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1. ® 2. 2 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 3. J U N E 2 0 0 6 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T 3 4. NOW AVAILABLE! 5. Learn how Tulsa became such a Christian…
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  • 2. 2 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6
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  • 5. Learn how Tulsa became such a Christian Community. Celebrate our strong Christian Heritage. Commemorate Oklahoma’s 100th Birthday. Official Oklahoma Centennial Project. Written and published by your friends at Community Spirit. Available for sale at area church bookstores, Borders Books & Steve’s Sundries. Or by calling Community Spirit at 307-2323.
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  • 7. 11 J U N E 2 0 0 6 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T gambling “WOULD Y O U LIKE A LOTTERY TICKET WITH THAT?”KIM BEAIR, MS, LPC, NCC ut you justdon’t understand. I am going to the casino to win back the money I’ve lost gambling—I have to go, it’s the only way to fix this.” Justin is pleading with me to just “get it” as I am seeing him, along with his spouse,for marriage counseling. Every excuse Justin gave me was just another sign of his addiction, yet he stared at me (and his wife) as if we just didn’t understand. Justin doesn’t understand, and he is not alone. Oklahoma has not seen an overwhelming amount of clinical instances of problem gambling until recently. It is an unknown; many people are unaware of the warning signs of gambling addiction. People are being crippled emotionally, physically, financially and relationally every day, and don’t even realize the hooks that have gotten into their souls. Sure, many people know gambling can be addictive. What people don’t have are the tools of understanding to know why gambling can be SO harmful and different than other addictions. It is this lack of knowledge that leads people into games of chance that ultimately take their very lives— and I mean that literally. Over 80 percent of problem and compulsive gamblers will become suicidal. Many Christians believe it is wrong to gamble. Yet, it was the Christians of our state who voted in more forms of gambling, and now we, the Church, must deal with it. Pastors are seeing it more and more as they work to help restore jobs, marriages and lives. If Christians did not want it, they would not have voted it in, and so the monster was born. The “monster” being gambling addiction. Addiction has not been taught in the schools and workplace because we have never had to address it before. We created a monster and don’t understand how it could turn on us. So where does that leave us? The issue is this: regardless of whether any of us believe it is right or wrong, gambling is here to stay. Many point out the commercial benefits to our cities and state or to the benefits of charity gambling such as church bingo and casino nights for worthy causes. Even a cake walk at your church social is a form of gambling—have you ever thought of that? Money and resources go to fund worthwhile causes such as education,while travel and tourismincrease. So many people look at this as a reason to ordain it as “ok,” because they think they will not be affected and that “it won’t happen to me.” :
  • 8. 12 Mike Smith, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling, has a passion for helping people. “I am going to tell you something,” Mike said. “I have been in the Mental Health field for 32 years, and I have neverseen gambling problems as prevalent or extreme as they have become over the past few years.” Mike is a Christian who felt called to found an organization in Oklahoma which helps people with problem and compulsive gambling issues. In fact, the OAPCG has just been named the Oklahoma Affiliate for the National Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling, and Smith has been appointed to the National Board. He has spearheaded bringing the best and brightest national experts in to train therapists to deal with this very specialized form of addiction. Currently, there are no therapists in Oklahoma that are Certified Gambling Counselors, but because of his efforts, that is about to change. He has also put togethera board and group of volunteers to raise funds for the organization and is putting togetherteams of trainers to go into the workplace, as well as local churches to educate the public. The association takes no stand on whether gambling is right or wrong—the purpose of the organization is to save lives and assist with prevention through education. This is important because while many aspects of this addiction are similar to other addictions, there are also differences families, pastors and employers need to know before trying to help someone with this problem. “This is an addiction that is relatively new to this area,” said Carmine Romano, Vice President of the Tulsa American Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Base. “People will have to be cautious about this issue because so many are unaware of how they could be vulnerable to this addiction and not even know it. As employers, it is important to take a proactive stance to help our employees understand how it can affect, not only them, but their families, and let them know how to get help if they need it. They may not recognize the problem until they have lost everything, including their families.” Romano said he has approximately 7,000 employees at the Tulsa base, and they and their families become vulnerable just walking into a convenience store. “Now that it is legal to sell lottery tickets in so many locations, even the kids are being exposed to it.” Romano realizes that since approximately three percent of the population will be affected by problem and compulsive gambling, he risks having over 200 employees’ lives devastated by this addiction. And that is in the ranks of his staff alone. Begin adding numbers by calculating spouses and teen to college-aged dependents of his employees, and the rate will go even higher. That is why Romano is working on a plan to join other local businesses and churches to get the word out before it is too late. Mike Smith and his group are geting out in force to conduct these trainings and spread information to everyone who will listen. Devonna Grover, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association for Gambling Addiction Awareness, said, “The common sense things you do as a responsible adult to take care of business in your family can sometimes actually hinder a spouse’s addiction recovery.” For instance, if the gambler is given money to pay off his debt, unconsciously he sees this as another “win,” so you’ve fueled the fire instead of bringing relief. Oftentimes a spouse will take over paying the bills and budgetary issues, and this can also be counterproductive to the gambler since he is not being made to be responsible for paying back the debt. Here lies the double-edged sword. The gambler cannot be turned loose with the family’s checkbook. Pastor’s and wellmeaning friends have seen domestic violence flare when they recommended a spouse take over the finances—do not be the person to get between an aggressive gambler and his money. Problem and compulsive gamblers are prone to blackouts and brownouts and sometimes do things they would not normally do. Aggressive gamblers get little out of talk therapy. In fact, it bores them. If you send a gambler to a group unfamiliar with a gambling addiction, and the facilitator asks him to “tell his story,” it could actually tempt him to gamble again. This is why Gamblers Anonymous and groups such as Grover’s are so important for the problem/compulsive gambler and the gambler’s family. Victory Christian Center has put togethera Cell Group for gamblers with a tried and true curriculum, and more churches are expressing interest in this every day. Problem and compulsive gamblers can be classified as aggressive or passive. Even among gambling support groups,it is important to know what kind of gambler you are attempting to assist.If you send a passive gambler to a group full of aggressive gamblers, it could be a fruitless or even damaging referral. Christian Credit Counseling Service in Tulsa was one ofthe first businesses to be trained by the OAPCG’s volunteer staff. Harold Hendricks, CEO, said, “We are here to help those in financial crisis with no judgment on the gambler personally nor the circumstances leading up to his or her current situation. Our objective is to help them find freedom—we were not born to be slaves.” This philosophy is important in helping people with this complicated addiction. So many will not seek help if they are to be judged. Christian Credit Counseling Service can be of support to families by keeping gamblers involved in the debt payoff process,which actually helps the treatment aspect of the disease, while providing safety for the spouse who will not have to get between the gambler and his money. Oregon has a population base close to Oklahoma’s, and they have seen over 60,000 people in their state become problem and compulsive gamblers. As mentioned before, roughly three percent of a population will become problem or compulsive gamblers, and the number rises to four percent for college-age citizens. Individuals who work in the gaming industry have a 28-32 percent rate of problem and compulsive gambling addiction. This is why the tribes have stepped up to the plate to assist with helping organizations who are helping people afflicted by this disease.The Cherokee Nation, for instance,has not only been among the first to provide training for their counseling staff, but they are also funding efforts to assist with training and other services for helping professionals. Take a look at the information included in this article, and save it for future reference. You could be the one to save the life of someone you love. For information on the Oklahoma Association
  • 9. 13 for Problem and Compulsive Gambling, call Mike Smith at (918) 270-2788, or go to the web at For information on the Oklahoma Association for Gambling Addiction Awareness, call Devonna Grover at (918) 693-6601, or go to the web at Contact Christian Credit Counseling Service at 492-5585. so many categories. We’d like to say thanks by
  • 10. 14 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 gambling: cold, hard facts very time you risk money, service or an object of value on a game with the hope of winning more, YOU ARE GAMBLING. In 2004, one in two adults bought a lottery ticket in the US. • One-third of the total American pop-ulation visited a casino in 2004 • One question MAY predict problemgambling: “Have you ever lied about your gambling or lied about a bet?” • Population of Oklahoma = 3.5 mil-lion. One to three percent of the population is pathological with gambling = 35,000- 105,000 citizens. • Three to five percent tend to havesignificant personal and financial problems = 70,000 citizens. GAMBLING & SPENDING 85 percent of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives, 80 percent in the past year. Consumers spend more on legal gaming in the U.S. than most other forms of entertainment combined (1998 Gross Annual WagerReport, 1999). Since 1975, the proportion of adults who “never gambled” dropped from one in three to one in seven.48 states with some form of legalized gambling (Hawaii and Utah are the exceptions). 2002 U.S. legal gaming revenue was $68.7 billion. In 1999 the National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimated the annual cost to society of problem gambling was $5 billion. During fiscal year 2002, U.S. lottery sales totaled $42.4 billion; per capita sales were $168 (NASPL, 2003). It is estimated that in 1997 Americans collectively wagered more than $1/2 trillion (National Research Council, 1999). 40 to 60 percent of cash wagered in casinos is withdrawn from ATMs, either from personal accounts oras cash advances from credit cards (NORC, 1999). DOMESTIC ISSUES Effects of Adult Problem Gambling on Children. Children of compulsive gamblers are often prone to suffer abuse,as well as neglect, as a result of parental problem or pathological gambling (NORC, 1999). Research consistently shows higher rates of pathological gambling in teens whose parents gamble too much (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997; Jacobs,2000; Wallisch & Liu, 1996). Children of problem gamblers have been shown to have higher levels of use for tobacco,alcohol, drug use, and overeating than do their classroom peers (Gupta & Derevensky, 1997). Child endangerment and child abuse may increase (NRC, 1999). The NRC reported on two studies indicating between ten and 17 percent of children of compulsive gamblers had been abused (NRC, 1999). Child endangerment was exemplified in Oregon with the September 2001 report of an Oregon licensed day- care provider who left three children (one-, two-, and three-years old) in a van for over 11 hours while she gambled in a casino (Lawrence- Turner, 2001, September 15). Domestic Violence. According to the National Research Council (1999), studies indicate that between 25-50 percent of spouses of pathological gamblers have been abused. Case studies of ten casino communities revealed that the majority of those communities witnessed increases in domestic violence related to the opening of casinos (National Opinion Research Center, 1999). Crime. Several studies suggest that crime rates rise with increased availability of gambling to communities, but this issue is under intense debate. 40 percent of clients enrolled in Oregon’s gambling
  • 11. J U N E 2 0 0 6 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T 15 treatment system reported committing crimes to finance their gambling (Moore, 2003). As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble (NRC, 1999). Studies of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) members report that approximately half of the participants had stolen to gamble and over one-third had been arrested (Thompson, Gazel, & Rickman, 1996). The vast
  • 12. CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 • Can’
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  • 14. CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 4 4 1 7 S o u t h S h e r i d a n • Tu l s a , O K 918-627-6996 •
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  • 16. CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 rowing up as a child, I lived near an area where gambling was legal and large casinos abound. The laws in this state allowed for alcohol to be served in the casinos, and in addition, they doubled as hotels that allowed children to be present in the lobbies and eat at their restaurants. These were places my family frequently visited, as my parents loved to gamble. Many, if not most, family vacations were centered on visiting casinos. I remember the anticipation my parents had of “winning big” at the roulette wheel, black jack or the slot machines. My brother and I spent many days in places designed to entertain kids, “drop off” centers, so to speak. Even though there was plenty to keep us busy, I couldn’t help feeling lonely, counting the minutes when they would come back for us. One morning, after staying the night at one ofthese casino areas, our family was going to breakfast at one of the restaurants in the casinos. There is always that distinct difference one can sense, G VIVIANNA FANCHER
  • 17. J U N E 2 0 0 6 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T 21 stepping from the crisp freshness of morning air into the stale stench of smoke, mixed with the acrid odor of booze from the nearby bar. We were leaving behind the sunshine and hope of a new day into a dark hallway with artificial lighting and the constant clanging sounds ofthe slots.
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  • 20. CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T J U N E 2 0 0 6 “Walking Tall” DON KREUTZWEISER Fon me and leave me scrambling to find, purchase, and mail Father’s Day 2006. Occasions like this tend to sneak up appropriate commemorations on time. Today I find myself on an early flight from Tulsa to McAllen, Texas, with time to burn and no electronic devices to amuse myself. I’m reminded of being a father as I watch the rising sun bleach the tops of the clouds at 35,000 feet. After 17 years, the idea of being a dad to someone is still a little surreal. The sometimes blank stares and oftimes shrugged shoulders lead me to believe my son still needs me to showhim a little more of the way into adulthood, like my dad did for me and his father did for him. Grandpa came to live with our family when he was in his 80s and I was nine. Over the next 10 years his body gradually deteriorated to the point nearly all of his needs were tended by someone else. His morning and afternoon walks became slow shuffles to the Atkinson’s driveway and back, instead of brisk strolls to the river or around the corner to the R.C. Church. His eyesight failed and his hearing was poor. A diminished man, some would say.But as a boy I remember hearing remarks that Grandpa Kreutzwieser “walks tall.” With measured steps, cane firmly in hand,hat at a jaunty angle, Grandpa always had a straight backand gentlemanly presence.“Walks tall” became the image of Grandpa in my mind. Too much time and too many miles separate me from my own dad. And this plane is going the wrong way. Soon, another flight will send me home to the Great Lakes, but for now, I’ll content myself with memories. When I finally do find my way home again, I’ll have to bend to give my Dad a hug. After years of fiercely resisting the need to give into the ravages of Multiple Sclerosis and, soon after retirement, Parkinson’s disease, time has demanded he spend his days in a wheelchair and his nights flat on his back. Morn- Miller Swim SchoolMiller Swim School Enrolling Now For Summer Swim Lessons Lessons (ages 6 mo. to Adult) Water Aerobics • Swim Teams • Parties • Youth Groups • Scouts Call 254- 1988 “Swim For Life” 6415 S. Mingo Rd. $5.00 OFF 2-WEEK SESSION WITHTHIS COUPON 1ST TIME ENROLLMENTS ONLY ing happens when someone is there to help him get up and most all activity is supported by at least one other person. Dad has been a servant all his life—a servant in Christ, a servant to his family, and a servant to his community. Others’ needs were considered before his own. A humble man yet a proud man, so the idea of someone waiting on him daily is appalling to him. It hurts him that Mom works to keep him in a daily routine and he can physically do very little to assist her. When I’m home, I’m honoured to be the one to help him, lift him, carry his burden for a few short days. And yet I know he would rather have a strong body and be the physical head of the home again. The sun is high now. The clouds below me are a pure white and the cabin is buzzing with waking passengers. The captain is apparently an insomniac whose defense against pre-dawn boredom is talking on the intercom, but I’m alone with my thoughts in the midst of it all. Thinking of all the things my dad is, what he taught me, and what I learned from watching him and mimicking him, the thought occurs to me—my dad “walks tall”
  • 21. J U N E 2 0 0 6 CO M M U N I T Y S P I R I T 25 too. I wish that meant he and I could walk with his grandson on the boardwalk down by the beach, or over to Suncoast Mall for a quick coffee and three doughnuts when Mom isn’t looking. But I know that won’t happen. What it means is, the body, the physical man in a wheelchair, the one who has to lean on me to stand,is not the measure of the man I call Father. “Walks Tall” is the image of the man inside. A man of God, a man of faith, a man of character. So much more than this physicalshell, the man I strive to become is one who is a reflection of the courage and strength I’ve seen in my father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, I love you.I only hope yourgrandson will know someday that “my dad walks tall” too. WARRE
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