Nun Admits To Stealing $130k To Feed Gambling Addiction

A nun in upstate New York has plead guilty to charges of grand larceny. Sister Mary Anne Rapp admits that she stole almost $130,000 between March of 2006 and April 2011.

 Addiction does not discriminate. If it can affect a nun, it can affect anybody!

Addiction does not discriminate. If it can affect a nun, it can affect anybody!

Why did she do it? Sister Mary Anne, a nun for 50 years, needed the money so that she could continue to play the slots at casinos in western New York.

How did she do it? Sister Mary Anne was in charge of managing the donations from patrons at two churches in Orleans County – St. Mary’s in Holley, New York and St. Mark’s in Kendall, New York.

How did she finally get caught? The two houses of worship were taken over by Father Mark Noonan in 2010. Part of his ideas for restructuring a seemingly financially burdened church was to conduct an audit of all money coming into the churches and all money being spent by each church. Apparently discrepancies were discovered, and Sister Rapp was arrested in November of 2012.

Sister Mary Anne Rapp now faces up to 6 months in jail and she will be responsible for paying back a portion of the money she stole (amount to be determined); her sentencing is set for July 1, 2013. The future nun abilities of this sister will be in the hands of her order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity.

What would lead a nun, a supposedly “chosen one” to steal this much money from the community she chose to dedicate her life to serving? Quite simply: addiction.

Sadly, what may have started as a hobby that provided fun and a sense of excitement to Sister Mary Anne, may have quickly become a habit she could no longer control or stop. When she spent her own money to play the slot machines, she was partaking in an activity that she could financially support, but when a pattern of use leads anyone to the point of dishonest, uncharacteristic, or even illegal behaviors, there is a problem.

Gambling addiction can take over someone’s life. Addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse when left untreated. Many programs exist for those struggling to end the behaviors that are leading to life-altering financial, interpersonal, social, emotional, and legal consequences.

Someone like Sister Mary Anne Rapp could have really benefited from a behavioral intervention before her patterns of gambling became an addiction that lead her to steal from her own job, and to put her own whole life’s work in jeopardy. She could have talked to someone, anyone, when she first began taking money from the church donations. If action is taken early on, and the symptoms can be treated, the person’s situation can be treated and prevented from progression to an addiction.

Unfortunately, the guilt and shame that can surround an addiction can keep people from seeking rehab services. For a number of reasons, people feel unable to admit to a problem with gambling, substances, eating, or other behavioral addictions like sex, fame, or online activities.

Intensive outpatient services are extremely advantageous for those battling an addiction, and especially gambling addiction. As is true for drug and alcohol addicts, the ability to abstain from the substance, or behavior, is a big part of recovery. If an individual can continue working his or her normal schedule, and then attend an outpatient program in the evening, for example, this may fill the time in which gambling is most likely to occur.

Learning how to cope with difficult situations and emotions, how to deal with times when cravings arise, and useful tools to handle events that trigger your reasons for use are all important in recovering from any addiction.

Find out if an intensive outpatient treatment program is right for you, or someone you love.

2018-08-23T06:36:38+00:00September 2, 2015|Behavioral Addiction|

Shopping Addiction Issues Increasing Among Men

Can men really suffer from a shopping addiction?

Just like drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, and compulsive eating, shopping addiction affects women and men. Although you may not think of men as shoppers like women (stereotype!), shopping addiction issues are increasing among men in our society.

shopping addiction

It seems that because of the stigma surrounding shopping, fewer men than women come forward to admit a problem and to seek treatment for uncontrollable shopping behaviors. A similar stigma is also true in the case of eating disorders. Men appear to feel more shame around these types of addictions or disorders than women do, and then most men feel around alcoholism or a sex addiction.

So what constitutes a shopping addiction? Well, “compulsive shopping” and “compulsive buying” involve chronic episodes in which the individual experiences an inability to control his or her shopping or buying behavior.

An occasional splurge is common among most people, and does not necessarily indicate a shopping addiction, but when the urge to splurge, and to shop in general becomes more frequent and constant, the existence of a shopping addiction needs to be explored. When the desire to shop and buy starts taking away from time spent working, enjoying other activities, or spending time with loved ones, the behavior has interfered with everyday functioning, and may be clinically diagnosable at that point.

Have you ever been feeling sad, or insecure for whatever reason, and you really wanted to go shopping? To browse and find something to spend money on because you feel like it will make you feel better? When you find something that’s maybe out of your normal price range, and you really shouldn’t be spending that kind of money right now, but you buy it anyway, does that purchase make you feel better? Usually no, right? You may feel a bit of a euphoria, or a high, from getting something that is brand new and that you love, but that effect wears off quite quickly and you are either brought back to neutral, or you are still sad or feeling less than confident. Compulsive shoppers and compulsive spenders experience this cycle over and over again.

The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that 1 in 20 people living in the United States, suffer from the symptoms and behaviors of compulsive shopping.

Women have been more recognized as engaging in shopping behaviors, but the prevalence of this behavior is increasing among men. It seems a part of the gender misconception is that men tend to buy more “practical” items that have higher costs, whereas women seem to buy less expensive items more frequently. The types of items purchased are typically different. Female shopping addicts tend to buy personal and home items (clothing, makeup, shoes, bags, jewelry, decorations) while male shopping addicts tend to buy electronics, tech items, car gadgets, athletic gear, and overall bigger ticket items. Is there a difference though?

As shopping addiction issues increase among men in our country, the importance in understanding the disorder becomes more obvious. Like any other addiction, the possibility of an addiction exists for everyone. The psychological component of a shopping addiction is the same for men and women. Many experts in the field site a lack of emotional comfort in childhood, a need to gain control, difficulty or complete inability to tolerate difficult emotions (fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, depression, boredom, etc.), perfectionism, excitement or approval seeking, an innate propensity for impulsive and compulsive behavior, and a lifelong or long-term desire to fill an empty inner void as reasons for the development of compulsive shopping or buying, and a shopping addiction.

If you can relate to this, or you can see these qualities in someone you love, seeking treatment is important. Like drug addiction, the sooner the diagnosis can be made, the sooner the symptoms of shopping addiction can be treated. Don’t let gender be a factor in getting the help that’s needed.

Contact The Control Center to find out how their behavioral addiction treatment program can work for you!

2018-08-23T06:37:33+00:00May 10, 2015|Behavioral Addiction, The Control Center|

Movie ‘Love Child’ Discusses How Internet Addiction May Have Lead To A Death

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is being shown in a whole new way through the documentary, Love Child. Prepare yourself, the story is quite shocking.

To start with a little background information, South Korea strives to have the best internet access in the world. The amount of people who take part in the gaming industry among those living in South Korea is astronomical. As the country works to expand its broadband infrastructure to ideally reach every home, many citizens instead partake in PC Bang, a community gaming center. While you pay an hourly fee to play at a PC Bang center, some people actually earn a living playing games online this way.

The film, Love Child presents the story of one real couple who met through online gaming, and then continued to participate in gaming at a PC Bang location. Sounds simple, right? Well, for many people in South Korea, this sounds like an everyday occurrence, so how can this be a movie that is gaining attention for the dangers of internet addiction?

Well, the story begins with a mother encouraging her 24-year-old daughter, Mi-sun to join her at PC Bang in an effort to meet a man to marry. Through a multi-player game, Mi-sun met 34-year-old Yoo-chul. They later met in person and eventually got married. The couple began playing Prius, a particular online game available through PC Bang, and the behavior continued even after their daughter, Sarang was born. By the way, the name Sarang means “love” in Korean.

In order to play enough to make a living, the couple would leave 3-month-old baby Sarang home alone. Ironically enough, the game Prius, that the couple was playing more and more, consisted of a virtual daughter that they were responsible for nurturing. Instead of being at home with their real-life daughter, Mi-sun and Yoo-chul took care of a virtual baby online for up to 12 hours a day.

One day, the couple returned home to find that Sarang had died, allegedly because of starvation.

The couple was arrested in March of 2010, and the prosecutor suggested a five-year prison sentence. So are Mi-sun and Yoo-chul in jail for the neglect that lead to the death of their young child? No. Their defense attorney argued that the couple could not be responsible for what happened to Sarang because of an Internet addiction that had impaired their judgment.

For the first time in South Korea, Internet addiction was a valid defense. The couple was banned from online gaming, but faced no time in jail. The couple now has a second child.

This couple’s story can be a great example of the true dangers involved with Internet addiction when many people do not necessarily see the harm in online gaming or other online activities.

As is the case with drug and alcohol addiction, which is more widely known, behavioral addictions follow the same dangerous progression. You can start to identify an addiction by the following:

  • loss of use over use of a substance or a behavior
  • obsession with use of a substance or a behavior
  • continued use despite negative consequences (social, legal, interpersonal, financial, physical, psychological)
  • denial that there is a problem
  • a powerful tendency to relapse, or an inability to discontinue the behavior

Internet addiction is real. Help is available.
photo credit: larskflem

2018-08-23T06:41:13+00:00November 13, 2014|Behavioral Addiction|

Why do people love reality television like Intervention? Train Wreck or Treatment?

The A&E show Intervention ran for 13 successful seasons for a very good reason: this is compelling stuff. Watching tearful families confront their addicted loved ones, seeing the realities of addiction and how it affects individuals and those close to them, this is the content that makes for the best reality television. Especially for any viewers with the good fortune to never have been touched by the demon of addiction, watching lives collapse and loved ones scrambling to pull them back together again is an emotional roller coaster, ending with a warm fuzzy feeling that this person will get better.

Watching real, live interventions is exciting. We wonder how the addict will react. Is she going to cry and submit? Or will she throw a chair through the window and refuse to get help? What we don’t see is what happens after a successful intervention. All we get is the excitement of an intervention and this can be misleading. What is an intervention really, and how does it help the addict? What goes into a good intervention and how can it go wrong? Should you stage one on your own or do you need the help of a professional? And what happens next?

Intervention is Motivation

The main goal of an intervention is to motivate an addict to recognize his problem and to accept help for it. An intervention can be held for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol or for someone with a behavioral addiction, to say shopping or gambling. Denial is a common trait in all types of addicts. An addict does not want to admit to having a problem for a variety of reasons: the stigma and shame of being an addict, the inevitable treatment, and the need to give up the vice. Hearing from loved ones about how the addiction is affecting everyone is a powerfully motivating tool for eliminating denial.

An Intervention is a Process

If you think you can sit your loved one down and have a simple heart-to-heart about her problem drinking and that you’ll hug and cry afterwards as she promises to get help, you’re kidding yourself. An intervention is a well-planned process that involves several people and it may not stick the first time. To stage an intervention with the best chance of success requires a plan, practice, outlined treatment options, and specific consequences for the addict if she refuses help.


Intervention is for the Professionals

To hold an intervention that is not likely to deteriorate into rage, violent outbursts, and a situation that is worse than what you started with, you need the help of a professional. Imagine you were about to be confronted by a group of people and told that you had a problem and needed to change. How would you react? Think of all the possibilities and you may never stage an intervention. Having a professional on hand is crucial for keeping the peace and for ensuring that your addicted loved one will cope in a healthful way with the realities of his situation. You also need to be sure that you have options for your loved one. You can’t just tell him he has a problem and leave it at that. A professional can help you find a treatment program.

Interventions are exciting and fun to watch on television. The drama of addiction is particularly engaging when it isn’t your life. The reality for an addict is not so much fun. If you have been watching a friend or family member struggle with addiction while in complete denial, an intervention could be the motivating tool you need. Most people confronted in this way do end up getting help. Take the step to intervene, but do it right and don’t just get caught up in the excitement of reality TV.

2018-08-23T06:43:46+00:00March 17, 2014|Behavioral Addiction, Drug Addiction, Mental Health|

Amanda Bynes Comes Clean On Eating Disorder

eating disorder

Amanda Bynes comes clean: she has an eating disorder. How does she announce it? As only a young Hollywood lady can, by posting pictures of herself on Twitter with majorly self-degrading comments.

She used to seem like a sweet, well-balanced, talented actress, getting work all the time. Starring on TV shows and in movies, carrying a whole film, but recently she has taken a turn for the worst.

In February, when she weighed in at 121 lbs, Amanda felt that was Tweet-worthy, and it seems that was when she established her target weight. She had just moved to New York, and her Twitter followers learned that, “I lost four pounds since I moved. I’m 121 pounds — my goal is 100 pounds.”

Amanda celebrated her birthday in early April and then Tweeted that “I have an eating disorder, so I have a hard time staying thin.”

An April 30th Tweet, “About to put on makeup! I weigh 135, I’ve gained weight! I need to be 100 lbs!” was paired with a picture of Amanda in a bra and leggings.

At 5’8” tall, 27-year-old Amanda can weigh between 122 and 164 pounds to still be considered within a healthy range. Obviously if she got down to 100 lbs she could be considered frail and unhealthy. What is keeping her from seeing that?  A disease that tricks you by perception?

It appears Amanda Bynes truly has an eating disorder, and she knows it, so many are asking why isn’t she in treatment? Why isn’t someone stepping in and helping Amanda get help? Where are her family and friends? Has the disease convinced her to push everyone who cares about her away? Denial is a powerful mental tool when you need it.

These Tweets are only some of the unsettling messages Amanda has made public. The list goes on. Some are quite vulgar and others are sad.

Many professions would agree – this young woman is screaming for help.

Advice to Amanda, and other women like her: Girl, stop Tweeting! Stop sharing everything with everyone. The help you need will not come from a Twitter follower. Instead, talk to somebody you trust, and if that somebody does not exist right now, call and find help.

The problem is, an eating disorder can consume your thoughts and behaviors. You can feel like you must gain control this aspect of your life because you don’t have control over any other part, and perfectionism is very real too.

For young women in the Hollywood spotlight, staying a certain size and trying to remain relevant to the masses is competitive, but may come as part of the job description. We’ve heard reports of what growing up in the public eye can do to a girl. Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore. Jodie Sweetin (who played Stephanie on the show Full House.) And now Amanda Bynes. The pressure is too much. Without a developed identity, these young women seek external validation and never seem to feel “good enough.”

Eating disorders, and substance abuse issues, are attempts at filling the void. Convincing yourself that, by setting a goal weight and working toward being a certain size, you are taking control of your life, is simply backwards.

Drew Barrymore, per reports and interviews, is a great example of someone who got help and made changes so she could live a healthy life. We cannot do it alone though.

Amanda Bynes needs an intervention. A chance to get healthy. Formal treatment could save her life, and show her how detrimental her current lifestyle will be long-term.

Can someone in her life persuade her to seek eating disorder rehab before anything else life-changing happens?

2018-08-23T06:45:22+00:00July 10, 2013|Behavioral Addiction, Health and Wellness, The Control Center|

Video Games As Addictive As Drugs Study Say

 Although you can’t drink, smoke, or snort a video game, studies show they may be as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

Although you can’t drink, smoke, or snort a video game, studies show they may be as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

Video game usage affects the same part of the brain as drugs and alcohol, so it’s no wonder that so many people become addicted to playing video games for hours on end. The same patterns that lead to a substance addiction are the same ones that lead someone to a gaming addiction.

As is also true of drugs and alcohol, the age of first use of video games plays a big part in how the patterns develop and potentially progress into an addiction. The pleasure center of the brain responds to video games as if they are a drug, so the chance of kids and young adults developing an addiction to them is high. Many stories come out that kids, who are otherwise well-behaved, begin acting out or becoming violent when they are not allowed to play their video game, or games, of choice any longer.

Does this sound like a drug addict? Similar reaction as a heroin addict who cannot seem to find his next fix? Or even like a young child when his favorite toy gets taken away? This reaction in someone playing video games is just like an addict or alcoholic going through withdrawal from his or her drug, or drugs, of choice.

One new study has yielded results that show that playing video games can be as addictive as drugs. Games like Call of Duty are never finished, unlike arcade games and others that have a win or loss feature to them. The open-opened nature of the games can create an insatiable desire to continue playing. When the game never ends, anyone playing can find that hours have gone by in what felt like a matter of minutes.

The frequency of use, the amount of use, and the denial of the problem caused by use of video games are ways to detect an addiction. Identifying the symptoms of a problem early offers the best chance at treatment. Although video games do not cause the same internal physical damage that drugs and alcohol create, the consequences and repercussions can be just as harmful to someone’s life as injecting substances of any kind.

Generally, an addiction to anything is an indicator of deeper lying mental issues. Depression, anxiety, a learning disorder, and the inability to connect with others to form healthy interpersonal relationship can all be masked by video game addiction, drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, shopping, an eating disorder, a sex or love addiction, or an Internet addiction. Playing video games alone can be a way to escape from difficult social situations, or to avoid homework because it is too difficult to concentrate long enough to complete.

As a behavioral addiction, further research is needed to fully understand the cause, effect, and best treatment of video game addiction.

Programs to treat video game addiction focus on the underlying issues that lead to the desire to escape from, cover up, or avoid in the first place. While in treatment, an individualized treatment plan allows each client to identify any mental illness, learning disability, or another addiction that is at play.

Not all video game addicts have a diagnosable mental illness disorder, but most have an underlying psychological issue that needs to be explored.

During treatment, a video game addict learns tools for handling difficult situations that used to lead right to video game use. Triggering events can be better handled at home, at work, or at school while the person is attending treatment services. Psychological cravings will continue to occur, probably forever, and a good rehab program will help each client develop a plan for when they do. Coping skills for frustrating or emotionally complex situations gives a prior addict a chance at a life without a video game addiction.

As situations present themselves, and the person faces them head on, the newly learned tools and skills can be tried, and whether immediately successful or not, the client can discuss with his or her individual counselor, plus the fellow rehab clients and members of the sober community. Real-time processing can keep a young addict from returning to the problematic behaviors.

An intensive outpatient treatment program, like the one offered at The Control Center, gives an addict the opportunity to practice new skills while still involved in his or her everyday life. Contact the treatment team today at 877.813.2974 today to find out more!
photo credit: Rakka

2018-08-23T06:48:23+00:00April 18, 2013|Behavioral Addiction|

Chinese Man Has Spent Past Six Years At On-Line Cafe

Online Activity

Imagine sitting in the same chair, doing the same activity for 2,190 days in a row.

One Chinese man has spent the past 6 years at an online cafe, only occasionally leaving for food, and for a random shower. He sleeps at the cafe during the day, if he gets tired, but otherwise he is generally engaging in online activity. This man, Li Meng, even pays the cafe a monthly rent as you would for an apartment.

6 years at one place, doing the same activity over and over every day. Based on news reports, Li has clearly not had a haircut during his time at the cafe, but he makes enough money from at least some of the online activity to support his life.

According to reports, Li finished college, but instead of going on to find a job like the rest of his peers, as is expected of young men his age, Li chose to start frequenting the internet cafe and engaging in online activity for money.

Internet addiction, as we diagnose it in United States at least, is an alarming problem in China.

China has tried putting a stop to the high levels of online gaming that have occupied the time of way too many young people throughout their country. Camps were set up to discontinue Internet addiction one individual at a time. Allegedly parents take their kids to these camps where violence is used to “cure” the young person of an Internet or online gaming addiction. In a country that sees about 80% of its young population suffering from a desire to constantly be online, and that has a total population of 450 million people, online gaming is without a doubt a growing problem in China.

So is there harm in kids spending a lot of time online? What about Li Meng’s lifestyle choice? Is he hurting anyone? Is he hurting himself?

Behavioral addictions seem much harder to define than substance addictions, don’t they? If someone is drinking to the point of intoxication every night, and has been arrested for drunk driving, and has been abusive to family members while drunk, that addiction to alcohol is clearly harmful to the person who is drinking, and to those around the alcoholic. But what about someone like Li Meng, or the millions of young people in China, and around the world, who are involved in various online activities a majority of their lives? The consequences and ramifications of an Internet or gaming addiction are not as clear.

No one who has been interviewed at the online cafe has really heard Li speak much, so it is not known what Li’s relationship is like with his family. It can be assumed that if Li is basically living at the cafe, and people do not see his family with him, then his relationship with family members must be at least somewhat estranged.

Internet and online gaming addiction diagnosis can follow the general umbrella criteria that are used to identify a drug addiction.

  • Has the individual experienced a loss of control over use of a substance or over a behavior?
  • Is the person obsessed with use of a substance, or with engagement in a behavior?
  • Does the individual continue to use even after experiencing negative consequences directly, or indirectly, from the use of a substance, or the involvement in a behavior?
  • Even when the problem is evident, is the person still in denial?
  • Is a powerful tendency to relapse his or her reality? Has the person tried to stop or slow down use of a substance or frequency of a behavior, but the use also returns?

Help is available for online Internet addiction. The intensive outpatient treatment program at The Control Center helps clients learn and practice tools for recovery in real time, while continuing their daily schedule. Find out how you can participate and change your behaviors.
photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

2018-08-23T06:52:12+00:00April 10, 2013|Behavioral Addiction, The Control Center|

Are You A Relationship Addict?

 Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?

You may be surprised to find out that all four of these “substances,” along with gambling, Internet activity, shopping, eating, and many more behaviors can all be equally detrimental when they have reached the point of addiction.

Are you a relationship addict? Do you have an intimacy disorder, or an attachment disorder? Let’s find out together.

The following questions are drawn from information in the book, Addicted to Love, by Stephen Arterburn.

  • Were you abandoned or rejected in some way as a child?
  • Have you been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse?
  • Do you feel unloved by the world at large and by everyone around you?
  • Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed by the requirements of everyday life?
  • Do you worry constantly? Are you fearful of daily events?
  • Have you set standards for yourself that are too high to ever attain?
  • Do you feel you must be perfect to ever be “good enough” for someone else to truly love you? Are feelings of inadequacy real for you?
  • Have you attempted to fix someone you’ve been romantically involved with?
  • Are you staying with partners for too long in an effort to save them?
  • Do you find yourself attracted to needy people? Does their neediness make you feel like they will not leave you, and you will not get hurt?
  • Are you attracted to emotionally abusive or distant people?
  • Does an emotionally-stable person make you anxious or uncomfortable? Does it scare you to think of being in a relationship with someone healthy who would be strong enough to live without your love?
  • Have you attached to partners quickly? Does attraction lead right to a relationship?
  • Do you stay with a partner because it is better to be with them, then to be alone?
  • In comparison to those you’ve dated, do you seem like the emotionally-stable person? Does that bring you joy or comfort in any way?
  • Do you walk on eggshells, hiding your own opinion about things, to keep the other person calm and happy?
  • Can you honestly say that your efforts to help a partner are selfless, or do your actions in some way always serve you and your need to be loved?
  • Are you aware of your own needs? Do you need to be needed?
  • After periods of keeping your emotions and opinions bottled up, do you lash out with anger? Are outbursts followed by guilt, remorse, and a need to mend the relationship? Why? Fear of abandonment?
  • Are you afraid to ask anyone at all for help with relationships?
  • Does it cause great internal discomfort to think about someone helping you? Does it make you feel “less than”?
  • Do you sometimes think that you will never find a truly loving relationship?
  • Does every new and exciting relationship make you think things will be different this time? Are they ever different?
  • If anything goes wrong in a relationship, do you blame yourself?
  • Do you feel like an outcast?
  • Think about your last relationship: did you appear subservient and giving, but really you held all the power and control?
  • Do you feel like you’re on a never ending search for happiness?
  • Does conflict in a relationship cause you to shut down and become depressed?
  • When you are not in a relationship, do you find yourself engaging in compulsive behaviors? (gambling, eating, shopping, etc.)
  • Do you doubt every decision you make, even down to the smallest, everyday tasks?
  • Are you constantly guessing what your partner wants so that you don’t have to ask? Does it make you feel like a better partner if you guess correctly?
  • If you have difficulty expressing your own needs, do you eventually get angry with a partner for not knowing what you need and not fulfilling your needs?
  • Could you possibly be trying to compensate for what you did not get as a child, by manipulating others to get what you want?
  • Do you act strong to compensate for a weakness?

Whether you answer yes or no to these questions may not matter. It is more important to explore how answering these questions made you feel.

What thoughts, feelings, and reactions surfaced for you?

If you are a relationship addict, or if you have an intimacy or an attachment disorder, you are not alone. If you have come to the end of your own strength, you need help, and that is okay.

The Control Center’s intensive outpatient program helps thousands of people like you who need to heal while continuing to work or attend to other responsibilities. Start recovering today!

2018-08-23T06:53:55+00:00March 10, 2013|Behavioral Addiction, Mental Health, The Control Center|

Sex, Food & Gambling Addicts – Who’s Responsible?

 Is the presence of Internet cafes creating gambling addicts?

Is the presence of Internet cafes creating gambling addicts?

This is a question that came up at a recent speaking engagement. And it’s an interesting question. With the proliferation of online gambling and impulsive behavioral addictions, questions like these are coming up more and more.

If you answer yes, then think about this: The same type argument could be made for alcohol and bars. Is the presence of places that serve alcohol creating alcoholics, or will people drink somewhere regardless of the physical options offered?

Are bars creating alcoholics, or are alcoholics keeping bars open? Paying the electric bill and keeping a roof over the owner’s and bartender’s heads?

Are Internet cafes creating gambling addicts, or are gambling addicts keeping Internet cafes in business? There are many people who go to an Internet cafe for a few hours to get things done, and then they leave. There are many people who go to a bar, have a couple drinks, and then leave. Can we put blame on the cafe or bar for people enjoying being there, and possibly developing an unhealthy pattern of behavior, and even an addiction to the good or service being offered?

Still need more? What about sex? The same argument can surround the topic of abstinence versus safe sex. Do we teach the next generation to abide by abstinence and not teach them about safe ways to engage in sex, and then just assume that they will listen and not partake in any sexual activity? Or do we educate young people on what can happen if you do not protect yourself during sex, and allow them to make their own decisions once they have all of the information? If I give you a condom, does that mean that I want you to have sex, or is it a tool for when you choose to participate in the act?

Are Internet cafes any different? Don’t we, as individuals, have the power to choose whether we walk into a place that offers online gambling, or alcohol? And don’t we choose how much time to spend gambling online, and how much alcohol to drink in one sitting?

What if the choice is being influenced by an addiction? What if I walk into a casino or Internet cafe and cannot stop gambling once I’ve started? Or, I walk into a bar and cannot stop drinking once I’ve started. Can the responsibility for my excessive gambling and money loss, or my intoxication and public drunkenness, be put on the Internet cafe, or bar?

Can we take this a step further and throw the concept of obesity and food addiction into the mix? Is the presence of grocery stores, restaurants, and fast food establishments (with easy-access drive-thru windows) creating food addicts?

We all have to eat food to stay alive, why can’t some people stop when they are full? We don’t all have to gamble or drink though, so what is the common thread among gambling online, alcohol, sex, and food? If an Internet cafe, or a bar, adult store, or fast-food restaurant, opens right by your house, will it alter your behavior?

What can be done to keep someone from spending too much time, or from losing money, while gambling online? As an Internet cafe owner, would you take time and put forward some energy to survey your clientele? To check for signs of Internet addiction among the people you find in your seats most often? A bar owner is more likely to spot the patrons who have over consumed and who need to leave. Calling a cab, or in some cases, the person’s family, to get the drunk person home safely becomes part of your job.

Could you spot people who are gambling too much by the amount of time spent at your Internet, or would you have to keep tabs on their spending? Can you ask them to leave?

What do you think? Who’s responsible for impulsive behavior? Is it the individual’s moral decision making?  An individual’s brain chemistry?  Or is the establishment enabling the individual to make “wrong” decisions?

2018-08-23T06:54:52+00:00February 10, 2013|Behavioral Addiction|