We Are Rounding Out ‘National Suicide Prevention Week & Gambling’ With My Friends of ‘The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’…

We Are Rounding Out ‘National Suicide Prevention Week & Gambling’ With My Friends of ‘The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’…

Bet Free Recovery Now by advocate, Catherine Lyon is helping raise awareness with the fine folks of The Floridia Council on Compulsive Gambling, Mental Health, and The National Week of Suicide Prevention. Here’s more from our advocacy friends!

The Importance of Strong Mental Health in the Fight Against Suicide and Problem Gambling

September 9, 2020

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Yes, problem gamblers may steal to stay in ACTION

Protecting our mental health should be a priority in our daily lives; September 6-12, 2020, is National Suicide Prevention Week. More than ever, we are taking steps to prevent suicide and effects that may come from gambling addiction. No one has escaped from the changes that this pandemic has brought on the world.

Even though COVID has physically affected lives, many have taken an impact financially and mentally. Situations such as job loss, lockdown orders, new school structures, and travel restrictions all affect mental health. Many may not know that all of these changes have caused changes in gambling habits, some for the worse.

A common misconception about gambling addiction is that those who suffer from this condition just “have a problem weighing their odds.” However, gambling addiction affects the brain much in the same way as drugs, leaving those who suffer unable to control their urges to bet. Because this condition has no obvious physical symptoms, it often goes undetected by even those closest to the gambler, and so do the difficulties that may come with it, including suicidal ideation.

During May of this year, 13% of those reaching out to 888-ADMIT-IT for help with a gambling problem revealed current or recent suicidal feelings and thoughts due to their gambling problem [1]. These results leave us to understand how the pandemic and past events have impacted people negatively, and how this is reflected in gambling behaviors. In July, a 20-year old male committed suicide due to a negative day trading balance on the popular app Robinhood [2]. However, this isn’t the only instance; another teen in India this August took the same route as a result of losing all of his savings through online gambling [3]. 

While we mourn these tragic events, we know that we can continue to make a difference in prevention. Your gambling habits may be an indicator of your mental health. Many individuals who struggle with disordered gambling experience mental health and domestic challenges such as anxiety, depression, and family neglect [4]. As a result of these difficulties, these individuals seek gambling to “escape” the negative emotions and difficult situations.

Our goal is always to inspire hope and create a path towards recovery and a better life on the other side of problem gambling. While many people gamble for various reasons, we remain steadfast in providing help through our Peer Connect Program, amongst other resources we provide for those who contact our confidential 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. If you feel that you or your loved one are at risk of gambling addiction, contact our HelpLine. The first step is just a call away.

The FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing fccg@gamblinghelp.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out to us on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

[1] 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020., 2020 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2020, 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Report: January-May 2020

[2] Klebnikov, Sergei. “20-Year-Old Robinhood Customer Dies By Suicide After Seeing A $730,000 Negative Balance.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 19 June 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/06/17/20-year-old-robinhood-customer-dies-by-suicide-after-seeing-a-730000-negative-balance/.

[3] NewIndianXpress. “Youth Loses Savings in Online Gambling, Kills Self.” The New Indian Express, The New Indian Express, 28 July 2020, http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2020/jul/28/youth-loses-savings-in-online-gambling-kills-self-2175731.html.

[4] 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report., 2019 ed., The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc., 2019, 24-Hour Problem Gambling HelpLine Annual Report

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Editor Note:
It is more important than ever to raise awareness and prevention about gambling and suicide. Now, one in five problem gamblers will try suicide.
My hope in sharing this article and raising awarness along with my friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, it will help educate and inform the public of how gambling can become very addictive for those who are not normal gamblers.

There is Help and Hope from this cunning addiction.

If you or someone has a gambling problem and live in Floridia? Please the number provided for The FCCG today. For those not in Floridia, you can to get help from The National Council on Problem Gambling or visit their website: https://www.ncpgambling.org/ or call 1-800-522-4700


Gambling Recovery Ramblings and I’ll Be On a New Radio Show! Rise Above Radio With Mac Mullings on KOKC.

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Friends! 

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 on https://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.

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Rise Above Radio 1-6-18 Hour 1

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Rise Above Radio with Mac Mullings

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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.

MY PROMISE

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.
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Mac Mullings – Creator-Host/Rise Above Radio
Program Director/95.3 FM & 1520am KOKC
Co-host/The Ride w- Mac & Chad

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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
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“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!”

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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 . . .

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 ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon  



MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month with My Friends at “The National Council on Problem Gambling.”

“MORE NOW Than ever we need to “Have The Conversation” about Problem Gambling.”  With the ever growing expansion of gambling options, now comes the risk of more people affected and may become problem gamblers. My mission for my blog is to educate, inform, help, and raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction.

Here now is a message from my friends and hardworking advocates at “The National Council on Problem Gambling”….

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The National Council on Problem Gambling Goals:

 

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.  The 2017 PGAM theme is “Have the Conversation” and the goals of this national campaign are:

To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment & recovery services.

To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.

PGAM is a grassroots campaign that depends on the participation of NCPG state Affiliate, organizational and individual members; state health agencies; gambling companies; recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers. 2017 is the 13th year for this event.

Groups across America hold conferences, air Public Service Announcements, provide counselor training, host screening days, insert paycheck stuffers, buy billboards and many other activities to provide thousands of hours of volunteer and community service. Calls to the NCPG National Helpline Network jump by an average of 30% in March, a measurable and meaningful nationwide impact.

Let us know what you are doing this month to help spread the message that compulsive gambling is a real issue that needs to be addressed. Email Sushmita at sushmitau@ncpgambling.org for any questions or updates on your activities. You can also interact with us on social media, where we will have daily updates about Problem Gambling Awareness Month! We are on Facebook and Twitter (@NCPGambling)

So please go connect with these fine folks and check all their resources!

Visit their Calendar for events happening in March and throughout the year! I am proud to work with them in advocacy throughout Social Media all year. They offer a wide range of programs to help many from becoming a problem or addicted gambler.

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One of their most valuable resources at the Councils website is, “Real Stories and Voices of Recovery” as Treatment Does Work!

Christine’s Story:


“Within six months after the big win, I realized I bit off more than I could chew. I had given back all the money, and more. I kept chasing that feeling of the huge win. […] In 2004, I started a business that quickly had financial success. I had so much money that I thought I’d never run out. But eventually, I couldn’t even come up with postage to ship a package. I started selling stolen goods to cover my losses and eventually ended up in prison on a mail fraud charge.”
(Read more about why Christine is candid about her addiction and how her life is today.)

 

Ann’s Story

The first time I gambled was at Mystic Lake with friends. It was simply a “let’s go out and do something fun” kind of thing. In fact, for many years I was a mere social gambler and assumed it would be like that for my entire life. I could go to Las Vegas to meet relatives and not even care if I gambled or not.

But then I had a personal life crisis and gambling became a way to forget everything that was going on. I realized that when I gambled, I didn’t have to be responsible to anyone. It became a way to escape my life’s problems and the rest of the world.

Before I knew it, I was going out to gamble every night. Then I started to have financial problems. And then I realized I couldn’t stop… nor did I want to stop. Every time I left the casino, I’d tell myself I was going to quit. Then when I got home I’d find more money to go back with.

Once I became hooked, it became my life. Gambling became my main source of entertainment. It was the only thing that I cared about. I’d cheat, steal and otherwise do whatever it took to get money.  But it was never about the money. I didn’t want to win money… it was a just a means to an end. Money had allowed me to hit more buttons so that I didn’t have to think about how screwed up my life was.
I engaged in unhealthy gambling for about three years. I spiraled downhill quickly. I lost my home, my cars, everything. I embezzled from my employer and was caught. That should have been the end of my gambling.

However, I continued to gamble from money I earned with a part-time job. I even remember gambling the night before I went to jail. That was when I finally stopped.

Part of my sentence required that I seek help, such as with a group like GA. I went to my very first gambling meeting at Club Recovery. I remember being so embarrassed to be there. But I got through it

Getting through the first meeting was the hardest. Even though it’s a meeting for those with gambling problems, nobody thinks that anyone has done anything worse than they have. You think you’re the absolute worst person.

When I think back on my recovery and my experience, I have learned a lot. For one, I realized that recovery is a choice. For the longest time, I didn’t think it was. I thought it was a matter of willpower.

Most people don’t understand the insatiable urge you have when you have an addiction. It almost feels like it’s an instinct to keep at an addiction. I’ve learned that you can get over the shame and guilt. Guilt is feeling bad about what you’ve done while shame is feeling bad about who you are.

I’ve learned a few other things. One is that you can’t beat yourself over the head to convince others as to why you’re addicted. People in my family have been so supportive of me but they still don’t understand how this can become an addiction. There comes a point when you just accept yourself and others.

You also realize that to conquer addiction you really need to put yourself first. That can be hard to do, particularly when you feel like you need to make amends to others, but you have to make peace with yourself before thinking about being in a full relationship with friends, families and an employer.

There is nothing more encouraging than listening to other peoples’ stories and their recoveries. As you hear them share their story, you learn that you’re not really a horrible person with no hope of recovery. You learn that you can fix yourself and become a whole person again…. that this addiction doesn’t have to define you.

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“LIKE ME, WE CAN RECOVER FROM THIS CUNNING ADDICTION CALLED GAMBLING.”

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

THIS Is My Story:

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)

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