About Gambling Addiction and Does Self-Ban From Casinos Work?

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences . . . .

But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!

 

WHAT IS GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Here is what my good friends of the National Council for Problem Gambling  define’s this addiction.

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The essential features are increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family, or even suicide. And again, have no sense or fear of consequences from the destruction they are causing.

Isn’t Problem and Addicted Gambling a Financial Problem?

No. Problem gambling is an emotional problem that has financial consequences. If you pay all of a problem gambler’s debts, the person will still be a problem gambler. The real problem is that they have an uncontrollable obsession with gambling. But, in order to recover, the gambler needs to be willing to accept and surrender to the fact that he or she is in the grip of a progressive illness and has a desire to get well and stop gambling.


Isn’t Problem Gambling Really the Result of weak or financially irresponsible people?

No. Many people who develop problems have been viewed as responsible and strong by those who care about them. Precipitating factors often lead to a change in behavior, such as retirement or job-related stress.

The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Some problem gamblers do not have financial issues even though they may lose money gambling. Gambling is an emotional issue where a person feels the need to gamble to alleviate stress or because they feel a certain type of euphoria when they gamble. Gambling is an obsession that can take over your life if you let it go too far, this can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.


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For me, gambling became a way for me to cope, escape, and numb old feelings that came back to haunt me of what I went through as a little girl in my early childhood, then into a teen and on into adulthood. And even though 12-Step programs and support tell us we can arrest the addiction and recover, I myself disagree from a “treatment” standpoint. In order for me to reach full recovery, I had to process all the “old” in a healthy manner of all the uderlying issues before I was able to grasp a well-balanced recovery and make it into long-term recovery.

As I am a firm believer in doing the “inner work” within ourselves is just as important as learning the skills, tools, and being educated about the disease. So I do 12-step meetings, but I do them for support and to be with others who understand this addiction and be of service to others.

IF you think you have a gambling problem? I always suggest to people that a great place to start is to stop by  Gamblers Anonymous ~ 20 Questions and answer HONESTLY their 20 Questions and it will give you a good view if you have a problem and need help.

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Now About Self-Banning or Self Exclusion: What Is This?

Now keep in mind, each STATE in the US may have their own rules and policies about this option to help someone stop gambling and harm. So for an example, I currently live in the State of Arizona so I will share this STATE’S options as there as Indian Tribe Casinos all over this state, so people have many options and ACCESS to GAMBLE.

Here is what my friends at Arizona Dept. of Problem Gambling say about  Self Ban:

Self-Exclusion or Self-Ban is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all Indian Gaming Facilities within the State of Arizona and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses, and the use of any of the services or privileges of the facility.  You can choose either a one-year, five-year, or ten-year exclusion.  This exclusion is irrevocable and cannot be altered or rescinded for any reason during the selected time period on the form.

How Do I Exclude Myself?

There are a number of ways you can go about excluding yourself. You can download the exclusion form found on this site, fill it out, have it notarized and mail it to the Department of Gaming along with a current photo of yourself. Please note: The self-exclusion will not be processed without proper notarization and a current photo. We can accept the photo electronically via email but we must have the original, notarized self-exclusion form sent to this office.

You may also come to the office to complete the entire self-exclusion process which includes meeting with the self-exclusion administrator who will discuss the program, notarize the form and take your photo as well as give you additional resources for problem gambling.

Please click on the FAQ link to the right for more information.  Questions & Answers on Self Ban  . . . .

Many casinos and states are also trying to help by offering these additional Ban Services as well:

The self-exclusion procedures and the self-exclusion forms are in a PDF format. To obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.

Download a copy of: Self-Exclusion Procedures; Self-Exclusion Form

BAN YOURSELF FROM USING ATMS AT MANY CASINOS

The Everi STeP program allows you to exclude yourself from using ATMs at over 1000 gambling locations.

Automated Systems America, Inc. (ASAI) can also assist in blocking ATM transactions in some Arizona casinos.

BAN YOURSELF FROM INTERNET GAMBLING

Gamblock prevents access to internet gambling sites.

Please make sure you visit their Q&A Facts page about more questions of Self Ban and Exclusion, you will find it Helpful….

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The Interesting and Comical Side of Gambling and Self-Ban:

Now, of course, I will KEEP in perspective that gambling is something many people do from time to time. But for others, it becomes an obsession, and they risk losing their livelihoods and much more because of the affliction, THAT IS NOT Funny.

But I have been sitting in the rooms of AA and Gamblers Anonymous a long time, and also when I was in treatment twice in our weekly group meetings. I can tell you I heard all sorts of stories about others who did try the self-ban from casinos. Now I never had the nerve to self-ban from the only Indian Casino 41 miles North of my home in So. Oregon where I lived at the time of my deep gambling addiction. But I have heard many stories from other women who did.

Needless to say, many told of them disguising themselves with make-up, wigs, sun glass’s and the like to hide their identity from the guards. and praying they didn’t hit a BIG jackpot for an attendant to have to come and pay them out or they would be Kicked Out! To me? That is living on the far off the edge! BUT? “If you want something bad enough?” ….

I have had many stories through the years of good and bad about self-banning, but here is a place and website I came across with stories that are both Postive and Negatives of gamblers who self-banned and gambled anyway on Psych Forums-Gamblers Banned I think you need to read. Here is one person’s experience:

“In the US it doesn’t work well. My wife signed the self-exclusion in all local casinos but she is able to play in all of them. One time she was playing, I told security that how come they let her plays when she signed self-exclusion, they immediately kicked her out. But casinos are businesses, and none of them will say no to FREE money. There is no real penalty for letting people who self-excluded play so why should they enforce it? I was considering suing them but all lawyers I contacted said that I can’t win.”

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I hope you have found this to be helpful information and informative. I know I have never written and shared much on Self-Banning and I find it interesting. I think for my own addiction, it most likely would NOT have helped me as I am a type of person that would find another way to “Get What I Wany.”  And self-ban could just backfire as of some other horrific stories I heard as in the rooms as well. Having access to NO MONEY to a gambler can make them turn to criminal acts. Yes, I heard some stories about this as well.

And this I DO have my own personal experience as I wrote about it in my current book, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” And part of my title of my Memoir: “Confessions” was my way of taking accountability and ownership of the poor choices I made and the people I had hurt when I was gambling and deep within my disease.

We are only “as sick as our SECRETS” so I wrote and shared most all of what I’d DONE in a public forum within my book to hopefully help others and may they learn just far this cunning, sick and progressive addiction will take you! Here are some signs to look for if you suspect a loved one may have a gambling problem. Visit my friend’s page at  Addictions.com for more information and helpful treatment and support options …

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Any addiction causes highs and lows in a person, and gambling addiction is no exception. According to the NLM, here are some psychological signs of gambling addiction:

  • “Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting”
  • Feeling guilty for spending time away from your family or hurting them, but not quitting
  • “Always thinking about gambling”
  • Believing that gambling is not a problem for you, or avoiding thinking about how much time and money you actually spend on gambling

Gambling addiction does become a compulsion, and it is easier not to think about it than it is to soberly consider the repercussions of gambling on your life. Addictions.com

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**Presented by Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author of  “Addicted To Dimes” **

 

Recovery Guest Blog & Article Spotlight. Marilyn Davis of ‘From Addict 2 Advocate’ & Article By, Carl Towns.

Note from  of  Addict 2 Advocate:  I’m always excited to bring another voice to From Addict 2 Advocate. Carl Towns discusses his struggles with gambling addiction and offers straightforward information, his experience with gambling, and some solutions.

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Gambling Addiction: When Rewards Stop Working

Gambling is one of those attractions that are present in everyday life – the football pool at the office, betting on a presidential race, wagering a dollar on the weather, bingo at the senior citizen center. We might even get a scratch-off with our change from the convenience store, and most people turn a blind eye to these kinds of gambling.

However, the rewards for these seemingly innocuous chance games is what can fuel a gambling addiction.

Our brains have neural pathways; one of which is the brain’s reward system. This system involves electronic impulses that turn into pleasure, memory, and motivation. When a person engages in basic actions such as eating, sexual activity or even sleep; the reward system starts to work. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is the one responsible for all the feelings of pleasure and euphoria one might experience upon engaging in certain activities. Experts used to think of addiction as dependency on a chemical; they now define it as repeatedly pursuing a rewarding experience despite serious repercussions.

This is the reason drugs have such an addictive power. These substances basically trick the brain into thinking it has engaged in a highly pleasurable activity and releases up to 10 times the normal dose of dopamine, sometimes even more.

Gambling, much like drug addiction has the same impact on the brain and its dopamine production/release, the difference is that no outside chemicals are working, but the brain starts to relate only gambling-like scenarios with pleasurable ones.

For me, it was just an occasional escapade because I had a couple extra bucks to blow or because I ‘happened’ to be vacationing in Las Vegas and gambling is what people do in Vegas, right? At first, I thought of this as harmless fun, until it wasn’t anymore. I didn’t get the same feelings from just occasionally going to the casinos and found that it was impossible to distance myself from the practice of gambling in any form.

Although I realize now what was happening to me,  many people are unaware that gambling addiction causes the same outcomes as drug and alcohol addiction; it is a problem that affects people all across America and the world. If your gut is telling you that someone you know or love (or yourself) is engaging in gambling at the expense of other areas of their life, these facts may help you decide if there is a problem. As with a substance abuse problem, you may need to help your loved one, or yourself, find professional help.

1. Underestimating the Disease

One of the biggest problems is that often people treat don’t treat gambling addiction seriously. Many times I was told to “brush it off” or “snap out of it”. While those statements prompted my guilt, I was unable to stop gambling, so went to greater lengths to hide my gambling.

If someone approaches you telling you they are suffering from this, listen to them and support them, just like you would do if they were addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Gambling is not unlike chemical drugs; one taste can be enough to hook someone. The first time I set foot in a casino was on a cruise with my family when I was 17. I loved it and when I went back, I started looking for bets everywhere until I was able to work and I could play money.

If you go with young ones to a casino or any gambling site, such as a horse track; talk to them and have them understand that there are risks involved and they should not feel bad if they find it difficult to stop. Caution them that gambling addiction is real and that if they are struggling, even after one round of betting, whether they lose or win, is a good way to be proactive about gambling addiction.

2. How Gambling and Substance Compulsive Consumption are Very Similar

After an extended period of time of regular consumption of drugs or gambling, the reward system basically malfunctions, and three things occur as a result:

3. What Are You Doing and Where’s the Money Gone?  

There are many symptoms related to gambling addiction, however, one word sums them up –spending. How much time are you or someone you know spending in casinos, online, buying scratch-offs and how much money is being spent there?

While the “spending” symptoms are the biggest ones to look out for, there are plenty more signs that can indicate if you or someone you know is falling or has fallen into a gambling addiction. When gambling is a secret, how much money is spent, or what activities you’re engaged in; those are huge red flag warnings. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Breaking even will become the goal in the face of big losses (even though it probably won’t happen).
  • Gambling becomes a priority: Planning how to earn more money to gamble, how to take advantage of the games; gambling, probabilities, teams, machines, etc. are all the person can talk about, normal events (like social gatherings) are forgotten in order to go gamble.
  • Gambling becomes an exit to relieve stress or suppress feelings of anxiety and even loneliness.
  • Having the need to gamble increasing quantities of money, if the next bet is not bigger, then it’s not exciting.
  • No matter how much the person works or how much they (or you) earn, it will always be an evolving financial loss situation due to constant gambling.
  • Personal relationships, such as marriage, children, family or even close friends are put in serious jeopardy because of gambling, professional life will be affected too.
  • There are several (failed) attempts to cut down the gambling.
  • When their gambling gets cut down unexpectedly bad temper or irritability start to show.

4. Withdrawal

When I finally realized I had a problem, I tried to stop gambling on my own. I decided that isolation would work. I went to my family’s cabin (which is in the middle of nowhere, in Iowa) to get away from all the temptation.


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I always thought that abstinence syndrome or withdrawals only applied to drugs or alcohol, but in that cabin, I found out it applies to gambling too. I started experiencing unpleasant mental and physical distress, insomnia, anxiety, and even physical pain. A pathological gambler would have the need to be constantly aiming higher, making riskier bets to achieve the same thrill, and high, so when I denied myself all that, I went into withdrawal.

It was a hard path, and if you or a loved one are demonstrating signs of a gambling addiction, it’s very important that you understand it’s not a moral failure or a bad habit, but a compulsion and brain disorder. In order to be treated properly professional help must be sought, if you know of someone suffering from gambling addiction or if you are suffering it yourself, please seek help.

5. Help is Available

Remember that recovering from such disorder is something possible even for people suffering the worst of it. A pathological gambler can make his or her way back to sanity and stability in their life. Resources for gambling addiction are available through local mental health agencies or here are some online resources and books for you to see if you can identify with a gambling addiction and then find help.

The National Problem Gambling Hotline

Gambling Help Online

A great book on gambling and the price one woman and those who knew her had to pay is by Catherine Townsend-Lyon,  Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)


Regardless of whether you find help locally or online, just know that gambling addiction will not improve on its own. However daunting that sounds, I know the pitfalls of gambling addiction and the peace and of recovery. I hope you find them, too.

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Biography: Carl Towns

I’m Carl Towns a 28-year-old wannabe writer; I am also a recovering addict on the path of self-discovery. My goal is to learn as many things as possible and to seize every single moment I live, pretty much trying to make up for all that I missed in the years I was lost in drugs and alcohol and gambling. I’m in love with tech, cars and pretty much anything that can be found online.

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Biography: Marilyn L. Davis

A recovery curriculum author with 27 years of abstinence-based recovery, Marilyn advocates for and writes to the addicted population.
She opened and ran an award-winning women’s recovery home from 1990-2011, creating a recovery curriculum, Therapeutic Integrated Education Recovery System, which breaks addiction down into the variables and then offers time-tested exercises for healing, relapse prevention, and dealing with codependency and self-defeating behaviors.

She is the Assistant Editor at Two Drops of Ink, where she shares her gifts as a communicator, encouraging other writers to use their creativity to share their talents through writing.  She believes in the power of words and knows that how something is said is just as important as what is said.

From Addict 2 Advocate explores addiction, recovery, and codependency with the same attention; write, so people relate and heal, and become the best person they can be.

Awards
Marilyn Davis Community Service Learning Award, Brenau University, 2008: ongoing award for individuals in mental health, wellness and recovery.
Liberty Bell Award, Northeastern Judicial Circuit, 2010: given to non-attorneys for their contribution to the criminal justice system and their communities.

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**Presented By Recovery Starts Here! ~ Author/Columnist, Catherine Lyon** 

 

“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.

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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!

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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!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

Live in Phoenix, AZ and Surrounding Area? Live in Recovery? Then Come Join The Fun at a Gratitude Gala!

Live in Phoenix, AZ and Surrounding Area? Live in Recovery? Then Come Join The Fun at a Gratitude Gala!

HELLO and WELCOME ALL Recovery Friends and New Visitors!

“It is going to be a night of comedy, dinner, awards and MORE on November 18th, 2016 ~ and you can join us for all the Recovery Fun! So if you live in or in the surrounding areas of Phoenix, AZ? You can come too. And a few days before the GALA? I will have a very Special Guest and Intimate Interview with our entertainer, the hardest working guy in comedy, ALONZO BODDEN!!! Right Here on my Recovery Blog!”

 

 

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We also will have a Fabulous MC for the show as well, Dawn Lutrell a comedian, MC, and Ellen DeGeneres look alike. Dawn is who I would like to introduce to today as she is a woman in recovery and has such a powerful story of her recovery journey. She was just on our good friend Omar “O” Pinto’s Podcast at ” The SHAIR Podcast – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery  .  .  .  .  which I am going to share with all of you today! Her recovery story in this Podcast Interview is AMAZING and will make you laugh, cry, and giggle till the end.

Dawn is a firm believer in AA and The 12-Steps to recovery, as we all know, “whatever takes to gain Sobriety” and what process works for us to lead us into long-term recovery.
This girl is a HOOT as you will hear when you listen to this podcast. She has been in long-term recovery over 5 years. I think my buddy “O” had a “wee bit” too much fun interviewing Dawn! LOL.

Just a little about Dawn. Besides being a comedian, she is also a musician. She is also an ‘Ellen DeGeneres Celebrity Double at Mirror Images, Co. And I can tell you she looks and sounds just like Ellen!

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Dawn lives in Corvallis, Oregon and has lived in Colorado, and Grand Island, Nebraska. She’s been married to her life partner Patti in Oct. 2013, but have been together over 20 years. Her favorite quote?

 

“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
– Baba Dioum


I know I can not wait to see Dawn perform in a few a weeks. Now give a listen to her amazing life and recovery story and interview with “O” from THE SHAIR Project to learn more about this fantastic woman! She is not shy when it comes to her Recovery!


ENJOY FRIENDS!  *CaT Lyon*
 

Don’t Leave Before The MIRACLE Happens

 

 

* Presented By ~ Recovery Starts Here! ~ Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

An Interview With an “Angel of God.” Author, Whitney McKendree Moore and Her Book, Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown.

Hello and Welcome Friends and Readers,

“I have been very blessed to have met a new “Angel” and supporter of my recovery. And I want to share her with all of you! As I believe God would want me to. She is not a woman to be “kept a secret” as she is a proud and loud Christian and she is filled with God’s love, faith as she “walks by faith, not by sight.”

 

 

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Author, Whitney Moore

“Whitney McKendree Moore says she writes “campfire stories.” Her books are for women discouraged by a loved one’s alcoholism, especially for those who may not realize that help is available. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal.”

 

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I do believe this to be true about Whitney. In just the short time I have come to know her, she exudes an in-depth insight of the power of “Miracles and God’s Love and Grace” as well. I have just finished reading her book titled; Whit’s End: A Biography of a Breakdown available on Amazon. (Her Review will be a new Post  is a Soon). It is a beautiful tribute to her parents, but also heartbreaking as well.

“Whitney takes readers on a written life journey with this book that brings to light many important issues and topics that face many of us today. Here is more about her book.”

About Whit’s End:

Whit’s End is the biography of a breakdown. It will bring hope to any Christian who is wringing their hands over a loved one’s addiction. In author Whitney Moore’s family, the problem was related to alcohol, but addiction is addiction is addiction. . . .
This story proves that nothing is too hard for God that when we can’t, God can.

The victory that is unfolded in these pages starts with the shock of realizing there is even such as thing as “functional alcoholism.” When the problem is finally revealed, Moore finds help in a twelve-step recovery, where people learn to discern (and do!) God’s will. In meetings, people share the miracles that, for them, have started to unfold.

More About The Author From Her Must Visit Fabulous Website Recovery in The Bible:

“It was in church basements, in recovery meetings gathered (mostly) sitting in circles, where I heard about miracles. Hot off the press! Their honesty helped me more than sitting in rows upstairs ever had.”

I am a born-again woman in recovery trying to practice “saying what I mean, meaning what I say, and not saying it mean.”   I am available, and I love it when we get to encourage one another!  And so, here we are: offering honest questions, hoping for honest replies. Twelve-Step recovery led Whitney to discover that a relationship with God can be interactive, up-close, and personal. She writes to tell of God’s incredible help in her life three ways:

Divine Intervention: “Whit’s End” is her personal testimony of how God revealed denial and delivered her from it into a whole new life.

Direct Connect: “Downloads from God” and “Contemporary Psalms” are companion volumes — excerpts of what it sounds like to be in Quiet Time with the Maker of the Universe.

Divine Connections: “BS-Busters” and “Praise in the Storm” are books of encouragement, urging gatherings where it is safe to “get real” with God, with ourselves, and with each other. Two other titles (“God Can!” and “What the Conductor Said”) offer additional “campfire stories” of God speaking, even through each of us, to one another. Which all can be found on my website.

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Because Whitney is a woman, she writes to come alongside other women who, like her, have reached the point of saying, “I can’t; God can; I need to let Him.” Born in New York City to medical parents — her mother an R.N., her father a neurologist following the footsteps of his father. Back in those days, physicians lived under an awning of prominence. Both her father and her grandfather were treated like demi-gods at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where the phrases “wonderful bedside manner” and “dear and glorious physician” were said aloud and a lot by her mother, who was also highly regarded as “possibly the world’s best Head Nurse.”

Voice and pen became Whitney’s personal ways to be heard. After she married in 1971, she published an article every year as she pursued her professional career and she continued to “sing constantly.” A turning point for Whitney came in 1989 when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery. Whitney lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She attended Boston University and is an author, writer, publisher, singer, musician and has worn many career hats. A firm believer in Miracles, in God and Faith. She is avid about The 12-Steps of Recovery and the grateful help of AlAnon.

SINGER BRINGER


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I do two kinds of singing: (a) HIM Sings and (b) KidSongs. Either way, my goal is for listeners to join in and sing along.

HIM SINGS bring soothing songs and prayerful encouragement wherever I am welcome to do so, mostly into nursing homes and adult day care centers.

KidSONGS provide lots of action and joy as small children learn about animals and numbers and letters and some very silly directions in highly interactive songs.

I have also posted two original songs on Soundcloud.com that are downloadable for free. I hope to be making all my remaining songs available with the publication of my songbook, scheduled for release soon.

Visit Soundcloud.com to listen to my recent songs. I am available to sing or speak.
Please contact me for more information.

You can connect with Whitney on:
Facebook     Twitter    LinkedIn    Google+  &   GoodReads


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Presented By “Recovery Starts Here”  ~ Author & Columnist, Catherine Lyon 

 

Our Gambling Guest Article is by Freelance Writer, John Rosengren for AARP. . . .

The Casino Trap | Why Slots are ‘Electronic Crack’  ~ by John Rosengren, AARP Bulletin, October 2016

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“As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing targets older patrons”

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Beauford Burton had enjoyed the occasional poker game in his youth, but in his 60s the slots hooked him. He and his wife, Sharon, started making the 2 1/2-hour drive every Friday from their home in Kings Mountain, N.C., to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, where they won occasionally but lost more frequently. In one year, he lost about $50,000, nearly the equivalent of his annual salary as a manager in a textile company.

They often stayed longer than they’d intended—many times the casino would offer them a free hotel room Saturday night. Burton can’t remember ever paying for a room. He had access to an exclusive bar with free drinks and food, preferred seating in the restaurants and suite upgrades in the hotel. Harrah’s once flew the couple to its casino in Laughlin, Nev., and covered all their expenses—except, of course, what they gambled.

In the end, Burton knew that all of the freebies weren’t really free and that he had paid for them tenfold with his losses. “I have always known you don’t get something for nothing, but I fell for it,” he says. “It’s the good old devil at work.”

Over four years, the slots drained more than $100,000 from Burton’s 401(k). But he kept playing. He cashed in a life insurance policy, took out cash advances on his credit card and gambled away Social Security checks meant to pay utility bills. Finally, in 2008, the gambling habit took his home.

By then, he was playing in a panic, betting up to $15 to $20 a spin, chasing his losses and pursuing the one illusory jackpot that he hoped would save him. “As you start to lose, you think, This is a luck thing, my luck is going to change,” says Burton, now 73. “But the more you go, the more you lose. It ends up in desperation. I can see how people get so deep that it causes them to take their own lives because it gets really, really bad.”


The Rise of Casinos

Of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 50 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue, and much of that profit came from these older gamblers.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies revealed that many older adults viewed the casino as a place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief.

It’s never been easier for them to get to one. Long gone are the days when the twin casino meccas of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., represented the sole options for American gamblers. Regional casinos have proliferated dramatically since 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legalized casino development on Indian lands. That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1,400 casinos are spread across 40 states. Regional casinos are especially attractive to those who prefer to drive themselves and do not want to have to spend the night. States with large populations of adults over 65, including Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have all expanded casino gambling in recent years.

Addictions Experts Alarmed

Older adults are an especially desirable demographic for the gaming industry because they fill the floors during off-peak hours, and casinos market to them aggressively, offering discounts on breakfast and lunch, free drinks and guarantees to “instantly win up to $1,000 Free Slot Play!” They stage free daytime entertainment such as polka dancing, magic shows and live “Golden Oldies” shows. The “third of the month club” provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement housing complexes on the day they receive their Social Security checks. Some casinos stock their bathrooms with adult diapers and disposal receptacles for diabetics’ needles. They provide wheelchairs, walkers, and more handicapped parking spots than a hospital. One Nevada casino operated an on-site pharmacy—since closed—where accumulated play credits could cover the standard $25 copay on medications.

The gambling boom—and the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older patrons—has alarmed addiction experts. Even casino patrons with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior as they age. According to a 2005 study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, 1 in 11 adults over age 65 bet more than they could afford to lose in the previous year. The study suggests that more than 4 million older Americans could have a gambling problem. “That’s a higher rate than we have for most diseases,” he says.

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Notable High Rollers

Earlier this year, the Hollywood Reporter devoted a cover story to one such pathological gambler—Emmy-winning television producer and writer David Milch, 71. Despite earning millions from the shows he helped create, including NYPD Blue and the critically acclaimed HBO series Deadwood, Milch ran up enormous debts betting on horse racing (also the topic of his short-lived HBO series Luck). According to a lawsuit filed by Milch’s wife against the couple’s business managers, between 2000 and 2011 his gambling losses reached $25 million, and he’s now $17 million in debt.

For other high-rolling notables with well-documented gambling habits, such as NBA great Charles Barkley and actor Ben Affleck, sports betting and poker are the typical culprits. But the majority of everyday problem gamblers are camped out at the slot machines, which have evolved from the traditional one-armed bandits into highly sophisticated “electronic gaming machines” powered by proprietary computer chips. Slots are the biggest revenue producer for the industry and the most popular attraction for older gamblers: 3 out of 4 adults age 65 and older identify slots and video poker as their preferred form of gambling, according to a Harrah’s survey.

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‘Electronic Crack’

“Slots are also the most addictive form of casino gambling, with the machines designed to maximize your “time on device” until you’re out of money. A 2001 study by psychiatrist Hans Breiter, then of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, confirmed that the machine’s nickname—”electronic crack”—is an apt one. Using MRI scanners, he found that in subjects playing slots, the brain’s neural circuits fired in a way that was similar to those using cocaine.”

Several factors make gamblers particularly susceptible to addiction behavior as they age. Loneliness, social isolation and the loss of a spouse can encourage older people to seek relief in casinos. “For someone older who has been sick in the hospital or who is bored or lonely, that can have a big impact on them,” says clinical Gero psychologist Dennis McNeilly of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

More serious age-related cognitive decline plays a role, too. A 2012 study found that changes in the anatomy and chemistry of brains in dementia patients 65 and up, particularly in the frontal region—which controls executive functioning—”may render older adults particularly vulnerable to the stimulation provided by the slot machine.” Dementia afflicts about 14 percent of the U.S. population over 70 years old, and an estimated half of those (nearly 2 million people) are undiagnosed.

“With both the reward system and impulse controls impaired, that creates the perfect storm for someone to develop problems with gambling,” says Michael Hornberger, a neuroscientist at the University of East Anglia in England. Cognitive issues can cause sufferers to lose their sense of money’s value, and those with dementia often repeat a singular behavior such as pushing the button on a slot machine over and over. “They just keep playing as long as the casino lets them,” Hornberger says.
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Foes of casino gambling say that the industry actively targets vulnerable older patrons. For every 20 older patrons who walk through their doors, says Les Bernal national director of the advocacy organization and watchdog Stop Predatory Gambling , the casinos want to “find a couple of them that they can take for all they’re worth.”

From Social Gambler To Addict

Beauford Burton’s experience at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is typical of such relationships. In addition to sending birthday cards and weekly mailings with ticket deals to shows and vouchers for free play, the casino assigned a VIP host who called Burton at home to invite him back for various specials. Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating meals with them.

“The whole premise of a host is to extract as much money from that player as possible,” says ex-host John-Talmage Mathis, who worked as VIP marketing director at the Boomtown Casino in Bossier City, La. “For older people, the host becomes their friend, giving them some attention they may be missing from their family, children or friends.”

Casinos award hosts bonuses based on how much the gambler loses. “The losses of your player,” Mathis says, “are your success.”

As the industry seeks to expand, more women are being enticed into casinos, and more are experiencing problems, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry.

Many slot machines are now designed specifically for women players, who, like longtime slots addict Melynda Litchfield, sometimes feel bonded with their machines. Litchfield, 56, worked 27 years at a Chicago-area hospital, climbing from staff nurse to administrator with a salary of $100,000.

Yet she couldn’t afford a prom dress for her daughter because she lost so much playing slots at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill., 10 minutes from their home. For Litchfield, the atmosphere was as addicting as the machines themselves. The staff treated her warmly and called her by name. “They gave me so much personal attention and TLC that you get a false impression these people—who are milking away all of your money—actually care about you,” she says.

The casino also served as an escape, to a place where she did not have to tend to the needs of anyone else. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” says Litchfield, who quit gambling in 2012 and is now a national victims advocate for Stop Predatory Gambling. “I just wanted to get lost in my machine.”

Push Toward The Slots



Amy Ziettlow, a Lutheran minister and affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, visited casinos in Louisiana, Iowa, and New York for her investigative report, “Seniors in Casino Land.”
“The whole aim of trying to cater to the needs of the least among us simply to take their money is abusive,” she says. “Owners push them toward the slots.”

Industry advocates such as Chris Moyer, director of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, tell another story. “If seniors are enjoying the entertainment product we provide, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to enjoy that in a responsible manner,” he says. He points out that casinos do provide education materials on addiction, displaying pamphlets that urge patrons with gambling problems to call a toll-free help number. The casinos also encourage problem gamblers to put their names on self-exclusion lists. “The casino gaming industry takes extraordinary measures to spot those who need help and connect them to treatment,” Moyer says.

As his addiction deepened, Beauford Burton found one of those pamphlets and called the 800 number. As he recalls, the person who answered his call just told him he should stop gambling if he couldn’t afford it. “There was no meat to it,” he says. “Once your intent is not to come back to them, I think they want to be clear of you.”

After declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Burton finally managed to quit with the support of his wife and his faith. He and Sharon now live in a two-bedroom apartment in Kings Mountain, where he has become an outspoken critic of a proposal to build a casino in his community. He regrets his gambling problems but takes responsibility for his behavior. “I can’t put total blame on those people because I was the one ignorant about it,” Burton says. “But the casinos do try to make things as exciting for you as they can.”


( John Rosengren is a freelance journalist who lives in Minneapolis.) 

 

An Exceptional Guest Article Share~Recovery Expert, Author & Coach, Roger Stark …

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Friends,

 

I want to introduce you to a new friend and fellow author of mine who has a large amount of addiction and recovery experience. He is a recovery coach, a writer of exceptional books and guides, and has just released his second book titled Reclaiming Your Addicted Brain. which can be ordered on the link provided and you can always find him over on his website, The Waterfall Concept and is the title of his first book. I happen to come across an excellent article and little interview I ‘d like to share with all of you that is very interesting.

So with further ado, Meet Roger Stark  …. ( Courtesy of www.breakingthecycles.com/ )

 

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(The Waterfall Concept ~ Now on Amazon & In Kindle Store)

 

Face of Recovery | Roger Stark
By, Lisa Frederiksen

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” Yet there is a great deal of confusion, stigma, shame and discrimination surrounding addiction, addiction treatment, and addiction recovery, and often what are called behavioral or process addictions/disorders – such as sex, gambling, spending and eating addictions/disorders – are the least understood. Perhaps the most harmful reality in all of this is how little we know about recovery, about individuals who have the disease of addiction but are in recovery, living healthy, productive, engaged lives — the same kinds of lives as people who do not have this disease.

All the words and definitions and explanations in the world are not as powerful as these people themselves. To that end, we are grateful to the people in recovery who have decided to share their experiences so that we all may put a Face to Addiction Recovery.

Addiction Recovery – It’s real, it happens to real people, and it happens all the time.

It is my great pleasure to introduce Roger Stark – today’s Face of Recovery.

How Did Your Addiction Start?

Mine is a sexual addiction. That admission elicits a wide variety responses, from “You can’t get addicted to sex,” to “Gee, I would like to have that one!” and everything in between.  Is it a real addiction?  Ask the hundreds of thousands of folks involved in Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and like self-help groups. They will tell you that their lives are surely unmanageable, that they have learned to use the brain chemicals of lust compulsively, and have become truly powerless.  They will also tell you, standing amidst the rubble and wreckage of their lives, that you, surely, do not want this addiction.

My journey had it’s beginnings when a scoutmaster insisted on showing me some things that were not in the scout handbook.  His sexual abuse created some powerful, dysfunctional emotional currents in the life of a very naive and innocent child. I was raised in a faith-centered, loving home. My father struggled with ETOH and very probably fixed me up with some genetic markers that weren’t very helpful also. But my main concern after the encounters with my perpetrator was to prove that I did not like boys. (I apologize for the homophobic sound of that but in the 1950’s our culture presented much differently.) The only way I knew to prove that I didn’t “like” boys was to “like” girls and I tried to like them a lot.  It became a matter of conquest and while the level of sexual activity was on the innocent side, in the beginning, it quickly grew to “going all the way.” The purpose always being to gather more evidence that I was “normal.”

Over the nearly 40 years of fighting the behaviors that had yet no name, I fell into a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde life.  Wanting and trying, successfully at times, to live by a very high moral code, and betraying myself with compulsive sexual acting out.  The levels of shame and guilt were off the chart, and of course, over time became part of the acting out cycle.


What was the turning point for you – what made you want to get sober?

Such an interesting question. From very nearly the beginning I wanted to be sober. Acting out broke the moral rules I was striving to live by.  I believed in virtue and monogamy but as the compulsion gained power I failed so many times that hope of doing that left me.  I guess my turning point was the day my therapist put a name to it.  He stopped in our session, rather abruptly and said, “Roger, you do realize you are a sexual addict don’t you.”

Well, I absolutely did not realize that and was quite offended that he wanted to put such a brand on me.  He didn’t argue with me, just gave me a copy of The White Book the Sexaholics Anonymous’s manual.  By page 38, I branded myself. I found hope in the fellowship because I found others in the same struggle that had found sobriety.  Like a fellow mentioned in The White Book, “I didn’t need help quitting, I have quit a thousand times, I needed help staying quit.”  And there, in that group, I found the beginnings of that help.

I cannot adequately convey the excitement I felt about learning skills and finding tools that actually worked and helped me slowly
extinguish the compulsion.  After those first early successes, I was “all in.”


What was your initial treatment?

Much of my early treatment was self-inflicted.  We did not then have the recovery resources that are available today.  I read a lot.  If Patrick Carnes wrote it, I read it.  My White Book and the Big Book were read and reread as were a host of other recovery titles.  I lived in a quite remote area at the time, but found 3 recovery meetings, 2 were an hour away and the other 3 hours.  I tried very hard to attend each weekly. I met weekly by phone with my therapist. I found a sponsor and worked through the steps.

Education helped me immensely.  Beginning to understand brought healing.  Recovery strategies developed as I understood more about what was going on inside of me.

My faith also played an important part.  I have always felt a special Higher Power connection in my life.  When I took this struggle to Him, I felt His sure promise that as I continued to do my recovery work, my heart would heal, (His words not mine.)  I also made a commitment to Him that if He could help me find my way out of this addiction mess, I would spend the rest of my life helping others.  That fall I enrolled in a local college program that led to state licensure as an addiction counselor.

Do you do anything differently, today?

My recovery does have an evolutionary feel to it.  As my understanding deepens my dysfunctions slowly get shed.  As I peel the onion and grow, my approach takes that new wisdom into account, and I seek new skills.  Of late I have benefited from trying to truly live in this particular moment. I am working to grow my understanding of this great concept.

Working with other addicts has also created some changes.  I sometimes feel selfish, that I “recover” more than they do as we work through the process.  It has brought into focus the clear value and importance of carrying the message to others in our own personal recovery experience.


What is your life-like, now?

From the darkest days of my addiction, my current life would have been simply inconceivable.  Recovery has brought me to a belief in miracles. One example is that my wife and I are still together and enjoying life in remarkable ways. My relationship with my 7 children continues to grow or better said, heal. I love serenity. It is such a contrast to the chaos of my addict life.  Peace, calm, quiet, were unknown commodities. I feel a joy in them that renews me daily.  I continue to work with other addicts and write about recovery.  For me, there could be no better life’s work.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with someone currently struggling with a substance abuse problem or an addiction?  How about anything you’d like to share with their family or friends?

Oh, I have a thousand things!  The details and nuances of individual recovery seem to be endless.  But the overriding message is this: Recovery happens!  It is real!  Miracles happen if we submit to the process of recovery and do the work it requires.  A willing heart, armed with some hope and courage, all held together by commitment makes us candidates for recovery and will carry us home.

Addicts should probably be aware that sex is a very common cross addiction.  I long ago lost count of the number of clients who begin the recovery conversation with, “I had a drinking problem 20 years ago and went to AA but now I think I have a sex addiction.”  (Thirteenth Steppers please take note!)

Unfortunately, the learning curve for addicts and family members is remarkably flat.  This is tough stuff.  Many spouses don’t survive the betrayal and feelings of rejection.  I cannot fault them and only feel compassion and empathy for the uninvited struggle they find themselves in.  Recovery is measured in years not months and slips can be crushing.  That said, I do believe in miracles.  I have seen many, I have lived one.  When a couple overcomes this level of adversity, their love can take on an exquisite fullness
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What is the best part about your recovery?

Part of it is that we are having this conversation.  That we can learn and grow from each other and I get to be part of that. Life is such a precious gift.  Having the blessing of living part of it in recovery, free from the chaos and carnage is of great value to me.  Being able to love and cherish my family in an honest faithful way is priceless.

There have been gifts from my addiction.  Things that I know that I would never have come to understand without the affliction.  I am grateful for learning acceptance, finding compassion and empathy, and the joy of unconditional love. These are wonderful fruits of my struggle and I will ever be grateful for them.

These gifts and the opportunity to help others, give the suffering meaning. It was not wasted, not just indiscriminate suffering, but a vehicle for becoming and discovering a better self.  And, if somehow, some way, my work diminishes the suffering of some other poor soul trying to figure out sexual addiction, well, I am pretty okay with that.  Then the gratitude comes, that I have been blessed to learn what could be learned in no other way.

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Thank you, Roger, so very much for sharing your story and CONGRATS on your more than a decade in recovery!

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