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The Journey Begins
#11
Hi STS,

Whenever I go on holiday, I prepare to go to meetings, in fact it's been a great experience meeting new people and it keeps my recovery program on track. Even if you don't goto a meeting whilst on holiday, I would at least research where they are so you can go if you feel you need to. Keep doing what you do you now whilst on holiday, update you forum post, read the orange book, do a gratitude list, ring another member. One thing to remember is that even when our surroundings change our minds come with us.

The financial aspect sounds very positive, one of the best things for me is to remain transparent, make sure someone else knows of the money and talk openly about your plans.

Well done for 77 days, 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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#12
Hey GA family,

It's been a really busy week, and I continue to stay strong and away from the clutches of the devil.

I've also passed my own test, and that one the morning that the money was deposited from my sucessful PPI claim, I have repaid my wife in full, cleared my remaining credit card and got the last bit of my holiday spending money together.

The most surprising thing is that I haven't had those awful thoughts this time. You know the ones where you'd give up eating to hold onto your "gambling money", you'd forget to by your kid his monthly comic to have that extra few pounds to be able to live the dream.

It's a strange world the compulsive gambler lives in, today those thoughts to me seem to be the thoughts of a mad man, a lunatic, someone wihtout a soul, and I guess it's all those things that gambling gave me in exchange for every spare penny that I had. Having done my best to wrestle free I can only liken the FOBT machines to how Dementors are described in the Harry Potter books.

"Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life." Remus Lupin

On that note, I'm going to treat myself with an extra visit to GA this week (tomorrow), and I will be asking about steps, sponsors and putting another meeting between me and the last ever bet.

Stay strong people, stay away from Dementors, it's a much happier place when they aren't part of your life.

83 days today, one day at a time I'm inching closer to triple digits.
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#13
88 days complete. They say 90 is needed to break the habit so taking one day at a time I have 2 days left to hold my nerve...and then I'll be cured forever.....

Oh wait!  STOP !!!!

90 days is ok....but cured? not a chance, I'll never be cured, I'll never be able to bet as a normal human being as I have no control in that environment. The last 88 days of abstinence and GA meetings have shown me, told me and pointed me in the right direction, to accept that I can never have another bet. Should I choose to willfully fold, then the experiences tell me I will fall further, faster and harder than at any point before.

You know what, that scares the heebejeebies out of me. And I've already hit my rock bottom. I never want to feel the way I did in early December 2017....I hope that I have now put down the spade so the hole cannot get any bigger and now it's about climbing my way out, I've made a little bit of progress in that regards, and I am proud of myself for the first time in my life.

I had a great GA meeting this last Sunday, I've found the regulars who go to the Sunday session to be extremely helpful, knowledgeable, challenging and now that I'm comfortable with them, I think upon them as my friends, but ones who help me to stay away from the dementors.

I've started to plan how I'm going to cope without my weekly GA meeting as my holiday is coming ever closer.

I've looked up where and when the local GA group is. This is a worldwide fellowship thankfully.
I've got a number of numbers from the Sunday session, and I will be sending them messages.
I will also have internet, intermittently so I'll be checking in on here too.

And finally, I am hoping to start steps in the next week or so on a formal basis, I want to put as much learning about me in place as I can as I want as many barriers to gambling in place as I can. Since stopping gambling, I have never been happier, one day at a time I'll continue fighting as I never want to return to the me of old.

The new me is much nicer to be around, and even my kids have said so.
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#14
8 days on from my last journal update and made it to 96 days complete. feeling good, strong and positive.

Early days, and a decent PPI payout has made a huge difference to my finances, but whereas before I would have blown the cash on gambling, I've managed to stay strong, pay off credit cards (and close the accounts), and have a little bit to treat myself with.

We have put some of the funds into a new camera, and I can't wait to be snapping away creating happy family memories. This upcoming holiday will be the first where it's actually paid for before I go and not sat on some credit card gathering interest.

I'm sorry for posting up this, as I realise the route out of the big hole is a long and hard one, it is for me too, and whilst I've had this payout and help, I have at least 4 years of payments ahead of me to repay my parents who have helped clear the remaining credit cards completely.

What I was hoping to show, and I've not been too eloquent in explaining, is that by being wholly open with my family, committing to the GA program and showing my family that by going to every meeting that I can, and by handing over cash responsibility to my wife that I am able to change. My family have rallied around and helped me in a monetary way, and in a spiritual way with reassurance and the promise that I can call any of them anytime of any day and that they will be there for me should I get a wobble on.

It's been 5 weeks or so, since I had a wobble, and I was so grateful to be able to call and be open, it got me through what was but a moment in time where I could so easily have gone on a different path.

I would urge any reader, to pick a select few close family or friends, and fully open up to them. Not only is it liberating, but they will then be able to help you stay strong.

So what else has happened.....well.....I have widened the circle of people who know I have this problem, and I have told a few of my closest friends. None of them knew, all were shocked, but surprisingly (why was I surprised? I have great friends), all were incredibly supportive and will have my back should I be drawn to a fruit machine in a pub, or clamouring for a casino on a weekend away. I feel grateful for this additional layer of armour.

Will hit 101 days on my next GA meeting, I can't wait to share it with the guys, as for me it signifies a lasting commitment and big achievement. I hope to still be here posting away when I reach years of abstinence.

I've started to become a bit more active on the online chat room, I hope to help a few of you, especially those in the early days of recovery as it's still very real for me. There are already good experiences that are worth sharing, not as advice as such, but as personal opinions and how I structure things for me, it may help, I hope it does.

For those that haven't checked the chat room out, come along and say hi, there's a wealth of experience in there, and is second only (personal opinion) to a live GA attended meeting. They continue to be my rocks.

Anyway, best wishes to all, stay strong and take one day at a time in committing to a gamble free day.
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#15
103 days now.

A day at a time is a good adage, however I'd say that as time moves on, the urges decline and become less strong.

I know that I need to guard against that moment of weakness that will creep up unnanounced, but that is what the brothership and my friends and family are for. And why each day when I wake I promise myself that for today I will not gamble.
It's worked so far, and I have zero regrets in joining the programme and making the changes.

We had a small slip in our group this last week, and it brought it home to me just how real, and just how easy it can be to change path. Thankfully, the person returned, unburdened and hopefully has been able to clear the fog away and continue on the path forward. My thoughts and prayers are with them, the struggle is very real.

I'm now but a few days away from my holiday and we leave on Friday. I will be in unfamiliar terrority without my own GA network to talk to, and so I approach it with cautious optimism. I do look forward to being able to return to group and update with a clear conscience, and continuance of my journey, there is no doubt in my mind that I will abstain, but who knows what will be put before me to put temptation in the way.

I will aim to check in next week when I get a spare moment, but for now I have to go and pack and ready myself for 2 weeks of fun.

Best wishes to all,

One day at a time, do yourself a massive favour and commit to a gamble free day.
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#16
Understand the apprehension STS because regardless where i go the illness is still with me...
It travels first class in my body, soul and mind....

Keep your recovery tools handy and keep in touch...
All the best...

Smartie xx
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#17
TY Smartie Smile tomorrow we fly, so I really should be in bed as I'm getting up in 4 and a half hours.

Stay strong all and best wishes.
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#18
Hello all.
Almost half way thru the holiday which has been so much fun. Thanks to stopping gambling have been able to treat the kids to few things and had a little shopping spree with the missus. Got some. New clothes which is the first time in many years that I've been able to afford them worry free.

There is an arcade room on site which the kids spotted first night however I have been nowhere near it and the children haven't bothered with it either.

No thoughts of gambling, been way too busy for that.

Checked in with a message to my group last week and will do the same this week.
113 days now and it's feeling good.

Stay strong, together with the GA programme we can abstain from gambling one day at a time.

Best wishes to all
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#19
(06-04-2018, 02:27 AM)StrengthToStop Wrote: Hello all.
Almost half way thru the holiday which has been so much fun. Thanks to stopping gambling have been able to treat the kids to  few things and had a little shopping spree with the missus. Got some. New clothes which is the first time in many years that I've been able to afford them worry free.

There is an arcade room on site which the kids spotted first night however I have been nowhere near it and the children haven't bothered with it either.

No thoughts of gambling, been way too busy for that.

Checked in with a message to my group last week and will do the same this week.
113 days now and it's feeling good.

Stay strong, together with the GA programme we can abstain from gambling one day at a time.

Best wishes to all

Hi STS, 

thanks for checking in, I still find it amazing the things that are possible when not gambling.  Glad you are enjoying your holiday, good idea keeping away from the arcade, my son's eye widen with all the flashing lights, he's only 4 but I can see addictive tendencies in him already.  

Stay safe

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
Greetings,

Where has the time gone? It's been a couple of weeks since I posted, however I am very pleased to be able to say that I have not wandered off the path.

I had a fabulous holiday, made a lot of memories that will last my lifetime, and really did enjoy life with my family. Not once did I miss or think about having a gamble, finding a bookies or wasting money in an arcade.

Since I've been back I have started my new job on a permanent basis, and have been working hard to get on top of what is a responsible and pivotal role in a new and growing fast company. I'm hopeful that with a lot of hard work the rewards will help me generate enough money to be able to repay my parents in full and in a reasonable period, but time will tell.

The adage of 90 days I feel is a good and true one, and the habit of gambling is gone. Albeit without diligence in following the program it could return at any time.

On that note, since I've been back I returned immediately to my GA group and will continue to attend on at least a weekly basis. I see this now as continual therapy, and a milestone each week to get to be able to tell the room, that there is no gambling to report. As I become embedded further into the group I find that I can contribute more to the new members who continue to walk in, and pass on my experiences for them to take what they can out of.

Same here, I've been absent from the chat room because of holiday, but will endeavour to get online for an hour or so once or twice a week.

I have another immediate test coming up though, and this Saturday I am back on a plane heading accross the pond for a work implementation week with the new company. There are 3 of us going, and whilst I don't expect to see anything other than the inside of the hotel we are staying in, there will of course be things that will tempt me, and that I need to be strong with. I will be without my wife, and without my parents close to hand to help me. And of course, I will miss another week of GA meetings.

I will though check in on whatsapp, and here if possible as it helps to keep me grounded.

Today is day 127, over a third of a year now, I feel strong and positive, and I know that at least for today I will not gamble. I will take tomorrow as it comes but will continue with my routines and will be doing my best to stay on the good path.

One day at a time, I choose a life without gambling, and long may it stay that way.
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