Press Release: The National Council on Problem Gambling Announces; “March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” I Support & Share All They Do In March 2021. . .

Hello Recovery Warriors and Friends,

Every year in March, I share the helpful resources of my #1 resource and organization I support, The National Council on Problem Gambling. They have helped many become “BET-FREE” and begin to help families heal from the devastation of gambling addiction and problems gambling causes. It will be my 8th year doing so on my blog here and I know the resources they provide are there for anyone who has a gambling problem.

This year the spotlight is on “March Madness and the time of year when we see an increase in problem gambling and more demand for the council’s services.” Since the pandemic started, I have also seen “Online Gambling” explode with mandates of mask-wearing and social distancing, with many casinos and gambling venues still closed or limited capacity. The latest stat says online gambling has gone up almost 41% since the Coronavirus hit last year. And, parents, keep in mind this can include your teens and young adults. 

One area is sports betting on college basketball games all March long. So I wanted to share some of the National Council’s declarations and permit me each year about their March campaign and how you can get help for a loved one if you think they may have a problem with gambling. Never underestimate this addiction. It requires no substance and it doesn’t discrimanate who it tries to take next. 1 in 5 will try suicide like I did. Parents, when you have “The Talk” with their kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, please include problem gambling. . .

Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


Sharing Resources of The National
Council on Problem Gambling


03.01.21
By: JOHN NORTON

Awareness Plus Action Needed as Sports Betting Explodes

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month


Washington, DC – The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) designates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). March Madness, the annual NCAA basketball tournament that sees over $8 billion wagered on its games, is the backdrop that NCPG and its partners across the country leverage to help raise awareness and create action for those suffering from gambling problems.

With the campaign now in its nineteenth year, contacts to the National Problem Gambling Helpline typically spike during March. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states could allow sports betting, the proverbial floodgates opened. As we go to press, sports betting is now legal and operational in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, with many more considering it – an unprecedented expansion of gambling in the U.S. Unfortunately, services to mitigate the inevitable increase in harms associated with gambling have not kept pace.

“March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG. “Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”




The PGAM grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders, among them public health organizations, advocacy groups including NCPG state affiliates, and even gambling operators. NCPG provides a special web page to give information on local state activities and events – participants may share them via a link on our main webpage: https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/programs/pgam/

Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is designed to achieve two goals:

  • To increase public awareness of problem gambling; and
  • To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for gambling problems.

On NCPG’s PGAM webpage visitors are provided with materials and special graphics in the PGAM Toolkit, which can be used without charge by any organization that wants to hold advocacy and awareness activities this March. Each year, hundreds of organizations do. The social media hashtags for this initiative are #AwarenessPlusAction and #PGAM2021.

NCPG also collaborates with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) on Gambling Disorder Screening Day, which occurs on March 9, 2021. CHA, a nonprofit health organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosts the international event that has been held annually on the second Tuesday in March since 2014. It is designed to encourage health care providers to screen for gambling problems in the same way they do for alcohol and drug use disorder or domestic abuse, and to provide the tools to recognize gambling disorder for both the public and health care providers. All too often, this disorder leads to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected due to the limited availability of accessible assessments to identify this problem. The Screening Day addresses the issue and provides tools to identify gambling-related problems as early as possible.

Whyte said, “Problem gambling is certainly not confined to sports betting. We want anyone who may have a problem with any form of gambling to know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.” NCPG’s National Helpline, which is the only helpline for gambling that works in all 50 states, is tollfree, confidential, available 24/7, and offers translation services in 178 languages. It receives no federal funding and is supported only by NCPG’s members and donors.

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Please Gamble Responsibly!



About the National Council on Problem Gambling

Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2021

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September Is National Recovery Month. My Thoughts and a Wee Bit of Venting…

September Is National Recovery Month. My Thoughts and a Wee Bit of Venting…

As we celebrate National Recovery Month another year, not much has seemed to change regarding addiction. The opioid epidemic and alcoholism rates are still rising, just as more expansion has been rising with more gambling options being legalized like the one for legal online sports betting now in several states.

So how does recovery fit into this as we are losing more and more lives to all addictions every day? Why are we celebrating when it seems all addictions are getting out of control instead of better? I feel our Government needs to step up and take some part of the ownership and accountability of this problem as they don’t seem to be doing enough and just side kicking it to all the individual states in the US to handle it “on there own.”

“This to me and to many in the addiction and recovery arena and to me is just unacceptable” …

My good friend Ryan Hampton from ‘United to Face Addiction’ and ‘The Voices Project’ has worked tirelessly, including on Capitol Hill to get laws changed and put new laws and legislation on the books regarding opioid epidemic and treatment, rehabs, and sober living facilities. To force higher standards that will actually help those looking to recover. We need more longer-term after-care for those who reach out for recovery. Not just paid for and only a 28-day treatment stay. This DOES include gambling addiction and treatment where Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling lays out in this article …

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Is it wrong for the addiction/recovery community, parents, advocates, feel that our Government could be doing more? Is it not right for me if I was still an addict to ask for a longer treatment stay for free and not be in bondage of the Insurance Companies on how I chose to be free from any addiction? We all know most cannot afford addiction treatment is we have NO INSURANCE right? Even the cost alone if YOU HAVE INSURANCE is way too much for what we receive and WHY treatment is cut off by about the 28th to 30 days benchmark.

So how do we change this arena? Many advocates and those who work out in the field know this is an area in desperate need of changing. Lord knows I don’t have the answers but I will continue to advocate loudly for these and many more changes. I tip my hat off to those like Ryan, Les, and even my co-writing partner Vance who travel all over the US, even to our White House to advocate loudly for change.

Change in how addicts get treatment paid for or if they have no insurance, and to shatter Stigma around those who do because STIGMA can prevent addicts to reach out and get help. It’s why I advocate and share a wealth of HOPE … I will close with this FB Post by Vance Johnson who is a recovering addict, former NFL Pro, and what he had to say that hit home for me. I am so blessed to be writing his memoir with me and to have him as a dear friend.  ~Catherine Lyon

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Whatever you misdiagnose, whether illness, relationships, even politics, you miss treating.  This post is deep so stick with me.

Recently I’ve run into a ton backlash and opposition with my 4.5 years being clean.

From family to friends and in between, some are convinced that I’m not clean for the right reasons. Start with Religion… Some think this new walk that I walk in Christ delivering me from the bondage of addiction is “Fake News” and only a reason for my new supposed found fame. I was addicted to fame, and fame made me drink and use drugs.

When I lost that fame and status as a pro-NFL player and after walking away from the game, I drank and drugged myself into a coma. Let’s move to Politics.

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I grew up around democrats, became independent, and decided at one point that only Republicans are true believers in God. I’m not dogging politics, it’s needed…. but what you misdiagnose you miss treating! Whether politics or religion, most of it can be agenda driven and being agenda driven can make you interpret circumstances incorrectly.

In relationships, you may have got information about your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse, even your children that sheds a light on them that moves you directly into judgment. All because of your misdiagnoses and believing lies shaped in truth, that’s actually formed by an agenda.

Years of doubt, demonic interpretation has damaged your relationship. Although you see them never walk away from his or her commitment to love you, take care of your children and has never strayed.

Their devotion and walk in Christ echo their lifestyle. Don’t let religious or political prophecy become deluded or distorted by people saying they know what God is thinking.

In the Bible, Paul said lustfully pursue the gifts of the Spirit, especially that you may prophesy. I travel all over the country and share my testimony to thousands. I run into people all over, and the Spirit of God has led me to speak into people’s lives, and pray over them. I share the good news about what Christ has done for me in this new walk. I’ve seen miracles and lives touched while standing boldly redeemed and in conviction to Share Hope.

Thanks for letting go deep here, just wanted to share personal thoughts in this new transparent life I lead, to show myself approved in God’s eye, not man’s eyes… I encourage all of you to recognize what may be the spirit of deception.


You can think it’s a righteous stand while being “fed a lie.” No matter where the lie comes from.


Own your Faith, Own Your Sobriety.  ~Vance Johnson 


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Happy Sober, Clean, Bet Free Holiday Article Share Series. Were Getting Through Holidays Together!

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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Since this year for me has a been a bit cray – cray with co-writing a memoir with another, also book promoting for authors, advocating and recovery article writing, and guest blogging much more, I decided to do a little something different this year on my recovery blog. Most know I am passionate and adamant about being around through the Christmas and New Year holiday for those who may be struggling, need more support or feel tempted to stray maintaining recovery.

It can be a “risky” and tricky time for holiday parties, booze, desperate gambling due to lack of money for gifts, and party time means more recreational drugs around. Sad, but it is true. So I thought, why not share many Holiday articles with a mix of a few of my own this year and we help one another as a collective!

I have had some awesome guest recovery authors and articles this year and decided to share a few of them, along with some new ones I have permission to share as we all need support from as many people and places as we can get. So I will begin with an article I just read that will help with ideas of staying safe over the holidays on Sober Recovery!

*Three Reasons To Connect With A Recovery Community Through Holiday Time by  Toshia Humphries *

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The holiday season is upon us. Many are traveling to be with family while countless others gather with friends and significant others to celebrate the festive time of year. However, not everyone has a picturesque holiday experience.

The forces that could pull you into relapse tend to get stronger around the end of the year when you’re likely to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and reconvened with people who likely saw you during your addicted past. Now more than ever, it’s important to build up a support network to ensure you stick to your commitment.

Here are three reasons why you need to connect with a recovery community during the holidays.

1. Prevents isolation.

Staying connected to the recovery community can prevent isolation which is typically a precursor to relapse. Isolation can also worsen symptoms of any dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and other mood or personality disorders. All of these can escalate to relapse, accidental overdose or even suicide.

2. Provides a sense of family.

Staying in touch with the recovery community allows for a substitute family experience if family holidays are not possible due to either death, distance, or estranged. And, if the family is an option, the family dynamics make relapse more probably, the recovery community can act as a chosen family; one that is ideally far more supportive and less dysfunctional.

The recovery community is also equally as necessary for those who have families and enjoy being around them. In fact, possibly more so, as it is easy for those individuals to forget they need the recovery community or recovery itself. Often, these individuals begin to think that sobriety alone is enough—it’s not.

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

Staying connected to the recovery community keeps you active in your recovery throughout the holiday season. It provides consistency and gentle reminders that relapse has nothing to do with having a dysfunctional family. It has to do with you. And, if you were an active addict with a picturesque family, then you could easily be in relapse with the same.

The key to getting through the holiday season is not to lose sight of your recovery. Staying connected to your recovery community keeps you plugged into that recovery process, keeps you accountable and allows you to do the same for others. Most importantly, it serves as prevention against relapse and provides everyone with a sense of family, even if they don’t have one of their own.

For these reasons and more, staying connected to the recovery community throughout the holidays is a life-saving choice for everyone. Wishing you all a happy and safe recovery throughout the holiday season!

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

My New Guest Article Now Live and a Big “Thank You,” to Marilyn of “From Addict 2 Advocate” Website…

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It is not every day you receive an invite to write and share the worst thing about yourself and the best thing you can learn many life lessons from. GAMBLING ADDICTION and RECOVERY. So, I want to say a BIG Thank You to Marilyn Davis of “FromAddict2Advocate” for having me as a ‘Guest Article Writer’ on her helpful website today!

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction? Come give a visit to Matilyn’s site and you will feel “Welcomed” and have plenty to read and have excellent resources to become Informed, Educated, and learn how to get the help those need from addiction.

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from addict 2 advocate marilyn l davis

I Was Gambling with My Life and Mental Health

 

“My recovery journey started again in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of my second failed suicide attempt and back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 14-day stay.

The problem wasn’t that I gambled again or relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for my mental health for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that did NOT work out too well.”

COME VISIT AND READ THE REST OF THE STORY…  Gambling Addiction Is REAL

An Article Share From Earlier This Year. Living With Dual Diagnosis In Recovery With Mental Illness.

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MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH ~ Some of My Story . . .

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”

I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days”…

I’d been invited by a Behavioral Rehab Center earlier this year to share a little of my story of living with ‘Dual Diagnosis’ of Mental Health challenges while living live in recovery from addiction. Since it is Mental Health Awareness month, I though I would share one of my articles I wrote for them here on my blog. Not only do I have these challenges, I’m also in the middle of a battle, and have been for 5 years with SSI disability for my benefits.

This has added a lot more stress in my life. WHY? Because it is really disappointing when you have worked all your life, paid into your social security disability, and when you do become unable to work? You have to fight like hell for your benefits. I have all the medical, mental, and psychiatry evidence and documentation to show why I am unable to work, but if you get a SSI judge who doesn’t know, or care what you go through daily with these disabilities, and of course he/they find ways for denial of your benefits.

I even have a new lawyer, which makes 3 lawyers now that have helped me, and we just won our federal case, and have been granted a new SSI hearing for next month. Now this whole experience will be for another blog post! LOL.
But my point? If your unable to work because of your Mental Health and medication side effects, you better be armed with excellent evidence, and a good lawyer because you have to fight like hell to get anywhere with the SSI Disability department. And this 5 year experience has added so much more stress in my life that is very unhealthy for me. It is some of what my blog share is about. So here is what I’d like to share with all of you today.
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How Does One Recover From Gambling Addiction When Living With Mental & Behavioral Health Problems?

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”
I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days under a black cloud of pressure pushing down on me!”
Here is where my addiction recovery and behavioral health journey began. Trying to recover from gambling addiction, and while there, was diagnosed with many mental and emotional disorders, and many negative behavioral habits I had picked up in my many years of addicted gambling. I was in crisis! See, I had been suffering undiagnosed mental illness for years without ever knowing it. And I turned to addicted gambling and alcohol abuse in my adult life to zone out & cope, not wanting to feel the hurt and pains I had not processed from childhood.

With my first failed suicide attempt, I was supposed to be attending my best friend’s funeral and celebration of life, instead, I had a very bad gambling binge/slip that almost cost me my life. I chose to escape her tragic death by 16 hours of addicted gambling to escape the hurt and loss I felt from losing my best friend. Many asked me, “how can you just waste your money like that?” Today I tell them, “it’s not about the money, it’s about the disease of addicted gambling, and the bad choices and behaviors that comes with it”. It is why I feel it’s just important to share one’s personal experiences, as it is educating others about this addiction, and about living with mental/emotional illness, and childhood trauma and abuse.

So, what is gambling addiction? There are many definitions for problem and gambling addiction. Some claim it’s a mental health disorder, some say it’s a cognitive behavioral issue, and even some say it’s an impulse control problem. From personal experience, it was all three and more. But all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits are a gambling addiction. The major features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. It is why currently gambling addiction has the highest Suicide Rate than any other addiction.

So there I was, in a crisis center due to a suicide attempt, which wouldn’t be my first. However, it made me start the progress (which took a few years) of trying to attain recovery. Still, I wasn’t fully convinced regarding my mental/emotional diagnosis. Partly because I was still in denial about my gambling addiction.

When I was told I would be starting medications for my mental/emotional issues, the first thing I thought was, “oh great, now people are going to think I’m nuts or a fruit loop”! Looking back now, it’s clear that this came from the huge Stigma in this country about those who suffer from any type of mental and or emotional illness. This cunning addiction invades every part of your being, especially your thinking. And even though I was a victim of childhood trauma and sex abuse as a little girl, I had never told anyone until my adulthood.

And my parents did raise us to know right from wrong, even if it was heavy-handed. But when addiction comes along, or you turn to any addiction to cope with what life is throwing at you, all good behaviors and choices fly right out the window, and the negative behaviors of addiction change your thought process in working out life’s problems. It seemed easier for me to go gamble for a few hours than to deal with what life drama was happening around me! That is the ugly side of this addiction. My bumpy journey of recovery began with cognitive behavioral therapy. Last time I wrote about behavioral health. Throw gambling addiction in the mix – this is called having Dual Diagnosis. But on a personal level, I called it a recipe for doom.

 


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Why? Because it was hard to admit to myself that I have mental health issues as I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was an addicted gambler, and it got so out of control that I tried to end my life. I wasn’t focused on trying to manage my disorders because I was in denial about my diagnosed mental/emotional illness.  So when I left the crisis center, all I knew was the doctors told me to “take these pills” and all would be OK. However,  I just focused on the recovery from gambling, and didn’t give much thought to managing my mental/emotional health except for browsing through some pamphlets they gave me to read.

What I have learned from this part of my journey is that you have to manage and balance not only your recovery from addiction, but your mental and emotional behavioral health as well. Like any other illness or disease like diabetes or heart disease, you should follow what your doctors suggest, take your medications properly, eat right, and even exercise to have a well-balanced healthy life. But if you only focus on one part of your overall plan, you won’t be successful in managing to stay healthy – physically and mentally.

And that’s the same when we live life in recovery with dual diagnosis.  You have to learn to live an overall well-balanced life in recovery, and mind your mental health. It helps your recovery journey to be a success. There are many ways to recover, but you have to pick one. When is enough really enough with addiction? Are you “sick and tired of being sick and tired” yet? Are you finally done with letting addiction control your life?

Well, If I can recover from both addiction and living with mental and behavioral disorders, then so can anyone!

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author & Recovery Advocate
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

“Keeping Gambling Addiction & Mental Health In The Headlines By Raising Awareness”

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

Since my last post a few days ago, I found an interesting article about treating gambling disorder. It was shared on my good friends web site over at NCPGambling.org and written and posted in the MinnPost http://www.minnpost.com in there Mental Health & Addiction section. It’s one that has some good information about treating gambling addiction.
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So here is the article, and I hope all who visit will learn a little something they may not have known about gambling addiction. It’s hard enough to shatter stigma around it, so we need to inform and educate so maybe those who haven’t been touched by it, can understand and have a little more empathy for those who are afflicted by this destructive disease. It was NOT by choice to wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll blow my life apart by becoming an addicted gambler and alcohol abuser. Sometimes, there is something deeper underneath going on…
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To treat gambling disorder, you must dig a little deeper..