Come Meet The Alcohol Expert Author Scott Stevens.

Come Meet The Alcohol Expert Author Scott Stevens.

“Recovery readers, you all are in for a treat today as I am Happy to Welcome Author, Scott Stevens and his addiction and recovery collection of award-winning books about alcoholism, stigma and more. He even is the creator of his own Alcohology App, How Cool Is That?” So let’s learn more about Author, Scott Stevens and his books, which includes a new release. Make sure you go visit the app below!
–  –  –  –  –  –

.
.
Here is his New Book Release!


(Now Available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble)
.

So where do I begin? Scott and I had met not long ago. We both are contributing writers for a fantastic Treatment Directory at Addicted Minds  . . . The founder, Matthew Steiner introduced us through LinkedIn, as Scott was interested in help with his book promoting efforts and? BAM!! I work for him now! LOL.

Now seriously, he is a fantastic writer and he shares his knowledge of alcoholism, recovery and message through YouTube as well here: #66 Video On Alcohol & Recovery … So let’s learn more about this “man of mystery” and his newest book release.

.
Scott Stevens
.

About The Author:

Scott is an author and fantastic freelance writer of many articles about alcoholism with some humor and wit. But he is also a great dad to his kids as well.

Scott, a former mutual fund industry executive, Scott blends wit, journalistic objectivity, blunt personal dialogue and no-nonsense business perspective to his three books he has managed to write within his busy life. His books, 2010’s “What the Early Worm Gets,” 2013’s Indie Book Awards finalist, “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud” and 2015’s “Adding Fire to the Fuel,” his newest offering. He regularly addresses conferences around the country — including the REEL Recovery Film Festival — on the latest trends in the field of alcohol use disorders.  He is also a 2015 SAMHSA Voice Award nominee.
He also runs:
.

Men For Sobriety

Wednesday Evenings, 7:30 P.M. Agape Recovery Center, 201 N. Pine St. Burlington

Learn more in this feature article on Men for Sobriety in The JournalTimes (Racine, Wis.) 5/14/14 . . .

“MFS Doesn’t Dwell On The Past, But On The Present And The Future.”
.

Scott is a journalist, posting regularly on health and alcohol issues for online news services and is a founding influencer at the world’s largest medical portal, HealthTap. Many popular alcohologists on air and on bookshelves have stellar credentials, but few have had to eat their own cooking. Stevens blends his stunning personal 86-proof-two-liters-a-day story with thorough research into alcoholism, sobriety, relapse and recovery. But Scott will be the first to tell you that his time with his kids comes first. . . And, if that wasn’t enough?

His life experiences, Scott has met seven Presidents of the United States, flown with the Navy’s Blue Angels, piloted a Los Angeles Class nuclear submarine and driven a NASCAR at 140-mph on a one-mile oval. Wow!

I’m tired already! What a busy life to be of recovery service to others. That is how Scott helps others in recovery and reaching out for understanding about alcoholism. Lastly, Scott the football fan and avid golfer, he holds a Master’s in Public Affairs Journalism from the University of Illinois – Springfield, he lives in the Midwest with his children.

.


(Author Scott Stevens & The Kids).
About His New release:

Product Details
(click book to buy & e-book only $2.99!)
.

“A not-so-silent thief makes off with $226 billion, every year, robbing the economy, flooding hospitals, clogging courts. And landing million-dollar spots in the year’s biggest televised sports events.“It” is alcohol. Not terrorism. Not obesity. Not cancer or diabetes or Ebola or any other disease. It’s alcohol. We’ll spend more to combat these other scourges that cause less turmoil and financial damage while alcohol rules the roost, the clubhouse, and the corner office.

The third-leading cause of preventable death and illness stays under the radar because of good advertising and bad stigma. Its purveyors are proclaimed as charitable kings. Those who use it and discover alcohol has health and social consequences are labeled as villains, kill-joys, weak, weird, or morally off.

The stigma of alcohol use disorders, treatment, and recovery which keeps the discussion of what alcohol does to you behind the wishful-thinking-driven chatter about what it does for you. The tipping point has passed. The status quo: No longer sustainable or acceptable.

Adding Fire to the Fuel examines:
How families and communities feed public and self-stigma even while the stigma holds them back; How stigma has become a barrier to many who want help; How to hang on to sobriety in a pro-alcohol world; And how PANonymous alcoholics will reduce stigma more than all the protests combined.”
.
Now where can you connect with Author, Scott Stevens? Well just about everywhere on social media! That’s where. LOL, and here a just a few places to do just that.

On both his fantastic websites:  The Alcohol Author ~ Scott Stevens
And on BlogSpot Video Series Author, Scott Stevens ~ Health Journalist
.

And Connect with Scott at these Fine Social Media sites below. . .

Check out the Trailer for “The A-Files” coming soon!
Project Trailer Scott Stevens

Scott’s video’s each week: Scott’s YouTube Video’s
Add Me To Your Google+ Circle
Follow Me On GoodReads
Connect With Scott on Twitter
All My Books & Amazon Author Page
Go “Like” his Facebook page.
Addicted Minds Writer ~ Alcohol Author

.

Product Details
(click book to Amazon)
.
About The Book ~ Silver Lining

Nine out of ten people who quit drinking relapse at least once. “Every
Silver Lining Has a Cloud” shows why it’s not just once… without
pithy slogans or trademarked solutions. From the author of “What
the Early Worm Gets,” a startling book defining Alcoholism, here’s a
book explaining how and why relapse happens, how to hold it at bay
and why every American should care. Sobriety is a state of illness and
its symptoms, left untreated, lead directly to lapse. Addressing the
Symptoms of Sobriety is essential.
.
Why would any sober Alcoholic return to the misery?
What are the Symptoms of Sobriety and how do Alcoholics and non-Alcoholics guard against them?
What four overlooked stressors trip up recovery?
Can you hit bottom sober?
The narrative dashes along peaks of anger, joy, desperation, relief and
hope interspersed with solid data on the disease and guidance for
avoiding relapse traps.
It’s not enough to just stop drinking. . .

Now that I have shared just about all you need to know about this fantastic writer and author?
Here are a few Amazon Book Reviews of how much readers have enjoyed about Scott’s books.

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Scott Steven’s extremely readable “Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud” is SUCH an important work! Powerful, clearly written, enormously informative, this book taught me not only about the emotional rollercoaster an alcoholic takes, but also about the chemical science of alcoholism, which basically stacks the genetic biochemical deck against him or her.

Scott also goes into Al-Anon, the legal system, and the futility of incarceration programs as well as how dysfunctional families play such a large role in alcoholism. Peppered throughout the book are well-versed truisms and great chapter opening quotes, which I personally thought added an extra punch to it all. And lest you think this book is like so many other self-help books, filled with one unprovable case study after another, here, every eye-opening statement or life example is backed up by worthy sources. A true find for everyone! HIGHLY recommended!

Another Amazon Reader:

“Scott Stevens has again written another very powerful and necessary book. The stigma attached to being an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic is overwhelming and Scott explains and goes far to share what needs to be done to erase that stigma.

Scott’s statistics, research, and facts in Adding Fuel are awesome and very useful … especially for people like me who work with people and families who are dealing with alcoholism. There is no room for blame or shame and certainly no labeling when it comes to people who are in recovery. I have never seen those things work for anyone. Many people do want to get sober or clean but, the fear of being “found out,” keeps them from taking the first step into recovery. I truly wish I could get this book into the hands of every teacher, doctor, rehab in the world. It is an eye-opener and it left me feeling hopeful. Thank you again for writing this Scott.”
Highly Suggest This Book!
–   –  –  –   –   –  –  –  –

Recovery Guest Author presented by, “Recovery Starts Here” of Author, Catherine Lyon 

My Friend & Fellow Author, Scott Stevens Has Some News & Advice. Well He Is The Alcohol Expert You Know.

My Friend & Fellow Author, Scott Stevens Has Some News & Advice. Well He Is The Alcohol Expert You Know.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

.
alcohology app 2
.
Have you ever wondered what alcohol does to you when it comes to your health?
How about when we see on the news about drinking a glass a wine each day and all the “so-called” health benefits we “supposedly” get from it? Or do you think you consume too much alcohol? How would you really know?

Well, my good friend and fellow Author, Scott Stevens has all the answers to these questions and much more! He has developed an Alcohol App that is free to use, and can help you tell if your drinking in excess.

He has also done research about those “so-called health benefits” we get from consuming alcohol. They are his personal feeling and thoughts of course. But Scott is The Alcohol Expert with three fantastic award-winning books under his belt!

So here are a couple of article shares of Scott’s that he shared recently on his own website here  Scott Stevens ~ Alcohology App & Website and also a new article on the APP over on Addicted Minds & Assoc. Fresh Perspectives Blog where we both are recovery/addiction contributing writers . . .

.
FREE ALCOHOLOGY APP  2.0 Released For Those Questioning Alcohol Use.

.

Keynote speaker, award-winning author Scott Stevens
.

The updated Alcohology app version 2.0 is free and ad-free, effective Jan. 21, 2016. The Android app includes 70 video vignettes supporting the fact that sobriety is a better thing to have than to lack. Alcohology looks at alcohol’s role in health issues from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to cancer to dementia to alcoholism, plus has sobriety-saving hints in its mini-features. The app is geared toward those new to sobriety and those in pre-contemplation: Thinking about the choice not to drink, but need evidence that what causes problems is one.

The app update – available only for Android devices and not designed for Apple IOS at this time – is timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the platform as well as “The Dry January Initiative.” Dry January began in the United Kingdom three years ago, with Alcohology Books author and app creator, Scott Stevens, being among the first to pick up the theme in 2013 in the United States.

Stevens describes the app as serving two roles. “First, for the alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike, it shows what the toxin and known carcinogen does to you. There’s a gulf of misinformation about alcohol’s short- and long-term health consequences.” He describes observational studies as “widely reported wishful thinking discredited by evidence-based science.”

The main goal for the app, in Stevens’ view, is to help those considering abstinence and those in early sobriety. “There is a constellation of motivators that will get a person to seriously consider their drinking choice. The health damage, especially the link to cancer, is one point in that constellation. It’s an eye-opener.”

The app can be found in the GooglePlay store or by typing in the shortened URL http://bit.ly/1K08gtR.

Among the Alcohology app’s vignettes:

Six Sobriety-Saving Tips

Binge Drinking vs. Daily Drinking Hazards

Breaking the Alcohol-Is-Heart-Healthy Myth

Alcohol Recovery Medications and the Quest for the Holy Grail

Four Signs of Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

Three Ways Alcohol Can Trigger Asthma

.

Screenshot_2016-01-21-19-15-52

.

Each one to two-minute segment covers one topic culled from evidence-based research. Video files and transcripts, which include citations of the scientific studies used, are found on the parent website, www.alcohologist.com.
–   –   –   –   –   –   –


Now here is part 
of his new article about the Health & Studies of alcohol benefits.
Please visit his website link to read the whole fantastic Article  USDA Misguiding Health

.

Alcohol writer: USDA “healthy” diet guide to injure Americans for 5 more years

.
“Jan. 8, 2016 — 
New governmental dietary guidelines are dangerous to the health of America and contradict common sense and evidence-based research, including research by the very organization that released the five-year recommendation. The 2015-2016 Dietary Guidelines were released jointly by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) Jan. 7.”

BUT… There are no documented health benefits to consuming beverage alcohol. Evidence-based studies provide robust data that conclusively demonstrate alcohol’s undisputed ability to ruin otherwise healthy tissue. It isn’t a health-conscious dietary addition in any amount. The eighth edition of the government’s guidelines state: “If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.” The statement leads to an alcohol appendix, which, “in 300 words doesn’t mention a single health consequence of drinking a toxin.” The appendix: If alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age. For those who choose to drink, moderate alcohol consumption can be incorporated into the calorie limits of most healthy eating patterns.
.
The Dietary Guidelines does not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason; however, it does recommend that all foods and beverages consumed be accounted for within healthy eating patterns. Alcohol is not a component of the USDA Food Patterns. Thus, if alcohol is consumed, the calories from alcohol should be accounted for so that the limits on calories for other uses and total calories are not exceeded. For the purposes of evaluating amounts of alcohol that may be consumed, the Dietary Guidelines includes drink-equivalents [table]. One alcoholic drink-equivalent is described as containing 14 g (0.6 fl oz) of pure alcohol.
.
The following are reference beverages that are one alcoholic drink-equivalent: 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol). Packaged (e.g., canned beer, bottled wine) and mixed beverages (e.g., margarita, rum and soda, mimosa, sangria) vary in alcohol content. For this reason, it is important to determine how many alcoholic drink-equivalents are in the beverage and limit intake. [Table] lists reference beverages that are one drink-equivalent and provides examples of alcoholic drink-equivalents in other alcoholic beverages.
.
First of all, to endorse any amount of alcohol for a person with the disease of alcoholism – which afflicts 21 million Americans – is entirely irresponsible, yet they only caution those who are pregnant. Secondly, the guidelines are said to be “components of a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet to help promote health and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.” Alcohol use – even moderate use – is a risk factor for all five of those chronic diseases. Consider the evidence-based data:

Cancer:
Even moderate alcohol use may substantially increase the risk of dying from cancer, according to a study published in Feb. 2012 in the American Journal of Public Health. Alcohol use accounts for about 3.5 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths annually, according to the study. “Most deaths seemed to occur among people who consumed more than three alcoholic drinks a day, but those who consumed 1.5 beverages daily may account for up to one-third of those deaths,” the researchers concluded.


Obesity:
Alcohol is the first fuel to get burned. Fat burning is postponed for alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike because fat won’t burn when there’s alcohol in the body. Pure alcohol also is calorie dense at seven calories per gram. Only fat is denser at 9 calories per gram. Alcohol’s seven calories lack the micronutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism, so even if a dieter swaps out food for alcohol, the alcohol calories aren’t useful. In fact, alcohol calories hasten fat storage since they don’t benefit digestion.  Alcohol reduces testosterone. Testosterone is the body’s anabolic hormone that contributes to lean muscle gain. Lower testosterone from alcohol use means less muscle, less muscle means a lower metabolic rate, and the metabolic rate dictates the body’s potential to burn fat.
Again, go take a visit to Scott’s site and read this powerful full article today.
–   –   –   –   –   –   –


ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ALCOHOL EXPERT:

.
Keynote speaker, award-winning author Scott Stevens
.

A journalist and mutual fund industry executive, Stevens has spoken at conferences nationwide. His own, candid, 86 proof, two-liter-a-day story is a startling trip close to death that hits close to home. He’s the Guy Next Door, not the common but outdated stereotype of an Alcoholic.


In What the Early Worm Gets Stevens spells out the differences between Alcoholism and alcohol abuse.  He also exposes the ethical considerations of criminal justice and “rehabilitation” programs from a business executive’s experience. The programs taxpayers fund employ a one-size-fits-all view of alcohol issues. Billions are spent on barbarism and coercion instead of common sense, science, and results. He saw it from the “inside” as well as through a journalist’s perspective.


His life accomplishments have been pretty normal peppered with outstanding experiences like meeting seven Presidents of the United States, flying with the Navy’s Blue Angels, piloting a Los Angeles Class nuclear sub and driving a NASCAR over 140 MPH on a one-mile oval.


“Most importantly, my children respect me and like me as well as love me.  Not any of the experiences or things I accomplished in the lifetime before six disastrous weeks prepared me for the few years researching, writing and living What the Early Worm Gets and Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud. The experience I came through might surprise you to find out that the kind of coercion, stigma, and misinformation that might be common in China goes on every day in 21st century America.”


Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud
 is a look at alcoholism and recovery and the role of cortisol in relapse.  Stevens uses the term Symptoms of Sobriety to indicate when lapse could be just around the corner and adds in detail about the four stressors almost every Alcoholic experience that can jeopardize sobriety.


Shortly into 2015,  his third book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, was released to critical acclaim.

.
Product Details

(click to Amazon and now released)

“What Is It Like Being An Addict”? Some Holiday Recovery Encouragement! . . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,

 

.
I wanted to start my post by sharing my book of my own story of gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. My current book out, “Addicted To Dime”, (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat),
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A/

.
If you know anyone with a gambling problem, or maybe addicted to gambling, and you are not sure how to approach the subject? Then send them my book. They won’t look at gambling the same way after they finish reading my story. I actually had others tell me this in comments, and in all my 5 Star Amazon Reviews that were kindly left by readers. There may only be 13 reviews on Amazon, but they are very powerful and mean much to me!
.


.
So my neighbor Sean, yes, he is the one I have blogged about before. He is a drug addict. He knows I say this in the ‘correct context’ since being a former addict myself, just that mine wasn’t drugs. My drug was addicted compulsive gambling, and abuse of alcohol when I did gamble. So we were talking about the holidays being upon us, and how hard it can be trying to stay in recovery around the holiday time.

Now, I give Sean credit, and it is why I have not just cut him off as a friend, because Like me, I know all he may hear and learn in his continued fight to recover from drug addiction, I know that eventually, like me, it does start sticking and sinking into our heads.
And, . . .one day that big fat light bulb goes off over our heads!! And we say, NOW I GET IT!!
I know that is what happened to me after my 2nd suicide attempt, and working with an addiction specialist. BUT, . . . sadly not before I had committed a crime thanks to all the old behaviors and quick bad choice reactions when Life Difficulties come along.

I learned from that, that I had not finished all my work in taking my financial inventory, nor had I finished the work on all my bad habits I had used, and picked up when I was active in my gambling addiction. So I had more work to do. So when Sean and I were talking about Christmas’s past, when we had no money, no lights, no Christmas tress, no nothing, I told him I couldn’t count how many times I would be in a department store wandering the isles, just wishing I could by everyone gifts for Christmas, but I had gambled all our money, so I couldn’t. I can not tell you how many times I needed things for myself, and would walk up and down the isles just looking, looking at all the things I wish I could buy but couldn’t because I had gambled our money away, . . . again.

.

.
Sean was sharing how much he felt like shit having to go to detox for the week before this past Thanksgiving so he could be clean while visiting his parents in San Diego, CA and not be strung out from drugs.

Then when he got back from San Diego, he bought pain pills and was right back to it!!
THAT is how hard it is to stop being an addict!! Yes, we have to WANT to STOP, but as an addict myself, I do remember those days, months, and years of that BATTLE we have with ourselves, with the constant triggers and urges ALL the damn time. I think those feelings are a little like who and what “The Devil is”. All bad things of this world are and belong to Satan.

The constant battle gets worse once you start your recovery. The first year of recovery, I won’t lie to you all, it’s the hardest thing you will ever do in your lifetime if you’re any type of addict. Those who are know exactly what I’m talking about. The constant racing thoughts, the nagging little person in your head that keeps telling you, “you don’t have a problem, it’s everyone else telling YOU that you do”. Well I’m now smart enough to know, that’s the DISEASE talking. It takes control of our thoughts, which feelings and acts come from.

.

.
We can’t change what we refuse of our addiction to acknowledge . . .

We can not take that FIRST STEP unless we convince our mind, body, spirit, and soul we are truly powerless over our addictions. That they have the control over our life, and it’s useless to keep trying to control the addictions you have. I so remember all the times I sat behind a damn slot or video poker machine, and I just kept stuffing more and more money in them. And even if I won, I would be there even longer until I gambled my last dollar. So it doesn’t matter if you win money or lose it, the addiction is so strong that it takes over. You don’t stand a chance at controlling it. The disease makes you think you can, but it never happens!

I hated myself so much. I had NO idea who I was anymore. I was so disconnected from life, my husband, my friends and family. Even though both sides of our family lived in two different states at the time, I wouldn’t return calls, nothing. My heart and soul was so broken when I finally had to surrender to the fact that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had me beaten down so bad I was on my knees wanting to die. And that’s why I understand about what my neighbor, what Sean is going through. I’ve been there myself. I don’t want him to ‘Give Up’ before HIS MIRACLE happens like mine did.

.

.
When we learn to finally surrender and choose recovery, choose to have our lives back, then we start the journey of letting go. We can start to see things more clearly. Yes, mine was a very bumpy ride to long-term recovery, with relapses, a couple tries in gambling treatment, counseling & therapy, and many GA meetings, and lots of hard work on all my character defects, and much more.
But, then,  . . . we start to get it go. Learning to be brutally honest with yourself, and having faith in a “Power Greater Than Ourselves” will help you obtain that new miracle of life again.

I can not tell you how GOOD it feels to be free of all that garbage, feeling like a hostage to my former addictions. It truly is like a rebirth! NO, . . it was not easy, but SO worth all the work I did to have my life free of addiction. It’s really true that many blessings come from the many negatives and trials we go through in life. I can not count how many blessings have come to me since my full recovery. We need to look at in a personal light. Look at recovery as “investing in your own life ! in your self”. . .
.


.
And when you do break the chains of addiction, be your true self. You will learn to have an even better life in recovery then when you first became an addict! That’s the beauty of Recovery! Don’t be someone you’re not in recovery. Learn to be a better person then the one before, better than the one YOU became within addiction. It can be done. I know this because not only do I live in recovery almost 8 years, I have to live with mental/emotional disorders from my past addictions. And I am a childhood sex abuse survivor.

So having dual diagnosis and living in recovery can be challenging. Like everyday challenging. But I did it, and DO IT. It’s why I continue to share my recovery journey on a personal level. When My book released, my live really did become an open book. All my flaws, misdeeds, character defects and more where now open for all the world to judge. Yes,  . . . I said judge. WHY?
.

.

.
We judge because it’s sadly the world & society we live in. We judge because there is STIGMA still in this world around those who seem different. Who may have taken a different path then others.
And that is one of the most positive and powerful things about recovery. We learn not only to heal and love ourselves again, but we also learn to have care, understanding, and more compassion for others. That is another blessing that recovery has taught me. And that compassion is why I help others in or out of recovery.

Compassion, and helping others in recovery, or those who are reaching out for help to recover, being of recovery service to others keeps us in recovery. It’s just that simple!

.

I wish all of you in Recovery a Bet Free, Clean and Sober Holiday Season! And yes I do say, “Merry Christmas To All & Happy New Year”!!

Many Blessings,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon XoXo 🙂

 

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

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

 

.
#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!

.
NRM Logo
.
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!
.

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.

.

.
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.”

.

.
“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.
.

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 …
.
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.

.

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.
.

.

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

gambling-lotto-tickets4

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.
.
Rio Las Vegas
Photo credit: Dennis Redfield
.
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.

.
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
.

gambling-tyre-protest2
Protesters opposing the Lago Resort and Casino (Photo: Casino Free Tyre) …
.
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”.
***
*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.
.

“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.
.

A video lottery machine sponsored by the state of Oregon (photo: Curtis Perry)
So. Oregon State Lottery Video Poker/Slot style machines…
.
“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.
.
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”.
.
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) …
.
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.
.
Problem drinkers and problem gamblers...
.

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.

.
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) …
.
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.
.

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 …
.
Elaine Meyer

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend ReBlog From My Good Pal Maggie Of Blog “Sober Courage”~Weekends Can Be Tough!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Friends,

.

I wanted to share an awesome recovery blog post of my good friend Maggie over at http://sobercourage.com/2014/07/11/100-fun-things-to-do/ Courtesy of “Sober Courage”…..

Now I know I could just use the ‘Reblog’ function, but I wanted to copy it and share the whole post here on my blog. WHY?
Well,….she has 100 fun things, but I think she has only made it to 50 Fun Things! So, I thought we could help her out a little by going to her or my comments and ADD more of what you all do for fun on Friday, or the whole weekend to have LIFE BALANCE in recovery!

Because we all know how the weekends can be when you’re in early recovery. We need to learn, or re-visit those past hobbies and fun things we did before addiction came and stole them all away. So here is the recovery Re-blog.  Her we go!
.

Happy Sober Friday!

 fun

 

Friday Night Pep-Talk: 100 Fun Things To Do Sober
Posted by Maggie Shores on July 11, 2014

.

There is always the worry when quitting drinking, that once you do, your life will become horribly boring! I have to be honest here, and say that in the beginning, life will definitely feel a bit boring. After all, we were used to doing everything while drinking, so it is no coincidence that we tend to associated all the fun activities with drinking too. Then we take away the drinking, and all of a sudden it seems that the fun is all gone too!

But, OK, let’s be honest here again, where those activities actually fun!? Maybe the first few hours, right? But if you drank anything like me, eventually you would find yourself falling down drunk and in a blackout, and have no recollection of any of this great fun the next day. Ugh. I don’t miss those days!

Having fun in sobriety can be a whole new learning process. Like a toddler learning how to walk, being sober means re-learning everything we thought we once knew how to do only while drinking.  So start with a few things and keep trying something every week. The greatest part of this process is that you may find some new things that are actually really fun to do sober! You can start right now!

I am building a list of 100 fun activities that we can do instead of drink, and I am hoping that you all will pitch in with suggestions so we can make it to 100!! So, please leave your fun ideas in the comments section, and I will be updating this list throughout the day!

Lets fill it up!

  1. Start a free blog at WordPress.
  2. Bake cupcakes or a cake, and decorate. There are many ideas at Bake Decorate Celebrate
  3. Visit a museum, or a historical landmark.
  4. Go to a spa and get pampered.
  5. Make a tie dye t-shirt. Check out these ideas here: Spoonful.com
  6. Explore a city or a town close by, if you are on the east coast, Annapolis, MD is awesome!
  7. Find things to donate to Goodwill.
  8. Go to the local hardware store (Home Depot) – I am telling you, it’s an amazing place really!
  9. Make a pop-up greeting card (YouTube).
  10. Read the dictionary – you’d be surprised what great words you can find.
  11. Make Fruit Leather – aka Fruit Roll- up – see this easy recipe at Simply Recipeskevin
  12. Watch an old “feel good” movie. – My favorite: Singles!
  13. Join  Photo a Day Challenge – Check out this prompt for the day at Fat Mum Slim
  14. Rearrange the furniture in your house.
  15. Learn about something at About.com.
  16. Try on ALL the clothes in your closet.
  17. Start a garden – Here is a how to at BHG.
  18. Pamper yourself with a facial.
  19. Redecorate your bedroom.
  20. Go to the zoo, or find a petting zoo.
  21. Check out In The Rooms www.intherooms.com, a great recovery community.
  22. Learn how to make something at wikiHow.
  23. Get lost on Pinterest.
  24. Meditate! There are many ways to do this and you don’t have to be an expert either.
    Check the How to Meditate site.
  25. See a movie at the drive-in! Oh this is definitely on my list to do!
  26. Bring a blanket and lie on the grass at an outdoor concert.
  27. Make homemade ice cream, there are many great recipes at AllRecipes.com.
  28. Take a fitness class, martial arts, rock climbing, yoga. Sometimes first time classes are free or discounted.
  29. You want to chat? Click the Google + button at the bottom, or MagzShores on Twitter,
    or email: sobercourage@gmail.com.
  30. Take an art class at the local community center.
  31. Research your ancestor at Ancestry.com, they have a 14 day free trail.
  32. Create a Photo Book of your greatest memories, or a recent vacation. See Shutterfly
  33. Learn origami with this tutorial. You don’t have to be Japanese to be good at it.
  34. Design your dream room or make 3D structures on Sketchup!
    The program is completely free!
  35. Take a class to learn how to play a musical instrument.luminosity
  36. Sell your stuff online, you can use eBay, CraigsList and now even on Amazon!
  37. Pick something you love, and then make a website on it! Get started at Webs.
  38. Get a pedicure or a manicure, they are fairly inexpensive and make you feel well pampered.
  39. Listen to your old CDs; I have boxes of those!
  40. Make a wiki page at WikiPedia.
  41. Take some fun quizzes. Are you left brained or right brained? Take the test out Here.
  42. Take up fabric crafts. Knitting, sewing, and
    crochet are fun to do.
  43. Play some fun mind games and sharpen your mind at Luminosity. com.
  44. Do crossword puzzles. You can find free kakuro puzzles at Kakuro.com
    and free Sodoku puzzles at Livewire Puzzles.
  45. Design your own T-Shirts! www.cafepress.com
  46. ___________

What do you do for fun?

*OK Recovery Friends,…. Can you add any others to this Fabulous List of Maggie’s? Lets see if we can. If you have some not listed you can add in comments or email Maggie above. Lets make her proud! Happy Weekend Recovery Friends*…
.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author Of  “Addicted To Dimes”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

“A Recovery Journey To Reach Contentment, Serenity, And A Little Spiritual Peace”….

Hello And Welcome MoonShiners, Recovery Seekers, And Visitors,

.

yeah write weekly writing challenge #163 weekend moonshine grid

I remember when I first entered recovery. I was sitting in my first ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ meeting and was listening to others experiences, and the trusted servants that had long-term recovery away from the ‘Bet’ were very inspiring. They spoke about finally getting some, “Peace, Serenity, and some Contentment” in their lives, and in their recovery. So I began to wonder? What is it going to take for ME to reach those 3 ultimate goals?
.
Well, those of you who know me know I tell it straight when it comes to my recovery, no sugar or cherries on top because it won’t help me or you. Part of the answer to reach contentment in recovery is? “You have to the work”….  It’s just that simple.

.

philippians.

After being in a addictions/mental health crisis center for a total melt down, black out of my mind, I began an out-patient treatment program and weekly group. I also started making GA meetings too. Was I perfect at recovery in the beginning? “Hell No,” but the key was not “TO GIVE UP”!
.
As we learn about the disease of compulsive addicted gambling, and alcohol abuse, eventually things that we learn start to sink in and make sense. It will also start to make you feel uncomfortable if you relapse, as these things we learn are in our thoughts, and start to interrupt our addiction. At least for me it did.

Truth is, it took me several times in and out of my gambling treatment program for a few years, attending GA meetings, all the while I’d get some months away from the BET, then relapse. But, I NEVER GAVE UP.
Most of that comes from shame, guilt, denial, control, or thinking we can do recovery on our own, with shear will power! SO HOW IS THAT WORKING FOR YOU? It sure didn’t work out well for me, by 2006 I was back in crisis mode, then back in the crisis center for 21 days for the 2nd time, as I attempted SUICIDE for the 2nd time as well from a bad gambling binge & relapse….

See, the first crisis center stay, I found I was suffering from undiagnosed mental illness. Come to find out, I had been suffering with ‘Bipolar Manic Depression, and PTSD’ from the childhood sex abuse I endured as a little girl. I was using addicted gambling and alcohol when I gambled, to hide and escape from those ‘ugly’ past memories that started to come back and haunt me.
.
It’s what I learned in treatment, and through my psychiatrist that was helping me with the bipolar &  my meds. I thought I was so damaged as a human being, and it was hard to accept the woman I became with mental disorders, gambling addiction, and past abuse. I was so, so broken in heart, spirit, mind, body and my soul was “Black”….
#ThoughtForTheDay - Keep It Real 100%
.

Not to mention what I was putting my poor husband through with all this mess! But he really understood about, ‘Unconditional Love’ as he worked and stayed with me through all this madness and all the hurt I caused through my addictions. It’s very rare to find a man today with that type of commitment!!..(Sorry Guys).

But it’s true. He stayed and helped me every step of the way. Later in recovery I asked him why he didn’t just leave? His Answer?  “I knew that sweet girl I married those years ago was still in there somewhere.”  He chose to stay and work through all the hurt, pain, past damage, as now we know that together we can make it through any storm, any trial & tribulation that comes our way! Our marriage is so much stronger today than when we got married! He truly is, and will be ‘The Love Of My Life’ until our last breath on this earth. Even knowing about my past, my abuse, he accepted me for the woman I was, and I am today.
.

Bring It On!

YEAH BABY!!
.
So now we fast forward in my recovery 7 years and 4 months. Wow, has life been interesting!
When I was 4 years into my recovery, I read a little story in our newspaper about a woman who shot herself in her casino hotel room. Boy did that light a fire under me to write, and see all I had been through with my gambling addiction. Didn’t know one day it would be put into a book manuscript by an old friend of mine. Then when she was done, she emailed the first 50 pages to a friend of hers who is publisher, and BAM~POW!,…On my 50th birthday I became a first time published author! Again, that was 2012, and I have been writing, blogging, advocating, and being of recovery service to others ever
since.

WHAT? You ask if I’m aware of how blessed I am? You got it baby! I am a very blessed girl today, but it’s about getting the work done in recovery that will make things happen! We can’t have that ‘Peace, Serenity, and Contentment’ in recovery without doing the work. Now I know your asking what work are you talking about?

It’s the recovery work we get in our treatment programs, support meetings and working through the 12-Steps, and admitting to ourselves that addiction has us beat, and total surrender! Surrender the control you think you have over your addiction! Even if you don’t believe in a program due to thinking it’s a ‘religious’ program, which it’s not, you can still buy a 12-step book/guide to help you work through the “Why’s” of addiction. And the other most important thing to do is learning about how the “Cycle” of addiction can be broken down and interrupted. That’s a MUST.

See, in my published book, I tried to give insights as to why many of us turn to addiction. I share my life and addiction journey, and destruction of what I went through starting as that abused, hurt and damaged little girl that I was. Later in life, that gave me feelings of entitlement as a VICTIM. I used all the ‘negative’ things that happened to me as fuel for my addictions.

Even though it says in the 12-steps that, “we can recover not knowing why we gambled in the first place.”  But for me personally, I learned through treatment and therapy that my past childhood trauma, and the undiagnosed mental illness played a big role in my addiction. Because when those old feelings come back to haunt us, some of us don’t know there are places to go to get help instead of turning to addiction in the first place.
.

.
So we need to know there is a lot of help out there for all types of addictions. I have many listed here on my recovery blog as ‘Recovery Resources’…. and I even have a fantastic ‘Relapse Prevention Guide” too! Relapse doesn’t have to be part of your recovery journey. But, everyone’s recovery path will be different. So choose what feels comfortable for you. Yes, it’s a powerful thing to listen to others testimonies and stories, but some things may work for some, but not for others. Spend time and research all the types of recovery help out there.

And recovery also doesn’t have to be costly either! There are many places that offer low-cost, or even free addiction help. I went through the ‘State of Oregon’s free treatment program, which included my 2 crisis center stays, and it was all paid for by the Oregon Lottery Fund. Pretty ironic right? Of course my point is this, it doesn’t matter where the help and treatment comes from, as long as you get the help you need. Most states may have a “Department of Health in your county, so check there first. They may offer free gambling, alcohol, or drug treatment programs paid by your state.
.


.
Many say; “It takes a village” to get better! So good supportive people in your recovery life is a MUST! Pick your friends wisely. I know sometimes people may not be understanding or supportive, and they call that ‘STIGMA,’ don’t worry about that, you may even lose a few friends along the way, but it’s important to have supportive people in your recovery. You will meet good supportive friends in your 12-step meetings. But you may need to cut loose the one’s who are not ‘Bet free, Drug free, or Alcohol free’…

So do the work! Start those 12-Steps you have been putting off. I even have friends who have NO addiction, but they do the 12-steps to lead better lives. The steps were not written for JUST people in recovery. Many use them as principles of living. And in closing, I hope all who come and visit my blog, KNOW THIS,…. you are not alone. I will be here for all who come seeking recovery from not just ‘Addicted Gambling,’ but all Addictions. I sponsor many on the internet and from my home group in Gamblers Anonymous, http://www.gambleranonymous.org/  http://www.aa.org/  http://www.na.org/  http://wwwfoodaddictsanonymous.org/  http://saa-recovery.org/

And always remember…… recovery is not about Perfection ~ It’s Attitude!

.

.
May God Bless You All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“To Know The Woman I Am Today, You Need To Know The Little I Was”…
From My Book “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a cheat)

 


Recovery Thought Of The Day…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And Welcome New Visitors,

Today’s recovery message comes from my good friend and fellow author; “David Wilson.” I received my weekly email from his inspirational blog each week, and thought this weeks really speaks recovery. http://giveitathought.com
It shows that we all can see or hear the same thing, but we all my interpret it differently from one another. It’s the same with recovery. We all come from different paths of addictions into recovery, but each one of our testimonies, our stories are much different from each other…
.

*Today’s Thought* ~

Two men look through the same window just after a rain storm. 
.
One sees the muddy ground that will hinder his daily chores, while the other sees the sunshine that brings warmth and brightens the day. The difference in each man’s view is caused by their different belief systems. Their belief system governs their perceptions and how they choose to believe. It’s the classic question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” It all depends on your perception and the way you think about it.  Keep in mind the saying, “The Sea Can’t Sink a Ship Unless it Gets In, and Negativity Can’t Drag You Down Unless You Let it In”.

*Courtesy of my friend; “David Wilson” of http://giveitathought.com *
.

.

I believe this to be very true in recovery as well. Many get stuck on that part of incorrect thinking when we first start recovery. Especially addicted compulsive gamblers. We want instant answers, things to happen right now! Now we all know that won’t happen, so we have to learn ‘Patients’…

We need to work on our core belief that addiction has up licked, so we enter recovery because we keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result that never happens. The same damn thing happens, more negativity, sabotage, and more pain from gambling and loosing more money, from drinking and can’t stop after a couple of drinks, and we need to shoot up once again, because were coming down and just can’t handle it! So we continue the old ‘behaviors and habits’ for a quick fix, and instant gratification. We have forgotten how to ‘feel’.

A good example of this is 12-step programs. Either for AA, GA, Na, and others. Many come for a bit, and then stop coming because they feel that the “Unity & Fellowship,” along with a ‘Higher Power’ automatically makes a 12-step meeting a “Religious” program, when we all know that is not true. That part of the program is to be stronger than just ONE Addict, and so we come together in “Unity” for a common goal and principles of the program. We share fellowship so we know we don’t have to be alone in addiction or recovery. We have support of the fellowship as we read the combo book together in our meetings, then we share our experiences, strength, and hope for the other part of our meetings. We share our past, present and today, trying to stay in, or attain recovery from addictions. Many people do believe in God, and his son Jesus Christ as their personal choice as Higher Power, but we use HP so all who come into fellowship can believe in who ever is their own.

 

That’s the beauty of a 12-step programs. But as our ‘Today’s Thought” shows us, we all can see one thing but all believe something different. Hey, there are ‘Many’ recovery options out there today. Even on the Internet. We have no shortage of awesome recovery programs to seek support, treatment, and to be with others like ourselves. There are hundreds of good support groups as well! One of my favorites is http://www.myaddiction.com …They have info and support about every type of addiction out there! Another great place in which I also have a recovery blog at is; Recovery Author, Kate Stevens… Addictionland,… http://www.addictionland.com

.
What you have to ask yourself if your still being a participant in your addiction is,….are you willing to look inside yourself, truly admit you are an addict?  Denial can be a funny beast, and will keep us from the help and life in recovery we deserve, being clean, sober, and bet free! So those are my recovery ramblings and thoughts for the day!
I hope you all are enjoying your long holiday weekend friends!
.
SO,….You have any ‘Thoughts” about today’s topic?
.
Many Blessings Friends,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485