Hello And Welcome To My Recovery Update,
As many of my recovery friends know about me, I’m not one to shy away from
any topic that I try to help ‘raise awareness’ about, and to help educate and inform the public, all about gambling addiction.
Many still feel that this addiction is NOT a real disease.
But when someone gets so entangled and hopeless from this disease, which for some happens often but we never hear about it, the threat of suicide seems to enter the picture, and the addict becomes so hopeless that they feel suicide is the only option to stop gambling.
I know this myself first hand following my own 2 failed suicide attempts. Not only is gambling devastating enough with financial loss, loss of jobs, friends, family, and more, but I just about lost myself. And even though at the time I was suffering from undiagnosed mental illness too, the gambling and the mental illness just about did me in all together! I try to give others who have been through what I have been through a voice to be heard here on my recovery blog.
But my job, and what’s expected of me as a long-term recovering addict as well, is to share factual information to all who visit, as to accomplish why I started this gambling recovery blog in the first place. And someone else who does this very well is my friend Les Bernal, of Stop Predatory Gambling.
They are on top of government-sponsored gambling, how it impacts all our local communities in each state in the USA. I have known Les for a long while now, and the movement he had started years ago is helping to raise awareness about government-run casinos and state lotteries, and how they prey on the people who can not afford to lose. Here are a few things I feel are important to share from their monthly news letter I get from them, and it seems another has lost his life to addicted gambling, and from my HOME STATE of OREGON!
Oregon’s Problem Gamblers Awareness Day: ‘Gambling took that from us’
By Published: Sep 29, 2014 at 5:04 PM PDT
EUGENE, Ore. — It’s been nearly 20 years since Ronda Hatefi lost her older brother to his gambling addiction.
“(He) just needed everything to stop,” Hatefi said. “We talked about that just shortly before he died, he said ‘I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m not functioning, I don’t know how to make it stop’.”
She said, “her brother, Bobby Hatefi, struggled with a gambling addiction for about 4 years before he took his own life at age 28.”
He would go to the bowling alley to play video poker after work. He told his sister it quickly became an obsession.
Ronda remembered her brother telling her, “I don’t do it because it’s fun, I do it because I have to, the paper I put into the machine isn’t money to me, it’s just paper to keep the game going and I don’t know how to get rid of it.”
After losing her brother July 20, 1995, Hatefi decided to use her brother’s story to educate people about gambling addiction.
“That’s who Bobby was, he was an involved person in our family that we all adored and gambling took that from us,” she said.
Shortly after Bobby’s death, she started the organization Oregonians For Gambling Awareness, and petitioned Oregon’s governor to proclaim September 29 as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day.
The state has honored the day for the last 19 years, and Hatefi said she’s found a way to celebrate her brother’s life.
“Because I think honestly (if) Bobby were standing here beside me today, I think he would stand up for this fight,” Ronda said.
Hatefi passes out leaflets to every place in the state that has video lottery machines, hoping they’ll put it on their machines. She said she wants people to know that there is help, and there is hope.
If you want to talk about a possible gambling problem or know someone who may need treatment, call 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648).
Oregon Lottery Signs. . .
StopPredatoryGamblng ~ Is the BEST WAY to have your VOICE heard!
Bobby Hafemann took his life because he became addicted to electronic gambling machines. Who was the primary sponsor and beneficiary of the machines that led to his death? His own state government.
Bobby’s sister, Ronda Hatefi, has organized an annual day in her state for the last twenty years to remember her brother and all of those citizens who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling.
To highlight the voices and stories of the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, we are organizing the first-ever “National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling” on Sat. Sept. 26 and Sun. Sept. 27. We will publicize how this public policy is dishonest, financially damaging to citizens and contributing to the unfairness and inequality in our country.
Through our creative actions we’ll call attention to the needed shift away from government’s dishonest, predatory and failed experiment with gambling toward a fairer, healthier and more hopeful vision of America’s future. Our common message: Predatory gambling cheats and harms everyone–even those who don’t gamble.
We’ve all seen the feel-good proclamations by public officials and their token efforts to stop the damage with their 1-800 phone numbers and their virtually meaningless “self-exclusion” policies. But they still keep the machines running, designing them to be even more financially damaging and addictive, while continuing to push more forms of predatory gambling onto citizens and making it even more accessible. This is why we have to confront and protest.
There will be at least 100 separate actions across the United States.The “action” can be anything you (or your group) want it to be and the list of ideas is limitless. The action should reflect our common message. Some possibilities include: doing a visibility with homemade signs in your community, organizing a prayer vigil, participating in a “Freedom Players” event at a regional casino (or at a local restaurant/tavern with video gambling machines) and so on.
In the days ahead, we invite you to email your ideas for actions to us and we’ll put them together on one list to send out to everyone. It will help all of us to think of possibilities for our own communities.
Please commit two hours on the weekend of 9/26-27 to participate. We’ll connect you with the other people in your state who are taking action in the names of citizens like Bobby Hafemann, his family, and every American who has been damaged by the policy of government-sponsored gambling. Please confirm by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and All The Best!
WOW! What hit me hard about Bobby’s story shared by his sister was the part where he told her, “money was just like paper to him, paper with no value other then keeping the game going.” I felt the same exact way! For me what I thought was ironic and CRAZY? I had spent 22 years in the Banking industry. Toward the end of my career, I was an addicted gambler. And I felt just like Bobby. I would spend my day helping customers with their financial futures, and I was throwing all mine away in those damn Oregon Lottery machines! I had NO sense of value of money when I got in that zone of addicted gambling. But also was using gambling to ‘escape old pain’ from my past childhood.
Well, I know I am planning something special here on my gambling recovery blog here for that weekend to Honor The Memory of the precious loss of Bobby Hafemann, and all who have taken their lives due to gambling addiction!
It is also how my current book got started, and how I begin my book of sharing my experiences that I went through with compulsive addicted gambling.
It was due to reading an article about a woman who shot herself in her Indian Casino hotel room. She committed suicide, as the note she left behind said. It also had said that she was sorry, but she just couldn’t stop her gambling addiction. She had a bad relapse and weekend binge. And like Bobby, she felt it was the only way to stop.
So I hope you will mark your calendars to come visit my blog that weekend this coming September, 2015. Suicide is such a sad fact of many addictions. But it sure is the hush, hush part of gambling addiction. There are hundreds of stories like Bobby’s and mine, but they never get heard. And many who have not been ‘touched’ by any addiction, let alone gambling addiction, just don’t understand. Many loved ones are at a loss when a life is taken in this manner. It’s why I do what I do here on my recovery blog. To truly share the message of HOPE that anyone with a bit of effort and recovery work, they can take back the power that addicted gambling has taken from you, and from many others.
I may never know how my blog impacts others, or even if it helps anyone. But if I can change others perception, and give them knowledge about this cunning and baffling disease, if I change the landscape a little for others to give more support and compassion toward someone they know, or love that may have a gambling problem, or even stop just one person who maybe deep into gambling addiction, and know they are not alone, and can recover. Then the amount of hours I put into this blog is SO, SO, WORTH IT!
Are world and society is filled with so many positives and negatives, and gambling addiction is having huge negative impacts on many people, communities, and states. And now that 1% of our population are now problem gamblers? “It’s Time To Talk About It!”. . . .
God Bless All,
Author & Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon