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Posted on:
Sun, 18/06/2017 - 19:39

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Posted on:
Sun, 18/06/2017 - 19:41

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Posted on:
Mon, 19/06/2017 - 13:43

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Dear diary: I've realised I've got to take these blinkers off I've been wearing. I had to look up the meaning for certain online: "To be able only to see things one way and unwilling or unable to consider other possibilities".

This is not true in many areas of my life where I am always willing to debate etc. but I can now see how I can come across here sometimes and for that I apologise.

The battle I've been fighting with myself mostly - lots of inner confliction which I've had in one way or another for my whole adult life for reasons I am only now discovering and discussing. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Mon, 19/06/2017 - 20:45

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I looked at my bank balance earlier it was like "Ouch"!

But I'm in a DMP and I borrowed that money to gamble and I have to accept responsibility for that without feeling hard done by.

A DMP is not for everyone of course but I'm paying back my debts proportionally to each creditor through Step Change monthly and it does give me some peace of mind to no longer receive loads of phone calls, letters, text messages and e-mails.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 20/06/2017 - 11:00

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Dear Diary: I genuinely feel in my heart that if I gamble today - that's it. I'm back in the lift that only goes down. The consequences go way, way beyond losing money.

I'm struggling a lot with much inner conflict at the moment so God knows how I'd feel if I added gambling. I know fear won't keep me gamble-free, counting days (although it can of course give me a sense of achievement) won't stop me gambling etc.

I thought I had clarity - I didn't. I'm insecure - I'm learning why in therapy which I have just started again after a break of several months. I'm fearful and nervous - again learning why.

Gambling has come up in sessions but now it's time to look beyond the actual gambling and move onto the motivating factors and how to become the man I want to be.

Posted on:
Tue, 20/06/2017 - 20:24

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

An olive branch

Posted on:
Wed, 21/06/2017 - 08:46

Magsy

Joined:
2014-02-02

Hi Phil 72

Re your yesterday's post.

I hope you resisted the urge and didn't end up gambling.

I find that I turn to gambling to shut out negative thoughts. And it's daft cos after I've lost time and money then I end up with even more negative thoughts.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here though.

And as for your post re voicing your opinions - I would rather someone voiced their opinion even if I don't agree with it cos it shows I'm being listened to and thought about and so don't feel so alone in my difficult journey to kick this addiction.

Posted on:
Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:42

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Hi Magsy, thanks for post. I didn't really have an urge I was just reflecting on recent events and realisations about my mind and like you say - negative thoughts.

I'm seeing a therapist but I'm a long way from where I want to be for lots of different reasons. My active gambling lasted three years but my underlying issues go way back.

Anyway here's to another bet-free day! Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Wed, 21/06/2017 - 22:04

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

RE: Chat. I am less and less complacent every day. I'm not into anniversarys but I think numbers bet-free should be acknowledged. It's not a brag, boast or commeration - just a comment. Best wishes, Phil

Posted on:
Thu, 22/06/2017 - 20:23

degenerate

Joined:
2013-05-10

@Phil I was only joking. You normally say One Day At A Time every day in chat and on this occassion you were thinking ahead (2 days at a time). I am sure you will make 500 days. Very well done. 

Posted on:
Fri, 23/06/2017 - 10:29

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Cheers Degen - good talking to you last night and hopefully later. Well I guess another landmark or just a nice round number?

It's pleasing to have had the compliment from my wife I received earlier but at the end of the day I still have a long way to go to be the person I want to be.

Secondly I still have debts to pay which is part of taking responsibility for my actions. I advocate the debt management plan unless you have realistic alternatives. It really has given me a lot of peace of mind and I can sort of see the end in sight if I stick with the plan.

Here's to a bet-free day! Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Sat, 24/06/2017 - 11:00

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

"A journey of a thousand miles must being with a single step." Lao Tzu. Ancient China philosopher.

Posted on:
Sat, 24/06/2017 - 11:40

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I agree with posts elsewhere about openness - in my case, my wife, some family and friends know I was addicted to gambling.

When people I don't know so well mention gambling I simply say "I don't gamble" without anymore detail and try to look disinterested so they'll change the subject. That's more to do with genuine disinterest in gambling itself on a daily basis. The other issues are a different matter.

I have a friend who never offers me tips or anything and doesn't gamble very often but when he does, he does bets on horses I don't really understand. When he wins I'm pleased for him, pretend interest and be polite. It doesn't tempt me.

Other people I used to see in the shops try to wind me up BY trying to offer me tips. I don't bite (well I have told a few people not to take the proverbial) but I always wonder what they're motivation is in trying to wind me up?

Best wishes, Phil.

 

Posted on:
Sun, 25/06/2017 - 08:39

Guestuser9

Joined:
Before 2009

Late but non the less well done on reaching 500 days bet free phil.

All the best

Posted on:
Sun, 25/06/2017 - 12:58

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thank you Deano! Seriously life gets better every day for me I don't gamble despite adversity, debts (being repaid), family squabbles etc and of course reflecting on myself...cheers, Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 27/06/2017 - 11:11

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I've been thinking a lot about the "euphoria" I felt when I first stopped gambling and have read about elsewhere on the forum. I came across an interesting article about "Pink Cloud Syndrome" described as follows:

"The pink cloud can carry an addict on the wings of joy. Many users admit that this feeling of excitement has given them hope after the pain and the struggles their addiction has brought into their lives. But it can also cause dangerous overconfidence that can lead to a relapse." It goes on to discuss "people become preoccupied with the good feelings and forget about the journey in front of them".

It was (for me) a short-lived experience. The description goes on to say their is nothing wrong (obviously) with feeling optimistic about your future but also discusses unrealistic expectations (In the case of gambling I would say, for example, telling yourself and others you are never going to gamble again) "which can bring over-confidence and disappointment."

I'm not saying this pheneomena occurs in all people who stop (whatever their poison) but I can definitely relate to it. I'm damned glad I've not gambled but I take the problem very seriously on a day to day basis.

Anyway, I found the article about "Pink Cloud Syndrome" interesting and thought I would share a little about it on my diary.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 27/06/2017 - 19:52

Sharon41

Joined:
2017-03-16

Thanks for posting this, really interesting and thought provoking. I seem to still have highs and lows but have learnt how to handle the lows and not get carried away on the highs. But after 5 years of gambling extremes I guess it will take time to hit a middle ground? S:)

Posted on:
Tue, 27/06/2017 - 21:00

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thanks for responding Sharon and again well done on your centenary - best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 27/06/2017 - 23:15

Stephen The Strong

Joined:
2017-05-10

Thanks for that post Phil . I believe I  have experienced The Pink Cloud Syndrome on several occasions which invariably ended up with me relapsing , usually on the next payday . Wasn't aware it had a name and have enjoyed reading up on it . Will make sure the awareness forms part of my recovery strategy . I am gamble free now for 47 days and as likely as not have been in the pink cloud throughout this period . Dont really know what to do about it as I am extremely confident of overcoming my gambling addiction and dont wish to introduce negative ideas or confusion . Guess I'll just have to carry on regardless and hope for the best . It would break my heart if I relapsed again ....... stephen 

Posted on:
Tue, 27/06/2017 - 23:55

ItMattersMoreWh...

Joined:
2017-06-02

Hi Phil,  Thanks for the support you have shown me.  I understand you arent big on numbers its all about ODAAT so rather than saying well done on reaching 504 days I will just say well done on another day GF ;-)

You clearly know your stuff, and in my opinion approach things a bit more tactfully than the "you must do this and that" people.  People like myself are more likely to listen to someone like yourself than those that tell us what we have to do.

Keep it up ODAAT! 

Posted on:
Wed, 28/06/2017 - 09:35

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thanks for the responses.

I think for me it's an ongoing process to discover what has driven a lot of self-destructive behaviour throughout my life.

Being honest about my gambling problem with my wife, mum and selective friends has, for me, brought it out in the open and of course criticism is too be expected but I get support as well and I'm no longer hiding my guilty, shameful secret.

For other people as I've said elsewhere if it's as "simple" (" " for a reason) as just reflecting - not dwelling - about the money lost and wanting to live a bet-free life that's totally respected by me.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Wed, 28/06/2017 - 11:38

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Good song. I like the lyrics.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZeUNwsiOnY

 

Posted on:
Mon, 03/07/2017 - 11:39

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I went to North Wales for the weekend for my brother's 40th birthday. I did not gamble. I know self-exclusion is not the be all and end all but I was worried to be out of my "comfort zone" and in an area with shops. I guess that is reflective of my confidence. I also had a massive panic attack on Saturday afternoon which was very distressing and anxiety was always a reason for me to gamble - a temporary distraction from the underlying issues.

Posted on:
Mon, 03/07/2017 - 12:43

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I didn't get involved in the debate about openness from the start so I'm going to post here.

From the start of my journey I told my wife who suspected anyway. I told my mum who I am close to who was horrified but supportive. I told selective friends who have been great.

When I was in North Wales this weekend I told my brothers (one of whom I hadn't seen for nearly two years and the other for almost three years) about the gambling addiction and tranquilliser dependency which some people on the forum know about and which I am addressing. They were stunned at my revelations but completely respectful about the decisions I have made and difficulties I have had to face in the last 17 months or so.

In my case (and Im not comparing myself directly to anyone else but I think some people will agree) what I had to overcome was the fear of being judged - before I stopped gambling AND initially after I stopped. I didn't want to be criticised or told what to do and of course the shame and self-disgust I felt was overwhelming because I lied, borrowed, pawned but fortunately never stole (I suppose emptying the joint account is a form of stealing?) although I had thoughts about my wife's jewellery.

I destroyed trust, respect, love but these are coming back slowly. I know fundamentally that I HAD to be honest for my own sake, recovery (my definintion), and re-building relationships.

I still feel raw a lot of the time and those feelings of self-loathing surface from time to time. I am addressing a lot of inner conflict I have always had through therapy where the subject of gambling has come up. My one day at a time approach has a personal definition. Your definition may be different - great. All we have is today. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Mon, 03/07/2017 - 13:33

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I'm on a bit of a roll today as I haven't posted in a while. I hope they get put in the right order!

Regarding debt, I made a snotty comment to someone last year about being bailed out and with hindsight and without naming names I'm sorry. My personal opinion though is that I had/have to take responsibility for the debt I accumulated through gambling.

Some of my siblings are quite well off and might have helped me but I never asked - part of that was pride, shame, fear of being judged but also a fundamental feeling that I had created the problem and I had to deal with it. For me personally, being helped out financially would have provided short-term relief but nothing in the long-term .

The DMP is in place and I pay a specific amount per month - I'm six months or so from clearing the debts I accumulated if I stick to the plan. A DMP may not be for everyone but it has certainly given me some peace of mind.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Mon, 03/07/2017 - 22:27

zulu13

Joined:
2013-11-06

Hi phil

Thanks for inviting me to read your journal. I have not read every entry, but quite a few. I hope you don't mind me saying that I have noticed how despite all your struggles you have and have had you seem to be more humbled by your self discovery / self awareness. 

Inner conflict and understanding underlying issues can cause so much stress. They can also create and enlighteness that is quite beautiful (eventually).

I do not know you phil, however there has been a great deal for your family to deal with. Fair play to you for working hard at recovery and keeping focused. Take care,

Posted on:
Tue, 04/07/2017 - 10:25

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thanks for your post Zulu. Hope to "see" you in the chatroom again soon. Best wishes,Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 04/07/2017 - 20:16

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Addicts are sensitive as I read elsewhere - I agree. But in the bigger picture in my experience in life is that people don't like being told what to do - even if they aren't addicted to something.

Back to my point - not just about addiction to gambling - could be smoking, drinking, sex, drugs. I believe in offering advice in my own way and of course I've posted things I wish I hadn't. Offering advice is COOL but telling people what to do isn't.

I have 100 per cent respect for everyone who wants to stop whatever their poison was/is but I genuinely believe advice is better than a lecture. Best wishes, Phil

Posted on:
Tue, 04/07/2017 - 23:11

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

My advice is your lecture Phil...If people hadn't persisted in kicking me up the bum, I might be dancing to a different tune now.  People who want to stop take action, for many of us, me especially, I'd rather talk the talk than walk the walk!

Posted on:
Tue, 04/07/2017 - 23:29

ItMattersMoreWh...

Joined:
2017-06-02

Found your diary Phil, thanks for your comments.

I feel that your advice is more beneficial than the preachy hard line responses some people give - it looks like your approach has received criticism which I find pretty odd.

Keep it up, I am behind your methods and think you will benefit many on the forum. A more positive vibe can only be a good thing.

Cheers

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 09:49

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thanks for posting ItMatters. This IS my main diary and the only one I use. Best wishes, Phil. 

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 10:00

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

ODAAT I'm not really sure I understand your post.

I'll just clarify what I meant above with a specific example. I had a friend who was on my case for about two years about gambling. Nothing he said had any impact on me. I stopped on a specific day when something clicked in my head.

My friend lectured (with the best intentions) me constantly but he couldn't understand what was driving such self-destructive behaviour. How could he? He wasn't and isn't a compulsive gambler. Even now despite my best efforts, he doesn't understand what happened.

I have made it clear that I have been judgemental myself which I am learning from. I have had great advice from other recovering CGs who have been firm but respectful of the individual approach with no kid gloves. I have also made it clear that whatever works for the individual is GREAT but I am not a fan of "my way or the highway".

A slight tangent about honesty. In my heart, I ask myself if I KNEW with a lot of certainty that my wife would walk if I told her everything (which I did), would I have told her? That's a question I'm not sure I know the answer to.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 12:48

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

You said advice is better than a lecture & in my own clumsy way, I was pointing out that surely this is subjective?

Respecting someone who wants to stop 100% is all well & good but what about respecting the people who are trying to pay it forwards too...Surely respect does not need to be qualified?  People who say they want to stop are not necessarily the same people who are doing everything they can in trying to! 

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 16:42

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I'm still not entirely sure what your point is ODAAT so I can say with the utmost respect to you and your recovery which of course is great can we please not have a debate on my diary?
Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 17:54

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

Phil72 wrote:

Offering advice is COOL but telling people what to do isn't.

No debate Phil...I suspect you know exactly what I am getting @ so I will leave your diary in peace.

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 18:46

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Well I don't to be honest but if your comments are about my path I really don't know what to say. I've had to learn a lot recently especially as my posts are moderated. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Wed, 05/07/2017 - 20:50

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I just feel my diary is my personal space and of course I welcome comments if I get where the postee is coming from.

Posted on:
Thu, 06/07/2017 - 20:39

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

My diary is now (and generally has been) about self-reflection, responding to good advice and more importantly writing and reading my posts to myself as my journey continues.

I haven't had a bet for 500+ days - so what? I could have a bet tomorrow (I hope I don't) but I hope that I will wake up tomorrow morning with the same attitude that I had this morning.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Sat, 08/07/2017 - 20:50

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Today I woke up and made a 100 per cent commitment not to gamble. I went to see a band in a town 15 miles away this afternoon and I didn't have any urges to go into shops I am not excluded from.

More importantly, I've been a good husband, supportive friend and helped someone in need. To me that is a good day. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:52

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Reading posts from partners of active CGs really reinforces in my mind my daily commitment not to gamble. What partners go through is awful and yet before I stopped and found this forum.....

I know how sorry I felt for myself walking home after blowing another chunk of cash on horses I couldn't afford. Being grumpy, looking for excuses to go out (guess where?), lying, borrowing money, using pawnbrokers etc. + making myself ill with anxiety on top of a pre-existing anxiety based psychiatric condition.

But looking ahead: If you want your relationship to survive you have to make a 100 per cent commitment to do whatever it takes to stop gambling, accept EVERY bit of criticism, accept the mistrust your partner will feel towards you (but the trust can slowly be re-built) and be as honest as you possibly can on a daily basis.

Let's face it - the life of an active CG is a sad and lonely one in my experience. I never made any friends in the bookies and felt more and more miserable as time passed by. Life has many ups and downs but I'm so glad about the decision I made in February 2016.

.

Posted on:
Tue, 11/07/2017 - 20:39

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

And my committment incorporates lots of different approaches. I'm no phoney and I treat recovery from gambling addiction as the most serious issue in my life.

Posted on:
Fri, 14/07/2017 - 12:20

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

I feel really lonely in my recovery (and obviously humbler after recent experiences) at the moment which is why I am seriously thinking about going to a meeting. 

I don't have a single person in my "non-virtual" day-to-day life that I can talk to about my gambling addiction without someone saying something along the lines of "well it's been x amount of time so you've cracked it".

Numbers are numbers and days are days but I cannot predict what might happen tomorrow which is why I would never say "I'm not going to gamble for the rest of my life".

I don't expect my friends to be pseudo-psychologists but it is a somewhat isolated situation to be in.

I might not gamble and AM happier within myself but a lot of those underlying issues are still there such as physical feelings of anxiety on a more or less daily basis.

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Fri, 14/07/2017 - 21:48

zulu13

Joined:
2013-11-06

Hey Phil

Isolation in recovery can be a bit scary. Like you say people who do not understand addiction can sometimes be frustrating. You are cured just get on with your life. Us gamblers know differently. I guess it might be because people do not understand all the issues and reasons why people gamble. I think those that have never had an addiction might assume gamblers are greedy and should just stop. Support is essential in my view. There are different options obviously GA,Smart meetings are another option. Although it is not restricted to gamblers but addicts of all sorts. It is CBT based but this can also help manage things like anxiety. Facilitators are in recovery as in GA.

Phil like I said reading through various parts of the forum and on chat, I have noticed how you have become more humble and you are trying to be considerate to others. We all have opinions and suggestions. Maybe it is because we so want others to recover and can notice when they are going down a certain path. Sometimes I may say something on a forum or chat that might not be correct but I know my intentions are good that's what matters.

Keep writting and posting. Please do not isolate yourself on here it is working for you. I have read about your anxiety and slight agriphobia, I have no idea what that feels like. Perhaps if you feel comfortable you could write how that feels and all the difficulties that you face around it.

Take care Phil chat soon

 

Posted on:
Sat, 15/07/2017 - 10:25

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Thank you Zulu. I think I generally have tried to be considerate to others on this forum but sometimes I have been spiteful which I'm addressing and curbing my tongue.

Yep, people think addicts after a while are "cured" I agree despite having tried to explain to some friends that for some it's not just about the "buzz", greed etc.

I don't see myself as the gambling version of a "dry drunk" because I am attempting to address a lot of my issues in therapy + I have had good feedback from the changes people have seen in me day to day.

However, the psychologist I am seeing has no idea about the time it takes to come off tranquillisers after a long period of dependency despite receiving a letter from a consultant explaining the process.

This has caused some "conflict" between us plus although I understand he has to "push" me to confront a lot of my fears (fundamentally the fear of having panic attacks in public places) sometimes it's been too much so we are currently taking a "break".

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Sat, 15/07/2017 - 11:19

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Zulu just been looking at the SMART website and I like the approach. Turns out there is a meeting 200 yards from my house on a Monday afternoon! Very handy as I work from home!

Thanks for the information. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Sat, 15/07/2017 - 21:18

Sars27

Joined:
2017-06-02

Phil no matter what people say I still love you buddy ! You've been a role model to me here . I remember when I was lost you were there support me and showed me the most helpful recovery process I my opinion " one day at a time " . 

 

Much love,

Sars 

Posted on:
Sun, 16/07/2017 - 11:47

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Gosh! Two posters on my diary in a week! I might have to start a ticket system! Just kidding...

Thanks for posting Sars. The one day at a time approach can, in my opinion, mean whatever the individual wants it to. The main thing in my view is setting realistic goals which is why I like this approach rather than "I'm never going to gamble again".

Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Sun, 16/07/2017 - 23:51

ItMattersMoreWh...

Joined:
2017-06-02

I'll take a ticket.

If you feel you need a bit of support then go get whatever is available in your area because the alternative doesnt bare thinking about.

I have never been to a GA meeting but if I didnt feel like what I am doing day in day out was working then I would give it a go.  If its a load of old &^%£ then just knock it on the head and try something else (kiss and make up with the psychologist? ;-) ).

 

Posted on:
Mon, 17/07/2017 - 09:57

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

Well it's at 1pm and only a two minute walk from my house so I might as well give it a go. Best wishes, Phil.

Posted on:
Mon, 17/07/2017 - 11:59

Phil72

Joined:
2016-10-07

The thing that I always have at the back of my mind is the consequences of gambling again. Obviously I don't want to live my life in fear or lacking inner belief but I guess that even after some time gamble-free I am still "raw" and aware of my behaviour when I was living a lie.

I'm going to this group to also potentially discuss (if I feel comfortable) my issues with tranquillisers. Although I am on a relatively low dose now, I still cannot see a future without them as a crutch.

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