January 6, 2021
“Today So Far” …. I hear this every time I participate in a 12-step meeting. And…I SAY IT at every meeting when asked what recovery milestone has been met. “Today So Far” is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given! It means I’ve learned a better way of life. And I haven’t had to place a bet or have a drink to live “life on life’s terms.” It keeps me in touch with the fact that recovery is attained one day at a time. It is not an “event” it is a process. Each day in recovery is a gift.
Today (So Far) is a milestone of sorts. It is my 25th “Birthday” in Gamblers Anonymous. It feels right to share this morning’s Journal Entry with you…it’s the best way I can express what I’m feeling today. Journaling is one of the best tools I’ve found in recovery. My feelings and thoughts are expressed unfiltered and unedited…they just flow and I can release them, honor them, and let them go. So excuse any typos, incomplete sentences or grammatical errors. This is how I journal. So..here’s my #TodaySoFar entry.
25th GA Birthday
Curious. Today is a day to give thanks for the endless gifts and blessings of recovery. Yet my thoughts are of Tommy W., Anton’y, and Lanie…those who didn’t survive this insidious, patient, destructive disease. All three of these beautiful souls, along with countless others we lost, experienced glimpses of the gifts…they held the delicate petals of early recovery in their hands and asked in wonder “Can this be REAL? Can my life REALLY be better…can it be THIS good?”
The internal battle of early recovery is palpable..”Am I really worthy? I’ll probably screw it up again, so why bother?”
“No! I want this. I AM worthy. Im going to fight for a better life – free from the bet and free to love and be loved.” Read more →
2013 Fall International Conference
“The Whole World of Recovery”
October 18-20, 2013
Conference details and registration available at Gambers Anonymous* gamblersanonymous.org/ga/
Hotel Information available at starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1162
Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort
12205 S. Apopka Vineland Road
Orlando, Florida 34786
May 22, 2013
Perhaps…HOPE, HELP and ultimately enhanced UNDERSTANDING and TREATMENT
Clinicians have long-awaited the release of the DSM-5, with the resultant recategorization and change in nomenclature for Gambling Addiction, from Pathological Gambling, Gambling Addiction, Compulsive Gambling and a variety of terms used to discern the varying degrees of severity of addiction, to the newly endorsed term of “Disordered Gambling.“
For those who suffer from a gambling addiction, or “Disordered Gambling” ….the name doesn’t matter. The category doesn’t matter. What matters is..access to treatment, being cared for with dignity as one who suffers from a serious illness versus an individual of weak morals and even weaker character. Gambling addiction is a progressive illness. By the time the afflicted individual reaches out for help, financial resources are decimated, familial relations are strained and help of any kind is hard to come by. There are a few low-cost outpatient treatment services available and, in most states, residential treatment, if available at all, is cost prohibitive and not underwritten by insurance or social services. Read more →
May 10, 2012
DROP THE GUN. DROP THE PILLS. PICK UP THE PHONE! Over the past 10 days I have literally connected directly with four people suffering from gambling addiction who were at the brink of suicide. Thank the Lord they are all still with us and reaching out for RECOVERY! This disease that hijacks our brains and eradicates our souls also can be arrested with treatment and mutual aid groups, spiritual counsel, a friend who cares…there ARE “No wrong doors” …just enter one and RECOVER. Life is precious and the pain passes. Those in recovery from addiction are LIVING PROOF…RECOVERY is a reality for many and it can be for those who consider the ultimate choice.
SUCIDE PREVENTION HELPLINE is 800-273-8255.
GAMBLING ADDICTION HELPLINE is 800-522-4700.
Butler, PA continues to blaze new trails in Problem Gambling Education in Western Pennsylvania.
Friday, March 15 2013 12:30-3:30
Monarch Place, Red Chimney Hall
100 Brugh Avenue Butler, PA 16001
This Town Hall Meeting is open to the public. Clergy, Social Workers, Counselors, Attorneys, Financial Advisors and Family Support Services will find this information especially valuable, as Pennsylvanians struggle with a rise in gambling addiction.
Pennsylvania has the second highest gambling revenue in the Nation; second only to Nevada. While many people can gamble recreationally, those impacted by Problem Gambling face severe consequence. Compulsive Gambling is a serious public health issue.
Topics covered will include an overview of Butler County’s Problem Gambling Initiative, Assessment of Local and National data on compulsive gambling, an Educational Program on the Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction and access to Available Resources for those impacted by problem gambling.
Lanie’s Hope Founder Bea Aikens will conclude the presentation with a personal story of Recovery and her mission to Advocate for Social Change in Problem Gambling.
My first bet was made at age 12. Since I am now 57, I will skip early years of gambling and get to what occurred in my life that got me to the wonderful place in my life called recovery.
I always lived on the edge craving excitement. Whether it was living like an outlaw and seeing if I could get away with it or betting on a 40 to 1 long shot, I enjoyed, and later found out I needed, the rush. The reason I needed it was I had an uncontrollable and an incurable disease. It is called compulsive gambling.
Like most compulsive gamblers, I won… at first. But over the years when it got to the point that there was not enough to win, my life became completely unmanageable. Becoming a great liar and rationalizer I hid my problem from my wife. I would also try to hide from my higher power, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. I surely couldn’t hide from him! Read more →
As has been the case for many others I have spoken with, my own gambling story begins at a young age (10). Family vacations with my father would involve trips to the Ruidoso Downs race track, where I was given $20 for the day to bet on horses. Later, he would teach me how to play poker, and by the time I was a teenager I was playing occasionally, and later regularly, with a group of his colleagues. By the time I was in college, I became involved in a high-stakes pot-limit game, and won enough money over time to move out of the house and get my own apartment while I was in school. There were two men in that game that I (and others) won money from fairly consistently, and looking back I now realize that it was not just because (as I thought) they were “bad” player, but because they were compulsive (pathological) gamblers who would stay in the game until the last card on almost every hand.
When I finished my graduate degree in 1991, I received a job offer from the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas to supervise archaeological work out at the infamous Yucca Mountain Project. I was thrilled to get a job in archaeology, and was excited about the prospects of moving to Las Vegas. For many years after moving to Las Vegas I continued to play live poker. While I never considered myself a professional player, I did well enough to win a little money over the long run, and saw it as an entertaining pastime. I didn’t understand the appeal of the video poker machines…it seemed like a complete waste of time to play a machine, where you had no control over the outcome. Occasionally, I would put $20 into a machine, but never won anything substantial until I hit my first royal flush for $1,000 in the mid-1990s. It was a few years later that I hit a 2nd one, and then very soon after, a third. “Aha! This is why people play the machines!” I thought. Gradually, I played less and less live poker and more and more video poker until soon I was playing video poker almost exclusively. It didn’t seem to matter that intellectually I knew I was never going to beat a computer chip. Read more →
For some Super Bowl Sunday is a day of fun and excitement punctuated by friendly banter, cheering on the home team, and eating too much “stadium food.” For others, Super Bowl Sunday marks a day of high adrenaline, high risk behavior and excessive wagering.
According to the The National Council on Problem Gambling, “The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year for Gamblers. For some betting on the game is a desperate effort to get ahead or get even.”
If betting on a game means too much to you or someone you know, hope and help is available anytime. The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is availble 24/7 and you will be directed to help in your area. Calls are free and confidential.