My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

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I wanted to have my first recovery post of 2019 to be a personal share and look back as I have been putting the finishing touches on my follow-up book to my first memoir of “Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My second book will be a pick-up from all that has happened in my life while maintaining my recovery from addicted gambling with alcohol abuse. There have been ups and downs and many phases of my recovery and life “Journey” … Many blessings, many doors opened, and as I call them, “Perks of Recovery!” Lol.

But I feel I need to share as I grow and as we all get stronger within our journey. And since I love journaling and a writer, it is also an important part of what I do for my recovery. Journaling is such a healthy way to let go of stress, forgive yourself, heal, and a great way to show others what may work for them in their path.

We all learn the skills and tools to use during treatment or your form you had chosen to begin your journey away from the bondage of addiction, and sharing may help prevent others from relapse or slip. And when you make it in longer-term recovery, you should learn to share your voice and become more of an ‘Advocate’ as it is an easy way to help those that may be new or in early recovery. Like “Paying it Forward” to others.

WHY? Because of Facts Like This Below? It Is Time To Not Be Silent Anymore …

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And is also why I try to find platforms to DO JUST THAT! And this year will be no different. My goal and mission for 2019 are to hopefully shine an even ‘Brighter Spotlight’ and be louder than last year about Gambling Addiction. To be able to help those who don’t understand this ever-growing problem.

It’s Time Share so we can shatter the “Myths and Misconceptions” about this disease if only by a little …

For those who don’t know, I am a Gambling Recovery Columnist for one of the biggest Recovery and Resource Newspaper who wanted to elevate the awareness about gambling addiction now touching more and more people. My dear friends Jeannie, Marcus, and Beth are Founders of “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is FREE for everyone! Great articles and columns and supportive resources for help too. My JAN 2019 column and article is on page 15 and cont’d on page 22!

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About Keys to Recovery


S
preading the Message of Hope and Recovery

 

Our purpose and our missions are to give hope that recovery is possible. Incorporated in the state of California Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity.

Our main objective is to carry the message of Hope and Recovery from all types of addictions and disorders to as many people as possible and to offer resources that may provide treatment and support. We do that by printing (yes, printing) a traditional type of newspaper, as well as having an online presence. Our newspaper is filled with columns from today’s top experts in the recovery field.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspap, Inc. is educating our communities about alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and so much more. We also print, at no charge, a 2-­‐page resource guide listing free services and vital help offered within the communities.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is making a strong effort to reach the many individuals currently in jails or other types of institutions, and offer them information that will assist in their future recovery. For every paid subscription we will be able to send a free subscription to someone in an institution.

 

We are NOT affiliated with AA, NA, Al-­‐anon or any other 12-­‐step program. We do, however, believe in the power of the 12-­‐steps and the principles behind them.

 

We operate Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. using these principles as a guideline -­‐ Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality, and Service.

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So as this new year begins, I will be also committed to posting more of my own personal experiences with addiction and recovery, my mental health challenges and goals as I push through the FEAR of my agoraphobia, depression, and anxiety issues and more about HOW I will be of recovery services to others too! I hope you will follow along and visit often as I’ll be adding more reads and resources on those Pages as well!

I wish you all and very Happy, Blessed, and Successful 2019! 

~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

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Early In Recovery? It Will Be OK . . .

“I sure remember those early days when I first went into treatment, in patient first for 2 or so weeks, then out-patient treatment and group for 5 months. It had been my first suicide attempt from my a huge gambling binge! This was set off by a few “life events tragic” happening all around me and I just snapped as all went BLACK!”

It was if my body and mind just said, “no more!”

Well, lucky for me I’m here writing and sharing this with you as that attempt failed. Now I understand and experienced why suicide is the highest among all other addictions currently. And It is very hard to describe what that felt like, the actual hopelessness and darkness surrounding you when you can’t see, hear, or feel anything. It is like your whole sensory is completely shut down. Not to mention the medical ramifications of what I had just done. I was also suffering undiagnosed bipolar issues as well.

It wasn’t until I was placed in a crisis center and properly diagnosed, started on medications, and finally started to come out of my fog and darkness that gripped me so tight. No, not a panic attack, I was suffering from gambling addiction. Our bodies are amazing specimens. But here was a little of what I learned about the mental and physical things that happen to you when you get to such an obsessed and manic state from gambling addiction to the point you feel better off dead than alive. Because you just want the madness, especially in your head to stop. Here is a little of what I researched and found out.

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“young woman leaned against glass wall in crisis moment”

“Courtesy of Everyday Health.com”

The risk-taking behaviors common with bipolar disorder can include an addiction to gambling.

People with bipolar disorder often engage in addictive behaviors. They may compulsively shop for things they don’t need, engage in frequent and risky sex, or spend long hours at the workplace.

They also are apt to engage in compulsive gambling. People who are bipolar tend toward behaviors that include spending too much money on lottery tickets, spending hours in front of video poker machines, and taking frequent trips to casinos.

Connecting Bipolar Disorder to Gambling
Bipolar disorder causes extreme swings in a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to get things done. It’s also known as manic-depressive illness, a name which reflects these swings in mood. Patients can be overexcited and filled with joy and purpose in a manic episode, and then suddenly swing into a depressive episode, becoming sad, joyless, and drained of energy.

Researchers have found that bipolar disorder and gambling addiction often occur together. Half of all gambling addicts in the United States also have a mood disorder, according to one national survey. A Canadian study found that people with bipolar disorder were more than twice as likely to have a gambling addiction as someone in the general population. Another study found that, among those surveyed, a mood disorder preceded gambling addiction in 80 percent of the women and 58 percent of the men.

Bipolar Disorder and Gambling: What Research Suggests

The exact nature of the link between gambling addiction and bipolar disorder has not been fully explained by researchers. Doctors and mental health professionals tend to believe that gambling addiction may be linked to the highs or lows associated with bipolar disorder:

  • People with depression use gambling to self-medicate. This theory holds that patients use gambling to help themselves feel better during a depressive phase. The rush associated with the risk of gambling may help them rise out of their depressive funk.
  • Gambling reflects the impulsive nature of a manic phase. People in the grips of a manic phase often have impulse control issues. They may engage in kleptomania or go on an eating binge. Some researchers believe gambling might serve as another outlet for impulsive behavior.

Another possible theory is that compulsive gambling may be an early-onset form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which people with bipolar disorder experience at an increased rate compared with the general population.

Treating Bipolar Disorder and Gambling

If people with bipolar disorder are self-medicating with gambling, that may mean there is a biochemical process they are subconsciously tapping into to ease their mania or depression. They are using a specific behavior to make themselves feel better because that behavior prompts the body to release hormones or neurotransmitters that naturally treat their mood disorder.

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Several studies have shown the potential for bipolar disorder medications to also help people deal with a gambling addiction:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are powerful antidepressants. Studies have found that SSRIs can reduce the need to compulsively gamble in some people.
  • Lithium, an often-used mood-stabilizing medication, also has shown promise as a bipolar disorder drug that treats compulsive gambling.Lithium reduces the impulsiveness associated with manic phases and could stop the addictive gambling that takes place when a patient is in the grip of mania.
  • Opioid antagonists like naltrexone (Revia) also may help by blocking the release of certain chemicals. Opioid antagonists work on nervous system receptors that respond to opiate drugs. It is thought that gambling and impulsive behavior causes the release of biochemicals that interact with these receptors, causing a feeling of pleasure and reducing the person’s sense of impulse or urge. By replacing those biochemicals, opioid antagonists reduce the person’s need to gamble to make himself feel better.

Psychotherapy directed at treating bipolar disorder also might help treat a gambling addiction, some research suggests. If the person becomes better able to deal with his mania and depression, he will be less likely to pursue gambling as a means of relieving his symptoms. A combination approach may bring the best results for this difficult combination of disorders.

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When I read this little article, bells went off!!  I was so “out there” mentally and emotionally, that I to was given lithium for awhile in my treatment plan for bipolar.
Because my urges and triggers were constant! The impulses were very out of control that I needed the lithium for that reason.

And as my blog post title says, “It Will Be OK.” Early recovery is hard. I never sugar coat how hard it is. But when you are “dual diagnosed” meaning you are in recovery from addiction and living with mental health, at times in early recovery it was like an uphill battle. When I was released from the crisis center and entered the treatment out-patient program? I did pretty well for about the first 90 or so days. But, no one told me the facts about percentages of early recovery relapse ….

A wonderful video to watch about warning signs and relapse prevention is here on  Addiction and Recovery .org  … I also have a  full workbook & guide here on my blog resources page for “Relapse Prevention”…  You need to have a plan ready when you start recovery. Don’t forget, the journey will be a lifetime. But the longer you refrain from gambling, the faster your triggers, urges, and impulses go away, and you can break free from the cycle of this cunning addiction.
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I am being Honest, It will be OK. Life will get so much better in Recovery!

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Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine  ~ “The Author’s Cafe” debuts in June!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Come Subscribe!

“Life Is To Short To Be Unhappy In Recovery”!

Hello And WELCOME Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

 

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Can We Have The GOOD LIFE In Recovery? Can We Be HAPPY?


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I just happened to be tweeting on my Recovery Twitter here @LUV_Recovery and came across this pic. I just seemed to gravitate to it, and my mind started to WONDER!…LOL.
And we all know what seems to happen when my “Recovery Mind” does that so look out!  You never know what falls out of my mouth and into a Recovery Blog Post! I always blame that part of my mouth on just being an Italian! Yeah I know, excuses, excuses. And where did I learn that “habit”? Need I go on?
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But seriously, when I seen this, it made me think of many things when I was still addicted gambling and drinking. The BIG thing was the time lost from my life that I will never get back. That’s why it is true when people say, “Life Is To Short.” What about being happy? When we were in the throes of our addiction, happy to me meant having to lie about how I was really feeling inside myself. You know what I mean right? How we learned to “mask” our true feelings on the BAD DAYS we were having in our addictions. Trying to make our outer person look perfect to others. Those fake smiles, and brag about how much money I was winning when I gambled, but really wasn’t! All the while the “RAGE” of shame, doubt, hate, blame, low self-worth, and feeling, “LESS THAN” each time we used or gambled. For me it got even worse when I first tried to stop gambling and drinking. Because each time I gambled, I entered the “RECOVERY TWILIGHT-ZONE”!!
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Now I know you KNOW what I’m talking about right? It’s that long period when we think we can GET better by going to meetings, and try treatment, but we really haven’t Surrendered Yet. That time when SHIT we hear in our meetings and treatment group starts to sink in just a wee little bit, but we are still in the mindset that we can still CONTROL bits and pieces of our addiction right? Who were we fooling? NOBODY! Just ourselves! BUT, then this “stuff” we hear starts to interrupt our addiction a little here and there. I remember when I started an outpatient gambling treatment group and therapy, one of the first things my councilor said to us was this, “Even if you come here to treatment group, and still go out and use (drink & gamble), these things we teach you will start to POP UP in your head WHILE your out using.”
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And you know what? She was SPOT ON! When I’d relapse and go out and gamble, all this crap I was learning started to make an appearance in my mind and thinking! Gosh it annoyed the hell out me! For me, at first in early recovery, it made me feel even more doubtful, self loathing and low self-worth. See, recovery is a process, a life long process. No, lapse & relapse does not have to be part of one’s recovery, but it does happen for some. WHAT’S the difference you ask?
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A “lapse” is just a “ONE TIME SLIP”…..a “relapse” is when you have that slip, but you continue back into the “Cycle” of the addiction, and you relapse over and over. I did this a lot on and off until 2006, after 2 crisis center stays, and after attempting 2 failed SUICIDES, most recent was in 2006. I got myself tangled in a criminal event from my gambling addiction. That’s when I started, and got a foot hold of long-term recovery working with an Addictions Specialist,  intense therapy, and 3 GA Meetings a week for a whole year. That was my first goal. Seriously work and give it a year to start.
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I also got a sponsor and finally started in-depth step work. I was at the point of being “Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired”….Really the biggest 1st Step we have to take in the start of our recovery is, TRULY admitting to ourselves and another that gambling and alcohol had me beat to HELL. I had lost everything, almost my marriage and husband and my LIFE. It was time to grown up, work hard in my recovery, PUT IT FIRST, and get my LIFE BACK! I think some of the thoughts and feelings I had for thinking what I was doing in my addiction was OK was I felt like a “Victim” of my past Childhood Trauma and Abuse.
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So I felt a sense of entitlement, which we all know is horse shit! I needed to finally feel and walk though all that passed PAIN, HURT, and FEAR of all of that.  PLUS, what I had done to others and myself within my addiction! In order to REAP the RECOVERY REWARDS later years later, to really get what seems so “ELUSIVE” in the start of recovery, and what all of us in Recovery want, just some “PEACE & SERENITY,”……you have to do the work in order to achieve it, not be “Given It.” You know me, I don’t sugar coat recovery to anyone. Working recovery is serious and I always “share” from personal experience. It will be the hardest work you ever do in life.
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So, the BAD news is, you have to work hard in early recovery and beyond. Make those GA, AA, NA or what ever meetings that help support your recovery through *Fellowship and Unity.* You need to start your 12-Step work as well, or what ever recovery program you choose to help you have a balanced recovery. Some important things is re-learn healthy “Mind & Body” life balance. Start a journal, read those materials that are “given” to you at meetings and in treatment. ”
“THEY REALLY DO HELP,” and help guide you by learning, being informed, and tells you about your addiction.
A support PHONE LIST is very important in early recovery. People you can call to help you through “Urges & Triggers.” And get back those healthy habits and hobbies you enjoyed in life, before all your time got sucked up by your addiction.
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The fabulous news of recovery? YOU GET YOUR LIFE BACK! Yes, it will take time, so learn patients. But it will come.
The more you work your recovery, the more of your life you get back in return. And a much BETTER LIFE at that!
Again, Recovery is a life long process, not an inconvenience. As before you know it, you’ll having years in recovery, not minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. You’ll have YEARS of recovery time, and that’s when the “GOOD LIFE” really starts to happen!! It’s when all the hard work you put into your recovery gets good! You finally get to enjoy that early “elusive” in recovery, PEACE, CALM, and SERENITY. You can then start to “Pay It Forward” by being strong in your own recovery, to then help and support others as being of recovery service to others.
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So, Just Breath In Deep,……AWE, DO YOU FEEL IT YET? I SURE DO! It’s called “Success In Recovery”…
“AWE,…. THE GOOD LIFE”!
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May God Bless You All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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