Gambling Addiction and Recovery Around The Web… Quit to WIN!

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“Do you or know someone who has a problem with GAMBLING? Is it slowly taking them away from family and friends? DID YOU KNOW THERE IS HELP?”


Many of my friends and visitors know I have been here Advocating about Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Recovery for for over 4 years now. Never do I get tired when someone reaches out or emails me seeking information or help for a loved one from this cunning addiction. The only regret I HAVE is feeling I have not helped many more I know are out there suffering and who are sucked into THIS Insane Cycle of this Deadly Addiction. 

And through my years of advocacy work, I have had the honor to many fantastic people in various forms and areas of helping others recover. So I wanted to share a little today from them and let the public know that there IS MUCH HELP and Resources for those who are afflicted with this disease. AND? That IT IS Possible to Recover! If I can make it 10 1/2 years away from “A BET” then I know others can too! Having support and encouragement from family and others is important when we surrender from our addiction and start to reclaim our lives. I’m here to do just THAT!


A Message From My Friends of Know The Odds 

THE HIDDEN ADDICTION

You can smell cigarette smoke in the air and on the clothes of people who frequently smoke. You can smell alcohol on the breath of individuals who frequently drink. Problem gambling doesn’t exhibit these tell-tale signs, and at first, it can be easy to hide. But this addiction can have serious, life-altering consequences.

It can seem as innocent as wasting a few hours on a gaming website, or as serious as a high-stakes poker game. For those affected by problem gambling, both can lead to devastation as bets are placed and debt accrues.

Gambling happens all around us, whether we see it or not. It can happen from the couch, in our schools, our workplaces, restaurants, community centers, casinos and many other locations. Individuals struggling with a gambling disorder have many options to place bets unnoticed, from gambling online from their desks at work to routine visits to the grocery store to purchase scratch-offs.

Often, gambling goes on for months – or longer – before unpaid bills and financial issues surface, indicating a problem to family and loved ones. Friends and family members often struggle with guilt because they did not prevent, notice or stop the addiction before its consequences add up.

Problem gambling affects millions of people – men and women, old and young, employed and unemployed, and people of all ethnicities. In our ebook, “The Hidden Addiction,” we explain why the problem gambling of so many individuals goes unnoticed and discuss many of the demographic segments who suffer in silence. Women, seniors, children, adolescents and armed service members are often overlooked for being at-risk for gambling addiction, but the numbers tell a different story. We explore some of the reasons that individuals develop a gambling addiction, and how they can seek help and recovery.

 

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Now A Message From The Addiction Blog

Trying To Stop Gambling? There Are Many Paths To Recovery!

Help for problem gambling comes in many forms. These can include:

  • Self-help methods
  • Step-based programs like Gambler’s Anonymous
  • Professional counseling including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

In fact, you might need to try a variety of methods to determine which works best for you. If you’re looking to connect with a trained counselor, you can call the NY HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or you can visit the KnowTheOdds Support Directory to find help in your local area.

In the meantime, it can be expected that some days your recovery may seem easy, and other days the urge to gamble will seem irresistible. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid gambling situations and provide you with healthy alternatives for spending your time and money and for reacting in times of both stress and celebration. Some tips for getting started and actively quitting gambling follow.

6 Tips To Begin A Recovery From Gambling


1.
 Write a goal statement.

Consider why you decided to quit gambling. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to learn how to effectively deal with your emotions, instead of using gambling to escape? Be specific with your goal statement so that you know when you are on the right track to success. When you are writing your goal statement, think about the things you would lose if you continue to gamble, and also the benefits you will gain from quitting. When you are feeling the urge to return to gambling, revisit your goal statement in order to remember why you decided to stop gambling in the first place.

2. Identify your triggers.

Think back to the times you gambled, and ask yourself, “Why/when did I gamble?” Did you gamble in times of stress, or in times of celebration? Was it when you were bored, or when you needed money? Understanding the reasons for your gambling will help you to identify ways to cope with those situations before you encounter them in your recovery.

3. Talk to your friends and family.

Recovery is a time of healing. A time to repair the relationships that have been damaged or lost during your addiction. Talking to your family about your addiction and recovery can be difficult, but it is essential to have a strong system of support throughout your recovery. So, what do you say to your family members? Some topics might include gambling disorder as a disease and explaining to them what you need from them (support, not to enable, etc.). It’s important to remember, if your gambling disorder has damaged relationships, it will take work and time to repair those bonds. Your friends and family may not be ready to talk immediately. Just like you need to spend time and work on your recovery, so do your friends and family.

How to Help Depressed Loved One 3

 

4. Take financial responsibility.

Gambling disorder can take a toll on a number of areas in your life (relationships, physical and mental health, employment), but we would be remiss to remember one of the obvious consequences: damage to your financial situation. Your first step is to assess your finances by listing all of the debts you owe and all of your income. After you have a good picture of where you stand, you can start to create a budget for yourself. Dealing with finances is often especially difficult for those in recovery from a gambling disorder.

Your friends and family members might be able to help you stay on track, but remember, the most important thing to your recovery and finances, is that you keep yourself from spending any more money on any form of gambling. A resource you might want to take a look at with your family/friends, is “Personal Financial Strategies for the Loved Ones of Problem Gamblers“.

5. Steer clear of other addictions.

According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) of pathological gamblers:

  • 73.2% had an alcohol use disorder
  • 38.1% had a drug use disorder
  • 60.4% had a nicotine dependence

It is crucial that during your recovery from gambling disorder, you deal with any other addictions you have experienced in the past, and you stay clear of any behaviors and/or substances that have the potential to become addictive.

6. Reach out for support.

The road to recovery for gambling disorder is a long, tough road, and you need to prepared to make the best decisions for yourself and your recovery. You’ve made the first, and most important, by committing not to gamble. Your next step is to assess your recovery and to decide what’s best for you.

For More Information On Quitting Gambling

Help is available every step of the way. Visit Know The Odds for facts about gambling disorder, tips to overcome addiction, and contact information for organizations across New York State who can help you overcome your gambling addiction.  As always, the NYS HOPEline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for support and referral services: 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-866-846-7369).

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                   The Addiction Blog

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4 Years Worth of Gambling Addiction Advocating and Sharing My Story Here on WordPress To Help Many From This Cunning Real Addiction!

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My Story I Shared At “HEROES In Recovery” Shattering Stigma and More…

“My name is Catherine and I am dual diagnosed living with mental health challenges and in recovery from gambling addiction 10 years now!
If I can RECOVER, SO can YOU XOXO”

My recovery journey started in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today.

My point? You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I chose to not do all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.

After this second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a well-balanced recovery and had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, has bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who suffer from a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The nasty habits, behaviors and diseased thinking needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day and reading. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse, sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, people who to recover and live with mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen to not be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real disease and addiction. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities, our families’ and now youth and the negative impact it has on all.

1 in 5 Problem Gamblers Attempts Suicide!Still Think Your Lucky_(2)

The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. And it the #1 addiction claiming lives by suicide than any addiction. Through my own recovery and sharing my testimony, I have learned a lot. The best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it.

Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. What is missing is to learn how to also begin the inner work to address the roots of WHY we may have turned to addictions. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in longevity in recovery. I learned this the hard way. I became an addicted.

Now that I have reached ten years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we can weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I share as much as I can with others. I do this in many ways. My second book is almost finished, and I hope to release it late 2017. It will be more of “how-to” for reaching that elusive first year of recovery.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, my readers asked me to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share my recovery and journal in blog form. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover.

Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn from. My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your recovery journey if you do one thing a day for RECOVERY…

“This is my 4 Year Recovery Blogging wish for all who is battling the cunning cycle of gambling addiction. Thank You, WordPress for helping me help others!”

Catherine ~ XO

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4 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

 


Accept Me . . . Is It To Much To Ask For? “Flash Back Recovery Post Day!” Happy Thanksgiving All :)


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My Mental/Emotional Disorders, Recovery, or Childhood sex abuse & trauma survivor is not my label . . .

So please, don’t put me into a box labeled mental case or freak. And most definitely don’t treat me like I am different from others. Don’t set me into a category at all. I’m not a thing, I am human being. Don’t you see me? I am of flesh and blood like you.
I have feelings, a heart and a soul. I have a spirit no longer broken, not a victim of my disabilities. I am and will be a “work in progress” for a lifetime.

So don’t talk about my mental illness as if I’m not standing right in front of you. Learn to have more understanding, be educated about addictions, the cycle, recovery, and be informed not judge.

Don’t look through me, look at me. Have some compassion for those who battle with these issue’s, who have the courage to do so, and to take back their lives from addiction, and learning themselves to handle and face daily mental illness challenges, and overcome trauma and addictions.
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“Kindness is a Choice”, . . . as it is written in our Gospel/Bible to love one another no matter the faults or sins. To help one another. That includes those of us who may have taken a wrong detour in life for part of our journey, of God’s plan for us. I am human just like you. Life is a lifetime of choices. Yes, some may not make the right ones at times, but who asks this if it’s right or wrong? Is it our world and society we live in who asks? Is it our creator who lets us know when our choices are not correct, not you or someone else need not judge me, as it is not your job to do so, it is God’s.

I want my voice be heard among the roof tops that I am here, I am real and not my faults or wrong choices. I will be loud. I am not a person to be stigmatized by words, your words, harsh and negative from your mouths. No, I have feelings, I can hurt just like you. I am not my disease, my disorders, my situation, tragic as it has been in the past. I am of love and kindness. Of caring and sharing hope.

Am I Perfect? No, nor will I ever be.


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But I do know now the love and compassion I have for others is very real. You may not hear it, but you will feel it.
I am not my past, I am my future. I am and feel destined for great things, some of which have already come into my life. I live each day in this one moment in time.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Yes, I may live my life in recovery with mental disabilities and past trauma, but that is what I also have overcome.

No I may not be normal, hell normal is over rated, but at least I am happy about who I have become in recovery! No one person, place, or thing can steal my joy, my sparkle, nor my life that I have reconstructed from ash and devastation.

So please, accept me for WHO I AM TODAY, not my disease, my illness, wrong choices, or my past.

Is This To Much to ASK? . . . .

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Product Details
(click book to buy)

How Do We Reach Life Freedom From Gambling Addiction?

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and New Visitors,

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I felt this quote is fitting for the Freedom we experience in getting our lives back from compulsive addicted gambling. . .

So how do we claim our lives back from compulsive gambling addiction? How can we make that elusive first year in recovery without relapse? Well, every ones path is different, but this goal is the same for all of us!

Working through the 12-steps we sometimes are not comfortable in our own skin when we start to have those feelings of a Free Life from gambling addiction. For me it was very hard not to self sabotage myself after some months of being gamble free. Instead of moving forward in recovery, some of us don’t know how, or we start to get complacent when we are finally feeling some relief in the areas in recovery like, our finances, less triggers and urges, and much more.
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That is the time we need to be prepared so we don’t relapse just because we are starting to feel better, and our diseased thinking of this addiction makes us start to thinking and feel we really didn’t have a problem. When we have finished step 1, and have surrendered, many may go back and think, “well I feel pretty good now, so maybe I can CONTROL my gambling,” . . . . NO, you can not.

The person starts taking little pieces of his/her surrender back, and thinks I can control this or that, and before you know it? You are sucked back in the cycle of the addiction again.
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Does this sound familiar? I did myself in early recovery, and trying to make that elusive 1 year in recovery, but failed because I kept thinking when I was feeling good that I could control my gambling. Doesn’t work folks. Many of you know the experiences I’m talking about right?
So, here is one tool & skill you can use to help SEE your growth in your recovery, and may help you see how the cycle of addicted gambling and your weak spots to be prepared for so you don’t relapse or get off track.

Start a JOURNAL . . . If you write a little of how your day was, any triggers, urges, stress, and everything through your day and night, later you can look back and will be able to pin point where you need more help or support in your recovery.

It’s the same with working your 12-steps. We don’t work our steps and think, “OK, I’m done with that”. . . oh no, we have to keep going back and reworking our steps to actually see how far we have come, and also see the area’s we need more help and support. You really can go and look back through your step work and see your growth in recovery.

I can tell you that it’s an amazing feeling when you do this, and yourself can pin point your weak area’s which helps you gain self-awareness as well. Self awareness with your feelings to are very important to your recovery. We have learned in our addiction to gambling to either run, hide, stuff, escape or cope from uncomfortable feelings. Feelings of maybe hurt, pain, or like me, I was trying to escape the pain and haunts of my past childhood trauma and abuse.

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So I used gambling to cope with my past childhood pain. Trust me, any negative things that have happened to you, and you try to stuff them away? Sooner or later they will come to bother you later in life if you don’t get help, or learn to process that and make peace with yourself. Yes, many people do turn to additions for many different reasons, but many times it’s because we are hurting from something inside, running from something, or just plain being immature. We don’t learn to grow up and be accountable and take ownership of our problems or stress in life.

The 12-steps will help you gain this and work through our human defects. Yes, we are only human after all, and no one person is perfect. ME? I will be “a work in progress” until my last breath in this world. So do yourself a favor, reclaim your life back from gambling addiction. We can recover & were worth it!

 

May God Bless and Guide you in your Recovery Journey,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of Addicted To Dimes, My Story. . .
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat/dp/B00CSUJI3A

 

When Gambling Addiction & Alcoholism Collide ~ A Re-Share Article I Found By Addiction-Treatment.Com

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Visitors,
*HAPPY HOLIDAYS*

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This blog post re-share is for one of my New and resent visitors. In the safety of anonymity, they will know who they are and can comment if they would like to be known, and where you can find them.
YES,. . .  I know, everyone loves a Mystery . . .LOL.

But I always show this courtesy to all my recovery’ friends. They happen to come by my ‘Author Facebook page’ and sent a direct message asking a really interesting question??  They asked if people with gambling problems or addiction have an alcohol problem as well? I did answer from my own personal experiences.
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As I did abuse alcohol, but it wasn’t my true addiction, gambling was. They also said they could not find much on this topic. So I did some research and I actually found a treatment website that had an article about this topic and thought I would share it with my new friend, and all of you.

As we all know sitting in ‘the rooms’ of NA, AA, or GA, we hear from many who have what we call, “Dual Addictions”.
So here is the “Article” I happen to come across, and I how this helps. And if any of you know of any recovery websites that address’ this topic, please share the link so we all can go visit and be informed together! I feel we can never have too much knowledge about addiction and recovery!  *Catherine*
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DUAL DIAGNOSIS: When Alcoholism and Gambling Addiction Collide . . .
Posted Wed, May 1, 2013 

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Alcoholism and gambling addiction are both serious problems that can have life-altering consequences. When one person suffers from both of these disorders at the same time, it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate their symptoms. Fortunately, treatment of co-occurring mental illnesses is becoming more common. Those who are seeking help for a gambling addiction as well as alcoholism need to find a rehab program that specializes in dual diagnosis.

Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is one of the most well-known and common substance abuse addictions. Alcoholism occurs when a person becomes dependent on beer, wine, or spirits to help him manage on a day-to-day basis. Some alcoholics are functioning, meaning that they can maintain their personal relationships and their job even though they consume alcohol every day and cannot get by without it. Some alcoholics are ruled by their desire for alcohol, even though it harms their family and work life. Sometimes people start out as functioning alcoholics and lose control later.

Gambling addiction is characterized by the need to gamble, even when there are serious consequences for gambling. People addicted to gambling may spend a large amount of time thinking about gambling and figuring out how to get money to fund their gambling. Some people with gambling problems repeatedly put themselves in severe financial straits, relying on friends or family members to bail them out. Gambling addiction is regarded as a mental health disorder.
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Dual diagnosis occurs when someone is found to be suffering from a substance abuse problem as well as a mental health disorder. Alcoholism and gambling addiction co-occur frequently. This may be in part because gambling establishments often provide alcohol. Some people who are addicted to gambling use alcohol to self medicate. Gambling is fundamentally an impulse control disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their impulse to gamble, even when there are consequences.
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Some people may drink because it dulls their desire to act on their impulse to gamble. Unlike some other mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with alcoholism, gambling addiction is fairly easy to identify. Other problems, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder can be harder to diagnose in the face of alcohol abuse. That is in part because long-term use of alcohol can cause you to develop symptoms such as depression. After the fact, it’s impossible to determine whether the symptoms existed before overuse of alcohol began.

Gambling addiction can be easily identified because the behavior is obvious. Frequently people with gambling addictions are forced to seek help because of the loss of job, the breakdown of a marriage, or another serious life-altering problem. Before treatment for the gambling addiction can be successful, the alcohol addiction must be addressed. The reverse is also true. There is no point in working hard to recover from a gambling addiction when there’s no way that you or your therapist can know to what extent your symptoms are controlled or worsened by your use of alcohol.

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Likewise, you cannot completely recover from alcohol dependency without addressing your gambling problem. During rehab, you will spend much time with a therapist who will help you examine how you came to be addicted to alcohol. If you are using both gambling and alcohol as a way to numb yourself emotionally, than continuing gambling will not help you face the emotional problems that led you to drink.

To get help recovering from gambling addiction and alcoholism, you need to find a rehab center that specializes in dual diagnosis. Though this is a specialized form of rehab, there are still plenty of options in terms of cost, treatment method, and philosophical approach. If you are religious, you may feel most comfortable in a treatment program based on the teachings of your religion. If you are concerned about impulse control, you may wish to seek out a treatment program that places you in real life situations and helps you learn to cope. For example, some rehab programs may organize trips to bars or casinos so that you can practice being in these environments without succumbing to your addiction.

Some rehab programs may use medication to help manage your impulse control problems or urge to drink. If your doctor feels that medication is necessary for you to move forward in your treatment, remember that medication can be a stepping stone. You will not necessarily need to stay on medication permanently.

After you get out of rehab, you may wish to work with a therapist who can help you on an ongoing basis. The therapist will be important support for you if you are ever tempted to relapse. Rather than work with two therapists, one to help you with your alcohol addiction and the other to help you with a gambling addiction, look for one therapist who specializes in dual diagnosis. If such a therapist is not near your home, you can look into alternative therapy methods such as virtual addiction treatment sessions.

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Now I know there are many ways we can recover. We can use a combination of several things. Support is also very important to a person attempting recovery, especially early recovery. Get a sponsor if you are in a 12-Step program.
I know how hard it was to reach my own very first year in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. It took me a couple tries, and then some!! My 2nd book almost finished and soon to come out is about exactly this problem. How to reach that ‘First Year’ in early recovery. So it is much of the topics in my next soon to release, and will be the follow-up to my current book out right now titled; “Addicted To Dimes”, (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat).

My current book is a ‘Non-fiction Memoir’ of my personal story of the how’s & why’s I became an addicted compulsive gambler, and the my rocky road to recovery. I share all of it! They say we can recover without learning WHY we became addicts in the first place, but I say this a lot that some of us do find out some of the Why’s of why we turned to addiction.
So I hope this article I found explains a little about having a gambling addiction and alcoholism together. Many of us have dual addictions, and some of us on top of that battle Mental illness too like I do, but remember, “There is help and there is HOPE”!!
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Many Blessings To You,
Author, Catherine Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A

“My Name Is Catherine And I’m A Recovering Gambling Addict”~March Is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month!


Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

Many ask me about how I have reached seven years in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling?
This is some of what I had to do to “Recover”…
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When I entered treatment for gambling and alcohol for the first time in 2000, I was considered as having “duel addictions” and was able to recover from the drinking pretty easily as I found it was the “gambling addiction” that was my true “Demon.”
Yes, it did take me a few tries with a few relapses, and as I began a stable recovery I had some pretty heavy “consequences” to take accountability and ownership for first. My recovery date is Jan 29th 2007. That was a day I was “sentenced in court” by a Judge in Civil Court for crimes I committed all for the love of my gambling addiction. I’ll never forget that day, and the 28th was the last time I gambled or placed a bet! This date will always remind me to “Never Again Get Complacent” in recovery!

See, I don’t come from a family history of gamblers, and “Gamblers Anonymous” teaches us that many recover without knowing “WHY” they got addicted in the first place. There is some truth to that as I’m not sure when I crossed that line into uncontrolled addicted gambling, but I do know why. I started using my addiction to, “hide, escape, numb out, and to not FEEL some “old past hurt, pains and traumatic” events that happened to me as a little girl.
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Past feelings of sex abuse, parental physical and verbal abuse, that I never knew how to process when I got to adulthood. My parents taught us kids that we “DON’T TALK” about these things, nor DARE SHARE them with anyone outside our home. It was just the way they were raised, and how things were back in the day. So of course I stuffed all that garbage deep down in some dark space of my soul. But, in my 30’s it came back, and I had NO IDEA what to do with them. So, I gambled. And I gambled until the slow progression of this disease had spread throughout my mind, body, and spirit. A once funny, beautiful, vibrant woman turned into a person I began to HATE & became UGLY!
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group with winning player getting his chips Stock Photo - 10673494
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So when you finally reach out for help, the very FIRST step is to truly admit to yourself and to another that you are “Powerless” over your gambling. That really is the biggest battle you face. Once you can admit that to yourself, open your heart and mind to the fact YOU don’t control your gambling, that GAMBLING is controlling YOU, then you can start a “Happy, Healthy, and Balanced” recovery. Now that seems easy, but it’s not. Many and myself think that once we admit we are addicted or problem gamblers, that will be able to recover quickly. OH BOY are you gong to be in for a rude awakening. However, I took it to heart from “Gamblers Anonymous” to make 30 meetings in 30 days, and that’s what I did to get going!
I also entered an out-patient gambling treatment program that offered free help paid for by our State (Oregon) lottery. Isn’t that ironic? I began a group treatment meeting every Wen night, and one-on-one therapy with a councilor twice a week. And I can tell you it was hard, and yes I did have some Binges and Relapses that almost cost me my life. No one is perfect, and I’m STILL a “Work in Progress” even with 7 years of recovery.
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But after my crimes, arrest, and court hearings, I had to stop my treatment program because the victim I stole from was also in the same group, and I had a “No Contact Order” so I was the one to have to quit. I had to find other ways to help stay in recovery. I did however get refered to a man who was a addictions specialist and Crisis worker, and it was because I tried to commit SUICIDE 2 times while all this madness was happening to me. My court sentence was 30 days jail, many, many hours of community service, 18 months probation, and a lot of restitution to pay. I got through it with the help of my new councilor. I continued going to Gamblers Anonymous, just in a different city, and my therapy. The best thing I learned from therapy was breaking down the “Cycle” of addiction and how to use the skills I learned to stop and interrupt the cycle. See winning is just as bad as loosing when your gambling as BOTH will keep you in the addiction. Loosing keeps you out chasing your loss’s, and winning makes you think you will WIN every time you gamble which keeps you in the cycle as well.
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Here are a few things I do to stay in recovery…..
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1.) A Phone List: It’s a list of trusted people to call if you get triggered or have urges to gamble. You call someone before you relapse. Almost all times they can talk you through them and STOP you from gambling. This was really helpful when I had to travel alone too. I had friends who I’d stay with and I had to be there at a certain time or they start calling me, like on long driving trips from So. Oregon to So. Calif.
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2.) Phone check in’s with your “recovery sponsor” every other day in the first 3 months of your recovery. Most people relapse within the first 90 days out of treatment. Make MEETINGS! Fill your empty time with healthy hobbies, and start journaling! It’s a life saver. You have to start FEELING as gamblers learn to “escape, hide or numb out” when they gambled.
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3.) When you first start recovery, you really need to make 30 meetings in 30 days. This will help you be with others who know what you’re going through. Many people don’t understand the addicted compulsive gamblers DO GO through a “DETOX & Grieving” process just like drug or alcohol users do. This is ONE of the biggest “Myths” of addicted gambling. Others don’t think we do.
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4.) FIND and MAKE a list of good Support websites to aid your recovery. I know how many people struggle with Mental illness and disorders who have had addictions, hell, a couple of my disorders I suffer were direct effects of over using the chemical and nerves in my brain, besides having Bipolar with manic depression. Having a wide range of sites for help and support is wise. The very TOP one should be “Gamblers Anonymous”  http://www.gamblersanonymous.org  they have on-line meetings, people you can talk to, and much information about addicted gambling.
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5.) Another good website and good folks I have partnered up with for March is: http://www.ncpgambling.org  as
MARCH is “Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” I have pledged to blog about “Compulsive Addicted Gambling” only on my recovery blog the whole month!
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While your here, please check out my “Recovery Resources Pages” as I try to add and keep updated with all the helpful websites and blog I come across. Another really good Supportive site where other addicted gamblers go in recovery or not is “Safe Harbor Compulsive Gambling Hub” http://www.sfcghub.com
Here you’ll find a Gamblers Posting Board, 24/7 Live chat to be with like-minded and supportive people, and a great Recovery Resources Room that has MANY websites to have for FREE treatment, therapy, recovery books of fiction and non-fiction, and more!

These are just a few things one should try to do when starting their recovery journey. There is “NO SHAME” in admitting you may need help to stop gambling. Was it hard work for me? YES,….but when I started to “Believe in a Power Greater Than Myself” is when I truly began to make it 7 years in recovery. I always tell those who I sponsor that are new to recovery, that Recovery & Addiction only have ONE THING IN COMMEN,…….They are BOTH SELFISH!
We were so selfish within our addiction, destroying our selves and hurting those around us. And we have to BE selfish and put ourselves FIRST in recovery in order to have a “Successful Recovery.”

I truly hope if you or someone YOU care for maybe a problem gambler, that you will share this with them! I’ll be here all month long sharing all about this disease, illness, and REAL ADDICTION….
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GOD BLESS Everyone,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon