Honoring Our Veterans & The Brave Story of Problem Gambling, a New Beginning In Recovery. Courtesy of NorthStar Alliance.

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Courtesy of NorthStar Alliance, MN

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

May 24, 2021 | PROBLEM GAMBLING


I’m a veteran of the navy and in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud.

After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine.

It’s hard to replicate the adrenalin rush that one gets working in the military. For me, nothing can match the sense of doing something dangerous, and doing something dangerous for a purpose.

In my role with the Navy, I was among the boots on the ground in the Middle East. I saw the effects of war and came home with a darkness inside me that so many other veterans have experienced.

After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine. Of course there is no substitute in civilian life for what I did while with the Navy, but I tried to find it.

The closest I could come was gambling. It offered me some of the same aspects of life in the Navy: adrenalin, something to engage in, and a form of escapism. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to understand the connection and similarity between the highs of gambling and my life in the Navy.

My gambling started in a very casual way. I remember taking a long drive into the mountains when I was based in the Washington, DC, area. I ended up at a casino in West Virginia by complete accident. I enjoyed myself and it was simply fun recreation.

My gambling didn’t really become a problem until I left the Navy in 2006. I started going two to three times a week and it was my only real outlet. It became my social pastime.

I continued to gamble for much of the next ten years. But things really went off the rail in 2016, when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. Rather than wait for the phone to ring to transport passengers from the casino, I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.


Honoring Our Veterans Who Maintain Recovery


At this point, I knew I had a problem. But I wasn’t sure that anything could be done about it, nor did I know how I could actually get help.

Then an unexpected thing happened. While on Instagram, I was viewing photos from an old Navy colleague. I didn’t recognize the buildings in his photos and decided to message him to learn more. He told me they were from Minneapolis. When I asked, “Why Minneapolis?” he explained that he was in Minnesota after getting out of a VA rehab facility in St. Cloud.

When we eventually talked—for the first time in about 10 years—it all started making sense. I knew him personally and knew about his dangerous streak, so hearing that he was in rehab made sense. I also saw many parallels to my story. I asked him questions about the process and then obtained the link for the VA facility that could help me.

As soon as I got off the phone, I started packing my car. I drove three days to make it to St. Cloud from the west coast. I didn’t even call ahead of time and walked right to the urgent care desk and said, “I need help.” I was feeling suicidal and couldn’t take no for an answer.

When I got to St. Cloud, I told the doctor that in addition to a problem with drug and alcohol addiction I also had a gambling problem. I was placed in a residential treatment program on July 14 with a dual addiction diagnosis and stayed for 60 days. Until then, I didn’t know that treatment programs like this existed.

A part of the program involved cognitive behavioral therapy. During these sessions, I gained a better understanding of how my actions were related to the trauma I suffered in the Navy and how the things I did were efforts to try to deal with that trauma. When you get into a program like this, you see the bigger picture. More importantly, you see that this addiction can be managed and that it can be cured.

I’m trying to start anew in a place where I have no routine connected with gambling and where there is no casino in town. I’m living in the House of Charity in Minneapolis and am following through with my aftercare, including meeting with a therapist to keep me on my path.

. . . when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. . . I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.

I’m in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud, something that would require a certification program. From past experience, I realize that I have to feel fulfilled in my occupation or it won’t work.

I’m prepared for this to be a long, slow process. But that’s OK. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I realize how important it was for me to get there.



OUR RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT on NORTHSTAR ALLIANCE

Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance


Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. NPGA is a coalition of individuals and organizations sharing the belief that problem gambling is a serious public health problem that is both treatable and preventable.

NPGA works to raise public awareness about problem gambling and the stigma that’s often associated with it. We advocate for funding for treatment programs and provide professional training for those who work with problem gamblers. The collective impact of our efforts helps individuals, their families and their communities deal with the devastating effects of problem gambling.

As a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, NPGA is funded by membership fees, financial and in-kind donations, and state and private grants. A considerable portion of our funding comes from the state of Minnesota and from major corporate sponsorships from the Minnesota Lottery, Canterbury Park, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

To learn more or to arrange a visit, contact NPGA Executive Director Susan Sheridan Tucker or call (612) 424-8695.

GAMBLING TOLL-FREE HOTLINE: National Problem Gambling Helpline on 1-800-522-4700


Free Vintage Post Cards for Memorial and Veterans Day | Patriotic pictures,  Patriotic images, Memorial day
Wishing You All A Happy Memorial Day
~Catherine Lyon, Advocate


Day 4 on Recovery Holiday Watch and a Special Guest Article By Cyler H. I am Dually Diagnosed While Maintaining Recovery . . .

Day 4 on Recovery Holiday Watch and a Special Guest Article By Cyler H. I am Dually Diagnosed While Maintaining Recovery . . .

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**MENTAL HEALTH TIPS and ADVICE TO KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK THROUGH THE HOLIDAY’S **
By Cyler H.

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The holidays are upon us, and even though this time of the year can be filled with the greatest of joys, it can also be a time that inevitably hurts your health. Along with extra time spent with loved ones, holiday feasts, and vacation, the holiday season can bring up some unwanted emotions. Holidays filled with entertaining, shopping, and social gatherings; stress and depression can be easily triggered.

But the holidays don’t have to get the better of you. In fact, there are practical ways to keep in touch with your mental health and control the stress of this busy time. Here are some tips to help you check in with your mental state and hopefully help you enjoy this time of the year once more.

Think on Your Feelings

Sadness can happen at any time of the year, but during the holidays the feelings of sadness and grief can become exponentially heightened. If you’ve recently lost a loved one or simply can’t be with family and friends during this time, know that these painful feelings are normal. It’s perfectly healthy to think about these feelings, giving yourself a moment to express them however you need. Don’t try and force yourself to be joyful just because it’s expected.

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Stay Consistent With Healthy Habits

During the holidays, it can be easy to fall away from the healthy habits you’ve worked hard to keep. It’s okay to indulge in holiday activities and festivities, but sometimes overindulgence can lead to unnecessary guilt and added stress. When you feel like your enjoyment of something is becoming a loss of control, recognize that these feelings and examine your habits and surroundings.

Remember that you’ve changed those habits before for a good reason, and keeping consistent with them is the only fair thing to do for yourself. Feel like you’re struggling to stay consistent with your healthy habits?

Remember to sleep.
Keeping up with a healthy sleeping schedule can be a challenge, but remind yourself that plenty of sleep is necessary to settle your mind and mentally recharge for the next day. If you’re losing sleep, assess why and try to make sleep a priority in the future.

Eat balanced meals.
This time of the year is filled with sweet treats, drinks, and heavy foods. Just because you’re full of a heavy meal doesn’t mean your consuming healthy meals. Try your best to balance typical holiday treats with traditionally healthy food.

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Loved One Depression 2

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Seek Out the Help of a Professional

Despite doing as much as you possibly can to relieve yourself of negative emotions and patterns, your feelings of depression, anxiety? Even anger or old resentments can still seep into your days. If you’re unable to sleep, are feeling hopeless, and unable to face family and friends, it may be time to seek professional help.

Don’t wait to seek help until after the holidays when the stress has lessened. There is no better time than now to get the most out of your time with a medical professional.

Speak to someone, be heard, and be ready to make important life changes. There is no shame in doing so and don’t let stigma get in the of reaching out for professional help so you can have the joyous holiday season you deserve . . .
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

My Guest is Gambling Prevention & Advocacy Blog and My Friends ‘Know the Odds’ With a New Year Message …

My Guest is Gambling Prevention & Advocacy Blog and My Friends ‘Know the Odds’ With a New Year Message …

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,


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STELIANOS CANALLATOS ~ Prevention Specialist


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Meet my dear friend Stelianos who runs the very helpful resources blog called “KNOW The ODDS” and we have been connected and meet some years ago on Twitter and I have been a huge supporter ever since! He is as passionate as I am to bring Problem Gambling and Addicted Gambling out of the shadows and start the conversation about this disease that is now touching 2.6% of our population currently.

I wanted to share an informative post that speaks to those who are being touched gambling and the negative impact it also having now on our teens and college-age young adults too. So it’s time to UNSILENCE a Silent Addiction in 2019 and Talk About It!

Never be ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help from this disease. There is help and hope, you are not alone, and treatment options are beginning to increase and many are confidential …

So let’s read more about this in this guest article share by “Know The Odds” …  ~Advocate/Author, Catherine Lyon

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A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: HELP FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING 

A New Year’s resolution to get help for problem gambling is a great way to start the year and a new chapter in your life.

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Problems from Gambling 

Problems from gambling can feel overwhelming.  These problems extend far beyond the weekly struggle with income.  Some problems from gambling can include:

  • Financial debt;
  • Struggles in a marriage;
  • Difficulty managing positive relationships with children;
  • Anxiety about seeing loved ones.

It’s important to know that you are not alone. You are not the only one holding onto gambling debt, not the only one struggling with feelings like frustration and sadness due to gambling, and not the only one who may need additional help.  Plus, the good news is that help is quickly becoming more available.

Why A Resolution To Seek Help? 

Getting help for your problem gambling can only make your life better.  Below are some great reasons to follow your New Years resolution to get help for problem gambling.

Relationships: Many people who struggle with gambling find that they also have problems in many of their relationships. They may have struggles in their marriage. They may find difficulty in their relationships with their children or feel anxiety when seeing loved ones.  There are ways to learn how to manage your emotions and learn the steps necessary to rebuild all these important relationships.

Finances: Getting help with finances might be another reason why help is so important. Many people struggling with problem gambling find themselves in a large amount of debt. That debt can feel overwhelming, and just the thought of it could feed that feeling.  There are many professionals that are ready to help you take the steps necessary to get your financial health back on a positive path.

Employment: Many people struggling with problem gambling have problems with their employment. Whether they’ve lost employment due to problems with gambling or just found that they are struggling with their performance at their job, there is help available. By seeking support in your recovery from problem gambling, you can learn how to improve your job experience while also learning to manage your life in recovery from problem gambling.

The path to a life free of problems from gambling may be difficult, but there is help to make that path easier.  Help can include treatment from a trained clinician, support from peers through a fellowship organization like Gamblers Anonymous, or inpatient treatment for those that need to take a break to get their life back on track.

Steps to Getting Help for Problem Gambling


Step 1:
 Realizing that gambling may be causing problems in your life.  There is a list of warning signs of problem gambling, which can help you identify if your gambling behaviors are causing problems in your life.  If it seems like gambling is causing problems, it may be time to reach out for help.


Step 2:
 Reaching out for help is getting easier than ever.  With Problem Gambling Resource Centers opening across the state, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the best professional assistance for those struggling with problem gambling available.  To reach your local PGRC, visit …

We wish you the best of luck on your resolution of recovery from problem gambling.  Hopefully, the New Year will be a new chapter in your life full of hope and happiness.  Happy New Year!

 

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

Welcome Recovery Friends …

Our Guest Article Today is courtesy of the fine folks of Southern Region Problem Gambling Conference and The National Council on Problem Gambling … They both put on conferences about Problem Gambling that are informative for many State Councils like Georgia, North Carolina, and all over the US to spread information and awareness about the negative impacts problem gambling has in all our States and Communities …

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Suffering in Silence: Suicide and Problem Gambling

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“With high profile deaths such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the issue of suicide and the stigma surrounding mental health have remained the center of many conversations throughout the United States and abroad. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that from 1999-2016, suicide rates have steadily increased throughout the United States.

In the states like Florida, suicide rates have risen approximately six to eighteen percent (6-18%).

How does this affect the field of problem gambling?”

 


Prevalence of Suicide Among Problem Gamblers

Problem gambling, known as the “Hidden Addiction,” gets its nickname due to the fact that many symptoms do not present themselves physically as is the case in substance addictions. This means that many individuals suffering from Gambling Disorder often do so alone, potentially increasing feelings of isolation and depleting self-worth.

According to the FCCG’s Annual HelpLine report, twenty-six percent (26%) of 888-ADMIT-IT callers reported having suicidal ideation. Additionally, sixty-six percent (66%) of callers reported having depression, and seventy-two percent (72%) revealed they are struggling with anxiety. It is important to continue to recognize this population of problem gamblers and increase efforts of prevention and treatment.

Although we are unable to pinpoint the exact reason for such a strong connection between suicidal ideation and Gambling Disorder, it is possible that finances play a role. Research indicates that historically, suicide rates have been higher during economic downturns.

What Can We Do?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of suicide victims are not diagnosed with some form of mental illness or disorder until after their death. It is believed that approximately ninety percent (90%) of individuals who take their own lives were living with an undiagnosed mental illness, illustrating the need to destigmatize mental health in the United States. Continuing to have conversations with friends and family regarding mental health is the first step to ensure fewer people suffer in silence but don’t stop there.

( To interject here, this happened to me after my first failed suicide attempt in 2002. While in the addiction and mental health crisis center, and once I became stable, both my primary doctor and the centers’ psychiatrist and after a full evaluation, I was suffering from severe depression, high mania, and anxiety, and PTSD and went undiagnosed until my gambling addiction brought the symptoms to the surface through my addiction. I was using gambling to escape the trauma and sexual abuse I went through as a little girl and had tried to stuff it away for years.)

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

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“Currently and just had a rise from 1% and now 2.6% of our population are problem gamblers.”

Gambling can be found everywhere from physical casinos to a multitude of online websites and apps. It is easier than ever to gamble in the privacy of home or on the go with a smartphone. It’s easy to place bets with PayPal, credit cards, bitcoin, or money-transfer apps. All of this ease has led to an increase in gambling addiction across the world.

Problem gambling can become a compulsive behavior and gambling can be emotionally addictive. Addictions to behaviors (as opposed to addictive substances) are known as “process addictions,” and, just like substance addictions, they require supportive treatment. Specialty rehab programs and support groups are available for people who struggle with gambling addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with gambling behavior, you are not alone. One look at the statistics behind gambling addiction reveals that this problem is prevalent…

The North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help and The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that approximately 2.6% of the U.S. population has some type of gambling issue. That adds up to nearly 10 million people in the United States who struggle with a gambling habit. This issue adds up to approximately 6 billion dollars each year, which impacts the U.S. economy and citizens.

Gambling costs American taxpayers. Public funding for problem gambling went up to $73 million in 2016, but despite those costs, gambling remains regulated by each state and is not federally regulated. Ten states (and the District of Columbia) do not offer any publicly funded gambling assistance. These funding discrepancies mean that public treatment services can vary widely from state-to-state, and the level of care in publicly funded programs also varies greatly.

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The U.S. federal government has largely left gambling regulations up to each state, which means that gambling may be illegal where you live, or it may be advertised on every street corner, as it is in places like Las Vegas, Nevada. The result is a patchwork of awareness campaigns and treatment programs that vary widely in their responsiveness.

States that discourage or prohibit gambling tend to not offer awareness campaigns, and as a result, people who gamble through their phones or computers may be missing information about the dangers of gambling. Awareness of the problem is key to making changes for the better.

Gambling doesn’t only devastate individuals; it is a family issue. Because this particular problem directly impacts family and personal finances, family members who have gambling problems often hide their issue and feel a great deal of shame and secrecy. In severe cases, the problem may go undetected until finances become a major issue. Gambling can destroy relationships, but it is possible to rebuild trust and rebuild finances. No gambling problem has to be permanent.

Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders offers specialized treatment for problem gamblers. A co-occurring disorder happens when someone suffers from more than one problem, such as gambling and anxiety, or gambling and depression … Help is available.

Please Visit or Call Today …

NATIONAL PROBLEM GAMBLING HELPLINE

1-800-522-4700

The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. The network consists of 28 call centers which provide resources and referrals for all 50 states, Canada and the US Virgin Islands.  Help is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential.

The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network also includes text and chat services. These features enable those who are gambling online or on their mobile phone to access help the same way they play. One call, text or chat will get you to problem gambling help anywhere in the U.S. 24/7/365.

Help is also available via an online peer support forum at www.gamtalk.org.


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National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

“I am a woman maintaining recovery from addictions and I am dually diagnosed with mental and emotional health challenges. My gambling addiction is what finally brought out my mental health symptoms to the point of trying suicide…TWICE.”

And I have not talked about it much. That comes from stigma. I don’t really want a label attached to me even though stigma is still prevalent among those recovering from addiction, but mental illness still has a long way to go. Of course, we have to have a name for the many forms of mental illnesses, but many times those who suffer become targets and ridiculed. That comes from NO Understanding and Lack of Empathy.

Just my own feelings. It is why I advocate, I try to help educate and inform the public that we who have mental illness are no different from others. We may just have a few more challenges than those who don’t have mental health issues. There has been an alarming rise of those recovering from addictions being diagnosed with some form of mental and emotional problem.

According to this article by my helpful friends of The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The Recovery Village. I treat my mental health just as my medical health. I am well managed, take my meds properly, and don’t use alcohol. I always keep my appointments and live life. I don’t let my challenges hold me back from what I enjoy doing! I do however need to be open and comfortable doing so. Here is a new attempt…Lol. I do hope all who visit find this article informative.  ~Catherine

Mental Illness and Addiction: America’s Struggle to Accept the Connection
Article By Staff at The Recovery Village.

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The United States is knee deep in a polarizing discussion on mental health and the best ways to help people struggling. Another topic Americans continue to wrestle with is how to address drug and alcohol addiction. But is there a relationship between the two issues?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million) in the United States suffer from mental illness each year. Additionally, 20.2 million people in the United States suffer from a substance use disorder and a little more than half of them also have a mental health disorder, known as a co-occurring disorder.

Despite the prevalence of both mental illness and substance use disorder, a cause-and-effect relationship between the two is not universally accepted by many people in the United States.

The Recovery Village, a leader in substance use disorder treatment and mental health, recently conducted a survey that uncovered an overlap between mental health and addiction among the respondents’ answers. This information could help more people accept that there is a link between the two, and acknowledge them as equally important illnesses, helping create a culture that promotes healing and treatment instead of criticism and blame.

What Is Mental Illness?

First, it’s important to define mental illness. Medical experts summarize the disease as any disorder or disorders that cause a person to experience an altered mood, thinking pattern or behavior. According to Medline Plus, mental health disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Mood disorders or personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

From the survey conducted by The Recovery Village, approximately 62 percent of people said they either currently suffer or have suffered from a mental illness in the past. The most common mental health disorder that survey respondents said they suffered from was depression (78.46 percent), with anxiety disorders (70.73 percent) a close second. Mood disorders (37 percent) followed, and multiple respondents included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a write-in answer.

Respondents were allowed to submit multiple answers, as many people suffer from more than one mental illness. The number of respondents who suffer from a mental illness is not the only evidence of the issue’s significance. Nearly 63 percent of survey respondents said they know at least one family member who suffers from a mental health disorder and 54.25 percent said they know a friend who suffers from this disease. Few people surveyed — only 57 out of 400 — said they don’t know anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder, a reason to believe that this issue either directly or indirectly affects a large majority of Americans.

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How to Help Depressed Loved One 2.

Connecting Mental Illness and Addiction

Many people suffering from a mental health disorder resort to drugs or alcohol as a dangerous form of self-medication. Additionally, many doctors prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications to patients with a mental illness, and these drugs can be addictive. While some people misuse substances as a response to mental illness, others developmental health concerns after prolonged drug or alcohol addiction. For example, people who misuse cocaine or other stimulant drugs might experience long-term behavioral changes, including depression or anxiety, as the body functions alter permanently due to the substance’s effects.

How many people suffer from co-occurring disorders? A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 7.9 million adults in 2016 suffered from substance use disorders and mental illnesses. Rates were highest among adults between the ages of 26 and 49. The Journal of the American Medical Association found information that links the two diseases:

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are also affected by substance misuse
  • Around 37 percent of people addicted to alcohol and 53 percent of people addicted to drugs suffer from at least one mental illness

America Still Behind on Accepting the Connection

The survey conducted by The Recovery Village shows an even stronger connection between co-occurring disorders. There is a large overlap between the number of people who have been affected by each disease. Of the 343 people who said they know someone who suffers from a mental health disorder, 303 people (88 percent) said they know at least one person who also has an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both. However, since some people could know multiple people, one with each illness, this information might be open to interpretation.

The survey respondents’ first-hand knowledge and experiences with these two illnesses provide even better evidence of the relationship between mental health disorders and addictions. Around 39 percent of the people surveyed said they have struggled or currently struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, and nearly 35 percent said that they have struggled with both an addiction and mental health disorder.

Out of the 156 people who admitted to struggling with addiction, around 89 percent said they also suffered from, or still struggle with, a mental illness. Yet not as many drew a definitive connection between the two. Only 59 percent of respondents said they believe there is a relationship between mental health disorders and addiction. While that is a majority, the respondents’ beliefs about the potential connection are not reflective of their personal experiences.

Destigmatizing Mental Illness and Addiction

As the United States continues to discuss ways to make mental health treatment more accessible, the conversation of removing the negative stigma remains on the frontlines of discourse. However, a similar negative view of addiction continues to fester in the country, creating a more difficult landscape for people to accept and find treatment for their disorders.

Claire Rudy Foster, a contributor to Huffington Post who is in recovery from addiction, summarized the public’s perception toward substance use disorder: “Never mind that I’ve been sober and in recovery for more than 10 years. That doesn’t matter to the people who don’t know how this disease really works. They expect me to be ashamed of myself. To them, addiction is code for Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, grunge, needles, misery. They assume that I shot up. I must have stolen and lied to pay for my habit. I must be a criminal.

Maybe I am morally infirm as well.” The negative perception about addiction that exists in the United States can often become a roadblock toward lifelong recovery. If people suffering from substance use disorder do not have support from their peers, the healing process becomes more challenging.

Many medical professionals stress that a link exists between mental illness and substance use disorder. Additionally, the survey responses show that a majority of people who have suffered or are suffering from one of these disorders have also experienced the other. Yet only a little more than half of Americans are certain that a connection exists, potentially allowing the negative stigma surrounding addiction to fester within the country.

Increasing awareness and understanding can help create a more positive environment for people seeking recovery from substance use disorders. For those who have an addiction to a harmful substance and also suffer from a mental illness, there are many resources and hotlines available.

Seeking and receiving help from medical experts can make a big difference toward finding peace and living with either or both illnesses.
~The Recovery Village

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September Is National Recovery Month

Mental illness is a growing epidemic in the United States. The disease has affected the mood, thinking, and behavior of millions of people across the country. However, many Americans remain unaware of the widespread existence of mental health problems, and some of those with psychological issues avoid lifesaving treatment.

To reduce mental illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created National Recovery Month. Every September, the organization helps people host events designed to educate the masses about mental illness… So Please Visit and be Educated addiction.

 

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

“We have a choice on HOW we want to recover. And everyone’s experiences can be different.  It is WHY we have the choice, to begin with! But The 12-Step way shouldn’t be the ONLY WAY to recover from any addiction.”

As we find by this new Guest Featured Article Courtesy of The Fix Magazine! ~ AS I Celebrate my 5-Year WordPress Recovery Blog Anniversary!!

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Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us.

Keep up the good blogging.

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When 12-Step Doesn’t Work…


“In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely NOT your fault.”

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” –The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I could write rehab reviews like a New York City socialite could write restaurant reviews, detailed with an extensive variety of experience and a favorite for every season. I was close with all of the staff at one, asked to leave for causing trouble at another, and I visited my preferred choice on two separate occasions, making myself at home and staying a while each time. Although many of the rehabs I took residency with differed greatly, they all seemed to share a fundamental staple regarding treatment: 12-step meetings were the way, and anything else was the highway.

Early in recovery, the meetings were my favorite part of the day. Once discharged from inpatient treatment, I’d hop in my dented up silver Honda and travel 50 plus miles to attend meetings with my former rehab mates. It gave me something to look forward to and was a great way to maintain the mere semblance of a social life, my previous social life having been obliterated.

I loved hearing the speakers tell their heart-wrenching and inspirational stories of overcoming immense adversity and eventually finding their way. I loved thinking to myself, “Wow, you’d never guess they were once an addict,” and hoping one day someone would look at me and think the same. I loved the strong coffee, stale cookies, and smoke breaks; it was like a cozy blanket and comfort food to me. I loved 12-step meetings, but the longer I stayed, the more the love began to feel unrequited.

As time passed, I enviously witnessed my peers collecting their milestone chips. I stoically sang happy birthday to people celebrating one, two, five, sometimes 20 years of sobriety. “Keep coming back, it works if you work it!” I’d smile and clap and secretly resign myself to what appeared to be my only two options: keep relapsing and likely die or go to meetings for the next 20 years. Either way, I’d never be escaping my identity as an addict. It never sat well with me that after 20 years of abstinence from mind-altering substances, people in the program would still be in meetings identifying as addicts.

Time and time again, I’d hear a person share with the group how one desperate, dreary day, they’d dropped to their knees and begged God to remove from them the burden of addiction, and the next day they’d woken up and poof! It worked. After a person hears that so many times, they’re bound to try it themselves. I must have tried it as many times as I heard that same testimony. “Stay until the miracle happens,” they’d say. I stayed. I waited for the miracle. I’d wake up desperate for deliverance, only to find defeat. Why was God removing their burden but leaving me with mine? I was deeply genuine, crying, begging even—so naturally, I grew cynical. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that everything I was seeing work so well for my peers, was not at all working for me.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and  Narcotics Anonymous, while technically three distinct programs, they all share the same philosophy and principles. There is no strict delineation between the groups and you’ll often meet people with a breadth of narcotic experience in AA and people who struggle with alcohol use in NA and many are drug users and drinkers with gambling problems or addicted. The steps are the same for all and somewhere within those steps is where all the “magic happens.”

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Before you can attempt the steps, you have to find a sponsor who will show you the way. A sponsor is another person in recovery, typically with an arbitrary minimum number of sober months or years that seems to vary depending on who you ask (but with more time than you). Ideally, they are a mentor, a trusted confidante who will talk you off the wagon’s edge.

They’re someone you tell your deepest darkest secrets to. Literally, your fourth step requires you to write a list of your life’s mistakes, from minor faux pas to your most egregious offenses, and then spill all the dirt to your sponsor. This was the first of many roadblocks I ran into within the program.

I seemed to burn through sponsors like an Uber driver does a tank of gas. My first sponsor and I were unknowingly involved in a 12-step love triangle. Program romances were rampant and newcomers were fresh meat. This is not uncommon and is jokingly referred to as the 13th step. I had a few short-lived sponsors before I found “the one.” She was my perfect match, and then . . . I moved 700 miles away. Although I pleaded with her to continue sponsoring me via Skype, she said it would be best for me to have a sponsor close by.

My next sponsor was someone I felt instantly drawn to and grew very close to. After working through the first three steps, I recorded all of my transgressions, ready for the big reveal. Then casually during an AA group dinner, a mutual friend referenced some seriously confidential information I had shared with only my sponsor, making it apparent our confidentiality agreement had been breached. Although we remained close friends, the trust was damaged beyond repair and my fourth step progress came to a halt.

The good thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The bad thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The first time someone struggling with addiction or alcoholism reads The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the similarities are so striking, it’s as though you’re reading your own diary at times.

People who have experienced addiction share the same symptoms, underlying causes, triggers, and lifestyle and The Big Book articulates that in a way that transcends time, age, and gender. There is, however, a glaring difference between someone early in recovery and a seasoned 12-stepper with several years under their belt. This difference was problematic for me.

Newcomers, or people early in recovery, are generally vulnerable and shaky. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to relapse once or even multiple times. One of the main draws of AA and NA is that the program offers a “sober network,” a community of like-minded individuals who have gone through the same thing and can, therefore, teach the newcomers how to treat their disease. The sober network that the 12-step program provides, however, is not purely sober.

One of the first things you’ll hear going into recovery is that you have to cut ties with your using buddies. I agree with that 100 percent; But in AA and NA, you are actively hanging around people who are barely clean, habitually relapsing, or even just there for the court-mandated requirements and not clean at all. For some people in the program, that’s not an issue.

For me, however, it was like these people were a walking billboard: “Potential Using Buddy,” with loud sirens and flashing lights, a temptation I could not seem to ignore despite two years of actively trying. My addict brain was drawn toward other vulnerable people in the meeting. One of the most important developments in my recovery was acknowledging and owning up to my tendency to take advantage of those situations. When I finally put my foot down and said I cannot recover in the company of fellow addicts, I closed one door and opened a new door to a realistic opportunity for recovery.

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During my two-year and some change trial of the 12-step program, I earned hundreds of chips. You’d think that’s a good thing, but it’s not. In your first 30 days, you get a chip each day and then a 30, 60, 90-day, 6-month, and 9-month chip after that, and from then on, they’re earned yearly. In AA and NA, if you’ve acquired a set number of sobriety days and then you relapse, you are required to stand up, announce that you are newly sober again, and take a newcomer chip every day for your first 30 days back—recounting your sober days from scratch. If you keep relapsing before you hit 30 days, that’s an unending requirement of standing up and identifying as a newcomer.

I remember a specific exchange with a program friend that in recollection feels poignant. I was sharing that I hated counting days and my friend said, “Why? It’s an accomplishment.” I replied, “Maybe for you. For me, it’s repeated humiliation and shame.” And it was. I was in the program as a newcomer for so long, I’d still take a newcomer chip the same day that a peer I came into the program with would receive their one-year chip.

After two years of stumbling through the program, I started seeing an addiction therapist. I disclosed my ill-will toward counting days and she responded by simply suggesting that I stop. That’s not allowed, I told her, the rules are strict. She said if I hated counting days, just stop. I was filled with a huge sense of relief.

Convinced I was incurable because of my abject failings with GA, AA, and NA, I began seeing my addiction therapist twice weekly. It was there in therapy that I was able to free myself of some of the constraints the program had placed on my treatment path and explore more fitting options.

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My therapist told me I didn’t need a sponsor, I didn’t have to count days, I didn’t have to recover in the company of other addicts, and it was okay for me to try medication-assisted treatment. In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely your fault, so this therapist was either a hippie or an angel. Whatever she was, I had hope for the first time.

Now, not to say during my time in the program, I did meet hundreds of people who have successfully recovered. The program can work and I would never suggest otherwise. While it has given life back to tens of thousands of people all over the world for almost a century, it has also left others baffled, frustrated, and defeated.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction and I think suggesting there is is the number one defect of the 12-step program. The program didn’t work for me and that does not make me flawed or a failure. It doesn’t work for many people, and that doesn’t make them incapable of being honest or unwilling to invest in their own recovery. And for those of us who don’t find our solution in the 12 steps, there is a multitude of other options.

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Marriage and Family Therapist Rebecca Deighan stresses the importance of building a network of support, and while that network may be GA, AA, or NA, it doesn’t have to be. It’s more about having a network of people who are supportive and caring, a sense of community. When asked about the 12-step program not working for everyone, Deighan said, “Everybody has a right to self-determination.”

Learning to trust your own instincts and know what is or isn’t working for you is no easy feat for people battling addiction. Having a therapist who encouraged me to trust my own opinions regarding my treatment was incredibly valuable. I can thank almost two years of therapy and medication-assisted treatment for my success in recovery.

There are many options when it comes to recovery: church, yoga and meditation, therapy, exercise, medication-assisted treatment, using self-help books and apps, support groups (12-stepSMARTWomen for SobrietyLifeRing, and others) and more. I recommend trying one or a combination of any of the above.

“Hello, I’m Emily and I’m an addict,” are words that will likely never leave my lips again. I don’t identify as an addict now and I won’t in 20 years.

I chose a recovery path that has left my life as an addict completely in the rear-view mirror, and for me, that’s right where it belongs.

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Emily J. Sullivan

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Emily J. Sullivan is a Los Angeles based writer specializing in addiction, mental health, relationships, and lifestyle. When she’s not chasing around her twin daughters, she’s writing, dancing, geeking out on Game of Thrones with her fiancé and soon-to-be stepson, or shopping for Jimmy Choos on eBay.

 

An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?

An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?


This is a very informative article
as many of us maintaining recovery are always looking for more “openness and enlightening” ways to keep us from not only ‘Relapse’ but looking to stay moving forward in recovery and a deeper meaning of happiness and fulfillment to true serenity in our lives from addiction.

I myself have started a new book that just may help you get it! It was written by one of the few living Zen Masters, Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi of today and his pupil and Author, Clifford Stevens so at the end of this post I will share this new book release with you titled; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness and Highly Suggest it!

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The Fix – Guest Article By Elizabeth Brico 02/21/18

“Mindfulness meditation teaches people how to accept suffering as a normal, cohesive experience, and then move on from it.”


Relapse has always been a harsh reality of addiction, but as the opioid black market fills with powerful synthetics, relapse on heroin and similar drugs grows increasingly dangerous. Fatal overdoses nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016—the majority of which are attributed to opioid-based drugs.

We are bombarded daily with news headlines—some factual, some fictitious—announcing the newest therapy, or the latest hysteria-provoking scare (does death by fentanyl dust at the grocery store sound familiar?) as we scramble to unearth an affordable and effective way to curb the tragic rise in overdose deaths. Advocates wage vicious wars using news stories and social media, trying to figure out what treatment works best; what will finally fix it?

What if one of the most promising treatments to help prevent relapse has not only already existed for thousands of years, but is free and available to anyone?

Although research is still young, several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may prevent relapse by helping people in recovery acclimate to the idea of stress as a normal experience that can be handled without the aid of substances. Opioid addiction is especially problematic because these powerful drugs actually change the way the human brain functions. Prolonged opioid use damages the pleasure-reward system and alters the way we experience both pleasure and pain.

Opioid agonist medicines like methadone and buprenorphine are often used to help mitigate these brain changes, either for the short or long-term, but Derek Alan Crain, the Executive Director for Mindful Therapy Group based out of Seattle, Washington, thinks that mindfulness meditation can be an incredibly useful tool in concert with other evidence-based treatments.

“With mindfulness, you’re teaching patients how to tune into their feelings; you’re teaching them how to suffer,” says Crain.

The idea of teaching people in recovery from addiction how to suffer may sound counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t addiction pretty much just a ton of suffering? But when a mindfulness practitioner like Crain talks about teaching people “how to suffer,” he means providing the tools and space that will allow us to accept personal suffering as a normal, cohesive experience and then move on from it. It’s true that people with substance use disorders suffer a lot. Addiction is a vicious, complicated cycle that often reinforces itself by generating more suffering which we try to escape by using or drinking. Viewed in that light, teaching someone in recovery how to suffer makes a lot of sense.

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Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves accepting experiences without judgment, including negative experiences. Rather than aiming to empty the mind or think nothing, as in other types of meditation, mindfulness asks only that the practitioner resists valuing certain thoughts and feelings over others. So, if a person is engaging in mindfulness meditation and finds herself worrying about that fight she just had with her spouse, instead of pushing that anxiety away, she would honor it.

Mindfulness asks that she recognize that the thought is there and that it’s uncomfortable, but she doesn’t quantify the experience—she doesn’t try to fix it. She can ask it to pass but she doesn’t force it away. Eventually, if someone practices this enough, she starts to understand the inherent transience of emotional states. This is very useful for people in recovery from addictions because it allows them to understand their suffering as something with an end. It also helps them to develop patience and perspective, two qualities that are often overridden by an addiction.

Ashley and Jaime are both in outpatient treatment for opioid addiction. Ashley had been using prescription opiate painkillers to mask childhood trauma for a number of years, and Jaime was addicted to heroin and pills for nearly three decades. Now, they both use medication-assisted treatment (buprenorphine), peer support, and individual counseling, but each expressed that the addition of mindfulness meditation helped prevent them from relapsing.

Jaime tells The Fix that he meditates for about 10-20 minutes each morning, using his breath as the anchor of his focus. Ashley reports that she engages in mindfulness meditation three times a week for about an hour each session—though she admits it took six months to work up from a few minutes at a time.

“I don’t think about using drugs nearly as much as I used to,” Ashley admits. “I’m more patient and more positive,” she says with a wry chuckle. “A lot of my addiction was unresolved issues I didn’t want to feel or think about. Now I’ve learned how to process them instead of getting high.”


Ashley is well-dressed, with clear skin and a posture relaxed almost to the point of ambivalence. The only visible cue to the traumatic history she discloses to The Fix is her flat affect and a slight unmeasurable distance in her eyes. Beyond that, she looks like any other middle-class young white woman. She admits that before she integrated regular meditation into her recovery, she struggled with frequent relapses. Although buprenorphine reduces the drug cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of opioids, people with trauma histories—like both Ashley and Jaime—may still have problems with frequent relapses when triggered.

Bessel van der Kolk, a Boston-based psychiatrist who has devoted his career to the study and treatment of trauma, says that “[trauma] lies in your body, so when you start taking drugs, you feel calmer. When you stop taking drugs, you have a dual issue: one is the withdrawal from the drug, the second is that you’re dealing with pain and trauma that’s still in the body.”

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While medication-assisted treatments like methadone and buprenorphine have been proven effective at reducing cravings and correcting some brain changes likely attributed to drug use, they don’t target traumatic responses. That’s where mindfulness comes in.

Van der Kolk says that current addiction programs in the United States tend to ignore the curative effects of becoming re-connected with one’s body. He says we need more “programs where people become familiar with their bodies. Self-regulating their bodies should be the focus of treatment because it’s bodies [that] are stuck.”

Jaime, who could easily blend in with any group of average middle-aged men, echoes Ashley. “Meditation minimizes my [drug] use thoughts. It helps me realize when I’m trying to justify doing a shot of heroin or something.” He speaks with the plain, unapologetic candor of someone who has long accepted his identity as someone with an addiction, a quality often mirrored in followers of the 12-steps; a group to which Jaime proudly belongs.

He adds, “It helps with my anxiety too—I’m not as fidgety. I’m more in tune with myself and the world around me.”

Finding something relatively simple and freely accessible that can deter relapse is no laughing matter. While it’s impossible to know for certain how many of the 42,000 opioid overdose deaths reported in 2016 can be attributed to a relapse, it is well established that using opioids after a period of abstinence can be fatal. For people on opioid agonist medications, like Ashley and Jaime, attempting to overcome the blocking effects of the treatments can also lead to a fatal overdose.

Even without the risk of death, relapse can be an emotionally debilitating experience that leads some users to discontinue treatment altogether. Most of our current treatments focus on detoxification or acute stabilization, but relapse prevention is just as important—and a recovery practice that can function as well 10 weeks into recovery as it does after 10 years could be a vital piece of the puzzle.

Crain believes that another reason meditation helps with relapse prevention—in addition to its role in repairing maladaptive stress responses—is that it encourages an intimacy with the self.

Results from some rat studies imply that social isolation plays a role in addiction. Rats who were isolated and kept in cages demonstrated more addictive behaviors than those that were housed in a social environment. The phenomenon was also observed in Vietnam vets; a large number of soldiers became addicted to heroin while overseas, but a disproportionately high number of them discontinued use when they returned home to their communities. These studies have led specialists to speculate a social component to addiction.

Crain thinks that meditation helps people in recovery fall in love with themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives. This self-intimacy, and the concurrent production of oxytocin, colloquially called the “love hormone,” helps people integrate and bond with their social communities, which is an important aspect of addiction recovery.

Meditation is not a magical cure for addiction. Although a mindfulness meditation practice can help reform and strengthen opioid-damaged neuropathways so that they are better able to respond to stress, mindfulness alone can’t treat acute addiction or prevent someone from experiencing withdrawal. It can, however, be a powerful tool against relapse.

And lastly, as Crain says, “An addict has been hiding from suffering his whole life. With meditation, you’re embracing that suffering. You’re normalizing it.”


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SO as I close, I highly suggest this new book; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness that I am finishing for my recovery as being in long-term sobriety means continuing to learn and grow to a healthy and happy full life. We all are “works in progress” from addiction, being armed new education on the many ways to live a well-balanced and happy life is the way to go!
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About The Book:

Find the Seeker! by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi and his pupil, Zen teacher Clifford Stevens, takes us on an inner pilgrimage, compassionately picking us up where we are, whether beginners or longstanding seekers. Based on the wisdom and profound, first-hand experience of a modern-day Master as well as the teachings of enlightened ones throughout the ages, the book reboots our spiritual search in order to renew our limiting, thought-driven, and ego-dominated lives. Focusing on the spiritual dimension underlying Existence which all of us share, the book addresses people of all faiths who suffer, are unhappy and seek to lead more fulfilling lives.

“Find the Seeker!” is not a wishy-washy, feel-good book offering a quick fix or esoteric porridge or pandering to those who want a spiritual baby rattle to rely on. Instead, it serves as a traveling companion and guide, enticing readers with the vision of what we really are – Absolute, eternal and unconditional Being, whole and divine – which can only be directly experienced and embodied. It serves as a powerful wake-up call for those who mistakenly believe in their being separate from the Oneness and living in a state of duality, reminding us that the Kingdom of God is really within us.

Although written by one of the few living Zen Masters and using some Zen stories, the focus is not on explaining Zen, its tenets or history. The book is in stark contrast to the majority of books which indulge in superficial descriptions or sayings and provide seemingly “precise” instructions, lists of goals or steps to take which trap us into continuing our dependency on intermediaries and religious institutions or our self-delusion of being less than we really are. Instead, accompanying the authors along the age-old pathless path we have always been on, we are called upon to empty ourselves and “drop” all our preconceptions and expectations and the limited “self” which thinks it has a life of its own, as well as the heavy backpack with all our experiences and learnings.

The book holds up a mirror to our worldly existence, suffering and the intricate workings of the ego, which entraps us in the never-ending soap opera and roller coaster of life’s ups and downs. We are led to live mindfully in the here-now, delve more deeply into ourselves and to be Self-reliant – enabling our inner guru to unfold our true nature so that we can abide in the one Self. In this way seekers become finders, and we can become the Oneness we already are, enjoying the vibrant bliss and lightness of Being that is inherently ours.

The book not only appeals to people interested in Zen but spiritual seekers and people of all faiths and confessions, especially those who suffer, are unhappy, and still have unanswered questions about spirituality, God, and life. As a result, it targets readers searching for books on personal development, body, mind, and spirit, self-help, spirituality and religion, Buddhism, Zen or finding happiness, especially those recovering from addictions. Please visit their website and blog for helpful information and “Weekly Wisdom” at “Find The Seeker – Weekly Wisdom.”

 

 

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems, like Tom Cruise, even exist. HA!

I’m here to say they do and about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and more.

That is 1 in every 5 people suffer in just the United States alone. So, sorry Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, YOUR WRONG. Here is an article that helps us have insights on how paralyzing “FEAR” can make us feel TRAPPED…By 

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How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not…

“The fear response is triggered when facing danger.”

The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.

External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways. 

  • Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.

  • Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.

  • Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.

  • Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger are often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.

  • Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.

  • Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.

  • Fear prevents you from living in the here and now. Worrying what might happen and anticipating dangers and calamities in the future removes your attention from the present, the only place where you can function to the best of your ability. Dwelling on past events instead of focusing on the present also clouds your perception to the realities and opportunities of the now.

  • Survival emotions such as anger (fight); worry, panic and anxiety (flight); depression and hopelessness (freeze) limit your emotional expression and narrow your emotional range. Negative feelings drag you down and deplete vital life force while positive emotions such as trust in yourself, courage and hope strengthen and nurture you.

  • Fear cuts you off from the flow of life and universal benevolence you could tap into.

  • Destabilized by fear you lose your firm grounding in your own power. This diminishes your ability to recognize potential agendas by external sources of fear. As a consequence, you become an easier target for manipulation and abuse.

Fear is the result of a physical mechanism involving the adrenals and various other body systems. In cases of real and acute danger, this is useful as it alerts you to the need for action.

However, the same kind of responses are also triggered by imagined danger. With the lines between real and imagined danger often blurred in modern life, fear in all its forms can become chronic. Like with ‘Agoraphobia’ or other panic type disorders.

“Tricking you into believing that you are weak and without inner resources or that a catastrophe is imminent, fear and its allies are some of the most damaging emotions to allow into your life. You have a choice what you do with your fear: stay in its thrall or make the decision not to be pulled into it and question it is associated — and usually automatic — thoughts.”

 
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There are many different ways to defuse fears. All of them involve feeling it without trying to suppress the feeling or run away from it. Like other emotions, fear follows a bell curve where it rises, peaks and eventually subsides if you stay with it as a witness rather than disappearing into it. When you have weathered the emotional storm and feel calmer, take a good look at your thoughts and the reality of the situation.

Examine your triggers and the beliefs associated with them. What is their origin, do they reflect the truth? What is your fear about? How you see yourself, how other people might think of you, what you are told about the world? What keeps you in a state of fear?

Depending on your situation, devise your own path to freedom. You may decide on “gradual exposure”, i.e. approaching a feared situation not at once but in several small increments over a number of days or weeks.

You could also draw a “fear ladder” with your “little” fears at the bottom rungs and the “big” ones on top. Begin addressing the less difficult ones and gradually work your way up. It will show you that you do not have to give in to fear and let it define your life and how you see yourself.

Enlist help and support if you need it, but ultimately no one can do this work for you. Remember, you are much stronger and more resilient than fear will allow you to know.

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About Christiana Star

Christiana is a counseling psychologist and writer with a strong focus on self-help, personal growth, and empowerment. Combining professional experience with a spiritual outlook on life, her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway. When she is not writing, Christiana can be found in nature: tending her fruit and vegetable garden with various degrees of success or exploring Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches with her very quirky little dog.

Download the free ebook “10 Keys for Moving Forward when Life Has Changed”, receive the monthly newsletter or access her weekly blog at www.christianastar.com.


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This part of her article HIT ME, “Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.”

That is me! I feel safe in my places within my “Comfort Zone.” It truly is debilitating and then I get depressed as it feels like looking out a window as LIFE is passing by WITHOUT ME In It…

So, what role does fear play in your life? What have you found useful in overcoming fears? If you are struggling, what is your difficulty?  Please share your feelings and comments with me.  Maybe together we can help one another…


Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Today I am shining the spotlight on one of my favorite blogs I enjoy reading good articles and always who has great information about gambling and other addictions. They have an array of recovery resources and suggested treatments options they display on their site as well. I am a firm believer that reading and research to stay educated maintaining recovery is vital.

It is also the same for family and loved ones of the addict to have places they can get help and suggested information on how to safeguard themselves while looking for help for their loved one or friend. This article does just that. So I hope everyone gives it read and it helps others and written by Sydney Smith LPC, LADC, NCGC-II for Addiction Blog. org

 


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A Gambling Problem Can Be Difficult To Detect

Problem Gambling can be hidden for a long time which often makes it very difficult to detect. By the time the problem surfaces and the family finds out, the devastation and wreckage can be tremendous. Family members tend to know that something is wrong with their loved one but due to gambling addiction’s invisible nature, especially in the early stages of the disease, it can be extremely hard to identify.

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of, and ways to identify if your loved one has a gambling problem. Then, we’ll invite your questions about how to get help at the end.

Determining If There Is A Gambling Problem

As a family member, we may or may not know the extent of the gambling problem or how long gambling has been an issue for our loved one. We may know about the gambling, but still, have much uncertainty as to whether there is a gambling problem. So if you are asking yourself,  “How do I know if my loved one is a problem gambler?”

…the following are questions and information that may help determine if there is a gambling problem.

SIGN 1: Time away. If I know the person is gambling, the amount of time spent gambling or engaged in gambling activities increases. The gambler can be gone for long unaccounted for periods of time.

When the gambler in my life gambled, he often gambled while he was at work. So, in the early stages, I did not know how much time he actually spent gambling. As his gambling worsened, he would not come home from work and would disappear for 24 hours at a time.

SIGN 2: Obsession to find money. Is the gambler becoming preoccupied or obsessed with obtaining money to gamble or thoughts of gambling? The great obsession can be on coming up with ways to borrow money, taking out loans, pawning items for cash, or planning their next bet.

Living with a gambler in the past, I would frequently have jewelry missing or items of value just disappear. Later I would learn that my gambler would pawn these items to obtain gambling money or to chase his losses. Later in the progression of the disease, the gambler may be physically present but not there, as the mind is preoccupied with gambling.

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SIGN 3: Emotional volatility. Does the gambler have moods swings or gambles as a means to cope or change feelings? A gambler deep into his addiction can exhibit mood swings similar to those of a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The extreme up and down in moods can be hard on both the gambler and the family members. The “up” moods can follow a win, and the gambler may even brag about the winnings. The “down” mood can be very depressive and the gambler may experience anxious or depressed mood, anger, and become irritable.

Gambling is used to change the way the person is feeling and the family members may hear the gambler make statements such as, “I had a stressful day at work and I just need to go gamble to unwind.”

SIGN 4: New Secrets. Are there secretive behaviors or hiding? Is the gambler becoming very secretive in his actions and with his money? Hiding of gambling wins or losses, hiding lottery tickets, tax documents, etc. becomes common.

In my therapy practice, I often hear the spouses say, “I found payday loan papers, or while cleaning, I found ATM receipts from the casino.”. The family may begin to lose trust in the gambler as the hiding, concealing, and lying about gambling grows.

20 Questions Family or Spouse To Ask Yourself

 

These are a few of the more noticeable warning signs one may experience with the gambler. In addition, Gam-Anon created a simple list of 20 questions for family members to ask themselves.

Family members of problem gamblers will answer “YES” to at least seven of the twenty questions.

  1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
  2. Is the person in question often away from home for long unexplained periods of time?
  3. Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  4. Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
  5. Does this person promise that he or she will stop gambling, yet gambles again and again?
  6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended?
  7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses or to win more?
  8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties?
  9. Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
  10. Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling?
  11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses?
  12. Do you search this person’s clothing, go through his or her wallet, or check on his or her activities?
  13. Do you hide his or her money?
  14. Have you noticed personality changes in him or her?
  15. Does this person consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
  16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibility for his or her gambling onto you?
  17. Do you attempt to anticipate this person’s moods to try to control his or her life?
  18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
  19. Have you ever threatened to break up the family because of the gambling?
  20. Do you feel that your life together is a nightmare?

What Can You Do Next?

This list can be found on the Gam-Anon website or in Gam-Anon published literature. If you can identify with any of the information listed above:

  • Continue to educate yourself about gambling addiction through resources and literature.
  • Reach out to a trained professional.
  • Attend a Gam-Anon or any 12-step support meeting for friends and family of addicts.

If we believe our loved one has a gambling addiction, it is OK to encourage them to seek help, however, it is vitally important for us as family members to seek out our own help.  We are not alone, there is hope, and life can get better. 

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I’d like to add that the addict does need to make the first step. Yes, it is vital and important that the spouse and family SEE through the anger and disappoint them may feel when first learning they are living with a gambling addict like my husband was. But once you look beyond that, your next step is to reach out for help to first safeguard your finances for you and your family. Gama-anon can help but also look into help from a professional. 

Maybe a financial advisor or a friend. Contact your local health department to see if the State Lottery has funded treatment and help for you and the gambler. My own treatment and my husbands guideness counselor were free and paid for by the Oregon State Lottery, including my crisis center stays and treatment. I do meetings with Gamblers Anonymous online, but there are many options for the addict and the family. And, yes, after everything we went through with my gambling addiction, my husband and I worked through it and are still married today over 28-years. You can read all about HOW in my Memoir…

WE DO AND CAN RECOVER!

Catherine 

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

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Prevents isolation.

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

2. Provides a sense of family.

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

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

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

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

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

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

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

As many of my recovery friends know I advocate in places throughout social media and here on my site to raise awareness, inform, and try to educate the public about the dangers of problem or addicted uncontrolled gambling.  I meet many people who become friends who are maintaining recovery as I am from this disease. My friend on FB, Chris had made a post that I wanted to re-share as it shows most people we come in contact with seems to know someone or a relative with a problem with gambling.

I also wanted to congratulate Chris as he just moved from Kansas here to Prescott, AZ as he has a new job here. He is working for treatment facility who cares and helps those looking to recover from gambling addiction called; Algamus Gambling Recovery Services running house services.  He himself has been in recovery from this illness and now can help others. You can connect with Chris on Facebook! 

 

” I found recovery from gambling on 8/15/13
September is Recovery Month. I’m posting this in hopes that those of you who need help from gambling and want recovery, this shows it’s possible!”  ~Chris Davis

 

Today is one of my days off, so I wanted to go open a local checking account here in Arizona. While opening it the lady banker and I were just having a good conversation. She asked what got me to leave Kansas to come to Arizona. I told her I came for a job. She asked me what my job is. I told her I am a house manager at an inpatient gambling treatment center. We talked about many things during the 45 minutes of opening an account. I told her I felt this is where God had called me to be at this time. We kept talking and she said that there are probably a lot of people out there that have a gambling problem. I said; ” I feel it is very under-reported because many hide it so well or are in denial they have a problem.

Eventually, she shared with me that her family lost track of her uncle for a few years and when they finally found him he was living on the streets. I think she said he had blown thru all of his retirement money by losing it at the casinos around Arizona. This is why I speak openly about my recovery from gambling because the issue of problem gambling doesn’t get talked about enough. I do support advocacy for drugs and alcohol as well because they affect so many too. Most the publicity or articles I see about gambling is either promoting it or something like the article I saw online the other day about a teacher in Michigan was found that she had stolen from the school’s homecoming fund and another camp fund.

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She had taken about $50,000 from the funds and was found she had lost $90,000 on slots in 2016. When I first realized I had a problem with gambling I didn’t know where to get help. So, if you are reading this, then you don’t have that excuse of not knowing where to turn for help. Some need inpatient treatment but are unwilling to take a month or two to get the help they require. I work at an inpatient gambling treatment center now so I can connect you if you are ready to stop gambling and get better. Contact me on my Facebook page that is listed above. I also can help you get you to some inpatient drug and alcohol treatment as well.

Why wait until it gets worse before you get the help you need? It WILL get worse. There IS HOPE, but you have to be willing to want it.

~Chris Davis Recovering Gambler

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About Algamus:

Algamus provides compassionate, professional and comprehensive counseling and gambling-specific residential treatment in the mountainous setting of Prescott, AZ. Designed to further educate and support the compulsive gambler in their search for abstinence and recovery, we pride ourselves on offering the best services available. Our facility offers the most effective treatment modalities and methods to assist the problem gambler in discovering freedom and balance.

JCAHO Accredited  Algamus, founded in 1992, is the oldest privately-funded gambling-specific residential treatment facility in the United States. We are the only Joint Commission (JCAHO) approved gambling program in the US. We’ve operated facilities in Florida, South Carolina, and even Quebec.

With only 14 beds, our program puts the individual first. Our nearly one-to-one ratio of staff to patients ensure that we meet each patient where they are in their recovery journey.  

We serve men and women from all walks of life and all types of gambling addiction: sports, poker, table games, slot machines, and more. We help our patients begin a new life that is no longer gripped by gambling. Since we focus only on gambling addiction, we understand the unique experience of our patients financial and legal woes better than other rehab programs focusing on drugs and alcohol.

We work with most commercial insurance providers and depending on your insurance partner and your plan, your problem gambling treatment program may be covered by insurance Call Today: 1-888-527-2098

Benn Featured On

Gambling Intervention

Welcome Recovery Guest Author Christine Hill and ‘Relationships In Recovery.’

Welcome Recovery Guest Author Christine Hill and ‘Relationships In Recovery.’

Rebuilding Family Relationships in Recovery
By Christine Hill

Addiction recovery can be a trying experience that will test a person’s willpower, but it it is also an incredibly fulfilling experience that builds us up as people. During addiction, many people have lost so much, whether it be their jobs, children, or family. Addiction thrives on the alienation that is created when these ties are severed. An important part of addiction recovery is rebuilding these bridges and regaining the connectedness that makes us whole. However, this isn’t always easy. Addiction frequently leads people to do things that hurt the people they love, and this can make it a tricky experience to build these relationships back up. However, it is certainly possible if you take the lessons of recovery seriously. Here are some tips on how to rebuild family relationships in recovery…

 

Ask for forgiveness and Amends

 

Addiction is a behavioral disease that operates by cutting you off from those who care about you. This alienation is what has allowed addiction to thrive and claim the lives of so many people in this generation. However, while addiction is a behavioral disease that is often out of an addict’s control, the actions that they take because of that addiction still hurt and affect their family, and this isn’t something that can just be simply forgotten. Just because an addict is in recovery and doing well, it doesn’t always mitigate what has happened. Always ask for forgiveness with the utmost sincerity, but don’t assume that they will always offer it, immediately.

 

Demonstrate real change
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Usually, addiction is a disease that operates in cycles. Before getting a professionals help that can assist in reaching lasting recovery, many addicts have tried to get better on their own to no avail. During this time, family members may have felt hurt by the constant push and pull of actions that were taken and promises that were broken. Because of this, it’s important to show how this time is different. Before worrying too much about repairing these relationships, focus on rebuilding yourself and making the changes that you need to make, so that you can demonstrate that this change is real and lasting.

 

Take family therapy

 

Most addiction treatment centers have a family therapy program. This is usually one of the most powerful programs that rehabs and treatment providers have to offer. Being able to speak honestly and openly with your family members, and have them speak openly and honestly to you in a setting that is devoid of judgment and mediated by a trained counselor, enables the possibility of communication that might have otherwise never happened. Talk to your family about joining you in the family therapy program, and make the most of the experiences that you have there. Here is an informative article about what to expect from family therapy.

 

Understand if they need time

 

People get hurt in the throes of addiction. That is the nature of how it operates. Pain and harm are the defaults that addiction goes back to. Because of this, some family members may need time to get over what has happened. This isn’t because they don’t love you, but because they need to protect themselves against the possibility of another heartbreak. Understand that this time is important, and focus on doing right by you. Eventually, this bridge will mend itself, and you may find that the relationship can grow even stronger than it once was.

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Listen and show empathy

 

When communicating with your family members, always take the time to listen to how they feel. Trying to get out from under the hold of addiction is a confusing experience, but they are also dealing with a great deal of confusion. Sometimes, families blame themselves for another family member getting caught up in addiction. Allow them to work through these feelings. It is unproductive to only talk about yourself and your feelings without taking the time to understand how your actions have affected them. This may hurt and be a difficult process, but it is an important one, nonetheless. Family therapy is a great setting to explore this process, but it’s important to keep it up in all your interactions.

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About The Author:

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.

To Parents: Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset. Guest Article.

Hello Recovery Friends and Visitors,

My weekend guest article is by a special friend of mine, Christine H. and is for ALL PARENTS. When addiction happens to become part of our life journey, we need to remember that it does affect all the people around us, even our children.

So we need to make sure when coming into recovery? We need to include our children as they to may need help and begin to heal. For you as a parent and for children, it can be a learning and teachable lesson for all…

What to Do When a Loved One Struggles with Addiction pic 2

 

Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset ~ By Christine H.

We’re all aware that our actions have an affect on those around us, but sometimes we don’t really realize the magnitude of that impact. This is especially applicable to our children. Especially in their early years, they learn everything they know from us. Like a sponge, they absorb our actions, attitude, and behaviors and adopt them as their own. Because of this, we may not realize that our own personal challenges are also reflected in our children’s lives, in one form or another.

None of this is meant to make parents feel guilty, or feel sure that they have ruined their children’s lives because that’s just ridiculous. However, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone in your struggles. They affect the people around you. And to tell the truth, that’s not always a bad thing!

Your children may project your issues onto themselves


Because a child has a difficult time interpreting what causes any sporadic behaviors due to your addiction, it’s highly possible that they’ll project these issues onto themselves, and blame themselves for certain behaviors or sorrows of yours. They could very easily think that there is some action that they’re making that is causing you to be upset.

It’s possible that they’ll draw imaginary connections between your actions and their own, assuming that you’re upset because they forgot to clean their room, or because they asked you for something you didn’t want to give them. They’ll begin to assume that these issues are caused by them, and without anyone to reassure them that they are not at fault, they can start carrying psychological burdens that are unnecessary.

 

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Family therapy can help you troubleshoot


That’s why family counseling can be especially helpful when a family is confronting challenges associated with addiction. In a safe place, your child can be clear and honest about their concerns, and you can address them with the love and assurance that you want to.

Even if you feel like your child has a healthy life and good habits, it will be helpful for them to seek help and therapy for your addiction. It could be because they need emotional support, to validate the way that they’re feeling and that the addiction isn’t their fault. Or it could be helpful to instill good habits in them while they’re still impressionable, so they’re able to function well as adults.

Concerns about genetic addiction patterns


Many studies explore the relationship between addiction and genetics. Despite thorough research, the reason that addiction tends to echo down through generations isn’t perfectly clear. That being said, it seems that there’s a mix of environmental issues that perpetuate the cycle, as well as strict biological factors that are passed from parent to child.

Counseling and working to build a healthy lifestyle for your family in the future can help you overcome environmental issues that contribute to addiction. And when it comes to the biological factors, just remember this: forewarned is forearmed. The more you understand about your own journey through addiction, the more you can help your child set healthy patterns in their own life that can protect them from repeating a harmful cycle.

 

Turning your journey into a positive thing for your children


Have you ever thought about the ways that your journey through addiction recovery can benefit your children? Most of us think that it’s a handicap, but in fact, it can be turned into an asset. Group or individual therapy that most of us participate in through addiction recovery can equip you with special tools. It allows you to communicate more effectively with people around you, to identify triggers, adjust behavior, and transform negative patterns of thinking. What a great legacy to pass on to your children!

There’s one more reason that your history can be turned into an asset for your family. Did you know that studies of school-sponsored drug education have found that scare tactics and stats have almost no impact? The only thing that really helps is something quite rare: honest conversations and testimonials from people who have experienced addiction themselves.


Parenting is never easy, and 
parenting when you also struggle with addiction is a colossal feat. However, most parents eventually learn that they’re exactly the parents that their child needed. You are uniquely equipped to help your child navigate their own journey through life, and your experience with addiction is part of your parenting arsenal… 

Christine H.  

Gamblers In Recovery? Take Your Holiday Financial Inventory Now! Guest Article By Northstar Alliance.

Happy Holidays Recovery Friends and Visitors!

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GUEST ARTICLE BY:  Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance


Financial Counselors Can Provide Exceptional Services to Recovering Gamblers and Their Families from The Devastation To Finances .  .  .  .

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“In addition to the social and emotional devastation of gambling addiction, which may include loss of relationships, residence, physical health and career opportunities, the damage exacted to one’s finances is significant.”

While therapists and groups such as Gambler’s Anonymous can help address the mental and psychological challenges from a gambling disorder, other experts can help gamblers rebuild their financial house.

Financial counselors can provide a variety of services to both the gambler and their family. By taking appropriate measures, counselors can help gamblers rebuild their credit and safeguard the assets of “affected others,” whose money the gambler may have accessed during their addiction.

Many compulsive gamblers have accumulated a seemingly insurmountable level of debt by the time they seek help. Financial counselors can work on their behalf to obtain special, lower interest rates from creditors to satisfy existing debt. Financial counselors can also consolidate debt so that the recovering gambler pays a single monthly payment, an option known as a debt management plan. While debt consolidation is a tool that’s available for anyone — gamblers and non-gamblers alike — it can be especially helpful for someone who has incurred debt from gambling addiction and requires a plan to start on a new path.

Recovering gamblers seeking financial relief should be wary of debt settlements, which are fundamentally different than debt management plans and which have been the subject of scrutiny from the Minnesota Attorney General. Debt settlement is a form of debt relief that is considered to be extremely dangerous by financial experts. The process, which involves the paying off of debt to a creditor after mutually agreeing to a sum less than what is owed, often leaves consumers with damaged credit scores and can sometimes lead to even deeper debt.

In addition to credit card assistance, financial counselors can also help with management of student loans and mortgages. HUD-certified financial counselors specialize in foreclosure prevention and can potentially help those who have lost much of their money from gambling by working with mortgage companies to make mortgage modifications. According to Cate Rysavy, senior director of Financial Services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, people are able to avoid foreclosure 64 percent of the time when working with a housing counselor.

Financial counseling can also come to the aid of family members whose monies may have been stolen by the gambler or who may have unknowingly enabled the gambler by providing financial support. Counselors can provide protection to spouses by offering separate accounts for spouses and others to prevent access by the gambler.

A recovering gambler might also wish to engage a Power of Attorney (POA) to help control the disbursement of funds. By setting up a POA, a gambler can ensure there’s controlled access to monies and specify exactly how the funds are to be used. A POA is a formal contract that must be given great consideration. It can be canceled by revocation by the individual or a resignation by the POA, ( Power of Attorney ).

In addition to helping those in financial distress, financial counselors may also be the first to identify someone’s gambling problem. They may note frequent cash withdrawals from a casino or determine that something’s amiss with a client’s expenditures given their budget and income.

Ideally, financial counseling, when necessary, takes place at the same time as treatment for gambling addiction. “If someone’s not acknowledging their addiction and seeking treatment, financial counselors are not in a good position to help,” says Cate, who says the biggest concern when working with gamblers is the possibility of relapse. At Lutheran Social Service, counselors are encouraged to make the call for treatment or to GA while they’re still meeting with the problem gambler. See below for help with addiction debt help from gambling. . . . .

National Credit, Debt, and Finacial Services of Consumer Credit Counseling can be found here in your area:

Connect with an NFCC Certified Credit Counselor   800.388.2227

Consumer Credit Counseling: FREE Debt Help!  Call Us At: 866-464-5243

  1. Get a free credit counseling session
  2. Reduce your interest rates
  3. Prevent late and over the limit fees
  4. Pay off your debt in most cases within 5 years
  5. Consolidate your unsecured debt into one easy monthly payment


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Welcome to Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance

Who We Are!

Gambling, in all its various forms, has become increasingly prevalent in today’s society. In fact, 75 percent of Minnesotans have participated in a form of gambling in the last year. Most who gamble are able to enjoy it as a healthy form of recreation. Others, however, are unable to stop, even when their gambling habit empties their wallet and tugs at their soul. The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance was formed to address the needs of Minnesotans whose gambling goes beyond normal recreation bounds.

The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota’s affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. We achieve this by increasing public awareness about the growing problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by gambling.

Come Visit Us Today! We Can Help .  .  .  .

My New Guest Article In ‘Keys To Recovery’ Newspaper! Celebrating National Addiction Recovery Month.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

In honor of celebrating this month, another new article was published this month in a new publication I was invited to write for called, Keys To Recovery Newspaper!

My first article in last month’s issue was a hit with many visits, so they asked me for another for this month. The publication is free and they are out of Southern California. They are one of the biggest distributors of addiction recovery news sent out to conferences, training seminars, and mailed to many 12 step groups nationwide. I was very honored to be asked to submit articles for their new column, “Quit To WIN!” about gambling addiction and recovery. 

Here is my September article I wrote to share more of my addiction and recovery in celebration of this special MONTH!

I hope it helps others have HOPE from the cunning disease called; “Gambling Addiction” A Real Addiction, A Real Disease!

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‘Quit To Win’

“CONSEQUENCES, ACCOUNTABILITY & FREEDOM”

 

“I will never forget the day I was sitting in jail, on a cold piece of concrete bench feeling sick to my stomach. I was waiting to be booked and fingerprinted by our local police. I could not believe I was here. I could not believe my addicted thinking and poor choice got me here. The shame and embarrassment I will never forget.”

That was me back in Sept 2006. I wanted to share a little about the damages and consequences many of us face when we were deep within our addictions, or like me, just have more recovery work to do. One of those can be losing your freedom due to jail, criminal records or doing jail or prison time. I had visited a friend’s blog this morning, and he had just been released from prison five days ago. I have followed some of his journey on his recovery blog while he was there. And I can tell you; there is nothing worse than having your freedoms of life taken away from you.

See I know this first hand as I had this happen myself, just no prison time. In 2006 I made the poor choice to steal from someone due to financial problems of my own. This person filed charges, by which she had every right to do. I was arrested at my home, taken to jail, booked, and then released due to never having a criminal record. Talk about shame and embarrassment. It was the lowest point in my life besides my two failed suicide attempts. I was living in Oregon at the time, in a small community, so everyone, of course, read about it in our local newspaper.

I had spent over 20 years in the banking field, so I knew many people and business people in my town. So it was again pretty embarrassing to know they all may have read about my downfall, and seen my name in our local newspaper.

FREEDOM, ARE  YOU HEARING ME? GET YOUR FREEDOM BACK!

Now my friend who just got out of prison was talking about how he was becoming addicted to his tech stuff. His cell phone, the internet and social media, and how much had changed just in the seven years that he was away in prison. I SO understood what my friend, fresh out of prison was feel- ing and going through. I’m addicted to the same, but I have chosen to be addicted to social media and the internet for two excellent reasons, and these reasons are blessings of my hard work in recovery and given from my higher power.
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I use them for my recovery to help others and share hope in recovery, inform and educate others about gambling addiction, alcohol abuse, and more, as I blog my recovery journey. I also use it for my home business as a book promoter.

I chose to steal from someone while I cleaned her home. It is all in my book. I was arrested, charged, given two-years probation and loads of community service. I’m still paying my fees and the little balance left of my restitution today. So with having a criminal record, no one would hire me. So I had to think outside the box and figure a way to make money from home. I also suffer from severe depression and agoraphobia, so I don’t work outside my home anymore.  BAM! Book Promoting and authoring more recovery books came to me! Lol. Now I am not rich, but I have made enough to pay our rent some months, and that not only feels good/ but are blessings in recovery. It also raises your self-worth, your confidence and gives you freedom from addiction.

We need to learn while working our recovery to take ownership and accountability of the choices we had made. No matter how long it takes to work through them? It can be done; you will never feel that full sense of freedom from your past if you don’t. And boy did I have a lot to process and overcome of my past starting as a hurt, traumatized little girl. That holds true for the other obstacles that come from just life trials and storms besides turning to addiction.

So back to my friend, I told him to change his priority of why he is using them. I use them to help others in recovery, go to online recovery meetings, and that is what helps me stay in recovery. Shar- ing my story, sharing my hope to others so they too can help others. Same with my book promotions. I enjoy helping other authors promote their books. And I work just as hard for them as I do when I help others in  recovery.

I never dreamed how my life could take a decisive turn from the ugly damage and devastation of gambling addiction I battled. Never dreamed I’d be a published   author in my lifetime, nor have freedom again. But when we are in addiction, we just  don’t see anything but the addiction. What a life legacy I get to leave behind for others who come to recovery after I’m gone. Awesome! Just don’t give up on those dreams!

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I have been unbelievably blessed since that day sitting in jail. Yes, my choice’s back then came with heavy consequences, but in Recovery we can surely turn that around and have a “positive impact” in the world and with others who still suffer the “cycle” of any addiction. I know this as I have been sharing HOPE & HELP to as many as I can for the last 8 years. So please, if you or someone you care about has a gambling problem? Reach out and get help today and “reclaim your life back!”

Start Here: The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700).

Look for a GA Meeting – Gamblers Anonymous in your area here:  

U.S. Meetings | Gamblers Anonymous

For Family:

Gambling Addiction – gam-anon.org‎

God Bless All!  Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author 

My Recovery Guest Article of the Week. Trauma and Healing.

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Healing after Trauma ~ By Christine Hill

Trauma isn’t a new or unique story in the world today. In fact, some psychologists have stated that we have an epidemic of trauma in our society, without the tools to recover from it. Trauma can be any event in your life that sends you into an extreme state of stress, fear, and helplessness. It can be physical or mental abuse in the home, a cataclysmic natural disaster, or a chronic sickness.

In any case, the primary goal after trauma is to find a way to heal. For some, this comes naturally with time. For others, recovery is a difficult process for which they’ll need help. Unchecked, trauma can cause a multitude of disorders and harmful behaviors, from PTSD to schizophrenia to addiction and risk-taking behaviors.

Here are some ways to help patients recovering from trauma find healing and peace in their lives:

Step 1: Restabilize and Find Safety

The thing about trauma is that it makes us feel unsafe and helpless. A heightened stress response keeps triggering, sending us right back to that place where we felt threatened. The most important first step to take after trauma is to re-establish safety.

“Safety” will look differently for everyone. As children, we learn to rely on others to establish safety for us. However, sometimes that system breaks down, and as we grow, we become responsible for creating a safe place for ourselves.

The first step in recovering from trauma may consist of breaking from the traumatic event or situation that you’re in. This might mean a move. It might mean breaking from certain people or patterns in your life. It might even mean using certain help or resources available in order to leave and find a new place where you can be safe and rebuild.

Establish Healthy Patterns

Most recovering patients of trauma find safety in patterns in their lives. After feeling completely helpless and out of control, it’s comforting to have something that’s in your control. Practicing self-care also supports the body’s healthy systems, empowering you to counteract the effects of trauma. Some healthy patterns will include:

  • Getting proper sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Steering clear of substances that will alter your mental state
  • Exercise

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early in the morning


All of these things help to balance the hormones in your system which have been thrown off by extreme stress. True, it’s easier said than done. After trauma, night terrors can interrupt our sleep. We feel powerless to set up new healthy habits like exercise. And we reach for things that grant immediate comfort and numbness, which is why trauma and substance abuse are so often paired. However, substance abuse perpetuates the pattern of trauma, and continues to throw off our self-regulatory systems, which can prolong your recovery, and send you back into a mental state that will aggravate the harmful effects of trauma, instead of leading to a path of healing.

Connect with Others

Another cruel effect of trauma is that it often causes us to feel isolated. The separation between ourselves and everyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma can feel too great to overcome. It can be hard to reconnect with people who seem to expect you to be the same old person you were before the trauma entered your life, or you might fear having to confront the trauma and having to explain it to others.

However, studies have shown that people who reach out after trauma heal much faster. You have a choice about whether trauma will cripple you, or whether you will use it as an experience that enables you to help others. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

  • Join a survivor group. Talking with others who have experienced similar things will help you remember that you are not alone. Learning about the coping strategies that have helped them will give you ideas for things to try in your life. Reaching out and striving to problem-solve with others can motivate you to find creative solutions for your own problems.

 

  • Reconnect with people who care about you. The people in your life who love and care about you can be a touchstone of sanity and safety when everything feels out of control. If you’re lucky enough to have a few people who will fight for you, make time for you, patiently listen to you, and sacrifice for you, take advantage of that gift. Remember that you don’t have to talk about traumatic experiences that have shaken you. Take your time, and ask for what you need. Be patient with yourself and with others.

 

  • Volunteer. One of the best ways to recover from trauma is to look for the good. It’s reminding yourself that you still have the power to effect positive change – not just in yourself, but in those around you. Helping others gets us outside of ourselves and helps us to see things in a different way. It helps us make new connections and realize the power that we do have. Volunteering can be an opportunity to build new memories and experiences that can counter the memory and experience of trauma in our lives.


Reach out for Help

Visiting psychologist

Group of people visiting course of psychological therapy…

 

A difficult step for many trauma survivors is knowing when to reach out for professional help. Many of us feel we can overcome the problems by ourselves, or we fear the emotional impact of reliving traumatic events. However, trauma therapists are specially trained to help patients come to terms with the events in their past, to empower them to rewrite their own stories and find a way to make daily life more functional and more enriching.


If you are having a hard time connecting with others, functioning in society – whether that’s getting daily chores done, or holding down a job, getting a good night’s rest, or building healthy patterns in your life, a therapist can give you tools and perspective that you might need in order to rebuild after trauma.


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*Author Note: I want to thank Christine Hill for a wonderful article. Since I am a trauma and sex abuse survivor myself, I could have used this advice when I finally disclosed to my parents what had happened to me as a little girl. Would the outcome have been different for me to the way the way my parents reacted?

Knowing how my parents were? Most likely not, but it may have been less traumatic for me, how having to go through the process of explaining it to them. I hope this article will help those who are still holding on to any past pain. Please, it is time to let it go  .  .  .  

 

Mental Health ~ A Look Back In History …

“Yes, I write and share about Mental Health on my blog as I am a “dual diagnosed” person living life in recovery with Mental Health daily challenges”

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Four Heroes of Mental Health Treatment Reform” ~ Guest Author, Christine Hill”

 

Mental health treatment is a dark section of human history. Stories range from outright abandonment to institutionalized abuse.

Anciently, recorded evidence of mental treatment is sparse. We can tell from ancient skulls that trepanning (chipping a hole in the skull) was practiced in Neolithic times, perhaps as an attempt to lose evil spirits from someone’s head. Egyptian practices were more humane, (and surely more effective,) recommending calming time in the gardens, recreational activities, and care for the body in response to mental distress. Most ancient cultures, however, believed mental illness to be a result of unclean spirits, or punishment from God, and thus treated it with prayers, spells, charms, and incantations. This tendency persisted into the Middle Ages, despite Hippocrates’ revolutionary theories citing physical pathology as the cause of mental illness.

During the 1600’s, as civilization advanced in Europe, individuals with mental illness were increasingly incarcerated and institutionalized. Although this was often seen as a merciful approach to mental disease, separating patients for their own good, innocents were grouped without distinction with criminals and treated accordingly. Conditions were completely inhumane. Patients went completely uncared-for and were chained to walls, with the basic needs of life hardly seen to at all.

Fortunately, since that time, there have been amazing and significant changes in the mental health care system, thanks to the crusading efforts of a few individuals.
 

Phillipe Pinel & William Tuke
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(William Tuke)

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Phillipe Pinel was a French physician who practiced in the late 1700’s. When he first came to Paris, hoping to advance and enact reforms, he was discouraged by the bureaucracy of the medical system already in place, which wouldn’t honor the credentials of a provincial doctor. However, after the French Revolution, a new regime was put in place, and Pinel was appointed the Physician-in-Chief of all public men’s and women’s asylums in Paris. He is well-known for his management of Bicêtre asylum, where he forbade the use of chains and shackles, removed patients from dungeons, and instead promoted the incorporation of gardens and sunshine in the treatment of patients. He believed that with gentle and humane care, mentally ill patients would naturally improve.


In England, another physician was of the same mind. William Tuke, of the York Retreat, sought to treat people with compassion and morality. Although it started as an organization built by Quakers, for Quaker patients, it was soon open to everyone. Facilities like the York Retreat and La Bicêtre soon set the standard for humane treatment of mental illness around the world, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as widespread as it should have been, due to underfunding and lack of awareness.

Dorothea Dix

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Dorothea Dix )

Dorothea Dix was an American activist, teacher, and writer who lobbied for social reform during the 1800’s. After teaching in women’s prisons, she was shocked to see the treatment of incarcerated individuals, especially those will mental illness. She started traveling the country, documenting the conditions in various institutions, and bringing them to the attention of state and federal legislature. During the next 40 years, she stubbornly petitioned for reform, causing the establishment of 32 mental health institutions during her lifetime. She also traveled to Europe and addressed problems there, famously drawing the focus of Pope Pius IX, who personally oversaw the construction of a new mental hospital in response to her reports.

Nellie Bly

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(Nellie Bly)
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Nellie Bly was an advocate for the advancement of women, and a mover and a shaker in the journalistic world. She was a firecracker who repeatedly drew the public eye to issues she chose to highlight. One of her most famous forays into investigative journalism, perhaps, was her expose about mental health institutions. Although there had been a major shift in the placement of mentally ill patients in asylums instead of jails, thanks to Dorothea Dix, there was still widespread abuse and neglect in these asylums.

Nellie Bly posed as a patient and lived in New York’s Blackwell’s Island asylum for 10 days. From there, she wrote about the apathy and disregard from doctors, mistreatment from nurses, horrible food, and starvation. Her report, published originally in Pulitzer’s Newspaper, the New York World, and then later as a book, was a sensation and brought national attention to the plight of those in mental asylums.


Today’s View of Mental Health is Different

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Thanks to social reforms, as well as groundbreaking advances in the medical field, mental health treatment today is a very different story. Today we have various options available; inpatient, outpatient, counseling and therapy. We treat mental illness in all its forms and try to find solutions, instead of simply locking people away from society.

Admittedly, there is still a lot to learn about the treatment of mental illness, but we’re optimistic about the progress of treatment and care.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine

Do You Know OCD? Guest Article Share From Healthline.com . . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,

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“It seems that I share this quite often, many of us in recovery also suffer from many forms of mental or emotional health issues and disorders these days. So, I have received many emails from professionals and websites thanking me for sharing some of my own mental and emotional health challenges. It seems the only way we can face “stigma” head on is to share and talk about mental health. And that is the major reason I do. There is no shame having these challenges, and in the world we have to live in these days, I can understand why many of us suffer.”

It also can make recovery from addiction a little harder to grasp as well. Facts say that people who suffer from mental illness along with addictions have a 1.5 times higher that people with mental illness and addictions are more likely to die prematurely than the general population. Mental illness can cut 10 to 20 years from a person’s life expectancy. Center for Addiction and Mental Health ~ CAMH

I do have first-hand experience with OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is very prevalent in problem gamblers and addicted gamblers. So here is a little more about OCD from Healthline.com and hope it helps many have a little more understanding ….

 

OCD: Symptoms, Signs & Risk Factors

 

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We all double or triple check something on occasion. We forget if we’ve locked the door or wonder if we’ve left the water running, and we want to be certain. Some of us are perfectionists, so we go over our work several times to make sure it’s right. That’s not abnormal behavior. But if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you feel compelled to act out certain rituals repeatedly, even if you don’t want to — and even if it complicates your life unnecessarily.

Obsessions are the worrisome thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsions are the behaviors you use to relieve that anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

Signs of OCD usually become apparent in childhood or early adulthood. It tends to begin slowly and become more intense as you mature. For many people, symptoms come and go, but it’s usually a lifelong problem. In severe cases, it has a profound impact on quality of life. Without treatment, it can become quite disabling.

Some common obsessions associated with OCD include:

  • anxiety about germs and dirt, or fear of contamination
  • need for symmetry and order
  • concern that your thoughts or compulsions will harm others, feeling you can keep other people safe by performing certain rituals
  • worry about discarding things of little or no value
  • disturbing thoughts or images about yourself or others

Some of the behaviors that stem from these obsessive thoughts include:

  • excessive hand washing, repetitive showering, unnecessary household cleaning
  • continually arranging and reordering things to get them just right
  • checking the same things over and over even though you know you’ve already checked them
  • hoarding unnecessary material possessions like old newspapers and used wrapping paper rather than throwing them away
  • counting or repeating a particular word or phrase. Performing a ritual like having to touch something an amount of times or take a particular number of steps
  • focusing on positive thoughts to combat the bad thoughts,

Social Signs: What to Look For

Some people with OCD manage to mask their behaviors so they’re less obvious. For others, social situations trigger compulsions. Some things you might notice in a person with OCD:

  • raw hands from too much hand washing
  • fear of shaking hands or touching things in public
  • avoidance of certain situations that trigger obsessive thoughts
  • intense anxiety when things are not orderly or symmetrical
  • need to check the same things over and over
  • constant need for reassurance
  • inability to break routine
  • counting for no reason or repeating the same word, phrase, or action
  • at least an hour each day is spent on unwanted thoughts or rituals
  • having trouble getting to work on time or keeping to a schedule due to rituals

Since OCD often begins in childhood, teachers may be the first to notice signs in school. A child who is compelled to count, for instance, may not be able to complete the ritual. The stress can cause angry outbursts and other misbehaviors. One who is afraid of germs may be fearful of playing with other children. A child with OCD may fear they are crazy. Obsessions and compulsions can interfere with schoolwork and lead to poor academic performance.

Children with OCD may have trouble expressing themselves. They may be inflexible and upset when plans change. Their discomfort in social situations can make it difficult to make friends and maintain friendships. In an attempt to mask their compulsions, children with OCD may withdraw socially. Isolation increases the risk for depression.

Risk Factors and Complications

The cause of OCD is not known. It seems to run in families, but there may be environmental factors involved. Most of the time, symptoms of OCD occur before age 25.

If you have OCD, you’re also at increased risk of other anxiety disorders, including major depression and social phobia’s.

Just because you like things a certain way or arrange your spice rack in alphabetical order, it doesn’t mean you have OCD. However, if obsessive thoughts or ritualistic behavior feels out of your control or are interfering with your life, it’s time to seek treatment.

Treatment usually involves psychotherapy, behavioral modification therapy, or psychiatric medications, alone or in combination. According to Harvard Medical School, with treatment, approximately 10 percent of patients fully recover and about half of patients show some improvement.

The Power Of Positive Thinking And The Law Of Attraction Is Real In Recovery.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

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I always enjoy having guests and guest articles of friends that can also translate and can be used in our recovery journey. And one of my favorite places to visit is, “Give It A Thought” by David Duane Wilson my awesome buddy! He always has something exciting and positive to share, and this guest article by him is no different. It may not have been specifically written for recovery, but I  feel we all can use it in our daily journey . . .

 

The Power of Positive Thinking and The Law of Attraction is Real.


Study Finds: “Law of Attraction” and “Positive Thinking” are as real as gravity!

You’ve probably heard about and maybe even practiced “Positive Thinking” and the “Law of Attraction” to bring better things into your life. They are two of our brain’s most natural and powerful talents. Countless people all over the world have used these talents to attract wealth and abundance to themselves and the people they love.


So why have so many more tried and failed?

The #1 question we ask when they fail to work for us is.  “If Attraction  and Positive Thinking are actually a ‘law,’ then why won’t they work for me as automatically and effortlessly as gravity does?


Why would you have to do anything to make it work?”

Well, the truth is that just like gravity, Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction are always working. You don’t need to do anything to make them “work”.
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You just need the desire to harness them and make them work for you. It took Isaac Newton and an apple falling off a tree to make him “aware” of gravity, and look at it with awareness and intent. . .

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ThinkPositive

 

Well, the Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking are similar.
All along, they have been a force in your life.  So, why do so many people struggle to attract money? Struggle to bring abundance and happiness into their lives, when Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction are all around them?
The fact is, if the Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking work all the time, and if your results fall short, then the difference must be in YOU.  If you state an intention, and it doesn’t work, there’s a part of you that’s fighting with another part of yourself.

Have you heard the saying, “we only use a small fraction of our brains?
Well, 80 to 90 percent of our thinking is unconscious.  We are like conscious icebergs with most of our thoughts happening beneath the water line, out of our awareness.

This means, “what you consciously think isn’t anywhere near as important as what your unconscious mind thinks.” So when your intentions fail to manifest, all too often it’s because there’s an unconscious conflict of beliefs deep down. A conflict that may have been buried there since childhood.
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Get Clear of Counter-Intentions and Limiting Beliefs!!!

 

 

Stop Self-Sabotage
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Some experts call these unconscious conflicts of beliefs, “counter-intentions and limiting beliefs,” and until you get “clear” of these hidden mental snags, attracting the things you want in life is going to be very difficult.  It’s like trying to drive a car with one foot flooring the gas and the other foot pumping the brake pedal.

When you discover the simple process of eliminating “Counter-Intentions and Limiting Beliefs” from your mind, it’s as if the flood gates are flung wide open.  All the abundance you’ve been concentrating on and waiting for is suddenly “cleared for landing” . . .

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David Duane Wilson
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“This Site is Dedicated to Helping you Improve Yourself Through Self Help Techniques and Positive Thinking!” “Give It A Thought” Duane Wilson . . .

 

4 Times to Be Brutally Honest with Yourself By: Aleksandre McMenamin.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

Today I have a wonderful new guest author who has an important article we all can learn from. I enjoy having many guest author’s here on my blog to share what topics are important to them in living a well-balanced recovery life. So todays guest author is Aleksandre McMenamin.
I hope we all learn something new we can use in our own recovery journey …

 

meditation
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We, as human beings, have a strong tendency to see what is wrong in other people’s lives. However, when it comes to our own, such intuition often fails us. A vast amount of people on this planet live day-to-day being dishonest with themselves, and are failing to correct problems their lives as a result of it. This is why it is often important that we take a stance of brutal honesty when looking at the issues in our lives. Besides, if you can’t be honest with ourselves, then we’re really just living a lie…

Struggling with addiction

It can be incredibly difficult to approach your addiction with a degree of self-honesty. This is because addiction is a mental disease that makes self-introspection quite challenging. However, that only makes such brutal honesty even more important. You won’t be able to get the best from treatment unless you are honest with yourself and others. And if you can’t admit to yourself, honestly, that you are suffering from addiction and need help, how can you ever expect to fight it and get better? Being honest in these difficult times will help you keep your loved ones close, instead of pushing them away. For more information about honesty and addiction, check out this incredibly useful blog post here.

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Failing relationships

Whether you are in a long-time marriage with someone, or you have just been dating for a good while, honesty with yourself and your partner is the most important bedrock of any wonderful relationship. This includes being brutally honest in times when the relationship is less than satisfactory. Is it not working? Is it not going anywhere? These are questions that you need to have answered for the sake of both you and your partner. Failing to be honest and deal with these issues head on is likely only going to make the situation get worse as more time passes, and that isn’t good for anybody! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cut off a relationship with somebody you love to be honest with yourself, but usually something definitely has to change for it to keep working.

Your job isn’t working

The time that we spend at work makes up a considerable amount of time in our lives. Many people spend well over half of their waking hours at a job. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to be honest with yourself about how you feel about the place where you work. Life is too short to be stuck in a dead-end job that you will hate for hours on end. Continuing to live like this will only bring you great unhappiness in all aspects of your life (not just work). This is neither good for you, nor that place where you work. So why continue to work at a place if you are terribly unhappy there? How can you expect anything to get better if you don’t admit to yourself that this isn’t the place for you? If your finances can allow it, you need to be honest with yourself and make a change.

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Poor personal health

The body and health that many people have usually doesn’t exactly align with the body and health that they want. This doesn’t mean that most people aren’t healthy or decent lifestyles, but they may be setting expectations for themselves that they aren’t truly working at meeting. This can lead to a path of self loathing for no good reason, at all. Do you keep telling yourself that you are eating healthy and have a great workout schedule, only to consistently cheat at both of them?

This is a slippery slope to making more and more unhealthy decisions that will make you feel worse about yourself. It’s important to be honest about your expectations with yourself and whether you are really working towards them. Why keep expecting yourself to do these things if you don’t really want to commit? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat the extra cake, but at least be honest with yourself so you don’t feel as though you are lying about it. This will lead a much happier lifestyle, overall …

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author and Recovery Advocate
“Addicted To Dimes”

Product Details
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National Recovery Month Guest Article By, Claudiu Revnic and from Castle Craig Treatment Center.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

In celebrating National Recovery Month, I have been doing many special events here on my recovery blog all month-long. And today is no different.  Many of us in recovery also have daily challenges with being ‘dual diagnosed’ with other health issues other than just living in recovery from addictions. I myself also suffer and live with Mental and Emotional health issues.

So when I came across this fantastic article on the blog of the fine folks over in the UK, Castle Craig Hospital, who treat alcohol and drug addictions, I just had to share it. They have a wonderful blog on their website by fine recovery authors. This one caught my attention about addiction and bipolar. I have these challenges, so I knew others here could benefit from this article. As we all know, addiction is addiction no matter the type.
So I feel it’s an appropriate article to share with you all.. .. ..

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Castle Craig Hospital - An alcohol & drug rehab clinic


Article By:  Claudiu Revnic Blog Contributor of Castle Craig

Claudiu Revnic
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Is Bipolarity A Catalyst for Addiction?

The mechanism linking bipolarity and addiction is multi-dimensional.

People with bipolar disorder are more prone to addiction than those suffering from any other mental health condition.

In some cases, depression or mania might not be symptoms of bipolarity, but the adverse effects of substance abuse.

The NHS defines bipolarity as a “condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another”. People who suffer from this condition oscillate between depression and mania, which is a state of intense euphoria.

Many people with bipolar disorder experience problematic use of alcohol and drugs. The link between bipolarity and addiction is stronger than one would expect.

Some studies point out that about 50% of people with bipolar disorder have substance abuse problems. Also, they are around 4 times more likely to develop drug and alcohol addiction than the general population. People with bipolar disorder are more prone to addiction than those suffering from any other mental health condition.The question is why do so many people with bipolar disorder resort to heavy drinking and drug use?

Probable Causes

There is no consensus in the medical community over what causes people with bipolar disorder to abuse alcohol and drugs. Some argue that there is a genetic trigger for the link between bipolarity and addiction. Others emphasize that people with bipolar disorder use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate their extreme states.

Castle Craig psychiatrist Professor Jonathan Chick argues that there is a complex of factors:

“The mechanism linking bipolarity and addiction is probably multi-dimensional, with emotional instability being one aspect. This emotional instability is then self-treated by some with alcohol and/or drugs.“

What If Substance Abuse Is Really The Problem?

Dr. Jim Craig, another psychiatrist at Castle Craig, points out that there are cases where the substance addiction comes before bipolar disorder:

“A number of individuals start with alcohol problems and then the bipolar disorder emerges after a few years. Whether the alcoholism is actually causing the bipolar disorder in those minority of individuals is still not clear.”

In some cases the states of depression or mania might not be symptoms of bipolarity. They might be the adverse effects of substance abuse.

Dr. Jim Craig also explains that identifying the link between drinking and depressive illnesses can be problematic: “It does happen that a patient has got an alcohol problem and it may be difficult to find out if they have a depressive illness. Alcohol itself is a depressant that disturbs sleep and can alter the mood.”

This requires careful monitoring after the patient has finished residential rehab: “If the depression doesn’t return and the patient is abstinent, that is pretty good evidence that the depression is a result of the alcohol” says Dr. Craig. “If it does return, then they have a primary depressive illness. In that case they need antidepressants.”

Please Visit Their Helpful site for more recovery articles at: http://www.castlecraig.co.uk/blog/ ‘Castle Craig Hospital’

“Presented To By Recovery Starts Here by Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

A Guest Recovery Article By, Author Tony Marini . . .The Vicious Circle of Gambling.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

Todays recovery blog post is all about Gambling Addiction. I welcome Special Guest Author, Tony Marini.
I came across his article from the fine folks of, “Castle Craig: Addiction Treatment Centre, A Leading UK Alcohol & Drug Rehab Clinic in the UK.”

I enjoy their blog, as they have many interesting articles and posts. Of course this one from Tony caught my eye, and they were kind enough to let me share it here on my Gambling Recovery Blog. So I thank “Olivia” for the kind permission to do so.  I urge all my recovery friends to go by and visit their blog for helpful information and resources!

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Blyth Bridge
West Linton
Peeblesshire EH46 7DH
Tel: 01721 722763 Fax: 01721 752662
E-Mail:
info@castlecraig.co.uk Website: www.castlecraig.co.uk

August 2015 ~ By Therapist, Tony Marini
Tony Marini

The Vicious Circle of Gambling

A young lad of 23 told me “I’ve won three thousand five hundred pounds.” I asked him what he did with that money and he said “I bought a car.” I then asked him how long he had the car for and he said “two weeks!” He had sold it so he could go back to gambling.

Due to the 24/7 access to online gambling sites it is so easy to become a compulsive gambler. Before the internet it could take years for gambling to become a problem: the bets would most likely have been smaller; they had to physically go to a bank and a betting shop; and it would all take longer. You couldn’t use a credit card in bookmakers like you can now.

Nowadays you can get instant loans, payday loans at three and a half thousand per cent interest rates. I know a lot of people who have had ten or twelve payday loans in a single month. How are they ever expected to pay that back?

Gamblers – The New Profile

Gambling has traditionally been seen as a problem for older men. According to statistics, 20 years ago only 8% of women gambled but new research shows that the rate has increased to 50%.

I see younger and younger people becoming addicted to gambling. This is because they have access to their smartphones 24/7, they use their credit cards and they don’t feel they are using real money. I know so many people who have racked up thousands and thousands of pounds of debt.

When they win money it goes straight into their account on that particular site – they don’t actually see the cash. They can’t withdraw the money for three days and during that time they are back on the site gambling with their winnings. And all this time they are saying to themselves “I’ve won all this money” and can’t see that they are caught up in the vicious circle.

Gambling and Suicide

I know three people who have killed themselves because of their gambling. I have seen statistics which show that three times as many gambling addicts kill themselves as compared to other types of addicts.

A good friend of mine was given a free £10 bet from her father to play on the bingo websites. Two years later she had tried to commit suicide, she had stolen from her family and had got into trouble with the law – all through her addiction to online bingo.

Gambling is seen as good fun and I don’t know what the solution is. On the gambling websites they allow you to win just enough to get that adrenaline rush, get the endorphins moving, the dopamine into the brain. Then they put the brakes on, take all your money and you think “I need to get back up there.” So then you start chasing your losses and are in deeper than ever. It’s a vicious circle.

The Appeal of Gambling

For me it was the grandiosity of being in front of that card game in a casino, people giving me free drinks and feeding me. I felt like I was someone. The buzz when you’re about to turn that card – is this the time I’m going to win big? For me it wasn’t the win but the lead up to it: I’ve got the money, I’m going to get dressed, look smart and walk through that door and feel the rush of adrenaline. Sitting at the table, getting the first deal. Is this the one?

Ten years on and in recovery, I am interested in cross addiction. When I stopped one addiction my gambling increased, but when I stopped gambling my other addiction increased. When I stopped both I started shopping and working to excess. Now it is about awareness – I am more aware of myself and that I could do anything to excess. I deal with it by going to 12 Step meetings and making sure that I have people around me who are aware of who I am and what I can do.

I have had to change my life, change my career and become a better person. I started by volunteering and supporting others. I went to college and university and trained to become an addiction therapist.

If you really want to change your life it is possible – I am proof of the fact.  The first step is admitting you have a problem and that you cannot continue on the path you are on.  You have to accept that you cannot do this on your own and put your hand out for help  .. .. ..

Again, please visit Castle Craig’s website and blog for more help articles and resources for drug and alcohol. http://www.castlecraig.co.uk/blog/

*Catherine*

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