We Are Rounding Out ‘National Suicide Prevention Week & Gambling’ With My Friends of ‘The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’…

We Are Rounding Out ‘National Suicide Prevention Week & Gambling’ With My Friends of ‘The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’…

Bet Free Recovery Now by advocate, Catherine Lyon is helping raise awareness with the fine folks of The Floridia Council on Compulsive Gambling, Mental Health, and The National Week of Suicide Prevention. Here’s more from our advocacy friends!

The Importance of Strong Mental Health in the Fight Against Suicide and Problem Gambling

September 9, 2020

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Yes, problem gamblers may steal to stay in ACTION

Protecting our mental health should be a priority in our daily lives; September 6-12, 2020, is National Suicide Prevention Week. More than ever, we are taking steps to prevent suicide and effects that may come from gambling addiction. No one has escaped from the changes that this pandemic has brought on the world.

Even though COVID has physically affected lives, many have taken an impact financially and mentally. Situations such as job loss, lockdown orders, new school structures, and travel restrictions all affect mental health. Many may not know that all of these changes have caused changes in gambling habits, some for the worse.

A common misconception about gambling addiction is that those who suffer from this condition just “have a problem weighing their odds.” However, gambling addiction affects the brain much in the same way as drugs, leaving those who suffer unable to control their urges to bet. Because this condition has no obvious physical symptoms, it often goes undetected by even those closest to the gambler, and so do the difficulties that may come with it, including suicidal ideation.

During May of this year, 13% of those reaching out to 888-ADMIT-IT for help with a gambling problem revealed current or recent suicidal feelings and thoughts due to their gambling problem [1]. These results leave us to understand how the pandemic and past events have impacted people negatively, and how this is reflected in gambling behaviors. In July, a 20-year old male committed suicide due to a negative day trading balance on the popular app Robinhood [2]. However, this isn’t the only instance; another teen in India this August took the same route as a result of losing all of his savings through online gambling [3]. 

While we mourn these tragic events, we know that we can continue to make a difference in prevention. Your gambling habits may be an indicator of your mental health. Many individuals who struggle with disordered gambling experience mental health and domestic challenges such as anxiety, depression, and family neglect [4]. As a result of these difficulties, these individuals seek gambling to “escape” the negative emotions and difficult situations.

Our goal is always to inspire hope and create a path towards recovery and a better life on the other side of problem gambling. While many people gamble for various reasons, we remain steadfast in providing help through our Peer Connect Program, amongst other resources we provide for those who contact our confidential 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. If you feel that you or your loved one are at risk of gambling addiction, contact our HelpLine. The first step is just a call away.

The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

[1] 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020

[2] Klebnikov, Sergei. “20-Year-Old Robinhood Customer Dies By Suicide After Seeing A $730,000 Negative Balance.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 19 June 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/06/17/20-year-old-robinhood-customer-dies-by-suicide-after-seeing-a-730000-negative-balance/.

[3] NewIndianXpress. “Youth Loses Savings in Online Gambling, Kills Self.” The New Indian Express, The New Indian Express, 28 July 2020, http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2020/jul/28/youth-loses-savings-in-online-gambling-kills-self-2175731.html.

[4] 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2019 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2019, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report

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Editor Note:
It is more important than ever to raise awareness and prevention about gambling and suicide. Now, one in five problem gamblers will try suicide.
My hope in sharing this article and raising awarness along with my friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, it will help educate and inform the public of how gambling can become very addictive for those who are not normal gamblers.

There is Help and Hope from this cunning addiction.

If you or someone has a gambling problem and live in Floridia? Please the number provided for The FCCG today. For those not in Floridia, you can to get help from The National Council on Problem Gambling or visit their website: https://www.ncpgambling.org/ or call 1-800-522-4700


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My Guest is Gambling Prevention & Advocacy Blog and My Friends ‘Know the Odds’ With a New Year Message …

My Guest is Gambling Prevention & Advocacy Blog and My Friends ‘Know the Odds’ With a New Year Message …

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,


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STELIANOS CANALLATOS ~ Prevention Specialist


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Meet my dear friend Stelianos who runs the very helpful resources blog called “KNOW The ODDS” and we have been connected and meet some years ago on Twitter and I have been a huge supporter ever since! He is as passionate as I am to bring Problem Gambling and Addicted Gambling out of the shadows and start the conversation about this disease that is now touching 2.6% of our population currently.

I wanted to share an informative post that speaks to those who are being touched gambling and the negative impact it also having now on our teens and college-age young adults too. So it’s time to UNSILENCE a Silent Addiction in 2019 and Talk About It!

Never be ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help from this disease. There is help and hope, you are not alone, and treatment options are beginning to increase and many are confidential …

So let’s read more about this in this guest article share by “Know The Odds” …  ~Advocate/Author, Catherine Lyon

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A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: HELP FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING 

A New Year’s resolution to get help for problem gambling is a great way to start the year and a new chapter in your life.

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Problems from Gambling 

Problems from gambling can feel overwhelming.  These problems extend far beyond the weekly struggle with income.  Some problems from gambling can include:

  • Financial debt;
  • Struggles in a marriage;
  • Difficulty managing positive relationships with children;
  • Anxiety about seeing loved ones.

It’s important to know that you are not alone. You are not the only one holding onto gambling debt, not the only one struggling with feelings like frustration and sadness due to gambling, and not the only one who may need additional help.  Plus, the good news is that help is quickly becoming more available.

Why A Resolution To Seek Help? 

Getting help for your problem gambling can only make your life better.  Below are some great reasons to follow your New Years resolution to get help for problem gambling.

Relationships: Many people who struggle with gambling find that they also have problems in many of their relationships. They may have struggles in their marriage. They may find difficulty in their relationships with their children or feel anxiety when seeing loved ones.  There are ways to learn how to manage your emotions and learn the steps necessary to rebuild all these important relationships.

Finances: Getting help with finances might be another reason why help is so important. Many people struggling with problem gambling find themselves in a large amount of debt. That debt can feel overwhelming, and just the thought of it could feed that feeling.  There are many professionals that are ready to help you take the steps necessary to get your financial health back on a positive path.

Employment: Many people struggling with problem gambling have problems with their employment. Whether they’ve lost employment due to problems with gambling or just found that they are struggling with their performance at their job, there is help available. By seeking support in your recovery from problem gambling, you can learn how to improve your job experience while also learning to manage your life in recovery from problem gambling.

The path to a life free of problems from gambling may be difficult, but there is help to make that path easier.  Help can include treatment from a trained clinician, support from peers through a fellowship organization like Gamblers Anonymous, or inpatient treatment for those that need to take a break to get their life back on track.

Steps to Getting Help for Problem Gambling


Step 1:
 Realizing that gambling may be causing problems in your life.  There is a list of warning signs of problem gambling, which can help you identify if your gambling behaviors are causing problems in your life.  If it seems like gambling is causing problems, it may be time to reach out for help.


Step 2:
 Reaching out for help is getting easier than ever.  With Problem Gambling Resource Centers opening across the state, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the best professional assistance for those struggling with problem gambling available.  To reach your local PGRC, visit …

We wish you the best of luck on your resolution of recovery from problem gambling.  Hopefully, the New Year will be a new chapter in your life full of hope and happiness.  Happy New Year!

 

“The Oscar’s Are Over So Here Is Part 3 Of Relapse Prevention”

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome Newbies,

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*THIS IS WHAT RECOVERY SHOULD BE!*
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So welcome recovery boys and girls! LET’S wrap up Part 3 of  “Gambling Addiction Relapse Prevention” and the Guide. In my last blog post we covered the important area’s of how to have a relapse plan, and how to deal with “Positive & Negative” feelings and emotions, deal with HIGH RISK situations, and to not TEMPT your control or yourself by going to Risky places. And we learned the difference between Lapse and Relapse. So will close out by learning to avoid Slips, Awareness of our Behaviors & the Chain, coping with Triggers, and why you need a Daily Relapse Plan.
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I remember an old standing joke we had in my Gamblers Anonymous meeting group in So. Oregon. When the Oregon Lottery had introduced Video Poker Slot Machines, many little lottery retail shops were popping up all over our community. And as long as they sold food, beverages, and beer and wine, they can have 6 of these poker machines inside the store. They SOLD the Cheapest Smokes in town, so we’d joke that “WE ONLY WENT INTO The lottery store for cheap packs of smokes, but because it’s a “Risky Place” for us in recovery, we’d end up Gambling and Spend WAY MORE then That Cheap Pack of Smokes! So then it became the most costly pack of smokes because you’d drop a couple hundred dollars gambling”!!! So much for the cheap pack of smokes in town! So my point is, Please,……DON’T TEMPT or TRUST YOURSELF In Early Recovery!

The Slip Plan:
You must have a plan in case you slip. It is foolish to think that you will never have a problem again. You must plan what you are going to do if you have problems. A study found of recovering addicts, that thirty-three percent of patients lapsed within two weeks of leaving treatment. Sixty percent lapsed within three months. At the end of eight months, sixty-three percent had used.
The worst thing you can do when you slip is to think that you completely failed in recovery. This is inaccurate thinking. You are not a total failure. You haven’t lost everything. You have made a mistake, and you need to learn from it. You let some part of your program go, and you are paying for it. You need to examine exactly what happened and get back into recovery.
A slip is an emergency. It is a matter of life and death. You must take immediate action to prevent the slip from becoming a full relapse. You must call someone in the program, preferably your sponsor, and tell that person what happened. You need to carefully examine why you slipped. You cannot gamble and use the tools of recovery at the same time. Something went wrong. You didn’t use your new skills. You must make a plan of action to recover from your slip. You cannot do this by yourself. You are in denial. You don’t know the whole truth. If you did, you wouldn’t have relapsed.
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Call your sponsor or a professional counselor and have him or her develop a new treatment plan for you. You may need to attend more meetings. You may need to see a counselor. You may need a new sponsor. You may need outpatient treatment. You may need inpatient treatment. You have to get honest with yourself. You need to develop a plan and follow it. You need someone else to agree to keep an eye on you for a while. Do not try to do this alone. What we cannot do alone, we can do together.
*THIS IS VERY TRUE* WE CAN RECOVER With the help and support of recovery friends!*

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The Behavior Chain:
All behavior occurs in a certain sequence. First there is the TRIGGER. This is the external event that starts the behavioral sequence. After the trigger, there comes THINKING. Much of this thinking comes very fast, and you will not consciously pick it up unless you stop and focus on it. The thoughts trigger FEELINGS, which give you energy and direction for action. Next comes the BEHAVIOR, or the action initiated by the trigger. Lastly, there is always CONSEQUENCES for any action.
Diagrammed, the behavior chain looks like this:
TRIGGER—THINKING— FEELINGS—BEHAVIOR—CONSEQUENCE…
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Lets go through a behavior sequence and see how it works. On the way home from work, George, a recovering compulsive gambler, passes the convenience store (This is the trigger). He thinks “I’ve had a hard day. Maybe I’ll do a couple of scratch off lottery tickets to unwind” (The trigger initiates thinking). George craves gambling (The thinking initiates feeling). George turns into the convenience store and begins gambling (The feelings initiates behavior). George relapses (The behavior has a consequence).
Let’s work through another example. It’s is eleven o’clock at night and Betty is not asleep (Trigger). She thinks “I’ll never get to sleep tonight unless I gamble” (Thinking). She feels an increase in her anxiety about not sleeping (Feeling). She gets up and gambles (Behavior). She losses all her money and is so depressed she can’t work the next morning (Consequence).
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How To Cope With Triggers:
At every point along the behavior chain you work on preventing relapse. First you need to look at your triggers carefully. What environmental events lead you to gambling? We have gone over some of these when we examined high-risk situations. Determined what people, places, or things make you vulnerable to relapse. Stay away from these triggers as much as possible. If a trigger occurs, use your new coping skills.
Don’t let the trigger initiate old behavior. Stop and think. Don’t let your thinking get out of control. Challenge your thinking and get accurate about what’s real. Let’s look at some inaccurate thoughts.
1. It’s not going to hurt.
2. No one’s going to Know.
3. I need to relax.
4. I’ve had a hard day.
5. I’m just going to spend a couple of bucks.
6. My friends want me to gamble.
7. It’s the only way I can sleep.
8. I never had a problem with sports gambling.
9. I can do anything I want.
10. I’m lonely.
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All of these inaccurate THOUGHTS can be used to fuel the craving that leads to relapse. You must stop and challenge your thinking until you are thinking accurately. You must replace inaccurate thoughts with accurate ones. You are a compulsive gambler. If you gamble you could die. That is the truth. Think through the first bet. Get honest with yourself.
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HOW TO COPE WITH CRAVINGS:
If you think inaccurately you will begin craving. This is the powerful feeling that drives compulsive gambling. Craving is like an ocean wave. It will build and then, wash over you. Craving doesn’t last long if you move away from gambling. If you move closer to a gambling situation, The craving will increase until you gamble. Immediately on feeling a desire to gamble think this thought:
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“THAT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION FOR ME.”
Now, what are your options? If you are in trouble. You are craving. What are you going to do to prevent relapse? You must move away from the gambling situation. Perhaps you need to call your sponsor; go to a meeting; turn it over; call your counselor; or visit a friend. You must do something else other than thinking about gambling. Don’t sit there and ponder about gambling. You will lose that debate. This illness is called the great debater. If you leave it unchecked, it will seduce you into gambling.
The illness must lie to work. You must uncover the lie as quickly as possible and get it back to the truth. You must take the appropriate action necessary to maintain your recovery.
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Develop A Daily relapse Prevention Program
If you work a daily program of recovery your chances of success greatly increase. You need to evaluate your recovery daily and keep a log. Especially in early recovery!
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This IS your Daily Inventory….
1. Assess all relapse warning signs.
A. What symptoms did I see in myself today?
B. What am I going to do about them?
2. Assess love of self.
A. What did I do to love myself today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
3. Assess love of others.
A. What did I do to love others today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
4. Assess love of God.
A. What did I do to love God today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
5. Assess sleep pattern.
A. How am I sleeping?
6. Assess exercise.
A. Am I getting enough exercise?
7. Assess nutrition.
A. Am I eating right.
8. Review total recovery program.
A. How am I doing in recovery?
B. What is the next step in my recovery program?
9. Read the Combo Book, or other recovery literature.
A. Pray and meditate for a few minutes.
B. Relax completely.
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Fill out this inventory every day and keep a journal about how you are doing. You will be amazed as, from time to time you read back over your journal. You will be amazed at how much you have grown.
Create a card that indicates on one side the names of people you will call in case of emergency. On the other side list the ten reasons you want to stay free from gambling. Never forget these reasons. read this list often and carry it with you at all times in your Combo Book. If you struggle in recovery take it out and read it to yourself. And remember: “TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME”!
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Even though I have this “Relapse Prevention Guide Workbook” listed on my Recovery Resources Page, I have wanted to break it down in 3 sections to share and go over it in a little more detail and hope I have accomplished that! I also hope all who can benefit from it will “Copy & Paste” it to somewhere for yourself to use anytime in your recovery. I feel it is a MUST HAVE in early recovery. I said it many times, but it has really helped me stay SAFE in my own recovery!
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We never look far ahead in our recovery, as life can throw some major events in our path that no matter HOW much clean time you have, you could be triggered into a relapse. Maybe not today, but maybe when a parent pass’s or other relative, or a break-up of a marriage, loss of a child. We never know what tomorrow will bring each day, so better to be ready and have a plan in place when it may. Early recovery is also a time to really have a sound relapse plan. I haven’t said it much, but I really want my Recovery blog to be a place where others can come and share WHAT works for them, interact in the comment section, or just ask a question. A”ddicted Compulsive Gambling is a REAL Disease”! I’d like to share some informative websites that I have come to rely on for resources about gambling addiction, and who I’ve “Pledged” my blog to RAISE AWARENESS of “Problem Gambling Awareness Month” all MARCH long…..
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1.) http://www.gamblinghelper.com  Become a member for help & support.
2.) http://www.azccg.org  The Arizona Council On Compulsive Gambling, info & support.
3.) http://www.ncpgambling.org  The National Council Of Problem Gambling.
4.) http://www.grippedbygambling.com My Good Friend & Author, Marilyn Lancelot’s helpful website.
5.) http://femalegamblers.info  Another FEMALE only Gambling Support Site by Marilyn.
6.  http://www.actcounseling.com  Fantastic Counseling Services for Gambling Addiction.
7.) http://addictionblog.org  Help and Info on all types of Addictions
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I have many more listed on my Recovery Resources Page and try hard to keep updating and adding new places to get Help, Treatment, and Support from addicted compulsive gambling. They are all well worth the visit! Until my next blog post, have a Fabulous Day All!!
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Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
PS…Don’t forget to leave your “Thoughts & Comments” because “It’s Time To Talk About It”!!