Childhood Trauma & Abuse Does Happen. It Is Part of My Past & Roots to My Gambling Addiction and a Way to Cope. Now It Can Stay In My Past. . .

Childhood Trauma & Abuse Does Happen. It Is Part of My Past & Roots to My Gambling Addiction and a Way to Cope. Now It Can Stay In My Past. . .


My father recently passed away of COVID. He lived in Southern California with my older sister in the home, where horrible memories of my past childhood still lay. When I first began my recovery journey,
I wasn’t ready to dive into my past childhood trauma and haunting memories.

It took me a few years and a lot of therapy to even begin to process this and forgive and lay those haunting memories away. It was some of the roots and underlying issues of how I got sucked into my gambling addiction. I was using gambling as a coping skill and an escape from the pain of my childhood trauma until I finally could not stuff away any longer.

Even when I began writing and journaling for my book over a year to see what gambling addiction had taken from me, I was just not ready to share that part of my past. Now that my mom and dad have passed on, it has again begun to surface slightly.

One of the many amazing things about truly working through childhood sexual abuse is the act of taking every single thought and terrible memory captive and watching Christ redeem them, facing them, and feeling them. Without making excuses. Without placing or taking the blame. Finally, today the abuse and abuser no longer linger in the darkest parts of your mind controlling or tainting the memories you have because I have many happy childhood memories despite what happened to me.


But with my dad’s passing, it seemed they were front and center. I was begging them to be defeated. Way back then, every day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, battles are fought to reclaim simple things, innocent objects, smells, and sounds. Things that may seem trivial to others represent a great victory.  That being said, today, I fought a battle and won. Today, I reclaimed what should have been a pleasant childhood memory. Today, I ate an Italian wedding cookie and enjoyed it. That won’t mean much to you, but to me, it is a significant victory.

The significance of this? As a little girl, we would go on weekends to see my aunt Anna and uncle Frank who lived in Palm Springs, CA., and my uncle Frank would always prepare a special dinner to eat for our visits which included terrific desserts. I loved my aunt Anna as she bought and gave me my very first Bible.

And I would love to hear my uncle Frank talk and share about all the famous people who came into his restaurant and who he cooked for, like Bob Hope, former President Ford, famous golfers, and many others. I loved going swimming too, as they had a fantastic pool in the backyard. 

My uncle would always make one of my favorites, Italian wedding cookies. However, I didn’t get to eat them until my parents brought them home because my oldest brother would talk me into staying home; he’d beg and entice me with all kinds of lies.

And that is when the trauma would occur. It was only then, after being a good girl, until our parents got home late that evening, I would have access to my favorite cookies. It didn’t take long before those cookies became like poison. For the mere smell of almond or amaretto to make me physically ill.

After hiding the sordid details of my childhood back then, I believe the Holy Spirit, moving, convinced me it was time to process and bury my demons and began for me around age 30. But now it is time to rebury more old demons, and the only way I could do that was to reclaim the territory my enemy had taken so many years ago—Italian wedding cookies.  As I paused before taking a bite, I reminded myself of where I was today within my recovery journey, and I took a bite. It was wonderful. Not only did it taste good, but I felt strong.

As if I was declaring to my abuser, “No! You may not have these cookies! (Yes, my brother had apologized, I forgave him, we have made amends as he shared with me & my husband that had been molested by our uncle Joe when we lived in NJ.)



You defiled my innocence, not knowing his was to. Still, you may not steal my ability to enjoy a cookie!” My life is full of moments like that. Every day there is a battle fought and sometimes won. They often go unnoticed by the people closest to me. However, they are mighty victories. There are often things we carry from our childhood that restrain our ability to enjoy simple things. 

Abuse and trauma can destroy our ability to accept and receive the good things God intended for us to have. Love and intimacy are some of those things. Just as the smell of a particular type of cookie triggered a reaction of fear and shame, the idea of love can seem meant for destruction. Therefore, the very idea that God “loves” us terrifies us.

Love to an abuse survivor often means manipulation and pain. So it took me a while to grasp the concept of God’s unconditional love. Why? My parents did not understand it, so I was not raised with it. Of course, not blaming my parents at all. They may not have been taught knowing what unconditional love was either. 

It took me years to begin to understand that Christ chose me; He loves me not because He needs me for anything. He did not send His son to die for me in an attempt to guilt me into trusting Him or doing things for Him. He chose me and loved me because He is God. He is all-sufficient.

I may not be able to reclaim my childhood. I still battle with depression, flashbacks, and agoraphobia. However, I chose the love of Christ to reclaim how I react to things. I can select feeling pleasure over feeling fear, and I can choose love over hate. I can pick these things because Christ has given me the power and ability, just as my recovery is a part of the freedom found in Christ. 

He has given me the ability to and the freedom from addiction and bondage of addicted gambling! 

He gave me the freedom to love, freedom to forgive, freedom to rejoice, And the freedom to enjoy a cookie! 

Catherine Lyon, Recovery Advocate

My brother, me, my older sis, my little sister in Palm Springs, CA.


My Guest Is Marilyn Davis Who Shares Her Home-bound Recovery During This Never Ending Covid Crisis.


Welcome recovery friends and visitors. Today I am sharing an informative guest post by a dear friend and recovery mentor of mine. Meet Marilyn Davis. She has maintained long-term recovery and has helped many in every conceivable way with addictions. She has worked in addiction and treatment and has helped her now grown children beat addiction. 

I wanted to share the most recent post from her amazing website, From Addict 2 Advocate https://fromaddict2advocate.com/my-home-bound-recovery-during-covid-19-purging-and-using-podcasts/ and a must-visit for those who live a recovery lifestyle. This woman knows everything there is to know about being happy and at peace while traveling the recovery road. She has also been writing her memoirs and will soon have a new book to release within the coming new year.

I will share more about all she does to help others have hope from addiction, but here is her post about what she’s been doing to keep her recovery intact during this continuing COVID CRISIS…

~Catherine


My Home-bound Recovery During COVID-19: Purging and Using Podcasts.


Iphone Apple Cellphone - Free photo on Pixabay

COVID-19 Unites Us, Too


“Boomer or millennial, we’re all covidians now.”― Bill Doman

Whether you’re home because of COVID-19, work restrictions, furloughs, school closings, or layoffs, don’t let your recovery suffer. Here are few ways to help ensure you don’t relapse, and a few ways to use that time at home while the world is temporarily closed.


Libraries to remain closed until further notice | Worthington Libraries


Recovery Just Got Harder


Recovery is hard; it’s learning a new way of life, coping, repairing fractured relationships, and depending on others to show us how to do all of those.

These factors are more challenging as we try to maintain our recovery with the uncertainty and isolation imposed on us by COVID-19.
Without the social support, structure, and accountability that in-person meetings provide, many people are struggling more with the stay-at-home-social-distance-wear-a-mask safety measures imposed on us for our protection.

“Use Your Time Wisely” My Mother Said

I’ve been home-bound since March 13th or 250 days now. That’s a very long time to go without an in-person meeting. But I dug in, took the time to do some serious ōsōji, the annual cleaning of one’s home in Japan. Of course, I took it to an entirely new level – purged 30 years’ worth of antique linens. 

When that didn’t get rid of enough stuff, I opted for the Swedish döstädning. “Dö” means “death,” and “städning” means “cleaning.” 

All those antiques, Nickie-nacks, as my daughter referred to them when she was five – she’s now in her 50’s, papers with scribbled ideas, feelings, or thoughts that seem disjointed, chaotic, or so outdated as to be completely useless, and looked at each tube, container, pan of make-up to check the expiration date. All donated, recycled, or sent to the dumb. 

Still no let up on COVID19. 

  • So I sold my townhouse, purged more, had the living estate sale, and waited for relief and an in-person meeting. 
  • I finished my memoir – it’s ready for publication when my computer guru comes next week.


    Then I moved...



“This too shall pass” isn’t Working

When we first experienced the sudden loss of in-person meetings, it wasn’t a big deal for some of us. Sure, we missed the fellowship, laughter, or helping someone. But we were sure it would pass. How often did we say, “This too shall pass,” or “Just don’t use today – tomorrow will be different.”

But it seems as if the anticipated tomorrow isn’t happening anytime soon.

Many old-timers, like myself, aren’t attending in-person meetings.

It’s not that you can’t get and remain in recovery without our input. Still, besides our ‘sage advice,’ we serve as a reminder that recovery is possible when you have a room full of people with double-digit recovery. When we’re not comfortable participating in these meetings, encouragement is missing from many places, which is sad for newcomers.

And I miss seeing families reunited, people changing, and the warmth and support of the fellowship. 

Are You Still Home-bound?

It’s still a scary time for some of us. 

  • Do we go out? 
  • How do we socially distance if we go to a meeting?
  • Do people wear masks?   
  • Are they restricting the number of people who can attend? 
  • How do I handle old friends wanting to hug? 
  • Can listening to a podcast help me? 

By the time I’ve obsessed on those questions, my heart rate is up, I’ve wasted 30 minutes thinking and getting no answers, and even if I chose to go to the meeting, I’d be late.  Sound familiar?

While You’re Home-bound

  1. Seek out an online meeting. 
  2. Connect with recovery-oriented people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media. We all have our favorites and two of mine are RecoveryRocks  and Recovery By Stepping Up, both on FB.
  3. Write a guest post for From Addict 2 Advocate
  4. Cherish family members – email, FaceTime, or call them
  5. Facetime your recovery friends
  6. Read meditation books
  7. Read recovery literature
  8. Clean out your closet – think of it as a 7th Step – what do you keep and what do you want removed?

Isolation Fuels the Anxieties and Addiction 


My Home-bound Recovery During COVID-19: Purging and Using Podcasts

I know I’m not the only one who has negative thoughts. That’s the good news. 

The downside of being home alone is there’s no one to dispel these negative thoughts except me, and I sometimes forget to refute the chatter. 

Tell me I’m not alone in that? 

See, that’s a question I could throw out at a meeting, get multiple perspectives on the thoughts, and leave my meeting feeling better – plus the hugs always helped. 

Now? It’s harder to lessen the negativity in my head. And I have to confess certain things about being home for 250 days:

  • I’m  over tank tops, leggings, and relaxed outerwear. 
  • I’m getting less feedback from conversations with my cat, Jackson.
  • The data usage on my phone could exceed my unlimited plan – is that possible?
  • I’m writing reviews on food deliveries just for something to do. 
     

Can We Find a Solution? Are There Any Answers?


If you’re like me, the statistics, advice, and realities are all confusing. The drops, the spikes, the flattening, curving upwards – downwards – all conflicting. 

So what can you do to ensure that you get a meeting?

Check out some of these Facebook podcasts that help me stay safe but supported. 

Not a Facebook fan? Don’t worry; Google has us covered for online meetings. Here’s the link. 

Want to hear from various perspectives on recovery? Try YouTube:

No Relapse Allowed: A Self-Mutilation and Self Hurt Addiction Recovery ...  - Amelia Johnson - Google Books


Above All – Don’t Relapse


“This, too, shall pass – when?!”

It beats me, but I know that more than anything else, a relapse would destroy what I’ve worked to achieve in these 32 years of recovery.

Solution – hang in there, and when the world opens again, I’ll see you at a meeting.

Writing and recovery heal the heart.”
~Marilyn Davis  



As I’ve always said, old-timers are the only ones with sage advice. There is someone out there who is struggling with their addiction or their recovery who would benefit from your words.

Please consider a guest post. Here are the guidelines

* * *

About Marilyn L. Davis: Editor-in-Chief

Marilyn L. Davis From Addict 2 Advocate
My BFF Marilyn Davis

Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of From Addict 2 Advocate.  In 1990, she opened North House, an award-winning women’s residential recovery home. In 2008, Brenau University, Georgia, created the Marilyn L. Davis Community Service-Learning Award. This is a yearly award given to advocates in mental health, wellness, and recovery. In 2010, she received the Liberty Bell Award for her work within the criminal justice system.

Before closing the house in 2011, she authored and developed  Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery Systems (TIERS). When North House closed, friends and colleagues encouraged her to write online to reach a larger audience.  Finding outlets online, she shared her 29 years in abstinence-based recovery.

She also realized that how she said something might not connect with all readers. This is one of the reasons that she has made an effort to collaborate with new and seasoned recovery writers when she started From Addict 2 Advocate.

As a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, she conducts groups for men’s and women’s residential programs, as well as facilitating a recovery group for HIV positive people.

As the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing, she understands that writing is a process and most writers want information on how to improve.  However, writing about writing can get tedious, so she often combines writing advice using stories and examples from her work with addicts and alcoholics. Improving writing is a process, like recovery.

Using recovery examples in her writing advice means that her readers learn the ways in which people change, improve their lives, and this creates another outlet for her to advocate for recovery while writing about writing.

Her two daughters are in recovery as well, with 21 and 15 years. She is working on her memoir: Finding North: A Woman’s Journey from Addict 2 Advocate.


Marilyn Has Won Several Awards For Her Work

Connect With Marilyn on From Addict 2 Advocate Facebook Page
Tweets by ‎@MDavisatTIERS

Submit a Guest Post Today to Fromaddict2advocate@yahoo.com with guest post in the subject line.