This may not be the way of updating or adding information to my Journal, but I would like to use it as an accounting and follow-up of my journey and progress. As such, I hope to post in this way from time to time, unless I find or am shown a better way.
My first post, with a lot of inserts (I moved it here for my convience only):
Originally posted by paul315
This update is to transfer my New Topic Post, and any replies, that I made under similar post names. I am doing this to try and make it simpler for me to keep track of my entries.
If anyone else reads it and finds it confusing pleas overlook my varied attempts to get my stuff together, I am on the computer a lot but still not too familiar with the best way to do things. I might consider a computer class now that I have more time on my hands since I am not spending all that time at the casino. The first update was to correct spelling.
The transferred post come at the end.
I started my membership in Gambling Therapy with a post entitled "Day Two is Still a Day Away" I joined this site yesterday (Aug 12th) and was hoping to start my postings announcing that I made it past my second day. I can’t do that, on what was to be my second day I ended up on one of my more stupid binges. So, the count down starts again. Somehow I regretfully have the feeling that I might have to face the realization of this title again, I do not plan to but after reading other post, I accept the fact that it might happen; I also accept the fact that I can start over if need be – hopefully this will not happen but if it does I am already looking for the strength and help to put my Second Day behind me forever. The rest of this post is mainly for my own acknowledgment of my problem.
My user name is Paul315, I am 65, retired but work part time. I am in the process of a divorce and live alone in a rented apartment. I have a grown family from my first marriage and also a teenage daughter in my current marriage. My new family is in France but I found myself in a depressed state being away from my US family after 9-11 that I had to return to the States for awhile. I really intended to go back but time and distance took their toll. I returned to my home in New Orleans only to be chased out by Katrina, another blow to my state of mind. From there I came back to St Louis where my grown family lives. Being near them is my only satisfaction but that is diminished by the thoughts of my French family. I believe these are the main reasons for my need to use gambling as an outlet – it is a make believe world where I can hide.
I have been attracted to gambling since first visiting Vegas in 1985. Prior to that I was never involved other then occasional home games. Up until the mid 90’s my involvement consisted of a yearly trip to Vegas where I enjoyed a controlled visit. When casinos opened in the local community, both is Saint Louis and New Orleans, my visits increased. I also went to the casinos in Nice much too frequently and keep it to myself, not as a secret, I mentioned it in passing but not as a topic of my daily activities, but because I felt it as a fault even before this admission of being an addict. Now it is a serious problem. I start off at the casino for entertainment and a social outlet but end up go on a crazy binge that I can’t walk away from, no matter if I am winning or loosing.
A greater problem is that I now find myself writing checks, that I realize afterwords, is way over my balance. Once I get started, I can’t control myself, I go insane. This erratic behavior bothers me later but at time my mental functions are so impaired that I even deny myself bathroom breaks until the very last moment. After I have to juggle my expenses around my then drastically reduced income. The check cashing services allow this and collect their fees, my bank overdrafts large amounts, collecting their fees. These fees are now, alone with my gambling are eating me alive. It is like being indebted to a loan shark. I would place myself in a Self-exclusion from Gambling Program but fear that I might still go and then be arrested for trespassing, although I think my writing bad checks would be a more serious crime if the check cashing services prosecuted instead of profiting from my weakness. I have reached a stage that I live in a depressed state of mind and do not know what to do. This is my first cry for help, but it should have been sooner.
The following is the post I mentioned above, I am repeating that post here as my beginning:
My Answers to Gamblers Anonymous’ Twenty Questions
1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
Yes, although I have not called in saying I couldn’t show up, I have taken off early
to go to a special gambling event.
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
Yes, even though I live alone I have made my own home life unhappy.
3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
Yes, it has caused some family members to think less of me.
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
Yes, but I tend to play down these feelings.
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve
Yes, this is my reason for my uncontrolled gambling after I lose heavily during
my so called "controlled" gambling.
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
Yes, the depressed state I get in drains all ambition to do other things.
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
Yes, I also have to stay and continue with funds I don’t have to spare.
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
Yes, winning does not satisfy me, most of the time I have to stay and
gamble until all is gone.
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
Yes, sometimes I don’t even have enough change for coffee the next day.
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
Yes, I had to borrow from by daughter and brother, I have also taken advances
on my credit cards.
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Yes, I have sold a few items on eBay to gain extra funds.
12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
Yes, I take from my living allotment regularly.
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
Yes, I cut my daughter’s child support short.
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
Yes, I completely lose track of time, I have even had to find alternative
ways home after I miss the last bus.
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
Yes, these are the only reasons that I gamble, at first it was enjoyment,
but not it is an escape.
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
Yes, I have started to write hot checks and I have delayed depositing money
from sales at work.
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Yes, I lay awake trying to figure out a way to change my life.
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
Yes, not any arguments but the disappointments and frustrations of the gambling
in it’s self causes me to want to gamble more.
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
This is the only question that I can answer "no" to, but only because I can’t think of
any good fortune that I have experienced lately.
20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
Yes, I don;t think that I have seriously considered it, but I have thought about it
being a solution.
I answered yes to more then the seven that seams to be the cut off, so I guess that I am a compulsive gambler in need of help. To tell the truth, I didn’t have to take the test to know.
My answers are much more complex then the short ones I have listed and that makes my problem even more scary.
The rest of this post now showes the transfers mentioned at the begaining:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Day Two is Still a Day Away – Gamblers Anonymous Report
I went to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting last night and got to report that I had reached my 4th day of not gambling. The opening was like a movie scene with everyone announcing "My name is ____, I am a compulsive gambler, my last day to gamble was ____", I did not say much after my opening lines, but me telling a group of strangers my secret was a big step. It is different stating this fact and talking about it live then posting on line with time to think out what you are writing.
There were fifteen in attendance, including myself and another first timer. Seeing them all there and each talking about about the different issues relating to our compulsive behaviors reinforces the fact that we are not alone and that there is help from others that care. The thing that stood out to me most was the number of members that had achieved quite a few years of being free, with one celebrating her 14th "Birthday". It was good to see that our goal can be reached. Other established members had a lot of years in the program but with a few slips. I do not know how many years and slips the fourteen year old had been through, but the variety of situations and the continuing efforts were again encouraging.
But even with just attending the one meeting and as in reading the post here for only a few days, I realize that these repetitive reports are a must in gaining our independence from gambling. Just as in learning the alphabet and our multiplication tables where the constant repeating teaches us these basic needs, we need the constant reports of our actions to train us to chose the good option between gambling or not gambling.
Hope to attend my second meeting.
"Day Two is Still a Day Away" – No matter how long in the program, I realize that without help and strength I might have to, but hopefully not, begin a new Day Two from time to time.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Re: Day Two is Still a Day Away – Gamblers Anonymous Report
wwwoa sounds good to me.i need to go maybe. i havnt done that yet/erll see ya and one more no gambling day is good.to us
here to make it one year..and more, lets do it!!!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
colin in brum
Re: Day Two is Still a Day Away – Gamblers Anonymous Report
Hi Paul, yes I think that was one of the main things I took from my first meeting – the success stories in the room showed me that I had hope again, I could stop gambling. A couple hours a week at a meeting with, now, friends is a small price to pay for a life time in recovery. Good post.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Day Two is Still a Day Away – Announcement to Family
Last night I told my daughter about my joining Gamblers Anonymous and my activities here on Gambling Therapy. She has know of my "attraction" to gambling for a while and I have even borrowed money from her with the explicit reason to cover some bad checks I wrote at the casino, but my announcement seamed to surprise her a little, with her saying that she did not realize that my gambling was that bad (we can hide it from many, and even ourselves, before we decide to stop the deceit). She also was extremely happy that I was doing something, leaving me to believe that she did know of or suspected my compulsion.
I have also told my brother and my sister of my problem, plus my other brother has known for awhile. They show concern but we are not close enough for me to feel any support. When I did tell my one brother he indirectly, and unintentionally, gave me more support then he, or I at the time, realized. I had also asked him for money, with the explicit reason to cover another check I wrote for gambling. When I asked, I knew that he would not give it to me so I guess I was actually seeking real help. As expected, he did not give me any money, he also did not give me any support but rather belittled me telling me how week I was. This truth helped awaken me to my dilemma and accept my compulsion and my personal responsibility to stop it.
After reading a post by paul1day, and like him, I would like to say "that my post are for me", so forgive me if I seam to carry on. This is not to say that I am not seeking your help, I read these post all the time and, again paraphrasing paul1, "graciously accept all the help I receive here" and deeply appreciate your comments that give me further insight, help and encouragement.
Thank you and bless you all.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Day Two is Still a Day Away – From Attraction to Compulsion
I started off responding to the below copied portion of a post made by colin in brum in his response to one by alexthered but it turned into more then just a response so I an posting it as part of my own Journal instead.
Originally posted by colin in brum
… i’m not sure what you mean by wanting to be "normal". If you mean you want to be able to gamble "normally" I’m afraid that’s not possible. ..
In this response Colin made to Alex what he stated hit home with me.
First, I will say that the last part of that post "I’m afraid that’s not possible" is an absolute gimme, but, my recognizing and accepting this truth also feeds my resentment to the fact that I will never again be able to enjoy the pleasure of "normal" gambling.
Every Thursday for the past four years my daughter has picked me up at a bus stop near her work for my weekly visit with her and my granddaughter. This bus stop happens to be at a casino, actually it is within the casino it’s self at the VIP drop-off area. In the past, especially during the past coupe of years while not so much during the first two, I would go in and hurriedly gamble (blow away) twenty to forty – and sometimes more – dollars during my brief twenty minuet wait. Now, since joining Gambling Therapy and Gamblers Anonymous, I sit outside the entrance and watch the wave of people going in. For the most part I see happy and cheerful people, individuals, couples and small groups going in for a evening of normal enjoyment and relaxation (I also see a few with what I imagine as tormented looks caused by a compulsive behavior). I watch these normal people partaking in a normal everyday event with resentment while thinking back when I was able to enjoy the pleasures that casinos offer to some. I think of my first gambling experience when I went to Vegas on a training seminar and the subsequent trips I took once or twice a year. The Strip and Downtown gambling area was exciting and quite enjoyable offering a relaxing and comfortable get-a-way. At that time I was able to enjoy this environment and the nearby surrounding attractions without being trapped into the marathon gambling situations and binges that took the place of my "normal" gambling. (I also recall that during my first time there that I scared a friend so much by my rapid and reckless playing on a group of slots simultaneously that she stopped seeing me afterwords – the first sign of my unhealthy attraction, addiction, and future compulsion).
This enjoyment of my controlled gambling trips lasted for quite a few years. Then the casino’s barriers that limited my experiences and restricted my addiction started to break down. There were now casinos every were. Instead of planning a trip I only had to drive a couple of hours or a few minutes, and was even within a short walking distance of a casino. During this period I was still able to curb my attraction, control my addiction and still visited the casinos for enjoyment. (I personally find that an addiction, even one to potentially harmful so-called vices such as smoking, drinking and even gambling, etc., can be controlled and remain enjoyable when done with a conscious understanding and desire to contain them.) However, as in my case and that of many of those here, an addiction can become uncontrollable for whatever the reason, be it from too much exposure or too frequent use to a life altering event or just human makeup, and turn into the poisoning compulsion that I now must live with.
So gambling for me can never again be a normal enjoyable occasion. It will always be the object of a constant battle over a once harmless and enjoyable recreational pastime that I let fester from my first innocent attraction at a training seminar into a controllable addiction, and finally into a dreadful everyday compulsion.
As I said in a prior post, "if you can’t box it in, you have to box it out"; well, I have had to box it out and I will be victorious in this war of keeping it boxed out.
Replies to this post from me will now be a continuation of my Journal.
I took a positive step this morning, I contacted the check cashing services and stopped any approval of check cashing request. If ever I can’t control the urge at least I will not have use of funds that I do not have available. The easy access to "advanced monies" was feeding my compulsion. I know that check cashing wasn’t the reason of my compulsive gambling, but eliminating it is part of a box I have to build (a long time ago on the old Baretta TV show Robert Blake made the statement that "If you can’t box it in, you have to box it out."), and although he is no longer a good roll model, that statement has stayed with me and I have started building my box.
Now that I eliminated my check cashing options, my big concern is that if I do go back I will use the real money I have for my expenses. Hopefully this recognition and fear will help keep me away.
I know that I use the term "if I go back" and that it may not sound like a positive attitude but, I also know, through a friend in AA and reading the post of others in this forum, that lapses have a good chance of sneaking in. This is the reason for my closing signature that I will be using, "Day Two is Still a Day Away – No matter how long in the program, I realize that without help and strength I might have to, but hopefully not, begin a new Day Two from time to time". Every day is a day away from day two.
Also, my name is Larry, not Paul as in my screen name. I an telling everyone my real name after reading a post by Bryan, aka by his screen name ‘thebfunk’, where he stated "I wrote my name for the first time to make it more real for me, thebfunk isn’t me I’m Bryan". I chose Paul because of the Apostle Paul evolving from his past life as Saul into a better one. I am listing my real name, not necessary to make this any more real for me, it is already as real as it can ever be, but to make it honest, honesty is what I see in Bryan’s statement.
I am planning to attend a GA meeting Monday night, will let all know if I made it.
Thanks to all for your response to my postings and for your support.
Larry, aka Paul315
— 10/13/2010 3:29:29 PM: post edited by paul315.