Happy Sober, Clean, Bet Free Holiday Article Share Series. Were Getting Through Holidays Together!

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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Since this year for me has a been a bit cray – cray with co-writing a memoir with another, also book promoting for authors, advocating and recovery article writing, and guest blogging much more, I decided to do a little something different this year on my recovery blog. Most know I am passionate and adamant about being around through the Christmas and New Year holiday for those who may be struggling, need more support or feel tempted to stray maintaining recovery.

It can be a “risky” and tricky time for holiday parties, booze, desperate gambling due to lack of money for gifts, and party time means more recreational drugs around. Sad, but it is true. So I thought, why not share many Holiday articles with a mix of a few of my own this year and we help one another as a collective!

I have had some awesome guest recovery authors and articles this year and decided to share a few of them, along with some new ones I have permission to share as we all need support from as many people and places as we can get. So I will begin with an article I just read that will help with ideas of staying safe over the holidays on Sober Recovery!

*Three Reasons To Connect With A Recovery Community Through Holiday Time by  Toshia Humphries *

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The holiday season is upon us. Many are traveling to be with family while countless others gather with friends and significant others to celebrate the festive time of year. However, not everyone has a picturesque holiday experience.

The forces that could pull you into relapse tend to get stronger around the end of the year when you’re likely to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and reconvened with people who likely saw you during your addicted past. Now more than ever, it’s important to build up a support network to ensure you stick to your commitment.

Here are three reasons why you need to connect with a recovery community during the holidays.

1. Prevents isolation.

Staying connected to the recovery community can prevent isolation which is typically a precursor to relapse. Isolation can also worsen symptoms of any dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and other mood or personality disorders. All of these can escalate to relapse, accidental overdose or even suicide.

2. Provides a sense of family.

Staying in touch with the recovery community allows for a substitute family experience if family holidays are not possible due to either death, distance, or estranged. And, if the family is an option, the family dynamics make relapse more probably, the recovery community can act as a chosen family; one that is ideally far more supportive and less dysfunctional.

The recovery community is also equally as necessary for those who have families and enjoy being around them. In fact, possibly more so, as it is easy for those individuals to forget they need the recovery community or recovery itself. Often, these individuals begin to think that sobriety alone is enough—it’s not.

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

Staying connected to the recovery community keeps you active in your recovery throughout the holiday season. It provides consistency and gentle reminders that relapse has nothing to do with having a dysfunctional family. It has to do with you. And, if you were an active addict with a picturesque family, then you could easily be in relapse with the same.

The key to getting through the holiday season is not to lose sight of your recovery. Staying connected to your recovery community keeps you plugged into that recovery process, keeps you accountable and allows you to do the same for others. Most importantly, it serves as prevention against relapse and provides everyone with a sense of family, even if they don’t have one of their own.

For these reasons and more, staying connected to the recovery community throughout the holidays is a life-saving choice for everyone. Wishing you all a happy and safe recovery throughout the holiday season!

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

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My Spotlight With Writer, Kristin Walker of Mental Health News Radio and More…


I am happy to welcome, Kristin Walker to Cat Lyon’s Reading & Writing Den’s “Writer Spotlight.” My name Catherine Lyon, Author, and owner of this Den!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

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Tell us your name and a little of what you do?

Kristin Sunanta Walker is my full name. I am the CEO of a behavioral health technology consulting firm, #everythingEHR and host/CEO of a podcast network Mental Health News Radio Network.


Where are you from? 
Huntington Beach, California but I now live in Asheville North Carolina


Tell us more about you? Like your education, family life. Etc.

My education is called the school of hard knocks. Severe and undiagnosed ADHD kept me from being any good at regular school. I also had depression and complex PTSD so I channeled all my energy into work. I started working full-time when I was 15. I am divorced but my best friend is my ex-husband who is also the father of our only child.


Do you have any latest news?

We have a book coming out with my podcast network in the Spring of 2018 called #mentalhealthified which is a compilation of many of the guests and podcasters on our network and their journey with addiction and mental wellness.


Are you a writer?

Yes. I have been writing since I was a teenager but not publicly until about five years ago. I have a book www.emotionalimpotence.com that is being written. Many of the essays are published in other author’s books. I’ll be completing it at the end of next year with many authors writing chapters about personality disorders.

When and why did you begin writing?

I needed to use my voice and I’m a horrid singer. I mean …. Feral cats show up to yowl if I sing, Lol, but I have plenty to get out. Writing and speaking became my outlet.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Sexual abuse at the hands of my biological father and getting entangled with a psychopath in my early forties.

 

How did you come up with the title?

Emotional Impotence was born of dealing with people who objectify other human beings, believe they are their property and have little to no empathy other than for themselves. To me, that is the epitome of being emotionally impotent. I want a book with many professionals and survivors that can explain how much damage these kinds of relationships can do to a person with empathy, especially those of us who have more empathy than others.

The second book “#mentalhealthified” is a hashtag we use for our podcast network. We want everyone in the world to feel positive about their mental well-being. We want them to get “#mentalhealthified.”

Do you have a specific writing style? More an Essay Style.


How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Chapters I write will be about me and my life. The other chapters are written by clinicians, patients, advocates, etc. about their lives.

 

To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Yes. I do travel a lot for business. I visit behavioral health agencies to consult with them about their electronic health record technology. I also go to more mental health conferences than I care to admit. We do live podcasts from these venues.

Who designed the covers?

Dan Cropper who is our graphic designer and web developer. We are still working out the graphics so the covers are not ready yet.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That mental/psychological abuse is just as, if not more, detrimental to your mental health than other types of abuse. No one should be stigmatized for struggling with mental health issues which include addiction.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer?

Hands down Alice Walker – been around a long time. Her writing makes the words you think with more beautiful.  Johnnie Calloway – Simple and to the point writing style that packs a powerful punch.  And, of course, you Cat!

Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?

Andrea Schneider. She is a therapist in Southern California. She is also an author and her blog articles about psychological abuse saved my life.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope! But they are still in creation so I am sure they will change a lot before publishing date. We are now in the process of getting the red-line edits and pulling our hair out and dealing with the gut punch from editors.

 

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

That I can actually do this….And that I don’t have to do it alone. I am so much of a collaborator that I really wanted to publish books with multiple authors. So I am grateful that I have a huge number of people around the globe that are authors and wanted to be a part of my books.


If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I can’t even fathom, Lol…

Any advice for other writers?

Be nice to your editor. They are actually trying to help you.

Share one thing about you that will surprise readers?

I can stick my entire fist in my mouth, Lol! Made me real popular in High School. Kidding. I was a saint in High School but I can stick my entire fist in my mouth. Dentists love me.


Will you write another book? 
MANY…


What are you reading now?  
Weed, Inc. by Ben Cort…


Do you remember the first book you read? 
Garfield comic books.

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

The Dalai Lama which sounds so ridiculous. I literally just want to be in his energy space for 2 minutes and soak him in. The man oozes peace, contentment, and resilience.

 

Do you have any hobbies?

Podcasting. Writing. Traveling. Hanging with my friends at their houses until they beg me to leave. They are tired but man do we have intense, life-altering conversations while I am there.


Favorite Music?  It’s all over the map but I do love the 80’s.

Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Telepathically communicate.


What do you want to be written on your
headstone as part of your Legacy?

If there is any bird shit on this headstone, leave it. It means wherever I am, I don’t care about this crazy thing called; “being a human being anymore.” Thank God.

 

Do you have a blog or website where readers can visit for updates, events or updates? www.mentalhealthnewsradio.com * Mental Health News on Blog Talk Radio

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Kristin, I sure thank you for sharing with me, my readers and friends! I always say God brings people into our lives at the right time and I am blessed he brought you into MINE!

Now friends, please connect with Kristin on Social Media and do go listen to her show as they are educational and informative. I will be on soon as we just taped a show together! I will let you know WHEN!

 

Kristin Sunanta Walker

 

Listen to Kristin Sunanta Walker who is CEO, everythingEHR, and CEO, MHNR Network. The host of Mental Health News Radio Links!

 

 

Please Connect With Kristin on Social Media! –  LinkedIn  –  Facebook  –  And Twitter

My Recovery Spotlight on Author & Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot a Recovering Gambler Like Me…

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What can I say more about this beautiful friend of mine who was responsible for getting gamblers anonymous meetings into Arizona’s Womens prisons and correctional facilities? Marilyn has been maintaining a long-term “Bet Free” lifestyle” and she makes it look easy. She is also my sponsor while I am temporarily living in the Phoenix, AZ area for now. Marilyn calls me each week or so like clockwork, and I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life!

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I came across a wonderful in-depth Guest Interview she did not too long ago on and courtesy of  EnCOGNITIVE.com  … I love Marilyn to pieces as we don’t often meet true supportive friends every day like her. I am excited to mention her and I will be on an upcoming coming radio show together on Mental Health News Radio Network With – Kristin Walker! Our topic will be on ” Switching Addictions” which is also the title of Marilyn’s 2nd book. Her first is a MUST READ Titled; “Gripped By Gambling” a memoir that you won’t believe and is EYE OPENING. So let’s meet and learn more about Marilyn Lancelot…

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Product Details

GRIPPED BY GAMBLING  (A book that will have you in tears and then laughter. A story told with the painful truth about the addiction of gambling and how I found recovery.)

Interview with a Recovering Compulsive Gambler.

“My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal.”


Questions and Answers:

Under what circumstance did you first gamble?

As a young girl, I remember playing cards with family and betting twenty-five cents a hand. I thought it very boring and everyone got drunk and argued. I went to dog and horse races and thought they were too slow. I remember vividly the first time I gambled in a casino. I visited Las Vegas with my husband but only played the twenty-five cent slot machines. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I spent a weekend at a bowling tournament in Reno, NV and that’s when I became addicted.

Did you win the first time you gambled?

The weekend in Reno was what many refer to as beginner’s luck. I just couldn’t lose. I felt I was destined to become a professional gambler and could earn a living in the casinos.

After the first time you gambled, when did you come back again?

When I got home from the bowling tournament I told my boyfriend what an incredible weekend I had and we must drive to Laughlin the following week. We did drive the 4½ hours to the casinos and 4 ½ hours home for the next seven years.

Was it internal or external pressure that made you want to quit?

I didn’t want to quit even though the gambling was killing me, physically, emotionally, and financially. There was no external pressure because of no-one, not even my family knew of my addiction. It was my money and I could do whatever I wanted to and when I wanted to.

What would you say was the lowest point in your gambling life?

Some of the lowest periods in my gambling were the times when I wanted to die; when my credit cards were maxed out, when I began embezzling money from my employer, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about my gambling. But the very lowest was when the police came and took me away in handcuffs for a crime I committed to support my habit.

What were your game or games of choice?

My game of choice was the slot machine. No other form of gambling gave me the hypnotic feeling of escaping as the slot machines did.

Did you have rituals you went through each time you gambled?

My rituals for my weekend at the casino were to wear my lucky shirt, my lucky jewelry, and to follow the same path around the casino floor each weekend. I thought any changes would spoil my luck.

Why do you think it’s hard for compulsive gamblers to understand that money can’t be made through gambling? What is their mindset, do you think?

It was difficult for me to understand that money couldn’t be made through gambling because once in a while I did win and everyone around me won so my turn would come again. I believed I could win all my losses back if I just tried harder. I even bought books on how to gamble successfully. I had to continue to gamble until I hit the big jackpot.

Besides the money, what would you say was the worst thing you lost because of gambling?

I think the worst loss was my loss of the seven years I gambled. For those years I was a zombie and didn’t have time for my family. My mind was not on my job during the week because all I could think about was the weekend.

There is a theory that addictions run in families. Was there anyone in your immediate family who had an addiction problem?

My parents both had drinking problems so if addictive, compulsive behavior is hereditary, then I believe my poor coping skills came from my parents. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my addictions. My five children all became addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Poor coping skills have been contributed to addictions. Can you share with us what coping skills you’ve learned that have helped you? Then specifically how you cope with:

Anger: When I feel angry about something or someone, I stop and analyze my feelings (after months and years of practicing, it becomes second nature) and decide if I should really be upset by the situation or just move past the issue. Like driving down the freeway, if I slow down and allow someone to cut in front of me, I can’t be angry because I allowed that person the courtesy.

Rejection: Feelings of rejection go back many years even before I attended my first 12-step program. If I truly love someone and they abandon me or say cruel things to me, I tell myself, that because I love that person, I will allow them to do with their lives what they want to do. And there again is my decision to allow. If I think they may be on a self-destructive path, I will share my thoughts with them and then allow them to do as they wish. I have learned that I cannot control anyone, not even myself sometimes.

Insecurity: I am not bothered by insecurities today. There was a time when I suffered deeply from an inferiority complex. Today I don’t, I feel that I’m as good a person as I’m supposed to be and I hope people will accept me as I am.

The past: I have forgiven myself for the damage I caused in the past and the mistakes I’ve made. I will never forget them, they’re part of who I am today but I don’t punish myself for my past.

Frustration: If I feel frustration coming on, I do a quick analysis of my surroundings and what’s bothering me. I recite the Serenity Prayer and if I can do something about the problem, I will try and if I can’t, I will accept the consequences.

Or other emotions and events?

Jealousy sometimes pops its ugly head over my shoulder but with a little thought exercise, I can usually make a decision that will show me I have nothing to fear or envy.

Prior to gambling addiction, did you have another addiction? Or did you have another addiction while you were gambling?

I’ve always had addictive patterns in my life. I have had eating problems, I’ve gone through a period where I was a workaholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic and now a recovering compulsive gambler. I know today that if anything feels good, tastes good, or looks good, I have to be aware of the dangers of another addiction.

What would you say is the worst addiction? And why?

I think overeating must be the tougest addiction to cope with. With all other addictions, the person gives up the drug, habit, etc. completely, but with an eating addiction, the person has to modify their habits and continue to stay in the problem but with control.

Almost half of compulsive gamblers are now women. What do you think is contributing to this increase?

I think more women are becoming compulsive gamblers because we are more independent today, we make decisions, earn money, and many of the women are single parents with more responsibilities. Gambling is around every corner, the little store on the corner sells lottery tickets and the churches have bingo. Women feel safe in casinos and the casinos in our backyards and if we can’t drive there, the casino will send a bus to your neighborhood and give you a ride.

There are many theories as to why people develop a gambling problem. They range from social, environmental, biological, cognitive, and spiritual. In your experience, what contributed most to your problem? What theory or theories do you think affect most people?

I guess I don’t look for the reasons why I gambled, I’m just grateful that I found a way to stop. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, college graduate or high school drop-out, the gambling addiction is not prejudiced.

If you could draw up a plan to help someone to quit gambling, what would that plan look like in detail?

If I could draw up a plan for someone to quit gambling, I would follow the 12 steps of Gamblers Anonymous. I would encourage them to attend meetings, find a sponsor, and make an appointment to see a gambling counselor.

How do you feel about the gambling industry as a whole? Do you think they have the right to operate as a business and it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) for the consumers?

I have no opinion on the gambling industry as a whole. I just know it’s not for me.

The gambling industry is expanding as a whole. Do you think more people will become addicted to gambling because of this?

Yes, I think the gambling industry is expanding and more people will become addicted. They can’t avoid it with the clever advertising the casinos provide. The casinos are beautiful and the gamblers are treated royally.

How do you feel about poker? Seeing that it’s all over the place now. Do you feel that celebrities playing in poker tournaments is setting a bad example to young people?

I’m sure the poker tournaments on television will tempt many viewers to take that trip to a casino and test their skill. It could be a trigger for some.

You’ve credited Gamblers Anonymous as being instrumental in your recovery. Can you share with us your experiences in the program– the people you’ve met, your most memorable moments and low-points while in the program?

Gamblers Anonymous saved my life. When I was at the lowest point in my addiction and attended my first GA meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. I knew the other members couldn’t do it for me but I couldn’t do it without them. But I do feel there are many other ways to get help and treatment.

Do you agree with the Gamblers Anonymous program that people are “powerless” over gambling?

I know that I was powerless over gambling because I tried so many times to stop driving to the casinos and I just couldn’t stop. Each weekend on the ride home, I’d cry to myself, “I’m never coming back, this is so stupid.” And half-way home I’d be planning my next trip.

Did any friend or family member attempt to understand your problem? Or did you try to hide it from them?

I don’t think any of my friends nor my family would have understood my gambling addiction. They weren’t aware of my problem because I kept it hidden so well. I even rented a post office box so credit card bills wouldn’t be sent to my home.

Do you remember how many bottoms you hit?

What was the worst or most memorable one? Every morning when I woke up and every weekend on my way home from the casino, was a bottom. The most frightening one was when the seven police cars came to my home and took me away in handcuffs.

Did suicide ever cross your mind in the midst of the addiction?

I thought of suicide many times. When I drove alone in my car I thought one quick turn of the wheel and I’d hit a wall or an 18-wheeler and that would be the end of my gambling.

How did gambling make you feel? What were you hoping to get out of it?

While I gambled, I always thought gambling made me feel good. Some nights I sat on the stool at the casino and didn’t care whether I won or lost, I just wanted to keep playing. The money didn’t seem real.

How many times did you try quitting before you succeeded?

I think I quit every weekend for the seven years I gambled compulsively. That only lasted for ten miles down the road when we left the casino and then I would be planning my next trip. I’d wear a different shirt and I wouldn’t wear that dumb bracelet because that’s what gave me the bad luck.

What were the reactions of your family and friends when you were gambling?

My family and friends never knew the amount of money I lost or won. A compulsive gambler becomes very clever with lies and covering up all their gambling problems. We just can’t let anyone know what we’re doing, they make try to make us quit and I wasn’t ready to quit.

Does the thought of gambling creep into your mind sometimes?

I’m happy to say that gambling doesn’t have a place in my thoughts. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for the first thought that comes into my head but I am responsible for what I do with it after that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t gambled since I attended my first meeting more than 16 years ago but I know that if I made that first bet, I’d be off and running again. And this time I would probably die.

Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets. I regret the harm I did to my employer and I’m sorry for not being there for my family. I’ve forgiven myself but I’ll never forget what I’ve done. You can process it so it doesn’t haunt you every day.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to quit?

If someone wants to quit, they’re half-way there. The desire to stop is the biggest step a compulsive gambler can make. If we don’t have the desire, we can’t quit…

My book GRIPPED BY GAMBLING may be purchased through Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores. The blog here by Author, Catherine Lyon has some good advice and resources I hope people who may have a gambling problem stay and look around while they are here and share with friends and family…

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Marilyn Lancelot

Again, I want to thank EnCOGNITIVE.com  for letting me share this fantastic and informative interview with Marilyn Lancelot. She has published two more important books since Gripped By Gambling. You can visit her on Amazon for all her books here: Amazon Author Page 

A Special Message From ~ “The Addicts Mom” Who Advocates Tirelessly About Her Son & Helping Other Moms…

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AUGUST 31st 2017 IS “Fed Up” Day of Remembrance ~ TAM Hero

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“Another TAM Hero – The Core Centers of Recovery for helped Darrell N Michelle Jaskulski son Kyle achieve recovery. We are so grateful to Stuart Goffman and his wonderful staff at the Core for their outstanding treatment.”


Voices of The Addict’s Mom

When Treatment Works By Michelle Jaskulski


“I want to share with everyone the story of my son Kyle, and his recent experience with treatment. We are very hopeful that he is truly on the road to life-long recovery.”

The week after Easter, my 24-year-old son, Kyle, after four years of struggling with opioids, heroin, and other drugs, finally was willing to accept help in the form of inpatient substance abuse treatment. I called every facility in our state of Wisconsin looking for help, but there were so many obstacles, including lack of appropriate insurance coverage, too much down payment money required, or a month long wait-list. To further complicate matters, Kyle was on probation.

Because TAM Founder, Barbara Theodosiou, has openly “Shared Without Shame” for ten years, she and TAM are very well-known in South Florida, and across the nation. Stuart Goffman of The Core Centers in Fort Lauderdale was touched by Barbara’s tragic story of Daniel and how some of the people in the treatment industry had taken advantage of Daniel during his many attempts at recovery. Stuart wanted to establish a relationship with TAM. I felt relieved when Barbara and Stuart and I spoke on the phone about bringing Kyle to The Core. Stuart was very attentive to not only Kyle’s needs, but to mine as the mother of an addicted child.

The staff at The Core was very helpful and welcoming. Kyle was homesick because we are a close family and he was very far from home! In addition, this was his first attempt at inpatient treatment. The staff practice client-centered methods of treatment and they worked with Kyle to help him adjust to his new environment. The staff encouraged open communication with our son, so Kyle and his counselor called us once a week to go over his progress and his plans. With each call, we could tell he was getting better, stronger and more determined to recover. He had to learn to be independent and cope with his struggles, by developing life skills. Through group tasks, the young people learned to cooperate with each other and became Kyle’s second family.

When it was time for Kyle to come home, the staff helped Kyle with a smooth transition. Members of the staff also wrote letters of support to Kyle’s probation officer, who at the time wanted to revoke him for leaving the state.  Ultimately, Kyle did not get revoked and has been back home with us since the beginning of July. He has continued to work his recovery, going to a weekly group, and he has found a full-time job. He is not only paying off his restitution, he is working out at the gym each day.

I am really proud of the efforts and progress my son has made over the last several months. I’ve asked him what he thinks are the reasons for his success, and he attributes it to the community-like atmosphere and care that The Core offers as a small center. I want to thank everyone at the center for helping Kyle begin his life again, with hopes for a successful future.   ~Michelle Jaskulski


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Stuart Goffman, CFO and a Co-Founder of The Core Centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, feel’s very fortunate that in his youth, he “never had any connection to the recovery world.” When Stuart moved to Florida, however, a good friend became a serious alcoholic and Stuart was both was saddened and amazed at his choices and behavior. Stuart tried to help his friend through tough love, encouragement and positive solutions.

However, according to Stuart, “I didn’t understand that addiction is a disease, and tough love doesn’t always work.”

Through his experiences with his friend, Stuart learned about addiction, recovery, and sobriety. He decided to found The Core Centers to treat clients the way he would want to be treated. Stuart hired an expert staff that practice patient-centered treatment in a family-like atmosphere. His staff is committed to helping each and every individual in their care achieve success in their recovery in order that they may have an opportunity to live a productive, happy future…..


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Please also visit and become a supporter by signing up for ” The Addicts Mom Website for helpful resources and her story!

AND THIS MY Recovery Friends is how treatment, recovery, and aftercare should work!!   “Sometimes it takes a village.”

Catherine 🙂  

 

Gambling Addiction and Recovery Around The Web… Quit to WIN!

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“Do you or know someone who has a problem with GAMBLING? Is it slowly taking them away from family and friends? DID YOU KNOW THERE IS HELP?”


Many of my friends and visitors know I have been here Advocating about Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Recovery for for over 4 years now. Never do I get tired when someone reaches out or emails me seeking information or help for a loved one from this cunning addiction. The only regret I HAVE is feeling I have not helped many more I know are out there suffering and who are sucked into THIS Insane Cycle of this Deadly Addiction. 

And through my years of advocacy work, I have had the honor to many fantastic people in various forms and areas of helping others recover. So I wanted to share a little today from them and let the public know that there IS MUCH HELP and Resources for those who are afflicted with this disease. AND? That IT IS Possible to Recover! If I can make it 10 1/2 years away from “A BET” then I know others can too! Having support and encouragement from family and others is important when we surrender from our addiction and start to reclaim our lives. I’m here to do just THAT!


A Message From My Friends of Know The Odds 

THE HIDDEN ADDICTION

You can smell cigarette smoke in the air and on the clothes of people who frequently smoke. You can smell alcohol on the breath of individuals who frequently drink. Problem gambling doesn’t exhibit these tell-tale signs, and at first, it can be easy to hide. But this addiction can have serious, life-altering consequences.

It can seem as innocent as wasting a few hours on a gaming website, or as serious as a high-stakes poker game. For those affected by problem gambling, both can lead to devastation as bets are placed and debt accrues.

Gambling happens all around us, whether we see it or not. It can happen from the couch, in our schools, our workplaces, restaurants, community centers, casinos and many other locations. Individuals struggling with a gambling disorder have many options to place bets unnoticed, from gambling online from their desks at work to routine visits to the grocery store to purchase scratch-offs.

Often, gambling goes on for months – or longer – before unpaid bills and financial issues surface, indicating a problem to family and loved ones. Friends and family members often struggle with guilt because they did not prevent, notice or stop the addiction before its consequences add up.

Problem gambling affects millions of people – men and women, old and young, employed and unemployed, and people of all ethnicities. In our ebook, “The Hidden Addiction,” we explain why the problem gambling of so many individuals goes unnoticed and discuss many of the demographic segments who suffer in silence. Women, seniors, children, adolescents and armed service members are often overlooked for being at-risk for gambling addiction, but the numbers tell a different story. We explore some of the reasons that individuals develop a gambling addiction, and how they can seek help and recovery.

 

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Now A Message From The Addiction Blog

Trying To Stop Gambling? There Are Many Paths To Recovery!

Help for problem gambling comes in many forms. These can include:

  • Self-help methods
  • Step-based programs like Gambler’s Anonymous
  • Professional counseling including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

In fact, you might need to try a variety of methods to determine which works best for you. If you’re looking to connect with a trained counselor, you can call the NY HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or you can visit the KnowTheOdds Support Directory to find help in your local area.

In the meantime, it can be expected that some days your recovery may seem easy, and other days the urge to gamble will seem irresistible. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid gambling situations and provide you with healthy alternatives for spending your time and money and for reacting in times of both stress and celebration. Some tips for getting started and actively quitting gambling follow.

6 Tips To Begin A Recovery From Gambling


1.
 Write a goal statement.

Consider why you decided to quit gambling. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to learn how to effectively deal with your emotions, instead of using gambling to escape? Be specific with your goal statement so that you know when you are on the right track to success. When you are writing your goal statement, think about the things you would lose if you continue to gamble, and also the benefits you will gain from quitting. When you are feeling the urge to return to gambling, revisit your goal statement in order to remember why you decided to stop gambling in the first place.

2. Identify your triggers.

Think back to the times you gambled, and ask yourself, “Why/when did I gamble?” Did you gamble in times of stress, or in times of celebration? Was it when you were bored, or when you needed money? Understanding the reasons for your gambling will help you to identify ways to cope with those situations before you encounter them in your recovery.

3. Talk to your friends and family.

Recovery is a time of healing. A time to repair the relationships that have been damaged or lost during your addiction. Talking to your family about your addiction and recovery can be difficult, but it is essential to have a strong system of support throughout your recovery. So, what do you say to your family members? Some topics might include gambling disorder as a disease and explaining to them what you need from them (support, not to enable, etc.). It’s important to remember, if your gambling disorder has damaged relationships, it will take work and time to repair those bonds. Your friends and family may not be ready to talk immediately. Just like you need to spend time and work on your recovery, so do your friends and family.

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4. Take financial responsibility.

Gambling disorder can take a toll on a number of areas in your life (relationships, physical and mental health, employment), but we would be remiss to remember one of the obvious consequences: damage to your financial situation. Your first step is to assess your finances by listing all of the debts you owe and all of your income. After you have a good picture of where you stand, you can start to create a budget for yourself. Dealing with finances is often especially difficult for those in recovery from a gambling disorder.

Your friends and family members might be able to help you stay on track, but remember, the most important thing to your recovery and finances, is that you keep yourself from spending any more money on any form of gambling. A resource you might want to take a look at with your family/friends, is “Personal Financial Strategies for the Loved Ones of Problem Gamblers“.

5. Steer clear of other addictions.

According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) of pathological gamblers:

  • 73.2% had an alcohol use disorder
  • 38.1% had a drug use disorder
  • 60.4% had a nicotine dependence

It is crucial that during your recovery from gambling disorder, you deal with any other addictions you have experienced in the past, and you stay clear of any behaviors and/or substances that have the potential to become addictive.

6. Reach out for support.

The road to recovery for gambling disorder is a long, tough road, and you need to prepared to make the best decisions for yourself and your recovery. You’ve made the first, and most important, by committing not to gamble. Your next step is to assess your recovery and to decide what’s best for you.

For More Information On Quitting Gambling

Help is available every step of the way. Visit Know The Odds for facts about gambling disorder, tips to overcome addiction, and contact information for organizations across New York State who can help you overcome your gambling addiction.  As always, the NYS HOPEline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for support and referral services: 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-866-846-7369).

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                   The Addiction Blog

Addiction and Recovery News and Reads Around The Web…

Hello, Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends!


This past week I have had some interesting email newsletters from some of my favorite recovery websites and magazines. Now I am a big FAN of helping others who write informative and interesting articles about many issues of addiction, mental health and more. And I happen to read two articles I feel need to be shared here on my blog as they are very important issues. The first hit me because one of the underlying issues of WHY I had turned to gambling was to “cope and escape” from my hurtful pain and my past childhood trauma. As we learn to do the “inner work” of our recovery, many us find many issues and roots to our addictions.

The second article is about an actor I enjoyed watching the TV Series; “True Blood” and is a warning to those recovering from alcoholism that if you have other health problems, you need to work with your doctor and be honest with them of all that is going with you or you CAN have complications. That is what happened to 39-year-old, Actor, Nelsan Ellis as you will read. We need to learn to take care of our health as we most likely neglected it for a long period of time within our addiction. It is always sad to lose someone so young and vibrant. I hope you enjoy reading these and learn a little something from them…
( Articles Courtesy of “The Fix Mag” and website: SoberRecovery” )
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By Victoria Kim 07/11/17

The beloved actor’s family issued a statement about his battle with addiction as “a cautionary tale” to help others.

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Nelsan Ellis
Actor Nelsan Ellis died of heart failure over the weekend after attempting to quit alcohol on his own and heart failure complications.

Rather than shy away from the impact that years of substance use had on the actor, instead his family shared the details surrounding his death…

“Nelsan has suffered from drug and alcohol abuse for years,” the actor’s manager said on behalf of the family.

“After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.

On the morning of Saturday, July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul…Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

The 39-year-old hailed from Illinois and was a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School. He was known for playing the lovable Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get on Up, as well as his roles in The SoloistThe Help, and The Butler.

The symptoms/severity of alcohol withdrawal varies by person but can be fatal for some. Symptoms can range from mild insomnia to delirium tremens (DTs) and even death.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating and shaking, irritability, anxiety, agitation, seizures, and hallucinations.

In severe cases, individuals may experience delirium tremens (DTs), characterized by disorientation, severe agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever. DTs may last up to 3 or 4 days, according to Dr. Richard Saitz in “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal,” a paper published on the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

According to Saitz, “about 5% of patients who experience DTs die from metabolic or cardiovascular complications, trauma or infections.”

One should never detox from alcohol alone. A person going through withdrawal should be monitored by a medical professional.

– The Fix

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THREE STEPS to HEAL FROM Emotional Abuse
By Dominica Applegate Jul 11, 2017 – Sober Recovery

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Emotional abuse is a tragic occurrence that can turn even the happiest person into a sad and hopeless shadow. Sadly, it happens more often than we think. It can be anything from psychological abuse, which can cause anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, to physical abuse, which can be experienced anytime during childhood or adulthood. After going through any traumatic event, it can be very difficult to cope with the unresolved wounds alone. Some people turn to drinking and drugging for temporary relief from the painful feelings, but that simply masks a much larger problem that needs to be contended with.

To help you start the process of healing, here are 3 pivotal steps you’ll have to take in order to properly deal with emotional distress.

1. Recognize the Root Issues

When you’re dealing with emotions that include depression, intense anger, high anxiety and extreme fear, it is important to get to the root issue of the matter and take steps to address it. Many times, those who’ve experienced abuse in their childhood have difficulty associating their current pain and substance abuse with old childhood wounds. Thus, it may benefit them to reach out for help via counseling12-Step groups or a rehab facility, which can help them recognize, process and put these deep rooted issues to rest.

2. Take Responsibility

Many of us have gone through something traumatic in life, and the negative emotions that come along with these experiences are understandable. However, there needs to be a point in time for the person going through these hard feelings to start taking responsibility for their own healing. The process of mending themselves from the inside begins when one makes the conscious decision that they are done being locked in their own prison cell of negative emotions.

3. Facilitate Emotional Healing

There are various therapy treatments for emotional abuse. If you’re dealing with emotional and substance abuse issues, you’ll have to tackle your addiction first. Being under the influence will just make it harder to heal old wounds.

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Once addiction recovery measures are in place, you can then look into some of the most popular modes of therapy that may help in your recovery:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy is known for its cognitive aspects of dealing with trauma as it targets your thoughts and feelings about past experiences. Its goal is to eliminate the negative emotions you have and replace them with a positive mindset.
  • Somatic Therapy: For a more holistic approach, it may be important to undergo therapy that contends with the physiological effects of trauma. Somatic therapy works by helping your body recognize and release the pent-up energy that has accumulated since the trauma occurred. Unlike CBT, it’s not so much about one’s cognitive responses but instead, how the body (the nervous system, in particular) dealt with the trauma. This type of therapy allows the body to heal itself by facilitating a physiological release of blocked energy so you can feel physically freed.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): This is a psychological acupressure technique recognized to help trauma survivors disassociate from old wounds so they can heal. Also known as “Tapping,” EFT involves literally tapping on certain locations in the body while repeating a positive affirmation out loud. It is currently used by many therapists in the world and is continually gaining more popularity.

Sometimes, trauma can take a real hit on your emotional well-being and affect your entire life, leaving some of us in the depths of addiction in search for a temporary relief. The therapy options mentioned above are just a few of the many avenues you can explore in order to heal from emotional abuse. Although it’s easier said than done, the one true way out of the situation and into emotional freedom comes with the decision to ask for help—and there are plenty of professionals available to walk you through it.

– Sober Recovery

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“Shared and Presented By Recovery Starts Here!”  ~  Author, Catherine Lyon

 

Teen Gambling and Addiction. Addicted Gambling IS Reaching Our Youth! “Problem Gambling Awareness Month.”

It can be a ‘hidden addiction’ when it comes to youth. You cannot see it in their eyes, or smell it in their breath and there are no scars on their body. However, problem gambling can be seen as the ‘gate way’ to several high-risk behaviors and problems. Gambling is a serious addiction and has […]

9 MAJOR CONSEQUENCES OF YOUTH PROBLEM GAMBLING — TEENS AND THEIR FRUIT MACHINES ….


RECOVERY Guest Post ~ Courtesy of ‘Teens and Their Fruit Machines’ Australia….And It IS Happening In The USA.”

About

Teens & Their Fruit Machines is a campaign aimed at raising awareness towards the increase in problem gambling, amongst our youth.

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“It can be a ‘hidden addiction’ when it comes to youth. You cannot see it in their eyes, or smell it in their breath and there are no scars on their body.”

However, problem gambling can be seen as the ‘gateway’ to several high-risk behaviors and problems. Gambling is a serious addiction and has damaging effects on not only the victim but also their family and friends.  With all of the statistics telling us how many young individuals are affected by this addiction, it’s important to recognize the consequences and problems they face from gambling.

Teens who gamble have higher rates of:

  1. Bankruptcy/ money problems

An average problem gambler loses around $21, 000 per year. Some poker machines can allow a gambler to lose more than $1, 500 in just one hour. In Australia, young people (18-24 years old) spend more money on poker machines than any other age.

  1. Absenteeism from school and early drop-out

This includes poor academic performance and loss of motivation.

 

  1. Housing crisis and homelessness

Whether it’s through financial problems, due to money lost from addiction, or family members kicking young adults out for their problem, homelessness is a common link to gambling addiction.

  1. Substance abuse

This involves alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Problem gamblers are four times more likely to have problems with alcohol and four times as likely to smoke daily, than non-gamblers.

  1. Suicidal ideation and suicide

Problem gambling can lead to feelings of helplessness, as youth feel they have nowhere else to turn. Only 15% of problem gamblers seek help due to stigma, leading them to face the issue on their own.

  1. Mental health issues

This includes anxiety, depression and anti- social behavior.

  1. Criminal behaviour

A higher rate of illegal activity such as robbery, in order to fund their addiction and financial difficulties perpetuated from their problem.

  1. Disrupted family and peer relationships

For each problem gambler, it is estimated that 5-17 other individuals may be affected by their addiction. This could include emotional impacts such as guilt, arguments, disapproval and disruptions to family life.

 

 

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TOP WAYS FOR YOUTH TO GAMBLE ~ What Are They Betting ON?

Scratching tickets, playing cards or watching horses, whatever it is, young people gamble in many ways.

But whether it’s Keno or backing a Bachelor Winner on Sportsbet,  what are our young actually gambling on? Well in the US they are placing BETS ON:

Poker Machines:

 Don’t let the bright lights fool you! If I haven’t said it already, these fruit machines are dangerous! Around 4% of age youth regularly play poker machines, with 15% of people who play being problem gamblers. If it couldn’t get any worse, young people aged 18-24 spend more money on these machines, than any other age group. Poker machines are by far the most problematic form of gambling for college age group.

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POKER/Cards: A Must Read Story – Teens and Poker The Guardian

 
Steve learned the basics by stacking “play money'”  at “Poker school’ sites run by the big online poker companies alongside their gambling sites. Within a month, he was betting cash. “I just typed poker into Google and started playing on the first sites that came up. I deposited money using my own debit card and just registered using a fake date of birth.”

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So, 18 months on, is he winning? ‘Oh yes, definitely, in the long run, but you can have huge swings each week. This week I lost $2,000 [online poker is denominated in dollars], but the week before I won $3,000. Poker’s all about skill in the end and I’ve taken the trouble to learn the game.’ Steve intends to postpone university for a year to play ‘full time’ for ‘five or six hours a day.”

BUT?

The number of High school-age and College students calling gambling helplines in America has doubled in the past two years. Ed, who runs a helpline for the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, blames internet poker. “I have been in this field for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything as crazy as this,” says the reformed gambling addict. “It’s much like when crack cocaine came out in America in the Eighties. Internet gambling is something right now that you almost can’t stop.”

Two years ago, Paul, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, stole his father’s American Express card to play online poker. Within a few weeks, it was $10,000 into the red. He hoped to win it back before his father found out, but was forced to confess when the bill arrived: his father had to pay up. Paul says the lure of the 24-hour online poker rooms was irresistible: “There was no real age verification or proof of anything needed to play.”

THAT’S THE PROBLEM!

 

 

Sports Betting & More of Internet Gambling:
Sports’ betting is the fastest growing form of gambling around the world. A study by the center for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University, reported a 70% increase in individuals presenting to gambling help services with sports –betting problems in 2009. Not only this but now online gambling! And is now worth an estimated $30 billion. And online poker is estimated to be worth $6 billion annually in the US alone, as the Justice Department has apparently opened the door to internet gambling by reversing their longtime position that online poker and betting was illegal.

 

 

 

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You can pretty much bet on anything on the Internet today! With the increasing accessibility of the Internet around the world, young people have the ease of gambling from the comfort of their own home or dorms.  Not only that but young people can access betting sites from their tablets, smartphones, iPods, laptops and whatever new gadget appears in the store.

In other words, the betting environment has changed, and the breadth and intensity of engagement with the gambling industry and following with it. Not to mention gambling advertising, which swarms our online news, and news feeds!  Last week, I was offered to make a bet on The Bachelorette winner!

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Let’s face it, parents, now YOU need to add gambling and the dangers of how easy they can start to have a problem with it or even become addicted when you have “the talk” with them about drugs and alcohol.

 

Some stats from Center on Addiction say’s “that with most types of addiction, perceptions of who’s at risk for a gambling problem are often wrong. The most recent available data indicates that 2.1 percent of U.S. youth aged 14-21 engage in problem gambling – virtually the same percentage as adults with the disorder. Two-thirds of youth reported gambling in the past year and 11 percent said they gambled more than twice per week.

 

Though it’s hard for teens to access casinos, online and at-home betting is another way for adolescents to gamble, making it difficult for adults to monitor or detect. Like substance use and addiction, most adults who have a problem with gambling began during their teenage years.”

 

 

 

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** Presented by “Recovery Starts Here! – Author/Columnist, Catherine Lyon” **