“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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Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

This topic has been a question and debate that has been around a long time. Do addicts make the choice to destroy their lives? Or is addiction really an illness and disease? Or is both? When I visit other addiction/recovery websites and online magazines to be informed, educated, and learn more about recovery, I seem to find some engaging articles.

Since my own addiction I maintain recovery from, this question always seems to get a lot of comments because gambling addiction is still so underground. The action of gambling is still seen in the light of “just a few hours of fun and entertaining,” so how could an activity like this produce addicts? Part of that comes from Stigma. I can tell you I have read a lot of negative comments from people I assume have never been touched by a gambling problem or know someone with one. So you won’t seem to receive empathy or understanding from someone like this.

It is why I write, blog, and advocate. I want to change the landscape around and the conversation that needs to begin about addicted gambling. Addicted compulsive gambling doesn’t happen over night. Just like many other addictions. But it is time to bring it into the light and out of the shadows. So let’s read this article and learn if addiction is a choice, a disease, or both …Catherine

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Addiction is claiming the lives of people at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 33,091 deaths from opioids in 2015. This number is largely reflected by an increasing use of synthetic opioids and heroin.

The Clean Slate

After going through 12 Step Processes and other recovery treatments to eventually overcome addiction firsthand, Steven Slate, who authored an addiction site named “The Clean Slate,” is starting new conversations on how we approach addiction. Slate is most famous for his TED Talk speech on “Addiction Is A Choice.” Through the TED Talk and his organization “The Clean Slate,” he is advocating a deeper look beyond the age old debate of addiction as a disease vs. addiction as a choice.

Slate’s website states regarding the addiction as a disease theory:

“On the issue of ‘addiction,’ you will change it when you cease to believe that heavy drug and alcohol use is your best option for finding happiness. Work on changing that belief if you want to change your habit.

Believing in the ‘underlying causes of addiction’ (and/or ‘self-medication’) model creates a more complicated problem. If you invest in this idea, then every time life sends a problem your way, or when you feel the very normal emotions of sadness, depression, stress, or anxiety – then you will feel as if you must use drugs and alcohol. If you cease to believe that heavy drug or alcohol use is your best option for happiness then you will cease the heavy use of drugs and alcohol – regardless of whether you continue to face depression, stress, anxiety, etc.”

His site continues with the answer to a challenge his “choice” theory often faces:

“You say addiction is a choice, so what do you suggest people do, use willpower to quit?
‘Addicts’ have no less or no more ‘willpower’ than anyone else. Every behavior that every person makes at any given time is, in a sense, an expression of willpower. … Essentially, if you choose to think differently about drugs and alcohol, and about how they fit into your life and competing goals, then your desire for them will change.”

Although this may sound outrageously optimistic to some, Slate’s perspective on the issue is relevant to every psychiatrist, doctor, clinician and addict who may be in treatment. His site poses (and answers) the most important question of all—is our approach towards diagnosing addicts making them feel empowered or leaving them feeling powerless?

Pros & Cons of Each Viewpoint

When researching articles of addiction as a disease, it accurately argues the brain’s physical changes in response to a drug. Addiction is the malfunctioning of brain and nerve endings due to excessive dopamine levels. A normal brain would respond “happily” to pleasurable things such as good food, healthy relationships, and rewarding experiences. However, an addicted brain sends signals to nerve endings that there is something wrong. What would trigger “happy” feelings for a normal brain is no longer enough for the addicted brain.

The pros of the “addiction as a disease” argument is that it circumvents the demonization of the drug user. On the other hand, this judgment can also lead to addicts indulging in self-destructive behavior because they feel there is something innately wrong with them. This viewpoint also sends messages that addicts are at the mercy of something bigger than them, and it may leave them feeling like a helpless victim stuck in a never-ending cycle.

Alternatively, the “addiction as a choice” viewpoint rightfully defends the addict as a person of will. This attitude translates into empowerment, and can boost the user’s confidence and self-esteem as they conquer the most unfavorable circumstances, symptoms, and mindsets. On the down side, this outlook can encourage a lack of compassion for addicts because they “could have done better.”

The Verdict

All arguments aside, this ongoing debate concerning addiction highlights a significant flaw in our system; rallying for a label may be prioritized above rallying for the success of an individual. Instead of focusing on why someone becomes an addict, we need to redirect the conversation to how an addict can heal. No matter why or how someone gets to this point in their lives, our only job as professionals, friends and family is to love them unconditionally. Of course, not to judge their choices or debate the root of their addiction. If you or someone you love is an addict, remind them that they aren’t alone.

PLEASE Browse There directory of treatment centers to find one that may be a good fit, or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist today. You can also subcribe by visiting here at SoberRecovery!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

Recovery Online Education and Support From Home! Offered By The Best Addiction/Recovery Expert and Coach Around…

Recovery Online Education and Support From Home! Offered By The Best Addiction/Recovery Expert and Coach Around…

Most all recovery advocates know in order to gain personal long-term recovery, we need to continue to be informed and educated to get there. That is why I support many forms learning by reading, journaling, visiting websites and blogs, and online learning. The more we know about the disease of addictions the better our chances are to maintain recovery without relapse or roadblocks and learn how to avoid them.

That is also true for those who gain long-term recovery and are now wanting ‘to be of recovery service to others’ looking to recover as well. Keep in mind, many reach out and are in crisis and maybe needing to enter dextox, rehab, or treatment. So what do you do? You need to be prepared. What if you want to be a recovery coach? Or maybe your a parent needing help with a teen who may be using drugs, then what? Maybe you need help and support in your own recovery journey.

Then you need to know all about The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online as they have several online courses and more are being added often… Just click, pick your course, pay, and LEARN!

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(Like this courses coming soon!)

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They offer an array of online courses, even recovery coaching for those early in and coming to begin their maintining recovery from any type of addiction. Offered, a course that will even help you work a 12-Step Recovery! Don’t hesitate to visit and take avvantage of Addiction/Recovery Higher Learning, Coaching, and Support Now with the Experts at The Professional’s International Institute Of Higher LearningOnline  with the added convience from your own home safely online. More affordable compared to many other online or onsite addiction/recovery education and support!

ABOUT The Professional International Institue Of Higher Learning

The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online is a place of learning for those individuals who want to be the very best at their respective craft. These specialized training courses in the Professional Coaching Industry and the Addiction Recovery Industry are unparalleled. Students can take our courses at their own pace without paying outrageous fees that are unrealistic. Our instructors have decades of experience in the subjects that they teach on. To be the best, you need to be instructed by the best! They have trained hundreds of Professionals in the Industry.

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More About The Addiction Expert ~ Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin,
PhD.

My name is Reverend Dr., Provincial Superintendent Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D., most call me Rev. Kev. All that I have been, all that I am, and all that I ever will be is because of God’s grace. I am well trained. I am an International Certified Master Addictions Coach, I specialize in Drug & Alcohol abuse addiction recovery & family recovery coach, gambling addiction, Life coaching, Christian Coaching, Case Management, Prevention & Relapse Prevention, LAMA, Ethics, Spirituality, Sexual Addiction, Anger Management, Domestic Violence Advocacy, Interventionist & Life Recovery Coach, Licensed & Ordained Minister.

I am a Founder, and former Board Member & Spiritual Director of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a residential addiction recovery program. Over the past 20+ years, we have been blessed to help thousands of individuals and families to change their lives! I am often utilized as a consultant on addiction and recovery and considered an expert in the field. I have given thousands of workshops and lectures, training seminars, and retreats.

I was an instructor at The Addictions Academy. I am The President and CEO of Phase II Christian Coaching, LLC. I am a member in good standing in the AACC, ICCA, NAADAC, IAMMF, ECPG, NCPG, and AACT. I am an internationally published poet and a best-selling author, I am 9 time National Bench Press Champion and 2 time World Champion.

I have been blessed to be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling, Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling, and Doctorate Degree, Ph.D., DCC, DDVCA, DLC, DD, and am Board Certified by DIT Seminary IN Christian counseling. I am an Associate Professor at Dayspring Christian University and a Board Member. I have been approved by the Board for a year of study to be consecrated a Bishop at the Florida Conference next year. I have a great deal of experience in volunteer recruitment, philanthropic, nonprofit, program development.

Today, I love to teach, educate, write, and Raise Awareness!

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“IF YOU WANT CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE, A NEW WORLDVIEW, A BETTER JOB, A BETTER PAYING JOB, A MORE RESPECTABLE JOB, IF YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS, IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE, IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE, THERE IS A BETTER WAY!”

THE BEST WAY IS TO LEARN, TAKE COURSES, GAIN NEW SKILL-SETS, TOOLS, TECHNIQUES, KNOWLEDGE, INFORMATION, SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH OTHERS, TALK WITH EXPERTS AND SHARE IN THEIR WISDOM. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVES AND PERCEPTIONS; CHANGE YOUR REALITY!

CERTIFICATE COURSES ARE NOW OPEN AR THE PROFESSIONAL’S INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING ONLINE, WON’T YOU JOIN US?
LIST OF COURSES HERE: Pick Your Courses!

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What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

Fighting against addiction is not an easy process, as it is a behavioral disease that can take over every aspect of your life and actions. However, every recovery begins with a simple step: getting help. For many addicts, this means going to inpatient rehab.

If you’ve never been to an inpatient rehab facility, then one can seem very intimidating. The images in your mind may flip between something resembling a prison or a judgement panel of doom doctors. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. To help one get comfortable with the idea of inpatient rehab, here’s an honest take on what to expect from your first few days of inpatient rehab…

Intake process

First of all, every patient goes through an intake process, where there is a full examination of the addict that includes a comprehensive medical exam, as well as an interview about their personal history and past of substance abuse.

Before this happens, you’ll have already packed everything that you’ll need for rehab, and are ready to spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days in this new home. These examinations will determine if you need to go through a detox process, which is absolutely necessary for people who have developed a dependency to alcohol, heroin, or other extremely addictive substances.

First Days Rehab 3

Detoxification

If you’re in inpatient rehab, then you likely will need to undergo the detoxification process, where harmful drugs are eased out of your system in a safe medical environment. This may include treatment with naloxone or other types of medically administered drugs that gradually wean the body off of a substance.

Trying to quit cold turkey on a drug like heroin can be incredibly dangerous, as vital organs may need it to keep going, and the mind is unable to produce certain chemicals on its own. This process typically lasts 2-3 days under constant medical supervision.

First group meetings are always awkward

After your body is clean of a certain substance, next comes the healing of the mind, which is a significantly more complicated process that takes time and effort. One of the scariest aspects of this new experience is the first group meeting that you go to. Even though other participants in the group will be used to each other, you will pretty much feel terribly awkward, and that’s a guarantee.

Sharing deep emotional feelings that are difficult to bring up with total strangers isn’t something that you can just do on your first go, but it’s something that you’ll get used to and come to love and appreciate, as it is necessary to create a lasting recovery. Make sure that you look for a good peer to get help and advice from, during this time.

Get ready to be searched

When you first come to a treatment facility, you probably aren’t that removed from the last time you used an illicit substance (or you wouldn’t be there in the first place). For this reason, the facility you are at will need to routinely search you and your belongings to make sure that there are no harmful substances in their place of recovery. This is in the interest of the addict, as well as everyone in the facility, who is there to avoid temptation and make personal progress.

Time away from loved ones is rough

Eventually, your friends and family will be able to come and visit you during the treatment process, but the first few days you will probably be on your own. This is to help an addict transition into the inpatient rehab lifestyle, and allowing friends and family to visit too early can make it difficult for a person to dedicate themselves completely to their treatment. Your loved ones will understand this, as they want to support you and your recovery.

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First Days Rehab 2

The rewards are great

If these events and steps seem awkward and scary, it’s because they are, at least at first. However, the honest truth is that inpatient rehab presents the best possible environment to reclaim control of your life and make a lasting recovery. When leaving, make sure you have aftercare and support waiting upon your leaving so you have the best chance at making your recovery journey an open door to Living a Balanced Happy Life You are Worthy Of!   ~Alek Sabin

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

Red Flags and Warnings On How Addicts Get What They Need-Want …

“The two hardest areas for me when even thinking about becoming ‘Bet Free and Sober’ were ‘Surrender and Honesty.’ 

Let’s face it, beginning recovery and treatment is SCARY” …
~Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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I remember two things back in the day trying to recover from gambling addiction and stay sober as I would drive to my GA meetings. One, listen to my favorite CD and song by Mary J Blige – “No More Drama,” and Two? Seeing this passage above and trying to believe in IT!

Today I received my SoberRecovery newsletter and read an article that really rang true to me when first coming out of treatment and trying to maintain early recovery. It kind of grab me around the throat a little as the title of the article I’m sharing made me think back to those early days when I would get a few weeks ‘bet free’ and then BAM! I’d be back out gambling and I am sure some of what I was saying to others rang true with me.

I would do or say anything to get what I wanted or needed so I could go gamble. I hope those who are living with or know a problem gambler will learn some warning signs to be aware of. As this also happens when the addict does relapse as well … It is why I share special articles that we all can learn, be informed, and educated by.
Catherine

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Communication Styles Addicts Use to Get What They Want

By Patrick Biegler 


Effective communication is essential to the human experience. Our ability to communicate allows us to form and maintain relationships, let others know what our needs are and reach out to help each other. In reality, however, we’re not always good at communicating effectively and this can cause a number of problems for us.

For those of us with an addiction, our methods of communication are often problematic. We tend to communicate the “need” for our drug of choice in unhealthy ways that further damage our relationships.

Here are the 4 different communication styles and how they tend to play out in everyday circumstances.

1. Passive

This is the “doormat” style of communicating. Passive communicators tend to allow others to walk all over them and often suppress their needs.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected)“That’s ok, no big deal.”

In this style of communication, the passive party does not express the feelings that are taking place. Without expressing our true feelings we are likely to suppress them, which is a very dangerous place to be for an addict.

2. Aggressive

This is the “bullying” style of communication. The tendency is to threaten or express a high level of anger.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “You should feel sorry! You’re such a selfish, uncaring jerk for not inviting me! See if I invite you to the next get-together!”

Here, the aggressive party expresses some of the emotions (mainly anger) by lashing out at the other party. While expressing one’s emotion can be healthy, this style of response is overdone and tends to leave other emotions unaddressed. Additionally, the other party walks away angry and resentful, leaving both parties unhappy. It leads to a negative experience that raises relapse risk for someone with an addiction.

3. Passive/Aggressive

This style of communication is one that addicts tend to be quite proficient at. It’s a manipulative way to get our needs met and is often an attempt to “guilt” the other party to give in.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “That’s fine, it’s always nice to know how unimportant I am to you. Perhaps I should give you my phone number again since you seem to have forgotten it.”

Once again the emotions are not appropriately expressed directly but the inference from the response indicates that there are negative emotions that have resulted. This here is another style of communication that leaves both parties in a negative emotional state.

4. Assertive

Generally, the assertive communication style is the best way to communicate. It involves both parties listening to what the other has to say and fosters genuine dialogue about the emotional impact of the event.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “I appreciate the apology and I must say that I felt angry and rejected by not being invited. I understand it was a genuine mistake and I’m willing to forgive and forget.”

Here, both parties express their true feelings in a non-confrontational dialogue, hopefully leaving both parties feeling heard and understood.

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For addicts, this style of communication often feels very uncomfortable, especially for addicts. We’re not very adept at recognizing and expressing emotions in a controlled manner and we don’t like feeling vulnerable by expressing our true selves. With enough practice though, we can learn to more effectively communicate our needs and feelings.

How Addicts Communicate to Feed the Addiction

For someone who is still in throes of addiction, there are two styles of communication we’re accustomed to using as our primary means of conveying the things we desire: aggressive and passive-aggressive.

Here’s how my past conversations usually played out.

Aggressive:

Me: “Hey, I need $30.00.”

You: “What for?”

Me: “Does it matter? I need the money! Give it to me!” (implying that “If you don’t give me the money, I’m willing to steal it.”)

Passive-Aggressive:

Me: (I need drugs and I need to get some money.) “Hey, can you lend me $30.00 for gas for my car?”

You: I don’t know, are you going to buy drugs with this money?”

Me: “Of course not, I need it for gas money.”

You: “I’m not sure I trust you, the last time I gave you money you spent it on drugs.”

Me: “Fine, if you won’t give me money, I won’t have a car to drive to work. Thanks a lot!”

Approaching Someone with Addiction

If you’re dealing with someone with an addiction, know that he or she will do ANYTHING to get his or her drug of choice. If that means lying to you or manipulating you, we WILL DO IT. The drug is the goal and whatever it takes to reach this goal is fair game for us. So what do you do?

1. Realize that whatever we say, we are trying to manipulate or intimidate you in order to feed our addiction.

2. Have a firm resolution not to give in to threats. If we “need” money for ‘rent’ then pay the bill directly, don’t give us the cash to pay it.

Recognizing these styles of communication is an important step to learning how to change our behavior to more effectively communicate our legitimate needs.

It is also important to recognize how addicts manipulate communication to score drugs. Honesty and candor from both sides are key to effective communication and recovery from addiction. When we all communicate our needs and concerns in an assertive manner, we have a much better chance of working together towards a life free of addiction and toward recovery.