My name is Catherine Lyon, but most know me by Cat.
I have started this emergency medical, treatment, and medical expenses GoFundMe fundraiserhttps://gofund.me/9d5a5159 for a dear friend of mine, Lang Patrick Martinez, who not only needs our support of prayers but needs financial support. He was admitted into the hospital, fighting a severe medical condition, and diagnosed with Behcet’s disease. He was admitted into Ronald Regan UCLA Medical center (757 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA) on September 20th, 2022. He will be there for most likely another week.
This disease has already attacked his right eye and caused vision loss. Doctors have found blood clots in his legs and significant bruising on several areas under his skin from possible internal bleeding. Doctors are still running many more tests even after this diagnosis. The doctors are not sure at this point what else is happening besides “Behcet’s” and the leg blood clots but are still running more tests for other autoimmune/infections. He is in a lot of pain because he has maintained recovery for over 4+years and refuses pain meds.
This is why I have started this fundraiser to benefit Lang Martinez with hope, aid, and monetary support for future medical expenses and treatments as he gets back on his feet. For those who know Lang, he is still healing from past adolescent trauma and abuse. Through Lang’s passion as an advocate for recovery from addiction and for those homeless sharing hope and help, he now could use our recovery service, prayers, and support in his time of medical needs.
He needs our good wishes and HOPE! It will let him know he will get through this. I will keep the medical updates posted here as I receive them from his doctor at UCLA, and we thank you in advance for your prayers, support, and monetary support.
“Forward Written By 2X Super Bowl Champ Leonard Marshall.”
“Entertaining true crime meets an encouraging spiritual awakening.“
Having the right mix of encouragement and entertainment, Corbin Bosiljevac’s memoir gets to the heart of an extraordinary story told by an ordinary man. When questionable choices, addiction, and mental health consume his existence, the yearning for something larger becomes imperative.
This is a true story about a man’s struggles through a time in his life when choices led him astray. From college graduate and Fortune 1000 salesman to black-market drug dealing, crime emerged as an everyday event. Illicit drugs and illegal commerce became profitable and daunting, while the danger of these activities began to creep closer by the hour. With federal prison as the catalyst, there was a chance that he would not recover. Being a fearful time, the crippling anxiety overshadowed any hope he had left. But his life was rebuilt with a new foundation.
These changes did not come easily or quickly, but anything worthwhile never does. This is truly a story of redemption. “On to the Next Thing” is an excellent read about not giving up on life no matter how far you have fallen. Our individual journeys do not necessarily unfold as we have planned, but it is our experiences that shape our time. Unfortunately, our past doesn’t define who we are today. These experiences during this time are his real story.
ABOUT THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
Corbin Bosiljevac is an influential writer and the best-selling author of his debut memoir, “On to the Next Thing: A Memoir on Crime, Choices, and Change.” His biography reads like a real true crime story that is eye-opening but with the right mix of encouragement and entertainment. The book is available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon and featured on many fine book sites in paperback, e-book, nook, and audiobook versions.
A product of the midwest, he was born in Wichita, KS, and grew up in Emporia, KS. He studied and attended the University of Kansas. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from The School of Journalism; he has spent most of his adult life in the Kansas City area.
His extensive travels around the United States mainly consist of outdoor adventures and camping, but when traveling, he enjoys discovering the history of the cities and places he visits. He also enjoys growing things, especially food. Corbin shares that “plants are good for the soul, and if they produce healthy food, then all the better!” Corbin enjoys reading, and his author influencers are David Sedaris and Simon Sinek.
Today, Corbin has been able to reform and transform his life to be health-focused; he now works with his father, Dr. Joseph Bosiljevac, in the medical field. They operate ‘New York Health and Longevity’ and ‘Flint Hills Surgical Associates.’ With the new health measures put in place during 2020-Covid, they focus on immune-boosting therapies and total body rebooting programs. The author now resides in Kansas City, MO.
“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?”
I am utterly thankful for my exploration into all parts of myself – the dark and the light, the insecurities and glories, and all the areas that are in-between since nothing in life is black and white. I delve into my consciousness, often asking myself my true motives and questioning anything that doesn’t feel right in my heart. Always, my intention is to bridge any gaps in my understanding of the oneness of life, and that includes understanding my deep connection and oneness with all of life.
How grateful I am to be brave and courageous, to cross the abyss in my own mind and soul, to heal all parts, dwelling in wholeness.
West Coast women: let me know if you’d like to find out more about the 4th Annual. Fall Retreat I am facilitating. It will be near Crescent City, CA, near sacred redwood groves, and right on the pristine Smith River. The dates are Thurs. Oct. 6th, 5pm through Sunday, Oct. 9th, 11am. Two spots left! First come, first serve.
Please share these gratitude reflections freely. I welcome emails and will reply to any and all. Thank you!
Gratitude Reflections are sent out Monday-Friday, except for major holidays.
I enjoy sharing some of my supportive friends and the resources they offer to help those who might be problem gamblers or may have a full-blown addiction to it.
My fine friends at GamTalk – https://www.gamtalk.org/ have many resources anyone can tap into to get help from gambling. Dr. Richard Wood is the founder and Ken L. is an administrator of this awesome website as they have given many a safe place and platform to share and give support to those looking to stop suffering in silence from this cunning and insidious disease.
I would encourage anyone who has a gambling problem to go join free and be with other like-minded people so you know you are NOT ALONE. I also try to share my thoughts on their community wall with empathy and inspiration to those who may be having a tough time trying to quit and how vital having an open willingness for CHANGE.
In order to change you much follow it up with ACTION. Willing to make changes within your actions is what will help you become BET FREE. Willing to change your addicted thinking, choices, bad habits, and behaviors that come with problem gambling.
It needs and takes action to work and you’ll begin a path of recovery that will be successful and gain a much better life. I’d like to share some anonymous voices so others can see just how difficult it is to change and stop gambling addictively.
Durr. posted: “We need to be able to survive a bad day. No matter how hard we try to live right, bad days will happen. It is wise to pray to be tough, fight through it, and believe that tomorrow will be better. When bad days happen get into your activities list and get active. Plan and prepare for war against this addiction. Have a journal and fill it with tips and articles about how to quit. Every day, add a bit more. Every day, study the key tips for you. Every day, do what you need to do to renew your mind and habits. It works.”
Pete E. posted: “New here and this day shall be known as day 1 for me…I have come to grips that I need help to stop gambling.”
Cindy R. posted: “My first post …I suppose my entry here will be quite usual. Anxiety way up, making deals with payments, and have noticed that when I’m chasing losses now for the last two months I’ve been noticeably hyper-frustrated when a scratch ticket doesn’t win.
Since I really need the win. Noticing this has prompted me to begin looking to stop or slow down. My mind is as tense as if I’ve Jenn up all night for New Year even with 5 hrs of sleep. Getting help locally is awkward since I’m a neighborhood professional. Thanks for letting me vent here…looking for a therapist whom I can trust locally here in Canada.“
Sally K. posted: “I’ve been gambling for over 12 years and it’s ruined my life. I have no hope for the future. It’s like I can’t feel anything unless I’m sitting in front of a slot machine. I’m scared to go to Gamblers Anonymous as I’m not a faith-based person. I want to find a support group; to be able to talk to and listen to other people like me. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to start?”
Kleaner31 posted: “I recently found out my 29-year-old son has a gambling problem. I’m looking for how I can help him the best.” Ken L. answered: “Hi Kleaner, The best way to help him is to suggest that he visit this site, find some counseling, and start attending GA meetings. And maybe suggest he turn his finances over to you until is finds solid recovery. I have included a link to Gam-Anon which is a Program for family and friends of the gambler. Wish you both well. https://www.gam-anon.org/meeting-directory
Dee M. posted: “Well, now, because of my undisciplined actions i.e. gambling every day, my car is being repossessed on July 8th unless I come up with the money, which I gambled away….I’m an idiot. I seriously have reached out to many agencies, but cannot find help with this. Unfortunately, I NEED my car for work, but I’m pretty much screwed.”Steve answered: “Sometimes churches have funds to help ask them for counseling and for them to take you and the payment to the bank with you.” (I ) Cat L. answered,“It is what happens when you continue to gamble and then chase your losses… You need to break the “cycle” and start also taking your financial inventory. Give your money and all cards, debit, and credit cards to your spouse or a trustworthy person to handle your money.There are many treatment options if you are ready for change.”
Jcp82 posted: “I’m so very happy I stumbled on this forum today. Day #2 of working to make a positive change in my life. It is amazing how (1) simple activity can take over a life. It hurts my insides that I cannot gamble today. But I have no choice but to push through. It will get easier I know, but wow. So happy I am here to read these stories. I am not alone in this and that is a good thing. Have a great day everyone!”
C Marie posted: “Day #3 Thanks everyone for your help. The suggested podcasts are really helping me. Little victories. Today will be a good day. If not, we will make it one. Take care out there guys!”
Cat Lyon – (Me) posted ( I wanted to share my recent amazing NEWS and Accomplishment) “Hello, Group and friends, Happy Belated Canada Day to those who live in Canada! I’m in the USA, and we are celebrating Independence Day tomorrow, but as I write this, I hear fireworks outside. I guess some wanted to start it EARLY… Awe, just the little things. I say this because I sure know I had a lot of crappy 4th of Julys when I was still deeply in my gambling addiction.
This brings me to Thanking Ken for the “Thoughts of the Day” today and tomorrow, depending on where you live. (what country) …As Ken shared, “Change is a part of the flow of life. Sometimes we’re frustrated because change seems slow in coming. Sometimes, too, we’re resistant to a change that seems to have been thrust upon us.”
For those who may be having a rough time, struggling to maintain recovery from this awful and insane addiction, CHANGE is a vital part of our humble beginnings within our recovery path and the willingness to make it.
To have a much better life for you, your spouses, your family, etc. CHANGE doesn’t have to be feared or scary. Wouldn’t it be great to have a life without this addiction dictating it? Or it sucking the life out of you. It is possible. I have been doing it BET FREE for over 15 years. I know it is possible. Was it a rocky road at first? Heck yes. But I truly was sick of being sick and tired.
It took me two failed (thank GOD) suicide attempts and two times through a crisis center and gambling recovery treatment program. No kidding. But? I NEVER GAVE UP. WHY? Because I knew I was living one bet away from death. True. I knew if stayed out there gambling I’m sure another suicide attempt would be looming and as they say, “third times a charm,” and I know I would not be here today if I kept gambling addictively. It is true that every 1 in 5 gamblers WILL try suicide. It’s a fact. And even though at that point I lost just about everything, almost my marriage, and my life, I was one HOT MESS!
Today I live a much better life than the one had before I became a gambling addict. I am very proud that I just completed and graduated from my Freedom Debit Relief program! I finally have paid off all the old debts and collections I had and it was a lot of $$$$$$… I feel so proud of myself for not only getting my financial inventory in order but being accountable for paying all those old debts off.
It IS an amazing feeling! So, never give up trying to stop if you have a gambling problem or it is a full-blown addiction. Your life is worth more than that. And you deserve to be happy and have peace in your life.
Our past doesn’t have to define us so don’t let it dictate YOUR future!
I think this gives some examples of how tough it can be to maintain recovery or just reach out for help and have a start somewhere and somehow. When you visit GamTalk’s website, I would also encourage you to read the “The Stories of Hope.”
We are only given one life to live while helping others along our journey. After years of addicted gambling, wasting a portion of my life, I will never again take for granted the beautiful life I have been given by GOD and will continue soar to heights I never dreamed possible from the work I have done within my recovery. . .
Author and Advocate Catherine Lyon
My recovery journey started in 2002, and again in 2006 from my mental health challenges.
I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 20-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.
I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, she pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts, and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation, and paid restitution that I’m still paying today.
You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I chose to not do all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.
After this second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a well-balanced recovery and had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who maintaining recovery, and those of us who suffer from a mental illness, and we have a huge hurdle in our path.
I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye-opening.
He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.
Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, and sexual trauma, and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer, and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.
By writing my book, and memoirs, and sharing it with the world, I hope to help shatter the stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen to not be anonymous or silent any longer.
I want others and the public to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities and in families’ lives.
The expansion of casinos, state lotteries, and now legal sports betting and online gambling venues are making gambling more and more accessible today and are now touching our youth. Currently, 1.9% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my own recovery and by writing my book, I have learned a lot. The best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.
Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit, and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Sadly, I learned this the hard way.
Now that I have reached and maintained 15+years of recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my purpose, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good!
My husband and I learned that we can weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I share as much as I can with others. I do this in many ways. My second book is almost finished, and I hope to release it in early 2023.
It will be more of a “how-to” for reaching that elusive first year of recovery. With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share my recovery and experiences in blog form here. All I can do is urge others to never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn from.
My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you within your recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent on your journey.
If you’ve ever been to Atlantic City, you know it’s an exciting place. High-rise hotels, famous nightclubs, and glitzy casinos line the boardwalk. As a young guy, Atlantic City had all the appeal of a fun spot to spend an evening and unwind.
At the casinos, these thrills were more enticing than I realized. That evening, I found myself glued to the gaming tables. I couldn’t get up and walk back to my room. I ended up gambling all night long.
When I visited Atlantic City, I’d been sober for about a year. Growing up, I had problems with drinking and drugs, but fortunately, the effects of these addictions hit me early and hard. I got into recovery programs and by all accounts, was doing well.
That night triggered another addiction that I’d fight for years: problem gambling.
Deep down, I knew that as a recovering alcoholic and drug user, finding and chasing other highs wasn’t a good idea. I swore to my girlfriend that I’d never gamble again.
Except I did. I started to chase, even sprint after the high of gambling. I started buying scratch tickets and visiting more casinos. And unlike my drinking or drug use, I didn’t seek recovery.
Several years later, I fell on tough times. That’s when my gambling got out of control. I didn’t have any close family or friends I could turn to, and instead, I turned to slot machines. I started going to casinos to play high-limit slot machines. Gambling became an escape and winning felt ecstatic. And like my night in Atlantic City, I found it harder and harder to walk away from the machines and the tables.
My life began to revolve around weekends at the casino. I drifted away from participating in 12-step recovery programs. I started spending money like it didn’t matter and racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. When I maxed out my credit cards, I sold personal possessions, trying to pay off the surging debts from each weekend’s worth of gambling. My relationships took a toll, too. I pushed many people away.
No wake-up call seemed to shake my habit. One day, I ended up hitting the slots and winning a huge jackpot but left the casino with only a few thousand in my pocket. Even refinancing my home to pay off my debts didn’t deter my gambling. The addiction had me by the throat, and I was powerless, unable to look past the upcoming weekend and my next bets.
The real jolt to the system was when I started thinking of doing something illegal to continue gambling. I realized I was helpless and hopeless. I was contemplating suicide.
Just 20 minutes later, one of my sisters called me. A friend of mine from one of the 12-step programs was worried about my wellbeing. He had called my family.
That was May 2008. I was in rough shape mentally and emotionally, but I got help. Through the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, I found a counselor. I’ve been fortunate to find some really important people in my life and got back on track with the 12-step programs for my addictions.
Since then, gambling has been a monkey on my shoulder. I’ve stayed as vigilant around gambling as I need to be around drinking or drugs. From the high highs to the low lows, I didn’t want to look at my gambling honestly until I reached a point of sheer desperation. When I got honest with myself, it became a weight lifted off my shoulders. My advice? Help yourself before you bottom out!
********* ********* ********** **********
If you or a loved one needs help and you live in the MA., Call Council’s Live-Chat or call the GamLine at 1-800-GAM-1234, 24/7. For everyone in the United States, visit The National Council on Problem Gamblinglook up your State Here: https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/help-by-state/.
Self-Exclusion or self-banning yourself from gambling and casinos can be a tricky thing to do. There has been much controversy over it. So does it really work for the gambler to ban themselves from the temptation to try and stop one from gambling? Well, I can only speak for myself that it didn’t work. But I was far too deep into full-blown addicted gambling.
If we have a positive mindset and attitude about self-exclusion and try it when we’re beginning to feel like gambling is becoming a problem and interfering in our daily lives? Then for those who are aware and looking to curb or nix this habit before it does become a full-blown addiction, it just may work for them.
I began to think more about this after I read this article I’m going to share with you by the fine folks of The Massachusetts Council On Gaming & Health. It made me see a different side to self-exclusion. I hope you can learn a little more after you give it a read. ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon
For some casino patrons, Voluntary Self-Exclusions are the real home run.
For some casino patrons, ‘Voluntary Self-Exclusions’ is a real home run...
Knowing our limits is part of maintaining a safe, healthy lifestyle. It’s what naturally encourages our bodies and minds to crave breaks. Whether powering off our laptop after a few hours of work or pausing to stretch when we get a muscle cramp exercising, breaks help us reassess and recharge. Even our favorites on the Sox and Celtics take timeouts to breathe and strategize their next play.
As Opening Day kicks off this week, these statistics should serve as a vital reminder to policymakers. The passage of sports betting legislation without robust consumer protections such as Voluntary Self-Exclusion (VSE) programs would prove to be a massive oversight and undermine our Commonwealth’s pro-public health reputation.
Gambling can be tough to see or sniff out, literally. Unlike some alcohol or drug use addictions, problem gambling or at-risk gambling can be easily concealed. However, keep a lookout for signs and symptoms. Perhaps you or someone you care about is placing higher bets to try to reach the same adrenaline rushes.
Others find themselves driving to the casino or instinctively pulling up a gambling app whenever they are down or stressed. Individuals are increasingly chasing sports betting thrills on flashy apps and websites. So be mindful of more-than-usual screen time. The sheer accessibility of sports betting poses concerns to public health — and a potentially greater need for self-exclusion programs.
Like anything in excess, gambling can wreak havoc on relationships, workplaces, finances, and your wellbeing. As a former competitive hockey player turned gaming services professional, I have seen countless sports bettors jeopardize their careers and families. And in working as a table games dealer for many years, I’ve seen what happens when gambling no longer feels like a game.
It isn’t only about the damage to your wallet. Even when they pay off their debts, individuals still have a gambling disorder. A break — sometimes for a year, sometimes for good — might be the best thing to do.
In my current role as a Senior GameSense Advisor, I have a unique opportunity to help patrons create limits around their gambling. Our team staffs info centers at the state casinos, educating patrons on responsible gambling. Conversations can range from understanding the odds in a game of craps to helping folks take a break and enroll in a Voluntary Self-Exclusion program.
By enrolling in VSE, participants voluntarily exclude themselves from the gaming floors of all Massachusetts casinos. Participants can choose how long they would like to exclude. And just like if Xander Bogaerts tried to belt a line drive between innings, any money wagered, lost, or won during VSE enrollment is forfeited and does not count. Like Bogaerts, you also get a coach. Trained staff, including GameSense Advisors like myself, conduct regular check-ins throughout the term and connect you to local resources.
Some patrons have shared that heading to a casino to enroll in a VSE poses too much of a temptation. That’s a valid point, and it’s one of the reasons why we created remote VSE enrollment, which is the first of its kind in the nation. Patrons can still self-exclude in person or through confidential, online platforms. The program has created hundreds of success stories: over 1,000 Bay Staters are enrolled in a VSE. This is solely because Massachusetts lawmakers prioritized public health in crafting the Expanded Gaming Act in 2011.
One of the Boston greats, Pedro Martinez, said, “If you’re healthy, you’re capable of doing everything.” VSEs serve as an innovative, critical resource and keep countless Bay Staters healthy and safe. As such, making sure that these resources are within reach for all should remain paramount in future sports gambling legislation.
The health of thousands of Bay Staters — and the health of gaming in Massachusetts — is at stake.
Ken Averill is a Senior GameSense Advisor with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. He has over 24 years of experience in the gaming industry and previously worked as a table games dealer and operations manager.
For gambling-related questions, chat with a member of the GameSense team 24/7 via LiveChat at MACGH.org by calling the GamLine at 1-800-GAM-1234.
Article Courtesy of Dr. Louise Stanger who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW, BBS #4581) for over 35 years, and specializes in substance abuse disorders, process addictions, mental health disorders, sudden death, trauma, grief, and loss. She is a great resource and offers interventions and helps heal not just the addict, but the family as she focuses on strength-based solutions and invitational change.
Wanna make a bet?
Gambling Shatters Records, Takes Hold Of America
The gambling industry shattered records in 2021, taking in over $53 Billion. That’s a 21% increase over the previous record, set in 2019. With sports gambling now publicly embraced by and partnered with the major sports leagues, gambling is more popular and more acceptable than ever.
The Super Bowl had the highest TV rating of any sports media event in history. That one game alone was expected to bring in 31.4 million gamblers and $7.4 billion in bets. Is it a coincidence that the highest year in Super Bowl TV ratings happens during the same year that gambling is breaking records? To a lesser extent, this kind of gambling happens at every sports event, in every league, throughout the year.
Do you have a smartphone? Then you can gamble in real-time on just about any event (not just sports) you can think of. Quick access and instant results also come with another price (not just money lost). It reminds of me the video games that lure you into a new world and the only way to continue to advance in the game is to continue to play. If you set down the controller and stop playing, you lose ground in the competition.
It is not only just sports enthusiasts who are addicted to gambling or feeding the industry’s record year in 2021. Casinos continue to lead all revenue sources, with large amounts of walk-in traffic. Seniors make up as much as 50% of casino visitors, and casinos prey on them in order to increase revenue. And continues into 2022!
So, gambling will become more pervasive, more impulsive, and easier to access. This can lead many to an unhealthy relationship with gambling — ruining relationships, costing families their fortunes, and leading to other addictions. The link between gambling and substance abuse is well-known, and most casinos still offer a free drink (or many) while you play.
If you know someone who is addicted to gambling,there is hope. It is a process addiction that can be addressed before it’s too late. I sure encourage you to visit Dr. Stanger’s website for more information and resources on she can help. You can take her “Gambling Self-Assessment Survey” while you visit and you may contact her on her site as well. An intervention is a great place to start if you have a loved one who has a gambling problem or needs serious help. https://www.allaboutinterventions.com/test-yourself/gambling-self-assessment/
Dr. Louise is no stranger to adversity. Born on a fault line of trauma, she knows what it is like to grow up in a family beset with anxiety, depression, substance misuse, and death by suicide. She brings her own years of experience working with families in bespoke fashion as well as her ability to work alongside talented professionals to ensure you get the best possible care. In doing so she and her team are collaborative, strength-based, and invitational.
Dr. Louise Stanger received her doctorate in education from the University of San Diego, a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University, and a BA in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Louise is an Ivy League Award winner (2019 Interventionist of the Year from DB Resources in London and McLean Hospital – an affiliate of Harvard), educated social worker, popular author, internationally renowned clinician, interventionist and speaker, and an expert on mental health, addiction, process disorders, and chronic pain. She gets to the heart of the matter in helping families because she’s passionate about bringing hope and healing to loved ones.
“When you call, you won’t have to go through any intermediaries. She will pick up the phone and talk directly with you.“
Dr. Louise developed and refined her invitational method of mental health and substance abuse interventions using the well-established research methodology of portraiture. She has performed thousands of family interventions throughout the United States and abroad.
She has received numerous awards for her years of dedication to the fields of intervention & recovery. In addition to her years of experience, Dr. Louise is a published author whose work covers a range of topics including mental health, substance abuse, and well-being, the opioid epidemic, marijuana, and other drugs, parenting, high wealth clients, finding happiness, spirituality, failure to launch, chronic pain and pain management, family and many more.
Her latest book titled Addiction in the Family: Helping Families Navigate Challenges, Emotions, and Recovery (2020) is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Her book Falling Up: A Memoir of Renewal is available on Amazon. and The Definitive Guide to Addiction Intervention-A Collective Strategy is available on Amazon and University Bookstores.
Dr. Louise is also known for lively, informative, customized, and invigorating training for staff, families, and clients. Foundations Recovery Network’s Moments of Change Conference proclaimed Dr. Stanger the “Fan Favorite Speaker.” In addition, the San Diego Business Journal listed her as one of the top 10 “Women Who Mean Business” and she was ranked as one of the top 10 Interventionists in the Country.
In 2017, she received the Dr. Joseph P. Galleta Spirit of Recovery Award and the DB Resources in London Journalism Award. In 2018, she was honored by the Forgiving Foundation and spoke in London on World Drug Day in June. She also received the 2018 Friendly House Excellence In Service Award.
Presented and Shared By Advocate/Author Catherine Townsend- Lyon – Let’s Raise Awareness!
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created those problems,”and Earl Nightingale also said,“Don’t wait for change, you change!” This is great advice for those in early recovery. It has been solid advice I continue to follow to this day.
Some of this post may sound like rambling recovery thoughts, but they are my thoughts, and I want to share them with you.
Change. I remember how resentful and angry I felt in my early recovery journey. I would get pissed off when I was being told to change, and it seemed I was hounded about change all the time!
When I got told, I had to make changes within my inner-self to get better and begin the healing process. It was always like a song in my head saying, “keep making those changes, or change your thinking, change your life!”
But you know what? It worked.
For example, I would hear others at GA meetings during our smoke break. They would chat about moving to a new location or a new state because they felt they would not have the problems with addicted gambling if only they lived somewhere else. HA!
I learned pretty quickly that is NOT the case, and you can change wherever you want to live, but your problems will go with you. If only beating addicted gambling was that easy.
You have to change your thinking and do the workaround CHANGE to change your life.
Believe it or not, most people never do much about changing their lives. Most people wish their lives away and talk boringly about things they will do, but lack of change and doing the work within recovery seems too much of a burden. That is also why relapse happens.
They feel doing the recovery work is too complex and much easier to continue down the same road with addiction and gambling.
Again, this happens a lot in early recovery. I did this myself. Maybe I had not hit my “rock bottom.” Most times, it was several things that kept me gambling. Like stress, triggers, and those darn constant urges to gamble.
My poor husband got so tired of hearing me say, “why is it me that has to do all the changing? These people aren’t perfect!” (I was referring to my counselor and my treatment therapists.) And I had a group night, and all of them gave out homework.
Look, I’m not going to lie! All of this in the first few years into my recovery was hard work. As I began each night, I would journal. Then, I would make a list to help me be honest with myself, learning what I did right and what thinking or old behaviors I fell back on that day. While doing this, it aided me to be accountable and honest with myself and to change those areas that needed correcting. It helped me to accept those things I have no control over.
Soon, I began to change my negative thoughts and thinking…but I was learning self-validation instead of looking for it from others. When we practice these changes and work The Steps in our early years of maintaining recovery while doing the work, we begin to make healthier choices that will automatically come.
AND? With all of the above?
That is what helps; you let go of the anger and resentments and know you are not the only one making CHANGES. Anyone who begins recovery will need to do the same work I have done, you will do, and it WILL be worth it. I have learned it was necessary while looking for true happiness, peace, and serenity while on this journey within recovery. Along the way, I found my worth and value in this LIFE.
It seemed the only way for me to CHANGE MY LIFE WITHIN RECOVERY was to CHANGE ME.
If you weren’t able to attend, it’s a must-watch. Mark and Harry powerfully revealed the truth about what is really happening in our communities and across our country. After you watch it, I strongly urge you to share the video on your email list and your social media networks, inviting people to learn for themselves how serious the problem of predatory gambling has become.
I also strongly encourage you to share the video with every local, state, and federal official in your region, along with members of the local and state media.
As the Super Bowl draws closer and gambling companies further intensify their ongoing barrage of sports gambling ads targeted at the American people, I’m writing to invite you to join us on Wednesday, Feb. 2nd at 12pm Eastern time for a national video webinar on what you need to know about the massive wave of sports gambling advertising and promotions spreading across the U.S. ******* ******** *********
As the Super Bowl draws closer and gambling companies further intensify their ongoing barrage of sports gambling ads targeted at the American people, I’m writing to invite you to join us on Wednesday, Feb. 2nd at 12pm Eastern time for a national video webinar on what you need to know about the massive wave of sports gambling advertising and promotions spreading across the U.S.
The event is for reporters, opinion leaders, public officials, and members of our national network to learn why sports gambling advertising and promotions are a dangerous threat to public health and the urgency for Congress to act.
Mark A. Gottlieb is the executive director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law, where he is also a lecturer and clinical instructor. Mark has focused his research and advocacy on tobacco litigation as a public health strategy for most of his career. His article, “Casinos: An Addiction Industry in the Mold of Tobacco and Opioid Drugs” (co-authored with Daynard and Friedman) was recently published in the University of Illinois Law Review. You can read his article here.
Harry Levant is the Director of Education for Stop Predatory Gambling and a public health advocate from Philadelphia. A gambling addict in recovery who made his last bet on April 27, 2014, Levant is dedicating his professional work to helping people and families to overcome struggles with gambling addiction and other substance disorders. In his role as an advocate, Levant will graduate from La Salle University with a Master’s in Professional Counseling in May 2022.
He is a member of numerous professional organizations including Chi Sigma Iota National Honor Society for Counselors, the American Counseling Association, the Pennsylvania Counseling Association, and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania. He also earned a law degree from Temple University Law School.
– A 501c3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, we are a national network of citizens and organizations across the U.S. revealing the truth behind gambling operators to prevent more victims.
– By choosing to support Stop Predatory Gambling today, you’re taking an active role in efforts to protect your community and its children from the poverty, addiction, and human suffering caused by the greed of big gambling operators.
Thoughts From A Recovering Gambling Addict For The Coming New Year and The After Holiday Season Ending. . .
WHAT WILL YOUR RECOVERY BOOK and PAGES SHARE? Some of My Thoughts for The Next Weeks Into The New Year…
The Holidays and The Incoming New Year
Sometimes, the holidays are filled with the joy we associate with that time of year. The season flows. Magic is in the air.
Sometimes, the holidays can be difficult and lonely.
Here are some ideas I’ve learned through personal experience, and practice, to help us get through difficult holidays:
Deal with feelings, but try not to dwell unduly on them. Put the holidays in perspective: A holiday is one day out of 365. We can get through any 24-hour period.
Get through the day, but be aware that there may be a post-holiday backlash. Sometimes, if we use our survival behaviors to get through the day, the feelings will catch up to us the next day. Deal with them too.
Get back on track as quickly as possible.
Find and cherish the available love, even if it’s not exactly what we want. Is there someone we can give love to and receive love from? Recovering friends? Is there a family who would enjoy sharing their holiday with us? Don’t be a martyr – go. There may be those who would appreciate our offer to share our day with them.
We are not in the minority if we find ourselves experiencing a less-than-perfect holiday. How easy but untrue to tell ourselves the rest of the world is experiencing the best holiday, and we’re alone in conflict.
The beauty of Recovery is we can and get to choose to create our own holiday agenda. Buy yourself a present. Find someone to whom you can give. Unleash your loving, nurturing self and give in to the holiday spirit.
Maybe past holidays haven’t been terrific. Perhaps this year wasn’t perfect. Perhaps this next new year can be better, and the next one even a little better. Work toward a better life – one that meets your needs. Before long, you’ll have it.
“God, help me enjoy and cherish these holidays and the coming new year. If my situation is less than ideal, help me take what’s good and let go of the rest.”
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit, Aristotle. By repeating my gambling acts, I became progressively more likely to do them again and again. By repeatedly attending meetings, talking with my Higher Power, sharing my feelings, and keeping connected with Gamblers Anonymous members between meetings, I become what I am doing: part of the GA Fellowship and being of service to others. If I continue to repeat these acts, I will become progressively more likely to do them again and again.”
Do I recognize that any small contribution I make at a meeting, in a blog post, or speaking event has a much greater return on investment than any bet I ever made, even my biggest hit?
Today I Pray May the acts that I repeat today be according to the will of my Higher Power. May I understand that, although perfection is not my goal, progress is possible, and I can achieve excellence at what I am doing for my recovery? It can be attainable to help me rid myself of my self-destructive habits and replace them with ones that will aid my recovery and to continue to share hope and support with others.
Today I Will Remember, Recovery is not an act; it is a habit through ACTIONS”. . .
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Hello and Welcome Recovery Warriors, Friends, and All Visitors,
I have another ‘Special Event’ I am sharing with you! I did another podcast as a featured guest with my new friend and sweet girl, Nicole Burris who is the host of Grabbalicious. She shines the light on mental health and other important topics on her show. When she is not podcasting she enjoys trading into the foreign exchange markets and she is a video gamer. She resides in New York.
As she describes her podcast, you can listen to on Anchor.FM, Google Podcast, and on Spotify. So give her website a visit as she shares all the links to where you can listen to her episodes. >>>>>>>Right Here on Milkshake! https://msha.ke/grabbalicious/ #grabbalicious
“Tell the world what you’re made of with Grabbalicious”
“Hi, I’m Grabbalicious, and Nicole Burris… I have a podcast interviewing YouTubers, Podcasters’ and many other interesting people. I chat with them about mental health and the impact it has in daily lives.” “Do you want to be a guest on my podcast?”
Follow and message me on my social media on Twitter @grabbalicious1 or on my Instagram @GrabbaLicious
Courtesy of Nicole Burris ✨✨💄💋🎤🎙🖥💻💖
Now, without further ado, I hope you will enjoy and maybe learn something new about mental health and about recovery from problem gambling. If you know someone you care about has a gambling problem?
Please, re-share this on your blog or website and maybe if they listen to my story, it may give them HOPE that they are not alone, help is available, and they do not have to suffer in silence any longer…
“This is such a great episode with a strong woman and advocate/author Cat Lyon!! She’s such an inspiration to anyone who is going through anything. Follow her on her Twitter @LUV_Recovery and @kitcatlyon and you can find her on my Instagram. Cat is known to never give up on your dreams & Cat, you are a true definition of a survivor! So, continue to shine you’re light on others”…
One thing I will be doing this holiday season is to ENJOY THEM for the first time in a long while. I share this because for 7-years I have been doing a holiday blogging watch and running my former book marketing online business. Thanks to this pandemic, I won’t be doing either this year.
I just wound down my book promoting bussiness due to the pandemic climate and readers are not doing their usual reading and not while all the chaos is happening with our general elections that have felt like it has been going on for a lifetime!
They are more focused on what will happen after the elections. So much talk about civil unrest, if Trump loses, will he leave the White House and so on and all right before we enter into the Holiday Season!
This one will be the most unprecedented unusual times and holiday season ever. SO, how can we learn to stay calm, be present, and really enjoy the holidays with so much NOISE? And keep our recovery intact?
If you are like me, too much of this noise has me anxious. Here are some things we can do to get ready for the holidays, be more at peace and happy. Even though we can get blindsided with distractions. Start by using these skills to help stay focused and enjoy the SEASON. 🎍🎄🎄🎁
Maintaining Recovery And Enjoy During the Holidays...
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control showed that many suicides by addicts over the holiday season resulted from a relapse. Over 32 percent of addicts who committed suicide had excessive amounts of alcohol while over 8 percent had a positive test for cocaine.
The holiday season is also a time when friends and relatives must work together to help a loved one battle any addiction. Many recovering addicts become depressed because they aren’t financially able to purchase gifts for other people. This is especially true with recovering gamblers.
Friends and family can step in and help by reassuring the addict they understand the situation. Let them know that them just being there for the holiday is enough and to enjoy them! Just be present. When a family helps an addict to successfully navigate the holidays, the recovery process will be easier and more successful.
1.) No matter what challenges you face today, just remember: you’re maintaining recovery and that means you’re one of the winners. Getting high was a job and it required everything you had. But today you are free and have the opportunity to make good choices and enjoy yourself! You no longer have to make excuses or disappear because you decided to go on a bender, one more time. Today, you are able to live with love, compassion, and understanding.
2.) You now have freedom from your past as we would use drugs, drink, or gamble to “Escape or Cope” from our past. Maybe you were abused as a child or suffered other traumas like I did. Perhaps you did things you swore you’d never do or tell anybody. Remember all the people you hurt? Once you commit to recovery, the horrors of the past lose their grip. And they don’t have to be the things that determine who you are now.
3.) Doing the your recovery work means you now know yourself because when we partake in addiction there’s really not much time to discover who you really are. The person that you thought you were is also probably far from the truth. The recovery process lets you shed those false personas, allowing you to become who and what you are meant to be. By being clean and sober, you become open to your greatest truth and have the honor of being your best self—one-day-at-a-time.
4.) It’s Ok to “NO” you don’t have to “people please” anymore. In sobriety you learn to use the word “no” and it will become your best friend. You don’t have to act because you feel pressured, anxious, or nervous. Instead, you can pause when you’re unsure, ask for guidance if you need to, and be able to say “NO” without any guilt. We know recovery boundaries are keys to our insanity too…Lol.
5.)Always Stay Connected to your Higher Power as our recovery process is a part of a spiritual journey. It’s about developing a relationship with a higher power or a God of your own understanding. Even atheists have found ways to embrace this idea. Today, you get to be a seeker in your own spiritual unfoldment. You learn how to align your will with your higher power. And most importantly, you discover the power of faith through surrender.
6.) Being Present Takes practice and patience during the holiday season. Gambling, drinking or drugging was once translated to a life of personal lawlessness, not to mention the mountain of consequences that followed. Begin to dig deep into your inner-self with self-love and care during this journey as it makes you humble, more grateful and opens you to all things, including a perfect holiday season with family. Again, this takes practice.
7.) During the holiday season, use sometime to Give Back to Those in Need or struggling… Doing service work takes your mind off of yourself and your problems. It can be any type of volunteer work– Just helping others at holiday is soothing to the soul.
The 12th step is a statement of gratitude for your life and a call to help others. The trials you’ve gone through have put you in a position to be an inspiration to someone else. Now, when you feel troubled or baffled by life, you can make a commitment at a meeting, speak on an H&I panel (hospitals and institutions), or volunteer in your neighborhood.
These are the gifts of recovery that heal and set you free.
Make sure you stop by my Recovery Resources page and my Relapes Prevention workbook page to help you set a Recovery Holiday Plan now before the season begins!
As much of a challenge as the holidays can be for a recovering addicts, they can also be fun. With the right attitude, addicts can find ways to enjoy themselves.
YOU can refuse to worry about financial problems and focus more on enjoying YOUR time with family and friends. A holiday season experienced with sobriety may offer many positive experiences. I wish you much joy and be present to love the holidays in an entirely new way.
…… When we begin our recovery path, there might be times we feel like we can’t move past those speed bumps or the hurdles during this journey. I would search for the answers to why I’d feel stuck and think, how do I move forward?
Why do I get a stretch of abstinence and then relapse?
What if I’m not strong enough not to cave in to cravings, urges, and triggers?
What can I do not to RELAPSE?
These are excellent questions and concerns we all have to face while maintaining our recovery journey. Some can be quick fixes, or some may mean you have more work to do within your recovery path. See, recovery is not only a life long process, and it does come to us in phases. Our redemption from gambling addiction is ever-evolving as we grow and gain the wisdom to know we can not control our gambling.
So we explore all have the options to choose how we begin to live our lives in a healthy way and away from gambling addiction or any addiction really.
First, I would remind everyone I have an excellent Relapse Prevention Guide here everyone can copy and paste this little workbook Relapse Prevention Guide…
Next is doing the “work” that is asked of you while you begin to learn the tools and the skills that will save your life. Next is being diligent in using all the tools you learn. It’s Not complicated. But, still, many can struggle as they begin the journey. We have choices to pick from to start our path of recovery. It may be a 12-Step Program, Faith-Based Program, or something altogether different. You may want an in-patient treatment center program or an outpatient treatment program that offers therapy or counseling, whatever you feel is right and comfortable for you even though moving away from addiction is uncomfortable.
I advocate much throughout social media. I see many disagreements going on within groups and others wanting to force how they chose how to recover and what works for them onto others who may just be looking for help or support within recovery. I’ve read on Facebook the never-ending battles play out of those who only chose a 12-Step Program all by itself, and it got them clean, sober, or gamble free.
I would be suspect of this and not fair of those to force their choices on others. What others disagree on is, what long-term recovery is, and how many years you need to have to use this term. Loads of different disagreements and that is not what maintaining recovery and doing our work is all about. And for those in early recovery, seeing others get “Called Out” can also be a source of relapse to see such discord.
My feelings are and just my OWN OPINIONS. Look, as long as you have the desire to stop gambling, knowing it is making your life unmanageable? It should be your choice alone or with your family of what works and is comfortable for you. Now, you have now chosen your treatment path. You’ll begin to realize and come to terms with the recovery work you’ll need to do in the first few years of this journey.
You’ll start to learn and gain the skills and tools required to interrupt the “cycle” of addiction, which is an essential part of this process. Becoming educated and informed about this disease while digging deeper into acknowledging the roots and underlying issues that had you turn to addicted gambling for a few hours of solace, or trying to not feel anything for a few hours.
As I started my recovery work and therapy, it became clear to me it was the pain from my childhood trauma and sexual abuse as some of those roots and why I was gambling and looking for relief from the old haunting pain and hurtful memories. Let me end with a little Facebook experiment I did a few weeks ago with a newer recovery blog post I wrote and shared on my FB recovery page.
I then did a FB Boosted Post advertising to direct FB users to my recovery blog to read this new post. I targeted the ad to the states of Oregon, California, Florida, and here in Arizona.
Here is how it performed and told me there are many problem gamblers out there still needing help and HOPE.
The post was seen and reached: 3,564 FB users Engagement and Clicks: 231 FB Users 42.7% were Women of Age 45+
57.3% were Men of Age 55+
I was pretty shocked at these results, and the ad ran for only three days. It sure tells me I got a lot more advocacy work to do and to share hope and resources with those who have a gambling problem … ~Catherine
Some Solid Advice Instead of Gambling Your Money Away …
….. Thirteen years ago I was within Total Darkness. I was HOPELESS, Broken, and Shattered. I was LOST and Never Thought I’d Wake Up From Hell. I was Sick, an ADDICT and Filled With FEAR …
WHEN MY EYES FINALLY OPENED From My Second SUICIDE ATTEMPT …
I Was Still Frightened, Constant Pain, and LOST. BUT THEN?
I Seen A Sliver Of GODS LIGHT, I GRAB ON TIGHT, and I BEGAN TO RISE FROM THE ASHES OF ADDICTION!
GOD Whispered In My EAR … I Bless You With HOPE…
…… So, as I celebrate my 13th Year Maintaining Recovery, I still hold on to HOPE. HOPEis what helps me have trust that all things are possible. Even RECOVERY.
Just as the definition of HOPE tells us:
HOPE – Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. HOPE – Verb: want something to happen or be the case. A feeling of trust.
GOD has shown and given me the meaning of hope, of trust, and through his love, his forgiveness, and mercy, all the hard work of recovery, you begin to grow a new life from the ashes of addiction, learn to be able to break free from gambling addiction and start living my life within redemption, grace, humility and with a heart of Gratitude with all the blessings I have received and through each and everything I do today in both my personal and my professional life.
Today, as an ADVOCATE, author, writer, sponsor, speaker and passing on the given HOPE and share it through my Recovery Service to Others. Paying it forward to the lost, the least, and those suffering from any addiction but especially gambling addiction. I have broken free from the bondage of addiction and share what I have learned. Addiction never discriminates on who it will TOUCH. No one person is safe from addictions. We don’t wake up one day and say; “I think I’ll become an ADDICT and destroy my life.”
It doesn’t happen that way. Most times we learn through the process of treatment and recovery that there may be underlying issues and roots to how and why we turned to addiction. Many times we find it comes from trauma or tragic events in our life like childhood or teen years. And as I said earlier, NO ONE IS IMMUNED.
Just like a new recovery friend of mine, I will call him Lang. He was touched by addictions, homeless, and lost in that darkness I spoke of, as was set off by several traumatic events that happened to him as a young teen that shaped how most of his life had turned out until a year and a half ago, now maintaining sobriety. He shares the first part of his story and testimony like I did yesterday as I was invited and featured in the Ventura, CA., Newspaper of The Citizens Journal thanks to Lang.
So I hope you will take the time to give my Featured Story titled; An Addiction That Requires No Substances – This Is My Story a read for those who visit and don’t know where I came from. And? Below is Lang’s Story – Part One also in the Citizens Journal and has 8 parts total. If you are interested in reading his whole story after Part One? You can read all of Lang’s testimony beginning here within The Citizens Journal “Nobody Knows But Me.”
BIO of Writer/Advocate Lang Martinez:
On July 25, 2018, I begged God if you save my life I will give it all back to you, ” I PROMISE”
Because of the publication “Keys To Recovery,” I am working on a project with Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author/ Advocate and Writer called ” Nobody Knows But Me.”
You can also find my articles in the Citizens Journal. US of Ventura County, CA.
As the subject matter is sensitive, please connect with Randy Boyd of Courageous Healers Foundation for more insights into my full story, experiences, and healing:
Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1
What caused me personally to become homeless living on the streets in Oxnard?
…. Methamphetamine use. Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. Bottom line, trust no one but yourself!
My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster”, in other words, petty theft. If caught, petty theft in the eyes of the law is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail. With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time.
For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise, from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction. Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far as to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.
…… My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so for me being hungry was never an issue. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.
….. My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see you including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and as most addicts do- get high! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow, or someway. Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself”. Even though we are our own enemy, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!
My personal thoughts on the whole agenda of the recent conference “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“. First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone.” My question and response to that: “what about them”? This all took place when college students picked an agenda to do their paper on.
You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have true feelings to care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard, CA.
My point, it took college students on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 at 3 p.m. to make awareness of this and not the city of Oxnard.
Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.
Even though Oxnard’s efforts are falling short, they are trying, putting a higher priority on the homeless situation, increasing manpower and spending, hired a homeless guy, developed a strategy, looking for grants, etc.
We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in the Citizens Journal. He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit much! I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity, and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list . . .
“George, I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it. That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me and all I wanted if I did die, was just one person to say something good about me.
Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore and we do make promises to God if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time? I said God, please don’t let me die like this! Please save me one more time and this time I will keep my promise. I will give it all back to you.
George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want? Also, I don’t want to be referred to as a homeless person- I’m NOT anymore. I trust you. I used to be homeless and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George. You have to understand that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again and the only way I won’t is being on the STREETS telling them what my Lord and Savior did for me he can also do for you. ……. I’m proof of God’s miracles. Amen! ~Lang
Mr. Martinezalso pointed out this useful article on survival tips, but hopes and prays it won’t be necessary for people to utilize them.