Written by CCC Member, Jess:

I grew up in a dysfunctional home. There were not a lot of memorable moments growing up and many of the memories I do recall, I’d rather forget. All of my memories of my mom seem to have centered around her cancer diagnosis when I was 12 years old and her declining health. She passed away when I was only 17.

Memories of my dad were of him always being at work and his love for gambling. My dad introduced gambling into my life at the age of 6. After my mom died, my already shaky relationship with my dad worsened. When I turned 18, I moved out on my own, ill-prepared for life as an adult. My life centered around work. I worked six days a week, often 80-90 hours per week. I didn’t rest on the seventh day; instead, I went out and did what I knew, I gambled. Most of my adult life I was addicted to it. It took away my freedom and nearly destroyed my marriage.

In truth, even when I was free, I was in bondage. Just over two years ago I was so broken that I finally gave it all to God. I believed in Jesus from a young age, and although I had accepted him into my life, I had never made him Lord of it. I tried in vain to save myself from my addiction. Everything failed. Depression set in, as did panic attacks and other issues. I went to doctors, took medications, met with counselors, psychiatrists, and attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings. I was only treating the symptoms and not the problem. I was the problem.

Jess courage to change

Things began to change when I gave it all to the only one capable of healing my body, mind, spirit, and heart. God has done that and much more. God continues to change me from within on a daily basis. The more I seek him, the closer my walk is becoming. God is using me for his glory, and I am now a voice for those who have yet to find own voice regarding gambling addiction and faith.

I became involved with Courage to Change two years ago to bolster my recovery. Courage to Change continues to be a vital part of my life. What sets it apart from a typical 12 Step program is that Courage to Change is Christ-centered. Men and women of all addictions come together to heal, learn to grow, and transform their lives.

Brokenness can wear a variety of masks, like depression, addiction to gambling or pornography, and anger to name a few – and it can capture anyone. If you feel trapped, know that you’re not alone and that God has more in store for your life. It takes real courage to seek out recovery, but God will meet you there. Come to check out Courage to Change, a support group that meets every Monday at 7 p.m. at The Block (5374 Darrow Rd, Hudson, OH 44236), where we open up about our personal struggles (we all have them) and provides a framework to work through them. No need to register for Courage to Change – just show up. If you have questions, contact [email protected] or learn more about our support groups at Care & Support.