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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I am Catherine, I am a Compulsive Addicted Gambler

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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

 

 

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.


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