Life After Lust Audiobook Announcement & Request for Reward Ideas

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Friends,

I have EXCITING NEWS!

The Life After Lust Audiobook Kickstarter project will begin in about a week! Check out my VLOG Announcement to learn more about the details of this fun project.

Also, I HAVE A REQUEST…I have put together some great rewards for those wishing to contribute to this cause but I really would love to know what rewards you would be interested in. Again, check out the video for further explanation and to learn about some of the awesome rewards that are already planned.

I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you. I also look forward to hearing stories of lives touched and changed as a result of listening to the hopeful message of Life After Lust.

Gratefully,
Forest

PS: To follow this story, I invite you to follow this blog and sign up on the Life After Lust Newsletter

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutube, BlogTwitter, Facebook, LinkedInInstagramPinterest, Google+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!
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The Recovering Addict’s Guide to Ethical Sex: Hefner and Hustler Had it Half Right

A Guide to Great Sex_ Heffner & Hustler Didn't Know the Half of It-5

Since boyhood, I’ve had a strong sense of moral justice. Whether putting myself in timeout for breaking the rules, saving stray animals from the streets, or buying food for the hungry, a virtuous character was the internal compass of my younger years.

Then came the season of sex addiction. This was a time of inner turmoil, as I pursued pleasures at the expense of myself and others. Believing in what was right, I too often ran to what was wrong. I lived an incongruent life and the shame of it was like leprosy in my soul.

In my early twenties, my path took an abrupt turn when I chose to pursue a new passion: my recovery. As I experienced the healing and wholeness I desired and deserved, I became more of the person I always was. I reconnected with myself and my values. I learned to live in alignment.

Now, as a sex addiction therapist, I help many others do the same. As people recover, they become who they really want to be and who they really are. They might become that woman who can finally be trusted, that father who learns to connect with his kids, that leader who walks with integrity in his step, or that person sharing a smile with the lovable human grinning back at them from the mirror. Where their agenda to numb-out was once self-seeking, the recovering sex addict learns to adopt new attitudes of humility, caring, and courage.

The process of recovery is the process of aligning with oneself. In recovery, our most valued principles are no longer led away to the slaughter. Instead, we learn to live them out, one day at a time.

In my book Life After Lust I explained how learning to live in alignment with our values is a major “Mission to Accomplish” in recovery. I wrote:

“As we grow in our recovery, we learn who we are and we gain the courage to live that out. No longer are we bound by secrecy, constantly trying to cover up choices that cause us shame. In recovery, we learn to live with integrity. We are the same person in the dark that we are in the light…The more we live in alignment, the greater our inner peace.”

In recovery, we seek alignment in all areas of our lives. A life well-lived is actualized at the convergence of both our sexual and moral values. Thus, making choices based on our sexual values is an act of misalignment if it violates our moral values. While this scenario describes much of the sex addict’s acting out, in active recovery we learn a new lifestyle. In recovery, we learn that sex aligned with our moral values is not only possible, but is far more satisfying than the disconnected, shame-filled, and secretive sex life of the past. Searching for the benefits of the best sex, we no longer look to lust for solutions that only compromise our character.

The Principles of the Porn-Industry

If I’m honest, the porn-industry has some sexual values right. Evaluating the ethics of porn-industry pioneers Larry Flynt and the late Hugh Hefner, I hypothesize that they highly esteemed sexual enjoyment, excitement, spontaneity, freedom, and fun. These values align with my views of an optimal sex life. I concur with them that our sexuality is to be celebrated, not shamed.

But that’s where our agreement ends. While a satisfying sex life is strengthened by some of these values, Hefner and Hustler only had it half right. The vision of sex they offered the world was paired with moral values that sucked the life out of society.  If you’re wondering what I mean by this, I’ve written about it this way:

“As a sexual addiction therapist, I continuously see the devastation caused by porn addiction. I sit with stunned spouses. I empathize with addicts caught in self-destructive cycles. I help resuscitate relationships ruined by pornographic obsessions and aid in the burial of relationships wounded beyond repair.

As a presenter on the harmful effects of porn, I see a younger generation that’s predominantly unprotected from it. I see our youth unknowingly auctioning off present and future intimacy as they immerse themselves in the internet. Porn changes their malleable brains, affecting everything from their studying to later-life sexual performance. Many are drowning in addiction. I do my best to protect my children from this destructive drug.

As a sexual addict in recovery, I’ve felt deep disconnection. I don’t blame the porn industry for my past addiction. I chose to soothe my pain in that way and I eventually chose help. But, sadly, I have seen demeaning acts charading as sex.

As a citizen who cares about the disenfranchised and defenseless, I believe the pleasures of porn are not worth those wounded by it. The porn industry might deny its ties to sex- trafficking, a trade that citizens heroically fight locally. Drug abuse, physical and psychological harm, and disease are commonplace; sexuality and humanity are commodities.

These characteristics grate against my most essential beliefs in love, freedom, and human worth. I adamantly oppose those who profit from such atrocities. I once contributed to this industry through my addiction – an uncomfortable reality I must wrestle with.

Yes, I have a problem with the porn industry” (Benedict, 2017).

Once enticed by the porn-industry’s promise of pleasure, I now see it as a morally-bankrupt mirage. As I continue to seek out my sexual values of passion, pleasure, and play, my recovery requires me to do so within the confines of my character.

So, when a porn-giant like Hustler makes a home in my city, offering gadgets and gizmos to spice up my sex life, I cannot consent with my cash. My funds will never fuel the fires of sexual exploitation. Thank you for offering, but I’ll pass on this Hustler. You may have a legal right to be here but not a moral right. If I buy anything to bolster my sex life, it will be from businesses not tied to objectification and degradation.

Mission to Accomplish # 3

Alignment in Action

In Life After Lust I call the recovering reader to master the practice of healthy sexuality, to live in alignment with their values, and to stand against businesses that profit from the porn-industry. The great news is that these tasks are not in conflict. In fact, I believe that the benefits of great sex are amplified when we act from a place of inner alignment.

Sexuality experts Drs Bill & Ginger Bercaw present this promising vision of a sexual life that is both exciting and ethical:

“You can know for perhaps the first time in your entire life what it feels like to embrace a passionate and fully satisfying sex life while retaining your integrity and while being more fully present.”

We can savor a healthy sex life without stepping on our values. We can have the best of both worlds. Within the boundaries of our values, we can seek out the best sex of our lives.

Where You’ll Find Me

This Saturday, a porn-producing pioneer is visiting our fine city of Fresno for Hustler’s “grand opening” event. Meeting Larry Flynt in person with my “Porn Kills Love” T-shirt and picket sign would absolutely align with my values. But this time I am choosing a different approach. My protest will come through my promotion of love on that day. My plan Saturday is to man a LifeSTAR booth at Fresno’s Recovery Summit, sharing the hopeful message of freedom from sex addiction and inviting others to join me in aligned living, as we pursue together the purposeful path of Life After Lust.

What I am facing in my community is one of many opportunities to stand up to an industry in conflict with our collective best interests. What a wonderful way for me to return to my roots, reclaiming an internal sense of justice. And I am grateful to report that I am far from alone in this mission. There is a groundswell of gifted individuals coming together in this pro-love, anti-porn Movement. Living in alignment with our values, we are changing the world, one victory at a time.

Join us.

 

*To learn more about the ideas presented in this article and more, check out the inspirational new book Life After Lust.

 

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutube, BlogTwitter, Facebook, LinkedInInstagramPinterest, Google+StumbleUpon, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!

 

In Case You Forgot…

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Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

The Humbling Road to Rebuilding Trust in Recovery (Life After Lust VLOG Episode)

Rebuilding Trust VLOG

“She deserves a husband who is trustworthy, both when she is looking and when she’s unaware” (Life After Lust p.40, from the chapter What My Wife is Worth).

Unfortunately, many of us recovering from sex addiction have made past choices that have broken down the trust of those we love most. In active recovery, we learn how to live out a trust-building lifestyle. In my new Life After Lust VLOG episode called The Humbling Road to Rebuilding Trust in Recovery, I share some ways that I am working to rebuild trust in my relationship with my wife. For further study, here’s another great video with 8 additional ideas for rebuilding trust.

What ways are you rebuilding trust in your closest relationships?

May we all be willing to embody humility, working hard to be the trustworthy people our partners deserve. They are worth our best efforts.
And so are we.

To get your copy of the visionary new book Life After Lust CLICK HERE

To subscribe to future Life After Lust Newsletters CLICK HERE

Please share the vision by sharing this post with others.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Covenant Eyes Publishes “Called to Rise” (A Chapter from Life After Lust)

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Today Covenant Eyes published one of my favorite chapters from Life After Lust – Called to Rise. This is my first publication with Covenant Eyes and it is SUCH an honor. I have appreciated Covenant Eyes for years, using and promoting their porn-protecting products.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect….or ironic.

PERFECT because I just finished my free book promotion which added many new 5 star reviews to the Amazon book listing.

IRONIC because I just started my hiatus from Facebook so I’ll be relying on others to share this within their networks (my blog does auto-post to Facebook).

When I read my chapter in the Covenant Eyes blog this morning, it brought me to tears. This is a powerful chapter, challenging and inviting readers to rise up and live out life after lust. I hope and pray that many will be impacted and the ripple effects will be eternal.

TO READ “CALLED TO RISE: OVERCOMING SEXUAL ADDICTION” CLICK HERE

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Free Father’s Day Promotion – Life After Lust (Kindle)

life after lust free father's day promotionJune 14-18

Help me get Life After Lust into the hands of all father’s (and mothers)…for details on this exciting promotion check out my recent VLOG.

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT LIFE AFTER LUST:

“Life After Lust is an honest and helpful read for those trapped in the fear and pain of pornography addiction. This book challenges men and women to take responsibility for their behavior, providing practical tools and next steps on their healing journey.” 
CRAIG GROSS, Founder of XXXchurch.com

“Life After Lust is an excellent resource for those wanting freedom from pornography addiction. This book also prepares men and women to fight for love in their personal relationships while working to change the world we live in.” 
CLAY OLSEN, CEO and Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug

“Forest Benedict is a skilled writer whose lyrical phrases delight and uplift this intense topic. Addiction-savvy and trauma-informed, Benedict never lets up on his fierce, loving message: Yes, you can do this! You will have to work hard to beat sex addiction, but I’ve done it, it’s worth it, and I’m right here with you! Life After Lust is a must-read for any man, woman or loving family member who needs unrelenting optimism and cutting-edge strategies that really work on the road to healthy sexuality.”

STACI SPROUT, LICSW, CSAT, author of Naked in Public: A Memoir of Recovery From Sex Addiction and Other Temporary Insanities

“Forest Benedict’s Life After Lust is a personalized and important contribution to the field of sexual health. He shares his personal story of recovery from porn addiction in a way that both educates and motivates the reader.” 
ROBERT WEISS, LCSW, CSAT-S, Intimacy Disorder Specialist, Author of Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating 
One man who heard me on a recent podcast shared that he has never had anything speak to him so clearly and so deeply as my book. It is an honor knowing that Life After Lust is impacting people and helping them heal.

Will you help me get the word out about this free promotion? May Life After Lust continue being a catalyst of change in the lives of many.

Gratefully,
Forest

Permission to Rest – Life After Lust VLOG

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In my newest VLOG episode I shared some insights about the importance of resting well. This is a significant challenge for me and I know I am not alone. Those of us in recovery are especially vulnerable to choosing to numb-out when non-addictive relaxation is what we really need. If you also struggle in this area, I invite you to check out the video and consider how you can increase rest and decrease numbing-out behaviors. I believe this is the path to much-needed physical, spiritual, and mental renewal. Resting effectively is an essential recovery skill.

Click HERE for Permission to Rest VLOG Episode 

If you found this video helpful, I invite you to check out my other videos and SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube channel. Thanks!

PS: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers out there!

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Forest Benedict on the Upcoming Carol the Coach Sex Addiction Radio Show

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I have the privilege of being interviewed in the upcoming Sexual Addiction: Strength, Hope, Recovery with Carol the Coach radio show, talking about my recovery and my new book Life After Lust! Click this link to listen on Monday at 6pm PST. I’ve been on this show in the past and it will be great to visit with Carol again. Please share this free listening opportunity with others.

Gratefully,
Forest
Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” me on this blog and on Twitter, “like” me on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

Celebrating 13 Years Free From Porn Addiction (With 2 Gifts For You)

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Today I celebrate 13 years free from pornography addiction. It is been a amazing journey and I am so grateful for it. For this reason, I am excited to share two gifts for those seeking long-term recovery.

First, my story. My Path Out of Porn Addiction: A Therapist’s Journey is the first chapter of my new book Life After Lust. May my story give you a renewed vision for recovery as you pursue your path from pain to purpose.

Second, I have temporarily dropped the cost of my Kindle book. If you are inspired by my story, I invite you to grab your copy of this inspirational and practical book, endorsed by many leaders in the sex addiction recovery field.

Here’s my story…

 Chapter 1: My Path Our of Porn Addiction: A Therapist’s Journey*

Essential Mindset #1: Recovery from sexual addiction is difficult, possible, and worth the effort.

Essential Mindset #2: Past pain that made me vulnerable to addiction must be addressed for healing to occur.

I came into the world surrounded by love. Kind to animals and humans alike, I was a caring, imaginative, and gentle child.

Living with my loving parents and sister, none could’ve predicted the pain that was to come. Much of my oncoming anguish would arrive through interactions with my alcoholic, bipolar father. At times he was creative, affectionate, and fun. Other times he inflicted psychological and religious abuse. There were seasons of both attention and absence. I felt abandoned.

Through the years, our relationship was turbulent. I longed for my father and fought for his attention. Looking back, I see he never gave me what he had never received — a secure, connected, and healthy relationship. I was primed to seek comfort outside of connection. I was a victim who was vulnerable to the allurement of addiction.

Sexual curiosity came at a young age, as did sexual self-soothing. Then, at age 12, an unexpected exposure to pornography at a friend’s house changed the course of my young life. The image I viewed that night is forever burned in my brain.

I was a shy yet ambitious adolescent, excelling in school, service, and scouting. My newfound interest in pornography first developed into a habit, growing gradually into a self-destructive force that bound me with secrecy and shame. I mastered sneakiness. Like any addict, I was skilled at finding my drug and covering my tracks. Some of my sexual excursions were at the expense of others. Those memories are laden with lasting shame.

In my late teen years, my addiction escalated, paralleling increased internal pain. I didn’t know it then but those were traumatizing times for me. After acquiring an undeserved inheritance from his deceased parents, my dad’s deepest downfall began. He was hostile, manipulative, and suicidal. Eventually he lost it all and I sought to save him from the horrors of homelessness.

At times my dad would just disappear. I found myself overcome with fear, scouring the streets until I found him dazed with drunkenness. Our deepest connections came on those long drives to Detox. I believed he would die if I didn’t save him. In the end, I never did. He was devoured by the dangers of the streets; a victim of violence, he would never be the same.

The advent of the internet opened Pandora’s Box for all porn addicts. I was no exception. I shared my struggles with my closest friends yet could not shake my shameful double life. When I finally told my mom about a dominating addiction that required professional treatment, she was shocked. I was 24 years old.

March 16, 2004 was the night of my last hurrah, my final fling with pornography and masturbation. The next day, I drove out of town for four days of intensive sexual addiction treatment at an Every Man’s Battle workshop. While I attended, I sought spiritual strength. I read John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart, cementing my fighting commitment. When I left, I was equipped with tools and a tenacious attitude. I took responsibility for my healing. I steadfastly applied what I learned. I trained my eyes to evade lust. I began using boundaries to minimize triggers. Faithfully attending my recovery group, I learned the art of accountability calls.

I started practicing healthy habits and attending personal therapy. My therapist focused on my father-related pain more than my porn use. Confused at the time, I later realized why I needed this. Together, we courageously walked into my wounds. Deep healing required attending to the driving force of my addiction, the hurts in my heart. Without going back, I could not go forward.

Though it was one of the toughest tasks of my life, I took the risk of trusting God and others. This marked a new path in my recovery journey.

Opportunities to help others opened up. Deciding to make a career and calling out of sexual addiction work, I moved to Fresno, California, where I earned my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. My senior paper was entitled Protecting Children from the Path of Pornography. After graduation, I became certified as a Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider (SATP) and went on to work with a local LifeSTAR outpatient treatment program. Once licensed, I became the program’s Clinical Director.

There I have the opportunity to help sexual addicts, their partners, and young people as they recover from sexual addiction and its detrimental effects. I now train therapists to do sexual addiction treatment through the SATP program from which I graduated. I aim to be a voice for those silently struggling, yet too ashamed to speak up. Sometimes this means talking to parents about the threats of the internet and teaching teens about the pains of porn addiction. I have grown through these experiences and I am grateful. This is all part of my purposeful path.

In recovery, I realize that the love I sought through lust was always around me. I enjoy deepening connections with God, family, and friends. I have a caring and beautiful bride of 11 years. I get to re-define the meaning of fatherhood, giving to my boys that which I never received. I’m growing to trust a Divine Daddy so different from my own. I’m increasing in affection for my pained self inside. The long line of generational addiction in my family of origin can end with me. Learning to love and be loved is the challenge of my lifetime.

My story has come full circle. I have not indulged in pornography or masturbation in over 12 years, since that fateful March evening. More importantly, I have experienced deeper healing. While this may sound like a flawless recovery, I assure you it is far from that. I have fought and failed in many ways. I still wrestle with resentment. When feeling weakened, visual lust remains my Achilles heel. Still, I do not excuse myself from this fervent fight.

Sometimes I seek out “lesser evils,” soothing myself with sugar, drowning myself in distraction, working harder to win a sense of worth, and seeking attention over connection. I am aware of the ways I am vulnerable to addiction. I remain an adult child of an alcoholic, with wounds that demand both my time and attention. To maintain momentum, I must work my recovery. I continue to pursue healing for past pain, a shame-based identity, and a victim mentality. I remain accountable to many. I contend to care for myself. I, like all humans, am a person in progress. As it was in the beginning, so it remains; recovery is a one-day-at-a-time process.

Stepping into the Stigma

Sexual addicts are socially stigmatized. It seems that “those people” are labeled as lower down the ladder than other types of addicts. This judgment of how we’ve coped with our pain only shames us into silence and deeper isolation.

For this generation to stand a chance, we must begin bold conversations about this uncomfortable topic. I hope someday the stigma is silenced and that hooked and hurting individuals from all walks of life will feel safe enough to come forward, giving their wounds the attention that’s warranted.

Leading with vulnerability, I willingly, publicly, step into the stigma. My desire is that those who read this will experience boosted belief in the hope of healing.

Reaching For You

I was once addicted to pornography. It does not define me but it does remind me. When I look at my life, my family, my friends, and my work, I’m amazed at where recovery has led me. The gifts are worth the grief. This has been the most difficult yet most rewarding path of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

With the help of others, I have climbed up the steep path and out of the valley. I will continue extending my hand down to anyone brave enough to grab hold of it. I will continue using my life lessons, the science I’ve studied, and the strategies that have strengthened others to help anyone ready to rise up.

Will you have the boldness to believe in the hope of recovery?

Will you reach out and take this recovering rebel’s hand?

When you do, your life will never be the same. Nobody can predict what adventures lie ahead for you. I can only imagine the depth of meaning and connection waiting on your personal horizon. Such is the steep path out of sexual addiction:

Frightening.

Exhilarating.

Possible.

I can attest with certainty that the view from the top is astounding, satisfying beyond words, and worth every grueling step.

***Click here to sign up for the Life After Lust Newsletter for future resources and announcements.

*** Click here to get your copy of Life After Lust, joining me on the path from pain to purpose.

*** Click here to enter to win a copy of Life After Lust (Winners’ names may be made public)

*** Click here for additional resources and information about Life After Lust

Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley. If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

*Benedict, F. (2015). My path out of porn addiction: a therapist’s journey. Retrieved from https://lifestarcentralvalley.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/my-path-out-of-porn-addiction-a-therapists-journey/

*Benedict, F. (2015). My path out of porn addiction: a therapist’s journey. Retrieved from http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article20947515.html

Please Vote for Your Favorite Book Cover (Forest Benedict’s Upcoming Book)

 

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I am excited to share some possible covers for my upcoming book “Life After Lust”! Would you please take a minute to browse through the 5 images below and comment on which one is your favorite and what you like about it?

Also,  which cover (or combination of covers) would be the best fit for my intended audience –  male and female sex & pornography addicts of all (or no) religious backgrounds?

Also, please let me know if you prefer the subtitle on these covers or this one: “Stories & Strategies for Sex & Porn Addiction Recovery”.

The more people who vote, the better, so please share this post with others.

Thank you for your feedback and for sharing this exciting news!

For updates on my book release, I invite you to follow me on this blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Gratefully,

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C

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