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    • #24697
      nacole8039
      Participante

      Hello.

      Today is my first visit to this online help site. I have known for about three years that I have a serious gambling problem, but there are no ‘live’ support groups available in my area. I thought I could stop gambling and go it alone…I have never been more wrong in my life.

      I do apologize for the length of this post, but I have never felt like I have anyone with whom I can talk about what I’m going through. I have read many of the posts in the forums and feel like I can openly share some things with the caring people that frequent here.

      I am 45-yeard-old woman, married with two teenage boys, and am what I consider to be highly educated (RN, two masters degrees, and currently pursuing a PhD). I have had a nice life. No hidden childhood horrors that haunt me and make me gamble. My downfall is the video lottery machines that are common in almost EVERY bar/tavern/nightclub. My spiral into gambling hell started most innocently. Throw a few bucks in the machine and if I won, great. If I lost, that was fine, too. Looking back I am amazed at how quickly that escalated into my current routine of constantly thinking about gambling, always hiding money from my spouse, writing checks to float me for another hour or two on the machines, and lying about where I’ve been when confronted by my husband.

      I live in a rural area with limited amenities (other than gambling). I work from home and am quite isolated from the outside world. This isolation created a great deal of boredom and depression, which seems (at the time, anyway) to dissipate when I am gambling. I wake up several days of each week with a giant case of gambler’s remorse. Like many gamblers, the thought of suicide has crossed my mind. I have sought inpatient treatment (which focused on alcohol and drug abuse….and essentially NOTHING specific to a gambling addiction), I have tried to get outpatient treatment, but my insurance will not cover it and I am getting deeper and deeper into debt and can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket (I know, I know…stop gambling and use THAT money to pay for outpatient services…not as easy as it sounds).

      As I type this, I am hoping with everything that I have that my husband does not try to use his debit card this evening after work…after my trip to the gambling parlor yesterday, I’m pretty sure it will be declined….this will cause a confrontation this evening and I am just not mentally prepared to endure that right now.

      I have not included great detail about the things I have done to ensure that I would be able to gamble when I wanted to, but I am afraid. I know I have a problem. I know I have to stop. Although my husband says he wants to be supportive, I don’t feel like he REALLY knows how to support me. I have few friends that I feel comfortable with peeling back the layers and being completely honest about what I have become. I am tired of living like this and I am so tired of crying all the time because of the remorse I have for doing something so stupid as to continue to gamble.

      I hope that somewhere out there someone can relate to what I’m saying, and if nothing else, when you say your prayers this evening, please send up a silent prayer for this old gal. I need your support.

      Thanks

      Nacole8039

    • #24698
      monique
      Participante

      <

      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.

      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!

    • #24699
      monique
      Participante

      Hi Nacole
      I am glad you have taken the big step of writing here. Right now I am thinking of you and have been touched by your story. Do keep writing now that you have started and try to join some of the group sessions, too.
      It is clear from what you say that you are experiencing a lot of regret and remorse, which feels very painful. Can I ask you how determined you are to stop the cycle of gambling that has been causing the damage in your life, financial and emotional? I ask this because I think it is when you are truly wanting to be gambling-free that you begin to find the energy to take the right steps, even if they are really hard at first, to start a new way of life.
      When you set out on this new path, you need to arm yourself with good information and support, such as you will find here, from both the staff team and the other people who have joined, as you have, to pursue a life without gambling.
      Your husband, as you have noted, will have his own feelings – if he would like support, there is the Friends and Family support service here, too. Gambling, as you also note, is not good for a relationship. You both need support relevant to your different struggles.

      So keep writing, read the stories of others who have been on the path for a little longer and ask your questions.

      I wish you all the courage and determination you need to find and stick with a new way of life.

      Very best wishes,

      Monique (Gambling Therapy Team)

    • #24700
      Anônimo
      Convidado

      I read your post and was surprised because you could have been describing me. I have been in exactly the position you have been. I have even resorted to getting friends to pick up my post when I was at work so my husband would not see Bank statements. It is a horrible addiction . Yes it takes from us financially but also takes so much else from us..our peace of mind , the happiness in our relationships and homes, our self respect . You feel alone but every person on here can identify with what you have written. I don’t know why some people become addicted to gambling but I do know that we can stop and is amazing how quickly life seems to turn around once we have stopped. Keep posting Nacole. You have taken the first step and are on your way to quitting.

    • #24701
      nacole8039
      Participante

      Sad68,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to me. It was very encouraging to me to read that you (and others) understand where I am and what I’m going through. I am not alone.

      I have always heard that the three most difficult things in life to say are: I love you, I’m sorry, and help me. The only one I really struggle with is the help me part. As a nurse, I am always the one taking care of others, and somewhere along the way, I have forgotten the value of taking care of me!

      That has to change…and I am taking it one day at a time!

      Nacole

    • #24702
      finding_laura
      Participante

      You could be describing me as well. I’m not a nurse but am a professional woman Married and two kids, one teenager and one in his early twenties. My gambling was a deep dark secret kept from my husband. He knew I gambled but not how often or how much. Suicide, yes, considered that a lot near the end of the downward spiral. The secrets, the debt I could no longer re finance or keep hidden and the repayments were impossible to make. I felt hopeless because all i thought about was gambling. When your dream becomes to win the lottery so you can sit and play the VLT’s all day that is a sick sad hopeless feeling. I am so glad that I found this site. Proud to say that with the help of this site and many other resources such as free out patient counselling provided by my province and gamblers anonymous I have been in recovery and clean for over four years. It is a one step at a time, one moment at a time endeavour. Many small changes and big steps make up the journey. Well done on taking some 🙂

      Can I ask does your husband truly know/understand that you have a gambling addiction? Have you had confrontations before? It can be major tough on relationships this problem. Creates a lot of mistrust I think for our partners.

      Glad you found this place Nacole. It’s a support I couldn’t have done without. Take care,
      Laura

    • #24703
      desdemona
      Participante

      Dear (((Nacole)))! Let me assure you that every compulsive gambler knows exactly how you are feeling. We just have different stories. I too lived rurally and would frequent the vlts almost on a daily basis. My husband knew I gambled but not how often or how much money I was spending, as I was the one that managed the finances. He always told me that as long as there was enough money to cover the bills and living expenses, he had no problem with me gambling. I became addicted to gambling the first time a friend took me to a casino because I won the first time I went. It has been said that slot machines are the crack cocaine of gambling. I knew I had a gambling problem right from when I first started gambling, and felt what I was doing was insane, but felt powerless when it came to quitting my addictive behavior. I isolated myself at home, other than when I went to play the vlts. I too worked from home, so I really understand. The only time I felt alive was when I was at the venue and could play the vlts and chat with other players. The only thing that I cared about was my grandchildren and compulsively gambling. This site saved me from myself. I learned about the addiction and how to recover here. Most spouses don’t know how to support us in recovery. They too need a recovery program so they can learn about how addictive this disease is, and how to best support us. Recovery is possible but it also includes a healthy dose of honesty to our spouse/family about how serious our addiction is. This disease can be arrested but never cured. It is a progressive disease and unless a person starts recovery, the addiction will get worse, and the guilt, shame, loathing, etc will increase. I thought the only way that I was going to quit was to die at my own hand. Thank God I found recovery online. Live on this site if you have to, to get you through your days. The same recovery principles that apply to alcohol and drug addiction, apply to compulsive gambling. Many treatment centres are now grouping all addictions together when it comes to providing treatment for addictions, because the recovery work is the same. Addictions thrive on isolation and secrecy, so that’s why it is important to start being honest. Secrets keep us sick as they say. I found a huge challenge in filling the void after I quit gambling, especially since I lived rurally. There was nothing I wanted to participate in, or was interested in. Pulling weeds and vacumming up after 5 dogs just didn’t cut it for me. You can do this, one day at a time. Carole

    • #24704
      nacole8039
      Participante

      Wow! Much of what you wrote sounds EXACTLY like my life. Thank you for reaching out to me. It is very early in my recovery, and I am taking things one hour at a time (sometimes it’s 10 minutes at a time). I think about gambling the majority of each day…but what is really getting me through these urges is receiving that e-mail notification that says I have a new comment. Coming to this forum is my lifeline. I hope you can relate to how much I look forward to these messages.

      Today is the third consecutive day that I have not gambled. It might not sound like much, but this is a record for me. Working from home and having my husband work in another town has allowed me multiple gambling opportunities throughout the week. I never gambled on the weekends because he was home (which made Monday the most difficult day of each week). I am proud of myself for being conscious of my thoughts of gambling and my determination to NOT do it this week! Small victories.

      Like you, I am struggling to find something to fill the void. Over the years I have been wife and mother. My needs never really were a priority. I have lost all interest in other activities. Currently, I find that I am cleaning parts of my house that I haven’t seen in years! I REALLY need a hobby. For now, this forum is giving me hope and keeping me going. Thank you for taking the time to provide me with some very encouraging words! I appreciate it.

      Nacole

    • #24705
      desdemona
      Participante

      Dear (((nacole)))! I fully understand what those posts of support mean to you, as I lived on this site for the first 2 years of my recovery. I wondered if I was getting addicted to this site. I decided that if I was becoming addicted to this site, it was a far healthier addiction than gambling. It’s really hard to think about what you could be doing once gambling urges hit, so I made up a list of other things to do instead. I had a jigsaw puzzle going on my dining room table, books to read, some of which were about addiction and mindfulness, small chores, people to phone and catch up with, etc. I also put in barriers such as reducing my ATM limit to $100, as I didn’t feel that was enough to go gamble with. I asked that my cash advance on my credit card be removed, as I was always maxing it out every month. You can probably relate to this living in a small town. You just know that everyone that works in your bank knows you are a compulsive gambler, but yet you go in there and withdraw large sums of money often. I always felt like I was being judged by most of the tellers. When I was feeling that I had gambling urges, I stayed home till the banks were closed so I couldn’t go in there and withdraw money to gamble. That could also be a strategy for you to use. I used to take my dog(s) to town with me as I would not let my dog sit in my car when the weather was hot or cold. I would take my grandchildren with me, so that I couldn’t go into the vlts to play. I learned how to pay my bills online. I’m sure that you will be able to come up with barriers to help you in your recovery journey. It takes time to learn about recovery, but you can learn so much by reading other people’s threads. I live in Canada; which country do you live in? What hobbies did you have before you became a compulsive gambler. I used to machine quilt, flower and vegetable garden, scrapbook, and make jewellery which my daughter and I sold at craft shows. None of these activities interested me anymore so it’s been hard to find replacement activities. I went through the whole Michael’s craft store and didn’t see anything that interested me to start doing as I used to be a crafter before and did cake decorating, made wreaths and other crafts, painted intricate ornaments, did stamping cards, and who can remember what else. I do enjoy reading and always have, and have to admit I’m an evening TV addict for crime shows mostly. Seeing as I can’t find a hobby besides reading, I have decided to do volunteer work in the coming year for habitat for humanity, even though I can’t hit a nail on the head with a hammer. I’m sure I’ll learn!!! I can tell you that playing free slots online will only increase your desire to gamble for real money. I’m just trying to impart some of the mistakes and successes I’ve made in my recovery journey. Keep doing this day by day and moment by moment if that’s what you need to do. This may seem like a foreign concept to you, but reward yourself as often as you can. Many of us have felt that we could reward ourselves by gambling for staying gamble free for a time. It seems insane but that’s what our addiction will tell us. It’s much better to buy a bottle of nailpolish, get a manicure or a pedicure, get a good haircut, buy a piece of clothing, a new eyeshadow, a journal or a book, go to a movie, go to a restaurant, etc. If you live close enough to a casino to drive there, get yourself self-excluded for as long as they allow. I self-excluded for 5 years. Some people ask a spouse or family member to manage the finances for a time till they get strong enough to handle money again. And if you have the household financial responsibilities and your husband is not willing to assume that, make sure he knows how to check your account online so that you can be held accountable. That is usually a pretty good deterrent for a lot of people. You’ll figure out what you need to stay gamble free and what barriers you need to have in place. These are just suggestions that have helped me. You can do this! Carole

    • #24706
      Anônimo
      Convidado

      Hi Nacole, I hope things are going well. Please keep posting whether you are having good or bad day. three days by the way is a huge achievement. I understand the anticipation and temptation to gamble when your husband is away as it used to be the same for me. It was like I was I unobserved and could get away with it. Of course i always imagined I would win. I found freedom from gambling through a course on a christian website. The website is called Setting Captives free and the course I did was called higher stakes. It has been several months since I went through the cycle of thinking about gambling, arranging money to gamble, gambling, panicking and praying for win, realising I had lost it all, panicking and trying to think of ways to cover up the loss, withdrawing from everyone as my mind was consumed with gambling, hiding bank statements, borrowing from friends, self loathing, shame feeling really poor , feeling inferior etc …I too could never really quit gambling no matter how hard I tried. My relationship with my husband and son have improved beyond recognition in that few months .I am like a new person. I feel truly content and happy inside, and best of all my brain is not driving me crazy. It was like I had an unscratchable itch with thoughts of gambling constantly consuming my whole brain. Recovery is possible Nacole. It is hard. There may be set backs but it is so worth fighting for. Because you are so worth it! Stick with it . You will get there.

    • #24707
      desdemona
      Participante

      Dear (((Nacole)))! Please keep posting so that we can support you on your recovery journey. Wishing you the best of the Christmas holidays and a happy New Year, filled with gamble free days. Recovery is possible but support is essential. Carole

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