Clay Olsen: Co-founder and President of Fight the New Drug
Clay Olsen is the Co-founder and President of Fight the New Drug (FTND), and a sandwich enthusiast—if not just out of sheer convenience. Clay took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us and reminisce on the creation and evolution of FTND, the organization behind the Consider Before Consuming podcast. Join us as we take a look through Clay’s lens while he shares how FTND started, and why it’s so important that this topic continues to be considered and discussed in today’s society.
GARRETT: What is up people? I’m Garrett Johnson, and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug. Today, we invite you to consider your constant daily string of careful considerations.
Seriously, think about it. Think about everything that you take into account every day to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community happy, healthy, and hopeful. Now consider this: there is an ever growing body of research demonstrating significant negative impact for yourself and the ones you love in the consumption of pornography. It can change the way you think, harm your ability to connect with other people, and contributes to changing the world in negative ways. This isn’t about moral arguments, it’s about considering the science, facts, and personal accounts.
So whether you’re joining us for education and prevention, or healing and hope, our goal is to bring you value by publishing conversations with people from around the globe.
In these conversations we’ll discuss how pornography can negatively impact individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. But we’re not just inviting you to consider the potential negative consequences of pornography, but also the benefits to a life free of pornography and its influence. You see, our team at Consider Before Consuming is dedicated to shining a light on love and all types of healthy relationships, including healthy sexual relationships. We accept and respect that individuals have the right to develop their own stance on the topic of pornography. We’re simply inviting you to look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.
In today’s episode, we sit down with Clay Olsen. Clay is Co-founder and President of Fight the New Drug. He’s also the CEO and Founder of Impact Collective which owns Fortify. The Fortify program has helped over 200,000 individuals from 155 countries address their challenges with pornography. In addition to all this, he’s a husband, father, and a sandwich enthusiast. Clay took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us and reminisce on the creation and evolution of Fight the New Drug. We also discuss why it’s important that this topic continues to be considered and discussed in today’s society. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Consider Before Consuming.
GARRETT: We want to welcome to the podcast Clay Olsen. Clay Olsen is Co-founder and President of Fight the New Drug. So it’s a big deal to have Clay on. He’s a busy man. We had to talk to his assistant. How many assistants do you have? Clay?
GARRETT: Okay. We had to talk to one of your assistants and a and make this happen. We joke, but you are a busy man. Uh, you’re scheduled out and so we appreciate you being here, Clay.
CLAY: Absolutely. Happy to be here.
GARRETT: Um, we are in our podcasting room. This is episode number one.
CLAY: Numero Uno!
GARRETT: Numero uno. That’s means number one in Spanish, just so you know.
GARRETT: And we are here in the room with Clay Olsen. Clay, we want to get started by asking the most important question of them all. And that is how many Jimmy John Sandwiches have you had this year?
CLAY: Let’s get just cut right to it, right? I mean, this is what everyone wants to know.
GARRETT: Exactly. This is the important stuff to me.
CLAY: I don’t know. Here’s the thing, Jimmy John’s, I mean, if they hear this, you know, they’re great. They’re wonderful. But, uh, it’s really about convenience. I mean, I, the idea of like, you know, getting up out of my desk and, and going to my car and driving somewhere and then sitting down or picking something up and it’s just like, who’s got time for that crap?
So like, I just want (laughing) I just want to like, keep working, you know keep drilling, keep grinding, and have some premium sandwich and I’ll eat it. Like if Jimmy John’s is offering, I’m going to take it.
GARRETT: There we go. And this show is brought to you by Jimmy John’s.
GARRETT: Just joking.
CLAY: Yeah. Thats the sponsorship here.
GARRETT: Um, and then I wanted to mention Clay that we, uh, you’ve been like a great influence on so many people, and myself included. But one area that I am, I feel like is maybe a negative that you’ve influenced me on is my emails.
So if you look at my phone, Clay-
GARRET: I have 335 unread emails and we were talking the other day and you mentioned that this is something that you just don’t care about. A lot of people like OCD about clearing out their inbox.
CLAY: Well, yeah, I, I might, I probably cared a long time ago, but once it crossed the thousand marker, I, it’s like an avalanche is just like, ok, just, I’m not even going to try to clear this out. And I think I’m up to like 30,000.
CLAY: But you know, so many of them are spam.
GARRETT: Oh, yea-
CLAY: I’m assuming all of them, in my mind it’s just is easier to cope with if I just say they’re all spam
GARRETT: People are like I’m not gonna email Clay now.
GARRETT: No, I know you answered that.
CLAY: I, I check every day. But uh, yeah, there’s a good-
GARRETT: It’s actually pretty, uh, gratifying to not answer them all because they’re spam. Like I used to be the person that was OCD and like clear them out, delete all, send a trash. It kind of like gratifying to not care-
GARRETT: Anymore. So that’s been, I just want to thank you clay. Actually see the positive influence-
CLAY: Well yeah, there’s good things about it.
GARRETT: Um, well clay, for a lot of people, they’re excited to listen to this podcast to, to learn more about what Fight the New Drug does. Um, as you know, the name of the podcast is Consider Before Consuming. And why did we choose that name? What for you, why is that name important?
CLAY: I think it, it, it encapsulates, you know, one of our primary missions at Fight the New Drug is to help people literally consider before consuming.
I think for a long time this topic has been so misunderstood and, uh, we started Fight the New Drug to help, you know, allow people or provide, uh, individuals, the ability to make an informed decision on this topic. And, uh, I think that for many of us, if we were aware of the potential risks involved with how pornography can impact individuals, relationships, and society, uh, you know, we, we pause and we, we consider that decision in a different way than we had before. And for many people that would actually make them make a different decision.
And so, I’m excited about this podcast. I’m excited about, uh, all the topics we’re going to be able to explore and that the people that we’re going to be able to interview and talk with and learn from. And I think it’s going to be so beneficial and powerful and it’s going to provide a lot of hope and it’s going to provide a lot of, uh, uh, healing information.
And, um, just kind of, again, coming back to one of our primary statements that we always used to talk about is like, we’re here to change the conversation or help guide a conversation on this topic that is so misunderstood. So a podcast, we people have been asking us to do a podcast for years and we’re finally getting to a place where we feel like we can, uh, handle that, uh, load and do it right. And, uh, Garrett, you’re a big part of that. And, uh, and we’re excited to be able to finally, um, bring this type of a format, this education into this medium. And, uh, I think it’s, I think it’s going to help a lot of people.
GARRETT: You mentioned that people have been requesting for years that Fight the New Drugs start a podcast. Speaking about years a, I wanted to mention that this year we reached a decade, uh-
CLAY: 10 years! Can you believe that-
GARRET: 10 years as an over as a registered nonprofit.
CLAY: It blows my mind.
GARRETT: I only heard about fight the new drug back in 2016.
GARRETT: So you guys have been around for, I, kind of blows my mind that I hadn’t heard about it cause-
GARRETT: I feel like I should have, would have, but it didn’t come up.
CLAY: We hadn’t gotten to you yet.
GARRETT: Yeah. Well we have 4 million, over 4 million, followers on our social media platforms now.
GARRTT: There’s still seven, well, seven- What’s the population right now of the world?
CLAY: Of the world? I would go close to 7 billion.
GARRETT: 7.5 billion. So we have a lot of work to do.
CLAY: (laughs) Yeah, a lot of work to do. Yeah.
GARRETT: In regards to-
CLAY: Oh, Yeah.
GARRETT: getting the, getting the-
CLAY: The messagings, yeah.
GARRETTGetting the information out. Um, but are you proud of that, Clay? Are you proud of, cause those are some big milestones crossing 10 years as a nonprofit and then also 4 million followers on social media.
CLAY: Yeah, I mean, of course. I think, I think that when we started that we had really large ambitions and, and you know, we had big dreams as to what we could achieve. But I, I will definitely say on the record that I think we’ve exceeded our wildest dreams as college students.
I think that this is turned into something that, you know, we can all stand back and be very proud of. And it’s, it’s due to, to the fighters, the followers. It’s due to our incredible team and you know, so many unbelievable donors that have come along, that have allowed us to achieve what we’ve, what we’ve done. And so I’m, I’m, I’m just so honored and proud of, of all the effort that’s put, you know, that people put into this and, um-
GARRETT: Yeah, it’s definitely taken a lot of effort.
CLAY: There’s so much more to do. That’s the thing is like you said it, like we are, we are just getting started with where we are, where we’re heading and, and the trajectory that we’re on.So, um, although I am proud of where we come up to this point, I am a very excited about the next 10 years.
GARRETT: Right. We are too. Um, one thing that might be confusing for some people is the podcast is Consider Before Consuming. It’s brought to you by Fight the New Drug. But for some of our listeners, they’re not gonna know what Fight the New Drug is.
CLAY: I suppose that’s true.
GARRETT: So can you talk to that a little bit?
CLAY: Yeah. Uh, so Fight the New Drug is a non-religious, non-legislative nonprofit dedicated to, you know, providing a way for individuals to make an educated decision on the topic of pornography using science facts and personal accounts.
We don’t do research. We’re a research aggregate, meaning that we take, uh, the research that is coming out of institutions like Yale, institutions like the Max Planck Institute of Human Development in Germany, and institutions all around the world that are doing this research.
We take that information and then we package it in a way that connects with young people.
GARRETT: So now that we know kind of what Fight the New Drug is, can you talk to how it started?
CLAY: We started this organization with a few buddies, um, Cam Lee, Ryan, Warner, Bo Lewis, and we’re just college students. Uh, and we, we saw that this was a, just an enormous challenge for our generation and definitely for generations to come. And, uh, and just thought, why, why not talk about it? Why not do something about it? Why not, you know, try to, uh hmm. Change or start a conversation.
GARRETT: So you guys are in college?
GARRETT: You and your buddies, all the co founders.
CLAY: It’s like the typical kind of, you know, startup scene in college dorm room kind of thing.
GARRETT:That’s awesome. And you guys are just sitting around talking about the harmful effects of pornography.
CLAY: Well, I mean-
CLAY: Not quite, but I mean it, it started, so we were all, we had started this organization, um, called EDGE, which stood for Entrepreneurs Dedicated to Great Endeavors, which is, you know, don’t make fun of us. But we started this organization, um, which essentially was like a, a club of, uh, you know, what we felt were really ambitious individuals wanting to, to, you know, do big things that wanted to achieve big things. And, um, mostly in the realm of business and entrepreneurship. And, uh, in one of those meetings and at the time I owned my own creative agency and, um, and I had been building that up and we were doing pretty well. And, uh, and, and, and this individual that was also part of the group, um, he, he made a statement that, I, I guess I sounds cliche, but I can say that it changed my life forever.
GARRETT: What was the statement?
CLAY: Well, he said in this meeting, we were going to go around in a circle talking about all the things that we wanted to do and people were bringing up like, well, I want to start this kind of company, or I would love to do this. So, and he said, um, it’d be cool to do an anti-porn billboard.
GARRETT: So start it as a billboard?
CLAY: Well that that was, that sort of came out of his mouth.
GARRETT: That’s the first statement?
CLAY: Yeah. That was the first statement. And, and, and first of all, it was super left field, right? Like it was like, wait, what, what? Like did you just say anti-porn billboard? Like, okay. But, uh, simultaneously for me at least, and I believe for, for, uh, I believe the other cofounders I could say the same for them. In that moment, there was like electricity that that hit.
I mean, it, kind of like this light bulb. It’s like, oh my gosh, this is a huge challenge and nobody’s talking about it. Uh, to at least the younger gen- demographic, youth. And you know, at the time I had my creative agency so I’m thinking like, we could do this, we could do this.
And it was personal for me because not only had I, I think like most everybody, had my own struggle with pornography. But it was close to home because my cousin, um, years prior to this gathering, uh, had, you know, he had struggled with an addiction to pornography.
And I use that term very consciously because I know that, that we overuse that term addiction and it doesn’t always apply, particularly with youth. It’s, rarely are they dealing with addiction. Oftentimes it’s more of a habitual stage or a compulsive stage and it can develop into an addiction.
Point is that for my cousin, I would safely say that he was dealing with an addiction at the time that, that he which leads people to need more and more often in a more, more extreme version. And that was definitely true for him. And eventually he acted out in ways that were, uh, very, very wrong and, and illegal and he went to prison.
So this was a very personal thing. When, when that moment, that meeting, you know, somebody said we should do this campaign, or this billboard. I thought back to my cousin, I thought back to my own experience. I thought back to just kind of like the trajectory that we were on in our society and where we were heading as, as a, as a culture. And I thought we need to intervene. We need to do something, we need to create a movement to help change the conversation.
And it needs to be youth led at and needs to be youth focused in all, you know, all these things. And, and, uh, anyway, that started us down a path. We started like meeting with, uh, reading books and meeting with experts and, and being mentored by individuals just to try to like wrap our heads around this issue and, and what, what information and research was available at the time, what we understood about it and how we could take that information and present it to a younger generation in a way that not only would they like, listen and pay attention, but they could rally behind and get behind and own. And, uh, that was, that was a challenge. That was, that was kind of like people heard about that and like, yeah, that’s impossible. Or like, you know, don’t even bother. And, and, and to us, we had just enough naivety to, to say, uh, let’s do this.
And, uh, so that was-
GARRETT: So what was the first thing when you say, let’s do this from the billboard comment?
CLAY: Yeah, it’s interesting. We actually didn’t do a billboard for years, so the billboard didn’t come into play until, uh, probably four, four or five years in to, um, to Fight the New Drug. But at the beginning, like my, my background is in film and marketing, so I wanted to produce a film. Um, I also wanted to, I was looking at organizations that were really, you know, making a dent at the time. Invisible children, uh, um, uh, Liberty North Korea, uh, To Write Love On Her Arms, um, and even, you know, previous campaigns like, uh, the Truth campaign. And so we, we took a lot of, of the DNA of these movements or these efforts and these campaigns and we kind of, um, learned from them and, and, and, you know, adjusted, modified to, to fit our mission and our needs and our, our objectives.
And, uh, we started. And actually got to the point where I had to, I had to leave my company. And, uh, at the time I had a fairly successful creative agency and I actually left it and went full time with a nonprofit fighting porn, which, you know, it was, it wasn’t the easiest thing to explain to my in-laws or my parents or, or, you know, even friends, so-
GARRETT: That, um, I think, are they on board now?
CLAY: Oh yeah-
GARRETT: Its been 10 years-
CLAY: Yes. Oh yes. But, but I mean, think about it. Like, first of all, you’re trying to describe like what you want to do in a way that they, you don’t have something to point to really. Like they don’t get it. I think-
GARRETT: You’re still in the midst of creating it.
CLAY: Yeah. And you don’t even fully get, you’re still trying to figure out like what it is you’re trying, like I, you know, we were just kind of piecing things together as we went and to try to articulate, you know, this wasn’t, this wasn’t like a, a standard job. This wasn’t like, you don’t, you don’t dream of, of becoming, you know, or creating an anti-porn campaign, a nonprofit campaign. Uh, you know, there’s no booth at the job fair for that. So like it’s really, it was just really hard to describe to people and, um, but we just went anyway. We just moved, plowed forward regardless. And, uh-
GARRETT: You left your, you left the creative age.
CLAY: I did. I left it. And that was, that wasn’t easy-
GARRETT: When was that, what year?
CLAY: That was 2010. I was 2010. So we got our nonprofit status in 2009, 2010. Uh, we got enough funding and I left the company, my company, sold out. I went full time with, with Fight.
GARRETT: And how was that, uh, to get that funding?
CLAY: Oh my gosh-
GARRETT: Was it-
CLAY: That was exhilarating, right? I mean, it was, it was scary-
GARRETT: Was it challenging to get it?
CLAY: Oh, it was extremely challenging to get the money for sure, because convincing somebody to throw down some money, uh, on a, on a vision that was really, you know, banking and, you know, we were unproven. It wasn’t like we had done several nonprofits prior to this, so, um, it was really difficult to get the funds for sure. And it took a lot of, of, uh, patience. And, uh, uh, we almost gave up multiple times.
GARRET: Well, my question is, uh, how did those first donors catch the vision?
CLAY: They caught the vision somehow, I still go back to those days and those meetings like, wow, you really took a risk on us. And I’m, uh, I am forever grateful for their vision in what we could accomplish.
Honestly, that fight wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for, um, their early, uh, donations as well as the donations of, of, uh, of so many others since then.
GARRET: One thing I wanted to ask you is, was was the goal to fight? Was it anti-pornography or was it more pro love?
CLAY: Yeah, I actually don’t love the term anti-pornography. Um, I, I guess that’s, that’s one way to describe our campaign, only be due to the fact that that’s, that’s how most people kind of like box it. But if I were to describe it, I wouldn’t use that term. Um, uh, as much as I would like we are, we’re much more of a campaign for real love and connection and for, uh, helping those that are struggling and needing help. And for those that don’t have a voice and that are being victimized, like this campaign is much more for those things than it is against anything.
Um, uh, but, but again, a lot of people, you know, you know, compartmentalize you. And so that’s often the bucket we get put into.
GARRETT: Right. So anti-pornography, pro-love, pro-connection.
Um, yeah, I think one of the, one of the goals of the podcast, Consider Before Consuming is to help people consider the harmful effects of pornography, but also to consider, like a life free from pornography-
GARRETT: and its influences.
CLAY: And it’s beautiful to consider that it, uh, that when we realize when we, when we step back and kind of, uh, see and hear from those individuals that have been able to rid their lives of pornography, uh, the description, how they described their life after that, it’s just kind of a beautiful thing and we want to help people recognize that and see that and achieve that.
GARRETT: So that was the, that’s the kind of the driving force. What made you guys select Fight the New Drug as the name of the nonprofit.
CLAY: Yeah, I mean, we really wanted to, um, uh, a named that obviously didn’t involve the word pornography or anything that would suggest it, or anything that would, you know, draw up the wrong Google search.
CLAY: We also wanted something that was kind of almost like a call to action, like a fist in the air, kind of like rally behind and come together on something. We also wanted to, to kind of reflect, the, uh, the where things were today because when we talk about the new drug, when we refer to the new, we’re really referring to the fact that things have evolved dramatically since the era of playboy, right? Things have evolved so significantly to where what we’re dealing with today is unlike anything any generation has ever seen throughout all of history.
And, uh, you know, it’s funny when parents say like, well, what’s the big deal? It was around when I was a kid. I’m like, look, I mean, no. It wasn’t. Not even close to what we’re, what youth are experiencing today. It’s like comparing a, uh, uh, little baby kitten to a saber tooth tiger with lasers. It’s just two different worlds. Right?
So, so I, I, you know, “new” was in reference to the fact that things have changed. It’s also in reference to the fact that there’s a lot of new research on this topic. And drug- We used drug just to kind of, uh, more, uh, symbolically represent the fact that we now know through studies and research coming out of Cambridge University, from Yale, from the Max Planck Institute of Human Development in Germany and so many other institutions around the world that pornography is impacting us neurologically in similar ways that other types of behavioral addictions are affecting us.
Um, and in fact one researcher put out really well and they said, uh, when it comes to the brain addiction is addiction is addiction. It doesn’t matter kind of whether it’s it’s a hard drug or, or behavioral addiction. The brain functions very similarly. Now the body will manifest those types of challenges very differently. No question. But when it comes to the brain, addiction is addiction.
And so, uh, so the name kind of was in reference to kind of a rally cry, a call to action, and in referencing this new challenge that we’re facing that is, is like a drug in the way it’s impacting us. Um, so that’s how we came up with the name.
GARRETT: Fast forwarding to today, Fight the New Drug has produced a lot of content.
GARRETT: And provided a lot of resources. What was the kind of the first resource that fights started working on?
CLAY: The first, you know, project that we worked on and again, remember kind of rewind to the context of, of what was happening. It was just me at the time. It was just me and a computer. Um, and the first thing that I worked on pretty early on after we kind of got funding and I was like really moved forward was like I needed something to kind of like, um, define who we were. Um, and I, I, I sat down one afternoon and I just kind of like penciled out this, this, uh, fighter pledge and, uh, listed out these kind of nine, uh, uh, areas of, of, of what it means to be a fighter and kind of, you know, creating the, the, and articulating the nuances of what we mean by fighting. We don’t mean that in a violent or aggressive or, or, uh, even a physical way.
We mean that, uh, you know, in the context of fighting for real love. And, and, and I’m a fighter. I’ve, I fight for what-
GARRETT: Speaking for those who don’t have a voice.
CLAY: Yeah. And, and for those that are, that need support and love and encouragement, so, and, and so we, we created this fighter pledge and, and, uh, we’ve had tens and tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of people at this point that have signed those pledges. In fact, it for sure a hundreds of thousands at this point that, uh, that have signed the fight or pledge. And it’s cool because it kind of unifies us all. We’re kind of all kind of subscribing to, to, uh, what it means to be a fighter.
GARRETT: So you mentioned that you came up with, you sat down, the first thing you were creating was they’ve kind of, what is a fighter-
GARRETT: and what were some of those attributes?
CLAY: Well, um, well I, should I just read the fighter pledge? I can-
GARRETT: That’d be great.
CLAY: Okay. Let me just read the fighter pledge because I think that that will do better than me trying to describe it. So, uh, this is what the fighter pledges, if anyone’s listening and you know, things like, Hey, I’m on board with-
GARRETT: By the way, I have to say that, I went, back in 2016, I didn’t hear about the new drug until 2016.
GARRETT: And I came across about Fight the new drug because of a live presentation.
GARRETT: And I remember maybe a month and a half later is when I finally signed the pledge.
CLAY: Yeah. What was that like? Is this-
GARRETT: I was one of the-
CLAY: Yeah. So was this like a, like how, how thoughtful were you about signing it? Was it something that you would like? I, like, I’m putting a flag in the sand kind of thing?
GARRETT: For me it didn’t, it didn’t symbolize perfection.
GARRETT: I wasn’t saying I’m, because of my personal challenge of pornography, which we can talk about a different day, but I wasn’t, it wasn’t saying like, okay, I’m done. Yeah, I’m done. Perfect. I’m never going to
CLAY: Yeah, and nothing in the pledge would suggest that nothing that says, hey, you have to be, you know? Perfect.
GARRETT: Yeah. So for me it was like I was excited to sign it.
GARRETT: Like I was like, okay, this is kind of a big deal. Like it means something-
GARRETT: to sign it.
CLAY: That’s awesome.
GARRETT: And I remember signing it. I can actually remember, like, where I was when I signed it. It was a big deal.
CLAY: That’s cool. I love that. I mean that’s really, eh, that kind of embodies what we, we hoped when we wrote this.
GARRETT: And when you say we, you mean, you mean you.
GARRETT: I mean it’s probably evolved a little bit though.
Oh, I am sure, it has in fact. And so, yeah, I don’t want to take full credit. I mean, this has been, this has been a process, but I do want to read it. I think it’d be good.
GARRETT: Let’s hear it, yeah.
CLAY: So, so this is the fighter pledge, everybody.
As a fighter, I am strong. I have joined an army of determined individuals fighting for love and dedicated to helping others understand how pornography is affecting their lives. I am open minded. I will respect the point of view of others just as I expect the same for my own. I am accepting. I will respectfully promote my opinions and in the end allow others to choose for themselves. I am a true lover. I will immerse myself in the pursuit of real relationships and avoid their hollow counterfeits. I am bold. I will speak openly and raise awareness about the effects of pornography and the value of happy, healthy relationships. I am a rebel. I’m willing to challenge the status quo. I will do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said regardless of what is popular. I am real. I’m confident enough in myself to be genuine and will avoid false imitations or masked presentations. I’m understanding, I’m aware of the difficulty some may face in ridding their lives of pornography rather than harsh judgment. I’ll show patients in compassion in ways that help relieve shame. And finally, I am encouraging. I’m committed to helping others find and keep love in their lives and help those in need. That’s it.
GARRETT: Dude, that was powerful. Even, even though I have read that and I signed that pledge, it’s a good reminder.
CLAY: Yeah. I think it’s a good reminder for me, even right now, it’s just like, that’s, that’s what it means to be a fighter. That’s what it means to kind of join this movement.
And if we could all embody that. Again, nothing talks about perfection. Nothing talks about like, you know, uh, it is a commitment to, to kind of the type of individual that we need to be to make an impact in create change in this area.
GARRETT: As you described some of those words, some of those attributes like open-minded, understanding.
GARRETT: Those things are, they’re powerful. They require self discipline and they require patience. They require-
CLAY: And compassion for yourself and others. And, uh, and I think that sometimes we’re harder on ourselves than, than anybody else. And, uh, and just as we need to kind of rise up and change a conversation, uh, in our culture, we need to, to rise up and not beat ourselves up so much, uh-
GARRETT: Rise up and change the conversation in our head.
CLAY: In our head, that-
GARRETT: In our heart.
CLAY: That you are, you know, you’re not broken, you’re not messed up, you’re not weak, that you’re, you know, you have worth, and that, uh, we’re here to, [00:30:30] to, to help, to encourage.
GARRETT: And that’s on both sides of the story of like, when I say both sides, I mean the person who has a challenge of pornography and then the person, uh, in some cases like a significant other, or spouse or-
CLAY: Yeah, that’s on the other side of that. Yeah, absolutely.
GARRETT: Interesting. Um, one of the things we do with our, speaking about the pledge, is at our live presentations, we put out the banner and-
GARRETT: invite the kids kids to-
CLAY: I love that. It’s one of my favorite parts. In fact, it is my favorite part of the entire live presentation and experience is at the end, we, during the presentation, we invite seven to come up and sign the pledge. Right? But at the end we, we opened that up to two, the student body and, uh, watching them like race down to put their name down, to kind of like sign this, this banner, which is the Fighter Pledge.
Ah, it’s, it’s a beautiful, it’s a, it’s a beautiful experience.
GARRETT: Speaking about presentations, I, you’ve ment- we talked briefly about naivety being a good thing. Can you talk to how that naivety helped you actually get your first presentation?
CLAY: So naivety, uh, was, was kind of, uh, uh, allowed us to kind of say we could make a dent here, we could do something here that that’s gonna make a difference for a lot of people. And so, uh, that started a lot of conversations. That started a lot of dialogues. We started meeting with experts and researchers and we started kind of learning and being mentored by, and we started to kind of just immerse ourselves into the subject, uh, in preparation to kind of say, okay, now, now we kind of, uh, you know, know what messages we want to send, but you know, now it’s like how do we send it, and how to do it.
And that’s, uh, that was kind of a journey in and of itself is like kind of finding the how. And uh, I, I, I remember the first phone call that I got. So at this time I was the only full time, I was the only person at Fight. It was just me. And I’m sitting here at my computer. I get his phone call and it’s this guy, uh, at school about an hour away from where we were. Um, and, uh, he was a counselor for that school and he said, Hey, is, this Fight the New Drug. And this was the first phone call I’d ever gotten for Fight the New Drug. So it was like, it was kind of a beautiful moment. I was just kind of like step back, like, this is awesome. I just got a phone call for Fight the New Drug. So like, yeah, this is a Fight the New Drug. How can I help you?
And he’s like, uh, do you guys do school assemblies? And at the time we had never really considered doing schools assemblies. I mean, that was kind of like a oh, interesting. Like, but, but you know, as a young entrepreneur you want to kind of say like, uh, you want to fake it till you make it so you, we, we on the phone, he’s like, do you do school assemblies? And said, uh, absolutely we do. And, and he’s just like, can you come this time or whatever. I’m like, well, let me check my calendar, wide open. Yes, absolutely, we’ll be there. Which was, you know, several months out. So I hung up the phone, and, uh, I immediately, like, it was kind of a go time. It was like, oh my goodness, what on earth am I gonna, how am I gonna do this?
What, you know, what are we going to say and how are they gonna receive it? And so it was go time. I immediately kind of started working with, you know, uh, our, our mentors and uh, professionals and, uh, anybody that, that, uh, that knew a lot more than we did. And we started to kind of piece together this presentation that was coming to them from kind of a younger, uh, kind of an older brother feel and so that the, the messaging was right, that the approach was right, that delivery was right. I mean, I’m sure it was super bumpy. I’m actually really grateful that there was no cameras in that first presentation that, you know, it was a bumpy first presentation, I’m sure. But, uh, but it, it got us the next one and the next one, the next one. We’ve done well over a thousand, uh, well over a thousand at this point, all over the world.
GARRETT: And you know, how many countries we presented in? I think we’ve reached the last time I asked, I think we’ve reached over 800,000 people with our presentations.
CLAY: Oh, I think at this point we’re over a million. Um, at last time I looked at that.
GARRETT: So, so over me, over a million people have heard our live presentations.
Yes. And which is kinda crazy to think about.
GARRETT: It’s awesome.
CLAY: Um, and then, uh, as far as countries go, uh, off the top of my head, I’m going to say like we’ve probably presented live in-
GARRETT: You’ve presented in Guatemala, right?
Guatemala, Spain. We’ve presented-
GARRETT: lots in Mexico.
CLAY: Uh, yeah, Mexico, Canada. Um, we’ve presented in, um, uh, South Africa. We presented in Trinidad. We presented in-
GARRETT: I didn’t we’ve presented in South Africa and Trinidad. That’s cool.
CLAY: Yeah. So I mean we’ve been all over and we’re heading to Chile this year and so, like, yeah, it’s been cool.
GARRETT: That’s awesome.
CLAY: We’re trying to get presenters in those countries to be able to kind of continue on so that it’s not so expensive to bring us out.
GARRETT: That’s very cool. Um, so we have live presentations, and another resource that I wanted to mention was the three part documentary, Brain Heart World. That released recently. And, uh, when I, I wasn’t part of that at all. So, but you were-
CLAY: Yeah, gosh.
GARRETT: Since the beginning, since day one, you helped create the documentary. How long did that take you guys to produce?
CLAY: Uh, Gosh-
GARRETT: Do you remember?
CLAY: Yeah, I mean-
GARRETT: Did it take you like a couple months?
CLAY: (laughing) Yeah. I mean, it took us, I mean, we started it like three months ago.
CLAY: No, uh, yeah. I mean, when I think about how long it took us to produce that, it hurts my brain a little bit. Um, and, uh, if we were to do it again, obviously we could do it a lot faster, but we went down a lot of kind of wrong paths and it took a long time to raise the appropriate funds for it. And I remember getting the first cut of the first episode. Um, and you know, we’d worked on the scripting, we’d worked on the things and I’d kind of like, finally got the first cut. We’re watching the first cut and I just like, no.
So we literally threw that away and we, you know, we had to kind of start from scratch a little bit and say, okay, no, structurally and thematically and from a tone perspective, like, we’ve got a, makes a lot of changes. So long answer to your simple question, it took years to produce that documentary series. Um, and uh-
GARRETT: I’ve watched it a few times now.
CLAY: Yeah, I’m sure-
GARRET: And every time I’m still laughing out loud like-
CLAY: Oh, cool.
GARRET: It’s a great, it makes me chuckle. The humor is great.
CLAY: Yeah, I’m glad that you bring that up because one of the objectives was like, look, this is a difficult topic, and every documentary that I’ve ever seen on this subject has been dark, dreary, kind of doomsday, like dark room with the, the face illuminated by the computer screen, kind of like, and, and we just didn’t want to go down that path. Uh, we wanted to produce this for the youth themselves.
So right away I said, okay, I don’t want to mention the word pornography for the first four minutes, and I don’t want, and I want them laughing the first 30 seconds. And I wanted a humor to be a big part of the entire experience and I wanted it to be hopeful, and uplifting and empowering, and not shaming, and not dark and kind of heavy. And there are definitely, we have to touch on some, some topics that are not like, you know, rainbows in the park but like, uh, but we want to do it-
Ultimately the message that we conclude on in every episode is very much like, you know, oh, we can do this and that. There’s hope and that, that uh, we’re would powerful as we link arms together and we can do a lot of good together. So-
GARRET: And I bet the podcast will be similar. Like it’s, sometimes it’s going to be heavy. Like the, the stuff we talk about is-
GARRET: It can be heavy, but we also need some laughter in there. We need some-
GARRET: We need some hope.
GARRET: One of the things I hear you talk about from time to time, it’s come up a couple of times over the course of knowing you, is making a dent.
GARRET: And I think for a lot of our fighters and a lot of people listening to this podcast, they want to make a dent.
CLAY: Oh yeah.
GARRET: In their way.
CLAY: Oh yeah. I think a lot of people feel like, you know, um, I, if this was a live experience, we could have people raise their hands like how many listening to this podcast right now have ever felt like that you wanted to do something that, that mattered, that, that, that helped people, that, that created change, that had an impact, positive impact in the world. Every, most likely, every hand would go up. Because that is, that is something that is a part of us.
And, um, and, and I think that when I look at what Fight the New Drug is and what it embodies, what I find probably most inspiring about this entire experience over the last decade is, is watching individuals, uh, come up creatively, develop, uh, ideas and plans to raise awareness and change the conversation in their own way using their own resources, using their own platforms, and, uh, and just kind of owning the movement and how we could share so many stories of individuals that just-
GARRETT: There was a, I think she was like 16 or 17 years old, this girl that we did some presentations for their school right there in that same area. There’s five schools within the area, and this girl put together the five presentations. She helped-
CLAY: She did it her own.
GARRETT: She helped raise the funds, and she helped coordinate it-
GARRETT: She’s a great example.
CLAY: Oh my gosh. We could spend five episodes of this pocket more-
CLAY: Telling incredible stories, one after another of our fighters, you know, taking ownership of this campaign and doing something, utilizing their own skills, their own talents, their own influence. Um, and, and kind of like just being creative.
You’re, you Garrett are a great example of this. I don’t know how many of our listeners right now listening know how you-
GARRETT: Probably not many.
CLAY: Uh, came to be a part of our team. Um, and I’ll just tell it from my viewpoint, cause it, we’ll probably do another episode where you dive more into your story.
But, but, uh, all of a sudden I get this phone call from, uh, a buddy who told me that, uh, he’s like, have you heard of this guy? And I’m like, what? What guy-
CLAY -is he talking about? He’s like, this guy that’s running 30 marathons in 30 days.
And I’m like, wait, who does that? Wait, who’s this guy?
He’s like, yeah, and he’s running, wearing a “Porn Kills Love” tee shirt. He’s worn, running symbolically wearing handcuffs to represent addiction and like, the whole thing is to raise awareness on this topic, and have you heard of it? I’m like, no. What is this? Is it happen-? When is it gonna happen?
He’s like, no, dude, it’s already happening. In fact, all this 30 mar- 30 day marathon, it’s like day 26 when I get this call.
So you’d been running, I don’t know, did you even tell us that you’re going to do this or reach out to us?
GARRETT: Yeah, I reached to- The vol-, the volume of inquiries we get is challenging to manage.
So I didn’t,
it just fell through the cracks somehow.
I did not hear about it until day 26 we finally joined up with you because you are local, you are in our same area. And so we joined up with you on the last day on day 30 for like that last block, cause that’s all we know how to run.
It’s like, I couldn’t do a marathon. Uh, but then, and then like, so you were on our radar. We’re like, who is this guy? And you were just like, again, an individual, no political influence, no, like, you know, significant financial resources, no platform, major platform to speak of, um, uh, you’re just, you’re just an individual that said, I want to use my voice and I want to do something big.
It’s kind of like that, uh, that quote by Edward Everett Hale. Uh, I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something and I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
And you, you embodied that. And so it’s kinda like, uh, after we’d kinda, you got on our radar, I swear it was like, a couple of weeks later, this is after you ran 30 marathons in 30 days. So I’d be in a hospital in a coma.
I’d be like, IV’s, like give me oxygen, all of the above.
GARRETT: For sure, I felt I was too.
CLAY: So you, you come back and you said, hey, I got another idea. I’m going to ride my bike by myself from Virginia to San Francisco. And I was, and Oh, by the way, I’m going to drag chains behind me, eh, symbolic too, like-
CLAY: -the heaviness of addiction. It’s like, who are you? Anyway, I loved that during that story because there’s a video actually, we produced a video, go check it out on our website. Um, Garrett story, but uh, that’s how we met you. And, and so there’s so many other Garrett’s is my point.
GARRETT: So many.
CLAY: So many other Garret’s out there that have kind of like said, okay, what can I do? How can I help? And, and it can be as simple as just having conversations, opening your mouth and, or being a support for somebody that’s struggling and loving them and encouraging them, uh, on that path, that recovery path.
It can be, uh, you know, something more involved where you’re organizing, you know, 30 marathons in 30 days, or an event in your area, or a presentation that, that, uh, you know, you want to put on in your, in your class or whatever-
GARRETT: If you want to do something my suggestion is always do something you feel comfortable with-
CLAY: Do something that matches you.
GARRETT: That matches your, yeah, exactly. That matches you, that fits your strengths.
GARRETT: And your talent.
CLAY: And that’s, and that takes so many different forms of what, that’s what’s beautiful. Like when we started Fight the New Drug, we knew that we wanted it to be kind of, uh, kind of a creative warehouse where we produced content, but the, the distribution of that content and the distribution of the movement, really, the ownership really lied in the hands of the followers, the fighters.
And that’s has been, that was the vision. And that has still remained true. That a, it’s because of those, those creative and ambitious individuals that, that feel deeply about this topic and want to, you know, evoke change. They’re the ones making a difference. They’re the ones kind of making this, you know, making the impact. And I, I’m just floored by, by the wonderful people out there.
GARRETT: Um, another resource that we offer, and I’d like to hear your opinion on, I haven’t heard you talked to this at all, is um, Fight the New Drug, the blueprint on-
GARRETT: -how to start conversations.
CLAY: Yeah. I love this resource. It’s something that often comes up and we would answer this question either verbally in front of someone or we write a long email describing things. But a lot of people ask the question like, okay, I’m willing to open my mouth. I’m willing to have the conversation, but I don’t know how to have that conversation.
CLAY: I don’t know even where to begin. And so we actually created a resource, which I’m very proud of, which allows you to kind of select who you are and who you want to talk to.
So I’m a parent wanting to talk to my child, or I’m a child wanting to talk to my parents, or I’m a girlfriend wanting to talk to my boyfriend and or I’m a, you know, whatever that dynamic is because the conversation is different according to the context of who it is and who you’re speaking to, and the age, right?
So we wanted to create, it’s kind of a choose your own adventure conversation, kind of a blueprint. And so as you select who you are and who you’re wanting to talk to, it then walks you through kind of do’s and don’ts, see, you know, like, okay, make sure to avoid shaming in this conversation, make sure you follow these principles and, and make sure you don’t do these things, and make sure you focus around these things.
So it doesn’t necessarily give you an actual script. Um, although there are examples of, of literal scripting kind of ways to, kind of, engage and start the conversation and prime it, but focusing more about kind of what you need to know to engage in that. And we worked with, with experts around us, we worked with experts and professionals to be able to craft this, choose your own adventure, uh, resource.
And so, um, you know, here, at Fight the New Drug, we’re all about, um, you know, sparking and changing and having a conversation and opening your mouth and, you know, how could we, you know, how could we fully do that without giving you kind of a blueprint on how to achieve that.
And so, uh, I feel like it’s long overdue, but we have it now.
GARRETT: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a useful tool. I’ve navigated it a little bit. One thing I wanted to suggest that we should consider is, you know, and like you’re going through this conversation, then it gets awkward.
GARRETT: So we need like bail out moments-
GARRETT: -like, random excuses to end the conversation very quickly.
CLAY: (laughing) That’s good. I like that.
GARRETT: (laughing) No, Im just joking. But-
CLAY: (laughing) We’ll consider that.
GARRETT: Um, so there’s just so much to talk about, Clay. Brain, Heart, World, the, the blueprint. What other, what am I missing, Clay? What, uh, what else?
CLAY:I mean as far as resources go, uh, we’re, we’re literally engaging in one of them, you know, Consider Before Consuming docu-, uh, podcast. We’ve got, uh, so many other ways to like share and-
GARRETT: What about truth about porn?
Yeah. Truth About Porn is another, a project that we, we’ve worked on over the years and working with professionals. So Truth About Porn is simply a website, um, catered and directed specifically at the research. So it’s not a movement, it’s not a campaign. It’s simply saying, hey, the latest research curated for you.
And it’s searchable. You can go there and say, I want to, I want to know how pornography is impacting individuals or individuals. I want to know how pornography is influencing violence, uh, or the connection between trafficking and pornography. And you can just search and it pulls up, uh, a research where you can dig in, research, find it.
So if you’re doing a, a paper, if you’re writing an article or if you just want to be better informed about the topic, um, from an academic perspective, TruthAboutPorn.org is a great place to go. And there’s also, uh, interviews from experts all over the world.
GARRETT: And if our goal at Fight the New Drug is to change the conversation, the important thing is having conversations.
GARRETT: Right. Did your parents talk to you about pornography or did they have the birds and the bees talk with you or-
CLAY: Uh, so my parents were on the side of yes, we are going to have this conversation. Yes, we are going to engage. Yes, we’re gonna you know, broach this topic with you. Um, they did it, uh, they, they had all the right intentions. Um, and they, they, um, I mean I just remember my parents bought like a eight VHS tape series of, of kind of how, you know, procreation works and (laughing) works and, and now your body works and whatnot.
And we literally like sat down all of us together-
GARRETT: Made some popcorn?
CLAY: Made some popcorn, and put one tape in at a time and watched it, and it was like reenactments. It was like, it was beyond awkward. Just, just beyond-
GARRETT: One of our goals at Fight the New Drug is to make these conversations not awkward.
GARRETT: Which is challenging for, for some.
CLAY: Yeah. I think that the reason my experience was awkward wasn’t necessarily because of the, necessarily the way they went about that moment. I mean, I, you know, we could go into detail about what ways they could have, what they could have done differently. But I think, I applaud them for, for taking that initiative and doing what they did do.
I think it could have been a whole lot less awkward had we had other conversations proceeding those. Meaning when we talked to parents, we talked to parents about the fact that you need to have the conversations with do kids sooner than you think and on into their adulthood. This is not a one time conversation. This is an ongoing dialogue that starts young and it continues and this idea of like, okay, they have reached X age, you know, and now we’re going to sit them down with popcorn and put in the d- the VHS tapes, and now, we are going stream this video online. Uh, those days need to be gone. We, that’s not how you, that’s not a healthy way to navigate our current landscape today.
Today, the conversation needs to start young. And, uh, it’s not all about the negatives, it’s about the positives. You teach them about the healthy, uh, you know, uh, healthy versions of relationships and, and eventually sexuality before we talk about their counterfeits. So that there’s some context if you come at him with the finger wag and kind of talk to them about all the harms and the negatives and whatnot, and you’re introducing them to sexuality through the harmful side of that, that can be very disorienting.
GARRETT: Thats like scare tactics, a little bit.
CLAY: Its scare tactic. It can be disorienting. You have no way to kind of like compute, you know, uh, you then kind of, it’s classified all sexuality as, as unhealthy. And that’s not true. Um, and, and as negative, but there’s a beautiful side to our sexuality and it’s wonderful. And, and, and it can, and we need to help young people understand that,
GARRETT: Um, and not only sexuality but human connection-
GARRETT: -because you’ve talked about the hollow counterfeits-
GARRETT: -of love and human connection and one of those is pornography, but it’s like some of that science and research is showing that it’s going to disrupt all relationships.
CLAY: Oh yeah.
GARRETT: And you as an individual.
GARRETT: I, one thing I wanted to touch on real quick, as a person who had a challenge with pornography, if my, my parents didn’t talk to me, not that I remember.
GARRETT: I don’t think they talked to me about the, the harm.
CLAY: So you are on the other side.
GARRETT: Yeah, exactly. And I think that if my parents came to me and said, hey, are you, do you have a challenge with pornography? Do you want to talk about it? I would have lied to them a hundred times.
GARRETT: And I was a good kid.
GARRETT: But I did not want to talk to my parents about this.
CLAY: Of course, because it wasn’t talked about. I think that that would have been a different experience had that been an open conversation that you know, that that proceeded that struggle. If there was an openness and a, and a safety to discussing, and having questions and, and, and, uh, you know, learning about these things from an early age, age appropriate of course, when the time came where you struggled pornography and you know, your parents would’ve said like, Hey, oh when was the last time you saw- it was like, oh well to be honest, uh, it was about, about here.
And they know you would know at that in that moment you’d know that this is a safe conversation cause we’ve had this conversation and this is a safe thing to admit or talk about because they are, they love you and, and they want and they’ve communicated that to you verbally and non-verbally for years prior to that moment.
So I think, um, I think can be awkward, but I don’t think it needs to be, it doesn’t need to be awkward. And there are ways to avoid awkward. I’ve talked to many parents who have conversations with their and talk about their struggles with pornography and other struggles that they’re having, mental, uh, emotional struggles that they’re having. And it’s a, it’s an open and free and safe conversation and it’s not awkward to talk about their kids about pornography. It’s not awkward. Why? Because it’s not a onetime event. It’s not a, here we go.
GARRETT: But you also have to start the conversation somewhere.
CLAY: Yea but-
GARRETT: For some people it’s going to be a, I mean, you kind of have to navigate through some of those awkward situations.
CLAY: Yeah but you don’t start with porn, you start, you know, way before with kind of like, you know, healthy touch and unhealthy touch. And you talk about, you know, reasons for, for, you know, private areas and you talk and you talk about the beauty of relationships and, and, and uh, you know, you kind of navigate that over time and then you start to introduce these kind of, these details and there’s a lot of resources out there, um, books that are available in, in having those early conversations with kids. We don’t, we don’t produce those, but there’s great things from Educate And Empower Kids, and great things from Protect Young Minds, and others. So, so, um, it’s navigate-able and it doesn’t need to be awkward-
CLAY: I’m saying it can be. It doesn’t need to be.
GARRETT: Yeah. So we’ve talked a lot about what you’ve, what you’ve helped create, Clay. Um, and one of those things is the Fortify program and can you talked to that a little bit?
CLAY: Yeah. Fortify came about, um, out of a need. I mean we were getting, we were doing these live presentations, we were doing a lot on social media and we were literally getting at first hundreds, then thousands, then literally over at that time, over 10,000 messages from individuals, a lot of young people, asking for help. They’re saying, Hey, we’re on board with the mission. We love the cause, but we need help. Can you help?
GARRETT: And that wasn’t in our wheelhouse.
CLAY: No, we’re not, we’re no therapists and our goal is to raise awareness, not to like help people recover. And so we were like, oh great. No problem. You need help. Okay, here’s a list of organizations that you can turn to that we, that we know and that we recommend, and they weren’t going to get that support and help. And, uh, after a while you kind of picked up on this and we’re like, why, why, why is nobody getting this support and help?
And it boils down to three main reasons. One is that, um, you know, a lot of these individuals were youth and a lot of the organizations that, that we were pointing to weren’t geared to that kind of an audience. But the other two are the bigger hurdles. The next one was the fact that a lot of these organizations, uh, required parental consent and they also required a credit card, uh, neither of which they had or were willing to get.
So it was basically like telling these young people a to climb-
GARRETT: Help as available, but you’re not-
CLAY: Yeah, it’s like climb Mount Everest. Summit that mountain. And there’s like, oh, I am not going to do that? Yeah, I’m okay. I don’t have that big of a problem.
GARRETT: Kids don’t want to ask for a credit card because they have to tell why.
GARRETT: They have to answer why.
GARRETT: It’s just like a lot of hurdles,
CLAY: A lot of hurdles. And so they weren’t going. So pretty much we were telling them as a society, we were saying, hey, stay in your dark corner until it gets much worse and you become of age and you have a credit card, didn’t come to us and we’ll kind of point you in the right direction once it’s much more like, that’s not a plan. That’s a terrible plan. So, but this was a largely unknown market, because of the secrecy or surroundings topic.
Nobody was like aware of this market and we were only made aware of it because of the messages that were coming, they were like, they were confiding in us, but nobody else. It was like, I have not told a soul, but I, I’m telling you I need help. Can you help me?
And we were like, oh my goodness. Well what do we do? How do we help these people? Um, so that led us down a path, a journey to say what are our options? And so we knew that we weren’t the therapist. We weren’t like trying to replace therapy. That was never a kind of a, an ambition still to this day. That’s not what we, what we ended up creating. What we created was, uh, an app, a free for youth and free for a version for adults as well that basically helped them, uh, connect with others on the same journey, learn about their challenge in ways to, uh, address it and strategize to, to overcome it, and then also track and visualize that, that progress over time.
So we created an app for them. We called it Fortify and today, uh, to this, uh, right now we’ve helped over 200,000 individuals in 155 countries overcome, uh, pornography or the, or are on that journey of overcoming pornography, which, um, has been, you know, really, um, inspiring too to kind of be a part of that journey, and not one that I expected to engage in. But, I’ve, uh, I’ve learned so much and I’ve, I’ve seen so many just overwhelmingly positive exp-, stories of people kind of triumphing over this challenge and saving relationships and-
GARRETT: And that, one of the words you mentioned in the explanation was connection. You say, you said we help people connect with-
GARRETT: And that, that connection is so-
CLAY: Oh, it’s critical. I mean, uh, you know, connecting whether it be a, and that can take a lot of forms. That can be a deeper connection with family, friends, or loved ones that can be connecting with accountability partners or allies. It can be connecting with a higher power. It can be connecting with oneself and, and kind of the relationship you have with taking care of yourself, whether that’s sleep, nutrition, exercise, and, or, or, or just even you, the way-
GARRETT: These lifestyle changes.
CLAY: -with the way that you look at yourself.
Yeah. Uh, what we’ve found, and this is maybe another podcast down the road, but, uh, to kind of uncover what we have found to that over 200,000 individuals doing this and what we have found, uh, to be kind of some commonalities between those that do find that long lasting healing, uh, that so much of our struggle, and this would go beyond just pornography, this is any compulsion that you might find, even mental health challenges, so much has to do with our, the way that we’re living our lives and our lifestyle. Uh, you know, the environments that we find ourselves in. The trauma that maybe a is following us that we haven’t dealt with appropriately, that the connections that we have with our loved ones, um, again, our connection with even ourselves.
So, um, it’s been a beautiful journey. I’ve learned a lot. And, uh, and, um, I would encourage any listener that’s out there that’s struggling with this or knows somebody that is struggling, uh, Fortify, go to Fortify. It doesn’t replace anything that they might already be involved in or that might need to be involved in down the road. It is a companion or a compliment to anything. And for many people it’s all they need to kind of like get over that hump. And for others it’s a great companion to like follow them on the entire recovery journey, um, into therapy and aftercare and everything else.
So if they’re struggling, go to joinfortify.com. It’s free for youthe. There’s a free version for adults, uh, we’re just trying to help as many people as we can and uh, yeah.
GARRETT: And just to be clear, Fight the New Drug and Fortify are separate.
CLAY: They are, they are separate entities. In order for both of them to kind of thrive, we had to separate them, um, uh, to, to allow, kind of, because you know, Fortify is, it’s essentially a tech company, you know, it has, you know, developers and designers. So it had a lot of demand and it was kind of, uh, putting a burden on the nonprofit. So we, as we separated those two entities that allowed both of them to kind of thrive and, um, really focused on their particular missions.
GARRETT: And then another clarification is, it’s not, you mentioned it’s not to replace therapy.
CLAY: So individuals that are working inside of a therapeutic experience that can use Fortify as a companion to that experience so it can help them connect with others that can help them track and visualize their progress and that sends, that tracking and data that can actually be sent to their therapist. So their, their therapist can now track and visualize their progress from their side of the fence and it can kind of unify that, that experience.
GARRETT: Oh, that’s cool.
CLAY: And then obviously there’s the, the training and learning that occurs in the, um, curriculum. So it’s, it’s a powerful, powerful experience for self-guided individuals. And for those that are working with a professional.
GARRETT: Some of our episodes are going to be heavier than others depending on the topic.
GARRETT: And we always had need to cover those things that are heavy, and that are not the most enjoyable things to talk about. But, we also want our episodes to have the hope.
GARRETT: And so I think the big question, Clay, is like, is healing, is the, is the process a real thing?
CLAY: Well, first of all, I mean, absolutely. We’ve, we’ve seen it. We, we, we’ve experienced that we’ve, we’ve, uh, healing and recovery, they’re real. I know that some listeners might be out there saying, I’ve tried, I’ve tried everything or isn’t, you know, this is my fifth attempt or I’ve seen 10 therapists or whatever-
GARRETT: I’d say it may be even more. I mean, there’s going to be people out there, and fifth attempt is just like, that happened last week.
GARRETT: You know, like-
CLAY: Well, I, I’m just saying that there’s, there’s individuals out there that feel completely hopeless when it comes to overcoming this and they feel like they’re at their, their wit’s end. And I’m telling you, I mean with all, if I could reach through this microphone and into the, through the headphones and, you know, shake whoever’s listening and saying, look, it’s real.
Recovery is real and it is possible. It’s not easy and it is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a, it’s a process, but it’s real. And that, that joy and happiness that accompanies true healing is so deep and profound that if you could just get a glimpse of what that is like, um, you would, you’d be willing to do anything to get there. And I’m telling you, don’t give up.
You’re not alone. Don’t give up. There’s hope. And, uh, and uh, I, I think that there’s a lot of different ways to achieve long lasting healing and recovery and, uh, just keep going, keep moving forward. And if there’s anything we can do to help ya, please reach out.
GARRETT: Awesome. So, Clay, we’ve gone from where you started, where we started, where we’re at. Now, the next step is talking about the future. What’s your vision as Co-founder and President of Fight the New Drug?
CLAY: Yeah, I, you know, I, there’s a lot that we have not been able to accomplish and there’s a lot that we still have a large appetite to, to pursue and achieve. You know, a simple answer to your question is to keep doing what we’re doing, but at scale.
Um, and a more detailed question is, is, you know, how and, and why and, you know, looking at expanding internationally in a more profound and deep and, um, you know, robust way, uh, in multiple languages and in spreading this message well beyond, um, just here in the United States and, and, uh, and with, with a couple of straggling kind of efforts here and there, but really start to grow this, um, internationally.
I think here in the United States, you know, there’s, we, we, although we have achieved, um, you know, a pretty, uh, sizable following and, and we presented in a lot of schools, we have literally scratched the surface when it comes to the amount of, uh, of schools and youth that need to hear this message that just have not, there are still a handful of states that we’ve just never been into.
Uh, there are still so many, uh, ways that we can kind of package this content and message and, and infiltrate different areas, and institutions, and organizations to be able to, uh, provide this information in to two different groups. When I look at what we, where we’ve come over the last 10 years, I’m, I’m proud, but my goodness, when you think about what needs to happen and, and, and in a realistic way, I’m not talking about like, you know, pie in the sky kind of talk in a realistic fashion what we can reasonably obtain and achieve.
It’s, it’s kind of overwhelming. And yet at the same time, it exciting that a, that there is an opportunity to continue to, uh, to scale and expand this message in a variety of different formats and in a variety of different channels and to a variety of different audiences. Wouldn’t it be great if, if we weren’t needed?
CLAY: Wouldn’t it be great? I would love to, to shut our doors someday and say that, uh, people are now fully aware of, of the potential risks. Does it mean that pornography is, you know, eradicated from the planet? No, of course, that’s literally never going to happen. And anyone who thinks otherwise is not thinking straight, let’s it’s going to be around and, and uh, and it’s not about, you know, getting rid of it. It’s about helping the consumers of pornography recognize the potential risks.
There are a lot of people, um, that, that uh, smoke today, they are well aware of the potential risk of lung cancer. And I do it knowingly. They light up knowingly. And that’s their right to do so. And, and I would say that for pornography, uh, you know, I would love to see a day in which the awareness factor is no longer the concern of awareness is no longer on the table.
And, uh, you know, we were all well aware people still consume it, but they do it, uh, with, you know, fully acknowledging the potential risks. And those-
GARRETT:I always hear you talk about lowering the demand.
CLAY: Yeah, I see-
CLAY: -basically, what I’m describing is like, we’re not here to, to, to limit the supply, but rather decrease the demand through education. And those that do not want to participate. Those that are, that hear the message and think twice and consider before consuming and actually decide to go another direction, uh, away from pornography and its influence. That is, is I would guess that there would be a lot of those people. Ive had, it’s not a guess, we know that there’ll be a lot of those people that choose another path and by doing so, decreased demand. So, um, you know, there’s a lot of hope and a lot of work, a lot of work and a whole lot of hope for where we’re heading and what’s occurring, right now.
GARRETT: The goal is health, right?
CLAY: The goal is health, happiness.
GARRET: We’re trying to create a- health, happiness, hope like these things are needed in a society-
GARRETT: -in a healthy society.
GARRETT: And pornography. Um, whether someone is aware of it or not, the science and research is showing that pornography is disrupting that, that health,
GARRETT: On an individual level-
CLAY: An individual, relational health level. And, and, and what’s interesting about that, if you talk just about the health portion of that, um, so if, if it’s impacting the health of your relationships, um, literally, uh, you know, the Harvard study looked at over 73 years, over 700 teens. They measured, uh, you know, uh, you know, they were looking at trying to answer one question, what is the secret to happiness?
And they found that happiness is directly connected with, like definitively connected to relationships, and love and, and, and, and therefore anything that’s in the, in, in anything that disrupts that the health of those relationships is disrupting your happiness. literally.
GARRETT: Which usually in in a lot of cases are going to push them person towards isolation more.
CLAY: Correct. It’s a cycle. Yeah. You recognize that and you say, oh my goodness. Like is the dots all connecting? You’re like, okay, all right, now let’s go educate around this.
GARRETT: It’s awesome. Clay, thanks for being here today.
GARRETT: It was a pleasure to sit down with you. We learned a lot. Um, and thanks for all you do. We appreciate it.
CLAY: Well, Thank you.
GARRETT: Yeah. We, we, uh, are grateful. Thanks Clay.
CLAY: See Ya.
GARRETT: 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 non-legislative nonprofit that exists to provide individual’s opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness of its harmful effects using only science facts and personal accounts. Episodes drop every other week for or five month period. And this episode is dedicated to the founders of Fight the New Drug, to the early donors who caught the vision, and to all the fighters around the globe. You are the movement.