Thursday, August 31, 2017

Post 97

International Gambling Counselor Certification Board






The actual Certification Fee of $185 is now being waived through June 30, 2018, for those applicants who have completed the training sessions (4 Modules), and the additional requirements toward Certification (see Next Steps article).  On July 19, at the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board’s Annual Meeting, the decision was made to continue to extend the initial Certification Fee waiver through June 30, 2918, thus providing more time to fulfill the requirements toward Certification.

 Therefore, your opportunity to complete the required work and attain International Clergy/Lay Minister Certification, for only the Administrative Fee of $50, is still open.

Remember, the four Modules may be taken in any order!



·        Gary, Indiana Trainings:   Sept. 8-9  &  Sept. 15-16, 2017
       Contact the International Board:  (202) 547-9204 or
·        Baltimore, Maryland Area Trainings                                                                         

Module 3:  Sept. 30  and  Module 4:  Oct. 14
           Contact Information:                                        

·   Springfield, Massachusetts Trainings:  Oct.13-14  & Oct. 20-21                
          Contact the International Board:  (202)547-9204 or


COMING!! September 12 - 13  and October 24 - 25  

September 12-13:   9th Annual  IN ARMS!

Indiana Annual Recovery Month Symposium

Mariott East, 7202 East 21st Street, Indianapolis, IN  46219


Theme: Join the Voices for Recovery, Strengthen Families & Communities!

Offering:  a diverse arena of addiction, mental health, criminal justice, and community based organizations to meet the needs and interests of all attendees.  Topics will cover Treatment and Recovery, Co-occurring Issues, Peer Recovery & Support, Youth Prevention and Treatment,  Criminal Justice, and other hot topics!

October 24-25:  Mid-Central Annual Conference on Problem Gambling   

Hilton Garden Inn,  Greenwood … 5255 Noggle Way, Indianapolis, IN    

Information: or

An annual offering of gambling-specific topics … CEUs granted by the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board.  This FREE educational event is a super way to earn those “gambling-specific” continuing education credits to maintain Certification for Certified Counselors, Clergy/Lay Ministers, and Co-occurring Specialists (see below article).


VISIT:  for MORE Trainings: FREE!!



(IGCCB Certification:  Clergy/Lay Minister Certification in Gambling Addiction Prevention, Education, Awareness, and Spiritual Outreach Care)   

Notify any change of e-mail address, phone number, and postal address to the International Board:  Phone:  (202) 547-9204 OR  email:

·         Complete and submit Annual Accountability Attestation Form (This Form will be sent to you.)

·         Provide document(s) evidencing completion of 18 hours of gambling-specific CEU hours every three years

·         Re-certification is every three years.   

·         The Re-Certification Fee amount is $95.
Blessings as you continue to learn and grow ... to help others learn, grow, and recover!
Rev. Janet Jacobs, CCGSO
Founding Director
Gambling Recovery Ministries

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


Friday, August 4, 2017

Post 96 

SUMMER READING … AND LISTENING:   a collection of thoughts

Lightyears ago, when I was in elementary school, one of my favorite activities during those almost-three-months-long, summer vacations was to join the children’s reading program at the local library.  As soon as school was out, my brothers and I would sign up.  The librarian gave each of us an attractive, handmade, little notebook to keep track of the books we read.  At the end of the summer, there would be a large poster on display with the participants’ names and how many books each person read – most read were at the top of the page, of course!  How I read and read to be one of the top readers! 

This summer, I decided to create my own reading program – and stick to it despite many other goals and responsibilities.  Purposefully – knowing the kind of schedule ahead of me – the materials chosen were ones that could be interrupt-able and somewhat lighter in nature.  The categories are diverse, providing mental shifts from one to the next.  I designated four areas of reading in which to regularly indulge:  (1) historical fiction, (2) inspirational, (3) information on addiction, and  (4) devotional.  Gladly, I can share that it’s been a consistent read since early-June ... a rewarding and thought-provoking one.

For the July edition of the GRM Blog, I will share several of these thoughts associated with each piece of material.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

·        American Slavery was an intricate system affecting/creating/perpetuating multiple impacts upon the culture:  economic, social, psychological, theological, an overall sense of fear/insecurity, and a general outlook of ongoing sameness with no reason/opportunity to change.  It’s a story of traveling through time (and eras) for a former young slave girl to a 100+ year old woman.  In many ways, the old-slavery-system impacts continued strongly throughout the book affecting a host of characters on both ends of slavery’s spectrum. 

Reading intimate details of being bound  thus reminded me, over and over, of the limited existence that is captured and held by addiction.  Whether the personal situation is substance or behavior driven, the addict and loved ones/associates are bound to the ruling effects of the addiction cycle.  Then too, the above mentioned, pervasive impacts are found repeatedly within individual true-life stories of addiction.

The Upside of Down by Christine Ostertag Timmins

·        By the title, you can tell this is of the inspirational category.  Written in first person, Chris Timmons chronicles the events of her life following a tragic accident leaving her quadriplegic.  She shares the frustrations and fears one can only experience with such tragedy in addition to unexpected divorce and Stage IV breast cancer later.  Her story is not Pollyanna … nor is it buried in deep depression.  Throughout are the bare bone basics of severe limits set free by a spirit of responses to God’s affirmations for her.  Quotations from scripture and many others punctuate the challenges-turned-victories that portray Timmons’ post-accident life.  This is a book about recovery – not as one would expect or initially hope for - but one upheld and surrounded by the grace and beauty of God.

If You Can’t / Won’t Stop Smoking by James Scala, Ph.D.

·        Dr. Scala begins by urging his readers to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.  The title, however, goes beyond this point.  Acknowledging that there are folks who won’t quit using, Scala directs his studies to how nicotine and  other harmful aspects of smoking/chewing/dipping affect the body - and what persons can do to try and strengthen their bodies bearing the effects of cigarettes, etc.  It’s a fascinating read (keep in mind that the copyright is1993) … and if the book is thoroughly read, whether one continues to use or not, the information is clear … there are areas of destruction throughout the body from tobacco/nicotine use.  Page after page, Scala’s recommendations spell out multiple (and I mean multiple) ways to try and lessen the resulting harm.  In fact, the exhaustive extent of information underscores his very first recommendation: quit! 

Essentially, this is a book about the effects of addiction.  Regardless of the source of addiction, the mind and the body are pervasively affected.  This is not a no, no message … rather once finished with this book, the reader will be able to see how much needs to be done to repair (and keep repairing) the body.  Perhaps then, the question will come to mind: is my addiction worth this high maintenance regime?

The Upper Room  and  Gamblers Anonymous A Day at a Time

·        Both publications are daily meditations filled with one page per day messages to encourage the reader’s spiritual growth.  The Upper Room is written by both lay and clergy from all over the world.  Additionally, there are weekly discussion questions for individual or group use. 

·        GA A Day at a Time is definitely meat-y!  Whether the person is a problem gambler, otherwise addiction-prone, or just wants to dig deeply for a personal examination of conscience, this devotional is a great aid in helping to peel back the layers of denial and/or self-reveal.  The questions are probing; and at the same time, there’s a message of a silver lining for each day.

This book is, also, a great resource for therapy groups, discussion classes, and even sermon series!

Throughout the past two months, summer reading has not only opened my mind to think more deeply … but to listen more carefully.  What are others saying?  What am I hearing from God?  Thoughts have been provoked and revoked.   There has been much reflection – and I’m still digging!  


Rev. Janet Jacobs, CCGSO
          Founding Director
          Gambling Recovery Ministries

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









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: