Let Them Hear Us! Joining My Friends At “Facing Addiction.” Are You Facing Addiction Today?

 

Facing Addiction

Dear Author & Recovery Friend Catherine Lyon,

This is a critical time for anyone connected to the addiction issue. We are just over a week into the new Congress and at the end of next week, a new president will be sworn in. Here are just a few quick things you can do today to ensure that our leaders continue Facing Addiction in 2017 with us:

Sign and Forward an Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

The new administration has made a commitment toward reforming our nation’s health care system. We hope you’ll sign this letter to the President-Elect and his new administration, urging them to maintain their commitment to facing addiction issues in whatever replacement health care package emerges. If you’ve already signed our letter, please take a moment to forward this link to your family and friends and post it on social media. We need your help today!

Tell Your Story in a Letter-to-The-Editor

One of the leading roadblocks to improving the collective response to addiction is better understanding. Last year we saw the tragic viral images of overdose victims posted by police officers who were shaming people who become addicted. Shaming doesn’t work. The only way people will build empathy about addiction issues is to hear stories from other perspectives – recovery, loss, the struggle to access health services – you have a unique story to tell. A letter, outlining your personal perspective and connection to addiction can make a huge impact. Please click here to submit a letter today!

Pilot Community Program

Facing Addiction is proud to offer this application for communities needing support to build a targeted grassroots approach that changes local responses to substance use disorders. Examples could include building diversion programs that move low-risk offenders from court involvement or formal criminal justice system supervision to health-centered interventions. To learn more about this program, and to submit an application for your community, click here.

Thanks for all you do – advocacy is about action. Join us by taking action today.

Regards,

Michael King
Director of Outreach & Engagement

I PROUDLY STAND With My Friends at Facing Addiction! Let’s All Get Involved Above!  

catherine-townsend-lyon


*** Author and Recovery Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ***

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For My New Recovery Followers. An Intro ~ Thanks for the 500 Follows!

For My New Recovery Followers. An Intro ~ Thanks for the 500 Follows!

Hello and Welcome All,

In honor of another ‘WordPress Trophy’ I have been bestowed, I thought I would celebrate with a share of my first article that was printed in a fantastic recovery newspaper publication this month! It is an introduction to a little about my addiction and recovery journey since I was new to their newspaper called; “Keys To Recovery.”

500 Follows!

Your current tally is 502.

And since I just marked 500 recovery followers here on WordPress, their maybe many of you who don’t know where I have been with addiction, and how I got here today in recovery. Of course, you could read my current book on  Amazon Kindle ~ “Addicted To Dimes”  for now only $3.10 per download as I just lowered the price to also celebrate!! It is my memoir, story of gambling addiction, dark family secrets, and more that can add “fuel” to anyone who uses addictions to chase away “old hurt and haunting pain” of their childhood trauma like I did.

So here is my first article in “Keys To Recovery’s” ~ “Quit To Win”  . . . .

addicted

YOU CAN RECOVER FROM GAMBLING ADDICTION

My name is Catherine, and I am a recovering addicted gambler, ‘dual diagnosed,’meaning I live with mental health illness and disorders. I never let those “labels” define who I am today. Who am I? I am many things, a wife, sister, aunt, columnist, writer, mental health advocate, published author. I have lived life in recovery almost 10-years from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse.

My recovery journey started in 2002 after my first failed suicide attempt, and entered gambling addiction treatment, but still had slip ups. Then, in 2006 I ended up in a hospital again as the result of a second suicide attempt, and again back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 21-day stay.

The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my bipolar medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be “normal” like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well. I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I’d been off my medications, with no money left in my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone.

Of course, the victim pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the court system and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point? You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your financial inventory. I had not done all of my financial work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my money choices and legal troubles told me I still needed to do more work. So, I did with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles had occurred, I worked hard with the specialist for a year, while I went through the legal mess I created.

Why am I sharing this?

Because our recovery stories are powerful tools to help and share “Hope” to those who still suffer. After this second suicide attempt and crisis stay, being a dual-diagnosed person, it can make obtaining recovery a bit more work, as I discovered. The negative habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking needed more correcting on my part. So I turned to the addiction specialist. So, what is compulsive gambling addiction?

It is when you lose control, lose control of the amount of money spent, time away from normal life, more risk without care of the consequences to people around you or one’s wellbeing. Well, that was my personal experience. There are many opinions, facts, and myths about gambling addiction. But, it is a real addiction, a real disease.

The scary fact is, we get the same rush and euphoric high as a drug addict or alcoholic without drinking something, smoking anything, popping a pill or shooting up. As an addict to gambling, we do this with manipulation of our brain and body chemicals. The habits of this addiction are just like all other addictions. But, I still had a hard time wrapping my mind around these facts. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery.

I was also given a “life-saving relapse prevention workbook” as well, which I have posted on a “ Relapse Prevention Guide” page on my Gambling Recovery blog titled; “Gambling Recovery Starts Here” for others to use. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come. I also learned that my higher power, God had bigger plans for me, a life purpose for me that involved reaching out to those looking to recover from this cunning progressive illness.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to use it to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood sexual trauma, and abuse. Also, what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, magazine columnist, writer or a blogger, but these are just a few of the blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

So, through my current book and my blog I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easy one can become addicted. Raising awareness and education is most important to me, and my goal is to help those affected. To teach those who don’t understand this disease to learn more and hope they can have less stigma and more empathy.

Let me close with facts.

Currently, 1% of our population are now problem gamblers. And, out of the 16+million who are problem gamblers, Parents? Half this number is now your High School and College age children.

“It’s Now Time We Talk About Gambling Addiction the Disease, as We Can Recover.”

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**So, I thank each of you have come to my recovery blog the last few years to be part of the discussion about gambling addiction and recovery. Everything I write, share, and post is to hopefully make others aware of this devastating disease or offer you a hand reached out if you are having problems with gambling. ALL know they can leave comments here and I will try and help any way I can. YOU have a voice here that will be heard.

You may also Email me anytime with your thoughts and questions too at: LyonMedia@aol.com **

God Bless All!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon  XO  🙂

“Yes it’s Recovery Ramblings Time As I Need To Purge Some Important Feelings About Gambling and Suicide”

Hello and Thank You for Visiting Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

I can tell you I’m not surprised at all that another major casino is closing down, are YOU?

Looks like the expansion of Indian casinos and State Lotteries, and Online offshore gambling is finally changing the Gambling Game!

– Another Atlantic City Casino goes Bust, Trump Casino is Closing …

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino closed its doors early Tuesday, the fourth Atlantic City casino to go belly up so far this year.
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Image: Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ (© Mel Evans/AP)
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I think they call it, ‘Karma” as the growing expansion of Indian Casinos and State Lotteries seems from my point of view, catching up with all the big ‘Mega-Casinos’ in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Laughlin, and even Reno & Riverboat Casinos in the south. As a compulsive addicted gambler in long-term recovery, why fly to Vegas or drive to the Indian Casino 35 miles away, when I can just go across the street to my local bar and play the Oregon Lottery Video & Slot style machines? Or now, living in Arizona, to a local Indian casino just a few miles away. It won’t also surprise me if more Vegas casinos become the next in line to suffer a lot more closures.
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It’s why they keep change their marketing and business plans to keep enticing people to come for a visit.
Here is a current list courtesy of CasinoCity.com of how many States have casinos in them.
States with Gambling ~ Order by: State

Alabama (8)
Alaska (7)
Arizona (35)
Arkansas (2)
California (172)
Colorado (41)
Connecticut (3)
Delaware (3)
Florida (133)
Georgia (2)
Idaho (18)
Illinois (18)
Indiana (13)
Iowa (21)
Kansas (8)
Kentucky (8)
Louisiana (50)
Maine (14)
Maryland (11)
Massachusetts (3)
Michigan (31)
Minnesota (41)
Mississippi (32)
Missouri (13)
Montana (142)
Nebraska (9)
Nevada (383)
New Hampshire (10)
New Jersey (13)
New Mexico (29)
New York (23)
North Carolina (2)
North Dakota (35)
Ohio (11)
Oklahoma (121)
Oregon (27)
Pennsylvania (12)
Rhode Island (2)
South Carolina (3)
South Dakota (51)
Texas (9)
Virginia (1)
Washington (141)
West Virginia (5)
Wisconsin (31)
Wyoming (6)
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And we need to keep in mind, this doesn’t take in all the states that offer State Lottery gambling too.
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Photo: #RecoveryMonth #Inspiration
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So you can understand that for those of us who try to be successful in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling, it can be very challenging. I happened to be talking to my nephew last night, and here in Arizona, there are many casinos around us. We talked a bit about “Self-Banning” yourself from casinos, and he said he tried to do this a couple of times here at the casinos, but he would eventually go gamble anyway, and it took the casino months before they caught him.
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Part of it he says, is you have to be careful not to win a big jackpot, but what he did to get around this little problem is take a friend with him to the casino, and if he did win a big jackpot over $1,500.00, he would just let his friend switch places with him, he would go to the restroom, and let his buddy collect the money. Then my nephew would calculate what the amount of State & Federal tax would be on the amount, and just give it to his buddy. Sad thing is, my hubby’s nephew is a problem gambler and he would most likely play most all the money he won back in the damn machines! AGAIN, that’s called a problem or addicted gambler. And as the article I’m in currently, a study and research done by Columbia University, and The Dept. of Public Health & Epidemiology, Elaine Meyer mentioned that gambling addiction has currently the highest Suicide rate then any other addiction.
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Which brings me to my next topic of ramblings. As you see, I changed my blog background & profile photo to advocate Suicide Prevention. Even though this month I’m Celebrating with many other organizations, September is The 25th Anniversary of Recovery Month, these past few weeks I have been touched by others attempting, and one was successful of Suicide!
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NRM Logo
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It started with a good friend and fellow author, advocate, and blogger, Rhonda Sellers Elkins, who took he life on August 29th, 2014. I have an earlier blog post here as a “Tribute” to her, and all the parents she helped with her new book, and her experiences of the loss of her own daughter, yes, to suicide. This happened right after Actor, Robin Williams. She blogged tirelessly about the how she was trying to cope, and helping other parents was helping her stay the course a little.

A couple of days after Rhonda’s passing, my next door neighbor Sean attempted suicide. He is still in a crisis center, via the hospital. Then just this past weekend, my other friend and neighbor across the way did THE SAME!! She and Sean suffer like me with bipolar ll with manic depression, sometimes severe, as they too are in recovery from drugs & alcohol. Brittany is a mom of 4 kids, and only 28 years old. Sean is single, doing a 28 day program, so he is not home yet. Brittany just came home yesterday. For Sean it must be hard to not have anyone to be accountable to. I have my husband to be accountable to, to stay in recovery, and many times it does make a difference. Support is dire in recovery.
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THEN, we got a call from my hubby’s sister on Sunday, and his other nephew Ricky was also in the hospital in South Carolina due to attempted Suicide!! He also suffers Bipolar severe depression and PTSD. He took the whole bottles of 2 psych meds. He was just transferred to a Mental/Behavioral crisis center as well, and will be there for 30 days. So I’m thinking to myself, WTF??!! Is there something in the water or something? Is something in the air that people are having such a hard time with LIFE? And with managing their Mental Health issues? This all really hits me very hard. It’s why I need to write and share my own feelings around all of this. It really, really bothers me. WHY? I myself will be going through psych med changes early next month because 2 of my psych meds I take now, which I have been on to long, are now effecting my liver and cholesterol levels. So this means it’s going to be guinea pig time again.
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It really makes me sad, and just breaks my heart when others, and especially those of us who have dual diagnosis of Mental health issues and live in recovery from addictions are having a rough patch. Just like both my neighbors who are both in recovery from drug & alcohol use, many like them with mental illness can misuse and self-medicate with their psych meds. My husband’s nephew almost succeeded in his suicide attempt, as he took a whole bottle of his Cymbalta and another psych drug. He was very lucky EMT’s got to him in time and to the hospital to pump his stomach. And so again, this so hurts and bothers me in the way of understanding the level of Hopelessness & Darkness a person can get to when you feel like a burden to others, or feeling tired of life and just want to go away forever, not feel pain or hurt anymore, and deep depression. Just to have SILENCE …
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He, (Ricky) is still having a hard time, like all of us in my husband’s family from the death of his oldest sister, Ricky’s mother who also committed intentional Suicide by taking all her psych meds. She didn’t cope well after her husband suddenly passed of a heart attack at 54 years old. So, Ricky is trying to still overcome, as we all are, loosing not only his father 2 years ago next month, but also his mother a year ago next month.
One thing I can add to this is I’m very blessed in having been through all the recovery treatment, therapy, and currently still being under a psychiatrist’s care. I also have the life skills and tools learned to help cope when life throws those nasty rough patches in our lives.
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BUT, we have to take those tools out of the toolbox and use them! It’s why I do, because I REFUSE to be another Statistic of Suicide from Addictions and/or Mental Illness!! Two failed suicide attempts were enough for me to choose LIFE over any addiction or mental illness challenges and disabilities. I’m very aware many people may find these kind of ramblings of mine hard to read.
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But look, if I or others like me don’t share our feelings and personal experiences about Addiction, Suicide, and our Mental Health challenges, and innermost thoughts, then how can we promote and advocate for change, inform, raise awareness, and educate the public? If I, and others don’t Speak-up and Speak-out about Suicide, and these other issues, then who will?
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Yes, there are many fantastic, helpful, and informative organizations out here who do a great job in giving the public help, information, facts and Resources, but I also feel a Personal perspective is just as important to share to help shatter Stigma around these very important topics.| It shows others who are feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and suffer mental health challenges that they are not alone! That there is NO SHAME with having Mental or Emotional health problems, or live life in recovery from any addiction, and to let them know they have a voice and are heard!
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I still feel very lucky, (no pun intended) that my gambling actually brought out my own mental and emotional health problems, as I was suffering and didn’t know I was. I used gambling to escape, become numb to all feelings and emotions, and just zone out because I wasn’t able to stuff all my garbage in life, all the hurt and pain through the years, starting as a little girl anymore.
Eventually, all this unhealthy stuff can only be stuffed, hidden, and tucked away behind a HAPPY MASK for so long. It’s not healthy or good for you. Eventually you’ll have to process it, walk through all the fear, and learn from it. Because if you don’t get the help, and don’t push through all that pain, hurt, and your fears? That is when unhealthy things begin to invade your life.
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It’s when addictions will come knocking and teach you to self medicate with drugs, alcohol, and many other addictions out there. My life was also effected in the relationships I had with men. From the sex abuse I endured seemed to give me a false impression when I got into adulthood, and made me think if I had sex in a relationship? Then I would get that unconditional love from men that I chased to get from my parents for years. Yes, I was a pretty screwed up girl.
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WHY, because most of the relationships and marriages never worked because I was being co-dependent in many of those relationships.
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If someone in your family has a mental illness, you may be feeling frustration, anger, resentment and more. What can you do to help yourself, and by doing so your loved one as well”?
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Mental illness brings doubt, confusion and chaos to a family. But a family can heal when it moves beyond their loved one’s illness—not away from their loved one” …


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I used these relationships as trying to fix or change others. Or I relied on the man to make my happiness, and be the center of my world. Smothering them away. Looking back, I was SO needy. Because I never got any of that from my parents. so I chased it in all my relationships with men. I didn’t have barely an ounce of self-worth, because I was always demeaned, verbally abused, and accused of things by my parents that I never was or DID! Then in adulthood, I wasted years of trying to prove and to show my parents that I was a good person, that I was successful,  happy, and took care of myself, but they didn’t care or bother see it. Was I to dumb, or so uneducated in life lessons because of the way I was raised, to even know what a normal and healthy relationship is? What a healthy relationship looks like? Because looking back my own family was so dysfunctional. You don’t see or grasp that until your out of the dynamic. Which is what happened to me as I was the only one in the family that moved out-of-state, and far from my family for many of those reasons. And of course I became the the black sheep of the family for that.
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So all that really affected the way I seen and looked at relationships. And the GOOD relationships I did have with a man? The more they treated me like a queen? I would end up sabotaging the relationship some how, because I felt I was not worthy of there love, gifts, compliments. I felt that way when I was using gambling addiction to cope and try to navigate through life. When I became an addicted gambler, and feeling shame and guilt, it didn’t matter, because I was hurting all of them BACK for all the pain I went through, for all the times they had hurt me deeply.
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The diseased thoughts gave me a sense of entitlement to do what I did within my gambling addiction, because I felt I became a victim because of the way my parents had treated us kids, plus then the sex abuse and trauma on top of that, believe me, I did a lot of damage, but I was only hurting myself and others around me, especially what I put my husband through. That is why you must have good people around you who will support you no matter what. And I had to learn the hard way that gambling wasn’t hurting anyone but ME. It wasn’t going to change my past, and it was destroying my FUTURE! See I never got that from my family. Even to this day.
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I think they are in the mind-set that if I’m not around, then there is no problem. They don’t have to acknowledge that our family was and still is dysfunctional. Is it ignorance? Or is it continuing the unhealthy habits and behaviors we seen from our parents? My mom was one of a kind in this aspect of the family dynamic that went on in our house. And when she passed, my youngest sister continued the poor behaviors my mom passed on to us all those years. So was I doomed? Maybe, but I think I’m the only one in our family that tried to interrupt and stop this cycle. I surely didn’t want the same things repeating down to my nieces and nephews. I’m think I’m also the only one who has been in therapy, in recovery, and have taken control of my mental disabilities by seeking professional help. But I guess I won’t really know since I haven’t talked to any of them for over 8 years.
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So, family sometimes may not understand if no else is suffering from mental health issues. Which was my experience with my side of the family after they saw me take my psych meds one time when my mom passed, and we were down for the funeral. That’s when they started treating me different. Even though my older sister was still an alcoholic, my other sister was still EVIL and had anger issues, my dad was oblivious to all it, and my brother is still estranged from the rest of the family like I am.
So, just because we may share the same family blood? Doesn’t give them the right to mistreat you. No family should.
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Having boundaries sure is a beautiful thing …
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God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485/

Toot Tooting My Own Horn A Wee Bit!


Many Writers, Authors, and Bloggers are pretty much very “HUMBLE” PEEPS! But once in
awhile it does FEEL GOOD to TOOT our own horns now and again…

Many don’t know that ONE OF THE REASONS I started this *Little Recovery Blog* here, is to let others know about ME, Why I’m blogging, What I blog about: Recovery from Addicted Compulsive Gambling, a wee bit to many Cocktails, Advocate against the *STIGMA*around these issues, and for people like MYSELF who suffer from Mental & Emotional illness and disorders.

And that this ALL started with a little book I wrote & published about my Life Story, starting from a *little Girl* to present. As a little girl, I went through traumatic events that NO little girl should ever have to go through. To give insight and understanding of how OUR PAST can shape what kind of Paths We CHOOSE later in Life. I just happen to choose Compulsive Addicted Gambling as an “ESCAPE” from the PAST HELL that came Knocking on my back door! So I chose to SHARE what I’ve been through with My Addiction, and Recovery.

NO, I did not USE or HIDE behind ANONYMOUS,…..What good does that do to try to make AMENDS with others as Step-9 helps us do, and how being ANONYMOUS will give me “Accountability and OWN my past Transgressions”?….So I chose to use my FULL NAME for my Published Book, “Addicted To Dimes”(Confessions of a liar and a Cheat) http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485 which brings me back to why I’m tooting my own horn,….TO SHARE some New Book Reviews, so that if you decide to give my book a Gander and a READ,….You’ll know others have too!, and what they THOUGHT of my book.

Believe me, as a first time Published Author, reviews are far & few between. But here are the most resent, and they REALLY UNDERSTOOD WHY I WROTE & SHARE MY STORY….

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and Honest., October 19, 2013
By
brittany
This review is from: Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) (Paperback)

As a person in Recovery, I find reads like this to be refreshing and inspiring. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon did not hold anything back in this transparent account of her personal journey, as she shares her life & experiences that led to her addiction.

She allowed herself to illuminate the good, the bad and the in between, and it really helped me to connect with her on a personal level. We are all just humans on a journey we all experience hardships, struggles and some dysfunction to varying degrees. Her account is told with sincerity and I commend her bravery and willingness to share her story with the world. Great book for people in recovery, or families trying to understand addiction.

A true insight to what a person goes through with gambling addiction,
October 13, 2013

By: A Grants Pass, Or Neighbor
This review is from: Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) (Paperback)

“This book was an insight for me, I never understood what the journey is like for a person dealing with an addiction. This took me awhile to complete reading because there was so much that needed to be digested to really grasp what the author was trying to tell in her recounting of her life. It was a very rough emotional journey that you feel like you are experiencing along with Cathy. I felt so many different emotions when reading this book, that at times I had to set it down because it was so intense and overwhelming. I would recommend this book for anyone looking to understand the up and downs a person faces when dealing with an addiction. I loved reading about Cathy and her life, and I also appreciated how the book was left in her words and how honest she was in telling her struggles….

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I do want to note that, I meet Cathy in real life, she was my neighbor for a time. She is a wonderful woman. After we talked for a while, I bought her book and gave this review.   But it took me forever to do so. I have to say I am sorry to her for taking so long. Cathy it was a touching and insightful journey your story has taken me on these last few months. Thank you for sharing it with me. It gives me hope in knowing that anything can become overcome with love and trust. God bless you. Keep writing and telling your story so others will know that they are not alone and that there is hope after addiction”..

**I’m honestly *HUMBLED* and touched by all my Reviews I have received on Amazon, and on Barnes & Nobel, also the ones on Goodreads.com….I really DO APPRECIATE & LUV all my Readers, and Blog Friends here Too!! Thanks all for your Book & Recovery Support!! I’m truly very Blessed**…. God Bless All..*Catherine* 🙂 “-)