Special Guest Recovery Article By Sober Recovery Magazine …5 Key Components to Long-Term Recovery Success.

I welcome Sober Recovery back again with I feel is an important article share about moving into long-term recovery success and what it takes to achieve it. Written by By Toshia Humphries … I agree with Toshia and some of what I had to accomplish in order to reach my 13+years maintaining long-term recovery from gambling addiction and living with mental health challenges. But when you feel that freedom and peace?

It is worth the work you put into the journeyCatherine Lyon, Advocate

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Short-term success in recovery is rather straightforward.

It requires getting and staying sober for a short amount of time. Truthfully, this is something many active addicts are able to do. In fact, it’s one reason many refuse to refer to themselves as addicts; because they believe they can quit at any time, and they’ve usually successfully tested that hypothesis.

However, being able to quit for short periods of time doesn’t determine whether a person is or is not an addict any more than temporarily not having chest pains determines whether or not heart disease is present. Quitting isn’t the hard part—it’s staying sober and getting what is called real recovery that takes effort.

In other words, staying sober is just the tip of the iceberg. Real recovery is about dealing with the physical, spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological disconnect within the whole person, rather than just the resulting disease of addiction. As such, there are necessary components to employ and maintain in an effort to last in your new path.

Here are the 5 key components to help you achieve long-term success in recovery.

1. Accountability

Taking responsibility for your own actions and lack thereof is key to a successful recovery. It’s not just about making amends for obvious grievances. It is a realization of the responsibility we have to others, ourselves, and the Universe. Additionally, it is the opposite of living in ego; the ruler of active addiction.

2. Integrity

Having integrity is an integral part of recovery. With active addiction, lying, manipulation, and rationalizing negative behavior or thought-processes is rampant. To employ honesty, sincerity, and ethics (with others and yourself) is to align with recovery rather than relapse.

3. Life Skills

Acquiring life skills is essential for a successful recovery. A vast majority (if not all) life skills are inherently void during active addiction. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to be fully self-sufficient in recovery. Moreover, it is necessary to learn more than mere living skills but gain life skills; tools that assist you in thriving rather than merely surviving. So, learning healthy coping, communication, boundaries, etc. is key.

4. Personal Growth/Healing

Seeking personal growth and healing is most vital with regard to long-term success in recovery. Staying sober and avoiding relapse is much easier when you begin to deal with the underlying issues and triggers. Healing yourself holistically is the difference between simple sobriety and real recovery.

Because there is often a defensive response to the latter statement, consider this analogy: when a Type 2 diabetic gets their sugars under control by way of insulin but continues to eat poorly and fails to exercise, health issues will continue to arise and manifest in other diseases. So, even though the symptoms of the disease (diabetes) appear to be under control, the lifestyle isn’t. And, even more, the dysfunctional reasoning behind the lack of self-care is still very active and detrimental.

Addiction works the same way, as it too is a disease. And, if the underlying issues and holistic lifestyle changes are not made, real recovery is not achieved. Overall health issues will continue to pop up and manifest in other forms of dysfunction; something real recovery prevents.

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5. Spirituality

Because we are not merely human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human one, we must incorporate spirituality as a daily practice to keep ourselves holistically well. We cannot leave out any part of our being when addressing any disconnectedness that fed or damage incurred in active addiction. As such, seeking and maintaining a spiritual practice is necessary to avoid relapse and experience not only success in recovery but a sense of awakening and evolving to a new you.

Applying these five keys to success in recovery not only works to prevent relapse but aids in building a strong sense of character and being while evolving your soul and moving you onto the next part of your life’s journey.

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Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

Flash-Back Friday and a Guest Article Re-Share of My Dear Recovery Supporter and Friend, Author Marilyn. She Shared Her Story In The NY Times …

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I wanted to re-share this post, article, and my dear friend Marilyn Lancelot who has authored several books about her gambling addiction and road maintaining recovery long-term. She has been such a help and support to me since moving to Arizona 6-years ago from Southern Oregon. When I need a should to lean on or an ear to listen, Marilyn is always there when I call. It may not sound like much, but when you are maintaining recovery from a cunning disease like ours? Just a phone call means the world to me and in knowing I am not alone. I hope you find something from this post to use in your path to being and staying BET FREE . . .  ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

“Author and Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot, 86, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison.”

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New York Times – “Fighting Compulsive Gambling Among Women”
by:   APRIL 28, 2017.
(Photo Courtesy Deanna Alejandra Dent for The New York Times.

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Blinking lights, the clicking sound of coins, and perks like free or inexpensive food, drinks, and casino bus trips are enticing many older women to gamble.

For some people, that seductive environment can be extremely dangerous.

“Casinos are trained to make you feel welcome, while you lose your life,” said Sandra Adell, 70, a literature professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who recounted her experiences as a compulsive gambler in the book “Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen.” In an interview, Professor Adell said that advertisements aimed at older adults often show smiling people, dressed up and looking glamorous, “to create an illusion that plays to people’s weaknesses.”

“What the industry is doing,” she continued, “the way it markets and keeps casinos filled with elderly people, is morally reprehensible.”

Hard numbers are difficult to find, but Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said that gambling addiction among older women near or in retirement appears to be increasing in scope and severity, with a devastating impact on personal finances.

Marilyn Lancelot, 86, of Sun City, Ariz., for example, said that after being a compulsive gambler for seven years, she was arrested at age 61 for embezzling $350,000 from her job and served nearly a year in prison. “I really thought I’d win the big one deep down in my heart,” she said in an interview. “Every gambler says that.” Ms. Lancelot has described her experiences in the book “Gripped by Gambling.”

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Many experts say that men are often “action” gamblers, who favor blackjack and poker, while women tend to be “escape” gamblers, drawn to games based on luck, like slot machines and lottery tickets. Women often begin gambling later in life than men, sometimes after a major life event, like the death of a spouse or when they become empty nesters.

Women are less likely to develop gambling problems than men, Mr. Whyte said, but “telescoping, the rapid development of problems, is especially pronounced in senior women.” It may seem surprising to some people that women have severe gambling problems, he said. “Grandma is not seen as someone who embezzles money and is taken off to jail,” he said, yet it happens.

Many women lose significant amounts of money and jeopardize their futures. “Once they tap into retirement savings, it’s incredibly hard — if they are ever able — to rebuild those savings,” Mr. Whyte said.

Stephanie Iacopino, 63, of Toms River, N.J., who works part-time in retail sales, said that during years of compulsive gambling, she stole money from family members, friends, and clients in the travel business, and ultimately went to prison in 2010 for embezzling about $18,000 from her church.

She said she served nearly four months at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, N.J., followed by 22 months in New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program, which, the state says, is “more onerous” than traditional probation. “We don’t have a nest egg,” said Ms. Iacopino, who is married. “We live paycheck to paycheck.” But she said that while she is struggling financially, she is happy to be recovering from her addiction.

Some women have medical issues associated with gambling, Mr. Whyte said, like bladder problems aggravated by not getting up from slot machines to go to the bathroom. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that among older people, some medications may lead to compulsive behavior, including a gambling addiction. Decreased cognitive functioning can also interfere with the ability to make sound decisions, he added.

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There is a strong connection between gambling and substance abuse. “If you are a problem gambler, you are four times more likely to have a problem with alcohol at some point in your life,” he said. “At a minimum, the rate of problem gambling among people with substance-use disorders is four to five times that found in the general population.” (The council operates a national 24/7 help line for problem gamblers and their families.)

Patricia A. Healy, clinical director of Healy Counseling Associates, in Toms River, N.J., which specializes in addiction counseling, said problem gambling among the elderly “is a hot issue and under-noticed in this country.”

“Gambling is the stepchild of the addiction world,” she said. “You can’t smell it, you can’t see it, you can’t observe it,” unless you see someone in action.

For certain people, she said, there is an adrenaline rush and “suddenly they’re in the chase. Sadly for some, it’s a death spiral.” Bus trips to casinos are sometimes arranged to coincide with the arrival of pension and Social Security checks, she said, and cases of retirees who cash in their I.R.A.s and pensions, or mortgage or ultimately lose their houses are not uncommon.

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“There is a tremendous amount of shame.”

Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said some older people gamble with money intended for medication and find themselves in desperate straits. Some who become suicidal may “drive out in traffic and get killed so families can collect insurance,” she said.

Sam Skolnik, author of “High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction,” said the aftereffects of pathological gambling include social costs that range from loss of productivity at work, domestic crime, suicide and harm to families from rising indebtedness, home foreclosure, and bankruptcy. “When the elderly gamble, they are often harmed in a more permanent way, sadly,” he said.

“There’s no question the industry knows that they lose more money than they should.”

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It's Not Just a Penny Slot Machine: Gambling Addiction in Seniors

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Sara Slane, senior vice president for public affairs at the American Gaming Association, which represents casinos, said in an email statement, “While problem gambling has not increased along with the increase in casinos, the industry and the A.G.A. continue to increase their investment and commitment to responsible gaming programs.”

She cited research in The Journal of Gambling Studies that compared telephone surveys conducted in 1999 and 2000 with those from 2011 to 2013 and found that rates of problem gambling remained stable overall and actually declined among women.

Rachel Volberg, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who studies gambling, said the state of knowledge about the issue in the United States is still inadequate.

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“There’s not much support for gambling research in the U.S.,” she said.

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It wasn’t until 1980 that pathological gambling was designated as a mental health issue in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, she said: “It’s a relatively young disorder as far as having recognition.”

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Ms. Lancelot, of Arizona, who is now retired, said she left prison with nothing but eventually recovered financially. As a felon, getting a job and an apartment was difficult, but she borrowed three months’ rent from her brother, offered to pay the landlord in advance and found work as a secretary with the Arizona state government. Within 10 years, she said, she had two homes, a new car and checking accounts. “I want older people to know that it’s not the end of the world,” she said.

Ms. Pryor, of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said older adults can protect themselves from potential gambling problems in retirement by seeking help in managing their finances — and in planning how to spend their time — long before they stop working.

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“What people need to realize,” she said, “is, they may win a little, but ultimately, the house always wins.”

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“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” Special Guest Author: Alek M. Revitalizing Your Marriage After Addiction.

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Revitalizing your marriage or relationship is an important and sometimes scary process. When recovering from gambling addiction, the other partner feels that the gambling was the only thing the other person cared about, like if it had been a “love affair.” That is why this topic and article by Alek M. is so important in any recovery from any type of addiction….

Addiction can be one of the most trying experiences that an individual will face in their life, and recovery is a road that certainly isn’t easy. However, it is through the most challenging times in life that we are able to grow, as people, and emerge as a stronger version of yourself. This is what recovery is all about, as becoming a new and better you is a key part of lasting recovery that is sustainable.

However, during the course of addiction and recovery, the person undergoing these events is not the only person who will be tested. If an addict is married or in a long-term romantic relationship, then their partner is certainly going to go through a trying time, as well. However, having been through this journey together makes it all the more important to take crucial steps after recovery. Here are some tips on revitalizing your marriage after addiction…

Avoid starting new relationships in recovery


First of all, it’s important to note that is highly advisable to not start any new romantic relationships right after recovery, or in recovery, for that matter. A romantic relationship has the potential to distract you from what you should be focusing on in recovery, especially in the crucial early month, as staying sober is key. Relationships also have the potential to cause stress, which can be triggering for someone who just got through recovery. As a matter of fact, many aspects of an early relationship can have an unpredictable effect on someone who is probably still getting cravings. For this reason, it’s best just to avoid all of this, for the time being.
Here’s a good article if you’d like to read more about this situation.

Be honest, no matter what

When you are fresh out of recovery, your relationship needs to continue with a theme of honesty, or it simply won’t work. No matter what, it’s important for both you and your partner to be honest with each other about everything, especially what you are thinking about the situation. Make sure you both tell each other how you are feeling, every single day, and truly be honest about those feelings. If you are having cravings, or even if you suffer a relapse, these are among the most important times to be honest, as they can make the difference in your path to recovery.

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Clearly, communicate your needs

Remember that your partner will have their own specific needs during this time, and be considerate of those needs. However, it’s also important to be clear about what you need during this time of recovery, as your support system is a vital element to a lasting recovery. This means that each person in the relationship needs to have a clear line of communication with the other, so that they can say how they are truly feeling, without judgment.

Take this time to learn how to be better versions of yourself

At this time, remember that you are in a period of rebuilding who you are, and that you and your partner will be in a period of rebuilding your own relationship. While this will definitely be difficult, at times, it should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourselves and strengthen the bond between you two. Besides, if you can both support each other through the difficult time of recovery, then you will find that you have a stronger relationship on the other side.

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Find projects around the home to work on together

After getting out of recovery, you and your partner need to find new ways to bond so that you can make sure that you both still know each other, even after this life-changing experience. While getting out and going on adventures, like hiking, can be a great way to do this, it is also very important to try to find ways to enjoy being home with each other.


One particular way to do this is to find projects around your home that you can work on together. Look for something you both would love to see in your home.
Should you get new marble countertops? Should you build a treehouse? Just find something that you can both work together to improve your lives. Building new memories together, especially memories with tangible evidence all around you starts to replace negative experiences that you’ve both been through before.

Having a project is also a great tool to aid in recovery since it gives you a positive focus!