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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

I happen to be reading an article the other day in my AARP magazine I receive each quarter. Now I know you are thinking? What does Gambling have to do with AARP right? Well, there was a fantastic article that called slot machines "The New Electronic Crack." It got me thinking about my old days past within my gambling addiction. What was the draw to slot machines for me? Was it all the lights, bells, and whistles? Or was it the disease itself with the constant racing thoughts and triggers and urges abound? Do casinos really pump in oxygen to keep players alert? Well, I'm not sure, but anyone can become a gambling addict. 

Through the years of my 10 and half years in recovery, I remember when I first started advocating, blogging and talking loudly about this illness. I actually had people leave comments on "How Stupid" it was for a person to become addicted to slot machines and not horses, cards, or sports betting. Now, in their favor, back in the day, the most common gambling problems talked about was sports and horse betting. Sometimes you'd hear talk about "rolling bones" which is dice games. I took offense to some of the comments as it proved to me first, how ignorant people can be when they are misinformed or have no education about this addiction. And second, that STIGMA was wide spread within this dependency.  

Since moving here to Arizona from So. Oregon a few years ago, I was shocked to see how many Indian Casinos are all over this State. Now I know Oregon and California have casinos every as well, but here? IT IS LIKE Drug Addiction! Being the Indian Casinos are selling “Electronic Crack.” But I feel it is time for this "drug, " and the dark side of this addiction be exposed. It is time for the conversation and awareness of the personal and financial hardship this addiction causes. Not only is it attacking our seniors, but it also has reached our kids. There are currently 17+million problem gamblers in just the US alone, HALF of this number are high school and college kids. Another addiction parents have to talk to their children about along with drugs and alcohol. WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Gambling addiction is the #1 addiction killing people by suicide. True! That is over drug and alcohol deaths. Anyone can become addicted to gambling.

When a person walks into a casino? They have YOU. It's why there are no windows or clocks around inside. Ever notice that? And they offer you free drinks and some free alcohol. They send you coupons for free play and discount hotel rooms and meals to keep you there longer. Marketing for casinos is a ploy to get you there and keep your money. Slot machines have the highest odds to the house as well. Which means, you rarely win. And seniors are taking the hit. As the gambling industry booms, aggressive marketing tactics are targeting older patrons. Now, to be fair, not everyone is a problem gambler or becomes addicted. But the expansion and more access can make staying in recovery much harder for those who are. 

Some of the past research I did when I wrote a post on my blog, I learned how seniors we becoming the target of predatory casino tactics. I read recently, of the 101 million visitors to America’s casinos in 2014 (the last year for which information was available), nearly half were age 55 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. 

Shared in my AARP article I read, that a 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. When we retire, we seem to have more time on our hands.  And long gone are the days that you had to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to gamble thanks to the boom of the Indian Gambling offerings as of 1988 when the 'Indian Gaming Regulatory Act' which legalized casino development on Indian lands. 

That sparked an untightening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1,400 casinos are open across 40 states so far. In those states, casinos are especially attractive to seniors who prefer to drive themselves. States with bigger populations of adults over 55, include Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and where I lived Oregon previously. All of these states now have expanded Indian Casino gambling in recent years and now State Lottery offerings on top of that. 

For myself, I know I felt when I would first walk into a casino seeing the lights flashing and the noise and music. I got so excited that I was going to win, let alone what my brain chemicals were doing as I got so euphoric as if I did pop a pill, or stuck a needle in my arm. NOPE. IT WAS ALL Brain and Body doing an inside dance of excitement! So anyone can become addicted to gambling and for many reasons. 


"Not All Addictions Are Substance Use Anymore."


Posted by on in Other Addictions
In our society the word ‘addiction’ is strongly associated with drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. When people think of addiction they picture illegal substances and narcotics. In the last couple decades’ addiction has really gained national attention, with SAMHSA estimating over 25 million American have a significant problem with drugs or alcohol. However, are not the only things can people can become addicted to. Recent psychological research has created a new class of addiction termed ‘Behavioral Addictions’. These habits produce a psychological ‘high’ that can become so strong that the addict loses control and seeks the activity despite the dangers and consequences. People with drug or alcohol addiction or recovery from substance abuse problems are at a much higher risk to developing a behavioral addiction than an average American. That’s because these activities can produce dopamine, the so-called ‘feel good’ chemical, which is the same neurological transmitter involved in drug addiction.
Gambling Addiction

People addicted to gambling may most closely resemble people addicted to drugs and alcohol, because they impact the brain in similar ways. The risk and reward of gambling produces euphoria in the gambler. The thrill of winning, pulling a bluff, and getting lucky can create an intensely pleasurable experience. Gambling can become a behavioral addiction when the person starts to impulsively gamblegambling-addiction despite recent losses, lack of money, or disregard for responsibilities to family or work. Gambling addicts can become so obsessed with gambling that they will steal and even rob to get money to continue their habit. When they win a big sum of money it does not satisfy them and they continue gambling, often eventually losing all their winnings. This addiction is so common that there are even 12 step groups for it and the APA includes it in their classification system.

Sex Addiction

Like gambling addiction, sex addiction is one of the more acknowledged behavioral addiction, with its own 12 step groups. What causes people to become addicted to sex? Dopamine; the same brain messenger chemical involved in drug, alcohol, and gambling addiction. Many sex addicts also have some form of other mental issues, such as body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, and hyper-sexuality. When a person becomes addicted to sex they begin to seek intercourse with different people, often complete strangers. Severe cases of sex addiction involve having sex with 4 or more people in a single night, sometimes without even exchanging names. A sex addict will begin to put their health, career, and relationships in jeopardy to achieve the ‘high’ that they get from having sex. Risk, such as sexual infections or unwanted pregnancy, is not enough to stop their habit.

Internet Addiction

The advent of computers and the internet have resulted in increased communication, sharing of knowledge, and technological advancements. In 2016, it is obvious we live in a digitally wired world. Internet addiction occurs when a person becomes too attached to their computer and specifically the internet. This addiction is a little more controversial than the previous two cases. Many psychologists andcomputer-addiction-2doctors aren’t convinced that internet addiction is a true disorder. However, some research has shown that an addiction to the Internet involves loss of control, as well as negative consequences at work and at home comparable to more standard addictions. One study even found that compulsive use of the internet may occupy up to 11 hours out of an “Internet addict’s” day and it is estimated between 6 to 11 percent of internet users may be affected by compulsive internet use.




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

From: Author, Catherine Lyon
Recovering Addicted Gambler
7 yrs in Recovery on Jan 29th, 2014
1996 to 2007-I was addicted

Dear Addicted Gambling Disease,
It’s time to make amends To ”Myself”……


It has been some time now since we have been together, or had any contact between the two of us. Seeing it’s the Holidays once again, I thought I’d drop a few lines to catch up on the years we have been apart. Things have been going really well for me these past years. Yes, you have crossed my mind through those years, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell you that it is “Truly” time to “Say Goodbye” forever. Because it hurts for it to be so final….

But we seem to have drifted apart, so this shouldn’t be to difficult for either of us. We have shared, and been through a lot together. With some good times, and NOT so good. Many of those bad memories are pretty tough to forget. Because I didn’t see how you HURT ME in our friendship. I didn’t understand, towards the end of our break up that you could be so CRUEL & Hurtful….WHY?
You don’t understand what I’m talking about? Please, do I have to remind you of all the times you were just an ASS to ME? You really want me to go THERE?


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