Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending… My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.

Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending…      My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.

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“When You Start Seeing Your Worth, You’ll Find it Harder to Stay Around People Who Don’t, even if it’s your own FAMILY” …

The Bible teaches me to “Obey Thy Father and Mother” … 

That can be somewhat hard to do when you had been put down, left to feel your worth nothing for many years beginning as a little girl. No excuses, not a victim, just clear-sightedness of how I FELT and had perceived these actions each time they happened to me by family members growing up.

To learn dark secrets coming into adulthood that make you look at your parents much differently and it is an uncomfortable feeling. I am also sharing my feelings as it seems, even after almost fifteen years of estrangement from my dysfunctional side of the family, they keep leaving “ugly” comments on my book as reviews and anywhere else they think they can hurt me. I’m good today so I just ignore it.

See, my book ‘Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat’    published in 2013, my family was upset due to the fact I wrote and disclosed some dark secrets I came across while doing my research and looking in public records and so on and they don’t have a grip on reality or any link to an understanding about addiction and recovery either.  My memoir is NOT ABOUT THEM.

It was written to give insights about how my past issues and trauma growing up can had such a negative impact in my life growing into adulthood which all that added fuel to my addiction. When using addiction to try and cope, escape, or numb old hurt and pain we all may have gone through in life, many times it can or may have many like me turn to any addiction in the first place. By sharing my story, I hope to help others. It is not HOW TO RECOVER, it is WHY I turned to gambling addiction.

But Let Me Start At The Beginning  . . .

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When I was 7-years-old and again at 13 years old, I had been sexually abused by my brother and an adult friend of my parents, the 17-year-old son of those friends of my parents who lived up the street from us.  He was a year younger than my brother. I still have trouble today describing in detail what had been done to me, but each time it happened, I’d get sick to my stomach and a little piece of my innocence stripped away leaving me feeling ashamed, dirty, and confused.

Even as I’d would say, NO, it would leave me feeling guilty and worthless as it was MY FAULT.  I kept thinking and tell my little self I must be bad or doing something wrong that this continues to happen to me. Feeling baffled and confused and not understanding the nature of the “sexual misconduct” part …

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In turn, as I began to grow up and become an adult woman, those experiences began to seep into my thinking, become distorted in many areas of my life as you can imagine. The relationships I would sabotage not only with men, all because I felt NOT worthy of them. Becoming promiscuous at an earlier age as a woman and thinking that’s all men want is sex. I walked away from several serious relationships with a few men who treated me like a princess, then, again, not feeling I deserved or worth the special attention, I’d walk away. I was not worthy of being loved because I was tainted somehow. Besides, my family treated like I was not worth it, so should I accept anyone else to?

My parents always said as I was growing up that “I was a liar or a whore, a pot smoker or pill popper just because my dad would see me with my girlfriends out front of my Middle School or High School. Judging those girls by what they did or just because of the way they dressed or may have been smoking? And I never did any of those things except in high school smoked a cig or two back then like any normal teen did.

See, my father worked for the school district as a painter after he retired from 22-yrs of service in the air force. He wouldn’t tell me if he would be working/painting at MY school. All my family, as I got older, had still treated me poor at times as if I wasn’t at all important or part of the family. For example, and I know it seems dumb, we’d all be going out to dinner together and most of us were married by then. We’d all meet at my parents and ride together.

If I was even just a few minutes late, they would all just leave without me and I’d have to drive myself. Sounds like no big deal, but when it happens ALL the time? When you are already dealing with hidden trauma and suffering in silence, it begins to make you feel less and less cared for. I will admit looking back, I was very hypersensitive when my family did this because of what I went through as a little girl. None of them knew what happened to me as a child until I finally reached out for help the first time at age 31 and even then when I disclosed it all my mom didn’t believe me and that felt like being abused all over again.

I just could not stuff all those painful memories away any longer. Also looking back and connecting the dots through years of therapy, treatment counseling and after finally being properly diagnosed in 2002 with mental health disorders after my first suicide attempt and not the last. Knowing and feeling I had mental health problems since childhood like OCD, ADHD. I had many of the symptoms through childhood I remember like, daydreaming, forgetting things, fidgeting, talking too much, inattention, impulsivity, unnecessary risk-taking, and having trouble getting along with others. I had all of these.  Then in my teen years with depression and isolating.

Of course, my parents or other parents didn’t know then what they know today about mental and emotional illness and disorders. And, I had an aunt on my mom’s side that passed away from a prescription drug overdose and she was on many mental health drugs as I learned later as an adult. So I always felt my mental health challenges came from my mom’s side of the family. Even my mom was put on antidepressants about the last 5 or 6 years of her life.

The other side of this is when my parents would discipline us kids and in a way that was unconventional. I remember the times that my mom went over the top.  Like one time, my brother took something or got caught stealing something for my sister. How my mom taught him not to ever do it again, she made him and my sister put out their hands and she pricked the top of their hands with a needle until they were bleeding and MADE ME WATCH so we all learned the lesson. It was sicking to watch!

There we many things like this through the years and these traumatizing memories lingered in my mind. When we all became adults, it seemed abuse of alcohol was the common factor at many family gatherings like camping trips, birthdays or the 4th of July BBQ and even just a baseball game! My father, brother, and older sister drank like fishes as we got older. And something would always happen to ruin whatever family function or outing was going on when they were all drunk. It even happened after we all got together after my mother’s funeral at the memorial at my brother’s home in 2003. It caused my brother’s divorce, my oldest sister racked up 3 DUI’S in one year and more.

THAT is another blog post share for another day!

Through beginning and maintaining recovery, I shared all of this and my therapist and I agreed that my family was toxic and I needed to step away and not get involved even though I lived 980 miles away. I have tried to make amends where I could with my side of the family to no avail. I did, however, with my mom before she passed in August of 2003. Again, I lived about 980 miles away in Oregon when I was in the worst of my addiction. So no one from my family was impacted. But as I had always been dubbed “The Blacksheep” of the family early on, it seemed to make it OK for them to treat me like shit through the years. Even when they came to visit. I was and always felt very disconnected from my father. I still do and don’t today know why.

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After a while, you come to accept it and begin to ignore those times. As I got older, I began to set boundaries to avoid all the family drama and hurt except for when they would come up to visit us in Oregon. I just ignored the negative comments and stopped engaging with my mother that always turned into arguments when she’d make snide remarks that got worse the healthier I became. SHE did not like boundaries …I spent too many years starving for their validation and wasn’t going to do it any longer as I learned and accepted that they didn’t know how to give unconditional love.  These are the many things I began to learn while in treatment and beginning my road and path of recovery.

Learning the tools and skills to keep me safe when you deal with family who does not understand the concept of recovery or mental health. And through the years don’t care to either. If it is not in front of them, they don’t have to acknowledge or care about it is how my own father, sisters, and even my brother have treated me …We all have been estranged since my mother was laid to rest in 2003.  Through my almost 13-yrs maintaining recovery, I have processed this, forgive them and live my life for me and my husband. I do keep in touch with my nephews and that is good enough for me.

See, we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I can choose not to continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be abused by them any longer. I don’t have to continue and use poor behaviors like my mother used for years and most everyone let her even after we became adults and know better. Sadly, I needed to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life.

It is coming up on 15-years since I last talked to my father who just stopped calling me and still to this day I have no clue why …And almost the same with my older and younger sisters. My brother, I, and my husband spoke a few times and my brother did apologize to me for what he had done to me. He told me it happened to him as a little boy by our uncle Joe years ago when we still lived in New Jersey and before moving to So. CA., as kids.

One of my therapists had told me that when men molest 87% of the time they have been molested themselves. For me, I was just relieved my husband heard him admit what he did to me, but my brother wouldn’t to my parents. So my parents kept thinking I made it all up. What actually gives me comfort? Is knowing my husband, I, GOD and now my mom in heaven knows the truth. I know I am rambling but this has been laying on my heart the last few days. I know many of us maintaining long-term recovery have had to deal with learning the many underlying issues of why we had turned to addiction in the first place.

Some of what I share are many of the underlying issues I had to overcome. Instead of running or hiding and keep active within my gambling addiction, I did so because I was trying to “escape, numb, or cope” with all these ugly feelings and pain. Not being raised to know that it is OK to reach out for help when you are feeling mentally and emotionally weak and being tormented by old haunting memories you can’t run or stuff away any longer.

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It is also difficult to start becoming stronger and standing outside “The Family Bubble” you came from looking in and seeing a really dysfunctional, fucked-up, unloving and hurtful group of people who are YOUR FAMILY Members. No, I am not better than any of them, I am, however, so much happier and healthier than they are.

WHY? Because I have acknowledged all the old habits and behaviors which have torn my side of the family apart and I choose to NOT be or play a part in it anymore. Yes, it is sad and hurts to see or accept your family for who they really are. And, again, as I said earlier, I never hurt any of my family members when I was within my addiction, so I didn’t need to apologize for anything.

But I have no control over people, places, or things. I have tried making amends and sometimes it just doesn’t always work or have an outcome you’d hoped for. Even when it’s your family . . .

That’s ok because today I am happy, healthy, loved and BET FREE!  🎉🎉💖💞And that is always something to CELEBRATE In a New Year!

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I wish each and everyone who reads this and visits a very HAPPY, HEALTHY and BLESSED NEW YEAR In 2020!  ~Catherine Lyon

 

Dear Gambling Addiction, ~ It’s My Final Goodbye…Part One

“It is time to make amends and to forgive me.”

I Am A Recovering Gambling Addict.
In Recovery As of – Jan 29th, 2007
1996 to 2007- “I was a gambling addict until I entered recovery.”

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Dear Gambling Addiction,


It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us now for 10+ years. So I thought it was time to for a final goodbye but first catch up on the years we have been apart, and this will be my last contact with you.

Things have been going well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind in those early years, but I never had the courage to bring myself to tell you that it was time for “A Final Goodbye” forever as it stings for it to be so final…..Like a loss or death. This time it is your funeral and not mine, as my two failed suicides were enough for me.

YES, we have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be a surprise or difficult for either of us to finally be silent from one another. We have been through so much together. And not all was positive. Yes, we shared and had some good times, but that ended up turning deadly for me. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. I just could not deny or see how you began to HURT me in our friendship. I didn’t understand at the middle to end of our friendship and then breakup that you could be so mean, hurtful and abusive to me.

WHY?

Do you not remember the times I’m talking about? There were many I can recall.

Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just a jackass to ME? So much so I tried to kill myself twice because of you! You want me to go THERE? Why don’t we start around the time we first met. We had seen each other around a little, once for my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, then in Reno once a year with my girls, or at the Indian Casino 40 miles from my home once every 3 to 4 months.

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But where did we get to know each other well? It was at all the “Oregon State Lottery Retail” stores opening up everywhere! It was where you and 5 of your video poker machine buddies seemed to be each time we ran into each other. I began to like you a lot and not be able to stay away from you. It was if you had all the control and I just went along with it. That was my downfall.

Especially when I started seeing your shiny video lottery signs outside all the bars and taverns around town, and even in most of the restaurants where hubby and I would go to eat. OH PLEASE, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I knew you were always mad or jealous of Tom my husband the first time you saw us together. I never understood why you didn’t like Tom, and why you were always HELL BENT to do anything to break our marriage apart! Well, I guess most was my fault as I feel “head over heals” in love with YOU dear video and slot machines. You turned out to be the best part of each day. I longed for you like a lover.

I know it was YOU who was always there for me when I was tired, bored, lonely, angry or had too much time on my hands, too much alcohol, and when Tom worked out-of-town those few years, you kept me high and we had such FUN! That’s when you and I got to know each other intimately, and we spent many, many hours together. It was like you loved me so much that all I could see and think of was you. You listened to what said, knew how I was feeling. You made me feel wanted and special.

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Then, to be able to spend more time with you, I had to begin to lie bout where I was all the time. I began to see you before, during, and after work. Then, toward the end of our friendship, you became more greedy and started to cost me a fortune in wasted money, taking more of my time from life, friends, then the job loss, our home, even pawning my jewelry! Need I go on?

You even had a hand in me being “arrested,” then a had a criminal record when I’d never stolen a penny in all the years I worked in the banking field or wasn’t even spending time with you anymore! You had me in such dire financial distress. Yes, I know, that was my fault because I stole from someone just to be able to able to pay my bills. That was even after I tried to stop seeing you! You were like a bad affair I couldn’t get rid of like the movie, “Basic Instinct.”

THEN? before I entered recovery the first time, you began to just take and take from me. Year after year until I had nothing left to give. THE MADNESS and INSANITY HAD TO STOP!

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance writer

“Sometimes In Recovery A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”. . . Time To Shatter STIGMA

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,

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'If you or a loved one needs HELP, please call 1.800.815.6308 or visit www.AddictsToday.com. Recovery not only changes, but SAVES lives!! <3'
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YES,. . . . It’s Just That Simple! Please Don’t Judge Me or Others Who Live In Recovery From Gambling Addiction!

It’s Time To SHATTER STIGMA . . . #NOSHAME #DONTJUDGEME #IAMNOTMYPAST

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Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A

Putting A Face Behind Addicted Compulsive Gambling. Meet Adnan Alisic & His New Book “ARIZONA DREAM”. .

A true story straight out of the News Headlines about an Addicted Gambler ~ Lets put faces behind Gambling Addiction the Disease. . .
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“Not only is a group of men charged in the theft of $2 million cash from an armored truck at an East Valley casino, but they could also be accused of stealing from some Hollywood scripts. A FBI search warrant affidavit and federal indictment records provide new details of the July 21 attempted robbery of Casino Arizona at Talking Stick that some movie buffs might find familiar.”

Attempted Casino Arizona robbery like a Hollywood movie” ~ said the Associated Press ~

ASSOCIATED PRESS – The attempted robbery of $2 million from a casino on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix sounds more like a Hollywood movie than a real-life incident, according to newly released court documents.

Officials are charging Ismar K, Adnan Alisic, Bakil, and Daniel M{ not wanting to use the others charged – full names}, with conspiracy, interference with commerce by threats, violence and robbery, and use of a firearm in a crime of violence in the July 21 attempted robbery of Casino Arizona at Talking Stick, according to their indictment and a FBI search warrant affidavit outlined.

Adnan Alisic made fake manhole covers so they would be lighter and easier to lift, and then switched them with two others the day before the robbery. The men placed ladders and ropes in the manholes and parked an all-terrain vehicle in the sewer system so they could race the money from one manhole to the other. Holes were cut in the floorboards of two vans for access to the manhole covers, a trick Steve McQueen pulled in 1972’s “The Getaway.”
The men’s gear included blue coveralls, gas masks, pepper spray, bear attack deterrent, smoke grenades, cell phones, two-way radios, a 9-millimeter handgun and a plastic pellet gun.

On the night of the attempted robbery, Bakir M and Daniel M parked a white van across the street from the casino and then got into a Lexus to watch the robbery. After ramming their green van into an armored car, K and Alisic jumped out and sprayed one of the guards with pepper spray. The two grabbed bags of money and fled to the first manhole cover. They set off a smoke grenade, but couldn’t raise the manhole cover.
So, the group fled. . . .

So these were the news headlines and in newspapers of The Associated Press, The Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune newspapers in Arizona back in July & October 2006.

Now fast forward to today.

What really happened that day back in July 2006? Most importantly, why did this crime take place? What happened to those who were arrested? Well as many of you know, I’m not a news reporter or even a professional writer. I’m just another face behind this disease! And I share what I feel strongly about, and my passion for recovery from this addiction.

I can give however give you an answer from one of the men that was involved and caught, taken into custody, charged, prosecuted, and is still in a federal prison today.
He reached out to me recently by email, asking if I could help him promote his new book about his story of addicted gambling, and of course I said, “YES”. . .

So please meet Adnan Alisic. Now a writer, and new author of his explosive debut book titled; Arizona Dream: A true story of a real life “Ocean’s Eleven” and
currently he is in Adams County Correctional Institution, a Federal Prison in Natchez, Mississippi. His release date is not until 2021, but this is where his book was written.

Like me, Adnan is another face behind gambling addiction. These are some of his thoughts, words, feelings looking back, and taking not only ownership for what he has done, but also accountability for the poor choices we all make when entangled in the depths of HELL called addicted gambling. It’s a very cunning and devastating disease.

We all come from different paths, and many, many different stories of addiction to gambling.
Some stories are more sensationalized then others, but the public needs to know about the faces behind this addiction and their stories.

So here is more of Adnan’s story, back story, and about his new shocking reveals in his debut book release of “Arizona Dream: a true story of a “real life ocean’s eleven” now available on Amazon books and Barnes and Noble online.

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Product Details

Arizona Dream: A true story of a real-life “Ocean’s Eleven”

Haunted by the demons from his past, Adnan Alisic escapes Bosnia and comes to Phoenix, Arizona, where he starts a new life. Fueled by ambition on and drive, he starts a successful car dealership, settles down, and lives the American Dream.

Tortured by his past, he seeks relief in gambling and loses everything. After being tossed out of the casino, Adnan vows to get back at them.

Forced by the gambling debt and driven by the revenge against the casino, he plans an elaborate casino heist. After discovering the tunnel running under the casino, he devises an intricate scheme to get his money back and pay off the debt.

From ethnic cleansing and mass killings in Bosnia, to gambling and underground tunnels in Arizona, you will read Arizona Dream until l the last page where you’ll find the real reason and motivation behind the heist. . . .

“In likable, plain-spoken, and insightful prose, full of lush and vivid detail, Adnan Alisic reflects on the suspenseful twists and turns of his one-of-a-kind life path. From the first page to the last, I was completely riveted. This is one hell of a book.”  – Davy Rothbart, author of My Heart is an Idiot, and creator of FOUND Magazine. . .

About The Author Adnan Alisic, and how his book came to light:

Entangled in a gambling addiction, he was forced to execute this sensational casino heist. He is currently serving seventeen-and-a-half years in federal prison in Mississippi.

“Haunted by the atrocities of war, a Bosnian refugee pursuing the elusive American dream finds himself committing the heist of the century.”

Ališic’s debut memoir, composed entirely in prison, begins in the mid-1990s: “This is my story as I remember it,” he writes in the foreword-and if even half of it is true, it’s enough adventure for 10 lifetimes. The author escaped the clutches of ruthless Serbian militants following Yugoslavia’s breakup, relocated to Phoenix and achieved success selling used cars. But the only thing more rewarding than making money was spending it, and with the help of the nearby Casino Arizona, Ališic did just that. What should have been merely recreational begins to invade him in a way he could never have imagined.

Helpless against gambling’s siren song, his small empire crumbled as his company’s profits fueled his habit. Although the finer details of his business operations tend to be long-winded, even extraneous, they underscore just how easily the blackjack table ripped away what took so long to build. As his desperation increased, Ališic’s financiers threatened to sue; his unsupervised employees embezzled from the company coffers; and his cherished girlfriend, Selma, left him – his world falling apart.

“Last night, I gambled away a 2002 Mustang,” he confides. “I realized that the more I was going there, the more I craved it. Not because I wanted to be there. Not because I liked it. But because I knew I wasn’t a loser, and I wanted to even the score.” In this case, evening the score meant boosting $2 million from Casino Arizona. Yet his self-styled description of his story as a “real-life Ocean’s Eleven” sells the reality short.

Far from the devil-may-care attitude of those films, his memoir reveals the scheme as the remarkably human outcome of a life marked by anguish and the hope of redemption. A series of harrowing flashbacks to Bosnia-illegally selling cigarettes in Prijedor, leaping into a sewage canal while outrunning a barrage of bullets, witnessing a massacre, being tortured nearly to death-transforms Ališic into a hero worthy of anyone’s admiration.

Here is what others are saying about Adnan’s book:

“A riveting read from beginning to end, “Arizona Dream” is an expertly written, true-life tale that reads like a thriller novel, documenting author Adnan Ališić as an extraordinary storyteller. This is the stuff from which Hollywood blockbuster movies are made.”
– Midwest Book Review

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So as I wrote earlier, Adnan happen to reach out to me by email. He wanted to know if I could help promote his book for him. At first I was wondering if this a spam email or joke. But as I read his email, it was clear he to was another victim of gambling addiction the disease. Another face behind this cunning addiction. It didn’t occur to me that Adnan was emailing me from federal prison. So I wrote him back with a few questions, and shared a little of my story with him.
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So I did some research to see what I could find about his story, as I now live in Arizona temporary myself. There are many news reports from the Arizona Republic newspaper here in Phoenix, AZ. And a few from the Associated Press. Of course, being a recovering addicted gambler myself, I wasn’t real surprised about what these 4 men, including Adnan had done.

I knew how Adnan felt about feeling taken for a ride by Indian Casinos, and for me, State Lottery. I also felt the same way he did when sitting in a cold jail cell waiting to be booked and processed for my crime. The reality of what you did hits you like a ton of bricks! All because of the strain of financial devastation, and overwhelming gambling debts. And this part of the work we do in recovery is sometimes missed, or not enough work done in taking our financial inventory.

And as Adnan said in his own words to me in his email; “In the beginning there were quite a few reporters who wanted to talk to me — but at that time I refused to talk to them, and as you know, the media only reported whatever was available from police reports and court records, so this is the time for the public to know the full story and put a face behind a compulsive gambler.”

And Adnan is right! media and news reports always seem to spin things to make more out of a story. And it is way past the time to talk about this. Not just his story, but the stories behind the faces of those who have been destroyed by this insidious addiction. It’s really not about the money, or the crazy shit we do all for the love of our addiction, or the financial aftermath of it all.

It’s about what it does to the human condition. It takes every part of us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. We allow this addiction to invade our thinking, thoughts, actions, and choices when we are so invaded by addictions.
All addictions do that.

But through hard work in recovery, we can get better, recover, and be better than we were before addicted gambling consumed us. I know Adnan still has many miles to walk, but at least he now has the ability to see what his errors and choices have cost him, and he has taken accountability for them. Having your freedom taken away is a hard thing to process.

Having to relearn awareness of our feelings about ourselves is very important in recovery, because we have learned to escape from feeling anything. We become comfortably numb.
So I choose to be of recovery service to Adnan. WHY?
His Story Needs To Be Heard. . . .

Because like myself, he to was brave enough to write and publish his personal story about his addicted gambling addiction, the disease. I commend him, and all those who do. That is how we can continue to raise awareness, shatter the stigma, educate and inform others of this addiction!

If you’d like to support Adnan in recovery, buy his book here: http://www.amazon.com/Arizona-Dream-Real-life-Oceans-Eleven-ebook/dp/B00OZ0S9WC  {Now an e-book promo price .99 cents}

Send him an email of support here:  alisic.adnan6@gmail.com
Visit his website: www.arizonadreambook.com
Follow him on FB: https://facebook.com/Arizonadream

And I will keep you posted on how he is doing to here in future blog posts.

God Bless Recovery Friends,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 🙂
http://www.amazon.com/Arizona-Dream-real-life-Oceans-Eleven/dp/B00OZ0S9WC

I Have This Dream, Iyanla Vanzant…Can You Fix My Father? I’m Tired Of This Dream…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Friends,

 

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“So I keep having this “Dream” about the broken relationship I have with my Father.”

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It’s seems to come as the backside of a once broken life. My life. When I finally started a serious recovery from gambling addiction and booze, my mom had been sick and in and out of the hospital. But as if God knew she would be gone soon, I was able to go spend a week with her and my family in So. Cal shortly after my crisis center stay from a very bad gambling slip and undiagnosed bipolar depression. It was also my first failed suicide attempt. That was Nov, 2002. So I had this overwhelming need to be close to my mom, so I went down in March, 2003. The week went great, as I even got to see my older brother and his son too! He was on vacation in Laguna Beach, CA, and invited me and my other two sisters to come and spend the day with him there.

That was the FIRST time all four of us kids had been together like that in years! It was also like a dream, so thank goodness I have photo’s to remind me of that wonderful day. It would be the last time we were all on good terms. As July 2003 came around and mom was back in the hospital and on Life Support. We almost lost her then. I was called to be told that she may not make it, so I needed to come down to be with her. She made it, but only lasted until mid August, 2003. While I was there in July, I could not believe how I was being treated. Now I had never hurt anyone in my family with my addiction, and I felt is was more about my “Mental illness” that was the problem. Like they couldn’t understand, or wonder what was so wrong with me. Don’t you just hate when people find out and they Treat You Differently?

Their attitudes were much different too, as if I’d go “Postal” on them at any moment is the only way I can describe it to you. See, I was still living in So. Oregon at this time, so it was a long way to So. California. It wasn’t like I lived in the same state or city, so we didn’t see each other very often. Now for those who haven’t read my current book, I should back up a bit.

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I was sexually abused twice as a little girl by to adult men who were friends of my mom and dad. Then as I grew up, my parents, especially my Italian mom, was very heavy-handed when it came to punishment, and so was my father. He used a belt on us kids, buckle and all. With my mom? anything around her was a potential weapon to hit us with. I was also called names, called the blacksheep, a whore, just because my girlfriends smoked, Pill Popper and Druggie, just because my friends looked like ones. That went on all the way into my adulthood.

When I would go out, or to over to my neighbor’s house, my mom would say things like, “You always go, go. go,…you don’t like it here?, you don’t love your family because your always running somewhere else.” She would always say to that I was a liar, never told the truth. I wonder where I got that from? Parents, don’t hide things from your past that your kids can find out about when they grow up, trust me,…..”It Will Be Found Out”! And it can hurt your children when they do! So as I got older, they stilled carried these awful habits & behaviors. We all would be meeting at my parents house to all go out to dinner together, and several times I was a few minutes late, they LEFT WITHOUT ME…..Gosh, that one used to Piss me OFF! Like I’m not good enough to wait a few minutes for?

Was I perfect? NO!….Was I ultra sensitive? Wouldn’t you be if you endured things like this? Parents,  be the “Example” for your children. You will get their RESPECT in the end. Did I feel this way because of the sexual abuse I went through? Maybe. But I know what I FEEL. And those things were hurtful. Especially when you find out later in life that your own parents hid a huge hurtful secret that would blow our family apart. To keep it simple, my mom was married a few years with another man that was in the Navy, and out to sea a lot. She met my father and they were seeing each other before my mom got a divorce from her now ex- husband. She also got pregnant by my dad with my brother. But for years she made her first husband think my brother was HIS CHILD. All for the love of “Child Support Check”!!…
Was the money worth us kids being lucky to have a mom home everyday when we got home from school?  I don’t know….

So needless to say, her first husband believed my brother was his, while my parents knew the truth the whole time. Was the money really worth it? Back in the late 50’s it couldn’t have been much money per month. But they carried this LIE all those years until one day my brother gets a call from a lawyer out of the blue! The lawyer told him his father passed and he needed to come sign papers to release his body to his side of the family. WHAT??!!
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Well, long story short it was a HUGE LIE they carried, and my brother was the one hurt to pieces in the end! I could not believe they did this. Then a light bulb went off, it seems most likely my mom used to call me a liar because of her “Guilty conscience”? WOW!

It wasn’t until I turned 25 and had moved from So. Cal to So. Oregon, did my eyes open and really see all the dysfunction in my family. All those wasted years of trying to “Prove Myself” to them that I was a good person. That I was not all those things they called me growing up until addicted gambling got a hold on me!  Yes, the sex abuse put a strain in my teen and early adulthood years with my father and brother, but all of us kids have been hurt and turned to different types of addictions to “Escape” all this pain, verbal & physical abuse done to us as young kids.
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AN EXCUSE? Hell No! Not a victim either. It’s coming to realize the painful truth about a family that may look “Good” to others on the “outside,” but there is a whole lot of SHIT going on behind close doors! And no matter what anyone tells me, it did, and does affect your children.
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All that aside, when my mom was sick before she passed, I called her 2 times a day while she was in the hospital. GOD gave me the GIFT, the miracle of her and I making peace with each other before she passed. I just wish we had more time to build on that. But, after she passed, we went back down to So. Cal and helped my dad with the funeral arrangements and attended. After, my brother had a wake & celebration of life for mom at his house, and after we and my dad got home that night, I guess all hell broke loose at my brothers between my brother, his wife, my two sisters and nephews. The cops were called too, and there went the HAPPY FAMILY!
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Of course all the alcohol that was being consumed didn’t help matters. My family has a history of overindulgence with booze, except my mom. Now at this point your most likely wondering why I would AIR all my families Dirty Laundry?
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It’s to show “INSIGHTS” on how many bad habits and behaviors hurt each one of us kids in different ways. And all this, and the past abuse added a lot of FUEL to my gambling addiction. I felt entitled to what I’d done within my  addiction because of the shit I went through and endured as a person. But sadly, I was only hurting myself and husband. But when we don’t know how to process all the Life Garbage when it returns later in our life, some turn or use addiction to cope or numb out.

So the long & short of it is, after we came home from my mom’s passing, we went back down to help my dad through the holidays, except for my brother. When we got home, I called my father a couple of times. My father just stopped talking to me! I called a few more times, and no calls back. This went on for a while until I finally wrote him a letter to ask why,….and still nothing. My two sisters were not talking to me either. Before one of my nephews stopped talking to me to, he said my father was upset that I sided with my brother over not getting any of the “Life Insurance policies” in his name by my dad, and he was not given any of my mom’s jewelry to remember her by either. So dad was upset that I felt that way.
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WHAT?  You just don’t cut off your kids because your upset. So, it has been this way since 2004. It’s now 2014, and I have not heard or seen my father in all this time. So, now that I live in Arizona, only a 4 hour drive to my dads now, so do I go make amends in person? But For what? I don’t know what I did that was SO WRONG for a father to just cut out his daughter in his life. My mother used to do the same thing. What father does that to his children?

Is he upset because we know the “Truth about the LIE” he and my mom kept going for years? Then why does he still have relationships with both my sisters? Just because they live close to him? I have no idea why he treats me this way.
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So I keep having this nightmare of a dream about my father. It is very disturbing to me. So it makes me wonder why all this is still bothering me? I thought I had processed all this in therapy. I forgave my father of this choice he made so I could move forward in my own “Life and Recovery.” That is on HIM, not ME as why things are this way. Does he feel Shame or Embarrassed? It really is hard to see our parents for their faults and misgivings when we get grow up. How they judged me just because of how they judged the friends I hung around with. Some of this is all hard to swallow.

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So when I visited recently visited “Iyanla Vanzant’s website, and I read a blog post about Family, it got me thinking about all this. SO I Wonder,….
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IYANLA VANZANT, can you help FIX MY LIFE, and the Broken Relationship with my Father? I’m really tired of having this dream! I want “No Regrets” before my 80-year-old father pass’s away…
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GOD BLESS ALL,
AUTHOR CATHERINE TOWNSEND-LYON


http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine-158/