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

WELCOME RECOVERY FRIENDS, WARRIORS, and New Visitors,


What an exciting week I have had! My book marketing is picking up again, and I have met two new women I’ll be mentoring with gambling problems. God is good! It kills me to know so many people are suffering in silence from problem gambling or with a full-blown addiction to it.

So, a few weeks ago, I was honored with a Facebook messenger from a guy I will call a new friend and supporter. I had seen him a few times while my husband and I watch MSNBC on cable. So when I noticed the Facebook message from an investigative news reporter, Scott MacFarlane? I thought someone was playing a JOKE on me. (lol).

It was him! I think my long-time friend Keith Whyte, the head director of The National Council on Problem Gambling, is located in Washington, D.C., where his video zoom interview was done. Make sure you give the full story below a read, as it is very informative.

I know Scott and his I-team work hard to bring this information to light. We all know that problem gambling is still a hush, hush problem, and we need to continue shining a bright light to bring it out of the dark! So I thank Scott for the opportunity to share some of my experiences in this video and story. ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon



Maryland Casinos See Jump in Voluntarily Banned Gamblers Returning

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

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


The number of problem gamblers caught violating their voluntary bans from Maryland casinos doubled in March, according to a review by the News4 I-Team.

The loosening of public health restrictions has helped Maryland casinos rebound from some financial losses during the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions has also coincided with a sharp increase in violations by gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves from casinos. 

When Maryland legalized and approved regulations for casinos nearly a decade ago, the state created a “voluntary exclusion” program. Problem gamblers can voluntarily enroll in the program, which the state calls a “self-help tool” to assist them combat the addiction.

Individuals in the Voluntary Exclusion Program who return to casinos receive a trespassing citation from local law enforcement, not for punitive purposes, but as a means to encourage them to seek (diversion),” the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said.

Winnings can also be seized from a gambler who is caught violating the voluntary exclusion program when he or she is removed from a casino. That money goes into the Maryland Problem Gambling Fund.

Enrollment in the program has grown steadily since 2013, according to state records reviewed by the I-Team. But violations spiked suddenly in March, as public health restrictions were loosened in the state. The number of people caught violating their voluntary bans nearly doubled to approximately 70 in March. The number was sharply higher than February and much higher than pre-pandemic levels in early 2020, the I-Team found.


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


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

“Now that casinos are reopening, it’s not surprising you’re seeing this increase in violations,” Whyte said.

The I-Team checked with several states that operate or monitor casino “self-exclusion” programs. New York and Michigan gaming agencies both declined I-Team requests to release figures on violations, instead requiring formal Freedom of Information Act requests, which remain pending.

Pennsylvania, which is home to multiple major casinos, released its numbers of voluntary-exclusion violations to the I-Team. The data showed a sharp increase as pandemic health restrictions were eased. Pennsylvania reported approximately 370 problem gambler “self-ban” violations between January and March 2021, up from nearly 155 violations between January and March 2020.

“The only way to ensure these gamblers stay out of casinos is for them to get treatment for their gambling problem,” Whyte said. “Self-exclusion is not addressing the root cause.”

The American Gaming Association said U.S. casinos use technology to help enforce voluntary exclusion programs. The organization also credits MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George’s County with regularly checking IDs of patrons as they enter.  

“The truth is there are 3 percent of the population that take this a little bit too seriously and need help and need interventions,” American Gaming Association spokesman Casey Clark said.

“There are important programs like self-exclusion and the work that the National Center on Problem Gambling and other entities do to help provide the right level of support for folks who aren’t able to enjoy it as a form of entertainment anymore,” Clark said.


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


Catherine Lyon, a recovering problem gambler who helps counsel others, said voluntary-exclusions lists are often ineffective. Lyon said she enrolled in a “self-ban” list more than 14 years ago from casinos in Oregon as her addiction spiraled.

“Within a month-and-a-half, I was doing anything I can to get in there,” she said.

She said she wore wigs, sunglasses and other disguises to evade detection and was never caught. 

Lyon said problem gambling can lead to desperate decisions and suicidal thoughts.

“It’s very financially devastating,” she said. “I think that the financial part is where they, a lot of people, lose hope. They don’t think they can dig themselves out.”

Lyon said problem gamblers must supplement their voluntary exclusions with a treatment program or other efforts to combat the addiction.

Howard Riback, a recovering problem gambler and popular radio host and motivational speaker in Canada, said he anticipated a surge in violations by problem gamblers.

“I am not surprised at all,” Riback said. “People are walking around more depressed, more time on their hands; zombie-like people don’t know what’s going to be tomorrow, let alone next week.” 

Riback said although problem gamblers should be congratulated for enrolling in voluntary exclusion programs, they must also seek out treatment and therapy.

“I’m proud that I was able to end that horrific part of my life, but until the day I die, those scars will be with me,” Riback said. “And make no mistake, the (scars) are not going anywhere. They’re memories with every passing day.”

Whyte, the head of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said casinos nationwide could more effectively police for gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves.

“The casino has a wealth of systems to track players, but it always seems to fail when it comes to tracking those who self-exclude,” said Whyte.

But the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said casinos are effective in enforcing the program.

“The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency has issued a ‘notice of regulatory violation’ to various casinos for instances when an individual enrolled in the voluntary exclusion program was permitted to gamble or obtain a cash advance,” the agency said. “These are infrequent events, and the casinos are doing an effective job monitoring play by excluded players — both by self-reporting voluntary exclusion program violators to the (agency) each month and also by taking appropriate action against voluntary exclusion violators. No financial penalties have been assessed.” 

More information can be found at 1-800-GAMBLER or by visiting mdgamblinghelp.org.
Or The National Hotline For Problem Gambling – 1-800-522-4700

Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones and Jeff Piper.

This article tagged under:

GAMBLING ADDICTIONMARYLAND CASINOSBANNED

I Am Proud To Fly Recovery Blogging With My Friends Here At WordPress and Thanks For The Blog Anniversary Wish! We Save Lives Together…

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7 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us.
Keep up the good recovery blogging.

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What can I say, I love Blogging About RECOVERY From ADDICTION, Share Awareness, Hope, Shatter STIGMA, and not let others suffer IN SILENCE…

It is the purpose and passion of my life and was God-Given.  ✝💞

 

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And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Most of you know who are apart of my recovery community know my purpose is to help those who feel they are within addictions the least, the lost, and the hopeless. Well, not on my watch! Seven years is a long time to be blogging and also sharing one’s recovery journey.  I do so because if I can gain regain and turn my life around from this cunning disease and addiction to addicted GAMBLING? Then I know anyone can who may be afflicted by this insidious and devastating disease.

I have come a long way from those days of wasting so many hours and wasted money behind a slot machine or sitting at a poker table. Selfish about any and everything except when I could gamble again next! Not caring about my husband or even LIFE, just self-medicating and zoning out old pain and hurt from the trauma I endured as little girl.

Finally becoming “Sick and Tired” of feeling sick and tired.

Now? I’ve been maintaining recovery for 13+yrs and counting! WordPress has supported my recovery by the opportunity to share and reach people here in the WordPress Community and beyond. If I have helped one or many? I may never know, but I appreciate WordPress allowing me to do so freely and transparently.

Today I enjoy networking with other friends who are advocates so may try and help restore and guide families to healing, not enable, and learn how to support their loved one who may have a gambling problem. I am most comfortable doing so through my writing and blogging, as a contributing writer for publications, as a columnist for “Keys To Recovery” newspaper, and written within featured articles for other addiction and recovery publications, most recently featured in FEB 2020 issue of “ Recovery Today Magazine issue #63 sharing the WHY and the HOW I became caught into addicted gambling the first place!

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Recovery Today Mag is a 100% Free and a fantastic recovery resource for everyone! I was very honored to be invited to share my story and raise awareness about gambling addiction and what it takes to recover. 

SO HERE IS TO Another Year of Recovery Blogging on WordPress and the only hosting site I would trust to do so! I also have my Book and Literary Blog here on WordPress if you are a reading book CAT like me? Stop and give me a visit there too at “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den!”


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Havng Fun Rasng $$ 4 Big Jim Foundation!

Speaking Event 4 Big Jim’s Ride, Phoenix, AZ!

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{My E-book Is Now on Sale on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99 & Paperback $6.95

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I APPRECIATE All My Recovery Supporters, Friends, and Blog Recovery Warriors and New Visitors!

Thank You, from my heart to your’s … xoxo💞💞✝💝

~Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

It’s Almost Time For My Recovery Watch To Begin! Starting With a Special Guest Article Early and Was How I Felt When Attending AA & GA At Holiday Time …

It’s Almost Time For My Recovery Watch To Begin! Starting With a Special Guest Article Early and Was How I Felt When Attending AA & GA At Holiday Time …

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WELCOME To Bet Free Recovery Now Holiday Watch and Friends!

 

***HAPPY THANKSGIVING****

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I am kicking off my “Recovery Holiday Watch” a day early as I was reading my new issue of “Sober Recovery Mag”  and I came across this informative story about AA and Thanksgiving I felt needed to be shared. I feel when we read other’s stories, they can be great tools to help others.

Even though each of our recovery journies may be different, we all came from the same place, from addiction and from being an addict. And sure know how difficult it can be getting through the holidays, especially if you are new or early maintaining recovery and for a variety of reasons. It can be lonely or many times we just can’t seem to get into “The Spirit of the Holidays” because we always had a crutch to get us “In The Spirit” …

I hope you find something to take away from this article and feel free to share your comments too. It is why I do Holiday Watch each year! I’ll come and check my comments several times each day and evening.

** BECAUSE NO ONE NEEDS TO BE ALONE THROUGH THE HOLIDAY SEASON! **

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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My Thanksgiving Day Spent in AA

By Flower B

I’m not sure how this season feels for you, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holiday sore spots for me. There’s so much emphasis on family and connection and everything is supposed to be all warm and fuzzy. My family has never been close-knit, except for me and my mother. I’m single and I don’t have any children. I’m also a Midwest native who lives in Los Angeles. Yet, when it comes to this time of year, I still find myself full of expectations.

My first Thanksgiving in recovery was difficult because I didn’t have any relatives to spend the day with like so many of my other friends. Sure, I got invites but it’s just not the same when it’s someone else’s family dinner. Not having a husband or family to call my own, I just found myself missing my mother.

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Makeshift Family

Due to my lack of familial ties, I made it a point to stay especially close to Alcoholics Anonymous. I had a close group of friends who were also newly sober and we planned to stay connected during the Thanksgiving holiday. We conveniently also found two nearby main meeting halls that were having marathon meetings over the course of several days.

Consequently, Thanksgiving Day began with me and my cohorts visiting AA meeting halls in Altadena and Hawthorne. To my surprise, every group we visited was packed. People were coming in from all over, which was both exciting and inspirational to see.

When we returned to our home group, people were out back playing dominoes, spades and bid whist. A gentleman named Craig, who has since passed to the big meeting in the sky, was in a corner barbequing. It definitely wasn’t your typical meeting atmosphere—there was a social aspect to it all that reminded me almost of a family reunion.

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Boogie on Down

On Saturday night, there was even a dance known as the “crème de la crème.” The hall was transformed into a club with a DJ booth, dark lights, and a dance floor. Getting ready for it was as much fun as attending. I must have danced all night, which was weird in a sense. Rarely had I gone dancing—or did anything fun for that matter—that didn’t involve drinking, sprinkled in with some drugs here and there.

I won’t lie; I was shy at first. But once the first guy asked me to dance, all inhibition went out the window. Who knew I could have so much fun without alcohol or drugs? There was beautiful energy over the entire room as people danced, laughed and let loose. All while being clean and sober.

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A Celebration

The last day of the marathon ended with what’s called “the old-timer’s slot,” where people with at least 20 years of sobriety took turns sharing their recovery stories. The oldest person there had 50 years of sobriety under his belt. The stories made me cry, laugh and rejoice. It brought me back to a time when I used to be at home listening to my mom, aunts and uncles reminisce.

Once the old-timer slot ended, it was time for the countdown. The person with the most years of sobriety was asked to stand and everyone clapped and cheered for them. And so, the countdown began. Every time a group stood up for the following year, there was a round of applause. The procession continued like falling dominoes.

Though I had a while to wait, I was so proud when my turn finally came around and I got to stand up for five months. The excitement of the moment only made me look forward to the following year when I would get to stand again. By the time we got to the person who was sober for only a few hours, the room exploded. It was awesome.

At the very end of the day while sitting down to eat my meal at the potluck, a crucial fact occurred to me that I was missing all week long—I was finally home and these people were the family I was looking for all along and never thought I’d find.

Do you remember how you spent your first Thanksgiving in recovery? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
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I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

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Spotting Gambling Addiction and Determining Its Causes. By Patrick Bailey 

Gambling can be considered as a very dangerous kind of vice. To the person engaged in gambling, money is very easy to risk. He is living in an illusion that whatever he gambles now, he can easily get back. In the long run, this mindset can lead to a person’s financial downfall. The truth of the matter is, odds will never be in the gambler’s favor even if its blackjack or poker he’s playing. Gambling is thriving continuously because it’s the house that’s always taking the wins. 

What are the different kinds of gambling? 

Gambling is composed of many different kinds of activities, so this means that there are also many different kinds of addiction-related
 to gambling. The only challenge with gambling is that it’s not evident when a person gets addicted to it. And as opposed to traditional belief, gambling doesn’t end with casinos, cards, or slot machines. It also doesn’t end with gambling or alcohol rehab centersJoining a raffle, betting with friends, or buying lottery tickets are all considered different kinds of gambling.  


Addiction
 happens when the individual already believes that they’re in deep financial mess and that this problem can only be solved by risking that they possess in hopes of getting a bigger sum of money in exchange. Regrettably, this only sends the person into a vicious cycle of wanting to win back what they lost. This dangerous and damaging cycle continues to occur until the person is forced to enter rehab to break the habit.

Another kind of addiction to gambling happens when the individual joins the game and offers to make risky bets just to get that emotional high resulting from placing big and risky bets. These kinds of bets only pay off occasionally. In both circumstances, the individual bearing this kind of addiction should have that innate desire to stop risking and gambling for himself and not merely to appease friends or family members. 


So what
’s causing gambling addiction and when does it become a problem?

There are many contributory factors when it comes to addiction to gambling. One factor here is the desperate need for money. Another factor would be the need to feel high and thrill. Also, it could be because the individual wants the social status attached to the names of successful gamblers or he simply clamors for the entertaining and fun atmosphere of most gambling places.

The sad thing is that the moment the person gets addicted to gambling, the cycle can’t be broken easily. What’s even sadder is the fact that the severe kind of addiction can set at the moment the person feels financially desperate and commits to taking back the entirety of what he had lost in gambling.

And while he can gather 
massive amount of wealth from winning, more often than not, it won’t equal to the amount of money he already lost along the way.  More often than not, gamblers don’t even come close to break even.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression

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How do we know if a loved one is getting addicted to gambling?

The red flags and signs that an individual is having gambling problems are pretty similar to the signs of other kinds of addiction that require admittance to treatment facilities. These signs may be one of the following: 

  • The urge to keep his gambling habit  a secret 
  • Experiencing difficulties in managing his gambling habits 
  • Continuously gambling even if he can’t afford it 
  • One’s family and friends express their concern over his gambling habits 


And just like any kind of addiction, the trademark of gambling addiction is the feeling that you can’t stop even if you want to. If an individual feels like he 
needs to gamble one more time, if he is anxious over the thought of stopping, or if he is hiding this from his loved ones, there is a very high chance that that person is struggling with gambling addiction. 

Excessive Gambling and its Emotional Symptoms

Too much gambling usually leads to a plethora of emotional red signs and symptoms. Among these signs are suicidal tendencies, depression, and anxiety. In severe cases, these depressive and suicidal thoughts can actually make the gambler end his life. Losing all you have to gambling can be a very devastating situation and it can easily lead the person to feel totally hopeless. 

Excessive Gambling and its Physical Symptoms  

Since gambling can lead to self-harm, anxiety, and depression, physical manifestations should be seriously looked into. Anxiety and depression usually lead to being sleep deprives, resulting in dark eye circles, acne, weight loss, weight gain, or pale skin. 

Gambling Addiction and its Long-Term and Short-Term Effects  

Gambling can lead to numerous long-term and short-term effects. Addiction to gambling also leads to other kinds of addiction as coping mechanisms especially for people who get easily anxious and stressed out by the act of gambling. As a result, these gamblers can also turn to alcohol, drugs, and other activities to lessen the anxiety accompanying their lifestyle. In these cases, they might need to be admitted to rehab centers.

Apart from the financial, physical, emotional, and psychological damages brought by gambling addiction, it can also cause damage to relationships.
 

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction or any kind of addiction, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Who knows, one phone call or a rehab visit can save your life, property, and financial future.

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About Patrick Bailey 
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Patrick Bailey

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Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. He attended the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business and hold a Bachelor’s Degree and resides in the state of Michigan. He writes for several publications and on his Official Website – Patrick Bailey.

Connect With Patrick on Social Media!
On Facebook 
Twitter
LinkedIn

Stark WARNING and Words From Gambling Recovery Experts Now That Super Bowl Is Just Around The Corner and About Sports Betting …

Stark WARNING and Words From Gambling Recovery Experts Now That Super Bowl Is Just Around The Corner and About Sports Betting …

With another Super Bowl and the Biggest Gambling month before and after this event is now upon us …

What does this mean?

Well, for those who may have a gambling problem and now bills passed in some states that legally OK’D online Sports Betting? It could mean they may cross the line into full-blown addicted gambling as Sports Betting has been growing!

Now with recent laws passing for and against sports betting online, but a stark warning from a dear friend of mine and fellow author, Mr. Arnie Wexler. Arnie is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in this country still today and has been helping compulsive gamblers and their families for over 30 years along with his wife Sheila.

Arnie is a certified compulsive gambling counselor (CCGC) and is the former “Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey” for eight years. His wife, Sheila, was a consultant and presenter on the subject of compulsive gambling addiction when they ran Arnie, and Sheila Wexler Associates and now both are retired, except for their advocacy work.

Arnie still owns and runs a National Gambling Hot Line 1-888-LAST-BET, and he can find you help from problem gambling. Heres an essential interview and quotes by Arnie Wexler he wanted me to share about:

The Super Bowl, Gambling, and Sports Betting
“Football’s biggest game offers the greatest temptation to sports gamblers.
And now people can place a bet legally in some states which is more detrimental to compulsive gamblers.” Arnie Wexler explains.

“The Super Bowl is to the compulsive gambler what New Year’s Eve is to the alcoholic,” this from a leading expert on the subject of compulsive gambling and a recovering compulsive gambler himself. According to the National Gambling Study Commission, there are 5 million compulsive gamblers and 16+ million at risk in just the United States alone.

“I have spoken to more compulsive gamblers than anyone else in America and have gotten hundreds of phone calls after playoff games and the Super Bowl from compulsive gamblers,” Wexler says. “Some have spoken about embezzlements, white-collar crimes and destroying themselves and their families. Others were so desperate that they were contemplating suicide. ”

“Over the years, I have also spoken to college and professional athletes who had a gambling problem,” Wexler says. ” Even two players who have played in the super bowl … An NCAA study a few years ago noted that there is a disturbing trend of gambling among athletes in colleges now today. Do you think that these people will get into the pros and then stop gambling? ”

“Compulsive gamblers are very vulnerable during the NFL postseason because they are looking for the ‘lock bet to get even.’ Wexler says. “The media hype juices the gambler and — as this is an impulse disorder — many compulsive gamblers will be in action. And I wonder if any players might have a bet on the games already.”

“With all the games and the media hype about odds and betting lines, there is an explosion of betting on these games,” Wexler continues. “I can’t believe that newspapers carry ads from these so-called handicappers, who are really ‘scamicappers.’ It’s also interesting to note how often the information is incorrect. ”

“Why do you think the NFL gives out an injury list every week?”

“I remember when Skip Ballis, then of the Dallas Morning News, had a gorilla in the Dallas Zoo make football picks for them,” Wexler says. “The gorilla’s picks were doing better than the sports writers. I think the responsible thing to do would be for newspapers, radio and TV shows to carry a public service message about Responsible Betting. ”

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Here is a little more about my friend Arnie and Sheila Wexler:

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Image result for copyright free images of arnie wexler

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He is a recovering compulsive gambler who placed his last bet on April 10, 1968. He has been fighting the injustice of how sports, society and the judicial system deal with compulsive gamblers for 50-years. Sheila is the expert of what the spouse goes through when you live and are married to a Compulsive Gambler. The family perspective so to say.

They both have done and have been on many national news stations like CNN, 60 Minutes, and ABC Nightline. You must give Arnie’s newest book a read as well and is titled “All Bets Are Off: Losers, Liars, and Recovery from Gambling Addiction.” It garnishes over 60+ 5-stars on Amazon and is a fantastic read and insights about this addiction.

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Stop Predatory Gambling

Another Friend of Mine has been to battle many times and continues today with what is being done through legislation and “Predatory Gambling.” That is Mr. Les Bernal  National Director … Les has been National Director since 2008 when the national network grew into the organization of the now  Stop Predatory Gambling . Org

Here is what Les has to say a little about the Finacial Drain on Americans due to Sports and all betting:

How Online Gambling Drains Millennial Finances:

Gambling has been normalized among young people and is an unconscious drain on their cash. The constant temptation of having a gambling app in your pocket leads to a stream of spending that’s hard to control. Phones are distracting enough as it is, whether it is the unanswered WhatsApp messages in your pocket or 200 Instagram pictures you’ve yet to like. Now betting companies are exploiting the iPhone generation’s obsession with our phones to hook us into betting more, and more frequently.

According to Financial Times, more than one-fifth of 18 to 24-year-old’s confessed to gambling in 2017 …

Please go read this full article and learn more: View Original Article 

Les recently spoke to legislators and this link you can watch a quick video of Les speaking about the current stats and the financial drain ALL Gambling is putting on Americans including now legal online sports betting options. It is very powerful and makes your jaw drop when we are looking at now: “The American people are on course to lose $1 trillion over the next 8 years” A Must Watch!

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https://www.stoppredatorygambling.org/the-american-people-on-a-collision-course-to-lose-more-than-1-trillion-over-the-next-eight-years-testimony-of-les-bernal-before-congress/

Mega-Millions Frenzy … Really? A Message From My Friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling. Gamble Responsibly Please.

Mega-Millions Frenzy … Really? A Message From My Friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling. Gamble Responsibly Please.

There will be More Losers Than Winners … 

 

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Mega Millions lottery hits a record $1.6 bln after no winners in Friday’s draw

UPDATE – Personal Note:

Of course, I am NOT rubbing any noses in the fact that last nights Mega-Million drawing HAD no winners.  It just hammers home a wee bit that for those who happened to OVER BUY tickets, it seems today, just a waste of money that could have been better spent on something more fun or constructive.  See, I know there a boatload of people who CAN gamble just for the fun it.  AND?  Many don’t feel or agree that buying lottery tickets if real gambling. Sorry, but it is if you read the ‘definition’ of what the word “Gambling” means:

GAMBLE – The definition of a gamble is a risk.
An example of a gamble is the act of betting that a certain team will win a game.

Gamble is defined as to take a risk, or to play games especially with money for betting.

An example of gamble is to play the slots in Las Vegas.

When you place a bet for money or not as the outcome is uncertain and is a risk? That is gambling.  When buying lottery tickets for a CHANCE to win?  That is gambling.  Now that no one won, just think of those who are Problem Gamblers or even maybe addicted and think about where they will get the money for this next drawing?  Will it be there food money to feed their kids?  Maybe not a pay an important bill like electricity or their heat? Maybe forego a part of their rent or housing money just for a “CHANCE” … Know your ODDS before you risk all that!

No, I’m not a Buzz Kill …Lol.  I WAS an addicted gambler and know this disease and the thinking we trapped into.  It will talk you into doing ALL the above!  Because once gambling has you hooked?  The sickness takes over and we lose ALL the CONTROL.

Don’t waste loads of money for a tiny sliver of hope that you are going to win.  As most times you end at a loss. If you are going to take a Risk, then Gamble Responsibly …  

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Mega-Millions Jackpot Media Frenzy Offers Opportunity for Responsible Gambling Messaging.  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 19, 201

 

WASHINGTON, DC – As the Mega Millions jackpot has reached record levels, the National Council on Problem Gambling urges consumers to protect themselves against excessive gambling and calls upon lotteries and the media to promote responsible gambling messages.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, states, “The media and consumer interest in high lottery jackpots creates an opportunity to provide responsible gambling messages designed to help people who choose to gamble make informed decisions about their play.”  Responsible gambling efforts should be made by lottery operators and players alike.

Here are four simple responsible gambling tips to know and share:

– Set a limit of time and money spent gambling.

– Don’t gamble to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression.

– Know where to get help for a gambling problem.

– Minors are prohibited from most forms of gambling.

“Lotteries play an important role in reminding retailers and players about the minimum age to play and in educating their players about simple steps to promote responsible gambling.”

State lotteries and media are asked to incorporate responsible gambling messaging and the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) into their upcoming promotion and coverage of the Mega Millions jackpot.


The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700
or www.ncpgambling.org/chat) is the single national point of access to problem gambling help. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all 50 states. All calls are confidential and offer local information and referral options for problem gamblers and their families.

In 2017 the Helpline received 233,000 calls, an average of one call every two minutes.

 

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About the National Council on Problem Gambling

NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gambling. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat for confidential help.

 

 

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

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It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

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Tackle Childhood Trauma 1

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When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

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20171208_171651(My nephew Mark Lake and his beautiful family)

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I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

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Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

This topic has been a question and debate that has been around a long time. Do addicts make the choice to destroy their lives? Or is addiction really an illness and disease? Or is both? When I visit other addiction/recovery websites and online magazines to be informed, educated, and learn more about recovery, I seem to find some engaging articles.

Since my own addiction I maintain recovery from, this question always seems to get a lot of comments because gambling addiction is still so underground. The action of gambling is still seen in the light of “just a few hours of fun and entertaining,” so how could an activity like this produce addicts? Part of that comes from Stigma. I can tell you I have read a lot of negative comments from people I assume have never been touched by a gambling problem or know someone with one. So you won’t seem to receive empathy or understanding from someone like this.

It is why I write, blog, and advocate. I want to change the landscape around and the conversation that needs to begin about addicted gambling. Addicted compulsive gambling doesn’t happen over night. Just like many other addictions. But it is time to bring it into the light and out of the shadows. So let’s read this article and learn if addiction is a choice, a disease, or both …Catherine

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Addiction is claiming the lives of people at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 33,091 deaths from opioids in 2015. This number is largely reflected by an increasing use of synthetic opioids and heroin.

The Clean Slate

After going through 12 Step Processes and other recovery treatments to eventually overcome addiction firsthand, Steven Slate, who authored an addiction site named “The Clean Slate,” is starting new conversations on how we approach addiction. Slate is most famous for his TED Talk speech on “Addiction Is A Choice.” Through the TED Talk and his organization “The Clean Slate,” he is advocating a deeper look beyond the age old debate of addiction as a disease vs. addiction as a choice.

Slate’s website states regarding the addiction as a disease theory:

“On the issue of ‘addiction,’ you will change it when you cease to believe that heavy drug and alcohol use is your best option for finding happiness. Work on changing that belief if you want to change your habit.

Believing in the ‘underlying causes of addiction’ (and/or ‘self-medication’) model creates a more complicated problem. If you invest in this idea, then every time life sends a problem your way, or when you feel the very normal emotions of sadness, depression, stress, or anxiety – then you will feel as if you must use drugs and alcohol. If you cease to believe that heavy drug or alcohol use is your best option for happiness then you will cease the heavy use of drugs and alcohol – regardless of whether you continue to face depression, stress, anxiety, etc.”

His site continues with the answer to a challenge his “choice” theory often faces:

“You say addiction is a choice, so what do you suggest people do, use willpower to quit?
‘Addicts’ have no less or no more ‘willpower’ than anyone else. Every behavior that every person makes at any given time is, in a sense, an expression of willpower. … Essentially, if you choose to think differently about drugs and alcohol, and about how they fit into your life and competing goals, then your desire for them will change.”

Although this may sound outrageously optimistic to some, Slate’s perspective on the issue is relevant to every psychiatrist, doctor, clinician and addict who may be in treatment. His site poses (and answers) the most important question of all—is our approach towards diagnosing addicts making them feel empowered or leaving them feeling powerless?

Pros & Cons of Each Viewpoint

When researching articles of addiction as a disease, it accurately argues the brain’s physical changes in response to a drug. Addiction is the malfunctioning of brain and nerve endings due to excessive dopamine levels. A normal brain would respond “happily” to pleasurable things such as good food, healthy relationships, and rewarding experiences. However, an addicted brain sends signals to nerve endings that there is something wrong. What would trigger “happy” feelings for a normal brain is no longer enough for the addicted brain.

The pros of the “addiction as a disease” argument is that it circumvents the demonization of the drug user. On the other hand, this judgment can also lead to addicts indulging in self-destructive behavior because they feel there is something innately wrong with them. This viewpoint also sends messages that addicts are at the mercy of something bigger than them, and it may leave them feeling like a helpless victim stuck in a never-ending cycle.

Alternatively, the “addiction as a choice” viewpoint rightfully defends the addict as a person of will. This attitude translates into empowerment, and can boost the user’s confidence and self-esteem as they conquer the most unfavorable circumstances, symptoms, and mindsets. On the down side, this outlook can encourage a lack of compassion for addicts because they “could have done better.”

The Verdict

All arguments aside, this ongoing debate concerning addiction highlights a significant flaw in our system; rallying for a label may be prioritized above rallying for the success of an individual. Instead of focusing on why someone becomes an addict, we need to redirect the conversation to how an addict can heal. No matter why or how someone gets to this point in their lives, our only job as professionals, friends and family is to love them unconditionally. Of course, not to judge their choices or debate the root of their addiction. If you or someone you love is an addict, remind them that they aren’t alone.

PLEASE Browse There directory of treatment centers to find one that may be a good fit, or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist today. You can also subcribe by visiting here at SoberRecovery!

Today I Am Honored To Have Author, Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin Sharing About “Teens and Gambling.” Listen Up Parents

Today I Am Honored To Have Author, Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin Sharing About “Teens and Gambling.” Listen Up Parents

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and Warriors,

 

I am very excited and honored to have my good friend, fellow author and “Addiction Recovery Expert,” Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin, Ph.D., DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, with us today. He has written a new article for us about how teens are having problems with and now becoming addicted gamblers. The many types of gambling options and venues are growing along with expansions of casinos happening everywhere, it has now reached our teens and college-age kids. But before we get to Kevin’s article, let’s learn more about this Addictions Expert!

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About Kevin The Author, Advocate, Reverand, and Expert!

Kevin Coughlin is a Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet who has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones. He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.


Reverend Dr. Coughlin was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty plus years. With over forty plus books under his belt, he has developed over a dozen manuals and curriculums for both live classes, webinars, and self-study classes on professional coaching, addiction recovery, ethics, and other subject matters.


He has published thousands of articles as a blogger, guest blogger, ghostwriter, and professional writer. Rev. Kev has written as a Blogger/Writer for ‘The Sober World Magazine,  Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Sober Services, Inc., Contentwriters.com, Fromaddictict2advocate.com, Twodropsofink.com, RecoveryView.com Online Journal,’ and for small press, newspapers, magazines, websites. He has been seen on many major media networks of NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. He is a two-time World Champion and nine-time National Champion State & National Record Holder Power Lifter, a gentle giant who has championed many in his career. He lives Beach Lake, PA with his two doggies

 

 

The Key to Pathological Gambling Treatment … By Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.

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The Key to Pathological Gambling Treatment is the Brain; however, is our nation aware of the storm that is headed directly at our teens?

Alcoholism, substance use disorders, and process addictions, or behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling may affect the brain in the same way, according to some experts. Research at Imperial College London has identified two areas of the brain that scientists believe cause pathological gambling. The study showed that the connections in the brain responsible for impulse control may be weaker in problem gamblers. Other studies have demonstrated that 78% of Problem Gamblers had an alcohol problem, 38% had a drug problem.

Pathological gambling usually begins in early adolescence in men, and between ages 20 and 40 in women. With pathological gambling, occasional gambling leads to a gambling habit. Stressful situations can worsen gambling problems. Just like alcoholics and drug addicts, pathological gamblers often deny they have a problem or need treatment. Most pathological gamblers only get help when they are found out and pressured by family and friends.

 

“Gambling addiction can have a devastating effect not just on patients, but also their families.” – Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic and Imperial Research team.

 

This new research identifies keys area of the brain and will help to develop targeted treatments to help prevent cravings and relapse. When pathological gamblers experienced cravings, the researchers identified two areas of the brain that became highly active were the insula and the nucleus accumbens, located deep within the brain and key to decision making and reward and impulse control. These are the same areas of the brain that have been previously linked to substance abuse and alcohol addictions. The Imperial study was carried out using nineteen problem gamblers and nineteen healthy volunteers.

MRI scans were utilized to monitor the brain activity of each individual as they were shown pictures of gambling activities; they were then asked to rate their cravings when they viewed each image. The experts found that the insula and nucleus accumbens were highly active when the problem gamblers experienced cravings when shown the images. The experts noticed a weakness between these two areas of the brain, known as the frontal lobe, which helps individuals make decisions.

The frontal lobe could be key in helping to keep the insula in check and controlling impulses. This same type of weakness in the frontal lobe has been identified in substance abuse research. The frontal lobe also can help control impulse, so it makes sense that a weakness here may contribute to individuals being unable to stop gambling or ignoring negative consequences of their actions when gambling. Recently the Surgeon General has defined addiction as a chronic brain disorder that has the potential for both recurrence or recovery.

Research in neuroscience suggests that the process of addiction is a three-stage cycle: binge/intoxication, followed by withdrawal/negative effect, and then finally preoccupation/anticipation. Progressively, the cycle will worsen and become more severe with continued abuse. Changes in brain function are dramatic and reduce the ability to control the addiction.

There are disruptions in the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex that enables cues to trigger substance seeking, heighten activation of stress systems of the brain and reduce brain sensitivity systems in the experience of reward and pleasure, reduces systems that control decision making, actions, emotions and impulses, known as the executive control systems of the brain. People are motivated to continue their addictions by euphoric or pleasurable feelings, despite the risks and negative consequences involved. Continued misuse of substances causes progressive changes in the structure and function of the brain called neuroadaptations. These can produce continued cravings that can lead to relapse.

The Imperial research was conducted using MRI studies, an MRI shows the physical anatomy and structure of the brain. Dr. Amen uses SPECT brain imagery which shows how the brain works, blood flow and activity. Dr. Daniel Amen from the Amen Clinic is one of the leading Doctors in the world of brain imagery and understanding changes in the brain. He has been involved in over 125,000 brain SPECT scans which look at blood flow and activity in the brain.

Dr. Amen’s research has shown that addiction changes the brain, emotional trauma can be distinguished from physical trauma, the brain can improve, everyone’s brains are not affected the same way, and that past brain trauma can lead to addiction and many other things. Dr. Amen’s research also showed that marijuana smokers had lower blood flow to the brain and lower brain activity than non-smokers.

Dr. Amen says:
The brain SPECT imaging helps to:

• Breakthrough denial

• Determine if there are co-existing conditions requiring treatment

• Increase treatment and recovery program compliance

• People realize that addiction is a brain disease, not a personal weakness or character flaw

• Patients gain a better understanding of their brain through visuals

• Determine if treatment is working correctly
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There are six different types of addiction-prone brain patterns.

Type One is Compulsive Addicts, Pathological gambling would fit type one. Individuals tend to get stuck or locked into one course of action and don’t see the options they may have. Most commonly, this type of brain SPECT finding shows increased anterior cingulate gyrus activity, which is usually caused by low serotonin levels.

Type Two is Impulsive Addicts, the most common finding in this group is low activity in the prefrontal cortex, likely due to low levels of dopamine. The PFC is involved in judgment, impulse control, planning, follow through, decision making, and paying attention. This type is often seen with ADD and ADHD and is more common in males.

Type Three is Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts SPECT scans here tend to show low activity in the prefrontal cortex, likely due to low dopamine and too much activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus likely due to compulsivity and low serotonin. Common in children and grandchildren of alcoholics.

Type Four Sad or Emotional Addicts, individuals with this type often use alcohol, pain medications, marijuana, or food to medicate underlying feelings of depression, loneliness, and boredom. Common in women, can worsen in winter. Typical SPECT findings here are increased activity in the deep limbic system and low activity in the prefrontal cortex.

Type Five are Anxious Addicts, people of this type tend to use food sleeping aids, marijuana, alcohol, and painkillers to medicate underlying feelings of fear, anxiety, tension, nervousness. More commonly seen in women, this type seems to suffer from physical symptoms of anxiety. People with this type tend to be extremely shy, predict the worst, and easily startled. SPECT findings here: too much activity in the basal ganglia, likely due to low levels of GABA.

Type six are Temporal Lobe Addicts, people here tend to have problems with memory, learning, mood, and temper. Abnormal activity in temporal lobes is usually due to past head trauma, infections, lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, or can be inherited. SPECT findings decreased activity in the temporal lobes and at times excessive increased activity. Even though the six types have some commonality of symptoms, each type has its own set of symptoms and specific treatments.

Dr. Amen says, “One size does not fit all: what works for one person with an addiction may not work for another or could even make the symptoms worse!”

 

New data just released by the National Annenberg Risk of Youth by Annenberg Public Policy Center of The University of Pennsylvania – reports some startling news! They have been tracking the gambling of young people ages 14 to 22 since 2002, based on the data’s most recent estimates, approximately 850,000 males ages 18 to 22 gamble online at least once a month, 357,000 males between ages 14 to 17 gamble online at least once a month. Weekly use of internet gambling sites for the 18-22 age group increased from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.8% this year, a statistically significant increase.

Professor Nancy Petry of Psychiatry at The University of Connecticut’s Center for Gambling Research and Treatment stated that with the rise in online gambling among our young people, comes a greater danger of addiction. In a recent study, Professor Petry found that internet gamblers were more likely to have serious gambling addiction problems than other gamblers.

“Teen gambling is the fastest growing addiction today. Approximately one in eight of the eight million compulsive gamblers are now teenagers.”
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When you look back over the past fifteen years there were virtually none. 80% of all teenagers gamble in some way and 15% are problem gamblers. Dr. Jeremiah Weinstock, an expert on teen gambling from The University of Connecticut, believes that between 4% and 7& of all teenagers suffer from a gambling addiction that involves clinical depression, huge debts, disruption of relationships, and/or involvement with organized crime. David Robertson of The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling said, “Teenaged gambling, like alcohol and drug abuse in the 1930s, it’s the fastest growing addiction. It’s pernicious, it’s evil and it feeds on the weakest.”

It’s an exciting time in the addiction recovery field with all the advances in neuroscience, technology, treatment, recovery coaching, and aftercare. It’s clear that brain health is as important as any other part of the body, perhaps more important. It also seems clear that not everyone is the same and testing like SPECT imagery can help treatment professionals know how to best help each individual. The key to treating Pathological gambling is the brain; you can bet on it! It’s also a time of great concern for our young people who are already battling substance abuse and now may be headed directly into the eye of the unpredictable raging storm of Pathological Gambling!

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“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and Hope Seekers,

So, within only 3 months apart, it happened again! It is pissing me off when those who have NO CLUE about any addiction or about recovery, let alone a gambling addiction nor have been “touched” by it, or know anyone with one or even a family member has. See, I happened to write about this before 3 or so months ago.

So I wanted to vent and share a little more about this as Gambling Addiction is a real disease, people! It does happen, and I am tired of others commented to me that when we advocate we are demeaning others who have real diseases like cancer, diabetes, and others.  When will people wake up and see how bad addictions of any kind are running rampant and killing many each year.

“I surely didn’t wake up one day and choose to devastate my life and my husbands’ life and become an addicted gambler.”   ~Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Recently I read a few comments on Twitter after I tweeted about my gambling addiction and maintaining recovery. It was also about living in the “now” and a well-balanced recovery journey. There are many myths and misconceptions about this disease, the silent killer, and underground addiction. One of which was I chose to become an addict. Really? Did I decide to devastate my life for a few hours of addicted gambling?

Did I choose to bankrupt my husband and me financially? Did I want to end my life by choice because I was hopelessly addicted? No! Gambling addiction is real and is a real disease. It is the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide over all other addiction. Currently, 2.9% of the population are now Problem Gamblers. It is now “touching” our seniors, high school, and college-age kids.

When I began Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I’d hear others say; “Hate the addiction, not the addict.” We are dealing with an illness and tricky beast. That is true with all types of addictions. As Robin Williams was quoted back in the mid 80’s about addiction and recovery; “There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.” That is what we need to do when coming out of treatment and begin our new path away from addiction. We need to look for other ways to replace the time spent gambling, using drugs and alcohol. Robin Williams also said; “It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there, It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK.”

Now, this could not be truer when I look back at my early recovery. We are so broken and riddled with many triggers and urges starting the path called “recovery.” We have no way of knowing how to take charge and own it. Owning one’s recovery, in my opinion, is being real, being honest, and transparent of the good and mostly all the bad. Bad behaviors, choices, and habits we learned as an addict.

But when you “Own Your Recovery” and begin the process of learning why and begin the “inner work,” you begin to change. You begin to forgive yourself for those “poor choices” you had made. You start to accept the consequences, accountability, and responsibility for those choices and actions. You begin to learn and look for some of those “underlying roots” that had you in bondage and attached to your addiction.

Now, most 12-Step programs teach us we can recover without knowing why we turned to addiction in the first place. I am not a firm believer of this. WHY? Because, if we don’t know and learn to work through those issues, how do we begin a steady, healthy, and happy life maintaining recovery? How do we move forward and become fulfilled and productive people? See, we will be “a work in process” for the rest of our lives, many get scared or feel it will be an impossible task, and easier to be an addict than to have their lives back. That is a significant roadblock for many recovering. We are dealing with a “Disease.” So back to my Twitter comments. I have had a few remarks like “addicts make a choice to be addicts.

Other people commented – “I make a “choice” every day and to say it’s a disease minimizes people who suffer from real diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer (WHAT? Really?).”

On the other hand, I know that when I gambled, I lost the control and ability to stop and kept gambling and gambling on slots! That is how gambling addiction is described by “The National Council on Problem Gambling” and knowing we have crossed the line into uncontrolled gambling. My friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling says; “Gambling addiction—is an impulse-control disorder.

“If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones.” And I know first hand that this is true as it happened to me. No, I didn’t come from a background or a family who were gamblers. I was a normal gambler until I began to use it as an “escape, to numb out, and not feel my past childhood trauma” which came back out of nowhere.



So was it “my choice” to become a gambling addict? No.

To begin and maintain recovery is not easy. The first thing to do is reach out for help. There is no shame in doing so. And you can remain anonymous. When you do, become educated about the “cycle” of this disease and learn ways to interrupt the cycle. A sponsor, counselor, therapist, or recovery coach can help you achieve this. Read as much as you can about this addiction and make and have a solid ‘relapse plan and phone list’ to use for those “triggers and urges” in early recovery.

The longer you refrain from gambling, the less they will become. Start a journal. Journaling helps to relieve stress and anxiety. These are just a few ideas on how to begin your recovery path. Make sure you visit my Resources page and The Relapse Prevention Guide I have listed on its own page here on my recovery blog. I am always here to help. You can email me anytime if your needing help or support and where and how to be Gamble Free! lyonmedia@aol.com

Read my E-book as well as it is now on sale for just $2.99 a download on Amazon Kindle.   I share it all of my battle with gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. Giving in-depth insights and disclosing how I found and processed my underlying issues and roots to my becoming an addict. And again, “it was not a choice.” It happens … 

Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Read and learn about this woman’s remarkable and brave story. 

“Transforming Our Recovery: From Treatment Into Recovery and Healing”

Welcome Friends and Visitors!

YES, sorry that it has been a while since I have blogged about my journey and recovery from gambling addiction now 10+years IN!


I also have had many blessings come my way recently and thought I should share what I’m doing in my own recovery path. On of the beautiful things about recovery is we continue to grow when we have a plan in place for whatever life brings us. It can a new trial or test, or it can be an awesome learning opportunity. If we are NOT learning along the way, we become close minded and maybe not open to seeing all the miricales that happen in life and in our recovery journey!

Lately,  I have been on a journey myself of living wellness in LIFE. Yes, in life, not just in recovery. I have been craving more than “just” living a life in recovery and have learned we have many choices to get there. Our recovery is only a part of life. Living an authentic fun and peaceful life from addiction should be a goal when reaching long-term recovery.

We need to explore what we need to do to maintain and continue to grow, and there are many ways to accomplish this in both the treatment side and doing our inner work side, especially for those coming early into recovery. TWO great tools I have been using is an Educational DVD Series and finished reading the book; “Addiction To Recovery: Unlocking Your Potential.” They both have transformed my recovery. The book is the material used for the DVD’S.

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New Recovery DVD Series

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And if you have been in recovery from gambling addiction long-term, let’s face it; you don’t need to be a person who works in the field of treating gambling addicts to know there has not been much development in treatment options for those of us who become addicted gambling. And, there is much confusion of what to call a gambler who becomes addicted. Labeling a disease I feel adds to the “stigma” around many addictions let alone gambling, and hampers many who may seek for help.

Now, by all means, I am sharing this as a recovering gambler’s perspective and is what I call myself when speaking about my recovery from this illness. I am not an expert in the field, nor a therapist or treatment expert. It seems; however, we learn a lot about our addiction by research, by our treatment choice and the education we receive, and even by just listening to others around you in a group or GA meeting. We can look at recovery in the same way. And I have heard many “old” battles and disagreements about what IS the best route or path to recovery. A 12-step model, professional treatment, spiritual path or others. Recovery is not a “one size fits all” concept.

When we label people though, it may make them feel “like their disease” if that makes sense. I know I don’t like being labeled just because I live in recovery from addiction. I also live with mental health challenges, so more labels around that too. My addiction is called many names; “pathological gambling,” “compulsive gambling,” “addicted or at risk gambling, gambling disorder” and problem gambler,” and on and on. It can be very frustrating! But I am certain these various terms reflect the efforts of researchers and treatment providers to be able to describe the different levels of severity shown among people with gambling problems.

The same is lacking for new and innovative ways to treat gambling addiction. Some even treat it as a “Mental Health” issue and require a treatment model of cognitive-behavior. I disagree as an addiction IS a disease, and a disease is a medical problem, not just a mental health issue. The various treatment models used for gambling addiction, I found the problem was the effectiveness of these options and what seemed to be missing.

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WHY?

Because as I went through treatment myself, and attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings as well, did I relapse? YES, and I was seeing the same people in both my treatment group and GA meetings, out and had relapsed as they were out gambling too! That seems to question the actual honest success rate of these options of treatment. And with this in mind, most treatment options tend to only focus on three stages of treatment; crisis or intervention, followed by rehabilitation and ending with maintenance. Again, all my observations and what I experienced.

I feel what is missing in most types of treatment options is the so-called “maintenance.” The aftercare and teaching us how to begin the stage of “inner work” and self-reflection to address those deeper underlying issues, maybe pain, past trauma or abuse that may have had a part in those turning to addiction in the first place. It is the way addicts can learn to take back the power of our lives, begin the healing process, learn to forgive and then “let it GO.” Only then can we journey to a better way of life. Former addicts need the necessary skills and tools to inner work of our character defects and “clean out the soul” so to speak.

In recovery from gambling, we need to learn how to “feel” again as we used addiction to ‘numb or escape’ from our problems, life, or any pain or hurt. There are many ways to learn these skills if you are not receiving it within your choice of treatment and recovery. Some ways to begin “inner work” can be by journaling each day, write what worked and what areas you had problems that day and correct them. Reading addiction/recovery books, recovery magazines and even recovery papers like “Keys To Recovery,” and even working the 12-steps and rework them are all excellent tools to start the inside work, especially in early recovery.

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The SHAIR Podcast with “O”
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So, listening to recovery podcasts and DVDS are great ways to learn more about what others in recovery are doing to live a well-balanced, and happy life in recovery. Many add prayer, meditation, and even yoga as ways to a truer inner peace and gain serenity. These are all actions I use in my recovery. Coming into recovery is scary enough, but learning a deeper meaning of yourself and life without addiction in the process is the best part of your recovery that gets you to long-term recovery IN happiness from addiction.

Life doesn’t stop just because you are recovering. It takes honest surrender that gambling has you beat, that you are ready for change, and you want your life back. It takes a lifetime journey, but always remember we “all are works in progress.” I think as others in recovery from gambling addiction; we need to continue to ask ourselves?

What more can we do to help decrease the “stigma” and increase how we can help and be of service to others fighting this addiction? I say?

“Keep having the conversation and advocating.” I know I will!

**Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Former Columnist, Freelance Writer** 

 

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” My Guest Is Vegas Judy. “What If You Live In Las Vegas?”


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A RECOVERING GAMBLER LIVING IN LAS VEGAS.
by JUDY G.

MEET, VEGAS JUDY!

 

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This is about two aspects of me – my evolution as a compulsive and then recovering gambler – and my growing fascination and compulsion to be in Las Vegas. Intertwined?Yes. But also distinct and separate. What I mean by that is: If gambling didn’t exist in Las Vegas, would I still want to live here? Yes.

However, since gambling does exist here, would I want to live anywhere else? No.

Now, back to the beginnings:

My childhood years certainly didn’t include this yearning to be in Las Vegas. But I guess I always had yearnings – and in those days, it was to live in the Golden State – California. I  spent the first 8 years of my life exclusively in California – mainly Lodi and Woodland. But when I was 9, my father “re-upped” and went back into the Air Force, and shortly after that, he was sent to Korea.

In Fifth Grade, I went to four different schools, including one in Texas and one in Virginia. This was the beginning of my Air Force brat experiences, and at the same time, I began thinking that “everything would be perfect” if I could just be with my friends in California. So I always had that propensity to think the “grass was greener” somewhere else.

I started living in a sort of “escape fantasy land” whenever real life got too rough. Since most of our relatives lived in California, no matter where we were stationed in the U.S., we usually made a road trip back to the Golden State at least once – usually during the summer. Quite often, these trips would take us through Las Vegas, where often we’d stop and spend the night. During those early years, I never thought about gambling, of course. It was strictly an adult playland then.

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I was mostly aware of the celebrities who might be lounging around the pools or perhaps wandering in the casinos. I remember once being in a casino with my parents and hearing “Paging Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Harry Belafonte.” This was heady stuff for a movie-star-struck young girl. If my parents went to see a show at night, my sister and I didn’t mind. We’d stay at our motel, go swimming in the pool that was usually opened all night, and have fun on our own. I do remember seeing the “fantasyland” aspects of the Strip, such as it was, back in those days; such as the camels in front of the Sahara, the Sultan in front of the Dunes. But that’s all Las Vegas was to me then – a convenient stop on our way to my “mecca”, California.

As far as gambling, I had literally no experience or feeling about it one way or the other. Ironically, we were stationed in Wiesbaden Germany when I was 17, and my first “job” was giving out change for the small bank of slot machines in the Officer’s Club (the General Von Steuben). This was a pretty boring job. Hardly anyone spent much time in that little space.

I do, however, remember one woman who was pretty much a “regular,”  She started out feeding quarters into one particular machine and would stand there for hours, having drinks and hitting several jackpots, but by the end of the evening, there she was, slightly weaving, by now barefoot (there were no stools for the gamblers then, and those high heels got too tricky to stand in after awhile and after a few drinks) and her winnings had long gone back into the machine. I remember thinking how stupid and boring the whole thing was. (Little did I know that I was to become that woman one day).

My next exposure to gambling was back in Las Vegas. My first husband and I had (not surprisingly) gone to Vegas for our honeymoon.  In those days, there were no video poker machines, and I didn’t know how to play any “table games of chance”, so I just put a few quarters in the single reel slot machine and I might get lucky and win the “jackpot” – $25.

My second husband and I also went to Las Vegas on our honeymoon. He has the dubious honor of being the one who taught me how to play 21.  After winning a small jackpot on a machine, he suggested taking my winnings and playing blackjack. Of course, we had our Beginners’ Luck there, and that became my new favorite game, and a reason to escape to Vegas whenever I could talk him into it…

By the end of our marriage, we were two full-blown alcoholics, but he was happy to do his drinking every night in front of the TV set.  I, on the other hand, wanted the action and excitement and fantasy of Las Vegas!

 

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One night I got into an argument with him and ended up taking off in my car.  I was picked up by the police somewhere near Ontario, California, heading to L.A., yet I told the police I was driving to Vegas.  The fact that I had my housedress on and was drunk might have alerted the police to the veracity of my statement, and I spent that night in jail.  Toward the end of my second marriage, I had met my third husband-to-be, who was temporarily my “escape companion”.  Why not? He had no job, no ties.  Why wouldn’t he hook up with this crazy alcoholic who had a car, and all she asked of him was to drive her to Vegas.

When we’d first arrive, I would hit the tables and eventually pass out– sometimes in the casino (where I had to be carried to the room) – and sometimes waited til I was in the room. Inevitably, the next day I’d be suffering a mighty hangover and severe pangs of regret and guilt, and we’d morosely head back to the disapproving situation at home. Sometime in 1986, I had stopped drinking (after it quit working for me, and I had become suicidal).

Everyone predicted that I would want to leave my “companion” who was 14 years younger than I, a drug addict and unemployed. But I insisted that we were “in love” and it didn’t matter if he continued to use and I had stopped; love would conquer all. We probably WOULD have split up, if it hadn’t been that I got pregnant (surprise!) at age 45, so now we had to stay together, and do the right thing.

So, here I was, a new mother (again), supporting my baby and my (by then) husband.  My only escape was the periodic trips to Vegas.  I wasn’t drinking anymore, so that was good, but that hadn’t stopped my desire to go to Vegas; in fact, it was stronger than ever. You see, I didn’t realize it, but my quitting drinking was possible because I simply substituted the one addiction for another – gambling.  A couple of years later, I decided “enough with these 12 trips a year to Vegas; let’s move there.”  Again, my husband had no reason to deny the request.  I was able to retire from my county job, after 22 years of service and have a small retirement stipend, and made sure I had a new job waiting for me in Las Vegas before we moved here.

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Sometime after we moved here, my husband brought home one of those hand held video poker machines.  I had never played poker before – only once, during a neighborhood friendly game, in which I had surprisingly won, with beginners’ luck, not having any idea what I was doing.  But with this hand-held amazing little thing, I learned to hone my skills quite sharply. Each time I went to a casino, it seemed that there were new and varied video poker games double bonus, triple bonus, bonus deluxe, etc., etc. In the last couple of years they added the three reels at a time, and now they even have 50 or 100 games you can play at a time. It’s mind-boggling!!

Now I had found the perfect answer to my female gambler’s dream. I didn’t have to sit and make chit chat with the other players at the 21 table. It could be just me and my machine –my lover–for hours at a time. No one to disturb us. The cocktail waitress would come around and occasionally I’d have a grapefruit juice (liquor was out, of course). This is a little personal, but I have to say that but sometimes I’d actually feel a mini-orgasm when I hit a jackpot. Meanwhile, at home, my libido was practically non-existent.

Sometimes the other players’ cigarette smoke would bother me, but usually, I could even ignore that – especially if I had a “hot” machine. I also loved it if they were playing the “right” music –usually some sultry and sensual, Marvin Gaye songs (“Let’s Get it On”), etc., or hits from further back –at a time when I was young and innocent.  The atmosphere in the casino appealed to me too –dark, soft neon lights flashing here and there, beckoning “come, play me”. No sense of time, no windows.  The tinkling of ice cubes in glasses, people laughing in the background. It was party time!

There has been a lot said and written about the commonalities of men and women gamblers and their differences.  For many men, it’s about being the “big shot”, showing off, taking a chance and winning big in some cases.  For many women, it’s more about escape and isolation. There’s one aspect, however, where this invisible dividing line blurs.  When I say I didn’t want to be a “big shot”, why then was it so important to me to use my “player’s card” at various casinos, and earn points so I could have the so-called “freebies” – like free room nights, free meals, free shows?  But more often than not, there’s no such thing as a “freebie.”

I remember about a year ago when I lost my whole paycheck at a locals casino.  A couple of days later I had no money, so my son and I went to the same casino and used some of my “points” to get a pizza in their Italian deli.  As we left, my son shouted out: “Thanks for the f____ing $1,000 pizza!” (Out of the mouths of slightly jaded babes!).

A funny thing about my style of playing is I didn’t want anyone to know if I hit a jackpot.  I wanted to just keep on playing – no congratulations or anything like that.  I was dead serious about this thing, and I didn’t want anything to interfere with my play.

Many times I sat there for 7 or 8 hours straight, without even taking a bathroom break. When I did, it was nearly impossible to make it without having an accident. So far I’ve concentrated on what I liked about being in the casinos.  What didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like losing, and “chasing” my losses – or winning and yet not being able to quit until I’d put it all back. I didn’t like trying to get money out of a bank ATM machine, and being told “Unable to complete transaction”.

I didn’t like looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and seeing this strange, wild-eyed, with mussed up hair, confused and scared looking. Can you believe that even looking like this, some men actually “hit on me”?  I guess it was a matter of recognizing what they thought was “easy prey.” But I never resorted to that.  That was one of those “not yets.”  Not saying that it couldn’t have happened – just that it didn’t.

Worst of all, I hated coming home to anger and sadness, disappointment –my husband and my child looking forlorn and lost. What happened, Mommy?  Where was the pizza you said you’d bring home? Even when I had won, they usually weren’t that happy –unless I gave my husband some money so he could do what he wanted (gamble – or buy drugs), and get my son a new Play Station game or something like that, or say, “It’s OK, you don’t need to go to school today.”  He learned manipulation from the best teachers – me and his father.

I’ve managed to hit two milestones here while living in Las Vegas – of over a year “bet free”, but I never got much further than that. Looking back, I think it was because I thought I didn’t deserve any kind of success.  I was worthless. For the most part, I hadn’t really applied the 12 steps to my life –I just went on with it, usually as the martyr, until the pressure got so great and life looked so hopeless, that I had to go out and release my escape valve. All the pain and remorse of the past temporarily disappeared, in my pursuit of the fantasyland escape – the immediate fix, not thinking about the long-term effects.

The worst thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that the gambling is so accessible – you don’t even have to think twice about it – just hop in your car and go. Even the 7-11 around the corner has a few machines (although I liked to stick to the casino atmosphere as I mentioned above).  The best thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that there is ALL kinds of help – if you want it.

There are 24 hour GA (Gamblers Anonymous) meetings and people who know exactly what you’re going through.  I choose right now to stay in Las Vegas because I happen to love so many things about life here.  I especially am drawn to its history (yes, Las Vegas does have a history!) and I write about it at every opportunity.  I was excited in 2005 when this city celebrated its 100th anniversary.  It was Fantastic!

Is it stupid for me to remain here? Maybe so. Maybe not. One of my arguments is that gambling is available in just about any state now, and certainly in Europe. But the facts are, it isn’t as attractive to me anywhere else –not even “Reno or Laughlin” –certainly not “Atlantic City.” Something about being here in this jewel in the middle of the desert has me totally mesmerized and hypnotized. I look at the new games the casinos are offering – anything from ‘Betty Boop’ to ‘Austin Powers’ to the ‘Addams Family,’  and now ‘Popeye’ – and I wonder where it’s all leading.

It’s definitely luring kids, and I understand teenagers are being swept up by gambling – as much as drugs or alcohol. What’s the answer?

Blow up the casinos?

Make a new kind of prohibition? Probably not.

People will always seek their pleasures –in one form or another. They will be errant children. And some can get their pleasures in “safe” measures –not gambling more than they can afford, not becoming suicidal.

I don’t have anything really against gambling or drinking per say – I just know I can’t do it. Can I stay here in Las Vegas and fight my demons? Only time will tell, but I’m willing to give it another try.

(Judy wrote this in 2003 – “More has happened since then, but I’ll save that for another time.”)

Please visit and Purchase her Book Here on Las Vegas: The Fabulous First Century (NV) (Making of America) …. Author, Judy Dixon Gabaldon ~ aka: VEGAS JUDY

 

MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month with My Friends at “The National Council on Problem Gambling.”

“MORE NOW Than ever we need to “Have The Conversation” about Problem Gambling.”  With the ever growing expansion of gambling options, now comes the risk of more people affected and may become problem gamblers. My mission for my blog is to educate, inform, help, and raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction.

Here now is a message from my friends and hardworking advocates at “The National Council on Problem Gambling”….

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The National Council on Problem Gambling Goals:

 

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.  The 2017 PGAM theme is “Have the Conversation” and the goals of this national campaign are:

To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment & recovery services.

To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.

PGAM is a grassroots campaign that depends on the participation of NCPG state Affiliate, organizational and individual members; state health agencies; gambling companies; recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers. 2017 is the 13th year for this event.

Groups across America hold conferences, air Public Service Announcements, provide counselor training, host screening days, insert paycheck stuffers, buy billboards and many other activities to provide thousands of hours of volunteer and community service. Calls to the NCPG National Helpline Network jump by an average of 30% in March, a measurable and meaningful nationwide impact.

Let us know what you are doing this month to help spread the message that compulsive gambling is a real issue that needs to be addressed. Email Sushmita at sushmitau@ncpgambling.org for any questions or updates on your activities. You can also interact with us on social media, where we will have daily updates about Problem Gambling Awareness Month! We are on Facebook and Twitter (@NCPGambling)

So please go connect with these fine folks and check all their resources!

Visit their Calendar for events happening in March and throughout the year! I am proud to work with them in advocacy throughout Social Media all year. They offer a wide range of programs to help many from becoming a problem or addicted gambler.

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One of their most valuable resources at the Councils website is, “Real Stories and Voices of Recovery” as Treatment Does Work!

Christine’s Story:


“Within six months after the big win, I realized I bit off more than I could chew. I had given back all the money, and more. I kept chasing that feeling of the huge win. […] In 2004, I started a business that quickly had financial success. I had so much money that I thought I’d never run out. But eventually, I couldn’t even come up with postage to ship a package. I started selling stolen goods to cover my losses and eventually ended up in prison on a mail fraud charge.”
(Read more about why Christine is candid about her addiction and how her life is today.)

 

Ann’s Story

The first time I gambled was at Mystic Lake with friends. It was simply a “let’s go out and do something fun” kind of thing. In fact, for many years I was a mere social gambler and assumed it would be like that for my entire life. I could go to Las Vegas to meet relatives and not even care if I gambled or not.

But then I had a personal life crisis and gambling became a way to forget everything that was going on. I realized that when I gambled, I didn’t have to be responsible to anyone. It became a way to escape my life’s problems and the rest of the world.

Before I knew it, I was going out to gamble every night. Then I started to have financial problems. And then I realized I couldn’t stop… nor did I want to stop. Every time I left the casino, I’d tell myself I was going to quit. Then when I got home I’d find more money to go back with.

Once I became hooked, it became my life. Gambling became my main source of entertainment. It was the only thing that I cared about. I’d cheat, steal and otherwise do whatever it took to get money.  But it was never about the money. I didn’t want to win money… it was a just a means to an end. Money had allowed me to hit more buttons so that I didn’t have to think about how screwed up my life was.
I engaged in unhealthy gambling for about three years. I spiraled downhill quickly. I lost my home, my cars, everything. I embezzled from my employer and was caught. That should have been the end of my gambling.

However, I continued to gamble from money I earned with a part-time job. I even remember gambling the night before I went to jail. That was when I finally stopped.

Part of my sentence required that I seek help, such as with a group like GA. I went to my very first gambling meeting at Club Recovery. I remember being so embarrassed to be there. But I got through it

Getting through the first meeting was the hardest. Even though it’s a meeting for those with gambling problems, nobody thinks that anyone has done anything worse than they have. You think you’re the absolute worst person.

When I think back on my recovery and my experience, I have learned a lot. For one, I realized that recovery is a choice. For the longest time, I didn’t think it was. I thought it was a matter of willpower.

Most people don’t understand the insatiable urge you have when you have an addiction. It almost feels like it’s an instinct to keep at an addiction. I’ve learned that you can get over the shame and guilt. Guilt is feeling bad about what you’ve done while shame is feeling bad about who you are.

I’ve learned a few other things. One is that you can’t beat yourself over the head to convince others as to why you’re addicted. People in my family have been so supportive of me but they still don’t understand how this can become an addiction. There comes a point when you just accept yourself and others.

You also realize that to conquer addiction you really need to put yourself first. That can be hard to do, particularly when you feel like you need to make amends to others, but you have to make peace with yourself before thinking about being in a full relationship with friends, families and an employer.

There is nothing more encouraging than listening to other peoples’ stories and their recoveries. As you hear them share their story, you learn that you’re not really a horrible person with no hope of recovery. You learn that you can fix yourself and become a whole person again…. that this addiction doesn’t have to define you.

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“LIKE ME, WE CAN RECOVER FROM THIS CUNNING ADDICTION CALLED GAMBLING.”

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

THIS Is My Story:

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)

$3.10
  (Click Here to Purchase )

 

 

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time the problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications 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 didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!

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Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???

 

I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

Guest Article About Gambling The Addiction & Our Addicted Brain.

ARE WE ONE STEP CLOSER TO A CURE?

Gambling addicts have ‘WEAKER’ brains – just like alcoholics and drug addicts, scientists discover

Experts at Imperial College London hope their discovery that gambling triggers two key areas of the brain, will lead to new treatments- 3rd January 2017

The Truth About Lottery Video Poker Machines. Guest Article. “Man Vs Machine”- National Week of Action From Predatory Gambling.

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome All Visitors,

As this is “National Addiction and Recovery Month and National Week of Action Against Predatory Gambling” I want to share a Guest Article I read a while back that sheds light on a guy who caught “The Oregon Video Poker” machines trying to make players lose instead of winning a hand of poker from an electronic game. It also sheds light on just how BAD the “odds” are of a player winning. So this man took on the video poker machines! (Article Courtesy of  Willamette Week News Website .

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Video Lottery Game Zone

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“MAN Vs. MACHINE – A video poker machine dealt Justin Curzi a strange hand. Now he’s calling the Oregon Lottery’s bluff.” 

Updated March 4, 2015
Published March 4, 2015

Curzi, 35, had moved to Oregon in 2012 from San Francisco after selling a software company he’d helped found a decade earlier. He was fascinated with the games—the ubiquitous, flashing terminals found in bars, delis, and even pancake houses—and he played occasionally when out drinking with friends.

On this day—Jan. 10, 2014, a Friday—Curzi paused playing video poker while a pal went to get a beer. He used the break to study his hand—a 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of different suits. He was close to getting a straight, which would pay $5 on a $1 bet.

The game Curzi was playing, draw poker, allowed him to discard cards and get new ones from the dealer. He knew his best chance was to discard the 2 and hope the machine dealt him a 3 or an 8 to complete a straight.

But the machine suggested he do something Curzi thought strange: It recommended he discard the 7. He would get his straight only if he drew a 3. That would cut Curzi’s chances of winning by half—and he thought it was terrible advice.

“Hey, is this right?” Curzi asked his friend when he returned.

Curzi took out his iPhone and snapped photos of the screen and the machine’s serial number.

It was the first step to uncovering what he says is a $134 million scam by the Oregon Lottery.

 

Bad Advice

“Here’s how the video poker hand Justin Curzi got on Jan. 10, 2014, led him to investigate the Oregon Lottery machines.”

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Oregon voters approved the state lottery in 1984, and today state-run gambling contributes about $550 million a year to Oregon’s budget, behind only personal income taxes.

The lottery encourages dreams of riches. But the games are engineered to take your money. “Everyone should understand that the odds in all our games favor the lottery,” says Jack Roberts, Oregon Lottery director. That’s why news reports two months ago that a Portland man was suing the lottery to recoup video poker players’ losses struck some as ludicrous.

Who would sue over losing money while gambling?

But it’s not so simple. Curzi—who friends say is intelligent, analytical and obsessively curious—launched a personal investigation of Oregon video poker machines that led him to conclude the machines were cheating players out of millions of dollars every month. That’s why he filed a class-action lawsuit against the Oregon Lottery in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleging fraud. Lottery officials deny Curzi’s allegations.

“Good for him,” says Les Bernal, national director of the advocacy group Stop Predatory Gambling, based in Washington, D.C. “What the Oregon Lottery does with these games is create the illusion that you have some control, where in reality you actually have far less.”

Curzi is aware some people might assume he’s suing to make money. He insists he’s not. “The real reason I’m doing this,” he says, “is because it’s outright wrong.”

“Justin is not afraid to jump at things, he’s not afraid to question things,” says Rob Steele, a friend of Curzi’s dating back to high school in New Jersey. “That is just catnip for Justin.”

Six days after his curious experience with the Jacks or Better game at Quimby’s, Curzi sent a polite and inquisitive email to the Oregon Lottery.

“Hello, my name is Justin,” he wrote on Jan. 16, 2014. “I’ve attached a photo of a hand that was given to me in one of your Oregon Lottery machines.” Curzi explained how he believed the video poker machine should have given him the best advice. “This does not seem to be the case,” he wrote.

Draw poker is a game of luck, strategy and second chances. The dealer gives players five cards. Players then get a chance to discard cards in the hopes of being dealt better ones.

When you’re playing poker around a table in real life, you’re betting against other players in hopes of having the best hand.

But in video poker, you’re not betting against anyone. Each hand costs you 25 cents (or more, if you increase your wager), and you win money based on a scale of how strong your hand is. A pair of jacks might win you your 25 cents back. A royal flush—the highest and rarest combination—would win you up to $600.

Unlike slot machines, video poker gives the player a sense that strategy matters. In reality, if you play long enough, the machines are geared to eventually take your money, no matter how many wins you record. Still, the sense that a player can outsmart the game is part of its allure.

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What caught Curzi’s attention was a feature on the draw poker games called “auto-hold.” The feature puts the word “hold” over cards it suggests players should keep. Players can reject the suggestions at any time.

But auto-hold has a second, less obvious function. It allows players to play faster because they don’t have to stop to think about what cards to hold before hitting the button to draw again. That’s important because faster play translates to more money for the Oregon Lottery.

Before he got a response from the lottery, Curzi returned to Quimby’s, wondering whether the game’s bad advice had only been a fluke. He shoved a $20 bill into a machine to play the same Jacks or Better game. Within 10 minutes, the game was again advising him to hold cards that cut his chances of winning in half. Curzi says he just wanted a simple explanation. “I certainly didn’t think,” he says, “I would discover what I know now.”

Who Plays Oregon Lottery Games?

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Curzi grew up as a sports-focused kid in small-town New Jersey, the son of a prominent lawyer and a stay-at-home mom. Curzi—who played football despite his small size—also wrestled, played baseball and graduated near the top of his high-school class. He played wide receiver at Amherst College, where he majored in economics and history. That led him to New York City after graduation.

“I thought the only two jobs on earth were investment banking and consulting,” he says now.

He landed his first job selling investments. Working on commission, he’d target an office building, climb to the top floor, then work his way down, knocking on doors. “I was 21, looking like I was 16, asking people to give me their money,” Curzi says. He soon climbed the monthly leader board. His boss told him he was one of the youngest salespeople to reach the top.

He wasn’t destined for a traditional job. A sticker on Curzi’s apartment door showed a group of people heading one direction, and one person walking the other way. “Routine,” it read. “The enemy!”

In 2003, he moved to Brazil and quickly immersed himself in the culture, teaching himself Portuguese within months. “You feel like the guy has been there two or three years,” says Ken Barrington, a college friend who visited him.

In Brazil, Curzi met an American computer programmer working on a way to help accountants share QuickBook files. The two teamed up and sold the program, cold-calling potential clients from Rio de Janeiro on an Internet phone line. “We must have sounded like we were speaking through tin cans,” Curzi says.

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They called the business Emocgila—mochila means “backpack” in Spanish and Portuguese—and it blossomed to 30 employees. In 2011, Curzi and his partner sold the company to Thomson Reuters in a private deal; Curzi declines to say for how much. But friends describe him as wealthy. “I’m not Elon Musk,” Curzi says of the co-founder of Tesla and PayPal.

Curzi moved to Portland in 2012 with his then-girlfriend (and now wife), who grew up in Tigard, and now lives in a $565,000 Victorian in Northwest Portland. He consults for private clients, provides microloans to entrepreneurs through the website Kiva and drives a 1996 Isuzu Rodeo “whose crowning feature is where a dog chewed the back seats.”

Friends say they are not surprised Curzi—who’s just as likely to want to discuss North Dakota’s fracking economy as the business model for Purringtons Cat Lounge—zeroed in on something as small and seemingly innocuous as a quirk in a video poker game.

“So many times in life, people just overlook the obvious,” Barrington says. “Justin has a knack for pointing those things out.”

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Marlene Meissner, a spokeswoman for the lottery, drafted a response. Auto-hold, she wrote, “is based on optimizing the player’s opportunity to win the best (highest prize) rather than simply increasing the odds of winning any prize.”

But, as Curzi later discovered, lottery officials guided Meissner to a different answer, so she revised her email before sending it. “In your case, the terminal did advise a strategy — granted not the only strategy — for you to have an opportunity to win with the cards you were dealt,” she said in her email to Curzi on Feb. 3.

In other words, the lottery was backing away from telling Curzi auto-hold offered the best option.

Curzi wasn’t satisfied. “I know your interpretation of the law is that you only have to suggest ‘a’ winning combination, but why not the best one?” he wrote in an email the next day.

The lottery’s response? “Crickets,” Curzi says.

Curzi turned to Jay Zollinger, a lawyer who had helped negotiate the sale of Curzi’s business. Zollinger suggested a public records request might turn up some answers.

On Feb. 20, 2014, Curzi and Zollinger formally asked the lottery for documents concerning the Jacks or Better game Curzi played at Quimby’s, plus any correspondence, studies and reports about auto-hold. The lottery responded on April 8, saying it would take 30 hours of staff time just to review the records Curzi requested. The lottery wanted a $2,350 deposit to cover its costs.

That fee would have stopped most people. But Curzi’s lawyer paid it. The total bill for records eventually came to $3,581.49.  Six months after his request, in August 2014, Curzi received the first of five batches of records.

By September, Curzi had hundreds of pages of emails, memos, and spreadsheets. He made a copy of the originals, arranging one set chronologically and the second by topic. He took notes on his laptop in a file that grew to 4,800 words.

Curzi came across a Feb. 2, 2009, email with a spreadsheet attached—”Video Lottery Game Payout Percentage Report.” The document had come from Gaming Laboratories International, an independent auditor based in New Jersey that works with many state lotteries to test machines.

The spreadsheet listed all the types of Oregon video poker machines by the manufacturer, the millions of games played in one-quarter of 2008 and how much money players spent.

In one column, the document showed what various video poker machines, based on calculations of probabilities, were expected to pay out to players over time.

In another column, the document showed what the machines were actually paying out. Curzi thought the payouts should have been very close to what the game’s programmers predicted.

Some weren’t. Curzi discovered the game he had been playing at Quimby’s, the Jacks or Better “Bluebird” terminal produced by WMS Gaming, was off by quite a bit.

The spreadsheet showed Jacks or Better on average should be paying out 90 cents for every $1 players put into the machine. It actually paid out about 87 cents.

That 3-cent difference may seem small, but when multiplied by the huge numbers of video poker games played, it translated to about $1.3 million per year that Jacks or Better wasn’t returning to players.

“This,” Curzi recalls thinking to himself, “is totally corrupt.”

He kept digging and made a second big discovery: Lottery officials knew about the discrepancy, and the auto-hold function on some machines was to blame.

“Due to the vendors’ auto-hold strategies, a few other poker games have actual payout percentages that are below theoretical,” Carole Hardy, the lottery’s then-assistant director for marketing, wrote on April 1, 2009. Curzi discovered a survey of video poker players the lottery commissioned from Mosak, a marketing research firm.

“Across all player types, the overwhelming majority of players said they prefer the auto-hold feature in video poker games as it makes it more convenient and easier to play,” a 2010 Mosak report said. “Players said this feature allows them to hold the correct cards, thus increasing their chances of winning.”

Curzi had only hoped to understand how auto-hold worked. He had instead discovered the lottery knew auto-hold sucked millions away from players—and players actually thought auto-hold helped them.

The lottery’s rules require “a close approximation of the odds of winning some prize for each game” and say those odds “must be displayed on a Video Lottery game terminal screen.”  Documents Curzi received show lottery officials debated whether or not they should tell players the actual odds if they relied on auto-hold.

In a memo labeled “confidential” and dated Sept. 15, 2009, lottery officials reported they had been studying their system to find video poker games that might be making payouts that were too high. Instead, they found machines whose payouts were too low.

“This triggered additional investigation regarding the integrity of the games,” the memo said. “Further, there was a question whether additional information should be provided to players to ensure they have accurate information regarding how video lottery games pay.”

The Sept. 15 memo also contained this nugget about WMS Gaming, maker of the game Curzi played at Quimby’s: “WMS has confirmed that the auto-hold strategy for all WMS poker games is set to pay out lower than the other products as a result of the auto-hold strategies WMS has implemented.”

Lottery officials, according to a separate 2009 memo, decided to put accurate auto-hold payouts on the Web. But Curzi went looking online, even using the Internet Archive search engine, to see if the lottery had ever made public the lower odds. He found no evidence it had. Over the next month, Curzi built a spreadsheet to estimate how much money the video poker machines, based on the odds, should have paid out, compared to what they actually did.

What he found startled him. Payouts to video lottery players were as much as 5 percent lower when they used auto-hold than when they didn’t. That translated to $134 million.

To Curzi, it was an outrageous discrepancy—especially given that players believed auto-hold helped them, and the lottery knew otherwise. Buried on the lottery’s website is one disclaimer: “Auto-hold strategies vary by game, based on the particular features of a game and do not necessarily result in theoretical payouts.”

Curzi says that’s not enough. The lottery is supposed to be based on chance. “You can’t manipulate the game,” he says.

In October 2014, he sent the Oregon Lottery a letter detailing his findings and notifying officials he intended to sue unless the lottery reimbursed players within 30 days. On Dec. 4, a claims management consultant in the state’s Department of Administrative Services wrote back to say the lottery was still investigating Curzi’s claims.

On Dec. 31, Curzi took the Oregon Lottery to court.

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Jack Roberts, the lottery director, took over the agency in December 2013, following years of controversy and accusations the agency wasn’t doing enough to address problem gambling. He had earlier served as state labor commissioner and ran in the Republican primary for governor in 2002.

Roberts says the lottery is fairly representing players’ chances. “Clearly the odds favor us,” he says. “That’s what gambling establishments are about, but we believe we’ve been honest in representing what they are.”

Roberts wasn’t around when the lottery introduced video poker and the auto-hold feature in 1992. “Our assumption has always been that on balance people who play auto-hold do better than people who don’t,” he says. “We don’t tell people that.”

He rejects Curzi’s allegation the lottery is intentionally misleading players. “I don’t think we’ve ever represented that the auto-hold gives you the optimal result,” he says. “The idea was that it gives you a good result.”

But records Curzi turned up show the opposite. “The machine recommends the best possible cards to hold in order for the player to win and if the player changes the cards to be held, the possibility of winning will decrease,” the Sept. 15, 2009, memo marked “confidential” reads.

Today, the lottery is in the process of replacing all 12,000 video lottery terminals in the state; it’s a routine technology update. But one consequence of the upgrade is that Oregon is completely phasing out the WMS Gaming “Bluebird” terminal on which Curzi played Jacks or Better. Roberts says Jacks or Better is being phased out because it’s unpopular with players. Roberts says the lottery is interested in finding out if more players are concerned about auto-hold.

“It gets complicated in the middle of litigation,” he says. “Any actions that we take might be interpreted as an admission that we don’t mean to say.”

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Experts on lotteries and the law say Curzi’s odds of winning in court seem low. Rob Carey, an Arizona class-action lawyer, took on several state lotteries over the deceptive practice of selling scratch-off tickets after the top prizes had already been awarded. Carey never succeeded in getting a class established for his lawsuits, but he did win payments for some plaintiffs and forced changes in state lottery practices.

He says Curzi’s case hinges on whether the Oregon Lottery’s public disclosures were adequate. “It really depends on what they’re telling the players,” Carey says.

The lottery could be safe even if the disclosures are vague. “You have to show the intent to defraud,” says I. Nelson Rose, a law professor at Whittier Law School in Southern California. “I don’t think they’ll be able to do that.”

Rose says it’s the machines’ manufacturers that should be worried.  “If the plaintiff were able to prove this was intentional,” he says, “that supplier could end up paying.”

Nevada-based Scientific Games, owner of WMS Gaming, the maker of the Jacks or Better game Curzi played, declined to answer WW‘s questions. “It is company policy not to comment on ongoing litigation,” Scientific Games spokeswoman Mollie Cole said in an email.

Curzi is undaunted. He wants players to recoup their money. He wants the lottery’s auto-hold feature to give good advice, and he wants the agency to give players honest information.

“It goes all the way back to that first photo,” he says of the photo he took of the video poker machine’s bum recommendation at Quimby’s last year. “I look at it and say, ‘That’s not right.”  .   .   .   .   .

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My own thoughts about The Oregon Lottery and the Retail places available everywhere? I had gotten hooked and was just one of several places around my town I gambled at. So when there IS “Excess to Access” you CAN become addicted.” Learn from my dear friend Ronda Hatefi and her brother’s suicide because of his Gambling Addiction & Could Not Stop!   “LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!”

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IF YOU NEED HELP From Gambling? Please Call TODAY .  .  .  .

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In Oregon:  call 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648).
National Hotline:  call  1-800-522-4700 all days and hours for resources and referrals.
National Suicide Hotline: call Call  1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day.
For Family Help:  Gam-Anon: Family and friends of problem gamblers can find resources and a list of meetings at gam-anon.org or 718-352-1671.

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Author & In Recovery Magzine Columnist & Recovering Addicted Gambler 9-years 9months,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon


 

Welcome Michael Heath of Bloomberg News. Featured Article on Gambling Down Under.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

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“I happen to come across a very interesting article about Aussie’s and problem gambling. I was pretty shocked to say the least as I got deeper into this little article written by, Bloomberg News reporter and writer, Michael Heath. So I thought I would email him to ask permission to share it” as I know you will be as shocked as I am.  I know some about gambling problems in the UK, but didn’t know much about Australia.

Indeed I received a nice email back from Michael saying that he would like me to share it here on my Gambling Recovery Blog, so I am very honored to do so.
(Note: There are charts to this article which can be viewed on the original article here: Aussie Gamblers, World’s Biggest Losers, Go One Better  .  .

 

 Aussie Gamblers, World’s Biggest Losers, Go One Better.

 

Australia has the highest number of slot machines per person among developed countries after Italy.”
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Inside The MPI Gaming Teaching And Research Centre And Economy Images Ahead Of CPI Figures~ Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg ~

Australians, already the world’s biggest gamblers, are hitting a new record in 2015 as the equivalent of A$1,000 ($734) is lost by every man, woman and child Down Under.

In the 12 months through September, Australians frittered away  $24.1 BILLION on gambling. That’s an increase of 6 percent from a year earlier, more than double the expansion of the overall economy, which grew a below-average 2.5 percent over the same period.

Gambling Down Under has long been tolerated as part of the national character — best summed up in the line that Australians would bet on two flies crawling up a wall. But growth in wagering using foreign-based websites, along with widespread use of slot machines and casinos in each city, is drawing heightened scrutiny.

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The government estimates more than 400,000 Australians, mainly men, have gambling problems, out of a total of 23 million people. It commissioned former New South Wales state Premier Barry O’Farrell to investigate the use of offshore-based websites and wants a report this month on what could be done to curtail the negative social impact of new forms of gambling.

Australians are the biggest spenders on gambling, prompting an influx of international agencies to the country’s market, according to the latest figures from Global Betting and Gaming Consultants. It reckons the most money spent is not via the internet but through the widespread distribution of slot machines or pokies as they’re known in the country.

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Australia has the highest number of slot machines per person among developed countries after Italy, according to a 2014 report by Gaming Technologies Association. .  .  .

“It’s just so accessible for Australians,” said Craig James, a senior economist at the securities unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “People don’t have to leave their homes. There are all sorts of things people can bet on. They can even bet on interest rates set by the Reserve Bank.”

Michael Heath is an Australian Economy Reporter — Bloomberg News ~ Michael’s work has been seen in – Bloomberg News, Yahoo, Bloomberg Businessweek, Sydney Morning Herald, National Post, Australian Financial Review, Business Day, The Star (South Africa) and 3 more, Spectator , Livemint , Salt Lake Tribune . . . He lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can follow him on Twitter  ~ @maheath1

“I wanted to add just a few more stats so we can see how America and the UK stack up to Aussie’s with problem or addicted gambling. I mean, let’s be real about this,  $24.1 Billion in one year? Wow! You know they are NOT making profits of your “once in a while gambler” no matter what country you live in. Now it has been rumored that Americans spend about $54 Billion which would be higher than Aussie’s, but I think that is not correct nor could I find researching a concrete number. Another site had this figure of $119 Billion for loss’s in the US, and had this to say as well:

“That’s a crazy amount of money; more money than Bill Gates has (with $72 billion) or Warren Buffett (with $58 billion), and only $11 billion less than the two men put together.

What intrigues me is the question of why so many people gamble. After all, everyone knows that the odds are stacked against gamblers, whether they’re betting on slot machines, horse racing, football, roulette, bingo, or lotteries. Even the games where it is possible for a highly skilled player to consistently make money — blackjack and poker — are big losers for the vast majority of players. And why do some players — problem gamblers, around 1.8 percent of the population— end up losing vast amounts of money, going into debt, and sometimes even losing their families and homes.” . . .   Now for me this is not a shock, why? Because some of negative consequences happened to me within my gambling addiction.

Now let me share what I found for our friends in the UK.  And this is the only concrete info I could find for our UK friends:

“UK Gamblers wagered a staggering £46billion on betting terminals last year – nearly 50 per cent up in four years.

Dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of the high street, the machines allow punters to lose up to £100 every 20 seconds. They have been linked to the laundering of drugs money and councils are trying to rein them in.

But Gambling Commission figures show that bookmakers raked in profits of £1.55billion”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2517783/Britons-pump-46billion-year-gambling-machines-wagered-rising-nearly-50-years.html#ixzz3u7gKwzhS 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

So there you go. You can see that the USA is not the only country that “has a gambling problem!” .  .  .

 

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Writer and Recovery Advocate of Gambling Addiction.

Product Details
(Click book to purchase on Amazon now)

 

“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..

 

Weekend ReBlog From My Good Pal Maggie Of Blog “Sober Courage”~Weekends Can Be Tough!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Friends,

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I wanted to share an awesome recovery blog post of my good friend Maggie over at http://sobercourage.com/2014/07/11/100-fun-things-to-do/ Courtesy of “Sober Courage”…..

Now I know I could just use the ‘Reblog’ function, but I wanted to copy it and share the whole post here on my blog. WHY?
Well,….she has 100 fun things, but I think she has only made it to 50 Fun Things! So, I thought we could help her out a little by going to her or my comments and ADD more of what you all do for fun on Friday, or the whole weekend to have LIFE BALANCE in recovery!

Because we all know how the weekends can be when you’re in early recovery. We need to learn, or re-visit those past hobbies and fun things we did before addiction came and stole them all away. So here is the recovery Re-blog.  Her we go!
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Happy Sober Friday!

 fun

 

Friday Night Pep-Talk: 100 Fun Things To Do Sober
Posted by Maggie Shores on July 11, 2014

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There is always the worry when quitting drinking, that once you do, your life will become horribly boring! I have to be honest here, and say that in the beginning, life will definitely feel a bit boring. After all, we were used to doing everything while drinking, so it is no coincidence that we tend to associated all the fun activities with drinking too. Then we take away the drinking, and all of a sudden it seems that the fun is all gone too!

But, OK, let’s be honest here again, where those activities actually fun!? Maybe the first few hours, right? But if you drank anything like me, eventually you would find yourself falling down drunk and in a blackout, and have no recollection of any of this great fun the next day. Ugh. I don’t miss those days!

Having fun in sobriety can be a whole new learning process. Like a toddler learning how to walk, being sober means re-learning everything we thought we once knew how to do only while drinking.  So start with a few things and keep trying something every week. The greatest part of this process is that you may find some new things that are actually really fun to do sober! You can start right now!

I am building a list of 100 fun activities that we can do instead of drink, and I am hoping that you all will pitch in with suggestions so we can make it to 100!! So, please leave your fun ideas in the comments section, and I will be updating this list throughout the day!

Lets fill it up!

  1. Start a free blog at WordPress.
  2. Bake cupcakes or a cake, and decorate. There are many ideas at Bake Decorate Celebrate
  3. Visit a museum, or a historical landmark.
  4. Go to a spa and get pampered.
  5. Make a tie dye t-shirt. Check out these ideas here: Spoonful.com
  6. Explore a city or a town close by, if you are on the east coast, Annapolis, MD is awesome!
  7. Find things to donate to Goodwill.
  8. Go to the local hardware store (Home Depot) – I am telling you, it’s an amazing place really!
  9. Make a pop-up greeting card (YouTube).
  10. Read the dictionary – you’d be surprised what great words you can find.
  11. Make Fruit Leather – aka Fruit Roll- up – see this easy recipe at Simply Recipeskevin
  12. Watch an old “feel good” movie. – My favorite: Singles!
  13. Join  Photo a Day Challenge – Check out this prompt for the day at Fat Mum Slim
  14. Rearrange the furniture in your house.
  15. Learn about something at About.com.
  16. Try on ALL the clothes in your closet.
  17. Start a garden – Here is a how to at BHG.
  18. Pamper yourself with a facial.
  19. Redecorate your bedroom.
  20. Go to the zoo, or find a petting zoo.
  21. Check out In The Rooms www.intherooms.com, a great recovery community.
  22. Learn how to make something at wikiHow.
  23. Get lost on Pinterest.
  24. Meditate! There are many ways to do this and you don’t have to be an expert either.
    Check the How to Meditate site.
  25. See a movie at the drive-in! Oh this is definitely on my list to do!
  26. Bring a blanket and lie on the grass at an outdoor concert.
  27. Make homemade ice cream, there are many great recipes at AllRecipes.com.
  28. Take a fitness class, martial arts, rock climbing, yoga. Sometimes first time classes are free or discounted.
  29. You want to chat? Click the Google + button at the bottom, or MagzShores on Twitter,
    or email: sobercourage@gmail.com.
  30. Take an art class at the local community center.
  31. Research your ancestor at Ancestry.com, they have a 14 day free trail.
  32. Create a Photo Book of your greatest memories, or a recent vacation. See Shutterfly
  33. Learn origami with this tutorial. You don’t have to be Japanese to be good at it.
  34. Design your dream room or make 3D structures on Sketchup!
    The program is completely free!
  35. Take a class to learn how to play a musical instrument.luminosity
  36. Sell your stuff online, you can use eBay, CraigsList and now even on Amazon!
  37. Pick something you love, and then make a website on it! Get started at Webs.
  38. Get a pedicure or a manicure, they are fairly inexpensive and make you feel well pampered.
  39. Listen to your old CDs; I have boxes of those!
  40. Make a wiki page at WikiPedia.
  41. Take some fun quizzes. Are you left brained or right brained? Take the test out Here.
  42. Take up fabric crafts. Knitting, sewing, and
    crochet are fun to do.
  43. Play some fun mind games and sharpen your mind at Luminosity. com.
  44. Do crossword puzzles. You can find free kakuro puzzles at Kakuro.com
    and free Sodoku puzzles at Livewire Puzzles.
  45. Design your own T-Shirts! www.cafepress.com
  46. ___________

What do you do for fun?

*OK Recovery Friends,…. Can you add any others to this Fabulous List of Maggie’s? Lets see if we can. If you have some not listed you can add in comments or email Maggie above. Lets make her proud! Happy Weekend Recovery Friends*…
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Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author Of  “Addicted To Dimes”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

“Join Me Please For Addiction & Recovery Day Of Prayer” July 1st And Everyday…

Welcome Recovery Friends, Seeker’s, And New Visitors,

 

Please join in a day of  “Prayer For Those In Recovery” and those who struggle from Gambling, Drug, Alcohol, Porn, Sex, Food, and All Addictions on July 1st 1024, and everyday….

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Guideposts   http://www.guideposts.org/ourprayer/prayer-events/dop/2473295/pr?utm_source=DOP_Addiction_062914_1&utm_medium=Email
(Courtesy Of OurPrayer.org )

*Serenity Prayer*
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God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
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*The Complete Serenity Prayer*
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God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.
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For so many people in desperate situations — seeking peace, strength, and wisdom — those simple words, whispered to a “God as they understand him,” have seen them through the darkest hours.
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They have come to believe that those qualities can come only from a power greater than themselves. And because they believe, they find the serenity, courage and wisdom they seek from somewhere outside themselves to face another situation, another step, and another day. Although literally millions of people — in and out of the recovery community — have been helped and strengthened by those few lines.
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*I know it saved my life from Gambling Addiction & Alcohol*….

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God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author Of Addicted To Dimes
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

 

 

“Having A Tough Time In Recovery? Well just “Wiggle Your Butt” And “JUST BRING IT”!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

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Todays recovery message is to “Just Get Your Wiggle Butt” in gear and don’t be afraid to dig in and do the work needed to start, stay, and have a CATTASTIC RECOVERY LIFE!!
Many know I am a cat lover, and sadly when we had to relocate from beautiful So. Oregon to hot, dusty Arizona, I had to leave my 2 kids, ( Kitty Cats) Buttons & Callie behind with a good friend of ours until will get back to Oregon. My hubby works for a large grocery store chain and is starting meat-cutters school for them soon. The closest training school was here in Arizona, or the ones back East, and I wasn’t going there! No Way!…LOL.

So for my recovery journey here in Arizona has been an interesting change. I was blessed to have a good friend of mine, and fellow author herself, Marilyn Lancelot, who is my Sponsor while here in Arizona. HHHMMMMM….I wonder if she knows that?…LOL.

She is an awesome woman with long-term recovery from compulsive addicted gambling and alcohol like myself. But it really doesn’t matter how long you have in recovery, as addicted gamblers, we know we are only “ONE BET AWAY” from destruction! So you need to have a good sponsor in your life, good supportive people too. But mostly today, I wanted to give you all some “Support & Encouragement” in your recovery. Yes, it can be tough & hard to get the REAL work started in recovery. Many who are new may not know, or feel where they should start.
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The best thing to get started is to make meetings. No matter what addiction your needing help recovering from, there are many supportive meetings you can make in person, or even on the phone, and your computer! I attend “Gamblers Anonymous” in person, but mostly on-line, thanks to my mental & emotional disorders I suffer. There are many different places you can go for all types of addiction help.
One is called; “In The Rooms ~ A Global Recovery Community” http://www.intherooms.com/

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Another good place for addicted gamblers is, Gamblers Anonymous, http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/
There are website meetings to for Drug & Alcohol recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.aa.org/
For Drug Abuse.  http://www.na.org/  You can also find information, articles, and free treatment help here at My Addiction, http://www.myaddiction.com/   and their sister support site for help is; Support Groups, http://www.supportgroups.com/
So go explore and see if these can help get you going. They all are awesome communities.

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So always remember when you “Believe In A Power Greater Than Yourself In Recovery,” anything is possible!
When we do the work needed in our recovery, we all can be like “DAVID” and face down those triggers, urges, and “Nah-Sayers” who try to keep *Stigma* alive. As each one of us “Succeed In Our Recovery” and  take our life back? That’s another chip off the “Ole Stigma” rock! Find your recovery “courage” and take back your LIFE! As my favorite WWE Wrestler
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says, “JUST BRING IT”! ( Yes I love wrestling! )
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.Ooooo La La BABY!

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Always asked, “What’s the key to success?”

The key is, there is no key.

Be humble, hungry and always be the hardest worker in the room.

Always asked, "Whats the key to success?"

The key is, there is no key. 

Be humble, hungry and always be the hardest worker in the room.
>
THAT’S RECOVERY!
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God Bless All,
Author, Cat Townsend-Lyon 🙂

“It’s Time To Talk About It! Join Our Talk About Addiction & Recovery On Twitter”

Hello Recovery Friends, Seeker’s, and Welcome New Friends!

Just a reminder and this months #ADDICTIONCHAT SCHEDULE for MARCH is here!
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EVERYONE is WELCOME to come join me and many recovery friends, professionals, addiction specialists, for TWEETCHAT every WENSDAY NIGHT on TWITTER. It is an hour-long Q & A discussion about all types of addictions and recovery topics. Even if your NOT in recovery or have any addiction, it’s open to all who want to understand what addiction is all about and how it is effecting their “Communities”! We try to “Raise Awareness, Inform, Educate, and Share.”

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The times are as follows: 9pm ET,  6pm PT  and all you do to join in is go to http://www.tweetchat.com/Addictionchat  SIGN IN and your ready to go! It’s that easy. It’s a live stream. In the EVENT Live stream  is down, then just go to  (#hashtag)  #Addictionchat, click “All” and you’ll see everyone there. SO I HOPE you will come join the conversation, because it is time to “Talk About Addictions & Recovery”! That’s how *STIGMA* is shattered!
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God Bless Everyone!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 🙂
http://www.gofundme.com/5zeqjo Come Support my Recovery!

“My Name Is Catherine And I’m A Recovering Gambling Addict”~March Is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month!


Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

Many ask me about how I have reached seven years in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling?
This is some of what I had to do to “Recover”…
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When I entered treatment for gambling and alcohol for the first time in 2000, I was considered as having “duel addictions” and was able to recover from the drinking pretty easily as I found it was the “gambling addiction” that was my true “Demon.”
Yes, it did take me a few tries with a few relapses, and as I began a stable recovery I had some pretty heavy “consequences” to take accountability and ownership for first. My recovery date is Jan 29th 2007. That was a day I was “sentenced in court” by a Judge in Civil Court for crimes I committed all for the love of my gambling addiction. I’ll never forget that day, and the 28th was the last time I gambled or placed a bet! This date will always remind me to “Never Again Get Complacent” in recovery!

See, I don’t come from a family history of gamblers, and “Gamblers Anonymous” teaches us that many recover without knowing “WHY” they got addicted in the first place. There is some truth to that as I’m not sure when I crossed that line into uncontrolled addicted gambling, but I do know why. I started using my addiction to, “hide, escape, numb out, and to not FEEL some “old past hurt, pains and traumatic” events that happened to me as a little girl.
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Past feelings of sex abuse, parental physical and verbal abuse, that I never knew how to process when I got to adulthood. My parents taught us kids that we “DON’T TALK” about these things, nor DARE SHARE them with anyone outside our home. It was just the way they were raised, and how things were back in the day. So of course I stuffed all that garbage deep down in some dark space of my soul. But, in my 30’s it came back, and I had NO IDEA what to do with them. So, I gambled. And I gambled until the slow progression of this disease had spread throughout my mind, body, and spirit. A once funny, beautiful, vibrant woman turned into a person I began to HATE & became UGLY!
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group with winning player getting his chips Stock Photo - 10673494
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So when you finally reach out for help, the very FIRST step is to truly admit to yourself and to another that you are “Powerless” over your gambling. That really is the biggest battle you face. Once you can admit that to yourself, open your heart and mind to the fact YOU don’t control your gambling, that GAMBLING is controlling YOU, then you can start a “Happy, Healthy, and Balanced” recovery. Now that seems easy, but it’s not. Many and myself think that once we admit we are addicted or problem gamblers, that will be able to recover quickly. OH BOY are you gong to be in for a rude awakening. However, I took it to heart from “Gamblers Anonymous” to make 30 meetings in 30 days, and that’s what I did to get going!
I also entered an out-patient gambling treatment program that offered free help paid for by our State (Oregon) lottery. Isn’t that ironic? I began a group treatment meeting every Wen night, and one-on-one therapy with a councilor twice a week. And I can tell you it was hard, and yes I did have some Binges and Relapses that almost cost me my life. No one is perfect, and I’m STILL a “Work in Progress” even with 7 years of recovery.
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But after my crimes, arrest, and court hearings, I had to stop my treatment program because the victim I stole from was also in the same group, and I had a “No Contact Order” so I was the one to have to quit. I had to find other ways to help stay in recovery. I did however get refered to a man who was a addictions specialist and Crisis worker, and it was because I tried to commit SUICIDE 2 times while all this madness was happening to me. My court sentence was 30 days jail, many, many hours of community service, 18 months probation, and a lot of restitution to pay. I got through it with the help of my new councilor. I continued going to Gamblers Anonymous, just in a different city, and my therapy. The best thing I learned from therapy was breaking down the “Cycle” of addiction and how to use the skills I learned to stop and interrupt the cycle. See winning is just as bad as loosing when your gambling as BOTH will keep you in the addiction. Loosing keeps you out chasing your loss’s, and winning makes you think you will WIN every time you gamble which keeps you in the cycle as well.
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Here are a few things I do to stay in recovery…..
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1.) A Phone List: It’s a list of trusted people to call if you get triggered or have urges to gamble. You call someone before you relapse. Almost all times they can talk you through them and STOP you from gambling. This was really helpful when I had to travel alone too. I had friends who I’d stay with and I had to be there at a certain time or they start calling me, like on long driving trips from So. Oregon to So. Calif.
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2.) Phone check in’s with your “recovery sponsor” every other day in the first 3 months of your recovery. Most people relapse within the first 90 days out of treatment. Make MEETINGS! Fill your empty time with healthy hobbies, and start journaling! It’s a life saver. You have to start FEELING as gamblers learn to “escape, hide or numb out” when they gambled.
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3.) When you first start recovery, you really need to make 30 meetings in 30 days. This will help you be with others who know what you’re going through. Many people don’t understand the addicted compulsive gamblers DO GO through a “DETOX & Grieving” process just like drug or alcohol users do. This is ONE of the biggest “Myths” of addicted gambling. Others don’t think we do.
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4.) FIND and MAKE a list of good Support websites to aid your recovery. I know how many people struggle with Mental illness and disorders who have had addictions, hell, a couple of my disorders I suffer were direct effects of over using the chemical and nerves in my brain, besides having Bipolar with manic depression. Having a wide range of sites for help and support is wise. The very TOP one should be “Gamblers Anonymous”  http://www.gamblersanonymous.org  they have on-line meetings, people you can talk to, and much information about addicted gambling.
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5.) Another good website and good folks I have partnered up with for March is: http://www.ncpgambling.org  as
MARCH is “Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” I have pledged to blog about “Compulsive Addicted Gambling” only on my recovery blog the whole month!
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While your here, please check out my “Recovery Resources Pages” as I try to add and keep updated with all the helpful websites and blog I come across. Another really good Supportive site where other addicted gamblers go in recovery or not is “Safe Harbor Compulsive Gambling Hub” http://www.sfcghub.com
Here you’ll find a Gamblers Posting Board, 24/7 Live chat to be with like-minded and supportive people, and a great Recovery Resources Room that has MANY websites to have for FREE treatment, therapy, recovery books of fiction and non-fiction, and more!

These are just a few things one should try to do when starting their recovery journey. There is “NO SHAME” in admitting you may need help to stop gambling. Was it hard work for me? YES,….but when I started to “Believe in a Power Greater Than Myself” is when I truly began to make it 7 years in recovery. I always tell those who I sponsor that are new to recovery, that Recovery & Addiction only have ONE THING IN COMMEN,…….They are BOTH SELFISH!
We were so selfish within our addiction, destroying our selves and hurting those around us. And we have to BE selfish and put ourselves FIRST in recovery in order to have a “Successful Recovery.”

I truly hope if you or someone YOU care for maybe a problem gambler, that you will share this with them! I’ll be here all month long sharing all about this disease, illness, and REAL ADDICTION….
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GOD BLESS Everyone,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

How do I know If Gambling Is a Problem For Me?

**I really do get asked a lot by many who ask me how I knew I had a Problem with my Gambling. Well, first, I think we all seem to get a *Little Red Flag* when we know maybe we spent to much time at the casino, or playing a Video Poker/Slot Lottery machine, or it might feel that you REALLY spent a bit more $$$$ then you planned. So here is a GREAT Resource to check and see if you are gambling or indulging to much!

For me, when I went to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting, it was the first piece of paper that was put in my hand, along with the Little Yellow Combo Book! Hope it helps!

 

20 Questions of Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org

Are you a compulsive gambler?

Answer all 20 questions below and view our comments based on your answers.


1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to    gambling? Yes No
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy? Yes No
3. Did gambling affect your reputation? Yes No
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling? Yes No
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts    or otherwise solve financial difficulties? Yes No
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or    efficiency? Yes No
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as    possible and win back your losses? Yes No
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win    more? Yes No
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? Yes No
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? Yes No
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? Yes No
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal    expenditures? Yes No
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of  yourself    or your family? Yes No
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? Yes No
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness? Yes No
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an    illegal act to finance gambling? Yes No
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? Yes No
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create    within you an urge to gamble? Yes No
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by    a few hours of gambling? Yes No
20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a    result of your gambling? Yes No

You answered Yes to 0 questions

Most compulsive gamblers will answer  ‘Yes’ to at least 7 of   these questions.

If you feel you might be a compulsive gambler, have a gambling problem or have a desire to stop gambling, you can speak to someone right now by clicking here

Or click this link to find a Gamblers Anonymous meeting close to where you are.

*WHAT Addicted Gambling Looks Like Through The Eyes of Another*

**I happen to come across this post that was left on a website I post some of my Recovery Blog posts to, and it broke my *HEART*…….I could FEEL the Pain, Hurt, and Sadness in the writers words. I right away thought of my own Husband, of whom I hurt so badly when I was still active in my own gambling addiction!

So, I thought I’d share this so many can get a different take on this addiction, other then my own was as the Addicted Person. I did post an answer to this person, and gave them some good websites for them to take a look out for additional help and support for her father.****

“The Cruelest Lies Are Often Told In Silence” By: Robert Louis Stevenson

so my dad just admitted that he has a serious gambling problem… (self.problemgambling)

I hope it’s okay for me to post here just to see if anyone has any words of wisdom.  Maybe some other problem gamblers can help me see it from that perspective.  Anyway, my dad just admitted to this compulsion/addiction?/problem…

And now I can’t really believe how long I allowed myself to not see the truth.  My dad is 65 and I’m 36.  I haven’t lived at home since I was 18, which is about the same time gambling became legal in my home state and also the same time my dad started gambling.

He retired from a pretty good job about 10 years ago in his mid-50s.  He got a lump-sum payout at that time – hundreds of thousands of dollars. This was supposed to be my parents’ retirement fund.   Five years later, it was all gone.  But he said that he lost it when the stock market crashed about that time, and I believed him. 

So he went back to work.  Long story short, he stole money from his employer and eventually was convicted of a felony.  He did not serve any jail time and was put on probation.  He told me this was all a big misunderstanding and I BELIEVED HIM. 

My parents were out of money and their house (which should have been paid off by this time) was mortgaged to the tune of 350,00 dollars.  They were able to sell it for just over this amount.  Meanwhile, my husband and I had a home in the neighboring state that we could not sell (though I had gotten a job in a faraway state).   My parents moved into my house about a year ago.  They told me they “couldn’t” sign a lease or set up a direct deposit of their rent into my checking account because they wanted to maintain residency in their home state for the purposes of bankruptcy AND I BELIEVED THEM. 

About a week ago I got a call from my mother.  She had given my dad a huge check (thousands of dollars) to mail to me to pre-pay their rent, so that when they file for bankruptcy it would look like they had less money than they actually do.  (I did not know to expect this check).  Instead, he took it and spent it at one of the casinos (there are about 5 pretty near to my house/where they live now). 

When I type this all out I feel very, very foolish for not having recognized earlier that my dad had a problem with gambling.  I knew he went to the slot machines a lot back when my parents had money, but I thought they had stopped years ago.  Now I learn that he’s been going recently – and, what seems even crazier to me, my mother actually took him a few times! 

My dad seems pretty committed to recovery right now – he’s going to as many Gamblers Anonymous meetings as are available in his area (a lot, since there are so many casinos around).  I feel very relieved to know he is at least being honest. 

I am (and I understand this is irrational) right now more upset with my mom than my dad.  I feel like my dad has at least admitted he has a problem and is seeking help.  On the other hand, my mom seems to be unwilling to be honest with herself or me.  She went gambling with my dad  A LOT, and she played along with a series of lies they told me for years and years, including about financial matters that directly impact me (since they are renting my house from me and my husband).  Now she says that she feels my father has “abused” her.  But she played a role too! 

On the other hand I recognize that my perception of all this is a bit skewed right now.  It really doesn’t make any more sense for me to react with blame to my mom than toward my dad.  Maybe I actually blame myself for a lot, even though that also doesn’t make any sense.  Looking back I see that I wanted so BADLY to have the happy family that I thought I was visiting every few months, that I kept bailing my parents out and also refusing to see the truth. 

Thank you for allowing me to post this and I am sorry it is so long. I would like to go to a Gam Anon meeting but the nearest one is almost two hours away.  Still, maybe I can go pretty soon.  For now it’s just a relief to post this so some random internet people can read it! 

TLDR: My dad is addicted to gambling.  He squandered my parents’ life savings, stole from his employer and family members, and has put my finances at risk.  This went on for years but he just admitted it and now I am simultaneously relieved to hear the truth but frustrated with myself and my mom for not admitting it to ourselves earlier.