Sharing Other Recovery Blogs Sharing Voices of Gambling Recovery. Meet Arnie Wexler, A 50 Year Veteran of Recovery From Gambling Addiction.

As National Problem Gambling Awareness Month comes to a close, I want those who may know someone or have a family member touched by or may have a problem or have become addicted to gambling here Arnie Wexler …

He knows what it takes to recover from the #1 addiction claiming lives by Suicide today. There is Help and Hope for this cunning disease. Arnie has just celebrated 50 years maintaining his recovery from it and SO CAN YOU. SO, please take a listen to his Guest Interview by Nicola of “I Love Recovery Cafe”

Nicola talks to Arnie Wexler about Compulsive Gambling (Podcast)

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Arnie Wexler is a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC), and was the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for eight years.

Arnie is one of the foremost experts on compulsive gambling in this country and has been involved in helping compulsive gamblers for over 30 years. He has appeared on many of America’s top television shows, including Oprah, NightLine, and 48 Hours and 60 Minutes.  He has been quoted and profiled in hundreds of magazines and newspapers.

Contact Arnie at his Website here

 

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Courtesy and Presented by “Gambling Recovery Can Start Here!” Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Problem Gambling Month Coming to a Close. What Do We Do With “Anger” In Early Recovery? Part One.

I had been chatting with a friend of mine about the issue of ANGER within our recovery path. Especially in early recovery, we tend to be agitated and moody when we are in abstinence from whatever your choice of “poison” is of an addiction. Mine just happened to be gambling and later alcohol abuse.

The alcohol wasn’t the problem after I began to do the work and be educated about addiction in general. Gambling was my crutch of “escapism, numbing out the world, and painful past trauma as a child. And damn, was I ANGRY! I could not believe I had let an addiction of any kind take over life, becoming completely unmanageable in ALL Areas of my life.

Since I am dually diagnosed with emotional and mood disorders while in my first crisis and treatment stay, hell, I was raging with anger! So I wanted to share a 2 part article for a recovery publication that I wrote several years ago about ANGER and some ways to get past it and manage. I hope it helps and will share part 2 later in the week! I also include some of my good friend Marilyn’s “wisdom” as well as she is a retired psychologist who worked in the prison systems in FL and seen ANGER from inmates on an hourly basis. I can just imagine … Lol.

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Today we’re living in an angry world, and some of it can rub off on us within recovery causing discomfort, even pain. But anger doesn’t have to be a bad thing when you understand it and know how to make it work for you. Our past doesn’t define who we are today in recovery. Let’s deal with ANGER in general and hopefully, it will help turn your jangled nerves in recovery to move Heartfelt Peace you deserve …

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“At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled.”  ~Marshall B. Rosenberg


“The pot of spaghetti slammed into the wall, and I watched my supper run down onto my clean kitchen floor. I stomped my feet on it and then got a hammer and a box of nails to repair the backdoor screen through which I’d just thrown a chair. I already needed to buy a new lamp. The one I threw across the room last week was beyond repair. My husband and I were having another fight about my gambling!”

That was me–way too often–for too of my gambling many years and when repressed anger broke down the dam and gushed through with a mighty force. I know about anger. When I was a child, I was forbidden to show anger, having to be silent about what was happening to me as a child with sexual trauma. But it had to go somewhere, so it seethed inside, and I got good at stuffing it deep within me for years! Waiting until I became an adult and could let it out, uncontrolled and very painful.

Anger is a complex thing. When projected outward, it becomes destructive, sometimes even lethal. It can ruin relationships, careers, even property, as in my outbursts toward whatever inanimate object was within my reach when the monster reared up inside. Society tells us we shouldn’t get angry, and if we do, we should just suck it up. As if stuffing it down somewhere inside is going to dissolve it.

But when anger is repressed, it can cause ulcers, blood pressure imbalance, heart disease, any number of illnesses. On my 30th birthday, I vowed to never have another angry tantrum, but at the same time, my problem gaming turned into a full-blown addiction! But then my anger turned inward had caused my severe depression.

According to Marion Ross in her book, ‘Removing Your Mask’, anger is a specific form of fear at a very deep level, and most anger shows that people’s internal and external realities are not in balance. The real message of anger is almost always about one’s own beliefs, perceptions, or actions in a given situation or with particular people, not the situations or people themselves. P 194-195.

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” ~Eckhart Tolle

So what causes anger? Where are your causes of pain? What are your addiction roots of underlying issues? FORGIVE YOURSELF …

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Sometimes repressed anger will surface without a conscious reason, especially in early recovery. But anger is often your response to a thought, idea or belief that you or others are being treated unfairly or threatened by someone or something–look what they’re doing to me, or that other person–or that you’ve fallen short of your standards for yourself–which in turn give us those feelings of “entitlement” while we are deep in addiction.

These perceptions may be associated with self-esteem issues, needing to feel secure and safe, your own character defects, loss of active addictions in your life, your sense of not caring for others, or something as simple as a need to be right. For some, being wrong means invalidation of self, but being right provides a false sense of power and it’s OK for us to do what we do in our addiction of choice.

When a situation arouses an inner fear, we use anger and perceive anger as a way to deal with a situation, sometimes just to let off steam like throwing a chair through a screen door when a spouse says you have a problem. Some of your perceptions may be accurate, but lashing out in anger is not the answer. Anger is a natural human emotion, and it can kill you or save your life, depending on how you use it. But you must use it wisely for it to work for you instead of against you.

Next week in Part 2, I’ll go into some ways to tame the tiger and put you in control, ways to allow it to help heal your fears and grow in truth for a well-balanced recovery journey.

I wish you a peaceful week in Sobriety!! Below is my new compilation book now on
Amazon Kindle and Books!

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My New E-Book! Cat Lyon

You can now find my Recovery Blog on BlogLovin too!

 

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“March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Time To Start The Conversation Along With The National Council on Problem Gambling.”

“March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Time To Start The Conversation Along With The National Council on Problem Gambling.”

Welcome Recovery Friends and All Visitors,

Let me just get this out right off the BAT! MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month just in time for the Biggest Gambling Sports Betting Month — March Madness for College Basketball …And NO, that is NOT a Coincidence. There, I said! So that is why my Guest and introduction Article is by “The National Council on Problem Gambling

ABOUT THEM

Our mission is to lead state and national stakeholders in the development of comprehensive policy and programs for all those affected by problem gambling.  Our purpose is to serve as the national advocate for programs and services to assist problem gamblers and their families.  And our vision is to improve health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of problem gambling.  The National Council is neither for nor against legalized gambling.  NCPG is organized with 3 classes of members: state affiliate, corporate and individual. The NCPG concentrates efforts on the national level, while the state affiliates work at the state and local level. Major National Council programs include:

  1. The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700), a single national access point to local resources.
  2. The annual National Conference on Problem Gambling, the world’s oldest and largest problem gambling-specific conference.
  3. National Problem Gambling Awareness Month (annually in March).
  4. International Holiday Lottery Campaign (annually in December).
  5. Administration of the National Certified Gambling Counselor (NCGC) credential.
  6. Providing education on problem gambling issues to Federal, state, tribal and international governments and agencies.
  7. Distribution of information and literature on problem gambling treatment, research, and recovery.
  8. National referral resource on gambling counselors and treatment facilities.

HISTORY

The organization was founded in 1972 by Msgr. Joseph A. Dunne and Dr. Robert Custer, among others. From the outset, the Council established two principles that remain in effect today: that the organization would be the advocate for problem gamblers and their families, and that it would take no position for or against legalized gambling. This stance is encompassed today in our vision and mission statements above. A history of the NCPG from 1972 to 1985 by Msgr. Dunne was published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1. To join as a member or to support NCPG with a tax-deductible contribution, click here to view our Membership Types and Benefits.

Washington, DC – This March, the National Council on Problem Gambling will host the 14th annual Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) in collaboration with its affiliates, members and corporate partners across the country.

Approximately 2 million U.S. adults, or 1% of the population, are estimated to meet criteria for serious gambling problems, and another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered to have moderate gambling problems; yet for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction. The estimated national social cost to families and communities due to bankruptcy, divorce, job loss, home loss, and criminal justice costs associated with problem gambling is $6.7 billion each year.

This year’s PGAM theme, “Have the Conversation,” focuses on the importance of an open dialogue and candid discussion about problem gambling. A variety of media materials will be used throughout the month to highlight the common warning signs of problem gambling and bring attention to the resources available for those struggling with a gambling problem. NCPG’s state affiliates and members, both individual and organizational, will offer local programs specifically geared to their communities. A calendar of local activities held during Problem Gambling Awareness Month can be found at ncpgambling.org/pgamevents/.

Problem Gambling Awareness Month will also feature Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 13, 2018, in collaboration with Cambridge Health Alliance. Screening Day is an international movement designed to support healthcare providers in the identification of gambling problems. Gambling disorders lead to financial, emotional, social, occupational and physical harms, yet many cases go undetected, due to limited assessment for this problem. Screening Day addresses the imperative and provides tools to detect gambling-related problems as early as possible.

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month is an important time for us to reach new audiences with critical information about prevention, education, and treatment for Problem Gambling,” said NCPG Executive Director, Keith Whyte.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpg.org/chat for confidential help.

 

About the National Council on Problem Gambling

NCPG is the national advocate for problem gamblers and their families. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders to promote responsible gaming. For more information on the 32nd National Conference on Problem Gambling, visit www.ncpgambling.org/conference.

 

 

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And lastly, if you want an in-depth look at how gambling can impact one’s life in a negative manner? Read my E-book which is now on sale for $2.99 on Amazon Kindle.  One Reader Says; “Excellent: Great read for the addicted gambler. Puts everything in perspective if you let this addiction continue to consume you. I can relate to her struggles.”

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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)    How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Learn of this remarkable and brave story.
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Sharing The Message of HOPE and Help From The National Council on Problem Gambling – Be Mindful This Superbowl Weekend…

Now that another SuperBowl Weekend is now upon us, my good friend Keith Whyte, who is Executive Director at The National Council on Problem Gambling and their team care about those who will be “Sports Betting” this weekend. It is one of the major weekends that gambling is very prevalent, and sorry guys, especially among MEN.


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And just like my buddies from the NFL, Randy Grimes who played for Tampa Bay and Vance Johnson who played for the Denver Broncos who both are at the Superbowl this year advocating and attending SoberBowl, yes, those of us in recovery CAN have a great time “Bet Free, Clean, and Sober!

They are sharing their stories and message of HOPE to all who come by. And the same can be done for gambling addiction. So? How much money will be GAMBLED AWAY this SuperBowl? Well, I came across this article courtesy of The Business Insider  and they said;

Gamblers expected to bet a whopping $4.8 billion on the Super Bowl and only about 3% will happen in Nevada…

 

Brent MusbergerErik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch/IPX

“The American Gaming Association estimates that approximately $4.76 billion will be bet on the Super Bowl this year.

  • Of all that money, just 3% of it is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada, with the rest of the bets being made through offshore books and local bookies.
  • Still, Las Vegas bookmakers are doing just fine — 2017 was their most profitable year on record and the Super Bowl is looking like it will easily pass last year’s record.”

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This is why I am sharing my new email newsletter from my friends of the National Council on Problem Gambling. If end up getting in over your head sports betting this Superbowl weekend? Make sure you visit them. There is HOPE & HELP available for Problem and Addicted Gambling. You may also visit my Recovery Resources page while you are here. I have many resources for help listed, suggested books to read and more. Here now is the message from NCPG…

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Super Bowl Weekend & Gambling: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Help & Hope are available
Super Bowl weekend can be a difficult time. Sometimes fans may feel desperate after a losing game or season if they have gambled more than they could afford.

The Super Bowl can be especially hard for people who suffer from a gambling addiction. Research shows that people with gambling disorder, like substance use disorder, may have a genetic predisposition that drives their need to bet more and more money to achieve the same excitement or “high.” These urges run deep and symptoms include:

  • Inability to set and stick to a limit of time and money spent gambling;
  • Viewing wagering as an investment; and/or
  • Betting to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
Each of these is a potential warning sign of a gambling problem or challenge to recovery.

NCPG urges people who are at risk or experiencing problem gambling to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline.
A simple two-question self-test can help indicate whether someone has a gambling problem.
1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
If the answer is “yes” to either question, it is likely there may be a gambling problem.
 
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is a toll-free, confidential, single point of access for problem gambling help via phone, text, and chat.

Visit www.ncpgambling.org for extensive referral resources and materials, including an anonymous self-test, an online directory of certified gambling counselors and a list of treatment centers with gambling-specific programs.

The Problem Gambling Helpline offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call now.

Super Bowl weekend and Gambling. Keep Your On The Ball!

“Shining a light on “Sports Betting” through Superbowl Weekend!” 

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Today I am shining the spotlight on one of my favorite blogs I enjoy reading good articles and always who has great information about gambling and other addictions. They have an array of recovery resources and suggested treatments options they display on their site as well. I am a firm believer that reading and research to stay educated maintaining recovery is vital.

It is also the same for family and loved ones of the addict to have places they can get help and suggested information on how to safeguard themselves while looking for help for their loved one or friend. This article does just that. So I hope everyone gives it read and it helps others and written by Sydney Smith LPC, LADC, NCGC-II for Addiction Blog. org

 


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A Gambling Problem Can Be Difficult To Detect

Problem Gambling can be hidden for a long time which often makes it very difficult to detect. By the time the problem surfaces and the family finds out, the devastation and wreckage can be tremendous. Family members tend to know that something is wrong with their loved one but due to gambling addiction’s invisible nature, especially in the early stages of the disease, it can be extremely hard to identify.

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of, and ways to identify if your loved one has a gambling problem. Then, we’ll invite your questions about how to get help at the end.

Determining If There Is A Gambling Problem

As a family member, we may or may not know the extent of the gambling problem or how long gambling has been an issue for our loved one. We may know about the gambling, but still, have much uncertainty as to whether there is a gambling problem. So if you are asking yourself,  “How do I know if my loved one is a problem gambler?”

…the following are questions and information that may help determine if there is a gambling problem.

SIGN 1: Time away. If I know the person is gambling, the amount of time spent gambling or engaged in gambling activities increases. The gambler can be gone for long unaccounted for periods of time.

When the gambler in my life gambled, he often gambled while he was at work. So, in the early stages, I did not know how much time he actually spent gambling. As his gambling worsened, he would not come home from work and would disappear for 24 hours at a time.

SIGN 2: Obsession to find money. Is the gambler becoming preoccupied or obsessed with obtaining money to gamble or thoughts of gambling? The great obsession can be on coming up with ways to borrow money, taking out loans, pawning items for cash, or planning their next bet.

Living with a gambler in the past, I would frequently have jewelry missing or items of value just disappear. Later I would learn that my gambler would pawn these items to obtain gambling money or to chase his losses. Later in the progression of the disease, the gambler may be physically present but not there, as the mind is preoccupied with gambling.

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SIGN 3: Emotional volatility. Does the gambler have moods swings or gambles as a means to cope or change feelings? A gambler deep into his addiction can exhibit mood swings similar to those of a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The extreme up and down in moods can be hard on both the gambler and the family members. The “up” moods can follow a win, and the gambler may even brag about the winnings. The “down” mood can be very depressive and the gambler may experience anxious or depressed mood, anger, and become irritable.

Gambling is used to change the way the person is feeling and the family members may hear the gambler make statements such as, “I had a stressful day at work and I just need to go gamble to unwind.”

SIGN 4: New Secrets. Are there secretive behaviors or hiding? Is the gambler becoming very secretive in his actions and with his money? Hiding of gambling wins or losses, hiding lottery tickets, tax documents, etc. becomes common.

In my therapy practice, I often hear the spouses say, “I found payday loan papers, or while cleaning, I found ATM receipts from the casino.”. The family may begin to lose trust in the gambler as the hiding, concealing, and lying about gambling grows.

20 Questions Family or Spouse To Ask Yourself

 

These are a few of the more noticeable warning signs one may experience with the gambler. In addition, Gam-Anon created a simple list of 20 questions for family members to ask themselves.

Family members of problem gamblers will answer “YES” to at least seven of the twenty questions.

  1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
  2. Is the person in question often away from home for long unexplained periods of time?
  3. Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  4. Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
  5. Does this person promise that he or she will stop gambling, yet gambles again and again?
  6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended?
  7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses or to win more?
  8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties?
  9. Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
  10. Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling?
  11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses?
  12. Do you search this person’s clothing, go through his or her wallet, or check on his or her activities?
  13. Do you hide his or her money?
  14. Have you noticed personality changes in him or her?
  15. Does this person consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
  16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibility for his or her gambling onto you?
  17. Do you attempt to anticipate this person’s moods to try to control his or her life?
  18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
  19. Have you ever threatened to break up the family because of the gambling?
  20. Do you feel that your life together is a nightmare?

What Can You Do Next?

This list can be found on the Gam-Anon website or in Gam-Anon published literature. If you can identify with any of the information listed above:

  • Continue to educate yourself about gambling addiction through resources and literature.
  • Reach out to a trained professional.
  • Attend a Gam-Anon or any 12-step support meeting for friends and family of addicts.

If we believe our loved one has a gambling addiction, it is OK to encourage them to seek help, however, it is vitally important for us as family members to seek out our own help.  We are not alone, there is hope, and life can get better. 

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I’d like to add that the addict does need to make the first step. Yes, it is vital and important that the spouse and family SEE through the anger and disappoint them may feel when first learning they are living with a gambling addict like my husband was. But once you look beyond that, your next step is to reach out for help to first safeguard your finances for you and your family. Gama-anon can help but also look into help from a professional. 

Maybe a financial advisor or a friend. Contact your local health department to see if the State Lottery has funded treatment and help for you and the gambler. My own treatment and my husbands guideness counselor were free and paid for by the Oregon State Lottery, including my crisis center stays and treatment. I do meetings with Gamblers Anonymous online, but there are many options for the addict and the family. And, yes, after everything we went through with my gambling addiction, my husband and I worked through it and are still married today over 28-years. You can read all about HOW in my Memoir…

WE DO AND CAN RECOVER!

Catherine 

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Loved Being A Guest On RadioMD and Rewired Radio With Erica Spiegelman! Just Advocating & Awareness.

Loved Being A Guest On RadioMD and Rewired Radio With Erica Spiegelman! Just Advocating & Awareness.

Welcome Recovery Friends and All Visitors,

As part of my “Give A Gift of 12 Days of Christmas of Recovery” I had a scheduled Radio Show today and wanted to share it with all of you! Many studies and facts have been changing due to the increase of more and more expansion of gambling options. Expanding State Lotteries, Indian/Tribal Casinos, and internet gambling as well.

When Erica Spiegelman and I chatted on Rewired Radio here: http://apple.co/2oAJps6 she wasn’t fully aware of all the places gambling is available like in our church’s with Bingo and Bingo fundraisers. Same with your kids’ schools, from prom casino night fundraisers and raffle ticket fundraisers. 

At our grocery stores with scratch ticket and lotto machines. Gambling is everywhere. Now, for normal people, they may not think twice about it. But for those trying to recover from this addiction, it seems like gaming options are all over. So, being able to have a platform and interview to raise more awareness is awesome! To share and educate the public about how gambling is now reaching our Seniors, High School and College age kids too. When will it stop? So I hope you will take some time and give a listen to my New Radio Interview with my Host, Erica and the fine folks of RadioMD and Rewired Radio! 

Now THANKS to Sylvia who shared all the links you can go take a listen and please share them on your social media if you ENJOY the Interview! More info below!

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Visit This Link and click on LISTEN 

ABOUT THE SHOW:

Guest Info & Links: Catherine Townsend-Lyon
From the Show: Rewired Radio

Summary: When we talk about addiction, we often focus on substance abuse. In truth, there are people addicted to behaviors and habits that can cause just as much damage to their lives as drugs or alcohol.

The Silent Addiction

When we talk about addiction, we often focus on substance abuse. 

In truth, there are people addicted to behaviors and habits that can cause just as much damage to their lives as drugs or alcohol. 

Catherine Townsend-Lyon understands this all too well. For years, she was addicted to gambling, what she calls “a hush addiction.” 

Catherine shares her story of how she was able to free herself from this crippling addiction and how she uses this experience to help others get on the path to recovery, even when all hope seems lost.

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Grab Her New Book:

Image result for Erica Spiegelman

ABOUT MY HOST:

Erica Spiegelman is a consultant, author, counselor and speaker who has made an indelible mark in the field of addiction recovery. She has founded a multi-media health and wellness platform, providing consulting and counseling solutions for clients by providing them with tools on how to reach emotional, mental and physical freedom.

She holds a Bachelors degree in Literature from the University of Arizona and a degree as a California State Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADAC-I) from University of California, Los Angeles. Erica has a consulting business and works with numerous patient care centers in California, including the Living Rebos Treatment Center, Klean Treatment Center, and Passages Malibu. She is a regular contributor to online health outlets, writes for Maria Shriver, and often co-hosts a weekly radio show Klean Radio on Sirius XM.

Grab Her Books on AMAZON!

Product Details

Rewired: A Bold New Approach…
2015

Product Details

Rewired New Workbook
2017

 

Christmas Past Blast Throwback. Reshare Article of Mine From Christmas Past…

LET’S QUIT TO WIN THE HOLIDAYS!
By Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ “Keys to Recovery Newspaper”

 

group at holiday dinner table

 

“Now that the holidays are upon us, those of us in recovery can have a tough time around the holiday time. I know I have in the past with self-sabotaging my Christmas season. How do you ask? Let me share a “war story of Christmas past.” We can learn and grow in recovery in when we safely look at the “Then & Now of Christmas’s Past”, as an addicted or problem gambler.”

 

Many of us in recovery advocate to show to others who still suffer from this cunning addiction the importance of sharing our experiences, strength and hope with others when we do tell some of our “war stories.” It does show how insidious this addiction is. It is one of the areas I don’t feel is proper about 12-Step programs. They tell us not to share war stories as it could maybe trigger someone in a meeting.

But, if we don’t learn from these mistakes or choices, how do we look back and find growth in our recovery? Yes, you can see growth by just doing the 12-steps, but may need more than that to recover fully. I know I did. I recall one Christmas that has to be my worst within my gambling addiction and will never forget. And it is why I make sure all holidays now are safe, happy and full of JOY. It was back in 2005.

Our home we had lived and worked very hard for, had to be sold through a short sale or we would have lost everything we put into it. But even then, it felt like we lost it as we are still paying on the balance that was not covered by the sale. It also caused me to make a few bad choices, residual addicted “thinking,: I had committed a crime, that big catastrophe! I wrote about it in my memoir, and I was reeling.

I stopped taking my bipolar meds, then took them all at once! I was so angry with myself, feeling so much shame, guilt, low self-worth and again suicidal because I knew it was because of my past gambling is how we got into this mess in the first place! Of course, no excuse’s, just insights. We were so financially broke. I remember being in JCPenney walking around aimlessly wishing I could buy this or that for the family for Christmas and again in Walmart. Luckily, all our family lived in other states than Oregon. So I had to do the same lame thing I had done for many past Christmas’s, just send a card.

It was tough already that we both had job loss, the very beginning of the economy and markets were getting ready to pop. We had a hard time finding good paying jobs, and I ended up back in an addiction/mental health crisis again with another breakdown right after the holidays. It was all too much!

When I got released from the crisis center, I knew I had a lot more recovery inner work, which included financial inventory to take and work on. I had been doing well in my recovery and gamble free at the time, but something was nagging at me. See, you need to know that no matter what the addiction is, it’s always waiting for us.

 

STOP Desperately Gambling For The Holiday 

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Like the holidays for instance and the point of this post, we can have a lot of temptations around us at this time of year. There are holiday parties for both personal and work-related that can be stressful. We may have had fall outs due to the holidays, (thanks to our addictions and why we have step 9… make amends where ever possible) with friends and family. Many different reasons that can become a trigger or bring on urges. The stress of the season, lack of money for presents, a slew of things swirling around in our heads! The “cycle” if not broken or interrupted will keep you either in the addiction or just on edge waiting.

That is what I needed the second time around after coming out of the crisis. I chose to work with a gambling addiction and behavioral specialist. And he would not “cut me loose” until I could tell him how the “cycle” of addiction happens, and tell him the skills and tools to stop it which took me a year. Once I learned and applied those skills and tools, I began on the road to long-term recovery.

So my point is everyone needs a relapse plan. A solid plan that will help you avoid these pitfalls. I had been given a workbook that I now have listed on my recovery resource pages, for all to come and use for their recovery from gambling here: Holiday Relapse Prevention Guide.

It shows step by step what is needed to make a plan to prevent relapse for any occasion, like the holiday season, life events like a loss from death, a job loss and much more. These events and the holidays will come. So you need to prepare before, not after they happen. Be prepared and use those tools taught and learned in treatment, or a 12-step program, maybe in therapy or however you choose, to reach out and start your recovery journey. And learn about “the cycle” of addiction.

 

When you do, I guarantee you will have many, many ‘Happy Holiday Seasons’ to come!

 

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“You Are Worth It In Recovery and a Happy Holiday Season!!
Catherine