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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

“MORE NOW Than ever we need to “Have The Conversation” about Problem Gambling.”  With the ever growing expansion of gambling options, now comes the risk of more people affected and may become problem gamblers. My mission for my blog is to educate, inform, help, and raise awareness of problem gambling and gambling addiction."

Here now is a message from my friends and hardworking advocates at “The National Council on Problem Gambling"….

 

The National Council on Problem Gambling Goals:

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.  The 2017 PGAM theme is “Have the Conversation” and the goals of this national campaign are:

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
Hello And WELCOME Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Friends,

 

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Can We Have The GOOD LIFE In Recovery? Can We Be HAPPY?


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I just happened to be tweeting on my Recovery Twitter here @LUV_Recovery and came across this pic. I just seemed to gravitate to it, and my mind started to WONDER!…LOL.
And we all know what seems to happen when my “Recovery Mind” does THAT…..LOOK OUT! You never know what falls out of my mouth and into a Recovery Blog Post! I always blame that part of my mouth on just being an Italian! Yeah I know, excuses, excuses. And where did I learn THAT HABIT?? Need I go on?
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But seriously, when I seen this, it made me think of many things when I was still addicted gambling and drinking. The BIG thing was the time lost from my life that I will never get back. That’s why it is true when people say, “Life Is To Short.” What about being happy? When we were in the throes of our addiction, happy to me meant having to lie about how I was really feeling inside myself. You know what I mean right? How we MASK our true feelings on the BAD DAY we were having in our addictions. Trying to make our “Outer self look Perfect” to others with that fake smile, and say how much money I was winning when I gambled, but really wasn’t! All the while the “RAGE” of shame, doubt, hate, blame, low self-worth, and feeling, “LESS THAN” each time we used. For me it got even worse when I first tried to stop gambling and drinking. Because each time I gambled,  I entered the “RECOVERY TWILIGHT-ZONE”!!
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Now I know you KNOW what I’m talking about right? It’s that long period when we think we can GET better by going to meetings, and try treatment, but we really haven’t Surrendered Yet. That time when SHIT we hear in our meetings and treatment group starts to sink in just a wee little bit, but we are still in the mindset that we can still CONTROL bits and pieces of our addiction right? Who were we fooling? NOBODY! Just ourselves! BUT, then this “stuff” we hear starts to interrupt our addiction a little here and there. I remember when I started an outpatient gambling treatment group and therapy, one of the first things my councilor said to us was this, “Even if you come here to treatment group, and still go out and use (drink & gamble), these things we teach you will start to POP UP in your head WHILE your out using.”
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And you know what? She was SPOT ON! When I’d relapse and go out and gamble, all this crap I was learning started to make an appearance in my mind and thinking! Gosh it annoyed the hell out me! For me, at first in early recovery, it made me feel even more doubtful, self loathing and low self-worth. See, recovery is a process, a life long process. No, lapse & relapse does not have to be part of one’s recovery, but it does happen for some. WHAT’S the difference you ask?
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A “lapse” is just a “ONE TIME SLIP”…..a “relapse” is when you have that slip, but you continue back into the “Cycle” of the addiction, and you relapse over and over. I did this a lot on and off until 2006, after 2 crisis center stays, and after attempting 2 failed SUICIDES, most recent was in 2006. I got myself tangled in a criminal event from my gambling addiction. That’s when I started, and got a foot hold of long-term recovery working with an Addictions Specialist,  intense therapy, and 3 GA Meetings a week for a whole year. That was my first goal. Seriously work and give it a year to start!
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I also got a sponsor and finally started in-depth step work. I was at the point of being “Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired”….Really the biggest 1st Step we have to take in the start of our recovery is, TRULY admitting to ourselves and another that gambling and alcohol had me beat to HELL. I had lost everything, almost my marriage and husband and my LIFE. It was time to grown up, work hard in my recovery, PUT IT FIRST, and get my LIFE BACK! I think some of the thoughts and feelings I had for thinking what I was doing in my addiction was OK was I felt like a “Victim” of my past Childhood Trauma and Abuse.
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So I felt a sense of entitlement, which we all know is horse shit! I needed to finally feel and walk though all that passed PAIN, HURT, and FEAR of all of that.  PLUS, what I had done to others and myself within my addiction! In order to REAP the RECOVERY REWARDS later years later, to really get what seems so “ELUSIVE” in the start of recovery, and what all of us IN Recovery want, just some “PEACE & SERENITY,”……you have to do the WORK order to achieve it, not be GIVEN IT.
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So, the BAD news is, you have to work hard in early recovery and beyond. Make those GA, AA, NA or what ever meetings that help support your recovery through *Fellowship and Unity.* You need to start your 12-Step work as well, or what ever recovery program you choose to help you have a balanced recovery. Some important things is re-learn healthy Mind & Body balance. Start a journal, read those materials that are “given” to you at meetings and at treatment. THEY REALLY DO HELP, and help guide you by learning and being informed about your addiction.
A support PHONE LIST is very important in early recovery. People you can call to help you through “Urges & Triggers.” And get back those healthy habits and hobbies you enjoyed in life, before all your time got sucked up by your addiction.
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The Good & Fabulous news of recovery? YOU GET YOUR LIFE BACK! YES, it will take time, so LEARN PATIENTS.  But it will come. The more you work your recovery, the more of your life you get back in return. And a much BETTER LIFE at that! Again, Recovery is a life long process, not an inconvenience. As before you know it, you’ll having years in recovery, not minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. You’ll have YEARS of recovery time, and that’s when the “GOOD LIFE” really starts to happen!! It’s when all the hard work you put into your recovery gets good! You finally get to enjoy that early “elusive” in recovery, PEACE, CALM, and SERENITY. You can then start to “Pay It Forward” by being strong in your own recovery, to then help and support others as being of recovery service to others.
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So, just Breath In a Deep,……AWE, DO YOU FEEL IT YET? I SURE DO! It’s called “Success In Recovery”…
“AWE, THE GOOD LIFE”…
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May God Bless You All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Seekers,


Here are parts 2 & 3 to round out mt series on "Gambling Relapse Prevention" and it can be used for all types of addictions. In early recovery, we MUST have a "Daily Plan" ready at any time when we feel a build up, triggers, or urges come our way. It's a really good idea to start a daily journel as well. With journaling, you'll be able to loook back at them later on in your recovery and SEE hoe much growth you achieve on your journey. And remember to Live in the Moment, don't dwell on your past, and ODAAT!....*Cat*
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Now I know many may think, WHY is she doing all this? I’ll tell you why. I shared in my book about “WHY” I started writing again to begin with. It was a newspaper story I read about a woman at an “Indian Casino Hotel.” She had a room there and must have had a very bad Relapse or Slip, because she shot herself with a shotgun in her room. There was a note left, but police only disclosed a part of the note, “and please tell my family I’m sorry, I had relapsed and could not stop my gambling.”
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When I read that, a tear came down my cheek, as I could feel that woman’s pain. I knew exactly how she felt when she pulled that trigger. It’s because I almost was her, and could have been her! So I swore I would do all I could to help others who suffer, and who are stuck on the” INSANE CYCLE” of compulsive addicted gambling. NOT one more person should ever feel that “SUICIDE” is the only “OPTION” to quit your addicted gambling. I’m tired of all the loss of precious LIFE from Suicide from ALL TYPES of ADDICTIONS.
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*WE NEED TO REMEMBER~WE ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS*!!

So get your tool box out and a notepad for PART 2 of Relapse Prevention….
I happen to read an article about Addiction & The Brain. There is a little part that I’ll share here, because it explains how the brain gets involved in the confusion of addicts and addictions….”Courtesy from http://www.azccg.org Which is a fantastic resource for Gambling Addiction help and information, “Arizona Council Of Compulsive Gambling.”
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“Individuals who are more biologically at risk for addiction are likely to have a neurobiological basis for deficits in experiencing pleasure, reward and satisfaction. Additionally, they are more likely to be emotionally unstable and impulsive, or experience either over- or under-arousal. Addictive substances and behaviors act in some ways to “fix” such neurobiological risk factors. However, the addictive “cure” only serves to intensify the problem, by further aggravating the underlying biological problems.
Taken alone, this discussion of addiction in relation to the biology of the brain probably seems disheartening. But the mind is a component of the addiction equation, as well, and next month I’ll discuss tools for reducing our subservience to the brain’s neurotransmitter systems.

However, it is important to recognize that medication helps the brain to function. While this may aid an individual to better utilize the mind, medication does not necessarily “heal” the mind or, by itself, stop addictive behavior. Ideally, the mind will be used to make healthy choices, not choosing to seek escape, euphoria, or relief via the quick fix of our  addiction.  However, we can change the chemistry of our brains through activities such as relaxation, prayer, meditation, eating mindfully, exercising and such. When you take a few minutes to breathe deeply and slowly, your brain chemistry automatically changes, your brain waves change.

One example is, when a compulsive gambler is gambling she or he changes the brain in the same way, since many gamblers report that gambling relaxes them. While this may seem true on the surface, gambling and other addictive behaviors only provide the illusion of providing this type of relief. If we took a brain image of someone who was gambling and compared it to someone who was meditating, we would have vastly different pictures.”…..
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*This to me was fascinating. The brain is very complex, and I know a few of my mental disorders are a direct effect from my brain being over used or not enough chemicals in other area’s of my brain. And Yes, medication does help me, A LOT. So, now we have learned a little about the addicted brain, and my last post we talked about FEELINGS, and making a plan to prevent Relapse, and to USE the “Skills & Tools” we learn to cope with “urges, triggers, and everyday life. Here is the next area you need to explore to help keep you safe, and part of your relapse plan,*
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IN EARLY RECOVERY YOU NEED TO:~ (Use the list of 37 Warning Signs in Part 1)
Here a just a few…
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