“What Is It Like Being An Addict”? Some Holiday Recovery Encouragement! . . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,

 

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I wanted to start my post by sharing my book of my own story of gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. My current book out, “Addicted To Dime”, (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat),
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A/

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If you know anyone with a gambling problem, or maybe addicted to gambling, and you are not sure how to approach the subject? Then send them my book. They won’t look at gambling the same way after they finish reading my story. I actually had others tell me this in comments, and in all my 5 Star Amazon Reviews that were kindly left by readers. There may only be 13 reviews on Amazon, but they are very powerful and mean much to me!
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So my neighbor Sean, yes, he is the one I have blogged about before. He is a drug addict. He knows I say this in the ‘correct context’ since being a former addict myself, just that mine wasn’t drugs. My drug was addicted compulsive gambling, and abuse of alcohol when I did gamble. So we were talking about the holidays being upon us, and how hard it can be trying to stay in recovery around the holiday time.

Now, I give Sean credit, and it is why I have not just cut him off as a friend, because Like me, I know all he may hear and learn in his continued fight to recover from drug addiction, I know that eventually, like me, it does start sticking and sinking into our heads.
And, . . .one day that big fat light bulb goes off over our heads!! And we say, NOW I GET IT!!
I know that is what happened to me after my 2nd suicide attempt, and working with an addiction specialist. BUT, . . . sadly not before I had committed a crime thanks to all the old behaviors and quick bad choice reactions when Life Difficulties come along.

I learned from that, that I had not finished all my work in taking my financial inventory, nor had I finished the work on all my bad habits I had used, and picked up when I was active in my gambling addiction. So I had more work to do. So when Sean and I were talking about Christmas’s past, when we had no money, no lights, no Christmas tress, no nothing, I told him I couldn’t count how many times I would be in a department store wandering the isles, just wishing I could by everyone gifts for Christmas, but I had gambled all our money, so I couldn’t. I can not tell you how many times I needed things for myself, and would walk up and down the isles just looking, looking at all the things I wish I could buy but couldn’t because I had gambled our money away, . . . again.

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Sean was sharing how much he felt like shit having to go to detox for the week before this past Thanksgiving so he could be clean while visiting his parents in San Diego, CA and not be strung out from drugs.

Then when he got back from San Diego, he bought pain pills and was right back to it!!
THAT is how hard it is to stop being an addict!! Yes, we have to WANT to STOP, but as an addict myself, I do remember those days, months, and years of that BATTLE we have with ourselves, with the constant triggers and urges ALL the damn time. I think those feelings are a little like who and what “The Devil is”. All bad things of this world are and belong to Satan.

The constant battle gets worse once you start your recovery. The first year of recovery, I won’t lie to you all, it’s the hardest thing you will ever do in your lifetime if you’re any type of addict. Those who are know exactly what I’m talking about. The constant racing thoughts, the nagging little person in your head that keeps telling you, “you don’t have a problem, it’s everyone else telling YOU that you do”. Well I’m now smart enough to know, that’s the DISEASE talking. It takes control of our thoughts, which feelings and acts come from.

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We can’t change what we refuse of our addiction to acknowledge . . .

We can not take that FIRST STEP unless we convince our mind, body, spirit, and soul we are truly powerless over our addictions. That they have the control over our life, and it’s useless to keep trying to control the addictions you have. I so remember all the times I sat behind a damn slot or video poker machine, and I just kept stuffing more and more money in them. And even if I won, I would be there even longer until I gambled my last dollar. So it doesn’t matter if you win money or lose it, the addiction is so strong that it takes over. You don’t stand a chance at controlling it. The disease makes you think you can, but it never happens!

I hated myself so much. I had NO idea who I was anymore. I was so disconnected from life, my husband, my friends and family. Even though both sides of our family lived in two different states at the time, I wouldn’t return calls, nothing. My heart and soul was so broken when I finally had to surrender to the fact that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had me beaten down so bad I was on my knees wanting to die. And that’s why I understand about what my neighbor, what Sean is going through. I’ve been there myself. I don’t want him to ‘Give Up’ before HIS MIRACLE happens like mine did.

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When we learn to finally surrender and choose recovery, choose to have our lives back, then we start the journey of letting go. We can start to see things more clearly. Yes, mine was a very bumpy ride to long-term recovery, with relapses, a couple tries in gambling treatment, counseling & therapy, and many GA meetings, and lots of hard work on all my character defects, and much more.
But, then,  . . . we start to get it go. Learning to be brutally honest with yourself, and having faith in a “Power Greater Than Ourselves” will help you obtain that new miracle of life again.

I can not tell you how GOOD it feels to be free of all that garbage, feeling like a hostage to my former addictions. It truly is like a rebirth! NO, . . it was not easy, but SO worth all the work I did to have my life free of addiction. It’s really true that many blessings come from the many negatives and trials we go through in life. I can not count how many blessings have come to me since my full recovery. We need to look at in a personal light. Look at recovery as “investing in your own life ! in your self”. . .
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And when you do break the chains of addiction, be your true self. You will learn to have an even better life in recovery then when you first became an addict! That’s the beauty of Recovery! Don’t be someone you’re not in recovery. Learn to be a better person then the one before, better than the one YOU became within addiction. It can be done. I know this because not only do I live in recovery almost 8 years, I have to live with mental/emotional disorders from my past addictions. And I am a childhood sex abuse survivor.

So having dual diagnosis and living in recovery can be challenging. Like everyday challenging. But I did it, and DO IT. It’s why I continue to share my recovery journey on a personal level. When My book released, my live really did become an open book. All my flaws, misdeeds, character defects and more where now open for all the world to judge. Yes,  . . . I said judge. WHY?
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We judge because it’s sadly the world & society we live in. We judge because there is STIGMA still in this world around those who seem different. Who may have taken a different path then others.
And that is one of the most positive and powerful things about recovery. We learn not only to heal and love ourselves again, but we also learn to have care, understanding, and more compassion for others. That is another blessing that recovery has taught me. And that compassion is why I help others in or out of recovery.

Compassion, and helping others in recovery, or those who are reaching out for help to recover, being of recovery service to others keeps us in recovery. It’s just that simple!

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I wish all of you in Recovery a Bet Free, Clean and Sober Holiday Season! And yes I do say, “Merry Christmas To All & Happy New Year”!!

Many Blessings,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon XoXo 🙂

 

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