Some Good Ole Ramblings of Gambling Recovery & Faith Floating Around in My Head…

Some Good Ole Ramblings of Gambling Recovery & Faith Floating Around in My Head…

Welcome Recovery Warriors, Friends, and Visitors,

It’s has been a crazy beginning to a new decade within a new year and where our world is heading and nearing August of 2020. So much has happened in just about all realms and issues facing our country today and has been mind-boggling …From politics to pandemic to recovery to employment to furloughed to loss of life to my mental health to no funerals to OMG!!!

I think you get the picture as to what I’m feeling and trying to say. It has affected me to the point of no return or finding solace. So I find it when I am writing. I can’t watch the news much as it raises my already high-level anxiety and I had to stop reading all the news articles on the internet because it does the same and I get even more depressed when I continue to hear more people have died from this virus that should still be here with us today.

I can go on and on. However, it has changed my life and maintaining recovery in perspective, and in order to learn and know what truly is important in my life. We are not promised a tomorrow and why I choose to maintain my recovery through faith and keep HOPE ALIVE for others and myself.

That brings me to a little writing I saw by an unknown author that reads:

Is Religion a Form of Recovery?

“Religion is not my personal choice but I have seen people recover thru only this method, Religion as it is just a form of prayers to a higher power whether it be Allah, God or Yahweh. And contrary to popular belief, you can’t just use anything as your higher power, a higher power needs to be caring, loving, and have your best interest at heart, oh, and more powerful than you.

That is a true description of “a power greater than yourself.” No matter which one you choose, you have to pray your way out of your current predicaments like addiction.
And the tricky part isn’t just you not using, (drugs, booze, gambling) the tricky shit is changing everything about your life and for some of us, we need a step-by-step guide cuz after you been walking into the woods for several years in a row and unless you have a map, we’re just going to wander around in the woods forever. Now, this may good for some people it is not good for me.

Unless you immerse yourself in this particular culture. I sincerely never had any luck getting clean and sober this way. So give this a try and get back to me, I mean don’t get me wrong, all of us in recovery regardless of what we use to stay clean, sober, gamble free, no self- harm, just addiction-free and alive, do you have to have some type of higher power? And, thanks to the great many of us who choose to call this higher power God, because, without him, recovery is just too much for us alone to learn.
You need to rely on God when nothing else seems to work.

As a matter of fact, even before things fail us completely, we need to reach out to our higher power, ask for help, ask that our shortcomings be removed, ask that are character defects be removed and let God be able to show the newcomers in our perspective program how are reliance upon him has helped us out. No matter what you use to get there as far as treatment, rehab and such. And always try to remember;

“WE DO RECOVER”

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When we put our problems in God's hands, He puts peace in our ...

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After reading that, I began to think about all the choices we have of the path and journey we choose to begin and gain recovery from any addiction. Treatment can be what we or how we choose it. It might become the way how successful we grab a hold of long-term recovery. For myself, I could not do RECOVERY alone. My higher power has always been GOD. After that? I needed any and all to gain recovery from gambling addiction.

And, yes, there are those reading this may think, why religion? For me, it is not about religion, nor if I was raised with or in religion. Organized religion in my own opinion is NOT what God intended. Yes, we are all born God’s children and with ‘free will.’ I feel organized regions (labels) or the type of religion like Catholics, Mormon, Lutheran, and so on, gets in the way of having a real personal one-on-one relationship with our savior as God intended.

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I know that was, you God | Inspirational words, Inspirational ...

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The holy spirit? That keeps us all connected through heart, soul, and is how you feel God and his son Christ in our lives. Again, just my own beliefs. Especially when we look around what is going on in our world, our country and right outside our doors. One thing I hope many will learn while this pandemic is happening. It has made recovery and managing my mental health more challenging and turned a little upside down.

Most of everything is now virtual and online. That is where I get support for my recovery, I continue to write articles and blog posts here. I write for ‘Keys to Recovery’ newspaper for the column they gave me called “Quit to Win and it’s a geat FREE recovery resource and has amazing articles and more.

I continue to sponsor and mentor others new to gambling recovery as well. I do Gamblers Anonymous meeting online and much more. I feel what has been imperative to my recovery is doing at least one thing to maintain it each day.

Lastly, I think what truly helps is I am mindful to all within faith. And that keeps my grounded and makes sure I am helping others along my journey…So I think I’ll continue to maintain my recovery through FAITH. ~Catherine Lyon

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Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

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I wanted to re-share this post, article, and my dear friend Marilyn Lancelot who has authored several books about her gambling addiction and road maintaining recovery long-term. She has been such a help and support to me since moving to Arizona 6-years ago from Southern Oregon. When I need a should to lean on or an ear to listen, Marilyn is always there when I call. It may not sound like much, but when you are maintaining recovery from a cunning disease like ours? Just a phone call means the world to me and in knowing I am not alone. I hope you find something from this post to use in your path to being and staying BET FREE . . .  ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

“Author and Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot, 86, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison.”

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New York Times – “Fighting Compulsive Gambling Among Women”
by:   APRIL 28, 2017.
(Photo Courtesy Deanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times.

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Blinking lights, the clicking sound of coins, and perks like free or inexpensive food, drinks, and casino bus trips are enticing many older women to gamble.

For some people, that seductive environment can be extremely dangerous.

“Casinos are trained to make you feel welcome, while you lose your life,” said Sandra Adell, 70, a literature professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who recounted her experiences as a compulsive gambler in the book “Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen.” In an interview, Professor Adell said that advertisements aimed at older adults often show smiling people, dressed up and looking glamorous, “to create an illusion that plays to people’s weaknesses.”

“What the industry is doing,” she continued, “the way it markets and keeps casinos filled with elderly people, is morally reprehensible.”

Hard numbers are difficult to find, but Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said that gambling addiction among older women near or in retirement appears to be increasing in scope and severity, with a devastating impact on personal finances.

Marilyn Lancelot, 86, of Sun City, Ariz., for example, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison. “I really thought I’d win the big one deep down in my heart,” she said in an interview. “Every gambler says that.” Ms. Lancelot has described her experiences in the book “Gripped by Gambling.”

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Product Details

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Many experts say that men are often “action” gamblers, who favor blackjack and poker, while women tend to be “escape” gamblers, drawn to games based on luck, like slot machines and lottery tickets. Women often begin gambling later in life than men, sometimes after a major life event, like the death of a spouse or when they become empty nesters.

Women are less likely to develop gambling problems than men, Mr. Whyte said, but “telescoping, the rapid development of problems, is especially pronounced in senior women.” It may seem surprising to some people that women have severe gambling problems, he said. “Grandma is not seen as someone who embezzles money and is taken off to jail,” he said, yet it happens.

Many women lose significant amounts of money and jeopardize their futures. “Once they tap into retirement savings, it’s incredibly hard — if they are ever able — to rebuild those savings,” Mr. Whyte said.

Stephanie Iacopino, 63, of Toms River, N.J., who works part-time in retail sales, said that during years of compulsive gambling, she stole money from family members, friends, and clients in the travel business, and ultimately went to prison in 2010 for embezzling about $18,000 from her church.

She said she served nearly four months at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, N.J., followed by 22 months in New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program, which, the state says, is “more onerous” than traditional probation. “We don’t have a nest egg,” said Ms. Iacopino, who is married. “We live paycheck to paycheck.” But she said that while she is struggling financially, she is happy to be recovering from her addiction.

Some women have medical issues associated with gambling, Mr. Whyte said, like bladder problems aggravated by not getting up from slot machines to go to the bathroom. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that among older people, some medications may lead to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction. Decreased cognitive functioning can also interfere with the ability to make sound decisions, he added.

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There is a strong connection between gambling and substance abuse. “If you are a problem gambler, you are four times more likely to have a problem with alcohol at some point in your life,” he said. “At a minimum, the rate of problem gambling among people with substance-use disorders is four to five times that found in the general population.” (The council operates a national 24/7 help line for problem gamblers and their families.)

Patricia A. Healy, clinical director of Healy Counseling Associates, in Toms River, N.J., which specializes in addiction counseling, said problem gambling among the elderly “is a hot issue and under-noticed in this country.”

“Gambling is the stepchild of the addiction world,” she said. “You can’t smell it, you can’t see it, you can’t observe it,” unless you see someone in action.

For certain people, she said, there is an adrenaline rush and “suddenly they’re in the chase. Sadly for some, it’s a death spiral.” Bus trips to casinos are sometimes arranged to coincide with the arrival of pension and Social Security checks, she said, and cases of retirees who cash in their I.R.A.s and pensions, or mortgage or ultimately lose their houses are not uncommon.

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“There is a tremendous amount of shame.”

Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said some older people gamble with money intended for medication and find themselves in desperate straits. Some who become suicidal may “drive out in traffic and get killed so families can collect insurance,” she said.

Sam Skolnik, author of “High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction,” said the aftereffects of pathological gambling include social costs that range from loss of productivity at work, domestic crime, suicide and harm to families from rising indebtedness, home foreclosure, and bankruptcy. “When the elderly gamble, they are often harmed in a more permanent way, sadly,” he said.

“There’s no question the industry knows that they lose more money than they should.”

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It's Not Just a Penny Slot Machine: Gambling Addiction in Seniors

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Sara Slane, senior vice president for public affairs at the American Gaming Association, which represents casinos, said in an email statement, “While problem gambling has not increased along with the increase in casinos, the industry and the A.G.A. continue to increase their investment and commitment to responsible gaming programs.”

She cited research in The Journal of Gambling Studies that compared telephone surveys conducted in 1999 and 2000 with those from 2011 to 2013 and found that rates of problem gambling remained stable overall and actually declined among women.

Rachel Volberg, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who studies gambling, said the state of knowledge about the issue in the United States is still inadequate.

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“There’s not much support for gambling research in the U.S.,” she said.

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It wasn’t until 1980 that pathological gambling was designated as a mental health issue in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, she said: “It’s a relatively young disorder as far as having recognition.”

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Ms. Lancelot, of Arizona, who is now retired, said she left prison with nothing but eventually recovered financially. As a felon, getting a job and an apartment was difficult, but she borrowed three months’ rent from her brother, offered to pay the landlord in advance and found work as a secretary with the Arizona state government. Within 10 years, she said, she had two homes, a new car and checking accounts. “I want older people to know that it’s not the end of the world,” she said.

Ms. Pryor, of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said older adults can protect themselves from potential gambling problems in retirement by seeking help in managing their finances — and in planning how to spend their time — long before they stop working.

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“What people need to realize,” she said, “is, they may win a little, but ultimately, the house always wins.”

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Sobriety Taboo. When Is It OK To Date When Maintaining Recovery?

Sobriety Taboo. When Is It OK To Date When Maintaining Recovery?

Since I have been lucky and blessed to be happily married to my soulmate for almost, well, let me say a long time. Our wedding song was by Guns N’ RosesSweet Child O’ Mine! We got married after a year living together as I didn’t want to marry again as my ex-was a closet alcoholic at a young age. It was a horrible 4-year experience I did not want to be repeated. And, of course, this was years before I became an addict myself.

Now that I have all that behind me, I have heard many times sitting in meetings and even in my treatment group years ago, by someone, obviously single, would ask the question, “when is it OK to date or start a relationship while maintaining recovery?” Well, I always heard not for at least one or two years into recovery.

We need to be focused on our #1 priority, GETTING Clean, Sober, or Bet Free first. And I think using “Common Sense” in this situation should rule. Look, if you are NOT WELL, how can you be good relationship material with someone else?

Think about that! And that is why I am sharing this article this weekend from the fine folks of the magazine, “The Fix.”

IT is why I am sharing the article. It may help clear up the ‘ole’ question of “Dating in Recovery” By Kiki Baxter

 

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Relationship-Checkup

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“When my sponsor told me about the suggestion to not date for a year, that I should just concentrate on getting sober, I said: “I’m a really good multi-tasker.”

 

I thought that when I got sober, I’d get into the best shape of my life, start going to the gym all the time, train for a triathlon, become super successful and meet the man of my dreams. Basically, my version of what advertising says is a ‘perfect life.’ I wasn’t thinking along the lines of what some people say: the gift of sobriety IS sobriety. Boring. I mean, I was and I wasn’t; I mostly just wanted to stop being miserable. I did a 90 and 90, got a sponsor, joined a gym, took a class in my career of choice, slept a lot, and met a guy.

When my sponsor told me about the suggestion to not date for a year, that I should just concentrate on getting sober, I said: “I’m a really good multi-tasker,” and “I can get sober and date at the same time.” Luckily for me, she didn’t say it was a rule because there are no rules in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Nowhere in the Big Book does it say: “no dating allowed in the first year.”

It just talked about some people prefer a little more pepper in their sex life or whatever (page 69) and who are we to tell people what spices to proverbially cook with? So thank god for that because, in my first 90 days, I met a guy. He was a friend of a friend and when we met, he told me that he was going through a big transition in his life.

“What kind of a transition?” I asked while thinking Oh my God! We have so much in common! We’re both going through transitions! As if a relationship could be built on that alone. Or even a marriage, because I thought that now that I had opened the book of sobriety, everything would change in the blink of an eye. It would be like I just woke up to a new life. That’s how it happens, right?

I mean, don’t you kinda hear that all the time? The person’s life was shit and then they got sober and now they’re in this awesome marriage/job/house/car/babies and it all like happened in a year or maybe two? I’m smart and attractive. That shit should happen for me too! I can make that happen. I. CAN. MAKE. THAT. HAPPEN. Higher power who?

So, when I asked the guy what kind of transition, he said poetically, “It’s like my house was taken away so now I have no house, but at least I can see the moon.” And I was like “Wow, coooooool. I totally love the moon.”

For our first date, we went on a bike ride along the river, had lunch where I did not order a glass of wine (the first time that has ever happened) and ordered a coffee instead. I didn’t tell him that I was newly sober. I just told him I didn’t drink, and he said that was cool and he’s thought that maybe he should quit drinking too (uh oh); that he meditates and when he meditates, he feels super clear and drinking gets in the way of that (uh yeah).

Then he walked me home and I remember feeling very sensitive and insecure. It was like I was eight years old again with a crush on a boy at school and I forgot how to walk my bike. Or talk. I felt awkward. Which is why, at 16, drinking and boys went hand in hand. Less feeling. More yay.

When I got home, I realized there was no way I could date right now. I knew that if I was rejected or even felt rejected, it would probably cause me to drink. I didn’t have the emotional tools. I talked to my sponsor about it and then called him up and said, “I really like you, but I’m going through something right now where I need to take a year off of dating. I hope you understand.” And he said, “Wow. I should probably do that, too.” Turns out he was going through a divorce and was in no place to be in a relationship or be the man of my dreams/dysfunction right now.

For the rest of the year, I concentrated on going to meetings, fellowship, making new AA friends, eating cookies and milk, binge-watching Netflix at night, and it was the most awesome/horrible year of my life. I highly recommend it. I gained 10 or 20 pounds which seemed weird. Dudes can go through a rough time and get fat and grow a beard and still be considered likable — but as a woman, it’s harder to hide behind a beard and 50 pounds and be cool. But a girl can dream.
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So, a year later, guess who I ran into? No-house-moon dude. And yay! I was like a year sober so totally awesome and fixed, right? It. Was. On. We went on a few dates, and I honestly can’t remember if we had sex. It was only seven years ago and I know we did sexy things but I cannot for the life of me remember. I don’t think we did, because we would have needed to have the talk and well, let’s just say that the time I chose to have the talk was not a good time to have it.

Take it from me when I say “DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HAVE THE TALK WHEN HIS HEAD IS BETWEEN YOUR LEGS. ” That should be in the Big Book. It’s a real buzz kill for one and all. And our relationship (if you can call it that) ended shortly thereafter which was okay because he was seriously still mourning the loss of his ten-year marriage.

So that’s my take on dating in the first year. I do know a couple people who hooked up in their first year of sobriety and 30 years later are still married. That might happen to you. I knew that wasn’t going to happen for me. It wasn’t until year two that I met the man of my dreams AKA qualifier who really brought me to my knees (not in a good way) and into Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous which is like the nicest thing a guy can do. Kidding. But not in a way because Girrrrrrrl, I needed some of that SLAA in my life.

Since then, I’ve moved to a place that I am happy to call home, am “healthy” dating and more will be revealed. But the best thing is that I like myself – dare I say, love, myself? I love my friends, my career, and my life and I don’t expect a man or any person or thing to save me.

WHY? Because I don’t need saving anymore. Thank god. Thank HP. Thank my program. And thank you.


Please visit so you can read more amazing articles like this one on
 “The Fix.”

How Do We Reach Life Freedom From Gambling Addiction?

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and New Visitors,

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I felt this quote is fitting for the Freedom we experience in getting our lives back from compulsive addicted gambling. . .

So how do we claim our lives back from compulsive gambling addiction? How can we make that elusive first year in recovery without relapse? Well, every ones path is different, but this goal is the same for all of us!

Working through the 12-steps we sometimes are not comfortable in our own skin when we start to have those feelings of a Free Life from gambling addiction. For me it was very hard not to self sabotage myself after some months of being gamble free. Instead of moving forward in recovery, some of us don’t know how, or we start to get complacent when we are finally feeling some relief in the areas in recovery like, our finances, less triggers and urges, and much more.
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That is the time we need to be prepared so we don’t relapse just because we are starting to feel better, and our diseased thinking of this addiction makes us start to thinking and feel we really didn’t have a problem. When we have finished step 1, and have surrendered, many may go back and think, “well I feel pretty good now, so maybe I can CONTROL my gambling,” . . . . NO, you can not.

The person starts taking little pieces of his/her surrender back, and thinks I can control this or that, and before you know it? You are sucked back in the cycle of the addiction again.
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Does this sound familiar? I did myself in early recovery, and trying to make that elusive 1 year in recovery, but failed because I kept thinking when I was feeling good that I could control my gambling. Doesn’t work folks. Many of you know the experiences I’m talking about right?
So, here is one tool & skill you can use to help SEE your growth in your recovery, and may help you see how the cycle of addicted gambling and your weak spots to be prepared for so you don’t relapse or get off track.

Start a JOURNAL . . . If you write a little of how your day was, any triggers, urges, stress, and everything through your day and night, later you can look back and will be able to pin point where you need more help or support in your recovery.

It’s the same with working your 12-steps. We don’t work our steps and think, “OK, I’m done with that”. . . oh no, we have to keep going back and reworking our steps to actually see how far we have come, and also see the area’s we need more help and support. You really can go and look back through your step work and see your growth in recovery.

I can tell you that it’s an amazing feeling when you do this, and yourself can pin point your weak area’s which helps you gain self-awareness as well. Self awareness with your feelings to are very important to your recovery. We have learned in our addiction to gambling to either run, hide, stuff, escape or cope from uncomfortable feelings. Feelings of maybe hurt, pain, or like me, I was trying to escape the pain and haunts of my past childhood trauma and abuse.

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So I used gambling to cope with my past childhood pain. Trust me, any negative things that have happened to you, and you try to stuff them away? Sooner or later they will come to bother you later in life if you don’t get help, or learn to process that and make peace with yourself. Yes, many people do turn to additions for many different reasons, but many times it’s because we are hurting from something inside, running from something, or just plain being immature. We don’t learn to grow up and be accountable and take ownership of our problems or stress in life.

The 12-steps will help you gain this and work through our human defects. Yes, we are only human after all, and no one person is perfect. ME? I will be “a work in progress” until my last breath in this world. So do yourself a favor, reclaim your life back from gambling addiction. We can recover & were worth it!

 

May God Bless and Guide you in your Recovery Journey,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of Addicted To Dimes, My Story. . .
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat/dp/B00CSUJI3A