Hello And Welcome MoonShiners, Recovery Seekers, And Visitors,
I remember when I first entered recovery. I was sitting in my first ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ meeting and was listening to others experiences, and the trusted servants that had long-term recovery away from the ‘Bet’ were very inspiring. They spoke about finally getting some, “Peace, Serenity, and some Contentment” in their lives, and in their recovery. So I began to wonder? What is it going to take for ME to reach those 3 ultimate goals?
Well, those of you who know me know I tell it straight when it comes to my recovery, no sugar or cherries on top because it won’t help me or you. Part of the answer to reach contentment in recovery is? “You have to the work”…. It’s just that simple.
After being in a addictions/mental health crisis center for a total melt down, black out of my mind, I began an out-patient treatment program and weekly group. I also started making GA meetings too. Was I perfect at recovery in the beginning? “Hell No,” but the key was not “TO GIVE UP”!
As we learn about the disease of compulsive addicted gambling, and alcohol abuse, eventually things that we learn start to sink in and make sense. It will also start to make you feel uncomfortable if you relapse, as these things we learn are in our thoughts, and start to interrupt our addiction. At least for me it did.
Truth is, it took me several times in and out of my gambling treatment program for a few years, attending GA meetings, all the while I’d get some months away from the BET, then relapse. But, I NEVER GAVE UP.
Most of that comes from shame, guilt, denial, control, or thinking we can do recovery on our own, with shear will power! SO HOW IS THAT WORKING FOR YOU? It sure didn’t work out well for me, by 2006 I was back in crisis mode, then back in the crisis center for 21 days for the 2nd time, as I attempted SUICIDE for the 2nd time as well from a bad gambling binge & relapse….
See, the first crisis center stay, I found I was suffering from undiagnosed mental illness. Come to find out, I had been suffering with ‘Bipolar Manic Depression, and PTSD’ from the childhood sex abuse I endured as a little girl. I was using addicted gambling and alcohol when I gambled, to hide and escape from those ‘ugly’ past memories that started to come back and haunt me.
It’s what I learned in treatment, and through my psychiatrist that was helping me with the bipolar & my meds. I thought I was so damaged as a human being, and it was hard to accept the woman I became with mental disorders, gambling addiction, and past abuse. I was so, so broken in heart, spirit, mind, body and my soul was “Black”….
Not to mention what I was putting my poor husband through with all this mess! But he really understood about, ‘Unconditional Love’ as he worked and stayed with me through all this madness and all the hurt I caused through my addictions. It’s very rare to find a man today with that type of commitment!!..(Sorry Guys).
But it’s true. He stayed and helped me every step of the way. Later in recovery I asked him why he didn’t just leave? His Answer? “I knew that sweet girl I married those years ago was still in there somewhere.” He chose to stay and work through all the hurt, pain, past damage, as now we know that together we can make it through any storm, any trial & tribulation that comes our way! Our marriage is so much stronger today than when we got married! He truly is, and will be ‘The Love Of My Life’ until our last breath on this earth. Even knowing about my past, my abuse, he accepted me for the woman I was, and I am today.
So now we fast forward in my recovery 7 years and 4 months. Wow, has life been interesting!
When I was 4 years into my recovery, I read a little story in our newspaper about a woman who shot herself in her casino hotel room. Boy did that light a fire under me to write, and see all I had been through with my gambling addiction. Didn’t know one day it would be put into a book manuscript by an old friend of mine. Then when she was done, she emailed the first 50 pages to a friend of hers who is publisher, and BAM~POW!,…On my 50th birthday I became a first time published author! Again, that was 2012, and I have been writing, blogging, advocating, and being of recovery service to others ever since.
WHAT? You ask if I’m aware of how blessed I am? You got it baby! I am a very blessed girl today, but it’s about getting the work done in recovery that will make things happen! We can’t have that ‘Peace, Serenity, and Contentment’ in recovery without doing the work. Now I know your asking what work are you talking about?
It’s the recovery work we get in our treatment programs, support meetings and working through the 12-Steps, and admitting to ourselves that addiction has us beat, and total surrender! Surrender the control you think you have over your addiction! Even if you don’t believe in a program due to thinking it’s a ‘religious’ program, which it’s not, you can still buy a 12-step book/guide to help you work through the “Why’s” of addiction. And the other most important thing to do is learning about how the “Cycle” of addiction can be broken down and interrupted. That’s a MUST.
See, in my published book, I tried to give insights as to why many of us turn to addiction. I share my life and addiction journey, and destruction of what I went through starting as that abused, hurt and damaged little girl that I was. Later in life, that gave me feelings of entitlement as a VICTIM. I used all the ‘negative’ things that happened to me as fuel for my addictions.
Even though it says in the 12-steps that, “we can recover not knowing why we gambled in the first place.” But for me personally, I learned through treatment and therapy that my past childhood trauma, and the undiagnosed mental illness played a big role in my addiction. Because when those old feelings come back to haunt us, some of us don’t know there are places to go to get help instead of turning to addiction in the first place.
So we need to know there is a lot of help out there for all types of addictions. I have many listed here on my recovery blog as ‘Recovery Resources’…. and I even have a fantastic ‘Relapse Prevention Guide” too! Relapse doesn’t have to be part of your recovery journey. But, everyone’s recovery path will be different. So choose what feels comfortable for you. Yes, it’s a powerful thing to listen to others testimonies and stories, but some things may work for some, but not for others. Spend time and research all the types of recovery help out there.
And recovery also doesn’t have to be costly either! There are many places that offer low-cost, or even free addiction help. I went through the ‘State of Oregon’s free treatment program, which included my 2 crisis center stays, and it was all paid for by the Oregon Lottery Fund. Pretty ironic right? Of course my point is this, it doesn’t matter where the help and treatment comes from, as long as you get the help you need. Most states may have a “Department of Health in your county, so check there first. They may offer free gambling, alcohol, or drug treatment programs paid by your state.
Many say; “It takes a village” to get better! So good supportive people in your recovery life is a MUST! Pick your friends wisely. I know sometimes people may not be understanding or supportive, and they call that ‘STIGMA,’ don’t worry about that, you may even lose a few friends along the way, but it’s important to have supportive people in your recovery. You will meet good supportive friends in your 12-step meetings. But you may need to cut loose the one’s who are not ‘Bet free, Drug free, or Alcohol free’…
So do the work! Start those 12-Steps you have been putting off. I even have friends who have NO addiction, but they do the 12-steps to lead better lives. The steps were not written for JUST people in recovery. Many use them as principles of living. And in closing, I hope all who come and visit my blog, KNOW THIS,…. you are not alone. I will be here for all who come seeking recovery from not just ‘Addicted Gambling,’ but all Addictions. I sponsor many on the internet and from my home group in Gamblers Anonymous, http://www.gambleranonymous.org/ http://www.aa.org/ http://www.na.org/ http://wwwfoodaddictsanonymous.org/ http://saa-recovery.org/
And always remember…… recovery is not about Perfection ~ It’s Attitude!
“To Know The Woman I Am Today, You Need To Know The Little I Was”…
From My Book “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a cheat)