Honoring My Dear Friend I Miss & She Has Left Us a Legacy of Recovery Self-Help Advice, Ms. Marilyn Fowler. . .

Three years ago I lost a very dear friend who was an avid advocate and a big support to me. She was an advocate of mental health, addiction, a fellow author, and had spent many years in the Jacksonville, FL., men and women’s jails & correctional system as a “Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist.” Her name was Marilyn Fowler. She was an amazing woman, strong, smart as a whip, and bursting with caring for others.

Marilyn and I worked together since 2014 as I helped her promote her books. I learned so much from her and she always would tell me; “when I leave earth, just know you will have a powerful angel in heaven watching over you, that’s me!” I loved her to pieces! I had started a new blog here on WordPress for her to share many self-help posts and has left us a beautiful legacy of life advice.

This post https://selfhelpbymarilyn.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/how-to-use-difficult-situations-to-enrich-your-life-journey/ I’ll be sharing is informative, and can help everyone maintaining recovery or may have mental health challenges like I do. I hope you will stop by her blog as we decided to leave it LIVE to continue to help others who happen to be lucky enough to stumble upon it.

I Miss You Marilyn, Mucho Mucho! ✨💝✝💖😇😇
*Cat*



About Marilyn Fowler Author & Advocate

Marilyn Fowler (Author of Silent Echoes)


I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog posts to help others live a better well balanced life!

My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published in 2010. My stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled When God Spoke To Me. I’m active in my church, and I believe that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often. Life should be”…



How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey ~ By Marilyn Fowler



Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress. You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?

On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation.

And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” ~Lee Iacocca


Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportunities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are.

At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.

Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.


“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.”  ~Author Unknown


Methods For Change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.

Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens.

“Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown


Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc.? How immersed are you in your feelings?
How clear is your mind?
Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both?
Do you view the situation as more than you can handle?
Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You’re stronger than you think. 
Uncover your strengths, and let them shine.
Use denials and affirmations ie: “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.

Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now.

And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author, and Writer of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available on Amazon online…

A Message of Faith, Longing, and Healing. Special Guest Post By My Friend, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder.” This, A Message We All Need Today. . .


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.


William Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott.jpg
A 1792 portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbott

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” by Will­iam Cow­per from Ol­ney Hymns


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”).

But all was not well.  One biographic source tells it this way –

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.

(for an inspiring reflection on the life of William Cowper, link to “Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint” by John Piper)

About the Author: tonyroberts

Author, Tony Roberts


“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: tony@delightindisorder.org

Finally, We Are Coming Out COVID & That’s Great For My Mental Health. A Re-share Article That Is More Important Today. My Mental Health Matters & Yours Does Too…

Finally, We Are Coming Out COVID & That’s Great For My Mental Health. A Re-share Article That Is More Important Today. My Mental Health Matters & Yours Does Too…

The Mind Can Be a Scary Place 

Ever wonder what happens in the mind of Stephen King, or Stanley Kubrick? Or the thoughts in the mind of a serial killer? These are areas that most people would never venture into. It’s too scary. It’s too dangerous. But danger is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a reflection of our life experience, individual biases and perception. But as we all remain indoors, the confines of our own minds can be the greatest danger.

As people, our outward actions toward the world reflect our own mindset, individual biases, and our outlook on the world. If that outlook is positive, we tend to see the world in a positive light and consequently treat people and situations with that positivity. The converse is also true. If, because of our life experience or chemical imbalance, we have a negative or pessimistic world view, we view the world through that lens. It’s how we think, act, and speak. It attracts or detracts others to or from us. How do mental disorders alter that world view?

~Gravitate Online (Dot Com)


The Different Mental Disorders

For individuals dealing with depression or bipolar disorder, the mind can be a very scary place. Many people are undiagnosed with depression or anxiety. In the U.S. two-thirds of all cases of depression are undiagnosed. That means that they are not getting the proper help or medication to help them see the world without a dark shroud. Through their prism, they see the world in a dark, negative and suspicious way when in reality may not be the case.

Unfortunately, this mental strife can sometimes lead to drug abuse and addiction. Teenagers and young adults are especially susceptible to this unfortunate reality which is why proper mental health resources in their in-person or online education are imperative.

There are more types of depression than most people realize. According to https://www.healthline.com/these are some of the different depressive disorders:

Persistent depressive disorder

This is chronic low-level depression less severe than major depression and lasts two years or longer. This is accompanied by constant feelings of deep and dark sadness and hopelessness, as well as symptoms like indecisiveness, low energy and fatigue.

At times, this depression is spurred by aging. When family is out of the house, and estate planning decisions are to be made, it can have an effect on an individual’s sense of longevity. This, of course, is all part of a mental disorder that can have quite an effect on an individual’s day-to-day.


Bipolar disorder

Another type of depression is bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder. It involves the episode of a manic, a heightened state of being or over-energized mood. These episodes may be followed by episodes of dark deep depression. Huge swings from high to low and sometimes back again. It is the very manic highs paired with the low depressive state that determines the type of bipolar disorder is diagnosed.


Postpartum depression

As much as 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” following delivery. Symptoms include sadness, mood swings, depression, withdrawal, lack of appetite, and negative thoughts. According to the American Psychological Association, about 10 to 15 percent of U.S. women have a depressive episode within three months of childbirth. and fatigue and typically pass within a week or two.

This is caused by the fluctuation of hormones following childbirth, combined with lack of sleep, and the stresses of caring for an infant. If these symptoms stay longer than a couple weeks and escalate in severity, it may be a hint of a deeper issue.

Mental Health, Mental, Health, Broken, Head, Depression



Seasonal depression

Many experience feelings of depression when seasons change. This is known as seasonal affective disorder. Up to 5% of the U.S. population (16,500,000) experience seasonal depression every year. Seasonal affective disorder is typically initiated at the beginning of autumn and lasts throughout the winter, during the dark and cold months of the year.

Psychotic depression

If any of these depressive situations are accompanied by paranoia, hallucinations or delusions, it is an indication of a major issue known as psychotic depression. This condition is rare. A quarter of patients admitted to a hospital due to depression actually have psychotic depression. The extreme cases are incapacitated and may need to be admitted to long-term hospitalization.


Natural treatments

Many depression diagnoses are tied to an actual chemical imbalance in the brain and must be managed with medication. Some less severe conditions may be managed, at least in part, through more natural means.


These include the following:
Physical exercise. The endorphins released in the brain during physical exercise can have long term positive benefits for depression.

Healthy diet. Eating fresh, clean, healthy food can boost positive vibes in the body and can be a helpful step in battling depression.

Good sleep. The power of good sleep is beneficial for all people, especially those with depression.
Supplements. Natural remedies like fish oils and folic acid have been known to help individuals with depression. However, when using natural supplements check with your physician.


Positive mental thoughts

Fighting depression can be hard work. A lot of the work is mental, challenging your negative self-talk and changing how you think. Individuals with depression leap to the worst possible conclusions in many scenarios. Challenging those conclusions and replacing them with positive ones can help make depression just a little brighter.

Positive self-thoughts maybe act as the light switch that transforms a person’s negative outlook from continuous darkness into a much brighter view of reality. This can lead to a happier and more rewarding life.


Anxiety, Word Cloud, Word, Chronic, Ability, Persistent



Medications
Many Americans that suffer some form of depression, live perfectly normal and healthy lives with the help from the advances in pharmaceuticals. Working with a doctor to find the proper medication and dosage can change the life of an individual with depression.

We all strive to make the world a better place. But for some, this is more difficult because of internal personal turmoil. For people to treat others in a way that makes the world a better place, they need to feel that way about themselves. Helping those with a chemical imbalance to see the world through a brighter prism has exponential benefits to society. So, never be afraid to explore all your options.

By small means, great things are possible.~Catherine Lyon, Advocate


Visit my friends of SAMHSA for help and options for treatment, information, and much more!


SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration



Who We Are

Learn more about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families.

Vision

To provide leadership and resources – programs, policies, information and data, funding, and personnel – advance mental and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in order to improve individual, community, and public health.

Mission

SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Last Updated

Last Updated: 05/05/2021

******************************

Find Help and Treatment

The National Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential referrals and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, treatment, and recovery in English and Spanish.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline
800-662-HELP (4357)
TTY: 800-487-4889

For additional information on finding help and treatment options, visit www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment.

General Questions

For general questions about SAMHSA, including information about mental and substance use disorders:

SAMHSAInfo@samhsa.hhs.gov
877-SAMHSA-7 (726-4727)
TTY: 800-487-4889

Does Self-Ban Work? Do Casinos Monitor or Check ID’S of Self-Banning? Happy to Share My Experiences About This Topic & Problem Gambling With NBC 4 News and I-Reporter, Scott MacFarlane & Team.

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

By Scott MacFarlaneRick YarboroughSteve Jones and Jeff Piper  Published May 12, 2021  Updated on May 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

CLICK Link To Watch Video Story>>>> https://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/maryland-casinos-see-jump-in-voluntarily-banned-gamblers-returning/2668935/


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.


Atlantic City casino profits down 80% in 2020 due to COVID-19
Image Courtesy of USA Today


“They have serious and uncontrollable urges to gamble that they’ve suppressed when the casinos have been closed,” said Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling.  

“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.


Voluntary Exclusion Program Protects Compulsive Gamblers
Sample of a Self-Exclusion Form State of Maryland


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.

This article tagged under:

GAMBLING ADDICTIONMARYLAND CASINOSBANNED

I Support My Recovery Friends. A Special Podcast Event With Guest Randy Grimes. Randy Shares His Recovery With Jason & Mikey, Hosts of Knockin’ Doorz Down & The Carlos Vieira Foundation.

I Support My Recovery Friends. A Special Podcast Event With Guest Randy Grimes. Randy Shares His Recovery With Jason & Mikey, Hosts of Knockin’ Doorz Down & The Carlos Vieira Foundation.



Welcome Recovery Friends, Warriors, and Visitors,

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!

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon



About Randy Grimes Former NFL Pro Tampa Bay Buc #60 ~ Pro Athletes In Recovery Foundation: https://proathletesinrecovery.org/who-we-are/
Want Randy To Speak At Your Recovery Event?
Visit: https://randygrimesspeaks.com/athletesinrecovery/

About Pro AIR

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. 

Please contact Randy to learn more. 


Randy and Lydia


JOIN RANDY’S MISSION

Help Tackle the Future

ADDICTION. MENTAL ILLNESS. SUICIDE PREVENTION. BEHAVIORAL HEALTH.





“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.”



~Randy Grimes





April 22, 2021

Randy Grimes | From NFL Offensive and Lineman Opioid Addict to Motivational Speaker and Founder of Athletes in Recovery

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.

For 51FIFTY use the discount code KDD20 for 20% off here: https://www.kddmediacompany.com/shop



Please visit and support these amazing causes and foundations. They can not help others without support.


The Carlos Vieira Foundation and 51fifty Gives Back!

Carlos Vieira Foundation


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.

https://www.carlosvieirafoundation.org/

https://51fiftyltm.com/giving-back.html

https://51fiftyltm.com/giving-back/race-for-autism.html

March is Problem Gambling Awareness. Sharing Stats, Facts, & The Warning Signs. What is Problem Gambling Any way?

March is Problem Gambling Awareness. Sharing Stats, Facts, & The Warning Signs. What is Problem Gambling Any way?


The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and other sources note the following statistics. 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week. Approximately two to three percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. That’s around 6 million adults and about a half million teens.

Courtesy of The National Council on Problem Gambling




The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and other sources note the following statistics.

  • • 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week.
  • • Approximately two to three percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. That’s around 6 million adults and about a half million teens.
  • • Youth risk developing a gambling problem at a rate of about two to three times that of adults, and approximately 6 percent of college students in America have a gambling problem.
  • • About 40 percent of people with a gambling problem started gambling before the age of 17.
  • • Nevada has the highest prevalence of problem gambling in the country, at about 6.4 percent.

Effects of Problem Gambling

  • • There are an array of harmful effects arising from problem gambling, including:
  • • NCPG notes the annual cost associated with gambling (crime, addiction, and bankruptcy) is $17 billion.
  • • Approximately 76 percent of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder, according to the NCPG.
  • • The NPCG also says children of problem gamblers are at higher risk for a number of behaviors including problem gambling, tobacco use, and drug use.
  • • Oregon Problem Gambling Resource states that about 10 to 17 percent of children of problem gamblers and about 25 to 50 percent of spouses of problem gamblers have been abused.
  • • Georgia State University (GSU) estimates that about 50 percent of problem gamblers commit crimes, and about 2/3 of those crimes were directly related to the gambling.
  • • GSU also notes that 73 percent of people who are incarcerated are identified as problem gamblers.
  • • An Australian study found that one in five suicidal patients had a gambling problem.



WHAT IS PROBLEM GAMBLING?

Gambling addiction—also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder—is an impulse-control disorder. If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones. You’ll gamble whether you’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed, and you’ll keep gambling regardless of the consequences—even when you know that the odds are against you or you can’t afford to lose.

Of course, you can also have a gambling problem without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences in your life, you have a gambling problem.

A gambling addiction or problem is often associated with other behavior or mood disorders. Many problem gamblers also suffer with substance abuse issues, unmanaged ADHD, stress, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. To overcome your gambling problems, you’ll also need to address these and any other underlying causes as well.
The first step is to separate the myths from the facts and what are the implications?

The Mayo Clinic identifies the following risk factors for developing a gambling problem.

  • • Behavior or mood disorders
  • • Age – the problem develops more frequently in young people
  • • Family influence – whether parents and other close adults were gamblers
  • • Personality characteristics such as high level of being competitive, or easily bored

Further, Problem Gambling Prevention identifies certain risk factors in teens, including:

  • • Being male
  • • Living in a single-parent household
  • • Having a below-median household income
  • • Early initiation – starting before 8th grade
  • • Playing sports at school
  • • Experiencing problems at home
  • • Having low-self esteem and self-worth





Courtesy of http://risehelp.info/online-gambling/ The Rise Center Shares;

Online gambling casinos earned $29.3 billion in 2010, an increase of 12 percent. Morgan-Stanley projects that online gaming in the United States will be worth $9.3 billion by 2020. Currently, some states allow online gaming, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND ONLINE GAMBLING

The fastest growing segment of the population involved in online gambling are college students. A University of Connecticut study showed:

  • • 23 percent of college students had gambled online
  • • 6.3 percent did so weekly
  • • In the group that gambled frequently online, 61 percent were pathological gamblers.
  • • In comparison, only 5 percent of non-internet gamblers were considered to have a gambling problem.

Another report on online gambling noted that the easy accessibility and frequency of play of online gambling present a significant risk of problem gambling.

OTHER INTERNET GAMBLING STATISTICS

Other statistics about online problem gambling include:

  • • A 2013 Australian survey showed 30 percent of online gamblers were at risk of problem gambling. Only 15 percent of offline gamblers risked developing a problem.
  • • BBC reports a rise in problem gambling in the 18 to 35 year old demographic in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  • • Another report links smartphone gaming to an increase in problem gambling.



    You can RISE above gambling and other addictions! 

Some of the life’s greatest milestones are threatened by problem gambling and other addictive behaviors. Addiction affects not only the addicted person, but the entire family and can cause a tremendous amount of wreckage and problems in all areas of life for everyone in the family.

RISE believes in the power of family recovery, and is passionate about providing help for both the individual and the family members. We aim to provide compassionate quality treatment for you and your loved ones on the journey to recovery and healing. Recovery starts with you. Rise has great resouces too!

Here are just of few of the resources that can STOP GAMBLING Your Life Away!


Gamblers Anonymous www.gamblersanonymous.org

National Council on Problem Gambling www.ncpgambling.org

Arizona Council on Problem Gambling https://problemgambling.az.gov/arizona-council-compulsive-gambling

Gam-Anon  (For Family/Friends of gambler) www.gam-anon.org

National Suicide Prevention Hotline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Nevada Al-Anon (For Family/Friends Alcoholic) wwwnevadaal-anon.org

Al-Anon www.al-anon.org

Alcoholics Anonymous www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous www.na.org

Nar-Anon (Family/Friends) www.nar-anon.org

Game Quitters-Video Gaming Addictions http://gamequitters.com

Nevada Council on Problem Gambling www.nevadacouncil.org

Nevada Gamblers Helpline 1-800-522-4700

National Problem Gambling Helpline Text 800-522-4700

National Problem Gambling Helpline chat www.ncpgambling.org/ch

Vogue Recovery Center www.voguerecoverycenter.com


In Case Of An Emergency Always Call 911 First.


Before You Place a Bet on Super Bowl? Read This Courtesy of My Friends of ‘Know The Odds.’ Please, Gamble Responsibly…

Before You Place a Bet on Super Bowl? Read This Courtesy of My Friends of ‘Know The Odds.’ Please, Gamble Responsibly…



Now that Super Bowl LV is upon us, my friends of “Know The Odds” shares some sound advice in this guest post. Do you plan on betting on the Super Bowl?

Please, do it responsibly. If you think a friend or loved is having gambling problems? There is hope and help at the bottom of this guest post … Catherine Lyon, Advocate

SUPER BOWL AND HELPING LOVED ONES AVOID PROBLEM GAMBLING


Gambling and the Super Bowl

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.

Identifying Triggers

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

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:

  • Boardgames,
  • Legos with children,
  • Video games,
  • Hiking,
  • Bike riding,
  • Snowshoeing,
  • 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):

  • Video games,
  • Reading,
  • Re-organizing part of your home,
  • Video chatting with love ones,
  • Planning a movie or night of binge watching your favorite TV show,
  • Reading, or
  • 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.


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Additional Support

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/




Bet Free Recovery Now-Holiday Series. Story #8, My Voice & Story of Gambling Addiction & Recovery as Featured In #ADIVAMagazine Fall/Winter 2020…

Bet Free Recovery Now-Holiday Series. Story #8, My Voice & Story of Gambling Addiction & Recovery as Featured In #ADIVAMagazine Fall/Winter 2020…


It is not every day you are invited and featured in a national and international womens magazine, this is what happened to me recently. I am not only honored but humbled to share my story and voice to other women around the world who just might be suffering in silence from addicted gambling like I was 14-years ago and had no clue how to STOP… The rest of that story I am about to share, the same article that is currently being read now in ADIVA Magazine –issue #3 for our Fall/Winter 2020.

You may check it out and learn all about on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/StellaDamasusOfficial/videos/adiva-magazine/385566179159699/
I want to thank Stella Damasus for the invite and I have received amazing feedback and some emails too! When we share HOPE and our experiences with others? THAT is what helps me going forward in my recovery. I may never know who it may impact or “touch” but even if it is only one person? It worth IT!

~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Gambling Recovery Advocate


ADIVA MAGAZINE ~ Issue #3 Winter 2020



My Addiction Required No Substances…


My name is Catherine Townsend-Lyon, and I’m a recovering gambling addict…


My addiction didn’t require any substances—no pill, needles, liquids, or smoke
Yet, every one in five gambling addicts will try suicide from it as I had tried, twice. I will celebrate my 13th-year, maintaining recovery come Jan. 2020. When most people talk about addiction, they often focus on substance abuse. In truth, there are people addicted to behaviors and habits that can cause just as much damage to their lives as drugs or alcohol.


“Catherine Townsend-Lyon understands this all too well. For years, she was addicted to gambling and what she calls “a silent addiction.”

ADIVA Magazine Feature


Catherine shares her story of how she freed herself from this crippling addiction and how she uses this experience to help others get on the path to recovery, even when all hope seems lost. From an addiction that is now the #1 addiction taking lives by suicide…

My disease is called addicted gambling, a silent addiction.

 “How did a good girl go bad? By crossing a fine line from a “once in a while gambler to a full-blown addicted one.”  Well, I began gambling with money. In the end, I was gambling with my life.

This addiction is progressive in nature, so I began pawning or selling valuables. Finally, I ended up committing a crime because the money ran out. Toward the end and before treatment, I began to abuse alcohol as just gambling alone wasn’t “doing it for me,” as I was stuck in a cunning sick cycle. I was sick, broke, broken, spiritually lost. Then, hopelessness and darkness took over.


As statistics now show, more then 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers, and one in every five addicted gambler’s attempting suicide as I did, twice, these numbers will continue to rise as the expansion of for-profit gambling options, including online legalized online internet gambling like sports betting in many states, just as state lotteries are expanding. It seems gambling is just about everywhere from my experiences. 

So, it is no wonder I became addicted to it. I became one of the 1 in 5 who tried suicide while still residing in Southern Oregon for over 26+years and where my gambling addiction journey began. I, too, had two failed suicide attempts before I knew there was help available. 

I was gambling two to four times a day playing the Oregon lottery video poker/slot machines introduced in the early 90s. By 1998, the Oregon Lottery had licensed more than 9,000 video gambling machines in some 1,800 outlets, and I got hooked! Gambling on slot and poker machines has now become the second-biggest revenue raiser for the Oregon government, behind income taxes. 

My recovery journey started in 2002 after my first suicide attempt. But again, in April 2006, I woke up in a hospital for a second time due to another failed suicide attempt and again admitted into an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 30-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; it was due to not taking my psych medications for my mental health. I thought I didn’t need nor want to take them any longer and thinking I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well. 

Hell, being normal is a bit overrated (Lol).

No excuses as we faced a few severe financial crises simultaneously as I stopped taking my medications for my mental health. My husband and I had worked through all of our savings; I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! They pressed charges, I was arrested, went through the court process, and was sentenced to many community service hours, two years of probation, and paid restitution that I am still paying on today. If I don’t? I will most likely die a felon.
 

My Point and Wisdom From an Older Diva 

You have to do all the recovery work in all areas that include your finances (financial inventory). I had not done the work in this area and necessary for a steady recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work and maybe with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems occurred, I did choose to work with a specialist for over a year while I went through the legal mess I created. 

Why am I sharing?

Our recovery stories and experiences are powerful tools to help others and to give them hope! Even after my second suicide attempt and crisis center stay from the hospital, I learned I did not have a well-rounded recovery plan and had a lot more work to do. I also knew that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of addicted compulsive gambling.

After I was released from the crisis center in 2006, I began working with a gambling addiction specialist and got my mental health under control; I began to see the enormous stigma around those who maintain recovery and those who may have a mental illness. And since I am a dual-diagnosed person, this can make obtaining recovery a bit more work, as I discovered. The habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking we use within our addiction needed more correcting. 

Working with the specialist was eye-opening. He made me revisit and helped me break down ‘the cycle’ of addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while maintaining recovery. I found a relapse prevention workbook that helped and was a game-changer for me. Although I never did relapse into gambling, this workbook had helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event crisis that may arise during my recovery journey. 

Another tool was journaling each day. I’ve enjoyed writing at a young age and kept a journal, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. I later used my writings to write my book, a memoir titled ‘Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.’ It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many fine book stores and online. It is written in memoir form and is not how to recover, but the Why and the roots to how I became addicted to this cunning addiction…
https://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A/

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a LIAR & a CHEAT) Kindle Edition
Memoir By Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author, Advocate, Columnist


I didn’t start writing and journaling for a book; that was all God’s intervention and came later on. Writing down my story and experiences in notebooks for a year toward the end of 2010 was a very healing process for me. I shared in the book my gambling addiction, my past childhood abuse, and sexual trauma, and what it is like living with mental illness. 


I needed to see on paper and in between the lines what gambling addiction had taken from me”…


Today I never dreamed I would be a published author and recovery advocate. That began my recovery advocacy of writing for many publications like formerly InRecovery magazine, now a columnist for “Keys To Recovery” newspaper, recovery blogging, many radio shows, podcasts, and speaking. These are only a few of my recovery blessings I have received within my path thus far. By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter the stigma around gambling addiction, those maintaining recovery, and those with mental and emotional health challenges. 


2019 Addiction & Recovery Speaking
Event AZ State Capitol

I have also, recently began to share my voice and story as one who also suffered childhood sexual abuse and trauma with others as well. Why? Because I learned these are the underlying issues and roots that had me turn to addiction came from that pain from my to overcome it and not use gambling to escape, cope, or hide from all those haunting memories. 

Through my book, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real silent disease and illness that requires no substances, is just as destructive as any other addiction, and still #1 in claiming lives by suicide than any other addiction. Through my advocacy work, I help others be informed and educated as I raise awareness and prove the impacts problem gambling has on your communities’ as it shatters families. The expansion of casinos, state lottery, and online gambling contributes to more accessibility as it now is touching our youth. 

I’m often asked what I do to keep my long-term recovery. Work a steady recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit, finances, and personal inventory. There are many ways and choices to recover, including inpatient or outpatient treatment, 12-Step meetings, addiction specialists, and more. Anything and everything you can find? Just do it. Only one option may not be enough to reach success in long-term recovery. 

Today it is my recovery duty to share hope to those reaching out to recover and need support. I continue my advocacy work as an article writer and columnist for ‘Keys To Recovery newspaper’ out of Southern California. I run and write a blog called https://BetFreeRecoveryNow.wordpress.com  and share my experiences and recovery throughout media and social media. Have done so on in many publications, podcasts, radio shows, and in a global ADIVA Mag.



My husband Tom and I just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary as we live outside Phoenix, Arizona.
We live a quiet life with our three kitty fur babies.
Soon, I will celebrate my 14th year maintaining recovery on Jan. 29th, 2021… It has been a long road to get to where I am today.
The rest our/my amazing life has been GOD GIVEN and I am blessed and humbled with a life that has been beyond a one I could have ever hoped for in so many ways.


I have gained wisdom, have learned life lessons, and the best part? I get to help others who may still be suffering in silence like I had for many year’s from gambling and into recovery. Everyone deserves a second chance as I did when God showed my my real true purpose in life.


“The cruelest lies are often told in silence”… ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” … ~Maya Angelou


My Loving Husband, Tom Lyon


Havng Fun Rasng $$ 4 Big Jim Foundation!
Addiction Awareness Speaking Event Phoenix, AZ!



ME & My Buddy Former NFL Pro
Randy Grimes of Tampa Bay Bucs.



GOD IS GOOD!

As The Corona Pandemic Across The Nation is Turning From Bad to Worse. So is Problem Online Gambling While Exploding! Guest Post By The Dawn Rehab…


Risky Business: The Rise in Online Gambling During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ By Dawn Rehab ~ https://thedawnrehab.com/

Courtesy of The Dawn Rehab


141,310 Gambling Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime


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. 

СБУ прикрыла более полусотни онлайн-казино

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. 

If you’re looking for a way out of a gambling addiction, we can help you. Call us today To learn more about The Dawn USA Call – US/CANADA: +1 678 619 3975











Relapse Prevention is Vital as The Holidays Approach. My Special Guest Post is Gambling Addiction & Recovery Expert, ‘Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D’…

Relapse Prevention is Vital as The Holidays Approach.      My Special Guest Post is Gambling Addiction & Recovery Expert, ‘Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D’…



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 Guest and 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.


How To Handle Roadblocks & Challenges or Even After a Relapse On Your Road  To Recovery… | Bet Free Recovery Happens Now. Sharing Gambling Recovery,  Hope, & Supporting Others.


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.


Relapse Prevention:: Long-Term Sobriety by [Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin]
Kevin Coughlin’s Best-Selling Book!


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!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gambling.jpg



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!


My Monthly Journal Book: A Roadmap to Life by Dr. Kevin T ...

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!

May you have a wonderful journey as you walk in the sunlight of the spirit! ©2020 Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.


The Official Gambling Addiction Christian Recovery Coaches Workbook by [Coughlin Ph.D., Rev. Dr. Kevin T.]
This and all books by Kevin Coughlin Available on Amazon




ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ADDICTION EXPERT

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.


CONNECT with Kevin Coughlin on Social Media!

Rev. Kevin T Coughlin on AMAZON BOOKS
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Rev Kev Network – LinkedIn
FACEBOOK -REV KEV Author

Rev Dr Kevin T Coughlin PhD, Beach Lake PA
All Kevin’s Book Available in E-book & Paperback
Amazon and Barnes & Noble Online

Keys To Recovery Newspaper Is Helping Organizations In Each Free Issue… October is ‘The “Wounded Warrior Project’… How It Works.

Keys To Recovery Newspaper Is Helping Organizations In Each Free Issue… October is ‘The “Wounded Warrior Project’… How It Works.



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.

And?

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 RECOVERY BACKSTORY:

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 Warriors
Here 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

www.KeysToRecoveryNewspaper.com
818-386-8400 Office

I Welcome Best-Selling Self-Help Author Kaden James. His Books & Advice Can Help Those Who Maintain Recovery…

I Welcome Best-Selling Self-Help Author Kaden James. His Books & Advice Can Help Those Who Maintain Recovery…


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.

Confidence sign with a beautiful day.jpeg



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.
 
WebsiteJoin Author’s NewsletterFacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreadsAmazonLinkedin

Kaden James, Author & Life Wellness Coaching.

Kaden James, Author & Wellness Coach
kadenjames.allauthor.com



Guest Post By Recovery Writer Dominica Applegate. In Sober Recovery. Blaming and How to Stop.


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.


Accountability in Recovery - Dara Rehab




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.


Divorce Inspirational Quotes ⋆ Online Divorce Counseling


I Continue To Support My Friend & Founder, Ronda Hatefi of ‘Oregonians for Gambling Awareness’ As Sept. 29th, 2020 is Oregon’s “Problem Gamblers Awareness Day”. . .

I Continue To Support My Friend & Founder, Ronda Hatefi of ‘Oregonians for Gambling Awareness’ As Sept. 29th, 2020 is Oregon’s “Problem Gamblers Awareness Day”. . .

July of 1995 changed our lives forever.

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

In Memoriam ~ Bobby Hafemann


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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 …

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standing, outdoor and nature



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.


Honoring Bobby & Sharing Hope From Problem Gambling


P.G.A.D.
O.G.A.O.

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.


OREGON GAMBLING HOTLINE:
1 – 877 – 695 – 4648
1 – 877 – MY – LIMIT

The National Problem Gambling Helpline
1-800-522-4700.
National Helpline is confidential and available 24 hours a day.


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.

THEN?

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 …

Bobby Hafemann

########

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.


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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


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More Articles About Bobby Hafemann & Connect With Her on FB
https://www.facebook.com/OGAOrg/

https://mailtribune.com/business/family-believes-gambling-led-to-suicide

https://www.oregonpgs.org/92908-problem-gamblers-awareness-day/

https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/coming-the-end-of-sept-the-2nd-annual-national-week-of-action-to-stop-predatory-gambling-and-ronda-hatefi/amp/


 

Ryan Hampton of Recovery Advocacy Project Needs Our Help With Answers To Their Poll. Share Your Voice & Opinions!

Ryan Hampton of Recovery Advocacy Project Needs Our Help With Answers To Their Poll. Share Your Voice & Opinions!

WELCOME RECOVERY POSSE & Friends,

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you will give a few minutes of your time.

My amazing recovery friend and advocate, Ryan Hampton is at it again making sure addiction, recovery, and mental health issues are on the ballot this coming general election.

Isn’t time we make sure these important issues and topics make it to Washington, D.C., to be heard for changes to be made?
I do too!
Here is a way everyone “touched” by addiction and mental health challenges can have their voices heard by taking this POLL.
How do voters feel about addiction and recovery in politics?

Here are all the details and just “Click Here”… All poll responses will be anonymous. Please click here to participate.

Thanks, Recovery Warriors! 
Advocate, Catherine Lyon 😺🦁✝💞💞

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mail

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Dear Catherine,

We need your help. The Recovery Advocacy Project is conducting a poll to share with policymakers and elected officials–and your participation will help us make the case for increased services for addiction and mental health recovery support.
All poll responses will be anonymous. Please click here to participate.

Do you think addiction and mental health recovery has been a key issue for the candidates running in Arizona?

We’re asking voters like you to take this quick online poll to share their thoughts on this topic ahead of the upcoming elections. We can’t wait to share the results with you and our policymakers–but we need your help by participating today!

There are only a few days left to complete this poll. Take a look at the questions and submit your thoughts here.

Thank you for your support.

#########

Now that election day is in 97 days. It’s critical that we keep addiction and mental health recovery front-and-center for all candidates. And there are several ways you can help!

This past weekend, we were out canvassing and educating voters with the Recovery Advocacy Project—focusing on addiction and mental health recovery as issues that must be priorities for candidates and elected officials. The Recovery Advocacy Project (RAP) is a network of people and organizations across the country advocating for addiction recovery policies.

RAP is committed to giving people in recovery, family members, and supporters of recovery the grassroots organizing tools to think and act locally. RAP is working to build a visible and effective constituency in demand of the community and public policy based solutions in response to America’s long-standing addiction crisis. You can learn more and get involved in your state this election cycle by going here

This past Friday, I published a blog in Medium outlining many of the challenges our community faces with the dueling COVID-19 public health crisis. Massive budget cuts to addiction health services in several states risk 27 million American lives.

Now is the time for our community to stand up, get involved, and make our voices heard!

And lastly, there are only a few days left to register and join advocates and families from across the country via Zoom from August 18-20th for Mobilize Recovery. While the official application deadline has passed, we have a few open slots left for digital participation.

Mobilize Recovery will be a great start for any person desiring to learn more about how they can get involved to make an impact in their local community this election. Please add your name here today if you’re able to join us. Registration is free but requires a commitment to attend and participate for all 3 days of the online event.

Thanks, Catherine for all you do for our community!
All The Best,
Ryan Hampton

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Part-Two of P W Robinson’s Emailed Letters to The City of Oxnard. Sharing His Voice and Concerns of Less Homeless Services, Unsafe and Unhealthy Encampments. The Paradise Project Could Be An Answer …Real Advocacy.

Part-Two of P W Robinson’s Emailed Letters to The City of Oxnard. Sharing His Voice and Concerns of Less Homeless Services, Unsafe and Unhealthy Encampments. The Paradise Project Could Be An Answer …Real Advocacy.

 

 

 

In part one I shared an email written by my friend Peter Robinson. In regards to a meeting that was taking place with several officials of the City of Oxnard, CA., Peter wanted to write and share his voice and concerns about the many continuing problems he thinks need to addressed in Oxnard and within Ventura County for the people who need proper living and services like food, showers, and more.

You may also recall I had written some articles earlier this year about this same area in California from another person who was claiming to be an “Advocate for the Homeless” and forcing those he felt were responsible for the homeless to help them and be “Accountable” to do so.

That was then. I write “then” because he and and I are no longer connected or in contact. When you read Peter’s (PW) personal experiences and interactions in this “Part Two Letter,” P W shares why many us who tried to help Mr. Martinez, by being caring, kind, and mentoring him.

The problem I had is ‘you can’t HELP SOMEONE Who Is Not willing to help themselves’ and when you cling to motives of doing things for your own validation and it all being really about how one looks to others which seems important to him. Look, there is no “I” in the words “TEAM or Self-Sabotage”…I did and will always wish him the best.

And, yes, Mr. Martinez was the person who introduced me to Peter (P W ) Robinson and Peter and I speak often. Peter’s ideas and thinking outside the box are a ‘breath of fresh air’ when it comes to helping those with no place to live, the services they need, and knows why first-hand. Because he currently lives in a shelter at Mercy House in Oxnard…  ~Catherine

…..


(Peter’s Residence at Mercy House – Oxnard Navigation Center)

 

Peter shared with me ‘who’ is (P W) Robinson

Here is his (P W) words describing who he is and how he wants to help!

I am a 60-year-old white male, legally disabled with/from Bipolar and ADHD, becomes despondent, finally seeks in-patient help, finds new meds, reconnects with God Almighty, is cured of trauma and re-launched …Then suddenly I became homeless.

I’ve dedicated my time to learning all the theories and methodologies around the issue, met and interacted with the homeless–from the streets of Las Vegas to a V.C. in a homeless shelter under quarantine during this pandemic, and has written extensively about the experience for two years.

Now building the Paradise Project in order to help cure and end homelessness in the USA…   ~P W Robinson

OrmondBeachProjectMap

 

Recent legislations vs. the homeless By Peter Robinson

I’ve read the minutes from the Autumn 2019 council vote, and can report that each City Council member used a specific compound phrase before voting, ‘purely punitive’. Not just punitive. ‘Purely’, or ‘only’, or ‘just’…punitive…is what they all said before voting for increased harassment.

In your own, very specific words, we’re being punished for not having a home. And as long as the public bathrooms remain locked in Oxnard–18 months and counting–any printed complaints of outdoor bodily functions are moot, dishonest, and just plain evil.

The Advocate Concept

Now would be a great time for everyone to understand the opposing opinions and methodologies on combating homelessness, as well as to establish a working definition of the word ‘advocate’ going forward.

noun

/ˈadvəkət/

a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. “he was an untiring advocate of economic reform”

Similar:
champion
upholder
supporter
backer
promoter
proponent
exponent
protector
patron
spokesman for
spokeswoman for
spokesperson for
speaker for
campaigner for
fighter for
battler for
crusader for
missionary
reformer
pioneer
pleader
apostle
apologist
booster
plugger
critic
Opposite:


“I’m P. W. Robinson. I’m an advocate for the homeless. I write and tirelessly advocate for those who have nothing”…

Paul W. & Mr. Martinez, Advocates?, my experiences and their ways can each be defined in many different ways, but ‘advocates for the homeless’, they are certainly not. Paul, at least, doesn’t pitch himself that way, but Lang does.  Not only am I homeless and immersed in this world, but I’ve also studied the issues, both locally and at the national level. I’ve immersed myself in the study of homeless shelter theory, and have personally experienced and witnessed the day to day operations of several shelters.

Additionally, my previous work experience includes decades of leadership in the areas of business building and start-ups, as well as the staffing, training, motivating, and managing of human capital. “Everything I’ve learned–both before and since I became homeless–has taught me that there are no lost causes in the pool of human beings.

“With love, we rise and continue to rise. Without love, we wither and eventually die.” 

I think everyone alive should read the email exchanges I recently had with Paul W, one of the local go-to homeless policy-shapers. It wasn’t private, and it should be read by anyone hoping to learn more about our topics, and how each side presents itself. They carries trauma, I don’t. He has made his work about hurting people he doesn’t understand the first thing about.

What should also be read are my exchanges with Mr. Martinez, an individual I reached out to work with until I realized that he is not for us at all, and in fact  seems to hates the homeless with a seething rage that seems to know no limits. His ‘advocacy’ for the less fortunate is purely a media creation, and he’s known for performing in front of the press on field trips, to establish his false narrative. But always two sides to receptions.

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Homeless Human Man - Free photo on Pixabay

 

He seems to dedicate himself to diminishing the resources and life experience of local homeless folks. He remains in constant “Anger and Resentment” and all others remain his victims of choice. Many homeless folks around here are physically terrified of him because they know him. He was a thug before he ever hit the streets, some kind of monster while out here, and remains traumatized and raging against his victims of choice.

See if you can find ‘terrorizing’ listed among the above actions of an advocate. He’s just another resentful guy who hates the less fortunate, pretty run of the mill around here. Did you know that at the shelter people routinely stop and laugh at us after hitting us with their cars? Stigma is still real and only here, I’m pretty sure. He has promised me many, many times, to “get the shelter closed down”, both in maniacal, screaming voice calls and messages, and childlike, ALL CAPS emails and texts.

Recently Mr. martinez told me he ‘saved’ a rape victim on the condition that he’d get press coverage for doing it, which he did, helped her get into this shelter I live in at Mercy House, then relentlessly harassed her after her admittance, to the point that she refused his calls, so he kept calling me.

Pin on More Of The Word

 

She was trying to heal, get some peace and some rest, but I could never get him to understand that. He wanted her to coordinate her story with him, for reasons that are his alone. How sick is that? “As always–always, with no exceptions–it’s only about Lang.” Just as it is with his laughable, fake-journalist alter-ego ‘Jeff Anderson’, he is as transparent as any demon I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty.

Maybe you all enable him to say and do whatever he wants–and never be accountable for any of it–because he says what you want to hear about us. Or maybe there’s money in it. Who knows? It’s odd, to be sure. If Lang would like to dispute any portion of my assessment of either him or our relationship, I stand ready with dozens of written and screamed pieces of evidence.

There will come a time, probably pretty soon, when he is dragged out into the open and exposed. He knows I love him, and I hope he finds some kind of peace in his life. I’d have ignored him if he didn’t laugh so hard when he makes these threats against my family.

What’s most important right now?

This time, these moments, each day, right now, July 2020…

Anyone with eyes can see that this game is coming to a conclusion: it’s the end-game, if not end times. The war is fully engaged, and good and evil are openly taking sides. God Almighty and His Angels vs.the little guy and his little demons. A mismatch as always, but it’s never easy. It isn’t supposed to be. The teams we’re each playing for are clearly revealed in our words and actions each day.

Listen to your heart–the largest part of you will always be pure love, as all of us were made. The very best thing that each of us can do every day is love. Love everybody. Tell them you love them if you can, show them if you can’t say it. Tell a homeless person, who never hears it.

“The ‘highest homeless death rate in the nation’ is a real thing, meticulously researched, and leads to only one conclusion: hate kills. I swear, I thought I’d uncover a serial killer–which would have been a far preferable conclusion to what is clear now: hate alone can kill.”

I’ve recently demonstrated my commitment to healing by standing down during the recent protests, rather than presenting all the local cop abuse of the homeless to the gathering mob. I did that because I live here, and will live here in V.C., and I intend to live in the most loving and compassionate community on the face of the planet. It might take a minute or two.

The hatred directed at anyone right now simply helps the devil do his work. Dumping hundreds of homeless on the streets here will allow you to set unprecedented death rates, records that may never be broken. So, there’s that.

Please continue to show support to the Mercy House projects as we work toward better, more innovative, and compassionate solutions to this societal burden.

The 24hr/low-barrier concept is essential, make no mistake, but isn’t flawless. Mercy House will continue to grow its services as the environment dictates. building and can always be refined. Let me know if you would like my contribution of any kind, including generating positive P.R. pieces, grant proposals, and the like. I will happily engage in discussions about the issues at any time, in any venue.

More than that, let’s form an alliance, some combination of private donors, and allocated city funds. I will be fundraising as soon as I‘m released from quarantine. Let’s join together as friends and allies. We have only 1600 here, we can, quite literally, end that. I’ll bet we can get a parcel of land somewhere if we purchase it.

The Paradise Project will be a 30-day in-patient, 24 persons to a wing, a locked-down program aimed at restoring the homeless to functioning members of society, so they can stand on their own and resume their lives. It’s healing first, then housing at the end, and is not only cost-effective in operation, but it will also quickly produce positive cash flow.

It’ll be a reality series that demonstrates actual ‘miracles’ in real-time, human beings rising from the depths of hopelessness. It will also recognize and celebrate the healers and their healing arts, each of whom will be healers of Ventura County.

We’ll have superstars rising from day one, exerting their influence in their fields. It’ll be based out of Ventura County, and will be recognized internationally for its healing properties.

It’s also, to be sure, an upcoming financial opportunity for those initial investors in the Paradise communities. I’ll never ask for an interest-free loan or any kind of small donations for the healing Project, it funds another way, but the communities themselves represent an investment opportunity with limited risk.

None of the TDC projects are non-profit–we pay for our initiatives ourselves by merchandising and selling access, we turn our profit into the growth of other charitable projects. We’re our own biggest donor, self-perpetuating, synergistic. It’s the business of charity.  I’ll probably have to bring this project before the public all by myself, due to local press hostility, and am prepared to do so in a variety of ways.

In the end, we’ll be judged on the quality of our mercy, and how we treated the least fortunate among us. As always, everyone will receive their just reward.

My message will always be love, only love. 
Peter (P. W.) Robinson

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Homeless People File Class-Action Lawsuit Against the City of San ...

 

Don’t Human Beings Deserve Much Better Than This?

 

 

How About We Destigmatize Those Who Are Homeless & Stop The Labeling. My Friend and Guest P. W. Robinson Has a Little Something to Share About Homelessness as I Do…

How About We Destigmatize Those Who Are Homeless & Stop The Labeling. My Friend and Guest P. W. Robinson Has a Little Something to Share About Homelessness as I Do…

….
Not everyone will be having a ‘Happy 4th of July’ even as we are living in uncertain times and in the middle of a growing COVID-19 pandemic, still, it seems even with all the unrest happening and groups of protesters chanting about these lives and those lives matter. Has anyone stopped to think about the lives of those who are spending another 4th of July HOMELESS? Probably not.

Why is it that those who are less fortunate are the FIRST to be FORGOTTEN ABOUT? What is the first thing YOU THINK when you see a person a man or woman pushing a shopping cart with the only belongings they have? I know and so do many but you say it. But I will.

Did you know that many of those lives affected by having no place to call home and that there are a variety of homeless populations which includes families, adult men and women, mothers and their children, persons living with HIV/AIDS, individuals overcoming substance addictions, and some who are physically and mentally disabled? Don’t they deserve dignity?

DO THEY NOT Deserve help in areas of economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being in order to enhance their confidence and self-esteem and have a sense of personal pride? YES.

So I’m sharing a letter by one of my awesome friends who lives in Oxnard, CA., in Ventura County. He wrote and sent to some city council officials as he has been tirelessly speaking out and speaking up for those who are not The Least, The Lost, and The Homeless who feel Hopeless …They are human beings like all of us. So meet P W (Peter Robinson).

Peter also advocates through FAITH and knows that is a little unconventional and makes some officials uncomfortable but those who are homeless come from all walks of life, are part of our humanity, and they deserve to have hope for their future. Many times low self-esteem and shame stop them from speaking up or looking for help and services.

Maybe the stigma and labels need to be removed and not used. I’m guilty of it, but not purposely called them the homeless in an intentional negative way. And like other groups of people like protesters for “Black Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “Police Profiling & overuse of Force” well, those lives of people who have to live on the street or in a shelter and not always by their own doing, don’t their Lives Matter?

THEY SHOULD MATTER FIRST…

Here is part one of a two-part letter (email) P W wrote and emailed to many officials and a few newspapers and officials who run a shelter called “Mercy House”…I will share more of my thoughts tomorrow when I share PART TWO.

Please share your comments and thoughts with us!!

……
Homeless-Man

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To whom it may concern:

I’m very heartened to hear a rumor of a decision to purchase local motels and provide some housing for our most vulnerable residents. I’m writing today on behalf of the Mercy house shelters, in order that all facts are before the council and others as they deliberate future allocations of money and compassion.


A homeless shelter–the concept itself– is the most significant healing initiative there is, and the godliest and compassionate instinct a community can ever have.


By, literally, sheltering people from danger
, and hatred, and hunger, and fear, a homeless shelter provides an immeasurable contribution to a world in desperate need of warmth and compassion and directly saves lives each and every day.

The biggest ongoing and debilitating dangers to the homeless are hopelessness, depression, and suicidal instincts. The item that we lack most is competent mental health care or any at all.

It’s a thing that affects all poor people–dramatically lower levels of mental health care. We’re never even given a test for a diagnosis, the first step actual healers and doctors always take.

It’s the thing that keeps the gulf wide between the haves and the have-nots. I know because I’ve received treatment while in each condition. The homeless don’t recover because we don’t receive the tools necessary to do the job.

“Accountability”

The most abused and misunderstood term in the healing world. In the case of the homeless, by not providing any competent mental health care, then giving up when that person can’t complete the dozens of small tasks necessary to finding housing, we’re asking a person with a broken leg to walk on it until we’re satisfied or sleep outside on the ground. “Fill out these forms in a timely manner, or sleep outdoors.”

It is, bar none, the cruelest and most useless term in the language of the enemy. It’s because it has a fluid definition, and these standards are being applied arbitrarily, according to the lack of understanding inside one individual for another.

Personally, I’ve done my part long ago, submitted my paperwork correctly, and await the news that something might be available that I can look into. We have several folks in here with housing vouchers and nowhere to use them. We’re backed up with qualified applicants, and have been almost since the beginning.

We’ve all done our part and are fully ‘accountable’, by any definition of the word.

I was healed of this condition before I contracted the disease, so to speak, in an in-patient setting–so I function as someone out in the world. I have no vices or bad habits, I don’t break the law or steal or abuse anyone, I simply don’t have housing.


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image04-3

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Those descriptors apply to most of the folks inside this shelter. We don’t fit the profile of who you hate, but we’ll suffer in exactly the same ways when local services are reduced or discontinued. The only difference between myself and most others out there is that I’ve had treatment for my conditions.

It’s why the Peer system is one of the few known successful methods of helping. Absent actual quality mental health care, peers–formerly homeless folks, now recovered and well-versed in the red tape production necessary to moving forward–are a necessary component in generating forward momentum.
 

“Mercy House at the Armory”
…….
Despite words to the contrary, from people with other agendas
, the Mercy House effort at the Armory in Oxnard has been an ongoing success. For each person here who is ‘taking advantage of or abusing the system and another flat-out misconception–there are four or five of us who are taking advantage of this opportunity to heal and grow and come up and out of this quicksand, this ongoing nightmare.

Those who sleep in here much of the day–very few of us, the majority older and disabled–have so much pain when they move around that not moving around seems the better choice, and all-day sleepers are submerged in depression and hopelessness, or recovering from recent horrible trauma.

Those who use meth are in a hopeless state, period. Bored to tears, no way to climb out, no potential positive outcome, no loving moment on the horizon… meth provides a way for folks to kill themselves without admitting that’s what they’re doing. In exchange for brief moments of euphoria, everyone who uses meth is utterly miserable, before and during, and the hangover and shame innate to the experience can last for weeks.

 

They have no hope because they’ve never been shown any reasons for hope.” 


….

.

The staff here has been brilliant beyond compare. There was no template for a pandemic for homeless shelters, and they’ve adjusted to changing and difficult situations on the fly, with grace and compassion. The leadership is rock-solid and has been since the beginning. Without naming everyone I’d like to, we have truly been blessed with gifted, dedicated healers in here, doing their work at a level far in excess of their compensation.

In my opinion, it makes the most sense now for Mercy House to take control of the Community Action Project, and all homelessness-related new initiatives in Ventura County. You’ve installed them in a position of frontline healing and real influence–let them do what they do. I have some fundraising ideas if that’s what is needed.

“Low-barrier concept.”

‘Low-barrier’ in a homeless shelter simply describes the process of checking in for the night–we don’t use a breathalyzer. Unfortunately, there is no breath test for meth, not that I would want those folks forced outdoors necessarily, either. Leaving people outside because they have a booze or drug issue is about as cruel as a thing can be, and there are very few in here who have those issues, anyway.


In fact, at this time, I’d say we have less than 30%
in here who use anything except marijuana, if that, which is an essential healing treatment for ADD, ADHD, and general depression, and is prescribed by doctors.

At this very moment, sitting on my bunk, I see teachers, engineers, managers, brainiacs. A black man who owned a fleet of taxis. I see a doctor, an architect, artists, and several musicians. A professional comic, a groundbreaking female mortgage broker, the founder of a local Animal Rescue biz. I can go on and on. No one in here is ordinary. Or anywhere, come to think of it.

When I talk to people who don’t know anything at all about homeless shelters, having never slept or worked inside of one, I’m often struck by their idea that it’s some kind of cushy ride. I assure you, it’s anything but that.
 

“An Experiment”
…..
As an experiment
, let’s take 100 of you indoors-dwellers, strangers to each other, and move you into one big room, double bunked.

Let’s make half of you physically challenged or full-on physically disabled, with walkers and canes and wheelchairs, as is our demographic. By necessity, we’ll use a building with limited bathroom accesses, and limited ADA facilities. Of the remaining population, all will have mental health conditions–some legally disabled, most undiagnosed and untreated.

How will you do, all alone with these strangers, with no place to hide your emotions? With no place to cry? I can tell you I’ve walked up on real tough guys, the hardest men you’ll ever meet, hidden down an alley, crying their eyes out for all they’ve lost. Men among men, weeping like children.


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Skid Row's Midnight Mission Now Has Overnight Shelter for Homeless ...

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Ladies…how would you feel?
….
If you’re like most of my female roommates, you’ve had a long and successful work life, you’ve been an entrepreneur or business owner, you’re at minimum a former high-performer. You’ve raised children, and often buried some.

Now, you’re injured, legally disabled, and you’ve had every single thing taken from you. Money, property, jewelry, automobiles: your friends and family, men in general, have taken it all from you, then abandoned you to wolves.

You’ve been beaten, raped, and beaten some more. Respect, love, friendship, trust–all beaten out of you until you have nowhere else to turn, nowhere to go but outside.


Now, you’re standing in line in a homeless shelter waiting to use an ADA shower, everyone around you is immersed in their own suffocating crisis, and you’re wondering what went wrong. You have no place to store personal food–there just isn’t room for it here. There is one television tuned to a channel you may or may not like.


Welcome to their world–not “cushy”, but a far, far safer and better world than the one that lurks just outside the door. Outside, they don’t even let you use a bathroom. You have to walk for miles to urinate. There are no mirrors to fix your hair in. The outside world holds nothing but terror, hatred, and neglect. Outside, all those previous crimes, the beatings and rapes, against your precious heart and your mortal soul, continue unabated.

 

Try to imagine living without a door that you can close. That’s what a lack of sheltering really means, for a woman. If nothing more, let’s shelter the women of Ventura County, even if it’s in some giant tents. We cannot be so weak as to not be able to handle that. It’s impossible.

 

 

Thank you for reading. I stand ready to aid in any way I can.

With love and hope,

P. W. Robinson
Oxnard, Ca.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Relapse Now During This Pandemic and Unrest Happening Around Us. Recovery Guest Featured Article…

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I had just received my digital magazine from one of the most informative recovery reads I enjoy and learn so much from called The Fix. When I saw this headline, I said to myself this one needs to be shared out. So, here I am sharing it with all of my recovery posses.

I am sharing it since we seem to be in this pandemic of COVID-19 and I feel, for a long while and we who maintain recovery from any addiction besides gambling don’t “DO” isolation very well. We need to have human contact and be with others. We crave that comradery with other like-minded folks who are also maintaining recovery so we know we are not alone and feel supported. So let’s read what The Fix says about NOT Relapsing Now.  ~Catherine Lyon, Advocate

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Don’t Relapse Now

By John Teufel 05/27/20

Time has stopped, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too?

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Make Your Own DIY Crochet Mask Covers | 8News

 

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Reader, I will make a deal with you. I will talk to you like an adult and say some uncomfortable things. I won’t be your sponsor and I won’t throw the Big Book at your face. But in exchange, you need to promise me you’ll read this to the end. No skips, no tag outs, no skimmy skims. Okay? Okay, great.

I understand the urge to relapse right now.
I’m feeling it too.

A lot of us have severely diminished responsibilities – my work has nearly dried up. I hate the Zoom meetings, which feel like impersonal shadow plays where I have to stare at my new fat face. All our other distractions that can’t be done from the couch have been canceled.

My normie friends are mixing up quarantinis before the 5 o’clock news starts. Most importantly, we are all being treated to a daily blast of death, inequity, and press conferences where a poorly tanned moron tells us to shoot up with bleach. It is so much. It is a daily mental weight that is difficult to bear even on the best days.

“If you are saying to yourself, maybe I can’t hold out on this, maybe I am going to break, that is a sane response. It is, in some ways, a rational response. Time has stopped, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too? If you are saying to yourself, maybe I can’t hold out on this, maybe I am going to break, that is a sane response.

It is, in some ways, a rational response. Time has paused, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too? The other day I found myself telling a friend that I won’t be jobless, locked down, without the beach (my favorite distraction), and sober. In full Scarlett O’Hara mode, I declared, “Sorry, but I won’t do it!” It felt good to say, the way forbidden things sometimes do. Total, unapologetic narcissism has its pleasures.”

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How to stay safe if going to park or beach during Covid-19 pandemic

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I could probably get away with it, too. I could probably go on a few-days bender and maybe my boyfriend would figure it out (he is sharp but that is the diseased thinking!),  and no one else would. I could even keep my day count! Why not?!? This is the sort of self-dealing I’ve been doing. I am so good at it. I am the Clarence Darrow of fucking my own shit up.

But it is wrong. I know it’s wrong. If you are having similar thoughts, you probably know they are wrong too. Even now, with life halted and pain and injustice ascendant, there are reasons both practical and metaphysical that it is crucial for you and me to keep our sober time. Even if every word we ever heard at an AA meeting was false, even if the Big Book itself is a decades-long scam to sell us on religion.

Practically, you are going to regret it. You know you are! Sorry, but you do. You are going to be annoyed, at the very least, that you need to restart your day count, which yes, you eventually will be forced to do because you won’t be able to lie to your support network for that long. Whatever bender you have in mind is going to come to an end, in what will feel like the blink of an eye, and all you’ll have left is regret and likely, a terrible headache or worse. You also, of course, might take it too far and die.

If things get really bad, as they very well may, people are going to know what you did and that is going to suck for you. Your family and friends are already extremely stressed out right now (just like you!) – the last thing they need is to hear that you relapsed, in your tiny apartment in some faraway city, and no one can travel to you to make sure you get it together. Your mom is going to cry.

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For COVID-19 Patients, Breathing Easier Could Be as Simple as ...

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On that note, if you need hospital care because you overdose or can’t stop, great, you are taxing an already overtaxed healthcare system and exposing yourself to COVID-19 at the same time. From a million different standpoints, any decision to relapse right now is selfish, even if it feels like the only person being punished is you.

Okay, who cares, right? I hear that. When I was first trying to get sober and in a relapse cycle, other people’s problems were some theoretical concern that was a not-close second to my immediate ego gratification. I did not give a shit, and honestly, I didn’t care much if I died, either. What worked for me, though, was spite – not giving my enemies the pleasure of seeing me fall.

Spite could be helpful right now.

Picture Donald Trump, in all his 300 pounds of dense mass, standing over you as you take that first drink. “I was always right,” he says without laughing, as he never laughs, “You’re weak. Libs like you, weak, lazy.” Do you want Donald Trump to think he’s better than you? He doesn’t care! He even doesn’t wear a mask!

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Trump hits out at China and Democrats at latest rally | Financial ...

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Students Trump Arizona rally Phoenix Stock Photos (Exclusive ...

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Trump Border Visit, Phoenix Rally | Arizona Daily Independent(MASKS??? ZERO In Arizona)

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How about the maskless crowds at his rallies who are just begging states to let them kill themselves, and each other? Should these yahoos and sociopaths be allowed to feel morally superior to you? Or picture a little closer to home. Do you want your douchebag ex to hear that you fucked up again? No, you do not.

The time we’ve all spent cooped up indoors losing our gourds has been an achievement that can be measured in days and lives saved. We’ve been doing this for well over thirty days now. In New York and elsewhere, we’ve flattened the curve but not in many other states like Arizona.  Your sobriety is the same.

It’s not some fungible commodity that can be lent out and borrowed back at will – it has a character in itself composed in part of a temporal element. Your sobriety after you relapse is not the same as your sobriety before. When you give it up, you give up the effort, sacrifice, things you can never get back. That might not feel important now, but it will feel devastating later.

Look, I am not Mr. Lockdown. I eat loaves of bread as a snack. I stay up most nights until 5 AM and I sleep till 11. I bleached my hair. I play Nintendo Switch and try to get one or two productive hours into a day. My sheets smell like farts. All of this is fine! You do what it takes to make it to the next day. The people doing pilates every morning, learning a second language, making OnlyFans, whatever – they are fine, too.

And it’s even fine to hate them!

“One day at a time” is a relentless cliché in sobriety circles. But right now, it feels appropriate, as all of the stupid sayings eventually do. The world is a miserable place, maybe always, definitely right now. Don’t add to the misery by giving in to the demons you fought so hard to keep at bay.

Be strong, stay home, save lives, stay sober. Good luck.

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Alcohol addiction: “I walked out of rehab and into a pandemic” - Vox

Ryan Hampton Opens Up and Shares Much More Than His Book “The American Fix”…It’s His America’s Story of Drug Addiction and Recovery Being Played Out All Over America Today.


Published by Medium on June 18, 2020. Original article can be found here.

“Nobody should have to compromise themselves or hide to save their life.”
~Ryan Hampton, Author/Activist 

Back in the Closet: Surviving Homophobia, Heroin, and Rehab in an Intolerant World

by Ryan Hampton

At the peak of my heroin use in 2014, everyone knew something was wrong. My track marks, broken veins, dilated pupils and sunken cheeks told the whole world that I had a problem. My illness was obvious. What they didn’t know was my secret: I was gay, too.

By the time I reached my bottom, I had slowly come to terms with my identity as a gay man. My immediate family, my mother, and sisters knew. I was beginning to get comfortable with my sexual identity. I was even beginning — very cautiously — to see other men. I had one foot out of the closet. But I was still injected heroin multiple times a day.

My addiction consumed me, making me into a shadow of my former self. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the LGBTQ community misuses substances, compared to about 9 percent of the population as a whole. I was no exception. The double stigma of homosexuality and addiction made it hard to find help.

Who could I open up to? The people who accepted my identity rejected my substance use disorder, and the people who accepted my health issue rejected my identity. I was ashamed of myself, which only drove me deeper into my addiction. I felt stuck, and it was killing me.

Nobody seemed to care except my family. I couldn’t keep a job and bounced from couch to couch in Los Angeles, sleeping wherever I could. I used in public bathrooms and nodded off next to the toilet until someone rattled the door. I dragged my belongings around in a black plastic garbage bag. I ate at the homeless shelter, limp sandwiches that I could barely choke down. I barely felt human. Yet, my identity was there, even when I was completely checked out. I wish I could say that but at the bottom of my addiction, who I was didn’t matter.

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Coming Out – Fairbanks Youth Advocates

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Even
 in California, in a city where it was relatively safe to be out as a gay person, there was only one LGBTQ rehab that was available to me. Most of the programs were private-pay only, which meant they cost tens of thousands of dollars per month — completely inaccessible to someone like me who relied on public assistance.

The only public program that openly served the LGBTQ population was booked solid. Other public programs said they were queer-friendly, but I knew that wasn’t true; about 70 percent of the addiction treatment services noted as specialized for LGBTQ people were really no different from those provided to heterosexuals. This particular rehab was a good one, and I went there almost every day for their 12-step meetings, begging for help.

“Please,” I pleaded with the receptionist. “I just need a few weeks of treatment. I won’t even take up a whole thirty days.”

The program director, a gay man who was supportive and compassionate toward me, came behind the desk. “Let me see what we can do for you,” he said.

My heart lifted. Maybe he’d be able to get me a bed, maybe there was space in their program for me. Maybe, this time, I’d find help in a place that really understood me.

He pulled a hefty, ringed binder out of a filing cabinet and laid it on the desk with a thump. It was thicker than a Bible. Loose papers protruded from its edges. The black plastic edges cracked with wear. The director flipped it open, slowly turning one laminated page after another. Some of the pages were crumpled, as though they’d been through the wash. When he got to the very back, he clicked the button on his ballpoint pen.

“Give me your phone number and we’ll call you as soon as something is available,” he said.

“When will that be?” I asked. My eyes were burning.

“Hard to say,” he said. He wrote my name down. “When we have an open bed, we start calling these numbers, in the order therein. When somebody answers, we offer them the bed. If they say yes, it’s filled. If they say no, we call until we find a person who is ready for treatment.”

I eyed the binder. “There are hundreds of names before mine,” I said. “I could be dead tomorrow. I don’t have time to wait for help.”

He sighed and put the pen to the paper. “I know, Ryan. We’re doing what we can. Give me your number and keep coming to the meetings.”

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Sacramento's first homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth opens

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Keeping a phone was a challenge, but I did it. I waited for that call every day, even when I was jiggling a syringe into my arm. I told myself that all I had to do was not die.

Through sheer luck, I did survive long enough to get into treatment. But after a few days, I was transferred to a different program — a program that wasn’t explicitly LGBTQ friendly. I’d had one toe out of the closet, and when I was transferred I went right back in and shut that closet door — again. I instinctively understood that if I was going to survive, stay healthy, and make it into recovery, I couldn’t be gay, too. Nobody could know.

The new program was divided by sex: girls and guys. It was like middle school, with teasing, flirting, scheming, and gossip passed between our separate dorms. I was the only gay person there. Even the counselors were straight. If I came out, I knew I risked being ostracized or bullied, treated like a sexual deviant, or being made to feel like an outsider. I couldn’t risk that.

Instead, I kept my mouth shut and pretended to get it when the other guys would talk about which female client they were going to hook up with, or how hot some movie star was. I knew better than to put my ‘two cents in’: one comment about Jennifer Lopez’s nice eyes or Angelina Jolie’s commitment to humanitarian aid would give me away. I was a man, but I wasn’t a straight man.

Hiding nearly caused me to relapse. Keeping a secret about myself, especially something of that magnitude, made me sick with anxiety. It was like walking around with a gut full of hard-boiled eggs. I was terrified that some gestures or words would give me away. Finally, when it was time to start one-on-one counseling, my mom called me.

“Son, you have to tell them,” she said.  She didn’t need to say what. We both knew.

During my first counseling session, I could barely sit in the chair. My legs twitched, and I must have looked like I was on amphetamines.

“Everything OK?” the counselor asked.

I picked at the back of my neck. “I’m fine,” I said.

She shrugged and looked down at my intake forms, trying to assess where to begin.

“Actually, I’m not OK,” I blurted. “I’m gay.”

Those two words — I’m gay — were the key to my freedom. The counselor just nodded. She didn’t mark it in my chart or ask me why I hadn’t said anything before. We proceeded, working together a few times a week.

Feeling accepted, and knowing that my identity was acknowledged made it possible for me to open up in counseling. I finally started sharing about the sexual trauma I’d endured as a very young person, my fear that I would never be able to openly date, and my worry that I would be excluded from the recovery community. I talked through those things, and though I didn’t come out to anyone else in treatment, that one admission was enough to break the ice.

I stayed mostly closeted for the next couple of years. I also stayed sober, transferring to a residential sober living that supported my recovery. My best friend Garrett knew, and while some guys teased us for being “boyfriends,” it was playful. We were inseparable, and enough of our female friends came over to visit that we could laugh off the insult.

Because to almost everyone, “gay” was less-than. It was a way to put others down. And even those passing, “just a joke” comments hurt me and made it harder for me to trust that I belonged in the recovery community.

However, time passed, and the stronger I felt about my recovery, the more confident I felt about the rest of my identity too. It took almost four years to say the words, “I’m a proud gay man in recovery.” But I did say them, and when I did, I knew I was finally healing from both my addiction and the trauma of my past. I wasn’t hiding anymore. I was out as a person in recovery and out as a gay man. If people didn’t like it, well, that was their problem — not mine.

Coming out in recovery was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done and the best things too. I was willing to speak up and share my truth, even though it meant risking the community connections that kept me alive. Showing up for my recovery with all of me saved my life. It also introduced me to the love of my life, Sean, who I am marrying this November.


Ryan and Sean 💞

 

My only regret is that I felt I had to hide my self early in my recovery. Stigma, homophobia, and intolerance are still very real issues in the recovery community, both in treatment centers and in the support systems that help people get healthy again. I wonder how many LGBTQ people, unable or unwilling to stay closeted, were kicked out of the same program that I went to; how many of them left because they couldn’t stand being bullied or threatened by the other residents?

How many trans women were unable to find a treatment center that accepted them and offered trans-specific services and counseling? The odds are bleak for those of us who are already outsiders in a homophobic, intolerant society. My white privilege helped me keep one foot in the door, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to access life-saving care.

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We need the CARE Act to stop the opioid pandemic - STAT {Ryan Hampton is one of the most tireless advocates and activists I know Making Real Changes for recovery from addiction}

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“I know how lucky I am to have survived addiction; adding my identity to the mix makes me feel like I dodged lightning. Life on the other side of treatment, with years of recovery under my belt, is better than I could ever have imagined. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to have this experience.”

I wish for others, who are like me and struggling to find their place in recovery, to know that they don’t belong in the closet either. The answer isn’t hiding; the answer is building a system that includes all of us. Every person who asks for help should have it, regardless of their identity or orientation, race, gender, or expression.

Navigating recovery is hard enough. When I brought my whole self to the table, I left the closet behind. I’m holding the door open, too — because nobody should have to compromise themselves or hide, in order to save their life.

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download

Ryan Hampton is an activist in recovery from heroin addiction and author of “American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis — and How to End It.” Organization foundedThe Voices Project  

Follow him on Twitter: @RyanForRecovery 
Follow him on Facebook
Visit his  Official Website To Learn More

Meet Darren Prince. He Runs a Successful Business, Has a Four-Time International Best Selling Memoir, and is a Caring Advocate Through His Aiming High Foundation. A Recovery Interview.

Meet Darren Prince. He Runs a Successful Business, Has a Four-Time International Best Selling Memoir, and is a Caring Advocate Through His Aiming High Foundation. A Recovery Interview.

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I am very happy and honored to welcome a good friend who is also a fellow author and recovery advocate, Darren Prince. He has written an amazing memoir titled, Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top. 

It became a bestseller in four countries as he shares his powerful story of drug addiction and what it takes to recover. I feel it needs to be read by everyone who not only maintains recovery, but also parents, and anyone who knows someone afflicted by any addiction. I say “any addiction” because it doesn’t matter the type or what preference the addiction is as addicts, the “cycle,” we get sucked into along with the habits and behaviors we learn are the same from one addiction to another.

Now that we are in the biggest drug epidemic in our country with opioid addiction, other pain killers, meth, etc., and the overdoses claiming too many precious lives each day, we need more helpful and caring advocates like Darren out here that bring the solutions through action to help others break free from addiction and have a desire to recover. He is now doing this through his active advocacy and through his new Aiming High Foundation (.org)
Darren and I met at a speaking event last year that was held here in Arizona where I live within the front lawn of our State Capitol to raise awareness of addiction for another friend. That was my first taste of having to plan a recovery event from beginning to end. Won’t be doing that again anytime soon! Lol.  When I reached out to Darren to ask if he would like to come and speak at this event? I quickly learned that Darren doesn’t do anything small. He Goes BIG or doesn’t do it at all! Lol. It’s why I say he is so caring and has a generous heart. He also helped with some bumps for our event with media and social media and I learned a lot from him and sure appreciated that!

Now, besides Darren coming to Arizona to speak, and I thank him for doing so, again, he sent me boxes prior to his arrival. They were many copies of his new book! Darren signed them graciously for attendees at the event.  Now, I better add that we also had “The Beast,” or I won’t hear the end of it…LOL, former NFL pro who played center for Tampa Bay Bucs, Mr. Randy Grimes… Who, today, goes by SoberCenter #60! Lol. He signed football for attendees too!

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Simply an amazing event to share Recovery from Addiction with Arizonians. Let’s learn more about Darren Prince, as I am also excited that we are working together on the “Literary and Book Marketing” side of things. Since I enjoyed reading ‘Aiming High’ so much? I want everyone to know about it!

WHY?

Because those of us who maintain recovery know that reading another’s experience, strength, and hope can be powerful tools for those new to recovery.

📚📚 ~Catherine Lyon

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Aiming High FACEBOOK and TWITTER TEASER
(Banner Courtesy of Terry of Author Shout (dot) com)

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About The Book -Aiming High
by Darren Prince (Author), Kristen McGuiness (Author), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Foreword) (Author)

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Aiming High is the astonishing story of sports and celebrity agent Darren Prince, who battled addiction while representing some of the most iconic figures in the world. After a drug overdose, many demoralizing nights, and mornings where he couldn’t get out of bed without a prescription in hand, Darren hit rock bottom at the top–and in the process discovered the true meaning of success.

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ABOUT DARREN and AIMING HIGH FOUNDATION(.org)

Darren is all about “Coming Clean” and “Raising Awareness” as he enjoys sharing his testimony through his advocacy work, especially speaking to young teens at high schools, middle schools, young adults at community colleges, and universities through his new foundation to help others avoid the pitfalls of addiction. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Los Angeles area.

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Darren Prince, well-known sports and celebrity agent,
has now taken on a new role of author and advocate – this time representing recovery and hope for those who struggle with addiction! His astonishing story within the pages of his memoir battled addiction while representing some of the most iconic figures in the world. After a drug overdose and couldn’t get out of bed without a prescription in hand, Darren hit rock bottom at the top–and in the process discovered the true meaning of success…

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MY INTERVIEW WITH RECOVERY ADVOCATE, DARREN PRINCE

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1.) How long have you maintained recovery and what inspired you to write?
I have maintained my recovery path for 11+years now. After my father passed away, I got several signs that it was time to write and tell my story to help others.
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2.) Tell us about your writing process?
By chance, I met with a publisher named Anna David, she partnered me with writer Kristen McGuiness, and the rest is history. An international best-seller in four countries, and I am happy it was written and has helped many people.
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3.) How did you come to want to share your story and why?
I’ve learned that my test has become my testimony, and everyone knows somebody who is suffering from opioid addiction. We learn in treatment and maintaining recovery that sharing your journey is a powerful tool to help those new to recovery from addictions.
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4.) Who in Recovery Inspires You?
Chris Herren, Brandon Novak, and many other spiritual brothers and sisters are changing the game of recovery advocacy. We support each other and network to save more lives from opioid addiction.
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5.) What advice would you give other recovery writers and authors?
People need to be inspired into action and create change in their life. If you can write and speak your truth to help others? It is and would be the enormous privilege of your life.

6.) Who is your publisher, and how did you decide how to publish your book?
Anna David of Light Hustler Publisher. Anna knew my vision for this book before I even thought it. We would take the world on a journey from the grips of drug addiction and share the beauty of spiritual healing within the written words recovering. And doing so while working and representing many iconic figures of our time.
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7.) What do you consider your book genre to be?
It is nonfiction in memoir form. May appeal mostly to males, however, because of the recovery component, we have had quite a big female following as well because drug addiction doesn’t discriminate.

8.) Now lastly, What do you think about the future of book publishing during and after this Coronavirus pandemic?
I think it will be bigger than ever. People need to be motivated and inspired. Even though this pandemic has had a negative impact around the world, the blessing is positive for giving readers an inspiring book like mine that has an uplifting message while reading during this historic time.
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A Sport and Celebrity Agent's Battle Against Addiction           (Courtesy of The Epoch Times – Ali, Darren, Joe Fraiser)

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I do hope all my recovery warriors will stop by Darren’s Official Advocacy Website and Blog to learn all the ways Darren is “paying it forward” to those who may be suffering from the grip of addiction. Not only does he help teens and young college adults, but he helps “At-Risk” executives and professionals who may work in high-stress jobs.

If you are in the need of an addiction expert for your next virtual conference or event and who cares about others, who is an inspiring speaker and a sought after recovery keynote? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Darren Prince …

As Darren shares; “This Addiction Epidemic is REAL!” 

~Darren Prince of Prince Marketing Group and his Support the Aiming High Foundation.

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DhL6wN2VQAAmO0YDarren                    (Forward Written by NBA Icon, Magic Johnson)

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BIG CONGRATS DARREN for being chosen!!

“So grateful to have my AIMING HIGH FOUNDATION selected as one of 3 charities benefitting the #AmericaStrong Unity Wristband CHALLENGE honoring our COVID-19 heroes, raising money for COVID-19 related charities! Visit AmericaStrongUSA.com and take the CHALLENGE. #AmericaStrong  “

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Links to Purchase Audiobook version
Paperback – E-book
Click links for book samples, reviews and to purchase
Buy AIMING HIGH – Paperback – Ebook – My Book Orders (dot) com
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top Audiobook at Amazon
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top Audiobook at Audible
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top at iTunes


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About the Author

Learn more about the author on their website
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Stop Stressing Over The CoronaVirus! Sound Advice By Life Coach Maureen Scanlon, a Multi-Award-Winning Writer and Popular Life, Career, & Relationship Coach and My Mentor…

Stop Stressing Over The CoronaVirus! Sound Advice By Life Coach Maureen Scanlon, a Multi-Award-Winning Writer and Popular Life, Career, & Relationship Coach and My Mentor…

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Hello & Welcome Recovery Warriors, Friends, Visitors!

Many of us, like myself, have been seeing all the headlines, reading news, Facebook posts about Toilet Paper for sale and on and on. Then you have the internet, watching all the updates on TV about the CoronaVirus and quite frankly is putting a boatload of fear out in the world.

In an era of medical technology we live in today, most of us are pretty proactive about our health and well-being as media can be a hound in adding more panic or stress as we all go about our daily lives about “what’s happening” now and happening around the world which makes things seem more magnified …

So I am sharing this Special Post by my dear friend, mentor and recovery coach Ms. Maureen Scanlon. She has posted on her amazing blog and I am re-sharing it that just may ease some of the burdens of getting all caught in the hype of media and the CoronaVirus. Media is adding more fear to many and stress as this pandemic rides out.

Written by Life Coach Maureen, I too actually had a wee little session with her yesterday morning due to my own stress, mental health, and anxiety beginning to rise over all the news! I have tried to shut it out but becoming harder and harder to accomplish!

But, as usually, Maureen put me at ease and I hope her post will do the same for all who stop by in the next few days.

Just be proactive with common sense about your health and don’t get caught up in ALL the MEDIA HYPE!   ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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Why COVID-19 Plays on Our Worst Human Qualities …
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As we all navigate the current pandemic situation, let’s reflect on the facts:

  • The virus has incurred 36 deaths nationwide in the US.
  • There has been a 3.4% mortality rate worldwide; Italy being the main contributor at 1441 deaths total (due to the high population of elderly)
  • This is less than the SARS and MER viruses from years prior that were NOT declared a Pandemic…
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Let’s put into perspective that in the US, 1650 people die each day from Cancer, 360 people die from stroke, 229 die each day from diabetes, and 102 die each day in a car accident! And for those maintaining recovery surely know about the opioid epidemic happening as the CDC has estimated the National Drug Overdose Deaths—Number Among All Ages, by Gender, 1999-2018. More than 67,300 Americans died from a drug-involved overdose in 2018, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. Keep in mind, this virus is just at a pandemic as we work to stop the spreading.

 

I personally view this virus and the media coverage of it,  like the relative that is always in your business, that causes drama in the family or they don’t know what else to do with themselves. Their normal way of coping is only when crisis, drama or turmoil is happening.

Unfortunately, our subconscious minds are just storage tanks and we read, listen and absorb everything we hear and see. Then our amygdala, or emotional brain,  takes over. We, as humans,  are wired to protect ourselves from harm. The instant our safety is perceived as threatened, we go to any lengths to stop the discomfort.

This is, unfortunately, when our worst qualities come out. We focus only on the reality of what we are surrounded by and witnessing while forgetting that we are able to thrive in spite of what we see. Self-preservation takes over, inability to focus on others and a “do whatever it takes” mentality ensues. We lose our manners and patience with one another. 

Here are some ways to stay in a place of peace, alignment, and joy in these trying times: 

Just the facts, ma’am– Try to only get information from the official sources. Listening to a wide variety of information can cause confusion and panic. Stay focused on your immediate community and neighborhood, fearing deaths across the world is not valuable to your state of calm.

Normalcy is key– Although some things will be disruptive, try to maintain as much normalcy as possible. This is especially important if you have children. If your school or employer has closed or changed, see this as an opportunity for a staycation. Go take picnics and hikes. Go fly kites or have a scavenger hunt. Don’t sit at home cooped up waiting for doomsday. Don’t stop visiting with people while using caution, your body has an amazing way of building immunity.


Think outside the box

As we see the empty shelves at the stores from all of the panic buying, figure out other ways to provide for your necessities. My husband, who is a very calm, logistical thinking man, was headed to work the other day at 5am, decided to stop into a store near his job, and walked in just as they were stocking the shelves. No crowd, no pushing, and he just picked up a couple of packages and left the rest for others.

A friend of mine stated he went to a store that sells hardware and tools, he walked around and saw that they also sold household cleaning supplies and there were plenty on hand in opposition to the grocery and big box stores. Search online, there are companies that sell everything from cleaning supplies to paper goods. Maybe even try a small business that sells organic or vegan products.


How about this?

When you go to the store and buy supplies, buy one for yourself and one for a friend or elderly neighbor.  Make a meal and bring it to someone in need.  Shouldn’t difficult times bring out the best in us?  Shouldn’t we be helping one another, taking care of those who need help and assistance? As we know the elderly are the most vulnerable of this virus and those with other major medical ailments are the most at risk.

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Healthy habits
The best defense against any virus is to have healthy habits. Make some new healthy meals, try new recipes, exercise, and do some deep cleaning of your home space. The obvious one being hand-washing, should be done more frequently. Use caution with the closeness and vicinity of people, maybe refrain from person-to-person touch, and use hand sanitizer.
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Serenity now
The most important of all is your state of mind. Like attracts like (Law of Attraction) so panic and fear bring more, peace and tranquility bring more of that energy. Set up a peaceful place for meditation and relaxation. Watch videos on motivation, mindfulness, and happiness. You are the creator of your mindset and the traffic cop for where your thoughts travel.

By spreading peace and calm, we can dissipate the panic and fear. Let’s all make it our goal to “Just Breathe” until this too, shall pass….

Love and blessings, 
Life Coach Maureen

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ABOUT MAUREEN SCANLON and HER BOOK:

Maureen Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Maureen Scanlon Life Coaching. She is an author, relationship expert, motivational speaker, positive change integrator, and spiritual coach who has successfully helped many people, from experienced professionals to young adults, make positive changes to overcome past experiences and negative thinking. When Maureen is not working to change the world, you can find her at home relaxing in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband, Dennis, and her furry babies, Jade and Brodie. She is also the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three grandchildren whom she adores.

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My Dog Is More Enlightened Than I Am:

Most of us go through our daily routines oblivious to the beauty of life and others around us—oblivious of the impact we have on the world. So it’s only natural that we consider patterning ourselves after our pets! These beautiful furry creatures are fully connected to their highest selves while giving unconditional love to those who cherish and care for them. By taking our lead from the animals in our lives, we learn how to live our best and fullest lives as well.

My Dog Is More Enlightened Than I Am examines the ways we all struggle and experience difficulties in our journey. You will learn to understand the lessons and meaning behind each past moment you have endured thus far and how to change your mindset and focus on the change you can make. You will come to admire the ways our animals live a life of purpose and how to be more like them.

This heartfelt, enlightening guide also offers tips on relaxation, spontaneity, developing an appreciation for our differences, caretaking, and nurturing relationships. Readers will feel a renewed sense of well-being and knowledge of how to embrace the journey like the pure souls of our furry companions.

Come and connect with Maureen on Social Media and stay in a Happier Space in Life!

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, her Book on AmazonLinkedin,…

Problem Gambling Misconceptions and Myths. Are They Fact or Myth? My Guest Post By “The Recovery Village” …

Problem Gambling Misconceptions and Myths. Are They Fact or Myth? My Guest Post By “The Recovery Village” …

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What happens when you first walk into a CASINO? How do you feel? Like your special? Have feelings of excitement? Like you may WIN BIG?

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Well, that was exactly how I felt! And how many people who have had a problem with gambling, felt too!  Now, I am not saying that if you gamble normally that you’ll become a problem or an addicted gambler.  What I am trying to say and share is that for those who do have a problem?  There is nothing NORMAL about it as many of the exciting feelings become the staple of ‘HOW WE FEEL’ each time we gamble.  AND? It goes way beyond those “Feeling of being SPECIAL”…

We actually get a euphoric high and rush when we walk into any gambling venue …And never matters if we WIN or LOSE, these feelings along with cravings, triggers, and urges compound the more we are in “action!”  Be it at cards, slots, or even dice?  The preference really doesn’t matter.

It is the act, being in action and being active within gambling that keeps us stuck in a habitual “CYCLE.”

With so much STIGMA around this Silent Problem, a problem many suffer in silence from addicted gambling, I wanted to share most of an article by the team at “Recovery Village Center”  to help us with some of the real facts are from the MYTHS about problem gambling.  Always know they are ready to HELP and share HOPE from this cunning addiction as The Fine Folks of Recovery Village are always available.

Just visit their website or Call THEM AT 1-888-559-6554 …~ Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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Reviewer Andrew Proulx
Updated on01/23/20

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“Gambling addiction is a serious and devastating problem for many people. Understanding this serious behavioral addiction requires replacing the myths with the facts.”

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Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral addiction (process addiction) characterized by a pathological obsession and compulsion to gamble. The addiction to gambling becomes increasingly problematic, causing financial, family, social and job problems, but the gambler continues and is unable to control or stop gambling, despite the negative consequences.

Compulsive gamblers are secretive and tend to be socially isolated, so there are many misconceptions and myths about this addiction. To have a proper understanding of this devastating disorder, it is necessary to separate the myths from the facts.

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Myth 1: Gambling Isn’t Addictive

Fact: Gambling is designed to be addictive.

Gambling operates on a principle of psychology that is known to be highly addictive and compulsion-inducing. This principle is based on variable ratios of reinforcement (i.e., winning), and random ratios of reinforcement, together known as a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule (VRRS). Finding the most addictive form of a VRRS is a matter of considerable research. Most gambling machines are programmed to dole out wins on a precise schedule that is based on the most addictive form of a VRRS.

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Myth 2: Gambling Is a Way to Make Money

Fact: The house always wins, especially when it comes to compulsive gamblers. Money Never Comes For FREE

When driving past a casino it is easy to admire the lavish building. However, it is also easy to forget that the money to build that casino probably came from the losses of the people who gamble there.

One of the characteristics of compulsive pathological gambling is the persistent belief that the next bet will pay, despite repeatedly losing past the next bets. As such, the delusional belief that a stroke of luck is only a wager away is part of the pathological psychology of gambling addiction. The belief that gambling will pay off despite having lost considerable amounts of money is a driving factor of compulsive gambling.

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Myth 3: If You Keep Playing, You Will Eventually Win Your Money Back

Fact: The longer someone remains actively gambling addiction, the greater the losses.

The irrational belief that the gambler will eventually hit it big and come out ahead is a significant driver of gambling addiction. To people who don’t have a gambling addiction, it is usually clear when enough is enough and they can walk away from their losses and get on with life. However, compulsive gamblers cannot do that; they keep coming back, driven by irrational beliefs of the big win.

However, gambling addiction is about much more than simply whether or not the person will win or lose. People who have a gambling addiction get a rush from gambling or a high, and this high is how they cope with negative feelings and life’s stressors. When they are gambling, the high they get from it makes them happy for a little while and distracts them from all their problems. It is known that pathological gamblers get this high whether they are winning or losing. The act of gambling is all they need.

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Myth 4: If You Can Afford It, Compulsive Gambling Isn’t Really a Problem

Fact: Compulsive gambling is a symptom of underlying emotional and coping problems.

Financial loss is only one of many negative consequences of compulsive gambling. People who struggle with gambling addiction often end up having serious problems in their relationships and at their jobs, and may neglect life’s obligations.

Pathological gambling is a progressive condition that tends to become increasingly consuming as time goes by. This fact is especially true in times of stress or low mood, as gambling becomes a way of coping. Eventually, almost all pathological gamblers suffer life-changing financial loss unless they get help in time.

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Myth 5: Compulsive Gamblers Play Every Day

Fact: Gambling addiction can be continuous or episodic.

Many compulsive gamblers have dry periods without any betting. However, gambling addiction is chronic and progressive, so for many pathological gamblers, it eventually becomes a daily activity unless they seek and accept help.

An obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with gambling characterizes pathological gambling. Over time, these obsessive thoughts about betting become increasingly more invasive and anxiety-provoking. The only way to relieve that anxiety is by gambling, which is the compulsion that is coupled with the obsession.

Similar to people who struggle with drug addiction, pathological gamblers experience tolerance, meaning that they require increasing amounts of the activity to satisfy their obsession and to get the same high. They also experience increasing amounts of withdrawal, which is the low mood and irritability they feel when they are not gambling. As these effects worsen, gambling usually increases as a result, and the addiction progresses.

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Myth 6: Knowing a Game Well Increases Your Odds of Winning

Fact: Gambling games are designed to not have any aspect that will increase the odds of winning purely out of knowledge or skill.

Gambling games become absorbing for gamblers. Psychologists refer to “dark flow” as the state where the player becomes so immersed in a game that everything outside of it becomes irrelevant. This “dark flow” state is highly associated with addiction to the game and is designed to occur as people get to know a game by playing the same game for an extended period.

All gambling games are heavily favored for the house, which is why casino owners become so wealthy and the gamblers do not. If a game was not heavily in favor of the house, it would never become popular, because no casino, lottery or gambling website would want it. Whether or not someone knows a game well doesn’t change that fact.

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Myth 7: There Are “Hot” and “Cold” Slot Machines

Fact: Slot machines are programmed to promote problematic play and win for the house.

Slot machines are a particularly dangerous form of gambling because they are programmed with the most addictive form of VRRS schedule. Additionally, they are programmed to operate on a principle known as loss disguised as a win (LDW). This effect happens when a player is given a “win” of credits with a spin, but fewer credits than the original wager. The psychological effect is that these frequent wins keep the player engaged, despite a net loss.

Both the single-line slots (the traditional slots) and the more modern multi-line slots are programmed to give LDW “wins” in a specific payback percentage, but it is always less than 100% and certainly not above 100%, meaning that the house always wins. There are no “hot” slot machines, only “cold” ones.

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Myth 8: Gambling Is Only a Financial Problem

Fact: Gambling addiction causes problems that extend well beyond financial losses.

As their tolerance and withdrawal effects intensify, people who struggle with gambling addiction spend more and more time in their gambling activities, and in seeking money to support their addiction.

Normal activities and responsibilities become neglected because of the amount of time required to satisfy the addiction. They begin missing work and are frequently absent from home. Even sleep becomes affected as they pull “all-nighters” gambling.

This time commitment can have effects beyond financial loss, such as:

  • Career-related consequences: being written up at work or losing a job
  • Relationship stress: financial stress, job loss, and frequent absence are not conducive to healthy relationships, and can devastate families
  • Social isolation: friends and family are tired of being asked for loans and maybe pushed away as the gambler becomes increasingly secretive
  • Arrest and criminal charges: for illegal activities used to finance gambling
  • Physical health problems: lack of sleep or self-care
  • Mental health problems: depressionanxiety, and emotional distress

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Myth 9: All Gamblers Engage in Criminal Behavior

Fact: Gamblers who seek and accept help can recover before they have to resort to criminal activity to finance their gambling.

If pathological gamblers continue with the addiction long enough, frequently the result is criminal behavior to finance the gambling habit. The most common gambling-related crimes are non-violent, financially motivated offenses:

  • Theft
  • Selling drugs
  • Forgery
  • Embezzlement

Typically, they will rationalize their crime as borrowing money. For example, if the person forges a check, takes money from the workplace or steals from a neighbor, they might rationalize the act by convincing themselves that they will return the money, usually after a big win at the casino.

However, not all crimes that compulsive gamblers are engaged in are financially motivated and non-violent. The three risky behaviors of substance abuse, gambling, and crime are known to be closely associated and often co-occur.

Some gambling crime statistics compiled by Georgia State University include:

  • About 50% of compulsive gamblers commit crimes
  • 73% of incarcerated felons are pathological or problem gamblers
  • Pathological gamblers are more than three times more likely to be arrested than non-problem gamblers, and more than seven times than non-gamblers
  • Only 5% of incarcerated pathological gamblers have ever gotten help for it

Myth 10: Teens Don’t Gamble, Only Older People Gamble Especially Now That Some States Have Legal Online Sports-Betting – It’s Touching Teens!


Fact: Gambling is a bigger problem among teens than it is in adults.

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Please, GO VISIT AND LEARN HOW It Is Touching our TEENS atRecovery Village Center”  

 

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MY MEMOIR IS NOT “HOW” TO RECOVER, IT IS THE “WHY” I TURNED TO ADDICTED GAMBLING … Ebook on sale only $2.99 Now On Amazon Kindle.

A Special Guest Recovery Writer and Soon To Be New Author. Meet My Amazing Friend Deb Morgan …

A Special Guest Recovery Writer and Soon To Be New Author. Meet My Amazing Friend Deb Morgan …

“We all have a recovery story to tell ~ at least one within us to share”

When we come to a point in recovery that we are ready to advocate and begin to share it, it can be a powerful tool to help those just beginning their recovery journey. That is why and what my dear friend Deb Morgan is about to do. And, no, she’s the Deb Morgan from DEXTER …LOL.

She is a part of an amazing project and book that will be released early spring with some other amazing authors. She lives in Oregon where I lived for many years and I am so jealous as Deb knows Oregon is where my heart will always be! I surely won’t spoil any in-depth info of her book she’ll be in and finishing touches are still being done.

I thought I’d give you a preview in sharing her most recent blog post to give my friends here who visit a little of what’s to come from by Deb.  She did, however, share some early reading feedback that the book just might be the next “Chicken Soup For The Soul” a self-help book series.

The book project is being arranged by a guy who I am sure when you learn who? Everyone will be very familiar with who he is. The first book and subsequent titles in the series consist of inspirational true stories about ordinary people’s lives, overcoming, and much more. I am excited for Deb and can’t wait to read her book this spring!

Enjoy this post by Deb and make sure you visit her blog titled ‘Deb-Spot-Telling My Truth One Word At A Time’

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ADDICTION: The Trigger   By 12/12/2019 / Addiction

I don’t know any addict that woke up one morning and said: “I think I will become an addict today.” It just doesn’t happen that way. It is a slow progressive process, that hides. Some don’t ever get addicted or try a drug that makes them feel good, or normal.

Over ninety percent of the addicts have had a multitude of trauma in their lives. Trauma that was so deeply troubling that is broke part of their soul. Or it could be a mental condition and they self-medicated to feel normal. I picked Percocet. After living through trauma from the day I was born, I tried other drugs before settling on pills. Then Percocet became my drug of choice. This drug would eventually attack and I would come close to complete destruction of myself, my family, my life!

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The Trigger?

So what is a “Trigger”? It’s the final thing causing a person to go into full addiction. I am asked why people go to cocaine or heroin, crack, etc.? It tells your brain what you have to put into your body to stave off withdrawal. You see, just because someone starts with alcohol that does not mean it will be their final drug of choice.
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Our brain doesn’t care our body needs a drug, causing steady normality. Drug and Alcoholism are the same diseases just in different wrapping paper. Crack and methamphetamine are the poor man’s drugs. Cocaine is for the rich and people who can afford it. Heroin is a replacement for opiates, cheaper on the street and hard to get from doctors.

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Addiction begins with the hope that something “out there” can instantly fill up the emptiness inside. ~ Jean Kilborne~

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So What Happens Next?

In closing the human mind has an extremely strong power of denial and deception. People who are in the throws of drug addiction cannot see it and their brain won’t accept it. Addiction starts out innocent enough. I drank with my friends at school.

I hated the taste of hard liquor I thought I would never drink it again. So did I keep drinking it? Of course, at the time it was fun, I was young and rebelling against the pain in my life. It would come to be my nemesis in a different form and face.

One I would fight for my life with.

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WHO Is Deb Morgan?


I started writing and talking openly about my journey about 5 years ago. Writing my story and getting it out in the world as far as I could is my goal.

I started out thinking someday I would get a book written and had no idea how to begin to do it. So I started writing, then a website, then an opportunity for a radio show, then another and I just kept refusing to give up. I was asked to be on a show a few months ago in 2019, from there life would change to the point where I don’t even know which way it is going.

I have had 15 radio spots, 2 podcasts, and was invited to be in a book titled Simply amazing women coming mothers day 2020. I will then publish my book “TRAPPED” in 2020. ” There will be another book on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain in 2021. Then there are a couple more on the chart that is coming.  A dream isn’t a dream anymore when we do the work, it can become a reality. “ I am living proof of that.

When we want something bad enough that will be helpful for someone else, that is the hope that it does exactly that, help and give hope. Deb resides outside Eugene, Oregon with her family.

 

Are Casino’s Enabling Those With a Gambling Problem Into Full-Blown Addiction? Read and You Decide. A Sad Gamblers Story.

Scott Stevens’s story is not anomalous. Given the guilt and shame involved, gambling addiction frequently progresses to profound despair. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one in five gambling addicts attempts suicide—the highest rate among addicts of any kind.

 

 

How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts

Modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players—some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even, as in the case of Scott Stevens, their lives… (Courtesy of “The Atlantic” 2016 )

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On the morning of Monday, August 13, 2012, Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag into his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went to the master bedroom, where he hugged Stacy, his wife of 23 years. “I love you,” he told her.

Stacy thought that her husband was off to a job interview followed by an appointment with his therapist. Instead, he drove the 22 miles from their home in Steubenville, Ohio, to the Mountaineer Casino, just outside New Cumberland, West Virginia. He used the casino ATM to check his bank-account balance: $13,400. He walked across the casino floor to his favorite slot machine in the high-limit area: Triple Stars, a three-reel game that cost $10 a spin. Maybe this time it would pay out enough to save him.

It didn’t. He spent the next four hours burning through $13,000 from the account, plugging any winnings back into the machine, until he had only $4,000 left. Around noon, he gave up.

Stevens, 52, left the casino and wrote a five-page letter to Stacy. A former chief operating officer at Louis Berkman Investment, he gave her careful financial instructions that would enable her to avoid responsibility for his losses and keep her credit intact: She was to deposit the enclosed check for $4,000; move her funds into a new checking account; decline to pay the money he owed the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas; disregard his credit-card debt (it was in his name alone); file her tax returns and sign up for Social Security survivor benefits. He asked that she have him cremated.

He wrote that he was “crying like a baby” as he thought about how much he loved her and their three daughters. “Our family only has a chance if I’m not around to bring us down any further,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry that I’m putting you through this.”

He placed the letter and the check-in an envelope drove to the Steubenville post office and mailed it. Then he headed to the Jefferson Kiwanis Youth Soccer Club. He had raised funds for these green fields, tended them with his lawnmower, and watched his daughters play on them.

Stevens parked his Jeep in the gravel lot and called Ricky Gurbst, a Cleveland attorney whose firm, Squire Patton Boggs, represented Berkman, where Stevens had worked for 14 years—until six and a half months earlier when the firm discovered that he had been stealing company funds to feed his gambling habit and fired him.

Stevens had a request: “Please ask the company to continue to pay my daughters’ college tuition.” He had received notification that the tuition benefit the company had provided would be discontinued for the fall semester. Failing his daughters had been the final blow.

Gurbst said he would pass along the request.

Then Stevens told Gurbst that he was going to kill himself.

“What? Wait.”

“That’s what I’m going to do,” Stevens said and promptly hung up.

He next called J. Timothy Bender, a Cleveland tax attorney who had been advising him on the IRS’s investigation into his embezzlement. Up until that point, he had put on a brave face for Bender, saying he would accept responsibility and serve his time. Now he told Bender what he was about to do. Alarmed, Bender tried to talk him out of it. “Look, this is hard enough,” Stevens said. “I’m going to do it.” Click.

At 4:01 p.m., Stevens texted Stacy. “I love you.” He then texted the same message to each of his three daughters in succession.

He took off his glasses, his glucose monitor, and his insulin pump—Stevens was a diabetic—and tucked them neatly into his blue thermal lunch bag with the sandwich and apple he hadn’t touched.

He unpacked his Browning semiautomatic 12-gauge shotgun, loaded it, and sat on one of the railroad ties that rimmed the parking lot.

Then he dialed 911 and told the dispatcher his plan.

Scott Stevens hadn’t always been a gambler. A native of Rochester, New York, he earned a master’s degree in business and finance at the University of Rochester and built a successful career. He won the trust of the steel magnate Louis Berkman and worked his way up to the position of COO in Berkman’s company. He was meticulous about finances, both professionally and personally. When he first met Stacy, in 1988, he insisted that she pay off her credit-card debt immediately. “Your credit is all you have,” he told her.

They married the following year, had three daughters, and settled into a comfortable life in Steubenville thanks to his position with Berkman’s company: a six-figure salary, three cars, two country-club memberships, vacations to Mexico. Stevens doted on his girls and threw himself into causes that benefited them. In addition to the soccer fields, he raised money to renovate the middle school, to build a new science lab, and to support the French Club’s trip to France. He spent time on weekends painting the high-school cafeteria and stripping the hallway floors.

“Stevens got his first taste of casino gambling while attending a 2006 trade show in Las Vegas. On a subsequent trip, he hit a jackpot on a slot machine and was hooked.”

Scott and Stacy soon began making several trips a year to Vegas. She liked shopping, sitting by the pool, even occasionally playing the slots with her husband. They brought the kids in the summer and made a family vacation of it by visiting the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Disneyland. Back home, Stevens became a regular at the Mountaineer Casino.

Over the next six years, his gambling hobby became an addiction. Though he won occasional jackpots, some of them six figures, he lost far more—as much as $4.8 million in a single year.

Did Scott Stevens die because he was unable to rein in his own addictive need to gamble? Or was he the victim of a system carefully calibrated to prey on his weakness?

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Scott methodically concealed his addiction from his wife. He handled all the couple’s finances. He kept separate bank accounts. He used his work address for his gambling correspondence: W-2Gs (the IRS form used to report gambling winnings), wire transfers, casino mailings. Even his best friend and brother-in-law, Carl Nelson, who occasionally gambled alongside Stevens, had no inkling of his problem. “I was shocked when I found out afterward,” he says. “There was a whole Scott I didn’t know.”

When Stevens ran out of money at the casino, he would leave, write a company check on one of the Berkman accounts for which he had check-cashing privileges, and return to the casino with more cash. He sometimes did this three or four times in a single day. His colleagues did not question his absences from the office, because his job involved overseeing various companies in different locations. By the time the firm detected irregularities and he admitted the extent of his embezzlement, Stevens—the likable, responsible, trustworthy company man—had stolen nearly $4 million.

Stacy had no idea. In Vegas, Stevens had always kept plans to join her and the girls for lunch. At home, he was always on time for dinner. Saturday mornings, when he told her he was headed into the office, she didn’t question him—she knew he had a lot of responsibilities. So she was stunned when he called her with bad news on January 30, 2012. She was on the stairs with a load of laundry when the phone rang.

“Stace, I have something to tell you.”

She heard the burden in his voice. “Who died?”

“It’s something I have to tell you on the phone -because I can’t look in your eyes.”

He paused. She waited.

“I might be coming home without a job today. I’ve taken some money.”

“For what?”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“How much? Ten thousand dollars?”

“No.”

“More? One hundred thousand?”

“Stace, it’s enough.”

Stevens never did come clean with her about how much he had stolen or about how often he had been gambling. Even after he was fired, Stevens kept gambling as often as five or six times a week. He gambled on his wedding anniversary and on his daughters’ birthdays. Stacy noticed that he was irritable more frequently than usual and that he sometimes snapped at the girls, but she figured that it was the fallout of his unemployment.

When he headed to the casino, he told her he was going to see his therapist, that he was networking, that he had other appointments. When money appeared from his occasional wins, he claimed that he had been doing some online trading. While they lived off $50,000 that Stacy had in a separate savings account, he drained their 401(k) of $150,000, emptied $50,000 out of his wife’s and daughters’ ETrade accounts, maxed out his credit card, and lost all of a $110,000 personal loan he’d taken out from PNC Bank.

“Stacy did not truly understand the extent of her husband’s addiction until the afternoon three police officers showed up at her front door with the news of his death.”

Afterward, Stacy studied gambling addiction and the ways slot machines entice customers to part with their money. In 2014, she filed a lawsuit against both Mountaineer Casino and International Game Technology, the manufacturer of the slot machines her husband played. At issue was the fundamental question of who killed Scott Stevens.

Did he die because he was unable to rein in his own addictive need to gamble? Or was he the victim—as the suit alleged—of a system carefully calibrated to prey upon his weakness, one that robbed him of his money, his hope, and ultimately his life?

Less than 40 years ago, casino gambling was illegal everywhere in the United States outside of Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But since Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, tribal and commercial casinos have rapidly proliferated across the country, with some 1,000 now operating in 40 states. Casino patrons bet more than $37 billion annually—more than Americans spend to attend sporting events ($17.8 billion), go to the movies ($10.7 billion), and buy music ($6.8 billion) combined.

The preferred mode of gambling these days is electronic gaming machines, of which there are now almost 1 million nationwide, offering variations on slots and video poker. Their prevalence has accelerated addiction and reaped huge profits for casino operators. A significant portion of casino revenue now comes from a small percentage of customers, most of them likely addicts, playing machines that are designed explicitly to lull them into a trancelike state that the industry refers to as “continuous gaming productivity.”

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The Rest Of This Sad Story Can Be Read In THE ATLANTIC here: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/12/losing-it-all/505814/

It goes more in-depth on facts and studies of Slots and Electronic Gambling and HOW Casinos are attracting and making their profits of a small percentage of people like Mr. Stevens and many others with a problem or addicted gambler, including myself. I share this article because when I first read it, I saw myself when addicted to gambling. Especially the area of hiding what I was doing, controlling the money and paying bills that gave me ample ways to not only cash but also HIDING what I doing and was spending on my gambling.

“We Are Only As Sick As Our SECRETS” . . .  ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

 

 

Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

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I wanted to re-share this post, article, and my dear friend Marilyn Lancelot who has authored several books about her gambling addiction and road maintaining recovery long-term. She has been such a help and support to me since moving to Arizona 6-years ago from Southern Oregon. When I need a should to lean on or an ear to listen, Marilyn is always there when I call. It may not sound like much, but when you are maintaining recovery from a cunning disease like ours? Just a phone call means the world to me and in knowing I am not alone. I hope you find something from this post to use in your path to being and staying BET FREE . . .  ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

“Author and Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot, 86, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison.”

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New York Times – “Fighting Compulsive Gambling Among Women”
by:   APRIL 28, 2017.
(Photo Courtesy Deanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times.

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Blinking lights, the clicking sound of coins, and perks like free or inexpensive food, drinks, and casino bus trips are enticing many older women to gamble.

For some people, that seductive environment can be extremely dangerous.

“Casinos are trained to make you feel welcome, while you lose your life,” said Sandra Adell, 70, a literature professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who recounted her experiences as a compulsive gambler in the book “Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen.” In an interview, Professor Adell said that advertisements aimed at older adults often show smiling people, dressed up and looking glamorous, “to create an illusion that plays to people’s weaknesses.”

“What the industry is doing,” she continued, “the way it markets and keeps casinos filled with elderly people, is morally reprehensible.”

Hard numbers are difficult to find, but Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said that gambling addiction among older women near or in retirement appears to be increasing in scope and severity, with a devastating impact on personal finances.

Marilyn Lancelot, 86, of Sun City, Ariz., for example, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison. “I really thought I’d win the big one deep down in my heart,” she said in an interview. “Every gambler says that.” Ms. Lancelot has described her experiences in the book “Gripped by Gambling.”

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Product Details

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Many experts say that men are often “action” gamblers, who favor blackjack and poker, while women tend to be “escape” gamblers, drawn to games based on luck, like slot machines and lottery tickets. Women often begin gambling later in life than men, sometimes after a major life event, like the death of a spouse or when they become empty nesters.

Women are less likely to develop gambling problems than men, Mr. Whyte said, but “telescoping, the rapid development of problems, is especially pronounced in senior women.” It may seem surprising to some people that women have severe gambling problems, he said. “Grandma is not seen as someone who embezzles money and is taken off to jail,” he said, yet it happens.

Many women lose significant amounts of money and jeopardize their futures. “Once they tap into retirement savings, it’s incredibly hard — if they are ever able — to rebuild those savings,” Mr. Whyte said.

Stephanie Iacopino, 63, of Toms River, N.J., who works part-time in retail sales, said that during years of compulsive gambling, she stole money from family members, friends, and clients in the travel business, and ultimately went to prison in 2010 for embezzling about $18,000 from her church.

She said she served nearly four months at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, N.J., followed by 22 months in New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program, which, the state says, is “more onerous” than traditional probation. “We don’t have a nest egg,” said Ms. Iacopino, who is married. “We live paycheck to paycheck.” But she said that while she is struggling financially, she is happy to be recovering from her addiction.

Some women have medical issues associated with gambling, Mr. Whyte said, like bladder problems aggravated by not getting up from slot machines to go to the bathroom. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that among older people, some medications may lead to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction. Decreased cognitive functioning can also interfere with the ability to make sound decisions, he added.

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There is a strong connection between gambling and substance abuse. “If you are a problem gambler, you are four times more likely to have a problem with alcohol at some point in your life,” he said. “At a minimum, the rate of problem gambling among people with substance-use disorders is four to five times that found in the general population.” (The council operates a national 24/7 help line for problem gamblers and their families.)

Patricia A. Healy, clinical director of Healy Counseling Associates, in Toms River, N.J., which specializes in addiction counseling, said problem gambling among the elderly “is a hot issue and under-noticed in this country.”

“Gambling is the stepchild of the addiction world,” she said. “You can’t smell it, you can’t see it, you can’t observe it,” unless you see someone in action.

For certain people, she said, there is an adrenaline rush and “suddenly they’re in the chase. Sadly for some, it’s a death spiral.” Bus trips to casinos are sometimes arranged to coincide with the arrival of pension and Social Security checks, she said, and cases of retirees who cash in their I.R.A.s and pensions, or mortgage or ultimately lose their houses are not uncommon.

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“There is a tremendous amount of shame.”

Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said some older people gamble with money intended for medication and find themselves in desperate straits. Some who become suicidal may “drive out in traffic and get killed so families can collect insurance,” she said.

Sam Skolnik, author of “High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction,” said the aftereffects of pathological gambling include social costs that range from loss of productivity at work, domestic crime, suicide and harm to families from rising indebtedness, home foreclosure, and bankruptcy. “When the elderly gamble, they are often harmed in a more permanent way, sadly,” he said.

“There’s no question the industry knows that they lose more money than they should.”

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It's Not Just a Penny Slot Machine: Gambling Addiction in Seniors

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Sara Slane, senior vice president for public affairs at the American Gaming Association, which represents casinos, said in an email statement, “While problem gambling has not increased along with the increase in casinos, the industry and the A.G.A. continue to increase their investment and commitment to responsible gaming programs.”

She cited research in The Journal of Gambling Studies that compared telephone surveys conducted in 1999 and 2000 with those from 2011 to 2013 and found that rates of problem gambling remained stable overall and actually declined among women.

Rachel Volberg, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who studies gambling, said the state of knowledge about the issue in the United States is still inadequate.

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“There’s not much support for gambling research in the U.S.,” she said.

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It wasn’t until 1980 that pathological gambling was designated as a mental health issue in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, she said: “It’s a relatively young disorder as far as having recognition.”

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Ms. Lancelot, of Arizona, who is now retired, said she left prison with nothing but eventually recovered financially. As a felon, getting a job and an apartment was difficult, but she borrowed three months’ rent from her brother, offered to pay the landlord in advance and found work as a secretary with the Arizona state government. Within 10 years, she said, she had two homes, a new car and checking accounts. “I want older people to know that it’s not the end of the world,” she said.

Ms. Pryor, of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said older adults can protect themselves from potential gambling problems in retirement by seeking help in managing their finances — and in planning how to spend their time — long before they stop working.

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“What people need to realize,” she said, “is, they may win a little, but ultimately, the house always wins.”

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