Meet Author, Poet, Doctor, Recovery Coach, and My Friend, Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.

“It is not often when you meet someone very special that you have so much in common with through the internet and through social media. And you are “blessed” the day they walked into your life. Well, that is how I feel about my dear friend Kevin Coughlin”….

 

No, we have not met face to face, yes, we live hundreds of miles apart that a phone call can fix and bring us together, and yes, we really are “kindred souls,” and he is my “brother from another mother.” LOL…LOL.

The first thing I learned about my buddy and #1 recovery supporter is that he truly cares for and about those who suffer from addictions. He also cares and has trained hundreds who also care and recovery coach addicts into recovery. Kevin has his hands into so many projects it mind boggling and he keeps publishing more books and poetry within all of it! The man must never SLEEP! (Below are two new Ebooks on Amazon!)

 

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Well, I happen to know he does suffer some with sleep apnea, so he seems to have more hours to spare than your average person. LOL. I’m in the “know” as we have become such close friends. The list of all HE IS and all HE DOES is crazy, but he does it out love and for others to have a beautiful life in recovery. Here now is just a tip of the iceberg of what Dr. Rev Kev is all ABOUT….. The short version, so please visit his helpful website at Rev Kevs Recovery World to learn more!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Reverend Dr., Provincial Superintendent Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D., most call me Rev. Kev. All that I have been, all that I am, and all that I ever will be is because of God’s grace. I am well trained. I am an International Certified Master Addictions Coach, I specialize in Drug & Alcohol abuse addiction recovery & family recovery coach, gambling addiction, Life coaching, Christian Coaching, Case Management, Prevention & Relapse Prevention, LAMA, Ethics, Spirituality, Sexual Addiction, Anger Management, Domestic Violence Advocacy, Interventionist & Life Recovery Coach, Licensed & Ordained Minister.

I am a Founder, and former Board Member & Spiritual Director of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a residential addiction recovery program. Over the past 19+ years, we have been blessed to help thousands of individuals and families to change their lives! I am often utilized as a consultant on addiction and recovery and considered an expert in the field. I have given thousands of workshops and lectures, training seminars, and retreats.

I have been an instructor at The Addictions Academy. I am The President and CEO of Phase II Christian Coaching, LLC. I am a member in good standing in the AACC, ICCA, NAADAC, IAMMF, ECPG, NCPG, and AACT. I am an internationally published poet and a best-selling author, I am 9 time National Bench Press Champion and 2 time World Champion.

I have been blessed to be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling, Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling, and Doctorates Degrees Ph.D., DCC, DDVCA, DLC, DD, and am Board Certified by DIT Seminary IN Christian counseling. I am an Associate Professor at Dayspring Christian University and a Board Member. I have been approved by the Board for a year of study to be consecrated a Bishop at the Florida Conference next year. I have a great deal of experience in volunteer recruitment, philanthropic, nonprofit, program development.

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Today, I love to write and to teach!

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You can see most of his published works by visiting his  Rev Kevs Library and again, above are the two latest books he has published along with this new one and all of them in e-books will soon be available in paperback! Here is more of what Rev. Kev is into with helping MANY in and reaching out to recover from addictions including gambling addiction and as a Recovery Coach!

 

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Here is what Readers and Book Reviewers are saying about many of his published works over on Amazon .com….

 

Some Amazon Reader Reviews:

5-STARS-Poetry:  “Meant for the recovery community, this book of poetry is really about all of life – tragedy, joy, comfort, chaos, disenfranchisement, the ennui of modern times, and love. Almost all readers will find something that will resonate with them within these pages. I was “gifted” this book, my first introduction to Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

I am so glad to find out about his work. This book is authentic; at times it is even raw and entirely sympathetic to the human condition. His brief inclusions of the canine condition gladdened my heart! I look forward to my next encounter with Rev. Kev’s work.”

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5-STARS-Relaspe Prevention book: “This is a great book for those needing to become familiar with addiction/recovery. It takes you step by step through different treatment programs and sets expectations when entering a drug rehab program. You’ll become familiar with the terms associated with the various types of addictions and how to manage/prevent relapses. It discusses triggers and how to deal with them.
If you have teens, this will give you and idea of how to recognize if they are using drugs. This alone makes it worth reading.”

 

100% ALL 5-Stars-Addictions What Parents Need To Know book:  “This book really brought insight to the dynamic between parents, grandparents and their children about the world of addiction and drugs. At times, for those who have never undergone such a thing, seem like a vast, imaginary world away…however, it is real and it is happening now. To so many of us and our loved ones. Mr. Coughlin draws upon his own experiences with addiction and the effects it had on him and his loved ones. It was an incredibly informative book, guide and I believe a lifesaver to those who are currently experiencing this with their loved ones and want to help. It helps the reader understand the causes, signs, and consequences that addiction has and explains in detail the different. Excellent, informative read!

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A “bird” to me he may be writing a Memoir as well, let’s hope this is a real rumor as I will be first in line to buy that! He has had a colorful life including addiction and recovery. He writes and freelances for many recovery publications like “Keys to Recovery Newspaper”, “In Recovery Magazine and The Sober World.”  He has written many coaching and training manuals for recovery coaching, training and much more!

Kevin has been on many radio and podcast shows and has an “upcoming events” page over on his website so you can catch the event he will be featured as this recovery guy is all over the place:  Recovery Events, Interventions and More …


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So make sure you connect with Dr. Rev. Kevin T Coughlin, Ph D., all over Social Media as well. Don’t be shy as Kevin is the most humbled nicest guy you will MEET. (No, he did NOT PAY me to write that! LOL) Please take some time to visit his website and see all his books. AND? Some of his New E-Book Release’s are promo priced right now. We know reading can enhance our own recovery. And Yes, Kevin is certified to coach for Gambling Addiction too!

Facebook  –  Twitter  –  And Facebook Again  –  And LinkedIn!

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Presented to by Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Recovery Starts Here!

 

About Gambling Addiction and Does Self-Ban From Casinos Work?

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences . . . .

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Here is what my good friends of the National Council for Problem Gambling  define’s this addiction.

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. And again, have no sense or fear of consequences from the destruction they are causing.

Isn’t Problem and Addicted Gambling a Financial Problem?

No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, the person will still be a problem gambler. The real problem is that they have an uncontrollable obsession with gambling. But, in order to recover, the gambler needs to be willing to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well and stop gambling.


Isn’t Problem Gambling Really the Result of weak or financially irresponsible people?

No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. Precipitating factors often lead to a change in behavior, such as retirement or job-related stress.

The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Some problem gamblers do not have financial issues even though they may lose money gambling. Gambling is an emotional issue where a person feels the need to gamble to alleviate stress or because they feel a certain type of euphoria when they gamble. Gambling is an obsession that can take over your life if you let it go too far, this can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.


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For me, gambling became a way for me to cope, escape, and numb old feelings that came back to haunt me of what I went through as a little girl in my early childhood, then into a teen and on into adulthood. And even though 12-Step programs and support tell us we can arrest the addiction and recover, I myself disagree from a “treatment” standpoint. In order for me to reach full recovery, I had to process all the “old” in a healthy manner of all the uderlying issues before I was able to grasp a well-balanced recovery and make it into long-term recovery.

As I am a firm believer in doing the “inner work” within ourselves is just as important as learning the skills, tools, and being educated about the disease. So I do 12-step meetings, but I do them for support and to be with others who understand this addiction and be of service to others.

IF you think you have a gambling problem? I always suggest to people that a great place to start is to stop by  Gamblers Anonymous ~ 20 Questions and answer HONESTLY their 20 Questions and it will give you a good view if you have a problem and need help.

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Now About Self-Banning or Self Exclusion: What Is This?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have their own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. So for an example, I currently live in the State of Arizona so I will share this STATE’S options as there as Indian Tribe Casinos all over this state, so people have many options and ACCESS to GAMBLE.

Here is what my friends at Arizona Dept. of Problem Gambling say about  Self Ban:

Self-Exclusion or Self-Ban is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all Indian Gaming Facilities within the State of Arizona and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses, and the use of any of the services or privileges of the facility.  You can choose either a one-year, five-year, or ten-year exclusion.  This exclusion is irrevocable and cannot be altered or rescinded for any reason during the selected time period on the form.

How Do I Exclude Myself?

There are a number of ways you can go about excluding yourself. You can download the exclusion form found on this site, fill it out, have it notarized and mail it to the Department of Gaming along with a current photo of yourself. Please note: The self-exclusion will not be processed without proper notarization and a current photo. We can accept the photo electronically via email but we must have the original, notarized self-exclusion form sent to this office.

You may also come to the office to complete the entire self-exclusion process which includes meeting with the self-exclusion administrator who will discuss the program, notarize the form and take your photo as well as give you additional resources for problem gambling.

Please click on the FAQ link to the right for more information.  Questions & Answers on Self Ban  . . . .

Many casinos and states are also trying to help by offering these additional Ban Services as well:

The self-exclusion procedures and the self-exclusion forms are in a PDF format. To obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.

Download a copy of: Self-Exclusion Procedures; Self-Exclusion Form

BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS

The Everi STeP program allows you to exclude yourself from using ATMs at over 1000 gambling locations.

Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI) can also assist in blocking ATM transactions in some Arizona casinos.

BAN YOURSELF FROM INTERNET GAMBLING

Gamblock prevents access to internet gambling sites.

Please make sure you visit their Q&A Facts page about more questions of Self Ban and Exclusion, you will find it Helpful….

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The Interesting and Comical Side of Gambling and Self-Ban:

Now, of course, I will KEEP in perspective that gambling is something many people do from time to time. But for others, it becomes an obsession, and they risk losing their livelihoods and much more because of the affliction, THAT IS NOT Funny.

But I have been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous a long time, and also when I was in treatment twice in our weekly group meetings. I can tell you I heard all sorts of stories about others who did try the self-ban from casinos. Now I never had the nerve to self-ban from the only Indian Casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon where I lived at the time of my deep gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sun glass’s and the like to hide their identity from the guards. and praying they didn’t hit a BIG jackpot for an attendant to have to come and pay them out or they would be Kicked Out! To me? That is living on the far off the edge! BUT? “If you want something bad enough?” ….

I have had many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning, but here is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Postive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned I think you need to read. Here is one person’s experience:

“In the US it doesn’t work well. My wife signed the self-exclusion in all local casinos but she is able to play in all of them. One time she was playing, I told security that how come they let her plays when she signed self-exclusion, they immediately kicked her out. But casinos are businesses, and none of them will say no to FREE money. There is no real penalty for letting people who self-excluded play so why should they enforce it? I was considering suing them but all lawyers I contacted said that I can’t win.”

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I hope you have found this to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and I find it interesting. I think for my own addiction, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am a type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Wany.”  And self-ban could just backfire as of some other horrific stories I heard as in the rooms as well. Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts. Yes, I heard some stories about this as well.

And this I DO have my own personal experience as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of my title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choices I made and the people I had hurt when I was gambling and deep within my disease.

We are only “as sick as our SECRETS” so I wrote and shared most all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others and may they learn just far this cunning, sick and progressive addiction will take you! Here are some signs to look for if you suspect a loved one may have a gambling problem. Visit my friend’s page at  Addictions.com for more information and helpful treatment and support options …

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Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life. Addictions.com

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**Presented by Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of  “Addicted To Dimes” **

 

Recovery Guest Blog & Article Spotlight. Marilyn Davis of ‘From Addict 2 Advocate’ & Article By, Carl Towns.

Note from  of  Addict 2 Advocate:  I’m always excited to bring another voice to From Addict 2 Advocate. Carl Towns discusses his struggles with gambling addiction and offers straightforward information, his experience with gambling, and some solutions.

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Gambling Addiction: When Rewards Stop Working

Gambling is one of those attractions that are present in everyday life – the football pool at the office, betting on a presidential race, wagering a dollar on the weather, bingo at the senior citizen center. We might even get a scratch-off with our change from the convenience store, and most people turn a blind eye to these kinds of gambling.

However, the rewards for these seemingly innocuous chance games is what can fuel a gambling addiction.

Our brains have neural pathways; one of which is the brain’s reward system. This system involves electronic impulses that turn into pleasure, memory, and motivation. When a person engages in basic actions such as eating, sexual activity or even sleep; the reward system starts to work. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is the one responsible for all the feelings of pleasure and euphoria one might experience upon engaging in certain activities. Experts used to think of addiction as dependency on a chemical; they now define it as repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions.

This is the reason drugs have such an addictive power. These substances basically trick the brain into thinking it has engaged in a highly pleasurable activity and releases up to 10 times the normal dose of dopamine, sometimes even more.

Gambling, much like drug addiction has the same impact on the brain and its dopamine production/release, the difference is that no outside chemicals are working, but the brain starts to relate only gambling-like scenarios with pleasurable ones.

For me, it was just an occasional escapade because I had a couple extra bucks to blow or because I ‘happened’ to be vacationing in Las Vegas and gambling is what people do in Vegas, right? At first, I thought of this as harmless fun, until it wasn’t anymore. I didn’t get the same feelings from just occasionally going to the casinos and found that it was impossible to distance myself from the practice of gambling in any form.

Although I realize now what was happening to me,  many people are unaware that gambling addiction causes the same outcomes as drug and alcohol addiction; it is a problem that affects people all across America and the world. If your gut is telling you that someone you know or love (or yourself) is engaging in gambling at the expense of other areas of their life, these facts may help you decide if there is a problem. As with a substance abuse problem, you may need to help your loved one, or yourself, find professional help.

1. Underestimating the Disease

One of the biggest problems is that often people treat don’t treat gambling addiction seriously. Many times I was told to “brush it off” or “snap out of it”. While those statements prompted my guilt, I was unable to stop gambling, so went to greater lengths to hide my gambling.

If someone approaches you telling you they are suffering from this, listen to them and support them, just like you would do if they were addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Gambling is not unlike chemical drugs; one taste can be enough to hook someone. The first time I set foot in a casino was on a cruise with my family when I was 17. I loved it and when I went back, I started looking for bets everywhere until I was able to work and I could play money.

If you go with young ones to a casino or any gambling site, such as a horse track; talk to them and have them understand that there are risks involved and they should not feel bad if they find it difficult to stop. Caution them that gambling addiction is real and that if they are struggling, even after one round of betting, whether they lose or win, is a good way to be proactive about gambling addiction.

2. How Gambling and Substance Compulsive Consumption are Very Similar

After an extended period of time of regular consumption of drugs or gambling, the reward system basically malfunctions, and three things occur as a result:

3. What Are You Doing and Where’s the Money Gone?  

There are many symptoms related to gambling addiction, however, one word sums them up –spending. How much time are you or someone you know spending in casinos, online, buying scratch-offs and how much money is being spent there?

While the “spending” symptoms are the biggest ones to look out for, there are plenty more signs that can indicate if you or someone you know is falling or has fallen into a gambling addiction. When gambling is a secret, how much money is spent, or what activities you’re engaged in; those are huge red flag warnings. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Breaking even will become the goal in the face of big losses (even though it probably won’t happen).
  • Gambling becomes a priority: Planning how to earn more money to gamble, how to take advantage of the games; gambling, probabilities, teams, machines, etc. are all the person can talk about, normal events (like social gatherings) are forgotten in order to go gamble.
  • Gambling becomes an exit to relieve stress or suppress feelings of anxiety and even loneliness.
  • Having the need to gamble increasing quantities of money, if the next bet is not bigger, then it’s not exciting.
  • No matter how much the person works or how much they (or you) earn, it will always be an evolving financial loss situation due to constant gambling.
  • Personal relationships, such as marriage, children, family or even close friends are put in serious jeopardy because of gambling, professional life will be affected too.
  • There are several (failed) attempts to cut down the gambling.
  • When their gambling gets cut down unexpectedly bad temper or irritability start to show.

4. Withdrawal

When I finally realized I had a problem, I tried to stop gambling on my own. I decided that isolation would work. I went to my family’s cabin (which is in the middle of nowhere, in Iowa) to get away from all the temptation.


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I always thought that abstinence syndrome or withdrawals only applied to drugs or alcohol, but in that cabin, I found out it applies to gambling too. I started experiencing unpleasant mental and physical distress, insomnia, anxiety, and even physical pain. A pathological gambler would have the need to be constantly aiming higher, making riskier bets to achieve the same thrill, and high, so when I denied myself all that, I went into withdrawal.

It was a hard path, and if you or a loved one are demonstrating signs of a gambling addiction, it’s very important that you understand it’s not a moral failure or a bad habit, but a compulsion and brain disorder. In order to be treated properly professional help must be sought, if you know of someone suffering from gambling addiction or if you are suffering it yourself, please seek help.

5. Help is Available

Remember that recovering from such disorder is something possible even for people suffering the worst of it. A pathological gambler can make his or her way back to sanity and stability in their life. Resources for gambling addiction are available through local mental health agencies or here are some online resources and books for you to see if you can identify with a gambling addiction and then find help.

The National Problem Gambling Hotline

Gambling Help Online

A great book on gambling and the price one woman and those who knew her had to pay is by Catherine Townsend-Lyon,  Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)


Regardless of whether you find help locally or online, just know that gambling addiction will not improve on its own. However daunting that sounds, I know the pitfalls of gambling addiction and the peace and of recovery. I hope you find them, too.

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Biography: Carl Towns

I’m Carl Towns a 28-year-old wannabe writer; I am also a recovering addict on the path of self-discovery. My goal is to learn as many things as possible and to seize every single moment I live, pretty much trying to make up for all that I missed in the years I was lost in drugs and alcohol and gambling. I’m in love with tech, cars and pretty much anything that can be found online.

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Biography: Marilyn L. Davis

A recovery curriculum author with 27 years of abstinence-based recovery, Marilyn advocates for and writes to the addicted population.
She opened and ran an award-winning women’s recovery home from 1990-2011, creating a recovery curriculum, Therapeutic Integrated Education Recovery System, which breaks addiction down into the variables and then offers time-tested exercises for healing, relapse prevention, and dealing with codependency and self-defeating behaviors.

She is the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, where she shares her gifts as a communicator, encouraging other writers to use their creativity to share their talents through writing.  She believes in the power of words and knows that how something is said is just as important as what is said.

From Addict 2 Advocate explores addiction, recovery, and codependency with the same attention; write, so people relate and heal, and become the best person they can be.

Awards
Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award, Brenau University, 2008: ongoing award for individuals in mental health, wellness and recovery.
Liberty Bell Award, Northeastern Judicial Circuit, 2010: given to non-attorneys for their contribution to the criminal justice system and their communities.

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**Presented By Recovery Starts Here! ~ Author/Columnist, Catherine Lyon** 

 

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time the problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be “normal” like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!

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Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???

 

I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

Guest Article About Gambling The Addiction & Our Addicted Brain.

ARE WE ONE STEP CLOSER TO A CURE?

Gambling addicts have ‘WEAKER’ brains – just like alcoholics and drug addicts, scientists discover

Experts at Imperial College London hope their discovery that gambling triggers two key areas of the brain, will lead to new treatments- 3rd January 2017

Going Cold Turkey from Heroin Feels Like Hell. Our Guest Article Today.

Going Cold Turkey from Heroin Feels Like Hell. Our Guest Article Today.

“Going Cold Turkey From Heroin Feels Like Hell.  ~ By Aleksandre McMenamin

 

Anyone who has ever used heroin can attest to the fact that it is one of the most euphoric experiences that your brain can feel. There is an immense joy that is felt when using heroin; a pleasurable sensation that is without equal, feeling vastly better than anything your meager memory can recall. Even the elation of sex is incomparable, chemically, with the gamut of gratifying feelings that heroin creates for you. This is why heroin is the most addictive substance on the planet, and one whose presence is substantially growing in different regions of America. Nobody ever tells you all of the incredible catharsis that comes from using heroin. You only hear about the destructive nature of it, but the reasons why it is such a powerful temptation are too often disregarded.

Understanding the feeling of heroin is crucial to understanding why people use it, and why it is so difficult to stop using. Although there are many forms of treatment for heroin addiction, the one way that every addict has tried, at least once (and probably multiple times), is just stopping. It sounds so simple! Simply don’t use heroin, again. This process is called “cold turkey,” and it is hell.

The most initial and apparent effects of quitting heroin cold turkey are ones that are physical in nature. Within 24 hours after heroin has left your body, an intense feeling of nausea begins to saturate your body. At first, you will experience aches and soreness anywhere that you can feel. Your body is telling you that need that shot, and as far as you are concerned, you absolutely do. Every fiber of your being will be telling you to get heroin, and to do so at any cost.

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cooking the heroin.

For those who are able to get past this initial feeling, the nightmare has only started. Soon, you will begin to sweat, profusely. Your body is shaking so much that it is literally exhausting any and all energy that you have. Your skin will be burning up, but also experiencing a cold chill that echoes throughout your body, inescapably. This is the shock that occurs when your body finally realizes that another dose may not be coming. Because of exhaustion, you will need to keep eating and drinking water, but will probably not be able to keep anything down. Your stomach will reject everything that you put inside of it.

At this point, the tiredness will reach an extreme point. Never before in your life will you have needed to rest more than you will now, and the hunger is only making it worse. Getting up and walking somewhere will take concentrated effort and a great deal of pain. Every step feels like a marathon, in and of itself, because the exhaustion and discoordination are taking over every aspect of yourself. Sleep does not come easily, though, because the worst part of this journey is nothing physical, but entirely psychological.

Heroin is an exhilarating drug, but all of the incredible feelings are ones that are created by the drug, thus making your brain dependent on these artificial emotions. This stifles your brain’s ability to create its own endorphins, which means no dopamine. This is, by far, the most dangerous aspect of heroin, as well as the most destructive part of going cold turkey. At this point in the process, you have lost all of the endorphins that were generated from the heroin use, but your brain is unable to produce its own. Scientifically, this is a process that can be broken down, but the real feeling is unexplainable.

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dramatic shot, teen heroin user - after shooting up
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Happiness will be impossible. The ultimate feeling of despair sets in, and you can’t believe that anything you had ever experienced before had even qualified as anguish, in your mind. As hard as you might try, you cannot think of one happy thing. Every aspect of self-doubt that sits, like a maid-in-waiting, in the back of your mind will be brought to your conscious mind. In your mind, every notion of joy and exultation that you see experienced in the world is an affront to the most inescapable of truths: we are alone. Any meaning that you ever placed on your own existence is an insult to this fact, which permeates every thought. For the next several days, the thought of suicide will always be on your mind, and it will seem like an inevitable option.

Even though sleep is the only hope you have of escaping the horror of your waking existence, it will be nigh impossible. By this point, the shock your body is experiencing will reach its apex. Every nerve will feel like it is being burned alive, individually. Only after hours of this pain will the exhaustion overtake you so you can get an hour of rest. However, due to the psychological aspects of heroin withdrawal, your active mind will fill every moment of rest with images that can only be equated with hell. Nightmares begin to define your existence, as you wake up to paranoia and hallucinations and go to sleep to the world that you imagine you deserve (which is the greatest punishment).

These effects can last weeks, at varying degrees of intensity. It is not a steady drop off. One day, you will think that everything is getting better and that you are on the other side of this, but the next day could be just as bad as the first. And after the effects of heroin withdrawal finally wear off, you begin to realize that you will never truly be free of it. After decades of sobriety pass, the craving never really leaves you, like a parasite in the back of your mind that refuses to die.

Because of all the physical and psychological risks of heroin withdrawal, it is incredibly dangerous to simply quit “cold turkey.” Today, there are plenty of tools to detox from heroin addiction, safely (such as Subutex Titration, which is wonderfully explained in this article here). 

If you are suffering from heroin addiction, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to speak with a health professional today and to give yourself the best chance to get better and move on with life.

“Hate The Addiction Not The Addict.”

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If you need help from drug addiction? Please visit Narcotics Anonymous Today
SUICIDE is never an OPTION to Stop Addiction: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline    CALL: 1-800-273-8255  Available every day  24 hours a day  .  .  .  .

 

 

“Presented By: “Recovery Starts Here ~ Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

 

An Exceptional Guest Article Share~Recovery Expert, Author & Coach, Roger Stark …

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends,

 

I want to introduce you to a new friend and fellow author of mine who has a large amount of addiction and recovery experience. He is a recovery coach, a writer of exceptional books and guides, and has just released his second book titled Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain. which can be ordered on the link provided and you can always find him over on his website, The Waterfall Concept and is the title of his first book. I happen to come across an excellent article and little interview I ‘d like to share with all of you that is very interesting.

So with further ado, Meet Roger Stark  …. ( Courtesy of www.breakingthecycles.com/ )

 

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(The Waterfall Concept ~ Now on Amazon & In Kindle Store)

 

Face of Recovery | Roger Stark
By, Lisa Frederiksen

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” Yet there is a great deal of confusion, stigma, shame and discrimination surrounding addiction, addiction treatment, and addiction recovery, and often what are called behavioral or process addictions/disorders – such as sex, gambling, spending and eating addictions/disorders – are the least understood. Perhaps the most harmful reality in all of this is how little we know about recovery, about individuals who have the disease of addiction but are in recovery, living healthy, productive, engaged lives — the same kinds of lives as people who do not have this disease.

All the words and definitions and explanations in the world are not as powerful as these people themselves. To that end, we are grateful to the people in recovery who have decided to share their experiences so that we all may put a Face to Addiction Recovery.

Addiction Recovery – It’s real, it happens to real people, and it happens all the time.

It is my great pleasure to introduce Roger Stark – today’s Face of Recovery.

How Did Your Addiction Start?

Mine is a sexual addiction. That admission elicits a wide variety responses, from “You can’t get addicted to sex,” to “Gee, I would like to have that one!” and everything in between.  Is it a real addiction?  Ask the hundreds of thousands of folks involved in Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and like self-help groups. They will tell you that their lives are surely unmanageable, that they have learned to use the brain chemicals of lust compulsively, and have become truly powerless.  They will also tell you, standing amidst the rubble and wreckage of their lives, that you, surely, do not want this addiction.

My journey had it’s beginnings when a scoutmaster insisted on showing me some things that were not in the scout handbook.  His sexual abuse created some powerful, dysfunctional emotional currents in the life of a very naive and innocent child. I was raised in a faith-centered, loving home. My father struggled with ETOH and very probably fixed me up with some genetic markers that weren’t very helpful also. But my main concern after the encounters with my perpetrator was to prove that I did not like boys. (I apologize for the homophobic sound of that but in the 1950’s our culture presented much differently.) The only way I knew to prove that I didn’t “like” boys was to “like” girls and I tried to like them a lot.  It became a matter of conquest and while the level of sexual activity was on the innocent side, in the beginning, it quickly grew to “going all the way.” The purpose always being to gather more evidence that I was “normal.”

Over the nearly 40 years of fighting the behaviors that had yet no name, I fell into a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde life.  Wanting and trying, successfully at times, to live by a very high moral code, and betraying myself with compulsive sexual acting out.  The levels of shame and guilt were off the chart, and of course, over time became part of the acting out cycle.


What was the turning point for you – what made you want to get sober?

Such an interesting question. From very nearly the beginning I wanted to be sober. Acting out broke the moral rules I was striving to live by.  I believed in virtue and monogamy but as the compulsion gained power I failed so many times that hope of doing that left me.  I guess my turning point was the day my therapist put a name to it.  He stopped in our session, rather abruptly and said, “Roger, you do realize you are a sexual addict don’t you.”

Well, I absolutely did not realize that and was quite offended that he wanted to put such a brand on me.  He didn’t argue with me, just gave me a copy of The White Book the Sexaholics Anonymous’s manual.  By page 38, I branded myself. I found hope in the fellowship because I found others in the same struggle that had found sobriety.  Like a fellow mentioned in The White Book, “I didn’t need help quitting, I have quit a thousand times, I needed help staying quit.”  And there, in that group, I found the beginnings of that help.

I cannot adequately convey the excitement I felt about learning skills and finding tools that actually worked and helped me slowly
extinguish the compulsion.  After those first early successes, I was “all in.”


What was your initial treatment?

Much of my early treatment was self-inflicted.  We did not then have the recovery resources that are available today.  I read a lot.  If Patrick Carnes wrote it, I read it.  My White Book and the Big Book were read and reread as were a host of other recovery titles.  I lived in a quite remote area at the time, but found 3 recovery meetings, 2 were an hour away and the other 3 hours.  I tried very hard to attend each weekly. I met weekly by phone with my therapist. I found a sponsor and worked through the steps.

Education helped me immensely.  Beginning to understand brought healing.  Recovery strategies developed as I understood more about what was going on inside of me.

My faith also played an important part.  I have always felt a special Higher Power connection in my life.  When I took this struggle to Him, I felt His sure promise that as I continued to do my recovery work, my heart would heal, (His words not mine.)  I also made a commitment to Him that if He could help me find my way out of this addiction mess, I would spend the rest of my life helping others.  That fall I enrolled in a local college program that led to state licensure as an addiction counselor.

Do you do anything differently, today?

My recovery does have an evolutionary feel to it.  As my understanding deepens my dysfunctions slowly get shed.  As I peel the onion and grow, my approach takes that new wisdom into account, and I seek new skills.  Of late I have benefited from trying to truly live in this particular moment. I am working to grow my understanding of this great concept.

Working with other addicts has also created some changes.  I sometimes feel selfish, that I “recover” more than they do as we work through the process.  It has brought into focus the clear value and importance of carrying the message to others in our own personal recovery experience.


What is your life-like, now?

From the darkest days of my addiction, my current life would have been simply inconceivable.  Recovery has brought me to a belief in miracles. One example is that my wife and I are still together and enjoying life in remarkable ways. My relationship with my 7 children continues to grow or better said, heal. I love serenity. It is such a contrast to the chaos of my addict life.  Peace, calm, quiet, were unknown commodities. I feel a joy in them that renews me daily.  I continue to work with other addicts and write about recovery.  For me, there could be no better life’s work.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with someone currently struggling with a substance abuse problem or an addiction?  How about anything you’d like to share with their family or friends?

Oh, I have a thousand things!  The details and nuances of individual recovery seem to be endless.  But the overriding message is this: Recovery happens!  It is real!  Miracles happen if we submit to the process of recovery and do the work it requires.  A willing heart, armed with some hope and courage, all held together by commitment makes us candidates for recovery and will carry us home.

Addicts should probably be aware that sex is a very common cross addiction.  I long ago lost count of the number of clients who begin the recovery conversation with, “I had a drinking problem 20 years ago and went to AA but now I think I have a sex addiction.”  (Thirteenth Steppers please take note!)

Unfortunately, the learning curve for addicts and family members is remarkably flat.  This is tough stuff.  Many spouses don’t survive the betrayal and feelings of rejection.  I cannot fault them and only feel compassion and empathy for the uninvited struggle they find themselves in.  Recovery is measured in years not months and slips can be crushing.  That said, I do believe in miracles.  I have seen many, I have lived one.  When a couple overcomes this level of adversity, their love can take on an exquisite fullness
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What is the best part about your recovery?

Part of it is that we are having this conversation.  That we can learn and grow from each other and I get to be part of that. Life is such a precious gift.  Having the blessing of living part of it in recovery, free from the chaos and carnage is of great value to me.  Being able to love and cherish my family in an honest faithful way is priceless.

There have been gifts from my addiction.  Things that I know that I would never have come to understand without the affliction.  I am grateful for learning acceptance, finding compassion and empathy, and the joy of unconditional love. These are wonderful fruits of my struggle and I will ever be grateful for them.

These gifts and the opportunity to help others, give the suffering meaning. It was not wasted, not just indiscriminate suffering, but a vehicle for becoming and discovering a better self.  And, if somehow, some way, my work diminishes the suffering of some other poor soul trying to figure out sexual addiction, well, I am pretty okay with that.  Then the gratitude comes, that I have been blessed to learn what could be learned in no other way.

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Thank you, Roger, so very much for sharing your story and CONGRATS on your more than a decade in recovery!

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