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Thanks for all the support. I actually made half of all my previous wealth through investing. In real estate, in commodities. I never had a problem at all until I got into the world of leveraged options. I’ve always been a patient, disciplined investor. When you have leverage, though, you can trade 10 times, or even 20 times your money and experience enormous gains. Or massive losses. I think it’s the massive leverage that awakened the monster within me. Good trades suddenly became thrilling. Bad trades felt terrible, but the awful feeling of losing so much also is very stimulating, and you get used to the ups and downs. Normal life becomes boring.

With investing, you don’t have to time anything perfectly. You just need to be patient and know what you’re doing. When you trade with leverage, you’re either right or you’re wrong NOW. It’s fast. A lot of money can change hands quickly. Just thinking about it gives me a buzz. That’s just terribly dangerous.

So I plan to take a break from trading, maybe for a year or two, and just trade a paper account – that’s an account without actual money. The trades are simulated, so you can practice at no risk. My goal is to find a way to trade and invest again that doesn’t trigger The Craving. I need to find a balance, because finance is a passion for me. I can’t imagine a life without it. I’ve been investing since I was 11 years old.

If I can cut out the leverage – the fast money aspect – of trading, and get closer to the type of investing I used to do, which is slow and business-like, then I think I’ll be fine. But I need to try it on a paper account first, to make sure it’s safe. I know I can do it, but it’s so frustrating that I have to rebuild from scratch again.

I still hate myself for having allowed this to happen, but am slowly coming to terms with the loss. I am telling myself the $400,000 is gone. I need to make new money the proper way. I will not chase the loss by doing more of what got me into trouble. That’s really the key.

If I do ever figure out a way to trade without triggering the gambling mentality – The Craving – again, I plan to write a book about it, and a video series on YouTube, because I know for a fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with the same problem. So many people get wiped out trading the markets, even if they know what they’re doing… simply because of their gambling mindset, which they may not even realize they have.

If I can do it, then I hope I can show the way for others as well. If anything, it gives me purpose and a bigger reason to get past this and grow beyond it.