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

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

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

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

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

See Your Doctor


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

 

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

 

Meet With a Rehab Center


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

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

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (1)

Detoxification Programs

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

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

 

12-Step Groups


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

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

Support system 1
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Trustworthy Friends and Family


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

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

 

Helping a Loved One Get Started


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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Depression Isn’t a Real Illness”

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

 

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

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

“Depression is Just Sadness”

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

 

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

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

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“Talking About Depression Makes It Worse”

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

 

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

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“Only Women Are Affected by Depression”

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

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression

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

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

Helping Others In Recovery from Gambling. A Research and Study You Can Participate In ~By The University of Calgary – Addictive Behaviors Lab.

“Through my years of recovery from gambling addiction, alcohol abuse, and mental health challenges, I have been honored, invited, and to be a part of and engaged in and interviewed for many articles, studies, and research of addictive behaviors and neurosciences mag write-ups. I do so to Raise Awareness & prove recovery is POSSIBLE” ~Author/Advocate Catherine Lyon 


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Here Are The Details and Pre-Screening To Become A Participant:

A friend of yours mentioned that you were in gambling recovery and involved in advocacy, and that you might be interested in helping us recruit participants for a study we are running.” (Well, of course, I was going to HELP)!!

We are currently investigating the impact of methods/strategies, as well as co-occurring addictions, on the recovery process. We recently received confirmation of the ethics modification that would allow us to recruit through means like this, and it would be amazing if you would be willing to help us spread the word and is open to US citizens through June 2019!!

Here is some more information about the process, as well as the compensation that participants will receive for time spent completing the survey, to help you decide if this is something you would be interested in sharing.

Eligibility Requirements for Participants and Open in The USA:

1.)  You must have experienced a period in your life lasting 12 consecutive months or longer when you felt that gambling caused problems for you (e.g., financial, interpersonal, emotional, etc.) …

AND,

2.)  You must CURRENTLY be in a period of recovery from problem gambling that has lasted 12 consecutive months or longer…

AND,

3.)  You must have experienced a problem with another behavior (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, or other substance use, shopping, binge eating, internet use, etc.).

The Process:

First, participants will be asked to complete an online screening questionnaire to determine if they are eligible to participate (roughly 5-10 minutes) … Please visit and CLICK  link  Gambling Pre-Screening  to complete the screening survey and determine your eligibility

If they are eligible, you will be asked to complete:

1.)   A telephone interview regarding engagement in, and recovery from problem gambling and other addictive behaviors. Telephone interviews take approximately 45 to 75 minutes to complete.

2.   A second, and final, Online Questionnaire with questions about personality, life experiences, etc. This questionnaire takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Some Compensation:

As a thank-you for participating in this study, participants will be offered $40 in the form of a gift card that will be e-mailed out (participants will have a choice from a short list; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, David’s Tea, The Keg, and Starbuck for US participants). Please note that if members do not pass the screening process, they will NOT be eligible to participate in the study, and therefore will NOT be eligible to receive a gift card of any amount.

Catherine, thank you so much for taking the time to consider sharing our research. If you or potential recovery friends have any questions or concerns at all I would be more than happy to answer them! Email me at ALANA,  ablab@ucalgary.ca 

Best Regards,

Alana Guidry

Research Assistant

Addictive Behaviours Lab

University of Calgary

of psychology department

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#BeTheOne!!
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I hope all who visit and are in recovery from gambling and another occurring addiction will take this opportunity to see if you qualify to be a participant Like I will Be and is a way we can have a platform to help others and help get sound solid information to about any addictions to the public is another way to “Be of Recovery Service!” ~Catherine 

 

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.


“Don’t Let The Season Take Away Your Sobriety With Temptations Abound” 

 

The Biggest Threats to Long Lasting Sobriety ~ by Alek Sabin


Long-lasting sobriety can seem like it is so far away when a person starts in recovery because recovery is a long and arduous journey. As such, when an addict is recovering from addiction, it is important for them to be brutally honest with themselves. One such thing to remember is that it is incredibly likely that a recovering addict will relapse, at least once, when they are on such a journey.


These relapses may happen early on, but they can also happen years down the road. Relapses are all too common, but they should not be viewed as a failure. Instead, a relapse should be viewed as a stumble on the path towards lasting recovery as long as you learn from it …

Relapses can be better prevented if an addict, or their friends and family, are more aware of what particular things are likely to trigger a relapse, even though this can change from person to person. Relapse triggers are the main threats to long-lasting sobriety, and here is how you can recognize some of them in your own life…

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Threats Sobriety 1 (1)

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Mental Health Issues


One major relapse trigger and something that may have had a major impact on somebody getting addicted in the first place is mental illness. Things like depression from “holiday blues” and anxiety have a long history of increasing the likelihood of addiction,
partly because they heavily impact the emotional sensitivity of an addict.

When somebody has both a mental disorder as well as suffers from gambling or substance abuse, this is classified as a dual diagnosis. When an addict is recovering, it is very possible that the same effects of a mental disorder can push them towards destructive behavior that leads to relapse.

 

Social Events or Pressures

As many recovering addicts know, peer pressure is a powerful motivator. Oftentimes, it is what led a person towards addiction in the first place. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to carefully consider social events and celebrations to attend. If someone at this event is going to be presenting an opportunity for a person to engage in substance abuse, again, then it probably isn’t worth it to attend. Relapse is more likely to occur when you give it opportunities to do so.

 

Relationship Problems


Relationships with friends, family, spouses, or lovers can lead to a great deal of emotional tumultuousness that can be difficult for a recovering addict to deal with. The emotional tides that come with relationship problems can push an addict towards behavior that they associate with comfort, which can lead to relapse. The isolation that is caused by emotional strife in relationships can also have a similar effect.

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Threats Sobriety 3

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Stress Triggers


Any sort of stress triggers, whether they have to do with job stress, relationship stress, self-esteem issues, or any other variety of things to be stressed about, will have a profound impact on the chances of a relapse occurring. Oftentimes, substance abuse is a reaction to stress that is ingrained in a recovering addict’s mind.

For this reason, it’s important for them to be aware of what their common stress triggers are so that they can be identified and addressed when they come up. As a note, one particular reason that stress is so impactful in relapse is that it can lead to high levels of self-doubt, which pushes addicts to a comfortable mindspace of substance abuse.

H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T. is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. This is referred to in the addiction recovery world as emotions or states of being that put a person at greater risk of relapse, because substance abuse can present an easy way out, in many of these situations. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to take special care of their physical health. This means getting regular amounts of sleep, having a healthy diet, and getting the emotional support that they need to stay emotionally healthy.

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So enjoy this Holiday Season maintaining your Sobriety and have a Happy Stress Free Season in RECOVERY!

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AnotherHolidaySeasonInRecovery_NLH

Learning Holiday Budgeting ~ Gambling Recovery Finance and Budgeting Advice By Guest Alek Sabin …

Learning Holiday Budgeting ~ Gambling Recovery Finance and Budgeting Advice By Guest Alek Sabin …

Now that the holiday season is here, for those recovering from gambling addiction may feel a little more stress over finances this time of year. We know this addiction is and was financially draining and emotionally. My guest Alek has some sound advice on how to keep it all together and share how to tighten our budget and keep some money over the holiday season.

Many of us doing our financial inventories may have worked hard to clean up our credit and get things back on track. But let us learn from Alek how to not go overboard as to running the risk of being once again burdened with loads of debt after the holidays.

 

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How to Tighten Your Budget Over the Holiday Season~by Alek Sabin

Coming into the holidays tends to generate a lot of excitement. There are all sorts of parties to go to, goodies to eat, and gifts to share. However, in the midst of this joyful season, your pocketbook is almost certainly going to take a bit of a hit. Indeed, the holidays can be so financially taxing that most financial experts recommend having a budget for the holidays that you save for throughout the rest of the year. However, you don’t need to go into the red this year, if you take some simple steps to help tighten your budget.

The key to enjoying the festivities without the added stress of going into debt is to be smart and plan ahead. Check out some of the following suggestions to keep your bank account happy for the rest of the year!

Make a List and Stick to It

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Holiday Budget 2

Take the time to think ahead and make a list of each of the people you want to buy presents for this year. Once you have a list, take your planning to the next level and decide what it is you would like to give them. This will be especially helpful in a variety of ways, including:

  • Removing the possibility of overspending or buying more presents for any one person than you intended.
  • Removing the risk of impulse purchases.
  • Allowing you to price shop so you can get the best deal on each gift, including giving you the chance to watch for special holiday sales.
  • Making sure you do not forget anyone and cause yourself additional stress.

 

Set Aside the Money

Once you have set a budget for the amount you are willing and able to spend on the holidays this year, find a way to set it aside. Easily keep track of your money now and throughout the year by employing these tips.

    • Set aside a special pot of money just for the holidays: Whether this is a bank account you put money in specifically for the holidays or a literal jar you have in your home that you periodically deposit money into, keep your holiday money separate from all of your other money. This will help you know exactly what you have available to spend and keep you from spending money that should be going toward more important things, like the mortgage and food.

 

  • Only use cash for your holiday spending: If you would rather draw the money out of your normal bank account, withdraw the money into cash and know that is all you have to spend. Being able to visually see the amount of money you have left to spend will help you to make economic choices. Once the money is gone, you are done spending for the holidays. 
  • Have a strict meal plan: Holiday parties and get-togethers are likely to boast large and delicious meals, and can cost a pretty penny (especially if you are hosting one yourself). However, you should make a point to ensure that the rest of your meals are more structured and less expensive, in order to save a buck or two (or more) for the rest of the holiday. Whether this includes cooking all of your meals at home or finding clever ways to save money when you eat out.

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Holiday Budget 1

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Look for Alternatives to Purchased Gifts


If the wallet is tight this year, consider other options for gifts you may give rather than ones purchased in the store. For a neighbor, you may offer to walk their dog or shovel their sidewalks. If you are making holiday treats, make a few extra and take some treats to friends or to the office. Encourage children to be creative and make each other homemade gifts.


Let Someone Else Host This Year


While presents are a costly part of the holiday season, another stress on your finances is holiday parties and dinners. Purchasing the food, drinks, decorations, and outfits for these events while entertaining can quickly add up to a pretty penny. Consider allowing (or even asking!) someone else to host the party this year. If you still find yourself playing host, look for ways to ease the burden on yourself by making it a potluck meal or a BYOB …

Save Your Receipts


By saving all of your receipts, you can then log your spending when you get home in a notebook or spreadsheet. This will help you to keep a running total and assist in staying within your budget. Another less thought of a reason for keeping receipts is that some stores will reimburse you for the difference if an item goes on sale after you purchase it. While this is not true of all stores, it never hurts to ask and you will need your receipt to get your money back!

 

Happy Recovery Holiday Season!

Thanksgiving Wishes and a Special Guest Article of Hope, Uplifting, and Serenity. Only One I Know Does It Well, Author and Advocate, Sandy Swenson …

Thanksgiving Wishes and a Special Guest Article of Hope, Uplifting, and Serenity. Only One I Know Does It Well, Author and Advocate, Sandy Swenson …

Wishing all my recovery friends and readers a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

I wanted to post something special for a few days who may mosey here as I begin my Holiday Watch and Blogging for the Holidays so anyone looking for help from gambling or any addiction will know someone cares and they are not alone through the Holidays! Leave a comment or EMAIL me: lyonmedia@aol  and I’ll be checking both many times a day!

Now, please meet Sandy Swenson! A longtime friend of mine through social media recovery communities is how we met. I have not shared a post of hers in a while but she is the ONLY person I would have and share at Holiday Time as she has been through it all and can uniquely write about how it can be a tough time when you either live with or lost an addict. SO I’ll let her get to it and Y’all go visit and signup for her newsletter too!

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Nov 21, 2018, / Sandy Swenson

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

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Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

When my boys were little, they hovered about the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, eager to get started with stuffing the turkey. We tied on aprons, washed our hands, pushed step stools over to the kitchen counter, and discussed who, exactly, would need to touch the pale and pimply turkey flesh.

My oldest son dumped bread cubes into a large bowl and his brother stirred in the onions and sage; they took turns scooping stuffing into the hollow center of our holiday bird before it was slathered in oil and popped in the oven. Our home was full of pleasant aromas and anticipation and things to be thankful for.

Norman Rockwell picture-perfect.

But things changed once my oldest son became addicted.

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Thanksgiving became a day stuffed with unspoken disappointment, anger, and fear rather than too much pie and good cheer. His younger brother, dad and I would wait for my son to show up—or not show up at all—while our turkey and sweet potatoes shriveled away in the oven. Retreating to different parts of the house, we avoided the sad festivities and phony smiles until tradition beckoned us to sit down at the table across from my son’s very empty place. Thankful, I was not.

It has been ten years now since my son even pretended he was coming home for Thanksgiving dinner. (I don’t know where he has turkey. Or if he has turkey.) I’ve had time to adjust to Thanksgiving the way it is and stop wishing for the way it should be, but time hasn’t taken away the hurt—or the hole where he should be. I suspect it never will. Instead, over time, I’ve grown stronger. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to get through and even enjoy the holidays again.

1. Make room for your feelings and let go of old expectations.

I’m now strong enough to face the hurt rather than stuff it away (more often than not), and I’m strong enough to fill the holes in my life and my heart with things that make the day better, not worse. That means facing reality, not trying to re-create what can’t be re-created, starting new traditions, and spending quality time with some happy old memories.

There’s a lot wrapped up in this big day that rolls around one short day a year. A lot of hopeful hopes, fears, disappointments, and stress—when holiday tradition and expectation meet addiction it can be madness. But it’s possible to look at things differently, to do things differently, especially if the whole family is recruited to open their eyes and minds. And when the spirit of things leading up to the big day is giving thanks, that spirit is contagious.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a day for gathering together with loved ones and having fun. So simple—and beautiful—if left simple. A performance, it is not. And living up to unrealistic expectations, I will not.

I no longer spend weeks leading up to Thanksgiving trying to pretend that everything is fine, that addiction hasn’t consumed my son (and therefore my whole family), and that we can still pull off a pretend-perfect performance.

“I no longer stuff down my sadness, putting on the dressing of normal life in the same way I shove myself into my jeans after a big meal—by taking a deep breath, swallowing the pain, and pasting on a smile.”

Instead, I plan ahead. I take the time to face my feelings—I take the time to grieve and cry for what was and what isn’t—and then, acknowledging the pitfalls I don’t want to fall into, I figure out ways to make the holiday work. And one of those ways is to ask for help—from friends, family, a therapist or counselor or any of the hundreds of support groups, like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or The Addict’s Mom.

2. Celebrate those who are at the table and let go of perfection.

I have Let Go of thinking that I’m the only one who can make the day (any day, actually) perfect, for anyone. Or that I can please everyone. Thanksgiving is made all the better with family participation—which means asking for everyone’s hands and hearts to be in the right place at the right time. Together we can prepare and adapt to the fact that our addicted loved one might not show up (or worse).

But, who is not at the table shouldn’t take up more space than the people who are.

There is no end to the room I have at my table. And in my heart. But both my heart and home have rules. Before the big day, I set my boundaries (and set up escape hatches), knowing that it’s possible that not everyone who shows up is going to behave. I can’t control the actions of anyone else, but what I can control is me (and even that is no easy task.). By facing reality, my actions don’t need to be reactions. My boundaries don’t need to be rough, they just need to be strong.

3. Try something different; open your heart to something new.

When the holiday hurts, maybe it’s time to try something different—something smaller, or bigger, or somewhere new. The meal, the menu, an old family recipe, the way (or the place) that we’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving…. the little traditions mean nothing compared to the meaning of the big tradition itself.

There was a time when I would spend weeks shopping and chopping, mixing and rolling, cleaning and decorating, for a meal that, for all of its hype, actually took less than thirty minutes to eat (not counting the time spent talking). But I enjoyed all the creative chaos. Until things changed. And then I didn’t. I felt a bit guilty at first, serving store-bought pie or stuffing from the deli, but the reality is, that isn’t what matters. And no one ever noticed—or if they did, they didn’t care.

4. Share your gratitude and give back.

Who is at the table is more important than what is on the table (or where the table is). In the holiday hubbub, it’s easy to forget what the holiday is really about.

“Giving thanks.”

So I’ve learned, having grown in my own recovery, to make every effort to live in the moment. To give thanks for the moment. To give thanks for those around me—those people who matter, and who deserve to feel like they matter, no matter what else is going on. I take the time to soak in and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. Of which there is a lot.

My need to fill the hole that addiction has left in both my heart and life is big. And I’ve found that helping others keeps me moving forward. It may be overwhelming to add one more expectation to a day already laden with so much, but giving thanks by showing thanks doesn’t have to fall on one particular day in the fall. I’ve got 364 other days of the year in which to do what my heart needs to do. It helps me to help kids whose moms, for whatever reason, are unable to do mom stuff for them right now. And maybe someday someone will do the same thing for my son.

5. Accept what is, one day at a time.

Yes, I’m finally strong enough to fill the hole in my life where my son should be with things that make the holiday better, not worse. I’m strong enough to face reality—to accept what is—to start new traditions, and to spend time with some happy old memories; those are mine to keep and enjoy, forever.

Old memories still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, but I’m finally able to treasure my memories for what they are: gifts. I am blessed to have had so many years of such happiness, and not even addiction can take that away. After everything that has happened, I still have my sons’ smiles, the sounds of their voices, and the feel of their hugs, no matter how far away they may be. So, in giving thanks, I take the time to remember what was before embracing, fully, what is. I laugh, I cry. I allow the movies in my mind to fill my soul.

This year I will visit my 91-year-old mom in Memory Care, then my dad and I will have our Thanksgiving dinner at the home of the friend I grew up with and her parents, people we’ve known for about 55 years. Friends like family–I’m immensely grateful for that.

Many years ago my oldest son sent me this message:

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Hopefully, someday I’ll give you a reason to be thankful for me. I love you. Thank you for still loving me.”

No matter what, I have always been thankful for both of my boys. And I’m thankful for what I have now. And I’m thankful that they both know how much they are loved.

This is me filling, not stuffing.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with things to be thankful for, too.
~______________________________________~

Please recovery friends, go visit Sandy on her beautiful and helpful website and her Amazing Books make excellent Holiday Gifts!

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Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy Swenson

 

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Giving Thanks and Having Gratitude as Another Holiday Recovery Season Begins

Giving Thanks and Having Gratitude as Another Holiday Recovery Season Begins

Happy Thanksgiving Week and Kick Off to Another Recovery Holiday Season!

Well, another holiday season is upon us already. It seems just yesterday it was summer. Time sure does fly. As you begin holiday shopping, the smells of turkey roasting, decorating, baking those yummy Christmas cookies, I hope for those maintaining recovery from gambling and all addictions take some time to reflect on how you have gotten to your beautiful recovery life today. Be “Thankful” and have a heart of “gratitude.”

You need to be mindful of where we came from and how far you have come and have worked to positively move forward in life. It is essential to do so, especially at Holiday time, as you walk farther away from your past within addiction. I thought I’d share a little of my “Holiday” article I wrote for my gambling recovery column QUIT 2 WIN over at “Keys To Recovery” newspaper.

So why do we need to reflect as we move farther away from our past “wreckage and damages” from our addictions?

It gives us a sense of accomplishment and gratitude as we become thankful for all the work and “change” we have put forth to get where we are today maintaining our recovery path. We also need to be mindful of those who “don’t have what we have” when it comes to recovery.

Many do still have struggles around the holidays and why I will be recovery blogging and being close to my phone and email through the holidays for my 6th year now. I do this to be of recovery service to those who are new to recovery and may have a tougher time through the holiday season. I started this recovery tradition right after my book, ‘Addicted to Dimes’ released in late November of 2012, and decided I would do it every year.

I knew how hard it was around the holidays when I was still deep within my gambling addiction, and when I first started recovery. We have feelings of desperation due to no money for gift giving, decorating the home and even holiday meals. I still remember walking up and down the store isles wishing I could buy this or buy that and feeling sad and mad at myself because it was all my fault, my gambling was why I couldn’t.

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Anger, stress, and holiday chaos can be triggers, so as I’d leave the store and gamble a few hours to help me feel better hopefully. But it didn’t because I was desperate! Even in recovery, the holiday season can be filled with many opportunities to gamble with the people around them, which may threaten their gambling addiction recovery.  So be mindful through the holiday season.

Know Yourself – Remember what caused you to gamble before, and make sure your behaviors and habits do not change during the holiday season and trigger gambling impulses. You may also need to monitor your alcohol intake, turning down vacation day trips to casinos with friends, and making sure no extra vacation time causes you any feelings of boredom or loneliness. Use the tools and skills learned! Have a wonderful sober, clean, and bet free Recovery Holiday Season …

 

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I am also sharing below a little “Faith” from Harvest Church of Pastor, Greg Laurie. Because as we enter the Holiday Season,  it is many times with stress and worries. I work my own recovery through faith as I would not be on this earth otherwise. I’m just not too loud about it! Lol.

When your life is pulled back from “A Power Greater Than Ourselves” from suicide not once, but twice? You know that IS a miracle of GOD. So turn those worries and the stress of the holidays into PRAYERS.

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Turn Your Worries into Prayers

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

—Philippians 4:6

There are so many things today that can cause us to worry. There are the worries of
the world. There are the worries in our own country, including the threat of terrorism and the threat of North Korea. Then there are personal worries, such as health worries and family worries.

It seems as though worries are always there, always closing in on us. But worry isn’t productive. In fact, it’s a failure to trust God. The word worry comes from an Old English term that means “strangle” or “choke.” That is what worry does. It chokes us. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Modern medical research has proven that worry breaks down our resistance to disease. It actually diseases the nervous system and, more specifically, the digestive organs and the heart. In fact, 79 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are stress related.

Philippians tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (4:6–7).

We need to turn our worries into prayer. That requires developing a conditioned reflex. We all have natural reflexes, like when we touch something hot and immediately pull back. Then there’s a conditioned reflex, something that becomes natural after we’ve done it so many times. For instance, standing during the national anthem or placing your hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance is a conditioned reflex.

We can’t control our universe, as hard as we may try, but we certainly can pray about it. The next time you’re tempted to worry, pray instead. Turn your worries into prayers.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING and Celebrate Recovery Through The Christmas Season and Beyond Recovery Friends!  ~Advocate/Author, Catherine Lyon 

Dig Deeper:

Today’s Radio Program
“Hurried, Worried, Buried (How to Overcome Fear, Worry & Anxiety)–1”

This Week’s TV Program
“The Danger of the Compromised Life”