About Gambling Addiction and Does Self-Ban From Casinos Work?

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences . . . .

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Here is what my good friends of the National Council for Problem Gambling  define’s this addiction.

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. And again, have no sense or fear of consequences from the destruction they are causing.

Isn’t Problem and Addicted Gambling a Financial Problem?

No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, the person will still be a problem gambler. The real problem is that they have an uncontrollable obsession with gambling. But, in order to recover, the gambler needs to be willing to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well and stop gambling.


Isn’t Problem Gambling Really the Result of weak or financially irresponsible people?

No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. Precipitating factors often lead to a change in behavior, such as retirement or job-related stress.

The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Some problem gamblers do not have financial issues even though they may lose money gambling. Gambling is an emotional issue where a person feels the need to gamble to alleviate stress or because they feel a certain type of euphoria when they gamble. Gambling is an obsession that can take over your life if you let it go too far, this can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.


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For me, gambling became a way for me to cope, escape, and numb old feelings that came back to haunt me of what I went through as a little girl in my early childhood, then into a teen and on into adulthood. And even though 12-Step programs and support tell us we can arrest the addiction and recover, I myself disagree from a “treatment” standpoint. In order for me to reach full recovery, I had to process all the “old” in a healthy manner of all the uderlying issues before I was able to grasp a well-balanced recovery and make it into long-term recovery.

As I am a firm believer in doing the “inner work” within ourselves is just as important as learning the skills, tools, and being educated about the disease. So I do 12-step meetings, but I do them for support and to be with others who understand this addiction and be of service to others.

IF you think you have a gambling problem? I always suggest to people that a great place to start is to stop by  Gamblers Anonymous ~ 20 Questions and answer HONESTLY their 20 Questions and it will give you a good view if you have a problem and need help.

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Now About Self-Banning or Self Exclusion: What Is This?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have their own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. So for an example, I currently live in the State of Arizona so I will share this STATE’S options as there as Indian Tribe Casinos all over this state, so people have many options and ACCESS to GAMBLE.

Here is what my friends at Arizona Dept. of Problem Gambling say about  Self Ban:

Self-Exclusion or Self-Ban is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all Indian Gaming Facilities within the State of Arizona and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses, and the use of any of the services or privileges of the facility.  You can choose either a one-year, five-year, or ten-year exclusion.  This exclusion is irrevocable and cannot be altered or rescinded for any reason during the selected time period on the form.

How Do I Exclude Myself?

There are a number of ways you can go about excluding yourself. You can download the exclusion form found on this site, fill it out, have it notarized and mail it to the Department of Gaming along with a current photo of yourself. Please note: The self-exclusion will not be processed without proper notarization and a current photo. We can accept the photo electronically via email but we must have the original, notarized self-exclusion form sent to this office.

You may also come to the office to complete the entire self-exclusion process which includes meeting with the self-exclusion administrator who will discuss the program, notarize the form and take your photo as well as give you additional resources for problem gambling.

Please click on the FAQ link to the right for more information.  Questions & Answers on Self Ban  . . . .

Many casinos and states are also trying to help by offering these additional Ban Services as well:

The self-exclusion procedures and the self-exclusion forms are in a PDF format. To obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.

Download a copy of: Self-Exclusion Procedures; Self-Exclusion Form

BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS

The Everi STeP program allows you to exclude yourself from using ATMs at over 1000 gambling locations.

Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI) can also assist in blocking ATM transactions in some Arizona casinos.

BAN YOURSELF FROM INTERNET GAMBLING

Gamblock prevents access to internet gambling sites.

Please make sure you visit their Q&A Facts page about more questions of Self Ban and Exclusion, you will find it Helpful….

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The Interesting and Comical Side of Gambling and Self-Ban:

Now, of course, I will KEEP in perspective that gambling is something many people do from time to time. But for others, it becomes an obsession, and they risk losing their livelihoods and much more because of the affliction, THAT IS NOT Funny.

But I have been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous a long time, and also when I was in treatment twice in our weekly group meetings. I can tell you I heard all sorts of stories about others who did try the self-ban from casinos. Now I never had the nerve to self-ban from the only Indian Casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon where I lived at the time of my deep gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sun glass’s and the like to hide their identity from the guards. and praying they didn’t hit a BIG jackpot for an attendant to have to come and pay them out or they would be Kicked Out! To me? That is living on the far off the edge! BUT? “If you want something bad enough?” ….

I have had many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning, but here is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Postive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned I think you need to read. Here is one person’s experience:

“In the US it doesn’t work well. My wife signed the self-exclusion in all local casinos but she is able to play in all of them. One time she was playing, I told security that how come they let her plays when she signed self-exclusion, they immediately kicked her out. But casinos are businesses, and none of them will say no to FREE money. There is no real penalty for letting people who self-excluded play so why should they enforce it? I was considering suing them but all lawyers I contacted said that I can’t win.”

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I hope you have found this to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and I find it interesting. I think for my own addiction, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am a type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Wany.”  And self-ban could just backfire as of some other horrific stories I heard as in the rooms as well. Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts. Yes, I heard some stories about this as well.

And this I DO have my own personal experience as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of my title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choices I made and the people I had hurt when I was gambling and deep within my disease.

We are only “as sick as our SECRETS” so I wrote and shared most all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others and may they learn just far this cunning, sick and progressive addiction will take you! Here are some signs to look for if you suspect a loved one may have a gambling problem. Visit my friend’s page at  Addictions.com for more information and helpful treatment and support options …

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Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life. Addictions.com

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**Presented by Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of  “Addicted To Dimes” **

 

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time 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 depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they 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 your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more 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’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

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 from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!

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Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story 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 to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???

 

I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

A Recovery New Year Message By My Dear Friend of “Discovering Beautiful” Blog ~ Brittany . . .

“First Thing First! When You Are Done Reading POST?  Visit Her Page: “My Addiction Story”


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A New Year Message In Recovery By ~ Brittany Shelton~(Courtesy of Discovering beautiful) .   .   .   .

“It is our job to keep ourselves on track, pushing toward our own goals, and to encourage other people along while they are working toward theirs.”

I won’t force you to listen to my personal top 50 song list of 2016, the things that I am most grateful for, or my complete goal list for 2017.

I just want to share one of my personal goals that I am carrying over into 2017.

It is to stop allowing the comparison game to take up space in my mind. I made progress in 2016, and this year, I am going to do a better job of supporting other people without getting distracted from what is important to me.

And I know I am not alone in this….

You read something and immediately begin to wonder if what you have just written sucks. 
You can’t help but wonder if you are blogging often enough.
Is your viewpoint relevant anymore?
Are your topics current?
Are your stats high enough?
Is there enough traffic?
Why aren’t you being interviewed?
Is your site as busy as his or as exciting as hers?
Have you participated in as many podcasts as she has?
Did he attend more yoga conventions than you did this month? 
Do you need to find more summits to network at?
Have you even started writing your second book yet?
Are you self-publishing or do you have an agent or a publisher? 
Are you not interacting enough?
Have you been sharing enough?  
Why does it always feel like kissing ass instead of real connection? 
Do we need to scrap our whole site and hire a professional designer? 
Are our networking connections even real?
Is what I am doing important?

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It’s all about what’s hidden on the inside of our experiences.

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This list could go on and on.
And don’t get me wrong, no one pushes these feelings on me. I do it to myself. But this is real shit that I feel from time to time.

I love and appreciate connections on social media and I am happy to know that I am not alone. There are people out there who understand. They get it. I appreciate all of my friends who do support my blog and I am driven to keep going by the feedback from the people who tell me directly that I have inspired them to keep living. That fuels my heart like nothing else.

“But I am ALWAYS reminding myself that God has a specific plan for my life, and I only cheat myself when I allow my mind to trick me into thinking that what I have to offer isn’t important or isn’t enough.”

Blog lists, ranks, re-tweets, shares, likes, or LinkedIn connections can feel nice, but realistically they are not sufficient substitutes that can accurately gauge anyone’s sense of self-worth, relevance, or importance in this world.

For me, my identity is found in my relationship with GOD.

His will and plan for my life is what really matters, and at the end of the day, I know that I am who God says that I am, and I am capable of doing the uniquely personal things that He has carved out for my journey. For 2017, I am going to prayerfully and more consistently remind myself of these things.

I would urge you to embrace your own goals and not to lose sight of what is important to you.

Periodically unplug.

Remember why you started.
And always support other people doing their thing too.

It is our job to keep ourselves on track, pushing toward our own goals, and to encourage other people along while they are working toward theirs.

Happy New Year.  🙂

Guest Article About Gambling The Addiction & Our Addicted Brain.

ARE WE ONE STEP CLOSER TO A CURE?

Gambling addicts have ‘WEAKER’ brains – just like alcoholics and drug addicts, scientists discover

Experts at Imperial College London hope their discovery that gambling triggers two key areas of the brain, will lead to new treatments- 3rd January 2017

We Don’t Get To Chose Our Family ~ A Letter to My Estranged Family, “Leave Me Alone” Is My New Year Wish . . .

We Don’t Get To Chose Our Family ~ A Letter to My Estranged Family, “Leave Me Alone” Is My New Year Wish . . .

Unfortunately, the entire book is filled with lies. This is her attempt to get back at a her family of which I am a part of by slandering my Grandmother and Grandfathers good name. And all of the rest of us are sick at what she said in the attempt at writing a novel. It is hardly based in fact, in fact, this the stories in this novel only exist in her delusions. The one thing I would like from her for Christmas is to stop slandering my family. And to stop writing or sharing about our family. Thank you

 

MY RESPONSE Comment on Blog:

Dear Matthew and Family,

Well, Matthew, sorry you feel that way. And I don’t know why but once again my little sister filling your head with a bunch of crap as she keeps seeing things on my Facebook and sad to see “The Family Dysfunctional Dynamic” has not changed in “The Townsend Household.”

Let’s first put all of this to my friends and readers in proper context before I answer you.

My Father had stopped talking to me YEARS before my book even came out in 2013, as he stopped talking to me in 2005. His choice, I respected it and moved on.
WHY did he stop talking to me? I have NO CLUE.

At this point, I couldn’t care less as I have forgiven him and moved on. BUT? I won’t tolerate YOU or family members coming to voice their negative opinions in open forums as you all chose to not speak to me years ago.

And again, NO SURPRISE that you and my “so-called family” who chose, by the way, to be “estranged” from myself and Tom and who happens to be your uncle and “a son-in-law” who had not done ANYTHING to any of YOU or to my father, and it seems YOU have your FACTS INCORRECT.

My Memoir, not NOVEL, has nothing to do with family bashing as you put it, nor discrediting my parent’s name. Maybe your Grandparents should have known better before they chose to keep a lie from their children and SON for years and not think their children would never find out? My father opened that can of worms and it came back when Robert (my brother) found all about when Cecil died…. And we all know how that turned out right? Parents raise their children the way they were raised. It’s Fact. Like my mother always told me; “you kids were not born with a “rule book” on how to raise you, we did the best we could.”

Yes, she did. When my mother was in the hospital before she passed in 2003, and you all treated me poorly in July 2003 and I ended up flying home early because of it, mom and I spoke every morning as you all didn’t know about. We did make our amends and she shared much with me before going into the nursing/rehab where YOU ALL said she had no phone in the room??? Funny, Lil and Jim told me otherwise after a visit, as Lil called and told me at the time because I asked her to do so. So who lies to who Matthew?

It is also a surprise how you changed your feelings about my book after you told me your true feeling shortly after my book was released and you read it.

THIS BOOK is an inside look into gambling addiction, mental health challenges, and recovery. As many other people turn to addictions to cope after being “verbally and parental physically damaged and sexually abused” in one’s past childhood. You were not around then, so I don’t think you have the RIGHT or are qualified really to speak for my ex-family members. You were not even born yet as you told me on Facebook in a direct message reaching out with an amends letter.

Your mother used alcohol as well as we all know due to the amount of DUI’s she has and my brother used alcohol and dabbled in drugs, and Angela? Well, all of the above and has an anger problem. So why do you all keep denying the truth?? The truth sets you free and the healing can begin when you take your part of the ownership of what goes wrong in family relationships.  Face It, even my own father used alcohol to cope. Where do you think we saw and learned about addictions, Matthew? Each one of your aunts and your uncle had turned to something to cope.

That is the truth.

MAYBE it is time you and the rest of the family look within your own hearts and start taking accountability and ownership of how you tore a family apart. THAT I feel was started years ago by two parents as wrote in my book. Enough said about that.

This is not between you and me Matthew, as this isn’t even between me and my sisters which have shown their “True Selves”, this is about MY LIFE as a former addict and a person in long-term recovery and giving service to others in recovery. My book shows those who don’t understand addiction and recovery, as like many families don’t, that in recovery people can turn their lives around and be ‘Exceptional Human Beings’ coming out the other side.

So you all can say and think what you want about my book, but book reviews speak for themselves, Matthew. So I have nothing to prove to YOU or my Family.  I live my life today helping others and enjoying my life with my husband. I have moved on. You all need to do the same. What I shared in my memoir is the truth of which the family can deny all they want. I have faith and the backing of the “Man Upstairs,” and now, even my mother in heaven also NOW knows I told the truth inside my book. I did a lot of research and have lots of documents as well to back up all I wrote about. Most are all public records. Birth, adoption, marriage, Cecil’s death records and more. So I stand behind all that I wrote and shared.

Here is the beauty of my life today in ‘Recovery and Believing in God’ Matthew, ….
I now live my LIFE not needing your or anyone’s approval or affirmation including my estranged families.

Thank Goodness those days are over!

 

SO, please just give it a rest and let it BE! I understand family may have closed hearts, minds, and no empathy ….. Just leave me alone.

 

Respectfully,

Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Another Holiday Guest Article. The Meyer Family Support Him As Media Spins His Gambling Addiction & Prison.

Happy Holidays and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

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So The Media Portrays a Father and Husband  Like THIS:

 

“Day of Reckoning for Crooked Accountant”

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“A Long Island accountant may spend up to 13 years in prison for stealing a total of nearly $800,000 from clients, including some victims who were ill or disabled.”

Scott Meyer, 48, of Seaford, is a former partner of the Johnson and Meyer accounting firm in Huntington. He was sentenced in Suffolk County court to serve four and one-third to 13 years in prison Tuesday. Meyer had pleaded guilty to 24 criminal counts, including grand larceny, in March.

“By carefully choosing his victims to prey on their vulnerabilities, he used his skill as an accountant to steal over $800 thousand dollars and kept the thefts undetected for over five years,” said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.” Following his conviction earlier this year, an attorney reportedly blamed Meyer’s behavior on a gambling addiction caused by a brain lesion.”

 

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So, the Meyer Family have come together to support Scott and his recovery from gambling addiction this holiday season with the fine folks and excellent resources of the National Council on Problem Gambling. It is why I chose them as my guest article. It’s important to know “the other side” of this story, not just what the news media spins.

They want to advocate that this can happen to anyone. That includes myself as I shared my criminal and consequences of my of my own “stupid thinking and choices” in my book. And yes, I paid high consequences like Scott but didn’t go to prison as he did. Here is what The Meyer Family want you to know about Scott, how many are supporting Scott in prison, and the folks of the national council are helping him and the family through this loss from addicted gambling and giving to them support through Holidays .  .  .  .

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THE MEYER FAMILY SHARES THEIR STORY TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT GAMBLING ADDICTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
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Kim Meyer and her five children live in a small Long Island community, in the home where she and her high school sweetheart/husband Scott built a full and happy life together over the last 27 years. They co-funded a business, Scott coached the kids’ sports teams, and both were involved in their community, schools, and church. Scott is now serving a 4½ – 13-year prison sentence for grand larceny and forgery, for using clients’ funds to chase more than $500,000 in gambling losses.

With New York state recently legalizing online gambling and preparing to build several new casinos in 2017, Kim has decided to go public with their private nightmare, to help raise awareness about gambling addiction and reduce the stigma that persists – lessons she and her family learned through painful personal experience.

Kim’s daughters created this video to raise awareness and let their dad know how much they love and support him.

As Kim tells it, Scott began gambling many years ago for fun, as the vast majority of people do without any negative consequences. For Scott, the fun quickly escalated to a problem. He exhibited symptoms of pathological gambling – symptoms that often go unnoticed by family and friends.

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“Unfortunately, gambling is rarely viewed as a disease in society, as drug and alcohol are,” says Kim. “Instead it is seen as a moral issue and a choice. The criminal justice system is ill informed and prosecutors refused to consider gambling addiction as the explanation for how a smart, loving, hard-working man could sabotage his life and that of his family.”

After Scott was arrested, his doctor recommended a neurological workup, complete with MRI’s. He was found to have bilateral white matter brain tumors, which cause behavioral and cognitive changes such as poor insight, lack of impulse control and poor judgment.

“Further proof that addiction is not a choice, not a character flaw, and not a moral issue,” Kim notes. “In spite of an addiction and underlying brain impairment, Scott went to jail. We are lost without him.”  Scott primarily gambled at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, and from 2008 to 2013, he lost in excess of $300,000 on slot machines there alone. No casino staff discussed his high losses and other behaviors with him or contacted his family. Instead, they continue to send him promotional mailings with special offers to draw him back.

“To be clear: I am in no way suggesting that Mohegan Sun is responsible for my husband’s gambling disorder, or his physical disability,” says Kim. “What I would like to see, however, is for casinos to use a very small amount of their profits to help raise awareness and to protect others by instituting some simple safeguards, such as:

  • Use casino reward card tracking systems, not just to make offers to entice gamblers to continue gambling, but to identify problem gamblers and reach out to them and their families;
  • Work with gaming industry leaders and state and national gambling prevention groups to create state certification programs that train casino employees to recognize problem gamblers, to identify people who are obviously in trouble, and to offer assistance. As a bartender is required to stop serving a problem drinker, so too should casino employees know when to intervene;
  • Take identified problem gamblers like Scott off their promotional mailing lists;
    Provide 1% – 2% of their profits to support organizations that offer treatment and other assistance for problem gamblers and their families.

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    In spite of extensive evidence of his medical problems and his addiction; being in treatment and rehabilitation for two years; having a new job with a boss willing to testify on his behalf; another judge who was an expert on gambling addiction willing to testify for him; and his steady paying off of bills and beginning to make restitution to his victims; the judge believed that Scott “should have simply stopped when he realized his gambling was a problem” and found him guilty. Kim continues to work with attorneys to get Scott released as soon as possible so he can continue his treatment and recovery, and continue paying back his debts.

    “Our family made the decision to share our story and to work side by side with the National Council on Problem Gambling, as well as the New York and Connecticut state councils in an effort to change things for the better. I have faith that together we can encourage gaming executives to increase their commitment to helping families like ours, and save others from this destruction. It’s a promise I’ve made to my children – that something good can come from this.”

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    Happy Holidays All ~ Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Columnist.

Thank You to ‘Keys To Recovery News’ for Printing My Holiday Article! I am Honored.

Hello and Happy Holidays Recovery Friends,

I am very Happy and Honored that the recovery publication “Keys To Recovery Newspaper”  a FREE recovery newspaper  by  way, has printed a Holiday Article I wrote about “Gambling Addiction and my Addiction Christmas’s Past” in their new Column titled; “QUIT To WIN” and I wanted to share it here with all of you.  We all know the holiday season can be tough many in recovery. So I want to remind them they are not alone. XO Cat

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“QUIT TO WIN”

LET’S QUIT TO WIN FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
By Author, Catherine Lyon

“Now that the holidays are upon us, those of us in recovery can have a tough time around the holiday time. I know I have in the past with self-sabotaging my Christmas season. How do you ask? Let me share a “war story of Christmas past.” We can learn and grow in recovery in when we safely look at the “Then & Now of Christmas’s Past”, as an addicted or problem gambler.”

Many of us in recovery advocate to show to others who still suffer from this cunning addiction the importance of sharing our experiences, strength and hope with others when we do tell some of our “war stories.” It does show how insidious this addiction is. It is one of the area’s I don’t feel is proper about 12-Step programs. They tell us not to share war stories as it could maybe trigger someone in a meeting. But, if we don’t learn from these mistakes or choices, how do we look back and find growth in our recovery? Yes, you can see growth by just doing the 12-steps, but many need more than that to recover fully. I know I did. I recall one Christmas that has to be my worst within my gambling addiction and will never forget. And it is why I make sure all holidays now are safe, happy and full of JOY. It was back in 2005.

Our home we had lived and worked very hard for, had to be sold through a short sale or we would have lost everything we put into it. But even then, it felt like we lost it as we are still paying on the balance that was not covered by the sale. It also caused me to make a few bad choices, residual addicted “thinking,: I had committed a crime, that big catastrophe! I wrote about it in my memoir, and I was reeling.

I stopped taking my bipolar meds, then took them all at once! I was so angry with myself, feeling so much shame, guilt, low self-worth and again suicidal because I knew it was because of my past gambling is how we got into this mess in the first place! Of course, no excuse’s, just insights. We were so financially broke. I remember being in JCPenney walking around aimlessly wishing I could buy this or that for the family for Christmas and again in Walmart. Luckily, all our family lived in other states than Oregon. So I had to do the same lame thing I had done for many past Christmas’s, just send a card.

It was tough already that we both had job loss, the very beginning of the economy and markets were getting ready to pop. We had a hard time finding good paying jobs, and I ended up back in an addiction/mental health crisis again with another breakdown right after the holidays. It was all too much! When I got released from the crisis center, I knew I had a lot more recovery inner work, which included financial inventory to take and work on. I had been doing well in my recovery and gamble free at the time, but something was nagging at me. See, you need to know that no matter what the addiction is, it’s always waiting for us.

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Like the holidays for instance and the point of this post, we can have a lot of temptations around us at this time of year. There are holiday parties for both personal and work related that can be stressful. We may have had fall outs due to the holidays, (thanks to our addictions and why we have step 9… make amends where ever possible) with friends and family. Many different reasons that can become a trigger or bring on urges. The stress of the season, lack of money for presents, a slew of things swirling around in our heads! The “cycle” if not broken or interrupted will keep you either in the addiction or just on edge waiting.

That is what I needed the second time around after coming out of the crisis. I chose to work with a gambling addiction and behavioral specialist. And he would not “cut me loose” until I could tell him how the “cycle” of addiction happens, and tell him the skills and tools to stop it which took me a year. Once I learned that and applied those skills and tools, I began the road to long-term recovery. So my point is everyone needs a relapse plan. A solid plan that will help you avoid these pitfalls. I had been given a workbook that I now have listed on my recovery resource pages, for all to come and use for their recovery from gambling.

It shows step by step what is needed to make a plan to prevent relapse for any occasion, like the holiday season, life events like a loss from death, a job loss and much more. These events and the holidays will come. So you need to prepare before not after they happen. Be prepared and use those tools taught and learned in treatment, or a 12-step program, maybe in therapy or however you choose, to reach out and start your recovery journey. And learn about “the cycle” of addiction. When you do, I guarantee you will have many, many ‘Happy Holiday Seasons’ to come!

“You Are Worth It In Recovery”

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the author of the book “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” Available at Amazon.com.

Catherine is a Columnist for “In Recovery Magazine’s “The Author’s Cafe” where she interviews and writes about author’s and their books, films, and apps of recovery products. She has been featured in many articles about gambling addiction, most recent had been by “Columbia University” titled; Gambling with America’s Health and interviewed for a new article out soon by “Time Magazine.” Catherine lives in Arizona with her husband of 26 years and her three cats, Mr. Boots, Miss Princess, and Simon Peter. She is the owner of ” Cat Lyon’s Reading Den ” a “pay it forward” to help authors free of charge learn how where to promote their books.