How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…
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“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…


Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

How to Help Depressed Loved One 3


Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.

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Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.

 

Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.

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“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 


“Let’s Not Monkey Around With Control”

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends,

 

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MEET Steve & Bert ….
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Now we all know in recovery we learn that we have “no control over people, places, and THINGS right?

Well, my fellow Author, Steve Hauptman, and his sidekick Bert have a few things to discuss about this dilemma … LOL  ~ I happen to see Steve’s new Blog Post the other day and thought it was quite humorous. He then mentioned to me of another post he had posted awhile back that had the “talk” with Bert and a possible “Answer” to the first post I am about to share with you. So, I would love to see some feedback from these blog post reshares friends!
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A Wee Bit About The Author:

Steve Hauptman is a Gestalt-trained, Buddhist-flavored therapist who has practiced on Long Island for twenty years. He graduated from Adelphi University’s School of Social Work, trained at the Gestalt Center of Long Island, and specializes in a unique control-centered approach that integrates elements of psychodynamic, Gestalt, cognitive-behavioral and family systems theory in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addictions, dual disorders, codependency and relationship problems.

A leader of Interactive Therapy groups, he is also a cartoonist and creator of the blogs Monkeytraps: A blog about control, Monkey House (a forum for discussing control issues), and Bert’s Therapy: Adventures of an Inner Monkey.
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POST ONE ~  MONKEYTRAPS Blog by Steve Hauptman …

Monkey A and Monkey B

~~~banana jar 3

Monkey A wanders into the clearing and spots the jar under the tree.  His nose wrinkles: banana.  He scampers to the jar where the smell is overpowering.  He sees yellow skin through the jar’s narrow neck.  He reaches in, grabs and pulls, but the fruit is too big.  Puzzled, he pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  He chirps in frustration, pulls with all his might.  The banana stays stuck.  His chirps become angry screeches.  His little body whips around the bottle like a flag in a windstorm.  He really wants this banana.  He is still wanting and pulling and screeching when the trapper’s net drops over him.

Monkey B wanders into the same clearing and smells the same banana.  He reaches in, grabs, pulls.  The banana stays stuck.  He pulls harder.  The banana stays stuck.  Oh well, he shrugs.  Can’t be helped.  And goes his way, free.

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BLOG POST TWO ~ Dec ~ 2015

Breaking the jar

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Once upon a time I wrote a post explaining where I got this blog’s title. I described how in the East they put fruit in a weighted jar with a narrow neck and leave the jar where a monkey will find it. The monkey smells the fruit, reaches in to grab it, and traps himself by refusing to let go. I explained that I use this as a metaphor for psychological monkey traps: situations that trigger us into compulsive controlling, into holding on when we should be letting go. One reader replied,

Why didn’t the monkeys just break the jar? I get that it was weighted down, but monkeys use tools. Weren’t there rocks lying around?

This led to a conversation with Bert, which is reported below verbatim.


Bert:
 

Shit.  Why didn’t I think of that?


Steve: 

Just the comment I’d expect from a control addict.


Bert:
 

Why?  What did I say?


Steve:
 

You misread the problem.


Bert: 

How?


Steve: 

You think the jar is what traps the monkey.


Bert: 

Sure.


Steve:
  

But he could escape the jar just by opening his paw.


Bert: 

Oh.  Yeah.


Steve: 

Except he wants the banana more than anything.


Bert: 

Wanting the banana is what traps him.


Steve:
 

Correct.  Just as control addicts get trapped by wanting control.


Bert: 

How did I miss that?


Steve: 

You’re an addict.  Addicts respond to a loss of control by thinking, “But I want control.  I need control.  There must be some way to get it.”  That craving distorts their thinking.

Bert:

So instead of letting go we try breaking the jar.


Steve:
 

Yes.  Breaking the jar is a metaphor for seeing life as something we can control.  A dangerous illusion.


Bert:
 

Tell me this part again.  It’s an illusion because…


Steve:

There are some bananas we’re not meant to have.


Bert: 

Such as?


Steve:
 

Oh, all sorts of things.

Immortality, for example.  We want to live forever, and we can’t.

And control of emotions.  We want to feel only happy, safe and content, and life forces us to feel sad, scared and needy.

And then there is relationships.  Which never go as planned.


Bert:
 

I noticed.  Why is that?


Steve:
 

Because relationships involve people, and people tend to be hard to control.


Bert: 

So there’s no breaking the jar.


Steve:
 

There’s no breaking the jar.  Life’s just what it is.  Messy, painful, unpredictable, inconvenient.  We have to find some way of making peace with that.


Bert: 

And there’s a way to?


Steve: 

There are three, actually.


Bert: 

What are they?


Steve:

I’ll post about them here tomorrow.


Bert: 

No, now.


Steve:
  

It would take too long.


Bert:
 

But I want it now.  I need it now.  There must be some way to get it now.


Steve: 

Very funny.

So, let Steve and I know your thoughts about “The Banana & This Funny Therapy Session” …. Grab a copy of Book One in the Series by Author, Steve Hauptman’s book too right here and “kick The Control Issue” out of YOUR Life 🙂

And, stop by Steve’s Blog Anytime! Monkey Traps Blog  …

Product Details
( Click Book to buy on Amazon )


Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine,  Catherine Lyon
( Subscribe Today!)

Have You Met Author Steve Hauptman and His Monkey Traps?

Hello and Welcome All Recovery Friends!

“Ok, ok this blog post is not about monkeys or anything like that! LOL …
This post is about welcoming a new author and his new book titled?
MONKEY TRAPS:  Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop!”

monkey2
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Now in recovery, we hopefully learn we can not Control people, places, and things right?
And that is what Steve’s book and guide teach’s you. He has over twenty years of experience as a therapist helping many with this addictive behavior and much more.
Here is more about Author, Steve Hauptman:

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About The Author:

Steve Hauptman is a Gestalt-trained, Buddhist-flavored therapist who has practiced on Long Island for twenty years. He graduated from Adelphi University’s School of Social Work, trained at the Gestalt Center of Long Island, and specializes in a unique control-centered approach that integrates elements of psychodynamic, Gestalt, cognitive-behavioral and family systems theory in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addictions, dual disorders, codependency and relationship problems.

A leader of Interactive Therapy groups, he is also a cartoonist and creator of the blogs Monkeytraps: A blog about control, Monkey House (a forum for discussing control issues), and Bert’s Therapy: Adventures of an Inner Monkey. . .
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He has a funky kind of wit and humor about the human condition, as it shows on both his blogs and proves this fun fact right here on Monkeytraps: Were All Monkeys On This Bus .

About His New Book:

Product Details

(Click book to buy on Amazon)
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“Something’s missing from your life. This much you know. But did you know you may be looking for it in the wrong place?”

This book is about a problem disguised as a solution, an idea that shapes and drives us all:


CONTROL.

It’s about the universal urge to make reality meet our expectations. How this urge becomes an addiction, wrecking lives and relationships. How it leads to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, broken marriages, and dysfunctional parenting.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why everyone is addicted to control
  • How this addiction causes most — if not all — of our emotional problems
  • How to listen to feelings instead of controlling them

Filled with actionable insights you can start using today, Monkeytraps is a must-read for anyone seeking happiness, healthier relationships, and more peace of mind.

REVIEWS:

Anxious? Depressed? Angry? Addicted? Codependent? Read this.
J. Levin 2016

“I found Steve on LinkedIn a while back and began reading his blog. He is so good at putting therapy into words, I could not wait for this book to come out. I was not disappointed. As a therapist, I will be recommending this book to all of my clients. As a human being recovering from my own control addiction, I will refer to it often. And as a writer? I will aspire to Steve’s clarity, organization, brevity, and humor.

We are all addicted to control. This book explains why and offers effective tools for letting go and trusting that everything will be okay, even though we’re not in charge.”
A 5-Stars! Highly Suggest this one!

A Mind Opener  ~ Feb. 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

“LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Well written, concise and very insightful. Think anyone would benefit from reading it – and it’s very easy to read. Really glad I found Steve’s blog, and grateful he put all his thoughts together in book form. If I could, would give Monkeytraps more stars than five!!”
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Now since Steve is a leader of Interactive Therapy groups, he is also a cartoonist and creator of the blogs Monkeytraps: A blog about control, Monkey House (a forum for discussing control issues), and Bert’s Therapy: Adventures of an Inner Monkey . . .
What is this blog about? Steve say’s:.

[] bert panel (print for edit)

A Monkeytraps reader once asked me to explain what Bert — this odd gumdrop-shaped gorilla — stands for.

“He’s my inner monkey,” I wrote back.  “He stands for the part of me that tries to control stuff.”

He stands for that part of you, too.  🙂

Steve’s Fav Quote?  “The more control you need, the less control you have.” (by me) ~LOL

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So where can your find and connect with Author, Steve Hauptman? See all his social media connections right here:

So go download a copy of his book today and start learning to STOP CONTROLING EVERYTHING! LOL.

“A Recovery Spotlight presented by: “Recovery Starts Here” of Author, Catherine Lyon”

 

Guest Featured Author & Article: 20 Questions To Ask When Considering Inpatient Rehab.

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends,

In honor of National Recovery Month, I’ve had many ‘Featured Recovery Guest Authors’ here to celebrate and share along with me here on my blog. So we have a new Recovery Guest Author, Alek Sabin who has written a special article for all of us. Now we all know how taunting it was when we started early recovery, what was the best way to seek help and approach the decision. Do we get treatment, therapy, church, go to inpatient or outpatient rehab or treatment?

There are so many choices these days, but lack of federal funding is still standing in the way for others who can afford rehab or treatment. Now that’s another blog post for the future! I do think this article by Alek can help answer some of these questions and concerns, and lead new comers to recovery in the right direction.. ..

20 Questions to Ask When Considering Inpatient Rehab ~ By: Alek Sabin

If you or a loved one are planning on checking into an inpatient rehabilitation facility, it is important to have all the knowledge necessary to find the right place for you. Knowing what to ask or look for in a rehab facility could make treatment smoother and more effective, and could even end up saving your life. Here are some questions you should consider asking any inpatient rehab facility that you may be checking in to:

 1.) How much will it cost?

The cost of inpatient rehabilitation varies greatly, with some places charging monthly payments as low as $7,500 to some as high as $120,000! Always know what you are getting for the cost. How much of that money is actually going towards helping the patient get better? What does this facility offer compared to other rehabilitation clinics of the same price?

 2.) Will insurance cover it?

Insurance companies always want their customers to take the cheapest health care option, and especially when it comes to inpatient rehabilitation. The truth, however, is that the cheapest options won’t always guarantee treatments with results. Always remember that, despite the initial cost, rehabilitation will be cheaper in the long run when stacked up against the costs of poor health, career instability, and damaged relationships that can be brought about by substance abuse. If the right place for you isn’t covered by your current provider, other methods of payment can be discussed with the rehabilitation facility.

 3.) How long will it last?

The answer to this question differs greatly from case to case. Not only are certain substances more addictive than others, but the effects of treatment can vary from person to person. Most psychologists recommend a stay of 90 days for the brain to recover, but other programs can be upward of a year depending on the severity of the addiction. Sometimes, the switch may be made from inpatient to outpatient rehabilitation to help cushion the costs of treatment, assuming that the patient has made strides in their recovery.

 4.) What is their track record?

Always ask how successful they have been with treating other patients with similar addictions. How does that rank up against other facilities? Your health, and even life, could be at stake. Don’t take for granted that you are at the right place until you know that you have the best odds you can get.

 5.) What about outpatient rehabilitation?

While outpatient rehabilitation can be great for some, it can also be dangerous to delay getting patients with harmful addictions the help that they need from inpatient rehabilitation. Ask some health professionals what they recommend depending on the situation. Certain drugs may practically require inpatient rehabilitation (such as heroin), while others may be easier to kick.

 6.) How much therapy will the patient get daily?

It’s important to know how much treatment a patient will actually receive at a facility. Some clinics have a physician work with you 2-3 times a day, while others will be closer to 5-6. Always make sure that the level of care provided is conducive to your recovery needs.

 7.) Is there 24-hour care?

Most inpatient facilities will have nurses on staff around the clock. This is one of the primary advantages that inpatient rehabilitation can give. If you feel that this level of care is important to your recovery, double-check and make sure this is a service that they offer.

 8.) How often do the doctors visit?

During every patient’s journey to recovery, they will be assigned a rehabilitation doctor who is responsible for them during their stay. It’s important that this doctor be able to note progress in a patient’s physical and mental health. Because of this, patients should always ask how often the doctors check up on their well-being.
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 9.) What if I require other medical attention?

Most inpatient rehab facilities are equipped to handle symptoms that a patient may develop from extended substance abuse. However, patients should be certain to specify any separate health concerns that they may have, and ask how the facility will be able to address those.

10.) Do they address mental health?

Sometimes the cause of a person’s addiction may have more to do with mental health, such as depression. It’s important to make certain that the facility will cater to those needs, and has the personnel to do so.

 11.) What about my work?

Inpatient rehabilitation requires a patient’s absence from work and other commitments for months at a time. Luckily, most facilities deal with employers on a regular basis, and are able to communicate the importance that recovery will make a happier, more productive employee.

 12.) What procedures take place when the patient is checked in?

Upon being checked in, most inpatient facilities will conduct an orientation for you and your family. Afterwards, they will begin intake, where some places will take your personal effects and put them aside during the duration of your stay. After intake, most facilities will give the patient several exams so that they can better know how to begin treatment. Ask, and be prepared for check in to your inpatient facility.

 13.) What things should I pack?

Different facilities will have different standards when it comes to what patients should bring with them. Some places will allow almost everything, including pets, to come along for the patient’s extended stay, while others prefer patients to not even bring their own clothes. Ask your inpatient rehab facility what their policy is. Either way, be sure to pack a toothbrush.

 14.) What is the ratio of staff to patients?

If a facility has a lower ratio of staff to patients, there is a good possibility that the patient’s individual needs could be overlooked, and that treatment could be less effective. Always find out how many patients will be there during your stay, and then ask how many staff are on premise at any given time.

15.) Can family visit, or even stay?

Some facilities have strict hours or days when family can visit, while some don’t allow visiting at all. Many places typically allow one family member to stay overnight if needed. Make sure you are fully aware of visitation policies and what they mean before checking into rehabilitation.

 16.) What activities are there?

Patients won’t just be seeing physicians while they are in rehabilitation. Most inpatient rehab facilities will provide therapeutic activities for patients to enjoy in their free time while they are there. Some of these are a way of calming the mind, while others offer a positive reinforcement of “sober time.” Ask about these activities, and make sure there is something you will enjoy doing.
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 17.) Should the patient attend rehab further from home?

Depending on the person, and a variety of factors, it might be beneficial for a patient to attend rehabilitation at a facility that is further away from their home. To see if this is the right option for you and your situation, make sure to ask a rehab doctor before checking in.

 18.) Will my primary physician have access to my rehab medical information?

After the rehabilitation period, a patient’s primary physician must have access to medication prescriptions or medical notes by the rehab doctor. It is important to talk to the facility and clarify this process before beginning rehabilitation.

 19.) Can I get my medication in rehab?

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities will allow most medications that patients have been prescribed before being checked in. However, some medications may affect the patient’s treatment, and must be reconsidered before moving forward. Make sure to talk to the rehab doctor about any medications you are taking before getting checked in.

 20.) What happens in the case of relapse?

Relapse doesn’t mean that the rehabilitation failed. It just means that the patient has relapsed and must take more steps towards recovery. Talk to the inpatient facility before checking in to see what steps they will plan on taking in the case of a relapse.
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“This One is for The Ladies of Recovery” . . .

Female group is doing yoga exercises in a fitness club

Female group is doing yoga exercises in a fitness club


I  welcome all here to my recovery blog & journey!
I have been graced by another featured article by a wonderful recovery writer, Alyssa Craig. I enjoy having her on my blog. She is an exceptional writer that has her pulse on the heart of writing about recovery way better than I.

I’m always happy to share recovery writers and authors anytime here on my blog. You can send me requests anytime to my Email at: LyonMedia@aol.com  and when I have openings, I’d be happy to featured yours.

 

    What Women in Recovery Really Need
  Author: Alyssa Craig

For a long time, individuals in addiction recovery received the same treatment regardless of gender. Studies and programs were eventually developed to fit the needs of men and while women also benefited from these programs, there were certainly missing pieces to their own treatment. Gender specific addiction recovery treatment now helps to address problems women uniquely face in order to give them the best chance of a successful recovery. It is important to understand these benefits and what women require in recovery when deciding between treatment options.

The reasons abuse begins varies between women and men. Women are greatly influenced by the relationships they have with others. This means if they have a family member or a significant other participating in the addictive behavior, they are more likely to begin use.  As mentioned here, women are also more likely to self-medicate when faced with emotional and mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and PTSD following trauma (both current or earlier). Women are also more likely than men to become addicted, and the introduction of addictive substances and behaviors puts them in quick danger of dependence.
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Once women do enter a recovery program, addressing these initial struggles can best be done when surrounded by others facing the same problems. It has been found, for both genders, individuals in recovery are more likely to engage in open communication in group therapy sessions when they are only with their own gender. For women, this can be especially important, because many women in recovery have a history of trauma, making the removal of men an important part of the recovery equation.

Betsy Firth, a clinical psychologist at an addiction recovery center says, “Women tend to be hyper-focused on external issues while in treatment, the number one being focused on men and how they view the women, how they can get their attention/approval. Removing the men from the mix allows the women to focus inward on what they need for their recovery. At the same time, many women have been in abusive or violent relationships and can get easily triggered by exposure to men while we are asking them to be open and vulnerable.”

Allowing women to attend recovery solely with other women allows them to feel safe from harmful situations they may have faced and find healing, without facing potential triggers. As women have a greater chance of relapse than men, it is of the utmost importance to put them in a position where they will be more likely to succeed. It is recommended when an individual (male or female) leaves recovery, they avoid forming new romantic relationships for at least one year. This gives the individual, especially a woman, the chance to recover without the pressures described by Firth.

 

Women who suffer from emotional or mental disorders, as described above, also have the need to overcome personal barriers of shame, address the stigma of addiction, and acknowledge fears they may be experiencing – such as loss of child custody, loss of employment, or an inability to fulfill their responsibilities. Relapse is much more likely when a woman has not developed sufficient coping mechanisms for these struggles and other issues such as lack of self-worth. Attending a gender specific treatment center ensures these issues specific to women are addressed and the women leave with the coping skills and support they need.

Because women do put so much weight on their relationships, a treatment center should encourage the removal of toxic associations and help each woman surround herself with a positive support system. In addition to the support given both during treatment and in after-care, a woman needs to have family and friends who will be supportive of the changes she is making. Often continuing to attend group meetings provided in after-care helps to provide some of this support, as each woman can continue to receive support from peers who can truly empathize.

Gender specific treatment has proven to be very successful for those women who participate in it. Drugabuse.gov reported in December 2014 that women are more likely to be employed 12 months after treatment admission if they attended a gender specific treatment center. With the focus on addressing triggers and the initial reasons for use, along with providing the support system women need to rely on, gender specific recovery is a top choice for women striving for recovery.

 


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 Lets Celebrate ALL Women In Recovery!

God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of “Addicted To Dimes”. . .
*Article Courtesy of Author, Alyssa Craig*

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

 

“A Recovery Journey To Reach Contentment, Serenity, And A Little Spiritual Peace”….

Hello And Welcome MoonShiners, Recovery Seekers, And Visitors,

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yeah write weekly writing challenge #163 weekend moonshine grid

I remember when I first entered recovery. I was sitting in my first ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ meeting and was listening to others experiences, and the trusted servants that had long-term recovery away from the ‘Bet’ were very inspiring. They spoke about finally getting some, “Peace, Serenity, and some Contentment” in their lives, and in their recovery. So I began to wonder? What is it going to take for ME to reach those 3 ultimate goals?
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Well, those of you who know me know I tell it straight when it comes to my recovery, no sugar or cherries on top because it won’t help me or you. Part of the answer to reach contentment in recovery is? “You have to the work”….  It’s just that simple.

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philippians.

After being in a addictions/mental health crisis center for a total melt down, black out of my mind, I began an out-patient treatment program and weekly group. I also started making GA meetings too. Was I perfect at recovery in the beginning? “Hell No,” but the key was not “TO GIVE UP”!
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As we learn about the disease of compulsive addicted gambling, and alcohol abuse, eventually things that we learn start to sink in and make sense. It will also start to make you feel uncomfortable if you relapse, as these things we learn are in our thoughts, and start to interrupt our addiction. At least for me it did.

Truth is, it took me several times in and out of my gambling treatment program for a few years, attending GA meetings, all the while I’d get some months away from the BET, then relapse. But, I NEVER GAVE UP.
Most of that comes from shame, guilt, denial, control, or thinking we can do recovery on our own, with shear will power! SO HOW IS THAT WORKING FOR YOU? It sure didn’t work out well for me, by 2006 I was back in crisis mode, then back in the crisis center for 21 days for the 2nd time, as I attempted SUICIDE for the 2nd time as well from a bad gambling binge & relapse….

See, the first crisis center stay, I found I was suffering from undiagnosed mental illness. Come to find out, I had been suffering with ‘Bipolar Manic Depression, and PTSD’ from the childhood sex abuse I endured as a little girl. I was using addicted gambling and alcohol when I gambled, to hide and escape from those ‘ugly’ past memories that started to come back and haunt me.
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It’s what I learned in treatment, and through my psychiatrist that was helping me with the bipolar &  my meds. I thought I was so damaged as a human being, and it was hard to accept the woman I became with mental disorders, gambling addiction, and past abuse. I was so, so broken in heart, spirit, mind, body and my soul was “Black”….
#ThoughtForTheDay - Keep It Real 100%
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Not to mention what I was putting my poor husband through with all this mess! But he really understood about, ‘Unconditional Love’ as he worked and stayed with me through all this madness and all the hurt I caused through my addictions. It’s very rare to find a man today with that type of commitment!!..(Sorry Guys).

But it’s true. He stayed and helped me every step of the way. Later in recovery I asked him why he didn’t just leave? His Answer?  “I knew that sweet girl I married those years ago was still in there somewhere.”  He chose to stay and work through all the hurt, pain, past damage, as now we know that together we can make it through any storm, any trial & tribulation that comes our way! Our marriage is so much stronger today than when we got married! He truly is, and will be ‘The Love Of My Life’ until our last breath on this earth. Even knowing about my past, my abuse, he accepted me for the woman I was, and I am today.
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Bring It On!

YEAH BABY!!
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So now we fast forward in my recovery 7 years and 4 months. Wow, has life been interesting!
When I was 4 years into my recovery, I read a little story in our newspaper about a woman who shot herself in her casino hotel room. Boy did that light a fire under me to write, and see all I had been through with my gambling addiction. Didn’t know one day it would be put into a book manuscript by an old friend of mine. Then when she was done, she emailed the first 50 pages to a friend of hers who is publisher, and BAM~POW!,…On my 50th birthday I became a first time published author! Again, that was 2012, and I have been writing, blogging, advocating, and being of recovery service to others ever
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WHAT? You ask if I’m aware of how blessed I am? You got it baby! I am a very blessed girl today, but it’s about getting the work done in recovery that will make things happen! We can’t have that ‘Peace, Serenity, and Contentment’ in recovery without doing the work. Now I know your asking what work are you talking about?

It’s the recovery work we get in our treatment programs, support meetings and working through the 12-Steps, and admitting to ourselves that addiction has us beat, and total surrender! Surrender the control you think you have over your addiction! Even if you don’t believe in a program due to thinking it’s a ‘religious’ program, which it’s not, you can still buy a 12-step book/guide to help you work through the “Why’s” of addiction. And the other most important thing to do is learning about how the “Cycle” of addiction can be broken down and interrupted. That’s a MUST.

See, in my published book, I tried to give insights as to why many of us turn to addiction. I share my life and addiction journey, and destruction of what I went through starting as that abused, hurt and damaged little girl that I was. Later in life, that gave me feelings of entitlement as a VICTIM. I used all the ‘negative’ things that happened to me as fuel for my addictions.

Even though it says in the 12-steps that, “we can recover not knowing why we gambled in the first place.”  But for me personally, I learned through treatment and therapy that my past childhood trauma, and the undiagnosed mental illness played a big role in my addiction. Because when those old feelings come back to haunt us, some of us don’t know there are places to go to get help instead of turning to addiction in the first place.
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So we need to know there is a lot of help out there for all types of addictions. I have many listed here on my recovery blog as ‘Recovery Resources’…. and I even have a fantastic ‘Relapse Prevention Guide” too! Relapse doesn’t have to be part of your recovery journey. But, everyone’s recovery path will be different. So choose what feels comfortable for you. Yes, it’s a powerful thing to listen to others testimonies and stories, but some things may work for some, but not for others. Spend time and research all the types of recovery help out there.

And recovery also doesn’t have to be costly either! There are many places that offer low-cost, or even free addiction help. I went through the ‘State of Oregon’s free treatment program, which included my 2 crisis center stays, and it was all paid for by the Oregon Lottery Fund. Pretty ironic right? Of course my point is this, it doesn’t matter where the help and treatment comes from, as long as you get the help you need. Most states may have a “Department of Health in your county, so check there first. They may offer free gambling, alcohol, or drug treatment programs paid by your state.
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Many say; “It takes a village” to get better! So good supportive people in your recovery life is a MUST! Pick your friends wisely. I know sometimes people may not be understanding or supportive, and they call that ‘STIGMA,’ don’t worry about that, you may even lose a few friends along the way, but it’s important to have supportive people in your recovery. You will meet good supportive friends in your 12-step meetings. But you may need to cut loose the one’s who are not ‘Bet free, Drug free, or Alcohol free’…

So do the work! Start those 12-Steps you have been putting off. I even have friends who have NO addiction, but they do the 12-steps to lead better lives. The steps were not written for JUST people in recovery. Many use them as principles of living. And in closing, I hope all who come and visit my blog, KNOW THIS,…. you are not alone. I will be here for all who come seeking recovery from not just ‘Addicted Gambling,’ but all Addictions. I sponsor many on the internet and from my home group in Gamblers Anonymous, http://www.gambleranonymous.org/  http://www.aa.org/  http://www.na.org/  http://wwwfoodaddictsanonymous.org/  http://saa-recovery.org/

And always remember…… recovery is not about Perfection ~ It’s Attitude!

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May God Bless You All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“To Know The Woman I Am Today, You Need To Know The Little I Was”…
From My Book “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a cheat)