Sharing The Message of HOPE and Help From The National Council on Problem Gambling – Be Mindful This Superbowl Weekend…

Now that another SuperBowl Weekend is now upon us, my good friend Keith Whyte, who is Executive Director at The National Council on Problem Gambling and their team care about those who will be “Sports Betting” this weekend. It is one of the major weekends that gambling is very prevalent, and sorry guys, especially among MEN.


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And just like my buddies from the NFL, Randy Grimes who played for Tampa Bay and Vance Johnson who played for the Denver Broncos who both are at the Superbowl this year advocating and attending SoberBowl, yes, those of us in recovery CAN have a great time “Bet Free, Clean, and Sober!

They are sharing their stories and message of HOPE to all who come by. And the same can be done for gambling addiction. So? How much money will be GAMBLED AWAY this SuperBowl? Well, I came across this article courtesy of The Business Insider  and they said;

Gamblers expected to bet a whopping $4.8 billion on the Super Bowl and only about 3% will happen in Nevada…

 

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“The American Gaming Association estimates that approximately $4.76 billion will be bet on the Super Bowl this year.

  • Of all that money, just 3% of it is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada, with the rest of the bets being made through offshore books and local bookies.
  • Still, Las Vegas bookmakers are doing just fine — 2017 was their most profitable year on record and the Super Bowl is looking like it will easily pass last year’s record.”

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This is why I am sharing my new email newsletter from my friends of the National Council on Problem Gambling. If end up getting in over your head sports betting this Superbowl weekend? Make sure you visit them. There is HOPE & HELP available for Problem and Addicted Gambling. You may also visit my Recovery Resources page while you are here. I have many resources for help listed, suggested books to read and more. Here now is the message from NCPG…

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Super Bowl Weekend & Gambling: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Help & Hope are available
Super Bowl weekend can be a difficult time. Sometimes fans may feel desperate after a losing game or season if they have gambled more than they could afford.

The Super Bowl can be especially hard for people who suffer from a gambling addiction. Research shows that people with gambling disorder, like substance use disorder, may have a genetic predisposition that drives their need to bet more and more money to achieve the same excitement or “high.” These urges run deep and symptoms include:

  • Inability to set and stick to a limit of time and money spent gambling;
  • Viewing wagering as an investment; and/or
  • Betting to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
Each of these is a potential warning sign of a gambling problem or challenge to recovery.

NCPG urges people who are at risk or experiencing problem gambling to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline.
A simple two-question self-test can help indicate whether someone has a gambling problem.
1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
If the answer is “yes” to either question, it is likely there may be a gambling problem.
 
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is a toll-free, confidential, single point of access for problem gambling help via phone, text, and chat.

Visit www.ncpgambling.org for extensive referral resources and materials, including an anonymous self-test, an online directory of certified gambling counselors and a list of treatment centers with gambling-specific programs.

The Problem Gambling Helpline offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call now.

Super Bowl weekend and Gambling. Keep Your On The Ball!

“Shining a light on “Sports Betting” through Superbowl Weekend!” 

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Gambling Addiction: Is It A “Choice” or A “Disease”? My Thoughts…

“I surely didn’t wake up one day and decide to devastate my life and my husbands’ life by CHOOSING to become an addicted gambler.” ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 
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Is Gambling Addiction a Disease or by Choice?

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As a recovering gambling addict, this has been a BIG question in my life, and in the life of many recovering, but I’ve struggled with the answer. On the one hand, I’ve had people tell me I make a “choice” every day and to say it’s a disease minimizes people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or cancer (WHAT? Really?).

 

On the other hand, I know that when I gambled, I lost the ability to stop and kept gambling and gambling on the slots…

That is how gambling addiction is described and knowing we have crossed the line into uncontrolled gambling. The National Council on Problem Gambling says;

Gambling addiction—is an impulse-control disorder. If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones. And I know first hand that this is true as it happened to me. No, I didn’t come from a background or a family who were gamblers. I was normal when it came to gambling.


I was an every now and then with the girls’ gambler. Maybe go to Reno, NV or the Indian casino about 42 miles North of my home with the girls. But then, something changed. Did I make the choice to become an addicted gambler? NO. It began around the time my brother-in-law passed away. After? All my past hurt and pain from abuse as a little girl came rushing back and I had NO idea why or how to process all this. See, my brother-in-law Mike was the only person I ever told about my past and the sex abuse I went through.
And since I was raised not knowing it was OK to see or talk to a professional about what I was feeling and going through. So when Mike died, I literally felt that weight and baggage of my past sit right back on my shoulders. This was in 1992 and I had just turned 30. Yes, life events can trigger many negative things when you least expect it. And not knowing, I began to use gambling as a way to “escape and cope” with what I was going through and all the haunting feelings and emotions I was going through. It was like being traumatized all over again. More things came into play as well and as we know, gambling addiction is a slow progressive disease.

I surely didn’t wake up one day and say; “let me become an addicted gambler and devastate my life!” I did NOT do it by choice. When I came became an addict, it was the disease that took over. We all come from addiction in various ways and paths, it is how we decide to tackle the beast when we realize gambling has made our lives unmanageable and has taken over destroying any and everything good in within it.

The disease is riddled with many bad habits and behaviors, too many to count. It is the diseased thinking that the addict makes these bad choices. It is the negative side of the sickness. No, no excuses, they are fact. A highly suggested article written to the “cognitive choices made” can be read here “Pathological Choice” as it explains the brains “choice” functions when in the minds of addicted or pathological gambling addicts.

 

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It is one of the reasons I came up with the title of my memoir; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” My gambling addiction made me become a “Liar and a Cheat” within my own gambling addiction. The article shares psychological models of gambling, which have additionally highlighted the central role of cognitive distortions during gambling. The most classic distortion is the gambler’s fallacy, which is a bias in the processing of random sequences. Winning or losing can also keep an addicted gambler in the addiction, so they are either thinking when they win, they will win every time and when they are losing, they will keep gambling to “Chase” what money they lost.

That was huge for me and when I crossed the invisible line into uncontrolled addict gambling. Other factors from my own experience? Bordum, to much time on my hand when my husband was working out of town often, looking for excitement, and escaping my problems, including my past abusive past childhood. These are just some of the roots of my addiction.  Did I choose to lie, steal, pawn, hide money, sell valuables and more? NO. I had worked very hard to get to where I was along with my husband to lose it all because of a disease, a sickness. And I see it as 3 different classes of those who gamble.

I base my argument on the element of control. For this classification, the term “gamblers-by-choice” is used to represent the group of people who have a greater level of control over when, where and how they gamble. They also seem to have control over how much they gamble. Such people find it a lot easier to walk away compared to gamblers-by-addiction. Gamblers-by-addiction are people who have lost their way and will. Their self-power and self will to walk away has been eroded over time and they are now being controlled by the gambling, as opposed to the former group. These are the Problem-Gamblers and can go either way, addicted or stay a normal gambler and catch knowing it IS becoming a problem in their life.

A great place to learn more and if YOU ARE having problems with gambling, visit my friends of “The National Council on Problem Gambling ”  They have Help, Hope, and have saved many from this devastating disease…

What are your feelings and thoughts about this topic? Is Gambling Addiction a “Choice” or a Real Disease? Let me know!

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Now On Sale At Amazon Kindle!

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

 

New Guest Holiday Article is All About Addicted Gambling and Safe Guarding Your Finances! Addiction (Dot) Com

New Guest Holiday Article is All About Addicted Gambling and Safe Guarding Your Finances! Addiction (Dot) Com

As a recovering gambler, I know just how important it is when it comes to our finances. When a spouse or partner finds out they are living with a problem gambler, most often their thoughts go to all the MONEY.

So I feel it is important to address this while holiday blogging and sharing good helpful information through my Guest Articles I am spotlighting this season. One website that does this is one that did a 4 part series about me after my book, “Addicted to Dimes” first released and all about how I was recovering from addicted gambling. And today’s article is by my friends Addiction.com  at who has a section on their website for gambling addiction and resources…

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Financial Options For Partners of Problem Gambler

 

If things are rapidly slipping out of control as a result of your loved one’s problem gambling, it may be time for you to act now.

The fact that problem gambling affects thousands of Americans and their families is small comfort when it hits right home with your own family. You already know that the devastating emotional and financial problems affect more than just your gambling spouse. Everyone in the family suffers as a result of problem gambling.

But what can you do, you ask yourself? You certainly can’t stop your loved one from gambling. Only he or she can do that — with the help of professionals to overcome the addiction. There are some things that you can do, however, to regain financial balance in your family’s life. Perhaps you can enlist the cooperation of your spouse in this effort, but if you cannot, you can still take steps on your own.

The key point to remember is that you need to address financial issues before they become major financial problems. If you already have serious financial problems and are looking for a way to get back on your feet, some of these suggestions may also be of help as you begin to recover.

Before You Begin

While financial aspects of life with a problem gambler can be overwhelming, and you can’t force treatment on that individual, it is important to consider doing one or more of the following before you take the steps recommended here to put your financial house back in order.

  • Talk things over with a trusted friend or other family members. You need support right now, encouragement that you’re doing the right thing. Galvanized with such support, it will be easier
    • (but not easy) to move forward with some of the tips in this article.
    • Get in touch with the Gam-Anon group that’s in your area to find out when and where support group meetings are held. Gam-Anon is for the family members and close friends of those who have a gambling problem and is affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous.
    • Call the National Council on Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-522-4700 for information and answers to any questions you may have on how to deal with a problem gambler in the family. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and all calls are confidential. You can also check out the National Council on Problem Gambling site.
    • Talk with a therapist or counselor about your particular situation. You may wish to participate in ongoing support to help you navigate the emotional roller-coaster you’re on, or you may just seek help for one or two visits.

    Financial Problems a Symptom, Not the Cause

    Often times the problem gambler will insist that if only there was more money, the family’s financial problems would disappear. If only that were true! Unfortunately, it isn’t now and it will never be that way. Unless and until the problem gambler seeks help to overcome the compulsion to gamble, he or she will progressively become more obsessed with gambling. The money will always be an issue.

    What most loving spouses do in this situation is try to bail out the problem gambler. You listen to what your spouse has to say and, of course, you want to believe that everything’s going to be all right. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do. By straightening out the financial difficulties — lending him or her money, for example — you’re just reinforcing the pattern of gambling behavior. There’s no incentive to change, and no penalties for not doing so.

    Bottom line: It’s important to remember that financial problems are just the symptom of problem gambling. They are never the cause. Gambling addiction is a serious psychological problem.

     

    Financial Actions to Take Now

    If large debts have accumulated or are beginning to mount up, you recognize that it’s going to take time to undo all the damage. Still, there are some immediate actions you can take to put a stop to the severe losses — the so-called “hemorrhaging of money.”

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    When should you take these steps? Financial management experts who council those seeking to overcome financial difficulties incurred as a result of problem gambling recommend you do so if your loved one is still in denial and continues to gamble, or if your loved one has made a commitment to quit gambling. Note that a commitment to stop gambling involves taking action to overcome it, meaning, in most cases, that the person agrees to and goes into treatment.

    No Joint Accounts — In a traditional household, there are joint accounts that both spouses have access to. When there’s a problem gambler in the family, however, that money managing technique is a definite no-no. If you already have a joint account, maybe now is the time to consider setting up separate savings and checking accounts in your own name only.

    If you’re worried that your spouse will try to talk you into giving him money you’re your account, it might be a good idea not to tell him about the separate account. You might, for example, ask a trusted friend or other relative if you can have your bank statements mailed to them so that the existence of your accounts remains secret.

You may also decide to limit your problem gambler spouse’s access to household accounts. Do not give your personal identification number (PIN) to your spouse if you have a bank debit card.

This separation also applies to credit cards. Remove your name from joint credit cards and get one in your name only. In a worst-case scenario, with credit cards maxed out all over the place, you may even consider alerting various creditors of your spouse’s gambling problem. Also, ask them not to extend any more credit to your spouse.

Monitor all Mail — Be the one to gather and monitor all the mail that comes into the house. Immediately shred and dispose of any new credit card or loan offers that come to the house.

Open a Safety Deposit Box — Why go to the trouble of opening a safety deposit box? Think about your jewelry and other expensive items your spouse may take to pawn or sell for cash to gamble with.

Don’t Co-sign any Loans — Your problem gambler will get desperate to obtain more money. Never agree to co-sign any loans or other financial obligations.

Tell Others Not to Lend the Gambler Money — This may be tough to do, letting close friends and other family members know of your spouse’s problem gambling, but you have to do so as well as ask them not to lend any money to the gambler — despite all the pleas and wild stories he or she may come up with.

Take Over Bill-Paying — The only way to get control over what’s going on with the family’s finances, you need to be the one paying the bills. If possible, arrange to take over this family financial management obligation. You could say, for example, that you’re really good at this and it’s a way of saving time and aggravation that your spouse would probably appreciate.

After Your Spouse Quits Gambling

You already know that there are some things that the recovering compulsive gambler can and cannot do. While he or she may — after treatment — be able to avoid gambling sites, stop buying lotto tickets or going online to gamble, it’s not possible to avoid the thing that all gamblers need and that is money. If your problem gambling spouse has made a commitment to quit gambling or has already quit gambling, the temptation is still there every time he or she passes a cash register, goes by or to a bank, or pays for something at the store.

Financial management experts who counsel loved ones of recovering problem gamblers say that there are a number of things you can do to help your spouse learn again how to manage money so that the family can once again regain financial stability and prevent future problems with money.

These actions cover identifying income and assets, establishing a spending plan, shifting control of finances to a nongambler, setting up a repayment plan for debts, and deciding if investing is the best option.

  • Identifying income and assets — You need to know where all the sources of income and assets come from that your spouse could use for gambling. This involves making a list of all such sources. Here are some obvious sources, but they are just the beginning of what should be on your list: paychecks, Social Security, pension benefits, unemployment income, income from trusts and credit card cash advances. If your spouse also receives income from tips and/or bonuses, remember that he or she may try to hide some of this by telling you lies about the amount (so it can be used for gambling).

    Also, list any financial asset your spouse could potentially turn into cash for gambling. These include IRAs, certificates of deposit, mutual fund accounts, the equity you have in the home, retirement accounts, real estate, cash value in life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Don’t forget personal assets such as cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs, jewelry, artwork, furnishings, collectibles, even appliances, and electronics. Be aware that your spouse may have a hidden “stash” of cash that he or she may be reluctant to tell you about. It’s important that you uncover this stash so that it can’t be used for gambling.

  • Establishing a spending plan — Once you know the sources of income and assets, it’s time to put your financial house in order by establishing a spending plan, also called a budget. Use a computer or worksheets to compile and keep track of the budget. List all monthly sources of income. Then list basic monthly household expenses — being sure to treat debt as a monthly basic expense.

    Monitor your own spending habits and cut down. Next, cut unnecessary expenses — which may be 20-30% of the household budget. Break large periodic bills into smaller monthly payments or put money each month into a savings account so that when the bill arrives, you’ll have the money. You may also wish to save money to pay for treatment for your spouse’s gambling addiction.

  • Shifting financial control to a nongambler — If your spouse is already in a treatment program to overcome gambling addiction, it’s more likely that there’ll be a willingness to allow you to take control of the household finances. If he or she is still in denial about problem gambling, however, you may be limited to what you can do on your own to take control of the finances. Support groups for families of problem gamblers can give you the emotional support you need as you begin to assume the role of financial control in the family. Follow the recommendations in the first section on taking control of the finances and add to it the responsibility for taking charge of tax returns. For shifting ownership of property, do not undertake this without first getting legal and tax advice.
  • Setting up debt repayment plans — The only way you’ll come out from under a financial meltdown caused by your problem gambler spouse is to set up a repayment plan for outstanding debts. This is also important if you want to stave off bankruptcy. The way to get started is another list. Jot down what is owed to what creditor. Include car loans, mortgages, second-mortgages, furniture loans, bank loans, medical bills, utility bills, back taxes, child support, spousal support, education loans, credit card debt and so on.

    Paying off non-gambling debts needs to take priority over paying off debts related to gambling. Next, establish a debt repayment plan with the creditors. Recognize that some debts are a higher priority than others. Also, some creditors may not accept reduced payments. If possible, have the gambler make the calls to the creditors — so that he or she takes ownership of responsibility for his or her actions. Only use bankruptcy as a last resort — since it takes a long time to recover from this option.

  • Deciding if investing is the right choice now — Not every problem gambler goes to the casinos, places sports bets, or gambles online. Some are obsessed with investment. Some experts say that problem gamblers should never invest. It’s up to you to determine whether this applies in your situation. If it does, investing is probably not a wise choice right now. However, since you are a nongambler, you should be able to continue your own investment strategies — if they continue to make sense. The most obvious investment you’d likely continue is your retirement plan through work.

    Finding Professional Financial Advice

    Besides consulting an attorney and perhaps a debt counseling service, you may also want to consider the help of a qualified financial planner as you work your way through dollars and sense strategies to overcome financial difficulties caused by your problem gambler spouse. Check out the following resources for help in financial planning.

    • Nonprofit Debt Counseling Services — These include the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or call 1-800-388-2227.
    • Financial Planning Association — To find a certified financial planner, go to the Financial Planning Association website or call them at 1-800-232-PLAN (7526).
    • Society of Financial Services Professionals — Go to the Society of Financial Services Professionals or call them at 1-800-392-6900.
    • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors — Go here to locate a fee-only financial planner for your area or call 1-888-333-6659.
    • Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. — This board regulates Certified Financial Planner licensees. To locate a CRP practitioner near you, go to their website at or call 1-888-237-6275.

    Bottom line: You’re about to embark on a long and difficult process. Regaining financial stability after losses incurred as a result of your problem gambler spouse means you will need to employ some dollars and sense strategies to get there. Recognize that it will take time and determination. You can do it, but be sure to get whatever support and counsel you need as you begin your journey.

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    ***For more informative articles about problem gambling or gambling addiction and services for help, please my friends here at Addiction.Com           

 

Guest Holiday Recovery Post By Author, Alek Sabin About Childhood Trauma.

Guest Holiday Recovery Post By Author, Alek Sabin About Childhood Trauma.

Why It’s Essential to Tackle Childhood Trauma, Early

by Alek Sabin

 

Every year, we are beginning to learn more and more about the effects that trauma in childhood has, as victims get further and further into adulthood. While it’s been known that behavioral issues and development problems can frequently stem from traumatic events that occurred in childhood, new research is coming out that shows how other mental disorders (such as clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder) can develop out of childhood trauma. Individuals who have experienced childhood trauma are significantly more likely to struggle with addiction in life, which is why it’s something that anyone involved with addiction should be informed about.

 

This emphasizes the need to get help to children who suffer from trauma while they are still children, rather than assume that it will go away as they reach adulthood. Here are some reasons why it’s important to tackle childhood trauma, early…and in early recovery.

 

PTSD in adults often comes from childhood events

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has many symptoms that can severely impact a person’s quality of life, including nightmares, aggression, anxiousness, struggles with socialization, and rapid changes in emotion, among other things. Recent studies have shown that a large portion of adults who suffer from PTSD developed the disorder after a traumatic event that occurred during childhood.

 

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Since this disorder has a profound impact on a child’s development into adulthood, and can impact their social, mental, emotional, and even physical health, it is better to deal with these traumatic events when a victim is younger, so that the impact of trauma doesn’t shape behavioral responses, when they are older.

 

Youth suicide is becoming more common

 

Suicide is a major killer of young people, today. As a matter of fact, the suicide contributes more to the mortality rate of teenagers and young adults than a combination of cancer, stroke, AIDS, pneumonia, influenza, lung disease, and birth defects. Nearly 3,500 teenagers and young adults commit suicide, on average, every single day in the United States.

 

When it comes to the indicators of suicide, trauma can be a major factor that leads to a mental state where a young person attempts to take their life. For this reason, it’s important to help a child’s mental health heal from trauma when they are younger, so that this trauma doesn’t develop into something even more sinister.

 

Complex trauma is more difficult to tackle, later on

 

It is common therapy practice to consider the environmental influences of an adult patient, particularly from childhood. As stated above, it’s been found that trauma experienced in childhood is a very common source of mental disorders found in adults. However, the problem with dealing with these traumatic events as an adult is that the person has been forced to develop their own coping mechanisms for dealing with that trauma, throughout the course of their life.

 

This means that the true source of trauma can often be buried throughout other behavioral influences, and can complicate the therapy process. The earlier we are able to tackle trauma in a child, the easier it is to address the source of that trauma, head-on, which makes it easier to identify and move towards healthy progress.

 

Children don’t just get better from trauma

 

One of the biggest misconceptions that keep trauma-suffering children from getting the help that is going to enable them to work through their issues is that they will get over it as they get older. While certain traumatic events may not be at the forefront of their mind after several years, the reality is that their development and behavior are going to be influenced by that trauma, which means that it can have a profound impact on a person’s identity, years down the road.

Mental health problems are like any other problems. They don’t just go away. Problems need to be addressed, talked about, and worked on, in any field. This is especially true for therapy, which is why it is so important to get a child to therapeutic and/or psychiatric health when they are younger. It isn’t impossible to deal with these things when they are older, but the issues are buried under less experience, which makes them easier to tackle.

 

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I would like to add a little as Alek’s article brings out some very good points. I am a childhood sexual trauma survivor, and it is not easy to talk about. I even skirted around going into details about what I went through within my current book. However, I am finally able to embrace this part of my life.

Through much processing in therapy, I have been able to learn my past childhood trauma was some of the direct to “roots to my gambling addiction as I was using it to “escape, cope,” and not feel that past hurt little girl. So, it is important to begin the work from the trauma of any kind early in your recovery journey. “Let Go and Let God” as he’ll help you learn to “forgive” yourself. It was never your fault, and you are not alone… 

Catherine XoXo  

 

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 

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!”