Powerful Eric: The purpose of this show is not just about breaking addiction, it’s about breaking belief systems. We are bound by self-imposed and societal chains, break those chains and get empowered right now. And today we have somebody that’s going to help us break those chains. His name is Tony Fonte, he is the author of “New Beginnings”, he’s a coach, author, and speaker and most importantly, a dad. Inspired by the tragic loss of his wife in 2011, and the many life experiences he walked through, Tony began a journey of intense personal growth and vulnerability. He believes that life is a journey, not a sprint, and hopes that new beginnings will help you enjoy the ride. Help me welcome our spiritual comedian, Tony Fonte. Welcome, Tony.
Tony Fonte: Hey, how you doing?
Powerful Eric: I’m good. I’m excited to have you here. Expand a little on my intro I said for you.
Tony Fonte: Being a comedian like that, but being a spiritual comedian, people might say what the hell is that, I use spiritual truths to help people awaken, but I use it using comedy. So, it lightens the mood. So, everybody who is uptight, is going to relax a little bit more. Even the ones who don’t want to relax, they just have a clenched cheek and they’re walking around funny, it’s just going to piss them off more, but that’s okay. But the design of the spiritual comedy is really to make light of the societal and cultural stuff that we have, and the generational stuff that we deal with, to make life and it’s making fun of my own life too. Yeah, making fun of myself as an angry guy, an insecure guy, a toxic guy. And a narcissist at times, right? And I wasn’t the greatest dad before. And I can make fun of myself now.
Powerful Eric: What do you say to the people that are very religious, and take offense to things very easily? Like if you say the wrong thing about their God.
Tony Fonte: God didn’t say, oh, shit, you got to have clothes on now. No, it’s the shame and guilt that did it.
Powerful Eric: That is a fantastic point.
Tony Fonte: Shame and guilt is not God. That’s religion, that’s the dogma part of it.
Powerful Eric: And shame and guilt is what fueled my porn addiction since I was a child, shame and guilt. Now, I am old enough to take responsibility for my actions now, and as a child, too, but shame and guilt was the bedrock.
Tony Fonte: But until you know better, you’re doing the best you can. So, anybody who’s listening, no matter if you’re dealing with an addiction, it doesn’t have to be a porn addiction, right? You can be addicted to your beliefs too, that just now came to me.
Powerful Eric: Yeah. Tony let’s change gears. So, I was talking about growing up feeling a lot of shame. And in your book, you talk about your relationship with your father, how he didn’t show up to your high school graduation. When I read that, honestly, I got teary eyed, I really did, for whatever reason. Well, not for other reasons, I know why it touched me, because my father is a great guy and he did the best he could. He loved me the best way he knew how, and he was, just say unavailable. From the research I’ve done on people with addictions, especially sex and porn addiction. If they were abused, or in some form, you know, maybe had an angry father, that was one thing, but if they were ignored, that was much worse.
Tony Fonte: I always back in the day, I just wanted my dad to be proud of me, I just wanted my dad to love me, because it never seemed like he was there, he always seemed to favor my brother, which my brother was a mess too, obviously. But, my dad was so disconnected, when I was young my mom used to tell me stories, that you know, your dad really showed you love when you were younger. But then when you got to a certain age, he stopped showing love, and at the time, I didn’t know what age that was. My dad couldn’t even tell you because when this book came out, he didn’t know I actually wrote a book until three days before it was published. And I had this feeling, and it says go set your dad free. I heard this thing coming and saying go set your dad free. And I’m like, what are you talking about? Go set my dad free? Go tell him, thank you. Oh, no, I can’t do that, my dad and I don’t have that relationship, I can’t do it. Maybe if we were a lot closer, and I’m like, no, and it kept pushing me and pushing me. So, I had to go out to his house, anyways, I was helping him with some stuff. And I got a little bit nervous, because this voice, this source was pushing me heavy and it was not going to let me go without actually having this conversation with my dad. So, I get there and my daughter, Kylie, she’s in there. She was going to watch a movie, and my dad went outside to smoke, and I go, oh, this is perfect time. So, I’m going to get it over now, because I am so nervous, I just want this over with. And, and I went outside, and I said dad, very fast too. Dad, I have something to say to you, it’s going to make us both uncomfortable. So, I’m going to say it and get it over with, and he looked at me like, okay. And you see him kind of tensing up, because he’s not used to opening up. Hardcore Italian family, his ass was kicked, right. He’s the oldest, he had all that onto him too. So, he was just didn’t show emotion. So, I go, thank you. And he goes, thank you for what? And I said, thank you for the way you raised me. And he immediately got defensive, I showed you love when you were younger. And I said, hold on, Dad, I am not here to beat you up. I said you don’t need to defend yourself. And I said, thank you for the way you raised me, and this still gets me emotional, because it was very powerful. I said because of the way you raised me; I am who I am today. Because of the way you raised me, I am the dad, I am today. Dad, because of the way you raised me, I get to do what I do. Which allowed me to write this book. You wrote a book? Yeah, it’s going to be published in three days. What the fuck? I mean, it was. And I’m like, yeah, and I go, and you’re in it. I did not mean to beat you up, because it could come across that way, which is to share the story because I’ve been able to release him. But I finalized it this way, I said, Dad, because of the way you raised me. I know now what not to do. Thank you. And he just goes, huh? And then all of a sudden I heard this. Ask him if he was ever shown love. Oh, fuck he, I’m surprised he was this vulnerable. I’m like, there isn’t no way he’s going to answer that, but I’m not, because I know where that got me. So, I go, were you shown love which as a kid? Immediately he says no. I went, wow. He goes when the boys got to a certain age, but he didn’t tell me the age. When the boys got to a certain age, you stop showing them love because that’s not what men do. That’s been passed on for generations, and generations, and we wonder why men are so disconnected. We wonder why men have a fucking porn addiction, sex addiction, drug addiction, whatever addiction, I mean, alcohol addiction. I mean there’s gaming addiction, I mean there’s so many things you can get addicted to. Why? Because we’re trying to hide the pain, because we’re taught not to fucking feel, that’s what causes problems, that’s what causes freaking shootings, that’s what causes fuckin abuse.
I mean, disconnect because men can’t feel, generationally, failed men years ago. And there’s now a shift, the earth is shifting, and the universe is shifting, the whole fucking planet is shifting. And especially women, women are gaining their power back, that divine feminine, which is absolutely fucking powerful. That’s where creation comes from and is now demanding men to show up in their freaking divine masculine, not just toxic, painful masculine. And I’ve cured it, actually I had someone tell me that. One time I was on a podcast, he says I think it’s awesome what you do, because I’ve never seen anybody do this. Because you have the cure for toxicity.
Powerful Eric: What would you say to the people that need to lighten up? How do you go about doing that?
Tony Fonte: Well, first and foremost it’s becoming aware. Because you can’t change anything, you can’t shift anything without first becoming aware that you have a struggle, that you’re challenging, lighten up, that you’re so stuck in your pain, and you’re projecting it on other people, and it’s actually keeping you from living fully. This is where the whole laughing through life came from. And you’re holding on to that pain, become aware of what you’re doing. And instead of seeking outside of you, go in, all the answers are within you. Who your true source is, whether it’s God, whether it’s the universe, whether it’s your highest self, I use them all? I use God and the universe interchangeably.
Powerful Eric: But instead of going into yourself, why not just get a six pack, get liquored up, or go on a porn site for a couple hours?
Tony Fonte: Well, let me ask you this, Eric, when you did it, did your pain go away?
Powerful Eric: In the moment that I was doing it, but immediately the moment I was done, I felt shame, remorse, and guilt.
Tony Fonte: So, what you’re saying is, by drinking that six pack, by injecting those drugs, by smoking that joint, by having addiction to pills, by having the sex addiction, by going from one relationship to one relationship with an addiction. What you’re telling me then, is that it’s temporary.
Powerful Eric: Correct.
Tony Fonte: It only temporary eases the pain.
Powerful Eric: Very temporary.
Tony Fonte: All it’s doing is treating the symptom. What they’re doing now, is they’ve been doing it little by little, so they were comfortable with this pain. They’re comfortable with it, just numbing the pain just a little by little, but it’s actually more painful because it’s prolonged over your whole fucking life, versus you go in and deal with it and heal it, it’s going to fucking hurt. But guess what’s going to happen? Quickly, you’re going to have freedom on the other side of that, more peace, more happiness, and I’m talking about lasting happiness. Lasting happiness, where now you are in control of how you react to the world, it’s not about responding. Because now you can be out in the world and things can happen and you’re not triggered. But the thing is, I want you to know is when people are triggered is when they get pissed off, right? Oh, that person pissed me off. No, he didn’t. You had anger inside you already. And has nothing to do with the other person, oh that person hurt me. No, all they did was stir the pain inside you.
Powerful Eric: I had a lot of anger inside me. And to be honest, I still have a lot of anger to get over. It’s a process, it isn’t just, you know, done. I’ve come a long way for sure.
Tony Fonte: Can I stop you just for a second there?
Powerful Eric: Yeah.
Tony Fonte: You don’t get over it. You get through it. You can’t go over it. You got to go into it. It’s like saying, well, I got to get to the other side of this mountain. So, I’m just going to try and go around it, and you’re going to keep hitting a wall. It’s like, no, you got to go through that thing, and own it. So, not only do you become self-aware, as you take responsibility for your life, that’s probably the first, before even self-awareness, is to take responsibility, because you’re not a fucking victim. You play a victim, you’re going to be bad around by life, all day long, the rest of your life, because you’re not a victim. No one’s a victim. Everything happens for you, not to you. So, stop thinking that life is happening to you.
Powerful Eric: The word responsibility means that we have the ability to choose our response, and you’re right. If we hold it out, if I say to myself, I am responsible. Then when someone or something out there makes me mad, then I am choosing that response because I am responsible. How does one choose a more laid back or happy, or how do you laugh at some of the absurdities of life, you know when something really pisses you off? And I don’t want to talk about either side of the political realm. But somethings really make you angry. How do you tighten up about that?
Tony Fonte: The idea, when someone makes you angry again, it has nothing to do with that person. Even in the political realm. I know we’re not going there, but even in political realm, people I mean, on both sides are throwing hate, right? Hate is being thrown around. It has nothing to do with the president or government or who is in that freaking office, any of those. All it’s doing is triggering the hate that is already inside you, something about yourself is being triggered. Again, the outside world is a reflection of us. And if you’re being triggered, it’s a pain point inside you that you have not wanted to deal with. So, when you have hated and you reflect that hate onto another person, guess what they feel? They feel that hate and guess what they do? They respond with their own hate.
Powerful Eric: Yeah. And that’s one of the things talking about raising our vibration. That’s one of the things that is happening big time in the world, it’s that all these things that have been hidden for a long time, for example, racism, we thought, at least honestly, I thought that racism was much better, that’s easy for me to say. But honestly, I thought it was doing pretty good until events of the past couple of years have exposed that oh, my gosh, racism is alive. And well, in the good old US of A, it’s showing ourselves that, hey, there’s still a lot of healing to be done here. And for myself, I’ve talked about, the anger, Eric you still have a lot of healing to do.
Tony Fonte: Yes. And if so, when you start healing yourself, and you sit back, right, you almost rise above because you’re not in it now. So, our life is a movie. And everything you see, outside you, they are all players, they’re all actors, they’re all scenes, right? That’s how it works. So, if you are not happy with what you’re seeing on the freaking screen of your life, your show, you have the power to recreate it, to rewrite the scene. Hey, Kevin Hart tried it this way, and then they redo it, right. But then they went out and they had the before the movie actually gets released, they had a pre-screening, and have some people coming out and they see it, you see it all the time happening. And then you hear the response on certain scenes or the ending of the movie. And then they get the feedback from the audience and saying, we didn’t like this, we go, we would like this. And guess what they do? They’ll go back and reshoot part of the movie and then re edit it. You have the same power to do this with your life.
Powerful Eric: Okay, and let me interrupt you there, because that’s in your book. And that is something that I have been working on, it’s reframing things, looking at things from a different perspective. Tell us how did you do that with the death of your wife? And if you could tell the listeners, because obviously, I know the story from your book. But can you tell the listeners a little bit about the death of your wife? And–
Tony Fonte: Yeah. My wife died in 2011, unexpectedly, she had an overdose on pain meds. And of course, it was an accident, she didn’t do it intentionally, but she was using prescription drugs, not in the way they were intended, and it killed her. And I found her dead in the basement, on the couch, she went to sleep, but I found her dead. And I was left to raise my five year old daughter at the time. So, when I first went through it man, I was a mess, trying to figure this out, trying to make sense of it. It’s like a big nightmare, for like the first two weeks, it was crazy and I’m going back and forth between anger and sadness. And I mean, it was just a mess. But one thing I did learn was to embrace those emotions, feel them, then I was getting mad because I should or shouldn’t be getting angry, right? Like, that’s just stupid. You’re feeling the emotion, feel it. People are like oh, you shouldn’t get angry, you shouldn’t get angry. What the fuck not. Don’t invalidate my emotions. Don’t invalidate anybody’s emotions, why they’re having the emotion can be looked at. But the fact is, someone who’s having emotion is real. And then I would have moments of laughter and having fun, then I felt guilty. I’m supposed to be sad. And there’s times that we hold on to grief, out of shame and guilt, our own shame and guilt of who we thought we were with that person, of holding on to our own shame and guilt, because I’d rather hold on to this grief. Because I don’t want to forget this person. I see it all the time, people are that way. And I felt that way for a long time too, as I’m going through the motions, and the stages of grief at that moment. And it was really over the past two years that I really started embracing my wife’s death. So, when I first wrote the book, I was like oh, my wife’s death is the purpose, you know, the purpose of writing this book, helping somebody, I am coaching people. So, therefore that’s the purpose of it. And it wasn’t until last year, and this is not in the book, this is just last year. The real purpose, because as we evolve, as we continue to heal and go deeper and deeper into those with more truth and what we’re ready for, start showing up. It came to me, because I’ve been raising my daughter, she just turned 14. So, I’ve been raising her nine years. She was five years old, and she’s 14 now. So, I’m raising a teenager which is a whole other set of lessons for me. Which is awesome, because not only does it show me how much I’ve grown, but now that she’s becoming more independent, it’s teaching me things that I still need to heal, and it’s absolutely amazing. So, my daughter has been my greatest teacher, but here’s the cool part and I’ll get to this. So, my wife died, her purpose was to die to save me. And let me go a little deeper than that. She gave me a daughter to raise by myself, which for the first few years, I was still an angry fucking asshole. I tried to love, but I can only love to capacity. But I was also trying to control everything in my outside world, if it didn’t go my way I would freaking snap. My daughter was afraid of me. And guess who I was afraid of? My own dad. We are supposed to be the protector and the one person that keeps them safe, and here she wasn’t, she loved me, but she was absolutely afraid.
Powerful Eric: How did it make you feel? In your book you say that one day she said to you, she said, I want a new mommy, when is God going to bring me a new mommy?
Tony Fonte: Yeah. One thing she taught me because you know, as men we want to fix, right? You know why we try to fix why it’s, quote unquote, ingrained in us to fix? Because we don’t want to feel the emotion, because we don’t know how to handle it, because we’re taught not to feel. That’s why men want to fix, they want to solve it right away to get away from it. Because fucking emotions scare them. This is my world; she’s taught me that some things we just can’t fix. My daughter has taught me to get in touch with my emotions. Because there’s times I just had to hold her and say, I know, it sucks, but we’re going to make it through because we’re a team, we got this. But it’s okay to feel that way. I get it. I know, sweetheart. But in the right time, it’ll happen. And I had to just be there with her. And just hold her while she cried. And allow me to open up emotionally. So, that’s the number second thing, my wife died to save me, because she knew this whole energy. I mean, she really came here to meet me, to go through what she did, to give me a daughter, to die, to save me. Because it took that girl to wake me up. Three years in after my wife died, but it took that girl to wake me up. And she’s been my greatest teacher because now I know what girls need, ultimately what women need. They don’t feel safety and security from a physical protective thing. They don’t feel safety and security, about the fucking money that I bring in. They could care less, but that’s what we’re taught as men. You’re the provider, you go out and do this to justify this. And if you’re not doing any of this, you’re not a fucking man, bullshit. Who I am on the inside makes me a man? And no one tells me what kind of man I am. I do, I can be homeless. And how I show up for my daughter determines what kind of man I am. And that won’t ever break. We can lose everything. And her love for me, won’t freaking waver because it’s how I show up for her. That’s a man, how I show up for myself, that makes me a man.
Powerful Eric: And no, it also makes you a real man is that you get pedicures with your daughter, right? That says, real men get pedicures with their daughters.
Tony Fonte: Yes. And I tell you what, they’re absolutely amazing. First time I had one I was like, holy shit, why am I missing out on our own? I thought I was less of a man, that’s gay if you do this, that’s just stupid, you can be secure and do that. But if you know what, even if I had a wife, I would do that with my daughter because that’s what she loved. And that’s time with my daughter. But man, actually I would go get one without her because I mean they’re that good, really good. So, yes, that’s what makes you man. Go get pedicures, learn how to paint your nails, having tea parties, just doing the things that you may not necessarily like, but she loves. And it lets her know without saying a damn word, that she matters, because I promise you my daughter does not have that to go through her head. I wonder if I matter to my dad, I wonder if my dad loves me. She knows without a fucking doubt.
Powerful Eric: I’m the same way with my son. I’ve got two sons but one’s a baby. But my five year old, I don’t want to paint my dad in a bad light, my dad was a great guy, he did the best he could, he loved me as best as he knew how, he never ever said I love you or anything like that, and hugging him was always awkward. They were painful. I mean, it’s kind of hard to describe. They’re painful. And–
Tony Fonte: Yes, my dad is actually like that. You really can’t hug my dad; he would flip out. What the hell is that?
Powerful Eric: Talking about that old story. In your book, one of your action steps says to change the meaning of your past experiences, view them as learning experiences to help you grow instead of chains that hold you down. What would be an example, like with your wife? Changing the meaning of that experience? Can you elaborate on that?
Tony Fonte: Yeah. So, it’s any experience that holds us down. So, I mean, like, for instance, I used to have this aversion to the word stupid. I couldn’t stand that word. If someone jokingly called me stupid, I get pissed off. I get pissed and ready to actually, sometimes I would get in a fight, because you call me stupid. And why did I hate stupid so much? Because, I was called stupid growing up, that I would never amount to much. That was just fucking dumb. And guess where that came from? My dad’s dad, it got passed on and passed on, anger runs in the family, it’s because it’s passed on and passed on, no one broke the fucking cycle. It wasn’t until me, to break the cycle. My brother’s had major heart attacks. He’s 48, he’s had three heart attacks. He has a different put in, he had a bypass, my dad had five heart attacks, triple bypass. He’s having heart failure, he’s dying, because he’s living in the suffering, because he feels he needs to suffer for all his shame and guilt, for how he raised us, how he treated my mom, and all the fucking pain that’s been passed on to him. But by me healing myself, I’ve allowed my energy to reach him, and he sees how I’m living now. And my energy reaching him has actually allowed him to heal some. But it’s still his choice to fully heal, if he will choose us to. Because as we raise our vibration, if anybody is in our vicinity, automatically is going to raise their vibrations. But the problem is, all those lower stories are going to come up, and they feel when they’re with you, they feel that negativity, they’re like, oh shit, I don’t like the way I feel, this person is causing it and they react to you, trying to get you to come back down. Or finally they stop resisting, and they start working through it. But back to the word stupid, I used to get pissed. And it wasn’t until one day someone says Tony, just change the fucking meaning. I finally let go of the attachment, the identity to that word, stupid. And then you know what I did? I went in and healed the story, and forgave myself for holding on to that pain, for that bitterness towards my dad. And then I forgave my dad, at the deepest level, not mentally, for his play on that, and holding a conviction against him, because he felt that energy. And as I’ve healed, he feels a different energy from me. Because I no longer have that dignity, that attachment what I needed was the love, that I now can fully love that man, knowing that he utterly destroyed me as a kid, and most of my adult life because now I see the same pain that he inflicted on me, was inflicted on him, the only difference is, I was able to break the cycle. And, because I broke the cycle, not only does it heal generations past, I have forever changed our family tree.
Powerful Eric: That’s awesome. Our dads have some similarities, and one of the things that one of my spiritual teachers had, she said that people can only love from what they’ve been taught and the toolbox they have, she has always talked about the toolbox. Some people have really tiny toolboxes and some people have really big toolboxes. From the way that my father was raised, his toolbox on showing love and affection was very, very small, and he did the best with the tools that he had. Sounds like your dad.
Tony Fonte: Same thing. But here’s what I want to drive this point home, because we can sit here and blame our parents. Your parents may have fucked you up, somebody, teachers, something, they may have caused you trauma, but it’s not their responsibility to heal it. It is your responsibility to heal it. What happened to you is not your fault. But it is your responsibility to heal it if you want to move forward. It’s no longer your parent’s responsibility.
Powerful Eric: Yeah, but it’s a lot easier for me just to blame them than to take responsibility to heal myself.
Tony Fonte: Of course. It’s a lot easier for you to go drink versus deal with the pain, have sex with someone to deal with the pain. Look at porn to deal with the pain, take drugs to deal with the pain. It’s a lot easier to do that than it is actually, but it’s slowly killing you. It’s like the frog, I know you’ve heard that story. You put a–
Powerful Eric: Hey Tony, we need to wrap up here. I just want to mention before we get going here, one day, I was walking by this building, my wife and I and they were having laughter yoga, it’s yoga and all they do, it’s a group of people that get together and they laugh. And it sounds ridiculous, but you know, just the health benefits alone of laughter is very well known. And I’ve never gone to a laughter yoga class, but it sounds pretty cool.
Tony Fonte: I think I want to go try this out. I love laughing.
Powerful Eric: Yeah, it was in Kirkwood. It’s called laughter yoga; I don’t know if it’s still around anymore. But Tony, tell everybody how they can get ahold of you.
Tony Fonte: Yeah. So, you can go to my website, www.tonyfonte.com, that’s F, as in Frank, O- N- T-E, www.tonyfonte.com, that is where laughing through life is, which I call laugh your way to total transformation, which is not your typical personal development.
Powerful Eric: Well, Tony, it was awesome to have you on. I look forward to finishing your awesome book. You can get his book, “New Beginnings” off on Amazon. And I’ll close with this quote, from Zig, who says, “you are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind”. You can change what you are, and you can change where you are by changing what goes into your mind. Be powerful folks.
Outro: Thanks for listening. If you’re struggling with porn or sex addiction, then contact Eric at powerfuleric.com or call 314-717-0377 for a free no obligation consultation. Remember, you are powerful.