The Holiday Season Is Upon Us. It’s My Seventh Year of Recovery Holiday Watch and Blogging. Ramblings of Christmas’s Past …

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us. It’s My Seventh Year of Recovery Holiday Watch and Blogging. Ramblings of Christmas’s Past …

 

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WELCOME Recovery Friends and New Friend Visitors . . . 

 

Well, the holiday season is here! First comes Thanksgiving, and you know the rest. I am doing my Recovery Blogging and on Holiday Recovery Watch again this year. It will be my seventh year in a row. WHY?  Because no one needs to be ALONE through the holiday season.

I know from my own experiences how hard the holidays are when maintaining recovery or for those who may be looking to reach out for help. And believe it or not, it is the most active time on my recovery blog and my email me as well.  Some do come to reach out for help from this cunning disease of addicted gambling. I can’t count the many paychecks I wasted for a few hours of “Escaping” my haunting traumatic past childhood and abuse.

I began using gambling as a way to cope and not FEEL the pain of my past anymore. Hence, one of the underlying issues of the “WHYS” I became an addicted compulsive gambler. Another thing I like to do for the holidays, and again, I will be lowering the cost of my ebook, a best-selling memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes. Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat”

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Beginning Nov. 26th, 2019 through Jan. 21st, 2020
 my ebook will be on sale for only $1.99 as it makes a great gift if you know someone you care about who may have a gambling problem. By reading my memoir, it just may open their eyes to know there is help available and they are not the only ones suffering in silence from a gambling problem. Funny how many ask me how I came up with the subtitle.

It came to me very easily as “Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,” is what gambling addiction turned me into while deep within my addiction! It is a raw in-depth look inside the “how and why” I became an addict as my past childhood trauma created “The Perfect Storm” for me to turn to problem gambling as it turned into a full-blown addiction …

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My E-Book Now on Amazon!


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TO BE CLEAR, my book was not written for a “HOW To RECOVER,” book, it is about my life and the “WHYS” I turned to addiction in the first place. But, by reading the book, my hopes are they may relate to my experiences and give them HOPE …That many people have a gambling problem and have been successful in maintaining long-term recovery from this cunning addiction and disease. I can still remember some of my Ghosts” of Christmas’s past and when I was still deep within my addicted gambling days like it was just yesterday.

 

I freshly remember those times going into a department store, as I was walking up and down the isles with tears in my eyes and wishing I could buy this or that for those I loved for gifts. So many feelings ran through me like sadness, anger, shame, and guilt because I had no money to do so due to gambling it away.  It would just trigger me with more anger and rage and set me up and off to another gambling binge in hopes of winning enough money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone. Well, like they say? “The House Always Wins!” But now I was gambling with my LIFE and not just MONEY anymore.


Another holiday sickening story … In 2002, we got to a point and, of course, due to my gambling addiction, we’d thought we’d have to sell our home before we lost it. But? A family member, an enabler came to give me another bail-out. He stepped in and gave me the money! I was given the money to get caught up but within 2 days? 

I gambled it away. 

OH, the lies, the covering, and hiding were exhausting and the suffering in silence for many years was taking a toll on me. And then? Right before Thanksgiving in 2002, I lost my best friend and had watched her die of ovarian cancer and set me spinning to an awful gambling binge so bad I attempted my first suicide! That was how I spent my 40th birthday and Thanksgiving that year was from my first suicide attempt.

It was a failed attempt and spent the next few days in the hospital. From there, I was transferred into an addiction/mental health crisis center for 28 days and where I began treatment for my gambling addiction. While there and after many tests ran, I learned I had been suffering from several severe mental health issues of severe depression with high mania, PTSD from my childhood sexual abuse and trauma, anxiety and more. I was a broken mess!


Some of my points and an example? We have lost many and those who we have read about who were high profile people. Although every life matters, we have lost many from the disease of all types of addictions. The danger here is the longer you are abstinent the greater the risk of death and don’t recover from a relapse.

As I looked, I did not find research or a study to this fact, I did, however, find a 2014 article close to the topic written by my friend and Author, Omar Manejwala and his book; “Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough” who shares some perspective of this topic.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/craving/201402/how-often-do-long-term-sober-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse

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Even though I didn’t need a substance for my addicted gambling. didn’t need to pop some pills or drink a mood-altering liquid or need to use a needle? I got the same rush and euphoric high as a drug addict or alcoholic and so on …I would be triggered and had the same cravings as any other addiction. ADDICTED GAMBLERS just do it with our own brain and body chemicals, so again, scary, No Substance Required and just as deadly!

 

Now I have always been a firm believer that we need to stay very conscious of where we have been and where we came from with our addictions and where we are today. We can never become complacent nor think we are ever “done” with our recovery work. However, how you choose to get there? it is your Power to Choose. For myself, I needed any and everything I could do to begin and maintain recovery. After you attempt suicide twice from this baffling addiction? You have to do whatever it takes! And I did.

If you work a 12-Step program, go through Treatment, Counseling or whatever you decide on? You have to be diligent and keep reworking those steps, working on changing those character defects, change your thinking process and all those nasty bad habits and behaviors we learned and relied on to us within our addictions.

WHY?

Because all that recovery work becomes an important tool to look back on of your earlier work and see where you still need more recovery work and to see the growth in areas. You can also see how your self-worth begins to come back and the shaping of your new life begins … There are times like the holidays when we need to look back to appreciate where we are today, living in the now, and begin living a beautiful life while maintaining your recovery journey.

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So don’t wait! The holiday season is a perfect time to reach out for the help that is available to begin your recovery. Don’t you want to LIVE a new beautiful life? It’s not too late to have an amazing holiday season with family and friends, as you become bet free and happy. I have been very ‘Blessed and I am Humble and have a heart of Gratitude’ for my recovery journey thus far. That comes from “a power greater than I” and from all that I do as an Advocate. And you can be happy too!

Isn’t your life worth a new beginning?

YES!

YOU ARE Worth IT and so much more! 

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~Advocate and Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

Image result for copyright free service dogs

 

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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Do You Advocate About Mental Health and Want To on a Bigger Scale? Join Tony Roberts as a Patron and He’ll Help You Do So …

Do You Advocate About Mental Health and Want To on a Bigger Scale? Join Tony Roberts as a Patron and He’ll Help You Do So …

 

Growing Delight in Disorder

“One thing I have learned in my spiritual life is not only is it more blessed to give than to receive, but it is more rewarding.”

 

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As a pastor, I observed many who came to church sporadically, made no effort to participate in service and gave only a few small bills whenever the mood struck them. One common feature I consistently noticed in these folks is that their spiritual growth was stunted.  I saw first hand that those who withhold their time, talent, and money from kingdom work, isolated themselves from God’s abundant grace experienced in a generous community.

I am no longer in pastoral ministry, but I see the same principle apply to my mission here at Delight in Disorder. Over the course of the last five years, I am reaching a growing number of persons impacted by mental illness. These folks need encouragement, support, and spiritual counsel. I have been blessed to be one of God’s instruments of healing, through my book, this blog, phone and video consults, speaking engagements and my podcast. My ministry has grown from a manuscript in a junk drawer to a message spreading across the globe.

My mission here at Delight in Disorder is to foster hope in the lives of those with troubled minds and cultivate compassion within the faith community for those with mental illness. To carry out this mission, I need your help. Your prayers. Your stories. Your encouragement. Your financial support.

 

Why Do You Need Financial Support?

I want to be clear your financial gifts are to grow this mission, not increase my personal lifestyle. God has blessed me with income streams to put food on the table, have a roof over my head, and meet my daily needs. Monies contributed will go to expand the outreach of Delight in Disorder.

Build community among those engaged in advocacy and mental health ministry. Produce and distribute more written content to nourish the spiritual lives of wounded souls. Promote faith and mental wellness online and through other avenues. Provide for direct outreach through workshops and conferences on healing and wholeness. These are just some of the needs I envision to grow this ministry God has laid on my heart and, I hope, yours.

How Much Will It Cost?

To become a patron, you can contribute as little as $1/month or as much as God leads you to give. Again, I want to stress this should not come at the expense of your own needs, your family’s needs, or the needs of your local faith community. Instead, prayerfully consider how much you value this mission and give out of desire, not of obligation.

What Do I Get Out of It?

While it is true there are spiritual rewards whenever we give for kingdom work, I also want my patrons to receive practical benefits. These range depending on giving tiers (with each successive tier including perks of lower tiers):

  1. $1 or more a month — Covenental Clinician: Join private FB community to discuss issues of faith and mental health.
  2. $15 or more a month — Biblical Behavioralist: Receive personally inscribed Delight in Disorder for self or as a gift.
  3. $40 or more a month — Theological Therapist: Participate in a quarterly webinar on mental health ministry.
  4. $50 or more a month — Freudian for Faith: Receive monthly devotional journal (via snail mail!).
  5. $100 or more a month — Apostle for Affirmation: Video dialogue with me about a mental health matter.
  6. $200 or more a month — Manic Depressive Missionary — I will speak at a venue near you.

 

What Is My Best First Step?

The best way to get a taste of this new mission incentive is by becoming a mission partner at the $1/month Covenental Clinician tier. My private Facebook page will launch on November 1. It will be a place where you will find a wide variety of resources. Things like — personal stories from persons like me with mental health diagnoses; news about legislation impacting those with mental illness; discussions about the best way to offer Christ-like compassion for those with troubled minds.

My goal is to have 50 Covenental Clinicians by the launch date of November 1.  As a faithful reader of my blog, I hope you will become one of my founding partners.

I hope you are as excited as I am about this new mission venture. For more information and to pledge your support, go to MY SUPPORT PAGE.

Become a Patron Today and Help Tony Grow Through Faith His Mission at “Delight in Disorder Today.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37.4)

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Who Is Tony Robers?

 

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From Ministry to Madness

In 1995, I was a young, ambitious pastor serving a church in Northeast PA. One Sunday, I delivered a sermon in which I shared these words:

Our ailments may be blessings in disguise. As we listen to our bodies and minds and seek out care, we gain insight more abundant lives.

The next day, I was in the seclusion room of a psychiatric hospital. I was told I had bipolar disorder, that I would never work as a pastor again, that my marriage would end, and that I would spend the rest of my life in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

By the grace of God and with much help from many others, I served another dozen years of fruitful ministry, was married for twenty-three years and have progressed in treatment to enjoy “maintenance remission.”

From Madness to Mission

As one who has benefited from both faith and mental health treatment, I have Good News to share. And it is this — with Christ’s saving grace, the hellish impact of mental illness will be bearable.

God is with us even in the darkest valleys of despair. We have an essential purpose, to extend fellowship with others who struggle, and to fight the stigma that often leads to dangerous silence.

Many people with mental illness are angry at God, at believers, and at faith communities. People within churches struggle to reconcile medical advances about brain chemistry with Biblical truth.

I have lived in both worlds. I wrestle daily with my dual identity as a Christian who has a serious mental illness and have a hopeful word to say to both.

My mission at Delight in Disorder is to bridge the vast gap between faith and mental illness — fostering faith among those with disorders and diagnoses and promoting compassion within the faith community.

Can we partner together?

Won’t you join me on this mission? There are several ways you can help:

  1. Financially give at any level.
  2. Share this page with someone you know.
  3. Respond with your stories of faith / mental illness.

And lastly: pray for those impacted by mental illness. When we do these things, we reclaim our godly mission in the madness of the world.