One Amazing Resource Is My Friends “Know The Odds” Who Raise Awareness and Share Resources Like I Do For Problem Gambling and Addiction.

PROBLEM GAMBLING AFTER THE BIG GAME POSTED ON 

The Big Game is behind us.  As a loved one to someone struggling with problem gambling, how do you feel?  How has your family been affected by gambling during this time of year? This game may have intensified the negative consequences of a loved one’s gambling.   There are things you can do to reduce the effects felt from gambling after the big game.

The Big Game Can Be A Trigger

From the end of January up until the big game, the media covered the upcoming game, the players, and facts about the stadium where the game was played.  There was so much media specific to the game on news outlets, in articles, and advertisements.  People struggling with problem gambling may feel inundated with chatter about the big game.

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They may have felt triggered to make a bet, increase their current betting, or get involved in additional gambling activities like daily fantasy sports.  Now, after the game, the media will continue talking about what happened.  For anyone negatively affected by problem gambling, this game may feel endless.

Consequences of Problem Gambling

As a loved one of someone struggling with problem gambling, you may notice some increasing consequences from gambling.

  • Preoccupation with the outcome of the game. This could result in being absentminded and forgetful about important daily routines or upcoming events with loved ones.  This could also be due to anger about losses and looking to win money back.
  • Tension in relationships. This could result in an increase in isolation and avoidance by the person struggling with problem gambling.
  • Irritability. People may be struggling with healthy habits, such as regular sleep, healthy eating choices, and regular exercise causing an increase in irritability.

Take Action to Reduce the Effects

  1. Focus on mutual non-gambling hobbies and interests. Spend more time on things that are not gambling related.  This can help subside some of the after-effects from the big game.  Focus on things that aren’t related to the game and avoid questions about it. Whether or not the person struggling is in recovery for problem gambling or not, a focus on loved ones can help everyone repair relationships, together.
  2. Learn more about problem gambling.  Whether you’re reading eBooks on problem gambling, watching educational videos, or finding articles online, knowledge is power.  Learn all you can about problem gambling, warning signs and possible consequences so you can support your loved ones, including the one struggling.
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  3. Know that it’s okay if you need help and that you are not alone. Help is available because people want to support people and families struggling with problem gambling.  If you’re unsure where to start on your search for help, the answer is your local Problem Gambling Resource Center.  Whether you’re just looking for information or need to make an appointment to talk to someone, your local Problem Gambling Resource Center staff can help.


Please Visit my friends from Know The ODDS   A Not-for-Profit Org. dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling. You can Connect with them too on Twitter and where we met! And on their Official Facebook Page …

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Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Sharing Gambling Addiction and Recovery Experiences Can Be A Powerful Way to Help Others And Those New to Recovery. Even At Holiday Time…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Ones!

A while back I had received an exciting opportunity and invite from a major organization to “share” one of my most important times within a downfall or relapse during my recovery and what I had learned from it being in early recovery. Of course, looking back, one had always stood out to me and it was from my second failed suicide attempt and I was wasn’t even ACTIVE in addiction. No, not trying to shock anyone about suicide, but currently, one in five people gambling addictively will try suicide once as one can get in a state of feeling financially bankrupt and emotionally hopeless …

Since the Holidays are just around the corner, I will be, for the 6th year, be at home blogging, advocating, checking my email closely, and will BE available by phone for anyone who needs Recovery Support or struggling with gambling beginning the day before Thanksgiving 2018. WHY? 

Because even though I am years in my journey of recovery, I know and remember how difficult the holiday season can be when you have a problem or are addicted to gambling. Not enough money to buy gifts or even buy things to celebrate or decorate the season. I had many years of this and know how it felt.

I Hope that by sharing this article I wrote and sharing, that it finds its way to even just “one person,”  it may help and let them know there is HOPE and much HELP with gambling addiction. You are not alone. I have been through the “battle” and I am here to listen, read your comments, answer any questions, and here to HELP.
~Catherine Lyon

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“My recovery journey started again in 2006. Not from gambling but from being dually diagnosed with addiction and mental health challenges. I woke up in a hospital as the result of a second failed suicide attempt and was back into an addiction and mental health crisis center for another 15-day stay.”

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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. We are hearing more recovering gamblers and other types of addictions where the addict has mental illness as well. That was me! And the “why’s” to writing my memoir titled; Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat and that is was what my gambling addiction had turned me into, a liar and a cheat …

This time around I had a severe financial crisis happen and since I had not taken mental health meds and already worked through all our savings and retirement money, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. “Old addiction thinking and diseased habits.” What a mess I got into! The person pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the process and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I finally paid off recently. My point?

We must do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I had not done all the work necessary for a well-rounded rehabilitation. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and now legal troubles told me I still had more work to do. I needed to work with an addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I did get help with an expert 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, and those still suffering the cycle of gambling addiction.

After this second suicide attempt, I also learned that God, my higher power, had 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 the gambling/behavioral specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery with mental illness. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

Being a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. Many of the negative habits, behaviors and diseased thinking on my part needed correcting. Working with the specialist was eye-opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, as 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. Even though I didn’t relapse into gambling, the workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a 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, and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. They were all direct links to the roots of why I had turned to gamble and became addicted. I also never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

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By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter the stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are child sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted.

It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on families’ lives and the impact in our communities.  The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth.

Currently, 2.9% of our population are problem gamblers. Again, 1 in every 5 will attempt suicide from this addiction. And now, gambling addiction IS the 3 addiction claiming lives by suicide. This has to change! Hopefully, through my recovery advocacy, my book, and my blogging, I can help change this. I have learned many lessons, so the best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about the addiction.

Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a reliable recovery that encompasses inner reflection and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I happen to learn this the hard way.

Now that I have reached eleven plus 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 could weather any storm together as he stayed with me through all of this. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned on many platforms and in publications.

And I share as much as I can with others who still suffer. As I write my next book, it will be about how to make the first year in recovery and beyond as it seems readers have been asking me to do. With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted to share how to attain the first year of recovery. It IS WHY I continue my recovery as an online journal in blog format here on Recovery Starts Here!
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All I can do is urge others who have a gambling problem is never give up. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the ‘professional or clinical’ side of this disease and how to recover. Sharing our story is a powerful tool for others to listen and learn from and break the power of stigma.

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.

Besides, this is about reclaiming your life from gambling addiction!

 

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About The Advocate:

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best-selling author of her shocking debut Memoir; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Walmart Online. Born in New Jersey, lived in So. Oregon over 25 years, she and her husband reside in Glendale, Arizona. Catherine is well known in many addiction and recovery online communities for her voice of realism, raw, and honesty about her battles with gambling addiction and now 11+yrs in recovery, living with mental illness, and her past childhood trauma and abuse.

She is finishing her third book and currently co-writing a memoir with former NFL pro of the Denver Broncos, Vance Johnson. She is a former ‘In Recovery Magazine Columnist of The Authors’ Café, and ow writes a column called “Quit to Win” for the recovery newspaper “Keys to Recovery.”  Catherine advocates and sponsors many today. Her articles have been published in “Time and Nautilus online, In Recovery Magazine, Facing Addiction, and Keys to Recovery, as well as media from Columbia University.”

September Is National Recovery Month. My Thoughts and a Wee Bit of Venting…

September Is National Recovery Month. My Thoughts and a Wee Bit of Venting…

As we celebrate National Recovery Month another year, not much has seemed to change regarding addiction. The opioid epidemic and alcoholism rates are still rising, just as more expansion has been rising with more gambling options being legalized like the one for legal online sports betting now in several states.

So how does recovery fit into this as we are losing more and more lives to all addictions every day? Why are we celebrating when it seems all addictions are getting out of control instead of better? I feel our Government needs to step up and take some part of the ownership and accountability of this problem as they don’t seem to be doing enough and just side kicking it to all the individual states in the US to handle it “on there own.”

“This to me and to many in the addiction and recovery arena and to me is just unacceptable” …

My good friend Ryan Hampton from ‘United to Face Addiction’ and ‘The Voices Project’ has worked tirelessly, including on Capitol Hill to get laws changed and put new laws and legislation on the books regarding opioid epidemic and treatment, rehabs, and sober living facilities. To force higher standards that will actually help those looking to recover. We need more longer-term after-care for those who reach out for recovery. Not just paid for and only a 28-day treatment stay. This DOES include gambling addiction and treatment where Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling lays out in this article …

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Is it wrong for the addiction/recovery community, parents, advocates, feel that our Government could be doing more? Is it not right for me if I was still an addict to ask for a longer treatment stay for free and not be in bondage of the Insurance Companies on how I chose to be free from any addiction? We all know most cannot afford addiction treatment is we have NO INSURANCE right? Even the cost alone if YOU HAVE INSURANCE is way too much for what we receive and WHY treatment is cut off by about the 28th to 30 days benchmark.

So how do we change this arena? Many advocates and those who work out in the field know this is an area in desperate need of changing. Lord knows I don’t have the answers but I will continue to advocate loudly for these and many more changes. I tip my hat off to those like Ryan, Les, and even my co-writing partner Vance who travel all over the US, even to our White House to advocate loudly for change.

Change in how addicts get treatment paid for or if they have no insurance, and to shatter Stigma around those who do because STIGMA can prevent addicts to reach out and get help. It’s why I advocate and share a wealth of HOPE … I will close with this FB Post by Vance Johnson who is a recovering addict, former NFL Pro, and what he had to say that hit home for me. I am so blessed to be writing his memoir with me and to have him as a dear friend.  ~Catherine Lyon

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Whatever you misdiagnose, whether illness, relationships, even politics, you miss treating.  This post is deep so stick with me.

Recently I’ve run into a ton backlash and opposition with my 4.5 years being clean.

From family to friends and in between, some are convinced that I’m not clean for the right reasons. Start with Religion… Some think this new walk that I walk in Christ delivering me from the bondage of addiction is “Fake News” and only a reason for my new supposed found fame. I was addicted to fame, and fame made me drink and use drugs.

When I lost that fame and status as a pro-NFL player and after walking away from the game, I drank and drugged myself into a coma. Let’s move to Politics.

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I grew up around democrats, became independent, and decided at one point that only Republicans are true believers in God. I’m not dogging politics, it’s needed…. but what you misdiagnose you miss treating! Whether politics or religion, most of it can be agenda driven and being agenda driven can make you interpret circumstances incorrectly.

In relationships, you may have got information about your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse, even your children that sheds a light on them that moves you directly into judgment. All because of your misdiagnoses and believing lies shaped in truth, that’s actually formed by an agenda.

Years of doubt, demonic interpretation has damaged your relationship. Although you see them never walk away from his or her commitment to love you, take care of your children and has never strayed.

Their devotion and walk in Christ echo their lifestyle. Don’t let religious or political prophecy become deluded or distorted by people saying they know what God is thinking.

In the Bible, Paul said lustfully pursue the gifts of the Spirit, especially that you may prophesy. I travel all over the country and share my testimony to thousands. I run into people all over, and the Spirit of God has led me to speak into people’s lives, and pray over them. I share the good news about what Christ has done for me in this new walk. I’ve seen miracles and lives touched while standing boldly redeemed and in conviction to Share Hope.

Thanks for letting go deep here, just wanted to share personal thoughts in this new transparent life I lead, to show myself approved in God’s eye, not man’s eyes… I encourage all of you to recognize what may be the spirit of deception.


You can think it’s a righteous stand while being “fed a lie.” No matter where the lie comes from.


Own your Faith, Own Your Sobriety.  ~Vance Johnson 


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Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

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It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

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When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

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I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

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Sharing My Friend Tony Roberts and His Inspiring Blog and Website: “Delight In Disorder”…Org

Sharing My Friend Tony Roberts and His Inspiring Blog and Website: “Delight In Disorder”…Org

I always get “Delight” in having and sharing my dear friend, author, and advocate Tony Roberts and his informative blog at  “Delight In Disorder” all about Mental Health.

He shares just how he feels and experiences as he raises awareness about living with mental health challenges. Also, way more than I do. He has such a beautiful heart and is full of faith as well. So I happened to really enjoy a couple of his recent posts and I know many of you will too and benefit from. I am hoping you will take a little time to visit his blog and give both a “Finishing Read.” They both are excellent topics and we all know that reading is being “In The Know and Powerful.”

 

“Fresh Hope for Mental Health Interview” ~By Tony Roberts

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A few weeks back, I received an unexpected message from Pastor Brad Hoefs from Fresh Hope for Mental Health. Fresh Hope is a mental health ministry that reaches out with an uplifting Gospel message for those who are often cast down. Their mission is to “empower individuals to live a full and rich faith-filled life in spite of a mental health diagnosis.” Toward this end, they have developed curriculum for support groups around the country, they are producing webinars on such topics as “What I Wish My Pastor Knew About Mental Health,” and distribute a podcast that is one of the best of its kind.


Pastor Brad reached out to me to be a guest on this podcast. Below is the link to the program and the show notes:

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Pastor Tony Roberts.

Pastor Tony Roberts was born and raised in the Hoosier heartland just south of Indianapolis. He grew up worshiping high school basketball and once had the honor of playing in a televised “game of the week.”

Tony went to Hanover College. After many detours into sex, drugs, and more folk rock than roll, he wound up at the seminary and became a pastor. It was then that symptoms of depression and mania culminated in a psychotic episode that became pivotal in his life, for better and for worse.

After graduating from Hanover, Tony obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While there, he did ministry assignments at a state hospital for persons with developmental disabilities, as well as at a women’s prison, and inner-city hospital.

Tony served two decades as a solo pastor. He then shifted to writing, speaking, and leading small groups. In March of 2014, Tony published his spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. Having served in pastoral ministry and gone mad, it’s now his mission to bridge the gap between faith communities and the mental health world.

Tony now live in Columbus, Indiana, with supportive family and faithful friends who keep me honest and encourage me to be who God created him to be. Tony’s greatest earthly delights are my four children and two grandchildren, with one more on the way.

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In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; 

in the morning I lay my requests before you 

     and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)

 

 

Why I Don’t Go to Church

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46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2.46-47)

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, early Christians were on fire. They worshiped daily, shared meals bountifully, praised God delightfully, and built a reputation for loving each other and others with precious passion and compassion. They were filled with a spiritual fervor that knew no end.

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I have had such spiritual fervor. What has happened to my faith?

I went to church this morning, the first time in a long while. For various reasons, I have been absent from the pews much of the year. I have many excellent explanations, but no good excuses. My faith family has been patient with me. More than this, they persistently care in spite of it.

People still stay in touch, frequently send texts or emails not to badger me about coming to church, but to ask how I am doing, let me know that they are praying for me, and offer to help in any way they can. No pressure. No guilt. Just checking in with a brother in Christ to express love and concern. As one sincerely expressed, “We are more concerned with how you are than where you are on Sunday morning.”

As I sat in the pew today, I thought of brothers in Christ who make a difference in my faith.

Some time ago. I asked a brother, Sam S., to serve as my prayer partner. We meet every two weeks to do a Bible study book. We share casual concerns, deep joys, and requests for discernment. I have shared with Sam specific spiritual concerns and he is intent to pray for me, particularly over the weekend, that I might be motivated to come to worship in the fellowship of saints.

Sam is the song leader at our church. His deep melodious sound rings out and surrounds the sanctuary with ancient Psalms, the songs Jesus sang, set to classic church tunes. When my soul is most troubled, I sometimes remain in my pew as people stand and, instead of singing along, streams of tears will flow down my cheeks as I hide my face in my Psalter.

Then there is Gary M, an elder. When I first visited Columbus Reformed Presbyterian (CRPC), Gary was quick to introduce himself and invite me to a weekly fellowship called the Grub-In. We would meet at Gary and his wife Cynthia’s home for food, study, song, and prayer. It meant so much to me when I was going through a separation and divorce to have another faith family I could depend on to pick me up when I was down and set me straight when I veered off course.

Pastor Andy M. is an unassuming man with an abiding faith and a gentle spirit. I have consulted him on a variety of issues, from marriage and divorce, finances, writing. I consistently find him to have an informed Biblical perspective which he shares humbly in the Spirit of truth and love.

Lately, I’ve come to know and appreciate Roger G. for his quiet support and kind encouragement. This morning he shared with me that he enjoyed my recent post on writing. It is such a blessing to know Roger and other men and women of faith are out there, reading things like this, smiling in recognition as if to say, “I get that.”

So, what has become of my faith?

 

I refuse to believe it is God’s fault. I am not angry at God for letting me down in some way. It is not the fault of the church. By and large, pastors and people in the pews are no more hypocritical than persons in the world who accuse them to be. I can’t blame it on the many distractions or worries; my illness is an inadequate explanation at best; I have no unresolved sin conflict in my life that would prevent me from presenting myself before God with a clear conscience.

 

What is it? Why have I lost my fervor for fellowship? My drive to worship? My passion for praise? What has become of my faith?
Well, I hope you will stop by Tony’s Blog and read WHY and the rest of this post!

Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate

 

Why I Don’t Go to Church

 

So, A New Year and A New You In 2018? How Was Your Holiday Season In Recovery? Mine Was AMAZING!

So, A New Year and A New You In 2018? How Was Your Holiday Season In Recovery? Mine Was AMAZING!

HAPPY NEW YEAR Recovery Friends and Visitors! 

 

 

 

So, how was your “Holiday Season?” Let me gush and ramble a little about how mine was… As many of us who maintain recovery, sometimes we lose touch with family and relationships due to many reasons. Not all family members understand the healing and change one goes through when we enter recovery and reclaim our lives back from gambling addiction. And, again, the reasons are countless.

What I do know is, there are some family members who do understand and may reconnect as I got to experience this first hand this holiday season! Sad as it seems, I have several members of my side of the family I have not spoken to in years’ like my own father, younger and older sister. I have come to terms with that and moved on many years ago. But my three nephews from my older sister reached out and called me on Christmas Day evening. There is something about the “Christmas Holiday” that touches all of us when it comes to our family.

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My other 2 Nephews Matt & Mike!


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“My older sister Rose my nephew’s mom & Christina”

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And especially at holiday time. This Christmas I got calls from my nephews to wish us a Merry Christmas and to catch up. My middle nephew Mark has 4 children and we talked for 2 hours. He and I have stayed in touch through the years, but with him having a family and me busy with my work and advocacy, time gets past us.  So Mark and I talked for 2 hours and have talked again several times. He even sent me photos! I had not seen my great niece and nephew, his twin babies, since right after they were born and when we moved from Oregon to here in Glendale, AZ…3 1/2-years ago.

And HERE THEY ARE with Daddy (Mark), Mark Jr. and Bella!

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They are beautiful, right? They just turned 4. We are making plans to hopefully go see them in So. California this Spring and can not wait. We are now only 4 hours from Cali, closer than when we lived in Oregon. God works in funny ways, doesn’t he? Mark had shared and we talked of when HIS Dad was still alive, and when he and his two brothers were little, how Mike and my own dad used to go up on the roof of the house when the boys went to sleep on Christmas Eve and walk around up there as I and everyone would tell them it was Santa and the hoofs of the reindeer! LOL. The boys got so excited, so Mark did it this year, but then he rented a Santa suit and surprised his kids.

He said he was a big hit! Oh, those old Christmas memories when Mark, Michael, and Matthew were little kids. It seems that is what the holiday season does. We look back at happier times and when our family used to be stuck together like glue, and before the world around us got in the mix, growing into adults and all that life brings into it. Sad that we are all tore apart. That is a long story for another blog post. Those who have read my book know that story…

So many people tell me how can I have a “faith” in someone I can see? How do you know there really is a supreme creator or higher power known as “God?” Where are these miracles believers talk about?

Well, I know and believe in God and his son Jesus Christ. And GOD performs “Miracles” like my ‘Holiday Miracle’ this year every single day…YOU just have to believe and look around you!

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Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Happy New Year!

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to “Recovery Starts Here” Special Author/Writer Interview. My name Catherine Lyon, Author and Advocate.  I know I am a little overzealous as I just bought Lisa’s new book titled; “Raising The Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” released just this past June 2017.

By the title, you may know some of what her book is about. But from all the 5-star Amazon reviews, there much more. And there is nothing like giving some practical and sound advice about alcohol and stopping alcoholism before it starts or happens.

Today though, we are going to learn more about who Lisa is and the “writer side” of her. So I hope you enjoy this “Special Interview” with Lisa Boucher.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

Share a little of what you do?
I am the author of 5 books and an RN. My first 4 books were novels, and my current book,
Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” is nonfiction.

I’ve worked in all sorts of departments at the hospital: ER, telemetry, medical, neuro, and psych. To be honest, my true love is the writing biz but that doesn’t pay that well at the moment, so a girls’ gotta have a day job!


Where were you born and raised? Youngstown, OH


Tell us more about you? (Like your education, family, hobbies.)
I have a nursing degree and a BA in English. Have always been crazy about animals. I used to have a quarter horse, Sham, who I loved almost as much as I do my twin sons. I love to cook, I’m part Italian, so food is a big deal in our family. I also garden, and like Cat, love to feed and watch the birds.


Do you have any latest news?
I do! Raising the Bottom recently won the 2017 Best Book Award in the category of Women’s Health, and it was a finalist in addiction/recovery category. I also am looking forward to 
Shape Magazine, yes, the Shape Magazine, to run a piece that I contributed to that and will be on their online magazine.

I was also interviewed by a writer at Epoch Times, so I look forward to reading what he put together. I wish I had a specific date, but from what my publicists told me, it should run late November or early December. It may even be out by the time Cat publishes this!



Anything we should know besides you as an Author & Writer?
I’ve been sober 28 years. I am certainly no prohibitionist, but I am troubled by the “women & wine” culture that seems to be a bit over the top. Let’s not forget the kids of these women. There’s nothing funny about a drunk mom. Ask any child who has one.




Do you like writing?
I love it. It’s a process and can be crazy and maddening and frustrating sometimes, but it’s who I am. I am a writer.




When and why did you begin writing?
Honestly, I heard a voice–an audible voice in my kitchen one day. I had just graduated from nursing school, back in 1994. I was home alone one day and musing about my life, my purpose. Was nursing it? A voice came through as loud and clear as if my husband was standing in the room, but he nor my small twins were home. The voice said–”Now I want you to write a book.” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have a computer at the time.


What inspired you to write your first book? God.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I can’t remember, it was a long time ago.  I guess it just came to me like my titles usually do. I have a writer’ly quirk that I can’t seem to write a thing until I do have the title.



Do you have a specific writing style?
No. With the novels, I just let it go and then do lots of cutting and pasting! With RTB, I did try to at least plan out the chapters.




How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story is about my alcoholic mother; our family; my getting sober early in my disease. I then interviewed 10 other women and they shared their story. I focused on women people would never suspect they had a problem. High bottom women whose bottom was mostly internal: doctors, nurses, mother and grandmothers, young women.

I also did a chapter for the kids, “What Your Kids Say about You and Your Drinking. I feel they never get to have a voice, so I wanted to give them one. I also did a chapter, “Doctors, Nurses and Health Care.” There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the hospitals and people have no clue. Healthcare has changed so much, and not for the better. The hospitals & some doctors, they want customers, not cures.


To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel since I was local, but I did write some of it in Bimini. Bimini is a tiny island in the Bahamas and not much goes on there. It’s a perfect place to write. Ernest Hemingway wrote some of “Islands in the Stream” there.


Who designed the cover?
She Writes Press had a design/illustrator do it.




Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Well, it’s not a novel, but I think every person knows someone who drinks too much. It’s a book for all, whether or not you drink–you know someone who does. Forewarned is Forearmed!


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite?
I have so many books in my reading pile. I’m reading Erik Larson, and my favorite right now is David Foster Wallace. He was brilliant but sadly, committed suicide at the age of 46. He was an amazingly gifted writer. Such a tragedy.



Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?
Well, not many. I really didn’t talk about it all that much. It seems that if you mention you’re writing a book, everyone chimes in and says me too! I wonder how many of those people will actually finish a book. It was such a tough long road, and still is, so I didn’t talk too much about writing with people other than my family. Of course, people knew I wrote, I just didn’t look to them for support.

 


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, if I sat and thought hard about it I would come up with something, but why make myself crazy? It’s too late to change anything so it is what it is and I think it’s pretty darn good. I did the best I could, and I know my writer’s voice came through strong & clear in “Raising the Bottom.”




Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh, my goodness yes! With each book, my writing got better and better. I grew as a writer.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No, I can’t act. Can’t see that at all!



Any advice for other writers?
Keep plugging away. I think if it’s for you to write, you’ll write. I tried to walk away from it so many times, but it seems I kept getting pulled back. If you can walk away from writing and be happy and never miss the agony of it all, you’re probably not a writer. But, if you keep writing even when the journey looks so dark, you’re a writer. We can’t not write. Period.


Will you write another book?
If God wills it, I believe I will. I have some ideas already, but I’m not ready to start another book yet.




What are you reading now?
Just finished *your) Cat’s book: “
Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”  (what a journey she had, but survived and came out stronger on the other side!).

I’m also reading Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker.
He’s an investigative reporter and writes about the destructive nature of big Pharma: What he learned mirrors my experiences of what I’ve seen going on in the hospitals for 24 years. The pills doctors prescribe are ruining lives. It’s so sad to see lives destroyed by all the drugs they put people on. I’ve watched lives spiral down to the depths of despair, all because of the RX’s.


Do you remember the first book you read?
Anything Nancy Drew! I Think was the first series type books I can remember.

 

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus, & Michelangelo. Can you think of two more interesting people?

CAT: LOL… I have to agree about meeting Jesus to ask, What’s It All About? And the other person….hhhhmmmmm, ELVIS! To let him know how bad The Drug Epidemic has gotten…And some to blame is like his Doctor, Over Prescribing Pain Meds and Anxiety Meds too!

 

Favorite Music and Color?
hmmm, that’s a hard one. I like Norah Jones and soothing instrumental music. In my car–I’m a country girl and love the old county music of Wille, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, Cash, Tammy Wynette. Yeah, the old stuff!
Colors: Turquoise or Black.

 

What do you want to be written on your headstone as part of your Legacy?
Something about healing. I’ve worked with women for 28 years, and I know I’ve been blessed to have been a part of their healing. I also want to leave a legacy of having a bit of grit. The world can be a hard place, but we can be all right if we take God with us.  

 

“One of Lisa’s Favorite Place? ~ Palermo, Sicily – Italy!”

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Do you have a blog or website? Where can readers connect with you on Social Media? Sure do! WebsiteRaising The Bottom.


I’m on Twitter & Instagram: @LBoucherAuthor  – My Book Available on Amazon online.
  – FB page: Lisa Speaks of Raising The Bottom



I Thank you, Kim, for allowing me to share YOU with my readers and blog visitors. We all will enjoy learning all about you as a writer. WHAT an Honor it is to have you with us!

WISHING YOU and all my blog readers, friends, and visitors a very HAPPY, Healthy, and Sober THANKSGIVING! May God Bless You…



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Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

 

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