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Garrett Jonsson

By June 23, 2021June 24th, 2021No Comments

Episode 46

Garrett Jonsson

Podcast Host & Recovered Compulsive Porn Consumer

Fight the New Drug first knew about Garrett when he took it upon himself to run 30 marathons in 30 days—and then rode a bike 3,800 miles across the United States—all to raise awareness on the harms of pornography. Since he confronted his own battle with pornography, Garrett became dedicated to this fight to educate others. Now, as one of Fight the New Drug’s presenters, Garrett has spoken to nearly 200 audiences around the globe about the harmful effects of porn. Hear about Garrett’s own porn struggle, how raising awareness about the harmful effects of porn helped him heal from his unwanted compulsion to it, and how he has since become the host of Fight the New Drug’s podcast, Consider Before Consuming.

Watch Garrett’s video about riding 3,800 miles across the United States to raise awareness on porn’s harms at here.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Fight the New Drug Ad: Want to bring Fight the New Drug to your school, business, or community event? Lucky for you, we’re pros when it comes to live presentations. We provide information, and entertainment to inspire your audience to consider how pornography can impact themselves, their loved ones, and the world around them. We’re present the facts in an interactive, age-appropriate, and engaging way so your audience can walk away with more information on the harms of porn. To book a presentation, visit FTND.org/LIVE, That’s FTND.org/LIVE.

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. I 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 a little bit different because it’s about my own personal account. I sat down with Jasmine, Fight the New Drug’s Director of Marketing and Partnerships, to discuss my journey with unwanted porn consumption. But that being said, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Garrett Jonsson: Jas, Do you want to be the one to start this podcast off?

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: “Yeah” she says.

Jasmine: Can I try? [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, do it.

Jasmine: What’s up, people.

Garrett Jonsson: What’s up, Jas.

Jasmine: You’re listening to Consider Before Consuming a podcast by Fight the New Drug. And today we have a very special guest with us. We have Garrett Jonsson, our Podcast Host and Presenter here to share his story and your personal experience with pornography. Um, this episode we felt was kind of important. We wanted our audience to be able to get to know you and your experience. And so we wanted to give you your own episode so you can share your own personal story with our audience.

Garrett Jonsson: It’s a pretty cool opportunity and I’m grateful for the opportunity. And, um, yeah, that’s the goal is to help change the conversation.

Jasmine: Absolutely.

So if you guys haven’t seen Garrett’s story yet, pause this episode, go watch it. It’s at FTND.org/garrett. And then you can just watch, it’s like a, I don’t know, three, four minute video about your experience. It’s one of the first true story videos that we have done at Fight the New Drug , one of the first ones that we shared. Um, but you can see all about his story and how he went above and beyond to do crazy things, to, uh, educate on the harmful effects of pornography.

Garrett Jonsson: And Jasmine, you had that short URL, like on hand. FTND.org/garrett. And just want to recognize Jasmine is always, you know, she’s notorious for having those short URLs.

Jasmine: All of them, they’re up here.

Garrett Jonsson: And the reason why is because you are our,…

Jasmine: I’m the Director of Marketing and Partnerships here at Fight the New Drug. So we needed someone to interview you for your story. And so I jumped into do that.

Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for doing it.

Jasmine: Yeah. I’m so happy to be here. Awesome. So let’s get into your story. I’m going to try to be the best podcast hosts. I can, I’ve got some tough shoes to fill. Um, but I just want to go ahead and get into your story. So hopefully you guys have paused this episode, went to go see a story. Um, but let’s just kind of start from the beginning of like, when you were first exposed to pornography, what that was like, how old were you, what was that experience like for you?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, so I think if you saw the video, then that’s like the short overview, like the 30,000 foot view of what my experience was. And I’m excited to talk today because it is a little bit more in depth. Um, but to answer your question about when was the first time I was exposed, um, in the video, you’ll see that I say like around nine and the video was made in like 2016 and since 2016, I’ve done a lot of healing and a lot of progression in, um, my, you know, in my journey towards a healthier version of myself. And so during this process of digging, I I’ve come to know that my first exposure was around the age of five or six. And so it was younger than I thought, but those memories, you know, those were repressed for whatever reason. Yeah. So first time exposure was around five or six years old. And it was in probably very common fashion, meaning that it was with my best friend at the time. And, um, we were having a sleepover and, uh, yeah, we were up late and we saw some on TV. From that time forward, whenever I had an opportunity to consume pornography, I would do so, but that required me to jump through some hoops usually.

Jasmine: Right. Like we always say that before you had to go out of your way to view pornography. Now you have to go out of your way to avoid it. I pulled a couple stats for our episode, but I want to get this right. So I’m going to look at my notes. Um, so according to a 2020 survey by the British Board of Film, um, uh, of Film Classification (BBFC). Um, the majority of kids were exposed to porn by the age of 13, but we know that, um, from the survey, some kids were exposed as young as seven years old. And we know from personal accounts like yours and stories that we get in from thousands of Fighters that it could be as young as like five or even younger than that. Um, tragically. So, yeah, but I think I know what you’re, what you are explaining. Like you stay up late enough that the TV channel switches to adult content.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, exactly.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And I think that at that age, when we first found it and then going forward, we intentionally jumped through hoops just like you said, to stay up late, to be able to consume it. Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and yeah, today kids, unfortunately, you know, they’re having to jump through hoops to not see it.

Jasmine: Yeah. So when you saw it, was that like, like, did it shock you or did you, had you already been told about like pornography it’ll content, explicit images from your family? Was that something your family talked about growing up?

Garrett Jonsson: So like growing up when I, when you say family, for me, my friends were my family in a sense, because I was just really close to my friends. Um, also I have a great family family, like blood family. Um, so the conversation with my family, with my parents, with my sibling, those conversations didn’t happen around pornography. Um, we didn’t talk about whether it was healthy or unhealthy and, um, the, but the conversations around pornography did happen with my friends. And so the very first time exposure when I was five or six, it was video, it was on TV, but then going forward is on magazine. And then in sixth grade, um, I was exposed to more of like a hardcore scene. And I remember feeling shocked. I remember feeling disgusted. Um,

Jasmine: So you’re kind of explaining, it sounds like a little bit of an escalation there. Um, so you’re first exposed, uh, like five or six years old. At what point did it like become kind of a compulsive behavior?

Garrett Jonsson: It’s kind of a long time because if you go to sixth grade and then going through junior high and high school, it was all normalized with my friends. And, um, to the point that it became a compulsive behavior, we would have to fast forward to like 2007 is when I first got the iPhone.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And so from 2007 to 2009, I was single and I was an adult and I had an iPhone in my pocket.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And so for me, I think my compulsive behavior began to develop around that time from 2007 to around 2009 is when it first started to develop into that.

Jasmine: Okay. I want to jump back a little bit though, cause you’re talking about how it was kind of normalized when you were growing up at school, like even in elementary school. Um, again, I have another stat year, so according to a 20, 21 national representative survey of teens in the United States, uh, 84.4% of 14 to 18 year old males and 57% of 14 to 18 year old females said they had viewed pornography. Um, so I mean, we hear the, we hear this phrase all time that like “All men consume porn and those who say they don’t or just lying.” Um, did that ring a little bit true? Like those, those stats and the national surveys, um, show that like a high percentage of teen boys and girls are consuming point porn and for majority of them, um, it or not majority, but 45% of them consume it to learn about sex. Is that, is that kind of what your experience was like growing up with like your other classmates or your peers?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, I think that I can just speak to my personal account and I definitely used pornography as a, as a sex ed. Um, my parents they’re great parents, but they didn’t talk to him about sex. And so my education came through a big portion of my education about sex came through pornography consumption and that increased in junior high, is when I started to watch more video versus just re going to images in elementary. And so, yeah, it, it was an interesting way and an unhealthy way in my opinion, to learn about sex, um, because it puts forth false expectations and, you know, pornography is, um, I mean, there’s a reason why they call them actors or performers.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, is because they are performing in. And so it looks a lot different than what real sexual intimacy is.

Jasmine: Yeah. Especially when you consider how violent it is or how it lacks consent and kids are using this to learn about sex and sexuality and intimacy can be very misleading.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Yeah. And I think this goes back to like that phrase that says “The neurons, that fire together wire together”, just like all those years of reinforcing this behavior, that when I was in the mood to consume pornography, pornography was always there.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And so that is something that I’ve had to unwire over the years because sexual intimacy doesn’t just require one person. Like there’s two people involved with in my case with my spouse.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And so once again, if you talk about reinforcing that behavior, where that thought over years, um, I definitely had some unwiring to do because it almost, the wiring almost happens at a subconscious level where you’re not even aware that this is forming your view of sexuality.

Jasmine: Right.

And you’re probably watching it to like, be better at sex or learn about intimacy. And did it, do you feel like it helped you in that field of like…?

Garrett Jonsson: No. It actually created a lot of fear and stress and anxiety around that for me.

Jasmine: Sure.

Garrett Jonsson: So I would, I would utilize it. I would engage in porn consumption, but I think subconsciously it was something that created fear in me because, um, because of the false expectations. Later, as I became sexually intimate with my spouse, there was a little bit of fear there because of seeing so much pornography, but yet not engaging with real people. Or a real person.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Do you like, cause looking back on your experience in high school and you were saying like the status quo is like, so that porn is everyone watches it and it’s healthy and everything like that. Like, do you wish you had known about Fight the New Drug back then or had these kinds of resources to teach you about the negative effects of porn before it became kind of an issue?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, absolutely. Because if you look at my personal account, once I heard once I had a counter voice to the normalizing of pornography and I heard the presentation by Fight the New Drug later in life, and we’ll get into that. And that’s when I felt the courage to finally take on this challenge and to tell the truth. Um, and I think that if I had heard this in junior high, I think that if, either my caregivers or if there was a presentation at the junior high or high school, and it was given in a healthy way, I think that I would have really considered it. And I think that it would have changed the trajectory of my, of my relationship with pornography.

I think I would have considered before consuming. And I think that I would have had healthier conversations now. That’s not to say that I would have never consumed pornography again, but I think that I would’ve had healthier conversations with elders with Ariel and, um, that we could have navigated that in a healthy way instead of hiding it from her for several years.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, so yeah, to answer your question, I think that having a counter voice as a youth would have definitely helped me.

Jasmine: Helped you like consider how pornography can be harmful in these ways. And…

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, cause I was just consuming pornography in an impulsive way at that time.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: There was no forethought of possible consequences in the future. It was just right then and there. And I think that having that information would have, would have helped me.

Jasmine: Yeah. In what ways did you experience then that pornography negatively affected you?

Garrett Jonsson: Once I get porn in my pocket around the age of 21. So from 21 until about 24 is I have even more reinforcement.

Jasmine: Because that’s kind of when the smartphone came out, right?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And I was single and I was like I said, I was an adult, so I had more stressors and more, you know, things to deal with in life. And so I would turn to pornography if I had like anxiety or stress or if I felt lonely or, um, if I wanted to engage in some escapism, all of these reasons I would turn to pornography, especially during that period of time from 2007 to 2009.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And then I met Ariel in 2009. And I remember thinking, I remember thinking that “Once I get married, I won’t consume pornography anymore.” I had that standard for myself.

Jasmine: Like you almost wouldn’t need it anymore.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

It’s challenging for me to admit that perspective because it kind of goes back to objectification. And when I say that, like I’m not going to consume pornography because I’m going to have a significant other, it’s almost like “I’m going to go from using pornography to using my significant other. Right. And I don’t really like that. So I’m kind of like, I just don’t like that perspective. It’s challenging for me to admit that.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, but that’s really what it was I think. And so getting into our relationship, my relationship with Ariel, I was dating a lot, but once I met Ariel, it was a little bit different. And I was like, “Man, I love this girl.” I remember, you know, getting to know her and wa but not wanting her to find out about my porn consumption.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And so as we dated and as we got engaged and as we got married, we had no conversations about porn consumption.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And so I think that answering the question of how it affected me, it’s like this, my, my sexuality was built on pornography. So there was a lot of ways that it negatively affected me. And I think one of the main ones is that it introduced to encouraged me. I made the decision ultimately. So I’m not pushing all the blame to pornography, but it encouraged me to introduce deceit into our relationship because soon after we got married, um, I turned back to pornography. You know, it wasn’t that easy to just say, “Once I’m married, I’m not going to consume porn anymore.”

Jasmine: Well, I just want to validate that because I feel like a lot of that’s kind of a lot of people’s experiences. Like they consume porn before they get into a relationship. And then I think it’s easy to just assume that having a sexual partner, now, you just assume that you’re not going to need, you’re not going to need the porn anymore because now you have someone to be intimate with. But more often than not, that’s not really the case.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

And so my porn consumption didn’t have anything to do with Ariel. Um, I think that there was things that happened in our relationship that triggered me where I would turn back to it. But again, my habit and my challenge was pornography. It was developed way before meeting her.

Jasmine: Yeah. It has nothing to do with her or her worth or value.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And I think that’s important to note, because if we have listeners or individuals who’ve experienced the harmful effects of pornography where they’re on the other side, they’re the ones who are receiving this and experiencing some betrayal trauma.

Jasmine: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not a reflection of yourself.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Yeah. Um, and then what else, or how else did it affect me negatively? It introduced things like, like I said, impulsivity, um, which led to compulsivity, um, which led to arrogance, resentments, entitlement, shame, um, excessive preoccupation in my mind with pornography, um,…

Jasmine: What do you mean by that, “excessive preoccupation”?

Garrett Jonsson: Okay. So like, if you look at the Mayo Clinic and you, you say define what is compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). One of the things that they talk about in that definition is excessive preoccupation. And so this is how my day would go. My typical day in the life of someone who has experienced a compulsive sexual behavior. And what would happen is around 11 or so 11:00 AM in the morning, I would start to think, “Okay, you know, I’m going to consume porn tonight.” And then I would consume porn. And then after consuming porn, I would say “Never again.”, like “I’m just sick of it. I don’t like this feeling.” It left me more lonely. It left me, you know, it increased my loneliness, it increased my isolation, it increased the deceit. Um, and so I would say, no, I don’t want this. And I’d be like, that’s, I’m not going to do it again.

I’m not going to turn to pornography. I’m not going to consume pornography again. And then at 11:00 AM the next day, I was like, “Maybe just one more time.” And then I would go through periods of time where, um, I would give up hope of dealing with it.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I would just be like, “This is just who I am.”

Jasmine: Like just accept the fact that you struggle with this.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And so that was the hopeless side of like, dang. Like “I just don’t know if I’m ever going to be over, be able to overcome this compulsive behavior.” And then I would just be like, “I just got to accept it.”

Jasmine: Yeah.

Jasmine: How many times do you think you like tried to stop? Like and went through the whole, like never again. And then it happened like,…

Garrett Jonsson: Um, from 2000, I think when I first started wanting to stop was around 2008, 2009. And then when I got married, that’s really, when it started to be like, you’re, you need to stop consuming this. It’s a wedge between your relationship and I can’t help, but think about the quote by the Gottman’s. And, um, I just want to state that quote, because I think it’s really powerful. It says that “We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And so when I hear that quote that it poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony. And then I go to 2010 when I got married and I was like, I need to stop this because I could feel that that was happening. It was creating a wedge between us. And as I tried to stop, answering your question, like how many times did I try to stop? And I just don’t have an answer. It was just a lot of times.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And there was a, like I said, there, there was times of like hopelessness, like, “Okay, I just got to accept that this is me.”

Jasmine: Right.

And I only ask, because I feel like a lot of our listeners who are currently struggling and maybe are in that place of feeling hopeless and they’ve stopped and started and stopped and started so many times maybe hearing your story is really inspiring, but also just acknowledging that, like, it took a lot for you to get to this point.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Yeah. If you think about that, quote, “The neurons that fire together, wire together”, it’s like that wiring process takes time to develop and it takes a lot of time to unwired as well. I think you’re right as well. Like sometimes I had this all or nothing mentality where it was like, if I consumed porn, like might as well consume it tonight, again kind of thing. Um, and I don’t know if that’s the healthiest approach to have that all or nothing mentality because sometimes there is a gradual change that has to occur. It’s not an overnight type of situation.

Jasmine: Right. Yeah.

And I think that “all or nothing mentality” can apply to so many things. Like “I skipped the gym today might as well, like go get a pizza.” [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Right. [laughter]

Jasmine: Things I can relate to.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And I don’t think we’re condoning like a little bit of pornography consumption.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, just

Jasmine: But just having little bit of, um, compassion for yourself and acknowledging that, like, it took a long time to get to the point where you’re struggling with pornography and it’s, it might take awhile for you to unwire that process.

Garrett Jonsson: Totally. And I think that I was definitely in that, like people say like the “shame cycle” and I think, I think that’s what you’re referring to when someone turns to pornography and then they’re like, “Well, this makes me a bad person because I can’t even, I don’t even have self control over this.” Like how do I, that’s a thought that I had often was like, how do I lack the self control to not consume them?

Jasmine: And then shame is like, “I am a bad person.” And then you’re thinking that like, because you don’t have the control to do that, like there must be something wrong with you.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Jasmine: Like, so I want to go back to something you said, cause you mentioned that you and Ariel, your lovely wife, um, had never talked about pornography, um, even in the beginning of your relationship. So can we speak a little bit to that and why maybe it could have been better? Had you discussed it earlier on in the relationship?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, I think that it would have been better because I could have been genuine. It would have given her the opportunity to accept me for me at that time. And then also, um, I think that part of the problem with compulsive behaviors is that usually they grow in secrecy, there’s that tendency of secrecy.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: So I think that being open about it could have really helped me. Um, I think that it could have eliminated my shame.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and I think what it really comes down to is that I could have finally accepted myself for myself because if I’m hiding this thing, I’m not only not allowing her to accept me because I’m lacking the openness, but I’m also not allowing myself. I’m not accepting myself because I’m trying to hide this thing. And so I think having that conversation beforehand and during our relationship ongoing could have been very helpful and very healthy because she didn’t know about my porn consumption.

And we went through about five and a half years of marriage without her knowing that I was consuming porn. And I’m like, I’m not proud to say that.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And, um, I do want to like going back to your, your quote or your, your explanation, you mentioned that sometimes people will say that “All guys watch porn” and I don’t want to create fear and listeners who, you know, aren’t having conversations, whether it’s with their, their kids or with their significant other, they’re not having conversations. And so maybe the fact that I went through five years of marriage without my spouse knowing maybe it creates some fear in them like, “Oh my spouse, because we’re not having conversations. It’s like guaranteed that my spouse’s consuming porn.”

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And I just want to acknowledge that that’s not always the case. No, just not all guys watch porn, not all girls watch porn. And so the conversation like the healthiest way to find out is to talk about it in a healthy way and find out.

Jasmine: Absolutely. And to have an ongoing conversation, because one day you can be talking with your kids or your spouse and ask them if they watch pornography or have been exposed to pornography and what their relationship with pornography is like, if they have one and, but even if they’re not watching pornography today, you know, years down the road, things could change. Like it’s so prevalent right now, but chances are, they could have been exposed or they could have developed a habit by then. So that’s why it’s so important to have an ongoing, healthy conversation about the issue of pornography.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

And it’s nice today, like comparing where Ariel and I are at today to where we were, um, five or six years ago. Today Ariel can check my phone whenever she wants and I leave my phone and you know, it’s there isn’t the secrecy.

Jasmine: Right. That’s like a boundary that you guys have already established. Like we’re not saying, go check your spouse’s phone without them knowing. But like, that’s something that you guys have set.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, exactly. Good clarification. [laughter]

Jasmine: Yeah. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. So even today I kind of made me happy actually today I woke up and I like, couldn’t find my phone and it made me happy because six years ago I always knew where my phone was. Does that makes sense?

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And I’m not saying that people who… someone just because they know where their phones at, I have a challenge with pornography. I’m not trying to say that, but in my case, I always knew where my phone was. And so to wake up today and like, not know where it was and have to search for it.

Jasmine: It’s like a little, a little bit of a sign of like how well you’re doing. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, it’s kind of a cool little thing.

Jasmine: That’s great.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and then going back to like the conversation and having a conversation, if we would’ve had a conversation about it, I think that it would have helped our sex life, like our sexual, our level of sexual intimacy as a couple.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, because I was engaging in deceit and consuming porn without Ariel, knowing there was problems there that occurred because of that, um, where if we had that open dialogue, it would have been different. And let me give you an example. So pornography was always there. Um, whenever I wanted to turn to pornography, it was there and ready.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And one of the problems as you go into a committed relationship is that again, like I mentioned, it takes it’s, it’s two people, it takes another person to engage. And if Ariel’s libido was at a different level that day than mine was.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: I had this false expectation because this thought had been reinforced that when, when I was in, when I wanted to consume pornography pornography, was there, no, there was no other libido.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And so sometimes what would happen in our relationship is that if I wanted to engage in that way and her libido was at a different stage that day, then I would turn to pornography. And what would happen is that that created resentments, um, in me toward Ariel.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And it also created a level of arrogance like that. I kind of thought that my thoughts, feelings and emotions and, and desires were more important than Ariel’s. And it kind of goes back to the objectification part that you stopped seeing a person as a person with thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the communication drops, and then the arrogance increases. So when I say that it increased like resentments and arrogance, that’s a small example as to how that occurred in, in my personal account.

Jasmine: Well, and I love how you’re about like communication also in how pornography and like instilled some deceit there. Um, cause just being communicative in general can just increase intimacy, but also like communicating about sex and sexuality with your partners, like extremely important. And we always say that like, you shouldn’t take sex tips from an industry that profits off of fake orgasms.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Jasmine: So just like learning sex from pornography instead of with your partner, who’s a unique person that, you know, has different like desires or a different libido or, you know?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. So it’s been nice to introduce that healthy discussion into our relationship. And we’re kind of benefiting from that now, but for six years, about five and a half, six years of marriage, we didn’t have that.

Jasmine: Yeah. So can we talk about like what, what, I mean, I know, but our listeners might not. Um, what got you to open up to Ariel about your struggle with pornography?

Garrett Jonsson: I think for the first 20 something years, it seemed like my porn consumption was consequence free. And then when I met Ariel and going in to the relationship, I started thinking, “Okay, maybe I do want to stop this. There are negative effects.” but I still didn’t have that counter voice. And I happened to see a presentation by Fight the New Drug. And before going to this presentation, I did not know who Fight the New Drug was. And like I said, I didn’t have a counter voice to the voices saying that this is normal. “Porn is normal.” And so I heard the presentation by Fight the New Drug, not the entire presentation I came in, um, when it was already started.

Jasmine: Was it just like at a school or?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, my wife is a coach at the high school at a high school here locally and Fight the New Drug was doing a, a community event. And so we were sharing a car at the time. And so I went to go pick up Ariel. This was in 2015. I went to go pick up Ariel from the high school. And I went in to wait for her. I saw that Fight the New Drug was there. And so I sat down and watched their presentation.

Jasmine: You were like “I’ll just kill some time and sit down and watch whatever this presentation is.” Turns out, it’s about the harms of porn. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] Yeah, it was like seven o’clock on a Thursday, you know? So I was like “Alright. I’ll just sit here for a second.”

And it was really cathartic to see the science and to hear some of the personal accounts and see some of the facts because it was validating my experience.

Jasmine: Yeah, what you’re actually living and experiencing.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Because up until that moment with the presentation, I was internally like trying to decide if what I was feeling was a justified belief, or if it was just my opinion, like was I really experiencing some type of compulsive behavior? Or was it just my, is, it was, I was, was I was I perceiving it that way? And so as I heard the science and facts and personal accounts that Fight the New Drug was presenting, it started to make me believe that what I was experiencing was a justified belief. Like it was, my belief was justified in the sense that I was experiencing a compulsive behavior.

Jasmine: Like here’s all of this science and research validating everything that you’re experiencing.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

And that was the first counter voice really that I heard. And because it was delivered in a healthy way, it actually eliminated my shame.

Jasmine: That’s awesome.

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t think completely, it started to reduce it.

Jasmine: Yeah. Like “It’s not me that’s a bad person. It’s this behavior that is unhealthy.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

And I guess the education, another way to say that is that the education like helped me had empathy for myself a little bit and to accept what it was. Um, and so Ariel finishes her practice and she comes and she sits down with me and she watches some of the presentation with me and we ended up leaving a little bit early before the presentation ended, but I left with a desire to tell Ariel the truth. And, um, up until that point, I hadn’t accepted the potential consequences. Like I was scared to tell the truth because I loved our relationship.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And so that fear of the potential consequences silenced me, like, “No, I can’t tell Ariel because then it comes to the point where she has to, she’s gonna have her opinion.”

Jasmine: Well, and I’m sure you’re also a little afraid of like, is she gonna want to leave me or yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Jasmine: Or work through this with me or…

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And is it going to change her perspective of me? So anyway, leaving that presentation was the first time that I was like, “Okay, I just got to, I need to accept these potential consequences and just tell the truth.” And a few, a few weeks later, I finally got the courage to tell the truth and it wasn’t in the best way, because again, I had very little resources telling me how to navigate this situation.

Jasmine: Right. Um, looking back and now knowing what, you know, you probably realize there’s maybe a better way to say it.

Garrett Jonsson: Exactly.

Because we were laying down in bed and it was dark. Like the lights were off, we were getting ready for bed.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I was like, “I need to tell you something.” But then I lost courage for a second, for a couple minutes and I’m just sitting there in silence in the dark, you know? So if you can imagine I made it more challenging for her and for myself.

Jasmine: Yeah. She was probably a little panicked. Just hearing that…

Garrett Jonsson: Exactly.

Jasmine: Yeah. I’d be a little panicked, I feel like.

Garrett Jonsson: Mhm. And so if you can learn one thing from our experience that would be to go to FTND.org/blueprint.

Jasmine: Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, that’s a good plug for our, um, interactive conversation guide. So, um, it’s a website we created that you can go there select who you want to talk to. You specifically, it can be a spouse, a child, a friend, or a stranger about, um, pornography. And then you select what specifically you want to talk about if you’re struggling, if they’re struggling or just having a general conversation. And then we give you some helpful tips to help navigate you through this discussion because it’s in your experience. And in a lot of people’s experience, it’s not always an easy conversation to have.

Garrett Jonsson: I don’t know if it ever is.

Jasmine: I mean, even working here and talking to people about what we do for a living, like it’s not an easy conversation to have with people it’s very intimate, so taboo and, um, can be kind of tricky to navigate. So if you’re wanting to have a healthy conversation about pornography, um, we encourage you to go to ftnd.org/blueprint who access that conversation guide.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And I don’t just plug that URL just to plug it.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: That’s not in the script or something. I just genuinely would have benefited from them. Um, yeah, so I didn’t have the resources. Um, but I did have three weeks behind me with no porn consumption. And so I was like, “Ah, this is the time to finally tell the truth.” And even back then. So this is back in 2015 and our family has a phrase that we kind of live by. And, um, I have it inked like as a permanent reminder. And the phrase is that moments of bliss are not free.

Jasmine: I love that.

Garrett Jonsson: And I remember even thinking then like finally I accepted the potential consequences. And I kept thinking to myself, you know, moments of bliss are not free. Like if I want to experienced, if I want to experience increased happiness, like another level, a higher level of happiness or a higher level of intimacy with Ariel. Um, if I want to experience genuineness and acceptance and empathy, um, a higher level of love.

If I want to experience those things, then I have to pay the price. Like I have to pay the price and the price was telling the truth. And so I figured like I can either pay the price now until the truth, or if I wait and keep that deceit alive, eventually I’m going to have to pay the price. Hey, it’s either now or later. And so I told her, and I don’t want to like skip over or like breeze past this experience because it’s a very serious thing.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And it can very traumatizing for both parties, for the person that’s disclosing and the person that’s receiving this information.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: When, when I told her, you know, it was, it was challenging, it was heartbreaking. Um, and it wasn’t, that was just the beginning. That was just the very first one of the very first steps for me, it was education was the very first step and then telling the truth was next.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And, you know, I had this reinforced behavior for years and years that if I had a problem far as if I was experiencing stress or loneliness or anxiety, um, to turn to pornography and ignore that problem. And oftentimes it would amplify that problem.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And because I wasn’t taking on that challenge or facing that challenge or that feeling or that emotion.

Jasmine: Or dealing with whatever the underlying issue actually was.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

And so it just amplified for a moment, it caused a hiccup in our relationship, like our relationship, it became more challenging, for a period of time.

Jasmine: I’m sure. You mentioned that, um, the first step for you was like educating yourself on the harmful effects of pornography and then disclosing that to Ariel. At one point, if you guys haven’t seen Garrett’s video again, go watch it. ftnd.org/garrett. But at what point did you decide, “Hey, I wanna run 30 marathons in 30 days in handcuffs to raise awareness on the hunters harms of pornography.” Like, how’d you get to that point…

Garrett Jonsson: From there to there?

Jasmine: Yeah. because that’s, I mean, like, I mean, we have a lot of Fighters like worldwide who liked to educate on this issue, but you chose a really unique way to educate on this issue. So, I mean, what gave you that idea and why to that scale, did you want to educate people about the harms of porn?

Garrett Jonsson: So I had several months with no porn consumption and a lot of that was just because of the education and telling the truth. Like those two things alone were very freeing.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and that’s not to say that since seeing the presentation, I didn’t consume pornography ever again after that, cause that’s not the case I did. And then I would remember “Oh actually, I don’t want this in my life and then I’d move forward.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, but the, those two things were really crucial and helped me tremendously. And so after stringing together several months without any pornography consumption and starting to see improvements in our relationship, I was like, “Man, I want other people to be able to experience this as well.” Because based off the trends that I was seeing, or even in my personal account and knowing other people in my life, within my, in a certain inner circles, I kind of, I wondered if unwanted porn consumption was more common than I thought.

And I just thought of other people out there who were feeling how I felt and not knowing about the harmful effects or not being able to consider before consuming. And so I was talking to Ariel about how I could build awareness and I was working in the fitness industry at the time and I have a history of like doing some endurance events. Yeah. And so I took that talent of like finishing endurance events. And I’m like, can I incorporate this somehow to build awareness for Fight the New Drug? And at the time it was all about fight the new drug for me because that’s where I got the information. Um, but I just want to acknowledge also that there were a lot of other organizations and other people fighting the harmful effects of pornography, or educating on the harmful effects of pornography, um, at the time.

But from again, for me, it was just fight the new drug, right. I was about to turn 30 years old. I was 29. And in January of 2016, I presented this idea to Ariel to do 30 marathons in 30 days wearing handcuffs. And when I presented the idea, you know, we were talking through like the logistics of it and we decided that I could do it, but if I did, I would probably have to quit my job. And so I quit my job and I did 30 and 30 in handcuffs. The reason why I chose to run 30 marathons in handcuffs was to show like the, I guess the definition of compulsivity is that your desire to not consume or engage in that behavior is over ridden by the compulsive behavior. And so I ran 30 marathons in 30 days. Technically I ran like 25 marathons because I had what’s called substitute Saturday.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And during these marathons, um, my goal was to build awareness for Fight the New Drug. I did not want to talk about my personal account. My goal in these 30 marathons was to simply like build awareness for, or Fight the New Drug. And so through marathon 26, I hadn’t talked about my personal account and Ariel, like after I would come home from this marathon and we were talking, she’s like, “Well, if like your goal is to change the conversation and you’re wanting to eliminate shame and like, make it easier to talk about, then maybe you should talk about your personal account as well.” And so at marathon 26 is kind of when I talked to my, my personal account and we, during these marathons, it was kind of cool because at the same time as I was performing these marathons, Terry Crews came out on Facebook or on YouTube and talked his challenge with pornography.

Jasmine: Yeah, yeah, yeah. His dirty little secret video.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Yeah. People messaged me and they’re like, “Did you hear that Terry Crews is talking about this as well?” And I was like, “Wow, that’s cool.” The timing was really cool because it was in the exact moment that I was running these marathons. And so we reached out to Terry Crews and, um, we were like, “Can you participate in one of our substitute Saturdays where people could run for me to help build more awareness.” Him and his boy went out and ran and they posted on social media about substitute Saturday. So that was really cool.

Jasmine: Awesome.

Garrett Jonsson: And again, it helps build awareness.

Jasmine: Yeah. And since then you’ve interviewed Terry Crews on this podcast. So if you haven’t listened to it already go and listen to it. We have video of it too. So you can go and watch that interview with Terry Crews talking about pornography.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. Terry Crews is, uh, you know, I look up to Terry Crews and so it was cool to have his support in that way, at that time.

Jasmine: What was like the general reaction you got from people when, I mean like your friends and family, like you’re running 30 marathons 30 days and you know, like you said in the beginning of it, it wasn’t even because like you had struggled with, and you just wanted to raise awareness for fight the new drug and…

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. I think that my parents and Ariel’s parents and our friends, I think there was, you know, some healthy skepticism.

Jasmine: [laughter] Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Like “What are they doing? Why is he quitting his job? This doesn’t, it’s not very common. And so we embraced that. Um, I guess we, we embrace that uncertainty. We weren’t exactly sure what we were doing.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, but I did want to build awareness. I felt like pornography consumption. Like I said, problematic porn consumption was more common than I thought.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I just felt like if I had this information before it would’ve saved me years of dealing with this alone, because once I had that cathartic experience, it really helped me. And so I just wanted to provide that for someone else.

Jasmine: Right.

Well, and that’s like, what we hear at Fight the New Drug are all about, like, we’re not here to ban pornography or to like restrict adults rights to view legal forms of pornography. Like we’re just here to educate. So people know because it’s, so the mainstream narrative is that “porn is normal important.” And “Porn is healthy and everyone watches it and it’s okay.” But we’re just here to shine a light on the fact that like actually decades of research shows that there are harmful effects pornography. Um, so we’re just here to educate so people can make a decision. That’s all you were wanting to do with raising awareness.

Garrett Jonsson: Right.

And that’s why I hitched my wagon to Fight the New Drug in a sense, because of the fact that the mission statement was just to educate so that people can make an educated decision. Um, and then once I finished the 30 marathons, I guess one thing that’s kind of interesting to look at it with the handcuffs is that as I ran, if you can imagine me running, like my arms are in this almost like running position. And even though it was really restrictive, um, it wasn’t that challenging to run with handcuffs on because your hands are like bent, your arms are bent in this position anyway.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: So I think that a little bit of symbolism there is like, you never know who’s having a challenge with pornography. Um, it doesn’t matter what the gender is, doesn’t matter what their political persuasion is or their religion is, or isn’t.

Jasmine: Or their age.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, or their age, you know? Um, because a lot of people didn’t see my handcuffs that was the symbolism is that I ran and people didn’t really ask, like, “Why are you running with handcuffs?”

Jasmine: Or even realize that you’re running with handcuffs.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That’s why, again, going back to, why is it important to have conversations? Like I think those healthy conversations would have helped.

Jasmine: Even if you didn’t disclose it, when someone asked you the first time, the second time, like, just knowing that someone’s interested or, or that they’re there to have a conversation with you when you’re ready to disclose that. I think is important.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

And then moving on from the 30 marathons, once I finished the 30 marathons, um, I, I wanted to build the awareness a little bit more and going back to like my, I guess a little bit of history might help on like how I got into endurance events or like endurance events that I’ve done.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Because I have, like, I have that little bit of like this. I think they’re fun.

Jasmine: Yeah. You’re one of those crazy people who think that. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: I guess so.

And so I have run like a hundred miles straight in an event called the Wasatch 100.

Jasmine: Wow.

Garrett Jonsson: And then I’ve also done like a full IRONMAN. And then I’ve ridden my bike from Vancouver, Canada to the bottom of Washington on like a self-supported tour. And I’ve done to my marathon anyway. So I’ve done these things. And so I knew that I was decent at endurance events. So I did the 30, 30 marathons in 30 days. And then when I was done with that, I looked at my bucket list item. Cause I’m like, I want to still build awareness. I already quit my job. So maybe I can do one more project before, you know, getting back to having a job, the normal life. And so I was looking at a bucket list that I wrote in, in high school. And one of the items on my bucket list was to ride my bike across the United States.

And I didn’t know if I would ever do it, my friend, one of my friends and I joked about doing it for like our senior trip and going coast to coast on a bike, but that never happened. And I honestly didn’t know if it would ever happen because it was just such a big undertaking.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And so I started thinking like, what if I did something and incorporated a bike ride across the United States? And so I went to Ariel and I presented this idea to her. And her first response was that “You have to do it.” And then her one of the, one of the first things that she said after that was “You can’t quit.” Like “If you decide to go out there to Virginia with your bike, by yourself to venture across the United States, you cannot come home early.”

Jasmine: [laughter] Man, she’s cool.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, she is. I appreciate that, honestly,

Because it was a standard I would’ve given up, I bet, if she hadn’t set that standard. Um, because it was really challenging. I went out to Virginia and I was getting ready to do this project by myself. And, um, I remember writing and you know, those first, several days I’m writing, I’ve never done this. I didn’t prepare for this in like the most ideal way I had never written my bike with chains.

Jasmine: I just want to acknowledge you didn’t just ride your bike across the United States. You were dragging chains behind you. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] Yeah, exactly. I’d never done that before. I’d never ridden a bike with chains dragging behind me.

Jasmine: [laughter] Neither have I. Believe it or not, I have not done that.

Garrett Jonsson: [laughter] Yeah, it’s not a common thing. And I was one of those people who had never done it. And so on day one, I start riding with these chains and I’m like, “Man, this is going to be more challenging than they thought.” And the chains represented like the heaviness of the harmful effects of pornography. And I kind of wanted it to resemble, like whether you’re experiencing like the betrayal trauma side or whether you’re experiencing like the, the person with the, the problematic porn consumption.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: Both sides, you know, it’s, it’s very challenging. And so I start this ride with chains dragging and I start realizing, man, this is going to be more challenging than I thought.

Jasmine: And, and you can’t go home. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: I cannot. Exactly. [laughter]

And, um, I, at first I was like, “I want to have all these conversations with all these people.” And then it got to the point where I just want to put my head down. Like I just…

Jasmine: “No one talk to me. I need to get home.”

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. So I decided to just go.

And, um, I started realizing that the carabiners that attached the chains to my bike started to wear away and I got real happy, you know, because I was like, okay, I wasn’t planning on this. I was planning on pulling the chains all the way across the United States. But at day 21, all the chains had fallen away. So I was riding through the Appalachian mountains through, uh, through Virginia and Kentucky just hill after hill, after hill and finally day 21, the, the chains fell off and there was a great analogy there because I was experiencing the unwiring process of my chains, you know?

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and it was cool to feel that have that physical representation.

Jasmine: That symbolism.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and yeah, because I was by myself and, um, I think that when it came down to it, like, this is my challenge and I kind of brought Ariel into the challenge because we got married. And so that it becomes her challenges.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: But I really had to deal with this thing on my own, in a sense, like it was mine, right. There were my chains behind my bike and…

Jasmine: That you have to drag through and yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And so finally they fell off and it was a great feeling because I was able to go a lot faster and get to the end quicker.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: And I had a lot of cool experiences because I didn’t, we didn’t have a ton of funds. Like we didn’t have this excess amount of savings.

Jasmine: Right.

Garrett Jonsson: Where I was like staying in hotels. So I was camping. Like I slept in a bivy. So I slept all over the place. Like I slept on the front lawn at a post office. I slept on, I met people at a restaurant and then I slept on their trampoline.

Jasmine: Oh. [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: And, um, someone in Missouri, let me stay in their Villa anyway. Some really cool experiences, but some also very challenging ones. Like I remember one time in Virginia, I was super down. Like it had been a long day, you know, I’m exhausted. And I get to this point where I don’t have anywhere to stay and it’s not in like a gray area to stay, meaning, like, it was just really like a forest.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And, um, there was like house every like four miles, you know? And I pull up to this house and they have their garage open. I can see their garage offset off the street a mile. And so I ride up there, close to the house and they’re like, “Who is this creep?” You know? And then, um, I’m like, can I stay in your garage? This is what I’m doing. And anyway, so we actually ended up playing, like, they invited me over for family night. Like they were having, they were playing games and stuff and I slept in their garage.

Jasmine: What a trusting family. Cause I know you’re a great guy, but that would maybe weird me out a little.

Garrett Jonsson: Oh, yeah.

It was weird for sure. And I feel awkward asking. Yeah. But I was like, I just need somewhere to stay. Um, and they checked my Facebook or my Instagram, you know, and they were like, “Okay. He at least has some like friends, like he’s could be a normal person.”

Jasmine: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Um, but yeah, so it was an interesting experience. I got to meet a lot of people and um, and the, the goal was to build the wall.

Jasmine: Yeah. I’m sure that sparked a lot of conversations about why you were doing what you were doing.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

One of the funniest conversations that happened was because I was dragging chains, there was one time where a car flips around and they came up to me and they were like pointing to my chains and they’re like, “Hey, like something’s dragging on your bike.” And it was obviously intentional. And so we had some good conversations that way. Um, and when I finished in, I finished in San Francisco, 56 days later and Ariel met me there and we rode the last mile together. Like I actually gave her like, what’s the word? Like a pump on the bike.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: Like she was sitting on the back on the seat and I’m like a crankin’ away.

Jasmine: Wait, you rode on the same bike for the last mile? Was it one of those tandem bikes?

Garrett Jonsson: No. It was the bikes that I used all the way across.

Jasmine: Wow.

Garrett Jonsson: And so we finished the last little bit together. And so that was a cool experience.

Jasmine: That’s really cool.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, and then the goal of doing these projects was not only to build awareness in the moment, but also to do some type of video and so Fight the New Drug actually reached out. So not for the project. And they’re like, we want to do a little video on your experience. So they created a video and they started using that video in their presentations. And it was, I was stoked about that, because again, that was the whole purpose. Um, to help other people have that cathartic experience. So they created this video, they start using it in their presentations. And then they’re like, “Do you want to present your own video?”

Jasmine: And be a presenter?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah. And when I say “present my own video”, what I mean is, yeah, exactly. Be a presenter. Talk about how it affects the brain, the heart, and the world, and then included in that presentation is the short video on my experience.

Jasmine: How full circle is this? Cause this all started because you saw a presentation and now they’re asking you to be a presenter and be that for somebody else.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, it was really cool. And I, so I got jobs that allowed flexibility when I got back from the, the ride across the United States.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And because I had offered, they had offered that op opportunity to present. I wanted to get jobs that allowed me to be flexible enough to leave. Whenever I was asked to go present, my goal was to never deny a presentation opportunity. And the reason why is because I was just like, there’s a kid out there who I want to give that person an opportunity to consider before consuming.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And so anyway, fast forward to today and it’s been pretty cool cause I’ve presented to nearly 200 audiences in over 20 states and three countries.

Jasmine: Wow.

Garrett Jonsson: And I never expected that, like I said, the first 26 marathons, I didn’t even want to share my personal account, you know, and, um, because of the series of events, I ended up sharing, sharing it. And today it’s something that, you know, I talked about for a job.

Jasmine: How has sharing your story on such like a grand scale helped you in your recovery?

Garrett Jonsson: I think I had never participated in the 12 step program. Um, but I do know that the 12th step is to help someone else. And so when I did the 30 and 30 and handcuffs are coast to coast and chains, that was part of my 12th step was helping someone else. Um, I thought that I would go back to work, you know, to have a normal job and just continue on with my life. And so it’s kind of been a weird series of events to now share, um, my experience on a bigger platform. I don’t, honestly, I’m just grateful for an organization, like Fight the New Drug.

Yeah. Because I, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to learn this information and I also wouldn’t have this opportunity to help other people receive this information if it wasn’t for all of the people invited or all of the people involved with Fight the New Drug. Um, but it’s kind of intimidating to share your story.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And, um, so I think that there’s gratitude there. Um, I also think there’s like humility of like, “Man, this is kind of challenging.” Um, it humbles you a little bit when you have to share something, so you have to be vulnerable.

Jasmine: Absolutely.

Um, well, and I just wanted to say that the gratitude and appreciation absolutely goes the same way, because just, I think just in the beginning, you’re willing enough to speak up about this and then make a video and like ride your bike across the United States and like start presenting your story. And now as a podcast host, like you’ve, you’re really, your story is really inspirational. And just the fact that you’re so willing to share it, to help educate other people and help inspire other people who are probably struggling. Like it’s phenomenal. So we appreciate you.

Jasmine: Well, thanks.

Garrett Jonsson: I think it’s important to note that if you think of my like alcoholics anonymous, there’s, there’s a reason why they call it alcoholics anonymous and not like alcoholics identified.

Jasmine: [laughter]

Garrett Jonsson: Because there’s like benefits to anonymity. And so coming out publicly with this experience like this, they sometimes people say like, “Don’t share the things like this on a public platform.” because there are like some challenging things about it.

Jasmine: Right. We’re not saying everyone has to recover for porn.

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: I think that was my point in saying that is that, um, it’s important to increase your self-awareness and decide how you want to, or who you want to trust with this experience.

Jasmine: Yeah. You don’t have to disclose it to everyone. Okay. So at what point then, um, did fight the new drug come to you with the idea to start a podcast?

Garrett Jonsson: Um, it was a couple of years ago and I think that they were looking for a new medium and they said, you know, “We’ve wanted to start a podcast for a long time, but it just hasn’t been right. Whether it was timing or resources or all those things.”

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And they reached out to me and they said, we have an opportunity to start a podcast. Would you want to be involved in that process?

Jasmine: Asking if you’d want to be the host, like, was that known off the bat?

Garrett Jonsson: Yeah, they did. They did say that. I’ll ask them off the bat. Wow. You know, I feel fortunate for the opportunity to, um, help Fight the New Drug in this way. And it’s been a cool experience. It’s been a couple of years now since we’ve started the podcast. Yeah. I think it’s been about two years now since we lost,… launched not lost, but since we launched our first episode, so yeah. It’s been two years. And um, I mean, if you go look at the podcast and all the episodes that we have, we’ve had just such a wide variety of people that have come and shared their expertise or their experiences.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Garrett Jonsson: And it’s been really humbling to like, have all these people that say, “Yeah, I want to, I want to help out in this way. I want to help change the conversation.”

Jasmine: Absolutely.

Garrett Jonsson: And I’m a person who I love hearing about people’s stories. And so that’s one of the things I love about the podcast is I just love hearing about people’s experiences and, um, it’s been, yeah, it’s been really a cool thing.

Jasmine: That’s awesome. Well, Garrett, I want to just leave with one more question for ya. Um, I, I, we talked about, you know, your struggle with pornography and the negative effects that you’ve experienced and you know, what you did to try to raise awareness and be that voice for someone else. Um, so what, what would you say to the listener or whoever’s watching this, um, who’s currently struggling with pornography. What advice would you give to that person who’s maybe in that place that you were before you found in Fight the New Drug and they’re feeling a little bit helpless and a lot of shame and just, aren’t really sure if there’s a way through this?

Garrett Jonsson: I think that you can take away from my personal account, a couple of things that are key and it’s that the education side continue to get educated, to have healthy conversations. Um, and then this, that second step of engaging in openness and self-disclosure, and doing that with the trusted someone, whether that’s a friend or a family member or a significant other, and that honesty will allow you to finally accept you for you. Right? I talked about how, because I was hiding it. I wasn’t accepting myself and I wasn’t allowing other people to accept me. And so I think those first two steps education, and then telling the truth, even if it hurts. And, um, I would encourage you to do that.

And it comes back to like being proactive instead of reactive. There’s a lot to say, there’s a lot to be said for someone who takes that proactive approach rather than like getting caught or in a position where you haven’t told the truth.

I think that one crucial thing as you go through this process is self-awareness is identifying what you want out of life, what you don’t want out of life, and then trying to align those aspirations with your actions. And, um, as you do that consistently again and again, you’ll start to your, your actions will bring forth what you want. I don’t know if I can share a quick example. It might be a little bit like we’re like finishing the conversation here.

Jasmine: Go for it.

Garrett Jonsson: Um, but when I ran the Wasatch 100, one of the things you had to do before the event was you had to go and work on the trails up in the mountains.

And so you go up there with like Pitchfork, oh, shovels on the trails. So you’re moving dirt to like, create this good trail to run on. And so you’re basically engaging in community service. That’s like one of their requirements you have to do. I think it was like four hours of community service or something or eight hours of community service. So we’d go up to this place up in the mountains. And we’re a group of us and we’re like forming these trails and it required a lot of work to get the trail nice and even, and where we wanted it to go and everything. And the way that I kind of relate that to porn consumption is that you are, as you engage over and over, you’re reinforcing that trail.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: You’re reinforcing that neural pathway and the longer, the more work you put into it, the more permanent that trail becomes.

Jasmine: Mhm.

Garrett Jonsson: And I think that I would encourage the listeners to engage in some proactive, intentional work on rerouting your trail. Like if you don’t like that trail anymore, if you don’t like that neural pathway that says always turn to pornography, then take your shovel, take your pick your will barrel and all those things, and then get to work and re route that trail to where you want it to be. And it will take a lot of work. It will take a lot of time. I just want to acknowledge those, those people who are on the other side, who are experiencing the betrayal trauma. Um, I just want to acknowledge that and encourage that person to get there, like go to their resources that are available to them. There’s a lot of resources out there to, to help with that. Um, don’t take this on alone. Just like the compulsive behavior grows in secrecy. It’s very probable that if you hold in all of this information, this betrayal trauma, and you hold on to it, it’s very, that that’s going to grow and be more harmful than it than it would be if you were able to disclose that with the healthy group.

Jasmine: Yeah. Well, Garrett, I just want to thank you again on behalf of all of our fighters for sharing your story in the capacity or in the, in the ways that you’ve chosen to share it. And also to your lovely wife, Ariel, like obviously this is a struggle you both had to go through together and you both have had to decide to be very public in. And I know that both of your stories have really helped so many people who have been able to watch it and see it. So, um, I just want to encourage anyone who’s listening, who’s struggling, um, to keep fighting and for anyone whose partner is struggling and who’s hurting from that to keep fighting for them. And, um, to share this episode with someone who you think would be inspired by it. And, um, again, to just go watch Garrett’s video and, um, go check out those resources that we have @ ftnd.org/resources, um, that Garrett, thank you so much for being our podcast. I was and presenter and all around phenomenal human beings.

Garrett Jonsson: Well, thanks Jas. Thank you for hosting today for helping out.

Jasmine: I hope it was okay.

Garrett Jonsson: It was great. We appreciate you

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Garrett Jonsson: Thanks for joining 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.

MORE RESOURCES FROM FTND

A three-part documentary about porn’s impacts on consumers, relationships, and society.

Fifteen research-based articles detailing porns negatively impacts.

Tees to support the movement and change the conversation wherever you go.

Successfully navigate conversations about porn with your partner, child, or friend.

A database of the ever-growing body of research on the harmful effects of porn.

An interactive site with short videos highlighting porn’s proven negative effects.