Coming The End of Sept. ‘The 2nd Annual National Week Of Action To Stop Predatory Gambling’and Ronda Hatefi.

IT’S TIME TO STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING
FROM GOVERNMENT & STATES…

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*TIME AGAIN FOR “THE NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION TO STOP PREDATORY GAMBLING” SEPTEMBER 2016*

Fall is in the air and that means another week of ‘Raising Awareness, Educating, and Informing the Public about Problem and Addicted Gambling’ . . . . .

Most all my friends and recovery blog followers know I live my life in recovery for almost 10-year’s from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse. For my new visitors?

That is what this recovery blog is all about. It is my continued journey from my current book/memoir titled; “Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) ” My story of my life and what I went through with gambling addiction and living with undiagnosed mental health, which cost me way more than the money lost, it almost cost my LIFE TWICE by SUICIDE.

So once again this year I will be blogging here all month long in “Honor” of My dear friend Ronda Hatefi and her brother Bobby Hafemann who had committed suicide due his gambling addiction. Suicide should never be an option to STOP GAMBLING ADDICTION.

 
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.    ( Ronda Hatefi and a Photo of her brother Bobby Hafemann )

My dear friend Ronda lost her brother July 20, 1995, and for 21 years she has been sharing his story and raising awareness of State Lottery Predatory Gambling. See, Bobby Hafemann became addicted to ‘The Oregon State Lottery Video Poker machines’ after they were introduced in 1992 throughout the State of Oregon, USA. And as Ronda knows, so was I later in 1997 on for many years. Shortly after Bobby’s death, she started the organization Oregonians For Gambling Awareness and petitioned Oregon’s governor to proclaim September 29 as “Problem Gamblers Awareness Day.”

I spoke with Ronda the other day by phone and told her that The Oregon Lottery and our State failed her, her family and Bobby by not having enough funding for Bobby from the lottery for treatment services they are supposed to set up for those who become addicted. There have been many articles written about Bobby Hafemann and his story through the year’s, here is one to get the full scope of Ronda and her families loss here: http://www.mentalhealthportland.org/since-brothers-suicide-ronda-hatefi-has-worked-to-raise-awareness-about-problem-gambling/

And the expansion of lottery and casinos? That will be another blog post topic here this month. And this is not taking into account all the Indian Casinos that have opened throughout my former state I lived in for over 26-years myself. Gambling machines were everywhere! So last year’s very first “National Week of Action to Stop Predatory Gambling” was to Honor and Remember Bobby Hatefi and were many events held with the help of Les Bernal and the fine folks of
Stop Predatory Gambling  ….

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Les has been National Director since 2008 when the national network grew into the organization of Stop Predatory Gambling. Like many of the thousands of citizens who have fought against government-sponsored casinos and lotteries over the last twenty-five years, Les was a convert to the cause. The more he learned about the spectacular failure of this public policy, so the more committed he became to work for a more honest, fairer, healthier and more hopeful vision of the path to American prosperity.

He has spoken and written extensively about online gambling, regional casinos, and state lotteries, all of which are being promoted by our government and states to citizens. He has testified before Congress, he has appeared on national television and radio including 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio and The BBC. He has been cited by more than 550 newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, and Sports Illustrated. He has also spoken before more than 1000 business organizations, college audiences and faith groups across the nation.

They are a great resource to see how gambling establishments are “impacting your community.” So visit their website, type in your STATE, and see what you can do to help in your community here:  Check Your State
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Now  Ronda works very hard sharing her “Take a Break Campaign” that has been educating and raising awareness about addicted gambling.  And Ronda will be with us all month sharing more about the campaign and how she advocates. But today, I wanted to share a little of what she and her family experienced and had gone through watching her brother, their son slip through their fingers as he became deeper into gambling addiction.

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THE PLACES LUCK WILL TAKE YOU  ~ Ronda Hatefi

My story is about luck. You know, everyone today wishes to be lucky. Lucky enough to win the game, to get the promotion at work, to not get a speeding ticket when your late for work, and of course to win the lottery or just your local poker game.

How much does just plain luck have to do with these things? Are some people just luckier than others? Can you increase your luck by carrying a lucky penny, rabbit’s foot, or token of some sort?

I used to think these things were true. We always said that my brother was the lucky one in our family. As kids we would walk through the store together, he found a $20 bill near the register. Camping we all walked along the same log, he found the $10 bill. He was always picking up coins off the ground, and somehow we all just knew it was because he was luckier than we were. This did not stop in adulthood.

When he turned 18 he bought himself a scratch ticket from the Oregon Lottery. Guess what, $500 winner. How can one guy be this lucky? He continued to buy lottery tickets, winning some, losing some. He bought some mega bucks, and keno tickets as well. We heard a lot more about the winning than we did the losing so I can’t really tell you a percentage of wins to losses.

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Then video poker machines came into Oregon. This was a new challenge for him, one that he took on like any other, with 110% effort. Again, he started out lucky, with wins; enough for him and us to all think once again, he was just lucky.

After some time, it seemed that his luck had started to run out. Things were not going his way anymore. He was losing more than he was winning, to the point of having to borrow and sell things to keep gambling, and he was passed up for a promotion at work. He continued to gamble, more than he had been to try to get his lost money back. Chasing that win, knowing that his luck would turn again. It didn’t happen liked he had hoped. For a guy that was used to winning, these were some pretty hard facts to face.

He became suicidal and spoke about it to only a couple of people who didn’t know what to do so they did nothing. I am not sure how long he felt this way; I know that he did write a few notes. The last one he wrote was the hardest to read. He spoke of a cruel world, (things weren’t going his way anymore), he felt like a ghost, someone that no one could see, and that he couldn’t see anyone else. You see, Bobby’s luck took him places for a long time, but when it ran out, he lost more than his money.

Before he lost his life, he lost his self-respect, his self-esteem, his quality of life, his love of life, and his desire to live and hope. He wanted it all to stop. This is way too much to lose; I think gambling with these things is too much to ask. My point of this story is that you really can’t rely on luck, you may be lucky for awhile but chances are it will run out. You hear about the good things that gambling does, the big wins, this is the other side.

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If you can’t control it by sticking to time and money limits or if it controls your thoughts, or it is not fun anymore, it is time to get help.  I have learned there are people out there that care, and that really want to and know how to help, that it is okay to talk about your gambling problem or your family members gambling problem without feeling the shame and guilt that Bobby felt. I know that if we continue to educate people on this issue that maybe we can help others not suffer the same pain that Bobby suffered and that we are still suffering today.

I have always said that the pain that my family and I have felt is sometimes unbearable, but it is nothing compared to what he must have been feeling at the moment he decided to end it. I can’t imagine having that kind of pain over something that is offered as entertainment by our State and Country.

Please help us continue to share about the addiction of gambling, and the trouble it can cause. Know that help is available. It is free, confidential and it works.


If you live in the State of Oregon, Please Call 1-877-MY-LIMIT ( 1-877-695-4648).

If in any other State Call The National Hotline: Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700).  If you feel ‘Hopeless’ call The Suicide Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 Available 24 hours every day  .  .  .  .

 

Ronda Hatefi –Eugene, OR.
Founder  Oregonians for Gambling Awareness Organization and Ronda Hatefi  And The Take a Break Campaign.

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“But I Only Gambled For Fun Because I was Bored”…

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Seekers,

How many times have I heard that one from a new member seeking recovery in my Gamblers Anonymous meetings? A lot! Let me share a few facts that maybe many of others don’t know about gambling, and how easy it can be to become “Addicted.”
If we don’t share the knowledge, then we can not Shatter the Stigma!

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Here are a few facts about gambling addiction from “The National Council Of Problem Gambling” who helps so many of us who are in recovery from “Addicted Compulsive Gambling” http://www.ncpgambling.org
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What is Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term “Problem Gambling” includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as “Pathological”, or “Compulsive” Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.
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NOW LETS SHATTER THE STIGMA ABOUT GAMBLING WITH TRUTH;
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How can a person be addicted to something that isn’t a substance?
Although no substance is ingested, the problem gambler gets the same effect from gambling as someone else might get from taking a tranquilizer or having a drink. The gambling alters the person’s mood and the gambler keeps repeating the behavior attempting to achieve that same effect. But just as tolerance develops to drugs or alcohol, the gambler finds that it takes more and more of the gambling experience to achieve the same emotional effect as before. This creates an increased craving for the activity and the gambler finds they have less and less ability to resist as the craving grows in intensity and frequency.
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Are problem gamblers usually addicted to other things too?
It is generally accepted that people with one addiction are more at risk to develop another. Some problem gamblers also find they have a problem with alcohol or drugs. This does not, however, mean that if you have a gambling problem you are guaranteed to become addicted to other things. Some problem gamblers never experience any other addiction because no other substance or activity gives them the same feeling as the gambling does. There also appears to be evidence of family patterns regarding dependency as many problem gamblers report one or both parents had a drinking and or gambling problem.
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Can you be a problem gambler if you don’t gamble every day?
The frequency of a person’s gambling does not determine whether or not they have a gambling problem. Even though the problem gambler may only go on periodic gambling binges, the emotional and financial consequences will still be evident in the gambler’s life, including the effects on the family.
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Stages of Compulsive Gambling

  1. Winning Phase (1-3 years) Gambling wins enhance self-image and ego. Losses are rationalized as temporary bad luck. The gambler feels intense excitement and identifies with being a winner.
  2. Losing Stage Losses outweigh wins and all gains are wiped out. The gambler begins to chase losses (gamble in order to get even). He/she will borrow money, sell possessions to get gambling resources in the belief that losses can be won back.
  3. Desperation Stage Compulsive gamblers think only about gambling. They may show visible personality changes. They are driven. Gambling takes priority over work, school, family, and other life aspects. They will pile up sever debts that create more life problems. They often experience sever mood swings and may commit crimes to get gambling money. Compulsive gamblers do not see a future without gambling. Suicide may be considered as a way out.

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CURRENT STATS:
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How widespread is problem gambling in the U.S.?
2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior. Research also indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do responsibly.
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How widespread is gambling in the U.S.?
Approximately 85% of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives; 60% in the past year. Some form of legalized gambling is available in 48 states plus the District of Columbia. The two without legalized gambling are Hawaii and Utah….
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I have to add that WOMEN make 50% of all problem gamblers, and WHY? They are BORED. Many women, especially one’s who lose a spouse, life partner, find they have much more time on their hands and as they grief from a traumatic life event such as this, they are MORE at Risk to become addicted if they gamble. Also, 6% of those numbers are now YOUR KIDS! The rate of young adults and late teens, ( High School Teens & College young adults) are now problem gamblers. With many college kids having “Poker Tourney’s” can make it a higher risk for them to become addicted as an adult.
“The National Center For Responsible Gaming” now has an awesome website to raise awareness and help college kids get help from “Problem Gambling” here: http://www.collegegambling,org
Here are a few Stats about “College Gambling”:
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Welcome to CollegeGambling.org

While gambling can be fun if you’re of legal age, it’s not a risk-free activity. For some college students, gambling for fun can turn into a serious problem and have a negative impact on their lives.

College Gambling.org was developed by the National Center for Responsible Gamingrelated harms on campus. This site provides resources to help you learn more about this issue and how to get help if you need it. Another website that is FANTASTIC For Student Gambling Information is the counseling services “Texas State University” offers for their students: Gambling : Counseling Center : Texas State University  They have an extensive program to help students with gambling problems, and it is a good “Resource” for information about gambling addiction in general.
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Fact Sheet: Gambling Disorders among College Students

  • The most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students in the U.S. have a serious gambling problem that can result in psychological difficulties, unmanageable debt and failing grades.
  • Research has shown that teenagers and college-aged young adults are more impulsive and at higher risk for developing gambling disorders than adults.
  • Most adults with a gambling problem started gambling at an early age. Scientists have learned that the adolescent brain is still growing, which accounts for the frequently impulsive behavior and unwise decisions of teenagers.
  • Compared to female college students, research suggests that male college students are more likely to have gambled in the past year, gambled with more money and reported having gambling problems.
  • Gambling disorders are associated with numerous negative consequences and are highly correlated with other risky behaviors in the college student population.
  • Compared to students without gambling problems, students with gambling problems are more likely to use tobacco, drink heavily or binge drink, smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, drive under the influence and have a low GPA.
  • Gambling opportunities, once only available in a few states, have proliferated nationwide during the past 30 years with the expansion of lotteries, casinos, and Internet gambling. Therefore, today’s college students are exposed to not only drinking and drug use but also gambling, both on campus and in the surrounding community.
  • While the most recent research estimates that 6 percent of college students have a gambling problem, college students seem to mature out of these problems, as they do with alcohol and drug use, after college. This is evidenced by the fact that only 1 percent of the adult population has a gambling disorder in the U.S.
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So parents, I think when you have “THE TALK” with your kids about the dangers of Alcohol and Drugs, maybe think about adding “Problem Gambling” now in the mix. DON’T let gambling become a problem for your kids.
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I will close my post with something I learned REAL QUICK in treatment & recovery. It’s called H.A.L.T.
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Each one of these four physical or emotional conditions, if not taken care of, leaves an individual vulnerable for relapse. And I know this first hand. I used to get LONELY when my husband worked out-of-town a lot, so I had time TOO much time on my hands. I know this contributed to my progression of my addiction into uncontrolled gambling. It was also a source of a couple of relapses in early recovery for me. Again, women seem to be more at risk for this.
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It takes much work in recovery, meetings, treatment, working the 12-Steps if you chose to. There are many avenues to a path of recovery, the most important is for YOU to just START. There are many resources available today for receiving help to get your life back from Compulsive Addicted Gambling. You only need to take that first step, I did!
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God Bless All
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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