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Dual Addiction
My name is ricky and I am a compulsive gambler.

It has been 3 days since I last gambled and boy did I go out with a bang.  Sunday 10th December 2017, my wife was out I had been drinking from 2pm and watched  all the Super Sunday football games.  I had already bet on all the games and all bets were beaten.  I, in my drunken state managed to open a new account, were I went into the casino and blew a 4 figure sum.  When I finished gambling I then proceeded to wreck a personal relationship with a family member over the phone and got my wife involved in this.  

When I awoke from my drunken slumber early on Monday morning I had a gut feeling something was very wrong.  My wife ripped into me and I broke down and started to tell all.  Bit by bit (it was like I couldn't tell her everything all at once).  I was so ashamed of myself.  I had been gambling and drinking for 37 years.  I felt I could take or leave drink and gambling when I wanted.  Just another lie. My stomach churning and my heart flying, my suitcases packed, I was being told to leave our marital home.  Our daughter was going to work and had heard us arguing from 3am.  It was slowly sinking into me that I was not only hurting myself, I didn't realise that when I drank and gambled what a horrible person I was.  It was sobering to say the least that a child has more wisdom than I.  After all I was the 'father 'figure that everyone looked up to.  The one that solved all problems in the home. Ha!!! I was the biggest problem and I couldn't see that.  

After being told that "I wish you were dead!  I wish I had never met you" and more words than I can remember.  My wife agreed I could stay and to help me if I went off the drink and the gambling.  FOR GOOD!  My 'Dual Addiction'.  I have agreed to this and after some research I joined this forum. 

Last night (Wed) I attended my first GA meeting and walking into that room was very difficult.  I had so many what if's going through my head.  I was greeted by a man who introduced himself and shook my hand.  All the what if's were gone and I could immediately see that I was going to join a band of very similar people.  After listening to several members talk I was asked if I wanted to contribute?  I thought yeah no problem to me, however, the more I got in to telling my story the weaker my voice got and I could hear my own voice trembling and the tears welled up in my eyes.  I was no longer seeing anyone in the room.  I was lost in pain and anger, the realization of what I have been doing was finally sinking in. The hopelessness the stomach churning, the pain was almost unbearable.  But when I stopped talking and exhaled deeply, the man who had met me as I walked into the door, interjected, thanked me for my contribution and highlighted the importance of telling all, "wiping the slate clean" He also spoke about the importance of accepting that the money is gone.  The meeting soon ended and everyone shook hands.  One of the members offered his phone number and said "If you want to meet for a coffee or are struggling at anytime, call me".  Another member explained that he could visit my home and talk to my family members to try and get them to understand my illness, if I was struggling to get through to them.  I thanked them both and accepted the phone number.  I have mentioned this mans offer so we will talk with our children at length.  For now my wife wants just the immediate family involved, she says I must be stronger before others need to be told, indeed if they even ever need to know. I was given some literature which I will read and here's hoping I can get through this.

I have scheduled a counselling session, so I will start that and keep up the GA meetings.  I am in the middle of making up a file with all my credit card and loan debts.  Column by column page by page.  Who I owe, how much I owe, the payment dates and the balances.  My wife is totally on-board with this and she will be taking over my finances.  She says that to visibly see my debts going down to zero on the pages will hopefully inspire me, helping me as a tool in my recovery.

One day at a time, this is day 4, today I will not gamble.

Its good to talk
Hi Ricky,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I was in mixed emotions when reading, firstly I felt sad for you and your family, as I know first hand the pain involved in addiction, to ourselves and our loved ones. But the more I read, this sadness changed to hopeful. Addiction has a tendency to take us to breaking point before a switch in thoughts and feelings. I will be 21 months in recovery tomorrow and going to GA every week is the key ingredient to successful recovery. Working the 12 step program is hard at times, but the rewards are immense and are only felt by doing them. There's no quick fix, it's a personal journey, one that can be very fulfilling and my life in recovery is better than all of my years in active addiction.

I look forward to hearing your progress.

One day at a time

One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
Hi, it has been 2 GA meetings and 15 days from I last drank alcohol and did a bet.  I have been on the whole very strong and adamant I will not relapse.  However there have been dark, quiet times, were I look back and think if only I had done this or that, the opportunities missed.  I know this is wrong but I did it.  Possibly part of my 'beating me up' process.  I have noticed also how very short-tempered I have become. Is this part of 'the denial' phase?  I have to get rid of the anger.  This is festering inside me, depressing me, I tell myself every day how much a better person I will be when I have recovered and start to enjoy living again. This makes me smile and gives me hope that one day! Phew who knows? One day at a time.

I am looking forward to Christmas.  I have always carried out a lot of socializing over the festive period so the challenge is there.  I have a mental strategy of things to do that will keep me busy and away from the bars and the bookie shops. I have talked my ever supportive wife into starting hill walking again.  We are looking forward to our first big outing on boxing day.  (All the gear but no idea, lol).  This will take up a big part of this top gambling and drinking day. Coping strategy I hope!

 I have also made up a 'debt book' highlighting all my creditors , each one on a different page.  Each has Name, payment due date, amount paid and amount outstanding. Hopefully watching each 'outstanding' column shrink down until it is zero will both motivate and inspire me. 

I say the GA prayer daily and read my first 90 days booklet also.  I find that this is very helpful.

Its good to talk.
My name is Ricky and I am a compulsive gambler.

It has been 7 weeks since I last gambled. My journey continues with me every morning and night reciting the GA 'Serenity' prayer. A small but very helpful recovery tool for me.

Gambling enters my head now only when I receive triggers like seeing an advert on TV or catching a glimpse of a racehorse on the news. I feel a lot calmer inside now as I begin to eradicate my debt. I like every gambler, wish this part was finished and occasionally ponder with the 'what ifs' in my head, if this team or that had of scored, if I had only did 5 teams in my accumulator not 6, (as it always seemed that only 1 team would let you down on so many occasions). So many what ifs or is it if only? When this occurs I remember the phrase 'Look back but do not stare'. This helps to ground me again and the reality of my debt pierces my heart like a thorn. Slowly, slowly this debt will be repaid!

I still am feeling so disappointed and ashamed inside, so when I meet people and they tell me about their winners and losers I just shrug my shoulders or congratulate them, not admitting to these people that I am a compulsive gambler in recovery. I see this as a weakness, hiding my shortfalls from these people, but with time and with the confidence of being gamble free for longer, perhaps one day I will say "Really, well done, or sorry to hear that, but I have stopped gambling". Looking forward to that day.

I am currently attending a GA meeting once a week and I cannot stress enough how enlightening and content these meetings leave me feeling. The stories and experiences of other gamblers help me in recovery and when we can all laugh together or feel the hurt of a fellow gambler it really brings home to me the importance of sharing your experiences with other like minded people. I know the GA program will not suit everyone and you have to be very brave to walk through the door for the first or indeed the second time, but as everyone gets to know your name, or you see the smile of recognition from a fellow group member you begin to feel that you are in the right place and that these meetings will help you.

Its good to talk.
It's refreshing to see progress, and also comforting to see others getting from the fellowship that I once felt in early days of recovery, and still do today. The feelings of quilt and shame do pass the more you work the program, give yourself compassion, addiction is an illness, the compulsion is not a choice.

Keep going to meetings, keep working on recovery, keep off a bet.

One day at a time

One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
Hi my name is Ricky and I am a compulsive gambler.

It has been 84 days since I last gambled.  I am getting stronger, as I no longer want to 'Give my money away'.  I am actually becoming a bit 'thrifty' with my money.  I continually remind myself how many hours I must be at work to pay for things, both large and small.

I am still paying back my debts and will be for a few years, but I know that if I try the quick fix of gambling to get the 'Golden egg' the Golden ticket' or that one 'Big payout' I will never get out of debt. The problem with compulsive gambling is that you can never win enough.  I have been there, when after a big win, I feel absolutely brilliant for a few short hours, then the addiction starts again.  The feeling that your 'On a roll'. 'My luck has finally changed' 'I'm going to win back all I have lost' etc etc.... all these thoughts play in your mind and off you go back gambling until you've lost the lot AGAIN.  The feeling you get in your stomach when you realize that you have lost all your money and you've maxed out your credit cards and you've taken as much credit as you can possibly get and you still have nothing, is a feeling that you should NEVER forget.  For it is that feeling, or the memory of it, that inspires me daily to not gamble.

I still attend a GA meeting once a week and for me this is just fantastic.  Yes its the same people most weeks with an occasional new person who appears just once, most of these unfortunate people just listen then leave and never return.  I think about them in my prayers and hope they find solace.  I think perhaps some people don't fully understand what the GA offers you.  You have to come to the meetings with an open mind, listen to what other people are saying, understand that the common bond is the destructive nature of gambling and try to learn how to cope with not gambling on a day to day or hour to hour basis.  Some peoples stories will truly humble you, other peoples stories will make you all laugh, as each member tells how they are getting on in their recovery you start to see a pattern develop, in your mind, it is this pattern that you can use to stay off the gambling.  When you realize how much hurt you can cause your loved ones' through your lies and deceit.   When you realize that the money is gone.  When you realize that gambling will destroy you and all that you have.  When you realize that people love you for being you, not the money you spend on them. When you realize these things and more, perhaps then and only then will you truly admit defeat and say enough is enough.  

Congratulations to you if you are still gamble free and for those of you who read this and are still gambling, remember that feeling deep in your gut, the hopelessness and despair you feel and try to stop giving away your money.

It's good to talk
Ricky1, well done, and great progress, you are a few days ahead of me, but from your story we've trod a similar path.

I also see GA as my enlightenment, barrier to future gambling, knowledge base, and not only a therapy, but a way of getting all things off my chest in a rubber room. Helps massively to talk through and relate other day to day things and gain advice from the room.

I've also seen a number of "new", "returning" people come back to the GA meetings, some stay a week, some a few weeks, and some I haven't ever seen again.
The one constant that I do see though is those that don't attend have a high percentage of failure to stay clean. The thing is, and what I don't understand is that everyone that is a returner states this in the room, but they don't always seems to learn from it.

Guess we are all different, and very early days on our journey but the commitment to go at least once a week for the rest of my life is strong here. I never want to return to the sorry mess that I was.

So..echoing what Ricky has said, attendance at meetings make the path easier, they make you stronger, and I also urge anyone reading this to attend as often as you can. With an open mind you will find fulfilment and be able to change your life around hugely.

Best wishes to all, stay strong and tackle each day as it comes.

Thanks Ricky, good to read your story, it's inspiring.
It's exactly what I have learnt this time around in GA. Regular attendance is paramount to continued recovery. It's no coincidence that ever since I have been going to GA every week I've stayed off of gambling for nearly 2 years now. There are many tools that I have learnt to deal with urges etc, but the most important thing I have learnt is to keep going to meetings, keep recovery top of the agenda and the rest of your life is easier to sort out with a clearer head.

You are doing very well and seem to be learning a lot, please keep posting, it not only helps you but many others that read your posts.

Just for today I will not gamble, one day at a time

One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
Other than what's been said, I try not to forget that meetings are the tip of the program GA offers. Sure the 12 steps of recovery are mentioned often in meetings and that sponsors regulary offer to support others through this program.....If not ask about it next time you go....

Keep up the honesty...

Smartie xx

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