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    velvet
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    Every year I write something at Christmas time for all F&F and for all those who use this site because Christmas is a difficult time for so many. 
    It is a time when the reality of the addiction often kicks in harder than usual because all around us there is pressure about what Christmas should mean but which cannot be achieved because of a lack of confidence, self-esteem, sadness, doubt and of course ‘money’ which sadly the media tells us is so important to please ourselves and our children. An almost inevitable increase in gambling traits and memories of other Christmas’ turns the wonder of Christmas into an annual nightmare.
    It is a time when the media is screaming at us what we ‘should’ be having this Christmas even though it is partly responsible for us feeling we are doomed to failure before we start. A time to write a loved-ones name on the card even though they are absent, possibly in body but definitely in mind.
    It is a time of great flurry in the casinos, the slot machines (pokies) and bookies where a desperate bid is made to ‘win’ so that debts can be written off and presents bought, although to F&F every ‘win’ is a loss because no debts are written off and no pleasure is to be had in presents bought with (as someone said in the group this morning) dirty money.
    So it becomes a fact that this time that should be full of joy and peace is a greater time of worry and discord for those affected by the addiction to gamble. Many more tears are shed (usually silently) at this time, I think, than any other.
    I wrote a couple of years ago about Aunt Polly but this year it is Aunt Agatha who is arriving bearing gifts and smiles, wanting her dinner with all the trimmings and demanding the custard that you forgot to make because last year she had demanded brandy cream. This year she is joined by, equally lacking in empathy, macho Uncle Herbert who hasn’t bothered for a year but slaps everyone on the back and talks about the way it was back in ‘his’ day when nobody was a compulsive gambler (why did anyone confide in him) so get the games out and play Newmarket – only for pennies of course!!. Oh and don’t forget their ghastly children who never do anything wrong especially their eldest daughter, Flossie who is married to Cuthbert – the one who is ‘big’ in banking, who passed every exam he ever took. They are moving to the biggest house in the best town and who ‘enjoys’ a day at the races with his friends but of course he doesn’t have a problem – he wouldn’t!!!
    Makes you want to go and hide in the garden shed doesn’t it? Trouble is you have to come out and because everyone knows how ‘organised’ you are nobody notices the tear stains on your cheek and as they were far too busy shouting over Uncle Herbert’s drunken slur they didn’t hear your cries. It is what you want though. As long as everyone has a wonderful day and doesn’t notice anything amiss you have succeeded.
    Whatever happens to ‘you’ on this Christmas Day I want you to know that this forum does hear you and cares.
    I make a promise that at 10am UK time and 3pm UK time (I think most of the world is awake at one of those times) I will be thinking about all of those on this forum and this site. I will be wishing you peace and a life free of the addiction to gamble. I asked people to join me in the Serenity Prayer one year but I know there are many who are not happy with it because God is mentioned. This year I will be saying the Serenity Prayer at those times and I would love it if (even silently and with a smile) you joined me but if the Serenity Prayer is not for you then please wish each other love, courage, wisdom and serenity. Make Uncle Herbert and Aunt Agatha wonder why you smile but keep it private – this is yours. If your CG is being a jack-ass then let their controlling addiction wonder too how you can smile – because you can. 
    I believe we have a wonderful site and we can make a difference. United we can make our presence known to each other even in cyber space.
    I want this year too for F&F to remember all those CGs who are fighting their addiction and possibly feeling a sense of failure because their addiction, which they are trying to control, has left them with debts and feelings of inadequacy. I would like to send a message from F&F that given time and understanding we can and do get the message that this is an addiction that could have been ours. If we struggle it is not through malice but through our own lack of understanding. I want to offer my support and say that even though the path to a gamble-free existence is tough it is so very worthwhile and F&F rejoice in each of your recoveries as we do our own. I was told when my CG went into recovery that I did not need support but I do not accept this. I believe that support for F&F at this time is equal to that needed by the CG. If together they can find their way then two people for the price of one can squash this addiction and that has got to be the best.
    2011 then – a year of recovery – not just from the world-wide debts but from that which hold us all back on this site. I wish you all a gamble-free year but better still a gamble-free life.
    Loads of Love
    Velvet xxxxxx

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