Trusting in My Gambling Recovery Journey Through Hope

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My higher power (God) has shown me the meaning of hope, of trust, and through his love, his forgiveness, and mercy, all the work you have done within recovery, you begin to transform yourself, flourish into a new life from the ashes of gambling addiction, learn to break free from gambling and begin a new way of living my life within redemption, grace, humility and with a heart of gratitude.

Today, as a recovery advocate, I share my journey through authoring books, as a writer, a speaker, and mentoring others. My life’s purpose today is ‘Paying It Forward’ to any and all who might be suffering in silence or feeling lost due to gambling addiction. I have broken free from the bondage of this disease and share what I have learned.

I became a statistic. I became one of the 10 million Americans who were suffering in silence from problem gambling. I became a fact: as one in every five gamblers who tried suicide. I was so hopeless that I felt it was the only way to stop myself from gambling. Stop hurting my husband and everyone around me, because this addiction is a family affair.

I am a proud recovery advocate through many forms, like writing, through my recovery website, radio, and podcasts to raise awareness, inform and educate the public about this destructive addiction and disease. It is also why I wrote my memoirs of how and why I became addicted to gambling titled Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.

My addiction required no substances and yet, is as deadly as an overdose. Gambling addiction is the #1 addiction currently with the highest suicide rate than any other addictions. This is why I help others. Suicide is not the answer to stop problem gambling or a full-blown addiction to it!

As an advocate and mentor, I get asked many questions like, What can we do when we feel we can not move past speed bumps and hurdles in recovery, and how do we move forward? How do I recover from a relapse? Why am I not strong enough NOT to cave into cravings, urges, and triggers? Why is early recovery so difficult, and what can I do to not relapse?

These are excellent questions and concerns I and those in early recovery have while choosing and maintaining a recovery path. Some can be quick fixes like starting a journal. It is a great way to look back in the journal and see your strengths and areas you have more work to do within your journey. See, recovery is not only a lifelong process, it does come to us in phases, ever-evolving as it becomes a new healthy lifestyle.

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What do I mean by this?

My addiction required no substances and yet, is as deadly as an overdose.We have many options to choose how we begin to gain our lives back from addicted gambling. In doing so, we have choices and options from a 12-Step Program, a faith-based program, or a treatment program along with therapy or counseling. It needs to feel right to you while enhancing your recovery journey.

Next is doing the “work” that is asked of you while you begin to learn the tools and the skills that may save your life. Next is being diligent in using all the tools you learn. Not complicated. But, still, many can struggle. Since I advocate through social media. I see often disagreements going on by others wanting to force “how they maintain their recovery” that has worked for them onto others looking for help or support within recovery from addiction. Or even the never-ending battles I see play out about 12-Step Programs are the only way to recovery on many social media platforms.

A 12-step program by itself may not by itself be enough to get gamble free…and that is what I experienced. My opinions are as long as you have the desire to stop gambling and from any addiction that is making your life unmanageable, then it should be up to you alone or you and your loved ones to choose what recovery path and options work and that is comfortable for you. It will be a lifelong process to feel comfortable with a bet-free recovery lifestyle.

Once you begin, you begin to come to terms with knowing there may be much recovery work to do in the first few years. Learning and gaining the skills and tools needed to interrupt the “cycle” of gambling addiction is essential and half the battle! Becoming aware, educated, and informed about some of the roots and underlying issues that had you turn to addicted gambling. It could be old pain or hurt from issues like abuse, trauma, mental health challenges, etc., all can have us looking for ways to cope and escape those feelings that are still unprocessed — then learning to overcome hurdles or those feelings of being “stuck” and not knowing how to move forward maintaining recovery.

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My advice and experiences are?

Don’t place that next BET. Abstinence is KEY. Support is VITAL.

And do one thing every day for your recovery and before you know it, the hours turn into days, days turn into weeks, weeks will turn into months and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful new recovery lifestyle!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a former writer and columnist for InRecovery magazine and for Keys to Recovery newspaper. She advocates and speaks through many events, radio, and podcasts.

Last Updated on March 8, 2023

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