A Happy 4th Special Article About Wexler & Associates And The Tireless Work They Do To Help Addicted Gamblers.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends & Happy 4th July Weekend!!

I have a very special recovery holiday post for the 4th weekend! A resent article sent to me to share with all of you.
My dear friends Arnie & Sheila Wexler help so many reclaim their lives from addicted gambling. They were interviewed & written about in a wonderful article courtesy of, “Addiction Professional” Driving Clinical Excellence magazine.

Yes, I do share a lot about The Wexler’s here on my Gambling Recovery blog. Why? Because even though they live and help many in the New York and New Jersey area’s, and now live part-time in Florida and helping others there as well, Arnie is well-connected with addiction recovery professionals all over the United States, so if you need help from gambling addiction and don’t live near them? I’m sure Arnie can find help or some clinical treatment some how no matter where you live.

He’s JUST THAT GOOD and CARES THAT MUCH. They both do.

Visit their Web site at: http://www.aswexler.com and explore all the resources available.
So here is the Special Article about Wexler & Associates!

Couple tirelessly pursues help for gamblers ~ by Gary A. Enos, Editor

     

Arnie and Sheila Wexler have worked as a team for more than two decades to help people overcome the pain and family destruction wrought by gambling addiction. They have seen numerous changes across the landscape, from society’s somewhat begrudging acceptance of problem gambling as a disease to an increasing prevalence of women directly affected by gambling addiction’s devastation. Their commitment to giving back has never wavered.

“The only people who stay in recovery are those who reach their hand out and help other people,” says Arnie Wexler, a recovering compulsive gambler (last bet: April 10, 1968) whose numerous roles in recovery have included executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey and senior vice president of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Wexler in 2014 joined with former New York sportswriter Steve Jacobson to release All Bets Are Off: Losers, Liars, and Recovery From Gambling Addiction (Central Recovery Press), which chronicles Wexler’s addiction and recovery but perhaps more importantly offers a window into how his journey affected his wife, who for years now has counseled gamblers (among her efforts, she introduced a program for compulsive gamblers at the New Hope Foundation inpatient treatment facility in Marlboro, N.J.). The passages drawn from Jacobson’s interviews with Sheila Wexler offer one of the most detailed looks to date at gambling’s effect on a loved one.

“I couldn’t read too much of that at one time,” Arnie Wexler says in reference to the book sections labeled “Sheila’s experience.” He explains, “It blew me away. Sometimes it felt like I had been through a session.”

Early exposure

As described in the book, Arnie Wexler got his initial rush from playing pinball machines, then while still in his teens graduated to trading stocks. He and Sheila went to the movies on their first date (he was 21 and she was 16), and then to the racetrack every other time after that.

Arnie promised Sheila he would quit gambling once they were married. But on their honeymoon they got into a fight when he realized that a longshot horse on whom he didn’t bet because of his promise won the Belmont Stakes, yielding a hefty payout. Arnie’s gambling would continue for seven trying years in which he went into paralyzing debt and ceded the roles of husband and father.

“The obvious question is, Why didn’t I walk out?” Sheila Wexler states in the book. “Well, in the ’60s, not many women felt they could walk out of marriages. What could I do? My husband didn’t beat me but I was a beaten-down woman. … I didn’t even consider leaving him because I felt totally dependent on him. The saddest thing is I had resigned myself to this way of life.”

Arnie stopped gambling shortly after he attended his first 12-Step meeting on the advice of a boss; he agreed to do so only because he mistakenly thought the boss had told him that the 12-Step group would help him erase his gambling debts. He and Sheila eventually would counsel other gamblers, first in separate efforts and later as partners who also trained thousands of casino workers and addiction counselors along the way. They are now working with the Palm Beach County, Fla., treatment facility Recovery Road, which has developed a niche in treating gambling addiction. Arnie says he also answers five to 10 calls a day on a toll-free gambling helpline (1-888-LASTBET).

“We don’t share our story [with clients] right off the bat,” Arnie says. “A great key is getting someone to trust you.”

He continues to see numerous examples of the extreme behaviors individuals will engage in to support their addiction. He matter-of-factly describes one woman from Europe who had such an urge to gamble that she would chain herself to the radiator in her home and throw her keys into the street, where a neighbor would pick them up in the morning and set her free.

Demographic changes

The profile of the gambling addict has changed considerably over the past two decades, say the Wexler’s. Back then only about one in five of the individuals they were helping were women. That percentage has continued to grow as more “escape gamblers” attracted to slot machines have experienced problems.

Many programs that treat alcohol use disorders fail to detect a co-occurring issue with gambling, and that’s the behavior an individual will turn back to upon leaving treatment. It’s difficult these days to identify an individual who is not affected by some cross-addiction, the Wexler’s say.

The Foundation for Recovery last spring honored the couple, whom Central Recovery Press refers to in its book materials as “the foremost leaders addressing the devastation of gambling addiction today,” with its Robert Rehmar Addiction Professional Award. The award is presented to professionals “who have helped raise public awareness of the need for treatment and prevention, or who have made breakthroughs in the treatment/prevention of addiction and support for recovery,” the foundation states.

So was that not a fabulous article on Arnie and Sheila? I’m very honored and blessed to be able to call them both my friends and recovery supporters! Please visit their website if you or someone you care about has a gambling problem. It’s time to shine a spotlight on this cunning addiction. . .
Pick up a copy of Arnie’s New Book Today!

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God Bless and have a Happy & Safe 4th Everyone!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

 

A Guest Spotlight On A Successful Gambling Addiction Recovery Story. You May Know Arnie Already!

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome All,

I thought I would share a story of a very good friend of mine. You may have seen him on TV, or read an article of his as he has written many. I love calling him my “Grandfather of Recovery,” because he has many, many years of recovery time from addicted gambling. He has seen, done, and heard it all when it comes to this cunning addiction. Meet Arnie and Sheila Wexler!

Arnie Wexler is a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC), and was the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for eight years.

Arnie is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in this country, and has been involved in helping compulsive gamblers for over 30 years. He has appeared on many of America’s top television shows, including 60 minutes, Oprah, Night-Line, and 48 Hours. He has been quoted and profiled in hundreds of magazines and newspapers.

Arnie has presented workshops and training seminars nationally and internationally. He has spoken to many gaming industry executives, Fortune 500 corporations, legislative bodies, and on college campuses across the nation. He has also done trainings for the National Football League (NFL).

Since 1994 both Arnie and Sheila have trained hundreds of professionals working in Addiction Treatment Centers including Sierra Tuscon and Betty Ford Center. They trained US Army Addiction Counselors at Camp Zama, Japan. In addition, they have provided extensive training to casino personnel and have written Responsible Gaming Policies for major gaming companies. His new book just released titled, “All Bets Are Off”

Sheila Wexler is a Licensed,Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), and a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC). She has worked in the field of addictions since 1977.

Sheila has worked in residential treatment, out-patient services and private practice. She has had extensive experience in counseling the addicted person and their families. Sheila is one of the pioneers in the treatment of compulsive gambling.

In 1987, she developed and implemented a compulsive gambling in-patient treatment program at New Hope Foundation in Marlboro, New Jersey. Sheila is the author of a chart on the effects of compulsive gambling on the family. She has instructed Addiction Education classes throughout the country. She has also done extensive training on expanding addiction services to include compulsive gambling treatment.

Since 1994 both Arnie and Sheila have trained hundreds of professionals working in Addiction Treatment Centers including Sierra Tuscon and Betty Ford Center. They trained US Army Addiction Counselors at Camp Zama, Japan. In addition, they have provided extensive training to casino personnel and have written Responsible Gaming Policies for major gaming companies.

Arnie’s Story:

Arnie & Sheila Wexler Associates

If you need help with a gambling problem,

call 1-888-LAST-BET

Arnie Wexler,

“I am a recovering Compulsive Gambler who placed my last bet April 10,1968.”

I started gambling at about age 7 or 8 as a kid in Brooklyn, NY. It started with flipping baseball cards, pitching pennies, shooting marbles and playing pinball machines. That kind of gambling continued until about age 14. At that point I started to bet on sporting events with a bookmaker and I got into the stock market.

As a young kid, growing up, I always felt that everyone was better than me. The only time I felt okay about myself was after I had a win, whether it was marbles or baseball cards or pennies. Then at 14 I went to the racetrack for the first time (that was Memorial Day, 1951 Roosevelt Raceway). At that time in my life I was making $.50 an hour after school, working about 15-20 hours a week. That night at Roosevelt Raceway I had my first big win and walked out of the track with $54. Looking back today, I think it was that night that changed my life. Even though it was only $54, it was about 5 weeks salary to me at that time. That night gave me the belief that I could be a winner from gambling and eventually become a millionaire. I can still recall that high feeling walking out of the racetrack that night.

By 17, I was already stealing to support my gambling. It started with stealing comic books to play cards with from the local candy store. Before long it was stealing money from my family to pay for gambling. By then I was taking the bus to the racetrack, a few nights a week on a regular basis. In those days they closed the track in the winter months, in New York so on weekends, I would take the bus or the train to Maryland to gamble. I was betting sporting events and horses with the bookmaker on a daily basis. In those days each sport had its own season. I remember calling the bookmaker one day and the only thing that was available to gamble on was hockey. I had never seen a hockey game, but bet on it anyway. It wasn’t until months later when I did see my first hockey game, that I realized that hockey was played on ice.

Somewhere between age 17 and 20 I went to the racetrack one night and won $6000. Wow! Another big win. It was the equivalent of 2 years salary. This reinforced my belief that I could be a winner at gambling.

By my early 20’s I was betting big amounts on lots of games that I didn’t really know much about and probably couldn’t name more than a handful of players who played in these events. In some of the college games I bet on, I couldn’t name one player or even tell you where the college was located, but I needed to be in action. By then I was a regular at the old Madison Square Garden, every week. I was watching and betting on college and professional basketball on a regular basis. At this point in my life I was working full-time in a shipping department in the garment center and every Tuesday when we got paid there was a regular crap game out in the hallway. Almost every week I would lose my pay in this game. I began stealing supplies and merchandise on a daily basis to pay for my gambling. By then, I had a bank loan and a loan with a finance company loan. I was also borrowing from coworkers.

At 21 I met my future wife. Our first date was to the movies and most of the rest of our dating was at the racetrack. We had a joint checking account saving for our wedding. She would put money in and I wouldn’t. I needed to use my money for gambling. I was still looking for another big win. I thought the perfect place for our honeymoon would be Las Vegas or Puerto Rico since I knew both places had casinos. My wife to be didn’t think that was a good idea. I guess she understood enough about my gambling already. At 23 we got married and I wanted to stop gambling at that point. I thought that I could. Within a short time I was already back to gambling. Even though I wanted to stop, I realize today that I couldn’t. I needed to gamble like any drug addict needed to stick that needle in their arm, or any alcoholic needed to have that drink.

Four weeks after we got married I went away to the Army Reserves at Fort Dix, NJ for 6 months. During those 6 months, I gambled every day, fast and furious, from placing bets by phone with the bookmaker to shooting crap and playing cards, every waking minute. When I came home in December of 1961, I owed $4000 and didn’t even have a job.

I got a job, eventually, working in the garment center In the showroom that I worked in there were a few compulsive gamblers who I quickly got friendly with. They became my buddies. We would play cards during the day, and go to the racetrack at night and on weekends, together. My wife thought I was at business meetings some of these nights and all of us would lie for each other.

In 1963 my first daughter was born. My wife was in labor 37 hours. During that period I went to the racetrack twice. When the Doctor finally came out and told me that we had a baby, the only question I really was concerned about was “how much did she weigh.” He told me 7lbs.1 oz. You would think that the concern should have been “how is my wife” or “how is the baby”. The first call I made was to the bookmaker. I bet 71 in the daily double. The next day when I picked up the newspaper, the daily double hit. I was convinced that day that God was sending me a message that I was now going to be a winner.

One year later my boss gave me an option to buy 500 shares of stock in the company for $7500. Within a year that stock was worth $38,000. In those days you could buy a car for $2000 and a house for about $10,000. Within 3 years this money would be gone due to my gambling. By now I was a plant supervisor for a Fortune 500 company. My gambling was already so out of control that I was stealing everything I could to stay in action. I set up a room in the factory that we used for playing cards (all day long). I was starting to do illegal acts (manipulating stocks) in the stock market.

Our home life was deteriorating. Gambling was more important than anything else that was going on at home. I was lying about almost everything and I would come home and pick a fight so I could go out to gamble. Nothing else at that point in my life was more important than gambling; not my family or my job. Gambling came first. At this point even though I was doing illegal acts, I was still borrowing money from only legal sources.

My gambling continued to get progressively worse. I was now a plant manager, supervising 300-400 people. My boss worked in New York, and I was in the factory in NJ. Most of the time he didn’t know what I was doing. Besides stealing and borrowing money from coworkers, I now had 3 bank loans and 3 loans to finance companies; I owed a loan shark an amount of money equal to one years salary. I was involved with 3 bookmakers, both working for them and betting with them. I directed a lot of people who gambled in my company, to my bookmaker and got a piece of the action. I even got involved in a numbers operation.

Between this and stealing, I was supporting my gambling. There were times I would bet 40 or 50 games on a weekend, and believe I could win them all. One weekend, just before I hit my bottom, I called a bookmaker and took a shot by betting a round robin which amounted to about 2 years annual salary. At that moment if I lost that bet, there was no way I could pay it. Things were getting so bad, I remember calling a bookmaker one day and being told that if I didn’t bring him the money I owed him he would not take my bet for that night. I went home and sold our car to a neighbor.

By now, I wasn’t going home to pick a fight with my wife. I was doing it over the phone so I wouldn’t waste the trip home. Most of the time I was out gambling, but when I was home we were constantly fighting. We had sex very rarely. When I won I was so high I didn’t need it and if I lost I didn’t want it. But there were times we had sex and my wife would say to me “do you hear a radio.” Of course I would tell her she was crazy, but I had a radio on under the pillow so I could listen to a game. We were trying to have another child, but couldn’t. My wife came to me with the idea of adoption. I didn’t like that idea especially when I was told it would cost money.

I needed that money for gambling. After 3 months of her bothering me, I finally went along with the idea of adoption, as I thought she would be so busy with the 2 kids that she would leave me alone. I borrowed the money we needed from my boss and relatives. On the day we were bringing our son home on a plane, it was the 7th game of the 1967 World Series. My wife was busy looking at this beautiful new baby. I had no interest in him. I had a large bet on the game. The pilot was announcing the score every 15 minutes, or so. I was so upset that we were on this plane. I wished and prayed that the plane would get to the ground so that I could see or hear every minute of this game.

In the next few months the bottom fell out of my world even though I still had my job and still looked okay. There were no track marks on my arm, I wasn’t smelling from my gambling. No one could really tell what was going on. I would come home from gambling and see my wife crying all the time, depressed, sick. Our daughter was 4 years old and I don’t remember her walking or talking. I either wasn’t home or when I was my head was consumed with the gambling. At that point in my life, I owed 32 people, 3 years annual salary. I had a life insurance policy and constantly thought about killing myself and leaving my wife and 2 kids that money. I would do anything to keep gambling.

As long as I could get my hands on some more money to stay in action, I still thought that the big win was just around the corner. I was trying to find out where I could get drugs to sell and looking around at gas stations to rob. I was asking people about making counterfeit money. I was running out of options. My boss came to me one day and told me that a detective was following me and he had a report on my gambling. He knew I was betting more money than I earned and he was sure that I was stealing from the company and that if he found out he would have me arrested.

Three hours later I was stealing from the company again. I needed to go to the racetrack that night. On February 2, 1968 my wife was having a miscarriage and I was taking her to the hospital. I was wishing and praying all the way that she would die. I thought that would solve all my problems (I wouldn’t have to tell her how bad things were). That morning I called my mother to watch my kids, I called my boss and told him I couldn’t come to work because my wife was in the hospital. That afternoon I went to the racetrack. After the track I went to see how my wife was. When I got to the hospital the doctor told me that my wife was in shock and had almost died. I was so deep into my addiction that I really didn’t care about her, the 2 kids or myself. The only important thing was making a bet.

I thought that I was the only one living the way I was living and doing the things that I was doing. I found out that I was not alone and that I could stop gambling with the help of the other people. I had hope for the first time. It’s been almost 47 years since I last gambled. Today I have everything I dreamed about getting from gambling and then some. I have a wonderful family that is still intact and even have been blessed with 4 grandchildren who I love very much. In the last 30 years I have been able to devote my working life to helping others who have this problem and educating people on the disease of Compulsive Gambling. This has been a dream come true.

I highly recommend Arnie’s book titled, All Bets Are Off. I have read it and it is truly an amazing story. It is now available on Amazon.com Books in paperback and E-book formats. You can visit their website and blog at:  Arnie and Sheila Wexler Associates

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate
“Addicted To Dimes”  . . . .