Smith tackles gambling addiction problem
Cherokee Nation citizen Sydney Smith is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in gambling addiction. She has not only seen the consequences of the addiction as a clinician working in Las Vegas but also as a family member affected by a loved one’s addiction. She said the lack of resources for gambling addicts in northeastern Oklahoma led to her to creating the RISE Center For Recovery in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The RISE Center For Recovery opened March 10 and was born out of Sydney Smith’s desire to serve northeastern Oklahoma near her hometown of Stilwell, Oklahoma. The center offers programs such as a 12-step based intensive outpatient program and individual, group and family therapy for those with an addiction or affected by a loved one’s addiction. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Spending more time and money at the casino than intended, pawning or stealing items to obtain gambling money and concealing gambling behavior are a few signs of gambling addiction. Cherokee Nation citizen Sydney Smith, a psychotherapist specializing in gambling addiction, knows the symptoms too well and hopes to provide support in northeastern Oklahoma with her venture, the RISE Center For Recovery.
“RISE will be offering an intensive outpatient treatment program, so that would be the level of care before residential and inpatient,” she said. “We are a comprehensive addiction treatment program, so we’ll be able to address all addictions, but we do have a specialty gambling track where we’re just focused on gamblers and their families.”
The center opened March 10 and will complement the one she plans to open in Las Vegas, where she has worked with clients for years.
“Gambling is one of the most difficult addictions to stop and has the lowest recovery rates for many reasons,” she said. “It can be hidden much easier. I can’t give you a Breathalyzer test or a blood test to see if you’ve been gambling. I can’t smell it on your breath, so it can be hidden much easier. So by the time it surfaces, it’s really severe.”
The Tahlequah office was born of Smith’s passion to bring gambling addiction awareness and education to a larger audience near her hometown of Stilwell. Not only has she witnessed the consequences of gambling addiction as a clinician, but also as a family member affected by a loved one’s addiction.
“When I was going through it, there was no help available in this area, and as I’ve progressed through my career and everything, I’ve realized there’s still no help in this area,” she said. “Yet, Oklahoma has some of the largest amounts of casinos in the United States and the treatment is very limited here. The northeast part of Oklahoma, there’s virtually no treatment for gambling addiction or even people at risk. There’s not a lot of education, not a lot of awareness in the community, so the treatment program here is really needed.”
Gambling addiction affects more than 6 million Americans, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling. Among those with gambling addictions, 75 percent also have issues with alcohol, 38 percent have issues with drugs and 20 percent have attempted or committed suicide.
Smith said the addiction is becoming more widespread due to 48 states legalizing some forms of gambling.
There are more than 70 casinos in Oklahoma, according to TravelOK.com
. The Cherokee Nation operates nine sites and will break ground on its 10th in Grove in April.
While the CN offers support services, including the Play Smart program, to help recognize gambling addiction and allow addicts to sign onto a self-exclusion list from its casinos, Smith said the chances of recovery are higher through face-to-face programs.
“All they (gambling addicts) need is the how, the honesty, the open-mindedness and the willingness to change,” she said. “If they walk in with those and they’re committed to working a six-week program, they will have everything that they need to never gamble again, to never make a bet, to never use. They’ll have all the tools that they need, so it’s really all up to them. But if a person attends an intensive outpatient program, their success rate is much higher. The recovery rate stays higher than those that don’t.”
Smith compared the recovery process to the death and rebirth of a phoenix, a mythological creature that burns itself before rising from its ashes anew. “That’s what recovery does. It’s the miracle of recovery and that’s kind of how I saw the phoenix and it’s like, ‘Rise!’ Rise is an action and when you get to that point, there’s nowhere really to go but up.”
The RISE Center For Recovery is open Monday through Friday. Those seeking assistance can call for a free consultation with one of six licensed practitioners. An assessment will help determine the type of program needed. The RISE Center For Recovery is located at 223 N. East Ave. For more information, visit www.risehelp.com
, call 918-876-5001 or email email@example.com
.KNOW YOUR LIMITS: 10 QUESTIONS REGARDING GAMBLING BEHAVIOR
• Have you often gambled longer than you had planned?
• Have you often gambled until your last dollar was spent?
• Have thoughts of gambling caused you to lose sleep?
• Have you used your income or savings to gamble while letting bills go unpaid?
• Have you made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to stop gambling?
• Have you broken the law or considered breaking the law to finance your gambling?
• Have you borrowed money to finance your gambling?
• Have you felt depressed or suicidal because of your gambling losses?
• Have you been remorseful after gambling?
• Have you to get money to meet your financial obligations?
- Information taken from Cherokee Nation’s Play Smart program
ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎤᎪᏓ ᎡᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏕᎳ ᏫᏛᏗᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎾᏃ ᏣᏓᏅᏖᎸ, ᎯᎦᏘᏗᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᏣᎾᎥ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏃᏍᎩᏍᏗ ᎦᎾᏗᏅᏗ ᏫᎦᎾᏗᏅᏗ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎤᏙᏢᏗ ᏗᏆᎾᏲᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᏛᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏣᏄᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᏕᎯᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲᎢ. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Sydney Smith, ᎾᎿ psychotherapist ᎤᎵᏏᎾᎲᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎯ ᎤᏂᏄᎸᏅ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅ ᏗᎬᏩᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎦᏔᎯ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏬᎯᏳ ᏗᎬᏩᏍᏕᎶᏙᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎥᎢ, ᎾᎿ RISE ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᎪᏍᏗᎢ.
RISE ᎾᏛᏁᎮᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏙᏢᏎᏍᏗ ᎬᏩᏁᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎨᎦᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᎠᏂᏯᎣ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎣᏦᎵᎪᎢ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎬᏛᏁᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏅᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎦᏲᎦᏕᎶᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᎦ ᏒᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎣᎩᎧᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᏆᏂᏲᎯᎯ ᎤᎬᏩᏟ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏅᏁᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎦᏲᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏚᎾᏓᏘᎾᎥᎢ.”
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᎵᏍᏚᎢᏒ ᎠᏅᏱ ᏍᎪᎯᏁ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏍᏆᏙᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏚᏭᎪᏓ ᎤᏍᏚᎢᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᎿ Las Vegas, ᎾᎿ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎸ ᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ.
“ᏗᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᏍᏓᏱ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᎪᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏪᎳᏗᏴ ᏎᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎠ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎠᎯᏗᎢ ᎤᏅᏍᎦᎶᏗᎢ. ᏝᏃ ᏱᎦᎦᏥᎥᏏ ᎯᎠ ᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᎪᎵᏱᏙᏗ Breathalyzer ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎩᎬᎢ ᏱᎦᏥᏩᏘ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ Ꮟ ᏓᏂᏆᏂᏲᎯᎲᎢ. ᏝᎴ ᎠᎿᏬᎳᏕᏍᎬᎢ, ᎡᎵᏊᏃ ᎬᏩᏅᏍᎦᎶᏗ ᎠᎯᏓ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᎾ, ᎢᏅᎯ ᎤᏂᎩᏓ ᎨᏐ ᏍᏓᏱ ᎨᏐ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏗᏍᎢ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎵᏆ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏧᏂᏴᎳᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲᎢ Smith ᏧᏙᎩᏓ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏓᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲ ᎬᏩᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏪᏲᏗ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᎦᏔᎲ ᎾᎥ ᏧᏪᏅᏒ ᏍᏗᎵᏪᎵ. ᏝᏙᎯᏳ ᏳᎪᎮᏊ ᎢᎦᎨ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎯ ᎤᏂᏄᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏍᏗᎢ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᏁᎳ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᎾᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᎨᏳᎯ.
“ᎠᏯᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ, Ꮭ ᎢᎸᎯᏢ ᏳᏙᏢᏎ ᎤᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎴᏅᎭ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏕᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ, ᎠᏆᏕᎶᎰᏒ Ꮟ Ꮭ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎬᏩᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᏳᏙᏢ ᎠᎭᏂ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏍᎩᏂ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ ᏭᎪᏛ ᏫᏚᏔᏂᏴ ᏚᏃᏢᎭ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏯᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏩᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᏗ Ꮭ ᎰᏩ ᏳᏙᏢᎭ.
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ, ᎾᎿ Ꮭ ᎢᎸᏢ ᏳᏙᏢᎭ ᎤᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏂᏚᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ. ᎤᎪᏕᎥ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ, Ꮭ ᎡᎵ ᏱᏂᎦ ᎠᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᎨᏯᏙᎲᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎧᏂᎬᎦ.”
ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏏᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᏯᏛᎾ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᏳᏆᏗᏅᏓ ᎠᎹᏱᏟ ᎠᏁᎯ, ᏂᏓᏩᏓᎴᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᏗᏂᎳᎩᎦ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏏᏍᎬ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᏂᏄᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᎪᏍᏗ ᏓᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲ, ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ percent ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏓᎾᏕᏔᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏂᏄᎸᎲᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏍᏗᎢ, ᏦᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ percent ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᏄᏬᏘ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎠᏂᎨᏒᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵᏍᎪ percent ᎾᎿ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏓᏅᏅ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᎩᏍᏗᎢ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎤᎾᏓᎯᏍᏗᎢ.
Smith ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎦᎾᏏᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎪᏙᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏅᎩᏍᎪ ᏧᏁᎳ ᎢᏗᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᏂᏰᎸᏍᎪ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏓᏂᏆᎾᏲᎯᎲᎢ.
ᎤᎪᏓ ᎾᏃ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᏕᎪᏢ ᎾᎿ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ, ᎤᏂᎦᏛᏂᏙᎸ TravelOK.com ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᏂᎩᏍᏗᏓ ᏐᏁᎳ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏞᎬᏊ ᏛᎠᏂᏲᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏙᎯ ᏍᎪᎯᏁ ᎤᎾᏁᎢᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏍᏕᏄᎲᎢ ᎧᏬᏂ ᎧᎴᏍᏗ.
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏯᎾᏛᎯ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏗᏁᎶᏗ ᎠᏌᎹᏗ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ, ᎠᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎤᏃᏟᏍᏗ ᏗᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏒᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᏍᎪᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᎳᏨ ᎤᏃᏪᎶᏗ ᎤᏅᏌ--ᎬᏩᏂᏠᎵᎪᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᏕᎪᏪᎸ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗᎢ, Smith ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᏝᏅᏓᏕᎬ ᎤᏚᏓᎴᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏝᏅᏓᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎧᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎧᏛ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ.
“ᏂᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ (ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎳᏨᎢ) ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎦ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ, ᏚᏳᎪᏛ, ᎤᏂᏍᏚᎢᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏛᏓᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᏳᏭᏂᏴᏟᏝ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏱᏚᎾᏓᏅᏘ ᎠᎴ ᏳᎾᏚᏓᎸᏂ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎢᏳᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ, ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ ᏯᏂᎩ ᏧᏂᏆᎾᏲᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ, ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᎬᏩᎶᏗ, ᎬᏩᏅᏙᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎢᎴᎯᏳᎢ. ᏂᎦᏓ ᎤᏅᏔᏅᏙᏗ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎬ, ᏙᎯᏳᏃ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏧᏄᎪᏙᏗ. ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏏᏴᏫ ᏳᏪᏙᎵ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏃᏢᏒ, ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏯᎦᎸᎳᏗᏝ. ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎠᎦᎸᎳᏗᏯ ᎾᏃ ᎤᏅᏔᏅᎾ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ.”
Smith ᏚᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎤᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏲᎱᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏚᎴᎯᏌᏅ phoenix, ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏤᎮ ᎠᎱᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏓᎪᎲᏍᏔᏁ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᏥᏚᎴᎯᏌᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎪᏍᏚᎢ ᎢᏤᎢ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ. ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏳᏂᏑᎵᎪᏣ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎠᎩᎪᎲ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏥᏍᏆ, ‘ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅ!’ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎾᏛᏁᎭ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᏭᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᏳᏭᎷᏣ, ᏝᏃ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᏫᎦᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ.”
ᎾᏍᎩ RISE ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏓ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏉᏅᎯ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᏅᎩᎶᏍᏗ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏲᎯ ᎨᏥᏍᏕᎶᏗᎢ ᎡᎵᏊ ᏂᏓᏳᎾᏟᏃᎮᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏎᏊ ᎦᎨᏥᏃᎲᏎᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏓᎵ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏯᎥᎢ. ᎬᎦᏛᏛᎮᏢᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏕᎶᎰᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎨᏣᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ RISE ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᎪᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᎿ 223 N. Ave. ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᏲᏚᎵᎭ visit www.risehelp.com, call 918-876-5001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.