An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?

An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?

This is a very informative article
as many of us maintaining recovery are always looking for more “openness and enlightening” ways to keep us from not only ‘Relapse’ but looking to stay moving forward in recovery and a deeper meaning of happiness and fulfillment to true serenity in our lives from addiction.

I myself have started a new book that just may help you get it! It was written by one of the few living Zen Masters, Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi of today and his pupil and Author, Clifford Stevens so at the end of this post I will share this new book release with you titled; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness and Highly Suggest it!


The Fix – Guest Article By Elizabeth Brico 02/21/18

“Mindfulness meditation teaches people how to accept suffering as a normal, cohesive experience, and then move on from it.”

Relapse has always been a harsh reality of addiction, but as the opioid black market fills with powerful synthetics, relapse on heroin and similar drugs grows increasingly dangerous. Fatal overdoses nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016—the majority of which are attributed to opioid-based drugs.

We are bombarded daily with news headlines—some factual, some fictitious—announcing the newest therapy, or the latest hysteria-provoking scare (does death by fentanyl dust at the grocery store sound familiar?) as we scramble to unearth an affordable and effective way to curb the tragic rise in overdose deaths. Advocates wage vicious wars using news stories and social media, trying to figure out what treatment works best; what will finally fix it?

What if one of the most promising treatments to help prevent relapse has not only already existed for thousands of years, but is free and available to anyone?

Although research is still young, several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may prevent relapse by helping people in recovery acclimate to the idea of stress as a normal experience that can be handled without the aid of substances. Opioid addiction is especially problematic because these powerful drugs actually change the way the human brain functions. Prolonged opioid use damages the pleasure-reward system and alters the way we experience both pleasure and pain.

Opioid agonist medicines like methadone and buprenorphine are often used to help mitigate these brain changes, either for the short or long-term, but Derek Alan Crain, the Executive Director for Mindful Therapy Group based out of Seattle, Washington, thinks that mindfulness meditation can be an incredibly useful tool in concert with other evidence-based treatments.

“With mindfulness, you’re teaching patients how to tune into their feelings; you’re teaching them how to suffer,” says Crain.

The idea of teaching people in recovery from addiction how to suffer may sound counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t addiction pretty much just a ton of suffering? But when a mindfulness practitioner like Crain talks about teaching people “how to suffer,” he means providing the tools and space that will allow us to accept personal suffering as a normal, cohesive experience and then move on from it. It’s true that people with substance use disorders suffer a lot. Addiction is a vicious, complicated cycle that often reinforces itself by generating more suffering which we try to escape by using or drinking. Viewed in that light, teaching someone in recovery how to suffer makes a lot of sense.


Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves accepting experiences without judgment, including negative experiences. Rather than aiming to empty the mind or think nothing, as in other types of meditation, mindfulness asks only that the practitioner resists valuing certain thoughts and feelings over others. So, if a person is engaging in mindfulness meditation and finds herself worrying about that fight she just had with her spouse, instead of pushing that anxiety away, she would honor it.

Mindfulness asks that she recognize that the thought is there and that it’s uncomfortable, but she doesn’t quantify the experience—she doesn’t try to fix it. She can ask it to pass but she doesn’t force it away. Eventually, if someone practices this enough, she starts to understand the inherent transience of emotional states. This is very useful for people in recovery from addictions because it allows them to understand their suffering as something with an end. It also helps them to develop patience and perspective, two qualities that are often overridden by an addiction.

Ashley and Jaime are both in outpatient treatment for opioid addiction. Ashley had been using prescription opiate painkillers to mask childhood trauma for a number of years, and Jaime was addicted to heroin and pills for nearly three decades. Now, they both use medication-assisted treatment (buprenorphine), peer support, and individual counseling, but each expressed that the addition of mindfulness meditation helped prevent them from relapsing.

Jaime tells The Fix that he meditates for about 10-20 minutes each morning, using his breath as the anchor of his focus. Ashley reports that she engages in mindfulness meditation three times a week for about an hour each session—though she admits it took six months to work up from a few minutes at a time.

“I don’t think about using drugs nearly as much as I used to,” Ashley admits. “I’m more patient and more positive,” she says with a wry chuckle. “A lot of my addiction was unresolved issues I didn’t want to feel or think about. Now I’ve learned how to process them instead of getting high.”

Ashley is well-dressed, with clear skin and a posture relaxed almost to the point of ambivalence. The only visible cue to the traumatic history she discloses to The Fix is her flat affect and a slight unmeasurable distance in her eyes. Beyond that, she looks like any other middle-class young white woman. She admits that before she integrated regular meditation into her recovery, she struggled with frequent relapses. Although buprenorphine reduces the drug cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of opioids, people with trauma histories—like both Ashley and Jaime—may still have problems with frequent relapses when triggered.

Bessel van der Kolk, a Boston-based psychiatrist who has devoted his career to the study and treatment of trauma, says that “[trauma] lies in your body, so when you start taking drugs, you feel calmer. When you stop taking drugs, you have a dual issue: one is the withdrawal from the drug, the second is that you’re dealing with pain and trauma that’s still in the body.”



While medication-assisted treatments like methadone and buprenorphine have been proven effective at reducing cravings and correcting some brain changes likely attributed to drug use, they don’t target traumatic responses. That’s where mindfulness comes in.

Van der Kolk says that current addiction programs in the United States tend to ignore the curative effects of becoming re-connected with one’s body. He says we need more “programs where people become familiar with their bodies. Self-regulating their bodies should be the focus of treatment because it’s bodies [that] are stuck.”

Jaime, who could easily blend in with any group of average middle-aged men, echoes Ashley. “Meditation minimizes my [drug] use thoughts. It helps me realize when I’m trying to justify doing a shot of heroin or something.” He speaks with the plain, unapologetic candor of someone who has long accepted his identity as someone with an addiction, a quality often mirrored in followers of the 12-steps; a group to which Jaime proudly belongs.

He adds, “It helps with my anxiety too—I’m not as fidgety. I’m more in tune with myself and the world around me.”

Finding something relatively simple and freely accessible that can deter relapse is no laughing matter. While it’s impossible to know for certain how many of the 42,000 opioid overdose deaths reported in 2016 can be attributed to a relapse, it is well established that using opioids after a period of abstinence can be fatal. For people on opioid agonist medications, like Ashley and Jaime, attempting to overcome the blocking effects of the treatments can also lead to a fatal overdose.

Even without the risk of death, relapse can be an emotionally debilitating experience that leads some users to discontinue treatment altogether. Most of our current treatments focus on detoxification or acute stabilization, but relapse prevention is just as important—and a recovery practice that can function as well 10 weeks into recovery as it does after 10 years could be a vital piece of the puzzle.

Crain believes that another reason meditation helps with relapse prevention—in addition to its role in repairing maladaptive stress responses—is that it encourages an intimacy with the self.

Results from some rat studies imply that social isolation plays a role in addiction. Rats who were isolated and kept in cages demonstrated more addictive behaviors than those that were housed in a social environment. The phenomenon was also observed in Vietnam vets; a large number of soldiers became addicted to heroin while overseas, but a disproportionately high number of them discontinued use when they returned home to their communities. These studies have led specialists to speculate a social component to addiction.

Crain thinks that meditation helps people in recovery fall in love with themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives. This self-intimacy, and the concurrent production of oxytocin, colloquially called the “love hormone,” helps people integrate and bond with their social communities, which is an important aspect of addiction recovery.

Meditation is not a magical cure for addiction. Although a mindfulness meditation practice can help reform and strengthen opioid-damaged neuropathways so that they are better able to respond to stress, mindfulness alone can’t treat acute addiction or prevent someone from experiencing withdrawal. It can, however, be a powerful tool against relapse.

And lastly, as Crain says, “An addict has been hiding from suffering his whole life. With meditation, you’re embracing that suffering. You’re normalizing it.”


SO as I close, I highly suggest this new book; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness that I am finishing for my recovery as being in long-term sobriety means continuing to learn and grow to a healthy and happy full life. We all are “works in progress” from addiction, being armed new education on the many ways to live a well-balanced and happy life is the way to go!


About The Book:

Find the Seeker! by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi and his pupil, Zen teacher Clifford Stevens, takes us on an inner pilgrimage, compassionately picking us up where we are, whether beginners or longstanding seekers. Based on the wisdom and profound, first-hand experience of a modern-day Master as well as the teachings of enlightened ones throughout the ages, the book reboots our spiritual search in order to renew our limiting, thought-driven, and ego-dominated lives. Focusing on the spiritual dimension underlying Existence which all of us share, the book addresses people of all faiths who suffer, are unhappy and seek to lead more fulfilling lives.

“Find the Seeker!” is not a wishy-washy, feel-good book offering a quick fix or esoteric porridge or pandering to those who want a spiritual baby rattle to rely on. Instead, it serves as a traveling companion and guide, enticing readers with the vision of what we really are – Absolute, eternal and unconditional Being, whole and divine – which can only be directly experienced and embodied. It serves as a powerful wake-up call for those who mistakenly believe in their being separate from the Oneness and living in a state of duality, reminding us that the Kingdom of God is really within us.

Although written by one of the few living Zen Masters and using some Zen stories, the focus is not on explaining Zen, its tenets or history. The book is in stark contrast to the majority of books which indulge in superficial descriptions or sayings and provide seemingly “precise” instructions, lists of goals or steps to take which trap us into continuing our dependency on intermediaries and religious institutions or our self-delusion of being less than we really are. Instead, accompanying the authors along the age-old pathless path we have always been on, we are called upon to empty ourselves and “drop” all our preconceptions and expectations and the limited “self” which thinks it has a life of its own, as well as the heavy backpack with all our experiences and learnings.

The book holds up a mirror to our worldly existence, suffering and the intricate workings of the ego, which entraps us in the never-ending soap opera and roller coaster of life’s ups and downs. We are led to live mindfully in the here-now, delve more deeply into ourselves and to be Self-reliant – enabling our inner guru to unfold our true nature so that we can abide in the one Self. In this way seekers become finders, and we can become the Oneness we already are, enjoying the vibrant bliss and lightness of Being that is inherently ours.

The book not only appeals to people interested in Zen but spiritual seekers and people of all faiths and confessions, especially those who suffer, are unhappy, and still have unanswered questions about spirituality, God, and life. As a result, it targets readers searching for books on personal development, body, mind, and spirit, self-help, spirituality and religion, Buddhism, Zen or finding happiness, especially those recovering from addictions. Please visit their website and blog for helpful information and “Weekly Wisdom” at “Find The Seeker – Weekly Wisdom.”




New Years Eve Advice To Keep Your Sobriety In Tact! Holiday Guest Article By Sober Recovery. Com and By Toshia Humphries…

New Years Eve Advice To Keep Your Sobriety In Tact! Holiday Guest Article By Sober Recovery. Com and By Toshia Humphries…

A Recovery Checklist For Ringing in the New Year. By Toshia Humphries

Active addiction can be a frightening reality for everyone, including family, friends, significant others and, of course, the addicted individual. Unfortunately, simply checking into a treatment facility and getting sober doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe from the active components of the disease for good.

The scary truth is that relapse is always a possibility. For this reason, it is necessary to know what to do if this is your experience. After all, with active addiction, even one relapse can lead to a deadly occurrence. 

That is why while the clock is winding down to the end of another year, it may be a good time to create a recovery checklist in order to prepare for the year ahead.

Here is a list of things you can do in order to keep yourself on track.

1. Review your recovery program.

Make a list of all the steps you are taking in your personal recovery program. In other words, notate any meetings you attend, therapists you see, life/recovery coaches you work with, your spiritual processes, etc. This will give you a good idea of exactly what is or is not needed in addition to what steps you’re currently taking.

Though relapse doesn’t always mean you are not getting the help you need or doing adequate work, it is certainly a red flag to consider the possibility that something is missing from your recovery program.

2. Determine what’s missing.

Once you have completed the review of your individual recovery program, it’s time to determine what’s missing. If you don’t know exactly what might be missing from your recovery program, simply ask yourself if you are addressing all the issues on a holistic basis. In other words, are you dealing with the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual components of the disease? And are you addressing yourself on the same basis?

Many times, recovering individuals do not adequately benefit from formal treatment and Twelve-Step or other recovery meetings alone. These things typically only serve to address acute physical and psychological symptoms of the disease. So, if this is all you currently do, it may be necessary to consider adding in other, more personal steps including counseling, life/recovery coaching, spiritual components, etc.

3. Make sure your recovery is holistic.

Because addiction is a holistic disease—affecting the body, mind, and spirit—your recovery program should be holistic as well. Take steps to address the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual effects of the disease. Leaving any part of you unattended will make you more vulnerable to relapse.


4. Deal with the root cause.

Though addiction is a disease, it is actually an acute symptom of a much bigger issue. Often times, the root cause is either a physical or psychological issue in which someone is self-medicating a disorder, or an emotional or spiritual issue such as trauma, abuse, or abandonment.

Of course, neither scenario is comfortable to face. In fact, the idea of revisiting trauma or being diagnosed with and properly treated for a disorder can insight fear in many. However, ignoring these issues means you’re only setting yourself up for repeated relapse.

As the year comes to a close, make it a priority to assess your recovery, patch up any holes in your recovery plan, and strengthen yourself in your journey. Look within yourself and ensure the root causes that brought you to addiction are being dealt with and that you’ve efficiently covered all your bases. This is how you set yourself up for another sober year ahead.


For more articles, help, and resources, please visit Sober Recovery Today!


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

By Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ “Keys to Recovery Newspaper”


group at holiday dinner table


“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 


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!



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

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time the problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be “normal” like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.



I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!




Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???


I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!



Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

A Recovery Blog Share From My Friends At & Written By, Lindsay Kramer. . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,


I have a lot of wonderful recovery supporters in my corner. Many who come from my interacting with many through social media where I try to spread a little HOPE to those reaching out to recover from addicted gambling, and many other addictions. If you have been in longer term recovery, then you learn that it is not about the type of addiction you maybe recovering from, but more about the habits and behaviors we seem to rely and learn deep within our addiction.

So part of our recovery work is to learn to correct those negative habits and behavioral problems that we seem to use as maybe a coping skill or escape from many types of feelings that we experience within our addiction. Like, shame, guilt, denial, remorse and so many more.

So a good friend of mine, Laura, from a great recovery website that is a must visit for awesome recovery resources and information, and great articles, has  shared a link with me of an article written by, “Lindsay Kramer.”

It hits on a lot of important issues learning to recover from addiction with less chaos & drama.  So I wanted to share it with my recovery readers as we may see ourselves within this piece. Chaos we know can be a source of relapse.
So give it a read and would love for you to share you thoughts in the comment section. And remember friends,
ODAAT! . . .

Are You Addicted To Chaos?

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“I get uncomfortable when everything is going well in my relationship. That’s not normal to me; normal is boring and I don’t know how to be in relationships that are like that. I continually seek out drama because that’s what I know how to handle.” Such is a common sentiment expressed by patients struggling with relational components of their chaotic lives.

A Must In recovery!
Working in an inpatient treatment setting, I find my patients constantly resisting letting go of the chaos and dysfunction that was part of their lives during their active addiction. They may be immersed in interpersonal conflict over which residents are not cleaning up after themselves, loudly arguing with their spouses on the phone, or perseverating on the outside stressors requiring management once they complete treatment. Some patients are able to maintain a strong focus on gratitude and peace within their newfound recoveries, but others can’t seem to find a way out of the eye of the storm and seemingly replace one chaotic situation for another. I used to question why the latter demographic would actively invite tension into their treatment until I better understood the nature of their overall addiction.

“I believe that addiction – to anything – is just the tip of the iceberg within a person’s life.” -Lindsay Kramer

I believe that addiction – to anything – is just the tip of the iceberg within a person’s life. The addiction pokes its head out of the surface of the water, but underneath are many layers of unresolved conflict and trauma that the addiction is hiding below the surface. Furthermore, the addiction serves as a maladaptive tool to manage anxiety that is derived from the other layers of unresolved dysfunction. When addicts first become sober, two things can happen: the addict experiences much anxiety over the heightened awareness of exactly how big their “iceberg” really is, and there is a gravitational pull toward continuing to surround themselves with any chaos and drama that is available as means to manage that anxiety.

Many addicts have been raised in environments saturated with intergenerational addiction, abuse, and mental illness. Within these environments, chaos is as normal as cereal and cartoons on Saturday mornings. Whether it is constant yelling and screaming, children coming home from school to find their caregiver(s) severely under the influence and in need of a caregiver themselves, or people coming and going in rotating-door fashion, chaos and dysfunction can cause much trauma. Continuous chaos can also be normalized over time as home environments with these characteristics come to solidify themselves as predictably unpredictable.

A person being raised in an environment of these characteristics also learns how to control the chaos so that it can become manageable and functional within their lives (the notion of “control” is a prominent factor in this regard). Moving forward in life, that individual’s viewpoint of the world is altered in accommodation of dysfunction and their “wires” become crossed: what is chaotic is viewed as normal, and what is supposed to be normal becomes chaotic and overwhelming within their perspective. They may further create chaos out of everyday situations to be able to manage their lives as they had been accustomed to already doing.

. . .what is chaotic is viewed as normal, and what is supposed to be normal becomes chaotic and overwhelming within their perspective.  -Lindsay Kramer


This leads to the question, “can one become addicted to chaos?”

First of all, an easy way to determine if a behavior is problematic is when it begins to impact an individual’s daily functioning. If a person is so consumed by engagement in a behavior that it impacts their ability to eat, sleep, and bathe regularly; the quality of their relationships; their finances and/or employment; or any other factor that is embodied in the normalcy of a person’s life, we might need to take a close look at how to manage that behavior. Furthermore, when the individual continues to engage in that behavior despite the growing consequences and possesses a compulsive craving for participating in this behavior, we are entering the realm of what we know as “addiction.” (For a comprehensive scope of addiction, refer here.)

When an individual continues to gravitate toward that which is chaotic to the point of their functioning being impacted, they may perpetually engage in behaviors that are distressing, traumatic, and promote overall dysfunction. They may do this despite the consequences resulting from these behaviors, and the process can also certainly impact their interpersonal relationships.

That all being said, a person can become addicted to chaos just as others become addicted to vodka or shopping. The concept of “chaos” may be more difficult to pinpoint due to its abstract and qualitative nature, however, but the addictive pattern it demonstrates can be similar to any other commonly known addictive behavior. In fact, an “addiction to chaos” may be underlying a diagnosable addiction to a substance (such as), because that substance is arguably the coping mechanism used to maladaptively manage the gravitation toward what is chaotic and dysfunctional.

How does one manage an addiction to chaos?


  • Start with a professional.

There needs to be an awareness of this gravitation toward addiction first and foremost. If you, the reader, resonate with the concepts outlined above, I very much encourage you to speak to a mental health provider about the nature and patterns of your behaviors for further assessment and evaluation. As I am cognizant of this concept being much larger than what I am capable of addressing within this article, any diagnosis or treatment is best left to a clinician that is able to guide and support you through this journey of treatment for your symptomatology.

  • Learn how to manage anxiety.

If you are early in recovery, understand that anxiety is typical within this process. Remember that addiction is serving the purpose of managing anxiety, and when a person discontinues their addictive behaviors, that anxiety rears its ugly head again. Furthermore, one might seek out chaos to manage the discomfort that comes with the new normal recovery brings. If you have been conditioned to anticipate chaos in the environment a la “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” you may spearhead similar behaviors as means to feel that you are in control of your continually dysfunctional environment. Unfortunately, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you are still caught in the vicious cycle of using chaos to manage unresolved anxiety that was originally derived from the chaos.

For the person accustomed to anxiety, there is a fear in the calm, as it is unknown and foreign. This is where learning how to sit with this calm, accepting it as being safe, and managing any resulting anxiety is key. The more you practice this, the more you are empowering yourself by reinforcing that calm is healthy and that engagement in chaos will only perpetuate the anxiety you wished to avoid in the first place.

  • Identify the contributing factors associated with chaos.

Identify the relationships, environments, and circumstances that are contributing to the overall chaos. Determine your desire to change these factors, and also understand how and when you are likely to engage in these patterns. Remember that you may not be able to create immediate change in these areas (i.e. you may not be able to suddenly quit a job that is contributing to your life’s chaos), but identifying your goals in changing these patterns opens the door to setting a plan for change. Furthermore, you may not desire to end a relationship that is chaotic, but it is still important to understand the dysfunctional patterns embedded in this relationship that requires change. Understand when you are prone to seek chaos (the HALT acronym is a helpful tool to increase awareness), and develop a plan for how you will combat the tendency to immerse yourself in chaos as means to cope with other unresolved problems. 

  • Treat engagement in chaotic behaviors the same as you would a relapse.

If we are looking at chaos through the lens of addiction, why should we look at treatment of chaos in any other way? For instance, if you are sober from alcohol but continue to seek out and initiate arguments with your significant other, you are inherently exchanging one addictive behavior with another. In setting and initiating a relapse prevention plan from a substance, incorporate preventing chaos into this plan and treat it with the same level of severity that you would any other relapse. As chaos can precede or follow substance use itself, it’s necessary to use chaos as a marker for relapse behaviors associated with that use.

  • Set your boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate within your recovery.

Determine your bottom line in regard to what dysfunction you will and won’t allow within your life. When we determine our bottom lines, we are provided with a pathway for the boundaries we want to set to protect and support those bottom lines. If your bottom line is that you will not allow someone to affect your mood by their fixation on drama, it’s best not to allow them to share yet another story with you about an interpersonal conflict they are having. Redirect them or leave the conversation. This also takes practice, but identifying your bottom line is the first step in applying the boundaries need to use in order to protect your overall recovery.

And Lastly:
Remember that recovery is a journey and not a destination. It evolves, much becomes uncovered over time, and the recovered don’t conquer everything all at once. Embrace the newfound calm within this recovery process and practice patience as you strive to create your healthier new normal.


About Author, Lindsay Kramer:

Lindsay Kramer
With over seven years of experience treating the chemically-dependent population of San Diego, Lindsay Kramer is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) that brings expertise, compassion, and perpetually-evolving insight into her work at Caroline Stewart and Associates. Lindsay graduated from the University of San Diego with her Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy 2008, but began her work with families and their children in 2004 by providing parent education and social skills groups to hundreds of families in San Bernardino country.
*Stop by and read her full Author Profile and Visit here:


A little About Recovery. org:
Our mission at is to connect people and their families with the information and resources to help them recover from substance abuse and behavioral disorders. We are a private resource and do not receive funding from any state or government programs, working instead with some of the country’s most respected treatment organizations who support and sponsor our efforts. We are real people who have had experience with addiction and recovery—some of us firsthand, with others having seen the havoc it can wreak on family and friends. We have come out of the other side stronger for it, and firmly believing that recovery is possible for everyone. There is no tried-and-true formula that works for every person, and we will all take different paths. Still, we believe that recovery is absolutely possible, and that it should be placed within reach of anyone and everyone who wishes to get better.

I Thank both Laura and Lindsay for letting me share a little of what they do to help others in recovery from addiction.
Thanks so much friends for coming to visit!


Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 🙂


“And The Oscar Went To? Relapse Prevention Part 2”

Hello Recovery Friends And Welcome New Friends!

Well, since my name never got called for a “Golden Naked Man Statue,” I suppose we should get to my 2nd part of my post  about “RELAPSE PREVENTION”…..

Now I know many may think, WHY is she doing all this? I’ll tell you why. I shared in my book about “WHY” I started writing again to begin with. It was a newspaper story I read about a woman at an “Indian Casino Hotel.” She had a room there and must have had a very bad Relapse or Slip, because she shot herself with a shotgun in her room. There was a note left, but police only disclosed a part of the note, “and please tell my family I’m sorry, I had relapsed and could not stop my gambling.”
When I read that, a tear came down my cheek, as I could feel that woman’s pain. I knew exactly how she felt when she pulled that trigger. It’s because I almost was her, and could have been her! So I swore I would do all I could to help others who suffer, and who are stuck on the” INSANE CYCLE” of compulsive addicted gambling. NOT one more person should ever feel that “SUICIDE” is the only “OPTION” to quit your addicted gambling. I’m tired of all the loss of precious LIFE from Suicide from ALL TYPES of ADDICTIONS.


So get your tool box out and a notepad for PART 2 of Relapse Prevention….
I happen to read an article about Addiction & The Brain. There is a little part that I’ll share here, because it explains how the brain gets involved in the confusion of addicts and addictions….”Courtesy from Which is a fantastic resource for Gambling Addiction help and information, “Arizona Council Of Compulsive Gambling.”
“Individuals who are more biologically at risk for addiction are likely to have a neurobiological basis for deficits in experiencing pleasure, reward and satisfaction. Additionally, they are more likely to be emotionally unstable and impulsive, or experience either over- or under-arousal. Addictive substances and behaviors act in some ways to “fix” such neurobiological risk factors. However, the addictive “cure” only serves to intensify the problem, by further aggravating the underlying biological problems.
Taken alone, this discussion of addiction in relation to the biology of the brain probably seems disheartening. But the mind is a component of the addiction equation, as well, and next month I’ll discuss tools for reducing our subservience to the brain’s neurotransmitter systems.

However, it is important to recognize that medication helps the brain to function. While this may aid an individual to better utilize the mind, medication does not necessarily “heal” the mind or, by itself, stop addictive behavior. Ideally, the mind will be used to make healthy choices, not choosing to seek escape, euphoria, or relief via the quick fix of our  addiction.  However, we can change the chemistry of our brains through activities such as relaxation, prayer, meditation, eating mindfully, exercising and such. When you take a few minutes to breathe deeply and slowly, your brain chemistry automatically changes, your brain waves change.
One example is, when a compulsive gambler is gambling she or he changes the brain in the same way, since many gamblers report that gambling relaxes them. While this may seem true on the surface, gambling and other addictive behaviors only provide the illusion of providing this type of relief. If we took a brain image of someone who was gambling and compared it to someone who was meditating, we would have vastly different pictures.”…..
*This to me was fascinating. The brain is very complex, and I know a few of my mental disorders are a direct effect from my brain being over used or not enough chemicals in other area’s of my brain. And Yes, medication does help me, A LOT. So, now we have learned a little about the addicted brain, and my last post we talked about FEELINGS, and making a plan to prevent Relapse, and to USE the “Skills & Tools” we learn to cope with “urges, triggers, and everyday life. Here is the next area you need to explore to help keep you safe, and part of your relapse plan,*
IN EARLY RECOVERY YOU NEED TO:~ (Use the list of 37 Warning Signs in Part 1)
Here a just a few… 

1. Apprehension about well being.
2. Denial
3. Adamant commitment to stop gambling.
4. Compulsive behavior
5. Compulsive attempts to impose abstinence on others.
6. Defensiveness
7. Impulsive behavior.
8. Loneliness
9. Tunnel vision.
10. Minor depression
11. Loss of constructive planning.
12. Plans begin to fail.
13. Idle day dreaming & wishful thinking

WE need to recognize any of the above symptoms, then you need to take action. Make a list of coping skills you can use when you experience a symptom that is common for you. This will happen. You will have problems in recovery. Your task is to take affirmative action at he earliest possible moment. Remember, a symptom is a danger signal. You are in trouble. Make a list on what you are going to do. Are you going to call your sponsor, go to a meeting, call your counselor, call someone in G.A.
Now detail several plans of action.

Plan 1._______________________________________________________
Plan 2._______________________________________________________
Plan 3._______________________________________________________
Plan 4._______________________________________________________
Plan 5._______________________________________________________
You need to check each warning symptom daily in your personal inventory. Also you need to have other people check you daily. You will not always pick up the symptoms yourself. You may be denying the problem again. Your spouse, sponsor, or fellow G.A. member can warn you when he or she feels you may be in trouble. Listen to these people. If they tell you they sense a problem, take action. You may need professional help in working the problem through. Don’t hesitate in calling and asking for help. Anything is better than relapsing. If you overreact to a warning sign you are not going to be in trouble, but if you under-react you may be headed for real trouble. Compulsive gambling is a deadly disease. Your life could be at stake.

The High Risk Situations
It’s been found that relapse is more likely to occur in certain situations. These situations can trigger relapse. They found that people relapsed when they couldn’t cope with life situations except by returning to their addictive behaviors.
Your job is to develop coping skills for dealing with each high-risk situation.
Thirty-five percent of the people who relapse do so when feeling a negative feeling that they can’t cope with. Most felt angry or frustrated, but some felt anxious, bored, lonely or depressed. Almost any negative feeling can lead to relapse if you don’t learn how to cope with the emotion. Feelings motivate you to take action. You must act to solve any problem.
Circle any of the following feelings that seem to lead you to gamble.
*THIS WAS A BIG AREA FOR ME! EMOTIONS SOMETIMES GOT THE BEST OF ME, Disappointments, Arguments with Co-workers, Spouse, Family, Stress from work, WE NEED TO REMEMBER WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER….People, Places, or Things……Or our Gambling Addiction!!*
1. Loneliness
2. Anger
3. Rejection
4. Emptiness
5. Annoyed
6. Sad
7. Exasperated
8. Betrayed
9. Cheated
10. Frustrated
11. Envious
12. Exhausted
13. Bored
14. Anxious
15. Ashamed
16. Bitter
17. Burdened
18. Foolish
19. Jealous
20. Left out

21. Selfish
22. Testy
24. Sorry
25. Greedy
26. Aggravated
27. Expansive
28. Miserable
29. Unloved
30. Worried
31. Scared
32. Spiteful
33. Tearful
34. Helpless
35. Neglected
36. Grief
37. Confused
38. Crushed
39. Discontented
40. Aggravated………………….

Develop A Plan To Deal With Negative Emotions:
These are just a few of the feeling words. Add more if you need to. Develop coping skills for dealing with each feeling that makes you vulnerable to relapse. Exactly what are you going to do when you have this feeling? Detail your SPECIFIC plan of action. Some options are: Talk to my sponsor; call a friend in the program; go to a meeting; ect.. For each feeling, develop a specific plan of action.
Plan 3.______________________________
etc, ect,……
Continue to fill out these feeling forms until you have all the feelings that give you trouble and you have coping skills for dealing with each feeling.
Social Pressure:
Twenty percent of people relapse in a social situation. Social pressure can be direct, where someone directly encourages you to gamble, or it can be indirect, as in a social situation where people are gambling. Both of these situations can trigger intense craving, and this can lead to relapse. For example, over sixty percent of alcoholics relapse in a bar.
Certain friends are more likely to encourage you to gamble. These people don’t want to hurt you. They may want you to relax, and have a good time. They want their old friend back. They don’t understand the nature of your disease. Perhaps they are compulsive gamblers themselves and are in denial.
HIGH RISK FRIENDS: Make a list of friends who might encourage you to gamble.
Make a list of friends who might encourage you to gamble.
What are you going to do when they suggest that you gamble? What are you going to say? Set up a group of G.A. where the whole group encourages you to gamble. Consider carefully how you are feeling when they are encouraging you. Listen to what you say. Have them help you develop appropriate ways to say no.
High-risk Social Situations
Certain social situations will trigger craving. These are the situations where you have gambled in the past. Certain bars or restaurants, a particular part of town, certain music, athletic events, parties, weddings, family get together. All of these situations can trigger intense cravings.
Make a list of five social situations where you will be vulnerable to relapse.

In early recovery, you will need to avoid these situations and friends. To put yourself in a high-risk situation is asking for trouble. If you have to attend a function where there will be gambling, take someone with you who is in the program. Go with someone who will support you in recovery. Make sure that you have a way home. You do not have to stay and torture yourself. You can leave if you feel uncomfortable. Avoid all situations where your recovery feels shaky.


Sixteen percent of people relapse when in conflict with some other person. They have a problem with someone, and they have no idea how to cope with the problem. The stress of the problem builds, and leads to gambling. This conflict usually happens with someone you are closely involved with: wife, husband children, parents, siblings, friends, boss, ect..
You can have a serious problem with anyone, even strangers, so you must have a plan for dealing with interpersonal conflict. You will develop specific skills that will help you communicate, even when you are under stress.
You need to learn and repeatedly practice the following interpersonal skills.
*These Below are VERY Important*….
1. Tell the truth all the time.
2. Share how you feel.
3. Ask for what you want.
4. Find some truth in what other people are saying.
5. Be willing to compromise.
If you can stay in the conflict and work it out, that’s great. But if you can’t, you have to leave the situation and get help. You may have to go for a walk, a run or a drive. You might need to cool down. You must stop the conflict. You can’t continue to try to deal with a situation that you feel is too much for you. Don’t feel bad about this. Interpersonal relationships are the hardest challenges we face. Carry a card with you that list people you can contact. You may want to call your sponsor, minister, counselor, fellow G.A. member, friend, family member, doctor, or anyone else that may support you.
In an interpersonal conflict you will fear abandonment. You need to get accurate and reassure yourself that you have many people who still care about you. Remember that your Higher Power cares about you. God created you and loves you perfectly. Remember the other people in life that love you. This is one of the main reasons for talking to someone else.
When they listen to you, they give you the feeling that you are loved.
If you still feel afraid or angry, get with someone you trust and stay with that person until you feel safe. Do not struggle out there all by yourself! Every member of G.A. will understand how you are feeling. We have all had these kinds of problems. We have all felt lost, helpless, hopeless, and angry.

Make an emergency card that includes all the people you call if you are having difficulty. Write their phone numbers down and carry this card with you at all times. Show this card to your sponsor. Practice asking someone for help in treatment once each day. Write the situation down and show it to another member. Get into the habit of asking for help. Call someone everyday just to stay in touch and keep the lines of communications open. Get use to it. Don’t wait to ask for help at the last-minute, this makes asking more difficult.
*I do have to confess that this part of the relapse process seems a little SCARY, but I have DONE all of this over and over to keep myself safe when I first started my recovery. AND IT WORKS! The more you work your plan you WILL BE successful in your recovery. It’s hard to imagine having to SET boundaries with certain friends, but honestly if these so-called friends do NOT support your HEALTHY CHOICE’S to Support your recovery? then are they really a true friend? I don’t think so. So as hard as it maybe, and I had to do it myself, there were a few friends I had to stop being friends with because they did not support me in recovery. TRUST ME, you WILL make awesome, caring, and true friends in your recovery! This next section of the relapse guide and section is interesting*….|
Of all the times you gambled to celebrate. That has gotten to be such a habit that when something good happens, you will immediately think about gambling. You need to be ready when you feel like a winner. This may be at a wedding, birth, promotion, or any event where you feel good. How are you going to celebrate without gambling? Make a celebration plan. You may have to take someone with you to celebrate, particularly in early recovery.

Positive feelings can also work when you are by yourself. A beautiful spring day can be enough to get you thinking about gambling. You need an action plan for when these thoughts pass through your mind. You must immediately get accurate and get real. In recovery we are committed to reality. Don’t sit there and imagine how wonderful you would feel if you gambled. Tell yourself the truth. Think about the pain that gambling has caused you. If you toy with positive feelings, you will ultimately gamble.
Circle the positive feelings that make you vulnerable to relapse. *Yes, you CAN relapse over excited, happy, Lets Celebrate our good fortune with a few hours of addicted gambling*
1. Affection
2. Bold
3. Brave
4. Calm
5. Capable
6. Boisterous
7. Confident
8. Delightful
9. Desire
10. Enchanted
11. Joy
12. Free
13. Glad
14. Glee
15. Happy
16. Honored
17. Horny
18. Infatuated
19. Inspired
20. Kinky
21. Lazy
22. Loving
23. Peaceful
24. Pleasant
25. Pleased
26. Sexy
27. Wonderful
28. Cool
29. Relaxed
30. Reverent
31. Silly
32. Vivacious
33. Adequate
34. Efficient
35. Successful
36. Accomplished
37. Hopeful
38. Orgasmic
39. Elated
40. Merry
41. Ecstatic
42. Upbeat
43. Splendid
44. Yearning
45. Bliss
46. Excited
47. Exhilarated
48. Proud
49. Aroused
50. Festive
A Plan To Cope With Positive Feeling:

These are the feelings that may make you Vulnerable to relapse. You must be careful when you are feeling good. Make a action plan For dealing with each positive emotion that makes you vulnerable to gambling.
Feeling ________________________________________
Plan 1. ______________________________
Plan 2. ______________________________
Plan 3. ______________________________
Feeling ________________________________________
Plan 1. ______________________________
Plan 2. ______________________________
Plan 3._______________________________
etc, etc,
Continue this planning until you develop an approach for each of the positive feeling that make you vulnerable.
*OK FOLKS……This next statement is VERY TRUE!! In my very early recovery, I kept thinking I could still gamble like A NORMAL PERSON, what ever normal is, and I’d get a few months in thinking, “Man, maybe I can gamble. I know I can control what I’m doing, or how much I spend.” Well, it’s like doing the same thing over and over expecting a Different Result each time, but all I got was more money wasted, more time gone, and got more and more depressed, more Guilt & Shame for what I lost, and closer and closer to the Edge of Suicide!!*

Five percent of the people relapse to test if they can gamble again. They fool themselves into thinking that they may be able to do so normally. This time they will only use a little. This time they will be able to control themselves. People who fool themselves this way are in for big trouble. From the first bet, most people are in full-blown relapse within thirty days.

Testing personal control begins with inaccurate thinking. It takes you back to Step One. You need to think accurately. You are powerless over gambling. If you use, you will lose. It’s as simple as that. You are physiologically, psychologically, and socially addicted to gambling. The cells of your body won’t suddenly change, no matter how long you are clean. You are gambling dependent in your cells. This will never change.
*AS GA TEACHS US….DON’T TEMPT or TEST YOURSELF, Stay out of “Risky” places!*
You need to look at how the illness part of yourself will try and convince you & your thoughts that you are not a problem gambler. The illness will flash on the screen of your consciousness all the good things that gambling did for you. Make a list of these things. In the first column, mark early gambling, Write down some of the good things you were getting out of gambling. Why were you gambling? What good came out of it? Did it make you feel social, smart, pretty, intelligent, brave, popular, desirable, relaxed, sexy? Did it help you sleep? Did it make you feel confident? Did it help you forget problems? Make a long list. These are the good things you were getting when you first started gambling.
Early gambling                    ~                   Late gambling
1.______________________ 1.______________________
2.______________________ 2.______________________
3.______________________ 3.______________________
4.______________________ 4.______________________
5.______________________ 5.______________________
6.______________________ 6.______________________
7.______________________ 7.______________________
8.______________________ 8.______________________
9.______________________ 9.______________________
10._____________________ 10._____________________
Now go back and place in the second column, marked late gambling, how you were doing in that area once you became dependent? How are you doing in that area right before you came into the program? Did you still feel social, or did you feel alone? Did you still feel intelligent, or did you feel stupid? You will find that a great change has taken place. The very things that you were gambling for in the early gambling, you get the opposite of in the late gambling. If you were gambling to be more popular, you felt more isolated and alone. If you were gambling to feel brave, you were feeling more afraid. If you were gambling to feel smart, you felt stupid. This is a major characteristic of compulsive gambling.

Take a long look at both these list and think about how the illness is going to try to work inside your thinking. The addicted part of yourself will present to you all the good things you got in early gambling. This is how the disease will encourage you to gamble. You must see through the first use of negative consequences that are dead ahead.
Look at the second list. You must be able to see the misery that is coming if you gamble. For most people who relapse there are only a few days of controlled gambling, at he most, before lost of control sets in. There are usually only a few days or hours before all the bad stuff begins to click back into place. Relapse is terrible. It is the most intense misery that you can imagine.
And Finally, WHAT is a lapse & relapse?
A lapse is the first bet. This is the first step before a full-blown relapse. A relapse is continuing to gamble until the full biological, psychological, and social disease is present. All of the complex biological, psychological, and social components of the disease become evident very quickly. For now lets call a lapse a slip even though G.A. does not use the word slip….
*So this concludes our PART 2 of *Relapse Prevention Plans. Part 3 will be easy cake, as the guide goes over Behavior chain, slips, and coping with triggers, and options. Then you can put it all together for your own “Daily Prevention Plan for Relapse”!
Mine saved me many times! I still keep it in the back of my mind as a mental FEELING check off list each day. Another helpful thing to do is to start a “Journal or Recovery Diary” as it seems more real when you see all you have been through within your gambling addiction, when it is ON PAPER in black and white. It can really put things in perspective.
And hey, you never know, you just may be able to use those journals later down the road to write your own book about your story. Of course at the time I had no idea my journals would be part of my current book. I’m currently writing 2 more books, and one is the follow-up to my first, “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)
God and my recovery has given me so many blessings these last 7 years in my own life. I became a published author for the 1st time, thanks to all my “Fundraising 2012 & 2013 “Donors, and allowed me to meet many “Wonderful People” in recovery, other recovery writers, bloggers and authors, and many recovery professionals and organizations, and councilors. I have also been blessed to meet many NEW Friends. My recovery is what gave me my “PASSION” for writing back! So in my 2nd book, I am writing “All Things Recovery. What others can do, like the relapse plan you all are learning, and SO much more about recovery from addicted compulsive gambling. And explored & researched the “Why’s” and reasons men gamble differently then women. Part 3 will be posted in a few days. AND DON’T forget to SHARE your thoughts in the Comments!
I hope part 2 has helped many, and make sure you practice! Because we truly are “All A Work In Progress” in Recovery!

God Bless All!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon