“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” Special Guest Author: Alek M. Revitalizing Your Marriage After Addiction.

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Revitalizing your marriage or relationship is an important and sometimes scary process. When recovering from gambling addiction, the other partner feels that the gambling was the only thing the other person cared about, like if it had been a “love affair.” That is why this topic and article by Alek M. is so important in any recovery from any type of addiction….

Addiction can be one of the most trying experiences that an individual will face in their life, and recovery is a road that certainly isn’t easy. However, it is through the most challenging times in life that we are able to grow, as people, and emerge as a stronger version of yourself. This is what recovery is all about, as becoming a new and better you is a key part of lasting recovery that is sustainable.

However, during the course of addiction and recovery, the person undergoing these events is not the only person who will be tested. If an addict is married or in a long-term romantic relationship, then their partner is certainly going to go through a trying time, as well. However, having been through this journey together makes it all the more important to take crucial steps after recovery. Here are some tips on revitalizing your marriage after addiction…

Avoid starting new relationships in recovery


First of all, it’s important to note that is highly advisable to not start any new romantic relationships right after recovery, or in recovery, for that matter. A romantic relationship has the potential to distract you from what you should be focusing on in recovery, especially in the crucial early month, as staying sober is key. Relationships also have the potential to cause stress, which can be triggering for someone who just got through recovery. As a matter of fact, many aspects of an early relationship can have an unpredictable effect on someone who is probably still getting cravings. For this reason, it’s best just to avoid all of this, for the time being.
Here’s a good article if you’d like to read more about this situation.

Be honest, no matter what

When you are fresh out of recovery, your relationship needs to continue with a theme of honesty, or it simply won’t work. No matter what, it’s important for both you and your partner to be honest with each other about everything, especially what you are thinking about the situation. Make sure you both tell each other how you are feeling, every single day, and truly be honest about those feelings. If you are having cravings, or even if you suffer a relapse, these are among the most important times to be honest, as they can make the difference in your path to recovery.

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Clearly, communicate your needs

Remember that your partner will have their own specific needs during this time, and be considerate of those needs. However, it’s also important to be clear about what you need during this time of recovery, as your support system is a vital element to a lasting recovery. This means that each person in the relationship needs to have a clear line of communication with the other, so that they can say how they are truly feeling, without judgment.

Take this time to learn how to be better versions of yourself

At this time, remember that you are in a period of rebuilding who you are, and that you and your partner will be in a period of rebuilding your own relationship. While this will definitely be difficult, at times, it should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourselves and strengthen the bond between you two. Besides, if you can both support each other through the difficult time of recovery, then you will find that you have a stronger relationship on the other side.

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Find projects around the home to work on together

After getting out of recovery, you and your partner need to find new ways to bond so that you can make sure that you both still know each other, even after this life-changing experience. While getting out and going on adventures, like hiking, can be a great way to do this, it is also very important to try to find ways to enjoy being home with each other.


One particular way to do this is to find projects around your home that you can work on together. Look for something you both would love to see in your home.
Should you get new marble countertops? Should you build a treehouse? Just find something that you can both work together to improve your lives. Building new memories together, especially memories with tangible evidence all around you starts to replace negative experiences that you’ve both been through before.

Having a project is also a great tool to aid in recovery since it gives you a positive focus!

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I Enjoy Each Year Supporting “Gambling Awareness Month” Along With My Friends At “The National Council on Problem Gambling!”

Hello Gambling Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

 

It is that time of year again for me to help CELEBRATE, EDUCATE, INFORM, and ADVOCATE alongside my friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling to share and raise awareness about problem and addicted gambling!

Being in recovery from addicted gambling myself for over 8 yrs now, these fine people have helped many afflicted by problem or addicted gambling, and have helped many, many families too. So I join them each year, and share in Raising Awareness of this devastating problem and addiction . . . .

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Here is a more about this wonderful campaign and how you can learn more about them on their wonderful website right here: http://www.ncpgambling.org/

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

As you know, problem gambling is a public health issue affecting relationships, families, businesses and communities. During the month of March, we work especially hard to raise awareness about problem gambling. The goal of this campaign is to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and promote the availability of help and hope both locally and nationally.

NCPG encourages all stakeholders to Have the Conversation. Most adults gamble or know someone who gambles, and therefore could benefit from basic knowledge of problem gambling as well as programs to prevent gambling addiction. We believe that many who suffer in silence do so because they don’t know why they developed a problem, what gambling addiction is, or where to get help. PGAM helps answer these questions and provides information on what to do next.

So I ask you to go visit and learn how you can get help for those who may have a gambling problem. There is help, and they can recover! I know, I WAS an addicted compulsive gambler for many years. And my addiction did start out as being a problem gambler. There are many factors and can be underlying issues as to why a person turns to gambling addiction in the first place, and even though man programs say we can recover without knowing why we turned to problem or addicted gambling, there is help to know the why’s. It was some of what I had to process along with my gambling treatment.

Many of my friends who visit my recovery blog know some of my story of my past, but let me tell a little of what Gambling Addiction took from me. It took anything that was good and of value in my life! It even almost took my life twice from 2 failed suicide attempts, which to me is more valuable than money! It also took anything I could pawn, borrow, or yes, even steal. All that got me was a criminal record, jail, and more. It took good jobs I was fired from, devastated me and my husband financially, and it even almost took my 25 year marriage. And this is just the tip of the iceberg . . . .
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Now, those who don’t understand addictions, or may not have been ‘touched’ by them, or know a loved one who has?
The number one misconception about gambling addiction, and many other addictions is people think it’s “just our poor life choices we make”, . . . but that couldn’t be farther from the TRUTH. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “I think I will become an addicted gambler today and destroy my life!”

Yes, life is to all of us what we choose to do, and the choices we make, but those are not MY CHOICES, they are the diseased choices I made being entangled in a deep gambling addiction. It’s an illness, and a disease like any other addiction, and not like any other addiction. Parents, did you know currently it’s the addiction with the Highest Suicide Rate? And now reaching our High School Teens & College Young Adults? Did you know many colleges & universities are now offering free problem gambling information and help to students through their Mental Health Services and Health Department?

That is where my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling can help! They help others understand about this destructive problem. I know. I visited their site all the time when I was in early and through my recovery for extra support and information. And it is why I help celebrate and share to raise awareness of all they do to help others with problem gambling! Why? Because problem gambling is hurting many people who don’t even gamble. It is hurting those around the person who is a problem gambler, it’s impacting our communities with the ever-expanding casinos popping up everywhere throughout our country, and it is also State Lotteries services and more ways to gamble in all our local communities! Where will it stop?

So lets work together to share hope, share info, and raise awareness about this problem. Together we can change and save lives! Please share your support by re-blogging this on your Recovery Blog Today!
Thank You! And Thanks to my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling too!
http://www.ncpgambling.org

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ My Story of Addicted Gambling & Recovery
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A

Media Release of a Major Article by Columbia University & The Dept. of Public Health & Epidemiology…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors!

 

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#RecoveryMonth #Inspiration

Many of us recovering addicted compulsive gamblers have felt when we were active in our addiction, that we were broken and failed at this thing called life. The paths we had taken with gambling addiction made us feel it was a test. And yes, it did break me and many other addicted gamblers, but I’m no longer broken thanks to having wonderful support by many in my recovery. Support has been an important part of my journey. Two places I have always looked to is ‘The National Council on Problem Gambling’, http://ncpgambling.org  and  ‘The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin’,  http://www.samhsa.gov … Because I have been through one, and still battle daily challenges with the mental side of things.

These two websites have a wealth of information on all types of  addictions and mental health services, they  raise awareness, inform and help educate the public as well as help the afflicted. So I always celebrate
September ~ National Recovery Month, and this year is our 25th Year of Celebrating!

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I’m very honored to be a part of National Recovery Month ~ Our 25th Year.  At least almost 8 years worth for my own recovery from addicted compulsive gambling and alcohol abuse.

So in honor of this, I have a special guest blog post for this wonderful occasion! It is an article I’ve been waiting for from a new friend of mine, Elaine Meyer, of  Columbia University, Dept. of Epidemiology. It is a major article on gambling and how it affects our populations and our communities we live in.

Now your most likely wondering what that is? It is the science that studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.

Elaine and I talked a few months ago about gambling addiction, as she was doing research to write an article about problem gambling, and I have to tell you it truly is one of the best, in-depth, fantastic articles I have read in all my years in recovery. I was surprised to read that she shared information of my personal experiences from gambling addiction in the article we had talked about. I just have to share it with my recovery readers and friends here on my blog. I’d like to thank Elaine Meyer for also sharing my book of my story of what I had been through with gambling addiction. Maybe together we can reach more people who suffer from this cunning addiction, and help save lives.
And again, it really is the best in-depth, well-rounded article I have read. I know all who come visit and read it will agree!
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AUTHOR BIO

Elaine Meyer

Elaine Meyer has worked as a journalist covering education and legal news. She graduated in 2009 with an M.S. from Columbia School of Journalism and is currently the associate director of communications for Columbia’s Department of Epidemiology, where she carries out the department’s mission of translating public health science to the larger public. Follow her @emeyer5.

About The 2×2 Project ~ Health Beyond the Headlines: http://the2x2project.org/gambling-public-health/

The 2×2 project aims to inform the health conversation through timely and effective communication of emerging public health science. Epidemiology, the science of public health, cannot and should not be limited to the scientists and practitioners with access to the scientific literature. Our goal through the2x2project is to engage a broader audience—including thought leaders and policy makers from outside the discipline—to help translate scientific findings into practice.

The2x2project is sponsored by the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Gambling with America’s Health?

The public health costs of legal gambling

By Elaine Meyer

Published September 19, 2014

Publicly, Scott Stevens, a chief operating officer of a company in Steubenville, Ohio, was a well-regarded member of his community. A married father of three, he was active in his local Catholic church, involved with high school sports teams, and helped develop parks in the area. Privately, Stevens was addicted to gambling. First exposed to slot machines at a trade show in Las Vegas in 2007, Stevens became a regular slot player at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, & Resort, about 30 minutes away in Chester, West Virginia. By 2010, he had embezzled $7 million from his employer to gamble, and when they found out, he lost his job. Stevens continued to gamble secretly for the next 10 months, going to Mountaineer nearly every day, drawing money from his family’s savings, his 401(k), and his children’s college fund.

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On August 13, 2012, that money ran out. In a suicide note to his wife, he wrote: “I know you don’t believe it, but I love you so much. I have hurt you so much. Our family only has a chance if I’m not around to bring us down any further.” That evening, Stevens asked his 13-year-old daughter to bring him his hunting bag from the attic. He drove to a local park he had helped develop and called 9-1-1. When the sheriffs arrived, he shot himself.

“This is one of the biggest public health issues in America today that no one has been paying attention to.”

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“If it can happen to a guy as smart as he was, then it can happen to anybody,” said Indianapolis attorney Terry Noffsinger in a talk last November at Harvard Law School. Noffsinger, with other attorneys, is representing Stevens’ widow Stacy in a lawsuit filed last month against Mountaineer Casino, its parent company MTR Gaming Group, and slot machine maker International Game Technology, alleging they are liable for her husband’s suicide. The suit accuses both the casino and the slot designer of using predatory and deceptive tactics to profit from people with gambling problems, like Scott Stevens.

“Mountaineer Casino knew, or should have known, that the condition of disordered gambling, especially slot machine addiction, is associated with severe adverse health and other consequences for individuals and their families. Not only are gambling addicts like Scott Stevens liable to literally gamble away everything they own and end up in crippling debt, but also to become suicidal at far higher rates than the general population and even the population of persons addicted to substances such as illegal drugs and alcohol,” the suit states.
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Vegas-Style Slot Machines Debut In Florida
Vegas-style slot machines debut November 2006 at Florida’s Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images …
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Although the suit’s success is not assured—the few other cases in this area have not succeeded—it is part of a growing movement of activists, academics, lawyers, and former gambling addicts who are trying to spotlight the health, economic, and social costs of legal gambling. This group believes the gambling industry preys upon vulnerable people, including low-income individuals, youth, and problem gamblers and that gambling availability is linked to larger societal problems like crime and economic inequality.

For its part, the gambling industry points to a record of funding research into gambling addiction and trying to educate the public about problem gambling. They maintain that they offer a fun activity that most people can do without serious consequences. The opening of new gambling venues shows no signs of slowing down, despite the planned closing of four casinos in Atlantic City and financial problems for casinos in other states. Last fall, New Yorker’s approved the building of up to seven casinos. Many other states are in various stages of building casinos. Some in the gambling industry are trying to legalize online gambling, which is currently allowed in only three states, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.

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A debate over the social and health costs of legal gambling has largely been sidelined even as availability has expanded dramatically in the last 25 years. This is not because of a lack of merit, say experts and activists, but because of the political power of the gambling industry. They allege that the industry has employed tactics in the same spirit as those of tobacco companies, which for many years misled consumers about the addictive properties of cigarettes and advertised to young people and other vulnerable consumers.

According to Les Bernal, the national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, a Washington DC-based nonprofit, “This is one of the biggest public health issues in America today that no one has been paying attention to.”

A few experts predict that as stories of gambling addiction become more common, suits like that of Stacy Stevens will increase and could even succeed, as tobacco lawsuits did. “Ultimately gambling will be linked to the increase in social costs, gambling will be linked to the problems it creates, just like smoking was ultimately linked to cancer,” says Dr. Earl Grinols, a professor of economics at Baylor University. “It can take a while.”

Addictive Properties:

In the world of gambling, the most addictive property is electronic video gambling machines, often slots, which bring in 70 to 85 percent of the revenue for casinos. In some states, electronic video terminals are even available in other venues, like restaurants and bars. The machines do not typically have warning labels or cut offs for heavy users. Casinos  aggressively market to frequent patrons, giving them complimentary flights, hotels, and other perks. Meanwhile, the success of state voluntary exclusion programs where problem gamblers sign up to ban themselves from casinos is unclear.

Today’s slots are not the old lever-operated “one-armed bandits” but video game-like terminals that keep users playing by deliberate design, according to Dr. Natasha Dow Schüll, an associate professor in the program of science, technology, and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. “The particular addictiveness of modern slots has to do with the solitary, continuous, rapid wagering they enable. It is possible to complete a game every three to four seconds, with no delay between one game and the next. Some machine gamblers become so caught up in the rhythm of play that it dampens their awareness of space, time and monetary value,” writes Dr. Schüll in a New York Times commentary.
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“A lot of people think it’s a tax on the stupid,” recovering gambling addict Kitty Martz told the Oregonian. “Really, we’re behaving exactly the way the machines want us to.”

The idea that gambling lends itself to addiction like drugs or alcohol has taken some time to be acknowledged. Until the 2013 publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistics Manual, or DSM-5, problem gambling was classified as an “impulse control disorder” in the same category as pyromania and kleptomania, even though most clinicians who treated problem gamblers recognized it as an addiction, says Dr. Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

These gamblers exhibit many of the same problems as other addicts. “Everything you see with substance abuse you can make an analogy to gambling problems,” Dr. Martins says, citing family strife, financial hardship, and struggles with depression or anxiety.

“Give your dreams a chance”

To gamble legally 40 years ago, one had to travel to Nevada, go to a racetrack, or live in one of the handful of states that offered lotteries. In most towns, the closest one came to a betting game was playing charitable Bingo at church. Video slot machines had not yet come to market.

For most Americans today, a casino is just a car ride away. There are about 1,400 of them in 39 states, and 43 states sponsor lotteries with games that are recognizable even to non-gamblers, like Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 10, and instant scratch off tickets. In advertising to citizens, states use slogans like, “Hey you never know,” “Give your dreams a chance,” and “Believe in something bigger.” Hawaii and Utah are the only states that offer no forms of legal gambling.

“Gambling addiction is often considered a small cost, one brought upon by the individual unwise gambler”.

Casinos represent a substantial part of the nation’s economy and enjoy support from members of both political parties. In 2012, the industry took in $37 billion in gross revenue, employed 332,075 people, paid $13 billion in wages, and contributed $8.6 billion in taxes, according to the American Gaming Association. Many casinos are not just places to play blackjack and slots but to eat or take in live music and comedy acts.


Casinos represent a substantial part of the nation’s economy and enjoy support from members of both political parties. In 2012, the industry took in $37 billion in gross revenue, employed 332,075 people, paid $13 billion in wages, and contributed $8.6 billion in taxes, according to the American Gaming Association. Many casinos are not just places to play blackjack and slots but to eat or take in live music and comedy acts.

In this environment, gambling addiction is often considered a small cost, one brought upon by the individual unwise gambler. “They think that it’s an easy painless way to raise revenue but they don’t see the other side of it,”  says Arnie Wexler. Wexler quit gambling over 45 years ago after a nearly three-decade addiction and has since served as executive director of New Jersey’s Council on Compulsive Gambling. He also runs counseling services for compulsive gamblers with his wife, Sheila.
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Watch a video of Arnie Wexler speaking about burnout of slot machine addicts on "60 Minutes"
“Watch a video of Arnie Wexler speaking about burnout of slot machine addicts on “60 Minutes”
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According to a conservative interpretation of the available research by the National Center for Problem Gambling, 1.1 percent or 3.4 million Americans have a pathological gambling disorder and 2 percent or 6.2 million engage in problem gambling, a less severe form of gambling addiction. (The term problem gambling is often used to refer to both problem and pathological gambling.) Internationally, prevalence is as low as .5 percent of the population in Denmark and the Netherlands and as high as 7.6 percent in Hong Kong, according to a 2012 review for the province of Ontario. Though problem gamblers are a minority of visitors to casinos, their spending accounts for anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of the revenues, according to several studies summed up in a paper by the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think tank that focuses on family and social issues.

Betting on Science:

Neuroscientists have found commonalities between the brains of gambling and drug addicted people, like increased impulsivity and lower levels of activity in a region of the brain’s reward system, which leads people to seek bigger and potentially dangerous thrills. But it is not clear from this research when or how someone becomes addicted to gambling.

Compared to other nations, there has been relatively little epidemiologic research on rates of problem gambling in the U.S. The existing studies find that problem gambling increases with proximity to casinos. The federal government’s 1999 National Gambling Impact Study found that areas within 50 miles of a casino had twice as high a rate of problem gambling as those within 250 miles. The presence of a casino within 10 miles of a survey respondent’s home was positively related to problem or pathological gambling, according to a 2004 study by the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions published in the Journal of Gambling Studies.

Addictions published in the Journal of Gambling Studies.

“If I were the gambling industry, I would want to fund people who had the disease point-of-view…because [they are] putting the source of problem gambling between the ears of the gambler.”

Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Basically what we’ve learned is that as with many other kinds of environmental exposures, there typically is an increase in the prevalence rate of problem gambling in the wake of major introductions of new forms of gambling, whether it’s lotteries back in the 1980s and 1990s or casinos in the 1990s and 2000s,” says Dr. Rachel Volberg, a research associate professor at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a researcher for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Dr. Volberg has found that rates of problem gambling began increasing during the most rapid expansion of gambling opportunities in North America and in Australia.

Yet she says problem gambling rates seem to level off after a while. A study by the Research Institute on Addictions that has not been published yet found that rates of problem gambling did not continue to rise between 2010-2012 despite greater opportunity to gamble. Principal investigator Dr. John Welte, senior research scientist in psychology at the University of Buffalo, says it is not clear why, but he says it could be a result of the economic crisis.

The National Center for Responsible Gambling, or NCRG, is the charitable arm of the gambling industry’s trade association, called the American Gaming Association. NCRG cites a few studies that it says show problem gambling has not risen since the 1970s. After a casino moves in, problem gambling may become more widespread initially, but after a while, people “adapt”—they become more aware of the risks, seek treatment, or simply lose interest, says Christine Reilly, the senior research director of NCRG. This is called an “adaption effect.”

But prevalence studies do not tell the full story, says Dr. Stephen Q. Shafer, the chairman of the Coalition Against Gambling in New York. “One of the fallacies is that, let’s say you assume that your prevalence statistics are absolutely correct and you show that the prevalence of pathological gambling has not risen. It was, say, five years ago 1.1 percent. Last year it was 1.2 percent. What that forgets is that the prevalence is a pool out of which people move and into which people come, and looking at prevalence compared to time one and time two, you have to account for the people who have recovered, died, moved away.” For instance, a prevalence study conducted in 2008 would have counted Scott Stevens, but one in 2013 would not have.

For this reason, there need to be studies that use more rigorous epidemiologic methods, says Dr. Shafer, who is also a retired clinical professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons and the Mailman School. He has pushed to get New York State to commission such a study, but the state’s health department, the legislature, and the gambling commission have shown no interest.

Individual Disease or Public Health Problem?

Funding for gambling addiction research in the U.S. is about one-twentieth of funding in Australia and Canada, where gambling availability has also risen significantly in the past several decades, according to Dr. Volberg. Within the National Institutes of Health, there is an institute for research on alcohol disorders and an institute for research on drug addiction, but no institute for general addiction. Investigators who study problem gambling typically have to propose to look at it in conjunction with drug or alcohol use in order to win grants.

“Gambling availability has other public health ramifications beyond addiction. It may exacerbate economic inequality, which has a strong relationship to health”.

The NCRG is the only private funder of gambling addiction research in the country. According to Reilly, they fund research by top scientists at universities like Caltech, Duke, and Stanford, which are published in peer-reviewed journals. “We are funding some of the best people in the country, people who will lead us and force the issue at a national level,” says Reilly.

The majority of the NCRG’s funding goes to research based on a “disease model”—which investigates what goes on in the brains of individuals addicted to gambling—rather than the public health model, which looks at how availability affects population rates of problem gambling and potential social costs.

Both the disease model and the public health model “have points of truth, and they’re not mutually exclusive,” says Dr. Welte. But he adds, “If I were the gambling industry, I would want to fund people who had the disease point-of-view…because [they are] putting the source of problem gambling between the ears of the gambler.”

According to Reilly, the disease model is more practical because it can lead to treatments and that it is less prone to the flaws of survey research. “To me it seems kind of silly to spend time and money on an issue that is extremely difficult to research, because you can’t count on people’s memory,” she says.
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Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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But it is not in the gambling industry’s interest to have good research conducted on the social and economic costs of casinos and other forms of gambling, says Dr. Grinols. He points out that the federal government’s 1999 National Gambling Impact Study Commission recommended a moratorium on further gambling expansion until more research could be done on the economic and social costs and benefits. “No research of the type and focus hoped for by the Commission has been forthcoming since. That’s because the gambling industry has done what it could to question these studies and has not itself funded such studies,” says Dr. Grinols.

“The whole conclusion of the Commission has been ignored and in fact thwarted by the failure of money to be available for good research.” Dr. John Warren Kindt, a business administration professor at University of Illinois whose research looks at the social and economic costs of gambling, calls what NCRG funds “pabulum research designed not to hurt the gambling industry and to misdirect the debate.” In response to such criticisms, Reilly is adamant that the NCRG has a totally independent review board, which she says mimics the structure of the National Institute of Health and does not interfere in the work of its researchers.

As for self-reporting, there are ways to validate responses. Dr. Robert Williams, a professor of addiction counseling at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada, has compared what respondents report they spend on gambling to actual gambling revenue. He says the more reliable studies are those in which the total of the revenue reported by participants is closer to the total revenue made by the gaming industry. Dr. Williams points out that self-reporting may also underrepresented problem gamblers, who would be more likely to have their phone disconnected.

Growing the Economy or Exacerbating Inequality?

Gambling availability has other public health ramifications beyond addiction. It may exacerbate economic inequality, which has a strong relationship to health. It levies regressive taxes which take a larger share of income from lower than from upper income Americans. If taxes on gambling revenues substitute tax increases on income—which are progressive—the tax structure in a state becomes even more regressive. And those who spend money on certain forms of gambling are more likely to be low-income.

There is “a strong positive relationship” between state lottery sales and the poverty rates, according to a 2007 study in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology by economists at Cornell University that looked at data over 10 years. The most typical lottery player is a black, male, high school dropout making less than $10,000 a year, according to a 1999 report to the National Gambling Impact Study commission. Problem gambling is significantly worse in economically disadvantaged areas according to two studies from 2013, one by Dr. Welte and his colleagues and another by Dr. Martins and her colleagues. And the presence of a casino is associated with rises in bankruptcy filings, according to a 2005 study from Creighton University.
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While casinos may bring new jobs when they open, most are low-paying service work. The national median wage in the gambling industry is $10.76 per hour. While better than some service jobs, it is less than the $16.87 hourly median wage for all industries, according to 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And rather than boosting a local economy, casinos often draw business away from other food and entertainment venues. Many casinos are losing patrons to newer competition in neighboring states, straining state budgets and threatening local economies.

When casinos lose money or fail, the repercussions are significant. Delaware is spending hundreds of millions to keep struggling casinos afloat. In Atlantic City, several casinos plan to close by the end of the month, including the Revel, a two-year-old, $2.4 billion casino, entertainment, and conference center that was supposed to buoy the city’s flagging economy. The closures leave thousands of jobless people in a city that already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at over 15 percent as of April 2014, a violent crime rate six times the rest of New Jersey, and 29 percent of its population in poverty—a 7 percent increase since 1974, two years before New Jersey voters legalized gambling

Although these statistics do not prove that the city’s gambling economy caused its problems, they do call into question claims by politicians and developers that casinos are an engine for economic growth. Nevertheless, some New Jersey politicians and business leaders are now talking about opening a new casino—or four—at the Meadowland Sport Complex in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Tribal lands that have casinos have seen improvement in jobs and county-level mortality rates, according to a 2002 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Yet these communities still see more bankruptcy, violent crime, and auto thefts and larceny after a casino opens.

Legal gambling is also linked to social problems like rises in crime and risky behavior in youth. Counties where casinos have opened have seen rises in the number of rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies, and auto thefts, compared with counties without casinos, according to a study by economists Dr. Grinols and Dr. David B. Mustard, which looked at county FBI data from 1977 to 1996.
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Rio Las Vegas
Photo credit: Dennis Redfield
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Because children are now growing up in an environment where gambling is so widely advertised and available, they could be especially vulnerable. Youth are at greater risk for problem gambling than adults, according to a 2007 study from Canada. Two percent or about 750,000 teens ages 14 to 21 described gambling with three or more negative consequences in a national survey by Dr. Welte and colleagues in 2008. Another 11 percent gambled twice or more per week, which is considered frequent. Teen boys who gamble are more likely to become fathers before age 20, especially those who problem gamble, according to a study by Dr. Martins. African-American teens who are problem gamblers are more likely to have sex and get arrested at a younger age than those who don’t gamble. Teens who had depressive symptoms early in adolescence are more likely to have gambling problems later in adolescence, according to another Martins study from 2011.

A Pervasive Gambling Culture

Former U.S. Representative Robert Steele has observed the casino economy at work in southeastern Connecticut, the district he represented from 1970-75, which in the early nineties became home to both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos.

“The casinos created a “pervasive gambling culture.” He adds: “the people in southeastern Connecticut were in no way ready for the casinos.”

“They became almost instant successes and the two biggest casinos in the world,” says Steele, who has written a novel, The Curse, which is inspired by the story of the two casinos and the tribes behind them. With Atlantic City as their only competition in the Northeast United States, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun drew about 60 percent of their customers from out of state and created 20,000 jobs.

But soon came problems no one seems to have anticipated. Drunk driving arrests in nearby Norwich more than doubled, and annual calls to the local police department went up fourfold, according to Steele. There was a sharp spike in the number of people who sought treatment for gambling addiction. The rate of embezzlement increased 400 percent, according to a report from the state. Steele’s own tax collector went to prison in 2001 for embezzling money from the town to gamble.

Much of the promised employment was in low-paying service jobs, sometimes part-time and often filled by non-English speaking workers who came from outside the area. This influx put pressure on local housing and social services. The local school system gained 400 children who collectively spoke 31 different primary languages, requiring them to create an “English for speakers of other languages” program. Teachers observed value changes in their students, says Steele. “[They] say, ‘we try to teach the kids the way to succeed in life is through hard work. Then the casino culture comes in and says, ‘you hit it big, you hit the lottery. You hit the payoff.’”

Today, revenue from Connecticut’s casinos is down 35 percent since its high point of 2007. Ultimately, says Steele, who used to have a property abutting Foxwoods, the casinos created a “pervasive gambling culture.” He adds: “the people in southeastern Connecticut were in no way ready for the casinos.”

“When everybody knows everybody, a good part of the people you know are going to be affected—even if not directly—through broken homes, bankruptcy, the whole gamut,” says Dawley.

Citizen Action:

Unions and community members hold a rally on April 20, 2013, demanding that the planned Caesars in Baltimore's Inner Harbor address economic and environmental concerns of residents. (photo: United Workers)
Unions and community members hold a rally on April 20, 2013, demanding that a planned Caesars Casino in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor address economic and environmental concerns of residents. (photo: United Workers) …

In Massachusetts, citizens are campaigning to repeal a deal that allows for MGM Resorts to build the Lago Resort and Casino in the economically depressed town of Springfield. “We see this as very much a perpetuation of income inequality, and the implications that income inequality has on public health —that people stay in poverty basically, stay under-compensated. It’s the transfer of wealth from people who don’t have money to people who have abundant resources,” says Steven Abdow, a senior staff member of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. “This would be intentionally bring[ing] in a product that destroys lives.”

Abdow is working on a campaign to oppose the building of an $800 million casino by MGM Resorts International. Once viewed as a way to revive the city’s dwindled fortunes, the casino’s fate is now in jeopardy. In June, a judge ruled in favor of ballot measure that would allow the citizens of Massachusetts to repeal a 2011 law that authorized casinos in the state.

Tyre, New York, is a town of less than 1,000 people 270 miles northwest of New York City. The town’s website boasts of a community that “strives to maintain its rural flavor,” welcoming visitors to stop by and visit the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and the Erie Canal. Last December, residents learned that a Rochester-based real estate company called Wilmorite was bidding to open a casino on agricultural land, across from an Amish farm.

“I grew up my whole life in this area. A casino certainly is not what you anticipate showing up on your doorstep,” says Jim Dawley, a resident whose property borders the proposed spot.

Dawley and his wife, who own and run a small manufacturing company, and two friends formed an organization called Casino Free Tyre to oppose Wilmorite’s plans. “When everybody knows everybody, a good portion of the people you know are going to be affected—even if not directly—through broken homes, bankruptcy, the whole gamut,” says Dawley.

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Google Earth aerial view of potential Lago Resort and Casino site in Tyre, New York
Google Earth aerial view of potential Lago Resort and Casino site in Tyre, New York
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Protesters opposing the Lago Resort and Casino (Photo: Casino Free Tyre) …
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Over 200 residents have signed a petition against the casino, but members of the town board are supportive of Wilmorite, which is promising multi-million dollar revenues. The Dawleys are not letting up, even though they are new to activism. “This is so far outside of my normal realm, it’s unbelievable. I have a little  Over 200 residents have signed a petition against the casino, but members of the town board are supportive of Wilmorite, which is promising multi-million dollar manufacturing business out in the woods. I’ve been involved in our church and things like that but as far as any political-rooted opposition, this is our first time.”

Following in the Footsteps of Cigarettes?

In the court case over the Massachusetts casino deal, an organization called the Public Health Advocacy Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief that made a public health argument against the gambling industry. “Legalized casino gambling causes devastating effects on the public’s health, including not only the gambler but also their families, neighbors, communities and others with whom they interact,” the brief says. Electronic gambling machines “are designed to addict their customers in a way that is similar to how the tobacco industry formulates its cigarettes to be addictive by manipulating their nicotine levels and other ingredients.”

“Mirroring the tobacco industry’s strategy of creating scientific doubt where none truly exists, the casino industry has co-opted and corrupted scholarship on the effects of gambling through the use of front groups that funnel money to beholden scientists who are able to sanitize its origin,” the brief continues.

“The commercialization of a dangerous product that threatens both individual and public health has been called an ‘industrial epidemic,’” the brief continues, citing a 2007 paper published in the journal Addiction by Drs. René I. Jahiel and Thomas F. Babor. This is an epidemic “driven at least in part by corporations and their allies who promote a product that is also a disease agent.”

The brief argues that the citizens of Massachusetts have an interest in regulating gambling the way they have regulated cigarettes.

Given the power of the gambling industry and the dependence of states on gambling revenues, winning legal damages and regulating availability may presently seem like a pipe dream in the U.S. However, other countries employ harm reduction strategies in casinos to intervene on potential problem gambling, according to a 2011 report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In Holland, computers identify anyone who visits a casino more than 15 times a month as having a gambling problem. In the United Kingdom, casinos have to display the odds of winning on slot machines. And in Australia, there are limits on playing speeds and betting amounts.

The underlying principle behind this is articulated by Dr. Williams: “If provincial governments are going to make gambling available to their citizens, then concerted efforts are needed to prevent problem gambling, to effectively treat gambling addiction, and to minimize the amount of gambling revenue that comes from problem gamblers.”

Little Help Available:

“People with gambling problems tend to elicit little sympathy. They are seen typically as exercising bad judgment when it is known that the “house always wins.” They have often hurt people they are closest to, both financially and emotionally”.
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*Here is my section & Contribution to this Fantastic Article written by, Elaine Meyer*

While casinos may bring new jobs when they open, most are low-paying service work. The national median wage in the gambling industry is $10.76 per hour. While better than some service jobs, it is less than the $16.87 hourly median wage for all industries, according to 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And rather than boosting a local economy, casinos often draw business away from other food and entertainment venues. Many casinos are losing patrons to newer competition in neighboring states, straining state budgets and threatening local economies.

When casinos lose money or fail, the repercussions are significant. Delaware is spending hundreds of millions to keep struggling casinos afloat. In Atlantic City, several casinos plan to close by the end of the month, including the Revel, a two-year-old, $2.4 billion casino, entertainment, and conference center that was supposed to buoy the city’s flagging economy. The closures leave thousands of jobless people in a city that already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at over 15 percent as of April 2014, a violent crime rate six times the rest of New Jersey, and 29 percent of its population in poverty—a 7 percent increase since 1974, two years before New Jersey voters legalized gambling.
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“You don’t even have to be in action or sitting behind a machine because you’re constantly thinking about: When am I going to gamble? When am I going to win or lose? It just compounds”, says Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

Former gambling addicts readily admit to their flaws. But, like most people, they typically started gambling because it was available, entertaining, and provided a potential if unlikely monetary reward. However, unlike most people who gamble, they became “hooked.” That’s how Catherine Townsend-Lyon speaks of her gambling addiction. She began playing video lottery terminals at delis and restaurants near her home in Grants Pass, Oregon, sometime after they were introduced in the 1990’s.

She became obsessed with a game called ‘Flush Fever’ and soon began playing before and after work and during her lunch hour. She lied to her husband about her whereabouts and started secretly gambling their mortgage payments. She stole from the collection company she worked for and sometimes wore bladder control underwear so she wouldn’t have to get up to use the restroom while playing. When she lost money, she played to win it back, and when she won, she played to win more. In an extreme moment, she skipped the funeral of a close friend to drive 40 miles to an Indian casino so she could win enough money to prevent her home from being foreclosed. Instead, she lost everything. She drove home in tears and tried to slit her wrists.
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A video lottery machine sponsored by the state of Oregon (photo: Curtis Perry)
So. Oregon State Lottery Video Poker/Slot style machines…
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“It’s like a battle you have with yourself with the triggers and the urges and the obsessiveness. You don’t even have to be in action or sitting behind a machine because you’re constantly thinking about: When am I going to gamble? When am I going to win or lose? It just compounds. It’s exhausting. It’s never-ending,” says Townsend-Lyon, who, after seeking treatment several times, has managed to stay away from gambling for the last seven and-a-half years.

Now an Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon says she turned to gambling at a difficult time in her life. With her husband frequently traveling for work, she found herself bored and looking for a way to fill the time. She had undiagnosed bipolar II disorder and had been sexually abused when she was younger but had not been raised to know to seek therapy.

“I wasn’t a drug person or an alcoholic or anything like that, although I did drink more when I gambled. And because I was gambling, that was my coping skill. That’s what I was using to escape it, those feelings. I couldn’t stuff them away anymore. I would just use gambling to escape, not feel, zone out, you know what I mean?” she says.
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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) 
Addicted to Dimes (Confessions…Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Paperback $9.90 

She published a book last year about her former life, called Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat). What troubles her is how easy it is for people in her position to gamble. She didn’t have to fly to Nevada or even drive to a casino in state. The video poker and slot machines she played, which are sponsored by the Oregon State Lottery, are allowed at bars, restaurants, and delis. It makes it more difficult to even stay in recovery with so much accessibility.

“[I]f these machines weren’t in the bars, delis, and Oregon Lottery retail shops, then I would not be gambling.”

“It’s that simple for me,” says a 33-year-old man quoted in a recent series on the state lottery by the Oregonian. He estimates he has lost $15,000 over 12 years from gambling. “That may sound like an excuse, but ‘out of sight is out of mind”.
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Photo credit: Erik Wilson
In Oregon, video lottery terminals are allowed in bars, restaurants, and other establishments that sell food or drink. (Photo: Erik Wilson) …
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For people who are trying to recover from gambling addiction, it can be difficult to find help. Calls per month to the National Problem Gambling hotline are over two-and-a-half times what they were 14 years ago, from 9,642 in 2000 to 24,475 in 2013, according to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Yet funding for treatment centers, hotlines, and programs to prevent gambling addiction is minimal, says Dr. Martins. Funding for substance abuse treatment is about 281 times greater at $17 billion than public funding for problem gambling, at $60.6 million, although substance use disorders are only 3.6 times more common than gambling disorders, according to a 2013 survey by the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators and Problem Gambling Solutions. Just a little over half of the 50 U.S. states have someone whose full-time job is to administer problem gambling services, according to the same survey. By comparison, there are 113 lottery employees in Iowa and approximately 80 in Rhode Island. In several states legislators have cut gambling treatment funding or seen declines as a result of decreases in gambling revenue, which sometimes funds such programs, according to a Wall Street Journal report from 2011.

Gamblers’ Anonymous, a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics’ Anonymous, is the most widely available and used treatment in the U.S. Members admit they are powerless over their gambling addiction and embark on changing their character through group meetings and the support of a “sponsor” or older mentor in the group. Little research exists on the efficacy of Gamblers’ Anonymous. A study from 1988 found that only 7.5 percent of members had abstained after one-year, and nearly a quarter of members did not go to a second meeting. However, those who regularly attend Gamblers’ Anonymous say they benefit significantly.

As with any kind of addiction, there is no pill for treating problem gambling. Medication and therapy may be used with varying success to treat a related psychiatric illness like depression or bipolar disorder. Moreover, a small number of problem gamblers seek treatment.

For these reasons, a public health approach, which would favor limiting the “exposure” of gambling to prevent addiction from occurring in the first place, is compelling. It is the same as the argument to tighten access to prescription opioids in order to prevent people from becoming hooked.

A Disease of Society?

At a Gamblers’ Anonymous meeting in New York in August, about 65 people, mostly men, are celebrating one member’s five-year anniversary of abstaining from gambling. He gets to choose the topic for the night, and he picks “starting over.” Other members stand up to say that adhering to the Gamblers’ Anonymous program has fundamentally changed them. They have gone from being selfish and unable to make mature decisions to being better spouses, parents, friends, and members of society. They talk about small triumphs, their families, jobs, illness, and making amends with the people they hurt and stole from during their addiction.

“People adapt to their dislocation by finding the best substitutes for a sustaining social and spiritual life that they can, and addiction serves this function all too well.”

“I think it was known to pretty much everyone in this room that I was an asshole. And I think I have become a decent member of society,” says a man in his early 30s who has been abstinent for 10 years.
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Problem drinkers and problem gamblers...
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Another man echoes this sentiment. “I was anything but a good citizen,” he says. He has been abstinent for over 22 years, but like many others in this room, attends meetings on the Gamblers Anonymous principle that former addicts are always in recovery. “It’s not just starting over, we still have to own our past. We have to settle up with people as best we can.” When his mom passed away, he says he was grateful that he could access his emotions—not something he could have done in his gambling days.

“I can say without a doubt, gambling has ruined my life,” says another member. He has gone to Gamblers’ Anonymous for eight years but has had relapses, and it has been 201 days since he last bet. “Abstinence is for real this time.”

Compulsive gambling is often viewed as an addiction to money, but Gamblers’ Anonymous believes it is an emotional rather than financial disease. The addicted person “wants to escape into the dream world of gambling” and “finds he or she is emotionally comfortable only when ‘in action.’” But it doesn’t end up being much comfort, say formerly addicted gamblers who speak of how lonely their life was then.

Dr. Bruce K. Alexander, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, believes the loneliness experienced by those with gambling and other addictions has a strong social dimension. In his book, The Globalization of Addiction: A Study of the Poverty of the Spirit, he says: “A free-market society is magnificently productive, but it subjects people to irresistible pressures towards individualism and competition, tearing rich and poor alike from the close social and spiritual ties that normally constitute human life. People adapt to their dislocation by finding the best substitutes for a sustaining social and spiritual life that they can, and addiction serves this function all too well,” he says.

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A woman plays slots at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A woman plays slots at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) …
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Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling believes that our nation’s dependence on gambling reveals a deeper civic problem. “What we incentivize as a government shapes the national character,”  he says. “We look at the greatest generation, we encouraged people to buy savings bonds, in the Great Depression. After World War II, we had the highest savings rate in modern American history because the government encouraged Americans to save. Today, half of Americans don’t own any assets.”

Terry Noffsinger, the lawyer for Stacy Stevens, admits that it has not been easy to make the legal public health case against gambling. Neither of the two cases he has represented has won in court, and one even provoked the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to threaten to sanction him for filing a frivolous claim. But he says the tide is turning. He has a conference call with a group of lawyers across the country about once a month to discuss the issue. Last November a group of Harvard Law students published a white paper making the case for legal action “to protect problem gamblers from the predatory behavior of casinos, including legislative reforms, tort litigation, regulations, and public policies.”

A couple of well-known trial attorneys have joined him on the Stevens suit, including Sharon Eubanks, who was lead counsel on the U.S. case that ended in a judgment in 2006 that the nation’s big tobacco companies fraudulently covered up the health risks of smoking and marketed to children. The Stevens case also makes product liability claims that the slot machines from which casinos draw so much revenue are intentionally designed, manufactured, and distributed to hurt people. Such claims have never been tried before.

“This is a blockbuster case. There are other cases that are starting to come out of the woodwork. The courts are ready to look more favorably upon addicted gamblers,” says Dr. Kindt of University of Illinois. Dr. Kindt published several academic articles in the early 2000s outlining the legal justification for mega-lawsuits against the gambling industry, similar to those which states, individuals, and classes of people filed against Big Tobacco.
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Les has been the National Director of the SPG Foundation since it was formed in 2008. During this time, he has spoken and written extensively about how government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries produces unfairness and inequality in America. He has testified before Congress, he has appeared on national television and radio including 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio and The BBC.  He has been interviewed by national newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and The Los Angeles Times. He has also spoken before dozens of business organizations, college audiences and faith groups across the nation. – See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/about-us/staff/#sthash.TprRtNpY.dpuf

– See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/about-us/staff/#sthash.TprRtNpY.dpuf

In his Harvard talk, Noffsinger said he has had 100 or more people call him for help, many suicidal, nearly all of whom he has had to decline to represent. One of the calls came several years ago from a Boeing employee in Seattle who begged him for legal assistance. She had lost all of her money gambling, sold all of her furniture, and was ready to end it all. When Noffsinger told her he couldn’t represent her, she said she had nothing left to live for. Alarmed, he referred her to a lawyer friend in Seattle who found her counseling. About a year ago, she called Noffsinger and thanked him for saving her life.

“Somebody needs to do something…it may not be me.” Noffsinger told the Harvard students. “It’s going to be an uphill battle, but at the top there’s going to be a great big flag to wave.”

Edited by Barbara Aaron and Dana March and written by: EALINE MEYER of Columbia University …
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Elaine Meyer

Breaking today: Columbia School of Public Health publishes major story on impacts of casinos and lotteries, and addicted and problem gambling”
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My Closing Thoughts:

So my hope is all who come by will take the time to read this article. IT IS TIME to do something about the expansion of Casinos and State Lottery. It’s why I advocate for those of us in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling, and abuse of alcohol when gambling. Many of us in recovery are now seeing a high trend of addicted folks coming in the “rooms” of Gamblers Anonymous, and Alcohol Anonymous with dual addictions and dual diagnosis like myself with after effects of some mental & emotional problems from directly from our addictions. Like I told Elaine, “I have no ill will toward those who can gamble normally, I and many others in recovery can not, and the public needs to know we are OUT here.

 

For me, the years of gambling depleted much of my “Pleasure & Reward”, the dopamine made by my brain, so one of my psych meds is just for that disorder. I now also suffer Agoraphobia with panic, and that too is an after effect from my years of addicted gambling. My bipolar with depression I had never been diagnosed until my first suicide attempt as Elaine mentioned in the article, and I’d been suffering most likely from late childhood. But the gambling addiction brought those symptoms to the surface. And again, Elaine’s article was really well rounded, as she looked at many factors and issues around problem & addicted gambling.

Maybe her next future article can be about the medical & mental health affects on our population from problem & addicted gambling disease.

Much Happiness & Blessings All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Who Doesn’t Love Ozzy Osbourne Prince Of Darkness? But Knighthood? Lets Keep His Recovery Real”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

 

Ok, so is it just me, or are we becoming so stigmatized about addiction being an everyday part of our society that we think it’s OK for a known drug addict and alcohol abuser who has struggled with addiction and recovery 35+  years, now become a KNIGHT?

 

Does England have any rules or guidelines to this thing called Knighthood? Does the Queen of England really know the personal history that comes with a Rock Star like Ozzy Osbourne? Here is what the definition of an honor like this is based on,  “Chivalry” and the man has to have the qualities of that as a “Code Of Honor” and more! Which are these for any man or woman to be Knighted: Chivalry is a code (religious, moral and ethical) that knights have to follow. The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak, courteous behaviour, esp towards women. The code of chivalry emphasized bravery, military skill, generosity in victory, piety, and courtesy toward women.

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©AP / Ozzy Osbourne
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Now look, don’t get me wrong, I do think he “Invented Heavy Metal’ as we know it. He was and is a prolific song writer and singer, but you have to take in the whole of a man if he is going to become a knight right? One would think so…
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I too grew up with his music, especially in the 80’s, and did see him in concert. And I to struggled with gambling and alcohol addiction, but mine was not as long as his. Yes, we all deserve a second chance in our life in recovery, but it is what you do with that second chance given.
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But as a person in recovery, we can not ignore all the carnage that came with his past and not so past struggle with drugs and alcohol.  When he went back in the studio, and then back on tour with ‘Black Sabbath’ just 18 or so months ago, he had admitted he fell off the wagon again. His wife Sharon, and his grown children were all devastated. His wife Sharon so much so, that she was quoted in many articles saying that she wanted him to back into rehab, made him leave the home they share, and not come back until he was clean and sober. Even divorce was slug around, but that didn’t happen.

So 21,000 fans have signed a petition for his Knighthood:
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* Here is  how Ozzy see’s his Knighthood Petition*
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The 65-year-old rocker is delighted by an online campaign to have him recognised in Queen Elizabeth’s honours list, and thinks it would be ”pretty cool” for his wife Sharon to be given the title ‘Lady’.

He said: ”I’ve heard about that campaign. Getting knighted? I can’t imagine anything better. And my wife would become a Lady, which would be pretty cool.

”But I’m not gonna get upset if it doesn’t happen. I never thought I’d get further than [hometown] Aston.”

The Black Sabbath frontman also admitted he is surprised his career has lasted so long as he only imagined he would be successful for a ”couple of years”.

He added in an interview with Time Out magazine: ”I don’t [look back], but I guess I should a bit more. Because I know when I had my first successful album with Sabbath I thought, ‘Oh this is great, this will last a couple of years. I’ll just get drunk every night and have a few chicks in my room.’

”And here I am, 45 years down the road and I’m doing better than ever. I haven’t always been on top of the world, there have been bad times as well, but you don’t just give up at the first sign of choppy waters, you carry on rowing.”
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So, that is how Ozzy see’s it as becoming a Knight. Even he has a hint of doubt about it! He is saying he is not perfect, and I myself understand that, but again, I think you need to see the person as a Role Model. Here is a bit about the Petition…
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Honours and Appointments Secretariat – Cabinet Office (U.K.) David Spooner

Recovery Is No Dog Walk In The Park~So Keep The Faith In Your HP!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

 

I came across this photo the other day from one of my favorite blogs, “Cute Overload” as to get some animal humor when I have a rough, stressed, and long day. This little doggies face looks like the same as the week I had! LOL. (Photo Courtesy Of
http://cuteoverload.com/

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14282305499_313b173b4e_b
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I’ve just had many recovery things on my mind, so I thought I would just empty them out of my head, and let the words fall on my keyboard. Thanks to all of my recovery friends here for being good listeners & readers. Having faith in our HP is the key to a successful! As he gives us a fresh new day to be gamble free, and have a new life in RECOVERY …


So
I went to church last night, because my hubby works today. And interesting enough, our pastor talked about having Hang-ups in life that cause pain in our lives. Why is it that when a topic is talked about, the lord makes you feel that it always pertains to your personal life be it past or present?

That is the spiritual power of awareness in recovery! Even in GA, where we celebrate non religious Unity & Fellowship, our Higher Power that we choose is always around us in those meetings. So our pastor talked also talked about how we need to learn to trust our lord by asking for a new life. Turn all the baggage, drama, hurt, and pains to him, and he will transform us into better human beings, blessed beyond measure when we truly ask for his forgiveness.

I had to do this myself for all that I had done wrong, not only in my life, but within my addiction. The people I hurt, hurting myself to the point of being Spiritually Broken.
At that time, deep in my gambling addiction, I could not do for myself what the lord could, and did in my life! We need to learn to trust him, and to believe that we all deserve a 2nd chance in life after the destruction of gambling addiction. It’s what he died for. He died so I can have awareness of my faults, wrongs, and character defects that gambling addiction shackled me with…

And we have to the work as well. That’s were a Sponsor is so important to us in attaining recovery too. They help guide us with our step work. You need to have a sponsor that is close by, not only available by phone. So you can meet together. A Sponsor can’t help you if you don’t answer your phone? If you’re in crisis, or relapse,… how are they to know why to find you if you hundreds of miles away? So find a good sponsor in your same community you live in.

One other area that for me was lacking in my GA meeting, because I lived at the time in a small community, and that was them conducting a “Pressure Relief group or meeting” by our trusted servants. They were not doing any. And many newbies need this to help with the stress and pressures of financial devastation that comes with addicted gambling. We need some sort of starting point to get our grip on our finances. So I ordered a couple of the packets used for this meeting and started them myself. The packets are a great tool to help get started on some financial relief.


So always remember that Spiritually your never alone as long as your aware of your HP. And we all know we need to turn all the baggage over to that power, and DON’T TAKE IT BACK!  We tend to do that as we start feeling good in early recovery. And just live each day,…. “Just For Today”… Tomorrow will be here soon enough, and yesterday is gone.

Another great tool is to journal. This is very helpful and how you can go back and see your growth from where you were, to where you are going in your recovery. You’ll be able to see and detect area’s you made need extra help or support.

 I still do this today. It’s also part of my mental health program I’m currently in with my psychiatrist. She says I’m still experiencing PTSD from my childhood that I’m not acknowledging which is contributing to my disorder of Agoraphobia. And the trauma of last year having to pack up our life and move here to Arizona so fast, that it too is having lasting effects. Go figure?

Just have faith in your Higher Power, and you won’t go wrong! …

God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

A Powerful Share From My Recovery Pal “Trey”~We All Start Somewhere Right?

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Friends,

I wanted to “Re-Blogg” a POWERFUL BLOG POST about Alcoholism by a great guy and wonderful recovery supporter of mine. He has a Fantastic WordPress Blog also, here: http://treyzguyblog.com  “A Day In The Lifeless “…This post touched me to my core! so I asked Mr. “Trey” if I could share it on my blog with all of you. See, even though my main addiction I’ve been in recovery from 7 years is Addicted Compulsive Gambling and a wee to many “Cocktails” when I gambled, addiction is addiction to me. It’s why I blog not only about addicted gambling, but all types of addictions.
Alcohol, Drugs, Porn, Sex, Food, all addictions have many of the same “Behaviors” from one disease to another. I always say we can never have to much information about “Addiction,” and those of us in recovery all have a “story” to tell inside of us. Some share it in book form like I did, some blog, or write articles and share their story on recovery websites. But my point is that “Sharing” our own story of addiction and recovery can help those who are new to recovery. And it helps those recovering stay IN recovery.
So with no further A DO, I THANK Trey for letting me share his post!
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A Day In The Lifeless…
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It’s cold in Salt Lake City during the last vestiges of winter in March…

They woke us all up at 5 am each morning at the homeless shelter.

This morning is ‘cold breakfast’ morning.

Cold breakfast is pretty self explanatory, but in a homeless shelter it’s a whole different animal.

Homeless shelters depend on donations.

Donations depend on charity.

Charity depends on people.

People are…..not to be counted on sometimes.

This particular morning we are getting Special K cereal™, Borden’s Powdered Milk™, doughnuts of different types, bananas and coffee.

The cereal box is 2 years old.

The Borden’s ‘Dry’ Milk is water thin and warm.

The doughnuts are stale, hard and tasteless.

The bananas are over-ripe and the coffee is as thin as the milk, but cooler than the milk…

We get one serving of each…..

One.

Most of the people in here are men. There are a couple of women, but they seem to be matched with some of the guys.

Except for Trish….

She argues with herself over trivial matters.

This morning it sounds like she is not happy with one of her “selves” and is berating and cussing “them” about losing her toothpaste.

She stands up, flailing at invisible people, and runs straight into the opposite wall, knocking herself out.

She lays sprawled out on the floor with her hospital wrist band, from her release 2 days ago, still on her wrist.

The library card hanging on a piece of ribbon around her neck looks strange next to stained bandages around her throat from where she went after herself with a curling iron that had been dropped off at the shelters Donation store.

“I’m glad I’m not crazy….” I think to myself.

We are all walking different directions to begin our day as the ambulance pulls up to the shelter.

No lights….No siren.

“It’s only Trish….again” says the cop.

“Maybe she’ll do us all a favor and die this time” laughs the guy paramedic.

“They should have never let her out to walk the streets, where’s she gonna go!?” says the girl cop.

“She comes here” said Mr. Larry, the shelter director and “20 year sober drunk” he’d say with a grin and a cutting gesture across his throat.

We are turned out from the shelter at 6 am on the dot.

It is dark and cold…There is no traffic and the buses don’t begin the route by the shelter until 7 am.

We walk the 1 1/2 miles just for something to do, plus not freeze to death.

The daily evicted walk down the sidewalks, through the vacant lots full of trash and weeds, under the fence surrounding the Union Pacific rail yard and some are lucky enough to have money or a free token from the churches for a bus to SLCity.

I guess that’s a polite way to say “We want your soul to be saved, but don’t come back until after dark”

I take the bus.

I am a college student in my early 40’s.

I am a highly functioning alcoholic.

I’m going to beat it this time, but first I have to be at the plasma center before 8 am so I can get in and out early and get my “Special Starbucks” before the shaking and panic starts so I can concentrate in class.

We say “But first….” a lot.

Some men head for the railroad yard to catch a ride….somewhere.

“Anywhere but here” they’d say.

They’ve probably been saying that for years, and every where they’ve ever been.

“I don’t want to be…..” is a better way to say it.

“I can’t stay here”

We don’t know why….

We just can’t stay here…..or there.

We have to get away….from something…..Everything.

There are rules for shelter admission at 6 pm Monday-Thursday  and 5 pm on weekends.

1)      No drinking of alcohol

We are all given breathalyzers as we sign in.

No one has alcohol on their breath except a few new people that also have grass in their hair and smell like cow shit and urine.
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But they don’t frisk the “regulars”

The one’s they know they can trust….

I usually had a ½”diameter, 12ft piece of surgical tube that I stole from the Biology lab where I worked in the college, wrapped around my waist under my shirt.

It is full of Vodka or another clear libation, if I have to have something cheap between student/employee paydays and the 3 Plasma donation visits I’m allowed every other week…

After we all pass the breath test, we poor beggars head to the chapel and wait for the preacher of the day to show up.

We have to do this every night in order to get dinner, a shower and breakfast.

It lasts for an hour.

It could be considered torture and inhumane treatment at times.

My favorite ‘preacher’ was a 14 year old boy that came along with his preacher dad to save our “treacherous, ungodly souls!” “Can I get an AMEN!!!?”

Amen…

When the boy is through skipping across the pulpit, throwing himself to the ground, jumping up and down and waving his arms so hard I think he’s gonna pop a joint out of place, I feel really glad that I’m not a Jew, a Mormon, a “damned rag head Muslim”, a Fag or a Queer.

Amen….

We all feel better now that we have all been brought to Jesus by an alternate route for the 3rd time this week as we head to the lunchroom.

There is no talking.

There is only a shuffling, clinking, sliding plastic tray sound followed by a rhythmic “glopping” noise.

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Most nights it is a ‘stew’ or ‘goulash’ of some type, a piece of bread and a vegetable to be named later.

The ‘stew’ is heavy on the carrots and potatoes with little eyes looking at you…

There’s also a kind of shiny petroleum broth film covering it, undoubtedly from the ‘cooks’ not knowing that they should drain the oil from the cans of Spam™ before they add the ‘meat’ to our fare.

The Kool-Aid™ or drink mix is always thin and has a slight chlorinated after-taste, but it’s cool to the throat.

We didn’t need ice….or sugar.

Beggars CAN be choosy after all.

Don’t bitch Trey….   Jeez, some people would complain about getting hung with an old rope!

But…Most of us think it is the best thing we have ever had to eat.

We’re just glad that we don’t have to dig through the Pizza Hut™ and Albertsons™ dumpsters tonight…. I was always grateful for the shelter.

You see….I know it could be worse.

Did you know that restaurants, convenience stores and fast food joints won’t or should I say, can’t donate left-over foods to shelters?

It’s because they’re afraid to get sued if some poor homeless schmuck gets sick.

Sadly they were probably right, the fact is that someone would have tried to sue them most likely.

Desperate people and all that jazz….

The showers were full of…..men?

It was full of the old and young, wrinkled and pale, bent and straight…..But all broken in one way or another.

The shower was full of tattoos and scars from the Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm.

No one spoke in the shower.

All you could hear was the water and men coughing under the Luke-warm spray.

I didn’t take showers at the shelter.

I took showers at the college gym.

I didn’t have to sleep in dumpsters anymore or build a snow cave in the city park.

I had gotten my student loan somehow. I honestly can’t remember NOW, how I even did that then.

I kept what little clothes I had in a locker at the gym.

I could fit everything I owned in a back-pack….

I washed clothes in the Biology lab “scrubs” room.

I worked as a lab tech prepping slides and cultures for the Biology department. I worked as a Lab tech in the Computer Science lab.
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I worked as an assistant instructor with gifted students and I was a tutor in calculus and statistics.

Now I can’t remember shit…..

But that night, like so many nights after and before, I lay in the dark, on my back in a quietly buzzing homeless dorm on the top bunk and feeling my hands start to tremble as I unfurl the tubing full of Vodka from around my body.

The tube held a pint of Vodka.

As I placed my lips around the end of the tube and feel the welcome first sip hit my throat and gut, I am thinking:

“I’m gonna beat it this time. Only 3 more months and I’ll have enough saved up to get a real job and an apartment”

In less than a week, I was found drunk and unconscious in the park of my college…..In the snow.

I could have died then….

I spent 28 days in Rehab….Wearing blue footies.

I got a DUI the day I got out of Rehab.

I spent a week in jail then got arrested that SAME night for public intoxication and disturbing the peace after I called the cops on myself and begged them to shoot me.

I begged for death in an alley behind a bar….
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My forearms and knees were in piss, vomit, syringes, used condoms and stale beer.

My hands were tugging at their pants legs….”Please….please…..stop me….”

And Jesus wept….So did I.

I lost my college loans and my student jobs.

My kids were not happy. Dad was still fucking up.

When I was released from my court ordered 72 hour detox session at the mental health ward, I remember asking a fellow shelter buddy on the bus back “home”:

“Is tomorrow hot breakfast day?”

I’m amazed I’m still alive.

I’m thankful that those 2 cops didn’t help me out, back in that alley.

Sometimes I curse them…..

But I know one thing for sure….

IT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE.

I could have died…..and not known it.

You see…?

Heaven has a special place for alcoholics….

It’s called “Hell on earth”

The good part is that we can leave anytime we want to….

We want to be anywhere but here…..

But it’s just so far away……
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Not anymore Trey, not anymore….Cat’s Got Your Back!

God Bless All,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Just A Great Guys Story & Who Helps Others In Recovery…

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Seekers,

When you become a Published Author, I didn’t really have a grip on all that is involved with having to “PROMOTE” yourself and your writing! My book came to me, I FEEL through a lot of De-vine Intervention, being at the right place at the right time. Meeting and knowing people who “Cared” enough about my “Recovery” from addicted gambling, and have supported the message within my pages. I had a friend/my publisher who read my Note Books that happened to turn into a book manuscript by “CHANCE”……

My publisher Steve Laible said to me one day after reading my *Scribbles,* that my “VOICE” & Story needed to be heard & read, and out in the world to help others who were not ONLY addicted gamblers, but who have been through what I had been as a *Little Girl*…….
So he talked me into letting him publish my book. It has been a long, but AWESOME year since my book came out in paperback, and then, just Released as eBook through Amazon.com for Kindle readers this past summer.

The biggest *JOY* is all the Social Media marketing I do to get the word out that others CAN RECOVER from this Cunning addiction. The other is meeting New Friends on many of the social sites I visit! I have met the *Kindest, Generous, and Supportive* people on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, About.me, and many Recovery Websites I have to help keep me on track in my own recovery!

So I wanted to TELL you about a Great GUY I’ve met through Twitter. As part of my recovery service to others, I like being able to FIND & SHARE these websites with all my friends & followers here who can benefit from the information found, and solid support as we do learn from others addiction & recovery stories no matter the type of *DEMON*.

Here is my friend *PAUL GARRIGAN*, and his wonderful website at: http://paulgarrigan.com His story really touched my heart, and is SO WORTH the time to visit and learn from his own Recovery.

paulgarrigan.com

Life, Health, and Addiction Recovery in Thailand

What is This All About?

I am an ex-drunk who found that living sober is better than anything I could ever have imagined. I’m originally from Ireland but now live in Thailand  –  a wonderful place to be free of addiction. I like to talk about recovery in the hope that it will inspire other people but mostly because I just like to talk. Join me on this wonderful journey and see where it takes us.

**PAUL IS A GREAT WRITER, and has a couple of books under his belt! Did I tell you he lives in Thailand with his beautiful family??~~ And yes, I’ve added his books to my Goodreads Book shelves!**

*Here is a little more about Paul*……

“I once believed that the solution to all life’s problems could be found in alcohol. I was forced to give up this crazy idea and my life took off from there. I now live in Thailand with my beautiful wife and son. I work full-time as a freelance writer with a particular passion for writing about addiction. Life away from the booze has brought me so much joy; I have also learnt to cope with the bad times. I hope that my sober adventures will inspire other people. In May 2010 my book ‘Dead Drunk’ was released by Maverick House.”

Image of Paul Garrigan
 **Here is a sample post on Paul’s website, which says a lot about himself, he has a sense of humor, and shows his website is deserving of many Visitors! It is one of my “FAV” posts!**

October 24, 2013 by

This is one of those posts where I’m going to feel nervous before hitting the publish button. It is wise to be so open about my life? Will you guys be able to judge these admissions in context or will you just see me as a bit of a loser?

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I Worry That I’m a Shit Father

My son is the most important thing in my life, but I worry that I’m a shit father. The problem is that I get so lost in my own thoughts. I work from home, but I can be very distant at times. Timmy is growing up so fast, and I just need to make more time for him. I get annoyed with myself because what I should be doing is so obvious, making more  time for him, but  I just keep on slipping back into my obsessions.

I Worry that Being a Good Writer is the Best I Can Achieve

I make my living as a writer so being good is the bare minimum in order to survive. There are millions of good writers out there so it just isn’t enough. If being a good writer is the best that I can achieve, it means that I’m screwed. I’m going to do everything possible to become a brilliant writer, but what if I just don’t have what it takes?

I Felt Disappointed by the Performance of Dead Drunk

One of the greatest experiences of my life was the promotional work surrounding the release of my book Dead Drunk back in 2010. For a two-week period, I got to appear on TV and radio and even got invited to do some book signings. I felt like I’d arrived, and it seemed inevitable that my book would be a huge hit – in my mind it had already sold millions of copies. Dead Drunk did go on to sell a few thousand copies, and I’ve received plenty of positive feedback (some have even claimed my story changed their life), but I was just expecting so much more.

There Have Been Times When My Only Reason to Stay Alive Has Been My Family

I have managed to build a great life since giving up alcohol seven years ago, so it is not easy for me to admit that there have been a few times when worry and depression has caused me to question the benefits of being alive. The only reason for wanting to continue existing on these dark days has been my wife and son – as well as my family back in Ireland.

I’m a Hypochondriac with a Fear of the Medical Profession

I’ve worked in the medical profession as a nurse, but I have a deep distrust of putting my life into the care of other people. I avoid going near doctors unless my symptoms are so bad that I can’t ignore them any longer. A couple of years ago I worried myself sick about a lump on my testicles, but I waited over a week before going to the hospital.

I Sometimes Feel Like I Made a Mistake By Giving Up Nursing

I gave up the secure career of a nurse to become a freelance blogger three years ago. I loved nursing but writing is my dream job. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering what could have been, so I took the plunge and launched myself into a new career. I expected things to be tough in the beginning, but I wasn’t prepared for just how inherently unstable freelance work can be. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was just gambling with my own future, but I’m also gambling with the future of my wife and son.

I’m Fearful of Dying Relatively Young

I’m afraid of dying before reaching the age of sixty – I also worry that by entertaining this fear, I’m creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t know if it’s normal to have this type of fear, or if it is a message coming from my subconscious? In a way I’m glad to have this fear because momento mori is such a great motivator for getting the most out of life.

 *So please take a little time to support Paul in his craft as w writer and get yourself a copy of Both his books. And as always, when you visit his website at: http://paulgarrigan.com Please tell him that *Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon* SENT YOU…
GOD BLESS ALL! xxoo Catherine 🙂