March is Problem Gambling Awareness. Sharing Stats, Facts, & The Warning Signs. What is Problem Gambling Any way?

March is Problem Gambling Awareness. Sharing Stats, Facts, & The Warning Signs. What is Problem Gambling Any way?


The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and other sources note the following statistics. 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week. Approximately two to three percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. That’s around 6 million adults and about a half million teens.

Courtesy of The National Council on Problem Gambling




The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and other sources note the following statistics.

  • • 15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week.
  • • Approximately two to three percent of Americans meet the criteria for problem gambling. That’s around 6 million adults and about a half million teens.
  • • Youth risk developing a gambling problem at a rate of about two to three times that of adults, and approximately 6 percent of college students in America have a gambling problem.
  • • About 40 percent of people with a gambling problem started gambling before the age of 17.
  • • Nevada has the highest prevalence of problem gambling in the country, at about 6.4 percent.

Effects of Problem Gambling

  • • There are an array of harmful effects arising from problem gambling, including:
  • • NCPG notes the annual cost associated with gambling (crime, addiction, and bankruptcy) is $17 billion.
  • • Approximately 76 percent of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder, according to the NCPG.
  • • The NPCG also says children of problem gamblers are at higher risk for a number of behaviors including problem gambling, tobacco use, and drug use.
  • • Oregon Problem Gambling Resource states that about 10 to 17 percent of children of problem gamblers and about 25 to 50 percent of spouses of problem gamblers have been abused.
  • • Georgia State University (GSU) estimates that about 50 percent of problem gamblers commit crimes, and about 2/3 of those crimes were directly related to the gambling.
  • • GSU also notes that 73 percent of people who are incarcerated are identified as problem gamblers.
  • • An Australian study found that one in five suicidal patients had a gambling problem.



WHAT IS PROBLEM GAMBLING?

Gambling addiction—also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling or gambling disorder—is an impulse-control disorder. If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones. You’ll gamble whether you’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed, and you’ll keep gambling regardless of the consequences—even when you know that the odds are against you or you can’t afford to lose.

Of course, you can also have a gambling problem without being totally out of control. Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences in your life, you have a gambling problem.

A gambling addiction or problem is often associated with other behavior or mood disorders. Many problem gamblers also suffer with substance abuse issues, unmanaged ADHD, stress, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. To overcome your gambling problems, you’ll also need to address these and any other underlying causes as well.
The first step is to separate the myths from the facts and what are the implications?

The Mayo Clinic identifies the following risk factors for developing a gambling problem.

  • • Behavior or mood disorders
  • • Age – the problem develops more frequently in young people
  • • Family influence – whether parents and other close adults were gamblers
  • • Personality characteristics such as high level of being competitive, or easily bored

Further, Problem Gambling Prevention identifies certain risk factors in teens, including:

  • • Being male
  • • Living in a single-parent household
  • • Having a below-median household income
  • • Early initiation – starting before 8th grade
  • • Playing sports at school
  • • Experiencing problems at home
  • • Having low-self esteem and self-worth





Courtesy of http://risehelp.info/online-gambling/ The Rise Center Shares;

Online gambling casinos earned $29.3 billion in 2010, an increase of 12 percent. Morgan-Stanley projects that online gaming in the United States will be worth $9.3 billion by 2020. Currently, some states allow online gaming, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND ONLINE GAMBLING

The fastest growing segment of the population involved in online gambling are college students. A University of Connecticut study showed:

  • • 23 percent of college students had gambled online
  • • 6.3 percent did so weekly
  • • In the group that gambled frequently online, 61 percent were pathological gamblers.
  • • In comparison, only 5 percent of non-internet gamblers were considered to have a gambling problem.

Another report on online gambling noted that the easy accessibility and frequency of play of online gambling present a significant risk of problem gambling.

OTHER INTERNET GAMBLING STATISTICS

Other statistics about online problem gambling include:

  • • A 2013 Australian survey showed 30 percent of online gamblers were at risk of problem gambling. Only 15 percent of offline gamblers risked developing a problem.
  • • BBC reports a rise in problem gambling in the 18 to 35 year old demographic in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  • • Another report links smartphone gaming to an increase in problem gambling.



    You can RISE above gambling and other addictions! 

Some of the life’s greatest milestones are threatened by problem gambling and other addictive behaviors. Addiction affects not only the addicted person, but the entire family and can cause a tremendous amount of wreckage and problems in all areas of life for everyone in the family.

RISE believes in the power of family recovery, and is passionate about providing help for both the individual and the family members. We aim to provide compassionate quality treatment for you and your loved ones on the journey to recovery and healing. Recovery starts with you. Rise has great resouces too!

Here are just of few of the resources that can STOP GAMBLING Your Life Away!


Gamblers Anonymous www.gamblersanonymous.org

National Council on Problem Gambling www.ncpgambling.org

Arizona Council on Problem Gambling https://problemgambling.az.gov/arizona-council-compulsive-gambling

Gam-Anon  (For Family/Friends of gambler) www.gam-anon.org

National Suicide Prevention Hotline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Nevada Al-Anon (For Family/Friends Alcoholic) wwwnevadaal-anon.org

Al-Anon www.al-anon.org

Alcoholics Anonymous www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous www.na.org

Nar-Anon (Family/Friends) www.nar-anon.org

Game Quitters-Video Gaming Addictions http://gamequitters.com

Nevada Council on Problem Gambling www.nevadacouncil.org

Nevada Gamblers Helpline 1-800-522-4700

National Problem Gambling Helpline Text 800-522-4700

National Problem Gambling Helpline chat www.ncpgambling.org/ch

Vogue Recovery Center www.voguerecoverycenter.com


In Case Of An Emergency Always Call 911 First.


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

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

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WELCOME To Bet Free Recovery Now Holiday Watch and Friends!

 

***HAPPY THANKSGIVING****

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

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

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

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

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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My Thanksgiving Day Spent in AA

By Flower B

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

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

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Makeshift Family

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

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

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

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Boogie on Down

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

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

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A Celebration

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

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

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

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

Do you remember how you spent your first Thanksgiving in recovery? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
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Guest Holiday Article From ‘The Fix.’ Is A 12-Step Program All You Have In Your Life? By Katie MacBride

I am starting my New Recovery Holiday Article Share series with an interesting topic and question. As in many Gamblers Anonymous meetings I have attended, I have heard some say that they gave up all their friends and are only friends with their GA, AA, or NA pals that they meet. They only go to 12-step functions like dances, holiday parties and more.  I don’t know if that is a healthy and well-balanced recovery. DO YOU?  Does AA, GA, Na or others have to be your life?

We have had the talk here before if 12-Step Programs is the only way to recovery from addiction, and most said no not really.  Now please, I am not knocking the 12-steps at all. My experience was I attended to be with other like -minded people looking to recover and as support. So let’s read another perspective about this and share how you feel about this in my comments. I like to know what others in recovery have to say. So share your VOICE  .  .  .  .


Does AA Have to Be My Life?
By Katie MacBride of The Fix Magazine

Dear Katie,

“Have you ever heard someone in the rooms say that we live AA and visit life? My sponsor tells me that but sometimes I have a hard time with it because I don’t feel like I got sober just to go to AA all the time, I got sober so that I could live my life. But she seems to believe that you get sober through AA so you have to live the AA triangle all the time. I don’t know that I necessarily agree with that because I think the point of AA is to bring the principles with you into how you handle your everyday life. Could you offer your opinion on that?”

Spend enough time in or around 12-step programs and you’ll have aphorisms coming out your ears. Many of these are useful—whether or not one is in a 12-step program or not. (I’m a big fan of HALT, even though I thought it was incredibly stupid when I first heard it—more on that here.)

I always think of Sandra Bullock in the movie 28 Days when she’s mocking her treatment counselor for telling her to take it “one day at a time.” She scoffs, “‘One day at a time,’ what is that? I mean like two, three days at a time is an option? I don’t need the Romper Room bullshit.”

All the “Romper Room bullshit” can be annoying as hell, especially when the person reciting it seems way too cheerful and peppy for somebody, not on drugs, a drinker, or addicted gambler. There’s a reason for those irritating sayings, though. When something happens that makes us consider drinking or using, we often don’t have time for lengthy, well-reasoned arguments about why it’s a bad idea.

If we’re lucky, we have time to get one annoyingly oversimplified and yet somehow appropriate saying between our ears. That one phrase has to be easily accessible through the fog of our craving and snap us back to reality. It has to remind us of what it was like when we were drinking and using, and why we work so hard to stay sober. It turns out those quippy little Romper Room quotes are great for that. I’m not familiar with the saying “live in AA and visit life,” but what I have heard—and am guessing your sponsor means—is “don’t put the life AA gave you in front of your AA life.”

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This, like many of the aphorisms, can seem both confusing and annoying. What is the difference between the life AA gave you and your AA life? Isn’t it all just…your life? Or, as you more eloquently put it, isn’t the “point of AA to bring the principles with you into how you handle your everyday life”? The short answer is yes. We get sober so we can live our lives. The tools that we learn in recovery, whether through a 12-step program or some other treatment program, are skills that you’ll take into the world with you as you go along in your everyday life.

Your sponsor (if I am understanding her correctly) is also right, in that you can’t get complacent about recovery. This is one of the biggest points of contention among those who dislike AA. It’s a cult, some folks will say, they make you go to meetings forever! They tell you to put AA before anything else! How can you live a normal life if you’re supposed to be focused on AA for the rest of it? These are the kind of claims that can make someone trying to figure out the new and complicated world of sobriety overwhelmed and completely freaked out. So let’s break down what it means.

Without getting into the disease controversy, or the “is AA, GA, or NA the best method” controversy, there is one thing about addiction and recovery that are unequivocally true:

If you want to no longer be actively addicted to something, you need to behave, and ultimately think, differently than you did when you were actively addicted. It sounds simple, but anyone who has tried to do it can attest to how difficult it is to accomplish. So the goal of any recovery program (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, AA, SMART Recovery) is to help an addict break their long established patterns of substance use.

It doesn’t end at just breaking the habits, though. Another thing you’ll hear people in recovery say is, “Getting sober is easy, staying sober is hard.” I don’t know that I’d ever call getting sober “easy,” but we often have more motivation to get sober than we do to stay sober. When I had ravaged my life as a result of my drinking, I had no choice but to build from ground zero up.

If I needed a reminder as to why I shouldn’t drink, all I had to do was look at the barren wasteland around me and the rubble beneath my feet. As I rebuilt my life, the barren wasteland changed into a vibrant city. My world was (and is) now comprised of people, places, and things and it’s tempting to become lost in that. There’s nothing wrong with living a full life outside your program of recovery, but there may be a danger becoming so preoccupied with it that you stop doing the WORK to maintain that recovery.

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People who undergo treatment for depression with a combination of therapy, medication, and exercise may not maintain that program with the same vigilance 10 years down the road as they did when they first entered treatment, but some ongoing maintenance will likely always be necessary.

The same is true for addiction. But addiction is a sneaky jerk, and alcohol and drug use are so commonplace that it’s not hard to forget that as addicts, we can’t use those things with impunity. I got sober at 23 years old and I can’t count the number of times I’ve wondered “maybe it was just a phase and I could drink ‘normally’ now,” even though I have literally no evidence to support that thought and abundant evidence to the contrary.

It’s also easy to get wrapped up in what being an addict/alcoholic means for the rest of your life. At the risk of tossing my own Romper Room slogan into the mix: try not to worry about it and take it…yep…one day at a time. Keep doing what’s working for you now. Remember what your life was like before sobriety and do what you need to do to hold on to your recovery.

The rest will work itself out.


Please visit Author, Katie MacBride over at The Fix Magazine and get all your questions answered about addiction and recovery.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, and Columnist at “In Recovery Magazine’s The Author’s Cafe.”  My ebook is now on Sale at  Amazon Kindle Store  . . . .