Reflections of Recovery as I Celebrate My 13th Year and After Rising From The Ashes of Addiction and Sharing a New Friends Story . . .

Reflections of Recovery as I Celebrate My 13th Year and After Rising From The Ashes of Addiction and Sharing a New Friends Story . . .

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Thirteen years ago I was within Total Darkness.
I was HOPELESS, Broken, and Shattered.
I was LOST and Never Thought I’d Wake Up From Hell.
I was Sick, an ADDICT and Filled With FEAR …

WHEN MY EYES FINALLY OPENED From My Second SUICIDE ATTEMPT …

I Was Still Frightened, Constant Pain, and LOST.  BUT THEN?
I Seen A Sliver Of GODS LIGHT, I GRAB ON TIGHT, and I BEGAN TO RISE FROM THE ASHES OF ADDICTION!

GOD Whispered In My EARI Bless You With HOPE…

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So, as I celebrate my 13th Year Maintaining Recovery, I still hold on to HOPE. 
HOPE is what helps me have trust that all things are possible. Even RECOVERY.

Just as the definition of HOPE tells us:

HOPE – Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
HOPE – Verb: want something to happen or be the case. A feeling of trust.

GOD has shown and given me the meaning of hope, of trust, and through his love, his forgiveness, and mercy, all the hard work of recovery, you begin to grow a new life from the ashes of addiction, learn to be able to break free from gambling addiction and start living my life within redemption, grace, humility and with a heart of Gratitude with all the blessings I have received and through each and everything I do today in both my personal and my professional life.

Today, as an ADVOCATE, author, writer, sponsor, speaker and passing on the given HOPE and share it through my Recovery Service to Others. Paying it forward to the lost, the least, and those suffering from any addiction but especially gambling addiction. I have broken free from the bondage of addiction and share what I have learned. Addiction never discriminates on who it will TOUCH. No one person is safe from addictions. We don’t wake up one day and say; “I think I’ll become an ADDICT and destroy my life.”

It doesn’t happen that way. Most times we learn through the process of treatment and recovery that there may be underlying issues and roots to how and why we turned to addiction. Many times we find it comes from trauma or tragic events in our life like childhood or teen years. And as I said earlier, NO ONE IS IMMUNED.

Just like a new recovery friend of mine, I will call him Lang. He was touched by addictions, homeless, and lost in that darkness I spoke of, as was set off by several traumatic events that happened to him as a young teen that shaped how most of his life had turned out until a year and a half ago, now maintaining sobriety. He shares the first part of his story and testimony like I did yesterday as I was invited and featured in the Ventura, CA., Newspaper of The Citizens Journal thanks to Lang.

So I hope you will take the time to give my Featured Story titled; An Addiction That Requires No Substances – This Is My Story a read for those who visit and don’t know where I came from. And? Below is Lang’s Story – Part One also in the Citizens Journal and has 8 parts total. If you are interested in reading his whole story after Part One? You can read all of Lang’s testimony beginning here within The Citizens Journal “Nobody Knows But Me.”
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BIO of Writer/Advocate Lang Martinez:

On July 25, 2018, I begged God if you save my life I will give it all back to you, ” I PROMISE” 

Because of the publication “Keys To Recovery,” I am working on a project with Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author/ Advocate and Writer called ” Nobody Knows But Me.”

You can also find my articles in the Citizens Journal. US of Ventura County, CA.

As the subject matter is sensitive, please connect with Randy Boyd of Courageous Healers Foundation for more insights into my full story, experiences, and healing:
Randy Boyd of Courageous Healers Foundation:
Email: info@courageoushealers.org

 

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Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1


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Lang Martinez

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What caused me personally to become homeless living on the streets in Oxnard?

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Methamphetamine use. Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. Bottom line, trust no one but yourself!

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My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster”, in other words, petty theft. If caught, petty theft in the eyes of the law is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail. With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time.

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For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise, from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction. Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far as to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.

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My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so for me being hungry was never an issue. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.

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My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see you including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and as most addicts do- get high! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow, or someway. Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself”. Even though we are our own enemy, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!

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My personal thoughts on the whole agenda of the recent conference “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“. First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone.” My question and response to that: “what about them”? This all took place when college students picked an agenda to do their paper on.

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You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have true feelings to care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard, CA.

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My point, it took college students on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 at 3 p.m. to make awareness of this and not the city of Oxnard.

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Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.

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Publisher’s notes:
Even though Oxnard’s efforts are falling short, they are trying, putting a higher priority on the homeless situation, increasing manpower and spending, hired a homeless guy, developed a strategy, looking for grants, etc.
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We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in the Citizens Journal.  He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit much!  I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity, and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list . . .

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“George, I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it. That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me and all I wanted if I did die, was just one person to say something good about me.

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Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore and we do make promises to God if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time? I said God, please don’t let me die like this! Please save me one more time and this time I will keep my promise. I will give it all back to you.

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George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want? Also, I don’t want to be referred to as a homeless person- I’m NOT anymore.  I trust you. I used to be homeless and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George. You have to understand that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again and the only way I won’t is being on the STREETS telling them what my Lord and Savior did for me he can also do for you.
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I’m proof of God’s miracles.  Amen!  ~Lang

Mr. Martinez also pointed out this useful article on survival tips, but hopes and prays it won’t be necessary for people to utilize them.

 

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“Just Some Recovery Thoughts On My Mind” Safe Harbor Is The Place To Be!

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends & Visitors,


One of my favorite recovery communities is at ‘Safe Harbor Compulsive Gambling Hub’….
There is a wonderful, supportive, online community of recovering gamblers of all levels. New, long timers, those having trouble, and more. What I like about it is that we keep it real on that site. I go read others posts to see if someone maybe having a struggle, offer some encouragement and see how all my pals are doing.
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They also have a posting board where you can share your ‘Burning Desires, a live Chat-Room, and they offer Online Meetings’ as well.  So I went to go post their today, and had a lot on my mind, so I thought I would share a little of what I shared there.  I’ve met many wonderful friends & recovery supporters through this site, and it’s a one of a kind website that’s really all about “Just Gambling Addiction” which is hard to find. Visit them here http://www.sfcghub.com/

As the late great Maya Angelou quoted as saying,

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Maya Angelou…
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Image: Lighthouse & mountains (© Gregory Olsen/Getty Images)
Safe Harbor Gambling Recovery Support.
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Now this quote does make a little sense to me. Just like when I hear in my GA meetings about people behaving badly,….LOL. “Take what you need and leave the rest.” It’s interesting to me when I meet new people who are just starting their recovery journey from the cunning addiction of compulsive gambling. It’s like, I believe it was todays ‘The Thought Of The Day’…. “We start to FEEL again”… and I’m sure you know, when you get a full room of recovering addicted gamblers in one room, in different stages in their recovery, I’ve always think, “We could sure use an arbitrator in here”! because everyone’s feelings are all over the place right”?
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But I do pick up on things others talk or write about too! ( Carole) Yes, each new day really IS a fresh new start of another day! Doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, you can’t go back and change it, so just live for today, and in this moment right?
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( KH ) Mentioned that members here at Safe Harbor are a source of comfort! Yes, Safe Harbor and all who come to post, chat, and attend the meetings, are a wonderful group of people here. It’s why I keep coming back! The ‘Unity & Fellowship’ here is fantastic. I have met some many very good friends & supporters here at Safe Harbor. And like ( Joni ) said, “we are ALL trying here to live the best life we can away from the BET”. She is a woman full of ‘Recovery Wisdom’ my friend Joni. [biggrin]
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And one other thing that caught my eye was, ( Dave Of BK) mentioned in his post he shared, “No gambling establishment made me gamble or be a compulsive addicted gambler,” and what TRUTH that holds. We are the one’s who made that choice to gambler or not. And WE are the same people who can make that choice to get help. To stop being sick and tired of BEING sick and tired. We alone are the one’s to step off the merry-go-round of the addicted gambling “Cycle” once and for all. To reclaim our lives back! It also brings a nasty memory back to me about one of my gambling outings.
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I think I may have shared this story before, but I’ll do it again. Back in my addiction days, I used to go to this Bar/Tavern in Oregon, which had up to 6 lottery video poker machines in their bar. See, the state of Oregon’s Lottery has Video Poker & Slot Style machines allowed as part of their lottery offerings. I was there playing on a machine, and this lady next to me kept going to the ATM machine taking more $$$$ to keep gambling. After the ATM machine cut her off, most likely due to her limit was maxed, or she had no money left!
The bar owner let her right a personal check. In the hour and 1/2 that I was there, the bar owner let her right more personal checks to the tune of $1300.00. She kept saying, to her Machine Mind You while playing it, my husband is going to kill me for writing checks! She told me the amount of what she wrote before I got up to leave. I WAS PISSED that the owner of that bar let her right all those checks!! He doesn’t care if they ‘Bounce’ or not, he still gets his percentage of kick backs from the machines from the state lottery!! So I ask, is it really all the addicted gamblers burden? The bar owner has NO part in that?
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And that’s why I advocate against the”Stigma & Societies” view about addicted compulsive gambling. If the Bars can do alcohol control and cut you off if you look or act drunk, then I think they can do the same for addicted gambling. I’m so tired of everyone just putting it back on the people who are addicted. Not when gambling is expanding through all the US States Lotteries and all the Indian Casinos being built everywhere. No, I don’t feel gambling should be banned, nor do I have ill feelings towards those who gamble responsibly and for the fun value.

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What I do have a problem with is ‘Predatory Gambling’ expanding so much that it makes it more and more difficult for those in recovery to stay in recovery. Especially those in early recovery. So those are my thoughts and burning desires to share with all of you today”!
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So that is what I shared about today on Safe Harbor. I also shared my link to my blog here as I updated my Recovery Resource Page. I’ve added a couple new gambling addiction sites for good information and support. We can never have too much info right? If you happen to know of any good blogs or websites for recovery of addicted compulsive gambling, please leave the link in the my comments and I’ll be happy to add it to my page of resources.
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God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author Of “Addicted To Dimes” A Memoir
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485