Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

“Writing is a solitary task; it is a hobby for most of us, it is funny and smooth, other times writing is like a horror, getting a smooth writing experience need a lot of patience, time and spirit to keep performing. During hard times we strive to search for an answer here and there, on all topics and LIFE”

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a Best Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” Catherine’s Memoir is both in-depth and raw as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood.

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude the past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escape into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours from the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now in recovery eleven plus years, Catherine has become well-known in the addiction/recovery communities, and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and the expansion of Indian Casinos, State Lottery offerings, and Internet gambling venues that needs to stop across America.

Catherine’s featured in many media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project ~ Gambling With America’s Health. And most recently interviewed for Time/ Magazine online article titled “Addicted To Anticipation”  She is a former writer and columnist for “InRecovery Magazine” and a freelance writer for Keys To Recovery newspaper and column “Quit To Win.”

She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”  of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts along with other recovery experts like Christopher Lawford Kennedy and Tommy Rosen.

Catherine lives in Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 26 years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Princess, Boots, and Simon Peter.She enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, and swimming. She owns an online business called: “Lyon Media, Book Promos, and Literary Consulting.”

 

 

Author Interview

 

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

Well, I felt that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery, I wanted readers to have an in-depth view of how my family life was growing up can later become some of the roots to WHY some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situations. That was some of my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us may turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like through counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as backlash, family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. How I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that way for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. I had to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly to others who did or are going through these same issues, if you are going to write a memoir, you can not worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

Not really. My first book came very easy for me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 1/2 spiral notebooks by hand! At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and forgive myself and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I always say.

I am almost done with book two, but I am also co-writing another memoir, so it will release before mine. I did release a new compilation book with several other others and Dr. Rev. Kevin Coughlin in Dec. 2017 titled;  “TEN THE HARD WAY: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery”  and Thank goodness I have an exceptional editor, as my own second book is also hand written! The only weird thing, I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper and by the seat of my pants!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know too much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about them passionately …

What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

I pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know” or write what you “feel passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story. I feel funny giving other aspiring writers and authors advice. I am a book promoter for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors? Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP writing and keep promoting your books!


“I am a writer and published author by accident” ~Author, Catherine Lyon

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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)           Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

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What are your current/future projects?

I am currently co-writing with former NFL pro from the Denver Broncos, Mr. Vance Johnson. We writing his story/memoir and legacy. It has been an amazing experience thus far. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow-up to my memoir. It will be serious, have musings, and ramblings about sharing more of my mental health and childhood trauma side of things and how to “Let The Shit Go!” … Lol.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I actually started my current book out with “the reasons how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about a suicide of a woman I read about in our local newspaper when I lived in So. Oregon all year round. But, no spoilers here. LOL.

You’ll need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on “Author Shout” and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know…. Lol. Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I book promote for many other authors and writing another book with someone. It is why it has taken me MANY years to get my next book done and published. So I am still a “two book wonder” at this point.

What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

Well, we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to be published by one of the big publishing houses anymore. Now, that’s not to say there are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are no writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic written works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted and worked with authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts, so the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

My current book was picked up by a publishing firm. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher, however, I received an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. The Kodel Group, Steve Laible is more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and book cover designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s Create Space for the paperback, and KDP for my e-book.

Going this route was the least expensive way to publish. Now most publishers won’t do any book promoting, marketing for authors except maybe send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware and do your reseach of publishers! …And be ready to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media, PR releases, and use a few places that promote for me in mainstream media and get my books into bookstores. Authors can promote for free at many book sites or place low-cost book ads like right here on Author Shout.

Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

Yes. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same but different in the colors. My  e-book cover has different colors then the paperback as I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. The book cover designer took car of it.

What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

Being a person who maintains recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for a little over eleven years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the same issues and problems as I have and was the only way I knew how to help others by sharing my voice and my story to give others HOPE that they to can recover from this cunning and devastating addiction known as gambling addiction.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by addictions have more understanding, compassion, and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities for writing recovery articles, writing with others, and for many publications has been 10 fold! Most have come from people seeing and reading my book, an interview, or hearing me on a radio show or podcast.

I had for two years became a recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” My column was called; “The Author’s Cafe.” I am also a writer for a recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger on “Addictionland.” That is just the tip of the iceberg as I have a few more, but I am “blessed, humbled and thankful” for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

Now this question is an easy answer! Lol. Layer low-cost book ads for your books on several places like right here on Author Shout.

Since I market, promote, and advertise books for authors for living and as my online business, I have a page of what I offer to authors and writers in promoting and marketing their books and I set up all their social media accounts as well. The details are on my website: “Lyon Media, Book Promotions, and Literary Consulting.”
It is my business and home of “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den.”

I began my online business in order to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many just hire me to do it for them so they can just focus on writing more books. I place layered low-cost book ads and maybe run for them a E-book promotion. There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books or meet the publishing deadlines, and why among other reasons they hire me to promote their books for them.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. Do a Beta Reader program to reviews prior to release like on NetGalley. That way you will find your readership. Use many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . Just a couple of my other “go to places.”

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

My current book is a Memoir. About my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

 

How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope writing my book, writing and sharing on my recovery blog where I continue to write my recovery journey is helping others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” 

Like the woman I read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?

As a reader myself, page count doesn’t matter. The book cover is also part of showcasing your book, so it needs to grab the reader. Same goes with the book title. The content of a book is what we as writer offer up to the reader. If your content and story doesn’t keep a reader interested in the first chapter, they might feel some “buyers remorse.” That won’t bode well for future books you publish.

Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a good way to let readers and mainstream media know about your book releasing. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, PR Web and PRNewswire are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?

Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books lets say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book and see its ranking. I know as a reader I do. And, Amazon emails me when someone leaves a review for my book or reads a review I have placed. It tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your books rankings among other books in your same genre. Rankings tell authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions about improving my craft as a writer.

 

If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough.

Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I have agoraphobia and mood disorder. It has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the book selling and publishing industry.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I read every review I get. I can tell you my current has averaged from Amazon’s Rate scale 1-5, my book is still at 4.8 out of 5 stars. So I must have done something right as a writer. So I have not experienced or had to deal with a bad book review …. Yet. Lol.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

 

Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?

Since my book is a memoir, all the people are real, and I only changed a few of the real names of persons I wrote about as I did not get permission to use their real names.

What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventional. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using a writing aide software which I do use.

What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?

I am really boring in this area. I really didn’t enjoy reading until later in adulthood. I wasn’t a “Catcher In The Rye” kind of reader. I enjoyed more contemporary reads by Stephen King and Nora Roberts. However, as a teen, I did love writing poems but never thought much about the “writing” aspect of it.

 

Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

None. Seriously. Just making sure my facts and stats were correct.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She worked for a local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofread for the newspaper. She had taken my six 1/2 notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published. My publisher seen the recovery value of my memoir and knew it would it help others and hopefully bring a “Silent Underground Addiction” to light.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?

Cost. Traditional publishing can be very expensive. And many first-time authors may not be able to afford it. That is where self-publishing comes in. There are several good places who offer self-publish services low-cost or even free. Amazon’s Create Space, KDP, and Smashwords are just a few. It is heart-breaking but there isn’t any value of even sending your manuscript to the big publishing houses either as most never get in front of a live person. Very sad.

What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

Recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. We who maintain recovery know a persons story can be a powerful tool to help others looking to reach out and enter treatment or recovery. If I can help others by sharing my story through words and my experiences? That makes me happy.

Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?

No. I used who my publisher had at the time. She did a good job.

What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

Since I do write for several publications, and for myself, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hope to continue writing and publishing more books to help others maintaining recovery and for readers to enjoy.

Lastly, do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a source of stress release.

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Connect with more from Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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An Interview With an “Angel of God.” Author, Whitney McKendree Moore and Her Book, Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown.

Hello and Welcome Friends and Readers,

“I have been very blessed to have met a new “Angel” and supporter of my recovery. And I want to share her with all of you! As I believe God would want me to. She is not a woman to be “kept a secret” as she is a proud and loud Christian and she is filled with God’s love, faith as she “walks by faith, not by sight.”

 

 

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Author, Whitney Moore

“Whitney McKendree Moore says she writes “campfire stories.” Her books are for women discouraged by a loved one’s alcoholism, especially for those who may not realize that help is available. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal.”

 

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I do believe this to be true about Whitney. In just the short time I have come to know her, she exudes an in-depth insight of the power of “Miracles and God’s Love and Grace” as well. I have just finished reading her book titled; Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown available on Amazon. (Her Review will be a new Post  is a Soon). It is a beautiful tribute to her parents, but also heartbreaking as well.

“Whitney takes readers on a written life journey with this book that brings to light many important issues and topics that face many of us today. Here is more about her book.”

About Whit’s End:

Whit’s End is the biography of a breakdown. It will bring hope to any Christian who is wringing their hands over a loved one’s addiction. In author Whitney Moore’s family, the problem was related to alcohol, but addiction is addiction is addiction. . . .
This story proves that nothing is too hard for God that when we can’t, God can.

The victory that is unfolded in these pages starts with the shock of realizing there is even such as thing as “functional alcoholism.” When the problem is finally revealed, Moore finds help in a twelve-step recovery, where people learn to discern (and do!) God’s will. In meetings, people share the miracles that, for them, have started to unfold.

More About The Author From Her Must Visit Fabulous Website Recovery in The Bible:

“It was in church basements, in recovery meetings gathered (mostly) sitting in circles, where I heard about miracles. Hot off the press! Their honesty helped me more than sitting in rows upstairs ever had.”

I am a born-again woman in recovery trying to practice “saying what I mean, meaning what I say, and not saying it mean.”   I am available, and I love it when we get to encourage one another!  And so, here we are: offering honest questions, hoping for honest replies. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal. She writes to tell of God’s incredible help in her life three ways:

Divine Intervention: “Whit’s End” is her personal testimony of how God revealed denial and delivered her from it into a whole new life.

Direct Connect: “Downloads from God” and “Contemporary Psalms” are companion volumes — excerpts of what it sounds like to be in Quiet Time with the Maker of the Universe.

Divine Connections: “BS-Busters” and “Praise in the Storm” are books of encouragement, urging gatherings where it is safe to “get real” with God, with ourselves, and with each other. Two other titles (“God Can!” and “What the Conductor Said”) offer additional “campfire stories” of God speaking, even through each of us, to one another. Which all can be found on my website.

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Because Whitney is a woman, she writes to come alongside other women who, like her, have reached the point of saying, “I can’t; God can; I need to let Him.” Born in New York City to medical parents — her mother an R.N., her father a neurologist following the footsteps of his father. Back in those days, physicians lived under an awning of prominence. Both her father and her grandfather were treated like demi-gods at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where the phrases “wonderful bedside manner” and “dear and glorious physician” were said aloud and a lot by her mother, who was also highly regarded as “possibly the world’s best Head Nurse.”

Voice and pen became Whitney’s personal ways to be heard. After she married in 1971, she published an article every year as she pursued her professional career and she continued to “sing constantly.” A turning point for Whitney came in 1989 when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery. Whitney lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She attended Boston University and is an author, writer, publisher, singer, musician and has worn many career hats. A firm believer in Miracles, in God and Faith. She is avid about The 12-Steps of Recovery and the grateful help of AlAnon.

SINGER BRINGER


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I do two kinds of singing: (a) HIM Sings and (b) KidSongs. Either way, my goal is for listeners to join in and sing along.

HIM SINGS bring soothing songs and prayerful encouragement wherever I am welcome to do so, mostly into nursing homes and adult day care centers.

KidSONGS provide lots of action and joy as small children learn about animals and numbers and letters and some very silly directions in highly interactive songs.

I have also posted two original songs on Soundcloud.com that are downloadable for free. I hope to be making all my remaining songs available with the publication of my songbook, scheduled for release soon.

Visit Soundcloud.com to listen to my recent songs. I am available to sing or speak.
Please contact me for more information.

You can connect with Whitney on:
Facebook     Twitter    LinkedIn    Google+  &   GoodReads


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Presented By “Recovery Starts Here”  ~ Author & Columnist, Catherine 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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Connect with Roger on: Facebook
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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,

 

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alcohology app 2
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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 . . .

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FREE ALCOHOLOGY APP  2.0 Released For Those Questioning Alcohol Use.

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Keynote speaker, award-winning author Scott Stevens
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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

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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.
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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

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

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“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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ALCOHOL EXPERT:

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Keynote speaker, award-winning author Scott Stevens
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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.

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(click to Amazon and now released)

More Gambling Recovery Ramblings, Updates and News

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome Everyone,

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Now I hope all of my recovery pals are not growing tired of me sharing all about my awesome friend Arnie Wexler and sharing his new book titled; “All Bets Are Off,” as it really is a fantastic look inside gambling addiction and how it can devastate a life. Arnie did a great job with writing this book and all the Amazon 100% 5 star reviews proves it! He shared with me another excellent book review by a prestigious CAMH ~ Journal of Gambling Issues. So I wanted to share it for those who have not had a chance to read his book. This book review will help you make that choice.. .. ..

Book Review of “All Bets Are Off” by: Author, Arnie Wexler:
By: Peter Ferentzy (2015) All bets are off: Losers, liars, and recovery from gambling addiction. Journal of Gambling Issues.

Rarely does a reader come across a text where integrity oozes out from between each line. That is always a treat, and Arnie and Sheila Wexler’s book is one of those. Perhaps this should not be surprising—after all, Arnie brings to the table a half-century of personal and professional experience in recovery from problem gambling (PG). In fact, as a PG scholar who has communicated with Arnie in-depth over the years, I can make a claim that few in the field would disagree with: No human being has devoted more time and sweat to this cause than Arnie Wexler. The one exception, perhaps, would be his co-author and wife, Sheila Wexler. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Steve Jacobson, contributor, who assembled their narratives into a cohesive, beautifully written story—one in which many problem gamblers and their loved ones will recognize their own lives and struggles.

The authors use the designation “compulsive gambling” when discussing PG, which is favored by Gamblers Anonymous (GA), though generally in disuse by the scientific community. So what? “Compulsive” is just as good a word as “pathological,” “disordered,” or “problem.” Arnie is old school, and even though I disagree with him on many points (sometimes I think that Arnie and I disagree about everything), there is nothing wrong with old-school lingo, or even an old-school approach, so long as other options are present.

Arnie is an old-school gambler and an old-school tough guy, and it shows, even as he challenges ideas such as that drugs and alcohol are more dangerous than gambling. Of course, Arnie was in the game when most people thought just that, despite having a decent grasp on alcoholism and drug addiction. On page 1, Arnie lets you in on how he sees it (and how he sees himself): “I always knew I was going to be a compulsive something or other.” Yes, had the dice rolled just a little differently, maybe Arnie would be recovering from crack and booze (like this reviewer), and maybe this reviewer would have a history of compulsive gambling. No one can say for sure, and Arnie understands that truth with as much clarity as any researcher with whom I have worked.

The book is laden with sophisticated takes on complex issues (e.g., Arnie comes out as an agnostic with respect to PG etiology) and some really glaring generalizations (e.g., the “mindset” of the compulsive gambler is discussed with sweeping statements). So, on the one hand, Arnie understands how difficult it is to pin down causation and that, even if it were possible, the account would vary from one person to the next. On the other hand, he often claims that all compulsive gamblers think this way and that way. Even if many of these generalizations were true in the vast majority of cases, they could never apply to each one.

Let us recall, though, that the book is more experiential than scientific. Arnie often makes personal statements, and with full regard for how they are personal. So even though gamblers—according to 12-Step lore—are said to dream about yachts and such, Arnie apparently was an exception to that rule: “Most people who buy those $100 million lottery tickets enjoy a few moments daydreaming about what they’d do if they won: pay off the mortgage, buy a new house, a new car…. Not me. Nope. I just thought of paying off gambling debts and having some money left over to bet even more. That was my fantasy” (p. 8).

As gamblers go, Arnie was as pure as they come: “when I had a good day betting, I was so high I didn’t need sex” (p. 31). Sheila concurs: “Arnie wasn’t interested in making love” (p. 37). Later, she elaborates on this singular drive: “Over the years, I learned to understand the grip his addiction had on him. Even when he knew he was going to lose, he had to make a bet” (p. 40). After Arnie stopped gambling, so ended the high, and the book covers the struggles he encountered during those early years of his recovery, especially the depression. For his wife, the greatest struggle appears to have found the strength to forgive her husband. The two perspectives play off each other throughout the entire book, generating a dynamic that made me feel like I was a part of their reality.

Even after decades in recovery, Arnie explains how he is still an addict and therefore must always be vigilant. To illustrate, he tells the story about a time he was playing golf, and was surprised by a sign that greeted him at the second hole, advertising that a hole-in-one would win him a car. “I was shaking like a leaf as I addressed the ball. I was afraid to take a swing. I ‘accidentally’ knocked the ball off the tee, so…I was shooting for a hole in two…. I was safe” (p. 104).

This book will walk you through the world of GA in all its specificity, vis-à-vis other 12-Step programs. For example, in Alcoholics Anonymous, the fourth step involves taking a moral inventory, but in GA one needs to do a moral and financial inventory (p. 102). Arnie is not entirely uncritical of the 12-Step model, however, and freely expresses his disdain for the anonymity insisted upon by the fellowship. That statement, in itself, amounts to heresy in the 12-Step world, but Arnie feels strongly that disclosure is essential: Gamblers should stop hiding . . . .

That’s what Arnie thinks, and he says what he thinks.  Read More: http://jgi.camh.net/doi/full/10.4309/jgi.2015.31.2

Additional Comments of Review:
“I would like to agree with Peter’s review of Arnie and Sheila’s book. Arnie’s a straight shooter who calls them like he sees them; no pretensions, just honest sincerity in trying to share their story and help people overcome a gambling problem. Arnie and Sheila’s commitment can’t be challenged, they continue to work with young and old, understand the pain that accompanies a gambling problem, and work tirelessly with individuals experiencing problems.”

Arnie is clearly among the greatest storytellers of all times (young clinicians and academics would be wise to sit next to Arnie or Sheila at a conference to get a historical perspective of the field from people who were there at the beginning). They continue to be in the trenches receiving calls at all hours from anyone in need of help and do their utmost to assist in any way possible. In every discussion with Arnie I always learn something new.

Thanks Arnie and Sheila!

Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Ph.D. ~ McGill University
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I was going to jump in and say the same thing, Jeff — I loved this review.
I thought that Peter did a really nice job of conveying the beauty of Arnie (and Sheila!) as we’ve all come to know and admire them — and occasionally, as we’ve probably all done in this incomparable forum at one point or another, disagree with them! — in an effort to help reduce the suffering of problem gamblers and their families.

Well done all ’round!

Bo J. Bernhard, Ph.D.
 Executive Director
UNLV International Gaming Institute
Professor
UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration and UNLV Department of Sociology

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AND THERE IS MORE! . . . .  Arnie was invited to be an Interview Recovery Guest  on Talk Recovery Radio.
I gave this interview a listen, I could SO relate to so much of what they talked about and discussed. So I urge all of you to take a little to yourself and give this LINK & Show a listen. It will knock your recovery socks off! LOL.
What I mean is it is very worth your time to listen to:
https://soundcloud.com/last-door-recovery-society/all-bets-are-off   (Show)

http://www.lastdoor.org/talk-recovery/  (Website)
About Arnie & Sheila Wexler:

Arnie and Sheila Wexler currently work with Sunspire Health www.sunspirehealth.com, a national network of addiction recovery providers. They work closely with facilities Sunspire Health Recovery Road in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Sunspire Health Spring Hill in Ashby, MA where gambling disorder, substance abuse and co-occurring mental health recovery programs are offered.

“We need to not let our addiction define us, but have our recovery define us. ” 
GET OUR NEW BOOK  GAMBLING ADDICTION AND HOW TO RECOVER FROM IT
  ” ALL BETS ARE OFF”

  BY ARNIE AND SHEILA WEXLER AND STEVE JACOBSON  

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Now my next topic? Well it seems that maybe all the blogging and sharing on my blog here and throughout social media for the very first event of UNITED To Face Addiction rally held in Washington, DC the past weekend of Oct 4th and 5th 2015.
Maybe, just maybe this rally didn’t fall on deaf politicians ears. As after this event there was an interesting post by shared by
The White House recently that I would re-share here for those who have not seen this …Maybe Washington, Congress and the legislation maybe listening to the many voices of people who have lost someone due to any type of addiction. It is time to stop the loss of precious life from addictions!

 The White House

3 facts most people don’t know about prescription drug abuse:

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families. Today, President Obama traveled to West Virginia — the state home to the highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation — to hear directly from people in the community and discuss new actions to fight this epidemic.

Get the facts about prescription drug abuse in this country, and then watch the conversation.

Heading to WV to talk about the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in America and what we can do to help. Get all the facts:

*If you or a loved one need resources about the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic, visit www.hhs.gov/opioids *
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So there you go. It seems the our President gets it! So now it is time he ACT. Stop cutting government funding for addiction treatment and mental health services FIRST when they are trying to save a buck here and there in the federal budget.

I hope you found the information provided and shared here today helpful? Your welcome to donate to my “Go Fund Me” recovery book & blog fund. to help me publish my next 2 books.

If you or someone you care about may have a problem with gambling? Grab a copy of Arnie’s and my book and give them as a gift. They can read first hand what can happen if their gambling gets out of hand. So there is all my Gambling and Recovery ramblings and news for today friends.

Until Next Time Recovery Friends and Visitors . . . . ODAAT!
“Believing in a Power Greater than Ourselves”

Catherine Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

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A Special Re-Share From My Friend Rhonda Johnson’s Important Blog

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

I happen to see this on my good friend Rhonda Johnson’s blog, and I find appropriate to share here. To me, it’s important to continue to talk about
Mental Health issues, as many of us have a daily challenge living with it.
I know I do! Put when we can Raise Awareness, help educate and inform the
the public as to what we go through living with mental health disabilities, maybe, just maybe it will start to break the walls of Stigma just a little bit
more!

If you or someone you know has mental/emotional health disabilities, please visit and explore Rhonda’s blog: http://www.memoirsof2165.com/
Her new book just came out as well, and she does great work for many in recovery, those with mental health challenges, and as she says, “Words Are Powerful!”. . . .

Society and Mental Health Disorders

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Let’s Talk Depression…

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Grab a copy of her new book here and don’t forget to do a review!

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Memoirs Of An Addict: Fact or Fiction ~ Now on Amazon. . .