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    • #16668
      gracephnx
      Participant

      My post title refers to the fact that really I am an old new member. As my friend (a strong member of AA) said yesterday, my previous periods of recovery have been like cancer in remission. I need to now face the fact that the illness has hold of me, and I need treatment. I know that some on the forum might see the whole "illness" thing as a cop-out, but for me it is a metaphor for something inside of me over which, for whatever reason, I have relinquished control. I have accepted Step 1, but I am not sure that I yet have the hope to believe Step 2. I’m working on it. I have been reading Larry’s posts on the forum and have gained much encouragement from doing so. Thank you Larry (paul315).
      My Story – let’s start from the end. A week ago I ran out of money (again) but this time, there was no money left on the credit cards, no money in the bank, a tax debt of 20,000 and a job loss. I applied for an increase on my credit card limit, and was refused. Why? Probably because I have been consistently (very) late with every bill for a year, and consistently been fined for not having enough money in my bank account for regular direct debits.  So, for the first time, this very "responsible" counsellor who has raised two children alone and supported herself for 30 years, has a poor credit rating, which will prevent her from ever borrowing another home loan, getting rental accommodation, or borrowing money for my son’s wedding.
      2 weeks ago: I ran out of money, and had no credit, but a cheque for $3700 was on its way (owed wages). What did I feel? Shame? Guilt? Fear? Nope. Relief, and safety. Because for the first time in as long as I could remember, I had NO CHOICE, I could not gamble even if I wanted to. I don’t recall anyone mentioning being relieved at not being ABLE to gamble before, so I guess I must be a bit perverse. I long to live in a wonderful world where there are no poker machines, where life is simple and pure, and I can remember what real living felt like.
      1 year ago: I confessed my CG habits to my GP and she referred me to a counsellor, not a CG counsellor, a generalist psychologist. I learned that I was in essence a selfish person, and did not really like the thought of donating my hard-earned income to the club industry, who would use it to recruit more people as CG’s. I took a good look around me, and did not like the company I was keeping or my sliding values. Friendships squandered, family neglected, home falling down around me, the neighbours looking disapprovingly at the wilderness that used to be my garden. Stopping gambling was suddenly easy. I couldn’t think why I had wasted so much precious living time cooped up in dark places starving myself, neglecting my health when life was slipping by so fast…I set my biggest "barrier" at my front gate, not leaving unless I had to. For 3 glorious months I lived with contentment, integrity and the ability to hold my head up with no lies, no secrets, and no regrets. Friends came rushing back into the vacuum without any effort on my part. Life was good. What happened? The minute my certainty/security was rocked, ie, possible job loss, I fit the default switch and back I went to the Club.
      This has gone on for 10 years. I’ve had enough. Each day I get to around 12pm if Im home, and I become bored and cabin-feverish, and the prospect of recouping some losses looms large. But not today. I promise.
      Gracephnx
       
       gracephnx

    • #16669
      gracephnx
      Participant

      It’s 12.40pm and I’m still here. My task this week is to reduce my access to some money which due about wednesday. I have a plan, and I have a friend I can call if I need, except I did and she isn’t home. Help Please! I’ve been to the GT chat room but no-one’s home (I feel a fit of "poor me" coming on and I deserve no-one’s sympathy, truly). There’s no GA meeting within cooee of me for days.
      I DO believe that there is more to this universe than we know, and however it happens, so often prayers are answered. Are they answered even if there is a selfish, obsessed and angry part of you that wants you to go the club, drink yourself stupid and spend your very last $20 getting in the way of the prayers for strength, wisdom, and courage?
      AHHHGGGRRRRgracephnx

    • #16670
      bettie
      Participant

      Grace, i’m here!
      go back on the chat!
      bettie

    • #16671
      paul315
      Participant

      Originally posted by gracephnx
       
      I have accepted Step 1, but I am not sure that I yet have the hope to believe Step 2. I’m working on it.

      Good evening Grace, first thanks for your kind words; and even more, thanks for your post. I got a lot out of your story and your thoughts and a few new ways of seeing things (like your illness metaphor and "front gate" barrier). Keeping aware and learning of fresh ways to deal with gambling is always a big help.
      As far as working on Step 2 goes, I feel that when we turn to this site, GA, or to others, we have already "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to a normal way of thinking and living"; otherwise we would still be limiting our efforts to old self serving ways and to our damaged will power. Reaching out for help is believing in a Greater Power, it is almost a partial automatic process; the working part is recognizing and accepting what is normal after living in a past perceived "normal" world.  This outside source might not be the "Highest Power" that people of different faiths believe in as God, but it is a Power that we know we can turn to.  After this comes a harder part, making the decision to turn our will over to that Power. To do this we have to battle and overcome, pride, inflated, and diminished, egos, and our self bestowed grander; we have to be truly humble and openminded.
      The Step 2 phrase "came to believe" suggests a process and a progression of hope or faith that evolves over time. To borrow form your friend;s AA principles, a portion of A.A.’s oral tradition defines this as a three-part unfolding: First, we came, that is, we showed up. Second, we came to, that is, we came to our senses, and began to experience emotional sobriety. Third, we came to believe. We began our real recovery process and our spiritual growth.
      Working the Steps bring about character change, acceptance, and understanding, and is important in the overall and time consuming process, but, they are only parts of the whole; living our "Recovery" daily and adhering to its principles is what allows us to live gambling free each day from day one ODAAT.
      Our desire to recover lets us say "But not today. I promise".
      God’s speed. Stay strong.Larry"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.

    • #16672
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Today has passed and I am still here. There were thoughts, and a cheque came in for some money owed in wages. But it’s still there, in the bank. I am relieved to see 2 days passed. Thank you Larry for your wise, wise words. And you are right. Seeing your words on this thread do confirm there really is a power greater than me to help… I went to the chat room yesterday and spoke to some very fine women who were wonderfully supportive and compassionate, and I want to thank them too. Staying strong despite wavering in the breeze.
       gracephnx

    • #16673
      micky
      Participant

      HI Grace i’m Micky,well done on being strong, i too am on a new learning curve, I have been concentrating on all the things i like to do in my spare time. I am starting to enjoy my life again and you can as well, keep it up and the life you want will come to you.
      Micky.beneath the ashes fires rage

    • #16674
      bettie
      Participant

      Hi Grace,
      It was so nice to meet you and Shoop777 too!
      I, too, am trying to get my clean time back. Just looked at my cc stmt. I called them and begged then to cut off cash access. They won’t! "It’s part of the account." No, it’s how they make $$ on a fool like me. I would close it if only it wasn’t one of the 2 i have gotten since the bankrupcy. Got to take it out of my purse and leave it home.
      Glad u made the weekend. Funny how we sometimes have no $$ for food, gas, etc but find $$ to gamble with.
      Pay your bills fast Grace. Thats my 2 cents worth!
      have a great day!
      peace
      bettie– 8/30/2010 6:45:33 PM: post edited by bettie.

    • #16675
      colin in brum
      Participant

      Hi Grace and welcome back.  This addiction can be addressed in the same way you address the alcoholism – one day at a time.  Keep up your AA meetings and keep postoing here.  Can you get to GA as well?  Remember that it is important to keep using support to maintain recovery, not just to stop when we are in trouble.  KEEP posting.

    • #16676
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Thank you for your wonderful words of support, and Bettie, I’ve just done what you suggested! I got up at 6am and paid bills until I had just enough money left for some food and fuel for the week! I feel good about it, and quite a bit relieved as well. There is of course a niggling fear that I could blow this few bucks and end up with no food, but one day at a time, eh? I have found some casual work, so will have some income dribbling in for a while at least. My plan is to GET RID OF THE MONEY as soon as it arrives in my account. My mortgage hasn’t been paid in 18 months, so that, and the credit cards are about to get a boost (I hope). Bettie I’ve started reading your story on your thread – what a wonderful girl you are – lovely to have met you.
      Colin, thanks for your thoughts and encouragement. I am planning to go to a meeting in the near future for GA. I don’t go to AA as I am not really a drinker, but I have a friend who does, who is providing me with some support at present. She says if it’s difficult to get to GA (which it is) I could go to AA as an alternative.
      Micky – thanks for talking to me – I will look at your thread today. When I read in your post to me that you are starting to enjoy life again, I was reminded about what Larry said to me in his post (above) about "coming to" – and learning to live a normal life agin. This is what I am working towards. It sounds like the world is starting to open again for you, and three cheers for you!
       gracephnx

    • #16677
      vera
      Participant

      Good to have met you in the chat Grace! Again, well done on coming back here!
      Here’s to a new life without gambling. Recovery takes time,patience,honesty and hard work! Its well worth the effort!
      I feel GA will be a big help to you. Don’t let what I said put you off the idea. I was in a very negative **** everytime I went there and resisting help because all I wanted to do then was gamble, and I looked for every excuse and blamed everyone and everything for my own indiscipline!
      Give it a shot!
      Keep posting!
       

    • #16678
      bettie
      Participant

      Hi Grace,
      I see u met ( Or re-met) my buddy Vera. SAlt of the earth that one! She has the wisdom of the ages and it is a blessing to me to ***** her as a friend.
      Reading my thread. I now refer to it as "war and peace", and I am tired of the war ( in my head ) and am always seeking peace. Too bad you can’t print it and use it to put u to sleep! lol!
      peace
      bettie

    • #16679
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Hey bettie! I am surely feeling the power of support around me at the moment. I am looking forward to talking to you, vera and shoop in the future.
      I have survived another day! I can’t say it was easy, the thoughts came so many *****. I am sick with a virus, and (typically) when I am too sick to do anything else, I have often gone to the club to take my mind off my lethargy and avoid being alone. I’ve paid all the bills today, and done some shopping (took my two dogs with me so I couldn’t take a detour). I am working in a casual job tomorrow, and am suddenly very grateful for the work. I have been applying for jobs I thought would be easy to get, only to find I am not even getting to interview. This has come as a shock, as I haven’t had to work hard to get a job in the past. I wonder if its my age?gracephnx

    • #16680
      gracephnx
      Participant

      And there goes another day! Yeah!!!! I worked all day today and am so tired I can barely type. But I got through. I am anticipating reality dawning any day.gracephnx

    • #16681
      paul315
      Participant

      Originally posted by gracephnx

      …  I am anticipating reality dawning any day. …

      Good morning Grace, it is good to see that you have made it another day and have accepted the reality in not gambling for anything is the only way to face another day for a CG.  Reality has been dawning on you for your past gambling free days; face the dawn of each day and thrive on your accomplishment at every dust; soon you will be able to experience the other true realities of your recovery.
      God’s speed. Stay strong.Larry"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.

    • #16682
      bettie
      Participant

      congrats Grace!

    • #16683
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Today has been a bit of a struggle. I have been alone all day, and had I had access to money I would have gone to a club, no matter how far, just to have somewhere to be where there were other people. I made a pact with myself that I could do anything I wanted as long as I didn’t gamble, but found I didn’t really want to do anything much. So I have been knitting a teddy for a friend’s child. I rang my kids to say happy new year and they were fine, though I know they are just being kind and wanted to get off the phone and back to their lives. And that’s ok. No daughters and no sisters means limited family intimacy I guess; or maybe I am making excuses, as I haven’t made much effort to insist on being involved in my grandchildren’s lives so far (too busy elsewhere of course). It’s my 5 y o grand-daughter’s birthday in 10 days, and I’ve been told that I’m not to come to the birthday party as it’s "not a family thing", and the outing to the zoo would be too hard to organise for me to come too. Ah well. If you are reading this Vera, your words about the challenges of reconnecting (see above posts) are really ringing true. But at least it’s not that I am undesirable as such, just irrelevant to their nuclear family. So I have work to do.
      Hi Hope, my thoughts are with you today too. Thank you for your good wishes and encouragement.
       gracephnx

    • #16684
      caron
      Participant

      Grace, I hope you are feeling better today.  I am thinking of you.  I wish you a happy new day.  ODAAT

    • #16685
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Another day down, another few hundred dollars further away from potential homelessness. Yesterday was challenging, but I survived, in no small part by turning to this site and reading, reading and talking. Thanks Bettie and Salina, I hope to speak to you again soon. We are a community here, and I am grateful to be a part of it. Caron, thank you for your support, I hope to catch up with you soon too. Just for today, I will be thoughtful, and I will not gamble.gracephnx

    • #16686
      sherry123
      Participant

      Grace, that’s too bad that you aren’t invited to the birthday party but maybe you can spend some time with a little celebration after the party.  Maybe a trip for ice cream?  I know from experience (4 granddaughters) that a party with a lot of little kids is a little chaotic for us older people.  I did go to the last roller skating birthday but had to take an asprin after. ha ha  All the noise and action can be overwhelming. I don’t know how I handled it when my kids were young!
      Grace, do whatever you have to do to not gamble.  The pain you are going through will be worth it!
       

    • #16687
      kathryn
      Participant

      So happy to read that you got through Grace,
      I hope you had a good new years, i cant quite believe another year has gone, just like that.  Its going way too fast for my liking, time to stop and smell the roses!
      Keep going Grace, each day is another great gamble free day, no matter how difficult it is to get through it.  Maybe if you push yourself to get ‘out there’, that feeling of being socially awkward will start to disappear.  Practice makes perfect!!!
      Take care, Kathryn xx
       To live, that would be a great adventure – Peter Pan

    • #16688
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Hi lovely people, and happy new year. I am still ok, no access to money, but scared about tomorrow when the banks open again…but so lonely…I know I have to make the move outside the house but at least if I don’t go out of hte gate I can’t gamble. One day at a time…gracephnx

    • #16689
      vera
      Participant

      ‘Hope you managed to avoid going near the bank Grace!
      Could you arrange a separate outing with your granddaughter, maybe a one to one trip to the cinema or playground to celebrate her 5th birthday? Sometimes little girls like to be singled out. If not, just plan a different event altogether. You and your friend will have next week to look forward to. I have learned that it’s unhealthy to try to suck love from children. I tried it with my son and he told me straight up what he thought of me! Are there any literary groups near you Grace? It seems to me that you need company of your own age to share your interests. You sure won’t find it in a casino. Everyone there will be "into their own buzz" as the youngsters say!
      ODAAT,GRACE!

    • #16690
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Vera, how did you get to be so wise? Re my grand-daughter, I am planning to go see her for breakfast on the weekend after her birthday (before she goes to her party), and I acknowledge what you say about trying to suck love from people. I don’t intend to do that, but it IS time I faced up to my grandmotherly responsbilities and built a better relationship with the children; this comes hard to me as I’m not good with kids and have to really work at relating to them. I have no-one to blame for my sons’ indifference but myself, as I have made little effort over the last few years.
      Re being around people of my own age…yes, totally agree. I have thought many ***** about starting a book club or something, must act soon. Or maybe the local community college will offer a writing course this term? Or maybe I should bite the bullet and go do that Masters I have been thinking about for years? Or maybe go back to bridge lessons (though bridge players tend to be round 20 years older than me, but that’s ok).
      And now, about today…hard, hard, hard. Realised I had access to the bank again, and HAD to go out for an appointment…began to plan to go to the club, then hey presto, remembered I had banned from everywhere within cooee. I could have gone to the bank, could have ditched work and driven out of town, but I DIDN’T! But oh boy I wanted to…but now the bank is closed I feel so grateful and happy. I want to hold on to this positive feeling. I can’t understand how I can still want to gamble when I know what I know about the scandalous exploitation of those machines and the absolute certainty of losing. (Actually I CAN understand it, but I can no longer accept it).
      So here I am, celebrating my successes for today and feeling SO GRATEFUL. I worked, and I negotiated a reasonable deal for some more work this month. I have an idea for a blog article, and I have ordered new business cards for my practice. Yeah! thank you Higher Power, and thank you wonderful people here. (I am so humbled, such courage, such pain and such amazing journeys, and stories of tenacity and grim determination to try again, try again and keep on going… sending more love to you all than you can know).gracephnx

    • #16691
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Today has been very hard. I had the thoughts, the urges, despite all reason, there they were. I got as far as planning how I could get to the bank, drive out of town etc…then Fate intervened and I was offered an appt I have been waiting for. I take no pleasure today in my abstinence, as it was not of my doing, but resulting only from a chance appointment. God help me tomorrow.gracephnx

    • #16692
      paul315
      Participant

      Originally posted by gracephnx

      Today has been very hard. I had the thoughts, the urges, despite all reason, there they were. I got as far as planning how I could get to the bank, drive out of town etc…then Fate intervened and I was offered an appt I have been waiting for.
      … I take no pleasure today in my abstinence …
      , as it was not of my doing, but resulting only from a chance appointment. God help me tomorrow.
      gracephnx
      God morning Grace,
      I do not think that anyone takes much pleasure in abstaining from something that has been part of them and a powerful control of their lives. There may be an sigh of releif or a mild afterglow when we force ourselves to not gamble, but it would be hard for the act itself to be a pleasurable experience when there is an enter turmoil taking place. Now recovery, that is a different matter, when we practice our recovery and live gambling free, feeling the pleasure becomes a natural occurrence, we do not have to replace any resentment. "Abstinence is more of an "I’m-holding-off-for-now" attitude, while recovery is more about thinking along the lines of, "I used to be addicted, but that was then and this is now".
      Nevertheless, well done of staying gambling free during your time of turmoil and fighting off urges. And thank God for coincidental or chance interventions and that you were aware enough to not just blow off an opportunity for something that you desired. Many ***** the addiction does not allow us to even think about anything else, but you were able to use your resolve to abstain from gambling to think rationally.  Now look at using the time that abstaining from gambling is providing to work on recovery and changes in character traits that the addiction feeds on.
      You can find a discussion on the  difference between abstaining and recovery at this site, one that the quote above was taken from: http://www.addictionsearch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=708. It is mainly talking about alcohol and **** addictions, but in our case gambling is our **** of choice and the same principles apply for our actions as well.
      God’s speed. Stay strong. Keep aware.LarryThanks to my Higher Power, My 3G’s – God, GA, and GT,  "Day Two Is Another Day Behind" and with the help from all , I will continue to remain gambling free.

    • #16693
      gracephnx
      Participant

      Thank you for your post, Larry. I read the article, and yes, in some ways anyway, I am still at the "abstinence" stage (except I do not believe I can remain gamble-free through will power – I’ve already long proved that’s not possible). I am operating on faith that recovery is possible at present, and leaning heavily on support (from GT) and barriers I’ve set up…just crawling from one minute to the next. Maybe this is withdrawal? gracephnx

    • #16694
      vera
      Participant

      In case you think I’ve moved off the radar , Grace, I’m letting you know you are in my thoughts and prayers this Little Christmas (in Ireland, the 6th January is so called) An even older name is" Nollag na mBan"-"Women’s Christmas".
      I love the Feast of the Epiphany. As a Cg it has become very significant for me. We can come in our brokeness and and impoverished circumstances, and discover that the Saviour we meet is our true wealth. I put the 3 Wise Men into the crib when I came home from work just now, said the Serenity Prayer and came to bed
      I’m finished nights for this week but will spend the day sleeping and go to Dublin to Church tonight then have a Family meal when we come home.
      Hopefully my son will come late tonight with his girlfriend and the puppy he bought her for Chrismtas.
      I’m making an effert to restore normality where possible!
       

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