Gambling Recovery Ramblings and I’ll Be On a New Radio Show! Rise Above Radio With Mac Mullings on KOKC.

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Friends! 

I am so excited to announce as part of my advocacy and in honor of March being Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I will be the guest speaker this Saturday, March 16th, at 3 PM CT on-air and Live on FB from KOCK Radio 95.3 FM and 1520 AM and will be a Live FB Event so come follow on https://www.facebook.com/RiseAboveKOKC/


And Mac is part of the SoberWorx Radio Family as well! So I hope you will tune in or come to Mac’s FB Live to take a listen! Here is why MAC began Rise Above Radio and what they are about.

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Rise Above Radio 1-6-18 Hour 1

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Rise Above Radio with Mac Mullings

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WELCOME TO RISE ABOVE RADIO

WHO IS MAC MULLINGS – THE SURVIVAL DRINKER?

“Addiction is the only disease that will try to convince you that you don’t have one.”

My drinking career didn’t start out the way it ended. It never does. The social drinker turns into the survival drinker.

Life isn’t happening according to our plan so we pour something on the rocks to escape reality.

FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN


We are priming the machine for a slow suicide mission. The more challenges I faced the stiffer the drinks.

My relationship with alcohol was a sign of spiritual bankruptcy.

“God loves you” was followed by an asterisk in my mind.

“God loves all his children except for you, Mac” the enemy would whisper to me. Leading me to believe that the greatest moments I would experience had passed.

Life began to feel empty. Empty like that last bottle I swore I wouldn’t drink.

The enemy thought I was breaking down but God knew I was breaking through.

RISE & RECOVERY

The idea for ‘Rise Above Radio Show’ came to me about this time last year. I was just over 90 days sober and God was planting the seed.

I’m pretty good at rushing things so with this I prayed for patience and direction.

Sometimes we have to shut up and listen. Be still. “God never talks to me!!”.

Do you ask him to? Are you ready enough to receive it?

RISE ABOVE IS GOD’s SHOW

Rise Above is God’s show, not mine. I believe in it and the need for it.

We must make a ministry out of what was misery. I don’t honor recovery by keeping it to myself and not encouraging others.

God is doing some amazing things with it and I like to say that we are just getting started.

The birthmark of a believer is a bulls-eye on it’s back and the enemy has his sights on it for sure.

Some don’t see the message of ‘Rise Above’ and it’s fair to say that given the opportunity they would rather replace it with a paid program to collect a paycheck.

MY PROMISE

One of the beautiful things about recovery is that I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to occupy my time with negativity.

One foot in front of the other and let God handle it. I’m not truly sober if I go about it any other way.

I have received many encouraging comments and it is very much appreciated.

I will stay true to the mission, I promise.

If you haven’t had the chance to listen, check out all our previous shows on the Rise Above Facebook page (give it a follow) and join us Saturdays from 2pm-4pm CT on KOKC Radio.
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Mac Mullings – Creator-Host/Rise Above Radio
Program Director/95.3 FM & 1520am KOKC
Co-host/The Ride w- Mac & Chad

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“This show is changing lives, mine included. You don’t have to be an addict to be touched.  I grew up with an addict, and didn’t truly understand addiction or how to forgive until I listened to Mac.”

“Addiction was never an issue I had to deal with. I thought addicts were weak and lacking in character.  Then God brought Mac, along with several other people across my path and into my life, and I learned just how wrong my original assumptions were.

Rise Above is truly doing the Lord’s Work, raising awareness about addiction and its treatment, and opening the eyes of people like me, who would arrogantly look down upon those who are struggling
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“Thank God for ‘Rise Above Radio and Mac!’ What they’re doing for the community is truly amazing! Addiction is such an epidemic in our country today.

We need more pioneers like this in the world of recovery. We are seeing life’s saved and families changed because of ‘Rise Above and Mac’ getting the word out that Recovery is possible and there is hope!”

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So I hope you will join me and listen in as I shine a spotlight on a Silent and Dangerous Addiction! I will be sharing my Testimony and Shatter Stigma about this underground addiction that “Requires No Substance!”

WHY did I say yes to being on Mac’s show? Well, I want to share my story and to share current facts, stats, and some misconceptions about gambling addiction. To share with him that we just had a “tick up” in our worldwide population that now, 2.6% around the world are problem gamblers from only 1% prior. And this tells me with the expansions of gambling venues like legal online Sports Betting in several states, Indian casinos, and States Lottery offerings, this number is going to continue to grow.

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I think we all know that using gambling like I did to ‘escape or numb out from life’ and for all the wrong reasons is happening more and more and it IS having a negative impact in our communities and on families. It is reaching our high school and college-age kids too with again, now legal online Sports betting in some States and out of the 17+million problem gamblers in the USA?

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Parents? HALF this number is your high schoolers and young college adults!. It is also having a significant negative impact on our Retired Senior folks too. Look, I think we are all smart enough to know that gambling profits are not being made from those who are a “once in a while” Bingo players or gamblers. The profits from all venues and options of gambling are being from the people who are frequent, addicted and problem gamblers.

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So, anytime I get an invite on a platform like “Rise Above Radio” and like my monthly column called “QUIT To WIN” in ‘Keys To Recovery Newspaper’ a  free recovery publication, it helps me feel empowered to be able to share my experiences of how gambling addiction devastated my life and my husbands, share my strengths maintaining recovery and what works for me, and have platforms to share HOPE to those looking or reach out to RECOVER OUT LOUD . . .

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 ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon  



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March Is Problem Gambling Awareness So Let’s Have a GamTalk! It Is a Great Resource . . .

Those of us who maintain recovery from the cunning disease and addiction of gambling know our stories can be helpful and powerful tools to show Recovery is Possible from this illness and others are NOT ALONE. There is no shame in reaching out for help if you feel you have a gambling problem.

One place for exceptional resources and be with other “like-minded” individuals recovering or even having a struggle to maintain theirs my friends of GAMTALK!
Founded by Dr. Woods, GamTalk has great tools and resources to help you Recover.

Since March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I wanted to share Stories of those who have shared their VOICES and Addiction/Recovery on GamTalk so everyone can know there are many out here including myself trying to stay BET Free.  That gambling caused us much pain, financial devastation, and can be a challenge to maintain recovery at times.

Unless we begin “THE CONVERSATION” about this disease, others will still stay within the STIGMA and not reach out for the HOPE and the HELP that is out here and ready to help those looking to get their LIVES BACK! I sure did and it’s time for you to as well . . .

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GamTalk

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WHAT and WHO IS
GAMTALK:

Dr. Wood is the founder and manager of GAMTALK

“I have been investigating gambling problems for the last 18 years. I don’t have all the answers, but I will do my best to tell you what is currently understood. I focus on problem gambling prevention, education, treatment, responsible gaming, research, and recovery related issues. Through GAMTALK I will discuss the benefits of online support and to explain how Gamtalk helps thousands of people every year to discuss their gambling issues as part of a supportive online community.”


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SHARED STORIES of HOPE:

Arnie, A Long-Timer Maintaining Recovery From Gambling:

I am a recovering Compulsive Gambler who placed my last bet April 10,1968.

I started gambling at about age 7 or 8 as a kid in Brooklyn, NY. It started with flipping baseball cards, pitching pennies, shooting marbles and playing pinball machines. That kind of gambling continued until about age 14. At that point, I started to bet on sporting events with a bookmaker and I got into the stock market.

As a young kid, growing up, I always felt that everyone was better than me. The only time I felt okay about myself was after I had a win, whether it was marbles or baseball cards or pennies. Then at 14, I went to the racetrack for the first time (that was Memorial Day, 1951 Roosevelt Raceway). At that time in my life, I was making $.50 an hour after school, working about 15-20 hours a week. That night at Roosevelt Raceway I had my first big win and walked out of the track with $54. Looking back today, I think it was that night that changed my life. Even though it was only $54, it was about 5 weeks salary to me at that time. That night gave me the belief that I could be a winner from gambling and eventually become a millionaire. I can still recall that high feeling walking out of the racetrack that night.

By 17, I was already stealing to support my gambling. It started with stealing comic books to play cards with from the local candy store. Before long it was stealing money from my family to pay for gambling. By then I was taking the bus to the racetrack, a few nights a week on a regular basis. In those days they closed the track in the winter months, in New York so on weekends, I would take the bus or the train to Maryland to gamble. I was betting sporting events and horses with the bookmaker on a daily basis. In those days each sport had its own season. I remember calling the bookmaker one day and the only thing that was available to gamble on was hockey. I had never seen a hockey game but bet on it anyway. It wasn’t until months later when I did see my first hockey game, that I realized that hockey was played on ice.

Somewhere between age 17 and 20 I went to the racetrack one night and won $6000. Wow! Another big win. It was the equivalent of 2 years salary. This reinforced my belief that I could be a winner at gambling.

By my early 20’s I was betting big amounts on lots of games that I didn’t really know much about and probably couldn’t name more than a handful of players who played in these events. In some of the college games I bet on, I couldn’t name one player or even tell you where the college was located, but I needed to be in action. By then I was a regular at the old Madison Square Garden, every week.

I was watching and betting on college and professional basketball on a regular basis. At this point in my life, I was working full time in a shipping department in the garment center and every Tuesday when we got paid there was a regular crap game out in the hallway. Almost every week I would lose my pay in this game. I began stealing supplies and merchandise on a daily basis to pay for my gambling. By then, I had a bank loan and a loan with a finance company loan. I was also borrowing from coworkers.

At 21 I met my future wife. Our first date was to the movies and most of the rest of our dating was at the racetrack. We had a joint checking account saving for our wedding. She would put money in and I wouldn’t. I needed to use my money for gambling. I was still looking for another big win. I thought the perfect place for our honeymoon would be Las Vegas or Puerto Rico since I knew both places had casinos. My wife to be didn’t think that was a good idea.

I guess she understood enough about my gambling already. At 23 we got married and I wanted to stop gambling at that point. I thought that I could. Within a short time, I was already back to gambling. Even though I wanted to stop, I realize today that I couldn’t. I needed to gamble like any drug addict needed to stick that needle in their arm, or any alcoholic needed to have that drink.

Four weeks after we got married I went away to the Army Reserves at Fort Dix, NJ for 6 months. During those 6 months, I gambled every day, fast and furious, from placing bets by phone with the bookmaker to shooting crap and playing cards, every waking minute. When I came home in December of 1961, I owed $4000 and didn’t even have a job.

I got a job, eventually, working in the garment center In the showroom that I worked in there were a few compulsive gamblers who I quickly got friendly with. They became my buddies. We would play cards during the day and go to the racetrack at night and on weekends, together. My wife thought I was at business meetings some of these nights and all of us would lie for each other.

In 1963 my first daughter was born. My wife was in labor for 37 hours. During that period I went to the racetrack twice. When the Doctor finally came out and told me that we had a baby, the only question I really was concerned about was “how much did she weigh”. He told me 7lbs.1 oz. You would think that the concern should have been “how is my wife” or “how is the baby”. The first call I made was to the bookmaker. I bet 71 in the daily double. The next day when I picked up the newspaper, the daily double hit. I was convinced that day that God was sending me a message that I was now going to be a winner.

One year later my boss gave me an option to buy 500 shares of stock in the company for $7500. Within a year that stock was worth $38,000. In those days you could buy a car for $2000 and a house for about $10,000. Within 3 years this money would be gone due to my gambling. By now I was a plant supervisor for a Fortune 500 company. My gambling was already so out of control that I was stealing everything I could to stay in action. I set up a room in the factory that we used for playing cards (all day long). I was starting to do illegal acts (manipulating stocks) in the stock market.

Our home life was deteriorating. Gambling was more important than anything else that was going on at home. I was lying about almost everything and I would come home and pick a fight so I could go out to gamble. Nothing else at that point in my life was more important than gambling; not my family or my job. Gambling came first. At this point even though I was doing illegal acts, I was still borrowing money from only legal sources.

My gambling continued to get progressively worse. I was now a plant manager, supervising 300-400 people. My boss worked in New York, and I was in a factory in New Jersey. Most of the time he didn’t know what I was doing. Besides stealing and borrowing money from coworkers, I now had 3 bank loans and 3 loans to finance companies; I owed a loan shark an amount of money equal to one year’s salary. I was involved with 3 bookmakers, both working for them and betting with them. I directed a lot of people who gambled in my company, to my bookmaker and got a piece of the action.

I even got involved in a numbers operation. Between this and stealing, I was supporting my gambling. There were times I would bet 40 or 50 games on a weekend, and believe I could win them all. One weekend, just before I hit my bottom, I called a bookmaker and took a shot by betting a round robin which amounted to about 2 years annual salary. At that moment if I lost that bet, there was no way I could pay it. Things were getting so bad, I remember calling a bookmaker one day and being told that if I didn’t bring him the money I owed him he would not take my bet for that night. I went home and sold our car to a neighbor.

By now, I wasn’t going home to pick a fight with my wife. I was doing it over the phone so I wouldn’t waste the trip home. Most of the time I was out gambling, but when I was home we were constantly fighting. We had sex very rarely. When I won I was so high I didn’t need it and if I lost I didn’t want it. But there were times we had sex and my wife would say to me “do you hear a radio”. Of course, I would tell her she was crazy, but I had a radio on under the pillow so I could listen to a game. We were trying to have another child, but couldn’t. My wife came to me with the idea of adoption. I didn’t like that idea especially when I was told it would cost money. I needed that money for gambling.

After 3 months of her bothering me, I finally went along with the idea of adoption, as I thought she would be so busy with the 2 kids that she would leave me alone. I borrowed the money we needed from my boss and relatives. On the day we were bringing our son home on a plane, it was the 7th game of the 1967 World Series. My wife was busy looking at this beautiful new baby. I had no interest in him. I had a large bet on the game. The pilot was announcing the score every 15 minutes, or so. I was so upset that we were on this plane. I wished and prayed that the plane would get to the ground so that I could see or hear every minute of this game.

In the next few months, the bottom fell out of my world even though I still had my job and still looked okay. There were no track marks on my arm, I wasn’t smelling from my gambling. No one could really tell what was going on. I would come home from gambling and see my wife crying all the time, depressed, sick. Our daughter was 4 years old and I don’t remember her walking or talking. I either wasn’t home or when I was my head was consumed with the gambling. At that point in my life, I owed 32 people, 3 years annual salary. I had a life insurance policy and constantly thought about killing myself and leaving my wife and 2 kids that money.

I would do anything to keep gambling. As long as I could get my hands on some more money to stay in action, I still thought that the big win was just around the corner. I was trying to find out where I could get drugs to sell and looking around at gas stations to rob. I was asking people about making counterfeit money. I was running out of options. My boss came to me one day and told me that a detective was following me and he had a report on my gambling. He knew I was betting more money than I earned and he was sure that I was stealing from the company and that if he found out he would have me arrested.

Three hours later I was stealing from the company again. I needed to go to the racetrack that night. On February 2, 1968, my wife was having a miscarriage and I was taking her to the hospital. I was wishing and praying all the way that she would die. I thought that would solve all my problems (I wouldn’t have to tell her how bad things were). That morning I called my mother to watch my kids, I called my boss and told him I couldn’t come to work because my wife was in the hospital.

That afternoon I went to the racetrack. After the track, I went to see how my wife was. When I got to the hospital the doctor told me that my wife was in shock and had almost died. I was so deep into my addiction that I really didn’t care about her, the 2 kids or myself. The only important thing was making a bet.

“I thought that I was the only one living the way I was living and doing the things that I was doing.”

I found out that I was not alone and that I could stop gambling with the help of other people. I had hope for the first time. It’s been almost 38 years since I last gambled. Today I have everything I dreamed about getting from gambling and then some.

I have a wonderful family that is still intact and even have been blessed with 4 grandchildren who I love very much. In the last 20 years, I have been able to devote my working life to helping others who have this problem and educating people on the disease of Compulsive Gambling. This has been a dream come true.
~Arnie

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GamTalk
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Please give GAMTALK a visit and read more Stories of Hope and know you are not alone and we can recover from the cunning disease of Gambling and recovery is Possible and it WORKS.

~Catherine

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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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Helping Others In Recovery from Gambling. A Research and Study You Can Participate In ~By The University of Calgary – Addictive Behaviors Lab.

“Through my years of recovery from gambling addiction, alcohol abuse, and mental health challenges, I have been honored, invited, and to be a part of and engaged in and interviewed for many articles, studies, and research of addictive behaviors and neurosciences mag write-ups. I do so to Raise Awareness & prove recovery is POSSIBLE” ~Author/Advocate Catherine Lyon 


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Here Are The Details and Pre-Screening To Become A Participant:

A friend of yours mentioned that you were in gambling recovery and involved in advocacy, and that you might be interested in helping us recruit participants for a study we are running.” (Well, of course, I was going to HELP)!!

We are currently investigating the impact of methods/strategies, as well as co-occurring addictions, on the recovery process. We recently received confirmation of the ethics modification that would allow us to recruit through means like this, and it would be amazing if you would be willing to help us spread the word and is open to US citizens through June 2019!!

Here is some more information about the process, as well as the compensation that participants will receive for time spent completing the survey, to help you decide if this is something you would be interested in sharing.

Eligibility Requirements for Participants and Open in The USA:

1.)  You must have experienced a period in your life lasting 12 consecutive months or longer when you felt that gambling caused problems for you (e.g., financial, interpersonal, emotional, etc.) …

AND,

2.)  You must CURRENTLY be in a period of recovery from problem gambling that has lasted 12 consecutive months or longer…

AND,

3.)  You must have experienced a problem with another behavior (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, or other substance use, shopping, binge eating, internet use, etc.).

The Process:

First, participants will be asked to complete an online screening questionnaire to determine if they are eligible to participate (roughly 5-10 minutes) … Please visit and CLICK  link  Gambling Pre-Screening  to complete the screening survey and determine your eligibility

If they are eligible, you will be asked to complete:

1.)   A telephone interview regarding engagement in, and recovery from problem gambling and other addictive behaviors. Telephone interviews take approximately 45 to 75 minutes to complete.

2.   A second, and final, Online Questionnaire with questions about personality, life experiences, etc. This questionnaire takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Some Compensation:

As a thank-you for participating in this study, participants will be offered $40 in the form of a gift card that will be e-mailed out (participants will have a choice from a short list; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, David’s Tea, The Keg, and Starbuck for US participants). Please note that if members do not pass the screening process, they will NOT be eligible to participate in the study, and therefore will NOT be eligible to receive a gift card of any amount.

Catherine, thank you so much for taking the time to consider sharing our research. If you or potential recovery friends have any questions or concerns at all I would be more than happy to answer them! Email me at ALANA,  ablab@ucalgary.ca 

Best Regards,

Alana Guidry

Research Assistant

Addictive Behaviours Lab

University of Calgary

of psychology department

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#BeTheOne!!
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I hope all who visit and are in recovery from gambling and another occurring addiction will take this opportunity to see if you qualify to be a participant Like I will Be and is a way we can have a platform to help others and help get sound solid information to about any addictions to the public is another way to “Be of Recovery Service!” ~Catherine 

 

Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Ones!

A while back I had received an exciting opportunity and invite from a major organization to “share” one of my most important times within a downfall or relapse during my recovery and what I had learned from it being in early recovery. Of course, looking back, one had always stood out to me and it was from my second failed suicide attempt and I was wasn’t even ACTIVE in addiction. No, not trying to shock anyone about suicide, but currently, one in five people gambling addictively will try suicide once as one can get in a state of feeling financially bankrupt and emotionally hopeless …

Since the Holidays are just around the corner, I will be, for the 6th year, be at home blogging, advocating, checking my email closely, and will BE available by phone for anyone who needs Recovery Support or struggling with gambling beginning the day before Thanksgiving 2018. WHY? 

Because even though I am years in my journey of recovery, I know and remember how difficult the holiday season can be when you have a problem or are addicted to gambling. Not enough money to buy gifts or even buy things to celebrate or decorate the season. I had many years of this and know how it felt.

I Hope that by sharing this article I wrote and sharing, that it finds its way to even just “one person,”  it may help and let them know there is HOPE and much HELP with gambling addiction. You are not alone. I have been through the “battle” and I am here to listen, read your comments, answer any questions, and here to HELP.
~Catherine Lyon

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“My recovery journey started again in 2006. Not from gambling but from being dually diagnosed with addiction and mental health challenges. I woke up in a hospital as the result of a second failed suicide attempt and was back into an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 15-day stay.”

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The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well. We are hearing more recovering gamblers and other types of addictions where the addict has mental illness as well. That was me! And the “why’s” to writing my memoir titled; Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat and that is was what my gambling addiction had turned me into, a liar and a cheat …

This time around I had a severe financial crisis happen and since I had not taken mental health meds and already worked through all our savings and retirement money, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. “Old addiction thinking and diseased habits.” What a mess I got into! The person pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the process and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I finally paid off recently. My point?

We must do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I had not done all the work necessary for a well-rounded rehabilitation. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and now legal troubles told me I still had more work to do. I needed to work with an addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I did get help with an expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others, and those still suffering the cycle of gambling addiction.

After this second suicide attempt, I also learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with the gambling/behavioral specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery with mental illness. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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

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

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. They were all direct links to the roots of why I had turned to gamble and became addicted. I also never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

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By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter the stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are child sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted.

It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on families’ lives and the impact in our communities.  The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth.

Currently, 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers. Again, 1 in every 5 will attempt suicide from this addiction. And now, gambling addiction IS the 3 addiction claiming lives by suicide. This has to change! Hopefully, through my recovery advocacy, my book, and my blogging, I can help change this. I have learned many lessons, so the best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about the addiction.

Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a reliable recovery that encompasses inner reflection and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I happen to learn this the hard way.

Now that I have reached eleven plus years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we could weather any storm together as he stayed with me through all of this. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned on many platforms and in publications.

And I share as much as I can with others who still suffer. As I write my next book, it will be about how to make the first year in recovery and beyond as it seems readers have been asking me to do. With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted to share how to attain the first year of recovery. It IS WHY I continue my recovery as an online journal in blog format here on Recovery Starts Here!
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All I can do is urge others who have a gambling problem is never give up. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the ‘professional or clinical’ side of this disease and how to recover. Sharing our story is a powerful tool for others to listen and learn from and break the power of stigma.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent.

Besides, this is about reclaiming your life from gambling addiction!

 

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About The Advocate:

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best-selling author of her shocking debut Memoir; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Walmart Online. Born in New Jersey, lived in So. Oregon over 25 years, she and her husband reside in Glendale, Arizona. Catherine is well known in many addiction and recovery online communities for her voice of realism, raw, and honesty about her battles with gambling addiction and now 11+yrs in recovery, living with mental illness, and her past childhood trauma and abuse.

She is finishing her third book and currently co-writing a memoir with former NFL pro of the Denver Broncos, Vance Johnson. She is a former ‘In Recovery Magazine Columnist of The Authors’ Café, and ow writes a column called “Quit to Win” for the recovery newspaper “Keys to Recovery.”  Catherine advocates and sponsors many today. Her articles have been published in “Time and Nautilus online, In Recovery Magazine, Facing Addiction, and Keys to Recovery, as well as media from Columbia University.”

Recovery Month Featured Guest Article. “A Gambling Story.” By Charles Watson.

Recovery Month Featured Guest Article. “A Gambling Story.” By Charles Watson.


Will call her “Jenny.”

Jenny is a thirty-eight-year-old who shared her gambling addiction story with my friend Charles Watson who is a content writer for addiction/recovery and health-related issues. Jenny let us share some of her feelings and struggles with addicted gambling as part of an interview with Charles. To keep her bit anonymous, I’m using the first name only. Here is what he learned from his talk with Jenny. As we know those of us maintaining recovery, sharing our stories can be a powerful tool to help others and share hope…

“My Gambling Addiction Story”

I never wanted to admit that I was addicted to gambling until I went home late one evening and found my 10-year-old son quietly sitting outside our apartment. Next to them was a bag full of toys and some school stuff.

The moment I saw him, I knew what was going on. Still, I waited until my son blurted it out, “uncle told us to leave, mom.” Yes, we were being evicted. I know I was five months behind our rent and that we only managed to stay longer since the landlord pitied my son. Then again, this fact didn’t stop me from falling deeper and deeper into my gambling habit.

On my way to work, I’d pass by the casino, try my luck at one of the machines there, as if it’s a part of my daily morning routine. For me, that was how I should jumpstart my day. After work, I’d pass by the casino again, and no matter how full or empty the casino parking lot would look like, I always had a reason to go inside. If the parking lot was full, I’d talk myself right inside thinking that the machines will be paying out now. If the parking lot was empty, then I’d think that the slots will pay out again this time. That’s how bad it has gotten! My thinking was even addicted and going entirely in the wrong direction.

My Backstory

I came from a struggling family. I had eight other siblings, my mother worked as a preschool teacher while my father prided himself in being a professional drunk. We could barely make ends meet because my father would always steal my mother’s money for alcohol. My siblings and I ended up working odd jobs to support ourselves. Cash was hard to find for us back then.

Luckily, I got a scholarship for college and with blood, sweat, and tears I was able to graduate. Since I was at the top of my class, I attracted a firm and was hired as a PR and Advertising Consultant in one of the biggest PR firms in the city right after graduation. Even though I was new, my firm was confident to let me handle large accounts.

Having drive and determination and a “DON’T- take-No-for-an-answer” attitude, I was promoted after a year. I was just 24 at the time I landed the account that turned my career around. I was doing really great and for the first time ever, I felt like I could do anything, and finally, money was now effortless to find making life much easier. I was at the peak of my career when I met Josh, the father of my child.

I knew him to be a well-mannered gentleman who came from a good family. He presented himself as somebody who is successful in his career and is financially stable. I felt secure having Josh in my life. This is the same reason that prompted me to move in with him, even before we were married. In 2007, I gave birth to our first child. Since I feel like I needed to spend more time with our newborn, I decided to quit my job.

I gathered all my savings and invested it in a business Josh was planning to start. In short, I gave Josh all my money. A week after I gave him the money, he talked to me again, now asking me to give him more. He said he needed more investors for his business. So, I borrowed money from friends and from the people I worked with in the past. I gave him a total of $50,000…

“After getting all the money from me, Josh just disappeared.”


How my gambling problem started

I was furious. I couldn’t accept the fact that Josh left me and for a younger woman. I cried buckets and buckets of tears day after day. I overdosed on sleeping pills and alcohol in attempts to escape from my problems. I also met a few friends who invited me to the casino to ‘supposedly’ unwind and rest from my worries and stress. When I told my new-found friends that I don’t have money for the casino, they told me to pawn anything valuable I have. So, heeding their advice, I pawned the diamond ring Josh gave me as a gift for our anniversary. Off we went to the casino!

When I saw the colorful lights and festive atmosphere of the casino, I was ecstatic. After a very long time, I finally broke away from my misery. That day, the casino became my savior, my refuge, and my escape. I tried playing with the slot machine and voila! For my fourth try, I won big! Whew! I felt like my life was slowly getting back on the right track that night. That night ended with me bagging another big win before we left! I was hooked!

The next day, I spoke to my old boss and asked him to take me back. I felt if I went back I would win big again. Then, I got my old job back, but it was very different this time. My motivation to work was to have money to spend at the casino. My thinking sure changed after those couple big wins. Every time I received my paycheck, I would immediately go to the casino and into the arms of my slot machines. I would always think about the fun, dream world, and seemingly happy casino atmosphere. It was something that I could not get over. And just how fast I got hooked!


Acknowledging The problem and Doing Something About It

I never acknowledged it as a problem until I saw my son crying because he was starving. We had nothing in the fridge. No water, no electricity, as well. I realized I was no longer buying groceries and I was not paying our bills. All I was thinking was the casino! After spending another night at the casino, I went home to an eviction notice. We had nowhere to live. I only had five dollars in my wallet. How would we survive? I decided to stay with my mom and dad. I shared my gambling problem with my mother, and she asked me to speak to her friend who is a counselor.

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We made my first appointment and after, I was happy to find a counselor who was empathetic and supportive of my decision to break away from my gambling habit. I still see her every week. Even though I’m still struggling, I can say that I’m doing the right thing and on the right track. It’s ironic how we only decide to do something about a problem once everything else in our lives is a mess. My experience was genuinely becoming unmanageable.

I’m still thinking about the casino and the rush and high I get every time I go there. But then again, when I look at my son, I know there is more to life than my need to temporarily escape from my problems and issues. I have work to do in learning the proper tools and skills to keep me from gambling as I now know I have a problem with it.

In closing, I’m trying to stay on the right track — for myself and give a better life to my son.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Guest Blogger: Charles Watson. Brand: Sunshine Behavioral Health


Charles L. Watson is a freelance writer. Although he holds no medical or psychological degree, his content writing specialties include both addiction, recovery, and health-related topics. You can read more of his content for Sunshine Behavior Health. He would like to thank “Jenny” for her time and honesty with regards to her story above. While the story itself is heartbreaking, let us remember that gambling itself is an addiction and recovery from this disease is possible.  Charles can be reached on Twitter.

Is Gambling Addiction and Mental Health Separated or Seen As ONE? Listen On My Take On Mental Health News Radio…

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Gambling: The Underground Addiction with Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best-selling Author of her shocking debut Memoir “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. She has fast become well known in the addiction & recovery communities. Her book shares her raw, unedited and haunting past of gambling addiction, living with mental health challenges, a childhood trauma, and abuse survivor, as she helps many in recovery and advocates about these important issues to Shatter Stigma, Raise Awareness, and Educate the public, and those who have been ‘touched’ by the same. Her mission is to spread HOPE to others looking to recover and warn that suicide is not an option or answer for someone with a gambling addiction.

“I’m just a regular woman who wanted to share my personal story about a very big addiction.” NO, I am not rich, famous, or a reality star, I just wanted to share what I’ve been through so others can have more understanding of problem & addicted gambling, and how devastating and cunning this disease is as it devastates your life and how you can recover!”

“Gambling addiction is the hush, hush addiction no one talks about. That now needs to change when 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers thanks to the expansion of Indian casinos and state lotteries in the US. GAMBLING ADDICTION IS currently the highest ‘Suicide Rate’ than any other addiction.”

Just Click and Listen To My Radio Show!

NO, gambling addiction and having mental health challenges are 
separate and is called being
Dually-Diagnosed …

“Big Thank You to Kristin Walker for Having ME!”

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