Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

.

Image result for free images families at 4th of july

.

It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

.

Tackle Childhood Trauma 1

.

When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

.

20171208_171651(My nephew Mark Lake and his beautiful family)

.

I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

.

Image result for copy free images about fourth of july in sober

.

Image result for copy free images about fourth of july in sober

.

Recovery Sharing and Engaging With Others About My Life & My Book. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and Welcome New Visitors,


“Always know your not less than, you worth more than”. . .

Living ones life in recovery means different things to different recovery people. Those of us who accept and surrender come from all walks of life, and we come from addictions from many different paths. I always say, “we all have a story to tell, and that story can be a powerful tool to help others in their recovery.”

As many of my friends who know me well, they know that besides advocating and sharing my personal recovery journey, I book promote for some fine authors to make a living. Many of my clients turn into fantastic friends. They support my life in recovery, and my current published book of my story of addiction and much more! They trust that I put the effort into promoting their books as I do into advocating for recovery. But I do always share who I am in recovery as I do as a published author. WHY?

Because I’m honest, accountable, and not feeling “less than” in life. Most new friends I meet as book promo clients buy and read my book, and learn exactly where I’ve been, and who I am today. What I had to work through and overcome. I never let my past define the person I am today. That is why I wanted to share this interaction that I had with a new author/book promoting client. It really shows how passionate I am about my life in recovery, and shows just how serious and honest people can be about their views of people in recovery. My sharing is meant to continue my fight of shattering STIGMA around those of us who choose to live in recovery from a very hush, hush addiction of “Compulsive Addicted Gambling, Mental Health, and Childhood Trauma & Abuse.” . . .


“No More Shame” . . .

My Interaction with Author, Jeanne Marie Peters by email:

Jeanne: Dear Catherine,
I’ve read one-half of your story and it has well-defined for me what the phrase “dysfunctional family” means. I’m so glad you have this wonderful husband and I hope the second half of your story will record the sunshine hours of your life. So far my summation is: All the while the drama of mortal existence takes front stage, but in the quiet background pure affection is winning its way, until the whole lump of human life is leavened, and the sweet odor of gentleness perfumes the air.

Like you, my younger years did not contain ‘many acknowledgements of worth,’ and I treasure the few such as hearing my Aunt Sarah say, “Isn’t Jeanne a good little girl?” and her brother, my grandfather, responding, “Yes, she’s as good as gold.”  And one of the five I ever heard from my dear mother, “You are always polite to every one; politeness is not just a social thing; it’s comes from the very fiber of your being.” But at the same time you having rage inside.”  I mention these, because it reminds me of the power of a few kind words, as I sort through your own torturous journey to your divine precious being.

Relatives who are of the Mormon faith have written my grandfather, Fred Mansfield Law, out of family history because he gambled. We’re all working something out in our lives. “Charity covereth a multitude of sins,” says the Bible. Kindly allow me to share one of grandfather’s poems. . .

Easy Valley
There’s a little spot out West
Where you can be at rest,
It’s the place that I like best: Easy Valley

Where there’s music in the air
And the birds recite a prayer,
For all that’s lovely there: in Easy Valley

It has gold along its streams
And miners in their dreams,
Know how long it seems: they’ll tarry.

Many years I’ve been away,
Now I’m going back to stay.
I’ll soon be on my way: to Easy Valley

Gee, won’t it seem to grand
Just to take my sweetheart’s hand,
The one who understands: in Easy Valley

And by a little cottage gate,
There my darling waits,
Near the River Applegate: in Easy Valley

And by a little cottage gate,
There my darling waits,
Near the River Applegate: in Easy Valley

Where there’s music in the air
And the birds recite a prayer,
For all that’s lovely there: in Easy Valley

Many years I’ve been away,
Now I’m going back to stay.
I’ll soon be on my way: to Easy Valley
God Bless,
Jeanne

Now this poem Jeanne shared with me touched my heart. Even though she was only half through my book, she understood my style of writing, and also understood the way I wrote and shared my experiences to not sound to readers like, denial, excuses, or as a victim. It is very difficult to do when writing about addiction and recovery. Especially to those readers who may not have been touched by addiction. So here is what I replied and shared back to Jeanne of my feelings. . . .

Catherine:
I’m glad you got my book ok. This poem is beautiful, and I thank you for sharing it with me. I’m also going to share it in a new recovery blog post this week too! You are becoming more like a wonderful 2nd mama to me with your wonderful recovery encouragement and support, as I didn’t get to much of that from my mom until later in life, before her passing in 2003.

I really appreciate that about you. You have such an open heart and spirit about you. It’s like a magnet. . .;-).  And what you’re doing with and for Catherine is a blessing. (Her next book co-authored with her friend). My next book is a little follow-up of where Tom, my hubby, and I are now, what I’ve been up to since my book published, and the rest is about how others can reach that all elusive first year in recovery. When I’m not promoting for clients, I’m keeping my recovery a main priority now that I just celebrated my 8th year in recover. I’m keeping to what God has given me, a life long purpose to help others in recovery from the destructive addiction of Compulsive Addicted Gambling.

And to continue my advocacy of raising awareness, help educate and inform the public of the dangers of now expansions of Indian Casinos and State Lotteries. This expansion is hurting those of us trying to stay in recovery when gambling is so accessible all around us. I harbor NO ill will towards those who can gamble for the fun and entertainment purpose, nor do I think gambling should be banned. I just want the public to know there are thousands of us out here who can not. And with expansion comes some negative impacts on our local communities. That’s it in a nutshell.

So sharing my story through my book was the only way I knew I could achieve this God Given Purpose.  And I believe that others, if given the chance can also turn their lives around and away from addictions with the right help and support. When we let our Higher Creator inside our Heart, we in Recovery are Unstoppable!

Many Blessings Your Way,
Catherine. . .

So that was my reply to Jeanne. I feel it’s important to share our true feelings. WHY?
Because within our addictions we become selfish, and so numb from the disease that we lose that ability to feel and think properly. No, I’m not blaming the addiction or disease for the poor choices I had made, I’m saying that we are in no healthy, or clear minded position to make those healthy choices in life when we have a head full of diseased thinking, bad habits and behaviors we have picked up within addiction. Addiction invades every part of you. As we know many of our thoughts and our choices come from feelings to begin with, so if we don’t feel any of the pain or devastation ourselves, and to those around us, we are barely of sound mind to make healthy life choices.

But, as I told Jeanne in my reply, if we fight like hell to reclaim our lives from addiction, and with the right help and support, we can recover and reclaim our lives back from any addiction!

Many Blessings and Happiness Recovery Friends!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

 

An Important Blog Share From My Good Friends At NAMI, Helping Others With Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Blog Friends, and Welcome New Visitors,

SuicidePrevention Pictures
 .
I happen to receive the monthly newsletter from my helpful friends at The National Alliance on Mental Illness. And as many of my friends here know, I battle several mental and emotional disorders myself. And for me the topic of Suicide is a hard subject for me because of my own 2 failed suicides. Yes, I’m blessed and have a heart filled of Gratitude to still be here, but the flip side to this is being able to feel others pain when I read about others and suicide.

To me it is such a senseless loss of precious life. We are all born with such great abilities to soar in life, but sadly the society we live in today can make that an everyday challenge. Even the high stress levels of many jobs can bare to much for some of us. That’s why it’s important to me to start sharing my own mental illness, to be share that part of my life, and to share with others so they don’t feel so alone. And NAMI does a wonderful job at sharing information about how to prevent suicide, as it can be a difficult subject to also talk to your teens about. So I wanted to share this blog article they have on their website. It just may help save lives. . . .

Suicide Prevention: Can We Talk?
By Jacqueline Feldman, M.D., NAMI Associate Medical Director

.

.
Of all the topics in mental health, one of the most difficult to consider is suicide. People contemplating it often do not speak directly of it. Families are surprised, stunned, mortified, angry, and devastated in the face of it. Non-mental health professionals may feel uncomfortable asking about anything related to it.  And mental health professionals feel helpless, as we are terrible at discretely predicting and preventing it. There are tragedies, and there is fear; suicide is at the crossroads when these two meet. . .

As I review scientific articles, and program after program, the despair continues. In spite of more folks talking about it, more people training to identify it, and more programs put in place to prevent it, suicide continues.So what do we know? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. More than 800,000 around the globe die each year; many more attempt it. The figures boggle the mind, and challenge us all: how can we possibly intervene?

Many of us know to watch for warning signs—a history of loss (social support, job, resources, health), prior attempts, family history, recent violence; changing appearance or behavior like plummeting grades or productivity, tearfulness, negativism, social isolation, drugs and alcohol); we’re not so good at communicating our concern or finding help.

Programs like Typical or Troubled from the American Psychiatric Foundation and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) to name just two of the many that have been developed, frequently focus on training sentinels—folks in a position to observe people at risk—to heighten awareness of those with potential for suicide, and help find relief and support for the person in need. And yet, still we struggle.

On January 9, an article was published in Lancet looking at the results of 3 different kinds of suicide prevention training on over 11,000 students in Europe: QPR, where teachers act as sentinels; ProfScreen, where mental health professionals provide screening, and the Youth Aware of Mental Health Program, which trains the students themselves. This program used “lectures, role-playing, and education about mental health and suicide risk” with students. At 12 months, there was a significant reduction of suicide attempts, and of severe suicidal ideation, compared to the other control groups. It has been suggested that perhaps this program was more effective because it offers interventions “before there are outward signs of risk, and doesn’t stigmatize individual students.” It’s an interesting idea: going to the at-risk population itself, giving them the education, and empowering them to make different choices.

The CDC suggests the key to reducing suicides is to reduce risk and increase resilience. We cannot begin to reduce risk or abolish stigma or enhance resilience if we cannot even talk about the topic. We need a structured national conversation, an engaged public, an engaged media, engaged policy makers, and engaged legislators.

How about a president who starts by mentioning the “dignity and worth of every citizen… (including) Americans with mental illness” in his State of the Union speech? (He did, last week!) How about asking every pediatrician and every primary care doc and every pastor and preacher (heck, place signs in every bus stop, subway, and grocery store for that matter) to educate each family to store firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, if a household member is at high risk for suicide? How about widespread movements to have the public certified in suicide prevention like so many of us are certified in CPR? How about offering NAMI Ending the Silence to every 9th grader to let them know about the warning signs of a mental health condition and what they can do? The list is endless.

“I know we all care. I’m ready to start talking, and doing; how about you?”

.
If you know someone who may need help? Please share this phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255  24/7 . . .
No Shame. . .  No Labels. . . Not Alone Anymore. . .  God Bless All!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A