From Our Scars of Addiction Comes A Recovery Story From Inside Us ~ Tell, Write and Share Yours. . .

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends!

 

Todays little recovery post is about OUR STORIES  . . . .

Many of my friends here know just how my current book came to be. It was thanks to my ‘Higher Power.’ He hands his hands all over the whole process. When I began writing, it wasn’t to write a book. It was from reading a news article in my local paper while still living in Oregon. The story was about a woman who was found dead by a shot-gun wound and had committed suicide in an Indian Casino hotel-room 40 miles North from where I lived.

I had gambled there many, many times myself. The suicide note she left behind said, “to tell her family she was sorry, and that she just could not stop her addicted gambling.”

Apparently she had a bad relapse that cost her LIFE. And I think you know the rest as I have written about here a lot.  I felt her pain. I knew how she must have felt when she pulled that trigger, as I myself had been at the edge of DARK & HOPELESSNESS before with my own two suicide attempts. I Thank God each day for still being here to help others in recovery.

My point to this is, . . . we all have a story inside us to tell. Those of us who have battle scars from this devastating, cunning and insidious addiction knows what it is like when that “monkey on your back” just won’t let up with triggers and urges to go out and gamble when your trying to live a life in recovery. Early recovery is hard, no two ways about it. But we all have a story inside us to write, tell and share.

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Our journey’s maybe different, but the result, that place we end up is the same, we had become addicted to gambling and now reaching for recovery. I began my recovery with journaling.  And when I read the article about that hopeless, now dead woman? I had my husband pick me up 6 little spiral notebooks on his way home from work that day, as I had an urge that would NOT leave me alone to write! I had to see all that I had done within my gambling addiction on paper, between the lines.

After I was done purging, healing along the way? I read it over and then just put it away. What a freeing feeling to have all that “baggage” off me, off my back, off my heart and on those pieces of paper in those 6 notebooks. Journaling is one the best tools you can have and use in you’re in recovery.

I can never stress that enough. As far as book being published? Well that is why you need to read my book. LOL. But we all do have a story within us. Don’t you want to share yours?

Until Next Time Recovery Pals .  .  .  .

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Recovery Advocate and Writer For AddictedMinds.com

Product Details

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)
May 14, 2014

Kindle Edition

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


Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

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

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

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

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

“Just Call On Me when your not Strong”……


Have you ever heard the old song by Bill Withers, “Lean on me”? Well, when you really listen to the words of this song as it pertains to Recovery, it has some excellent advice.
I happen to hear it yesterday, and along with a friend of mine’s Blog Post, it reinforced what I share as some GOOD ADVICE on a Tool I used often to prevent a relapse in my own early recovery. When we first enter Recovery, you seem to be go through phase’s, and one is dealing with *Triggers & Urges* all the time.

There are many tools and skills you will learn in treatment and 12-Step meetings that will help ease these symptoms as you gain recovery time. One fact of recovery is a big percentage of people will Relapse in the first 90 days of coming out of Treatment, Rehab, Etc, Etc….

THE MAIN REASON?……They don’t USE what they have LEARNED.
I have taught those who I Sponsor how to make a Phone List Plan, and to USE IT when
you feel urges and or you get triggered in Recovery. And, Sorry GUYS, but you’re the WORST offenders of not using your Phone List.

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I help YOU CARRY ON”
(Song: by Bill Withers)

See, when I was still employed at the last bank I worked for, I had to travel a little.
So I can’t count HOW MANY times my Phone Plan Saved me from a Relapse. There are Indian Casino’s everywhere and Lottery/Video poker machines all over, (my addiction was compulsive gambling) so I always had my phone list with me at all times.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “What is this Phone Plan”?
It is a list of Phone numbers with Support people you can call when you feel Urges or Triggers to Use. When you call someone BEFORE YOU USE….
Most ALWAYS you can talk and the urge or trigger will subside while you’re talking and sharing WHY you felt then NEED to use.

It really does WORK! Of course there are much more to apply to keep you Safe in recovery from Relapse, but this ONE ACT and really help you stay on course. And, yes
It can also be a “Miracle” as well. Here is a ReBlog share from my good friend Aaron
who has a blog called, “Christian Recovery” and how HIS PHONE LIST became a Miracle
for him. I encourage you to visit his blog at: http://christain-recovery.com  🙂 🙂

About

Hi, my name is Aaron Emerson.  I am a recovering heroin addict who is called by God to use my experience to help others.  I live in the Lansing, Michigan area and I am clean from drugs and alcohol just for today.  I blog about my recovery, God,  addiction and anything else I feel like.  If I can just help or inspire one person to get clean than I will feel like I fulfilled my purpose.  If I can stay clean than you can too.

The Miracle Happens

I want to write a short post about a huge subject for me.  It’s about miracles.  They happen if you believe them and want them.

I always used to hear people in recovery say that when you feel like getting high, if you call another person in recovery and talk about your feelings, the urge to use drugs will eventually pass.  I never believed them.  Well, not that I didn’t believe them but, I didn’t want to believe them.  There is a huge difference.

I didn’t want to quit using drugs for years but I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous and treatment facilities during my using times.  I was forced to attend various meetings and rehab through the court system and, also, to please my parents.  I was in places that I could have got my life together, but I simply didn’t want to quit getting high.  These places used to drill in my head to call a person in recovery when I felt cravings.  They told me a miracle will happen.  I would just say in my head, “Bullcrap.”

I want to share something that happened to me yesterday.  I have been clean for a little over four months now.  I finally got desperate to change my life around and get clean so I started going to NA meetings.  I got a sponsor.  I have been using the tools that have been offered to me.  When I feel like using, I do what I learned to do a while ago but never followed up on. I follow-up on it now.  I feel like getting high, I pick up the phone and call my sponsor.

He talks me through it and helps me make a wise decision.  Yesterday, though, I was mowing lawn and it was the first day that it was cold.  A thought popped up in my head.  I flashed back to last winter when I would be walking around the streets of Lansing, waiting to pick up some dope.  I would be freezing my butt off, pacing, waiting, desperate.  Then I would hook up with my dealer and….you know….fix up.  Instant warmth.  Instant euphoria.  Out in the cold streets but warm and rushing on the inside.  I flashed back to that instant gratification.  The instant hit of pleasure.  Like a magical blanket.

As soon as I thought about that scenario I dialed my sponsor’s number.  He didn’t answer so I called another huge influence in my life that is also in recovery. She told me she could relate to what I’m feeling and she helped me think through my crazy thoughts. She flat-out helped me. Then A MIRACLE HAPPENED!, My bad thoughts and feelings just passed.  I got off the phone and prayed.  I felt better.  Talk about instant gratification.  It is a flat-out miracle.  That’s it, a miracle.  It happened!

In the last four months I have been through this quite a bit where I call someone in recovery when I get cravings.  This time really stuck out, though.  Maybe it was because the first person I called was busy so I called another person right after?  I really don’t know, but this situation was a huge boost of confidence.  It gave me assurance that God is always with me and that HE is working in my life.  It also let me know how blessed I am to have such a good support system.  It is a must if you are in the recovery process to have people who you can talk to about your problems and cravings.  You have to be able to get outside yourself and have people who want to help you.   You can’t do this alone!

The good thing is, though, that it is possible!  If you want to quit and stay clean you can.  If I can do it, trust me, so can you.  Miracles happen if you let them.  The desire to use drugs will pass if you want it to.  Even if you feel like using, call someone, and you won’t feel like it anymore.  If you do, just keep on praying and call someone else and it will.  It works.  This really works and I wish I could tell the world.  I wish I could tell every person that is struggling, “If you want to quit then you can.  It may not seem like it, but if you sincerely want to, YOU CAN.”  YOU REALLY CAN….BY: Aaron Emerson

Discover Bill Withers

Genres: R&B / Soul

 “Just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to Lean
On. I just might have a problem you’ll understand, we all need somebody to lean
on…” “Just Call Me”…..

BY: Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Re-blog credit to “Aaron Emerson” http://christian-recovery.com

 

 

My Recovery & God’s Winds of Change are a BLOWIN Again….

Hello Recovery Friends & Family & New Visitor’s,

I’ve been busy a bit, as our life is ever-changing day by day. So my postings the next week or so maybe here and there as many of you know we are moving…….

WE are packing up what little we have left of our lives from 4yrs ago when we Both lost our jobs, lost our home, and you know the Rest…Blah Blah Blah….LOL…
Well it seems THAT STARTING OVER was not low enough for our lord, so were doing it ONE more time. He sure is a FUNNY GUY isn’t HE?….LOL…

SO far of course, the hardest part has been having to find NEW homes for my Babies/2 Cats, that’s been like HELL…..but where we are going to live, everyone in my hubby’s family has allergies to cats. One has been with us for some years. YES….I’ve had some PANIC Attacks, Depression, HIGH ANXIETY, I’ve cried it out, but now have an Attitude of Gratefulness that at LEAST we won’t be HOMELESS, blessed that his family is going to help us Start Over, and humbled beyond belief!!  I HATE having to leave Beautiful So. Oregon, but, AS ARNOLD SAID A MILLION TIMES…..”I’LL BE BACK”!! And the MORE SUNSHINE maybe Good for my Depression.

ONE THING I am sure of, is that when LIFE gets thrown in our FACES……IT CAN make you more tempted to have a Relapse in Our recovery, but I say this…..I have had my TOOL BOX out of the closet for a few weeks now, and that is NOT going to HAPPEN!! What I’m trying to say is,…..It can be a HUGE TRIGGER when Life is turned upside down, especially when the DRAMA is being caused by others and outside forces.

I think we all have heard plenty about US IN RECOVERY HAVING NO CONTROL OVER, People, Places, Things……and I tell myself this each morning when I get up!!……THAT, and say a little Prayer to my HP to help me get through another day, and to WORK through ME to still help others even though MY life is being tossed around like a Washing Machine!!..LOL…
It Keeps me focused and IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE!

Being of service to others IS a good way to stay Grounded in YOUR own recovery. We can learn SO much from each other. A GOOD example of this……Grab your Steps and work on them a little each day, they will help keep you on course when things are CRAZY all around you, and it helps keep you outside of yourself.

HAVE I been having THOUGHTS and FEELINGS to GAMBLE?…..OF COURSE, BUT…..With the tools and skills I’ve learned in my YEARS of Recovery work, I know that they will PASS, and it’s my DISEASED MIND trying to Work Overtime,  and I have the tools to help me not Have to ACT on those Feelings & Thoughts.

WE all have many *CHOICE’S* in Life each and everyday…..I choose LIFE & Recovery.
HAVING to move to another STATE IS not a Good Enough reason to throw my years of recovery away. These things we have ARE JUST MATERIAL things, we can’t take them with us, and they DON’T define who we are as a person or People.
WHAT’S MOST INPORTANT???…..Is my HP…GOD, knowing his is with US every step of the way!!, MY HUSBAND, MY FB FRIENDS & FAMILY, And MY Awesome LIFE IN RECOVERY!!

I’ve made a choice that Might Be FUN, to Chronicle My Life Changing Journey on my GOODREADS Blog so I can Update my Recovery Friends as things progress:: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_Posts/4742885-Winds-Of-Change-are-a-Blowin   here on my Recovery TOO! I just thought maybe…..After all is said, moved, and PACKED, I JUST might have another NEW BOOK in the MAKING!…LOL..

Thanks Everyone for all your kind words and Encouragement! May God Bless you,    *Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

“True friends are families which you can select.” -Audrey Hepburn