Addiction In General and Gambling Addiction: “Just The Facts and Truth.”

My Guest Article Is By: By Chris Hedges of Truthdig ~ A Nation of the Walking Dead.

Offshore-Gambling-Firms-to-Pay-15-Tax

Opioids and experiences that simulate the deadening effects of narcotics are mechanisms to keep us submissive and depoliticized. Desperate citizens in Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New World” ingested the pleasure drug soma to check out of reality. Our own versions of soma allow tens of millions of Americans to retreat daily into addictive mousetraps that generate a self-induced autism.

The United States consumes 80 percent of opioids used worldwide, and more than 33,000 died in this country in 2015 from opioid overdoses. There are 300 million prescriptions written and $24 billion spent annually in the U.S. for painkillers. Americans supplement this mostly legal addiction with over $100 billion a year in illicit marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. And nearly 14 million U.S. adults, one in every 13, regularly abuse alcohol.

But these monetary figures are far less than what we spend on gambling. Americans in 2013 lost $119 billion gambling, with an additional $70 billion—or $300 for every adult in the country—spent on lottery tickets.

Federal and state governments, reliant on tax revenues from legal gambling and on lottery ticket sales, will do nothing to halt the expansion of the industry or the economic and psychological toll it exacts on those in financial distress. State-run lottery games had sales of $73.9 billion in 2015, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. This revenue is vital to budgets beset by declining incomes, deindustrialization and austerity.

“State lotteries provided more revenue than state corporate income taxes in 11 of the 43 states where they were legal, including Delaware, Rhode Island, and South Dakota,” Derek Thompson wrote in The Atlantic. “The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets,” he noted. Gambling is a stealth tax on poor people hoping to beat the nearly impossible odds. Governmental income from gambling is an effort to make up for the taxes the rich and corporations no longer pay.

Slot machines and other electronic gambling devices are engineered to draw us into an Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole. They, like our personal computers and hand-held devices, cater to the longing to flee from the oppressive world of dead-end jobs, crippling debt and social stagnation and a dysfunctional political system.

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

We frantically keep pulling levers until we are addicted and finally entranced by our compulsion to achieve fleeting, intermittent and adrenaline-driven rewards. Much like what happens to people using slot machines, the pigeons or rats in Skinner’s experiments that did not know when they would get a reward, or how much they would get, became the most heavily addicted to operating the levers or pedals. Indeed, Skinner used slot machines as a metaphor for his experiments.

The engineers of America’s gambling industry are as skillful at forming addiction as the country’s top five opioid producers—Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan, and Depomed. There are 460 commercial casinos, 486 tribal casinos, 350 card rooms, 55 racetracks and hundreds of thousands of gaming devices, many located in convenience stores, gas stations, bars, airports and even supermarkets.

The rush of anticipation, available in 20-second bursts, over hours, days, weeks and months create an addictive psychological “zone” that the industry calls “continuous gaming productivity.” Heart rates and blood pressure rise. Time, space, the value of money and human relationships hypnotically dissolve. A state of extreme social isolation occurs.

 

Gambling addicts, like many addicts, are often driven to crime, bankruptcy, and eventual imprisonment. Many lose everything—their marriages, their families, their jobs, their emotional health and sometimes their lives. Gambling addicts have the highest rate of suicide attempts among addicts of any kind—1 in 5, or 20 percent—according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Donald Trump is in large part a product of gambling culture. His career has not been about making products but about selling intangible and fleeting experiences. He preys on the desperate by offering them escapist fantasies. This world is about glitter, noise, and hype—Trump called the Trump Taj Mahal, his now-closed casino, “the eighth wonder of the world.” The more money you spent, the greater your “value,” the more you were pampered, given free hotel rooms and gifts, handed passes to special “clubs” with lavish buffets. Scantily clad hostesses hovered around you serving complimentary drinks.

If you spent big, you were invited to exclusive parties attended by supermodels and famous athletes. Decorated chips—some featuring a photo of Donald Trump—turned cash into a species of Monopoly money. But in the end, when you were broke when there was no more money in your bank account and your credit cards were maxed out, you were thrown back, in even greater financial distress, into the dreary universe you tried to obliterate.

Roger Caillois, the French sociologist, wrote that the pathologies of a culture are captured in the games the culture venerates. Old forms of gambling such as blackjack and poker allowed the gambler to take risks, make decisions and even, in his or her mind, achieve a kind of individualism or heroism at the gambling table. They provided a way, it can be argued, assert an alternative identity for a brief moment (escapism). But the newer form, machine gambling, is an erasure of the self. Slot machines, which produce 85 percent of the PROFITS at casinos, are, as the sociologist Henry Lesieur wrote, an “addiction delivery device.”

They are “electronic morphine,” and hearing more and more described as “the crack cocaine of gambling.” They are not about risk or about making decisions, but about creating somnambulism, putting a player into a trancelike state that can last for hours. It is a pathway, one sociologist points out, to becoming the walking dead. This yearning for a state of nonbeing is what Sigmund Freud called “the death instinct.” It is the overpowering drive by a depressed and traumatized person to seek pleasure in a self-destructive activity that ultimately kills the organism…

Please Visit Truthdig – There Is Much More To This Article.

Image result for images of gambling addiction the same as crack“Gambling Addiction is the Addiction #1 In Claiming Lives By Suicide”

Why is gambling addiction with slot machines considered as the highest form of addiction with gambling?

  • Psychologists have specifically designed these devices in order to attract people.
  • The new formats of multi-line electronic slot machines contain colors as well as graphics that are very stimulating and compelling to the eye.
  • Music is very stimulating as well with a strong suggestion that penetrates subliminally.
  • With the emerge of bonus rounds there is a great deal of rush involved even if there are many loses occurring.
  • The play has a speed that allows your adrenaline to pump faster.
  • With the jackpots, there can be huge winnings, but they happen so rarely just for the sake to keep people gambling.
  • Slot machines can induce hypnosis inside your brain that is hard to resist.
  • There are no skills involved in the play, making this gambling accessible to everyone.
  • Many ATMs are placed in the vicinity of slot machines for obvious reasons.
  • A lot of slot machines use from 1 to 5 cents to make gamblers think they do not spend too much money on their already outlined gambling addiction.

 

IF YOU or someone you care about has a problem with gambling? Please visit my good friends at The National Council on Problem Gambling as they have help by each STATE. National Helpline1-800-522-4700

WWW.NCPGAMBLING.ORG/CHAT

Click the icon below to chat with a helpline specialist. If you would like to call the helpline specialist, dial 1-800-522-4700 and if you would like to text the helpline specialist, text 1-800-522-4700. NCPG also supports GamTalk, a
Messaging

 
Author & Recovery Freelance Writer,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂

 

 

 

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“Recovery + God = Success! It’s Just That SIMPLE Recovery Friends! Can I Get An AMEN?”

GodVine's photo.
In Your Past ADDICTION  . . . .


Thank Goodness for God’s Mercy & Forgiveness Right?

I usually don’t talk a lot about my “spiritual side,”  as I don’t want to offend or make my friends who visit uncomfortable. I think that needs to change. I do have feelings around this topic. Many feel a 12-Step Program is drenched in religion, or you have to belong to a church or thoughts along this line. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many also get so wrapped up in a 12-step program and think that’s all you need to recover.  That to is not true.  Each one of us come to recovery from different paths and many different addictions.  So, I feel we need to explore ALL options to be successful in long-tern recovery . . . .

Many times I thought to myself, the one thing I seemed to have been missing in my recovery, especially in early recovery was the “spiritual” side of myself.  When we first reach out for the insanity of addiction to stop, we come to seek recovery so broken and lost, when life seems very, very dark.  At least that is how it was for me.  For me, I had just come out of inpatient treatment and from an Addiction/Mental Crisis center after my 1st failed suicide attempt. So I surely was not feeling very “holy” at this time. Far from it.

I was feeling like God had turned his back on me. But that wasn’t the case at all, it was me who had turned my back on God. He would never have done that to one of his children. Many in recovery just don’t understand the love he has for all of us. If you begin to believe in his loving power over your life, you begin to learn that he was with you each step of the way. Be it within your addictions or in recovery,  he knew all before you even thought it or did it.  He see’s our path he has laid out before us.  No, it may not be perfect, or even a happy life all the time,  because we need to learn from the many trials within this path.  It is how we gain our “spiritual wisdom.”  It’s about open mind open heart as to believe in a power greater than ourselves to be restored.  My higher power just happens to be God, his son Jesus Christ, and The holy Spirit who ties us all together.
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And no, I never felt I had to attend someone else’s Church, some organized religion, or listen to some pastor or priest tell me my faults and character defects.  I believe that is NOT having a real true personal relationship with God, and his Son Jesus. My relationship with him is between me and God, his son and the holy spirit. When you have faith and hope given to you by God alone, you can believe he will perform many miracles & blessings in your life, and within your recovery journey. That is a major part of how I got to where I am today.  Without believing that he could restore me, and show me a better way of life, I knew I couldn’t lose in my recovery! And it is written in the gospel . . .

See, I was actually raised Catholic, but around 20 I became disillusioned with the rituals and confession. Why do I need to go into a box with a priest on the other side  of that box to confess my sins?  I can get on my knee’s and do that as part of my personal relationship with my GOD.  To repent and ask for forgiveness of my wrong doings.  I just became more and more uncomfortable with confession.  There are many other reasons, but this was the main one for me. I needed all the help I could get as I was again, so very broken when I came into recovery. We all are. I can tell you this. . . .

God has answered all my prayers when I was begging him to just stop the addiction triggers and urges, take those away? And I will do the rest and the work to be a success in my recovery . . . .

As we all know, God has his own time clock, and most times doesn’t always match ours! LOL.  It’s why many say, “in Gods time not ours.” So true, but still? He did hold up his end of the bargain.  He did take away the triggers and urges from me, as I began doing the my part of the work in my recovery.  He won’t ever let you down, it’s just in his time, not yours . . .

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So? How is your relationship with your Higher Power?

 

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God Bless All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate XO

“How Many Times Have I Heard ~ In Gods Time Not Ours? Let Me Count Them”. . .

AMEN! Welcome All Recovery Friends & Hello New Visitors,

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Many of us in recovery, and especially in early recovery, we get to thinking that once we stop our addiction, and finally surrender all to our higher power that he just isn’t listening to us. We feel we are doing our part to not gamble, so why isn’t he doing his part by bringing me the blessings in recovery?

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Well I’m here to tell you that it just doesn’t work that way. We need to learn patients, it sure is what I have learned about this topic in my own 8 year and 6 month recovery journey. We are always looking for a quick fix, or we WANT things right now! But our higher power has his own time clock, and spreads those blessings out while you’re doing the appropriate recovery work that will make you live a better life in your recovery. And my journey is an example of that.

I remember being on my knees begging my HP to just PLEASE help with taking the Urges and Triggers away so I could at least get a foothold in my early recovery. It took a while, but prayer answered! I can not tell you all the wonderful things that has happened to me in recovery, and being blessed by my HP, who I call God and his son Jesus Christ. My current book was ALL GODS intervention! I wasn’t actually writing a book when I wrote 5 hand written notebooks of all I had been through with my gambling addiction.  And toward the end of my addiction I was drinking alcohol to excess.

I start my book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” due to an article I read about a woman who shot herself while on a bad gambling relapse at a casino hotel. Another loss of precious life due to addicted gambling! It made me want to see all that I had been through, and all that was taken from me by my own addiction on paper. It was time for me to really SEE IT!

That was late 2010, and most of 2011 I was writing what gambling had done to my life. It was about 3 1/2 years into my recovery. The rest was all Gods Intervention from there. And on 50th birthday in 2012 I became a first time author. BIG Blessing #1.

And then? The flood gates opened to so many blessings from that point, I really honestly can not count all the blessings I have received. But I can tell you this much? I have a heart of gratitude each day. And I still can not believe the Miracles God has performed in life. Because 8 1/2 years ago I was a so broken and damaged laying in a hospital bed, then back over to an addiction/mental health crisis center for the second time from another failed suicide attempt.

Then I look at my life today? Wow!, is about all I can say. Now not to get off topic or anything, but I was watching a CNN 2 hour Special last night about Jim Jones and the story about Jonestown and the tragedy that took place there with 900 people poisoned due to the following of a man who turned out to think he was doing GODS work. So CNN talked with some who survived this awful event. When asked if they were still involved in a Church, or believed in God. Many all had similar answers to those questions. Many said they believe in God, and Jesus Christ, but they felt they didn’t need to belong to a church or be a part of any one organized religion. That they all were ‘spiritual’ people, and they have a personal relationship with God.

And you know what? I got it! I understood what they meant. I believe somewhere in the gospel it says, “when one or two come together in his name, that is a church.” You can be at home, in a coffee shop, or anywhere and talk about God, and all the wonderful blessings he gives in our lives. That to me is also spreading the word of the ‘gospel.’  That’s just my own personal opinions. But it is one of the areas in recovery that comes back alive when “you believe in a power greater than ourselves.”

Recovery from addicted compulsive gambling can be done! You just have to believe in yourself, and in your HP. We have to always keep those feelings on hopelessness, feeling empty, lost, escaping, and so much more we used gambling addiction to numb out all feelings from what ever your personal underlying issues are for using gambling for. Yes we can recover to without knowing why we turned to addicted gambling, but many of us learn some of the WHY’S in treatment and therapy. And that’s ok too. We come into recovery so broken and spiritually drained, because we have no self-worth within ourselves. Gambling stripped us naked of that during the worst of our addiction.

But with the many blessings you will receive in your recovery journey? It will out weigh all of that! So just keep hold of your recovery, and let GOD do the rest with the many blessings coming your way! Just be patient  .  .  .  .
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God Bless All!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

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