Hands up if you're starting again...again!

I hate that this is where I am once again, but I know being angry at myself is the wrong approach.


This is the third time I've started a new journal, with a new day one. The silver lining I have is that my bank account still has a balance and the bills being charged on Monday morning will go out no problem. But I gambled again and that hurts.


The debts I have from previous gambling periods are going down, which again is a positive. These are loans with high minimum payments, so there's no option but for me to contribute. When I had credit cards before I would pay them down and then spend them again so this is definitely progress.


I think today, I just need someone else to wave and say "me too, but we'll be ok!".


Thanks for reading


Hey Emma


Well done for coming back,your line


"I hate that this is where I am once again, but I know being angry at myself is the wrong approach." - Anger certainly wont help, use the energy to move you forward So you've been here before, what is it that isnt working for you,,


what can you do to help yourself find a positive outcome? what can you change ?


Thank you so much for your comment.


I have been thinking about this and emails from casinos are definitely one thing that encourages me to gamble, even when I've been away from it for a while. Boredom is also a big factor. Immediate unsubscribe when any emails come through is an obvious first step and having things planned for quiet days when boredom strikes is another.


At least I can bring my lessons forward from previous attempts and I'm now more capable of stopping for good!


Good day Emma

Thank you for restart of your new life. yes this habit is a destructive and all the negative words we can used to best describe it.

Reality check you and your mind is the force figure in this whole new wave of thinking. You fighting for your health is your key focus, whereas your mind is more focused on regaining control over the financial status in your life.

It is a battlefield and you are going to start rewiring your mind set with positive words of affirmations each moment you are awake,


Keep this journal and you are going to overcome this habit.

Keep focus on rewiring your mind


I love that so much! I need to rewrite my mindset and affirm to myseld that I am moving forward with strength. Thank you so much for your supportive comment!


Hi Emma,

You are here and you are working at recovery .

Well done.

Another idea might be to close old email accounts and open new ones which have not been used for gambling.


Keep strong Emma- keep your barriers high and remember relapse is not inevitable!

You can so do this !


Unfortunately deleting emails isn't an option as they are used for so many other things at the moment, but I like your thinking!


Thank you so much for your supportive comment, having this community will really help me. Especially in these early days!!


First of all, thanks for your comments on my thread - I was touched.


I am very interested in boredom as a trigger, because I would say that it was one of mine when I was in action, yet these days I would say that I am very rarely bored.


I used to work as a Careers Adviser - with teenagers! One of the standard answers when I asked about subjects they disliked at school was "it's boring!" Yet that never got us very far, because boring varies so much between people. What I find boring, you might find really interesting and vice versa. So I would ask them what they meant by boring - as if I didn't understand the term and usually they replied by saying they would much rather be doing something else - so they "switched off."


I think that "switching off" is what we do when we gamble, but perhaps it is stopping us from getting the most out of life.

Maybe boredom is a barrier that we need to work through - I know people who have said that they found learning to play an instrument boring after the initial interest, but once they worked through that, they found it interesting again.


Or perhaps boredom is a state of mind. People might say that sitting, doing nothing for an hour, is boring; others would call it meditation and look forwards to it (especially as a break from a busy day.)


I also wonder if boredom is a sign that I am not living the life I really want. I sometimes used to ask myself the question, "if I could do anything what would it be?" Then I had a goal to work towards (in my case travelling.) When I was first trying to stop (and looking for other things to do rather than gamble,) I worked out that I didn't have a lot of experience of things; perhaps I could call them "outside my comfort zone."


I hadn't travelled outside my home country at that stage (I was 31!) I'd never been on a plane. I made a list of things I had never tried that might be fun to do - and worked through them. Some I did find "boring" (a chess club!) Some became almost new addictions (jive dancing!) The important thing was that I didn't let the thought, "oh that will be boring" get in the way of me trying them out.


This year I decided to make a new list of 52 things I have never done and then work through doing them ... except I couldn't think of 52 things. So I worked on 52 treats instead.

So far I have done three - all new things, with mixed results, but I keep trying to make life more interesting and less boring.


Anyway I hope I have given you some ideas of things to try to work through the trigger. So, as I am in danger of becoming boring myself, I will leave it there. I wish you well!


Thank you Steev, this really helps!


Something I have learned in recent months is to dig a bit deeper and I definitely intend to meditate on my habits every day during my recovery. Boredom for me, on the surface, is often laziness around finding something stimulating to do when I have down time.


I, and I imagine many others, rely so much on technology these days to entertain me in one way or another that I struggle to stay away from it. 


There is definitely so much more to gambling than the habit itself isn't there. And there is so much more stopping it than avoiding casinos!


Ah I love a good reflection!


This evening I realised that I still had access to an online casino. I went onto the website, stared at the deposit button for a few seconds and then headed straight towards the self exclusion section. No access for five years, done.


This evening, instead of staring at my phone I am going to step away and do some meditation and stretches instead. I won't go to bed having spent £50 and feeling regret, I'll go to bed having looked after my mind and my body. Just the thought of it already has me feeling better!


To anyone who doesn't gamble this will make very little sense, but I know you guys understand.


This morning I looked at my bank balance and it is the same as it was this time yesterday. THE SAME!


Normally that number would disappear down down down in £10 increments over the day until I either pull myself out of the gambling ditch or hit £0.


The impact of just two days gambling free is tiny in some ways and huge in others. This small thing really does give me a massive boost of encouragement.


To help me out, I'm also doing some budgeting work. Helping my finances should definitely support my recovery.


Oh I feel good today, thanks for always reading and supporting guys!


I'm incredibly lucky to be on holiday with my family right now. Thanks to their company, I've honestly not thought about gambling once.


I'm now on day 6 and ready to celebrate my first week tomorrow. Going gambling free feels different this time. I've noticed that my focus is far more towards the future, instead of looking back at what I've had and what I might be missing out on. That in itself is progress!


Of course, one day at a time is the best way to look at this!


I also had a period last year for 3 months where I didn't gamble. In that period I learned to run, train properly and managed to lose 12kg and run a marathon after 3 months of training. Not only this but my debts were soaring off my list and my wife was even happier and getting into training as well and we were all happy. I guess what I'm trying to say is when you give positive energy around you, then everyone will follow and it's the same with negative. This is one reason we should avoid hurting our loved ones as much as possible because they are part of the addiction too. We need to think like leaders of the pack and where we go.... the pack goes. So I am similar to you in the fact that I've stumbled in the past 4 weeks again and I've managed to gamble what we recovered from debt + more so we're in an even worst spot. However my parents are now aware (Before it was only my wife) and I've finally started going to GA so I'm thinking very positive this time around and feel like I've got all the tools I need to quit. Aslong as we never gamble again, the debts actually don't mean much. I'm happy and I'm sure you are too to pay off all our debts as long as we know we're never going to gamble again. Let's try make that our mission and keep everyone around us happy. Best of luck with your journey!


Thank you so much for your comment!


One thing I can fortunately say, is that after digging myself into the debt hole a couple of years ago I no longer reach to further borrowing to support my gambling habit. Over the past year or so I have simply spent the funds available to me in my current account. Whilst this isn't a positive, I have avoided making my debt worse at least.


Moving forward now, knowing that the money I have in my account is safe too as long as I remain gambling free, it feels really good.


I'm so glad that you feel happy. Often our mental health can have the biggest influence on our habits!


We can both continue on this road with happiness and motivation knowing that it is taking us to a much better place!


Home from my holiday today and feeling full of positivity. It might be the sunshine and vitamin D that have me feeling good, but I'm going with it!


Coming back to the normal routine at home this week might be more of a challenge for me, but knowing that I already have 11 days gambling free under my belt is a strong start. :)


I'm on day 12 today and I can honestly say that I haven't had the urge to gamble in about a week.


Having relapsed before, I don't take this for granted. This is when journaling and paying attention to my positive habits is most important.


My bank balance is improving, which motivates me so much. Having been in serious financial trouble in the past as a result of my gambling, seeing the growth is giving me a lot of strength and focus.


It's another good day and I am going to work hard to make sure this continues!


Tomorrow marks two weeks of being gambling free!


Just typing that feels really good. This time last month I was in a horrible pit of gambling, then self-excluding, then finding a new online casino to play on, then self-excluding. I lost more money than I could afford to, at a time when I was already struggling and income was low. My mental health took a dive as a result too and I really had to work hard on pulling myself out of it.


Today, I feel like I can breathe. I may still have some loans hanging over my head which will take me a long time yet to pay off, but my excessive spending has stopped and I feel a bit more in control of my money now. Thankfully my income is recovering a bit too.


Any tips for not getting complacent would be much appreciated though! That's what has happened to me in the past. When I stop and think "I can handle a £20 deposit, that'll be fine". That's when it all falls apart.

I don't want that to happen again.


If I could have advised myself several years ago - it would be to re-invent myself. 


I was a gambler.  Then some-one with a gambling problem.  Then a recovering gambler.  Later I thought of myself as a non-gambler ... which is where I am today - except that I never think about gambling (except perhaps when I come here) but I think of myself as a traveller.


So my tip would be to think of yourself as a non-gambler.  Act into being a non-gambler.  You are not in the least bit interested in gambling and when that spare £20 comes along you will think - well I'm a non-gambler so I won't be putting it into a machine ...


Eventually you will come up with the "new you" - your new life as an artist, or a animal lover, or - whatever rocks your boat.  Until then being a non-gambler is a good place to start!


Steev, for some reason this has never occured to me.


I still consider myself as someone with a problem, no wonder it's difficult to move on! I'm going to spend a lot of time thinking about this today. I think that "someone who is doing well in recovery" feels right for now. Thank you for giving me the boost to move on :)


Doing a little dance party with myself this morning.


The sun is shining and I am officially two weeks gambling free. Damn that feels good to type.


Just popping on to celebrate another day. I paid bills this morning that in the past I have hidden from. I sent money to a friend to pay for a trip in August that I'm looking forward to, instead of fearing.


When you're in the depths of gambling your focus is purely on the slots in that moment. You are chasing wins and the adrenaline rush of the slots spinning round and round. In that moment the blinkers are on and nothing else seems to matter!


I wouldn't, for some bizarre reason, be thinking about tomorrow or next week. About the bills that would be due in 5 days or the big expense of Christmas around the corner (hello me at the end of last year). All I cared about was playing the games.


Of course if you're here, you know what happens next. You empty your account. Then look up, wondering where the time has gone and what's going on around you.


Wait...my £183.40 bill is coming out of my account in two days?! But I just spent every last penny I had!!


In hindsight that seems insane, but I know how easy it is to burry your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is wrong. Looking back, this perspective really gives me hope that I will never go back to being someone who is addicted to gambling.


Steev, I'm grateful for your insight. Before I would think of myself as someone who gambled. Now I look at that person in the past, learning from the behaviour and knowing that I am no longer there.


Moving on is a wonderful thing. It feels incredible.


Emma , well done on such great progress.

It’s a great feeling when you know there’s is money to meet our expenses .

I like reading your thread because you have a very positive mindset - and I truly believe that while we need barriers and other support to help us especially in the early days, mindset is key to success!


Keep doing everything you are doing and keep noticing the rewards that stopping gambling gives us.


Can I just thank you for acknowledging my positivity. I have been worried that it was a bad way to journal as the struggle of having a gambling addiction can bring a great depression, one which I've experienced many time over, and I was concerned about rubbing my positive attitude in the face of others. Of course that's not my intention, but I worry about it anyway.


If you're reading this and thinking "I wish I was that chirpy" please know that you will be soon. It just takes time and growth. I still have such a long way to go, but I'm also grateful for where I am right now.


I'm so disappointed to say that after over two weeks of being gambling free that little "oh maybe just try a wee (small for any none scots) bit of gambling" voice is back. I'm not sure why. It's a quiet weekend and I wonder if it's just because I don't have many distractions around me? Of course, I'm not going to act on it. That I am sure of. I knew this feeling would come up for me at some point, but I hadn't thought it would be so soon. Especially as I've been feeling so good recently. I'm going to read a good book, probably one on personal development, to lift me out of this. It's just another hurdle I need to get over and I'm definitely capable of getting over it!


I feel that chirpy Emma !

Although gambling can sink us to the depths, I think for many of us it is our eternal optimism that makes us so vulnerable to gambling addiction.


I am a teacher and I am blown away by your post on my thread - I am going to build exactly what you have suggested into my school’s curriculum!


I agree if we were taught things like how to deal with those people who drown out energy in one way or another alongside our manners we could have asserted ourselves so often instead of trying to “be good” and polite - we could cut off the energy drainers before we found ourselves running for an escape activity.


Never stop being positive xx


Thank you so much for your supportive response! I am the kind of person who is positive most of the time, and then curls up in fear of judgement from others every so often when I feel vulnerable for being myself. Too often the opinions of others stops us from doing and being what would make us most happy and most comfortable. Maybe I'd be less inclined to gamble if I felt more able to be more of myself.


Such an interesting thought and I'm so glad that you raised the subject!


Hi Emma Thank you for your post on my thread. I replied in full on there. Hope all is going is well for you.


hope to meet u in chat soon xx


Today marks three weeks gambling free! It actually feels like a lifetime since I last gambled. That maybe suggests that I miss it a bit and I need to watch that reaction to make sure I don't fall down again.


I'm excited to celebrate my progress but I'm not getting complacent. Looking forward to celebrate one full month!


Celebrate each moment being free from the thoughts of that habit. Be honest. Take a walk enjoy the beauty of nature site seeing bird watching. Have fun loving yourself. Be you think thoughts to build your self worth. Keep that same positive energy its powerful. Enjoy your life. 


Rooting for you. Do have bless week. Keep the journal of your progress journey. 


Be thankful always 


Thank you! All the positive wishes to you as well.


It really does make you feel free doesn't it? :)


Emma

A massive well done!

You are days away from a full month and full aware of how sneaky this addiction is .

For me this was the time when the addiction would whisper in my ear that I could chance £20 and then stop - it never happened like that for me ! I i think l awareness is a huge factor in staying stopped. It helps me to notice my thinking all the time and challenge any gambling thoughts.


Hope you are feeling very proud of yourself - I’m proud of you .

Keep strong xx


I'm exactly the same. That's why the title of this post has again...again. It happens so easily if you don't keep your guard up.


The sun just came out after pouring rain as I typed this reply. I'm seeing progress in so many different ways! Oh and of course, feeling proud too.


Recovery is amazing Emma and as you describe we see progress in so many ways .

It may be as simple as having out minds relaxed enough to notice that sun come out or to appreciate the small luxuries we can now buy for ourselves.

It may even be recognising how much we deprived ourselves in the past and how much we deserve this.


Keep strong Emma - you are doing so well.


Emma - you posted in my journal a few weeks back and it is great to see your continued success. I wish you the best as you soon reach one month GF!!! I hope to join you soon (I am 12 days GF). As others have commented, your positive attitude is a great inspiration.


That's really kind of you to say, thank you!


I'm so excited for you to celebrate your two week mark. It really does feel so good to tick each milestone off! Keep going and make sure to celebrate every tiny win.


i suffered a big loss that wiped out my savings. I won it all back and about 4k more only to lose the extra bit and a little more. After that second loss I was back to having recovered about 85% of my initial savings. I self excluded and told myself to stop. The first couple of days were tough but it got better. It's been about three weeks now and for some reason today was extremely tough. I found myself looking up different casino accounts to set up. The only thing that stopped me was not being able to figure out a way to withdraw my potential winnings without my wife seeing it on our bank accounts (my wife has access to my statements now). I am nervous that I am going to find a way and am really dissapointed that these thoughts have reentered my mind. Part of me says I just want to get back the last little bit that I lost. anther part just says that if i did restart i would just start from "0" and just play for fun like it was intended.


This is going to take some growth and learning to get through, but you cannot chase wins and you cannot gamble with "just a little bit".


I'm going to sound very blunt here, but you're kidding yourself and asking for trouble. Stop looking at the money you've lost. This cannot be fixed with gambling. Instead look forward. As your salary comes in you will slowly replace your savings. This is the only way to do it.


Block yourself from any alternative finance. Tell your wife you are having the urge to gamble. She'll help and be grateful for your honesty.


If you haven't already, block yourself from EVERYTHING possible.


Right now you are in a tricky space where the habit isn't out of your system and you haven't learnt how to live without gambling. Sadly addictions always pose a risk to us, but you can move on from this and out of this really tough time!


I think I had a dream last night that I was gambling.

It's very faint, but I'm sure I dreamt I was playing the online slots and just a couple of spins in felt really disappointed with myself for breaking my GF run.


Just shows, even when we don't think it's in our minds much anymore it's there somewhere in the background.


I'm taking it as a big positive that I stopped myself so quickly and felt so little satisfaction from it, even if it was just a dream. It reminds me of the lack of joy that gambling would bring if I was to start again.


Another small step in the right direction!


Tomorrow marks four weeks and it feels like both no time a tall and forever since I last used the slots. Does that even make sense?


Hi Emma

Congratulations on your upcoming milestone.

It’s been a while since I had a gambling dream but I remember also that is wasn’t a happy one.


It makes perfect sense how gambling seems so long ago and yet so recent. This superhighways in our brains took years to build and will take a long time to fade but by keeping doing everything that you are doing they will fade.

Keep strong Emma - you are doing great !


That really makes so much sense. As with anything we spend a lot of time on in life, it becomes ingrained doesn't it? I really like the thought of it fading over time, that's a very reassuring image.


Yesterday marked week 4 of being gambling free!


It's also the day that I found out something bad had happened in the family. It was a scary, busy, exhausting day (anyone who has done the mad dash to the hospital knows what I mean) that went by in a flash somehow. Thankfully, recovery is looking good and we can all breath a sigh of relief today.


I'm sitting reflecting now and had a realisation. In that time of stress and worry I didn't think about gambling once. That showed me that gambling is not a crutch for me. I don't rely on it. It isn't something that I look to for help and support.


This might seem like a weird way to look at it, but for me I'm learning what gambling means to me and I'm very grateful for this realisation.


So yay to four weeks and yay to the amazing NHS that are making recovery possible for my loved one. Looking forward to having them home soon and feeling good about the future.


Hi Emma, sorry to hear that you have had such a shock and glad that the emergency has had a good outcome. Also congratulations on your 4 weeks gamble free.  It feels like it is longer - your posts are so mature and insightful.


You wrote: "I'm sitting reflecting now and had a realisation. In that time of stress and worry I didn't think about gambling once. That showed me that gambling is not a crutch for me. I don't rely on it. It isn't something that I look to for help and support."


I know gambling didn't help and support me. I know that gambling was something I used when bad feelings overwhelmed me ... and that included grief. When my mother died - I was the one who found her and had to call the emergency services etc. I didn't think of gambling at all whilst all that was going on. But I still feel shame about the fact that I gambled on the day of her funeral.


I am now in a space where I am rarely troubled by difficult feelings, I know that gambling could numb the pain - but the pain will still be there when I stop to take breath and I would have the added pain of loss of money, possible debt and all the worries and concerns that are the mainstay of these forums. I don't need that in my life - so I don't gamble any more. Thanks for your post.


Steev, this is speaking to me so much today.


I haven't thought about gambling for a couple of weeks now.


Then a moment ago I received an email from an online casino which I've previously self excluded from. I clicked on the unsubscribe button at the bottom, which of course took me through to the website. In that moment I thought, maybe I could just play for a short while.


Oh my goodness, I'm so glad that I have the strength to step away and come here.


Right now, this afternoon, I've been feeling a bit negative. Naturally, gambling seemed like a good option when I was reminded of it. Something to ease the negative mood.


I'm going to turn off my laptop now, spend some time cleaning and then meditate. I will feel so much more productive afterwards and so so positive. What a turnaround!


I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long. Over two months it seems! I just wanted to check in to say hello and let you know that I'm still gambling free. I'm feeling good about my growth as I have been recognising different triggers which appear, which used to encourage me to gamble. They don't have the same impact anymore. Emails still arrive in my junk sometimes, despite my best efforts to remove and unsubscribe from everything. Previously I would have been tempted to click through, now I just delete. Boredom used to be a big problem for me too and I was terrified of the pandemic lockdown being one great big stretch of boredom, but I'm pleased to say that hasn't been the case. I have found a new income stream which clicks well with my creative side, selling card designs through an online retailer. (When my other work dried up I had to figure something out, like many others). I love the design side of things and watching my progress grow with sales every day. It is entirely possible that I'm not tempted to gamble because I'm happier. Whatever the reason, I still know not to get complacent. I do my best to be vigilant, wary of potential triggers and being sure to respond in the right way. It's a long road but it feels good!


What a lovely post to read. Well done on your gf time and a very well done in your new enterprise. Sounds great.


I am so glad things are working out and congratulations on your gamble free time.


I have found that I get passions for things which take over my life for a while and when they fade I often find a new one comes around. Lately I have been teaching English on-line and have rediscovered my interest in language and keep watching videos on the subject - which I would never have done before.


I am so pleased you have found an income stream in this difficult period, not easy I know. Good to hear from you and further updates would always be welcomed!