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The Journey Begins
#31
Hi STS,

It's been a while since you're last post. Are you OK?

Wishing you well

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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#32
Greetings all,

Apologies for my lack of effort on here lately, and a big thanks to Simmo for sending me a mail to see if I was ok.

The great news is yes I am ok, I'm more than ok at the moment thank you. I have got past the 200 day mark now and I am feeling positive. The world cup has been super enjoyable and when I have had time I've watched as many games as I can.

In 30 odd minutes time I will be cheering for England to overcome a tricky opponent in Sweden.

So what have I been up to? Well, work has been all consuming and I've been doing a fair few hours a week in staying on top of my job.
And the other reason for an a lack of focus on here has been because I have decided to do something and tackle my second biggest compulsion, 5 weeks ago yesterday I joined a well know weight loss group, and I've been ensuring that the family and I are now eating healthy food in the right combinations, and having scared myself silly with weighing in at 20 stone 8lb I pleased to be able to say that 4 consecutive weeks of weight loss later and I'm now 18 stone 10lb. I have a long way to go and my initial target is sub 15 stone, a weight that I haven't been for 20 plus years.

Abstaining from gambling and learning through others the lessons to keep safe has given me the mental strength to know that I can achieve ANYTHING.....and I will do.

I have been going to weekly GA meetings, and find it so inspirational to go and listen, and now begin to contribute in a positive way to other peoples recovery as well as maintaining my own.

My bank balance is doing ok and my credit rating has shot up, with more disposable income through not gambling, we have been able to treat the children a bit more often too. Life is sweet right now.

The weather is good, the football is good, the weight loss is good, the abstinence from gambling is great, and it's all been possible since the day I embraced the GA programme and stopped trying to beat this disease alone and without help.

Keep strong people, you too can use your recovery in more than one positive way in your life. By Christmas I will have my weight under control too, and then I can start to work on raising my fitness levels.

Best wishes to all, I will be posting again soon.

And sincerely, thank you to Simmo, who cares about others, you sir are a credit to humanity. THis forum is lucky to have you.
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#33
Thanks STS, It's really nice to hear such great progress. There are a number of people I know who once stopped gambling, started and continue to progress with weight loss, fitness, healthy eating, stopping smoking etc etc. Isn't it great to have a clear mind to be able to tackle other areas of life that have been neglected through active addiction?

Keep moving forward and well done on the weight loss so far, that's a great achievement. Keep setting small goals, many successes are better than one.

In Unity

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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#34
Hello GA friends,

I've stopped checking my phone for the number of days I haven't now gambled. I don't think it's complacency but an acceptance that it's just a number and actually all that matters is that I don't have a gamble, today, tomorrow, this week, or at any point in the future. It's kind of irrelevant how many days have passed, what is relevant is how I approach my future, and gamble free I do that with a clear mind and a real will to succeed.

I was away last weekend at a friends 50th birhtday celebration, and whilst I'm in my 40's this was a blast back to our youth with Go-Karting and golf the agenda for the weekend (Saturday, Sunday, Monday).

We stayed overnight in cardiff centre on the saturday, and would you believe it we were in spitting distance of the motorpoint casino.....it was visible and only a few hundred yards from our hotel.

Did it call to me? Nope. Did I contemplate getting away with a cheeky little bet? Nope.

I was surprised actually, I wasn't prepared for the lack of feelings, and I'm super happy that my brain and the devil on my shoulder right now is keeping quiet and not troubling me or tempting me.

The karting was fantastic, the night out following is a little hazy, and the golf that followed was beautiful although I was by far the worst player on that weekend.
I had a night on the beer, and 2 further days back on my diet plan, I'm proud of myself that I'm able to battle 2 addictions at the same time now.

6 weeks has yielded me a 2 stone 2lb weight loss, which is more than 10% of my old body weight, and I'm now looking at the remaining 5 stones to see if I can possible complete this within the current year. I would love a Christmas shopping trip with the wife to get a new wardrobe. I can even save a little towards that dream now.

I'm going to 2 GA meetings this week, I went to one last night, and I'll be going to my usual one on Sunday. It's now a lot of comfort to me to go and speak with like minded people about our thoughts, share our sucesses and strategies for staying away, and now I have a new found confidence and beleive that I can help others through my experiences. I won't ever give these meetings up - they are the backbone of my current success and the foundation of my future ones. The day I don't want to go anymore is the day I have a problem. It's for life...and there is no cure.

Keep strong all, don't gamble today or tomorrow, and keep telling yourself that every day.

Best wishes, enjoy another weekend full of sunshine.

STS
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#35
Extra GA session tonight, to make up for the one I'll be missing on Sunday.
A long weekend beckons, this time to celbrate a friend who's about to get married. It's not a stag do apparently but a gather of his closest friends for a spot of friendly golf, good food and wine.

No gambling to report dear readers, I feel blessed and tonight was rewarded with my 90 day GA pen......on day 231 Big Grin

It is though symbolic, and 90 days was by far the toughest part so far. The rest of the time is spent learning avoidance techniques and being consistent in the approach to dealing with that devil on the shoulder.

I had an experience last friday when all sides of the triangle were in play....Time, Money, Opportunity....I had put my foot through a stair in the morning at home, and had managed to book a last minute half day from work. At that point I left, besides my boss and I, no-one else knew I had that half day....As sure as eggs are eggs I had a voice chirp up....

"go on then, no-one will ever know, you're gonna be a winner today, get a bit of the old magic back.."

Well.....the angel on the other should and me speaking out loud in my car, said out loud, "damn right I am, as I'm not going in that bookies, not today, not ever" and I promptly drove by flicked the shop a self gratifying V-Sign, and promptly called my folks for a chat. One of the many techniques I have available in times of a wobble.

It lasted 60 seconds, and in a way I'm glad it hasn't gone away, as I know that I will always have to be so careful and remain consistent in my approach.

Hope y'all doing well, remember meetings are the foundation to my success, if they work for me then they can also work for you.

Keep strong, best wishes for a gamble free existence,

STS
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#36
Hi STS,

Thanks for sharing, it's valuable to accept the fact that the urges will not suddenly disappear, they may not be constant and can in fact be very infrequent, but having a plan of action when they do come is vital to keep on the wagon so to say. Calling someone and sharing the thought is one of the most effective methods I've found so far. Just speaking the words, even if it's to a voicemail processes the thought and the logical part of the brain can have a say about it.

Sounds like your friend wants to remember his stag do, sorry gathering of close friends. I had a activity packed stag do to avoid it getting messy, and it was successful and one to remember. Hope you have a great weekend, weather looks good for most of the country this weekend.

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

In Unity

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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#37
Hello,

Back to work tomorrow after a really lovely holiday in Spain with the family. For once we planned no trips, sightseeing visits and simply took each day as it comes and were led by what the children wanted to do.

Was brilliant, felt and feel totally relaxed and well rested ahead of the final push of the year as we approach Christmas.

In the small town we were in, I beleive there was a casino within walking distance. I say I beleive, I'm sure it was some kind of gambling establishment because of the livery plastered on the windows, however I had no urges, and no wish to put back all the good work of the last 9 months.

I do have thoughts still, and the occasional twinge, but they are becomming less. I'm hoping that one day I can lead a normal life where these thoughts don't enter my head at all, but I'm not sure that is possible. A leopard doesn't change its spots is the phrase, and I think the addiction will always be there. For now it's a case of managing that and controlling that so that I remain abstinent.

I'm looking forward to returning to my regular GA meeting today, as holidays have meant I've missed 2 and a half weeks. I did keep in touch with my group whilst away and I found that helped.

There was also an article about a footballer with gambling problems on the BBC website (bbc three) which I thought was an excellent read, it also had a few coping mechanisms in it which he uses, and whilst I don't agree with them, it's helped me to concede that each person is indeed different and their true path of abstinence is not the same as your own.

The GA rules and practices are a solid foundation and guide but your own interpretation to keep you strong is all that really matters.

Glad to see the forums have been active, and I'm going to spend the next couple of hours reading the new posts. In 3 and a half months time I will be part of the 1 year club, the first year I hope of many.

Keep strong, keep clean, take each day as it comes and be resilient,

BEst wishes to all,

STS
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#38
This disease we carry never fails to try to deliver it's poison.

With my holidays, and last week I had a works do on the Sunday to attend, my GA meetings have been minimal.
I have missed going, and this last week the devil has been on my shoulder every day trying to tempt me to place a bet.

Several times, I have had the time, money and been on my own but from somewhere I've found a resolve to not let the devil win. I don't know where these feelings came from, perhaps I've been overly complacent, perhaps through a lack of attendance, it's allowed some creep in my mind, and these thoughts have bubbled up.

Thankfully though, I have been to a meeting and I come out of it with a sense of relief, that a) I didn't fold and haven't placed a bet, and b) I reset my internal barrier, and have only a few days before my next meeting.

I will not give in to this. I will stay strong, and I will keep going to meetings. Our group continues to grow, and the new members re-inforce just what we've been through in the early stages of recovery. It's tough getting past the habit. I realise this is a battle that will be in my existence every day.

A different sort of post from me. I am slightly ashamed in that the thoughts were so strong, and so persistent, I had begin to think that I was getting to a sense of normal.

Normal though for me is to keep up with the programme, and work harder to go to additional meetings when it's not possible to fit in my regular one. Perhaps I'll even travel to a neighbouring town, do any of you guys do that?

Anyway, I've avoided temptation and this is day 278 of abstinence.

Best wishes, stay strong, you can all do it.

STS
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#39
Hi STS, you have done well in your recovery so far and there's nothing wrong in admitting you had the Internal thoughts of gambling. It just reinforces how strong this illness is.
I don't know if anyone has said this to you yet but there's a phrase we use in my meeting about "playing the tape through to the end". Basically if you get the urge, honestly think to yourself how that will go, or how it went before you walked into the rooms. If you are anything like me it just led to misery and pain. It always will and it always does!
Good work, 9 months is fantastic.
How do I stop gambling?

Honesty.
Open-minded.
Willingness.


Chris.
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#40
Chris_b

I read your message a few weeks ago now, and I have now used that phrase too in my GA group - it's very powerful, and especially for an old codger like me where cassette tapes and video tapes where physical items that I grew up with and loved.

I'm pleased to be able to move on with my life, and I'm proud to be at least a weekly member of my local GA. We've got a good bond with the group going, and many of us are now firm friends. Ask me 12 months ago if I'd be socialising with a bunch of people with a compulsive disorder and I'd have laughed at you.....the laugh would have been derision as deep down I knew I also had a problem.

Two days ago, I reached 300 days of abstinence. And more recently the time seems to have sped up. Most of the time now I am able to walk past bookmakers easier and the magnetic force that the used to have on me has dropped a massive amount. It is still there though, I suspect it always will be.

With my Anti Gamble GA suit of armour on though, I hope to survive and defeat any challenge that I'm faced with.

Determined is the word I am most comfortable with...determined that I will succeed in staying clean from this problem.

I've had a chat with my conscience in the last week or so.....as I've been invited to a quiz night next week. It is for charity and there will of course be prizes for 1st/2nd/3rd etc. Some members of my GA group, would consider anything where you place a bet or in this case an entrance fee for a chance of winning a prize (I presume a trophy and possibly a bottle of wine) as a gamble.

I've thought long and hard about this, and decided that I am happy to not class this as a gamble. If we do happen to win a prize, I am going to give it away immediately, and for any on the night raffle that is held, I will make a donation but will not accept any raffle tickets.

This is a quiz that I've done for many years, and my team mates are ex work colleagues from my original place of work...I started in 1993 so they are old friends that I see rarely.

For me, part of the success of the program, is being able to return (almost) to a normal way of life. I know that I can never have a bet again, and I'm at peace with that.
If people from my group aren't happy with my choice on the quiz, then I will have to live with that. I would though ask anyone that if you consider that a bet, then presumably you consider any pension that you have to also be a bet as 99% of the pensions on offer have some level of risk/reward inbuilt within them.

It's about having that perspective line and being happy with yourself that you're on the right side of it.

Job is going well, am also at the 9 month mark and loving it. it has though got very busy in the last few weeks and my work life balance has shifted towards work a bit. lots of project work on, and thankfully it's beginning to subside, so I hope I can spend more time on the forums/chat rooms to try to offer help and support to other compulsive gamblers.

Hope you are all well,

Determination is the key to staying stopped.

STS
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