Thursday, June 1, 2017

Post 95



At the IGCCB Board Meeting on May 11, 2017, the International Board voted to extend the Waiver of Initial Certification Fees ($185) through June 30, 2018.  Therefore, the Administrative Fee of $50 remains the cost for filing initially for Certification**, along with your completed forms.  Re-certification continues to be every three years; and the re-certification fee is $95.  

(** International Gambling Counselor Certification Board’s Clergy/Lay Minister Certification in Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Spiritual Outreach Care)

For more details contact the IGCCB at (202) 547-9204 or inquire at



As noted in May’s edition of the GRM Blog, with the growing number of persons completing the 4-Module Trainings, interest in ideas for individual Class Projects is mounting.  This month, ideas for problem gambling outreach to the community, as a whole, are highlighted.



·        Provide informational materials on problem gambling at Health Fairs (hospitals, churches, community clinics, places of employment)

·        Provide informational materials on problem gambling at Community Events  (“information booths” at local fairs and town/city celebrations),

·        Provide informational materials on problem gambling to hospital chaplains

·        Create a Speakers Bureau type of service on problem gambling and recovery issues.  This can be offered to community organizations and/or for events

·        Educational outreach to schools: parent organizations, teen groups (such as SADD), school counselors, student councils

·        Provide information displays for local, State, and regional conferences (eg., Public Health Conferences, Social Work Conferences)

·        Area Libraries: provide pamphlets, brochures, Help Lines, fact sheets

·        Include educational materials on gambling addiction  in “social service information malls” of various agencies

·        Provide educational and resource materials for women’s health delivery agencies/service providers; women’s health clinics/fitness facilities

·        Post GA and Gam-Anon Meetings information on Community Bulletin Boards and in local newspapers

·        Establish a hospitality drop-in center for persons in recovery for problem gambling

·        In providing informational materials, include Criminal Justice professional arenas and Aging service providers

·        Create a Problem Gambling Awareness and Recovery Blog

·        Establish relationships with retailers of  lottery outlets and provide them with PG Helpline posters and brochures

One final note:  Awareness is awareness is awareness!  The more public information about problem gambling and recovery appears within a community, the greater the need for help develops.  The more help developed and offered, the greater the awareness grows:  MORE HELP, MORE HOPE!!  


Rev. Janet Jacobs CCGSO
     Founding Director
     Gambling Recovery Ministries

 For more information on problem gambling and recovery, visit:










Friday, May 19, 2017

Post 94




With the growing number of persons completing the 4-Module Trainings toward IGCCB Clergy/Lay Minister Certification,** interest in ideas for individual Class Projects is mounting.  A side note, here, is that  instead of a written final examination, one of the requirements for certification is an originally designed and completed Class Project, compatible with the areas of gambling addiction prevention, education, awareness, and spiritual outreach care.  

May's edition of the GRM Blog highlights ideas that include the goals of this certification that can be achieved within the actual faith-based community. Next month, Part 2 will feature ideas for outreach to the community, in general. 

ALL OF THESE IDEAS CAN BE UTILIZED WITHIN PLACES OF WORSHIP even if you are not going for IGCCB Certification!   

(** International Gambling Counselor Certification Board:                                                    Clergy/Lay Minister Certification in Gambling Addiction Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Spiritual Outreach Care)



With the Clergy/Lay Ministers Certification, it is basically important that spiritual outreach to the faith community be a key focus.  Below is a listing of ideas to help engage faith-based communities in understanding and ministering to persons impacted by problem gambling and recovery issues.

  • ·        Publish news and informational items in your faith-based community’s newsletter and/or worship bulletin

·      Initiate a confidential prayer group specifically formed to pray for persons impacted by addiction

·       Invite Speakers from GA and/or Gam-Anon for programs

·       Invite GA and/or Gam-Anon Speakers  to give their testimonies of recovery during Worship Service(s)

·      Initiate 12 Step Ministries: Sunday/Sabbath Day Classes, Support Groups, Sacred Writings/Bible Studies

·       List GA and Gam-Anon Hotlines in worship bulletins/newsletters

·       List GA and Gam-Anon Meetings in worship bulletins/newsletters

·       Welcome GA and Gam-Anon Meetings to be held in your faith-based facility

·       Set up a “Free Library” with brochures, pamphlets, fact sheets, etc., about problem gambling and recovery (and possibly other addictions too)

·       Set up a Lending Library of books, CDs, and other reference materials featuring recovery from gambling addiction

·       Preach a sermon/series of sermons on 12 Steps, including information about gambling addiction and recovery issues within these Steps

·       Present a special report about problem gambling and recovery issues to your faith community’s social concerns committee

·      Create and facilitate a special “Recovery Service” for a regular worship service or special worship service

·      Provide problem gambling  information materials to parish nursing  staff members

Final Note!

Each of the above ideas can generate hope and help to persons affected by problem gambling – directly and indirectly.  Even a Helpline notice regularly appearing in a corner of a Worship Bulletin says volumes!  Those in attendance see the faithful message:  you’re not hopeless; you don’t have to stay stuck; here is help; try it and call for help!


Rev. Janet Jacobs CCGSO
Founding Director
Gambling Recovery Ministries 

For more information on problem gambling and recovery, visit:










Thursday, April 13, 2017

Post 93


Note:  Seek professional advice and help prior to any decision to fast.

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a person who had just completed  a planned fast.  For a set period of time, she continuously stayed on a liquid diet – juices and water with no other food intake.  She was jubilant!  She had kept her fast and the results were what she had planned for – and hoped. 

To curb urges for the harmful elements from which she was abstaining, preparations were first made: appropriate advice and help were obtained and followed.  To be sure, this is essential.  Any  fasting needs to be thoroughly thought through, prepared for, and followed – including professional medical advice and approval.   Additionally, she had sought out her pastor’s knowledge about fasting and had gained spiritual insight prior to – and throughout her fast.

Following this conversation, I thought back to two experiences I had had with regard to fasting … no, there had never before been a purposeful fast.  Yes, I had stayed off food when ailing from stomach unrest; and yes, I do abstain from certain foods when I feel a headache coming on.  Oh, and yes, I’ve “dieted” – but there was no spiritual motivation involved.  However, there were two experiences that have sparked inspiration within me.  First, quite some time ago, I read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline.  Particularly, his chapter on the topic of fasting intrigued me.  I never followed up – in action – but over the years, there was much food for thought  to digest from that chapter.  Second, a person, who had noticed how limited I was able to move about during an extraordinary flare-up of sciatica, said that he was fasting for me in order that I might receive healing.  Actually, I did recover from that painful bout; and the memory of his statement reminds me every so often about this special spiritual discipline.  

In fact, last week the memory popped up again.  Then a friend emailed me that this week would most likely be a particularly hard one.  I promised that I would pray for her; and suddenly, the idea of fasting presented me with a challenge – and an invitation.  

So this week, I am following a modified fast-and-pray discipline.  The “modified” aspect of the fast is that it is not a liquid only or a no-food plan.  Rather, I will eat three meals each day (no matter what) with very precise portions (no seconds), eliminate snacks completely, and drink LOTS of water.  For a snack-or and an eat-all-you’re-in-the-mood-for  (because you most likely skipped a meal) person,  this modified regimen has turned out to be an interesting – and convicting - discipline. Moreover, throughout each day, I am praying for my friend.

So far, I am discovering several elemental benefits from this limited fast – some a surprise – that I should have already expected!

·        I do not miss the snacks … and when mini-hunger feelings strike, they pass by quickly

·        The seconds are not missed.  Even as portion sizes are carefully calculated, the limited meal is just enough.

·        No desserts, period.

·        The regimen of these predictably, limited meals generates a feeling of self-control that, in turn, generates a broader sense of stability.

·        Pervasively, knowing that I am following this personal discipline for a spiritual reason brings an element of joy into the discipline of limitation.

·        Praying for my friend is in the midst of everything … there is an overall sense of being blanketed in prayer  - as I am blanketing her in prayer.

·        It’s not about “I can’t eat anything I want or as much as I want.”     Instead, it’s  I can do this … and I’m already enjoying the benefits and blessings!”

·        AND it is because I am counting on God to guide me through this week, I am able to know, with assurance, that there are and will be joys – and spiritual depth -  throughout this week for my friend … and me.

In closing, I am wondering how this same approach of spiritual discipline (whether it be fasting or another form of spirituality) could go a long way for persons already in recovery but who are feeling the tug of triggers to return to previous addictive behaviors

Once more, for those curious about and interested in fasting, consult your physician first. 

Remember: recovery is physical, emotional, social, mental, relational, and spiritual!


Rev. Janet Jacobs CCGSO
Founding Director
Gambling Recovery Ministries

 For more information on compulsive gambling and recovery issues, visit:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Post 92



in Gambling Addiction Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Spiritual Outreach Care

WILL BE HELD MARCH 10-11, 17-18                             BALTIMORE, MD AREA

                    REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN!                  FREE TRAININGS!!

(** International Gambling Counselor Certification Board)

Call the Maryland Center of Excellence in Problem Gambling for registration details

Phone: (667) 214-2128 or email: 



in Gambling Addiction Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Spiritual Outreach Care


                   REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!!      FREE TRAININGS!!             

(** International Gambling Counselor Certification Board)

Call the Maryland Center of Excellence in Problem Gambling for registration details

Phone: (667) 214-2128 and ask for Jeff Beck.


        in observance of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month
        FREE TRAINING!!    March 29-30       8:30am-4:15pm both days
                 NCAA Hall of Champions,  700 W. Washington St.,  Indianapolis, IN 46204          
For more information on registration details, contact
  Indiana Council on Problem Gambling    at                       
Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program at
Post 92 continued                           Pot O’ Gold  Nuggets

In Post 37 – March 2013 -  I wrote, “ this part-Irish woman just loves the holiday [of St. Patrick’s Day]: wooly sheep-strewn hill scenes on picturesque greeting cards; full-bodied, steaming tea in "cozy-ed" china pots; lively fiddle tunes reminding Americans that Appalachian music has a close first-cousin across "the pond"; and the charm of soul-warming words, wrapped together in blessings - centuries old - and a comfort to all.”  Appreciations have been expressed for the re-worded Irish Blessing – in a new Recovery Blessing format – that followed this introduction.  I invite you to scroll back the Posts and enjoy it once again!
In the presentation Pioneers and Frontiers  I made last month at the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling 20th Annual Awareness & Education Conference,  I urged the clergy and lay ministers present to identify “gold-nugget” resources in helping them with their ministries of outreach to problem gamblers and their loved ones.  The point is real: through networking and asking for help and advice, there truly will be found persons, organizations, and agencies worth their “weight in gold” in our endeavors to break ground in establishing effective outreach to those affected by gambling addiction.  

For this month’s  GRM Blog Post 92,  I have grouped three categories of gold nuggets to share:  resources, tell-it-like-it-is experience-talk (i.e., to be learned from), and recovery-wisdom,.  As you will see, each nugget is based on true experience!

·         State Councils and Agencies on Problem Gambling

There is much to be said in praise of these organizations!  Check them out for free (yes: free!) giveaways – brochures, fact sheets, and posters … all great for community bulletin boards, programming, and mini-recovery resource centers in your own faith-parish facility.  You might even be able to obtain free videos for presentations … and often, these entities will have Speakers’ Bureaus that offer interesting presentations!  Moreover, State Conferences administered by these agencies usually provide much sought-after continuing education units with national speakers and outstanding programs!

·         National Council on Problem Gambling ( ) for National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Free online materials: Press Release scripts, PA announcements, and flyers/fact sheets!

·         Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon   

One of the very best things the Gambling Recovery Ministries Board ever has done was to invite local GA and Gam-Anon Members to provide a workshop for us to learn about recovery from gambling addiction.  Simply put - the sharing was absolutely priceless …  and friendships were made too!

TELL-IT-LIKE-IT-IS EXPERIENCE-TALK   (to be learned from!)

·         When you’re in addiction for so long, you don’t feel worthy

·         Do I talk to myself the way I talk to my friends?

·         If I’m constantly trying to get something from everybody else, I’m never going to get it.

·         I didn’t want to feel anything because it was so painful

·         Poor self-care:  happens … even weeks or months before relapse

·         Relapse actually is the heart of addiction … like a microcosm of addiction.

·         (S)he stole the family’s dignity from me.

·         I didn’t like gambling anymore; but I knew there was no way out.

·         Hoping for the wrong things: think instead, what are God’s hopes for me?

·         At first, I didn’t  want to understand the questions asking “Are you livening with a compulsive gambler?”


·         Recovery or chaos: your choice

·         “The capacity to learn is a gift … the ability to learn is a skill … the willingness to learn is a choice”  (Brochure from 26th Annual Lexington GA Mini-Conference, 2017)

·         HOPE: from just a word … to a concept … to a way of life – as put into living-practice by encouragement, love, and patience

·         Good night’s rest; three meals a day; ask for help

·         Doing for myself  NOT  by myself.

·         Anything I’ll put in front of my recovery, I’ll lose.

·         Stop living in the pain of the past.

·         If you can choose not to gamble, a world of choices opens up; otherwise, when gambling, there’s no choosing … gambling just is.

·         God is all powerful; God can do the best for us.

·         God loves and cares for you.   God will not give up on you.  Please, do not give up on yourself.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And may we stay forever within the grip of God,

Sharing with others

This message of recovery and hope!


Rev. Janet Jacobs, CCGSO

Founding Director

Gambling Recovery Ministries

For more information on recovery from compulsive gambling, go to