WELCOME Recovery Friends and New Friend Visitors . . .
Well, the holiday season is here! First comes Thanksgiving, and you know the rest. I am doing my Recovery Blogging and on Holiday Recovery Watch again this year. It will be my seventh year in a row. WHY? Because no one needs to be ALONE through the holiday season.
I know from my own experiences how hard the holidays are when maintaining recovery or for those who may be looking to reach out for help. And believe it or not, it is the most active time on my recovery blog and my email me as well. Some do come to reach out for help from this cunning disease of addicted gambling. I can’t count the many paychecks I wasted for a few hours of “Escaping” my haunting traumatic past childhood and abuse.
I began using gambling as a way to cope and not FEEL the pain of my past anymore. Hence, one of the underlying issues of the “WHYS” I became an addicted compulsive gambler. Another thing I like to do for the holidays, and again, I will be lowering the cost of my ebook, a best-selling memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes. Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” …
Beginning Nov. 26th, 2019 through Jan. 21st, 2020 my ebook will be on sale for only $1.99 as it makes a great gift if you know someone you care about who may have a gambling problem. By reading my memoir, it just may open their eyes to know there is help available and they are not the only ones suffering in silence from a gambling problem. Funny how many ask me how I came up with the subtitle.
It came to me very easily as “Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,” is what gambling addiction turned me into while deep within my addiction! It is a raw in-depth look inside the “how and why” I became an addict as my past childhood trauma created “The Perfect Storm” for me to turn to problem gambling as it turned into a full-blown addiction …
TO BE CLEAR, my book was not written for a “HOW To RECOVER,” book, it is about my life and the “WHYS” I turned to addiction in the first place. But, by reading the book, my hopes are they may relate to my experiences and give them HOPE …That many people have a gambling problem and have been successful in maintaining long-term recovery from this cunning addiction and disease. I can still remember some of my “Ghosts” of Christmas’s past and when I was still deep within my addicted gambling days like it was just yesterday.
I freshly remember those times going into a department store, as I was walking up and down the isles with tears in my eyes and wishing I could buy this or that for those I loved for gifts. So many feelings ran through me like sadness, anger, shame, and guilt because I had no money to do so due to gambling it away. It would just trigger me with more anger and rage and set me up and off to another gambling binge in hopes of winning enough money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone. Well, like they say? “The House Always Wins!” But now I was gambling with my LIFE and not just MONEY anymore.
Another holiday sickening story … In 2002, we got to a point and, of course, due to my gambling addiction, we’d thought we’d have to sell our home before we lost it. But? A family member, an enabler came to give me another bail-out. He stepped in and gave me the money! I was given the money to get caught up but within 2 days?
I gambled it away.
OH, the lies, the covering, and hiding were exhausting and the suffering in silence for many years was taking a toll on me. And then? Right before Thanksgiving in 2002, I lost my best friend and had watched her die of ovarian cancer and set me spinning to an awful gambling binge so bad I attempted my first suicide! That was how I spent my 40th birthday and Thanksgiving that year was from my first suicide attempt.
It was a failed attempt and spent the next few days in the hospital. From there, I was transferred into an addiction/mental health crisis center for 28 days and where I began treatment for my gambling addiction. While there and after many tests ran, I learned I had been suffering from several severe mental health issues of severe depression with high mania, PTSD from my childhood sexual abuse and trauma, anxiety and more. I was a broken mess!
Some of my points and an example? We have lost many and those who we have read about who were high profile people. Although every life matters, we have lost many from the disease of all types of addictions. The danger here is the longer you are abstinent the greater the risk of death and don’t recover from a relapse.
As I looked, I did not find research or a study to this fact, I did, however, find a 2014 article close to the topic written by my friend and Author, Omar Manejwala and his book; “Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough” who shares some perspective of this topic. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/craving/201402/how-often-do-long-term-sober-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse
Even though I didn’t need a substance for my addicted gambling. didn’t need to pop some pills or drink a mood-altering liquid or need to use a needle? I got the same rush and euphoric high as a drug addict or alcoholic and so on …I would be triggered and had the same cravings as any other addiction. ADDICTED GAMBLERS just do it with our own brain and body chemicals, so again, scary, No Substance Required and just as deadly!
Now I have always been a firm believer that we need to stay very conscious of where we have been and where we came from with our addictions and where we are today. We can never become complacent nor think we are ever “done” with our recovery work. However, how you choose to get there? it is your Power to Choose. For myself, I needed any and everything I could do to begin and maintain recovery. After you attempt suicide twice from this baffling addiction? You have to do whatever it takes! And I did.
If you work a 12-Step program, go through Treatment, Counseling or whatever you decide on? You have to be diligent and keep reworking those steps, working on changing those character defects, change your thinking process and all those nasty bad habits and behaviors we learned and relied on to us within our addictions.
Because all that recovery work becomes an important tool to look back on of your earlier work and see where you still need more recovery work and to see the growth in areas. You can also see how your self-worth begins to come back and the shaping of your new life begins … There are times like the holidays when we need to look back to appreciate where we are today, living in the now, and begin living a beautiful life while maintaining your recovery journey.
So don’t wait! The holiday season is a perfect time to reach out for the help that is available to begin your recovery. Don’t you want to LIVE a new beautiful life? It’s not too late to have an amazing holiday season with family and friends, as you become bet free and happy. I have been very ‘Blessed and I am Humble and have a heart of Gratitude’ for my recovery journey thus far. That comes from “a power greater than I” and from all that I do as an Advocate. And you can be happy too!
Isn’t your life worth a new beginning?
YOU ARE Worth IT and so much more!
~Advocate and Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon