I’m not sure how this season feels for you, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holiday sore spots for me. There’s so much emphasis on family and connection, and everything is supposed to be all warm and fuzzy. My family has never been close-knit, except for my mother and me. I’m single, and I don’t have any children. I’m also a Midwest native who lives in Los Angeles. Yet, when it comes to this time of year, I still find myself full of expectations.
My first Thanksgiving in recovery was difficult because I didn’t have any relatives to spend the day with like so many of my other friends. Sure, I got invites, but it’s just not the same when it’s someone else’s family dinner. Not having a husband or family to call my own, I just found myself missing my mother.
Due to my lack of familial ties, I made it a point to stay especially close to Alcoholics Anonymous. I had a close group of friends who were also newly sober, and we planned to stay connected during the Thanksgiving holiday. We conveniently also found two nearby main meeting halls that were having marathon meetings over the course of several days.
Consequently, Thanksgiving Day began with me and my cohorts visiting AA meeting halls in Altadena and Hawthorne. To my surprise, every group we visited was packed. People were coming in from all over, which was both exciting and inspirational to see.
When we returned to our home group, people were out back playing some board games. A gentleman named Craig, who has since passed to the big meeting in the sky, was in a corner barbequing. It definitely wasn’t your typical meeting atmosphere—there was a social aspect to it all that reminded me almost of a family reunion.
Boogie on Down
On Saturday night, there was even a dance known as the “crème de la crème.” The hall was transformed into a club with a DJ booth, dark lights, and a dance floor. Getting ready for it was as much fun as attending. I must have danced all night, which was weird in a sense. Rarely had I gone dancing—or did anything fun for that matter—that didn’t involve drinking, sprinkled in with some drugs here and there, or any gambling.
I won’t lie; I was shy at first. But once the first guy asked me to dance, all inhibition went out the window. Who knew I could have so much fun without alcohol or drugs? There was beautiful energy over the entire room as people danced, laughed, and let loose. All while being clean and sober.
The last day of the marathon ended with what’s called “the old-timer’s slot,” where people with at least 20 years of sobriety took turns sharing their recovery stories. The oldest person there had 50 years of sobriety under his belt. The stories made me cry, laugh and rejoice. It brought me back to a time when I used to be at home listening to my mom, aunts and uncles reminisce.
Once the old-timer slot ended, it was time for the countdown. The person with the most years of sobriety was asked to stand, and everyone clapped and cheered for them. And so, the countdown began. Then, every time a group stood up for the following year, there was a round of applause. The procession continued like falling dominoes.
Though I had a while to wait, I was so proud when my turn finally came around, and I got to stand up for five months. The excitement of the moment only made me look forward to the following year when I would get to stand again. By the time we got to the sober person for only a few hours, the room had exploded. It was awesome.
At the very end of the day, while sitting down to eat my meal at the potluck, a crucial fact occurred to me that I was missing all week long—I was finally home, and these people were the family I was looking for all along and never thought I’d find.
Gambler’s Annonymous “Relection For The Day” on my Happy Birthday…
NOVEMBER 26 Reflection for the Day
“During our first days in Gamblers Anonymous, we got rid of the trappings and environments of gambling. We had to get rid of these, for we knew they surely would have killed us. We got rid of the situation, but we could not get rid of our addiction until we took further action. So we also had to learn to toss self-pity, self-justification, self-righteousness, and self-will straight out the window.
We had to get off the rickety ladder that supposedly was the easy way to money, property, and prestige. And we had to take personal responsibility. To gain enough humility and self-respect to stay alive at all, we had to give up our most familiar possessions, and our driven ambition, and our unrealistic pride”
Am I well rid of the weights and chains that once bound me?
Today I Pray
May I give credit to my Higher Power not only for removing my gamblingimpulses but for teaching me to remove my old pushy, demanding, selfishness from all my spiritual and earthly relationships, and for all the things I have learned and unlearned within my “faith and for the grace of God,” I am fully and heartily thankful and blessed today.
Today I Will Remember. . . “Gratitude for the grace of God.”
***** ***** ***** ****** *****
For those who know my full story of addictions and where I am today, it truly is a MIRACLE I am still today to share my recovery with you for all these amazing year’s on my website. I appreciate all of you who support me and all those whom will come after you.
It has always been my intention and passion to help those who may be suffering in silence that recovery is possible and to never give HOPE. Youe are worth an amazing life as I have had maintaining my recovery for almost 15-years come Jan. 20th, 2022. “But For The Grace” of God, we all have that opportunity to do so.
May God Bless You, Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate
It has been quite some time since my last honest personal share about my recovery journey. It has been too long since sharing my thoughts, feelings, and what has been lying in my heart. What I mean is some real random recovery ramblings of living life while maintaining my recovery.
Maybe it is because the holiday season and a new year are approaching, and looking back over this last year, not realizing what and how much I dealt with some life events that I felt I handled ok, but there always seems to be some lingering feelings left. Thoughts constantly swirl in my mind and tug on my heart. Just when I think I have processed them and tried to move forward, here they come.
See, I lost my father on Jan. 29th, 2021, as COVID took his life, and many who know me or my story had a very up-and-down relationship. He had not spoken to me in almost 15 1/2-years. My nephew informed me of his passing and told me that he died alone at the hospital in Southern Calif., where he had been amitted. Kaiser Hospital would not let anyone go in his room to be with him due to COVID rules, nor they didn’t bother to tell me until five weeks after his passing.
Then more drama over who was getting what that I didn’t care about any of that. I wasn’t going to get stuck in all the drama, especially since I had not talked to any of my family for years. I knew this day would come soon. Was this cruel or Karma that my father ended up passing away all alone? Just because he chose not to speak to me or have a relationship with one of his daughters? I hope not. Family, we don’t get to choose them. And my siblings?
Well, that’s my siblings for you. Need I say more?
My feelings were/are that they were the ones missing out. All the years I and my husband had lived in Oregon and through the years’ most of the family would come to visit, spend time with us, we’d have so much fun. Even after my mom passed in 2003, my dad came the following summer and we had a blast! We would also take my dad and nephews rafting, many 4th of July’s and Labor days, trips to the coast, Jetboat dinner rides on the Rogue River, and again many fantastic rafting trips. So many good memories.
And for all of it to end up like this? It still breaks my heart today… I choose to remember ALL the good memories!
Also, after my mom passed in 2003, we all could have stayed together and in each other’s lives. That didn’t last very long. There are four of us—my only older brother, my older sister, then me, and then my younger sister. So when we laid my mom to eternal rest, that was the last time all four of us siblings had been together. I have often said we don’t get to pick or choose the family we are born into; however, we can choose to have healthy boundaries and have done so when I began my recovery journey.
So those are some of the points I wanted to share. Recovery makes that possible. It gives us the freedom to start making better choices in our lives. I will add in their defense, when I was young, I became very hyper-sensitive to teasing and ridicule, but they had no clue what I had been through from the sexual trauma until I finally disclosed it to my parents at age 32. Then, the teasing got worse in adulthood when they learned I had been diagnosed with PTSD and a few other mental health disorders.
When we get to a point where we try to make amends with those, we may have hurt while being sick and deep within addiction; not everyone may be willing to accept it or willing to forgive. They might even take it, forgive you, but still not want a relationship. And that is truly their choice. We, then, need to accept that choice, as I had to take and honor my father’s choice some 15-years ago. So yes, it stung, but I moved on from it.
There are times when we need to look back to connect what was to see how far we have grown within our recovery. For example, when I spent a year or so writing and journaling in early recovery, that was what ended up as a book—my memoirs of what gambling had taken from me. My fault for becoming an addict? YES, but more critical is the WHY and HOW I became addicted. (Available on Amazon Kindle)
by Catherine Townsend-Lyon “A heart-wrenching read that ends with a great light of hope. Read “Addicted to Dimes” now.”
That is some of what those memoirs are and what my book truly is. It is not how to recover. That is what I’m working on now. The writing was healing for me, but it also helped me start to connect different events, the childhood trauma and abuse that happened as a little girl, and how it affected me going into adulthood. So I began to question my worth, my self-sabotage as if I wasn’t worth being loved, others being kind or treated well by others, including men.
Today I chose life. I live each day to the best of my abilities. I use self-care and self-love. I continue to mentor others who reach out needing support, help, and some hope from this insidious addiction. It is my passion and honor to do so. I’ll close by saying to those who never give gambling a thought, but those who have a problem with it will understand this. Gambling is all about Risk and Chance. And those who gamble a lot as I did or become addicted and gamble all the time will know what I mean. So the more you bet, the higher your odds are of losing.
So, where do you think the catchphrase came from of “The House Always Wins?”
And is why gambling addiction is so devastating…
********** *** ************
Writers Note –This year, I have signed up with ‘The National Council on Problem Gambling’ for the new ‘Gift Responsible’ Lottery Campaign as a social media assistant and blogger for the council through the holiday season and share Awareness of Not Gifting Lottery Products to Children and Minors. I hope you will join me by using this image on all your social media platforms in support!
“I think books are like people, in the sense that they’ll turn up in your life when you most need them.” – Emma Thompson
I’m old enough to remember when books, either from a library or book store, and where how we escaped, found comfort, got an education, or discovered ways to improve our lives. Books bring the world to us.
Today, that world is smaller with online booksellers, reviewers, and sites dedicated to types of books. One of these is Shepherd.com. I enjoyed writing reviews on five books about addiction and recovery. Each of those books helped me see that addiction has common themes. Yet, each of the authors admitted their addictions and found recovery in different ways.
Easy Access to Information
It may just be me, but the first time I read Alcoholics Anonymous, or as we call it, The Big Book, I cried. There were so many passages that I could relate to in that first reading. I felt that the writers in 1939 were doing a “Letter to your future self – me.”
When we find a book that resonates with us, we cherish it. The second, third, fourth, and fifth times I read the book while in treatment, I was shocked at how much I’d missed in a previous reading. I got out my trusty highlighter and started marking practically every page. I realized that meant that eventually, I would highlight every passage, so I stopped that practice. That was 33 years ago.
I still have my original Big Book, tattered and worn with margin notes, highlighted passages, and phone numbers from people in treatment. It needs rebinding, but I’d lose those notes and numbers, and I don’t want to do that, so it stays together in its case when I’m not reading it.
I still read it; antiquated and stilted language doesn’t matter. That’s why there’s another book, a dictionary for the seldom-used words. These 100 men and women who wrote The Big Book were the founders and pioneers who admitted their problems and gave us solutions. We can’t ask for more than that in any book.
When we read a book and see ourselves on the pages, we pay attention. Sure, the names, places, ages, or genders might differ, but it’s us. How does an author do that – by relating feelings and thoughts, which transcend ages, genders, races, and places.
I’ve gotten emails and messages from men who’ve read my book, Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate, who’ve asked if we’re twins. Or the email from a twenty-year-old who could relate. Believe me, those are the best validation an author can get. To know that you’ve written an inclusive book.
Books Help Us Understand Ourselves
When I first got into recovery, I went weekly to the Unity Bookstore in Gainesville, GA. They had the largest selection on recovery, codependency, spirituality, and Native American beliefs. I’d “sacrifice” a steak to get a new book.
No, I’m not their spokesperson, nor do I get a commission for anything I’ve listed or from Thriftbooks; it’s about following through on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s second bit of advice, “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
Any of these will help you in your recovery and perhaps lessen your suffering. Plus buying a used book makes economic sense.
Today’s books differ only slightly from my original listing. Today, we’ve got more people writing about addiction and recovery who don’t necessarily work in the field. Some are famous, and coming out and stating that they are addicts and alcoholics is commendable.
Here’s a list of three I’ve read because I was a concert promotor and managed bands and maybe understand some of the temptations and availability of drugs backstage.
Marilyn Davis is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist who opened and operated an award-winning residential facility between 1990 and 2011, called North House. She also facilitated men’s, women’s, and HIV-positive groups.
She recently celebrated 32+ years of abstinence-based recovery.
Davis is the author of “Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System.” In 2008, Brenau University created the Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award. This ongoing award honors individuals working in recovery and mental health. In 2010, Marilyn received the Liberty Bell award. This award is given to non-judges and attorneys for contributions to the criminal justice system and communities.
Before the Blogs and Book
Before finding recovery in 1988, Davis was a desperate woman on drugs, managing bands at night, giving up her children, having her house foreclosed, and running to Georgia. After an intervention by Brenau University, she attended two 12-Step meetings a day. A chance encounter with a 74-year old Native American named Gray Hawk showed her that healing would include meetings and Steps. He had searched for her and wanted her to open a house of healing for other women. This encounter with Gray Hawk helped her realize that opening North House was her purpose.
Davis is also Editor-in-Chief at twodropsofink.com, a literary blog, where she continues to encourage collaborative writing.
The site’s writers are poets, problem-solvers for writers, and bloggers. Prose and essays educate, entertain, and enchant readers with the written word. The writers represent different countries, viewpoints, and opinions from around the world.
NCPG’s Partnership with NFL Takes Problem and Responsible Gambling Services to the Next Level
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ October 27, 2021
Washington, DC – TheNational Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has received the largest grant in the organization’s nearly 50-year history as part of a transformative partnership with the National Football League Foundation (NFLF).
The three-year grant, totaling $6.2 million over three years, will enable NCPG to significantly upgrade their National Problem Gambling Helpline, provide grants to nonprofit organizations across the country for problem gambling prevention programs, and launch communications initiatives that focus on responsible gambling and where to get help for gambling addiction, including public service announcement and their new website, www.responsibleplay.org.
“NCPG’s Board of Directors looks forward to working with NCPG staff to maximize the opportunities this partnership with the NFL provides,” said NCPG Board President Maureen Greeley. “Broadening our awareness, outreach, and innovative prevention efforts with partners across the country allows us to help people understand that gambling is a recreation with risks.
Understanding the risks is key to keeping gambling fun. When gambling becomes a problem, knowing the resources for help is crucial. This support from the NFL helps us elevate our responsible gambling programs and meet our goals to reach those we serve.” The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 allowed states to legalize sports betting, which previously was limited to Las Vegas and New Jersey.
Now more than 30 states allow sports betting and more will likely follow in the future. Couple this with the pandemic and recent public opinion surveys, and the need to do more in responsible gambling and problem gambling is clear. For instance, earlier this year NCPG released results from The National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE) 1.0, which can be found at www.ncpgsurvey.org.
Among the findings were: Sports bettors exhibit far more “problematic play” indicators than non-sports bettors, including ‘lied to hide gambling’ and ‘relied on others to pay debts or bills.’·
Younger players (under age 35) appear to be at higher risk for gambling problems.·
Many people who gamble do not understand the way gambling works.
“The National Council on Problem Gambling advocates for the strongest possible responsible gambling and problem gambling measures to be enacted,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director.
“However, because the federal government doesn’t use any of the more than $7 billion in federal taxes from gambling operators to treat or study this hidden addiction, our capabilities have been somewhat constrained. Thanks to our groundbreaking relationship with the NFL, we now have more resources to significantly boost our efforts.”
In addition to the NFL’s grant to NCPG, the league is launching an integrated campaign that encourages people to play responsibly by sticking to a game plan, including setting a budget to know their limits, using licensed, regulated operators, and asking for help if they need it.
The core message of the campaign’s creative is “Stick to Your Game Plan. Always Bet Responsibly.” The advertising will encourage sports betters to visit NCPG’s www.responsibleplay.org site. In addition, the NFL has agreements with their official sports betting partners (Caesars Entertainment, Draft Kings, and FanDuel) to collaborate on information sharing and support the NFL’s responsible gaming efforts, which include developing their own robust responsible gambling programs. https://www.nflfoundation.org/
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling to advance responsible betting support and prevention across the country,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility. “The NFL has a long history of community engagement and advocating for issues that impact the NFL family and the broader society at large.
It is critical that we use the NFL’s platform and resources to support the NCPG’s mission as they expand and upgrade their impactful, nationwide services.” The NFL funding that is earmarked for the National Problem Gambling Helpline (call or text 1-800-522-4700 or go online at ncpgambling.org/chat) will help modernize operations by improving call center technology, data collection, reporting, training, and certifications.
The application process for Agility Grants for problem gambling prevention programs is under development. The goal is to fill in gaps for areas that currently have no such services, as well as bolster promising efforts in existing programs. The resources for communications include www.responsibleplay.org, which provides a series of tips for visitors to keep gambling fun, offers basic facts about problem gambling that everyone should know, and explains where people can get help for problem gambling whether they are directly or indirectly affected by it. NCPG’s public service announcements are still in the creative development stage.
However, NCPG plans to be able to push a national message over the television, radio, and streaming airwaves, which has traditionally been done on a limited basis in local markets. Last week’s announcement about this new stage in the relationship between the NCPG and the NFL Foundation is the culmination of more than a decade of a growing bond between the two organizations, recognizing their mutual goals and working together to achieve them…
About the National Council on Problem Gambling:
Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction by working with all stakeholders. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling.
If gambling becomes a problem, NCPG urges people who gamble, as well as their loved ones, to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat.
Help is available 24/7 – it is free, anonymous, and confidential.
Courtesy of The National Council on Problem Gambling
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Please readthe entire series of articles to expand your own knowledge about the truth behind gambling operators. The series is one of the few examples of independent scholarship being done on commercialized gambling because nearly all the research is presently funded by gambling operators.
If there is one topic I get a little passionate about, it is the topic of gambling and kids. Minors, those under the ages of 18.
Now, I am aware that all STATES have different gambling ages, most states the legal age is 21. There are a few like Oregon, where I used to live will let you gamble at age 18.
Here is my MAIN point, and why I wanted to share this special ‘Holiday Campaign’ and news by the National Council.
PARENTS NEED to understand you don’t buy or give Lottery Scratch Tickets to your children as a GIFT or Stocking Stuffer! Not only is it illegal? You are teaching your young kids to GAMBLE.
YES, I know, not everyone has or will have a problem with gambling, or when they get older. BUT? I feel if you start now and teach them to be responsible just as you council them about drugs, alcohol, or even smoking, you will help them in the long run.
Lottery tickets of any kind are not an appropriate thing to give to kids.
Let’s raise awareness together so we can save your kids from harm when they get older. If you know friends who do give Lottery Products to minors, let them know it can be as dangerous later on for them just as you talk and council your kids, again, about drugs and alcohol. Here are some of the warning signs of problem gambling below.
Make a difference for your clients and customers – join your colleagues across the country and around the world in our responsible gambling campaign to raise awareness regarding the risks of underage lottery use. Lottery products are appropriate for gifting only to adults, from adults.
Research shows why: the earlier a person’s participation or even exposure to gambling in childhood, the more likely they are to develop gambling problems later in life. And gambling in childhood is frequently some kind of lottery product, given through lack of awareness by a well-meaning adult.
This public-private campaign was previously known as the Holiday Lottery Responsible Gambling Campaign. The name was changed in response to requests from lottery organizations and feedback from our global stakeholders.
The new name enables lotteries all over the world to participate. It avoids the word ‘holiday,’ which in many global cultures describes what American English-speakers might call ‘vacation.’ It provides flexibility to expand the responsible giving message for all the occasions where children and minor teens might receive lottery tickets as gifts throughout the year. And it is a short name, which is easier to use in social media and advertising.
Whether or not it is legal for minors to participate in lottery games in your area, a responsible gambling message is always appropriate. The campaign continues to be endorsed and receives support from the World Lottery Association (WLA), European Lotteries (EL), and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL).
(*The images provided are free to use without license or restrictions, but we ask that you sign up as a participant before downloading them.*)
100% of Canadian and U.S. lotteries participated again last year in the campaign along with numerous international lotteries, non-lottery organizations, and many NCPG members.
During December and the winter holidays season, participating lottery organizations may choose to engage in different levels of public engagement classified as Lottery level 1, 2 or 3. These levels are intended to assist lotteries in planning their participation as well as to provide metrics that can be used in acknowledgment programs by NCPG, NASPL, WLA, and other organizations. Non-lottery organizations are welcome to join the Campaign and are encouraged to partner with their state lottery (where applicable) to support this important message.
Participants are also encouraged to become NCPG members (either as individuals or organizations) in order to receive updates on the campaign and to broaden their knowledge in problem gambling and responsible gambling. As members, they may also nominate themselves or others for the annual NCPG National Award for this campaign.
The campaign is sponsored by NCPG and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.
LET’S ALL BE MORE RESPONSIBLE THIS HOLIDAY GIFTING SEASON WITH LOTTERY PRODUCTS!
ABOUT THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON PROBLEM GAMBLING
MISSION & VALUES
Purpose: To serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling.
Vision: To improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling.
Mission: To lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.
Neutrality: We do not take a position for or against legalized gambling. We advocate solely for those affected by problem gambling.
Collaboration: We believe that our mission is best served by the collaborative action of a broad range of people and organizations.
Respect: We will treat all those affected by problem gambling and all stakeholders with respect.
Credibility: We will strive to be an objective, accurate and reliable source of information for all those concerned with problem gambling.
NCPG 2020 Statement:
Respect is one of our core values. Racism and bigotry are unacceptable. We stand united with Black communities throughout our country and share in their pain, anger and frustration. Recent events remind us of the need to address fundamental problems of systemic racial inequality.
As we deal with the devastating health and financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on people with gambling problems, we are preparing new strategies to be of greater service to people of color. We will listen and reach out even more to our stakeholders of color, to learn how our services can better address their needs. We will strive to make our work more accessible, break down barriers and increase our advocacy. We will continue to emphasize our organization’s core values, and to treat all people with respect — with actions as well as words.
The organization was founded in 1972 by Msgr. Joseph A. Dunne and Dr. Robert Custer, among others. From the outset the Council established two principles that remain in effect today: that the organization would be the advocate for problem gamblers and their families, and that it would take no position for or against legalized gambling. This stance is encompassed today in our vision and mission statements above. A history of the NCPG from 1972 to 1985 by Msgr. Dunne was published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1.
NCPG was conceived as the national representative of the problem gambling field and is organized with 3 classes of members: state affiliate, corporate and individual. The NCPG concentrates efforts on the national level, while the state affiliates work at the state and local level.
WHO SAYS We Can’t Have Some Humor While Maintaining Recovery Being Dually Diagnosed?
Well, I have a share from my buddy and dear friend Tony Roberts! I had visited his website and just had to laugh a little when I seen him share this on his website of “Delight in Disorder”>>>> https://delightindisorder.org/ . . .
10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist
It’s time to leave your psychiatrist when s/he says…
1) Enough about your mother, let’s talk about mine.
2) Sure, the blue meds are working, but the pink pills are so much cuter.
3) In my professional opinion, you’re crazier than a loon.
4) Suicide, smooicide.
5) If you want a taste of E.C.T. just stick your tongue to this car battery here.
6) What was that you said? I was too busy picturing you in the nude.
7) Before we treat your O.C.D. I’d like you to clean out my garage.
8) You think you’ve got problems! My Porsche has a flat tire.
9) I can see now why your wife wants to leave you.
10) You think, you’re fat because you are fat.
Shared By Pastor and Advocate Tony Roberts
Now Some Gambling Recovery News, Announcements, and Events Coming Soon.
Washington, DC – The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) today announced dates and format for the 2022 National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling. It will utilize a dual format, with an online Digital Symposium June 8-9 and in-person sessions July 20-23, 2022, at the Westin Seaport in downtown Boston, MA. The conference will be hosted by the Massachusetts Council on Gaming & Health (MACGH), NCPG’s local state affiliate chapter.
“We know well from experience that virtual training makes it easy for people across the country to attend,” said NCPG Board President Maureen Greeley. “We also clearly understand that the value of coming together in-person has not been lost—it is still a hallmark of our National Conference. Coming together offers another level of engagement, connection, and positive energy. NCPG’s 2022 national conference offers the best of both worlds. We look forward to seeing you — virtually and in person in Boston next year.”
MACGH returns as conference host after the highly successful event in Boston.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our friends and colleagues back to Boston for the first in-person conference in two years,” said Marlene Warner, Executive Director, MACGH. “Massachusetts boasts some of the best and most innovative approaches to safer gaming and player health programs in the world. Since we last hosted ten years ago, a new gaming industry has emerged, as well as evidence-based and award-winning approaches to research, community outreach, self-exclusion, technological interventions, and recovery support. We invite everyone to join us in one of America’s most beautiful and historical cities, perfect for a family vacation before or after the conference. We look forward to sharing how the field of responsible gambling and problem gambling has grown and evolved.”
The event is the oldest and largest annual conference on gambling addiction and responsible gambling in the world. Now in its 36th year, the event brings together individuals and organizations working on prevention, education, treatment, responsible gambling, regulation, research, and recovery. With nationally and internationally known speakers, hundreds of diverse attendees will take part in a wide-ranging blend of sessions and topics that are unique to NCPG’s ‘special blend’ of curated content for this conference. More details about the program will be added as it becomes available to the conference web page at www.ncpgambling.org/conference. Sponsorship and registration information will be forthcoming later in the fall, as will the call for presentations.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction by working with all stakeholders. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling. If gambling becomes a problem, NCPG urges people who gamble, as well as their loved ones, to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free, anonymous and confidential.
About MAGCH: The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health (MACGH) is a statewide non-profit agency that promotes public health by mitigating the negative personal and community impacts of gambling and gaming. They accomplish their mission through training and education, federal and state advocacy, research and gaming play information, and prevention and recovery programs. They serve individuals who game and gamble and their loved ones. Since its inception in 1983, the MACGH has taken a neutral stance on legal gambling and gaming. MACGH works with key stakeholders such as gaming operators, vendors, regulators, clinicians, people in recovery, and other community-based agencies to help protect individuals from the potential public health impacts of gaming.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 15, 2021
CONTACT: John Norton firstname.lastname@example.org 202-360-4560
Three years ago I lost a very dear friend who was an avid advocate and a big support to me. She was an advocate of mental health, addiction, a fellow author, and had spent many years in the Jacksonville, FL., men and women’s jails & correctional system as a “Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist.” Her name was Marilyn Fowler. She was an amazing woman, strong, smart as a whip, and bursting with caring for others.
Marilyn and I worked together since 2014 as I helped her promote her books. I learned so much from her and she always would tell me; “when I leave earth, just know you will have a powerful angel in heaven watching over you, that’s me!” I loved her to pieces! I had started a new blog here on WordPress for her to share many self-help posts and has left us a beautiful legacy of life advice.
“I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog posts to help others live a better well balanced life!
My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published in 2010. My stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled When God Spoke To Me. I’m active in my church, and I believe that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often. Life should be”…
How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey ~ By Marilyn Fowler
Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress. You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?
On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation.
And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.
“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” ~Lee Iacocca
Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportunities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are.
At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.
Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.
“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.” ~Author Unknown
Methods For Change:
Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.
Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens. “Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown
Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc.? How immersed are you in your feelings? How clear is your mind? Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both? Do you view the situation as more than you can handle? Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn. You’re stronger than you think. Uncover your strengths, and let them shine. Use denials and affirmations ie: “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.
Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now.
And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.
There are certain situations that people find themselves, that it is only the hand of God that can bring them out. Divine intervention is the sudden movement of God upon your situation and challenges and when God is fighting for you as no one can harm you when under the covering of God…
Let me share how I work my recovery and some of my backstory, if you will, about my recovery journey within my faith.
Now, I’m not going to preach a ‘Sunday Gospel Sermon’ to you all… lol.
These are just some of my personal experiences of why I believe my recovery wouldn’t work doing so all by myself. I believe in a higher power greater and my higher power happens to be God and his Son, our Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ.
In November of 2002, my mother had passed, and then my best friend due to cancer, and my addiction at that time got so severe I tried suicide. My gambling addiction was raging out of control. My 40th birthday was in a week, and there I was, suffering in an addictions/mental health crisis center. I became one of the gambling addiction statistics OF 1 in 5 will try suicide.
Thankfully God stepped in and helped me when I could not help myself. I ended up at a Indian Casino for hours on a bad gambling binge when I was supposed to be at my best friend’s memorial service.
All of these events and loss was too much for me to handle!
See, I had turned my back on God when I became a gambling addict. Sounds kind of corny, but I would tell myself, “how can Jesus love me when I hate myself and deep into my addiction?” I felt he probably gave up on me anyway. I learned this was not true. But I kept on within my addiction and was deep in selfishness. I was lost, broken, and spiritually gone. Not knowing God had been with me every step of the way!
Within almost 30-days in this crisis center, I began a gambling treatment program. I was also diagnosed with several mental health disorders and started a medication treatment plan as well. I became a dually diagnosed person and beginning recovery. It was way more than I could handle or wrap my mind around at that time. I had a tough time accepting the fact that I had several mental disorders. And, yes, I did have another failed suicide in 2006, but that was all from my two of the medications I was on had stopped working. And, well, that is another post for another time.
Soon after my release from the crisis center, and while I was in the center, my husband started attended Church with his friends from work. It was where he drew his strength from as all this chaos I created with my addicted gambling. Faith helped me shed the guilt and pain of knowing what I put my husband through. Because now I had even MORE GUILT of scaring our families and my husband with my failed suicide! My husband kept going to Church and didn’t push me to go.
See, we were both raised Catholics, but a few years into our marriage, we stopped attending mass as we both felt disappointed about all the media and news coming out about the abuse of many children at the hands of priests. We also didn’t feel right or agree any longer about “giving confession ” as it felt like it was an intrusion of our relationship, our personal relationship with God.
I finally decided to go with him to Church and we attended Calvary Chapel in late December 2002. By August of 2003, we rededicated our lives and faith to Christ by being rebaptized, still living in Grants Pass, Oregon at that time, and within the Famous Rogue River.
This was a miracle for me as I had my husband on one side and the Pastor on the other. When they lifted me out of the water? I honestly felt feelings I had never had before. It was like all the bad in my life and within addiction had slipped away and replaced by what I felt: God’s love, grace, and mercy, and I haven’t looked back since!
I still have and feel those same feelings today.
Without my faith in my higher power, GOD, I know that I would not be sharing this with you. I genuinely am a living, breathing, walking MIRACLE of God, his power greater than myself. It has enabled me to reach over 14+years maintaining my recovery path and counting.
Do I go to Church every Sunday?
No, because as God tells us in Matthew 18:20 – – “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
So, long story short, never underestimate the power of your higher power. It is where all your MIRACLES within recovery come from!
This would never have happened without all my recovery friends, supporters, and the recovery COURIOUS! I hope I have been of help and a source of HOPE to those who visit that may have a Gambling Problem and looking for resources or just come to read some of my recovery experiences, strength, and hope!
I know recovery is not an easy road to travel, especially early recovery, but if I can help you in away, do not be afraid to reach out to me by email to email@example.com and I’ll be there for you!
If you want to be INSPIRED by words of WISDOM … You need to come to visit my girl Saania, and her blog “Fun With Philosophy Follow Your Curiosity!” This amazing post she has written gives excellent advice to everyone and including my Recovery Friends! Never Compare Yourself or your recovery to ANYONE. Your recovery path and Story is unique as it is a tool to help others!
Saania’s Post is a reminder to my recovery friends and supporters how important it is to NOT COMPARE yourself to anyone… We need to look within ourselves first for validation, love, and our worth, first, and always!
Hello, and welcome to Fun with Philosophy! I am 17 years old and love discovering the world around me. Hope you enjoy my blog, and do keep visiting!
We often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others as we scroll through various different social media. We also make judgements about how we don’t/can’t measure up against them. Unfortunately, social media is a place that triggers that unpleasant self-disdain, and this, as I’ve seen is so very unhealthy. In our modern world, social media exists as a tool to highlight the best parts of us and our lives, meaning comparisons have become stronger, but also more unfair.
Sonja Lyubormirsky, a psychologist at the University of California, said that “people who are happy use themselves for internal evaluation.” While in many cases comparisons help us learn from each other, other times, they rob us from gratitude and fulfilment in our own lives. When I find myself thinking that someone is better than me on social media, what I really find myself doing is trying to meet unrealistic expectations…
There could be thousands of reasons why people adopt gambling, and even psychologists don’t know why people gamble? It started as fun for some persons, and for some, it was meant to escape their sorrows. But in the end, the result was always the same; Gambling Stops Being a Diversion and Becomes an Addiction.
~Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author and Experienced Gambling Advocate of Recovery
A while back I came across what looked like a new Gambling Addiction and Recovery blog that seemed to really never transpire. I happened to visit again and the same original first post was still up, but not much activity after. That is the “nature of the beast” when it comes to addicted gambling. It seems sometimes the addiction may win over just trying to “will it away” and it won’t work very well.
But then? EUREKA! More New Posts Began To Be Posted! And many of Uri’s posts are not only informative? They are very revealing to the facts that Gambling Addiction truly is the hardest addiction to KICK! So, my deepest hope for all who visit me will take some time and go visit Uri and read a few of his posts about his recovery journey.
He speaks very openly as he shares his gambling and his recovery hopes and challenges. One that is really difficult and will share a little of his post is about LYING to his partner. For me? That was all about being in DENIAL.
“I am not upset that you lied to me; I am upset that from now on I can never believe you” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
After being more than 2 years free from gambling activities, I noticed that I still have a huge problem with lying to my partner. It became a habit and somehow I can’t stop lying to my partner. Someone once said to me that for as long as you lied to your partner, expect them not to believe you for the same time after you stop lying. It will hurt when they question you when you are telling the truth, you will be surprised because you never even thought to lie.
This advice helped me to think that did I achieve anything worthwhile by lying or cheating. I started thinking that what I am hiding from her? Why I am so insecure? Why my self-respect is at rock bottom? Why I am addicted to lying? Sooner I realized that lying is like a slippery dangerous slope with nothing good at the bottom but misery and empty life.
We all lie in different situations in our lives. We all have our reasons for lying, it may be to escape punishment in our childhood. When we grow up, we lie to get attention or sympathies and some even create stories to set friends against each other or get others in trouble. It is an expression of being afraid, what others will think, afraid of facing the reality. We want to show people that we are better than others and reflect the weakness of our character. This could be the result of low self-esteem, fear of rejection, desire to please, or any other nuanced reasons.
A liar justifies or makes stories to cover up something he has done wrong. To cover the first lie, another lie is required and this leads to an endless chain of lies. I had no idea about my case, why I was manipulating different situations to lie with my partner. Sooner I realized that I am a habitual liar, I tried to discover the root of my behavior, why I am doing and what I am avoiding. I thought that if I want to spend the rest of my life with my partner, I must avoid this habit of lying to restore the level of trust in our relationship.
If you are constantly lying to your dear ones and you are not able to do anything about it, then you don’t want to change. You cannot change what has developed in you for years. If someone matters to you in your life then you have to be truthful or else you will end up losing not only that person but your importance, your respect and the likeness you were trying to create will go away in a moment and will never come back.
All the lies which are still covered can come crashing down on your head at any time. You will live in constant fear of the truth being discovered and expose you which creates a bad effect on your nerves. Stop living in dream world with a fake identity. Get out of your unreal world and start living in present rather than the past or future.
A person who often tells fibs will never have trustworthy friends and will not be loved by anyone. Life is not only judged by a rich lifestyle, fluent language ability, or branded clothes. It is measured by the number of faces who simile when they hear your name. Analyze your life and try to find how it has impacted your life and others around you. Somewhere or somehow it has broken a lot of innocent hearts or brought tears to the eyes of your loved ones.
Do you think you feel happy about it?
How To Stop Lying?
Start thinking, why you want to quit lying, think about the bad things associated with being a liar. I am not an expert by any means but you must ask yourself why you are lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Learn to appreciate things you have in life and be satisfied with your family, friends, and your surroundings.
But what makes sense to me is that instead of trying “not to lie anymore” which is difficult to achieve in one day, try to focus on making little but sturdy progress. Think to yourself why you’re lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Is it because you are not confident? Or on the other hand you fear reality?
You can’t change the past, the past is immutable. But as long as you understand that the time of yore was something that you’ve learned, and then it won’t haunt you as much.
Few imperative things to consider while struggling to come out of this habit:
Never give up! People have thrived in breaking the nastiest & most addictive habits, you can do the same!
Change is going on in little- often not noticeable steps. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t observe changes immediately, YOU ARE CHANGING!
There will be setbacks. There is no way to accomplish a goal without failing on the way. Remember: failing doesn’t mean to stop struggling and starting all over again; you rewired your brain by fighting your habit & it will become easier & easier until it will go away!
My dear friend Mark has been running this gambling recovery website since I began my own journey of recovery and shortly after my book had released. It sometimes is not as active as it should be, because just like gambling addiction itself? It is still a hush, hush, silent taboo topic to be open and talk about due to the heavy shame and guilt. Those who become problem gamblers or have lost control of their gambling, don’t want to admit they have a problem.
And that can come from denial or blame others, or they are just not ready to get help.
So I wanted share some from Mark’s website here as he shares that gambling addiction doesn’t care who you are or where you are from, it will touch even your teens! But there is help available and HOPE. I am living proof that recovery is possible, it does work if your are willing, and you don’t have to get to dire straights to gain your life back from this cunning addiction. Now, I will tell you that Mark and his website leans in heavy for Gamblers Anonymous and the 12-Step program. But, I can tell you it didn’t work for me alone.
My addiction was so bad I had to do ANY and EVERYTHING I could find, including a treatment in-patient program (NOT BY CHOICE) but it saved my life! Then I transitioned to out-patient treatment with therapy and group. It doesn’t matter what you choose to get back to a life without a “Monkey on your BACK,” just pick something and stick with it! So, here is the areas I wanted to share from Mark’s website as it is very informative as gambling addiction becomes a FAMILY addiction. Everyone becomes effected by the addict. Support is the KEY. . .
Help With Gambling Addiction – A Guide for Impacted Families
Are you looking for help with gambling addiction?
Do you have a loved one who’s a problem gambler? Maybe you’re not quite sure yet if they have a gambling problem, and you’re starting to research? Or maybe you’re already certain that there’s a problem, and are looking for help? Wherever you are in this process, this website focuses on all types of gambling problem recovery topics for the loved ones of problem gamblers. While there’s information on the site that problem gamblers themselves may also find helpful, the focus is to provide help to the loved ones of gamblers impacted by the gambling problem.
It’s important to understand that I’m not a professional in the field of problem gambling or addictions, nor I am even in the medical field. I am, however, someone with first-hand experience discovering that my spouse is a problem gambler, and living with the hardship and turmoil that comes from the progressive disease of gambling.
Fortunately, I also have experience working through the addiction recovery process with my spouse, and for myself. So while I’m not a expert in the field, and have no professional qualifications to give advice, I can speak from personal experience, and straight from my heart to yours to hopefully help you and your family start down the road to recovery.
Through my own research, including Internet searches, books, and individual therapy, I came to realize that while resources gamblers to get help with gambling addiction is plentiful, help for the spouses and loved ones is few and far between. Hence, seeing this gap, I became motivated to put together this website as a free resource.
If I can help even one person, or one family find the right path for helping your gambler and/or yourself, then it will have been worthwhile. Essentially, this site contains information that is from my personal experience, as well as concepts and techniques that I’ve compiled over the years, including talking with my individual therapist, talking with others with problem gamblers in their lives, as well as what I learned through the intervention experience that myself and my loved one went through.
What to look for if you think a loved or partner has a gambling problem
Your spouse disappears for long periods of time during the day and/or night, and doesn’t provide adequate reasons when questioned, or is obviously lying.
You know your spouse is gambling and money continually goes missing, and this is either creating financial strain in terms of paying for bills and activities, or you have already begun defaulting on loans and other payments.
When you discuss the topic of problem gambling, they either dismiss it as not an issue, or acknowledge that things have gotten out of hand, but that they can stop if they want to.
You’ve found yourself making significant financial adjustments, whether it’s moving (whether due to a foreclosure or voluntarily selling your home), downsizing cars (or repossessions), etc.
You’re credit cards have consistently higher balances due to cash advances, or are over limit, and you’re getting calls from collectors.
Money from your bank accounts is disappearing due to unexpected/unaccounted for withdrawals.
Large unexplained sums of money are deposited to your bank account.
Communication with your spouse is difficult, stressful, or generally ineffective or non-existent.
They’ve attended Gamblers Anonymous and either continue to gamble or have discontinued attending meetings.
They tried individual therapy and/or couples therapy with you, and they continue to gamble.
You generally feel that your life is out of control and unmanageable.
In addition to sharing experiences, ideas, and techniques in dealing with a loved one who’s a problem gambler, this site is also meant to provide information about problem gambling itself. What is it? How do you know your loved one is a problem gambler? Can it be cured? What’s Gamblers Anonymous? What’s Gam-Anon?
Other questions that you might be asking yourself at this point might include:
What can I do to help?
Should I do something to help or leave it be?
Should I stay with, or leave my gambler?
How should I handle finances?
Is gambling really a disease?
Although I’ve used the word “should” liberally, inferring that you’ll find all of THE answers here, that’s not going to be the case. Everyone’s situation is so unique, personal, and complex that no one could possibly tell you exactly what to do. The reality is that there’s truly no one right answer for your situation.
There are different paths you can take, each one with its pros and cons. Ultimately you’ll need to decide what’s best for you and your personal situation. In fact, I would venture to say that if someone purports to KNOW exactly what you should do, I would caution you, as nothing is that simple, even for a problem gambling professional or addiction specialist.
Unlike other resources available to you, it not only provides the background information regarding getting help with gambling addiction all in one place, but also provides a forum for people to share their experiences, as well as ask and answer questions. While hopefully you’ll come to believe that there’s no one right answer to your problems, it can often be very helpful to ask a question and have a direct dialog about possible answers/solutions. I’ve found that this type of forum is not readily available for loved ones of problem gamblers.
If you’ve read this far, it’s highly likely that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the gambling problem in your life, and you need help. While this site won’t cure your problems, you can rest assured that you’ve found a place to learn, share, and dialog with people who understands what you’re experiencing, and who can help guide you to the tools you’ll need for the learning process. As the site grows, it will become even more valuable for you as you read about others who have experienced similar situations, and learn about what they did to work towards rebuilding a healthy way of life.
I URGE All My Friends and Visitors to My Website Here of “Bet Free Recovery Now” take some time to visit Mark at his site and share your comments of hope and inspire those who may be needing it over this long 4th of July Holiday Weekend. https://www.help-with-gambling-addiction.com/
Who was William Cowper? William was born 26 November 1731 (My Birthday Too) – and passed 25 April 1800) known as an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. William was also considered one of the best letter writers in English, and some of his hymns, such as “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” and “Oh! For a Closer Walk with God,” have become part of the folk heritage of Protestant England.
GUEST POST BY Author Tony Roberts of Delight in Disorder Ministries
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)
The Longing of William Cowper in “Heal Us, Emmanuel”
Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are We wait to feel Thy touch; Deep wounded souls to Thee repair, And Savior, we are such.
Our faith is feeble, we confess We faintly trust Thy Word; But wilt Thou pity us the less? Be that far from Thee, Lord!
Remember him who once applied With trembling for relief “Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried; “O help my unbelief!”
She, too, who touched Thee in the press And healing virtue stole, Was answered, “Daughter, go in peace; Thy faith has made thee whole.”
Concealed amid the gathering throng, She would have shunned Thy view; And if her faith was firm and strong, Had strong misgivings too.
Like her, with hopes and fears we come To touch Thee if we may; O send us not despairing home; Send none unhealed away.
Poet and hymn writer William Cowper (1731-1800) was a man of deep longing that greatly affected his mind as well as his spirit. In his thirties, while battling some political factions in his work, he was afflicted with “madness” (as it was then called called) and admitted to Nathaniel Cotton’s Collegium Insanorum at St. Albans. He recovered and moved to the town of Olney in 1768 where he co-authored a book of hymns with the well-respected pastor and hymn-writer John Newton (who wrote “Amazing Grace”).
In 1773, Cowper became engaged to Mary Unwin, but he suffered another attack of madness. He had terrible nightmares, believing that God [had] rejected him. Cowper would never again enter a church or say a prayer. When he recovered his health, he kept busy by gardening, carpentry, and keeping animals. In spite of periods of acute depression, Cowper’s twenty-six years in Olney and later at Weston Underwood were marked by great achievement as poet, hymn-writer, and letter-writer.
Certainly, Cowper continued to fight back despair and may well have stepped aside from public prayer and worship, but the depth of his prayer life and relationship to God in Christ is abundantly evident in hymns that live on through the ages.
Which brings me back to the theme of longing. The longing expressed in this hymn, and also in Cowper’s life, is not evidence of a lack of faith. In fact, faith prompts us to recognize that all is not right within us, among us, or around us. Our faith, though feeble, keeps us crying out in prayer for our children who are hurting, for our bodies that need healing, for our world that is on the brink of collapse.
We come to God not only with “positive thoughts”, but with hopes and fears – hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst and humbly requesting that the Great Healer would touch us, would send not of us away unhealed.
“I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.”
Tony Roberts is a graduate of Hanover College (Bachelor of Arts; English and theology), and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). He served as pastor for churches in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York, while battling bipolar disorder. He is the author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission and is the founder and Chief Shepherd of Delight in Disorder Ministries. These ministries include A Way With Words publishing, Revealing Voices podcast, and Faithful Friends mental health support group.
Tony is available to virtually consult ministry leaders on issues of faith and mental illness. You may reach out to him on the contact page or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Those of us maintaining recovery always think we have heard the worst of the worst when we are BRAVE ENOUGH to share our story of addictions. I am reblogging this one because I am not sure how this man is still living today. AND DALLAS? I don’t mean that disrespectfully.
You have been through hell and back, and I commend you for sharing your full story… You should be proud for being Open, Honest, and very transparent about your addictions and, now, your early recovery. You INSPIRED ME with this post, and I wish you all the success and blessings I know the Lord is ready to give you!
I never thought i was going to be the one that had so many problems with drinking in the future but i shoudl of seen it coming with how hard i drank even back in highschool. We Drank hard and blacked out often, We would go looking for fights and always found them which didnt always end our way. I had my butt kicked so bad i woke up in the hospital with a broken eye socket and a battered up head, i was beat with bats and metal pipes which is unfair but im sure it would have all been avoided if it wasnt for drinking that night. i drank and drove alot, i was the only friend with a vehicle and one time we though it was a good idea to do this thing called sign smashing and all you do is swerve off the…
Ever wonder what happens in the mind of Stephen King, or Stanley Kubrick? Or the thoughts in the mind of a serial killer? These are areas that most people would never venture into. It’s too scary. It’s too dangerous. But danger is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a reflection of our life experience, individual biases and perception. But as we all remain indoors, the confines of our own minds can be the greatest danger.
As people, our outward actions toward the world reflect our own mindset, individual biases, and our outlook on the world. If that outlook is positive, we tend to see the world in a positive light and consequently treat people and situations with that positivity. The converse is also true. If, because of our life experience or chemical imbalance, we have a negative or pessimistic world view, we view the world through that lens. It’s how we think, act, and speak. It attracts or detracts others to or from us. How do mental disorders alter that world view?
~Gravitate Online (Dot Com)
The Different Mental Disorders
For individuals dealing with depression or bipolar disorder, the mind can be a very scary place. Many people are undiagnosed with depression or anxiety. In the U.S. two-thirds of all cases of depression are undiagnosed. That means that they are not getting the proper help or medication to help them see the world without a dark shroud. Through their prism, they see the world in a dark, negative and suspicious way when in reality may not be the case.
Unfortunately, this mental strife can sometimes lead to drug abuse and addiction. Teenagers and young adults are especially susceptible to this unfortunate reality which is why proper mental health resources in their in-person or online education are imperative.
There are more types of depression than most people realize. According to https://www.healthline.com/, these are some of the different depressive disorders:
Persistent depressive disorder
This is chronic low-level depression less severe than major depression and lasts two years or longer. This is accompanied by constant feelings of deep and dark sadness and hopelessness, as well as symptoms like indecisiveness, low energy and fatigue.
At times, this depression is spurred by aging. When family is out of the house, and estate planning decisions are to be made, it can have an effect on an individual’s sense of longevity. This, of course, is all part of a mental disorder that can have quite an effect on an individual’s day-to-day.
Another type of depression is bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder. It involves the episode of a manic, a heightened state of being or over-energized mood. These episodes may be followed by episodes of dark deep depression. Huge swings from high to low and sometimes back again. It is the very manic highs paired with the low depressive state that determines the type of bipolar disorder is diagnosed.
As much as 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” following delivery. Symptoms include sadness, mood swings, depression, withdrawal, lack of appetite, and negative thoughts. According to the American Psychological Association, about 10 to 15 percent of U.S. women have a depressive episode within three months of childbirth. and fatigue and typically pass within a week or two.
This is caused by the fluctuation of hormones following childbirth, combined with lack of sleep, and the stresses of caring for an infant. If these symptoms stay longer than a couple weeks and escalate in severity, it may be a hint of a deeper issue.
Many experience feelings of depression when seasons change. This is known as seasonal affective disorder. Up to 5% of the U.S. population (16,500,000) experience seasonal depression every year. Seasonal affective disorder is typically initiated at the beginning of autumn and lasts throughout the winter, during the dark and cold months of the year.
If any of these depressive situations are accompanied by paranoia, hallucinations or delusions, it is an indication of a major issue known as psychotic depression. This condition is rare. A quarter of patients admitted to a hospital due to depression actually have psychotic depression. The extreme cases are incapacitated and may need to be admitted to long-term hospitalization.
Many depression diagnoses are tied to an actual chemical imbalance in the brain and must be managed with medication. Some less severe conditions may be managed, at least in part, through more natural means.
These include the following: Physical exercise. The endorphins released in the brain during physical exercise can have long term positive benefits for depression.
Healthy diet. Eating fresh, clean, healthy food can boost positive vibes in the body and can be a helpful step in battling depression.
Good sleep. The power of good sleep is beneficial for all people, especially those with depression. Supplements. Natural remedies like fish oils and folic acid have been known to help individuals with depression. However, when using natural supplements check with your physician.
Positive mental thoughts
Fighting depression can be hard work. A lot of the work is mental, challenging your negative self-talk and changing how you think. Individuals with depression leap to the worst possible conclusions in many scenarios. Challenging those conclusions and replacing them with positive ones can help make depression just a little brighter.
Positive self-thoughts maybe act as the light switch that transforms a person’s negative outlook from continuous darkness into a much brighter view of reality. This can lead to a happier and more rewarding life.
Medications Many Americans that suffer some form of depression, live perfectly normal and healthy lives with the help from the advances in pharmaceuticals. Working with a doctor to find the proper medication and dosage can change the life of an individual with depression.
We all strive to make the world a better place. But for some, this is more difficult because of internal personal turmoil. For people to treat others in a way that makes the world a better place, they need to feel that way about themselves. Helping those with a chemical imbalance to see the world through a brighter prism has exponential benefits to society. So, never be afraid to explore all your options.
“By small means, great things are possible.” ~Catherine Lyon, Advocate
Visit my friends of SAMHSA for help and options for treatment, information, and much more!
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families.
To provide leadership and resources – programs, policies, information and data, funding, and personnel – advance mental and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in order to improve individual, community, and public health.
SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Last Updated: 05/05/2021
Find Help and Treatment
The National Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential referrals and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, treatment, and recovery in English and Spanish.
I’m a veteran of the navy and in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud.
After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine.
It’s hard to replicate the adrenalin rush that one gets working in the military. For me, nothing can match the sense of doing something dangerous, and doing something dangerous for a purpose.
In my role with the Navy, I was among the boots on the ground in the Middle East. I saw the effects of war and came home with a darkness inside me that so many other veterans have experienced.
After my deployment was over, I was faced with the challenge of trying to somehow match that excitement and high-tempo routine. Of course there is no substitute in civilian life for what I did while with the Navy, but I tried to find it.
The closest I could come was gambling. It offered me some of the same aspects of life in the Navy: adrenalin, something to engage in, and a form of escapism. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to understand the connection and similarity between the highs of gambling and my life in the Navy.
My gambling started in a very casual way. I remember taking a long drive into the mountains when I was based in the Washington, DC, area. I ended up at a casino in West Virginia by complete accident. I enjoyed myself and it was simply fun recreation.
My gambling didn’t really become a problem until I left the Navy in 2006. I started going two to three times a week and it was my only real outlet. It became my social pastime.
I continued to gamble for much of the next ten years. But things really went off the rail in 2016, when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. Rather than wait for the phone to ring to transport passengers from the casino, I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.
At this point, I knew I had a problem. But I wasn’t sure that anything could be done about it, nor did I know how I could actually get help.
Then an unexpected thing happened. While on Instagram, I was viewing photos from an old Navy colleague. I didn’t recognize the buildings in his photos and decided to message him to learn more. He told me they were from Minneapolis. When I asked, “Why Minneapolis?” he explained that he was in Minnesota after getting out of a VA rehab facility in St. Cloud.
When we eventually talked—for the first time in about 10 years—it all started making sense. I knew him personally and knew about his dangerous streak, so hearing that he was in rehab made sense. I also saw many parallels to my story. I asked him questions about the process and then obtained the link for the VA facility that could help me.
As soon as I got off the phone, I started packing my car. I drove three days to make it to St. Cloud from the west coast. I didn’t even call ahead of time and walked right to the urgent care desk and said, “I need help.” I was feeling suicidal and couldn’t take no for an answer.
When I got to St. Cloud, I told the doctor that in addition to a problem with drug and alcohol addiction I also had a gambling problem. I was placed in a residential treatment program on July 14 with a dual addiction diagnosis and stayed for 60 days. Until then, I didn’t know that treatment programs like this existed.
A part of the program involved cognitive behavioral therapy. During these sessions, I gained a better understanding of how my actions were related to the trauma I suffered in the Navy and how the things I did were efforts to try to deal with that trauma. When you get into a program like this, you see the bigger picture. More importantly, you see that this addiction can be managed and that it can be cured.
I’m trying to start anew in a place where I have no routine connected with gambling and where there is no casino in town. I’m living in the House of Charity in Minneapolis and am following through with my aftercare, including meeting with a therapist to keep me on my path.
. . . when I was a taxi driver and made frequent stops at a casino in the small town where I lived. . . I would end up inside the casino spending all the money I earned that day. Things got very bad and life felt hopeless.
I’m in the process of determining my future. Given what I’ve learned about myself and the relationship between trauma and the ways in which we deal with it, I’ve given thought to taking a smart recovery position outside of St. Cloud, something that would require a certification program. From past experience, I realize that I have to feel fulfilled in my occupation or it won’t work.
I’m prepared for this to be a long, slow process. But that’s OK. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I realize how important it was for me to get there.
OUR RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT on NORTHSTAR ALLIANCE
Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. NPGA is a coalition of individuals and organizations sharing the belief that problem gambling is a serious public health problem that is both treatable and preventable.
NPGA works to raise public awareness about problem gambling and the stigma that’s often associated with it. We advocate for funding for treatment programs and provide professional training for those who work with problem gamblers. The collective impact of our efforts helps individuals, their families and their communities deal with the devastating effects of problem gambling.
As a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, NPGA is funded by membership fees, financial and in-kind donations, and state and private grants. A considerable portion of our funding comes from the state of Minnesota and from major corporate sponsorships from the Minnesota Lottery, Canterbury Park, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
To learn more or to arrange a visit, contact NPGA Executive Director Susan Sheridan Tucker or call (612) 424-8695.
GAMBLING TOLL-FREE HOTLINE: National Problem Gambling Helpline on 1-800-522-4700
In no way shape or form am I endorsing or encouraging others to gamble. But for those who can for the right reasons of a few hours of fun and entertainment, and share Responsible Gambling and my story when you don’t? That to me is progress! We know gambling will never be banned or prohibited, that wouldn’t be fair to those who can for enjoyment. Having a direct source to share my story on a gambling watch dog site is Ground Breaking…
~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
A few weeks ago I had been approached with an invitation to be interviewed by an overseas company that is a gambling watch dog for gamblers of all types to keep them safe. They have a blacklist of venues who may use bad practices when it comes to online gambling options at all types of casinos.
Now, I know many who come to visit here may be maintaining recovery like myself, so I won’t mention the site by name. They wanted to do a interview as they are revamping their website and they are hosting new pages of resources and raising awareness about problem gambling and patrons to practice responsible gambling.
At first I thought? Hell No! I would NOT be willing to be on a site like this where people come to look for the best places to gamble. Because I thought it would be like endorsing GAMBLING! Then, I went and explored the website and seen that “The National Council On Problem Gambling” is listed as a resource and I do a lot of networking with them and am a member as an advocate.
So I thought, what an amazing way to reach people who may need help and these resources and be able to help them before they get way to deep into full blown addicted gambling?
In no way shape or form am I endorsing or encouraging others to gamble. But for those who can for the right reasons of a few hours of fun and entertainment, and share Responsible Gambling and my story when you don’t? That to me is progress! We know gambling will never be banned or prohibited, that wouldn’t be fair to those who can for enjoyment. Having a direct source to share my story on a gambling watch dog site is Ground Breaking…
It would be right at the source and where the people are who may need to hear MY STORY, Raise Awareness, and help Shatter Stigma by letting them no there is NO SHAMEreaching out for help if gambling begins to interrupt any areas of their daily lives.
So I wanted to share the interview questions they asked of me and how I answered them. This really is an awesome opportunity and a ground breaking idea to also help break the stigma of those who may or do have a gambling problem know that it’s OK to reach out for help! ~Catherine
INTERVIEW WITH A RECOVERING GAMBLER~ Champion of Awareness
When did you first start gambling? What got you into it?
Answer: I had always enjoyed gambling with my girlfriends as we would go to Reno or the Indian Casino a couple of times a year and never had a problem. It used to be a fun thing to do for an hour or so with friends. Have lunch at the deli and play a little.
I don’t come from a family background or parents who were gamblers. For me, it began around age 30 when I noticed I began gambling a little more than an average person. Now, with 14+years of being bet free and maintaining my recovery, it started after a life event, when my brother-in-law passed away in 1992.
At the same time, I was living in the Oregon, (USA) and they had introduced video poker machines, later in the 2000s they slot style games to the machines. But when my brother-in-law passed away, I began to notice I was gambling more. By 1996, gambling became a problem and I was going more and more often. See, some of the reasons I used gambling was for an escape or trying to cope with the grief.
On top of this, I experienced childhood sexual trauma and abuse. When that pain came back and the grief of loss, I started gambling more. Those roots and underlying issues are why I used gambling to numb out. Sadly, once you lose control over your gambling and get sucked into the “cycle,” you can never gamble normally again. My gambling became a full-blown addiction.
One area stood out to me. Having a lot of access can bring gambling excess. I could walk across the street and gamble, or walk a block or two and gamble. Not only did we have Indian Casinos not too far, but the lottery video machines where in all our restaurants, deli’s, bars, and taverns. Very accessible.
Did you ever gamble online? What kind of sites?
Answer: Believe it or not, at that time, I never gambled online. First, because we did not have internet at that time. Second, I was lover of all the lights, bells, and noises of a casino or playing the lottery sponsored machines. Even today, the online casinos really don’t cross my mind. I will be honest and transparent and share I have been to Casino.org and tried your free play games to see what is new for research for my advocacy work to stay updated on the trends, but I don’t play or buy anything! I don’t even play Facebook games. Even though there are games like trivia or scrabble type games, still, I avoid them.
Which games did you play most?
Answer: When I did play back then be it at a casino or the lottery machines, I mostly played the slots or video poker. I loved slots that had fun bonus rounds like video poker called “Flush Fever” …But most times I’d play slots.
When did you notice it was becoming a problem?What were the signs?
Answer: Again, I have to say it started in 1992, but really ramped up and crossed the line into full-blown gambling addiction around 1998. I had begun gambling more, higher betting, playing more money until I attempted suicide and my first addiction Crisis Center stay an began treatment for addicted gambling in November of 2002.
That is how bad my problem gambling became. It was a slow progressive climb to where I ended up a statistic of 1 in 5 addicted gamblers will try suicide. Looking back now, some of the warning signs were gambling for longer periods of time, lie about why I was gone so long. Stop doing things I enjoyed, missing family get togethers, call in sick to work if I was winning, ignored medical or dental appointments, work, began having money problems and arguments over money with my husband, etc.
How did gambling negatively affect you? E.g. financially, in relationships Answer: Some of the above and eventually when you have no money to gamble with? I began selling or pawning things of value, took out credit cards and payday loans my husband had no idea about. Dug us in a huge financial hole and lost my friendships with most of my friends. Would argue with co-workers, lost jobs over my gambling until it became NOT gambling with money any longer, I was gambling with my life and had two failed suicide attempts. Those were just some of the negative impacts I had from my gambling addiction. It was a never ending battle if I won or lost. When you lose control, when you win? You think you will win all the time. When you lose? You go back out and chase the money you lost. It become a sick “cycle” you can’t seem to get out of.
What did you do to overcome your addiction?
Answer: I did ANY and EVERYTHING I could get my hands on to recover!
After my second failed suicide attempt in Jan. 2006, I started gambling treatment, again, and in the Addiction Crisis Center again and I guess you can call it a “do-over”… I finally surrendered to the fact that I can never gamble again like regular people who don’t have a problem. I had lost all control over my gambling to the point that it almost cost me my life. See, it is NOT about the money lost or won, it became life or death for me.
Here I was again, I began in-patient treatment for 30-days and transitioned into out-patient for the next 6-months, attended Gamblers Anonymous for many years as a source of support, treatment therapy, worked with an addiction specialist for a year to help me process and overcome the childhood trauma I endured, learn the process of forgiving and making my amends where needed. And began to slowly work through my financial inventory and slowly paying all my debts. I attend “Celebrate Recovery “virtually.
In 2010 to 2011, I wrote my memoirs to see everything gambling addiction had taken from me and my family and was published in book form in 2013 by “The Kodel Empire Publishing group.” In it I share the Why and How I became a gambling addict. It’s titled “Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Lair and a Cheat” available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online bookstores.
What advice do you have for someone else who may be struggling?
Answer: First, don’t wait to get help or suffer in silence like I did for many years from problem gambling. There is help available in all states in the USA and in many countries around the world. There is no shame in reaching out for confidential help. If you’re not sure where to look for help, I founded and run my website called “Bet Free Recovery Now (Dot Com)” and have a page of resources of places I trust and have advocated alongside the work they do and the treatment services offered to those with a gambling problem or a full-blown gambling addiction.
No matter what type or your preference of gambling problem you may have, be it online gambling, casinos, lottery, bingo etc., there are many options for treatment and help to gain your life back. I need to be real and honest about gambling triggers, cravings, and urges to gamble, they will only subside when you refrain from gambling, and you’ll learn the skills and tools to help you refrain from gambling when you chose to get help.
realistically gambling of all types will never be banned or prohibited, and in some world countries, gambling is still illegal. And in the USA, there are still some states that sports betting online gambling is also illegal. Banning gambling would not be fair to those who can do it with no problems what so ever.
However, the public needs to be aware of the dangers and pitfalls and if or when it becomes a problem within there lives.
WELCOME RECOVERY FRIENDS, WARRIORS, and New Visitors,
What an exciting week I have had! My book marketing is picking up again, and I have met two new women I’ll be mentoring with gambling problems. God is good! It kills me to know so many people are suffering in silence from problem gambling or with a full-blown addiction to it.
So, a few weeks ago, I was honored with a Facebook messenger from a guy I will call a new friend and supporter. I had seen him a few times while my husband and I watch MSNBC on cable. So when I noticed the Facebook message from an investigative news reporter, Scott MacFarlane? I thought someone was playing a JOKE on me. (lol).
It was him! I think my long-time friend Keith Whyte, the head director of The National Council on Problem Gambling, is located in Washington, D.C., where his video zoom interview was done. Make sure you give the full story below a read, as it is very informative.
I know Scott and his I-team work hard to bring this information to light. We all know that problem gambling is still a hush, hush problem, and we need to continue shining a bright light to bring it out of the dark! So I thank Scott for the opportunity to share some of my experiences in this video and story. ~Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Maryland Casinos See Jump in Voluntarily Banned Gamblers Returning
The number of problem gamblers caught violating their voluntary bans from Maryland casinos doubled in March, according to a review by the News4 I-Team.
The loosening of public health restrictions has helped Maryland casinos rebound from some financial losses during the pandemic, but the easing of restrictions has also coincided with a sharp increase in violations by gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves from casinos.
When Maryland legalized and approved regulations for casinos nearly a decade ago, the state created a “voluntary exclusion” program. Problem gamblers can voluntarily enroll in the program, which the state calls a “self-help tool” to assist them combat the addiction.
Individuals in the Voluntary Exclusion Program who return to casinos receive a trespassing citation from local law enforcement, not for punitive purposes, but as a means to encourage them to seek (diversion),” the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said.
Winnings can also be seized from a gambler who is caught violating the voluntary exclusion program when he or she is removed from a casino. That money goes into the Maryland Problem Gambling Fund.
Enrollment in the program has grown steadily since 2013, according to state records reviewed by the I-Team. But violations spiked suddenly in March, as public health restrictions were loosened in the state. The number of people caught violating their voluntary bans nearly doubled to approximately 70 in March. The number was sharply higher than February and much higher than pre-pandemic levels in early 2020, the I-Team found.
“Now that casinos are reopening, it’s not surprising you’re seeing this increase in violations,” Whyte said.
The I-Team checked with several states that operate or monitor casino “self-exclusion” programs. New York and Michigan gaming agencies both declined I-Team requests to release figures on violations, instead requiring formal Freedom of Information Act requests, which remain pending.
Pennsylvania, which is home to multiple major casinos, released its numbers of voluntary-exclusion violations to the I-Team. The data showed a sharp increase as pandemic health restrictions were eased. Pennsylvania reported approximately 370 problem gambler “self-ban” violations between January and March 2021, up from nearly 155 violations between January and March 2020.
“The only way to ensure these gamblers stay out of casinos is for them to get treatment for their gambling problem,” Whyte said. “Self-exclusion is not addressing the root cause.”
The American Gaming Association said U.S. casinos use technology to help enforce voluntary exclusion programs. The organization also credits MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George’s County with regularly checking IDs of patrons as they enter.
“The truth is there are 3 percent of the population that take this a little bit too seriously and need help and need interventions,” American Gaming Association spokesman Casey Clark said.
“There are important programs like self-exclusion and the work that the National Center on Problem Gambling and other entities do to help provide the right level of support for folks who aren’t able to enjoy it as a form of entertainment anymore,” Clark said.
Catherine Lyon, a recovering problem gambler who helps counsel others, said voluntary-exclusions lists are often ineffective. Lyon said she enrolled in a “self-ban” list more than 14 years ago from casinos in Oregon as her addiction spiraled.
“Within a month-and-a-half, I was doing anything I can to get in there,” she said.
She said she wore wigs, sunglasses and other disguises to evade detection and was never caught.
Lyon said problem gambling can lead to desperate decisions and suicidal thoughts.
“It’s very financially devastating,” she said. “I think that the financial part is where they, a lot of people, lose hope. They don’t think they can dig themselves out.”
Lyon said problem gamblers must supplement their voluntary exclusions with a treatment program or other efforts to combat the addiction.
Howard Riback, a recovering problem gambler and popular radio host and motivational speaker in Canada, said he anticipated a surge in violations by problem gamblers.
“I am not surprised at all,” Riback said. “People are walking around more depressed, more time on their hands; zombie-like people don’t know what’s going to be tomorrow, let alone next week.”
Riback said although problem gamblers should be congratulated for enrolling in voluntary exclusion programs, they must also seek out treatment and therapy.
“I’m proud that I was able to end that horrific part of my life, but until the day I die, those scars will be with me,” Riback said. “And make no mistake, the (scars) are not going anywhere. They’re memories with every passing day.”
Whyte, the head of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said casinos nationwide could more effectively police for gamblers who have voluntarily banned themselves.
“The casino has a wealth of systems to track players, but it always seems to fail when it comes to tracking those who self-exclude,” said Whyte.
But the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said casinos are effective in enforcing the program.
“The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency has issued a ‘notice of regulatory violation’ to various casinos for instances when an individual enrolled in the voluntary exclusion program was permitted to gamble or obtain a cash advance,” the agency said. “These are infrequent events, and the casinos are doing an effective job monitoring play by excluded players — both by self-reporting voluntary exclusion program violators to the (agency) each month and also by taking appropriate action against voluntary exclusion violators. No financial penalties have been assessed.”
More information can be found at 1-800-GAMBLER or by visiting mdgamblinghelp.org. Or The National Hotline For Problem Gambling – 1-800-522-4700
Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones and Jeff Piper.
As Tony shared in his first book titled, “I invite the public, family, and friends into my secret hell of despair, depression, racism, stardom, a look at gambling addiction, and my self-destruction” I feel it was a possible way to share his addiction and try making amends to those he may have hurt through his addiction.
Today, Tony is so much more than his past addiction. He is a living MIRACLE that recovery is possible and it can work. But you need to be willing to QUIT to WIN! Recovering addicts know full well that our PAST doesn’t define who we are today while doing the hard work within recovery to gain our lives back from this cunning addiction, disorder, and disease. I have had the pleasure of knowing this man for several years when his first book released titled “Red Card: The Soccer Star Who Lost It All To Gambling.”
That book really moved me to know that being honest, transparent, and in having the audacity to share ones story of addiction like Tony had in that book, it made me want to know more and we connected through social media and have been BUDDIES ever since. Now I am being of “Recovery Service” and helping share his new book just released on Amazon online in both the UK and USA.
He has turned his life around and now is the Founder and Acting CEO/Director of his organization he started in 2015 called “RED CARD Gambling Support Project, LTD a non-profit in London, England that has resources of one on one therapy through the consulting side and also has prevention and awareness events like workshops, speaking at schools and much more here>>>> https://kellysredcardconsultancy.co.uk/.
Here is more about Tony and his new book just released at the end of April 2021…
RED CARD GAMBLING SUPPORT PROJECT is all about promoting gambling awareness/prevention/education in our COMMUNITIES. We now know how serious gambling addiction is in the UK and how the numbers of addicts are increasing day by day, so we intend to work with all mental health/substance abuse/social impact projects in order to make a difference.
“I am from Coventry, but now reside in London. I suffered from gambling addiction in my 9-year pro soccer career and lost everything. I had to write my story in the hopes it will help others get help for this evil cunning addiction. My story is sad, tragic yet uplifting as it shows you can come out the other side.”
Founder & Director of Red Card ~Tony Kelly
ABOUT THE BOOK
Former professional soccer star (footballer) Tony Kelly lost it all, but he stands today as someone who is unbreakable!
Having lost his wealth, his house, and eventually, his partner, Tony, refused to be broken and fought back. Through years of pain and suffering, somehow, Tony managed to turn his life around in a positive way, and his journey from disaster to redemption and triumph is nothing short of amazing.
Tony has literally been to hell and back, but through family and friend’s support, professional help, his renewed faith, and sheer courage, he is now in a position to help others, and that is something he could never have envisaged six years ago. A tragic yet uplifting and inspiring tale of one man’s journey through gambling addiction.
It’s a must-read for those who feel lost, broken, and without hope, as Tony’s story is testimony that all is not lost and that this is a bet you can win!
Who Is Tony Kelly Today?
Best-selling author Tony Kelly is a former professional (footballer) soccer star who played for six teams within his nine-year career. He is also a recovering gambling addict. In his first book, Tony wrote and shared this story, “Red Card: The Soccer Star Who Lost It All To Gambling,” in 2013. He now released his much anticipated second book titled “Red Card: A Bet You Can Win!” in April 2021 and is available on Amazon Kindle, Amazon Books, Barnes & Noble, and other fine online book stores in both the UK and USA.
Tony was crazy about (UK Football) soccer from the age of seven. At sixteen, he was the youngest player ever on the first team at Bristol City, UK. In his twenties, Tony turned professional and went on to play for clubs such as Stoke City, Cardiff City, Leyton Orient, and Bury in the second and third divisions of the Soccer (Football) League. He also enjoyed a spell playing for a team in Sweden.
His soccer career was cut short and ruined by a gambling addiction. He continued to gamble addictively and lost jobs, the rest of his soccer career, his partner, and his financial wealth he worked hard to gain.
Today, Tony is the Founder and Managing Director of ‘Red Card Gambling Consultancy and Gambling Support Project’ (Non-Profit) in 2015 and has been sharing prevention of problem gambling and addiction with individual one on one therapy, awareness, prevention, educational workshops, visiting and speaking at schools, and much more in and around London, UK.
Tony has helped and worked with the UK Gambling Commission in an advisory role on regulations. A tireless advocate of recovery, Tonys’ work has grown to become well-respected within the gambling harm reduction and prevention sector throughout the United Kingdom. His work has been endorsed both by the UK media and the UK parliament.
As a recovering addict, his wish for the book release is to help to continue to raise awareness and educate the public about this crippling gambling disorder. Born Nyrere Anthony Kelly in England, Tony resides in London; his books are his journey of ‘Redemption and Recovery’ as he is living proof that this is a Bet You Can Win!
I am so excited to be sharing an amazing new podcast episode from my friends of The Carlos Vieira Foundation and The Knockin’ Doorz Down Podcast: https://www.kddmediacompany.com/ with hosts Jason La Chance and Mikey Nawrocki and the crew. I am honored and blessed to know these guys who also support my recovery from gambling addiction. We know any addiction does not DISCRIMINATE on who it touches.
Even though KDD isn’t a podcast for addiction, it is a podcast that Celebrates people from all walks of life and celeb’s who have experienced challenging times in their lives and how they were able to break through and live a purposeful life inspiring others to be their best selves. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, mental health, or other areas of trauma, you’re not alone. Hear how those that have been there, broken through and started Knockin’ Doorz Down.
I had the chance to share my story with Jason and Mikey a month or so ago as part of my scheduled events for “March Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” I sure did appreciate their willingness and BALLS to do so since gambling addiction still has so much stigma around this disease.
Now, Randy and I have been friends for several years. He is not only an inspirer and mentor of mine, but he keeps CAT out of trouble! LOL. Look, sometimes your friends have to call you out on your SHIT, and Randy does and that’s a REAL Friend in my opinion.
Here is a little more of Randy Grimes backstory courtesy of KDD Media and I know you will all enjoy watching this episode! At the bottom I’ll share some links where you can show your support for the foundations of Randy Grimes and KDD Media!
Pro Athletes in Recovery is the organization Randy founded to help other athletes like him who struggled to find the right resources.
Pro Athletes in Recovery strives to be a central place for athletes specifically, but reaches out to anyone who is struggling to overcome abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Helping athletes overcome addiction and supporting one another is their mission.
“The last two years of my career, I played in a complete blackout. Throughout my NFL career I was taking so much medication to get through each game that most of the time I didn’t even remember being out on the field. We get injured. We get treated. We keep playing. We get addicted. And if we’re lucky, we live to tell the story.”
As a kid, Randy Grimes grew up in Waco, Texas. Football was part of everyday life in his hometown, there was a lot of pride in local sports. Everything in his family focused around football, with loving parents and no addiction in his immediate family. It always came easy for Randy, getting a scholarship for basically anywhere he wanted to go.
Next was college, where he chose Baylor as his alma mater. They won the Southwest Conference, Peach Bowl & more. He met his wife at college, at this point he was still playing football non-stop, but yet no drinking or any drugs at this time in his life.
In his professional career, football turned into a job. The skill level increased dramatically in the NFL. He first signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a second-round draft pick. One of the main unspoken rules of the game was to do anything necessary to get back out on the field. That turned into taking handfuls of pain pills at practice, eventually turning into a full-blown addiction. He was also taking handfuls of Benzo’s at night, to make him sleep.
In the late 80’s he would be in the training gym and the doctor would come by each players’ spot, offer them whatever pills they wanted, followed up with 2 beers. This was the norm, so “why rock the boat” was the mentality in the locker room. He talked about “doctor shopping” as a professional athlete, basically giving him a blank check for whatever drugs he needed. He would use multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors to feed his addiction.
His prescription medication use eventually started to get out of control. No one would question why he was slurring his speech, showing up late, and nodding off during meetings. He was still doing his job on the field, so no one thought anything was out of the ordinary.
One day, after shoulder surgery in the off-season, Randy had a seizure while on a beach. He was put in the hospital, and they couldn’t find the reason for it. He did his own research, and it turned out it was linked to the Benzo’s he was taking to go to sleep. He knew he had a problem, but didn’t know how to deal with it. His professional career ended in ’92 and was an unexpected and abrupt end to what he thought was going to be a lifetime career. This compounded his addiction dramatically throughout the next decade.
He didn’t really fully deal with this issue until 18 years later, in 2009. His wife moved out, his kids couldn’t stand him and was barred from seeing his newly born grandchild, because of his addiction. He was sleeping on the floor of his vacant house with no utilities, no job, no car, no money. This was the rock bottom that he built back up from. He got into 90-day treatment on September 22nd, 2009.
Since then, he has focused on getting his story out there in hopes of changing other people’s lives for the better. Back when Randy was active in the NFL, there were no resources for addiction and treatment. Because of this, Randy founded Athletes in Recovery, which focuses on other professional athletes that are struggling through the same things. Even through all the hardships, problems, and major championships during his stint in the NFL, tackling recovery was the toughest battle of his life….
And we wrap up with some NFL talk and random questions.
This is Randy Grimes in his own words on Knockin’ Doorz Down.
Please visit and support these amazing causes and foundations. They can not help others without support.
The Carlos Vieira Foundation and 51fifty Gives Back!
The Carlos Vieira Foundation was founded by local businessman and race car driver, Carlos Vieira. In 2007, several race teams were approached to participate in a coin drive to raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital. Carlos Vieira’s race team, Team 51FIFTY, raised the most money for the hospital. In doing so, they recognized their ability and desire to continue raising money for good causes and to make a difference in the local community.
The Carlos Vieira Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that focuses on the following three campaigns: Race for Autism, Race 2B Drug-Free, and Race to End the Stigma. CVF was built on one man’s dream of helping youth within our local communities. Through local support, CVF is able to assist youth across twenty-one counties within California’s central valley. Our vision is for all youth in our local communities to have the resources they need to succeed and live a happy, fulfilling life.
A new in-depth author interview with writer and author Marilyn L. Davis. Here new memoir has released on Amazon and shares all about her addiction and recovery journey. It is the backstory to her award-winning home for women, North House. An amazing read!
Meet Author Marilyn L. Davis, a tireless advocate of addiction and recovery and an extraordinary writer. Deb from Book goodies caught up with her as her new book, “Finding North: From Addict to Advocate,” has released on Amazon. So I wanted to share this fantastic interview with all my readers so you can learn more about the woman behind the book.
I just happened to finish reading and gave her a 5-stars! My review is now on Amazon. Readers Favorite thought her book was also fantastic and gave Marilyn a 5-star awarded book review too.
I am excited to finally share my recovery journey through an actual real live Domain Name!
Why is this a big deal?
Because everything I write and share for recovery will get a much farther reach and means I can hopefully share more hope and raise more awareness about problem gambling and recovery to many more people who may be still suffering in silence from problem gambling. I had hesitated to sign up and pay for a plan and domain name as I’m not very good on the back stuff of meta tags and connecting this or that. WordPress is doing all of it and the SEO (Search Engine Optimizing).
Ok, let me get back to recovery! So, how do you know if you have a problem with gambling?
I can tell you from my personal experiences and listening to many share some of their woes while sitting in the rooms of Gamblers Anonymous. Once you have lost control over your gambling, you can never gamble normally again. Listen to me, YOU CAN NEVER CONTROL YOUR GAMBLING.
All you will do is battle the good vs bad and the losing vs winning vs LOSING again and again. You know I am sharing the real raw truth. If you don’t believe me? Here are some commented struggles of others who are stuck in THIS BATTLE. I visit many recovery chat rooms and posting communities of gambling recovery, and some of these people continue to struggle with gambling. It’s called the “CYCLE” and once you cross the line into addicted gambling? All you can do to help yourself is QUIT… And we are still on BlogLovin’!
Comment: “New to this whole thing… Slipped up and gambled today. Feel pretty stupid. I’m not gonna beat myself up today though. Could’ve been like last time that was so bad it made me suicidal. Screw ups happen i guess.”
Comment: “Rare are the practicing compulsive gamblers who have any idea how irrational they are, or, seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. One dictionary defines sanity as “soundness of mind.” Yet no compulsive gambler, rationally analyzing his or her destructive behavior, can truly claim soundness of mind.
Have I come to believe, as the Second Step suggests, that a Power greater than myself can restore me to a normal way of thinking and living?
Today I Pray May I see that my own behavior as a compulsive gambler could be described as “abnormal” or “insane.” For those still actively addicted, admitting to “insane” behavior is well-nigh impossible. I pray that I may continue to abhor the insanities and inanities of my addictive days. May others like me recognize their problems of addiction, find help in Gamblers Anonymous, and come to believe that a Higher Power can restore them to a normal way of thinking and living.”
Comment: “Very bad day today, first time I gambled since Aug last year and I feel so awful…. I knew it was wrong but still did it. All time low point.”
Member REPLY: “Glad you are reaching out. Hope you keep coming back and maybe join us on Monday 10 pm est in the chatroom for a GA type meeting. Take care and stay well”… Ken L
Comment: “Hi all,
Just recently told my wife and family that I slipped and gambled again. This already happened last year and was very difficult to get through. I gave in as the mind attacks were relentless. Now I’ve hurt them all so much and it’s difficult to believe that I can get to a place where it’s better…
Comment: “Hello everyone. Being alone is lonely… I do have family with beautiful kids and also beautiful wife. Living in Alaska without relatives I was hooked with gambling and I feel it’s getting worse and worse what should I do…
MemberReply: “Please, whatever you do DO NOT GAMBLE. There is hope and healing here. Gambling will not make it better. May for a few hours, you feel happy, but it’s fleeting and leaving you devastated over and over and over again. Be honest with your loved ones and stay here. We have all been there trust me. You are not alone. We are here for you!”
*** *** *** *** ****
When I look back on my own early recovery, I did attend Gamblers Anonymous, but only for support and to be with others who had the same problems with gambling that had. I decided to work my 12-Steps with a friend of mine and I do continue to rework them today. You got to do the work within your recovery journey in order to reach long-term recovery. That includes all areas like your personal inventory, changing bad habits and behaviors to better ones, including how you make choices.
Then begin your amends process, dig deep to find the WHY and roots to turning or using gambling for an escape or coping skill. Then time for your financial inventory, and later in another new post I will share just how to start taking charge of your DEBT. Never think that you can’t dig out of debit because I did it and it took several years. But it also is about taking accountability and ownership of it. It feels F _ _ KING AMAZING when you get it paid off! ( LOL )…
I didn’t always agree with what the program taught. As I actually had entered an inpatient treatment program. One of the main reasons many end up relapsing or having slips is because they avoid doing the work necessary to stop gambling, stop the relapses, and stop the INSANITY.
This is a very cunning disease and will take over your thoughts at anytime and talk you into gambling and make you think YOU can control the losses. There is a real reason for the slogan of “The House Always Wins”… But let’s be fair to those who can gamble for the fun and entertainment value of this good ole American past time. If you going to gamble? Please, do it responsibly!
Lastly, here is my pick for help, hope, and resources for this post! If you or someone you care about has a gambling problem? Visit my friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling: https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/ or CALL THE 24 Hour Confidential National Helpline at 1-800-522-4700
Great news for my friend, fellow author, and advocate Marilyn Davis! Her new memoir is garnishing some awesome reviews, including a 5-star awarded book review from Readers Favorite. And yes, she has maintained recovery for 32-years! Inspiring!
Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate by Marilyn L. Davis Non-Fiction – Memoir 256 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2021 ~ Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite
Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate by Marilyn L Davis takes readers on a journey of the author’s life. Marilyn speaks about addiction and how easy it was to experiment with her mom’s pills at a young age to escape from reality where she was unhappy because of a strained home and miserable school life. Her success story will inspire many readers who lead dangerous lifestyles because of their addictions and encourage them to emerge from addiction. She also speaks about the setbacks and struggles of addiction and the lifelong lessons they taught her. The author’s story and her vision give hope to addicts. It is a good guide for readers who are addicts to escape from their addiction…