“Gambling for Seniors by AARP Calls Slots Financially Devastating and Their ‘Electronic crack”…

“Gambling for Seniors by AARP Calls Slots Financially Devastating and Their ‘Electronic crack”…

Since moving here to Arizona from So. Oregon a few years ago, I was shocked to see so many Indian Casinos all over this State. Now I know Oregon and California have casinos every as well, but here? IT IS LIKE Drug Addiction! Being the Indian Casinos are selling “Crack.”

So I happen to come across an article in AARP Money Section, written by John Rosengren is a freelance journalist. It is an eye-opening article on how problem gambling and slots are now affecting our senior population and devastating their “Golden Years” financially.

It is a long write-up but worth the read! so you can read the full article here on AARP Mag.com.

THE CASINO TRAP: “As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing targets older patrons.”

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“CASINOS use marketing ploys to target older patrons — and empty their wallets.”

Beauford Burton had enjoyed the occasional poker game in his youth, but in his 60s the slots hooked him. He and his wife, Sharon, started making the 2 1/2-hour drive every Friday from their home in Kings Mountain, N.C., to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, where they won occasionally but lost more frequently. In one year, he lost about $50,000, nearly the equivalent of his annual salary as a manager in a textile company.

They often stayed longer than they’d intended—many times the casino would offer them a free hotel room Saturday night. Burton can’t remember ever paying for a room. He had access to an exclusive bar with free drinks and food, preferred seating in the restaurants and suite upgrades in the hotel. Harrah’s once flew the couple to its casino in Laughlin, Nev., and covered all their expenses—except, of course, what they gambled.

In the end, Burton knew that all of the freebies weren’t really free and that he had paid for them tenfold with his losses. “I have always known you don’t get something for nothing, but I fell for it,” he says. “It’s the good old devil at work.”

Over four years, the slots drained more than $100,000 from Burton’s 401(k). But he kept playing. He cashed in a life insurance policy, took out cash advances on his credit card and gambled away Social Security checks meant to pay utility bills. Finally, in 2008, the gambling habit took his home.

By then, he was playing in a panic, betting up to $15 to $20 a spin, chasing his losses and pursuing the one illusory jackpot that he hoped would save him. “As you start to lose, you think, This is a luck thing, my luck is going to change,” says Burton, now 73. “But the more you go, the more you lose. It ends up in desperation. I can see how people get so deep that it causes them to take their own lives because it gets really, really bad.”

THE RISE OF THE CASINOS:

Of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 50 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue, and much of that profit came from these older gamblers.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies revealed that many older adults viewed the casino as a place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief.

It’s never been easier for them to get to one. Long gone are the days when the twin casino meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., represented the sole options for American gamblers. Regional casinos have proliferated dramatically since 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legalized casino development on Indian lands. That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1,400 casinos are spread across 40 states. Regional casinos are especially attractive to those who prefer to drive themselves and do not want to have to spend the night. States with large populations of adults over 65, including Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have all expanded casino gambling in recent years.

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ADDICTION EXPERTS SAY IT’S ALARMING:

Older adults are an especially desirable demographic for the gaming industry because they fill the floors during off-peak hours, and casinos market to them aggressively, offering discounts on breakfast and lunch, free drinks, and guarantees to “instantly win up to $1,000 Free Slot Play!” They stage free daytime entertainment such as polka dancing, magic shows and live “Golden Oldies” shows.

The “third of the month club” provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement housing complexes on the day they receive their Social Security checks. Some casinos stock their bathrooms with adult diapers and disposal receptacles for diabetics’ needles. They provide wheelchairs, walkers and more handicapped parking spots than a hospital. One Nevada casino operated an on-site pharmacy—since closed—where accumulated play credits could cover the standard $25 copay on medications.

The gambling boom—and the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older patrons—has alarmed addiction experts. Even casino patrons with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior as they age. According to a 2005 study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, 1 in 11 adults over age 65 bet more than they could afford to lose in the previous year. The study suggests that more than 4 million older Americans could have a gambling problem. “That’s a higher rate than we have for most diseases,” he says.

‘SLOTS ARE THE NEW ELECTRONIC CRACK’

Slots are also the most addictive form of casino gambling, with the machines designed to maximize your “time on device” until you’re out of money. A 2001 study by psychiatrist Hans Breiter, then of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, confirmed that the machine’s nickname—”electronic crack”—is an apt one. Using MRI scanners, he found that in subjects playing slots, the brain’s neural circuits fired in a way that was similar to those using cocaine.

Several factors make gamblers particularly susceptible to addiction behavior as they age. Loneliness, social isolation and the loss of a spouse can encourage older people to seek relief in casinos. “For someone older who has been sick in the hospital or who is bored or lonely, that can have a big impact on them,” says clinical gyro psychologist Dennis McNeilly of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

More serious age-related cognitive decline plays a role, too. A 2012 study found that changes in the anatomy and chemistry of brains in dementia patients 65 and up, particularly in the frontal region—which controls executive functioning—”may render older adults particularly vulnerable to the stimulation provided by the slot machine.” Dementia afflicts about 14 percent of the U.S. population over 70 years old, and an estimated half of those (nearly 2 million people) are undiagnosed.

“With both the reward system and impulse controls impaired, that creates the perfect storm for someone to develop problems with gambling,” says Michael Hornberger, a neuroscientist at the University of East Anglia in England. Cognitive issues can cause sufferers to lose their sense of money’s value, and those with dementia often repeat a singular behavior such as pushing the button on a slot machine over and over. “They just keep playing as long as the casino lets them,” Hornberger says.

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FROM SOCIAL GAMBLER TO ADDICT:

Beauford Burton’s experience at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is typical of such relationships.

In addition to sending birthday cards and weekly mailings with ticket deals to shows and vouchers for free play, the casino assigned a VIP host who called Burton at home to invite him back for various specials. Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating meals with them.

“The whole premise of a host is to extract as much money from that player as possible,” says ex-host John-Talmage Mathis, who worked as VIP marketing director at the Boomtown Casino in Bossier City, La. “For older people, the host becomes their friend, giving them all the attention they may not be getting from their children or friends.”

Casinos award hosts bonuses based on how much the gambler loses. “The losses of your player,” Mathis says, “are your success.”

As the industry seeks to expand, more women are being enticed into casinos, and more are experiencing problems, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry.

Many slot machines are now designed specifically for women players, who, like longtime slots addict Melynda Litchfield, sometimes feel bonded with their machines. Litchfield, 56, worked 27 years at a Chicago-area hospital, climbing from staff nurse to administrator with a salary of $100,000.

Yet she couldn’t afford a prom dress for her daughter because she lost so much playing slots at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill., 10 minutes from their home. For Litchfield, the atmosphere was as addicting as the machines themselves. The staff treated her warmly and called her by name. “They gave me so much personal attention and TLC that you get, the false impression these people—who are milking away all of your money—actually care about you,” she says.

The casino also served as a dream world escape, to a place where she did not have to tend to the needs of anyone else.

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” says Litchfield, who quit gambling in 2012 and is now a national victim advocate for Stop Predatory Gambling. (A fantastic resource)…

“I just wanted to get lost in my machine.”

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HERE is where I will stop, and again, please visit this link AARP Mag.com for “the rest of the story.” I wanted to stop here because I know exactly what this woman was talking about. It was one of the reasons I got hooked on slots. I just wanted to escape, numb or zone out with a few hours of gambling. As many who know me and have read my memoir, I was escaping from old pain from my childhood when it resurfaced again and I didn’t know how to cope with it all!

DON’T BE FOOLED. Casinos are targeting everyone, not just our Seniors….

 

 

 

 

Let Them Hear Us! Joining My Friends At “Facing Addiction.” Are You Facing Addiction Today?

 

Facing Addiction

Dear Author & Recovery Friend Catherine Lyon,

This is a critical time for anyone connected to the addiction issue. We are just over a week into the new Congress and at the end of next week, a new president will be sworn in. Here are just a few quick things you can do today to ensure that our leaders continue Facing Addiction in 2017 with us:

Sign and Forward an Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

The new administration has made a commitment toward reforming our nation’s health care system. We hope you’ll sign this letter to the President-Elect and his new administration, urging them to maintain their commitment to facing addiction issues in whatever replacement health care package emerges. If you’ve already signed our letter, please take a moment to forward this link to your family and friends and post it on social media. We need your help today!

Tell Your Story in a Letter-to-The-Editor

One of the leading roadblocks to improving the collective response to addiction is better understanding. Last year we saw the tragic viral images of overdose victims posted by police officers who were shaming people who become addicted. Shaming doesn’t work. The only way people will build empathy about addiction issues is to hear stories from other perspectives – recovery, loss, the struggle to access health services – you have a unique story to tell. A letter, outlining your personal perspective and connection to addiction can make a huge impact. Please click here to submit a letter today!

Pilot Community Program

Facing Addiction is proud to offer this application for communities needing support to build a targeted grassroots approach that changes local responses to substance use disorders. Examples could include building diversion programs that move low-risk offenders from court involvement or formal criminal justice system supervision to health-centered interventions. To learn more about this program, and to submit an application for your community, click here.

Thanks for all you do – advocacy is about action. Join us by taking action today.

Regards,

Michael King
Director of Outreach & Engagement

I PROUDLY STAND With My Friends at Facing Addiction! Let’s All Get Involved Above!  

catherine-townsend-lyon


*** Author and Recovery Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ***

Let’s Kick Off “National Week of Action Against Predatory Gambling” And Voices From Beyond. . .

Hello and Welcome All Recovery Friends and Visitors,

This coming week is a big deal for me. I get together with the fine folks at Stop Predatory Gambling, Les Bernal, and staff to raise awareness about predatory gambling by our Government and by our States Lottery. Just about every state in the US has some form of state sponsored for-profit gambling offering. Now we all are pretty smart people as to know they are not making money and profits from gaming by the “once in a blue moon players.” NO, they are making profits off those who are the problem or addicted gamblers. And quite frankly that should be ILLEGAL. But since the Government approves it and so do the states, it is legal. HHHHHMMMMM.

Many have NO idea that Gambling Addiction is currently the #1 addiction with the highest suicide rate,  YES, that is over drug and alcohol addictions.  Please take some time to read this story which will touch your heart: Gambling Addiction Suicide – Lanie’s Hope as I shared Lanie’s story this time last year. It is heartbreaking to me that these suicides are happening at a faster 2x the rate than any other addiction and our Government is still cutting funding for treatment. Also, our State Lotteries are not giving enough money for funding required funding for treatment of those who become addicted to it. Where I came from, the State of Oregon, you can see the petty amount allotted for treatment in this article below. 1% is pretty embarrassing, to say the least  . . .

How funds are allocated – Oregon Lottery


“Over the years, Oregon voters have approved constitutional amendments allowing Lottery funds to be used for economic development (1984), public education (1995) and natural resources (1998). The Oregon Legislature transfers 1 percent of Lottery revenues every biennium to fund problem gambling treatment.”

And like in my previous posts, I am advocating and participating again this year for “The National Week of Action To Stop Predatory Gambling” along with my friend Ronda Hatefi and Les Bernal from Stop Predatory Gambling Website in HONOR of Ronda’s brother, Bobby Hafemann who took his own life due to gambling addiction. Now here are more Voice’s we will never hear like Bobby’s as they too felt they had no other options to STOP Gambling and are no longer with us  .  .  .

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“VOICES FROM BEYOND WE WON’T HEAR”

    “Gambling is a real drug for addicted players, who continue returning back to the casino every day and wasting all money there. And they don’t care about the spouses, that have already packed their luggage to leave, or children who don’t eat much because of money deficiency.”

And this is just the tip of the List!

LA – On Thursday, another fight about gambling steeled Jueliene Butler’s determination to leave her husband, as her children raced down the street on their bicycles and tricycles. The two shots that resounded through the neighborhood ended a tempestuous 26-year marriage between Rodney and Jueliene Butler in a murder-suicide heard by their 13-year-old daughter.
Times Picayune 5/8/98

IL – Each turned on the ignition of their Olds Regency after stretching a vacuum hose from the exhaust pipe into the car’s interior, climbing in and rolling up the windows. Carol, 63, was the obsessive gambler. Disabled and saddled with the monstrous debt she had created, Skip, 69 had wanted to join her. Undone by a ravenous habit that cost them $200,000, a house, a nest egg and two lives, it was Carol who left a terse hint of the forest of guilt and fear that had grown around them. Bexson and Carol Warriner chose suicide as a last exit from gambling habits.
Los Angeles Times 6/22/97

ATLANTIC CITY — An unidentified man hanged himself under the Boardwalk on Thursday, the third suicide outside a casino in the last three months, police said.
The Associated Press 6/9/00

ATLANTIC CITY — A 50-year-old Ventnor man apparently committed suicide Tuesday afternoon by jumping off the parking garage of a casino, police said.
LAS VEGAS SUN 4/5/00

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A German tourist jumped to his death off a 10-story casino parking garage Wednesday in the third such suicide in eight days.
The Associated Press 8/25/99

Atlantic City – Ex-casino worker leaps to death from roof of Trump Marina. He is the fifth person to jump from a casino here and die since August 1999.
South Jersey Publishing CO 5/27/00

Atlantic City – A bloodied body was found at the entrance to the Sands Casino Hotel parking garage just before 8 a.m. Investigators believe he fell two stories to his death but don’t know much more than that.
South Jersey Publishing 7/30/00

Atlantic City – The 36-year-old Florida man leaped seven stories to his death Tuesday after losing between $50,000 and $87,000 at Trump Plaza.
South Jersey Publishing Co. 8/19/99

CT – He had developed a gambling habit over the past few months that began on a trip to Las Vegas this summer. Police believe he was driving home from Foxwoods Resort Casino when, in desperation, he killed himself by hanging.
The Day Publishing 9/9/00


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Need help from Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling? Call Today.


In Oregon:  call 1-877-MY-LIMIT (695-4648).

National Hotline:  call  1-800-522-4700 all days and hours for resources and referrals.

National Suicide Hotline: call Call  1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day.

Gamblers Anonymous –http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines
Find A Meeting: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/locations

For Family Help:  Gam-Anon: Family and friends of problem gamblers can find resources and a list of meetings at gam-anon.org or 718-352-1671.


 

Flash Backs of My Past With Mental Health, Undiagnosed . . . .

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“Sometimes we have to look back and remember what life was like before being finally diagnosed with a mental and emotional illness.  It is at times still difficult for me to talk about. I was first diagnosed in 2002 while in a behavioral and addictions crisis center via the hospital after my first failed suicide attempt, which included my severe gambling addiction.”

I happen to be reading a recent article I am about to share with you from the fine folks of “Psych Central” that hit home for me. It took me back years growing up before I was diagnosed with several mental health challenges, but looking back I remembered so many times I could pick out during my life that should have been possible warning signs for my parents, and “red flags” for me as I moved into adulthood.

I remember times when I was little, and would throw these awful tantrums from what my mother told me years ago, but I remember the aftermath when my mom would lock me in my bedroom and  I would be lying on my tummy watching the footsteps pass back and forth my bedroom door. Or, when I rode in the car I would rock forward and back, and it would drive my dad nuts, so  he would yell at me to stop! I always seemed to have to be moving and going all the time. Bipolar Anxiety I believe is what I was suffering. All of it had gotten worse after I had been sexually abused as a little girl. Hell, a lot came from PTSD I also was suffering but didn’t know or understand until I was diagnosed and when it came back to haunt me in my 30’s. It is some of why I turned to gambling.

In my teens, I would have times where I would be way up, happy, and chatty constantly and then? I would be very low, quite, and then isolate in my bedroom which now I know was depression, and kept right into adulthood. So, again, most of the article made me think back to those many memories and made them clear as to what was then, going on.
Many of us who were born in the early 60’s, and grew up in this period our parents had no clue about a mental illness. They just thought we were being fussy or just a bad kid. And yes, you can have anxiety and depression together. It is just a matter of which will be prevalent from day to day.

We know more today than ever with research, studies, and even with medications to treat the vast amount disorders. It is why we are seeing the explosion of many people coming out and talking about mental illness.  I hope this article will help others have “self-awareness” and not be afraid to get help if you suffer from any mental and emotional health problems.  .  .  .  .   As I watch the Democratic Convention today, right now, the first issues speakers are talking about? More Funding for Addiction and Treatment, and now Mental Illness. This is what we need. The people in our elected offices and government act and fund these issues.      *Author,Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

BIPOLAR LENSES/By   on
PsychCentral

Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven’t experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.

Mania

When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. “I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarter than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?”

Hours later:

“Why did I sell that stuff? My wife is going to be so upset and those donuts were not worth it. Maybe I can buy them back. I’ll just need to grab my wife’s card when she is napping. No, I can’t because that will cause (you will do it) problems (you will do it) and (you will do it) I don’t want….

Back at the store:
“Didn’t you sell us these today?” (They noticed! You are so stupid!)

“Yes… I didn’t really mean to (you know they think you are crazy, right?)

Drive home:
“How do I explain this? (Say you got her birthday gift and it was a surprise! Her birthday isn’t for months and you can make that money back to really buy something!)

At home:
“I am so sorry I took your card, sweetie. I know I said I wouldn’t. Well, no, I feel fine. It wasn’t mania. Whatever.”

At night:
“I can’t sleep.” (You need a new guitar.)
“I want to sleep.” (Your kids will never love you when they experience what you are)
“I have to try to sleep.” (Work in seven hours) (Work in six hours) (Work in five hours)

At work:
Exceed in everything and then some due to my insane level of energy.

At home again:
“Can’t sit still … need to go.” (You are a terrible father) I just need to run to the store (stay with your kids, they love you. Are you a bad person?)
Rinse and repeat for a few weeks, then…

The middle

I am me. The Caleb I was when most of my old friends met me. The Caleb that loves to write music and play basketball. The Caleb that knows this can’t last long and soaks up every moment he can. I love the middle.

Depression

As I wake up, I wish I hadn’t. Take a look at my work to-do list and experience a high level of anxiety. That mental voice is not so active, but neither is mine. I feel a cloud of doubt and dread follow me all day, turning into a thunderstorm when faced with human interaction or hard times. The cloud sucks the life and desire for anything out of me.

I feel the weight of all my bad choices compounded with the reality that I am a finite being who will likely be forgotten soon after I am gone. Nothing I have done makes a difference to anyone. Trying to match my manic or normal self while depressed is next to impossible. I do not want to be around anyone due to the anxiety that they realize how messed up I really am. I try not to leave the house for as long as I can and wear the same clothes for as many days as I can.

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I sometimes plan to take my life, but when I see my children and imagine what their future looks like without a dad I change my mind. This time.I am not suggesting that mistakes someone makes while manic or depressed don’t count. But I am hoping you can see how choices made in the extremes haunt the individual.

If a friend ever comments they are contemplating suicide, get them immediate help however you can. 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide prevention hotline and dialing 911 is an acceptable option as well. If your friend was having a heart attack there would be no hesitation. If they mention killing themselves, then I promise they have thought about it seriously.

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Even the best friend in the world is no substitute for therapy. There are medical professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the mentally ill and it will do much more than any amount of “being there” can.

Take off the logical glasses you see life through and put on your empathy lenses. We might try to take advantage of your kindness. We might seem like we don’t care that you care. We might make you think we don’t appreciate you. But we appreciate it more than you can imagine. .  .  .

“HEAR MY VOICE of MENTAL ILLNESS” 

My Fabulous ‘Island Girl’ Nominated Me For The Blogger Recognition Award! Yeah Baby!

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends,

 

blogger-recognition
Now I usually don’t get the time to follow through when I am given an award for blogging. Between my book promoting business Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions and advocacy recovery work, time seems to fly by before I get a chance to get it done! But this one is special as my dear friend, Island Girl !!
And for the life of me I wish I knew her first name at least. LOL. Her Blog: ( http://whidbeyislandgirl.net ) Once of the most awesome places to live in the Pacific Northwest. And we met because I to had moved from the Pacific Northwest here to Arizona.

Now I may not get all my nominations notified right away, but I’ll get there! But I want to thank Island Girl for this award nom, and for her recovery support as well. The reason why I blog? To raise awareness about a cunning addiction that now effects 1% of our population as problem gamblers. And now out of the 16+ million problem gamblers in just the US alone? Half this number parents are your High School and College kids. Not Cool.

And of course, I was an addicted gambler for many years myself. Still don’t know when I crossed the line into uncontrolled addicted gambling, but have now been in recovery 8 1/2 years. After two failed suicide attempts due to this addiction, it was time for me to reclaim my life back! AND THAT IS WHY I BLOG . . . .

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( Go ahead, click to purchase on Amazon! )

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Sharing hope and healing in recovery. I wrote my story in book form, and it got picked up by a publisher and now out in the world. I hope it helps many from gambling addiction. So I guess I am a published author, LOL.

So let me get to the hand of sharing this award to those who inspire me as bloggers. The only piece of advice I can give other bloggers? It is the same advice my publisher gave me when I started writing now my 2nd & 3rd books,
“Write What You Know, and keep it real, raw and honest.” And it is how I approach my recovery as well! XO

So in gratitude, and in keeping with the rules, I nominate the following fabulous blogs you need to visit:

Each and every one of these folks has provided me with their unique perspective, talents and enjoyment via writing, poetry, advice, books and a whole slough of different thoughts. KEEP ON BLOGGING!

None of the nominees are required to accept, of course, but if you do, these are the rules for acceptance:

  1. Choose 10 other bloggers to nominate, excluding yourself and the folks who nominated you.
  2. Write a post to showcase your award.
  3. Include a brief history of how your blog was started.
  4. Provide some Pearls of Wisdom to new bloggers.
  5. Thank the person(s) who nominated you and include a link to their blog(s).
  6. Attach the award to your blog.
  7. Inform the folks you’ve nominated via comment on their blog site.
  8. Include a link to the award provider.

I look forward to reading more of everyone’s posts!

1.) DeBorah Palmer ~ Espiritu en Fuego — A Fiery Spirit Expressing Herself
2.) Jack Barr Award Winning Author ~  Author Jack Barr
3.) Ellie Pulikonda, Author/Writer
4.) Author, Marilyn Fowler ~  Self Help By Marilyn
5.) Author, Andrew Branham ~  The Book Anything for Amelia
6.) Author, Bette A Stevens ~  4 Writers and Readers Maine Author
7.) Kendall F. Person ~ The Neighborhood ~ Society Online
8.) Author, Vinnie Sorce ~ Cirque de Sorce

**I will be back with more links of Nominations**

blogger-recognition

Thanks Again Island Girl!  http://whidbeyislandgirl.net
“Keep on keeping on friends!”
Author & Recovery Advocate ~ Catherine Lyon “-)

Its National Recovery Month All September Long On My Recovery Blog!

* HAPPY NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH RECOVERY FRIENDS & VISITORS!*

RecoveryMonth2015
Celebrate National Recovery Month!!

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I Welcome everyone to “Gambling Recovery Starts Here!”

These are just some of the wonderful Events I have planned, or have accomplished in HONOR of National Recovery Month September 2015!

Sharing our voices and story is a powerful tool to help those who are fresh in recovery, but it also reminds those in long-term recovery to always be ‘diligent and non-complacent’ in our own recoveries. It is now time for collective voice and faces of recovery join together for a common good. That is to help ‘Raise Awareness, Educate and Inform the public about addictions, and that recovery HAPPENS.’  And to share how we can change the landscape of Stigma and Understanding in this country around those of us who live life in Recovery!

So here are a few things I will be doing this Month and into the first week of October to celebrate! So I hope you will join me and share your voices with me here in my comment section all month-long!
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List of Events & Happenings I’m Doing! What are you doing?

Now I kicked off the month with a fabulous Recovery/Christian Blog Talk Radio Guest Interview! My host, Dale Garrett was a wonderful interviewer, and we talk about a lot of addiction and recovery areas. My show was appropriately called:  THE EYEWITNESS: WHO SAY’S GOD DOSEN’T PERFORM MIRACLES IN RECOVERY?

Now, if you click on the link above, it will take you to the show that was recorded, and you can listen at your leisure. Dale is the Author of his own book, written his own memoir to share his story of drug addiction and recovery.

He truly has been to HELL and back, and his book is appropriately called:“My 7 Seconds In Hell” and I can tell you his story is very powerful. So I thank Dale Garrett for having me on his show, and he will be in “The Hot Seat” next himself on September 11th 2015!
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Cover Photo

LIKE A POENIX FROM THE ASHES . . .

Event for God Allows U Turns There”s Life After drug”s · Hosted by Dale Garrett

The link for this upcoming show: Sept 11th Dale Garrett Interview ~ God Allows U Turns
Another way to Celebrate National Recovery Month? Read Dales Book!
 

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Product Details

Auto-delivered wirelessly ~ Go download yours Today!

About The Book:
Ever wonder what would happen if a meth lab blew up with you in it? Wonder no more…the following is a true account of a meth lab gone bad where he was severely burned from the waist up and sent to prison. Anyone fighting addictions involving meth should read this. There is hope. Inside see the hope that he found and you can too. . .
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Another Event that happened all month in August to Kick Off My Celebration . . .

Was done by my Dear Friend and Fellow Author and Recovery Coach, Melissa Killeen of  Recovery Coach New York City  She was kind enough to share excerpts from my current book titled; Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. She has a done a fabulous 4 part blog series about me and my book on her wonderful website/blog.

So if you’d like to visit and read it? Just click on her link above and read her blog. I THANK her as well for the opportunity she provided to share a little of my book! Catherine will feature segments of her book “Addicted to Dimes” in this  … Continue reading
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Now my next project is in the works with the Fine Folks of  HEROES In Recovery” As I was invited to share my voice and story of gambling addiction with alcohol abuse, and how I am recovering now over 8 1/2 years. They provide a platform for anyone who would like to share their stories and testimonies of addiction and recovery. They have some pretty amazing people and voices over on their website here: Heroes In Recovery ~ Celebrating Recovery

My story will be added to the other 977 voices in recovery soon!! So keep a watch out as I will share the link ALL over Social Media to keep raising awareness of Recovery! Here is a little about what they DO!

WHAT IS HEROES IN RECOVERY?

Heroes in Recovery celebrates the heroic efforts of those who seek the addiction and mental health help they need without feeling ashamed or isolated. This grassroots movement is intended to remove the social stigma and to connect those in recovery through sharing our stories and engaging in community together.
MY STORY NOW RELEASED HERE

Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps individuals with addiction and mental health issues from seeking help, to share stories of recovery  for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives.

We’re holding events across the country, seeking to inspire a sense of community wherever we can. One of our main events is our series of Heroes 6K races – not 5K, but 6K – to create awareness about the need for treatment and to support those who are in recovery. We chose a 6K to symbolize the extra effort it takes to sustain recovery and so that each kilometer would represent one of the six letters in the word “HEROES.”  Our inaugural 6K was held in 2011 on a race course in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., during the month of September (National Recovery Month). Since then, we have had a number of successful races across the country, and the number of races— and participants— continues to grow!

The Heroes movement has begun with strong momentum, but it still needs your help. We’re asking people in recovery to share their stories with us so that others who are struggling can realize that there’s life on the other side of drugs and alcohol . . . .

AND, since I am ‘dual diagnosed’ myself, their mission I stand behind as they do fantastic work for many us!
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Now my next event is one very close to my HEART, and happens the last weekend in September.

It’s in conjunction with my wonderful friends over at “Stop Predatory Gambling”….
Les Bernal has set up a weekend just for a man from my home state of Oregon who committed Suicide because he became addicted to gambling of the Video Poker & Slot Style machines OK’d and sponsored by the Oregon State Lottery, and it is a Legal Gambling racket of many States & Federal Government. And while I had lived in So. Oregon for over 25 years, I too got hooked on those video/slot machines the State of Oregon is profiting from . . . .

About This Event & More Info: National Day Of Action ~ Stop Predatory Gambling

National Day of Action

Sat. 9/26/15 & Sun. 9/27/15 ~ ~ In Memory of Bobby Hafemann

“To highlight the voices and stories of the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, we are organizing the first-ever National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling on Sat. Sept. 26 and Sun. Sept. 27. We will publicize how this public policy is dishonest, financially damaging to citizens and contributing to the unfairness and inequality in our country.

Bobby Hafemann took his life because he became addicted to electronic gambling machines. Who was the primary sponsor and beneficiary of the machines that led to his death? His own state government. 

Bobby’s sister, Ronda Hatefi, has organized an annual day in her state for the last twenty years to remember her brother and all of those citizens who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling.

To highlight the voices and stories of the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, we are organizing the first-ever National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling . , .

Bobby Hafemann of Oregon took his life because he became addicted to electronic gambling machines.Who was the primary sponsor and beneficiary of the machines that led to his death? His own state government.

Bobby’s sister, Ronda Hatefi, has organized an annual day in her state for the last twenty years to remember her brother and all of those citizens who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling.

To highlight the voices and stories of the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, we are organizing the first-ever Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling. We will publicize how this public policy is dishonest, financially damaging to citizens and contributing to the unfairness and inequality in our country.

Planning for more than 100 actions is underway in 20 different states across America as well Australia..

Our Purpose: There will be at least 100 separate actions across the United States on the weekend of 9/26-9/27 to call attention to the millions of Americans like Bobby Hafemann, Melynda Litchfield and Jenise Brown who have been damaged by government-sponsored gambling.
Our Message: Predatory gambling cheats and damages all of us– even those citizens who don’t gamble.

Your Role: Please commit two hours on the weekend of 9/26-9/27 to participate locally in some way.

Possible Actions Include: The “action” can be anything you (or your group) want it to be. It could be a prayer vigil, a sign-holding visibility with homemade signs, participating in a “Freedom Players” event at a regional casino (or at a local restaurant/tavern with video gambling machines) The ideas are limitless.”

**Well I know I will! I’m going to be blogging on both days here on my Gambling Recovery Blog. But not going to reveal just yet what I will blogging about.**

BE A PART OF IT AND LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE!

 

Really? It Does Good Things?” I have never seen that happen much in Oregon.  As the Oregon Lottery says, profits are to go to schools and keep our parks clean and open? But many were still closing, and many schools programs cut or taken out all together.” Don’t drink the KOOLAID people! Someone is NOT telling the truth?

And I say this all the time, I have no ill will to those who can gamble normally, and for the entertainment of it, nor do I think gambling needs to be banned. What I do think should happen is the expansion of both Indian Casinos and State Lottery need to stop or slow way down. Look, do the math, we know they don’t make money or profits from the “once a month Bing player”. . . . they are making profits of those who are problem or addicted gamblers. It’s that simple.

And like for myself, no person being strung out, financially and emotionally devastated from this addiction should EVER have to contemplate SUICIDE to stop gambling addiction. Sadly, Bobby did.
And so did I try twice!  For some Higher Power had a hand in both my suicide attempts to fail. And I believe it is because of what I do today,  as I try and help those still sucked on the cunning “cycle” of the disease of addicted gambling.  I am to be of recovery service to other recovering addicts. To write, blog and share my experience with others to help shatter the stigma.
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Now another event that is still in the works, is another fabulous recovery platform and internet radio show that I have been invited to be a recovery guest on. This special guy, “O” I met just last month, and you know I keep telling you all  that GOD always brings people in our lives at just the right times!
Well my friend “Omar Pinto” just call him “O” a fantastic recovery podcaster has been kind enough to connect with me,  and will be taping an interview together to be aired for later this month! Here is a wee bit about “O” and The SHAIR Podcast ~

Omar Pinto

Omar Pinto
About – The SHAIR Podcast  ~  Addiction and Recovery Stories: The SHAIR Podcast
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Hi there, my name’s Omar but everybody calls me “O”. I am the host and founder of The SHAIR Podcast.”SHAIR pronounced “share”, spelled S-H-A-I-R, is an acronym for “Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery”. It’s a podcast where we bring you amazing life changing success stories from addicts and alcoholics all over the world who share their inspiring journey of recovery and we will release a brand new episode every Tuesday on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.
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The episodes will last between an hour and an hour and a half. During each episode, recovering addicts and alcoholics will share their stories with us, their battles against drugs and alcohol, the wreckage it caused in their lives, when they hit rock bottom, and finally their journey into recovery up until today. My hope is that these stories will inspire millions to stay clean and sober . . . .Just take a listen to one of his fantastic interviews ~ The SHAIR Podcast – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery.Click on any of the EPISODES below to LISTEN NOW!029: Randy H. “The Monkey on My Back” now 15 years sober, takes us through 20 years of drug dealing, addiction and alcoholism.

028: Amber Leone Murphy “Can’t Keep a Sober Girl Down” (August 25, 2015) now 9 years
sober shares with us her 10 year battle with alcoholism . . . .
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Now my last event I will be par-taking will be in the 1st week of October to round out my celebrating National Recovery Month.  And it IS about time the government hears many voices of addiction and recovery. Time to step up funding to these areas as well as mental health services. So who better to pull this off?  10.04.15 UNITE to FACE ADDICTION That is Who!

Facing Addiction

And I may not be able to make it to Washington DC, but I can submit my story and will also be blogging both days as well. I was invited by one of the “Community Outreach Founders, Michael King”  and The Unite to Face Addiction team. I know this rally is going to make huge waves on our State Capitol!! Here is what this movement is for, and a little about Michael King .. .. ..

Who We Are

The UNITE to Face Addiction rally is being organized by Facing Addiction Inc., a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis, as well as an independent coalition of national, state, and local non-profit organizations.

Vision 

Bring together the best resources in the field in order to reduce the human and social costs of addiction, every year, until this public health crisis is eliminated.

Mission

  • Build a grassroots constituency to give the millions affected by addiction a voice
  • “Rebrand addiction” to create the understanding, empathy, outrage and demand urgently needed to advance solutions
  • Increase access to effective prevention, treatment and recovery programs
  • Translate scientific innovation into useful tools and services
  • Advocate for governments to implement evidence-based policies and regulatory practices to end addiction
  • Widely share the proof of long-term recovery

Michael King Photo

Michael King (VA and West Coast At-Large) lives in Seattle, WA and has spent over a decade working on political campaigns, ranging from state and local races in the Pacific Northwest as well as US Senate and Presidential campaigns.  He has an extensive background in field organization, communications and campaign management, and is the proud father of two young children.

Founding Board of Directors

  • John Silverman, Chairman: Owner, SilverSEAL Corporation – New York, NY
  • Todd Hollander, Vice Chairman: Private Investor – New York, NY
  • Terry Meyerhoff Rubenstein, Secretary: Director, Meyerhoff Family Office – Baltimore, MD
  • Charles E. Johnson: Managing Director, TANO Capital – San Francisco, CA
  • Janet Zagorin: Client Services Officer, Sidley Austin LLP – New York, NY
  • Robin Kiam Aviv: Non-Profit Advisor – New York, NY
  • R. Steven Hicks: Chairman, Capstar Partners – Austin, TX
  • Stacie Mathewson: Founder, The Stacie Mathewson Foundation – Reno, NV

Facing Addiction Leadership Staff

  • Jim Hood: Co-Founder & Post-Event Organization Director
  • Greg Williams: Co-Founder & UNITE to Face Addiction Campaign Director
  • Johan Sorensen: Chief Strategy Officer
  • Dara Meyer: Event Director

Some of the FUN Events going on while in DC!

 

HORIZONTAL_Website CTA
Joe2

1 Photo Credit Zack Whitford     Sheryl

johnny    FRAY0077.PRESS.8x10MAIN
“Just to name a few of the Fine Entertainers That Support Recovery & Will be Performing!”
And of course a whole host of Recovery Events planned all weekend, so I urge you to go check out their ‘other events tab’ to see all the recovery education workshops, meetings and more by various addiction and recovery organizations by clicking on the link!
All And Other Events At Facing Addiction Rally 
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So, **HAPPY NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH FRIENDS**

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate ~ Lets Gather As ONE!!

An Article Share From Earlier This Year. Living With Dual Diagnosis In Recovery With Mental Illness.

tumblr_mm5i7jbkn61qajngxo1_500

 

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH ~ Some of My Story . . .

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”

I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days”…

I’d been invited by a Behavioral Rehab Center earlier this year to share a little of my story of living with ‘Dual Diagnosis’ of Mental Health challenges while living live in recovery from addiction. Since it is Mental Health Awareness month, I though I would share one of my articles I wrote for them here on my blog. Not only do I have these challenges, I’m also in the middle of a battle, and have been for 5 years with SSI disability for my benefits.

This has added a lot more stress in my life. WHY? Because it is really disappointing when you have worked all your life, paid into your social security disability, and when you do become unable to work? You have to fight like hell for your benefits. I have all the medical, mental, and psychiatry evidence and documentation to show why I am unable to work, but if you get a SSI judge who doesn’t know, or care what you go through daily with these disabilities, and of course he/they find ways for denial of your benefits.

I even have a new lawyer, which makes 3 lawyers now that have helped me, and we just won our federal case, and have been granted a new SSI hearing for next month. Now this whole experience will be for another blog post! LOL.
But my point? If your unable to work because of your Mental Health and medication side effects, you better be armed with excellent evidence, and a good lawyer because you have to fight like hell to get anywhere with the SSI Disability department. And this 5 year experience has added so much more stress in my life that is very unhealthy for me. It is some of what my blog share is about. So here is what I’d like to share with all of you today.
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cropped-ad31c-mentalillness.jpg

How Does One Recover From Gambling Addiction When Living With Mental & Behavioral Health Problems?

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.”
I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days under a black cloud of pressure pushing down on me!”
Here is where my addiction recovery and behavioral health journey began. Trying to recover from gambling addiction, and while there, was diagnosed with many mental and emotional disorders, and many negative behavioral habits I had picked up in my many years of addicted gambling. I was in crisis! See, I had been suffering undiagnosed mental illness for years without ever knowing it. And I turned to addicted gambling and alcohol abuse in my adult life to zone out & cope, not wanting to feel the hurt and pains I had not processed from childhood.

With my first failed suicide attempt, I was supposed to be attending my best friend’s funeral and celebration of life, instead, I had a very bad gambling binge/slip that almost cost me my life. I chose to escape her tragic death by 16 hours of addicted gambling to escape the hurt and loss I felt from losing my best friend. Many asked me, “how can you just waste your money like that?” Today I tell them, “it’s not about the money, it’s about the disease of addicted gambling, and the bad choices and behaviors that comes with it”. It is why I feel it’s just important to share one’s personal experiences, as it is educating others about this addiction, and about living with mental/emotional illness, and childhood trauma and abuse.

So, what is gambling addiction? There are many definitions for problem and gambling addiction. Some claim it’s a mental health disorder, some say it’s a cognitive behavioral issue, and even some say it’s an impulse control problem. From personal experience, it was all three and more. But all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits are a gambling addiction. The major features are 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. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. It is why currently gambling addiction has the highest Suicide Rate than any other addiction.

So there I was, in a crisis center due to a suicide attempt, which wouldn’t be my first. However, it made me start the progress (which took a few years) of trying to attain recovery. Still, I wasn’t fully convinced regarding my mental/emotional diagnosis. Partly because I was still in denial about my gambling addiction.

When I was told I would be starting medications for my mental/emotional issues, the first thing I thought was, “oh great, now people are going to think I’m nuts or a fruit loop”! Looking back now, it’s clear that this came from the huge Stigma in this country about those who suffer from any type of mental and or emotional illness. This cunning addiction invades every part of your being, especially your thinking. And even though I was a victim of childhood trauma and sex abuse as a little girl, I had never told anyone until my adulthood.

And my parents did raise us to know right from wrong, even if it was heavy-handed. But when addiction comes along, or you turn to any addiction to cope with what life is throwing at you, all good behaviors and choices fly right out the window, and the negative behaviors of addiction change your thought process in working out life’s problems. It seemed easier for me to go gamble for a few hours than to deal with what life drama was happening around me! That is the ugly side of this addiction. My bumpy journey of recovery began with cognitive behavioral therapy. Last time I wrote about behavioral health. Throw gambling addiction in the mix – this is called having Dual Diagnosis. But on a personal level, I called it a recipe for doom.

 


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Why? Because it was hard to admit to myself that I have mental health issues as I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was an addicted gambler, and it got so out of control that I tried to end my life. I wasn’t focused on trying to manage my disorders because I was in denial about my diagnosed mental/emotional illness.  So when I left the crisis center, all I knew was the doctors told me to “take these pills” and all would be OK. However,  I just focused on the recovery from gambling, and didn’t give much thought to managing my mental/emotional health except for browsing through some pamphlets they gave me to read.

What I have learned from this part of my journey is that you have to manage and balance not only your recovery from addiction, but your mental and emotional behavioral health as well. Like any other illness or disease like diabetes or heart disease, you should follow what your doctors suggest, take your medications properly, eat right, and even exercise to have a well-balanced healthy life. But if you only focus on one part of your overall plan, you won’t be successful in managing to stay healthy – physically and mentally.

And that’s the same when we live life in recovery with dual diagnosis.  You have to learn to live an overall well-balanced life in recovery, and mind your mental health. It helps your recovery journey to be a success. There are many ways to recover, but you have to pick one. When is enough really enough with addiction? Are you “sick and tired of being sick and tired” yet? Are you finally done with letting addiction control your life?

Well, If I can recover from both addiction and living with mental and behavioral disorders, then so can anyone!

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Author & Recovery Advocate
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

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