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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Recovery Can Be At Times Challeging When Your Dual Diagnosed . . .

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Hello Recovery Friends, and Welcome All,

We all know how hard it can be to live life in recovery from gambling addiction, or from any addiction quite frankly. But, many of also live with other daily challenges in recovery as well.
Sitting in the rooms of GA, it seems to be more common now that many of us also have "Dual Diagnosis" . . .  Meaning, we maybe recovering from 2 or more addictions, or like myself, I live in recovery and battle Mental/Emotional health disorders as well. And this can be pretty challenging on some days. So I thought I would share a 'freelance recovery article' I was invited to write for a rehab website about this topic. It also seems to becoming the norm that many addicts are also now becoming addicted to gambling as they try to use gambling as a "quick source of fast money" to indulge in
what ever their TRUE addiction is. Maybe they gambling to make a fast buck to score more drugs, or buy the alcohol they so desperately want to feed their addiction? 

But now these same people end up with a dual addictions because they get hooked on gambling. But most importantly, my experience is with addiction and living with mental illness. And one of my disorders is a direct effect of my past compulsive gambling. So here is more on this topic and article share. . . . .


So how does one recover from gambling addiction while living with mental illness? It can be difficult and a bumpy ride, but it can be done. I did it, and am doing it, and you can too! A personal share of what life was like. . .

“All I remember is waking up in the hospital. I heard people talking about me saying, when the police came to my home, there were knives all around me on the couch and floor of my living-room. Then I blacked out again.” “I woke up next in a mental/addiction crisis center with my wrists wrapped, feeling very sick to my stomach, and remained there for the next 14 days” . . .

This is where my recovery and behavioral health journey began. To be able to recover from gambling addiction, and while there, I was diagnosed with bipolar ll with severe depression, mild mania with anxiety, PTSD, and many negative behavioral habits I had picked up in my many years of addicted gambling.

See, I was suffering undiagnosed mental illness for years without ever knowing it. And I turned to addicted gambling and alcohol abuse to zone out & cope by wanting to not feel the hurt and pains I had not processed. That day, I was supposed to be attending my best friend’s funeral and celebration of life! Well, instead, I had a very bad gambling binge/slip that almost cost me my life. Many ask me, “How can you just waste your money like that? I tell them, “it’s not about the money, it’s about the disease of gambling addiction, and the bad choices and behaviors that comes with it”. . . “that it is not about the money wasted, gambling addiction almost cost me my life by  way of 2 failed suicides.”

So what is Gambling Addiction?

There are many definitions for problem and gambling addiction. Some claim it’s a mental health disorder, some say it’s a cognitive behavioral issue, and even some say it’s an impulse control problem. From personal experience, it was all three and more. But all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits is a gambling addiction. 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 I experienced all of the above. I was sick.

This cunning illness invades every part of your being, especially your thinking. Even though I was a victim of childhood trauma & abuse as a little girl, I never told anyone until my adulthood. And my parents did raise us to know right from wrong. But when addiction comes along, or you turn to any addiction to cope with what rough life is throwing at you, all good behaviors and choices fly right out the window, and the negative behaviors of addiction change your whole way of our thought process in working out life’s problems.


It was easier for me to go gamble for hours then to deal with what life drama was happening around me, and all the past feelings of the childhood sex abuse and trauma I endured as a little girl. And that’s part of the disease. It will prey on you when you’re at your lowest in your life. So my bumpy journey of recovery and cognitive behavioral retraining and therapy began. Now we know from some of my past articles what behavioral health is, and now we throw in the mix what gambling addiction is. {Description above}. We now call this having Dual Diagnosis.
But on a personal level, I called it a recipe for doom, and “the perfect storm” that set me up to turn to addictions very easily.

So there I was, in a crisis center due to a suicide attempt, and not convinced about my mental/emotional diagnosis. Partly to the fact I was still in denial about my gambling addiction. When I was told I would be starting medications for my mental/emotional issues, first thing I thought was, “oh great, now people are going to think I’m nuts or a fruit loop”!


Looking back now of course, that came from the huge Stigma in this country about those who suffer from any type of mental and or emotional illness. Pretty hard to admit to yourself that you have mental issues, when your still trying to wrap your mind around the fact you are an addicted gambler, and it got so out of control that I tried to end my life!
So, I wasn’t focused or trying manage my disorders because I was in denial about the mental/emotional illness. When I left the crisis center, all I knew was to take these pills that the doctors started me on, and all would be OK. And I just focused on my recovery from gambling, and not so much on managing my mental/emotional health.

Since my primary medical doctor was handling my mental evaluations and psych meds, and never given any instructions about getting therapy or to see a psychiatrist, so I got it in my head that as long as I took these pills, I would get better from both gambling addiction and this persistent black cloud and fog I felt, like I was living with in my head. This went on for a few years, and so did the relapses into gambling again. And after a few years, suddenly my world went totally Black! .  .  .



Now that black out is for another blog post share for another time soon. My point of this part of my journey, is to let you know, like any other illness, you have to manage and balance not only your recovery from addiction, but your mental, emotional behavioral health as well. Like any other illness or disease, like being a diabetic, or maybe heart disease. You have to manage it by medication, diet, being educated and informed about your disease. With gambling addiction, living with mental/behavioral health also has to be well-balanced together just like any other illness.

So, . . . until next time friends, be Well, Happy, and Healthy in RECOVERY!

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat

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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