“The two hardest areas for me when even thinking about becoming ‘Bet Free and Sober’ were ‘Surrender and Honesty.’
Let’s face it, beginning recovery and treatment is SCARY” … ~Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
I remember two things back in the day trying to recover from gambling addiction and stay sober as I would drive to my GA meetings. One, listen to my favorite CD and song byMary J Blige – “No More Drama,”and Two? Seeing this passage above and trying to believe inIT!
Today I received my SoberRecovery newsletter and read an article that really rang true to me when first coming out of treatment and trying to maintain early recovery. It kind of grab me around the throat a little as the title of the article I’m sharing made me think back to those early days when I would get a few weeks ‘bet free’ and then BAM! I’d be back out gambling and I am sure some of what I was saying to others rang true with me.
I would do or say anything to get what I wanted or needed so I could go gamble. I hope those who are living with or know a problem gambler will learn some warning signs to be aware of. As this also happens when the addict does relapse as well … It is why I share special articles that we all can learn, be informed, and educated by.
Communication Styles Addicts Use to Get What They Want
Effective communication is essential to the human experience. Our ability to communicate allows us to form and maintain relationships, let others know what our needs are and reach out to help each other. In reality, however, we’re not always good at communicating effectively and this can cause a number of problems for us.
For those of us with an addiction, our methods of communication are often problematic. We tend to communicate the “need” for our drug of choice in unhealthy ways that further damage our relationships.
Here are the 4 different communication styles and how they tend to play out in everyday circumstances.
This is the “doormat” style of communicating. Passive communicators tend to allow others to walk all over them and often suppress their needs.
Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”
Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected)“That’s ok, no big deal.”
In this style of communication, the passive party does not express the feelings that are taking place. Without expressing our true feelings we are likely to suppress them, which is a very dangerous place to be for an addict.
This is the “bullying” style of communication. The tendency is to threaten or express a high level of anger.
Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”
Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “You should feel sorry! You’re such a selfish, uncaring jerk for not inviting me! See if I invite you to the next get-together!”
Here, the aggressive party expresses some of the emotions (mainly anger) by lashing out at the other party. While expressing one’s emotion can be healthy, this style of response is overdone and tends to leave other emotions unaddressed. Additionally, the other party walks away angry and resentful, leaving both parties unhappy. It leads to a negative experience that raises relapse risk for someone with an addiction.
This style of communication is one that addicts tend to be quite proficient at. It’s a manipulative way to get our needs met and is often an attempt to “guilt” the other party to give in.
Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”
Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “That’s fine, it’s always nice to know how unimportant I am to you. Perhaps I should give you my phone number again since you seem to have forgotten it.”
Once again the emotions are not appropriately expressed directly but the inference from the response indicates that there are negative emotions that have resulted. This here is another style of communication that leaves both parties in a negative emotional state.
Generally, the assertive communication style is the best way to communicate. It involves both parties listening to what the other has to say and fosters genuine dialogue about the emotional impact of the event.
Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”
Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “I appreciate the apology and I must say that I felt angry and rejected by not being invited. I understand it was a genuine mistake and I’m willing to forgive and forget.”
Here, both parties express their true feelings in a non-confrontational dialogue, hopefully leaving both parties feeling heard and understood.
For addicts, this style of communication often feels very uncomfortable,especially for addicts. We’re not very adept at recognizing and expressing emotions in a controlled manner and we don’t like feeling vulnerable by expressing our true selves. With enough practice though, we can learn to more effectively communicate our needs and feelings.
How Addicts Communicate to Feed the Addiction
For someone who is still in throes of addiction, there are two styles of communication we’re accustomed to using as our primary means of conveying the things we desire: aggressive and passive-aggressive.
Here’s how my past conversations usually played out.
Me: “Hey, I need $30.00.”
You: “What for?”
Me: “Does it matter? I need the money! Give it to me!” (implying that “If you don’t give me the money, I’m willing to steal it.”)
Me: (I need drugs and I need to get some money.) “Hey, can you lend me $30.00 for gas for my car?”
You: I don’t know, are you going to buy drugs with this money?”
Me: “Of course not, I need it for gas money.”
You: “I’m not sure I trust you, the last time I gave you money you spent it on drugs.”
Me: “Fine, if you won’t give me money, I won’t have a car to drive to work. Thanks a lot!”
Approaching Someone with Addiction
If you’re dealing with someone with an addiction, know that he or she will do ANYTHING to get his or her drug of choice. If that means lying to you or manipulating you, we WILL DO IT. The drug is the goal and whatever it takes to reach this goal is fair game for us. So what do you do?
1. Realize that whatever we say, we are trying to manipulate or intimidate you in order to feed our addiction.
2. Have a firm resolution not to give in to threats. If we “need” money for ‘rent’ then pay the bill directly, don’t give us the cash to pay it.
Recognizing these styles of communication is an important step to learning how to change our behavior to more effectively communicate our legitimate needs.
It is also important to recognize how addicts manipulate communication to score drugs. Honesty and candor from both sides are key to effective communication and recovery from addiction. When we all communicate our needs and concerns in an assertive manner, we have a much better chance of working together towards a life free of addiction and toward recovery.
Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Visitors,
This blog post re-share is for one of my New and resent visitors. In the safety of anonymity, they will know who they are and can comment if they would like to be known, and where you can find them.
YES,. . . I know, everyone loves a Mystery . . .LOL.
But I always show this courtesy to all my recovery’ friends. They happen to come by my ‘Author Facebook page’ and sent a direct message asking a really interesting question?? They asked if people with gambling problems or addiction have an alcohol problem as well? I did answer from my own personal experiences.
As I did abuse alcohol, but it wasn’t my true addiction, gambling was. They also said they could not find much on this topic. So I did some research and I actually found a treatment website that had an article about this topic and thought I would share it with my new friend, and all of you.
As we all know sitting in ‘the rooms’ of NA, AA, or GA, we hear from many who have what we call, “Dual Addictions”.
So here is the “Article” I happen to come across, and I how this helps. And if any of you know of any recovery websites that address’ this topic, please share the link so we all can go visit and be informed together! I feel we can never have too much knowledge about addiction and recovery! *Catherine*
. DUAL DIAGNOSIS: When Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction Collide . . . Posted Wed, May 1, 2013 ~ http://www.addiction-treatment.com/
Alcoholism and gambling addiction are both serious problems that can have life-altering consequences. When one person suffers from both of these disorders at the same time, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate their symptoms. Fortunately, treatment of co-occurring mental illnesses is becoming more common. Those who are seeking help for a gambling addiction as well as alcoholism need to find a rehab program that specializes in dual diagnosis.
Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is one of the most well-known and common substance abuse addictions. Alcoholism occurs when a person becomes dependent on beer, wine, or spirits to help him manage on a day-to-day basis. Some alcoholics are functioning, meaning that they can maintain their personal relationships and their job even though they consume alcohol every day and cannot get by without it. Some alcoholics are ruled by their desire for alcohol, even though it harms their family and work life. Sometimes people start out as functioning alcoholics and lose control later.
Gambling addiction is characterized by the need to gamble, even when there are serious consequences for gambling. People addicted to gambling may spend a large amount of time thinking about gambling and figuring out how to get money to fund their gambling. Some people with gambling problems repeatedly put themselves in severe financial straits, relying on friends or family members to bail them out. Gambling addiction is regarded as a mental health disorder.
Dual diagnosis occurs when someone is found to be suffering from a substance abuse problem as well as a mental health disorder. Alcoholism and gambling addiction co-occur frequently. This may be in part because gambling establishments often provide alcohol. Some people who are addicted to gambling use alcohol to self medicate. Gambling is fundamentally an impulse control disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their impulse to gamble, even when there are consequences.
Some people may drink because it dulls their desire to act on their impulse to gamble. Unlike some other mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with alcoholism, gambling addiction is fairly easy to identify. Other problems, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder can be harder to diagnose in the face of alcohol abuse. That is in part because long-term use of alcohol can cause you to develop symptoms such as depression. After the fact, it’s impossible to determine whether the symptoms existed before overuse of alcohol began.
Gambling addiction can be easily identified because the behavior is obvious. Frequently people with gambling addictions are forced to seek help because of the loss of job, the breakdown of a marriage, or another serious life-altering problem. Before treatment for the gambling addiction can be successful, the alcohol addiction must be addressed. The reverse is also true. There is no point in working hard to recover from a gambling addiction when there’s no way that you or your therapist can know to what extent your symptoms are controlled or worsened by your use of alcohol.
Likewise, you cannot completely recover from alcohol dependency without addressing your gambling problem. During rehab, you will spend much time with a therapist who will help you examine how you came to be addicted to alcohol. If you are using both gambling and alcohol as a way to numb yourself emotionally, than continuing gambling will not help you face the emotional problems that led you to drink.
To get help recovering from gambling addiction and alcoholism, you need to find a rehab center that specializes in dual diagnosis. Though this is a specialized form of rehab, there are still plenty of options in terms of cost, treatment method, and philosophical approach. If you are religious, you may feel most comfortable in a treatment program based on the teachings of your religion. If you are concerned about impulse control, you may wish to seek out a treatment program that places you in real life situations and helps you learn to cope. For example, some rehab programs may organize trips to bars or casinos so that you can practice being in these environments without succumbing to your addiction.
Some rehab programs may use medication to help manage your impulse control problems or urge to drink. If your doctor feels that medication is necessary for you to move forward in your treatment, remember that medication can be a stepping stone. You will not necessarily need to stay on medication permanently.
After you get out of rehab, you may wish to work with a therapist who can help you on an ongoing basis. The therapist will be important support for you if you are ever tempted to relapse. Rather than work with two therapists, one to help you with your alcohol addiction and the other to help you with a gambling addiction, look for one therapist who specializes in dual diagnosis. If such a therapist is not near your home, you can look into alternative therapy methods such as virtual addiction treatment sessions.
Now I know there are many ways we can recover. We can use a combination of several things. Support is also very important to a person attempting recovery, especially early recovery. Get a sponsor if you are in a 12-Step program.
I know how hard it was to reach my own very first year in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. It took me a couple tries, and then some!! My 2nd book almost finished and soon to come out is about exactly this problem. How to reach that ‘First Year’ in early recovery. So it is much of the topics in my next soon to release, and will be the follow-up to my current book out right now titled; “Addicted To Dimes”, (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat).
My current book is a ‘Non-fiction Memoir’ of my personal story of the how’s & why’s I became an addicted compulsive gambler, and the my rocky road to recovery. I share all of it! They say we can recover without learning WHY we became addicts in the first place, but I say this a lot that some of us do find out some of the Why’s of why we turned to addiction.
So I hope this article I found explains a little about having a gambling addiction and alcoholism together. Many of us have dual addictions, and some of us on top of that battle Mental illness too like I do, but remember, “There is help and there is HOPE”!!
Today has been really hard on my heart when it comes to recovery. RELAPSE can be a mean ‘Bitch’ when she comes back around for you when you least expect it!…
Sometimes our higher power gives us the opportunity to watch and learn what relapse looks like by watching others in their struggle to recover. It’s what I have been doing now for almost 3 weeks. My good friend Sean is in trouble! And it’s so heart breaking to watch. My friend, and next door neighbor has been on a drug relapse for about that length of time. I have talked with him, tried to help him, but I know I can not make the tough choice’s for him about his addiction or recovery. It breaks my heart that all I can do is watch him crumble.
He went down to visit his parents in San Diego about 3 weeks ago. When he got back, he seemed to go into a depression. I know and understand what that type of ‘separation depression’ looks like, because I’d get that way myself after a visit with friends and family down in So. Cal. So I understood what he was feeling.
We even talked about it. I shared with him what I would go through when everyone had left, and was gone.
The same would also happen when my family came to visit me and my husband in So. Oregon, and then go home after a week or so, I would get depressed. Even though my family is a bit dysfunctional, there still family….LOL. I to would feel the separation depression, and it would hit me hard. We have no children of our own, so it was especially hard when my nephews came with my parents to visit, it would be even harder to regroup after everyone was gone and by myself and hubby again. So I noticed the same with my friend Sean. Then he also started to slack off on going to his NA meetings, RED FLAG. His son came over one day and had pot on him, and of course his son got Sean thinking that pot is not a drug…. WTF? is what I was saying in my head to myself, another RED FLAG.
As we all know anything that is mood altering is a DRUG.
Sorry but, POT IS A DRUG. No amount of Medical Marijuana cards will change my mind about that! That it’s a herb, and not a drug. Yeah Right!
So, Sean started to smoke it with his son. He told me he had smoked pot. And of course we had to AGREE to DISAGREE that pot is a drug. Well my friends, one thing WILL lead to another, and he got right back on the PILL PONY EXPRESS, buying and taking Oxycontin and other pain pills! As an addict in or out of recovery? One drug WILL lead you back on the “Cycle” of addiction.
Now some of you are wondering,…. WHAT? Why didn’t you help him more?
Well, he’s an addict that’s why. Oh, I have talked to him. But as all of us addicts in recovery know, he has to make the choice to get back into rehab, or back on track with his recovery himself. I can’t do that for him. All I can do is encourage him on how well he had done the last 121 days, and to say that NO ONE can take those days away from him. That now with those 121 days clean, proves to him he can do this!
So, finally, just an hour ago, he came over and had tears in his eyes while he told me he has had enough. He was going to the hospital and then checking himself voluntarily into rehab to detox properly, and start over once again. We hugged, we cried together. I told him how proud I was of him. That the days he made, and work he’d done in those 121 days of recovery, all the meetings, all the “Celebrate Recovery” meetings too, has given him today the ‘Awareness’ of knowing he needs the professional help to recover. I know that he wouldn’t have done that otherwise.
Even though my DEMON was Addicted Compulsive Gambling, and Alcohol abuse when I gambled, addiction is addiction regardless the type. What is the definition of addition?
: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something
Full Definition of ADDICTION
1 : the quality or state of being addicted<addiction to reading>
2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful and repetitive.
Change,… that’s what it takes to break the “Cycle” of any addiction. CHANGE. Change our diseased thoughts, thinking, habits, and addicted behaviors. BRAVE. To be brave enough to make those changes within ourselves to be healthy and happy without addiction through recovery. Courage. To have the courage to be aware that you’re dying within your addiction and/or relapse. It takes courage to admit your sick and you need help.
That is what I saw today in the eyes of my good friend and neighbor, Sean W. Even through the tears, all I saw was a man saying, HELP ME, I NEED YOU, I NEED YOUR RECOVERY SUPPORT! And he knows I got his back!
I may not know a lot about DRUG addiction, but I know enough to see when someone is in pain, lost, and in a relapse. But again, all I could do is talk to him, be a good listener, and reaffirm to him the months he had, and he knows in his heart he can DO THIS!
See, since my husband and I had to relocate from Southern Oregon to here in Glendale, Arizona, I don’t have many friends here. I do have a good sponsor, she is a follow recovering gambler, and fellow author to, Marilyn Lancelot. But my neighbor & friend Sean, who lives next door moved in the month after we did here, and that’s about it as friends here. I do have a couple of girls in the complex that I talk to now and then, but I don’t get out much because of my damn Agoraphobia with Panic, and Bipolar Depression. I’m on the computer a lot! NO……. don’t worry, I’m not addicted to the internet or my computer!…LOL.
One thing I do know, I’m glad I never chose drug addiction as my choice of escapism from life, just gambling and alcohol. WHY? Because with my addictive, and obsessive personality? I most likely wouldn’t be here today writing this blog post. Addicted gambling & alcohol almost did me in by ‘SUICIDE TWICE’. It’s why I share it, as gambling addiction cost me so much more than money or material things I sold or pawned, it almost cost me my life. I have lost 4 friends in my Recovery Treatment Group and Gamblers Anonymous Group in So. Oregon. I don’t want to lose another friend due to addiction.
So as July 1st was “Addiction & Recovery Prayer Day”….. I ask all of my recovery friends, followers, liker’s, and new visitors,… PLEASE say a prayer for my friend Sean, he really needs them. I’m so grateful to have all my friends here on my blog. Because its times like this that I can come, write my feelings, my thoughts, fears, worries, and triumphs to share with all of you here. I’m blessed to have all of you! Even if it’s just through Cyber-Space. It means so much to me to have a blog community of friends just, SOMEWHERE. And I have THE BEST! I hope you all know that…. Xo Xo
Thanks all for your prayers for Sean, and thanks for reading my ramblings…
Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Visitors,
I have a wonderful ‘Guest Share’ for you all today, but first I have to share that I’m a bit sad for my next door neighbor. He just turned 45, and he fell off the “Drug” wagon. He had just gotten 97 days clean, and it only took for both his son’s to come by with drugs on them, and he relapsed. Not lapsed, he has relapsed, meaning he has done drugs since Thursday. He had worked so hard to get past the part in early recovery to start ‘feeling’ his emotions again. I know how hard it is in those early days of recovery, as the urges and triggers just seem to never end. But each day clean, sober, and away from the bet, makes those feelings start to get less and less.
The problem is, many will relapse within the first 90 days of leaving treatment. We forget to start using those New Life Skills and Tools that we learned in treatment right away. We don’t get that ‘First Step’, of total surrender done right away as our start of Step Work. It’s why we need to have a ‘Relapse Prevention plan’ ready to go when we leave treatment.
And a GOOD PHONE LIST to call someone when those triggers and urges hit us. And they will hit you, and test you! So all I can do for my neighbor is try to talk a little recovery sense to him when he is outside. But, I know ultimately it it’s him who needs to choose recovery. I can talk to him until I’m blue in the face. If he isn’t ready, then he isn’t ready, but I do worry for him.
And it’s why I also want to share a very good friend of mine, ‘Sandy Swenson’ and her blog. Her son is also a drug addict, and I truly learn a lot from her life trials of a mother coping with a son who is an addict. I’m so very inspired by Sandy, her courage and strength to go on living knowing her son is out there addicted. Again, we can not make or force someone we care and love for “CHOOSE RECOVERY”. The addicted person has to do that for themselves to reclaim their life back!
Here is a little about my good friend ‘Sandy Swenson’, and more about her blog, and how she gives other moms and parents insights on what it’s like having a child addicted to drugs.
The Place Where Love And Addiction Meet • Mother of two sons, one of whom is an addict • Author • Open book ~ “Find Joy On Your Journey”
. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou
There’s only so much parents can do to shape their children’s lives. Sandra Swenson learned that the hard way, when one of her two sons followed the straight and narrow—while the other spiraled into addiction.
Sandy Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom is an alcoholic and drug addict. The Joey Song chronicles her journey through the place where love and addiction meet.
A vagabond since college, Sandy found community service opportunities wherever she moved. Between unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, and figuring out where her kids would attend school, Sandy volunteered as a first grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia; co-founded a volunteer group dedicated to providing life-altering medical care to orphans in India; and photographed cleft surgery patients for Operation Smile in Dharamsala.
Sandy loves to garden, read and travel, and enjoys every moment spent with her son Rick, a recent graduate from American University in Washington, D.C. Sandy now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Here is more about Sandy’s Book and Mission.
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story Of Her Son’s Addiction ‘written by Sandy Swenson’
Sandy lives where love and addiction meet—a place where help enables and hope hurts. When addiction steals her son, Sandy fights for his survival, trying to stay on the right side of an invisible line between helping him to live and helping him to die. By age 20, Joey overdoses, attempts suicide, quits college, survives a near-fatal car accident, does time behind bars, and is kicked out of rehab more than once. Increasingly manipulative, delusional, and hateful, the sweet Joey from childhood is lost to the addict wearing his face.
Working with an interventionist, a judge, and tracking Joey’s movements online, Sandy does what she can to save Joey from himself until it hurts more to hang on than it hurts to let go. Through Family Programs, Al-Anon, reading, and learning from her mistakes, Sandy discovers that sometimes love means doing nothing, and that Letting Go is not the same thing as giving up. She also learns that she needs to work on surviving her son’s addiction while coming to terms with the fact that he may not.
Years pass. Friends and family no longer ask about Joey; they no longer know what to say. Joey is not in recovery, but Sandy works on hers, trying to keep the poison that is consuming Joey from destroying the rest of her family and her life. She starts a program to teach young men living in a group home how to budget, grocery shop, and cook, hoping that someone will someday help her own son in some way that she cannot. As in the song she sang to him so many times, Sandy keeps Joey down in her heart to stay. There is a place in her life that is exactly his size. One she hopes he will someday want to fill.
But he could have been anyone’s child. He could have been (or might yet be) yours.
Until the troubles started, I never thought my child would become an addict. It never crossed my mind.Until one day it did.
Before my son was an addict, he liked to put stuffed animals on my pillow at night. He liked to fish and camp, was an Eagle Scout, wanted to be a marine biologist, and was awarded scholarships from several colleges. He also sometimes lied and said things that were mean and sulked and was crabby; in other words, Joey was perfectly normal.
There’s a widely held belief that addicts are bad people, but the truth is, addiction is not an issue for moral judgment. Addiction begins where dalliance becomes disease. It can happen to anyone who has taken a sip or puff or snort (which our culture entices every young person to do), or even a pill prescribed for pain. Even though my son has done some bad things while being an addict, my son is not a bad person. When addiction scooped up my child, it did so indiscriminately; Joey, at his core, is one of the least bad people I know.
Before my son was an addict, I used to judge the dusty addict on the corner very harshly. But now I know that being an addict isn’t something anyone would choose (not to be confused with someone who is using; there is great distinction between the two). Now I know that the addict on the corner has been my sweet child (and could someday be yours). I wish I hadn’t waited for the worst to happen before I opened my eyes and heart. Before I looked beneath the addict’s dust to the person he was meant to be. To the person my child could just as easily have become — and did.
Before my son was an addict, he was a child. Not a monster.
Hello everyone, TODAYS POST is Listed On My “PAGES” Called *Relapse Prevention & Being Complacent* You will find a Fantastic Workbook page to use that I’ve been using since I entered Recovery from Gambling Addiction. It has everything you need to STOP Relapse in it’s track!! Feel free to “Copy & Paste” to use when ever you need. Also listed is a website for Mr. Terry Gorski, who’s information was used in some of this Prevention Plan Ira & Ken put together for all to use. Terry has some wonderful books & workbooks to purchase, as he is a Leader in Relapse Prevention. I truly hope my permanent page will be useful to everyone! Hope you all had a Great Day!