What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

What is Problem Gambling? My Friends of Nevada Council on Problem Gambling Explains and NCADD Shares April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Now that March was yesterday ending “Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the beginning of April which is Alcohol Awareness Month. I thought I would share two informative articles that share what some of the warning signs of Alcoholism and Problem Gambling are. I help advocate both because toward the end of my addiction to gambling, I began to abuse alcohol as gambling just wasn’t working as my ‘escapism’ and using to cope with life and old past pain from my childhood.

Those of us that end up becoming addicted to something usually have roots and underlying issues as to “WHY” we began using that has still hurtful and unprocessed like my own childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Not always from a negative problem that we may turn to addictions.

It could be from overindulged or wealth and a child growing up with no parental mentoring or guidance and feel entitled. Either way, gambling, alcohol or even drugs that may have been recreational can become an addiction for many, many reasons.

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When the Fun Stops – By Nevada Council on Problem Gambling

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Just as some people can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is possible for a person to become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble. For the problem gambler, making a bet is not just about having fun or winning money. Gambling becomes an emotional response to change the way they feel. 

 

Some problem gamblers may gamble to relieve boredom or avoid feelings of anxiousness or stress. Others may gamble to ‘numb out’ when feeling helpless, guilty, or depressed. As they continue to gamble, they become more and more emotionally and mentally dependent on gambling, with less and less control.

The impact of this addiction is much greater than the obvious financial losses that can result from repeated gambling. The long-term result is a steady deterioration of the mental and physical health of both the gambler and their family.

Surprisingly, problem gamblers are often the last ones to realize what is happening to them in spite of mounting negative consequences and increasing emotional impact. They may attribute their difficulties to a mere financial problem or believe they are just not being ‘smart’ enough when they gamble. The fantasy that one more big win will solve the financial problems and return everything to normal drives them on to gamble even harder.

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KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS

 

Most people who gamble do so with no harmful effects. They set limits and stick to them. However, for a small percentage of the population, gambling can become more than a game, and lead to serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.

Here are some of the warning signs:

For the Gambler:

  • Gambling to escape worry or trouble
  • Gambling to get money to solve financial difficulties
  • Unable to stop playing regardless of winning or losing
  • Gambling until the last dollar is gone
  • Losing time from work due to gambling
  • Borrowing money to pay gambling debts
  • Neglecting family because of gambling
  • Lying about time and money spent gambling

    ….

For the Family:

 

  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Reduced involvement in social/group activities outside the home
  • Emotional distress, anger, depression
  • Lack of communication among family members
  • Items of value lost or missing
  • Family members working overtime or taking a second job to make ends meet
  • One member (gambler) noticeably absent from or disinterested in normal family activities

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If your gambling is no longer fun, don’t wait for the problem to get worse… Get Help Now or call the 24-hour Problem Gamblers Helpline.

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Facts About Alcohol

  • 2.8 million worldwide deaths caused by alcohol annually.
  • 3rd Alcohol addiction is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation.
    …/
  • 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use in the U.S., while 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.

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Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States – By NCADD.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence.

Alcohol addiction can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications. It also damages a person’s emotional and mental health, financial stability, career, family, friends, and community. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.

17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence along with several million more who engage in risky binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and can cause severe health consequences, even if it’s only used for a short period of time. In the United States, many people begin using alcohol at a very young age. 66.6 million people from age 12 to 17 report binge drinking. That’s 1 in 4 young people, many of whom also report using other substances or trying other high-risk behaviors.

Engaging in binge drinking can lead to problems with alcohol. The problem can be exacerbated by a home environment where heavy drinking or alcohol use is considered “normal.” A family history of alcohol problems is the single major factor that can predict alcohol addiction, which is one type of substance use disorder. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcohol addiction or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has severely misused alcohol.

Alcohol use disorder can develop in anyone who is predisposed to it. The condition cannot be predicted by what kind of alcohol the person drinks, how long they have been drinking, or even how much they drink. However, early alcohol use, binge drinking, and a family history of problems with alcohol are all linked to future health issues.

Cutting back on drinking, eliminating alcohol completely, and avoiding any form of alcohol are all ways to reduce health risks. Substance use disorder affects the person who drinks: it also affects the entire social system around them, from their co-workers to their children. A healthier individual helps create a healthier family, community, and country.

Alcohol addiction and alcohol misuse can affect all aspects of a person’s life.  Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications, can damage emotional stability, finances, career, and impact one’s family, friends, and community.

Over time, excessive alcohol use, both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to numerous health problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments, and social problems, including but not limited to:

  • Dementia, stroke, and neuropathy
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, violence including child maltreatment, fights, and homicide.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box) and esophagus
  • Liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis
    Alcohol addiction

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If you are questioning your alcohol use – take our self-quiz and see where alcohol might be a problem for you. Or learn more about drugs.

 

Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcohol addiction by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use!

Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery.  It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.

With this year’s theme — “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” — the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol addiction, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Local Facing Addiction with NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.

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I will be advocating out loud on April 10th, 2019 at 4 PM at The Phoenix, AZ State Capitol Event for and supporting BIG JIM’S WALK FOUNDATION AND His Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness along with many other recovery friends!

It will be in the Capitol Lawn and Rose Garden area with many Special Guest Speakers. So come out and Rally for Addiction Awareness in Phoenix!

~Catherine Lyon, Author/Advocate

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Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Welcome Recovery Friends!

It is no secret that I am “being of recovery service” as media manager to a couple who is fighting this Addictions Crisis in America with all that they have! Literally. We have been friends, Big Jim and Marisol Downs for almost three 1/2 years.  I met Jim while he was accomplishing his first event of “Walking Across America 4 Addiction Awareness.” He had just finished his own 16-month treatment and recovery program while living in a faith-based rescue mission. He had finally had enough of drugging and drinking after 34 years of it! He was at the bottom after an anger rage he couldn’t remember after it happened.

He decided it was time for him to get help, for him and GOD to have a long conversation about his life and what was it he was missing? It was FAITH. He walked to be able to hear and get closer to GOD. He was redeemed from addictions, but without GOD in his life? He surely knew he would relapse and that to JIM was not going to happen. So he went for a walk from Panama City FL. to Canada! When Jim finished the “walk,” he founded and began “Big Jim’s Walk Inc.”

Now, with a new mission from God and years maintaining recovery, Big Jim is now “Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness and with powerful recovery support and treatment team behind him. He has already in just 2 and half months saved 41 lives from addictions who reached out to him while biking around America!

And? Well, I think I will let you read the rest of the “Ride” story courtesy of “The Eagle” newspaper located outside Houston, Texas as that is WHERE Big Jim has made it to and will be speaking on the State Capitol Steps in Austin, Texas today!! I would like to invite all who are my supporters of this blog go Donate and support Big Jim Downs as he riding for MY Addiction I am recovering from as MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Jim and Marisol are doing this ride on the kindness of people who know this addiction crisis in America is reaching everyone’s communities and claiming too many precious LIVES.

So I invite you to contribute and I THANK YOU in advance and donate here on Big Jim’s Fundraiser on the Official Website of Big Jim’s Walk Foundation. 

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PEDALING FOR HOPE

Addiction-recovery advocate makes unexpected Bryan-College Station, Texas stop…

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“Now five years clean, 50-year-old Jim Downs is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.”

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Jim Downs battled the long road of drug and alcohol addiction for more than 30 years before finding rescue in a faith-based recovery program.


Now five years clean, the 50-year-old Florida
man is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.

On the way to Austin on Thursday, Downs’ bright yellow-green Performer JC26X recumbent trike blew a tire just outside Bryan-College Station. His wife, Marisol, who was driving the couple’s car, met up with her husband in Bryan so he could strap the trike to the vehicle roof and take it for repairs.

Marisol often has to stay back in Florida to work while Jim makes his long journey, but she tries hard to follow her partner in the car when she can, hoping to help him if he runs into trouble. Sometimes she’s able to travel ahead of him and let recovery centers and news outlets in the local area know Jim will be pedaling into town.

The couple runs the charity organization known as Big Jim’s Walk and is in the paperwork process of having the group designated formally as a 501(c) nonprofit, Marisol said. The program started just two years ago when the couple decided to embark on a charity walk together from Florida to the Canadian border, talking to drug and alcohol addicts they met on the way and connecting them to recovery programs.

Now the organization is staffed by several people who have access to a catalog of addiction recovery programs throughout the country. When they meet an addict on a trip, they connect the addict to a long-term recovery program that will care for that person free of charge.

So far, they have helped 42 people since 2017 and have spoken with both small-town politicians and high-ranking state elected officials about funding for sober living and addiction programs.

Jim said that while he took a quick stop in Bryan to deal with the broken trike, he wanted to share his story with the people of the area via media outlets, hoping his testimony could help anyone in the Brazos Valley battling some kind of addiction and needing hope.

Jim was raised in California by what he described as a stable middle-class family and had never witnessed drug or alcohol abuse. But, he says, family issues led him to turn to drugs at school to deal with emotional problems. Having first tried illicit substances at 12, he eventually spiraled out of control and was an addict for 34 years.

He attempted suicide five times, was fired from jobs, was homeless at times and was repeatedly arrested, he said. He said he eventually let down his children and takes responsibility for leading one of his kids into methamphetamine addiction.

After enduring a psychotic blackout just over four years ago, he decided to reach out to Panama City Rescue Mission in Florida, a faith-based recovery program.

“I went in with a chip on my shoulder about recovery and an attitude of ‘I’m only doing this once,’ especially since I’d had heard people say they did it four or five times,” he said. “… Getting a relationship with God and working the 12-step addiction program through that relationship, I was digging deep and dealing with the root cause of all of it — a sense of abandonment.”

Recovery was not a simple process. Jim explained that recovery takes work and dedication, and lots of support from friends and family members who are not addicts. Jim said he would like to see more opportunities for those battling addiction to enter a recovery program that looks at the long-term healing process beyond the initial days of detoxification.

His mission as a sober man riding his bike cross-country is to connect the people he meets with the services that will help them in the same way he was helped. If those services aren’t available to a person in their immediate area, Jim stressed his organization will pay for that person to be bused to a town where they can receive treatment.

“The objective is to let everyone out there know that I get it,” he said. “I’ve been homeless, eaten out of garbage cans, done dope most of my life. I encourage people through my testimony and let them know they don’t have to live that way and there is hope. Then I offer them free recovery.”

The couple planned to drive on Thursday night to Austin, where Jim could have his trike wheel repaired. Next stop after speaking in Austin: Phoenix, where he plans to keep passing on the message of hope.

To reach out to Jim and Marisol Downs and learn more about their charity, visit bigjimswalk.com.

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March Is Problem Gambling Awareness So Let’s Have a GamTalk! It Is a Great Resource . . .

Those of us who maintain recovery from the cunning disease and addiction of gambling know our stories can be helpful and powerful tools to show Recovery is Possible from this illness and others are NOT ALONE. There is no shame in reaching out for help if you feel you have a gambling problem.

One place for exceptional resources and be with other “like-minded” individuals recovering or even having a struggle to maintain theirs my friends of GAMTALK!
Founded by Dr. Woods, GamTalk has great tools and resources to help you Recover.

Since March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I wanted to share Stories of those who have shared their VOICES and Addiction/Recovery on GamTalk so everyone can know there are many out here including myself trying to stay BET Free.  That gambling caused us much pain, financial devastation, and can be a challenge to maintain recovery at times.

Unless we begin “THE CONVERSATION” about this disease, others will still stay within the STIGMA and not reach out for the HOPE and the HELP that is out here and ready to help those looking to get their LIVES BACK! I sure did and it’s time for you to as well . . .

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GamTalk

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WHAT and WHO IS
GAMTALK:

Dr. Wood is the founder and manager of GAMTALK

“I have been investigating gambling problems for the last 18 years. I don’t have all the answers, but I will do my best to tell you what is currently understood. I focus on problem gambling prevention, education, treatment, responsible gaming, research, and recovery related issues. Through GAMTALK I will discuss the benefits of online support and to explain how Gamtalk helps thousands of people every year to discuss their gambling issues as part of a supportive online community.”


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SHARED STORIES of HOPE:

Arnie, A Long-Timer Maintaining Recovery From Gambling:

I am a recovering Compulsive Gambler who placed my last bet April 10,1968.

I started gambling at about age 7 or 8 as a kid in Brooklyn, NY. It started with flipping baseball cards, pitching pennies, shooting marbles and playing pinball machines. That kind of gambling continued until about age 14. At that point, I started to bet on sporting events with a bookmaker and I got into the stock market.

As a young kid, growing up, I always felt that everyone was better than me. The only time I felt okay about myself was after I had a win, whether it was marbles or baseball cards or pennies. Then at 14, I went to the racetrack for the first time (that was Memorial Day, 1951 Roosevelt Raceway). At that time in my life, I was making $.50 an hour after school, working about 15-20 hours a week. That night at Roosevelt Raceway I had my first big win and walked out of the track with $54. Looking back today, I think it was that night that changed my life. Even though it was only $54, it was about 5 weeks salary to me at that time. That night gave me the belief that I could be a winner from gambling and eventually become a millionaire. I can still recall that high feeling walking out of the racetrack that night.

By 17, I was already stealing to support my gambling. It started with stealing comic books to play cards with from the local candy store. Before long it was stealing money from my family to pay for gambling. By then I was taking the bus to the racetrack, a few nights a week on a regular basis. In those days they closed the track in the winter months, in New York so on weekends, I would take the bus or the train to Maryland to gamble. I was betting sporting events and horses with the bookmaker on a daily basis. In those days each sport had its own season. I remember calling the bookmaker one day and the only thing that was available to gamble on was hockey. I had never seen a hockey game but bet on it anyway. It wasn’t until months later when I did see my first hockey game, that I realized that hockey was played on ice.

Somewhere between age 17 and 20 I went to the racetrack one night and won $6000. Wow! Another big win. It was the equivalent of 2 years salary. This reinforced my belief that I could be a winner at gambling.

By my early 20’s I was betting big amounts on lots of games that I didn’t really know much about and probably couldn’t name more than a handful of players who played in these events. In some of the college games I bet on, I couldn’t name one player or even tell you where the college was located, but I needed to be in action. By then I was a regular at the old Madison Square Garden, every week.

I was watching and betting on college and professional basketball on a regular basis. At this point in my life, I was working full time in a shipping department in the garment center and every Tuesday when we got paid there was a regular crap game out in the hallway. Almost every week I would lose my pay in this game. I began stealing supplies and merchandise on a daily basis to pay for my gambling. By then, I had a bank loan and a loan with a finance company loan. I was also borrowing from coworkers.

At 21 I met my future wife. Our first date was to the movies and most of the rest of our dating was at the racetrack. We had a joint checking account saving for our wedding. She would put money in and I wouldn’t. I needed to use my money for gambling. I was still looking for another big win. I thought the perfect place for our honeymoon would be Las Vegas or Puerto Rico since I knew both places had casinos. My wife to be didn’t think that was a good idea.

I guess she understood enough about my gambling already. At 23 we got married and I wanted to stop gambling at that point. I thought that I could. Within a short time, I was already back to gambling. Even though I wanted to stop, I realize today that I couldn’t. I needed to gamble like any drug addict needed to stick that needle in their arm, or any alcoholic needed to have that drink.

Four weeks after we got married I went away to the Army Reserves at Fort Dix, NJ for 6 months. During those 6 months, I gambled every day, fast and furious, from placing bets by phone with the bookmaker to shooting crap and playing cards, every waking minute. When I came home in December of 1961, I owed $4000 and didn’t even have a job.

I got a job, eventually, working in the garment center In the showroom that I worked in there were a few compulsive gamblers who I quickly got friendly with. They became my buddies. We would play cards during the day and go to the racetrack at night and on weekends, together. My wife thought I was at business meetings some of these nights and all of us would lie for each other.

In 1963 my first daughter was born. My wife was in labor for 37 hours. During that period I went to the racetrack twice. When the Doctor finally came out and told me that we had a baby, the only question I really was concerned about was “how much did she weigh”. He told me 7lbs.1 oz. You would think that the concern should have been “how is my wife” or “how is the baby”. The first call I made was to the bookmaker. I bet 71 in the daily double. The next day when I picked up the newspaper, the daily double hit. I was convinced that day that God was sending me a message that I was now going to be a winner.

One year later my boss gave me an option to buy 500 shares of stock in the company for $7500. Within a year that stock was worth $38,000. In those days you could buy a car for $2000 and a house for about $10,000. Within 3 years this money would be gone due to my gambling. By now I was a plant supervisor for a Fortune 500 company. My gambling was already so out of control that I was stealing everything I could to stay in action. I set up a room in the factory that we used for playing cards (all day long). I was starting to do illegal acts (manipulating stocks) in the stock market.

Our home life was deteriorating. Gambling was more important than anything else that was going on at home. I was lying about almost everything and I would come home and pick a fight so I could go out to gamble. Nothing else at that point in my life was more important than gambling; not my family or my job. Gambling came first. At this point even though I was doing illegal acts, I was still borrowing money from only legal sources.

My gambling continued to get progressively worse. I was now a plant manager, supervising 300-400 people. My boss worked in New York, and I was in a factory in New Jersey. Most of the time he didn’t know what I was doing. Besides stealing and borrowing money from coworkers, I now had 3 bank loans and 3 loans to finance companies; I owed a loan shark an amount of money equal to one year’s salary. I was involved with 3 bookmakers, both working for them and betting with them. I directed a lot of people who gambled in my company, to my bookmaker and got a piece of the action.

I even got involved in a numbers operation. Between this and stealing, I was supporting my gambling. There were times I would bet 40 or 50 games on a weekend, and believe I could win them all. One weekend, just before I hit my bottom, I called a bookmaker and took a shot by betting a round robin which amounted to about 2 years annual salary. At that moment if I lost that bet, there was no way I could pay it. Things were getting so bad, I remember calling a bookmaker one day and being told that if I didn’t bring him the money I owed him he would not take my bet for that night. I went home and sold our car to a neighbor.

By now, I wasn’t going home to pick a fight with my wife. I was doing it over the phone so I wouldn’t waste the trip home. Most of the time I was out gambling, but when I was home we were constantly fighting. We had sex very rarely. When I won I was so high I didn’t need it and if I lost I didn’t want it. But there were times we had sex and my wife would say to me “do you hear a radio”. Of course, I would tell her she was crazy, but I had a radio on under the pillow so I could listen to a game. We were trying to have another child, but couldn’t. My wife came to me with the idea of adoption. I didn’t like that idea especially when I was told it would cost money. I needed that money for gambling.

After 3 months of her bothering me, I finally went along with the idea of adoption, as I thought she would be so busy with the 2 kids that she would leave me alone. I borrowed the money we needed from my boss and relatives. On the day we were bringing our son home on a plane, it was the 7th game of the 1967 World Series. My wife was busy looking at this beautiful new baby. I had no interest in him. I had a large bet on the game. The pilot was announcing the score every 15 minutes, or so. I was so upset that we were on this plane. I wished and prayed that the plane would get to the ground so that I could see or hear every minute of this game.

In the next few months, the bottom fell out of my world even though I still had my job and still looked okay. There were no track marks on my arm, I wasn’t smelling from my gambling. No one could really tell what was going on. I would come home from gambling and see my wife crying all the time, depressed, sick. Our daughter was 4 years old and I don’t remember her walking or talking. I either wasn’t home or when I was my head was consumed with the gambling. At that point in my life, I owed 32 people, 3 years annual salary. I had a life insurance policy and constantly thought about killing myself and leaving my wife and 2 kids that money.

I would do anything to keep gambling. As long as I could get my hands on some more money to stay in action, I still thought that the big win was just around the corner. I was trying to find out where I could get drugs to sell and looking around at gas stations to rob. I was asking people about making counterfeit money. I was running out of options. My boss came to me one day and told me that a detective was following me and he had a report on my gambling. He knew I was betting more money than I earned and he was sure that I was stealing from the company and that if he found out he would have me arrested.

Three hours later I was stealing from the company again. I needed to go to the racetrack that night. On February 2, 1968, my wife was having a miscarriage and I was taking her to the hospital. I was wishing and praying all the way that she would die. I thought that would solve all my problems (I wouldn’t have to tell her how bad things were). That morning I called my mother to watch my kids, I called my boss and told him I couldn’t come to work because my wife was in the hospital.

That afternoon I went to the racetrack. After the track, I went to see how my wife was. When I got to the hospital the doctor told me that my wife was in shock and had almost died. I was so deep into my addiction that I really didn’t care about her, the 2 kids or myself. The only important thing was making a bet.

“I thought that I was the only one living the way I was living and doing the things that I was doing.”

I found out that I was not alone and that I could stop gambling with the help of other people. I had hope for the first time. It’s been almost 38 years since I last gambled. Today I have everything I dreamed about getting from gambling and then some.

I have a wonderful family that is still intact and even have been blessed with 4 grandchildren who I love very much. In the last 20 years, I have been able to devote my working life to helping others who have this problem and educating people on the disease of Compulsive Gambling. This has been a dream come true.
~Arnie

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GamTalk
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Please give GAMTALK a visit and read more Stories of Hope and know you are not alone and we can recover from the cunning disease of Gambling and recovery is Possible and it WORKS.

~Catherine

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My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

My First Post For a New Year in Recovery as I Celebrate My 12th-Year Maintaining My Journey on Jan. 29th, 2019.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

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I wanted to have my first recovery post of 2019 to be a personal share and look back as I have been putting the finishing touches on my follow-up book to my first memoir of “Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My second book will be a pick-up from all that has happened in my life while maintaining my recovery from addicted gambling with alcohol abuse. There have been ups and downs and many phases of my recovery and life “Journey” … Many blessings, many doors opened, and as I call them, “Perks of Recovery!” Lol.

But I feel I need to share as I grow and as we all get stronger within our journey. And since I love journaling and a writer, it is also an important part of what I do for my recovery. Journaling is such a healthy way to let go of stress, forgive yourself, heal, and a great way to show others what may work for them in their path.

We all learn the skills and tools to use during treatment or your form you had chosen to begin your journey away from the bondage of addiction, and sharing may help prevent others from relapse or slip. And when you make it in longer-term recovery, you should learn to share your voice and become more of an ‘Advocate’ as it is an easy way to help those that may be new or in early recovery. Like “Paying it Forward” to others.

WHY? Because of Facts Like This Below? It Is Time To Not Be Silent Anymore …

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And is also why I try to find platforms to DO JUST THAT! And this year will be no different. My goal and mission for 2019 are to hopefully shine an even ‘Brighter Spotlight’ and be louder than last year about Gambling Addiction. To be able to help those who don’t understand this ever-growing problem.

It’s Time Share so we can shatter the “Myths and Misconceptions” about this disease if only by a little …

For those who don’t know, I am a Gambling Recovery Columnist for one of the biggest Recovery and Resource Newspaper who wanted to elevate the awareness about gambling addiction now touching more and more people. My dear friends Jeannie, Marcus, and Beth are Founders of “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is FREE for everyone! Great articles and columns and supportive resources for help too. My JAN 2019 column and article is on page 15 and cont’d on page 22!

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About Keys to Recovery


S
preading the Message of Hope and Recovery

 

Our purpose and our missions are to give hope that recovery is possible. Incorporated in the state of California Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity.

Our main objective is to carry the message of Hope and Recovery from all types of addictions and disorders to as many people as possible and to offer resources that may provide treatment and support. We do that by printing (yes, printing) a traditional type of newspaper, as well as having an online presence. Our newspaper is filled with columns from today’s top experts in the recovery field.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspap, Inc. is educating our communities about alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and so much more. We also print, at no charge, a 2-­‐page resource guide listing free services and vital help offered within the communities.

 

Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. is making a strong effort to reach the many individuals currently in jails or other types of institutions, and offer them information that will assist in their future recovery. For every paid subscription we will be able to send a free subscription to someone in an institution.

 

We are NOT affiliated with AA, NA, Al-­‐anon or any other 12-­‐step program. We do, however, believe in the power of the 12-­‐steps and the principles behind them.

 

We operate Keys to Recovery Newspaper, Inc. using these principles as a guideline -­‐ Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Spirituality, and Service.

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So as this new year begins, I will be also committed to posting more of my own personal experiences with addiction and recovery, my mental health challenges and goals as I push through the FEAR of my agoraphobia, depression, and anxiety issues and more about HOW I will be of recovery services to others too! I hope you will follow along and visit often as I’ll be adding more reads and resources on those Pages as well!

I wish you all and very Happy, Blessed, and Successful 2019! 

~Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Advocate

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Stay Safe Tonight …Stay Sober, Clean, and Bet Free on New Year’s Eve! Tips To Help as I’ve Been There – Done That …

Happy Almost New Year Recovery Friends and Visitors! Welcome, that You Found ME!

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I wanted to round out my being on Holiday Watch and Blogging all through the HOLIDAYS which includes through New Year’s EVE! Look, those of us maintaining recovery NEED to FEEL and know ….WE ARE NOT Missing Out on all the partying or waking up on another New Year’s Day strung out, hungover, our financially broke!

We know we are WORTH and DESERVE Much better Then THAT … But many feel left out or feel they are missing out. Not the case at all. We always need to make sure and take a look back at the WORST of our addicted days and holidays to know we have come along way from those “diseased” hauntings. That was the disease of ADDICTION Running our lives, made our lives unmanageable and took right over …

Not Anymore… And those who have longer-time maintaining recovery know this as TRUTH. We have done and continue to do the work necessary to keep our recovery intact and especially around the holidays. We then “Pay It Forward” and pass on that Wisdom and recovery lessons learned to those who are New and may just be starting Recovery. You are not alone and there are many caring and supportive people willing and ready to be of HELP and SHARE HOPE like me! ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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4 Quick Tips for Staying Sober and Avoiding FOMO on New Year’s Eve

By Kelly Fitzgerald Junco ~ The Fix Magazine 

“FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party.”

If there is one thing that describes my addiction, it was the yearning for connection. Ironic, isn’t it? The thing I spent the most time striving for is the thing that I ultimately couldn’t get, even from the substances that I thought were helping me find it.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be popular. In 5th grade, I remember the girls who were considered “cool” inviting people to their “boy-girl” party. I patiently waited for an invitation that never came. Then in middle school, my peers started getting boyfriends and girlfriends and slow dancing at school dances, but I was never included. I did everything I could to make it seem like I should be included in these exclusive pastimes, but I never felt like I succeeded… until I started drinking.

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Woman next to holiday decorations, alone and avoiding FOMO Fear Of Missing Out

(A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.)

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Taking shots, chugging beer, puke, and rally; these dangerous drinking habits are what ultimately gave me the street cred I needed to become part of the in-crowd. Boys finally found me cool and desirable and girls wanted to be friends with me. This theme followed my entire drinking career. I evolved from a scared child with a couple of friends to an outgoing woman with more friend groups than you could count. Keeping up with my new reputation was exhausting, but it’s how I lived throughout my entire time at college.

When I first heard about FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — something in me clicked and I realized this was the feeling I always got when I couldn’t stand not being at the party. FOMO was what motivated me to drink every night from Wednesday through Sunday during college. I needed to be at every outing and party because if I wasn’t, I risked my popular, cool-girl reputation. I risked not seeing the drama or hearing the gossip. Just like the acronym-dubbed phenomenon, I was fearful I’d miss something, and I couldn’t let that happen.

Now that I’m sober, I’ve realized that so many of us former drinkers had an intimate relationship with FOMO. It’s often what drove our drinking. It can also be what drives our return to use, or our obsession with still going to the places and parties we frequented while we were in active addiction. The holidays can be an especially daunting time for FOMO. In particular, New Year’s Eve is known for lavish and booze-filled celebrations. If you’re sober and worried about FOMO creeping in this NYE, here are some tips to help you play it safe.

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HAVE A PLAN READY:

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1. Plan something new and different. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to make plans in sobriety. Instead of the same old drunken ball-drop open-bar nightclub or wine-infested awkward house party, you get to decide what your New Year’s plans are and they don’t have to include any of those things. You get to plan something fun, new, and exciting. You could travel to a new place, visit a zoo, volunteer at a homeless shelter, watch fireworks, or host your own alcohol-free party. The point is, the decision is yours and your plans don’t have to be anything like they were during your drinking years. Plan something new and different to look forward to. You could even invite your friends and family to your non-alcohol-centered event and avoid FOMO altogether.

2. Read up on the concept of romanticizing. Yes, I’m telling you to Google “romanticize.” This is something we occasionally do about our drinking when we’re sober. We often remember the best and more fun parts of our drinking, but not the times it made us feel horrible or our worst hangovers. I’ve also heard these rose-colored memories referred to as “euphoric recall.” It’s good to have an awareness about this extremely common tactic of our mind. Remember the truth! Just because other people are out there binge drinking or going to events with alcohol doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you used to have fun at these types of events doesn’t mean you will in sobriety. Just because society tries to tell us we need alcohol to have fun does not make it true! Trust yourself. Don’t romanticize any substances you’ve tried hard to leave behind.

3. Give yourself a pep talk. You are one smart person. You know that FOMO is a concept that begins and ends in your mind. It’s a feeling just like any other that will come and then go. If you’re struggling with drinking, I can tell you there is nothing fun to go back to. Drinking again won’t make your NYE any more memorable or special. In reality, you’re unlikely to remember most (or all) of it. You live differently now and it’s time to accept that NYE will be different and that can be a blessing.

If you’re staying sober and debating going to a New Year event where the alcohol might overwhelm you, I’m here to tell you that you will not die if you don’t go to this event. Missing one event won’t change your life or the world. You can always get the lowdown from your friends who do go. I promise there’s nothing at that party that’s so wonderful it will make up for how you’ll feel if you end up drinking.

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4. Imagine the future. In the scheme of the entire world, NYE is just one holiday on one day of the year. Of course, it marks the end of 365 days of your life and that’s special, but there are so many other beautiful ways to celebrate a transition of this magnitude. You could make lists and read books and write in your journal and perform a moon ritual! You could go to a yoga retreat or a sober meet-up. It’s not your fault that society has tricked us into believing New Year’s Eve is a drinking holiday where we need to have a champagne toast at midnight. But it is your responsibility to carve out a new path for yourself on NYEs to come. Imagine your future: would you be happy to give up all your hard-earned sobriety for one night? For one party? For one New Year?

A new year should symbolize growth, bettering yourself, or beginning again. Don’t let FOMO take that away from you.

FOMO took enough away from me in my addiction. I spent countless nights wishing I hadn’t gone out or drunk as much as I did. In sobriety, I’ve never regretted not going to the party. Every time I think I’m going to miss out on something, I never do. I end up doing something better or more satisfying with my time. I end up missing situations, people, and places that aren’t good for me anyway. I miss out on drama, gossip, and drinking.

This NEW YEAR’S EVE, ditch the FOMO and make sure you aren’t missing out on Sobriety.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR RECOVERY FRIENDS!!

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.

Keeping Sober and Aware Through The Holidays ~ Alek S. Is Our Guest Today.


“Don’t Let The Season Take Away Your Sobriety With Temptations Abound” 

 

The Biggest Threats to Long Lasting Sobriety ~ by Alek Sabin


Long-lasting sobriety can seem like it is so far away when a person starts in recovery because recovery is a long and arduous journey. As such, when an addict is recovering from addiction, it is important for them to be brutally honest with themselves. One such thing to remember is that it is incredibly likely that a recovering addict will relapse, at least once, when they are on such a journey.


These relapses may happen early on, but they can also happen years down the road. Relapses are all too common, but they should not be viewed as a failure. Instead, a relapse should be viewed as a stumble on the path towards lasting recovery as long as you learn from it …

Relapses can be better prevented if an addict, or their friends and family, are more aware of what particular things are likely to trigger a relapse, even though this can change from person to person. Relapse triggers are the main threats to long-lasting sobriety, and here is how you can recognize some of them in your own life…

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Mental Health Issues


One major relapse trigger and something that may have had a major impact on somebody getting addicted in the first place is mental illness. Things like depression from “holiday blues” and anxiety have a long history of increasing the likelihood of addiction,
partly because they heavily impact the emotional sensitivity of an addict.

When somebody has both a mental disorder as well as suffers from gambling or substance abuse, this is classified as a dual diagnosis. When an addict is recovering, it is very possible that the same effects of a mental disorder can push them towards destructive behavior that leads to relapse.

 

Social Events or Pressures

As many recovering addicts know, peer pressure is a powerful motivator. Oftentimes, it is what led a person towards addiction in the first place. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to carefully consider social events and celebrations to attend. If someone at this event is going to be presenting an opportunity for a person to engage in substance abuse, again, then it probably isn’t worth it to attend. Relapse is more likely to occur when you give it opportunities to do so.

 

Relationship Problems


Relationships with friends, family, spouses, or lovers can lead to a great deal of emotional tumultuousness that can be difficult for a recovering addict to deal with. The emotional tides that come with relationship problems can push an addict towards behavior that they associate with comfort, which can lead to relapse. The isolation that is caused by emotional strife in relationships can also have a similar effect.

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Threats Sobriety 3

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Stress Triggers


Any sort of stress triggers, whether they have to do with job stress, relationship stress, self-esteem issues, or any other variety of things to be stressed about, will have a profound impact on the chances of a relapse occurring. Oftentimes, substance abuse is a reaction to stress that is ingrained in a recovering addict’s mind.

For this reason, it’s important for them to be aware of what their common stress triggers are so that they can be identified and addressed when they come up. As a note, one particular reason that stress is so impactful in relapse is that it can lead to high levels of self-doubt, which pushes addicts to a comfortable mindspace of substance abuse.

H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T. is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. This is referred to in the addiction recovery world as emotions or states of being that put a person at greater risk of relapse, because substance abuse can present an easy way out, in many of these situations. For this reason, it is important for recovering addicts to take special care of their physical health. This means getting regular amounts of sleep, having a healthy diet, and getting the emotional support that they need to stay emotionally healthy.

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So enjoy this Holiday Season maintaining your Sobriety and have a Happy Stress Free Season in RECOVERY!

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Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Holiday Recovery Resource Pick addictionblog.com Has Help From Many Addictions…Even From Gambling

Today I am shining the spotlight on one of my favorite blogs I enjoy reading good articles and always who has great information about gambling and other addictions. They have an array of recovery resources and suggested treatments options they display on their site as well. I am a firm believer that reading and research to stay educated maintaining recovery is vital.

It is also the same for family and loved ones of the addict to have places they can get help and suggested information on how to safeguard themselves while looking for help for their loved one or friend. This article does just that. So I hope everyone gives it read and it helps others and written by Sydney Smith LPC, LADC, NCGC-II for Addiction Blog. org

 


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A Gambling Problem Can Be Difficult To Detect

Problem Gambling can be hidden for a long time which often makes it very difficult to detect. By the time the problem surfaces and the family finds out, the devastation and wreckage can be tremendous. Family members tend to know that something is wrong with their loved one but due to gambling addiction’s invisible nature, especially in the early stages of the disease, it can be extremely hard to identify.

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of, and ways to identify if your loved one has a gambling problem. Then, we’ll invite your questions about how to get help at the end.

Determining If There Is A Gambling Problem

As a family member, we may or may not know the extent of the gambling problem or how long gambling has been an issue for our loved one. We may know about the gambling, but still, have much uncertainty as to whether there is a gambling problem. So if you are asking yourself,  “How do I know if my loved one is a problem gambler?”

…the following are questions and information that may help determine if there is a gambling problem.

SIGN 1: Time away. If I know the person is gambling, the amount of time spent gambling or engaged in gambling activities increases. The gambler can be gone for long unaccounted for periods of time.

When the gambler in my life gambled, he often gambled while he was at work. So, in the early stages, I did not know how much time he actually spent gambling. As his gambling worsened, he would not come home from work and would disappear for 24 hours at a time.

SIGN 2: Obsession to find money. Is the gambler becoming preoccupied or obsessed with obtaining money to gamble or thoughts of gambling? The great obsession can be on coming up with ways to borrow money, taking out loans, pawning items for cash, or planning their next bet.

Living with a gambler in the past, I would frequently have jewelry missing or items of value just disappear. Later I would learn that my gambler would pawn these items to obtain gambling money or to chase his losses. Later in the progression of the disease, the gambler may be physically present but not there, as the mind is preoccupied with gambling.

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SIGN 3: Emotional volatility. Does the gambler have moods swings or gambles as a means to cope or change feelings? A gambler deep into his addiction can exhibit mood swings similar to those of a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The extreme up and down in moods can be hard on both the gambler and the family members. The “up” moods can follow a win, and the gambler may even brag about the winnings. The “down” mood can be very depressive and the gambler may experience anxious or depressed mood, anger, and become irritable.

Gambling is used to change the way the person is feeling and the family members may hear the gambler make statements such as, “I had a stressful day at work and I just need to go gamble to unwind.”

SIGN 4: New Secrets. Are there secretive behaviors or hiding? Is the gambler becoming very secretive in his actions and with his money? Hiding of gambling wins or losses, hiding lottery tickets, tax documents, etc. becomes common.

In my therapy practice, I often hear the spouses say, “I found payday loan papers, or while cleaning, I found ATM receipts from the casino.”. The family may begin to lose trust in the gambler as the hiding, concealing, and lying about gambling grows.

20 Questions Family or Spouse To Ask Yourself

 

These are a few of the more noticeable warning signs one may experience with the gambler. In addition, Gam-Anon created a simple list of 20 questions for family members to ask themselves.

Family members of problem gamblers will answer “YES” to at least seven of the twenty questions.

  1. Do you find yourself constantly bothered by bill collectors?
  2. Is the person in question often away from home for long unexplained periods of time?
  3. Does this person ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  4. Do you feel that this person cannot be trusted with money?
  5. Does this person promise that he or she will stop gambling, yet gambles again and again?
  6. Does this person ever gamble longer than he or she intended?
  7. Does this person immediately return to gambling to try to recover losses or to win more?
  8. Does this person ever gamble to get money to solve financial difficulties?
  9. Does this person borrow money to gamble with or to pay gambling debts?
  10. Has this person’s reputation ever suffered due to gambling?
  11. Have you come to the point of hiding money needed for living expenses?
  12. Do you search this person’s clothing, go through his or her wallet, or check on his or her activities?
  13. Do you hide his or her money?
  14. Have you noticed personality changes in him or her?
  15. Does this person consistently lie to cover up or deny his or her gambling activities?
  16. Does this person use guilt induction as a method of shifting responsibility for his or her gambling onto you?
  17. Do you attempt to anticipate this person’s moods to try to control his or her life?
  18. Does this person ever suffer from remorse or depression due to gambling sometimes to the point of self-destruction?
  19. Have you ever threatened to break up the family because of the gambling?
  20. Do you feel that your life together is a nightmare?

What Can You Do Next?

This list can be found on the Gam-Anon website or in Gam-Anon published literature. If you can identify with any of the information listed above:

  • Continue to educate yourself about gambling addiction through resources and literature.
  • Reach out to a trained professional.
  • Attend a Gam-Anon or any 12-step support meeting for friends and family of addicts.

If we believe our loved one has a gambling addiction, it is OK to encourage them to seek help, however, it is vitally important for us as family members to seek out our own help.  We are not alone, there is hope, and life can get better. 

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I’d like to add that the addict does need to make the first step. Yes, it is vital and important that the spouse and family SEE through the anger and disappoint them may feel when first learning they are living with a gambling addict like my husband was. But once you look beyond that, your next step is to reach out for help to first safeguard your finances for you and your family. Gama-anon can help but also look into help from a professional. 

Maybe a financial advisor or a friend. Contact your local health department to see if the State Lottery has funded treatment and help for you and the gambler. My own treatment and my husbands guideness counselor were free and paid for by the Oregon State Lottery, including my crisis center stays and treatment. I do meetings with Gamblers Anonymous online, but there are many options for the addict and the family. And, yes, after everything we went through with my gambling addiction, my husband and I worked through it and are still married today over 28-years. You can read all about HOW in my Memoir…

WE DO AND CAN RECOVER!

Catherine 

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