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      Yet another new thread for me; my first ever post on here was titled, "Recovery is a journey not a destination" I was a firm believer in that statement at the time, and suppose I still believe that. For me, I believe that support has to be sought out on an ongoing basis for the rest of my life, making the rest of my life my ongoing journey of recovery. I know I will never be cured of my compulsive gambling, I am an addict, I know that the addiction is still deeply engrained in me it tries really hard to get me to fall into its bottomless pit of destruction, pain, despair and pathetic stupidity. I have foolishly, for I do know better, fallen into the addictions trap on several ocassions since I first started posting on GT, I cant promise that I wont again, however I feel as if I am getting to see its cunning ways and clever mind tricks a lot more than I ever have.
      To those of you who weren’t here when I started posting I will briefly recap on my gambling life; I first started gambling at 15 years old on fruit machines, I was hooked from day one, but of course didnt realise it, when I was 16 I progressed in to betting shops and dog tracks and by 17 I had started stealing to feed my addiction. I first attended GA in 1983 and although I went regularly at first I lied in the meetings and really didn’t think they could help me. Truthfully I went to those meetings for the benefit of others, to get them off my back. My deceits and lies grew and grew as did my criminal record and I eventually went to prison in 1985. By 1990 I had been to prison 4 times, but it still never detered me from my self sabotaging gambling antics. My gambling had long since progressed to casinos and I thought that my life was doomed, I was lumbered with gambling as my lot in life nothing could cure me, I just couldnt help it, thats who I was. A useless low life piece of sh**. I have had alot of good career opportunities since then and sometimes flourished in what I was doing but always the impending doom of gambling would eventually take over and I would wreak chaos for all and sundry that got in my way. My family have suffered chronically at the hands of my addiction for the best part of 30 years, they are all hard working decent folk, they didn’t deserve the life my addiction was putting on thier doorstep. I have seriously tried to take my life on more than one occasion, I have been in psychiatric wards. I also got mixed up in some very serious crime circles and have been threatened with knives and guns all because of my gambling debts. My parents once agreed to pay off a debt to some of these heavies, it was several thousand pounds, and for years after that I have fleeced them for well over £100K. Using the excuse that I owed similar people money and they knew how serious these people were, the majority of these times it was just pure lies to get my fix. The introduction of the roulette machines (FOBT’s) into bookies seemed to speed up my addictions pace, (the crack cocaine of gambling it is said),I callousley faked my own kidnap in 2005 and again fleeced my parents, I went to prison then but within days of coming out I was gambling again. It didnt get any better until the begining of 2009 when I really had had enough of it all. Gambling was ousing through the viens in every avenue of my life, I felt like I was seeping gambling, I was totally consumed, saturated. It was either going to be top myself, or take steps to get my gambling problem sorted out. Well, I had tried topping myself previousley and obviously it had never worked so I seriousley started to try and get help for my addiction. I had asked for help over the previous 25 years or so infact tried nearly everything available however I could never be 100% honest with who ever I sought help from, I always wanted to leave the door open for my addiction, just a little bit, I wanted to gamble in a controlled way. LOL–as if I ever could.
      My journey of recovery started in January 2009, although I didnt see it like that then, I gambled in January, April, June and Septemeber 2009, sounds good eh? 4 gambling binges in a year-WTG Geordie!..Bol***x (full blown denial),the damage I done and trouble I caused to those close to me was obscene, I truly believe I would have caused less harm if I had of been gambling 7 days a week throughout the year. I was eventually accepted into Gordon House on September 23rd 2009 and it has helped me so much. However, I twice gambled in April this year when I was still in Gordon House, and since I left in June and moved into thier halfway house I have gambled on another 4 or 5 occasions. I am not proud of this one little bit, there is plenty I am proud of infact despite the gambling lapses I am an extremely proud man. I stand up to my addiction now, and my life has changed in oh so many ways thanks to Gordon House for showing me the way.
      How can I call this recovery, when I’ve gambled on so many occasions? Simple. I am recovering; I am getting better. I will never be recovered I will never be well, I will never be an ex compulsive gambler. My recovery has been so so tough at times, the optomism I had when I was in GH has been subdued quite a bit, however I know I can live gambling free, I done it yesterday, I’ve done it so far today, so whats to stop me being gambling free tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. It is quite cliche’d around the rooms and on here that recovery is one day at a time, but it is so true I truthfully dont know what life has instore for me tomorrow or the next day or next week or in 6 years time. But I know for a 100% fact I can live without gambling ‘just for today’ and thats good enough for me.
      Tonight a friend of mine told he me he’d gambled and he was thinking about gambling tomorrow, which is looking inevitable I must say, I have been talking to him for hours. I am proud that not once during the conversation did I feel tempted or lured to join in, I have done on previous occasions. I feel in a small way that I’ve failed him, I am strong in my recovery at present I am also nearly finished my level 2 counselling skills, I should be able to help him. But I cant. What I can do is feel a genuine empathy for the bloke I cant go into details, its not fair to him, but if I were in his shoes tonight all that would be on my mind would be gambling, and isn’t it one of the sickest things about this whole bloody addiction that no matter how depraved some of the things its made us do in the past are, it can still sometimes come and tempt us. I honestly have not considered it this time around I am pleased to say, but I was tempted a few weeks ago. Thanks to some great support from friends here, staff at GH and my GA meeting it hasn’t tempted me since.
      My Mam despite all of the grief I’ve given her over the years is as much of a support as anyone else and she dosn’t even know it, and I am proud to have a mother like her I might not have been lucky in my gambling but I am certainly lucky there. We talk nearly every night about allsorts of everything, or sometimes about nothing but it helps me feel human. I have feelings and a concience now, I didnt 18 months ago, well perhaps I did deep down burried under the mayhem of my gambling.
      I sincerely hope that this thread dosnt end up another one with repeated confessions of future gambling; as Vera pointed out to me a few weeks ago "You gambled, you didn’t have a slip", I believe that any gambling that I ever get involved in will not be a slip, it will be a deliberate act, I have a choice now and that choice should always be not to gamble. Thanks for making me see the truth V. I think some people have the right to call some gambling icidents a ‘slip’ but I dont think I can.
      Anyway before the waffling gets into overdrive I’ll say goodnight. "Goodnight."
      Ever the optimist Geordie.If I can change anybody can change.

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