Honoring My Dear Friend I Miss & She Has Left Us a Legacy of Recovery Self-Help Advice, Ms. Marilyn Fowler. . .

Three years ago I lost a very dear friend who was an avid advocate and a big support to me. She was an advocate of mental health, addiction, a fellow author, and had spent many years in the Jacksonville, FL., men and women’s jails & correctional system as a “Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist.” Her name was Marilyn Fowler. She was an amazing woman, strong, smart as a whip, and bursting with caring for others.

Marilyn and I worked together since 2014 as I helped her promote her books. I learned so much from her and she always would tell me; “when I leave earth, just know you will have a powerful angel in heaven watching over you, that’s me!” I loved her to pieces! I had started a new blog here on WordPress for her to share many self-help posts and has left us a beautiful legacy of life advice.

This post https://selfhelpbymarilyn.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/how-to-use-difficult-situations-to-enrich-your-life-journey/ I’ll be sharing is informative, and can help everyone maintaining recovery or may have mental health challenges like I do. I hope you will stop by her blog as we decided to leave it LIVE to continue to help others who happen to be lucky enough to stumble upon it.

I Miss You Marilyn, Mucho Mucho! ✨💝✝💖😇😇
*Cat*



About Marilyn Fowler Author & Advocate

Marilyn Fowler (Author of Silent Echoes)


I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog posts to help others live a better well balanced life!

My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published in 2010. My stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled When God Spoke To Me. I’m active in my church, and I believe that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often. Life should be”…



How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey ~ By Marilyn Fowler



Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress. You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?

On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation.

And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” ~Lee Iacocca


Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportunities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are.

At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.

Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.


“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.”  ~Author Unknown


Methods For Change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.

Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens.

“Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown


Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc.? How immersed are you in your feelings?
How clear is your mind?
Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both?
Do you view the situation as more than you can handle?
Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You’re stronger than you think. 
Uncover your strengths, and let them shine.
Use denials and affirmations ie: “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.

Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now.

And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author, and Writer of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available on Amazon online…

Reflections of Recovery as I Celebrate My 13th Year and After Rising From The Ashes of Addiction and Sharing a New Friends Story . . .

Reflections of Recovery as I Celebrate My 13th Year and After Rising From The Ashes of Addiction and Sharing a New Friends Story . . .

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Thirteen years ago I was within Total Darkness.
I was HOPELESS, Broken, and Shattered.
I was LOST and Never Thought I’d Wake Up From Hell.
I was Sick, an ADDICT and Filled With FEAR …

WHEN MY EYES FINALLY OPENED From My Second SUICIDE ATTEMPT …

I Was Still Frightened, Constant Pain, and LOST.  BUT THEN?
I Seen A Sliver Of GODS LIGHT, I GRAB ON TIGHT, and I BEGAN TO RISE FROM THE ASHES OF ADDICTION!

GOD Whispered In My EARI Bless You With HOPE…

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So, as I celebrate my 13th Year Maintaining Recovery, I still hold on to HOPE. 
HOPE is what helps me have trust that all things are possible. Even RECOVERY.

Just as the definition of HOPE tells us:

HOPE – Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
HOPE – Verb: want something to happen or be the case. A feeling of trust.

GOD has shown and given me the meaning of hope, of trust, and through his love, his forgiveness, and mercy, all the hard work of recovery, you begin to grow a new life from the ashes of addiction, learn to be able to break free from gambling addiction and start living my life within redemption, grace, humility and with a heart of Gratitude with all the blessings I have received and through each and everything I do today in both my personal and my professional life.

Today, as an ADVOCATE, author, writer, sponsor, speaker and passing on the given HOPE and share it through my Recovery Service to Others. Paying it forward to the lost, the least, and those suffering from any addiction but especially gambling addiction. I have broken free from the bondage of addiction and share what I have learned. Addiction never discriminates on who it will TOUCH. No one person is safe from addictions. We don’t wake up one day and say; “I think I’ll become an ADDICT and destroy my life.”

It doesn’t happen that way. Most times we learn through the process of treatment and recovery that there may be underlying issues and roots to how and why we turned to addiction. Many times we find it comes from trauma or tragic events in our life like childhood or teen years. And as I said earlier, NO ONE IS IMMUNED.

Just like a new recovery friend of mine, I will call him Lang. He was touched by addictions, homeless, and lost in that darkness I spoke of, as was set off by several traumatic events that happened to him as a young teen that shaped how most of his life had turned out until a year and a half ago, now maintaining sobriety. He shares the first part of his story and testimony like I did yesterday as I was invited and featured in the Ventura, CA., Newspaper of The Citizens Journal thanks to Lang.

So I hope you will take the time to give my Featured Story titled; An Addiction That Requires No Substances – This Is My Story a read for those who visit and don’t know where I came from. And? Below is Lang’s Story – Part One also in the Citizens Journal and has 8 parts total. If you are interested in reading his whole story after Part One? You can read all of Lang’s testimony beginning here within The Citizens Journal “Nobody Knows But Me.”
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BIO of Writer/Advocate Lang Martinez:

On July 25, 2018, I begged God if you save my life I will give it all back to you, ” I PROMISE” 

Because of the publication “Keys To Recovery,” I am working on a project with Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author/ Advocate and Writer called ” Nobody Knows But Me.”

You can also find my articles in the Citizens Journal. US of Ventura County, CA.

As the subject matter is sensitive, please connect with Randy Boyd of Courageous Healers Foundation for more insights into my full story, experiences, and healing:
Randy Boyd of Courageous Healers Foundation:
Email: info@courageoushealers.org

 

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Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1


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Lang Martinez

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What caused me personally to become homeless living on the streets in Oxnard?

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Methamphetamine use. Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. Bottom line, trust no one but yourself!

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My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster”, in other words, petty theft. If caught, petty theft in the eyes of the law is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail. With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time.

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For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise, from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction. Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far as to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.

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My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so for me being hungry was never an issue. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.

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My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see you including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and as most addicts do- get high! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow, or someway. Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself”. Even though we are our own enemy, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!

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My personal thoughts on the whole agenda of the recent conference “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“. First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone.” My question and response to that: “what about them”? This all took place when college students picked an agenda to do their paper on.

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You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have true feelings to care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard, CA.

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My point, it took college students on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 at 3 p.m. to make awareness of this and not the city of Oxnard.

_____________________________

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Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.

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Publisher’s notes:
Even though Oxnard’s efforts are falling short, they are trying, putting a higher priority on the homeless situation, increasing manpower and spending, hired a homeless guy, developed a strategy, looking for grants, etc.
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We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in the Citizens Journal.  He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit much!  I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity, and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list . . .

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“George, I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it. That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me and all I wanted if I did die, was just one person to say something good about me.

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Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore and we do make promises to God if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time? I said God, please don’t let me die like this! Please save me one more time and this time I will keep my promise. I will give it all back to you.

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George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want? Also, I don’t want to be referred to as a homeless person- I’m NOT anymore.  I trust you. I used to be homeless and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George. You have to understand that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again and the only way I won’t is being on the STREETS telling them what my Lord and Savior did for me he can also do for you.
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I’m proof of God’s miracles.  Amen!  ~Lang

Mr. Martinez also pointed out this useful article on survival tips, but hopes and prays it won’t be necessary for people to utilize them.

 

I Enjoy Sharing Blog Friends Informative Posts. Meet “Oh My George”… ‘No Judgement’… Share Kindness.

rightmind


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Before I share some of my friend who is in the UK,  and George Boyle’s blog post here about “judging others,” we all know in the addiction/recovery arena and in the literary arena we see people being unkind or judging others’ recovery choices, advocacy or when we have published our books readers or reviewers can be unkind. It may be in a comment on our blog or, again, in leaving a book review. We need to share and speak out when others have No Understanding or Empathy for others Mental and Emotional Challenges …

My mom raised me to be “KIND” wth my “WORDS” as always said: “If you can’t say something “kind” or “corrective”? Then Don’t Say Anything at ALL.”

I think everyone should go back to this motherly advice. Doesn’t it take less energy to be positive or kind than it does to be hurtful or negative? I think so.

So my hope is everyone who reads this post will absorb some of the lessons and feelings in this post. Again, “Kindness is Golden”…OH, And? “Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover Alone.”

~Catherine Lyon

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#NoJudgment … Mental Health Awareness … By George T. Boyle.

What do I mean by this?

I realize that within my blogs and possibly my book there are typos, there are grammar errors, etc.

And yet does this put you off from reading the content and understanding its meanings?

In some instances, it is enough of a reason for some people to not even open the book when its cover displays this.

Have you ever thought that maybe it may be the reason an author has done this to grab your attention to it, or maybe that the author or writer is so overwhelmed by other things that they will love someone to come and give support to the amazing content and work they are trying to achieve and the message I am putting out there to the world within my words in conscious thought flow.

We as humans often react in fear and give excuses in the words with people to actually engage with them in positive ways.

We create words and content which can push people away in the words we use, then we only react to the words we use, and then we only get the outcome we create from the words and thoughts we use to each other.

I love my amazing friend for prompting me to write this because all I hear in words at times are excuses for interaction which follows a reaction of no interaction then an action of no interaction or communication.

And I become frustrated at this and asked them what they are doing to themselves or to what sort of outcome they are looking for from life when they are only creating blocks in thought which are then being communicated in words, creating that action and reaction from the person creating the disempowering thought-forms.

I was having a bad day, as I was awaiting a tooth pulled out and it’s been creating enough distraction in thoughts as well as weird anxiety or energy that day,  so I reached out to my friend. This friend didn’t focus on the words I was expressing or wasn’t compassionate in response to say “hey, how can I make your day better?”

The communication went to crap because my friend wasn’t focusing on how to create a positive open communication with me and they then made a decision to close communication because they reacted with the excuse of judgment and words which were creating more stress and anxiety within me which created a conversation flow off of nothing and a ZERO outcome.

Why did this happen?

Because that person didn’t react towards the other person with compassion any empathy, and love, only with a thought flow and reaction and in words of blaming the other person for reaching out to them, and used words to close down the conversation and making ME the blame for having a bad mental health day.

So what can we do to ensure when someone says: “they’re having a bad day we can react in a way toward them with words that are focused on helping them get through that.

Rather than judging them for them contacting you, for someone trying to reach out to them because they were having a bad day, they weren’t coping well with there mental health that day and then making the conversation about you and how the person who had reached out for support was wrong for doing so at that moment. Just looking to ease the anxiety of the other person and open conversation to create love in the form of communication.

“The more we release the fear and judgment around our lives we end mental health because we react to each other with unconditional love and compassion.”

We don’t read a book by its cover alone …

We read of the content within it.

Yet if you are only looking for an excuse to judge a book my book by its cover? Then you are not really taking the time to read it, nor making the effort or focus to find out what is within it. Your only making an excuse in your own thoughts because that book created a negative thought about it as to open it up or delve inside and lose your fear in loving the book.

How can we reframe the way we think and react towards other people?

THE ANSWER Can be Found by going over to Visit George’s Blog and finishing reading how this Story Ends Right Here:   By George T. Boyle.

For many of us who have mental health challenges, we look to other avenues and platforms to share our experiences and day to day challenges with our mental health.  Some ways I and George accomplish this are through our books our writings and blog posts. Advocacy and sharing one’s story and experiences does help shatter stigma, and it lets others know who suffer that they are not alone. 

Flash Back Weekend Article Share. My Interview With Elaine Meyer ~ Now in The Pacific Standard – The Health Costs of Legal Gambling.

Flash Back Weekend Article Share. My Interview With Elaine Meyer ~ Now in The Pacific Standard – The Health Costs of Legal Gambling.

 

“THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES IN AMERICA TODAY THAT NO ONE HAS BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO. GAMBLING!”

“A lot of people think it’s a tax on the stupid,” recovering gambling addict Kitty Martz told the Oregonian. “Really, we’re behaving exactly the way the machines want us to.”

“Gamblers exhibit many of the same problems as other addicts. “Everything you see with substance abuse you can make an analogy to gambling problems,” Martins says, citing family strife, financial hardship, and struggles with depression or anxiety.”

“IF I WERE THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY, I WOULD WANT TO FUND PEOPLE WHO HAD THE DISEASE POINT-OF-VIEW … BECAUSE [THEY ARE] PUTTING THE SOURCE OF PROBLEM GAMBLING BETWEEN THE EARS OF THE GAMBLER.”

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catherine-townsend-lyon

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HERE IS WHERE I WALK IN I was honored to be interviewed, and at the time was written and released by Elaine for ‘Columbia University and The Epidemiology Dept.’ I was happy to help contribute an “inside look” of what addicted gambling, the diseased side looks like deep within my addiction.

As an advocate of addicted or problem gambling and now almost 12-yrs “BET FREE,”  I aim to change the way the public is seeing only ONE SIDE to this so-called activity of  “Fun and Entertainment.”  Because for those who lose control and become addicted?  There is a nasty sinister side to this thing called “gambling” … 

LITTLE HELP AVAILABLE

People with gambling problems tend to elicit little sympathy. They are seen typically as exercising bad judgment when it is known that the “house always wins.” They have often hurt people they are closest to, both financially and emotionally.

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“Former gambling addicts readily admit to their flaws. But, like most people, they typically started gambling because it was available, entertaining, and provided a potential if unlikely monetary reward. However, unlike most people who gamble, they became “hooked.” That’s how Catherine Townsend-Lyon speaks of her gambling addiction. “
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Catherine began playing video lottery terminals at delis and restaurants near her home in Grants Pass, Oregon, at the time, now living in Glendale, AZ. Catherine explains, “sometime after they were introduced in the 1990s, she became obsessed with a game called Flush Fever and soon began playing before and after work and during her lunch hour.” She lied to her husband about her whereabouts and started secretly gambling their mortgage payments.

She stole from the collection company she worked for.  Even when gambling at an Indian casino, sometimes wore bladder control underwear so she wouldn’t have to get up to use the restroom while playing. When she lost money, she played to win it back, and when she won, she played to win more. In an extreme moment, she skipped the funeral of a close friend to drive 40 miles to that Indian casino so she could win enough money to prevent her home from being foreclosed. Instead, she lost everything. She drove home in tears and attempted suicide by trying to slit her wrists but kept blacking out.
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“YOU DON’T HAVE TO EVEN BE IN ‘ACTION OR SITTING BEHIND A MACHINE’ BECAUSE YOU’RE CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT: WHEN AM I GOING TO GAMBLE? WHEN AM I GOING TO WIN OR LOSE? IT JUST COMPOUNDS.”

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“It’s like a battle you have with yourself with the triggers and the urges and the obsessiveness. You don’t even have to be in action or sitting behind a machine because you’re constantly thinking about: When am I going to gamble? When am I going to win or lose? It just compounds. It’s exhausting. It’s never-ending,” says Townsend-Lyon, who, after seeking treatment several times, has managed to stay away from gambling for the last seven-and-a-half years.

Catherine says she turned to gambling at a difficult time in her life. She had childhood trauma of sexual abuse, verbal, and her parents were heavy handed with discipline. Those memories kept haunting her and then, with her husband frequently traveling out of town for weeks for work, she found herself bored and looking for a way to fill the time and escape the “old pain” that resurfaced.  She had undiagnosed bipolar II disorder and on top of that had been sexually abused when she was younger, she had not been raised to know to seek therapy.


“I wasn’t a drug person or an alcoholic or anything like that, although I did drink more when I gambled. And because I was gambling, that was my coping skill. That’s what I was using to escape it, those feelings. I couldn’t stuff them away anymore. I would just use gambling to escape, not feel, zone out, you know what I mean?”
she said.

She published a book in 2013 about her former life, called Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) “A Liar and Cheat” is what gambling addiction, this cunning disease turned me into.”  What troubles her is how easy it is for people in her position to gamble. She didn’t have to fly to Nevada or even drive to an Indian casino in her state. The video poker and slot machines she played, which are sponsored by the Oregon State Lottery, are allowed at bars, restaurants, and delis.

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1 in 5 Problem Gamblers Attempts Suicide!Still Think Your Lucky_(2)
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“[I]f these machines weren’t in the bars and delis, then I would not be gambling. It’s that simple for me,” says a 33-year-old man quoted in a recent series on the state lottery by the Oregonian. He estimates he has lost $15,000 over 12 years from gambling. “That may sound like an excuse, but ‘out of sight is out of mind.’”

For people who are trying to recover from gambling addiction, it can be difficult to find help. Calls per month to the National Problem Gambling hotline are over two-and-a-half times what they were 14 years ago, from 9,642 in 2000 to 24,475 in 2013, according to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Yet funding for treatment centers, hotlines, and programs to prevent gambling addiction is minimal, says Martins. Funding for substance abuse treatment is about 281 times greater at $17 billion then public funding for problem gambling, at $60.6 million, although substance use disorders are only 3.6 times more common than gambling disorders, according to a 2013 survey by the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators and Problem Gambling Solutions.

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I urge everyone who visits to take some time and go read the full article written by Elaine R Meyer as the ‘Costs to Health Care from Legal Gambling’ on Pacific Standard Magazine as it will surprise you. Yes, it a bit long but well worth it!  You will read how drug and alcohol funding for treatment is far ahead of gambling addiction treatment and even options available for gambling treatment and resources.

Again, I am aiming to change this by advocacy, writing, and sharing my own recovery from this cunning addiction … ~Advocate/Writer/Author, Catherine Lyon

 

 

 

 

Long Time Recovery Advocate and Author, Christopher Kennedy Lawford Passes at 63. A Huge Loss to Our Recovery Community. My Tribute and Memories.

Long Time Recovery Advocate and Author, Christopher Kennedy Lawford Passes at 63. A Huge Loss to Our Recovery Community. My Tribute and Memories.

I was utterly heartbroken and shocked when I heard the news early Wednesday morning of the passing of Christopher Kennedy Lawford. We lost a huge addiction and recovery champion and tireless advocate of alcoholism as well as other addictions.

It hit me pretty hard as I was honored and privileged to have interviewed him by phone and have him as my featured article in the May/June 2017 issue of InRecovery Magazine where I was a former writer and columnist of  “The Author’s Cafe Column.”
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Image result for in recovery magazine may june 2017 images

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You can still visit the cafe’ column online and read the full article and my past interviews.  I also was an Addictionland Gambling Recovery expert blogger the same month as Christopher was in October 2014 blogging about alcoholism on Addictionland. When I interviewed him for my article for In Recovery, he was kind, not shy to be open about his past, and very gracious. He truly knew about real living while maintaining long-term recovery. Just some of what I learned about him.

Although, when I looked online to see how he passed, I could not believe how the “media” was reporting his death. He was being attached to the “Kennedy” name all over the news. I know he would not have wanted that at all as he was not close with many of the Kennedy family members as he told me in our interview. It was due to many of them still being heavy drinkers and recreational drug users except for John Jr. before his passing, and a couple cousins he spent time with.

And Christopher spoke about that in many interviews and articles in the media he said after we spoke. We all know even with family, we need to set boundaries around unhealthy relationships when we maintain recovery. And that was what Chris had done and was not shy about sharing this fact.

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Image result for Christopher Kennedy Lawford article InRecovery Magazine

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And as news and media history goes, we know the many stories about The Kennedy families of drug and alcohol use and even cheating on their wives and husbands. Addiction does not discriminate on who it “touches.”

And when you are a famous or high profile figure, it can be more difficult for it playing out publically in today’s world of sound bites, media, and technology advances. He shares some of this in his many books he has written, but much in his book ‘Moments of Clarity.’ Sadly his passing has come on the heels of his new book release just some months back titled; ‘When Your Partner Has An Addiction.”

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Here is more about Christopher of what The Associated Press reports are reporting of his passing late Tuesday evening.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — “Author and actor Christopher Kennedy Lawford, who was born into political and Hollywood royalty, sank into substance abuse and addiction and rose to become a well-known advocate for sobriety and recovery, has died.

Lawford died of a heart attack Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada, his cousin, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, told The Associated Press. He was 63.

Lawford was in Vancouver living with his girlfriend and working to open a recovery center. He had been doing hot yoga, which he did often, but the strain of it “must have been too much for him at that point,” Kennedy said.”

Lawford was the only son and oldest child of Patricia Kennedy — sister of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy — and Peter Lawford — the English actor and socialite who was a member of Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack.” (Below Patricia Kennedy Lawford, Actor-husband Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, and Actor Tony Curtis.)

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Image result for free images of Patricia Kennedy and Peter Lawford

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“I was given wealth, power and fame when I drew my first breath,” Lawford wrote in his 2005 book, “Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption,” the first of several books he wrote about his substance struggles.

He wrote that his parents got telegrams predicting big things for him from Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and said he once got a lesson in doing “The Twist” from Marilyn Monroe. The cover of his books shows him sitting poolside as a child with his uncle and soon-to-be-president John F. Kennedy looming behind him.

He spent his youth frolicking with Hollywood stars on one coast and rubbing shoulders with political stars on the other, living between libertine Los Angeles and the hyper-competitive Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, where he was a big-brother figure to John F. Kennedy Jr.

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Christopher Kennedy and his cousin John F Kennedy Jr, in Hyannisport MA

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“You can’t get much more fawned over than being a Kennedy male,” Lawford wrote. (Above Chris and John Jr.)

His life with drugs began with LSD while at boarding school at age 14. In the years before he had experienced the assassinations of his two uncles and his parents’ divorce in 1966.

With heroin and other opioids as his substances of choice, Lawford leaped into deeper substance abuse in drug-heavy 1970s Hollywood, where his father also abused drugs and alcohol as his career faded. Peter Lawford died in 1984. Patricia Kennedy died in 2006.

In his memoir, Christopher Lawford told tales of mugging women for money, panhandling in Grand Central Station and getting arrested twice for drug possession before getting sober at 30.

“There are many days when I wish I could take back and use my youth more appropriately,” Lawford told The Associated Press in 2005. “But all of that got me here. I can’t ask for some of my life to be changed and still extract the understanding and the life that I have today.”

Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman from Rhode Island whose father is Edward M. Kennedy, said his cousin “did something very difficult,” airing family secrets and temporarily hurting his relationships within the Kennedy clan when he wrote his book.

“He had the courage to know that he had to find himself, and he wasn’t going to be able to do it while holding on to the old family narrative,” Kennedy said.

Lawford was “tormented by the fact” that for a time he was estranged from his sisters, Patrick Kennedy said.  “Over the years of recovery, he ended up reconciling with his sisters, happiest I ever saw him,” Kennedy said.

His life’s work became helping others recover — including his cousin.
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“He was the absolute cornerstone to my sobriety, along with my wife,” Patrick Kennedy said (the former politician had been addicted to drugs and alcohol). “He was the one who walked me through all the difficult days of that early period.”

After his memoir, Lawford authored several more books on addiction and recovery, most recently 2015′s “What Addicts Know.”

He worked steadily as an actor, with moderate success. He had a small part in 2003′s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” made appearances on TV shows including “Frazier” and “The O.C.” and had recurring roles on the soaps “All My Children” and “General Hospital,” playing a senator in the latter.

He told the AP in 2005 that his famous dual identities both helped and hurt him in Hollywood.

“The names give you an entree, absolutely, but it’s a kind of a double-edged sword,” he said. “People do pay attention to you, but nobody gets ahead in Hollywood unless they are really lucky or they deserve it.”

He is survived by his sisters, Sydney, Victoria and Robin, and his children, David, Savannah, and Matt.

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In closing, here is a little more about his writing and activism per Wikipedia: 

In September 2005, Harper-Collins published Lawford’s memoir Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (William Morrow 2005, ISBN 0-06-073248-2), which immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. In 2009, he released Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery, a series of essays by public figures, athletes and entertainers who have struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Almost every interviewee sought help from a twelve-step program such as Alcoholics AnonymousNarcotics Anonymous or another spiritually based means of support for recovery. In his own life, Lawford battled a drug and alcohol addiction for much of his early life. Lawford worked extensively in politics, government and the non-profit sector holding executive staff positions with The Democratic National Committee, The Community Action for Legal Services Agency and in the Washington office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

He has held staff positions on numerous national, state and local political campaigns, as well as with The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. FoundationSpecial Olympics and The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was later a Public Advocacy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers and was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Department of Public Health Advisory Board.

Yes, we have lost an addiction and recovery warrior, champion, and an outspoken advocate within September 2018 National Recovery Month. Even though I know he is in a much better place and is “Now Home.” It still hurts those who are left behind and especially when it happens suddenly. My thoughts, love, and prayers to his wife and children for this sudden loss, and to all his extended family and friends.

The Recovery world has a little less “Sparkle” without Christopher in it.

~Advocate and Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon~

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My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

Most all know just how difficult maintaining recovery can be. Especially when we come out of rehab or treatment and in early recovery. No one knows this better than my dear friend and advocate, Aaron Emerson. I have been a supporter and friends with Aaron for a couple years now. I can tell you this guy “Never Gives Up.” 

Yes, we all may have relapsed before, but Aaron is very adamant in sharing what he learns if and when we all at times have a slip. The most important fact is, Aaron is Honest, Real, and Transparent about the ups and downs of maintaining recovery.

So, that is what is my point is with this post and having Aaron share some of his story with all of us today, courtesy of his latest newsletter … “Hope From Dope” is a newsletter written by Aaron Emerson, a recovering addict, and alcoholic. It contains his writings from his Hope From Dope blog, updates on his recovery and more. 

“HE IS A FIGHTER” and he never gives up with “God In His Corner!”

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Treatment Works; My Story ~ By Aaron Emerson.

 

 

“I have been to rehab 7 times” …

Yes, seven times I have checked myself into rehab. Many of those times I did it to simply get my family off my back and a couple more times because I was homeless and didn’t have anywhere else to go. 

But this last time, well, I entered rehab totally broken, ashamed, hopeless and humiliated. At the same time, though, I was finally ready to do everything they asked me to do and willing to give recovery a try again.

It was a rehab in Memphis, Michigan called Sacred Heart. Based on the 12 Steps, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and family support, it is a treatment center that mainly serves low-income individuals from Michigan. It is a terrific place that employs therapists and workers who are recovering addicts themselves. And, well, it saved my life.

The day I checked myself into Sacred Heart, I had two warrants out for my arrest for stealing a credit card. I was a broken person, my relationships were all shattered and nobody trusted me.

Years prior, I had been living a life of recovery after several years of heroin addiction and it was the happiest I’d ever been. However, after I let up on how many meetings I went to and distancing myself from my recovery program, I drank some beers at a wedding, triggering a downward spiral of a couple more years of on and off drinking and drug use.


So, walking into Sacred Heart on December 8, I was humiliated that after building a life of recovery, I was now back in active addiction, facing some criminal charges. I had shared my story at area high schools and been featured in news stories about recovery. But here I was, strung out and hopeless once again.

About the only thing I had going for me that day was that for the last week, I hadn’t used drugs or drank. After the cops were called on me for acting violently after a night of drinking, an Ingham County Sheriff’s Sergeant helped convince me to check into treatment and get my life together for my daughter.

I actually listened to him. The way he treated me like someone who needed help and not as a crazy criminal really gave me hope. I was used to cops doing everything they could to stick me with charges and lock me away, so when an officer who was high up on the chain in law enforcement showed me compassion and seemed to really care about me and my daughter, it triggered me to try to get sober and go back to rehab.

And since that night when Sgt. Harrison helped me instead of locking me up, I haven’t used drugs. Rehab went very well and Sacred Heart helped me get some stability in my life. When I left a few weeks later, I was sober and motivated to get to a meeting as soon as I got out.

I did and two days later I turned myself in to handle the warrants. I got a personal bond and a month later was sentenced to Drug Court in East Lansing, which provides treatment and therapy instead of jail or prison. Drug Court has introduced me to a very good support system and given me a strict, balanced life to build around.

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I now have a job working 30 hours a week, go to meetings and therapy each day and am trying to be the best father I can be to my seven-year-old daughter. My life is extremely busy with work and all the meetings and therapy, but it is helping me. I feel like I have a very sustainable foundation in my recovery. I have a sponsor and a recovery coach that I call every day and another recovery coach that helps me and my family piece back together our relationships.

Out of all the sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists and probation officers I have in my life, I genuinely feel like each one of them cares deeply for me and plays very important but different pieces of the puzzle. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Sgt. Harrison motivating me to go to Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart truly helped me develop a foundation to get my life back together and I will forever be grateful for that.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen, it is never impossible to stand back up and fight! It doesn’t matter if you have never been to rehab or if you’ve been to treatment ten times, never give up! While in active addiction, it seems impossible to ever get sober and be happy without drugs and alcohol. That is a lie the disease of addiction tells you. The memories and hope I am experiencing today is something to cherish.

Never give up. Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed to admit you have a problem and need help. It takes a lot of strength and courage to check yourself into treatment or ask for help, but it is the first step to building a happy life of sobriety.

Treatment works!

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THANK YOU, Aaron, for being my Guest Today!

You can follow Aaron’s journey and share your support by visiting his website “Hope From DOPE”  and by connecting with him here on Facebook too!
Please check out his book as well now available and e-book now only $3.99 here on Amazon Kindle… 

To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery: My Life Of Addiction And Recovery Told Through Past Journals by [Emerson, Aaron]

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to “Recovery Starts Here” Special Author/Writer Interview. My name Catherine Lyon, Author and Advocate.  I know I am a little overzealous as I just bought Lisa’s new book titled; “Raising The Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” released just this past June 2017.

By the title, you may know some of what her book is about. But from all the 5-star Amazon reviews, there much more. And there is nothing like giving some practical and sound advice about alcohol and stopping alcoholism before it starts or happens.

Today though, we are going to learn more about who Lisa is and the “writer side” of her. So I hope you enjoy this “Special Interview” with Lisa Boucher.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

Share a little of what you do?
I am the author of 5 books and an RN. My first 4 books were novels, and my current book,
Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” is nonfiction.

I’ve worked in all sorts of departments at the hospital: ER, telemetry, medical, neuro, and psych. To be honest, my true love is the writing biz but that doesn’t pay that well at the moment, so a girls’ gotta have a day job!


Where were you born and raised? Youngstown, OH


Tell us more about you? (Like your education, family, hobbies.)
I have a nursing degree and a BA in English. Have always been crazy about animals. I used to have a quarter horse, Sham, who I loved almost as much as I do my twin sons. I love to cook, I’m part Italian, so food is a big deal in our family. I also garden, and like Cat, love to feed and watch the birds.


Do you have any latest news?
I do! Raising the Bottom recently won the 2017 Best Book Award in the category of Women’s Health, and it was a finalist in addiction/recovery category. I also am looking forward to 
Shape Magazine, yes, the Shape Magazine, to run a piece that I contributed to that and will be on their online magazine.

I was also interviewed by a writer at Epoch Times, so I look forward to reading what he put together. I wish I had a specific date, but from what my publicists told me, it should run late November or early December. It may even be out by the time Cat publishes this!



Anything we should know besides you as an Author & Writer?
I’ve been sober 28 years. I am certainly no prohibitionist, but I am troubled by the “women & wine” culture that seems to be a bit over the top. Let’s not forget the kids of these women. There’s nothing funny about a drunk mom. Ask any child who has one.




Do you like writing?
I love it. It’s a process and can be crazy and maddening and frustrating sometimes, but it’s who I am. I am a writer.




When and why did you begin writing?
Honestly, I heard a voice–an audible voice in my kitchen one day. I had just graduated from nursing school, back in 1994. I was home alone one day and musing about my life, my purpose. Was nursing it? A voice came through as loud and clear as if my husband was standing in the room, but he nor my small twins were home. The voice said–”Now I want you to write a book.” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have a computer at the time.


What inspired you to write your first book? God.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I can’t remember, it was a long time ago.  I guess it just came to me like my titles usually do. I have a writer’ly quirk that I can’t seem to write a thing until I do have the title.



Do you have a specific writing style?
No. With the novels, I just let it go and then do lots of cutting and pasting! With RTB, I did try to at least plan out the chapters.




How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story is about my alcoholic mother; our family; my getting sober early in my disease. I then interviewed 10 other women and they shared their story. I focused on women people would never suspect they had a problem. High bottom women whose bottom was mostly internal: doctors, nurses, mother and grandmothers, young women.

I also did a chapter for the kids, “What Your Kids Say about You and Your Drinking. I feel they never get to have a voice, so I wanted to give them one. I also did a chapter, “Doctors, Nurses and Health Care.” There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the hospitals and people have no clue. Healthcare has changed so much, and not for the better. The hospitals & some doctors, they want customers, not cures.


To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel since I was local, but I did write some of it in Bimini. Bimini is a tiny island in the Bahamas and not much goes on there. It’s a perfect place to write. Ernest Hemingway wrote some of “Islands in the Stream” there.


Who designed the cover?
She Writes Press had a design/illustrator do it.




Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Well, it’s not a novel, but I think every person knows someone who drinks too much. It’s a book for all, whether or not you drink–you know someone who does. Forewarned is Forearmed!


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite?
I have so many books in my reading pile. I’m reading Erik Larson, and my favorite right now is David Foster Wallace. He was brilliant but sadly, committed suicide at the age of 46. He was an amazingly gifted writer. Such a tragedy.



Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?
Well, not many. I really didn’t talk about it all that much. It seems that if you mention you’re writing a book, everyone chimes in and says me too! I wonder how many of those people will actually finish a book. It was such a tough long road, and still is, so I didn’t talk too much about writing with people other than my family. Of course, people knew I wrote, I just didn’t look to them for support.

 


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, if I sat and thought hard about it I would come up with something, but why make myself crazy? It’s too late to change anything so it is what it is and I think it’s pretty darn good. I did the best I could, and I know my writer’s voice came through strong & clear in “Raising the Bottom.”




Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh, my goodness yes! With each book, my writing got better and better. I grew as a writer.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No, I can’t act. Can’t see that at all!



Any advice for other writers?
Keep plugging away. I think if it’s for you to write, you’ll write. I tried to walk away from it so many times, but it seems I kept getting pulled back. If you can walk away from writing and be happy and never miss the agony of it all, you’re probably not a writer. But, if you keep writing even when the journey looks so dark, you’re a writer. We can’t not write. Period.


Will you write another book?
If God wills it, I believe I will. I have some ideas already, but I’m not ready to start another book yet.




What are you reading now?
Just finished *your) Cat’s book: “
Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”  (what a journey she had, but survived and came out stronger on the other side!).

I’m also reading Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker.
He’s an investigative reporter and writes about the destructive nature of big Pharma: What he learned mirrors my experiences of what I’ve seen going on in the hospitals for 24 years. The pills doctors prescribe are ruining lives. It’s so sad to see lives destroyed by all the drugs they put people on. I’ve watched lives spiral down to the depths of despair, all because of the RX’s.


Do you remember the first book you read?
Anything Nancy Drew! I Think was the first series type books I can remember.

 

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus, & Michelangelo. Can you think of two more interesting people?

CAT: LOL… I have to agree about meeting Jesus to ask, What’s It All About? And the other person….hhhhmmmmm, ELVIS! To let him know how bad The Drug Epidemic has gotten…And some to blame is like his Doctor, Over Prescribing Pain Meds and Anxiety Meds too!

 

Favorite Music and Color?
hmmm, that’s a hard one. I like Norah Jones and soothing instrumental music. In my car–I’m a country girl and love the old county music of Wille, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, Cash, Tammy Wynette. Yeah, the old stuff!
Colors: Turquoise or Black.

 

What do you want to be written on your headstone as part of your Legacy?
Something about healing. I’ve worked with women for 28 years, and I know I’ve been blessed to have been a part of their healing. I also want to leave a legacy of having a bit of grit. The world can be a hard place, but we can be all right if we take God with us.  

 

“One of Lisa’s Favorite Place? ~ Palermo, Sicily – Italy!”

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Do you have a blog or website? Where can readers connect with you on Social Media? Sure do! WebsiteRaising The Bottom.


I’m on Twitter & Instagram: @LBoucherAuthor  – My Book Available on Amazon online.
  – FB page: Lisa Speaks of Raising The Bottom



I Thank you, Kim, for allowing me to share YOU with my readers and blog visitors. We all will enjoy learning all about you as a writer. WHAT an Honor it is to have you with us!

WISHING YOU and all my blog readers, friends, and visitors a very HAPPY, Healthy, and Sober THANKSGIVING! May God Bless You…



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Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

 

A Special “Uplifting” For Those Like Me and Many Who Struggle With Depression By My Dear Friend Author, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder”…

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?

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last week, Tony began a subscriber survey that has thus far proven very fruitful. He learned more about who his readers are and what they are looking for when they visit Delight In Disorder… 

“Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the “other” category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: ”

“… how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it. I know cancer patients, for example, feel the same way, but you won’t hear anyone abandoning them. Instead they receive love, prayers, and casseroles. Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.”

This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn’t give me all the answers but helps me better understand the questions.

How does God feel about mental illness? Why does He allow it?

I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of God’s love for us surpasses any love we could have for each other. When we look to Jesus Christ and his feelings for us, God’s emotions are revealed. Jesus became furious at religious leaders who were excluding “imperfect” (sinners) from full participation in worship. Jesus went to outer regions to reach out to those dismissed as “demon possessed” and freed them from the captivity that caused them to be separated from the faith community. Like the Samaritan lifting the bleeding man out of the ditch and caring for him, Jesus cares for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.

So, why? I want to approach this more as a prayer than an accusation. Like when the prophets called on God, “How long, Lord. Will you forget me forever?” In my prayer life, I have come to understand God’s mysterious role in human suffering as something beyond my ability to understand, yet something I can fully trust. I believe God has a plan for me much greater than my mental illness in this life. As the Apostle Paul says, “for this slight momentary affliction is not worth comparing to the greater glory to come.” ( 2 Corinthians 4.17). Like a woman in the midst of agonizing labor, it is next to impossible to believe this in the moment, but when her child is born…. AMAZING!

Why don’t people respond to mental illness with love, prayers, and casseroles?

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I hear this from many both within the church and beyond. Mental illness can be a life-threatening illness, given the number of deaths by suicide. It is, however, viewed by many as an annoying condition that could be overcome with self-willed faith, maybe a few extra push-ups, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. I have heard people comment that they grow weary of caring for family members and friends with chronic mental illness. It never goes away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. When I was first diagnosed, I was serving as a pastor of a small congregation in Northeast PA. I spent over six weeks in the hospital, while my wife cared for our children at home, ages 3 & 1. The church rallied to provide child care, meals, rides. It was wonderful. I was given leave for recovery time and welcomed back when I was ready. Churches can be havens of refuge, but too often we are not.

Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.

Amen! Damn, right it is! And, one of the debilitating factors is that our mental illness coerces us to do the very things that do us the most harm and fail to do the things that could most help. It does us no good to lie in bed for hours on end, but there are days the thought of getting up seems to us like running a 3-minute mile. It would be helpful to go out and spend some time with other people, but there are days where the fear of doing something inappropriate is just too strong.

This past year, for various reasons, I tried to live alone in an attic apartment in an unfamiliar city. On Saturdays, I visited my children. Sundays I went to church. The rest of the week I was on my own. I was not able to make new friends. I tried support groups, meet-ups, readings, dating sites. People scared me or I scared them. In this climate, I had 7 episodes that required intervention. In just 18 months.

Thanks be to God and the loving support of my family, I now have an apartment in my sister’s basement. It provides me a wonderful living space of my own yet I am not alone.

I know such spaces are hard to come by for persons with mental illness.

I pray you find yours.

Tony R.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness. Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer. I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tony Roberts, Author
Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission is on Amazon & Amazon Kindle


My Spotlight With Writer, Kristin Walker of Mental Health News Radio and More…


I am happy to welcome, Kristin Walker to Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den’s “Writer Spotlight.” My name Catherine Lyon, Author, and owner of this Den!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

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Tell us your name and a little of what you do?

Kristin Sunanta Walker is my full name. I am the CEO of a behavioral health technology consulting firm, #everythingEHR and host/CEO of a podcast network Mental Health News Radio Network.


Where are you from? 
Huntington Beach, California but I now live in Asheville North Carolina


Tell us more about you? Like your education, family life. Etc.

My education is called the school of hard knocks. Severe and undiagnosed ADHD kept me from being any good at regular school. I also had depression and complex PTSD so I channeled all my energy into work. I started working full-time when I was 15. I am divorced but my best friend is my ex-husband who is also the father of our only child.


Do you have any latest news?

We have a book coming out with my podcast network in the Spring of 2018 called #mentalhealthified which is a compilation of many of the guests and podcasters on our network and their journey with addiction and mental wellness.


Are you a writer?

Yes. I have been writing since I was a teenager but not publicly until about five years ago. I have a book www.emotionalimpotence.com that is being written. Many of the essays are published in other author’s books. I’ll be completing it at the end of next year with many authors writing chapters about personality disorders.

When and why did you begin writing?

I needed to use my voice and I’m a horrid singer. I mean …. Feral cats show up to yowl if I sing, Lol, but I have plenty to get out. Writing and speaking became my outlet.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Sexual abuse at the hands of my biological father and getting entangled with a psychopath in my early forties.

 

How did you come up with the title?

Emotional Impotence was born of dealing with people who objectify other human beings, believe they are their property and have little to no empathy other than for themselves. To me, that is the epitome of being emotionally impotent. I want a book with many professionals and survivors that can explain how much damage these kinds of relationships can do to a person with empathy, especially those of us who have more empathy than others.

The second book “#mentalhealthified” is a hashtag we use for our podcast network. We want everyone in the world to feel positive about their mental well-being. We want them to get “#mentalhealthified.”

Do you have a specific writing style? More an Essay Style.


How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Chapters I write will be about me and my life. The other chapters are written by clinicians, patients, advocates, etc. about their lives.

 

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Yes. I do travel a lot for business. I visit behavioral health agencies to consult with them about their electronic health record technology. I also go to more mental health conferences than I care to admit. We do live podcasts from these venues.

Who designed the covers?

Dan Cropper who is our graphic designer and web developer. We are still working out the graphics so the covers are not ready yet.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That mental/psychological abuse is just as, if not more, detrimental to your mental health than other types of abuse. No one should be stigmatized for struggling with mental health issues which include addiction.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer?

Hands down Alice Walker – been around a long time. Her writing makes the words you think with more beautiful.  Johnnie Calloway – Simple and to the point writing style that packs a powerful punch.  And, of course, you Cat!

Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?

Andrea Schneider. She is a therapist in Southern California. She is also an author and her blog articles about psychological abuse saved my life.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope! But they are still in creation so I am sure they will change a lot before publishing date. We are now in the process of getting the red-line edits and pulling our hair out and dealing with the gut punch from editors.

 

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

That I can actually do this….And that I don’t have to do it alone. I am so much of a collaborator that I really wanted to publish books with multiple authors. So I am grateful that I have a huge number of people around the globe that are authors and wanted to be a part of my books.


If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I can’t even fathom, Lol…

Any advice for other writers?

Be nice to your editor. They are actually trying to help you.

Share one thing about you that will surprise readers?

I can stick my entire fist in my mouth, Lol! Made me real popular in High School. Kidding. I was a saint in High School but I can stick my entire fist in my mouth. Dentists love me.


Will you write another book? 
MANY…


What are you reading now?  
Weed, Inc. by Ben Cort…


Do you remember the first book you read? 
Garfield comic books.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

The Dalai Lama which sounds so ridiculous. I literally just want to be in his energy space for 2 minutes and soak him in. The man oozes peace, contentment, and resilience.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

Podcasting. Writing. Traveling. Hanging with my friends at their houses until they beg me to leave. They are tired but man do we have intense, life-altering conversations while I am there.


Favorite Music?  It’s all over the map but I do love the 80’s.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Telepathically communicate.


What do you want to be written on your
headstone as part of your Legacy?

If there is any bird shit on this headstone, leave it. It means wherever I am, I don’t care about this crazy thing called; “being a human being anymore.” Thank God.

 

Do you have a blog or website where readers can visit for updates, events or updates? www.mentalhealthnewsradio.com * Mental Health News on Blog Talk Radio

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Kristin, I sure thank you for sharing with me, my readers and friends! I always say God brings people into our lives at the right time and I am blessed he brought you into MINE!

Now friends, please connect with Kristin on Social Media and do go listen to her show as they are educational and informative. I will be on soon as we just taped a show together! I will let you know WHEN!

 

Kristin Sunanta Walker

 

Listen to Kristin Sunanta Walker who is CEO, everythingEHR, and CEO, MHNR Network. The host of Mental Health News Radio Links!

 

 

Please Connect With Kristin on Social Media! –  LinkedIn  –  Facebook  –  And Twitter

4 Years Worth of Gambling Addiction Advocating and Sharing My Story Here on WordPress To Help Many From This Cunning Real Addiction!

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My Story I Shared At “HEROES In Recovery” Shattering Stigma and More…

“My name is Catherine and I am dual diagnosed living with mental health challenges and in recovery from gambling addiction 10 years now!
If I can RECOVER, SO can YOU XOXO”

My recovery journey started in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today.

My point? You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I chose to not do all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.

After this second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a well-balanced recovery and had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, has bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who suffer from a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The nasty habits, behaviors and diseased thinking needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day and reading. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, people who to recover and live with mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen to not be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real disease and addiction. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities, our families’ and now youth and the negative impact it has on all.

1 in 5 Problem Gamblers Attempts Suicide!Still Think Your Lucky_(2)

The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. And it the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide than any addiction. Through my own recovery and sharing my testimony, I have learned a lot. The best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.

Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. What is missing is to learn how to also begin the inner work to address the roots of WHY we may have turned to addictions. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in longevity in recovery. I learned this the hard way. I became an addicted.

Now that I have reached ten years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we can weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I share as much as I can with others. I do this in many ways. My second book is almost finished, and I hope to release it late 2017. It will be more of “how-to” for reaching that elusive first year of recovery.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, my readers asked me to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share my recovery and journal in blog form. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover.

Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn from. My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your recovery journey if you do one thing a day for RECOVERY…

“This is my 4 Year Recovery Blogging wish for all who is battling the cunning cycle of gambling addiction. Thank You, WordPress for helping me help others!”

Catherine ~ XO

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4 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

 


“Transforming Our Recovery: From Treatment Into Recovery and Healing”

Welcome Friends and Visitors!

YES, sorry that it has been a while since I have blogged about my journey and recovery from gambling addiction now 10+years IN!


I also have had many blessings come my way recently and thought I should share what I’m doing in my own recovery path. On of the beautiful things about recovery is we continue to grow when we have a plan in place for whatever life brings us. It can a new trial or test, or it can be an awesome learning opportunity. If we are NOT learning along the way, we become close minded and maybe not open to seeing all the miricales that happen in life and in our recovery journey!

Lately,  I have been on a journey myself of living wellness in LIFE. Yes, in life, not just in recovery. I have been craving more than “just” living a life in recovery and have learned we have many choices to get there. Our recovery is only a part of life. Living an authentic fun and peaceful life from addiction should be a goal when reaching long-term recovery.

We need to explore what we need to do to maintain and continue to grow, and there are many ways to accomplish this in both the treatment side and doing our inner work side, especially for those coming early into recovery. TWO great tools I have been using is an Educational DVD Series and finished reading the book; “Addiction To Recovery: Unlocking Your Potential.” They both have transformed my recovery. The book is the material used for the DVD’S.

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New Recovery DVD Series

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And if you have been in recovery from gambling addiction long-term, let’s face it; you don’t need to be a person who works in the field of treating gambling addicts to know there has not been much development in treatment options for those of us who become addicted gambling. And, there is much confusion of what to call a gambler who becomes addicted. Labeling a disease I feel adds to the “stigma” around many addictions let alone gambling, and hampers many who may seek for help.

Now, by all means, I am sharing this as a recovering gambler’s perspective and is what I call myself when speaking about my recovery from this illness. I am not an expert in the field, nor a therapist or treatment expert. It seems; however, we learn a lot about our addiction by research, by our treatment choice and the education we receive, and even by just listening to others around you in a group or GA meeting. We can look at recovery in the same way. And I have heard many “old” battles and disagreements about what IS the best route or path to recovery. A 12-step model, professional treatment, spiritual path or others. Recovery is not a “one size fits all” concept.

When we label people though, it may make them feel “like their disease” if that makes sense. I know I don’t like being labeled just because I live in recovery from addiction. I also live with mental health challenges, so more labels around that too. My addiction is called many names; “pathological gambling,” “compulsive gambling,” “addicted or at risk gambling, gambling disorder” and problem gambler,” and on and on. It can be very frustrating! But I am certain these various terms reflect the efforts of researchers and treatment providers to be able to describe the different levels of severity shown among people with gambling problems.

The same is lacking for new and innovative ways to treat gambling addiction. Some even treat it as a “Mental Health” issue and require a treatment model of cognitive-behavior. I disagree as an addiction IS a disease, and a disease is a medical problem, not just a mental health issue. The various treatment models used for gambling addiction, I found the problem was the effectiveness of these options and what seemed to be missing.

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WHY?

Because as I went through treatment myself, and attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings as well, did I relapse? YES, and I was seeing the same people in both my treatment group and GA meetings, out and had relapsed as they were out gambling too! That seems to question the actual honest success rate of these options of treatment. And with this in mind, most treatment options tend to only focus on three stages of treatment; crisis or intervention, followed by rehabilitation and ending with maintenance. Again, all my observations and what I experienced.

I feel what is missing in most types of treatment options is the so-called “maintenance.” The aftercare and teaching us how to begin the stage of “inner work” and self-reflection to address those deeper underlying issues, maybe pain, past trauma or abuse that may have had a part in those turning to addiction in the first place. It is the way addicts can learn to take back the power of our lives, begin the healing process, learn to forgive and then “let it GO.” Only then can we journey to a better way of life. Former addicts need the necessary skills and tools to inner work of our character defects and “clean out the soul” so to speak.

In recovery from gambling, we need to learn how to “feel” again as we used addiction to ‘numb or escape’ from our problems, life, or any pain or hurt. There are many ways to learn these skills if you are not receiving it within your choice of treatment and recovery. Some ways to begin “inner work” can be by journaling each day, write what worked and what areas you had problems that day and correct them. Reading addiction/recovery books, recovery magazines and even recovery papers like “Keys To Recovery,” and even working the 12-steps and rework them are all excellent tools to start the inside work, especially in early recovery.

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So, listening to recovery podcasts and DVDS are great ways to learn more about what others in recovery are doing to live a well-balanced, and happy life in recovery. Many add prayer, meditation, and even yoga as ways to a truer inner peace and gain serenity. These are all actions I use in my recovery. Coming into recovery is scary enough, but learning a deeper meaning of yourself and life without addiction in the process is the best part of your recovery that gets you to long-term recovery IN happiness from addiction.

Life doesn’t stop just because you are recovering. It takes honest surrender that gambling has you beat, that you are ready for change, and you want your life back. It takes a lifetime journey, but always remember we “all are works in progress.” I think as others in recovery from gambling addiction; we need to continue to ask ourselves?

What more can we do to help decrease the “stigma” and increase how we can help and be of service to others fighting this addiction? I say?

“Keep having the conversation and advocating.” I know I will!

**Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Former Columnist, Freelance Writer** 

 

About Gambling Addiction and Does Self-Ban From Casinos Work?

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences . . . .

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Here is what my good friends of the National Council for Problem Gambling  define’s this addiction.

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. And again, have no sense or fear of consequences from the destruction they are causing.

Isn’t Problem and Addicted Gambling a Financial Problem?

No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, the person will still be a problem gambler. The real problem is that they have an uncontrollable obsession with gambling. But, in order to recover, the gambler needs to be willing to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well and stop gambling.


Isn’t Problem Gambling Really the Result of weak or financially irresponsible people?

No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. Precipitating factors often lead to a change in behavior, such as retirement or job-related stress.

The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Some problem gamblers do not have financial issues even though they may lose money gambling. Gambling is an emotional issue where a person feels the need to gamble to alleviate stress or because they feel a certain type of euphoria when they gamble. Gambling is an obsession that can take over your life if you let it go too far, this can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.


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For me, gambling became a way for me to cope, escape, and numb old feelings that came back to haunt me of what I went through as a little girl in my early childhood, then into a teen and on into adulthood. And even though 12-Step programs and support tell us we can arrest the addiction and recover, I myself disagree from a “treatment” standpoint. In order for me to reach full recovery, I had to process all the “old” in a healthy manner of all the uderlying issues before I was able to grasp a well-balanced recovery and make it into long-term recovery.

As I am a firm believer in doing the “inner work” within ourselves is just as important as learning the skills, tools, and being educated about the disease. So I do 12-step meetings, but I do them for support and to be with others who understand this addiction and be of service to others.

IF you think you have a gambling problem? I always suggest to people that a great place to start is to stop by  Gamblers Anonymous ~ 20 Questions and answer HONESTLY their 20 Questions and it will give you a good view if you have a problem and need help.

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Now About Self-Banning or Self Exclusion: What Is This?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have their own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. So for an example, I currently live in the State of Arizona so I will share this STATE’S options as there as Indian Tribe Casinos all over this state, so people have many options and ACCESS to GAMBLE.

Here is what my friends at Arizona Dept. of Problem Gambling say about  Self Ban:

Self-Exclusion or Self-Ban is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all Indian Gaming Facilities within the State of Arizona and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses, and the use of any of the services or privileges of the facility.  You can choose either a one-year, five-year, or ten-year exclusion.  This exclusion is irrevocable and cannot be altered or rescinded for any reason during the selected time period on the form.

How Do I Exclude Myself?

There are a number of ways you can go about excluding yourself. You can download the exclusion form found on this site, fill it out, have it notarized and mail it to the Department of Gaming along with a current photo of yourself. Please note: The self-exclusion will not be processed without proper notarization and a current photo. We can accept the photo electronically via email but we must have the original, notarized self-exclusion form sent to this office.

You may also come to the office to complete the entire self-exclusion process which includes meeting with the self-exclusion administrator who will discuss the program, notarize the form and take your photo as well as give you additional resources for problem gambling.

Please click on the FAQ link to the right for more information.  Questions & Answers on Self Ban  . . . .

Many casinos and states are also trying to help by offering these additional Ban Services as well:

The self-exclusion procedures and the self-exclusion forms are in a PDF format. To obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.

Download a copy of: Self-Exclusion Procedures; Self-Exclusion Form

BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS

The Everi STeP program allows you to exclude yourself from using ATMs at over 1000 gambling locations.

Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI) can also assist in blocking ATM transactions in some Arizona casinos.

BAN YOURSELF FROM INTERNET GAMBLING

Gamblock prevents access to internet gambling sites.

Please make sure you visit their Q&A Facts page about more questions of Self Ban and Exclusion, you will find it Helpful….

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The Interesting and Comical Side of Gambling and Self-Ban:

Now, of course, I will KEEP in perspective that gambling is something many people do from time to time. But for others, it becomes an obsession, and they risk losing their livelihoods and much more because of the affliction, THAT IS NOT Funny.

But I have been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous a long time, and also when I was in treatment twice in our weekly group meetings. I can tell you I heard all sorts of stories about others who did try the self-ban from casinos. Now I never had the nerve to self-ban from the only Indian Casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon where I lived at the time of my deep gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sun glass’s and the like to hide their identity from the guards. and praying they didn’t hit a BIG jackpot for an attendant to have to come and pay them out or they would be Kicked Out! To me? That is living on the far off the edge! BUT? “If you want something bad enough?” ….

I have had many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning, but here is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Postive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned I think you need to read. Here is one person’s experience:

“In the US it doesn’t work well. My wife signed the self-exclusion in all local casinos but she is able to play in all of them. One time she was playing, I told security that how come they let her plays when she signed self-exclusion, they immediately kicked her out. But casinos are businesses, and none of them will say no to FREE money. There is no real penalty for letting people who self-excluded play so why should they enforce it? I was considering suing them but all lawyers I contacted said that I can’t win.”

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I hope you have found this to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and I find it interesting. I think for my own addiction, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am a type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Wany.”  And self-ban could just backfire as of some other horrific stories I heard as in the rooms as well. Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts. Yes, I heard some stories about this as well.

And this I DO have my own personal experience as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of my title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choices I made and the people I had hurt when I was gambling and deep within my disease.

We are only “as sick as our SECRETS” so I wrote and shared most all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others and may they learn just far this cunning, sick and progressive addiction will take you! Here are some signs to look for if you suspect a loved one may have a gambling problem. Visit my friend’s page at  Addictions.com for more information and helpful treatment and support options …

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Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life. Addictions.com

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**Presented by Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of  “Addicted To Dimes” **

 

Recovery Guest Blog & Article Spotlight. Marilyn Davis of ‘From Addict 2 Advocate’ & Article By, Carl Towns.

Note from  of  Addict 2 Advocate:  I’m always excited to bring another voice to From Addict 2 Advocate. Carl Towns discusses his struggles with gambling addiction and offers straightforward information, his experience with gambling, and some solutions.

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Gambling Addiction: When Rewards Stop Working

Gambling is one of those attractions that are present in everyday life – the football pool at the office, betting on a presidential race, wagering a dollar on the weather, bingo at the senior citizen center. We might even get a scratch-off with our change from the convenience store, and most people turn a blind eye to these kinds of gambling.

However, the rewards for these seemingly innocuous chance games is what can fuel a gambling addiction.

Our brains have neural pathways; one of which is the brain’s reward system. This system involves electronic impulses that turn into pleasure, memory, and motivation. When a person engages in basic actions such as eating, sexual activity or even sleep; the reward system starts to work. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is the one responsible for all the feelings of pleasure and euphoria one might experience upon engaging in certain activities. Experts used to think of addiction as dependency on a chemical; they now define it as repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions.

This is the reason drugs have such an addictive power. These substances basically trick the brain into thinking it has engaged in a highly pleasurable activity and releases up to 10 times the normal dose of dopamine, sometimes even more.

Gambling, much like drug addiction has the same impact on the brain and its dopamine production/release, the difference is that no outside chemicals are working, but the brain starts to relate only gambling-like scenarios with pleasurable ones.

For me, it was just an occasional escapade because I had a couple extra bucks to blow or because I ‘happened’ to be vacationing in Las Vegas and gambling is what people do in Vegas, right? At first, I thought of this as harmless fun, until it wasn’t anymore. I didn’t get the same feelings from just occasionally going to the casinos and found that it was impossible to distance myself from the practice of gambling in any form.

Although I realize now what was happening to me,  many people are unaware that gambling addiction causes the same outcomes as drug and alcohol addiction; it is a problem that affects people all across America and the world. If your gut is telling you that someone you know or love (or yourself) is engaging in gambling at the expense of other areas of their life, these facts may help you decide if there is a problem. As with a substance abuse problem, you may need to help your loved one, or yourself, find professional help.

1. Underestimating the Disease

One of the biggest problems is that often people treat don’t treat gambling addiction seriously. Many times I was told to “brush it off” or “snap out of it”. While those statements prompted my guilt, I was unable to stop gambling, so went to greater lengths to hide my gambling.

If someone approaches you telling you they are suffering from this, listen to them and support them, just like you would do if they were addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Gambling is not unlike chemical drugs; one taste can be enough to hook someone. The first time I set foot in a casino was on a cruise with my family when I was 17. I loved it and when I went back, I started looking for bets everywhere until I was able to work and I could play money.

If you go with young ones to a casino or any gambling site, such as a horse track; talk to them and have them understand that there are risks involved and they should not feel bad if they find it difficult to stop. Caution them that gambling addiction is real and that if they are struggling, even after one round of betting, whether they lose or win, is a good way to be proactive about gambling addiction.

2. How Gambling and Substance Compulsive Consumption are Very Similar

After an extended period of time of regular consumption of drugs or gambling, the reward system basically malfunctions, and three things occur as a result:

3. What Are You Doing and Where’s the Money Gone?  

There are many symptoms related to gambling addiction, however, one word sums them up –spending. How much time are you or someone you know spending in casinos, online, buying scratch-offs and how much money is being spent there?

While the “spending” symptoms are the biggest ones to look out for, there are plenty more signs that can indicate if you or someone you know is falling or has fallen into a gambling addiction. When gambling is a secret, how much money is spent, or what activities you’re engaged in; those are huge red flag warnings. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Breaking even will become the goal in the face of big losses (even though it probably won’t happen).
  • Gambling becomes a priority: Planning how to earn more money to gamble, how to take advantage of the games; gambling, probabilities, teams, machines, etc. are all the person can talk about, normal events (like social gatherings) are forgotten in order to go gamble.
  • Gambling becomes an exit to relieve stress or suppress feelings of anxiety and even loneliness.
  • Having the need to gamble increasing quantities of money, if the next bet is not bigger, then it’s not exciting.
  • No matter how much the person works or how much they (or you) earn, it will always be an evolving financial loss situation due to constant gambling.
  • Personal relationships, such as marriage, children, family or even close friends are put in serious jeopardy because of gambling, professional life will be affected too.
  • There are several (failed) attempts to cut down the gambling.
  • When their gambling gets cut down unexpectedly bad temper or irritability start to show.

4. Withdrawal

When I finally realized I had a problem, I tried to stop gambling on my own. I decided that isolation would work. I went to my family’s cabin (which is in the middle of nowhere, in Iowa) to get away from all the temptation.


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I always thought that abstinence syndrome or withdrawals only applied to drugs or alcohol, but in that cabin, I found out it applies to gambling too. I started experiencing unpleasant mental and physical distress, insomnia, anxiety, and even physical pain. A pathological gambler would have the need to be constantly aiming higher, making riskier bets to achieve the same thrill, and high, so when I denied myself all that, I went into withdrawal.

It was a hard path, and if you or a loved one are demonstrating signs of a gambling addiction, it’s very important that you understand it’s not a moral failure or a bad habit, but a compulsion and brain disorder. In order to be treated properly professional help must be sought, if you know of someone suffering from gambling addiction or if you are suffering it yourself, please seek help.

5. Help is Available

Remember that recovering from such disorder is something possible even for people suffering the worst of it. A pathological gambler can make his or her way back to sanity and stability in their life. Resources for gambling addiction are available through local mental health agencies or here are some online resources and books for you to see if you can identify with a gambling addiction and then find help.

The National Problem Gambling Hotline

Gambling Help Online

A great book on gambling and the price one woman and those who knew her had to pay is by Catherine Townsend-Lyon,  Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)


Regardless of whether you find help locally or online, just know that gambling addiction will not improve on its own. However daunting that sounds, I know the pitfalls of gambling addiction and the peace and of recovery. I hope you find them, too.

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Biography: Carl Towns

I’m Carl Towns a 28-year-old wannabe writer; I am also a recovering addict on the path of self-discovery. My goal is to learn as many things as possible and to seize every single moment I live, pretty much trying to make up for all that I missed in the years I was lost in drugs and alcohol and gambling. I’m in love with tech, cars and pretty much anything that can be found online.

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Biography: Marilyn L. Davis

A recovery curriculum author with 27 years of abstinence-based recovery, Marilyn advocates for and writes to the addicted population.
She opened and ran an award-winning women’s recovery home from 1990-2011, creating a recovery curriculum, Therapeutic Integrated Education Recovery System, which breaks addiction down into the variables and then offers time-tested exercises for healing, relapse prevention, and dealing with codependency and self-defeating behaviors.

She is the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, where she shares her gifts as a communicator, encouraging other writers to use their creativity to share their talents through writing.  She believes in the power of words and knows that how something is said is just as important as what is said.

From Addict 2 Advocate explores addiction, recovery, and codependency with the same attention; write, so people relate and heal, and become the best person they can be.

Awards
Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award, Brenau University, 2008: ongoing award for individuals in mental health, wellness and recovery.
Liberty Bell Award, Northeastern Judicial Circuit, 2010: given to non-attorneys for their contribution to the criminal justice system and their communities.

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**Presented By Recovery Starts Here! ~ Author/Columnist, Catherine Lyon** 

 

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time the problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be “normal” like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!

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Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???

 

I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

Live in Phoenix, AZ and Surrounding Area? Live in Recovery? Then Come Join The Fun at a Gratitude Gala!

Live in Phoenix, AZ and Surrounding Area? Live in Recovery? Then Come Join The Fun at a Gratitude Gala!

HELLO and WELCOME ALL Recovery Friends and New Visitors!

“It is going to be a night of comedy, dinner, awards and MORE on November 18th, 2016 ~ and you can join us for all the Recovery Fun! So if you live in or in the surrounding areas of Phoenix, AZ? You can come too. And a few days before the GALA? I will have a very Special Guest and Intimate Interview with our entertainer, the hardest working guy in comedy, ALONZO BODDEN!!! Right Here on my Recovery Blog!”

 

 

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We also will have a Fabulous MC for the show as well, Dawn Lutrell a comedian, MC, and Ellen DeGeneres look alike. Dawn is who I would like to introduce to today as she is a woman in recovery and has such a powerful story of her recovery journey. She was just on our good friend Omar “O” Pinto’s Podcast at ” The SHAIR Podcast – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery  .  .  .  .  which I am going to share with all of you today! Her recovery story in this Podcast Interview is AMAZING and will make you laugh, cry, and giggle till the end.

Dawn is a firm believer in AA and The 12-Steps to recovery, as we all know, “whatever takes to gain Sobriety” and what process works for us to lead us into long-term recovery.
This girl is a HOOT as you will hear when you listen to this podcast. She has been in long-term recovery over 5 years. I think my buddy “O” had a “wee bit” too much fun interviewing Dawn! LOL.

Just a little about Dawn. Besides being a comedian, she is also a musician. She is also an ‘Ellen DeGeneres Celebrity Double at Mirror Images, Co. And I can tell you she looks and sounds just like Ellen!

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Dawn lives in Corvallis, Oregon and has lived in Colorado, and Grand Island, Nebraska. She’s been married to her life partner Patti in Oct. 2013, but have been together over 20 years. Her favorite quote?

 

“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
– Baba Dioum


I know I can not wait to see Dawn perform in a few a weeks. Now give a listen to her amazing life and recovery story and interview with “O” from THE SHAIR Project to learn more about this fantastic woman! She is not shy when it comes to her Recovery!


ENJOY FRIENDS!  *CaT Lyon*
 

Don’t Leave Before The MIRACLE Happens

 

 

* Presented By ~ Recovery Starts Here! ~ Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

An Interview With an “Angel of God.” Author, Whitney McKendree Moore and Her Book, Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown.

Hello and Welcome Friends and Readers,

“I have been very blessed to have met a new “Angel” and supporter of my recovery. And I want to share her with all of you! As I believe God would want me to. She is not a woman to be “kept a secret” as she is a proud and loud Christian and she is filled with God’s love, faith as she “walks by faith, not by sight.”

 

 

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Author, Whitney Moore

“Whitney McKendree Moore says she writes “campfire stories.” Her books are for women discouraged by a loved one’s alcoholism, especially for those who may not realize that help is available. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal.”

 

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I do believe this to be true about Whitney. In just the short time I have come to know her, she exudes an in-depth insight of the power of “Miracles and God’s Love and Grace” as well. I have just finished reading her book titled; Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown available on Amazon. (Her Review will be a new Post  is a Soon). It is a beautiful tribute to her parents, but also heartbreaking as well.

“Whitney takes readers on a written life journey with this book that brings to light many important issues and topics that face many of us today. Here is more about her book.”

About Whit’s End:

Whit’s End is the biography of a breakdown. It will bring hope to any Christian who is wringing their hands over a loved one’s addiction. In author Whitney Moore’s family, the problem was related to alcohol, but addiction is addiction is addiction. . . .
This story proves that nothing is too hard for God that when we can’t, God can.

The victory that is unfolded in these pages starts with the shock of realizing there is even such as thing as “functional alcoholism.” When the problem is finally revealed, Moore finds help in a twelve-step recovery, where people learn to discern (and do!) God’s will. In meetings, people share the miracles that, for them, have started to unfold.

More About The Author From Her Must Visit Fabulous Website Recovery in The Bible:

“It was in church basements, in recovery meetings gathered (mostly) sitting in circles, where I heard about miracles. Hot off the press! Their honesty helped me more than sitting in rows upstairs ever had.”

I am a born-again woman in recovery trying to practice “saying what I mean, meaning what I say, and not saying it mean.”   I am available, and I love it when we get to encourage one another!  And so, here we are: offering honest questions, hoping for honest replies. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal. She writes to tell of God’s incredible help in her life three ways:

Divine Intervention: “Whit’s End” is her personal testimony of how God revealed denial and delivered her from it into a whole new life.

Direct Connect: “Downloads from God” and “Contemporary Psalms” are companion volumes — excerpts of what it sounds like to be in Quiet Time with the Maker of the Universe.

Divine Connections: “BS-Busters” and “Praise in the Storm” are books of encouragement, urging gatherings where it is safe to “get real” with God, with ourselves, and with each other. Two other titles (“God Can!” and “What the Conductor Said”) offer additional “campfire stories” of God speaking, even through each of us, to one another. Which all can be found on my website.

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Because Whitney is a woman, she writes to come alongside other women who, like her, have reached the point of saying, “I can’t; God can; I need to let Him.” Born in New York City to medical parents — her mother an R.N., her father a neurologist following the footsteps of his father. Back in those days, physicians lived under an awning of prominence. Both her father and her grandfather were treated like demi-gods at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where the phrases “wonderful bedside manner” and “dear and glorious physician” were said aloud and a lot by her mother, who was also highly regarded as “possibly the world’s best Head Nurse.”

Voice and pen became Whitney’s personal ways to be heard. After she married in 1971, she published an article every year as she pursued her professional career and she continued to “sing constantly.” A turning point for Whitney came in 1989 when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery. Whitney lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She attended Boston University and is an author, writer, publisher, singer, musician and has worn many career hats. A firm believer in Miracles, in God and Faith. She is avid about The 12-Steps of Recovery and the grateful help of AlAnon.

SINGER BRINGER


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I do two kinds of singing: (a) HIM Sings and (b) KidSongs. Either way, my goal is for listeners to join in and sing along.

HIM SINGS bring soothing songs and prayerful encouragement wherever I am welcome to do so, mostly into nursing homes and adult day care centers.

KidSONGS provide lots of action and joy as small children learn about animals and numbers and letters and some very silly directions in highly interactive songs.

I have also posted two original songs on Soundcloud.com that are downloadable for free. I hope to be making all my remaining songs available with the publication of my songbook, scheduled for release soon.

Visit Soundcloud.com to listen to my recent songs. I am available to sing or speak.
Please contact me for more information.

You can connect with Whitney on:
Facebook     Twitter    LinkedIn    Google+  &   GoodReads


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Presented By “Recovery Starts Here”  ~ Author & Columnist, Catherine Lyon 

 

Our Gambling Guest Article is by Freelance Writer, John Rosengren for AARP. . . .

The Casino Trap | Why Slots are ‘Electronic Crack’  ~ by John Rosengren, AARP Bulletin, October 2016

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“As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing targets older patrons”

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Beauford Burton had enjoyed the occasional poker game in his youth, but in his 60s the slots hooked him. He and his wife, Sharon, started making the 2 1/2-hour drive every Friday from their home in Kings Mountain, N.C., to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, where they won occasionally but lost more frequently. In one year, he lost about $50,000, nearly the equivalent of his annual salary as a manager in a textile company.

They often stayed longer than they’d intended—many times the casino would offer them a free hotel room Saturday night. Burton can’t remember ever paying for a room. He had access to an exclusive bar with free drinks and food, preferred seating in the restaurants and suite upgrades in the hotel. Harrah’s once flew the couple to its casino in Laughlin, Nev., and covered all their expenses—except, of course, what they gambled.

In the end, Burton knew that all of the freebies weren’t really free and that he had paid for them tenfold with his losses. “I have always known you don’t get something for nothing, but I fell for it,” he says. “It’s the good old devil at work.”

Over four years, the slots drained more than $100,000 from Burton’s 401(k). But he kept playing. He cashed in a life insurance policy, took out cash advances on his credit card and gambled away Social Security checks meant to pay utility bills. Finally, in 2008, the gambling habit took his home.

By then, he was playing in a panic, betting up to $15 to $20 a spin, chasing his losses and pursuing the one illusory jackpot that he hoped would save him. “As you start to lose, you think, This is a luck thing, my luck is going to change,” says Burton, now 73. “But the more you go, the more you lose. It ends up in desperation. I can see how people get so deep that it causes them to take their own lives because it gets really, really bad.”


The Rise of Casinos

Of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 50 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue, and much of that profit came from these older gamblers.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies revealed that many older adults viewed the casino as a place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief.

It’s never been easier for them to get to one. Long gone are the days when the twin casino meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., represented the sole options for American gamblers. Regional casinos have proliferated dramatically since 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legalized casino development on Indian lands. That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1,400 casinos are spread across 40 states. Regional casinos are especially attractive to those who prefer to drive themselves and do not want to have to spend the night. States with large populations of adults over 65, including Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have all expanded casino gambling in recent years.

Addictions Experts Alarmed

Older adults are an especially desirable demographic for the gaming industry because they fill the floors during off-peak hours, and casinos market to them aggressively, offering discounts on breakfast and lunch, free drinks and guarantees to “instantly win up to $1,000 Free Slot Play!” They stage free daytime entertainment such as polka dancing, magic shows and live “Golden Oldies” shows. The “third of the month club” provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement housing complexes on the day they receive their Social Security checks. Some casinos stock their bathrooms with adult diapers and disposal receptacles for diabetics’ needles. They provide wheelchairs, walkers, and more handicapped parking spots than a hospital. One Nevada casino operated an on-site pharmacy—since closed—where accumulated play credits could cover the standard $25 copay on medications.

The gambling boom—and the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older patrons—has alarmed addiction experts. Even casino patrons with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior as they age. According to a 2005 study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, 1 in 11 adults over age 65 bet more than they could afford to lose in the previous year. The study suggests that more than 4 million older Americans could have a gambling problem. “That’s a higher rate than we have for most diseases,” he says.

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Notable High Rollers

Earlier this year, the Hollywood Reporter devoted a cover story to one such pathological gambler—Emmy-winning television producer and writer David Milch, 71. Despite earning millions from the shows he helped create, including NYPD Blue and the critically acclaimed HBO series Deadwood, Milch ran up enormous debts betting on horse racing (also the topic of his short-lived HBO series Luck). According to a lawsuit filed by Milch’s wife against the couple’s business managers, between 2000 and 2011 his gambling losses reached $25 million, and he’s now $17 million in debt.

For other high-rolling notables with well-documented gambling habits, such as NBA great Charles Barkley and actor Ben Affleck, sports betting and poker are the typical culprits. But the majority of everyday problem gamblers are camped out at the slot machines, which have evolved from the traditional one-armed bandits into highly sophisticated “electronic gaming machines” powered by proprietary computer chips. Slots are the biggest revenue producer for the industry and the most popular attraction for older gamblers: 3 out of 4 adults age 65 and older identify slots and video poker as their preferred form of gambling, according to a Harrah’s survey.

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‘Electronic Crack’

“Slots are also the most addictive form of casino gambling, with the machines designed to maximize your “time on device” until you’re out of money. A 2001 study by psychiatrist Hans Breiter, then of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, confirmed that the machine’s nickname—”electronic crack”—is an apt one. Using MRI scanners, he found that in subjects playing slots, the brain’s neural circuits fired in a way that was similar to those using cocaine.”

Several factors make gamblers particularly susceptible to addiction behavior as they age. Loneliness, social isolation and the loss of a spouse can encourage older people to seek relief in casinos. “For someone older who has been sick in the hospital or who is bored or lonely, that can have a big impact on them,” says clinical Gero psychologist Dennis McNeilly of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

More serious age-related cognitive decline plays a role, too. A 2012 study found that changes in the anatomy and chemistry of brains in dementia patients 65 and up, particularly in the frontal region—which controls executive functioning—”may render older adults particularly vulnerable to the stimulation provided by the slot machine.” Dementia afflicts about 14 percent of the U.S. population over 70 years old, and an estimated half of those (nearly 2 million people) are undiagnosed.

“With both the reward system and impulse controls impaired, that creates the perfect storm for someone to develop problems with gambling,” says Michael Hornberger, a neuroscientist at the University of East Anglia in England. Cognitive issues can cause sufferers to lose their sense of money’s value, and those with dementia often repeat a singular behavior such as pushing the button on a slot machine over and over. “They just keep playing as long as the casino lets them,” Hornberger says.
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Foes of casino gambling say that the industry actively targets vulnerable older patrons. For every 20 older patrons who walk through their doors, says Les Bernal national director of the advocacy organization and watchdog Stop Predatory Gambling , the casinos want to “find a couple of them that they can take for all they’re worth.”

From Social Gambler To Addict

Beauford Burton’s experience at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is typical of such relationships. In addition to sending birthday cards and weekly mailings with ticket deals to shows and vouchers for free play, the casino assigned a VIP host who called Burton at home to invite him back for various specials. Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating meals with them.

“The whole premise of a host is to extract as much money from that player as possible,” says ex-host John-Talmage Mathis, who worked as VIP marketing director at the Boomtown Casino in Bossier City, La. “For older people, the host becomes their friend, giving them some attention they may be missing from their family, children or friends.”

Casinos award hosts bonuses based on how much the gambler loses. “The losses of your player,” Mathis says, “are your success.”

As the industry seeks to expand, more women are being enticed into casinos, and more are experiencing problems, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry.

Many slot machines are now designed specifically for women players, who, like longtime slots addict Melynda Litchfield, sometimes feel bonded with their machines. Litchfield, 56, worked 27 years at a Chicago-area hospital, climbing from staff nurse to administrator with a salary of $100,000.

Yet she couldn’t afford a prom dress for her daughter because she lost so much playing slots at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill., 10 minutes from their home. For Litchfield, the atmosphere was as addicting as the machines themselves. The staff treated her warmly and called her by name. “They gave me so much personal attention and TLC that you get a false impression these people—who are milking away all of your money—actually care about you,” she says.

The casino also served as an escape, to a place where she did not have to tend to the needs of anyone else. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” says Litchfield, who quit gambling in 2012 and is now a national victims advocate for Stop Predatory Gambling. “I just wanted to get lost in my machine.”

Push Toward The Slots



Amy Ziettlow, a Lutheran minister and affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, visited casinos in Louisiana, Iowa, and New York for her investigative report, “Seniors in Casino Land.”
“The whole aim of trying to cater to the needs of the least among us simply to take their money is abusive,” she says. “Owners push them toward the slots.”

Industry advocates such as Chris Moyer, director of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, tell another story. “If seniors are enjoying the entertainment product we provide, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to enjoy that in a responsible manner,” he says. He points out that casinos do provide education materials on addiction, displaying pamphlets that urge patrons with gambling problems to call a toll-free help number. The casinos also encourage problem gamblers to put their names on self-exclusion lists. “The casino gaming industry takes extraordinary measures to spot those who need help and connect them to treatment,” Moyer says.

As his addiction deepened, Beauford Burton found one of those pamphlets and called the 800 number. As he recalls, the person who answered his call just told him he should stop gambling if he couldn’t afford it. “There was no meat to it,” he says. “Once your intent is not to come back to them, I think they want to be clear of you.”

After declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Burton finally managed to quit with the support of his wife and his faith. He and Sharon now live in a two-bedroom apartment in Kings Mountain, where he has become an outspoken critic of a proposal to build a casino in his community. He regrets his gambling problems but takes responsibility for his behavior. “I can’t put total blame on those people because I was the one ignorant about it,” Burton says. “But the casinos do try to make things as exciting for you as they can.”


( John Rosengren is a freelance journalist who lives in Minneapolis.) 

 

An Exceptional Guest Article Share~Recovery Expert, Author & Coach, Roger Stark …

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends,

 

I want to introduce you to a new friend and fellow author of mine who has a large amount of addiction and recovery experience. He is a recovery coach, a writer of exceptional books and guides, and has just released his second book titled Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain. which can be ordered on the link provided and you can always find him over on his website, The Waterfall Concept and is the title of his first book. I happen to come across an excellent article and little interview I ‘d like to share with all of you that is very interesting.

So with further ado, Meet Roger Stark  …. ( Courtesy of www.breakingthecycles.com/ )

 

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(The Waterfall Concept ~ Now on Amazon & In Kindle Store)

 

Face of Recovery | Roger Stark
By, Lisa Frederiksen

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” Yet there is a great deal of confusion, stigma, shame and discrimination surrounding addiction, addiction treatment, and addiction recovery, and often what are called behavioral or process addictions/disorders – such as sex, gambling, spending and eating addictions/disorders – are the least understood. Perhaps the most harmful reality in all of this is how little we know about recovery, about individuals who have the disease of addiction but are in recovery, living healthy, productive, engaged lives — the same kinds of lives as people who do not have this disease.

All the words and definitions and explanations in the world are not as powerful as these people themselves. To that end, we are grateful to the people in recovery who have decided to share their experiences so that we all may put a Face to Addiction Recovery.

Addiction Recovery – It’s real, it happens to real people, and it happens all the time.

It is my great pleasure to introduce Roger Stark – today’s Face of Recovery.

How Did Your Addiction Start?

Mine is a sexual addiction. That admission elicits a wide variety responses, from “You can’t get addicted to sex,” to “Gee, I would like to have that one!” and everything in between.  Is it a real addiction?  Ask the hundreds of thousands of folks involved in Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and like self-help groups. They will tell you that their lives are surely unmanageable, that they have learned to use the brain chemicals of lust compulsively, and have become truly powerless.  They will also tell you, standing amidst the rubble and wreckage of their lives, that you, surely, do not want this addiction.

My journey had it’s beginnings when a scoutmaster insisted on showing me some things that were not in the scout handbook.  His sexual abuse created some powerful, dysfunctional emotional currents in the life of a very naive and innocent child. I was raised in a faith-centered, loving home. My father struggled with ETOH and very probably fixed me up with some genetic markers that weren’t very helpful also. But my main concern after the encounters with my perpetrator was to prove that I did not like boys. (I apologize for the homophobic sound of that but in the 1950’s our culture presented much differently.) The only way I knew to prove that I didn’t “like” boys was to “like” girls and I tried to like them a lot.  It became a matter of conquest and while the level of sexual activity was on the innocent side, in the beginning, it quickly grew to “going all the way.” The purpose always being to gather more evidence that I was “normal.”

Over the nearly 40 years of fighting the behaviors that had yet no name, I fell into a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde life.  Wanting and trying, successfully at times, to live by a very high moral code, and betraying myself with compulsive sexual acting out.  The levels of shame and guilt were off the chart, and of course, over time became part of the acting out cycle.


What was the turning point for you – what made you want to get sober?

Such an interesting question. From very nearly the beginning I wanted to be sober. Acting out broke the moral rules I was striving to live by.  I believed in virtue and monogamy but as the compulsion gained power I failed so many times that hope of doing that left me.  I guess my turning point was the day my therapist put a name to it.  He stopped in our session, rather abruptly and said, “Roger, you do realize you are a sexual addict don’t you.”

Well, I absolutely did not realize that and was quite offended that he wanted to put such a brand on me.  He didn’t argue with me, just gave me a copy of The White Book the Sexaholics Anonymous’s manual.  By page 38, I branded myself. I found hope in the fellowship because I found others in the same struggle that had found sobriety.  Like a fellow mentioned in The White Book, “I didn’t need help quitting, I have quit a thousand times, I needed help staying quit.”  And there, in that group, I found the beginnings of that help.

I cannot adequately convey the excitement I felt about learning skills and finding tools that actually worked and helped me slowly
extinguish the compulsion.  After those first early successes, I was “all in.”


What was your initial treatment?

Much of my early treatment was self-inflicted.  We did not then have the recovery resources that are available today.  I read a lot.  If Patrick Carnes wrote it, I read it.  My White Book and the Big Book were read and reread as were a host of other recovery titles.  I lived in a quite remote area at the time, but found 3 recovery meetings, 2 were an hour away and the other 3 hours.  I tried very hard to attend each weekly. I met weekly by phone with my therapist. I found a sponsor and worked through the steps.

Education helped me immensely.  Beginning to understand brought healing.  Recovery strategies developed as I understood more about what was going on inside of me.

My faith also played an important part.  I have always felt a special Higher Power connection in my life.  When I took this struggle to Him, I felt His sure promise that as I continued to do my recovery work, my heart would heal, (His words not mine.)  I also made a commitment to Him that if He could help me find my way out of this addiction mess, I would spend the rest of my life helping others.  That fall I enrolled in a local college program that led to state licensure as an addiction counselor.

Do you do anything differently, today?

My recovery does have an evolutionary feel to it.  As my understanding deepens my dysfunctions slowly get shed.  As I peel the onion and grow, my approach takes that new wisdom into account, and I seek new skills.  Of late I have benefited from trying to truly live in this particular moment. I am working to grow my understanding of this great concept.

Working with other addicts has also created some changes.  I sometimes feel selfish, that I “recover” more than they do as we work through the process.  It has brought into focus the clear value and importance of carrying the message to others in our own personal recovery experience.


What is your life-like, now?

From the darkest days of my addiction, my current life would have been simply inconceivable.  Recovery has brought me to a belief in miracles. One example is that my wife and I are still together and enjoying life in remarkable ways. My relationship with my 7 children continues to grow or better said, heal. I love serenity. It is such a contrast to the chaos of my addict life.  Peace, calm, quiet, were unknown commodities. I feel a joy in them that renews me daily.  I continue to work with other addicts and write about recovery.  For me, there could be no better life’s work.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with someone currently struggling with a substance abuse problem or an addiction?  How about anything you’d like to share with their family or friends?

Oh, I have a thousand things!  The details and nuances of individual recovery seem to be endless.  But the overriding message is this: Recovery happens!  It is real!  Miracles happen if we submit to the process of recovery and do the work it requires.  A willing heart, armed with some hope and courage, all held together by commitment makes us candidates for recovery and will carry us home.

Addicts should probably be aware that sex is a very common cross addiction.  I long ago lost count of the number of clients who begin the recovery conversation with, “I had a drinking problem 20 years ago and went to AA but now I think I have a sex addiction.”  (Thirteenth Steppers please take note!)

Unfortunately, the learning curve for addicts and family members is remarkably flat.  This is tough stuff.  Many spouses don’t survive the betrayal and feelings of rejection.  I cannot fault them and only feel compassion and empathy for the uninvited struggle they find themselves in.  Recovery is measured in years not months and slips can be crushing.  That said, I do believe in miracles.  I have seen many, I have lived one.  When a couple overcomes this level of adversity, their love can take on an exquisite fullness
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What is the best part about your recovery?

Part of it is that we are having this conversation.  That we can learn and grow from each other and I get to be part of that. Life is such a precious gift.  Having the blessing of living part of it in recovery, free from the chaos and carnage is of great value to me.  Being able to love and cherish my family in an honest faithful way is priceless.

There have been gifts from my addiction.  Things that I know that I would never have come to understand without the affliction.  I am grateful for learning acceptance, finding compassion and empathy, and the joy of unconditional love. These are wonderful fruits of my struggle and I will ever be grateful for them.

These gifts and the opportunity to help others, give the suffering meaning. It was not wasted, not just indiscriminate suffering, but a vehicle for becoming and discovering a better self.  And, if somehow, some way, my work diminishes the suffering of some other poor soul trying to figure out sexual addiction, well, I am pretty okay with that.  Then the gratitude comes, that I have been blessed to learn what could be learned in no other way.

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Thank you, Roger, so very much for sharing your story and CONGRATS on your more than a decade in recovery!

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Connect with Roger on: Facebook
Linkedin

 

 

 

Recovery News~Meet The Author for Those In Mason, MI!

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Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends!


Today is a share for all of those who live in or near Mason, MI …
My dear friend and fellow Author, Aaron Emerson will be having a Meet and Greet reception and book signing on April 8th, 2016. Here is a share from his recovery blog with all the details, so you won’t want to MISS this Special Event!

My Book Signing Is April 8!

By Aaron Emerson

I received some great news the other day so it is with great excitement I announce it here on my blog: I am having a book signing on April 8 at Bestseller Books & Coffee in Mason.
The book signing will held from 5 to 7 p.m. so if you aren’t doing anything or if you are getting out of work, stop on over.

Bestsellers is a bookstore and coffee shop in downtown Mason, located at 360 S. Jefferson Street right across the street from the iconic courthouse. My books are selling for $13.99 and you can purchase as many copies as you want. You can also request a message from me written inside the book for you or someone else.
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This is something I am really excited about, as a lot of my hard work on putting this book together is coming to fruition. I really hope I can see you there. If you want, bring over a friend or purchase a copy for someone else if you haven’t already purchased a book. If you already have a copy, you can still bring it in to get signed. I just want to see some faces!

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me in this journey, whether that has been a big or small role. It has been a goal of mine for several years to write a memoir and I could never have done it without help and support from so many people.

The book – To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery – is a memoir I wrote on my addiction to heroin and my first year of recovery. It is written in the form of my journals I wrote while I was going through everything, so, in a way, it is like getting inside the mind of an addict.

If you can’t make the book signing, you can purchase a copy here on my blog through PayPal by clicking HERE or on Amazon with a credit card by clicking HERE  . . .

Product Details
( Click book to Amazon for purchase)

 

About Aaron’s Book:

Aaron Emerson grew up as the son of a successful minister in Mason, Michigan. Blessed with a loving, caring family, he had the makings of a great life. At 14, however, his dad was unexpectedly fired from the church he helped build, right after the tragic passing of his cousin.

Aaron turned to marijuana and alcohol, finding pleasure in covering up the pain he was experiencing. A year later, he was introduced to prescription pills and eventually became addicted to oxycontin. Once oxycontin became too expensive and hard to find, he made the decision to switch to a cheaper, more potent drug: heroin.

Heroin would take Aaron through a life of hardcore addiction, lengthy jail stints, and several near-death experiences. After years of addiction that saw a once middle-class teenager turn into a felon and become homeless, a journey to find recovery transpired.

That journey took Aaron to several rehabs and through many heartbreaking relapses. However, recovery from his addiction was ultimately found, and now he shares his story around the state to raise awareness and spread hope.

Throughout his addiction and recovery, Aaron journaled and wrote about all of his experiences. He has now published his journal entries full of addiction, jail, rehab, overdose, relapse, and recovery. This book is the collection of all of those writings that shaped his life for several years.
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Aaron’s Message:

“My name is Aaron Emerson and I sincerely appreciate you visiting my blog. I am a 24-year-old from the small town of Mason, Michigan. I am a writer, author, and reporter that often writes and blogs about addiction, recovery, God and hope. Many of my writings relate to my recovery from a heroin addiction that almost took my life. By the grace of God, I am alive to share my story and a lot of my life is devoted to spreading the hope I have found.”


Let’s be clear: if you are alive, there is hope! I hope you can sense that attitude in my writings and blog. If I can help one person find recovery or inspire one young boy or girl to not make the same choices I did, well, I will feel I have accomplished my goal.

My first book, “To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery” was released on January 6, 2016, and is a memoir about my addiction and my first year of recovery. It takes you into the mind of an addict in his addiction and eventual attempts to find sobriety. Click here to buy the book!

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Visit: Aaron’s Blog here.
Follow & Like Him On: His Facebook Page!
Follow: Him On Twitter Too!

 

 

“Featured Press Release & Article By Author, Scott Stevens The Alcohol Expert”

“Featured Press Release & Article By Author, Scott Stevens The Alcohol Expert”

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends!

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“What do you do when you or a loved one has an alcohol problem? You get these fantastic books by The Alcohol Expert! Congrats to Author, Scott Stevens for a media press release of his award-winning books on alcoholism, stigma and much more.”

APRIL is Alcohol Awareness Month and Scott will be helping many I am sure with his new book release!
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Scott Stevens
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Alcohol Awareness Month prelude: Six signs of the alcopocalypse …
(Burlington, WI – March 4, 2016)
As a prelude to April’s observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, health journalist and recovery author, Scott Stevens, has posted the “Six signs the next 10 yrs. for alcohol biz will be like the last 20 for tobacco.” The article acknowledges no prohibition is on the horizon, and alcohol manufacturers will remain profitable just as Big Tobacco remains solvent, but a sea change will make the next decade look different when it comes to the choice to drink.

“America is driven by freedom to make choices,” says Stevens, “Even when they’re unanimously unhealthy, and alcohol won’t stop being the drug of choice for the stressed or the celebrating. However, the writing on the wall says, ‘What causes problems, is one,’ and the writing is ominous for the nearly free-flow of alcohol.”

Here are the six signs detailed in the March 4, 4,000-word article on addictedminds.com and alcohologist.com: 

1. Healthcare costs continue to rise, forcing a focus on cost-drivers.

2. Productivity weakens, forcing a focus on cost-drivers.

3. More long-term health consequences from moderate drinking coming to light… while more ‘benefits’ of drinking are being debunked.

4. More attention is being paid to impacts of alcohol advertising on youth.

5. Drinking and driving abatement has stalled.

6. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have eclipsed autism in many of cases and in long-term costs per case.

The author of three alcoholism recovery books also is launching a month-long video series of 26 two-minute episodes of The A-Files airing throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on social media and various websites. The episodes are alphabetical, A-Z, each covering one health topic associated with moderate alcohol use, not just the disease of alcoholism. Established in 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month is observed each April to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery.

Of the “six signs” article, Stevens says, “When the tables turned on tobacco, public education increased and dipped down into the earliest grades, advertising was severely restricted and the industry bristled under public regulation rather than the old-boy-network of self-policing to which it have become accustomed. Predictably, as these six trends come into greater public focus, the alcohol industry will face the same scrutiny and restrictions as the manufacture, marketing, and sales of tobacco have. And predictably, people will still drink.
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The Alcohology app, The A-Files and this article, hopefully, add to the dialogue about why we drink a toxin and known carcinogen.”

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About The Author and Alcohologist:

Scott Stevens is the award-winning author of What the Early Worm Gets, Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud, and Adding Fire to the Fuel. He’s among the Founding Influencers of the world’s largest medical portal, HealthTap, and serves as a representative of concierge treatment pioneer, Tailored Transitions, and the Public Relations Officer for treatment marketer, Addicted Minds & Associates.

For more information, visit  www.alcohologist.com or  Addicted Minds & Associates  … You can Email Author, Scott Stevens for Interviews and Article Requests at LyonMedia@aol.com

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Presented By “Recovery Starts Here” of Author, Catherine Lyon. 

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!”

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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:.

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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”

 

“Lets Talk War Stories of Addiction and The Criminal Consequences”

Hello and Welcome all Recovery Friends,

 

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I wanted to write and share a little about the damages and consequences many of face when we were deep within our addictions. One of those can be losing your freedom due to jail, criminal records or doing jail or prison time. I had visited a friend’s blog this morning, and he had just been released from prison five days ago. I have followed some of his journey on his blog while he was there. And I can tell you, there is nothing worse than having your freedoms of life taken away from you.

See I know this first hand as I had this happen myself, just no prison time. Back in 2006,  I made the poor choice to steal from someone due to financial problems of my own. This person filed charges, by which she had every right to do so. I was arrested at my home, taken to jail, booked, and then released. Talk about shame and embarrassment. It was the lowest point in my life besides my two failed suicide attempts. I was living in Oregon at the time, in a small community, so everyone of course read about it in our local newspaper.

I had spent over 20 years in the banking field, so I knew many people and business people in my town. So it was again pretty embarrassing to know they all may have read about my downfall.

FREEDOM,  Are YOU HEARING ME? GET YOUR FREEDOM BACK.

He was talking about how he was becoming addicted to his tech stuff. His cell phone, the internet and social media, and how much had changed just in the seven years that he was away in prison. I SO understood what my friend, fresh out of prison was feeling and going through. I’m addicted to the same, but? I have chosen to be addicted to social media and the internet for two excellent reasons, and these reasons are blessings of my hard work in recovery and given from my higher power.

I use them for my recovery to help others, share hope in recovery, inform and educate others about gambling, alcohol, and other addictions, as I blog my recovery journey. I also use it for a ‘Home Business.’  Again, as you may know, I promote other authors with a small ‘Book & Social Media Promotions’ job for extra income. And here is why, which I know you all in recovery will understand.

In 2006, I chose to steal from someone while I cleaned her home. It is all in my book. I was arrested, charged, given two years probation, and loads of community service. I’m still paying my fees and the little balance left of my restitution to this day. So with having a criminal record, no one would hire me. So I had to think outside the box and figure a way to make money from home. I also suffer severe depression and agoraphobia, so I don’t work outside my home anymore.

BAM! Book promoting and authoring more recovery books came to mind! I’m not rich yet, but I have made enough to pay our rent some months, and that not only feels good/ but are blessings in recovery.  It also raises your self-worth, confidence and gives you freedom from addiction!


 

We need to learn while in recovery to take ownership and accountability of the choices we had made within our addictions. No matter how long it takes to work through them? It can be done, or you will never feel that full sense of freedom from your past if you don’t. And boy did I have a lot to process and overcome of my past starting as a hurt, traumatized little girl. That holds true for the other obstacles that come from just life trials and storms besides addiction.

There are many ways to accomplish this. Many choose treatment or rehab, depending on the type of addiction you are recovering from. Many turn to 12 step programs, or even to their church. Doesn’t matter what route you choose, just do it. We can change those bad habits and behaviors we tend to learn within addiction/ and replace them with awesome ones. It’s what I told my friend in his blog comment section. He feels he is becoming addicted to his cell, the internet, and social media sites.

So I told him to change his priority of why he is using them. I use them to help others in recovery, and that is what helps ME stay in recovery. Sharing my story, sharing my hope to others so they too can help others. Same with my book promotions. I enjoy helping other authors promote their books. And I work just as hard for them as I do when I help others in recovery.

I never dreamed how my life could take such a positive turn from the damage and devastation of gambling addiction and alcohol abuse I battled. Never dreamed I’d be a published author in my lifetime. But when we are in addiction, we just don’t see anything but the addiction. What a life legacy I get to leave behind for others who come to recovery after I’m gone. Awesome! Just don’t give up on those dreams.

So go ahead and take your freedom Back from Addiction Today!!
You are worth it!

May God Bless You Abundantly Friends,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon XOXO
Author and Recovery Advocate

My Special Guest Blog Share? My Dear Friend Author, Marilyn Fowler . . .

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

Today I wanted to share a very special person in my life that I have been BLESSED to call friend. I also call her my “adopted mama” as well. She is so full of wisdom, has a huge heart and always know what to say when you feeling down.  I learn so much from her. She has been blogging for a little over a year on her Self-Help blog here on WordPress. Through her blog, she has helped give advice to many of us to get through life’s “bumpy rides” .  .  .  .

I know I am grateful for all her posts of inspiration and uplifting humor at times too! And her guest post today isn’t any different.  So without further a do, meet Marilyn Fowler Author, Writer and Blogger. ( https://selfhelpbymarilyn.wordpress.com )

Life Comes In Packages. Learn How To Choose The Right Ones For You.

“What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper.”   ~Kristin

What do you do when you receive a package? Do you spend time examining it, shaking it, and assuming what it might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about what’s in it? Kind of like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates. Well, that’s what we sometimes do with life situations. If a situation doesn’t come in a pretty package, we may assume it’s not what we want and discard it, missing something wonderful wrapped inside.

Many years ago, I took a job with a mental health team in a county jail setting, not the kind of work I wanted. But I took it until I could find one wrapped in a prettier package. My attitude wasn’t productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place, and spent 10 years in a job I loved. I would have missed that wonderful experience had I not looked past my initial assumptions.

The packaging can work the opposite way too. A certain situation in your life may seem to be dripping in pretty tinsel, so you accept it with great anticipation, only to find it’s last week’s trash. I learned that lesson. It was the dead of winter when my heat and air unit went out. Freezing. Then came a fast talking salesman glittering in fancy talk and promises of instant warmth. The package he presented brought visions of heat melting the ice from my frozen toes, and I never thought about opening the package to see what was really inside until I realized I’d been financially taken.

“Untested assumptions and lazy habits of thought can be shown up, once put in a spotlight of a different hue.”
~Julian Bagini

Almost every day we’re confronted with something new, and our favorite way to deal with unfamiliar people and situations is to assume the nature of what we encounter. But clinging to assumptions with old ways and ideas can sometimes bring results we don’t want. It’s wise to look closer with different eyes. There may be a prize in the Cracker Jack box…or not. But you have to look inside to find out.

Attitude: When you encounter someone or something new, keep an open mind without any prejudgment. Notice what’s apparent and take mental note of what may be subtle. And check your gut feelings against what your mind is telling you. If you feel deep inside that something is wrong, pay attention. But give the person or situation some time when possible.People in your life: Have you ever accepted someone in your life and wished you hadn’t…or didn’t and wished you had? Opening the package first might have helped. Learn to distinguish between the honey-drippers, manipulators, sour-faces, and the for-real-genuine-ones. Some may be self-serving, some just unhappy, and others may actually be what you see at first. But know what you want, andknow what you’re getting.

I once met someone who’s habit of giving me advice got on my nerves. But looking deeper, I saw a kind, loving side to her. So I ignored her bothersome habit and enjoyed her other qualities. And we became close friends.

Situations: Whether its work, finances, a place to live, repair needs, activities…whatever, don’t make snap judgments. Look past appearances to the whole picture, and know what’s involved. Get used to checking inside the package before you decide to keep it or let it go, so you don’t end up with something you don’t want.

Summary: Choices influence the quality of your life, and you want to make good choices. So when possible, sufficiently research and learn what’s behind the scenes. You will at times make mistakes. We all do. But by opening the package before you choose will minimize those mistakes. And your life will flow more harmoniously.

I wish you clear vision and happy results . . .

Marilyn Fowler, Author

About Marilyn:
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“I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on in-patient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog posts to help others live a better well-balanced life! My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published a few years ago, and I’m now working on “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country” in southern dialect with a video on now on YouTube: http://youtu.be/R4EGPkKtRBk My stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled When God Spoke To Me. I’m active in my church, and I believe that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often. Life should be” .. .. ..

 

Product Details    Product Details
Both available on Amazon Online

 

 

LIFE With Mental Health Issues ~ “It’s Not Because I Don’t Want To, It Is Because My Agoraphobia Won’t Let Me”!!!

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome All Visitors,

 

Today I wanted to share a little of my own mental/emotional health challenges thanks to seeing this image on a blog. But not just any blog. It’s a friend and new author, Rhonda Johnson’s blog. And her new book is now out.

 

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So her new book just released titled; Memoirs of an Addict, Fact or Fiction . . . Now available on Amazon Books. . .
http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Addict-Fact-Fiction-Johnson/dp/061577279X

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Now when I saw this chart above, it hit home for me of what I use to be, what I used to do myself due to my undiagnosed mental/emotional health issues besides just my gambling addiction. AND WHY?
Because I happen to be sent an email from one of my book promoting clients about a wonderful WordPress Event for those who are on, or who  use WP as their web or blog hosting site.
As far as I’m concerned, WordPress is the BEST hosting site to have a blog or website on.

So I read this email from my client, and it’s an all day Seminar/Workshop being help by WordPress, and top bloggers on WP currently, who will teaching all you need to know about WP. Everything about their services, dashboard, themes, and more! So I took a look at the email flyer and thought, this sure would be an awesome opportunity to learn all the in’s and outs of my hosting site. Then my bubble burst when I started thinking about how many people would be there, and it’s an all day event of workshops, a mixer one evening, and more.

Just thinking about all the people, I could feel an episode of fear of my disorder start to build, just like when I have an attack come on out of the blue from my Agoraphobia disorder I suffer from, and that I’m still in behavioral therapy for. And NO it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to go, but the huge fear and shame I have when an attack comes on while I’m out in public, and around many people I don’t know. It is SO debilitating, and makes me angry all at the same time. Yes, I’m working with a therapist to learn more tools and life skills, counseling , and take meds, but I’m not quite all there yet. Here is what and how Agoraphobia is bit different from  just regular panic disorder.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

Causes:
The exact cause agoraphobia is unknown. Agoraphobia sometimes occurs when a person has had a panic attack and begins to fear situations that might lead to another panic attack.

Symptoms:
With agoraphobia, you avoid places or situations because you do not feel safe in public places. The fear is worse when the place is crowded.

Symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Being afraid of spending time alone
  • Being afraid of places where escape might be hard
  • Being afraid of losing control in a public place
  • Depending on others
  • Feeling detached or separated from others
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling that the body is not real
  • Feeling that the environment is not real
  • Having an unusual temper or agitation
  • Staying in the house for long periods of time

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Choking
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Nausea or other stomach distress
  • Racing heart
  • Short of breath
  • Sweating

Trembling

Treatment:
The goal of treatment is to help you feel and function better. The success of treatment usually depends in part on how severe the agoraphobia is.

Treatment approach combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an antidepressant medication, which may include any of the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually the first choice of antidepressant.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another choice. Other antidepressants and some anti-seizure drugs may be used for more severe cases.
  • Other anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed. For example, your health care provider may recommend benzodiazepines when antidepressants do not help or before they take effect.

CBT involves 10 to 20 visits with a mental health professional over a number of weeks. CBT helps you change the thoughts that cause your condition. It may involve:

  • Understanding and controlling distorted feelings or views of stressful events or situations
  • Learning stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Relaxing, than imagining the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful (called systematic desensitization and exposure therapy)

You may also be slowly exposed to the real-life situation that causes the fear to help you overcome it.  A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, enough rest, and good nutrition can also help be helpful.

Some persons with agoraphobia may:

  • Use alcohol or other drugs while trying to self-medicate
  • Be unable to function at work or in social situations
  • Feel isolated, lonely, depressed, or suicidal

Now I have had many,  but not all of the physical symptoms  when my disorder started in 2011. But, I went undiagnosed for years, just as I did the bipolar depression and PTSD. Yes, there are a lot of labels, but I can tell you that having these disorders can really disrupt many area’s of your life.  I remember one attack I had in early 2012 put me in the ER.

I woke up and felt this strange feelings come over me, and the pain and shortness of breath along with the trembling, I thought I was having a heart attack! My neighbor drove me to the ER and was there all day. They told my husband when he finally got to the hospital later that afternoon, that I had so much fear and pain? They had to give me 3 separate shots of morphine to get me calm and pain-free.

And yes, they did all sorts of tests, EKG, blood work and NOTHING. When my husband told the ER doctor some other symptoms and mental health issues, the doctor told him I may have had a severe panic attack. I feel that it could have come from a lot of the work, feelings, and overcoming fears in therapy, since I sought seeing a psychiatrist 6 months before this attack. And it is what my psychiatrist thought as well, so he added 2 more meds to what I was already on. Today, my attacks are not that severe, but I do still have them. So something must be working. And yes, I do not go out of my house sometimes for weeks at a time. But currently working on this very heavy with my new psychiatrist here in Arizona.

So, back to the Seminar by WordPress. I wish I could go, but I’m not quite there yet in treatment to chance it.  But I can tell you that I fight each day like hell to claim my life back from this awful mental health challenge! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. What I just want others to know about mental/emotional health problems, and those of us who suffer? Just because we may look alright, or look normal on the outer appearance? Doesn’t mean we are fully healthy in mind, body and spirit  . . . . “Lets Shatter Stigma Together”

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Advocate and Book Promoter

“Nominations By Friends For The “Chicken Of The Sea Gratitude Awards”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and Welcome Newbies,

 

A few weeks ago I posted a post regarding friends who had nominated me for “The Chicken Of The Sea Gratitude Awards” here on my blog. I also happen to get an “Anonymous Person” come leave me a comment I decided Not to Approve or Share on my blog as it was threatening and very mean!  Funny enough, a day or to after this person came by, I began to get cyber- bullied.  It was a “Nasty Ordeal” to say the least! They even got my blog suspended for 4 days until WordPress caught on to the BOGUS COMPLAINT and put my blog back up! My point? Why do people have to be mean?
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ANYWHO,….I want to clear any misconceptions of how I happened to be nominated. I was not NOTIFIED, or NOMINATED  BY “Chicken Of The Sea,”  it’s not how their award works, as they will do that later in the year as part of what they are doing to Honor those who make a difference in lives of others, and their communities. I was told by Email by 2 friends of mine, and my hubby!  YOU too can nominate a person, organization, anyone who “Pays it Forward” to others, or in their communities! For all the details you can visit their Website for all the info, terms, and details, which is listed below. Just “click on Make a Nomination.”   I could use your support in a nomination if you feel inclined…
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A NEW UPDATE ABOUT THE GRATITUDE AWARDS! May 19th, 2014!
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Chicken of the Sea - Mermaid Memo

Dear Author Catherine Lyon, ( Nominated)
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I’ve seen some beautiful sites touring the country on my Great American Gratitude Tour for the past two months. I’ve traveled over 11,000 miles to 22 cities in 10 states through the West and South. And I’ve helped Chicken of the Sea award 34 Great American Gratitude Awards to nonprofits and individuals paying it forward in their communities. I’m heading to the Midwest next for some baseball and great music festivals. To see when I’ll be in your neck of the woods, visit our website at www.chickenofthesea.com/100!

All the best,
Catalina
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Centennial Activities

 

Centennial Activities
Chicken of the Sea has paid it forward with over $250,000 in donations so far this year. We’re a quarter of the way to awarding $1,000,000 in awards to individuals and nonprofits around the country, and we want you to help us as we celebrate our 100th birthday! Nominate a nonprofit or individual doing good work in their community, telling us why they are worthy of an award. We’ll select 10 recipients nominated by our consumers and fans to receive $10,000 before the end of the year.

 

MAKE A NOMINATION
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I’ve been Nominated by several good friends and supporters! Come show support for all I to help others in Recovery with a Nom!! Thanks & God Bless!
Author, Catherine Lyon 🙂

Great American GratitudeAward Nominations | Chicken of …

chickenofthesea.com/100/gratitudeawards
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I happen to be informed by email BY TWO good friends of mine & my hubby, that they went and filled out the form and nominated me for this Special Award Given Later This Fall!
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So I posted a blog post to let others know I had been nominated. You can to go nominate me if you believe in my Recovery Message of HOPE & help those who suffer like I do with Mental illness, and are survivors of Childhood trauma, sponsoring others in recovery from addicted gambling, advocate where ever I can to share my story and message as anyone can recover from any addiction, and to “Shatter Stigma” around all these important issues, then you to can go and make a nomination.

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So, I was not nominated by the good folks at “Chicken If The Sea” YET,….I was by friends. And the post was meant for those who want to fill out the form and nominate me, they are Welcome to do so. So my friends asked that I “RE-SHARE” my post, and NOT to worry about some mean Anonymous Person trying to Bully or Sabotage all that I try to do to help others. So here is my Original Blog Post, and I’d appreciate your “Thoughts & Comments” on this Fabulous Event! I think all those friends who KNOW ME know I have a good heart and compassion for those in, or reaching out for recovery, and all in what I do 🙂 THANKS ALL! *Catherine*
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“I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been “Nominated” for “The Chicken Of The Sea Gratitude Award” by a wonderful friend! Now I need all my supporters, friends and fans to add to that with YOUR nominations.”
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For those of you who know me well, and know how much I “Advocate, Blog, Write, Inform, and try to Raise Awareness” about the important issues of those in recovery from addicted gambling, and all types of addictions, those who suffer with mental illness and disorders, and for those who been through childhood trauma and abuse as I have, I try to shatter the “Stigma” around these issues. I also coach and sponsor many, and share HOPE who reach out for recovery. I try to teach how to have a Healthy & Balanced Life too in recovery.
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So, if you believe in me, my message, and trying to “Pay It Forward,” I hope you’ll help me with a “Nomination” for this award!
Yes, they are giving 10 people a “Gratitude Prize & Award” of $10,000.00! And that could sure help me publish all my future BOOKS, Donate to my favorite recovery & mental health support sites and tithe. It’s simple to do…
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Just Visit The Website & Nomination Page, and fill out the form & submit! It’s that easy…..
*SEE BELOW for extra info you’ll need for the form*
http://chickenofthesea.com/100/gratitude-awards/ Here is a little more info!

Nominate a Deserving Friend for a $10,000 Gratitude Award!
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Chicken of the Sea is looking back by paying it forward to celebrate our 100th birthday. To thank Americans for making our products a mealtime staple, we are investing $1 million in up to 100 public service-minded individuals and nonprofits, empowering them to continue their inspiring community work across America. And we’re selecting 10 of those awards from among groups and individuals nominated by you… So Come Make a nomination now!
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How to Participate

Chicken of the Sea believes in the positive ripple effect of good deeds. There are so many individuals and non‑profits that make America a better place. Tell us who you think deserves a $10,000 Gratitude Award. Here’s how:

1.) Nominate a friend or group that is currently doing good work in their community, and tell us why you believe they are worthy of an award.
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2.) We’ll start announcing the recipients we’ve selected on our Great American Gratitude Tour, starting in early October, 2014.
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3.) **As part of our 2014 Centennial Celebration of $1,000,000 in Gratitude Awards, we’ll select 10 Gratitude Award recipients nominated by their friends, consumers and fans to receive $10,000. Deadline for entries is September 1, 2014 at 11:59:59 PM PT***
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“Nominee name “Catherine Lyon” and my “email” kitcatlyon@yahoo.com  my phn# ( 602 ) 363-6977  and My Website: https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com
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AND….YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN THE USA..
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*Lastly, A special message that touched my heart by another good friend & awesome writer & author*
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Great American Gratitude Awards’ only allows US citizens to vote in their recent contest. Can’t post my reason for nominating Catherine anywhere else, at least that I can find, so I shall post it here. I hope those of you in the States who know Catherine will hop on board and cast your vote for this extremely deserving person.
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My reason for nominating her:
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Since coming to know Catherine Lyon through both of our writing ventures, and listening to audio interviews as well as reading about her difficult journey, I feel she has more than paid her dues with respect to again finding, and gaining back her own self-respect, and not only that, but helping others who have suffered the same ailment and addiction that she herself has had to battle, and continues her fight to maintain. She has been open and honest about her illness, both experienced and suffered what it can do to one’s life and self-esteem, suffered the embarrassment and humiliation of her addiction, and regardless of that continues to strive in the area of helping others recognize their problem, and how to cope with it. This would not be any easy task, for each day is an uphill climb for those who battle the illness of gambling addiction, so I would wholeheartedly nominate Catherine Lyon for this award of which I feel she is truly deserving of.
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– author Rusty Blackwood
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Rusty Blackwood ~~ Please go VISIT her On her wonderful Website!!

RustyBlackwood | Author | Romance Novels | Home

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HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK FRIENDS!
BLESSINGS ALL,
AUTHOR, CATHERINE TOWNSEND-LYON