Recovery Month Featured Guest Article. “A Gambling Story.” By Charles Watson.

Recovery Month Featured Guest Article. “A Gambling Story.” By Charles Watson.


Will call her “Jenny.”

Jenny is a thirty-eight-year-old who shared her gambling addiction story with my friend Charles Watson who is a content writer for addiction/recovery and health-related issues. Jenny let us share some of her feelings and struggles with addicted gambling as part of an interview with Charles. To keep her bit anonymous, I’m using the first name only. Here is what he learned from his talk with Jenny. As we know those of us maintaining recovery, sharing our stories can be a powerful tool to help others and share hope…

“My Gambling Addiction Story”

I never wanted to admit that I was addicted to gambling until I went home late one evening and found my 10-year-old son quietly sitting outside our apartment. Next to them was a bag full of toys and some school stuff.

The moment I saw him, I knew what was going on. Still, I waited until my son blurted it out, “uncle told us to leave, mom.” Yes, we were being evicted. I know I was five months behind our rent and that we only managed to stay longer since the landlord pitied my son. Then again, this fact didn’t stop me from falling deeper and deeper into my gambling habit.

On my way to work, I’d pass by the casino, try my luck at one of the machines there, as if it’s a part of my daily morning routine. For me, that was how I should jumpstart my day. After work, I’d pass by the casino again, and no matter how full or empty the casino parking lot would look like, I always had a reason to go inside. If the parking lot was full, I’d talk myself right inside thinking that the machines will be paying out now. If the parking lot was empty, then I’d think that the slots will pay out again this time. That’s how bad it has gotten! My thinking was even addicted and going entirely in the wrong direction.

My Backstory

I came from a struggling family. I had eight other siblings, my mother worked as a preschool teacher while my father prided himself in being a professional drunk. We could barely make ends meet because my father would always steal my mother’s money for alcohol. My siblings and I ended up working odd jobs to support ourselves. Cash was hard to find for us back then.

Luckily, I got a scholarship for college and with blood, sweat, and tears I was able to graduate. Since I was at the top of my class, I attracted a firm and was hired as a PR and Advertising Consultant in one of the biggest PR firms in the city right after graduation. Even though I was new, my firm was confident to let me handle large accounts.

Having drive and determination and a “DON’T- take-No-for-an-answer” attitude, I was promoted after a year. I was just 24 at the time I landed the account that turned my career around. I was doing really great and for the first time ever, I felt like I could do anything, and finally, money was now effortless to find making life much easier. I was at the peak of my career when I met Josh, the father of my child.

I knew him to be a well-mannered gentleman who came from a good family. He presented himself as somebody who is successful in his career and is financially stable. I felt secure having Josh in my life. This is the same reason that prompted me to move in with him, even before we were married. In 2007, I gave birth to our first child. Since I feel like I needed to spend more time with our newborn, I decided to quit my job.

I gathered all my savings and invested it in a business Josh was planning to start. In short, I gave Josh all my money. A week after I gave him the money, he talked to me again, now asking me to give him more. He said he needed more investors for his business. So, I borrowed money from friends and from the people I worked with in the past. I gave him a total of $50,000…

“After getting all the money from me, Josh just disappeared.”


How my gambling problem started

I was furious. I couldn’t accept the fact that Josh left me and for a younger woman. I cried buckets and buckets of tears day after day. I overdosed on sleeping pills and alcohol in attempts to escape from my problems. I also met a few friends who invited me to the casino to ‘supposedly’ unwind and rest from my worries and stress. When I told my new-found friends that I don’t have money for the casino, they told me to pawn anything valuable I have. So, heeding their advice, I pawned the diamond ring Josh gave me as a gift for our anniversary. Off we went to the casino!

When I saw the colorful lights and festive atmosphere of the casino, I was ecstatic. After a very long time, I finally broke away from my misery. That day, the casino became my savior, my refuge, and my escape. I tried playing with the slot machine and voila! For my fourth try, I won big! Whew! I felt like my life was slowly getting back on the right track that night. That night ended with me bagging another big win before we left! I was hooked!

The next day, I spoke to my old boss and asked him to take me back. I felt if I went back I would win big again. Then, I got my old job back, but it was very different this time. My motivation to work was to have money to spend at the casino. My thinking sure changed after those couple big wins. Every time I received my paycheck, I would immediately go to the casino and into the arms of my slot machines. I would always think about the fun, dream world, and seemingly happy casino atmosphere. It was something that I could not get over. And just how fast I got hooked!


Acknowledging The problem and Doing Something About It

I never acknowledged it as a problem until I saw my son crying because he was starving. We had nothing in the fridge. No water, no electricity, as well. I realized I was no longer buying groceries and I was not paying our bills. All I was thinking was the casino! After spending another night at the casino, I went home to an eviction notice. We had nowhere to live. I only had five dollars in my wallet. How would we survive? I decided to stay with my mom and dad. I shared my gambling problem with my mother, and she asked me to speak to her friend who is a counselor.

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We made my first appointment and after, I was happy to find a counselor who was empathetic and supportive of my decision to break away from my gambling habit. I still see her every week. Even though I’m still struggling, I can say that I’m doing the right thing and on the right track. It’s ironic how we only decide to do something about a problem once everything else in our lives is a mess. My experience was genuinely becoming unmanageable.

I’m still thinking about the casino and the rush and high I get every time I go there. But then again, when I look at my son, I know there is more to life than my need to temporarily escape from my problems and issues. I have work to do in learning the proper tools and skills to keep me from gambling as I now know I have a problem with it.

In closing, I’m trying to stay on the right track — for myself and give a better life to my son.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Guest Blogger: Charles Watson. Brand: Sunshine Behavioral Health


Charles L. Watson is a freelance writer. Although he holds no medical or psychological degree, his content writing specialties include both addiction, recovery, and health-related topics. You can read more of his content for Sunshine Behavior Health. He would like to thank “Jenny” for her time and honesty with regards to her story above. While the story itself is heartbreaking, let us remember that gambling itself is an addiction and recovery from this disease is possible.  Charles can be reached on Twitter.

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Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

“Addiction has an interesting effect on our interpersonal relationships. Even after we’ve gone through the process of becoming sober and repairing our lives after addiction, the scars of addiction can continue to impact the most important relationships in our lives.”

This is especially problematic considering how essential relationships are for ongoing recovery. In fact, some researchers have gone so far as to claim that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but connection. Sociologically, addiction can have a powerful impact on isolation, and feel “cast out.”

Addiction can make it hard to integrate back into normal life: getting a job, going on dates, making new friends, and being yourself with close friends and family. However, it is possible, and the benefits of building up your support network of friends and family are absolutely worth the investment that you put into it.

A support network doesn’t just empower your recovery after addiction, it also brings you moments and experiences that help you know that recovery (and life itself!) is worthwhile. Here are some tips to help you on your way:

1: Friends who have also experienced addiction are invaluable… as long as they’re as dedicated to recovery as you are.


Often, the new friends that we make during recovery are individuals who have been through something similar to us. They might be friends that you make in group therapy, a support group, or in residential rehab. They might even be people that you just happen to connect with spontaneously when you learn about your commonalities.

However, it’s important to remember to protect your sobriety carefully. Maintaining friendships with people who are currently involved in addiction, without any attempts to change, can be damaging to your own wellbeing. Tread carefully, and trust the advice of professionals and sober friends who have helped you in your own recovery process.

2: Do what you can to build family relationships wherever possible.

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Family relationships are complicated. However, they’re also the best resources when you really need help. The family knows you best, and they’ve taken care of you in the past, and vice versa. That being said, sometimes those of us who have experienced addiction in our lives are more likely to have some family relationships that contribute to underlying causes of addiction, instead of healing them.
It’s important to utilize professional resources, in this case, to repair family systems when possible. Having an experienced third party looking at your family dynamics can help you to identify harmful patterns and communicate effectively, instead of falling into familiar, unfruitful arguments.


Besides utilizing professional help to repair family relationships, there are two things that you can do whenever possible in order to further support family connections. First, recognize when you’re responsible for something being difficult or hard for another person to bear, and apologize appropriately.

Second, express gratitude more often for the things that family members do for you. Many of these things will be small, and others will be large. No matter the size, show appreciation for those people closest to you that you’re otherwise likely to take for granted.

3: Some things need professional help.

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If you’re leaning on your friends for weekly intensive, introspective discussions to support your ongoing recovery, it can be a lot for them to handle. First of all, your friend might not have the experience and education they need to really be helpful.

Second of all, a little help from a friend might turn into a lot very quickly. Make sure that you utilize professional resources where appropriate, including group and individual therapy, sobriety coaches, and sponsors (which aren’t professional, per say, but are still specialized.)

4: Make new friends too.

It’s important to recognize that during this period, you might be rather needy. Don’t rely on just one person to provide all that you need, or you could burn them out fast. After addiction, it’s easy to withdraw and only rely on a few trusted individuals who understand the whole story and have shown themselves to be supportive of you. And you don’t need to get into codependent relationships.

However, being active supports a sober lifestyle, and you will probably need different friends for different purposes. Go out and meet new people. They don’t all need to know your whole life story; some will simply be acquaintances. But acquaintances who encourage you to go out, be active, and do things that you love are also invaluable.

5: Give as much as you get.

I mentioned gratitude towards family members above; it’s important to infuse gratitude in all of your interactions with other people. When we recognize all the ways that others help us, it motivates us to help them, too. No friendship is a one-way street, and you’re never the only person out there who needs a helping hand. Acknowledge that most of the people around you are also going through something hard, although their challenges might look different from yours.

Find opportunities to be a true friend to them, just as they are to you.

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Featured Guest Articles – ‘Do We Ever Give Up On An Addict?’ ‘Why Some People Become Addicts and Some Don’t?’

Featured Guest Articles – ‘Do We Ever Give Up On An Addict?’ ‘Why Some People Become Addicts and Some Don’t?’

I have been busy buzzing around some of my recovery sites and online mags I enjoy reading, including the ones I receive news by email. TWO interesting articles I read this past week were “Note Worthy” of re-shares by SoberRecovery as the articles are not only interesting but very informative about two topics that many of my recovery friends and parents who visit me want to know more about.

FIRST: Why do some people become an addict and others don’t?

SECOND: Do we ever give up on helping an addict?

So, here are two articles I found that share some insights and answers to these questions with some amazing advice. Even those of us maintaining recovery always need to learn more and read all that we can to be able to be aware and gain knowledge about all addictions. Learning can powerful and helpful tools for maintaining recovery …
Catherine 🙂

 

Why Do Some People Become Addicts and Others Don’t?

Courtesy of SoberRecovery  Mag, Staff

 

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There are many factors that can point towards a future addiction problem, but all in all, the nature of addiction is a mystery. Science may have a set of markers indicating future addictive patterns, but there is really no formula. Nor is there a set way to avoid addiction if these markers appear in a person.

Some people are born into families with long histories of addiction, but they will not use drugs or alcohol until much later in life. However, the behavior patterns of an addict may be present and noticeable from an early age.

Even more, not all addicts will drink alcohol or use drugs, further adding to the mystery of addiction.

Spotting Addictive Traits

Genetic traits may point to addictive behaviors in the future, but not everyone in an “addictive” gene pool will become an addict, and some addicts may have no family history of the disease. Those predisposed may work to control addiction by not participating in drinking or drug behaviors. They may show other personality traits similar to an addict’s, just not the use of addictive substances. They are also likely to become emotionally attached to the personality traits of an addict.

Some science focuses on early childhood patterns of behavior that may indicate addictive traits. These are most often characterized as risk-taking behaviors, a need for attention that goes beyond a normal level and sometimes early childhood trauma.

 

  • Risk-taking behaviors: These traits may be recognized in young children who are more active than their peers. They tend to repeatedly do things that place them in danger of being harmed. Very seldom do they know why they take these risks or why they are punished for behaviors that are not the norm.
  • Need for attention: This pattern may combine with risky behaviors. Some children will do things primarily because their need for attention is so great that they look at negative attention (punishment) as better than no attention. Many of them may develop this chronic need as a result of early childhood abandonment or abuse.
  • Early childhood trauma: A pattern of seeking safety can be developed around trauma. When children are exposed to a traumatic event(s), they may begin to seek a safe place. If none is available, they will learn to protect themselves in inappropriate ways. This can become addictive if food, gambling, drugs or sex become their tools for feeling safe. They can use these tools to dull their emotional pain. Since these tools offer only short-term relief and no resolution to the situation, addiction may ensue. 

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Some of these tendencies may be learned when children are raised in an environment that focuses on escape from all emotional development. This means that the family is not emotionally present for one another. There is no process for feelings that come up in the course of day-to-day living. No one is speaking about their feelings of pain, anger, sadness or grief.

This is a socially-imposed condition that has existed for many years. When parents do not teach children to talk about their feelings, there is no structure for healthy emotional venting. As we learn more about the importance of expressing feelings, this can change.

In a home where mom and dad are not emotionally connected to feelings, children learn to avoid those feelings that are termed “negative”.  These feelings become problems as they go unexpressed. As time goes on, pain becomes trauma, anger becomes rage and sadness or grief becomes depression.

Finding relief for these emotions can become addictive. If alcohol or drugs bring a feeling of relief, the addict will return again and again to this solution, which then becomes a problem.

Trauma and Addiction

Traumatic events in later life can also bring a person into addictive patterns. A person may have genetic traits that are channeled in positive ways, such as careers, education and attaining financial success, but a single event or crisis may tip the scales and patterns that were controlled in the past can start to become a problem.

  • Example 1: This may look like a young man who comes from a high-risk environment, but gets an education, develops a successful career, has a family and looks like a normal, healthy citizen. During this period, he may drink socially, even heavily at times, but is able to function and maintain a relatively good picture of success. Relationships are strained, but the family keeps up a good face, despite functional breaks such as poor health and other symptoms of addiction. At a later age in life, the children may leave home or another big change occurs; or the man may retire and find that what kept him going is removed. The fabric of the structure is under stress. One or more of the family may begin to practice addiction.
  • Example 2: A young man or woman may have relatively normal upbringing and behaviors when young. They may be involved in a traumatic event, such as a terrible accident or military combat. This can then leave them without coping skills to overcome the emotional impact of the event. They may turn for relief to drugs and alcohol. If this becomes a pattern, an addiction may become manifest for this person. Tendencies may have been present for many years that suddenly expose themselves to the person and those around them.

Seeing the Signs

Recognizing traits and patterns of behavior is the first step out of denial. Getting help at this point can look like this:

  • Learning new coping skills for stress, anger, and emotional regulation
  • Learning healthy relationship tools
  • Beginning a conversation with loved ones who are showing signs of addictive personality traits
  • Opening your mind to new options for dealing with life
  • Becoming willing to change what isn’t working for you

There are therapies and treatment available for everyone involved in addiction. When a family system has been impacted by addiction and behaviors leading to addiction, everyone needs to learn how to be supportive of changes needed to break the patterns. Everyone may need to learn new skills and how to communicate and support each other in healthier ways.

Opening the door to recognizing a problem is only the first step. Change must occur to break the patterns of behavior and poor thinking that create and support an addiction.

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When to Stop Trying to Save an Addict


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If you have a loved one suffering from gambling, drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve likely experienced one or more of the following heartbreaking scenarios:

  • Staying up late worrying about whether or not they’ll get home safely tonight
  • Waiting anxiously in the hospital waiting room for the doctor to break the good news that they’re going to pull through an overdose
  • Hearing the guilt-inducing demands for more money or variations of the “if you love me, you’ll let me be” comment?
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There are countless other painful day-to-day experiences one encounters when living with or loving a drug addict. Most of the time, you’re scared for them, you want to help them and you want them to change their ways but you don’t know how to get them to do so. And because you love them, you don’t want to increase the already-growing distance between the two of you—so you end up covering their tracks. Time and time again.

You give them the five more dollars that they’re begging for; you clean up the vomit in the bathroom from the night before; you tuck them into bed to sleep off an episode; you sign them out of the hospital early because they’re miserable and begging you to let them out. When does it ever stop?

 

The Conundrum

First of all, it is important to know that nobody is blaming you. Addiction is complicated and painful and we often believe that we can love those around us into sobriety. However, sadly, that is never the case. As difficult as it is to hear, behaviors, like giving your friend that measly five dollars or signing your son out of the hospital for early release, are actually enabling your loved one to continue down his or her self-destructive path. The addicted part of their brain remembers that they can always get money from Mom with guilt-tripping tactics or that they can always rely on their best friend to pick them up no matter what hour of the night.

As part of the disease, an addict will go to any means to get what they crave—even at the emotional expense of those they love. Although they often will exhibit guilt and sorrow for their behaviors the next morning, once the cravings kick in, they’ll be doing everything all over again. Addiction is a vicious cycle and drugs will continue to fuel that one-track thinking pattern of doing whatever is necessary to get that next high.
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It may be one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do, but friends and families of addicts need to let go of the notion that they can save their loved one in order for there to be any chance at real change. By doing so, you can begin to explore your personal limits and define your boundaries.

Time to Pull Away

As much as it hurts, sometimes pulling away from the addict’s vicious cycle may call for ultimatums. This can include ending a romantic relationship, cutting off the addict financially, forcing him or her to move out of the house, or taking away their child custody rights, just to name a few.

By simply telling the individual to “stop doing drugs” or that “things need to change soon,” you’re just giving the addict either too broad an obstacle to conquer or too much wiggle room in which they can find ways to manipulate the situation (which they’re very good at doing). Therefore, the key is to be specific and unclenching with your boundaries. By implementing exact, time-sensitive consequences for their repeated bad behavior, the addict will then be forced to make a choice.
It is also important to keep in made that this choice is for your loved one to make alone and, as frustrating as it to watch, they may not want to choose recovery—even with all your inflicted consequences. He or she may need more time for the reality of the consequences to sink in before they take any action towards sobriety and, ultimately, it is only he or she who can decide to get out of the dark pit that has swallowed him or her up.

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Finally, in the midst of caring for your loved one, remember that you are also responsible for taking care of yourself. You can’t allow your loved one to fuel their addiction at the expense of depriving you of all your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Your health is of equal importance and by doing what is best for you—even if that includes walking away from the toxic situation—you are coincidentally also doing the best thing you can do for your addicted loved one.

 

If you or someone you know is seeking professional support, please visit SoberRecovery and their directory of counseling and therapy centers or call 866-606-0182 to start the path to recovery today.

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Making “Amends” In Recovery. People We Have Hurt May Not Be Receptive To This Process. Even For Pro Athletes. Our Writing Continues To Evolve …

Making “Amends” In Recovery. People We Have Hurt May Not Be Receptive To This Process. Even For Pro Athletes. Our Writing Continues To Evolve …

Welcome Readers, Fans, Recovery Friends, and Visitors!

 

This week as Vance and I continue to write his memoir, GOD has shed the light on and about “the amends process” regarding Vance’s recovery and my own. It has also brought back some frustrations of my own past “amends” with some of my family members that, let’s just say, didn’t go very well. I sum this up by sharing my own father still has not spoken to me for almost 13-years. Even after trying everything to make amends.
An opportunity arose while I was on Facebook. One of Vance’s adult children happened to message me while I was doing my book and author shares there. As we began a message conversation, and then after speaking with Vance at length about it and revealing his child’s real feelings about how Vance has hurt everyone, it seems the proper time to address the amends process within recovery and be transparent.

 

His adult child and all his children need to be acknowledged and feelings validated about his father and the damages that were done by Vance when he was in “self” and in the worst of his addictions. I can tell you while writing Vance’s Memoir, he and I both agreed it will be about truth, honesty, and he has nothing to HIDE …


We are both “in the know” about his past, how he tried many times, even on the Oprah show he tried to make amends to some of those who he hurt in his past. The show was a “train wreck” and never should have happened as Vance was in NO shape nor in recovery at that time back in 1996. As it was taped in 2011 …And can be seen on Youtube still today. If we are not transparent in sharing all areas of Vance’s life, how do we then start to shatter stigma? How does the family begin to heal? That is why we are sharing. It is also important to share how addiction can be generational, someone needs to stop it, how it shatters relationships with family. Hopefully by sharing it may help others who may be going through this themselves and for all involved.

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Vance Johnson Reflects on His Past

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There was a time in my life when addiction hadn’t taken over. I had only been hurt once in a relationship. Pressures and anxieties of life didn’t have a firm grip on me. Until I began my NFL career …

My identity wasn’t on what I grew up around, but rather in Fame, Recognition, and Achievements. Entitlement started giving birth. Cars, money, toys stimulated my emptiness. Sex had no boundaries. Friendships were what you made of them … if it hurts when I found out you slept with the girl I slept with, without telling me, we aren’t friends anymore.

Religion was going to Church, sometimes. Jesus died so I could repent of my fleshly desires, and was only human after all.  Being good meant honoring mom & dad. Lastly, the Bible was whatever the Pastor preached on Sunday. OH, and “giving” to the Church so he could do whatever he wanted to do with my money, God would appreciate that. 10% was a little too much, I’ve got taxes, a vacation coming up, or bills. Who is the Holy Spirit?

All lies and ADDICTION, I was Satan’s child, a “ believer” living in Hell. Living in the flesh believing I was “BLESSED” because I was fast, successful, rich and famous.

THANK GOD FOR GRACE AND MERCY.  Please let your children know, “There’s a way that seems right to a man, that leads to “Death”!! So repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, pick up your Cross, and follow him, Daily!!!

Own Your Sobriety
www.vanceinspires.com
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So, when is making amends enough to those you have hurt? Amends to family members, ex’s, broken relationships, and to your children who may not want anything to with you be it from no understanding be enough? We as recovering addicts are aware of how much damage and wreckage we had caused, but there IS much “inner-work” done within our recovery before we even attempt to make “Amends.”

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What is “making amends?” ~ Answers are Courtesy of “ Hazelden – Betty Ford Org.”

“Making Amends in Your Steps to Recovery. Restoring justice as much as possible. Addiction creates moral wreckage. People who become addicted to alcohol, gambling, or other drugs might lie, cheat, or steal in order to get and use their drug of choice. Often what’s left behind is a trail of shattered relationships.”

 

“There is actually a huge difference between making amends with someone and merely giving them an apology. While a sincere apology is a crucial part of making amends, an apology alone is simply not enough to undo the irreversible pain and heartache that one’s addiction (or actions during addiction) may have caused. It needs action, but only if the party hurt is willing and open to it.


How do you make amends? ~ Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

  1. Take an objective view of what happened. …
  2. Face your mixed feelings. …
  3. Stand in the other person’s shoes. …
  4. Write down the reasons why you need to make amends. …
  5. Make amends with a clear heart. …
  6. Decide what it will take to make up for the damage that was done. 

     

Sharing how one of his children still feels today because it is important to share so others can learn just how “the family and children” become affected by the disease of Addictions …

 

 

“Hate The Addiction Not The Addict”

 

The Feelings of One:

FB Q: “Has my dad shared with you all the past hurt he has caused to his children, is it in the book?

 

I answered and then we began an hour-long conversation and I shared little so the adult child could vent and share with me the real feelings and about amends with father… I then even asked if they have talked yet?

The Sharing Begins:

“I did call him and honestly, it was exactly what I was expecting. Maybe you and I can touch base after he shares his side of the story.”

 

(I told the child I knew all of Vance’s side of his past and all his amends attempts to all of his children, ex-wives, and family and offered a phone call to talk, put to no avail.)

 

“I have a lot to say in regards to my relationship with him and it will probably take some time to share all of it with you. I know he’s made mistakes because everyone does.. but there’s a difference between making a mistake and making a poor choice. I’m happy he’s found the light within himself.. but even after my Vaughn died in a motorcycle accident, he was still the same person he’s always been.

 

I see people praise him on his Facebook wall for overcoming addiction and all of that crap. What these people don’t know is how his decisions have impacted his children over the course of the last 30 years or so. Social Media and popularity will only make him feel “better” for a short period of time. As far as I know, he has made little effort to make things better between him and his biological children.

 

Facebook “likes” and “shares” will never make up for the unpaid child support or empty promises he made when I was younger. To be honest, my Mom did an amazing job shielding me from the damage he could have inflicted on me as I was a young boy. I wish I could say the same for my brothers and sisters. I’m not even sure if any of them would communicate with him if he reached out because of how bad he hurt them … 


And the fact that he’s trying to rejuvenate his career and popularity by claiming he’s a changed man is bogus.  Isn’t the first step of recovery recognizing your addictions and the damage you’ve done? Well, in my opinion, it’s going to take a lot more than an “I’m sorry for what I did …

 

And? Unfortunately, based on the decisions that he’s made in the past, he’s gone far beyond the point of no return. I think surrendering himself to a religious figure made it easier on him to live with the terrible decisions he’s made as a man and a father, a direct result of his decision making and not recognizing the damage he was doing along the way and not addressing the issue at the root cause.”


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WOW!!! Pretty Darn Sad …

Yes, there is more to this but I think you get the understanding right?

FIRST: I Will Say Again as Vance and I did almost a year ago when we began his book, the DOOR WAS open to all who wanted to either talk with me or Vance and share their feelings with Vance, and it is MEANT for everyone

Doesn’t have to be in his Memoir, as we were hoping it would help bring them all together, a little closer, and everyone involved begin to BEGIN HEAL, and they can make the decision to have a relationship with Vance or Not.

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SECOND: Reading these feeling of Vance’s adult child several times, I hear and felt his hurt and anger and did validate this person’s feelings about being correct on how our past choices as addicts can cause hurt, pain and damage to the family, relationships, and the children. But addiction can also be generational. WHERE do you think we learn some of the poor habits and behaviors of addiction? If it happens and goes on in your home with children present?  Then 97% most likely they are going to do the same as thinking it is normal because it is going on in their home.

You can have two spouses come together, one is Godly while they other is abusive and drunk, gambling, cheating and so on, they are fights and arguments in front of the kids? Of course, you can have a child grow up and do the same because they think it is a normal part of the household. Part of our work within recovery is to address these root causes and underlying issues that we used to FUEL OUR ADDICTIONS. Addicts can come from a place of hurt and pain just like those who were hurt by the addict’s addictions before we even approach the Amends Process.

THIRD: I hear a lot of resentment and anger in this adult child’s feelings. But, how can a recovering addict make an amends and show action if the people who are hurt are holding on to 30-years of anger and resentments, won’t even to talk or communicate or give the person a chance to make a proper amends? From the above comments like, “he’s gone far beyond the point of no return.” So in closing, all I can say is when you have attempted and have made some amends to those you have hurt within your “addicted days” … Remeber addicts, “Our Past Does Not Define Who We Are Maintaining Recovery.”

Some people, sadly, even family may not have the ability to have empathy, understand the recovery life-long process, and rather keep holding on to the Anger and Resentments of the past. If they are not willing to find it in their hearts to at least “Forgive” even if no relationship can be fixed or connected. Then it’s “Time to Let Go and Let God.”

The fact remains many may not be receptive to you at all. They would rather wallow in anger and hold on to resentments no matter how many years go by or how many times you try.

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“We Come To Believe In A Power Greater Than Our Selves To Restore Us”

Could it be possible it is time for those not accepting of us or our amends need to look within their hearts, take their personal inventory as to why they are not willing to be more open to healing and forgiveness? All we can do is keep our side of the street clean and pray for them that they come to a place of love.

We have the choice to turn it to GOD and move forward as we are “A Work In Progress.”

Colossians 3:13 ~ “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” AMEN … 

Maintaining Recovery With Mental Health Makes Us Look At Things a Wee Bit Different Than Others. A Story By Tony.

“My Grandpa George died when I was in a psych hospital. So I wrote him this story. Sometimes the truth needs a little myth mixed in to swallow it down.”

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“He Was in Heaven Before He Died”

“The following is not a story based solely on facts. I did have a Grandpa George and this was pretty much how he lived and died. But I didn’t make it to the funeral. Instead, I was in a hellish heaven of my own in the psych unit of Columbia Presbyterian.”


I got the call late at night that Grandpa George had died. He had lived a hard life.  He didn’t have the opportunity to get a good education. He never learned to read or write because his demanding father made him quit school to help in the fields. He worked hard to get by and managed to scrape together a living. He met a woman – Maize – at the tomato factory where he worked. She says he was throwing tomatoes at her, so she knew he liked her. They were married in less than 3 months. They stayed together “until death did they part” almost 60 years later.

*  *  *

I drove alongside the cemetery in a rented Ford Focus, admiring the tombstones in the early morning sun. My mind wandered to Grandpa’s last days. He was able to die at home, thanks to Hospice and the care of family, especially his son Geoff (since Grandma was limited in what she could do). Geoff fed him when he was hungry, bathed him to keep him clean, and sought to bring comfort to this man who had hardly ever comforted him.

Grandpa George had not lived a perfect life, perhaps not even a good one. He was quick to become angry and had been accused by some of being abusive. He was known to challenge his supervisors to fights. He bullied Grandma and Geoff, who could never seem to please him. He certainly had skills – building his house from the ground up. He could be generous with his time, helping neighbors with necessary fix-up projects. Yet he had a temper that could flare up at the least misunderstanding.

Still, he could also be playful and gentle with children, rocking them on his knees or playing “Peep-Eye” (his version of “peek-a-boo”). He had pet names for all the grandchildren which were both endearing and practical. I’m not sure he could remember what our real names were.

I thought of his faith.  He went to church regularly for most of his married life. He drove the church bus and took great pride in rounding up children from homes where the parents were just happy to have them off their hands for a few hours. He had a simple faith: child-like even. I wondered if it brought him peace and comfort especially in his last days.

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The sun was full in the sky as I pulled onto the gravel road that led to a family plot. I looked at the simple white crosses to the side – the graves of soldiers who died before they could marry, have children, and raise a family. I saw the graves of infants, who escaped suffering as well as joy in their lives.

I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the life my Grandpa George got to live, the good and the bad, and prayed that he might be received into a new and better life to come. Later that day, driving the rental Ford Focus back to the airport, I looked out on the Wabash River and I smiled.

They say when you die you go “home to God”.  I have this hope for Grandpa.  
At least, I am glad that he was home when he died.  
I’m glad he got a little taste of heaven before he died.
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Delight in Disorder

Ministry, Madness, Mission

 

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness.

Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer.

I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation by visiting my site.


Tony Roberts, Author

Delight in Disorder:  Ministry, Madness, Mission

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Order Today on Amazon & Amazon Kindle!

WTF? “Simply Ridiculous” and Victims Are Being Traumatized All Over Again … Shame On MGM Resorts Owner of The Mandalay Bay and Their Share Holders!

WTF? “Simply Ridiculous” and Victims Are Being Traumatized All Over Again … Shame On MGM Resorts Owner of The Mandalay Bay and Their Share Holders!

“Looking At Both Sides”

I’m sure just about everyone around the world heard what took place a while back at a concert being held outside “The Mandalay Bay resort-casino.” October 2017 when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured, courtesy of Yahoo News and originally appeared on abcnews.go.com …


“This is absolute gamesmanship. It’s outrageous. It’s just pouring gasoline on the fire of (the victims’) suffering,” Eglet said. “They are very distraught, very upset over this. MGM is trying to intimidate them.”  ~Lawyer Me. Eglet says for the Victims.

“Last week, MGM filed suit in federal court against 1,000 defendants who are victims of the shootings or other interested parties. The lawsuits are intended to be a self-protective, preemptive strike by MGM. The company says it is only suing people who have already sued MGM or notified it that they plan to do so. It isn’t asking for the shooting victims to pay it any money. Nevertheless, the move has predictably prompted widespread outrage and prompted calls on Twitter” to #BoycottMGM

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Does the SAFETY Act apply to a hotel?

The 2002 law is called the SAFETY Act (for “Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies”). Passed in the wake of 9/11, the intent was for the Department of Homeland Security to review security products and services for federal certification. If they received that certification, the law protects their providers from lawsuits in the event of a terrorist attack where those products are in use. It’s worth noting that MGM did have a security firm at the concert at the time of the shooting, and that security firm was certified under the SAFETY Act. 

Attorneys for the victims are as outraged about this lawsuit as you might expect. “Their theory is that this security company goes to D.H.S. and gets some type of certificate, and so now MGM is immune, and everybody in the future who hires the company is immune,” Craig Eiland, who represents many of the victims, told the Times. “It’s outrageous, and that’s not what the law is, and we would all be less safe.”

MGM argues the shooting qualifies as an act of terrorism and thus is covered under the SAFETY Act. The Department of Homeland Security has not weighed in one way or another on that question. What is clear is MGM wants to establish, first of all, that MGM can’t be sued for the shooting, and second that it especially can’t be sued in state or local courts.

HOW THE VICTIMS and FAMILIES OF LOVED ONES LOST FEEL?


JOYEETA BISWAS, Good Morning America …

“MGM Resorts files lawsuits against Las Vegas shooting victims in the effort to avoid
liability”

“It brings it all up again, and takes me right back to being helpless,” said Jason McMillan, who was paralyzed from the waist down in the attack.

“Hearing that I’m being sued — it’s not only insulting, it enrages me to think that this company can just try to skip out on their responsibilities and their liability for what happened.”

McMillan vowed not to back down in the fight against the company.

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PHOTO: Attorney Mark P. Robinson, right, representing shooting victims and family members who lost loved ones in the Oct, 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting, talks about MGM's decision, at a news conference in Newport Beach, Calif., July 23, 2018. (Alex Gallardo/AP)

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“To blame the victims, to say it’s anyone else’s fault other than their own – it’s absurd. I can’t believe the audacity of them. They’re not going to get away with anything – We’ll keep this going, as long as it takes,” he added.”

The press conference was fraught with emotion, as survivors recounted details of what happened to them or their loved ones in the attack, and their painful journey towards recovery.

Joyce Shipp, 72, whose 50-year-old daughter Laura Shipp was killed in the shooting, said she was still learning to cope with the aftermath.

“I wasn’t at the concert but I live it every day. Every time we go outside we see Mandalay Bay. It’s hard to get that out of your head,” she said.

“The fact that [MGM is] trying to sue us — it’s outrageous,” she added. “That they would have the audacity to put me through that again — It’s like being kicked again to the ground.”

{MGM’S RESPONSE}?

In response to the press conference, MGM spokesperson Debra DeShong provided the following statement:

“It is heartbreaking to hear these personal accounts of an unspeakable tragedy. We grieve with all of the victims. No one wins from endless litigation and it will not change the fact that one person is responsible for this horrendous act of violence and he took his own life rather than face justice.” (Partial) 

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My Own Personal Opinion and Feelings?


Although I do agree with what the MGM spokesperson said about the shooter
“taking his own life rather than face justice,”

I still feel strongly that the MGM is just trying to escape taking ownership and accountability for what took place on their property! They checked in the shooter with NO Checking of His Bags which contained loads of firearms regardless if HE opened the window and started shooting at the victims below. 

MGM and its shareholders need to “do the right thing here” and drop these ridiculous lawsuits against the victims. You are only making more chaos and trauma for them and prolonging their healing. How about putting your feet in the loved one’s shoes and it was YOU who lost a loved one that night? I’m sure you’d be looking at this the same way as all the victims we lost and the feel the same way these families and survivors are feeling now …

PLEASE Visit to see the souls we have lost:
https://www.ktnv.com/news/photos-remembering-those-killed-in-las-vegas-mass-shooting#

As my thoughts and prayers are still with you! xoxo

~Catherine Lyon

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

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

Are Your Teens Playing Games with Their Lives?


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

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

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

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Image result for copy free images of Kevin Coughlin Author
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“A good coach asks great questions to help you remove the obstacles in your mind and to get you back on track in life.”  – Farshad Asl 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor personal hygiene.

Lack of self-care.

Not sleeping, playing video games all night.

Poor grades in school or skipping school.

Lack of interest in everything except video gaming.

Isolation and spending much time in their room.

Irritability and anger problems when not playing video games.

Compulsively buying video games and add-ons.

Not eating regular meals at regular times.

Unhealthy diet, impulsivity,  and irresponsibility.

Life out of balance, obsessed with video gaming.

Depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

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

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

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.
www.theaddiction.expert
Visit:  “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .
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