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Dealing with regret about past


Hi All,

While since I've posted here, but would really appreciate a chat about a specific issue. It's been a bugbear for me, even since I got over my problem gambling.

How do you deal and cope with your regrets?


Personally I have many, but some stick much harder than others - that was about not being a good person, and not having an enjoyable life for some significant periods of my earlier life - much caused by having debt and gambling problems that I had caused myself, of course. I really regret those times, and mostly because I didn't live my life fully enough at some key times - there is one memory that still haunts me, and no-one even knew about it at that time apart from if they had guessed. It was a family memory, and I cried when I should have been happy. What I really regret is that I have too many of those memories in my head, and the link to my family especially kids, with memories and times I'll never get back or live again now.

Sorry if that's a little rambled, but just my way of putting out this issue for myself and maybe others.

Cheers for any thoughts, 


This topic was modified 8 months ago by JohnMac
Topic starter Posted : 11th December 2021 5:01 pm

Good Morning John,

Although easier to say but often harder to action, I think you have to forgive yourself for the things that have happened in your past.

I think we all have to look at our actions today and do the very best that we can. We can be accountable for daily actions and behaviours but we can’t change the past.

I think no matter what has occurred in the past, people will view you as how you behave today. They remember the wrongs of the past but they can see a changed person before them now.

I suppose if a bad event happened which affected another person then an apology can be issued with an explanation.

In terms of personal regrets i.e. missed time with kids, I would look at doing all I can to build strong relationship bridges and being the best and most supportive parent I can be now. We’ve all been absent with time and done things wrong when gripped with addiction. The addiction does that. Nothing else and nobody else seems as important in that time but when the gambling stops life priorities begin to become more clear and gets clearer the longer we stay off a bet.

This is a difficult thing to answer because each person’s regrets are different and affect them in a personal way. For me, do the best you can today, have the same mindset for tomorrow and forgive your actions of the past. You’re not the you of the past that person has changed.

Take care.


Posted : 12th December 2021 8:32 am

Thanks very much for your reply RouletteRegret - I guess you've had similar feelings given your name too.

I can see that we most likely all share something of the 'lost time' issues as you suggest. I also agree with your point that there's nothing directly we can do to change the past, only the present and future. I will keep trying to work on that perspective for sure.

Thanks for your thoughts on this,


Topic starter Posted : 12th December 2021 1:13 pm

Hi Johnmac

Thanks for the post on my diary, glad you have found some of the material on there of use over the years and are able to resonate with it.

This thread seemed the most recent from you so the most appropriate to reply on?

For me the level of regret will be extremely variable from one CG to another, I would suggest based on a combination of how long the gambler has had a problem, and what they have lost, financial and otherwise.

I always give advice to the 20 somethings and 30 somethings that they have to put the past behind them, forget about their mistakes and losses and look forward, and while doing so do everything they can to find other pastimes and hobbies instead of gambling.

I really dont think its so easy when you are older (I'm 55, I dont know how old you are). After making a number of bad life choice decisions and gambling compulsively for over 30 years, losing enough that if I hadn't gambled I could be a millionaire (seriously, no exaggeration ), losing friendships, relationships, trust, respect etc. etc., living as a gambler as a way of life, having so many fresh starts and new beginnings and resolving to improve, do better, well after 30 years of that I find it impossible not to spend time thinking about all the 'what  if' scenarios and all the regrets. Of course I try not to dwell on it too much but it will always be a factor. Plus at my age there are simply less opportunities in life, much more difficult to just 'start again'. 

So I focus on what I do have, try and appreciate that my life is better than a hell of a lot of others despite my regrets and and my debt, appreciate the simple things in life and focus on recalling the great memories I have, those before I became a CG and Yes some of the good gambling memories too. I'll never be in the camp of seeing gambling as bad and evil and those who offer the odds didnt make me a CG. 

But dont be thinking you are bad person John, you are a guy with an addiction, most CGs I know are decent people, many with a heart of gold, caring people, reliable, dependable, loving, but unfortunately we have this little beast inside us which means we are Jekyll and Hyde characters and when the beast gets control we are not behaving like out true selves, in that mode our brains are wired differently and we behave in a way which is not our true self.

I hope you can minimise the time you spend on regret and focus on the here and now and be the best person you can and live the best life you can 

It aint going away.


Posted : 29th December 2021 7:55 pm

Thanks very much for your reply Captain - sorry I haven't quite got the hang of which posts we reply to on here either, find it slightly confusing with different sections and posts to be honest! If I can get around to making a diary myself I may do that at some point in future. 

I appreciate your points about regret in particular - I'm 51 (very nearly 52) so we are a similar age. It is hard to look back at our age, though I suppose to someone 75 we would also look young! 🙂 I have a great family to be thankful for really (2 boys also, now in their teens), but one of my regrets is when the youngest one was little it was my worst time of my life - hiding debt, throwing up with stress, not sleeping etc. I feel I missed his younger life in part, due to that. In reality I probably only missed some of it, and there were some good times also, but memory plays tricks when it comes to thinking back...

I still suffer (as I mentioned in my other post on your diary) with needs and urges for some of my old gambling activities, even though I know that's not a good thing. I read your diary because you have much discussion of 'limited' gambling, though I realise you don't advise that now. I don't either, deep down, but have found myself allowing some of it still, though for now at least I've kept it to the very limited scale. 

These two issues do link up I find - one area of my regret is that I used to share with my wife some specific areas of gambling, and we enjoyed each other's company in that way - now that I've almost 'stopped' all activity gambling, one area is losing that connection we shared, which also makes me miss it. Silly I know, as she is the one stopping me now. It just feels like a little bit of a lost connection, which is a crazy paradox when bad gambling caused me to lose it!

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts, as I find your posts some of the most inciteful I've ever read about our shared conditions and experiences. Would love to hear any further thoughts you have.



Topic starter Posted : 30th December 2021 3:13 pm

Hi John 

Just a couple of points here and also replying next to your post on my diary.

I understand your regret that you missed some of the time with your kids growing up due to your addiction  - its not easy to just erase that from your mind, but please do try and focus on the good memories and being the best guy you can to your boys now, or you will drive yourself crazy. Focus on the now and the future.

As for spending time historically gambling with your wife, I feel the need to throw a bit of light-heartedness in here and to say that surely you and your wife had more in common than just being gambling partners 😉  - think of all the other good times you have shared together?

To compare, I hid a lot of my gambling in my relationships, tried to keep my mood changes to myself as much as possible, wasnt always easy and didnt always work, but I've never been in a relationship with a gambler. Also I know you miss some of the social aspect of gambling with friends - difficult for me to compare that one either - I attended race meetings with groups of friends many years ago but that was during a time when my gambling wasnt compulsive and not causing me a problem. But for most of my life I have been a loner and the vast majority of gambling has been on my own.

It aint going away.


Posted : 1st January 2022 2:14 pm

Thanks again Captain, great points as usual.

In terms of regretting missed time around my kids, yes, I agree moving forward and making sure I'm much better from here is the only really positive way to think. You can't go back essentially, none of us can and I'm sure most on these forums would if they could!

As for the social element with my wife, as you'll see I've posted a bit more about that in my post on your diary. She never gambled like I did, but joined in the 'ride' so to speak, as is a little clearer I hope when you see my description of my past activities.

Thanks again for your thoughts here.


Topic starter Posted : 1st January 2022 7:28 pm


Hi John.

I questioned what did recovery do for me, in time I understand that the word recovery is about a healing process.

The pains of my past caused fears in me that I not understand.

On walking in to the recovery program my fears were 10 out of 10

There are the pains I caused myself and those pains in my child hood.

The addictions and obsessions were a form of escape for me.

The money was just the fuel for my addictions.

Blocking gambling places is a help.

Handing over all finances was helpful yet seemed impossible to me I also had control issues over finances.

The addiction was a form of self abuse and neglect.

The fears in me caused me to lie in so many ways.

Because of my self abuse I had lost all faith and hope in myself.

The high levels of fears in me made it very instant to go in to panic mode so that I could not work things out clearly.

In articulating my emotions and feelings took time for me.

Then came the important part of my recovery after breaking out so many times was understanding my emotional triggers.

For me pains I could not heal, fears I could not face and deal with, frustrations due to my unreasonable expectations of people life and situations, then loneliness and boredom.

I have been in recovery some time and often people expect quick results in the recovery program.

When I walked in to the recovery program I had lost some much faith and hope in myself, I felt very inept inadequate insecure ashamed guilty of myself.

In time I would give up beating myself up and calling myself names.

I would understand that I was not stupid bad evil or just no good, I was an emotionally vulnerable person.

The addictions and obsessions only indicated that I was emotionally vulnerable.

The addictions and obsessions were just the symptoms that my actions and my words were unhealthy.

The therapies would help me find words to articulate myself my feelings emotion as were in healthy ways.

So once I accept the gambling addiction was a form of self abuse and I not only hurt myself but I also hurt people around me. 

So by abstaining I would stop causing myself and other any more pains.

Only by abstaining can the healing process to heal my hurt inner child.

In time I would exchange unhealthy habits for healthy habits, and become more productive in healthy ways. 

By understanding I was a very unhealthy vulnerable I can understand I can reverse my unhealthy behaviours and my unhealthy attitude.

It was vey confusing walking in to the recovery program, the fears were very high.

Often meetings will cause more questions than answers. 

You see I wanted to understand myself and how recovery works.

First things first, just for today only I will not gamble, sounds so simple yet a day with out gambling things do not get worse.

Writing down is very helpful an beneficial.

Writing down your healthy needs, your healthy wants and after a while you reach healthy goals.

By closing all doors to the addictions helps so much.

Once we abstain from unhealthy habits the healing process starts which is a slow process at first.

In time I would open up the therapies, as i got more honest to myself the fears reduce, and in time I have less fears of intimacy.

One thing which is strange I could be more honest talking about my emotional honesty and how vulnerable I was yet would get home and not tell my wife about my emotional vulnerability, yet in tie that changes.

Some meetings would raise more questions than answers and after meetings you would find people talking for hours on a one to one basis, it was very powerful and helpful in getting abetter understanding. 

I to took my wife to gambling locations, in time I understood it was is she was involved I thought that I would feel less guilty.

In time you will help your self become the healthy person you will be proud of.

Love peace and best wishes 

Dave L


This post was modified 5 months ago by Forum admin
Posted : 2nd February 2022 1:19 pm

@gadaveuk Thanks Dave some great thoughts there too.


I feel the connection to my wife in gambling is still one of the biggest challenges I face currently. We undoubtedly shared a connection through it, and I feel now we may not again (for some obvious reasons). That still feels difficult I must admit.

Topic starter Posted : 2nd March 2022 12:59 am

Hi John Mac

I understand that living in regrets in guilt in shame has no benefit what so ever.

We are in effect living in the pains of our past that we did or said things when we were very unhealthy people.

Our conscience is spiritually based, for me not a religious thing.

Because I feared being accountable honest and willing to admit to myself how unhealthy I was I would escape when ever I felt emotionally vulnerable.

My addictions and obsessions only indicated how emotionally vulnerable I was.

Can I change the past, no accept the fact you can not change the past yet you can heal your self and damaged relationships with your self and others when they are willing to heal their pains.

The consequences of the pains in our past was fears.

There are two separate things we need to do is heal our pains and face our fears.

 When you cried it was the pains in you.

After the painful traumatic in my life I could not have been happy.

I was not open up to express feelings or emotions.

It is not rambled at all it is being honest.

A healthy articulation of your past.

Love and peace to every one.

Dave L



This post was modified 5 months ago by Forum admin
Posted : 3rd March 2022 1:12 am

Thanks again Dave, great points.

Living in the past is certainly not usually healthy for sure - maybe especially for us guys who look back and mostly see 'problem gambling' staring back at us!

I am aiming to live more in the moment and the future right now for sure. 


Topic starter Posted : 3rd March 2022 11:49 am
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