I want to talk about a bad habit and behavior of self-sabotage. I know the meaning of it very intimately. For those who don’t? Here is what it means. Self-Sabotage: The dictionary definition of sabotage is “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt” or “deliberate subversion.” Mine started way before I became a gambling addict. I also feel it became worse during my addiction like added fuel to fire. In early recovery and through therapy, I was able to look back throughout my life and examine many of my past relationships where I had self-sabotaged them in many ways.
I feel that when we ‘self-sabotage’ things in our lives, it is tied to not having self-esteem or self-worth within ourselves. Like we are not “worthy” of love or people treating us well. It came from being raised with parents who didn’t understand children crave unconditional love and their validation when we do good. And I am NOT blaming my parents that they were this way, no, it may have been how they were raised and raised in way different times than what we live in today.
I would sabotage relationships, many with men, women, co-workers, anyone. I can not count how many times I would be dating a really nice guy, when things started to become serious and he would treat me like a ‘queen,’ I would for some reason feel I wasn’t worthy or special enough so, I would just break up with them, or cause a fight or just ignore them and move on. Where this was coming from at the time I did not know. This became even worse when I was addicted to gambling and finally learning it was part of the “Brains Dopamine Pleasure & Reward System.”
But fast forward in life and I continued this strange self-sabotage behavior. When I became addicted to gambling and in the worst of it, strangely the feelings of what I was doing to myself, my husband, friends, and family felt oddly normal to me. I think it was because I figured, “well, since I feel not worthy of goodness in my life it didn’t matter if I hurt others with my addicted gambling.” That was my sick and the diseased thinking at the time. Sadly, I was getting back at those who had caused me pain or hurt me. I was just hurting myself and everyone around me with both my gambling and self-sabatoge.
I came across a website that had a good explamation and article about this subject that helped me understand more of why I was doing it. SO I want to share it with you. I know I am not the only person who has had this problem and the post explains some of how we can stop self-sabatoge. It helped me and I hope it may help others.
Self-sabotage is any behavior, thought, emotion or action that holds you back from getting what you want consciously. Moreover, it is the conflict that exists between conscious desires and unconscious wants that manifests in self-sabotage patterns. It not only prevents you from reaching your goal, but also becomes a safety mechanism that protects you against disappointment. In other words, your brain is protecting you from getting hurt by doing what it thinks is best, which is keeping you within your comfort zone.
Self-sabotage tends to linger in our lives because of a lack of self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-belief. Likewise, we suffer from self-sabotage patterns because we are unable to manage our emotions effectively. We tend to react to events, circumstances and people in ways that hinder our progress and prevent us from reaching our goals and objectives.
Self-sabotage is also used as a method of coping with difficult situations or high expectations of ourselves or others that we unconsciously feel we are not capable of reaching. No matter what our reasons for self-sabotage it is clear that if we don’t do something about it, that we will continue to live a life full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.
Eliminating Self-Sabotage Process
There is a simple yet very effective process that we can follow to help us eliminate self-sabotage from our lives. The process is composed of four steps that will help you to take conscious control of the behaviors that are currently directing your decisions and actions. Learn to get out of your own way!
1. Identify Self-Sabotage Behavior
First we must identify the behavior that is preventing us from moving forward. To do this, we must become consciously aware of our daily decisions and actions and the resulting consequences. Once identified, it’s important to pinpoint specific triggers that may be causing this behavior to come through to the surface. These triggers could include people, objects, specific times, events, locations, etc. Next, we must ask ourselves whether we can avoid these triggers altogether?
By simply removing these triggers from our lives we will be better prepared to take conscious control of our thoughts, feelings and actions. However, there is yet another factor that we must take into consideration, which is the limiting beliefs we have associated with each particular self-sabotage pattern. The key is to identify these limiting beliefs, then work on transforming them into positive empowering beliefs that work for us rather than against us. One of the simplest ways to do this is the question the validity of your belief.
What is it that I believe in this situation?
What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities?
How did my belief about this trigger this self-sabotage pattern?
How is this belief ridiculous and impractical?
What would others say about this belief?
What is another more helpful perspective I could take of this situation?
These questions are a good starting point and will get you focused in the right direction.
2. Recreate Self-Sabotage Pattern from Beginning
Having completed step #1, you can now consciously recreate the self-sabotage pattern by outlining all the triggers and the associating behaviors that manifest as a result of these triggers. It’s important that you are clear how this behavior manifests in your life before moving onto the next step.
3. Identify Healthy Replacement Behavior
In order to eliminate an old pattern of behavior we often must replace it with a new pattern of behavior that’s more practical and helpful. This is important because often we simply can’t avoid certain triggers such as people, objects or circumstances that cause us to react in limiting ways. As such, we must take time to identify a new, different and appropriate way of responding that will help us to achieve our goals and objectives.
How could I respond in a more appropriate and proactive manner that would help me get what I want?
How is this a better way to respond?
What are some reasons for making this change?
What could be the long-term benefits of transforming how I respond in this situation?
What are the key advantages of this new behavior?
4. Practice New Behavior Until Habit is Formed
Once you have identified your new behavior, you must now take the time to practice implementing it as often as possible over the next four weeks until a habit is formed. First begin by running your response to the situation in your imagination, seeing every detail, and feeling the positive energy churning through your body as you overcome this self-sabotage pattern.
Now that your imagination has been primed, you are now ready to put yourself in situations that will naturally trigger your old patterns of behavior, however this time, you are primed with a new response mechanism that you will continue to practice over the next four weeks until a new habit is finally formed. NOW GO READ THE REST OF THIS AMAZING ARTICLE ON… Again, I hope you will go read this full article http://blog.iqmatrix.com/overcome-self-sabotage as it has many tips and advice on taking control over self-sabatoge in your life and in your recovery journey!
Super Bowl media attention is everywhere. You can hear about it on the news, on sports stations, in the newspapers and in every office we work in. Many offices have square charts in the back room where employees can participate in gambling on who they believe would win or the points or on how long the national anthem will last or anything else. Some people literally gamble on every aspect of the event.
If an individual, or groups of individuals, are so focused on gambling on every part of the Super Bowl event, are they really enjoying the game or are they hunting for a “high?” And if they’re only hunting for the high, what about their careers? What about loved ones (family children, etc.)? If the individual is so hyper focused on gambling rather than enjoying the game, it seems that this becomes the focus and takes away from the social aspects of enjoying a sporting event with loved ones.
The Effects of Problem Gambling
For people struggling with problem gambling, this might be their story. There are many people across New York State who experience a slew of problems associated with their gambling behavior. Some of these problems can be damaged relationships with a spouse and/or children, conflicts at work, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Gambling may have even turned into an addiction (i.e., gambling disorder).
For people in recovery, the Super Bowl may be a huge trigger to start gambling again. It may be difficult to avoid talking about the Super Bowl, hearing people talk about betting on the Super Bowl, and feeling the urge to resort to old habits and place a bet of some type on this event. The Super Bowl may trigger a relapse.
Families Can Take Action
Families and loved ones of someone struggling with a gambling problem, or of someone in recovery from problem gambling may face similar obstacles to support their loved one who is struggling with problem gambling. Similarly, they can be helpful and supportive during this time of year.
Have a conversation
Having a conversation is important for everyone. Whether it’s to let someone know that you believe their gambling is causing problems, or to connect with someone in recovery and find out how they’re feeling. A conversation is a really easy way to get a finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the individual. It’s also a good way to gauge how the family can plan for the upcoming event.
A conversation could be as simple as asking questions like:
How are you feeling lately?
Are you feeling any pressure at work or from friends to gamble?
Are you planning on watching the Super Bowl or would you like us to plan something else as a family?
Some simple questions can get some simple answers. They could also be a springboard to a deeper conversation about the negative effects sports gambling has had. It can also be a great way to identify triggers and other activity ideas to avoid gambling on the Super Bowl.
Triggers are anything that causes an individual to feel the urge to gamble. A trigger could be a commercial about the Super Bowl, it could be hearing the excitement of colleagues talking about their squares, or a trigger could be just knowing the time of year and remembering the feeling, the high, of gambling on the Super Bowl in previous years. Whatever the triggers may be, it’s important for family and love ones to know what they are so they can help avoid them in conversation, and help prepare the person, struggling to avoid gambling, to know their triggers and come up with alternative activities.
Alternative activities can be different ways to enjoy the Super Bowl. These ways include:
Watching it with different people who aren’t gambling,
Keeping phones with gambling contacts and apps away,
Asking a spouse to keep a close watch on extra money,
Avoiding media and social media,
Spending time with different people than those who are gambling, and
Planning activities that have nothing to do with the Super Bowl.
For people who want to avoid the Super Bowl, so they don’t find themselves in additional problems related to gambling, there are many other things to do during that time. Ideas to spend time with love ones can include:
Legos with children,
Renovating a room in your home, or
Anything else that takes time, energy and focus.
Being that many of us are alone, especially with social distancing, choosing activities to do by yourself is also important. Some activities to do on your own can include (similar to above):
Re-organizing part of your home,
Video chatting with love ones,
Planning a movie or night of binge watching your favorite TV show,
Any type of art or craft.
Really, the options are limitless. And if you’re unsure what to do, reach out to a loved one and find out the best way to fill that time. Making sure there’s a plan to help keep loved ones safe is the best preventative care to help them avoid further problems associated with gambling.
If you need additional support, or your loved one who struggles with gambling problems has decided to look for help, please reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center at NYProblemGamblingHELP.org. There you can connect with a dedicated professional eager to help you identify local resources and get connected to local support as desired.
There is no pressure with that call; only care and concern. Your local Problem Gambling Resource Center is HERE TO HELP. You can may also call The National Council On Problem Gambling and 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. You may also visit their website here https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/
Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a recovering compulsive gambler.
A little bit about my background. My mother passed away when I was 8 years old. It turned my whole world upside down in an instant. I was separated from my family and was sent to live with my father whom I did not know, down in Georgia. I went to live at a children’s home when I was 11.
Looking back it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Went through routine teenager stuff for the most part. Met my now ex-husband and we were married for 26 years. I have twin boys who will soon be 30 and a beautiful granddaughter. I should mention here that my ex was in the military, we moved around a lot and I raised our boys mostly on my own. I have always relied on myself to handle things, not always the best decision. I never learned to ask for help or truly trust anyone.
When my ex got ready for retirement we finally moved back home to Washington, who says you can never go home again? It was a very difficult transition. Funny when I think of it now, how when I lived here before, I had the most traumatic experience of my life when my mom died, now back home I had to deal with the second most traumatic experience, my kids going through some very trying stuff (law breaking/possible prison) and a divorce that was a long time coming.
I couldn’t deal with it at all and I went off the deep end and down the dark rabbit hole which is known to a lot of us as the casino. My kids were off on their own, my ex was living the high life, I had disposable income and low self-esteem and nowhere to go, no place safe, no way to stop all the screaming, crying voices in my head. I had been to the casino socially and it was no big deal, had dinner, would play $20 and I could call it good. At least for a while.
My gambling career lasted for about 6 years. I knew things where changing about half way in and couldn’t stop myself. It was a place to go any time of day or night, didn’t matter what I looked like, I could smoke all I wanted and no one to bother me. It was my safe place, what a joke that turned out to be. Then I turned the corner and lied to my son, of course by then I was lying to everyone about where I was and what I was doing and no one ever understood why I never had any money. I was a closet gambler, no one knew.
I finally started writing bad checks and covered my last one with my son’s money by telling him I needed it to cover one from the grocery store and I was getting paid the next day. He loaned me the money and I did pay it back the next day but that was it for me, I couldn’t do this to my child, for me, I had crossed some line. Of course, there is more to my story, but to go forward …
I finally broke down and went to a local GA group in town. Whew, what a monumental life changing experience. I went to meetings, I got a sponsor, began to work the steps and eventually I found peace. I could look myself in the eye, I had goals. I had money again and was eventually able to buy my first home all by myself. I stayed bet free for 3-years until about a month ago. That is what has prompted me to share my story, my relapse. Working Step 4 all over again. I would never recommend a relapse but for me, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. During my 3-years bet free, I always had this “what if” thing hanging over my head. Asking myself, what would it be like, could I gamble socially, am I really and truly a compulsive gambler…
I think subconsciously I planned it all along and now that it is over and done with I am good. All questions answered. YES, I am a compulsive gambler without a doubt. I started right where I left off. So how did I get to that point and what did I do about it. Well first off, I had quit going to my GA meetings. For several reasons, the group is small and became toxic, it became harder and harder to put principals before personalities. It was no longer a safe place for me to go.
So, I resigned my chairing and treasury positions and quit. Are there other meetings yes, but I was burned out. Now to back up a bit, I live in my little house which I absolutely love. Nothing special, but it’s all mine and I now share it with 2 of my younger brothers whom I have gotten reunited with over the years after having moved back home. For the most part it is working out wonderfully, but mind you I did not grow up with siblings. I did not grow up learning the art of conflict or arguing. I avoid confrontation on all fronts. Be invisible, keep your head down and keep going, I should note here that I have changed that way of thinking in a big way thanks to what I have learned in GA.
So long story short, had a huge argument with my brother that lasted for weeks, my home was no longer my emotionally safe place. I avoided it as much as I could. I knew I was about to go off the edge. I had many options, I could have called someone, could have looked for this website (GamTalk), could have gone to one of the other meetings, I knew exactly what I was doing and did it anyway. I wanted to, I am a risk taker, I wanted the questions answered, truth is, I already knew the answer.
So off to the casino I went. I purposefully went out of town so as to hopefully not be seen by anyone I knew. Sneaky behavior…I lied about where I was…old habits coming back never skipping a beat. So off I went ready and excited… I won, left with money and all the way home I kept telling myself it can’t end this way, so I went back the next day fully intent on losing it all. I did and then some, per usually gamblers behavior.
I did enough damage to hurt but not wipe me out. It’s a control thing and I fully recognize how I had subconsciously planned for this. What surprised me the most is how I have handled the relapse. First thing I did was to beat myself up on the long drive home, but I got home early and it was still day light, normally after a loss I would crawl in bed for days, even miss work.
Instead I put in my earphones started listening to gamblers stories and went for a 2 hour walk. I spent the next two days outside, hiking and driving through some of our beautiful state parks, totally outside the box of a normal day in my life. I wrote in my journal. I wrote my gratitude list, I prayed, I chatted a bit on this site. I feel relieved. I feel peace. I am renewed and ready to continue my recovery. I know that in GA I have to start over but I am not letting 9 hours of my relapse time to wipe out over a 1000 days of recovery. At least that is where my mind is at and I have had the best weeks in my life since.
I had to cleared the air with my brother and my home is my safe place again and I will never give that up again. I believe and completely trust my higher power. The nagging questions in the back of my mind are answered and put to rest. I have bounced back financially. I have left out a lot of details, but the bulk of it is now written, step 4, part of it anyway, sharing with you is step 5 for me. Thank you for being here, I intend to continue here as part of my ongoing recovery. This is just one more chapter in the book of my life, it had its twists and turns, but it’s not the end by far… Bless you!
* * * * *
This story is courtesy of a great place to be for those trying to stay in or maintain recovery from problem or addicted gambling. A resource called GAMTALK and free to JOIN: https://www.gamtalk.org/join/ They have several resources and you can chat with like minded people in the Chat Forum or The Community Wall and is run by the Founder, Dr. Richard Wood and they support all things GA. (Gamblers Anonymous) and more.
Please, stop by there GAMTALK’s website and see for yourself how helpful it is or if you know anyone with a gambling problem. They are sponsored by many who care about those who may become addicted to gambling… ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon
Dr. Wood has published numerous gambling related articles, presented his findings at conferences and seminars around the world, and undertaken many responsible gaming consultations for both the gaming industry and regulatory sectors. His research focuses on both the individual causes of problem gambling, as well as the structural characteristics of games that can influence the gambling behaviour of vulnerable players.
Specialties: Designing effective responsible gambling strategies. Examining the structural and situational characteristics of game design and gaming environments to minimise any negative consequences for ‘vulnerable’ players.
Understanding the psychology of gaming in order to promote healthy gaming attitudes and behaviours, investigating problem gambling and evaluating treatment and intervention programs.
He provides online support for people with gambling issues on GAMTALK. He resides in Ontario, Canada
What a whirlwind of a recovery year we all have had, RIGHT?
As a person maintaining recovery and an advocate, it has been an a wild and bumpy ride to say least. I many people looking recovery resources and mentoring than ever before while this pandemic continues to rage and continue to spread like wild fire.
I don’t know about you, but many things have occurred in my recovery journey this year that I couldn’t catch my breath. With Thanksgiving come and gone, the Christmas season is upon us, an odd year for sure; I am sure ready for a New Year! How do you live your recovery lifestyle amidst all the crazy going on since early 2020? I thought I’d share some of mine and make a point that no matter what life may throw at us?
We just never give up our recovery.
Has it been a challenging year since COVID turned our recovery path upside down? Well, yes. But I, for one, kept my long-term recovery path through it all. How do you ask? It wasn’t easy! It started with some personal and business pitfalls around the end of March. My literary marketing business took a hit as one by one, I lost all my author clients as they got furloughed from their jobs. It wasn’t about the little extra income I made. It was thinking, now, what will I do with all my time?
With authors having no money to market and promote their books. Nothing was selling as people focused on where the rent money, bill money or new jobs would come from, and just as recovery and everything else began to shift to online only. Then? It was an election year on top of that! And if you are a person who is on social media like I have to be when my business was running, it got really politically ugly and I had never seen America become so divided.
So, with the pandemic still spreading and medical experts telling us to STAY HOME, I actually had time to make Thanksgiving dinner with a nice turkey meal even though it was my birthday on Thanksgiving day. And as GOD is always taking care of us, I was blessed with gifts and even had a birthday cake my husband had special ordered for me.
Again, recovery has been rough since we can’t do meetings or groups in person. And tougher for me as a recovery advocate unable to speak, raise awareness and NO recovery awareness live in-person events. So, here are some things I have been doing to keep my recovery path moving forward, keeping it intact, and continue to share my voice and help others know that Recovery is Possible.
Read – Journal – Watch – Listen!
Since having more time, I have been writing and journaling like never before. It includes my recovery writing like for my column in “Keys to Recovery” newspaper and I was invited to write an article for a global magazine called ADIVA Magazine for their column “Her Story” for the Fall/Winter issue. Very exciting! I was honored to be part of the ADIVA Family.
Here are some things you can do at home through the holiday season to enhance your recovery.
Journaling is an amazing tool for processing “old pain” and healing. Another area is reworking your 12-Steps. Did you know when you continue to work your steps? You can go back to them at an earlier time and see what areas you need more growth, but you can see how far you have come. This helps to build your self-esteem and self-worth needed to move forward, maintaining your recovery.
Reading is a tool we can use to stay educated and learn by reading many addiction and recovery books. Audiobooks and e-books have become most popular since the pandemic. You can listen to a great book while doing work or cleaning at the same time. I have also been watching and listening to lots of podcasts and radio shows. I’ve even been a guest on several this year as an advocate. Visit my Book Suggested reads while you are here or visit this Amazon link and see all the amazing books on addiction/recovery to read! https://www.amazon.com/Recovery-Health-Mind-Body-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=4716
All of these activities can enhance our recovery during the holiday season.
Listening & Watching: Since most of as us have already shifted to online everything for recovery, like GA, AA, NA meetings, recovery groups, FB Live Celebrate Recovery, worship, and more. It is also important to continue being supported within your recovery by friends and family.
There are many free apps and platforms we can use to do so. Skype, What’s App, FB Messenger, Zoom, and watch FB Live events & visit recovery groups and many more. But never discount the good ole PHONE. Check-in with friends, your sponsor, and let them know how your doing. Watching and doing Podcasts shows is agreat way to share your voice and story of recovery! I have been a guest on several this year.
Last? Dive into the Christmas season by making your living space in your home Merry and Christmasey with decorations, lights, and maybe a little tree. Even though we can’t be all together this Christmas, you can still enjoy the season within your own home. Put on a mask and walk the neighborhood to see all the festive light displays or even drive to them in your car. It will also help the winter or seasonal blues and be healthy for our mental and emostional well-being.
So, yes, we still find ourselves with this pandemic during our recovery holiday season, and again, spreading. Listening to health professionals and those experts in your state or country you live in and to stay healthy and safe is part of our life, our recovery journey, and while keeping our recovery intact.
You Got This!
It’s called having life-balance! Besides, the good news is the vaccines are coming, and so is a “Fresh Happy New Year for a “Do-Over!” I know 2021 is going to bring us all life and recovery renewal, peace, and serenity. Next year, we will have so much to celebrate and have gratitude for knowing we all made it through.
Those of us maintaining recovery know we never give up!
As most people were literally left to their own devices during COVID-19 related lockdowns, many began engaging with technology in different new ways. Recent reports show that online gambling services have exploded in popularity, which could lead to a subsequent increase in gambling addiction.
The implementation of COVID-19 related lockdowns worldwide corresponded with a dramatic increase in many people’s screen time. While swiping the long hours away can help alleviate some of the restlessness and anxiety that comes from being stuck at home, it also increases exposure to heavily marketed goods and services, including online gambling.
Some countries have noted that bookmakers increased advertising on websites and social media to lure in potential customers, which can be problematic for those struggling with a gambling addiction, or those simply suffering from boredom and looking for a way to kill time.
Approximately 1 percent of the adult population in the United States has a severe gambling problem. The most recent research estimates that 6 to 9 percent of young people and young adults experience problems related to gambling — a higher rate than among adults.
Though a few countries such as Belgium, Spain and Latvia have imposed some restrictions on online gambling in order to try and curb addiction during the lockdowns, the majority of these services remain easily accessible and highly tempting. This poses a serious risk for an uptick in gambling addictions during the pandemic.
How the Pandemic Has Fueled Online Gambling
In a few short months, our daily lives and regular habits have changed dramatically. Both the physical and mental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have contributed to an increased use of online gambling services.
These impacts include:
Boredom, Depression and Anxiety
Few of us are used to spending so many hours, day after day, in our own homes. Cut off from our regular outdoor activities, classes, and even workspaces, many people began feeling bored, anxious, and even depressed.
The pandemic itself lent to stress not only about our health, but also about our work and relationships. These feelings, plus the shift of most interactions to an online forum, created a perfect storm for susceptibility to clicking onto an online gambling site.
Ban on Live Sports, Closure of Casinos
The crowds found in casinos and sports arenas around the world were quickly recognised as hotspots for the spread of the coronavirus, and were shuttered in many countries. For the first time, major sports seasons and events, including the upcoming Olympics, have been suspended, leaving avid sports fans and casual gamblers at a loss. Dramatic increases in visitors to online gambling sites suggest that people are filling the gap through online gambling.
Is Online Gambling More Addictive?
A recent study by the UK’s Gambling Commission found that 1.2% of all people who gamble have developed an addiction, but this figure increases to 2.5% when only online sports betting is considered, and a staggering 9.2% when the focus shifts to online gaming like casino games and roulette.
Part of this is due to the speed of online gambling – gamblers don’t have to wait for specific matches or tournaments, but can place bets in quick succession, chasing wins (or losses) one after the other. Because it is possible to gamble using credit cards instead of cash in hand, debts can be run up extremely quickly before people even really wrap their heads around how much is at stake. The fact that this type of gambling is available 24/7 via a simple click on our phones or computers, also factors into the heightened addiction rates.
Additionally, online gambling is more easily hidden. It’s far more obvious if you are spending hours at the casino or at a racetrack than if you are simply sitting in the corner scrolling and clicking. This lack of visibility can mean that others may not see you need help until the problem has become very serious.
Do You Have a Gambling Addiction?
There are many people who do enjoy casual or occasional gambling that does not result in any negative consequences to financial or mental health. These are gamblers who can accept a loss and walk away from a further bet.
However, if you are noticing that you’re clicking into sites more often, and placing larger and larger bets, you may be developing a dependency. Gambling addiction impacts both men and women, and can have serious effects.
Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction
Constantly thinking about or reliving gambling-related experiences
Increasing amounts of time during the day spent gambling
Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling
Using gambling as a “go-to” activity to relax or feel better
Having to make increasingly larger or riskier bets to feel satisfied or excited
Trying to win back money lost through gambling by engaging in further gambling
Attempting to downplay or cover up gambling habits
Experiencing financial strain as a result of gambling
Impacts of a Gambling Addiction
When people think of gambling addiction, it is immediately assumed that most of the impacts are financial. While those who struggle with gambling do face financial difficulties as a result of their dependency, the impacts of gambling go far beyond bank accounts, and often have serious negative effects on relationships, work and even legal issues.
Gambling has been proven to impact mental health, and has been linked to conditions like depression, and anxiety disorders. People struggling with gambling addiction are at greater risk for suicide – one study found that gamblers are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempts. The stress of living with a gambling disorder often manifests in physical ailments as well, such as digestive issues and migraines.
If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, seeking professional help from an addiction specialist is a necessity. Speaking with someone who understands the science of addiction and can help address and treat the root causes of dependency will lead to the best possible outcomes for recovery. . .
The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand offers residential treatment that specialises in behavioural addictions such as gambling. With a maximum intake of 25 clients at a time, our highly experienced professional team offers personalised attention and customised treatment plans for each and every client.
The fundamental objective of our programme is for clients to achieve and maintain long-term recovery by equipping each individual with a personalised set of coping tools to use when dealing with stress and triggers. The Dawn utilises a unique “Twin Pillars” approach for treatment, seamlessly blending Western psychotherapeutic techniques with proven Eastern wellness practices to holistically address the addiction, and allow the development of a full, healthy lifestyle.
Gambling Addiction Treatment On-site or Online with The Dawn
We understand that current COVID-19 related travel restrictions may make it difficult for you to access the benefits of a residential treatment programme at this time. At The Dawn, our therapists have years of experience providing online therapy to our clients post treatment in online aftercare groups as well as individual counselling.
To support individuals in need of help but unable to travel, we have been offering a special Virtual Treatment Programme with the option of transitioning to in-person residential treatment when clients are ready.
To best accommodate our clients, we structure our fees so that whatever you have already paid towards your online therapy goes towards your overall residential treatment fee. This allows you to continue your care with a trusted therapist in an environment totally removed from the triggers and stress of everyday life, and to focus completely on your recovery.
With the holiday season fast approaching and still living in uncertain times, it is more vital now then ever to have a Relapse Prevention plan ready. This is why I am very honored to have a Special Recovery Guestand dear friend of mine who has also been my close friend for several years and we have been through “thick and thin” together. He has become like a brother I never had.
He is not only a talented in-depth addiction and recovery writer, fellow author, and loud advocate, but he has been a mentor and one of my #1 supporters of my recovery from addicted gambling.
Yes, I am talking about Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D…
I invited him as my special guest to help us with Gambling Awareness and some Expert Advice for this unusual holiday season. He has done so and all about Relapse Prevention!
Now, Kevin is in the process of revamping his website! I will invite you all to NOT hesitate by visiting his Amazon Author Bio Page and grab many of his best-selling award-winning books! Kevin has helped many from addiction and stopped the suffering for addicts and helped many families heal together. There are many to choose from when it is time to gain life and no longer a path of darkness.
All of Kevin’s books can assist and will enhance to uplift you in your recovery journey, help parents help an addict, and gives the skills and tools within each book that work. So I present this helpful and educational article that Kevin was kind enough to write and share with us today. I am sure it will give hope to those who may feel there is no HOPE… Recovery is always possible!
~Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate.
Relapse Prevention is Key to Long-Term Recovery from Gambling (Ludomania)
Problem gambling, or ludomania, is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.
Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs. “Pathological gambling” is the most severe form of problem gambling and has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disease since 1980. Gaming or gambling is supposed to be for fun, for entertainment.
Teenagers are 3 to 4 times more likely to become problem gamblers than adults. 90% of High School students have gambled at least once in the last year. In the USA ages 14-21, 2.1% struggle with Problem Gambling, another 6.5% are at risk. Every year, 2% -3%, 2M U.S. adults are estimated to meet the criteria for disordered gambling and another 4-6M individual are problem gamblers at risk for serious addiction consequences. Men make up 2/3 majority of Problem Gamblers.
Relapse ‘s definition, to fall or slip back into a former state or practice. Relapse certainly can happen to those who are in recovery from substance abuse and (Problem Gambling) process addictions; however, it should not be expected, only a possibility. Many individuals recover without ever knowing the first physical relapse in their entire lifetime of sobriety. Most have emotional and mental relapses at certain times, and some do have physical relapses as well.
There are three different types of relapse: Emotional Relapse Mental Relapse Physical Relapse
Remember that relapse is a process, Behavior Changes: Hanging around slippery people, places, and things. Arguing and acting out. No serenity, not demonstrating spirituality. Attitude Changes: Different priorities, meetings, and recovery not as important as they were. Changes in Feelings or Moods: Resentments, anger, boredom, not satisfied with anything, not grateful. Changes in Thoughts: Thinking that you may be able to use safely now. Not living a life of balance and not taking care of self can all lead to relapse.
“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse. Fertile soil awaits your return and your recovering.” – Holli Kenley
Major changes in the structure of life, such as divorce, losing a job, moving, having a child, death, a serious injury, a relationship change, things that are a major structural change or life events can lead to relapse.
When faced with tough times five tips that can help anyone avoid relapse are as follows:
1. Continue to work your program of recovery. The vehicle that promotes change. Draw close to whatever program or modality that got you sober in the first place. Call other sober friends in your support network and be honest about what is going on in your life. Don’t be afraid to pick up the 500lb. phone!
2. Utilize anger management skills. Dealing with problems right when they arise. Resentments are the number one offender; we can’t afford them. Don’t let the sun go down on a problem. Use anger management and problem-solving skills to work things out without letting emotions get the best of you. You don’t always have to be right, don’t always have to be in control, and don’t have to be perfect.
3. Beware of self-centeredness. Work on your spirituality. Don’t be selfish! Those who fail to grow spiritually will relapse. The one thing that we must do is maintain our spiritual conditions; that means we must continue to grow spiritually; we must go where we are spiritually fed.
4. Stay in the day and don’t project! ‘One day at a time is great wisdom’! All we should worry about is today, tomorrow will take care of itself, so don’t worry. There is a God, and you’re not it!
5. Stay grateful! We must maintain an attitude of gratitude, if we forget all of the gifts that we have been freely given in recovery, then we are headed for trouble! If we forget the bottom or event or circumstance that led us into a life of sobriety then we are also in trouble, we must as they say, “Keep it green!” I have never seen a grateful person relapse!
These Tips Will Help Anyone Who Walks in the Sunlight of the Spirit Stay There...
If you walk in the shadows and dark places, then surely that’s where your heart will end up. The only way to have real long-term, lasting, quality sobriety is to continue to grow in recovery, and that means maintaining our spirituality on a daily basis, continuing to be spiritually fed daily growing in experience and wisdom and helping others. You can’t live on yesterday’s manna!
Stress and anxiety have always been triggers for substance abusers and regular people to learn hope to cope with on a daily basis. Drugs and alcohol had been “the solution” for them in the past; now they must disengage from such behaviors and find genuine coping mechanisms that last. Gambling abusers also need to be offered alternative ways to find a solution through a twelve-step approach, non-twelve-step approach, harm reduction, medication management, holistic programs, faith-based programs, and other approaches. Individuals must learn healthy ways to cope with stress without the use of drugs or alcohol, utilizing these new-found tools as a solution to stress will lead to lasting sobriety. Those who don’t suffer from substance abuse will also need coping skills for life on their own terms being BET FREE.
Stress Coping Skills Key to Lasting Recovery Developing strong stress and anxiety management skills and techniques are paramount to long-term sobriety, a balanced and healthy life. These skills can help those in recovery to avoid relapse and sustain lasting recovery. Research utilizing lab animals has shown that stress can precipitate relapses with addiction to certain chemicals.
PTSD & Chronic Stress Chronic drug usage may alter brain pathways affecting the user’s response to stress; this can make them more susceptible to relapse. Those who suffer from PTSD and individuals who have been exposed to chronic stress may be more likely to relapse; this makes stress management skills all the more important.
Stress Leading to Relapse! Significant changes in jobs, relationships, moving, finances, health, and other structural changes that those in recovery are likely to deal with cause stress and anxiety. This is a normal part of life for everyone. For the substance abuser, it’s okay to try to escape from the pressure. They must be careful not to transfer addictions from drugs to gambling, sex, or some other addiction. Medical specialists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse believe that the leading reason for relapse back into substance abuse is stress.
Some Individuals Need Mental Health Help Healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to manage stress; some individuals will need to seek out help from mental health professionals as part of those changes. The Mental Health Professional will work with the Professional Coach to help the client reach their goals and solutions.
Some changes that people have found helpful:
Deep Breathing Meditation and Yoga Prayer Proper Diet Balance and Boundaries Time management Taking care of Yourself Better Identifying Stressors Talking Things Out Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Exercise Low-Stress Activities
Positive People are the Winners! In recovery and in life it is essential to connect with the right people, “stick with the winners” as they say. Those in early recovery need to be around individuals and groups that they can learn solutions from, recovery role models so to speak.
It’s also important for those in early recovery to find an attitude of gratitude; it’s easy to become angry and negative from the very beginning. Gratitude raises balance, awareness, and the spirit in a way that the person will begin to see things about life in a new way, like seeing life with a new pair of glasses!
Talking with Others Learning to tell on yourself in early recovery is one of the hardest but most beneficial skills. Talk things out with other sober people, give them a piece of your burden and suddenly your burden becomes light. Running, walking, lifting weights, writing poetry, journaling, drawing, being creative, move a muscle change and thought is a great way to get out of your head when stressed. My journal below can help!
Avoid Relapse by Journaling to Coping with Stress All people need to learn to cope with stress in recovery; it’s essential to avoid relapse and maintain sanity and balance. Utilizing just a few of the tools and techniques can work for anyone if they want them to work. Sometimes just a deep breath works!
Professional Coaches Have the Goods! Professional coaches have skill sets, tools, and core competencies that they utilize to help their clients change their lives for the better. They utilize specific action planning, powerful questioning, active listening, and many other skills and techniques to get the results needed to move forward toward the solution needed to achieve the client’s goals. Stress and anxiety aren’t good for anyone no matter their walk-in life.
Triggers that Can Jeopardize Your Sobriety When most people hear the word trigger, they think of the noun or the trigger of a gun; the verb trigger means to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist. People who suffer from substance abuse and process addictions usually have triggers in their lives that are unique to their circumstances, past traumas, events, memories, losses, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, etc.
A recovering person’s triggers are set in motion through one or more of the five senses: smell, sound, touch, sight, and taste. Make no mistake about it; although we are talking about the verb, triggers can be as dangerous as the trigger on a gun!
Triggers of the Emotional Variety Triggers can jeopardize your sobriety if they are not recognized and dealt with in early recovery. What triggers a relapse? Certainly, the reasons for relapse can be different for individuals; however, there are some commonalities such as fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. There are several other emotions that can also lead to relapse.
Triggers from People, Places, and Things Certain people, places, and things can trigger a relapse if they remind the person of their addiction. In some cases, all three of these may have to be removed from the individual’s life if they expose the person to a significant risk of relapse.
An example of a place, an alcoholic would not want to go to dinner in a bar that they drank at every day, where their old drinking buddies would be, and their favorite chair. In that case, all three areas of triggers would be involved.
Relapse is an Opportunity Not an Expectation There are triggers that can jeopardize your sobriety; however, with a little instruction, the whole situation can be turned into a positive. In early recovery, the person should be made aware of what triggers are and have help to identify their patterns of addiction and relapse…
Relapse is an opportunity to learn what a person’s triggers are so that they can be identified by the substance abuser and prevent the next relapse. Some say that relapse is an expected part of recovery, that’s a mistake! Relapse is always a possibility in recovery; however, it shouldn’t be expected, when we teach people that, we set them up to fail.
Balance is Key Balance is a key part of the recovery process, learning what we can do and cannot do and live in sobriety. Education, awareness, and prevention will assist the newcomers in recovery to understand the process of what genuine recovery means, avoiding all of the pitfalls that triggers may lead to on a daily basis by recognizing them and not allowing them to have power in your life of recovery.
Yes, triggers can jeopardize your sobriety, the good news is through education and awareness, you can prevent triggers from ever having power in your life. By taking the time to identify triggers and understand them, you can avoid situations that may have led you to relapse because of triggers in the past. You have empowered yourself and taken the power away from the triggers, great job!
Recovery is a lifelong process. We all make mistakes along the way, that’s alright, as long as we learn from them.
Pathological Gambling is a terrible disease that is becoming more and more of a problem in the United States. More teens are gambling than ever before in our history, more older Americans are becoming problem gamblers as well.
Don’t gamble your life away, bet on you, your family, and God!
Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Provincial Superintendent, Ph.D., DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, International- Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones.
He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.
Reverend Dr. Coughlin is the Founder of The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online and Phase Two Christian Coaching, LLC. He was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a non-profit, twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty-plus years.
He is an Addiction Expert, Award-Winning Poet, an International-Best-Selling author, his books, journals, and manuals are used in the United States and other Countries by professionals, individuals, and facilities. With over 44+ published works, the author resides in PA.
Bet Free Recovery Now by advocate, Catherine Lyon is helping raise awareness with the fine folks of The Floridia Council on Compulsive Gambling, Mental Health, and The National Week of Suicide Prevention. Here’s more from our advocacy friends!
Protecting our mental health should be a priority in our daily lives; September 6-12, 2020, is National Suicide Prevention Week. More than ever, we are taking steps to prevent suicide and effects that may come from gambling addiction. No one has escaped from the changes that this pandemic has brought on the world.
Even though COVID has physically affected lives, many have taken an impact financially and mentally. Situations such as job loss, lockdown orders, new school structures, and travel restrictions all affect mental health. Many may not know that all of these changes have caused changes in gambling habits, some for the worse.
A common misconception about gambling addiction is that those who suffer from this condition just “have a problem weighing their odds.” However, gambling addiction affects the brain much in the same way as drugs, leaving those who suffer unable to control their urges to bet. Because this condition has no obvious physical symptoms, it often goes undetected by even those closest to the gambler, and so do the difficulties that may come with it, including suicidal ideation.
During May of this year, 13% of those reaching out to 888-ADMIT-IT for help with a gambling problem revealed current or recent suicidal feelings and thoughts due to their gambling problem . These results leave us to understand how the pandemic and past events have impacted people negatively, and how this is reflected in gambling behaviors. In July, a 20-year old male committed suicide due to a negative day trading balance on the popular app Robinhood . However, this isn’t the only instance; another teen in India this August took the same route as a result of losing all of his savings through online gambling .
While we mourn these tragic events, we know that we can continue to make a difference in prevention. Your gambling habits may be an indicator of your mental health. Many individuals who struggle with disordered gambling experience mental health and domestic challenges such as anxiety, depression, and family neglect . As a result of these difficulties, these individuals seek gambling to “escape” the negative emotions and difficult situations.
Our goal is always to inspire hope and create a path towards recovery and a better life on the other side of problem gambling. While many people gamble for various reasons, we remain steadfast in providing help through our Peer Connect Program, amongst other resources we provide for those who contact our confidential 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. If you feel that you or your loved one are at risk of gambling addiction, contact our HelpLine. The first step is just a call away.
The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020
 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2019 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2019, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report
Editor Note: It is more important than ever to raise awareness and prevention about gambling and suicide. Now, one in five problem gamblers will try suicide. My hope in sharing this article and raising awarness along with my friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling,it will help educate and inform the public of how gambling can become very addictive for those who are not normal gamblers.
There is Help and Hope from this cunning addiction.
If you or someone has a gambling problem and live in Floridia? Please the number provided for The FCCG today. For those not in Floridia, you can to get help from The National Council on Problem Gambling or visit their website: https://www.ncpgambling.org/ or call 1-800-522-4700
It’s problem and addicted gamblingon an intimate level and how this progressive disease is baffling and the building into a full-blown addiction. How it becomes a slow shift from being a once-in-a-while gambler to obsessive out-of-control addict! And how it got me years ago when having lots of time on my hands. While my husband was working out of town a lot. Being bored after work not wanting to go home to an empty house. It then became my only fun and excitement in life at that time back in late 1996. As it really ramped up all of 1997 and beyond.
It then progressed from there and my life wouldn’t be the same as it got “UGLY” for many years. All that can be read within my first book. That was the purpose of having my journals printed in book form and became a memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and Cheat.” It isn’t how to recovery from this addiction, it is the WHY and HOW of being a gambling addict.
After two times through a county health gambling treatment program, two failed suicide attempts, living with undiagnosed mental health disorders for years, finally properly diagnosed and finally on the road maintaining recovery is when I learned some of the “ROOTS” and underlying issues to my addiction. Toward the end and about 7 months before treatment, lead me to abuse alcohol because addicted gambling alone was becoming, “Not Enough.”
Being informed, educated, and knowledgable about this illness was, for me, important since I now advocate about this disease that cost me way more than money wasted. I tell my sponsees it almost took my life, twice. Now does that sound like gambling is just all about FUN, Games, and Entertainment? Not to those who become addicted.
So, courtesy of Wikipedia and “Gamblers Anonymous Site” — and in order for those to understand this disease who have NO experienced it or have not been “touched” by any addiction? I ask…
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is when the body or mind badly wants or needs something in order to work right. (Cravings, Urges, and Triggers)…When you suffer addiction to something it is called beingaddicted or being an addict. People can be addicted to drugs, gambling, smoking, alcohol, coffee, , porn, and many other things.
When somebody is addicted to something, they can become sick if they do not get the thing they are addicted to. But taking more of the thing they are addicted to can also hurt their health. Some people who are addicts need to go to a doctor, hospital, or treatment to cure the addiction, so they no longer crave (want or need) …
What Is Problem Gambling or Addicted Gambling?
Problem gambling is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior.
Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.
A DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, with sufferers exhibiting many similarities to those who have substance addictions. The term gambling addiction has long been used in the recovery movement. Pathological gambling was long considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be an impulse control disorder rather than an addiction.
However, data suggest a closer relationship between pathological gambling and substance use disorders than exists between PG and obsessive-compulsive disorder, largely because the behaviors in problem gambling and most primary substance use disorders (i.e. those not resulting from a desire to “self-medication” for another condition such as depression) seek to activate the brain’s reward mechanisms while the behaviors characterizing obsessive-compulsive disorder are prompted by overactive and misplaced signals from the brain’s fear mechanisms.
Problem gambling is an addictive behavior with a high comorbidity with alcohol problems. A common feature shared by people who suffer from gambling addiction is impulsivity. (Mine so happened to be for Escaping or Coping with old childhood trauma).
Signs and symptoms
In order to be diagnosed, an individual must have at least four of the following symptoms in a 12-month period:
Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement ….
Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling ….
Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling …..
Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble) ……
Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed) …..
After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses) …..
Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling ……
Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling …….
Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling
I experienced all of the above from my gambling addiction and continued to get even MORE SEVERE! Did I use household money to gamble? YES. Did I gamble my paycheck in a few hours? YES. Did I steal and lie to get money to gamble? YES… AND MORE. It is a cunning sick addiction and disease.
THEN CAME? Suicide attempts!
…….. Suicide Rates
The gambler who does not receive treatment for pathological gambling when in his or her desperation phase may contemplate SUICIDE. Problem gambling is often associated with increased Suicidal Ideation and attempts compared to the general population. 1 in 5 will try suicide. Early-onset of problem gambling increases the lifetime risk of suicide. However, gambling-related suicide attempts are usually made by older people with problem gambling.
A 2010 Australian hospital study found that 17% of suicidal patients admitted to the Alfred Hospital’s emergency department were problem gamblers. In the United States, a report by the National Council on Problem Gambling showed approximately one in five pathological gamblers attempt suicide.
The council also said that suicide rates among pathological gamblers were higher than any other addictive disorder. 2.6% of people living in the United States are now problem gamblers. According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, evidence indicates that pathological gambling is an addiction similar to chemical addiction.
Studies have compared pathological gamblers to substance addicts, concluding that addicted gamblers display more physical symptoms during withdrawal. A myth needing known. Addicted gamblers DO go through a Detox and Withdrawal period. Deficiencies in serotonin might also contribute to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction.
Lastly, the Pathological Part of this ADDICTION:
Several psychological mechanisms are thought to be implicated in the development and maintenance of problem gambling.
First, reward processing seems to be less sensitive to problem gamblers. Second, some individuals use problem gambling as an escape from the problems in their lives.
Third, personality factors play a role, such as narcissism, risk-seeking, sensation-seeking, and impulsivity.
Fourth, problem gamblers suffer from a number of cognitive biases, including the illusion of control, unrealistic optimism, overconfidence and the gambler’s fallacy, which is (the incorrect belief that a series of random events tends to self-correct so that the absolute frequencies of each of various outcomes balance each other out).
Fifth, problem gamblers represent a chronic state of a behavioral spin process, a gambling spin, as described by the criminal spin theory…
…… What happens when you first walk into a CASINO? How do you feel? Like your special? Have feelings of excitement? Like you may WIN BIG?
Well, that was exactly how I felt! And how many people who have had a problem with gambling, felt too! Now, I am not saying that if you gamble normally that you’ll become a problem or an addicted gambler. What I am trying to say and share is that for those who do have a problem? There is nothing NORMAL about it as many of the exciting feelings become the staple of ‘HOW WE FEEL’ each time we gamble. AND? It goes way beyond those “Feeling of being SPECIAL”…
We actually get a euphoric high and rush when we walk into any gambling venue …And never matters if we WIN or LOSE, these feelings along with cravings, triggers, and urges compound the more we are in “action!” Be it at cards, slots, or even dice? The preference really doesn’t matter.
It is the act, being in action and being active within gambling that keeps us stuck in a habitual “CYCLE.”
With so much STIGMA around this Silent Problem, a problem many suffer in silence from addicted gambling, I wanted to share most of an article by the team at “Recovery Village Center” to help us with some of the real facts are from the MYTHS about problem gambling. Always know they are ready to HELP and share HOPE from this cunning addiction as The Fine Folks of Recovery Village are always available.
Just visit their website or Call THEM AT 1-888-559-6554 …~ Advocate, Catherine Lyon
“Gambling addiction is a serious and devastating problem for many people. Understanding this serious behavioral addiction requires replacing the myths with the facts.”
…… Gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral addiction (process addiction) characterized by a pathological obsession and compulsion to gamble. The addiction to gambling becomes increasingly problematic, causing financial, family, social and job problems, but the gambler continues and is unable to control or stop gambling, despite the negative consequences.
Compulsive gamblers are secretive and tend to be socially isolated, so there are many misconceptions and myths about this addiction. To have a proper understanding of this devastating disorder, it is necessary to separate the myths from the facts.
Myth 1: Gambling Isn’t Addictive
Fact: Gambling is designed to be addictive.
Gambling operates on a principle of psychology that is known to be highly addictive and compulsion-inducing. This principle is based on variable ratios of reinforcement (i.e., winning), and random ratios of reinforcement, together known as a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule (VRRS). Finding the most addictive form of a VRRS is a matter of considerable research. Most gambling machines are programmed to dole out wins on a precise schedule that is based on the most addictive form of a VRRS.
Myth 2: Gambling Is a Way to Make Money
Fact: The house always wins, especially when it comes to compulsive gamblers. Money Never Comes For FREE
When driving past a casino it is easy to admire the lavish building. However, it is also easy to forget that the money to build that casino probably came from the losses of the people who gamble there.
One of the characteristics of compulsive pathological gambling is the persistent belief that the next bet will pay, despite repeatedly losing past the next bets. As such, the delusional belief that a stroke of luck is only a wager away is part of the pathological psychology of gambling addiction. The belief that gambling will pay off despite having lost considerable amounts of money is a driving factor of compulsive gambling.
Myth 3: If You Keep Playing, You Will Eventually Win Your Money Back
Fact: The longer someone remains actively gambling addiction, the greater the losses.
The irrational belief that the gambler will eventually hit it big and come out ahead is a significant driver of gambling addiction. To people who don’t have a gambling addiction, it is usually clear when enough is enough and they can walk away from their losses and get on with life. However, compulsive gamblers cannot do that; they keep coming back, driven by irrational beliefs of the big win.
However, gambling addiction is about much more than simply whether or not the person will win or lose. People who have a gambling addiction get a rush from gambling or a high, and this high is how they cope with negative feelings and life’s stressors. When they are gambling, the high they get from it makes them happy for a little while and distracts them from all their problems. It is known that pathological gamblers get this high whether they are winning or losing. The act of gambling is all they need.
Myth 4: If You Can Afford It, Compulsive Gambling Isn’t Really a Problem
Fact: Compulsive gambling is a symptom of underlying emotional and coping problems.
Financial loss is only one of many negative consequences of compulsive gambling. People who struggle with gambling addiction often end up having serious problems in their relationships and at their jobs, and may neglect life’s obligations.
Pathological gambling is a progressive condition that tends to become increasingly consuming as time goes by. This fact is especially true in times of stress or low mood, as gambling becomes a way of coping. Eventually, almost all pathological gamblers suffer life-changing financial loss unless they get help in time.
Myth 5: Compulsive Gamblers Play Every Day
Fact: Gambling addiction can be continuous or episodic.
Many compulsive gamblers have dry periods without any betting. However, gambling addiction is chronic and progressive, so for many pathological gamblers, it eventually becomes a daily activity unless they seek and accept help.
An obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with gambling characterizes pathological gambling. Over time, these obsessive thoughts about betting become increasingly more invasive and anxiety-provoking. The only way to relieve that anxiety is by gambling, which is the compulsion that is coupled with the obsession.
Similar to people who struggle with drug addiction, pathological gamblers experience tolerance, meaning that they require increasing amounts of the activity to satisfy their obsession and to get the same high. They also experience increasing amounts of withdrawal, which is the low mood and irritability they feel when they are not gambling. As these effects worsen, gambling usually increases as a result, and the addiction progresses.
Myth 6: Knowing a Game Well Increases Your Odds of Winning
Fact: Gambling games are designed to not have any aspect that will increase the odds of winning purely out of knowledge or skill.
Gambling games become absorbing for gamblers. Psychologists refer to “dark flow” as the state where the player becomes so immersed in a game that everything outside of it becomes irrelevant. This “dark flow” state is highly associated with addiction to the game and is designed to occur as people get to know a game by playing the same game for an extended period.
All gambling games are heavily favored for the house, which is why casino owners become so wealthy and the gamblers do not. If a game was not heavily in favor of the house, it would never become popular, because no casino, lottery or gambling website would want it. Whether or not someone knows a game well doesn’t change that fact.
Myth 7: There Are “Hot” and “Cold” Slot Machines
Fact: Slot machines are programmed to promote problematic play and win for the house.
Slot machines are a particularly dangerous form of gambling because they are programmed with the most addictive form of VRRS schedule. Additionally, they are programmed to operate on a principle known as loss disguised as a win (LDW). This effect happens when a player is given a “win” of credits with a spin, but fewer credits than the original wager. The psychological effect is that these frequent wins keep the player engaged, despite a net loss.
Both the single-line slots (the traditional slots) and the more modern multi-line slots are programmed to give LDW “wins” in a specific payback percentage, but it is always less than 100% and certainly not above 100%, meaning that the house always wins. There are no “hot” slot machines, only “cold” ones.
Myth 8: Gambling Is Only a Financial Problem
Fact: Gambling addiction causes problems that extend well beyond financial losses.
As their tolerance and withdrawal effects intensify, people who struggle with gambling addiction spend more and more time in their gambling activities, and in seeking money to support their addiction.
Normal activities and responsibilities become neglected because of the amount of time required to satisfy the addiction. They begin missing work and are frequently absent from home. Even sleep becomes affected as they pull “all-nighters” gambling.
This time commitment can have effects beyond financial loss, such as:
Career-related consequences: being written up at work or losing a job
Relationship stress: financial stress, job loss, and frequent absence are not conducive to healthy relationships, and can devastate families
Social isolation: friends and family are tired of being asked for loans and maybe pushed away as the gambler becomes increasingly secretive
Arrest and criminal charges: for illegal activities used to finance gambling
Physical health problems: lack of sleep or self-care
Fact: Gamblers who seek and accept help can recover before they have to resort to criminal activity to finance their gambling.
If pathological gamblers continue with the addiction long enough, frequently the result is criminal behavior to finance the gambling habit. The most common gambling-related crimes are non-violent, financially motivated offenses:
Typically, they will rationalize their crime as borrowing money. For example, if the person forges a check, takes money from the workplace or steals from a neighbor, they might rationalize the act by convincing themselves that they will return the money, usually after a big win at the casino.
However, not all crimes that compulsive gamblers are engaged in are financially motivated and non-violent. The three risky behaviors of substance abuse, gambling, and crime are known to be closely associated and often co-occur.
……. Through all the hard work of advocacy and supporting the team and director, Les Bernal and others involved with “The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation.” ….
We finally have WINand movement toward slowing down the online sports betting venue of Fantasy Football and FanDuel! So much has come from the team of Les’s within Washington D.C. of hitting legislation hard to change the way they illegally advertise, offer, and prey on those who have gambling problems. So much so that ‘The New York Times’ has done an amazing article all about it. …..
I’ll leave that to Les Bernal to share the news with this announcement I got by Email Today and Share The Story from The NY Times…
Victims of state government’s commercialized gambling scheme experienced a major legal win yesterday in NY. Here is The New York Times coverage of the court decision declaring so-called “daily fantasy sports” (DFS) for what it really is: commercialized gambling.
The New York State Constitution puts the power to expand gambling into the hands of the people, requiring a statewide vote. The NY Legislature, in partnership with powerful financial interests who stood to benefit from this latest form of commercialized gambling, tried to avoid this constitutional requirement when it pushed through a bill adding DFS to its existing wealth-extraction arsenal of lottery scratch tickets, electronic Quick Draw (i.e. Keno), regional casinos, and slot machine parlors.
This victory is a direct result of the hard work and talent of Attorney Neil Murray. Despite the heavy demands of his practice, Neil has sacrificed an enormous amount of his time over the last twenty years to act against the injustice, poverty, and life-changing harm caused by commercialized gambling, especially in his home state of NY. This remarkable effort is his most recent achievement.
The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law was coordinated by Stop Predatory Gambling. It was filed on behalf of four plaintiffs who had suffered personal or family harm from gambling debts resulting from commercialized gambling promoted by the state.
Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation
100 Maryland Avenue NE, Room 310 | Washington, District of Columbia 20002
(202) 567-6996 | email@example.com
Fantasy Sports Contests Are Illegal Gambling, New York Appeals Court Rules
The court found that the law was unconstitutional, dealing a setback to sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings. By Michael Levenson
A New York State appeals court on Thursday struck downmost of a law that authorized fantasy sports in the state, dealing a setback to companies like FanDuel and DraftKings in one of their most lucrative markets.
The law, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2016, declared that fantasy sports did not constitute gambling and provided for consumer safeguards, minimum standards and the registration, regulation, and taxation of daily fantasy sports providers.
In October of that year, the law was challenged by four New York residents who said they had been harmed by gambling, including one woman, Jennifer White, whose father regularly patronized off-track betting facilities in Western New York while her mother was besieged by loan sharks and creditors.
Their lawsuit argued that the law carved out an illegal exemption to the State Constitution’s prohibition on gambling, which forbids the practice except for a few exceptions, including at a limited number of horse tracks and casinos.
Legalizing daily fantasy sports, the lawsuit argued, would require a constitutional amendment approved by New York State voters, not a simple statutory change signed by the governor.
In 2018, Acting Justice Gerald W. Connolly of Albany County Supreme Court agreed with part of the lawsuit, holding that the law, to the extent that it authorized daily fantasy sports, violated the Constitution’s ban on gambling. At the same time, the court found that the Legislature had acted properly when it exempted daily fantasy sports from the penal code.
“On Thursday, the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division delivered a stronger ruling for the law’s opponents, finding both that the law was unconstitutional and that daily fantasy sports could not be exempted from the penal code.”
The ruling was based on the court’s finding that, while daily fantasy sports require skill, they also involve a degree of chance — such as whether a player might have an injury or illness or be affected by bad weather or poor officiating.
Cornelius D. Murray, who represents the four New Yorkers who brought the lawsuit, said he was pleased with the decision.
“As of today,” he said, “the legislation purporting to legalize daily fantasy sports is unconstitutional, so the penal law prohibiting it remains on the books.”
The office of the state attorney general, Letitia James, said it was reviewing the ruling and had no further comment. The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
FanDuel said in a statement, “We expect that there will be an appeal and we’ll be able to continue to offer contests while that appeal is decided.”
…… DraftKings also issued a statement saying that “the legislative action authorizing fantasy sports in New York was constitutional and in the best interests of taxpayers and fantasy sports fans.” ……
Robert S. Rosborough IV, a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna who specializes in appellate litigation and who has followed the case, said the final determination on the law’s constitutionality was likely to be made by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Until then, he said, customers will still be able to play daily fantasy sports in New York.
“The games can continue while the state appeals, but the future is certainly in flux after this ruling,” Mr. Rosborough said.
The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, an industry group, estimates that 59 million people played fantasy sports in the United States and Canada in 2017 — more than double the 27 million who played in 2009. Two out of three were men, their average age was 32, and each user spent an average of $653 annually on the sites.
DraftKings and FanDuel, which operate in 43 states, including New York, together accounted for almost all of the $390 million in revenue generated by daily fantasy sports in 2019, according to Chris Krafcik, a managing director at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a research and consulting firm.
New York, with its large, sports-crazed and relatively wealthy population, is easily one of the three largest daily fantasy sports markets in the United States, alongside California and Texas, Mr. Krafcik said.
Scott Stevens’s story is not anomalous. Given the guilt and shame involved, gambling addiction frequently progresses to profound despair. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one in five gambling addicts attempts suicide—the highest rate among addicts of any kind.
How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts
Modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players—some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even, as in the case of Scott Stevens, their lives… (Courtesy of “The Atlantic” 2016 )
On the morning of Monday, August 13, 2012, Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag into his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went to the master bedroom, where he hugged Stacy, his wife of 23 years. “I love you,” he told her.
Stacy thought that her husband was off to a job interview followed by an appointment with his therapist. Instead, he drove the 22 miles from their home in Steubenville, Ohio, to the Mountaineer Casino, just outside New Cumberland, West Virginia. He used the casino ATM to check his bank-account balance: $13,400. He walked across the casino floor to his favorite slot machine in the high-limit area: Triple Stars, a three-reel game that cost $10 a spin. Maybe this time it would pay out enough to save him.
It didn’t. He spent the next four hours burning through $13,000 from the account, plugging any winnings back into the machine, until he had only $4,000 left. Around noon, he gave up.
Stevens, 52, left the casino and wrote a five-page letter to Stacy. A former chief operating officer at Louis Berkman Investment, he gave her careful financial instructions that would enable her to avoid responsibility for his losses and keep her credit intact: She was to deposit the enclosed check for $4,000; move her funds into a new checking account; decline to pay the money he owed the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas; disregard his credit-card debt (it was in his name alone); file her tax returns and sign up for Social Security survivor benefits. He asked that she have him cremated.
He wrote that he was “crying like a baby” as he thought about how much he loved her and their three daughters. “Our family only has a chance if I’m not around to bring us down any further,” he wrote. “I’m so sorry that I’m putting you through this.”
He placed the letter and the check-in an envelope drove to the Steubenville post office and mailed it. Then he headed to the Jefferson Kiwanis Youth Soccer Club. He had raised funds for these green fields, tended them with his lawnmower, and watched his daughters play on them.
Stevens parked his Jeep in the gravel lot and called Ricky Gurbst, a Cleveland attorney whose firm, Squire Patton Boggs, represented Berkman, where Stevens had worked for 14 years—until six and a half months earlier when the firm discovered that he had been stealing company funds to feed his gambling habit and fired him.
Stevens had a request: “Please ask the company to continue to pay my daughters’ college tuition.” He had received notification that the tuition benefit the company had provided would be discontinued for the fall semester. Failing his daughters had been the final blow.
Gurbst said he would pass along the request.
Then Stevens told Gurbst that he was going to kill himself.
“That’s what I’m going to do,” Stevens said and promptly hung up.
He next called J. Timothy Bender, a Cleveland tax attorney who had been advising him on the IRS’s investigation into his embezzlement. Up until that point, he had put on a brave face for Bender, saying he would accept responsibility and serve his time. Now he told Bender what he was about to do. Alarmed, Bender tried to talk him out of it. “Look, this is hard enough,” Stevens said. “I’m going to do it.” Click.
At 4:01 p.m., Stevens texted Stacy. “I love you.” He then texted the same message to each of his three daughters in succession.
He took off his glasses, his glucose monitor, and his insulin pump—Stevens was a diabetic—and tucked them neatly into his blue thermal lunch bag with the sandwich and apple he hadn’t touched.
He unpacked his Browning semiautomatic 12-gauge shotgun, loaded it, and sat on one of the railroad ties that rimmed the parking lot.
Then he dialed 911 and told the dispatcher his plan.
Scott Stevens hadn’t always been a gambler. A native of Rochester, New York, he earned a master’s degree in business and finance at the University of Rochester and built a successful career. He won the trust of the steel magnate Louis Berkman and worked his way up to the position of COO in Berkman’s company. He was meticulous about finances, both professionally and personally. When he first met Stacy, in 1988, he insisted that she pay off her credit-card debt immediately. “Your credit is all you have,” he told her.
They married the following year, had three daughters, and settled into a comfortable life in Steubenville thanks to his position with Berkman’s company: a six-figure salary, three cars, two country-club memberships, vacations to Mexico. Stevens doted on his girls and threw himself into causes that benefited them. In addition to the soccer fields, he raised money to renovate the middle school, to build a new science lab, and to support the French Club’s trip to France. He spent time on weekends painting the high-school cafeteria and stripping the hallway floors.
“Stevens got his first taste of casino gambling while attending a 2006 trade show in Las Vegas. On a subsequent trip, he hit a jackpot on a slot machine and was hooked.”
Scott and Stacy soon began making several trips a year to Vegas. She liked shopping, sitting by the pool, even occasionally playing the slots with her husband. They brought the kids in the summer and made a family vacation of it by visiting the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Disneyland. Back home, Stevens became a regular at the Mountaineer Casino.
Over the next six years, his gambling hobby became an addiction. Though he won occasional jackpots, some of them six figures, he lost far more—as much as $4.8 million in a single year.
Did Scott Stevens die because he was unable to rein in his own addictive need to gamble? Or was he the victim of a system carefully calibrated to prey on his weakness?
……. Scott methodically concealed his addiction from his wife. He handled all the couple’s finances. He kept separate bank accounts. He used his work address for his gambling correspondence: W-2Gs (the IRS form used to report gambling winnings), wire transfers, casino mailings. Even his best friend and brother-in-law, Carl Nelson, who occasionally gambled alongside Stevens, had no inkling of his problem. “I was shocked when I found out afterward,” he says. “There was a whole Scott I didn’t know.”
When Stevens ran out of money at the casino, he would leave, write a company check on one of the Berkman accounts for which he had check-cashing privileges, and return to the casino with more cash. He sometimes did this three or four times in a single day. His colleagues did not question his absences from the office, because his job involved overseeing various companies in different locations. By the time the firm detected irregularities and he admitted the extent of his embezzlement, Stevens—the likable, responsible, trustworthy company man—had stolen nearly $4 million.
Stacy had no idea.In Vegas, Stevens had always kept plans to join her and the girls for lunch. At home, he was always on time for dinner. Saturday mornings, when he told her he was headed into the office, she didn’t question him—she knew he had a lot of responsibilities. So she was stunned when he called her with bad news on January 30, 2012. She was on the stairs with a load of laundry when the phone rang.
“Stace, I have something to tell you.”
She heard the burden in his voice. “Who died?”
“It’s something I have to tell you on the phone -because I can’t look in your eyes.”
He paused. She waited.
“I might be coming home without a job today. I’ve taken some money.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“How much? Ten thousand dollars?”
“More? One hundred thousand?”
“Stace, it’s enough.”
Stevens never did come clean with her about how much he had stolen or about how often he had been gambling. Even after he was fired, Stevens kept gambling as often as five or six times a week. He gambled on his wedding anniversary and on his daughters’ birthdays. Stacy noticed that he was irritable more frequently than usual and that he sometimes snapped at the girls, but she figured that it was the fallout of his unemployment.
When he headed to the casino, he told her he was going to see his therapist, that he was networking, that he had other appointments. When money appeared from his occasional wins, he claimed that he had been doing some online trading. While they lived off $50,000 that Stacy had in a separate savings account, he drained their 401(k) of $150,000, emptied $50,000 out of his wife’s and daughters’ ETrade accounts, maxed out his credit card, and lost all of a $110,000 personal loan he’d taken out from PNC Bank.
“Stacy did not truly understand the extent of her husband’s addiction until the afternoon three police officers showed up at her front door with the news of his death.”
Afterward, Stacy studied gambling addiction and the ways slot machines entice customers to part with their money. In 2014, she filed a lawsuit against both Mountaineer Casino and International Game Technology, the manufacturer of the slot machines her husband played. At issue was the fundamental question of who killed Scott Stevens.
Did he die because he was unable to rein in his own addictive need to gamble? Or was he the victim—as the suit alleged—of a system carefully calibrated to prey upon his weakness, one that robbed him of his money, his hope, and ultimately his life?
Less than 40 years ago, casino gambling was illegal everywhere in the United States outside of Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
But since Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, tribal and commercial casinos have rapidly proliferated across the country, with some 1,000 now operating in 40 states. Casino patrons bet more than $37 billion annually—more than Americans spend to attend sporting events ($17.8 billion), go to the movies ($10.7 billion), and buy music ($6.8 billion) combined.
The preferred mode of gambling these days is electronic gaming machines, of which there are now almost 1 million nationwide, offering variations on slots and video poker. Their prevalence has accelerated addiction and reaped huge profits for casino operators. A significant portion of casino revenue now comes from a small percentage of customers, most of them likely addicts, playing machines that are designed explicitly to lull them into a trancelike state that the industry refers to as “continuous gaming productivity.”
It goes more in-depth on facts and studies of Slots and Electronic Gambling and HOW Casinos are attracting and making their profits of a small percentage of people like Mr. Stevens and many others with a problem or addicted gambler, including myself. I share this article because when I first read it, I saw myself when addicted to gambling. Especially the area of hiding what I was doing, controlling the money and paying bills that gave me ample ways to not only cash but also HIDING what I doing and was spending on my gambling.
“We Are Only As Sick As Our SECRETS” . . . ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
The summer is coming to an end and students are moving on to their next level of education, which maybe college. Going off to college is an amazing time of growth, learning, and self-exploration. Learning about all the world may have to offer shows many youths how limitless life can be. With this feeling of limitlessness, youth may be unaware of problems that may lay ahead, like problem gambling.
Change for Everyone
Heading to college may be a time of excitement. For parents, it’s a time that they get to see their youth take the next step into adulthood. It may be a time where they get to see their youth spread their wings and explore all the world has to offer. It can be an amazing time of change for everyone.
Anytime there is a change in someone’s life, there is an opportunity for problems. Youth who are leaving home for college will experience many changes. They may be living in a new place with new people. Their school may be in a new community and not even know where the local coffee shop is. They may be leaving all of their friends and family behind.
Risks of Leaving Home
All of the changes that youth experience has risks because they may be leaving all of their protective factors behind. A protective factor is a term to include all things that help people live healthier lives. These include positive role models like parents or youth leaders, belonging to positive groups like sports teams or faith-based communities, and living in a community that is safe.
When youth move off to college, they may be leaving most if not all of the things behind that helped, they live wonderful healthy lives. They’ll need these protective factors as they face a list of new or increased risky obstacles.
Whatever their reasons, there are a number of risk factors that can put youth at increased risk of struggling with problems from gambling. Youth are at an increased risk if they are male and have other mental health or addiction disorders. Plus, if they are already risk-takers and keep the company of peers who gamble and struggle with other problem behaviors, they are more likely to have problems with gambling.
Youth who come from families who do not object to youth gambling and may not understand the risks of youth gambling are more at risk. They are also more at risk if their family has a history of addiction and/or illegal activities. Finally, a youth’s community’s attitude towards gambling plays a role. If the community lacks awareness of youth gambling risks and offers opportunities for youth go gamble, youth will see gambling as a risk-free
Problems from Gambling
Youth who are at an increased risk, have not been exposed to gambling, or don’t understand how gambling works can easily fall victim to problem gambling.
Problem gambling is defined as any time gambling causes problems in someone’s life. Some problems that youth may experience from gambling include:
Missing classes or entire school days
A sudden drop in grades
Less interest in extracurricular activities
Grater interest in money and value of possessions
Winning or being right
Money is lost or going missing
Obviously, none of these problems are good for the success of a student in college. Therefore, it’s important to take some steps to help youth make healthy choices for themselves. Include problem gambling when you talk and council your college-bound kids about drinking alcohol or drugs. Have them prepared for possible peer pressure.
What YOU Can Do
As a parent or loved with a college-bound kid going off to college, you can make a difference in their life. There are things you can do to continue to guide youth towards healthier decisions and avoid the problems associated with problem gambling.
Communication: Keep a strong line of communication open with your youth. Show them a continued interest in their life and share the great things that are going on at home. Keeping the lines of communication open and healthy will help keep you aware of their life and allow you to offer guidance when needed.
Education: Learning more about youth gambling and problem gambling can only raise your awareness to warning signs. Your knowledge can help you guide your youth as you continue your relationship into their next phase of life. A great place to start is our e-book The Dangers of Youth Gambling Addiction. This e-book takes this blog post and goes into greater depth of what to look for and what to do.
If needed, get support: There is support available across New York State. If you believe your youth may be experiencing a gambling problem in New York State, reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center. Here, you’ll be greeted by a dedicated professional ready to offer you additional information and resources about problem gambling and/or connect you or your youth with a trained clinician.
You are not alone, and they are here to help.
We hope your family enjoys a fantastic transition from home to college. With this transition, remember that there is help for those in need of problems with gambling at NYProblemGamblingHELP.org.
Spotting Gambling Addiction and Determining Its Causes. By Patrick Bailey
Gamblingcan be considered as a very dangerous kind of vice. To the person engaged in gambling, money is very easy to risk. He is living in an illusion that whatever he gambles now, he can easily get back. In the long run, this mindset can lead to a person’s financial downfall. The truth of the matter is, odds will never be in the gambler’s favor even if its blackjack or poker he’s playing. Gambling is thriving continuously because it’s the house that’s always taking the wins.
What are the different kinds of gambling?
Gambling is composed of many different kinds of activities, so this means that there are also many different kinds of addiction-related to gambling. The only challenge with gambling is that it’s not evident when a person gets addicted to it. And as opposed to traditional belief, gambling doesn’t end with casinos, cards, or slot machines. It also doesn’t end with gambling or alcohol rehab centers. Joining a raffle, betting with friends, or buying lottery tickets are all considered different kinds of gambling.
Addiction happens when the individual already believes that they’re in a deep financial mess and that this problem can only be solved by risking that they possess in hopes of getting a bigger sum of money in exchange. Regrettably, this only sends the person into a vicious cycle of wanting to win back what they lost. This dangerous and damaging cycle continues to occur until the person is forced to enter rehab to break the habit.
Another kind of addiction to gambling happens when the individual joins the game and offers to make risky bets just to get that emotional high resulting from placing big and risky bets. These kinds of bets only pay off occasionally. In both circumstances, the individual bearing this kind of addiction should have that innate desire to stop risking and gambling for himself and not merely to appease friends or family members.
So what’s causing gambling addiction and when does it become a problem?
There are many contributory factors when it comes to addiction to gambling. One factor here is the desperate need for money. Another factor would be the need to feel high and thrill. Also, it could be because the individual wants the social status attached to the names of successful gamblers or he simply clamors for the entertaining and fun atmosphere of most gambling places.
The sad thing is that the moment the person gets addicted to gambling, the cycle can’t be broken easily. What’s even sadder is the fact that the severe kind of addiction can set at the moment the person feels financially desperate and commits to taking back the entirety of what he had lost in gambling.
And while he can gather a massive amount of wealth from winning, more often than not, it won’t equal to the amount of money he already lost along the way. More often than not, gamblers don’t even come close to break even.
How do we know if a loved one is getting addicted to gambling?
The red flags and signs that an individual is having gambling problems are pretty similar to the signs of other kinds of addiction that require admittance to treatment facilities. These signs may be one of the following:
The urge to keep his gambling habit a secret
Experiencing difficulties in managing his gambling habits
Continuously gambling even if he can’t afford it
One’s family and friends express their concern over his gambling habits
And just like any kind of addiction, the trademark of gambling addiction is the feeling that you can’t stop even if you want to. If an individual feels like he needs to gamble one more time, if he is anxious over the thought of stopping, or if he is hiding this from his loved ones, there is a very high chance that that person is struggling with gambling addiction.
Excessive Gambling and its Emotional Symptoms
Too much gambling usually leads to a plethora of emotional red signs and symptoms. Among these signs are suicidal tendencies, depression, and anxiety. In severe cases, these depressive and suicidal thoughts can actually make the gambler end his life. Losing all you have to gambling can be a very devastating situation and it can easily lead the person to feel totally hopeless.
Excessive Gambling and its Physical Symptoms
Since gambling can lead to self-harm, anxiety, and depression, physical manifestations should be seriously looked into. Anxiety and depression usually lead to being sleep deprives, resulting in dark eye circles, acne, weight loss, weight gain, or pale skin.
Gambling Addiction and it‘s Long-Term and Short-Term Effects
Gambling can lead to numerous long-term and short-term effects. Addiction to gambling also leads to other kinds of addiction as coping mechanisms especially for people who get easily anxious and stressed out by the act of gambling. As a result, these gamblers can also turn to alcohol, drugs, and other activities to lessen the anxiety accompanying their lifestyle. In these cases, they might need to be admitted to rehab centers.
Apart from the financial, physical, emotional, and psychological damages brought by gambling addiction, it can also cause damage to relationships.
If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction or any kind of addiction, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Who knows, one phone call or a rehab visit can save your life, property, and financial future.
About Patrick Bailey ….
…… Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. He attended the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business and hold a Bachelor’s Degree and resides in the state of Michigan. He writes for several publications and on his Official Website – Patrick Bailey.
Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,
Summer is in full swing and here in Arizona it is now moving way into the “Heat With Double Digits.” It can be a tough time for many of us who maintain recovery from gambling addiction and those who are still suffering and stuck in the cycle of addicted gambling. With the heat, we look for indoor things to do and for those with a gambling problem? That can mean more visits to the CASINOS.
So, during these summer months, I will shine a spotlight on the many recovery resources and places who offer help, education and raise awareness about problem gambling. If you spend more time indoors at casinos, your open to the slow progression into full-blown addicted gambling. But there is hope and help out there, you just need to know where to look. Even though I have many places for help on my resources page, I can never share too many places for help, information, and hope. And it’s why I came up with the idea to share them and ‘Shine a Light’ on those places who care and want to help those needing it this summer!
“Our Mission Is Simple: “Our Mission is to provide and support effective problem gambling prevention, treatment, and education programs throughout Arizona.”
The Division of Problem Gambling is committed to a public health approach to address problem gambling issues. This takes into consideration biological, behavioral, economic, cultural, policy, and environmental factors influencing gambling and health. We will accomplish our mission and realize our vision by being culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of our partners and those we serve.
We will be professional, collaborative, equitable, and innovative in our solutions to address problem gambling. To Support a sustainable continuum of services that reduces to a minimum level the impact of problem gambling in Arizona.
General Election 2002’s Ballot Proposition 202 (the “Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act”) stated: “Two percent [of the tribal contributions made to the Arizona Benefits Fund], shall be used by the Department of Gaming to fund state and local programs for the prevention and treatment of, and education concerning, problem gambling.” The Division of Problem Gambling has been established by the Department of Gaming to fulfill this responsibility.
Another Arizona state agency, the Arizona Lottery, has had a Please Play Responsibly Program since 1998 and a Problem Gambling Program since 2000. The Lottery and the Department of Gaming are collaborating through an inter-agency agreement to consolidate management of all state problem gambling programs within the Division of Problem Gambling with the goal of ensuring continuity of services.
“We look forward to serving the people of Arizona by fulfilling our Mission.”
The National Council on Problem Gambling by State.
Both The AZ Office and The National Council on Problem Gambling offer fantastic advice, prevention, and education for Parents about Youth and Gambling this page on their website: YOUTH & GAMBLING.
“If they’re not drinking or using drugs, what’s the big deal?”
Gambling is not a safe alternative to alcohol or drug use for YOUTH. Many people think that poker among friends is totally safe if young people are not drinking or smoking. The truth is, while most people do not develop problems with gambling, more youth than ever are developing problems with gambling. Consequences of problem gambling include more than lost money.
Our youth are the first generation in our nation to experience the current acceptability and accessibility of gambling. Their mothers and grandmothers are taking trips to local casinos; families watch poker tournaments on TV as if they were a sporting event and schools regularly have casino nights as fundraisers or after proms and graduation. We owe it to our youth to teach them that gambling is not risk-free.
Large-scale prevalence studies and reviews all confirm the high prevalence rates of youth gambling. It is estimated that between 4% and 8% of adolescents presently exhibit a serious gambling problem with another 10% to 14% of adolescents at risk for developing or returning to a serious gambling problem (Shaffer & Hall, Meta Analysis, 1996, Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 193-214)
Gambling risk behavior is consistently associated with other risky behavior such as drug use, juvenile delinquency, and family problems:
Problem gambling is thought to be a progressive disorder, traveling through four phases. Although this describes the four phases of what is commonly called the “Escape” gambler, anyone experiencing problems in life due to gambling will probably be able to identify with this progression.
I have been so busy of late trying to keep up with where “Big Jim” is and where he is biking to next, that it has been a long while since I shared myself and some interesting news I have found about or read about gambling recovery. A while I added back my recovery blog on two different new sites called Feedspot and Tumblr.
They share my posts on the sites automatic so I can help and reach more people, those struggling with or new to recovery. I blog as well so others know they are not alone recovering from this cunning addiction.
I find many times we all seem to face the same challenges in early recovery from this disease. Even though have been working my recovery for many years, doesn’t mean I don’t forget my own relapses and treatment program “Do Overs”…
I still remember the early days when triggers, urges, and cravings would win over my will and desire to stay in recovery and stop gambling. We never should forget where we were and where we came from in order to enjoy life and where we are today maintaining recovery.
Here are some Anonymous comments from people who are trying to recover from addicted gambling. I am sharing so that others may know and be informed about how hard it is and the struggles and areas that are hard to come to grips with. It sure does feel like you are “Gripped By Gambling”in early recovery! Also an article about two Calif. Nun’s Steal Money to Gamble in Las Vegas! WOW!
That just shows that when you become a problem gambler, you then cross the line to a full-blown addiction, the disease will slowly progress to the point that when the money runs out? You then steal, lie, and cheat to get money to continue feeding the addiction …
FEEDSPOT GAMBLING FORUM COMMENTS: How Challenging Staying Away From GAMBLING … <<<<<<<
“I feel the more we openly talk about the hatred for gambling the quicker we can retrain our brains fully into healing. Gambling causes misery and darkness. There is nothing good that comes out of gambling. Gambling highjacks our brain.
When we win, we lose. We when lose, we lose. We hide, cry inside and kill our emotional feelings to the world. We can not be happy until we have lost it all.
We love the challenge of finding money to gamble with no matter how far behind in life that takes us. We will not gamble today, we will not gamble anymore.”
ANOTHER: “I just wanted to express myself that I’m happy you guys are here to give warming messages to make me understand what gambling can do to a person. It took so many years from me even though I’m only 26. I lost so many chances to take boy trips to other countries and build up my life. It feels kinda bad to be so low but at the same time awesome because it gave me life experience.
And got lucky. I won a fairly big amount of money for me, especially as a student. I started with a deposit of $100, lost that, then deposited more, and you get the picture. Then I finally won my deposits back and then some. Then lost it all!
I’ve been doing pretty good just staying away from gambling, but I’ve noticed I’ve definitely got an easily addicted mind, be it gambling, snus, alcohol, etc. If I stay away from gambling I’ll use a disk of snus a day, or go out to drink with friends.
Now I’ve once again locked out of online casinos but I always seem to come back somehow, by either circumventing the block or just finding a new casino.
I’ve edited my flair, I had a good run of 155 days clean but now I’m back at square ONE! Here Is To new beginnings! <<<<<
ONE MORE: “I am sick, ashamed, and so disgusted in myself. I have no one to blame but myself. My boyfriend doesn’t gamble, but he does try to see make light of the issue (i.e I’m lucky that I don’t have to pay for rent, etc).
It all started a month ago as entertainment, but I’ve been going every weekend with my boyfriend ever since I had a big win in January. I promised that I wouldn’t become addicted, but that failed.
I got sucked way too into it and figured that I was in too deep anyway last night. To think I could have spent some of that money lost towards something more beneficial, like auto or student loans. I feel horrible.
I’m looking at my bank statement of all the withdrawals I made. I feel like shit. This is totally unacceptable!! I’m going try to put that addiction-feeling towards working on myself. SO wish me luck.
Showgirls at the Welcome Sign
2 Nuns Suspected in $500,000 Theft From Catholic School Had a Taste for Gambling, Church Says
((An internal investigation at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., found that two nuns who worked there misappropriated a substantial amount of money for personal use over a period of years. ImageCredit Scott Varley/Digital First Media, via Torrance Daily Breeze, via Getty Images))
Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees, and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, officials and parents said.
The figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni at a meeting Monday night at St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. An audio recording of the two-hour meeting was obtained by the Southern California News Group.
Kreuper was the school’s principal, and Chang taught there.
The revelation comes four years after a car struck and killed four people as they left a Christmas concert at the church, including a 6-year-old boy.
Michael Meyers, the church’s monsignor, told the crowd of a few hundred people that the archdiocese launched an internal investigation six months ago after the organization performed a standard audit of procedures ahead of Kreuper’s retirement after 28 years at the school.
Around the same time, Meyers said, a family happened to request a copy of a check made out to the school, and the staff noticed it had been deposited in a bank account other than the schools.
That’s when Kreuper became “very nervous and very anxious” about the upcoming financial review and requested that the staff alter records, the monsignor said. Meyers said he alerted an archdiocese internal auditor performing the review that “something was off” and that the auditor confirmed his suspicions.
The archdiocese then hired an independent forensic auditor for a deeper review.
Without the red flags raised by the check, Kreuper’s “strange” behavior and a tip made to an archdiocese ethics hotline, officials said the school would never have known about the problem.
The improper use of the funds had been going on for at least 10 years, Meyers said. The parish and the school have always run in the black, so it appears no one had suspicions.
“The systems that were set up were dividing people, so nobody knew what was happening,” Meyers said.
A retired FBI agent hired by the archdiocese interviewed school staffers and the nuns.
“When he was talking to Sister Mary Margaret, she did acknowledge that she had been taking all the money, so that’s not a question,” Meyers said.
He said no other staff members are suspected of wrongdoing, but a bookkeeper who was unaware of the long-running scheme has voluntarily taken a leave of absence to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Funds raised by the school’s nonprofit education foundation were not affected, officials said.
Auditors told parents the “long forgotten” church bank account was opened in 1997 and that bank records before 2012 no longer exist. Only Kreuper and Chang knew about the account, they said.
They described a system in which Kreuper handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees before handing them over to bookkeeping staff for processing. The principal allegedly withheld some of the checks and deposited them into the other account, endorsing the back with a stamp that read, “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School.”
The sisters used a majority of the money for “personal gain,” officials said, though some of it was “recycled” back to the school.
Meyers said the money would have ended up in the school’s reserve funds.
The sisters expressed deep remorse, officials said.
The archdiocese is cooperating with Torrance police, but is unwilling to be a “complaining party,” archdiocese lawyer Marge Graf told parents. She said the decision was made because the nuns’ order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has agreed to pay the school full restitution and impose “severe sanctions” on Kreuper and Chang.
When a parent asked what the money was spent on, the attorney said: “We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips, we do know they had a pattern of going to casinos, and the reality is, they used the account as their personal account.”
The nuns, described by many as best friends, have been removed from ministry, according to a letter from the order read aloud during the meeting. Meyers said they have been moved to separate convents. Church officials did not say whether the order’s restitution agreement hinged on the archdiocese not pursuing criminal charges.
Meyers and other officials pledged to make changes to prevent abuse in the future, noting that new principal Noreen Maricich has implemented an online payment system for tuition that draws funds directly from parents’ bank accounts.
Reactions in the stunned crowd ranged from disappointment and anger to calls for forgiveness.
Many parents were outraged with the decision not to press charges, with some remarking that if the nuns were lay people, they would certainly be in jail. Others called for the restitution to be used to give teachers pay raises and for expenses they said Kreuper claimed the school could not afford, such as awnings for an outdoor eating area.
Jack Alexander of Redondo Beach said in an interview with the Southern California News Group that he and other parents are considering banding together to act as a complaining party to Torrance police themselves. But without cooperation from the archdiocese, he is doubtful the effort would lead to prosecution.
“We were an ATM, and people know it and they won’t ask for justice,” Alexander said.
The approach sends the wrong message to students, he said, that money is more important than morals.
“They are trying to recapture money, not get justice,” Alexander said.
Paul Eakins, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors have not been presented with a case yet from Torrance police. Sgt. Ronald Harris said police will confer at some point with the District Attorney’s Office.
“Our office doesn’t decline to charge simply because the victim’s future cooperation is problematical,” Eakins said. “However, if a victim is not presently cooperating, we may consider that as a factor in determining whether a case can be successfully prosecuted.”
Many in attendance questioned how the school could claim in a parent letter that the embezzlement did not affect the students’ education, and they criticized officials for hesitating at first to reveal the full, six-figure estimate. Some have called on Meyers to resign.
Denise Sur, a longtime St. James parishioner who put four children through the school and spoke at the meeting, said in an interview that she was disappointed that details were not provided immediately.
“The archdiocese and our parish leadership have to be held accountable for the poor process as well as what occurred,” she said.
Tony Liakos, a parent who also spoke at the meeting, said in an interview that the news is another blow to a church community still reeling from that tragic crash in December 2014. It’s a good school, he said, and he doesn’t want its attributes to be overshadowed by these two incidents.
“The biggest thing is I’d prefer to see this not hurt the school more than it already has,” he said in an interview.
Samantha Pierce, a Torrance resident who has attended St. James for more than 30 years and whose son graduated from the school, said the controversy underscores a failure of church leadership. Only a police investigation can be trusted, she said.
“They convicted the sisters before they actually have the facts on hand, that is the thing that disturbed me the most,” Pierce said.
She expressed skepticism that the nuns acted maliciously, even given their apparent admissions of guilt.
Kreuper was known to forgive tuition debt and offer assistance to families experiencing financial hardships, Pierce said, and she took trips to Las Vegas because she visited a friend from a Catholic school where she used to teach.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Las Vegas could not be reached on Wednesday. Kreuper has a past address and P.O. Box in Las Vegas, public records show.
If the nuns indeed misused funds wrongfully, Pierce said she would forgive them.
Other parents said it was well-known that Kreuper and Chang traveled often and went gambling, but that they claimed they have gifted the trips by a rich relative.
“These nuns took a vow of poverty and said, ‘Oh no, we’ve got a rich uncle,’ ” Alexander said. “The rich uncle was the parents of the St. James students. These 2 Nuns Suspected in $500,000 Theft From Catholic School Had a Taste for Gambling, Church Says.”
I am keenly aware how much of a “Game Changer” the laws passing in many states in America “Legalizing Online Sports Betting” IS …Let’s face it, college students love supporting their school’s teams in any form of sports and with “March Madness” in full swing, students may be more willing to give it a try. BUT? Many can be more leaning to, and it can become a problem for them. Hence, MARCH is also Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
Now, I am not saying students WILL become addicted to online sports betting, but the possibility is always there. That would be devastating to these students as many already when leaving college are swimming in Student Debt!
If you are a student, and you feel the need to gamble or bet on sports? Please do it responsibly, and my Guest Article is here to help share some tips and advice on helping YOU get of Student/College Debt.
…… Helping College Student Get Out of Debt
You’ve made it. You’ve passed all your final exams, lined up a few potential job opportunities, and are ready to get that degree in your hands. Maybe you had hopes that all those anxieties you felt before you started your first semester of college would be gone after four years of schooling. But graduating brings on a whole new set of challenges. Finding a job in your field of study, finding affordable housing, and of course, paying off the loans that have been building up over time.
More than 40 million Americans have some form of student loan debt, with almost 6 million of those borrows owing more than $50,000. These numbers aren’t meant to scare you, but more to show you that you’re not alone in this. This kind of debt can take a mental toll as much as a financial toll. Maybe you have a plan in place to keep your student loan payments in check, but what about those that don’t? After all, it’s difficult enough to get through a grueling college experience, let alone prepare a foolproof plan to pay back your loans in a timely manner.
What’s the First Step?
There are a few rather simple ways to help manage your student loans, and you may even find a few tips out there on how to stop paying your student loans altogether. However you decide to pay off your debt, whether you choose to enroll in income-driven repayments, pursue a career in public service, or receive loan forgiveness; the first step to managing debt is understanding it.
Understanding what type of loans you currently have to pay back will give you a better idea of how to pick the right repayment options. There are two types of student loans:
Federal loans have protections from lenders, where private loans do not. It’s likely that you filed for federal student loans at some point during your time in college. Since private loans are not backed by the federal government, they are far more risky and expensive than federal loans. For that reason, they’re not nearly as popular.
Regardless of which type of loan you have, make sure to check out the National Student Loan Data System to view a complete listing of all your federal loans. If you’re not seeing some of them on there, they’re likely private loans. Begin by viewing your current credit reports, and make note of both the lender contact information and balances of each private loan. Both of these things will be necessary for the future.
Pick a Repayment Method
Repayments can be both daunting and downright confusing. Take the time to fully understand the pros and cons of each method of repayment. There will be trade-offs between each option, but here is a general overview of each:
For loans that aren’t consolidated, you can choose to repay in a standard method. All this means is that your payments will be the same over a ten year period. Depending on your balance, these monthly payments may be high, but the quicker you pay off your loan the less you’ll be paying in interest.
If your debt is relatively higher than your current income, you may want to take advantage of the income-driven repayment plan. Your monthly payments will be established by the percentage of your current income. This means if you don’t earn a lot at the moment, your loan payments will be significantly lower.
Although there are clear advantages to this type of repayment plan, there are a few significant drawbacks. You’ll be required to verify your income annually, and because the payments are lower, interest charges will be considerably higher.
Get Your Loans Forgiven
There is a federal program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness that forgives student debt remaining after 10 years of qualifying payments for those in nonprofit, government, or public service jobs. There are even more loan forgiveness programs and options for those working in the military, those in teaching positions, or those in medicine.
Don’t ignore the debt! Ignoring your debt can lead to some serious consequences. Not making payments at all can lead to your loan defaulting. If that happens, the loan balance as a total will become due, wrecking your credit score. You may even have your wages and tax refunds garnished by the government. If you know you’re in danger of defaulting, talk honestly with your lenders. There may be a way to keep this from happening.
Don’t panic! So many people before you have had trouble making payments on their loans due to unemployment, health issues, or those general unexpected financial challenges. Remember, options for managing your loans exist. There are legal and legitimate ways to postpone your payments for a short period of time.
If you’re experiencing a temporary hardship, try deferment or forbearance. Some or all of the loan’s interest may still accumulate even if your payments are postponed. If it’s at all possible, make interest-only payments. Begin today with using these tips and wipe out your student debt!
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
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.
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:
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!
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 …
Suffering in Silence: Suicide and Problem Gambling
“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.)
“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.
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 onlydevastate 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
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.
I was honored to be invited and take part in a multi-line phone conference today that addressed the law passed on Sports Betting and Expansion and it means with Founder, Les BernalNational Director of Stop Predatory Gambling . organd over 100 phone guests today.
Parents, heads up as YOU need to be informed on what is happening and changes coming with online sports betting. And we are not talking places like Fan Fuel or Daily Fantasy Sports betting either. Today was just the first phone session to have a stradegy on how all of concerned of how this will open door up to another easy gambling venue to our kids.
Especially those not old enough yet to walk into a casino or place state lottery bets or play machines of slots, horse racing, and video poker machines. I wanted to share a little some of 2 articles as well about a young man’s story of how Daily Fantasy got him hooked and just how misleading Daily Fantasy is. And another from last moth about the Surpreme Court Decission on sports betting in general to understand what can happen now …
I look forward to sharing more about this problem of sports betting sites as we need always be informed and educated. Now that gambling is reaching our kids, parents, this IS the time to be aware about your kids and what they are really doing on the Internet! They may not be playing video games. They just might be gambling right from their room … Catherine
Full Disclosure: “I am a 36-year-old dude who bores easily, drinks I.P.A.s and wears sports-themed T-shirts, especially ones with faded, nostalgic logos that suggest better times.”
In my early 20s, I developed a gambling problem that I’ve since learned to spread out over a variety of low-stakes games — Scrabble, pitch-and-putt golf, my stock profile on ETrade. I watch somewhere between six and 20 hours of basketball per week. I try to keep up with the usual cultural things — documentaries about conflict in South Sudan, Netflix binge shows, memes — but whenever I find myself awake in the early morning and there is no email to answer and no news to track, I watch SportsCenter, or I scan the previous night’s N.B.A. box scores to check up on Porzingis, or I read some dissertation on Johnny Cueto’s unusual ability to hold runners on first base. It’s not the most glamorous way to spend my time, but what can I do? My mind, at its most aimless, obsessively seeks out sports information. I am, in other words, the target demographic for the daily fantasy sports industry.
Since the start of this N.F.L. season, I have lost roughly $1,900 on DraftKings and FanDuel, the two main proprietors of daily fantasy sports (D.F.S.). I play pretty much every night. This requires me to pick a team of players — whether baseball, basketball, football, hockey or soccer — each of whom have been assigned a dollar amount, and fit them all under a salary cap. I base these lineups on reasonably educated hunches, something to the effect of: I’ll play the Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill tonight, because he’s going up against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have been a defensive train wreck this season, especially on the perimeter.
Also, Monta Ellis, Hill’s back-court partner, is sitting out, which means more of the usage load should fall to Hill. Sometimes, usually while walking the dog, I’ll even sit down on a park bench and check to make sure that at least some of those facts are real. My bets range anywhere from $3 to $100. My losses in D.F.S. are not financially crippling, nor are they happening at a rate that should be cause for concern. But every gambler, whatever the size of the problem, wants to know that he or she has some chance of winning.
The ads, (advertising) I admit, are what got me. For the first 10 months of 2015, DraftKings and FanDuel spent more than a combined $200 million on advertising, a surge that peaked at the start of the football season, when a DraftKings ad ran seemingly every couple of minutes on television. In addition to the ads, many of which showed regular guys like me who had won, in the DraftKings parlance, “a shipload of money,” there were DraftKings lounges in N.F.L. stadiums, FanDuel sidelines in N.B.A. arenas and daily fantasy advice segments in the sports sections of newspapers and all over ESPN, which, during the first weeks of the N.F.L. season, felt as if it had been converted into a nonstop publicity machine for DraftKings. As of August, both companies had billion-dollar valuations and promised weekly competitions with huge payouts and fast and easy withdrawals.
(Gabriel Harber, the fantasy-sports podcaster, broadcaster and writer known to fans as CrazyGabey, at his home outside Columbus, Ohio, in late December 2015.CreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times)
“Given the current state of online gaming, the next logical question is, ‘Is this site legal?’” Fargis continued. “Happily, I’m able to tell you that fantasy sports games are explicitly protected by the U.I.G.E.A. (the same law that has given online poker so much trouble in the U.S.A.). Instant Fantasy Sports is 100 percent legal in the U.S.A. and Canada.”
I hope you will visit the link The New Times Mag to read the rest of this article as it has some good information …
################### ~ Now to the next article!
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
6 winners and 4 losers from the Supreme Court’s big sports gambling decision Loser: sports leagues. Winner: sports leagues.
“On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law and in the process paved the way for states across the country to legalize sports betting. The end of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) could fundamentally change how Americans interact with the sports they love. It will be great news for some and bad news for others.”
Winner: The gaming industry
The American Gaming Association, the main lobbying group for the country’s casinos, has been pushing for legalized sports gambling for years. Casinos stand to make a lot of money once states across the country start making sports betting legal. There’s a ton we still don’t know about what legal sports betting will look like, including which states will offer it and how much of it will be online. But it’s a good bet that brick-and-mortar casinos will be among the first places allowed to offer it. They stand to make lots of money.
“I think it’s gonna be interesting,” says Richard McGowan, a Boston College management professor who has written six books about the gambling business. “I think most states originally are gonna say, ‘Alright, we’re just gonna allow at the casinos.’ And then they’ll do it a little bit online, and then there’ll be all kinds of different ways of doing it, so we’ll see.”
Loser: The big sports leagues
The NCAA was officially the other party in the case New Jersey brought to the Supreme Court. The NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB had all sided with the NCAA. The leagues have maintained for ages that sports betting poses a threat to the integrity of their games. They have never been fans of outside groups — like casinos and offshore bookmakers — making money off their sports without giving the leagues a cut.
Winner: Also the big sports leagues
Whatever moral or integrity case the leagues had against sports gambling might fade to the background quickly, because they’re positioned to make lots of money on it. That money could come from different sources. The leagues are likely to push Congress and/or states to impose what’s commonly called an “integrity fee,” basically a tax on sports bets that sportsbooks would pay to the leagues for hosting bets on their sports.
Even if the leagues don’t get an integrity fee built into state or federal legislation, there are a million potential revenue streams. Legal sports gambling would create a lucrative advertising market for leagues, where betting operators pay them for public exposure.
In the right legal environment, leagues could attach betting software to their online offerings, like baseball’s MLB.tv or football’s NFL Game Pass. There might also be licensing revenue for leagues to make from sportsbooks. There are plenty of cash-grab opportunities.
Winner: Sports media outlets
Including SB Nation. When people have money on sporting events, they’re more likely to watch them and look up information about them. Legal sports betting should lead to more people risking money on games, which should drive up TV ratings and story clicks.
Like the leagues, media companies are free to hunt other lines of business that might come with sports betting’s legalization. That could include starting their own betting apps in places that allow it and writing more about gambling news, to name a few ideas.
Loser: Las Vegas, at least a little bit
Vegas has been the hub for legal American sports betting for decades, much more than the other three states that had varying forms of legal sports betting after PASPA passed in 1992. It will hurt Nevada casinos and sportsbooks when other states open their borders to legal sports gambling, according to basic supply-and-demand principles. On the other hand, Vegas has survived the expansion of casinos in other states. Maybe its gaming industry will adjust again and avoid losing too much revenue to outside sports betting.
Winner: New Jersey
Speaking of other states getting sports gambling: New Jersey is going to have it soon. Voters in the Garden State decided in a 2011 referendum that they wanted sports betting to bolster struggling casinos in Atlantic City. Federal courts had blocked the state from implementing its voters’ will, arguing that PASPA prohibited Jersey from legalizing sports betting. It’ll be in local casinos soon. Both Chris Christie and his Democratic successor as governor, Phil Murphy, have hailed the court’s decision as a huge win for their state.
Loser: Offshore and black-market sportsbooks
The spread of legal sports betting will not kill the black market. Under-the-table bookies still have one big advantages legal casinos don’t: They can offer credit to bettors and not require bets to be paid and settled up front. Does that encourage people to take on terrible gambling debts that can ruin their lives? Yes. But it’s a boon to illegal bookmakers, and they’ll still be able to capitalize on people’s addictions in this new climate.
But illegal sportsbooks will still lose some business, as will offshore operations based in Latvia, Costa Rica, or wherever. Just as there are still illegal cigarettes and illegal marijuana in places where cigarettes and weed are legal, there will still be illegal sports betting. But there will be less of it where people are allowed to participate without any legal risk.
Winner: Sports’ integrity
Legal sportsbooks can tell leagues when a weird, inexplicable betting trend starts right before a game. Illegal sportsbooks can’t. The leagues might be the ones getting a fee, but bringing more sports betting into the light should limit opportunities for cheating.
Loser: Federal power ~ Winner: States’ rights advocates
At its core, New Jersey’s case wasn’t about sports betting. It was about states’ and the federal government’s regulatory authority. New Jersey argued (and a majority of the Supreme Court justices agreed) that by banning states from legislating an issue Congress hadn’t, the federal government was “commandeering” New Jersey’s state regulatory power.
This ruling invalidated PASPA and effectively told Congress to figure out something new if it cares about sports betting. As Samuel Alito wrote for the court’s majority:
Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of their citizens.” … The Constitution gives Congress no such power.
This decision could easily impact other walks of American life. It was about a lot more than whether you can walk up to a window in Indiana and bet on a Pacers game.
Let me just get this out right off the BAT! MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month just in time for the Biggest Gambling Sports Betting Month — March Madness for College Basketball …And NO, that is NOT a Coincidence. There, I said! So that is why my Guest and introduction Article is by “The National Council on Problem Gambling
Our mission is to lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling. Our purpose is to serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families. And our vision is to improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling. The National Council is neither for nor against legalized gambling. NCPG is organized with 3 classes of members: state affiliate, corporate and individual. The NCPG concentrates efforts on the national level, while the state affiliates work at the state and local level. Major National Council programs include:
The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700), a single national access point to local resources.
The annual National Conference on Problem Gambling, the world’s oldest and largest problem gambling-specific conference.
National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (annually in March).
International Holiday Lottery Campaign (annually in December).
Administration of the National Certified Gambling Counselor (NCGC) credential.
Providing education on problem gambling issues to Federal, state, tribal and international governments and agencies.
Distribution of information and literature on problem gambling treatment, research, and recovery.
National referral resource on gambling counselors and treatment facilities.
The organization was founded in 1972 by Msgr. Joseph A. Dunne and Dr. Robert Custer, among others. From the outset, the Council established two principles that remain in effect today: that the organization would be the advocate for problem gamblers and their families, and that it would take no position for or against legalized gambling. This stance is encompassed today in our vision and mission statements above. A history of the NCPG from 1972 to 1985 by Msgr. Dunne was published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1. To join as a member or to support NCPG with a tax-deductible contribution, click here to view our Membership Types and Benefits.
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month ~ 02.27.18 ~CAIT HUBLE
Washington, DC – This March, the National Council on Problem Gambling will host the 14th annual Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) in collaboration with its affiliates, members and corporate partners across the country.
Approximately 2 million U.S. adults, or 1% of the population, are estimated to meet criteria for serious gambling problems, and another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered to have moderate gambling problems; yet for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction. The estimated national social cost to families and communities due to bankruptcy, divorce, job loss, home loss, and criminal justice costs associated with problem gambling is $6.7 billion each year.
This year’s PGAM theme, “Have the Conversation,” focuses on the importance of an open dialogue and candid discussion about problem gambling. A variety of media materials will be used throughout the month to highlight the common warning signs of problem gambling and bring attention to the resources available for those struggling with a gambling problem. NCPG’s state affiliates and members, both individual and organizational, will offer local programs specifically geared to their communities. A calendar of local activities held during Problem Gambling Awareness Month can be found at ncpgambling.org/pgamevents/.
Problem Gambling Awareness Month will also feature Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 13, 2018, in collaboration with Cambridge Health Alliance. Screening Day is an international movement designed to support healthcare providers in the identification of gambling problems. Gambling disorders lead to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected, due to limited assessment for this problem. Screening Day addresses the imperative and provides tools to detect gambling-related problems as early as possible.
“Problem Gambling Awareness Month is an important time for us to reach new audiences with critical information about prevention, education, and treatment for Problem Gambling,” said NCPG Executive Director, Keith Whyte.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpg.org/chat for confidential help.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gaming. For more information on the 32nd National Conference on Problem Gambling, visit www.ncpgambling.org/conference.
And lastly, if you want an in-depth look at how gambling can impact one’s life in a negative manner? Read my E-book which is now on sale for $2.99 on Amazon Kindle. One Reader Says; “Excellent: Great read for the addicted gambler. Puts everything in perspective if you let this addiction continue to consume you. I can relate to her struggles.”
How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Learn of this remarkable and brave story. #####
Now that another SuperBowl Weekend is now upon us, my good friend Keith Whyte, who is Executive Director at The National Council on Problem Gambling and their team care about those who will be “Sports Betting” this weekend. It is one of the major weekends that gambling is very prevalent, and sorry guys, especially among MEN.
And just like my buddies from the NFL, Randy Grimes who played for Tampa Bay and Vance Johnson who played for the Denver Broncos who both are at the Superbowl this year advocating and attending SoberBowl, yes, those of us in recovery CAN have a great time “Bet Free, Clean, and Sober!
They are sharing their stories and message of HOPE to all who come by. And the same can be done for gambling addiction. So? How much money will be GAMBLED AWAY this SuperBowl? Well, I came across this article courtesy of The Business Insider and they said;
Gamblers expected to bet a whopping $4.8 billion on the Super Bowl and only about 3% will happen in Nevada…
Erik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch/IPX
“The American Gaming Association estimates that approximately $4.76 billion will be bet on the Super Bowl this year.
Of all that money, just 3% of it is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada, with the rest of the bets being made through offshore books and local bookies.
Still, Las Vegas bookmakers are doing just fine — 2017 was their most profitable year on record and the Super Bowl is looking like it will easily pass last year’s record.”
This is why I am sharing my new email newsletter from my friends of the National Council on Problem Gambling. If end up getting in over your head sports betting this Superbowl weekend? Make sure you visit them. There is HOPE & HELP available for Problem and Addicted Gambling. You may also visit my Recovery Resources page while you are here. I have many resources for help listed, suggested books to read and more. Here now is the message from NCPG…
Super Bowl Weekend & Gambling: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Help & Hope are available
Super Bowl weekend can be a difficult time. Sometimes fans may feel desperate after a losing game or season if they have gambled more than they could afford.
The Super Bowl can be especially hard for people who suffer from a gambling addiction. Research shows that people with gambling disorder, like substance use disorder, may have a genetic predisposition that drives their need to bet more and more money to achieve the same excitement or “high.” These urges run deep and symptoms include:
Inability to set and stick to a limit of time and money spent gambling;
Viewing wagering as an investment; and/or
Betting to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
Each of these is a potential warning sign of a gambling problem or challenge to recovery.
NCPG urges people who are at risk or experiencing problem gambling to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline.
A simple two-question self-test can help indicate whether someone has a gambling problem.
1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
If the answer is “yes” to either question, it is likely there may be a gambling problem.
If you or someone you knowhas a problem with gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is a toll-free, confidential, single point of access for problem gambling help via phone, text, and chat.
Visit www.ncpgambling.org for extensive referral resources and materials, including an anonymous self-test, an online directory of certified gambling counselors and a list of treatment centers with gambling-specific programs.
The Problem Gambling Helpline offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call now.
Super Bowl weekend and Gambling. Keep Your On The Ball!
“Shining a light on “Sports Betting” through Superbowl Weekend!”
“Do you or know someone who has a problem with GAMBLING? Is it slowly taking them away from family and friends? DID YOU KNOW THERE IS HELP?”
Many of my friends and visitors know I have been here Advocating about Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Recovery for for over 4 years now. Never do I get tired when someone reaches out or emails me seeking information or help for a loved one from this cunning addiction. The only regret I HAVE is feeling I have not helped many more I know are out there suffering and who are sucked into THIS Insane Cycle of this Deadly Addiction.
And through my years of advocacy work, I have had the honor to many fantastic people in various forms and areas of helping others recover. So I wanted to share a little today from them and let the public know that there IS MUCH HELP and Resources for those who are afflicted with this disease. AND? That IT IS Possible to Recover! If I can make it 10 1/2 years away from “A BET” then I know others can too! Having support and encouragement from family and others is important when we surrender from our addiction and start to reclaim our lives. I’m here to do just THAT!
You can smell cigarette smoke in the air and on the clothes of people who frequently smoke. You can smell alcohol on the breath of individuals who frequently drink. Problem gambling doesn’t exhibit these tell-tale signs, and at first, it can be easy to hide. But this addiction can have serious, life-altering consequences.
It can seem as innocent as wasting a few hours on a gaming website, or as serious as a high-stakes poker game. For those affected by problem gambling, both can lead to devastation as bets are placed and debt accrues.
Gambling happens all around us, whether we see it or not. It can happen from the couch, in our schools, our workplaces, restaurants, community centers, casinos and many other locations. Individuals struggling with a gambling disorder have many options to place bets unnoticed, from gambling online from their desks at work to routine visits to the grocery store to purchase scratch-offs.
Often, gambling goes on for months – or longer – before unpaid bills and financial issues surface, indicating a problem to family and loved ones. Friends and family members often struggle with guilt because they did not prevent, notice or stop the addiction before its consequences add up.
Problem gambling affects millions of people – men and women, old and young, employed and unemployed, and people of all ethnicities. In our ebook, “The Hidden Addiction,” we explain why the problem gambling of so many individuals goes unnoticed and discuss many of the demographic segments who suffer in silence. Women, seniors, children, adolescents and armed service members are often overlooked for being at-risk for gambling addiction, but the numbers tell a different story. We explore some of the reasons that individuals develop a gambling addiction, and how they can seek help and recovery.
Trying To Stop Gambling? There Are Many Paths To Recovery!
Help for problem gambling comes in many forms. These can include:
Step-based programs like Gambler’s Anonymous
Professional counseling including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.
In fact, you might need to try a variety of methods to determine which works best for you. If you’re looking to connect with a trained counselor, you can call the NY HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or you can visit the KnowTheOdds Support Directory to find help in your local area.
In the meantime, it can be expected that some days your recovery may seem easy, and other days the urge to gamble will seem irresistible. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid gambling situations and provide you with healthy alternatives for spending your time and money and for reacting in times of both stress and celebration. Some tips for getting started and actively quitting gambling follow.
6 Tips To Begin A Recovery From Gambling
1.Write a goal statement.
Consider why you decided to quit gambling. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to learn how to effectively deal with your emotions, instead of using gambling to escape? Be specific with your goal statement so that you know when you are on the right track to success. When you are writing your goal statement, think about the things you would lose if you continue to gamble, and also the benefits you will gain from quitting. When you are feeling the urge to return to gambling, revisit your goal statement in order to remember why you decided to stop gambling in the first place.
2. Identify your triggers.
Think back to the times you gambled, and ask yourself, “Why/when did I gamble?” Did you gamble in times of stress, or in times of celebration? Was it when you were bored, or when you needed money? Understanding the reasons for your gambling will help you to identify ways to cope with those situations before you encounter them in your recovery.
3. Talk to your friends and family.
Recovery is a time of healing. A time to repair the relationships that have been damaged or lost during your addiction. Talking to your family about your addiction and recovery can be difficult, but it is essential to have a strong system of support throughout your recovery. So, what do you say to your family members? Some topics might include gambling disorder as a disease and explaining to them what you need from them (support, not to enable, etc.). It’s important to remember, if your gambling disorder has damaged relationships, it will take work and time to repair those bonds. Your friends and family may not be ready to talk immediately. Just like you need to spend time and work on your recovery, so do your friends and family.
4. Take financial responsibility.
Gambling disorder can take a toll on a number of areas in your life (relationships, physical and mental health, employment), but we would be remiss to remember one of the obvious consequences: damage to your financial situation. Your first step is to assess your finances by listing all of the debts you owe and all of your income. After you have a good picture of where you stand, you can start to create a budget for yourself. Dealing with finances is often especially difficult for those in recovery from a gambling disorder.
Your friends and family members might be able to help you stay on track, but remember, the most important thing to your recovery and finances, is that you keep yourself from spending any more money on any form of gambling. A resource you might want to take a look at with your family/friends, is “Personal Financial Strategies for the Loved Ones of Problem Gamblers“.
5. Steer clear of other addictions.
According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) of pathological gamblers:
73.2% had an alcohol use disorder
38.1% had a drug use disorder
60.4% had a nicotine dependence
It is crucial that during your recovery from gambling disorder, you deal with any other addictions you have experienced in the past, and you stay clear of any behaviors and/or substances that have the potential to become addictive.
6. Reach out for support.
The road to recovery for gambling disorder is a long, tough road, and you need to prepared to make the best decisions for yourself and your recovery. You’ve made the first, and most important, by committing not to gamble. Your next step is to assess your recovery and to decide what’s best for you.
For More Information On Quitting Gambling
Help is available every step of the way. Visit Know The Odds for facts about gambling disorder, tips to overcome addiction, and contact information for organizations across New York State who can help you overcome your gambling addiction. As always, the NYS HOPEline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for support and referral services: 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-866-846-7369).
Today I have a special guest post by the fine folks of “Elements Behavioral Health Centers” with many center locations. They offer unique programs in different settings and offer programs in addiction and mental health. Why is this important? Like myself, we are seeing more people coming into recovery that also have mental health challenges.
And sometimes, these challenges can be part of the root to our addiction. They also have a gambling addiction treatment program as well. So if you know someone who needs help and they may be dually diagnosed? Please visit Elements Health as you will be in good hands. You can call for locations at 1-888-350-2457…
Confirming Your Suspicions: How to Know For Sure if Your Spouse Has a Gambling Problem
You’ve known for some time now that something is wrong, but you just can’t seem to find the courage to confront your spouse on the issue. What you do know is that he or she has been distant lately, and that, along with a few other signs, means that there’s a problem that needs dealing with. Sure, it could be anything. And you probably want to dismiss what you’re feeling, that gnawing suspicion that your spouse just might have a gambling problem.
How do you know for sure if it’s gambling? Here’s how to get a handle on the issue and confirm your suspicions.
Step Back and Try to Remain Objective
Before we go into the signs that experts say indicate an existing or growing problem with gambling, it’s important that you approach the situation with some sense of objectivity. This will no doubt be quite difficult to do. You’re caught up in what’s going on since you and your spouse live together. It would be unrealistic to think that you wouldn’t be affected by the type of behavior and negative consequences that come from problem gambling.
Still, you have to maintain impartiality if you’re going to be able to look at the situation and recognize the common signs. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the trap of denial and dismissing what are to others obvious red flags. In any case, even though it’s tough to do, you really need to step back and try to remain objective.
What is Problem Gambling?
In order to look at what may be going on with your spouse relative to problem gambling, it’s necessary to define what problem gambling is. Problem gambling, compulsive or pathological gambling, are terms that are used to describe a behavior disorder that has a tendency to become progressively worse over time – unless it is treated.
There are specific diagnostic criteria for assessing problem gambling as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. For the purpose of this article, we will be concentrating on the terms problem gambling and problem gambler. Their terms are meant to describe an individual whose gambling causes emotional, financial, psychological, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and for those who live with and care about them.
It is important to make this distinction here because most experts generally view problem gambling as somewhat less serious than either compulsive or pathological gambling. But that doesn’t mean that problem gambling isn’t cause for worry. Problem gambling may lead to compulsive and then pathological gambling.
And, since problem gambling doesn’t exist in a vacuum, other addictive behaviors are commonly seen in a problem gambler. These may be a contributing factor or could arise out of the gambling behavior and include problems with drug abuse, alcohol, and/or addictive sex.
Types of Problem Gamblers
You may have not have heard the terms action gambler and escape gambler before but these are the two broad types of problem gamblers.
Action gamblers are typically men. They may have begun gambling when they were teenagers. Skill games are their preferred form of gambling, so they gravitate toward sports betting, poker, craps, dog racing and horse racing. What drives them is the belief that they are smarter than the system, and that they can consistently beat the odds and win.
Escape gamblers, on the other hand, generally drift into gambling a bit later in life. As the name implies, these gamblers get into the habit as a way of escaping their problems. Loneliness, depression, bad marriage, too much stress are some of the problems they’re trying to escape. Escape gamblers are typically women, but men can become escape gamblers as well. In any case, escape gamblers prefer a form of gambling that induces a hypnotic state of mind. These games include lottery, bingo, video poker and the slots.
Right off the bat, you may have some idea of whether or not your spouse falls into one of these categories of a problem gambler. If your spouse has always bet on football, frequently goes to the track, and has done so for most of his life, you’re already in the right ballpark to suspect that there may be a problem with gambling.
There is some research that suggests that people who grew up in families where gambling was prevalent tend to be more likely to gamble themselves. If the gambler in the family considered gambling as a way to solve problems, financial or otherwise, this attitude may be passed on to the children. In addition, people with a history of depression, hyperactivity, and mood swings may be more likely to gamble.
While there still needs to be much more research done in another area, children raised in families where the father is absent, whose parents are workaholics, are abusive, or where money is used to show either love or anger, may be more likely to develop into problem gamblers.
Problem Gambling Stages
Problem gambling progresses in stages. Some addiction experts separate it into three, four, five or more stages. We’ll simplify it into three stages.
First, there is the winning stage. This is the period during which an individual discovers gambling, finds it exciting, intoxicating, a highly social and entertaining activity, and begins to see it as an escape from worry, stress, family or loneliness. The gambler may experience a few wins and begins to shower loved ones with gifts. He or she still has control over gambling at this point, meaning there is still money and the gambler isn’t resorting to extraordinary means to fund gambling. Life is good for the gambler in the winning stage. It will likely be the last time that this will exist.
The losing stage comes next. How quickly winning turns to losing varies – it could be extremely fast. No longer experiencing the consistent wins, the gambler becomes more preoccupied with gambling. They experience a need to make bigger bets, to bet more often. Money becomes an issue. All this begins to take an emotional toll on the gambler. Then, as losing continues, the gambler begins to “chase” the losses by making progressively bigger and more frequent bets even as he feels mounting guilt and shame over his actions.
It’s during the losing stage that credit cards get maxed out, insurance policies cashed in, items pawned or personal property sold, savings robbed, and retirement funds exhausted. Heavy borrowing becomes commonplace. The gambler starts missing work and lies to his or her family about gambling. A string of phony stories and lame excuses are offered to family and friends when the gambler gets jammed up and needs cash. What they’re looking for is a bailout in the vain attempt to recoup their losses.
The family begins to suspect – here’s where you come in – that there’s something really wrong. Creditors may start harassing the family demanding payment for past-due bills. Your mortgage may be past-due or perhaps one of the family cars is repossessed. The utility companies may even shut off services due to non-payment of bills.
Addiction experts say that it’s during the losing stage that many problem gamblers start calling gambling hotlines. If they recognize that their problem has reached a critical stage, they may be amenable to getting help. Unfortunately, many don’t stop gambling and progress to the next stage.
The final stage of problem gambling is called the desperation stage. As debts mount, his or her health shows signs that the stress is eating away. Insomnia is a frequent occurrence. Relationships deteriorate with the spouse, loved ones, close friends, and even co-workers or even worse they lose their job. Financial problems reach critical proportions. Eviction, foreclosure, and bankruptcy may occur.
The problem gambler has reached the end of the line. Feeling hopeless, powerless, depressed, filled with guilt, shame, and remorse, the problem gambler in the desperation stage may switch to escape gambler games for the purely hypnotic effect – anything to escape the intolerable reality his life has become. Some problem gamblers leave their family at this point, preferring to run away rather than face what they’ve done. Others attempt suicide. Still, others make the decision to finally get help.
What happens if the problem gambler continues in this desperate stage? Here’s where a fourth stage comes in. It’s known as the hopeless stage. Depression is common and suicide is often the only option the problem gambler sees at this point.
But let’s not think about the desperation stage right now. At this point, let’s look at some specific signs to confirm your suspicions and know for sure if your spouse has a problem with gambling.
Warning Signs of Problem Gambling
Since you live with your spouse or partner whom you believe to be gambling, be on the lookout for these warning signs.
Looking over the monthly statements for checking and savings accounts, you see withdrawals that you had no knowledge of.
Checks start bouncing and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees add up.
Credit denial letters start arriving in the mail.
Items around the house start to disappear.
A flurry of collection notices arrive in the mail and creditors start calling demanding payment for past-due bills.
The bill for your spouse’s cell phone for calls and/or texts starts ratcheting up.
Your spouse is always secretive about money.
Despite having a job, your spouse always seems to be short of cash.
Your spouse may have taken over the bill paying, but you notice that only the minimum amount is being paid on bills.
Your loved one may become involved in very high-risk investing or starts frequently trading.
Despite the bills going unpaid, you discover your spouse has an unexpected and large amount of cash.
You notice that your wallet or purse is depleted of cash that you know was there, or your child says that money disappeared from his piggy bank.
Friends start asking when your spouse will pay back loans, or you find that there’s an increasing amount of payday or other unexpected loans that your spouse has taken out.
Problem gamblers also start experiencing difficulties at work that you may become aware of.
Missing work, arriving at work late and leaving early are typical signs of mounting problems with gambling.
Using sick days to get off work to gamble is another telltale sign.
Your spouse starts taking extended lunch periods or long breaks.
Your spouse’s boss comes down on him or her for failure to finish projects or tasks at all or on time.
Your spouse uses the company telephones for non-work related calls.
Co-workers report that your spouse is making calls related to gambling while at work.
Co-workers also may tell you that your spouse has asked to borrow money from them and takes an extreme interest in office pools, particularly sports pools.
Your spouse gets a reprimand for using office computers to gamble.
Cash advances on the company credit card used for gambling purposes, stealing or embezzling funds at work, and asking for frequent advances on a paycheck are other warning signs.
What You Can Do
Adding up all the warning signs, do you have your suspicions confirmed that your spouse has a problem with gambling? If the answer is yes, you have enough evidence to confront your spouse and ask that he or she get help for the problem. But is that a good move on your part at this point? What should you do, and in what sequence?
As the other partner in the marriage, you have a vested interest in keeping the union together. What happens to the family is very much dependent on the healthy relationship that the two of you share. When your spouse develops a problem with gambling, unless it’s treated, it could spiral from its current stage into an ever-increasing downward plunge.
Gambling addiction experts caution that encouraging your loved one to get treatment for a gambling problem may meet with a number of different reactions. First is denial. Your spouse will tell you anything he or she thinks you will believe in order to get you off the subject of gambling. There’s no problem. I’m not gambling. I can handle it. Stay out of my business. Everything will work out fine. These are just some of the statements you may hear. Of course, they’re probably lies. So you need to be diligent and persistent about trying to encourage your spouse to get treatment.
It won’t be easy. But you definitely don’t want the situation to get any worse than it already is. What you can do to help ease your own mind is learn all you can about how to deal with a spouse or loved one with a gambling problem. Look into a possible intervention with the help of professionals like Elements.
Consider joining Gam-Anon, the 12-step organization affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous. Gam-Anon is for the family and close friends of a gambler. Its sole purpose is to help assist you with the problems you face in your life due to your spouse’s gambling problem. It’s that simple, and that complex.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable yet in actually going to a Gam-Anon meeting. Or, perhaps you’re afraid that your spouse will not take kindly to your attending. But you can go online and get answers to a great many questions you have, as well as find online and telephone support groups that can help you come to some reasonable way of dealing with your situation. No, it isn’t counseling, but it is support from others who are in the same position as you. These people know what it’s like to have a loved one consumed by gambling problems or addiction. They’ve learned how to cope, continue to encourage their spouse or loved ones to get help to overcome their addiction and, failing that, to mutually support each other so that life can go on.
Gam-Anon meetings are safe places to bring up your current situation. No one will judge you. It is anonymous, so you don’t have to worry about others knowing who you are. You can laugh with others, cry, talk about what’s bothering you, ask for suggestions, and listen to the stories of others. This is a community of support – and it’s something that you need very much in learning how to cope with living with a problem gambler.
For now, just go online and check out the website. Look at the questions and answers. Download and print out or keep on a flash drive some of the Gam-Anon resources and publications. Check into some rehab facilities that treat gambling addiction or your States Lottery as they also have set aside money for treatment services and programs when others become addicted.
Talk with a trusted friend, another family member, your minister or doctor. But do definitely seek some help for yourself. If you’ve confirmed your suspicions and are sure your spouse has a gambling problem, you can’t force him or her to do anything. But you can help yourself and be in a position to encourage your spouse to get treatment.
Bottom line: Reach out and get help for you. This may be the most important thing that you can do right now.
“Presented by Gambling Recovery Starts Here! ~ Catherine Townsend-Lyon”
I Am A Recovering Gambling Addict. In Recovery As of – Jan 29th, 2007 1996 to 2007- “I was a gambling addict until I entered recovery.”
Dear Gambling Addiction,
It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us now for 10+ years. So I thought it was time to for a final goodbye but first catch up on the years we have been apart, and this will be my last contact with you.
Things have been going well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind in those early years, but I never had the courage to bring myself to tell you that it was time for “A Final Goodbye” forever as it stings for it to be so final…..Like a loss or death. This time it is your funeral and not mine, as my two failed suicides were enough for me.
YES, we have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be a surprise or difficult for either of us to finally be silent from one another. We have been through so much together. And not all was positive. Yes, we shared and had some good times, but that ended up turning deadly for me. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. I just could not deny or see how you began to HURT me in our friendship. I didn’t understand at the middle to end of our friendship and then breakup that you could be so mean, hurtful and abusive to me.
Do you not remember the times I’m talking about? There were many I can recall.
Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just a jackass to ME? So much so I tried to kill myself twice because of you! You want me to go THERE? Why don’t we start around the time we first met. We had seen each other around a little, once for my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, then in Reno once a year with my girls, or at the Indian Casino 40 miles from my home once every 3 to 4 months.
But where did we get to know each other well? It was at all the “Oregon State Lottery Retail” stores opening up everywhere! It was where you and 5 of your video poker machine buddies seemed to be each time we ran into each other. I began to like you a lot and not be able to stay away from you. It was if you had all the control and I just went along with it. That was my downfall.
Especially when I started seeing your shiny video lottery signs outside all the bars and taverns around town, and even in most of the restaurants where hubby and I would go to eat. OH PLEASE, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I knew you were always mad or jealous of Tom my husband the first time you saw us together. I never understood why you didn’t like Tom, and why you were always HELL BENT to do anything to break our marriage apart! Well, I guess most was my fault as I feel “head over heals” in love with YOU dear video and slot machines. You turned out to be the best part of each day. I longed for you like a lover.
I know it was YOU who was always there for me when I was tired, bored, lonely, angry or had too much time on my hands, too much alcohol, and when Tom worked out-of-town those few years, you kept me high and we had such FUN! That’s when you and I got to know each other intimately, and we spent many, many hours together. It was like you loved me so much that all I could see and think of was you. You listened to what said, knew how I was feeling. You made me feel wanted and special.
Then, to be able to spend more time with you, I had to begin to lie bout where I was all the time. I began to see you before, during, and after work. Then, toward the end of our friendship, you became more greedy and started to cost me a fortune in wasted money, taking more of my time from life, friends, then the job loss, our home, even pawning my jewelry! Need I go on?
You even had a hand in me being “arrested,” then a had a criminal record when I’d never stolen a penny in all the years I worked in the banking field or wasn’t even spending time with you anymore! You had me in such dire financial distress. Yes, I know, that was my fault because I stole from someone just to be able to able to pay my bills. That was even after I tried to stop seeing you! You were like a bad affair I couldn’t get rid of like the movie, “Basic Instinct.”
THEN? before I entered recovery the first time, you began to just take and take from me. Year after year until I had nothing left to give. THE MADNESS and INSANITY HAD TO STOP!