The following online webinar is brought to you by the NCPG –
EVENT – The Hidden Battle: Addressing Problem Gambling Among Veterans
EVENT DESCRIPTION – An exploration of the often-overlooked challenge of problem gambling among veterans, this webinar will investigate the prevalence, causes and consequences of problem gambling within the US military veteran community and provide insights into effective prevention and support strategies. Participants will explore the ways military culture may predispose veterans to developing a gambling problem. Additionally, the webinar will shed light on the correlation between suicidal tendencies and problem gambling among veterans. Understanding these complex dynamics can play a pivotal role in shaping a more compassionate and informed approach to supporting veterans impacted by gambling-related harm, ultimately contributing to a safer environment for those who have served.
Link – https://www.ncpgambling.org/event/the-hidden-battle-addressing-problem-gambling-among-veterans/?instance_id=565
I love fishing. Most people do!
Fishing requires several key components. Normal fishers will rise early. It is as common belief that the fish are more apt to bite early in the morning, thus rendering the trip a numeric success. Fishing requires patience to the utmost. No one is both an impatient fisherman and a good fisherman. They simply do not coexist. Instead, a fisherman is patient to the point where a fish can land on his line and he STILL does not pull in the hook immediately. Rather, he baits the fish further until the fish is unable to retreat. Then he pulls in the line, having used patience as his most deadly weapon.
Finally, a fisherman needs silence. This is to be differentiated from patience. A fisherman must learn the art and essential n nature of being perfectly silent and still. This often results in long periods of time without speaking, singing, or noise of any kind. In other words, boredom is a temptation. But what results, a successful catch is well worth the wait, silence, early morning, and every other sacrifice.
Now, fishing is often a great metaphor for life. This includes recovery and the journey that awaits for the man or woman. seeking to recover from gambling addiction.
Like the fisher, we must rise early, taking ahold of the day. Setting that standard is essential in our recovery pathway. We must be patient – with life, with others, and not the least, with ourselves. And we cannot neglect the benefit of sitting in silence and stillness. We will find many golds nuggets for life and recovery if we separate ourselves from the noise and bustle of life, and sit in stillness. This not only regains our focus, but it is using the human capacity that we were created with by Almighty God.
Healing and recovery will not come by us standing idly by. We were created to fish, and in so doing, journey towards our healed selves.
Addiction is so difficult to overcome.
No matter the amount of time you put into recovery, health, and overcoming the challenges of gambling addiction, there is the part of you that knows deep down, that overcoming addiction is just simply too difficult for you. It is more than challenging; it is impossible.
And it is supposed to be.
We are often reminded of our own brokenness in life. But there is just something that is in full purpose with human suffering. It challenges, motivates, shapes and brings us to a point where we are confronted with our own inadequacy and change is necessary. It changers our lens and shows us that the world is bigger than just ourselves. In this, we find purpose, and motivation to impact others through our story. Our healing story.
We must recognize and learn from the very things that would drag us down. There is so much purpose and value found in such weakness that it must be embraced; for it is a core factor and critical part of the healing journey we are on.
How far from healing we remain, when we fail to even consider that others who have gone on the healing journey before us have persevered through difficulty! When we understand how essential our own weakness is, and how suffering produces endurance, which in turn produces character – when we understand these things, we are guided down the healing path.
I want to believe.
I want to believe that my healing is happening. The desire is there! The heart is willing, and the motivation is present.
So why has my haling not arrived? Why is there frustration, lack of progress, and pain?
I want to believe. But I am tired, weak, and struggling.
Isn’t this the story of so many people? It is all too common for men and women to be left feeling all alone during the healing journey. While this is not uncommon, it should not be accepted as the norm. The natural arena of healing is one that is grounded in accountability and friendship, rather than isolation.
So the remaining question is – are you one of these people? Are you wanting to believe, but you are in isolation? Are you frustrated, feeling as if nothing is going your way? Does your healing seem clouded? Do not settle for that. Help, accountability, encouragement, assistance – all of these are available. But it must be said, these are all not just beneficial; they are necessary. No one can experience and live in healing through the doorway of isolation. We need each other.
Do you believe in your healing story? Embrace the day, no matter the circumstances, and walk the journey. Healing awaits.
Freedom is amazing.
So many take it for granted; they forget the significance and feeling of freedom and the joy that it brings.They fail to remember that although freedom is ever present around them, it was not always this way. And the failure to remember that, renders freedom for granted.
Isn’t it ironic that freedom can be a vice? Is it not full of irony that the concept, pursuit and life of freedom can be a source of bondage and captivity?
If taken for granted, freedom remains a concept instead of a reality. This is a crucial concept to understand. Repeat this to yourself. See and feel the significance! In order to truly live in freedom and to live out the message of freedom, one must be intentional, rational, situational, and if need be, unconventional in nature. In this way, freedom can be fully achieved and realized.
Now what if I told you, that although you assumed I was referring to the freedom we have here in America, that I was not speaking of that? Rather, I was speaking of the personal freedom you can have and yet choose to take for granted.
Freedom must be personal before it is congregational; that is, before a body of people desire it, an individual must desire it and seek to achieve it. A man or woman wanting to be free of bondage will find other men or women in bondage, and in turn they will find others. What does this result in? A group of people! A body, a congregation, a nation. Living in freedom.
Freedom and healing go hand in hand. We do not find them far apart from each other. May we find them ever close together in our own lives. May we live in Freedom.
Everyone desires the word, and yet almost no one knows what the word means.
Instead, what we usually end up with is piece. A partial aspect of the solution we desire. One that temporarily satisfies and contains promises, but one that ultimately fails.
Such is the case in many areas of our lives. Including that of healing! We want and crave peace, but we do not achieve it. Instead, we have a piece of the world, and it is a very disappointing one at that.
If only we realized the true source of peace! If only we understood that (1) it is very achievable and (2) it is something much better than we dreamed of!
HINT: It is not found within yourself.
So often we find the problem within ourselves, and so we look to the solution within ourselves. This is incorrect and empty. Peace is found outside of ourselves. Peace has been gifted to us. Peace was bought with a price. Peace must be received in thankful and humble heart.
Peace is found in healing, and the Healer. We are the healed, the broken but redeemed, the ones who have a story to tell.
Go in peace, and be healed.
I was seven.
I was a typical little boy. Seven is not that old, and is a time in life where a care in the world should be banished from anyone’s mind.
But it was not far from my mind. I was scared; I was nervous.
Because I had a speech impediment.
This brought about its share of challenges, but the one that bothered me most, might seem like a given in a situation like mine. It was the fact that the symptoms – the stuttering and inability to speak at times – never left. They were both constant and inconsistent, in that they were ever-present but could pop up randomly at any given moment and within any conversation.
It was frustrating. I wanted improvement; I wanted healing! I wanted it to be gone.
What I didn’t realize in that time, back when I was seven, was that true healing does not come from removal. Instead, it comes from perseverance.
I was to find relief from the worry and pain of my speech impediment through practice and speech therapy, through a maturing and growing mindset, and through the heart of a lion. God had a plan for me and He still does. Present Day, I perform public speaking frequently, and although sometimes there is a stutter and a slip-up, the difference remains in my mindset and motivation. Through perseverance, the healing came. And it is still here.
Seven is part of my story; one of healing, perseverance and faith. What is Your story of healing?
Why do you do what you do? What makes you move? What makes your engine run?
What drives you and gives you motivation? What is it that lights your fire?
What makes you not just survive, but thrive?
Everyone has something. That motivating factor, the tipping physical point where they can become a different person altogether and for the better. They become more motivated, more driven, more successful and most importantly, maturing in their own healing along life’s journey.
This motivator is not found apart from understanding more and more about yourself every single day. In this growth you will discover new attributes about yourself, both good and bad, and use them to find the essential parts of yourself that further healing and more growth and improvement.
See, it is a continual train of self-improvement going on; a growth train, as it pertains to mindset.
God has placed you on this planet to make a difference and an impact for many. But this will not happen robotically. The saying is true – “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Why are you here? Why do you want to make a difference? Why do you think that YOU can be that difference and impact?
Why? Maybe you need to ask yourself – why not?
The following are 12 Steps to Addiction Recovery, followed by 12 positive follow up thoughts (leaps, as we put them).
We admitted we were powerless over addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable. Although the temptation to addiction was, in essence, the thought of our own power and control, the promise proved to be futile. Nevertheless, we are on the road to recovery! This will be but a distant memory in our success story.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. The futility of addiction’s promise is that WE are the solution. But we have taken that next step when we realize that in truth, it is a Power greater than ourselves that carries us through.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. This is a decision that cannot be understated. In God’s hands, our recovery and healing is assured.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I say it to myself all the time – WRITE WRITE WRITE IT DOWN. Be organized, if even for the sake of future celebration and nothing more. You will NOT regret the time you spent creating a moral inventory – whether written down, in memory, or in best case, both.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. This brings another massive step to the recovery process. When we intentionally bring our exact wrongs and lay them out, we are setting the stage for intentionality to be at the forefront of our lives. This makes healing and recovery more likely to occur.
We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Our mindset has changed. Far from being in the throes of addiction, we are READY to move on into deeper recovery and healing.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. With humility comes great progress. We cannot misss this important step in healing.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. We are ready more than ever to become not only fully on the right recovery pathway, but also to become conduits towards others for their own healing and recovery journeys.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. This is such a critical point. Understanding context is critical. Understanding people is essential. Understanding both is when the recovery man/woman becomes an active instrument towards others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Never ever give up! The process does not stop as long as you are alive; you will not achieve perfection this side of heaven. This is not a fairy tale; this is reality, which is far better.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. We do’t settle for the bare minimum with healing and recovery very; why would we settle for the bare minimum with God?
Having had a spiritual awakening as the results of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. This is where our healing and recovery, turned into a conduit as well, fully develops into a life-style and is one we embrace as our own story; one of conquering, growth, and love.
“We bring ourselves into the light, and we see the truth; we hide from the light, because we do not want to see the truth. We cannot find the light when we do not know the truth; but we stay in the dark because we would rather not know the truth” – Anonymous
Each of us, when reviewing our life and the journey we are on, understands that the greatest challenge comes from within. The biggest difficulty, the most devastating enemy, is ourselves!
Have you ever struggled making progress in life? You have the tools, but you have no motivation in the least? Or maybe you do have the motivation, but you lack direction? Maybe, just maybe, you are at the lowest valley of life where you seem to lack both motivational fuel and a road map.
In all these circumstances and more, the mental outcome seems bleak. But that is not the truth being spoken.
What is the truth? That recovery, and the power within, are greater than the difficulty.
The root of the problem is you. But in like manner, you can understand the solution – because when it is found, look out world! Healing has begun.