Looking Inside A Man’s Life Within A Memoir. There Is More Beyond The NFL and Fame…

Looking Inside A Man’s Life Within A Memoir. There Is More Beyond The NFL and Fame…

We come to an age and place in our lives and seems we want to look back and take stock of what we have accomplished, especially when living recovery. Did we meet those early goals in life we set for ourselves?

How do I share what God has taught me? Do I have any regrets even though my path strayed? Would I change anything? What will can I leave behind in this world of my legacy for those still living and forthcoming in recovery?”

Many of these questions can be answered in book form. Though many of us may not feel comfortable writing a memoir of one’s life.  It seems when you are a person who has LIVED many LIVES within one? I feel you need to write about it. And that is what Vance Johnson has chosen to do. And after much research on my end to learn who he is? He has had an amazing life thus far that was screaming to be written about! Lol. My own opinion of course. The rest was God’s intervention.

So how did I become part of this project? Well, it started while I was still a columnist and reached out to him to see if he’d like to be featured at In Recovery Magazine.
Vance then was kind enough to reach out to me through social media and asked if I would be interested in writing a book with him. We met on LinkedIn and when I got the message from him there, I had to actually read a few times to see if it was real! LOL. Yes, I will admit I was a wee bit star struck for about 5 seconds! So, we talked by phone a few times and BAM! We are now writing his Memoir together.

Since this is my first full-length book writing project,  I think I gave him a pretty good deal on the cost of his project…Lol! Not only is he getting a writing buddy, but like he had when he played in the NFL having “his people” watching over him, he has ME now as his literary publicist and built-in book promoter too, not just a co-writer! Lol. So we have begun our writing journey and it has been awesome. So who is Vance Johnson? And why would readers want to read his memoir? WOW! TOO MANY reasons to list my friends! But let me tell you a little about the VANCE Johnson I know…

 


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One place Vance works for that keeps him pretty busy is at “Futures of Palm Beach”.
They offer exceptional addiction treatment and have a wide variety of programs. He is a Community Outreach Coordinator at Futures.  This is where Vance went for treatment and helped to reclaim his life back from addiction. Yes, sometimes our life path may have a direction many do not walk down. Vance, however, is living proof and is one of God’s Miracles, like I am who are beating addiction. Heavenly Lessons needing to be learned on our journey. Here is more of what he does for Futures:

 

Prior to joining Futures, Mr. Johnson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 1985 NFL draft as a wide receiver from the University of Arizona. Mr. Johnson played his entire NFL career for the Denver Broncos from 1985 to 1995 and assisted the Broncos on three consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. Throughout his college career, Vance was also a world-class long jumper. In 1982 he won the NCAA championship and won the gold medal at the Junior Pan American games. In 1984 he just missed making the Olympic track team, finishing fourth and becoming the alternate in the long jump at the 1984 United States Olympic trials in Los Angeles.

Now celebrating over three years of sobriety, Vance offers hope to the struggling addict and their families by sharing his own journey from addiction through treatment and the strength of his faith. Mr. Johnson advocates for athletes seeking addiction treatment help and speaks at prisons, schools and other public and private forums.”

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As Vance and I continue to write together, we look forward to any and ALL feedback from all our friends, readers, writers, and ALL Denver Bronco Fans for your help in telling us what you’d like to read in his new book. We want to give a “little something” for everyone to read in his memoir. Have a favorite football game you’d like to know the back story to? Or perhaps a player rivalry you want to know about? Or you want to know about his recovery? Leave all the questions in my comments and I will make sure we look and answer each one!

We just thought it would be awesome to bring everyone along with us on this journey from beginning to THE END.

 VANCE INSPIRES ~ FEEL HIS PASSION, HIS HONESTY, His Faith! THIS IS The Vance I Know…

 

I MADE IT!  HAVE YOU? #Recovery #Faith

Connect With Vance and Catherine on Social Media!

The Vance Project  ~  Vance Inspires

His Website Vance Inspires ~ Driven By HOPE  ~ He offers Sober Coaching, Professional Presentations, Speaking, Awareness and more!
He Inspires on ~ YouTube

Follow Me on FaceBook  ~  Writing Tweets  ~  Recovery Tweets
My Recovery Blog ~ “Recovery Starts Here!”
My Book/Memoir Now Available on Amazon ~  “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions”
Let’s Connect on GoodReads Too!

Does Your Spouse Have A Gambling Problem? Guest Post By Elements Behavioral Health Center.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,


Today I have a special guest post by the fine folks of “Elements Behavioral Health Centers” with many center locations. They offer unique programs in different settings and offer programs in addiction and mental health. Why is this important? Like myself, we are seeing more people coming into recovery that also have mental health challenges.

And sometimes, these challenges can be part of the root to our addiction. They also have a gambling addiction treatment program as well. So if you know someone who needs help and they may be dually diagnosed? Please visit Elements Health as you will be in good hands. You can call for locations at 1-888-350-2457…

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How to Help Depressed Loved One 2

Confirming Your Suspicions: How to Know For Sure if Your Spouse Has a Gambling Problem

You’ve known for some time now that something is wrong, but you just can’t seem to find the courage to confront your spouse on the issue. What you do know is that he or she has been distant lately, and that, along with a few other signs, means that there’s a problem that needs dealing with. Sure, it could be anything. And you probably want to dismiss what you’re feeling, that gnawing suspicion that your spouse just might have a gambling problem.

How do you know for sure if it’s gambling? Here’s how to get a handle on the issue and confirm your suspicions.

Step Back and Try to Remain Objective

Before we go into the signs that experts say indicate an existing or growing problem with gambling, it’s important that you approach the situation with some sense of objectivity. This will no doubt be quite difficult to do. You’re caught up in what’s going on since you and your spouse live together. It would be unrealistic to think that you wouldn’t be affected by the type of behavior and negative consequences that come from problem gambling.

Still, you have to maintain impartiality if you’re going to be able to look at the situation and recognize the common signs. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the trap of denial and dismissing what are to others obvious red flags. In any case, even though it’s tough to do, you really need to step back and try to remain objective.

What is Problem Gambling?

In order to look at what may be going on with your spouse relative to problem gambling, it’s necessary to define what problem gambling is. Problem gambling, compulsive or pathological gambling, are terms that are used to describe a behavior disorder that has a tendency to become progressively worse over time – unless it is treated.

There are specific diagnostic criteria for assessing problem gambling as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. For the purpose of this article, we will be concentrating on the terms problem gambling and problem gambler. Their terms are meant to describe an individual whose gambling causes emotional, financial, psychological, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and for those who live with and care about them.

It is important to make this distinction here because most experts generally view problem gambling as somewhat less serious than either compulsive or pathological gambling. But that doesn’t mean that problem gambling isn’t cause for worry. Problem gambling may lead to compulsive and then pathological gambling.

And, since problem gambling doesn’t exist in a vacuum, other addictive behaviors are commonly seen in a problem gambler. These may be a contributing factor or could arise out of the gambling behavior and include problems with drug abuse, alcohol, and/or addictive sex.

Types of Problem Gamblers

You may have not have heard the terms action gambler and escape gambler before but these are the two broad types of problem gamblers.

Action gamblers are typically men. They may have begun gambling when they were teenagers. Skill games are their preferred form of gambling, so they gravitate toward sports betting, poker, craps, dog racing and horse racing. What drives them is the belief that they are smarter than the system, and that they can consistently beat the odds and win.

Escape gamblers, on the other hand, generally drift into gambling a bit later in life. As the name implies, these gamblers get into the habit as a way of escaping their problems. Loneliness, depression, bad marriage, too much stress are some of the problems they’re trying to escape. Escape gamblers are typically women, but men can become escape gamblers as well. In any case, escape gamblers prefer a form of gambling that induces a hypnotic state of mind. These games include lottery, bingo, video poker and the slots.

Right off the bat, you may have some idea of whether or not your spouse falls into one of these categories of a problem gambler. If your spouse has always bet on football, frequently goes to the track, and has done so for most of his life, you’re already in the right ballpark to suspect that there may be a problem with gambling.

There is some research that suggests that people who grew up in families where gambling was prevalent tend to be more likely to gamble themselves. If the gambler in the family considered gambling as a way to solve problems, financial or otherwise, this attitude may be passed on to the children. In addition, people with a history of depression, hyperactivity, and mood swings may be more likely to gamble.

While there still needs to be much more research done in another area, children raised in families where the father is absent, whose parents are workaholics, are abusive, or where money is used to show either love or anger, may be more likely to develop into problem gamblers.

Problem Gambling Stages

Problem gambling progresses in stages. Some addiction experts separate it into three, four, five or more stages. We’ll simplify it into three stages.

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First, there is the winning stage. This is the period during which an individual discovers gambling, finds it exciting, intoxicating, a highly social and entertaining activity, and begins to see it as an escape from worry, stress, family or loneliness. The gambler may experience a few wins and begins to shower loved ones with gifts. He or she still has control over gambling at this point, meaning there is still money and the gambler isn’t resorting to extraordinary means to fund gambling. Life is good for the gambler in the winning stage. It will likely be the last time that this will exist.

The losing stage comes next. How quickly winning turns to losing varies – it could be extremely fast. No longer experiencing the consistent wins, the gambler becomes more preoccupied with gambling. They experience a need to make bigger bets, to bet more often. Money becomes an issue. All this begins to take an emotional toll on the gambler. Then, as losing continues, the gambler begins to “chase” the losses by making progressively bigger and more frequent bets even as he feels mounting guilt and shame over his actions.

It’s during the losing stage that credit cards get maxed out, insurance policies cashed in, items pawned or personal property sold, savings robbed, and retirement funds exhausted. Heavy borrowing becomes commonplace. The gambler starts missing work and lies to his or her family about gambling. A string of phony stories and lame excuses are offered to family and friends when the gambler gets jammed up and needs cash. What they’re looking for is a bailout in the vain attempt to recoup their losses.

The family begins to suspect – here’s where you come in – that there’s something really wrong. Creditors may start harassing the family demanding payment for past-due bills. Your mortgage may be past-due or perhaps one of the family cars is repossessed. The utility companies may even shut off services due to non-payment of bills.

Addiction experts say that it’s during the losing stage that many problem gamblers start calling gambling hotlines. If they recognize that their problem has reached a critical stage, they may be amenable to getting help. Unfortunately, many don’t stop gambling and progress to the next stage.

The final stage of problem gambling is called the desperation stage. As debts mount, his or her health shows signs that the stress is eating away. Insomnia is a frequent occurrence. Relationships deteriorate with the spouse, loved ones, close friends, and even co-workers or even worse they lose their job. Financial problems reach critical proportions. Eviction, foreclosure, and bankruptcy may occur.

The problem gambler has reached the end of the line. Feeling hopeless, powerless, depressed, filled with guilt, shame, and remorse, the problem gambler in the desperation stage may switch to escape gambler games for the purely hypnotic effect – anything to escape the intolerable reality his life has become. Some problem gamblers leave their family at this point, preferring to run away rather than face what they’ve done. Others attempt suicide. Still, others make the decision to finally get help.

What happens if the problem gambler continues in this desperate stage? Here’s where a fourth stage comes in. It’s known as the hopeless stage. Depression is common and suicide is often the only option the problem gambler sees at this point.

But let’s not think about the desperation stage right now. At this point, let’s look at some specific signs to confirm your suspicions and know for sure if your spouse has a problem with gambling.

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

Since you live with your spouse or partner whom you believe to be gambling, be on the lookout for these warning signs.

  • Looking over the monthly statements for checking and savings accounts, you see withdrawals that you had no knowledge of.
  • Checks start bouncing and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees add up.
  • Credit denial letters start arriving in the mail.
  • Items around the house start to disappear.
  • A flurry of collection notices arrive in the mail and creditors start calling demanding payment for past-due bills.
  • The bill for your spouse’s cell phone for calls and/or texts starts ratcheting up.
  • Your spouse is always secretive about money.
  • Despite having a job, your spouse always seems to be short of cash.
  • Your spouse may have taken over the bill paying, but you notice that only the minimum amount is being paid on bills.
  • Your loved one may become involved in very high-risk investing or starts frequently trading.
  • Despite the bills going unpaid, you discover your spouse has an unexpected and large amount of cash.
  • You notice that your wallet or purse is depleted of cash that you know was there, or your child says that money disappeared from his piggy bank.
  • Friends start asking when your spouse will pay back loans, or you find that there’s an increasing amount of payday or other unexpected loans that your spouse has taken out.

Problem gamblers also start experiencing difficulties at work that you may become aware of.

  • Missing work, arriving at work late and leaving early are typical signs of mounting problems with gambling.
  • Using sick days to get off work to gamble is another telltale sign.
  • Your spouse starts taking extended lunch periods or long breaks.
  • Your spouse’s boss comes down on him or her for failure to finish projects or tasks at all or on time.
  • Your spouse uses the company telephones for non-work related calls.
  • Co-workers report that your spouse is making calls related to gambling while at work.
  • Co-workers also may tell you that your spouse has asked to borrow money from them and takes an extreme interest in office pools, particularly sports pools.
  • Your spouse gets a reprimand for using office computers to gamble.
  • Cash advances on the company credit card used for gambling purposes, stealing or embezzling funds at work, and asking for frequent advances on a paycheck are other warning signs.

What You Can Do

Adding up all the warning signs, do you have your suspicions confirmed that your spouse has a problem with gambling? If the answer is yes, you have enough evidence to confront your spouse and ask that he or she get help for the problem. But is that a good move on your part at this point? What should you do, and in what sequence?

As the other partner in the marriage, you have a vested interest in keeping the union together. What happens to the family is very much dependent on the healthy relationship that the two of you share. When your spouse develops a problem with gambling, unless it’s treated, it could spiral from its current stage into an ever-increasing downward plunge.

Gambling addiction experts caution that encouraging your loved one to get treatment for a gambling problem may meet with a number of different reactions. First is denial. Your spouse will tell you anything he or she thinks you will believe in order to get you off the subject of gambling. There’s no problem. I’m not gambling. I can handle it. Stay out of my business. Everything will work out fine. These are just some of the statements you may hear. Of course, they’re probably lies. So you need to be diligent and persistent about trying to encourage your spouse to get treatment.

It won’t be easy. But you definitely don’t want the situation to get any worse than it already is. What you can do to help ease your own mind is learn all you can about how to deal with a spouse or loved one with a gambling problem. Look into a possible intervention with the help of professionals like Elements.

Consider joining Gam-Anon, the 12-step organization affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous. Gam-Anon is for the family and close friends of a gambler. Its sole purpose is to help assist you with the problems you face in your life due to your spouse’s gambling problem. It’s that simple, and that complex.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable yet in actually going to a Gam-Anon meeting. Or, perhaps you’re afraid that your spouse will not take kindly to your attending. But you can go online and get answers to a great many questions you have, as well as find online and telephone support groups that can help you come to some reasonable way of dealing with your situation. No, it isn’t counseling, but it is support from others who are in the same position as you. These people know what it’s like to have a loved one consumed by gambling problems or addiction. They’ve learned how to cope, continue to encourage their spouse or loved ones to get help to overcome their addiction and, failing that, to mutually support each other so that life can go on.

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Gam-Anon meetings are safe places to bring up your current situation. No one will judge you. It is anonymous, so you don’t have to worry about others knowing who you are. You can laugh with others, cry, talk about what’s bothering you, ask for suggestions, and listen to the stories of others. This is a community of support – and it’s something that you need very much in learning how to cope with living with a problem gambler.

For now, just go online and check out the website. Look at the questions and answers. Download and print out or keep on a flash drive some of the Gam-Anon resources and publications. Check into some rehab facilities that treat gambling addiction or your States Lottery as they also have set aside money for treatment services and programs when others become addicted. 

Talk with a trusted friend, another family member, your minister or doctor. But do definitely seek some help for yourself. If you’ve confirmed your suspicions and are sure your spouse has a gambling problem, you can’t force him or her to do anything. But you can help yourself and be in a position to encourage your spouse to get treatment.

Bottom line: Reach out and get help for you. This may be the most important thing that you can do right now.
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“Presented by Gambling Recovery Starts Here!  ~  Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…
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“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…


Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

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Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.

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Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.

 

Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.

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“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 


Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

So? Is mental illness more difficult for men than women?  Can they learn to cope and come to acceptance of a diagnosis?  I came across a great article from my friends at “The National Alliance on Mental Illness” and they help many find treatment, advocate, raise awareness and educate the public on a growing topic impacting thousands. Mental illness and disorders in the society we seem to live in today is affecting 1 in 5 people each year. So is it harder for men? Give this article a read to learn more…

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Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness

By Joshua Beharry and Dr. John Ogrodniczuk | Apr. 21, 2017  NAM

While growing up, boys learn what it means to “be a man.” Unfortunately, some of these “manly” teachings can be downright harmful like “big boys don’t cry,” “suck it up,” “tough it out,” and more.  Most boys are taught to ignore or dismiss their feelings—internalizing vulnerability and asking for help as a weakness. Boys then grow into men, without ever being in touch with their emotions or knowing how to identify or describe what’s bothering them.

For these reasons, many men find depression a difficult topic to discuss. They feel ashamed that they need help and are too embarrassed to ask for it. “For a long time, I’d been pushing things away, hiding my emotions and pretending that everything was okay, but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I’d drifted too far and I wasn’t going to come back,” says Joel Robison, concept photographer and mental health advocate.

Starting the conversation is the first step towards recovery. For many men who have overcome depression, the turning point came when they reached out to a friend or family member for support. It’s usually something they wished they had done sooner rather than later. Here are specific things any guy can do to start a conversation about mental health:

Talking to a Friend or Family Member

 

If you don’t normally talk about your mental health or feelings, it can be hard to know which person in your life is best to talk to. And you may be worried about the reaction you’ll get if you reach out. Just keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t have to be perfect, and you should only share what you’re comfortable with. Try easing in:

  • “I’ve been getting pretty stressed lately.”
  • “I’m going through a tough time right now, and I think something might be wrong.”
  • “I think I may be depressed, have you noticed me seeming more down lately?”

Be prepared for different responses—in particular, don’t be deterred if you don’t find the support you were hoping for right away. But if things go well, you can talk more and ask for more specific support, like working out together or helping you keep up with chores. Most people are happy to be given a chance to lend a hand in a time of need. When you’re doing better, you can return the favor.

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Talking to a Professional


Depression
is a serious illness. It can make your life miserable if it’s not treated properly. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you have ongoing serious pain, you go to the doctor. If you think you may have depression, you go to the doctor. That’s how simple it should be. When you talk to a doctor, you’re talking to someone who knows about depression, and whose job it is to help you. That’s why it’s essential to get their input.

If you’re hesitant to see a doctor because you think they’ll just throw medication at you, know that medication isn’t the only treatment for depression. Your doctor can give you advice about certain lifestyle changes and different treatment options that may or may not include medications.

Once you’re at your appointment, it may feel a little awkward getting started. Be as honest and as specific as possible about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your life. Here are some examples:

  • “I can’t sleep at all.”
  • “I’m too tired to go to work, but I keep going out drinking.”
  • “I don’t want to see my friends anymore; I’m sick of everyone.”
  • “Sex isn’t interesting me like it used to and it’s getting harder to perform.”
  • “I’ve been gaining (or losing) a lot of weight recently.”

Depression is one of the leading risk factors for suicide. It’s a real and serious condition that affects millions every year. Talking about depression is never easy, but men everywhere need to start talking about their mental health. There are effective treatments and there’s no shame in seeking support. In fact, reaching out could very well be the smartest and bravest thing you could do. It could save your life.

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Joshua R Beharry — Since recovering from experiences with depression and a suicide attempt in 2010, Joshua R. Beharry has become a passionate advocate for mental health. Josh is currently the project coordinator for Heads Up Guys a resource for men suffering mental illness.

For more help and exceptional resources for mental and emotional illness, please visit my friends of  NAMI Today!.

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

“PART TWO ~ MY FINAL GOODBYE Gambling Addiction”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY?

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

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

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

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

 

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

WHY?

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

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

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


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

 


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance Writer

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

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

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

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Dear Gambling Addiction,


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

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

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

WHY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance writer

“Transforming Our Recovery: From Treatment Into Recovery and Healing”

Welcome Friends and Visitors!

YES, sorry that it has been a while since I have blogged about my journey and recovery from gambling addiction now 10+years IN!


I also have had many blessings come my way recently and thought I should share what I’m doing in my own recovery path. On of the beautiful things about recovery is we continue to grow when we have a plan in place for whatever life brings us. It can a new trial or test, or it can be an awesome learning opportunity. If we are NOT learning along the way, we become close minded and maybe not open to seeing all the miricales that happen in life and in our recovery journey!

Lately,  I have been on a journey myself of living wellness in LIFE. Yes, in life, not just in recovery. I have been craving more than “just” living a life in recovery and have learned we have many choices to get there. Our recovery is only a part of life. Living an authentic fun and peaceful life from addiction should be a goal when reaching long-term recovery.

We need to explore what we need to do to maintain and continue to grow, and there are many ways to accomplish this in both the treatment side and doing our inner work side, especially for those coming early into recovery. TWO great tools I have been using is an Educational DVD Series and finished reading the book; “Addiction To Recovery: Unlocking Your Potential.” They both have transformed my recovery. The book is the material used for the DVD’S.

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New Recovery DVD Series

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And if you have been in recovery from gambling addiction long-term, let’s face it; you don’t need to be a person who works in the field of treating gambling addicts to know there has not been much development in treatment options for those of us who become addicted gambling. And, there is much confusion of what to call a gambler who becomes addicted. Labeling a disease I feel adds to the “stigma” around many addictions let alone gambling, and hampers many who may seek for help.

Now, by all means, I am sharing this as a recovering gambler’s perspective and is what I call myself when speaking about my recovery from this illness. I am not an expert in the field, nor a therapist or treatment expert. It seems; however, we learn a lot about our addiction by research, by our treatment choice and the education we receive, and even by just listening to others around you in a group or GA meeting. We can look at recovery in the same way. And I have heard many “old” battles and disagreements about what IS the best route or path to recovery. A 12-step model, professional treatment, spiritual path or others. Recovery is not a “one size fits all” concept.

When we label people though, it may make them feel “like their disease” if that makes sense. I know I don’t like being labeled just because I live in recovery from addiction. I also live with mental health challenges, so more labels around that too. My addiction is called many names; “pathological gambling,” “compulsive gambling,” “addicted or at risk gambling, gambling disorder” and problem gambler,” and on and on. It can be very frustrating! But I am certain these various terms reflect the efforts of researchers and treatment providers to be able to describe the different levels of severity shown among people with gambling problems.

The same is lacking for new and innovative ways to treat gambling addiction. Some even treat it as a “Mental Health” issue and require a treatment model of cognitive-behavior. I disagree as an addiction IS a disease, and a disease is a medical problem, not just a mental health issue. The various treatment models used for gambling addiction, I found the problem was the effectiveness of these options and what seemed to be missing.

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WHY?

Because as I went through treatment myself, and attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings as well, did I relapse? YES, and I was seeing the same people in both my treatment group and GA meetings, out and had relapsed as they were out gambling too! That seems to question the actual honest success rate of these options of treatment. And with this in mind, most treatment options tend to only focus on three stages of treatment; crisis or intervention, followed by rehabilitation and ending with maintenance. Again, all my observations and what I experienced.

I feel what is missing in most types of treatment options is the so-called “maintenance.” The aftercare and teaching us how to begin the stage of “inner work” and self-reflection to address those deeper underlying issues, maybe pain, past trauma or abuse that may have had a part in those turning to addiction in the first place. It is the way addicts can learn to take back the power of our lives, begin the healing process, learn to forgive and then “let it GO.” Only then can we journey to a better way of life. Former addicts need the necessary skills and tools to inner work of our character defects and “clean out the soul” so to speak.

In recovery from gambling, we need to learn how to “feel” again as we used addiction to ‘numb or escape’ from our problems, life, or any pain or hurt. There are many ways to learn these skills if you are not receiving it within your choice of treatment and recovery. Some ways to begin “inner work” can be by journaling each day, write what worked and what areas you had problems that day and correct them. Reading addiction/recovery books, recovery magazines and even recovery papers like “Keys To Recovery,” and even working the 12-steps and rework them are all excellent tools to start the inside work, especially in early recovery.

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So, listening to recovery podcasts and DVDS are great ways to learn more about what others in recovery are doing to live a well-balanced, and happy life in recovery. Many add prayer, meditation, and even yoga as ways to a truer inner peace and gain serenity. These are all actions I use in my recovery. Coming into recovery is scary enough, but learning a deeper meaning of yourself and life without addiction in the process is the best part of your recovery that gets you to long-term recovery IN happiness from addiction.

Life doesn’t stop just because you are recovering. It takes honest surrender that gambling has you beat, that you are ready for change, and you want your life back. It takes a lifetime journey, but always remember we “all are works in progress.” I think as others in recovery from gambling addiction; we need to continue to ask ourselves?

What more can we do to help decrease the “stigma” and increase how we can help and be of service to others fighting this addiction? I say?

“Keep having the conversation and advocating.” I know I will!

**Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Former Columnist, Freelance Writer**