Recovery Ramblings and Victories Around Social Media With My Friend!

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Ones!

I happen to be on social media this morning and on Facebook, one of my recovery advocates and dear friend who maintains his recovery from gambling addiction like myself is celebrating his 4th year “BET FREE!” His message he posted was screaming, SHARE ME! So that is exactly what I will do with HIS permission of course. Please Meet Chris D. and read how it WAS, and now HOW IT IS from the silent addiction of GAMBLING…

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“This is from last year. I actually like what I wrote last year better than what I wrote today 😃 “

 
1 Year Ago

See Your Memories

Chris D

TODAY HE CELEBRATES 4 Years Gamble FREE!! 

TODAY I am 4 YEARS clean from gambling. I remember how I felt at this time 4 years ago. I had many emotions. I was scared because I knew I couldn’t control my Gambling and I was losing my whole paycheck plus some every week. I was angry at myself but took my anger out on all the people and things around me. The guilt and shame were unbearable.

I decided that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. August 15th had always just been another day on the calendar but now August 15th, 2013 is a marker in my life that I decided to make a decision to get help and get into recovery. I had tried to stop gambling on my own many times but could never do it by myself. In my recovery sometimes an elevator analogy is used. Compulsive gambling just like other addictions like alcohol or drugs without the substance, it is a DISEASE.

We talk about how this elevator is going to continue to go down until we decide we have hit our own personal”rock bottom” and decide to get off the elevator before it crashes at the bottom which we are told those results will be Prison, Insanity, or DEATH. That was the worst sounding multiple choice test I had ever heard of so I decided to choose option D and get my DISEASE “arrested” (under control…we can NEVER be CURED).

The most important factor in my recovery is my relationship with Jesus. I couldn’t do this without Him. I couldn’t do life in general without Jesus. I don’t know how people find ANY peace in this life without Jesus. I also have had the support of my family and close friends from the beginning and over time I have shared with more and more people until the point I shared publicly on here a year ago and got asked to do a video testimony about my gambling problem which was played at our church stewardship banquet last year in front of like 1200 people. I also have had great support from the people in my recovery meetings. I have made some good friends in there and I really needed that especially the first few months of recovery.

These people FULLY understand me and my thoughts because they have the DISEASE as well so we are able to talk thru things and help each other. I have said for 3 years now that ACCOUNTABILITY is one of the biggest things that helps me stay clean. When I tried to stop on my own it was my own secret addiction that I had too much shame and guilt to share with others because I thought they would judge me and look down on me but in my experience that has not been the case. I know that was Satan not wanting me to be open and share because he didn’t want me to share openly and hopefully give others the courage to step out of the darkness with their secret DISEASE and not be ashamed anymore and get the help and support they need. It is humbling but well worth it.

I have a friend Chris Reaves who really helped me stay on track the first year clean by remembering to text me on Sundays and Wednesdays just to ask if I was coming to church and small group. May sound like a small thing but many of those days there were spiritual battles going on and I was about 50/50 on if I was going to church or small group and I would get Chris’s text and that would make me decide to go.

I have no doubt at least one person is reading this knowing that either themselves or somebody they love has some type of DISEASE like this from gambling to alcohol or drugs. I pray you will have the courage to get the help you or your loved one needs. Please don’t wait until tomorrow. DO IT NOW. If you don’t know where to start then please PM me and I will get you connected. This has become a passion of mine enough that I have decided to go back to school so that I can eventually become a counselor focusing on alcohol, drugs, and gambling addiction.

I will be praying for those who need help to get help. It is hard to do alone…..trust me I tried for MANY years.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength.”

GOD BLESS,

Chris D.

You can connect with Chris here on his Facebook Page for Support.

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I want to thank Chris for giving me permission to share his heart felt story to give all who visit some HOPE and Know Your LIFE IS WORTH Recovery! There are people out here who will support you and WE CARE ABOUT YOU… 

Catherine 

Gambling Addiction and Recovery Around The Web… Quit to WIN!

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“Do you or know someone who has a problem with GAMBLING? Is it slowly taking them away from family and friends? DID YOU KNOW THERE IS HELP?”


Many of my friends and visitors know I have been here Advocating about Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Recovery for for over 4 years now. Never do I get tired when someone reaches out or emails me seeking information or help for a loved one from this cunning addiction. The only regret I HAVE is feeling I have not helped many more I know are out there suffering and who are sucked into THIS Insane Cycle of this Deadly Addiction. 

And through my years of advocacy work, I have had the honor to many fantastic people in various forms and areas of helping others recover. So I wanted to share a little today from them and let the public know that there IS MUCH HELP and Resources for those who are afflicted with this disease. AND? That IT IS Possible to Recover! If I can make it 10 1/2 years away from “A BET” then I know others can too! Having support and encouragement from family and others is important when we surrender from our addiction and start to reclaim our lives. I’m here to do just THAT!


A Message From My Friends of Know The Odds 

THE HIDDEN ADDICTION

You can smell cigarette smoke in the air and on the clothes of people who frequently smoke. You can smell alcohol on the breath of individuals who frequently drink. Problem gambling doesn’t exhibit these tell-tale signs, and at first, it can be easy to hide. But this addiction can have serious, life-altering consequences.

It can seem as innocent as wasting a few hours on a gaming website, or as serious as a high-stakes poker game. For those affected by problem gambling, both can lead to devastation as bets are placed and debt accrues.

Gambling happens all around us, whether we see it or not. It can happen from the couch, in our schools, our workplaces, restaurants, community centers, casinos and many other locations. Individuals struggling with a gambling disorder have many options to place bets unnoticed, from gambling online from their desks at work to routine visits to the grocery store to purchase scratch-offs.

Often, gambling goes on for months – or longer – before unpaid bills and financial issues surface, indicating a problem to family and loved ones. Friends and family members often struggle with guilt because they did not prevent, notice or stop the addiction before its consequences add up.

Problem gambling affects millions of people – men and women, old and young, employed and unemployed, and people of all ethnicities. In our ebook, “The Hidden Addiction,” we explain why the problem gambling of so many individuals goes unnoticed and discuss many of the demographic segments who suffer in silence. Women, seniors, children, adolescents and armed service members are often overlooked for being at-risk for gambling addiction, but the numbers tell a different story. We explore some of the reasons that individuals develop a gambling addiction, and how they can seek help and recovery.

 

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Now A Message From The Addiction Blog

Trying To Stop Gambling? There Are Many Paths To Recovery!

Help for problem gambling comes in many forms. These can include:

  • Self-help methods
  • Step-based programs like Gambler’s Anonymous
  • Professional counseling including motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

In fact, you might need to try a variety of methods to determine which works best for you. If you’re looking to connect with a trained counselor, you can call the NY HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or you can visit the KnowTheOdds Support Directory to find help in your local area.

In the meantime, it can be expected that some days your recovery may seem easy, and other days the urge to gamble will seem irresistible. There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid gambling situations and provide you with healthy alternatives for spending your time and money and for reacting in times of both stress and celebration. Some tips for getting started and actively quitting gambling follow.

6 Tips To Begin A Recovery From Gambling


1.
 Write a goal statement.

Consider why you decided to quit gambling. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to learn how to effectively deal with your emotions, instead of using gambling to escape? Be specific with your goal statement so that you know when you are on the right track to success. When you are writing your goal statement, think about the things you would lose if you continue to gamble, and also the benefits you will gain from quitting. When you are feeling the urge to return to gambling, revisit your goal statement in order to remember why you decided to stop gambling in the first place.

2. Identify your triggers.

Think back to the times you gambled, and ask yourself, “Why/when did I gamble?” Did you gamble in times of stress, or in times of celebration? Was it when you were bored, or when you needed money? Understanding the reasons for your gambling will help you to identify ways to cope with those situations before you encounter them in your recovery.

3. Talk to your friends and family.

Recovery is a time of healing. A time to repair the relationships that have been damaged or lost during your addiction. Talking to your family about your addiction and recovery can be difficult, but it is essential to have a strong system of support throughout your recovery. So, what do you say to your family members? Some topics might include gambling disorder as a disease and explaining to them what you need from them (support, not to enable, etc.). It’s important to remember, if your gambling disorder has damaged relationships, it will take work and time to repair those bonds. Your friends and family may not be ready to talk immediately. Just like you need to spend time and work on your recovery, so do your friends and family.

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4. Take financial responsibility.

Gambling disorder can take a toll on a number of areas in your life (relationships, physical and mental health, employment), but we would be remiss to remember one of the obvious consequences: damage to your financial situation. Your first step is to assess your finances by listing all of the debts you owe and all of your income. After you have a good picture of where you stand, you can start to create a budget for yourself. Dealing with finances is often especially difficult for those in recovery from a gambling disorder.

Your friends and family members might be able to help you stay on track, but remember, the most important thing to your recovery and finances, is that you keep yourself from spending any more money on any form of gambling. A resource you might want to take a look at with your family/friends, is “Personal Financial Strategies for the Loved Ones of Problem Gamblers“.

5. Steer clear of other addictions.

According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) of pathological gamblers:

  • 73.2% had an alcohol use disorder
  • 38.1% had a drug use disorder
  • 60.4% had a nicotine dependence

It is crucial that during your recovery from gambling disorder, you deal with any other addictions you have experienced in the past, and you stay clear of any behaviors and/or substances that have the potential to become addictive.

6. Reach out for support.

The road to recovery for gambling disorder is a long, tough road, and you need to prepared to make the best decisions for yourself and your recovery. You’ve made the first, and most important, by committing not to gamble. Your next step is to assess your recovery and to decide what’s best for you.

For More Information On Quitting Gambling

Help is available every step of the way. Visit Know The Odds for facts about gambling disorder, tips to overcome addiction, and contact information for organizations across New York State who can help you overcome your gambling addiction.  As always, the NYS HOPEline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for support and referral services: 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-866-846-7369).

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                   The Addiction Blog

Addiction and Recovery News and Reads Around The Web…

Hello, Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends!


This past week I have had some interesting email newsletters from some of my favorite recovery websites and magazines. Now I am a big FAN of helping others who write informative and interesting articles about many issues of addiction, mental health and more. And I happen to read two articles I feel need to be shared here on my blog as they are very important issues. The first hit me because one of the underlying issues of WHY I had turned to gambling was to “cope and escape” from my hurtful pain and my past childhood trauma. As we learn to do the “inner work” of our recovery, many us find many issues and roots to our addictions.

The second article is about an actor I enjoyed watching the TV Series; “True Blood” and is a warning to those recovering from alcoholism that if you have other health problems, you need to work with your doctor and be honest with them of all that is going with you or you CAN have complications. That is what happened to 39-year-old, Actor, Nelsan Ellis as you will read. We need to learn to take care of our health as we most likely neglected it for a long period of time within our addiction. It is always sad to lose someone so young and vibrant. I hope you enjoy reading these and learn a little something from them…
( Articles Courtesy of “The Fix Mag” and website: SoberRecovery” )
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By Victoria Kim 07/11/17

The beloved actor’s family issued a statement about his battle with addiction as “a cautionary tale” to help others.

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Nelsan Ellis
Actor Nelsan Ellis died of heart failure over the weekend after attempting to quit alcohol on his own and heart failure complications.

Rather than shy away from the impact that years of substance use had on the actor, instead his family shared the details surrounding his death…

“Nelsan has suffered from drug and alcohol abuse for years,” the actor’s manager said on behalf of the family.

“After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.

On the morning of Saturday, July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul…Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

The 39-year-old hailed from Illinois and was a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School. He was known for playing the lovable Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get on Up, as well as his roles in The SoloistThe Help, and The Butler.

The symptoms/severity of alcohol withdrawal varies by person but can be fatal for some. Symptoms can range from mild insomnia to delirium tremens (DTs) and even death.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating and shaking, irritability, anxiety, agitation, seizures, and hallucinations.

In severe cases, individuals may experience delirium tremens (DTs), characterized by disorientation, severe agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever. DTs may last up to 3 or 4 days, according to Dr. Richard Saitz in “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal,” a paper published on the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

According to Saitz, “about 5% of patients who experience DTs die from metabolic or cardiovascular complications, trauma or infections.”

One should never detox from alcohol alone. A person going through withdrawal should be monitored by a medical professional.

– The Fix

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THREE STEPS to HEAL FROM Emotional Abuse
By Dominica Applegate Jul 11, 2017 – Sober Recovery

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Emotional abuse is a tragic occurrence that can turn even the happiest person into a sad and hopeless shadow. Sadly, it happens more often than we think. It can be anything from psychological abuse, which can cause anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, to physical abuse, which can be experienced anytime during childhood or adulthood. After going through any traumatic event, it can be very difficult to cope with the unresolved wounds alone. Some people turn to drinking and drugging for temporary relief from the painful feelings, but that simply masks a much larger problem that needs to be contended with.

To help you start the process of healing, here are 3 pivotal steps you’ll have to take in order to properly deal with emotional distress.

1. Recognize the Root Issues

When you’re dealing with emotions that include depression, intense anger, high anxiety and extreme fear, it is important to get to the root issue of the matter and take steps to address it. Many times, those who’ve experienced abuse in their childhood have difficulty associating their current pain and substance abuse with old childhood wounds. Thus, it may benefit them to reach out for help via counseling12-Step groups or a rehab facility, which can help them recognize, process and put these deep rooted issues to rest.

2. Take Responsibility

Many of us have gone through something traumatic in life, and the negative emotions that come along with these experiences are understandable. However, there needs to be a point in time for the person going through these hard feelings to start taking responsibility for their own healing. The process of mending themselves from the inside begins when one makes the conscious decision that they are done being locked in their own prison cell of negative emotions.

3. Facilitate Emotional Healing

There are various therapy treatments for emotional abuse. If you’re dealing with emotional and substance abuse issues, you’ll have to tackle your addiction first. Being under the influence will just make it harder to heal old wounds.

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Once addiction recovery measures are in place, you can then look into some of the most popular modes of therapy that may help in your recovery:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy is known for its cognitive aspects of dealing with trauma as it targets your thoughts and feelings about past experiences. Its goal is to eliminate the negative emotions you have and replace them with a positive mindset.
  • Somatic Therapy: For a more holistic approach, it may be important to undergo therapy that contends with the physiological effects of trauma. Somatic therapy works by helping your body recognize and release the pent-up energy that has accumulated since the trauma occurred. Unlike CBT, it’s not so much about one’s cognitive responses but instead, how the body (the nervous system, in particular) dealt with the trauma. This type of therapy allows the body to heal itself by facilitating a physiological release of blocked energy so you can feel physically freed.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): This is a psychological acupressure technique recognized to help trauma survivors disassociate from old wounds so they can heal. Also known as “Tapping,” EFT involves literally tapping on certain locations in the body while repeating a positive affirmation out loud. It is currently used by many therapists in the world and is continually gaining more popularity.

Sometimes, trauma can take a real hit on your emotional well-being and affect your entire life, leaving some of us in the depths of addiction in search for a temporary relief. The therapy options mentioned above are just a few of the many avenues you can explore in order to heal from emotional abuse. Although it’s easier said than done, the one true way out of the situation and into emotional freedom comes with the decision to ask for help—and there are plenty of professionals available to walk you through it.

– Sober Recovery

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“Shared and Presented By Recovery Starts Here!”  ~  Author, Catherine Lyon

 

Recovery Guest Author, Christine H. Is Here With A New Special Article…

Recovery Guest Author, Christine H. Is Here With A New Special Article…

The Line Between Use and Abuse

 

Once upon a time, the term “addiction” was reserved for dependence on mind-altering chemicals. However, now a dependence on anything from video games to shopping is termed “addiction.” It can be a confusing world when something that’s usually a healthy coping behavior (like going to the gym) can turn into a mental disorder.

Everyone needs an outlet. Somewhere to channel the stresses of life when they just get to be too much. And everyone needs a diversion. However, how do you determine where exactly your habit turns into an addiction? Where is the line between use and abuse?

Here are 5 questions that can help you get a better perspective on whether or not your coping mechanism has turned into something that can be harmful instead of helpful for your life.

 

Have you tried to stop numerous times and failed?

 

This is one of the most notable characteristics of addiction, but it can also be the most commonly misunderstood. Individuals are often dismayed when they find that even though they had resolved to change their behavior, they fail. However, this in and of itself isn’t a marker of addiction. After all, how many people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions? How many people start a diet that only lasts a few days? That doesn’t that they’re addicted to spending money or not working out or sneaking junk food. It might mean that they were ineffective in goal setting, or that they’re not sufficiently motivated to change behavior.

The big difference is when you resolve to change behavior because you ARE properly motivated. If you notice that your behavior is costing you too much, and still can’t seem to stop, you might be working with addiction rather than a bad habit. The next couple questions can help you clarify.

 

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Is it hurting your health?

Often, people first start to consider addiction a problem because of a talk with a physician. When a certain behavior is hurting your body, it’s a cause for concern. Occasional use of something doesn’t have the same effects on your body as habitual use, one of the common stages of addiction. A doctor won’t refer you to an addiction professional for just a few drinks… unless you have liver disease and you still won’t stop drinking.

Usually, this measure only comes into play for addictions that have a direct effect on your physical health. This includes food disorders, adrenaline-seeking behavior, and exercise addiction. Often, we don’t see the signs that a doctor will. However, if you’re getting concerned about some of your own behaviors, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it, being completely upfront about what you’re doing so that they can determine whether it’s threatening your health.

Is it threatening your relationships?


There are some addictions that will never have a toll on our physical health, but they have a huge impact on our relationships. These additions might include pornography or gambling or online gaming. These types of addictions also don’t seem to have an “outer” looking appearance to a person like a drug addict or alcoholic. And the afflicted person has no idea how the addiction is damaging their health on the inside. Many have hypertension or high blood pressure, heart disease, or even becoming a diabetic without knowing.

Often, this is a tricky situation to sort out. You might feel like there’s nothing unusual or harmful about your behavior, but someone you love is concerned and wants you to change. It’s possible that sometimes your loved one is overreacting. But it’s also true that relationships require investment from both parties. If you’re unable to change your behavior in order to nurture those relationships that are most important to you, it might be a problem. Relationships and families depend on healthy boundaries that are made with love and followed with consideration.

Do you need more and more for the desired effect?


One of the first signs of any addiction
is that you need to escalate your usage in order to get the same desired effect. This is because your body is becoming slowly inured to the effects. So in order to experience the same hit of dopamine in the brain, you need to have more and more of the substance (or behavior.) This happens most notably with alcohol. Once the body is used to operating as normal with alcohol in the system, you need more and more in order to get drunk.

However, it can be the same with other substances or behaviors. If you find that you need more and more, that’s when things start to get dangerous, whether you’re shopping or adrenaline-seeking. This effect drives us to do things that we know could be harmful and cross boundaries we know we shouldn’t.

 

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Do you feel ashamed after using?

This might be the most telling sign of an addiction. If you’re ashamed after a certain behavior, it’s a sign that you know that you need to change… and yet you’re not. Shame can be subtle, and hard to recognize in many of us. Shame might manifest itself as:

  • Anger
  • Despair
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Perfectionism in other aspects of your life
  • Numbing your feelings (often by indulging more often in the thing that makes you feel ashamed)

 

If you or a loved one are exhibiting these signs of addiction, reach out for help. Get help early before you become so thoroughly entrenched that it costs you valuable things in your life.


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About The Author:

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.

 

Congrats To My Co-Writing Partner For Making The Front Cover & Featured Article At “In Recovery Magazine!”

Congrats To My Co-Writing Partner For Making The Front Cover & Featured Article At “In Recovery Magazine!”

 

“This week’s blog post of me and Vance’s co-writing of his Memoir is a Tribute to HIM since he made the July Front Cover of  “In Recovery Magazine”!!”

Yes, I did resign from the In Recovery Magazine in March in order to have more freedom to work on recovery projects and to co-write with Vance. It is where Vance and I originally met when I reached out to him to see if he’d like to do an article. Then our Cheif Editor at the time, Janet Hopkins decided she wanted to have him as a cover feature instead! And that was that. So in Honor of his issue just releasing, and Janet doing such a great job writing about Vance and his incredible recovery journey, we wanted to share it with all of YOU. It will be a condensed “taste” of what’s to come in his memoir.

 

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In Recovery Magazine Article

Lost and Found


My name is Vance Johnson, and I am an alcoholic.

My playbook began at an early age. I began to be involved in sports so I wouldn’t have to be at home. The family dynamic and chaos as I was a kid seemed less when I was winning and was the “little hero.” Sports became everything to me. As I got older it was my saving grace as I’d play and practice from 10 AM to 11 PM; I even had a key to the gym.

I was doing really well, often placing at the top in the state and even the country. I didn’t have a good relationship with my father and feared I might grow up to be like him, as he was part of the dysfunction within our Christian home. But that is another story in all for another day.

In my senior year, at the urging of my coach, I accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona. This gave me the chance to go to college and play sports while staying close to home. The following spring, I won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) long jump competition. I ranked second place in football my senior year and was one of the collegiate athletic conference top receivers. Through high school and college, I never smoked weed, drank or took drugs. Sports were my high.

After graduating in 1984, I went to the Olympic Trials in track and ended up as an alternate. I could have gone to the next Olympics, but instead, I decided to try out for professional football. I wanted to make some money! I entered the 1985 National Football League (NFL) draft and was picked up by the Denver Broncos in the second round. The stress was tremendous.

 

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My first year in the NFL, I started dating a woman. We had been dating for a short time when, after a bad game where I dropped a punt, she told me she was pregnant. On the way to practice with some teammates, we stopped at a liquor store. My friends bought tequila, and I decided to try it. That tequila had lead to daily drinking mixed with the pills I took for anxiety and down a road, I had no idea how to travel down.

My girlfriend and I got married in Vegas. At practice sometime later, I overheard the guys talking about my wife. I ran home screaming and yelling and pushed her into a closet door. She hit her head and fell down unconscious; I thought she was dead. I carried her into the bathroom and splashed water on her face. Even after she came too, I was still angry and began punching the walls, just like my father used to do. Our marriage ended not long after.

By this time, I was getting high and using whatever I could to cope, but I was careful not to get caught. My life was a wreck and getting worse. I’d sober up on my way to the weekend games. Sometimes I’d get pulled over, but I’d offer the cops tickets to the games and managed to skate by without an arrest.

My domestic problems were always related to drugs. Through the years, I was married and divorced several times. I was an absent father to my children. My finances were a mess; I was bouncing checks and falling behind on child support. I also went to jail after crashing into my wife’s car. Through all of this, I was call myself a God believer, but I sure didn’t act like one. Somehow, no one realized I was an addict, including me.

In 1996, a year after my career in football was over, I tried to commit suicide. There I was, driving down a highway, crazy high and hallucinating. By then I was using drugs to manage all the craziness in my head, but it wasn’t working. When I got home, I pulled off all my clothes and lay naked in my garage, paranoid and banging my head on the ground as I cut my wrists. I called my attorney for help and told him I was losing my mind. I was desperate; to this day, I don’t know how I survived.

After wearing out my welcome in Ft. Collins, Colorado, I moved to Grand Junction, leaving my kids with their various moms. In 2007, after my fifth divorce, I remarried and tried to settle down with my new wife and my three now-teenaged sons. Running from my addictions, I scaled down the drinking, opened a couple of businesses and started attending church with my family. Although I had already damaged so many lives, I continued womanizing, smoking weed, full of sin drinking and taking pills.

My oldest son, Vaughn, who would always say, “I want to be like you, Dad,” was attending college in Grand Junction. Having blown the engine in his car, he was working for me to earn money for the repairs. One morning, he decided to take his motorcycle up to Ft. Collins to visit his grandfather.

I had been in the bar drinking Patrón at my restaurant when my ex-wife called me. “I’m broken,” she said. “Our son is dead.” Vaughn had been hit and killed by a drunk driver who had run a stop sign. I fell to my knees. I drank the whole bottle of tequila, then another, and walked through the restaurant and out the front door. My father threatened to kill me because I was acting so crazy, so I threw him on the ground outside the restaurant. Life as I had known it was over. I was never again the same person…

 

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I used to think I would get through it, but now I don’t want to.”

 

I blamed my dad. I blamed myself for not fixing the car that Vaughn should have been driving. Over the following two years, I drank, smoked, took pills and had relations with anyone who wanted to be with me. Slowly, but surely, I was killing myself.

When 2012 rolled around, I was going through yet another divorce and hurting emotionally and physically. My bloodwork was off, so my mom took me to the hospital where I fell into a coma. I remained in an induced coma for 26 days. My pastor prayed over me, my daughter and sister said their goodbyes. No one thought I would make it.

There I was, 50 years old, tied to a hospital bed. I wondered if this was how it was all going to end. As I lay in that bed, I had visions of dark shadows walking in the room as if to take me with them when I passed from this world. They came every day, but they never took me with them. When I was finally released from the hospital, I thought I could go back and work like I did when I was young. I tried this for a while. Things began to turn around again.

One day, I went golfing with some friends and decided I could have a drink. From that moment, everything went downhill fast. I quickly graduated to weed, more alcohol, and pills to help me not drink so much. Before long, I was peeing in glasses and on myself; puking blood; and even drinking from glasses of pee, which I mistook for whiskey in my drunkenness.

In early 2014, I was drunk and driving down the road, crying and screaming to God to help me. I had no money, no kids, no relationships, nothing to leave behind. I reached out to the NFL. They called Randy Grimes, a former center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Randy had turned his life around and was working as an interventionist in North Palm Beach, Florida.

The NFL sent me to treatment. When I got there, I was surrounded by losers. I had assumed I’d be on a beach with other athletes talking about old times. It wasn’t like that.

One day, a voice in my head told me that I was sick, but I could get sober if I accepted the help being offered to me. I began seeing my peers in a different light. As they talked, I listened and began to understand my own underlying issues. I attended church and got into the Scriptures. I walked in His light and understood that I needed to become “sober-minded.”

 


“My journey was not just about becoming sober. I knew that I could not maintain my sobriety if I didn’t continue to learn about the disease and about my own spirit. When I left rehab, I stayed away from 
fame, the Broncos and everything that had destroyed my previous life. I went to meetings and really listened.”

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A treatment program offered me a job for $200 per week and a bus pass. At the same time, the Broncos offered me $2,000 per week to represent them around the country. I called my mother. “I’m not worried,” she said. “You’ll do the right thing.” I did. I got on the plane to Tampa for the $200 per week paycheck.

God gave me my true self back. I found my son Vaughn’s grave and promised him that I would never allow another young man to lose his life like I did.

Today, I speak around the country. I talk about my life, my children, what happened to me, and how things changed for me when I learned about my addiction. I tell people that they can change their lives, too.

Today, I am married, and I love my wife. We have amazing children, a twelve-year-old daughter, and an eight-year-old son. My wife comes first, then all my kids, then my job. God encapsulates all of it. Though sometimes things are tough, I never stop the journey. I attend meetings where there are newcomers. I’m involved in recovery every day – it’s my daily lifestyle.

I hope you will walk with me in this battle to end this addiction Epidemic…

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Today Vance is helping save lives from many addictions through his new venture of  “Vance Inspires”  as a motivational speaker, executive keynote, sober coach and escort, intervention services and more. He is also involved with the premier treatment options and rehabilitation services of  Futures of Palm Beach

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Vance Johnson is a certified sober coach, a sober escort, and interventionist. Off the football field, he is now reaching out throughout America and the world via social media to break the stigma and lead people to sobriety, one family at a time. He is also a speaker at churches, drug courts graduations, and high schools, and has been a guest on national TV shows including Oprah and Dr. OZ. Johnson is a member of the Mercer County Task Force which brings awareness of the pitfalls of addiction to surrounding high schools and town hall meetings in New Jersey through The Vance Project…

I Welcome Tony Roberts. A Man of Faith, An Author, and more. My Weekend Spotlighted Recovery Guest Blog.

I Welcome Tony Roberts. A Man of Faith, An Author, and more. My Weekend Spotlighted Recovery Guest Blog.

“I have known Tony Roberts for quite some time. We first met here on WordPress where he first had his blog. He has a new website that is AMAZING and I started receiving his new email newsletter. I was so thrilled to see his new site and asked him if I could “Spotlight” his site here on my blog. He has been a great friend, recovery and mental health support to me.

He IS a man that stands in grace in his faith in the Lord, and I have been blessed by our friendship! So, meet Author, Tony Roberts and his book and website; “Delight in Disorder”…

 

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About Tony Roberts:

This is me with Grandma McPeak. She died less than a month after making this quilt for my grandson. She was the first Bible I ever read. Her life overflowed with Christ’s love, in all she said and did.

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I  first sensed a calling to be a writer at the age of nine when I composed my first poem, “Ode to My Pet Rock.”

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

I went to Hanover College (alma mater of both Mike Pence and Woody Harrelson – go figure). After many detours into sex, drugs, and more folk rock than roll, I wound up at a seminary and became a pastor. It was then that symptoms of depression and mania culminated in a psychotic episode that became pivotal in my life, for better and for worse.

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

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

I now live to write and write to live in Rochester, New York. I also have a “delightful domain” on Lake Caroga, the gateway to the Adirondacks.  My greatest earthly delights are my four children and two grandchildren.

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“What makes Tony’s devotional so compelling is that bipolar disorder continues to periodically beat the crap out of him, and he still believes.”

– David Zucker, Mental Health Advocate, University Presbyterian in Seattle.

 

Product Details

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About Tony’s Book:

Delight in Disorder is the story of one pastor’s battle with bipolar disorder. This spiritual memoir is a house of meditations where faith and mental illness co-exist, at times fueling each other to dangerous distortion, at times feeding each other to fruitful gain. It offers hope for those often neglected and shunned. It also fosters compassion for believers towards those with troubled minds.

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One of My Favorite Blog Posts From His Site:

Enemies Sprouting Like Mushrooms

In The MessageEugene Peterson calls Psalm 3 – “A David Psalm, when he escaped for his life from Absalom, his Son.” The words that follow reveal a haunted poet king, surrounded and scared.

God! Look! Enemies past counting!

Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,

Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:

“Hah! No help for him from God!”(vv. 1-2)

David sees no escape from sure defeat, certain death. This does not keep him from crying out to God – in fact, it motivates him all the more to do so. He lifts up to God the torturing taunts of his enemies and then reminds himself just Who it is he’s talking to –

But you, God, shield me on all sides;

You ground my feet, you lift my head high;

With all my might I shout up to God;

His answers thunder from the holy mountain. (vv. 3-4)

No matter how insurmountable the odds, David believes and asserts that God’s defense is greater than human offense. God is able and willing to act mightily to answer the prayers of His children, like thunder from a mountain. This brings David tremendous peace of mind.

I stretch myself out. I sleep.

Then I’m up again – rested, tall and steady,

Fearless before the enemy mobs

Coming at me from all sides.  (vv. 5-6)

God’s answer to David’s plea for protection in battle is not to fight the battle for him, but to give him rest and courage to fight with confidence.

Some years back, on a youth mission trip to Washington D.C., we were “attacked by enemies” from all sides. One girl was displaying symptoms of an eating disorder. Another was on her hands and knees, compulsively cleaning the floor while others laughed at her. The boys were vying for attention from the girls and a few were “coupling off” – dangerously close to crossing sexual boundaries.

That night (actually early morning) when I finally went to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to take a walk. As I strolled the streets of the nation’s capital, I prayed to God out loud. Had someone seen me, they would have rightly assumed I was a stranger with a mental illness wandering the streets – but I don’t think they would have known I was praying.

When I got back to my room, I noticed my body relaxed, and my mind was at ease. I was able to sleep soundly for several hours and woke up feeling refreshed. The next day we had a team meeting for prayer and Bible study. It was the start of the best day of the trip – a day where we clearly saw God at work in the world within and around us.

God doesn’t often fight our battles for us. Instead, God gives us the strength and courage to face our battles with confidence and claim the victory for Christ.
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So please visit my friend Tony Roberts new website for some “Spiritual Up Lifting” as he shares his life, his recovery, mental health challenges and LOVE and Encouragement with all who visit there. You can buy his book here on Amazon!
Connect with Tony on Social Media:

Facebook
Twitter

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Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Dual diagnosis in gambling addiction and mental health disorders. Special Guest Post By, Nicola Smith.

As a dually diagnosed person myself, my recovery friends know it has been difficult for me to put into words how it feels to live and maintain my 10+years in recovery from gambling addiction while having mental health challenges.

So I enjoy having special guests here when I can that can write and explain it a “wee bit better” than I can. I welcome Author, Nicola Smith, and special thanks to Maegan Jones of Healthline.com for putting us together!
Catherine Lyon “-)

How to Help Depressed Loved One 2

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is a relatively new concept in the addiction recovery field. Up until the 1990s, people experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder such as anxiety attacks, depressive episodes, delusional behavior or mood swings were often treated separately to people who sought treatment for addiction. In some cases, when conditions overlapped people were required to get clean or sober or overcome their gambling addiction, for example, before they could be treated for mental illnesses.


Mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction


With recent findings that 
substance abuse and addiction are often driven by underlying mental health illnesses, people with a Dual Diagnosis have been unable to get the help they needed in decades’ past. The Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2002 that only 12 percent of the 4 million American adults suffering from a Dual Diagnosis received treatment for both conditions.

Patients with a Dual Diagnosis are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. The most common mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction are depression and anxiety, as outlined by Dr. Jon Grant — Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder. Symptoms of being impulsive and risky are also seen in those with gambling addictions, according to Dr. Grant.


Mental illnesses that often co-occur with gambling addiction include depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. In cases of people addicted to gambling who also experience depression or anxiety, the hope of fun that rolling the dice or spin of a slot machine can make depression and anxiety worse over time.


A recent survey of more than 43,000 Americans found, that 76 percent of people with a gambling addiction suffered from depression while 16 to 40 percent experienced lifetime anxiety. Also within the group, 24 percent had a 
lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder and 20 percent had symptoms of lifetime prevalence of ADHD.

Which occurs first?

The finding that many people with gambling addictions also have other mental health conditions has raised questions among healthcare professionals — which occurs first? Is it that pathological gambling occurs as a result of a person experiencing another condition and turning to gambling for an escape? Or, could a person suffer financial and relationship problems due to excessive gambling consequently developing depression?

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A recent study of 10,000 Americans found that gambling addiction occurred before the onset of another disorder 25 percent of the time while a gambling disorder occurred after another disorder was already present 75 percent of the time. Although further studies are needed to clearly determine the order between gambling addiction and co-occurring mental health illness, the connection between the two indicates that Dual Diagnosis treatment is one of the most effective approaches to recovery by treating addiction and mental health illnesses concurrently.

How does treatment work?


Dual Diagnosis treatment involves a combination of the most effective treatments for mental health illnesses and addiction. Where there once would have been a line drawn between mental health and addiction, these conditions are now treated as part of a continuum. With the recent rise in Dual Diagnosis treatment, healthcare professionals who work in addiction treatment can now undertake training and certification in the treatment of co-occurring mental health illnesses. Dedicated facilities are now also offering recovery services specializing in treatment for Dual Diagnosis people.

Treatments such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support for Dual Diagnosis patients with an addiction to gambling and mental health illnesses recognize and treat the person’s addictions and illnesses with a continuum focus, putting them in a better position to make a full and long lasting recovery.

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Helpful and Informative Resources:

An Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders, 2015, Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA), https://newsletter.samhsa.gov/2015/03/03/


Dual Diagnosis Treatment, 2017,
DualDiagnosos.org,
http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/dual-diagnosis-treatment/


Kessler RC, Hwang I, LaBrie R, et al. DSM-IV pathological gambling in the National Comorbidity 
Survey Replication. Psychol Med. 2008;38(9):1351–60.

Petry NM, Stinson FS, Grant BF. Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;66(5):564–74.


Recent Facts and Statistics on Dual Diagnosis, 2017,
Michael’s House, http://www.michaelshouse.com/dual-diagnosis/facts-statistics/


Roads to Recovery from Gambling Addiction, Volume 2, 2019,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/


What Clinicians need to know about Gambling Disorders, Volume 7, 2012,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/
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About The Author:

With a keen interest in holistic health and wellness, Nicola Smith works with heart-centred female entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, providing copy that engages to help grow their businesses. Her goal is to help women increase their impact on the world, build the business of their dreams, and inspire others to simplify their lives, pack a suitcase and book a ticket to somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit or live. You can also follow her adventures and join her FB Group on Instagram @luggagelifestyle