Alumni Stories

Center of Recovery-CORE is a place of help and hope for problem gamblers and their families. CORE was conceived in 1998 with the sole purpose of providing treatment for those whose lives have been adversely affected by gambling. At inception, CORE was the only state funded facility of its kind in the United States. The funding is provided by the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health. CORE is a residential facility located in the historic Highland area of Shreveport and provides 24-hour monitoring of the residents to address complex diagnostic issues, serious relapse factors and medical psychiatric instability. The setting, while structured, offers family-like daily living and a home-like atmosphere for 21 adult male and female residents. Handicap access is available.

Following an assessment to determine each person's individual treatment needs the residents enter the program. The treatment includes group therapy, individual counseling, education, financial/budget planning, recreation therapy and introduction to the 12 Step recovery program. The treatment team includes counselors, therapists and other health care professionals. Physicians and nurses are on call and the program has a spiritual component to address concerns of multiple and/or cross addictions. Families are encouraged to participate in the therapy sessions planned for them.

Betting On Mary

Some time ago NBC's Dateline contacted the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling / CORE with the words... "You have a story the world needs to hear..." we agreed. The result is the video "Betting On Mary". If we can help you or someone you know with a gambling problem please contact us or call us toll free at 1-877-770-STOP or call the National Problem Gamblers Helpline at 1-800-522-4700.

I came to CORE when I hit rock bottom. All I could think of at that moment is that I needed somewhere to go, away from it all. By coming to CORE for 36 days that would give me a jump start off the bet. It would also provide me with the counseling, structure and tools I need upon leaving CORE to begin my recovery.

So to all the staff and clients at CORE...
Thanks a Million!
Cynthia S.

I arrived at CORE on 6-2-03. I was coming from Philadelphia. As I was boarding the plane in Philly, I thought I was the worst person in the world. I was possibly leaving for good, not knowing if I even had a future with my family. Fearing all those people that I lied and owed money to….God knows that I wished I would die. CORE gave me life…A great life. CORE taught me how to love myself. What a gift! It sounds so crazy. I shed many tears of fear, stress, anxiety and I now shed tears of joy. I hope and pray that anyone anywhere in need of treatment pick up that phone. Make that call -make that commitment. God knows you deserve it! During my stay at CORE I was able to turn my life completely around. I was scared, nervous and extremely depressed. I thought my life was completely over. With the help of the entire staff, especially Nikki, whom I truly love, I was able to do the unbelievable. When I arrived at CORE lonely and quiet, I wanted to go home that day. Upon completing treatment, I was in tears at having to leave. The staff and visitors were totally professional. I’ve learned so much as I’m about to celebrate my 6th anniversary “Off the Bet.” I live life on life’s terms. All that I am and all that I have I truly owe it all to CORE. I would strongly urge anyone that has this addiction to contact them. We are all one big family with love and compassion to go around.

Love always, Karney

Hi, my name is Harold F. I came to CORE in August of 2006. Needless to say, I was at the end of my rope when I got there, but those great people showed me how to tie a knot and hang on by the time I left after 36 days. I can't say thank you enough to Karen and that great staff at CORE. Her words of kindness and encouragement got me through those 36 days. No one could truly understand me like the staff and other compulsive gamblers that today I call friends. I met people that had walked in the same shoes that I wore, and walked down the same road that I had traveled. I could go on and on about CORE and its staff, but I would like to tell you about what happened after CORE. I was off the bet for one and a half years when one day my wife called me at work crying saying that the IRS wanted more money after I had paid them very handsomely before. At that point I decided that enough was enough, I don't carry more than ten dollars at a time so I went home, stole my wife's bank card and off to the OTB I was going. After going to alll those GA meetings three times a week, I remembered what they said to do, call someone before you make the first bet. Everything from my old gambling characteristics came into play, I started scheming. One of my fellow GA members would speak all the time, never was there a time that I would call that she didn't answer. On the other hand there was another woman, she never picks up the phone, it's always her voicemail. Just as when I was gambling, I thought I could outsmart everybody. The solution, don't call the person who would pick up the phone, call the other woman who would let the answering machine get it. No one could say that I didn't try to call. I outsmarted everyone except God. I dialed the woman's number and to my surprise after the second ring she picked up. I asked her what was she doing picking up the phone. Her reply was, "You called me." I told her you weren't supposed to answer and the answering machine shoulld have gotten it. At that very moment I knew that God has not forgotten me because if he did, I would not be able to say today that it has been three years since I bet on a hourse. If that were not Devine intervention, I don't know what is. At CORE they taught me how to get back in touch with my Higher Power, GOD ALMIGHTY. It works only if you want it to. Much love to Karen, Lynda and the staff of CORE........I'm Harold F and with that I'll pass.

Hi everyone, I have been out of contact with you guys for a while. I have 3 years and 5 months clean. God Bless you all. As you know, 15 months ago I opened a treatment center in Mexico, the first, and until now the one and only for compulsive gambling treatment. It hasn't been easy, but I am truly happy running this place. I have an amazing team backing me up every day. Sometimes I think that opening this treatment center was mostly a selfish action. Something that would keep me off the bet. I don't know, but it is really working for me, and receiving people with a destroyed life, and letting them go after 35 days with hope, it is the most beautiful experience that I have ever felt. It is better than gambling (hahahahaha) and that is not a joke, it is better than having a great meal, or a good nights sleep.

I don't know, but after the 10 year nightmare that I lived with my addiction, these 3 and a half years have been a unique experience. You know, I still have the same euphoria just like the day I walked out from 635 Stoner Avenue. There are a million things that I could say to you guys, but I am sure you all woulld be satisfied with a simple "THANK YOU."

There is a part of a song that I always remember "Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what is waiting on the other side, it's the climb, it's all about the climb." Always grateful with you all.

Lots of Love,
Javier G.
Happy 24.

I have just returned from the annual reunion at Core and again, it was not disappointing. just want to say thanks so much to everyone who so selflessly gives to make these reunions happen. The amazing thing about walking into Core is that you find the same familiar faces year after year, this leads me to believe that everyone on staff there is God ordained. Thanks to the entire staff, especially Nikki who has truly left her footprints on my heart. Thank you for showing me truth when I could not see it and for helping me find the answers to the most painful questions all the while being the most compassionate and loving counselor I know.

Becauses of a place called Core and recovery I get to look people in the eye with a genuine smile on my face. I get to chair a step study meeting for my home group. I get to write an article sharing my story that is published on a website for women gamblers. I get to watch my son get into recovery and hear him say to me, "It is because I see what recovery has done for you and the true changes that you allowed God to make in your life that I can believe; without me seeing a difference in you I would be hopeless."

Recovery allows me to be ready to receive God's awesome blessings, you see, whille I was gambling I always had a set amount of money in mind that I wanted to win (remember it is all about the money for gamblers) and each time I left the casino broke and beat down I would say, "If only I would just win __ amount of money then everything would be ok and I would probably never gamble again." (How many times have we said that?) I must emphasize that it was always the same amount and a pretty significant amount because we gamblers do live in a dream world. Well, I never did win that amount of money in a casino, however, last year at Christmas time, when I opened my Christmas bonus, imagine my surprise when I saw the amount of the check to be the exact amount that I recklessly gambled years and years trying to win. Immediately God spoke to me and said you could not have handled this before, now you can. That is the miracle of recovery!


What is recovery? The term is relative until one comes to an understanding of what recovery really is for them and how it defines a life far different than that of an addict. My gambling addiction took me to the depths of despair and hopelessness for 17 years. Even though I sporadically attended meetings, made controlled attempts to run recovery MY way, and feigned working a recovery program, I continued to gamble until the emotional, mental and spiritual devastation became just as, if not more, devastating than the financial ruin that I experienced. I was out of options and could not fathom spending the rest of my life in the hell that I was living. I heard about CORE many years ago at a GA meeting I attended. I moved away from Louisiana for about 10 years. There is NO logistic cure for this disease. Even while living in Europe, I managed to find the casinos. I made many moves during this 10 year period and always found a GA group, but continued to gamble because I JUST DIDN'T GET IT, nor did I truly understand what working recovery involves. Gambling was able to control me for so many years because I never completed Step 1, which is to admit I am totally powerless over gambling; it was all the excuses that rolled out that kept my life unmanageable. It was that I would not admit that I am powerless over gambling, and that it had beaten me.

I came to CORE on March 5, 2011. Yes, VERY new in recovery, but because of all of the blessings, love, care and support, I know that I have something that I never had before in order to keep gambling out of my life. CORE is truly a "house of miracles!" I was given many powerful tools and wonderful suggestions that have to date given my life back to me. In another week I will have 90 days clean, sober and off the bet. All days are not perfect, but I have learned that they are not expected to be; it's not reality or life. I am grateful to be where I am just for today. As many will attest, I can write, and write, and write so I will end this part of my story (and it is just that, my story) within a quote from the book Never Enough by Michael Burk that I was assigned to read while at CORE: " I will never use my addiction as an excuse for what I've done, but only as an explanation for what has happened." After my one year anniversary, my goal is to write a book about my life as a gambling addict and how CORE is leading me through the journey of that I plan on taking for the remainder of my life.

Last, but not least, THANK YOU to all of the CORE staff. Words will never be adequate enough to relate how much I appreciate everything that all of you did for me. Nikki, you are an awesome counselor! You were able in your infinite wisdom, compassion, and love, to reach a "lost soul" who arrived at CORE almost 3 months ago. Because of the dedication of all of you, it is a miracle, but I have not had one urge to gamble since I left CORE. I also know that I AM working a program today. May God continue to bless all of you. I am already looking forward to next year's reunion.
Love to all!
Holly S.

Update: I last wrote when I had 3 months off the bet and starting the journey of recovery. Today, I'm in my 7th month without placing a bet. THANK YOU CORE for the love, support, compassion, and knowledge because without it, I know that I would be a statistic of this insidious addiction. I'm still learning that I have a long way to go, because the hardest part is learning to live life on life's terms and to be accepting of what I cannot control. I have been unable to secure employment since leaving CORE, so this is a daily struggle with fear that previously often precipitated the need to gamble to deal with my problems. Writing this is helpful because I have a tendency to put down tools when my defeatest attitude gets the better of me, but all I need to do is to remember the individual that literally almost crawled through the doors at CORE last March to know that as was shared in one of our classes (very much still etched in my mind) that if we choose to place another bet, we will know a hell like none that we have already experienced. My hell upon arriving at CORE was pretty horrendous, so knowing that there is one far worse is almost unfathomable to me. To those who are in the "throws' of gambling, CORE is truly a life-line, and because AI experienced the gift of CORE, I'm hanging on tightly to the line. Someone sent me a wonderful adage that seems to be a light when things look bleak: "When we are down to nothing, God is up to something." Hugs and prayers to all who have touched my life through CORE. I will be forever thankful and blessed. Holly S.

I was on my way to dying almost a year ago. I am humbled and so very thanjkful to the "Miracle House" Core. I am able to cope with life now. I almost have a year off the bet now and I do not ever remember such a time in my life as the life I live now. I have a good relationship with my family. I am improving on my co-parenting skills, I even have my job still. It was a lot of hard work and I have met a lot of caring people in the transition to this life without the gambling. I get up everyday thankful that I have another day to do the right thing. Life is life and it is a journey and I am learning the lessions I need to learn, but I am grateful to be able to learn those lessons without all of the anger and control and blame. I have been truly blessed!
Thank you CORE!
Mark S.

Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling 
1325 Barksdale Blvd
Bossier City, LA 71111 
Tel:(318) 227-0883 
Fax:(318) 221-0005 
Helpline: 1-877-770-STOP 
Center of Recovery-CORE 
635 Stoner Ave. -
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101 
Intake # 1-877-587-LACG (5224)
Fax:(318) 424-4355 Intake # 1-877-587-LACG (5224)

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