“MORE NOW Than ever we need to “Have The Conversation” about Problem Gambling.” With the ever growing expansion of gambling options, now comes the risk of more people affected and may become problem gamblers. My mission for my blog is to educate, inform, help, and raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction.
Here now is a message from my friends and hardworking advocates at “The National Council on Problem Gambling”….
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The 2017 PGAM theme is “Have the Conversation” and the goals of this national campaign are:
To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment & recovery services.
To encourage healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling.
PGAM is a grassroots campaign that depends on the participation of NCPG state Affiliate, organizational and individual members; state health agencies; gambling companies; recovery groups and a wide range of healthcare organizations and providers. 2017 is the 13th year for this event.
Groups across America hold conferences, air Public Service Announcements, provide counselor training, host screening days, insert paycheck stuffers, buy billboards and many other activities to provide thousands of hours of volunteer and community service. Calls to the NCPG National Helpline Network jump by an average of 30% in March, a measurable and meaningful nationwide impact.
Let us know what you are doing this month to help spread the message that compulsive gambling is a real issue that needs to be addressed. Email Sushmita at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or updates on your activities. You can also interact with us on social media, where we will have daily updates about Problem Gambling Awareness Month! We are on Facebook and Twitter (@NCPGambling)
So please go connect with these fine folks and check all their resources!
Visit their Calendar for events happening in March and throughout the year! I am proud to work with them in advocacy throughout Social Media all year. They offer a wide range of programs to help many from becoming a problem or addicted gambler.
One of their most valuable resources at the Councils website is, “Real Stories and Voices of Recovery” as Treatment Does Work!
“Within six months after the big win, I realized I bit off more than I could chew. I had given back all the money, and more. I kept chasing that feeling of the huge win. […] In 2004, I started a business that quickly had financial success. I had so much money that I thought I’d never run out. But eventually, I couldn’t even come up with postage to ship a package. I started selling stolen goods to cover my losses and eventually ended up in prison on a mail fraud charge.”
(Read more about why Christine is candid about her addiction and how her life is today.)
The first time I gambled was at Mystic Lake with friends. It was simply a “let’s go out and do something fun” kind of thing. In fact, for many years I was a mere social gambler and assumed it would be like that for my entire life. I could go to Las Vegas to meet relatives and not even care if I gambled or not.
But then I had a personal life crisis and gambling became a way to forget everything that was going on. I realized that when I gambled, I didn’t have to be responsible to anyone. It became a way to escape my life’s problems and the rest of the world.
Before I knew it, I was going out to gamble every night. Then I started to have financial problems. And then I realized I couldn’t stop… nor did I want to stop. Every time I left the casino, I’d tell myself I was going to quit. Then when I got home I’d find more money to go back with.
Once I became hooked, it became my life. Gambling became my main source of entertainment. It was the only thing that I cared about. I’d cheat, steal and otherwise do whatever it took to get money. But it was never about the money. I didn’t want to win money… it was a just a means to an end. Money had allowed me to hit more buttons so that I didn’t have to think about how screwed up my life was.
I engaged in unhealthy gambling for about three years. I spiraled downhill quickly. I lost my home, my cars, everything. I embezzled from my employer and was caught. That should have been the end of my gambling.
However, I continued to gamble from money I earned with a part-time job. I even remember gambling the night before I went to jail. That was when I finally stopped.
Part of my sentence required that I seek help, such as with a group like GA. I went to my very first gambling meeting at Club Recovery. I remember being so embarrassed to be there. But I got through it
Getting through the first meeting was the hardest. Even though it’s a meeting for those with gambling problems, nobody thinks that anyone has done anything worse than they have. You think you’re the absolute worst person.
When I think back on my recovery and my experience, I have learned a lot. For one, I realized that recovery is a choice. For the longest time, I didn’t think it was. I thought it was a matter of willpower.
Most people don’t understand the insatiable urge you have when you have an addiction. It almost feels like it’s an instinct to keep at an addiction. I’ve learned that you can get over the shame and guilt. Guilt is feeling bad about what you’ve done while shame is feeling bad about who you are.
I’ve learned a few other things. One is that you can’t beat yourself over the head to convince others as to why you’re addicted. People in my family have been so supportive of me but they still don’t understand how this can become an addiction. There comes a point when you just accept yourself and others.
You also realize that to conquer addiction you really need to put yourself first. That can be hard to do, particularly when you feel like you need to make amends to others, but you have to make peace with yourself before thinking about being in a full relationship with friends, families and an employer.
There is nothing more encouraging than listening to other peoples’ stories and their recoveries. As you hear them share their story, you learn that you’re not really a horrible person with no hope of recovery. You learn that you can fix yourself and become a whole person again…. that this addiction doesn’t have to define you.
“LIKE ME, WE CAN RECOVER FROM THIS CUNNING ADDICTION CALLED GAMBLING.”
Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
THIS Is My Story:
” I am always Humbled and Grateful when others buy and take the time to read my book and have a Heart of Gratitude when they leave a book review as many have. Thank You! ”
NEW BOOK REVIEW FROM GOODREADS:
Good honest stuff! We need more stuff like this — more people telling it like it was and also telling it like it IS after getting free. To me, this author is helping. She offers hope for people hurting in a very broken world. Her sharing is the exact opposite of “looking-goodism” in which I spent so many years in bondage, and reading she had, well-defended by walls as thick as Jericho. This book proves that victory is possible, no matter how deep the darkness. And I say that’s a good thing!
NEW BOOK REVIEWS FROM AMAZON:
A story to be remembered
Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) (Paperback)
Fascinating read. This author truly brings to light an issue that needs public awareness. She portrays her turbulent and painful childhood, what brought her to gambling, and all the heartache that went with it. She holds the reader’s rapt attention throughout her journey from the initial highs to the devastating lows, and finally to recovery and freedom. This book is one to be remembered.
Remarkable Story of a Remarkable Life Journey….
Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) (Kindle Edition)
Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s riveting story of her downfall into a life of addiction to gambling is a heart-wrenching read that ends with a great light of hope. It was hard to put this book down, so involved in wanting to know where it all went and landed in the end. Recommend this to anyone addicted to gambling, or any other addiction, as it offers the raw authentic story and hope for healing.
About My Book:
“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 and read this remarkable and brave story.”
Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors,
Today has been really hard on my heart when it comes to recovery. RELAPSE can be a mean ‘Bitch’ when she comes back around for you when you least expect it!…
Sometimes our higher power gives us the opportunity to watch and learn what relapse looks like by watching others in their struggle to recover. It’s what I have been doing now for almost 3 weeks. My good friend Sean is in trouble! And it’s so heart breaking to watch. My friend, and next door neighbor has been on a drug relapse for about that length of time. I have talked with him, tried to help him, but I know I can not make the tough choice’s for him about his addiction or recovery. It breaks my heart that all I can do is watch him crumble.
He went down to visit his parents in San Diego about 3 weeks ago. When he got back, he seemed to go into a depression. I know and understand what that type of ‘separation depression’ looks like, because I’d get that way myself after a visit with friends and family down in So. Cal. So I understood what he was feeling.
We even talked about it. I shared with him what I would go through when everyone had left, and was gone.
The same would also happen when my family came to visit me and my husband in So. Oregon, and then go home after a week or so, I would get depressed. Even though my family is a bit dysfunctional, there still family….LOL. I to would feel the separation depression, and it would hit me hard. We have no children of our own, so it was especially hard when my nephews came with my parents to visit, it would be even harder to regroup after everyone was gone and by myself and hubby again. So I noticed the same with my friend Sean. Then he also started to slack off on going to his NA meetings, RED FLAG. His son came over one day and had pot on him, and of course his son got Sean thinking that pot is not a drug…. WTF? is what I was saying in my head to myself, another RED FLAG.
As we all know anything that is mood altering is a DRUG.
Sorry but, POT IS A DRUG. No amount of Medical Marijuana cards will change my mind about that! That it’s a herb, and not a drug. Yeah Right!
So, Sean started to smoke it with his son. He told me he had smoked pot. And of course we had to AGREE to DISAGREE that pot is a drug. Well my friends, one thing WILL lead to another, and he got right back on the PILL PONY EXPRESS, buying and taking Oxycontin and other pain pills! As an addict in or out of recovery? One drug WILL lead you back on the “Cycle” of addiction.
Now some of you are wondering,…. WHAT? Why didn’t you help him more?
Well, he’s an addict that’s why. Oh, I have talked to him. But as all of us addicts in recovery know, he has to make the choice to get back into rehab, or back on track with his recovery himself. I can’t do that for him. All I can do is encourage him on how well he had done the last 121 days, and to say that NO ONE can take those days away from him. That now with those 121 days clean, proves to him he can do this!
So, finally, just an hour ago, he came over and had tears in his eyes while he told me he has had enough. He was going to the hospital and then checking himself voluntarily into rehab to detox properly, and start over once again. We hugged, we cried together. I told him how proud I was of him. That the days he made, and work he’d done in those 121 days of recovery, all the meetings, all the “Celebrate Recovery” meetings too, has given him today the ‘Awareness’ of knowing he needs the professional help to recover. I know that he wouldn’t have done that otherwise.
Even though my DEMON was Addicted Compulsive Gambling, and Alcohol abuse when I gambled, addiction is addiction regardless the type. What is the definition of addition?
: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
2: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful and repetitive.
Change,… that’s what it takes to break the “Cycle” of any addiction. CHANGE. Change our diseased thoughts, thinking, habits, and addicted behaviors. BRAVE. To be brave enough to make those changes within ourselves to be healthy and happy without addiction through recovery. Courage. To have the courage to be aware that you’re dying within your addiction and/or relapse. It takes courage to admit your sick and you need help.
That is what I saw today in the eyes of my good friend and neighbor, Sean W. Even through the tears, all I saw was a man saying, HELP ME, I NEED YOU, I NEED YOUR RECOVERY SUPPORT! And he knows I got his back!
I may not know a lot about DRUG addiction, but I know enough to see when someone is in pain, lost, and in a relapse. But again, all I could do is talk to him, be a good listener, and reaffirm to him the months he had, and he knows in his heart he can DO THIS!
See, since my husband and I had to relocate from Southern Oregon to here in Glendale, Arizona, I don’t have many friends here. I do have a good sponsor, she is a follow recovering gambler, and fellow author to, Marilyn Lancelot. But my neighbor & friend Sean, who lives next door moved in the month after we did here, and that’s about it as friends here. I do have a couple of girls in the complex that I talk to now and then, but I don’t get out much because of my damn Agoraphobia with Panic, and Bipolar Depression. I’m on the computer a lot! NO……. don’t worry, I’m not addicted to the internet or my computer!…LOL.
One thing I do know, I’m glad I never chose drug addiction as my choice of escapism from life, just gambling and alcohol. WHY? Because with my addictive, and obsessive personality? I most likely wouldn’t be here today writing this blog post. Addicted gambling & alcohol almost did me in by ‘SUICIDE TWICE’. It’s why I share it, as gambling addiction cost me so much more than money or material things I sold or pawned, it almost cost me my life. I have lost 4 friends in my Recovery Treatment Group and Gamblers Anonymous Group in So. Oregon. I don’t want to lose another friend due to addiction.
So as July 1st was “Addiction & Recovery Prayer Day”….. I ask all of my recovery friends, followers, liker’s, and new visitors,… PLEASE say a prayer for my friend Sean, he really needs them. I’m so grateful to have all my friends here on my blog. Because its times like this that I can come, write my feelings, my thoughts, fears, worries, and triumphs to share with all of you here. I’m blessed to have all of you! Even if it’s just through Cyber-Space. It means so much to me to have a blog community of friends just, SOMEWHERE. And I have THE BEST! I hope you all know that…. Xo Xo
Many Blessings & Happy 4th Of July!
Author Of “Addicted To Dimes”
How we speak and understand
Successfully living with Chronic Illness, Bipolar and Familial Mediterranean Fever
Thrills, Spills, and just a dash of Romance
Life with Addiction by a Recovering Addict
A verse of stories, short and long.