September is National Suicide Prevention month. Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of all addictions and the statistics do not reflect that many of these suicides are mistakenly reported as single-car accidents, wrong-way drivers, heart attacks, cerebral stem strokes (from an overdose of anti-depressants), and so forth. This is a true story of two friends of mine, who both planned their suicides down to the last detail and thankfully, both survived. The names and details have been changed to protect their identities, but the stories and devastation are true.
Mary, a 60 year old psychologist became so depressed with her inability to stop gambling, an activity that was consuming her every moment and thought, that she had to stop seeing patients because she no longer cared about their problems. Her husband, her one true love had become ill and diagnosed with dementia, as well as complications due to a congenital heart defect and diabetes. She had her own physical limitations due to severe crippling from rheumatoid arthritis. Mary had 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren- the light of her life. All that being said, Mary still could not tear herself away from the video poker machines to get home and check on her husband. She missed many of the grandchildren’s recitals and sporting events because she had hit another jackpot. Her children stopped telling the grandchildren that she would be there because of their disappointment and sadness of being let down, over and over. Mary found herself unable to concentrate and many times after hours of gambling could not recall how she actually drove home. Read more →
Lanie’s Hope Founder, Bea Aikens, to present Keynote Address on gambling addiction and suicide at the 2015 Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope
Gambling Addiction will be the focus of the 2015 Suicide Prevention Community Walk, Saturday September 12, 2015 at Bob Miller Middle School, 2400 Cozy Circle, Henderson, NV. The suicide rate among untreated problem gamblers is extraordinarily high. Experts report than 20% of all problem gamblers who actually seek treatment have attempted or considered suicide; a correlation I am all too familiar with.
Many of you know that I lost my sister Lanie due to a gambling-related overdose in June of 2008. See…I still can’t actually say the words “Lanie committed suicide because of her gambling addiction.” I always find myself couching this phrase in indirect ways like “a gambling-related overdose.” In my heart of hearts, do I think she intentionally killed herself. No. I think she was in such immense pain and shame that she simply didn’t want to FEEL anything. But we’ll never know, because Lanie’s not here to tell her story. What I do know is this. If Lanie hadn’t been gambling, she would not have overdosed. If Lanie had continued to abstain from gambling and attend the recovery fellowship she belonged to, she would not have had to endure the shame and despair that drove her to overdose on antidepressants. Gambling Addiction DID cost my sister her life. Read more →
This is the title and cover of the book about Arnie and Sheila Wexler written by them, along with Steve Jacobson. Arnie and Sheila have helped so many compulsive gamblers and their families to recover from the devastation of compulsive gambling, as well as written training manuals to train casino workers on recognizing a problem gambler. Arnie and Sheila have been in their respective recovery programs for over 47 years and reading their story is just amazing.
Going back to the beginning of Arnie’s gambling, the reader can see how his love of sports quickly evolved into enjoying the sport because of the rush he felt while “in action.” He loved horse racing and spent countless hours at the track. When he wasn’t at the actual track, his mind was still on the upcoming action and how to get more money. He had the ability to charm people into loaning him money, he was collecting kickbacks from vendors through his job, and lying to everybody- all to keep him going. His first date with Sheila (when he was 21 and she was 16) was to a drive-in to see Damn Yankees and the second was to a racetrack. However, as Sheila writes “I never had another date with him unless it was a sports event, a racetrack, or a casino night- except for an occasional Broadway show.” There were many naysayers that tried to convince Sheila NOT to marry Arnie, knowing that he was a compulsive gambler and her life would be hell. However, she loved him and believed that after they married, everything would be different and Arnie’s gambling would come to a halt because he had promised to quit when they were married. Read more →
Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference – Mystic, CT
October 19-22, 2015
Hosted by CCAR, the premier peer recovery coaching institute in the U.S., this conference is designed to offer education on the many different pathways available to achieve and sustain recovery . Recovery is not one-size-fits-all.
At the forefront of Advocacy for the recovery community and professionals who serve and treat those impacted by addiction, CCAR is renowned for developing and advance the recovery movement in America. Lanie’s Hope is delighted that gambling addiction and recovery will be included in this year’s program.
Founder Bea Aikens, a CCAR graduate and trainer, will be addressing the 12-steps and gambling addiction recovery.
Keynote presentations will include Bill White – Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America and Phillip Valentine – The CCAR Experience
12-Steps of recovery – Gambling, Narcotics, Alcohol
Medication Assisted Recovery
Women and Sobriety
Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research & Training Institute (MARTI)
Positive Approaches to Recovery: Populations, Providers, and Programs
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
June 22 – 26, 2015
Lanie’s Hope Founder and IUP Alumni, Bea Aikens, will be presenting “When The Fun Stops” at the 26th annual MARTI conference. Dedicated to research and educating professionals treating at risk communities, this year’s program will include two segments on gambling addiction, prevention and treatment.
Formed in 1988, MARTI combines academic resources with treatment expertise to provide state-of-the-art training on addiction treatment for substance abuse counselors and mental health professionals, develops and coordinates intramural and extramural research projects, and provides research and training opportunities for graduate students entering the field.
If you want to know more about helping children of all ages, and especially high-risk youth, MARTI’s Bi-Annual Summer Conference is for you. Come join us for our 26th conference at IUP. This year’s school is designed to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s youth and families. Presentations over the years have included the latest information on treatment for young children, improving school-based programs, working with adolescents, sexual abuse intervention, improving cultural competency, adult recovery strategies, anger and violence, building resiliency in children, and many other exciting topics. Year after year, MARTI has provided the latest techniques for working with children, excellent presenters, and special sections for educators and clinicians, all at a low cost. We hope to see you in June!
Brochures are now available.
To have your name added to our mailing list, please e-mail the MARTI office at [email protected] with both your mailing and e-mail addresses, or call 724-357-1288.
The 2015 International Gamblers Anonymous Conference will be held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey May 29, 30th & 31st.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
2349 West Marlton Pike (Rt. 70 West)
Cherry Hill, Nw Jersey 08002
The conference theme is “Piecing It All Together.” Event begins Friday evening with a Welcome Dinner, entertainment and speakers followed by 12 Step meetings. Saturday offers a full day of workshops and an evening reception and dinner. The conference will conclude with the traditional Sunday morning Farewell breakfast and closing remarks.
Conference information and registration can be accessed at the link below:
Health Implications of Problem Gambling will be presented by Bea Aikens, Friday March 20, 2015 from 12:00-1:00PM at Montevista Hospital, 5900 W. Rochelle Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89103.
Focused on healthcare and treatment providers, this one hour “Lunch and Learn” presentation will provide a basic explanation of what happens when gambling becomes an addiction and will review screening methods and resources available to identify and treat problem gamblers and their families. For most people, gambling is harmless fun and entertainment, but for as many as 6% of Nevada adults, gambling can be an addiction with serious mental, physical and emotional health consequences.
To register for this event, contact
The National Council on Problem Gambling announces March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, with the message
Sometimes it can be difficult to ask someone about their gambling habits. Perhaps a loved on seems preoccupied with sports wagering or you’re concerned about the amount of time they spend on line or in a casino. That niggling feeling comes up that “something’s just not right.” Bill collectors are calling, money is missing, too much time is spent away from home…these are possible signs of a problem. And often, it can be uncomfortable to “Have the conversation” about gambling habits.
Many people can gambling “recreationally”, and for them it is a harmless entertainment like going to a movie, a sporting event or a concert. But for those who can’t “gamble normally”, gambling addiction can be a devastating mental health disorder; destroying lives and harming families. Anyone is subject to become addicted to gambling. Gambling addiction crosses all socio-economic levels. Experts agree that between 3 and 6% of the US population is impacted by some degree of problem gambling. Gambling Disorder is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an Addiction which is treatable IF it is recognized and treatment is sought.
It starts with a CONVERSATION.
For more information and many helpful tools to support National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, go to npgam.org. For Immediate Help with a gambling problem call the National Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.
“The safest way to double your money is to fold over once and put it in your pocket.” (Kin Hubbard)
Ah, truer words have never been written and definitely did not originate from a gambler. For the gambler, it is more about the euphoria of winning when the odds are high or stacked against you. It is the ‘rush’- the excitement and angst that live in your gut when you are betting money you cannot afford to bet, but the payout and chance to ‘get square’ outweigh everything rational and logical that you know. Years ago, golfer Lee Trevino was asked if he felt pressure on making a putt during the Senior Skins match worth $100,000. He said “You don’t know what pressure is until you’ve played for $5 a hole with only $2 in your pocket.” Although Trevino has never been identified as a problem gambler, he definitely has the mentality and thought-process of a gambler.
On Christmas Day of 2014, the remake of The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg was released 40 years after the original version starring James Caan. Both movies follow a similar track- a college professor who likes to gamble, gambles beyond his means and requires a bailout from his mother, and in both movies, he has to convince one of his students (a star basketball player) to do whatever possible so that the team does not win by more than 7 points. Both versions of the movie show the escalation and riskiness of the protagonist chasing their bets, the threats of their bookies as they continue to dig deeper holes for themselves, and the anxiety of finding the money to place their next bet. As a recovering compulsive gambler viewing both these movies, the biggest difference that I noted was that in the orginal, Caan appears to have no remorse and no desire to quit digging his hole; whereas, Wahlberg at least appears to be seeking redemption and to change his gambling ways. The same week that I watched both of these movies, I also watched “Owning Mahowny” (2003) with Philip Seymour Hoffman, based on a true story of a Canadian banker. Although he was not a sports gambler, he was nicknamed “Iceman” and once he started manipulating funds at the bank, he began to escalate the amount of money he would then take to Atlantic City. All told, he ended up embezzling over 10.2 million dollars and, when taken into custody, he appeared stunned and in denial that he had done anything wrong. Read more →
My name is Nancy and I am a 46-year-old woman who has the most wonderful man in her life and two terrific boys who are 10 and 4. Rewind two years ago and I had never gambled a day in my life and thought that anyone who gambled was wasting their time and money. My boyfriend invited me to go to Laughlin for the weekend and I said, “Lets go!” We had a blast and as we enjoyed our Bloody Marys at the bar, my boyfriend would hand me twenty dollars for me to put in the keno machine while he played video poker. As I yawned and played a game that was so simple yet bored me to tears. I sat there and played until I would lose and couldn’t wait to get some food or hang out by the pool.
We went back there quite a bit our first year together due to my boyfriend’s uncle dying of cancer with months to live. And then it happened……while sitting at the bar while the bar was going crazy because we had just won the Stanley cup, I was jumping up and down and looked down to hear this faint bell ringing that seemed nonstop and I had just gotten 6 out of 6 on keno……. I hit my boyfriend’s arm and said, “Look, I won!” Wow, I just won $440 and couldn’t believe it and I said “Now what?” He said “Cash out and go turn your ticket into the machine to get your money.” That’s it? I felt like I was up to no good but I had money and that was it for me, I wanted to save it and go shop or something, but he says “OK, but let’s play $100 of it……ok?” Well the next morning I won the same amount again. It still wasn’t hitting me yet but he said, “You are so lucky!” I felt special because every time I won it made him very proud of me and it felt good. Read more →
I was watching Huckabee Saturday night and there was a Senator on urging folks to write to your rep to stop legalization of internet gambling, here is my letter. I encourage all to do the same Here is the web site:
I am a recovering compulsive gambler and I am writing to urge you to restore the US policy banning Internet gambling in order that the destructive effects of this devastating emotional illness does not have a conduit to dismantle families like the one I had prior to my gambling addiction.
The compulsive gambler many times doesn’t even realize they are in the grips of this crippling addiction and now it’s up to you to eliminate internet gambling and help save the families of your constituents, prevent underage gambling, reduce the destruction caused by problem gamblers, and other illegal activity which is virtually impossible to enforce on the Internet.
Please consider the implications of setting up a casino on every computer in America. Allowing internet gambling to continue would be like allowing cancer to go untreated, or other diseases to be left to run their destructive course. Read more →
November 9, 2014 – At a presentation on Gambling History in Las Vegas, Nevada Senators Ford and Townsend promised to pursue help in providing healthcare services for gambling addiction.
“ There’s no wrong door Bea.” This is what ran through my mind when Nevada Senator Aaron Ford called me earlier this year asking if I would be a part of the Gambling Panel for the “British American Project.”
It’s a phrase I often use when called upon to speak about problem gambling or to serve those impacted by gambling addiction.
The woman credited with this phrase was a pioneer in advocacy for problem gambling services, Dr. Rena Nora ncpgambling.org/files/public/DrNora_Pioneer.pdf While I never met this much beloved woman, I am honored to be a benefactor of Dr. Nora’s wisdom by way of her mentee Carol O’Hare of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling nevadacouncil.org, and her daughter Judge Cheryl Moss , both inspiring champions of the cause, who carry the torch that Dr. Nora ignited.
When asked to speak I answered “Absolutely,” even though I knew little about “the British American Project” or what their interest was in Gambling and Gambling Addiction.