“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of  The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

Are Your Teens Playing Games with Their Lives?


We all know that gambling, and now internet gaming has been around for a long while.

What we didn’t know was about to happen with the internet and tech offerings and expansion that began in the late 80′ and early 90’s –that gaming and gambling options would be so accessible and continue to grow at a rapid pace as it has. No person better besides myself knows this than my dear friend and The Addiction Expert of Rev Kev’s Recovery World and now the new amazing coach, teacher, and trainer behind the new “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .

So, I welcome and am honored to have Kevin Coughlin back to share some interesting facts about gaming and why parents need to be very privy to the time your kids are spending on their computers and what are they DOING on the internet …
Take it away Rev. Kev!   ~ Advocate Catherine Lyon 

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“A good coach asks great questions to help you remove the obstacles in your mind and to get you back on track in life.”  – Farshad Asl 

Recently, The World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases. This newly identified gaming disorder causes “impaired control over gaming,” according to The World Health Organization. The decision to include internet gaming as a mental health disorder has not come without controversy; professionals from the American Psychiatric Association and other professional’s in the industry have made clear that they believe that internet gaming disorder is a condition that needs further study. Some mental health professionals don’t agree with the “gaming disorder” diagnosis, they think the label is premature. Many clinicians voiced that they believe that young people are actually using video gaming as a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression, which are on the rise in teens, according to the latest national research.

This new process of addiction should not be determined based on a short period of behavior. The World Health Organization stated that a diagnosis of having a gaming disorder should be determined based on behavior over a period of at least twelve months. If an individual’s personal life, social life, family life, work environment, or if they’re a student, their school environment is impaired by excessive internet gaming, these should be considered warning signs of addiction. Comparable with other addictions, despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation.

Experts believe that the causes of gaming disorder are quite rare and that only approximately three-percent of gamers may suffer from this addiction. There is hope for the three percent; however, more help is needed. A former gaming disorder addict, Cam Adair, was quoted as saying, “First just more prevention, there needs to be more awareness in schools. Parents need to be educated, there is a need for better resources and a need for more professionally trained interventionists,  recovery coaches and support services available.”

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Many parents have referred to internet gaming as “digital heroin!” Don is twenty-five-years-old, who just had his second child thirteen months ago, he lives with his girlfriend and the children at her parent’s house. Don works part-time and spends more than ten hours per day playing video games online. He spends every dollar he makes buying online video games and counts on State assistance to feed his children.

Some nights, Don doesn’t even sleep, he plays video games all night and then goes straight to work in the morning. He doesn’t spend any time with his children or his girlfriend. He doesn’t give his family any financial or emotional support. His girlfriend is on the verge of leaving Don and taking the children with her. His life is totally out of control because of online gaming addiction.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to The World Health Organization’s decision-making body, said, that there are three major diagnostic characteristics of gaming disorder: “One is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery.

The second feature is impaired control of these behaviors, even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates. A third feature is that the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning. The impact is real and may include disturbed sleep patterns, like diet problems, like a deficiency in the physical activity.”

The main features of gaming disorder are very similar to the diagnostic features of pathological gambling disorder and substance use and abuse disorders. Gaming disorder is a clinical condition and must only be diagnosed by professionals who are properly trained in this mental health disorder. The majority of treatment and interventions for gaming disorder are based on the methods and principals of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other added sources of support.

Co-founder of Restart (One of the first US inpatient treatment programs for gaming disorder), Hilarie Cash was quoted as saying, “It’s time to recognize gaming disorder as a legitimate medical and mental health condition.”

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak (from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) was quoted as saying, “Whatever the therapy, it should be based on understanding the nature of the behavior and what can be done in order to improve the situation. Prevention interventions may also be needed.” A licensed psychologist, executive director at The Telos Project, Anthony Bean was quoted as saying,

“The ICD diagnosis is not “appropriately informed since most clinicians — and the mental health field as a whole — do not understand the gaming population. And even most clinicians would probably agree that they don’t understand the concept for video games because they’re not immersed in that world or experience.”

Bean recommends that parents and other loved ones concerned about a much-too-avid gamer, ask questions to become as informed as possible. What games are they playing? Why do they find them interesting? Bean is the author of a guidebook for clinicians wishing to work with gamers; however, he has made it clear that he is not on team Poznyak when it comes to the latest thinking on gaming disorder. I believe that Dr. Poznyak is right on target!

Witnessing Don’s gaming addiction firsthand, there is no doubt in my mind that online gaming becomes a disorder when despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation and the person’s choices are even affecting his family in a negative way because of online gaming.

Anything that is out of balance in a person’s life that has negative consequences that are ignored is a potential problem. I think the writing was on the wall a long time ago when it came to gaming addiction. I’m surprised it wasn’t diagnosed sooner!

Some of the warning signs that parents can look for to help determine if there is a problem with gaming and their teen:

Long hours of playing video games.
 
On the computer or other online devices.

Poor personal hygiene.

Lack of self-care.

Not sleeping, playing video games all night.

Poor grades in school or skipping school.

Lack of interest in everything except video gaming.

Isolation and spending much time in their room.

Irritability and anger problems when not playing video games.

Compulsively buying video games and add-ons.

Not eating regular meals at regular times.

Unhealthy diet, impulsivity,  and irresponsibility.

Life out of balance, obsessed with video gaming.

Depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

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Remember, if you think that your loved one is suffering from a gaming disorder, this should be diagnosed and treated by professional clinicians. You should also remember that approximately three-percent of gamers suffer from this addiction and that behavior should be considered over at least a twelve-month period.

The last thing that anyone wants is a parent thinking that their teen has a problem because they played video games one afternoon for several hours and skipped lunch. It’s important to look at the big picture and not to ignore the facts. Should you have any questions, consult a professional who works in this field. Let’s all be informed and aware!

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.
www.theaddiction.expert
Visit:  “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .
Learn More: About Coaching-LinkedIn Article

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Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

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It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

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When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

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20171208_171651(My nephew Mark Lake and his beautiful family)

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I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

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Legal Sports Betting Expansion Passed By Supreme Court – What’s It All About?

Legal Sports Betting Expansion Passed By Supreme Court – What’s It All About?

I was honored to be invited and take part in a multi-line phone conference today that addressed the law passed on Sports Betting and Expansion and it means with Founder, Les Bernal National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling . org and over 100 phone guests today.

Parents, heads up as YOU need to be informed on what is happening and changes coming with online sports betting. And we are not talking places like Fan Fuel or Daily Fantasy Sports betting either. Today was just the first phone session to have a stradegy on how all of concerned of how this will open door up to another easy gambling venue to our kids.

Especially those not old enough yet to walk into a casino or place state lottery bets or play machines of slots, horse racing, and video poker machines. I wanted to share a little some of 2 articles as well about a young man’s story of how Daily Fantasy got him hooked and just how misleading Daily Fantasy is. And another from last moth about the Surpreme Court Decission on sports betting in general to understand what can happen now …

I look forward to sharing more about this problem of sports betting sites as we need always be informed and educated. Now that gambling is reaching our kids, parents, this IS the time to be aware about your kids and what they are really doing on the Internet! They may not be playing video games. They just might be gambling right from their room … Catherine

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How the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Turns Fans Into Suckers ~ The New Times Magazine ~ Jay Caspian Kang

 

Full Disclosure: “I am a 36-year-old dude who bores easily, drinks I.P.A.s and wears sports-themed T-shirts, especially ones with faded, nostalgic logos that suggest better times.”

In my early 20s, I developed a gambling problem that I’ve since learned to spread out over a variety of low-stakes games — Scrabble, pitch-and-putt golf, my stock profile on ETrade. I watch somewhere between six and 20 hours of basketball per week. I try to keep up with the usual cultural things — documentaries about conflict in South Sudan, Netflix binge shows, memes — but whenever I find myself awake in the early morning and there is no email to answer and no news to track, I watch SportsCenter, or I scan the previous night’s N.B.A. box scores to check up on Porzingis, or I read some dissertation on Johnny Cueto’s unusual ability to hold runners on first base. It’s not the most glamorous way to spend my time, but what can I do? My mind, at its most aimless, obsessively seeks out sports information. I am, in other words, the target demographic for the daily fantasy sports industry.

Since the start of this N.F.L. season, I have lost roughly $1,900 on DraftKings and FanDuel, the two main proprietors of daily fantasy sports (D.F.S.). I play pretty much every night. This requires me to pick a team of players — whether baseball, basketball, football, hockey or soccer — each of whom have been assigned a dollar amount, and fit them all under a salary cap. I base these lineups on reasonably educated hunches, something to the effect of: I’ll play the Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill tonight, because he’s going up against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have been a defensive train wreck this season, especially on the perimeter.

Also, Monta Ellis, Hill’s back-court partner, is sitting out, which means more of the usage load should fall to Hill. Sometimes, usually while walking the dog, I’ll even sit down on a park bench and check to make sure that at least some of those facts are real. My bets range anywhere from $3 to $100. My losses in D.F.S. are not financially crippling, nor are they happening at a rate that should be cause for concern. But every gambler, whatever the size of the problem, wants to know that he or she has some chance of winning.

The ads, (advertising) I admit, are what got me. For the first 10 months of 2015, DraftKings and FanDuel spent more than a combined $200 million on advertising, a surge that peaked at the start of the football season, when a DraftKings ad ran seemingly every couple of minutes on television. In addition to the ads, many of which showed regular guys like me who had won, in the DraftKings parlance, “a shipload of money,” there were DraftKings lounges in N.F.L. stadiums, FanDuel sidelines in N.B.A. arenas and daily fantasy advice segments in the sports sections of newspapers and all over ESPN, which, during the first weeks of the N.F.L. season, felt as if it had been converted into a nonstop publicity machine for DraftKings. As of August, both companies had billion-dollar valuations and promised weekly competitions with huge payouts and fast and easy withdrawals.


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(Gabriel Harber, the fantasy-sports podcaster, broadcaster and writer known to fans as CrazyGabey, at his home outside Columbus, Ohio, in late December 2015.CreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times)

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“Given the current state of online gaming, the next logical question is, ‘Is this site legal?’” Fargis continued. “Happily, I’m able to tell you that fantasy sports games are explicitly protected by the U.I.G.E.A. (the same law that has given online poker so much trouble in the U.S.A.). Instant Fantasy Sports is 100 percent legal in the U.S.A. and Canada.” 

I hope you will visit the link The New Times Mag to read the rest of this article as it has some good information … 

 

 

###################  ~ Now to the next article!

 

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6 winners and 4 losers from the Supreme Court’s big sports gambling decision Loser: sports leagues. Winner: sports leagues.

Is Gambling Addiction and Mental Health Separated or Seen As ONE? Listen On My Take On Mental Health News Radio…

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Gambling: The Underground Addiction with Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best-selling Author of her shocking debut Memoir “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. She has fast become well known in the addiction & recovery communities. Her book shares her raw, unedited and haunting past of gambling addiction, living with mental health challenges, a childhood trauma, and abuse survivor, as she helps many in recovery and advocates about these important issues to Shatter Stigma, Raise Awareness, and Educate the public, and those who have been ‘touched’ by the same. Her mission is to spread HOPE to others looking to recover and warn that suicide is not an option or answer for someone with a gambling addiction.

“I’m just a regular woman who wanted to share my personal story about a very big addiction.” NO, I am not rich, famous, or a reality star, I just wanted to share what I’ve been through so others can have more understanding of problem & addicted gambling, and how devastating and cunning this disease is as it devastates your life and how you can recover!”

“Gambling addiction is the hush, hush addiction no one talks about. That now needs to change when 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers thanks to the expansion of Indian casinos and state lotteries in the US. GAMBLING ADDICTION IS currently the highest ‘Suicide Rate’ than any other addiction.”

Just Click and Listen To My Radio Show!

NO, gambling addiction and having mental health challenges are 
separate and is called being
Dually-Diagnosed …

“Big Thank You to Kristin Walker for Having ME!”

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Gambling, Suicide, Twitter News Around The Web of Friends and More!

Gambling, Suicide, Twitter News Around The Web of Friends and More!

So I had a busy weekend visiting some of my favorite recovery websites, and there is a lot going on that is Good News. So I thought I would share some of my friends I am connected to around the web and social media. Many exciting things are happening with gambling and legislation by The National Council on Problem Gambling and my friends of Stop Predatory Gambling team!

I feel the more educated and informed we are as advocates maintaining recovery, and the public, the better we are for having the news and updates of the hard-working people who Care and Share Hope to those who are still suffering and for those reaching out for help. That is the main reason’s I do what I do here on my Recovery Blog! It truly is my way of “being in recovery service to others”…

I was also on Twitter yesterday and was few days prior had been interacting and sharing with some of my good friends. My Brandon Novak from The Jack Ass movies and a few others including myself were tweeting back and forth. I then get a very nice DM on Twitter from a HUGE FAN of the guys of Jack Ass movies like Brandon, BAM, … And I was so “Touched” I shared it with my buddies and wanted to share it here. WHY?

Because we never know who is reading and we may be helping others who need support maintaining recovery!! I Thanked Kylie too!! xoxo

TWITTER MESSAGES:

I’m a massive fan of Bam it’s so good to see him and Brandon skating again and I’ve been watching them both in recovery it’s been exceptionally inspirational Brandon Novak is truly amazing and he inspires me daily as to your tweets! To watch Novak in the Jackass and CKY days, now turned into the true gentleman he is today is a real blessing. Some people never get to see that there is a chance at recovery. YOU truly have an amazing gift and they’re very lucky to be writing about sobriety and all it has to offer. YOUR words are so true addiction is a major problem in Australia where I come from and gambling is huge. It’s the “unspoken addiction.” I had to download all the “Pokie” games on my hubby’s phone to keep him out of the clubs!

It’s more people like you that we need in the world! I try to practice by giving back “Positiveness” to my friends that are still suffering and in addiction and I hope that they see that if I can do it they can do it!! They just need a little bit of love, as I know I felt within addiction I didn’t even love myself, therefore I didn’t feel that I was capable of receiving it …Really is a pleasure to be speaking with you and I look forward to getting to know you better and reading more about your inspirational tweets. If it can just reach one person, then that one person has more of a chance to live again.

You are very lucky to have gotten to know Brandon Novak, I just hope that “Bam” can get through his demons … It is such a shame to see a young boy so full of life and had the world at his feet and after losing his best friend turn to addiction. It’s a constant battle and I just hope that with the love of Novak, and others that Bam can find some peace.

Thanks again for all of your encouragement and support! lots of love Kylie.

MY MESSAGE BACK TO KYLIE:

Very KIND words and I thank you for your support and new friendship! Your words mean much to me and all advocates who share, then it brings our Voices collectively as ONE.

Brandon ‘s friendship, like you said, has been a blessing and inspiration to me. He is always open and transparent maintaining and speaking about his recovery. Though not easy, and yes, we have days when we hit a bump or two, but we never give up! As I have learned, addiction IS always “lying in wait” for those rough days. So if I can help and share HOPE with others so they know to never give up the battle.

WE ARE Worth more than DEATH due to addiction. The more I can inform, educate, and raise awareness about the dangers of Gambling Addiction and Alcoholism, maybe those still suffering will finally have that “Light Bulb Moment” of clarity to not want to live that any longer! Just my 2 cents worth …LOL. I look forward to knowing you better as well!

Please Email Me anytime! lyonmedia@aol.com XoXo CaT 😺💞🤟

“JUST AMAZING SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE ON MY Twitter @LUV_Recovery!!”

 


NOW NEWS AROUND THE WEB!

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SPORTS BETTING WEBINAR: May 22nd, 2018 ~ NCPGambling ~ 1:00 PM ET

The US Supreme Court has declared the federal ban on sports betting to be unconstitutional. By repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the Supreme Court opens the door for any state to legalize sports betting.
Join NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte on this webinar as he discusses the implications resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision as it relates to problem gambling and responsible gaming including:
  • Increased Prevalence of Problem Gambling Across the US
  • The Impact on Public Health
  • A Rise in Youth Gambling
  • The Risks of Mobile Platforms for Sports Betting
  • Legislation and Consumer Protections
Have a specific question you would like addressed in the webinar? Email them to CaitH@ncpgambling.org by 8am ET on Tuesday, May 22.
FREE for NCPG Members | $59 for Non-Members

 

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Hi Catherine,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE               CONTACT: Les Bernal, National Director
May 14, 2018                                          202-567-6996 | mail@stoppredatorygambling.org

STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT’S DECISION IN MURPHY VS. NCAA!!! …

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Stop Predatory Gambling released the following statement following this morning’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the federal law that preventing states from sanctioning and promoting sports gambling:

“All men and women in our nation deserve a fair opportunity to build the best life possible for themselves and their families.”

This litigation was conceived in greed by powerful gambling interests in partnership with a handful of self-serving politicians to benefit a privileged few. It’s a naked money grab from the wallets of ordinary Americans cloaked as a “states’ rights” case.

While the Court’s ruling centered on lofty questions involving states’ rights, the real-world consequences of its decision are severe. The American people lost $117 billion on state-sanctioned gambling in 2016, causing life-changing financial losses for millions of citizens. It directly contributes to the lack of mobility out of poverty that traps so many. This serious national problem will be made far worse if the government is allowed to operate and advertise sports betting.

Sports betting is especially dangerous for American kids. Studies show that children in those countries with legal sports gambling are repeatedly exposed to harmful messages and advertisements about sports gambling. It normalizes gambling for kids.

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Author, Macauley South


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State-sanctioned gambling is a relic of past failures of political leadership. Strong, visionary leaders from both political parties will ultimately phase out state-sanctioned gambling because it’s failed. It’s inevitable. It’s not a question of if but when.

We’ll continue our just fight to improve people’s lives with compassion and fairness until then.”

Click here to read the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

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Stop Predatory Gambling

Who We Are

  • A 501c3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, we are a national government reform network of individuals and organizations from across the U.S.
  • We believe in improving the lives of the American people with compassion and fairness, freeing us from the lower standard of living, exploitation, and fraud that commercialized gambling spreads.
  • We are one of the most diverse organizations in the United States, one in which progressives work side-by-side with conservatives with a common national purpose.

What We Stand For

  • We believe everyone should have a fair opportunity to get ahead and improve their economic standing.
  • We believe every person’s life has worth and that no one is expendable.
  • We believe that a good society depends on the values of honesty, concern for others, mutual trust, self-discipline, sacrifice, and a work ethic that connects effort and reward.
  • We believe no government body should depend on predatory gambling to fund its activities.

If you share our beliefsplease help sustain our work by making a tax-deductible, financial gift today of $10 or more.

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Our Vision

“One day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it “brave” when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.”

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MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS ~ OUR MISSION

The mission of This Is My Brave, Inc. is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues by sharing personal stories of individuals living successful, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essay and original music, on stage in front of a live audience, through stories submitted and published to our blog, and via our YouTube channel.

Through the sharing of stories and experiences of those in recovery, we provide a sense of community and hope; and encourage others to share their stories. We believe that each time one of us shares our story, there’s another crack helping to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. Right now, it’s time to #LiveBrave, stand up with us to say #isharemystory and help us bring mental health issues into the spotlight because they’ve been in the dark too long.

We believe in the power of community. There’s strength found in people coming together to propel a movement forward which is why we created our organization.

Please Help Prevent Suicide and Support The Mission and Visit  “This Is My Brave Org” to Help TODAY!

 

(Huffington Post) – Truckers Line Up Below Bridge To Help Prevent Suicide

 

 

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

“We have a choice on HOW we want to recover. And everyone’s experiences can be different.  It is WHY we have the choice, to begin with! But The 12-Step way shouldn’t be the ONLY WAY to recover from any addiction.”

As we find by this new Guest Featured Article Courtesy of The Fix Magazine! ~ AS I Celebrate my 5-Year WordPress Recovery Blog Anniversary!!

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Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us.

Keep up the good blogging.

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When 12-Step Doesn’t Work…


“In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely NOT your fault.”

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. 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.” –The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I could write rehab reviews like a New York City socialite could write restaurant reviews, detailed with an extensive variety of experience and a favorite for every season. I was close with all of the staff at one, asked to leave for causing trouble at another, and I visited my preferred choice on two separate occasions, making myself at home and staying a while each time. Although many of the rehabs I took residency with differed greatly, they all seemed to share a fundamental staple regarding treatment: 12-step meetings were the way, and anything else was the highway.

Early in recovery, the meetings were my favorite part of the day. Once discharged from inpatient treatment, I’d hop in my dented up silver Honda and travel 50 plus miles to attend meetings with my former rehab mates. It gave me something to look forward to and was a great way to maintain the mere semblance of a social life, my previous social life having been obliterated.

I loved hearing the speakers tell their heart-wrenching and inspirational stories of overcoming immense adversity and eventually finding their way. I loved thinking to myself, “Wow, you’d never guess they were once an addict,” and hoping one day someone would look at me and think the same. I loved the strong coffee, stale cookies, and smoke breaks; it was like a cozy blanket and comfort food to me. I loved 12-step meetings, but the longer I stayed, the more the love began to feel unrequited.

As time passed, I enviously witnessed my peers collecting their milestone chips. I stoically sang happy birthday to people celebrating one, two, five, sometimes 20 years of sobriety. “Keep coming back, it works if you work it!” I’d smile and clap and secretly resign myself to what appeared to be my only two options: keep relapsing and likely die or go to meetings for the next 20 years. Either way, I’d never be escaping my identity as an addict. It never sat well with me that after 20 years of abstinence from mind-altering substances, people in the program would still be in meetings identifying as addicts.

Time and time again, I’d hear a person share with the group how one desperate, dreary day, they’d dropped to their knees and begged God to remove from them the burden of addiction, and the next day they’d woken up and poof! It worked. After a person hears that so many times, they’re bound to try it themselves. I must have tried it as many times as I heard that same testimony. “Stay until the miracle happens,” they’d say. I stayed. I waited for the miracle. I’d wake up desperate for deliverance, only to find defeat. Why was God removing their burden but leaving me with mine? I was deeply genuine, crying, begging even—so naturally, I grew cynical. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that everything I was seeing work so well for my peers, was not at all working for me.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and  Narcotics Anonymous, while technically three distinct programs, they all share the same philosophy and principles. There is no strict delineation between the groups and you’ll often meet people with a breadth of narcotic experience in AA and people who struggle with alcohol use in NA and many are drug users and drinkers with gambling problems or addicted. The steps are the same for all and somewhere within those steps is where all the “magic happens.”

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Before you can attempt the steps, you have to find a sponsor who will show you the way. A sponsor is another person in recovery, typically with an arbitrary minimum number of sober months or years that seems to vary depending on who you ask (but with more time than you). Ideally, they are a mentor, a trusted confidante who will talk you off the wagon’s edge.

They’re someone you tell your deepest darkest secrets to. Literally, your fourth step requires you to write a list of your life’s mistakes, from minor faux pas to your most egregious offenses, and then spill all the dirt to your sponsor. This was the first of many roadblocks I ran into within the program.

I seemed to burn through sponsors like an Uber driver does a tank of gas. My first sponsor and I were unknowingly involved in a 12-step love triangle. Program romances were rampant and newcomers were fresh meat. This is not uncommon and is jokingly referred to as the 13th step. I had a few short-lived sponsors before I found “the one.” She was my perfect match, and then . . . I moved 700 miles away. Although I pleaded with her to continue sponsoring me via Skype, she said it would be best for me to have a sponsor close by.

My next sponsor was someone I felt instantly drawn to and grew very close to. After working through the first three steps, I recorded all of my transgressions, ready for the big reveal. Then casually during an AA group dinner, a mutual friend referenced some seriously confidential information I had shared with only my sponsor, making it apparent our confidentiality agreement had been breached. Although we remained close friends, the trust was damaged beyond repair and my fourth step progress came to a halt.

The good thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The bad thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The first time someone struggling with addiction or alcoholism reads The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the similarities are so striking, it’s as though you’re reading your own diary at times.

People who have experienced addiction share the same symptoms, underlying causes, triggers, and lifestyle and The Big Book articulates that in a way that transcends time, age, and gender. There is, however, a glaring difference between someone early in recovery and a seasoned 12-stepper with several years under their belt. This difference was problematic for me.

Newcomers, or people early in recovery, are generally vulnerable and shaky. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to relapse once or even multiple times. One of the main draws of AA and NA is that the program offers a “sober network,” a community of like-minded individuals who have gone through the same thing and can, therefore, teach the newcomers how to treat their disease. The sober network that the 12-step program provides, however, is not purely sober.

One of the first things you’ll hear going into recovery is that you have to cut ties with your using buddies. I agree with that 100 percent; But in AA and NA, you are actively hanging around people who are barely clean, habitually relapsing, or even just there for the court-mandated requirements and not clean at all. For some people in the program, that’s not an issue.

For me, however, it was like these people were a walking billboard: “Potential Using Buddy,” with loud sirens and flashing lights, a temptation I could not seem to ignore despite two years of actively trying. My addict brain was drawn toward other vulnerable people in the meeting. One of the most important developments in my recovery was acknowledging and owning up to my tendency to take advantage of those situations. When I finally put my foot down and said I cannot recover in the company of fellow addicts, I closed one door and opened a new door to a realistic opportunity for recovery.

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During my two-year and some change trial of the 12-step program, I earned hundreds of chips. You’d think that’s a good thing, but it’s not. In your first 30 days, you get a chip each day and then a 30, 60, 90-day, 6-month, and 9-month chip after that, and from then on, they’re earned yearly. In AA and NA, if you’ve acquired a set number of sobriety days and then you relapse, you are required to stand up, announce that you are newly sober again, and take a newcomer chip every day for your first 30 days back—recounting your sober days from scratch. If you keep relapsing before you hit 30 days, that’s an unending requirement of standing up and identifying as a newcomer.

I remember a specific exchange with a program friend that in recollection feels poignant. I was sharing that I hated counting days and my friend said, “Why? It’s an accomplishment.” I replied, “Maybe for you. For me, it’s repeated humiliation and shame.” And it was. I was in the program as a newcomer for so long, I’d still take a newcomer chip the same day that a peer I came into the program with would receive their one-year chip.

After two years of stumbling through the program, I started seeing an addiction therapist. I disclosed my ill-will toward counting days and she responded by simply suggesting that I stop. That’s not allowed, I told her, the rules are strict. She said if I hated counting days, just stop. I was filled with a huge sense of relief.

Convinced I was incurable because of my abject failings with GA, AA, and NA, I began seeing my addiction therapist twice weekly. It was there in therapy that I was able to free myself of some of the constraints the program had placed on my treatment path and explore more fitting options.

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My therapist told me I didn’t need a sponsor, I didn’t have to count days, I didn’t have to recover in the company of other addicts, and it was okay for me to try medication-assisted treatment. In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely your fault, so this therapist was either a hippie or an angel. Whatever she was, I had hope for the first time.

Now, not to say during my time in the program, I did meet hundreds of people who have successfully recovered. The program can work and I would never suggest otherwise. While it has given life back to tens of thousands of people all over the world for almost a century, it has also left others baffled, frustrated, and defeated.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction and I think suggesting there is is the number one defect of the 12-step program. The program didn’t work for me and that does not make me flawed or a failure. It doesn’t work for many people, and that doesn’t make them incapable of being honest or unwilling to invest in their own recovery. And for those of us who don’t find our solution in the 12 steps, there is a multitude of other options.

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Marriage and Family Therapist Rebecca Deighan stresses the importance of building a network of support, and while that network may be GA, AA, or NA, it doesn’t have to be. It’s more about having a network of people who are supportive and caring, a sense of community. When asked about the 12-step program not working for everyone, Deighan said, “Everybody has a right to self-determination.”

Learning to trust your own instincts and know what is or isn’t working for you is no easy feat for people battling addiction. Having a therapist who encouraged me to trust my own opinions regarding my treatment was incredibly valuable. I can thank almost two years of therapy and medication-assisted treatment for my success in recovery.

There are many options when it comes to recovery: church, yoga and meditation, therapy, exercise, medication-assisted treatment, using self-help books and apps, support groups (12-stepSMARTWomen for SobrietyLifeRing, and others) and more. I recommend trying one or a combination of any of the above.

“Hello, I’m Emily and I’m an addict,” are words that will likely never leave my lips again. I don’t identify as an addict now and I won’t in 20 years.

I chose a recovery path that has left my life as an addict completely in the rear-view mirror, and for me, that’s right where it belongs.

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Emily J. Sullivan

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Emily J. Sullivan is a Los Angeles based writer specializing in addiction, mental health, relationships, and lifestyle. When she’s not chasing around her twin daughters, she’s writing, dancing, geeking out on Game of Thrones with her fiancé and soon-to-be stepson, or shopping for Jimmy Choos on eBay.

 

“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

“I Did Not Choose to Become a Gambling Addict”…

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and Hope Seekers,

So, within only 3 months apart, it happened again! It is pissing me off when those who have NO CLUE about any addiction or about recovery, let alone a gambling addiction nor have been “touched” by it, or know anyone with one or even a family member has. See, I happened to write about this before 3 or so months ago.

So I wanted to vent and share a little more about this as Gambling Addiction is a real disease, people! It does happen, and I am tired of others commented to me that when we advocate we are demeaning others who have real diseases like cancer, diabetes, and others.  When will people wake up and see how bad addictions of any kind are running rampant and killing many each year.

“I surely didn’t wake up one day and choose to devastate my life and my husbands’ life and become an addicted gambler.”   ~Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Recently I read a few comments on Twitter after I tweeted about my gambling addiction and maintaining recovery. It was also about living in the “now” and a well-balanced recovery journey. There are many myths and misconceptions about this disease, the silent killer, and underground addiction. One of which was I chose to become an addict. Really? Did I decide to devastate my life for a few hours of addicted gambling?

Did I choose to bankrupt my husband and me financially? Did I want to end my life by choice because I was hopelessly addicted? No! Gambling addiction is real and is a real disease. It is the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide over all other addiction. Currently, 2.9% of the population are now Problem Gamblers. It is now “touching” our seniors, high school, and college-age kids.

When I began Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I’d hear others say; “Hate the addiction, not the addict.” We are dealing with an illness and tricky beast. That is true with all types of addictions. As Robin Williams was quoted back in the mid 80’s about addiction and recovery; “There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.” That is what we need to do when coming out of treatment and begin our new path away from addiction. We need to look for other ways to replace the time spent gambling, using drugs and alcohol. Robin Williams also said; “It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there, It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK.”

Now, this could not be truer when I look back at my early recovery. We are so broken and riddled with many triggers and urges starting the path called “recovery.” We have no way of knowing how to take charge and own it. Owning one’s recovery, in my opinion, is being real, being honest, and transparent of the good and mostly all the bad. Bad behaviors, choices, and habits we learned as an addict.

But when you “Own Your Recovery” and begin the process of learning why and begin the “inner work,” you begin to change. You begin to forgive yourself for those “poor choices” you had made. You start to accept the consequences, accountability, and responsibility for those choices and actions. You begin to learn and look for some of those “underlying roots” that had you in bondage and attached to your addiction.

Now, most 12-Step programs teach us we can recover without knowing why we turned to addiction in the first place. I am not a firm believer of this. WHY? Because, if we don’t know and learn to work through those issues, how do we begin a steady, healthy, and happy life maintaining recovery? How do we move forward and become fulfilled and productive people? See, we will be “a work in process” for the rest of our lives, many get scared or feel it will be an impossible task, and easier to be an addict than to have their lives back. That is a significant roadblock for many recovering. We are dealing with a “Disease.” So back to my Twitter comments. I have had a few remarks like “addicts make a choice to be addicts.

Other people commented – “I make a “choice” every day and to say it’s a disease minimizes people who suffer from real diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer (WHAT? Really?).”

On the other hand, I know that when I gambled, I lost the control and ability to stop and kept gambling and gambling on slots! That is how gambling addiction is described by “The National Council on Problem Gambling” and knowing we have crossed the line into uncontrolled gambling. My friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling says; “Gambling addiction—is an impulse-control disorder.

“If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones.” And I know first hand that this is true as it happened to me. No, I didn’t come from a background or a family who were gamblers. I was a normal gambler until I began to use it as an “escape, to numb out, and not feel my past childhood trauma” which came back out of nowhere.



So was it “my choice” to become a gambling addict? No.

To begin and maintain recovery is not easy. The first thing to do is reach out for help. There is no shame in doing so. And you can remain anonymous. When you do, become educated about the “cycle” of this disease and learn ways to interrupt the cycle. A sponsor, counselor, therapist, or recovery coach can help you achieve this. Read as much as you can about this addiction and make and have a solid ‘relapse plan and phone list’ to use for those “triggers and urges” in early recovery.

The longer you refrain from gambling, the less they will become. Start a journal. Journaling helps to relieve stress and anxiety. These are just a few ideas on how to begin your recovery path. Make sure you visit my Resources page and The Relapse Prevention Guide I have listed on its own page here on my recovery blog. I am always here to help. You can email me anytime if your needing help or support and where and how to be Gamble Free! lyonmedia@aol.com

Read my E-book as well as it is now on sale for just $2.99 a download on Amazon Kindle.   I share it all of my battle with gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. Giving in-depth insights and disclosing how I found and processed my underlying issues and roots to my becoming an addict. And again, “it was not a choice.” It happens … 

Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Read and learn about this woman’s remarkable and brave story.