Breaking Through Stigma and Raising Awareness About Problem Gambling To Those Who Gamble? Ground Breaking.


In no way shape or form am I endorsing or encouraging others to gamble. But for those who can for the right reasons of a few hours of fun and entertainment, and share Responsible Gambling and my story when you don’t? That to me is progress! We know gambling will never be banned or prohibited, that wouldn’t be fair to those who can for enjoyment. Having a direct source to share my story on a gambling watch dog site is Ground Breaking…

~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


A few weeks ago I had been approached with an invitation to be interviewed by an overseas company that is a gambling watch dog for gamblers of all types to keep them safe. They have a blacklist of venues who may use bad practices when it comes to online gambling options at all types of casinos.

Now, I know many who come to visit here may be maintaining recovery like myself, so I won’t mention the site by name. They wanted to do a interview as they are revamping their website and they are hosting new pages of resources and raising awareness about problem gambling and patrons to practice responsible gambling.

At first I thought? Hell No! I would NOT be willing to be on a site like this where people come to look for the best places to gamble. Because I thought it would be like endorsing GAMBLING! Then, I went and explored the website and seen that “The National Council On Problem Gambling” is listed as a resource and I do a lot of networking with them and am a member as an advocate.

So I thought, what an amazing way to reach people who may need help and these resources and be able to help them before they get way to deep into full blown addicted gambling?

In no way shape or form am I endorsing or encouraging others to gamble. But for those who can for the right reasons of a few hours of fun and entertainment, and share Responsible Gambling and my story when you don’t? That to me is progress! We know gambling will never be banned or prohibited, that wouldn’t be fair to those who can for enjoyment. Having a direct source to share my story on a gambling watch dog site is Ground Breaking…


It would be right at the source and where the people are who may need to hear MY STORY, Raise Awareness, and help Shatter Stigma by letting them no there is NO SHAME reaching out for help if gambling begins to interrupt any areas of their daily lives.

So I wanted to share the interview questions they asked of me and how I answered them. This really is an awesome opportunity and a ground breaking idea to also help break the stigma of those who may or do have a gambling problem know that it’s OK to reach out for help! ~Catherine


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No Shame In Asking For HELP


INTERVIEW WITH A RECOVERING GAMBLER ~ Champion of Awareness


When did you first start gambling? What got you into it?

Answer:
I had always enjoyed gambling with my girlfriends as we would go to Reno or the Indian Casino a couple of times a year and never had a problem. It used to be a fun thing to do for an hour or so with friends. Have lunch at the deli and play a little.

I don’t come from a family background or parents who were gamblers. For me, it began around age 30 when I noticed I began gambling a little more than an average person. Now, with 14+years of being bet free and maintaining my recovery, it started after a life event, when my brother-in-law passed away in 1992.

At the same time, I was living in the Oregon, (USA) and they had introduced video poker machines, later in the 2000s they slot style games to the machines. But when my brother-in-law passed away, I began to notice I was gambling more. By 1996, gambling became a problem and I was going more and more often. See, some of the reasons I used gambling was for an escape or trying to cope with the grief.

On top of this, I experienced childhood sexual trauma and abuse. When that pain came back and the grief of loss, I started gambling more. Those roots and underlying issues are why I used gambling to numb out. Sadly, once you lose control over your gambling and get sucked into the “cycle,” you can never gamble normally again. My gambling became a full-blown addiction.

One area stood out to me. Having a lot of access can bring gambling excess. I could walk across the street and gamble, or walk a block or two and gamble. Not only did we have Indian Casinos not too far, but the lottery video machines where in all our restaurants, deli’s, bars, and taverns. Very accessible.


Did you ever gamble online? What kind of sites?

Answer:
Believe it or not, at that time, I never gambled online. First, because we did not have internet at that time. Second, I was lover of all the lights, bells, and noises of a casino or playing the lottery sponsored machines. Even today, the online casinos really don’t cross my mind. I will be honest and transparent and share I have been to Casino.org and tried your free play games to see what is new for research for my advocacy work to stay updated on the trends, but I don’t play or buy anything! I don’t even play Facebook games. Even though there are games like trivia or scrabble type games, still, I avoid them.


Which games did you play most?

Answer:
When I did play back then be it at a casino or the lottery machines, I mostly played the slots or video poker.
I loved slots that had fun bonus rounds like video poker called “Flush Fever” …But most times I’d play slots.


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Speaking at an addiction and recovery awareness event
at the Arizona State Capitol.



When did you notice it was becoming a problem? What were the signs?

Answer:
Again, I have to say it started in 1992, but really ramped up and crossed the line into full-blown gambling addiction around 1998. I had begun gambling more, higher betting, playing more money until I attempted suicide and my first addiction Crisis Center stay an began treatment for addicted gambling in November of 2002.

That is how bad my problem gambling became. It was a slow progressive climb to where I ended up a statistic of 1 in 5 addicted gamblers will try suicide. Looking back now, some of the warning signs were gambling for longer periods of time, lie about why I was gone so long. Stop doing things I enjoyed, missing family get togethers, call in sick to work if I was winning, ignored medical or dental appointments, work, began having money problems and arguments over money with my husband, etc.


How did gambling negatively affect you? E.g. financially, in relationships

Answer:
Some of the above and eventually when you have no money to gamble with? I began selling or pawning things of value, took out credit cards and payday loans my husband had no idea about. Dug us in a huge financial hole and lost my friendships with most of my friends. Would argue with co-workers, lost jobs over my gambling until it became NOT gambling with money any longer, I was gambling with my life and had two failed suicide attempts. Those were just some of the negative impacts I had from my gambling addiction. It was a never ending battle if I won or lost. When you lose control, when you win? You think you will win all the time. When you lose? You go back out and chase the money you lost. It become a sick “cycle” you can’t seem to get out of.


What did you do to overcome your addiction?

Answer:
I did ANY and EVERYTHING I could get my hands on to recover!

After my second failed suicide attempt in Jan. 2006, I started gambling treatment, again, and in the Addiction Crisis Center again and I guess you can call it a “do-over”… I finally surrendered to the fact that I can never gamble again like regular people who don’t have a problem. I had lost all control over my gambling to the point that it almost cost me my life. See, it is NOT about the money lost or won, it became life or death for me.

Here I was again, I began in-patient treatment for 30-days and transitioned into out-patient for the next 6-months, attended Gamblers Anonymous for many years as a source of support, treatment therapy, worked with an addiction specialist for a year to help me process and overcome the childhood trauma I endured, learn the process of forgiving and making my amends where needed. And began to slowly work through my financial inventory and slowly paying all my debts. I attend “Celebrate Recovery “virtually.

In 2010 to 2011, I wrote my memoirs to see everything gambling addiction had taken from me and my family and was published in book form in 2013 by “The Kodel Empire Publishing group.” In it I share the Why and How I became a gambling addict. It’s titled “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Lair and a Cheat” available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online bookstores.


What advice do you have for someone else who may be struggling?

Answer:
First, don’t wait to get help or suffer in silence like I did for many years from problem gambling. There
is help available in all states in the USA and in many countries around the world. There is no shame in reaching out for confidential help. If you’re not sure where to look for help, I founded and run my website called “Bet Free Recovery Now (Dot Com)” and have a page of resources of places I trust and have advocated alongside the work they do and the treatment services offered to those with a gambling problem or a full-blown gambling addiction.

No matter what type or your preference of gambling problem you may have, be it online gambling, casinos, lottery, bingo etc., there are many options for treatment and help to gain your life back. I need to be real and honest about gambling triggers, cravings, and urges to gamble, they will only subside when you refrain from gambling, and you’ll learn the skills and tools to help you refrain from gambling when you chose to get help.

realistically gambling of all types will never be banned or prohibited, and in some world countries, gambling is still illegal. And in the USA, there are still some states that sports betting online gambling is also illegal. Banning gambling would not be fair to those who can do it with no problems what so ever.

However, the public needs to be aware of the dangers and pitfalls and if or when it becomes a problem within there lives.


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Advocate/Author Catherine Lyon


Happy Easter Recovery Friends & Warriors. Topics of Recovery Ramblings on a Special Day. Learning My God-Given Purpose In Life Through Life Lessons…


He died for our sins so we can have eternal life with Him. Have you accepted His free Gift of salvation? He loves you unconditionally… Have a Blessed Easter!

~Lydia Brady Grimes
✝️


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I have been sharing and writing for over 14+years as a form of advocacy but also as a healing process to share my past of how far I have come within my recovery journey thus far. And through my redemption of my HP (God), he continues to have me grow and overcome challenges too. It’s a view into a life and journey from a cunning disease and what addicted gambling looks like. There is the GOOD, the BAD, and the very UGLY when deep in our addictions.


Today, I enjoy sharing all the GOOD and within the present, in the moment, and have built a new beautiful life with my amazing husband who, BTW, stuck with me all these years of CHAOS. I think he would agree that the past 14+years have been the best thus far! I have the blessings and honor of helping others, being of recovery service, speaking about the pitfalls of problem gambling, and I am proof recovery works.


I enjoy sharing my experiences, strength, and HOPE to others so they know they are not alone with addicted gambling problems and they can recover. It wasn’t always this way. Even though my past doesn’t define who I am, those years were rough and heart-breaking when I look back to this past addicted woman I was.


Many who have never been touched by any addictions or lived with an addict may not comprehend how much chaos and devastation that goes on with an addict and the people around them become caught in the cross hairs. It’s why we share are stories of addiction and what it takes to recover. It can be tools to help those reaching out for help.


When it comes to my side of the family, I had not hurt anyone when I was gambling addict. I lived in a different state at the time. And we had many beautiful memories of the years when my family came to visit us, we made sure we did lots of fun things and take my parents to many places in Oregon and have experiences they other wise may never had. And healing I have learned that full healing will most likely take a lifetime for me. That is the roots and the issues that sometimes I feel I still have more work to do around the old pain and hurt.

And it is why I hold firm to my faith and belief in GOD.

See, my father recently passed away on Jan. 29th, 2021, of COVID, which was the same day I made 14th-years celebrating my recovery. He lived in Southern California in the home I was raised and where horrible memories of my past childhood still lay. When I first began my recovery journey, I wasn’t ready to dive into my past childhood trauma, abuse, and haunting memories. Most this began and resurfaced when I turned 30, I lost my brother-in-law to cancer. He was the real brother I never had, and I would tell him everything.


After Mike’s passing, it took me a few years to get over his death with a lot of therapy to even begin to process it. Shortly after, is when all the haunting pain and memories flooded back. I had to learn to process them and forgive and lay those haunting memories away. It was some of the roots and underlying issues of how I got sucked into gambling addiction. I was using gambling as a coping skill, an escape, and numbing the pain of my childhood trauma and abuse until I finally could not stuff away any longer.


Then in 2003, my mom passed away. By then, I had about nine months of recovery when I began writing and journaling. The next few years were pretty rough. We seem to think our parents will always be with us. Still, more painful memories, and I was not ready to share that part of my past. Now that my mom and dad have passed on, here I go again; it has again begun to surface slightly. Even when I started to write my book all of 2010 into early 2011 to see all that gambling addiction had taken from me, was when I began a deep dive into all the sexual trauma and abuse I’d endured.


One of the many amazing things about truly working through my childhood was the act of taking every single thought and terrible memory that held me captive; I began to watch Christ redeem them, helping me face them, and feel them. Without making excuses. Without placing or taking the blame. Finally, today the abuse and abuser no longer linger in the darkest parts of your mind controlling or tainting the memories. That is how God works in your life!


So, now with the passing of my dad, even though we had not spoken in almost 15-years, I was able to still forgive him for it, accept and respect his choice. It still stung, but I have the comfort of knowing God and (my mom) has told him the truth about all that I went through as a little girl, was telling the truth, and that if he knew? I’m pretty sure he would have protected me. He would have understood the WHY I also sought his unconditional love and validation. I have the comfort of knowing he is now with our father above and at peace with my mom.


I will continue to live and build a beautiful and amazing life within my recovery!


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ME and my HUBBY, Tom xoxo

Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and Personal Experiences. Problem Gambling 101. No Substances Required For This Addiction.

Sharing Some Facts, Stats, and Personal Experiences. Problem Gambling 101. No Substances Required For This Addiction.

 

If there is one thing I know inside and out?

It’s problem and addicted gambling on 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…

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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 being addicted 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) …

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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.

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Other Names Ludomania, gambling addiction, compulsive gambling

 

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.[1] 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
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  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
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  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling
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  • 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)
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  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed)
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  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses)
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  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling
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  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling
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  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

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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!

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Suicide is a permanent solution to what is a temporary problem ...

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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…

If you want more in-depth information about gambling addiction there is more informative information at Wikipedia here: about problem and addicted gambling.

~Advocate/Author, Catherine Lyon

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Special Guest Recovery Article By Sober Recovery Magazine …5 Key Components to Long-Term Recovery Success.

I welcome Sober Recovery back again with I feel is an important article share about moving into long-term recovery success and what it takes to achieve it. Written by By Toshia Humphries … I agree with Toshia and some of what I had to accomplish in order to reach my 13+years maintaining long-term recovery from gambling addiction and living with mental health challenges. But when you feel that freedom and peace?

It is worth the work you put into the journeyCatherine Lyon, Advocate

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Short-term success in recovery is rather straightforward.

It requires getting and staying sober for a short amount of time. Truthfully, this is something many active addicts are able to do. In fact, it’s one reason many refuse to refer to themselves as addicts; because they believe they can quit at any time, and they’ve usually successfully tested that hypothesis.

However, being able to quit for short periods of time doesn’t determine whether a person is or is not an addict any more than temporarily not having chest pains determines whether or not heart disease is present. Quitting isn’t the hard part—it’s staying sober and getting what is called real recovery that takes effort.

In other words, staying sober is just the tip of the iceberg. Real recovery is about dealing with the physical, spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological disconnect within the whole person, rather than just the resulting disease of addiction. As such, there are necessary components to employ and maintain in an effort to last in your new path.

Here are the 5 key components to help you achieve long-term success in recovery.

1. Accountability

Taking responsibility for your own actions and lack thereof is key to a successful recovery. It’s not just about making amends for obvious grievances. It is a realization of the responsibility we have to others, ourselves, and the Universe. Additionally, it is the opposite of living in ego; the ruler of active addiction.

2. Integrity

Having integrity is an integral part of recovery. With active addiction, lying, manipulation, and rationalizing negative behavior or thought-processes is rampant. To employ honesty, sincerity, and ethics (with others and yourself) is to align with recovery rather than relapse.

3. Life Skills

Acquiring life skills is essential for a successful recovery. A vast majority (if not all) life skills are inherently void during active addiction. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to be fully self-sufficient in recovery. Moreover, it is necessary to learn more than mere living skills but gain life skills; tools that assist you in thriving rather than merely surviving. So, learning healthy coping, communication, boundaries, etc. is key.

4. Personal Growth/Healing

Seeking personal growth and healing is most vital with regard to long-term success in recovery. Staying sober and avoiding relapse is much easier when you begin to deal with the underlying issues and triggers. Healing yourself holistically is the difference between simple sobriety and real recovery.

Because there is often a defensive response to the latter statement, consider this analogy: when a Type 2 diabetic gets their sugars under control by way of insulin but continues to eat poorly and fails to exercise, health issues will continue to arise and manifest in other diseases. So, even though the symptoms of the disease (diabetes) appear to be under control, the lifestyle isn’t. And, even more, the dysfunctional reasoning behind the lack of self-care is still very active and detrimental.

Addiction works the same way, as it too is a disease. And, if the underlying issues and holistic lifestyle changes are not made, real recovery is not achieved. Overall health issues will continue to pop up and manifest in other forms of dysfunction; something real recovery prevents.

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5. Spirituality

Because we are not merely human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human one, we must incorporate spirituality as a daily practice to keep ourselves holistically well. We cannot leave out any part of our being when addressing any disconnectedness that fed or damage incurred in active addiction. As such, seeking and maintaining a spiritual practice is necessary to avoid relapse and experience not only success in recovery but a sense of awakening and evolving to a new you.

Applying these five keys to success in recovery not only works to prevent relapse but aids in building a strong sense of character and being while evolving your soul and moving you onto the next part of your life’s journey.

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We’re With You from Start to Recovery

SoberRecovery is the leading online referral source for those seeking the best rehab facility centers. SoberRecovery is an unbiased resource not owned or operated by any treatment facility.

Why We’re Different:

  • We’re not subscribed to any one way of recovery.
  • We’re home to the largest online community that’s seeking addiction treatment resources.
  • We DO NOT engage in “Patient Brokering”: i.e. selling patient information to treatment facilities.
  • We’re a part of every stage of addiction recovery.

We’re with you from the start of your journey and through your recovery.

Featuring a directory of rehab centers across the globe, celebrity interviews, current news topics, advice from addiction experts, and a thriving online forum community of 175,000+ members, we’re encompassing every aspect of the recovery journey for our subscribers. VISIT Sober Recovery Today!

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I Am Proud To Fly Recovery Blogging With My Friends Here At WordPress and Thanks For The Blog Anniversary Wish! We Save Lives Together…

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7 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us.
Keep up the good recovery blogging.

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What can I say, I love Blogging About RECOVERY From ADDICTION, Share Awareness, Hope, Shatter STIGMA, and not let others suffer IN SILENCE…

It is the purpose and passion of my life and was God-Given.  ✝💞

 

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And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Most of you know who are apart of my recovery community know my purpose is to help those who feel they are within addictions the least, the lost, and the hopeless. Well, not on my watch! Seven years is a long time to be blogging and also sharing one’s recovery journey.  I do so because if I can gain regain and turn my life around from this cunning disease and addiction to addicted GAMBLING? Then I know anyone can who may be afflicted by this insidious and devastating disease.

I have come a long way from those days of wasting so many hours and wasted money behind a slot machine or sitting at a poker table. Selfish about any and everything except when I could gamble again next! Not caring about my husband or even LIFE, just self-medicating and zoning out old pain and hurt from the trauma I endured as little girl.

Finally becoming “Sick and Tired” of feeling sick and tired.

Now? I’ve been maintaining recovery for 13+yrs and counting! WordPress has supported my recovery by the opportunity to share and reach people here in the WordPress Community and beyond. If I have helped one or many? I may never know, but I appreciate WordPress allowing me to do so freely and transparently.

Today I enjoy networking with other friends who are advocates so may try and help restore and guide families to healing, not enable, and learn how to support their loved one who may have a gambling problem. I am most comfortable doing so through my writing and blogging, as a contributing writer for publications, as a columnist for “Keys To Recovery” newspaper, and written within featured articles for other addiction and recovery publications, most recently featured in FEB 2020 issue of “ Recovery Today Magazine issue #63 sharing the WHY and the HOW I became caught into addicted gambling the first place!

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Recovery Today Mag is a 100% Free and a fantastic recovery resource for everyone! I was very honored to be invited to share my story and raise awareness about gambling addiction and what it takes to recover. 

SO HERE IS TO Another Year of Recovery Blogging on WordPress and the only hosting site I would trust to do so! I also have my Book and Literary Blog here on WordPress if you are a reading book CAT like me? Stop and give me a visit there too at “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den!”


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Havng Fun Rasng $$ 4 Big Jim Foundation!

Speaking Event 4 Big Jim’s Ride, Phoenix, AZ!

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{My E-book Is Now on Sale on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99 & Paperback $6.95

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I APPRECIATE All My Recovery Supporters, Friends, and Blog Recovery Warriors and New Visitors!

Thank You, from my heart to your’s … xoxo💞💞✝💝

~Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Holiday Recovery Watch Begins! I’m Here and By Email. A Special Resource and Message From Les of ‘Stop Predatory Gambling.’ A must-visit website!

Holiday Recovery Watch Begins! I’m Here and By Email. A Special Resource and Message From Les of ‘Stop Predatory Gambling.’ A must-visit website!

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It’s night one of my “Recovery Holiday Watch” and my 7th year doing so. WHY? Part of maintaining my recovery is “to be of recovery service to others!” I take that seriously. No needs to be alone through the holiday season and I want others to know there are many who care and that they are worth a better life than being tangled with addicted gambling or any other addictions.

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Meet The National Director and Founder, Mr. Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling. ORG who works tirelessly in Washington, D.C. and around the country to stop FOR-PROFIT Gambling … As gambling venues and options expand that includes, Indian Casinos, State Lottery, Online Sports Betting, and not just your normal places like Vegas, Reno, Tahoe, or even Laughlin and more, and I think we are SMART enough to know these venues are not making money and profits from your “once in a while players.”

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NO, they are making profits off the backs of those who are addicted or are problem gamblers, who get drawn into going all the time. I know because I DID. Here is a SPecial Message from Les and more about who they are and would urge you to visit their website Stop Predatory Gambling.   You can see what’s happening in your state and around the country. It will open your eyes!

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon 

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WHO ARE THEY?

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Who We Are

  • We believe in improving the lives of the American people with compassion and fairness, freeing us from the lower standard of living, exploitation, and fraud that commercialized gambling spreads.

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  • A 501c3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, we are a national government reform network of individuals and organizations from across the country.

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  • We are one of the most diverse organizations in the United States, one in which conservatives and progressives work side-by-side to improve the common good.

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  • You can read more about our history here.

We Stand For

  • We believe everyone in America should have a fair opportunity to get ahead and improve their future.

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  • We believe every person’s life has worth and that no one is expendable.

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  • We believe that a good society depends on the values of honesty, concern for others, mutual trust, self-discipline, sacrifice, and a work ethic that connects effort and reward.

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  • We believe no agency or entity of government should depend on predatory gambling to fund its activities.

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  • If you believe what we believe, sign An American Declaration on Government and Gamblingtoday.

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One In Every FIVE Addicted or Problem Gambler Will Try SUICIDE … Every Life is Precious.

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A LIFE-CHANGING PROBLEM TO TALK ABOUT:
By, Les Bernal 

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Hi Catherine,

The problem of commercialized gambling will be a subject of conversation in millions of American homes over the next few days as families and friends gather for Thanksgiving and The Christmas Season . . .

Why? Because it’s America’s biggest most-neglected problem today.

Americans are on course to lose more than $1 trillion of personal wealth to commercialized gambling over the next eight years.

Our mission is to reduce this enormous loss of wealth by citizens by 50% over the same span.

Below are some must-share facts along with some specific reforms that will dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans:

The Problem: Tens of millions of citizens are broke!!! And millions of citizens are now addicted to commercialized gambling.


Partial Policy Solutions That Have Been Put Forward From Both Political Parties to Help Solve the Problem:

  • Tax Cuts
  • Tax Credits
  • Raising the Minimum Wage
  • Increasing Taxes on the Rich
  • ….None of which represent a consequential fix

Absent from the List is America’s Biggest Most-Neglected Problem: The Life-Changing Citizen Losses of Personal Wealth to Commercialized Gambling

The sheer size and scope of these financial losses lack any comparison:

The Way Forward

  • Building assets, the accumulation, and investment of savings, are key for anyone looking to make a better life. A home, a college fund, retirement accounts, a stock portfolio—these assets are the hallmarks of middle and upper-class America, and they are all the result of savings.
  • Building assets is the direct opposite of commercialized gambling. No single policy reform would create more financial peace for low-to-middle-income citizens than reversing the current scheme of turning millions of people who are small earners, who could be small savers, into habitual bettors.

Partial List of Reform Proposals Include:

  • To safeguard the health of minors, no kids under should be exposed to gambling ads and marketing on TV, radio, at point-of-sale, or on the internet.
  • No advertising or marketing of commercialized gambling to low-income populations.
  • A ban on the sale of lottery products in check-cashing outlets, which serve unbanked, low-income people.
  • No high dollar lottery tickets should be sold in low-income areas (ending the practice of selling tickets greater than $5.00)
  • Capping staking levels on all slot machine-style games, regardless of whether it is a physical machine or online, to $2.00 or less. There is no justification for staking levels above $2.00.
  • End the predatory practice of allowing commercialized gambling on credit, whether by credit card or “markers,” (interest-free loans issued by casinos.) It’s inconceivable that states encourage citizens to fund their gambling addiction using debt.
  • Require state lotteries to track and report re-wagers and quantify their relationship to sales and subsequent prizes.
  • Ban “loot boxes” and other elements of commercialized gambling that are currently being engineered into video games that kids under 18 are playing.
  • Reduce the overall amount of lottery games being marketed to the public. Presently, some states offer dozens of different gambling games. For example, Texas was promoting 92 scratch games for sale in November 2019.
  • Reduce the amount of locations where extreme forms of gambling like electronic gambling machines are being marketed by the state.
  • Reduce the speed of the commercialized gambling being offered by states. Many of the most harmful forms of commercialized gambling are also the fastest like electronic gambling machines, online gambling, and scratch tickets.
  • Require commercialized gambling interests to be treated the same under civil litigation laws as any other business.
  • Create an Office of the Public Advocate committed to public service in representing state citizens in any matter that is covered by the authority of the state gambling commissions, as well as proceedings before state and federal agencies and courts, so that they are protected from being exploited and cheated by commercialized gambling operators. This is similar to what many states do in representing state utility consumers.
  • Require that state problem gambling councils collect and report annual data on state gambling addiction numbers and on the effectiveness of the problem gambling interventions being funded (changing the measurement from how many calls are taken to how many people are moved from addicted to not addicted).
  • Restrictions on the inducements offered to gamblers to keep them gambling or luring them to start gambling after they have stopped.

Please consider how you can use your time, talent, and treasure to help move these desperately-needed, long-overdue social reforms forward over the next 18 months and let me know. Thank you. I appreciate all you do, Catherine!

Best,

Les Bernal
National Director
Stop Predatory Gambling

________________________________

Who We Are —

– A 501c3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, we are a national social reform network of citizens and organizations from across the U.S.

– We believe in improving the lives of the American people with compassion and fairness, freeing us from the lower standard of living, exploitation, and fraud that commercialized gambling spreads.

– We are one of the most diverse organizations in the United States, one in which conservatives and progressives work side-by-side to improve the common good.

If you share our beliefs, please help sustain our work by making a tax-deductible, financial gift today of $10 or more.

spg_logo_CMYK-e1494622496875

Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation
100 Maryland Avenue NE, Room 310  | Washington, District of Columbia 20002
(202) 567-6996 | les@stoppredatorygambling.org

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

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

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WELCOME To Bet Free Recovery Now Holiday Watch and Friends!

 

***HAPPY THANKSGIVING****

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

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

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

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

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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My Thanksgiving Day Spent in AA

By Flower B

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

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

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Makeshift Family

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

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

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

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Boogie on Down

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

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

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A Celebration

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

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

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

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

Do you remember how you spent your first Thanksgiving in recovery? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
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I “CELEBRATE National Recovery Month” Along Side SAMHSA Each Year. Share Your Voice for Recovery…

Join the Voices for Recovery:  Together we are stronger.  National Recovery Month 2019 30th anniversary.

Connect with people in recovery by reviewing the personal stories of people recovering from mental and/or substance use disorders.


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Like myself and many of us across the country, people in recovery are celebrating their successes and sharing them with others in an effort to educate the public about treatment, how it works, for whom, and why. Dual diagnosis with those suffering also suffer mental health challenges and both are on the rise.

Since many stories and voices and the successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, OUR personal stories, or Voices for Recovery, provide a vehicle for people to share their recovery stories and an important tool for those looking to RECOVER!

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Here is more from SAMHSA on just how to share your voices at: RECOVERYMONTH.GOV

 

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives.

This observance celebrates the millions of Americans who are in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, reminding us that treatment is effective and that people can and do recover. It also serves to help reduce the stigma and misconceptions that cloud public understanding of mental and substance use disorders, potentially discouraging others from seeking help.

Now in its 30th year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

As part of the 30th anniversary, Recovery Month is introducing a new logo that signifies the true meaning and values of the Recovery Month observance. The new Recovery Month logo features an “r” symbol; representing r is for Recovery and the need to support the millions of individuals who are proudly living their lives in recovery, as well as their family members and loved ones.

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Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding of the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.

Recovery Month also highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible. Recovery Month also promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective preventiontreatment, and recovery services for those in need.

Each year, Recovery Month selects a new focus and theme to spread the message and share the successes of treatment and recovery. The 2019 Recovery Month observance will focus on community members, first responders, the healthcare community, and youth and emerging leaders highlighting the various entities that support recovery within our society.

The 2019 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger,” emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect us all, and that we are all part of the solution. The observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth. Learn more about this year’s and past year themes.

SAMHSA creates a Recovery Month toolkit to help individuals and organizations plan events and activities to increase awareness about mental and substance use disorders, treatment and recovery. The kit provides media outreach templates, tips for event planning and community outreach, audience-specific information and data on behavioral health conditions, and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. These resources help local communities reach out and encourage individuals in need of services, and their friends and families, to seek treatment and recovery services and information. Materials include SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357) for 24-hour, free, and confidential information and treatment referral as well as other SAMHSA resources for locating services.

Additional Recovery Month resources are available on the Recovery Month website. Resources include logos, r is for Recovery symbolbanners, posters, and customizable flyers, posters, T-shirt designs, and one-pagertelevision and radio public service announcementsan event calendar to post and share your Recovery Month events or locate events in your community and social media outreach through FacebookTwitter, and YouTubeNote some materials are available in English and Spanish.

History

Over the years, Recovery Month has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about mental and substance use disorders, share their stories of recovery, and encourage others who are still in need of services and support.

Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month, which honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field. The observance evolved into National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in 1998 when it expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include mental illness.


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Support Organizations

Currently, more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and substance use disorders, comprise the Recovery Month Planning Partners. The Planning Partners collaborate and assist SAMHSA in the development, dissemination, and promotion of materials as well as independently hosting Recovery Month events and activities in their local communities.

Review the Recovery Month: 20 Years of Excellence and Achievement Timeline – 2009 (PDF | 357 KB), which showcases the many strides the treatment and recovery field has made and details the campaign’s success and evolution of Treatment Works! to National Recovery Month.
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My Book Now on Amazon!

A Blast From My Past. My Days Writing For InRecovery Magazine! A Special Interview With Arnie Wexler a Gambling Recovery Expert, Advocate, and Author.

A Blast From My Past. My Days Writing For InRecovery Magazine! A Special Interview With Arnie Wexler a Gambling Recovery Expert, Advocate, and Author.


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An Article I Wrote All About Arnie Wexler for and Courtesy InRecovery Magazine and An Amazing Book You Need to READ . . .


THE AUTHOR’S CAFÉ ~ 
By Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Columnist
InRecovery – June 30, 2017

 

Awhile back, the Powerball lottery drawing was for an ungodly amount of money and went a couple of rounds without a winner. I was chatting with a dear friend and fellow author, Arnie Wexler. I call him “The Grandfather of Gambling Addiction Recovery,” as his last bet in the mad world of sports betting and horse track betting was back in the 70s.

He’s never looked back. Instead, he has helped scores of people return from the abyss of gambling addiction. He co-wrote a book titled, All Bets Are Off: Losers, Liars, and Recovery from Gambling Addiction with veteran sports journalist, Steve Jacobson, in which he shares how his gambling addiction drove him and his wife, Sheila, to the edge of life.

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“Steve Jacobson is what’s known in baseball and journalism as a seasoned pro, a man of credibility, conscience, and caring. Arnie Wexler? There’s a reason why for the last 35 years, he has been the news media’s go-to guy on issues of addicted gambling: He has saved at least as many souls, including his own, as Mother Teresa.”
– Phil Mushnick, Sports Columnist, New York Post

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An advocate of gambling addiction recovery like me, Arnie has shared his expert advice on various media outlets and as a speaker for Fortune 500 corporations. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including Nightline, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, 48 Hours, Crossfire and Oprah.

He is the past executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey and is a certified compulsive gambling counselor and recovery coach. He and his wife set up the hotline 1-888-LAST-BET that continues to help addicted gamblers today. I’m happy to say he’s also a good friend and my #1 recovery supporter.

Now, back to our chat about the Powerball lottery. Arnie was telling me that many in his Gamblers Anonymous group (GA) either bought tickets for a chance to win or had others buy them tickets. I was also encountering this on my online GA meetings and gambling recovery chat rooms. We both agreed that either way the tickets were purchased, it was still gambling.

 

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Image result for free images of powerball tickets

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See, Gamblers Anonymous defines gambling for the compulsive gambler as “Any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether or not for money, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or ‘skill’ constitutes gambling.”

According to this definition, all forms of risk or chance such as raffle tickets, scratch tickets and flipping a coin are considered gambling; though many people don’t like to include lottery tickets in the list.

Addiction is addiction no matter what your gambling preference. Arnie and I were brokenhearted as we heard about all the people in long-term recovery who had bought tickets. Even this seemly innocent purchase could be dangerous for gamblers; gambling addiction has one of the highest suicide rates among addictions.

What is your take on this? Do you think buying a lottery ticket constitutes gambling?

How about those who had someone else buy tickets for them? Is that gambling?

Should they lose their recovery time over a Powerball lottery drawing?

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I know GA
is not the only way to recover; many of us decided to have professional treatment including rehab, recovery coaching and even one-on-one therapy aimed at helping addicted gamblers. After doing some online research, however, I discovered that most recovery sites advocate GA’s guidelines for persons in recovery from gambling. This disease cost me way more than the year’s of wasted money, it almost cost me my life twice from suicide.

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Even though they were failed suicide attempts, 1 in every 5 problem gamblers will try suicide. Gambling addiction now affects 2.9% of our population as problems with gambling. AND? Gambling Addiction is now the #1 addiction claiming lives by SUICIDE over drugs and alcohol combined. By Suicide. Google it if you don’t believe this FACT.


Lastly and finally, the word about addicted gambling is getting out and is a hot discussion all over social media – but the way Arnie and I see it?

If a recovering gambler has someone else buy tickets for them, they gambled. Gambling is gambling.   www.aswexler.com

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Arnie Wexler is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in the country, who has spent the last 30 years helping other compulsive gamblers to recover. He’s a certified compulsive gambling counselor, and he was the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for eight years. Arnie has appeared on many of America’s top television shows, including Oprah, Nightline, and 48 Hours.

 

He’s been quoted and profiled in literally hundreds of magazines and newspapers. He presents workshops and training sessions internationally. He has spoken to many gaming industry executives, Fortune 500 companies, legislative bodies, and on college campuses across the nation.

Since 1994, both Arnie and his wife Sheila have trained hundreds of professionals working in addiction treatment centers, including Sierra Tucson and Betty Ford Center. In addition, they have provided extensive training to casino personnel, and have written responsible gaming policies for major gaming companies.

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Summer Spotlights for Gambling Recovery! My Friends of The Arizona Office of Problem Gambling & National Council on Problem Gambling…

Summer Spotlights for Gambling Recovery! My Friends of The Arizona Office of Problem Gambling & National Council on Problem Gambling…


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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!

I will start for those seeking help in The State of Arizona!

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ABOUT THE ARIZONA OFFICE OF PROBLEM GAMBLING:

“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.”

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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)

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Gambling risk behavior is consistently associated with other risky behavior such as drug use, juvenile delinquency, and family problems:

Arizona Youth Gambling Profile Report – 2008

Arizona Criminal Justice Commission Youth Gambling Fact Sheet
Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Study – 2003

  • Of the students who gamble, the most common age of initiation is 10 or younger
  • Males are more than twice as likely as females to have gambled in the past year
  • Males are three times more likely to respond to two or more “problem gambling” questions than females
  • Gambling involvement is positively correlated with substance abuse and all other risk factors for substance use

    …..

Teen problem gamblers have higher rates of:

Crime (theft, robbery, embezzlement)

  • School problems (e.g., lower grades, truancy, behavior issues)
  • Family problems (e.g., withdrawal, behavior issues)
  • Peer relationship problems
  • Legal and money troubles
  • Depression; suicidal thoughts and attempts
  • Dissociative, “escape” behaviors
  • Risk for co-occurring addiction(s) including alcohol and substance abuse

Source: Gupta and Derevensky, eGambling Youth Gambling: A Clinical and Research Perspective


For Adults and Families? They can help both individuals and families with treatment options paid for the State of Arizona.

So Arizonians now have help and options to get treatment for Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling. If you or a loved one needs help today?  Please call or email below or The NCP Gambling.

JAY HERYCYK – State of Arizona

Treatment Administrator
602-255-3888

 

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FIND HELP IN YOUR STATE NOW, including counseling, treatment, self-help, and support groups:

NATIONAL PROBLEM GAMBLING HELPLINE

Call: 1-800-522-4700
Text: 1-800-522-4700
Chat: ncpgambling.org/chat


AND

ARIZONA COUNCIL ON COMPULSIVE GAMBLING, INC.

9001 E. Palmer Drive
Chandler, AZ 85248
Tel: 480.802.4945
Fax: 480.802.4945
Email: azccg@azccg.org
Website: www.azccg.org
Helpline: 800.777.7207

OTHER STATE RESOURCES

• Arizona Office of Problem Gambling is responsible for general health and/or addiction services in this state, and may also have information on problem gambling.

• For the fact sheet on gambling and problem gambling in Arizona, click here.

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PROBLEM GAMBLING WARNING SIGNS:
Ask Yourself These Questions?

  • Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
  • Have you ever lied to people important to you about how much you gambled?
  • Have you repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling?
  • Do you gamble as a way of escaping emotional or physical pain?
  • Have you ever relied on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?
  • Have you ever jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or career opportunity because of gambling?
  • Have you gambled to get money with which to pay debts or to solve other financial problems?
  • Have you borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Do you gamble to try to get your money back?

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The Four Phases of Escape Gambling

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.

Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions

If someone answers “yes” to seven or more of these questions, Gamblers Anonymous suggests it is an indication of a serious problem.

DSM-5 Diagonostic Criteria: Gambling Disorder

A score of five or more is categorized as pathological gambling, but a score of three or four could indicate a serious concern for the problems gambling is creating in one’s life.


So don’t gamble with your life like I did! Please visit The Office of Arizona Problem Gambling Division or The National Council on Problem Gambling and get help now!  The State of Arizona! 

 

 

 

Now a 4th of July Message From My Friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling …

Now a 4th of July Message From My Friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling …

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KEEPING US SAFE and BET FREE Over The 4th of July Holiday …

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Don’t Ruin Your 4th with Illegal Bets on the 400…

 by Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling under Mental HealthProblem Gambling AwarenessSports Betting

 

What do a barbecue, the beach, and fireworks have in common?

They’re all part of the way Floridians and the USA celebrate Independence Day! Not to mention, all three of these come with their own set of safety warnings.

Daytona Beach also has a tradition for the holiday weekend that started in the summer of 1959. Originally dubbed the Firecracker 250, the Coke® Zero Sugar 400 is the second major stock car cup series race of the year in the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” following the famed DAYTONA 500® that kicks off the season. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR®) fittingly has its headquarters in Daytona Beach as well, and the Daytona International Speedway is a landmark that cannot be missed.

This year’s Coke® Zero Sugar 400 takes place on Saturday, July 6, 2019.
Will you be watching?

Image result for coke sugar 400

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Image result for coke sugar 400

 

Although sports betting has not been legalized in Florida, betting on stock car racing is in the fast lane elsewhere. Dover International Speedway in Delaware introduced a betting kiosk in October 2018 and became the first racetrack to allow visitors to gamble on site. Delaware passed legislation to allow sports betting less than one month after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in May of last year.

In partnership with Sportradar Integrity Services, NASCAR® developed its policy for gambling on races in order to prevent associated cheating, which is put in place for the 2019 season. The policy includes a ban on betting for drivers and team members. This past May, NASCAR® announced that it is teaming up with Genius Sports to create a live betting platform for sportsbooks.[3] NASCAR® also operates its own fantasy game website.[4]


“The wheels are turning on sports betting, and so too must the wheels on problem gambling treatment and prevention.”

While gambling is a safe recreational activity for most, those who suffer from “gambling disorder” experience a wide range of devastating effects that go far beyond an empty wallet. Gambling addiction is associated with divorce, domestic abuse, child neglect, crime, and suicidal ideation and attempts, to name a few.

Take note that it is not always easy to tell when someone in recovery for problem gambling may be in the room. Problem gambling is also known as the hidden and silent addiction since those who are suffering do not show physical symptoms common in cases of substance abuse. Even starting a friendly betting pool for next Saturday’s race presents a host of triggers and poses a significant risk of relapse to these individuals.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with problem gambling,

call Florida’s 24-7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848). The HelpLine offers a wide range of resources to help individuals understand disordered gambling and be able to recognize the warning signs, while providing referrals to support groups and licensed treatment providers for those in need.

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What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Now that March was yesterday ending “Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the beginning of April which is Alcohol Awareness Month. I thought I would share two informative articles that share what some of the warning signs of Alcoholism and Problem Gambling are. I help advocate both because toward the end of my addiction to gambling, I began to abuse alcohol as gambling just wasn’t working as my ‘escapism’ and using to cope with life and old past pain from my childhood.

Those of us that end up becoming addicted to something usually have roots and underlying issues as to “WHY” we began using that has still hurtful and unprocessed like my own childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Not always from a negative problem that we may turn to addictions.

It could be from overindulged or wealth and a child growing up with no parental mentoring or guidance and feel entitled. Either way, gambling, alcohol or even drugs that may have been recreational can become an addiction for many, many reasons.

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When the Fun Stops – By Nevada Council on Problem Gambling

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Just as some people can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is possible for a person to become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble. For the problem gambler, making a bet is not just about having fun or winning money. Gambling becomes an emotional response to change the way they feel. 

 

Some problem gamblers may gamble to relieve boredom or avoid feelings of anxiousness or stress. Others may gamble to ‘numb out’ when feeling helpless, guilty, or depressed. As they continue to gamble, they become more and more emotionally and mentally dependent on gambling, with less and less control.

The impact of this addiction is much greater than the obvious financial losses that can result from repeated gambling. The long-term result is a steady deterioration of the mental and physical health of both the gambler and their family.

Surprisingly, problem gamblers are often the last ones to realize what is happening to them in spite of mounting negative consequences and increasing emotional impact. They may attribute their difficulties to a mere financial problem or believe they are just not being ‘smart’ enough when they gamble. The fantasy that one more big win will solve the financial problems and return everything to normal drives them on to gamble even harder.

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KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS

 

Most people who gamble do so with no harmful effects. They set limits and stick to them. However, for a small percentage of the population, gambling can become more than a game, and lead to serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.

Here are some of the warning signs:

For the Gambler:

  • Gambling to escape worry or trouble
  • Gambling to get money to solve financial difficulties
  • Unable to stop playing regardless of winning or losing
  • Gambling until the last dollar is gone
  • Losing time from work due to gambling
  • Borrowing money to pay gambling debts
  • Neglecting family because of gambling
  • Lying about time and money spent gambling

    ….

For the Family:

 

  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Reduced involvement in social/group activities outside the home
  • Emotional distress, anger, depression
  • Lack of communication among family members
  • Items of value lost or missing
  • Family members working overtime or taking a second job to make ends meet
  • One member (gambler) noticeably absent from or disinterested in normal family activities

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If your gambling is no longer fun, don’t wait for the problem to get worse… Get Help Now or call the 24-hour Problem Gamblers Helpline.

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Facts About Alcohol

  • 2.8 million worldwide deaths caused by alcohol annually.
  • 3rd Alcohol addiction is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation.
    …/
  • 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use in the U.S., while 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.

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Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States – By NCADD.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence.

Alcohol addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications. It also damages a person’s emotional and mental health, financial stability, career, family, friends, and community. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence along with several million more who engage in risky binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and can cause severe health consequences, even if it’s only used for a short period of time. In the United States, many people begin using alcohol at a very young age. 66.6 million people from age 12 to 17 report binge drinking. That’s 1 in 4 young people, many of whom also report using other substances or trying other high-risk behaviors.

Engaging in binge drinking can lead to problems with alcohol. The problem can be exacerbated by a home environment where heavy drinking or alcohol use is considered “normal.” A family history of alcohol problems is the single major factor that can predict alcohol addiction, which is one type of substance use disorder. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcohol addiction or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has severely misused alcohol.

Alcohol use disorder can develop in anyone who is predisposed to it. The condition cannot be predicted by what kind of alcohol the person drinks, how long they have been drinking, or even how much they drink. However, early alcohol use, binge drinking, and a family history of problems with alcohol are all linked to future health issues.

Cutting back on drinking, eliminating alcohol completely, and avoiding any form of alcohol are all ways to reduce health risks. Substance use disorder affects the person who drinks: it also affects the entire social system around them, from their co-workers to their children. A healthier individual helps create a healthier family, community, and country.

Alcohol addiction and alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of a person’s life.  Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications, can damage emotional stability, finances, career, and impact one’s family, friends, and community.

Over time, excessive alcohol use, both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to numerous health problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments, and social problems, including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, stroke, and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, violence including child maltreatment, fights, and homicide.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box) and esophagus
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis
    Alcohol addiction

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If you are questioning your alcohol use – take our self-quiz and see where alcohol might be a problem for you. Or learn more about drugs.

 

Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcohol addiction by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use!

Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery.  It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.

With this year’s theme — “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” — the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol addiction, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Local Facing Addiction with NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.

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I will be advocating out loud on April 10th, 2019 at 4 PM at The Phoenix, AZ State Capitol Event for and supporting BIG JIM’S WALK FOUNDATION AND His Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness along with many other recovery friends!

It will be in the Capitol Lawn and Rose Garden area with many Special Guest Speakers. So come out and Rally for Addiction Awareness in Phoenix!

~Catherine Lyon, Author/Advocate

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Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Welcome Recovery Friends!

It is no secret that I am “being of recovery service” as media manager to a couple who is fighting this Addictions Crisis in America with all that they have! Literally. We have been friends, Big Jim and Marisol Downs for almost three 1/2 years.  I met Jim while he was accomplishing his first event of “Walking Across America 4 Addiction Awareness.” He had just finished his own 16-month treatment and recovery program while living in a faith-based rescue mission. He had finally had enough of drugging and drinking after 34 years of it! He was at the bottom after an anger rage he couldn’t remember after it happened.

He decided it was time for him to get help, for him and GOD to have a long conversation about his life and what was it he was missing? It was FAITH. He walked to be able to hear and get closer to GOD. He was redeemed from addictions, but without GOD in his life? He surely knew he would relapse and that to JIM was not going to happen. So he went for a walk from Panama City FL. to Canada! When Jim finished the “walk,” he founded and began “Big Jim’s Walk Inc.”

Now, with a new mission from God and years maintaining recovery, Big Jim is now “Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness and with powerful recovery support and treatment team behind him. He has already in just 2 and half months saved 41 lives from addictions who reached out to him while biking around America!

And? Well, I think I will let you read the rest of the “Ride” story courtesy of “The Eagle” newspaper located outside Houston, Texas as that is WHERE Big Jim has made it to and will be speaking on the State Capitol Steps in Austin, Texas today!! I would like to invite all who are my supporters of this blog go Donate and support Big Jim Downs as he riding for MY Addiction I am recovering from as MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Jim and Marisol are doing this ride on the kindness of people who know this addiction crisis in America is reaching everyone’s communities and claiming too many precious LIVES.

So I invite you to contribute and I THANK YOU in advance and donate here on Big Jim’s Fundraiser on the Official Website of Big Jim’s Walk Foundation. 

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PEDALING FOR HOPE

Addiction-recovery advocate makes unexpected Bryan-College Station, Texas stop…

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“Now five years clean, 50-year-old Jim Downs is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.”

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Jim Downs battled the long road of drug and alcohol addiction for more than 30 years before finding rescue in a faith-based recovery program.


Now five years clean, the 50-year-old Florida
man is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.

On the way to Austin on Thursday, Downs’ bright yellow-green Performer JC26X recumbent trike blew a tire just outside Bryan-College Station. His wife, Marisol, who was driving the couple’s car, met up with her husband in Bryan so he could strap the trike to the vehicle roof and take it for repairs.

Marisol often has to stay back in Florida to work while Jim makes his long journey, but she tries hard to follow her partner in the car when she can, hoping to help him if he runs into trouble. Sometimes she’s able to travel ahead of him and let recovery centers and news outlets in the local area know Jim will be pedaling into town.

The couple runs the charity organization known as Big Jim’s Walk and is in the paperwork process of having the group designated formally as a 501(c) nonprofit, Marisol said. The program started just two years ago when the couple decided to embark on a charity walk together from Florida to the Canadian border, talking to drug and alcohol addicts they met on the way and connecting them to recovery programs.

Now the organization is staffed by several people who have access to a catalog of addiction recovery programs throughout the country. When they meet an addict on a trip, they connect the addict to a long-term recovery program that will care for that person free of charge.

So far, they have helped 42 people since 2017 and have spoken with both small-town politicians and high-ranking state elected officials about funding for sober living and addiction programs.

Jim said that while he took a quick stop in Bryan to deal with the broken trike, he wanted to share his story with the people of the area via media outlets, hoping his testimony could help anyone in the Brazos Valley battling some kind of addiction and needing hope.

Jim was raised in California by what he described as a stable middle-class family and had never witnessed drug or alcohol abuse. But, he says, family issues led him to turn to drugs at school to deal with emotional problems. Having first tried illicit substances at 12, he eventually spiraled out of control and was an addict for 34 years.

He attempted suicide five times, was fired from jobs, was homeless at times and was repeatedly arrested, he said. He said he eventually let down his children and takes responsibility for leading one of his kids into methamphetamine addiction.

After enduring a psychotic blackout just over four years ago, he decided to reach out to Panama City Rescue Mission in Florida, a faith-based recovery program.

“I went in with a chip on my shoulder about recovery and an attitude of ‘I’m only doing this once,’ especially since I’d had heard people say they did it four or five times,” he said. “… Getting a relationship with God and working the 12-step addiction program through that relationship, I was digging deep and dealing with the root cause of all of it — a sense of abandonment.”

Recovery was not a simple process. Jim explained that recovery takes work and dedication, and lots of support from friends and family members who are not addicts. Jim said he would like to see more opportunities for those battling addiction to enter a recovery program that looks at the long-term healing process beyond the initial days of detoxification.

His mission as a sober man riding his bike cross-country is to connect the people he meets with the services that will help them in the same way he was helped. If those services aren’t available to a person in their immediate area, Jim stressed his organization will pay for that person to be bused to a town where they can receive treatment.

“The objective is to let everyone out there know that I get it,” he said. “I’ve been homeless, eaten out of garbage cans, done dope most of my life. I encourage people through my testimony and let them know they don’t have to live that way and there is hope. Then I offer them free recovery.”

The couple planned to drive on Thursday night to Austin, where Jim could have his trike wheel repaired. Next stop after speaking in Austin: Phoenix, where he plans to keep passing on the message of hope.

To reach out to Jim and Marisol Downs and learn more about their charity, visit bigjimswalk.com.

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March Is Problem Gambling Awareness So Let’s Have a GamTalk! It Is a Great Resource . . .

Those of us who maintain recovery from the cunning disease and addiction of gambling know our stories can be helpful and powerful tools to show Recovery is Possible from this illness and others are NOT ALONE. There is no shame in reaching out for help if you feel you have a gambling problem.

One place for exceptional resources and be with other “like-minded” individuals recovering or even having a struggle to maintain theirs my friends of GAMTALK!
Founded by Dr. Woods, GamTalk has great tools and resources to help you Recover.

Since March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I wanted to share Stories of those who have shared their VOICES and Addiction/Recovery on GamTalk so everyone can know there are many out here including myself trying to stay BET Free.  That gambling caused us much pain, financial devastation, and can be a challenge to maintain recovery at times.

Unless we begin “THE CONVERSATION” about this disease, others will still stay within the STIGMA and not reach out for the HOPE and the HELP that is out here and ready to help those looking to get their LIVES BACK! I sure did and it’s time for you to as well . . .

<<<<<<

GamTalk

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WHAT and WHO IS
GAMTALK:

Dr. Wood is the founder and manager of GAMTALK

“I have been investigating gambling problems for the last 18 years. I don’t have all the answers, but I will do my best to tell you what is currently understood. I focus on problem gambling prevention, education, treatment, responsible gaming, research, and recovery related issues. Through GAMTALK I will discuss the benefits of online support and to explain how Gamtalk helps thousands of people every year to discuss their gambling issues as part of a supportive online community.”


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SHARED STORIES of HOPE:

Arnie, A Long-Timer Maintaining Recovery From Gambling:

I am a recovering Compulsive Gambler who placed my last bet April 10,1968.

I started gambling at about age 7 or 8 as a kid in Brooklyn, NY. It started with flipping baseball cards, pitching pennies, shooting marbles and playing pinball machines. That kind of gambling continued until about age 14. At that point, I started to bet on sporting events with a bookmaker and I got into the stock market.

As a young kid, growing up, I always felt that everyone was better than me. The only time I felt okay about myself was after I had a win, whether it was marbles or baseball cards or pennies. Then at 14, I went to the racetrack for the first time (that was Memorial Day, 1951 Roosevelt Raceway). At that time in my life, I was making $.50 an hour after school, working about 15-20 hours a week. That night at Roosevelt Raceway I had my first big win and walked out of the track with $54. Looking back today, I think it was that night that changed my life. Even though it was only $54, it was about 5 weeks salary to me at that time. That night gave me the belief that I could be a winner from gambling and eventually become a millionaire. I can still recall that high feeling walking out of the racetrack that night.

By 17, I was already stealing to support my gambling. It started with stealing comic books to play cards with from the local candy store. Before long it was stealing money from my family to pay for gambling. By then I was taking the bus to the racetrack, a few nights a week on a regular basis. In those days they closed the track in the winter months, in New York so on weekends, I would take the bus or the train to Maryland to gamble. I was betting sporting events and horses with the bookmaker on a daily basis. In those days each sport had its own season. I remember calling the bookmaker one day and the only thing that was available to gamble on was hockey. I had never seen a hockey game but bet on it anyway. It wasn’t until months later when I did see my first hockey game, that I realized that hockey was played on ice.

Somewhere between age 17 and 20 I went to the racetrack one night and won $6000. Wow! Another big win. It was the equivalent of 2 years salary. This reinforced my belief that I could be a winner at gambling.

By my early 20’s I was betting big amounts on lots of games that I didn’t really know much about and probably couldn’t name more than a handful of players who played in these events. In some of the college games I bet on, I couldn’t name one player or even tell you where the college was located, but I needed to be in action. By then I was a regular at the old Madison Square Garden, every week.

I was watching and betting on college and professional basketball on a regular basis. At this point in my life, I was working full time in a shipping department in the garment center and every Tuesday when we got paid there was a regular crap game out in the hallway. Almost every week I would lose my pay in this game. I began stealing supplies and merchandise on a daily basis to pay for my gambling. By then, I had a bank loan and a loan with a finance company loan. I was also borrowing from coworkers.

At 21 I met my future wife. Our first date was to the movies and most of the rest of our dating was at the racetrack. We had a joint checking account saving for our wedding. She would put money in and I wouldn’t. I needed to use my money for gambling. I was still looking for another big win. I thought the perfect place for our honeymoon would be Las Vegas or Puerto Rico since I knew both places had casinos. My wife to be didn’t think that was a good idea.

I guess she understood enough about my gambling already. At 23 we got married and I wanted to stop gambling at that point. I thought that I could. Within a short time, I was already back to gambling. Even though I wanted to stop, I realize today that I couldn’t. I needed to gamble like any drug addict needed to stick that needle in their arm, or any alcoholic needed to have that drink.

Four weeks after we got married I went away to the Army Reserves at Fort Dix, NJ for 6 months. During those 6 months, I gambled every day, fast and furious, from placing bets by phone with the bookmaker to shooting crap and playing cards, every waking minute. When I came home in December of 1961, I owed $4000 and didn’t even have a job.

I got a job, eventually, working in the garment center In the showroom that I worked in there were a few compulsive gamblers who I quickly got friendly with. They became my buddies. We would play cards during the day and go to the racetrack at night and on weekends, together. My wife thought I was at business meetings some of these nights and all of us would lie for each other.

In 1963 my first daughter was born. My wife was in labor for 37 hours. During that period I went to the racetrack twice. When the Doctor finally came out and told me that we had a baby, the only question I really was concerned about was “how much did she weigh”. He told me 7lbs.1 oz. You would think that the concern should have been “how is my wife” or “how is the baby”. The first call I made was to the bookmaker. I bet 71 in the daily double. The next day when I picked up the newspaper, the daily double hit. I was convinced that day that God was sending me a message that I was now going to be a winner.

One year later my boss gave me an option to buy 500 shares of stock in the company for $7500. Within a year that stock was worth $38,000. In those days you could buy a car for $2000 and a house for about $10,000. Within 3 years this money would be gone due to my gambling. By now I was a plant supervisor for a Fortune 500 company. My gambling was already so out of control that I was stealing everything I could to stay in action. I set up a room in the factory that we used for playing cards (all day long). I was starting to do illegal acts (manipulating stocks) in the stock market.

Our home life was deteriorating. Gambling was more important than anything else that was going on at home. I was lying about almost everything and I would come home and pick a fight so I could go out to gamble. Nothing else at that point in my life was more important than gambling; not my family or my job. Gambling came first. At this point even though I was doing illegal acts, I was still borrowing money from only legal sources.

My gambling continued to get progressively worse. I was now a plant manager, supervising 300-400 people. My boss worked in New York, and I was in a factory in New Jersey. Most of the time he didn’t know what I was doing. Besides stealing and borrowing money from coworkers, I now had 3 bank loans and 3 loans to finance companies; I owed a loan shark an amount of money equal to one year’s salary. I was involved with 3 bookmakers, both working for them and betting with them. I directed a lot of people who gambled in my company, to my bookmaker and got a piece of the action.

I even got involved in a numbers operation. Between this and stealing, I was supporting my gambling. There were times I would bet 40 or 50 games on a weekend, and believe I could win them all. One weekend, just before I hit my bottom, I called a bookmaker and took a shot by betting a round robin which amounted to about 2 years annual salary. At that moment if I lost that bet, there was no way I could pay it. Things were getting so bad, I remember calling a bookmaker one day and being told that if I didn’t bring him the money I owed him he would not take my bet for that night. I went home and sold our car to a neighbor.

By now, I wasn’t going home to pick a fight with my wife. I was doing it over the phone so I wouldn’t waste the trip home. Most of the time I was out gambling, but when I was home we were constantly fighting. We had sex very rarely. When I won I was so high I didn’t need it and if I lost I didn’t want it. But there were times we had sex and my wife would say to me “do you hear a radio”. Of course, I would tell her she was crazy, but I had a radio on under the pillow so I could listen to a game. We were trying to have another child, but couldn’t. My wife came to me with the idea of adoption. I didn’t like that idea especially when I was told it would cost money. I needed that money for gambling.

After 3 months of her bothering me, I finally went along with the idea of adoption, as I thought she would be so busy with the 2 kids that she would leave me alone. I borrowed the money we needed from my boss and relatives. On the day we were bringing our son home on a plane, it was the 7th game of the 1967 World Series. My wife was busy looking at this beautiful new baby. I had no interest in him. I had a large bet on the game. The pilot was announcing the score every 15 minutes, or so. I was so upset that we were on this plane. I wished and prayed that the plane would get to the ground so that I could see or hear every minute of this game.

In the next few months, the bottom fell out of my world even though I still had my job and still looked okay. There were no track marks on my arm, I wasn’t smelling from my gambling. No one could really tell what was going on. I would come home from gambling and see my wife crying all the time, depressed, sick. Our daughter was 4 years old and I don’t remember her walking or talking. I either wasn’t home or when I was my head was consumed with the gambling. At that point in my life, I owed 32 people, 3 years annual salary. I had a life insurance policy and constantly thought about killing myself and leaving my wife and 2 kids that money.

I would do anything to keep gambling. As long as I could get my hands on some more money to stay in action, I still thought that the big win was just around the corner. I was trying to find out where I could get drugs to sell and looking around at gas stations to rob. I was asking people about making counterfeit money. I was running out of options. My boss came to me one day and told me that a detective was following me and he had a report on my gambling. He knew I was betting more money than I earned and he was sure that I was stealing from the company and that if he found out he would have me arrested.

Three hours later I was stealing from the company again. I needed to go to the racetrack that night. On February 2, 1968, my wife was having a miscarriage and I was taking her to the hospital. I was wishing and praying all the way that she would die. I thought that would solve all my problems (I wouldn’t have to tell her how bad things were). That morning I called my mother to watch my kids, I called my boss and told him I couldn’t come to work because my wife was in the hospital.

That afternoon I went to the racetrack. After the track, I went to see how my wife was. When I got to the hospital the doctor told me that my wife was in shock and had almost died. I was so deep into my addiction that I really didn’t care about her, the 2 kids or myself. The only important thing was making a bet.

“I thought that I was the only one living the way I was living and doing the things that I was doing.”

I found out that I was not alone and that I could stop gambling with the help of other people. I had hope for the first time. It’s been almost 38 years since I last gambled. Today I have everything I dreamed about getting from gambling and then some.

I have a wonderful family that is still intact and even have been blessed with 4 grandchildren who I love very much. In the last 20 years, I have been able to devote my working life to helping others who have this problem and educating people on the disease of Compulsive Gambling. This has been a dream come true.
~Arnie

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GamTalk
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Please give GAMTALK a visit and read more Stories of Hope and know you are not alone and we can recover from the cunning disease of Gambling and recovery is Possible and it WORKS.

~Catherine

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My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

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I wanted to have my first recovery post of 2019 to be a personal share and look back as I have been putting the finishing touches on my follow-up book to my first memoir of “Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My second book will be a pick-up from all that has happened in my life while maintaining my recovery from addicted gambling with alcohol abuse. There have been ups and downs and many phases of my recovery and life “Journey” … Many blessings, many doors opened, and as I call them, “Perks of Recovery!” Lol.

But I feel I need to share as I grow and as we all get stronger within our journey. And since I love journaling and a writer, it is also an important part of what I do for my recovery. Journaling is such a healthy way to let go of stress, forgive yourself, heal, and a great way to show others what may work for them in their path.

We all learn the skills and tools to use during treatment or your form you had chosen to begin your journey away from the bondage of addiction, and sharing may help prevent others from relapse or slip. And when you make it in longer-term recovery, you should learn to share your voice and become more of an ‘Advocate’ as it is an easy way to help those that may be new or in early recovery. Like “Paying it Forward” to others.

WHY? Because of Facts Like This Below? It Is Time To Not Be Silent Anymore …

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And is also why I try to find platforms to DO JUST THAT! And this year will be no different. My goal and mission for 2019 are to hopefully shine an even ‘Brighter Spotlight’ and be louder than last year about Gambling Addiction. To be able to help those who don’t understand this ever-growing problem.

It’s Time Share so we can shatter the “Myths and Misconceptions” about this disease if only by a little …

For those who don’t know, I am a Gambling Recovery Columnist for one of the biggest Recovery and Resource Newspaper who wanted to elevate the awareness about gambling addiction now touching more and more people. My dear friends Jeannie, Marcus, and Beth are Founders of “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is FREE for everyone! Great articles and columns and supportive resources for help too. My JAN 2019 column and article is on page 15 and cont’d on page 22!

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About Keys to Recovery


S
preading the Message of Hope and Recovery

 

Our purpose and our missions are to give hope that recovery is possible. Incorporated in the state of California Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity.

Our main objective is to carry the message of Hope and Recovery from all types of addictions and disorders to as many people as possible and to offer resources that may provide treatment and support. We do that by printing (yes, printing) a traditional type of newspaper, as well as having an online presence. Our newspaper is filled with columns from today’s top experts in the recovery field.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspap, Inc. is educating our communities about alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and so much more. We also print, at no charge, a 2-­‐page resource guide listing free services and vital help offered within the communities.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is making a strong effort to reach the many individuals currently in jails or other types of institutions, and offer them information that will assist in their future recovery. For every paid subscription we will be able to send a free subscription to someone in an institution.

 

We are NOT affiliated with AA, NA, Al-­‐anon or any other 12-­‐step program. We do, however, believe in the power of the 12-­‐steps and the principles behind them.

 

We operate Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. using these principles as a guideline -­‐ Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality, and Service.

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So as this new year begins, I will be also committed to posting more of my own personal experiences with addiction and recovery, my mental health challenges and goals as I push through the FEAR of my agoraphobia, depression, and anxiety issues and more about HOW I will be of recovery services to others too! I hope you will follow along and visit often as I’ll be adding more reads and resources on those Pages as well!

I wish you all and very Happy, Blessed, and Successful 2019! 

~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

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Stay Safe Tonight …Stay Sober, Clean, and Bet Free on New Year’s Eve! Tips To Help as I’ve Been There – Done That …

Happy Almost New Year Recovery Friends and Visitors! Welcome, that You Found ME!

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I wanted to round out my being on Holiday Watch and Blogging all through the HOLIDAYS which includes through New Year’s EVE! Look, those of us maintaining recovery NEED to FEEL and know ….WE ARE NOT Missing Out on all the partying or waking up on another New Year’s Day strung out, hungover, our financially broke!

We know we are WORTH and DESERVE Much better Then THAT … But many feel left out or feel they are missing out. Not the case at all. We always need to make sure and take a look back at the WORST of our addicted days and holidays to know we have come along way from those “diseased” hauntings. That was the disease of ADDICTION Running our lives, made our lives unmanageable and took right over …

Not Anymore… And those who have longer-time maintaining recovery know this as TRUTH. We have done and continue to do the work necessary to keep our recovery intact and especially around the holidays. We then “Pay It Forward” and pass on that Wisdom and recovery lessons learned to those who are New and may just be starting Recovery. You are not alone and there are many caring and supportive people willing and ready to be of HELP and SHARE HOPE like me! ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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4 Quick Tips for Staying Sober and Avoiding FOMO on New Year’s Eve

By Kelly Fitzgerald Junco ~ The Fix Magazine 

“FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party.”

If there is one thing that describes my addiction, it was the yearning for connection. Ironic, isn’t it? The thing I spent the most time striving for is the thing that I ultimately couldn’t get, even from the substances that I thought were helping me find it.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be popular. In 5th grade, I remember the girls who were considered “cool” inviting people to their “boy-girl” party. I patiently waited for an invitation that never came. Then in middle school, my peers started getting boyfriends and girlfriends and slow dancing at school dances, but I was never included. I did everything I could to make it seem like I should be included in these exclusive pastimes, but I never felt like I succeeded… until I started drinking.

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Woman next to holiday decorations, alone and avoiding FOMO Fear Of Missing Out

(A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.)

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Taking shots, chugging beer, puke, and rally; these dangerous drinking habits are what ultimately gave me the street cred I needed to become part of the in-crowd. Boys finally found me cool and desirable and girls wanted to be friends with me. This theme followed my entire drinking career. I evolved from a scared child with a couple of friends to an outgoing woman with more friend groups than you could count. Keeping up with my new reputation was exhausting, but it’s how I lived throughout my entire time at college.

When I first heard about FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — something in me clicked and I realized this was the feeling I always got when I couldn’t stand not being at the party. FOMO was what motivated me to drink every night from Wednesday through Sunday during college. I needed to be at every outing and party because if I wasn’t, I risked my popular, cool-girl reputation. I risked not seeing the drama or hearing the gossip. Just like the acronym-dubbed phenomenon, I was fearful I’d miss something, and I couldn’t let that happen.

Now that I’m sober, I’ve realized that so many of us former drinkers had an intimate relationship with FOMO. It’s often what drove our drinking. It can also be what drives our return to use, or our obsession with still going to the places and parties we frequented while we were in active addiction. The holidays can be an especially daunting time for FOMO. In particular, New Year’s Eve is known for lavish and booze-filled celebrations. If you’re sober and worried about FOMO creeping in this NYE, here are some tips to help you play it safe.

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HAVE A PLAN READY:

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1. Plan something new and different. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to make plans in sobriety. Instead of the same old drunken ball-drop open-bar nightclub or wine-infested awkward house party, you get to decide what your New Year’s plans are and they don’t have to include any of those things. You get to plan something fun, new, and exciting. You could travel to a new place, visit a zoo, volunteer at a homeless shelter, watch fireworks, or host your own alcohol-free party. The point is, the decision is yours and your plans don’t have to be anything like they were during your drinking years. Plan something new and different to look forward to. You could even invite your friends and family to your non-alcohol-centered event and avoid FOMO altogether.

2. Read up on the concept of romanticizing. Yes, I’m telling you to Google “romanticize.” This is something we occasionally do about our drinking when we’re sober. We often remember the best and more fun parts of our drinking, but not the times it made us feel horrible or our worst hangovers. I’ve also heard these rose-colored memories referred to as “euphoric recall.” It’s good to have an awareness about this extremely common tactic of our mind. Remember the truth! Just because other people are out there binge drinking or going to events with alcohol doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you used to have fun at these types of events doesn’t mean you will in sobriety. Just because society tries to tell us we need alcohol to have fun does not make it true! Trust yourself. Don’t romanticize any substances you’ve tried hard to leave behind.

3. Give yourself a pep talk. You are one smart person. You know that FOMO is a concept that begins and ends in your mind. It’s a feeling just like any other that will come and then go. If you’re struggling with drinking, I can tell you there is nothing fun to go back to. Drinking again won’t make your NYE any more memorable or special. In reality, you’re unlikely to remember most (or all) of it. You live differently now and it’s time to accept that NYE will be different and that can be a blessing.

If you’re staying sober and debating going to a New Year event where the alcohol might overwhelm you, I’m here to tell you that you will not die if you don’t go to this event. Missing one event won’t change your life or the world. You can always get the lowdown from your friends who do go. I promise there’s nothing at that party that’s so wonderful it will make up for how you’ll feel if you end up drinking.

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4. Imagine the future. In the scheme of the entire world, NYE is just one holiday on one day of the year. Of course, it marks the end of 365 days of your life and that’s special, but there are so many other beautiful ways to celebrate a transition of this magnitude. You could make lists and read books and write in your journal and perform a moon ritual! You could go to a yoga retreat or a sober meet-up. It’s not your fault that society has tricked us into believing New Year’s Eve is a drinking holiday where we need to have a champagne toast at midnight. But it is your responsibility to carve out a new path for yourself on NYEs to come. Imagine your future: would you be happy to give up all your hard-earned sobriety for one night? For one party? For one New Year?

A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.

FOMO took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party. Every time I think I’m going to miss out on something, I never do. I end up doing something better or more satisfying with my time. I end up missing situations, people, and places that aren’t good for me anyway. I miss out on drama, gossip, and drinking.

This NEW YEAR’S EVE, ditch the FOMO and make sure you aren’t missing out on Sobriety.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR RECOVERY FRIENDS!!

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.


“Don’t Let The Season Take Away Your Sobriety With Temptations Abound” 

 

The Biggest Threats to Long Lasting Sobriety ~ by Alek Sabin


Long-lasting sobriety can seem like it is so far away when a person starts in recovery because recovery is a long and arduous journey. As such, when an addict is recovering from addiction, it is important for them to be brutally honest with themselves. One such thing to remember is that it is incredibly likely that a recovering addict will relapse, at least once, when they are on such a journey.


These relapses may happen early on, but they can also happen years down the road. Relapses are all too common, but they should not be viewed as a failure. Instead, a relapse should be viewed as a stumble on the path towards lasting recovery as long as you learn from it …

Relapses can be better prevented if an addict, or their friends and family, are more aware of what particular things are likely to trigger a relapse, even though this can change from person to person. Relapse triggers are the main threats to long-lasting sobriety, and here is how you can recognize some of them in your own life…

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Mental Health Issues


One major relapse trigger and something that may have had a major impact on somebody getting addicted in the first place is mental illness. Things like depression from “holiday blues” and anxiety have a long history of increasing the likelihood of addiction,
partly because they heavily impact the emotional sensitivity of an addict.

When somebody has both a mental disorder as well as suffers from gambling or substance abuse, this is classified as a dual diagnosis. When an addict is recovering, it is very possible that the same effects of a mental disorder can push them towards destructive behavior that leads to relapse.

 

Social Events or Pressures

As many recovering addicts know, peer pressure is a powerful motivator. Oftentimes, it is what led a person towards addiction in the first place. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to carefully consider social events and celebrations to attend. If someone at this event is going to be presenting an opportunity for a person to engage in substance abuse, again, then it probably isn’t worth it to attend. Relapse is more likely to occur when you give it opportunities to do so.

 

Relationship Problems


Relationships with friends, family, spouses, or lovers can lead to a great deal of emotional tumultuousness that can be difficult for a recovering addict to deal with. The emotional tides that come with relationship problems can push an addict towards behavior that they associate with comfort, which can lead to relapse. The isolation that is caused by emotional strife in relationships can also have a similar effect.

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Threats Sobriety 3

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Stress Triggers


Any sort of stress triggers, whether they have to do with job stress, relationship stress, self-esteem issues, or any other variety of things to be stressed about, will have a profound impact on the chances of a relapse occurring. Oftentimes, substance abuse is a reaction to stress that is ingrained in a recovering addict’s mind.

For this reason, it’s important for them to be aware of what their common stress triggers are so that they can be identified and addressed when they come up. As a note, one particular reason that stress is so impactful in relapse is that it can lead to high levels of self-doubt, which pushes addicts to a comfortable mindspace of substance abuse.

H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T. is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. This is referred to in the addiction recovery world as emotions or states of being that put a person at greater risk of relapse, because substance abuse can present an easy way out, in many of these situations. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to take special care of their physical health. This means getting regular amounts of sleep, having a healthy diet, and getting the emotional support that they need to stay emotionally healthy.

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So enjoy this Holiday Season maintaining your Sobriety and have a Happy Stress Free Season in RECOVERY!

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

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

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

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

 


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A Gambling Problem Can Be Difficult To Detect

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

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

Determining If There Is A Gambling Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 Questions Family or Spouse To Ask Yourself

 

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

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

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

What Can You Do Next?

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

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

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

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

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

WE DO AND CAN RECOVER!

Catherine 

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TRUMP Leaves The Drug Epidemic Flat! An Important Message From My Friends From “Facing Addiction.”

I felt compelled to share this newsletter sent from my good friends at Facing Addiction. I happened to watch the news conference that Michael King is referring to by Trump’s representatives and it was a JOKE. The same rhetoric and BULL S _ _ T being tossed to Americans about what they plan will do about the raging drug addiction epidemic happening in our country.

Meanwhile, more and more deaths and overdoses occur every day. And even though I don’t LIKE the President we have and don’t support him or his agenda’s, I will sign this because The Opioid Epidemic IS NOW A STATE of EMERGENCY in all communities throughout the United States of America. So I ask all who read and visit? Please visit Facing Addiction Blue Links Below and add your name. If not for your kids? For the sake of a friend or neighbors child.

THIS NEEDS TO STOP and STOP NOW MR. PRESIDENT!

Image result for copyright free images of Facing Addiction

Dear Author, Catherine Lyon…

Yesterday, the President of the United States suggested there would be a big announcement related to the ongoing opioid crisis. But what he said was more of the same – continuing the same, tired rhetoric, without any of the bold action this issue demands and that he promised on the campaign trail.

President Trump even suggested going back to a simple, 1980’s-style message “Just Say No,” and telling young people alcohol and other drugs are bad is the best path forward. That didn’t work then and it will not work now. We need real solutions.

Addiction is Not A Crime

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, stated that, despite the recommendations of their own Commission on the Opioid Crisis, it was not necessary to declare addiction a national emergency. “We believe that, at this point, that the resources that we need, or the focus that we need to bring to bear to the opioid crisis can be addressed without the declaration of an emergency, although all things are on the table for the President,” Price said.

Not necessary to declare an emergency? Mr. President, and Secretary Price, with all due respect – if you don’t see this issue as an emergency, you haven’t been paying attention to the recommendations of your OWN Presidential Appointed Commission! Or every major newspaper, TV news program, and radio news program in the country.

Friends, let’s force the administration to pay attention.

Let’s come together as we have so many times before. Please, add your name with thousands of others in support of President Trump acting on his Commission’s recommendation to declare a national emergency. Once you do, please pass the letter on to your networks via your social media pages or email. Let’s make our voices so loud and clear that they can’t possibly ignore us. Let’s be a bold and powerful constituency of consequence on this life and death matter.

I hope you’ll add your name by clicking here and showing them just how wrong they are.

Warm regards,
Michael King
Director of Outreach & Engagement

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