Book Review – Addicted to Dimes!

Come have a sit-down!

Come have a sit-down!

I recently finished the book Addicted to DimesConfessions of a Liar and A Cheat, by Catherine Townsend-Lyon. Before I start talking about the contents of the book, I want to first mention why I was so interested in reading the book. I myself, have never cashed in my mortgage payment for a trash can full of shiny coins, but I don’t find that at all revolting. That did not actually happen in the book, I am just making a point. Being a recovering heroin addict, I wanted to look back at some of my own past “gambling spree’s” to see where my addiction may manifest in the gambling realm as well. Let’s take a look.

Any gambling activities I have done have always been during vacation time. I haven’t been in a steady “betting environment” long enough to know if my excitement of placing a bet, my thrills and rushes I experience during gambling could lead into something much more sinister and dangerous. Like compulsive gambling. This book has made me look within myself, to be brutally honest with my past actions during my own gambling entertainment. A person with even a small seed of compulsive or addictive behavior should take the time to read this book. That goes for all of you who sleep with your IPhone. I use my phone as a pillow and somehow thought sticking needles full of heroin and cocaine into my arms was justifiable so, I think I fall under the “you better pay attention, this may benefit you jackass” category.

EVALUATE YOUR$ELF HONE$TLY

If I lived in a state where slot machines were tucked in the corners of local gas stations or if I lived where casino’s were being built on every corner, could I become a compulsive gambler? Could you? If your addicted to your phone, could you become addicted to a bigger electronic box that shot out money? How many times have you lost more money than you allowed for your gambling entertainment? Have you ever told others that you “broke even” when you had actually lost money?

MY GAMBLING EXPERIENCE$

I'm a natural!

Wow I’m getting pretty good at this!

While sporting a large transparent sun visor and a bright and busy tropical button-up, I have had many serious conversations with Blazing Seven’s, Wheel of Fortune, and many other flashy slot machines. I’m sure I was rather tipsy to believe I was actually pulling off such an ensemble, but the real question is- Did I think talking to a steel electronic box would make any difference in the outcome of my net losses? Speaking to it like it was an old friend who owed me large sums of money. Asking it to “please please please pay out BIG!” The casino atmosphere with a shot of booze made the nonreciprocal conversations seem less ridiculous but none-the-less I would have better luck wooing a rapist.

$$$JACKPOT$$$

Of course there have been a couple times when I have won a couple mini progressive jackpots. One was for about $140 on a nickle slot and another for $80 on a penny slot. Oh, I forgot to mention- they were about 6 years apart. Those rare and exciting “you are now my slot machine for life” moments is what makes me think it is possible for me to win the 45 billion dollar Powerball. If I can win 80 dollars (after dropping $110 into the machine) then God must want me to win a significant sized chunk of the Powerball Millions! That is obviously a slight exaggeration and I have never played Powerball but during those winning times, it is easy for me to think luck is on my side. I would easily dismiss how many times the memorizing lights and sounds of the pig irons continually tricked me until they devoured the last remaining contents of my coin bucket. Before leaving for home, I would always put every last coin back into the machine’s greedy and hungry little coin holes. Luck may be on my side but it will come in the form of a lightning bolt.

BEATING THE HOUSE

When I was in jail from July 2006 to Aug 2007, I decided “hey, I have a little bit of free time- I’ll learn how to count cards!” I will be a card counting pro! I will morph into Rainman! Needless to say, I still suck at Blackjack and I have made some substantial sized bets considering my 3 digit bank account. I have yet to quit my day job working nights for a professional poker gig.

Any time someone asked me how much money I had lost, I always had the same response; “I’m about even.” About even usually meant I have lost a couple hundred dollars. Of course their response was “Whoa! I’m even too!” In my head I was thinking, You’re full of shit.

I live in Utah where gambling is illegal and if caught, you will likely burn in hell for all eternity or they will issue you a citation. I think the final say is left up to the judge but hopefully you get the citation. Maybe living in a state without slot machines or Keno is a good thing for someone like myself. I am the kind of person who would sell his car for gas money. Looking back at some of my past experiences with slot machines and poker tables, I think it is quite clear that I could easily become a compulsive gambler. Having this knowledge before-hand is a huge help and I owe it to Catherine’s book- Addicted to Dime’s. So let’s get to the meat and potato’s of my post.

Everyone! Can I have your full undivided attention...

Everyone! Can I have your full undivided attention…

THE REVIEW

Addicted to Dimes was not full of an agglomeration of impervious vernacular that couldn’t be axiomatic or that needed to be referenced with a dictionary. The book used very friendly words which unlike my previous sentence, was quite nice and free flowing. At just over 200 pages, It was a fairly quick read. The time-frame of the book covers Catherine’s early childhood up to the recent past, (approx 2012). The beginning of the book caught my attention right away. As she fleshes out each character in her childhood, I couldn’t help but get involved in her brutal and painful upbringing. As she gets older, the family dysfunction and abuse continues to be jaw-dropping and emotionally unjust- especially for Catherine. Because of the books quick and emotional start, I could not put the book down. I felt the book was told with honesty and raw vulnerability. Writing a book that uncovers all your guilty admissions and character defects is nothing short of an extended, but story ridden Step 4. A fearless moral inventory. When most people write out their Step 4 and tell another person about it, they then destroy the damning evidence. Not Catherine- she printed off thousands of copies for all to read. I must give her credit where it is due. I am scared to death for the day my book makes it to the printing press. Telling the world all of my deepest darkest secrets sounds as fun as walking around Wal-Mart butt-naked on a Saturday afternoon.

The book chapters were different from many other books I’ve read and I really liked how it was laid out in more of a sub-chapter format. The sub-chapters were short and I have always been a fan who cheered on shorter chapters.

There are a few times in the book where Catherine felt it was necessary to apologize for calling out (in the book- to the reader) her family for their terrible dysfunction. I didn’t think it was necessary just because I never once was on the side of her parents.The truth is her family structure was dysfunctional because of the parents. They are to blame for the abuse and the generational duplication of the dysfunction. That is not young Catherine’s fault, or her young siblings. I did not feel an apology was needed.

As the book begins to progress into Catherine’s addiction, she does a great job describing how easy it becomes to justify your actions in addiction. I related so closely with that in my own drug addiction and even some of my gambling experiences. That really made me stop and evaluate myself. It was a very powerful piece in the book for me.

Catherine’s story leads in to a key relationship which she is still in today. This relationship shows us that no matter how difficult life gets, the love that  binds relationships is essential for their ability to continue on. I thought the relationship dynamic was fascinating and well dialoged. I was hoping to eventually read more about this character’s background but it never came. It was probably left a bit on the thin side because it wouldn’t have been hugely relevant to her story. Maybe it was more of an interesting curiosity on my part.

At the climax of the story, it resembles a tornado, a volcano, and a tsunami playing shuffleboard in a trailer park. With the majority of the book dialog being in retrospect, it made the climax of the story a little less intense but maybe that is okay because I forgot to blink on a number of occasions.

Wrapping up the end of the book, I felt like Catherine still has some anger towards some of her past. Not just with her relationships, but her past situations as well. As an addict, I know for myself, anger, judgements, injustices, guilt and resentments are draining on my well-being so I hope she has resolved these issues and comes to terms with everything in her follow-up book. Catherine does a great job assisting readers in addiction help and assistance. Directing the readers to many different options for recovery. Where gambling is not seen by society as the big problem it is- like drug or alcohol addiction, she makes the case that that needs to change. The majority of cities around the world have some form of AA meeting or network of people but not so much for the problem gambler. Let’s help her spread the good love by recognizing the terrible stigma’s that seem so tightly wrapped around the neck of addiction. Let’s continue to speak the truth. Yell it from the rooftops!

I would recommend this book to everyone. Recommending it only to potential problem gambler’s would be a vast under-reaching of readership for this amazing and helpful material. I give it 5 stars. Great job Catherine!

5-STAR-RATING-300x300

5 Stars for Catherine Townsend-Lyon’s “Addicted to Dimes”

 

AFTERTHOUGHTS

I believe that society needs to stop normalizing abusive childhoods and stop making excuses for parents and people who are abusive to innocent and dependent children. If you were physically or mentally abused as a child, you can not justify what your mother or father did by saying “my parents did the best they could with the knowledge they had.” I am not speaking to only Catherine. We all need to know this. Saying our parents did the best they could is a cop-out excuse and justification for what ever abuse they did. If saying that means what they did is justified because they didn’t know any better, how the hell can a 3 or 4 year old know any better? Weren’t they acting and saying the only things you knew as an under developed and dependent 4 year old? We have unlimited excuses for the parents and have zero tolerance for the child. That is completely backwards from the way it should be. That is not a universal or even somewhat moral and it should not be used.

We must teach our children universal principles. If we don’t want your children growing up to become compulsive gamblers, a heroin addicts, prostitutes, meth addicts, etc.; we need to quit teaching them principles from the book of hierarchy. “I am the parent therefore you will listen. I am bigger, stronger, more dominant.” That is surrendering to pecking order and power. If we want our children to not hit, steal, yell, argue, abuse, use violence, drugs and misbehave then we must teach them universal principles. We will never teach non-violence to our children by spanking or hitting them. We cannot teach respect by yelling at them. If the principle is moral and just for our children, it must be moral and just for us as the parent. We always want to be exceptions to the rule. Just like congressmen or governments. Making rules and laws but exempting ourselves from these rules. Hmm, I see a pattern here.

There was a picture on Facebook the other day. It was of a man who was hitting a tiny kitten. It had over 1 million comments. In the comments it was clear that society was outraged at this man. Some were saying the man should be killed. Some were calling the man horrible and vulgar obscenities. The unanimous vote was that the man was hated, sick, deranged and needed large amounts of therapy at the least. Is it not sickening that we have more societal outrage and protective instincts towards cats than we do towards our children? Someone please explain to me how this happens. 60% of mother’s admit to spanking/hitting their children. Some as young as 7 months!

GENETICS OR ENVIRONMENTAL?medicine-163707_1280

Many people believe that addiction is a hereditary or genetic disease. “My father was an alcoholic therefore I will become an alcoholic”. There is a big difference between a predisposition that may trigger addiction and heredity. A predisposition to addiction can make a person more susceptible to addictive behaviors, however, there is strong evidence that addiction is being brought on by a child’s surrounding environment. I have blue eyes and a round nose because of genetics. That is something I cannot change. Believing that addiction is a genetic disease I would argue is a death sentence. It instantly removes all doubt and I might as well start shooting up heroin fresh out of the womb because it is my destiny. There is more money to be made with this approach to addictionplant-164500_1280 and there is strong arguments that backs this up. After-all, if society was to accept the environmental approach, they would have to actually do something. All of the unjust, unethical and immoral standards of hypocrisy would be ran through societies powerful ringer and we would have to stop hitting our children and teaching them such blatant hypocrisy. If we don’t want more drug addicted, alcoholic, compulsive gambling, mentally and emotionally unstable people in our society, then let’s just stop raising them. It’s really that simple.

 

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Don’t Spank Addiction Into Your Children!

Why are the most important and the most devastating topics either lied about, shied away from, manipulated, or just completely ignored on social media? Not only is it true for social media, these topics are ignored everywhere. Including television, radio, film, our daily interactions and even amongst our closest relationships. The topics I am talking about affect all of us in one way or another but yet we do whatever is needed to keep such influential arguments sequestered.

-If I say I believe in God, the collective society would allow me to continue my speech. However, if I state that I am a strong atheist, the majority would boo me, shun my ungodly disbelief and throw large, juicy tomatoes at my face.

-If I try to convince a mother to stop disciplining her children because spanking children has been linked to drug abuse, the lowering of IQ, and sociopathic behaviors. I would get told to mind my own business while catching another vine ripened mater to the head.

-If I claim that 9/11 was an inside job, I get met with hostility, indifference and categorized as a “conspiracy theorist”.

-If I voice the truth about the immorality of war, I am considered a disgraced adversary of our military and labeled “un-American”.

-If I make a claim that legalizing all drugs will only help society’s problem with addiction, I would be mocked by many for such a crazy and irresponsible ideal.

If you look at these different scenarios, you can see they all have one thing in common. The “correct” answer’s to these question’s are not at all based or driven from facts; they are all based on a collective acceptance. This tells us that we are full of shit if we say that we don’t care what others think about us. That is just simply not true. If we did not care what society thought about our beliefs, then we would tell the truth much more often. We could cure ourselves from this sick ailment called collectivism. Because of our need for acceptance as a collective society, we are continually forced to lie. I have found that facts do not alter people’s core beliefs- acceptance to this main-stream collective does. We live in a world where our reality is not driven by facts, but by a fake delusion of lies and deceit.

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I was raised in the belief that America is the greatest country in the world and that I should be proud of my culture and my flag. I think it is safe to say that the individuals on the opposite side of the world were raised to believe in similar ideas about their country and their flag. I do believe America is a wonderful place to live and has some of the most beautiful and majestic places in all the globe. However I do know that I was born in America by accidental circumstances and because of that, myself and the place I was born is no better than someone who was accidentally born on the opposite end of the Pacific Ocean. My country, my culture, my religion and my society were all accidental circumstances and I did not have a say in any of them. If I would have been born to Iraqi parents, I would most likely be a Muslim who spoke Arabic. I am a human being, and so are they. A line on a map cannot possibly be the guide of virtue or reason that separates good people from the bad. It is an imaginary line and it only exists on a map. Why have we allowed imaginary lines to guide us on who is virtuous and who is not? If I have struck a nerve, please tell me your thoughts. If you do, please be respectful about your argument.

You may be asking what this has to do with my usual posts about drugs and addiction. Well, the studies show that 7 out of 10 American parents are still spanking their children for disciplinary reasons. The majority of parents are not ashamed to admit it. Why? Because it is accepted in our culture. Our society is using the outdated and severely destructive “save the rod, spoil the child” precept. I couldn’t count how many Facebook posts I have read stating “When I was kid, I got my butt whooped when I was out of line! Maybe if more kids would get a swift kick in the ass they would learn respect!” This is just complete and utter nonsense. Even though it may seem that a child needs some form of aggressive discipline to “keep them in line” or because they won’t “behave themselves”, this actually does much more harm than good. The only good it does is make us feel power over another human being. That all too familiar hierarchy we have been so accustomed to. That is, at least by my standards, not a good thing.

Spanking has proven to cause a decrease in IQ, abnormalities in brain function, aggressive behavior later on in life, violence, criminal behavior, mental illness including addiction and severe cases of physical abuse have led to psychopathic personalities. Despite popular belief, children don’t get spanked because they act out, they act out because they are being spanked. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-me-in-we/201202/how-spanking-harms-the-brain

doll-340355We need to address this horrific flaw in our society. We continue to hide behind the evil curtain called “discipline”. Our society protects women who are in abusive relationships. Women have the choice to be in the relationship and we still feel it is only right to protect them. Would we accept our women being hit “just when they deserved it?” Of course not! How ludicrous does that sound? So why do we allow it for our precious children?! Our children are completely helpless in this matter. Why are we spanking our helpless and innocent children?! They are in a one-sided contract with us as parents. Our children did not ask to be put into the relationship. They did not choose their parents. If they are abused they cannot leave. They are economically dependent on us. The environment we build for our children is what will shape them as an adult. We need to stop teaching violence to our children. When we hit or spank our kids we are teaching them violence. Imagine a world that is violence free. Imagine all that can be accomplished by not teaching violence to the next generation of youngsters.

Instead of inflicting a “negative” on your child (spanking, yelling, time-out’s, grounding) take away a “positive” from them instead (reading after supper, cuddling on their favorite bean-bag chair, favorite treat). The importance of negotiation with our children is paramount for their proper growth into adulthood. We don’t need to always act like a house dictator. That only teaches them to tell their friends how big of an ass hole their parents are and they learn to rebel against it. That is why there is such a huge issue with bullies in the public school system. When you get angry with your child for telling you the truth, you have just taught your child that they need to lie to you from now on. This world of hierarchies is crumbling from underneath us. Believing that we need to have power over others will be the power that destroys us all. Lets end the violence. Lets stop spanking our children and allow them to reap the benefits of a violence-free, drug-free, truly peaceful world.

There are many sources that are easily accessible for helping parents raise their children without violence and the effects of violence. I am not claiming to have all the right answers. I do know that if there is one thing everyone as a collective society should agree on, it should be that we need to stop spanking our children.