If you currently believe you’ve struggled with porn for too long and that you’ll never be able to overcome it, this episode is your opportunity to find all the evidence you need for why you can quit. This week, I’m introducing you to my client, Quinn Felix, and he’s truly an example of what’s possible for you.
At 64, Quinn had struggled with porn for over 50 years, and his addiction affected his job, family, and everyday life. He used porn as a way to buffer over some difficult life events, and when he did try to quit, his attempts were riddled with willpower and white-knuckling. But his story is a journey from hopelessness to hope and a new life, and he’s letting us in on it all this week.
Tune in this week as Quinn exemplifies how your past is not a reflection of your future and what's possible for you to accomplish. He’s sharing how our work together has created breakthroughs and transformations for him, and how, at 64, he’s now making career changes and putting himself out there to help others.
You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 53, What’s Possible with Quinn Felix.
Welcome to the Overcome Pornography For Good podcast where we take a research-based, trauma informed and results focused approach to quitting porn. This approach has been revolutionary and changed thousands and thousands of lives. I’m your host, Sara Brewer.
Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I’m really excited for you to hear what I’ve got for you today. I had a really special interview with one of my clients whose name is Quinn. He has an incredible story, he struggled with pornography for over 50 years and was able to completely quit it here at 63 years old after a lot of– Well, you’ll hear him talk about his whole story.
I love his story and I so appreciate him coming on to share it with us. As you listen I want to invite you to use this as an opportunity to find so much evidence for why you can quit and why you can quit now, and why it is absolutely possible for you to quit.
One thing he says that I love is that as soon as I learned the skills and I got the knowledge, I was able to change. It didn’t need to take me 50 years. And I want to say to you guys you are learning this here in the podcast, you’re really applying it in the program. And so this doesn’t have to take years, and years, and years.
And it doesn’t matter how long you have struggled with porn. That’s why I love this interview with Quinn and why I wanted to interview him. It’s because he is just an example of what is possible and that it does not matter, you could have struggled with porn for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, it doesn’t matter, you can still quit.
That’s something I hear from my clients, is a limiting belief that’s like, “But Sara, you don’t understand. I’ve been struggling with this for a long time, like 12 years.” And I always tell them that doesn’t matter, it means nothing about your future, it means nothing about what you can accomplish, it means nothing about whether or not you can quit. Your past is not a reflection of your future. And this story with Quinn is such an amazing, inspiring example of that.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 25, or 65, or 95, you can quit viewing pornography and it is never too late. Please enjoy this interview that I had with Quinn.
Sara: Hey you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend and client, Quinn, who has been a member of Overcome Pornography for Good and has a really amazing, amazing story. Quinn is going to show us what’s possible when it comes to quitting pornography and tell us a little bit about his story.
And so Quinn, do you want to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you?
Quinn: Sure, Quinn Felix, born and raised in a little town in Utah called Woods Cross. Went on a mission to the Virginia Roanoke Missions in 1976. Came home, met a beautiful girl whom I married in Salt Lake Temple. She was from Chico, California and we moved to Chico and raised our family there.
I worked for the church for a while, I also worked as a firefighter for California. And then after that career I worked in the medical field for about 10 years, 12 years. And unusual circumstances we ended up, due to a fire actually that destroyed the hospitals that my wife and I were working at we lost our jobs. Decided to move to Houston, Texas where my youngest daughter lives here.
Raised a family of three, all of them adopted and I’m out here with the youngest, got one in Florida and one in California still.
Sara: Cool. I had forgotten that you were a firefighter.
Sara: I think you had told me that before. That’s cool, I have quite a few clients and people who listen who are firefighters, they’ll connect with that. So tell us a little bit about you experience with pornography and some of the challenges that you had specifically with pornography.
Quinn: I can give you a little background on it. Got involved with erotic literature by mistake, by happenstance when I was about 12 years old. That led to a masturbation problem, porn when I could get into it. It was hard to do back then, getting magazines and whatever.
Went to the bishop, went to help and it was all this hey, when you get married it’ll all disappear, you won’t have any problems with it once you get married. Just don’t do it. Don’t do it. That’s the way it works.
Sara: You’re not the only one who’s heard that.
Quinn: So after the marriage there was a time there where there wasn’t much of a problem. But then it gradually came back, and I got more involved in it as the computer age came about, heavily involved in it. And going with your definition of what an addiction is, I would go with I was addicted for a number of years.
It affected my jobs, it affected my life, it affected my family. Could not get away with it. I acted out in person a number of times. Again, trying to overcome it I went to my bishop and state president who was excommunicated for the stuff that I had did. But that was not the end all of repentance. It helped but it never stopped it.
Was later rebaptized and worked on it over and over again. And then natural happenstances, the fire destroying upsetting our lives, major traffic accident put me in the hospital for a while, and bell’s palsy. There was a lot of things that just affected me.
Quinn: And I couldn’t handle it and I buffered with porn to overcome those problems.
Sara: Yeah, that’s a lot of big difficult, difficult life events.
Quinn: Yeah, it was hard.
Sara: Yeah. Did you know then, did you see pornography as a buffer or as a way to kind of cope?
Quinn: I had an idea that that’s what I was doing but I had no idea why I was doing it that way. I was totally lost. There was no research, anything you could go to. And it was all willpower, and it just doesn’t work.
Sara: Yeah, and about how long did you struggle with pornography throughout your life on and off?
Quinn: Starting at 12, we’re talking about 50 years, 45 years of it.
Sara: Yeah, 50 years, 45 years. I think that’s important for me to ask because I have clients all the time or people who message me all the time, they’re like, “You don’t understand, I’ve been struggling with this for like 12 years. 12 years, Sara.” And I just love, love you and your story and that you’re willing to come and share this because it gives us some first-hand advice, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve struggled with this.
So tell us a little bit about that. So what changed for you? Where was the turning point for you? What helped you overcome pornography? Where are you at now? Kind of tell us about that transformation.
Quinn: The big change, we were in the process of moving to Houston. And I think the stress of moving, the stress of losing a job, trying to get my personal life back in order I started going back into the deep side of pornography. My wife found out about it, and she went to Houston and left me in Chico. And that was the bottom, that was the rock solid bottom.
She was patient with me for years and trying to help me out as much as she could. Again, limited knowledge in what to do and how to do it. I lost my marriage, lost my wife. And I said I’ve got to do something.
Sara: Yeah. And what was that? What did you do?
Quinn: Started researching online. Before everything was church based, kind of afraid to step out and do some research to find out what was going on. So I got online and You’re Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson on an audiobook and I listened to it, and I went, “Well, is there’s science to back this up?”
He started describing things that I could relate to sentence by sentence, word by word. Porn acceleration, porn induced erectile dysfunction, it was all there. And I finally went, “Wow, if there’s something science based here, there’s a way to beat this.”
I listened to that book, every time I’d go out for a walk I would listen to that book, and I probably listened to it 10 times. So I started researching again, went on to see if there was anything, any apps that could help me out. I found Brain Buddy and Covenant Eyes was another good app.
Brain Buddy was good, it gave me daily exercises that I could center myself on. It would do self-affirmation, it would give you a split screen on the computer showing you a picture of a guy behind a computer. Just a black and white image of man, he’s in pain, he’s looking at porn. And then on the other side would be this picture of a happy couple out playing volleyball or on the beach or whatever.
And you had to make a decision, do I want this one or do I want that one? And you would do that four or five times a day and it would just ingrain in you. And then stories, progression stories of how you overcome, how life is better now without it.
The thing that it didn’t have was still giving me the understanding of how I could overcome it. So even with those exercises I was still using willpower.
Sara: Okay, so it kind of went from like really hopeless, there’s something wrong with me, I don’t know why I’m doing this. This is just my flaw. To learning about the brain and your brain on porn, reading that book. Understanding that there’s maybe a little bit more behind this, there’s a little bit more science behind this. Hope, because now it’s not just that there’s something wrong with you but there’s something going on here in my brain.
Quinn: Yeah, and I wasn’t alone.
Sara: Yeah, and that you weren’t alone. You did Brain Buddy, which I haven’t really used much of or seen much of, but I have gotten message from people on Brain Buddy, it seems like an awesome app. It gives you a sense of community, helps you see you’re not alone.
Helping you start to notice maybe I can have this other– There are two options in my life here and maybe I can start to have this one even though it’s been 50 years, even though I’m struggling, or I’ve lost my marriage. Even though all this, maybe I still can have this life that I really want.
Quinn: Yeah. Yeah, it was eye opening. It was a breath of fresh air, really. On Brain Buddy you were formed up into teams or you could make your own team. So I advertised one day on the board that I was a member of the church and I wanted to form my own team with LDS members. And in no time at all I had five guys, even more trying to get into the team.
And one of the team members listened to you on a podcast, one of your podcasts. In fact it was the one that you talked about whether you call it an addiction or a–
Sara: Or a habit.
Quinn: Or a habit. And so he came on and he says, “What do you think, is it a habit or is it an addiction?” And I said I don’t care what you call it as long as I get over. So he gave me your name. It took me a while to find you and listen to you.
And I remember the first day, I had already moved to Houston, and I was traveling to Costco, and I was listening to episode two, I believe it was. Where you were talking about the clay statue with the monks.
Sara: The Buddha.
Quinn: Yeah, the Buddha. And I just, wow, there’s something underneath my veneer on my clay that I need to wash off. And it was just life changing after life.
Sara: Yeah, which makes sense. You know, you’re talking about changing your beliefs and how powerful that was for you to hear the Buddha example in episode two and working on changing those beliefs. And we’re going to talk about this more at the end, but Quinn is going to come and teach us a class in Overcome Pornography for Good.
We’re going to get into this because Quinn is becoming a life coach and these tools have totally changed his life so much that he wants to teach and help other people. And so he’s actually going to come do a class in the program on changing limiting beliefs and using self-affirmation to do that. So cool, it’s cool for me to hear your story in depth like this and see why that’s so important to you.
So tell me a little bit more. So you started listening to the podcast, and I want to know what were the overall breakthroughs or some of those significant transformations that you started to experience when you came into this world?
Quinn: Two of them off the top of my head was the Pavlov’s dogs example. I trained my brain to do this, I can untrain it to do this or to stop it. The second one was recognizing that it was shame and that I needed to get rid of the shame. And it didn’t take much work for me to do that. Once I understood it and realized it, I shed the shame all the way around.
Really, after I joined your program and got the workbook, I could probably show it to you, if you could reach out you could probably slap me. I’ve probably written on two pages. I’ve gone through it all, but it just made so much sense and it just flipped a switch in my brain as I read through them that it was an easy transformation for me.
Sara: Yes. I’m so glad you said that, and I love that you said that because people, I hear this all the time. They’re like, “Well, I’ve been thinking these shameful things for this long. And so it’s going to take me a really long time to change this.”
Sara: It doesn’t have to be that way, right?
Quinn: No, it doesn’t. It’s easy once you recognize the difference between shame and guilt. Before, if I thought about– If I received an urge to act out, I would immediately feel the guilt and then the shame. With processing the urges and working on them I realized where they’re coming from, thoughts only, and I can change that thought and it’s no longer shame.
Sara: Yeah, how beautiful. I love that. And I love that you say too that you’ve only written in like two pages of the workbook. That’s totally fine. That is absolutely fine. Sometimes my clients come in and they’re like I can’t do all of this. I can’t fill out all of these worksheets, I’m just not good at doing worksheets. And I always tell them that’s fine, you don’t have to fill out worksheets to quit porn.
The purpose of the program is just to help you apply the things you’re learning and sometimes just reading the questions, going over them in your brain, writing them down if that’s helpful to you, attending a coaching call. It’s just all about application and there are a ton of ways to apply it. You don’t have to apply it like a student.
Quinn: Yeah, let me back up a little bit too. One other thing just popped into my mind about what happened. After I got on Brain Buddy their whole emphasis was counting the days. They had a life tree that would grow every day, it was nice at first and made a lot of sense at first. And I was strictly using willpower. And from the day my wife left to the day that I started your program it was strictly willpower.
And I went, I forget, 120 days I think it was that I joined your program after I had started Brain Buddy. I didn’t have many urges. I mean before I was dealing with 5, 6, 7, 8 urges a day. And by the time I joined your program it was 3, 4 a week.
Sara: And this is after you had done Brain Buddy and gone 120 days without viewing porn?
Sara: Yeah, so I want to keep hearing your story, but I just think that’s fascinating. I just want to point out what I think is happening there is just your brain is starting to be deconditioned from the porn and so you’re not having as many urges all the time because you haven’t given it to yourself in 120 days.
Sara: That’s really helpful.
Quinn: As they call it on Brain Buddy on their program, you’re re-wiring, you’re rebooting your brain. And I think that’s what was going on.
So anyway, I got into your program, I remember getting on a coaching call with you and I said, “Sara, I’m not having the urges. So how do I process the urges if I’m not having them?” Do you remember what you said? You probably don’t.
Sara: I don’t, you’ll have to tell me.
Quinn: You said what urges do you have during the day that’s not porn related? And I said, drinking Dr. Pepper. And you said practice your urges on not drinking Dr. Pepper. And it worked, I mean the more I practiced, the more urges that I would feel about anything, and I would sit back and go, “Okay, let me think about this. What’s the thought process?” I would do it on drinking Dr. Pepper, I would do it on why I was lazy about going out and mowing the lawn. It was a game changer, it was a life changer.
Sara: Yeah. Isn’t it though? Really, when you learn how to do that it’s about so much more than pornography and it applies directly to pornography. But this isn’t a skill you only use for porn.
Quinn: No, you can use it for anything.
Sara; Yeah. How else did it change your life? Maybe like with pornography did it make it easier when you did have urges to view pornography, learning this skill of processing and not using willpower?
Quinn: Oh yeah, I mean I think about it and anytime I have a thought that I want to go do something that I really don’t want to, or I shouldn’t do it, I’ll process it and think about it. Why am I doing this? So yeah, it just made a huge transformation. Given me the skill set to reach out.
That’s another thing you probably wanted to touch on, but the whole thing has just given me getting off porn, a new skill set, looking at it differently, applying it to other things in life. I mean a year ago if I wanted to do life coaching, heck, no way. I was fearful.
I didn’t mention it, at one point I did find a therapist in Yuba City, California that I was going to, and he helped me out a lot. But he brought out some things why I was buffering, using porn to buffer. There was a lot of things that happened in my younger life, it wasn't anything big, but it was just a combination of different things that took place that I was fearful of everything in life.
I was fearful of making a decision. I remember when I was dating my wife and we got engaged, what date should we set? Way off in the future was my reply.
Quinn: I was so fearful of making a commitment. And that's the way I was in my life and that's not the case now.
Sara; Yeah. How old are you, do you mind me asking?
Sara: Now you're 64 and you are making career changes.
Sara: And putting yourself out there to help other people quit viewing porn. It's a very scary thing.
Quinn: Yeah, it is. It is.
Sara: That's very terrifying. And you're saying that quitting porn and learning these skills, these life coaching skills and being able to apply them here is what has catapulted you and allowed you to do that?
Quinn: Oh, yeah, by a long ways. I would never have had that positive energy to step out of my shell and look outside.
Sara: Yeah, that's something common that I hear with life coaches a lot, that they come in and they do the work in one area of their life and it's so transformative and it gives them so much, like they feel so empowered. And they learn how to not make negative emotions such a big deal so that they can go and do what they want. And then they love it so much that they want to teach other people how to do it.
Quinn: You truly have exposed that statue underneath. You helped me do that. I've been able to wash off that clay and I've got a bright inside. There’s some that’s still being exposed, I need to polish it up still.
Sara; Yeah, wow. So tell me where are you at now with pornography? What's your life with pornography look like right now?
Quinn: Clear mind, no fog. It was unbelievable how much brain fog you had when you were doing pornography. There’s no guilt, no shame. It's late in life, but I did it. And I kind of regret it, I wish there was something I could have done earlier. But just it's a bright looking future for me.
Sara: Yeah, beautiful. And that's something maybe we can work on, is the regret and just noticing what's there. Noticing why you're feeling that and maybe being able to get to the point where we are exactly where you're supposed to be, and everything happened exactly how it was supposed to happen. And maybe that's hard to see right now, but that’s something to think about going forward.
Quinn: Yeah, for myself, I've accepted it. But the guilt that I have is how it affected other people.
Sara: Yeah, which tell us about that. Have you experienced any changes in relationships with other people since doing this work?
Quinn: Big, huge relationship changes with my kids. I immediately went to them and said, “Hey, I've got issues that I need help with.” They would call me daily. My oldest daughter became my, what do they call it? With Covenant Eyes you have a partner that can view your computer. So she was able to see everything that I was doing on my phone or on my computer. The relationship changed big time there.
Obviously, I damaged big time my relationship with my wife. Did things that I should never have done. Very, very hurtful. She was patient with me for years, and years, and years, and it finally reached a breaking point. And one person that doesn't give up and knowing what I knew about how porn worked, the science behind it, there was a reason that I was involved in it and the buffering of it.
It's still a work in progress, but she's working, love her heart, she's working through it and helping me still. Still live in separate houses right now, but we're working together.
Sara: Yeah, beautiful, beautiful. So really big changes in how you feel and think about yourself. Quit pornography, no more struggle with pornography, relationships with your family are starting to change and on the up and up, and working through those and we'll see what happens there. But there's a lot of hope. A lot of beautiful hope.
What would you tell someone who is maybe in a similar situation as you? So I got a message, even just this last week from someone saying I really love what I'm hearing from you, but I think I'm too old, I think I've been struggling with this for too long.
Sara: What would you say to them? What insights do you have for them?
Quinn: You don't give up. You know that it's bad or you wouldn’t be looking into the program. And I use the word bad not as a sin bad, but as it's not good for you. The brain fog, the torture that it puts on your relationships with yourself and with others. It's not worth it. And now that I’m on the other side of it, it’s hard to say but I haven't felt this way since I started it when I was 12 years old. It's just a clean way of facing every day’s challenge.
Sara: Yeah. I love that, Quinn. Thank you. Thank you. And you also had mentioned that you knew, so you started to understand how the brain was playing into it and that you wanted to quit porn, but you were struggling figuring out exactly how to. Which is something that I say often, I’m like you guys hear all the time to quit porn and that you should quit porn. You don't need to be told to quit porn anymore. You need to be taught how.
Quinn: Read your scripture some more.
Sara: Yeah, you don’t need to be told to read your scripture some more.
Yeah, as much as we love scriptures, that doesn't help you quit a porn habit.
Sara: It doesn't help you quit, you know, help you lose weight or whatever.
Quinn: No. Yeah, you’ve got to understand it. And you have a beautiful way of explaining it. And I loved your example in one of the first podcasts or second, I forget which one, of you'd be trying to quit by reading the book on the refrigerator– Trying to fix your refrigerator with the book on the microwave, it just doesn't work.
And I don't blame anybody, they gave me the best advice they knew how.
Sara: Of course.
Quinn: But it's a whole new science now. I mean, porn has been around for a long time, but it's just now in the last five, six years that people are starting to realize that hey, there's a problem, it's a bad habit. For some it's a bad addiction. And it's not making anybody happy. It's sad, in a couple of chat rooms where I talk to guys, just these young guys that just don't know what to do and how to get out of it. But they know it's bad for them.
Sara: Yeah. What would you tell them if you were to tell these guys something? You're talking to these guys who know it's bad, know that they don't want it in their life. And when we say know it's bad, not know that it's a shameful thing, that's not what we're saying.
Quinn: No, no.
Sara: But we know it's not something that they want to continue in their life, and it's not helping them live their best lives. What would you tell them?
Quinn: There's a way out and knowledge is power. In fact, let me give you this quote real quick that I found. Knowledge is not power, it's only potential. Applying that knowledge is power. Understanding why and when to apply that knowledge, and you need to find the knowledge and you need to know how to put it together. Your program laid it out for me, and it made sense from day one. And for me, it was easy. Once I started in there wasn't much going back.
Sara: Yeah, yeah, I love that. And I think, and tell me if this resonates with you. But I think too, part of what made it so easy for you is that you had already done a lot of the limiting beliefs change. And so you really, truly believed that you could quit and that it wasn't going to be with you forever. You didn't get too involved in all this self-deprecating stuff.
That's what makes it so difficult and so hard to quit is when it's all or nothing, when we don't really believe we can, all those limiting beliefs that come up.
Quinn: And I think the other thing that really helped me was as soon as it made sense to me and that it helped me, I wanted to help others.
Quinn: I wanted to become the teacher. So I’d get in these chat rooms, and I would start giving them quotes from you and encourage them to join the podcast. And that's why you get so many Brain Buddy letters at one time.
Sara: Thank you. I've got a couple messages that just make me smile and laugh a little bit.
Quinn: I remember the one you read that says we’re not members of the church, I think he said we're Catholic. And that group, they would hold a little mini mass every morning and listen to your podcast.
Sara: I love it. That's actually something that this next year is one of my goals, I'm expanding a little bit. I was really narrowed in on LDS community this last year and it was really good helping me find people. But we got to expand, baby. There are a lot of people who love these tools, and they apply to everyone, it's not church specific.
Quinn: And it's worldwide and it's expanding more and more and more. And to be able to get the word out there's a way to do it, and it's through understanding. I mean, once everything clicks in, it’s easy.
Sara: Yeah, there's a way to do it and it's not miserable and it's a lot easier than what you're doing right now.
Sara: We just need to learn these new skills. That's all it is, just some new skills we’ve got to figure out.
Sara: Yeah, cool. Thank you so, so much, Quinn. I want to make sure that if there's anything else that you wanted to mention you have a moment to say if there's anything else.
Quinn: I'm just reviewing my notes. Getting off point, it gives you freedom to choose. I have choices now that before if there was anything negative I would buffer to escape it because I didn't want to make that decision. I was fearful of the way it might turn out. So I was just buffering and put off with it. But this gives you so much freedom in your life to do what you want to do and how you want to do it without any regret.
Sara: Yeah. Wow, beautiful. I love it. Yeah, quitting porn is about so much more than quitting porn.
Quinn: Yeah, it is.
Sara: So much more. Okay, well, thank you so, so much. Thank you so much for being here. Thanks for coming and sharing your story. I know it’s going to be really useful to a lot of people.
And for those of you listening, if you want to come and learn more from Quinn, like I said, he's going to be doing a class for us on limiting beliefs, help us overcome those limiting beliefs in February. So you'll have a chance to join the program before then, come and get in.
He's also here on most coaching calls with us and we do all of this work that he's talked about, we do it in depth all the time, every coaching call. You can always come and we're going to apply and we're going to learn how to do this. That's what we do in there. So thank you, thank you again, Quinn, for being here.
Quinn: You're welcome, thank you.
I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.
Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.