I am Joshua T. Berglan, CEO of Live Mana Worldwide and I am based in San Diego, CA. I feel blessed to have the opportunity of “Connecting the Best With the Best” around the world. I am originally from Oklahoma City, Ok, have been helping medical professionals, celebrities, CEO’s, business owners, brands and even people with complex disabilities reach their goals for over 22 years.
I specialize in custom beauty and skincare products, branded cosmetics and skincare, medical aesthetic devices and can assist any brand get on TV and radio. I also can help with global distribution, business development, product launch and rebranding.
As successful as I have been in business, my true calling is to serve others and part of that service is share my story. I have overcome years of sexual, physical, emotional and drug abuse that should have ended my life. By the grace of God, I overcame and my story, while horrifying is meant to inspire and encourage others to seek help before it is too late.
A Little Back Story
The abuse I suffered started right after my amazing half-sisters who were living with my family and I at the time, “disappeared”. I had no idea why and in my head, I thought they left because of something I did. 7-year-old minds are funny that way but I was convinced I was not good enough for them.
I remember going through my sister’s bedroom, looking at all of the things she had left behind and did not understand why she was gone. I was devastated and immediately my childhood died. I do not remember experiencing joy after that but I vividly remember the first time I was sexually abused. The physical and emotional abuse followed.
I remember the confusion of why these things awful things were happening to me. I just remember thinking it was my fault. I grew up in a hellfire and damnation style church that preached sermons frequently about sexual immorality and how it would more or less, send me straight to hell. Same-sex contact was going to get me there faster I told myself and to make it worse, it was men and women who abused me.
The sickening thing to me now that I think about it is that I always felt like the abuse was my fault. I felt so much shame, how in the world could I ask for help? I did not even know how!
The Victim No More
Let me make this clear. I was a victim, everyone who experiences abuse is. I also want to make clear that because I did not get help, the pain and suffering I went through became poison for my soul and I was on my way to becoming a narcissistic monster.
It did not happen overnight of course but when I started using cocaine, ecstasy, pain medication and other drugs, it accelerated the narcissist train I was on 10 fold. Sure I started drinking alcohol pretty early however that never was my go-to escape vehicle. It was used plenty when drugs were not available but alcohol never “set me free” like drugs did. Cocaine and Ecstasy freed my mind and made me “happy”. Drugs made me feel confident and allowed me to embrace the lies I told myself. It gave me enough confidence that the lies I told myself became my truth and my new reality.
When the drugs wore off, the guilt set in and all of the lessons I learned in the church started to make me feel shame. I did not like feeling shame any more than I liked being abused. Some days I would seek God and swear I would never do drugs again. That allowed me to “make a change” that lasted around 2 weeks. Other days, I would just seek to get high again because the most comfortable place for me was living in the shadows, away from reality.
God put us on this earth to be part of the community and I am sure most of you know that being a druggy is not exactly going to make you a lot of friends. I was desperate to connect with someone, anyone, however. I found myself most comfortable with “massage girls’ and other drug users because they were the only people who would enable me to stay in my dark comfortable place. The light was just to miserable for me and I did not feel safe there.
The Dark Passenger
When I first started attempted to change I would tell people about my “dark passenger”. I think the passenger was created to protect me when I was a kid but he is what almost killed me as an adult. I needed him to survive but I never learned to get rid of him or let him go. He was my blanket or teddy bear if you will. I only felt safe with him even while he was killing me.
I take full responsibility for my actions and I am not blaming my actions on an imaginary person for the record. I will say that whenever I felt pain or was sad, he would talk to me and show me my way back to “comfort”. Comfort was drugs, sex and pushing my boundaries further into darker places each time. I just wanted to feel something because I was so dead inside.
There are consequences for every action and my consequences have been severe. I have lost 2 marriages, lost the right to see my twins lost my first company, been bankrupt, been in jail 6 times, lost friends and other relationships and none of that is as bad as breaking my mother’s heart.
I should be dead, not only for the pain I have caused but because of what I did to myself. Somehow I survived. Here I am alive, healthy and better than I have ever been and that is because of 2 things. 1. My relationship with Christ and 2. the knowledge that, if I do not work on me and seek Him every day, I will be able to fulfill His purpose for my life.
It is my purpose to share this story and others like it from the stage, radio, television and anywhere else someone is willing to listen.
The images of me being on stage and connecting with others have been in my brain from an early age. I could vividly see it and every time I hit the wall, I would see that image in my head and I would get myself up and vow “never again!”
I have been given multiple opportunities to share my story over the years however I self-sabotaged the opportunities because I believed the lies of the labels I was given. I also knew my heart and life was not where it needed to be to be authentic in what I was saying. I alone was not strong enough to overcome my demons and my dark passenger.
It was through Him that my life changed and I will never apologize for not being strong enough on my own to change. If I can encourage one kid to seek help and have a voice that is being abused then I have fulfilled my purpose. If I can encourage one ABUSER to seek help and make amends for their actions then I have fulfilled my purpose.
That is why I want to speak!
“I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13