Gambling Recovery Ramblings. It Can Be Challenging In Early Recovery. Nun’s Accused of Embezzlement To Gamble?

I have been so busy of late trying to keep up with where “Big Jim” is and where he is biking to next, that it has been a long while since I shared myself and some interesting news I have found about or read about gambling recovery. A while I added back my recovery blog on two different new sites called Feedspot and Tumblr.

They share my posts on the sites automatic so I can help and reach more people, those struggling with or new to recovery. I blog as well so others know they are not alone recovering from this cunning addiction.

I find many times we all seem to face the same challenges in early recovery from this disease. Even though have been working my recovery for many years, doesn’t mean I don’t forget my own relapses and treatment program “Do Overs”…

I still remember the early days when triggers, urges, and cravings would win over my will and desire to stay in recovery and stop gambling. We never should forget where we were and where we came from in order to enjoy life and where we are today maintaining recovery. 

Here are some Anonymous comments from people who are trying to recover from addicted gambling. I am sharing so that others may know and be informed about how hard it is and the struggles and areas that are hard to come to grips with. It sure does feel like you are “Gripped By Gambling” in early recovery! Also an article about two Calif. Nun’s Steal Money to Gamble in Las Vegas! WOW!

That just shows that when you become a problem gambler, you then cross the line to a full-blown addiction, the disease will slowly progress to the point that when the money runs out? You then steal, lie, and cheat to get money to continue feeding the addiction …

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FEEDSPOT GAMBLING FORUM COMMENTS: How Challenging Staying Away From GAMBLING …
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“I feel the more we openly talk about the hatred for gambling the quicker we can retrain our brains fully into healing.  Gambling causes misery and darkness. There is nothing good that comes out of gambling. Gambling highjacks our brain.

When we win, we lose. We when lose, we lose. We hide, cry inside and kill our emotional feelings to the world. We can not be happy until we have lost it all.

We love the challenge of finding money to gamble with no matter how far behind in life that takes us.  We will not gamble today, we will not gamble anymore.”

ANOTHER:  “I just wanted to express myself that I’m happy you guys are here to give warming messages to make me understand what gambling can do to a person. It took so many years from me even though I’m only 26. I lost so many chances to take boy trips to other countries and build up my life. It feels kinda bad to be so low but at the same time awesome because it gave me life experience.

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ANOTHER:  
I relapsed!  Trigger Warning!

And got lucky. I won a fairly big amount of money for me, especially as a student. I started with a deposit of $100, lost that, then deposited more, and you get the picture. Then I finally won my deposits back and then some. Then lost it all!

I’ve been doing pretty good just staying away from gambling, but I’ve noticed I’ve definitely got an easily addicted mind, be it gambling, snus, alcohol, etc. If I stay away from gambling I’ll use a disk of snus a day, or go out to drink with friends.

Now I’ve once again locked out of online casinos but I always seem to come back somehow, by either circumventing the block or just finding a new casino.

I’ve edited my flair, I had a good run of 155 days clean but now I’m back at square ONE!  Here Is To new beginnings!
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ONE MORE: “I am sick, ashamed, and so disgusted in myself. I have no one to blame but myself. My boyfriend doesn’t gamble, but he does try to see make light of the issue (i.e I’m lucky that I don’t have to pay for rent, etc).

It all started a month ago as entertainment, but I’ve been going every weekend with my boyfriend ever since I had a big win in January. I promised that I wouldn’t become addicted, but that failed.

I got sucked way too into it and figured that I was in too deep anyway last night. To think I could have spent some of that money lost towards something more beneficial, like auto or student loans. I feel horrible.

I’m looking at my bank statement of all the withdrawals I made. I feel like shit. This is totally unacceptable!! I’m going try to put that addiction-feeling towards working on myself. SO wish me luck.

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Showgirls at the Welcome Sign - 8-15-07

Showgirls at the Welcome Sign

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((An internal investigation at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., found that two nuns who worked there misappropriated a substantial amount of money for personal use over a period of years.  ImageCredit Scott Varley/Digital First Media, via Torrance Daily Breeze, via Getty Images))

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Two longtime nuns at St. James Catholic School in Torrance allegedly embezzled as much as $500,000 in tuition, fees, and donations, perhaps spending some of the money on trips and gambling at casinos while telling parents the school was operating on a shoestring budget, officials and parents said.

The figure represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records and might not include other cash transactions, officials from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents and alumni at a meeting Monday night at St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. An audio recording of the two-hour meeting was obtained by the Southern California News Group.

The apparent scandal came to light last week when the church’s small, K-8 school announcedthat it had notified police that Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, and Sister Lana Chang, who both had retired earlier this year, were “involved in the personal use of a substantial amount of school funds.” But the nuns had expressed remorse, and the archdiocese and the church were not pursuing criminal charges.

Kreuper was the school’s principal, and Chang taught there.

The revelation comes four years after a car struck and killed four people as they left a Christmas concert at the church, including a 6-year-old boy.

Michael Meyers, the church’s monsignor, told the crowd of a few hundred people that the archdiocese launched an internal investigation six months ago after the organization performed a standard audit of procedures ahead of Kreuper’s retirement after 28 years at the school.

Around the same time, Meyers said, a family happened to request a copy of a check made out to the school, and the staff noticed it had been deposited in a bank account other than the schools.

That’s when Kreuper became “very nervous and very anxious” about the upcoming financial review and requested that the staff alter records, the monsignor said. Meyers said he alerted an archdiocese internal auditor performing the review that “something was off” and that the auditor confirmed his suspicions.

The archdiocese then hired an independent forensic auditor for a deeper review.

Without the red flags raised by the check, Kreuper’s “strange” behavior and a tip made to an archdiocese ethics hotline, officials said the school would never have known about the problem.

The improper use of the funds had been going on for at least 10 years, Meyers said. The parish and the school have always run in the black, so it appears no one had suspicions.

“The systems that were set up were dividing people, so nobody knew what was happening,” Meyers said.

A retired FBI agent hired by the archdiocese interviewed school staffers and the nuns.

“When he was talking to Sister Mary Margaret, she did acknowledge that she had been taking all the money, so that’s not a question,” Meyers said.

He said no other staff members are suspected of wrongdoing, but a bookkeeper who was unaware of the long-running scheme has voluntarily taken a leave of absence to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

Funds raised by the school’s nonprofit education foundation were not affected, officials said.

Auditors told parents the “long forgotten” church bank account was opened in 1997 and that bank records before 2012 no longer exist. Only Kreuper and Chang knew about the account, they said.

They described a system in which Kreuper handled all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees before handing them over to bookkeeping staff for processing. The principal allegedly withheld some of the checks and deposited them into the other account, endorsing the back with a stamp that read, “St. James Convent” instead of “St. James School.”

The sisters used a majority of the money for “personal gain,” officials said, though some of it was “recycled” back to the school.

Meyers said the money would have ended up in the school’s reserve funds.

The sisters expressed deep remorse, officials said.

The archdiocese is cooperating with Torrance police, but is unwilling to be a “complaining party,” archdiocese lawyer Marge Graf told parents. She said the decision was made because the nuns’ order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, has agreed to pay the school full restitution and impose “severe sanctions” on Kreuper and Chang.

When a parent asked what the money was spent on, the attorney said: “We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips, we do know they had a pattern of going to casinos, and the reality is, they used the account as their personal account.”

The nuns, described by many as best friends, have been removed from ministry, according to a letter from the order read aloud during the meeting. Meyers said they have been moved to separate convents. Church officials did not say whether the order’s restitution agreement hinged on the archdiocese not pursuing criminal charges.

Meyers and other officials pledged to make changes to prevent abuse in the future, noting that new principal Noreen Maricich has implemented an online payment system for tuition that draws funds directly from parents’ bank accounts.

Reactions in the stunned crowd ranged from disappointment and anger to calls for forgiveness.

Many parents were outraged with the decision not to press charges, with some remarking that if the nuns were lay people, they would certainly be in jail. Others called for the restitution to be used to give teachers pay raises and for expenses they said Kreuper claimed the school could not afford, such as awnings for an outdoor eating area.

Jack Alexander of Redondo Beach said in an interview with the Southern California News Group that he and other parents are considering banding together to act as a complaining party to Torrance police themselves. But without cooperation from the archdiocese, he is doubtful the effort would lead to prosecution.

“We were an ATM, and people know it and they won’t ask for justice,” Alexander said.

The approach sends the wrong message to students, he said, that money is more important than morals.

“They are trying to recapture money, not get justice,” Alexander said.

Paul Eakins, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors have not been presented with a case yet from Torrance police. Sgt. Ronald Harris said police will confer at some point with the District Attorney’s Office.

“Our office doesn’t decline to charge simply because the victim’s future cooperation is problematical,” Eakins said. “However, if a victim is not presently cooperating, we may consider that as a factor in determining whether a case can be successfully prosecuted.”

Many in attendance questioned how the school could claim in a parent letter that the embezzlement did not affect the students’ education, and they criticized officials for hesitating at first to reveal the full, six-figure estimate. Some have called on Meyers to resign.

Denise Sur, a longtime St. James parishioner who put four children through the school and spoke at the meeting, said in an interview that she was disappointed that details were not provided immediately.

“The archdiocese and our parish leadership have to be held accountable for the poor process as well as what occurred,” she said.

Tony Liakos, a parent who also spoke at the meeting, said in an interview that the news is another blow to a church community still reeling from that tragic crash in December 2014. It’s a good school, he said, and he doesn’t want its attributes to be overshadowed by these two incidents.

“The biggest thing is I’d prefer to see this not hurt the school more than it already has,” he said in an interview.

Samantha Pierce, a Torrance resident who has attended St. James for more than 30 years and whose son graduated from the school, said the controversy underscores a failure of church leadership. Only a police investigation can be trusted, she said.

“They convicted the sisters before they actually have the facts on hand, that is the thing that disturbed me the most,” Pierce said.

She expressed skepticism that the nuns acted maliciously, even given their apparent admissions of guilt.

Kreuper was known to forgive tuition debt and offer assistance to families experiencing financial hardships, Pierce said, and she took trips to Las Vegas because she visited a friend from a Catholic school where she used to teach.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Las Vegas could not be reached on Wednesday. Kreuper has a past address and P.O. Box in Las Vegas, public records show.

If the nuns indeed misused funds wrongfully, Pierce said she would forgive them.

Other parents said it was well-known that Kreuper and Chang traveled often and went gambling, but that they claimed they have gifted the trips by a rich relative.

“These nuns took a vow of poverty and said, ‘Oh no, we’ve got a rich uncle,’ ” Alexander said. “The rich uncle was the parents of the St. James students. These 2 Nuns Suspected in $500,000 Theft From Catholic School Had a Taste for Gambling, Church Says.”

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April Is Alcohol Awareness Month and This Guest Article Has Some Good Points! “A Dear John Letter” …

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month and This Guest Article Has Some Good Points! “A Dear John Letter” …

WELCOME, ALL Recovery Friends and New One Visitors!

One thing I enjoy maintaining recovery is doing research and reading. One of my favorite MAGS I subscribe to is called “The Fix Magazine” as they have some fantastic recovery writers and articles that just make sense and open view of choices of recovery paths. My feelings are, as long as you pick a path and recovery journey that works for YOU?

Then what you choose is your business, and that’s IT. Not all treatment and recovery programs come in “one size fits all,” so how you want to work a program, and there are MANY OPTIONS, that gets you BET FREE, CLEAN, and SOBER is the most crucial issue.

This article in this month’s The Fix actually caught my attention because there has been for a long time, some battles lines drawn on those who just choose to do a 12-Step recovery program and that’s all.

Well, my gambling addiction was terrible that I needed anything and everything to gain my life back and break free from the “Cycle.” See, the cycle is the same from one addiction to the next. Also the habits and behaviors we learn deep in our addictions. Look, when you are sick, broken, and hopeless?

It just may take more than one program or option to help you maintain your recovery. I’m not at all bashing AA, NA, GA, or 12-step programs. I’m merely sharing so everyone has insights into what works for some, may not work for you or me. AND? I felt exactly like the same as she does of AA and me of GA.  (Gamblers Anonymous).

~Catherine

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Dear AA, We Need to Talk  ~ By Dee Young 04/16/19

“You weren’t straight up so now we’re on the rocks.”

Dear Alcoholics Anonymous,

I’m leaving you. I’ve had enough after 31 years and that’s not even counting the 2 before that. Oy, those were rocky. You sounded way too Christian with just a spritz of Buddhism thrown in for a twist. We’d be nothing but a sour mix because I’m a devout Jewish atheist.

“Trust me,” you cooed. “Alcohol is cunning and baffling. I can help.” But when you strongly suggested I pray on my knees, I lost it.

I screamed, “Jews don’t pray on their knees!”

You weren’t alarmed but you asked that same old tired question. “How can you be an atheist and a Jew?”

Before I could explain culture versus religion to you with my secular “bagel Jew” crack, you cooed at me:

“That doesn’t matter. Anything can be a higher power—a chair or a doorknob. Just as long as you know you’re not it.”

With an eye-roll, “A doorknob? What’re you, high? That makes no sense.”

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Unfazed, you kept trying to lure me in. “You’ll see the hoop you have to jump through is wider than you think.”

But, oy vey, the goddamn god stuff left me feeling shaken so I split. Then when alcohol stopped working altogether, I ran back. I dreamed about you warming me up like a stiff scotch used to. But instead of giving me euphoria, you said I needed to admit I was powerless over alcohol. If I surrendered this time, you said I could pour my sadness into you. I was lost and you were gentle, so when you told me to close my eyes, I did.

You asked, “Can you think of anything that’s more powerful than you?”

“Yes,” I said. “Rain. No matter how much I screamed at the sky, it wouldn’t stop raining.”

Your face lit up. “You got it!”

I beamed. “Oh! And the ocean, too,” I said. “Waves will keep crashing no matter what I do.”

“Right. You’re powerless over alcohol and I can restore you to sanity.”

Hands on hips, I yelled, “I’m not insane!” But I was still shaken, not stirred.

“You can use G.O.D. as in Group of Drunks,” you reminded me, then led me to a dark church basement where you said I’d feel welcome. But the pathetic coffee left me craving something stronger; I wanted to be under the influence till I was over the limit. Yet, still attracted to the liquor-free confidence there, I decided on the GOD acronym. Until the speaker cracked a book open and read Step 11.

You smarmy liar! And I was vulnerable, trying to quit getting lit.
You gaslit me:

“To certain newcomers and to those one-time agnostics who still cling to the A.A. group as their higher power” …

Still desperate and confused, I kept going because people were nice to me. At a lunchtime meeting, the speaker talked about her fifth step. It sounded so much like confession I got excited and whirled my head around scanning the room for communion wine. Those early meetings taught me to pray—for a liquid lunch.

You said it was a spiritual program so I had to accept the idea of a higher power. That nearly crushed me. You really didn’t understand that some people know there isn’t any GOD. I’d held out hope that you were going to unveil yourself as top shelf stuff but most of the time, you seemed like Mad Dog. Especially when you said stupid shit like, “Your best thinking got you here.”

I wanted to be with you in the rooms, but most of the time I was dragging my ass around. But now I’m sick of feeling trapped. I hate your smoke and mirrors trickery. Your demand for rigorous honesty can cramp my style. When we almost broke up and I wanted to bolt, I cheated on you with meetings for atheists. The problem was there were so few of them and they were just as dogmatic.

I can hear your disdain when you call me one of those “unfortunates” who can’t get the program because I’m constitutionally incapable of being honest. Now that’s grandiose. I’m sick of your self-righteous finger wagging at me, saying you’re not judgmental but then labeling me the belligerent one if I challenge anything you say. But come on, the idea of a looming spirit in place of intoxicating spirits is ridiculous.

Okay, I admit I’m grateful that you always took me back. You’ve been patient and kind and most of all, you stuck by me. But damn it, I’m sick of being barked at for doing things that aren’t suggested. So I’m at a crossroads. The fear of leaving is a biggie. You and all of our friends will pull away from me if I leave you. The pressure to stay feels a lot like the bar pressure to do one more shot.

If I went that route, at least I could take breaks from feeling everything so acutely while also stuffing down any critical words about you. Whenever I express frustration about how hypocritical you can be, I get looked at with pity: “Poor Dee. She’s taking her will back. Let’s pray for her. It only works if you work it.”

I wince at that crap. I refuse to wear a cone of shame if I save a seat, or gossip, or don’t feel like stacking the chairs some days. A lot of people think it’s healthy to fear to slip but I no longer want to fear anything. Peer pressure reminds me of junior high.

“Please quit telling me if I’m upset it’s because I’m obstinate, immature, and willful.”

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Uh oh. But what if you’re right? If I leave, would I regress? I never want to be the sorry sot I was before we met. Those stakes are too high. I was afraid to give up alcohol and drugs because I “knew” I needed them. Then you proved me wrong. If I storm out, does that make me a brat who won’t take my medicine?

You’ve always been a good listener and who else would love me in spite of my god rants? Maybe I am at the right party now. Though I long for the schnockered nights, I ain’t in my twenties anymore. I don’t even know if I could still stay up till four in the morning, much less hit the after-hours until the Tequila Sunrises. Yearning for wild nights of yore could be euphoric recall — rosy as a maraschino on top.

Maybe staying together is fine after all. We’ve talked so many times about my expectations and you’re right—it’s stupid to blame you for being imperfect. I mean, look at me.

G.O.D. can stand for good orderly direction, with Buddhism’s tangy flavor: a god within. Now that I’m thinking things through, I suppose a frothy soy milkshake could satiate me more than White Russians ever could. And, seriously, who wants a shit-faced higher power within anyway? No marriage is 100 percent bliss; perhaps I just caught a 31-year itch. My mind easily wanders back to booty calls with sexy bar pickups. Libidos on fire. At weak moments I ache to go back there. Then I snap out of it.

Truth is, I love Netflix nights chillin’ with decaf chai latte from Starbucks. You’ve been there for me time after time. So, let’s hold up the paper cup. Cheers, AA. I’m not going anywhere.

What’ll it be tonight? Barfly or Leaving Las Vegas?”

What An Amazing Day 2 Recovery Out Loud With Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness Here In Phoenix, AZ

What An Amazing Day 2 Recovery Out Loud With Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness Here In Phoenix, AZ

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors, Now Friends!

So, I have to APOLOGIZE to everyone for not being here or posting the last week or so as I was on Event High Alert! As not only am I handling the news media for my dear friends Jim Downs and Marisol but also Social Media Manager so I was busy pulling together “Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness and Peddling Hope” Tour Event as he finally made it from Fort Meyers, Florida to the State Capitol in Phoenix, AZ, and not far from where I live!

And it was such an amazing day for me and my hubby. To share all that happened and what all took place may take me TWO POSTS!! LOL! There were permits to get, insurance for the day of the event, making hotel reservations and MORE. I sure learned a lot that I can now use for marketing and promoting all my authors! 

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I was happy and honored to be one of the Keynote Speakers for the event and book-signing benefit for Big Jim. We had some amazing speakers and guests that accepted my invite and flew here on their DIME just to help me and Big Jim’s Addiction cause. Just one man on a bike peddling all of 2019 and sharing a message of HOPE to the all 48 lower State Capitols in the United States. He has 12 State Capitols now visited and the next is Santa Fe, New Mexico. As he has biked over 4,780 MILES ALREADY.

This man has AUDACITY and CARES about those who may be “touched” or suffering from ANY ADDICTION, including mine from Gambling Addiction. I also shared some of what took place and who attended in my next months’ article for “Keys To Recovery” newspaper, which is FREE by the way, and who is sponsoring Big Jim with printing his State Capitol Events and Schedule. So I’m letting you all have a sneak peek. I’ll be doing another post very soon!   ~CAT

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 Why do I advocate?

Why do I not remain anonymous?
Is it looking for fame or status?
Is it to gain more Facebook “likes” and followers?
NOPE, not when 1 in 5 addicted gamblings try suicide. . .

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I advocate because I have maintained recovery from addicted gambling for just over 12-yrs and want to share my personal experiences, strength, and HOPE to others as a form of “Paying It Forward” to others who may be in the same place I was all those years ago. HOPELESS, broken, sick, and giving up on life. That is what the disease of addiction does. It breaks you until one day you look in the mirror and don’t know who that person is anymore looking back at you.

I was a shell, just a body with nothing inside it any longer. No feelings, no love, no caring, no humor or laughter anymore, as I was barely even breathing. Nothing mattered to me except when and where was I gamble again. Where and how could I get the money to do so? Would I have to pawn or sell more valuables? Would I have to lie to get more money? Would I have to steal money out of my husband’s wallet AGAIN?

I recall still the day that had changed my life. It was the day I learned about the video poker machines all over the place in Southern Oregon where I had lived for over 25-yrs. It is where I moved from and met and married my husband. To begin a family and have a great career. Little did I know that one day would shatter my life to pieces. Yes, after this one day. I used to go to this little deli with my best friend who had just moved to Oregon and begin a new life as I did years prior.

We go there to have lunch together on Saturday’s. I happen to walk over to refill my soda when I saw a retired older man I’d seen there at the deli with a couple of his retired buddies also having lunch, and many times before. He was playing a poker game on the machine called “Flush Fever.” He was doing pretty good on the machine. He was up on the game about a couple of hundred dollars. I watched a few minutes. He cashed out his ticket and then put a five dollar bill in and off the machine went! He got right into another bonus. So I asked what he was playing?

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He told me “Flush Fever.” It looked rather fun, so I sat down on the machine next to him. I put a five dollar bill in and BAM! I also got into a bonus right away. Here is what I never forgot and changed my life. As he got up from his poker machine, he leaned into my ear and said to me, “you make sure you cash out and take their money home with you. I’d feel bad if you got hooked on these damn machines.”

I never did see the retired guy and his friends again after that day. If he only knew the hell, I went through with addicted gambling for the next eleven years after that day.


So today, I recover out loud. Like I did at Big Jim’s event. I advocate sharing a message of to those who are feeling hopeless, broken, lost, and having feelings of “no way out” of the black hole we dig ourselves into from gambling addiction. It is why I was honored to be asked to speak and part of Big Jim’s Ride Around America 4 Addiction Awareness last month with some recovery special guest keynote speakers. Many have been recovery supporters of mine, and I met new friends too here at the State Capitol Event in Phoenix, AZ.

One of the most amazing days of my recovery journey thus far! We all came together in unity and caring for those still suffering from all addictions. Big Jim had the fantastic “Beast” former NFL Tampa Bay Buc #60, Randy Grimes and his wife Lydia was so sweet who has a caring soul, and both her Randy have a huge heart. I was elated, and I look forward to many years of friendship with them.

I was more than excited to finally meet and spend time with Big Jim and Marisol, BFF! Simply a fantastic few days with them and NOT long enough. Lol. So I plan to continue to push through my fear of speaking and my agoraphobia due to the several “peep talks” I got from Big Jim and my hubby to make some other of Big Jim’s events!!

All the days and the event for Jim are hard to describe. It was like floating on air from all the love and support from everyone! I will keep all the memories in my heart forever. All I can say is the whole event and meeting everyone like Darren nPrincesinger/artist Jackson Pierce were all ‘Recovery Blessings given by GOD,’ and I will treasure and always keep close. They will help keep me in my recovery and continue to “Quit To Win.”

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What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Now that March was yesterday ending “Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the beginning of April which is Alcohol Awareness Month. I thought I would share two informative articles that share what some of the warning signs of Alcoholism and Problem Gambling are. I help advocate both because toward the end of my addiction to gambling, I began to abuse alcohol as gambling just wasn’t working as my ‘escapism’ and using to cope with life and old past pain from my childhood.

Those of us that end up becoming addicted to something usually have roots and underlying issues as to “WHY” we began using that has still hurtful and unprocessed like my own childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Not always from a negative problem that we may turn to addictions.

It could be from overindulged or wealth and a child growing up with no parental mentoring or guidance and feel entitled. Either way, gambling, alcohol or even drugs that may have been recreational can become an addiction for many, many reasons.

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When the Fun Stops – By Nevada Council on Problem Gambling

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Just as some people can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is possible for a person to become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble. For the problem gambler, making a bet is not just about having fun or winning money. Gambling becomes an emotional response to change the way they feel. 

 

Some problem gamblers may gamble to relieve boredom or avoid feelings of anxiousness or stress. Others may gamble to ‘numb out’ when feeling helpless, guilty, or depressed. As they continue to gamble, they become more and more emotionally and mentally dependent on gambling, with less and less control.

The impact of this addiction is much greater than the obvious financial losses that can result from repeated gambling. The long-term result is a steady deterioration of the mental and physical health of both the gambler and their family.

Surprisingly, problem gamblers are often the last ones to realize what is happening to them in spite of mounting negative consequences and increasing emotional impact. They may attribute their difficulties to a mere financial problem or believe they are just not being ‘smart’ enough when they gamble. The fantasy that one more big win will solve the financial problems and return everything to normal drives them on to gamble even harder.

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KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS

 

Most people who gamble do so with no harmful effects. They set limits and stick to them. However, for a small percentage of the population, gambling can become more than a game, and lead to serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.

Here are some of the warning signs:

For the Gambler:

  • Gambling to escape worry or trouble
  • Gambling to get money to solve financial difficulties
  • Unable to stop playing regardless of winning or losing
  • Gambling until the last dollar is gone
  • Losing time from work due to gambling
  • Borrowing money to pay gambling debts
  • Neglecting family because of gambling
  • Lying about time and money spent gambling

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For the Family:

 

  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Reduced involvement in social/group activities outside the home
  • Emotional distress, anger, depression
  • Lack of communication among family members
  • Items of value lost or missing
  • Family members working overtime or taking a second job to make ends meet
  • One member (gambler) noticeably absent from or disinterested in normal family activities

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If your gambling is no longer fun, don’t wait for the problem to get worse… Get Help Now or call the 24-hour Problem Gamblers Helpline.

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Facts About Alcohol

  • 2.8 million worldwide deaths caused by alcohol annually.
  • 3rd Alcohol addiction is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation.
    …/
  • 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use in the U.S., while 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.

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Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States – By NCADD.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence.

Alcohol addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications. It also damages a person’s emotional and mental health, financial stability, career, family, friends, and community. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence along with several million more who engage in risky binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and can cause severe health consequences, even if it’s only used for a short period of time. In the United States, many people begin using alcohol at a very young age. 66.6 million people from age 12 to 17 report binge drinking. That’s 1 in 4 young people, many of whom also report using other substances or trying other high-risk behaviors.

Engaging in binge drinking can lead to problems with alcohol. The problem can be exacerbated by a home environment where heavy drinking or alcohol use is considered “normal.” A family history of alcohol problems is the single major factor that can predict alcohol addiction, which is one type of substance use disorder. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcohol addiction or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has severely misused alcohol.

Alcohol use disorder can develop in anyone who is predisposed to it. The condition cannot be predicted by what kind of alcohol the person drinks, how long they have been drinking, or even how much they drink. However, early alcohol use, binge drinking, and a family history of problems with alcohol are all linked to future health issues.

Cutting back on drinking, eliminating alcohol completely, and avoiding any form of alcohol are all ways to reduce health risks. Substance use disorder affects the person who drinks: it also affects the entire social system around them, from their co-workers to their children. A healthier individual helps create a healthier family, community, and country.

Alcohol addiction and alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of a person’s life.  Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications, can damage emotional stability, finances, career, and impact one’s family, friends, and community.

Over time, excessive alcohol use, both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to numerous health problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments, and social problems, including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, stroke, and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, violence including child maltreatment, fights, and homicide.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box) and esophagus
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis
    Alcohol addiction

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If you are questioning your alcohol use – take our self-quiz and see where alcohol might be a problem for you. Or learn more about drugs.

 

Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcohol addiction by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use!

Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery.  It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.

With this year’s theme — “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” — the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol addiction, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Local Facing Addiction with NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.

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I will be advocating out loud on April 10th, 2019 at 4 PM at The Phoenix, AZ State Capitol Event for and supporting BIG JIM’S WALK FOUNDATION AND His Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness along with many other recovery friends!

It will be in the Capitol Lawn and Rose Garden area with many Special Guest Speakers. So come out and Rally for Addiction Awareness in Phoenix!

~Catherine Lyon, Author/Advocate

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Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Welcome Recovery Friends!

It is no secret that I am “being of recovery service” as media manager to a couple who is fighting this Addictions Crisis in America with all that they have! Literally. We have been friends, Big Jim and Marisol Downs for almost three 1/2 years.  I met Jim while he was accomplishing his first event of “Walking Across America 4 Addiction Awareness.” He had just finished his own 16-month treatment and recovery program while living in a faith-based rescue mission. He had finally had enough of drugging and drinking after 34 years of it! He was at the bottom after an anger rage he couldn’t remember after it happened.

He decided it was time for him to get help, for him and GOD to have a long conversation about his life and what was it he was missing? It was FAITH. He walked to be able to hear and get closer to GOD. He was redeemed from addictions, but without GOD in his life? He surely knew he would relapse and that to JIM was not going to happen. So he went for a walk from Panama City FL. to Canada! When Jim finished the “walk,” he founded and began “Big Jim’s Walk Inc.”

Now, with a new mission from God and years maintaining recovery, Big Jim is now “Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness and with powerful recovery support and treatment team behind him. He has already in just 2 and half months saved 41 lives from addictions who reached out to him while biking around America!

And? Well, I think I will let you read the rest of the “Ride” story courtesy of “The Eagle” newspaper located outside Houston, Texas as that is WHERE Big Jim has made it to and will be speaking on the State Capitol Steps in Austin, Texas today!! I would like to invite all who are my supporters of this blog go Donate and support Big Jim Downs as he riding for MY Addiction I am recovering from as MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Jim and Marisol are doing this ride on the kindness of people who know this addiction crisis in America is reaching everyone’s communities and claiming too many precious LIVES.

So I invite you to contribute and I THANK YOU in advance and donate here on Big Jim’s Fundraiser on the Official Website of Big Jim’s Walk Foundation. 

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PEDALING FOR HOPE

Addiction-recovery advocate makes unexpected Bryan-College Station, Texas stop…

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“Now five years clean, 50-year-old Jim Downs is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.”

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Jim Downs battled the long road of drug and alcohol addiction for more than 30 years before finding rescue in a faith-based recovery program.


Now five years clean, the 50-year-old Florida
man is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.

On the way to Austin on Thursday, Downs’ bright yellow-green Performer JC26X recumbent trike blew a tire just outside Bryan-College Station. His wife, Marisol, who was driving the couple’s car, met up with her husband in Bryan so he could strap the trike to the vehicle roof and take it for repairs.

Marisol often has to stay back in Florida to work while Jim makes his long journey, but she tries hard to follow her partner in the car when she can, hoping to help him if he runs into trouble. Sometimes she’s able to travel ahead of him and let recovery centers and news outlets in the local area know Jim will be pedaling into town.

The couple runs the charity organization known as Big Jim’s Walk and is in the paperwork process of having the group designated formally as a 501(c) nonprofit, Marisol said. The program started just two years ago when the couple decided to embark on a charity walk together from Florida to the Canadian border, talking to drug and alcohol addicts they met on the way and connecting them to recovery programs.

Now the organization is staffed by several people who have access to a catalog of addiction recovery programs throughout the country. When they meet an addict on a trip, they connect the addict to a long-term recovery program that will care for that person free of charge.

So far, they have helped 42 people since 2017 and have spoken with both small-town politicians and high-ranking state elected officials about funding for sober living and addiction programs.

Jim said that while he took a quick stop in Bryan to deal with the broken trike, he wanted to share his story with the people of the area via media outlets, hoping his testimony could help anyone in the Brazos Valley battling some kind of addiction and needing hope.

Jim was raised in California by what he described as a stable middle-class family and had never witnessed drug or alcohol abuse. But, he says, family issues led him to turn to drugs at school to deal with emotional problems. Having first tried illicit substances at 12, he eventually spiraled out of control and was an addict for 34 years.

He attempted suicide five times, was fired from jobs, was homeless at times and was repeatedly arrested, he said. He said he eventually let down his children and takes responsibility for leading one of his kids into methamphetamine addiction.

After enduring a psychotic blackout just over four years ago, he decided to reach out to Panama City Rescue Mission in Florida, a faith-based recovery program.

“I went in with a chip on my shoulder about recovery and an attitude of ‘I’m only doing this once,’ especially since I’d had heard people say they did it four or five times,” he said. “… Getting a relationship with God and working the 12-step addiction program through that relationship, I was digging deep and dealing with the root cause of all of it — a sense of abandonment.”

Recovery was not a simple process. Jim explained that recovery takes work and dedication, and lots of support from friends and family members who are not addicts. Jim said he would like to see more opportunities for those battling addiction to enter a recovery program that looks at the long-term healing process beyond the initial days of detoxification.

His mission as a sober man riding his bike cross-country is to connect the people he meets with the services that will help them in the same way he was helped. If those services aren’t available to a person in their immediate area, Jim stressed his organization will pay for that person to be bused to a town where they can receive treatment.

“The objective is to let everyone out there know that I get it,” he said. “I’ve been homeless, eaten out of garbage cans, done dope most of my life. I encourage people through my testimony and let them know they don’t have to live that way and there is hope. Then I offer them free recovery.”

The couple planned to drive on Thursday night to Austin, where Jim could have his trike wheel repaired. Next stop after speaking in Austin: Phoenix, where he plans to keep passing on the message of hope.

To reach out to Jim and Marisol Downs and learn more about their charity, visit bigjimswalk.com.

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Oregonians Are Sharing Education 4 March Being Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Guest Article from KLEAN Treatment Centers.

 

MORE OREGONIANS BECOMING GAMBLING ADDICTS

 

People in Oregon are having a difficult time with the Oregon Lottery machines. There is not a problem with the actual games, per say, but many people are becoming hooked on gambling. They are no longer playing for the chance at winning a jackpot or even the thrill of winning. More Oregonians are gambling for the very same reasons that people do drugs, escaping boredom or stressful lives.

The result of this rise in gambling addiction is more people feeling riddled with guilt, shame, and even suicide because they have resorted to stealing from their kid’s piggy banks, pawing their valuables, lying, and pilfering from employers.

Damage Takes a Toll

People in Oregon are spending billions of dollars into state-owned video machines, feeding a revenue stream that goes to schools, parks, and other programs. It has actually become a public health issue. Figures gathered by the Oregon Health Authority offer clues that the misery is far more widespread than lottery officials are willing to acknowledge, according to an article in The Oregonian newspaper.

Statistics

It is estimated that there are an estimated 81,000 problem or pathological gamblers in Oregon. The state Addictions and Mental Health Services says that these gambling habits severely disrupt their lives. In 2012, 1,321 adults sought treatment for gambling addiction. The average gambling debt is $26,738 and the average household income is $32,140

In its latest diagnostic manual, the American Psychiatric Association this year revised its definition of problem gambling from an impulse-control disorder to clear-cut addiction similar to drug abuse and alcoholism. Some women share their stories . . .

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Catherine Lyon

Catherine Lyon is an author, writer, and advocate who now lives in the Phoenix, AZ area. She had lived in So. Oregon over 24+yrs and become addicted to the video poker/Slot games on these machines and used them as a form of “escape and cope” from her past underlying issues from childhood sexual abuse and undiagnosed PTSD and other disorders. When the money ran out, she pawned, sold, stole, and lied just to get more money to gamble. “I wrote my story in a book, a memoir, so others could learn some of the roots and have an in-depth look as to why I turned to addicted gambling. It is a very devastating disease and is having a negative impact in our communities across America.”

Kitty Martz

Kitty Martz, 44, a recovering video poker and slot addict who lives in Northwest Portland said, “The wins are often far more dangerous than the demoralizing, self-loathing losses. It creates this oasis of belief.” Martz was married to a wealthy man and went to divorced, homeless in Portland while she ran Burnside bars spending her last dollars on lottery machines.

Bonnie Sample

Bonnie Sample, a Gresham mother who owned a house-cleaning service, says she turned to video poker machines to get a break from raising a son with Asperger’s. She would gamble if she had $100 on her. When that ran out, she would gamble if she could scrape together $10 by shoplifting and returning an item to Fred Meyer, by selling her plasma, sometimes by begging on the street. She said, “I cared about nothing and no one but feeding the machine and keeping myself in that action.”

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Today I was able to share my advocacy on a fantastic and informative Radio Show called “Rise Above” with Mac Mullings and broadcast on iHeart Radio and KOKC from Oklahoma City. Here is the link and how it went!
Come take a watch: “Rise Above Radio KOKC Live”

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~Catherine Lyon

Gambling Recovery Ramblings and I’ll Be On a New Radio Show! Rise Above Radio With Mac Mullings on KOKC.

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Friends! 

I am so excited to announce as part of my advocacy and in honor of March being Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I will be the guest speaker this Saturday, March 16th, at 3 PM CT on-air and Live on FB from KOCK Radio 95.3 FM and 1520 AM and will be a Live FB Event so come follow on https://www.facebook.com/RiseAboveKOKC/


And Mac is part of the SoberWorx Radio Family as well! So I hope you will tune in or come to Mac’s FB Live to take a listen! Here is why MAC began Rise Above Radio and what they are about.

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Rise Above Radio 1-6-18 Hour 1

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Rise Above Radio with Mac Mullings

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WELCOME TO RISE ABOVE RADIO

WHO IS MAC MULLINGS – THE SURVIVAL DRINKER?

“Addiction is the only disease that will try to convince you that you don’t have one.”

My drinking career didn’t start out the way it ended. It never does. The social drinker turns into the survival drinker.

Life isn’t happening according to our plan so we pour something on the rocks to escape reality.

FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN


We are priming the machine for a slow suicide mission. The more challenges I faced the stiffer the drinks.

My relationship with alcohol was a sign of spiritual bankruptcy.

“God loves you” was followed by an asterisk in my mind.

“God loves all his children except for you, Mac” the enemy would whisper to me. Leading me to believe that the greatest moments I would experience had passed.

Life began to feel empty. Empty like that last bottle I swore I wouldn’t drink.

The enemy thought I was breaking down but God knew I was breaking through.

RISE & RECOVERY

The idea for ‘Rise Above Radio Show’ came to me about this time last year. I was just over 90 days sober and God was planting the seed.

I’m pretty good at rushing things so with this I prayed for patience and direction.

Sometimes we have to shut up and listen. Be still. “God never talks to me!!”.

Do you ask him to? Are you ready enough to receive it?

RISE ABOVE IS GOD’s SHOW

Rise Above is God’s show, not mine. I believe in it and the need for it.

We must make a ministry out of what was misery. I don’t honor recovery by keeping it to myself and not encouraging others.

God is doing some amazing things with it and I like to say that we are just getting started.

The birthmark of a believer is a bulls-eye on it’s back and the enemy has his sights on it for sure.

Some don’t see the message of ‘Rise Above’ and it’s fair to say that given the opportunity they would rather replace it with a paid program to collect a paycheck.

MY PROMISE

One of the beautiful things about recovery is that I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to occupy my time with negativity.

One foot in front of the other and let God handle it. I’m not truly sober if I go about it any other way.

I have received many encouraging comments and it is very much appreciated.

I will stay true to the mission, I promise.

If you haven’t had the chance to listen, check out all our previous shows on the Rise Above Facebook page (give it a follow) and join us Saturdays from 2pm-4pm CT on KOKC Radio.
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Mac Mullings – Creator-Host/Rise Above Radio
Program Director/95.3 FM & 1520am KOKC
Co-host/The Ride w- Mac & Chad

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“This show is changing lives, mine included. You don’t have to be an addict to be touched.  I grew up with an addict, and didn’t truly understand addiction or how to forgive until I listened to Mac.”

“Addiction was never an issue I had to deal with. I thought addicts were weak and lacking in character.  Then God brought Mac, along with several other people across my path and into my life, and I learned just how wrong my original assumptions were.

Rise Above is truly doing the Lord’s Work, raising awareness about addiction and its treatment, and opening the eyes of people like me, who would arrogantly look down upon those who are struggling
.”

“Thank God for ‘Rise Above Radio and Mac!’ What they’re doing for the community is truly amazing! Addiction is such an epidemic in our country today.

We need more pioneers like this in the world of recovery. We are seeing life’s saved and families changed because of ‘Rise Above and Mac’ getting the word out that Recovery is possible and there is hope!”

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So I hope you will join me and listen in as I shine a spotlight on a Silent and Dangerous Addiction! I will be sharing my Testimony and Shatter Stigma about this underground addiction that “Requires No Substance!”

WHY did I say yes to being on Mac’s show? Well, I want to share my story and to share current facts, stats, and some misconceptions about gambling addiction. To share with him that we just had a “tick up” in our worldwide population that now, 2.6% around the world are problem gamblers from only 1% prior. And this tells me with the expansions of gambling venues like legal online Sports Betting in several states, Indian casinos, and States Lottery offerings, this number is going to continue to grow.

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I think we all know that using gambling like I did to ‘escape or numb out from life’ and for all the wrong reasons is happening more and more and it IS having a negative impact in our communities and on families. It is reaching our high school and college-age kids too with again, now legal online Sports betting in some States and out of the 17+million problem gamblers in the USA?

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Parents? HALF this number is your high schoolers and young college adults!. It is also having a significant negative impact on our Retired Senior folks too. Look, I think we are all smart enough to know that gambling profits are not being made from those who are a “once in a while” Bingo players or gamblers. The profits from all venues and options of gambling are being from the people who are frequent, addicted and problem gamblers.

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So, anytime I get an invite on a platform like “Rise Above Radio” and like my monthly column called “QUIT To WIN” in ‘Keys To Recovery Newspaper’ a  free recovery publication, it helps me feel empowered to be able to share my experiences of how gambling addiction devastated my life and my husbands, share my strengths maintaining recovery and what works for me, and have platforms to share HOPE to those looking or reach out to RECOVER OUT LOUD . . .

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 ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon