An Interview with Joshua Shea

Updated: Sep 6

by Gordon Nary



Gordon: Where did you attend college and what was your major?


Joshua: Where didn’t I attend college? I did time at Emerson College in Boston, Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, and I’m still taking classes at Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Maine. My majors ranged from humanities to history to journalism. I don’t think there’s a point you should ever stop learning because our world of knowledge expands every day. Now, I’m taking classes not so much for the piece of paper at the end of the rainbow, but so I can become a better pornography addiction and betrayal trauma coach, focusing on things like certain aspects of psychology or case management.


Gordon: What did you enjoy most as Publisher/Editor at Independent Publishing Group and LA Publishing?


Joshua: While I was at my most critical point of addiction with both pornography and alcohol during those years where I owned/operated several newspapers and magazines, it was a fascinating experience. At the time, 10-12 years ago, my ego basked in the attention people constantly gave me and I relished being treated like a local celebrity, but in looking back, there’s a real satisfaction that I was able to actually operate all aspects of a company. Eventually, the addictions caught up and I couldn’t run the business, but for somebody like me who is not a math guy, I’m proud that I was able to keep the business afloat for more than five years.


Gordon: Who is your favorite author, and why is that author your favorite?


Joshua: Over the last five years, I’ve become a big fan of learning about behavioral economics and the great minds in that field, like Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Kahneman are among my favorites. I’ve read the book Stranger in a Strange Land three times in my life, about 10 years apart each time. With every read, itÕs a different book based on where I am in life and I don’t know if Robert Heinlein planned that when he wrote the book 60 years ago, but it always reveals more to me with every visit.


Gordon: What are some of the challenges when you were a ghost writer?


Joshua: Ghostwriting is almost a form of sanctioned plagiarism. With my years as a journalist, I’m a good interviewer, and I love the conversations I’ve been able to have with the subjects, be they captains of industry or famous people. The two biggest challenges are figuring out how to write in their voice and what story they want to tell.


Often, it’s not the story they think they want to tell when they start. The money in ghostwriting is great compared to most forms of writing, but there is something hollow when you hold up a book that you’re proud of writing, but your name isn’t anywhere to be found. I’ve often wondered how some of these authors can sit in bookstores and sign their books when in many cases, they didn’t write a single word. It seems disingenuous to me, but it’s not my dilemma to solve. As long as their check clears, I’m happy.


Gordon: What interested you to write about pornography?


Joshua: I was an addict for 24 years, starting as a 12-year-old boy. When I finally got into recovery in 2014, I visited a bookstore and while there were books on addiction and one book on intercourse/sex addiction, there was nothing addressing addiction to pornography. I was able to find academic journals online, and while I enjoy reading those, I know the average person doesn’t. I decided if there were no materials for the average person, I would just go ahead and create one. After my first book came out, the response was so strong, I just continued to produce books as my schedule and demand dictated I could.


Gordon: What are the books you have written?


Joshua:

  1. The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How I let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroy Relationship

  2. He’s a Porn Addict Now What: An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions (With Tony Overbay)

  3. Porn and The Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything

  4. I Am Reading This Book About Porn Addiction for a Friend

Gordon: Some people are addicted to pornography. How can they control their addiction?


Joshua: If I could answer that in three sentences, I would have saved the world by now! I think, like all addiction, the first thing for a successful recovery is to discover the NEED to quit. Not just the idea that one should quit, or one wants to quit, but that one NEEDS to quit. These are the people I see ultimately recover. I will also say I’ve never seen anybody completely walk away from their addiction without the help of others, be it a therapist, coach or a 12-step group. One of the biggest keys to sobriety is having others to lean on in the difficult times.


Gordon: You also lecture on pornography. Where are some of the places at which you have lectured?


Joshua: Mostly libraries and universities. Prior to the pandemic, I loved appearing in front of groups because you could see the lights turning on in people’s minds one at a time when they came to understand pornography addiction (all moralization/personal taste aside) is just like any other addiction. Since the pandemic, it’s mostly been online, which is nice because universities that may not otherwise bring me in, or conferences that aren’t going to fly me to Europe to speak, are able to still feature me as a guest. More importantly to me though are the over 300 podcast, radio and TV interviews I’ve done because I know in most cases, those audiences aren’t seeking me out, but they are still hearing my message of pornography addiction awareness.


Gordon: You are also a Certified Betrayal Trauma Coach. What does that involve?


Joshua: I describe this like Newton’s Third Law (for every husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend who is a pornography addict) there is going to be an equal and opposite reaction with their partner. Usually, a pornography addict hides their illness from their partner. Much of the time, the partner uncovers it, leading the addict to denial, and often blame. Now, you’ve got somebody who believes that they are the root of the problem AND they can’t trust this partner that they did. It can do a real number to a person and I wanted to be able to help the partners as well as the addicts. The old cliché about how everyone around an addict gets sick is true even with addictions like pornography. I felt if I was going to be the best coach I could, I should become certified in betrayal trauma, too. The reality is, when you get to the core of the issue, most addicts have experienced betrayal trauma and it’s usually central to their issues with addiction.


Gordon: Thank you for a great interview that will be helpful to many.