From Suicide to Success

Craig Perra was addicted and moved from suicide to success.

Narrator: Welcome to Porn Talk with Powerful Eric.  End the porn habit. Reclaim your power.  Powerful Eric has been in 12 step Programs for almost 20 years with little success. Then one day he stumbled on the science of mindfulness to combat addictions. Powerless Eric died, and Powerful Eric was born. Learn from Eric’s mistakes and get empowered. Now, let’s join Powerful Eric.

Powerful Eric: Welcome to Porn Talk, this is Powerful Eric. The purpose of this show is to help you end the porn habit and reclaim your power, but it’s not just about breaking. addictions are about breaking belief systems. We are bound by self-imposed and societal chains. Break the chains, get empowered now. Our guest today is my friend and mentor Craig Para Craig is world renowned for transforming the lives of people who struggle with compulsive behavior and sex and porn addiction with success stories and clients in over 20 countries and six continents. Craig has made his mark as the top coach for professionals, executives, musicians, personalities, professional athletes, and men in need fast results and changes for the sake of their sexuality and relationships. Craig has been featured on a number of international media outlets, including the Katie Kirk show, the Steve Harvey Show and lifetime TV. He has a passion for Yoga and as a Yoga instructor in Roseville, California. Help me welcome my friend and mentor Craig Para. Welcome Craig.

Craig: Oh, thank you Eric so much for that kind introduction, so honored and privileged to be here, brother. I look forward to this talk.

Powerful Eric: Great. And as you know, last week, your wife, Craig’s wife Michelle, was on the show last week and she really was great. So, if you guys have missed that show, be sure to go back and listen to that, and she told, Michelle, told us just a teeny bit of Craig’s story, but Craig, can you share some of your story with the listening audience?

Craig: Sure, so, mine is you know, the classic case of a man, unable to deal with his trauma, is past, and two parts of me, all my life, I’ve had these two parts. One was this successful athletic, growing up class president, this part. And then there’s other parts starting at a very young age when I was exposed to pornography by an older neighborhood boy who use porn to touch me, for many years, this other side, this dark secret for most of my life, I was able to keep that dark, secret, secret and hid it from my family, hid it from my friends, hid it from, my now wife Michelle, who you guys heard from last week. And what were those secrets? It was secret porn use, pornography, adult bookstores and prostitutes and affairs. And so, I just move my family to California about 9,10 years ago to take a new job. This was the second job that I was fired from, in 12 months. I was an executive at a billion company, lost that job, became another executive at another billion-dollar company and moved my family across country for that job. Hated that job, knew that this wasn’t my future, it was terrifying. So, instead of dealing with it like an adult, I threw myself off the cliff. I went on a self-destructive drug fueled bender with prostitutes, a trans escort, and just sunk so low, I ended up getting fired, which is what I, part of me wanted to happen. I’ve since realized and found myself in an inpatient Rehab Facility for three days, one of the loneliest three days of my life after trying to kill myself, snorting bath salts and that was rock bottom. And that was, you know, either live or die and I chose a to live and fortunately that’s worked out very well for me.

Powerful Eric: Yeah. Thanks for sharing your story. One of your quotes that I absolutely love, it’s probably my favorite quote of yours is “The cure for this affliction is the aggressive pursuit of a great life”. Can you tell the listening audience what you mean by that?

Craig: Sure, and this is one of those quotes that depending upon when you hear it, either it inspires or it, promote resentment. Right? There are people who hear that same quote, “The cure for this affliction is the aggressive pursuit of a great life”. And their first reaction and bullshit, thanks for telling me nothing. You’re, you know, click-bait, marketing, tomfoolery, and just to bring it back to my story arc, because a number of things coalesced at that low point. And while I don’t recommend a bender to anybody, I will tell you this, when you’ve got no place to go but up and your life is at that low point is an incredible opportunity to transform. So, this is for you guys. Listen, you can transform without jumping off the cliff, but if you’re there, know that you will get through it. And if you do the right things, you’ll come to it stronger. You’ll come through it better. So, I’m at this low point and I’m a have to make a decision. Where am I going to put my eggs in, in what basket, am I going to do the 12 steps again? Am I going to see a therapist again? Maybe, I didn’t deep, dig deep enough, you know, maybe like almost two decades of therapy then didn’t bring me back to that core wound. Maybe, I didn’t go to enough meetings. And so, it’s at around this time, two things came into my life from there very quickly, followed by a third. The first is I discovered this website called fight to “Feed the right wolf”, which I now own, which I think is awesome, but there’s wonderful man named Alex created this website, “Feed the right wolf”, based upon this native American tale that there are two wolves inside us. Good, evil, which wolf wins? The one you feed. Okay, so, that, like that. And that came at the same time with this, “Break a habit, make a habit”. And I was unemployed. I had a lot of free time on my hands to figure out how I’m going to put my life back together. And the combination of those two things, you know, led to this behavior change system that I’ve created, that’s changed the lives of thousands of people. But it started at this moment where I realized that my success and not doing the thing was a function of something else. And so, then I started to read about recovery stories, but I skipped every chapter. I went right to the end and went right to the end of all these success stories. People who have recovered from drugs, from alcohol, from sex, from porn, whatever their compulsion was. And the end of every one of those stories was someone pursuing a great life. There is no mediocrity when you get to understand what’s really driving this numbing coping and escaping behavior average. Okay. Mediocre Malays it’s unacceptable. So, that statement is a fact.

 

Powerful Eric: It is unacceptable, and that’s a thing like when I hear, I don’t know when I hear just the word recovery, it’s like, you know, that doesn’t exist either.

 

Craig: Kind of like, I kind of like, bristle Eric the same way you do. You know, when we’re operating in this world where people naturally, you know, for a whole variety of different reasons, quickly, you know, define their behaviors, compulsive or an addiction. And I’m an addiction, and then when you’re an addiction, you’re in recovery. And, I can get with a, you know, a period of stabilization, you know, after some significant crisis in someone’s life, I can understand that recovery, but the notion of it being this lifelong, state of running away from your addiction is just preposterous.

Powerful Eric: It is. I would much rather aggressive, aggressively pursue a great life.

 

Craig: It changes the mindset, it has used solution centric, there’s a number of layers to that very simple statement that a very profound, and again, some of you men and women listening to this right now, will hear that the cure for your affliction is the aggressive pursuit of a great life and that may repel you, that may, you know, cause you to question my credibility. And I want you to remember this moment because I promise you when you’re ready to receive that, reality, your life will change, and you’ll come back and say, shit, no, that was my projection onto what Craig and Eric were talking about versus it being a fact, because it’s a fact. It’s a fact, Derek. Like it is a cornerstone on which I live my life. I’m in one of two places. I’m on the right track and I’m on the wrong track. And they were going to be places when you’re on the wrong track, your kids get sick. Your commitments get in the way of your self-care, someone dies, things go wrong at work, you know, problem after problem after problem. But knowing that I’m in that place, if I’m in, an Ed that’s prompts action to get me back into that aggressive pursuit of a great life because that’s what’s necessary to lift the mediocrity Malays and under achievements that’s suffocating these men who have lost themselves and pixels who are literally a slave to that, you know, or orgasm, you know, second of satisfaction to math, fear and pain and then adequacy.
Powerful Eric: Yeah. Well let’s talk about really quick, was it working? Maybe a low point in your life.

Craig: So, there are a number of moments when I look back that just have me shaking my head and like, what kind of world was I living in? And one of the places that I used to go and have all the things I’ve admitted publicly, this still makes me uncomfortable is the adult bookstores. And for those of you who do not know, do not go, it is the place where man go to die. And they are these shady stores with these boots that you can go into the slip money into a machine to masturbate. The room stinks, there’s semen on the floor. I mean it is disgusting, it is absolutely disgusting. But one moment that just to share with you guys to bring a little bit of levity, to get you thinking about your behavior without all this shame and judgment. There was one time when I was one time, so, the walkout, walking in is easy one because the mind is in that addictive state. It’s in that compulsive drive, it’s then you know that that addict part of you is, it was driving me. So, you’re not thinking about who’s looking, that there are cameras, that you know there could be a news crew filming the place. Like, you’re not thinking about you, so you can see someone that you know, you’re in the zone. So, I’m in the zone, so boom, I get in, I spend my whatever I spent wasted money to. And by the way, this isn’t an arrow of cell phones by the way. You know, like I’m watching paying to watch porn in an adult video store, when we have the power of cell phone, that’s how banged up I was. And so, I’m walking out, and my feet hit a patch and like the movie theater, the floors are disgusting, and you know what’s on the floor and my feet start kicking out from underneath me, like in the cartoon and I can hear the squeaking, and I am ready to fall down flat on my ass. Everybody’s looking now, the three people that were in the store. So, I’ve never been more humiliated. And I grabbed on to the videos that were holding up and it was, I remember looking over and seeing just a big penis, in this video, and I’m about to fall into this big pool of come and finally stabilizing myself, collected myself, and walked outside drowning in shame. Like literally just like, what am I doing? And of course, how do we respond to that? We act out some more, and I’m sure I found a way to numb, cope and escape from that shame. But that was absolutely, one of the low points towards the end that, I looked back on and shake my head and say, what the hell were you thinking? But, listen, I mean, listen, that Eric, that was something I had done since I was 16 years old. I’ve been going to adult video stores since I was 16. Other kids got fake IDs to buy booze. I got fake IDs to go buy porn.

 

Powerful Eric: Wow.

 

Craig: And you go to these shady places, there’s all sorts of shenanigans going on. And I dabbled in that too. I mean, it is a dark, lonely place. And, you know, for your, for you guys out there with just watching porn, you know, I had a client once they’re at any, he took a picture itself, you know, in the position, right? The slouched over position. You know, I was sitting in his desk chair. He was fully clothed when he took the picture, but he wanted to see what he looked like and he wanted to like get a land from the outside looking in. And that became his shameful moment when he saw how weak his posturing was, he saw how pathetic it was. He saw how much time he spent in that position instead of this position, you know, creating something, building something, living a great life. So, you know, let those shame moments be teachers.

Powerful Eric: Yeah, and I wanted you to share that story for the guys that think that, oh, you know, I’m hopeless. There’s no hope for me. And I want them to hear just a small part of your story on how far and you’ve got, I know a lot of other stories as well, so thanks for sharing that.

 

Craig: Yeah, you’re welcome.

 

Powerful Eric: And I wanted to, while we’re on this down part of it, what would you say from all your experience, what does not work to help people overcome addictions?

Craig: Yeah, so, this is, you know, here we are on this porn addiction podcast is compulsive behavior podcasts. And what doesn’t work is obsessively focusing on not doing the thing. So, for a lot of people, how they interpret that disease-based modality, they go to the meetings, people share their failures, very few successes shared

Powerful Eric: Well, I know it very well I’ve been going to 12 step meetings for 20 years but go ahead.

Craig: Yeah, so, you know, now listen, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t meetings out there that are helping people and that connection that the men form, but as a modality it doesn’t work and the data’s actually pretty poor. So, obsessively focusing on not doing the thing is what’s keeping men stuck because they’re not aligning their action with the golden rule of behavior modification, and that’s the break a habit you have to make a habit and that make a habit part forces you to focus on other areas of your life like self-care, living, your life’s purpose, your career, finances, health, hobbies, relationships and spirituality. You have goals, you have a vision, you have a plan to get there. And by the way, all of those things you’re doing are meeting means in your life. See the problem with obsessively focusing on not doing the thing, what people lose sight of is that this behavior is doing something for you. And I’ll share with you really quick a new exercise that I give to people, and that new exercise is they have to write down all the positive attributes of their compulsive behavior. What do you mean positive attributes? My wife’s ready to leave me. No bullshit. You do it every day. What’s it doing for you? Well, okay, well maybe it’s helping me escape. Oh good. And that first word turns into this, you know, five or 10 item list of positive attributes that, that behavior has meaning in their lives. It’s doing something, it’s serving a purpose. It has been serving a purpose for decades in many cases. So, what purpose is it serving? How do you get those needs met in a healthy, constructive way? That is the only way you’re going to create long term success in your life. Oh, and by the way, this issue takes care of itself. Not, doesn’t that, listen, everybody’s different. If you’re like me and you’re like, you know some other guys out there where you know, the level of sexual healing that needs to occur between each man is different. So, for some that sexual health piece is higher for some men, lower for others, but for all men, for every client that I’ve ever worked with, sexual health is secondary, that’s the symptom.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

 

Craig: That’s the symptom, So, you know that speaks volumes to me that’s like, and I have been screaming from the rooftops, is you’ve got to change the approach that you’re taking. And then people come in, they watch this video and they’re like, oh my God, my mind was blown. It shouldn’t be that way, Eric. They peoples shouldn’t be learning this stuff from the life coach.

 

Powerful Eric: Craig, that reminds me of a story I told you that the 12 step meetings that I had done 90 meetings in 90 days and you were like, you’re like, that’s sucks 90 meetings in 90 days. He said, why don’t you do like, why don’t you try to do a yoga pose a day for 90 days or something like that. And I did that and that was just so refreshing rather than focusing every day on this, this affliction to change my focus over doing a yoga pose for 90 days.

Craig: I mean, can you imagine a was, I remember that conversation because it’s one I’ve had often with a lot of people. Can you imagine if you took that two-hour block, right? Because you’ve got to get to the meeting, you’ve got to get back from the meeting. You’ve got the meeting itself, hour and 10 minutes, hour and 15 minutes. 90 meetings in 90 days. If you took that block and you went to Yoga class, you got a personal trainer and you know, like fed yourself and did what you needed to do to be, you went to the gym during that time, in 90 days, you’re a different person, you were transformed.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah, absolutely, very different outcome. Craig, you’ve helped thousands of people literally around the globe on X number of continents. What would you consider all your experience? What are the common elements to guys that are successful in the program?

Craig: Sure, great question and it’s very important. Number one, there’s a motivation. There is this realization, that as long as they’ve tried to ignore it, and as long as they’ve been fighting with their partner about it, as long as they’ve tried to stuff it down, they come to this realization that they are living a crappy life. And that reality, that awakening to that reality, whether you’re a sex addict or not a sex addict, let people have that debate like you, my question I ask is, are you healthy? And the realization when they’re not is that motivation is critical, for at least success in my program. You know, this isn’t, my program isn’t, you know, coddle you along until you’re ready. That’s not what this is, now some people need that initial support. Maybe they’d better go to a therapist. Maybe they’ve got to acclimate to themselves, to the realities of what’s really going on in their lives. But motivation is important. That’s fundamental, the second related to that motivation is an internal belief system that you are in fact under achievement. So, you have to be motivated. You can be motivated and, and not believe that your life is worth more than that. And so, that’s someone else we want to exclude from the program. This reality that they are under achieving that they have, they’ve got more, you know, cylinders to fire, you know, more fuel in the take to burn. That is critically important to long term success. The third attribute is that someone is looking for results quickly. I like to set that expectation, Eric. You know, the way we structure things, of course at the mindful habit, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee. I liked that. I liked that pressure. People pay me for results. They don’t pay me to hold their hands and sing Kumbaya, and you know, and ask them how they feel. I mean I’m going to ask you how you feel, but it better come with a bunch of other tools, teachings and techniques that are going to move you forward. So, the combination of those three attributes equals success in my program.

Powerful Eric: Awesome. What would you say to someone that is listening right now, that is really lost or feeling hopeless? They’re listening to you and saying, you know this too well to be true. It’s just liked the other programs. You know, I’ve been in 12 step programs, and seen a therapist, what would you, what would you tell that person?

Craig: I would tell them to get on the phone and call you., because that’s what I would tell him to get coach Eric on the case. And, the reason why you want coach Eric on the case, because there is hope. There’s hope, this the gift, right? Like you’re going to come out of this, you, person’s struggling. Listen, right now, you’re going to come out of this saying, you know, I wish I didn’t hurt anybody in the process, but I am grateful for the gifts that this failure has given me. Because one of the key things that needs to change is your relationship with failure. Can you find the gift in it? So, just know that you with the right tools, teachings and techniques can create significant change in your life if you’re willing to work. And so, when you’re at that low point, when you’re at that low point, when you listen, some people have trouble getting out of bed. There’s depression on top of this, there’s an anxiety on top of this, there’s obesity on top of this, and addiction of sugar on top of this, and a terrible relationship with technology on top of this, you guys got this real narrow view of what you think your problem is. It’s so much bigger than that and if you just right now get a drink of water, eat something healthy, exercise for 60 seconds, begin to start to prioritize self-care and take action and you will not only see that hope, you will embrace that hope. You will realize that hope and you will look back on this low point as you can’t wish it didn’t happen. You know the way I say it is I wish I didn’t have to hurt anybody in the process, but I am grateful for the lessons that my compulsive sexual behavior has taught me and all of my compulsive behaviors. I’m grateful for those lessons. Without those experience, without those traumas, without being touched as a kid, without being exposed to porn as a kid, without having the other challenges that I did have as a child, I wouldn’t be here and I’m in a great place because of those challenges. In spite of them.

 

Powerful Eric:  Right, as you say, failure equals opportunity.

 

Craig:  I do say that because it’s true, and you know guys who are slipping, right? They, oh, I slept and here’s what happens. They feel bad about themselves. They shame themselves. Then they’ve got a numb cope and escape from that shame and they slip again. You fall down, you get back up. I don’t want to oversimplify it, but I want to over simplify it. When you fall down, you get back up. Just know that, that chronic self-deprecation is the problem, and the belief systems that support it, that is the problem, break that cycle.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah. That’s self-deprecation, that was a big thing for me. I know for 20 years I was saying, hi, my name is Eric. I’m a sexaholic and it was completely counter-intuitive. To what I was learning, like I’m really big into self-development and personal development. And so, I was listening to people like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, things like that. I’m learning all these great things. And then on my, on the addiction side, I’m being told the opposite things and I’m saying that, hi, I’m Eric, I’m a sexaholic and it just wasn’t working for me. So, that’s what was so refreshing about your program. There wasn’t any of that. None of the labels at all.

Craig: Yeah, I’m so privileged and blessed. Eric, you know the thing, coach Adrian on the team just got his master’s in Clinical Psychology. George just published a book. You’ve got this podcast, you know what certified mindful habit coach. You’ve got clients that are just saying amazing things about you. And it’s just such a privilege from my viewpoint because I remember like I met these guys at that low point. I remember how low they were and to see out there helping people and changing lives, Eric is just, you know, warms my heart in ways you can’t imagine. I’m so proud of you.

Powerful Eric: Well thank you very much, now I’m thinking back, I mean, gosh, it’s been years now. It’s kind of surreal here that were on this show Porn Talk. I’ve come a long way, but the credit really, I mean is to you and the program. So, man thank you so much. And your wife Michelle for starting the blog that kind of started this whole thing. So, wow. I mean, you know, thank you.

Craig: A honor and a privilege, my friend, truly am.

Powerful Eric: Well Craig, thanks for being on the show, but can you tell everyone how can they get a hold of you?

Craig:  Sure, so, first off, if you’re looking for help and you connect with Coach Eric has we say, you reach out to coach Eric. If you want to find me, my website is www.themindfulhabit.com there is a one-hour free training that I have up there that you can download. There is a quiz that you can take that looks at your behavior from an impact perspective. You’ll find it right in the top menu bar and there’s a way to sign up for our free private secret Facebook group. We’ve got a great community of men supporting each other. Those are guys who either don’t need or aren’t willing to make that next level of commitment to the group coaching program and a great bunch of guys. So, the mindful habit.com will get you what you need.

Powerful Eric: All right, well, Craig, thanks again. I don’t know, I feel kind of humbled now that I feel like I’ve come full circle, now I’m helping hopefully thousands of people recover as well and create a great life and to create a great life.

Craig: Healthy sexuality and a great life brother. Those two goals are interminably intertwined, meaning they, you can’t separate them, they’re too closely connected. Stop with the goal of not doing something. Focus on those two areas. Go where you want to go, and your life will change. And thank you so much for having me, Eric. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and your willingness to put yourself out there and share your story. And I just know, I mean, I know, I literally know personally how many people you’re helping. So, keep up the great work

Powerful Eric: Will do. And I would like to close with this quote from Zig Ziglar who says, “You are designed for accomplishment., you are engineered for success, and you are endowed with the seeds of greatness”. Stay powerful friends.

Narrator: Thanks for listening, if you’re struggling with porn or sex addiction, then contact eric@powerfuleric.com or call (314) 717-0377 for a free, no obligation consultation. You are powerful.

Listen to this episode: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10565137/porn-talk-season-1-ep-5-with-craig-perra

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