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Candice Diaz

Episode 70

Candice Diaz

Betrayal Trauma Coach, Wife, & Mom

Candice Diaz is a wife and mother, and now, she’s also an advocate for couples who have been impacted by porn. She and her husband have personally experienced how porn can disrupt couple intimacy and relationship harmony, and she aims to be a voice of hope for people whose self-worth is impacted by their partner’s porn habit. During this conversation, podcast host Garrett Jonsson and Candice talk about her experience with betrayal trauma, how her husband’s porn consumption negatively impacted her body image, and how she and her husband are navigating their recovery.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Fight the New Drug Ad: Decades of studies from respected institutions have demonstrated the significant impacts of porn consumption on individuals, relationships, and society. Truth About Porn is a current, ever-growing database dedicated to giving visibility to the research on the harmful effects of pornography. Access the latest studies, and watch expert interviews to brush up on the research detailing the harms of pornography. Get the facts at truthaboutporn.org.

Garrett Jonsson: My name is Garrett Jonsson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug.

And in case you’re new here, Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

We want these conversations to be educational, uplifting, and hopeful. As we sit down with experts, influencers, activists, and people with personal accounts, we cover a wide variety of topics that may be triggering to some, you can refer to the episode notes for a specific trigger warning- listener discretion is advised.

Today’s episode is with Candice Diaz. Candice is married to Alex, who we also sat down with in a separate conversation. Candice is a wife, and a mom to two young kids. She enjoys the little things that make life enjoyable, and she also knows how to fight. During this conversation we discuss betrayal trauma, how her husband’s porn consumption negatively impacted her body image, and how she and her husband are navigating their recovery.

With that being said, let’s jump into the conversation, we hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Candice, we are excited to be speaking with you today. And, uh, we just wanna, first of all, say, thank you for joining us.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Thank you for having me.

Garrett Jonsson: Absolutely. We are always so grateful for people coming on the podcast and, uh, we know that well, you have kids.

Candice Diaz: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And, uh, we know how challenging it can be to get all the, of the logistics taken care of around that. So we’re even more grateful that you’re with us today because you made all that happen.

Candice Diaz: Oh, thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: And before we talk about how pornography has impacted your life, uh, before going abruptly into that, I always think it’s cool to get to know you a little bit better. I think it’s helpful for the listener to get to know you a little bit better as well. Uh, can you talk to kind of who you are and what you’re up to today, what your day to day looks like?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. So like you mentioned, I’m a stay-at-home mom. So majority of my time is, you know, spent being with my babies. I have a, almost two year old and a four year old. And then, um, and a lot of, sorry…

Garrett Jonsson: I was just gonna say the, the word that stood out to me in all of the explanation was, uh, the word “majority”, like the majority of your time.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: I just say that because like, as a parent myself, I know that it’s like, maybe majority’s not the best word. Maybe it’s like all of your time. Like every second of every day?

Candice Diaz: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t know if that’s the case for you, but I kind of feel that way sometimes.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. That is actually true all the time.

Garrett Jonsson: But anyway, I interrupted you. What else? What is your day to day look like other than that stuff?

Candice Diaz: Um, yeah. So other than that, I spend a lot of my time working on Instagram, um, spreading awareness about this actually, and right now I’ve been super busy creating an online course for women who have gone through betrayal trauma. So that is been a lot of stuff.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. That’s cool. Can you talk more to the course that you’re creating or is it still in the works and you’re not ready to reveal any of that information yet?

Candice Diaz: No, I’m all I have left is to record it, but basically I share all the steps that I took to help my healing. So I go more in depth of like body image, um, understanding the addiction, finding ourselves again, um, just working on your relationship with yourself and then eventually where me and my husband also wanna do one for couples like helping couples become closer together.

Garrett Jonsson: Cool. That’s amazing. So it’s like almost seems like based on my interpretation of your program, it’s like the thing that, the things that, or I guess some of the things that you’ve experienced through your personal account on how pornography has negatively impacted your life, you’re like taking those and you’re saying like, this is what happened to me and this is how, what, this is what helped me and this is, and then you’re just kind of facilitating healing. Is that kind of the goal?

Candice Diaz: Yeah, that’s my goal because I mean, we’ve gone to a lot of therapists and they were helpful, but a lot of times things weren’t so helpful for on my side of it. And so…

Garrett Jonsson: Interesting.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Like it just, it’s not very common to talk about, um, the why for the partner’s perspective, like betrayal trauma with this gets, um, what’s the word?

Garrett Jonsson: Like up under the rug or like put on the back burner?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. It’s just not really understood as much.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh, okay.

Candice Diaz: So, so my goal is to help women with the things that have helped me and get rid of the things that weren’t so helpful.

Garrett Jonsson: Dude. That’s awesome.

Candice Diaz: Thanks.

Garrett Jonsson: I think that’s pretty cool that you’re creating this program. I think it will be helpful for people.

Candice Diaz: Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: Anything else that would help us better understand who is Candice?

Candice Diaz: Um, I love Target runs, Dr. Pepper…

Garrett Jonsson: Target runs. Okay.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. And I just got my husband the Switch for Christmas, so we playing a lot of Mario.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s cool.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. I get in touch with our inner child. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: For sure. That’s awesome. That seems really fun. Um, Candice, as I, you know, prepared for this conversation, I looked at your social media and one of the things that I saw, like this recurring thing that I saw was you, you in a Fight the New Drug Porn Kills Love shirt.

Candice Diaz: Yes.

Garrett Jonsson: And, uh, the reason why that stood out to me, I guess my question is like, I, I would assume that based on the fact that you’re posting in that recurringly, that you agree with, the statement that porn kills love.

Candice Diaz: Yes, I absolutely do. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] And I know that, uh, you have a personal account where it has negatively impacted your life. So I’m wondering if like you can talk to that a little bit more and talk about how porn affected the love within your relationship?

Candice Diaz: I don’t think that people understand and how much it can actually kill your love until you’re going through it and experiencing it. Um, because of the effects porn had on our relationship. I actually got to the point where I didn’t even believe in love at all anymore, as weird as that sounds.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s interesting.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. It felt impossible to have. And, and like with, um, my husband continuously viewing porn, even though like it hurt me. And like at the time I did not understand the porn addiction or like porn problems at all. So it really felt personal.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Candice Diaz: Um, and so it caused me to think he didn’t even love or value me.

Garrett Jonsson: Dang.

Candice Diaz: And then at the same time, my view of him was starting to get different. Like my love for him felt like it was dying a little bit because of how much he wanted view porn. Um, and so, yeah, it just became consumed with my thoughts and like we would distance from each other.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

Candice Diaz: Um, emotionally, sexually, physically, we just became so distant and resentful, in a way. So there was no possible way for our love to continue growing, cuz it was so consumed with all of that.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. I can, I can imagine. And I have to imagine because I’m not you, but as a young girl, before you were married, I would imagine that you had this almost like this picture of what love would feel like, or what your relationship with your spouse would feel or be like. And then all of a sudden you’re caught in the reality of like this challenge and you’re like, “Oh my goodness, this is not what I expected.” And uh, that can be, you can feel really hopeless in some of those moments. I’m sure.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. I actually talk a lot about this on my course. It’s I felt betrayed in a whole new way from like media, my parents, like everyone made me feel like love was this perfect little fairytale.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: But it’s not. And it’s okay that it’s not.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Okay. I like that. Well, that’s awesome. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing some of those things because…

Candice Diaz: You’re welcome.

Garrett Jonsson: I think that a lot of our listeners will be able to relate and learn from your experience and you know, it’s never easy to talk about these things.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. I’ve gotten used to it now.

Garrett Jonsson: Is it getting easier for you?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Now it’s just part of my daily stuff.

Garrett Jonsson: Cool. Well, that’s good. Do you feel like talking about these things puts you into like a re-traumatized state where you’re kind of have to relive some of those things or do you find it cathartic?

Candice Diaz: I used to, for sure when I wasn’t fully, like when I was still in the depths of my pain and stuff.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Candice Diaz: But now I find it freeing in a way where I can, um, talk about and help others to normalize like this side of this situation too.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That’s really cool. Yeah. Just the benefit of talking about something can be very cathartic and very healing if it’s an appropriate, healthy way.

Candice Diaz: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, that’s cool. I’m glad that you’re in that spot in your journey. That’s a pretty cool place to be because you had to work to get here.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Thank you. It took a lot of work. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I can imagine. Well, one question I have is regarding how your relationship kind of developed with your partner, because I’m wondering, like, did you know about his porn consumption before you two got married?

Candice Diaz: Yeah, I did actually. Um, I don’t think I realized what it fully meant though, to have a problem with porn.

Garrett Jonsson: Hmm. Yeah.

Candice Diaz: But I even told him like one of the last times he viewed, it was a couple weeks before our wedding and I told him I would not get married if this was gonna enter into our marriage. And he like promised me it wouldn’t cuz I don’t think he really understood.

Garrett Jonsson: How soon into your relationship did you start to identify that porn was disrupting the intimacy and harmony within your relationship?

Candice Diaz: Well, three weeks into marriage is when it became a problem again. So pretty quickly.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: And um, it definitely disrupted everything about our intimacy. It trained like viewing porn a lot, like my husband’s majority of sexual experiences was with porn. So it trained my husband to prefer porn. So it was kind of hard for us to grow in our intimacy together when we were both like needed this in the first place.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: And um, I felt very distant when we did, when we were intimate together, I felt like he actually would rather be alone, and I was in the way.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. I, I can’t relate to that on a personal level, but I can, I can speculate to how I would feel or like the challenging aspect of that. Like that must have been a big barrier for you. Like I, I can only imagine that that thought in your head and the betrayal trauma that you were experiencing, like disrupted your ability to be present during sexual intimacy with him.

Candice Diaz: Oh yeah. The whole time. All I could think about was “Who is he thinking about? Like, is he being present with me?” or like I was never present with him because I was thinking if he was being present with me. We just could never connect. And it actually took five years before we actually had a good intimacy experience. And that was after last year or after he went to rehab foreign, this for porn. Um, we’ve been able to grow our intimacy a lot.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

Candice Diaz: But it took that long.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. So it’s not something that’s gonna change overnight in some cases, in most cases.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. In most cases.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I don’t know if I believe in like, I guess I believe in it sometimes spontaneous recovery where it’s like from one day to another, the person changes.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: I guess I believe in that, I think that is possible that it happens, but I’d say the very, very large majority, it doesn’t happen that way. It requires time, and effort, and pain, and suffering, and talk therapy and all those things.

Candice Diaz: Definitely.

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t know if this is true or not. This is just an observation that I’ve made. And as you were talking, it came to mind, uh, I’ve really never thought of this comparison before this conversation, but you mentioned how he would almost prefer pornography. Like I think you said that pornography trained him to prefer it over interaction with a real person. And I have kids and we have an Nintendo in our house and we have TVs in our house and I know that our kids enjoy some screen time. And sometimes when they engage in a lot of screen time, it’s tough to like get them to go outside, You know?

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t know if this relates and I, I, I already said it like, this is just my casual observation. It’s nothing like, it’s not very scientific, but I’m just wondering if there’s something to that. Like the thing where you’re a kid, if you spend too much time in front of a screen, it can train them to enjoy that over, going out and doing other activities.

Candice Diaz: Yeah, definitely.

Garrett Jonsson: And I think it could be similar. I don’t know. What are your thoughts?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. I, I’ve never thought of that either, but I think it’s very similar. And what we’ve realized like through therapy and talking with each other is like porn was the easy way. So like, um, when you’re used to that and that’s what your experiences were, it’s easier to go, you know, view porn than try to be with someone. And another thought on intimacy as we were talking about this, um, on top of like the emotional stuff I mentioned about, you know, being hurt and stuff, there was the fact that we were both on different like cycles of wanting sex. Mm. So there was like no harmony in us being able to grow that because like, for example, when it, when he wanted it or like got triggered to go view it, he would just go, you know, do his thing to porn. And then when I would initiate it, he would either say “No.”, cuz it was fulfilled or cuz he felt guilty or something. So it was really hard to like for us to grow in that.

Garrett Jonsson: Right. I think this is probably a stupid question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. I don’t wanna be assumptive.

Candice Diaz: Okay. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Did you ever wonder if your relationship would last?

Candice Diaz: Oh yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. That’s what I thought.

Candice Diaz: We, yeah, almost every day to be honest, when we were in the thick of it all, um, or every time a relapse would happen, it was like tearing me down all over and we’re like, “Oh my gosh, are we gonna get divorced?”, it was awful.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Candice Diaz: And it wasn’t just me. Like we both would actually consistently wonder.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And you’re kinda laughing about it now because they say, you know, they say that stress plus time equals humor…

Candice Diaz: Yeah, that’s true.

Garrett Jonsson: … or becomes comical a little, but I’m sure at the moment it was no laughing matter.

Candice Diaz: Oh no, it was not funny at all.

Garrett Jonsson: And we’ve made it this far into the conversation, but there might be some listeners who might not be very familiar with the term “betrayal trauma”. Can you kind of give a definition as to what that is or what it was in your experience?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Okay, so one thing about betrayal, trauma, that’s hard with porn especially is that it’s really misunderstood. And so a lot of times, well first it feels like we’re not allowed to open up about it cuz it’s not our thing to share. Like our partner is the one doing it. So whenever I did end up sharing with someone, the responses I would get is, “Well, he’s a guy, what do you expect?”, or “All men do it.” Or they would accuse me of not having sex with him or making him fulfilled. And that was always the first reaction. And I’ve come to found that most women get these responses, like people who reach out to me on my Instagram, um, all of them say “That’s all people tell me.” And so then we start to feel like, “Okay, it must just, it must be me either I have this expectation that’s too high or I should just come to terms that all men you porn and it should be okay.” Or you just get so confused with what is real or not.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. It’s almost like a form of victim blaming.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. And the hardest part about it was, it was people who were friends or family like people or your therapist, even like people who you would think to, you know, at least at least see both sides of it. It’s not like you’re trying to hurt your partner or anything, but like just to see that it can cause pain.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: So for me I felt betrayed not only by my husband, but by everybody.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh wow. Yeah. Almost like your therapist is well in certain situations because I would assume that you have this expectation of your therapist to be, you know, balanced, and healthy, and well-rounded, and have good perspectives on all areas. But it sounds like in your case, maybe your therapist was, might have been a good therapist, but maybe that person had never really experienced a trail trauma or had never like specialized in it.

Candice Diaz: Definitely didn’t and it was not good advice. I don’t think they really had experience in anything regarding porn. So…

Garrett Jonsson: Dang.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. And it was like our marriage counselor. So like I felt really dumb and not seen. And then Alex was like, “Okay, so I’m, I’m good.”

Garrett Jonsson: “Good to go. This is normal.”

Candice Diaz: [laughter] Yeah. Yeah. And it ended up being worse for him. Like he didn’t actually get real help. We got rid of that therapist pretty quickly, but yeah, another thing at the time, I didn’t realize that I was experiencing betrayal trauma. I just felt like betrayed by my husband. And then as the years went by, I did some research on betrayal trauma, cuz I felt dumb calling my experience traumatic don’t know. I just felt like it’s not that big a deal compared to other trauma, but we actually experienced the same things that people experience with real trauma cuz it is, you know, traumatic for us. So…

Candice Diaz: Yeah. It’s just a different type that you had never heard of, I guess.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Like we could get, um, I did research on, um, symptoms or like things that can happen from feeling trauma and like you can get flashbacks or like physical symptoms even as like shaking, headaches, and like guilt that we’re not able to fix it or shame.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow.

Candice Diaz: Just all the same things.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Do you have a moment that stands out to you as like your low of lows or like one of the moments that’s the most that you felt the most hopeless?

Candice Diaz: I have quite a few, but my low, low is probably, um, it started three years into our marriage. I had this feeling that I needed to back off of our recovery and just let my husband take control of it and let him choose what he wanted. And I shared with him that I was at the point where I just, I couldn’t do this anymore. And so I gave him that year and throughout the year everything was going great. Like he would reassure me that he wasn’t even thinking about porn. Um, it wasn’t a problem anymore. He even went to the extent of like reposing so we could do our five year renewal vows. Um, so I was just on cloud nine. Like “Finally we’re, you know, we’re doing this! We’re healing.” but then something still felt wrong. Like I could tell something was off, but thought it was just all on my head, like me needing to heal more. But then the truth came out that, that entire year he had gotten worse in his addiction and it was all a lie and he had never lied before. So this was a whole new, um, experience for me. And that was the lowest I’ve ever felt. I went from thinking, “We healed, we’re doing this.” to, um,… completely alone. Wow. I didn’t think I’d get emotional, But yeah. [crying]

It went,… um… completely different than I expected. And shortly after that he left for a three month rehab experience. So I not only did that, but I had to be a single mom for three months to our kids and try to like everything’s okay for them. And we couldn’t even me and my husband couldn’t even have contact. So it was definitely the most lonely I’ve ever felt.

Garrett Jonsson: You have me a little bit emotional as well.

Candice Diaz: Oh.

Garrett Jonsson: And I didn’t live that experience. Do you feel like the tears today are tears of gratitude or are you still kind of working through some of that pain?

Garrett Jonsson: I feel like I, I feel like their gratitude. I definitely feel, um, there’s still a little bit of pain there. I mean, When I think about it, it doesn’t normally, um, get me this choked up actually.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: Because I now I’m grateful that happens so that he could, it led him to get the proper help. But I guess running through memory lane, talking about this really got me.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I think anyone that’s experienced betrayal trauma can relate. And so I just wanna, I just wanna state that to help you understand that those tears are okay.

Candice Diaz: Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. We appreciate you being vulnerable. I think that, uh, your vulnerability is gonna be a powerful tool for our listeners. So we appreciate that.

Candice Diaz: Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, you mentioned the therapy, um, that he went to. I do not wanna breeze over the work, the amount of workload that you had to take on during his therapy.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Like you mentioned that all of a sudden you’re a single mom and you can’t even communicate with him and the level of loneliness, and hopelessness and just curiosity of “How is this gonna work out?”. Man, you’re a champion.

Candice Diaz: Oh, thanks. Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: Are there any other practical steps that you two have taken that you think other people could benefit hearing about?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. So besides the things I’ve mentioned, like, uh, therapy, and rehab, there’s a lot that we do. So every day we do a daily, check-in where we update each other, um, not just about recovery, but on our feelings needs all of that. And so we’re able to communicate and also it helps knowing that every day we will end up talking about this at some point. So like there’s no, like I know a lot of couples will experience like, um, just fears regarding when to bring it up or like, “Should we talk about it?”. Um, so when you have that every day, it makes it more of not like this stressful thing. Just like, “Oh yeah, how are you doing?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Cuz I think it would be easy to go, you know, months. All of a sudden you’ve gone six months and haven’t talked about it.

Candice Diaz: Oh yeah. We experienced that at times.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: Um, and then also we have like boundaries set in place, like as a couple boundaries and then he has boundaries for himself. Um, so those two things have been helpful on the daily.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s cool. Healthy boundaries are healthy. [laughter]

Candice Diaz: [laughter] Yeah, they are.

Garrett Jonsson: Well awesome. Um, we want to be loyal to the absent because your husband’s isn’t currently on the line with us. Like he’s not here to speak up for himself, you know?

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Because as I was preparing for the conversation, I saw that you’ve stated before online that “Slipping up is not recovery.” And I’m just wondering if you can talk about why you hold that perspective?

Candice Diaz: Yeah. So first just so everyone’s aware, my husband actually helped me write that post. So he is I fully on board with talking about this, um, and agrees with that statement. Now, the reason why we are so, um, we believe in that is because the majority of our recovery journey, whether it’s a therapist, they would all say the same thing regarding relapses, which was “Expect to slip up, it’s part of recovery.”, or they would tell me “If you’re gonna be married to him, you need to accept that he’s gonna slip up. Like that’s just part of it.” And when people would tell us this, it would make me feel hopeless, but also give him the excuse that it was okay to do it. Like in his mind he was like, “Well, if my therapist said that it’s part of recovery, then green light, I can go and not feel like I need to not do it.”

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. It’s almost like the perpetual like last cigarette, if we’re comparing it to a person that smokes.

Candice Diaz: Oh, yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: It’s like the perpetual like “One more time, one more time.” Is that kind of what you were saying?

Candice Diaz: Yes. That’s actually how Alex explains it. He’s like, “It always was like that one more time feeling and you always believe that will be the last, but then when it comes, you give in cuz you’re like, well it’s, I’m recovering as part of it.” Like…

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Candice Diaz: And um, yeah, so I wanna, you know, we truly believe that slipping up is not choosing recovery, but if a slip up happened, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Like there needs to be this balance of getting not going into the same cycle of like “I’ve slipped up. I’m not progressing.” but picking yourself up and being like, ‘Okay, that doesn’t mean I I’m not failing, but like what can I do to help prepare me for next time that wasn’t like a complete win in my recovery journey. Something needs like to be helped.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Well my observation of you is that you have paid the price, you know, you’ve experienced trauma, you know what it feels like, you know, those challenge challenges and you’ve pressed forward. You’re, you’re fighting for a healthy relationship. And so I really admire you. And I’m just wondering if you have any advice for someone else who is in a relationship with someone who has a porn habit or a some type of compulsive behavior or an addiction around pornography consumption, but that person doesn’t want to change.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. I would say you, the first thing is you will never be able to make someone change no matter how hard you try, you can’t change anyone. So if it’s something don’t agree with or it bothers you and they’re not willing to get help or want to change or they don’t see it as a problem, then unfortunately you’ll just have to make the choice either leave or accept that they might always do it.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. Is that, what is that what you did during that year?

Candice Diaz: Yeah, actually, yeah. I always had that on the back of mind cuz I don’t get to go in his head. I don’t know what he really thinks. So for me I was like, “Okay, I can either accept that this might always be there.” Or like, cuz for me, I always felt like I was stuck. I loved him. I didn’t want him to choose porn. So I felt he was making me feel stuck because he was choosing something that I didn’t want. But when I put it back on me, like, “Okay, I’m choosing to be here knowing this is the problem.”, I got out of that stuck mindset. So yeah. That’s my biggest advice to people is no matter how hard you try to make someone see something, if it’s not their idea and they’re not, not gonna either change or see it as a problem.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. One of my favorite phrases that my Mom always said was “a person convinced against their will as of the same opinion still.”

Candice Diaz: Oh…

Garrett Jonsson: And I like that quote a lot. So thanks, Mom.

Candice Diaz: That is really cool.

Garrett Jonsson: It kind of sounds like you’re talking about letting go.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. It’s like, you feel like you have this control, but you have none. And I focus so much energy on trying to control an addiction I didn’t have, and it just made me just lose myself and not have any control over anything, including my own wellbeing, because then I was stuck in this negative mindset, um, becoming obsessed with, “Did he view porn?”, or “Was he checking that girl out?”, or “What, what is he gonna look up today?”, like uh, “Will he actually go get help?” That’s all my thoughts were and I wasn’t living my life for me anymore.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. It seems like it’d be really exhausting.

Candice Diaz: It was very exhausting because you feel like just the most powerless, I don’t know. It’s just this weird feeling and it wasn’t until I decided to let go. And just if he chooses that fine, it’s not what I want, but I don’t have power over it anyways. So if I just let go and just focus on me, I obviously need some healing. I’ve got some trauma going on, then I’m able to start finding healthy ways to live and happiness again.

Garrett Jonsson: Nice. Are you able to feel moments of bliss and happiness today?

Candice Diaz: Oh yeah. Nice. Every day and before it was like rare for that to happen. I was always in this negative energy, um, to control something. I had no control over always being let down made me first, just be in that negative energy. And also I there’s a lot of body image issues that come up for women, um, who feel or who have partners who struggle of porn. And so once I let go of his choices, I was able to realize that my, um, happiness, my worth, my beauty, wasn’t defined by what he chose to do.

Garrett Jonsson: I love that.

Candice Diaz: And um, it’s just crazy. I don’t know if I should… well, I’ll just mention it. So I was so low, like at some one point in our journey that I let myself go get plastic surgery to become more attractive and that did even fix it, like my image of myself, or even my husband’s choices. Like, so that’s when you realize that it’s way deeper than it’s not the outward appearance. It’s the inward. We gotta look in.

Garrett Jonsson: I just want to express gratitude because it’s a really vulnerable thing and vulner of strength and um, that’s really cool. I appreciate you sharing that. I mean, it’s not cool that you had to experience that.

Candice Diaz: [laughter] Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: But it’s cool that you’re letting people learn from your experiences.

Candice Diaz: Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: So you mentioned that you guys try to come their daily and have a discussion about how things are going, and that seems really nice.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, how else has your relationship with him improved since addressing this challenge together?

Candice Diaz: Well, it’s interesting actually, because for us we’ve always been addressing it. There wasn’t like any time in our relationship we weren’t, but the difference was, um, now we’re equally addressing it. And um, me working on myself and Alex working on himself and us coming together and meeting in the middle has been like, so life-changing for our relationship. Um, I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like a babysitter anymore to him and like he made his recovery his own. And so when we both did that, we’ve been able to be more healthier and have the ability to love each other more because we were healthier ourselves.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. That’s really cool. How long have you two been, you said you dated for a year. How long have you been married?

Candice Diaz: It will be six years in March.

Garrett Jonsson: Cool. Yeah. Do you feel like that’s a long time or do you feel like that’s not very much time?

Candice Diaz: Me and my husband always joke, we’re like, “Man, it’s only been six years- feels like a lifetime.” [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] Yeah. We can all relate to that a little bit. I’m not in a position to like give you advice or like it’s not my job to like provide you with hope. But I do want to say I’ve been married for like 11 years, my wife and I.

Candice Diaz: Oh nice.

Garrett Jonsson: And I do want to say that our challenges have really brought us closer together and over the years, obviously there’s moments where it doesn’t feel that way, but in the long run it has felt that way. And I think this is a common thing that can happen. It doesn’t happen for everyone sometimes… I mean, unfortunately, sometimes people aren’t able to stay together and it doesn’t work out. But from what I’ve seen, these are all anecdotal accounts. But see like some of the most healthy relationships are shared between two people who have addressed their challenges, and have gone through, and have paid the price.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: So I think that’s one of the cool benefits of, of addressing this. Is that not always, but it can turn out to be a really a cool thing for your relationship.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Honestly, I feel like we would never, um, have become this close or understand love as much as we do without going through this because in my mind it was still this like “LA LA fairytale love.” That’s what love is. But really love is understanding each other’s traumas and, and loving them regardless of that and getting through hard times together. And I feel like I know him way more now after going through all this.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh yeah. And yourself.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. And myself. Definitely. And now I I’ve gotten to the point where I’m, I’m grateful that we’ve been able to go through this as weird as it may sound after hearing all the other stuff. But I am grateful that this is where we’ve ended up.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Moments of bliss are not free.

Candice Diaz: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Well you have a significant following on social media, but it, it doesn’t seem like you’re a person who’s like bought followers.

Candice Diaz: [laughter] No.

Garrett Jonsson: It seems like your followers are real.

Candice Diaz: I wouldn’t even know how to do that, but,… [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: And, and you have a, you have a significant amount. And I think the reason why your followers stick around is because you are a person has paid the price and you, you are providing a cathartic experience for your followers. And that’s a really cool thing. How has it been for you to, to have that, to have that significant following on social?

Candice Diaz: Well, it’s actually kind of a crazy story. So last year was like the big year where I found out Alex lie, he went to rehab and I was not planning on talking to anybody about this. And now I talk to social media about it. Like not what I was expecting, but in July last year I decided I just had this feeling, you know, “I need a talk about this on social media.” And so I did, and at the time I only had 300 followers. And so it’s grown so much, um, in a short amount of time and I, I don’t think I was fully ready. It actually comes with the price, like talking about this has brought a lot of hate and negativity, but it all ends up being worth it because it’s been so cool to be able to help women not feel so alone. That’s been the biggest blessing for me. Um, and also through my posts, I’ve had men who struggle with porn reach out and say like, they never thought of it that way for their wives. Like they always just, you know, disregarded their wive’s feelings, but hearing someone else wow. A, um, they’ve been able to see their wife’s perspective. And like that’s one of my biggest goals is to help both sides see like understand each other, like we’re in this together.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And of course we know that, you know, women can also have a challenge with pornography consumption and the, a guy can be on the but betrayal trauma side.

Candice Diaz: Yes. I was actually gonna mention, I’ve had a few guys as well tell me that they relate, um, to my side of the story.

Garrett Jonsson: Wow. Well, that’s a beautiful thing that you’re doing. You’re yeah. That’s awesome.

Candice Diaz: Thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, Candace, we Phil so fortunate I’ve said it already in this conversation, but I have to say it again. We just wanna say thanks for being awesome. And for showing up today and showing up day in and day out so that you could show up today.

Candice Diaz: Thank you. I just wanna say like, it’s, it’s an honor for me to be on here cuz is through the depths of my pain Fight the New Drug is what helps me to understand my husband and understand the bigger pictures. So thank you.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s cool. Well, thank you for sharing that. We want to leave you with the opportunity to have the last word during this conversation. So if there’s anything that’s, you know, related to this conversation, that’s unexpressed thoughts you have that are on your heart or your mind. We’d love to hear those as well.

Candice Diaz: Yeah. Um, a lot of times women will ask me like, “Well, how long should I give them to change? Or like, how long should I stay?” And I know everyone’s situation is different. Like people might listen to all the things I’ve shared and be like, “Well, I don’t wanna keep going.”, or “When is enough enough?” Um, but I just wanted to share that the only person who will know is you and like, um, don’t make any choice out of emotion and, um, be under both sides and to be understanding. And, um, I want everyone. So now that my husband’s amazing, even though he has struggled with this, um, and you’ve heard all, you know, the hard things I’m proud of all that he’s done to overcome, um, this and the reason I’m still fighting this with him is cuz the effort he’s put into his recovery and our relationship. And I know it may seem like it will never end, but if both partners are fully committed, and honest, and ready to recover, miracles can have happen.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, Candice, thanks for joining us today. And uh, let’s stay in touch. Let us know if there’s anything that we at fight the new drug can do for you or anything that our audience can do.

Candice Diaz: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Fight the New Drug Ad: Hey listeners, you’re invited to the club, Fighter Club that is. If you’re looking for a way to become a more active part of this movement, consider joining Fighter Club. For as little as $10 a month, you can create a real impact by supporting our efforts to educate and raise awareness on the harms of porn. Plus by joining, you can get insider info, 30% off all Fight the New Drug’s conversations-starting gear, access to our secret store, and an exclusive Fighter Club kit sent to you when you sign up. Join fighter club today at FTND.org/fc. That’s FTND.org/fc. See you in the club.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug.

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links included with this episode.

Again, big thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.

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