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  August 13, 2010 – One Year Gambling Free 

My name is Larry and I am a compulsive gambler, my last bet was August 13, 2009; this was not only the day of my last bet, it was the first day of a recovery process that I have based my life and actions on since.
My present life consist of my enjoying life in general and being with my family in the United States. I have no obligations or attachments to anyone except for a few friends and my family and I find complete enjoyment in my life with them — I am living the better life that Recovery offers. However, being separated from another part of my life, a family in France, does bring sadness and puts limits on that better life; but any loneliness or regrets are connected to that separation and not to my separation from gambling.
My life today has been resurrected from a five year rampage of addictive compulsive gambling. For reasons unrelated to gambling but to a state of deep depression, I deserted my family in France and returned to the States for a visit to get my thoughts together. Instead of working on my depression and problems, I started hanging out at the casinos.
I was no stranger to gambling as it had been an attraction to me most of my adult life so fitting in came easy. Escaping also came easy and the addiction found a way into my life bringing about my divorce and caused the deterioration to my character and life.  The recreation and enjoyment of gambling was no longer an attraction, I had crossed the line. I started gambling most everyday for hours on end, feeding my addiction with all my time, savings and income. After these funds were gone I started to steal and cheat, and to continually write bad checks to cover my expenses and gaming needs. I lost everything of any value and put myself in deep debt that continued until I started true recovery.
The days prior to starting my recovery I began a string of actions that caused me to recognize a real need to stop. I found the Gambling Therapy site and felt relief in that I was doing something; not necessarily to help me in recovery, but more as a way to assist in a defense for writing bad checks. I started my recovery with only a vague knowledge of what it had to offer or required. Joining GT was part of an ill conceived plan to use diminished capacity as a way out of any criminal charges.
I now had proof that I was seeking help, and thought that I could continue gambling. The next day I went crazy, repeating the actions of the preceding days, getting myself into yet deeper trouble and thinking that I had no way out. The afternoon of August 13 after leaving the casino I was going to put a final end to it all; what stopped me from stepping into the path of a commuter train was fear of surviving. Instead I boarded the train, went home and logged back onto GT; this time searching for the help they offered.  I followed their links and found Gamblers Anonymous. I joined GA, begin working their 12 Step program and continued daily use of GT. During the next days and year that followed I found assistance for my financial situation, sought support from family and friends instead of using and lying to them, and accepted the fact that what relief  I had found during the first few days of honest actions could be continued, but only if I continued the program.
It was a strange beginning to my recovery; something that was inconceivable before after so many attempts on my own was now beginning to take place. I was able to stop with the help of a Higher Power, following the GA guidelines, and by taking the advice found at GA meetings and on GT. Now my gambling free days starts with the "Serenity Prayer" on the cover of the GA Yellow Book, the words from it’s last page, "Don’t Gamble For Anything", and a time of meditation and study; of course after this daily start, practicing the guidelines on the pages in between and participating in the GT chat rooms keeps me gambling free for the rest of the day and enables me to fulfill a daily pledge not to gamble for that day.

Thanks to this strange turn of events, and the helping hands of many, today I am a Recovering Compulsive Gambler. In return I can only offer my hand to others, a helping hand best described for me in the following poem:
Fellow gambler, take my hand;
I’m your friend, I understand.
I’ve known your guilt, your shame, remorse;
I’ve borne the burden of your cross.

I found a friend who offered ease;
He suffered, too, with this disease.
Although he had no magic cure,
He showed how we could endure.

We walked together side by side;
We spoke of things we had to hide.
We told of sleepless nights and debts,
Of broken homes and lies and threats.



And so my weary gambler friend,
Please take this hand that I extend.
Take one more chance on something new,
Another gambler helping you.
Author unknown

In addition to my heartfelt gratitude and thanks (and apologies to any that I may offend with my actions, post, or beliefs) I close with my normal "Stay Strong, Keep Aware, and God’s Speed"; May God bless and keep you all.


"Day Two Is Another Day Behind" – With the help of a Higher Power, My 3G’s – God, GA, and GT, I will continue to be  gambling free.– 8/13/2010 6:52:21 AM: post edited by paul315.