Dear Gambling Addiction, ~ It’s My Final Goodbye…Part One

“It is time to make amends and to forgive me.”

I Am A Recovering Gambling Addict.
In Recovery As of – Jan 29th, 2007
1996 to 2007- “I was a gambling addict until I entered recovery.”

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


Dear Gambling Addiction,


It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us now for 10+ years. So I thought it was time to for a final goodbye but first catch up on the years we have been apart, and this will be my last contact with you.

Things have been going well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind in those early years, but I never had the courage to bring myself to tell you that it was time for “A Final Goodbye” forever as it stings for it to be so final…..Like a loss or death. This time it is your funeral and not mine, as my two failed suicides were enough for me.

YES, we have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be a surprise or difficult for either of us to finally be silent from one another. We have been through so much together. And not all was positive. Yes, we shared and had some good times, but that ended up turning deadly for me. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. I just could not deny or see how you began to HURT me in our friendship. I didn’t understand at the middle to end of our friendship and then breakup that you could be so mean, hurtful and abusive to me.

WHY?

Do you not remember the times I’m talking about? There were many I can recall.

Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just a jackass to ME? So much so I tried to kill myself twice because of you! You want me to go THERE? Why don’t we start around the time we first met. We had seen each other around a little, once for my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, then in Reno once a year with my girls, or at the Indian Casino 40 miles from my home once every 3 to 4 months.

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But where did we get to know each other well? It was at all the “Oregon State Lottery Retail” stores opening up everywhere! It was where you and 5 of your video poker machine buddies seemed to be each time we ran into each other. I began to like you a lot and not be able to stay away from you. It was if you had all the control and I just went along with it. That was my downfall.

Especially when I started seeing your shiny video lottery signs outside all the bars and taverns around town, and even in most of the restaurants where hubby and I would go to eat. OH PLEASE, don’t get your panties in a bunch! I knew you were always mad or jealous of Tom my husband the first time you saw us together. I never understood why you didn’t like Tom, and why you were always HELL BENT to do anything to break our marriage apart! Well, I guess most was my fault as I feel “head over heals” in love with YOU dear video and slot machines. You turned out to be the best part of each day. I longed for you like a lover.

I know it was YOU who was always there for me when I was tired, bored, lonely, angry or had too much time on my hands, too much alcohol, and when Tom worked out-of-town those few years, you kept me high and we had such FUN! That’s when you and I got to know each other intimately, and we spent many, many hours together. It was like you loved me so much that all I could see and think of was you. You listened to what said, knew how I was feeling. You made me feel wanted and special.

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Then, to be able to spend more time with you, I had to begin to lie bout where I was all the time. I began to see you before, during, and after work. Then, toward the end of our friendship, you became more greedy and started to cost me a fortune in wasted money, taking more of my time from life, friends, then the job loss, our home, even pawning my jewelry! Need I go on?

You even had a hand in me being “arrested,” then a had a criminal record when I’d never stolen a penny in all the years I worked in the banking field or wasn’t even spending time with you anymore! You had me in such dire financial distress. Yes, I know, that was my fault because I stole from someone just to be able to able to pay my bills. That was even after I tried to stop seeing you! You were like a bad affair I couldn’t get rid of like the movie, “Basic Instinct.”

THEN? before I entered recovery the first time, you began to just take and take from me. Year after year until I had nothing left to give. THE MADNESS and INSANITY HAD TO STOP!

TO BE CONTINUED…..


Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Freelance writer

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My Gambling Recovery “Thought” Of The Day!

Hello and Welcome To My Recovery World Friends!

 

I wanted to Inspire All Today with a Friday Recovery Thought of The Day!!

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“I can tell you friends this is very true! Doing the recovery work needed to GRAB your life back from Gambling Addiction? My own LIFE is better TODAY than it was before I became an ADDICT! Our HP will give it if you Want It”  ….

Here is a referred guide and workbook to help you work your 12-Steps and Get What I Have BABY! LOL … Your Worth It! XOXO

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THE 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY MANUAL 2015FINALZjpg_Page1

( A fantastic book and guide: http://www.amazon.com/If-You-Want-What-Have-ebook/dp/B019XF6LH8/ )
One book reviewer said:


“If you plan to experience fine dining anywhere in the world, you use Zagat to find the 5-star ratings. This workbook is the perfect tool for everyone just getting started in recovery, wanting to stay active in their program or even well-seasoned sponsors and Recovery Coaches. I have personally been working and familiar with the 12 steps for over 30 years and as a Program Director of a residential, adult program have been blessed to implement Dr. Kevin Coughlin’s manual into our curriculum. With definitions, explanations, assignments, graphs and insight, a complicated person will be at ease to work with this layout. Dr. Coughlin is truly an expert and his knowledge and years of wisdom show in the pages of “If You Want What We Have”.

By Author, Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin …

In Recovery, Don’t Let Anyone Or Anything Make You Feel ‘Less Than,’ Always Feel ‘More Than’ Because You Are “More Than”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And Welcome New Friends,

 

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Some days living life in recovery can be a bit of a challenge. What I mean is, no matter how much recovery time one gets under their belt, we still may have a day when something from our “Wicked Past Addiction” just might come back and ‘Bitch Slap’ us in the face of our present.
It’s why it’s important to ALWAYS have a plan. And especially for long holiday weekends like this one, *Memorial Weekend*…

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Even when that “Slap” comes around, we need to have a safe plan to deal with Life on Life’s terms. I mean, our higher power never said recovery was going to be an easy journey right? Here is what happened to me a while back. When we moved from So. Oregon, to here in Glendale, Arizona,…it was a very traumatic move for me in many ways. I had to adopt out my 2 baby kitties, actually my good friend who has a mini 3 acre ranch took them for us, but it was traumatic for me. Also the 3 day ride in the car was also a traumatic event for me, and had to stay a wee bit extra medicated with my psych meds for the long trip, as I suffer from Bipolar depression, mild PTSD, and Agoraphobia with panic, so need I say more? When we finally got her to AZ we were living with my husbands siblings until we could move back to Oregon. Well, there was SO much DRAMA and arguing that I was having 5 panic attacks a Week!!

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I cried every night we were there in that house. Missing my cats, hating the way they treated us! We barely lasted 2 months and got the HELL out! We had to find our own place with the help of my husbands older sister who is the ONLY SANE person in that house. We moved out and have NOT stepped foot in their house since. What I found out is,…the 2 brothers went to their lawyer and had him run a criminal background check on me, and they gave it to my husbands older sister. Now, for those who know me, or have read my book, you know that when I was within the worst of my ‘Gambling Addiction’ I had stolen from someone. They pressed charges, and YES,….I have a past criminal record, ONE.
I took ownership, and responsibility for what I had done 8 years ago. I made my amends where I could, began gambling addiction treatment, and worked hard these last 7 years to become the woman I was before my addictions to gambling and alcohol. I did the inside work within myself as well, and now try to help others, and “Pay It Forward.”

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So we need to be ready for when these types of LIFE MOMENTS happen, our past catching up &  into our future. His 2 brothers began to treat me even worse with verbal attacks, and more after they got that copy of my past misdeeds. But,….SO WAHT. So I knew we needed to get out to keep my sanity and recovery.

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I think I handled it all pretty well. I did get some bouts of depression and the panic attacks, but all was fine when we got a little place of our own. I mean, at the end, things were really getting out there! The guys hid all the window handles so we could not open our window in our bedroom for any fresh air in the mornings. I was only allowed downstairs living area and kitchen, not in their living room, or anywhere upstairs. I could not use scented deodorant, perfume, smelly body lotion as the boys called it. I really thought I was going MAD IN THE HEAD!
ANYWHO…..
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The point is this, Yes,…we may have made some ‘Bad Choice’s’ when we where within our addictions, but they don’t have to be part of your future, or even in this moment. Don’t let anyone make you feel “Less Than” no matter what. If you learned from the mistakes you made in your past, took ownership and accountability for them, that makes you “More Than in Recovery”! It’s another important reason to do the step work that is required to help you get there and achieve it. Your 12-steps are not all about a religious program.
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Nope,….it’s about learning to use them as a guide to help fix the many character defects, and the bad habits and behaviors we used to COPE within addicted life, and use the steps to transform us into better people in recovery. That’s how I feel about working and reworking my steps. You can see your growth with your own eyes! When you here the words “Unity & Fellowship” in meetings, it’s not a religious fellowship, it’s about applying “The Principals of the Steps” into our daily lives to restore the beautiful people we were before addiction!
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We in recovery deserve, and were given a 2nd chance. If you screw that up?
Well,…that’s on you. Might mean more work needs to be done in your recovery, and within yourself. But if you accept and use that 2nd chance in life given to you in recovery, then,….you are “More Than”…… Always.

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
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Happy Memorial Weekend All,
God Bless!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

“What Did God Want You To Be In The First Place”? Inner Thoughts Of A Recovering Addicted Gambler…

Hello Recovery Friends, Recovery Seekers, And Welcome New Visitors,
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I was cleaning up my Author Facebook page when I came across this “Quote” and it got me thinking about my current published book and my recovery from Addicted Compulsive gambling, and a bit too much alcohol. It took me back to when my book first released on my 50th birthday! I felt so proud that I actually accomplished one of the biggest goals I’d had for myself. I owe it to the “Grace & Power” of God, and my own 7 years of hard work in recovery for my book  to even be a “Dream to Reality” event in my life.
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Well, also I Thank my awesome publisher too, Steve Laible, of TKG… http://KodelEmpire.com  And yes, he is as funny as he looks! But seriously, he is a fantastic publisher, and a “Children’s Book Author” Too! Check out my Pal http://StevieTenderHeart.com If it wasn’t for him nagging me to want to publish my manuscript my friend put together for me, I wouldn’t be a published author today. I was so scared of what people might THINK of me because of all the terrible things I’d done as an addict.
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Author - Steve Laible
Author – Steve Laible ~ Great Guy!
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I know I blog a lot about life being difficult to move on from, especially from our addictions when we first enter recovery. I know this because I to had a hard time grasping the fact that I had become an addicted to gambling and alcohol. It’s hard when we are at our worst in our addictions to even LOOK at ourselves in the mirror, and god knows that happened a lot for me. From the woman and wife I was, having a successful banking career, working hard to have a home and beautiful family life, to this black, ugly, darkness of addiction that took such a hold on me I thought I’d never make it out alive! And I almost didn’t, Twice.  When I was in the depths of the ugliness of addicted gambling, I used to think in my head about all the “negative” shit my mom and dad used to say about me, and it seemed I made that a “Reality” all by myself…

As if I bought into all the years they said I didn’t love my family, never wanted to be around them or stay home, that I lied, or wasn’t an honest person. I really made that come true with my addiction! Even when you start recovery you have so many doubts about yourself. It takes time and a lot of hard work to learn WHO you really are. You have to retrain your brain, your diseased thinking and thoughts. I also had a hard time about 2 years into my recovery about “Feeling Stuck. I don’t know if you know what I mean? When I went to Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I’d hear others speak about feeling “Stuck” in their recovery. Not sure which way to go, or what to do next to continue to grow in our process to recover.

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For myself? That’s when I had to start on Step 9. I was stuck on this step for a while. Making “Amends,” wow that was a hard job, and I’m still doing it today! Step 9 is making “Direct Amends” to such people wherever possible, as long as it doesn’t injure anyone in the process. Now that sounds easy enough, but with gambling addiction, it often means you owe money too, to someone you hurt, or never paid back. Well, most all the people I did owe, I had paid back. That is when though I learned about “Pawn Shops” and started selling stuff to get money to gamble. Also for me it was more of how I let down others. Like employers, if I stopped to gamble before work, and got on a winning streak, well, I’d call in sick and say I couldn’t make it in. Sadly, these people hired me to do a job and BE THERE to do it. So then that plays into your “Reputation & Character” of who you are. When I gambled? I was a Flake!! I even did it to my friends, and lost many good, long time friends because I couldn’t be counted on anymore. Now this may not sound like a big “DEAL” to many, but for me? That used to be WHO I WAS. People knew they could always count on “Catherine” when things needed getting done.
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But, that all falls to the wayside when all you’re doing and thinking is “Gambling”! I was a happy, bubbly, caring, at times a comedian, a giving woman with a smile on my face, and the word “YES” was always on my lips. That all to went away when I became addicted to gambling. So like the next “Quote” above says, “You need to learn to MOVE ON” and get yourself in Recovery, when you do? You will know it was “The Best Decision” you’ll ever make. You can move on from all the damage of addiction.  Yes, it will take work but it is “Worth the Work”! The one piece of advice my sponsor gave me is this, “when you feel stuck in your recovery? It means you have MORE work to do.” And she was right. See, we get to a point where we begin to feel good about ourselves again, learn to be better than we had been as an addict. We start to feel again, as were taught how to process these different feelings of Life and past damages. So we then start to look and take stock of our life overall. That’s when you can really feel STUCK.

Then that hard work starts paying off. We begin to be comfortable with our past faults, learn to gain our self-worth again. We learn we are “Not Less Than” we are Worth More” in Recovery! It’s a time of awareness of what our HP has given us, a second chance at a beautiful life in recovery.  We learn how to live on life’s terms and learn we don’t have to run and Gamble, Drink. or Use Drugs when we run into a life road blocks. We have the skills and tools in our recovery tool box to handle anything, so use them. We do become more aware of what our HP has blessed us with. Decreased “Triggers and Urges get replaced with some “Peace & Serenity” and more comfortable in our own skin. We feel strong to start being of recovery service to others, share our testimony to help others. We learn how to handle life’s disappointments and expectations when things don’t seem to go our way. We don’t have to run to addiction anymore to “Feel Better.” Just remember you are “More Than ~ Not Less Than”….

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Which brings me to the above “Recovery Quote”…
Have you yet to have that “Closure Talk” with yourself within your recovery yet? Are you today able to look at yourself in a mirror and LOVE what you see looking back at you? We need not explain ourselves to others, nor try to explain away our “Faults and Short-Comings” when we were addicts.
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We need to be comfortable with who we are today, not who we “were.”  Yes, I’m not perfect, who is? Yes, I F _ _ KED UP, but the person you need to forgive is yourself. You won’t be any good to anyone else until then. We come to believe in a power greater than ourselves to work through all the baggage of the past, not just your addictions, but all the “Past” hurt and pain that was done upon you to be able to live in the moment, be alive again, and enjoy all the things we did before we began our so-called, “DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.”….

I really did feel that way about myself when in the throes of my addictions! Like I was just a piece of garbage no one wanted or cared about. I was treated as such growing up, so why should my adult life be any different? Well, that’s a few on the “Recovery Perks,” I call them in my own recovery. We don’t just get a better life than before we became addicts, we get an Awesome gratefulness and gratitude towards ourselves to be happy again. We are more aware of just the “Little Things” around us. Yes, it sounds corny, but it’s true! Hearing & seeing all the beautiful things God has created seem more awesome than ever in recovery!! We get “JOY” out of everything. We may have it rough when our Amends don’t seem to come out positive, but that’s OK, really it is. All we need to know is we tried, and owe ourselves our own “Closure” on a chapter of life that hopefully we learned from as part of the journey my HP had laid out for me. Always know that no matter what you do or go through, there are many “Blessings and Life Lessons” to be learned from this journey of recovery and life. So today I’m grateful for those blessings given. It has humbled my heart.
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This is who God meant me to be. The person I am today. To reach out and “Share Recovery HOPE to others” and sponsor, and let others know that recovery from any addiction is possible. Learning to be OK with sharing this part of ourselves.
So stop being to hard on yourself in recovery! There are “NO SET RULES or TIME LIMIT” on our recovery journey. It us meant to be a life long process until we breathe our last breath. And you know what? Today? That’s OK for me. If your feeling stuck in your recovery? Re-work your steps and see for your own eyes the “Growth” you have accomplished! Besides, the only “Dancing” I do these days is Naked in the Shower!! OOPS!  Too Much Information??…LOL, LOL!

God Bless you on your Recovery Journey All,

AUTHOR, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author of “Addicted To Dimes”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

Being “Beautiful” In Recovery Is A Blessing And Is Yours!

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends & New Seekers,
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.EVEN YOURSELF!
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We in recovery know we don’t QUIT ever! We never give up or give in. IS there “Stigma” still present around those in recovery? YOU BET!
But that doesn’t me that WE in recovery have to give into it. We are “Beautiful” human beings who at one point in our lives had taken a “Path Less Traveled” by some of us, for many reasons.
Maybe we were born “Just” not strong enough, or healthy enough. Maybe LIFE had passed on trauma, abuse, heartache or struggles in our lives we just didn’t know how to handle, process, or overcome.
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NO, not excuse’s, just insight. No, no VICTIMS HERE, just explanations, and understanding of how one can turn to the “Dark Side” of any “Addiction”…..
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Maybe that drug addict was under peer pressure, or felt they didn’t fit in so he/she
used for the first time. Then became addicted. Maybe that alcoholic took a drink to pass off some stress of the day, or because life had handed him/her one disappointment after another and just wanted to “numb” the pain. Then became addicted.
Maybe that woman, ( Me) had gone through much childhood trauma, like abuse and had been sexually abused as a little girl, as she spent “hours’ behind a Poker/Slot Machine to “escape” the pain and hurt from her past. Then became addicted.
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True, unfortunately, but its progress, not perfection.
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So sometimes in life, beautiful, normal, everyday people can become addicts for what ever reason. But when we finally find that we have become “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as we enter recovery. Then a “Beautiful” transformation happens in one’s life…..
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As addicts through treatment, support, 12-Step meetings, church, and many other forms of recovery help, we begin to see our lives blossom. We begin to learn that in “recovery” there is a “Power Greater Then Ourselves” that can restore us to be better than we ever thought possible!
We learn to live again!
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We work hard in our recovery to overcome what ever those “Fears of Life” had been.
Old wounds or pains we had. We learned to walk through them and become Beautiful, Successful, Productive Human Beings again. And as we reach out to other addicts and share our own stories which continues to make us stronger in OURS!
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As we help and sponsor new people into recovery, it does help us as well, as we don’t become “complacent” in our own recovery. When we step “outside ourselves” to help others who suffer, we learn MORE about ourselves,  and we can finally go to that Mirror and look at ourselves with “Honesty, Respect, and feel good about ourselves” again at the person looking back at you!….
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We always need to remember as addicts, where we came from. But that doesn’t mean
your “Past” defines the “Beautiful Person” you are today! To put it real honestly all of us on earth are not perfect. Those who were addicted,  or even those millions of people who have never been touched by addiction. The “Truth” is, “We are all a Work In Progress” as no one is “Perfect,” only GOD, and for those who don’t believe, your “Higher Power.” That is another “Miracle” that happens in your recovery. Our recovery & our higher power gives everyone that “2nd chance” in life to find our “true calling,”  and our true purpose & destiny in Life!
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Many, many people never get that “Miracle” of awareness. That is another “Gift: given to us as people in recovery. Those who never have this kind of deep struggle, or to overcome addiction. Maybe it happens to them as a life trial or tribulation, but walking through the other side of addiction takes a lot of “Courage, Honesty, and wanting Change” in one’s life. That truly is the first step of recovery.
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Admitting to yourself that your addiction has caused so much pain in your life. When you admit that to YOU, and another Human Being? You have taken the very “First Step” into a “New Life Journey in Recovery.” Yes, it’s that “Easy” to begin a New Life!
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So, those in recovery? Please, BE “Proud” of “Who” you are, and where you have been! And always keep in your heart that “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL IN RECOVERY” as no one can ever take that away!
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You are worth more than you think.

YES YOU ARE!….
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Strong. Beautiful. Brave.

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MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL and THANK YOU for coming by!
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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*Donate Today and Together WE can Change Lives With My Next 2 Book*!