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Originally posted by kathryn

Im sure you had an even better time for not gambling … 

Good morning all, my name is Larry and I am a Compulsive Gambler, my last bet was Aug 13, 2009.
You can not imagine how good those words sound to me today. It is not that I doubted that I would not gamble on my trip, but I knew that I was to be in an environment that I could not control in the past few years. I was not concerned with being around the casinos, I could just not enter them (after a struggle with any urges), but, the bars and restaurants with the poker machines that I would be going into as part of my trip, were on my mind during my drive down.  I haven’t given gambling much thought in a while; by this I mean, I have not been thinking about gambling, I do think about my not gambling. 
Once there I just jumped into the Mardi Gras festivities, photos of movies can not began to show the immense size of the parades and floats with a marching school band between each of the 20 to 30 floats the each hold about 50 "krew" members. (the bands march each mile, while the krew members ride and throw beads and trinkets); or the amounts of people packed along the 3 to 5 mile parade routes. It takes the larger parades 8 hours to cover the entire route, plus a few hours of staging  – not to mention the months of preparation. I have been part of a small walking parade, the Krew de Drew, with carts and not floats, that takes 3-4  hours parading a couple of miles through the streets of the Quarter; this small independent parade is larger then most parades for other celebrations in other communities throughout the world. I know there are other large events with one parade for a holiday, but these huge Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans (as well as in Rio and Nice) last for 2 weeks with 2 or 3 parades going on at the same time within miles of each other.
So yes Kathryn, it was a better time not gambling. Not only money wise, but just being in a festive mood without resentment for loosing money.  During the last couple of years in New Orleans before my evacuation after Katrina, a $3 drink in a bar would cost me $10, and a meal would cost an extra $10-20 as well; the change would go into the poker machines with any substantial winnings lost at the casino down the street – chased by more money.
This realization hit me even harder when after 3 years of being away, a couple of old bar mates, commented on my change. I also notice I passed by places that I had only gone into in the past to play a different machine, I was passing them by without any thought of stopping. Then I was thinking my luck would be different in a new place, and as I now recognize,I was driven by a compulsion to play every machine in the French Quarter.  A friend and I did start out once to drink in every bar, but that was alcohol stupidity, not compulsion.
The most amazing part for me was that once I was going about normal activities, my fears of the machine’s pull were replaced with a feeling of pride and appreciation for a program that was allowing me to think about what I was doing, instead of a compulsive sickness stealing all my rational thoughts. It was not easy, there were times that all I would have had to do was turn on my bar stool and drop a quarter or dollar into the machine, times when a friend next to me would do just that; but thanks to my conditioning, my non-gambling mind set, those times were not a threat. Rational thinking and not stinkin thinkin keep me from my repeating my past mistakes.
I could not have done this in October when I wanted to return for a friend’s wedding, I knew this back then and had to force myself not to go; gambling’s temptation would have been too great at that earlier time. That decision gave me encouragement to keep on working on recovery, and time for me to progress further. I still have a daily process to tend to, a lifetime of awareness, but the rewards are worth the efforts.
 Larry"Day Two Is Still Another Day Behind" – With the help of a Higher Power, My 3G’s – God, GA, and GT, I will not face another Day 2.