me tell you without hesitation-IT'S WORTH THE COST MANY TIMES OVER!
Having said that, let me tell you what I've learned about overcoming this addiction from my own experience and observing others who have been through it.
What does it take to recover from porn addiction? If I might, I'd like to compare success in overcoming porn addiction to success in athletics. What does it take to succeed as an athlete? The right motivation, the best knowledge and tools, work ethic and lots of practice, and the right coach.
I personally made several half hearted attempts to overcoming my porn addiction. For the longest time, I attempted to do it for the wrong reasons. I ultimately came to realize that the primary reason for overcoming this thorn in my side had to be love . . . for myself. I had to do it for me. If I did not want this with all my heart, it wasn't going to work. Doing anything to please others is counter productive and self destruction in slow motion. I had to come to realize that, first, I didn't love myself. In fact, I hated who I saw in the mirror. Second, if my motivation to quit porn was found outside of myself, my efforts would eventually fade and I would fail again. Doing it for my wife, kids, or anything else was not enough. You've got to do it for YOU-out of love for yourself.
So with the right motivation, the next question is, do you have the work ethic to overcome the addiction you got yourself into? Are you ready to put in the time, effort and practice it takes? Just as it is in becoming a skilled athlete, overcoming your porn addiction does not happen in one training session. It comes down to gaining the knowledge, the tools and the skills to use them, and then giving your all to your recovery practice. The daily practice prepares you to face temptation and your addiction in real life-it prepares you for “game time.”
Then the game of real life comes. Let's say you win one! You use what you have practiced and in a tempting situation, you choose not to act out your addiction. Awesome, but are you finished? Of course not. You have to keep practicing and getting ready for the next challenge. What if you fail? Do you give up and say the program doesn't work? No! You use the loss as a learning opportunity, go back and practice some more and prepare for the next chance to test your skills. Just like “becoming” great at a particular sport is a process, your recovery is a process of winning and losing, learning and growing, practicing and always moving forward in spite of setbacks.
With the right motivation, work ethic, knowledge, tools and skills, you still need a “coach,” because let's face it-you can't do this alone. If you could, you would have by now! The amazing thing is, you don't have to go it alone. There are coaches who have the know-how to help you become the champion you want to be. Your coach is waiting for you at Candeo.
Bring your motivation and work ethic to the Candeo program and with the new knowledge, tools and skills you gain, along with the help of your Candeo Coach, you will be on the path to overcoming your porn addiction.
Is the Cost Worth It?
Is the Candeo cost worth it? In my opinion, Candeo is worth its weight in gold. No dollar amount can be placed on the freedom I have gained and the life I am now living, thanks to Candeo. Sure, we are living in tough economic times, but let's be honest . . . you paid for porn! And if you never actually paid out monetarily, you did with time, and we all know, time is money. Today, Candeo is less than half the price it was when I first found the program. I did it without hesitation. Like me, you have so much to gain. And remember, it's just money-you'll make more.
What is my advice to someone trying to decide whether or not to go forward with the full Candeo program? Do whatever it takes to join Candeo because your life, and pretty much everyone in it, needs you to. You and everyone, and I mean everyone, around you will be affected for good by this decision. After all, you only have your freedom to gain.
There is no set timeframe for overcoming unwanted sexual behaviors. Everyone is different. However, you can begin experiencing some positive changes very quickly. The real challenge is how to make those changes last, and become a part of your life long-term. You need a program that will help you achieve permanent, positive change. It will take time and work, but you can do it! Take comfort in knowing that the changes you seek are well within your reach.
“How long does it take to break out of pornography addiction.” The answer is—”It's different for each individual.” There are so many physical, mental and emotional factors and variables that play a part in this addiction, the recovery process and time table. Knowing that everyone's situation is different, we designed the Candeo program to be as universal and inclusive as possible. We also designed it to work in harmony with all of the people who might be involved in an individual's recovery journey—a therapist, counselor, spouse, parent, clergy, etc.
Here is what one of our recovery Students had to say about his own recovery process and time frame:
“When I first got on the Candeo program I really didn't know how long it would take to get over my addiction. After a month or so of using the tools I was having some good successes and feeling really confident. I thought maybe it was that easy and I was home free. But then I got over confident and had a relapse and was pretty depressed. But my Candeo coach and the other Candeo students on the forum really helped me through it and I got back on track. The forum is great because we all use our screen name so it's anonymous and we can be really open. So what I have learned is that my recovery is a process that takes time, effort and staying with it. I've had some ups and downs but over all I just keep making progress. I am so much further than when I started. I think I am learning to deal with urges and sexual stuff just like any normal guy has to. It just doesn't dominate me like it used to and thats something I never thought I would get in my life. The great thing about Candeo is that they keep teaching me and supporting me and sticking with me through the whole process, even now that I'm really healthy. The exciting part is that I get to help others by being involved in the student forums and discussions. I have no doubt I will keep being successful.”
We're all different. We all have our own unique backgrounds and challenges. But no matter who you are, Candeo can help get you on the recovery path and moving forward in your life. There's no better time than right now to get started. Start learning how to stop masturbating and stop watching porn today.
The most satisfying and fulfilling rewards we receive at Candeo come in the form of individuals all over the world sharing their success stories with us. This is why we created Candeo—to fulfill our vision of helping people break free from unwanted sexual outlets and behaviors. But for every success story, there are many struggling individuals that visit our website seeking help, but for different reasons decide not to proceed with our full training program. If you’re involved in unwanted sexual behaviors, and you’ve tried to stop but can’t, I want to talk with you for a few minutes.
First of all, please know I have a lot of understanding and compassion for where you are right now. For more than 30 years, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with individuals and couples from all walks of life. I have witnessed their struggles to break free from many different kinds of sexual outlets and behaviors—things that started out pleasurable and exciting, but over time became extremely disruptive in their personal lives and relationships. While the words are different, everyone who comes to me for help essentially expresses the same feelings, “Dr. Christensen, the sexual stuff I’m into just isn’t working for me anymore. I want to stop. I want to get my life back.”
If you feel this way, but you’re hesitant to move forward with the Candeo program, here are a few of the barriers that often hold people back from getting the help they need. Perhaps one or more of these are getting in your way:
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you’re ready to change, or get some help, take it from someone who has worked with many thousands of people with similar struggles for more than 30 years—There’s no better time to get started than right now; if not now, then when? Believe in yourself. Believe that it is possible to change. Believe that you deserve to be happy and have fulfilling relationships. All you have to do is take that first step—it all begins by signing up for the Candeo program.