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Hi Andy

It is great that you went to a meeting. Was it before or after the meeting that you gambled?

You know as well as I do that you must put measures in place to help you stop gambling. Often spoken about 'barriers' should be enforced to enable the task of not gambling to be a whole lot easier.

Some barriers that might help you. Don't carry money around with you, it burns a whole in everyone's pocket. Phone someone (another GA member, or just anyone) when you get a strong urge to gamble. Don't go near gambling establishments, if you are nowhere near them you can't go in them.

One of the most important barriers I have always had in place is to think twice. The majority of problems that have occurred in my life, due to gambling, have been through acting on impulse. It is my downfall as an addict. When ever I find myself with a choice or dilemna I make sure I think about what lies in front of me. I have often found myself take reference to the guidance I have gained in GA, either from its members or from literature. I will always find a less damaging option to whatever it is I am contemplating.

All barriers that a person needs to put into place require effort though. They, unfortunately, cannot easily just be put into place/practice. We are creatures of habit, therefore we must continually and consciously do these new coping mechanisms in order for them to be successful. After a period of time we will get used to doing them and they become much easier to have in our lives.

I hope this is the start of better things for you Andy. Try and find it in yourself to accept the help GA has to offer. And, stop feeling sorry for yourself. We have all been were you are, many of us worse, so stop thinking that the whole world is against you. If you look close enough you will fill that it is YOU against you....let go of it!

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
Good to hear your back at meetings Andy

Maybe time to work the simple programme GA offers you - the 12 step recovery programme?

Attending meetings is part of the answer, but its only a part of the solution...

Maybe next meeting pick up the sponsor booklet from the literature box?

Keep going Andy...

As Dave suggests why not ring other GA members this week? Not just when your struggling but why not when times are good? It makes it easier to ring when I'm in the habit of ringing others..

Smartie xx
Is it really about winning and losing?!

I used to think it was, but that was when the addiction had its grips into me, that was when I was a puppet to my addiction and it held the strings.

The only thing that would happen if I 'won' was it would allow me to gamble more and for longer. I used to go into a bookies with the pure intention to win money, whether it be for a bill, a new tv, a overdue debt, etc... but as soon as I got into that zone all my intentions went out of the window. The reasons for going in were just a lure, a trap set by my illness to get me into action so I could temporarily escape from the pain and frustration of my immediate life.

Until the 'fog of gambling' lifted from my thoughts I could not see beyond the 'madness' you speak of. It is the same for most of us when we first stop gambling, until we get that clarity of thought seeing our gambling as anything different is a difficult task.

You have to let go Andy! The past is the past, it has gone, you cannot get it back, you know this. Even if you were to go and place a bet and win do you really think you'll be able to walk away, I don't think so. There are many things that I regret from my past, even some that I find hard to come to terms with now but, and I quote, 'life must go on'.

Please Andy, just try and concentrate on not gambling for the moment, nothing else, one day at a time. If that is too difficult then do an hour at a time. Get a little bit of time away from gambling under your belt for now.

I good friend of mine in GA often says "put the fire out first, then we can work on the destruction caused". Keep it simple, the first few weeks/months are going to be difficult enough without having to worry about changing and 'working the program'. Once the pain has died down then you can look at getting better.

I did it (miraculously) and so can you!

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
You know some who read your posts and wonder whether you really do want to stop gambling, I am certainly starting to wonder if you do.

Do you?

If you do then you should not be checking form of horses and results of races.

I think you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and put some effort in. Stopping gambling for an addict is not just going to happen just because there is a small desire not to do it. It requires effort. And in the bigger picture, as it mentions in the GA orange book, it requires 'diligent effort'.

Andy, the bookies never stole your money, you gave it to them! They never forced you to enter their establishments and place a bet. You have given them your time (which can never be got back) and part of your soul too by the sounds of it. How much more are you going to give them?

If you continue like this there is going to be only one winner Andy and before you think it, no, it's not the bookies, it will be the addiction.

Don't let it rule your life any more!

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
Everyone has a right to post what they want on here, but you're right, Andy's recent posts have been very negative and to a degree repetitive.

I personally find them helpful. And, I have to say, I commend Andy for being so open. Many GA members are so withdrawn when they first stop because they cannot speak so openly or don't have the ability to, whether in this forum or in a GA meeting.

For sure, I wish Andy would pull his head out of his backside and see the bigger picture, but I also remember the mess I was in when I first stopped gambling. For months I really struggled. The addiction really did have its claws into me. I was not working and had very little money. I am 100% sure that if I had any I would have gambled because on a daily basis I literally yearned for gambling, just to take the pain away for a short while.

Thankfully I didn't, but it was tough. I got through the 'cold turkey' which seemed to never end. I know that many GA members find it very difficult to cope without that escape (the gambling) that they have been accustomed to for so long, which is why I often comment on posts such as these.

I suppose I was not much different when I first came to GA. I had 'selective' hearing and didn't adhere to the majority of the suggestions being made to me. I am sure there were a few members who got frustrated with me and wanted to just shake me because I was stuck in a rut and wasn't taking heed of their advice.

So, you see, I cannot allow my observation of Andy's posts to be any different to how people saw me once. They stuck with me although I was not always saying what they wanted to hear, I did still want to stop gambling and that was good enough for them. We all have the same illness, an illness that constantly tells us we are not ill. The addiction manipulates my thoughts (if I allow it) when I am weak, but today I have control over that because of those other GA members who never gave up on me.

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)
Read the 'new to ga' link on the main ga page?........... explains about ga and how it can help?

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