Just Some Gambling Recovery Updates~March Is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Welcome Recovery Friends And New Friends!

I thought I’d come share a few goings on with all of my recovery friends, and share a little of my past experiences of my own of addicted gambling….

I first have some exciting news to share! I have been invited by Award Winning Author, and Political Historian, CL Gammon to be his “Guest Author” on his radio show. It will take place here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/clgammon  on Saturday March 22nd 2014….6pm ET and 3pm PT. So please mark your calendars to join in the discussion. Will be talking about my current book, “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat) and about recovery from addicted compulsive gambling.

It will also be live stream podcast so you can Twitter questions & comments @clgammon and from his Facebook page too! http://www.facebook.com/cl.gammon.3   Or call in your questions here at (1-347-989-8948 ) My last radio show on “The Dr. Paolo Lake Show” of BC Canada was a huge surprise for me as we had many of my readers who called in to ask many questions. It’s really a lot of fun to speak, and get to hear all my wonderful recovery supporters! I look forward to hearing from you!

Many of us in recovery from addicted gambling, even long-term people like myself, are taught through “Gamblers Anonymous & Treatment Group,” that we can recover from this destructive and cunning disease without knowing the reasons how or why we crossed the line into uncontrolled addicted gambling. Well, for myself, I remember very clearly how I got started, or lets say “introduced” to a particular video poker game that had a LOT to do with me becoming hooked. I share it in my book.

It was back in 1996, right after we bought our very first and only home. My best friend Deb also came for a visit with my parents to So. Oregon. She feel in love with the area like I had, way back in 1987. So Jan of 1997 she moved up from So. Cal and moved in with my hubby and I until she got her own place. It was at this time my hubby was still in the construction trade, and most all the work he was doing for a contractor in town was out-of-town work. So he was gone a lot. My friend and I would go to this little Deli for lunch on Saturdays.

It was also around this time that the State Lottery of Oregon had introduced video poker machines in many places like Bars, Taverns, Eating places that served food & beverages, so they could have up to 6 machines in their business. So one day went to our usual place for lunch. I would play Keno while we ate. There seemed to be this little group of retired elderly guys that seemed to be there each time we went there for lunch. So we would chat with them. But one day was a little different. I went on the other side of the room where I watched one the guys on one of the video poker machines. He was winning lots of money on a game called, “Flush Fever”…..

We talked a bit, and I asked how much money did he start with to win what he accumulated in credits on hos machine he was playing. He had it up to $162.00. He said he put a $10 bill in and the machine just started paying. SO,….like a dumb, dumb, I sat on the open machine next to him and put in a $5 bill. He started to explain how the game worked, and before I knew it, I had turned MY $5 bucks into $80!
I thought to myself, “Wow! that was easy money”! So I cashed my ticket and went back to my machine and put a $10 dollar bill. I bumped my bet a little and I started winning again. Then the elderly man was done playing, cashed out his winnings and went to get his money from the cashier. I was still doing good on my game when the man can over and watched a moment.

Then something happened, the man leaned over and said in my ear something I NEVER FORGOT,……he said to me, “Cat, when your ahead with the lotteries money, always cash out and leave her with THIER MONEY, because I’d feel really bad if you got hooked on these machines.” You know, after that day, I never saw that man again. He’ll never know all the HELL I went through with addicted compulsive gambling. I not got HOOKED!, put it was a slow progression. But it did really almost killed me by 2002. That was the first time I attempted suicide, and was in a Mental Health & Addictions Crisis Center for 15 days via the hospital. Yup, I never did see that man again. And of course I don’t blame him any for showing me those video poker machines and games. I pretty sure I’d have gotten there all on my own.

When I started to journal in my early recovery, I remember writing about that day. It was the first thing I wrote about in my journals. Back then I thought to myself if that day, that man showing me the machines, and that game had any impact to how far gone I got in my addiction. No, not really. Because I started using gambling for all the wrong reasons. It was my “Escape” to cope with my past childhood trauma, life stress, and much more. I was the one who crossed that line, and all the poor choice’s I made when still deep in my addiction. Part of any addiction is how the cycle builds, and progress’s. The more you choose to continue the same thing over, and over expecting a different result, I just kept on loosing. Kept on chasing my loss and chasing the win all at the same time.

That was a long time ago. And sometimes our bottom really isn’t a bottom at all. Because even though I was not actively gambling, the past monetary damage I caused, and the poor habits & behaviors we learn in our addiction, I still got into legal trouble by stealing money from another person because of lack of money. If we don’t fully learn to change healthy ways to change those, we can still have problem when we panic and use them as coping skills or a quick fix to problems and financial pressures that still come along in recovery. Yes, I learned that Lesson the hard way with an arrest and charges pressed against. That was in 2006, and from all the unknown and stress, I ended up in Mental Health Crisis, I stopped taking my bipolar meds too! And I attempted a second suicide. Back to the damn hospital I went, and another 15 day stint in the crisis center. So Gambling Addiction with Mental illness had me at my last wits end!
That is when I started my long-term recovery. I did the Gamblers Anonymous 90 meetings in 90 days. I finally started my 12-Step program, and I met with and worked with a Addictions/Mental Crisis psychiatrist for a whole year, and thank goodness I did as I went through the criminal court/legal case.
I don’t think I’d be here today with out his help. I worked very hard in that year with him. I actually learned more in that one year then I did in treatment and out-patient therapy. With a little help and intervention from my Higher Power too! (God)….

My HP kept telling me that I was not finished here, that I had not served his Purpose for him putting me here on the earth. But today, I know my Life Purpose. It’s to help others who are still lost within that cunning cycle of gambling addiction. It’s what I try to do each day through my current book, and both my blogs. “To Share A Message Of Hope” to others who feel as lost and dark as I was back then. I feel like I come a LONG WAY BABY! Keep in your heart that “God” does still perform “Miracles”…….That’s what recovery is when we find it, A MIRACLE!
“I want people to understand, gambling is not a bad thing if you do IT within the framework of what it’s meant to be, which is for “Fun & Entertainment”…..
“Michael Jordan ~ Former NBA Star”

God Bless All,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon
“Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat) My Story…




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