Good morning Kathryn…well, it’s morning here! Just browsing the site, and saw this post from you. I think the efforts we make to differentiate the "gambling us" from the "non-gambling us" are interesting. Like you, I have a story that is riddled with behavior I am ashamed of, lies I can’t believe I told, a secretive life that no one was allowed in to. I have come to think that perhaps our behavior is simply on a continuum, and that each one of us is capable of good and evil. Well, evil is a strong word, but "bad" doesn’t seem to cover it. We really can’t chop our life up into neat segments – the person that was, and the person that is. And so we must always shape our environment and our thoughts to ensure that the "bad" behavior is not expressed. Given free rein – no end of money, no commitments, no responsibilities – I can’t tell you for sure what I would be doing right now. Maybe I would be indulging in all the "bad" things, and maybe I wouldn’t. But all of those behaviors and thoughts are within me, I can only choose to exercise the ones that bring me happiness. That means that I am concentrating on the "good" side of the continuum. I just believe that we can only really understand ourselves if we look at our past and present as a whole.
The neat thing is that once you gain distance from your compulsive behavior, you are actually able to start having this exploration within yourself. You can look at the continuum of your behavior, and make rational choices about how you want to live. You are doing so well, you are justly proud of yourself. I think my magic number today is 169, and I can tell you for sure that 170 days ago I could not know that my life would be as good as it is today. Very simply, because I got up for 169 days and said "today I will not gamble". The simple act – the profound outcome. Keep going strong girl, you deserve a life well lived.