10 December 2013 at 2:14 pm #7574DuncKeymaster
I’ve been sitting here thinking about writing a post to 2 people within the forums, but Ive decided that this is your forum, so before I give my and it is only my opinion, I thought Id ask the community a question.
Is a barrier just a way of physically stopping us gamble or does it have a greater impact and if so in what way..
Examples are fabulous10 December 2013 at 3:03 pm #7575dave_gmaParticipant
A barrier that had success for me, albeit not in the short term, was self exclusion. I often hear it said by our residents “I don’t need to self exclude from the bookies, I’m not going to gamble again”. Either that or the old favourite “the staff change all the time, they don’t recognise me, I would still be able to gamble”. The former is fantastically naïve, cocky and brazen, and the latter is merely an avoidance of one’s own responsibilities in recovery.
When I self excluded from my local betting shops, I didn’t demand that the staff all memorised my face and studied my photo; once the forms were signed, I KNEW I WAS BANNED FROM THAT SHOP. The shame of being asked to leave if I had snuck back in to gamble kept me away. So did this mean I stopped gambling? Absolutely not; I just had to go farther afield to do so. This is where the self exclusion really worked though. Another phrase I hear a lot is “there are that many bookies you can’t possibly ban yourself from them all”. No you can’t, but you most certainly can buy yourself thinking time by putting a ‘ring of steel’ around your local area.
I would jump on a train to another town in order to gamble and this gave me the time to think about what I was doing. Had I not self excluded from my local shops then I would have been out of my front door and in the shop in 5 minutes flat. Because I had to travel for nigh on an hour to the next nearest bookies I had that whole hour to think about my actions. It didn’t stop me the first handful of times I went gambling, but it certainly didn’t take too long for me to wise up. It was costing me time to travel, it was costing me money to travel and I had a long way to get home afterwards during which time I could ponder my actions. Without self exclusion this wouldn’t have been possible.
Saying no to self exclusion does not say desperately healthy things about one’s recovery. I allow myself a wry smile when I am told “but passport photos cost a lot of money and there’s 10 shops to do round my way”. So ten quids’ worth of photos cost more than a day in the bookies?!
Remember that the clue is in the wording ‘SELF-exclusion’. It is one’s own responsibility to stay out of the betting shop. Self exclusion did so much more than merely keep me out of my local bookies, it made me do some serious self evaluating, reminded me that I was strong enough to decide to exclude myself in the first place and therefore in moments of clarity I knew I wanted to stop.
My bans from my local shops have long since expired but I know they remain off limits. This isn’t the sole reason I don’t gamble any more but it makes my local high street seem like a gambling establishment free zone. No mean feat when such places dominate these days.
If someone is reading this who is ‘umming and aahing’ about self excluding from their local bookies/casino/arcade/online, then act now. Ask yourself why you WOULDN’T self exclude? What would be the benefits? Any at all?
If you are reading this and are in the early stages of recovery, don’t believe that simply self excluding will make your desire to gamble go away. It won’t, I don’t think, but I truly believe it’ll make you think and question all your future actions.
So to answer your question Harry, a barrier like self exclusion doesn’t even necessarily physically stop us gambling as I outlined above but it will give you food for thought in your recovery. This may not sound like much use, but it played on my conscience and the internal battles that ensued meant I started to resent gambling as I was spending more and more time just travelling to get to the bookies.
I apologise if this became a ramble but I happened to be perusing the site and as someone who champions self exclusion I wanted to share my thoughts on it. If you have read this far and are someone struggling in recovery and looking for a spark, make self exclusion your thing. Come on, it’s a few quid/bucks/dollars on some photos and could be the best money you ever spent.
Dave10 January 2014 at 11:29 am #7576coyotegalParticipant
I’m not saying it doesn’t work. Perhaps in some locals and for some folks it works but for my boyfriend and I, well, not so much. Several years ago, we both self excluded from our favorite casino which was the closest. It is aprox. 40 miles away and is a small casino where they actually know most of us by name… So yes, we did stay away from there for an entire year. The problem though, was we ended up going to other casinos that were aprox. 60 miles away. We started to self exclude ourselves from those, but after talking to staff and security, decided it would be futile as we were told that they have no way of keeping up with who and who is not self excluded and that what usually happend was if someone who is self excluded goes in and plays and happens to win a jackpot that requires ID, that if they are on the exclusion list, the jackpot is forfeited and they are asked to leave. No jail, no hassles. Just hope you don’t hit it big if you are going to break the self exclusion. The only time they had people arrested for trespassing was when they got out of hand after being asked to leave when found as winners of forfeited jackpot. I realize that each of us has our own threshold of addiction and for some, self exclusion may be all it will take, but for others, it may not work, but still, I believe there is hope for each and every one of us. We just have to never give up trying. Needless to say, we both are still struggling with our addiction and struggle daily to stay out of the casinos.. sometimes we do. Sometimes we don’t. I just hope and pray that someday we all find the strength to take back our lives and embrace all that we have been missing.10 January 2014 at 12:32 pm #7577DuncKeymaster
You’re so right coyotegal , Self Exclusion doesn’t work for all…. Self Exclusion a tool to abstinence, and abstinence is something we all have to go through in the early days of recovery.. we abstain from gambling, then look at the big picture, get help from professionals, GA or GT, counseling, rehab, group therapy and slowly that abstinence becomes recovery.
It great you’ve added you view, after all that’s how we all learn and make decisions that help us forward our recoveries.
I see you’ve started your own thread so hopefully we can learn more about your journey
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