I am excited to finally share my recovery journey through an actual real live Domain Name!
Why is this a big deal?
Because everything I write and share for recovery will get a much farther reach and means I can hopefully share more hope and raise more awareness about problem gambling and recovery to many more people who may be still suffering in silence from problem gambling. I had hesitated to sign up and pay for a plan and domain name as I’m not very good on the back stuff of meta tags and connecting this or that. WordPress is doing all of it and the SEO (Search Engine Optimizing).
Ok, let me get back to recovery! So, how do you know if you have a problem with gambling?
I can tell you from my personal experiences and listening to many share some of their woes while sitting in the rooms of Gamblers Anonymous. Once you have lost control over your gambling, you can never gamble normally again. Listen to me, YOU CAN NEVER CONTROL YOUR GAMBLING.
All you will do is battle the good vs bad and the losing vs winning vs LOSING again and again. You know I am sharing the real raw truth. If you don’t believe me? Here are some commented struggles of others who are stuck in THIS BATTLE. I visit many recovery chat rooms and posting communities of gambling recovery, and some of these people continue to struggle with gambling. It’s called the “CYCLE” and once you cross the line into addicted gambling? All you can do to help yourself is QUIT… And we are still on BlogLovin’!
Comment: “New to this whole thing… Slipped up and gambled today. Feel pretty stupid. I’m not gonna beat myself up today though. Could’ve been like last time that was so bad it made me suicidal. Screw ups happen i guess.”
Comment: “Rare are the practicing compulsive gamblers who have any idea how irrational they are, or, seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. One dictionary defines sanity as “soundness of mind.” Yet no compulsive gambler, rationally analyzing his or her destructive behavior, can truly claim soundness of mind.
Have I come to believe, as the Second Step suggests, that a Power greater than myself can restore me to a normal way of thinking and living?
Today I Pray May I see that my own behavior as a compulsive gambler could be described as “abnormal” or “insane.” For those still actively addicted, admitting to “insane” behavior is well-nigh impossible. I pray that I may continue to abhor the insanities and inanities of my addictive days. May others like me recognize their problems of addiction, find help in Gamblers Anonymous, and come to believe that a Higher Power can restore them to a normal way of thinking and living.”
Comment: “Very bad day today, first time I gambled since Aug last year and I feel so awful…. I knew it was wrong but still did it. All time low point.”
Member REPLY: “Glad you are reaching out. Hope you keep coming back and maybe join us on Monday 10 pm est in the chatroom for a GA type meeting. Take care and stay well”… Ken L
Comment: “Hi all,
Just recently told my wife and family that I slipped and gambled again. This already happened last year and was very difficult to get through. I gave in as the mind attacks were relentless. Now I’ve hurt them all so much and it’s difficult to believe that I can get to a place where it’s better…
Comment: “Hello everyone. Being alone is lonely… I do have family with beautiful kids and also beautiful wife. Living in Alaska without relatives I was hooked with gambling and I feel it’s getting worse and worse what should I do…
MemberReply: “Please, whatever you do DO NOT GAMBLE. There is hope and healing here. Gambling will not make it better. May for a few hours, you feel happy, but it’s fleeting and leaving you devastated over and over and over again. Be honest with your loved ones and stay here. We have all been there trust me. You are not alone. We are here for you!”
*** *** *** *** ****
When I look back on my own early recovery, I did attend Gamblers Anonymous, but only for support and to be with others who had the same problems with gambling that had. I decided to work my 12-Steps with a friend of mine and I do continue to rework them today. You got to do the work within your recovery journey in order to reach long-term recovery. That includes all areas like your personal inventory, changing bad habits and behaviors to better ones, including how you make choices.
Then begin your amends process, dig deep to find the WHY and roots to turning or using gambling for an escape or coping skill. Then time for your financial inventory, and later in another new post I will share just how to start taking charge of your DEBT. Never think that you can’t dig out of debit because I did it and it took several years. But it also is about taking accountability and ownership of it. It feels F _ _ KING AMAZING when you get it paid off! ( LOL )…
I didn’t always agree with what the program taught. As I actually had entered an inpatient treatment program. One of the main reasons many end up relapsing or having slips is because they avoid doing the work necessary to stop gambling, stop the relapses, and stop the INSANITY.
This is a very cunning disease and will take over your thoughts at anytime and talk you into gambling and make you think YOU can control the losses. There is a real reason for the slogan of “The House Always Wins”… But let’s be fair to those who can gamble for the fun and entertainment value of this good ole American past time. If you going to gamble? Please, do it responsibly!
Lastly, here is my pick for help, hope, and resources for this post! If you or someone you care about has a gambling problem? Visit my friends of The National Council on Problem Gambling: https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/ or CALL THE 24 Hour Confidential National Helpline at 1-800-522-4700
Every year in March, I share the helpful resources of my #1 resource and organization I support, The National Council on Problem Gambling. They have helped many become “BET-FREE” and begin to help families heal from the devastation of gambling addiction and problems gambling causes. It will be my 8th year doing so on my blog here and I know the resources they provide are there for anyone who has a gambling problem.
This year the spotlight is on “March Madness and the time of year when we see an increase in problem gambling and more demand for the council’s services.” Since the pandemic started, I have also seen “Online Gambling” explode with mandates of mask-wearing and social distancing, with many casinos and gambling venues still closed or limited capacity. The latest stat says online gambling has gone up almost 41% since the Coronavirus hit last year. And, parents, keep in mind this can include your teens and young adults.
One area is sports betting on college basketball games all March long. So I wanted to share some of the National Council’s declarations and permit me each year about their March campaign and how you can get help for a loved one if you think they may have a problem with gambling. Never underestimate this addiction. It requires no substance and it doesn’t discrimanate who it tries to take next. 1 in 5 will try suicide like I did. Parents, when you have “The Talk” with their kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, please include problem gambling. . .
Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
03.01.21 By: JOHN NORTON
Awareness Plus Action Needed as Sports Betting Explodes
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Washington, DC – The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) designates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). March Madness, the annual NCAA basketball tournament that sees over $8 billion wagered on its games, is the backdrop that NCPG and its partners across the country leverage to help raise awareness and create action for those suffering from gambling problems.
With the campaign now in its nineteenth year, contacts to the National Problem Gambling Helpline typically spike during March. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states could allow sports betting, the proverbial floodgates opened. As we go to press, sports betting is now legal and operational in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, with many more considering it – an unprecedented expansion of gambling in the U.S. Unfortunately, services to mitigate the inevitable increase in harms associated with gambling have not kept pace.
“March Madness is a time of year when we see an increase in gambling and more demand for our services,” said Keith Whyte, Executive Director of NCPG. “Too many people still don’t recognize they are exhibiting signs of this addictive behavior and are unaware of the help that is available to them.”
The PGAM grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders, among them public health organizations, advocacy groups including NCPG state affiliates, and even gambling operators. NCPG provides a special web page to give information on local state activities and events – participants may share them via a link on our main webpage: https://www.ncpgambling.org/programs-resources/programs/pgam/
Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) is designed to achieve two goals:
To increase public awareness of problem gambling; and
To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for gambling problems.
On NCPG’s PGAM webpage visitors are provided with materials and special graphics in the PGAM Toolkit, which can be used without charge by any organization that wants to hold advocacy and awareness activities this March. Each year, hundreds of organizations do. The social media hashtags for this initiative are #AwarenessPlusAction and #PGAM2021.
NCPG also collaborates with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) on Gambling Disorder Screening Day, which occurs on March 9, 2021. CHA, a nonprofit health organization headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosts the international event that has been held annually on the second Tuesday in March since 2014. It is designed to encourage health care providers to screen for gambling problems in the same way they do for alcohol and drug use disorder or domestic abuse, and to provide the tools to recognize gambling disorder for both the public and health care providers. All too often, this disorder leads to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected due to the limited availability of accessible assessments to identify this problem. The Screening Day addresses the issue and provides tools to identify gambling-related problems as early as possible.
Whyte said, “Problem gambling is certainly not confined to sports betting. We want anyone who may have a problem with any form of gambling to know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.” NCPG’s National Helpline, which is the only helpline for gambling that works in all 50 states, is tollfree, confidential, available 24/7, and offers translation services in 178 languages. It receives no federal funding and is supported only by NCPG’s members and donors.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.
With the holiday season fast approaching and still living in uncertain times, it is more vital now then ever to have a Relapse Prevention plan ready. This is why I am very honored to have a Special Recovery Guestand dear friend of mine who has also been my close friend for several years and we have been through “thick and thin” together. He has become like a brother I never had.
He is not only a talented in-depth addiction and recovery writer, fellow author, and loud advocate, but he has been a mentor and one of my #1 supporters of my recovery from addicted gambling.
Yes, I am talking about Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D…
I invited him as my special guest to help us with Gambling Awareness and some Expert Advice for this unusual holiday season. He has done so and all about Relapse Prevention!
Now, Kevin is in the process of revamping his website! I will invite you all to NOT hesitate by visiting his Amazon Author Bio Page and grab many of his best-selling award-winning books! Kevin has helped many from addiction and stopped the suffering for addicts and helped many families heal together. There are many to choose from when it is time to gain life and no longer a path of darkness.
All of Kevin’s books can assist and will enhance to uplift you in your recovery journey, help parents help an addict, and gives the skills and tools within each book that work. So I present this helpful and educational article that Kevin was kind enough to write and share with us today. I am sure it will give hope to those who may feel there is no HOPE… Recovery is always possible!
~Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate.
Relapse Prevention is Key to Long-Term Recovery from Gambling (Ludomania)
Problem gambling, or ludomania, is an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling often is defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler’s behavior. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria.
Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs. “Pathological gambling” is the most severe form of problem gambling and has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disease since 1980. Gaming or gambling is supposed to be for fun, for entertainment.
Teenagers are 3 to 4 times more likely to become problem gamblers than adults. 90% of High School students have gambled at least once in the last year. In the USA ages 14-21, 2.1% struggle with Problem Gambling, another 6.5% are at risk. Every year, 2% -3%, 2M U.S. adults are estimated to meet the criteria for disordered gambling and another 4-6M individual are problem gamblers at risk for serious addiction consequences. Men make up 2/3 majority of Problem Gamblers.
Relapse ‘s definition, to fall or slip back into a former state or practice. Relapse certainly can happen to those who are in recovery from substance abuse and (Problem Gambling) process addictions; however, it should not be expected, only a possibility. Many individuals recover without ever knowing the first physical relapse in their entire lifetime of sobriety. Most have emotional and mental relapses at certain times, and some do have physical relapses as well.
There are three different types of relapse: Emotional Relapse Mental Relapse Physical Relapse
Remember that relapse is a process, Behavior Changes: Hanging around slippery people, places, and things. Arguing and acting out. No serenity, not demonstrating spirituality. Attitude Changes: Different priorities, meetings, and recovery not as important as they were. Changes in Feelings or Moods: Resentments, anger, boredom, not satisfied with anything, not grateful. Changes in Thoughts: Thinking that you may be able to use safely now. Not living a life of balance and not taking care of self can all lead to relapse.
“Don’t stay too long in the shame-filled grounds of relapse. Fertile soil awaits your return and your recovering.” – Holli Kenley
Major changes in the structure of life, such as divorce, losing a job, moving, having a child, death, a serious injury, a relationship change, things that are a major structural change or life events can lead to relapse.
When faced with tough times five tips that can help anyone avoid relapse are as follows:
1. Continue to work your program of recovery. The vehicle that promotes change. Draw close to whatever program or modality that got you sober in the first place. Call other sober friends in your support network and be honest about what is going on in your life. Don’t be afraid to pick up the 500lb. phone!
2. Utilize anger management skills. Dealing with problems right when they arise. Resentments are the number one offender; we can’t afford them. Don’t let the sun go down on a problem. Use anger management and problem-solving skills to work things out without letting emotions get the best of you. You don’t always have to be right, don’t always have to be in control, and don’t have to be perfect.
3. Beware of self-centeredness. Work on your spirituality. Don’t be selfish! Those who fail to grow spiritually will relapse. The one thing that we must do is maintain our spiritual conditions; that means we must continue to grow spiritually; we must go where we are spiritually fed.
4. Stay in the day and don’t project! ‘One day at a time is great wisdom’! All we should worry about is today, tomorrow will take care of itself, so don’t worry. There is a God, and you’re not it!
5. Stay grateful! We must maintain an attitude of gratitude, if we forget all of the gifts that we have been freely given in recovery, then we are headed for trouble! If we forget the bottom or event or circumstance that led us into a life of sobriety then we are also in trouble, we must as they say, “Keep it green!” I have never seen a grateful person relapse!
These Tips Will Help Anyone Who Walks in the Sunlight of the Spirit Stay There...
If you walk in the shadows and dark places, then surely that’s where your heart will end up. The only way to have real long-term, lasting, quality sobriety is to continue to grow in recovery, and that means maintaining our spirituality on a daily basis, continuing to be spiritually fed daily growing in experience and wisdom and helping others. You can’t live on yesterday’s manna!
Stress and anxiety have always been triggers for substance abusers and regular people to learn hope to cope with on a daily basis. Drugs and alcohol had been “the solution” for them in the past; now they must disengage from such behaviors and find genuine coping mechanisms that last. Gambling abusers also need to be offered alternative ways to find a solution through a twelve-step approach, non-twelve-step approach, harm reduction, medication management, holistic programs, faith-based programs, and other approaches. Individuals must learn healthy ways to cope with stress without the use of drugs or alcohol, utilizing these new-found tools as a solution to stress will lead to lasting sobriety. Those who don’t suffer from substance abuse will also need coping skills for life on their own terms being BET FREE.
Stress Coping Skills Key to Lasting Recovery Developing strong stress and anxiety management skills and techniques are paramount to long-term sobriety, a balanced and healthy life. These skills can help those in recovery to avoid relapse and sustain lasting recovery. Research utilizing lab animals has shown that stress can precipitate relapses with addiction to certain chemicals.
PTSD & Chronic Stress Chronic drug usage may alter brain pathways affecting the user’s response to stress; this can make them more susceptible to relapse. Those who suffer from PTSD and individuals who have been exposed to chronic stress may be more likely to relapse; this makes stress management skills all the more important.
Stress Leading to Relapse! Significant changes in jobs, relationships, moving, finances, health, and other structural changes that those in recovery are likely to deal with cause stress and anxiety. This is a normal part of life for everyone. For the substance abuser, it’s okay to try to escape from the pressure. They must be careful not to transfer addictions from drugs to gambling, sex, or some other addiction. Medical specialists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse believe that the leading reason for relapse back into substance abuse is stress.
Some Individuals Need Mental Health Help Healthy lifestyle changes are the best way to manage stress; some individuals will need to seek out help from mental health professionals as part of those changes. The Mental Health Professional will work with the Professional Coach to help the client reach their goals and solutions.
Some changes that people have found helpful:
Deep Breathing Meditation and Yoga Prayer Proper Diet Balance and Boundaries Time management Taking care of Yourself Better Identifying Stressors Talking Things Out Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Exercise Low-Stress Activities
Positive People are the Winners! In recovery and in life it is essential to connect with the right people, “stick with the winners” as they say. Those in early recovery need to be around individuals and groups that they can learn solutions from, recovery role models so to speak.
It’s also important for those in early recovery to find an attitude of gratitude; it’s easy to become angry and negative from the very beginning. Gratitude raises balance, awareness, and the spirit in a way that the person will begin to see things about life in a new way, like seeing life with a new pair of glasses!
Talking with Others Learning to tell on yourself in early recovery is one of the hardest but most beneficial skills. Talk things out with other sober people, give them a piece of your burden and suddenly your burden becomes light. Running, walking, lifting weights, writing poetry, journaling, drawing, being creative, move a muscle change and thought is a great way to get out of your head when stressed. My journal below can help!
Avoid Relapse by Journaling to Coping with Stress All people need to learn to cope with stress in recovery; it’s essential to avoid relapse and maintain sanity and balance. Utilizing just a few of the tools and techniques can work for anyone if they want them to work. Sometimes just a deep breath works!
Professional Coaches Have the Goods! Professional coaches have skill sets, tools, and core competencies that they utilize to help their clients change their lives for the better. They utilize specific action planning, powerful questioning, active listening, and many other skills and techniques to get the results needed to move forward toward the solution needed to achieve the client’s goals. Stress and anxiety aren’t good for anyone no matter their walk-in life.
Triggers that Can Jeopardize Your Sobriety When most people hear the word trigger, they think of the noun or the trigger of a gun; the verb trigger means to cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist. People who suffer from substance abuse and process addictions usually have triggers in their lives that are unique to their circumstances, past traumas, events, memories, losses, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, etc.
A recovering person’s triggers are set in motion through one or more of the five senses: smell, sound, touch, sight, and taste. Make no mistake about it; although we are talking about the verb, triggers can be as dangerous as the trigger on a gun!
Triggers of the Emotional Variety Triggers can jeopardize your sobriety if they are not recognized and dealt with in early recovery. What triggers a relapse? Certainly, the reasons for relapse can be different for individuals; however, there are some commonalities such as fear, anxiety, stress, and depression. There are several other emotions that can also lead to relapse.
Triggers from People, Places, and Things Certain people, places, and things can trigger a relapse if they remind the person of their addiction. In some cases, all three of these may have to be removed from the individual’s life if they expose the person to a significant risk of relapse.
An example of a place, an alcoholic would not want to go to dinner in a bar that they drank at every day, where their old drinking buddies would be, and their favorite chair. In that case, all three areas of triggers would be involved.
Relapse is an Opportunity Not an Expectation There are triggers that can jeopardize your sobriety; however, with a little instruction, the whole situation can be turned into a positive. In early recovery, the person should be made aware of what triggers are and have help to identify their patterns of addiction and relapse…
Relapse is an opportunity to learn what a person’s triggers are so that they can be identified by the substance abuser and prevent the next relapse. Some say that relapse is an expected part of recovery, that’s a mistake! Relapse is always a possibility in recovery; however, it shouldn’t be expected, when we teach people that, we set them up to fail.
Balance is Key Balance is a key part of the recovery process, learning what we can do and cannot do and live in sobriety. Education, awareness, and prevention will assist the newcomers in recovery to understand the process of what genuine recovery means, avoiding all of the pitfalls that triggers may lead to on a daily basis by recognizing them and not allowing them to have power in your life of recovery.
Yes, triggers can jeopardize your sobriety, the good news is through education and awareness, you can prevent triggers from ever having power in your life. By taking the time to identify triggers and understand them, you can avoid situations that may have led you to relapse because of triggers in the past. You have empowered yourself and taken the power away from the triggers, great job!
Recovery is a lifelong process. We all make mistakes along the way, that’s alright, as long as we learn from them.
Pathological Gambling is a terrible disease that is becoming more and more of a problem in the United States. More teens are gambling than ever before in our history, more older Americans are becoming problem gamblers as well.
Don’t gamble your life away, bet on you, your family, and God!
Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Provincial Superintendent, Ph.D., DCC, DDVA, DLC, DD, NCIP, NCAMP, IMAC, International- Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Poet has dedicated his life to helping others. Through Education, Awareness, and Prevention Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals who were afflicted with the disease of addiction, their families, and loved ones.
He has trained hundreds of professionals in the addiction recovery industry and in the professional coaching arena. He has decades of life experience, education, work-related experience; however, perhaps the most valuable information that Rev. Dr. Coughlin possesses that sits atop of his incredible resume is wisdom.
Reverend Dr. Coughlin is the Founder of The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online and Phase Two Christian Coaching, LLC. He was a Founder and Board Member of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a non-profit, twelve-step residential addiction recovery program for adults, he served for two decades. Rev. Coughlin has helped thousands of individuals and their families to change their lives over the past twenty-plus years.
He is an Addiction Expert, Award-Winning Poet, an International-Best-Selling author, his books, journals, and manuals are used in the United States and other Countries by professionals, individuals, and facilities. With over 44+ published works, the author resides in PA.
…… I have recently been introduced to a new recovery friend who I may be helping him with a writing project of his memoirs. His story and testimony, like mine, are filled with many roots, underlying issues and old pain as to why he turned to addiction.
Actually, what this man had endured and now causes him much haunting pain and nightmares today that had been suppressed in his memory for many years, it amazes me he is still alive to tell his story.
Why? Because the stats are alarming on how many people are sexually assaulted every year in America, and on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assaults each year. Every 73 seconds, a sexual assault occurs.
Just boys and men alone, 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. This leaves many lives traumatically changed forever, constant pain and haunting memories as I had for years myself and those feelings of the shame, lost innocence, and feeling dirty as though it was my fault this happened to me.
All those years of asking GOD?
I won’t lie, even though I now have learned the tools to process what happened to me, talking with my new friend, it has brought up some of those feelings back. As we spoke, I felt his pain. I can hear the anxiety and anger.
I have told him he needs to let go of the anger and resentment I was hearing in his voice as he shared his story and events with me, and privileged he is, it needs to be validated for him instead of others just shutting him down or think he’s just crazy. He is a human being with feelings. I know just how much “words” can hurt and hurt more so than physical pain. Because I too have been ridiculed in the same manner by my own family members, I am estranged from today.
Being molested and experienced trauma of this kind is challenging to find the proper words to describe your loss of innocence and your identity stripped away, leaving you confused, empty, broken, and feeling worthless and ashamed. I carried that into my adulthood. I learned I could use a mask of humor to appear I was just as happy and healthy like everyone else while my pain and rage began building through the years. Many other issues came into play as I was growing up. Feeling significant sensitivity when my parents physically disciplined me, as I got older, the verbal abuse.
Of course, all the while, the anger was building a perfect storm, as it continued brewing into my adult life, and turning to addiction to try and cope, numb out and not feel the haunting pain and nightmares that came back around age 30. By 33, I was almost into full-blown gambling addiction. Right before my first suicide attempt and treatment and was not my last, I began to abuse alcohol toward my second suicide attempt as addicted gambling stopped working as my escape and hide from the pain.
I began gaining a few years of recovery time, is when I started writing in a journal. Those journals helped in releasing my book/memoir. I started my research for my book learning dark secrets that had me looking at my parents much; differently, it is an uncomfortable feeling to see your parents in a whole new light. And not a positive one either.
I share these feelings as it seems, even after fifteen years of estrangement from my father and the rest of my dysfunctional side of the family, they still feel the need to add salt to the old wounds even today by leaving “ugly” comments of my book as reviews anywhere they think they can hurt me. I’m OK today, so I ignore it.
See, one of my new years “fear busting resolutions” is to share more about this side of my life and embrace the fact it happened, and I made it out the other side of my sexual trauma and abuse. Not as a victim any longer, and I know it wasn’t me or anything I did to invite sexual molestation to happen to me.
Again, I want to be clear that I am a recovery warrior and no longer a victim. NO, I don’t blame my parents either, but we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I won’t continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be verbally abused by them any longer. I don’t have to keep and use my moms’ old poor behaviors as they have used for years and enabled my mom.
So, sadly, I needed to distance myself to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life and did so many year’s ago.
My main point to my ramblings?
Learning the roots and underlying issues of why we turned addiction, and these were some of the fuel to mine, we have to process them healthily, know it is OK to seek professional help, and no shame in doing so. This will aide you from relapse. I learned that the hard way. When you do, you can begin to forgive, let go and “Let God” and begin to heal, find true peace and happiness, and start a successful long-term recovery road.
Today, I have the comfort of knowing that GOD and those who have passed on like my mother, my brother-in-law, just a couple of dear friends who are the only ones who know my real truth of what I went through.
This is the only validation I need that keeps me in peace and serenity.
As I know GOD will always love me unconditionally . . . ✝💞👼🙏🙏
I am so excited to announce as part of my advocacy and in honor of March being Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I will be the guest speaker this Saturday, March 16th, at 3 PM CT on-air and Live on FB from KOCK Radio 95.3 FM and 1520 AM and will be a Live FB Event so come follow onhttps://www.facebook.com/RiseAboveKOKC/
And Mac is part of the SoberWorx Radio Family as well! So I hope you will tune in or come to Mac’s FB Live to take a listen! Here is why MAC began Rise Above Radio and what they are about.
WELCOME TO RISE ABOVE RADIO
WHO IS MAC MULLINGS – THE SURVIVAL DRINKER?
“Addiction is the only disease that will try to convince you that you don’t have one.”
My drinking career didn’t start out the way it ended. It never does. The social drinker turns into the survival drinker.
Life isn’t happening according to our plan so we pour something on the rocks to escape reality.
FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN
We are priming the machine for a slow suicide mission. The more challenges I faced the stiffer the drinks.
My relationship with alcohol was a sign of spiritual bankruptcy.
“God loves you” was followed by an asterisk in my mind.
“God loves all his children except for you, Mac” the enemy would whisper to me. Leading me to believe that the greatest moments I would experience had passed.
Life began to feel empty. Empty like that last bottle I swore I wouldn’t drink.
The enemy thought I was breaking down but God knew I was breaking through.
RISE & RECOVERY
The idea for ‘Rise Above Radio Show’ came to me about this time last year. I was just over 90 days sober and God was planting the seed.
I’m pretty good at rushing things so with this I prayed for patience and direction.
Sometimes we have to shut up and listen. Be still. “God never talks to me!!”.
Do you ask him to? Are you ready enough to receive it?
RISE ABOVE IS GOD’s SHOW
Rise Above is God’s show, not mine. I believe in it and the need for it.
We must make a ministry out of what was misery. I don’t honor recovery by keeping it to myself and not encouraging others.
God is doing some amazing things with it and I like to say that we are just getting started.
The birthmark of a believer is a bulls-eye on it’s back and the enemy has his sights on it for sure.
Some don’t see the message of ‘Rise Above’ and it’s fair to say that given the opportunity they would rather replace it with a paid program to collect a paycheck.
One of the beautiful things about recovery is that I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to occupy my time with negativity.
One foot in front of the other and let God handle it. I’m not truly sober if I go about it any other way.
I have received many encouraging comments and it is very much appreciated.
I will stay true to the mission, I promise.
If you haven’t had the chance to listen, check out all our previous shows on the Rise Above Facebook page (give it a follow) and join us Saturdays from 2pm-4pm CT on KOKC Radio. ……
Mac Mullings – Creator-Host/Rise Above Radio
Program Director/95.3 FM & 1520am KOKC
Co-host/The Ride w- Mac & Chad
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“This show is changing lives, mine included. You don’t have to be an addict to be touched. I grew up with an addict, and didn’t truly understand addiction or how to forgive until I listened to Mac.”
“Addiction was never an issue I had to deal with. I thought addicts were weak and lacking in character. Then God brought Mac, along with several other people across my path and into my life, and I learned just how wrong my original assumptions were.
Rise Above is truly doing the Lord’s Work, raising awareness about addiction and its treatment, and opening the eyes of people like me, who would arrogantly look down upon those who are struggling.”
“Thank God for ‘Rise Above Radio and Mac!’ What they’re doing for the community is truly amazing! Addiction is such an epidemic in our country today.
We need more pioneers like this in the world of recovery. We are seeing life’s saved and families changed because of ‘Rise Above and Mac’ getting the word out that Recovery is possible and there is hope!”
So I hope you will join me and listen in as I shine a spotlight on a Silent and Dangerous Addiction! I will be sharing my Testimony and Shatter Stigma about this underground addiction that “Requires No Substance!”
WHY did I say yes to being on Mac’s show? Well, I want to share my story and to share current facts, stats, and some misconceptions about gambling addiction. To share with him that we just had a “tick up” in our worldwide population that now, 2.6% around the world are problem gamblers from only 1% prior. And this tells me with the expansions of gambling venues like legal online Sports Betting in several states, Indian casinos, and States Lottery offerings, this number is going to continue to grow.
I think we all know that using gambling like I did to ‘escape or numb out from life’ and for all the wrong reasons is happening more and more and it IS having a negative impact in our communities and on families. It is reaching our high school and college-age kids too with again, now legal online Sports betting in some States and out of the 17+million problem gamblers in the USA?
Parents? HALF this number is your high schoolers and young college adults!. It is also having a significant negative impact on our Retired Senior folks too. Look, I think we are all smart enough to know that gambling profits are not being made from those who are a “once in a while” Bingo players or gamblers. The profits from all venues and options of gambling are being from the people who are frequent, addicted and problem gamblers.
So, anytime I get an invite on a platform like “Rise Above Radio” and like my monthly column called “QUIT To WIN” in ‘Keys To Recovery Newspaper’ a free recovery publication, it helps me feel empowered to be able to share my experiences of how gambling addiction devastated my life and my husbands, share my strengths maintaining recovery and what works for me, and have platforms to share HOPE to those looking or reach out to RECOVER OUT LOUD . . .
When I was gambling addictivelyand to the point of my first failed suicide attempt in 2002, I was transferred from the hospital to a mental health and addiction crisis center for a 20-day stay and where my gambling treatment began. While I was there my primary doctor and their psychiatrist found after a series of tests that I was also suffering from several mental health disorders.
I wasn’t until my gambling addiction that brought to the surface these symptoms and could be properly diagnosed. They both came to the conclusion as well that I may have been suffering from some of the mental and emotional disorders since birth. Now, the catch was to be properly diagnosed and reassessed after you begin the path of recovery. It took some months to get it right.
See, I was using gambling to escape, and numb out many haunting memories and feelings from my abuse and traumatic past that began to came back and had happened to me as a little girl including being sexually abused. So needless to say, I was suffering from PTSD, severe manic depression, mania, OCD and bipolar one with insomnia at the time I entered the crisis center.
They ordered a brain scan at the time and found I had depleted the “pleasure and reward” chemical and system of my brain from the many years of addictive gambling and had no feelings or sense of pleasure, but thinking I was getting it when I gambled. I was a Hot Mess!
I know, it all sounds confusing and was for me at the time. But, I listened to my doctors and began medication and therapy process that would take a long while and a few changes to my meds to get my mental health under control and begin the recovery work needed to regain my life back and to begin feeling better.
So, what are Dual Diagnosis, Co-occurring, and Co-addictions? I came across a good article by way of the fine folks of “Recovery Ranch Center” that really explains the differences when you are treated for gambling addiction. Co-addiction however, just means you are suffering from more than one addiction at a time.
The most recent research I could find about dual-addictions, meaning being treated for more than one addiction at the same time was from an article from 2003: …”About 1.1 million Americans received treatment for addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both on a typical day last year, according to findings from the 2003 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Half of those receiving treatment were addicted to both drugs and alcohol.”
I am sure this total has risen in the past 15-years now with the opioid crisis and epidemic happening. Here is the article I found and more about Gambling Addiction and having Mental Health and Disorders as being Dually-Diagnosed …
Gambling Addiction Often Co-Occurs With Other Disorders <<<<<<
Oftentimes, when a person shows symptoms of an addiction to something, there are other problems at play in their mind. For the addiction to be treated, the other disorders also need to be addressed, like mental illness.
A webinar that focused on how to counsel the pathological gambler revealed other disorders that often co-exist with a gambling addiction. Dr. Jon Grant, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder, discussed other mental health disorders and other addictions that are associated with gambling addictions and offered ideas on how to treat those individuals.
WHEN A FULL HOUSE CAN WRECK THE HOME
People start gambling for multiple reasons. Some enjoy the thrill, the risk-taking, and the power. Some, who feel isolated, use it as a way to feel social. Others use it as a way to relieve stress and anxiety or even to try to cure their depression. Yet, one addiction cannot properly heal another.
Gambling addictions are associated with multiple problems that weaken personal and family life:
Poor physical health
Poor mental health
Losing a job
Sometimes those problems come before the gambling problem, driving the person to look for satisfaction in a dangerous venue if not controlled. Those who already suffer from a mental health disorder are more at risk for addiction when gambling. For others, gambling addiction is the cause of the other family and personal problems that come later.
ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING
Those with gambling addictions also often suffer from substance abuse. Dr. Grant states that substance abuse is seven times greater in those who gamble. Nicotine and alcohol are the most commonly used substances.
Grant also mentioned that disorders with symptoms of being impulsive and risky were also frequently seen in those with gambling addictions. There were associations between individuals with gambling addiction and those who also had problems with impulsive shopping, stealing, eating, and sexual behavior.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING
Pathological gambling has been associated with serious mental illnesses, sometimes as the cause and other times as the result of untreated mental illness. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses associated with gambling addiction. Some hope that a roll of the dice or the spin of the slot machines can help them have some fun in life and help them relax. In reality, over time it often makes the depression and anxiety worse.
Dr. Grant revealed that 76 percent of a gambling addiction treatment group suffered from depression. Astoundingly, 16 to 40 percent of pathological gamblers suffered from lifetime anxiety. For some, the pressure becomes too great. The risk of suicide is higher in gamblers than non-gamblers.
Other mental illnesses associated with gambling are bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Of a study group, 24 percent of pathological gamblers had a lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder. Twenty percent had symptoms for a life-time prevalence of ADHD or OCD and most likely born with them.
Dr. Grant stresses that when treating those with a gambling addiction, all of their disorders should be identified and prioritized for treatment. Through methods such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support those with a gambling addiction can find healing and become a winner for life.
I Hope you find this article and my sharing of my recovery from gambling addiction having still today, managed mental and emotional disorders. I make sure now I make all my doctor visits and get a physical each year to remain healthy and managed. If you don’t have your health? You can’t be of help to others. And maintaining recovery means having to put YOU! First including your Health!
Welcome Everyone Who Finds Me and My Recovery Blog Today ~ Merry Christmas!
<<< So I happen to do a Facebook Post yesterday that gave me some things I’d been pondering for a while as I was reading in many of my recovery groups how relapse and struggles have been shared about and by trying to help others looking for help. And like addicts, we can have roadblocks during the holiday season. But one area that hit home for me was swirling in my head from my own past early recovery days … “Being Of Service To Others” and Advocacy. So I thought I’d share and elaborate a little more from my post.
Facebook Asks? What’s On Your Mind This Christmas Day?
Hear It Is … A Recovery Message We At Times Need 2 HEAR …
NEXT Month on Jan. 29th, 2019I will have maintained my recovery 12-years. No “Ego” nor Bragging about this at all.
Why Am I Sharing This?
Because I chose that date as my actual recovery date as it was my “Sentencing Date” by a Judge in So. Oregon who Gave ME A Blessing of a 2ND CHANCE from a crime I had committed and so it would not follow me the rest of my life once I completed all of the punishment given was satisfied …
I Had Never Committed a Crime before, nor after this crime, but I wanted this “Recovery Date” even though I had some time already, BUT? I didn’t want to Never Forget the Poor Choices I had made through all the years within my gambling addiction and abuse of alcohol …
But when I began Advocating and Raising Awareness about Addicted and Problem Gambling, I too right away wanted to “Be of Service” and help reach out to those suffering as I had.
YOU CAN’T DO IT if your not solid in your OWN Recovery as it CAN be stressful and a Quik source of #Relapse as most who are reaching out are in CRISIS MODE …
I am sharing this because RELAPSE CAN and DOES HAPPEN. Especially around the holidays. But those with under a YEAR or TWO of Firm, Solid Recovery Time, has done Inner Work, and underlying issues addressed? That has to come first.
There are many ways and phases to be of recovery service. IF YOUR Not 100%? But, how can YOU BE 100% for someone needing or reaching out for help and maybe in crisis?
YES, I Know, It’s in our nature to want to help …you can refer them to someone who can. You can share treatment resources, even connect them to someone that has longer-term recovery or is a Certified Advocate, Recovery Coach, or Interventionist who can make some calls for an open bed, or you can even take them to a recovery meeting.
I do Advocate, and I had a couple mishaps that made me relapse a time or two when only 90 days to 6 months into my journey. But today I chose to do it through sponsoring others, through my book, through my recovery blog, by email, phone, and of course, through social media and lend my skills as a marketer and promoter of recovery events.
Would I love to be out speaking more, going to conferences, Keynote speaking, or meeting those who need or are reaching out for help?
OF Course! But my mental health disorders don’t give the option or pleasure in doing so. Well, PLAN B …
I Always Say;
“Someone needs to be there to answer the emails, answer the phone, or be ready when people reach out through social media or even through my blog.”
DON’T LET anyone discount how you choose to Advocate with and for others when you’ve maintained long-term recovery … Just make sure you are solid and have some long-term recovery or it can be a source of relapse …
Doing Advocacy Work Is Not About a Popularity Contest or Who Has The Most Facebook Likes or Followers … NOT When People Are Dying Out Here From Addictions…
Today I have a special guest post by the fine folks of “Elements Behavioral Health Centers” with many center locations. They offer unique programs in different settings and offer programs in addiction and mental health. Why is this important? Like myself, we are seeing more people coming into recovery that also have mental health challenges.
And sometimes, these challenges can be part of the root to our addiction. They also have a gambling addiction treatment program as well. So if you know someone who needs help and they may be dually diagnosed? Please visit Elements Health as you will be in good hands. You can call for locations at 1-888-350-2457…
Confirming Your Suspicions: How to Know For Sure if Your Spouse Has a Gambling Problem
You’ve known for some time now that something is wrong, but you just can’t seem to find the courage to confront your spouse on the issue. What you do know is that he or she has been distant lately, and that, along with a few other signs, means that there’s a problem that needs dealing with. Sure, it could be anything. And you probably want to dismiss what you’re feeling, that gnawing suspicion that your spouse just might have a gambling problem.
How do you know for sure if it’s gambling? Here’s how to get a handle on the issue and confirm your suspicions.
Step Back and Try to Remain Objective
Before we go into the signs that experts say indicate an existing or growing problem with gambling, it’s important that you approach the situation with some sense of objectivity. This will no doubt be quite difficult to do. You’re caught up in what’s going on since you and your spouse live together. It would be unrealistic to think that you wouldn’t be affected by the type of behavior and negative consequences that come from problem gambling.
Still, you have to maintain impartiality if you’re going to be able to look at the situation and recognize the common signs. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the trap of denial and dismissing what are to others obvious red flags. In any case, even though it’s tough to do, you really need to step back and try to remain objective.
What is Problem Gambling?
In order to look at what may be going on with your spouse relative to problem gambling, it’s necessary to define what problem gambling is. Problem gambling, compulsive or pathological gambling, are terms that are used to describe a behavior disorder that has a tendency to become progressively worse over time – unless it is treated.
There are specific diagnostic criteria for assessing problem gambling as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. For the purpose of this article, we will be concentrating on the terms problem gambling and problem gambler. Their terms are meant to describe an individual whose gambling causes emotional, financial, psychological, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and for those who live with and care about them.
It is important to make this distinction here because most experts generally view problem gambling as somewhat less serious than either compulsive or pathological gambling. But that doesn’t mean that problem gambling isn’t cause for worry. Problem gambling may lead to compulsive and then pathological gambling.
And, since problem gambling doesn’t exist in a vacuum, other addictive behaviors are commonly seen in a problem gambler. These may be a contributing factor or could arise out of the gambling behavior and include problems with drug abuse, alcohol, and/or addictive sex.
Types of Problem Gamblers
You may have not have heard the terms action gambler and escape gambler before but these are the two broad types of problem gamblers.
Action gamblers are typically men. They may have begun gambling when they were teenagers. Skill games are their preferred form of gambling, so they gravitate toward sports betting, poker, craps, dog racing and horse racing. What drives them is the belief that they are smarter than the system, and that they can consistently beat the odds and win.
Escape gamblers, on the other hand, generally drift into gambling a bit later in life. As the name implies, these gamblers get into the habit as a way of escaping their problems. Loneliness, depression, bad marriage, too much stress are some of the problems they’re trying to escape. Escape gamblers are typically women, but men can become escape gamblers as well. In any case, escape gamblers prefer a form of gambling that induces a hypnotic state of mind. These games include lottery, bingo, video poker and the slots.
Right off the bat, you may have some idea of whether or not your spouse falls into one of these categories of a problem gambler. If your spouse has always bet on football, frequently goes to the track, and has done so for most of his life, you’re already in the right ballpark to suspect that there may be a problem with gambling.
There is some research that suggests that people who grew up in families where gambling was prevalent tend to be more likely to gamble themselves. If the gambler in the family considered gambling as a way to solve problems, financial or otherwise, this attitude may be passed on to the children. In addition, people with a history of depression, hyperactivity, and mood swings may be more likely to gamble.
While there still needs to be much more research done in another area, children raised in families where the father is absent, whose parents are workaholics, are abusive, or where money is used to show either love or anger, may be more likely to develop into problem gamblers.
Problem Gambling Stages
Problem gambling progresses in stages. Some addiction experts separate it into three, four, five or more stages. We’ll simplify it into three stages.
First, there is the winning stage. This is the period during which an individual discovers gambling, finds it exciting, intoxicating, a highly social and entertaining activity, and begins to see it as an escape from worry, stress, family or loneliness. The gambler may experience a few wins and begins to shower loved ones with gifts. He or she still has control over gambling at this point, meaning there is still money and the gambler isn’t resorting to extraordinary means to fund gambling. Life is good for the gambler in the winning stage. It will likely be the last time that this will exist.
The losing stage comes next. How quickly winning turns to losing varies – it could be extremely fast. No longer experiencing the consistent wins, the gambler becomes more preoccupied with gambling. They experience a need to make bigger bets, to bet more often. Money becomes an issue. All this begins to take an emotional toll on the gambler. Then, as losing continues, the gambler begins to “chase” the losses by making progressively bigger and more frequent bets even as he feels mounting guilt and shame over his actions.
It’s during the losing stage that credit cards get maxed out, insurance policies cashed in, items pawned or personal property sold, savings robbed, and retirement funds exhausted. Heavy borrowing becomes commonplace. The gambler starts missing work and lies to his or her family about gambling. A string of phony stories and lame excuses are offered to family and friends when the gambler gets jammed up and needs cash. What they’re looking for is a bailout in the vain attempt to recoup their losses.
The family begins to suspect – here’s where you come in – that there’s something really wrong. Creditors may start harassing the family demanding payment for past-due bills. Your mortgage may be past-due or perhaps one of the family cars is repossessed. The utility companies may even shut off services due to non-payment of bills.
Addiction experts say that it’s during the losing stage that many problem gamblers start calling gambling hotlines. If they recognize that their problem has reached a critical stage, they may be amenable to getting help. Unfortunately, many don’t stop gambling and progress to the next stage.
The final stage of problem gambling is called the desperation stage. As debts mount, his or her health shows signs that the stress is eating away. Insomnia is a frequent occurrence. Relationships deteriorate with the spouse, loved ones, close friends, and even co-workers or even worse they lose their job. Financial problems reach critical proportions. Eviction, foreclosure, and bankruptcy may occur.
The problem gambler has reached the end of the line. Feeling hopeless, powerless, depressed, filled with guilt, shame, and remorse, the problem gambler in the desperation stage may switch to escape gambler games for the purely hypnotic effect – anything to escape the intolerable reality his life has become. Some problem gamblers leave their family at this point, preferring to run away rather than face what they’ve done. Others attempt suicide. Still, others make the decision to finally get help.
What happens if the problem gambler continues in this desperate stage? Here’s where a fourth stage comes in. It’s known as the hopeless stage. Depression is common and suicide is often the only option the problem gambler sees at this point.
But let’s not think about the desperation stage right now. At this point, let’s look at some specific signs to confirm your suspicions and know for sure if your spouse has a problem with gambling.
Warning Signs of Problem Gambling
Since you live with your spouse or partner whom you believe to be gambling, be on the lookout for these warning signs.
Looking over the monthly statements for checking and savings accounts, you see withdrawals that you had no knowledge of.
Checks start bouncing and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees add up.
Credit denial letters start arriving in the mail.
Items around the house start to disappear.
A flurry of collection notices arrive in the mail and creditors start calling demanding payment for past-due bills.
The bill for your spouse’s cell phone for calls and/or texts starts ratcheting up.
Your spouse is always secretive about money.
Despite having a job, your spouse always seems to be short of cash.
Your spouse may have taken over the bill paying, but you notice that only the minimum amount is being paid on bills.
Your loved one may become involved in very high-risk investing or starts frequently trading.
Despite the bills going unpaid, you discover your spouse has an unexpected and large amount of cash.
You notice that your wallet or purse is depleted of cash that you know was there, or your child says that money disappeared from his piggy bank.
Friends start asking when your spouse will pay back loans, or you find that there’s an increasing amount of payday or other unexpected loans that your spouse has taken out.
Problem gamblers also start experiencing difficulties at work that you may become aware of.
Missing work, arriving at work late and leaving early are typical signs of mounting problems with gambling.
Using sick days to get off work to gamble is another telltale sign.
Your spouse starts taking extended lunch periods or long breaks.
Your spouse’s boss comes down on him or her for failure to finish projects or tasks at all or on time.
Your spouse uses the company telephones for non-work related calls.
Co-workers report that your spouse is making calls related to gambling while at work.
Co-workers also may tell you that your spouse has asked to borrow money from them and takes an extreme interest in office pools, particularly sports pools.
Your spouse gets a reprimand for using office computers to gamble.
Cash advances on the company credit card used for gambling purposes, stealing or embezzling funds at work, and asking for frequent advances on a paycheck are other warning signs.
What You Can Do
Adding up all the warning signs, do you have your suspicions confirmed that your spouse has a problem with gambling? If the answer is yes, you have enough evidence to confront your spouse and ask that he or she get help for the problem. But is that a good move on your part at this point? What should you do, and in what sequence?
As the other partner in the marriage, you have a vested interest in keeping the union together. What happens to the family is very much dependent on the healthy relationship that the two of you share. When your spouse develops a problem with gambling, unless it’s treated, it could spiral from its current stage into an ever-increasing downward plunge.
Gambling addiction experts caution that encouraging your loved one to get treatment for a gambling problem may meet with a number of different reactions. First is denial. Your spouse will tell you anything he or she thinks you will believe in order to get you off the subject of gambling. There’s no problem. I’m not gambling. I can handle it. Stay out of my business. Everything will work out fine. These are just some of the statements you may hear. Of course, they’re probably lies. So you need to be diligent and persistent about trying to encourage your spouse to get treatment.
It won’t be easy. But you definitely don’t want the situation to get any worse than it already is. What you can do to help ease your own mind is learn all you can about how to deal with a spouse or loved one with a gambling problem. Look into a possible intervention with the help of professionals like Elements.
Consider joining Gam-Anon, the 12-step organization affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous. Gam-Anon is for the family and close friends of a gambler. Its sole purpose is to help assist you with the problems you face in your life due to your spouse’s gambling problem. It’s that simple, and that complex.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable yet in actually going to a Gam-Anon meeting. Or, perhaps you’re afraid that your spouse will not take kindly to your attending. But you can go online and get answers to a great many questions you have, as well as find online and telephone support groups that can help you come to some reasonable way of dealing with your situation. No, it isn’t counseling, but it is support from others who are in the same position as you. These people know what it’s like to have a loved one consumed by gambling problems or addiction. They’ve learned how to cope, continue to encourage their spouse or loved ones to get help to overcome their addiction and, failing that, to mutually support each other so that life can go on.
Gam-Anon meetings are safe places to bring up your current situation. No one will judge you. It is anonymous, so you don’t have to worry about others knowing who you are. You can laugh with others, cry, talk about what’s bothering you, ask for suggestions, and listen to the stories of others. This is a community of support – and it’s something that you need very much in learning how to cope with living with a problem gambler.
For now, just go online and check out the website. Look at the questions and answers. Download and print out or keep on a flash drive some of the Gam-Anon resources and publications. Check into some rehab facilities that treat gambling addiction or your States Lottery as they also have set aside money for treatment services and programs when others become addicted.
Talk with a trusted friend, another family member, your minister or doctor. But do definitely seek some help for yourself. If you’ve confirmed your suspicions and are sure your spouse has a gambling problem, you can’t force him or her to do anything. But you can help yourself and be in a position to encourage your spouse to get treatment.
Bottom line: Reach out and get help for you. This may be the most important thing that you can do right now.
“Presented by Gambling Recovery Starts Here! ~ Catherine Townsend-Lyon”
I still remember the days when you taught me well about trying to control my gambling and you also taught me to be in denial of having a problem, to use blame and entitlement to make me believe that gambling was so much easier than to try and stop and stay in recovery. Your sick so-called ‘friendship’ was dripping with shame, guilt. You had stripped me of self-worth, confidence, and took much life from me. So much so, I looked at myself in the mirror and only saw an empty shell of a woman that used to be so fun, humorous, loving, vibrant, and beautiful inside and out.
Yes, you taught well. And this time you were even more “cunning and baffling” to me. And when the money was gone, you made me think it was ok to “Lie, Cheat, Pawn, and Steal from someone as to get rid of all Tom and I worked hard for. You were building an even bigger wedge between my husband and me to the point I was going off the friggin rails emotionally again!
You brought me back to that dark place again. Because you had talked me into thinking I was normal in recovery and didn’t need to take my medications for my mental health. As a matter of fact, things got so out of control again for the second time in 2006, that you made me feel as though it would be best to just “DIE” than face the consequences of this round of poor choices and financial strains.
Of course, you are going to say; “those were all my choice’s I made, they were mine alone, but you know you had a hand in ALL OF IT! Your nasty old habits and addicted thinking came back and swooped right in my thoughts again when I learned I was still missing more work in my recovery, and the financial pressures became too much and again I woke up in a mental/addiction crisis center ~ via the hospital a second time.
NO, I didn’t want to take all my medications all at once, but I just didn’t have the courage or strength, after everything I had been through being arrested and being humiliated in the local newspaper because I stole from a friend. The best thing she ever did was press charges. Even though I was feeling I had to start recovery all over again, and even though I wasn’t gambling. I just didn’t have it in me to keep going to court hearings and just all of it!
But, I did start over again, along with my higher power by my side (God). I remember hearing these whispers in my ear while in the hospital for the second time. They were faint, but I heard them. I know it was that “Power Greater than Myself” telling me that I have too much to do here on earth and was called to fulfill my higher purpose of what God want’s me to do here. He would not let my journey end like with Suicide. Not even a second try! In that moment, I felt something shift and change inside me.
Many may say that’s bullshit, well I’m here today to tell you it’s NOT. I had prayed for years asking “God” to help take away all the ‘Triggers & Urges’ away from me, and that I would do the rest of the work. Well, it is true when they say; “it happens in God’s, time not ours.” Good things started to happen.
The triggers and urges became less and less as I worked hard in my recovery. It took time, treatment, and a lot of one on one meetings with my addiction counselor, and gamblers anonymous meetings, so many meetings. It took journaling daily to see my growth and my week areas. It took reading a lot of books and so much more. I then worked with a specialist for a year who really saved my life! Soon I was adding up my days, months, and years away from you. Being more of recovery service to others. That is what helped me stay in recovery too! All the while hoping I was hurting YOU as much as you had hurt me through the years of my undying love for you…
So that is my purpose today with this letter old friend. It is my letter of “Closure and Healing.” Just as writing my book was. It is time for me to say a “Final Goodbye” to you forever. It has taken me a long time to make amends with myself, to forgive myself, to love myself again within my recovery and life’s journey. To release the past and old damages of my gambling addiction and the old friendship with you.
Because of you, I’d hurt and lost many people in my life along the way. Yes, we had many good times, but the bad has outweighed the good. I have come to a place in my life and in my recovery to know I’m no longer a victim of what happened to me as a little girl anymore. It was not my fault of all that happened to me. I have learned to process, forgive, let go and let GOD. He alone is the one, my savior that steers the wheel to my heart and this vessel.
I’m strong enough today to know I was a very sick addict and know it was not all my fault. My past doesn’t define the woman I am today.
I have taken my power back and NO LONGER ALLOW YOU IN MY LIFE! I Walk By Faith and not by Sight Alone.
Because all that time you used me. You also used my past and childhood pain and trauma against me in our friendship, and “REAL FRIENDS” don’t do that. Do I have times I wish this could be different? Of course.
I no longer need to think of you anymore. You see, real friends love, care and support you in life. My life today is so happy, fulfilled, and blessed that I’ve been making all my “DREAMS” come true without you. So many blessings and doors have opened for me since I exposed the truth about you in the release of my book. So others can have an inside in-depth look at how ugly you really are. How deadly you can be and how easy you take over.
Now, 10+years it has taken me to write this and part from you forever. I really never thought this day would come for me all those years ago. I can still and always will remember the worst of our times together, as it keeps me from becoming “complacent” in my recovery.
I remember when I could not tell myself I will NEVER GAMBLE AGAIN. I never need step foot in another casino in my lifetime. Every time I did, you made me want to. You’d make me long for you. No, no, not any longer. Today I have the courage and bravery to say NO to you! Many say God doesn’t perform miracles. They use the excuse that they can not believe in something or someone they can not see.
I pray for those people who say or feel this way daily. And for those still stuck and suffering from the insanity of the “cycle” of this addiction.
Because “GOD” does perform “Miracles” all around us. You just need to LOOK, Listen, and Hear them!
I AM one of his “Walking Miracles In Recovery.”
So Goodbye Gambling Addiction, I Don’t Need You Anymore!
“Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow ~ I no longer suffering in Silence”
“As we all know in the gambling recovery communities, the problems we face here in America with problem gambling also happens in many other countries like Ireland, The UK, and with our friends in Australia.”
So when I can across this article from another website I was visiting, I had to go read and investigate. It is a great example of showing that “gambling addiction and expansion” of it is happening all over the world, not just here in the US. Now, you all know I have no ill will towards those who gamble for the true fun and entertainment, but the reason I advocate about this destructive addiction is that the public needs to be aware how many of us can not gamble normally. So the more expanding of casinos, state lotteries, and Internet gaming, and sports betting venues, the more problem and addicted gamblers there will be.
So let’s read how this crisis is affecting our friends in Australia.
“THEY occupy a privileged position in Australian life, but these sleek establishments play a major role in the nation’s biggest problem.”
Casino gamblers are three times more likely to have a problem than those who play at pubs or clubs, experts say, yet they are enticed into increasingly reckless behaviour with intoxicants, incentives and rewards.
While Australia’s 13 casinos all follow policies intended to encourage responsible gambling, no one is holding them to account, according to the University of Adelaide’s Michael O’Neil, lead author of an alarming report into the industry.
“There are some practices of casinos that some might say don’t fit with responsible gambling service,” Associate Professor O’Neil, executive director of the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies, told news.com.au. “Their practices are not particularly failsafe.
“You can be gambling too much but get incentives like credit points. They’re cultivating people to come and spend money.
“Casinos are secretive, on the basis of protecting people’s privacy. They talk a lot about what they do in terms of responsible gambling, but they can’t speak for the effect or the outcomes.”
(Excessive gamblers are more likely to be offered rewards and incentives to enable their habit, experts say. Picture: Dylan CokerSource:News Corp Australia)
The report, the first detailed snapshot of Australian casino gambling, found that all venues had practices in place to prevent excessive gambling — including information and counselling services, betting limits, restricting access to credit, withdrawal limits at ATMs and staff training and intervention.
But Prof O’Neil said there was “little to no evidence available to indicate how effective these provisions are in casinos.”
He admitted that “casinos can only do so much”, but said excessive gamblers often found themselves rewarded with special privileges that enabled them to indulge their habit further.
These may include bonus credit or access to private rooms where they can smoke at the tables.
The staff at The Star in Sydney told the researchers they would only intervene with a suspected problem gambler after someone had played for 24 hours. “That’s just not consistent with responsible gambling practice,” said Prof O’Neil.
(Staff at The Star Casino in Sydney will not intervene over a possible problem gambler until they have been playing for 24 hours. Source:news.com.au)
“Casinos are big operations, open 24 hours with huge numbers of people going through every day,” said Prof O’Neil. “That’s why in a sense they became crime spots. People who want to rob people know they’ll have money on them.
“You get the lockout laws too, encouraging people to move from Adelaide’s Hindley Street or Sydney’s Kings Cross to the casinos. It’s attracting people who have already consumed a fair bit of alcohol.”
And it’s different to being at a hotel, he added. “You don’t find many young men sitting there for a long time playing electronic games in a pub.”
The report found that casino table gamblers are more likely to be male, under 35, more highly educated and with higher incomes. They are typically accustomed to betting on sports and horses and playing online games on their mobile phones — “what they think is skills-based gambling,” says Prof O’Neil.
They are also the demographic most likely to be at risk of problem gambling. The electronic gaming machines at casinos are more likely to be used by another problem demographic, older women aged 45-70.
(Punters at Crown Melbourne require a loyalty card to get access to “unrestricted” gambling for more money.Source:Supplied)
Adelaide Casino told the researchers they had recently had to remove a group of young men who were playing large amounts of money at the tables every night.
Casinos do have the ability to monitor how people are gambling using loyalty card data. At Crown Melbourne, you need a card to play “unrestricted” — i.e. for larger amounts of money — but the establishment is required by the state to look at the information for unusual patterns.
But other casinos don’t bother, according to Prof O’Neil. “They won’t do it by themselves,” he said.
The researchers emphasised that casinos are very different from state to state. The Star and Crown Casino are world-class venues that attract high-rollers from overseas, while casinos in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and in several Queensland locations have a mainly domestic clientele.
One thing they have in common is their money-making prowess, a lack of accountability and a strong influence on one of society’s big concerning issues. . . .
“I feel the very last sentence of this article written by Emma Reynolds is very significant. “The Casinos money-making prowess, and a lack of accountability.” That statement is very true for all countries battling the gambling expansion epidemic that is happening today all over. It is no wonder 1% of our population are now problem gamblers. This crisis and this number will rise if something isn’t done. AND? Gambling Profits are NOT the way to go when our country is broke and now using gambling profits to fill budget short falls” . . .
Want to know what is happening in your communities with gambling throughout the US? Go visit my friends at Stop Predatory Gambling The Movement and see how they are keeping States and the Government Honest . . . .
Check your State Here: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/in-your-state/