May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

It seems lately, a growing number of people who come into or maintain recovery from gambling addiction, are also struggling with Mental Health. I am one who does, even after years of maintaining recovery. It seems to become the norm. Even those with other addiction types are too, but very prevalent with addicted gambling.

I choose to stay well managed and proactive with my mental health care and take it as a serious part of my overall health. But many times, I hear or read about those who don’t or stop taking their meds or even misuse them. That can be a deadly GAME and adds up to trouble.  I came across an article from “Know The Odds”  which shares about addicted gambling, recovery, and mental health. They are out of New York area.

If you or someone you care about needs help in any area of the US, visiting “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration” also know as SAMHSA who is U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and has loads of articles and information to get help with Mental Health and Addiction. There is NO SHAME in doing so and even if you want to be more educated about it. The more we all learn, the more we can shatter the STIGMA.   ~Catherine Lyon Advocate   

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PROBLEM GAMBLING AND MENTAL HEALTH      POSTED ON 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

There is a strong connection between problem gambling and problems with mental health.  Understanding this connection, identifying warning signs and knowing where to get help is vital to preventing problems and getting support.

Problem Gambling in NY

Nearly 668,000 New Yorkers have experienced a gambling problem in the past year.  That is a lot of family, friends, and colleagues having trouble.  Problems from gambling can include sleep problems, relationship problems with loved ones and struggles at work.

Each person struggling with problem gambling affects 6-10 of those closest to them.  A study found that 9 out of 10 people affected by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress.

This means that between the people struggling with problem gambling and the people closest to them, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected by problem gambling and may struggle with mental health issues because of it.

Problem Gambling and Mental Health

People who struggle with problem gambling are at a higher risk of struggling with other mental health disorders. out of 3 gamblers reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling problems. In fact, the majority of those struggling with problem gambling have a lifetime history of mental health problems. In addition to struggling with gambling.

So they may be struggling with mental health problems such as:

  • an anxiety disorder,
  • a personality disorder,
  • a mood disorder, such as depression, and
  • suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide.

According to CEO Glenn Liebman of the Mental Health Association of New York State, “people need to understand the link between problem gambling and other mental illnesses, and the similarity between a gambling disorder and substance use disorders. This understanding is vital so that those impacted directly and indirectly by problem gambling can appreciate the necessity of treatment.

In most cases, it’s unrealistic to believe that someone suffering from these disorders can recover without help”, said Liebman. “Maintaining this belief can have devastating consequences on those who suffer and their families, including financial ruin and suicide.”

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

Any problem caused by gambling can be a warning sign of problem gambling.  This is because problem gambling refers to problems in someone’s life that are due to gambling behaviors.  There are many warning signs of problem gambling.

Some warning signs include:

  • Feeling anxious or distressed when not gambling,
  • Struggling to sleep well due to thoughts or worries about gambling,
  • Lying to friends and family about how much time or money spent while gambling,
  • Missing special family events and holidays to go gambling, and
  • Having thoughts of suicide due to problems caused by gambling.

Since there are few outward signs specific to gambling, it’s important to learn as much about the warning signs of problem gambling as possible.

Help for Problem Gambling

There is help and hope, but people may feel hopeless if they don’t know what help is available.

Here are three connections to resources for help.

  • Learn as much as possible about problem gambling.  Check out our resources page and can be found at http://knowtheodds.org/resources/. These resources include eBooks, videos, infographics, and articles. There’s something for everyone!
  • Visit SAMHSA 
  • Find local help by reaching out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center.  Anyone who calls will be met by a trained professional. This professional will offer a warm greeting, a listening ear, and a list of options for local support geared towards helping those affected by problem gambling.

Like Catherine of “Gambling Recovery Starts Here,” we plan to help share resources during the month of May to raise awareness about Mental Health Awareness Month.

To learn more, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs, and posts on Facebook and Twitter !
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My Zen Recovery ~ Special Guest Post By Living Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi. “Enlightenment Awaits You”

My Zen Recovery ~ Special Guest Post By Living Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi. “Enlightenment Awaits You”

It is not often I meet two very special people who have entered my life and learning so much from. Master Genro is one of the few living Zen Masters of today. Author, Clifford Stevens has had the privilege of being taught by Master Genro. And after reading their new book, “Find The Seeker! The Pathless Path to Fulfillment and Happiness” I have been using all the wisdom and unique advice and incorporating it into my recovery path. It has uplifted my spirit, enlightens my soul as I maintain my recovery in being more humbled and grateful.

See, when we choose to finally see and reach out to the tiny sliver of light of HOPE and abandon the bondage of addictions, we can choose a path or journey of our choice as we can begin to heal and work toward making healthy change within our “inner selves.” This is more of what the book guides you through. So, yes, my recovery has been more mindful, natural, and happy! I call it my Zen Recovery …

I hope you enjoy this second guest post as much as Genro’s first. And do get a chance to purchase the book! It truly is an amazing read! … Catherine

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ENLIGHTENMENT AWAITS YOU

It is not easy to put what we mean into words and into a book, which is the mirror of our experience. This is because Absolute, unconditional Being cannot be defined, described, categorized or explained in words. It is the reason why Socrates could only say, “All I know is that I know nothing.” It is the reason why Zen Masters often resort to laughing, making sounds or jumping. It is the reason why the true philosopher remains quiet. Ultimately one has to stop thinking, brooding and reflecting.

Speaking does not mirror one’s innermost nature, the underlying truth of all Existence. Rather, it is what is between the words – serenity, voice, charisma, aura – which can reveal how far a person is on the spiritual path. It may be easy for someone to sit on a meditation cushion and give the impression that he is inwardly serene. However, as one says in Zen, one can only look deeper into the ocean when the surface of the water is calm. In this way, one can find out and understand what the ego is about.

Meditative techniques are there to calm the thought processes, to make sure the monkeys jumping around – our thoughts – finally get tired of what they are doing, and to bring inner peace to the person. We are talking about Absolute Peace, which you cannot attain by any war, by any struggling on your part. It comes when Nobody is there any longer who causes unrest and agitation due to thinking, fears, and all our manipulative, emotional and intellectual processes. Peace comes when there is Nobody who deals with himself and the world in a warlike manner.

Beyond space and time


It may not always reflect our present-day priorities, but achieving inner peace, calmness, serenity, and equanimity is certainly one of our biggest longings. So much has been written about the techniques one can practice, and it is easy to do so. But a technique is only a part of the path. The fact is that the path is a pathless one and is not a path at all in the proverbial sense.

Being on the path means to pick oneself up again and again and plough on, with practices, to continue moving on, if one has not had the grace to embody “enlightenment”, as some of the great  Masters have had this blessing.

Our book is designed to show how such a path could look, how you can make your way along the path with grace, discipline, and humility, and how one can have this experience of enlightenment at the right time and the right place – always and anywhere, because it is beyond space and time.

 

 

Lying at your feet

We don’t usually speak about this. This is because all knowledge, analysis, and definitions don’t lead us anywhere! It is the experience and not the knowledge that is crucial. Take honey. You can conduct as many scientific studies as you want, but it is not the same as tasting it and its sweetness. In this case, you only stand at the beginning of the path and have not yet realized what it is about.

Once you have read all the books and heard all the scientists talking, and still remain dissatisfied, and there are still unanswered questions, then it is time to read this book of ours – perhaps the last one you will need. It shows the pathless path between the words and the lines, serving quasi as a signpost. It is a path that cannot be comprehended in thoughts and words and shows you that which is lying at your feet, as an old Japanese saying goes.

Free your mind

So, sit down, try to calm your mind, and learn to know your-Self. All the questions that arise are the result of the imprisoned and limited mind. Liberation takes place above and beyond everything that can be perceived. It takes place in your inherent, Absolute nature, which at that moment of realization is seen as that which always is enlightened and has always been. This does not involve effort, techniques, work or overcoming. But it requires grace, and your realization, which in itself is the Truth.

And when this happens, do what you want. This is derived from an old parable from Chinese Chan teachings, who said, “First free your mind, and then do what you want.” Our intellect is immediately worried about chaos and anarchy if one does what he or she wants. This concern is from the unenlightened spirit, worrying about things which anyway cannot be influenced. Learn how to entrust yourself, to practice devotion and thus open yourself up and make yourself ready for the workings of the highest Grace.

 

Free of thought

In the Heart Sutra, it is written: Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. The true interpretation is so simple and yet difficult to understand. Zen and our book deals with people who learn to be before there was thinking. The Zen spirit is revealed when thinking stops and the thinker consciously abides “free of thought.” This is the Buddha Nature, which you cannot realize in thought.


The experience of enlightenment awaits you.


Find the “seeker” and unfold the true Self already in you.

The essence of the path is simple, natural and clear.

 

‘Namaste’

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Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi, one of the few living Zen Masters and co-author Clifford Stevens of the recent highly-acclaimed spiritual self-help book “Find the Seeker” now available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle … (Amazon link: http://bit.ly/find-seeker). You may learn more from popular Master Genro on our website:  https://www.findtheseeker.com  and follow us on Facebook.