OK, Somebody Has To Do It . . . “Happy, Happy 6-YEAR Anniversary Recovery Blogging To ME!” Can Not Believe How Fast Time Can Fly When Advocating Recovery on WordPress!

OK, Somebody Has To Do It . . . “Happy, Happy 6-YEAR Anniversary Recovery Blogging To ME!” Can Not Believe How Fast Time Can Fly When Advocating Recovery on WordPress!

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I NEED to THANK Each and Every One of my Recovery Friends, Supporters, and ALL NEW Visitors for helping make my BLOG a SUCCESS as it MEANINGFUL!

I also HOPE Helpful n able to Inform, Educate, & SHARE a Message of HOPE from Gambling Addiction and ALL ADDICTIONS!

We Deserve and ARE Worthy of Second Chances, WHY? Because RECOVERY WORKS and RECOVERY Is POSSIBLE~Catherine Lyon, Advocate

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BIG ACHIEVEMENT!

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6 Year Anniversary Achievement
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Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago.

Thanks for flying with us.

Keep up the good recovery blogging.

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“Best Day EVER Meeting This Former NFL Pro now Recovery Advocate. #NFLCares

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Let’s Chat Recovery Lifestyle! Do You Just Live IN Recovery? Or Live an Amazing Life While Maintaining Recovery?

Let’s Chat Recovery Lifestyle! Do You Just Live IN Recovery? Or Live an Amazing Life While Maintaining Recovery?

Welcome Recovery Warriors, Supporters, and New Visitors,

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Now that summer is almost here; many get outdoors, plan vacations, and LIVE LIFE. So, how do you still put your gambling recovery first?

See, there was a time I could never do that. What I mean is, when I was still active in my gambling addiction, it seemed even in the summer or vacation time, it always had to have some form of “gambling venue” or option attached or nearby. How sick is that? It made me begin to think? How do others maintaining recovery from gambling put their recovery first and a balanced healthy Lifestyle?

I felt and have seen my own recovery go through phases as we begin to live life again while keeping mindful of our recovery journey. We don’t “LIVE IN Recovery; we “LIVE LIFE while maintaining it” …I hear too many people who only work 12-Step recovery programs, (no offense) that they only have friends within the 12-step program and leave all other friends behind or only do the 12-Step program activities. That, to me, is not living a well-balanced lifestyle or recovery.

And Those slogans? They never made any sense to me? “Meeting Make It!” No, they don’t. You need to do the work maintaining recovery and a whole lot more. Only attending meetings is NOT going to keep you Bet Free, Clean, and Sober. A few years back, I came across a fantastic article written about these topics and concerns that kind of made my points and made a lot of sense to me then!

I began to put my recovery first and learning to have a balanced lifestyle after reading this article at “The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation” Lifestyle Article.

Here are a few areas I’d like to ‘Share and Highlight’ as they are essential while we continue our life-long maintenance of recovery while living a beautiful lifestyle!

Some From Hazelden Article:

“For many addicts of all addictions, our lifestyle blocks our recovery. It is easy to see the problem when we have a terrible lifestyle: living with an abusive partner, hanging out with drug-dealing and drug-seeking friends, or going to bars or casinos to gamble with old friends or to prove that we can have a soft drink among all that alcohol.

Counselors and sponsors tell us that we must leave behind all negative influences to make recovery our highest priority and make Recovery First. But that doesn’t mean all your family, friends, job, and more. Yes, healing and mindful recovery have to come in first place, and yes, ahead of wife, kids, job, and other relationships that we treasure. Part of this decision is practical. If we put recovery in second (or lower) place, we will eventually lose our recovery, as well as whatever it was we put in the first place. ”

“There is also another way that lifestyle can interfere with recovery. Our mistake is taking a good, attractive lifestyle and recovery making it the center of our lives. We require our treatment and recovery goals to “fit into” our lifestyle, and not disrupt it.

“The more attractive our lifestyle, the more likely we are to COMPROMISE our recovery in search of a pleasant and comfortable way of life. Yes, it is a fine line and how complacency can sneak in. If our lifestyle is healthy, comfortable and well-rounded, we take that as a “given” fact of life and then try to accommodate our recovery without disrupting all that’s pleasurable about life” …

“In treatment, this shows up as an unwillingness to spend more than 28 days working on our recovery full time. Patients frequently say they’d love to have additional time here, but something about the home or workplace demands the highest priority instead. Many professionals feel, such as doctors and lawyers, say that they must return to their professional practice right away. Managers and directors swear that their companies could not live without them, and so the patients must get right back to work. Mistake.”

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Having FUN At A Speaking Event 4 Big Jim’s Ride, Phoenix, AZ!

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Look, I love many things in the “real world,” but what have I learned in my time of 12+yrs maintaining my recovery while living a life? “That I love the world of spirituality, sobriety, and being BET-FREE more.” It is no different than having a medical ailment or being a diabetic, as you learn to manage it as you continue living your life. But remember there is a period in early treatment and recovery that needs to be first in order to learn a healthy lifestyle while maintaining recovery.

And why I always suggest to my sponsees or friends who are “stuck and cannot move forward” to maybe work with a recovery life coach or if you are early into treatment and your recovery? Talk about it with your treatment counselor or therapist about “Lifestyle Balance,” so you can be on the right track living live the way it should be, balanced, healthy, FUN and active!

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ME, Hubby, and Mr. Randy Grimes, former NFL Pro in Purple and Dear Friend!

Sharing My Recovery Wisdom, Hope, Experiences, and Lessons Learned While I Keep Moving Forward Maintaining Recovery. “Pass It On!”

Sharing My Recovery Wisdom, Hope, Experiences, and Lessons Learned While I Keep Moving Forward Maintaining Recovery. “Pass It On!”

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When we feel like we can not move past speed bumps in our recovery journey, how do we move forward? When do I get some loner time abstinence and then relapse? What if I’m not strong enough to NOT cave into cravings, urges, and triggers? What can I do not to RELAPSE?

All these are excellent questions and concerns we all have or face while maintaining our recovery path. Some can be quick fixes, and some may mean you have more work to do possible within your journey. See, recovery is not only a life long process, and it does come to us in phases. What do I mean by this? We all have the option to choose how we begin to gain our lives back from any addiction.

In doing so, we have choices to pick from a 12-Step Program, or faith-based program, or both together. Possibly a treatment center program along with attending church or a treatment program that comes with therapy or counseling, but, however you feel is right and comfortable for you. Next is doing the “work” that is asked of you while you begin to learn the tools and the skills that may save your life. Next is being diligent in using all the tools you learn. Not complicated. But, still, many can struggle.

Since I advocate much through social media, I see many times disagreements going on by others wanting to force how they recover and has worked for them onto others looking for help or support within recovery from addictions. Or even the never-ending battles I see play out about a 12-Step Program all by itself will work to get clean, sober, or gamble free… That is not the case, nor fair.

I feel, and this is my OWN OPINION, as long as you have the desire to stop any addiction that is making your life unmanageable? Then it should be you alone or your family and yourself to choose what works and is comfortable for you.

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Once you begin, begin to come to terms with knowing there is a lot of recovery work to do in the first few years. Learning and gaining the skills and tools needed to interrupt the “cycle” of addiction is essential and half the battle!

Being educated and informed about some of the roots and underlying issues that had you turn to addiction. Old pain or hurt from other issues like abuse, trauma, etc., all can have us looking for ways to cope and escape those feelings that are still unprocessed — then learning to overcome hurdles or those feelings of being “stuck” not knowing how to move forward maintaining your recovery.

I’ll end with a share of a post that I did on my Recovery Facebook page the other day. It was answering a group member’s concerns about her gambling addiction and having a relapse. It was how I felt after reading questions and felt I wanted to share a little of my own experience in early recovery.

Keep it Honest and Real recovery friends!
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My FB Reply:
“I enjoy belonging to many Groups here on FB and especially my #recoverygroups … I wish there were MORE #GamblingRecoveryGroups …

Because when I read that others are having a “Rough Go” or Struggles, and I read sharings of others, it Hits me HARD …

Here is what I suggested to a new friend who is recovering from OUR #Addiction…
ONE that “Requires No #Substances but is just as DEADLY and Still, such a Silent and Underground #Addiction”… *Cat*

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ANSWER To Her:
“When I read this …It took me back to my own early attempts in recovery, the days of chronic relapses. I sure relate to all you shared and half the battle?? Is that YOU are sharing, reaching out, and being honest and transparent as this #DISEASE most times don’t let you. So Kudo’s to you for DOING SO.

It is NOT YOU -Thinking, it is the disease, the habits of our diseased thinking that are telling you that you DON’T have a problem and you have your gambling controlled.

It is part of the nasty “CYCLE” of this cunning addiction. I worked with a Gambling Specialist after I came out of my 2nd treatment program. IT MADE a world of difference for me and stayed maintaining my addicted gambling recovery from that point on!

The longer you abstain and not gamble? The triggers and cravings DO go away, BUT?

This DISEASE is “Always Lying in WAIT.” (Per the late Robin Williams) …

That is why we learn and use all the tools and skills we learn and use them daily. For me, journaling and writing my Steps and Inner work as a Journal sure will help. Re-working the steps in writing form enables you to “Look Back” and see where you need help in areas and your strong points to continue a “Beautiful Life while Maintaining #Recovery.

That Is IMPORTANT …AS We don’t LIVE IN Recovery, and we maintain recovery while we LIVE LIFE!

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I Am a Childhood Sexual Trauma and Abuse Survivor Maintaining Recovery From Addiction …Helpful Guest Article and by Kristance Harlow 04/22/19.

I Am a Childhood Sexual Trauma and Abuse Survivor Maintaining Recovery From Addiction …Helpful Guest Article and by Kristance Harlow 04/22/19.

Are the 12 Steps Safe for Trauma Survivors?

“When the 4th and 5th steps are done without support for the symptoms of PTSD, they have the potential to retraumatize.

Trauma is a current buzzword in the mental health world, and for good reason. Untreated trauma has measurable lasting physiological and psychological effects, which makes it a public health emergency of pandemic proportions.

Trauma is an event or continuous circumstance that subjectively threatens a person’s life, bodily integrity, or sanity, and overwhelms a person’s ability to cope.

PTSD and Substance Use Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, intrusive thoughts about the trauma, hypervigilance, and avoidance of triggers which remind you of the event. Substance use disorders (SUD) are frequently co-morbid (co-occurring) with PTSD.

Many people with PTSD self-medicate with mind-altering substances to alleviate symptoms but getting high or drunk only works for so long. Substance use disorders often evolve from using substances as a maladaptive coping tool.

There are many physiological correlations between psychological trauma and SUD. For example, there are similarities in gray matter reduction for both the person with PTSD and the person with an alcohol use disorder. Although the neural mechanisms of addiction in PTSD patients are not fully understood, research has found that in the prefrontal cortex, dopamine receptors may be involved in both conditions.

Memories related to fear and reward are both processed with the help of these specific receptors. It could be that the processing of traumatic memories affects the dopamine receptors, making them more sensitive to reward-triggering substances.

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Sometimes, people with a dual diagnosis of addiction and PTSD find their way to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. These programs are widespread, free, and require no commitment, which makes them more accessible than other types of treatment.

AA’s worldwide membership and lasting existence have caused the program to be of interest to researchers for decades. Previous research has found positive correlations between an AA participation and abstinence. There is less research on how 12-step programs interact with trauma recovery.

Studies on relapse factors have found that common predecessors to relapse in adults include anger, depression, and stress, among others. Recalling traumatic experiences, for someone with PTSD, can cause intense physiological and psychological reactions characterized by these same feelings: anxiety (stress), depression, anger, and frustration. It’s a combination that puts people with both trauma and addiction at a higher risk of relapsing.

Guilt, Shame, and AA

There are two sets of steps in 12-step programs that involve memory recall and direct involvement with others: Steps 4 and 5 and Steps 8 and 9.

Step 4 says: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” That step is followed up by sharing that inventory in Step 5: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

Later, Step 8 says: “Made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” To deal with that list, Step 9 directs people: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

The gist with these steps is that they look at both the resentment/anger the person feels towards others (which always involves taking responsibility for a part or all of the event that caused the resentment and anger), and also the “harms” the person caused others. But there is no direct guidance on how to ensure a realistic and safe assessment of past events is made.

The AA book presents this step as if someone with a substance use disorder has the tendency to blame others. People with PTSD are wracked with self-blame, and it is self-blame and shame which fuels many people’s addictions, but shame is not explicitly addressed in the steps.

Guilt is very commonly experienced by people with PTSD. Survivor guilt can be a bit of a misnomer; PTSD develops from situations that are subjectively experienced as traumatic, but these circumstances don’t have to involve death (although they certainly can and do for many people). Simply surviving can feel like something the person is not worthy of. They may feel guilt when they don’t stay in pain and anxiety.

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“Shame is also common in trauma survivors, especially in people who have been sexually assaulted.”

Trauma survivors must restore a positive sense of self to find healing. Judith Herman, the author of Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—from Domestic Abuse to Political Terrorexplains that “the survivor needs the assistance of others in her struggle to overcome her shame and to arrive at a fair assessment of her conduct.”

It becomes important, as the trauma reveals itself, to see it clearly for what it was so the person can integrate those experiences into their individual life stories.

AA literature is very focused on decreasing ego and on disrupting the selfishness of the person with the addiction. This is not necessarily a helpful baseline for traumatized folks; it can be harshly critical. The feeling of being judged can deepen the rift between the survivor and others.

Herman writes, “Realistic judgments diminish the feelings of humiliation and guilt. By contrast, either harsh criticism or ignorant, blind acceptance greatly compounds the survivor’s self-blame and isolation.”

The primary text of Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) suggests alcoholics review their past sexual life when creating a life inventory in Step 4. For the overall inventory, the book suggests that the reader completely disregard “the wrongs others had done” and to look only at “our own mistakes.”

Even in situations where a person caused harm to the reader, the reader should “disregard the other person involved entirely” and find “where were we to blame?” These suggestions can be dangerous for survivors of intimate partner violence or child abuse who have been told that they were to blame for the abuse they suffered.

The book further details what to ask yourself when making an inventory of your sexual conduct:

“Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead?” It is worrisome that a sex inventory is taken to find out how “we acted selfishly” when one-third of women and one-sixth of men have been sexually assaulted or raped.

An estimated half of women who experience a sexual assault will develop PTSD. One study found that 80 percent of women with SUD who seek inpatient treatment have been physically or sexually assaulted and nearly 70 percent of men have experienced either physical or sexual abuse.

How the 12 Steps Can Harm People with PTSD

Because remembering past traumas makes the brain’s reward center more receptive to the effects of drugs, Steps 4 and 5 need to be approached with extreme caution for people who have experienced trauma.

Ideally, these steps jumpstart healing; but when they are done without support for the symptoms of PTSD, they have the potential to retraumatize. As the person shares their trauma with someone else, hopefully, the listener is compassionate and willing to point out where things were not the addict’s fault—at all.

A child survivor of molestation had no agency in the assault, and it is unconscionable to tell that child, now grown, that they need to determine where they were at fault. It is not possible to “disregard the other person involved entirely” when an event only occurred because of the other person. Sometimes we need to recognize this fact and say to ourselves (or hear from someone else): “You had no part in this, you were a victim at that time.”

In Steps 8 and 9 we are to list and resolve harms done to others. If step 4 and 5 didn’t properly address where our fault doesn’t lie, we may be inclined to list abuses and harm done to us as wrongs we did. It says not to make amends if it will cause harm to others, but we need an additional specification not to make amends if it will cause harm to ourselves.

If you owe an abusive ex-partner money, are you supposed to pay them back if you’ve cut off all contact? These are issues that require careful consideration. Sharing both lists with a compassionate person has the potential to help survivors recover. Sharing both lists with someone who is too harsh in their suggestions and assessments has the potential to push those in recovery back into active addiction.
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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (1)
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The care of a loving, compassionate, and knowledgeable supporter, like a sponsor, can help sort out these dangerous triggers. Since such a large percentage of people in 12-step programs have experienced trauma, sponsors should be able to provide trauma-informed care; otherwise, going through the steps may end up retraumatizing their sponsees and leaving them vulnerable to relapse.

Yet, there are no qualifications for sponsorship and no way for someone new to the program to be aware of these potential pitfalls. There are so many variabilities to the 12 steps and how they are implemented.

The way in which someone interprets the language of the steps can change how people understand themselves and their history. Trauma-focused recovery can be lost in the mix and deserves more explicit attention.

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Kristance Harlow is a freelance writer and mental illness advocate. She fights stigma and writes about uncomfortable experiences. She lives in a foreign land with her husband and rescue pups.

Find Kristance on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, or her blog.

 

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.”

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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