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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Welcome Friends and Visitors!

YES, sorry that it has been a while since I have blogged about my journey and recovery from gambling addiction now 10+years IN!

I also have had many blessings come my way recently and thought I should share what I’m doing in my own recovery path. On of the beautiful things about recovery is we continue to grow when we have a plan in place for whatever life brings us. It can a new trial or test, or it can be an awesome learning opportunity. If we are NOT learning along the way, we become close minded and maybe not open to seeing all the miracles that happen in life and in our recovery journey!

Lately,  I have been on a journey myself of living wellness in LIFE. Yes, in life, not just in recovery. I have been craving more than “just” living a life in recovery and have learned we have many choices to get there. Our recovery is only a part of life. Living an authentic fun and peaceful life from addiction should be a goal when reaching long-term recovery.

We need to explore what we need to do to maintain and continue to grow, and there are many ways to accomplish this in both the treatment side and doing our inner work side, especially for those coming early into recovery. TWO great tools I have been using is an Educational DVD Series and finished reading the book; “Addiction To Recovery: Unlocking Your Potential.” They both have transformed my recovery. The book is the material used for the DVD’S.

And if you have been in recovery from gambling addiction long-term, let’s face it; you don’t need to be a person who works in the field of treating gambling addicts to know there has not been much development in treatment options for those of us who become addicted gambling. And, there is much confusion of what to call a gambler who becomes addicted. Labeling a disease I feel adds to the “stigma” around many addictions let alone gambling, and hampers many who may seek for help.


Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

We all know that old saying; “if want something bad enough you will find a way to get” and that is certainly true when you are talking gambling addiction.

So, you decide you are going to “BAN” yourself from a casino so you can STOP GAMBLING. Well, does this really work? Well, not from my personal ridiculous experiences.


But first, shouldn’t we be educated about a what gambling addiction is? And is it really just fun and games? For many affected, NO, it is not and they will try anything to STOP!



Posted by on in Recommended Reading

When you are battling an addiction, your ability to be self-aware is greatly impaired. As you move into recovery, you will discover that awareness is the most important resource that you can have! Your openness for building your awareness skills is the key to making better choices and building new positive (changing old) habits. Think of this as a chance to:

·      –Notice what you are feeling and thinking

·      –Recover valuable parts of who you were before your addiction took over

·      –Develop a better understanding of your inner self

·      –Create clearer awareness of what you really want


Posted by on in Recommended Reading

“We’re here to connect.”


 Will Smith’s character, Howard Intlet, makes this declaration during the movie Collateral Beauty. After experiencing a great tragedy, his character seeks answers from the universe. And just like Howard, many of us are seeking answers and trying to understand the importance of connecting to one another.


For those of us who are battling an addiction and working towards recovery, we are often told to “stay connected.” We hear it in our recovery circles. The speaker likely means to return to a meeting and to stay in contact with people who support.


Posted by on in Alcoholism

Arming yourself with information about the way myths and stigmas affect addicts and how people respond to them, can go a long way in supporting people to find recovery. Effective treatment for substance use disorders requires an understanding of the myths and stigmas of addiction. I'd like examine a few myths that surround addiction and foster a misunderstanding of how to best support people to find recovery.


<strong>1. Everyone needs to reach bottom before quitting.</strong>

Early in my career I worked with adolescents. One of the clients on my caseload was a 17 year-old girl who had a long history of prostitution, a significant legal history, and a span of alcohol and drug use that began when she was five. During treatment she spent time talking about her alcohol and drug history and how that affected the decisions in her life. She had various opportunities to quit using chemicals but she reasoned that she wasn’t ready. While she came to a place where she was able to give up her chemical use, she never escaped her history of prostitution. She was able to develop a motto that supported her to quit using alcohol and drugs: <em>your bottom is when you stop digging.</em>



Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

"It's has been some time since I have posted an update about all the 'happenings' that I have been involved with in regards to my recovery from gambling addiction, sharing a little about my mental health challenges, and my recovery writing. I really try hard to get over here and blog for all of you as often as I can. So I thought, with all the new "hats" I have been wearing lately, I would bring you all up to date. Lol.

So I will start by sharing my new and improved Author Bio which explains some of the new and exciting things that have been "blessings" and new opportunities in my recovery journey. I feel sharing is a way to show that when you work hard on your recovery, the rewards can be many!"

About Me:

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is the best selling TKG author of her shocking debut book titled; "Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat." Both are an in-depth raw, and without prose look inside gambling addiction as she takes readers on a journey of other topics that 'touched' her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood.  Some children are not raised in an "angelic environment." Book is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Addicted Minds.

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude the past childhood pain of those traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escape into a "dream world" to forget, if only for a few hours from the haunting memories of her childhood sex abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the "perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling. And toward the end alcohol abuse. Gambling, a form of fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice.

Now in recovery nearly ten years, Catherine has become well known in the addiction/recovery communities and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and advocates to stop expansions of Indian Casinos and State Lottery offerings across America. She has been a recovery guest on several 'blog talk and radio' shows sharing her message and advocacy, and she has a large social media and blog following.

Catherine's featured in many media and recovery publications like Columbia University's media release article through the 2x2 ~"Gambling with America's Health." And most recently for "Time Magazine online coming in Sept 2016." She currently writes a column for " In Recovery Magazine " ~The Author's Cafe" and is a freelance writer for " Keys To Recovery Newspaper "
She is also an "Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger" for "Addictionland," of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts along like Christopher Lawford Kennedy and Patty Powers.

Catherine currently lives in sunny Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband, Tom for 27 years. She is a 'Cat Lover' and has three, Miss Princess, Mr. Boots, and Simon Peter. She enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, and swimming. She owns and runs an online book promotions business called: " Lyon Book Promotions  and promotes for many authors across social media.
She is currently finishing her second and third books due out late 2016 and early 2017.

Catherine can be reached by email: 

#      #          #          #

So that is a little of what I have been up to. I also still blog my recovery journey over on my own blog which has also blossomed now with more posts, featured "Hot Recovery Books" list and Guest Interviews and Articles. So stop there anytime: Gambling Recovery Starts Here. I am happy to see more sites and publications now including Gambling Addiction as a feature and gives me a new platform to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of this addiction and Real Disease.  Until next post recovery friends!

Be Blessed and ODAAT! "-)  *Cat Lyon* XO

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Posted by on in Alcoholism


Next week I will celebrate 36 years of sobriety. As I approach the eve of my anniversary I am reminded of the model of recovery that has made this milestone possible.  When I got sober my grandparents (both of whom survived Auschwitz) asked me to develop a mission statement that would guide my sobriety which I would like to share with you: staying sober is the single most important thing in my life, and if anything jeopardizes my recovery, it's eliminated.  This kind of commitment and absolute focus has supported me to remain sober through hardship and loss, through sadness and despair.  Absolutely nothing else is as important as staying sober.

I am grateful I found a homegroup where I feel comfortable and feel like my contributions are valued. In the last two years I've seen an increase in membership and a significant amount of relapse.  While relapse can be part of recovery, it certainly doesn't have to be a part of your story. A casual review of the people who have relapsed in the last year demonstrates a startling pattern: every single person that relapsed gave a detailed version of their relapse, and without question they placed more importance on other aspects of their life versus the need to stay sober. 

I have mentioned the following concepts in another article I wrote for this site, but I believe it's worthy of restating them here: I attach a tremendous amount of emotional pain to the thought of using and a tremendous amount of pleasure to the thought of remaining chemical free.  Not only do I stay sober because I made a commitment to my grandmother (pleasure) I do not use chemicals because it creates more problems than it solves (pain).  I was able to quit as the people I knew who used drugs and alcohol had different goals than I did.  I wanted more from my life than I was currently getting.  I no longer saw drug use as fun, and everything I wanted in my life conflicted with using alcohol and drugs. I did not want to be asleep on my life.  Anything I wanted in my life and the relationships I created are vastly more important than any chemical I would use or alcohol I would drink.

Oftentimes I hear people suggest they don't like the program because all they hear is pain.  I don't see pain when I attend meetings, rather, I see possibility.  I am reminded of Ivan Denisovich, the protagonist in the novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a story about a prisoner in a stalinist labor camp in the 1950s. The story offers a stark parallel to an AA member trying to stay sober.  Ivan does whatever he needs to do to make it through the day so he can eat.  He endures hardship and trouble as he understands the reward for existing one more day. He exists because he knows that staying alive and pursuing freedom is its own reward.  The protagonist in this story also draws a parallel to Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the Holocaust and the author of Man's Search for Meaning.  Frankl' noted that we must endure, and that suffering will, with a proper attitude, bring light.  He recounted that the will to survive (a man's attitude) and not the conditions of a particular camp, generally determined if this same man survived.  Frankl' believed that possibility is the natural outgrowth of pain.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

As it is often said in the addiction treatment profession, there is a clear separation between abstinence and sobriety. Abstinence can be defined simply as physical free from mind-altering substances. Abstinence doesn’t address behaviors, emotions, mental health, etc. It just means that the person is free of drugs/alcohol. Sobriety includes abstinence, but also encompasses much more than just stopping drinking or abusing drugs. Read and find out why sobriety is the more rewarding and effective method to stopping addiction, and why abstinence is just the bare minimum solution.

Is Abstinence Enough?

In our addiction, many addicts and alcoholics develop unhealthy or negative habits and patterns that go beyond the drugs/alcohol. Perhaps we become dishonest, self-seeking, or reckless. We may say things or do something at the expense of others. The point is that we develop personality traits and behavioral patterns that are not directly a result of addiction. These character defects and selfish tendencies become part of our daily life. We may use them to get what we want or manipulate others. The emotions and feelings of others are cast aside in order to maintain our drug/alcohol habit and lifestyle.

Quitting drugs/alcohol will not completely remove the negative and selfish habits from our addiction. Some people think that when they put down the drugs, they will become this wonderful and admirable person. This is often not the case. In fact, sometimes those negative habits and tendencies get worse when a person stops using drugs. Why is this? During our addiction we used drugs or alcohol for many reasons; to escape, numb emotions, relax, find relief, etc. Once we stop the drugs/alcohol, our greatest coping mechanism (our addiction) has disappeared. Simply, we don’t have the experience, resources, or ability to handle life’s problems and stresses. Without substances to find comfort in, a person may resort to dishonesty, verbal abuse, anger, over-eating, compulsive shopping, co-dependency, etc. to find relief from the realities of life. Abstinence is not enough because it does not replace drugs and alcohol with a solution to face and handle life in a healthy way. On the other hand, sobriety is about finding a new way of living to replace our old life in addiction.

Sobriety: A New Way of Living

The main difference between abstinence and sobriety is that the latter includes a program for self-growth and actualization. Sobriety comes in many different shapes and sizes. There are recovery groups and therapy. These are both great ways to continue to learn about yourself and to get support from others who care about you. There are also other ways to get involved in sobriety, such as searching for spirituality and learning how to meditate. Even simple things such as exercise and reading can help replace some of those negative habits with healthy new habits. Sobriety is about learning how to be a good friend, a loving son or daughter, and a real member of society. Sobriety is about learning how to deal with emotions like pain, embarrassment, disappointment and emerging stronger afterwards. Living life sober, we are given a new lease on life and we have the chance to dramatically change our path. If you are just abstaining from drugs/alcohol and are not actively living sobriety, you are missing out on the true rewards of recovery.

Originally Posted @ 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

            Serenity is the absence of conflict in our thoughts.  We who have committed ourselves to the program (the Twelve Steps) of Alcoholics Anonymous have deemed that it is the program itself which must come first in our lives. Alongside such a commitment comes a personal relationship with a supreme power, such as God. Living by these honorable ideals ushers the blessings of serenity into the stream of our lives - no matter what transpires.


              In the Alcoholics Anonymous literature, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, such a paragon way of living is elucidated:  "We are no longer frightened and purposeless.  The moment we catch even a glimpse of God's will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs.  We know that God lovingly watches over us."


             By integrating the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into our lives in such a way that they become our lives, and by manifesting the principles of those steps in our behavior, we have the opportunity to have safe and serene lives. Remembering that joy is not the absence of sorrow, but the presence of God … experience serenity we will.


Posted by on in Recommended Reading

As anyone who has been to drug rehabilitation knows, it can be difficult making new habits to stay clean and sober.

Changes in daily life and lifestyle take time, and patience is not just important, it’s the most valuable tool at your disposal. This is the essence of drug addiction treatment. And you may not be able to see the benefit at first, but over time, the people close to you—family, friends and even acquaintances—will often see positive changes before you do.

However self-destructive some things may have been in your life (not to mention your ability to grow and thrive), some old habits are hard to let go of. Like an old friend, most likely they’ve been at your side a long time, and without them you fear you may be left feeling like the proverbial hole in the donut. Far from suggesting you enter the monkhood and renounce all earthly attachments, there are a few easier, more realistic ways to create new habits in your life starting the day you leave the drug treatment center:

1) Make your bed in the morning, every morning. There’s a reason those in drug rehabilitation centers are asked to do this. It’s a way of creating a positive habit for yourself the first thing you do, setting the tone for the day.

2) Sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time, every day. Again, it may sound simple, but it creates consistency for you, which, hopefully, you’ll be grateful for, even if you’re still in drug detox.


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