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Posted by on in Co-dependency

People often forget about the needs of caregivers, especially when you’re caring for someone with a drug or alcohol addiction. It is equally important for you to seek help and develop a support system. Therapists can offer you guidance on how to: stop enabling the person with the addiction, improve communication, set boundaries, avoid caving in to manipulations, promote your own social life and maintain relationships with others, and gain knowledge about addiction. Addiction is a family illness that doesn’t just impact the person addicted to drugs or alcohol.




While there are many benefits to having a support system, there are barriers that often prevent caregivers from reaching out to friends and family. If you fear being judged or rejected by society, you’re not alone. Caregivers often feel shame or have guilt for caring for someone with an addiction, as if they have failed that person. If their child has an addiction, they often feel they have failed as a parent. Sometimes caregivers feel they don’t deserve help, or feel guilty for acknowledging their own pain, as if they are being insensitive to the person with the addiction. It can be difficult admitting and accepting that you need help as the loved one or caregiver, when you spend most of your time caring for and attending to the needs of someone else. Sometimes friends and family aren’t supportive of the caregiver. You might be viewed as being too supportive (enabling) or not supportive enough (abandoning). It may feel like a lose-lose situation, but it is important to put your own needs and mental health first.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Twenty or thirty years ago doctors and therapists suspected that alcohol and drug addiction seemed to be a genetic disease. Using observation, psychologists were able to see a strong link between addicted parents and their children. To put it simply, if a person’s parents were alcoholics or addicts then they had a greater chance of being addicted themselves. However, it is certainly not a guarantee. Plenty of addicted parents have perfectly addiction-free children. The medical profession puzzled over just how much of addiction was genetic. Did things like childhood trauma or emotional neglect have any role in addiction? Are certain families plagued with a predisposition to addiction? In recent decades, technology and medical advancements have allowed researchers to find solid evidence for the genetic role of addiction in families.

Genetic Evidence

Recent discoveries in DNA testing and gene profiling has given us new insights into how addiction runs in families. Using gene markers has allowed scientists to identify at least three gene qualities that are predictive of drug and alcohol problems. These include genes involved in alcohol metabolism as well as in the transmission of nerve cell signals and intensity of nerve cell activity. The research reveals that there is also more to addiction than just our genes. People born with these ‘addiction genes’ do not always become addicts. People born without these ‘addiction genes’ can become addicts. So how much of addiction is based on our family? For both alcohol dependence and drug dependence, considerable evidence suggests that genetic factors influence the risk of these disorders, with heritability estimates of 50 percent and higher (D. Dick 2008). So our genes make up about half of our chances of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Where do the other 50 percent come from then?

Other Influences

Research and case-studies have found that dozens of other factors can contribute to the likelihood of forming an addiction. One of the greatest factors is the age at which the person takes his first drink or drug. Evidence shows that people who begin drinking or smoking before the age of 15 have a significantly larger chance of forming an addiction later in life. Another important factor in developing addiction is our personality. Certain personality traits are very high in the addicted population. Some of these traits include anti-social behaviors, lack of empathy, and low inhibitions. Children who exhibit these qualities at a young age could potentially be at risk for addiction. Lastly, events like trauma and abuse can lead to addiction. Perhaps the best example of this is in groups of soldiers suffering PTSD. Soldiers with this stress disorder appear almost 4 times more likely to acquire an addiction than those who do not have PTSD.

Originally Posted @ Recovery Blog

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Posted by on in Co-dependency

Originally Posted @

Preface: I write this article from a purely opinion based standpoint. The only knowledge I have on co-dependency is personal experience of being an addict in a family made co-dependent by my behaviors. The information and ideas contained in this post were mainly gathered from pre-existing sources and addiction therapy literature. This post is by no means indicative of every family struggling with addiction, but instead is a common theme in such families.

The term ‘co-dependency’ is popular in addiction treatment and among therapists, but what does it mean exactly? Mental Health America defines co-dependency as follows, “It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.” In fact, the term was first created as a result of a study focused on the family structure of alcoholics. A co-dependent relationship takes away the serenity, energy, and well-being of at least one person involved. Often times a person in a co-dependent relationship will begin to place their whole identity on the other person, at the expense of their own health and sanity. In families dealing with addiction, the parents, spouse, or siblings of the addict can become a victim of a co-dependent relationship.


The ‘Survival Roles’

For families dealing with an addict, there is a pattern of roles that family members take on in order to preserve the integrity and safety of the family. Often they take on these roles unconsciously and researchers have come up with 5 standard roles that seem to occur in co-dependent families. They are as follows:

  1. Enabler: The enabler’s efforts are well-meaning, but are often counterproductive. They aim to help the addict but their actions allow the addict to continue his addictive behaviors. They may fund the addict, make excuses for them, or take over the addict’s responsibilities. The enabler seeks to protect the addict and does not want to confront the reality of the addiction. As a result, the enabler is often left hurt, exhausted, and angry. The addict is no closer to getting better, because they learn to think that the enabler will always be there to save them.
  2. Hero: The hero role of the family is played by the member who seeks to over-achieve or be extra responsible in order to make up for the behavior of the addict. To overcome the guilt and shame that addiction brings to a family, they seek success, money, and approval. The cost of being the hero of the family is that they rarely feel satisfied with themselves and sacrifice their emotional lives and energy into trying to maintain the family.
  3. Scapegoat: This role is most often played by a sibling of the addict or one of the parents. Their bad behavior is different than that of the addicts. The family will often take out their anger and frustration towards the addict on the scapegoat, because they are an easier target.
  4. Lost Child: The lost child is a sibling of the addict who either keeps a low profile or is neglected by the family. The addict can take up all the attention and effort of the family, leaving the lost child without much care or recognition. The family is so busy and stressed looking after or cleaning up after the addict, that the other siblings can get ignored. They can go unnoticed and disappear easily. As a result, they can feel unimportant or unloved.
  5. Mascot: The mascot is a contrast to the lost child. This is often a younger sibling who comes along in a family system made extremely dysfunctional by addiction. The parents react by coddling and protecting this child. They give all their support and approval to this child, seeing him as the ‘saving grace’ of the family. The family may withhold information about the addict from the mascot and downplay the dysfunctional status of the family. Eventually the mascot will discover the truth about their family dynamic and can feel pressured or betrayed by the family.
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Visitors,

Many of us who live with Dual Diagnosed Mental Illness, and live in Recovery can have a much more difficult time overcoming some of the daily fears we think and feel. I have Agoraphobia with panic disorder. Hard to explain the different type of 'Fear' then just having panic disorder. This is how it's defined ...



Agoraphobia is an irrational fear of being trapped in places or situations where escape could be difficult or impossible. People with agoraphobia often will not leave the house. It often occurs in association with panic disorder . In this case, the affected people may fear that help will not be available in certain places in case a panic attack occurs.


The exact cause is unknown. Most people develop agoraphobia after having panic attacks. Afraid of having another attack, an agoraphobic avoids places and situations that have triggered an attack. Factors that may contribute to the development of this phobia include:

 development of this phobia include:

  • Genetics
  • Changes in brain chemistry or activity
  • Having a nervous system that reacts excessively, even to normal stimuli
  • Increased awareness of physical changes (such as increased heart rate)
  • Distorted thinking, which may start a cycle of fear

    Changes or genetic problems in the nervous system (brain and nerves) may contribute to agoraphobia ...

    Risk Factors:

    These factors increase your chance of developing agoraphobia. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
    • A tendency to be nervous or anxious
    • Stressful situations
    • Family members with panic disorder or phobias
    • Age: 18-65
    • Sex: female
    • Other psychiatric disorders
    • Personality disorder


Both my psychiatrist and primary doctors have told me that some of my condition comes from my past addicted gambling addiction. It has also affected my heart beat too. So I take medication for it. Also learning more life skills have helped some.

Don't let the fear of failure stop you from doing what you were called to do! Kick FEAR to the curb and move on!
There has been a few things bothering me the last couple of days.

I have thought of my mom recently of her passing in 2003, and the legacy of bad behaviors she left behind. Now I’m not ‘mom or dad bashing at all, I’m sharing because I also been thinking of my dad as well. His 80th birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s coming on almost 9 1/2 years since we have had any communication. I have been thinking of the FEAR around not making some form of effort or amends with him before he pass’s away. I have shared a little in the past about this subject, but it’s the FEAR that seems to be driving my thoughts about this.


Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Addictionland Friends & New Visitors,

Here is what the last 4 days have been like for me. There wer BIG UPs and Some Downs, and I'm tired, so I'm sharing my Todays Blog Post Via my Recovery Blog.

The *TWINS* have Arrived & More!

Posted on October 26, 2013 by Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon
OH HAPPY DAY Recovery Friends & New Visitors!,


Twins! Finally. Just in time. I had to leave.

One Boy…”Mark Fredrick Lake”  & One Girl…”Bella Lake

”They got here EARLY, as they were to be born on Oct 30th by C-Section, but they came Sat. morning! My wonderful nephew Mark Lake and his wife Rosalia are the proud parents of a new baby girl & boy ”TWINS”…

I can not WAIT to go visit and spend “Thanksgiving” with my nephew Mark Lake and his family, and get my hands on those “Bundles of Joys”!!  My HEART is going to “BURST” with all the Happiness inside ME right NOW!

Now a little bit of *Ramblings*….

I just thought I would “MIX IT UP” and just ramble about a few “Thoughts & Things” rolling around in my Heart & Head!….LOL…

To start, many of you know about our *Sticky* living situation since having to relocate from So. Oregon to Arizona, and HAPPY to inform everyone my hubby & I are Apartment/ Small house hunting! We have put in a few applications in on some places that are NOW Available, so just waiting to here back.

The night before was another ABUSIVE, World War 3 going on,  and we JUST STAYED IN OUR little DUNGEON. Don’t move in with family unless YOU know what your fully walking into as we were NOT told what goes on around here before we left Oregon.

I JUST DON’T GET why families keep “Dirty Little Secrets” about family abusive behaviors??  Yes, I know, I know, just get over it, but it’s damn hard to when there is *CRAZY* going on around you 24/7. The last two incidents have been over a lawn chair, and the youngest sister had a “Mental Breakdown” in the driveway, after over hearing a conversation with me, my hubby and his older sister that is helping us financially to get into a place.

AND YES, there IS NO WHERE to have a private conversation in this HOUSE!! The younger sister got so mad and worked up, they took her to ER and they admitted her into the hospital. Mental hold. ALL this over a Lawn chair and a conversation that SHE WAS NOT A PART OF, & had nothing to do with HER...

I, as a Writer & Blogger, I have had NO DESIRE since we walked in this house to “WRITE” and to finish my 2 book projects, so THIS needs to CHANGE FAST! But on a serious note, some things have escalated to the point that we need to be out of this environment. It is hard to have to see your family like this. It also compounds itself, because we have not spent much time around either side of our families for long periods of time. That’s what makes it more *SAD* to know when our parents pass away, you just don’t know how the GROWN Children are going to behave, or interact when our parents are gone. IN OUR CASE, Poorly.
I don’t get any  ”JOY” out of talking about are families, but BLOGGING is the ONLY release that has kept me SANE, I have to vent and get my feelings out.In the past when I was still compulsively gambling , I’d have used “ALL this CRAZINESS” to my “Selfish Benefit” and as an excuse to run and escape from it all by a few hours of gambling!!

Blogging is a HELL of a lot CHEAPER!

After 6+yrs in recovery, I think I’m entitled to some *Freedom of Speech* about how I feel, and how all this has affected me. Many times LIFE is never what we expect. The whole move thing was hard on me with the Bipolar 2, anxiety, depression and Agoraphobia, but then to get here and walk into an even worse and stressful family dynamic is even worse than the move.

It’s like the longest *Trial* the lord has put upon us.BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?…..I’m not going to FAULTER…..NOW WAY!!
The man upstairs can keep adding it on, and I WON’T CRACK!  WHY?…..Because the lord taught us that no matter how bad things get, know matter “HOW ROUGH THE SEA’S ARE”, there is always a “BLESSING” AT THE END.  So I Pray, I bide my time, and bite my tongue, as the lord will see us through all this.

It’s also what recovery has given me as well. The tools & skills I have learned, and the *FANTASTIC SUPPORT FRIENDS* I have, DO play a major role in my life and recovery. And they include ALL OF YOU here who follow and visit my blog.
Many know I don’t like ADVICE SUGAR COATED, especially when it’s matters of LIFE & RECOVERY. You know any advice given by all of you is always well taken and appreciated. Giving it to me Straight. I hold no GRUDGE, because sometimes the TRUTH can STING, and that’s OK.

SORRY, I told you all I had a lot of *RAMBLINGS* to get out and off my chest!! So I’ll close with saying a “BIG THANK YOU” from my HEART to ALL of yours, for always being here for me with a Shoulder to Lean on, and an Ear to LISTEN to all my LIFE & RECOVERY RAMBLINS!!

GOD BLESS ALL & Have a Great Week Everyone,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

"Addicted To Dimes" (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)

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