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My name is Simmo
#11
I've finally embarked on doing my step 4, It's something that is very powerful, but can also be very painful as I find the hardest person to analyse is myself. Having gone through and written down some of my resentments, I can see that I actually play quite a large part in orchestrating the resentments. I'm looking forward to completing this step and moving on to step 5 with my sponsor. Everyone that I have spoken to that has completed all of the steps, and continue to live their lives incorporating the steps has a heightened awareness of themselves and their actions in day to day activities. The first time I looked into step 4, I looked at both strengths and weaknesses in character, I quickly judged myself as not a very nice person, and that's where I stopped. This was about 5 months ago, I'm now ready to continue, as I am no longer in a position where I criticise myself. I am of the understanding that most of my actions whilst in the throws of addiction where that of an ill person, and not actually me as I am today. I'm now going through step 4 with a more open mind, and less judgemental view of myself. It's hard work, but I can now see the benefits of putting in the hard work, seeing that times of hardship are actually an opportunity to grow rather than another weapon in the arsenal to beat myself up with.

My name is Simmo, my last bet was 15/03/16 and I'm a compulsive gambler in recovery.
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#12
Now in my 12th Month of recovery, I cannot believe how much more manageable my life is becoming. I've got a sponsor who is going to work the steps with me, going back to step 1. I call him every morning for a quick check-in, call another addict once a day, pray morning and night, I'm not a believer in god as such, but you know what, I'm putting my ego to one side and doing what is suggested. I've realised it's not so much about having god help you, but the process of praying and asking for guidance through the day brings positive thoughts into your day and makes you more aware.

The thought of going back to gambling makes me feel sick, I still have thoughts about gambling every now and then, and those thoughts are normally about the 5% of the time that I used to enjoy, but the tools I have in my arsenal now allow me to quash those thoughts with a barrage of reality. Gambling nearly destroyed me and nearly took me off the face of the earth. Just for today I will not gamble, I will talk to my sponsor, I will go to meetings, I will help other addicts of all kinds, not just gambling.

Yesterday I helped a homeless guy with a 1970s Military issue duck down sleeping bag and waterproof rucksack. It made his day, and it made mine too :-).

Looking forward to reaching my 1 year of no gambling and planning a family holiday to celebrate. I owe it to the wife and the kids, they've stood my me 100% along the way.
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#13
So I've reached a year without gambling, and life is getting better, finances are under control, I've actually booked a family holiday and very excited. Every holiday I have ever booked has always been on credit, and rushed, and not really enjoyed as I was in a constant flux of panic, guilt, shame, resentment, etc etc, all brought on through gambling.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know what to do, how to get of the rut that gambling can take you. Be brave, be honest with your nearest and dearest, admit that you have a problem with gambling and that you need help. It really was the best thing that I could have ever done with my life. In recovery I am able to live my life, when I was gambling everything was on the edge, all the time.

Another day without gambling is another positive day, even when the day may have been bad for "normal" life reasons.

One day at a time

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#14
Having a mental breakdown last year was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. It was my rock bottom that I needed to realise that I could not stop gambling on my own terms. It was possible for me to stop gambling on my own, but it never lasted. Sometimes 2 or 3 months, sometimes a year or two, but eventually, with the gambling triangle activated (money,time,desire), I would go back to my old ways and destroy the family finances once more. It's not just about money, as I destroyed my self-worth even more. As with the fire triangle of heat, oxygen and fuel, when all 3 are present you have fire and to put it out you need to take one away. Money=Fuel, time=AIR, desire=heat.

To keep the gambling fire out, I take away parts of the triangle, so they don't come together at once.

1. FUEL: All money and access to money is limited and fully transparent with the wife. I go through all the accounts with her anytime she likes and especially on payday. We have a budget using YNAB which is shared and we make financial decisions together.

2. AIR: I keep my mind busy, mainly with work, sometimes too much work, but I try not to have idle time on my own where I would have previously gambled.

3. HEAT: The desire to gamble is kept at bay by going to GA, and working the 12 step program. Even on a bad day, I have to remind myself that today's bad day is nowhere near as bad as it was whilst gambling. If I have the desire to gamble, I'm honest about it and share with fellow recovering gamblers, who are there to help me through the thoughts. The pilot light is always on!

Working the GA program is key to recovery, abstaining from gambling is not enough for me, as I know that that gambling was an avenue I would pursue to avoid the way I felt. I've not gambling now, but I still feel anxious and that was one of the feelings that I would try to avoid, gambling only ever made it worse, but it was still the first thing that I would reach for.

I've been on medication for 12 months and I've recently come off, I've noticed my anxiety sky rocket and it's the feelings that I'm having to deal with in other ways. I know that gambling will only make it worse, I've had momentary desires, it's what I do with those thoughts now is important. I talk about them, I know deep down that it's the addiction talking and not the way I want to live my life.

I'm now working hard to deal with my anxiety issues, through meditation, exercise, talking therapies, relaxation therapies, hypnosis, anything positive really. Gambling is NOT the answer, and it will only be a short term path of destruction once more, leading to increased anxiety in the long run.

Not gambling, one day at a time
dealing with anxiety, one day at a time.
dealing with the finances, one day at a time.

Living my life ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#15
Whenever I feel uneasy about gambling, I soon realise it's because I've not been working my program enough. There are days I skip praying, skip a meeting, skip my gratitude list.

Daily routine is essential for me, especially as I've never really had a routine at all.

Morning prayer - I use the book one day at a time. I'm not religious, but I believe in a higher power, I was broken and open minded to do what was suggested by others in the fellowship that have years of sobriety / not gambling.
Daily gratitude list - write down 10 things every day that I am grateful for - this helps to stay positive and not concentrate on one negative thought, that normally isn't that bad at all.
Ring my sponsor - something I've been avoiding, but normally because I know what he will tell me, and my ego has been a little too strong lately.
ring a new comer - reminds me where I used to be and it helps me to help others.
Write my daily thoughts journal - This really helps me clear my head of unhelpful thoughts before bed.

Just for today i will not gamble

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#16
15 months into recovery and gambling thoughts are now few are far between. Dealing with life on life's terms is sometimes difficult, but having gratitude for the things that I have really helps. No matter how bad a day seems, focusing on the things I have put things into perspective. I am very lucky for my wife to still be by my side, I have put her through hell and back, and she's supported me and continues to support me, I have healthy beautiful kids, a roof over my head, a good job, a nice car.

Without gambling, the dense fog starts to clear and I can now start planning ahead. I now look forward to things, rather than rolling with whatever was happening day by day, dreading that I would get found out for still gambling.

Honesty is a massive part of my recovery, by being open and honest, especially with myself and my loved ones, I no longer live in fear. I have nothing to hide, therefore I have nothing to worry about anyone finding out. By working the 12 step program, which I'm still to fully engage with steps 4-9, life is becoming brighter, and having seen the progress others have made especially through steps 4 and 5, I'm hopeful for things to get even better.

One day at a time

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#17
Today I am grateful for being able to have time to spend on my own, without doing things that I shouldn't be doing. The number of times whilst gambling, time on my own was almost always time to gamble. Now it's time to relax and reflect. I don't find relaxing very easy, I have quite a busy and stressful job, however when I was gambling, yes, it was an escape mechanism to stop thinking about other things, but it was a destructive mechanism. The more I gambled, the worse it got.

I have counselling booked from next week to help me deal with the biggest resentment on my list. I'm looking forward to it and dreading it all the same as it will bring things up that I keep putting in the box of hidden emotion.

Without gambling and working the 12 step program, I'm able to deal with these issues much better. Before I would have just buried my head and gambled everything and more away again and again.

Today is a good day, today I have not gambled.

One day at a time

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#18
Well done Simmo...keep it up
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#19
Addiction is a crafty thing to deal with. I'm working the GA program, I have a sponsor that I call every day, I'm going through the steps, I pray every day, I go to meetings. Every now an then I have thoughts of gambling again.

Do I consider doing it? Sometimes, and that scares me. I know where it would take me and I am so much happier living life in recovery, do I want to go back to where I was or even worse? Absolutely NOT.

Yes, I still have thoughts about gambling, as in the beginning it was fun, addiction is progressive, similar to someone who enjoyed a glass of wine after work and ended up drinking a bottle of vodka a day. Addiction has a tendency to try and block out the bad times, in an attempt to lure you back in. Just for today I will not gamble! Addiction, you will not get me today!

Today I do not give these thoughts the power that they are seeking, i am a recovering gambler, someone that chooses not to gamble and to live life with GA intertwined.

Over the last 15 months, these thoughts have been there, but they are getting fewer. I expect them to always be there, and it's a reminder why I must keep going to GA, as if I stop, the thoughts may gain power and lure me back to a place I do not want to be.

One day at a time

Simmo

I had my first of 12 counselling sessions yesterday, and as expected it has floored me with massive resentments and anger. Those emotions coupled with time and money in the past led me to gambling to numb the pain. I now have the realisation that gambling did not make the feelings go away, it just suppressed them only to come back again later with greater strength.

I am so grateful to have GA in my life, as I find myself able to process emotions with a clear head, and I now have the tools to help me stay off of gambling even at times when I feel that I want to escape from the pain in my head. A saying that I've heard that has stuck with me is that "you need to feel to heal".

I have spent years suppressing emotions and feelings, and only now at the age of 38 am I starting to learn how to feel them. Things may be tough, but gambling will make them tougher. It's time to start feeling the emotions and process them without running away from them.

Just for today I will not gamble.

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#20
(05-07-2017, 07:33 AM)turnermd Wrote: Simmo,

Great share, I only have one question.
If you've been doing all the things above, Sponsor, GA meetings and praying that seemed to working for you then what made you go down the counselling route?
Personally I find that talking and dealing with people that are going through the same thing as me they understand and they apricate how difficult recovery is. I don’t think you get the same from a counsellor who is not!! That’s just my opinion that’s why I ‘ve not gone down that route myself.
Have a great bet free day.
Mick.

Hi Mick,

A very valid question, and if it was just the gambling addiction I was dealing with then you are right, I wouldn't feel the need for counselling as working the program is working just fine for that.

This is hard for me to write, but the counselling that I am receiving is targeted to a specific area with a specialist counsellor in that field of work. I do bring up gambling into the discussions, however only as the escape mechanism that I used to use to run away from my feelings. I was groomed and sexually abused by a family friend when I was a teenager and I was left money by that very person after they died. This was a massive trigger and was the point where my gambling addiction escalated.

So the counselling is trauma counselling for sexual abuse and not for gambling, but I will be working with them to try and break the link between the abuse and the gambling debt as it's a very real dark cloud that acts as a reminder every day. It took me 22 years to talk about it and hopefully the counselling is going to help me deal with the feelings.

One day at a time

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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