Happy Sober, Clean, Bet Free Holiday Article Share Series. Were Getting Through Holidays Together!

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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Since this year for me has a been a bit cray – cray with co-writing a memoir with another, also book promoting for authors, advocating and recovery article writing, and guest blogging much more, I decided to do a little something different this year on my recovery blog. Most know I am passionate and adamant about being around through the Christmas and New Year holiday for those who may be struggling, need more support or feel tempted to stray maintaining recovery.

It can be a “risky” and tricky time for holiday parties, booze, desperate gambling due to lack of money for gifts, and party time means more recreational drugs around. Sad, but it is true. So I thought, why not share many Holiday articles with a mix of a few of my own this year and we help one another as a collective!

I have had some awesome guest recovery authors and articles this year and decided to share a few of them, along with some new ones I have permission to share as we all need support from as many people and places as we can get. So I will begin with an article I just read that will help with ideas of staying safe over the holidays on Sober Recovery!

*Three Reasons To Connect With A Recovery Community Through Holiday Time by  Toshia Humphries *

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The holiday season is upon us. Many are traveling to be with family while countless others gather with friends and significant others to celebrate the festive time of year. However, not everyone has a picturesque holiday experience.

The forces that could pull you into relapse tend to get stronger around the end of the year when you’re likely to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and reconvened with people who likely saw you during your addicted past. Now more than ever, it’s important to build up a support network to ensure you stick to your commitment.

Here are three reasons why you need to connect with a recovery community during the holidays.

1. Prevents isolation.

Staying connected to the recovery community can prevent isolation which is typically a precursor to relapse. Isolation can also worsen symptoms of any dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and other mood or personality disorders. All of these can escalate to relapse, accidental overdose or even suicide.

2. Provides a sense of family.

Staying in touch with the recovery community allows for a substitute family experience if family holidays are not possible due to either death, distance, or estranged. And, if the family is an option, the family dynamics make relapse more probably, the recovery community can act as a chosen family; one that is ideally far more supportive and less dysfunctional.

The recovery community is also equally as necessary for those who have families and enjoy being around them. In fact, possibly more so, as it is easy for those individuals to forget they need the recovery community or recovery itself. Often, these individuals begin to think that sobriety alone is enough—it’s not.

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

Staying connected to the recovery community keeps you active in your recovery throughout the holiday season. It provides consistency and gentle reminders that relapse has nothing to do with having a dysfunctional family. It has to do with you. And, if you were an active addict with a picturesque family, then you could easily be in relapse with the same.

The key to getting through the holiday season is not to lose sight of your recovery. Staying connected to your recovery community keeps you plugged into that recovery process, keeps you accountable and allows you to do the same for others. Most importantly, it serves as prevention against relapse and provides everyone with a sense of family, even if they don’t have one of their own.

For these reasons and more, staying connected to the recovery community throughout the holidays is a life-saving choice for everyone. Wishing you all a happy and safe recovery throughout the holiday season!

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

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“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

“It Seems Someone Knows Someone Who Knows Someone With A Gambling Addiction.” Guest Author, Chris Davis Shares…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

As many of my recovery friends know I advocate in places throughout social media and here on my site to raise awareness, inform, and try to educate the public about the dangers of problem or addicted uncontrolled gambling.  I meet many people who become friends who are maintaining recovery as I am from this disease. My friend on FB, Chris had made a post that I wanted to re-share as it shows most people we come in contact with seems to know someone or a relative with a problem with gambling.

I also wanted to congratulate Chris as he just moved from Kansas here to Prescott, AZ as he has a new job here. He is working for treatment facility who cares and helps those looking to recover from gambling addiction called; Algamus Gambling Recovery Services running house services.  He himself has been in recovery from this illness and now can help others. You can connect with Chris on Facebook! 

 

” I found recovery from gambling on 8/15/13
September is Recovery Month. I’m posting this in hopes that those of you who need help from gambling and want recovery, this shows it’s possible!”  ~Chris Davis

 

Today is one of my days off, so I wanted to go open a local checking account here in Arizona. While opening it the lady banker and I were just having a good conversation. She asked what got me to leave Kansas to come to Arizona. I told her I came for a job. She asked me what my job is. I told her I am a house manager at an inpatient gambling treatment center. We talked about many things during the 45 minutes of opening an account. I told her I felt this is where God had called me to be at this time. We kept talking and she said that there are probably a lot of people out there that have a gambling problem. I said; ” I feel it is very under-reported because many hide it so well or are in denial they have a problem.

Eventually, she shared with me that her family lost track of her uncle for a few years and when they finally found him he was living on the streets. I think she said he had blown thru all of his retirement money by losing it at the casinos around Arizona. This is why I speak openly about my recovery from gambling because the issue of problem gambling doesn’t get talked about enough. I do support advocacy for drugs and alcohol as well because they affect so many too. Most the publicity or articles I see about gambling is either promoting it or something like the article I saw online the other day about a teacher in Michigan was found that she had stolen from the school’s homecoming fund and another camp fund.

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She had taken about $50,000 from the funds and was found she had lost $90,000 on slots in 2016. When I first realized I had a problem with gambling I didn’t know where to get help. So, if you are reading this, then you don’t have that excuse of not knowing where to turn for help. Some need inpatient treatment but are unwilling to take a month or two to get the help they require. I work at an inpatient gambling treatment center now so I can connect you if you are ready to stop gambling and get better. Contact me on my Facebook page that is listed above. I also can help you get you to some inpatient drug and alcohol treatment as well.

Why wait until it gets worse before you get the help you need? It WILL get worse. There IS HOPE, but you have to be willing to want it.

~Chris Davis Recovering Gambler

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About Algamus:

Algamus provides compassionate, professional and comprehensive counseling and gambling-specific residential treatment in the mountainous setting of Prescott, AZ. Designed to further educate and support the compulsive gambler in their search for abstinence and recovery, we pride ourselves on offering the best services available. Our facility offers the most effective treatment modalities and methods to assist the problem gambler in discovering freedom and balance.

JCAHO Accredited  Algamus, founded in 1992, is the oldest privately-funded gambling-specific residential treatment facility in the United States. We are the only Joint Commission (JCAHO) approved gambling program in the US. We’ve operated facilities in Florida, South Carolina, and even Quebec.

With only 14 beds, our program puts the individual first. Our nearly one-to-one ratio of staff to patients ensure that we meet each patient where they are in their recovery journey.  

We serve men and women from all walks of life and all types of gambling addiction: sports, poker, table games, slot machines, and more. We help our patients begin a new life that is no longer gripped by gambling. Since we focus only on gambling addiction, we understand the unique experience of our patients financial and legal woes better than other rehab programs focusing on drugs and alcohol.

We work with most commercial insurance providers and depending on your insurance partner and your plan, your problem gambling treatment program may be covered by insurance Call Today: 1-888-527-2098

Benn Featured On

Gambling Intervention

Welcome Recovery Guest Author Christine Hill and ‘Relationships In Recovery.’

Welcome Recovery Guest Author Christine Hill and ‘Relationships In Recovery.’

Rebuilding Family Relationships in Recovery
By Christine Hill

Addiction recovery can be a trying experience that will test a person’s willpower, but it it is also an incredibly fulfilling experience that builds us up as people. During addiction, many people have lost so much, whether it be their jobs, children, or family. Addiction thrives on the alienation that is created when these ties are severed. An important part of addiction recovery is rebuilding these bridges and regaining the connectedness that makes us whole. However, this isn’t always easy. Addiction frequently leads people to do things that hurt the people they love, and this can make it a tricky experience to build these relationships back up. However, it is certainly possible if you take the lessons of recovery seriously. Here are some tips on how to rebuild family relationships in recovery…

 

Ask for forgiveness and Amends

 

Addiction is a behavioral disease that operates by cutting you off from those who care about you. This alienation is what has allowed addiction to thrive and claim the lives of so many people in this generation. However, while addiction is a behavioral disease that is often out of an addict’s control, the actions that they take because of that addiction still hurt and affect their family, and this isn’t something that can just be simply forgotten. Just because an addict is in recovery and doing well, it doesn’t always mitigate what has happened. Always ask for forgiveness with the utmost sincerity, but don’t assume that they will always offer it, immediately.

 

Demonstrate real change
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Usually, addiction is a disease that operates in cycles. Before getting a professionals help that can assist in reaching lasting recovery, many addicts have tried to get better on their own to no avail. During this time, family members may have felt hurt by the constant push and pull of actions that were taken and promises that were broken. Because of this, it’s important to show how this time is different. Before worrying too much about repairing these relationships, focus on rebuilding yourself and making the changes that you need to make, so that you can demonstrate that this change is real and lasting.

 

Take family therapy

 

Most addiction treatment centers have a family therapy program. This is usually one of the most powerful programs that rehabs and treatment providers have to offer. Being able to speak honestly and openly with your family members, and have them speak openly and honestly to you in a setting that is devoid of judgment and mediated by a trained counselor, enables the possibility of communication that might have otherwise never happened. Talk to your family about joining you in the family therapy program, and make the most of the experiences that you have there. Here is an informative article about what to expect from family therapy.

 

Understand if they need time

 

People get hurt in the throes of addiction. That is the nature of how it operates. Pain and harm are the defaults that addiction goes back to. Because of this, some family members may need time to get over what has happened. This isn’t because they don’t love you, but because they need to protect themselves against the possibility of another heartbreak. Understand that this time is important, and focus on doing right by you. Eventually, this bridge will mend itself, and you may find that the relationship can grow even stronger than it once was.

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Listen and show empathy

 

When communicating with your family members, always take the time to listen to how they feel. Trying to get out from under the hold of addiction is a confusing experience, but they are also dealing with a great deal of confusion. Sometimes, families blame themselves for another family member getting caught up in addiction. Allow them to work through these feelings. It is unproductive to only talk about yourself and your feelings without taking the time to understand how your actions have affected them. This may hurt and be a difficult process, but it is an important one, nonetheless. Family therapy is a great setting to explore this process, but it’s important to keep it up in all your interactions.

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About The Author:

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.

To Parents: Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset. Guest Article.

Hello Recovery Friends and Visitors,

My weekend guest article is by a special friend of mine, Christine H. and is for ALL PARENTS. When addiction happens to become part of our life journey, we need to remember that it does affect all the people around us, even our children.

So we need to make sure when coming into recovery? We need to include our children as they to may need help and begin to heal. For you as a parent and for children, it can be a learning and teachable lesson for all…

What to Do When a Loved One Struggles with Addiction pic 2

 

Turn Your Addiction Journey into a Parenting Asset ~ By Christine H.

We’re all aware that our actions have an affect on those around us, but sometimes we don’t really realize the magnitude of that impact. This is especially applicable to our children. Especially in their early years, they learn everything they know from us. Like a sponge, they absorb our actions, attitude, and behaviors and adopt them as their own. Because of this, we may not realize that our own personal challenges are also reflected in our children’s lives, in one form or another.

None of this is meant to make parents feel guilty, or feel sure that they have ruined their children’s lives because that’s just ridiculous. However, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone in your struggles. They affect the people around you. And to tell the truth, that’s not always a bad thing!

Your children may project your issues onto themselves


Because a child has a difficult time interpreting what causes any sporadic behaviors due to your addiction, it’s highly possible that they’ll project these issues onto themselves, and blame themselves for certain behaviors or sorrows of yours. They could very easily think that there is some action that they’re making that is causing you to be upset.

It’s possible that they’ll draw imaginary connections between your actions and their own, assuming that you’re upset because they forgot to clean their room, or because they asked you for something you didn’t want to give them. They’ll begin to assume that these issues are caused by them, and without anyone to reassure them that they are not at fault, they can start carrying psychological burdens that are unnecessary.

 

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Family therapy can help you troubleshoot


That’s why family counseling can be especially helpful when a family is confronting challenges associated with addiction. In a safe place, your child can be clear and honest about their concerns, and you can address them with the love and assurance that you want to.

Even if you feel like your child has a healthy life and good habits, it will be helpful for them to seek help and therapy for your addiction. It could be because they need emotional support, to validate the way that they’re feeling and that the addiction isn’t their fault. Or it could be helpful to instill good habits in them while they’re still impressionable, so they’re able to function well as adults.

Concerns about genetic addiction patterns


Many studies explore the relationship between addiction and genetics. Despite thorough research, the reason that addiction tends to echo down through generations isn’t perfectly clear. That being said, it seems that there’s a mix of environmental issues that perpetuate the cycle, as well as strict biological factors that are passed from parent to child.

Counseling and working to build a healthy lifestyle for your family in the future can help you overcome environmental issues that contribute to addiction. And when it comes to the biological factors, just remember this: forewarned is forearmed. The more you understand about your own journey through addiction, the more you can help your child set healthy patterns in their own life that can protect them from repeating a harmful cycle.

 

Turning your journey into a positive thing for your children


Have you ever thought about the ways that your journey through addiction recovery can benefit your children? Most of us think that it’s a handicap, but in fact, it can be turned into an asset. Group or individual therapy that most of us participate in through addiction recovery can equip you with special tools. It allows you to communicate more effectively with people around you, to identify triggers, adjust behavior, and transform negative patterns of thinking. What a great legacy to pass on to your children!

There’s one more reason that your history can be turned into an asset for your family. Did you know that studies of school-sponsored drug education have found that scare tactics and stats have almost no impact? The only thing that really helps is something quite rare: honest conversations and testimonials from people who have experienced addiction themselves.


Parenting is never easy, and 
parenting when you also struggle with addiction is a colossal feat. However, most parents eventually learn that they’re exactly the parents that their child needed. You are uniquely equipped to help your child navigate their own journey through life, and your experience with addiction is part of your parenting arsenal… 

Christine H.  

Gamblers In Recovery? Take Your Holiday Financial Inventory Now! Guest Article By Northstar Alliance.

Happy Holidays Recovery Friends and Visitors!

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GUEST ARTICLE BY:  Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance


Financial Counselors Can Provide Exceptional Services to Recovering Gamblers and Their Families from The Devastation To Finances .  .  .  .

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“In addition to the social and emotional devastation of gambling addiction, which may include loss of relationships, residence, physical health and career opportunities, the damage exacted to one’s finances is significant.”

While therapists and groups such as Gambler’s Anonymous can help address the mental and psychological challenges from a gambling disorder, other experts can help gamblers rebuild their financial house.

Financial counselors can provide a variety of services to both the gambler and their family. By taking appropriate measures, counselors can help gamblers rebuild their credit and safeguard the assets of “affected others,” whose money the gambler may have accessed during their addiction.

Many compulsive gamblers have accumulated a seemingly insurmountable level of debt by the time they seek help. Financial counselors can work on their behalf to obtain special, lower interest rates from creditors to satisfy existing debt. Financial counselors can also consolidate debt so that the recovering gambler pays a single monthly payment, an option known as a debt management plan. While debt consolidation is a tool that’s available for anyone — gamblers and non-gamblers alike — it can be especially helpful for someone who has incurred debt from gambling addiction and requires a plan to start on a new path.

Recovering gamblers seeking financial relief should be wary of debt settlements, which are fundamentally different than debt management plans and which have been the subject of scrutiny from the Minnesota Attorney General. Debt settlement is a form of debt relief that is considered to be extremely dangerous by financial experts. The process, which involves the paying off of debt to a creditor after mutually agreeing to a sum less than what is owed, often leaves consumers with damaged credit scores and can sometimes lead to even deeper debt.

In addition to credit card assistance, financial counselors can also help with management of student loans and mortgages. HUD-certified financial counselors specialize in foreclosure prevention and can potentially help those who have lost much of their money from gambling by working with mortgage companies to make mortgage modifications. According to Cate Rysavy, senior director of Financial Services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, people are able to avoid foreclosure 64 percent of the time when working with a housing counselor.

Financial counseling can also come to the aid of family members whose monies may have been stolen by the gambler or who may have unknowingly enabled the gambler by providing financial support. Counselors can provide protection to spouses by offering separate accounts for spouses and others to prevent access by the gambler.

A recovering gambler might also wish to engage a Power of Attorney (POA) to help control the disbursement of funds. By setting up a POA, a gambler can ensure there’s controlled access to monies and specify exactly how the funds are to be used. A POA is a formal contract that must be given great consideration. It can be canceled by revocation by the individual or a resignation by the POA, ( Power of Attorney ).

In addition to helping those in financial distress, financial counselors may also be the first to identify someone’s gambling problem. They may note frequent cash withdrawals from a casino or determine that something’s amiss with a client’s expenditures given their budget and income.

Ideally, financial counseling, when necessary, takes place at the same time as treatment for gambling addiction. “If someone’s not acknowledging their addiction and seeking treatment, financial counselors are not in a good position to help,” says Cate, who says the biggest concern when working with gamblers is the possibility of relapse. At Lutheran Social Service, counselors are encouraged to make the call for treatment or to GA while they’re still meeting with the problem gambler. See below for help with addiction debt help from gambling. . . . .

National Credit, Debt, and Finacial Services of Consumer Credit Counseling can be found here in your area:

Connect with an NFCC Certified Credit Counselor   800.388.2227

Consumer Credit Counseling: FREE Debt Help!  Call Us At: 866-464-5243

  1. Get a free credit counseling session
  2. Reduce your interest rates
  3. Prevent late and over the limit fees
  4. Pay off your debt in most cases within 5 years
  5. Consolidate your unsecured debt into one easy monthly payment


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Welcome to Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance

Who We Are!

Gambling, in all its various forms, has become increasingly prevalent in today’s society. In fact, 75 percent of Minnesotans have participated in a form of gambling in the last year. Most who gamble are able to enjoy it as a healthy form of recreation. Others, however, are unable to stop, even when their gambling habit empties their wallet and tugs at their soul. The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance was formed to address the needs of Minnesotans whose gambling goes beyond normal recreation bounds.

The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota’s affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. We achieve this by increasing public awareness about the growing problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by gambling.

Come Visit Us Today! We Can Help .  .  .  .

My New Guest Article In ‘Keys To Recovery’ Newspaper! Celebrating National Addiction Recovery Month.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

In honor of celebrating this month, another new article was published this month in a new publication I was invited to write for called, Keys To Recovery Newspaper!

My first article in last month’s issue was a hit with many visits, so they asked me for another for this month. The publication is free and they are out of Southern California. They are one of the biggest distributors of addiction recovery news sent out to conferences, training seminars, and mailed to many 12 step groups nationwide. I was very honored to be asked to submit articles for their new column, “Quit To WIN!” about gambling addiction and recovery. 

Here is my September article I wrote to share more of my addiction and recovery in celebration of this special MONTH!

I hope it helps others have HOPE from the cunning disease called; “Gambling Addiction” A Real Addiction, A Real Disease!

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‘Quit To Win’

“CONSEQUENCES, ACCOUNTABILITY & FREEDOM”

 

“I will never forget the day I was sitting in jail, on a cold piece of concrete bench feeling sick to my stomach. I was waiting to be booked and fingerprinted by our local police. I could not believe I was here. I could not believe my addicted thinking and poor choice got me here. The shame and embarrassment I will never forget.”

That was me back in Sept 2006. I wanted to share a little about the damages and consequences many of us face when we were deep within our addictions, or like me, just have more recovery work to do. One of those can be losing your freedom due to jail, criminal records or doing jail or prison time. I had visited a friend’s blog this morning, and he had just been released from prison five days ago. I have followed some of his journey on his recovery blog while he was there. And I can tell you; there is nothing worse than having your freedoms of life taken away from you.

See I know this first hand as I had this happen myself, just no prison time. In 2006 I made the poor choice to steal from someone due to financial problems of my own. This person filed charges, by which she had every right to do. I was arrested at my home, taken to jail, booked, and then released due to never having a criminal record. Talk about shame and embarrassment. It was the lowest point in my life besides my two failed suicide attempts. I was living in Oregon at the time, in a small community, so everyone, of course, read about it in our local newspaper.

I had spent over 20 years in the banking field, so I knew many people and business people in my town. So it was again pretty embarrassing to know they all may have read about my downfall, and seen my name in our local newspaper.

FREEDOM, ARE  YOU HEARING ME? GET YOUR FREEDOM BACK!

Now my friend who just got out of prison was talking about how he was becoming addicted to his tech stuff. His cell phone, the internet and social media, and how much had changed just in the seven years that he was away in prison. I SO understood what my friend, fresh out of prison was feel- ing and going through. I’m addicted to the same, but I have chosen to be addicted to social media and the internet for two excellent reasons, and these reasons are blessings of my hard work in recovery and given from my higher power.
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I use them for my recovery to help others and share hope in recovery, inform and educate others about gambling addiction, alcohol abuse, and more, as I blog my recovery journey. I also use it for my home business as a book promoter.

I chose to steal from someone while I cleaned her home. It is all in my book. I was arrested, charged, given two-years probation and loads of community service. I’m still paying my fees and the little balance left of my restitution today. So with having a criminal record, no one would hire me. So I had to think outside the box and figure a way to make money from home. I also suffer from severe depression and agoraphobia, so I don’t work outside my home anymore.  BAM! Book Promoting and authoring more recovery books came to me! Lol. Now I am not rich, but I have made enough to pay our rent some months, and that not only feels good/ but are blessings in recovery. It also raises your self-worth, your confidence and gives you freedom from addiction.

We need to learn while working our recovery to take ownership and accountability of the choices we had made. No matter how long it takes to work through them? It can be done; you will never feel that full sense of freedom from your past if you don’t. And boy did I have a lot to process and overcome of my past starting as a hurt, traumatized little girl. That holds true for the other obstacles that come from just life trials and storms besides turning to addiction.

So back to my friend, I told him to change his priority of why he is using them. I use them to help others in recovery, go to online recovery meetings, and that is what helps me stay in recovery. Shar- ing my story, sharing my hope to others so they too can help others. Same with my book promotions. I enjoy helping other authors promote their books. And I work just as hard for them as I do when I help others in  recovery.

I never dreamed how my life could take a decisive turn from the ugly damage and devastation of gambling addiction I battled. Never dreamed I’d be a published   author in my lifetime, nor have freedom again. But when we are in addiction, we just  don’t see anything but the addiction. What a life legacy I get to leave behind for others who come to recovery after I’m gone. Awesome! Just don’t give up on those dreams!

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I have been unbelievably blessed since that day sitting in jail. Yes, my choice’s back then came with heavy consequences, but in Recovery we can surely turn that around and have a “positive impact” in the world and with others who still suffer the “cycle” of any addiction. I know this as I have been sharing HOPE & HELP to as many as I can for the last 8 years. So please, if you or someone you care about has a gambling problem? Reach out and get help today and “reclaim your life back!”

Start Here: The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700).

Look for a GA Meeting – Gamblers Anonymous in your area here:  

U.S. Meetings | Gamblers Anonymous

For Family:

Gambling Addiction – gam-anon.org‎

God Bless All!  Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author 

My Recovery Guest Article of the Week. Trauma and Healing.

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Healing after Trauma ~ By Christine Hill

Trauma isn’t a new or unique story in the world today. In fact, some psychologists have stated that we have an epidemic of trauma in our society, without the tools to recover from it. Trauma can be any event in your life that sends you into an extreme state of stress, fear, and helplessness. It can be physical or mental abuse in the home, a cataclysmic natural disaster, or a chronic sickness.

In any case, the primary goal after trauma is to find a way to heal. For some, this comes naturally with time. For others, recovery is a difficult process for which they’ll need help. Unchecked, trauma can cause a multitude of disorders and harmful behaviors, from PTSD to schizophrenia to addiction and risk-taking behaviors.

Here are some ways to help patients recovering from trauma find healing and peace in their lives:

Step 1: Restabilize and Find Safety

The thing about trauma is that it makes us feel unsafe and helpless. A heightened stress response keeps triggering, sending us right back to that place where we felt threatened. The most important first step to take after trauma is to re-establish safety.

“Safety” will look differently for everyone. As children, we learn to rely on others to establish safety for us. However, sometimes that system breaks down, and as we grow, we become responsible for creating a safe place for ourselves.

The first step in recovering from trauma may consist of breaking from the traumatic event or situation that you’re in. This might mean a move. It might mean breaking from certain people or patterns in your life. It might even mean using certain help or resources available in order to leave and find a new place where you can be safe and rebuild.

Establish Healthy Patterns

Most recovering patients of trauma find safety in patterns in their lives. After feeling completely helpless and out of control, it’s comforting to have something that’s in your control. Practicing self-care also supports the body’s healthy systems, empowering you to counteract the effects of trauma. Some healthy patterns will include:

  • Getting proper sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Steering clear of substances that will alter your mental state
  • Exercise

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early in the morning


All of these things help to balance the hormones in your system which have been thrown off by extreme stress. True, it’s easier said than done. After trauma, night terrors can interrupt our sleep. We feel powerless to set up new healthy habits like exercise. And we reach for things that grant immediate comfort and numbness, which is why trauma and substance abuse are so often paired. However, substance abuse perpetuates the pattern of trauma, and continues to throw off our self-regulatory systems, which can prolong your recovery, and send you back into a mental state that will aggravate the harmful effects of trauma, instead of leading to a path of healing.

Connect with Others

Another cruel effect of trauma is that it often causes us to feel isolated. The separation between ourselves and everyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma can feel too great to overcome. It can be hard to reconnect with people who seem to expect you to be the same old person you were before the trauma entered your life, or you might fear having to confront the trauma and having to explain it to others.

However, studies have shown that people who reach out after trauma heal much faster. You have a choice about whether trauma will cripple you, or whether you will use it as an experience that enables you to help others. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

  • Join a survivor group. Talking with others who have experienced similar things will help you remember that you are not alone. Learning about the coping strategies that have helped them will give you ideas for things to try in your life. Reaching out and striving to problem-solve with others can motivate you to find creative solutions for your own problems.

 

  • Reconnect with people who care about you. The people in your life who love and care about you can be a touchstone of sanity and safety when everything feels out of control. If you’re lucky enough to have a few people who will fight for you, make time for you, patiently listen to you, and sacrifice for you, take advantage of that gift. Remember that you don’t have to talk about traumatic experiences that have shaken you. Take your time, and ask for what you need. Be patient with yourself and with others.

 

  • Volunteer. One of the best ways to recover from trauma is to look for the good. It’s reminding yourself that you still have the power to effect positive change – not just in yourself, but in those around you. Helping others gets us outside of ourselves and helps us to see things in a different way. It helps us make new connections and realize the power that we do have. Volunteering can be an opportunity to build new memories and experiences that can counter the memory and experience of trauma in our lives.


Reach out for Help

Visiting psychologist

Group of people visiting course of psychological therapy…

 

A difficult step for many trauma survivors is knowing when to reach out for professional help. Many of us feel we can overcome the problems by ourselves, or we fear the emotional impact of reliving traumatic events. However, trauma therapists are specially trained to help patients come to terms with the events in their past, to empower them to rewrite their own stories and find a way to make daily life more functional and more enriching.


If you are having a hard time connecting with others, functioning in society – whether that’s getting daily chores done, or holding down a job, getting a good night’s rest, or building healthy patterns in your life, a therapist can give you tools and perspective that you might need in order to rebuild after trauma.


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*Author Note: I want to thank Christine Hill for a wonderful article. Since I am a trauma and sex abuse survivor myself, I could have used this advice when I finally disclosed to my parents what had happened to me as a little girl. Would the outcome have been different for me to the way the way my parents reacted?

Knowing how my parents were? Most likely not, but it may have been less traumatic for me, how having to go through the process of explaining it to them. I hope this article will help those who are still holding on to any past pain. Please, it is time to let it go  .  .  .