How About We Destigmatize Those Who Are Homeless & Stop The Labeling. My Friend and Guest P. W. Robinson Has a Little Something to Share About Homelessness as I Do…

How About We Destigmatize Those Who Are Homeless & Stop The Labeling. My Friend and Guest P. W. Robinson Has a Little Something to Share About Homelessness as I Do…

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Not everyone will be having a ‘Happy 4th of July’ even as we are living in uncertain times and in the middle of a growing COVID-19 pandemic, still, it seems even with all the unrest happening and groups of protesters chanting about these lives and those lives matter. Has anyone stopped to think about the lives of those who are spending another 4th of July HOMELESS? Probably not.

Why is it that those who are less fortunate are the FIRST to be FORGOTTEN ABOUT? What is the first thing YOU THINK when you see a person a man or woman pushing a shopping cart with the only belongings they have? I know and so do many but you say it. But I will.

Did you know that many of those lives affected by having no place to call home and that there are a variety of homeless populations which includes families, adult men and women, mothers and their children, persons living with HIV/AIDS, individuals overcoming substance addictions, and some who are physically and mentally disabled? Don’t they deserve dignity?

DO THEY NOT Deserve help in areas of economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being in order to enhance their confidence and self-esteem and have a sense of personal pride? YES.

So I’m sharing a letter by one of my awesome friends who lives in Oxnard, CA., in Ventura County. He wrote and sent to some city council officials as he has been tirelessly speaking out and speaking up for those who are not The Least, The Lost, and The Homeless who feel Hopeless …They are human beings like all of us. So meet P W (Peter Robinson).

Peter also advocates through FAITH and knows that is a little unconventional and makes some officials uncomfortable but those who are homeless come from all walks of life, are part of our humanity, and they deserve to have hope for their future. Many times low self-esteem and shame stop them from speaking up or looking for help and services.

Maybe the stigma and labels need to be removed and not used. I’m guilty of it, but not purposely called them the homeless in an intentional negative way. And like other groups of people like protesters for “Black Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “Police Profiling & overuse of Force” well, those lives of people who have to live on the street or in a shelter and not always by their own doing, don’t their Lives Matter?

THEY SHOULD MATTER FIRST…

Here is part one of a two-part letter (email) P W wrote and emailed to many officials and a few newspapers and officials who run a shelter called “Mercy House”…I will share more of my thoughts tomorrow when I share PART TWO.

Please share your comments and thoughts with us!!

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Homeless-Man

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To whom it may concern:

I’m very heartened to hear a rumor of a decision to purchase local motels and provide some housing for our most vulnerable residents. I’m writing today on behalf of the Mercy house shelters, in order that all facts are before the council and others as they deliberate future allocations of money and compassion.


A homeless shelter–the concept itself– is the most significant healing initiative there is, and the godliest and compassionate instinct a community can ever have.


By, literally, sheltering people from danger
, and hatred, and hunger, and fear, a homeless shelter provides an immeasurable contribution to a world in desperate need of warmth and compassion and directly saves lives each and every day.

The biggest ongoing and debilitating dangers to the homeless are hopelessness, depression, and suicidal instincts. The item that we lack most is competent mental health care or any at all.

It’s a thing that affects all poor people–dramatically lower levels of mental health care. We’re never even given a test for a diagnosis, the first step actual healers and doctors always take.

It’s the thing that keeps the gulf wide between the haves and the have-nots. I know because I’ve received treatment while in each condition. The homeless don’t recover because we don’t receive the tools necessary to do the job.

“Accountability”

The most abused and misunderstood term in the healing world. In the case of the homeless, by not providing any competent mental health care, then giving up when that person can’t complete the dozens of small tasks necessary to finding housing, we’re asking a person with a broken leg to walk on it until we’re satisfied or sleep outside on the ground. “Fill out these forms in a timely manner, or sleep outdoors.”

It is, bar none, the cruelest and most useless term in the language of the enemy. It’s because it has a fluid definition, and these standards are being applied arbitrarily, according to the lack of understanding inside one individual for another.

Personally, I’ve done my part long ago, submitted my paperwork correctly, and await the news that something might be available that I can look into. We have several folks in here with housing vouchers and nowhere to use them. We’re backed up with qualified applicants, and have been almost since the beginning.

We’ve all done our part and are fully ‘accountable’, by any definition of the word.

I was healed of this condition before I contracted the disease, so to speak, in an in-patient setting–so I function as someone out in the world. I have no vices or bad habits, I don’t break the law or steal or abuse anyone, I simply don’t have housing.


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Those descriptors apply to most of the folks inside this shelter. We don’t fit the profile of who you hate, but we’ll suffer in exactly the same ways when local services are reduced or discontinued. The only difference between myself and most others out there is that I’ve had treatment for my conditions.

It’s why the Peer system is one of the few known successful methods of helping. Absent actual quality mental health care, peers–formerly homeless folks, now recovered and well-versed in the red tape production necessary to moving forward–are a necessary component in generating forward momentum.
 

“Mercy House at the Armory”
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Despite words to the contrary, from people with other agendas
, the Mercy House effort at the Armory in Oxnard has been an ongoing success. For each person here who is ‘taking advantage of or abusing the system and another flat-out misconception–there are four or five of us who are taking advantage of this opportunity to heal and grow and come up and out of this quicksand, this ongoing nightmare.

Those who sleep in here much of the day–very few of us, the majority older and disabled–have so much pain when they move around that not moving around seems the better choice, and all-day sleepers are submerged in depression and hopelessness, or recovering from recent horrible trauma.

Those who use meth are in a hopeless state, period. Bored to tears, no way to climb out, no potential positive outcome, no loving moment on the horizon… meth provides a way for folks to kill themselves without admitting that’s what they’re doing. In exchange for brief moments of euphoria, everyone who uses meth is utterly miserable, before and during, and the hangover and shame innate to the experience can last for weeks.

 

They have no hope because they’ve never been shown any reasons for hope.” 


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The staff here has been brilliant beyond compare. There was no template for a pandemic for homeless shelters, and they’ve adjusted to changing and difficult situations on the fly, with grace and compassion. The leadership is rock-solid and has been since the beginning. Without naming everyone I’d like to, we have truly been blessed with gifted, dedicated healers in here, doing their work at a level far in excess of their compensation.

In my opinion, it makes the most sense now for Mercy House to take control of the Community Action Project, and all homelessness-related new initiatives in Ventura County. You’ve installed them in a position of frontline healing and real influence–let them do what they do. I have some fundraising ideas if that’s what is needed.

“Low-barrier concept.”

‘Low-barrier’ in a homeless shelter simply describes the process of checking in for the night–we don’t use a breathalyzer. Unfortunately, there is no breath test for meth, not that I would want those folks forced outdoors necessarily, either. Leaving people outside because they have a booze or drug issue is about as cruel as a thing can be, and there are very few in here who have those issues, anyway.


In fact, at this time, I’d say we have less than 30%
in here who use anything except marijuana, if that, which is an essential healing treatment for ADD, ADHD, and general depression, and is prescribed by doctors.

At this very moment, sitting on my bunk, I see teachers, engineers, managers, brainiacs. A black man who owned a fleet of taxis. I see a doctor, an architect, artists, and several musicians. A professional comic, a groundbreaking female mortgage broker, the founder of a local Animal Rescue biz. I can go on and on. No one in here is ordinary. Or anywhere, come to think of it.

When I talk to people who don’t know anything at all about homeless shelters, having never slept or worked inside of one, I’m often struck by their idea that it’s some kind of cushy ride. I assure you, it’s anything but that.
 

“An Experiment”
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As an experiment
, let’s take 100 of you indoors-dwellers, strangers to each other, and move you into one big room, double bunked.

Let’s make half of you physically challenged or full-on physically disabled, with walkers and canes and wheelchairs, as is our demographic. By necessity, we’ll use a building with limited bathroom accesses, and limited ADA facilities. Of the remaining population, all will have mental health conditions–some legally disabled, most undiagnosed and untreated.

How will you do, all alone with these strangers, with no place to hide your emotions? With no place to cry? I can tell you I’ve walked up on real tough guys, the hardest men you’ll ever meet, hidden down an alley, crying their eyes out for all they’ve lost. Men among men, weeping like children.


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Skid Row's Midnight Mission Now Has Overnight Shelter for Homeless ...

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Ladies…how would you feel?
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If you’re like most of my female roommates, you’ve had a long and successful work life, you’ve been an entrepreneur or business owner, you’re at minimum a former high-performer. You’ve raised children, and often buried some.

Now, you’re injured, legally disabled, and you’ve had every single thing taken from you. Money, property, jewelry, automobiles: your friends and family, men in general, have taken it all from you, then abandoned you to wolves.

You’ve been beaten, raped, and beaten some more. Respect, love, friendship, trust–all beaten out of you until you have nowhere else to turn, nowhere to go but outside.


Now, you’re standing in line in a homeless shelter waiting to use an ADA shower, everyone around you is immersed in their own suffocating crisis, and you’re wondering what went wrong. You have no place to store personal food–there just isn’t room for it here. There is one television tuned to a channel you may or may not like.


Welcome to their world–not “cushy”, but a far, far safer and better world than the one that lurks just outside the door. Outside, they don’t even let you use a bathroom. You have to walk for miles to urinate. There are no mirrors to fix your hair in. The outside world holds nothing but terror, hatred, and neglect. Outside, all those previous crimes, the beatings and rapes, against your precious heart and your mortal soul, continue unabated.

 

Try to imagine living without a door that you can close. That’s what a lack of sheltering really means, for a woman. If nothing more, let’s shelter the women of Ventura County, even if it’s in some giant tents. We cannot be so weak as to not be able to handle that. It’s impossible.

 

 

Thank you for reading. I stand ready to aid in any way I can.

With love and hope,

P. W. Robinson
Oxnard, Ca.

 

 

 

 

Sharing Some Informative News. Problem or Addicted Gambling Can Touch Anyone as it Did The Shooter of ‘The Worst Mass Shooting in Las Vegas in 2017. Now, a New Film of The Cover-Up… Money Machine.

Sharing Some Informative News. Problem or Addicted Gambling Can Touch Anyone as it Did The Shooter of ‘The Worst Mass Shooting in Las Vegas in 2017. Now, a New Film of The Cover-Up… Money Machine.

Welcome Friends and Inquiring Recovery Minds to Bet Free Recovery Now!

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It has been a long while since I have shared my own recovery ramblings and news, my thoughts about what is going on with those maintaining recovery, or for those looking for some help and hope from this insidious insane addiction.  Even in these uncertain times with the COVID-19 pandemic still alive and spreading, many people are finding it difficult to stay at home and still social distance.

I for one do not like isolation as I did a lot of that within my addiction and with my mental health challenges. I also feel people don’t do well being told they can’t go anywhere… Lol. That’s me! One of my character defects I’m still working on. Lol.

I happen to get an email with some interesting news from my friends and Les Bernal of the organization and foundation of Stop Predatory Gambling regarding a new film coming out about The Las Vegas Mass Shooting and how the MGM and others were covering the shooters gambling problems. Now, I know it has been almost 3-years since this tragic event and if you recall, I did a few blog posts after this event happened and can read this one– Was Problem Gambling a Factor?  Because my gut feelings about the same things I’m sharing from Les Bernal are of the same topics.

FROM: Stop Predatory Gambling

Hi Catherine,

I’m writing to strongly urge you to watch an important new film being released on July 3 and for you to encourage your family, friends, community members, and legislators to do the same.

The film is called Money Machine and it exposes the cover-up led by MGM Casinos and Las Vegas elected officials to hide the true motive behind mass shooter Stephen Paddock (his gambling addiction to video poker machines) which led him to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others during the Route 91 country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Casino in 2017.

I watched Money Machine when it was screened at the Cleveland Film Festival this past spring. It’s a powerful film that will lead people of goodwill, from all political stripes, to ask themselves and their local and state officials who promote the casino business in their region: Why do we allow such an evil, predatory, greed-driven scheme to operate in our communities with our government’s active endorsement and support?

Stop Predatory Gambling is not associated with the film in any way but we believe it merits serious public attention and action.

Money Machine was supposed to be released in theaters nationwide but because COVID has closed the cinemas, tickets can be purchased in advance of July 3 to watch the film online athttps://theatricalathome.com/products/money-machine
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You can watch the movie trailer to Money Machine at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lN2In-qfp8&t=20s

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The link to the Facebook page for Money Machine can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/MoneyMachinemovie

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Thanks for helping us get the word out.

Best,
Les Bernal
Stop Predatory Gambling
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It has received many awards and reviews are incredible…

Money Machine

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Money Machine

Director
Ramsey Denison
Producers
Doug Blush, Ramsey Denison
Cinematography
Evan Crane
Editing
Ramsey Denison
Print Source
Sin City Studios

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“On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 concertgoers from his hotel room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. In a matter of minutes, Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 400.

It was the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States. Yet, just a couple of years later, Vegas seems to have forgotten it completely. Needless to say, mass shootings are not good for business, and it didn’t take long for the Vegas money machine to get to work making this one disappear.

In the aftermath of remarketing Las Vegas as a safe destination for tourists, many questionable practices were put into placeone of the most shocking being filing a lawsuit against the victims of this devastating tragedy.”


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On top of that, despite the popular #VegasStrong movement and nationwide fundraising, there’s still a huge question of where all that money went. An enthralling documentary about the dark side of the Las Vegas economy, MONEY MACHINE exposes Sin City’s darkest secrets… Including the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States of America. Director Ram Denison explores the aftermath of the attack, while also exhaustively documenting the LVPD’s odd response and investigation of the incident in the hard to watch, but excellent,
Money Machine.

He interviews survivors, private investigators, retired police officers, along with witnesses to piece together the events of that night. More importantly, Denison deep dives into how the politicians and cops allowed the city to return to normal as quickly as possible. For example, the memorial for the domestic terrorist attack is seven miles away from where it occurred. It is nestled in a small suburb, well hidden from downtown Las Vegas that dominates the public consciousness of the city…

Why would the site be so far away? Well, as the title Money Machine not so subtlety, money is the answer. Las Vegas casinos brought in over $25 billion in revenue annually. As investigative reporter Doug Poppa lays out in his 100+ articles about the attack and its aftermath, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who refused to be interviewed for the documentary, bungled the investigation via improper timelines and refusal to publicly release all the evidence (including hiding that the first officer on the scene was too scared to engage the shooter) to keep the economy of the city alive. If people are too frightened to show up, how would the corporations that own the casinos make money?

Yes, that sounds like a conspiracy theory, and I don’t really prescribe to them, but the evidence here is overwhelming. Poppa is probably the most informative interviewee as to why the Mandalay Bay shooting has left the consciousness so quickly. The most heartbreaking interviewee is that of survivor Katherine Thornton.

She is convinced she heard another round of shots coming from a second location, but the official word is that there was only one shooter. But that does not explain how cab driver Cori Langdon recorded a second volley of shots being fired with her cellphone. That other burst was much closer to her and on a lower floor than the one Stephen Paddock was firing from.

I hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to watch this film and learn the real story behind the worst mass shooting in our history and how it was being covered-up because raking in all those profits for casinos is what it’s all about for Las Vegas. Bad press and media are BAD 4 Business…


We Remember The Victims.

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Victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting - CNN.com

 


The Theatrical Trailer For MONEY MACHINE

 

 

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

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

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

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Don’t Relapse Now

By John Teufel 05/27/20

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

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Make Your Own DIY Crochet Mask Covers | 8News

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spite could be helpful right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it’s even fine to hate them!

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

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

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

Ryan Hampton Opens Up and Shares Much More Than His Book “The American Fix”…It’s His America’s Story of Drug Addiction and Recovery Being Played Out All Over America Today.


Published by Medium on June 18, 2020. Original article can be found here.

“Nobody should have to compromise themselves or hide to save their life.”
~Ryan Hampton, Author/Activist 

Back in the Closet: Surviving Homophobia, Heroin, and Rehab in an Intolerant World

by Ryan Hampton

At the peak of my heroin use in 2014, everyone knew something was wrong. My track marks, broken veins, dilated pupils and sunken cheeks told the whole world that I had a problem. My illness was obvious. What they didn’t know was my secret: I was gay, too.

By the time I reached my bottom, I had slowly come to terms with my identity as a gay man. My immediate family, my mother, and sisters knew. I was beginning to get comfortable with my sexual identity. I was even beginning — very cautiously — to see other men. I had one foot out of the closet. But I was still injected heroin multiple times a day.

My addiction consumed me, making me into a shadow of my former self. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the LGBTQ community misuses substances, compared to about 9 percent of the population as a whole. I was no exception. The double stigma of homosexuality and addiction made it hard to find help.

Who could I open up to? The people who accepted my identity rejected my substance use disorder, and the people who accepted my health issue rejected my identity. I was ashamed of myself, which only drove me deeper into my addiction. I felt stuck, and it was killing me.

Nobody seemed to care except my family. I couldn’t keep a job and bounced from couch to couch in Los Angeles, sleeping wherever I could. I used in public bathrooms and nodded off next to the toilet until someone rattled the door. I dragged my belongings around in a black plastic garbage bag. I ate at the homeless shelter, limp sandwiches that I could barely choke down. I barely felt human. Yet, my identity was there, even when I was completely checked out. I wish I could say that but at the bottom of my addiction, who I was didn’t matter.

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Coming Out – Fairbanks Youth Advocates

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Even
 in California, in a city where it was relatively safe to be out as a gay person, there was only one LGBTQ rehab that was available to me. Most of the programs were private-pay only, which meant they cost tens of thousands of dollars per month — completely inaccessible to someone like me who relied on public assistance.

The only public program that openly served the LGBTQ population was booked solid. Other public programs said they were queer-friendly, but I knew that wasn’t true; about 70 percent of the addiction treatment services noted as specialized for LGBTQ people were really no different from those provided to heterosexuals. This particular rehab was a good one, and I went there almost every day for their 12-step meetings, begging for help.

“Please,” I pleaded with the receptionist. “I just need a few weeks of treatment. I won’t even take up a whole thirty days.”

The program director, a gay man who was supportive and compassionate toward me, came behind the desk. “Let me see what we can do for you,” he said.

My heart lifted. Maybe he’d be able to get me a bed, maybe there was space in their program for me. Maybe, this time, I’d find help in a place that really understood me.

He pulled a hefty, ringed binder out of a filing cabinet and laid it on the desk with a thump. It was thicker than a Bible. Loose papers protruded from its edges. The black plastic edges cracked with wear. The director flipped it open, slowly turning one laminated page after another. Some of the pages were crumpled, as though they’d been through the wash. When he got to the very back, he clicked the button on his ballpoint pen.

“Give me your phone number and we’ll call you as soon as something is available,” he said.

“When will that be?” I asked. My eyes were burning.

“Hard to say,” he said. He wrote my name down. “When we have an open bed, we start calling these numbers, in the order therein. When somebody answers, we offer them the bed. If they say yes, it’s filled. If they say no, we call until we find a person who is ready for treatment.”

I eyed the binder. “There are hundreds of names before mine,” I said. “I could be dead tomorrow. I don’t have time to wait for help.”

He sighed and put the pen to the paper. “I know, Ryan. We’re doing what we can. Give me your number and keep coming to the meetings.”

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Sacramento's first homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth opens

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Keeping a phone was a challenge, but I did it. I waited for that call every day, even when I was jiggling a syringe into my arm. I told myself that all I had to do was not die.

Through sheer luck, I did survive long enough to get into treatment. But after a few days, I was transferred to a different program — a program that wasn’t explicitly LGBTQ friendly. I’d had one toe out of the closet, and when I was transferred I went right back in and shut that closet door — again. I instinctively understood that if I was going to survive, stay healthy, and make it into recovery, I couldn’t be gay, too. Nobody could know.

The new program was divided by sex: girls and guys. It was like middle school, with teasing, flirting, scheming, and gossip passed between our separate dorms. I was the only gay person there. Even the counselors were straight. If I came out, I knew I risked being ostracized or bullied, treated like a sexual deviant, or being made to feel like an outsider. I couldn’t risk that.

Instead, I kept my mouth shut and pretended to get it when the other guys would talk about which female client they were going to hook up with, or how hot some movie star was. I knew better than to put my ‘two cents in’: one comment about Jennifer Lopez’s nice eyes or Angelina Jolie’s commitment to humanitarian aid would give me away. I was a man, but I wasn’t a straight man.

Hiding nearly caused me to relapse. Keeping a secret about myself, especially something of that magnitude, made me sick with anxiety. It was like walking around with a gut full of hard-boiled eggs. I was terrified that some gestures or words would give me away. Finally, when it was time to start one-on-one counseling, my mom called me.

“Son, you have to tell them,” she said.  She didn’t need to say what. We both knew.

During my first counseling session, I could barely sit in the chair. My legs twitched, and I must have looked like I was on amphetamines.

“Everything OK?” the counselor asked.

I picked at the back of my neck. “I’m fine,” I said.

She shrugged and looked down at my intake forms, trying to assess where to begin.

“Actually, I’m not OK,” I blurted. “I’m gay.”

Those two words — I’m gay — were the key to my freedom. The counselor just nodded. She didn’t mark it in my chart or ask me why I hadn’t said anything before. We proceeded, working together a few times a week.

Feeling accepted, and knowing that my identity was acknowledged made it possible for me to open up in counseling. I finally started sharing about the sexual trauma I’d endured as a very young person, my fear that I would never be able to openly date, and my worry that I would be excluded from the recovery community. I talked through those things, and though I didn’t come out to anyone else in treatment, that one admission was enough to break the ice.

I stayed mostly closeted for the next couple of years. I also stayed sober, transferring to a residential sober living that supported my recovery. My best friend Garrett knew, and while some guys teased us for being “boyfriends,” it was playful. We were inseparable, and enough of our female friends came over to visit that we could laugh off the insult.

Because to almost everyone, “gay” was less-than. It was a way to put others down. And even those passing, “just a joke” comments hurt me and made it harder for me to trust that I belonged in the recovery community.

However, time passed, and the stronger I felt about my recovery, the more confident I felt about the rest of my identity too. It took almost four years to say the words, “I’m a proud gay man in recovery.” But I did say them, and when I did, I knew I was finally healing from both my addiction and the trauma of my past. I wasn’t hiding anymore. I was out as a person in recovery and out as a gay man. If people didn’t like it, well, that was their problem — not mine.

Coming out in recovery was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done and the best things too. I was willing to speak up and share my truth, even though it meant risking the community connections that kept me alive. Showing up for my recovery with all of me saved my life. It also introduced me to the love of my life, Sean, who I am marrying this November.


Ryan and Sean 💞

 

My only regret is that I felt I had to hide my self early in my recovery. Stigma, homophobia, and intolerance are still very real issues in the recovery community, both in treatment centers and in the support systems that help people get healthy again. I wonder how many LGBTQ people, unable or unwilling to stay closeted, were kicked out of the same program that I went to; how many of them left because they couldn’t stand being bullied or threatened by the other residents?

How many trans women were unable to find a treatment center that accepted them and offered trans-specific services and counseling? The odds are bleak for those of us who are already outsiders in a homophobic, intolerant society. My white privilege helped me keep one foot in the door, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to access life-saving care.

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We need the CARE Act to stop the opioid pandemic - STAT {Ryan Hampton is one of the most tireless advocates and activists I know Making Real Changes for recovery from addiction}

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“I know how lucky I am to have survived addiction; adding my identity to the mix makes me feel like I dodged lightning. Life on the other side of treatment, with years of recovery under my belt, is better than I could ever have imagined. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to have this experience.”

I wish for others, who are like me and struggling to find their place in recovery, to know that they don’t belong in the closet either. The answer isn’t hiding; the answer is building a system that includes all of us. Every person who asks for help should have it, regardless of their identity or orientation, race, gender, or expression.

Navigating recovery is hard enough. When I brought my whole self to the table, I left the closet behind. I’m holding the door open, too — because nobody should have to compromise themselves or hide, in order to save their life.

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Ryan Hampton is an activist in recovery from heroin addiction and author of “American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis — and How to End It.” Organization foundedThe Voices Project  

Follow him on Twitter: @RyanForRecovery 
Follow him on Facebook
Visit his  Official Website To Learn More

Sharing Our History Courtesy of CNN… What to Know About Juneteenth. Time To Stop Racism and Police Violence.

Sharing Our History Courtesy of CNN… What to Know About Juneteenth. Time To Stop Racism and Police Violence.

Sharing Our History. It Matters to those of us maintaining and advocate recovery as black lives and all lives matter … WHEN we Are United As ONE! 💞✝✨👑

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"

(CNN ) — Juneteenth could not be coming at a more fitting time.

It’s a holiday celebrated on 19 June to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

Today, June 19, this holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. But 155 years after the news of their emancipation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas, the nation is still struggling with the issues of systemic racism and injustice just as it still is in 2020.
That struggle surfaced once again in the national debate and massive Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020.

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

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

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

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Short-term success in recovery is rather straightforward.

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

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

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

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

1. Accountability

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

2. Integrity

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

3. Life Skills

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

4. Personal Growth/Healing

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

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

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

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5. Spirituality

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

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

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We’re With You from Start to Recovery

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

Why We’re Different:

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

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

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

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Do You Have Still a Victim Mentality? You May Still Be Harboring Resentments, Anger, & Denial. Change Your Attitude is Part of Doing Your Recovery Work …

For those who begin their recovery journey, one thing is clear. If we don’t learn to “let go” of the “Victim Mentality” while doing our inside recovery work? It may keep getting in your way to grow within recovery. 

To keep moving forward within your recovery journey, we begin learning to let things go, begin to set boundaries, be open to accepting the fact that we can’t go back and adjust or change what has already happened while deep into our addiction.  It is easy to recognize the victim mentality in our friends or family, but it is hard to recognize it in ourselves.  When we feel powerless in our situations, we try to place the blame on something else to protect ourselves.

Even those who seem healthy and well-adjusted can be suffering silently with a victim mentality. Having a victim mentality can prevent us from growing as we don’t learn from our experiences, rather we separate ourselves from them and point fingers.

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Effects of Psychological and Emotional Manipulation | Peaks Recovery

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It also can hold us hostage and keep us from changing our situations, because we fail to recognize that we have the power to change our situations.  The victim mentality is very seductive; it offers affirmation, sympathy, a comfortable and quiet lifestyle, and removes responsibility from our lives.  However, it doesn’t offer peace, power, or progression.  So how do you know if you have a victim mentality? 

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Take the time to carefully consider the questions below.

When something goes wrong, do you blame someone else?

Are you still angry about something someone did to you in your past?

Do you feel powerless to change your life?

Do you believe that things will never change for you?

Do you feel unhappy?

Can you blame your unhappiness on others in your life?

Do you feel that if someone else changed something, then you would be happy?

Do you have a hard time forgiving others, including yourself?

Do you believe that your future holds mostly pain and sorrow? 

Are you afraid to take risks?

Do you frequently find excuses for your lifestyle (age, size, sex, education, background, etc.)?

Do you review your failures, mistakes, and shortcomings often?

Are you frustrated when friends offer you suggestions for how you can change?

Do you often begin phrases with “I cant..” or “I’m not got at…”

Are you thinking of someone else as you read these questions?

If you answered yes to 8 or more of these questions, you may be trapped in a victim mentality.

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Pin by Robyn on Quotes, Poems and LOL | Victim quotes, Victim ...

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HERE ARE WAYS TO BREAK FREE OF BEING A VICTIM

Recognize Where You Are

Most people who are trapped in a victim mentality do not even realize that they are.  They often turn to people who take advantage of them because they do not think they have a choice.  You need to recognize that the common denominator in your circumstances is you.  Only you have the ability to change your life, and you need to allow yourself to change.  Take the time to decide that you can let go of your victim mentality.  Stop thinking about how you have been wronged and start thinking about how you can move forward.  

Forgive

C.R. Strahan said “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”

Forgiveness is not excusing or forgetting what happened, it is giving yourself the tools and ability to move forward.  Forgiveness is giving yourself permission to be ok even after you have experienced terrible suffering.  The person who has wronged you doesn’t even need to say sorry in order for you to forgive them, as forgiveness is not for them, but for you.  It is ok if forgiveness does not come immediately.
It takes time.  Be patient with yourself; emotional wounds take far longer to heal than physical ones.  For more help on learning to forgive, check out this blog.

Take Ownership and Responsibility

One of the key indicators of a person with a victim mentality is that they constantly blame everyone around them when things go wrong.  You need to take responsibility for your life. Stop blaming others and making excuses.  Start finding opportunities for growth.  You are in control of your life.  Instead of saying “I have to” or “I need to” (blaming situations for your actions) start saying “I’m choosing to”.  

Be Grateful and Serve

Be grateful for your circumstances, as someone always does have it worse.  There is always an opportunity to be found even in the hardest of trials and instead of asking “Why?” ask “What can I learn from this?”

Then, turn your focus outwards and find someone that you can help.  Volunteer in a soup kitchen, volunteer at an animal shelter, or simply write a heartfelt note to a friend.  Your life will feel more fulfilling and valuable and you also build self-worth. Then dedicate your time being of recovery service to others.  It makes your heart feel good! 💞💝

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Guest Article By Author and Advocate Deb Morgan. A Little Peek Inside Her Soon To Release Book “Trapped.” A Look Inside Addiction.

Guest Article By Author and Advocate Deb Morgan. A Little Peek Inside Her Soon To Release Book “Trapped.” A Look Inside Addiction.

Meet my dear recovery friend and fellow writer, Deb Morgan. She is my guest over on my “Literary Book Blog” but she maintains recovery, advocates, writes and shares her recovery journey on her website DEB-SPOT. She wrote this for all of my recovery friends and supports. **Catherine Lyon**

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"


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Every child comes into this world with a clean white canvas, and life fills in the colors. In my experience, that was an extremely gray area. I would start my life on a destructive personal path. When I got into my teenage years, I would slowly destroy everything in my life.

My life would continue spinning in this tornado of damage. I thought that I was hurting everyone but myself. What lies I told myself and others, what’s worse I believed them. I would get thrown a life preserver that I would be very blessed to have that would save my life; however, I would come close to drowning before using it.

Trapped Blog

In all the jumbled up fake reality, I thought I ruled the world. How bad could it be now I have my pills and alcohol all is well. I had driven a bulldozer in the window…

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Meet Darren Prince. He Runs a Successful Business, Has a Four-Time International Best Selling Memoir, and is a Caring Advocate Through His Aiming High Foundation. A Recovery Interview.

Meet Darren Prince. He Runs a Successful Business, Has a Four-Time International Best Selling Memoir, and is a Caring Advocate Through His Aiming High Foundation. A Recovery Interview.

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I am very happy and honored to welcome a good friend who is also a fellow author and recovery advocate, Darren Prince. He has written an amazing memoir titled, Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top. 

It became a bestseller in four countries as he shares his powerful story of drug addiction and what it takes to recover. I feel it needs to be read by everyone who not only maintains recovery, but also parents, and anyone who knows someone afflicted by any addiction. I say “any addiction” because it doesn’t matter the type or what preference the addiction is as addicts, the “cycle,” we get sucked into along with the habits and behaviors we learn are the same from one addiction to another.

Now that we are in the biggest drug epidemic in our country with opioid addiction, other pain killers, meth, etc., and the overdoses claiming too many precious lives each day, we need more helpful and caring advocates like Darren out here that bring the solutions through action to help others break free from addiction and have a desire to recover. He is now doing this through his active advocacy and through his new Aiming High Foundation (.org)
Darren and I met at a speaking event last year that was held here in Arizona where I live within the front lawn of our State Capitol to raise awareness of addiction for another friend. That was my first taste of having to plan a recovery event from beginning to end. Won’t be doing that again anytime soon! Lol.  When I reached out to Darren to ask if he would like to come and speak at this event? I quickly learned that Darren doesn’t do anything small. He Goes BIG or doesn’t do it at all! Lol. It’s why I say he is so caring and has a generous heart. He also helped with some bumps for our event with media and social media and I learned a lot from him and sure appreciated that!

Now, besides Darren coming to Arizona to speak, and I thank him for doing so, again, he sent me boxes prior to his arrival. They were many copies of his new book! Darren signed them graciously for attendees at the event.  Now, I better add that we also had “The Beast,” or I won’t hear the end of it…LOL, former NFL pro who played center for Tampa Bay Bucs, Mr. Randy Grimes… Who, today, goes by SoberCenter #60! Lol. He signed football for attendees too!

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Simply an amazing event to share Recovery from Addiction with Arizonians. Let’s learn more about Darren Prince, as I am also excited that we are working together on the “Literary and Book Marketing” side of things. Since I enjoyed reading ‘Aiming High’ so much? I want everyone to know about it!

WHY?

Because those of us who maintain recovery know that reading another’s experience, strength, and hope can be powerful tools for those new to recovery.

📚📚 ~Catherine Lyon

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Aiming High FACEBOOK and TWITTER TEASER
(Banner Courtesy of Terry of Author Shout (dot) com)

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About The Book -Aiming High
by Darren Prince (Author), Kristen McGuiness (Author), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Foreword) (Author)

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Aiming High is the astonishing story of sports and celebrity agent Darren Prince, who battled addiction while representing some of the most iconic figures in the world. After a drug overdose, many demoralizing nights, and mornings where he couldn’t get out of bed without a prescription in hand, Darren hit rock bottom at the top–and in the process discovered the true meaning of success.

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ABOUT DARREN and AIMING HIGH FOUNDATION(.org)

Darren is all about “Coming Clean” and “Raising Awareness” as he enjoys sharing his testimony through his advocacy work, especially speaking to young teens at high schools, middle schools, young adults at community colleges, and universities through his new foundation to help others avoid the pitfalls of addiction. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Los Angeles area.

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Darren Prince, well-known sports and celebrity agent,
has now taken on a new role of author and advocate – this time representing recovery and hope for those who struggle with addiction! His astonishing story within the pages of his memoir battled addiction while representing some of the most iconic figures in the world. After a drug overdose and couldn’t get out of bed without a prescription in hand, Darren hit rock bottom at the top–and in the process discovered the true meaning of success…

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MY INTERVIEW WITH RECOVERY ADVOCATE, DARREN PRINCE

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1.) How long have you maintained recovery and what inspired you to write?
I have maintained my recovery path for 11+years now. After my father passed away, I got several signs that it was time to write and tell my story to help others.
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2.) Tell us about your writing process?
By chance, I met with a publisher named Anna David, she partnered me with writer Kristen McGuiness, and the rest is history. An international best-seller in four countries, and I am happy it was written and has helped many people.
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3.) How did you come to want to share your story and why?
I’ve learned that my test has become my testimony, and everyone knows somebody who is suffering from opioid addiction. We learn in treatment and maintaining recovery that sharing your journey is a powerful tool to help those new to recovery from addictions.
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4.) Who in Recovery Inspires You?
Chris Herren, Brandon Novak, and many other spiritual brothers and sisters are changing the game of recovery advocacy. We support each other and network to save more lives from opioid addiction.
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5.) What advice would you give other recovery writers and authors?
People need to be inspired into action and create change in their life. If you can write and speak your truth to help others? It is and would be the enormous privilege of your life.

6.) Who is your publisher, and how did you decide how to publish your book?
Anna David of Light Hustler Publisher. Anna knew my vision for this book before I even thought it. We would take the world on a journey from the grips of drug addiction and share the beauty of spiritual healing within the written words recovering. And doing so while working and representing many iconic figures of our time.
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7.) What do you consider your book genre to be?
It is nonfiction in memoir form. May appeal mostly to males, however, because of the recovery component, we have had quite a big female following as well because drug addiction doesn’t discriminate.

8.) Now lastly, What do you think about the future of book publishing during and after this Coronavirus pandemic?
I think it will be bigger than ever. People need to be motivated and inspired. Even though this pandemic has had a negative impact around the world, the blessing is positive for giving readers an inspiring book like mine that has an uplifting message while reading during this historic time.
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A Sport and Celebrity Agent's Battle Against Addiction           (Courtesy of The Epoch Times – Ali, Darren, Joe Fraiser)

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I do hope all my recovery warriors will stop by Darren’s Official Advocacy Website and Blog to learn all the ways Darren is “paying it forward” to those who may be suffering from the grip of addiction. Not only does he help teens and young college adults, but he helps “At-Risk” executives and professionals who may work in high-stress jobs.

If you are in the need of an addiction expert for your next virtual conference or event and who cares about others, who is an inspiring speaker and a sought after recovery keynote? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Darren Prince …

As Darren shares; “This Addiction Epidemic is REAL!” 

~Darren Prince of Prince Marketing Group and his Support the Aiming High Foundation.

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DhL6wN2VQAAmO0YDarren                    (Forward Written by NBA Icon, Magic Johnson)

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BIG CONGRATS DARREN for being chosen!!

“So grateful to have my AIMING HIGH FOUNDATION selected as one of 3 charities benefitting the #AmericaStrong Unity Wristband CHALLENGE honoring our COVID-19 heroes, raising money for COVID-19 related charities! Visit AmericaStrongUSA.com and take the CHALLENGE. #AmericaStrong  “

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Links to Purchase Audiobook version
Paperback – E-book
Click links for book samples, reviews and to purchase
Buy AIMING HIGH – Paperback – Ebook – My Book Orders (dot) com
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top Audiobook at Amazon
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top Audiobook at Audible
Buy Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top at iTunes


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About the Author

Learn more about the author on their website
Follow the author on Amazon

Follow The Author on Social Media:
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
LinkedIn
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I Am Proud To Fly Recovery Blogging With My Friends Here At WordPress and Thanks For The Blog Anniversary Wish! We Save Lives Together…

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7 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Havng Fun Rasng $$ 4 Big Jim Foundation!

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

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

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

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

~Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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

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

Addiction Does Not Discriminate…

 

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

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

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

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

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

Is it a class war fair?

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

Like this crisis and epidemic is not IMPORTANT ENOUGH?

Isn’t any life saved not a LIFE?

Shouldn’t ALL SICK PEOPLE DESERVE HELP and HOPE?

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

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

 

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

(ABC NEWS Article)

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

By: Ryan Hampton. The Author of American Fix

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

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

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

…..

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

 

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

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Before COVID-19 hit, our nation was at a turning point in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The coronavirus pandemic not only threatens thousands of lives, but it also threatens to completely derail the progress we’ve made in digging this country out of one of the worst human-made epidemics in history. If people living with addiction can’t get the care they need, they too will die.
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In a time when a pandemic is causing so much uncertainty, people living with OUD need stability. Addiction advocacy groups and others in the industry have issued a formal request to the federal government asking for $38.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for direct payments to behavioral health organizations, which will help ensure they remain open and operating during the COVID-19 crisis.

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

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

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

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A Chapter on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy From my Memoir

A Chapter on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy From my Memoir

In the spirit of sharing more of my own challenges with mental and emotional illness, this example and chapter share by James from his memoir is informative and appreciated. I too was introduced to CBT back in 2002 and it does work. I also did most with music as well…Cat

The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

Last Saturday, I held a “mental health discussion” on Zoom. I consider it a success as there were many questions and great dialogue within a small group. I will be writing about this experience later this week, and on Saturday, I will be hosting another Zoom get together. One of the topics that came up was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and I wanted to share one of the chapters in my memoir The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir about learning Mood Induction therapy, which has served me well as a part of my CBT training. Mood Induction is a small part of the process, but for me, it is one of my favorites. I am in no way a professionally licensed therapist, and this chapter from experience only. 

I promised one the participants that I would share this as a stepping stone for them to research CBT.

Chapter Thirty-Two: My CBT Journey…

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I Still Am An Author and Writer In Progress…Literary Ramblings and Random Thoughts While Writing My New Books During a Pandemic.

I Still Am An Author and Writer In Progress…Literary Ramblings and Random Thoughts While Writing My New Books During a Pandemic.

I writing my next two books and sharing the process in CAT’S unconventional way! I hope you will stop by often and see how I am doing from time to time as I will share as I go along… #AmWriting
and #Recovering … Catherine Lyon

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"


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WELCOME EVERYONE,

“What strange and unusual times we are now living in during this pandemic of  Corona Virus. It’s like we all woke up one day and life had changed overnight and still feels like this is all a “bad dream”…

Just a few months ago, it was like life was another normal day. Then this virus began to spread like wildfire and out of control while devastating everything its path. Families heartbroken losing parents and grandparents. Young and old are contracting this cunning virus and who knows how many are walking around with it and don’t even know it. Hearing too many friends also losing a parent, or a loved one has it and battling to get better. I don’t think life as we knew it will ever be the same with no cure light at the end of the tunnel.

With that said, I have learned to…

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Internet Gambling Explodes While “Stay At Home” Orders in Place During COVID-19 Pandemic. How To Stop Addicted Online Gambling…

 
self-exclusion
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Some time ago I did a gambling recovery post about problem and addicted gamblers turning to “Self-Ban” or self-exclusion to help them stop gambling. I wanted to re-visit this as I also included some information about internet gambling online as well. Now that we are in uncertain times and uncharted waters with the COVID-19 pandemic, most states are still on lockdown by our Governors orders and many people who gamble normally in casinos or lottery venues that have video poker/slot machines are not taking this isolation to well.

And, while even Indian casinos closed, many are heading to their computers to gamble online in their own home and it IS as dangerous and addicting as sitting behind a slot machine in real life.  How do I know this?  Because I have done in this in the past when I was still in my gambling addiction and had no car to drive to the Indian Casino! Why? I lost one of our cars due to my gambling!

Yes, just one of the consequences we had. We could not afford two car payments because I was gambling addictively. So I even had to walk to work every day. My husband won’t give me money for a cab and rightly so. Oh, those memories are still fresh and kind of the funny lighter side of recovery when I look back today. It wasn’t very funny though at the time. But it does show how insidious our thinking gets and what we, as an addict will tolerate just to stay in the disease.

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 decided you are going to try and “BAN” yourself from Casinos to hopefully stop you from GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? My Experiences? NO. Not from some of the personal and hearing others ridiculous experiences . . .You need to help yourself in many areas and just from casinos or lottery venues. When an urge or trigger hits? You need to be banned and blocked from Online Gambling too!


So, What is Self-Banning or Self Exclusion?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have its own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. For 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 addicted and 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 ProceduresSelf-Exclusion Form

Related image


BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS!!
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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.


THIS IS IMPORTANT NOW DURING COVID-19 ~ AND…One Article all should read: “The Perfect Storm” By Press of Atlantic City

“With brick-and-mortar casinos across the United States shut down to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, public health advocates are concerned that a shift to online wagering may lead to an increase in problematic behaviors.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the indefinite closing of Atlantic City’s nine casinos March 16 but permitted online gaming to continue. Industry experts expect an escalation in online gaming activity because of the retail casino closings, and the anticipated growth in internet play has gambling addiction professionals worried.

“We believe every risk factor for gambling problems is increasing right now,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

USE GamBlock and 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….

BUT GAMBAN WORKS ON ALL ONLINE Gambling Sites IN OR OUT AMERICA ONLINE GAMBLING!


YOU need to go visit them here at GAMBAN check this out! I hear it is More Protection and an added layer to Stop Online Gambling even if you already use GAMBLOCK …
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gamban® is a software product that blocks access to online gambling. It offers users a secure, reliable, and affordable option to stay away from gambling sites and apps, helping those with a gambling problem to fight the urge. Check out their Informative Blog with updates and new features like this post of a new mobile app “gamban Taking a step Forward.”https://gamban.com/gamban/taking-a-step-forward/
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The Interesting and a But Humorous 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 this affliction and I Know THAT IS NOT Funny…

But, I’d been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous for a long time, and when I was in treatment in our weekly group meetings. 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 and deep within my gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women and men who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sunglasses and the like, all to hide their identity from the guards and video cameras 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 and NO money paid. To me? That is living NOT too far off the edge! And many of these ladies were GRANDMA’S! 

BUT? “If you want something bad enough?”….

I had heard many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning…
Here
is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Positive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned as I think all 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 play 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.”



I hope you have found this post to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and find it interesting. I think for my own recovery, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am the type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Want.” I have heard of self-ban stories that backfired as some horror stories in the rooms as well.

Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts after the pawning all that was valuable and CRIME came next as I heard some stories about this as well.

I DO have my own personal experience form crime as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of the title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choice 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 almost all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others, may they learn just how 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. When you start using money that goes to your utilities, rent, or house payments, sell or pawn things? You know you have a problem…Please visit… Addictions.com

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Advocate and Author, Catherine Lyon

 

Press Release: New Author Deb Morgan A Contributing Writer Within The New Book Release of “Simply Amazing Women”…Published By Celebrity WMAP Radio Host…

Press Release: New Author Deb Morgan A Contributing Writer Within The New Book Release of “Simply Amazing Women”…Published By Celebrity WMAP Radio Host…

Here is a new book release that everyone will be uplifted and inspired by when reading! My dear friend and New Recovery Author, Deb Morgan was one of the women chosen to share her story and voice about Recovery From Addictions … Cat

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"

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CAT is so excited and very honored to share a ‘New Book and Press Release’ for my dear friend who has become a new first-time too Mrs. Author, Deb Morgan. Deb was one of 13 other women chosen by K.C. Armstrong owner, host, and publisher of “Simply Amazing Women” now available online at Barnes & Noble,   Deb’s Spot Website,  on AMAZON

As Mr. Armstrong shares … “The Simply Amazing series, an upbeat, inspirational collection of stories to keep spirits up during days of isolation and uncertainty and about 13 amazing women who tell me their stories of heartbreak and healing.

All go on to help others on their life journeys. The overall feeling is one of optimism, inspiration, and self-confidence. These women have strengths inside them they didn’t even know about, and this book will convince you of this and pick your spirits up!”

Lyon Media and…

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The Humans of Mental Illness

The Humans of Mental Illness

I want to say “Thank You” to James for not only his bravery to with the world about his mental health challenges in the form of writing and sharing his voice, stories, and experiences, as it surely gives me and many I am sure much HOPE and to know we are not alone with mental illness. I think a book project would be an amazing idea of shared voices and stories as it would help shatter the stigma around mental illness and help others learn that those of us who have mental and emotional challenges can still lead a happy, normal life! That is why I am REBLOGGING James’s post! “-) Catherine

The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog

My First Big Announcement of 2020

Stories. They are meant to be shared with the world. Mental illness stories are no different.

We all have a mental illness story. It begins sometime in the past where our realization and, at times, hospitalization leads to an understanding that you have a mental illness. Then begins the story and the journey. I have written my story, and now I am ready to share the stories of those in the mental illness community.

I have been preparing for a summer project that could be a year or two in the making. I want to create a book with the stories of those willing to share their stories. I have done this before at there blog level, and I am not ready to do this at the book level. My book would be an in-depth look at…

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Even After The End Of A Rainbow? You Have To Take A Break For Some Solitude, Some Writing, and Some TLC…THEN? An Inspiring Message By Author, Tony Roberts.

Even After The End Of A Rainbow? You Have To Take A Break For Some Solitude, Some Writing, and Some TLC…THEN?    An Inspiring Message By Author, Tony Roberts.

Sharing an amazing new post that sums up how I have been feeling through my recovery journaling and looking forward to a break! Not from Recovery of course! A break from my “Business Side of Things” … This post by my dear friend Tony Roberts kind of sums up about getting back to writing again and finishing m next two books as well. Author, Catherine Lyon xoxo

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"

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Even though I am blessed to be working from home for my business, many are having to be forced to do so due to this pandemic of COVID-19 …And being isolated as we are is not a normal way to live life. Look, I get that, but, if staying at home means that it could help save lives?  I would choose LIFE over making a BUCK. (Of course, just my own opinion)…

Today everyone is talking about “DO WE OPEN”? or DO WE STAY CLOSED?

The news media outlets are putting a spin on just about every piece of information about this pandemic when it comes out and I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of it. I see how it makes everyone on edge, moody, and I need a break from it all.

“Even After The End Of A Rainbow? You Have To Take A…

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In No Way Shape or Form, Does Business of (Gambling) & State Lotteries Need COVID Money to Be Bailed Out! More From Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation and Les Bernal.

In No Way Shape or Form, Does Business of (Gambling) & State Lotteries Need COVID Money to Be Bailed Out! More From Stop Predatory Gambling   Foundation and Les Bernal.

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Coronavirus Crisis Prompts Call to Suspend Lottery Gambling…At Least For 30-Days

“Antigambling group asks states to suspend lotteries until 30 days after stimulus payments”

Story Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal ~By Katherine Sayre

As millions of Americans begin receiving stimulus payments amid the coronavirus crisis, an anti-gambling group is pushing to suspend lottery betting.

Gambling with stimulus payments: feeding gaming machines with federal dollars. This Headline from 2008-2009 Last Stimulus From The Feds …

The organization Stop Predatory Gambling sent letters Monday to attorneys general and governors in 45 states and the District of Columbia, asking for lottery betting to be shut down for at least 30-days or until Social Distancing Ban is lifted and after many received stimulus checks. Read this full in-depth story here in The Wall Street Journal Special Story…

This morning the members of Stop Predatory Gambling sent a letter to leaders in all states with lotteries (The Wall Street Journal ran a story on it in Monday’s edition.) The letter called on them to shut down all lottery gambling games for 30 days as hundreds of billions of dollars in direct federal financial relief is delivered to American families across the nation. Luring citizens to lose their money on lottery gambling games during this time defeats the intended purpose of the stimulus.

Here’s the letter we sent to all governors and attorneys general.

Below is the press release we sent to media across the U.S.

Please share it with your email and social media lists as well as any contacts you have in your state or local media. Thanks.

Best,
Les Bernal

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      CONTACT: Les Bernal
April 20, 2020                      (202) 567-6996 │ les@stoppredatorygambling.org

STATE LEADERS CALLED ON TO SHUT DOWN LOTTERY FOR 30 DAYS AS RELIEF CHECKS ARRIVE


“Facts Show Many Citizens Gamble on the Lottery to Change Their Financial Condition and Even More So When They Are Feeling a Sense of Desperation”

(WASHINGTON, DC) — As hundreds of billions of dollars in direct federal financial relief are delivered to American families across the nation, state leaders are being called upon to shut down the marketing and selling of all state lottery gambling games for 30 days. All U.S. casinos have already been shut down for weeks.

“Federal tax dollars are being sent to American families in order to put food on the table, make rent or mortgage payments, or provide for other daily necessities – not to subsidize state lotteries,” said Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit who sent a letter on Monday to all governors and attorneys general serving in states with lotteries. “For lotteries to continue running when so many citizens are financially desperate is like putting Dracula in charge of the emergency room blood bank.”

Bernal said there is a mountain of facts showing many citizens gamble on the lottery to change their financial condition, and even more so when they are feeling a sense of desperation. Yet state government is continuing to market its lottery gambling games at the very same moment that citizens are receiving their economic relief checks from the U.S. Treasury.

As part of its letter to state officials, Stop Predatory Gambling included its 2020 Briefing on State Lotteries also issued on Monday.

“The report spotlighted lotteries as one of the root causes why more than 60% of Americans had less than $1000 in savings before the coronavirus pandemic occurred.”

The report found “state governments have turned a nation of small earners, who could be small savers, into a nation of habitual gamblers on course to lose more than $1 trillion of wealth to government-sanctioned gambling over the next eight years. At least half of this wealth – $500 billion – will be lost to state lotteries.” Bernal hopes the lottery shutdown and the new report will bring sorely-needed attention to “America’s most-neglected problem today.”

“Building assets and the accumulating and investing of savings, are the keys to financial peace,” Bernal said.  “A home, a college fund, retirement accounts, a stock portfolio—these assets are the hallmarks of middle and upper-class America, and they are all the result of savings. Creating wealth by the accumulation and investment of savings is the direct opposite of what state lotteries represent and encourage.”

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STATE LOTTERY SALES SOAR THE SAME WEEK FEDERAL RELIEF CHECKS ARRIVE

New Report Adds More Urgency to Call for State Lotteries to Suspend Operations for 30 Days! April 23, 2020  

A report this morning by The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Dexheimer revealed that instant scratch-off lottery ticket sales soared at the same time as hundreds of billions of dollars in direct federal financial relief was being delivered to American families across the nation.

The members of Stop Predatory Gambling renewed our call for state officials to suspend lottery operations for 30 days. We issued the press release below to media across the U.S. Please share it with your email and social media lists as well as any contacts you have in your state or local media.

(HOUSTON, TX) — A report this morning by The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Dexheimer revealed that instant scratch-off lottery ticket sales soared at the same time as hundreds of billions of dollars in direct federal financial relief was being delivered to American families across the nation. The news intensified calls for state officials to suspend lottery operations for 30 days amid a time when all U.S. casinos have already been shut down for weeks.

According to The Chronicle report:

“On Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Lottery released what appeared to be great news: sales of instant scratch-off tickets, by far its largest source of revenue, had surged from the previous week, jumping to $112 million dollars.

The leap came after a month of plunging sales, presumably due to the sputtering pandemic economy, in which revenues had dropped compared to the same periods in 2019. The April 18 weekly figures, by comparison, outpaced the same week in 2019 by more than $15 million – a 16 percent jump.”

The members of Stop Predatory Gambling, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, renewed their call for state officials to suspend lottery operations for 30 days. On Monday morning, the group sent a letter to all governors and attorneys general serving in states with lotteries to take action.

“State lotteries are openly preying upon the financial desperation of millions of Americans,” said Les Bernal, a spokesman for the organization. “The lottery had a 16% spike in scratch ticket sales over the same week last year, in the middle of a stay-at-home order, during an unprecedented pandemic.
This news is a shame on all of us. State and local government officials in any capacity must listen to and act on their conscience to stop this exploitation of our brothers and sisters.”

Bernal said there is a mountain of facts highlighting that many citizens gamble on the lottery to change their financial condition, and even more so when they are feeling a sense of desperation.

Stop Predatory Gambling’s 2020 Briefing on State Lotteries identified lotteries as why more than 60% of Americans had less than $1000 in savings before the coronavirus pandemic occurred.

_______________________________

LesBernal-1

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Stop Predatory Gambling – – Who We Are —

– A 501c3 nonprofit based in Washington, DC, we are a national social reform network of individuals and partner groups with members of more than 1 million people.

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

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

What We Stand For —

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

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

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

– We believe no government body should depend on predatory gambling to fund its activities.

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

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

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

Welcome Recovery Friends, Warriors, and Visitors,

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Stress blog 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

>>>>>
Marilyn Fowler

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Staying Sane In Stressful Situations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

“You’re Not Picking My Butt”: Weird, Guilt-Free Shit My Family Has Said During Quarantine

“You’re Not Picking My Butt”: Weird, Guilt-Free Shit My Family Has Said During Quarantine

I Just Love Anna’s Blog!!
As many of us are having to stay home since the pandemic began to spread, this post is a fun way to share the FUNNY and The Random Shit that we notice as many families are all stuck together at home. And my recovery friends know I enjoy some HUMOR in my DAY!!

Cat

Just Bacon

Living in quarantine has been very enlightening for me (as I’m sure it has been for all of you as well). It has brought out some interesting shades of Bacon in my family members (with whom I am quarantined).

A lot of weird, random shit comes out of our mouths. (This, of course, isn’t anything new, but I’ve certainly been paying more attention to it during quarantine.)

In an effort to entertain you as we all harvest our belly button lint and use it to make masks from the quarantined comfort of our beds, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have been said around my house.

No guilt. No shame.

Here we go…

“Walking helps you poop.” (My dad to my mom when she says she’s feeling constipated.)

“I don’t feel motivated at all. And yet your father said he walked to ESL this morning…

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Meet New Author, Blogger, and Advocate Deb Morgan. Deb Is One of Several Writers and Authors Chosen To Share Her Story In “Simply Amazing Women” Book Series Releasing This May 2020.

Meet New Author, Blogger, and Advocate Deb Morgan. Deb Is One of Several Writers and Authors Chosen To Share Her Story In “Simply Amazing Women” Book Series Releasing This May 2020.

Meet my dear friend and Brand New Author, Deb Morgan! I am sharing this post on my “Recovery Side of Things” as the book she has written a full chapter in is packed with inspiration, encouragement, and about overcoming as Deb too lives life maintaining recovery! She advocates about Fibro as well and I just love her to pieces! Stay safe all … CAT

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"

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Hello and Welcome Readers and Friends, 


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Meet my amazing friend Deb Morgan! She is about to become a first-time author and what a way to share her first published book and one full chapter of overcoming and encouraging other women to do the same within “Simply Amazing Women” Book Two of the book series published by former co-host of the Howard Stern show and current owner and talk show host for WMAP Radio Host K. C. Armstrong.

“My name is Debra Morgan. I was born in Colorado and now live in Oregon. I am  55, married have 2 children, a daughter, and a son and 6 grandchildren. I am a Fibromyalgia survivor and I do not use that word lightly knowing that people I know and love now or have died from this insidious disease are reasons enough for me.

I was diagnosed with CFS in 1994 and…

View original post 864 more words

Special Recovery Report By The Los Angeles Times and How Coronavirus Creates Recovery From Addiction More Challenging in Staying Bet Free, Clean, Sober and Resources…

 

Virus outbreak creates new challenges for addiction recovery ~ Originally shared by the ASSOCIATED PRESS APRIL 1, 2020

Patients line up to pick up medication at a clinic in Olympia, Wash. Patients line up to pick up medication at a clinic in Olympia, Wash. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

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Charlie Campbell has been sober for nearly 13 years. These days, it’s harder than ever for him to stay that way.  His dad is recovering from COVID-19 in a suburban Seattle hospital.  His mom, who has dementia, lives in a facility that now bars visitors because of the coronavirus. A good friend recently killed himself.

Last week, Campbell, 61, tried his first online Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. His internet connection was shaky, and he didn’t get to speak. The meeting did not give him the peace and serenity he craved.

“I’m a face-to-face kind of person,” Campbell said. Still, he hasn’t relapsed.

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging the millions who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction and threatening America’s progress against the opioid crisis, said Dr. Caleb Alexander of Johns Hopkins’ school of public health.

People in recovery rely on human contact, Alexander said, so the longer social distancing is needed, “the more strained people may feel.”

Therapists and doctors are finding ways to work with patients in person or by phone and trying to keep them in treatment. And many are finding new reservoirs of strength to stay in recovery.

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Why Alumni Support is Vital to Addiction Recovery

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In Olympia, Wash., a clinic for opioid addiction now meets patients outdoors and offers longer prescriptions of the treatment drug buprenorphine — four weeks, up from two — to reduce visits and the risk of infection, said medical director Dr. Lucinda Grande.

Elsewhere, federal health officials are allowing patients to take home methadone, another treatment drug. And they issued emergency guidance to make it easier for addiction professionals to offer help by phone without first obtaining the written consent required to share patient records.

With cities and states locked down, online support groups are forming, among them a global group started by a San Francisco-area tech worker that’s called One Corona Too Many. In the New York City metro area, with more than 6,000 meetings weekly, organizers offer guidelines on best practices and tutorials on how to set up video conference calls.

Reagan Reed, who leads the Inter-Group Association of AA of New York, said there had been snags. Some groups did not know how to change settings to private; others have gone over capacity, revealing phone numbers.

In suburban Boston, Catherine Collins, a 56-year-old recovering alcoholic, said it had been an adjustment to attend AA meetings via the online platform Zoom.

Collins, who has been sober since 1998 and works for Spectrum Health Systems, the state’s largest addiction treatment provider, says preserving some social interaction is critical for those in recovery.

“People need to be talking about what’s happening in the world because if they’re not, they’re at risk of picking up a drink,” she said. “It’s more important than ever now to have hope, and that’s what these meetings give.”

Job loss is a gut punch to some, just as they begin to rebuild their lives after addiction.

Courtney Keith, a waitress and the mother of a 13-year-old girl in Toledo, Ohio, said she spent the last four years paying off fines because of her past trouble when she was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She lost her job when the state banned sit-down dining.

“I was living paycheck to paycheck. I have no savings,” the 33-year-old said. She’s applied for a job at a grocery store and dug through her loose-change stashes, scraping together a few hundred dollars.

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Courtney Keith in the restaurant that let her go after Ohio banned sit-down dining.

Courtney Keith in the Ohio restaurant that let her go after the state banned sit-down dining to combat the coronavirus. (John Seewer / Associated Press)

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She keeps in close touch with her recovery sponsor.

“I haven’t had any thoughts about using, but everybody is different. What if this does lead to a mass relapse?” she said.

Richie Webber, 28, who survived a 2014 fentanyl overdose and now works as an addiction counselor in Clyde, Ohio, said he’d heard people during online meetings say they’d already slipped.

“They’re really trying to keep it from falling back into full-blown addiction,” Webber said.

“Isolation is really worrying for me,” he said. “If you’re shut up in your house, your windows are closed, you’re going to get depressed.”

Campbell, a retired nurse, is driving from his home in New Mexico to Washington state to check in on his parents again. He got some good news last week: His dad’s latest COVID-19 test was negative.

He says he’ll try online meetings again but plans, mostly, to lean on phone calls with a longtime buddy and the emotional support of his wife.

“In the short term, you’ve just got to walk the middle line and try to find the good in all this,” Campbell said, “and know it’s not going to last forever.”

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ED: Notes: As news of coronavirus dominates headlines worldwide, Americans have begun to stock up on necessities in anticipation of long periods of social distancing. Everyone is at risk, especially those who are immunocompromised, the elderly, and gathering in groups has been discouraged.

But what about those who attend regular 12-Step meetings or other types of meetings and support groups while maintaining recovery?

Remember, any group can be a support group, if it’s the right people. If you can’t find a digital meeting of your own support group, try and schedule a meeting with at least a few members, using the likes of Skype, Google Meet, or Zoom. The New York branch of Alcoholics Anonymous has a page with instructions on how to start your own meeting using Google and Zoom, for example. For Online Gambling Meetings, Support, and resources? Visit Safe Harbor Gambling Recovery Hub!

Luckily, there are still many options in place for those who enjoy AA, NA, and GA meetings. Go to their online meeting schedule and do them virtually. Also, “Celebrate Recovery” can be done online so check it out here: Celebrate Recovery & Crisis Response!

  • Updating contact phone lists
  • Keeping in touch by phone, email, skype, and social media
  • Meetings by phone or online, rather than in person and check in more often with your sponsor. Consider listening to recovery speakers online.

    …….
    Websites like recoveryspeakers.com offer libraries of recordings of guests and recovery blogs like mine here in covering all aspects of Addictions, Support, and Maintaining Recovery. ANY and ALL content can provide inspiration and insight into your own journey. Reading too gives us power…

    We are all in this together, even if you don’t have an addiction problem? Our families and friends of those who are recovering NEED the support of everyone to make this uncertain time we are living in while maintaining our recovery and the Coronavirus pandemic with limited meetings and contact with others be OK.

    ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

 

 

 

 

A Special Guest to End March Gambling Awareness Month. Recovery & Addiction Expert Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D …

A Special Guest to End March Gambling Awareness Month. Recovery & Addiction Expert Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D …

I am very happy and honored to have a Special Recovery Guest and dear friend of mine who has also been my close friend for several years and we have been through “thick and thin” together. He has become like a brother I never had.

He is not only a talented in-depth writer, fellow author, and loud advocate, but he has also been a mentor and a #1 supporter of my recovery from addicted gambling. Yes, I am talking about Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D…

I invited him as my special guest to help me close out Gambling Awareness Month with Expert Advice. He has done so and all about Relapse Prevention for all of us. Now, Kevin is in the process of revamping his website! I will invite you all to NOT hesitate by visiting his Amazon Author Bio Page and grab many of his best-selling award-winning books!

There are many to choose from and they will enhance and uplift you in your recovery journey. So I present this helpful and educational article that Kevin was kind enough to write and share with us today!   ~Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate.

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My Monthly Journal Book: A Roadmap to Life by Dr. Kevin T ...      ADDICTIONS What All Parents Need to Know To Survive The Drug Epidemic
(Just a couple of his Best-Selling Books Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

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Relapse Prevention is Key to Long-Term Recovery from Ludomania

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Problem gambling, or ludomania,
is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.

Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs. “Pathological gambling” is the most severe form of problem gambling and has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disease since 1980. Gaming or gambling is supposed to be for fun, for entertainment.

Teenagers are 3 to 4 times more likely to become problem gamblers than adults. 90% of High School students have gambled at least once in the last year. In the USA ages 14-21, 2.1% struggle with Problem Gambling, another 6.5% are at risk. Every year, 2% -3%, 2M U.S. adults are estimated to meet the criteria for disordered gambling and another 4-6M individual are problem gamblers at risk for serious addiction consequences. Men make up 2/3 majority of Problem Gamblers.

Relapse ‘s definition, to fall or slip back into a former state or practice. Relapse certainly can happen to those who are in recovery from substance abuse and (Problem Gambling) process addictions; however, it should not be expected, only a possibility. Many individuals recover without ever knowing the first physical relapse in their entire lifetime of sobriety. Most have emotional and mental relapses at certain times, and some do have physical relapses as well.

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My Daily Journal: Making My Life Great by Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin ...
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.There are three different types of relapse:
Emotional Relapse
Mental Relapse
Physical Relapse

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Remember that relapse is a process, Behavior Changes: Hanging around slippery people, places, and things. Arguing and acting out. No serenity, not demonstrating spirituality. Attitude Changes: Different priorities, meetings, and recovery not as important as they were. Changes in Feelings or Moods: Resentments, anger, boredom, not satisfied with anything, not grateful. Changes in Thoughts: Thinking that you may be able to use safely now. Not living a life of balance and not taking care of self can all lead to relapse.

“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse. Fertile soil awaits your return and your recovering.” – Holli Kenley


Major changes in the structure of life, such as divorce, losing a job, moving, having a child, death, a serious injury, a relationship change, things that are a major structural change or life events can lead to relapse.

When faced with tough times five tips that can help anyone avoid relapse are as follows:

1. Continue to work your program of recovery. The vehicle that promotes change. Draw close to whatever program or modality that got you sober in the first place. Call other sober friends in your support network and be honest about what is going on in your life. Don’t be afraid to pick up the 500lb. phone!

2. Utilize anger management skills. Dealing with problems right when they arise. Resentments are the number one offender; we can’t afford them. Don’t let the sun go down on a problem. Use anger management and problem-solving skills to work things out without letting emotions get the best of you. You don’t always have to be right, don’t always have to be in control, and don’t have to be perfect.

3. Beware of self-centeredness. Work on your spirituality. Don’t be selfish! Those who fail to grow spiritually will relapse. The one thing that we must do is maintain our spiritual conditions; that means we must continue to grow spiritually; we must go where we are spiritually fed.

4. Stay in the day and don’t project!One day at a time is great wisdom’! All we should worry about is today, tomorrow will take care of itself, so don’t worry. There is a God, and you’re not it!

5. Stay grateful! We must maintain an attitude of gratitude, if we forget all of the gifts that we have been freely given in recovery, then we are headed for trouble! If we forget the bottom or event or circumstance that led us into a life of sobriety then we are also in trouble, we must as they say, “Keep it green!” I have never seen a grateful person relapse!

These Tips Will Help Anyone Who Walks in the Sunlight of the Spirit Stay There.
If you walk in the shadows and dark places, then surely that’s where your heart will end up. The only way to have real long-term, lasting, quality sobriety is to continue to grow in recovery, and that means maintaining our spirituality on a daily basis, continuing to be spiritually fed daily growing in experience and wisdom and helping others. You can’t live on yesterday’s manna!

Stress and anxiety have always been triggers for substance abusers and regular people to learn hope to cope with on a daily basis. Drugs and alcohol had been “the solution” for them in the past; now they must disengage from such behaviors and find genuine coping mechanisms that last. Substance abusers need to be offered alternative ways to find a solution through a twelve-step approach, non-twelve-step approach, harm reduction, medication management, holistic programs, faith-based programs, and other approaches.

Individuals must learn healthy ways to cope with stress without the use of drugs or alcohol, utilizing these new-found tools as a solution to stress will lead to lasting sobriety. Those who don’t suffer from substance abuse will also need coping skills for life on their own terms.

Stress Coping Skills Key to Lasting Recovery
Developing strong stress and anxiety management skills and techniques are paramount to long-term sobriety, a balanced and healthy life. These skills can help those in recovery to avoid relapse and sustain lasting recovery. Research utilizing lab animals has shown that stress can precipitate relapses with addiction to certain chemicals.

PTSD & Chronic Stress
Chronic drug usage may alter brain pathways affecting the user’s response to stress; this can make them more susceptible to relapse. Those who suffer from PTSD and individuals who have been exposed to chronic stress may be more likely to relapse; this makes stress management skills all the more important.

Stress Leading to Relapse!
Significant changes in jobs, relationships, moving, finances, health, and other structural changes that those in recovery are likely to deal with cause stress and anxiety. This is a normal part of life for everyone. For the substance abuser, it’s okay to try to escape from the pressure. They must be careful not to transfer addictions from drugs to gambling, sex, or some other addiction. Medical specialists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse believe that the leading reason for relapse back into substance abuse is stress.

Some Individuals Need Mental Health Help
Healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to manage stress; some individuals will need to seek out help from mental health professionals as part of those changes. The Mental Health Professional will work with the Professional Coach to help the client reach their goals and solutions.

Some changes that people have found helpful:

Deep Breathing
Meditation and Yoga
Prayer
Proper Diet
Balance and Boundaries
Time management
Taking care of Yourself Better
Identifying Stressors
Talking Things Out
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Exercise
Low-Stress Activities

 

Positive People are the Winners!
In recovery and in life it is essential to connect with the right people, “stick with the winners” as they say. Those in early recovery need to be around individuals and groups that they can learn solutions from, recovery role models so to speak. It’s also important for those in early recovery to find an attitude of gratitude; it’s easy to become angry and negative from the very beginning. Gratitude raises balance, awareness, and the spirit in a way that the person will begin to see things about life in a new way, like seeing life with a new pair of glasses!

Talking with Others
Learning to tell on yourself in early recovery is one of the hardest but most beneficial skills. Talk things out with other sober people, give them a piece of your burden and suddenly your burden becomes light. Running, walking, lifting weights, writing poetry, journaling, drawing, being creative, move a muscle change and thought is a great way to get out of your head when stressed.

Avoid Relapse by Coping with Stress
All people need to learn to cope with stress in recovery; it’s essential to avoid relapse and maintain sanity and balance. Utilizing just a few of the tools and techniques can work for anyone if they want them to work. Sometimes just a deep breath works!

Professional Coaches Have the Goods!
Professional coaches have skill sets, tools, and core competencies that they utilize to help their clients change their lives for the better. They utilize specific action planning, powerful questioning, active listening, and many other skills and techniques to get the results needed to move forward toward the solution needed to achieve the client’s goals. Stress and anxiety aren’t good for anyone no matter their walk-in life.

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.Image may contain: Kevin Coughlin, eyeglasses, beard and closeup, possible text that says 'Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin PhD.'
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Triggers that Can Jeopardize Your Sobriety
When most people hear the word trigger, they think of the noun or the trigger of a gun; the verb trigger means to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist. People who suffer from substance abuse and process addictions usually have triggers in their lives that are unique to their circumstances, past traumas, events, memories, losses, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, etc. A recovering person’s triggers are set in motion through one or more of the five senses: smell, sound, touch, sight, and taste. Make no mistake about it; although we are talking about the verb, triggers can be as dangerous as the trigger on a gun!

Triggers of the Emotional Variety
Triggers can jeopardize your sobriety if they are not recognized and dealt with in early recovery. What triggers a relapse? Certainly, the reasons for relapse can be different for individuals; however, there are some commonalities such as fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. There are several other emotions that can also lead to relapse.

Triggers from People, Places, and Things
Certain people, places, and things can trigger a relapse if they remind the person of their addiction. In some cases, all three of these may have to be removed from the individual’s life if they expose the person to a significant risk of relapse. An example of a place, an alcoholic would not want to go to dinner in a bar that they drank at every day, where their old drinking buddies would be, and their favorite chair. In that case, all three areas of triggers would be involved.

Relapse is an Opportunity Not an Expectation
There are triggers that can jeopardize your sobriety; however, with a little instruction, the whole situation can be turned into a positive. In early recovery, the person should be made aware of what triggers are and have help to identify their patterns of addiction and relapse; relapse is an opportunity to learn what a person’s triggers are so that they can be identified by the substance abuser and prevent the next relapse. Some say that relapse is an expected part of recovery, that’s a mistake! Relapse is always a possibility in recovery; however, it shouldn’t be expected, when we teach people that, we set them up to fail.

Balance is Key
Balance is a key part of the recovery process, learning what we can do and cannot do and live in sobriety. Education, awareness, and prevention will assist the newcomers in recovery to understand the process of what genuine recovery means, avoiding all of the pitfalls that triggers may lead to on a daily basis by recognizing them and not allowing them to have power in your life of recovery.  Yes, triggers can jeopardize your sobriety, the good news is through education and awareness, you can prevent triggers from ever having power in your life.

By taking the time to identify triggers and understand them, you can avoid situations that may have led you to relapse because of triggers in the past. You have empowered yourself and taken the power away from the triggers, great job!

Recovery is a lifelong process.
We all make mistakes along the way, that’s alright, as long as we learn from them.

Pathological Gambling is a terrible disease that is becoming more and more of a problem in the United States. More teens are gambling than ever before in our history, more older Americans are becoming problem gamblers as well.

Don’t gamble your life away, bet on you, your family, and God!

May you have a wonderful journey as you walk in the sunlight of the spirit!

©2020 Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.

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The Official Gambling Addiction Christian Recovery Coaches Workbook by [Coughlin Ph.D., Rev. Dr. Kevin T.]
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ADDICTION EXPERT

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Provincial Superintendent, Ph.D.,
DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, International- Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones.

He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.

Reverend Dr. Coughlin is the Founder of The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online and Phase Two Christian Coaching, LLC. He was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a non-profit, twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty-plus years.

He is an Addiction Expert, Award-Winning Poet, an International-Best-Selling author, his books, journals, and manuals are used in the United States and other Countries by professionals, individuals, and facilities. With over 40+ published works, the author resides in PA.

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Image may contain: one or more people and text

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CONNECT with Kevin Coughlin on Social Media!

Rev. Kevin T Coughlin on AMAZON BOOKS
GOODREADS
Rev Kev Network – LinkedIn
FACEBOOK -REV KEV Author

 

Multi-Award-Winning Author & Popular Life Coach, Maureen Scanlon Shares Her Well-Being & Happier Life Advice on “The Fit For Joy Podcast” With Host Valerie …

Multi-Award-Winning Author & Popular Life Coach, Maureen Scanlon Shares Her Well-Being & Happier Life Advice on “The Fit For Joy Podcast” With Host Valerie …

Well-being, happiness, and calming fears over the virus pandemic and much more is the Chat that Host, Valerie, and Author, Maureen Scanlon have on this amazing podcast and show now on “Fit For Joy!” … Cat

"Cat Lyon's Reading & Writing Den"

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Podcast cover Banner 1600x400 Shorter.jpg……

Inspired by Love In The Quest for Well-Being

We are writers, non-fiction authors, wellbeing and life coaches, healers, doctors, holistic chefs, artists, nutritionists, personal trainers, therapists, and spiritual teachers, among others in the health and wellness community.

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Promoting Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health

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My name is Valeria Teles aka Valeria Koopman. I am a Well-Being Coach, Author, and Podcaster.

I wrote the Fit for Joy book to start a conversation about the “true” meaning of health.

My other two books are on Love Awareness and Inner Peace.

As a podcast host, I explore meaningful truths, ideas, and insights about physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I am grateful for the wonderful experience of having meaningful conversations with so many AMAZING human beings! 🙂

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Our Guest Today ~ Life Coach Maureen Scanlon

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Important Advice about Covid-19 from a pulmonary critical-care doctor — Why Evolution Is True…

 

Reader Rick sent me this video, which I’ve listened to in its entirety (57 minutes). It’s made by Dr. David Price, a critical pulmonary-care specialist at Weill Cornell Hospital in New York City. Usually he deals with all kinds of respiratory ailments, but, as he says, now he’s dealing only with COVID-19 patients. Here Price […]

via Advice about Covid-19 from a pulmonary critical-care doctor — Why Evolution Is True