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Guest

My name is Dave of Beckenham. I am a compulsive Gambler! Today my pains from my past are being nurtured and healed, my fears willingly faced and frustrations resolved by accepting the understanding of the serenity wisdom and I live a much healthier spiritual life today, I am healthier and stronger in myself than ever before in my life simply JUST one day at a time.

Step one is about surrender that I was beaten and could not be win, and it had nothing to do about the money, to surrender to the fact that every time I gambled I made things much worse, why did I think that money was the solution to my problems, I now understand that money would never resolve any of my emotional issues.

Yet often thought that money was a form of control and that money would bring me happiness, that money was away of buying material things and expressing my love and feelings towards other people.

I now understand that money gives me more choices once I have sufficient funds to cover my basic home needs, food heat shelter and home comforts.

Each time I gambled I was told that I had not accepted step one, which would cause more questions than answers, is an excuse to gamble, or were there some emotions or feelings I could not cope with.

If I used to think that my life is a manageable because of the money problems generated by my gambling addiction, and over time I would understand how I felt just before I gambled, and understanding my feelings would help me understand when I was vulnerable and what my emotional were.

In time I would learn if that I could not cope emotionally well when I was in pain, when I was filled with fear, when I felt frustrated, when I felt lonely and isolated, when I was bored.

I learned if that when I got angry it was due to feelings of pain fear or frustrations, yet I would learn that often I would react like a little a child.

All the time I was reacting in anger, resentfully, vengefully, guilt shame indicated that I was living in the pains of the past.

If I was living in the pains of the past told me that I was not healing my pains in a healthy way.

All the time I was living in fear indicated that I was not facing my fears, that I was not willing to face the worst that could happen, and once I was willing to face the worst that could happen and it knowledge it I could do more with my life.

Step one is about acceptance, surrender, and understanding when life became a manageable it was not about the money for the gambling, it was about the fact I could not cope emotionally with feelings of pain fear frustrations loneliness or boredom.

In order to grasp recovery and grasp step one I needed to understand what my triggers were and when I felt most vulnerable emotionally.

Often people said but they escaped a gambling sadly they would not commit a hack fears, surely escape is fear based, and why could I not see and feel that fact.

Progress and healing is a slow process and often people will want to jump from step one to step 12 in a very quick time sadly they cheat themselves.

Step two for me come to believe was about people demonstrating by their actions spiritual values which were lost with me, I was born with spiritual values, unconditional honesty, unconditional giving of myself, unconditional trust, and I was also born fearless.

It was not enough for me that people talked about spiritual values it was important that people in the rooms demonstrated honesty fearlessness compassion caring and respect.

Step one is about understanding how to surrender, how to accept and understand that every time I gambled was unhealthy and that I hurt myself and others, to understand that life being a manageable was not about the money for the gambling but the fact that I could not cope emotionally with pain, I could not face my fears, and I didn’t understand that my frustrations were due to the fact that did not know my own limitations, that I took everybody else’s emotional issues on board, and finally the fact I had high expectations of other people around me.

Step two was difficult for me because I had given up all faith and hope in myself, even when I was given approval and recognition by other people I could not believe anything good about myself.

Step two was very much tied to understanding what spiritual values were and how important they were to have in healthy relationships with myself and other people.

So how do you get from having no faith or hope in yourself, to coming to believe in yourself and that you can achieve and progress towards a healthy way of living and feeling?

There is no easy option in the spiritual recovery program, I needed to learn to help myself, to value myself, and to put every affect into my recovery and become selfish and place myself first.

I have choices today which far extend beyond abstaining, the more effort I put into my recovery, the more choices and the better the relationships become.

Sitting on my hands doing nothing worrying was never a solution for a healthy way of resolving my deep seated emotional issues, doing nothing calls me to white knuckle recovery and the only person I was hurting and fighting was myself.

In theory if you could lock a person up in a room and stop them from unhealthy behavior sadly they will not progress in any way by doing nothing.

If understanding that every action has consequences is important, and progress causes confidence and pride in our self, and we come to believe in myself can our actions.

It is important to learn to give all self approval and recognition that we are doing a good job that is important to understand that every healthy action we do unconditionally we should feel good about ourselves.

For most of my life my actions were unhealthy and conditional, in living a conditional life I had expectations of others and was often disappointed.

I found today that everything I do is for me in a selfish way and I have no expectations of others, and I’m never disappointed.

One common explanation given in the recovery program is that a person’s pride gets in the way of people’s recovery, this I found very confusing because simply on arriving in the recovery program I had no pride and if anything felt less than dog crap.

There was no pride in me, so how could pride adversely affect my recovery, it made no sense.

I now understand that aggression and confrontation was a person transferring their unhealed pains unresolved fears and frustrations on to other people which sadly affect the relationships people have with each other.

When I get angry the person I adversely affected myself, how long would it take me to learn this simple fact.

Spiritual for me is not about religion but was having healthy interactions with myself and with all other people.

Love and peace to everyone.

Dave of Beckenham

Guest

Hi Jessica

Understanding that anger is us reacting to pain fear or frsutrations is very important.

Once we understand why we are angry and which emoitons trigger us to be angry we can do some thing about those feelings.

When I am angry I hurt myself

Love

Dave

Guest

Hi Jess

Thank you for responding and asking questions.

Your questions demonstrate such strength.

For me often triggers of anger were an indicator that pains of my past were not put to rest or healed.

Being over sensitive was just an indicator that I had got in to the habit of burying abnd suppressing my emotional pain

Reacting from anger is due to my feelings of pain fear or frsutrations.

There are two kinds of aggression suppressed agression which just bottles things up and out ward aggression expressed as rage.

Both forms of aggression have an adverse effect on the realtionship I have with myself and I have with other people.

The experts will tell you that anger is healthy.

Well anger is a reaction to my pain fear or frsutrations.

My pain needs to be healed not supppressed.

My fears need to be faced and ackowledges.

Frustrations are due to me not aceepting my limtiations and having unreasonable exprectations of others.

Today I have the choice to not react in anger.

Sadly unhealed and unresolved pains if dwelled up on turn to resentments, again I hurt myself.

If I continue to dwelled up on resentments they turn to vengeance.

I will justify vengeance by saying I want justice.

the truth is that I want other people to feel my pain even more than I feel with in myself..

The serenity prayer is not an excuse to do nothing about unhealthy people aorund us.

Once we learn to express our self in a non threatening agressive healthy way we are able to stop feeling a victim of other people unhealthy actions towards us.

It does not mean we change change other people unhealthy attitudes but we can let them know we feel they are spirtually unhealthy people who have an adverse effect on us.

It is important to understand that every action has consequences.

Healthy actions often have Healthy consequences.

Unhealthy actions often have unhealthy consequences.

For me addictions and obsessions have unhealthy consequences.

People in addictions are spirtually unhealthy people during that time.


In Unhealthy situations we need to not react in an unehalthy way but to think things out before saying or doing some thing we regret which we know to be unhealthy.

It is healthy take a break and a good breath and work out our reactions to certain people and certain thinsg thathappen in our life.

Before recovery I use to run and hide from my feelings.

Any form of obsession is a way of deviating facing our own feelings.

Every fear I have today is a consequence of painful expereinces in my life.

D I want to continue reacting from the pains of my past in an unehalthy way?

It is often not your ego or pride that gets in the way of your recovery but the fact it is often fear that slow us recovery down.

Love

Dave

If you need to talk things let me know I can call you from Canada.

Paula

Dear Gadaveuk

I am moved from your writings in many ways.

I too carry a hurt child within, even if I haven´t heard from that child in many years.

I agree with you that talking about the past does not necessary mean putting blame or carrying resentment. There was a time when I did that. The disappointments of not being able to reach out and be seen for myself, to constantly feel misunderstood triggered a lot of rage towards my mother. She is not the one who hurt me as a child though.

And it is just like you said. My feelings for her stemmed from frustations and pain. Today I relate to her in a very different way, because I dont try to change her anymore, I dont need her to fully understand me, and I can accept her for who she is. I love her very much.

I did come a long way. My whole life was focused on personal growth and understanding. Since very young age. I went to intensive psychodynamic therapy and finally felt understood and approved for being me, not for my accomplishments. My gamblingaddiction took off after I went through therapy. Even if I had always been an addictive personality.

After therapy I went quiet. It was like I had lost my words and I who used to talk with friends and family for hours and hours, being the strong supporting other, began to isolate myself. I had so many thoughts and words on a deeper level that I couldnt express, and when I did I felt like noone understood. It was like the meaning of using words was gone. And I started to doubt the power of symbolising pains and fears with words. I began to doubt the value of selfgrowth.

I felt confused, and more and more began feeling desillusioned, hopeless and powerless. My meaning in life was personal growth and helping other people. Now everything turned meaningless. I began to gamble and it further pushed me into a depressive state where everything in my brain was like cotton and I couldnt think or perceive hardly anything. I have big memorylapses from this time.

Since a couple of years I am not really depressed anymore. My thoughts and emotions are beginning to come back and I am a more humble person, vulnerable in a new sense, but also stronger. I am more dependent on having caring and loving people around me. But I am also more selfsufficient and not as dependent on people approving of me anymore.

I realise that I probably still carry a lot of pain and anger and fear within, since I am a compulsive gambler, and I keep hurting myself and the people I care about. There is no reason why I would be this selfdestructive otherwise. Hopefully I will be able to work this through now that I have stopped gambling, if I manage to get in touch with my higher power, which is still illusive to me. It is also difficult because I don´t feel like an angry person and I have always have had difficulties expressing anger. My anger comes in the supressed form and I am not able to acknowledge it.

It feels helpful for me to focus on my behaviour and feelings towards one new day at a time, since I tend to forget what it is like to be happy and enjoy. I believe the past is important to get in touch with and heal my inner child, but I believe that focusing on today could make all the difference.

Love to all!

Guest

Paula Wrote:Dear Gadaveuk

I am moved from your writings in many ways.

In being able to feel for me it demonstrates you are able to feel for your self and you can relate to me.. That is healthy.

I too carry a hurt child within, even if I haven´t heard from that child in many years.
I think as we heal we find that inner child still have the same want and needs as they did al those eyars ago before pain stunted our growth.

I agree with you that talking about the past does not necessary mean putting blame or carrying resentment.
In understanding what is and was unhealthy means we are setting up healthy boundaries today not expereinced before.

The disappointments of not being able to reach out and be seen for myself, to constantly feel misunderstood triggered a lot of rage towards my mother. She is not the one who hurt me as a child though.

Yet often we feel that our wants and needs were no fullfilled as innocent children.

And it is just like you said. My feelings for her stemmed from frustations and pain.

How can a person fullfill our wants and needs when theya re not able to fullfil their own wants and needs.

Today I relate to her in a very different way, because I dont try to change her anymore, in doing so we accpe the sernity prayer even though we may not even be religious.

I dont need her to fully understand me, and I can accept her for who she is. I love her very much.

That is very powerful in being able to nurture your own pains and accept her being her own self with her unehalthy flaws.

You have come along way.

When I told my mother i loved her nw no matter what she did or said she was lost for words.

She also understood she longer needed to search for apoproval from me any more.

Your whole life is focused on personal spiritual growth and understanding.

Then you are trully enlighetening your self and understanding how you tick.

Since very young age. I went to intensive psychodynamic therapy and finally felt understood and approved for being me,
Whow good for you putting such effort in to your self meant you valued your self.

Accomplishments builds confisence and self esteem.

My gamblingaddiction took off after I went through therapy.

I wonder if you went gambling to escape how you felt in your self?

You had always been an obsessive personality is that waht you mean?

For me being obsessive is a way of deviating facing how we feel with in our self.

After you went in to therapy you went quiet. Did that mean you were not able to put in to words your feelings?

It was like I had lost my words and I who used to talk with friends and family for hours and hours,

Was that you feeling nervous and uncomfortable with in your self often fear based.

You were being the strong supporting other, do you mean it was easier to face other people rather than face your self?

You began to isolate your self.

Was that fear based and lacking trust in other and lacking tust in your self?

I had so many thoughts and words on a deeper level that I couldnt express,

May be you peeled back your inner child and did not know ho wot porocess it pain?

You felt like no one understood.

Is that more about you did not understand your self?

It was like the meaning of using words was gone.

Maybe you were not able to heal and nurture your own pain fears and frsutrations.

And I started to doubt the power of symbolising pains and fears with words.

Understanding actions and cosequences helped us understand the choice we ahev today.

To move from unhealthy actions and take up new new well balanced healthy actions.

I began to doubt the value of selfgrowth.

Your honesty and openess is self growth and your honesty is your strength today..

You felt confused, yes most people feel lost and lose direction in their lives.

More and more you began feeling desillusioned, in your self and others?

Admitting Hopeless and powerless is the beginning of setting up new boudaries and new spiritual standards in your life and in yoru relationships.

Spirtual growth gives meaning in our life with personal spiritual growth helping our self before all other people.

Self enlightenment turns meaningless in to self values..

You began to gamble to ride teh adrenlane rush and ride and live life in fear.

Going in to a depressive state means you turn your anger inwardly.

You couldnt think or feel for your self perceive hardly anything.

You had big memory lapses from this time. That could have been emotional trauma ?

Your thoughts and emotions are beginning to come back and I am a more humble person, bu no longer feel the resentnful victim any more?

Vulnerable in a new sense, maybe that is your inner child coming out now?

Pain of our past once ehaled becomes our strength.

Being stronger you are able to be more honest and open. very powerful indeed..

You are more dependent on having caring and loving people around me.

That sound slike a boundary on your part.

You are also more selfsufficient that is very healthy to fulfill your own wants and needs.

That is maturity and character bulding.

You are not as dependent on people approving of me anymore. That measn you know the truth about your self.

It sounds like you carry a lot less pain and anger and fear within your self now.

You will be able to work this through now as you are more honest than most.

Stopped gambling alone is not enough on its own.

Your higher power may be spiritual values practiced day by day.

Being an angry person you only hurt your self.

You have had difficulties expressing your anger.

Anger is a reaction to pain fear or frsutrations.

Your anger comes in the supressed form that means you live with walls of fear around you which is very sad.

It is healthy you are able to acknowledge it though.

Love to all!

Dave
Thank you for your answer. It has meant a great deal to me!

I am far from where you have come. And my road has been different yet similar to yours.

To try to explain to you and to make me feel like you have understood me, I would need to be very open and take concrete examples from my life. I don´t know if that would serve any purpose though, except satisfying my own personal need of being seen and understood. And that is perhaps still the biggest pain of all, which I will have to let go.

Being open is not the bigger issue for me, rather in retrospect feeling ashamed for having been too open. I have always been told that I talk too much, I think too much, I feel too much.

I have been trying to reply to your answer now for a couple of days, but I feel that I get obsessive about it. My reply becomes too long and with too many intimate details about my life. I keep trying to find new ways of explaining and copying and pasting text around over and over again... <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Therefore I am letting it go. For now.

Your answer, and me trying to reply, have given me new tools and I am have had some new insight in my behaviour and my emotions.

I haven´t thought about selfunderstanding, healing pains and selfgrowth for such a long time, turning it all off, or perhaps putting it on pause. And I felt so inspired reading your text because it reminded me of a way of thought that I used to have.

Thank you for sharing and awakening that part in me!

I received my GA books today, so I am going to start reading instead of writing for a while.

Tc and love for now
Paula

Guest

Hi Paula

Me answer you is my pleasure

If It has meant a great deal to you then that indicates you appreciate and have a sense of ehalthy values!

You say you are far from where I am today, yet if you can relate to me it indicates you can relate to who and what I was but more importantly you can see and feel who you can become.

My raod road through life may have been different yet similar feellings and consequences to unhealthy expereince with unhealthy impact on our character and caused us to become unhealthy in thinking and burying our self in fears.

In feeling ashamed can be due to or own unhealthy actions with unhealthy consequences.

Of feeling ashamed can be a consequence of an unhealthy persons actions towards ouyr self.

Feeling ashamed is living in the pains of our past.

You say they say you talk too much, can be nervousnes and fear based issues.

You say they say you think too much, can be due to obsessive fear based issues

You say they say you feel too much. Can it be you have felt a victim far to long.

To reply to and find your own answer and eb able to express your self is a good thing, but do not put your self under pressure.

You letting it go. For now. Good fro you when you are more relaxed it will come to you.

Answers to questions often come when you let go of them.

I am so pleased you have a better healthier insight in to your behaviour and my emotions.

Often referred to self understanding and self enlightenment is very powerful and understanding what we need to do to move on from our past.

The joke is that once we heal from the pains of our past that pain becomes our future strength.

Frustrations are often due to our expectations of others.

I am very glad that you felt so inspired reading our texting together.

Thank you for your honesty sharing open mind and awakening that part in both of us after all it is a two way street!

I am glad that you received your GA books today,

Love and peace

Dave

Guest

Hi You guys

Thank you for your honest replies.

Firstly it saddens me that all of my postings have been removed from this web site.

Our honesty is far more beyond about the money and gambling.

The money was just the fuel for my addiction and the gambling was just one way of me ewscaping how I felt with in myself.

That hurt inner child is healing today and is able to be honest and expose him self to all who want to get to know him in a healthy way.

Sadly the people in recovery get confused by the wording of the recovery programs.

I had sadly become a very unhealthy person who did or said things to escape how i felt with in myself.

Recovery for me a healing and maturing process.

Exchanging unhealthy habits for halthy habits was an important part of my growth.

It was then and is today far beyond just abstaining.

In order to love and care about other people I needed to learn to love care and also protect myself.

Protecting myself is certainly not about living every day in fear.

In fact the opposite.

The recovery rooms should be a way of nurturing and encouraging people twoards healthy habits and healthy living.

For recovery to take effect people should be free of all fears and be comfortable with them self.

Sadly there will be people who try and manipulate and control other people that indicates how inept insecure they are with in them self.

Just because I abstained first of all did not mean I was healthy in t many ways.

Once you move towards healthy actions with healthy consequences and it is a conscious decision on your part every one needs to take full responsability and feel proud in your self.

Rewards for our own healthy spiritual actions is pride in ones self.

Pride is a very healthy spirtual feeling.

I am still work in progress.

Love and peace to every one.

Dave L

AKA Dave of Beckenham

Guest

Hi Paula

You say you are far from where I have come.

I feel that is not the case there is growth in you but you are not ackowledging it, you are starting to expose your self.

My painful traumatic experienced path road has been similar to yours.

Painful traumatic pasts cause fears in us and that inhibits us from living our life to the full and inhibits us from having close warm intimate realtionships.

You are being very open and articulate by doing open and talking out your past you no longer live feeling like a victim.

By crying out the pain pain is part of the healing process.

Often talking too muchis is an indicator of nervousness and fear bused issues.

Your answers are for you and always will be.

In time once you heal your emotional pains will be letting go for good of the pains that kept you tied to your past.

selfunderstanding is about understanding our reactions to unhealthy situations , understanding our reactions to unhealthy people that we are not yet able to cope and deal with.

Thank you for sharing your self.

I hope you get some thing from your GA books

Love and peace

Dave L

AKA Dave of Beckenham
Somehow it feels wrong to write it here, but I dont know where to and I need to try and get this out. I have to let my past go. I dont know if I would be able to share all of this in my meeting, or if it would serve any purpose, because I would feel like I am just selfpitying and taking up place. I dont know if it serves any purpose sharing it here either, but I am telling myself that I need to work on my trust, because I dont trust myself. There is something in your writings that I can relate to and that I wish to grow into. I now both feel encouraged by your reply and a ashamed for taking up as much space as I am going to do. But here goes.

Here is my therapy.

It was two weeks prior to christmas. I, almost five years old at the time, was at my fathers place, with my father and a friend to him. The three of us was having a lot of fun. They were teaching me how to play poker. We played for money and I remember I won, a bit less than a pound, in one round. My father and his friend applauded me and I felt so happy, also
slightly embarrassed though, because I had a sense of they were letting me win.

Then I heard a noise, and again, and we realised that someone was throwing small stones on the window. My fathers apartment was on the second floor and I went out on the balcony, seeing my mother and one of her friends standing below. It was inbetween snowing and raining. They yelled at me to say to my father to go down in the stairhouse and let them into the apartmentsbuilding.

When my mother came into my fathers apartment and realised that my father and his friend were drinking beer, she got very upset. She got angry and began yelling at my father about he had promised not to drink while I was visiting.

I got afraid and felt sorry for my father. I tried to explain to my mother that we only had a good time, and that they had taught me poker, and look, I even won... My mother wouldnt hear my pleeds and she was still angry with my father. My father told me very calmly to listen to my mother because she was right. He said that I should go along with my mother and that I would meet him at another time. He said he was sorry.

I didnt want to leave, but my mother carried me out into the car and then we drove home.

I have a rather complicated childhood story. Stories like the one I just told happened several times, but in somewhat different shapes. But this pokergame I had forgotten all about and only came to realise at my meeting a while back when a fellow compulsive gambler told me about the first time he was exposed to gambling. My urge to gambling is tied closely to poker. Sometimes I also went binging on black jack when I felt too tired to play poker, but mostly just poker.

My mother was and is always there for me if I needed her. She has bailed me out so many times that I sometimes dont understand that she still would want me as her daughter. She has never been able to fully see and understand me though. And I have hurt her so many times.

When it comes to her emotions I listened to her and supported her for so many years. When it came to my emotions, she would feel threatened or tired or even accuse me of trying to hurt her, when all I wanted was for her to understand me better. Like I wrote earlier I have now stopped to try to reach her on a deeper level, because I know she and I are too different. I am not angry at her anymore but somethings still are painful to think about. I am trying to set healthy boundaries in my relationship towards her.

Like during my whole childhood she would say things, and then if we got into an argument and I would ask her about some of the things she said, she would completely deny them and say that I was making it up. And even when I tried to say things in the most non-threatening ways, she would still throw it back at me, telling me that I was just trying to get at her or put guilt on her. I know she never did any of this to hurt me, it is just that a part of her sees me as a despiteful and mean child. Part of her sees me as a child who always had to question things and ask the unnecessary and hard questions. She told me not to long agoe: even as a child you always had to critizise everything trying to put me down. I do remember asking a lot of questions, I also remember my mother working a lot and being tired so I always wanted to show her extra consideration, I dont remember critizising her. I know that she feels like I did though. Even so the biggest part of her however loves me, which she has proven far too many times by not leaving me.

When I was a child I truly wasnt despiteful though. And I truly wasnt mean. Even if she interpreted me that way. But like I said, I did ask many questions and wanted to discuss things. Partly because I wanted to be acknowledged. Partly because I was curious and wanted to understand about the world and about myself. But yes I felt hurt many times, and perhaps that
made my questions sound despiteful... I really dont know.

As a child my biggest rolemodel was Jesus. And I thought that if I could be as good and as pure as I possible could be, then perhaps I would be worthy of love. This included not only my action, but also my thoughts. I ought not to think mean things about others, but always try to understand and feel compassion instead. In many ways I was a very sad and misunderstood child. Atleast I felt that way. But I always tried to act and think good.

Noone else in my family went to church or was religious, and I got the feeling they thought it was a bit corky. Still it felt safe for me, and for a couple of years I went in the churchchoir and got free lessons by the leading church musician playing the organ. Sometimes I went to the church when I knew it was empty after school. Since I knew where the key was and I was allowed to go there practising the organ, I let myself in. I then would cry and pray that my father would come around and understand how much I loved him. And that noone was mad at him. Perhaps then could he be my father again. I was nine and ten years old.

My mother claims things about me, even to this day, like that I was a sour looser because sometimes I began to cry when I lost a family board game. We both remember that I used to win most of the time. We both remember my big brothers bad temper, that he sometimes could through a gameboard off the table when he lost. We both remember that the family sometimes didnt want to play games with me because I mostly won. However, at some point, since I enjoyed playing different boardgames, I began to make bad descisions on purpose, beginning to loose on purpose, just so as they would continue play with me, and just so as my big brother wouldnt get mad at me. However at those times, after I lost they would say things to me like: aaa pooor Paula, too bad you didnt win this time. And that did make me feel upset because they sounded mean. And when seeing that I got upset they would begin to say to me that I was a sour looser, whereupon I would say that I wasnt, whereupon they would continue saying that I was, where upon I would start to cry. Not because I lost though... My mother still claims though, that I was a horrible sour looser as a child, and when I have tried to explain to her that I wasnt, or just ask her please not to say that anymore because I dont feel like that is true and it is hurtful for me to hear, she wont listen and just says that she has the right to say what she thinks, that she has the right to claim what she perceived, and to her, she knows that I was a sour looser. THat is the way she sees it and always will, and I cant do anything about that. It might only be a small insignificant thing, it still hurts though.

I have always been very sensitive, and easily have began to cry. But it was never intentionally or in a manipulative way. Mostly I cried because I felt misunderstood or because I felt unjustly treated. I cried because I had no words and couldnt protect myself. At those times my family came down pretty hard on me. Calling me spoiled and even worse making fun of me in rather mean ways. Therefore I learned to try to avoid all crying in the open, and when I needed to cry I ran out in the forrest above my house. There were a big rock that I used to climb up on, and there I could release my tears. Alone.

I dont think I was a child easy to love, I was too much searching for acknowledgements and propably got under peoples nerves. And I did have a lot of thoughts.

My father was hardly ever there for me, in the sense that my parents got divorced when I was younger than two, and after that I only saw him, i am not sure perhaps about ten times. Some of these times, because of my fathers drinking and the people that was around him at those moments, I was exposed to some traumatic situations. However, there is another side of the story. When me and my father was alone, I did feel like I was being seen and understood. He enjoyed discussing things with me. He took me outside teaching me about the forrest. He took me fishing. He taught me to ramble all the swedish kings and the years they were at the throne. He taught me to multiplicate and to spell difficult words, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. This was before I had even begun school. Isnt that strange that even though I hardly never met him, I feel like he did understand me...

Everyone used to say that I was my fathers girl, and my older sister was my mothers girl.

Everyone used to downtalk my father, because he was an alcoholic, because he was hurting me and my sister, because he was a man.... yes that is the way the arguments tended to go. When I became a mother and went to family dinners with my daughter they began this similar downtalking men again. My daughters father didnt want to become a father and made the choice not to take part. But then I told them not to talk that way about men infront of my daughter. That I wanted her to make her own experiecnes about humans no matter if they were males or females. Even if their reactions were that she will only be disappointed in time when she starts seing men, and that it is better she is prepared, somehow, I dont know why and I am myself suprised, but they acutally have respected my wish. And atleast when I am present they dont talk like that anymore infront of my daughter.

Of course parts of their complaints about my father were valid though. His absence hurt me alot and I used to cry myself to sleep at nights because I missed him so horrible and I was so worried about the way he might be feeling or doing in his illness. I always cried as quiet as I could though, not to worry my mother because I knew she had so much on her plate already. I never heard my father downtalk anyone, except himself.

When I was fourteen and on my way to school I happened to bicycle past my father. I got a bit shocked, at that time I hadnt seen him in several years, and his hair had turned grey. Before it was all black. I was in a hurry and had so many mixed emotions towards him. So I turned my head the other way, pretending I hadnt seen him. Just as I turned my head away I saw him turning his head, him seeing me turning my head away. A couple of weeks later he phoned me up, being drunk and crying. Claiming to be the most horrible father when his own daughter didnt want to say hello to him. And I lied. I told him it wasnt me. I asked him when it was. And I told him it couldnt have been me. He said again, and I told him it wasnt me. And then I quickly excused myself telling him I had to rush off somewhere. And I hung up. And I felt like I had turned into Judas.

Some weeks later I manage to lurk out where he was currently living in another city. I went there one day without telling anyone and pressed the doorbell. First it was quiet. Then I heard his footsteps leading up to the door. There was a peepwhole in the door. Then quiet. Then the footsteps walked away again. I stood there frozen for a while, but didnt dare to press the doorbell again, so I finally walked away. I felt so ashamed.

Three years later I was home from summerholidays from school when the phone rang. I was home alone, answered and heard his voice: Hi.. do you hear who this is? I was filled with all sort of emotions, joy, fright, excitement, and answered him: Yes, I hear. I had butterflies in my whole body and tried to think up something to say, something to ask him, when he asked me if I could help him to look up a phonenumber in the phonenumberbook. I said sure and put down the phone, reliefed, because this would give me a minute to gather my thoughts and emotions. Happy and eager to speak with him, I searched through the phonenumberbook, found his number and lifted the phone once again. But he had hung up and was gone.

About 15 months later I got noticed that my father had died. In phneumonia. At that point I felt like I broke. I was at my school abroad and went down by the sea hiding behinds some cliffs. It was raining heavily and strong wind. And I was crying and screaming out loud. I was in so much pain. And I felt like I truly hated him for dying away from it all. I hated him for never coming through as my father.I was sitting there for a couple of hours and then a searchparty came and found me. Everyone was worried about me. I was wet and cold but told them that I would just sit alone for a short while still, then I would come back.

I went to the funeral and I cursed him when I stood over his grave. At that moment I truly felt like I hated him. I was 18 years old.

A year before he died me and my sister talked with each other, saying that we almost wished that he was dead. Because if he was dead, we wouldnt have to hope anylonger. Hoping for him to come around. Hoping and waiting was the worst feelings for me ever.

I began to gamble heavily at the age of 30, briefly after I had finished my therapy which I told you about before, and I lost all control soon there after. I still went back though, several times, loosing it all over and over again.

Now it is twenty years since my father died. And I dont hate him anymore. But since I managed to abstain from gambling I have realised that I still miss him awfully... And it still hurts so bad when I think about him...

You are right Dave, that there is growth in me. I am beginning to find a calm within that is less illusive than it has been before. I still have a lot of fears though, and I am still finding it very hard to trust myself.

I am getting more and more aware of my fear of intimacy. Well I have always known I am afraid. But I am beginning to feel like I can work against this fear in new ways, not like before by roleplaying, or while gambling by avoiding, but by trying to
stay humble and trying not to be afraid. Somehow I know it is there in me somewhere even if I still bail out most of the time. I totally agree with you that protecting yourself in a healthy way has nothing to do with fear.

My meetings serve a great deal for me in my recovery. Not the least because I think it is the first group of people I have encountered where I feel like I am accepted and understood. Without being put on a piedestal. Without being judged. With all of my different traits of compulsiveness and how the gambling made me do so many awful things.

Thank you so much for writing that my answers are for me and always will be. I have always felt a sincere mistrust against myself and my emotions. I am starting to think that perhaps it is wrong to think about my emotions in terms of being trustworthy, rather I should work towards accepting them for what they are.

Like instead of trying to figure out whether my feelings are right or wrong, perhaps I what I need to focus on is to question how I allow them to affect my behaviour in healthy or nonhealthy ways, how I allow them to affect my interactions with others in healthy and nonhealthy ways. One day at a time.

Sometimes it feels like everythings goes around in circles. And even if I understood or felt something a while back, the same issue comes back in a new shape, and I then need to understand it all over again, with some new dimension to it. I am so afraid that I again will fall back into destructive avoiding life behaviours, making myself into a failure, even if I deep down know I am not.

Love myself. Trust myself. I am trying to accomplish this by building on healthy actions and healthy descisions. It is difficult though.

Thank you. With warmth
Paula
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