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My name is Dave of Beckenham. I am a compulsive Gambler! I am becoming a healthy spiritual person each day, yet I am not a religion person.
The decision to have my 22nd GA birthday at one location has been decided by myself now and talking to meeting last night it is going to be on 15th October, I have now committed myself to a date which suits our meeting.

The topics of meeting last night were sponsorship, and step 11 for me I am not a religious person yet so my recovery is very much based up on spiritual values.

The ten commandments is spiritual based issues, every religion gives some kind of spiritual guidance and gives us a sense of what our spiritual values are all about.

Sadly unhealthy people will do or say things that adversely affect other people, when I was consumed by my addictions and obsessions I would escape in fear and lie about the consequences of my actions.

Today I would like to think that I am spiritually free of feelings towards gambling actions and gambling establishments, I also needed to stop taking easy options in my life and to not avoid being accountable to myself.

How would I feel if a person came to me with a gun and forced me to hand over our home, forced me to hand over our car and take from me every holiday I have earned due to the work of myself and my family.

Would I feel pain fear and frustrated and feel I did not deserve that to happen to me and my family.

Yet over for over 30 years I gave away the price of a house, I gave away the price of a car and I gave away the price of many holidays and yet I did not see or understand how much money and time I wasted.

The last big bet what did it cost me monetary, did I understand what my net hourly rate was, hour many hours did I need to work to replenish that money, before I started paying money so my family and could live.

The same with credit cards if I pay excessive interest on credit cards I am have to work 20 -30 % of my work time fist of all just to pay interest of credit cards before I could reach time worked to cover my living costs.

What fear caused me to escape to an addiction or obsession, how many fears did I have, how could I cope better with those fears.

At what time in my life was I going to become secure and satisfied with who I am today, to become secure and satisfied with what I am today, and to become secure and satisfied with the direction and path I take today in my life.

Sadly unhealthy people will assume by talking about the past is about proportioning blame or trying to guilt trip other people.

Being in the spiritual recovery program is about learning from our past and not living in it.

Resentments guilt and shame is living in the pains of our past, can we change our past, no but we can learn from our past if we are willing to be accountable to our self.

On walking in to the spiritual recovery I did not have a clue what my emotional triggers were, if you asked me how I was feeling I would have told you I was fine or not so bad.

At what point in my life was I unable to heal my pains, was it when I broke up having relationships with other people, was it when I was bullied as a child, was it when I was trying to take my own life, could it have been that I was traumatized due to emotional and physical abandonment as a child.

Could it have been due to humiliation and emotional abuse as a child.

To me it was not important my past but to learn to heal pains so I no longer buried and suppressed my feelings.

Being emotionally traumatized means my emotions and feeling were so mixed up and messed up I could not explain or articulate what I was feeling, or even thinking.

Going in to panic mode became a way of life for me, going in to panic mode was a very good indicator of how many and how much fears had over taken my way of think things out clearly.

Today being honest has no fear associated with it, being honest today is very like confession, yet with my therapies comes the comfort of people knowing and understanding more about me at some depth.

Today I had a person try and intimidate me with her car, she was trying to bully me and I just laughed at her, needless to say she shouted abuse, she sounded her horn and I just smiled at her, she new that to try to bully me was not going to work.

That person had cut up traffic and inconvenienced other people and thought could get away with it.

A one time in Calgary a person tail gated me, when it was safe to do so I pulled over nice and safely, the person gave me an unhealthy gesture, I smiled and blew a kiss at that person, needless to say that did not go down well with him.

Thinking back it was not a healthy thing to do, yet at one time I use to allow bullies to intimidate me time after time, even in the recovery program people use to try it on.

For me Calgary has become a healthy place to live physically and emotionally, Calgary GA has come a long way with the therapies I hear.

Lots of people use the telephone when they feel vulnerable and need some help.

There were many times when people use to transfer their pains fear and frustrations on to other people in the rooms of recovery.

Yet some people do not understand or know how to deal with new people so that feel comfortable and are not forced in to doing things when they are not ready for it, I need to be respectful of how vulnerable feel when first walk in to the recovery program.

Once people feel comfortable they can open up more, yet it takes time to trust once more, it took me decades to talk about my feelings and my painful life time experiences, some were suppressed so deep there was no recall to them.

As a teenager when I tried to take my life I could not even talk to my own parents, those memories were suppressed for most of my life.

At that same time some spiritual people came in to my life that helped me overcome some of my fears, they helped bring out that little child in me for a time an then helped me open up and laugh.

There were certain spiritual in my life for a reason, I am not religious but I do believe in certain things that are not easily explained.

How do we know that certain people are healthy spiritual people, they do ask any thing of us, they accept us for who we are, they do not bully but encourage and nurture us, their friendship and love is unconditional, they give of them self unconditionally.

Healthy spiritual people are non offensive, healthy spiritual people will not try to push you or manipulate you, they will accept you for who you are today.

Sadly those people who are not healthy spiritual people will dump on you and make you feel responsible for how they feel, they will even blame you for their life failings, they will even use guilt to try and control you, unhealthy people

We are still getting over jet lag even after 8 days, I think that UK trip was more telling on me than I thought emotionally and physically.

How does the spiritual recovery program work, if you go to a healthy meeting you will be made to feel welcome, you will be given text relating to your certain addiction or addictions, people will be asked to read 20 questions you do not have to answer them.

By reading the 20 questions is not about feeling pain of feeling guilty it is about making us aware of how honest we are with our self today.

Over time the number of yeses will change as we get more honest with our self.

The answers we give to the 20 questions are not for anyone else but for our self.

Over time people will talk about money lost and about being in action, then once you have told your storey over time the stories fade and therapies start to happen, this is when you cross the line and talk from the heart not from the conscious mind.

At this point some therapies can be very jumbled up and confused, this is quite normal and means it demonstrates the confusion within us. People have even commented in a healthy way how erratic it was and I was unable to stay focused on one point or part of my life.

As my therapies happened it was a kind of inner honesty and that little hurt came out and on occasions learned to feel comfortable crying in front of other people.

Exposing yourself through therapies and letting people see and feel the pains you have been through helps you come to another level of honesty and also at this point the beginning of your new found emotional intimacy.

I am very blessed to have rooms full of people that I call my friends, those people often know more about me than some family members would know of me.

Over four decades I have talked about my part as being the victim and living in fear of my past, living in fear of going to school, living in fear of going home, living in fear of being honest, and then living in fear of facing myself.

Do I have empathy for that hurt little child in me today, am I able to cry and heal the pains today, am I able to be myself today, do I live in the past today or am I fully focused on getting things done today.

What are my needs today, what are my wants today, and more importantly what are my goals today.

People have commented that because I am retired today that recovery is easy for me today, they seem to forget that my recovery started back in 1969 in the UK the day I walked in to GA my life was never going to be the same again.

How long to learn and understand step one is very important, 23 years, yes how could it take me so long to get healthy, how could it take me so long to understand my emotional triggers.

To help people cross the line from war stories to therapies come in to play a healthy sponsor, a person who is patient and tolerant, a healthy sponsor should not be a hypocrite, a healthy sponsor should be able to give a therapy from the heart, a healthy sponsor should be able to be honest without being cruel without causing a person pain or offence.

Each time a person breaks out gambling they should contact a healthy sponsor and talk about events up to the time they gambled.

Each time a person breaks out gambling takes more strength to be honest, each time a person breaks out gambling indicates they have given up faith and hope in them self.

At some time in the future I would like to be able to do a work shop of questions and answers, no set format, just people who want to understand, that people would have things they want to issues about every avenue of spiritual growth.

I did one work shop where I end up asking people questions and opinions of the spiritual recovery program, I am not a lecturer and I am not a teacher, I am just a person who wants other people to express their views and opinions about how spiritual growth works for them.

The serenity prayer for me is not a prayer, yet it helps me question and understand those things in life that I can change, people will often think and feel because they are unable to change another persons unhealthy ways they will remain the victim of the past.

In the past I have some terrible things done to me and to remove myself from feeling like a victim I needed to do something for myself, directly or indirectly, and also to speak out, bullies want their victims to remain silent, bullies are ashamed of their unhealthy actions and words.

Bullies are inadequate insecure cowards, they do on to others those things that were done to them, bullies are victims doing on to others those things that were done to them.

Bullies will transfer their pains fears and frustrations on to other people and laugh at the victims they have caused to undermine them so that they can feel good in them self.

Is sarcasm the lowest form of wit, is sarcasm a way of guilt tripping someone, is sarcasm a way of undermining someone, or is sarcasm a healthy banter between two spiritually healthy people, that when spiritually healthy people laugh with other are they laughing at them self.

I know that sarcasm was used in my child hood and that sarcasm can be used to humiliate another person, yet sarcasm can also be healthy, depending on if people bantering have healed from their past.

I am blessed with a gift, I often get a read on people, without talking to them, even without even knowing them, that makes some people feel very uncomfortable when they talk to me.

How does that come about, am I reading myself in them, do people think their walls of fear and their facade will hide the real them.

Accepting the serenity prayer which is not a prayer for me, I often read people and understand it is not my place to bring up subjects until people are ready to ask, you might say that if there is implications that is a way of people asking for help, very fine line indeed.

I am a very open person yet what is strange I am a very private person which sounds like conflict, I enjoy my privacy yet am not concerned what people know about me.

GA implies they do not want people to go public, that a person should not represent GA, the discussions about open speakers talking about their experiences and saying for me which is true.

The question is if any spiritual recovery program is doing the job properly all people should be made aware of their spiritual recovery program even if people are not ready for it.

I think that AA is very mature by advertising its program, the AA spiritual recovery program is changing with its people.

By being public and an open forum we and other people learn sooner all aspects of the spiritual recovery program, which is a good thing, sadly with GA members often the reason for turning up at meetings is done through pressure and because they have run of fuel for their addiction.

50th birthday UK wording was the great escape, how mature was that, it hits home, we admit we escape yet we do not admit to our self our deepest fears.

When meeting with people questions asked levels of fear we are living in today 0 – 10, what levels of pain are we living in today 0 – 10, what levels of frustrations are we living in today 0 – 10, what levels of loneliness are we living in today 0 – 10, and what levels of boredom are we living in today 0 – 10.

These questions asked at different times indicate how we are processing life and people around us.

Also helps me understand how vulnerable we are towards having a bet that day.

For me writing down thoughts and feelings down are best done first thing in the morning, that is when the subconscious mind has been most active in processing the day before challenges and also dealing with our past.

There was one place in Calgary that was buried for a long time for me; it was a religious boarding school where pain was used as a discipline on me.

It was buried but released from the deepest subconscious, once I was aware of location and was heading towards it I did not fear it, once I saw the building at that time no longer in use I felt that it was no longer a fear to me.

That boarding school had an adverse effect on me in two ways, the pain used as a discipline on me, yet the other adverse effects on me was I felt abandoned unloved and unwanted as well as not protected.

So coming in to the spiritual recovery program I would learn a skill which was to protect myself and also set up boundaries, but not from anger but from a place of peace.

For me I did not think that as possible, firstly to set boundaries and also to be at peace doing it, did I now in that time deserve to set up boundaries, to no longer take other people crap from them.

When you are so confused emotionally and are unable to cope with life jobs and go in to panic mode easily is a very good indicator that fear is over whelming you, people go in to panic when high levels of fear causes us to lose the ability to listen to good advice and to think things out in a healthy way.

Suspicion and lack of trust is a fear based issue, at what point in my life did fear cause me to panic, at what point in my life did I start becoming a risk taker and an adrenaline junkie.

I was for sure the rat in the wheel running faster and faster getting nowhere yet until I stopped doing it and saw another person doing the same thing I could not see what a waste of time and energy that addiction was.

The spiritual recovery program helps us see our self in other people, that is where we use the wording come to relate or self enlightenment.

I was for sure emotionally traumatized long before my addictions and obsessions, I did not value myself, I could not speak up for myself in a healthy way from calm peaceful place in my head.

If you asked what important thing was I putting at risk before my spiritual recovery I would have told you money, now I understand with each bet came lies fears and deceptions that I betrayed my relationships with other people and myself.

Yes lies causes more fears, yet why did I lie, it is escaping responsibility, but for what reason, as a child every time I was honest caused me pain physically an emotionally, so how do we overcome that fear of being honest.

When we walk in to the spiritual recovery program we think because of shame and guilt that talking about our past will be painful, and to some extent that is true as we feel for our self and other people.

Yet we get in to the healthy habit of dealing with the pains and healing the pain so that when we walk out of the spiritual recovery program feeling much better in our self.

Everyone has their opinion as to how we heal our emotional scars.

The spiritual recovery program encourages us to write things down, for some this is a very scary thing to ask to do, who are we being accountable to GA, no to our self, being honest to our self is the most important part of the spiritual recovery program.

Writing down our daily list helps us stay focused on that day and each job we do, on the list should be a balance of wants and needs, it is always best to do the need to do things first of all and then the want to do things to reward our self.

The want to do things should be things that say to our self we are rewarding our self for doing good, and over time healthy actions and healthy words on our part will help us feel proud of our self.

In doing thing in our life is about progress not perfection, sadly most people will have been obsessive about doing things and not willing to give our self approval, so no matter how things turn out even if only 75% perfect we will give our self approval of some sort.

Even if we go back to gamble once more it is important to go back to meetings, not because of money lost, not of guilt or shame but to understand each bet can be a lesson if we understand our feelings before we gambled.

It takes time to learn to live just for today, sadly because I lived in fear for so long I spent so much time and energy worrying about what might happen or what people might think or do.

Juggling these balls of fear in the air is counterproductive and by writing things down will help you stay focused on those things which will make us healthy once more.

One of the most important things as a sponsor is to ask people what is your biggest fear, once we admit that fear we talk about the worst that can happen, we start to understand that worrying about anything does not help the situation in any way or make you feel better within yourself.

At one time I was asked to go and do things that before recovery I use to think were boring, what kind of advice was that, well once you abstain from unhealthy habits it was important to exchange this new found time with healthy habits.

I use to think that ten pin bowling was boring, then one Saturday Shirley my wife asked me how I was feeling, that was not a question of course, she sensed something was not quite right with me and that I was vulnerable.

Well I told Shirley that I was feeling vulnerable and panicky, the very first thing Shirley asked me to do was to put on my coat and get in to our car and drive, where to I asked, it is not important just go for a drive.

We finished going for drives Saturday morning and eventually went ten pin bowling with Mark my son and Shirley every Saturday so that my fear of Saturdays become a thing I look forward to and was excited with.

Christmas was a time I use to feel very vulnerable about, the emotional triggers were fears person pleasing stress anxiety and frustrations, and afterwards the day after Christmas day was awareness that because of the emotional triggers and stress it had passed and I could not even enjoy it.

Like things in my life today I get there early so that I am relaxed and can enjoy life and enjoy special events, people use to think that I was a nut job because I use to turn up at meetings 30 – 40 minutes before meetings.

Do I react in an unhealthy way in anger (reacting to pain I am unable to heal, fears I am unable to face or frustrations due to my unreasonable expectations of life or people) holding resentments I am not healing my pains, jealousy I am not content with in myself, subconscious fear pains I am unable to recall the pains I still dwell on.

Spiritual values are all about healthy interactions with all people, experts will tell you it is healthy to be angry, for me when I am angry it tells me I am not at peace with myself and by being angry I am stressing myself out.

I am not a loner today, a person told me that the felt that I am self sufficient person which is true, I like to do things for myself, yet loner and self sufficient person are not the same thing.

Now the difference being a self sufficient person and feeling I am an deserving person is not the same thing.

Part of the spiritual recovery program is helping people help them self by helping them get things and not doing things for them.

On using step literature it is important that it is done slowly and with lots of questions being asked, by both persons or all persons sharing, remember it is a two way street.

The wording you have to is not very healthy, it is intimidating and gives a sense of person being obsessive and controlling, it is highly recommended for your own benefit that you do not do or do certain things and reasons behind those words.

How many people feel they were bullied in to the spiritual recovery program, how many people feel that first therapies were all directed at them, how many people feel they were bullied in to talking when they were not ready to talk.

The spiritual recovery program asks us to change yet the question arises does the spiritual recovery program change and grow with its new people.

Open forum and questions help us understand how spiritual recovery works for us, some people feel that they just want to listen and I think that is very healthy.

The old question which came first the chicken or the egg, the same with pain and fears, for me every painful emotional traumatized unresolved or unhealed event left me with fears as an adult which I did not fully understand.

Every action in my life has consequences, every word in my life has consequences, every healthy action and healthy expression of my words has healthy consequences in how I feel within myself.

Every unhealthy action and unhealthy expression of my words has unhealthy consequences in how I feel about and within myself, when I am unhealthy I feel guilty for having said or done something unhealthy those things, yet I can also feel guilty for having not said or done something which was healthy for people around me.

In the spiritual recovery I would learn to exchange those unhealthy habits in to nurturing and encouraging ways to improve the relationship I Have with myself and with other people.

Questioning step two come to believe for me was very much fear based questions first of all, today I do not need to question step two I know it works if I dedicate myself with time attending the spiritual recovery meetings and put that learning in to practice in my everyday life and with my relationships with other people.

Whilst I was consumed by my addictions and obsessions I was in self destruction mode, I was declining in several ways, once I was able to abstain from unhealthy habits I was able to set up boundaries about starting to value myself.

The unhealthy addictions and unhealthy obsessions were just simple indicators I could not cope with life and people, I found that I could only feel comfortable with other people after I had a few drinks. That was a flag that I would recognize till much later in my life.

The sharing at my last meeting were very powerful and very little was mentioned about money or the addictions, actions and consequences was an eye opener for me.

Every unhealthy action or unhealthy word has unhealthy consequences, it took me a long time to understand that by sitting on my hands doing nothing but abstain was and is today not enough for me. By sitting on my hands doing nothing I was white knuckling recovery and making it hard for myself.

Today was a very productive day, wants and needs were fulfilled, yet my goals were also talked about, Shirley talked about her wants and needs regarding us celebrating 40 years of marriage to each other in less than two weeks time.

Shirley talked about the fact she wanted us to spend time at home together. I am willing to listen to her and agree completely with her wishes and respect her today more than ever before in my life.

I walked in to the spiritual recovery program with no faith or hope in myself, I walked in to the spiritual recovery program emotionally traumatized by the pain I caused myself.

Like many people I really thought that gambling was the best love of my life, that my cruel gambling mistress took everything and all it gave me was pain.

Today I understand that gambling had nothing to do about love what so ever, that gambling was a way that I avoided facing myself or facing other people.

Each time I went back to gambling I did not want to go back to GA it was very painful telling the people in the GA room I had let them down, yet I did not let them down I had given up on myself.

No matter how long in GA no matter how long since my last bet or last argument I am equal to the person who had their last bet a few moments ago.

GA wants to see people who are in pain gambling in the GA room, it is not your money that GA want to see, they want you to give GA a chance, for you to give yourself a life without pain without hurting yourself and without hurting other people.

Come to believe is it possible for person to become healthy without having religious based belief, yes for sure, every has their own belief system, every has their own opinion, becoming healthy is what the spiritual recovery program is all about.

There is no way I could become healthy without relating to others peoples painful and unhealthy experiences both during and after entering the spiritual recovery program.

Over the next few days I am going I am going to decide on where and when I have my Canada official GA 22rd year gambling free birthday, I suppose buying a birthday cake is a very cheap price to pay to learn from other people helping me each week to find a healthier path in my life today.

In the UK I found a knife that was used to cut open my right thumb open and it required six stitches to close the wound up, it works fine and at that time I did not have a clue how unsafe the situation was that I placed myself in.

Tail gating was a very good indicator that I was impatient and intolerant with myself and other people, and that I was being hard on myself, tail gating was a good indicator that I did not respect myself or other people.

In recovery the questions came up, did I fear the law or respect the law, did I fear my parents or did I respect my parents, did I fear the opposite sex or did I respect the opposite sex, how could I possible change my fears around.

One of the reasons I feared the opposite sex was that when I use to talk to the opposite sex they use to giggle, today I now understand that the opposite sex by talking too much and giggling was they were feeling insecure nervous and scared.

They were not laughing at me at all, yet I internalized a lot of things about other people in those days.

Some of my old friends I have known for over 50 years, that makes me sound old, yet if I was still in unhealthy actions today and self destructing myself would I have those friends today, most of my old friends I have told them my story about my addictions obsessions and even about the emotional abuse physical abuse and sexual abuse in my life. None of those friends once told rejected me in knowing the truth about my past.

I am a survivor today, today as I talked about my letter from my deceased mother written to me saying if I was reading that letter meant that she was dead and all she asked of me was to think kindly of her, nothing else was asked of me, very touching indeed, I know today she did the very best she could do, that is very powerful.

That is all I ask of myself today, to do the very best I can do each day, to give everything my best effort at being healthy today.

At my last meeting there was a lot of pains demonstrated, yet I would also say that there was a lot of people laughing at them self, for me I understand that people laughing at them self they have forgiven them self. That is very powerful.

When I walked in to the spiritual recovery program I was emotionally traumatized.

In my life time people have transferred their pains fears and frustrations on to me through their aggression and confrontations due to the fact they had unresolved issues in their life.

Even knowing how painful it felt being the victim I did unto other those things that were done to me, I would justify my unhealthy actions and words.

Step twelve is about demonstrating spiritual growth not talking about it, if we are working our recovery we should be on a progressive rise in our healthy spiritual values in life.

In the spiritual recovery program I would become aware that before entering the spiritual recovery program I really did not have a choice but to escape in different ways in how I felt within myself.

Just because we abstain from one addiction or obsession does not mean we will not try to escape in our fear in other ways due to our emotional triggers.

Feeling and being inadequate I was lacking so many skills in my life, in time I would be able to identify things about myself which would reduce the self doubt and low self worth I had within myself.

Spiritual values stand alone from all religion and politics. Spiritual Values are what our conscience is based up on.

I did not have a clue how the spiritual recovery program worked, I questioned everyone and everything because

Am I a talker or walker today, am I a hypocrite in any way today.

Spiritual Values are what our conscience is based up on.
It was fear that made me unlovable and my inability to put greater unconditional effort in to my relationships with other people.
Step one was something I needed to grasp and understand fully.
Life being unmanageable.
Was all about my emotional triggers, my pains I could not or would not heal, I just got in the unhealthy habit of burying and suppressing my pains not healing them.
Fears I was not able to identify or willing to face and over come.
Frustrations due to my unreasonable expectations of life and people. My unreasonable expectations caused me a lot of pain from a very early age.
Loneliness due to two things abandonment issues from my child hood and fears that caused me to isolate myself and I was able to have emotional intimacy with other people.
Boredom due to the fact I was not able to put all my effort in to things outside of my work life, I had in fact become a stunted with regards not taking on new challenges in my life.
Recovery is all about healthy progress not perfection each and every day.
Love and peace to everyone
Dave of Beckenham.
AKA Dave L
as always Dave...
plenty of food for thought...
in unity
Smartie xx