There could be thousands of reasons why people adopt gambling, and even psychologists don’t know why people gamble? It started as fun for some persons, and for some, it was meant to escape their sorrows. But in the end, the result was always the same; Gambling Stops Being a Diversion and Becomes an Addiction.
~Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author and Experienced Gambling Advocate of Recovery
A while back I came across what looked like a new Gambling Addiction and Recovery blog that seemed to really never transpire. I happened to visit again and the same original first post was still up, but not much activity after. That is the “nature of the beast” when it comes to addicted gambling. It seems sometimes the addiction may win over just trying to “will it away” and it won’t work very well.
But then? EUREKA! More New Posts Began To Be Posted! And many of Uri’s posts are not only informative? They are very revealing to the facts that Gambling Addiction truly is the hardest addiction to KICK! So, my deepest hope for all who visit me will take some time and go visit Uri and read a few of his posts about his recovery journey.
He speaks very openly as he shares his gambling and his recovery hopes and challenges. One that is really difficult and will share a little of his post is about LYING to his partner. For me? That was all about being in DENIAL.
“I am not upset that you lied to me; I am upset that from now on I can never believe you” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
After being more than 2 years free from gambling activities, I noticed that I still have a huge problem with lying to my partner. It became a habit and somehow I can’t stop lying to my partner. Someone once said to me that for as long as you lied to your partner, expect them not to believe you for the same time after you stop lying. It will hurt when they question you when you are telling the truth, you will be surprised because you never even thought to lie.
This advice helped me to think that did I achieve anything worthwhile by lying or cheating. I started thinking that what I am hiding from her? Why I am so insecure? Why my self-respect is at rock bottom? Why I am addicted to lying? Sooner I realized that lying is like a slippery dangerous slope with nothing good at the bottom but misery and empty life.
We all lie in different situations in our lives. We all have our reasons for lying, it may be to escape punishment in our childhood. When we grow up, we lie to get attention or sympathies and some even create stories to set friends against each other or get others in trouble. It is an expression of being afraid, what others will think, afraid of facing the reality. We want to show people that we are better than others and reflect the weakness of our character. This could be the result of low self-esteem, fear of rejection, desire to please, or any other nuanced reasons.
A liar justifies or makes stories to cover up something he has done wrong. To cover the first lie, another lie is required and this leads to an endless chain of lies. I had no idea about my case, why I was manipulating different situations to lie with my partner. Sooner I realized that I am a habitual liar, I tried to discover the root of my behavior, why I am doing and what I am avoiding. I thought that if I want to spend the rest of my life with my partner, I must avoid this habit of lying to restore the level of trust in our relationship.
If you are constantly lying to your dear ones and you are not able to do anything about it, then you don’t want to change. You cannot change what has developed in you for years. If someone matters to you in your life then you have to be truthful or else you will end up losing not only that person but your importance, your respect and the likeness you were trying to create will go away in a moment and will never come back.
All the lies which are still covered can come crashing down on your head at any time. You will live in constant fear of the truth being discovered and expose you which creates a bad effect on your nerves. Stop living in dream world with a fake identity. Get out of your unreal world and start living in present rather than the past or future.
A person who often tells fibs will never have trustworthy friends and will not be loved by anyone. Life is not only judged by a rich lifestyle, fluent language ability, or branded clothes. It is measured by the number of faces who simile when they hear your name. Analyze your life and try to find how it has impacted your life and others around you. Somewhere or somehow it has broken a lot of innocent hearts or brought tears to the eyes of your loved ones.
Do you think you feel happy about it?
How To Stop Lying?
Start thinking, why you want to quit lying, think about the bad things associated with being a liar. I am not an expert by any means but you must ask yourself why you are lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Learn to appreciate things you have in life and be satisfied with your family, friends, and your surroundings.
But what makes sense to me is that instead of trying “not to lie anymore” which is difficult to achieve in one day, try to focus on making little but sturdy progress. Think to yourself why you’re lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Is it because you are not confident? Or on the other hand you fear reality?
You can’t change the past, the past is immutable. But as long as you understand that the time of yore was something that you’ve learned, and then it won’t haunt you as much.
Few imperative things to consider while struggling to come out of this habit:
Never give up! People have thrived in breaking the nastiest & most addictive habits, you can do the same!
Change is going on in little- often not noticeable steps. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t observe changes immediately, YOU ARE CHANGING!
There will be setbacks. There is no way to accomplish a goal without failing on the way. Remember: failing doesn’t mean to stop struggling and starting all over again; you rewired your brain by fighting your habit & it will become easier & easier until it will go away!
My dear friend Mark has been running this gambling recovery website since I began my own journey of recovery and shortly after my book had released. It sometimes is not as active as it should be, because just like gambling addiction itself? It is still a hush, hush, silent taboo topic to be open and talk about due to the heavy shame and guilt. Those who become problem gamblers or have lost control of their gambling, don’t want to admit they have a problem.
And that can come from denial or blame others, or they are just not ready to get help.
So I wanted share some from Mark’s website here as he shares that gambling addiction doesn’t care who you are or where you are from, it will touch even your teens! But there is help available and HOPE. I am living proof that recovery is possible, it does work if your are willing, and you don’t have to get to dire straights to gain your life back from this cunning addiction. Now, I will tell you that Mark and his website leans in heavy for Gamblers Anonymous and the 12-Step program. But, I can tell you it didn’t work for me alone.
My addiction was so bad I had to do ANY and EVERYTHING I could find, including a treatment in-patient program (NOT BY CHOICE) but it saved my life! Then I transitioned to out-patient treatment with therapy and group. It doesn’t matter what you choose to get back to a life without a “Monkey on your BACK,” just pick something and stick with it! So, here is the areas I wanted to share from Mark’s website as it is very informative as gambling addiction becomes a FAMILY addiction. Everyone becomes effected by the addict. Support is the KEY. . .
Help With Gambling Addiction – A Guide for Impacted Families
Are you looking for help with gambling addiction?
Do you have a loved one who’s a problem gambler? Maybe you’re not quite sure yet if they have a gambling problem, and you’re starting to research? Or maybe you’re already certain that there’s a problem, and are looking for help? Wherever you are in this process, this website focuses on all types of gambling problem recovery topics for the loved ones of problem gamblers. While there’s information on the site that problem gamblers themselves may also find helpful, the focus is to provide help to the loved ones of gamblers impacted by the gambling problem.
It’s important to understand that I’m not a professional in the field of problem gambling or addictions, nor I am even in the medical field. I am, however, someone with first-hand experience discovering that my spouse is a problem gambler, and living with the hardship and turmoil that comes from the progressive disease of gambling.
Fortunately, I also have experience working through the addiction recovery process with my spouse, and for myself. So while I’m not a expert in the field, and have no professional qualifications to give advice, I can speak from personal experience, and straight from my heart to yours to hopefully help you and your family start down the road to recovery.
Through my own research, including Internet searches, books, and individual therapy, I came to realize that while resources gamblers to get help with gambling addiction is plentiful, help for the spouses and loved ones is few and far between. Hence, seeing this gap, I became motivated to put together this website as a free resource.
If I can help even one person, or one family find the right path for helping your gambler and/or yourself, then it will have been worthwhile. Essentially, this site contains information that is from my personal experience, as well as concepts and techniques that I’ve compiled over the years, including talking with my individual therapist, talking with others with problem gamblers in their lives, as well as what I learned through the intervention experience that myself and my loved one went through.
What to look for if you think a loved or partner has a gambling problem
Your spouse disappears for long periods of time during the day and/or night, and doesn’t provide adequate reasons when questioned, or is obviously lying.
You know your spouse is gambling and money continually goes missing, and this is either creating financial strain in terms of paying for bills and activities, or you have already begun defaulting on loans and other payments.
When you discuss the topic of problem gambling, they either dismiss it as not an issue, or acknowledge that things have gotten out of hand, but that they can stop if they want to.
You’ve found yourself making significant financial adjustments, whether it’s moving (whether due to a foreclosure or voluntarily selling your home), downsizing cars (or repossessions), etc.
You’re credit cards have consistently higher balances due to cash advances, or are over limit, and you’re getting calls from collectors.
Money from your bank accounts is disappearing due to unexpected/unaccounted for withdrawals.
Large unexplained sums of money are deposited to your bank account.
Communication with your spouse is difficult, stressful, or generally ineffective or non-existent.
They’ve attended Gamblers Anonymous and either continue to gamble or have discontinued attending meetings.
They tried individual therapy and/or couples therapy with you, and they continue to gamble.
You generally feel that your life is out of control and unmanageable.
In addition to sharing experiences, ideas, and techniques in dealing with a loved one who’s a problem gambler, this site is also meant to provide information about problem gambling itself. What is it? How do you know your loved one is a problem gambler? Can it be cured? What’s Gamblers Anonymous? What’s Gam-Anon?
Other questions that you might be asking yourself at this point might include:
What can I do to help?
Should I do something to help or leave it be?
Should I stay with, or leave my gambler?
How should I handle finances?
Is gambling really a disease?
Although I’ve used the word “should” liberally, inferring that you’ll find all of THE answers here, that’s not going to be the case. Everyone’s situation is so unique, personal, and complex that no one could possibly tell you exactly what to do. The reality is that there’s truly no one right answer for your situation.
There are different paths you can take, each one with its pros and cons. Ultimately you’ll need to decide what’s best for you and your personal situation. In fact, I would venture to say that if someone purports to KNOW exactly what you should do, I would caution you, as nothing is that simple, even for a problem gambling professional or addiction specialist.
Unlike other resources available to you, it not only provides the background information regarding getting help with gambling addiction all in one place, but also provides a forum for people to share their experiences, as well as ask and answer questions. While hopefully you’ll come to believe that there’s no one right answer to your problems, it can often be very helpful to ask a question and have a direct dialog about possible answers/solutions. I’ve found that this type of forum is not readily available for loved ones of problem gamblers.
If you’ve read this far, it’s highly likely that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the gambling problem in your life, and you need help. While this site won’t cure your problems, you can rest assured that you’ve found a place to learn, share, and dialog with people who understands what you’re experiencing, and who can help guide you to the tools you’ll need for the learning process. As the site grows, it will become even more valuable for you as you read about others who have experienced similar situations, and learn about what they did to work towards rebuilding a healthy way of life.
I URGE All My Friends and Visitors to My Website Here of “Bet Free Recovery Now” take some time to visit Mark at his site and share your comments of hope and inspire those who may be needing it over this long 4th of July Holiday Weekend. https://www.help-with-gambling-addiction.com/
Who was William Cowper? William was born 26 November 1731 (My Birthday Too) – and passed 25 April 1800) known as an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. William was also considered one of the best letter writers in English, and some of his hymns, such as “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” and “Oh! For a Closer Walk with God,” have become part of the folk heritage of Protestant England.
GUEST POST BY Author Tony Roberts of Delight in Disorder Ministries
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)
The Longing of William Cowper in “Heal Us, Emmanuel”
Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are We wait to feel Thy touch; Deep wounded souls to Thee repair, And Savior, we are such.
Our faith is feeble, we confess We faintly trust Thy Word; But wilt Thou pity us the less? Be that far from Thee, Lord!
Remember him who once applied With trembling for relief “Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried; “O help my unbelief!”
She, too, who touched Thee in the press And healing virtue stole, Was answered, “Daughter, go in peace; Thy faith has made thee whole.”
Concealed amid the gathering throng, She would have shunned Thy view; And if her faith was firm and strong, Had strong misgivings too.
Like her, with hopes and fears we come To touch Thee if we may; O send us not despairing home; Send none unhealed away.
Poet and hymn writer William Cowper (1731-1800) was a man of deep longing that greatly affected his mind as well as his spirit. In his thirties, while battling some political factions in his work, he was afflicted with “madness” (as it was then called called) and admitted to Nathaniel Cotton’s Collegium Insanorum at St. Albans. He recovered and moved to the town of Olney in 1768 where he co-authored a book of hymns with the well-respected pastor and hymn-writer John Newton (who wrote “Amazing Grace”).
In 1773, Cowper became engaged to Mary Unwin, but he suffered another attack of madness. He had terrible nightmares, believing that God [had] rejected him. Cowper would never again enter a church or say a prayer. When he recovered his health, he kept busy by gardening, carpentry, and keeping animals. In spite of periods of acute depression, Cowper’s twenty-six years in Olney and later at Weston Underwood were marked by great achievement as poet, hymn-writer, and letter-writer.
Certainly, Cowper continued to fight back despair and may well have stepped aside from public prayer and worship, but the depth of his prayer life and relationship to God in Christ is abundantly evident in hymns that live on through the ages.
Which brings me back to the theme of longing. The longing expressed in this hymn, and also in Cowper’s life, is not evidence of a lack of faith. In fact, faith prompts us to recognize that all is not right within us, among us, or around us. Our faith, though feeble, keeps us crying out in prayer for our children who are hurting, for our bodies that need healing, for our world that is on the brink of collapse.
We come to God not only with “positive thoughts”, but with hopes and fears – hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst and humbly requesting that the Great Healer would touch us, would send not of us away unhealed.
“I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.”
Tony Roberts is a graduate of Hanover College (Bachelor of Arts; English and theology), and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). He served as pastor for churches in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York, while battling bipolar disorder. He is the author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission and is the founder and Chief Shepherd of Delight in Disorder Ministries. These ministries include A Way With Words publishing, Revealing Voices podcast, and Faithful Friends mental health support group.
Tony is available to virtually consult ministry leaders on issues of faith and mental illness. You may reach out to him on the contact page or by email: email@example.com
I’m a veteran of the navy and in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud.
After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine.
It’s hard to replicate the adrenalin rush that one gets working in the military. For me, nothing can match the sense of doing something dangerous, and doing something dangerous for a purpose.
In my role with the Navy, I was among the boots on the ground in the Middle East. I saw the effects of war and came home with a darkness inside me that so many other veterans have experienced.
After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine. Of course there is no substitute in civilian life for what I did while with the Navy, but I tried to find it.
The closest I could come was gambling. It offered me some of the same aspects of life in the Navy: adrenalin, something to engage in, and a form of escapism. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to understand the connection and similarity between the highs of gambling and my life in the Navy.
My gambling started in a very casual way. I remember taking a long drive into the mountains when I was based in the Washington, DC, area. I ended up at a casino in West Virginia by complete accident. I enjoyed myself and it was simply fun recreation.
My gambling didn’t really become a problem until I left the Navy in 2006. I started going two to three times a week and it was my only real outlet. It became my social pastime.
I continued to gamble for much of the next ten years. But things really went off the rail in 2016, when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. Rather than wait for the phone to ring to transport passengers from the casino, I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.
At this point, I knew I had a problem. But I wasn’t sure that anything could be done about it, nor did I know how I could actually get help.
Then an unexpected thing happened. While on Instagram, I was viewing photos from an old Navy colleague. I didn’t recognize the buildings in his photos and decided to message him to learn more. He told me they were from Minneapolis. When I asked, “Why Minneapolis?” he explained that he was in Minnesota after getting out of a VA rehab facility in St. Cloud.
When we eventually talked—for the first time in about 10 years—it all started making sense. I knew him personally and knew about his dangerous streak, so hearing that he was in rehab made sense. I also saw many parallels to my story. I asked him questions about the process and then obtained the link for the VA facility that could help me.
As soon as I got off the phone, I started packing my car. I drove three days to make it to St. Cloud from the west coast. I didn’t even call ahead of time and walked right to the urgent care desk and said, “I need help.” I was feeling suicidal and couldn’t take no for an answer.
When I got to St. Cloud, I told the doctor that in addition to a problem with drug and alcohol addiction I also had a gambling problem. I was placed in a residential treatment program on July 14 with a dual addiction diagnosis and stayed for 60 days. Until then, I didn’t know that treatment programs like this existed.
A part of the program involved cognitive behavioral therapy. During these sessions, I gained a better understanding of how my actions were related to the trauma I suffered in the Navy and how the things I did were efforts to try to deal with that trauma. When you get into a program like this, you see the bigger picture. More importantly, you see that this addiction can be managed and that it can be cured.
I’m trying to start anew in a place where I have no routine connected with gambling and where there is no casino in town. I’m living in the House of Charity in Minneapolis and am following through with my aftercare, including meeting with a therapist to keep me on my path.
. . . when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. . . I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.
I’m in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud, something that would require a certification program. From past experience, I realize that I have to feel fulfilled in my occupation or it won’t work.
I’m prepared for this to be a long, slow process. But that’s OK. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I realize how important it was for me to get there.
OUR RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT on NORTHSTAR ALLIANCE
Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. NPGA is a coalition of individuals and organizations sharing the belief that problem gambling is a serious public health problem that is both treatable and preventable.
NPGA works to raise public awareness about problem gambling and the stigma that’s often associated with it. We advocate for funding for treatment programs and provide professional training for those who work with problem gamblers. The collective impact of our efforts helps individuals, their families and their communities deal with the devastating effects of problem gambling.
As a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, NPGA is funded by membership fees, financial and in-kind donations, and state and private grants. A considerable portion of our funding comes from the state of Minnesota and from major corporate sponsorships from the Minnesota Lottery, Canterbury Park, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
To learn more or to arrange a visit, contact NPGA Executive Director Susan Sheridan Tucker or call (612) 424-8695.
GAMBLING TOLL-FREE HOTLINE: National Problem Gambling Helpline on 1-800-522-4700
WELCOME RECOVERY FRIENDS, WARRIORS, and New Visitors,
What an exciting week I have had! My book marketing is picking up again, and I have met two new women I’ll be mentoring with gambling problems. God is good! It kills me to know so many people are suffering in silence from problem gambling or with a full-blown addiction to it.
So, a few weeks ago, I was honored with a Facebook messenger from a guy I will call a new friend and supporter. I had seen him a few times while my husband and I watch MSNBC on cable. So when I noticed the Facebook message from an investigative news reporter, Scott MacFarlane? I thought someone was playing a JOKE on me. (lol).
It was him! I think my long-time friend Keith Whyte, the head director of The National Council on Problem Gambling, is located in Washington, D.C., where his video zoom interview was done. Make sure you give the full story below a read, as it is very informative.
I know Scott and his I-team work hard to bring this information to light. We all know that problem gambling is still a hush, hush problem, and we need to continue shining a bright light to bring it out of the dark! So I thank Scott for the opportunity to share some of my experiences in this video and story. ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Maryland Casinos See Jump in Voluntarily Banned Gamblers Returning
The number of problem gamblers caught violating their voluntary bans from Maryland casinos doubled in March, according to a review by the News4 I-Team.
The loosening of public health restrictions has helped Maryland casinos rebound from some financial losses during the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions has also coincided with a sharp increase in violations by gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves from casinos.
When Maryland legalized and approved regulations for casinos nearly a decade ago, the state created a “voluntary exclusion” program. Problem gamblers can voluntarily enroll in the program, which the state calls a “self-help tool” to assist them combat the addiction.
Individuals in the Voluntary Exclusion Program who return to casinos receive a trespassing citation from local law enforcement, not for punitive purposes, but as a means to encourage them to seek (diversion),” the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said.
Winnings can also be seized from a gambler who is caught violating the voluntary exclusion program when he or she is removed from a casino. That money goes into the Maryland Problem Gambling Fund.
Enrollment in the program has grown steadily since 2013, according to state records reviewed by the I-Team. But violations spiked suddenly in March, as public health restrictions were loosened in the state. The number of people caught violating their voluntary bans nearly doubled to approximately 70 in March. The number was sharply higher than February and much higher than pre-pandemic levels in early 2020, the I-Team found.
“Now that casinos are reopening, it’s not surprising you’re seeing this increase in violations,” Whyte said.
The I-Team checked with several states that operate or monitor casino “self-exclusion” programs. New York and Michigan gaming agencies both declined I-Team requests to release figures on violations, instead requiring formal Freedom of Information Act requests, which remain pending.
Pennsylvania, which is home to multiple major casinos, released its numbers of voluntary-exclusion violations to the I-Team. The data showed a sharp increase as pandemic health restrictions were eased. Pennsylvania reported approximately 370 problem gambler “self-ban” violations between January and March 2021, up from nearly 155 violations between January and March 2020.
“The only way to ensure these gamblers stay out of casinos is for them to get treatment for their gambling problem,” Whyte said. “Self-exclusion is not addressing the root cause.”
The American Gaming Association said U.S. casinos use technology to help enforce voluntary exclusion programs. The organization also credits MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George’s County with regularly checking IDs of patrons as they enter.
“The truth is there are 3 percent of the population that take this a little bit too seriously and need help and need interventions,” American Gaming Association spokesman Casey Clark said.
“There are important programs like self-exclusion and the work that the National Center on Problem Gambling and other entities do to help provide the right level of support for folks who aren’t able to enjoy it as a form of entertainment anymore,” Clark said.
Catherine Lyon, a recovering problem gambler who helps counsel others, said voluntary-exclusions lists are often ineffective. Lyon said she enrolled in a “self-ban” list more than 14 years ago from casinos in Oregon as her addiction spiraled.
“Within a month-and-a-half, I was doing anything I can to get in there,” she said.
She said she wore wigs, sunglasses and other disguises to evade detection and was never caught.
Lyon said problem gambling can lead to desperate decisions and suicidal thoughts.
“It’s very financially devastating,” she said. “I think that the financial part is where they, a lot of people, lose hope. They don’t think they can dig themselves out.”
Lyon said problem gamblers must supplement their voluntary exclusions with a treatment program or other efforts to combat the addiction.
Howard Riback, a recovering problem gambler and popular radio host and motivational speaker in Canada, said he anticipated a surge in violations by problem gamblers.
“I am not surprised at all,” Riback said. “People are walking around more depressed, more time on their hands; zombie-like people don’t know what’s going to be tomorrow, let alone next week.”
Riback said although problem gamblers should be congratulated for enrolling in voluntary exclusion programs, they must also seek out treatment and therapy.
“I’m proud that I was able to end that horrific part of my life, but until the day I die, those scars will be with me,” Riback said. “And make no mistake, the (scars) are not going anywhere. They’re memories with every passing day.”
Whyte, the head of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said casinos nationwide could more effectively police for gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves.
“The casino has a wealth of systems to track players, but it always seems to fail when it comes to tracking those who self-exclude,” said Whyte.
But the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said casinos are effective in enforcing the program.
“The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency has issued a ‘notice of regulatory violation’ to various casinos for instances when an individual enrolled in the voluntary exclusion program was permitted to gamble or obtain a cash advance,” the agency said. “These are infrequent events, and the casinos are doing an effective job monitoring play by excluded players — both by self-reporting voluntary exclusion program violators to the (agency) each month and also by taking appropriate action against voluntary exclusion violators. No financial penalties have been assessed.”
More information can be found at 1-800-GAMBLER or by visiting mdgamblinghelp.org. Or The National Hotline For Problem Gambling – 1-800-522-4700
Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones and Jeff Piper.
As Tony shared in his first book titled, “I invite the public, family, and friends into my secret hell of despair, depression, racism, stardom, a look at gambling addiction, and my self-destruction” I feel it was a possible way to share his addiction and try making amends to those he may have hurt through his addiction.
Today, Tony is so much more than his past addiction. He is a living MIRACLE that recovery is possible and it can work. But you need to be willing to QUIT to WIN! Recovering addicts know full well that our PAST doesn’t define who we are today while doing the hard work within recovery to gain our lives back from this cunning addiction, disorder, and disease. I have had the pleasure of knowing this man for several years when his first book released titled “Red Card: The Soccer Star Who Lost It All To Gambling.”
That book really moved me to know that being honest, transparent, and in having the audacity to share ones story of addiction like Tony had in that book, it made me want to know more and we connected through social media and have been BUDDIES ever since. Now I am being of “Recovery Service” and helping share his new book just released on Amazon online in both the UK and USA.
He has turned his life around and now is the Founder and Acting CEO/Director of his organization he started in 2015 called “RED CARD Gambling Support Project, LTD a non-profit in London, England that has resources of one on one therapy through the consulting side and also has prevention and awareness events like workshops, speaking at schools and much more here>>>> https://kellysredcardconsultancy.co.uk/.
Here is more about Tony and his new book just released at the end of April 2021…
RED CARD GAMBLING SUPPORT PROJECT is all about promoting gambling awareness/prevention/education in our COMMUNITIES. We now know how serious gambling addiction is in the UK and how the numbers of addicts are increasing day by day, so we intend to work with all mental health/substance abuse/social impact projects in order to make a difference.
“I am from Coventry, but now reside in London. I suffered from gambling addiction in my 9-year pro soccer career and lost everything. I had to write my story in the hopes it will help others get help for this evil cunning addiction. My story is sad, tragic yet uplifting as it shows you can come out the other side.”
Founder & Director of Red Card ~Tony Kelly
ABOUT THE BOOK
Former professional soccer star (footballer) Tony Kelly lost it all, but he stands today as someone who is unbreakable!
Having lost his wealth, his house, and eventually, his partner, Tony, refused to be broken and fought back. Through years of pain and suffering, somehow, Tony managed to turn his life around in a positive way, and his journey from disaster to redemption and triumph is nothing short of amazing.
Tony has literally been to hell and back, but through family and friend’s support, professional help, his renewed faith, and sheer courage, he is now in a position to help others, and that is something he could never have envisaged six years ago. A tragic yet uplifting and inspiring tale of one man’s journey through gambling addiction.
It’s a must-read for those who feel lost, broken, and without hope, as Tony’s story is testimony that all is not lost and that this is a bet you can win!
Who Is Tony Kelly Today?
Best-selling author Tony Kelly is a former professional (footballer) soccer star who played for six teams within his nine-year career. He is also a recovering gambling addict. In his first book, Tony wrote and shared this story, “Red Card: The Soccer Star Who Lost It All To Gambling,” in 2013. He now released his much anticipated second book titled “Red Card: A Bet You Can Win!” in April 2021 and is available on Amazon Kindle, Amazon Books, Barnes & Noble, and other fine online book stores in both the UK and USA.
Tony was crazy about (UK Football) soccer from the age of seven. At sixteen, he was the youngest player ever on the first team at Bristol City, UK. In his twenties, Tony turned professional and went on to play for clubs such as Stoke City, Cardiff City, Leyton Orient, and Bury in the second and third divisions of the Soccer (Football) League. He also enjoyed a spell playing for a team in Sweden.
His soccer career was cut short and ruined by a gambling addiction. He continued to gamble addictively and lost jobs, the rest of his soccer career, his partner, and his financial wealth he worked hard to gain.
Today, Tony is the Founder and Managing Director of ‘Red Card Gambling Consultancy and Gambling Support Project’ (Non-Profit) in 2015 and has been sharing prevention of problem gambling and addiction with individual one on one therapy, awareness, prevention, educational workshops, visiting and speaking at schools, and much more in and around London, UK.
Tony has helped and worked with the UK Gambling Commission in an advisory role on regulations. A tireless advocate of recovery, Tonys’ work has grown to become well-respected within the gambling harm reduction and prevention sector throughout the United Kingdom. His work has been endorsed both by the UK media and the UK parliament.
As a recovering addict, his wish for the book release is to help to continue to raise awareness and educate the public about this crippling gambling disorder. Born Nyrere Anthony Kelly in England, Tony resides in London; his books are his journey of ‘Redemption and Recovery’ as he is living proof that this is a Bet You Can Win!
I am so excited to be sharing an amazing new podcast episode from my friends of The Carlos Vieira Foundation and The Knockin’ Doorz Down Podcast: https://www.kddmediacompany.com/ with hosts Jason La Chance and Mikey Nawrocki and the crew. I am honored and blessed to know these guys who also support my recovery from gambling addiction. We know any addiction does not DISCRIMINATE on who it touches.
Even though KDD isn’t a podcast for addiction, it is a podcast that Celebrates people from all walks of life and celeb’s who have experienced challenging times in their lives and how they were able to break through and live a purposeful life inspiring others to be their best selves. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, mental health, or other areas of trauma, you’re not alone. Hear how those that have been there, broken through and started Knockin’ Doorz Down.
I had the chance to share my story with Jason and Mikey a month or so ago as part of my scheduled events for “March Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” I sure did appreciate their willingness and BALLS to do so since gambling addiction still has so much stigma around this disease.
Now, Randy and I have been friends for several years. He is not only an inspirer and mentor of mine, but he keeps CAT out of trouble! LOL. Look, sometimes your friends have to call you out on your SHIT, and Randy does and that’s a REAL Friend in my opinion.
Here is a little more of Randy Grimes backstory courtesy of KDD Media and I know you will all enjoy watching this episode! At the bottom I’ll share some links where you can show your support for the foundations of Randy Grimes and KDD Media!
Pro Athletes in Recovery is the organization Randy founded to help other athletes like him who struggled to find the right resources.
Pro Athletes in Recovery strives to be a central place for athletes specifically, but reaches out to anyone who is struggling to overcome abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Helping athletes overcome addiction and supporting one another is their mission.
“The last two years of my career, I played in a complete blackout. Throughout my NFL career I was taking so much medication to get through each game that most of the time I didn’t even remember being out on the field. We get injured. We get treated. We keep playing. We get addicted. And if we’re lucky, we live to tell the story.”
As a kid, Randy Grimes grew up in Waco, Texas. Football was part of everyday life in his hometown, there was a lot of pride in local sports. Everything in his family focused around football, with loving parents and no addiction in his immediate family. It always came easy for Randy, getting a scholarship for basically anywhere he wanted to go.
Next was college, where he chose Baylor as his alma mater. They won the Southwest Conference, Peach Bowl & more. He met his wife at college, at this point he was still playing football non-stop, but yet no drinking or any drugs at this time in his life.
In his professional career, football turned into a job. The skill level increased dramatically in the NFL. He first signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a second-round draft pick. One of the main unspoken rules of the game was to do anything necessary to get back out on the field. That turned into taking handfuls of pain pills at practice, eventually turning into a full-blown addiction. He was also taking handfuls of Benzo’s at night, to make him sleep.
In the late 80’s he would be in the training gym and the doctor would come by each players’ spot, offer them whatever pills they wanted, followed up with 2 beers. This was the norm, so “why rock the boat” was the mentality in the locker room. He talked about “doctor shopping” as a professional athlete, basically giving him a blank check for whatever drugs he needed. He would use multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors to feed his addiction.
His prescription medication use eventually started to get out of control. No one would question why he was slurring his speech, showing up late, and nodding off during meetings. He was still doing his job on the field, so no one thought anything was out of the ordinary.
One day, after shoulder surgery in the off-season, Randy had a seizure while on a beach. He was put in the hospital, and they couldn’t find the reason for it. He did his own research, and it turned out it was linked to the Benzo’s he was taking to go to sleep. He knew he had a problem, but didn’t know how to deal with it. His professional career ended in ’92 and was an unexpected and abrupt end to what he thought was going to be a lifetime career. This compounded his addiction dramatically throughout the next decade.
He didn’t really fully deal with this issue until 18 years later, in 2009. His wife moved out, his kids couldn’t stand him and was barred from seeing his newly born grandchild, because of his addiction. He was sleeping on the floor of his vacant house with no utilities, no job, no car, no money. This was the rock bottom that he built back up from. He got into 90-day treatment on September 22nd, 2009.
Since then, he has focused on getting his story out there in hopes of changing other people’s lives for the better. Back when Randy was active in the NFL, there were no resources for addiction and treatment. Because of this, Randy founded Athletes in Recovery, which focuses on other professional athletes that are struggling through the same things. Even through all the hardships, problems, and major championships during his stint in the NFL, tackling recovery was the toughest battle of his life….
And we wrap up with some NFL talk and random questions.
This is Randy Grimes in his own words on Knockin’ Doorz Down.
Please visit and support these amazing causes and foundations. They can not help others without support.
The Carlos Vieira Foundation and 51fifty Gives Back!
The Carlos Vieira Foundation was founded by local businessman and race car driver, Carlos Vieira. In 2007, several race teams were approached to participate in a coin drive to raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital. Carlos Vieira’s race team, Team 51FIFTY, raised the most money for the hospital. In doing so, they recognized their ability and desire to continue raising money for good causes and to make a difference in the local community.
The Carlos Vieira Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that focuses on the following three campaigns: Race for Autism, Race 2B Drug-Free, and Race to End the Stigma. CVF was built on one man’s dream of helping youth within our local communities. Through local support, CVF is able to assist youth across twenty-one counties within California’s central valley. Our vision is for all youth in our local communities to have the resources they need to succeed and live a happy, fulfilling life.
The Writer would really appreciate it if you can leave a short review of the book on Amazon.
Is your Anxiety, Depression, Grief etc. ruining your life? Would you like to take back control? Starting today, you can find your strength, your confidence, your peace and contentment. The road to a happier future starts here.
Remember, you’re not alone – millions of people of all ages struggle with stressful issues on their own, without support or guidance – imagine what your life would be like with less stress and more confidence and happiness.
I have spent more than twenty years helping people to work through their anxiety and depression. I’ve decided to share my knowledge and experience with YOU because I KNOW for a fact that you will feel better and stronger when you start to read my book.
Within this work book you will find:
Excessive ANXIETY and WORRY are not normal – don’t accept them. I will show you ways to take control and feel stronger.
PANIC ATTACKS can come at any time, for any reason – learn how to control and diminish them.
Is DEPRESSION controlling your life? Learn which famous people also suffer from DEPRESSION and how they handled it.
If LOW SELF-ESTEEM is an issue for you, I’ll show you how to build your self-confidence.
It’s not only military service people that suffer from POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) – traumatic incidents can happen to any of us – don’t struggle to deal with it on your own.
FINDING HAPPINESS. We all search for happiness in our own way. There are ALWAYS ways to feel happier – let me show you the way.
Irrational fears or PHOBIAS can inhibit our daily activities – use my guidance to free yourself from them.
CONTENTMENT is what we all strive for, but most of us are far from content with our lives. Let me show you the techniques that will help you.
Lack of MOTIVATION can be caused by many things – let me help you find your motivation again and move forward.
GRIEF will affect us all at some time. Comfort and reassurance will help to get you through.
The LOSS OF A RELATIONSHIP can be devastating, and can take months, or years to get over. Let me show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
SEASONALLY AFFECTED DISORDER (SAD) affects many people every year. More is now know about this now-recognized syndrome, an there are many ways to tackle the issue.
CATASTROPHIZING. The tendency to imagine problems are worse than they really are is common, but it can become a bis issue – I’ll show you how to keep it under control.
FLASH CARDS. Reassuring cards that you can print off to carry with you to help you focus on overcoming your problem.
Now is the time. Join the thousands of people who have taken the leap of faith and gone on to lead a happy and contented life.
I set out in simple, but powerful ways, WHY you feel as you do and WHAT you need to, and HOW to conquer your fears and worries. Why wait? Feel better TODAY.
The publisher, Art Crandon is an amazing friend of mine and I always enjoy reading his books and the authors he helps publish their books.
So, when Art says a book is good? I always give them a read. Make sure you stop by Art Crandon’s website as he to is an amazing writer and author of gripping and spine-tingling reads available from his website: https://www.arthurcrandon.com/arthur-crandon-store.html or from Amazon>>>> Click the “BUY NOW” or “ADD TO CART” button to begin your life-changing journey. Launch price is $14.99 – get it before it goes to full price of $19.99 >>>> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091FX1BQF/
When we begin our recovery journey in early recovery, it can be a challenging time to digest all that we learn to help keep us moving forward. We begin to build our skills and learn the tools that will be there for us to use as try to fight off what seems like never-ending urges, cravings, and triggers. It is always difficult for myself to translate this to those I mentor. I tell them always, “Have a Little Faith in Recovery”…
The only pieces of advice is what my own experiences were when I began early recovery. As it seemed the only thing that really helped diminish the urges and cravings? ABSTINENCE. Once you begin to stay away from a bet and practice abstinence? Those triggers, cravings, and urges WILL start to disappear.
You then rely on the skills and tools you learn from either treatment, therapy, recovery group, gamblers anonymous, or whatever path you have chosen to break free from the “cycle” of addicted gambling. Many who know me well know I never sugar coat recovery or this cunning addiction. I will always share with Real Talk and Real Advice. First, we need to know what Problem Gambling looks like and what to look for if you think your loved one or friend you care about is gambling too much.
Here is where my guests from “Know The Odds.org come in. They share with us what problem gambling is and what to look for.
KnowTheOdds.org seeks to teach as many people as possible about problem gambling. We want people to know it exists and it affects individuals in our own communities, whether we see it happening or not. Our problem gambling resources are provided to help educate you about how addictions to gambling affects people, what support is available and how you can help prevent problem gambling from affecting those around you. https://knowtheodds.org/resources/ Partner with http://www.nyproblemgambling.org/… We hope you learn from our resources, and use them to educate your family members, friends and loved ones.
Recovery is the journey that someone begins when they’ve decided to walk away from an addiction. They start a new path of health and hope with the help of professionals and a supportive community. Recovery is a very exciting time for not only the individual who has made the choice, but also for the loved ones in their community.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
Just as every person is different, and just as every addiction story is different, every recovery journey from problem gambling is also different. There are two things they all have in common. First, is the choice to live a different life. The individual struggling with a gambling addiction needs to make this choice.
A second thing they all have in common is a need for a supportive community. It goes without saying that individuals who come from a history of gambling addiction also bring a history that has hurt the love ones in their community. It is important for this community of love ones to remember that what they’ve hoped for is for this person to get better. They’ve hoped for this individual to have a different way of life.
And they’ve hoped for this individual to rejoin a healthy lifestyle with their community members. That said, it is not always easy to go from an affected loved one to a supportive loved one. Just as it is not easy for an individual to go from a lifestyle of addiction to gambling to a lifestyle free from gambling in recovery. But, the community that the individual in recovery develops and sustains will be the lifeline as they drive their life down this road of change.
Supporting A Loved One
To help support a loved one in recovery, a loved one also needs to be well. There are many resources and treatment providers available to help and support loved ones who have been negatively affected by someone’s gambling. To be a supportive loved one, that loved one also needs to work through their own anger and resentment towards the negative consequences of problem gambling.
To be a supportive loved one in an individual’s recovery community, everyone in the community must be educated. Within an individual’s recovery community, people need to understand what problem gambling is, who is affected by problem gambling and what are the negative effects of problem gambling. This community needs to be aware of the triggers an individual faces every day to avoid problem gambling. These triggers could be money, special events that include gambling activities, or any media or TV that the depicts gambling as exciting and fun.
This recovery community needs to be aware and supportive as the individual in recovery avoids these different triggers. Supporting a person in recovery can also mean a shift in language when talking about the person and their addiction. This reminder that people are more than their disease creates a shift in people’s view of recovery, allowing people in recovery to grow and reduce stigma around getting help for their gambling problem. When we are able to reduce stigma, we create more space for people to build connections, leading to a more fulfilling and lasting recovery.
Hope it such an amazing word. Hope is an infinite feeling that things could be better. Hope is a beacon of light that helps individuals, families and communities walk towards a solution; walk towards awareness and offering support for individuals in recovery from problem gambling. Hope is the driving force that keeps individuals away from acting on thoughts of suicide. Hope is the driving force that keeps loved ones holding on for a better tomorrow.
This feeling of hope should be held on tightly as individuals and loved ones struggle through the journey of recovery. It should be a feeling held tightly knowing that with love, connection and teamwork that recovery from gambling addiction is possible.
Recovery for Professionals
Professionals in the field of recovery are a treasure. They are the anchor for those starting or finding a rough patch in their recovery journey. We applaud their efforts and hope for an increase of recovery communities for those starting their own journey.
I hope this post has helped and I would highly suggest you give “Know The Odds” a visit if you’d like to learn more and they have a wide range of resources to help if you know someone who may have a gambling habit or full blown addiction… RESOURCE PAGE: Problem Gambling Awareness Month webpage for resources.
I want to talk about a bad habit and behavior of self-sabotage. I know the meaning of it very intimately. For those who don’t? Here is what it means. Self-Sabotage: The dictionary definition of sabotage is “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt” or “deliberate subversion.” Mine started way before I became a gambling addict. I also feel it became worse during my addiction like added fuel to fire. In early recovery and through therapy, I was able to look back throughout my life and examine many of my past relationships where I had self-sabotaged them in many ways.
I feel that when we ‘self-sabotage’ things in our lives, it is tied to not having self-esteem or self-worth within ourselves. Like we are not “worthy” of love or people treating us well. It came from being raised with parents who didn’t understand children crave unconditional love and their validation when we do good. And I am NOT blaming my parents that they were this way, no, it may have been how they were raised and raised in way different times than what we live in today.
I would sabotage relationships, many with men, women, co-workers, anyone. I can not count how many times I would be dating a really nice guy, when things started to become serious and he would treat me like a ‘queen,’ I would for some reason feel I wasn’t worthy or special enough so, I would just break up with them, or cause a fight or just ignore them and move on. Where this was coming from at the time I did not know. This became even worse when I was addicted to gambling and finally learning it was part of the “Brains Dopamine Pleasure & Reward System.”
But fast forward in life and I continued this strange self-sabotage behavior. When I became addicted to gambling and in the worst of it, strangely the feelings of what I was doing to myself, my husband, friends, and family felt oddly normal to me. I think it was because I figured, “well, since I feel not worthy of goodness in my life it didn’t matter if I hurt others with my addicted gambling.” That was my sick and the diseased thinking at the time. Sadly, I was getting back at those who had caused me pain or hurt me. I was just hurting myself and everyone around me with both my gambling and self-sabatoge.
I came across a website that had a good explamation and article about this subject that helped me understand more of why I was doing it. SO I want to share it with you. I know I am not the only person who has had this problem and the post explains some of how we can stop self-sabatoge. It helped me and I hope it may help others.
Self-sabotage is any behavior, thought, emotion or action that holds you back from getting what you want consciously. Moreover, it is the conflict that exists between conscious desires and unconscious wants that manifests in self-sabotage patterns. It not only prevents you from reaching your goal, but also becomes a safety mechanism that protects you against disappointment. In other words, your brain is protecting you from getting hurt by doing what it thinks is best, which is keeping you within your comfort zone.
Self-sabotage tends to linger in our lives because of a lack of self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-belief. Likewise, we suffer from self-sabotage patterns because we are unable to manage our emotions effectively. We tend to react to events, circumstances and people in ways that hinder our progress and prevent us from reaching our goals and objectives.
Self-sabotage is also used as a method of coping with difficult situations or high expectations of ourselves or others that we unconsciously feel we are not capable of reaching. No matter what our reasons for self-sabotage it is clear that if we don’t do something about it, that we will continue to live a life full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.
Eliminating Self-Sabotage Process
There is a simple yet very effective process that we can follow to help us eliminate self-sabotage from our lives. The process is composed of four steps that will help you to take conscious control of the behaviors that are currently directing your decisions and actions. Learn to get out of your own way!
1. Identify Self-Sabotage Behavior
First we must identify the behavior that is preventing us from moving forward. To do this, we must become consciously aware of our daily decisions and actions and the resulting consequences. Once identified, it’s important to pinpoint specific triggers that may be causing this behavior to come through to the surface. These triggers could include people, objects, specific times, events, locations, etc. Next, we must ask ourselves whether we can avoid these triggers altogether?
By simply removing these triggers from our lives we will be better prepared to take conscious control of our thoughts, feelings and actions. However, there is yet another factor that we must take into consideration, which is the limiting beliefs we have associated with each particular self-sabotage pattern. The key is to identify these limiting beliefs, then work on transforming them into positive empowering beliefs that work for us rather than against us. One of the simplest ways to do this is the question the validity of your belief.
What is it that I believe in this situation?
What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities?
How did my belief about this trigger this self-sabotage pattern?
How is this belief ridiculous and impractical?
What would others say about this belief?
What is another more helpful perspective I could take of this situation?
These questions are a good starting point and will get you focused in the right direction.
2. Recreate Self-Sabotage Pattern from Beginning
Having completed step #1, you can now consciously recreate the self-sabotage pattern by outlining all the triggers and the associating behaviors that manifest as a result of these triggers. It’s important that you are clear how this behavior manifests in your life before moving onto the next step.
3. Identify Healthy Replacement Behavior
In order to eliminate an old pattern of behavior we often must replace it with a new pattern of behavior that’s more practical and helpful. This is important because often we simply can’t avoid certain triggers such as people, objects or circumstances that cause us to react in limiting ways. As such, we must take time to identify a new, different and appropriate way of responding that will help us to achieve our goals and objectives.
How could I respond in a more appropriate and proactive manner that would help me get what I want?
How is this a better way to respond?
What are some reasons for making this change?
What could be the long-term benefits of transforming how I respond in this situation?
What are the key advantages of this new behavior?
4. Practice New Behavior Until Habit is Formed
Once you have identified your new behavior, you must now take the time to practice implementing it as often as possible over the next four weeks until a habit is formed. First begin by running your response to the situation in your imagination, seeing every detail, and feeling the positive energy churning through your body as you overcome this self-sabotage pattern.
Now that your imagination has been primed, you are now ready to put yourself in situations that will naturally trigger your old patterns of behavior, however this time, you are primed with a new response mechanism that you will continue to practice over the next four weeks until a new habit is finally formed. NOW GO READ THE REST OF THIS AMAZING ARTICLE ON… Again, I hope you will go read this full article http://blog.iqmatrix.com/overcome-self-sabotage as it has many tips and advice on taking control over self-sabatoge in your life and in your recovery journey!
Every year in March, I share the helpful resources of my #1 resource and organization I support, The National Council on Problem Gambling. They have helped many become “BET-FREE” and begin to help families heal from the devastation of gambling addiction and problems gambling causes. It will be my 8th year doing so on my blog here and I know the resources they provide are there for anyone who has a gambling problem.
This year the spotlight is on “March Madness and the time of year when we see an increase in problem gambling and more demand for the council’s services.” Since the pandemic started, I have also seen “Online Gambling” explode with mandates of mask-wearing and social distancing, with many casinos and gambling venues still closed or limited capacity. The latest stat says online gambling has gone up almost 41% since the Coronavirus hit last year. And, parents, keep in mind this can include your teens and young adults.
One area is sports betting on college basketball games all March long. So I wanted to share some of the National Council’s declarations and permit me each year about their March campaign and how you can get help for a loved one if you think they may have a problem with gambling. Never underestimate this addiction. It requires no substance and it doesn’t discrimanate who it tries to take next. 1 in 5 will try suicide like I did. Parents, when you have “The Talk” with their kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, please include problem gambling. . .
Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
03.01.21 By: JOHN NORTON
Awareness Plus Action Needed as Sports Betting Explodes
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Washington, DC – The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) designates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). March Madness, the annual NCAA basketball tournament that sees over $8 billion wagered on its games, is the backdrop that NCPG and its partners across the country leverage to help raise awareness and create action for those suffering from gambling problems.
With the campaign now in its nineteenth year, contacts to the National Problem Gambling Helpline typically spike during March. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states could allow sports betting, the proverbial floodgates opened. As we go to press, sports betting is now legal and operational in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, with many more considering it – an unprecedented expansion of gambling in the U.S. Unfortunately, services to mitigate the inevitable increase in harms associated with gambling have not kept pace.
“March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG. “Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”
The PGAM grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders, among them public health organizations, advocacy groups including NCPG state affiliates, and even gambling operators. NCPG provides a special web page to give information on local state activities and events – participants may share them via a link on our main webpage: https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/programs/pgam/
Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is designed to achieve two goals:
To increase public awareness of problem gambling; and
To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for gambling problems.
On NCPG’s PGAM webpage visitors are provided with materials and special graphics in the PGAM Toolkit, which can be used without charge by any organization that wants to hold advocacy and awareness activities this March. Each year, hundreds of organizations do. The social media hashtags for this initiative are #AwarenessPlusAction and #PGAM2021.
NCPG also collaborates with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) on Gambling Disorder Screening Day, which occurs on March 9, 2021. CHA, a nonprofit health organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosts the international event that has been held annually on the second Tuesday in March since 2014. It is designed to encourage health care providers to screen for gambling problems in the same way they do for alcohol and drug use disorder or domestic abuse, and to provide the tools to recognize gambling disorder for both the public and health care providers. All too often, this disorder leads to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected due to the limited availability of accessible assessments to identify this problem. The Screening Day addresses the issue and provides tools to identify gambling-related problems as early as possible.
Whyte said, “Problem gambling is certainly not confined to sports betting. We want anyone who may have a problem with any form of gambling to know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.” NCPG’s National Helpline, which is the only helpline for gambling that works in all 50 states, is tollfree, confidential, available 24/7, and offers translation services in 178 languages. It receives no federal funding and is supported only by NCPG’s members and donors.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.
You will never convince me that recovery is not possible for anyone nor that recovery doesn’t work. You will never convince me that woman can’t be a Recovery Warrior either. Because that is who my mentor and dear friend Marilyn Davis is to many who have reached out for help from addictions. She has always been there when I needed sound recovery advice or to pick up the phone and call her to say hello; either way, I can never thank her enough for that.
Marilyn has released a new book titled Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate, available on Amazon online. She shares self-help from drug addiction through her memoirs. As her book description says, “New in recovery, a chance encounter with Gray Hawk, a 74-year old Native American, showed her that healing would include looking within, taking Steps, and creating a house of healing for other women.
Today, Marilyn is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, recently celebrating thirty-two years of abstinence-based recovery. From 1990-2011, she opened and managed North House, an award-winning residential facility for women. Before reaching this milestone, she was a desperate woman on drugs, managing rock bands at night, pretending to be okay, but ultimately giving up on herself, losing her husband, children, family, and friends due to her addiction.
Her new book is that journey.
~ Courtesy of Beth Burgess
After celebrating 32 years of 12-step abstinence-based recovery, Marilyn Davis, Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist and author, shares 32 lessons that helped her heal, change, and grow.
When I got out of treatment on November 8, 1988, I wondered if I could make it in recovery. I’d been a desperate woman on drugs for a long time. My addiction was so chaotic, I ended up losing my husband and children.
Although I’d been cooperative in my six weeks of treatment, now I’d be out of a secure, locked environment. Could I resist calling my dealer? Could I muster the courage to walk into a 12-Step meeting where I didn’t know anyone? How was I going to adjust to living with my parents again? After all, I was forty years old, and they gave me a curfew!
All of those questions made me apprehensive and anxious, but I resolved to go to a meeting, get some phone numbers, and find a home group.
Learning Recovery Lessons
Through 12-step meetings, I met a 74-year old Native American named Gray Hawk, who had 34 years of recovery when I met him. He showed me that healing from addiction would include meetings, taking Steps, and creating a house of healing for other women.
Every year, I try to focus on my Lesson of the Year, something my mentor suggested. Each of these lessons has come from working the Steps, as well as asking for, and following through, with the suggestions.
Unfortunately, I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way – by not listening to old-timers, believing I was different, or just being stubborn. But I sincerely hope you can avoid that by reading the lessons I learned.
My Top 32 Recovery Lessons
I’m choosing to say no to drugs and alcohol.
I can do this with help.
These people know what they’re talking about when they offer their experience, strength, and hope.
Not everyone is open to amends, but I need to clean up my side of the street.
I would choose to throw everything I’ve worked for if I pick up again.
Pain can motivate me or take me back out. I’ll choose motivation.
I demonstrate strength when I show my vulnerability.
Working towards a goal with incremental sub-goals means I can feel a sense of accomplishment.
I can do this.
My feelings were numb for many years and won’t come back appropriately to the situation sometimes. That’s okay.
Not everyone will be supportive – that’s on them if I’m doing what I need to do.
I will work towards emotional, physical, and mental balance.
I’ll use the 17 Spiritual Principles and get better outcomes.
My actions defined me in my use and my recovery.
At some point, picking back up is a choice.
I have a choice today in how I process my feelings.
Do I rise and shine, or do I rise and whine?
Being uncomfortable is not going to kill me.
The Steps were written in a specific order; take them as they’re written.
Sponsoring someone is a gift.
Life has meaning and purpose; now that I’m clean, I can pursue both.
I can not buy self-esteem, but recovery restores mine.
I can have fun with other recovering people – we can all laugh at the bowling shoes.
I can repair the damage to relationships that my addiction caused.
I am now resilient in my recovery, not helpless as I was in my addiction.
When I share what’s worked for me with a newcomer, it reinforces that choice and gives them hope.
In all things, I must practice honesty.
I can never know what someone is experiencing, and if they appear grumpy, angry, withdrawn, or not friendly, it probably has nothing to do with me.
I will start and end my day with prayer.
Be present in this moment; it’s all you’ve got.
No one can read my mind; I must either ask for what I need or explain myself.
I can’t change anyone but myself.
What Recovery Is
Recovery from addiction is much more than mere abstinence from a substance or a behavior.
While abstinence is a fundamental component of my recovery, I think the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration definition fits my belief. “Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”
These lessons are all things that helped me to not only stay clean and sober, but reach my full potential as a person in recovery.
Super Bowl media attention is everywhere. You can hear about it on the news, on sports stations, in the newspapers and in every office we work in. Many offices have square charts in the back room where employees can participate in gambling on who they believe would win or the points or on how long the national anthem will last or anything else. Some people literally gamble on every aspect of the event.
If an individual, or groups of individuals, are so focused on gambling on every part of the Super Bowl event, are they really enjoying the game or are they hunting for a “high?” And if they’re only hunting for the high, what about their careers? What about loved ones (family children, etc.)? If the individual is so hyper focused on gambling rather than enjoying the game, it seems that this becomes the focus and takes away from the social aspects of enjoying a sporting event with loved ones.
The Effects of Problem Gambling
For people struggling with problem gambling, this might be their story. There are many people across New York State who experience a slew of problems associated with their gambling behavior. Some of these problems can be damaged relationships with a spouse and/or children, conflicts at work, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Gambling may have even turned into an addiction (i.e., gambling disorder).
For people in recovery, the Super Bowl may be a huge trigger to start gambling again. It may be difficult to avoid talking about the Super Bowl, hearing people talk about betting on the Super Bowl, and feeling the urge to resort to old habits and place a bet of some type on this event. The Super Bowl may trigger a relapse.
Families Can Take Action
Families and loved ones of someone struggling with a gambling problem, or of someone in recovery from problem gambling may face similar obstacles to support their loved one who is struggling with problem gambling. Similarly, they can be helpful and supportive during this time of year.
Have a conversation
Having a conversation is important for everyone. Whether it’s to let someone know that you believe their gambling is causing problems, or to connect with someone in recovery and find out how they’re feeling. A conversation is a really easy way to get a finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the individual. It’s also a good way to gauge how the family can plan for the upcoming event.
A conversation could be as simple as asking questions like:
How are you feeling lately?
Are you feeling any pressure at work or from friends to gamble?
Are you planning on watching the Super Bowl or would you like us to plan something else as a family?
Some simple questions can get some simple answers. They could also be a springboard to a deeper conversation about the negative effects sports gambling has had. It can also be a great way to identify triggers and other activity ideas to avoid gambling on the Super Bowl.
Triggers are anything that causes an individual to feel the urge to gamble. A trigger could be a commercial about the Super Bowl, it could be hearing the excitement of colleagues talking about their squares, or a trigger could be just knowing the time of year and remembering the feeling, the high, of gambling on the Super Bowl in previous years. Whatever the triggers may be, it’s important for family and love ones to know what they are so they can help avoid them in conversation, and help prepare the person, struggling to avoid gambling, to know their triggers and come up with alternative activities.
Alternative activities can be different ways to enjoy the Super Bowl. These ways include:
Watching it with different people who aren’t gambling,
Keeping phones with gambling contacts and apps away,
Asking a spouse to keep a close watch on extra money,
Avoiding media and social media,
Spending time with different people than those who are gambling, and
Planning activities that have nothing to do with the Super Bowl.
For people who want to avoid the Super Bowl, so they don’t find themselves in additional problems related to gambling, there are many other things to do during that time. Ideas to spend time with love ones can include:
Legos with children,
Renovating a room in your home, or
Anything else that takes time, energy and focus.
Being that many of us are alone, especially with social distancing, choosing activities to do by yourself is also important. Some activities to do on your own can include (similar to above):
Re-organizing part of your home,
Video chatting with love ones,
Planning a movie or night of binge watching your favorite TV show,
Any type of art or craft.
Really, the options are limitless. And if you’re unsure what to do, reach out to a loved one and find out the best way to fill that time. Making sure there’s a plan to help keep loved ones safe is the best preventative care to help them avoid further problems associated with gambling.
If you need additional support, or your loved one who struggles with gambling problems has decided to look for help, please reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center at NYProblemGamblingHELP.org. There you can connect with a dedicated professional eager to help you identify local resources and get connected to local support as desired.
There is no pressure with that call; only care and concern. Your local Problem Gambling Resource Center is HERE TO HELP. You can may also call The National Council On Problem Gambling and operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. You may also visit their website here https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)
From Stone Cold Hearts to Hope Bearing Feathers
Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.
— Emily Dickinson 1830-1886
This post is about the Presidential Inauguration. I had not planned on writing about it. I didn’t even watch it. But something/Someone compelled me to listen to the program podcast then move to my desk where I finished composing this at the stroke of midnight, January— my psychoimposed deadline for Facebook posts.
You might wonder what a blog about faith and mental illness has to do with politics. politics. Hope, for one.
The sign above Dante’s Inferno read, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Those who lose hope can forfeit their will to live. And one of the essential roles of public servants is to engender hope into the people such that we can become better angels rather than floundering flummoxes.
For the past four years and more there has been much hateful speech coming out of our nation’s capitol. I say more because Donald Trump did not invent vitriolic political rhetoric. For the most part, history is selectively kind to those who have served in public office. It is in the now that the fisticuffs have come off and hard blows are landing that does harm not just to our nation, but to our world. The patterns of the present that lead us to project a dystopian future that fuels fear gleaned for personal gain.
What hope do we have? Yesterday afternoon, I did not watch the Inauguration pageantry because I am at heart a skeptic and patriotism in its current form does not move me. So I took a nap. Sure, I felt a tinge of guilt particularly when I passed through Susan’s study and caught part of the Benediction where Rev. Silvester Beaman spoke of slaves building the White House on land indigenous Americans once inhabited and now people from generational European families to those just making vows would be one nation. I was touched, but not moved to take much interest or shed any tears.
I went about my day as usual. Writing. Reading. Eating. The usual. It was only as I was browsing for a podcast that I found the full inauguration address recorded.
I could listen to it before midnight and join my faithful compatriots who who have liveD and died for their nation, who care what happens not just in Washington, D.C., but in Wilmington, Delaware, Atlanta, Georgia, and yes, even Columbus, Indiana. My frozen heart of disinterest was not thawed by the pomp and circumstance but by the glimmer of hope in mind’s eye of those gathered, above the faces masked to protect from this invasive virus. This was no ordinary political event, it was a matter of life and death.
This hour was amazing, but let’s keep things in perspective. The challenge ahead is daunting. Over 400,000 people have died in the United States due to the Coronavirus. My own mother is one. More jobs have been lost since the Great Depression. We are destroying our planet at such a rapid rate our own children may not be able to inhabit it through their lifetimes.
But, there is hope. There was hope yesterday; there is hope today; and there will be hope tomorrow.
Our nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman lays out this vision of hope, one we can carry for generations to come…
“The Hill We Climb”
“When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.” — Amanda Gorman 1998 – _____
Yes, Amanda, there is hope for those of use brave enough to crawl through the dark ditches of despair towards the light of faith… ~Tony Roberts
# # # # # #
Stories to Cultivate Hope for Those Battling Mental Illness
This book by Tony Roberts is about mental health ministry. It’s not a “how-to” book. I can not tell you what will work in your ministry setting. Instead of answering the question, “How do we do mental health ministry?” I want to challenge you, “What difference can we make for those impacted by mental illness?”
To do this, I will tell stories of my own life and ministry. Statistics are essential, but unless they are enfleshed with stories, they won’t lead to change. ORDER NOW
(Make sure you give Tony’s website and blog a visit!) Delightfully yours, Tony & Cat delightindisorder.org
“I Am Honoring a man who was “King” as he preached Truth, Civil Rights, Equality, and Social Justice for all of Humanity. Within his words is where we can still find HOPE for all of America. Dr. King’s words, then, are just as important and needed in our generation today.”
Multiple factors can influence a person to develop a gambling addiction. It is essential to know that most individuals who struggle with this addiction by no means planned to let their gambling spiral out of control. To help individuals who battle with problem gambling, we must understand the difficulties they face. Problem gambling results in far-reaching challenges beyond the financial hardships that can affect nearly every area of one’s life.
There are many ways that gambling addiction can also bring turmoil to the individuals that surround the gambler. For every case of problem gambling, 8-10 other people are also affected. Conversations about gambling addiction may be a difficult task when it comes to speaking to loved ones. However, contacts to the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine demonstrate how much pressure gambling addiction puts on relationships.
Looking at HelpLine data from the past year, it is evident that issues such as family conflict, family neglect, and domestic violence are serious and significant impacts resulting from gambling addiction. Seventy-six percent of callers reported family conflict, and 52% indicated family neglect as a result of gambling addiction.
By listening to the stories of the brave people who have shared their stories, we can see that these impacts are much more than a statistic. When Betty White’s husband developed a gambling addiction, which is also known as the hidden addiction due to the lack of physical signs, he continually lied to her to keep his gambling a secret…
The situation escalated to the point where Betty almost lost her life due to her husband, Terry’s desperation from where gambling had taken him…
Please Watch This Video.
“Surviving Compulsive Gambling: The Betty White Story“ BY Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling
In the final stages of a gambling disorder, when gamblers have exhausted all finances, credit, and bailout options, some turn to crime as a means of taking one more risk to reconcile their desperate situations. In relationships, domestic abuse can also arise as a result of problem gambling.
While it may feel as though there is no way out with gambling addiction, there are resources available for every situation, and treatment is possible.
Many loved ones and people experiencing gambling addiction have sought help and found hope by reaching our 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling Helpline. Loved ones such as Betty have found support and hope just by picking up the phone.
If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, know that the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine is entirely confidential and is available 24/7, and also offers multilingual support. Help and hope are just a call or click away…
* * * * * *
If you live in Florida? There is help and HOPE because the fine folks and my friends of The Florida on Complusive Gambling CARE. Do not hesitate to visit them here https://gamblinghelp.org/ or CALL THEM even if you are a spouse of the gambler, they will find the help you need to be safe and get help for the addicted gambler.
FCCG History & Mission
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling is a membership based non-profit educational and advocacy organization under contract with Florida state government.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc. (FCCG) was established in 1988 as a gaming neutral 501(c)(3) educational and advocacy corporation that serves as the designated authority under state contract on gambling addiction. Its primary mission is to:
Increase public awareness regarding the risks and consequences associated with gambling
Provide assistance to problem gamblers, their families, and others adversely impacted
Advocate for programs, services, funding, and other supports to address population-specific needs
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) is committed to increasing public awareness about problem and compulsive gambling. The FCCG provides referral services and support to residents in need of assistance with a gambling addiction, as well as to professionals and others servicing this population.
” The FCCG’s primary mission is to increase public awareness about gambling addiction and to furnish support to persons in need of assistance.”
Under contract with State government, the FCCG:
Operates the State’s confidential 24-hour multilingual HelpLine (888-ADMIT-IT)
Develops and conducts prevention, education, and outreach programs
Designs and presents professional training opportunities
Trains medical and other health care practitioners to assess and treat
Offers resource development services
Sponsors and conducts research
Represents the public before government and other policymaking authorities
Works with legal authorities and law enforcement on gambling-related cases
Oversees a Speakers Bureau and a Peer Connect program
When I was asked to share my story, I didn’t hesitate. I think it’s so important for people to see that everyday, regular people can have a gambling addiction.And by telling my story I hope I can help others and reduce the shame of compulsive gambling.
Looking back on it, I guess it’s not surprising that I developed a gambling problem. I had a risk-taking personality and was exposed to various forms of gambling as early as age 9. My father was a bookie and sold football tickets. I’d spend my allowance and purchase tickets from him.
I became insanely addicted to gambling in my early twenties. I was working at a charity bingo hall when the casinos opened in the ’80s, and a lot of us would go to the casinos after work.
For many years, Black Jack was my game of choice. Then one night in the mid ’90s, I had a dream that I put $20 in a slot machine and won a huge jackpot. Shortly after that dream, I went to the casino, put $20 in the slot machine and won $15,000. Not to long after, I crossed the line into addicted gambling thinking I would win bog each time I went!
From that point on, I switched almost exclusively to slot machines. It was a bigger, faster win, and I liked that I could isolate myself more. With cards, I had to communicate with others. I liked the solitutde of being alone and not have to be social with others when playing my slots.
Within six months after the big win, I realized I bit off more than I could chew. I had given back all the money, and more. I kept chasing that feeling of the huge win. See, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, the disease keeps you gambling until every penny is gone.
I soon became secretive about my gambling. I lied about losing and I lied about playing. I gambled any chance I could. I was feverishly stuck within the “cycle” of this disease of addiction.
In 2004, I started a business that quickly had financial success. I had so much money that I thought I’d never run out. But eventually I couldn’t even come up with postage to ship a package. I started selling stolen goods to cover my losses and eventually ended up in prison on a mail fraud charge.
After prison, I was released to a halfway house, where I stayed for six weeks before I had to move out. I had nothing but a car. I’d lost a beautiful home, a great marriage, and had never previously wanted for anything. But I was angry, and the first thing I did was drive straight to Mystic Lake Casino.
Less than nine months later, I was back in prison for violating probation by gambling at casinos. I was sentenced to 15 months in a higher security prison. But this time it was different.
Something clicked the day I was shackled off to jail and I had a spiritual shift. I decided that I would never gamble again, no matter what. I evaluated the choices I made and why I did what I did. Once I was released, I took responsibility for my own actions and worked hard to get back on my feet. I took a job at a restaurant and am now the manager.
My life is so much better and calmer now. I meditate every morning and am very involved in GA meetings. I listen to others and share my story whenever I can. I receive so much respect from other people and have enormous respect for others. I am very available to my family and my friends, some of whom have gone through recovery with me.
It means a lot to me to be very honest about this disease and what it’s done to me. A lot of things about gambling made me feel like the scum of the earth. It was much worse than anything I felt as an alcohol and drug addict.
I focus on my recovery at every opportunity. I hope to make a difference to others who similarly never expected they would go through the horrible things we do as gambling addicts. I urge and advocate to others now. Don’t let addicted gambling steal your life... ~Christine
The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), the Minnesota affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. NPGA is a coalition of individuals and organizations sharing the belief that problem gambling is a serious public health problem that is both treatable and preventable.
We work to raise public awareness about problem gambling and the stigma that’s often associated with it. We advocate for funding for treatment programs and provide professional training for those who work with problem gamblers. The collective impact of our efforts help individuals, their families and their communities deal with the devastating effects of problem gambling.
As a private 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, NPGA is funded by membership fees, financial and in-kind donations, and state and private grants. A considerable portion of our funding comes from the state of Minnesota and from major corporate sponsorships from the Minnesota Lottery, Canterbury Park, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by problem gambling through advocacy, education, training and research.
We achieve this by:
Bringing together those with a professional or personal interest in problem gambling.
Providing complete, accurate and unbiased information.
Advocating for public policies that assist problem gamblers and their families.
Raising public awareness of problem gambling.
Identifying those whose professions might bring them in contact with problem gamblers and their families, and educating those professionals on appropriate interventions.
Advocating for, conducting, and disseminating research that furthers our understanding of problem gambling.
Developing, delivering and supporting programs to prevent problem gambling.
We work toward our vision by upholding these core values:
Neutrality – As an affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling, we are neither for nor against legalized gambling.
Accuracy – We strive to ensure that all information we provide is accurate and complete.
Compassion – We recognize that problem gambling does not result from moral failings and that those with a gambling problem are not inherently bad people.
Inclusion – We believe that the interests of those affected by problem gambling are best served by inclusion of a wide range of interests. These interests include,but are not limited to, those in recovery, family members, treatment professionals, the gambling industry, those having professional contacts with problem gamblers, and those in other helping professions.
As most people were literally left to their own devices during COVID-19 related lockdowns, many began engaging with technology in different new ways. Recent reports show that online gambling services have exploded in popularity, which could lead to a subsequent increase in gambling addiction.
The implementation of COVID-19 related lockdowns worldwide corresponded with a dramatic increase in many people’s screen time. While swiping the long hours away can help alleviate some of the restlessness and anxiety that comes from being stuck at home, it also increases exposure to heavily marketed goods and services, including online gambling.
Some countries have noted that bookmakers increased advertising on websites and social media to lure in potential customers, which can be problematic for those struggling with a gambling addiction, or those simply suffering from boredom and looking for a way to kill time.
Approximately 1 percent of the adult population in the United States has a severe gambling problem. The most recent research estimates that 6 to 9 percent of young people and young adults experience problems related to gambling — a higher rate than among adults.
Though a few countries such as Belgium, Spain and Latvia have imposed some restrictions on online gambling in order to try and curb addiction during the lockdowns, the majority of these services remain easily accessible and highly tempting. This poses a serious risk for an uptick in gambling addictions during the pandemic.
How the Pandemic Has Fueled Online Gambling
In a few short months, our daily lives and regular habits have changed dramatically. Both the physical and mental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have contributed to an increased use of online gambling services.
These impacts include:
Boredom, Depression and Anxiety
Few of us are used to spending so many hours, day after day, in our own homes. Cut off from our regular outdoor activities, classes, and even workspaces, many people began feeling bored, anxious, and even depressed.
The pandemic itself lent to stress not only about our health, but also about our work and relationships. These feelings, plus the shift of most interactions to an online forum, created a perfect storm for susceptibility to clicking onto an online gambling site.
Ban on Live Sports, Closure of Casinos
The crowds found in casinos and sports arenas around the world were quickly recognised as hotspots for the spread of the coronavirus, and were shuttered in many countries. For the first time, major sports seasons and events, including the upcoming Olympics, have been suspended, leaving avid sports fans and casual gamblers at a loss. Dramatic increases in visitors to online gambling sites suggest that people are filling the gap through online gambling.
Is Online Gambling More Addictive?
A recent study by the UK’s Gambling Commission found that 1.2% of all people who gamble have developed an addiction, but this figure increases to 2.5% when only online sports betting is considered, and a staggering 9.2% when the focus shifts to online gaming like casino games and roulette.
Part of this is due to the speed of online gambling – gamblers don’t have to wait for specific matches or tournaments, but can place bets in quick succession, chasing wins (or losses) one after the other. Because it is possible to gamble using credit cards instead of cash in hand, debts can be run up extremely quickly before people even really wrap their heads around how much is at stake. The fact that this type of gambling is available 24/7 via a simple click on our phones or computers, also factors into the heightened addiction rates.
Additionally, online gambling is more easily hidden. It’s far more obvious if you are spending hours at the casino or at a racetrack than if you are simply sitting in the corner scrolling and clicking. This lack of visibility can mean that others may not see you need help until the problem has become very serious.
Do You Have a Gambling Addiction?
There are many people who do enjoy casual or occasional gambling that does not result in any negative consequences to financial or mental health. These are gamblers who can accept a loss and walk away from a further bet.
However, if you are noticing that you’re clicking into sites more often, and placing larger and larger bets, you may be developing a dependency. Gambling addiction impacts both men and women, and can have serious effects.
Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
Constantly thinking about or reliving gambling-related experiences
Increasing amounts of time during the day spent gambling
Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling
Using gambling as a “go-to” activity to relax or feel better
Having to make increasingly larger or riskier bets to feel satisfied or excited
Trying to win back money lost through gambling by engaging in further gambling
Attempting to downplay or cover up gambling habits
Experiencing financial strain as a result of gambling
Impacts of a Gambling Addiction
When people think of gambling addiction, it is immediately assumed that most of the impacts are financial. While those who struggle with gambling do face financial difficulties as a result of their dependency, the impacts of gambling go far beyond bank accounts, and often have serious negative effects on relationships, work and even legal issues.
Gambling has been proven to impact mental health, and has been linked to conditions like depression, and anxiety disorders. People struggling with gambling addiction are at greater risk for suicide – one study found that gamblers are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempts. The stress of living with a gambling disorder often manifests in physical ailments as well, such as digestive issues and migraines.
If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, seeking professional help from an addiction specialist is a necessity. Speaking with someone who understands the science of addiction and can help address and treat the root causes of dependency will lead to the best possible outcomes for recovery. . .
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand offers residential treatment that specialises in behavioural addictions such as gambling. With a maximum intake of 25 clients at a time, our highly experienced professional team offers personalised attention and customised treatment plans for each and every client.
The fundamental objective of our programme is for clients to achieve and maintain long-term recovery by equipping each individual with a personalised set of coping tools to use when dealing with stress and triggers. The Dawn utilises a unique “Twin Pillars” approach for treatment, seamlessly blending Western psychotherapeutic techniques with proven Eastern wellness practices to holistically address the addiction, and allow the development of a full, healthy lifestyle.
Gambling Addiction Treatment On-site or Online with The Dawn
We understand that current COVID-19 related travel restrictions may make it difficult for you to access the benefits of a residential treatment programme at this time. At The Dawn, our therapists have years of experience providing online therapy to our clients post treatment in online aftercare groups as well as individual counselling.
To support individuals in need of help but unable to travel, we have been offering a special Virtual Treatment Programme with the option of transitioning to in-person residential treatment when clients are ready.
To best accommodate our clients, we structure our fees so that whatever you have already paid towards your online therapy goes towards your overall residential treatment fee. This allows you to continue your care with a trusted therapist in an environment totally removed from the triggers and stress of everyday life, and to focus completely on your recovery.
Welcome recovery friends and visitors. Today I am sharing an informative guest post by a dear friend and recovery mentor of mine. Meet Marilyn Davis. She has maintained long-term recovery and has helped many in every conceivable way with addictions. She has worked in addiction and treatment and has helped her now grown children beat addiction.
I will share more about all she does to help others have hope from addiction, but here is her post about what she’s been doing to keep her recovery intact during this continuing COVID CRISIS…
My Home-bound Recovery During COVID-19: Purging and Using Podcasts.
COVID-19 Unites Us, Too
“Boomer or millennial, we’re all covidians now.”― Bill Doman
Whether you’re home because of COVID-19, work restrictions, furloughs, school closings, or layoffs, don’t let your recovery suffer. Here are few ways to help ensure you don’t relapse, and a few ways to use that time at home while the world is temporarily closed.
Recovery Just Got Harder
Recovery is hard; it’s learning a new way of life, coping, repairing fractured relationships, and depending on others to show us how to do all of those.
These factors are more challenging as we try to maintain our recovery with the uncertainty and isolation imposed on us by COVID-19. Without the social support, structure, and accountability that in-person meetings provide, many people are struggling more with the stay-at-home-social-distance-wear-a-mask safety measures imposed on us for our protection.
“Use Your Time Wisely” My Mother Said
I’ve been home-bound since March 13th or 250 days now. That’s a very long time to go without an in-person meeting. But I dug in, took the time to do some serious ōsōji, the annual cleaning of one’s home in Japan. Of course, I took it to an entirely new level – purged 30 years’ worth of antique linens.
When that didn’t get rid of enough stuff, I opted for the Swedish döstädning. “Dö” means “death,” and “städning” means “cleaning.”
All those antiques, Nickie-nacks, as my daughter referred to them when she was five – she’s now in her 50’s, papers with scribbled ideas, feelings, or thoughts that seem disjointed, chaotic, or so outdated as to be completely useless, and looked at each tube, container, pan of make-up to check the expiration date. All donated, recycled, or sent to the dumb.
Still no let up on COVID19.
So I sold my townhouse, purged more, had the living estate sale, and waited for relief and an in-person meeting.
I finished my memoir – it’s ready for publication when my computer guru comes next week.
Then I moved...
“This too shall pass” isn’t Working
When we first experienced the sudden loss of in-person meetings, it wasn’t a big deal for some of us. Sure, we missed the fellowship, laughter, or helping someone. But we were sure it would pass. How often did we say, “This too shall pass,” or “Just don’t use today – tomorrow will be different.”
But it seems as if the anticipated tomorrow isn’t happening anytime soon.
Many old-timers, like myself, aren’t attending in-person meetings.
It’s not that you can’t get and remain in recovery without our input. Still, besides our ‘sage advice,’ we serve as a reminder that recovery is possible when you have a room full of people with double-digit recovery. When we’re not comfortable participating in these meetings, encouragement is missing from many places, which is sad for newcomers.
And I miss seeing families reunited, people changing, and the warmth and support of the fellowship.
Are You Still Home-bound?
It’s still a scary time for some of us.
Do we go out?
How do we socially distance if we go to a meeting?
Do people wear masks?
Are they restricting the number of people who can attend?
How do I handle old friends wanting to hug?
Can listening to a podcast help me?
By the time I’ve obsessed on those questions, my heart rate is up, I’ve wasted 30 minutes thinking and getting no answers, and even if I chose to go to the meeting, I’d be late. Sound familiar?
While You’re Home-bound
Seek out an online meeting.
Connect with recovery-oriented people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media. We all have our favorites and two of mine are RecoveryRocks and Recovery By Stepping Up, both on FB.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of From Addict 2 Advocate. In 1990, she opened North House, an award-winning women’s residential recovery home. In 2008, Brenau University, Georgia, created the Marilyn L. Davis Community Service-Learning Award. This is a yearly award given to advocates in mental health, wellness, and recovery. In 2010, she received the Liberty Bell Award for her work within the criminal justice system.
Before closing the house in 2011, she authored and developed Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery Systems (TIERS). When North House closed, friends and colleagues encouraged her to write online to reach a larger audience. Finding outlets online, she shared her 29 years in abstinence-based recovery.
She also realized that how she said something might not connect with all readers. This is one of the reasons that she has made an effort to collaborate with new and seasoned recovery writers when she started From Addict 2 Advocate.
As a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, she conducts groups for men’s and women’s residential programs, as well as facilitating a recovery group for HIV positive people.
As the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing, she understands that writing is a process and most writers want information on how to improve. However, writing about writing can get tedious, so she often combines writing advice using stories and examples from her work with addicts and alcoholics. Improving writing is a process, like recovery.
Using recovery examples in her writing advice means that her readers learn the ways in which people change, improve their lives, and this creates another outlet for her to advocate for recovery while writing about writing.
Her two daughters are in recovery as well, with 21 and 15 years. She is working on her memoir: Finding North: A Woman’s Journey from Addict 2 Advocate.
With the holiday season fast approaching and still living in uncertain times, it is more vital now then ever to have a Relapse Prevention plan ready. This is why I am very honored to have a Special Recovery Guestand dear friend of mine who has also been my close friend for several years and we have been through “thick and thin” together. He has become like a brother I never had.
He is not only a talented in-depth addiction and recovery writer, fellow author, and loud advocate, but he has been a mentor and one of my #1 supporters of my recovery from addicted gambling.
Yes, I am talking about Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D…
I invited him as my special guest to help us with Gambling Awareness and some Expert Advice for this unusual holiday season. He has done so and all about Relapse Prevention!
Now, Kevin is in the process of revamping his website! I will invite you all to NOT hesitate by visiting his Amazon Author Bio Page and grab many of his best-selling award-winning books! Kevin has helped many from addiction and stopped the suffering for addicts and helped many families heal together. There are many to choose from when it is time to gain life and no longer a path of darkness.
All of Kevin’s books can assist and will enhance to uplift you in your recovery journey, help parents help an addict, and gives the skills and tools within each book that work. So I present this helpful and educational article that Kevin was kind enough to write and share with us today. I am sure it will give hope to those who may feel there is no HOPE… Recovery is always possible!
~Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate.
Relapse Prevention is Key to Long-Term Recovery from Gambling (Ludomania)
Problem gambling, or ludomania, is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.
Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs. “Pathological gambling” is the most severe form of problem gambling and has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disease since 1980. Gaming or gambling is supposed to be for fun, for entertainment.
Teenagers are 3 to 4 times more likely to become problem gamblers than adults. 90% of High School students have gambled at least once in the last year. In the USA ages 14-21, 2.1% struggle with Problem Gambling, another 6.5% are at risk. Every year, 2% -3%, 2M U.S. adults are estimated to meet the criteria for disordered gambling and another 4-6M individual are problem gamblers at risk for serious addiction consequences. Men make up 2/3 majority of Problem Gamblers.
Relapse ‘s definition, to fall or slip back into a former state or practice. Relapse certainly can happen to those who are in recovery from substance abuse and (Problem Gambling) process addictions; however, it should not be expected, only a possibility. Many individuals recover without ever knowing the first physical relapse in their entire lifetime of sobriety. Most have emotional and mental relapses at certain times, and some do have physical relapses as well.
There are three different types of relapse: Emotional Relapse Mental Relapse Physical Relapse
Remember that relapse is a process, Behavior Changes: Hanging around slippery people, places, and things. Arguing and acting out. No serenity, not demonstrating spirituality. Attitude Changes: Different priorities, meetings, and recovery not as important as they were. Changes in Feelings or Moods: Resentments, anger, boredom, not satisfied with anything, not grateful. Changes in Thoughts: Thinking that you may be able to use safely now. Not living a life of balance and not taking care of self can all lead to relapse.
“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse. Fertile soil awaits your return and your recovering.” – Holli Kenley
Major changes in the structure of life, such as divorce, losing a job, moving, having a child, death, a serious injury, a relationship change, things that are a major structural change or life events can lead to relapse.
When faced with tough times five tips that can help anyone avoid relapse are as follows:
1. Continue to work your program of recovery. The vehicle that promotes change. Draw close to whatever program or modality that got you sober in the first place. Call other sober friends in your support network and be honest about what is going on in your life. Don’t be afraid to pick up the 500lb. phone!
2. Utilize anger management skills. Dealing with problems right when they arise. Resentments are the number one offender; we can’t afford them. Don’t let the sun go down on a problem. Use anger management and problem-solving skills to work things out without letting emotions get the best of you. You don’t always have to be right, don’t always have to be in control, and don’t have to be perfect.
3. Beware of self-centeredness. Work on your spirituality. Don’t be selfish! Those who fail to grow spiritually will relapse. The one thing that we must do is maintain our spiritual conditions; that means we must continue to grow spiritually; we must go where we are spiritually fed.
4. Stay in the day and don’t project! ‘One day at a time is great wisdom’! All we should worry about is today, tomorrow will take care of itself, so don’t worry. There is a God, and you’re not it!
5. Stay grateful! We must maintain an attitude of gratitude, if we forget all of the gifts that we have been freely given in recovery, then we are headed for trouble! If we forget the bottom or event or circumstance that led us into a life of sobriety then we are also in trouble, we must as they say, “Keep it green!” I have never seen a grateful person relapse!
These Tips Will Help Anyone Who Walks in the Sunlight of the Spirit Stay There...
If you walk in the shadows and dark places, then surely that’s where your heart will end up. The only way to have real long-term, lasting, quality sobriety is to continue to grow in recovery, and that means maintaining our spirituality on a daily basis, continuing to be spiritually fed daily growing in experience and wisdom and helping others. You can’t live on yesterday’s manna!
Stress and anxiety have always been triggers for substance abusers and regular people to learn hope to cope with on a daily basis. Drugs and alcohol had been “the solution” for them in the past; now they must disengage from such behaviors and find genuine coping mechanisms that last. Gambling abusers also need to be offered alternative ways to find a solution through a twelve-step approach, non-twelve-step approach, harm reduction, medication management, holistic programs, faith-based programs, and other approaches. Individuals must learn healthy ways to cope with stress without the use of drugs or alcohol, utilizing these new-found tools as a solution to stress will lead to lasting sobriety. Those who don’t suffer from substance abuse will also need coping skills for life on their own terms being BET FREE.
Stress Coping Skills Key to Lasting Recovery Developing strong stress and anxiety management skills and techniques are paramount to long-term sobriety, a balanced and healthy life. These skills can help those in recovery to avoid relapse and sustain lasting recovery. Research utilizing lab animals has shown that stress can precipitate relapses with addiction to certain chemicals.
PTSD & Chronic Stress Chronic drug usage may alter brain pathways affecting the user’s response to stress; this can make them more susceptible to relapse. Those who suffer from PTSD and individuals who have been exposed to chronic stress may be more likely to relapse; this makes stress management skills all the more important.
Stress Leading to Relapse! Significant changes in jobs, relationships, moving, finances, health, and other structural changes that those in recovery are likely to deal with cause stress and anxiety. This is a normal part of life for everyone. For the substance abuser, it’s okay to try to escape from the pressure. They must be careful not to transfer addictions from drugs to gambling, sex, or some other addiction. Medical specialists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse believe that the leading reason for relapse back into substance abuse is stress.
Some Individuals Need Mental Health Help Healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to manage stress; some individuals will need to seek out help from mental health professionals as part of those changes. The Mental Health Professional will work with the Professional Coach to help the client reach their goals and solutions.
Some changes that people have found helpful:
Deep Breathing Meditation and Yoga Prayer Proper Diet Balance and Boundaries Time management Taking care of Yourself Better Identifying Stressors Talking Things Out Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Exercise Low-Stress Activities
Positive People are the Winners! In recovery and in life it is essential to connect with the right people, “stick with the winners” as they say. Those in early recovery need to be around individuals and groups that they can learn solutions from, recovery role models so to speak.
It’s also important for those in early recovery to find an attitude of gratitude; it’s easy to become angry and negative from the very beginning. Gratitude raises balance, awareness, and the spirit in a way that the person will begin to see things about life in a new way, like seeing life with a new pair of glasses!
Talking with Others Learning to tell on yourself in early recovery is one of the hardest but most beneficial skills. Talk things out with other sober people, give them a piece of your burden and suddenly your burden becomes light. Running, walking, lifting weights, writing poetry, journaling, drawing, being creative, move a muscle change and thought is a great way to get out of your head when stressed. My journal below can help!
Avoid Relapse by Journaling to Coping with Stress All people need to learn to cope with stress in recovery; it’s essential to avoid relapse and maintain sanity and balance. Utilizing just a few of the tools and techniques can work for anyone if they want them to work. Sometimes just a deep breath works!
Professional Coaches Have the Goods! Professional coaches have skill sets, tools, and core competencies that they utilize to help their clients change their lives for the better. They utilize specific action planning, powerful questioning, active listening, and many other skills and techniques to get the results needed to move forward toward the solution needed to achieve the client’s goals. Stress and anxiety aren’t good for anyone no matter their walk-in life.
Triggers that Can Jeopardize Your Sobriety When most people hear the word trigger, they think of the noun or the trigger of a gun; the verb trigger means to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist. People who suffer from substance abuse and process addictions usually have triggers in their lives that are unique to their circumstances, past traumas, events, memories, losses, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, etc.
A recovering person’s triggers are set in motion through one or more of the five senses: smell, sound, touch, sight, and taste. Make no mistake about it; although we are talking about the verb, triggers can be as dangerous as the trigger on a gun!
Triggers of the Emotional Variety Triggers can jeopardize your sobriety if they are not recognized and dealt with in early recovery. What triggers a relapse? Certainly, the reasons for relapse can be different for individuals; however, there are some commonalities such as fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. There are several other emotions that can also lead to relapse.
Triggers from People, Places, and Things Certain people, places, and things can trigger a relapse if they remind the person of their addiction. In some cases, all three of these may have to be removed from the individual’s life if they expose the person to a significant risk of relapse.
An example of a place, an alcoholic would not want to go to dinner in a bar that they drank at every day, where their old drinking buddies would be, and their favorite chair. In that case, all three areas of triggers would be involved.
Relapse is an Opportunity Not an Expectation There are triggers that can jeopardize your sobriety; however, with a little instruction, the whole situation can be turned into a positive. In early recovery, the person should be made aware of what triggers are and have help to identify their patterns of addiction and relapse…
Relapse is an opportunity to learn what a person’s triggers are so that they can be identified by the substance abuser and prevent the next relapse. Some say that relapse is an expected part of recovery, that’s a mistake! Relapse is always a possibility in recovery; however, it shouldn’t be expected, when we teach people that, we set them up to fail.
Balance is Key Balance is a key part of the recovery process, learning what we can do and cannot do and live in sobriety. Education, awareness, and prevention will assist the newcomers in recovery to understand the process of what genuine recovery means, avoiding all of the pitfalls that triggers may lead to on a daily basis by recognizing them and not allowing them to have power in your life of recovery.
Yes, triggers can jeopardize your sobriety, the good news is through education and awareness, you can prevent triggers from ever having power in your life. By taking the time to identify triggers and understand them, you can avoid situations that may have led you to relapse because of triggers in the past. You have empowered yourself and taken the power away from the triggers, great job!
Recovery is a lifelong process. We all make mistakes along the way, that’s alright, as long as we learn from them.
Pathological Gambling is a terrible disease that is becoming more and more of a problem in the United States. More teens are gambling than ever before in our history, more older Americans are becoming problem gamblers as well.
Don’t gamble your life away, bet on you, your family, and God!
Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Provincial Superintendent, Ph.D., DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, International- Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones.
He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.
Reverend Dr. Coughlin is the Founder of The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online and Phase Two Christian Coaching, LLC. He was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a non-profit, twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty-plus years.
He is an Addiction Expert, Award-Winning Poet, an International-Best-Selling author, his books, journals, and manuals are used in the United States and other Countries by professionals, individuals, and facilities. With over 44+ published works, the author resides in PA.
I have been honored to be a contributing writer and columnist for an amazing recovery newspaper called “Keys to Recovery” founded by Marcus and Jeannie Marshall and Beth Dewey out of Southern California for little over 2-yrs. Jeannie and Marcus, these two beautiful people are giving and caring recovery friends of mine and put so much love and hard work into each issue they print for there monthly publication.
They have the audacitiy to give out FREE! It is free to read online, download, or have copies mailed to support those who maintain recovery from all kinds of addictions, including mine which was addiction to gambling.
My column is called QUIT To WIN and I write and share my experiences, stregnth, and HOPE from addicted gambling and share to others so they know there is HOPE and they don’t have to be NOT ALONE to recover from this cunning disease. Here is a little about “KEYS” and who they serve…
KEYS TO RECOVERYBACKSTORY:
Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is printed and distributed in California and 30 additional states. Having a current print run of 20,000 newspapers and a readership exceeding 90,000 per month, we are already a solid and formidable presence. Although we have digital access to our publication, our primary focus is distributing hard copies.
Our newspaper targets readers who are seeking recovery from all types of addictions, disorders and the loved ones who are affected, as well as anyone wanting to know more about addiction and recovery. Here are some of the types of facilities we are distributing our recovery newspaper to:
• 12 Step Alano Clubs• 12 Step Meeting Halls• Bail Bonds Offices• Churches• Clinical Professionals• Coffee Shops• Correctional Facilities• Counseling Office & Services• Department of Health• DUI Classes• Drug & Alcohol Councils
• Employee Assistance Programs• Homeless Shelters• Judges• Law Offices• Medical Centers – Hospitals• Outpatient Treatment Centers• Police Departments• Probation Departments• Public Libraries
• Recovery Stores• Rehabilitation – Treatment Centers• Rescue Missions• Veterans Administration Hospitals• Sober Livingʼs• Transitional Housing• Related Conventions• Networking Eventsand many more locations.
“We work carefully to develop a monthly publication addressing vital issues concerning all types of addictions and disorders, and everything related to the recovery from them.“
Spreading the Message of Hope and Recovery
Our purpose and our mission, is to give hope that recovery is possible. Incorporated in the state of California Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity. Our main objective is to carry the message of Hope and Recovery from all types of addictions and disorders to as many people as possible, and to offer resources that may provide treatment and support. We do that by printing (yes, printing) a traditional type newspaper, as well as having an online presence. Our newspaper is filled with columns from today’s top experts in the recovery field.
Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is educating our communities about alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and so much more. We also print, at no charge, a 2-‐page resource guide listing free services and vital help offered within the communities.
Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is making a strong effort to reach the many individuals currently in jails or other types of institutions, and offer them information that will assist in their future recovery. For every paid subscription we will be able to send a free subscription to someone in an institution. We are NOT affiliated with AA, NA, Al-‐anon or any other 12-‐step program. We do, however, believe in the power of the 12-‐steps and the principles behind them.
We operate Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. using these principles as a guideline -‐ Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality and Service. THE PEOPLE BEHIND – KEYS TO RECOVERY NEWSPAPER, INC.
Jeannie Marshall – Co-Founder & President: Having 35 years of marketing, advertising, and PR experience – ten of those years working on a recovery newspaper – I feel uniquely qualified to lead and support our team to achieve our purpose and our mission. Many of you will remember me from the Steps for Recovery newspaper, where I worked until 2008 with my business partner and good friend Jason Levin, who passed away.
Unable to continue working on the newspaper without him, I choose to go back to corporate America. After 5 years of healing I felt ready, willing and able to go back to my one true passion – carrying the message of hope and recovery… through Keys to Recovery Newspaper Inc. A bit more about me: I restarted my sobriety in 1986; I love the 12-steps and living in a world where I have a purpose. I have a passion to help the helpless. My favorite principle is Service.
Marcus Marshall – Co-founder & Vice President: I started working at age 13 in the field of service at Sylmar Children’s Spastic Foundation as a patient care technician. At age 18 I worked as a Counselor in Psychiatrics at Chatsworth Health and Rehab Center. I also worked in sales and marketing gathering about 25 years experience in that field as well. I was derailed by my addiction and for about ten years I was going in and out of jails and prisons, which makes me uniquely qualified to understanding the difficulties of transitioning back into society.
I started my recovery in early 2012 and found myself wanting to go back to my preferred profession – Patient Care. I worked at Cri-Help as a lead support technician, while attending the Addiction Studies Program at Pierce College, which helped prepare me for this vocation.
Publishing Keys to Recovery Newspaper Inc. is giving me the opportunity to use all my life experiences to help others. A bit more about me: I have a passion for God and helping others find their way to him. I love helping the homeless. My favorite principle is Faith.
Beth Stern – Co-founder: In 1993 I was mandated by the courts to attend a 12-step program, during this process I was introduced to the program of recovery – which made me a firm believer in “bring the body and the mind will follow.” Being a co-founder of Keys to Recovery Newspaper Inc. I feel that this is a great platform for carrying the message of recovery. I love being of service in all areas of my life. I have a passion of giving hope to the hopeless. My favorite principle is Perseverance.
NOW, Keys To Recovery Is Helping Our Vets AND Wounded WarriorsHere is HOW
HERE IS HOW IT WORKS
The Wounded Warrior Project: Each month Keys to Recovery is featuring a new Back Cover ad for different causes that are close to our heart.
For the October 2020 issue – we are running a full-page Back Cover ad for. The Wounded Warrior Project.
Not only does The Wounded Warrior Project, get great exposure in the recovery community, but you or your facility will also be seen as well as supporting a great cause.
If you or anyone you know wants to support The Wounded Warrior Project WITH THIS AD, we will be running a notice under the ad: _____________________________________________ Sponsored in part by: Marcus & Jeannie Marshall; (then we will list the names of the individuals or the companies of those who helped pay for the advertisement, or some may want to donate anonymously). _____________________________________________
Whatever you want to put towards the $1,500 will be accepted as a donation : ) you can pay through our Pay-Pal BUTTON on our website, or Zelle through the bank using: 818-312-4233 phone number, or Venmo using: Donna Jean Rabb, or you can always send in a check just let us know its coming. Once we get the donation we will contact you and see how or if you want to be listed as supporting the ad, personally or listing your facility.
We need to KNOW ASAP to get you listed on the October back cover.
Anything over the cost of the ad ($1,500) will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project. Thank you for your support! — Jeannie Rabb-Marshall President & Co-Founder of Keys to Recovery Newspaper
How Do You To Stop Worrying About What Others Think?
By KADEN JAMES
How you feel about yourself is more important than how others feel about you.
Focusing on what others think of us changes us, not always in big, noticeable ways but more often very subtly.
If we hear a negative comment said about us in passing. This comment may eat away at us over time. The thought may come up so often that it becomes a belief about ourselves.
We might read a negative comment and take it to heart without even considering the source. For instance, I have known people who stop wearing bright colors because someone said they didn’t look good on them. I have had clients who told me they would alter their voice or quiet their laugh because of something someone said. Your laugher is a gift just like what brought it out of you.
The words of others can profoundly affect the way we show up in the world. If we hear negative words we might start to think we are unattractive, untalented, no good, or unlovable. If we don’t grow strong enough in our own self-confidence we could go through life never fully stepping up to the moment, missing out on opportunities to experience joy and we may never offer up what we have to give.
The way we release ourselves from the opinions of others is to realize everyone has one. There are people that hate the color blue, can’t stand pizza, don’t like dogs, it’s hard to believe I know. Well, if there are people who don’t like blue, pizza and Scooby-Doo of course some people won’t like you and it’s probably the same people.
We get to choose what opinions we let in. Seek advice with care, from people you trust and respect. For example, if you want relationship advice it’s probably not the best idea to ask your friend who is always dating another guy and seems to have a lot of problems when it comes to relationships. That person may however be the best person to take your pics and update your dating app profile. All jokes aside though, remember to consider who you are going to for feedback.
When someone insults you with absolutely no love in their approach block it out. You choose what you let in and what you focus on, so choose nurturing and loving thoughts. You are ultimately in control of your thoughts and feelings. No one can make you feel anything without your consent. Which means what we feel is a choice.
Let’s choose to feel good and feel confident.
Another thing to keep in mind is to realize that everyone makes mistakes. We are all learning and growing and as we are kind to ourselves and love ourselves we make better choices.
Now I have a couple of questions for you. Are you supportive of others? Are you a kind person? If the answer is yes and yes -RIGHT ONNN! Keep up the great work! Continue to build your self-love like you’re a bodybuilder in the gym.
Make that muscle so strong that when a trashy comment is flung at you or verbal punches are thrown they just bounce off and have little or no effect. If you answered “no” and you aren’t currently supportive or kind, work on it. What you give is what you receive so if you give love and you’ll get it. Give kindness and you’ll get it, have the cycle of hurt end with you.
It’s time to feel good about you and make wise choices for yourself. You deserve love and to live a life you love.
ED Note: I want to also share with you another topic we all can use some brush-up on when maintaining recovery or especially when begining our recovery path.
That is in the area of being 100%RESPOSIBILITY. Take a watch and listen to this quick YouTube Video Kaden has done all about taking and being 100% reponsible, honest, and transparent.
You can connect with Kaden James on social media& visit his website.
The Blame Game, we all have done it one time or another when we begin in early recovery. When we surrender and know our addiction is making our lives unmanagable, we need to learn to ownership, be honest to ourselves, and become the habit of accountability. Lets read what recovery writer, Dominica shares more about playing the blame game.
How to Successfully Stop Playing the Blame Game
Now that you’re in recovery, you are faced with the blame game dilemma—a new phase where you can either accept responsibility for your entire life or keep pointing fingers at others for how things turned out. Perhaps you blame your parents because studies have shown that addictive behaviors are genetic, but that’s still not a free pass for you to stay addicted.
Maybe you blame your friends for introducing you to partying, but you were the one who decided to put substances in your body. You also chose to continue using so really, and you have no one else to blame but yourself. At the beginning of any recovery plan, an addict goes through an array of emotions like anger, resentment, pity, loneliness, helplessness, and so on.
To finally get off the blame train, the person in recovery must take the following steps.
Become accountable Now that you have taken the first step to recovery with the admission that you have an addiction. It is time to step up and be held accountable. Ultimately, you must admit that it’s no one’s fault other than your own. This is an important step in your recovery plan, as it empowers you to make the necessary changes you need to make in your life. When you blame others, you give them that power, which can really stifle growth.
Tell the truth. Tell yourself and others that you are taking full responsibility for your entire life now, not just not the addiction. You’re not blaming anyone else no matter what the past has been like. This will not be easy, but it is a must to grow successfully on your journey.
Start a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings tends to help relieve some of the negativity going on in your mind that affect your decision making. Every time you have a thought, or make a comment that shifts the blame of your addiction onto others, or outside influences, write them down.
Then, take a few moments to think of how you could have made that statement or expressed that feeling without placing blame elsewhere. Write them down alongside the negative statements.
Practice good self-care. Take responsibility for life by taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. Maintain good personal hygiene, start an exercise program, choose healthy eating habits, pray or meditate, and continue your counseling sessions.
Honesty is the key for you to move forward fully. Remembering that you are the individual who led you to this addiction reinforces that you have always been in control of your own life, not control of your addiction. Now that you’ve decided to admit that you have a problem, you’re able to drive your life toward a long-term successful recovery.
My 28 year old brother Bobby could no longer handle the addiction of gambling.
He chose to take his own life after his calls for help failed. ~Ronda Hafemann-Hatefi
I have always been a firm believer that God brings people in our lives for a reason and a purpose. This is how I feel about my dear friend Ronda Hafemann-Hatefi. I have been blessed since the day we met, while I was still living in Southern Oregon as Ronda still resides in Oregon.
Just as her ‘Facebook Introduction reads about her, “I am a Wife, Momma, Grammy, Auntie, Friend, and advocate. And I believe GOD is good all the time.“
That tells you a lot about who she is and what’s most important to her. Ronda and I have been advocating about problem gambling recovery together for many years, a while after my book released and my recovery journey was transforming into several year’s.
Ronda became an advocate for one fundamental reason. But I will share her written words as to WHY …I was lucky enough to survive both my suicide attempts, and I am always aware that many do not. Here is a little more about who my dear friend, Ronda Hatefi is and how and why she advocates to share help and hope to those with Gambling Problems …
Ronda Hatefi founded Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization in 1995. Chair of Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee since 2003, and member of Lane County Mental Health Promotions Board, (formally called Suicide Prevention Committee) for 10 years.
Ronda has petitioned and received a signed proclamation by the Governor of Oregon every year since 1997, declaring September 29th, 2020 as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day. She had the first recognized day for problem gambling in the United States which laid the ground work for a National Problem Gamblers Awareness Week in March.
Ronda has received a Champion in Volunteer award from Lane County, Oregon and a Leadership and Dedication for Problem Gambling Awareness award from Oregon Health Authority.
P.G.A.D is Problem Gamblers Awareness Day, which is September 29th, in honor of Bobby’s birthday. Ronda has petitioned and received a signed proclamation by the Governor of Oregon every year since 1997. This was the first recognized day for Problem Gambling in the United States, and helped to create National Problem Gamblers Awareness Week in March each year.
THE STORY – THE BEGINNING
My Mom was happily married to my Dad for 54 years, they had 5 children, and 10 grandchildren. Bob had a big circle of support around him.
We have learned now how we could have better supported him, by educating ourselves. We thought that by making him realize what he was doing, or by helping him find a new “hobby” that he would be okay.
What we didn’t understand is that his illness did not allow him to feel or see the support we offered. It was not as simple as, “find a new hobby.”
He was a good person, with good values, morals, great strength, and he was very intelligent. He was also a very compulsive person. He did everything with 110% effort. He was a one friend person, video games captivated him, he played to win, he worked so hard at every job, he wanted to be the best. When he gambled it was no different.
He first gambled when he was 18, he won $500 on a scratch ticket. He liked the idea of quick and easy money. He gambled from there on a little bit here and a little bit there. He played the Oregon Megabucks and scratch tickets mostly for the next few years. But in 1991, the Oregon Lottery video poker was introduced and quickly took over his life.
After playing video poker, within the four short years, he changed from being a very conscientious person who always paid his bills, had money in his pocket, and many nice things. He then became someone who had to borrow money from anyone who would give it to him. He pawned his valuables, kipped bills, and started writing bad checks. He was so ashamed and angry with himself for getting into this position.
Bobby didn’t want to hear what we all would tell him repeatedly that he withdrew from the family all together. He stopped coming to the family gatherings, birthdays, and holidays. He felt that he didn’t want to be there if he couldn’t buy gifts to give.
He went to our Mom on Mother’s Day 1995, and he told her that he didn’t understand what was wrong. He had called the Oregon Gambling Hotline for help and, the State said to him that what he was doing was entertainment, but for Bobby, it wasn’t fun anymore. He wasn’t eating, couldn’t sleep, and was angry all the time. He knew that he needed help, but didn’t know where to turn. Our Mom made some phone calls and got him started in counseling in June.
Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful. The State of Oregon had pulled all the gambling treatment offerings at that time, saying that it was contradicting to call it entertainment when you may become addicted. Bobby’s gambling treatment counselor diagnosed him as depressed, not knowing how to council a gambling addict. She prescribed Prozac, told him to get back into hobbies and the things he used to enjoy, and released him after just a few visits. They prescribed meds for his depression, but not being monitored. We found out later that he quit taking them early on.
The Phone Call …
On July 22nd, 1995, we got the call that my Dad and two nephews had found our Bobby dead. It is a day of so much emotion for me. I started my morning so excited to go to Portland to surprise Bob at his company picnic. The excitement turned to sheer terror when the phone rang. Our brother EJ asked to talk to my husband; I knew right then that Bobby was gone. I am not sure why I knew that because I had no idea he had thought about ending his life.
I do not remember getting ready to go or the ride to Milwaukie, OR. What I do remember is seeing my parents waiting for us in their driveway. The looks on their faces will be with me forever. My Mom was so angry when Bobby (Hafemann) died; she wrote his obituary listing his death as suicide, thanks to the Oregon Lottery …
If Ronda’s story of her beloved brother Bobby has touched you, resonates with you?
I urge you to visit her website to read “the rest of the story” here: https://www.ogao.org/the-story/ …I also kindly ask if you would either or both re-blogg this post or link on your WP site or share using my social media share buttons through your social media? In unity we may raise more awareness together and reach someone’s loved one who has a gambling problem.
Please, don’t wait to give them HOPE and get them HELP or even talk to them about it.
Since Bobby’s passing, Ronda has worked hard to keep Bobby’s memory alive. She does it by bringing action, change, and solutions to problem gambling while raising awareness about this cunning disease and addiction and suicide awareness as it took her brother. And just like myself and Bobby, 1 in 5 will try suicide.
It is why gambling addiction is claiming more lives by suicide than any other addiction. It’s why I would appreciate you visiting Ronda’s website and see how you can help with a possible Donation, help share her message of Hope and in Memorium of Bobby and many others.
Let’s help those still suffering in silence from problem gambling by giving them an ear to listen, and let them know they can recover! Bobby Hafemann’s birthday is September 29th, 2020 …
Bet Free Recovery Now by advocate, Catherine Lyon is helping raise awareness with the fine folks of The Floridia Council on Compulsive Gambling, Mental Health, and The National Week of Suicide Prevention. Here’s more from our advocacy friends!
Protecting our mental health should be a priority in our daily lives; September 6-12, 2020, is National Suicide Prevention Week. More than ever, we are taking steps to prevent suicide and effects that may come from gambling addiction. No one has escaped from the changes that this pandemic has brought on the world.
Even though COVID has physically affected lives, many have taken an impact financially and mentally. Situations such as job loss, lockdown orders, new school structures, and travel restrictions all affect mental health. Many may not know that all of these changes have caused changes in gambling habits, some for the worse.
A common misconception about gambling addiction is that those who suffer from this condition just “have a problem weighing their odds.” However, gambling addiction affects the brain much in the same way as drugs, leaving those who suffer unable to control their urges to bet. Because this condition has no obvious physical symptoms, it often goes undetected by even those closest to the gambler, and so do the difficulties that may come with it, including suicidal ideation.
During May of this year, 13% of those reaching out to 888-ADMIT-IT for help with a gambling problem revealed current or recent suicidal feelings and thoughts due to their gambling problem . These results leave us to understand how the pandemic and past events have impacted people negatively, and how this is reflected in gambling behaviors. In July, a 20-year old male committed suicide due to a negative day trading balance on the popular app Robinhood . However, this isn’t the only instance; another teen in India this August took the same route as a result of losing all of his savings through online gambling .
While we mourn these tragic events, we know that we can continue to make a difference in prevention. Your gambling habits may be an indicator of your mental health. Many individuals who struggle with disordered gambling experience mental health and domestic challenges such as anxiety, depression, and family neglect . As a result of these difficulties, these individuals seek gambling to “escape” the negative emotions and difficult situations.
Our goal is always to inspire hope and create a path towards recovery and a better life on the other side of problem gambling. While many people gamble for various reasons, we remain steadfast in providing help through our Peer Connect Program, amongst other resources we provide for those who contact our confidential 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. If you feel that you or your loved one are at risk of gambling addiction, contact our HelpLine. The first step is just a call away.
The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020
 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2019 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2019, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report
Editor Note: It is more important than ever to raise awareness and prevention about gambling and suicide. Now, one in five problem gamblers will try suicide. My hope in sharing this article and raising awarness along with my friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling,it will help educate and inform the public of how gambling can become very addictive for those who are not normal gamblers.
There is Help and Hope from this cunning addiction.
If you or someone has a gambling problem and live in Floridia? Please the number provided for The FCCG today. For those not in Floridia, you can to get help from The National Council on Problem Gambling or visit their website: https://www.ncpgambling.org/ or call 1-800-522-4700