4 Years Worth of Gambling Addiction Advocating and Sharing My Story Here on WordPress To Help Many From This Cunning Real Addiction!

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My Story I Shared At “HEROES In Recovery” Shattering Stigma and More…

“My name is Catherine and I am dual diagnosed living with mental health challenges and in recovery from gambling addiction 10 years now!
If I can RECOVER, SO can YOU XOXO”

My recovery journey started in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today.

My point? You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I chose to not do all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.

After this second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a well-balanced recovery and had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, has bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who suffer from a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The nasty habits, behaviors and diseased thinking needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day and reading. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, people who to recover and live with mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen to not be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real disease and addiction. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities, our families’ and now youth and the negative impact it has on all.

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The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. And it the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide than any addiction. Through my own recovery and sharing my testimony, I have learned a lot. The best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.

Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. What is missing is to learn how to also begin the inner work to address the roots of WHY we may have turned to addictions. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in longevity in recovery. I learned this the hard way. I became an addicted.

Now that I have reached ten years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we can weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I share as much as I can with others. I do this in many ways. My second book is almost finished, and I hope to release it late 2017. It will be more of “how-to” for reaching that elusive first year of recovery.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, my readers asked me to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share my recovery and journal in blog form. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover.

Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn from. My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your recovery journey if you do one thing a day for RECOVERY…

“This is my 4 Year Recovery Blogging wish for all who is battling the cunning cycle of gambling addiction. Thank You, WordPress for helping me help others!”

Catherine ~ XO

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4 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

 


Dear Gambling Addiction, ~ It’s My Final Goodbye…Part Two and Forever.

“PART TWO ~ MY FINAL GOODBYE Gambling Addiction”

 

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I still remember the days when you taught me well about trying to control my gambling and you also taught me to be in denial of having a problem, to use blame and entitlement to make me believe that gambling was so much easier than to try and stop and stay in recovery. Your sick so-called  ‘friendship’ was dripping with shame, guilt. You had stripped me of self-worth, confidence, and took much life from me. So much so, I looked at myself in the mirror and only saw an empty shell of a woman that used to be so fun, humorous, loving, vibrant, and beautiful inside and out.

Yes, you taught well. And this time you were even more “cunning and baffling” to me. And when the money was gone,  you made me think it was ok to “Lie, Cheat, Pawn, and Steal from someone as to get rid of all Tom and I worked hard for. You were building an even bigger wedge between my husband and me to the point I was going off the friggin rails emotionally again!

You brought me back to that dark place again. Because you had talked me into thinking I was normal in recovery and didn’t need to take my medications for my mental health. As a matter of fact, things got so out of control again for the second time in 2006, that you made me feel as though it would be best to just “DIE” than face the consequences of this round of poor choices and financial strains.

Of course, you are going to say; “those were all my choice’s I made, they were mine alone, but you know you had a hand in ALL OF IT! Your nasty old habits and addicted thinking came back and swooped right in my thoughts again when I learned I was still missing more work in my recovery, and the financial pressures became too much and again I woke up in a mental/addiction crisis center ~ via the hospital a second time.

NO, I didn’t want to take all my medications all at once, but I just didn’t have the courage or strength, after everything I had been through being arrested and being humiliated in the local newspaper because I stole from a friend. The best thing she ever did was press charges. Even though I was feeling I had to start recovery all over again, and even though I wasn’t gambling. I just didn’t have it in me to keep going to court hearings and just all of it!

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But, I did start over again, along with my higher power by my side (God). I remember hearing these whispers in my ear while in the hospital for the second time. They were faint, but I heard them. I know it was that “Power Greater than Myself” telling me that I have too much to do here on earth and was called to fulfill my higher purpose of what God want’s me to do here. He would not let my journey end like with Suicide. Not even a second try! In that moment, I felt something shift and change inside me.

Many may say that’s bullshit, well I’m here today to tell you it’s NOT. I had prayed for years asking “God” to help take away all the ‘Triggers & Urges’ away from me, and that I would do the rest of the work. Well, it is true when they say; “it happens in God’s, time not ours.”  Good things started to happen.

The triggers and urges became less and less as I worked hard in my recovery. It took time, treatment, and a lot of one on one meetings with my addiction counselor, and gamblers anonymous meetings, so many meetings. It took journaling daily to see my growth and my week areas. It took reading a lot of books and so much more. I then worked with a specialist for a year who really saved my life! Soon I was adding up my days, months, and years away from you. Being more of recovery service to others. That is what helped me stay in recovery too! All the while hoping I was hurting YOU as much as you had hurt me through the years of my undying love for you…

So that is my purpose today with this letter old friend. It is my letter of “Closure and Healing.” Just as writing my book was. It is time for me to say a “Final Goodbye” to you forever. It has taken me a long time to make amends with myself, to forgive myself, to love myself again within my recovery and life’s journey. To release the past and old damages of my gambling addiction and the old friendship with you.

Because of you, I’d hurt and lost many people in my life along the way. Yes, we had many good times, but the bad has outweighed the good. I have come to a place in my life and in my recovery to know I’m no longer a victim of what happened to me as a little girl anymore. It was not my fault of all that happened to me. I have learned to process, forgive, let go and let GOD. He alone is the one, my savior that steers the wheel to my heart and this vessel.

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I’m strong enough today to know I was a very sick addict and know it was not all my fault. My past doesn’t define the woman I am today.

I have taken my power back and NO LONGER ALLOW YOU IN MY LIFE! I Walk By Faith and not by Sight Alone.

WHY?

Because all that time you used me. You also used my past and childhood pain and trauma against me in our friendship, and “REAL FRIENDS” don’t do that. Do I have times I wish this could be different? Of course.

I no longer need to think of you anymore. You see, real friends love, care and support you in life. My life today is so happy, fulfilled, and blessed that I’ve been making all my “DREAMS” come true without you. So many blessings and doors have opened for me since I exposed the truth about you in the release of my book. So others can have an inside in-depth look at how ugly you really are. How deadly you can be and how easy you take over.

Now, 10+years it has taken me to write this and part from you forever. I really never thought this day would come for me all those years ago. I can still and always will remember the worst of our times together, as it keeps me from becoming “complacent” in my recovery.

I remember when I could not tell myself I will NEVER GAMBLE AGAIN. I never need step foot in another casino in my lifetime. Every time I did, you made me want to. You’d make me long for you. No, no, not any longer. Today I have the courage and bravery to say NO to you! Many say God doesn’t perform miracles. They use the excuse that they can not believe in something or someone they can not see.

 

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I pray for those people who say or feel this way daily. And for those still stuck and suffering from the insanity of the “cycle” of this addiction.

WHY?

Because “GOD” does perform “Miracles” all around us. You just need to LOOK, Listen, and Hear them!

I AM one of his “Walking Miracles In Recovery.”

So Goodbye Gambling Addiction, I Don’t Need You Anymore!


“Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow ~ I no longer suffering in Silence”

 


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance Writer

Powerful Messages and A Look Inside Sobriety Through A Former NFL Professional.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and all Visitors,

It is not often people have the honor of becoming friends with a celebrity, or even a retired former NFL professional. No, that usually doesn’t happen to us “regular folk,”  LOL…LOL. But that is some of the beauty of recovery. We meet many people who are not shy about sharing their story and testimony of sobriety. That is what this post is all about! After all, we are all just “humans first and humans in progress” looking for a better way of life from addiction.

So, I have been blessed and honored to meet a wonderful new friend in recovery, but also a brother in “Christ” as well, and he and his wife help MANY reaching to recover from any addiction. I am talking about former NFL Denver Bronco, Vance Johnson and his wife Michelle. Beautiful people with big hearts who make a mission to help others. I came across some POWERFUL videos that Vance has done, and he also works for “Futures of Palm Beach.”

In them, he shares what it took for him to recover, as he did a few unconventional ways to get there. In this first video, he is using Behavioral Health – “Futures of Palm Beach” and their unique brand of psychotherapy and utilizes role-playing exercises, designed to give addiction recovery patients the opportunity to reexamine key episodes of their past through another person’s perspective. VERY powerful stuff!

So please take some time and listen. It is an amazing story and I need to say again, I am happy and blessed to call Vance and Michelle Johnson friends….

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“Vance’s Full Story”



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“Making Amends”

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Recovery Starts Here!

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To Parents: Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset. Guest Article.

Hello Recovery Friends and Visitors,

My weekend guest article is by a special friend of mine, Christine H. and is for ALL PARENTS. When addiction happens to become part of our life journey, we need to remember that it does affect all the people around us, even our children.

So we need to make sure when coming into recovery? We need to include our children as they to may need help and begin to heal. For you as a parent and for children, it can be a learning and teachable lesson for all…

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Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset ~ By Christine H.

We’re all aware that our actions have an affect on those around us, but sometimes we don’t really realize the magnitude of that impact. This is especially applicable to our children. Especially in their early years, they learn everything they know from us. Like a sponge, they absorb our actions, attitude, and behaviors and adopt them as their own. Because of this, we may not realize that our own personal challenges are also reflected in our children’s lives, in one form or another.

None of this is meant to make parents feel guilty, or feel sure that they have ruined their children’s lives because that’s just ridiculous. However, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone in your struggles. They affect the people around you. And to tell the truth, that’s not always a bad thing!

Your children may project your issues onto themselves


Because a child has a difficult time interpreting what causes any sporadic behaviors due to your addiction, it’s highly possible that they’ll project these issues onto themselves, and blame themselves for certain behaviors or sorrows of yours. They could very easily think that there is some action that they’re making that is causing you to be upset.

It’s possible that they’ll draw imaginary connections between your actions and their own, assuming that you’re upset because they forgot to clean their room, or because they asked you for something you didn’t want to give them. They’ll begin to assume that these issues are caused by them, and without anyone to reassure them that they are not at fault, they can start carrying psychological burdens that are unnecessary.

 

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Family therapy can help you troubleshoot


That’s why family counseling can be especially helpful when a family is confronting challenges associated with addiction. In a safe place, your child can be clear and honest about their concerns, and you can address them with the love and assurance that you want to.

Even if you feel like your child has a healthy life and good habits, it will be helpful for them to seek help and therapy for your addiction. It could be because they need emotional support, to validate the way that they’re feeling and that the addiction isn’t their fault. Or it could be helpful to instill good habits in them while they’re still impressionable, so they’re able to function well as adults.

Concerns about genetic addiction patterns


Many studies explore the relationship between addiction and genetics. Despite thorough research, the reason that addiction tends to echo down through generations isn’t perfectly clear. That being said, it seems that there’s a mix of environmental issues that perpetuate the cycle, as well as strict biological factors that are passed from parent to child.

Counseling and working to build a healthy lifestyle for your family in the future can help you overcome environmental issues that contribute to addiction. And when it comes to the biological factors, just remember this: forewarned is forearmed. The more you understand about your own journey through addiction, the more you can help your child set healthy patterns in their own life that can protect them from repeating a harmful cycle.

 

Turning your journey into a positive thing for your children


Have you ever thought about the ways that your journey through addiction recovery can benefit your children? Most of us think that it’s a handicap, but in fact, it can be turned into an asset. Group or individual therapy that most of us participate in through addiction recovery can equip you with special tools. It allows you to communicate more effectively with people around you, to identify triggers, adjust behavior, and transform negative patterns of thinking. What a great legacy to pass on to your children!

There’s one more reason that your history can be turned into an asset for your family. Did you know that studies of school-sponsored drug education have found that scare tactics and stats have almost no impact? The only thing that really helps is something quite rare: honest conversations and testimonials from people who have experienced addiction themselves.


Parenting is never easy, and 
parenting when you also struggle with addiction is a colossal feat. However, most parents eventually learn that they’re exactly the parents that their child needed. You are uniquely equipped to help your child navigate their own journey through life, and your experience with addiction is part of your parenting arsenal… 

Christine H.  

Dear Gambling Addiction, ~ It’s My Final Goodbye…Part One

“It is time to make amends and to forgive me.”

I Am A Recovering Gambling Addict.
In Recovery As of – Jan 29th, 2007
1996 to 2007- “I was a gambling addict until I entered recovery.”

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Dear Gambling Addiction,


It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us now for 10+ years. So I thought it was time to for a final goodbye but first catch up on the years we have been apart, and this will be my last contact with you.

Things have been going well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind in those early years, but I never had the courage to bring myself to tell you that it was time for “A Final Goodbye” forever as it stings for it to be so final…..Like a loss or death. This time it is your funeral and not mine, as my two failed suicides were enough for me.

YES, we have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be a surprise or difficult for either of us to finally be silent from one another. We have been through so much together. And not all was positive. Yes, we shared and had some good times, but that ended up turning deadly for me. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. I just could not deny or see how you began to HURT me in our friendship. I didn’t understand at the middle to end of our friendship and then breakup that you could be so mean, hurtful and abusive to me.

WHY?

Do you not remember the times I’m talking about? There were many I can recall.

Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just a jackass to ME? So much so I tried to kill myself twice because of you! You want me to go THERE? Why don’t we start around the time we first met. We had seen each other around a little, once for my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, then in Reno once a year with my girls, or at the Indian Casino 40 miles from my home once every 3 to 4 months.

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But where did we get to know each other well? It was at all the “Oregon State Lottery Retail” stores opening up everywhere! It was where you and 5 of your video poker machine buddies seemed to be each time we ran into each other. I began to like you a lot and not be able to stay away from you. It was if you had all the control and I just went along with it. That was my downfall.

Especially when I started seeing your shiny video lottery signs outside all the bars and taverns around town, and even in most of the restaurants where hubby and I would go to eat. OH PLEASE, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I knew you were always mad or jealous of Tom my husband the first time you saw us together. I never understood why you didn’t like Tom, and why you were always HELL BENT to do anything to break our marriage apart! Well, I guess most was my fault as I feel “head over heals” in love with YOU dear video and slot machines. You turned out to be the best part of each day. I longed for you like a lover.

I know it was YOU who was always there for me when I was tired, bored, lonely, angry or had too much time on my hands, too much alcohol, and when Tom worked out-of-town those few years, you kept me high and we had such FUN! That’s when you and I got to know each other intimately, and we spent many, many hours together. It was like you loved me so much that all I could see and think of was you. You listened to what said, knew how I was feeling. You made me feel wanted and special.

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Then, to be able to spend more time with you, I had to begin to lie bout where I was all the time. I began to see you before, during, and after work. Then, toward the end of our friendship, you became more greedy and started to cost me a fortune in wasted money, taking more of my time from life, friends, then the job loss, our home, even pawning my jewelry! Need I go on?

You even had a hand in me being “arrested,” then a had a criminal record when I’d never stolen a penny in all the years I worked in the banking field or wasn’t even spending time with you anymore! You had me in such dire financial distress. Yes, I know, that was my fault because I stole from someone just to be able to able to pay my bills. That was even after I tried to stop seeing you! You were like a bad affair I couldn’t get rid of like the movie, “Basic Instinct.”

THEN? before I entered recovery the first time, you began to just take and take from me. Year after year until I had nothing left to give. THE MADNESS and INSANITY HAD TO STOP!

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance writer

Addiction In General and Gambling Addiction: “Just The Facts and Truth.”

My Guest Article Is By: By Chris Hedges of Truthdig ~ A Nation of the Walking Dead.

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Opioids and experiences that simulate the deadening effects of narcotics are mechanisms to keep us submissive and depoliticized. Desperate citizens in Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New World” ingested the pleasure drug soma to check out of reality. Our own versions of soma allow tens of millions of Americans to retreat daily into addictive mousetraps that generate a self-induced autism.

The United States consumes 80 percent of opioids used worldwide, and more than 33,000 died in this country in 2015 from opioid overdoses. There are 300 million prescriptions written and $24 billion spent annually in the U.S. for painkillers. Americans supplement this mostly legal addiction with over $100 billion a year in illicit marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. And nearly 14 million U.S. adults, one in every 13, regularly abuse alcohol.

But these monetary figures are far less than what we spend on gambling. Americans in 2013 lost $119 billion gambling, with an additional $70 billion—or $300 for every adult in the country—spent on lottery tickets.

Federal and state governments, reliant on tax revenues from legal gambling and on lottery ticket sales, will do nothing to halt the expansion of the industry or the economic and psychological toll it exacts on those in financial distress. State-run lottery games had sales of $73.9 billion in 2015, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. This revenue is vital to budgets beset by declining incomes, deindustrialization and austerity.

“State lotteries provided more revenue than state corporate income taxes in 11 of the 43 states where they were legal, including Delaware, Rhode Island, and South Dakota,” Derek Thompson wrote in The Atlantic. “The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets,” he noted. Gambling is a stealth tax on poor people hoping to beat the nearly impossible odds. Governmental income from gambling is an effort to make up for the taxes the rich and corporations no longer pay.

Slot machines and other electronic gambling devices are engineered to draw us into an Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole. They, like our personal computers and hand-held devices, cater to the longing to flee from the oppressive world of dead-end jobs, crippling debt and social stagnation and a dysfunctional political system.

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We frantically keep pulling levers until we are addicted and finally entranced by our compulsion to achieve fleeting, intermittent and adrenaline-driven rewards. Much like what happens to people using slot machines, the pigeons or rats in Skinner’s experiments that did not know when they would get a reward, or how much they would get, became the most heavily addicted to operating the levers or pedals. Indeed, Skinner used slot machines as a metaphor for his experiments.

The engineers of America’s gambling industry are as skillful at forming addiction as the country’s top five opioid producers—Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan, and Depomed. There are 460 commercial casinos, 486 tribal casinos, 350 card rooms, 55 racetracks and hundreds of thousands of gaming devices, many located in convenience stores, gas stations, bars, airports and even supermarkets.

The rush of anticipation, available in 20-second bursts, over hours, days, weeks and months create an addictive psychological “zone” that the industry calls “continuous gaming productivity.” Heart rates and blood pressure rise. Time, space, the value of money and human relationships hypnotically dissolve. A state of extreme social isolation occurs.

 

Gambling addicts, like many addicts, are often driven to crime, bankruptcy, and eventual imprisonment. Many lose everything—their marriages, their families, their jobs, their emotional health and sometimes their lives. Gambling addicts have the highest rate of suicide attempts among addicts of any kind—1 in 5, or 20 percent—according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Donald Trump is in large part a product of gambling culture. His career has not been about making products but about selling intangible and fleeting experiences. He preys on the desperate by offering them escapist fantasies. This world is about glitter, noise, and hype—Trump called the Trump Taj Mahal, his now-closed casino, “the eighth wonder of the world.” The more money you spent, the greater your “value,” the more you were pampered, given free hotel rooms and gifts, handed passes to special “clubs” with lavish buffets. Scantily clad hostesses hovered around you serving complimentary drinks.

If you spent big, you were invited to exclusive parties attended by supermodels and famous athletes. Decorated chips—some featuring a photo of Donald Trump—turned cash into a species of Monopoly money. But in the end, when you were broke when there was no more money in your bank account and your credit cards were maxed out, you were thrown back, in even greater financial distress, into the dreary universe you tried to obliterate.

Roger Caillois, the French sociologist, wrote that the pathologies of a culture are captured in the games the culture venerates. Old forms of gambling such as blackjack and poker allowed the gambler to take risks, make decisions and even, in his or her mind, achieve a kind of individualism or heroism at the gambling table. They provided a way, it can be argued, assert an alternative identity for a brief moment (escapism). But the newer form, machine gambling, is an erasure of the self. Slot machines, which produce 85 percent of the PROFITS at casinos, are, as the sociologist Henry Lesieur wrote, an “addiction delivery device.”

They are “electronic morphine,” and hearing more and more described as “the crack cocaine of gambling.” They are not about risk or about making decisions, but about creating somnambulism, putting a player into a trancelike state that can last for hours. It is a pathway, one sociologist points out, to becoming the walking dead. This yearning for a state of nonbeing is what Sigmund Freud called “the death instinct.” It is the overpowering drive by a depressed and traumatized person to seek pleasure in a self-destructive activity that ultimately kills the organism…

Please Visit Truthdig – There Is Much More To This Article.

Image result for images of gambling addiction the same as crack“Gambling Addiction is the Addiction #1 In Claiming Lives By Suicide”

Why is gambling addiction with slot machines considered as the highest form of addiction with gambling?

  • Psychologists have specifically designed these devices in order to attract people.
  • The new formats of multi-line electronic slot machines contain colors as well as graphics that are very stimulating and compelling to the eye.
  • Music is very stimulating as well with a strong suggestion that penetrates subliminally.
  • With the emerge of bonus rounds there is a great deal of rush involved even if there are many loses occurring.
  • The play has a speed that allows your adrenaline to pump faster.
  • With the jackpots, there can be huge winnings, but they happen so rarely just for the sake to keep people gambling.
  • Slot machines can induce hypnosis inside your brain that is hard to resist.
  • There are no skills involved in the play, making this gambling accessible to everyone.
  • Many ATMs are placed in the vicinity of slot machines for obvious reasons.
  • A lot of slot machines use from 1 to 5 cents to make gamblers think they do not spend too much money on their already outlined gambling addiction.

 

IF YOU or someone you care about has a problem with gambling? Please visit my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling as they have help by each STATE. National Helpline1-800-522-4700

WWW.NCPGAMBLING.ORG/CHAT

Click the icon below to chat with a helpline specialist. If you would like to call the helpline specialist, dial 1-800-522-4700 and if you would like to text the helpline specialist, text 1-800-522-4700. NCPG also supports GamTalk, a
Messaging

 
Author & Recovery Freelance Writer,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂

 

 

 

Awareness Month Feature Article by “The Fix” Explores The Topic: ‘AA Is not an Evidence-Based Treatment’

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AUTHORS NOTE:

“I am in no way demeaning or saying that The 12-Step Program and model is not a form of treatment, nor that it doesn’t help people recover from drugs, gambling, or alcoholism.  But more and more articles like the one I am sharing today and hearing many people talk about needing and wanting MORE than 12-steps to reach long-term recovery and have a well-balanced path from ADDICTION.”

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So please don’t leave me nasty comments as to such. What I am exploring is a more in-depth look into having “Wellness in Recovery.” Many are now searching for ways to obtain treatment AND learn the much-needed skills and tools to begin the “inner work” needed to a well-balanced recovery without relapse or slips in the process.

Let’s face it, if we teach new addicts coming into treatment BOTH, we just may cut relapse percentages in half or more and would mean MORE NEW addicts would be getting the help they need as well.

There are many ways to go about it this.

One new exciting way I have been using and venture I am involved with is for those working in the “treatment side and facilities” and those looking for recovery “AT HOME Recovery.”  Learn more about “Wellness in Recovery” and “Oak Valley Productions Educational DVD Series.” It is a fresh approach to having a well-balanced journey, learn to begin and process the underlying issues that may have you turned to addiction, and learn to release and let it GO!

It will help guide you on how to begin your “inner work” as you learn the educational side of recovery from addiction! See all the details of this non-12 step recovery series and have  “Recover in Wellness” of mind, body, soul and Spirit!

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FEATURED ARTICLE: AA, GA, NA, Is not Evidence-Based Treatment by, Laurel Sindewald 03/16/17

“Researchers have not been able to methodologically eliminate self-selection bias or utilize adequate controls in their studies of 12-step groups and Twelve-Step Facilitation.”

When I read Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, I was surprised to see Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) included as an evidence-based behavioral treatment for addiction. I had just done a literature review on the efficacy of 12-step-based interventions and found the evidence insufficient to support the prescription of 12-step groups as treatment. TSF is a standardized form of therapy where professional counselors try to engage their patients in participating actively in 12-step groups, in part by emphasizing 12-step philosophy during therapy sessions.

Twelve-step philosophy stipulates that addiction is a spiritual disease born of defects of character and that 12-step groups are the only cure, involving faith in a higher power, prayer, confession, and admission of powerlessness. In contrast, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a disease of the brain – a medical condition requiring medical treatment. A spiritual disease concept is not the same as a medical disease concept. Twelve-Step Facilitation treats addiction as a spiritual and biopsychosocial disease, retaining the spiritual emphasis of 12-step philosophy.

TSF was classified as a professional behavioral treatment in the Surgeon General’s Report. How can a professional, medical treatment be based on a definition of addiction as a spiritual disease? Baffled, I knew I would not be able to understand if I got stuck in bias against Twelve-Step Facilitation. I had studied the research on 12-step groups, but had only dipped my toe into the research on TSF. The Surgeon General’s Report cites hundreds of studies, and over a dozen in support of TSF. So, I did what all good scientists must do: I set aside my bias, knowing that if I want the truth, and I must assume first that I am wrong and dig deeper.

I conducted a preliminary literature review to investigate the effectiveness of TSF as a treatment, and then examined each of the sources the Surgeon General’s Report cited in support of TSF. I looked at the methodology, results, and conclusions for each. In this article, I define “evidence-based” to mean any treatment supported by numerous scientific experiments with rigorous methods that include control groups, randomization of patients to treatments, and bias-free samples. I use “12-step approaches” to refer to all 12-step-based rehab programs, TSF, and 12-step mutual help groups.

The key to understanding research on TSF is to know why the treatment was created in the first place. Researchers had documented a correlation between 12-step group attendance and abstinence, but correlation is not causation and research had been limited in several ways:

  • Studies evaluating the effectiveness of 12-step groups could not eliminate self-selection bias, which happens when group members are not randomly selected and participants opt in or select themselves, creating biased samples. The people participating in the studies had chosen to participate, and researchers could not determine whether successes observed were due to 12-step participation or qualities in the self-selected participants, such as greater motivation to enter recovery, more resources, or greater receptivity to messages of God, faith and/or acceptance. The people who chose not to participate, or who dropped out of the study, were not always accounted for. Researchers could not determine whether the correlation they observed was due to the treatment or to the characteristics of the people participating.
  • Twelve-step groups have no standardized methods or conditions. Leaders of the groups are often laypeople in recovery from addiction themselves. The quality of social support in the group depends on the people who are participating. The literature is interpreted by the members, who create their own cultures around the interpretation. Twelve-step cultures also pass around other information and advice, which may or may not permeate every group. Each sponsor is a different layperson in recovery from addiction, with different character traits. Researchers could not control for all of these variables all of the time.
  • Researchers struggled to maintain rigorous control groups throughout studies. At a minimum, to determine whether 12-step groups have an effect, researchers needed a no-treatment control group for each study. Ethically and logistically, they could not prevent people in the control groups from receiving treatment or from attending 12-step groups.

 

A woman's torso and hands holding a sign saying "Treatment"

Twelve-Step Facilitation was developed by researchers working on Project MATCH, a well-known and extensive study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Project MATCH compared TSF to Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), seeking to establish what patient characteristics corresponded with the best results for each treatment. The study found there “was little difference in outcomes by type of treatment” based on the primary outcome measures of percent days abstinent and drinks per drinking day.

By standardizing methodology for TSF, Project MATCH made some headway on strengthening the quality of evidence, but they did not find a way around self-selection bias and they did not have a control group. Many patients, however, did drop out of the assigned treatments early on in the study. Two researchers later examined the outcomes of the zero-treatment dropout group, and found that “two-thirds to three-fourths of the improvement in the full treatment group was duplicated in the zero-treatment group.”

This means that the people in Project MATCH’s treatment groups did not have significantly better abstinence outcomes than the people who dropped out of the study. Importantly, we do not know whether the dropout group sought treatment on their own, and it seems probable that they did. Based on their analysis, none of the interventions in Project MATCH seem to be effective, but without an actual control group, the results are equivocal regardless.

Some researchers have sought to re-analyze other parts of the Project MATCH data, but their findings, while supportive of TSF, are subject to the same methodological limitations of the parent study. Many other studies cited by the Surgeon General’s Report seem to support TSF as effective for improving abstinence outcomes and/or for relatively increasing 12-step participation compared to treatment as usual (TAU), but none of these studies had control groups. The Surgeon General’s Report cited one source in support of TSF that was actually an article reviewing information about 12-step programs to educate social workers, not an experimental study. The Report also cited a study in support of TSF that examined two active referral interventions, 12-step peer intervention (PI) and doctor intervention (DI), compared to no intervention (NI). The study found that while the active referral interventions significantly increased participation in 12-step groups compared to no intervention, “abstinence rates did not differ significantly across intervention groups (44% [PI], 41% [DI] and 36% [NI]).”

This study was the only one cited in the Surgeon General’s Report in support of TSF that approximates a control group, and it does not actually support the efficacy of TSF in increasing abstinence outcomes. The NI pseudo-control group still received a list of 12-step group meeting times and locations, but was not encouraged to attend. The PI group attended meetings twice as much as the NI group, and yet the researchers found no significant difference in abstinence outcomes. The DI group, essentially TSF, was less effective than the PI group at increasing attendance, and again, did not significantly improve abstinence.

My own literature review turned up articles the Surgeon General’s Report did not reference, both in support of TSF and not supporting TSF, but none of the studies I found had control groups either. Results of my literature review, including my assessment of the Surgeon General’s report sources, were therefore as ambivalent as the 2006 Cochrane Review, a systematic meta-study of all 12-step-based programs that found “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or TSF approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems.

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In medical science, if a treatment is ineffective or faces prohibitive methodological challenges, the treatment is either revised or abandoned. Twelve-step philosophy prohibits either approach. Twelve-step literature is comparable to the Bible for Christians or the Qur’an for Muslims; if the literature is removed, the identity of the group goes with it. The same basic text has been used for AA since the publication of its “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1939. Twelve-step literature also explicitly states that “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.” Twelve-step philosophy, by taking this position, is asserting that its methods can never be wrong. If the 12 Steps do not work for people, 12-step philosophy explicitly states it is their fault, and that the fault is inborn and irreversible. The 12 Steps and attendant literature, however, are not modified.

Research does support the concept that changing “people, places, and things” and finding a network of people with a culture of abstinence can improve chances of recovery. However, mutual help groups other than 12-step groups do exist that may provide the social support needed by people in recovery. People who are not religious may be able to make 12-step groups work for them as social support if they have no other choices, but other options will most often be available.

A study in 2001 by Humphreys and Moos found that TSF may reduce health care costs for people in recovery by emphasizing reliance on free 12-step groups, as opposed to cognitive behavioral therapy. Yet their conclusions that the study indicates people should be diverted from CBT to TSF because it is ultimately cheaper amounts to advocating malpractice. TSF itself is not free and is not decisively supported by evidence; twelve-step groups, while free, are not evidence-based treatment, and other available mutual help groups are equally free options for social support. Even if TSF were demonstrably effective at promoting abstinence for some people, 12-step philosophy is heavily spiritual (specifically Christian-based) so it would be unethical to recommend TSF simply because it might save money.

After exhaustive research, I assert with confidence that 12-step approaches are not evidence-based treatments. They may be strong recovery support for people to choose in addition to a medical treatment plan, but 12-step approaches—including TSF—are not established as evidence-based for treating addiction.

Due to the methodological limitations identified in this article, I question continuing to spend thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and invaluable expertise on researching a spiritually-based treatment for addiction that cannot be proven to be effective for most people most of the time compared to “spontaneous,” or natural, remission rates. It is time to relegate 12-step approaches to the realm of recovery support services (RSS, as defined in the Surgeon General’s Report), and allocate our research resources to promising treatments that can be studied rigorously and without such crippling methodological limitations.

** Laurel Sindewald is a writer and researcher for Handshake Media, IncorporatedAnne Giles contributed to this report. **