Oregonians Are Sharing Education 4 March Being Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Guest Article from KLEAN Treatment Centers.

 

MORE OREGONIANS BECOMING GAMBLING ADDICTS

 

People in Oregon are having a difficult time with the Oregon Lottery machines. There is not a problem with the actual games, per say, but many people are becoming hooked on gambling. They are no longer playing for the chance at winning a jackpot or even the thrill of winning. More Oregonians are gambling for the very same reasons that people do drugs, escaping boredom or stressful lives.

The result of this rise in gambling addiction is more people feeling riddled with guilt, shame, and even suicide because they have resorted to stealing from their kid’s piggy banks, pawing their valuables, lying, and pilfering from employers.

Damage Takes a Toll

People in Oregon are spending billions of dollars into state-owned video machines, feeding a revenue stream that goes to schools, parks, and other programs. It has actually become a public health issue. Figures gathered by the Oregon Health Authority offer clues that the misery is far more widespread than lottery officials are willing to acknowledge, according to an article in The Oregonian newspaper.

Statistics

It is estimated that there are an estimated 81,000 problem or pathological gamblers in Oregon. The state Addictions and Mental Health Services says that these gambling habits severely disrupt their lives. In 2012, 1,321 adults sought treatment for gambling addiction. The average gambling debt is $26,738 and the average household income is $32,140

In its latest diagnostic manual, the American Psychiatric Association this year revised its definition of problem gambling from an impulse-control disorder to clear-cut addiction similar to drug abuse and alcoholism. Some women share their stories . . .

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Catherine Lyon

Catherine Lyon is an author, writer, and advocate who now lives in the Phoenix, AZ area. She had lived in So. Oregon over 24+yrs and become addicted to the video poker/Slot games on these machines and used them as a form of “escape and cope” from her past underlying issues from childhood sexual abuse and undiagnosed PTSD and other disorders. When the money ran out, she pawned, sold, stole, and lied just to get more money to gamble. “I wrote my story in a book, a memoir, so others could learn some of the roots and have an in-depth look as to why I turned to addicted gambling. It is a very devastating disease and is having a negative impact in our communities across America.”

Kitty Martz

Kitty Martz, 44, a recovering video poker and slot addict who lives in Northwest Portland said, “The wins are often far more dangerous than the demoralizing, self-loathing losses. It creates this oasis of belief.” Martz was married to a wealthy man and went to divorced, homeless in Portland while she ran Burnside bars spending her last dollars on lottery machines.

Bonnie Sample

Bonnie Sample, a Gresham mother who owned a house-cleaning service, says she turned to video poker machines to get a break from raising a son with Asperger’s. She would gamble if she had $100 on her. When that ran out, she would gamble if she could scrape together $10 by shoplifting and returning an item to Fred Meyer, by selling her plasma, sometimes by begging on the street. She said, “I cared about nothing and no one but feeding the machine and keeping myself in that action.”

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Today I was able to share my advocacy on a fantastic and informative Radio Show called “Rise Above” with Mac Mullings and broadcast on iHeart Radio and KOKC from Oklahoma City. Here is the link and how it went!
Come take a watch: “Rise Above Radio KOKC Live”

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~Catherine Lyon

“My After Thoughts – Honoring Bobby H. & His Sister Ronda Hatefi, This Past Weekends National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling – My Story”

Hello and Welcome All Recovery Friends & New Visitors,

 




“It was a big weekend for Raising Awareness of Predatory Gambling! I blogged from morning until night with several posts I hope helped some or all who came to visit my recovery blog this past weekend”…

There were many events that took place all over the United States and around the world to ‘Honor The Memory’ of Ronda’s brother Bobby Hafemann who in 1995 to his life by suicide related to his problems with gambling. Bobby was only 28 years old.
Ronda commemorates Bobby’s birthday every year on September 29 through Problem Gamblers Awareness Day. She also chairs the Lane County Problem Gambling Advisory Committee.

But this year, my good friends and the fine folks of  Stop Predatory Gambling  helped to honor Bobby and his sister with the very First National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling this past weekend! Sept 26th & 27th 2015. Now since I suffer Agoraphobia, I took to my blog and social media and blogged about “All Things Gambling Addiction & Recovery!” I also wanted to thank Ronda, as I put my last post up late last night, and shared throughout social media, she had some nice words and re-shared my post links on her Facebook page.

So, I thought I would do one more post as an after event wrap up by sharing some of my book with all that shares when I learned, shown and became addicted to The Oregon Lottery Video Poker & Slot Machines. I stopped going to the Indian casinos. All I had to do was walk up the street to gamble on the machines that were through the Oregon Lottery. Access is a BIG factor with problem and addicted gamblers. And these machines are everywhere throughout the state. So is the part from my current book/memoir of how I learned about the Oregon Lottery .. .. .
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Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.


( Click to purchase from Amazon )

“After a visit to Oregon with my parents, my best friend, Debbie, who had lived next door to me in California for many years, decided to move to Oregon. She stayed with us until she got settled at her new job. About the same time, the state of Oregon passed a bill to allow video poker machines in places that served food, such as bars, taverns and delis. The lottery already had Keno games online. For my addiction, that was a downfall for me when I started compulsively gambling later on. It was so accessible.”

If you live in Oregon, you know what I mean. If you think about it, gambling is socially accepted. It’s pretty much everywhere you go – even in our children’s schools, with raffles, casino fundraisers, in our churches with bingo, and at our gas stations, markets and grocery stores with Megabucks, Powerball, Mega-millions drawings and scratch-off tickets. So, for an addicted gambler, it seems action really is everywhere, and when you’re addicted, you have no self-control. You feel as though you’re constantly teetering on a high wire.

When the video poker machines were approved by the state, the machines also popped up everywhere. Why drive to Las Vegas, Reno or Lake Tahoe, or go to an Indian casino, when you can go up the street to gamble? In the town where I live, there were little sandwich delis opening up around town and, as long as they served food and soft drinks, they could have up to six poker machines in their stores. They also sold beer, wine coolers and the cheapest cigarettes in town. They offered all types of lottery services and games.

As my husband continued working out-of-town for the next several months, and with my friend Debbie staying with me, she and I would often go have lunch at one of these deli’s. Around the same time, she and I would take weekend trips to the Indian casino, or go to the deli for lunch a lot more often. As that year went by, I also noticed I’d spend a little more money than I should have. I believe it was because of the easy access to gambling, and too much time on my hands. Was I addicted at this point? Hardly. That would soon change, though. As I look back now, I was experiencing a few “red flags” of addiction, but not recognizing them.

I remember having built-up feelings of excitement before I went, knowing I’d get to gamble if we went to lunch, or if we were going to the casino. The only thing I did was play Keno if we went to lunch at our local deli. I had never played the new video poker machines there, which were operated by the state lottery. One day, in early 1998, Deb and I went to have our usual lunch at the deli on a Saturday. We started talking three retired gentlemen, who were also having lunch and playing Keno while they ate. One of them finished his lunch and was on the other side of the deli playing one of the video poker machines, so I walked over to watch him play. He was winning. He had about $ 140 worth of credits on his machine. I asked him how much of that money did he start with. He said only $ 10. Well, you don’t have to tell a person who works in a bank how much profit he’d made so far.

Flush Fever

He was playing a game called “Flush Fever,” and explained how the game worked. I think that’s the day my life changed. The machine next to him was open, so I sat next to him and put in only $ 5 and won $ 45. I thought, ‘Wow, that sure was easy money.’ So I cashed out my ticket, sat back down next to him and played again. I started with $ 10 – it was a quarter game, so I increased my bet to 75 cents a hand. The machine started paying again. See, it’s the allure of the game and thinking you’re winning every time you play. That’s why winning, for an addicted gambler, is bad. It will keep a person’s ass on that chair gambling.

As I was playing, the guy next to me got up and was getting ready to leave. For as long as I’m alive, I will always remember what happened next: He leaned over my shoulder and said to me, “When you’re ahead, always cash out, and know when to leave with THEIR money, because I’d really hate myself if you got hooked on these machines.” Oh, if only I had listened to his sage wisdom.

“I still look back, all these years later, and remember what that man said to me. He never knew how that day changed my life, because I never saw him there again.” .. .. ..
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“Before I write about the woman I am, you need to know the little girl I was.”

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“This book is dedicated to my loving husband of 22 years. (Now 26 years this Sept 29th!) Tom, without you, your unconditional love for me and support throughout the years of my gambling addiction and recovery, I never would have made it back to reality. You have made me a better person for not just giving up on me, and for always knowing the true woman you married all those years ago. We both know now that no matter what life throws at us, we can weather any storm that comes our way. We deserve to have peace and serenity for the rest of our days together.”

“I also dedicate this book to all those who suffer from this illness, or those who may be afflicted with this insidious, insane addiction. Know that there is help out there, and hope, if you choose recovery. This illness is treatable, and there is life after gambling addiction. Our path to recovery may be rocky or difficult at times, but know you’re not alone.”

“There are others out there suffering from this destructive addiction.”

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Gambling Recovery Advocate 🙂 XO