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

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

Are Your Teens Playing Games with Their Lives?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor personal hygiene.

Lack of self-care.

Not sleeping, playing video games all night.

Poor grades in school or skipping school.

Lack of interest in everything except video gaming.

Isolation and spending much time in their room.

Irritability and anger problems when not playing video games.

Compulsively buying video games and add-ons.

Not eating regular meals at regular times.

Unhealthy diet, impulsivity,  and irresponsibility.

Life out of balance, obsessed with video gaming.

Depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catherine 

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Addiction+Depression= SUICIDE? Let’s Be Informed and Educated To Stop Suicides …Call 1-800-273-8255

I happened to receive an email a while ago form ‘Facing Addiction.’ The email was about if I wanted to write and share some of my story of being a person who lives dually diagnosed, meaning I maintain recovery from gambling and alcohol addictions and live with mental health challenges.

I was very honored to do so. Today, Facing Addiction  says; “Every 4 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from an overdose or alcohol-related cause – the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every day with no survivors.”

  • 22 million Americans are suffering — 23 million more are in recovery 1 in 3 households are directly impacted.

Since we have had several high profile celebrities recently choose suicide over life, I thought I would share some of what I wrote for Facing Addiciton with you this month in our column in hopes of sharing my voice to shatter stigma around these critical topics that are touching and claiming too many lives.

See, suicide is only a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Depression, anxiety, bipolar or any other mental health issue should never have to end with SUICIDE … Make the call if you have any thought of suicide – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 24/7 Everyday – 1-800-273-8255.

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


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

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

After this second suicide attempt and crisis, as my first was where I spent my 40th Birthday after my first suicide attempt, I spent another 14-days in a Mental Health/Addcition crisis center. This time, I learned I had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After my release from the crisis center I started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control; I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live dually diagnosed. Those of us who have a mental illness also have a huge hurdle in our path, STIGMA.

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

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Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more and see my growth from my journaling. I used my journals in writing my current published book as well. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing and letting go process for me. I learned to be vigilent in managing my medications I need to stay stable.

It can be both scary and tough sharing about my gambling addiction with alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. But the open doors and blessings I could never dreamed happening since I do advocate, and loudly. Never thought I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the amazing blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book, using my recovery blog and sharing them with the world, I hope it shatters stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors wh feel alond and voiceless. I have chosen not to be anonymous as I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted.

It indeed is a real disease and illness, and even more complicated when you are dually diagnosed with mental illness along with it! I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities and in families’ lives. 1 in every 5 attempt suicide from this addiction. And the above stats for mental illness is no better.

“A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. Suicide doesn’t discriminate as it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.”   ~MHA – Mental Health America

 

The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers. The best advice I can give? When starting early recovery, learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to determine the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.

Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and GA – 12-step meetings for support. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I learned this the hard way but have found a way to make it 11+years maintaining my recovery.

I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others, to advocate about mental illness, and speak about childhood sexual adbuse! Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we could weather any storm together. I know “sharing” my experiences and our recovery with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover.

Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen, hear, and take action. You are not alone.

The time is now to start the conversation about these topics and shine a bright light on ALL of THESE ISSUES. It is beyond the TIME to start the conversation, it is NOW the time to HAVE the conversation to Shatter Stigma around Mental Illness, Gambling Addiction, Depression, Bipolar, Mania, Alcoholism, SUICIDE.
You Get The Message,
RIGHT?

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

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Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

“Writing is a solitary task; it is a hobby for most of us, it is funny and smooth, other times writing is like a horror, getting a smooth writing experience need a lot of patience, time and spirit to keep performing. During hard times we strive to search for an answer here and there, on all topics and LIFE”

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catherine lyon


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Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a Best Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” Catherine’s Memoir is both in-depth and raw as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood.

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude the past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escape into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours from the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now in recovery eleven plus years, Catherine has become well-known in the addiction/recovery communities, and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and the expansion of Indian Casinos, State Lottery offerings, and Internet gambling venues that needs to stop across America.

Catherine’s featured in many media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project ~ Gambling With America’s Health. And most recently interviewed for Time/ Magazine online article titled “Addicted To Anticipation”  She is a former writer and columnist for “InRecovery Magazine” and a freelance writer for Keys To Recovery newspaper and column “Quit To Win.”

She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”  of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts along with other recovery experts like Christopher Lawford Kennedy and Tommy Rosen.

Catherine lives in Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 26 years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Princess, Boots, and Simon Peter.She enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, and swimming. She owns an online business called: “Lyon Media, Book Promos, and Literary Consulting.”

 

 

Author Interview

 

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

Well, I felt that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery, I wanted readers to have an in-depth view of how my family life was growing up can later become some of the roots to WHY some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situations. That was some of my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us may turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like through counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as backlash, family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. How I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that way for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. I had to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly to others who did or are going through these same issues, if you are going to write a memoir, you can not worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

Not really. My first book came very easy for me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 1/2 spiral notebooks by hand! At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and forgive myself and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I always say.

I am almost done with book two, but I am also co-writing another memoir, so it will release before mine. I did release a new compilation book with several other others and Dr. Rev. Kevin Coughlin in Dec. 2017 titled;  “TEN THE HARD WAY: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery”  and Thank goodness I have an exceptional editor, as my own second book is also hand written! The only weird thing, I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper and by the seat of my pants!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know too much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about them passionately …

What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

I pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know” or write what you “feel passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story. I feel funny giving other aspiring writers and authors advice. I am a book promoter for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors? Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP writing and keep promoting your books!


“I am a writer and published author by accident” ~Author, Catherine Lyon

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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)           Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

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What are your current/future projects?

I am currently co-writing with former NFL pro from the Denver Broncos, Mr. Vance Johnson. We writing his story/memoir and legacy. It has been an amazing experience thus far. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow-up to my memoir. It will be serious, have musings, and ramblings about sharing more of my mental health and childhood trauma side of things and how to “Let The Shit Go!” … Lol.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I actually started my current book out with “the reasons how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about a suicide of a woman I read about in our local newspaper when I lived in So. Oregon all year round. But, no spoilers here. LOL.

You’ll need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on “Author Shout” and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know…. Lol. Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I book promote for many other authors and writing another book with someone. It is why it has taken me MANY years to get my next book done and published. So I am still a “two book wonder” at this point.

What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

Well, we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to be published by one of the big publishing houses anymore. Now, that’s not to say there are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are no writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic written works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted and worked with authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts, so the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

My current book was picked up by a publishing firm. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher, however, I received an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. The Kodel Group, Steve Laible is more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and book cover designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s Create Space for the paperback, and KDP for my e-book.

Going this route was the least expensive way to publish. Now most publishers won’t do any book promoting, marketing for authors except maybe send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware and do your reseach of publishers! …And be ready to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media, PR releases, and use a few places that promote for me in mainstream media and get my books into bookstores. Authors can promote for free at many book sites or place low-cost book ads like right here on Author Shout.

Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

Yes. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same but different in the colors. My  e-book cover has different colors then the paperback as I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. The book cover designer took car of it.

What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

Being a person who maintains recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for a little over eleven years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the same issues and problems as I have and was the only way I knew how to help others by sharing my voice and my story to give others HOPE that they to can recover from this cunning and devastating addiction known as gambling addiction.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by addictions have more understanding, compassion, and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities for writing recovery articles, writing with others, and for many publications has been 10 fold! Most have come from people seeing and reading my book, an interview, or hearing me on a radio show or podcast.

I had for two years became a recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” My column was called; “The Author’s Cafe.” I am also a writer for a recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger on “Addictionland.” That is just the tip of the iceberg as I have a few more, but I am “blessed, humbled and thankful” for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

Now this question is an easy answer! Lol. Layer low-cost book ads for your books on several places like right here on Author Shout.

Since I market, promote, and advertise books for authors for living and as my online business, I have a page of what I offer to authors and writers in promoting and marketing their books and I set up all their social media accounts as well. The details are on my website: “Lyon Media, Book Promotions, and Literary Consulting.”
It is my business and home of “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den.”

I began my online business in order to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many just hire me to do it for them so they can just focus on writing more books. I place layered low-cost book ads and maybe run for them a E-book promotion. There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books or meet the publishing deadlines, and why among other reasons they hire me to promote their books for them.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. Do a Beta Reader program to reviews prior to release like on NetGalley. That way you will find your readership. Use many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . Just a couple of my other “go to places.”

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

My current book is a Memoir. About my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

 

How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope writing my book, writing and sharing on my recovery blog where I continue to write my recovery journey is helping others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” 

Like the woman I read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?

As a reader myself, page count doesn’t matter. The book cover is also part of showcasing your book, so it needs to grab the reader. Same goes with the book title. The content of a book is what we as writer offer up to the reader. If your content and story doesn’t keep a reader interested in the first chapter, they might feel some “buyers remorse.” That won’t bode well for future books you publish.

Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a good way to let readers and mainstream media know about your book releasing. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, PR Web and PRNewswire are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?

Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books lets say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book and see its ranking. I know as a reader I do. And, Amazon emails me when someone leaves a review for my book or reads a review I have placed. It tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your books rankings among other books in your same genre. Rankings tell authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions about improving my craft as a writer.

 

If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough.

Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I have agoraphobia and mood disorder. It has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the book selling and publishing industry.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I read every review I get. I can tell you my current has averaged from Amazon’s Rate scale 1-5, my book is still at 4.8 out of 5 stars. So I must have done something right as a writer. So I have not experienced or had to deal with a bad book review …. Yet. Lol.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

 

Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?

Since my book is a memoir, all the people are real, and I only changed a few of the real names of persons I wrote about as I did not get permission to use their real names.

What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventional. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using a writing aide software which I do use.

What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?

I am really boring in this area. I really didn’t enjoy reading until later in adulthood. I wasn’t a “Catcher In The Rye” kind of reader. I enjoyed more contemporary reads by Stephen King and Nora Roberts. However, as a teen, I did love writing poems but never thought much about the “writing” aspect of it.

 

Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

None. Seriously. Just making sure my facts and stats were correct.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She worked for a local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofread for the newspaper. She had taken my six 1/2 notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published. My publisher seen the recovery value of my memoir and knew it would it help others and hopefully bring a “Silent Underground Addiction” to light.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?

Cost. Traditional publishing can be very expensive. And many first-time authors may not be able to afford it. That is where self-publishing comes in. There are several good places who offer self-publish services low-cost or even free. Amazon’s Create Space, KDP, and Smashwords are just a few. It is heart-breaking but there isn’t any value of even sending your manuscript to the big publishing houses either as most never get in front of a live person. Very sad.

What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

Recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. We who maintain recovery know a persons story can be a powerful tool to help others looking to reach out and enter treatment or recovery. If I can help others by sharing my story through words and my experiences? That makes me happy.

Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?

No. I used who my publisher had at the time. She did a good job.

What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

Since I do write for several publications, and for myself, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hope to continue writing and publishing more books to help others maintaining recovery and for readers to enjoy.

Lastly, do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a source of stress release.

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Connect with more from Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

 

My book review for an amazing read I just finished by my dear friend and now I can call her a New Fellow!, Author, Brittany L. Shelton. It is titled; Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction.

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About The Book: 

Stories bring us together and remind us that we aren’t alone. Discovering Beautiful is a series of personal stories that illustrate what it’s really like to grow up in a dysfunctional home, as a child lost in the shadows of the chaos. It demonstrates how one little girl internalized societal stigma and turned inward to cope with the shame of her reality. This story paints a picture of a family savagely torn apart, destroyed, by toxicity and disconnection. This is a story of desperation, exhaustion, fear, and finally restoration and hope.


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Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction

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REVIEW: Sharing One’s Story Can Be Powerful To Help Others


That is exactly what this book and the author will do very clearly, brutally honest, and open.
It can be a bit scary sharing the “not so nice” when we are not raised in an “angelic family dynamic.” When we are told as children over and over, “don’t speak outside this house” od what goes on behind closed doors, this includes the deep hurtful pain some children endure that their parents may never know happened …
UNTIL OUR VOICE and STORY IS TOLD.

This book by Author, Brittany Shelton is exactly that. Not only is her story of pain and heartbreaking accounts of trauma and abuse, she tells it with hardly any resentment nor excuses when it comes to addiction in her life. No, it shows the seeds of power and truth that lie within us as we learn with faith to overcome, forgive, let it go, and rise up to triumph in life. The sharing much of the chaos but importance of showing family dysfunction can be generational sadly.

This is some of what you learn from this brave woman’s testimony. I too am a childhood trauma and abuse survivor and shared with the author all the many similarities we have. I always thought I was alone and no other child into an adult could have possibly gone through what I had. I was wrong! Reading her book, perfect writing style, was as if we were having coffee together and talking about each other’s life.

The book itself is easy to read and well laid out. My favorite areas that touched me deeply and musings too like, “People with mental illness scared me.” Funny, as I felt the same! First, the author defines trauma and how the effects us. I laughed when she shares how our moms teach us the “most useless shit” that seeps into our brains … and some of where we get those “I’m worthless” thoughts when told year after year. But Chapters 11 & 12 were intriguing to self-image and the way we look at ourselves until addiction beats up down so much, we don’t look anymore …

I highly suggest this book for everyone! It gives an exceptional in-depth look into so many topics and issues happening today, just as much as the child we were. How addictions can devastate families and so much more. I commend the author for sharing her story so others can learn there’s much help available and Hope. You are not alone anymore and YOU do have a VOICE!

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Brittany L. Shelton

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About The Author:

I am in long-term recovery from shame and perpetual escape. I kicked my inner-victim out on its ass and have been healing from the damaging effects of childhood trauma and self-destruction ever since. I’m a believer in the kind of Truth that can set a person free, but only because I have experienced it for myself.

I live with my husband and three young boys and am simply enjoying this season in my life. My goal is to help shift how things work in my family, and I believe that change happens one memory and one new tradition at a time.

Come connect with Brittany on Social Media!

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ InstaGram ~ and on GoodReads! ~ Come and visit Brittany on her website at “Discovering Beautiful Dot Com”

Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Most of my recovery friends, readers, and regular visitors know I enjoy finding many amazing websites about recovery from addiction and mental health. I vowed this year to write and share more openly about my mental health challenges. So when I recently visited one of my resource websites on mental health, my friends of National Alliance on Mental Health  ~NAMI …I read a new article I wanted to share.

Because when I got to reading the part of the guests” experiences with panic attacks, anxiety and such, it brought up those old feelings I got when I was in therapy and looking back to then and connecting the dots to my own problems as a child and early teens with symptoms, especially after my abuse and sexual trauma that happened. I was able to see that I had many mental health issues even back then but was never diagnosed until my gambling addiction took hold of me in adulthood.

The gambling I used to ‘escape and numb out’ those old hauntings which brought out the symptoms I was suffering again now. When I attempted my first suicide and placed in a crisis center for several weeks was when I was finally diagnosed. I went years without knowing what “that” was, and why I felt severely depressed on and off and PTSD, mild mania and anxiety. I was a mess!

Thanks to therapy and medications I am manged and have learned to treat my mental health just like any other disease like diabetes or heart disease. And that rings true for maintaining my recovery from addictions.

And why it is important to heal all areas of Emotional, Body, Spirit and our Mental Well-being … Catherine

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You Can’t Plan For Mental Illness ~ Courtesy of Allie Quinn | May. 23, 2018 

 
My 5-year plan after finishing high school was simple: graduate from college in four years, then begin graduate school directly following graduation. It was easy for me to imagine a 5-year plan at 18 years old when my toughest challenge at that point had been taming my frizzy hair.

My first two years of college were very successful. I made close friends, was hired by my college as a writing tutor and connected with teachers and administrators in the school district I wanted to eventually work in. I was right on track with my 5-year plan.

During my third year of college, however, the mass shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I felt a very deep connection to the event and in the following months, I noticed that I was on high-alert in public areas. I worried for my safety.

A few months later, I learned about the Boston Marathon bombing when I was in my college’s library. I immediately looked at the entrance to the library and wondered where I would hide if a shooter came through the door. A habit of making “escape plans” in my head became uncontrollable. I created them for any public place, and I avoided walking in open spaces and going out at night. Each night, I dreamt that I was trying to escape from a mass shooting; even in my sleep, I couldn’t shake this overwhelming fear.

Looking back, I can see the warning signs that I needed help. I didn’t tell anyone about the thoughts and feelings I was having because I didn’t want people to think I was “unstable.” Admitting to myself or to others that something was wrong could jeopardize my 5-year plan. I told myself that all college students felt this kind of stress and that I’d feel better when the semester ended.

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My junior year ended, but instead of feeling better, I felt significantly worse. I experienced severe panic attacks, paranoia, and anxiety that made it impossible for me to drive, work or stay home alone. After I sought treatment with a therapist and psychiatrist, they recommended I check myself into a psychiatric hospital, so doctors could balance my medication, and I could learn skills to help manage my anxiety. I would be hospitalized five times, spending nearly three months in the hospital. My worst day was when I had to withdraw from my senior year. It felt like years of hard work just slipped away.

I questioned: Why didn’t I seek help sooner?


After my last hospitalization, I immediately re-enrolled in classes. I didn’t give myself the chance to heal because I wanted so badly to get back on track with my 5-year plan. Because I wasn’t working on my mental health, I struggled through two classes, and I wasn’t enjoying school like I did before.

One day, I finally accepted that if I kept putting my education before my mental health, I could risk having another breakdown. I decided to take medical leave from school; I needed to focus on my mental health and regain my strength and confidence. For the next two years, I attended therapy, worked with my psychiatrist, adopted a psychiatric service dog, discovered skills to help me cope and practiced self-care. Eventually, I felt like myself again.

So, I began college again last year. This time, I felt ready. I will be graduating this December with a B.S. in Community and Human Services. The deadline for my 5-year plan has long passed, and my life has not gone as I planned, but I am happy, healthy and have a mission to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Battling mental illness and maintaining mental health is an ongoing part of my life, but the struggles I faced have put me on the path I’m meant to be on.

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Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness
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For example, I recently became a young adult speaker for NAMI Ending the Silence. I travel to high schools to share my journey with mental illness and talk to students about mental health and stigma.

The experience has been life-changing. For years, my goal has been to help people, and through NAMI Ending the Silence and blogging, I am making a difference. I believe that talking openly about mental health issues will end stigma and lead to more effective treatment for mental illness.

Please, if you’re experiencing symptoms or warning signs of a mental illness, seek help as soon as possible. Your mental health is farmore important than your 5-year plan. I’ve learned that college can wait—treating mental illness cannot.
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Allie Quinn is a mental health blogger, public speaker, and young adult presenter with NAMI’s Ending the Silence. She works to educate people about the realities of living with a mental illness and raises awareness about the use of psychiatric service dogs. Allie’s mental health blog is Redefine Mental Health

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

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Gambling: The Underground Addiction with Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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

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

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

Just Click and Listen To My Radio Show!

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

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

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