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There were so many times I could have stopped.
Hi Nat

I too used to suffer from social anxiety (still do to a degree). I would get severe panic attacks when I found myself in large groups of people. To the point where I avoided large social gatherings altogether. It is strange though, as I haven't never really felt the same in a GA meeting. I am not sure why. Although slightly uncomfortable at first I find the meeting environment quite relaxing. And, as there is generally only one person speaking at a time, it is easy to focus on and not be deterred from anything else that might usually trigger a panic attack.

The first meeting I went to was in Watford and, thankfully, it was a small meeting back then, with only a handful of members. I found this very helpful. As time has moved on and I have got used to the meeting environment I have attended larger attended meetings to the point where now I am not phased by the numbers.

There are many 'smaller' meetings around which you might find easier to deal with. I really don't think you should entirely rule it out. I could have easily done this but the necessity for stopping gambling far out-weighed my initial discomfort of a GA meeting.

One thing is for sure, unless you help yourself in some way, this illness will only get worse. You said it yourself and I have heard others mention similar in the past, you were able to stop for 3 weeks or so (could have been any period of time) but when you went back and gambled it was like 'catch up'. If this addiction certainly is progressive and every time you go back to it this are worse can you imagine what the next binge will be like? And the next one, and the next one etc.....

I hope you manage to find something that will aid you to stop gambling. One thing that has helped me in my recovery is one on one counselling. I have an addiction counsellor that I see on a regular basis alongside my GA meetings and I have found it a real aid.

Big Dave (Eastcote/Uxbridge)

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