Christmas Past Blast Throwback. Reshare Article of Mine From Christmas Past…

LET’S QUIT TO WIN THE HOLIDAYS!
By Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ “Keys to Recovery Newspaper”

 

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“Now that the holidays are upon us, those of us in recovery can have a tough time around the holiday time. I know I have in the past with self-sabotaging my Christmas season. How do you ask? Let me share a “war story of Christmas past.” We can learn and grow in recovery in when we safely look at the “Then & Now of Christmas’s Past”, as an addicted or problem gambler.”

 

Many of us in recovery advocate to show to others who still suffer from this cunning addiction the importance of sharing our experiences, strength and hope with others when we do tell some of our “war stories.” It does show how insidious this addiction is. It is one of the areas I don’t feel is proper about 12-Step programs. They tell us not to share war stories as it could maybe trigger someone in a meeting.

But, if we don’t learn from these mistakes or choices, how do we look back and find growth in our recovery? Yes, you can see growth by just doing the 12-steps, but may need more than that to recover fully. I know I did. I recall one Christmas that has to be my worst within my gambling addiction and will never forget. And it is why I make sure all holidays now are safe, happy and full of JOY. It was back in 2005.

Our home we had lived and worked very hard for, had to be sold through a short sale or we would have lost everything we put into it. But even then, it felt like we lost it as we are still paying on the balance that was not covered by the sale. It also caused me to make a few bad choices, residual addicted “thinking,: I had committed a crime, that big catastrophe! I wrote about it in my memoir, and I was reeling.

I stopped taking my bipolar meds, then took them all at once! I was so angry with myself, feeling so much shame, guilt, low self-worth and again suicidal because I knew it was because of my past gambling is how we got into this mess in the first place! Of course, no excuse’s, just insights. We were so financially broke. I remember being in JCPenney walking around aimlessly wishing I could buy this or that for the family for Christmas and again in Walmart. Luckily, all our family lived in other states than Oregon. So I had to do the same lame thing I had done for many past Christmas’s, just send a card.

It was tough already that we both had job loss, the very beginning of the economy and markets were getting ready to pop. We had a hard time finding good paying jobs, and I ended up back in an addiction/mental health crisis again with another breakdown right after the holidays. It was all too much!

When I got released from the crisis center, I knew I had a lot more recovery inner work, which included financial inventory to take and work on. I had been doing well in my recovery and gamble free at the time, but something was nagging at me. See, you need to know that no matter what the addiction is, it’s always waiting for us.

 

STOP Desperately Gambling For The Holiday 

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Like the holidays for instance and the point of this post, we can have a lot of temptations around us at this time of year. There are holiday parties for both personal and work-related that can be stressful. We may have had fall outs due to the holidays, (thanks to our addictions and why we have step 9… make amends where ever possible) with friends and family. Many different reasons that can become a trigger or bring on urges. The stress of the season, lack of money for presents, a slew of things swirling around in our heads! The “cycle” if not broken or interrupted will keep you either in the addiction or just on edge waiting.

That is what I needed the second time around after coming out of the crisis. I chose to work with a gambling addiction and behavioral specialist. And he would not “cut me loose” until I could tell him how the “cycle” of addiction happens, and tell him the skills and tools to stop it which took me a year. Once I learned and applied those skills and tools, I began on the road to long-term recovery.

So my point is everyone needs a relapse plan. A solid plan that will help you avoid these pitfalls. I had been given a workbook that I now have listed on my recovery resource pages, for all to come and use for their recovery from gambling here: Holiday Relapse Prevention Guide.

It shows step by step what is needed to make a plan to prevent relapse for any occasion, like the holiday season, life events like a loss from death, a job loss and much more. These events and the holidays will come. So you need to prepare before, not after they happen. Be prepared and use those tools taught and learned in treatment, or a 12-step program, maybe in therapy or however you choose, to reach out and start your recovery journey. And learn about “the cycle” of addiction.

 

When you do, I guarantee you will have many, many ‘Happy Holiday Seasons’ to come!

 

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“You Are Worth It In Recovery and a Happy Holiday Season!!
Catherine 

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Happy Sober, Clean, Bet Free Holiday Article Share Series. Were Getting Through Holidays Together!

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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Since this year for me has a been a bit cray – cray with co-writing a memoir with another, also book promoting for authors, advocating and recovery article writing, and guest blogging much more, I decided to do a little something different this year on my recovery blog. Most know I am passionate and adamant about being around through the Christmas and New Year holiday for those who may be struggling, need more support or feel tempted to stray maintaining recovery.

It can be a “risky” and tricky time for holiday parties, booze, desperate gambling due to lack of money for gifts, and party time means more recreational drugs around. Sad, but it is true. So I thought, why not share many Holiday articles with a mix of a few of my own this year and we help one another as a collective!

I have had some awesome guest recovery authors and articles this year and decided to share a few of them, along with some new ones I have permission to share as we all need support from as many people and places as we can get. So I will begin with an article I just read that will help with ideas of staying safe over the holidays on Sober Recovery!

*Three Reasons To Connect With A Recovery Community Through Holiday Time by  Toshia Humphries *

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The holiday season is upon us. Many are traveling to be with family while countless others gather with friends and significant others to celebrate the festive time of year. However, not everyone has a picturesque holiday experience.

The forces that could pull you into relapse tend to get stronger around the end of the year when you’re likely to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and reconvened with people who likely saw you during your addicted past. Now more than ever, it’s important to build up a support network to ensure you stick to your commitment.

Here are three reasons why you need to connect with a recovery community during the holidays.

1. Prevents isolation.

Staying connected to the recovery community can prevent isolation which is typically a precursor to relapse. Isolation can also worsen symptoms of any dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and other mood or personality disorders. All of these can escalate to relapse, accidental overdose or even suicide.

2. Provides a sense of family.

Staying in touch with the recovery community allows for a substitute family experience if family holidays are not possible due to either death, distance, or estranged. And, if the family is an option, the family dynamics make relapse more probably, the recovery community can act as a chosen family; one that is ideally far more supportive and less dysfunctional.

The recovery community is also equally as necessary for those who have families and enjoy being around them. In fact, possibly more so, as it is easy for those individuals to forget they need the recovery community or recovery itself. Often, these individuals begin to think that sobriety alone is enough—it’s not.

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

Staying connected to the recovery community keeps you active in your recovery throughout the holiday season. It provides consistency and gentle reminders that relapse has nothing to do with having a dysfunctional family. It has to do with you. And, if you were an active addict with a picturesque family, then you could easily be in relapse with the same.

The key to getting through the holiday season is not to lose sight of your recovery. Staying connected to your recovery community keeps you plugged into that recovery process, keeps you accountable and allows you to do the same for others. Most importantly, it serves as prevention against relapse and provides everyone with a sense of family, even if they don’t have one of their own.

For these reasons and more, staying connected to the recovery community throughout the holidays is a life-saving choice for everyone. Wishing you all a happy and safe recovery throughout the holiday season!

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

Let’s Learn The Value of “Interventions” From Expert, Randy Grimes.

Let’s Learn The Value of “Interventions” From Expert, Randy Grimes.

“My wife reached out to the NFL and got me help from my drug addictions. From all I had done with pain medications and then some, I found the benzos were the hardest to beat because of the seizures and my own fear.  Now, us once broken people get to go out and help other broken people. That is what I get to do today maintaining recovery”…  ~Randy Grimes

I’d like all my recovery friends and recovery readers to meet a wonderful man who has been to hell and back with addictions. I welcome Randy Grimes!  Yes, you may know him as an 80’s former college football star at Baylor University of Texas and in 1983 to 1992  the drafted into The NFL after for The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  But one thing Randy knows when that is all over?  He and many professional players are left with many injuries, surgeries, and suffering much pain after their career is over.  They also try to find in their lives, “What’s Next?”  When football is over, they go on a journey looking for “now what.”  Randy found his calling and feels his new journey is now started along with his bride, Lydia to help families and those afflicted know there is Hope & Help from ALL Addictions.

 
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Randy knows GOD had him go through the negative to learn lessons, wisdom, and faith to set him up for all the positive he is doing today.  He is now an interventionist, a speaker, and shares his experiences along with Kevin Dixon both of  Intervention Now & Behavioral Health of Palm Beach. Randy and Lydia, his wife, continue to share their experience with addiction and recovery using their knowledge and experiences healing to help not only athletes but any family struggling with their journey to recovery.

The work Randy does is a true inspiration to many like myself and to many of my recovery friends like Vance Johnson, Kristin Walker, Marilyn Davis, Dr. Kevin Coughlin just to name a few. It is always a “breath of fresh air” when “God” brings certain people in our lives for however long or short and I am a firm believer for a purpose.

“We as advocates doing outreach see at times other advocates doing work but sometimes not from the heart, for a true calling,  just for an agenda.  Randy is NOT one of those people. He is open-minded, big-hearted and truly cares about those suffering or dying from drug addiction and tries to reach them and their families with HOPE and HELP. As he says; “The time is NOW, not tomorrow, or wait to try something else first. Stop ignoring what is right in front of you.”  Here is more of an in-depth look at the work Randy and Kevin do at Intervention Now.

 

Call us at our 24-hour toll-free number  1-(855) 943-5766

 

About Us

Intervention Now provides comprehensive intervention services to individuals who are struggling with a loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse. Our mission is to help you repair your relationship with your loved one and get them the help they need to get better in a dignified, compassionate and professional manner. Our professionals will work with you every step of the way to help ensure a calm, rational and productive dialogue in the pursuit of a positive end result to your loved one’s intervention.

Sensitive, Experienced, Professional Interventionists

Our interventionists understand the emotional and psychological turmoil that drugs and alcohol can inflict. Many of our team members are, themselves, survivors of substance abuse and addiction, whose loved ones had contacted us and we successfully organized an intervention on their behalf. Throughout our extensive years of experience, we’ve helped numerous individuals reconnect with their loved ones who were previously trapped in a holding pattern of drug or alcohol dependency.

Our successful proven combination of emotional guidance, logistical assistance and an objective voice help to ensure the intervention process goes smoothly. Intervention Now is well acquainted with the fragile and sensitive nature of addiction, particularly regarding relationships, and will attempt to facilitate an honest, respectful and supportive process that will guide your loved one toward their treatment and recovery.

Addiction Will Not Wait For Anyone. Our Team of Experts are here 24/7 for you!

The moment you realize that time may be running out for you’re loved one is the moment you will contact us to get help. Our team of experts are standing by 24/7 to get you’re loved one the help they need to get better. We hold your hand through every step of the intervention process and organize everything you will need to hold a successful intervention for your loved one. We recognize that this might not be an easy decision for you, and it is human nature to want to delay and not deal with a problem and keep putting it off until tomorrow. Just remember that sometimes tomorrow never comes for our loved ones.

That’s why we offer round-the-clock support and will answer your call no matter what time of day you choose to contact us. Once you’ve made the decision that an intervention is necessary for your loved one, it’s critical that you act sooner rather than later. Delaying only strengthens the hold that addiction has on your loved one. There’s never a wrong time to call. If someone you care about needs an intervention for any kind of substance abuse, allow us to assist you in getting them the help they need.

The one thing you can’t afford to do is wait. Call us now at 855-9-HELPNOW (855-943-5766) so we can help you organize an intervention now and rescue someone you love from drugs and alcohol.

 

The Time To Stop the cycle of addiction is Now!
We are here 24/7 to help guide your family, answer your questions and set up a potentially lifesaving intervention for your loved one.

 

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More About Randy:

Randy is a BRI-1 Interventionist & Certified Recovery Coach

As a former professional football player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Randy Grimes had spent many years battling an addiction to painkillers that he had developed while trying to treat career-related injuries. He now uses his inspiring story of recovery to help victims of drug and alcohol abuse through his work as an Interventionist at InterventionNow.com.

Randy has been an exemplary ambassador for the Intervention industry and is a quality example of the power of professional treatment. He has helped numerous families find balance and peace of mind by getting their addicted loved ones the help they need for their drug and alcohol addiction. He enjoys speaking and speaks with others like Vance Johnson, also a former NFL pro for the Denver Broncos, as Randy was instrumental in an intervention and getting Vance the help he needed from addiction as well as many other pro athletes.

 

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I have been blessed many times over in my own recovery journey with GOD’S precious gifts of keeping me connected with supportive and real “recovery warriors” like these two guys! When we get our long-term sobriety in check? It is a blessing and an honor to be able to help others still suffering from addictions. And, meeting new advocates, coaches, interventionists, and new recovery friends like Randy is just “The Icing on My Recovery Cake!” Lol!

As Randy mentioned to my dear friend Kristin Walker, Host of everythingEHR ~ Mental Health News Radio “It seems we always hear the negative side about treatment, rehab and other places and not enough about all the Positive hard work they do to help people from addictions as so many are losing their battle and family losing loved ones.” You can hear the full Guest Interview with Randy on Kristin’s Show as it is a powerful and informative intimate testimony by Randy…So click on the blue link and give this interview with Randy a listen.

 

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I want to personally thank Randy for allowing me to share just a wee bit of all he does along with his wife, Lydia. We need some many more warriors out here sharing a message of Hope, Faith, Healing and Sharing Help to those looking to claim their lives back from the enemy and the bonds of addiction!

Author/Recovery Writer, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 
CAT ~ “Your Recovery Starts Here!”

 

 

My Recovery Spotlight on Author & Advocate, Marilyn Lancelot a Recovering Gambler Like Me…

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What can I say more about this beautiful friend of mine who was responsible for getting gamblers anonymous meetings into Arizona’s Womens prisons and correctional facilities? Marilyn has been maintaining a long-term “Bet Free” lifestyle” and she makes it look easy. She is also my sponsor while I am temporarily living in the Phoenix, AZ area for now. Marilyn calls me each week or so like clockwork, and I am so grateful and blessed to have her in my life!

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I came across a wonderful in-depth Guest Interview she did not too long ago on and courtesy of  EnCOGNITIVE.com  … I love Marilyn to pieces as we don’t often meet true supportive friends every day like her. I am excited to mention her and I will be on an upcoming coming radio show together on Mental Health News Radio Network With – Kristin Walker! Our topic will be on ” Switching Addictions” which is also the title of Marilyn’s 2nd book. Her first is a MUST READ Titled; “Gripped By Gambling” a memoir that you won’t believe and is EYE OPENING. So let’s meet and learn more about Marilyn Lancelot…

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Product Details

GRIPPED BY GAMBLING  (A book that will have you in tears and then laughter. A story told with the painful truth about the addiction of gambling and how I found recovery.)

Interview with a Recovering Compulsive Gambler.

“My name is Marilyn Lancelot and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. I visited my first casino in 1984 at the age of 53. For seven years, my boyfriend and I made the four-hour trek from Yuma, AZ to Laughlin, NV every weekend. I learned early on how to lie to my family and friends and how to sign my employers’ name to company checks. I considered suicide and planned it so it would like an accident.

Then one day the auditors discovered my embezzling. Horrified, I watched seven police cars pull into my driveway to take me away in handcuffs. I lost my job, home, life savings, my retirement, and my freedom. I had progressed from a Mrs. Cleaver type housewife to a Ma Barker type criminal.”


Questions and Answers:

Under what circumstance did you first gamble?

As a young girl, I remember playing cards with family and betting twenty-five cents a hand. I thought it very boring and everyone got drunk and argued. I went to dog and horse races and thought they were too slow. I remember vividly the first time I gambled in a casino. I visited Las Vegas with my husband but only played the twenty-five cent slot machines. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I spent a weekend at a bowling tournament in Reno, NV and that’s when I became addicted.

Did you win the first time you gambled?

The weekend in Reno was what many refer to as beginner’s luck. I just couldn’t lose. I felt I was destined to become a professional gambler and could earn a living in the casinos.

After the first time you gambled, when did you come back again?

When I got home from the bowling tournament I told my boyfriend what an incredible weekend I had and we must drive to Laughlin the following week. We did drive the 4½ hours to the casinos and 4 ½ hours home for the next seven years.

Was it internal or external pressure that made you want to quit?

I didn’t want to quit even though the gambling was killing me, physically, emotionally, and financially. There was no external pressure because of no-one, not even my family knew of my addiction. It was my money and I could do whatever I wanted to and when I wanted to.

What would you say was the lowest point in your gambling life?

Some of the lowest periods in my gambling were the times when I wanted to die; when my credit cards were maxed out, when I began embezzling money from my employer, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about my gambling. But the very lowest was when the police came and took me away in handcuffs for a crime I committed to support my habit.

What were your game or games of choice?

My game of choice was the slot machine. No other form of gambling gave me the hypnotic feeling of escaping as the slot machines did.

Did you have rituals you went through each time you gambled?

My rituals for my weekend at the casino were to wear my lucky shirt, my lucky jewelry, and to follow the same path around the casino floor each weekend. I thought any changes would spoil my luck.

Why do you think it’s hard for compulsive gamblers to understand that money can’t be made through gambling? What is their mindset, do you think?

It was difficult for me to understand that money couldn’t be made through gambling because once in a while I did win and everyone around me won so my turn would come again. I believed I could win all my losses back if I just tried harder. I even bought books on how to gamble successfully. I had to continue to gamble until I hit the big jackpot.

Besides the money, what would you say was the worst thing you lost because of gambling?

I think the worst loss was my loss of the seven years I gambled. For those years I was a zombie and didn’t have time for my family. My mind was not on my job during the week because all I could think about was the weekend.

There is a theory that addictions run in families. Was there anyone in your immediate family who had an addiction problem?

My parents both had drinking problems so if addictive, compulsive behavior is hereditary, then I believe my poor coping skills came from my parents. I don’t blame anyone but myself for my addictions. My five children all became addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Poor coping skills have been contributed to addictions. Can you share with us what coping skills you’ve learned that have helped you? Then specifically how you cope with:

Anger: When I feel angry about something or someone, I stop and analyze my feelings (after months and years of practicing, it becomes second nature) and decide if I should really be upset by the situation or just move past the issue. Like driving down the freeway, if I slow down and allow someone to cut in front of me, I can’t be angry because I allowed that person the courtesy.

Rejection: Feelings of rejection go back many years even before I attended my first 12-step program. If I truly love someone and they abandon me or say cruel things to me, I tell myself, that because I love that person, I will allow them to do with their lives what they want to do. And there again is my decision to allow. If I think they may be on a self-destructive path, I will share my thoughts with them and then allow them to do as they wish. I have learned that I cannot control anyone, not even myself sometimes.

Insecurity: I am not bothered by insecurities today. There was a time when I suffered deeply from an inferiority complex. Today I don’t, I feel that I’m as good a person as I’m supposed to be and I hope people will accept me as I am.

The past: I have forgiven myself for the damage I caused in the past and the mistakes I’ve made. I will never forget them, they’re part of who I am today but I don’t punish myself for my past.

Frustration: If I feel frustration coming on, I do a quick analysis of my surroundings and what’s bothering me. I recite the Serenity Prayer and if I can do something about the problem, I will try and if I can’t, I will accept the consequences.

Or other emotions and events?

Jealousy sometimes pops its ugly head over my shoulder but with a little thought exercise, I can usually make a decision that will show me I have nothing to fear or envy.

Prior to gambling addiction, did you have another addiction? Or did you have another addiction while you were gambling?

I’ve always had addictive patterns in my life. I have had eating problems, I’ve gone through a period where I was a workaholic, I’m a recovering alcoholic and now a recovering compulsive gambler. I know today that if anything feels good, tastes good, or looks good, I have to be aware of the dangers of another addiction.

What would you say is the worst addiction? And why?

I think overeating must be the tougest addiction to cope with. With all other addictions, the person gives up the drug, habit, etc. completely, but with an eating addiction, the person has to modify their habits and continue to stay in the problem but with control.

Almost half of compulsive gamblers are now women. What do you think is contributing to this increase?

I think more women are becoming compulsive gamblers because we are more independent today, we make decisions, earn money, and many of the women are single parents with more responsibilities. Gambling is around every corner, the little store on the corner sells lottery tickets and the churches have bingo. Women feel safe in casinos and the casinos in our backyards and if we can’t drive there, the casino will send a bus to your neighborhood and give you a ride.

There are many theories as to why people develop a gambling problem. They range from social, environmental, biological, cognitive, and spiritual. In your experience, what contributed most to your problem? What theory or theories do you think affect most people?

I guess I don’t look for the reasons why I gambled, I’m just grateful that I found a way to stop. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor, young or old, college graduate or high school drop-out, the gambling addiction is not prejudiced.

If you could draw up a plan to help someone to quit gambling, what would that plan look like in detail?

If I could draw up a plan for someone to quit gambling, I would follow the 12 steps of Gamblers Anonymous. I would encourage them to attend meetings, find a sponsor, and make an appointment to see a gambling counselor.

How do you feel about the gambling industry as a whole? Do you think they have the right to operate as a business and it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) for the consumers?

I have no opinion on the gambling industry as a whole. I just know it’s not for me.

The gambling industry is expanding as a whole. Do you think more people will become addicted to gambling because of this?

Yes, I think the gambling industry is expanding and more people will become addicted. They can’t avoid it with the clever advertising the casinos provide. The casinos are beautiful and the gamblers are treated royally.

How do you feel about poker? Seeing that it’s all over the place now. Do you feel that celebrities playing in poker tournaments is setting a bad example to young people?

I’m sure the poker tournaments on television will tempt many viewers to take that trip to a casino and test their skill. It could be a trigger for some.

You’ve credited Gamblers Anonymous as being instrumental in your recovery. Can you share with us your experiences in the program– the people you’ve met, your most memorable moments and low-points while in the program?

Gamblers Anonymous saved my life. When I was at the lowest point in my addiction and attended my first GA meeting, I knew this was where I belonged. I knew the other members couldn’t do it for me but I couldn’t do it without them. But I do feel there are many other ways to get help and treatment.

Do you agree with the Gamblers Anonymous program that people are “powerless” over gambling?

I know that I was powerless over gambling because I tried so many times to stop driving to the casinos and I just couldn’t stop. Each weekend on the ride home, I’d cry to myself, “I’m never coming back, this is so stupid.” And half-way home I’d be planning my next trip.

Did any friend or family member attempt to understand your problem? Or did you try to hide it from them?

I don’t think any of my friends nor my family would have understood my gambling addiction. They weren’t aware of my problem because I kept it hidden so well. I even rented a post office box so credit card bills wouldn’t be sent to my home.

Do you remember how many bottoms you hit?

What was the worst or most memorable one? Every morning when I woke up and every weekend on my way home from the casino, was a bottom. The most frightening one was when the seven police cars came to my home and took me away in handcuffs.

Did suicide ever cross your mind in the midst of the addiction?

I thought of suicide many times. When I drove alone in my car I thought one quick turn of the wheel and I’d hit a wall or an 18-wheeler and that would be the end of my gambling.

How did gambling make you feel? What were you hoping to get out of it?

While I gambled, I always thought gambling made me feel good. Some nights I sat on the stool at the casino and didn’t care whether I won or lost, I just wanted to keep playing. The money didn’t seem real.

How many times did you try quitting before you succeeded?

I think I quit every weekend for the seven years I gambled compulsively. That only lasted for ten miles down the road when we left the casino and then I would be planning my next trip. I’d wear a different shirt and I wouldn’t wear that dumb bracelet because that’s what gave me the bad luck.

What were the reactions of your family and friends when you were gambling?

My family and friends never knew the amount of money I lost or won. A compulsive gambler becomes very clever with lies and covering up all their gambling problems. We just can’t let anyone know what we’re doing, they make try to make us quit and I wasn’t ready to quit.

Does the thought of gambling creep into your mind sometimes?

I’m happy to say that gambling doesn’t have a place in my thoughts. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for the first thought that comes into my head but I am responsible for what I do with it after that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t gambled since I attended my first meeting more than 16 years ago but I know that if I made that first bet, I’d be off and running again. And this time I would probably die.

Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets. I regret the harm I did to my employer and I’m sorry for not being there for my family. I’ve forgiven myself but I’ll never forget what I’ve done. You can process it so it doesn’t haunt you every day.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to quit?

If someone wants to quit, they’re half-way there. The desire to stop is the biggest step a compulsive gambler can make. If we don’t have the desire, we can’t quit…

My book GRIPPED BY GAMBLING may be purchased through Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores. The blog here by Author, Catherine Lyon has some good advice and resources I hope people who may have a gambling problem stay and look around while they are here and share with friends and family…

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Marilyn Lancelot

Again, I want to thank EnCOGNITIVE.com  for letting me share this fantastic and informative interview with Marilyn Lancelot. She has published two more important books since Gripped By Gambling. You can visit her on Amazon for all her books here: Amazon Author Page 

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Hello, Friends, Readers, Denver Fans, and New Visitors,

Well, we have gotten Vance over his writer’s block… And is why I have not posted in awhile. Today I wanted to share a little about Vance, the man today. WE also wanted to share some of the messages he receives on Facebook almost every day of those he has helped from addiction, looking for help, or maybe a parent whose child is an addict and is just looking for some support or guidance on how to help their loved one. Sharing these are powerful and helps others have a little more understanding of HOW Addictions are killing our loved ones and ravaging our communities.

And with all the coaching, speaking around the country, and events Vance attends, he is seeing this First Hand. It is some of why he does what he is doing. GOD truly had a calling, a faith-driven purpose for his life years ago when he was laying in a hospital bed in a coma for 26 days in the Rock Bottom of his own addiction.

Having Triumphed in his own recovery is how he can now help so many from this EPIDEMIC. Here now is some of those messages he receives.

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We wanted to share this from Vance’s inbox message on Facebook as he received this from a young lady who calls herself Anonymous. HE, of course, knows who she is so we won’t be sharing her name, but her message is POWERFUL…

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The Message From Anonymous:

 

Three weeks ago, after 2 amazing years of sobriety, I was found barely alive in my car. I’ve been thinking about writing this every day since then for you to share Mr. Johnson. My name is anonymous.

I must remain anonymous to preserve my family’s privacy. What you think of me, is not their fault. I’m 27 years old. The mother of 3 young boys. The fiancé of a hard-working, loving man. The daughter of 2 wonderful, supportive parents. The granddaughter of 2 amazing grandparents who I look up to every day. My days are built around my children. I wake up before them, get clothes ready, make their breakfast, clothe them, send them off to school and preschool programs. I kiss their boo-boos and tuck them in every night with a hug and kiss. We sit on the floor and play, cuddle and watch movies, make crazy art projects. I have wonderful friends. We go to playgrounds and out for ice cream.

My fiancé and I make a point to love each other every day. I love spending time with my family and hosting holidays at our home. I anticipate the change of the seasons and find so much joy in the change they bring. I love to write and to get lost in my books. I am so many things, understand. I am also a heroin addict.

Behind every move, I make there is an uneasiness within my family. I’ve spent years clean to fall back at the feet of my demons. Gained back years of trust to lose it all in one day. I fight every day to be a better person. To be honest with every word that I speak, to walk past your purse without even thinking about what’s in there. I know where and how to get high, but I don’t. I chose to live every day, but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve wrecked cars, stole, created my own list of various criminal charges.

I’ve disappointed everyone in my family. My name is anonymous…to protect myself from what you might think of me if you knew. I sit next to you at public functions. Volunteer next to you. My well-behaved, well-mannered children play next to yours. I stand in front of you at the grocery store. I hold the door for you with a smile. If I told you I was a heroin addict, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But there are millions of people out there who look just like me, sitting next to you. Think about this the next time you are feeling hateful towards addicts because we’re people who have just as much to offer. Narcan saved my life and allowed me to have another chance to do things right.

My name is anonymous because I’m still waiting for the world to open their hearts and stop looking down on me.

Annonymous…


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One More Share:

VANCE: Last night I had a call that has emotionally put me behind bars. Once again I know first hand how the people I’m called to help feel when making decisions regarding issues that keep the family in bondage to addiction, every day. This hits home and cuts to the heart.

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There is on occasion when moms and dad’s ask me what options they have when their adult children face jail or even death because of the poor decisions they’re making. Whether he/she is using drugs, selling, lying, stealing, cheating or hanging around a crowd that will eventually take them down. There is TUFF love… I generally ask moms and dads to choose the middle of the road when it comes to free themselves from their adult child’s poor choices. One of many is a home, but no money, and when they need help show them the way with conditions. 


Not protecting them from their choices I think is good practice, because they have been protected for a long long time, you may still be currently supporting them. Reassuring yourself that this lifestyle is their choice, also helps you feel less guilty about cutting down or cutting off financial support. We should replace nagging and yelling with clear communication.

Be confident about your boundaries and be able to say “no” when you’re feeling manipulated. Be done with enabling but still ready to help.

Our adult children are struggling with life, unable to cope with everyday challenges. Many return home from rehab lost and confused in some cases. Can’t hang out with old friends, relationships or even work because they don’t know who they are anymore, not recognizing that they haven’t developed the necessary emotional tools to succeed as an adult in the world of work and relationships. What can you do as a parent?

Many facilities that offer treatment don’t care what happens to them when they leave. No exit plan or resources for ongoing treatment. So do your homework guys. Recently I’ve seen young men that are in transition/halfway homes after being released from jail with no resources for staying clean or accountable, outside of “if you screw up, back to jail or prison”.


YES, this one is personal, so loving all of you who face this with me today. I’m looking in the mirror tonight myself, asking “did I do enough”!

And there is sobriety in that!
www.vanceInspires.com

 


***Yes, Vance is more than just a man in Recovery***

If you or a loved one needs help from addiction? Please visit his website Vance Inspires …  “As a certified sober coach, escort, and intervention I am able to offer multiple options getting your love-one the care they need”…Vance

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Online Resources for Addiction Recovery~By Ian M.

Online Resources for Addiction Recovery~By Ian M.

Written By Ian M.

If you, or a loved one, are struggling with addiction recovery, it can sometimes feel like you are on your own. Addiction is already extremely challenging, but it gets much worse when addicts are isolated. In order to heal, you need to have a network of people who care about you and are invested in your recovery and lasting success. You need people to help you find treatment and stick with the regimen when things become difficult.

On top of all of this, the reality of relapse is also common. In order to deal with relapse in a healthy and productive way, it is best to be involved with others who understand the challenges of recovery and how to navigate relapses. In the end, people with a strong support system are far more likely to be successful in their recovery journey than people without that kind of support.


Thankfully, you are not alone. There are people who currently share your struggles and others who have successfully recovered from their addictions. These people can share wisdom and experience with you. There are also caring professionals who have made it their profession to help people recover from addiction. They have studied for years to prepare them for situations just like yours. These people are ready and willing to be the support that you need. All you need to do is find them.


Fortunately–with the internet–you can find help fairly quickly. There are numerous websites, often from nonprofit groups, that are dedicated to dispersing helpful information about addiction and recovery. Try to do some research and find programs, treatment centers, or physicians that you believe could help you. Not all treatment centers are the same, so you’ll want to spend time looking into their approach and determining which one is best for you.

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On many websites, you may find helpful information about addiction and the challenges that you will need to face. Other websites provide detailed information about where you can find support groups near you. You might even have several resources available to you in your home town that you never knew about. This article has a few of the most well-known addiction recovery sites where you can search various facilities. However, it’s important to note that many of these listings are paid, so it’s up to you to really research and see which one is best for you. Don’t rely on just trusting the one with the most resources to advertise.


The point is this, you can recover. You can get your life back together, and you can heal. It won’t be easy, and it will require time, patience, and a good measure of help from others. Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy, and sculpting out a new life for yourself is beyond worthwhile, it is critical. The first step is recognizing you have a problem. If you’re here, you’ve already done that. Take a look at some of the resources available to you online and start your path to recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is a large organization with a proven track record of helping people with their addictions. They utilize they’re now famous, 12 step system to recover. AA will help you achieve your goals to be sober, but will also help you tend to your relationships and yourself. On the homepage of their website, they have a tool to help you find AA groups nearby where you live. Getting into a group full of people who share your struggle is crucial for success on your road to recovery. Take note that there are many variations of AA for people facing addictions besides alcoholism, as well.

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Sex Addicts Anonymous

This is another organization, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, that specializes in bringing people with similar struggles together for mutual support and strength. Their website also helps you find meetings nearby so that you can get the help you need. There are even options for joining meetings online. As the name implies, these meetings are confidential and you can be open with your peers.

Recovery.org

This website is another tool that you can use to get assistance with your addiction. The website includes valuable resources on topics such as withdrawals, where to find meetings, information on rehabilitation centers, and more. You will need as much information as possible in your fight against addiction. Knowledge and understanding lead to empowerment and planning, which can both lead to recovery. There is even information intended for the families of addicts. These resources are meant to inform and instruct family members of addicts and give them the tools necessary to bring their loved one to recovery.


Doesn’t matter what path you chose to start your recovery journey, sometimes many need more than one. But as long as you chose recovery, YOU can reclaim your life back from addiction… Ian 

September 2017 Is National Recovery Month…New Article In “Keys To Recovery To Celebrate It!”

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I AM CELEBRATING NATIONAL RECOVERY MONTH TO RAISE AWARENESS, EDUCATE, AND INFORM THE PUBLIC ~ GAMBLING ADDICTION IS A REAL ADDICTION…Sharing my newest article in “Keys To Recovery Newspaper!”

I happen to be reading an article the other day, in my AARP magazine, I receive each quarter. Now I know you are thinking? “What does Gambling have to do with AARP right?”

Well, there was a fantastic article, which called slot machines, “The New Electronic Crack.” It got me thinking about my old days, within my gambling addiction. What was the draw to slot machines for me? Was it all the lights, bells, and whistles? Or was it the disease itself with the constant racing thoughts, and triggers and urges abound? Do casinos really pump in oxygen to keep players alert?

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Well, I’m not sure, but anyone can become a gambling addict. Through my 10 and half years in recovery, I have advocated, written blogs and talked loudly about this illness. I remember when I first started communicating about gambling addictions, I actually had people leave comments on “How Stupid” it was for a person to become addicted to slot machines, and not horses, cards, or sports betting. Now, in their favor, back in the day, the most common gambling problems talked about, were sports and horse betting. Sometimes you’d hear talk about “rolling bones,” which is dice games. I took offense to some of the comments as it proved to me that first, how ignorant people can be when they are misinformed or have no education about this addiction. And second, that the STIGMA around gambling addiction was wide spread within the publics view.

Since moving to Arizona from South Oregon a few years ago, I was shocked to see how many Indian Casinos are all over Arizona. Now I know Oregon and California have casinos everywhere as well, but here, IT IS LIKE a Drug Addiction, and the Casinos are selling “Electronic Crack.” I feel it is time for this “drug” widespread as it is, and the dark side of this addiction needs to be exposed. It is time for the conversation, and awareness of the personal and financial hardship this addiction causes. Not only is it attacking our seniors, but it also has reached our kids. There are currently 17+million problem gamblers in the U.S. alone, HALF of who are high school and college kids, and now is another addiction parents have to talk to their children about, along with drugs and alcohol.

TIME TO WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Gambling addiction is the #1 addiction killing people by suicide. True! That is over drug and alcohol deaths.

Anyone can become addicted to gambling. When a person walks into a casino, they got YOU. It’s why there are no windows or clocks around inside. Ever notice that? And they offer you free drinks, and some are free alcohol. They send you coupons for free play, and discount hotel rooms and meals to keep you there longer. Marketing for casinos is a ploy to get you there and keep your money. Slot machines have the highest odds to the house as well. Which means, you rarely win. And now seniors are taking the hit. As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing tactics are targeting older patrons. Now, to be fair, not everyone is a problem gambler or becomes addicted. And No, I don’t feel it needs to be banned, ( not that it would ever happen!)  But the expansion and more access can make staying in recovery for many much harder.

In some of the past research I have done, when writing a post for another publication, I learned how seniors are becoming the target of predatory casino tactics. I read recently in AARP, of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 55 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue, and much of that profit came from these older gamblers. Also shared in my AARP article I read, that a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, revealed that many older adults viewed the casino as a place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief. When we retire, we seem to have more time on our hands. Long gone are the days that you had to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to gamble.

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Showgirls at the Welcome Sign – 1968

 

Thanks to the boom of the Indian Gambling offerings as of 1988, when the ‘Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’ legalized casino development on Indian lands. That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, over 1,400 casinos are open across 40 states so far. In those states, casinos were very attractive to seniors who prefer to drive themselves. States with bigger populations of adults over 55, includes Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and where I lived, in the state of Oregon previously. All of these states now have expanded Indian Casino gambling in recent years, and now, State Lottery offerings on top of all of the casino expansion!

For myself, I know what I felt when I would first walk into a casino seeing the lights flashing, the noise, music and people laughing and looking like they are having a fabulous time as I got so excited that I was going to win, let alone what my brain chemicals were doing as I got so euphoric as if I did pop a pill, or stuck a needle in my arm. NOPE. IT WAS ALL my brain and body chemicals doing an inside “happy dance” of excitement! So, anyone can become addicted to gambling and for many different reasons.

“Not All Addictions Are Substance Use Anymore.”

So if you think you or someone you love or care for might have a problem, I would recommend visiting my friends at “The National Council on Problem Gambling and Gamblers Anonymous” for support and resources for a good start and direction. Today, it seems our government and states have decided to begin turning toward “Gaming” as a way to make a profit for their mistakes of not shortfall budgeting or not being fiscally responsible, so they are pushing on us, the “Good Ole Tax Payer.” now that IS predatory tactics.

BUT? That is a topic for another day and future post!

 


Author/Writer/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon