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    • #53224

      I had a gambling binge this weekend and lost a fair chunk of my savings. I kept trying to chase my losses and ended up really depressed and feeling
      hopeless that I had lost control and gambling has become a serious problem for me. I have self-excluded myself from the online site I was using and I
      am determined to move past this and get control on my money and my life. I have had mental health issues my whole life, and it’s not healthy for me to
      be doing this to myself. I also have a parent who is a problem gambler and I don’t want to be carrying on that toxic legacy.

      I have gambled off and on for the last twenty years. I have had many years where I did not gamble at all, so I know I can do it. I think I needed to admit
      to myself that I am an addict, and that I need help and support to deal with that. I was telling myself that because my gambling was only affecting me that
      it wasn’t a serious problem. But that’s not true. I have been unable to afford food because of gambling. When I wasn’t working, I let other people give me
      money when they knew I was struggling financially and then would spend some of that money on gambling. I once stole some items from a family member
      and pawned them for cash for gambling. I knew it was a big problem but I still didn’t consider myself an addict. I now consider myself a recovering addict.

      I have a good job now, and had been making progress with saving money and not gambling. With some stresses this year, I’ve gone back to gambling as a coping
      method to deal with anxiety and hopelessness. It’s a distraction. It numbs my feelings and passes the time. I hid my gambling from everyone except my therapist.
      I am so ashamed of it. It makes me feel like a failure. I don’t want to feel like that anymore. I’ve wasted so much time and money on gambling and I am sick and
      tired of the vicious cycle.

      Some of the triggers for me have been feeling lonely (but anxious about letting people in so I end up isolating myself), stress, worrying about not ever being able to
      afford a house, feeling like it’s hopeless and my life is going nowhere. I let myself believe that winning money will make me feel better, and sometimes it does, but
      more often than not, I end up losing and then I feel even worse.

      So this is my first step towards recovering from gambling addiction. I have made a reasonable savings plan and I am going to stick to it. When I get the urge to gamble
      I am going to come here and read the forum and remind myself of why I am doing this. I’m going to reach out for support. I will look for local support groups. I will take
      my recovery seriously and be compassionate towards myself for mistakes I have made in the past.

    • #53225

      I liked your last sentence – “I will take my recovery seriously and be compassionate towards myself for mistakes I have made in the past.”

      Giving ourselves compassion – by remembering that this problem is a behavioural issue and it’s NOT the whole of who we are.

      Also, taking recovery seriously. I only made real progress on my problem when I took my recovery as seriously as I took my gambling when in action.

      I recognise some of your triggers as well. I tended to isolate myself and worked so many hours trying to keep up with debt repayments and then gambling when I had any time off.

      Now I try and ensure that I keep in touch with people – coming onto this site every day helps … I am also tacking my stress issues – and finding other stress reduction techniques (walking really helps!)

      Good to read your first post and I hope to read many more. Go well.

    • #53226

      Thanks Steev, I appreciate your supportive comments. I am going to start making a list of the triggers I have and work out some strategies for managing them.

      Have been doing a lot of thinking today, on my first day as a recovering gambling addict. I had work to distract me which was good, but had some thoughts about how I just needed to win back what I had lost. I know that’s a pipe dream. Even if I did win back what I’ve lost, I would get sucked back into that black hole and end up losing it again, and more. I also had to check my bank account to see if I got paid for something and had to see all those transactions to the online casino during the weekend. That was hard to see. The regret, guilt and shame. I have to let that go though. If I think about what I’ve lost then I’m too tempted to gamble again to try and win some of it back.

      I came home from work and watched a talk on youtube, it’s called ‘problem gambling: no one wins’…it starts off a bit slow but then they have a recovered gambling addict who talks about his experiences and how it all spiraled for him and he literally lost everything. I felt for him, it obviously tore him up inside. It was helpful to be reminded about how easily gambling can spiral out of control, even to people who seemingly have a good life, and how bad it feels and all the negative effects. I think I need to be reminding myself of that whenever I am tempted to gamble “just once”. It’s never just once. It always sets me off on that same old road again. 

      I also looked up GA meetings in my city. There is one that I could go to, although I haven’t got in contact with them yet. I am honestly a bit scared and anxious about going and wondering if it’s the right thing for me at the moment. I don’t want the stress of going to trigger me into a relapse, however I also wonder if I’m not making excuses to avoid going. One of the things I’m worried about is that I don’t know who else will be there, what kinds of gamblers will be there? I guess the only way to find out is to attend. I can always go a couple of times and see how I feel about it. 

      I have also been thinking about the addiction side of it. I know some people call it “problem gambling” but for me I think it helps to think of it as an addiction. That is something I can deal with and manage, it’s an all or nothing thing, whereas “problem gambling” makes me think that there is a possibility of “responsible gambling”, which maybe there is for some people, but not for me. I have to treat this like an addiction, not just a problem. 

    • #53227

      Hello and thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy forums

      Here at Gambling Therapy we pride ourselves on being a caring and diverse online community who can help and support you with the difficulties you’re currently facing. We understand that this might be a tough time for you, particularly if you’re new to recovery, so come here as often as you need to and participate in the forums, access online groups and connect to the live advice helpline if you need one to one support. We’re in this together!

      Here on the forum you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and accepting environment. The beauty of writing it all down is that you can take your time and you will be creating a record of your progress that you can look back on if it ever feels like you’re not moving forward. So, share as much or as little as you like but do try to stick to keeping just one thread in this forum so people know where to find you if they want to be updated on your progress or share something with you.

      As well as the forums New Members are invited to join Charles in the New Members Practical Advice Group On Mondays at 21:00 (UK) and Thursday at 19:00(UK)

      And on that note….

      I’m going to hand you over to our community because I’m sure they will have some words of wisdom for you 🙂

      Take care

      The Gambling Therapy Team

      PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!

    • #53228

      I know I dithered for a long time before going to GA meetings – but I had tried almost everything else before I got there.  I also had an idea that a) I wasn’t a real gambler because my vice was mainly slots and only sports betting was real gambling; and b) that I hadn’t lost enough to “qualify”  even though by this time I had lost enough to pay cash for a small house!

      I made contact by phone first – so I wonder if that is a small step you could take, and ask questions of people before you take the next step of getting to a meeting.

      You will be made to feel welcome – and you will hear other people’s stories before you are asked to share yours – and you can say as much or as little as you want – even just to confirm your first name and how long it has been since your last bet.

      GA is not for everyone – I no longer attend – but for the years I was there I went to several meetings (at one point as many as 7 a week) and if nothing else it took me to a place where I couldn’t gamble (most of my gambling took place in the evenings.)  I still think it is the best route for people at the start of their recovery from gambling – and if it continues to work then why stop.  For me I needed to understand myself more which is why I went down the route of counselling and co-counselling, but that may be for later.

      So don’t put it off.  Take the first step of making a call.  Go to one meeting, then go to two (perhaps a different one) and then make a decision to continue or not.  But if it is not then ensure that you have some other form of support for yourself, it is so hard to beat this thing alone.

      Again – if addiction is the word that works for you then use it.  That might change as you do, within your recovery.  At this stage take up everything you can with both hands and put all the effort into your recovery.  Take being in recovery even more seriously than you took your gambling – then you will make it, I’m sure.  Go well.

    • #53229

      Well, like a lot of people who are gambling addicts, I had a relapse the last couple of days. I knew I was ignoring my triggers which was work stress, and weekends, and not feeling well. Same old story, I thought I could win back some money and then quit. Instead I lost more money.

      I am done now. I just can’t keep living like this. I’ve texted the contact for local GA meetings and installed Gamban on my devices.

      One day at a time.

    • #53230

      Listen to me when I saw this. Read it over and over again.

      Gambling is not the solution to your problems. It never has been and it never will be. The *only* outcome to gambling will be negative. Forever. If you ever think differently, it’s your addiction and your mind conspiring against you

    • #53231

      The words we tell ourselves on a daily is the key to success. If you live by the gun you will die by the gun. I say that to say this yes we must admit we have our weakness and our mind is lost with this addiction. You know within yourself you are in better place from this moment on. With positive words from good people who are on this site struggling just as you we are here to encourage each other that life is getting better one moment one day at a time. Stay strong at this time. Forget the losses know it will never come back once you chase after it through gambling. It never ever works. Quote Doing something over and over and expecting a different result is not a reality my friend. Stick to positive videos watch Santos Jr. Soldiers of Self Mastery on youtube. Continue checking in on your journal here. And you going rise above this.

    • #53232

      thanks Steev, Hambone and Seanraj for your comments. It’s nice to have a place to talk about this stuff where people have been there and understand.

      I think I underestimated how hard it would be to stop. It sounds easy in theory – just don’t do it. But that’s not how addiction works. It’s hard work, every day.

      I am going to my first GA meeting tomorrow night. Am nervous, but committed. I hope that being around other people who are dealing with the same problem will help me in my recovery.

      Today I bought myself some new bedding and towels. Felt good to put my money to constructive use. It’s ironic that I struggle to spend money on myself but used to have no worries about wasting it gambling.

      Working hard on not thinking about what I’ve lost to gambling, but thinking about quitting gambling as a win. I will be saving so much money by dealing with this problem. Have been tempted a few times last night and today, but am glad that I installed Gamban on my devices so gambling is not even an option.

    • #53233

      Hi kiwi
      It was nice to meet you in group tonight .
      Installing Gamban is a great move and will give u great peace of mind . I feel spending money on ourselves is a huge part of recovery as it reminds us that we are worth it and that we deserve recovery .
      I hope you find GA really helpful .

      Keep strong – u got this xx

    • #53234

      I was having urges this morning…thinking that I could just gamble a little to try and recoup my losses. Thankfully I had installed ganban which meant I can’t access gambling online. The urges have passed now. I spent some time in group chat which also helped. I’ve now bought a subscription to ganban because I think I would have been tempted once the free trial period ran out.

      I think I will do some reading about addictions today. It really is so tempting to think it’s simple – just stop. But it is hard work, the addiction is devious and turns my mind against me. I think cutting off the ability to gamble is key because otherwise it’s too easy to get sucked back in.

      I am going to my first GA meeting tonight. It is a big step for me, I hope it goes well and isn’t too scary.

    • #53235

      Went to my first GA meeting tonight. I was nervous but it was really good and I got a lot out of it. Hearing other people talk about their struggles and being able to relate and share a bit of my own story. And also hearing that some of these people who have been in the same place as me, have found some peace and been GF. I have a lot to think about, but will definitely keep going.

    • #53236

      I know it is never easy going to a meeting when you have no idea what to expect, but I am glad it went well and that you got so much out of it.

    • #53237

      Well done Kiwi !
      You have taken a very brave step and it is good that you got so much from the meeting. Meet you soon again in group x

    • #53238

      Thanks Steev and IDI…it was scary to go. As I kind of expected I was the only woman there, but the other guys were really good and I got on well and felt accepted. It gave me a lot to think about and made me feel less isolated, to meet other people out there in the real world.

      Today I had moments where I missed the adrenaline from gambling. I think some of that was also because it was payday today and made me think again about my situation and how many mistakes I’ve made. I do feel resolute about not gambling again. One day at a time though.

      I think I have to remember to have patience. Good things take time, and effort and taking things one step at a time. Time goes fast, and I’m looking forward to being able to ***** my GF days in weeks and months, and eventually years.

    • #53239

      Dear sis

      I am thankful to read your post and this moment forward we gonna be better at being better. Staying strong with the support from others. I m thankful i took time to explore this website last friday 6th dec 2019 begining of a new chapter of my life. I am happy nw. Yes challenges lying ahead esp when i have access to 25k tmr.  telling my mind that money is put to better use to produce an income a higher return a profit to help my family out of debts. I am investing. I am saving for a better future for my son. He needs more than i do. Keep on the pathway of recovery be addicted to free from it all. Thank you for sharing.

    • #53240

      Thanks Sean for your comment, we do need to stay strong and stay committed to being GF.

      I am one week gamble free today. I have gamban installed so online gambling is not an option. I can feel myself being a little tempted to go into a pub and play the slots. But I also want to be able to go to my GA meetings and be able to say honestly that I’m not gambling.

      I also feel mentally clearer when I’m not gambling, or thinking about the next chance I have to gamble. I have bought a few nice things for myself, a new duvet cover and some nice towels. This helps me remember that I am worth spending my money on instead of throwing money away gambling.

    • #53241

      Keep on keeping on. Stay addicted to self worth. Thank you. I am also one week GF. Wow i feeling awesome!!

    • #53242

      Today was my last day at work before the Christmas break, and we had some drinks at work, then went to a pub for another drink. This pub had a few slot machines which I saw but didn’t use. However they got the idea into my head that I could go somewhere else after I left my workmates and “just gamble a little bit”.

      After I left my workmates, I walked into another pub by myself, walked past some people betting on racing and into the area where the slot machines were. I was debating myself the whole time, did I really want to do this? maybe it could be my last gamble for the year? Telling myself I would only spend a set amount and no more etc…

      It was busy, and the area was small and cramped. I saw people who didn’t look happy, just a bit sad and desperate. I looked at both of the two slot machines that were available…I stood and looked at them. I knew that even if I won (even though it was more likely that I would lose) that there would be no joy in it. I then walked straight out again. Today, I am still gamble free.

      As I walked out, I thought about what had changed. For one thing I am going to GA meetings, and I didn’t want to have to go back and admit that I had gambled. For another thing, I am counting the days I am GF and I didn’t want to lose my progress and start again. I think the most important reason that I walked out without gambling though, was because now that I have admitted to myself and others that I am a compulsive gambler, that it is a problem for me, it has stopped being a secret, and it has lost some of it’s power to be something I do for comfort or distraction or pleasure.

      When I was thinking about gambling on the way there, I was thinking about how I used to feel when gambling and the pleasure I got from winning free games or features. But when I got there, looked at the machines, looked at the people who were in there…I only felt sadness. I realised that I have accepted the money I’ve lost is gone, and any attempts to win it back will just result in more money lost. I know I have to earn my money through hard work and patience.

      I’ve never been so glad to walk away from slot machines. I like my life GF. I think part of what made me consider gambling was that I had been drinking a bit, and also because I saw the slot machines in the first pub. I need to reconsider my strategies for staying gamble free. To be honest I did not think that the first pub we went to would have machines so I was surprised by them being there. It reminded me that I need to stay vigilant against the compulsive gambling thoughts, because they sneak their way into my head.

      For today, I am very glad to still be gamble free. Every day I make the choice to be gamble free is a win.

    • #53243

      Hi kiwi thanks for sharing your observation of your thoughts. I applaud your courage to walk away from the pub after you starting thinking deeply about the consequences of placing that bet. Thankful you recognize your path which you were on and you have decided to keep focus on your goal to live your life GF and without wallowing in misery. I m proud of you. Congrats on your strong wilingness to share this with those who are in this forum to give that inspiration. Thank you. Stay positive. Be bless. Inspire others. 

    • #53244

      I’ve been in that situation a few times – when you go into a pub not realising that there are machines there and the old feelings well back … Most times I managed to resist the urge – by sitting so I am not in view (and if possible in hearing distance) of them.

      My last few gambles were when, like you I thought – I can handle this, just a few pounds won’t hurt. But, of course it didn’t stop at a few pounds …

      When I moved to a new city (to get away from the casinos I went to) I checked out the pubs that did not have machines and only went to them. Luckily they tended to sell better drinks as well! Now I very rarely encounter machines when I go out. Here in France, they are only in specially licenced “sports bars” which are signed as such and so easy to avoid. I hope you have a great Christmas (you will get it earlier than most of us?) And a brilliant gamble free 2020.

    • #53245

      Hello all, has been awhile since I logged in here. I was away without much internet access over new years, then got back and have been busy with work and study.

      Am still gamble free, 8 weeks! It feels like longer as I feel very different to when I used to gamble. Am still going to GA meetings which help keep me on track. My head is a lot clearer without the gambling.

      Best of luck to everyone out there struggling.

    • #53246

      Hi Kiwi. Congratulations on reaching 2 months gamble free. You are making good progress and I wish you all the best in your recovery. Keep up the good work.

    • #53247

      I am also interested to hear about your travels … they sounded so exciting!  Maybe we can catch up in group sometime – although now I am working, I don’t have so much time to be there.  Wishing you well!

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