Journey and Ramblings of Recovery by Author, Catherine Lyon . . .

I continue my recovery from my book "Addicted To Dimes" and information about my Addicted Compulsive Gambling, Childhood trauma & abuse, Dark family secrets, Recovery, and I ADVOCATE for those who can not, who have no voice, who suffer from Mental & Emotional illness & disorders. Gambling addiction is REAL, and it destroys lives. I have no ill will towards those who can gamble normally, but I many others can NOT. It's time we talk, inform, educate, and SHATTER the STIGMA of those who choose to live life in recovery! And for those who battle these other important topics.

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kitcatlyon

kitcatlyon

I live life in recovery, but my "PASSION" is also writing, blogging, authoring more books, and Advocating to help others in recovery. To help educate the public on the dangers of becoming addicted to gambling. I've achieved almost 8 years in recovery. I recently had to relocate from So. Oregon to Sunny Arizona. I've been married to my Soul-Mate for 25 years. I'm a Christian, a Cat Lover, 1/2 Italian and I have a Big Voice! ...LOL.

Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Addictionland friends & new Visitor's,

I have shared parts 1 & 2 of "My Gambling Addiction" story done by MyAddiction.com Here now is parts 3 & 4 of my story.....

My Gambling Addiction: Lessons Learned (Part 3 of 4),

By Leanne Hall, Fri, September 27, 2013

In this exclusive interview with MyAddiction.com, Cathy Lyon shares her experiences with gambling addiction and recovery.

*What was your lowest point?*
After both stays in the recovery crisis center in November of 2002 and April of 2006, some of what I had NOT learned was how to actually "break down" the "cycle" of compulsive gambling, piece by piece, and understand – and how to use all of the recovery tools and skills to do that.
At the same time, after my release in 2006, the GA group I was attending was having some trouble within our group. People would gossip about others. We also didn't have many members who had good, solid or long "clean" time. Trusted servants were not "utilizing" all of the by-laws and guidelines from GA. There was no one willing to give up themselves to become sponsors to new members, and no Financial Pressure Relief group meetings were being held. I offered many times to help, and I did, but I couldn't do it all on my own! The reason it's so important, especially for new members, is that we come to GA so in debt and financially broken that we have NO idea where to start on taking our financial inventory.
I had always felt I never really got any financial relief most of my recovery, or trying in vain to stay in recovery, so much so that it lead to my third major event – and lowest point in my life! From April to the beginning of August in 2006, I'd really gotten a good foothold on a clean recovery, but life challenges and financial events turned all of that into a tailspin! Long story short, I had been cleaning homes to make a little money. I was cleaning a friend's home while she was on vacation, and I'd gone home one day for lunch, and my power was turned off! I checked the mail and had a shut-off notice from my gas and phone companies as well. That just put me in panic mode. Instead of working things out with my husband and figuring something out, my old habits and behaviors of my addiction took over. I got into that "have to fix this quick" mindset.

That's why, when you're in recovery, you also need to work on your old way of thinking and learn to solve life's challenges in a healthy way. I hadn't gotten that far in my new recovery. Even though I was not "in gambling action," I'd still used the old habits to try to deal with this financial crisis. I never had that "financial relief" like the GA combo-book had said we would when we stopped gambling. So I did the unthinkable and stole from my friend! When she got back, I could have told her, but I could not bring myself to do it. Just when I got my nerve up to do it, it was too late; she had already called the police. They showed up at my home, asked me about what had happened, arrested me, and off to jail I went. She wanted to press charges against me to learn a lesson.

Needless to say, I did – the hard way. I had a few court dates to go to with a public defender. I was just going to plead guilty; I had to be accountable for the poor choices I had made. This was not only the lowest point in my life, I was so humiliated; people seeing me handcuffed and put into a police car. And if that was not enough, I live in a small town, so of course there was my name in the local newspaper with what I'd done! There went my reputation. All NOT because I was gambling, but worse (and dumb) because I stole from somebody to try to solve my financial problems.
So please learn from me: Make sure you work on all areas of your recovery! I had to learn the hard way. I will say this: Even though I'd not gambled when all of this happened, I still consider the last day that I gambled as Jan. 29, 2007 – my last/sentencing court date. It is my constant reminder of the lowest point in my life....

My Gambling Addiction: Recovery and Life After Gambling (Part 4 of 4)

By Leanne Hall, Mon, September 30, 2013

In this exclusive interview with MyAddiction.com, Cathy Lyon shares her experiences with gambling addiction and recovery.

*Who helped you the most in your recovery?*

An "angel" came to my rescue when I was going through the legal process of my theft conviction. His name is Boyd Sherbourne, PsyD. At the time, he was an Addictions PsyD from the crisis center I was admitted to. Since the friend I'd stole from was also in my treatment program, they were going to kick me out of the program. I'd never met Boyd, but a little problem came up with my husband and my treatment councilor, and Boyd overheard them heatedly talking and asked my husband if he could talk with him in his office. He helped and talked with my husband for a while (while I was still in jail waiting to be processed and released). Boyd told him what had happened and also explained to my husband most likely why I did what I'd done due to financial stress, even though I was not gambling.

Then a few days went by, and Boyd called me on his own even though he didn't know me. It was a God intervention moment. He asked if I was willing to meet with him, so I did. He wanted to help me with support and teach me how to not only breakdown the "cycle" but also learn better ways of handling life challenges in recovery. He taught me how to change the unhealthy, lingering habits and behaviors of addiction. I thank God every day for Boyd taking me on, and he did it a whole year! I can never repay him for helping me get my life back and save my marriage. He helped me stay on a healthy, clean, balanced recovery.

*What advice do you have for other compulsive gamblers?*

We are truly blessed that we live in a world with wonderful technology, and it has turned the recovery process around! For those of you who gamble but are not sure whether you have a problem, you can take the "20 Questions" quiz on the Gamblers Anonymous website. If you answer those questions honestly, you'll know if you're a problem gambler. The Internet has provided "safe and secure" websites for recovery help. There are places with live chat rooms 24 hours a day, on-line meetings, free treatment and therapy. A support group is vitial to a balanced recovery plan. I attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings, of course, but Safe Harbor compulsive gambling hub is another great support community! They offer online meetings, 24/7 live chat rooms and a fantastic "Resource Recovery Room," which includes the "top compulsive gambling recovery sites."

There you will find the top 100 recovery sites on the web, which is how I found this great site, MyAddiction.com. I believe that in order to have a well-balanced recovery, you also need to have a "spiritual" well-being. We reach out for help with such broken spirits, souls and hearts. Not everyone has faith per say. But I do believe in a power greater than myself has helped me return to sanity from the insane, cunning addiction of compulsive gambling. My own quote, which I say all the time, is, "Addiction and recovery have only one thing in common: They are both selfish!" We are very selfish when we are in the depths of our gambling addiction. And you have to be selfish and put yourself first in your recovery in order to be successful! Just remember: No one person on this Earth is perfect. We are all a wrok in progress.

*What are your favorite activities now that you don't gamble?*

I enjoy so many things now that I have not placed a bet in six years. It's like I shared before, having a well-balanced recovery is important. There are activities that I feel are vital to my recovery which keep me from getting too complacent. I enjoy writing, and I love to read all kinds of books. Now that I'm a published author, I have met so many great writers and authors (even a few famous ones!) who have really helped me develop as a writer – along with some good book clubs. I love to cook, and I love gardening (growing flowers mostly). I also enjoy volunteer work; it really helped me fill a lot of the free time I had.

I've been unable to work outside the home for the past few years due to some health issues and the medications I take for my bipolar II, panic and agoraphobia disorders. My husband and I enjoy the first Friday art walk each month in our community, which helps me to get out. In the Summer, we like to river raft and hike on my good days.I have my blog in which I'm able to "visit" with new friends I've made in recovery. I use the Gamblers Anonymous blue and red books daily. I write in my journal daily. I attend online 12-step meetings. I read and post daily on Safe Harbor and still go to some GA meetings as well. I've also started writing my second & third books.

*My Mission today through my Book, and my New Recovery Blog: http://CatherineLyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com I invite anyone who may need Support and Recovery Resources from Compulsive Addicted Gambling. I continue my On-Line Journel of my story*......
**Thanks for taking time to read *My Story* and visiting me here on *Addictionland**

Warm Regards & Blessings,Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello friends and visitors,

I thought I would *Share* a 4 part Article & Interview that was Kindly asked by www.myaddiction.com to share my experience of what I went through when I was addicted to gambling. Sharing our won stories can be very POWERFUL, as it may help others, and give them *HOPE* that they TOO can recover from this Cunning Disease. Today I'll start by sharing part 1 & 2....The Beginning.......

My Gambling Addiction: The Beginning (Part 1 of 4)
By Jacqueline Pabst, Tue, January 22, 2013

In this exclusive interview with MyAddiction.com, Cathy Lyon shares her experiences with gambling addiction and recovery.

WHEN DID YOUR ADDICTION START?

My gambling was a slow, progressive decline from about 1996 to 1999. Many factors were in play at that time. My husband was in the construction field, and most of his jobs were taking him out of town for long periods of time, leaving me home alone. I was bored and I had too much time on my hands. I didn't come from a family background of gamblers, but I had a difficult family dynamic when I was younger because my father drank a lot. He was in the Air Force, so I just thought that was normal. When I was older, I went to Reno with "the girls" once a year and gambled the way any other normal person would.

I think my addiction really got going when the state of Oregon approved video poker machines – they were everywhere! So, from 1996 to 1999 I started gambling more and more. I also started going by myself because I had so much free time on my hands. That was the start of my addiction being more noticeable in my daily life.


WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD AN ADDICTION AND WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION?


I think it was in 1999, when my husband got a new Job. He was home every evening, and I noticed I started to lie to him if I got home late from work (I got in the habit of stopping to gamble on my way home.) And it got worse. I'd tell him I was going food shopping, something that usually takes an hour or so, and I'd be gone for 2 hours. I'd tell him I ran in to an old co-worker and we had coffee. There were just so many lies. I finally realized my gambling had become more then just a fun pastime when my husband and I took a trip to see my family in 1999. I noticed that I would get angry when I couldn't go gamble, and I couldn't stop thinking about the next time I'd get to do it.

My mom planned the whole trip for us, with stops in Arizona, Laughlin, NV, and Palm Springs, CA. The last night that we were in Laughlin, we'd all been out all day and some of the evening. Everyone wanted to go to the rooms, but I didn't want to go. They had been dragging me around all day, and every time I'd get on a winning streak, (or at least I thought), they wanted to go somewhere else. I blew up in front of everybody and confronted my husband. I made everyone uncomfortable, so everybody went back to their rooms.
The next morning at breakfast, my mom said she thought that maybe I was gambling too much, not knowing my husband had made very similar comments to me. So after that trip, I called the Oregon Lottery Helpline for problem gamblers. That was Sept 1999, and the rocky start of recovery.

WHAT WERE YOUR TRIGGERS?

For me, this question is a "mixed bag."
For my own recovery, my triggers always seemed to co-exist with bad habits and behaviors. My triggers allowed me to feel a sense of entitlement. What I mean by this is that when I felt the urge to gamble, I justified my urge by telling myself I deserved to relax, that I deserved a reward, etc. For example, if I got into an argument with my husband, that would trigger negative thoughts and behaviors, which would lead to gambling. By justifying my addiction, I got into a vicious cycle of entitlement, blame, denial and lying, which, of course, led to more gambling. I remember the days of going to my treatment group in GA (Gamblers Anonymous) – just hearing other people talk about gambling was a trigger for me, and I often went to gamble after meetings.
I think a lot of people did that, because a lot of us are in denial about having a problem. I definitely was. I also learned that triggers don't always happen immediately – I could be triggered by a disappointment, but not recognize it until a couple days later.....



My Gambling Addiction: Relapse and Finding Myself (Part 2 of 4)
By Jacqueline Pabst, Tue, February 05, 2013

In this exclusive interview with MyAddiction.com, Cathy Lyon shares her experiences with gambling addiction and recovery.


DID YOU HAVE ANY MAJOR RELAPSES WHEN STARTING RECOVERY?


I had three major relapses. Two were from active gambling relapses, the third had more to do with my general recovery. I'd been so focused on the emotional and illness side of addiction that I hadn't been working on my financial health. It can be very overwhelming when you first reach for recovery...

This question is hard for me.

There is still a twinge of pain for me when I talk about my two major relapses. It was a very dark time in my life, I was using compulsive gambling to escape emotional, physical and sexual abuse that I'd experienced as a child. My feelings first resurfaced after my brother in law passed, right before I turned 30. I went to see a therapist for a while, and I thought I had resolved my issues. I know now that the reason it took me so long to get a real foothold on recovery was because I wouldn't accept the fact that gambling was slowly destroying my life.
I was in and out of a treatment group and GA from 1999 until my first major relapse in November of 2002, right before my 40th birthday. I'd been gambling like crazy! I was fighting with my husband, using the same lies and excuses, telling him it was his fault I gambled, that his work was driving us apart. I was gambling before work, on my lunch hour, after work, anytime I could. I'd tell my husband I was going to a friends house but he knew where I was going. He just let me go, he was tired of fighting. I started to realize that I couldn't keep up with all my lies. I had to pick up the mail before my husband did so that he wouldn't see the credit card bills, I was hiding the money I'd taken from our bank accounts. I felt like I was going insane.

What put me over the edge was when my best friend in the whole world passed away from cancer – a week before my birthday. I was supposed to meet my husband and her family after work, but instead I drove to the Indian Casino. I was there most of the day, lost hundreds of dollars, and I barely remember driving home that night because I was so distraught. All I remember is dialing the phone to call my treatment counselor, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital in a white room with padded walls. There were police and doctors outside talking incomprehensibly, and then I blacked out again. I woke up in a room at the Mental/Addictions crisis center.

When I woke up, I looked around and saw that my arms and wrists had cuts on them, one very deep, and that I had a few stitches. I ended up staying in the crisis center for 11 days, with the first 4 on suicide watch. While at my stay, my primary doctor and the crisis center doctor found that I was suffering from severe depression, high anxiety, panic disorder, and symptoms of bipolar disorder. So they started me on 3 medications. I always knew I had high anxiety, but I had no idea about the other disorders. While I was there, I worked hard with my addiction counselor, and I didn't gamble for six months straight.

However, I started feeling good, I got complacent, and I decided that I could still gamble as long as I "control" it. This led to another 3 and 1/2 years of binge gambling. I was still going to meetings, but I'd lie through my teeth – I maxed out credit cards, got fired from jobs for stealing and pawned anything of value. Then, we had to sell our home in 2005, just before it got foreclosed. I wasn't working and we moved into a rental home. I felt like everyone in my life was treating me like I was some sort of "mental freak" just because I had to take meds for my mental/emotional well being.

So, I stopped taking my meds and I just kept telling myself that I could be a "normal person." The other thing that was hard for me to contemplate was that I could get "high" without ingesting any substance, that my gambling was actually an addiction like drugs or alcohol. So, with the perfect storm brewing, I was heading down a very dark path. I gambled away the money we got from the sale of our house in three months. I was constantly chasing the money I lost until I was so far gone mentally that I tried killing myself again by taking all of my meds at once.

I gave up on life, on myself, on everyone who loved me – I just wanted it all to end! Once again, I ended up in the hospital and the crisis center and learned I'd never really wanted to stop gambling in the beginning. I was so broken, in mind, body, soul, and spirit, that I made the choice to believe in a power greater than myself. I decided that God wasn't done with me, that he would show me my true purpose. I truly believe that I was meant to go down this path, and that I was meant to learn from it. And learn I have! ......

**HERE IS PART 1 & 2, as I'll share parts 3 & 4 this coming Week! MY Hope is that someone can benefit from my Story & Experience.**

God Bless All, and Have a Great Weekend!

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

...

Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
Hello Friends and New Visitors,
Having a Balanced and Healthy recovery contributes to a Successful recovery. It is how I've been able to string along almost 7 years now in my own recovery. One of my "FAV" support & informational website I visit for reading articles, learn and be educated on all type of addictions is on http://www.MyAddiction.com.

Back in January they did an interview & 4 part Article under their *Gambling Addiction* section on me, and I was very Humbled they had asked ME! I happen to visit the site today and came across a great article about JUST THAT......So I thought
With their permission, I thought I would share it with all of you. It really is a GOOD article to aide in your OWN Recovery! I hope you can learn a something NEW to use in your recovery.....*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

By Courtney Nunes, October 01, 2013

supportgroup.jpg

When it comes to addiction recovery, everyone’s needs are different.
For many people struggling with addiction, deciding to make a change is the hardest step.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind on the road to recovery.

Recovery comes first.
Make yourself the priority. Stay in touch with professionals you know who can give you advice and provide you with treatment options.

Change your environment.
Remove reminders of addiction from your home and workplace. Surround yourself with positive people, and replace your old habits with healthy new ones.

Communicate.
Addiction can be very isolating, so it is important to openly communicate with friends and family about your recovery. Though this may be difficult, their support system will help you stay motivated and focused.

Exercise and eat well.
Getting out for 30 to 60 minutes each day will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Maintaining a healthy diet is another important aspect of a successful recovery.

Join a support group!
Spending time with people in similar situations can be very therapeutic. Whether you join a church group or recovery network, make attending meetings a priority.
Build a sober social network. If your previous friendship circle revolved around drugs or alcohol, consider making new connections. Surround yourself with sober friends who will support your recovery.

Don’t give up.
Even if you’ve tried and failed before, do not give up or give in to the disease. Continually remind yourself that change is possible with the right treatment and support.

Sources: National Geographic and HelpGuide.org
**These are very HELPFUL TIPS**
**God Bless My Friends**





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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
*A SHARE from my Recovery Blog ~~ Relapse, what can Help*

Have you ever heard the old song by Bill Withers, “Lean on me”? Well, when you really listen to the words of this song as it pertains to Recovery, it has some excellent advice.
I happen to hear it yesterday, and along with a friend of mine’s Blog Post, it reinforced what I share as some GOOD ADVICE on a Tool I used often to prevent a relapse in my own early recovery. When we first enter Recovery, you seem to be go through phase’s, and one is dealing with *Triggers & Urges* all the time.

There are many tools and skills you will learn in treatment and 12-Step meetings that will help ease these symptoms as you gain recovery time. One fact of recovery is a big percentage of people will Relapse in the first 90 days of coming out of Treatment, Rehab, Etc, Etc….

THE MAIN REASON?……They don’t USE what they have LEARNED.
I have taught those who I Sponsor how to make a Phone List Plan, and to USE IT when
you feel urges and or you get triggered in Recovery. And, Sorry GUYS, but you’re the WORST offenders of not using your Phone List.

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I help YOU CARRY ON”
(Song: by Bill Withers)

See, when I was still employed at the last bank I worked for, I had to travel a little.
So I can’t count HOW MANY times my Phone Plan Saved me from a Relapse. There are Indian Casino’s everywhere and Lottery/Video poker machines all over, (my addiction was compulsive gambling) so I always had my phone list with me at all times.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “What is this Phone Plan”?
It is a list of Phone numbers with Support people you can call when you feel Urges or Triggers to Use. When you call someone BEFORE YOU USE….
Most ALWAYS you can talk and the urge or trigger will subside while you’re talking and sharing WHY you felt then NEED to use.

It really does WORK! Of course there are much more to apply to keep you Safe in recovery from Relapse, but this ONE ACT and really help you stay on course. And, yes
It can also be a “Miracle” as well. Here is a ReBlog share from my good friend Aaron
who has a blog called, “Christian Recovery” and how HIS PHONE LIST became a Miracle
for him. I encourage you to visit his blog at: http://christain-recovery.com :-) :-)

About




Hi, my name is Aaron Emerson. I am a recovering heroin addict who is called by God to use my experience to help others. I live in the Lansing, Michigan area and I am clean from drugs and alcohol just for today. I blog about my recovery, God, addiction and anything else I feel like. If I can just help or inspire one person to get clean than I will feel like I fulfilled my purpose. If I can stay clean than you can too.

The Miracle Happens

September 14, 2013




I want to write a short post about a huge subject for me. It’s about miracles. They happen if you believe them and want them.

I always used to hear people in recovery say that when you feel like getting high, if you call another person in recovery and talk about your feelings, the urge to use drugs will eventually pass. I never believed them. Well, not that I didn’t believe them but, I didn’t want to believe them. There is a huge difference.

I didn’t want to quit using drugs for years but I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous and treatment facilities during my using times. I was forced to attend various meetings and rehab through the court system and, also, to please my parents. I was in places that I could have got my life together, but I simply didn’t want to quit getting high. These places used to drill in my head to call a person in recovery when I felt cravings. They told me a miracle will happen. I would just say in my head, “Bullcrap.”

I want to share something that happened to me yesterday. I have been clean for a little over four months now. I finally got desperate to change my life around and get clean so I started going to NA meetings. I got a sponsor. I have been using the tools that have been offered to me. When I feel like using, I do what I learned to do a while ago but never followed up on. I follow-up on it now. I feel like getting high, I pick up the phone and call my sponsor.

He talks me through it and helps me make a wise decision. Yesterday, though, I was mowing lawn and it was the first day that it was cold. A thought popped up in my head. I flashed back to last winter when I would be walking around the streets of Lansing, waiting to pick up some dope. I would be freezing my butt off, pacing, waiting, desperate. Then I would hook up with my dealer and….you know….fix up. Instant warmth. Instant euphoria. Out in the cold streets but warm and rushing on the inside. I flashed back to that instant gratification. The instant hit of pleasure. Like a magical blanket.

As soon as I thought about that scenario I dialed my sponsor’s number. He didn’t answer so I called another huge influence in my life that is also in recovery. She told me she could relate to what I’m feeling and she helped me think through my crazy thoughts. She flat-out helped me. Then A MIRACLE HAPPENED!, My bad thoughts and feelings just passed. I got off the phone and prayed. I felt better. Talk about instant gratification. It is a flat-out miracle. That’s it, a miracle. It happened!

In the last four months I have been through this quite a bit where I call someone in recovery when I get cravings. This time really stuck out, though. Maybe it was because the first person I called was busy so I called another person right after? I really don’t know, but this situation was a huge boost of confidence. It gave me assurance that God is always with me and that HE is working in my life. It also let me know how blessed I am to have such a good support system. It is a must if you are in the recovery process to have people who you can talk to about your problems and cravings. You have to be able to get outside yourself and have people who want to help you. You can’t do this alone!

The good thing is, though, that it is possible! If you want to quit and stay clean you can. If I can do it, trust me, so can you. Miracles happen if you let them. The desire to use drugs will pass if you want it to. Even if you feel like using, call someone, and you won’t feel like it anymore. If you do, just keep on praying and call someone else and it will. It works. This really works and I wish I could tell the world. I wish I could tell every person that is struggling, “If you want to quit then you can. It may not seem like it, but if you sincerely want to, YOU CAN.” YOU REALLY CAN….BY: Aaron Emmerson
Tagged in: relapse prevention
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
Hello Addictionland Members and Friends,
I thought I'd come by and introduce myself, and to THANK Cate for inviting me as Guest Blogger/Expert for the Month of October. I'm very "Humbled" and Excited.
I hope I can give some insight and give a little education on the dangers of Compulsive Addicted Gambling. My first book released Nov, 2012 and eBook for Kindle Readers this past May. 2013, I shared my personal life story of my addiction and much more. My second almost ready for release early winter will be more on the Disease of Compulsive Addicted Gambling, and how to recover. I invite you to stop by my Recovery Blog at http://CatherineLyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com anytime and check out my Helpful *Recovery Resources Pages*....
Through my book Addicted To Dimes, (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat) and my Recovery Blog, I continue the rest of my story, and share Help & Hope to others. I look forward to meeting and interacting with you here the whole month of October and beyond.

Warm Regards & Blessings,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Tagged in: recovery
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Are You a problem gambler?…Riddle Me This? Posted on September 21, 2013 by Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon WELL, ARE YOU?Well, it is another weekend……which means many in Recovery from Addiction have a pretty tough time in recovery on the weekends. I know I did when I still gambled. Weekends were to Blow Off Stress of the work week, not be bored, or…..when you gross that line into addicted gambling, your DISEASED mind would take you there if you wanted to or NOT! SO I POSE THIS QUESTION……ARE YOU A PROBLEM GAMBLER?As a support member of GA, (Gamblers Anonymous) gambling is defined as Follows,“Any betting or wagering for money or not, for yourself or others, and it depends on skill or chance constitutes gambling.”*RIDDLE ME THIS*  Want to know if you’re a Problem Gambler? Answer these 20 Questions HONESTLY…..and you’ll know if you are or not….20 Questions…*If you answer YES to 7 out of 20….You maybe a problem gambler*1.Did you ever lose time from work or school due to    gambling?YesNo2.Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?YesNo3.Did gambling affect your reputation?YesNo4.Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?YesNo5.Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts    or otherwise solve financial difficulties?YesNo6.Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or    efficiency?YesNo7.After losing did you feel you must return as soon as    possible and win back your losses?YesNo8.After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win    more?YesNo9.Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?YesNo10.Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?YesNo11.Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?YesNo12.Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal    expenditures?YesNo13.Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of  yourself    or your family?YesNo14.Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?YesNo15.Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?YesNo16.Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an    illegal act to finance gambling?YesNo17.Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?YesNo18.Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create    within you an urge to gamble?YesNo19.Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by    a few hours of gambling?YesNo20.Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a    result of your gambling?YesNo **IF YOU ANSWERED *YES* TO 7 out of 20….YOU MAYBE A PROBLEM GAMBLER** I know after a while crossing that line into addicted compulsive gambling, the ACT became more like being held hostage to those damn SLOT & VIDEO POKER machines! You start to lose yourself, just ZONE OUT because I used gambling as a form of *ESCAPE* from stress, tension, old hauntings of my past childhood abuse, grief from the loss of my mom in 2003, my best friend in 2002, and having OCD brought out *HIGH MANIA* from my Undiagnosed Bipolar 2 disorder.I had NO CONTROL over my gambling. It just about destroyed my life, and myself along with it!  This Cunning Disease took everything that was GOOD in my LIFE, including me with 2 failed Suicide attempts. It was no fun anymore, and when I gambled, I had no control. I’d win thousands in one day, but that just meant I’d be held HOSTAGE Longer until I gambled every single penny away, and MORE of my own money.Winning can be an UGLIER BEAST then losing. They BOTH will keep you in the CYCLE of the addiction. Winning makes you think that you’ll WIN ALL THE TIME….Losing will also keep you in the cycle, because you’ll keep going BACK TO CHASE WHAT you LOST!That’s why we call it a *CUNNING* disease & illness.One PROFOUND MOMENT I can share is the DAY I learned about the Oregon Lottery Video Poker/Slot Machines. My best friend and I went to a little Deli for lunch on Saturdays. In Oregon, these type of places were allowed to have 6 video poker machines in their stores.So, as we ate lunch, I’d play Keno,….as the Oregon Lottery also offered this. We met some nice retired guys that I’d seen there before, and we got to talking to them. One of the gentleman went on the other side where the machines were. I was watching him play a Video Poker Game called: “FlushFever”… So, I sat down next to him on an open machine, and I put $5.00 dollars in and won $50!….He explained how the game works, so I gave it try. He had racked up $178 dollars already in just 15 minutes!! I thought WOW!, this is awesome!! SO,….as I was playing, the sweet retired man cashed out his winning ticket from his machine, and went to the cashier and got his winnings.Before he left,…..he came over to me, bent down near my ear and SAID, “Be smart, always cash out and leave with THEIR  MONEY, don’t play it all out, I’d feel bad if you got addicted to these damn Machines”……You know what?,  I never saw that man again after that day. If HE ONLY KNEW what I had been through with addicted gambling!!The other thing about this disease is what it can make you do in the addicted moment….It makes you LIE, CHEAT, BLAME, STEAL, become a THIEF, and SO MUCH MORE. But that is another blog post in its self!  I can not tell you HOW much I hated WHO I’D BECOME within my Compulsive Gambling Addiction!! Towards the end, after my 2nd failed SUICIDE attempt in 2006…..(I stopped taking my meds for Bipolar & had a bad Gambling Relapse because I just wanted to BE NORMAL)…I stopped looking in the bathroom mirror at myself because, I HATED WHAT GAMBLING ADDICTION had done to ME!So, I guess my POINT in all this DISCLOSURE, is to ask a SIMPLE QUESTION….ARE

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Hello Friends,
I'm looking forward to being a Guest Expert Blogger come October 2013. But right now my Life has been turned Upside Down.....We are in the middle of having to relocate from So. Oregon to Glendale Arizona! *YUK*! I don't DO HOT weather! So that is why I have not posted in w while. I do however have a *Dear Diary-Life change at 50 in Recovery* going on my Recovery Blog, so if you want the latest SCOOP, I have my first 6 page entries up Now. My Recovery Link is:
http://CatherineLyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com So come on by anytime and see what the past 4weeks have been like for ME!! BUT.....MY RECOVERY and MY SENSE OF HUMOR IS IN TACT!!...LOL....I'll see ya all on the FLIP SIDE from ARIZONA! God Bless! Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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Posted on August 15, 2013 by Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon ANOTHER SAD HEADLINE…..SO How many more is it going to take to DIE because of many Un-Diagnosed Emotional or Mental illness?…….Why do others JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND, or WANT TO?…….Is Ignorance REALLY BLISS? Sorry, but I’m NOT sorry to be so forward about that FACTS of mental illness, addictions, recovery, and many emotional Disorders. Gia Allemand Dead of Apparent Suicide….Why does it always have to be when someone dies or commits SUICIDE to SHOCK people into Compassion, Empathy, or Understanding? WHEN IT’S TOO LATE? *Gia Allemand Dead of Apparent Suicide* Gia Allemand, The Bachelor contestant who competed for Jake Pavelka’s heart on season 14, died of an apparent suicide. She was 29.She was found Monday night in her New Orleans home by her boyfriend, NBA player Ryan Anderson of the Pelicans, her family says in a statement. Anderson called 911 and Allemand was transported to the hospital, where she was in critical condition on life support.”Due to a critical loss of brain and organ function, life support was withdrawn” on Wednesday, the family statement says. “Ms. Allemand passed away peacefully with her mother, boyfriend, and other lifelong friends by her side. As a practicing Christian, Gia did receive the sacrament of last rites.” “Loved ones and fans will remember Gia Allemand as a caring woman who loved her family and was well-known for her compassion towards animals and mission to rescue homeless pets.”………**AND AN UPDATE SINCE I POSTED THIS POST*****ANOTHER HAS DIED??**………… **Lisa Robin Kelly in 2000‘*That ’70s Show’ star Lisa Robin Kelly dead at 43** Lisa Robin Kelly, the actress who played Laurie Forman on the FOX sitcom “That ’70s Show” and had experienced legal and substance-abuse troubles in recent years, died Wednesday, her agent said, on Thursday. She was 43. Kelly died while attending a rehab facility while attempting to battle her demons, the agent said. “Unfortunately Lisa Robin Kelly passed away last evening. Lisa had voluntarily checked herself into a treatment facility early this week where she was battling the addiction problems that have plagued her these past few years,” the agent said. “I spoke to her on Monday and she was hopeful and confident, looking forward to putting this part of her life behind her. Last night, she lost the battle.” A cause of death has not yet been released. Since exiting the series in 2003 — she was replaced by Christina Moore for the show’s sixth season — Kelly had grabbed more headlines for her legal troubles than her acting career. The actress was arrested in November 2012 for allegedly assaulting her husband in North Carolina, which followed a charge of corporal injury on a spouse in March of that year. (Those charges were dropped.) While Kelly denied the March assault, she did admit to struggling with alcohol abuse, telling “Good Morning America” interviewer Abbie Boudreau that she developed a drinking problem after suffering a miscarriage. “I had lost a baby, and as a result of that, I lost everything, and I was abusing alcohol, which I no longer do,” the actress, who claimed to be sober for three months at the time of the interview, said. “With ‘That ’70s Show,’ I was guilty of the drinking problem and I ran. And I am not running from this. And I have paid my dues. And if I can make it through this, I can make it through anything.” …… **ANOTHER PRECIOUS LIFE TAKEN TO SOON BY MOST LIKELY ADDICTION/EMOTIONAL HEALTH ISSUES’S** **”I have been that close myself to Suicide and Death TWICE…..and for some Higher Power at BE….....(My GOD) pulled me back and whispered in my ear, “Catherine it is not your time, you have too much unfinished business here on earth”,….I’m to work Through you to help you Speak out about MANY things.” And you know what?……He was right!” “My first order of business was to write my story of addiction, childhood trauma, abuse, and, Daily Challenges with my Mental illness. I try to help *SHATTER the STIGMA* around people in Recovery from Addictions, and to STAND UP for others who suffer from Mental/Emotional illness! I say this ALL the time that EVERYONE in their Life has a Story to tell. Here on my blog, I continue my Journey, and write Frequently of what it is like to Struggle with Mental Illness! My gambling addiction is what brought out my Severe Symptoms of Bi-polar.” “Then in Recovery, I found, and was left with Anxiety, Panic, and Agoraphobia Disorders. Not to mention the 7 meds I take daily to try to function like a Normal Person what ever that maybe??? YES….I’m a work in progress, and YES,……I’ve worked hard in my almost 7yrs in Recovery. But what I don’t understand is how others can be Cruel at times to people with mental disabilities. That is why I speak out! This needs to stop!! People need to be a little more educated on what WE go through on a DAILY Basis. So here are a few descriptions of some Mental illness & Disorders definitions”………. *Agoraphobia*: “ Panic disorder with agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which a person has attacks of intense fear and anxiety. There is also a fear of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available.A.D.A.M. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone. This article discusses panic disorder with agoraphobia. For information on panic disorder itself, see also: Panic disorder“ Causes, incidence, and risk factors The exact causes of panic disorder and agoraphobia are unknown. Because panic attacks often occur in areas or situations where they have happened in the past, panic may be a learned behavior. Agoraphobia sometimes occurs when a person has had a panic attack and begins to fear situations that might lead to another panic attack. Anyone can develop a panic disorder, but it usually starts around age 25. Panic disorder is more common in women than men. **Symptoms** Panic attacks involve short periods of intense anxiety symptoms, which peak within 10 minutes. Panic attack symptoms can include: Chest pain or discomfort Choking Dizziness or faintness Fear of being out of control Fear of dying Fear of “going crazy” Hot flashes or chills Nausea or other stomach distress Numbness or tingling Racing heart Shortness of breath Sweating Trembling With agoraphobia, you avoid places or situations because you do not feel safe in public places. The fear is worse when the place is crowded. Symptoms of agoraphobia include: Being afraid of spending time alone Being afraid of places where escape might be hard Being afraid of losing control in a public place Depending on others Feeling detached or separated from others Feeling helpless Feeling that the body is not real Feeling that the environment is not real Having an unusual temper or agitation Staying in the house for long periods of time **I SUFFER FROM THESE TWO DISORDERS TOGETHER** *Bi-Polar 2 Disorder*: What Is Bipolar II Disorder? Bipolar II disorder (pronounced “bipolar two”) is a form of mental illness. Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-on mania. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania. A person affected by bipolar II disorder has had at least one hypomanic episode in life. Most people with bipolar II disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. This is where the term “manic depression” comes from. In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with bipolar II disorder live normal lives. Nearly everyone with bipolar II disorder develops it before age 50. People with an immediate family member who have bipolar are at higher risk. *What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar II Disorder?* During a hypomanic episode, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria (feeling “high”) or as irritability. Symptoms during hypomanic episodes include: •Flying suddenly from one idea to the next •Rapid, “pressured,” and loud speech •Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep People experiencing hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the “life of the party” — making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood. What’s so bad about that, you might ask? Hypomania can also lead to erratic and unhealthy behavior. People in hypomanic episodes might spend money they don’t have, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t, and engage in other *impulsive or risky behaviors. (My past Gambling Addiction was risky behavior)* Also, the vast majority of people with bipolar II disorder experience significant depressive episodes. These can occur soon after hypomania subsides, or much later. Some people cycle back and forth between hypomania and depression, while others have long periods of normal mood in between episodes. Untreated, an episode of hypomania can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months. Depressive episodes in bipolar II disorder are similar to “regular” clinical depression, with depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. Depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder can last weeks, months, even years!.......... **I can tell you it's NO PICNIC being in Recovery and suffer from these disorders. People treat you different. There are people who can be very cruel to others because it is easier to make fun of something you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, then it is to have compassion for others. That is why I SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT, to help SHATTER the STIGMA Around these issues. I hope this gives others a little more Understanding. Have a Great Week ahead! *Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*
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Here is a recent Blog Post I shared on one of my Recovery Support sites I write a weekly article~~ www.recoverysocialnet.com ......

**When the Green-Eyed Monster Strikes**

The best antidotes to envy

Published on July 11, 2013 by Juliana Breines, Ph.D. in In Love and War

Life is full of reminders of what we lack, and they usually come in the form of other people. There is always someone who is more successful, more talented, more attractive, or more advanced in meeting important “milestones” than we are. We encounter these people every day—in fact, they are often our friends, family members, and colleagues. Sometimes these encounters can leave us with a bitter taste in our mouths, or a green glow in our eyes, that familiar sting of envy. Defined as a state of desiring something that someone else possesses, envy is a vicious emotion that can crush self-esteem, inspire efforts to undermine others’ successes, or even cause people to lash out violently. It also just feels horrible. So what can we do to disarm the green-eyed monster when it strikes?

1. Acknowledge envy. Admitting that we are experiencing envy can be very threatening, because it means acknowledging our own weakness and insecurity. The first clue that envy is lurking may be irrational feelings of hostility towards the object of our envy. Just the sight of them might make your skin crawl, even though they have done nothing wrong that you can put your finger on. We are better off unravelling this form of vague resentment and identifying its green-colored root before it gets the better of us and damages our relationships. Paying attention to bodily cues may also be helpful, as certain forms of envy can trigger a “fight-or-flight” physiological response involving symptoms like an increased heart rate, clenched muscles, and sweaty palms.

2. Recognize that pride is just the flip side of the envy coin. It is tempting but generally unhelpful to try to counteract envy with pride. “Sure, he has a nice car, but I’m better looking” is not going to get you very far. You might feel vindicated in the moment, but sooner or later someone is going to come along who has a nicer car than you and is better looking. In other words, reassuring ourselves about our own enviable traits is unlikely to be sustainable, and it maintains the same unstable social comparison hierarchy where someone else needs to be put down in order for us to feel boosted up, and vice versa. Instead of responding to the pain of envy with efforts to bolster your self-esteem, try self-compassion instead. Acknowledge that it is hard to see someone do well when you’re floundering, and remind yourself that you are very much not alone in your feelings of inadequacy. Even the most successful people suffer from self-doubt at times. Being imperfect is synonymous with being human.

3. Replace envy with compassion. Although envy seems almost like a compliment, it can be quite dehumanizing. It reduces the object of envy to something very narrow and masks the full picture of who they are and what their life is like. Have you ever envied someone who seemed to have the perfect life, only to find out later that they were in fact suffering in a very major way? These cases are more common than we might think–we just don’t have the opportunity to learn about someone’s difficulties when we’re mired in envy of their seemingly charmed life (facebook does not help things, by the way). It’s not that we should seek out others’ suffering, searching for chinks in their armor, but rather we should be open to seeing them in a fuller way, a way that will inevitably include both strengths and weaknesses, and joys and sorrows. Doing so will allow us to notice things we may have otherwise overlooked and as a result be there for them when they are in need. Appreciating a person in their fullness can also help us feel genuinely happy for their successes, a form of positive support called capitalization that has been shown to promote relationship well-being.

4. Let envy fuel self-improvement—when appropriate. When our envy is rooted in things we cannot change about ourselves, such as a difficult childhood, a traumatic event, or certain health conditions and disabilities, using envy to motivate self-improvement is more likely to dig us deeper into frustration and self-blame. But sometimes envy alerts us to things that we want in life that are potentially attainable, if we’re willing to make certain changes. For example, if you envy your productive colleague, you may find that you could be more productive yourself if you learned to manage your time better. You may even be able to get a few tips from him or her—upward social comparison can be a source not only of motivation but also of useful information.

5. Don’t forget to count your own blessings. As the saying goes, envy is counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Counting our blessings isn’t the same as boosting our ego by reminding ourselves how we’re better than others, as in the nice car/good looks example above. It’s more about refocusing on what is really important in life, and on the sometimes intangible or invisible things we do possess and that are less dependent on social comparisons, like a strong spirit, a diversity of life experiences, or just the simple fact of being alive. Whereas envy drains our happiness and saps our energy, appreciation can reveal abundance in places we failed to look.

WHEN was the last time you worked on your Recovery Personal Inventory??
Author, Catherine Lyon



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Hello Addictionland Community,

I thought I would *share* my gambling addiction 3 part article that was kindly done by a wonderful recovery & addiction website *MY Addiction,* which was done earlier this year on me and a little about my book, "Addicted To Dimes" {Confessions of a liar and a Cheat}

I will post all 3 parts for you a section at a time, and I hope it helps to have some insight on just how Addicted Compulsive Gambling can easily become addicting. As we know, it is a slow, and progressive illness, and I have no ill feelings toward others who can Gamble Normally, for the *Fun & Entertainment Value*....I just know I and many others can NOT.............

By Jacqueline Pabst, Tue, January 22, 2013

Gambling_chips.jpeg

Cathy Lyon shares her experiences with gambling addiction and recovery.
Click here to buy her book on Amazon: Addicted To Dimes

When did your addiction start?

My gambling was a slow, progressive decline from about 1996-1999. Many factors were in play at that time. My husband was in the construction field, and most of his jobs were taking him out of town for long periods of time, leaving me home alone. I was bored and I had too much time on my hands. I didn't come from a family background of gamblers, but I had a difficult family dynamic when I was younger because my father drank a lot. He was in the Air Force, so I just thought that was normal.

When I was older, I went to Reno with "the girls" once a year and gambled the way any other normal person would. I think my addiction really got going when the state of Oregon approved video poker machines.....they were everywhere!

So, from 1996-1999 I started gambling more and more. I also started going by myself because I had so much free time on my hands. That was the start of my addiction being more noticeable in my daily life.

When did you realize you had an addiction and what was your reaction?

I think it was in 1999, when my husband got a new Job. He was home every evening, and I noticed I started to lie to him if I got home late from work (I got in the habit of stopping to gamble on my way home.) And it got worse. I'd tell him I was going food shopping, something that usually takes an hour or so, and I'd be gone for 2 hours. I'd tell him I ran in to an old co-worker and we had coffee. There were just so many lies.

I finally realized my gambling had become more then just a fun pastime when my husband and I took a trip to see my family in 1999. I noticed that I would get angry when I couldn't go gamble, and I couldn't stop thinking about the next time I'd get to do it.

My mom planned the whole trip for us, with stops in Arizona, Laughlin, NV, and Palm Springs, CA. The last night that we were in Laughlin, we'd all been out all day and some of the evening. Everyone wanted to go to the rooms, but I didn't want to go. They had been dragging me around all day, and every time I'd get on a winning streak, (or at least I thought), they wanted to go somewhere else. I blew up in front of everybody and confronted my husband. I made everyone uncomfortable, so everybody went back to their rooms. The next morning at breakfast, my mom said she thought that maybe I was gambling too much, not knowing my husband had made very similar comments to me. So after that trip, I called the Oregon Lottery Helpline for problem gamblers at www.1877mylimit.org.
That was Sept 1999, and the rocky start of recovery.

**Next week: How Cathy deals with her gambling triggers, and how she began a long term recovery***
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