My Spotlight With Writer, Kristin Walker of Mental Health News Radio and More…


I am happy to welcome, Kristin Walker to Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den’s “Writer Spotlight.” My name Catherine Lyon, Author, and owner of this Den!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

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Tell us your name and a little of what you do?

Kristin Sunanta Walker is my full name. I am the CEO of a behavioral health technology consulting firm, #everythingEHR and host/CEO of a podcast network Mental Health News Radio Network.


Where are you from? 
Huntington Beach, California but I now live in Asheville North Carolina


Tell us more about you? Like your education, family life. Etc.

My education is called the school of hard knocks. Severe and undiagnosed ADHD kept me from being any good at regular school. I also had depression and complex PTSD so I channeled all my energy into work. I started working full-time when I was 15. I am divorced but my best friend is my ex-husband who is also the father of our only child.


Do you have any latest news?

We have a book coming out with my podcast network in the Spring of 2018 called #mentalhealthified which is a compilation of many of the guests and podcasters on our network and their journey with addiction and mental wellness.


Are you a writer?

Yes. I have been writing since I was a teenager but not publicly until about five years ago. I have a book www.emotionalimpotence.com that is being written. Many of the essays are published in other author’s books. I’ll be completing it at the end of next year with many authors writing chapters about personality disorders.

When and why did you begin writing?

I needed to use my voice and I’m a horrid singer. I mean …. Feral cats show up to yowl if I sing, Lol, but I have plenty to get out. Writing and speaking became my outlet.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Sexual abuse at the hands of my biological father and getting entangled with a psychopath in my early forties.

 

How did you come up with the title?

Emotional Impotence was born of dealing with people who objectify other human beings, believe they are their property and have little to no empathy other than for themselves. To me, that is the epitome of being emotionally impotent. I want a book with many professionals and survivors that can explain how much damage these kinds of relationships can do to a person with empathy, especially those of us who have more empathy than others.

The second book “#mentalhealthified” is a hashtag we use for our podcast network. We want everyone in the world to feel positive about their mental well-being. We want them to get “#mentalhealthified.”

Do you have a specific writing style? More an Essay Style.


How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Chapters I write will be about me and my life. The other chapters are written by clinicians, patients, advocates, etc. about their lives.

 

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Yes. I do travel a lot for business. I visit behavioral health agencies to consult with them about their electronic health record technology. I also go to more mental health conferences than I care to admit. We do live podcasts from these venues.

Who designed the covers?

Dan Cropper who is our graphic designer and web developer. We are still working out the graphics so the covers are not ready yet.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That mental/psychological abuse is just as, if not more, detrimental to your mental health than other types of abuse. No one should be stigmatized for struggling with mental health issues which include addiction.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer?

Hands down Alice Walker – been around a long time. Her writing makes the words you think with more beautiful.  Johnnie Calloway – Simple and to the point writing style that packs a powerful punch.  And, of course, you Cat!

Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?

Andrea Schneider. She is a therapist in Southern California. She is also an author and her blog articles about psychological abuse saved my life.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope! But they are still in creation so I am sure they will change a lot before publishing date. We are now in the process of getting the red-line edits and pulling our hair out and dealing with the gut punch from editors.

 

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

That I can actually do this….And that I don’t have to do it alone. I am so much of a collaborator that I really wanted to publish books with multiple authors. So I am grateful that I have a huge number of people around the globe that are authors and wanted to be a part of my books.


If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I can’t even fathom, Lol…

Any advice for other writers?

Be nice to your editor. They are actually trying to help you.

Share one thing about you that will surprise readers?

I can stick my entire fist in my mouth, Lol! Made me real popular in High School. Kidding. I was a saint in High School but I can stick my entire fist in my mouth. Dentists love me.


Will you write another book? 
MANY…


What are you reading now?  
Weed, Inc. by Ben Cort…


Do you remember the first book you read? 
Garfield comic books.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

The Dalai Lama which sounds so ridiculous. I literally just want to be in his energy space for 2 minutes and soak him in. The man oozes peace, contentment, and resilience.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

Podcasting. Writing. Traveling. Hanging with my friends at their houses until they beg me to leave. They are tired but man do we have intense, life-altering conversations while I am there.


Favorite Music?  It’s all over the map but I do love the 80’s.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Telepathically communicate.


What do you want to be written on your
headstone as part of your Legacy?

If there is any bird shit on this headstone, leave it. It means wherever I am, I don’t care about this crazy thing called; “being a human being anymore.” Thank God.

 

Do you have a blog or website where readers can visit for updates, events or updates? www.mentalhealthnewsradio.com * Mental Health News on Blog Talk Radio

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Kristin, I sure thank you for sharing with me, my readers and friends! I always say God brings people into our lives at the right time and I am blessed he brought you into MINE!

Now friends, please connect with Kristin on Social Media and do go listen to her show as they are educational and informative. I will be on soon as we just taped a show together! I will let you know WHEN!

 

Kristin Sunanta Walker

 

Listen to Kristin Sunanta Walker who is CEO, everythingEHR, and CEO, MHNR Network. The host of Mental Health News Radio Links!

 

 

Please Connect With Kristin on Social Media! –  LinkedIn  –  Facebook  –  And Twitter

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My Recovery Spotlight on Author & Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot a Recovering Gambler Like Me…

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What can I say more about this beautiful friend of mine who was responsible for getting gamblers anonymous meetings into Arizona’s Womens prisons and correctional facilities? Marilyn has been maintaining a long-term “Bet Free” lifestyle” and she makes it look easy. She is also my sponsor while I am temporarily living in the Phoenix, AZ area for now. Marilyn calls me each week or so like clockwork, and I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life!

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I came across a wonderful in-depth Guest Interview she did not too long ago on and courtesy of  EnCOGNITIVE.com  … I love Marilyn to pieces as we don’t often meet true supportive friends every day like her. I am excited to mention her and I will be on an upcoming coming radio show together on Mental Health News Radio Network With – Kristin Walker! Our topic will be on ” Switching Addictions” which is also the title of Marilyn’s 2nd book. Her first is a MUST READ Titled; “Gripped By Gambling” a memoir that you won’t believe and is EYE OPENING. So let’s meet and learn more about Marilyn Lancelot…

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Product Details

GRIPPED BY GAMBLING  (A book that will have you in tears and then laughter. A story told with the painful truth about the addiction of gambling and how I found recovery.)

Interview with a Recovering Compulsive Gambler.

“My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal.”


Questions and Answers:

Under what circumstance did you first gamble?

As a young girl, I remember playing cards with family and betting twenty-five cents a hand. I thought it very boring and everyone got drunk and argued. I went to dog and horse races and thought they were too slow. I remember vividly the first time I gambled in a casino. I visited Las Vegas with my husband but only played the twenty-five cent slot machines. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I spent a weekend at a bowling tournament in Reno, NV and that’s when I became addicted.

Did you win the first time you gambled?

The weekend in Reno was what many refer to as beginner’s luck. I just couldn’t lose. I felt I was destined to become a professional gambler and could earn a living in the casinos.

After the first time you gambled, when did you come back again?

When I got home from the bowling tournament I told my boyfriend what an incredible weekend I had and we must drive to Laughlin the following week. We did drive the 4½ hours to the casinos and 4 ½ hours home for the next seven years.

Was it internal or external pressure that made you want to quit?

I didn’t want to quit even though the gambling was killing me, physically, emotionally, and financially. There was no external pressure because of no-one, not even my family knew of my addiction. It was my money and I could do whatever I wanted to and when I wanted to.

What would you say was the lowest point in your gambling life?

Some of the lowest periods in my gambling were the times when I wanted to die; when my credit cards were maxed out, when I began embezzling money from my employer, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about my gambling. But the very lowest was when the police came and took me away in handcuffs for a crime I committed to support my habit.

What were your game or games of choice?

My game of choice was the slot machine. No other form of gambling gave me the hypnotic feeling of escaping as the slot machines did.

Did you have rituals you went through each time you gambled?

My rituals for my weekend at the casino were to wear my lucky shirt, my lucky jewelry, and to follow the same path around the casino floor each weekend. I thought any changes would spoil my luck.

Why do you think it’s hard for compulsive gamblers to understand that money can’t be made through gambling? What is their mindset, do you think?

It was difficult for me to understand that money couldn’t be made through gambling because once in a while I did win and everyone around me won so my turn would come again. I believed I could win all my losses back if I just tried harder. I even bought books on how to gamble successfully. I had to continue to gamble until I hit the big jackpot.

Besides the money, what would you say was the worst thing you lost because of gambling?

I think the worst loss was my loss of the seven years I gambled. For those years I was a zombie and didn’t have time for my family. My mind was not on my job during the week because all I could think about was the weekend.

There is a theory that addictions run in families. Was there anyone in your immediate family who had an addiction problem?

My parents both had drinking problems so if addictive, compulsive behavior is hereditary, then I believe my poor coping skills came from my parents. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my addictions. My five children all became addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Poor coping skills have been contributed to addictions. Can you share with us what coping skills you’ve learned that have helped you? Then specifically how you cope with:

Anger: When I feel angry about something or someone, I stop and analyze my feelings (after months and years of practicing, it becomes second nature) and decide if I should really be upset by the situation or just move past the issue. Like driving down the freeway, if I slow down and allow someone to cut in front of me, I can’t be angry because I allowed that person the courtesy.

Rejection: Feelings of rejection go back many years even before I attended my first 12-step program. If I truly love someone and they abandon me or say cruel things to me, I tell myself, that because I love that person, I will allow them to do with their lives what they want to do. And there again is my decision to allow. If I think they may be on a self-destructive path, I will share my thoughts with them and then allow them to do as they wish. I have learned that I cannot control anyone, not even myself sometimes.

Insecurity: I am not bothered by insecurities today. There was a time when I suffered deeply from an inferiority complex. Today I don’t, I feel that I’m as good a person as I’m supposed to be and I hope people will accept me as I am.

The past: I have forgiven myself for the damage I caused in the past and the mistakes I’ve made. I will never forget them, they’re part of who I am today but I don’t punish myself for my past.

Frustration: If I feel frustration coming on, I do a quick analysis of my surroundings and what’s bothering me. I recite the Serenity Prayer and if I can do something about the problem, I will try and if I can’t, I will accept the consequences.

Or other emotions and events?

Jealousy sometimes pops its ugly head over my shoulder but with a little thought exercise, I can usually make a decision that will show me I have nothing to fear or envy.

Prior to gambling addiction, did you have another addiction? Or did you have another addiction while you were gambling?

I’ve always had addictive patterns in my life. I have had eating problems, I’ve gone through a period where I was a workaholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic and now a recovering compulsive gambler. I know today that if anything feels good, tastes good, or looks good, I have to be aware of the dangers of another addiction.

What would you say is the worst addiction? And why?

I think overeating must be the tougest addiction to cope with. With all other addictions, the person gives up the drug, habit, etc. completely, but with an eating addiction, the person has to modify their habits and continue to stay in the problem but with control.

Almost half of compulsive gamblers are now women. What do you think is contributing to this increase?

I think more women are becoming compulsive gamblers because we are more independent today, we make decisions, earn money, and many of the women are single parents with more responsibilities. Gambling is around every corner, the little store on the corner sells lottery tickets and the churches have bingo. Women feel safe in casinos and the casinos in our backyards and if we can’t drive there, the casino will send a bus to your neighborhood and give you a ride.

There are many theories as to why people develop a gambling problem. They range from social, environmental, biological, cognitive, and spiritual. In your experience, what contributed most to your problem? What theory or theories do you think affect most people?

I guess I don’t look for the reasons why I gambled, I’m just grateful that I found a way to stop. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, college graduate or high school drop-out, the gambling addiction is not prejudiced.

If you could draw up a plan to help someone to quit gambling, what would that plan look like in detail?

If I could draw up a plan for someone to quit gambling, I would follow the 12 steps of Gamblers Anonymous. I would encourage them to attend meetings, find a sponsor, and make an appointment to see a gambling counselor.

How do you feel about the gambling industry as a whole? Do you think they have the right to operate as a business and it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) for the consumers?

I have no opinion on the gambling industry as a whole. I just know it’s not for me.

The gambling industry is expanding as a whole. Do you think more people will become addicted to gambling because of this?

Yes, I think the gambling industry is expanding and more people will become addicted. They can’t avoid it with the clever advertising the casinos provide. The casinos are beautiful and the gamblers are treated royally.

How do you feel about poker? Seeing that it’s all over the place now. Do you feel that celebrities playing in poker tournaments is setting a bad example to young people?

I’m sure the poker tournaments on television will tempt many viewers to take that trip to a casino and test their skill. It could be a trigger for some.

You’ve credited Gamblers Anonymous as being instrumental in your recovery. Can you share with us your experiences in the program– the people you’ve met, your most memorable moments and low-points while in the program?

Gamblers Anonymous saved my life. When I was at the lowest point in my addiction and attended my first GA meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. I knew the other members couldn’t do it for me but I couldn’t do it without them. But I do feel there are many other ways to get help and treatment.

Do you agree with the Gamblers Anonymous program that people are “powerless” over gambling?

I know that I was powerless over gambling because I tried so many times to stop driving to the casinos and I just couldn’t stop. Each weekend on the ride home, I’d cry to myself, “I’m never coming back, this is so stupid.” And half-way home I’d be planning my next trip.

Did any friend or family member attempt to understand your problem? Or did you try to hide it from them?

I don’t think any of my friends nor my family would have understood my gambling addiction. They weren’t aware of my problem because I kept it hidden so well. I even rented a post office box so credit card bills wouldn’t be sent to my home.

Do you remember how many bottoms you hit?

What was the worst or most memorable one? Every morning when I woke up and every weekend on my way home from the casino, was a bottom. The most frightening one was when the seven police cars came to my home and took me away in handcuffs.

Did suicide ever cross your mind in the midst of the addiction?

I thought of suicide many times. When I drove alone in my car I thought one quick turn of the wheel and I’d hit a wall or an 18-wheeler and that would be the end of my gambling.

How did gambling make you feel? What were you hoping to get out of it?

While I gambled, I always thought gambling made me feel good. Some nights I sat on the stool at the casino and didn’t care whether I won or lost, I just wanted to keep playing. The money didn’t seem real.

How many times did you try quitting before you succeeded?

I think I quit every weekend for the seven years I gambled compulsively. That only lasted for ten miles down the road when we left the casino and then I would be planning my next trip. I’d wear a different shirt and I wouldn’t wear that dumb bracelet because that’s what gave me the bad luck.

What were the reactions of your family and friends when you were gambling?

My family and friends never knew the amount of money I lost or won. A compulsive gambler becomes very clever with lies and covering up all their gambling problems. We just can’t let anyone know what we’re doing, they make try to make us quit and I wasn’t ready to quit.

Does the thought of gambling creep into your mind sometimes?

I’m happy to say that gambling doesn’t have a place in my thoughts. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for the first thought that comes into my head but I am responsible for what I do with it after that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t gambled since I attended my first meeting more than 16 years ago but I know that if I made that first bet, I’d be off and running again. And this time I would probably die.

Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets. I regret the harm I did to my employer and I’m sorry for not being there for my family. I’ve forgiven myself but I’ll never forget what I’ve done. You can process it so it doesn’t haunt you every day.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to quit?

If someone wants to quit, they’re half-way there. The desire to stop is the biggest step a compulsive gambler can make. If we don’t have the desire, we can’t quit…

My book GRIPPED BY GAMBLING may be purchased through Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores. The blog here by Author, Catherine Lyon has some good advice and resources I hope people who may have a gambling problem stay and look around while they are here and share with friends and family…

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Marilyn Lancelot

Again, I want to thank EnCOGNITIVE.com  for letting me share this fantastic and informative interview with Marilyn Lancelot. She has published two more important books since Gripped By Gambling. You can visit her on Amazon for all her books here: Amazon Author Page 

Was Problem Gambling A Factor For The Las Vegas Mass Shooter? News About It Around The Web…

Was Problem Gambling A Factor For The Las Vegas Mass Shooter? News About It Around The Web…

“My first and foremost thoughts before my post are to send love, prayers, and condolences to all of those who were lost and the families suffering a loss of loved ones by another senseless shooting. I wish a speedy recovery for all those who were injured. To them? I want to say, PLEASE, if you begin to experience any delayed trauma or symptoms of PTSD, do not hesitate to reach out for help. There is NO SHAME in doing so. Know you are loved and not alone. The world and I have you in our prayers”   ~Author, Catherine Lyon

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I was sent a link to an article that was put out courtesy of The New York Times and found a couple more I will be sharing snippets within my post. The first was about the shooters gambling patterns and behaviors. As I have shared through social media, the more I read and heard coming from news reports, my gut feeling was telling me that this disgusting man may have had a gambling problem.

For the regular person who has NO CLUE about having a problem or addicted to gambling, would not see the same warning signs as I or others who have. While detectives and FBI profilers grapple with finding the motive or the WHY the shooter had killed, I think his gambling played a role in some way. 

 

He was a high-stakes gambler recognized in the casinos of Nevada. He dabbled in real estate investments in Texas. His last known full-time employment was 30 years ago. He was twice divorced. He had a pilot’s license and had owned two single-engine planes. (courtesy – The NY)


Now CNN and MSNBC happen to make a few remarks ‘off the cuff’ about the shooters gambling, but not in a way that would link it to be a factor in what this disturbed man carried out. Oh, they mentioned he was a millionaire, he made many trips to gambling destinations like Reno, Vegas, and gamble on cruise lines. He liked playing a $100 dollar a hand on video poker machines. Even millionaires can run out of money when addicted. Millionaires also carry out crimes and murder. 

And as you all know I am a recovering compulsive gambler, so when I read that in another article I just laughed. The paper wrote he would act ‘isolated’ when playing the machines, no smiles, no talking to others around him. That is called being “zoned out” when you have been playing for hours. What many don’t know when those machines, they are NOT like playing poker at a table. When you’re on video poker machines, each card that is dealt by the machine has a deck of electronic cards behind it!

So it is impossible for one to “card count” regardless if you were an accountant and are a “methodical math or numbers buff” when playing these machines. You are literally playing with 5 decks. The shooter was hitting machines that claimed a high 90’s percentage payout or payback while playing, but even then? The house is usually the one who will win not the player in the long run.

 

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“Details about Mr. Paddock’s career and livelihood were sparse, aside from observations by neighbors and family members that he routinely gambled large amounts of money. “He was a gambler, that was his job,” his brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters Monday at his home in Orlando. “He was a wealthy guy, playing video poker, who went cruising all the time and lived in a hotel room.”


The statement above kind of makes you laugh. If people were making a real living as a video poker player? Wouldn’t there be loads of them in the press and news? And I’m sure there would be even more people not becoming addicted gamblers right? Having a problem with gambling or being addicted has many phases to ones down spiral into a black abyss. It is also a doubled edged sword. If you are winning? You think you will win each time you gamble. But if you take a big loss? You will be out chasing lost dollars and keep gambling thinking you can win back your money.  Las Vegas is in the business to MAKE money, your money.

So they will entice you with many “perks” as they comp meals and rooms to keep you there or come often. And perks is how he met his current girlfriend by the way. She worked in the industry as a “High Limit Hostess.” Most all casinos have them. Same with going to the bars or dance clubs. They have “drink ladies” to mix up all your drinks and keep you ordering more alcohol when you PAY for a table. It sure is different times. It used to be, and maybe still is, that casinos gave away alcoholic drinks as the gambler played to try and make you feel “special,” keep playing longer as the more you drink the more stupid you get with money! Lol.

“The Shooter was 64, lived with his current girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62.
She worked as a “high-limit hostess” at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nev. from 2010 to 2013, according to her LinkedIn account. On Monday, the casino said that she left the company several years ago. High-limit hostesses attend to members of a loyalty club called Club Paradise who spend large quantities of money and receive discounted hotel rooms, meals and other amenities, according to the casino’s website.”

 
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So, was it really fun and games for the shooter when he played? Was it just numbers for him? Was it he just had to WIN? Or was he chasing some loss? The Los Angeles Times reported.

 

“The shooter wanted to win and, like any savvy video poker player, he knew which machine to lock down at Mandalay Bay.

There was only one in the casino — a Jacks-or-better 9-6 machine, meaning it paid 9-to-1 credits on the full house and 6-1 on the flush and offered the casino only a slim advantage. Mandalay Bay was having a contest for a $100,000 drawing and players, based on the amount of their play the next day, would get tickets to enter. He got ready to work.

David Walton, a video poker playing pro, headed down to the casino floor early to nab the good machine. 

There sat the shooter. Not playing it. Just sitting there. Waiting. Walton settled into the machine next to him — not one with as generous a payout schedule — and waited for midnight. When it struck, the shooter hit the machine lightning quick, going at a rate of $120,000 per hour. He barely spoke. Walton said Paddock played 24 hours straight that day in 2007. Before the drawing, Walton wandered over to look at the 4-foot-by-4-foot drum holding all the tickets to the drawing to size up his chances at the $100,000.” (courtesy LA Times)

“Those hopes were diminishing quickly.  “Every ticket on there I saw through the mesh said ‘Stephen Paddock. Stephen Paddock. Stephen Paddock, Walton said. “He won.”


Now, my feelings are the shooter may have won that day, but a decade later, he would ride an elevator up to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, smash out two windows in his suite with a hammer, and aim a 10-minute, rapid-fire volley of gunfire at the 22,000 people gathered below for a country music festival and as he hit hundreds he killed 58 and injured hundreds more. The shooters brother Eric Paddock told reporters last week, “he gambled for more than 20 years.

“Successfully …. He did it because it was a way to have a fun life, and he didn’t go poor or broke doing it.”

Well, sorry, I would have to disagree. If gambling brought so much fun in his life, why did he feel he needed to KILL? Had he finally hit his”rock bottom”?  

I guess we won’t know for many weeks to come. Now that investigators had sent and served many search warrants on the shooters financial holdings and assets, I am sure we will get those answers. Was he going broke? Had he blew through all his millions of money? As a recovering addicted gambler, I know just how fast it happens. The shooter is not immune to the dangers of gambling addiction. He is human. Just because you think you can afford a gambling habit, does not make you again immune to becoming an addict. If he wasn’t having money problems from his gambling? Then maybe the disease took a mental and emotional toll on him and had begun to take over. Gambling is a 24/7 addiction. Even after you walk away from the slot or video poker machine, a card table, craps or roulette wheel.

I know, I had been there. It is exhausting. And it is why many first coming into treatment do have some mental health issues like I did. I had to be on Wellbutrin for over a year from all the obsessive gambling had depleted my brain chemical that triggers your “pleasure and reward” area of my brain. I also was put on anti-anxiety medication as it was in “high mania” mode when first coming to the crisis center AFTER my hospital stay from my first suicide attempt which was not my last. That is how bad I had spiraled down into “blackness.” Of course, I was severely depressed as well.

So as I close, let us remember that many families and loved ones are holding funerals and memorials for their loved one who were taken to soon and in a senseless way. It is NOT about the shooter. And again, my condolences to those families dealing with the loss.

THIS COULD HAVE BEEN Prevented if we had gun control laws in the books. That is another post for another day…

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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(News Snippets Courtesy of “LA Times & The New Times” Referenced Articles)

This Weeks Recovery Spotlight on My Friends of The Arizona Department of Gaming / Division of Problem Gambling.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

Fall is in the air and the holidays are just around the corner. That is a tough time for many of us who maintain recovery from gambling addiction and those who are still suffering and stuck in the cycle of addicted gambling. So I wanted to start shining a SPOTLIGHT on the many recovery resources and places who offer help, education, and raise awareness from gambling addiction throughout the Fall & Holiday Season until the end of the year.

We can never have too many places for help, so I came up with this idea to share them and Shine A Light on those who care and want to help those needing it. I will start for those looking for help in The State of Arizona!

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ABOUT THE ARIZONA OFFICE OF PROBLEM GAMBLING:

Our Mission Is Simple: “Our Mission is to provide and support effective problem gambling prevention, treatment, and education programs throughout Arizona.”

The Division of Problem Gambling is committed to a public health approach to address problem gambling issues.  This takes into consideration biological, behavioral, economic, cultural, policy, and environmental factors influencing gambling and health. We will accomplish our mission and realize our vision by being culturally sensitive and responsive to the needs of our partners and those we serve.

We will be professional, collaborative, equitable, and innovative in our solutions to address problem gambling. To Support a sustainable continuum of services that reduces to a minimum level the impact of problem gambling in Arizona.

General Election 2002’s Ballot Proposition 202 (the “Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act”) stated: “Two percent [of the tribal contributions made to the Arizona Benefits Fund], shall be used by the Department of Gaming to fund state and local programs for the prevention and treatment of, and education concerning, problem gambling.”

The Division of Problem Gambling has been established by the Department of Gaming to fulfill this responsibility.

Another Arizona state agency, the Arizona Lottery, has had a Please Play Responsibly Program since 1998 and a Problem Gambling Program since 2000.  The Lottery and the Department of Gaming are collaborating through an inter-agency agreement to consolidate management of all state problem gambling programs within the Division of Problem Gambling with the goal of ensuring a continuity of services.

“We look forward to serving the people of Arizona by fulfilling our Mission.”

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They offer fantastic advice, prevention, and education for Parents about 
Youth and Gambling this page on their website: YOUTH & GAMBLING.


If they’re not drinking or using drugs, what’s the big deal?”

Gambling is not a safe alternative to alcohol or drug use for YOUTH. Many people think that poker among friends is totally safe if young people are not drinking or smoking. The truth is, while most people do not develop problems with gambling, more youth than ever are developing problems with gambling. Consequences of problem gambling include more than lost money.

Our youth are the first generation in our nation to experience the current acceptability and accessibility of gambling. Their mothers and grandmothers are taking trips to local casinos; families watch poker tournaments on TV as if they were a sporting event and schools regularly have casino nights as fundraisers or after proms and graduation. We owe it to our youth to teach them that gambling is not risk-free.

Large-scale prevalence studies and reviews all confirm the high prevalence rates of youth gambling. It is estimated that between 4% and 8% of adolescents presently exhibit a serious gambling problem with another 10% to 14% of adolescents at risk for developing or returning to a serious gambling problem (Shaffer & Hall, Meta Analysis, 1996, Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 193-214)

Gambling risk behavior is consistently associated with other risky behavior such as drug use, juvenile delinquency, and family problems:

Arizona Youth Gambling Profile Report – 2008

Arizona Criminal Justice Commission Youth Gambling Fact Sheet

Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor Study – 2003

  • Of the students who gamble, the most common age of initiation is 10 or younger
  • Males are more than twice as likely as females to have gambled in the past year
  • Males are three times more likely to respond to two or more “problem gambling” questions than females
  • Gambling involvement is positively correlated with substance abuse and all other risk factors for substance use

Teen problem gamblers have higher rates of:

Crime (theft, robbery, embezzlement)

  • School problems (e.g., lower grades, truancy, behavior issues)
  • Family problems (e.g., withdrawal, behavior issues)
  • Peer relationship problems
  • Legal and money troubles
  • Depression; suicidal thoughts and attempts
  • Dissociative, “escape” behaviors
  • Risk for co-occurring addiction(s) including alcohol and substance abuse

Source: Gupta and Derevensky, eGambling Youth Gambling: A Clinical and Research Perspective


For Adults and Families? They can help both individuals and families with treatment options paid for the State of Arizona. So Arizonians now have help and options to get treatment for Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling. If you or a loved one needs help today? Please call or email below:

JAY HERYCYK

Treatment Administrator
602-255-3888

 

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PROBLEM GAMBLING WARNING SIGNS:
Ask Yourself These Questions?

  • Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
  • Have you ever lied to people important to you about how much you gambled?
  • Have you repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling?
  • Do you gamble as a way of escaping emotional or physical pain?
  • Have you ever relied on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling?
  • Have you ever jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or career opportunity because of gambling?
  • Have you gambled to get money with which to pay debts or to solve other financial problems?
  • Have you borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Do you gamble to try to get your money back?

 

The Four Phases of Escape Gambling

Problem gambling is thought to be a progressive disorder, traveling through four phases. Although this describes the four phases of what is commonly called the “Escape” gambler, anyone experiencing problems in life due to gambling will probably be able to identify with this progression.

Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions

If someone answers “yes” to seven or more of these questions, Gamblers Anonymous suggests it is an indication of a serious problem.

DSM-5 Diagonostic Criteria: Gambling Disorder


A score of five or more is categorized as pathological gambling, but a score of three or four could indicate a serious concern for the problems gambling is creating in one’s
life.
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So don’t gamble with your life like I did! Please visit The Office of Arizona Problem Gambling Division and get help now!  The State of Arizona! 

 

“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

As many of my recovery friends know I advocate in places throughout social media and here on my site to raise awareness, inform, and try to educate the public about the dangers of problem or addicted uncontrolled gambling.  I meet many people who become friends who are maintaining recovery as I am from this disease. My friend on FB, Chris had made a post that I wanted to re-share as it shows most people we come in contact with seems to know someone or a relative with a problem with gambling.

I also wanted to congratulate Chris as he just moved from Kansas here to Prescott, AZ as he has a new job here. He is working for treatment facility who cares and helps those looking to recover from gambling addiction called; Algamus Gambling Recovery Services running house services.  He himself has been in recovery from this illness and now can help others. You can connect with Chris on Facebook! 

 

” I found recovery from gambling on 8/15/13
September is Recovery Month. I’m posting this in hopes that those of you who need help from gambling and want recovery, this shows it’s possible!”  ~Chris Davis

 

Today is one of my days off, so I wanted to go open a local checking account here in Arizona. While opening it the lady banker and I were just having a good conversation. She asked what got me to leave Kansas to come to Arizona. I told her I came for a job. She asked me what my job is. I told her I am a house manager at an inpatient gambling treatment center. We talked about many things during the 45 minutes of opening an account. I told her I felt this is where God had called me to be at this time. We kept talking and she said that there are probably a lot of people out there that have a gambling problem. I said; ” I feel it is very under-reported because many hide it so well or are in denial they have a problem.

Eventually, she shared with me that her family lost track of her uncle for a few years and when they finally found him he was living on the streets. I think she said he had blown thru all of his retirement money by losing it at the casinos around Arizona. This is why I speak openly about my recovery from gambling because the issue of problem gambling doesn’t get talked about enough. I do support advocacy for drugs and alcohol as well because they affect so many too. Most the publicity or articles I see about gambling is either promoting it or something like the article I saw online the other day about a teacher in Michigan was found that she had stolen from the school’s homecoming fund and another camp fund.

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She had taken about $50,000 from the funds and was found she had lost $90,000 on slots in 2016. When I first realized I had a problem with gambling I didn’t know where to get help. So, if you are reading this, then you don’t have that excuse of not knowing where to turn for help. Some need inpatient treatment but are unwilling to take a month or two to get the help they require. I work at an inpatient gambling treatment center now so I can connect you if you are ready to stop gambling and get better. Contact me on my Facebook page that is listed above. I also can help you get you to some inpatient drug and alcohol treatment as well.

Why wait until it gets worse before you get the help you need? It WILL get worse. There IS HOPE, but you have to be willing to want it.

~Chris Davis Recovering Gambler

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About Algamus:

Algamus provides compassionate, professional and comprehensive counseling and gambling-specific residential treatment in the mountainous setting of Prescott, AZ. Designed to further educate and support the compulsive gambler in their search for abstinence and recovery, we pride ourselves on offering the best services available. Our facility offers the most effective treatment modalities and methods to assist the problem gambler in discovering freedom and balance.

JCAHO Accredited  Algamus, founded in 1992, is the oldest privately-funded gambling-specific residential treatment facility in the United States. We are the only Joint Commission (JCAHO) approved gambling program in the US. We’ve operated facilities in Florida, South Carolina, and even Quebec.

With only 14 beds, our program puts the individual first. Our nearly one-to-one ratio of staff to patients ensure that we meet each patient where they are in their recovery journey.  

We serve men and women from all walks of life and all types of gambling addiction: sports, poker, table games, slot machines, and more. We help our patients begin a new life that is no longer gripped by gambling. Since we focus only on gambling addiction, we understand the unique experience of our patients financial and legal woes better than other rehab programs focusing on drugs and alcohol.

We work with most commercial insurance providers and depending on your insurance partner and your plan, your problem gambling treatment program may be covered by insurance Call Today: 1-888-527-2098

Benn Featured On

Gambling Intervention

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Hello, Friends, Readers, Denver Fans, and New Visitors,

Well, we have gotten Vance over his writer’s block… And is why I have not posted in awhile. Today I wanted to share a little about Vance, the man today. WE also wanted to share some of the messages he receives on Facebook almost every day of those he has helped from addiction, looking for help, or maybe a parent whose child is an addict and is just looking for some support or guidance on how to help their loved one. Sharing these are powerful and helps others have a little more understanding of HOW Addictions are killing our loved ones and ravaging our communities.

And with all the coaching, speaking around the country, and events Vance attends, he is seeing this First Hand. It is some of why he does what he is doing. GOD truly had a calling, a faith-driven purpose for his life years ago when he was laying in a hospital bed in a coma for 26 days in the Rock Bottom of his own addiction.

Having Triumphed in his own recovery is how he can now help so many from this EPIDEMIC. Here now is some of those messages he receives.

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We wanted to share this from Vance’s inbox message on Facebook as he received this from a young lady who calls herself Anonymous. HE, of course, knows who she is so we won’t be sharing her name, but her message is POWERFUL…

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The Message From Anonymous:

 

Three weeks ago, after 2 amazing years of sobriety, I was found barely alive in my car. I’ve been thinking about writing this every day since then for you to share Mr. Johnson. My name is anonymous.

I must remain anonymous to preserve my family’s privacy. What you think of me, is not their fault. I’m 27 years old. The mother of 3 young boys. The fiancé of a hard-working, loving man. The daughter of 2 wonderful, supportive parents. The granddaughter of 2 amazing grandparents who I look up to every day. My days are built around my children. I wake up before them, get clothes ready, make their breakfast, clothe them, send them off to school and preschool programs. I kiss their boo-boos and tuck them in every night with a hug and kiss. We sit on the floor and play, cuddle and watch movies, make crazy art projects. I have wonderful friends. We go to playgrounds and out for ice cream.

My fiancé and I make a point to love each other every day. I love spending time with my family and hosting holidays at our home. I anticipate the change of the seasons and find so much joy in the change they bring. I love to write and to get lost in my books. I am so many things, understand. I am also a heroin addict.

Behind every move, I make there is an uneasiness within my family. I’ve spent years clean to fall back at the feet of my demons. Gained back years of trust to lose it all in one day. I fight every day to be a better person. To be honest with every word that I speak, to walk past your purse without even thinking about what’s in there. I know where and how to get high, but I don’t. I chose to live every day, but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve wrecked cars, stole, created my own list of various criminal charges.

I’ve disappointed everyone in my family. My name is anonymous…to protect myself from what you might think of me if you knew. I sit next to you at public functions. Volunteer next to you. My well-behaved, well-mannered children play next to yours. I stand in front of you at the grocery store. I hold the door for you with a smile. If I told you I was a heroin addict, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But there are millions of people out there who look just like me, sitting next to you. Think about this the next time you are feeling hateful towards addicts because we’re people who have just as much to offer. Narcan saved my life and allowed me to have another chance to do things right.

My name is anonymous because I’m still waiting for the world to open their hearts and stop looking down on me.

Annonymous…


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One More Share:

VANCE: Last night I had a call that has emotionally put me behind bars. Once again I know first hand how the people I’m called to help feel when making decisions regarding issues that keep the family in bondage to addiction, every day. This hits home and cuts to the heart.

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There is on occasion when moms and dad’s ask me what options they have when their adult children face jail or even death because of the poor decisions they’re making. Whether he/she is using drugs, selling, lying, stealing, cheating or hanging around a crowd that will eventually take them down. There is TUFF love… I generally ask moms and dads to choose the middle of the road when it comes to free themselves from their adult child’s poor choices. One of many is a home, but no money, and when they need help show them the way with conditions. 


Not protecting them from their choices I think is good practice, because they have been protected for a long long time, you may still be currently supporting them. Reassuring yourself that this lifestyle is their choice, also helps you feel less guilty about cutting down or cutting off financial support. We should replace nagging and yelling with clear communication.

Be confident about your boundaries and be able to say “no” when you’re feeling manipulated. Be done with enabling but still ready to help.

Our adult children are struggling with life, unable to cope with everyday challenges. Many return home from rehab lost and confused in some cases. Can’t hang out with old friends, relationships or even work because they don’t know who they are anymore, not recognizing that they haven’t developed the necessary emotional tools to succeed as an adult in the world of work and relationships. What can you do as a parent?

Many facilities that offer treatment don’t care what happens to them when they leave. No exit plan or resources for ongoing treatment. So do your homework guys. Recently I’ve seen young men that are in transition/halfway homes after being released from jail with no resources for staying clean or accountable, outside of “if you screw up, back to jail or prison”.


YES, this one is personal, so loving all of you who face this with me today. I’m looking in the mirror tonight myself, asking “did I do enough”!

And there is sobriety in that!
www.vanceInspires.com

 


***Yes, Vance is more than just a man in Recovery***

If you or a loved one needs help from addiction? Please visit his website Vance Inspires …  “As a certified sober coach, escort, and intervention I am able to offer multiple options getting your love-one the care they need”…Vance

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Online Resources for Addiction Recovery~By Ian M.

Online Resources for Addiction Recovery~By Ian M.

Written By Ian M.

If you, or a loved one, are struggling with addiction recovery, it can sometimes feel like you are on your own. Addiction is already extremely challenging, but it gets much worse when addicts are isolated. In order to heal, you need to have a network of people who care about you and are invested in your recovery and lasting success. You need people to help you find treatment and stick with the regimen when things become difficult.

On top of all of this, the reality of relapse is also common. In order to deal with relapse in a healthy and productive way, it is best to be involved with others who understand the challenges of recovery and how to navigate relapses. In the end, people with a strong support system are far more likely to be successful in their recovery journey than people without that kind of support.


Thankfully, you are not alone. There are people who currently share your struggles and others who have successfully recovered from their addictions. These people can share wisdom and experience with you. There are also caring professionals who have made it their profession to help people recover from addiction. They have studied for years to prepare them for situations just like yours. These people are ready and willing to be the support that you need. All you need to do is find them.


Fortunately–with the internet–you can find help fairly quickly. There are numerous websites, often from nonprofit groups, that are dedicated to dispersing helpful information about addiction and recovery. Try to do some research and find programs, treatment centers, or physicians that you believe could help you. Not all treatment centers are the same, so you’ll want to spend time looking into their approach and determining which one is best for you.

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On many websites, you may find helpful information about addiction and the challenges that you will need to face. Other websites provide detailed information about where you can find support groups near you. You might even have several resources available to you in your home town that you never knew about. This article has a few of the most well-known addiction recovery sites where you can search various facilities. However, it’s important to note that many of these listings are paid, so it’s up to you to really research and see which one is best for you. Don’t rely on just trusting the one with the most resources to advertise.


The point is this, you can recover. You can get your life back together, and you can heal. It won’t be easy, and it will require time, patience, and a good measure of help from others. Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy, and sculpting out a new life for yourself is beyond worthwhile, it is critical. The first step is recognizing you have a problem. If you’re here, you’ve already done that. Take a look at some of the resources available to you online and start your path to recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is a large organization with a proven track record of helping people with their addictions. They utilize they’re now famous, 12 step system to recover. AA will help you achieve your goals to be sober, but will also help you tend to your relationships and yourself. On the homepage of their website, they have a tool to help you find AA groups nearby where you live. Getting into a group full of people who share your struggle is crucial for success on your road to recovery. Take note that there are many variations of AA for people facing addictions besides alcoholism, as well.

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Sex Addicts Anonymous

This is another organization, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, that specializes in bringing people with similar struggles together for mutual support and strength. Their website also helps you find meetings nearby so that you can get the help you need. There are even options for joining meetings online. As the name implies, these meetings are confidential and you can be open with your peers.

Recovery.org

This website is another tool that you can use to get assistance with your addiction. The website includes valuable resources on topics such as withdrawals, where to find meetings, information on rehabilitation centers, and more. You will need as much information as possible in your fight against addiction. Knowledge and understanding lead to empowerment and planning, which can both lead to recovery. There is even information intended for the families of addicts. These resources are meant to inform and instruct family members of addicts and give them the tools necessary to bring their loved one to recovery.


Doesn’t matter what path you chose to start your recovery journey, sometimes many need more than one. But as long as you chose recovery, YOU can reclaim your life back from addiction… Ian