Does Self-Ban Work? Do Casinos Monitor or Check ID’S of Self-Banning? Happy to Share My Experiences About This Topic & Problem Gambling With NBC 4 News and I-Reporter, Scott MacFarlane & Team.

WELCOME RECOVERY FRIENDS, WARRIORS, and New Visitors,


What an exciting week I have had! My book marketing is picking up again, and I have met two new women I’ll be mentoring with gambling problems. God is good! It kills me to know so many people are suffering in silence from problem gambling or with a full-blown addiction to it.

So, a few weeks ago, I was honored with a Facebook messenger from a guy I will call a new friend and supporter. I had seen him a few times while my husband and I watch MSNBC on cable. So when I noticed the Facebook message from an investigative news reporter, Scott MacFarlane? I thought someone was playing a JOKE on me. (lol).

It was him! I think my long-time friend Keith Whyte, the head director of The National Council on Problem Gambling, is located in Washington, D.C., where his video zoom interview was done. Make sure you give the full story below a read, as it is very informative.

I know Scott and his I-team work hard to bring this information to light. We all know that problem gambling is still a hush, hush problem, and we need to continue shining a bright light to bring it out of the dark! So I thank Scott for the opportunity to share some of my experiences in this video and story. ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon



Maryland Casinos See Jump in Voluntarily Banned Gamblers Returning

By Scott MacFarlaneRick YarboroughSteve Jones and Jeff Piper  Published May 12, 2021  Updated on May 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

CLICK Link To Watch Video Story>>>> https://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/maryland-casinos-see-jump-in-voluntarily-banned-gamblers-returning/2668935/


The number of problem gamblers caught violating their voluntary bans from Maryland casinos doubled in March, according to a review by the News4 I-Team.

The loosening of public health restrictions has helped Maryland casinos rebound from some financial losses during the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions has also coincided with a sharp increase in violations by gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves from casinos. 

When Maryland legalized and approved regulations for casinos nearly a decade ago, the state created a “voluntary exclusion” program. Problem gamblers can voluntarily enroll in the program, which the state calls a “self-help tool” to assist them combat the addiction.

Individuals in the Voluntary Exclusion Program who return to casinos receive a trespassing citation from local law enforcement, not for punitive purposes, but as a means to encourage them to seek (diversion),” the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said.

Winnings can also be seized from a gambler who is caught violating the voluntary exclusion program when he or she is removed from a casino. That money goes into the Maryland Problem Gambling Fund.

Enrollment in the program has grown steadily since 2013, according to state records reviewed by the I-Team. But violations spiked suddenly in March, as public health restrictions were loosened in the state. The number of people caught violating their voluntary bans nearly doubled to approximately 70 in March. The number was sharply higher than February and much higher than pre-pandemic levels in early 2020, the I-Team found.


Atlantic City casino profits down 80% in 2020 due to COVID-19
Image Courtesy of USA Today


“They have serious and uncontrollable urges to gamble that they’ve suppressed when the casinos have been closed,” said Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling.  

“Now that casinos are reopening, it’s not surprising you’re seeing this increase in violations,” Whyte said.

The I-Team checked with several states that operate or monitor casino “self-exclusion” programs. New York and Michigan gaming agencies both declined I-Team requests to release figures on violations, instead requiring formal Freedom of Information Act requests, which remain pending.

Pennsylvania, which is home to multiple major casinos, released its numbers of voluntary-exclusion violations to the I-Team. The data showed a sharp increase as pandemic health restrictions were eased. Pennsylvania reported approximately 370 problem gambler “self-ban” violations between January and March 2021, up from nearly 155 violations between January and March 2020.

“The only way to ensure these gamblers stay out of casinos is for them to get treatment for their gambling problem,” Whyte said. “Self-exclusion is not addressing the root cause.”

The American Gaming Association said U.S. casinos use technology to help enforce voluntary exclusion programs. The organization also credits MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George’s County with regularly checking IDs of patrons as they enter.  

“The truth is there are 3 percent of the population that take this a little bit too seriously and need help and need interventions,” American Gaming Association spokesman Casey Clark said.

“There are important programs like self-exclusion and the work that the National Center on Problem Gambling and other entities do to help provide the right level of support for folks who aren’t able to enjoy it as a form of entertainment anymore,” Clark said.


Voluntary Exclusion Program Protects Compulsive Gamblers
Sample of a Self-Exclusion Form State of Maryland


Catherine Lyon, a recovering problem gambler who helps counsel others, said voluntary-exclusions lists are often ineffective. Lyon said she enrolled in a “self-ban” list more than 14 years ago from casinos in Oregon as her addiction spiraled.

“Within a month-and-a-half, I was doing anything I can to get in there,” she said.

She said she wore wigs, sunglasses and other disguises to evade detection and was never caught. 

Lyon said problem gambling can lead to desperate decisions and suicidal thoughts.

“It’s very financially devastating,” she said. “I think that the financial part is where they, a lot of people, lose hope. They don’t think they can dig themselves out.”

Lyon said problem gamblers must supplement their voluntary exclusions with a treatment program or other efforts to combat the addiction.

Howard Riback, a recovering problem gambler and popular radio host and motivational speaker in Canada, said he anticipated a surge in violations by problem gamblers.

“I am not surprised at all,” Riback said. “People are walking around more depressed, more time on their hands; zombie-like people don’t know what’s going to be tomorrow, let alone next week.” 

Riback said although problem gamblers should be congratulated for enrolling in voluntary exclusion programs, they must also seek out treatment and therapy.

“I’m proud that I was able to end that horrific part of my life, but until the day I die, those scars will be with me,” Riback said. “And make no mistake, the (scars) are not going anywhere. They’re memories with every passing day.”

Whyte, the head of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said casinos nationwide could more effectively police for gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves.

“The casino has a wealth of systems to track players, but it always seems to fail when it comes to tracking those who self-exclude,” said Whyte.

But the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said casinos are effective in enforcing the program.

“The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency has issued a ‘notice of regulatory violation’ to various casinos for instances when an individual enrolled in the voluntary exclusion program was permitted to gamble or obtain a cash advance,” the agency said. “These are infrequent events, and the casinos are doing an effective job monitoring play by excluded players — both by self-reporting voluntary exclusion program violators to the (agency) each month and also by taking appropriate action against voluntary exclusion violators. No financial penalties have been assessed.” 

More information can be found at 1-800-GAMBLER or by visiting mdgamblinghelp.org.
Or The National Hotline For Problem Gambling – 1-800-522-4700

Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones and Jeff Piper.

This article tagged under:

GAMBLING ADDICTIONMARYLAND CASINOSBANNED

Problem Gambling Awareness Month: Self-Sabotage Can Be a Root To Our Problem Gambling. Guest Post on How To Stop.


I want to talk about a bad habit and behavior of self-sabotage. I know the meaning of it very intimately. For those who don’t? Here is what it means. Self-Sabotage: The dictionary definition of sabotage is “an act or process tending to hamper or hurt” or “deliberate subversion.” Mine started way before I became a gambling addict. I also feel it became worse during my addiction like added fuel to fire. In early recovery and through therapy, I was able to look back throughout my life and examine many of my past relationships where I had self-sabotaged them in many ways.

I feel that when we ‘self-sabotage’ things in our lives, it is tied to not having self-esteem or self-worth within ourselves. Like we are not “worthy” of love or people treating us well. It came from being raised with parents who didn’t understand children crave unconditional love and their validation when we do good. And I am NOT blaming my parents that they were this way, no, it may have been how they were raised and raised in way different times than what we live in today.




I would sabotage relationships, many with men, women, co-workers, anyone. I can not count how many times I would be dating a really nice guy, when things started to become serious and he would treat me like a ‘queen,’ I would for some reason feel I wasn’t worthy or special enough so,  I would just break up with them, or cause a fight or just ignore them and move on. Where this was coming from at the time I did not know. This became even worse when I was addicted to gambling and finally learning it was part of the “Brains Dopamine Pleasure & Reward System.”

But fast forward in life and I continued this strange self-sabotage behavior. When I became addicted to gambling and in the worst of it, strangely the feelings of what I was doing to myself, my husband, friends, and family felt oddly normal to me. I think it was because I figured, “well, since I feel not worthy of goodness in my life it didn’t matter if I hurt others with my addicted gambling.” That was my sick and the diseased thinking at the time. Sadly, I was getting back at those who had caused me pain or hurt me. I was just hurting myself and everyone around me with both my gambling and self-sabatoge.

I came across a website that had a good explamation and article about this subject that helped me understand more of why I was doing it. SO I want to share it with you. I know I am not the only person who has had this problem and the post explains some of how we can stop self-sabatoge. It helped me and I hope it may help others.


#            #              #               #                  #

OVERCOMING SELF-SABOTAGE

by Adam Sicinski

WHAT IS SELF-SABOTAGE?

Self-sabotage is any behavior, thought, emotion or action that holds you back from getting what you want consciously. Moreover, it is the conflict that exists between conscious desires and unconscious wants that manifests in self-sabotage patterns. It not only prevents you from reaching your goal, but also becomes a safety mechanism that protects you against disappointment. In other words, your brain is protecting you from getting hurt by doing what it thinks is best, which is keeping you within your comfort zone.

Self-sabotage tends to linger in our lives because of a lack of self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and self-belief. Likewise, we suffer from self-sabotage patterns because we are unable to manage our emotions effectively. We tend to react to events, circumstances and people in ways that hinder our progress and prevent us from reaching our goals and objectives.

Self-sabotage is also used as a method of coping with difficult situations or high expectations of ourselves or others that we unconsciously feel we are not capable of reaching. No matter what our reasons for self-sabotage it is clear that if we don’t do something about it, that we will continue to live a life full of regrets and unfulfilled expectations.

Eliminating Self-Sabotage Process

There is a simple yet very effective process that we can follow to help us eliminate self-sabotage from our lives. The process is composed of four steps that will help you to take conscious control of the behaviors that are currently directing your decisions and actions. Learn to get out of your own way!




1. Identify Self-Sabotage Behavior

First we must identify the behavior that is preventing us from moving forward. To do this, we must become consciously aware of our daily decisions and actions and the resulting consequences. Once identified, it’s important to pinpoint specific triggers that may be causing this behavior to come through to the surface. These triggers could include people, objects, specific times, events, locations, etc. Next, we must ask ourselves whether we can avoid these triggers altogether?

By simply removing these triggers from our lives we will be better prepared to take conscious control of our thoughts, feelings and actions. However, there is yet another factor that we must take into consideration, which is the limiting beliefs we have associated with each particular self-sabotage pattern. The key is to identify these limiting beliefs, then work on transforming them into positive empowering beliefs that work for us rather than against us. One of the simplest ways to do this is the question the validity of your belief. 

Ask yourself:

What is it that I believe in this situation?

What is it that I believe about myself and my own abilities?

How did my belief about this trigger this self-sabotage pattern?

How is this belief ridiculous and impractical?

What would others say about this belief?

What is another more helpful perspective I could take of this situation?


These questions are a good starting point and will get you focused in the right direction.


2. Recreate Self-Sabotage Pattern from Beginning

Having completed step #1, you can now consciously recreate the self-sabotage pattern by outlining all the triggers and the associating behaviors that manifest as a result of these triggers. It’s important that you are clear how this behavior manifests in your life before moving onto the next step.

3. Identify Healthy Replacement Behavior

In order to eliminate an old pattern of behavior we often must replace it with a new pattern of behavior that’s more practical and helpful. This is important because often we simply can’t avoid certain triggers such as people, objects or circumstances that cause us to react in limiting ways. As such, we must take time to identify a new, different and appropriate way of responding that will help us to achieve our goals and objectives. 

Ask yourself:

.

How could I respond in a more appropriate and proactive manner that would help me get what I want?

How is this a better way to respond?

What are some reasons for making this change?

What could be the long-term benefits of transforming how I respond in this situation?

What are the key advantages of this new behavior?



4. Practice New Behavior Until Habit is Formed

Once you have identified your new behavior, you must now take the time to practice implementing it as often as possible over the next four weeks until a habit is formed. First begin by running your response to the situation in your imagination, seeing every detail, and feeling the positive energy churning through your body as you overcome this self-sabotage pattern.

Now that your imagination has been primed, you are now ready to put yourself in situations that will naturally trigger your old patterns of behavior, however this time, you are primed with a new response mechanism that you will continue to practice over the next four weeks until a new habit is finally formed. NOW GO READ THE REST OF THIS AMAZING ARTICLE ON… Again, I hope you will go read this full article http://blog.iqmatrix.com/overcome-self-sabotage as it has many tips and advice on taking control over self-sabatoge in your life and in your recovery journey!

10 Self Care Tips for 2019 – The Red & Black

Childhood Trauma & Abuse Does Happen. It Is Part of My Past & Roots to My Gambling Addiction and a Way to Cope. Now It Can Stay In My Past. . .

Childhood Trauma & Abuse Does Happen. It Is Part of My Past & Roots to My Gambling Addiction and a Way to Cope. Now It Can Stay In My Past. . .


My father recently passed away of COVID. He lived in Southern California with my older sister in the home, 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 and haunting memories.

It took me a few years and a lot of therapy to even begin to process this and forgive and lay those haunting memories away. It was some of the roots and underlying issues of how I got sucked into my gambling addiction. I was using gambling as a coping skill and an escape from the pain of my childhood trauma until I finally could not stuff away any longer.

Even when I began writing and journaling for my book over a year to see what gambling addiction had taken from me, I was just not ready to share that part of my past. Now that my mom and dad have passed on, it has again begun to surface slightly.

One of the many amazing things about truly working through childhood sexual abuse is the act of taking every single thought and terrible memory captive and watching Christ redeem them, facing them, and feeling 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 you have because I have many happy childhood memories despite what happened to me.


But with my dad’s passing, it seemed they were front and center. I was begging them to be defeated. Way back then, every day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, battles are fought to reclaim simple things, innocent objects, smells, and sounds. Things that may seem trivial to others represent a great victory.  That being said, today, I fought a battle and won. Today, I reclaimed what should have been a pleasant childhood memory. Today, I ate an Italian wedding cookie and enjoyed it. That won’t mean much to you, but to me, it is a significant victory.

The significance of this? As a little girl, we would go on weekends to see my aunt Anna and uncle Frank who lived in Palm Springs, CA., and my uncle Frank would always prepare a special dinner to eat for our visits which included terrific desserts. I loved my aunt Anna as she bought and gave me my very first Bible.

And I would love to hear my uncle Frank talk and share about all the famous people who came into his restaurant and who he cooked for, like Bob Hope, former President Ford, famous golfers, and many others. I loved going swimming too, as they had a fantastic pool in the backyard. 

My uncle would always make one of my favorites, Italian wedding cookies. However, I didn’t get to eat them until my parents brought them home because my oldest brother would talk me into staying home; he’d beg and entice me with all kinds of lies.

And that is when the trauma would occur. It was only then, after being a good girl, until our parents got home late that evening, I would have access to my favorite cookies. It didn’t take long before those cookies became like poison. For the mere smell of almond or amaretto to make me physically ill.

After hiding the sordid details of my childhood back then, I believe the Holy Spirit, moving, convinced me it was time to process and bury my demons and began for me around age 30. But now it is time to rebury more old demons, and the only way I could do that was to reclaim the territory my enemy had taken so many years ago—Italian wedding cookies.  As I paused before taking a bite, I reminded myself of where I was today within my recovery journey, and I took a bite. It was wonderful. Not only did it taste good, but I felt strong.

As if I was declaring to my abuser, “No! You may not have these cookies! (Yes, my brother had apologized, I forgave him, we have made amends as he shared with me & my husband that had been molested by our uncle Joe when we lived in NJ.)



You defiled my innocence, not knowing his was to. Still, you may not steal my ability to enjoy a cookie!” My life is full of moments like that. Every day there is a battle fought and sometimes won. They often go unnoticed by the people closest to me. However, they are mighty victories. There are often things we carry from our childhood that restrain our ability to enjoy simple things. 

Abuse and trauma can destroy our ability to accept and receive the good things God intended for us to have. Love and intimacy are some of those things. Just as the smell of a particular type of cookie triggered a reaction of fear and shame, the idea of love can seem meant for destruction. Therefore, the very idea that God “loves” us terrifies us.

Love to an abuse survivor often means manipulation and pain. So it took me a while to grasp the concept of God’s unconditional love. Why? My parents did not understand it, so I was not raised with it. Of course, not blaming my parents at all. They may not have been taught knowing what unconditional love was either. 

It took me years to begin to understand that Christ chose me; He loves me not because He needs me for anything. He did not send His son to die for me in an attempt to guilt me into trusting Him or doing things for Him. He chose me and loved me because He is God. He is all-sufficient.

I may not be able to reclaim my childhood. I still battle with depression, flashbacks, and agoraphobia. However, I chose the love of Christ to reclaim how I react to things. I can select feeling pleasure over feeling fear, and I can choose love over hate. I can pick these things because Christ has given me the power and ability, just as my recovery is a part of the freedom found in Christ. 

He has given me the ability to and the freedom from addiction and bondage of addicted gambling! 

He gave me the freedom to love, freedom to forgive, freedom to rejoice, And the freedom to enjoy a cookie! 

Catherine Lyon, Recovery Advocate

My brother, me, my older sis, my little sister in Palm Springs, CA.


Before You Place a Bet on Super Bowl? Read This Courtesy of My Friends of ‘Know The Odds.’ Please, Gamble Responsibly…

Before You Place a Bet on Super Bowl? Read This Courtesy of My Friends of ‘Know The Odds.’ Please, Gamble Responsibly…



Now that Super Bowl LV is upon us, my friends of “Know The Odds” shares some sound advice in this guest post. Do you plan on betting on the Super Bowl?

Please, do it responsibly. If you think a friend or loved is having gambling problems? There is hope and help at the bottom of this guest post … Catherine Lyon, Advocate

SUPER BOWL AND HELPING LOVED ONES AVOID PROBLEM GAMBLING


Gambling and the Super Bowl

Super Bowl media attention is everywhere. You can hear about it on the news, on sports stations, in the newspapers and in every office we work in. Many offices have square charts in the back room where employees can participate in gambling on who they believe would win or the points or on how long the national anthem will last or anything else. Some people literally gamble on every aspect of the event.

If an individual, or groups of individuals, are so focused on gambling on every part of the Super Bowl event, are they really enjoying the game or are they hunting for a “high?”  And if they’re only hunting for the high, what about their careers?  What about loved ones (family children, etc.)?  If the individual is so hyper focused on gambling rather than enjoying the game, it seems that this becomes the focus and takes away from the social aspects of enjoying a sporting event with loved ones.

The Effects of Problem Gambling

For people struggling with problem gambling, this might be their story. There are many people across New York State who experience a slew of problems associated with their gambling behavior. Some of these problems can be damaged relationships with a spouse and/or children, conflicts at work, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.  Gambling may have even turned into an addiction (i.e., gambling disorder).

For people in recovery, the Super Bowl may be a huge trigger to start gambling again. It may be difficult to avoid talking about the Super Bowl, hearing people talk about betting on the Super Bowl, and feeling the urge to resort to old habits and place a bet of some type on this event.  The Super Bowl may trigger a relapse.


Families Can Take Action

Families and loved ones of someone struggling with a gambling problem, or of someone in recovery from problem gambling may face similar obstacles to support their loved one who is struggling with problem gambling. Similarly, they can be helpful and supportive during this time of year.

Have a conversation

Having a conversation is important for everyone. Whether it’s to let someone know that you believe their gambling is causing problems, or to connect with someone in recovery and find out how they’re feeling. A conversation is a really easy way to get a finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the individual. It’s also a good way to gauge how the family can plan for the upcoming event.

A conversation could be as simple as asking questions like:

  • How are you feeling lately?
  • Are you feeling any pressure at work or from friends to gamble?
  • Are you planning on watching the Super Bowl or would you like us to plan something else as a family?

Some simple questions can get some simple answers. They could also be a springboard to a deeper conversation about the negative effects sports gambling has had. It can also be a great way to identify triggers and other activity ideas to avoid gambling on the Super Bowl.

Identifying Triggers

Triggers are anything that causes an individual to feel the urge to gamble. A trigger could be a commercial about the Super Bowl, it could be hearing the excitement of colleagues talking about their squares, or a trigger could be just knowing the time of year and remembering the feeling, the high, of gambling on the Super Bowl in previous years.  Whatever the triggers may be, it’s important for family and love ones to know what they are so they can help avoid them in conversation, and help prepare the person, struggling to avoid gambling, to know their triggers and come up with alternative activities.

 Alternative Activities

Alternative activities can be different ways to enjoy the Super Bowl. These ways include:

  • Watching it with different people who aren’t gambling,
  • Keeping phones with gambling contacts and apps away,
  • Asking a spouse to keep a close watch on extra money,
  • Avoiding media and social media,
  • Spending time with different people than those who are gambling, and
  • Planning activities that have nothing to do with the Super Bowl.

For people who want to avoid the Super Bowl, so they don’t find themselves in additional problems related to gambling, there are many other things to do during that time.  Ideas to spend time with love ones can include:

  • Boardgames,
  • Legos with children,
  • Video games,
  • Hiking,
  • Bike riding,
  • Snowshoeing,
  • Renovating a room in your home, or
  • Anything else that takes time, energy and focus.

Being that many of us are alone, especially with social distancing, choosing activities to do by yourself is also important. Some activities to do on your own can include (similar to above):

  • Video games,
  • Reading,
  • Re-organizing part of your home,
  • Video chatting with love ones,
  • Planning a movie or night of binge watching your favorite TV show,
  • Reading, or
  • Any type of art or craft.

Really, the options are limitless. And if you’re unsure what to do, reach out to a loved one and find out the best way to fill that time. Making sure there’s a plan to help keep loved ones safe is the best preventative care to help them avoid further problems associated with gambling.


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Additional Support

If you need additional support, or your loved one who struggles with gambling problems has decided to look for help, please reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center at NYProblemGamblingHELP.org. There you can connect with a dedicated professional eager to help you identify local resources and get connected to local support as desired.

There is no pressure with that call; only care and concern. Your local Problem Gambling Resource Center is HERE TO HELP. You can may also call The National Council On Problem Gambling and operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. You may also visit their website here https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/




As The Corona Pandemic Across The Nation is Turning From Bad to Worse. So is Problem Online Gambling While Exploding! Guest Post By The Dawn Rehab…


Risky Business: The Rise in Online Gambling During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ By Dawn Rehab ~ https://thedawnrehab.com/

Courtesy of The Dawn Rehab


141,310 Gambling Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime


As most people were literally left to their own devices during COVID-19 related lockdowns, many began engaging with technology in different new ways. Recent reports show that online gambling services have exploded in popularity, which could lead to a subsequent increase in gambling addiction.


The implementation of COVID-19 related lockdowns worldwide corresponded with a dramatic increase in many people’s screen time. While swiping the long hours away can help alleviate some of the restlessness and anxiety that comes from being stuck at home, it also increases exposure to heavily marketed goods and services, including online gambling.

Some countries have noted that bookmakers increased advertising on websites and social media to lure in potential customers, which can be problematic for those struggling with a gambling addiction, or those simply suffering from boredom and looking for a way to kill time. 

Approximately 1 percent of the adult population in the United States has a severe gambling problem. The most recent research estimates that 6 to 9 percent of young people and young adults experience problems related to gambling — a higher rate than among adults.

Though a few countries such as Belgium, Spain and Latvia have imposed some restrictions on online gambling in order to try and curb addiction during the lockdowns, the majority of these services remain easily accessible and highly tempting. This poses a serious risk for an uptick in gambling addictions during the pandemic.   

How the Pandemic Has Fueled Online Gambling


In a few short months, our daily lives and regular habits have changed dramatically. Both the physical and mental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have contributed to an increased use of online gambling services.

These impacts include: 

Boredom, Depression and Anxiety

Few of us are used to spending so many hours, day after day, in our own homes. Cut off from our regular outdoor activities, classes, and even workspaces, many people began feeling bored, anxious, and even depressed.

The pandemic itself lent to stress not only about our health, but also about our work and relationships. These feelings, plus the shift of most interactions to an online forum, created a perfect storm for susceptibility to clicking onto an online gambling site.

Ban on Live Sports, Closure of Casinos

The crowds found in casinos and sports arenas around the world were quickly recognised as hotspots for the spread of the coronavirus, and were shuttered in many countries. For the first time, major sports seasons and events, including the upcoming Olympics, have been suspended, leaving avid sports fans and casual gamblers at a loss. Dramatic increases in visitors to online gambling sites suggest that people are filling the gap through online gambling. 

Is Online Gambling More Addictive?

A recent study by the UK’s Gambling Commission found that 1.2% of all people who gamble have developed an addiction, but this figure increases to 2.5% when only online sports betting is considered, and a staggering 9.2% when the focus shifts to online gaming like casino games and roulette. 

Part of this is due to the speed of online gambling – gamblers don’t have to wait for specific matches or tournaments, but can place bets in quick succession, chasing wins (or losses) one after the other. Because it is possible to gamble using credit cards instead of cash in hand, debts can be run up extremely quickly before people even really wrap their heads around how much is at stake. The fact that this type of gambling is available 24/7 via a simple click on our phones or computers, also factors into the heightened addiction rates. 

СБУ прикрыла более полусотни онлайн-казино

Additionally, online gambling is more easily hidden. It’s far more obvious if you are spending hours at the casino or at a racetrack than if you are simply sitting in the corner scrolling and clicking. This lack of visibility can mean that others may not see you need help until the problem has become very serious.

Do You Have a Gambling Addiction?

There are many people who do enjoy casual or occasional gambling that does not result in any negative consequences to financial or mental health. These are gamblers who can accept a loss and walk away from a further bet.

However, if you are noticing that you’re clicking into sites more often, and placing larger and larger bets, you may be developing a dependency. Gambling addiction impacts both men and women, and can have serious effects. 

Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

  • Constantly thinking about or reliving gambling-related experiences
  • Increasing amounts of time during the day spent gambling
  • Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling
  • Using gambling as a “go-to” activity to relax or feel better
  • Having to make increasingly larger or riskier bets to feel satisfied or excited
  • Trying to win back money lost through gambling by engaging in further gambling
  • Attempting to downplay or cover up gambling habits
  • Experiencing financial strain as a result of gambling

Impacts of a Gambling Addiction

When people think of gambling addiction, it is immediately assumed that most of the impacts are financial. While those who struggle with gambling do face financial difficulties as a result of their dependency, the impacts of gambling go far beyond bank accounts, and often have serious negative effects on relationships, work and even legal issues.

Gambling has been proven to impact mental health, and has been linked to conditions like depression, and anxiety disorders. People struggling with gambling addiction are at greater risk for suicide – one study found that gamblers are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempts. The stress of living with a gambling disorder often manifests in physical ailments as well, such as digestive issues and migraines.

If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, seeking professional help from an addiction specialist is a necessity. Speaking with someone who understands the science of addiction and can help address and treat the root causes of dependency will lead to the best possible outcomes for recovery. . .


The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand offers residential treatment that specialises in behavioural addictions such as gambling. With a maximum intake of 25 clients at a time, our highly experienced professional team offers personalised attention and customised treatment plans for each and every client.

The fundamental objective of our programme is for clients to achieve and maintain long-term recovery by equipping each individual with a personalised set of coping tools to use when dealing with stress and triggers. The Dawn utilises a unique “Twin Pillars” approach for treatment, seamlessly blending Western psychotherapeutic techniques with proven Eastern wellness practices to holistically address the addiction, and allow the development of a full, healthy lifestyle.

Gambling Addiction Treatment On-site or Online with The Dawn

We understand that current COVID-19 related travel restrictions may make it difficult for you to access the benefits of a residential treatment programme at this time. At The Dawn, our therapists have years of experience providing online therapy to our clients post treatment in online aftercare groups as well as individual counselling.  

To support individuals in need of help but unable to travel, we have been offering a special Virtual Treatment Programme with the option of transitioning to in-person residential treatment when clients are ready. 

To best accommodate our clients, we structure our fees so that whatever you have already paid towards your online therapy goes towards your overall residential treatment fee. This allows you to continue your care with a trusted therapist in an environment totally removed from the triggers and stress of everyday life, and to focus completely on your recovery. 

If you’re looking for a way out of a gambling addiction, we can help you. Call us today To learn more about The Dawn USA Call – US/CANADA: +1 678 619 3975











My Guest Is Marilyn Davis Who Shares Her Home-bound Recovery During This Never Ending Covid Crisis.


Welcome recovery friends and visitors. Today I am sharing an informative guest post by a dear friend and recovery mentor of mine. Meet Marilyn Davis. She has maintained long-term recovery and has helped many in every conceivable way with addictions. She has worked in addiction and treatment and has helped her now grown children beat addiction. 

I wanted to share the most recent post from her amazing website, From Addict 2 Advocate https://fromaddict2advocate.com/my-home-bound-recovery-during-covid-19-purging-and-using-podcasts/ and a must-visit for those who live a recovery lifestyle. This woman knows everything there is to know about being happy and at peace while traveling the recovery road. She has also been writing her memoirs and will soon have a new book to release within the coming new year.

I will share more about all she does to help others have hope from addiction, but here is her post about what she’s been doing to keep her recovery intact during this continuing COVID CRISIS…

~Catherine


My Home-bound Recovery During COVID-19: Purging and Using Podcasts.


Iphone Apple Cellphone - Free photo on Pixabay

COVID-19 Unites Us, Too


“Boomer or millennial, we’re all covidians now.”― Bill Doman

Whether you’re home because of COVID-19, work restrictions, furloughs, school closings, or layoffs, don’t let your recovery suffer. Here are few ways to help ensure you don’t relapse, and a few ways to use that time at home while the world is temporarily closed.


Libraries to remain closed until further notice | Worthington Libraries


Recovery Just Got Harder


Recovery is hard; it’s learning a new way of life, coping, repairing fractured relationships, and depending on others to show us how to do all of those.

These factors are more challenging as we try to maintain our recovery with the uncertainty and isolation imposed on us by COVID-19.
Without the social support, structure, and accountability that in-person meetings provide, many people are struggling more with the stay-at-home-social-distance-wear-a-mask safety measures imposed on us for our protection.

“Use Your Time Wisely” My Mother Said

I’ve been home-bound since March 13th or 250 days now. That’s a very long time to go without an in-person meeting. But I dug in, took the time to do some serious ōsōji, the annual cleaning of one’s home in Japan. Of course, I took it to an entirely new level – purged 30 years’ worth of antique linens. 

When that didn’t get rid of enough stuff, I opted for the Swedish döstädning. “Dö” means “death,” and “städning” means “cleaning.” 

All those antiques, Nickie-nacks, as my daughter referred to them when she was five – she’s now in her 50’s, papers with scribbled ideas, feelings, or thoughts that seem disjointed, chaotic, or so outdated as to be completely useless, and looked at each tube, container, pan of make-up to check the expiration date. All donated, recycled, or sent to the dumb. 

Still no let up on COVID19. 

  • So I sold my townhouse, purged more, had the living estate sale, and waited for relief and an in-person meeting. 
  • I finished my memoir – it’s ready for publication when my computer guru comes next week.


    Then I moved...



“This too shall pass” isn’t Working

When we first experienced the sudden loss of in-person meetings, it wasn’t a big deal for some of us. Sure, we missed the fellowship, laughter, or helping someone. But we were sure it would pass. How often did we say, “This too shall pass,” or “Just don’t use today – tomorrow will be different.”

But it seems as if the anticipated tomorrow isn’t happening anytime soon.

Many old-timers, like myself, aren’t attending in-person meetings.

It’s not that you can’t get and remain in recovery without our input. Still, besides our ‘sage advice,’ we serve as a reminder that recovery is possible when you have a room full of people with double-digit recovery. When we’re not comfortable participating in these meetings, encouragement is missing from many places, which is sad for newcomers.

And I miss seeing families reunited, people changing, and the warmth and support of the fellowship. 

Are You Still Home-bound?

It’s still a scary time for some of us. 

  • Do we go out? 
  • How do we socially distance if we go to a meeting?
  • Do people wear masks?   
  • Are they restricting the number of people who can attend? 
  • How do I handle old friends wanting to hug? 
  • Can listening to a podcast help me? 

By the time I’ve obsessed on those questions, my heart rate is up, I’ve wasted 30 minutes thinking and getting no answers, and even if I chose to go to the meeting, I’d be late.  Sound familiar?

While You’re Home-bound

  1. Seek out an online meeting. 
  2. Connect with recovery-oriented people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media. We all have our favorites and two of mine are RecoveryRocks  and Recovery By Stepping Up, both on FB.
  3. Write a guest post for From Addict 2 Advocate
  4. Cherish family members – email, FaceTime, or call them
  5. Facetime your recovery friends
  6. Read meditation books
  7. Read recovery literature
  8. Clean out your closet – think of it as a 7th Step – what do you keep and what do you want removed?

Isolation Fuels the Anxieties and Addiction 


My Home-bound Recovery During COVID-19: Purging and Using Podcasts

I know I’m not the only one who has negative thoughts. That’s the good news. 

The downside of being home alone is there’s no one to dispel these negative thoughts except me, and I sometimes forget to refute the chatter. 

Tell me I’m not alone in that? 

See, that’s a question I could throw out at a meeting, get multiple perspectives on the thoughts, and leave my meeting feeling better – plus the hugs always helped. 

Now? It’s harder to lessen the negativity in my head. And I have to confess certain things about being home for 250 days:

  • I’m  over tank tops, leggings, and relaxed outerwear. 
  • I’m getting less feedback from conversations with my cat, Jackson.
  • The data usage on my phone could exceed my unlimited plan – is that possible?
  • I’m writing reviews on food deliveries just for something to do. 
     

Can We Find a Solution? Are There Any Answers?


If you’re like me, the statistics, advice, and realities are all confusing. The drops, the spikes, the flattening, curving upwards – downwards – all conflicting. 

So what can you do to ensure that you get a meeting?

Check out some of these Facebook podcasts that help me stay safe but supported. 

Not a Facebook fan? Don’t worry; Google has us covered for online meetings. Here’s the link. 

Want to hear from various perspectives on recovery? Try YouTube:

No Relapse Allowed: A Self-Mutilation and Self Hurt Addiction Recovery ...  - Amelia Johnson - Google Books


Above All – Don’t Relapse


“This, too, shall pass – when?!”

It beats me, but I know that more than anything else, a relapse would destroy what I’ve worked to achieve in these 32 years of recovery.

Solution – hang in there, and when the world opens again, I’ll see you at a meeting.

Writing and recovery heal the heart.”
~Marilyn Davis  



As I’ve always said, old-timers are the only ones with sage advice. There is someone out there who is struggling with their addiction or their recovery who would benefit from your words.

Please consider a guest post. Here are the guidelines

* * *

About Marilyn L. Davis: Editor-in-Chief

Marilyn L. Davis From Addict 2 Advocate
My BFF Marilyn Davis

Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of From Addict 2 Advocate.  In 1990, she opened North House, an award-winning women’s residential recovery home. In 2008, Brenau University, Georgia, created the Marilyn L. Davis Community Service-Learning Award. This is a yearly award given to advocates in mental health, wellness, and recovery. In 2010, she received the Liberty Bell Award for her work within the criminal justice system.

Before closing the house in 2011, she authored and developed  Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery Systems (TIERS). When North House closed, friends and colleagues encouraged her to write online to reach a larger audience.  Finding outlets online, she shared her 29 years in abstinence-based recovery.

She also realized that how she said something might not connect with all readers. This is one of the reasons that she has made an effort to collaborate with new and seasoned recovery writers when she started From Addict 2 Advocate.

As a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, she conducts groups for men’s and women’s residential programs, as well as facilitating a recovery group for HIV positive people.

As the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing, she understands that writing is a process and most writers want information on how to improve.  However, writing about writing can get tedious, so she often combines writing advice using stories and examples from her work with addicts and alcoholics. Improving writing is a process, like recovery.

Using recovery examples in her writing advice means that her readers learn the ways in which people change, improve their lives, and this creates another outlet for her to advocate for recovery while writing about writing.

Her two daughters are in recovery as well, with 21 and 15 years. She is working on her memoir: Finding North: A Woman’s Journey from Addict 2 Advocate.


Marilyn Has Won Several Awards For Her Work

Connect With Marilyn on From Addict 2 Advocate Facebook Page
Tweets by ‎@MDavisatTIERS

Submit a Guest Post Today to Fromaddict2advocate@yahoo.com with guest post in the subject line.

Don’t Relapse Now During This Pandemic and Unrest Happening Around Us. Recovery Guest Featured Article…

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I had just received my digital magazine from one of the most informative recovery reads I enjoy and learn so much from called The Fix. When I saw this headline, I said to myself this one needs to be shared out. So, here I am sharing it with all of my recovery posses.

I am sharing it since we seem to be in this pandemic of COVID-19 and I feel, for a long while and we who maintain recovery from any addiction besides gambling don’t “DO” isolation very well. We need to have human contact and be with others. We crave that comradery with other like-minded folks who are also maintaining recovery so we know we are not alone and feel supported. So let’s read what The Fix says about NOT Relapsing Now.  ~Catherine Lyon, Advocate

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Don’t Relapse Now

By John Teufel 05/27/20

Time has stopped, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too?

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Make Your Own DIY Crochet Mask Covers | 8News

 

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Reader, I will make a deal with you. I will talk to you like an adult and say some uncomfortable things. I won’t be your sponsor and I won’t throw the Big Book at your face. But in exchange, you need to promise me you’ll read this to the end. No skips, no tag outs, no skimmy skims. Okay? Okay, great.

I understand the urge to relapse right now.
I’m feeling it too.

A lot of us have severely diminished responsibilities – my work has nearly dried up. I hate the Zoom meetings, which feel like impersonal shadow plays where I have to stare at my new fat face. All our other distractions that can’t be done from the couch have been canceled.

My normie friends are mixing up quarantinis before the 5 o’clock news starts. Most importantly, we are all being treated to a daily blast of death, inequity, and press conferences where a poorly tanned moron tells us to shoot up with bleach. It is so much. It is a daily mental weight that is difficult to bear even on the best days.

“If you are saying to yourself, maybe I can’t hold out on this, maybe I am going to break, that is a sane response. It is, in some ways, a rational response. Time has stopped, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too? If you are saying to yourself, maybe I can’t hold out on this, maybe I am going to break, that is a sane response.

It is, in some ways, a rational response. Time has paused, life has paused, why can’t sobriety pause too? The other day I found myself telling a friend that I won’t be jobless, locked down, without the beach (my favorite distraction), and sober. In full Scarlett O’Hara mode, I declared, “Sorry, but I won’t do it!” It felt good to say, the way forbidden things sometimes do. Total, unapologetic narcissism has its pleasures.”

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How to stay safe if going to park or beach during Covid-19 pandemic

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I could probably get away with it, too. I could probably go on a few-days bender and maybe my boyfriend would figure it out (he is sharp but that is the diseased thinking!),  and no one else would. I could even keep my day count! Why not?!? This is the sort of self-dealing I’ve been doing. I am so good at it. I am the Clarence Darrow of fucking my own shit up.

But it is wrong. I know it’s wrong. If you are having similar thoughts, you probably know they are wrong too. Even now, with life halted and pain and injustice ascendant, there are reasons both practical and metaphysical that it is crucial for you and me to keep our sober time. Even if every word we ever heard at an AA meeting was false, even if the Big Book itself is a decades-long scam to sell us on religion.

Practically, you are going to regret it. You know you are! Sorry, but you do. You are going to be annoyed, at the very least, that you need to restart your day count, which yes, you eventually will be forced to do because you won’t be able to lie to your support network for that long. Whatever bender you have in mind is going to come to an end, in what will feel like the blink of an eye, and all you’ll have left is regret and likely, a terrible headache or worse. You also, of course, might take it too far and die.

If things get really bad, as they very well may, people are going to know what you did and that is going to suck for you. Your family and friends are already extremely stressed out right now (just like you!) – the last thing they need is to hear that you relapsed, in your tiny apartment in some faraway city, and no one can travel to you to make sure you get it together. Your mom is going to cry.

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For COVID-19 Patients, Breathing Easier Could Be as Simple as ...

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On that note, if you need hospital care because you overdose or can’t stop, great, you are taxing an already overtaxed healthcare system and exposing yourself to COVID-19 at the same time. From a million different standpoints, any decision to relapse right now is selfish, even if it feels like the only person being punished is you.

Okay, who cares, right? I hear that. When I was first trying to get sober and in a relapse cycle, other people’s problems were some theoretical concern that was a not-close second to my immediate ego gratification. I did not give a shit, and honestly, I didn’t care much if I died, either. What worked for me, though, was spite – not giving my enemies the pleasure of seeing me fall.

Spite could be helpful right now.

Picture Donald Trump, in all his 300 pounds of dense mass, standing over you as you take that first drink. “I was always right,” he says without laughing, as he never laughs, “You’re weak. Libs like you, weak, lazy.” Do you want Donald Trump to think he’s better than you? He doesn’t care! He even doesn’t wear a mask!

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Trump hits out at China and Democrats at latest rally | Financial ...

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Students Trump Arizona rally Phoenix Stock Photos (Exclusive ...

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Trump Border Visit, Phoenix Rally | Arizona Daily Independent(MASKS??? ZERO In Arizona)

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How about the maskless crowds at his rallies who are just begging states to let them kill themselves, and each other? Should these yahoos and sociopaths be allowed to feel morally superior to you? Or picture a little closer to home. Do you want your douchebag ex to hear that you fucked up again? No, you do not.

The time we’ve all spent cooped up indoors losing our gourds has been an achievement that can be measured in days and lives saved. We’ve been doing this for well over thirty days now. In New York and elsewhere, we’ve flattened the curve but not in many other states like Arizona.  Your sobriety is the same.

It’s not some fungible commodity that can be lent out and borrowed back at will – it has a character in itself composed in part of a temporal element. Your sobriety after you relapse is not the same as your sobriety before. When you give it up, you give up the effort, sacrifice, things you can never get back. That might not feel important now, but it will feel devastating later.

Look, I am not Mr. Lockdown. I eat loaves of bread as a snack. I stay up most nights until 5 AM and I sleep till 11. I bleached my hair. I play Nintendo Switch and try to get one or two productive hours into a day. My sheets smell like farts. All of this is fine! You do what it takes to make it to the next day. The people doing pilates every morning, learning a second language, making OnlyFans, whatever – they are fine, too.

And it’s even fine to hate them!

“One day at a time” is a relentless cliché in sobriety circles. But right now, it feels appropriate, as all of the stupid sayings eventually do. The world is a miserable place, maybe always, definitely right now. Don’t add to the misery by giving in to the demons you fought so hard to keep at bay.

Be strong, stay home, save lives, stay sober. Good luck.

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Alcohol addiction: “I walked out of rehab and into a pandemic” - Vox

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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RecoveryToday436X581Feb2020

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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

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT… Did You Forget There Is An Opioid EPIDEMIC Happening Before There Was A COVID-19 Pandemic? A Special Message From Advocate & Author of “American Fix,” Ryan Hampton.

I ADVOCATE and SUPPORT All Forms of Recovery From Any Addiction.

Addiction Does Not Discriminate…

 

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In these unknown and uncertain times, it seems while this COVID-19 Pandemic is still spreading throughout our country, there is still a “BATTLE of an EPIDEMIC” happening in this country.  It also seems our Government, our President, and Legislators have forgotten and are NOT LISTENING.

They have worked faster than I have ever seen in my lifetime getting funding for this pandemic, but where is our immediate assistance for the DRUG EPIDEMIC?  We have surely lost way more lives since this OPIOID CRISIS in AMERICA has begun and we are still losing precious lives every day over and above the virus pandemic…Especially when we read headlines like this!

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Officials worry large potential spikes in overdose deaths amid COVID-19 pandemic

Health officials worry extended isolation could exacerbate the problem. Must read by ABC NEWS.

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When will our President, Vice President, and all of the Government start taking addiction seriously?
Why can’t they rush through more funding for an EPIDEMIC like they are for this Virus PANDEMIC?

Is it a class war fair?

It is because they think all addicts just ‘Choose To Be Addicts and SICK?’

Like this crisis and epidemic is not IMPORTANT ENOUGH?

Isn’t any life saved not a LIFE?

Shouldn’t ALL SICK PEOPLE DESERVE HELP and HOPE?

I think it is safe to say during this pandemic, and with so much funding being sent out everywhere to stop the bleeding of our economy, businesses, the mortgage and financial sectors, and slipping into recession and a huge amount of the job market all going to hell, where do you think they will start cutting funding first? Yes, you guessed it, addiction treatment, and mental health services! I could go on and on but I’ll let my friend Ryan Hampton share his message I got this week from him.

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Those suffering from substance use disorders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Jacksonville, Florida, the fire and rescue department reported a 20 percent increase in overdose emergency calls in March. In Columbus, Ohio, the county coroner’s office saw a surge in overdose deaths, including 12 in a 24-hour period the first week of April. And in New York State, at least four counties have acknowledged an increase in reported overdoses, including Erie County, where officials saw at least 110 drug overdoses, including 36 deaths, reported since the beginning of March.

 

“I think we need to consider the role that social isolation coupled with non-stop reporting on the pandemic may have on the feelings of desperation and hopelessness among those struggling with substance abuse,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James Kennedy Jr. said in a statement. “Amidst the current crisis, we need to remember that substance abuse existed long before COVID-19, and it will likely remain long after we have wiped out the virus.”

(ABC NEWS Article)

 

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This message from Ryan Hampton is very important to read and share out through Social Media while tagging our President and all Legislators! 

They NEED TO HEAR OUR VOICES OF RECOVERY and ADVOCACY around this issue!
As Ryan’s book description shares:

“Nearly every American knows someone who has been affected by the opioid crisis. Addiction is a trans-partisan issue that impacts individuals from every walk of life. Millions of Americans, tired of watching their loved ones die while politicians ignore this issue.
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Where is the solution?
Where is the hope?
Where’s the outrage?”
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~In “American Fix” an outline of the challenges that the recovery movement currently faces, and offers a concrete, comprehensive plan of action towards making America’s addiction crisis a thing of the past.”

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Image may contain: 4 people, including Ryan Hampton, people smiling{Hardest Activist and Advocate I Know!}

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Published by Medium on May 10, 2020. Original article can be found here.

 

By: Ryan Hampton. The Author of American Fix

If we look up from what’s right in front of us — a global pandemic — we’ll remember that we’ve been battling a public health crisis for more than a decade. The opioid epidemic alone has stolen more than 450,000 lives from us since 1999, but the total number of deaths related to substance use is around 1.75 million for that same period.

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Before this virus swept through the U.S., we were starting to see real change in the opioid crisis — both in the health systems and the decline of drug overdose deaths. Overdose death rates decreased by 4.1% from 2017 to 2018 in the U.S. This is not to deemphasize the pandemic’s impact on our country or the critical response needed, but to remind America that the opioid epidemic did not go away when COVID-19 reared its head. We can’t forget about people living with addiction.

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Now we’re simultaneously facing two crises, putting patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) at a significantly higher risk for overdose, death, and relapse. When there is so much uncertainty for those with addiction about how to continue receiving care during this time, it’s essential that addiction treatment programs continue to receive federal and state support so that we don’t lose our foothold on combating the opioid crisis.

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Nationally we’re seeing increased unemployment and poverty, mandatory changes to daily routines, and increased anxiety and stress which are only magnified for people managing addiction. These added stressors can disrupt a person’s recovery journey by overwhelming their coping mechanisms. Addiction is a disease of isolation, so the necessary physical distancing protocols that yank people out of their routines and their communities and trap them alone with anxiety (and even boredom) is dangerous to recovery.

 

Not only that, but the pandemic is shifting how people can receive treatment. Many support groups and counseling sessions are being provided virtually. But how about people who use medication-assisted treatment? A significant portion of people in treatment pays out of pocket for their care. With a rising number of Americans losing their jobs due to the pandemic, including people in recovery, their ability to afford life-saving care is in danger.
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The addiction treatment organizations are struggling too. They are spending more money to put protocols in place in response to COVID-19 while dealing with employee absences and patients forgoing treatment. Yes, federal and state regulators have loosened requirements for care at outpatient opioid treatment programs (OTPs), which is important. But if the OTPs don’t have the funding needed to continue operating in this new environment, these regulation modifications are irrelevant. Without ongoing treatment, those in addiction recovery are at risk of relapse and overdose.

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Before COVID-19 hit, our nation was at a turning point in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The coronavirus pandemic not only threatens thousands of lives, but it also threatens to completely derail the progress we’ve made in digging this country out of one of the worst human-made epidemics in history. If people living with addiction can’t get the care they need, they too will die.
/////

In a time when a pandemic is causing so much uncertainty, people living with OUD need stability. Addiction advocacy groups and others in the industry have issued a formal request to the federal government asking for $38.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for direct payments to behavioral health organizations, which will help ensure they remain open and operating during the COVID-19 crisis.

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While this sounds like a lot, let me put this request into perspective: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of opioid misuse alone in the U.S. is $78.5 billion a year. We only need a small fraction of that cost to save lives.
……

The bottom line is this: we need to make sure organizations that help people in recovery — opioid treatment programs, community behavioral health centers, peer support organizations, and others — get the resources they need to continue providing addiction and mental health care.

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Ryan Hampton is the organizing director at the Recovery Advocacy Project, author of “American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis — and How to End It” and national addiction recovery activist.

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Advice as Maintaining Recovery Has Become Stressful, Online, and Gone Virtual. In Memoriam of Author and Writer Ms. Marilyn Fowler…

Welcome Recovery Friends, Warriors, and Visitors,

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Stress blog 5

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I will start by announcing my mentor and amazing friend and author Marilyn Fowler I found out has passed. Marilyn was a beautiful soul and caring. She had worked for many years as a licensed therapist in one of the Jacksonville, FL prisons and always enjoyed blogging all her advice and wisdom here on WordPress. So I will lead with a helpful blog post she had written all about how to eliminate stress even in uncertain times like these.

…   
I am sorry that I have not been recovery blogging as often as I should these days.  So strange that right during the month March as I celebrated and blogging to Raise Awareness of Problem Gambling all that month and then, BAM!!  We began seeing the Coronavirus spreading all over the country, and before you know it, people are getting laid off from their jobs and then? The government places an order for EVERYONE to STAY HOME and SAVE LIVES!

Now, this seems odd to me as we also have a drug epidemic happening in this country as well, and many, many DEATHS it and from all addictions.  BUT? I guess it is not as urgent or important enough since people can’t get it or catch a DRUG ADDICTION or GIVE IT TO OTHERS…

Kind of makes you scratch your and wonder where are our government and the society we live in today and where their priorities are set?

Well, that is a question and topic for another post for another day. I wanted to share some recovery inspiration since we are all sailing in the same BOAT of “STAY AT HOME” and you might be looking for something different to read. Since the landscape of recovery and how we maintain it has become so different and some have become more stressful since recovery now has gone online and virtual for just about all of us as with treatment, therapy, AA, GA, NA group meetings, and just about everyone is doing recovery virtually!

Even Rick Warren’s “Celebrate Recovery” has been doing theirs on Facebook through many FB LIVE Videos By now we are all sick of feeling stressed out solving problems, one after another due to this pandemic and being sheltered in place for weeks and I know what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it. Here is how by Ms. Marilyn Fowler may she rest in peace…

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Marilyn Fowler

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Staying Sane In Stressful Situations.

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I’ve heard that problems come in threes, and I recently had my three. First I was ready to copy an important paper, but my printer was out of ink. Okay. Get more ink. But I forgot how to insert a new ink cartridge. So I got out the manual, studied, and did it right. That wasn’t so hard after all.

Then feeling smug about my first ordeal, the second one appeared. My land phone had been giving me less and less time to talk before it beeped and then cut me off. Finally, it just died. I know about people, but I’m a dummy with mechanical stuff, so I got out the manual. Manuals are so smart. They know everything. Well, I learned that phones need new batteries. Duh. So I got a new battery and solved that problem.

Then my third challenge came when my A/C wasn’t putting out cold air. Now that was really out of my league, and I couldn’t remember if I ever had a manual to solve that one. I figured a repair person wouldn’t need a manual, but they can be expensive. However, sweat running down my back convinced me there was no other way. So I called a brilliant repair person, then sat under the cool air reassuring myself that it was worth every penny.

By now I was sick of feeling stressed out solving problems, one after another. I know what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it, but that’s hard to do when you’re in the midst of a crisis. I realize those weren’t big crises, but don’t they seem like giants when you’re confronted with them, especially when you’re one manual short? I envy people who can keep their sanity even when vultures are descending to eat their young. We could take a lesson from them. The people, not the vultures.

So now I’m retrieving my little Mental Stress Manual to remind me to pay attention the next time stress attacks me. I’ve been through some biggies in my life. Handled some well, some not so well. And if you ignore stress or don’t know it’s there, it can really do a number on you. You just gotta be prepared.

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So here’s how my little Mental Stress Manual says to handle stress in any situation. You have to catch the stress before it gets full-blown because full-blown is too late. Right before you feel the stress, you’ll feel a very subtle knot in your stomach. Sometimes a knot in your belly is from something you ate, but with stress, it can come from something you’re thinking about. On the outside, it can come from another person and/or situation. And it depends upon how you’re responding.

Do you feel capable to handle whatever’s happening? Or are you caught up in pangs of concern over the happening? If it’s the latter, and you feel that knot, you better get busy with your stress obliteration technique. It’s a monster if you let it get out of hand. And it’s a lot more difficult to solve a problem when you’re stressed out. You can begin with a few deep breaths to get you on the right track.

“One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm.” ~Catherine Pulsifer

 

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1. Identify the beginning of stress (the knot) and talk to it.
“Hello. I know you well, and I want you to know that I’m not at all afraid of you. I decree that no matter what you do, you have no power over me. You’re no more than a fly on a horse’s rump. And I’m the horse. I have the power to handle any situation in a calm, peaceful way, which I intend to do. So you might as well leave now.”

2. Whether the situation is internal or external, picture an image of something that represents peace to you. ie A dove, a white aura, angels, balloons floating in the air, a beautiful sunrise, whatever has meaning for you. And associate with that peaceful feeling as the stress loses its power, or better yet, doesn’t even materialize.

3. Express gratitude. No matter what the result, express gratitude. 
The more you do this, the more effective it becomes. And if you forget, like I did, you can even create your own Mental Stress Manual and start over. Stress can be a stubborn critter, but you can be stubborn-er, and turn it off. And you become stronger with each experience. “
I wish you peaceful encounters in your life.”

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Now here are some things that can help you maintain recovery since most have gone online and virtual!

Some have been able to adapt quickly by moving online for support and treatment. But for those who lack internet access or have trouble using technology, isolation poses additional challenges. 

As the spread of coronavirus pulls people physically apart, making connections becomes harder. Meanwhile, with anxiety over the pandemic growing. For people like me in the mental health and addiction communities are wrestling with ways to stay connected without spreading the virus. The isolating for me has had me triggered a bit, and even after maintaining recovery for over 13+yrs. 

So, I am doing Gamblers Anonymous meetings at least twice a week online. There are several places to attend groups or meetings for AA, GA, and NA meetings. Even the popular faith-based “Celebrate Recovery” I enjoyed is now doing more group sessions online by Facebook Live, Zoom, and other online services. Just visit AA, GA, NA websites as all have some form of online meetings and connecting with others available. Visit each site for details and schedule. 

GA- https://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/

AA- https://www.aa.org/   NA- https://www.na.org/

‘Celebrate Recovery’- https://www.celebraterecovery.com/crcr/zoom

You may also visit many Recovery Blogs and websites to read articles and posts like my Bet Free Recovery Now. Check out my resources page. https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com/ 

Another way to help yourself while being isolated and “stay At Home” is to begin journaling. Especially now with how we had our recovery lives turned upside down in an instant and looking for new ways to stay connected. Making phone support calls to check on friends also maintaining recovery is another way to stay in contact and of course, with staying in contact with your sponsor or sponsees. Check out the many recovery groups as well on Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Regardless of how this pandemic plays out, we need to keep our recovery path moving forward. And yes, life is short when we look around and see where we are today compared to just a month or so ago. My personal feeling is our ‘Higher Power’ has given a RESET into what is most important in your life. Addiction is not one of them. It also tells me that there is a real ‘Higher Power’ or in my case, a real God. I will close by saying be safe, help save lives by staying home, and rework your recovery to shift with these changing times and challenges because?
“You Are Worth It!!”   ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

 

 

BREAKING THE CYCLES With Lisa Frederiksen. An Important Resource and a Must Visit Recovery Website…

BREAKING THE CYCLES With Lisa Frederiksen. An Important Resource and a Must Visit Recovery Website…

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I was invited a few years back to be interviewed by my friend Lisa Frederiksen for her fantastic informational recovery website.  I thought I would share some of my interview she did, as she was kind enough to do so and to have a new platform to raise awareness about how I learned to “break the cycle” of my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse as I began the road to long-term recovery.

I was honored and jumped on the chance, (lol) as she has helped many from addiction as a powerful advocate, speaker, and in writing as a popular author of several addiction/recovery books, like her newest title, “10th Anniversary Edition If You Loved Me, You’d Stop!: What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much (1) available on Amazon online.

First, here is more about Lisa and our interview I so appreciated her doing about me and please visit her website OFTEN at BREAKING THE CYCLES …

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LISA’S NEW BOOK IS a MUST READ:

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Available at local bookstores, libraries, and online retailers. Here are a few:
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Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Target
Wordery
Walmart
Amazon U.K. 

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ABOUT LISA FREDERIKSEN:

Lisa Frederiksen founded Breaking The Cycles.com to provide education, prevention, and intervention services on a range of addiction*-related topics anchored in 21st-century brain and scientific research.

This research was guided by her 40+ years of personal experience with secondhand drinking, a concept she first introduced in 2009. Working to overcome its impact, she’s spent the last 16 years studying and simplifying this research on topics related to her experiences. These topics include alcoholism, drug addiction, alcohol, and other drug use disorders, mental illness, co-occurring disorders, the family member’s experience, toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, codependency, brain development, and childhood trauma.

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BreakingTheCycles.com with Lisa Frederiksen - sharing the explosion in brain research to change the conversations on a host of topics.Lisa’s goal in founding BreakingTheCycles.com in 2008 was to change, and in some cases simply start, the conversations on these topics so that together we can end the stigma, misinformation, and shame that keep over 120 million Americans stuck fighting something they truly don’t understand. This 120 million represents those struggling with their misuse of alcohol or other drugs and the people – typically family members and friends – who love them and try desperately to help them stop.

She does this through presentations, workshops, consulting, blogging and media outreach.  Lisa holds a BA in Economics, the University of California at Davis and with over 39+years of experience? You’ll need to visit her page as there is TOO MUCH TO LIST! (Lol.)  Here: “Changing The Conversation”…

**The term “addiction” may be regarded as equivalent to a severe substance use disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013).**

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Recovery from Gambling Addiction. Interview With Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“Now that gambling addiction is currently the #1 addiction with the highest suicide rate than any other and over 16 million problem gamblers in just the US alone, I want to share some of my story and devastation in my life due to this cunning addiction,” says Catherine Townsend-Lyon, today’s guest author.

Best-selling Kodel Empire Publishing Author of the book, Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat, Catherine is a freelance recovery writer, a former columnist for “In Recovery Magazine’s ‘The Author’s Café’.” She also writes for several addiction/recovery publications, including: “Keys to Recovery” and will be featured in next month’s issue of “Recovery Today Magazine.” Catherine was chosen as a contributor to a major media article published by Time.com and Nautilus.us magazines titled; “Addicted to Anticipation: What goes wrong in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict.”

Catherine is an Expert Recovery blogger of Gambling Addiction Recovery for Addictionland.com and is the founder and author of her blog here at “Bet Free Recovery Now”  covering gambling addiction and recovery.

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Recovery from Gambling Addiction by Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Catherine Townsend-Lyon shares her story of recovery from gambling addiction.My name is Catherine, and I am a recovering compulsive addicted gambler. Jan 29th, 2020 will be my 13th-year mark in recovery, but will never forget where I have come from with gambling addiction. I came from the depths of hell, hopelessness, and despair. Gambling addiction took just about everything from me like family, friends, reputation, jobs, my home, car, almost my marriage and cost me way more than money; it almost cost me my life twice from suicide.

At the same time, I was also suffering from undiagnosed mental & emotional health issues and disorders I had no idea about until 2002. My first failed suicide attempt. I woke up in the hospital with bandages wrapped around both my wrists and could hear two people talking about knives all over my living room as I blacked out again. They were the two EMTs and a police officer who brought me to the hospital as I found out a few weeks later. All I remember was everything going black in nothingness. Now I know it was a complete mind and body break down. A mental/emotional blackout. From there I went to an addiction/mental crisis center. Was on suicide watch the first few days.

addictedtodimesShortly after, a psychiatrist started working with me. And of course, here I am, I was a compulsive gambler and being dually-diagnosed with mental health disorders.  So, I started working with an addictions counselor as well as a psychiatrist. I had attempted to stop gambling on my own but felt I could control it on my own. I failed with many relapses and binges due to the “diseased thinking” while in outpatient treatment. I guess I had not reached my bottom yet. Even after a 28 day stay in a crisis center and a suicide attempt!

What was wrong with me?

It’s called ADDICTION. It is a sickness that is very hard to overcome. But possible. And this wasn’t my last time I would work this circuit. Not due to actively gambling, due to the financial pressures from this disease, I had another suicide attempt in 2006 as it seemed I had not done enough work in all areas of recovery, including my financial inventory. First lesson? A well-balanced recovery plan.

But in 2006 I also just wanted to be normal, live life in recovery without having to take medications for mental/emotional issues. So, I stopped taking them thinking it was just the gambling that was causing my mental illness problems of PTSD, manic depression, mania, anxiety, and bipolar insomnia cycles. So, within two weeks of no meds? I was back to severe depression and suicidal. What was my answer?

I took all my meds at once. I had gotten to that dark, black hole of hopelessness again. Back in the hospital again, another 20-day crisis center and 4 days of suicide watch. When released this time, I had learned the hard way that I need to take my meds to maintain my mental/emotional health and well-being as they call this being “dually diagnosed or dual diagnosis.”

Recovery with even negative experiences, sprinkled with some “faith” can show us many life lessons in recovery. If we are not learning them, we won’t see our growth. Even when you are not participating in your preference of addiction, we can still have problems arise and life challenges in recovery, so being prepared is vital.

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NOW, The Rest of My Story Can Be Read on Lisa’s Amazing Website At “Changing The Conversation”…

And, again, all of her books are very well written and so helpful for anyone who is suffering in silence from addictions. Please, give her a visit if you are a person maintaining recovery and there are exceptional information and advice even for family members as well.

HAPPY Recovery Valentine’s Day Weekend …Be Careful, It Can Be a Trigger as This Guest Article Courtesy of ‘The Fix’ Mag Tells Us …

HAPPY Recovery Valentine’s Day Weekend …Be Careful, It Can Be a Trigger as This Guest Article Courtesy of ‘The Fix’ Mag Tells Us …

 

5 Tips for Surviving Valentine’s Day in Recovery 💞💖

By The Fix staff 02/14/20

“From heart-shaped cookies at the local coffee shop, romantic music in the grocery store or dinner specials for two advertised on the bus, it is impossible to avoid Valentine’s Day. It can be a reminder of the support loved ones provide or challenge of maintaining relationships while within RECOVERY”…

 

Valentine’s Day can be sweet, but it can also be triggering. Here’s how to cope.

 

Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is an excuse to eat chocolate, buy flowers and celebrate your love, but it can also be an emotionally taxing and triggering holiday, especially for people who are in early recovery or treatment.

Whether you are still working to repair a relationship damaged by addiction, loving someone who is struggling with substance misuse, or taking time to focus on yourself, Valentine’s Day can highlight everything that’s not ideal in your love life.

This year, don’t let Valentine’s Day bring you down. Instead, focus on these things that everyone in recovery or loving someone in recovery should remember this Valentine’s Day.

1. It’s Okay to Opt-Out

Establishing a new life in recovery is all about choosing what works for you, and stepping away from anything that doesn’t. If Valentine’s Day stresses you out, skip it. Avoiding advertising can be tricky, but give yourself permission to not engage with the day or the social pressure that it entails. Just like you can choose not to engages with people or places that you find triggering, you can choose not to participate in traditions that no longer serve you. If you were sober at the end of last year you’re probably familiar with establishing new holiday traditions. Bring that to Valentine’s Day, too.

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2. Early Recovery Is the Time to Focus on Yourself 

If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, you might feel unloved or unchosen. Instead of leaning into that feeling, challenge the internal narrative that is making you feel that way. Celebrate the fact that you are choosing to focus on yourself right now. There’s a reason why 12-step traditions advocate for staying single during the first year of sobriety. Without the distraction of romantic love, you can do the work that will improve your relationship with yourself and make you a great partner in the future. Right now, you’re building the foundation that will make you lucky in love in the future.

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3. Love Is Love Is Love

Valentine’s Day tends to focus on romantic love, but you can expand the celebration to encompass all the love in your life. Consider this: you love yourself enough to go through the hard work of getting sober, clean and bet free. Your recovery community loves you enough to support you through the ups and downs, and share what they’ve learned through their own journeys with you. Your friends and family (chosen or biological) love you enough to believe that this time, you’re going to stay sober for the long term.

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4. Self-Care Is a Great Way to Celebrate

Restaurants will be packed on Valentine’s Day, so why not skip out on the traditional celebrations to indulge in some self-care? Start by doing the self-care that is taxing, but also important: go to a meeting, book a therapy appointment or talk to your sponsor about the challenges that Valentine’s Day holds for you. Then, move on to self-care that is more fun: get a massage, walk on the beach or bake something delicious, just for you.

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5. You’re Not Alone 

There are thousands of people celebrating Valentine’s Day sober, with or without romantic partners. If you’re feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, meet up with some other people who are in a similar situation. Sober meetups spring up every Valentine’s Day, bringing people together around good food and a celebration of recovery. Check out what sober Valentine’s Day activities are happening in your area. If you can’t find any, make you’re own by organizing a trip to a museum, bowling alley or favorite hiking destination. 

Celebrating Valentine’s Day sober, clean and Bet Free can be challenging, but reframing the holiday and establishing new, healthy traditions will mean that next year, celebrating Valentine’s Day sober will be easier.

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Image result for free valentine images quotes self care

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Special Guest Recovery Writer and Soon To Be New Author. Meet My Amazing Friend Deb Morgan …

A Special Guest Recovery Writer and Soon To Be New Author. Meet My Amazing Friend Deb Morgan …

“We all have a recovery story to tell ~ at least one within us to share”

When we come to a point in recovery that we are ready to advocate and begin to share it, it can be a powerful tool to help those just beginning their recovery journey. That is why and what my dear friend Deb Morgan is about to do. And, no, she’s the Deb Morgan from DEXTER …LOL.

She is a part of an amazing project and book that will be released early spring with some other amazing authors. She lives in Oregon where I lived for many years and I am so jealous as Deb knows Oregon is where my heart will always be! I surely won’t spoil any in-depth info of her book she’ll be in and finishing touches are still being done.

I thought I’d give you a preview in sharing her most recent blog post to give my friends here who visit a little of what’s to come from by Deb.  She did, however, share some early reading feedback that the book just might be the next “Chicken Soup For The Soul” a self-help book series.

The book project is being arranged by a guy who I am sure when you learn who? Everyone will be very familiar with who he is. The first book and subsequent titles in the series consist of inspirational true stories about ordinary people’s lives, overcoming, and much more. I am excited for Deb and can’t wait to read her book this spring!

Enjoy this post by Deb and make sure you visit her blog titled ‘Deb-Spot-Telling My Truth One Word At A Time’

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ADDICTION: The Trigger   By 12/12/2019 / Addiction

I don’t know any addict that woke up one morning and said: “I think I will become an addict today.” It just doesn’t happen that way. It is a slow progressive process, that hides. Some don’t ever get addicted or try a drug that makes them feel good, or normal.

Over ninety percent of the addicts have had a multitude of trauma in their lives. Trauma that was so deeply troubling that is broke part of their soul. Or it could be a mental condition and they self-medicated to feel normal. I picked Percocet. After living through trauma from the day I was born, I tried other drugs before settling on pills. Then Percocet became my drug of choice. This drug would eventually attack and I would come close to complete destruction of myself, my family, my life!

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The Trigger?

So what is a “Trigger”? It’s the final thing causing a person to go into full addiction. I am asked why people go to cocaine or heroin, crack, etc.? It tells your brain what you have to put into your body to stave off withdrawal. You see, just because someone starts with alcohol that does not mean it will be their final drug of choice.
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Our brain doesn’t care our body needs a drug, causing steady normality. Drug and Alcoholism are the same diseases just in different wrapping paper. Crack and methamphetamine are the poor man’s drugs. Cocaine is for the rich and people who can afford it. Heroin is a replacement for opiates, cheaper on the street and hard to get from doctors.

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Addiction begins with the hope that something “out there” can instantly fill up the emptiness inside. ~ Jean Kilborne~

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So What Happens Next?

In closing the human mind has an extremely strong power of denial and deception. People who are in the throws of drug addiction cannot see it and their brain won’t accept it. Addiction starts out innocent enough. I drank with my friends at school.

I hated the taste of hard liquor I thought I would never drink it again. So did I keep drinking it? Of course, at the time it was fun, I was young and rebelling against the pain in my life. It would come to be my nemesis in a different form and face.

One I would fight for my life with.

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Image may contain: 3 people, including Deb Morgan, people smiling

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WHO Is Deb Morgan?


I started writing and talking openly about my journey about 5 years ago. Writing my story and getting it out in the world as far as I could is my goal.

I started out thinking someday I would get a book written and had no idea how to begin to do it. So I started writing, then a website, then an opportunity for a radio show, then another and I just kept refusing to give up. I was asked to be on a show a few months ago in 2019, from there life would change to the point where I don’t even know which way it is going.

I have had 15 radio spots, 2 podcasts, and was invited to be in a book titled Simply amazing women coming mothers day 2020. I will then publish my book “TRAPPED” in 2020. ” There will be another book on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain in 2021. Then there are a couple more on the chart that is coming.  A dream isn’t a dream anymore when we do the work, it can become a reality. “ I am living proof of that.

When we want something bad enough that will be helpful for someone else, that is the hope that it does exactly that, help and give hope. Deb resides outside Eugene, Oregon with her family.

 

Family May Not Understand About Addiction nor Support You As You Change Maintaining Recovery. “The 2nd Chance Syndrome”…Some Don’t Get It!

Family May Not Understand About Addiction nor Support You As You Change Maintaining Recovery. “The 2nd Chance Syndrome”…Some Don’t Get It!

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“When You Start Seeing Your Worth, You’ll Find it Harder to Stay Around People Who Don’t, even if it’s your own FAMILY.”

The Bible teaches me to “Obey Thy Father and Mother” … 

That can be somewhat hard to do when you had been put down, left to feel your worth nothing for many years beginning as a little girl. No excuses, not a victim, just clear-sightedness of how I FELT and had perceived these actions each time they happened to me by family members growing up.

To learn dark secrets coming into adulthood that make you look at your parents much differently and it is an uncomfortable feeling. I am also sharing my feelings as it seems, even after almost fifteen years of estrangement from my dysfunctional side of the family, they keep leaving “ugly” comments on my book as reviews and anywhere else they think they can hurt me. I’m good today so I just ignore it.

See, my book ‘Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat’  published in 2013, my family was upset due to the fact I wrote and disclosed some dark secrets I came across while doing my research and looking in public records and so on and they don’t have a grip on reality or any link to an understanding about addiction and recovery either.  My memoir is NOT ABOUT THEM.

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It was written to give insights about how my past issues and trauma growing up can had such a negative impact in my life growing into adulthood which all that added fuel to my addiction. When using addiction to try and cope, escape, or numb old hurt and pain we all may have gone through in life, many times it can or may have many like me turn to any addiction in the first place. By sharing my story, I hope to help others. It is not HOW TO RECOVER, it is the WHY I turned to gambling and became ADDICTED.

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But Let Me Start At The Beginning  . . .

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When I was 7-years-old and again at 13 years old, I had been sexually abused by my brother and an adult friend of my parents, the 17-year-old son of those friends of my parents who lived up the street from us.  He was a year younger than my brother. I still have trouble today describing in detail what had been done to me, but each time it happened, I’d get sick to my stomach and a little piece of my innocence stripped away leaving me feeling ashamed, dirty, and confused.

Even as I’d would say, NO, it would leave me feeling guilty and worthless as it was MY FAULT.  I kept thinking and tell my little self I must be bad or doing something wrong that this continues to happen to me. Feeling baffled and confused and not understanding the nature of “my sexual misconduct and being molested.”

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In turn, as I began to grow up and become an adult woman, those experiences began to seep into my thinking, become distorted in many areas of my life as you can imagine. The relationships I would sabotage not only with men, all because I felt NOT worthy of them. Becoming promiscuous at an earlier age as a woman and thinking that’s all men want is sex.
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I walked away from several serious relationships with a few men who treated me like a princess, then, again, not feeling I deserved or worth the special attention, I’d walk away. I was not worthy of being loved because I was tainted somehow. Besides, my family treated like I was not worth it, so should I accept anyone else to?

My parents always said as I was growing up that “I was a liar or a whore, a pot smoker or pill popper just because my dad would see me with my girlfriends out front of my Middle School or High School. Judging those girls by what they did or just because of the way they dressed or may have been smoking? And I never did any of those things except in high school smoked a cig or two back then like any normal teen did.

See, my father worked for the school district as a painter after he retired from 22-yrs of service in the air force. He wouldn’t tell me if he would be working/painting at MY school. All my family, as I got older, had still treated me poor at times as if I wasn’t at all important or part of the family. For example, and I know it seems dumb, we’d all be going out to dinner together and most of us were married by then. We’d all meet at my parents and ride together.

If I was even just a few minutes late, they would all just leave without me and I’d have to drive myself. Sounds like no big deal, but when it happens ALL the time? When you are already dealing with hidden trauma and suffering in silence, it begins to make you feel less and less cared for.

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I will admit looking back, I was very hypersensitive when my family did this because of what I went through as a little girl. None of them knew what happened to me as a child until I finally reached out for help the first time at age 31 and even then when I disclosed it all to my parents, my mom didn’t believe me! It was like being slapped in the face and felt like being abused all over again.

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Image result for images quotes losing your innocence when molested
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I just could not stuff all those painful memories away any longer. Also looking back and connecting the dots through years of therapy, treatment counseling and after finally being properly diagnosed in 2002 with mental health disorders after my first suicide attempt and not the last. Knowing and feeling I had mental health problems since childhood like OCD, ADHD. I had many of the symptoms through childhood I remember like, daydreaming, forgetting things, fidgeting, talking too much, inattention, impulsivity, unnecessary risk-taking, and having trouble getting along with others.
I had all of these. Then in my early to late teen years with depression and isolating in my room for hours.

Of course, my parents or other parents didn’t know then what they know today about mental and emotional illness and disorders. And, I had an aunt on my mom’s side that passed away from a prescription drug overdose and she was on many mental health drugs as I learned later as an adult. So I always felt my mental health challenges came from my mom’s side of the family. Even my mom was put on antidepressants about the last 5 or 6 years of her life.

The other side of this is when my parents would discipline us kids and in a way that was unconventional. I remember the times that my mom went over the top.  Like one time, my brother took something or got caught stealing something for my sister. How my mom taught him not to ever do it again, she made him and my sister put out their hands and she pricked the top of their hands with a needle until they were bleeding and MADE ME WATCH so we all learned the lesson. It was sicking to watch!

There we many things like this through the years and these traumatizing memories lingered in my mind. When we all became adults, it seemed abuse of alcohol was the common factor at many family gatherings like camping trips, birthdays or the 4th of July BBQ and even just a baseball game! My father, brother, and older sister drank like fishes as we got older.

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And as they got drunk, something bad would always happen to ruin whatever family function or outing was going on when they were all drunk. It even happened after we all got together after my mother’s funeral at the memorial at my brother’s home in 2003. It caused my brother’s divorce, my oldest sister racked up 3 DUI’S in one year and more.

THAT is another blog post share for another day!

Through beginning and maintaining recovery, I shared all of this and my therapist and I agreed that my family was toxic and I needed to step away and not get involved even though I lived 980 miles away. I have tried to make amends where I could with my side of the family to no avail. I did, however, with my mom before she passed in August of 2003.
…..
Again, I lived about 980 miles away in Oregon when I was in the worst of my addiction. So no one from my family was impacted. But as I had always been dubbed “The Blacksheep” of the family early on, it seemed to make it OK for them to treat me like shit through the years. Even when they came to visit. I was and always felt very disconnected from my father. I still do and don’t today know why.

…..
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Image result for small images of being the black sheep of the family

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……

After a while, you come to accept it and begin to ignore those times. As I got older, I began to set boundaries to avoid all the family drama and hurt except for when they would come up to visit us in Oregon. I just ignored the negative comments and stopped engaging with my mother that always turned into arguments when she’d make snide remarks that got worse the healthier I became. SHE did not like boundaries …I spent too many years starving for their validation and wasn’t going to do it any longer as I learned and accepted that they didn’t know how to give unconditional love.  These are the many things I began to learn while in treatment and beginning my road and path of recovery.

Learning the tools and skills to keep me safe when you deal with family who do not understand the concept of recovery or mental health. And through the years don’t care to either. If it is not in front of them, they don’t have to acknowledge or care about it is how my own father, sisters, and even my brother have treated me …We all have been estranged since my mother was laid to rest in 2003.  Through my almost 13-yrs maintaining recovery, I have processed this, forgive them and live my life for me and my husband. I do keep in touch with my nephews and that is good enough for me.

See, we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I can choose not to continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be abused by them any longer. I don’t have to continue and use poor behaviors like my mother used for years and most everyone let her even after we became adults and know better. Sadly, I needed to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life.

It is coming up on 15-years since I last talked to my father who just stopped calling me and still to this day I have no clue why …And almost the same with my older and younger sisters. My brother, I, and my husband spoke a few times and my brother did apologize to me for what he had done to me. He told me it happened to him as a little boy by our uncle Joe years ago when we still lived in New Jersey and before moving to So. CA., as kids.

One of my therapists had told me that when men molest 87% of the time they have been molested themselves. For me, I was just relieved my husband heard him admit what he did to me, but my brother wouldn’t to my parents. So my parents kept thinking I made it all up. What actually gives me comfort? Is knowing my husband, I, GOD and now my mom in heaven knows the truth. I know I am rambling but this has been laying on my heart the last few days. I know many of us maintaining long-term recovery have had to deal with learning the many underlying issues of why we had turned to addiction in the first place.

Some of what I share are many of the underlying issues and roots I had to overcome and let go. Instead of running or hiding within my gambling addiction, I did so because I was trying to “escape, numb, or cope” with all these ugly feelings and pain. Not being raised to know that it is OK to reach out for help when you are feeling mentally and emotionally weak and being tormented by old haunting memories you can’t run or stuff away any longer.

…..
Image result for images quotes don't have to accept family dysfunction

……
It is also difficult to start becoming stronger and standing outside “The Family Bubble” you came from looking in and seeing a really dysfunctional, fucked-up, unloving and hurtful group of people who are YOUR FAMILY Members. No, I am not better than any of them, I am, however, so much happier and healthier than they are.

WHY? Because I have acknowledged all the old habits and behaviors which have torn my side of the family apart and I choose to NOT be or play a part in it anymore. Yes, it is sad and hurts to see or accept your family for who they really are. And, again, as I said earlier, I never hurt any of my family members when I was within my addiction, so I didn’t need to apologize for anything.

But I have no control over people, places, or things. I have tried making amends and sometimes it just doesn’t always work or have an outcome you’d hoped for. Even when it’s your family . . .

That’s ok, because today I am happy, healthy, loved and BET FREE!  🎉🎉💖💞
And that is always something to CELEBRATE in this New Year!
~Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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What Can Happen When Addicted to Gambling Stops Working? For Me, Alcohol Abuse Began. Guest Article By ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide.’

What Can Happen When Addicted to Gambling Stops Working? For Me, Alcohol Abuse Began. Guest Article By ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide.’

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Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

Alcoholism and gambling addiction are an especially dangerous combination that can cause significant harm to an afflicted individual and their families.

By  Edited: December 4, 2019 | 4 Sources

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The Relationship Between Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction …

Alcoholism And Gambling Addiction Are Very Commonly Found In The Same Person, Possibly Because They Both Impact The Brain Similarly
Whether or not someone can be “addicted” to gambling is controversial. However, once gambling becomes compulsive, despite financial consequences, “addiction” becomes easy to observe. This is especially true when alcoholism and gambling addiction are combined.

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What Is Gambling Addiction?

The acknowledgment of addictive drugs has been around for decades. 12-Step Programs, clinics, medical professionals, and websites have become dedicated to the understanding of the dangers of these substances. Non-pharmacological addictions, however, are often called into question. Categorized as a “Process Addiction,” Pathological Gambling was just recognized as an addiction by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013. Until then, it was categorized as an impulse control disorder. There is still debate as to whether Pathological Gambling is an addiction, though it is more widely accepted now than 30 years ago.

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How Can Someone be Addicted to Gambling?

Addiction, in general, works by stimulating the brain in a way that it becomes dependent on that stimuli. Biologically speaking, when someone does something that makes their body happy, like eating or having sex, their brain releases dopamine as a reward. As humans developed, we discovered that certain drugs can provide a more potent release of dopamine. As the brain restructures itself around the use of the drug, the natural stimuli that the human brain would reward before are lessened.
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This fundamental restructuring of the brain around a chemical substance is why there was so much controversy that something like gambling couldn’t cause an addiction, because there is no introduction of an external chemical for the brain to crave.

Though there is no chemical substance to interact in the brain, gambling has still been shown to trigger similar effects to alcohol. Some people with gambling addictions report feeling a euphoria when they gamble or in anticipation of leading up to the game. Similar to individuals dependent on drugs and alcohol, people with a gambling addiction will exhibit symptoms of withdrawal when they go without gambling for an extended amount of time. These symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and even heart palpitations.

Consider some of the criteria for a substance use disorder like alcoholism; 1) increasing frequency and amount, 2) increasing time spent, 3) continuing use despite negative consequences, 4) relationship problems, 5) neglecting major roles and responsibilities, 6) failed attempts to cut down or quit, 7) loss of interest in enjoyable activities, 8) preoccupation, and 9) compulsion. All of these are present in someone with a gambling addiction.
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Similarities Between Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

There is a large percentage of people who suffer from alcoholism that have issues with gambling addiction, and vice versa. While there could be several reasons as to why someone may experience both, many researchers are looking at the similarities between the two addictions as the answer. The underlying reactions that are triggered in the brain when someone consumes alcohol are very similar to when someone gambles.
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In fact, the brain will release dopamine after someone gambles, the same process that happens in addictive drugs. The way these two reactions can stack on each other, along with the prevalence of alcohol in casinos, makes the potential of alcoholism and gambling addiction as co-occurring disorders even more likely.

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img_1380booze gam

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Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction as Co-Occurring Disorders
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Potentially due to the similar reactions consuming alcohol and gambling have on the brain, someone who is addicted to one has a greater risk of developing an addiction to the other. People who are addicted to gambling may turn to alcohol to settle their nerves while gambling, or if they’ve gone a prolonged amount of time without, gambling. Using alcohol to curb the negative effects of withdrawal can make them susceptible to heavy and problematic drinking, potentially leading to the development of alcoholism. Likewise, someone who suffers from alcoholism may seek comfort in casinos.

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People who suffer from an early stage of alcohol addiction will often look for a place where they can drink without judgment or people questioning it. The prevalence of alcohol in casinos makes it a popular place to drink heavily. Many casinos serve free alcohol or constantly have servers offer alcohol to casino patrons.

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Naturally, this opens someone up to the temptation of gambling. Judgment is one of the first things to be impaired when under the influence of alcohol, and someone can be easily swayed to play and bet higher than they would sober. So, as they progress in one addiction, they’re developing another.
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Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction Statistics

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6 percent

Studies have speculated that, at most, 6% of people have or will have an issue with Pathological Gambling.

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20 percent

Of the people diagnosed with an Alcohol Use Disorder, it is speculated that 20% of them also deal with a Gambling Addiction.

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1-in-5 people

1 in 5, or 20%, of people suffering from Gambling Addiction attempt suicide.

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Recovering from Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction

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If you, or someone you know, are suffering from alcoholism and gambling addiction, they can be treated at the same time. Being honest and admitting that you are having problems related to drinking and gambling is the first step on the path to recovery.
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If you are ready to take that first step, or just need some guidance, then reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist.

The fine folks of ‘Alcohol Rehab Guide’  as they help people get their lives back.

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losecontrol2

Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending… My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.

Recovery Holiday Watch Is Ending…      My New Years’ Eve Recovery Reflections About “Family.” As We Don’t Get To Choose Them.

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“When You Start Seeing Your Worth, You’ll Find it Harder to Stay Around People Who Don’t, even if it’s your own FAMILY” …

The Bible teaches me to “Obey Thy Father and Mother” … 

That can be somewhat hard to do when you had been put down, left to feel your worth nothing for many years beginning as a little girl. No excuses, not a victim, just clear-sightedness of how I FELT and had perceived these actions each time they happened to me by family members growing up.

To learn dark secrets coming into adulthood that make you look at your parents much differently and it is an uncomfortable feeling. I am also sharing my feelings as it seems, even after almost fifteen years of estrangement from my dysfunctional side of the family, they keep leaving “ugly” comments on my book as reviews and anywhere else they think they can hurt me. I’m good today so I just ignore it.

See, my book ‘Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat’    published in 2013, my family was upset due to the fact I wrote and disclosed some dark secrets I came across while doing my research and looking in public records and so on and they don’t have a grip on reality or any link to an understanding about addiction and recovery either.  My memoir is NOT ABOUT THEM.

It was written to give insights about how my past issues and trauma growing up can had such a negative impact in my life growing into adulthood which all that added fuel to my addiction. When using addiction to try and cope, escape, or numb old hurt and pain we all may have gone through in life, many times it can or may have many like me turn to any addiction in the first place. By sharing my story, I hope to help others. It is not HOW TO RECOVER, it is WHY I turned to gambling addiction.

But Let Me Start At The Beginning  . . .

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When I was 7-years-old and again at 13 years old, I had been sexually abused by my brother and an adult friend of my parents, the 17-year-old son of those friends of my parents who lived up the street from us.  He was a year younger than my brother. I still have trouble today describing in detail what had been done to me, but each time it happened, I’d get sick to my stomach and a little piece of my innocence stripped away leaving me feeling ashamed, dirty, and confused.

Even as I’d would say, NO, it would leave me feeling guilty and worthless as it was MY FAULT.  I kept thinking and tell my little self I must be bad or doing something wrong that this continues to happen to me. Feeling baffled and confused and not understanding the nature of the “sexual misconduct” part …

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child-1439468__340

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In turn, as I began to grow up and become an adult woman, those experiences began to seep into my thinking, become distorted in many areas of my life as you can imagine. The relationships I would sabotage not only with men, all because I felt NOT worthy of them. Becoming promiscuous at an earlier age as a woman and thinking that’s all men want is sex. I walked away from several serious relationships with a few men who treated me like a princess, then, again, not feeling I deserved or worth the special attention, I’d walk away. I was not worthy of being loved because I was tainted somehow. Besides, my family treated like I was not worth it, so should I accept anyone else to?

My parents always said as I was growing up that “I was a liar or a whore, a pot smoker or pill popper just because my dad would see me with my girlfriends out front of my Middle School or High School. Judging those girls by what they did or just because of the way they dressed or may have been smoking? And I never did any of those things except in high school smoked a cig or two back then like any normal teen did.

See, my father worked for the school district as a painter after he retired from 22-yrs of service in the air force. He wouldn’t tell me if he would be working/painting at MY school. All my family, as I got older, had still treated me poor at times as if I wasn’t at all important or part of the family. For example, and I know it seems dumb, we’d all be going out to dinner together and most of us were married by then. We’d all meet at my parents and ride together.

If I was even just a few minutes late, they would all just leave without me and I’d have to drive myself. Sounds like no big deal, but when it happens ALL the time? When you are already dealing with hidden trauma and suffering in silence, it begins to make you feel less and less cared for. I will admit looking back, I was very hypersensitive when my family did this because of what I went through as a little girl. None of them knew what happened to me as a child until I finally reached out for help the first time at age 31 and even then when I disclosed it all my mom didn’t believe me and that felt like being abused all over again.

I just could not stuff all those painful memories away any longer. Also looking back and connecting the dots through years of therapy, treatment counseling and after finally being properly diagnosed in 2002 with mental health disorders after my first suicide attempt and not the last. Knowing and feeling I had mental health problems since childhood like OCD, ADHD. I had many of the symptoms through childhood I remember like, daydreaming, forgetting things, fidgeting, talking too much, inattention, impulsivity, unnecessary risk-taking, and having trouble getting along with others. I had all of these.  Then in my teen years with depression and isolating.

Of course, my parents or other parents didn’t know then what they know today about mental and emotional illness and disorders. And, I had an aunt on my mom’s side that passed away from a prescription drug overdose and she was on many mental health drugs as I learned later as an adult. So I always felt my mental health challenges came from my mom’s side of the family. Even my mom was put on antidepressants about the last 5 or 6 years of her life.

The other side of this is when my parents would discipline us kids and in a way that was unconventional. I remember the times that my mom went over the top.  Like one time, my brother took something or got caught stealing something for my sister. How my mom taught him not to ever do it again, she made him and my sister put out their hands and she pricked the top of their hands with a needle until they were bleeding and MADE ME WATCH so we all learned the lesson. It was sicking to watch!

There we many things like this through the years and these traumatizing memories lingered in my mind. When we all became adults, it seemed abuse of alcohol was the common factor at many family gatherings like camping trips, birthdays or the 4th of July BBQ and even just a baseball game! My father, brother, and older sister drank like fishes as we got older. And something would always happen to ruin whatever family function or outing was going on when they were all drunk. It even happened after we all got together after my mother’s funeral at the memorial at my brother’s home in 2003. It caused my brother’s divorce, my oldest sister racked up 3 DUI’S in one year and more.

THAT is another blog post share for another day!

Through beginning and maintaining recovery, I shared all of this and my therapist and I agreed that my family was toxic and I needed to step away and not get involved even though I lived 980 miles away. I have tried to make amends where I could with my side of the family to no avail. I did, however, with my mom before she passed in August of 2003. Again, I lived about 980 miles away in Oregon when I was in the worst of my addiction. So no one from my family was impacted. But as I had always been dubbed “The Blacksheep” of the family early on, it seemed to make it OK for them to treat me like shit through the years. Even when they came to visit. I was and always felt very disconnected from my father. I still do and don’t today know why.

…..
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Image result for small images of being the black sheep of the family

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……

After a while, you come to accept it and begin to ignore those times. As I got older, I began to set boundaries to avoid all the family drama and hurt except for when they would come up to visit us in Oregon. I just ignored the negative comments and stopped engaging with my mother that always turned into arguments when she’d make snide remarks that got worse the healthier I became. SHE did not like boundaries …I spent too many years starving for their validation and wasn’t going to do it any longer as I learned and accepted that they didn’t know how to give unconditional love.  These are the many things I began to learn while in treatment and beginning my road and path of recovery.

Learning the tools and skills to keep me safe when you deal with family who does not understand the concept of recovery or mental health. And through the years don’t care to either. If it is not in front of them, they don’t have to acknowledge or care about it is how my own father, sisters, and even my brother have treated me …We all have been estranged since my mother was laid to rest in 2003.  Through my almost 13-yrs maintaining recovery, I have processed this, forgive them and live my life for me and my husband. I do keep in touch with my nephews and that is good enough for me.

See, we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I can choose not to continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be abused by them any longer. I don’t have to continue and use poor behaviors like my mother used for years and most everyone let her even after we became adults and know better. Sadly, I needed to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life.

It is coming up on 15-years since I last talked to my father who just stopped calling me and still to this day I have no clue why …And almost the same with my older and younger sisters. My brother, I, and my husband spoke a few times and my brother did apologize to me for what he had done to me. He told me it happened to him as a little boy by our uncle Joe years ago when we still lived in New Jersey and before moving to So. CA., as kids.

One of my therapists had told me that when men molest 87% of the time they have been molested themselves. For me, I was just relieved my husband heard him admit what he did to me, but my brother wouldn’t to my parents. So my parents kept thinking I made it all up. What actually gives me comfort? Is knowing my husband, I, GOD and now my mom in heaven knows the truth. I know I am rambling but this has been laying on my heart the last few days. I know many of us maintaining long-term recovery have had to deal with learning the many underlying issues of why we had turned to addiction in the first place.

Some of what I share are many of the underlying issues I had to overcome. Instead of running or hiding and keep active within my gambling addiction, I did so because I was trying to “escape, numb, or cope” with all these ugly feelings and pain. Not being raised to know that it is OK to reach out for help when you are feeling mentally and emotionally weak and being tormented by old haunting memories you can’t run or stuff away any longer.

…..
Image result for images quotes don't have to accept family dysfunction

……
It is also difficult to start becoming stronger and standing outside “The Family Bubble” you came from looking in and seeing a really dysfunctional, fucked-up, unloving and hurtful group of people who are YOUR FAMILY Members. No, I am not better than any of them, I am, however, so much happier and healthier than they are.

WHY? Because I have acknowledged all the old habits and behaviors which have torn my side of the family apart and I choose to NOT be or play a part in it anymore. Yes, it is sad and hurts to see or accept your family for who they really are. And, again, as I said earlier, I never hurt any of my family members when I was within my addiction, so I didn’t need to apologize for anything.

But I have no control over people, places, or things. I have tried making amends and sometimes it just doesn’t always work or have an outcome you’d hoped for. Even when it’s your family . . .

That’s ok because today I am happy, healthy, loved and BET FREE!  🎉🎉💖💞And that is always something to CELEBRATE In a New Year!

…..

Image result for images of happy new year in recovery

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I wish each and everyone who reads this and visits a very HAPPY, HEALTHY and BLESSED NEW YEAR In 2020!  ~Catherine Lyon

 

What Will Maintaining Recovery Look Like For YOU in 2020? Have Goals or a New Year Resolution? Talk To Me and Share Them!

What Will Maintaining Recovery Look Like For YOU in 2020? Have Goals or a New Year Resolution? Talk To Me and Share Them!


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Now on Count Down As
My “Recovery Holiday Watch” Is Ending In A Few Days! . . . 

But I know all my friends, recovery posse and warriors know I am always available at any time of the year! 

What are my Recovery Goals in 2020?

Well, I will begin them LIKE THIS!

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PicsArt_12-17-06.48.21

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NOW TELL ME YOURS IN My COMMENTS!

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e3a495cf0f5831c9391f1c6cb440e18eOUT


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quote2

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We-are-many-1024x575


~Catherine Lyon, Gambling Recovery Advocate & Writer …

Mental Health Management Includes Where and How We Live To Feel Happy, Safe, and Managed. Our Guest Article Shares How. ‘Cater To Your Home Life.’

Mental Health Management Includes Where and How We Live To Feel Happy, Safe, and Managed. Our Guest Article Shares How. ‘Cater To Your Home Life.’

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Many of my recovery friends know I just moved about a month or so ago to a new townhome and complex. The old one we had been renting the last 6-yrs was not renewing anyone as they began a major remodel to the whole complex. We had been living in only 525 square feet for the last 6-yrs and with three cats! Lol.

It was ok with us and we were ready to move as the last two years in a non-gated community was taking its toll on my mental health feeling safe and my stress level was through the roof and my writing being challenged with constant noise was suffering as kids running around unsupervised and screaming, strange people walking through at night and some very rude neighbors above us that were smoking weed everywhere teens cussing out loud and that was on a GOOD DAY! 

We found a new place with 250+ more room and with all new appliances, new carpet, and wood flooring and much more. My electric bill went down 75% and it is a gated quiet and the neighbors are pleasant but not “all up in your business!” Lol. On a serious note, I had no idea just how stressed out about where we lived until we moved to this new place and how calm, quiet, and happy I am feeling with no fear or anxiety. Here is a new Guest Article that helped me understand how to set up and carter to areas that are important to those of us who suffer mental illness and how to make your home stress free in your living space and things to do! …  ~Catherine Lyon, Advocate 

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Make Your Home Better for your Mental Health

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are trapped inside of the home that you have to live in every day. Going to bed in a home that you’re growing to hate is a shortcut in life to make you despise everything else going on around you. If you have felt this feeling before, then you’re not alone.
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One of the main reasons that this happens is because people don’t treat their home like the peaceful sanctuary that it should be. Your home should be a calm place that you can go to relax your mind and evade the stresses that pervade the rest of the world. Here are some ways that you can make your home better for your mental health…

Utilize Natural Light as Much as Possible

Natural light is something that opens up a home and makes it feel like a warmer place to be. It’s easy to feel like you are boxed in when your living space has about as much natural light as a deep cavern. Utilizing lots of windows and having lighter colored walls to help light travel throughout your home. This brighter environment will help you feel like you can move throughout more of your home without feeling like you are wading through the dark.

While you plan for natural light, it might also be a good idea to install lighting options in your home that allow for the electric light to reflect natural cycles. For example, installing a dimmer can help you to reflect the lower evening light to prime your body for sleep. You might also install a skylight that will flood the room with light whenever the weather permits.

Reduce Clutter and Clean Messes

First of all, clutter is one of the biggest enemies of a calming home environment. A chaotic arrangement of “things” piled up in your home environment is a very quick way to make sure that you never feel comfortable in the space of your own home. For this reason, take some time every day, whether it is just 10 to 15 minutes, to make clear up any possible messes that might be lying around your home.

Clutter, while seemingly such a simple thing, creates chaos in the mind that makes it hard to wind down after a long day. Sometimes, this clutter isn’t just relegated to messes of mail, garbage, or dishes, either. Sometimes, the very way that your home is put together just invites clutter. For this reason, it can be helpful to consider a more minimalist design for the inside of your home, so that you can keep your living environment open and fresh for your mind. In this same mindset, it can be helpful to have a smaller home, rather than a large one, since larger homes just mean more space and issues to deal with.

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Image result for free images of a holiday decorated living room

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Apply Calming Colors to Your Decor

The colors that you choose to decorate the interior of your home make a large difference in your emotional state. Specific blazing colors are meant to evoke high energy, while other colors might evoke more of a calm feeling. Usually, interior designers recommend lighter blue colors as a way to achieve calmness, but it really depends on your own specific preference.

Emphasize Natural Amenities

Being in nature helps alleviate stress and anxiety. For this reason, it is very helpful to use natural accents in your design and decorations to bring some of that nature a little closer to home. For example, more plants in a home can help oxygenate the environment and gives some of the stress-relieving benefits to you after a long day at work.
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You can use more than plants in this pursuit, though. Outdoor amenities, whether it be a bench under an arbor or a zen rock garden, can help make it a little more pleasant to be at home. This is an important thing to keep in mind when you are moving, as moving to an area that better displays those natural amenities, such as a mountainous area, can be good for your mental health.

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Lastly, Try to Reduce Loud and Abrupt Noises

Visual distractions and chaos are only one part of the equation when it comes to destroying the peaceful vibes of your home. Noise pollution is another thing that can make your home feel a little bit like a prison. Loud and abrupt noises take you out of your comfort zone and make it difficult to relax.
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To prevent this from happening, sit down in your home for a couple of hours and just listen. For example, things like an old furnace or AC will have an unsavory roar when they kick on. Lots of these things can be serviced and solved if you take the time to know what the problem is.
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Now that the holidays are here, dig in and express yourself with fun and colorful decorations that will make your home look awesome and make you FEEL in the festive holiday spirit! 

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Featured Image -- 14356

 

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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Related image

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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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COMPULSIVE GAMBLER: A SAD TALE. My Recovery Guest Spotlight Shines on David S. Recovering Gambler Like Me …

A must-read ‘Gambler’s Tale’ from a new recovery friend I have met. As a matter of fact, my friend David gave me permission to share the whole post which I will do right below the REBLOG for all my recovery supporters and blog friends. WHY? It not often I meet other recovering compulsive gamblers who will speak about their addiction and recovery due to the continued STIGMA around this cunning disease!

So, meet my new friend David S. and please visit and follow him on “DAVIDS PLACE”…

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A COMPULSIVE GAMBLER: A Sad Tale ~ By David S.

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Back in 1947 my Mom and Dad had sex. I was the result and now I sit in my little apartment almost 70 years later barely surviving. What a remarkable unforced error that act of love created. I have had a life filled with many wonderful benefits that most can only dream of. Yet, I have screwed it all up.
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I was born into a family where there were already two older brothers twelve and thirteen years my seniors. Then, when I was only twelve, my daddy suddenly dropped dead leaving my two older brothers in charge of a very profitable family business that they already had been working in. My mom, myself and the two brothers all were willed equal parts of the business and of my end being entrusted to my mom until I was twenty-five…
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I was not a normal kid at all. I hated school and was always in trouble. I was not a bad boy just a clown and a spoiled brat. I did not care about school unlike my group of upper-middle-class friends who mostly went on to become lawyers and doctors. I continually flunked courses and barely graduated on time. I only cared about playing ball and gambling.
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I developed a pathological taste for gambling the first time I ever felt the rush of it. Gambling instantly became and continued to be my greatest love. That has a lot to do with why I am severely depressed, alone, and lonely most of the time.  I lost my mental health along with a fortune  Thanks to a wealthy family and a rich lover who now treats me as her child I survive nicely.
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I was about eleven when I started playing poker with my little friends. I almost always lost because I was a compulsive gambler from the get-go. I was also a terrible gambler. I could not ever stop playing until I lost all my money.  I bet on horses, craps, roulette, blackjack, and sports. I gambled at everything I could, even among other gamblers I was regarded as a chump.
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I finally surrendered to my powerlessness over gambling, quit, and started going to Gamblers Anonymous about nine years ago. I have not made a bet since 2009. Stopping gambling is my shining accomplishment of a mostly wasted life.
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Compulsive. gambling is the hardest addiction to give up. I know. I have also been addicted to cocaine, pot, alcohol, sex, and overeating… Gambling is the toughest and cruelest addiction. It is a silent destroyer… If you refuse to stop gambling you end up insane, in jail, or dead without anyone ever knowing. The compulsive gambler must get help. One cannot stop permanently on their own.
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I never had any reservations about losing all my money because my rich mom could never say no to refilling my empty pockets after my desperate marathon crying sessions to her… She bailed me out of debt time after time for years. When I was about twenty-three I went into the family business. I was given a fat salary, a car, a nice office, insurance and they even paid my taxes. I should have been set for life.
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My middle brother Lou who I idolized forever because of his brains, athletic ability, popularity,  physical toughness, and total coolness set me up as an important employee. With a wave of his hand and an introduction to the gigantic staff, I was a new family member to be respected.
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My brother Lou set it up so that I had all the amenities of an important businessman at my fingertips. He wanted me to feel good so I would be happy and make the business lots of money. He had become my second father as soon as my dad died. Lou was always the brains of the growing and continually more successful family business.
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Lou has been the ultimate perfect person to me as long as I have been alive. He loved me so much when I was a little kid and took me with him everywhere. He was a great athlete, a good-looking very popular guy and smart as a whip. I idolized him. He has always been my hero. He has also always intimidated me brutally just by his presence. But, I have been trying to get his respect for my entire life. He is superman to me.
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He was a great golfer and very early on made me feel that manhood and golf were synonymous. I would stand and sweat as I stood in the tee box as he watched me dribble out one pathetic shot after another every year on my birthday when he would take me out to play. I would wait for that one day all year and then play like crap. I cannot put in words my self-loathing for being incapable of hitting the ball well around him.
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I just froze as he watched me in the box. I would want to puke my guts up and throw a tantrum because of the frustration I felt walking down a fairway after fairway while playing like crap. Lou never commented as I fumbled around the golf course. His silent acceptance of my inability made it worse. Ironically, I was actually a very good golfer away his presence.
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He knew I was a gambler.  He was a gambler too but not a compulsive gambler like I am. I made no secret of my gambling. I was constantly telling Lou war stories of my gambling exploits. He was indifferent not knowing how sick of a gambler I really was and how much money I had been getting from my mom to cover debts and gamble with …
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Then my mom finally busted me. She had run out of patience with my episodes of nagging and crying for cash. She explained to Lou how much of a degenerate I was. I had gone through $350,000 of her money in a few years. I was only twenty-four and also making a good salary and totally broke and in heavy debt.
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Lou walked into my office, leaned over my desk and hit me in the mouth without saying a word. I fell out of my chair bleeding and looked up at him. He said “I just talked to mom”. . . he wrapped his hand around my neck and screamed that I would be fired from my cushy, no brainer, very well paid sales job in the family business and never get a dime of the equity I was going to inherit if he ever heard of me gambling again.
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Then, he said the worst thing he had ever said to me. He told me that he was giving up on me forever.  He screamed that I was on my own and never look to him for anything. “We’re finished”, he screamed as I shook.  He spoke words I dreaded but hoped never would be spoken to me. He said that I had been a failure in everything my whole life. He said he thought I would straighten out after coming into the family business but that he was wrong.
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I did not know my ownership of the business could not lawfully be confiscated and I believed he could do anything he said, he could.  I also lived for his approval with everything I did. I loved him so.
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Now, he had defined every fear of his opinion of me. I felt at the time as my self-esteem went to zero. I wanted his respect and admiration all my life. I thought I had lost any chance of getting it back. I decided to try to prove myself anyway. I was determined to become a good employee and a respectable human being.
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I stopped gambling for a day or two but I could not stay stopped … as I began stealing, lying, embezzling, and doing everything else I could think of to sneakily keep myself in action. I ended up stealing over $200.000 from the business over the next three years. Plus, I owed a fortune to friends and relatives. Also, I had started borrowing from juice men (loan sharks) …They were chasing me and I was scared.
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I finally confessed to Lou what I had done when I was terrified as the bad guys were chasing me to get paid. He said nothing. He just stared at me with the look of a person who was DEAD to him. He only asked how much I owed the loan guys. He settled with them.  Then, he pointed to the door for me to leave and I did not say a word as I walked out knowing I was finished with me …
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Jack, the other brother just sat there smiling watching the whole show from his fancy desk.. Jack had always hated me and bullied me my entire life until one fateful day when he tried to intimidate me and I responded by smacking him in his big nose.

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“From then on we never spoke in any form for the rest of his eighty-two years.”

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He rode Lou’s coat-tails his entire life as he had gotten rich because of Lou. Jack and his family acted like Jack had made his millions with his own brains.  He was actually just window dressing who had been born right. He knew that I knew he was a fraud and I reminded him with many sarcastic remarks.
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Lou was stuck with him but he never demeaned or embarrassed him because Lou did not need to do that. He was too classy.  His ego was solid as a rock as it should have been. Everyone knew that Jack would be selling shoes part-time and need 10 other jobs just to make ends meat if not for Lou’s brains.
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Everyone except Jack’s three kids and loudmouth wife knew he was a just putz …He was in the business only because of his inheritance and his role was to do simple things only and to be quiet, be happy and to live under Lou’s leadership. It always remained a mystery to myself and many others that Lou did not figure a way to get Jack out of the business. But Lou accepted Jack as his fate. However, I went on. I drove a cab, did some odd jobs, and kept trying to make a score gambling with whatever money I could find. As a few years passed.

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“Then, one night I met Julie, the girl of my dreams.”

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I soon realized that I wanted a normal life. A few weeks after meeting Julie I walked back into the family business and into Lou’s office. He never looked up at me. “What?” he asked quietly. ” I would like you to give me a chance and give me my job back” He stayed silent.
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“Please, I muttered. “I’m in love” “I need another chance,” He said quietly “Go sit down and go to work.”  I loved him more than ever. “OK,” I blurted out smiling widely. He still had not looked at me. I again believed I could make everything right with him, with Julie, and make a life …

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‘But, I still loved gambling more than anything including myself’ …

Davids Place

Back in 1947 my Mom and Dad had sex. I was the result and now I sit in my a little apartment almost 70 years later barely surviving. What a remarkable unforced error that act of love created.

I have had a life filled with  many wonderful benefits that most can only dream of. Yet, I have screwed it all up.

I was born into a family where there were already two older brothers twelve and thirteen years my seniors. Then, when I was only twelve daddy suddenly dropped dead leaving my two older brothers in charge of a very profitable family business which they already had been working in. My mom, myself, and the two brothers all were willed equal parts of the business with my end being entrusted to my mom till I was twenty-five..

I was not a normal kid at all. I hated school and was…

View original post 1,692 more words

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

Image result for copyright free service dogs

 

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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My Author Interview By Terry of Author Shout. All About What I do and All About My Passions of Helping Others…

My Author Interview By Terry of Author Shout. All About What I do and All About My Passions of Helping Others…

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It’s not every day I happen to get invited for an Author Interview. I’m a wee bit shy since I do battle agoraphobia and I get a little nervous doing interviews. But since I have had so many new blog friends come to visit and follow along on both my recovery and my book blog, I thought I would take up the offer from Terry who owns Author Shout which is an amazing large reader site as Terry connects authors and readers together so readers can find many awesome new books.

The interview has been updated as my journey all began with one little book I published and grew from there! I hope all my new friends and followers will enjoy learning about “All The Hats I Wear” on my recovery and literary journey! And if you didn’t know?

My at-home business is promoting many fine authors and their books and can be seen on my other WordPress Book Blog of “Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den” and home of “Lyon Media Services”…
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Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a Best-Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

Catherine’s Memoir is both an in-depth and raw look as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood. Not a book on how to recover but an in-depth look of how events in one’s life, or past trauma and abuse, or even the ways of parental discipline can be some of the underlying factors to why some people may turn to an addiction later in adulthood as form of escape, numb hurt feelings, or just trying to cope with everyday life when not emotionally strong and haunting memories of it come calling…

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude that past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escapism into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse right before entering treatment. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now maintaining recovery nearly thirteen years, Catherine has become well known in the addiction/recovery communities and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and why the expansion of Indian Casinos and State Lottery offerings needs to stop across America. Catherine’s featured in many mainstream media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project “Gambling with America’s Health. Also was interviewed for “NAUTILUS & Time Magazine online article in September 2016.

She is a former writer and columnist for “In Recovery Magazine’s-The Author’s Cafe”  and after it’s sale was hired as a freelance writer and columnist for Keys To Recovery newspaper. She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”   of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts like the late Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Tommy Rosen, and Arnie Wexler. She recently handled all the media and social media manager for “Big Jim’s Bike Ride Around America” until Jim Downs was forced off the ride due to serious medical issues after 4 months of biking over 5,000+ miles.

Catherine, aka., CAT lives just outside Phoenix, Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 29-years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Ms. Princess, Mr. Boots, and Simon-Peter. She has no choice but to be an avid reader for her business, but she loves cooking, gardening, swimming, and rafting. She owns and runs an online marketing business called: “Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions.
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“Best Day EVER Meeting This Former NFL Pro ‘Randy Grimes’ of the Tampa Buccaneers now Recovery Advocate. #NFLCares Program

>>>>>

Author Interview With Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Q. What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

A.  I feel that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery and not a book of HOW to RECOVER, I wanted readers to have an inside view of how our family life growing up can later become some of the reason some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many people do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situation. That was my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my gambling addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as any backlash, my family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that away for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. So, you have to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly if you are going to write a memoir without the worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on and help others know they are not alone if this happened to them.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

A. Not really. My first book came very easy to me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 spiral notebooks. At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I say.

I then was invited to be part of a compilation book which published in December of 2017 titled “Ten The Hard Way.” And I have been working on my next book for a long while and will be about HOW to begin recovery and what to expect. The only weird thing? I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper. More of a freelancer.

Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

A. I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about passionately …

Q.  What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

A.  I would have to pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know or I feel what you are passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story.

I am a writer and author “by accident,” Lol. So I feel funny giving other aspiring authors advice. I am a book promoter/marketer for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors?

Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP Writing and Promoting your books!


Q.  What are your current/future projects?

A.  I do have a couple of projects on am working on. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow up to my memoir and a helpful resource for starting recovery from gambling addiction on how to make their first year in recovery.

Another I have been working along time will be a stab at fiction! It is about a woman who is being chased by her “addiction demons” in recovery and takes a Lighthouse Keepers job on the North Oregon coast looking to start life over and for some solitude and serenity in her life. But her past comes calling! The rest you’ll have to read if I ever get it done! Lol.

Q.  Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

A.  I actually added in my current book with the reasons “how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about the suicide of a woman at a hotel and casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon. I read about in our local newspaper. Reading it lit a fire in me to see all that my gambling addiction took from me. But, no spoilers here. LOL. You need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on Author Shout, and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know ….Lol.
Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I promote for other authors. It is why it has taken me two years to get my next books done and published. So except for the compilation book, I am still a “one book wonder” at this point. Again, I sure do write a lot for several recovery publications and my own blogs.

Q.  What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

A.  I think we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to look to or be with a big publishing house anymore. Now, that is not to say they’re most likely are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are not writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts. So the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Q.  Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

A.  My current book was picked up by a publishing firm in So. Oregon where I used to live. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher. I did, however, receive an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. the Kodel Group are more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s KDP Direct Publishing of my paperback and for my e-book.

Going this route was a more inexpensive way to publish. Nowadays most publishers won’t do any book promoting for authors unless you buy a publishing package, except they may send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware …Be ready to set a budget to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media and PR releases through several PR services. Authors can promote for free at many book sites. There are many low-cost options to gain exposure, sales, and reviews. Just like doing advertising on “Author Shout” and others like awesomegang.com or bookgoodies.net …

Q.  Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

A.  No. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same, but my e-book cover has different colors. I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. That was about the only change.

Q.  What opportunities have been presented to as an author you in sharing those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

A.  Being a person of long-term recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for almost 13- years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the problems as I had and was the only way I knew how to help others. By sharing my story in many ways like media, radio, and podcasts shares to others HOPE that they can recover from this cunning and devastating illness.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and writing and to have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by this addiction have more understanding and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities that have come from people seeing and reading my book are have been many!

Being a former recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” I did many amazing interviews and articles of many high profile people who share their recovery as well and many have become friends and supporters of mine. I am now a writer for a premiere recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am still an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger “Addictionland” a platform to raise awareness and educate the public about problem gambling. I have a few more, but I am ‘humbled and thankful’ for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

Q.  What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

A.  Now this question is an easy answer! Lol.
Since I market, promote, and advertise books for many authors and my own book for living, authors can hire me for “done for you” set-up of social media places to be and a full-service plan that won’t break the bank here at “Lyon Media & Literary Services.”

I’ve been doing book promoting and marketing a long time and it doesn’t have to be costly. I do research often and keep up on the latest low-cost options and new media places too! I want to be able to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many of the sites to place book ads are free or you can do low-cost book ads or book promotions and giveaways.

There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books, and why among other reasons why they hire me to promote their books.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. That way you will find and it will help build your readership through many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . And Author Shout! Just a couple of my “go-to places.”

Q.  What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

A.  My current book is a Memoir of my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

Q.  What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

A.  I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

Q.  Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?

A.
  Now that I am working on books two and three, I am trying to keep both within 300 to under 500 pages. I also let my editor worry about that! Lol.

Q.  How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

A.  Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope to think writing my book and my recovery blog for my book and where I continue to write my recovery journey in many publications helps others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction.’

Again, like the woman I had read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

A.  Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a stellar way to let people and literary media places know about your book and it’s release. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, WEBPR.com, and NewswireToday.com are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Q.  Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are underrated, overrated, or don’t matter at all?

A.  Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books, let us say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book. I know as I do and I am an avid reader! Amazon emails me when someone reads a review I have placed and tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your book’s rankings among other books in that genre. My book is still in the Top 100 in Paid Kindle E-books at #83 for Gambling Addiction Books. Rankings and tell us as authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions to improve my craft as a writer.

Q.  What is your biggest fear about having a book published?

A.  This question goes back to how I answered your very First Question. I sat on my manuscript for almost a year because of fear. It is more difficult being afraid of how readers would react to my memoir as it is based on truth and is a real story and facts. I also had some fear about what my family would think even though I have been estranged from them for years. But I decided it wasn’t for or about them. My book was about healing and forgiveness for me and insight for readers.

Q.  What is the intended audience for your book?

A.  People in or reaching out to recover from gambling addiction, awareness of mental health, and those who had been sexually or physically abused, went through childhood trauma. Also for readers who want more understanding about these issues.

Q.  Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

A.  The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I still have mental health challenges with Agoraphobia, Depression, and Mood Disorder, the internet has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the bookselling and publishing industry.

Q.  What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

A.  Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

Q.  What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

A.  I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventionally. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using some form of writing aide software which I do use.

Q.  Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

A.  All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Q.  Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

A.  None. Seriously. I had none as it all poured out and I just kept writing it all in my notebooks!

Q.  Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

A.
  God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She works for our local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofreads for the newspaper. She had taken my six notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published as Steve from The Kodel Group kept hounding me to publish as to help others!

Q.  What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

A.  For my recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. If I can help others by sharing my story and experiences through words? That makes me happy. And what a living legacy to leave behind.

Q.  What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

A.  Since I do write a lot and for several publications, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hopefully continue writing and publishing more books to help others and for readers to also enjoy.

Q. Now lastly, If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A.  A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light given by our Higher Power within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough. I have learned that recovery is possible and it works if you are willing to work for it. I will be a “work in progress” until my last breath, but the life lessons learned and wisdom gained has been well worth the RIDE!

 

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Books by Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

      Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

Connect with more from Catherine Townsend-Lyon …

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A Living Master Shares About The Road From Addiction Into Recovery. Special Featured Post By Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi …

A Living Master Shares About The Road From Addiction Into Recovery. Special Featured Post By Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi …

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I am honored to share a special recovery post written especially for my recovery blog, my recovery friends and visitors to enjoy. Some true wisdom shared from a very special mentor. It is not everyday one meets and has the honor of being friends with a Real Living Master of our generation and time.

I also have the pleasure of helping him promote and market his amazing book as well titled; “Find The Seeker! The Pathless Path to Fulfillment and Happiness.” Truly a must-read and has enhanced my own recovery path! And with their E-book on sale on Amazon for .99 cents? You have nothing to lose and spiritual freedom from addiction to gain.

It is co-authored by another dear friend and Genro’s pupil Clifford Stevens. They both reside in Austria and together have produced a very powerful and authentic practical guide that all who maintain recovery can surely learn a true path to authentic living, serenity, and feel at peace in “self.”

I hope you gain some wisdom by reading this special post. I highly recommend you visit and read Clifford Stevens blog posts of his “Weekly Wisdom.” It is uplifting and inspiring.

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Addiction and Zen
By Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi is one of the few living Zen Masters and co-author of the recent highly-acclaimed spiritual self-help book “Find the Seeker!” He shares interesting and unique wisdom when those are looking for their way out of addictions and into a peace-filled life of serenity and happiness once again. Learning to reconnect and find our true “self” is just part of the recovery work needed to find the authentic person before addiction made life unbearable …

Why do people get addicted (for example to drugs)? What can a spiritual teaching such as Zen – which some people wrongly consider to be unworldly and distant – do to reduce consumption or even get people off their addiction?

The orientation of people to lead strong ego-centered lives is certainly one reason for addiction. So many of the political, economic and religious activities going on end up inflating people’s egos until they are blown up out of proportion.

This is aggravated by tendencies such as nationalistic and egocentric tendencies in many countries such as “America First” (to name just one example), the mania to do and achieve and the idea that “everything is possible” if only we apply ourselves and the stress to compress as many friends, experiences, successes, achievements into our lives as we can. And of course, we are constantly confronted with examples of supposedly high-performance, “successful” and “happy” individuals.

Thanks to these and many other trends, and also to the misconceptions forced upon us by our own egos, many people see themselves as small, inadequate, insignificant, weak, poor and needing support.

The moment a person attaches too much importance to his own “self,” he degrades what he really is. Without spiritual support, without engaging in a spiritual search and the insights gained from meditation, it is difficult to clearly see and understand that any “chemical” support (e.g. from alcohol, drugs, smoking etc.) actually ends up perpetuating, propping up and enhancing a person’s own ego and is thus a dead end or will lead to one.

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Image result for free images of booze drugs….

The addict tries to transform himself from the hero which he or she is not into a kind of “avatar” by chemical means like the Druids used to do with their concoction to instill the courage to fight and the idea of invincibility in their soldiers. Miraculix (from the Asterix series) is a good and funny example of this – but addiction to drugs or alcohol or whatever is not funny at all.

Hardly anyone at all can improve his or her situation on the basis of the addiction. On the contrary, the high costs which are sometimes involved may lead people to commit criminal deeds, or they end up in prison or in rehabilitation. The addicts may see their lives in this relative world as being obstructed and their paths as being obscured. Addiction is a burdensome illness which robs people of energy and may make it harder for people to find their way on a path leading them to be clean.

Spiritually oriented people – or those who are desperate enough or are tired of suffering – can turn to spirituality as a path, a guide, a tough way out which they must ultimately go through. However, it is clear that unfortunately, there are some addicts who do not manage to kick the habit in this life and lead a normal life – which is also an incredible burden on their relatives.

A spiritual path such as Zen – or others – will throw people back onto themselves and onto the bottom-line “cause” of their addiction. And in meditation, you will be fully confronted with yourself and your “self.” And in the search for your “self”, you will not find it. There is nothing to be found here, and the “results” of the meditation – which nobody, no Master or teacher, can adequately put into words – could prevent someone from continuing to fall prey to the addiction or be victimized by it or to become addicted in the first place.

The deep-seated realizations gained through meditation can help you – with a lightness of being – to kick the habit of addiction and begin a new life. Your “old” life is present, seemingly overwhelming due to all the adversity and hindrances, but the “new” one can mean redemption, salvation, as the Christians say, or “enlightenment” as the Buddhists say, and other spiritual paths have their own terms for this.

There is no way around meditation – unless you have the sudden insight – which does not happen often – in which everything suddenly becomes clear thanks to grace, and you are set right thanks to the goodness of the Universe. For this reason, we teach people in Zen to practice the natural and simple method of counting your breath in meditation – which you can learn and do without the need for any addiction.

Namaste
~Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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ABOUT ZEN MASTER GENRO:

Gert Beirer, who was born in Austria in 1945, studied Zen, meditation, Kung-Fu, Qi Gong and acupuncture in Asia. He was given the name Genro (“Origin of Joy”) Xuan Lou, Laoshi (Laoshi = “Spiritual Master”) by Zen Master Tetsuo Kiichi Nagaya Roshi. Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi was named Zen (Chan) Master by the Abbot and Grand Master Kun Kong at the Lingyin Temple (Shakyamuni Buddhism) in Hangzhou, with whom he studied 11 years, by Abbot and Zen Master Shi Chan Ming in Wuhan, Province Hubei, China, and was also named Shifu or “Spiritual Teacher” in 2009 by Shi Xue Feng, Abbot of the Ding Shan Temple in Germany.

After returning to Europe, Genro spent decades as a therapist and business consultant and has been heading the Qi Gong Master School in Austria for many years, practicing in accordance with the Wuhan-Yangsheng style. Genro Laoshi has lectured at universities, appeared on TV, held seminars on a variety of spiritual and self-help topics, taught Qi Gong courses and published articles and books on meditation, Zen, motivation and communication, storytelling, body-reading, sexual Kung-Fu, autohypnosis, and many more topics.

Visit his Q&A on his Official Website and Page.


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Guest Article Share by Amy Dresner ~ Writer for The Fix. Getting Through Life Events ~ Taking Care of a Parent and Staying Sober Through It.

Guest Article Share by Amy Dresner ~ Writer for The Fix. Getting Through Life Events ~ Taking Care of a Parent and Staying Sober Through It.

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How to Stay Sober Through a Parent’s Illness – By Amy Dresner 08/05/19


I won’t lie, the urge to fix from the outside is constant. The helplessness is overwhelming, the grief indescribable.

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I think it was about a year a half ago when my mother became wheelchair-bound and was diagnosed with dementia. The two trips to visit her in Santa Fe were so stressful that my bestie, also a recovering addict, started vaping for the first time and she still hasn’t stopped. We had five days to clear out her apartment, find her a board and care, break her lease, put her stuff in storage, forward her mail, and much more. I cried most of that trip but it all got handled.

My life is different now. My mother can’t hear well and she’s confused. She can’t walk or use the computer anymore. People bathe her. She calls me multiple times a day about the same thing. On top of that, I was suddenly given the “power of attorney and appointed Social Security payee.” I was in charge of all her bills, speaking to her nurse, speaking to her chaplain, and speaking to her social worker.

Role Reversal

If there’s one thing addicts don’t seek out, it’s responsibility. As an only child, I alone had to handle all of it. Sure I was sober but mature? Hardly.

I recently had to sign a form to approve the use of Narcan should my mother overdose on her Oxycontin. When the nursing staff assistant tried to explain opiates and Narcan to me, I stopped her.

“I’m …um…well-versed in Narcan. I’m an ex-junkie.”

I heard her mutter an “Oh” followed by an uncomfortable silence.

I’ve never had children for a sundry of reasons: my genes, my fertility, my financial situation, my shitty relationships. Suddenly I had a child and it was my mother. The role reversal was sudden and jarring and I recall rocking and crying and whimpering, “I don’t want this.” But it was all mine, like it or not.

My relationship with my mother was always difficult. I was resentful for her physical absence during my childhood and her emotional absence always. But suddenly all that resentment melted away. Resentment is a luxury, I realized, and as her caretaker, there was no room for it anymore.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

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Almost 50, with Zero Life Skills

Having spent 30 years of my life mentally ill and struggling with addiction, having to “adult” suddenly felt premature and impossible. It was like coming out of a time warp. I was almost 50 but I had zero life skills: No idea how to pay taxes or when to rotate your tires or how to hold down a “real” job, let alone handle all my mother’s shit. Sure I had other life skills: making a crack bong out of a Mountain Dew bottle or how to hit a rolling vein or manipulating people into taking care of me. But these weren’t so helpful now.

I was a grown woman but I still felt and honestly acted like a child most of the time. I still needed my mom but now she wasn’t available. I’d never felt like she “heard” me and now she really couldn’t hear me. I never felt she “understood” me and now she really couldn’t grasp what I was saying. I hate to use the “t” word but yeah it was triggering.

We had grown closer during this sobriety but now, suddenly, she wasn’t somebody I could bring things to. She became somebody who brought things to me and they were all “emergency” needs: Afrin, salted nuts, Nars concealer. My mother had always been particular, snobby, and demanding. That didn’t change. I quickly accepted all of these things and began to lean much more heavily on my father.

Gutted

Then, about a week ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer. I was gutted. He and I are impossibly close; he is my mentor, my hero, my best friend.

“You can’t go. You’re my person,” I wept pathetically into the phone. Everything good about me comes from him: my humor, my intelligence, my writing ability. And now he’s ill. Really ill. My first reaction and I’m not proud of this at 6.5 years sober, was to kill myself or get loaded. My brain screamed, “GET OUT.”

We all have those things: if “this” happens, I’ll get loaded. My dad’s death was always that: my hold out, my exemption. When I told him that a few years ago he said, “Too fucking bad, Ames. It’s in my will if you get loaded, you get nothing.” Fuck.

It’s all so selfish. Fuck his cancer, I’m hurting and I need to attend to that. Suddenly I was making it about me. I try not to cry on every phone call but am rarely successful. I feel weak and small.

I started to spiral, lumping all the bad on top of each other as we do: I’m single, I’m broke, I’m getting old. My parents are dying. But if I know one thing, it’s that a relapse would kill both of them faster than the diseases they were battling. It just isn’t an option.

Still, every day I have the urge to escape my body, numb the pain, check out. Not because I don’t have a strong program or I’m not connected to my higher power or any of that bullshit, but because I’m an addict and we don’t like feelings and we get high to avoid them. Six and a half years of sobriety doesn’t negate a lifetime of drugs and suicide attempts as my top and most successful coping mechanisms.

But if I’ve finally learned anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter what I feel like doing, it matters what I do. I can’t control my feelings or thoughts but I can control my actions.

When I’m Not Crying, I’m Angry

When I’m not crying, I’m angry. I’m so fucking angry. Fuck you, God. God never gives you more than you can handle?! Well, this feels like more than I can handle. And fuck me. Fuck me for having been a complete wreck for most of my adult life.

And then in between the tears and the rage, there’s numbness, where I feel nothing because it’s all just too much. I catch myself just staring into space, zoning out on the multitude of Pyrex dishes at Target. Not lost in thought, lost in nothingness.

I don’t think anything prepares you for the death of your parents. I don’t care how old you are or spiritually fit (insert eye roll). Sure, they’re in their 80’s; it’s bound to happen, it’s part of life, blah, blah, blah.

But you still never think it will happen. And when it does, you are suddenly faced with an aloneness that is inconceivable, an unending void that will never be filled.

I look back now at me mourning a break-up for over two years. What a fucking joke. You can get a new boyfriend. You can’t get a new mother or father.

……

I've been through a lot of tough times, more than my fair share and these words are very true.

How I’m Staying Clean

I won’t lie, the urge to fix from the outside is constant. The helplessness is overwhelming, the grief indescribable. So how am I staying clean? Well, I started vaping again (judge away, fuckers). I’m talking to my sponsor every single day, I’m talking to my friends, I’m working with my sponsees.

I’m crying. I’m trying to be kind to myself. I’m trying to be of service to my parents and process my grief elsewhere. I’m calling friends and asking for support. Sure I don’t always answer the phone, but don’t take it personally. Sometimes I’m just too shut down to talk. I sleep and nap …a lot. Depression or escape? Does it really matter? It beats the alternatives.

When I asked other people in recovery how they made it through a parent’s illness and death, almost all of them said the same thing: They didn’t. They drank and used during the whole process to escape the pain and it was the biggest regret of their lives.

Whether the parent had known or not was immaterial. They were haunted by the guilt they felt and if they could do it all over again, they’d stay sober, give their parent the gift of being completely present, and not run from the feelings. I can and will do that, as ungraceful as it might be.

I said to one of my sponsees: “You are about to witness a magic trick. You are about to watch your sponsor go through one of the most painful times ever and not get loaded.” I think I was telling myself as much as her.

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amy-dresner.jpg


Amy Dresner
is a recovering drug addict and all-around fuck up. She’s been regularly writing for The Fix since 2012.

When she isn’t humorously chronicling her epic ups and downs for us, she’s freelancing for Refinery 29AlternetAfter Party ChatSalonThe FriskyCosmo LatinaUnbound BoxAddiction.com and Psychology Today.

Her first book, My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean was published in September 2017 by Hachette Books. Follow her on Twitter @amydresner.

 

Urges, Triggers, and Cravings OH MY! Sharing How Hard Early Recovery Is Dealing With UTC…

Urges, Triggers, and Cravings OH MY! Sharing How Hard Early Recovery Is Dealing With UTC…

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Hello and Welcome Everyone,

You are here to visit for a reason. You may have a gambling problem, someone you know may have a problem with gambling, or you are looking to be educated and informed about this disease and cunning addiction. Whatever the reason?

I am happy you are here! I visit many recovery blogs and sites and wanted to share a little as to HOW HARD it can be to stop gambling and oh those cravings and urges that may cause triggers to go out again regardless of the consequences.

I know, I’ve been there …Here are a few posts I’ve seen around the web to show just how hard it is from real people from Feed Spot and REDDIT. COM


Day 21 = 3 Weeks!!

The urges are still there, but the feeling of relief and desire to work through recovery are more powerful right now.

Actually feeling like I have some pride and dignity again.

Thank you to everyone on this Reddit site for your insights and stories. I’m staying on board here. We’re all in this fight together with the same desire… to be free of gambling. With you, working it one day at a time.

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“_ uck Gambling!

That’s my mantra. Day 6. My downfall was always complacency. I’d gamble, go broke. Swear I’d never gamble again then relapse after a month and go broke again.

Think of all the vacations you could take with your significant other, or family and friends. Think of all the people you could help in your life with that money instead of throwing it away. Think of all the new skills you can acquire with the time and energy put into gambling.

Saying this to myself as much as anyone else. Don’t be complacent in your recovery. Stay serious, stay steadfast and strong.

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Weekends are the hardest

But fuck gambling! I hope everyone is staying strong, keeping busy, and not gambling this weekend…


A Comment to this post:

Weekends are definitely harder for me as well, but just accumulating clean weekends and experiences without gaming has helped a ton. Looking back on the first few weeks, I was just trying to get through each hour on the weekend. I’m glad to have finally started to develop a routine outside of gambling and will need to continue to lean on that routine as football season approaches.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your weekend my friend.

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HOW TO DEAL WITH THE Craving and Urges To GAMBLE:
Courtesy of Help Guide Org – Gambling Addiction Facts.

Feeling the urge to gamble is normal, but as you build healthier choices and a strong support network, resisting cravings will become easier.

When gambling cravings strike:


Avoid isolation.
 Call a trusted family member, meet a friend for coffee, or go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.

Postpone gambling. Tell yourself that you’ll wait 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, or an hour. As you wait, the urge to gamble may pass or become weak enough to resist.

Visualize what will happen if you give in to the urge to gamble. Think about how you’ll feel after all your money is gone and you’ve disappointed yourself and your family again.

Distract yourself with another activity, such as going to the gym, watching a movie, or practicing a relaxation exercise for gambling cravings.

Coping with lapses:  If you aren’t able to resist the gambling craving, don’t be too hard on yourself or use it as an excuse to give up. Overcoming a gambling addiction is a tough process. You may slip from time to time; the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and continue working towards recovery.


Self-help for gambling problems:  
The biggest step to overcoming a gambling addiction is realizing that you have a problem. It takes tremendous strength and courage to own up to this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. Don’t despair, and don’t try to go it alone. Many others have been in your shoes and have been able to break the habit and rebuild their lives. You can, too.

Learn to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways:  Do you gamble when you’re lonely or bored? Or after a stressful day at work or following an argument with your spouse? Gambling may be a way to self-soothe unpleasant emotions, unwind, or socialize.

But there are healthier and more effective ways of managing your moods and relieving boredom, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble, taking up new hobbies, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Strengthen your support network:  It’s tough to battle any addiction without support, so reach out to friends and family. If your support network is limited, there are ways to make new friends without relying on visiting casinos or gambling online. Try reaching out to colleagues at work, joining a sports team or book club, enrolling in an education class, or volunteering for a good cause.

Join a peer support group:  Gamblers Anonymous, for example, is a twelve-step recovery program patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. A key part of the program is finding a sponsor, a former gambler who has experience remaining free from addiction and can provide you invaluable guidance and support.

Seek help for underlying mood disorders. Depressionstresssubstance abuse, or anxiety can both trigger gambling problems and be made worse by compulsive gambling. Even when gambling is no longer a part of your life, these problems will still remain, so it’s important to address them.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)
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How to stop gambling for good:  For many problem gamblers, it’s not quitting gambling that’s the biggest challenge, but rather staying in recovery—making a permanent commitment to stay away from gambling. The Internet has made gambling far more accessible and, therefore, harder for recovering addicts to avoid relapse.

Online casinos and bookmakers are open all day, every day for anyone with a smartphone or access to a computer. But maintaining recovery from gambling addiction or problem gambling is still possible if you surround yourself with people to whom you’re accountable, avoid tempting environments and websites, give up control of your finances (at least at first), and find healthier activities to replace gambling in your life.

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LASTLY:

 

Finding alternatives to gambling:

Maintaining recovery from gambling addiction depends a lot on finding alternative behaviors you can substitute for gambling.

Some examples include:

Reason for gambling Sample substitute behaviors
To provide excitement, get a rush of adrenaline Sport or a challenging hobby, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, or Go Kart racing
To be more social, overcome shyness or isolation Counseling, enroll in a public speaking class, join a social group, connect with family and friends, volunteer, find new friends
To numb unpleasant feelings, not think about problems Try therapy or use HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence toolkit
Boredom or loneliness Find something you’re passionate about such as art, music, sports, or books and then find others with the same interests
To relax after a stressful day As little as 15 minutes of daily exercise can relieve stress. Or deep breathing, meditation, or massage
To solve money problems The odds are always stacked against you so it’s far better to seek help with debts from a credit counselor

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I truly hope this information will help many who may be in early recovery, thinking you may have a gambling problem, or to help someone you know who may struggle with gambling. Know you can always support resources page for more services or even email me at lyonmedia@aol.com support. I am always here to help others from this addiction, so do not hesitate to email me!

~Catherine