What Are the Odds?

I sometimes get asked this question, usually in reference to drug addiction. “What are the odds that my son or daughter will become a drug addict when they grow up? My husband is a “normie” and I’m an recovering alcoholic,” the query begins.

“It depends,” is the response, “on so many things. And even with all factors being favorable — genetics, social and home environments, school systems, mental health — there is still no guarantee.” And then I witness a nearly imperceptible shift signaling disappointment. Eyes cast downward, heads nod oh-so-slightly as the parent digests the understanding that they’ve been chewing on already: there is no certainty, positive or negative, about their children’s substance abuse future.

Human nature demands knowledge. The concrete feels good. We look at weather forecasts so we can plan tomorrow’s activities. We read reviews online before we purchase a blender or go to a movie. Our thirst for data to make informed decisions is healthy; the more we know the better prepared we are. No big surprises to throw us into a tailspin and life will be good.

But this issue of the phoenix spirit is about the opposite urge that can simultaneously inhabit people. The thrill of the chase. Uncertainty. Unpredictability. Upheaval and Chaos. In fact, some people thrive on such turmoil. Many of them came from chaotic backgrounds and so instability is familiar and can feel, ironically, safe. Predictability is boring, and routine feels like the kiss of death. Thrill-seekers need action and uncertainty to feel alive.

As Pat Samples talks about in this month’s lead article, these thrill-seekers can sometimes be found in the casinos, diapers on, sweat pouring down their brow as they pump money into the gaping mouth of a machine. Others have online gambling addictions, silently robbing their bank accounts of hard-earned money over the course of months or years as they wait for their next win to bring them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into.

But gambling is a slippery slope and often goes undetected as Deb M. so honestly and grippingly writes in The Push of Pain, The Pull of Hope.

As with any addiction, there’s hope for gamblers. And as with any addiction it begins with getting honest and acknowledging there is a problem that is unmanageable. We peel away that first layer of denial then look at what’s underneath. What’s the hole-in-the soul that we’re trying to fill with our behavior? It’s difficult to take an honest look within, but no one has to go it alone.

We hope that after perusing this issue, you will reach out to anyone you may know who suffers from a gambling — or any other — addiction. Odds are, they’ve been subconsciously waiting.


In other news, I’m thrilled to announce that the publishing of the Phoenix Spirit is now under the tutelage of two bright, dedicated and passionate souls, Aaron and Jen. The paper will continue to be a beacon of recovery, renewal, and growth in the greater Twin Cities, as it has for 38 years, only now under Aaron and Jen’s expert leadership. Aaron is a graphic designer/blogger, and his wife Jen is a clinical aromatherapist and clinical social worker. I will continue to seek out and edit content for our bi-monthly themes, and encourage readers to send in their first person stories of hope and inspiration to juliaedelman (at) gmail.com. I won’t bet my bottom dollar, based on this month’s theme of gambling addiction, but I do have certainty that the Phoenix Spirit will continue to provide our growing readership with inspiration for many, many years to come.

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