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Hi Reds,
I’m a compulsive gambler living in Alberta. I started coming here about three months ago, reading the forums and found it very helpful. I started a post but did not continue posting for my own personal reasons, but it was the start of finally kicking the habit for me. I had been gambling for over 15 years when I finally got serious about stopping; the GA 20 questions ALL apply to me. The reason why I am posting now is because you asked if there was anyone with experience in Alberta and yes there is 🙂
In my opinion gambling is a reflection of a bigger problem, it’s a release, an escape from ourselves or our lives and I struggled with it for years. So many questions, so much doubt. When I read the forums or talk to other CGs there is nothing they can say about their gambling experiences that I cannot relate too. That said, you may find that banning or GA meetings help you to quit (or you may even be able to do it out of shear willpower) but those things did not work for me. I thought I was weak, crazy, you name it. It’s the nature of the disease to cause an incredible amount of self doubt and self deception.
To make a long story short, I finally reached a point where I honestly believed that I was at the end of my rope, that this was no way to live and if you are not living you’re dying. At that point there was only one thing that I had not tried; I never called the 1-800 number for support. the last time I gambled I came home angry and upset as usual but instead of sluffing it off, which I am quite capable of doing, I called the support line and booked an appointment with an addictions counselor. It was the best decision I ever made in my life – EVER. All I originally wanted to know was what services they offered because I was SURE there was a conspiracy. That the government was profiting by exploiting ME, lol, the crazy thoughts that run through our heads.
Maybe I got lucky (finally) and found someone who could help me, but truly getting an education about the process of addiction and understanding my behaviour and its causes has made all the difference for me. At first I was very scepticle about going to a counselor; I really didn’t think it would help but it was the LAST thing I could do. Anyways, through the counselor, you can be referred to group therapy. A program in Alberta called EGRIP. I highly recommend it. It turns out there is help out there, it just depends how much you want it and how far you are willing to go.
It’s impossible to say what will really make a difference for you or how far you are in your recovery or how much you want to quit, but if you haven’t done it already and are willing to try, do it.
Best of luck!