The Holidays Can Be Hard For Those In Recovery ~ Some Recovery Resources

Hello, and WELCOME Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

YES, the holidays can be rough time for those of us in recovery. That’s why it is “Important” to unlock that recovery “Tool Box” of ours, and get those Support Phone lists out to be ready for any difficulties we encounter. For me being in recovery for Addicted Gambling, and can not tell you HOW many times I’d “PANIC” before Christmas, and worry I didn’t have enough money to buy gifts, or food for all the holiday meals, and more!

So, those old “Diseased Thoughts” would come around, and back out I’d be, sucked back into the “Dirty Cycle” of my addicted gambling. And every time I’d Relapse, I’d lose more money, more time away from the people I love, and not be in the “Moment,” but my “Higher Power” Now Guides Me!
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**If you take 1 minute to read this prayer, imagine how many prayers are going up for our country.

Hi Lord, it’s me….
We are getting older and things are getting …bad here.
Gas prices are too high, no jobs, and food and heating costs too high. I know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even Christmas, but Lord I’m asking you to come back and re-bless America .
We really need you! There are more of us who want you than those who don’t! Thank You Lord, I Love You.
**
If you agree, Copy & Paste to an Email and send it on — IF  not, Oh Well,
Only you & the Lord will know.
“Life without God is like a unsharpened pencil – it has no point.”
**

So, of course the holidays would be just another “Disappointment” in which I made a Reality due to the relapse!  And, it is why I have a “Recovery Resources PAGE” here on my blog. Everyone is WELCOME to use it, even copy & paste it to a place that will be at “The Ready” if the holiday blues come calling with an “URGE or TRIGGER” in your recovery.

It is just as rough for those who suffer from “Mental & Emotional” illness as well. One of the obstacles for me with addicted gambling was while I still lived in So. Oregon, the Oregon State Lottery had introduced “Video Poker machines” in the mid 90’s. They already had “Keno & Megabucks & scratch tickets” available.

But now in Oregon, before I relocate to Arizona, they also introduced “Slot Style” games on the video poker machines. AND, they also added purchase of “Powerball” ticket drawings, and increased the “Payouts & Jackpots” on the slot machines from $600 to up to $10,000.00…..I feel to just entice more people to come in and play & gamble with the “HOPE” of winning bigger jackpots. BUT GUESS WHAT??

The statistics show & PROVE the Oregon State Lottery is only making their $$$MONEY off of ADDICTED GAMBLERS! NOW, I’m not against those who can gamble normally, and yes, it would not be fair to BAN Gambling for those who can gamble with a limit, but for those of us out here who are addicted, or in recovery, it’s not fair for ANY STATE to USE GAMBLING as a Source of Revenue to their STATES BUDGET problems. In Oregon, you can’t go have a drink in a Bar, Tavern, or a nice place to hear a good band play music, or even out to dinner without these “Lottery Machines” being in your face the whole time your there. They have them everywhere. They also in Oregon have these “Lottery Retail Stores” all over that can have up to six video gambling machines in them.

I go do my grocery shopping and get to the check out stand, and there are SCRATCH tickets staring at me under plexiglass while I’m checking out. And the BIG lottery machine you can get tickets too, on my way out of the store! We now have gambling in our SCHOOLS with Casino Night Fundraisers, and in our church with “Raffles & Bingo”…..

WHEN WILL IT STOP?? Then don’t get me started on ALL the Indian Casino’s popping up ALL OVER! Even here in Arizona, they Indian Casino’s everywhere. YES, I know many feel it comes down to “CHOICE’S”…….
MY CHOICE if I walk into ANY of these places, but it doesn’t CHANGE the FACT that ACCESS to gamble is everywhere. It’s time to CHANGE this a LOT!
AND, here is how you CAN HELP!

MY FRIENDS AT:

http://Stoppredatorygambling.org  Is really making a *DIFFERENCE*!

I urge you to go Visit their website today, if only for REAL answers on how ALL OUR STATES in the US are dealing with “State Lotteries” who are NOT being HONEST about the FACTS, STATISTICS, and IMPACT Addicted Gambling is having in our Communities!
They are hiding the facts about the averages of people who become addicted, WHERE the Profits are going, and so why if the profits are to be helping our Schools, Education, Parks, and more, then why are our schools still UNDER FUNDED with budget cuts, cuts to SPORTS, PHYSICAL EDUCATION, THE ARTS & MUSIC CLASS’S and so on?? WHERE IS THIS MONEY GOING? That is where the founder of “Stop Predatory Gambling, Les Bernal & National Director Steps In. Here is a little more about Les & the Movement:….

Our Team

We are always seeking highly motivated, hard-working people to join our team who want to help our country live up to its ideals. We have opportunities in almost every part of the country. Please send a resume and a cover letter to mail[at]stoppredatorygambling.org or call (202) 567-6996.

Les Bernal – National Director

Like many of the thousands of citizens who have fought to get government out of the predatory gambling business over the last twenty-five years, Les was a convert to the cause. The more he learned about how this policy has failed and how it has become the public voice of our government, the more committed he became to work for a fairer and more hopeful vision of the path to American prosperity.

bernal-headshot-2012

Les has been the National Director of the SPG Foundation since it was formed in 2008. During this time, he has spoken and written extensively in calling for a fundamental national reform –an America where no taxpayer dollar is used by government to lure citizens into gambling away their money and becoming slaves to debt; where no agency or entity of government depends on gambling to fund its activities; and where no legislature passes laws to promote, sponsor, or enable gambling in the name of economic development or raising government revenue.

He has appeared on national television and radio including 60 Minutes during its expose of slot machines in January 2011, CNN, Fox News Channel, Piers Morgan Tonight, National Public Radio and The BBC.  He has been interviewed by national newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. He has also spoken before dozens of business organizations, college audiences and faith groups across the nation.

Prior to joining the national movement, Les served as a Chief of Staff in the Massachusetts State Senate and worked as a campaign strategist for more than forty federal and state campaigns. He is also a former college and high school basketball coach, founder of the Robert Frost Foundation in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the hometown of America’s favorite poet – and a past chairman of the city’s Planning Board.

Les graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in English and earned a M.P.A. from Suffolk University.

Phone: (202) 567-6996 x1 Email: Les[at]stoppredatorygambling.org

– See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/about-us/staff/#sthash.9XYGaqgH.dpuf

*I myself have had the pleasure of communicating with Les through Emails & Social Media, and I can tell you he is *PASSIONATE* about what he does to help others in Recovery from addicted gambling, and for those who may not be addicted, but he informs, educates, and Advocates for NO Casino’s being built near Schools, Church’s or near our Neighborhoods! He holds the Government and States accountable, and makes them keep their word on the Measures & Bills being passed, and the current LAWS that are in place*!

So go the website and enter your ZIP CODE and see what is being done in YOUR State you live in about Predatory Gambling. You can Join Up & Join In to have YOUR VOICE HEARD.

*What is “Predatory Gambling?”

Predatory gambling is the practice of using gambling to prey on human weakness for profit. For-profit gambling, or commercial gambling, is illegal unless the government makes it legal. Where you have legal gambling the government has given its support and in nearly every instance operates in partnership with gambling interests, whether in the form of state lotteries, commercial casinos or tribal casinos. How is government’s predatory gambling program different from social gambling like the office Super Bowl pool or a Friday night poker game with the guys in the neighborhood?

1) The speed of the games.
2) The “buzz” or high people get when they play.
3) The frequency of gambling and the length of time doing it.
4) The amount of money people lose. 5) The business practices used to promote it. – See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/facts/ SO go by and enter your Zip Code and see the facts of what’s going on in your STATE. Here are just a Few Facts about Predatory Gambling:…
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Lies vs. Facts

Government casinos and lotteries represent one of the biggest public policy failures of the last fifty years and yet they survive in large part because they spend tens of millions of dollars promoting a false narrative to the public. These are the biggest lies:
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Lie: “Casinos and State Lotteries Will Improve Government Budgets”
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There is overwhelming irrefutable evidence proving that government’s gambling program has failed as a long-term revenue source for our society because it is both unsustainable and inadequate. States that use gambling revenues as a “quick fix” to avoid politically difficult structural tax reforms in the short run have nearly always been forced to confront the same difficult tax policy decisions in the future. California’s story is typical. Despite promising it would fund public education, the California Lottery provides only 1.3% of the state’s entire education budget. States with lotteries and casinos have not lowered their taxes and according to the recent national report by The Rockefeller Institute, it has made their budget problems even worse. Learn more in our Taxation By Exploitation and Soaking the Taxpayers sections.
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Lie: “Commercial Gambling Creates Jobs”

No great nation or state has ever built prosperity on the foundations of personal debt, addiction, and the steady expansion of businesses that milk existing wealth instead of producing new wealth. Relying on gambling as an economic development strategy exemplifies the attitudes and practices– short-term is more important than sustainable, wealth can come from ever-growing debt, something can come from nothing –that led us to where we are now.

The infamous subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Mortgage employed a lot of people and made a lot of money but they did it by selling bad loans to people who could not afford them. It was phony prosperity. No one believes their kind of business practices are the right direction for any state. Casinos are the ultimate example of phony prosperity.

The appalling truth is casinos make far more gambling addicts than jobs.
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Illinois state government’s own data shows that many more citizens have been hurt by the casinos than there are citizens who work there: according to the Illinois Gambling Board in 2012, there are almost 20% more Illinois citizens on the self-exclusion list than jobs at the state’s casinos (as of June 4, 2012: the total enrollment of citizens in the state’s Self-Exclusion Program was 9,171. The total number of full and part-time casino jobs was 7789.)

Lie: “People Will Gamble Anyway and They’re Already Doing It Out-of-State”
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Many public officials rationalize promoting casinos and state lotteries by saying people will gamble anyway and they’re already traveling to a neighboring state to do it. Yet state lotteries and casino operators openly discuss in the media and in their own marketing research that they are aggressively working to lure new gamblers and create “new markets.”

During the Pennsylvania Gaming Congress & Mid-Atlantic Racing Forum in early 2011, state gambling operators confessed that their most lucrative players were local citizens losing money at the casino five times a week. Prior to sponsoring their own state casinos, there was virtually no one in eastern Pennsylvania traveling 1 1/2 hours to Atlantic City, NJ five times a week.

The “going-out-of-state” message is a deliberate public relations tactic to avoid intense scrutiny about how government’s experiment has failed as well as the predatory and deceitful business practices used by gambling operators.

The evidence is clear that when less government-sponsored gambling is available, citizens lose a lot less money and gambling problems are far less. One of the best examples of this reality is when South Dakota outlawed video slot machines for 100 days, the number of gambling addicts treated each month dropped by 93.5%.

Lie: “Casino Gambling Provides a Better Life for Native Americans”
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The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act represents one of the biggest failures of U.S. policy in the last fifty years. Passed by Congress in 1988 under the guise of “economic development” for the country’s impoverished Native American tribes, IGRA has resulted in the transfer of tens of billions of dollars to casino operators while many Native Americans still remain in serious poverty. It also has been the driving force behind the massive expansion of predatory gambling that has overwhelmed the U.S. over the last twenty years.

Casinos are the most predatory business in the country and their business model is based on addiction and pushing people into debt – a truth that remains unchanged regardless whether they are Native American casinos or commercial casinos.

Lie: “Slot Machines Don’t Addict People”
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Electronic gambling machines like slots and video poker represent the purest form of predatory gambling and, not surprisingly, are the most profitable. According to the research findings of Natasha Schull, associate professor in MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, the machines are designed to get every user “to play to extinction’’ — until all their money is gone — by using technology described as a “high-tech version of loaded dice.”  Schull writes:

“… its (the gambling business) efforts to make slot machines so effective at extracting money from people yields a product that, for all intents and purposes, approaches every player as a potential addict — in other words, someone who won’t stop playing until his or her means are depleted.”

Dr. Bob Breen, the Director of the Gambling Treatment Program at Rhode Island Hospital, has been even more direct in his public comments about slot machines: “Given the right circumstances, almost anyone can get hooked on slots.”

It is time we stopped pointing fingers at the people using electronic gambling machines as the “problem” and instead, focus our attention on problem machines, problem environments and problem business practices.

Lie: “Predatory Gambling is About Personal Freedom”
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Predatory gambling operators and some public officials peddle the myth that casinos and lotteries represent “personal freedom,” attempting to elude charges of exploitation by pleading it is a “voluntary” act.” But the predatory gambling business model is dependent on addicted or heavily indebted citizens and it only works if our government, in its role as promoter and regulator, takes away the freedom of millions of Americans. By definition, someone who is an addict or someone who is deep in debt is not free. They have lost their free will and their freedom to choose. In a country where everyone is considered equal, where all blood is royal, how can the state actively promote a government program that renders some of our fellow citizens as expendable? John Stuart Mill, the father of the libertarian vision, famously wrote that each individual has the right to act as he wants so long as these actions do not harm others. Today, no business in America is doing more to harm others than the predatory gambling trade.

Lie: “Public Opinion Supports Predatory Gambling”
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The predatory gambling lobby promotes the illusion that public opinion supports their business by pointing to polls paid for by predatory gambling interests. Yet independent surveys reveal the opposite is true. A 2010 national survey on predatory gambling by PublicMind,

usa-today-sept-2010-casinos-rank-at-the-top-of-most-unpopular-projects_0
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Fairleigh Dickinson University’s research center, found that a majority of those with an opinion on the subject believe casinos hurt local communities. Among those who live within 30 miles of a casino, nearly one out of two people said casinos have a negative impact. And a 2010 poll in USA Today showed that casinos rank at the top of the list next to garbage dumps for most unpopular projects with 73% of the citizens in opposition. (click on the graphic on the left to enlarge).

Lie: “Casinos and Lotteries Are Just Like Any Other Business”

Advocates of the predatory gambling trade say they are no different from other businesses. They describe it the same as “drinking wine, going out to a restaurant or going to the movies.”  Yet the owner of the vineyard drinks the wine he makes. The owner of the restaurant eats the food he serves.  The movie actress watches the movies she makes. This is the only product or service where most of the people who own it and promote it, including public officials, don’t use it and don’t want to live near it.

Lie: “It’s Like Drinking Alcohol”
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Drinking a glass of wine or a can of beer is far different from buying a $20 lottery scratch ticket or playing a slot machine. No sip of a Miller Lite has ever offered the false promise of “life-changing jackpots.” While alcohol can be habit-forming, no one has ever compared the potency of its high or the speed at which it addicts people to cocaine – like it has been proved with an intense gambling experience. One out of five Americans don’t think the best way to achieve long-term financial security is to drink Budweiser. Most tellingly of all, the vineyard owner drinks his own wine – most predatory gambling operators don’t gamble.

Lie: “Investing in the Stock Market is No Different Than Predatory Gambling”

While there may be risk associated with buying shares in the traditional stock market, that is where the analogy ends. When an individual buys a stock, he is buying a piece of a company. An applicant for a bank loan can put down $10,000 worth of stock certificates as collateral but try putting $10,000 worth of lottery tickets on the table instead and see if the bank makes the loan. Click this link to watch one of the world’s greatest investors, Warren Buffett, describe why the government program of predatory gambling is the worst kind of public policy.

Lie: “Government-Sponsored Gambling Diminishes Organized Crime”

No jurisdiction has EVER documented a decline in illegal gambling following the introduction of legalized gambling. In fact, illegal gambling tends to increase for a number of reasons. “We loved legalized gambling,” said former Chicago mob casino boss William Jahoda. “It created more customers for us.” Untaxed illegal operators can offer better odds, bigger payoffs and loans that legal operations cannot. Once gamblers start betting legally, they become less averse to gambling in unlicensed establishments. Law enforcement in gambling states see illegal gambling as a state revenue issue rather than a criminal activity, making enforcement less of a priority. Lastly, when commercial interests gained control of the casino business from organized crime, they obtained the ability and the license to abuse and destroy customers to an extent that was not possible when casinos were run by criminals.
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*I HOPE you will Copy & Paste & Share with your Friends, Neighbors, and Family*
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Here are some good resources to use over the holiday season to aid in Recovery!

1) http://www.gamblersanonymous.org ~ Gambling
2) http://www.aa.org ~ Alcohol
3) http://www.na.org ~ Drug

 4) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255

http://www.fcmha.org

6) Home – The National Council on Problem Gambling

http://www.ncpgambling.org
http://intherooms.com  & http://www.CelebrateRecovery.com
Both are great support
sites!

*In The Rooms Talk Chat Live*

Every Tuesday Night (Tonight!) at 7pm PST (10pm ET), I host an online Recovery show which is one-part 12-Step meeting, one-part interview show and one-part story-telling session. This takes place thanks toInTheRooms.com an online social network devoted to people in recovery from addiction of all kinds!

The Recovery 2.0 Power Houras it is called, has a live interactive video feed where people can request to share or ask questions by instant message.  We usually have about 150 people joining us in the room and it is a blast.  I have to admit I had my hesitations about “meeting” in this way, but after 6 months of hosting these shows the entire experience has opened my heart and mind to something truly extraordinary.
Some of the people who join each week literally cannot leave their homes because of medical conditions.  They get to tune in and get turned on to 12-Step meeting right in the comfort of their homes……..
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*There are other Websites & Blogs available for extra *Recovery Support* as well. Just Google Search “Addiction Recovery” and many sites will be listed for quick reference. We in recovery, and those who suffer mental & emotional disorders too, DESERVE a Safe, Happy, and Addiction free *HOLIDAY SEASON*……..

May God send you many Blessings this Christmas, and lets all make The New Year a Happy & Successful One!

*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*


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