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I’ve had a productive bank holiday. I did sleep late but when I opened my back door, my neighbour popped his head out and asked if he could look at my outside tap for me which had no water pressure to water the garden. He came round and found that the tap which was part of the extension of the house was connected to the water tank and not to the mains.

I mentioned about the pond and asked him if there wasn’t an easier way to empty the pond without Jill carrying two pales of water up the hill. Of course there was, we girls just don’t know these things. He said, yes you can syphon it with the hose. Still looking duh, I said how cos’ it doesn’t have drainage system ? He said you obviously haven’t had to syphon petrol and then it clicked ! LOL ! Anyway, he took the hose and tried sucking the water through but each time, it only trickled. My neighbour on the other side also joined in and gave his advice and after immersing the hose in the pond, the water ran out of the pond.

But then the drain was blocked. He removed the drainpipe to lift the drain cover and I cleared the muck from the drain. The other neighbour aid he wasn’t surprised as from his side he could see all the leaves on the roof. That led to my neighbour clearing the leaves from the roof and gutters with a homemade tool (long stick with a T at the end) from the other neighbour, to get the leaves down the pipe on the roof and into the gutters while I held a bucket on the step ladder for him to sweep the leaves from the gutter into.

The wife came out and seen this and offered us ‘workmen’ a cuppa. So we went next door and sat in his lovely overgrown dense vegetation garden having tea, watching the birds and wildlife and had some banter. Both men are much older than me, the one is 69 and the other well into his 70’s but I enjoyed it so much.I just felt myself and was laughing and chatting; something I missed and haven’t done for ages. I really enjoyed the ‘tea break’ and the banter.

I felt so blessed that I had neighbours who would give up their time to help and support me, living on my own, something I’ve never known before. Wherever I lived before, the neighbours would barely greet or look at you cos’ they were such toffs.

After tea, my neighbour came back to my garden to collect his tools and from our banter I told them I was going to kill the squirrels coming into my garden. My neighbour and his wife enjoyed watching how I chased and had this ongoing battle with the squirrels in my garden with the plenty bird feeders and different foods which kept the squirrels out of their gardens.

Anyway, my neighbour fetched some galvanised wire and tied it around two trees, hung a hook on the wire for the feeder, so the squirrels couldn’t get to it as it was too thin to walk on.
He also fetched his new toy, a hedge trimmer while I got the extension lead and he cut the hanging branches from the many trees which hung over my washing line and also blocked the sun. And today he came and gave me a stick with a screw at the end which he had made, so I could unhook the feeder as it was too high for me to reach. How kind and considerate. I thought of my father who did things like that for me and felt sad he was no longer here and how I missed him.

I sat on the garden chair and realised that this is what life is about. Helping, sharing and giving to others and enjoying each other. I have completed lost the plot in wanting more, being greedy, selfish and dreaming of a high life with illusions of grandeur and trying to achieve this with this self destructive dark, evil secret tearing my life apart and changing me into someone I no longer know.

I ran water in the pond, the fish were swimming around together so lively and fast like one happy family on a day outing, it was so rewarding. I did my washing and hung it out. I sat in the sun in the garden and just felt blessed.

My partner of 6 years was an engineer and also very good at fixing and doing things for me. I always wondered how I would manage not having him around and have to pay just to get hep with little things around the house. Seemed that was all part of God’s plan in finding this place for me in an area totally new and unknown to me, with such friendly and kind neighbours all around me in the estate.

As I sat there, I looked at the heaps of sludge from the pond I removed and thought I better put them in black bags as it was a sight for sore eyes. Next thing I filled 4 bags with the sludge and picked up the branches cut from the trees yesterday and ended up sweeping the garden patio area, watering the plants and pulling out weeds and eventually taking the washing off the line at 21:30. I sat on the garden chair and looked up to the sky and seen a full moon.

It was a good productive day. God was shining His love on me.

When I went indoors, I seen I had a text from my new found gambling friend. She had just got home from a counselling session and was feeing really down. She had so much to do after moving in but was worrying so much about her finances since she gambled all her salary in a half hour last week the day she got paid. She explained how she can’t stop beating herself up about what she had done and she was back to where she was, skint, with no one to ask for help and her mess getting bigger.

I called her to give her some support and offered to take her out for a meal this weekend if I still had money (from not gambling) to try work things through with her. Part of me says if I don’t gamble perhaps I could help her out with one of her bills or something but I fear I may just be giving her the means to gamble again.

Like me, she knows she should stop but always finds a way or backdoor open like all of us have done. Her daughter has taken over her finances and blocked her computer but she played at work and the credit cards which were paid up, she ran them up without having the cards as the sites have the details are set up.

She asked how much I earn but I couldn’t share that with her as I do have a good job but it is something I’ve never done with anyone I don’t know why she keeps asking me tho’. She knows I have an expensive car as I give her a lift home from the GA meetings. I do feel so bad for her but the other part of me says I could just be funding her gambling again.

She has lost so much in less than a year after online gambling with big bets from her inheritance and huge profit from the family home which she sold recently after being divorced and is determined to get most of it back. She knows not to chase her losses but she is good for while but then just goes back again as I do. We’ve all been there. I’m still there and not out of the woods myself. But knowing this compulsion, the urges and the extent she has gone through, I don’t know if it is wise to help if I can. She says she knows she should go to debt management but is delaying this, too.

I’ve asked her to forget about beating herself up and enjoy each day and the weekend as these bills are not due yet so need to worry and that there is always an alternative. There are always options. She is very determined to help and support me not to fall in that same trap and made me promise that I would self exclude myself so that I would secure my salary.

So I have self excluded and pray that I stay gamble free for two more weeks before I go to GMA. It’s been such an eye opener for me yet when I realise I’m getting paid and will have money again, the right perspective and focus somehow gets blurred and grows strangely dim.

I must STOP ! I must STOP NOW ! I can’t give in now !!!!
DO IT, you can ! It’s your only hope to suffering defeat, depression and destruction with nothing to show for myself for the next decade !!! You can’t continue this way !

I have sheet of paper which I did after I lost all my salary and bonus in March and then again in April with a heading ‘Downspiral’ and different coloured ‘D’ words depicting my state of my mind and emotions the next morning. I keep it on my desk as a reminder to STOP me from wanting to go back and experience that awful guilt, remorse and depressed feelings if I was ever tempted again. Strangely how all the words I felt started with a ‘d’. I’ll write it down as a reminder :

– Demon
– Doom
– Damnation
– Dark
– Depression
– Destroy
– Dread
– Devil
– Dismal
– Dejected
– Destitute
– Destruction
– Dire
– Distress
– Devastation
– Downhill
– Drained
– Down
– Dreadful
– Disrespect
– Desire
– Derailed
– Defeat
– Detriment
– Disdain

But then I felt it was so negative and may be counterproductive. But I can’t bring myself to destroy it though. I was in a very dark place then.

But for today, I am gamble free. I am happy, I am blessed, I am loved. God loves me. We all experience storms of financial troubles, disappointments and loneliness but Jesus stills the storm and says ” Peace, be still ! ”