Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.


“Don’t Let The Season Take Away Your Sobriety With Temptations Abound” 

 

The Biggest Threats to Long Lasting Sobriety ~ by Alek Sabin


Long-lasting sobriety can seem like it is so far away when a person starts in recovery because recovery is a long and arduous journey. As such, when an addict is recovering from addiction, it is important for them to be brutally honest with themselves. One such thing to remember is that it is incredibly likely that a recovering addict will relapse, at least once, when they are on such a journey.


These relapses may happen early on, but they can also happen years down the road. Relapses are all too common, but they should not be viewed as a failure. Instead, a relapse should be viewed as a stumble on the path towards lasting recovery as long as you learn from it …

Relapses can be better prevented if an addict, or their friends and family, are more aware of what particular things are likely to trigger a relapse, even though this can change from person to person. Relapse triggers are the main threats to long-lasting sobriety, and here is how you can recognize some of them in your own life…

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Mental Health Issues


One major relapse trigger and something that may have had a major impact on somebody getting addicted in the first place is mental illness. Things like depression from “holiday blues” and anxiety have a long history of increasing the likelihood of addiction,
partly because they heavily impact the emotional sensitivity of an addict.

When somebody has both a mental disorder as well as suffers from gambling or substance abuse, this is classified as a dual diagnosis. When an addict is recovering, it is very possible that the same effects of a mental disorder can push them towards destructive behavior that leads to relapse.

 

Social Events or Pressures

As many recovering addicts know, peer pressure is a powerful motivator. Oftentimes, it is what led a person towards addiction in the first place. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to carefully consider social events and celebrations to attend. If someone at this event is going to be presenting an opportunity for a person to engage in substance abuse, again, then it probably isn’t worth it to attend. Relapse is more likely to occur when you give it opportunities to do so.

 

Relationship Problems


Relationships with friends, family, spouses, or lovers can lead to a great deal of emotional tumultuousness that can be difficult for a recovering addict to deal with. The emotional tides that come with relationship problems can push an addict towards behavior that they associate with comfort, which can lead to relapse. The isolation that is caused by emotional strife in relationships can also have a similar effect.

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Stress Triggers


Any sort of stress triggers, whether they have to do with job stress, relationship stress, self-esteem issues, or any other variety of things to be stressed about, will have a profound impact on the chances of a relapse occurring. Oftentimes, substance abuse is a reaction to stress that is ingrained in a recovering addict’s mind.

For this reason, it’s important for them to be aware of what their common stress triggers are so that they can be identified and addressed when they come up. As a note, one particular reason that stress is so impactful in relapse is that it can lead to high levels of self-doubt, which pushes addicts to a comfortable mindspace of substance abuse.

H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T. is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. This is referred to in the addiction recovery world as emotions or states of being that put a person at greater risk of relapse, because substance abuse can present an easy way out, in many of these situations. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to take special care of their physical health. This means getting regular amounts of sleep, having a healthy diet, and getting the emotional support that they need to stay emotionally healthy.

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So enjoy this Holiday Season maintaining your Sobriety and have a Happy Stress Free Season in RECOVERY!

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Holiday Guest and Article by My Friends of Ohio for Responsible Gambling.

Holiday Guest and Article by My Friends of Ohio for Responsible Gambling.

Well, the holiday season has begun now that Thanksgiving has come and gone for 2018. And for those like me who maintain recovery from gambling addiction, we know this time of year can either be a Joyous time or time where Relapse can sure sneak up on us with family stress, not enough money for the holidays, or arguments with spouses or family members …

ALL of these and others can be possible Triggers for us no matter if your in early recovery, longer-term recovery, or just sitting on the fence thinking YOU may have a gambling problem. There are those WHO can gamble normally, but now with 2.9% of our population now problem gamblers? They need to know to gamble responsibly and if you can’t? See Help. But if you can NOT?

This is WHY I chose for my sixth year to be on HOLIDAY WATCH and SUPPORT as of Thanksgiving Eve through Jan 2nd, 2019 

THEN? I begin my recovery service to my buddy ” Big Jim Downs Recovery Foundation for a whole year as he embarks on a Journey of Hope biking all around America for all Addictions Awareness and Recovery. Check out the link above and see how you can be a part of  “The Biggest Ever Addiction Awareness Event” taking place in 48 States! I am social media and sponsorship Ambassador and it is going to be Amazing to see GOD work MIRACLES through Big Jim!

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Now, back to the article of gambling which IS one of the Addictions Jim will be advocating recovery for … I hope by sharing this article helps those who have not been “touched” by this cunning disease and maybe on the fence to IF they have a problem… ~Catherine

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We are in the thick of the holiday season, which often means family, food, fun, and free time. That extra time usually means more time for our hobbies and entertainment and, for those who like to gamble, it can also mean additional opportunities for betting.

 

More time to gamble can, for some, result in spending too much time and money at the casino. Online gambling can be especially tempting because it offers games running 24/7, which can be accessed from the comfort of your own home and gives gamblers a chance to try games at virtually any time.

If you’re planning to gamble this holiday season, here are seven things to keep in mind.

 

Seven Things to Remember Before You Gamble

  1. Gambling should only be for fun. It is not, and never will be, a way to invest or earn money.
  2. Always limit how much you are willing to lose, as well as how much time you spend gambling.
  3. When you get ahead, quit. Don’t feel pressured to gamble with winnings to win more; be satisfied that you came out ahead.
  4. Realize that you should be able to afford to lose any money you bet.
  5. Never gamble just because you are bored or to decrease stress.
  6. Maintain other interests and hobbies other than just gambling.
  7. If you lose money one-time gambling, don’t gamble another time with just the intent to win the money back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with some gambling during the holidays unless you are in recovery, for those with slight or no problem remember to do so responsibly. If you feel like your gambling (or that of a loved one) is out of control, please click here for resources in your area.

Not Sure if you may have a problem with gambling? Click Here: QUIZ

And TAKE THE QUIZ

Answer the following questions about your gambling activity in the last 12 months and gauge your risk level for problem gambling.

GAMBLING PROBLEM? 1-800-589-9966

 

“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of  The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

Are Your Teens Playing Games with Their Lives?


We all know that gambling, and now internet gaming has been around for a long while.

What we didn’t know was about to happen with the internet and tech offerings and expansion that began in the late 80′ and early 90’s –that gaming and gambling options would be so accessible and continue to grow at a rapid pace as it has. No person better besides myself knows this than my dear friend and The Addiction Expert of Rev Kev’s Recovery World and now the new amazing coach, teacher, and trainer behind the new “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .

So, I welcome and am honored to have Kevin Coughlin back to share some interesting facts about gaming and why parents need to be very privy to the time your kids are spending on their computers and what are they DOING on the internet …
Take it away Rev. Kev!   ~ Advocate Catherine Lyon 

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Image result for copy free images of Kevin Coughlin Author
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“A good coach asks great questions to help you remove the obstacles in your mind and to get you back on track in life.”  – Farshad Asl 

Recently, The World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases. This newly identified gaming disorder causes “impaired control over gaming,” according to The World Health Organization. The decision to include internet gaming as a mental health disorder has not come without controversy; professionals from the American Psychiatric Association and other professional’s in the industry have made clear that they believe that internet gaming disorder is a condition that needs further study. Some mental health professionals don’t agree with the “gaming disorder” diagnosis, they think the label is premature. Many clinicians voiced that they believe that young people are actually using video gaming as a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression, which are on the rise in teens, according to the latest national research.

This new process of addiction should not be determined based on a short period of behavior. The World Health Organization stated that a diagnosis of having a gaming disorder should be determined based on behavior over a period of at least twelve months. If an individual’s personal life, social life, family life, work environment, or if they’re a student, their school environment is impaired by excessive internet gaming, these should be considered warning signs of addiction. Comparable with other addictions, despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation.

Experts believe that the causes of gaming disorder are quite rare and that only approximately three-percent of gamers may suffer from this addiction. There is hope for the three percent; however, more help is needed. A former gaming disorder addict, Cam Adair, was quoted as saying, “First just more prevention, there needs to be more awareness in schools. Parents need to be educated, there is a need for better resources and a need for more professionally trained interventionists,  recovery coaches and support services available.”

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Many parents have referred to internet gaming as “digital heroin!” Don is twenty-five-years-old, who just had his second child thirteen months ago, he lives with his girlfriend and the children at her parent’s house. Don works part-time and spends more than ten hours per day playing video games online. He spends every dollar he makes buying online video games and counts on State assistance to feed his children.

Some nights, Don doesn’t even sleep, he plays video games all night and then goes straight to work in the morning. He doesn’t spend any time with his children or his girlfriend. He doesn’t give his family any financial or emotional support. His girlfriend is on the verge of leaving Don and taking the children with her. His life is totally out of control because of online gaming addiction.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to The World Health Organization’s decision-making body, said, that there are three major diagnostic characteristics of gaming disorder: “One is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery.

The second feature is impaired control of these behaviors, even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates. A third feature is that the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning. The impact is real and may include disturbed sleep patterns, like diet problems, like a deficiency in the physical activity.”

The main features of gaming disorder are very similar to the diagnostic features of pathological gambling disorder and substance use and abuse disorders. Gaming disorder is a clinical condition and must only be diagnosed by professionals who are properly trained in this mental health disorder. The majority of treatment and interventions for gaming disorder are based on the methods and principals of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other added sources of support.

Co-founder of Restart (One of the first US inpatient treatment programs for gaming disorder), Hilarie Cash was quoted as saying, “It’s time to recognize gaming disorder as a legitimate medical and mental health condition.”

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak (from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) was quoted as saying, “Whatever the therapy, it should be based on understanding the nature of the behavior and what can be done in order to improve the situation. Prevention interventions may also be needed.” A licensed psychologist, executive director at The Telos Project, Anthony Bean was quoted as saying,

“The ICD diagnosis is not “appropriately informed since most clinicians — and the mental health field as a whole — do not understand the gaming population. And even most clinicians would probably agree that they don’t understand the concept for video games because they’re not immersed in that world or experience.”

Bean recommends that parents and other loved ones concerned about a much-too-avid gamer, ask questions to become as informed as possible. What games are they playing? Why do they find them interesting? Bean is the author of a guidebook for clinicians wishing to work with gamers; however, he has made it clear that he is not on team Poznyak when it comes to the latest thinking on gaming disorder. I believe that Dr. Poznyak is right on target!

Witnessing Don’s gaming addiction firsthand, there is no doubt in my mind that online gaming becomes a disorder when despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation and the person’s choices are even affecting his family in a negative way because of online gaming.

Anything that is out of balance in a person’s life that has negative consequences that are ignored is a potential problem. I think the writing was on the wall a long time ago when it came to gaming addiction. I’m surprised it wasn’t diagnosed sooner!

Some of the warning signs that parents can look for to help determine if there is a problem with gaming and their teen:

Long hours of playing video games.
 
On the computer or other online devices.

Poor personal hygiene.

Lack of self-care.

Not sleeping, playing video games all night.

Poor grades in school or skipping school.

Lack of interest in everything except video gaming.

Isolation and spending much time in their room.

Irritability and anger problems when not playing video games.

Compulsively buying video games and add-ons.

Not eating regular meals at regular times.

Unhealthy diet, impulsivity,  and irresponsibility.

Life out of balance, obsessed with video gaming.

Depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

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Remember, if you think that your loved one is suffering from a gaming disorder, this should be diagnosed and treated by professional clinicians. You should also remember that approximately three-percent of gamers suffer from this addiction and that behavior should be considered over at least a twelve-month period.

The last thing that anyone wants is a parent thinking that their teen has a problem because they played video games one afternoon for several hours and skipped lunch. It’s important to look at the big picture and not to ignore the facts. Should you have any questions, consult a professional who works in this field. Let’s all be informed and aware!

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.
www.theaddiction.expert
Visit:  “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .
Learn More: About Coaching-LinkedIn Article

My New Guest Article Now Live and a Big “Thank You,” to Marilyn of “From Addict 2 Advocate” Website…

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It is not every day you receive an invite to write and share the worst thing about yourself and the best thing you can learn many life lessons from. GAMBLING ADDICTION and RECOVERY. So, I want to say a BIG Thank You to Marilyn Davis of “FromAddict2Advocate” for having me as a ‘Guest Article Writer’ on her helpful website today!

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction? Come give a visit to Matilyn’s site and you will feel “Welcomed” and have plenty to read and have excellent resources to become Informed, Educated, and learn how to get the help those need from addiction.

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from addict 2 advocate marilyn l davis

I Was Gambling with My Life and Mental Health

 

“My recovery journey started again in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of my second failed suicide attempt and back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 14-day stay.

The problem wasn’t that I gambled again or relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for my mental health 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 did NOT work out too well.”

COME VISIT AND READ THE REST OF THE STORY…  Gambling Addiction Is REAL

Meet Ronda Hatefi and How She is Advocating About Gambling Addiction with “The Take a Break Campaign & Day of Awareness”

“Ronda Hatefi and her family work tirelessly to raise awareness about problem gambling and gambling addiction. WHY? Because she lost her brother, Bobby Hafemann to this disease by suicide. Ronda does this through the help of “Prevention Lane” a program through Lane County Public Health in Oregon. It is a Day of Awareness for those who Gamble to just “Take A Break!” So, here is more about her campaign and how she advocates.”

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TAKE A BREAK CAMPAIGN:


OUR MISSION:

Problem Gamblers Awareness Day/ Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling’s purpose in “Take a Break Campaign” is to reach out to gamblers and family members to check in to make sure they are in control and gambling responsibly.

OUR GOALS:

• To offer an opportunity for businesses that offer gambling to show they care for their customer base.
• To offer family members and friends a way to start a conversation about responsible gambling.
• To reach out with our helpline information and offer hope and help to those who are unable to take a break.

WHO WE ARE:


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Ronda Hatefi, founder of Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization. I have been married 30 years, have 2 grown children and 2 granddaughters. Both of my children have graduated college, are working in their professions and are married. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. They both grew up knowing my passion for helping others with gambling addiction.

I lost my brother, Bobby, 21 years ago after he took his life due to gambling addiction. I have worked since then to speak HOPE and HELP to gamblers and their families. I have been to many conferences, have spoken many places including New York, Washington DC, South Dakota and Oregon, as well as taken part in 3 documentaries (South Korea, California, and France).

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We have had our Oregon Governor sign a proclamation every year declaring September 29th as Problem Gamblers Awareness Day since 1997. Last year being the 20th anniversary of Bobby’s death, we took our Awareness day National. We are working with others across our Country to spread the message of HOPE AND HELP, as well as speaking the truth about how State sponsored gambling is a bad public policy and doesn’t bring only good things to our States.

The work I have done for 21 years has all been volunteer, I believe in what I am doing. I have partnered with some amazing people, Lane County Prevention Team, STOP Predatory Gambling, Voices of Problem Gamblers, and others. I feel it is important to work as a team to do the best work for the gamblers in our State.

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September 29, 2016 – Problem Gamblers Awareness Day in Oregon



HOW CAN YOU HELP?

First, click on the blue link above and READ all that Ronda is doing in conjunction with Lane County Public Health Prevention Team through the “Problem Gambling Awareness & Take A Break” campaign. As many other organizations too like “Stop Predatory Gambling – Les Bernal,” and others listed below are Joining In!

You can help spread the word by a REBLOG today, Friday and Sat…. through Oct 1st 2016! I know Ronda and I would appreciate the SUPPORT!!

And lastly:

Like other addictions, the compulsion to gamble can become the main priority of a person’s life. When this happens the emotional and financial upheavals are devastating. Often, the family is just as impacted by this devastation as the gambler. According to prevalence studies conducted by the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects approximately 80,000 adult Oregonians. For those entering treatment last year, the Oregon Health Authority estimates their combined debt related to gambling at more than $31 million.

Key events locally include the “Take A Break” campaign and Bridgeway Recovery Walk & Run.

In Oregon, treatment for problem gamblers and their loved ones is free and confidential and provided through Oregon Lottery revenues; those interested in seeking help may call the 24-hour help line at 1-877-MY-LIMIT (877-695-4648).

For more information about Awareness Day, contact Ronda Hatefi: ogao.ronda@gmail.com

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” Author, Recovery Columnist, and Gambling Recovery Advocate ~ Catherine Lyon ”

WARNING: Relapse Is Really Hard On One’s Heart, And My Heart Is With Sean…

Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors,

Today has been really hard on my heart when it comes to recovery. RELAPSE can be a mean ‘Bitch’ when she comes back around for you when you least expect it!…


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Sometimes our higher power gives us the opportunity to watch and learn what relapse looks like by watching others in their struggle to recover. It’s what I have been doing now for almost 3 weeks. My good friend Sean is in trouble! And it’s so heart breaking to watch. My friend, and next door neighbor has been on a drug relapse for about that length of time. I have talked with him, tried to help him, but I know I can not make the tough choice’s for him about his addiction or recovery. It breaks my heart that all I can do is watch him crumble.

He went down to visit his parents in San Diego about 3 weeks ago. When he got back, he seemed to go into a depression. I know and understand what that type of ‘separation depression’ looks like, because I’d get that way myself after a visit with friends and family down in So. Cal. So I understood what he was feeling.
We even talked about it. I shared with him what I would go through when everyone had left, and was gone.

The same would also happen when my family came to visit me and my husband in So. Oregon, and then go home after a week or so, I would get depressed. Even though my family is a bit dysfunctional, there still family….LOL. I to would feel the separation depression, and it would hit me hard. We have no children of our own, so it was especially hard when my nephews came with my parents to visit, it would be even harder to regroup after everyone was gone and by myself and hubby again. So I noticed the same with my friend Sean. Then he also started to slack off on going to his NA meetings, RED FLAG.  His son came over one day and had pot on him, and of course his son got Sean thinking that pot  is not a drug…. WTF? is what I was saying in my head to myself, another RED FLAG.

As we all know anything that is mood altering is a DRUG.
Sorry but, POT IS A DRUG. No amount of Medical Marijuana cards will change my mind about that! That it’s a herb, and not a drug. Yeah Right!
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So, Sean started to smoke it with his son. He told me he had smoked pot. And of course we had to AGREE to DISAGREE that pot is a drug. Well my friends, one thing WILL lead to another, and he got right back on the PILL PONY EXPRESS, buying and taking Oxycontin and other pain pills! As an addict in or out of recovery? One drug WILL lead you back on the “Cycle” of addiction.

Now some of you are wondering,…. WHAT? Why didn’t you help him more?
Well, he’s an addict that’s why. Oh, I have talked to him. But as all of us addicts in recovery know, he has to make the choice to get back into rehab, or back on track with his recovery himself. I can’t do that for him. All I can do is encourage him on how well he had done the last 121 days, and to say that NO ONE can take those days away from him. That now with those 121 days clean, proves to him he can do this!
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So, finally, just an hour ago, he came over and had tears in his eyes while he told me he has had enough. He was going to the hospital and then checking himself voluntarily into rehab to detox properly, and start over once again. We hugged, we cried together. I told him how proud I was of him. That the days he made, and work he’d done in those 121 days of recovery, all the meetings, all the “Celebrate Recovery” meetings too, has given him today the ‘Awareness’ of knowing he needs the professional help to recover. I know that he wouldn’t have done that otherwise.

Even though my DEMON was Addicted Compulsive Gambling, and Alcohol abuse when I gambled, addiction is addiction regardless the type. What is the definition of addition?

ad·dic·tion

: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)

: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

Full Definition of ADDICTION

1 :  the quality or state of being addicted <addiction to reading>

2:  compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly :  persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful and repetitive.

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Change,… that’s what it takes to break the “Cycle” of any addiction. CHANGE. Change our diseased thoughts, thinking, habits, and addicted behaviors. BRAVE. To be brave enough to make those changes within ourselves to be healthy and happy without addiction through recovery. Courage. To have the courage to be aware that you’re dying within your addiction and/or relapse. It takes courage to admit your sick and you need help.
That is what I saw today in the eyes of my good friend and neighbor, Sean W.  Even through the tears, all I saw was a man saying, HELP ME, I NEED YOU, I NEED YOUR RECOVERY SUPPORT! And he knows I got his back!

I may not know a lot about DRUG addiction, but I know enough to see when someone is in pain, lost, and in a relapse. But again, all I could do is talk to him, be a good listener, and reaffirm to him the months he had, and he knows in his heart he can DO THIS!

See, since my husband and I had to relocate from Southern Oregon to here in Glendale, Arizona, I don’t have many friends here. I do have a good sponsor, she is a follow recovering gambler, and fellow author to, Marilyn Lancelot. But my neighbor & friend Sean, who lives next door moved in the month after we did here, and that’s about it as friends here. I do have a couple of girls in the complex that I talk to now and then, but I don’t get out much because of my damn Agoraphobia with Panic, and Bipolar Depression. I’m on the computer a lot! NO……. don’t worry, I’m not addicted to the internet or my computer!…LOL.

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One thing I do know, I’m glad I never chose drug addiction as my choice of  escapism from life, just gambling and alcohol. WHY? Because with my addictive, and obsessive personality? I most likely wouldn’t be here today writing this blog post. Addicted gambling & alcohol almost did me in by ‘SUICIDE TWICE’. It’s why I share it, as gambling addiction cost me so much more than money or material things I sold or pawned, it almost cost me my life. I have lost 4 friends in my Recovery Treatment Group and Gamblers Anonymous Group in So. Oregon. I don’t want to lose another friend due to addiction.

So as July 1st was “Addiction & Recovery Prayer Day”….. I ask all of my recovery friends, followers, liker’s, and new visitors,… PLEASE say a prayer for my friend Sean, he really needs them. I’m so grateful to have all my friends here on my blog. Because its times like this that I can come, write my feelings,  my thoughts, fears, worries, and triumphs to share with all of you here. I’m blessed to have all of you! Even if it’s just through Cyber-Space. It means so much to me to have a blog community of friends just, SOMEWHERE. And I have THE BEST! I hope you all know that…. Xo Xo

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Thanks all for your prayers for Sean, and thanks for reading my ramblings…

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Many Blessings & Happy 4th Of July!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author Of “Addicted To Dimes”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485