My Recovery Spotlight on Author & Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot a Recovering Gambler Like Me…

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What can I say more about this beautiful friend of mine who was responsible for getting gamblers anonymous meetings into Arizona’s Womens prisons and correctional facilities? Marilyn has been maintaining a long-term “Bet Free” lifestyle” and she makes it look easy. She is also my sponsor while I am temporarily living in the Phoenix, AZ area for now. Marilyn calls me each week or so like clockwork, and I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life!

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I came across a wonderful in-depth Guest Interview she did not too long ago on and courtesy of  EnCOGNITIVE.com  … I love Marilyn to pieces as we don’t often meet true supportive friends every day like her. I am excited to mention her and I will be on an upcoming coming radio show together on Mental Health News Radio Network With – Kristin Walker! Our topic will be on ” Switching Addictions” which is also the title of Marilyn’s 2nd book. Her first is a MUST READ Titled; “Gripped By Gambling” a memoir that you won’t believe and is EYE OPENING. So let’s meet and learn more about Marilyn Lancelot…

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Product Details

GRIPPED BY GAMBLING  (A book that will have you in tears and then laughter. A story told with the painful truth about the addiction of gambling and how I found recovery.)

Interview with a Recovering Compulsive Gambler.

“My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal.”


Questions and Answers:

Under what circumstance did you first gamble?

As a young girl, I remember playing cards with family and betting twenty-five cents a hand. I thought it very boring and everyone got drunk and argued. I went to dog and horse races and thought they were too slow. I remember vividly the first time I gambled in a casino. I visited Las Vegas with my husband but only played the twenty-five cent slot machines. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I spent a weekend at a bowling tournament in Reno, NV and that’s when I became addicted.

Did you win the first time you gambled?

The weekend in Reno was what many refer to as beginner’s luck. I just couldn’t lose. I felt I was destined to become a professional gambler and could earn a living in the casinos.

After the first time you gambled, when did you come back again?

When I got home from the bowling tournament I told my boyfriend what an incredible weekend I had and we must drive to Laughlin the following week. We did drive the 4½ hours to the casinos and 4 ½ hours home for the next seven years.

Was it internal or external pressure that made you want to quit?

I didn’t want to quit even though the gambling was killing me, physically, emotionally, and financially. There was no external pressure because of no-one, not even my family knew of my addiction. It was my money and I could do whatever I wanted to and when I wanted to.

What would you say was the lowest point in your gambling life?

Some of the lowest periods in my gambling were the times when I wanted to die; when my credit cards were maxed out, when I began embezzling money from my employer, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about my gambling. But the very lowest was when the police came and took me away in handcuffs for a crime I committed to support my habit.

What were your game or games of choice?

My game of choice was the slot machine. No other form of gambling gave me the hypnotic feeling of escaping as the slot machines did.

Did you have rituals you went through each time you gambled?

My rituals for my weekend at the casino were to wear my lucky shirt, my lucky jewelry, and to follow the same path around the casino floor each weekend. I thought any changes would spoil my luck.

Why do you think it’s hard for compulsive gamblers to understand that money can’t be made through gambling? What is their mindset, do you think?

It was difficult for me to understand that money couldn’t be made through gambling because once in a while I did win and everyone around me won so my turn would come again. I believed I could win all my losses back if I just tried harder. I even bought books on how to gamble successfully. I had to continue to gamble until I hit the big jackpot.

Besides the money, what would you say was the worst thing you lost because of gambling?

I think the worst loss was my loss of the seven years I gambled. For those years I was a zombie and didn’t have time for my family. My mind was not on my job during the week because all I could think about was the weekend.

There is a theory that addictions run in families. Was there anyone in your immediate family who had an addiction problem?

My parents both had drinking problems so if addictive, compulsive behavior is hereditary, then I believe my poor coping skills came from my parents. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my addictions. My five children all became addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Poor coping skills have been contributed to addictions. Can you share with us what coping skills you’ve learned that have helped you? Then specifically how you cope with:

Anger: When I feel angry about something or someone, I stop and analyze my feelings (after months and years of practicing, it becomes second nature) and decide if I should really be upset by the situation or just move past the issue. Like driving down the freeway, if I slow down and allow someone to cut in front of me, I can’t be angry because I allowed that person the courtesy.

Rejection: Feelings of rejection go back many years even before I attended my first 12-step program. If I truly love someone and they abandon me or say cruel things to me, I tell myself, that because I love that person, I will allow them to do with their lives what they want to do. And there again is my decision to allow. If I think they may be on a self-destructive path, I will share my thoughts with them and then allow them to do as they wish. I have learned that I cannot control anyone, not even myself sometimes.

Insecurity: I am not bothered by insecurities today. There was a time when I suffered deeply from an inferiority complex. Today I don’t, I feel that I’m as good a person as I’m supposed to be and I hope people will accept me as I am.

The past: I have forgiven myself for the damage I caused in the past and the mistakes I’ve made. I will never forget them, they’re part of who I am today but I don’t punish myself for my past.

Frustration: If I feel frustration coming on, I do a quick analysis of my surroundings and what’s bothering me. I recite the Serenity Prayer and if I can do something about the problem, I will try and if I can’t, I will accept the consequences.

Or other emotions and events?

Jealousy sometimes pops its ugly head over my shoulder but with a little thought exercise, I can usually make a decision that will show me I have nothing to fear or envy.

Prior to gambling addiction, did you have another addiction? Or did you have another addiction while you were gambling?

I’ve always had addictive patterns in my life. I have had eating problems, I’ve gone through a period where I was a workaholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic and now a recovering compulsive gambler. I know today that if anything feels good, tastes good, or looks good, I have to be aware of the dangers of another addiction.

What would you say is the worst addiction? And why?

I think overeating must be the tougest addiction to cope with. With all other addictions, the person gives up the drug, habit, etc. completely, but with an eating addiction, the person has to modify their habits and continue to stay in the problem but with control.

Almost half of compulsive gamblers are now women. What do you think is contributing to this increase?

I think more women are becoming compulsive gamblers because we are more independent today, we make decisions, earn money, and many of the women are single parents with more responsibilities. Gambling is around every corner, the little store on the corner sells lottery tickets and the churches have bingo. Women feel safe in casinos and the casinos in our backyards and if we can’t drive there, the casino will send a bus to your neighborhood and give you a ride.

There are many theories as to why people develop a gambling problem. They range from social, environmental, biological, cognitive, and spiritual. In your experience, what contributed most to your problem? What theory or theories do you think affect most people?

I guess I don’t look for the reasons why I gambled, I’m just grateful that I found a way to stop. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, college graduate or high school drop-out, the gambling addiction is not prejudiced.

If you could draw up a plan to help someone to quit gambling, what would that plan look like in detail?

If I could draw up a plan for someone to quit gambling, I would follow the 12 steps of Gamblers Anonymous. I would encourage them to attend meetings, find a sponsor, and make an appointment to see a gambling counselor.

How do you feel about the gambling industry as a whole? Do you think they have the right to operate as a business and it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) for the consumers?

I have no opinion on the gambling industry as a whole. I just know it’s not for me.

The gambling industry is expanding as a whole. Do you think more people will become addicted to gambling because of this?

Yes, I think the gambling industry is expanding and more people will become addicted. They can’t avoid it with the clever advertising the casinos provide. The casinos are beautiful and the gamblers are treated royally.

How do you feel about poker? Seeing that it’s all over the place now. Do you feel that celebrities playing in poker tournaments is setting a bad example to young people?

I’m sure the poker tournaments on television will tempt many viewers to take that trip to a casino and test their skill. It could be a trigger for some.

You’ve credited Gamblers Anonymous as being instrumental in your recovery. Can you share with us your experiences in the program– the people you’ve met, your most memorable moments and low-points while in the program?

Gamblers Anonymous saved my life. When I was at the lowest point in my addiction and attended my first GA meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. I knew the other members couldn’t do it for me but I couldn’t do it without them. But I do feel there are many other ways to get help and treatment.

Do you agree with the Gamblers Anonymous program that people are “powerless” over gambling?

I know that I was powerless over gambling because I tried so many times to stop driving to the casinos and I just couldn’t stop. Each weekend on the ride home, I’d cry to myself, “I’m never coming back, this is so stupid.” And half-way home I’d be planning my next trip.

Did any friend or family member attempt to understand your problem? Or did you try to hide it from them?

I don’t think any of my friends nor my family would have understood my gambling addiction. They weren’t aware of my problem because I kept it hidden so well. I even rented a post office box so credit card bills wouldn’t be sent to my home.

Do you remember how many bottoms you hit?

What was the worst or most memorable one? Every morning when I woke up and every weekend on my way home from the casino, was a bottom. The most frightening one was when the seven police cars came to my home and took me away in handcuffs.

Did suicide ever cross your mind in the midst of the addiction?

I thought of suicide many times. When I drove alone in my car I thought one quick turn of the wheel and I’d hit a wall or an 18-wheeler and that would be the end of my gambling.

How did gambling make you feel? What were you hoping to get out of it?

While I gambled, I always thought gambling made me feel good. Some nights I sat on the stool at the casino and didn’t care whether I won or lost, I just wanted to keep playing. The money didn’t seem real.

How many times did you try quitting before you succeeded?

I think I quit every weekend for the seven years I gambled compulsively. That only lasted for ten miles down the road when we left the casino and then I would be planning my next trip. I’d wear a different shirt and I wouldn’t wear that dumb bracelet because that’s what gave me the bad luck.

What were the reactions of your family and friends when you were gambling?

My family and friends never knew the amount of money I lost or won. A compulsive gambler becomes very clever with lies and covering up all their gambling problems. We just can’t let anyone know what we’re doing, they make try to make us quit and I wasn’t ready to quit.

Does the thought of gambling creep into your mind sometimes?

I’m happy to say that gambling doesn’t have a place in my thoughts. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for the first thought that comes into my head but I am responsible for what I do with it after that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t gambled since I attended my first meeting more than 16 years ago but I know that if I made that first bet, I’d be off and running again. And this time I would probably die.

Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets. I regret the harm I did to my employer and I’m sorry for not being there for my family. I’ve forgiven myself but I’ll never forget what I’ve done. You can process it so it doesn’t haunt you every day.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to quit?

If someone wants to quit, they’re half-way there. The desire to stop is the biggest step a compulsive gambler can make. If we don’t have the desire, we can’t quit…

My book GRIPPED BY GAMBLING may be purchased through Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores. The blog here by Author, Catherine Lyon has some good advice and resources I hope people who may have a gambling problem stay and look around while they are here and share with friends and family…

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Marilyn Lancelot

Again, I want to thank EnCOGNITIVE.com  for letting me share this fantastic and informative interview with Marilyn Lancelot. She has published two more important books since Gripped By Gambling. You can visit her on Amazon for all her books here: Amazon Author Page 

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Sharing Some Recovery Friends, Facts, & Stats….

Hello Friends, Welcome New Visitors,

Sundays are my usual day that I like to surf the web, check on new websites of new friends I have met on maybe Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & other recovery authors and such. I also do some research for my 2 books I’m currently trying in VAIN to finish. I came across an interesting “Article” on “USA Addiction Statistics of Addicted Gambling” and some of the percentages are SHOCKING, and some maybe off a bit. Here is a share of a few articles about addicted gambling facts & stats:

USA gambling addiction statistics

The biggest and the most powerful country always tends to have the biggest amount of both positive aspects in different life spheres and negative ones. Speaking about the gambling industry, everybody knows that it’s essence of such games that leads to negative consequences.

Affected Americans

According to American statistics of National Council, 3 million of adults are addicted to gambling. Another four to six part of Americans ~~ 13 million are just the mere problem gamblers, who are in one step from being addicted.  Today half that number is now college age young adults & late teens. This is really lamentable to hear, but what to do, if the inhabitants don’t see the limit of consumption, that must be balanced and controlled by them. Another unpleasant fact is that 50% of addicted gamblers are women; yeah, these weak creatures are involved in the gambling sphere, maybe because of relationship ruination or some other factors.

It’s really hard to abstain from gambling, if you see the signs of it everywhere: on the shelves of the supermarket there are lots of gambling books, that promise to reveal all the secrets to you and make you a millionaire; on TV there are hundreds of different shows, that also try to make you go to the casinos; and even the video games are rated “E”, which means, that everybody has a possibility to play. In the USA gambling has just become a glamorize action that swells everybody’s status.

Such names as Joseph Hachem that succeeded to be a great poker winner in 2005; Chris “Moneymaker” that has beaten the World Series of Poker in 2004 and Jamie Gold that took $12 million  in the casino, make others believe that it’s quite possible, and the greed get its way.

  • The most innocent gambler has to remember that he has 5% of chances to risk something that will change his\her life.
  • In the USA there twice as more addicted gamblers, than cancer patients.
  • Americans that live within 50 miles near the casino, have the doubled rate of going there and becoming addicted.
  • Each compulsive gambler in the USA just costs the economy approximately $16, 000 per year.
  • 25% of addicted gamblers have tried to commit suicide, and Nevada has been the center for such attempts for the last 12 years.
  • Harvard research presents that 92% of 80 addicted gamblers tend to relapse.
  • Between 4% and 8% of American youngsters become addicted nowadays.
  • 672, 000 American college students and 35 millions of teens are addicted to gambling.

American lifestyle is really dangerously affected by gambling. It increases another negative statistics in the USA, such as crime, fraudulent, and it is known that in the USA the cases of bankruptcy are double, due to gambling. Split families, a number of divorce cases all the negative outcomes will keep increasing, if the society keeps accepting gambling addiction.

Addicted gamblers’ zone risk

All the addiction types in general, whether it is alcohol, a drug or something else presuppose the greatest control disorder, abnormal behavior and just mind distraction.

Gambling is a real drug for addicted players, who continue returning back to the casino every day and wasting all money there. And they don’t care about the spouses, that have already packed their luggage to leave, or children who don’t eat much because of money deficiency.

Identification of addicted gamblers:

  • Addiction is like a competition, where you have to pursue great effort sin order to receive the winning prize. Almost each addict will be helped by the relatives and friend sand a specialist who will be curing them. But how to detect this illness? If you want to test yourself, whether you are in the risk zone of gambling addiction, first of all, you have to admit it, because the main problem of all the gamblers that suffer from this disease is that they really reject to accept the fact of addiction. The identification of addiction phases and types will help the doctors to cure the person in the appropriate way.
  • Identify, whether you are or somebody else is addicted by means of passing the best and the most credible addiction test,  which will help you to sort out your hesitations, by answering the simple questions. And then, you’ll have to do the next steps to the right and opportune treatment.

Addiction signs and symptoms:

Addicts can feel the symptoms of problem gambling themselves: it’s like a general condition of soul and body in the defined moments of life that is really noticeable. Do you conceal the fact of gambling? Has it become uncontrollable? Do you realize that you have started borrowing money without returning it? That’s bad.

  • The surrounding people will definitely detect the addiction to gambling, if they notice several signs. Change in mood, gambling preoccupation, tolerance and withdrawal are the visible display of the addicted gamblers……

 *Here is the MOST INTERESTING Article of them ALL….WHY?  Because I have what my “psychiatrist” calls “Addiction Depression” &  is also where my Agoraphobia disorder came from when AFTER I went into Treatment & into Recovery from my Gambling Addiction*….

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Who is guilty? Addiction Depression

Just think a little bit, what the first was: is addiction the main cause of depression or vice versa – depression is the main reason of addiction? They are intertwined so much, that this issue is really intricate to be completely discerned.

Dual diagnosis

Everybody, who has encountered problem gambling  on his life way, has felt the devouring depression, which can lead to the most negative consequences. And this depression can also start the compulsive gambling addiction, being the main reason of it: for example, if the particular gambler had suffered too much, he/she decided to escape from the reality into the particular betting establishment.

Depression doesn’t always accompany each gambler in the gambling disease: during the winning stage, the players don’t feel depression or stress; on the contrary, they are very happy because they have, at last, found the quiet shelter, where they are valued and pleased.  During the losing stage of the addiction phases, the player begins to feel a nonstarter syndrome, quilt and remorse in “one pile”. Such depression causes negative consequences, concerning both financial and social problems; complications can destroy a person completely: his/her psychological, emotional backgrounds’ spring.

As it was stated above, depression may be the first factor, which has caused gambling addiction: individual could have been depressed before because of some affliction, which led him into the gambling abuse. But this frames are so slight, it’s really hard to differentiate both states. Just take a look: gambling addiction is isolating disorder of demoralization; depression has exactly the same characteristic. But for the right treatment, the first thing, that must be done, is still to figure out, which came first. In this case, everything depends on an addict – he/she must tell everything, what he/she felt, why he/she felt it, and what feelings are roaming in his/her head at the moment.

All the feelings of addiction depression are really horrifying:

  • Stress, chaos
  • Despondency
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Helplessness, along with hopelessness
  • Self-esteem disappearance
  • Devouring sadness
  • Thought of suicide

The list may be everlasting, because, unfortunately, there are lots of negative feelings and states, which people can experience. The ruining combination of addiction and depression is very hard to cure. In this battle, the first one, which must be battered, is depression.  Such dual diagnosis, as addiction depression, which has its gambling as its cause, must be treated only by a specialist and with the full recovery program.
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***Yes, the beginning of Article 1 says that 50% of problem & addicted gamblers are WOMEN!  I was doomed in the very beginning of my gambling for just the “FUN & ENTERTAINMENT”value. SADLY, on the issues of a CURE from Addicted Gambling?
There is NONE. WE LEARN in Gamblers Anonymous Meetings that: “Gambling addiction can NOT be CURED, but can be Arrested”~~~ In closing, let me SHARE with you a REAL WOMAN’S SHORT STORY OF  HER ADDICTED GAMBLING EXPERIENCE. IT is a SHARE from my Good Friend & Author “Marilyn Lancelot’s” Website for Women Addicted Gamblers AT:

http://www.femalegamblers.info  *News & Support for Female Gamblers in Recovery* Here is a little about my good friend & Author, “Marilyn Lancelot”….

My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal. The judge entenced me to two years in prison and I’ll be paying restitution to my former employer for many years.

Until the morning of my arrest, my family had no idea of my gambling addiction. I remembered a statement I heard in AA years ago: If I did not take care of my problem, society would. And society had. The closest GA meeting was in Phoenix so we moved there so I could attend GA. I told myself that if I got sentenced to prison, I would some day go back to Yuma and start a GA meeting.

I spent ten months in an Arizona State Prison where there were no GA     meetings. I vowed that one day I would return to prison and start a GA meeting. After my release, I watched new women struggle at the regular GA meetings, unable to identify with the card playing, sports betting male gamblers. One day another gal and I started a women’s meeting in my     apartment and the women came and the women stayed. They felt comfortable at the women’s group.

I returned to Yuma with GA friends and started a meeting there and also at the Perryville prison. With the help of GA sisters, I publish a Women Helping Women Newsletter on the Internet. I try to give back to GA what the program has given me. I retired at the age of 72 and I’ve worked part-time for several years after my retirement to re-pay my victim. I now have more than sixteen years of recovery, “One Day at a Time”……

..ONE WOMAN’S STORY ~~ A Share From Marilyn’s Website….


I’m a newbie! 

I don’t have years or months free from my gambling addiction, but I am a gambling addict addicted to slots with 22 days of  freedom. I’m a 54-year-old female who had my first trip to a casino over 10 years ago to celebrate my brother in law’s birthday.
Wow, it was exciting to say the least. Over the next 10 years or so my gambling trips increased and the amount of money spent also increased. I was told over and       over again in the casino by my husband that “I” have a big problem and have become someone he does not recognize while in my gambling frenzy.

Of course I say, “Well it’s no big deal.” I brush it off in my own manipulating way and convince him all is well. I am in total denial, I just can’t admit I have a problem, not me! I can quit anytime I want to.

So I tried and tried on my own so many times without any success. Today as I write this I have lost my health, my job of 11 yrs, our home, all of our money and most importantly I have pushed most if not all of my friends and  family away to make room for my addiction. None of my friends or family have any idea of why I have become so distant, I tell them it’s from being depressed which is a truth without the whole truth. It is a very lonely place to be.

After crying and hitting an all time low I finally prayed and asked God to please help me. I searched the internet for a GA meeting place and found none in or around where I live. So I then sought reading material which included the books “Addicted To Dimes” by: Catherine Lyon, “Gripped By Gambling” by: Marilyn Lancelot, and some GA materials. Such powerful stories.

At the end of Marilyn Lancelot’s book “Gripped By Gambling“ it talked about her website “Women Helping Women” and  I looked it up . After reading stories and articles I put aside my way and started to correspond with Marilyn and admitted I needed help. It is the best decision I have ever made. These women have been here for me nonstop since my first email, with a loving support and a hope for better days ahead. All I had to do was let go of my pride and ask.

I’m not stupid, I know a long hard job lay ahead of me, but I’m so ready to have the help. Thank you, God. And thank you Marilyn for reaching out and calling me personally with sweet words of encouragement, the women here, and the GA program for my 22 days. I have a hopeful beginning taking it one day at a       time. My goal here is to reach out to a newbie who may be hesitating like I did at first glance to ask for help. I’m so glad I did. We’re all newbie’s at one time.

God Bless you all and me. Linda in MI

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*I can not tell all my friends here how much this letter TOUCHED MY HEART! I have no idea who this wonderful woman is, but to know she took the time to read my book, is a true testament, and WHY I WROTE my book in the first place, TO HELP THOSE WHO SUFFER from this *CUNNING DISEASE* & WE never know……it can SAVE A LIFE! I was very much like the woman myself. When my Gambling addiction, at the end, had ME on MY OWN knees wanting to just die, and attempted it! I don’t EVER want another Human Life be taken AGAIN because of Addicted Compulsive Gambling Addiction..*

God Bless ALL, and THANK YOU for coming by!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon