TW: Brittany shares her experiences with sexual abuse, how that fueled her porn addiction, & the revelation that led her to seek help.Support the show
Hey everybody, welcome back to the are not finished podcast. My name is Bernie Franklin and I'm the host of this podcast. And I am also all over the place today just because there's been a lot going on recently , um, including the mass shootings that have gone on nationwide, the Derek Chauvet trial, as well as other injustices being brought to light , including the shooting of Dante, right . And Adam Toledo. Um, and as a woman of color being inundated with everything that is going on, the violence and the injustice, it is a lot to process the say the very least. And I know it takes a toll on everyone, including myself. So because I haven't fully processed my thoughts on these things. And because of the fact that there are plenty, more refined and insightful responses to everything that has been happening that already exist . Um, I'm not going to devote today's episode to these topics, but I will absolutely address them at a later time. I think for now, it is best to send my love and prayers to the families of George Floyd, Dante, right , Adam Toledo, and the families of those who have lost their lives or been injured due to the mass shootings that have happened in this past week. Before I get into today's episode, I want to provide a trigger warning. I will be talking about sexual abuse and assault as well as pornography use and addiction today. If these topics cause you any mental or emotional distress, please take care of yourself and your mental health and refrain from listening . Now, the reason I am talking about these things is because sexual abuse and pornography have most heavily and negatively influenced my life as far as my mental health and my behavior. So I had this whole thing written out. I was going to like present this in a nice, neat package kind of way. Um, but sexual abuse and pornography and addiction, aren't nice and neat and well packaged things to experience. Um, and so I thought I would just scratch all that and really just speak authentically and from the heart, because I know that that would be the most helpful when it comes to addressing these things, as far as my own well-being and my own mental health, but also for whoever ends up listening to this podcast , um, authenticity is much better in my opinion. So if I mess up along the way, I hope you guys can be gracious to me and understand that this is, this is a very hard thing to address. Um, but at the same time , um , I'm willing to address it. So I'm going to start with my experience with being sexually abused. Um, it starts at the age of seven when I was molested by an older kid at the school that I attended at the time. Um, and this went on, on and off for a period of about two years. Um, now, because I hadn't been educated on sex at all, or what constitutes as inappropriate or appropriate sexual behavior at that time? Um , I wasn't aware I was being abused. I just knew that it was wrong. It wasn't until the age of 25 that I had remembered that repressed memory and realized that I had in fact been molested when I was a child. And then fast forward to the age of 13 , um, where I was sexually assaulted by an older man when I was in high school. Um, now for my own personal wellbeing , I'm not going to go into detail about what happened. And I think it's best to not do that for your own personal wellbeing , but I just know that after therapy and self examination, that those traumatic experiences are what led to me having an addiction to sex and pornography. So after I was sexually assaulted , um, I began to act out and engage in what people would call high-risk sexual behavior, I guess , um, to put it quite simply. Um, I became pretty promiscuous from the age of 13 and I want to make it super clear that me explaining how I responded to being sexually abused in that way is not me. Slut-shaming anybody. Like if you choose to be open and free with your sexuality, that's completely on you. I can not judge what anybody is doing with their own body by choice, especially since I made that choice for myself , um, in response to being sexually assaulted , um, that would be hypocritical of me. So I just want to make that very clear. Um, people are free to do whatever they want to with themselves because of free will. And I will not judge, nor will I condemn nor do I have the power to do so. So there's that. So just to sum it up again , um, I began to engage in high risk sexual behavior from the age of 13 til about the age of maybe 25, 26. And ever since then, I've been celibate I'm 34 now, and I'm pretty sure it's been researched and proven that some people who have experienced sexual abuse and assault respond by engaging in those behaviors. Um, for me, I won't speak for everybody, but I know for me, it was easier to act out in that way because in my mind , um, at the time, and this is completely wrong thinking, but this is just the way I was thinking at the time, in my mind, nobody's going to take anything away from me if I just give it a way . And so I wanted to, in a way, take my power back sexually , um, by acting out in that way. The other reason for that was , um, I grew up in a single parent household. Um, I was just raised by my mom. And so I had a deep desire. And if I'm honest, I kind of still have that desire if I'm being real, like to be, to be deeply loved by the opposite sex. And the only way, unfortunately, that I experienced that love and attention and affection from the opposite sex was through sexual means. That was the only way that I knew how to get it. I guess it sounds terrible, but that's what it was for me. Um, so yeah, that explains why I acted out in the ways that I did now when it comes to pornography. Um, I was exposed to that at the age of about 14 or 15 when one of my peers brought a video over to the house. And , um, to be honest, I could only watch like maybe five minutes of that. I just felt uncomfortable. I thought it was over the top and unnecessary, like I just thought it was just dramatic for no reason. I , I really was not into it and I thought it was gross. So , um, yeah, pornography didn't have an effect on me until the age of 21. Um, and that's when I started using pornography regularly in order to, or for the purpose of attempting to curb my desires, to be physical with the opposite sex. Um, you know, because I wanted to practice celibacy as a Christian, just my own personal choice. That's something I really wanted to do. Um, unfortunately though me attempting to use pornography as a substitute , uh , was the gateway to my addiction. Um, and what would be an addiction to pornography use? Um, I would lose days , um, and so much time due to my desire to use pornography. Um, I wouldn't be able to concentrate on things. Um, I would have images of pornographic content, just kind of flash in the middle of a conversation or in the middle of a Workday or in the middle of me trying to focus for school or something like that. Um, it just really began to dominate my life. And so , um, I went to, I went to, I went through a program called celebrate recovery and , uh , I'm laughing a little bit because it wasn't a waste of time, but , uh, it just was not effective and curbing the pornographic use. If anything, going to celebrate recovery meetings would make me want to use pornography more. Um, unfortunately now if you don't know what celebrate recovery is, it's basically it's like a or Christians and it's furred multiple hurts hangups and habits. That's literally the , uh, the phrase , um, that negatively impact your life. Um, so it's not just for porn use. It's not just for alcohol. Um, it's for multiple things. Um, and I won't discuss the effectiveness of celebrate recovery for other people who might've gone through that program. It just didn't work for me and the setting that I was in. So I ended up having to let celebrate recovery, go and find another outlet to help me get rid of this addiction because I , I mean, pornography is supposed to be pleasurable and for a lot of people, it is. Um, but I, I know my connection to in porn is not a healthy one. It's not a beneficial one. It's an ugly one that stems from abuse. Um, I had to realize that every single time that I use pornography, I am revictimizing myself. We victimizing that old , that eight year old at nine year old at 13 year old in me, revictimizing the people who don't choose to be on those porn sites. And I'm , revictimizing the people whose assaults are recorded and monetized on those porn sites and I'm fueling sex trafficking. I had to realize those things through therapy and self-reflection, and through educating myself on these things also had to realize that watching pornography and the shame that I was carrying because of watching pornography was only adding to my depression and my anxiety. And it was harming me physically, as well as mentally. I had to stop looking at these men as objects and I had to start looking at them as people who are worthy of genuine love, respect, and affection. And I had to look at myself that way, as someone who is worthy of genuine love and affection and intimacy had to trade, what is counterfeit for what's real. And I don't say that as someone who has fully overcome the need to use pornography, like I still struggle. Um, I'm not, definitely not as addicted as I once was for sure, not even close. Um, and I have made strides when it comes to recovery, but I do so relapse. Um, but I decided that I don't have to be someone who has fully conquered something to be able to know how harmful it is and to be able to share their experience with it, for the purpose of helping themselves and helping other people the way I see it. It's just too important of an issue for me to be silent, about, to continue to be silent about there have instances in my life where I have I talked about, Oh yeah, like, you know, I struggled pornography or whatever, and private. Um, but I think the more public I get with this, the more shame is removed from it. And the easier people can get free of it , um , at the end of the day. So that's just how I feel. I was gonna, you know, add some statistics and stuff and, and research and everything about how pornography and sexual trauma affects people mentally, emotionally, and physically. But I would rather point you to an organization called Pfizer new drug. Um, they have been shedding light on pornography, sex trafficking, sexual abuse for a very long time and have been doing it very effectively. They've also been pointing people to resources , um, in order to overcome their addiction to pornography. So there's one, there's one resource called four to five , uh , which is an app for people who struggle with pornography use. Um, if there's a free version and there's a paid version, I actually have that app downloaded on my phone as well. Um, and it actually helps me because for one, it has a tracker of your , um, victories and setbacks that you can, you know, log in for yourself. Um, you can express how you feel in community forums , um, with people who are struggling as well , um, which community is a great resource , um, to overcome any addiction , um, definitely can not be done by yourself . And that is how engaging with community like that has helped me so much in this , the area of addiction for me. Um, because I'm replacing that, you know, counterfeit into intimacy. Like I called it before, replacing that with genuine connections and friendships. So , uh , four to five is a really good app. There's a free version, like I said, and there's the paid version. If you're struggling in the area of pornography addiction or compulsive pornography use , uh , that is a great app to use and fight the new drug. Um, their website is www.atftnd.org. Um, they have a time of stats, a ton of research, a ton of resources that can help you, if you are struggling with pornography use, there's also a documentary that they have , um, that just lays it all out there for you. I would definitely recommend watching that on their website for free. So I think that is going to be it for this episode. I'm actually thinking about adding a part two to this episode to get really into depth about the harmful effects of pornography use. Um, I think that would be helpful , um, because it's just, it's something that should be thoroughly addressed. And so I think down the line, maybe , um, the next episode I had a couple of weeks or the episode after that , um, I'll go ahead and make a part two to this episode. Um, but for now, if you need any helpful resources regarding pornography use, or if you need helpful resources regarding mental health and suicide prevention go to either fight the new email@example.com, or you can go to my website at www dot you're not finished.com. And I just really want to thank you so much for listening to your, and I finished , um , giving this podcast a chance , um, and hopefully being gracious as I authentically speak to a subject that is really difficult for me to talk about, honestly, but I do hope that this is helpful to your mind and heart as you listen, and you can hopefully have a better understanding of people who have gone through sexual trauma and are dealing with sexual addiction. Um,Speaker 3:
Yeah, I'm definitely going to provide more insight on that , another episode. So , uh , yeah, if that's not in two weeks, it'll definitely be on the following episode. Um , thank you so much again for listening and I will see you in a couple of weeks. Bye.