My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

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I wanted to have my first recovery post of 2019 to be a personal share and look back as I have been putting the finishing touches on my follow-up book to my first memoir of “Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My second book will be a pick-up from all that has happened in my life while maintaining my recovery from addicted gambling with alcohol abuse. There have been ups and downs and many phases of my recovery and life “Journey” … Many blessings, many doors opened, and as I call them, “Perks of Recovery!” Lol.

But I feel I need to share as I grow and as we all get stronger within our journey. And since I love journaling and a writer, it is also an important part of what I do for my recovery. Journaling is such a healthy way to let go of stress, forgive yourself, heal, and a great way to show others what may work for them in their path.

We all learn the skills and tools to use during treatment or your form you had chosen to begin your journey away from the bondage of addiction, and sharing may help prevent others from relapse or slip. And when you make it in longer-term recovery, you should learn to share your voice and become more of an ‘Advocate’ as it is an easy way to help those that may be new or in early recovery. Like “Paying it Forward” to others.

WHY? Because of Facts Like This Below? It Is Time To Not Be Silent Anymore …

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And is also why I try to find platforms to DO JUST THAT! And this year will be no different. My goal and mission for 2019 are to hopefully shine an even ‘Brighter Spotlight’ and be louder than last year about Gambling Addiction. To be able to help those who don’t understand this ever-growing problem.

It’s Time Share so we can shatter the “Myths and Misconceptions” about this disease if only by a little …

For those who don’t know, I am a Gambling Recovery Columnist for one of the biggest Recovery and Resource Newspaper who wanted to elevate the awareness about gambling addiction now touching more and more people. My dear friends Jeannie, Marcus, and Beth are Founders of “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is FREE for everyone! Great articles and columns and supportive resources for help too. My JAN 2019 column and article is on page 15 and cont’d on page 22!

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About Keys to Recovery


S
preading the Message of Hope and Recovery

 

Our purpose and our missions are to give hope that recovery is possible. Incorporated in the state of California Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity.

Our main objective is to carry the message of Hope and Recovery from all types of addictions and disorders to as many people as possible and to offer resources that may provide treatment and support. We do that by printing (yes, printing) a traditional type of newspaper, as well as having an online presence. Our newspaper is filled with columns from today’s top experts in the recovery field.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspap, Inc. is educating our communities about alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and so much more. We also print, at no charge, a 2-­‐page resource guide listing free services and vital help offered within the communities.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is making a strong effort to reach the many individuals currently in jails or other types of institutions, and offer them information that will assist in their future recovery. For every paid subscription we will be able to send a free subscription to someone in an institution.

 

We are NOT affiliated with AA, NA, Al-­‐anon or any other 12-­‐step program. We do, however, believe in the power of the 12-­‐steps and the principles behind them.

 

We operate Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. using these principles as a guideline -­‐ Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality, and Service.

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So as this new year begins, I will be also committed to posting more of my own personal experiences with addiction and recovery, my mental health challenges and goals as I push through the FEAR of my agoraphobia, depression, and anxiety issues and more about HOW I will be of recovery services to others too! I hope you will follow along and visit often as I’ll be adding more reads and resources on those Pages as well!

I wish you all and very Happy, Blessed, and Successful 2019! 

~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

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Stay Safe Tonight …Stay Sober, Clean, and Bet Free on New Year’s Eve! Tips To Help as I’ve Been There – Done That …

Happy Almost New Year Recovery Friends and Visitors! Welcome, that You Found ME!

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I wanted to round out my being on Holiday Watch and Blogging all through the HOLIDAYS which includes through New Year’s EVE! Look, those of us maintaining recovery NEED to FEEL and know ….WE ARE NOT Missing Out on all the partying or waking up on another New Year’s Day strung out, hungover, our financially broke!

We know we are WORTH and DESERVE Much better Then THAT … But many feel left out or feel they are missing out. Not the case at all. We always need to make sure and take a look back at the WORST of our addicted days and holidays to know we have come along way from those “diseased” hauntings. That was the disease of ADDICTION Running our lives, made our lives unmanageable and took right over …

Not Anymore… And those who have longer-time maintaining recovery know this as TRUTH. We have done and continue to do the work necessary to keep our recovery intact and especially around the holidays. We then “Pay It Forward” and pass on that Wisdom and recovery lessons learned to those who are New and may just be starting Recovery. You are not alone and there are many caring and supportive people willing and ready to be of HELP and SHARE HOPE like me! ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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4 Quick Tips for Staying Sober and Avoiding FOMO on New Year’s Eve

By Kelly Fitzgerald Junco ~ The Fix Magazine 

“FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party.”

If there is one thing that describes my addiction, it was the yearning for connection. Ironic, isn’t it? The thing I spent the most time striving for is the thing that I ultimately couldn’t get, even from the substances that I thought were helping me find it.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be popular. In 5th grade, I remember the girls who were considered “cool” inviting people to their “boy-girl” party. I patiently waited for an invitation that never came. Then in middle school, my peers started getting boyfriends and girlfriends and slow dancing at school dances, but I was never included. I did everything I could to make it seem like I should be included in these exclusive pastimes, but I never felt like I succeeded… until I started drinking.

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Woman next to holiday decorations, alone and avoiding FOMO Fear Of Missing Out

(A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.)

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Taking shots, chugging beer, puke, and rally; these dangerous drinking habits are what ultimately gave me the street cred I needed to become part of the in-crowd. Boys finally found me cool and desirable and girls wanted to be friends with me. This theme followed my entire drinking career. I evolved from a scared child with a couple of friends to an outgoing woman with more friend groups than you could count. Keeping up with my new reputation was exhausting, but it’s how I lived throughout my entire time at college.

When I first heard about FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — something in me clicked and I realized this was the feeling I always got when I couldn’t stand not being at the party. FOMO was what motivated me to drink every night from Wednesday through Sunday during college. I needed to be at every outing and party because if I wasn’t, I risked my popular, cool-girl reputation. I risked not seeing the drama or hearing the gossip. Just like the acronym-dubbed phenomenon, I was fearful I’d miss something, and I couldn’t let that happen.

Now that I’m sober, I’ve realized that so many of us former drinkers had an intimate relationship with FOMO. It’s often what drove our drinking. It can also be what drives our return to use, or our obsession with still going to the places and parties we frequented while we were in active addiction. The holidays can be an especially daunting time for FOMO. In particular, New Year’s Eve is known for lavish and booze-filled celebrations. If you’re sober and worried about FOMO creeping in this NYE, here are some tips to help you play it safe.

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HAVE A PLAN READY:

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1. Plan something new and different. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to make plans in sobriety. Instead of the same old drunken ball-drop open-bar nightclub or wine-infested awkward house party, you get to decide what your New Year’s plans are and they don’t have to include any of those things. You get to plan something fun, new, and exciting. You could travel to a new place, visit a zoo, volunteer at a homeless shelter, watch fireworks, or host your own alcohol-free party. The point is, the decision is yours and your plans don’t have to be anything like they were during your drinking years. Plan something new and different to look forward to. You could even invite your friends and family to your non-alcohol-centered event and avoid FOMO altogether.

2. Read up on the concept of romanticizing. Yes, I’m telling you to Google “romanticize.” This is something we occasionally do about our drinking when we’re sober. We often remember the best and more fun parts of our drinking, but not the times it made us feel horrible or our worst hangovers. I’ve also heard these rose-colored memories referred to as “euphoric recall.” It’s good to have an awareness about this extremely common tactic of our mind. Remember the truth! Just because other people are out there binge drinking or going to events with alcohol doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you used to have fun at these types of events doesn’t mean you will in sobriety. Just because society tries to tell us we need alcohol to have fun does not make it true! Trust yourself. Don’t romanticize any substances you’ve tried hard to leave behind.

3. Give yourself a pep talk. You are one smart person. You know that FOMO is a concept that begins and ends in your mind. It’s a feeling just like any other that will come and then go. If you’re struggling with drinking, I can tell you there is nothing fun to go back to. Drinking again won’t make your NYE any more memorable or special. In reality, you’re unlikely to remember most (or all) of it. You live differently now and it’s time to accept that NYE will be different and that can be a blessing.

If you’re staying sober and debating going to a New Year event where the alcohol might overwhelm you, I’m here to tell you that you will not die if you don’t go to this event. Missing one event won’t change your life or the world. You can always get the lowdown from your friends who do go. I promise there’s nothing at that party that’s so wonderful it will make up for how you’ll feel if you end up drinking.

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4. Imagine the future. In the scheme of the entire world, NYE is just one holiday on one day of the year. Of course, it marks the end of 365 days of your life and that’s special, but there are so many other beautiful ways to celebrate a transition of this magnitude. You could make lists and read books and write in your journal and perform a moon ritual! You could go to a yoga retreat or a sober meet-up. It’s not your fault that society has tricked us into believing New Year’s Eve is a drinking holiday where we need to have a champagne toast at midnight. But it is your responsibility to carve out a new path for yourself on NYEs to come. Imagine your future: would you be happy to give up all your hard-earned sobriety for one night? For one party? For one New Year?

A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.

FOMO took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party. Every time I think I’m going to miss out on something, I never do. I end up doing something better or more satisfying with my time. I end up missing situations, people, and places that aren’t good for me anyway. I miss out on drama, gossip, and drinking.

This NEW YEAR’S EVE, ditch the FOMO and make sure you aren’t missing out on Sobriety.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR RECOVERY FRIENDS!!

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

Welcome Recovery Friends …

Our Guest Article Today is courtesy of the fine folks of Southern Region Problem Gambling Conference and The National Council on Problem Gambling … They both put on conferences about Problem Gambling that are informative for many State Councils like Georgia, North Carolina, and all over the US to spread information and awareness about the negative impacts problem gambling has in all our States and Communities …

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Suffering in Silence: Suicide and Problem Gambling

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“With high profile deaths such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the issue of suicide and the stigma surrounding mental health have remained the center of many conversations throughout the United States and abroad. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that from 1999-2016, suicide rates have steadily increased throughout the United States.

In the states like Florida, suicide rates have risen approximately six to eighteen percent (6-18%).

How does this affect the field of problem gambling?”

 


Prevalence of Suicide Among Problem Gamblers

Problem gambling, known as the “Hidden Addiction,” gets its nickname due to the fact that many symptoms do not present themselves physically as is the case in substance addictions. This means that many individuals suffering from Gambling Disorder often do so alone, potentially increasing feelings of isolation and depleting self-worth.

According to the FCCG’s Annual HelpLine report, twenty-six percent (26%) of 888-ADMIT-IT callers reported having suicidal ideation. Additionally, sixty-six percent (66%) of callers reported having depression, and seventy-two percent (72%) revealed they are struggling with anxiety. It is important to continue to recognize this population of problem gamblers and increase efforts of prevention and treatment.

Although we are unable to pinpoint the exact reason for such a strong connection between suicidal ideation and Gambling Disorder, it is possible that finances play a role. Research indicates that historically, suicide rates have been higher during economic downturns.

What Can We Do?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of suicide victims are not diagnosed with some form of mental illness or disorder until after their death. It is believed that approximately ninety percent (90%) of individuals who take their own lives were living with an undiagnosed mental illness, illustrating the need to destigmatize mental health in the United States. Continuing to have conversations with friends and family regarding mental health is the first step to ensure fewer people suffer in silence but don’t stop there.

( To interject here, this happened to me after my first failed suicide attempt in 2002. While in the addiction and mental health crisis center, and once I became stable, both my primary doctor and the centers’ psychiatrist and after a full evaluation, I was suffering from severe depression, high mania, and anxiety, and PTSD and went undiagnosed until my gambling addiction brought the symptoms to the surface through my addiction. I was using gambling to escape the trauma and sexual abuse I went through as a little girl and had tried to stuff it away for years.)

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

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“Currently and just had a rise from 1% and now 2.6% of our population are problem gamblers.”

Gambling can be found everywhere from physical casinos to a multitude of online websites and apps. It is easier than ever to gamble in the privacy of home or on the go with a smartphone. It’s easy to place bets with PayPal, credit cards, bitcoin, or money-transfer apps. All of this ease has led to an increase in gambling addiction across the world.

Problem gambling can become a compulsive behavior and gambling can be emotionally addictive. Addictions to behaviors (as opposed to addictive substances) are known as “process addictions,” and, just like substance addictions, they require supportive treatment. Specialty rehab programs and support groups are available for people who struggle with gambling addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with gambling behavior, you are not alone. One look at the statistics behind gambling addiction reveals that this problem is prevalent…

The North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help and The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that approximately 2.6% of the U.S. population has some type of gambling issue. That adds up to nearly 10 million people in the United States who struggle with a gambling habit. This issue adds up to approximately 6 billion dollars each year, which impacts the U.S. economy and citizens.

Gambling costs American taxpayers. Public funding for problem gambling went up to $73 million in 2016, but despite those costs, gambling remains regulated by each state and is not federally regulated. Ten states (and the District of Columbia) do not offer any publicly funded gambling assistance. These funding discrepancies mean that public treatment services can vary widely from state-to-state, and the level of care in publicly funded programs also varies greatly.

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The U.S. federal government has largely left gambling regulations up to each state, which means that gambling may be illegal where you live, or it may be advertised on every street corner, as it is in places like Las Vegas, Nevada. The result is a patchwork of awareness campaigns and treatment programs that vary widely in their responsiveness.

States that discourage or prohibit gambling tend to not offer awareness campaigns, and as a result, people who gamble through their phones or computers may be missing information about the dangers of gambling. Awareness of the problem is key to making changes for the better.

Gambling doesn’t only devastate individuals; it is a family issue. Because this particular problem directly impacts family and personal finances, family members who have gambling problems often hide their issue and feel a great deal of shame and secrecy. In severe cases, the problem may go undetected until finances become a major issue. Gambling can destroy relationships, but it is possible to rebuild trust and rebuild finances. No gambling problem has to be permanent.

Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders offers specialized treatment for problem gamblers. A co-occurring disorder happens when someone suffers from more than one problem, such as gambling and anxiety, or gambling and depression … Help is available.

Please Visit or Call Today …

NATIONAL PROBLEM GAMBLING HELPLINE

1-800-522-4700

The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. The network consists of 28 call centers which provide resources and referrals for all 50 states, Canada and the US Virgin Islands.  Help is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential.

The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network also includes text and chat services. These features enable those who are gambling online or on their mobile phone to access help the same way they play. One call, text or chat will get you to problem gambling help anywhere in the U.S. 24/7/365.

Help is also available via an online peer support forum at www.gamtalk.org.


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Christmas Day Recovery Ramblin’s, Reflections, and Advocacy … Be That One, But Carefully …

Christmas Day Recovery Ramblin’s, Reflections, and Advocacy … Be That One, But Carefully …

Welcome Everyone Who Finds Me and My Recovery Blog Today ~ Merry Christmas!

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So I happen to do a Facebook Post yesterday that gave me some things I’d been pondering for a while as I was reading in many of my recovery groups how relapse and struggles have been shared about and by trying to help others looking for help. And like addicts, we can have roadblocks during the holiday season. But one area that hit home for me was swirling in my head from my own past early recovery days … “Being Of Service To Others” and Advocacy. So I thought I’d share and elaborate a little more from my post. 

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Facebook Asks? What’s On Your Mind This Christmas Day?


Hear It Is … A Recovery Message We At Times Need 2 HEAR …

 

NEXT Month on Jan. 29th, 2019 I will have maintained my recovery 12-years.  No “Ego” nor Bragging about this at all.

Why Am I Sharing This?

Because I chose that date as my actual recovery date as it was my “Sentencing Date” by a Judge in So. Oregon who Gave ME A Blessing of a 2ND CHANCE from a crime I had committed and so it would not follow me the rest of my life once I completed all of the punishment given was satisfied …

I Had Never Committed a Crime before, nor after this crime, but I wanted this “Recovery Date” even though I had some time already, BUT? I didn’t want to Never Forget the Poor Choices I had made through all the years within my gambling addiction and abuse of alcohol …

We all have wreckage and baggage from #Addiction.

But when I began Advocating and Raising Awareness about Addicted and Problem Gambling, I too right away wanted to “Be of Service” and help reach out to those suffering as I had.

YOU CAN’T DO IT if your not solid in your OWN Recovery as it CAN be stressful and a Quik source of #Relapse as most who are reaching out are in CRISIS MODE …

I am sharing this because RELAPSE CAN and DOES HAPPEN.  Especially around the holidays. But those with under a YEAR or TWO of Firm, Solid Recovery Time, has done Inner Work, and underlying issues addressed? That has to come first.

There are many ways and phases to be of recovery service. IF YOUR Not 100%? But, how can YOU BE 100% for someone needing or reaching out for help and maybe in crisis?

YES, I Know, It’s in our nature to want to help …you can refer them to someone who can. You can share treatment resources, even connect them to someone that has longer-term recovery or is a Certified Advocate, Recovery Coach, or Interventionist who can make some calls for an open bed, or you can even take them to a recovery meeting.

I do Advocate, and I had a couple mishaps that made me relapse a time or two when only 90 days to 6 months into my journey. But today I chose to do it through sponsoring others, through my book,  through my recovery blog, by email, phone, and of course, through social media and lend my skills as a marketer and promoter of recovery events.

Would I love to be out speaking more, going to conferences, Keynote speaking, or meeting those who need or are reaching out for help?
OF Course! But my mental health disorders don’t give the option or pleasure in doing so. Well,  PLAN B …

I Always Say; 

“Someone needs to be there to answer the emails, answer the phone, or be ready when people reach out through social media or even through my blog.”

DON’T LET anyone discount how you choose to Advocate with and for others when you’ve maintained long-term recovery … Just make sure you are solid and have some long-term recovery or it can be a source of relapse …

Doing Advocacy Work Is Not About a Popularity Contest or Who Has The Most Facebook Likes or Followers … NOT When People Are Dying Out Here From Addictions 

GOD Knows My Heart and It’s In The Right Place  🙏👏🙏😉

PSSST – Stop by my other “Passion” … Books and my Fine Authors I promote if you love reading!  “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den”

 

Catherine Townsend-Lyon – Recovery Advocate/Author 

 

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What You Do If Reaching Out For Recovery At Holiday Time. The Perfect Time To Gain Your Precious Life Back and Steps To Take …

What You Do If Reaching Out For Recovery At Holiday Time. The Perfect Time To Gain Your Precious Life Back and Steps To Take …

What Are the First Steps to Getting Help with Addiction~by Alek Sabin

When a person is struggling from any addiction, especially gambling addiction, it can be hard for them to recognize how far gone they are. Feeling hopeless from the financial pressures as well. Even if they see that they need help, understanding how to get help and the first steps towards getting it can be complicated. There are so many addiction recovery options, each with their own pros and cons.

Adding to the confusion is stress over the cost of treatment and the logistics of leaving your life behind in order to get better. I know it seems overwhelming, but once you take that first step, things will begin to fall into place. Here are some ideas of what that first step might look like, and where you can start your recovery process.

See Your Doctor


The first step on the road to recovery can be as simple seeing your family physician. And let’s not forget, Addiction is a disease, and you don’t need to be ashamed to tell your doctor that you have a problem and to ask for help. Your doctor will be able to provide you with recommendations to an addictions facility or to other addiction recovery programs.

 

Once the doctor gives you some referrals, the next step is to call around to the different programs and see which one you feel best about, and then get started on getting better. Just like you would go to your doctor for a referral to an oncologist if you had cancer or a diabetic who has diabetes, there are medical professionals that specialize in addiction recovery that your doctor will be able to put you in touch with.

 

Meet With a Rehab Center


Most addiction recovery programs will provide a free assessment to anyone who needs one. You can meet with a team of experienced addiction recovery experts who can help you to determine what the best plan for healing would be for you.

Whether a residential stay would be appropriate for you, or an outpatient program, having an assessment will give you an idea about where you’re headed. These professionals can also help to get you enrolled in a 12-step program or other programs and support groups which are completely free, and put you in touch with other resources.

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (1)

Detoxification Programs

If an addict is physically dependent on an illicit substance or nonsubstance like gambling addiction it is incredibly dangerous to stop using it all at once, especially on your own. There are many misconceptions about gambling addiction and a “withdraw” process, as addicted gamblers DO have and go through a “detox” period just like any other addict.

This is one harmful way that many addictions like drugs operate, by, ironically, making it unhealthy for you to stop using them. This is where detoxification programs come in. A detox program provides a safe, medically supervised space for an individual to get treatment as a substance and brain chemicals change or begin with substances, leave their body.

 

12-Step Groups


Most treatment centers and facilities will start you along in a 12-step program during your initial treatment, and you should continue this work with a group of your choice once your treatment program is completed. These 12-step meetings like AA, NA, and GA are a great place to gain perspective from people who understand what you’re going through so you will see your not alone. You can make new friends, gain support, and expand your support system as you continue to overcome your addiction.

Other resources that can help you to find work or a safe place to live can also be found in a 12-step group, so getting involved can really save your life. For recovering gamblers, ask your GA, (Gamblers Anonymous) trustees to schedule a “Financial Pressure Relief ” meeting with you and your spouse and go over the packet to begin your financial inventory and on the road to the accountability of the financial damages and pressure, you may be feeling.

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Trustworthy Friends and Family


Recovery resources are essential, but social support and love are important parts of your life as well, so you shouldn’t neglect them. Weed out friends or family members who would hamper your recovery and learn to rely on those who are supportive of your process. Include those who love you in your recovery, and let them help you to reach your milestones.

Making new friends can be hard, but it will be one of the most rewarding parts of recovery if you can connect with safe, sober, uplifting people to share your journey with. Don’t allow the isolation of addiction to continue to have a hold on you. Branch out to others for support and enjoy the opportunities it gives you to serve and to give back.

 

Helping a Loved One Get Started


Sometimes the first step to recovery doesn’t come from the addict themselves, it comes through the help of those who love them. If you can see that your loved one is struggling with addiction, but they are resistant to getting help, it’s probably time to stage an intervention. Prepare yourself and other attendees well ahead of time, and have some recovery options ready to get started on right away. 
Check out Catherine’s Resource Page while your here.

There are also other support groups like “Celebrate Recovery” … Find one in your area with the Celebrate Recovery Locator.  You’ll be well on your way to a Brand New Life within Recovery! 

 

Holiday Depression Is Real~ Dispelling The Myths About Them By Guest Jake M.

Holiday Depression Is Real~ Dispelling The Myths About Them By Guest Jake M.

 

Depression is a commonly misunderstood illness and more so when you are maintaining recovery from addiction … For an illness that affects an estimated 300 million people, there is a surprising number of people who don’t understand what it is or don’t even believe it exists. It has been said that the chance of a person knowing someone who struggles with depression is over 90 percent! For this reason, it is a good idea to know what depression is — and what it isn’t — so that we can better understand our friends and relatives who struggle with depression.

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about depression. From not being a real illness to depression being an inherited trait, some common beliefs that people have about depression are wildly inaccurate. In an effort to prepare all of us to better understand the people in our lives who struggle with depression, here is a guide that will help to dispel some of the most common myths about depression.

 

“Depression Isn’t a Real Illness”

First and foremost is the very common and unsettling belief that depression isn’t a real illness. In some studies, it was found that over 60% of those who were asked considered depression to be a mindset that is all in your head, and that an effective treatment for depression is simply to “pull yourself together.”

 

Depression is a real illness caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Very seldom is it caused by the victim wallowing in sadness and self-pity, but is, in fact, a biological disorder that needs to be taken as seriously as any other physical injury would be. Just as we would not tell someone with a broken leg, “It’s all in your leg! Just walk it off,” it would be just as inappropriate to tell someone who is struggling with depression that it is all in their head and that they should pull themselves together. Especially when women have hormone changes through life.

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

“Depression is Just Sadness”

A common misconception about depression is that it is simply sadness. Again, people who believe this also believe that the cure for depression is to change your mindset and adopt a more positive outlook on life.

 

Depression and sadness are, in fact, two different entities. It is important to understand the differences between sadness and depression so that we can better understand those around us who struggle with it. Some of the main differences between sadness and depression are:

  • Sadness is usually triggered by a traumatic or difficult event, whereas depression does not need any external triggers.
  • Sadness is temporary, whereas depression lingers for extended periods of time.
  • Sadness is a distinct emotion, whereas depression is better described as a numbness to all emotions.

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“Talking About Depression Makes It Worse”

Many people believe that the more you focus on depression, the worse it will get. This belief is closely tied to the previous belief that depression is “all in your head,” and that a simple change in mindset will cure the victim of depression. This is, in fact, false, and it is one of the more dangerous misconceptions about depression.

 

Studies have strongly supported the theory that not talking about depression makes it worse, and that talking about depression with a psychologist or close friend or family member helps those who struggle with it more than most other treatments. Doctors often prescribe therapy sessions and antidepressants together when they are helping patients with depression.

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“Only Women Are Affected by Depression”

This belief is likely influenced by society’s emotional expectations for men. Because men are influenced by the media and other sources not to share their “negative” emotions, men are much less likely to make known their struggles with illnesses such as depression. Nevertheless, it is a popular belief that only women are affected by depression.

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression

The fact is that everybody can be affected by depression. Male or female, rich or poor, every human being has a chance of suffering from depression, and no group of people is immune. In the United States, it has been observed that males have died from suicidal attempts three to five times more often than women since the 1950s.

These statistics make it clear that women are definitely not the only gender that is affected by depression, and depression is a serious threat to both men and women alike. So don’t wait and make a call to a behavioral or mental health provider if your feeling longer then normal lengths of depression. 

Learning to be Safe From Gambling While Keeping Recovery in Intact. That’s a Win, Win For YOU …

Learning to be Safe From Gambling While Keeping Recovery in Intact. That’s a Win, Win For YOU …

Happy Holidays Recovery Friends and Visitors,


So another holiday season is upon us and those of us in recovery can have a tough time around the holidays. I have in the past with self-sabotaging my Christmas seasons.

How do you ask?

Let me share a “war story of Christmas past.” We can learn and grow in recovery when we safely look at the “Then & Now of Christmas’s Past” as an addicted or problem gambler.”

Many of us in recovery advocate and share to others who still suffer from this cunning addiction and the importance of sharing our experiences, strength, and hope with others when we do tell some of our “war stories.” It gives insights of just how insidious this addiction is. It is one the areas I don’t feel is proper about 12-Step programs. They tell us not to share war stories as it could maybe a trigger for someone.

But, if we don’t learn from these mistakes or choices, how do look back and find growth in our recovery? Yes, you can see your growth by working and re-doing the 12-steps. But, you may need more than that to recover fully. I know I did.

I recall one Christmas that has to be my worst within my gambling addiction and will never forget because I was gambling out of desperation. It is why I make sure all holidays now are safe with a relapse prevention action plan in place the last 11+years that I’ve maintained recovery. I try to make the holidays happy and full of JOY. But back in 2005, that was a different story.

See, the home we had lived and worked very hard for had to be sold through a short sale or we would have lost everything we put into it. But even then, it felt like we lost it all as we are still paying on a balance that was not covered by the sale. It also caused me to make a few bad choices, residual addicted “thinking, I had committed a crime and that big catastrophy I wrote about in my memoir, and I was reeling. I stopped taking my bipolar meds, then took them all at once! I was so angry with myself, feeling so much shame, guilt, low self-worth, and again suicidal because I knew it was because of my gambling is how we got into this mess in the first place! Of course, no excuse’s, just insights.


We were so financially broke. The guilt and shame would hit me each year hard. I knew then it was my fault. I remember being in JCPenney walking around aimlessly wishing I could buy this or that for the family for Christmas. Luckily all our family lived in other states than Oregon at that time as are now living in Arizona. So I had to do the same lame thing I had done for many past Christmas’s, just send a card.

 
It was difficult already after we both had job losses, the very beginning of the economy and markets were getting ready to go South. W finding good paying jobs, and then with my mental health all wacked out, I could not work, and now with even more guilt I became suicidal, took all my meds at one time and off to the hospital and then I ended up back in an addiction/mental health crisis center again from another breakdown right after the holidays. It was all too much!


When I got released from the crisis center, I knew I had a lot more recovery work and inner work to do which included my financial inventory … I had been doing well in my recovery and gamble free at the time, but something was nagging at me. See, you need to know that no matter the addiction, it’s always waiting for us. Even within recovery, if you are not changing the “old thinking” and the old habits and behaviors with good ones, you can still be an addict in the “mind.”

Image result for images of another holiday in recovery

Like the holidays for instance and the point of this post, we can have a lot of temptations around us at this time of year. There are holiday parties for both personal and work-related that can be stressful. We may have had fall outs due to the holidays, (thanks to our addictions and why we have step 9… “to make amends where ever possible”) with friends and family.

Many different reasons that can become a trigger or bring on urges. The stress of the season, lack of money for presents, a slew of things swirling around in our heads! This addicted “cycle” if not broken or interrupted will keep you either in the addiction or just on edge waiting. That is what I needed the second time around after coming out of the crisis. I chose to work with a gambling addiction and behavioral specialist for a year.


And this guy would not “cut me loose” until I could tell him how the “cycle” of addiction happens and tell him the skills and tools to stop it which took me that whole year. Once I learned that and applied those skills and tools, I began the road to long-term recovery. So, my point is, everyone needs a relapse prevention plan. A program that will help you avoid these pitfalls.

I had been given a workbook that I now have listed on my recovery resource pages for all to come and use for their recovery from gambling addiction Relapse Prevention Guide  as it shows step by step what is needed to make a plan to prevent relapse for any occasion like the holiday season, life events like a loss from death, a job loss and much more.

Look, these life events and the holidays will come. So you need to be prepared before they happen, not after they happen. Be prepared and use those tools taught and learned in treatment, or a 12-step program, maybe in therapy or however you choose to reach out and start your recovery journey. Be educated about your addition and learn “the cycle” of addiction. If you need help to make a “Plan,” stop by my recovery blogs Recovery Relapse Prevention Guide page to show you how.

When you do, I guarantee you will have many, many more ‘Happy Holiday Seasons’ to come.

 

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