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One month into my journey
My name is Kez and I'm a compulsive gambler. 

It's been just over a month now since I first joined this site and 3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours since my last bet. 

At first I was very apprehensive as to whether or not GA would be of any help to me, especially as I was starting to realize that my gambling was becoming a problem but didn't really believe that I was a compulsive gambler as in my mind that had to be someone who was gambling thousands and thousands every month. However, I was aware that I was spending too much time gambling and that it was increasing every day and I was even dreaming about it or thinking about it when I wasn't. I was even making sure that I was both home and online for all the big money jackpot games of bingo on the various sites I used. As time progressed I found myself unable to drag myself away from the computer and was even taking the laptop to bed with me leaving it on auto play and waking up every 30 mins to see how I was doing. This was when I started coming here reading all the information available and other peoples stories and the help and advice they were being given. 

I really struggled at the beginning and even after reading what I had found on here I was still going back to gambling right away and thinking that I would stop tomorrow and would be able to do it on my own. This went on for a couple of weeks until I plucked up the courage to register and ask for some advice which only happened after I realized that I couldn't even make it a week on my own. 

Despite everyone that replied saying I should get to a meeting as soon as possible I was still apprehensive and didn't do so right away. I did try again to stop gambling though as I thought that the support from this site would be enough to get me there. It wasn't and I went to my meeting for the first time on Monday 5th September 2011. 

I was never so terrified as I was that day. All day I had been talking to myself saying that I really needed to go, but when the time came to leave the house to go I nearly stayed home instead. It took all my reserves of courage to get in the car and drive to my meeting. When I got there I wasn't sure if I was in the right place so I had to ask someone and was really worried in case I was in the wrong place as that would have been something I would have been very embarrassed about. As it turned out I had found the right place and everyone was very welcoming. I sat through that first meeting determined that I wasn't going to speak, but when the time came I did and felt like a real load had been lifted because of it. 

Things went well for the next 48 hours then I had an emotional evening and without thinking about it went straight online and gambled to escape from the feelings and thoughts that were rushing through my head. I soon realized what I was doing though and at 23:30 on Weds 7th September 2011 I had my last bet before self excluding from the site I was on and logging off the computer. 

In hindsight I should have come on here or picked up the phone and used my phonelist to call someone for support but as everyone knows hindsight is a wonderful thing. 

Going to my next meeting was very hard as I thought that I would be judged for having had a gamble, but I still went anyway. I think a part of me wanted to not give in that easily while another part of me almost wanted me to be judged and snubbed by the group to give me a reason to not go back. In actual fact everyone was very understanding and instead of judging me helped me to understand why I had done it and what I should do differently next time. 

Since then, I've been attending my meetings every week and will continue to do so unless it is unavoidable that I can't attend for some reason in which case I have already decided that I will attend a different group if that happens as there is one most nights in my local-ish area. 

Already I am feeling the benefits of not gambling. I am sleeping a bit better, I am being more sociable and not constantly clock watching, and I also have a bit of spare cash to be able to do things I want to do. 

It's been a shock this last week as my bank statements and credit card bills have come for the previous months and I have seen exactly how much I had been wasting gambling. It was a lot more than I thought it was and it is going to take me longer than I expected to be able to pay it back. Still it's going to be manageable even though my budget is very limited. 

Financially, even though I am in more debt than I expected I'm glad that I realized that I had a problem before my debts got too much for me to handle. It's going to be difficult for a while as I get them sorted out but it's not impossible. The hardest part though is that I need to be very strict with myself and not waste money on other things. I don't have any choice but to manage my own finances which everyone has said to me will be very hard to do, but I am giving myself a weekly allowance for pocket money and being very careful with what I spend on my debit card so that all my bills can be paid. Anything left over at the end of the month I'm going to use to pay extra off my credit card to try and get that paid off as soon as possible, although it is likely to take me at least 2 years to do so. 

In myself I'm noticing a difference already. I'm becoming more confident and with this new found confidence I've decided that I am going to find a job and use the extra income that cones from that to pay off my debts. I've been going into town nearly every day this week looking to see if anywhere has any jobs and applying for them. I'm also feeling like my depression is less intense than it has been for the last couple of years and as a result I am better functioning than I have been in a long time. In fact I've even been working out a schedule of things to do on different days to not only keep me busy and occupied but also to improve my quality of life. 

I am very surprised by how much change I can see in my life already even though it is only a very short time that I have been attending GA and not gambling. At this rate I cannot even imagine what my life will be like in another months time, never mind further away!

I keep the just for today's by my bed and every morning when I wake up I read them before I get out of bed to set me up for the day, then a few times during the day I say the serenity pray to reassure myself and keep me strong. I am hoping to start looking at the 12 steps in more detail than the few read throughs I have done thus far over the next week and as I feel I can to start working through them. I'm seriously thinking about asking my group on Monday if there are any step meetings locally or if they can be done at my group even if it is just on a monthly basis as I know this will be very beneficial to me. 

I never thought that such change would be possible in my life, and it is all due to three main things:
1- not gambling
2- attending my meetings
3- living each day just for today

To anyone who is wondering if GA works, I can say with all honesty that it does if you both let it and want it to. After all what have we got to lose by trying it? When we are at rock bottom there is only one way to go and that is up. 

To everyone that has supported me on my journey so far, I want to say a big heartfelt thanks. I couldn't have made it to this point without all your kind words and encouragement. It means the whole world to me. 

My name is Kez and just for today I will not gamble.

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