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A journey

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#1 Posted on:
Sat, 23/12/2017 - 16:03

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 8 gambling free as good as any to start a recovering diary.

WARNING this may get very personal very quickly.

I don’t have a real urge right now, but then again, I just woke up. Going to bed and getting up at normal time has always been a struggle. Living the double life up until this time last week only exacerbated the problem, but no more! I am done with excuses, I am done with letting my past defining my future. I don’t ever want to be the person I was 3 years ago before gambling as it is very clear to me I was never truly myself anyway. From one obsession to another all my 37 years on this planet seem to be driven by compulsions, fed by deep desire to be always in control of everything I had no control over. Oh, the irony…

Thinking what triggered the gambling and more so why I kept punishing myself is overwhelming. My first experience was with my aunty who took me to BINGO hall when I was about 19. What was she thinking? I am angry, she should’ve known better. I’ve always blamed myself for all the misery in my life and it took me that long to understand the people who were responsible shaping my future handled it in the worse possible way. My father committed a suicide when I was 9. I always though he did everyone a favour by doing so. He was a horrible person to my mother, beating her daily, alcoholic unable to control his demons. I remember midnights her taking us all 3 kids out of the house to somewhere safe. For years after his death my mum would say I was just like him - his weaknesses, strengths and all. Very talented but very lazy. She would give me with one hand and then take double with the other. Never good enough thought. I appreciate I must’ve reminded her the years of abuse…

My 12 year old boy is very spirited and I see great deal of myself in him. He was the only one who knew I was gambling. On my phone hitting the spin buttons. In the yearly days, when I was mostly doing it using the PC, he would come and ask if I won anything. I fear all this will manifest itself in a horrible way when he grows up. After all mummy was doing it and as far as he is concerned I am the best mum in the world, surely it is OK? No is not! There is no excuse to let him see me in this state of madness and I must find the right place and time to speak to him about it. Let him know how horrible addiction it is, and he must never turn into me, because I am better than my mum ever was to me and I am not preparing my son for his future as a failure.

I’ll be back later.

Day 8th I need to make some dinner.

Posted on:
Sat, 23/12/2017 - 16:13

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

DISCLOSURE

I need to make it very clear that I am not blaming anyone for what I've done, the person I became and the demons I am fighting. I don't believe anyone owns me anything. I just want some answers to help myself and to get those would require me to look very far back in the past. What is done is done. 

 

Posted on:
Sat, 23/12/2017 - 16:46

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

Welcome to the diaries Nice :-)

It’s understanding, not blame!  I’m struggling through The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate & I will need to start again when I finish but I really think it is something that will resonate with you!

I’m so sorry to hear of your rocky upbringing & I wonder if the same person that said to me all those months ago “how could you not have become an addict” may have the same sentiments with you?  Although there was no violence in my home & my memories are of a very privileged childhood, the man that dragged me up was an alcoholic, my mother a gambler.  I don’t blame anyone but myself for the choices that I went onto make but I accept now that my background shaped me & have found great strength in the Unity program offered by GA because although I’m really lazy about following it, I know that it’s there as a blue print for me when I’m ready.  We can’t change our past but we can make peace with it!

Don’t rush to confess your sins to the little man, spirited or not, I get the impression that you 2 have an incredibly close bond & from what I have read, nurture trumps circumstance where addiction is concerned. 

Hope you enjoyed dinner!  Speak soon - Kelly

Posted on:
Mon, 25/12/2017 - 18:00

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Merry and Bright and double digits for me 10 days gambling free!

So, we are not doing anything this Christmas, but that was the plan anyway and had nothing to do with my confession on the 15th. The kid is disappointed that he didn’t get a gazillion number of brightly packed boxes under the tree and I’ve struggled for years to understand this utter madness. Who needs it? He got his nice and rather expensive present earlier this month. He knew about it and opted not to wait until today to start using it. As many kids out there, he is spoiled to his core and there is nothing left I can offer to buy for him. You name it he has it. He as many of his generation will grow up and be addicted to spending and nothing will ever be enough – just like my gambling, no win was big enough. So sad. 

So, husband finally on board, but he doesn’t understand me/it. Kept asking did I not know this would happen? Haven’t I seen enough ruined lives because of gambling? He wouldn’t call the help line regardless how many times I said it would help us both. We sat down and looked at all the debt I accumulated in the past three years, some good 60 - 70% on gambling. Offered to pay some of it and I refused. It is manageable with my income. For as long as I've known him he stacks his feelings away, somewhere deep inside him and a day would come everything unsaid will erupt. God help us all then.

​Thank you for stopping by, Kelly. Your words provide great conform to me and I'll have a look at the book you are referring to. 

Don’t feel like gambling today. Will cook some dinner later and finish off the book I am reading. I've been putting off so many other things that need doing, yet so difficult to find the motivatinon to start. 

Posted on:
Sun, 31/12/2017 - 16:40

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 16 gambling free. To say it was easy would not be fair to me or anyone reading this diary. Yesterday was tough. One credit card got cleared with 0% transfer and I am just waiting to see the £0 balance to call and close it for good. 

I read someone else’s entry on the forum mentioning a large amount of winning and that seems to set the mood for the rest of the day. What if I finally got my break? Kept myself occupied with cleaning the house and grocery shopping on a budget, oh how much I hated it! Last time we were on budget shopping was in 2013 just for few weeks, saving some extra money for when family came to visit us from abroad. 

What I need to remember is if I keep doing what I have being doing for the past two weeks by the end of September I should be largely debt free, perhaps even have some extra to go on 2018 Christmas holiday? 

I thought I should make some new year resolutions, but there are so many things in my life waiting to be finally sorted out, or completed it doesn’t seems to be a good idea to set myself few goals I may not be able to achieve for various reasons. Instead the only resolution I am going to make is to remind myself every single day from now on until this time next year is: One day at a time. 

So to a happy new gambling free 2018 day 16 and counting.

 

Posted on:
Tue, 02/01/2018 - 16:33

changemylife

Joined:
2016-11-02

Hi. I've just read through your diary which shows that you are a deep thinker, a caring person with a zest for life. By the way I totally get your acronym. Reminds me of the placard stating: 'To others we may seem like a perfectly normal family'.

You seem to have done all the right things in preparation for giving up gambling and I hope you will maintain a positive strong-willed approach to pave the way for a brighter future.

Posted on:
Wed, 10/01/2018 - 14:24

changemylife

Joined:
2016-11-02

How are you N.N.F. ? I hope you had a good Christmas. How's your son and hubby? I guess that you have tons of things to sort out, and the early days are the most testing. Hopefully you are making some positive resolutions and doing what's right for you.

Would be nice to see an update on your diary as I feel that it may be the ideal way for expressing yourself and learning new strategies for dealing with the challenges that lie ahead.

Posted on:
Fri, 12/01/2018 - 09:44

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Thank you for your kind words, changemylife, and stopping by! It's been 28 days since my last bet and I was just looking at my financial ins and outs. So far sticking to the budget I set myself with a view to be largely debt free by September and perhaps go on a holiday mid October - November. Life right now seems to be moving in all the right directions, keeping busy at work and home. I've been tasked at work with a project I never thought they would consider me for, so this is a massive confidence boost for me and I am determined to do well. Things at home improved greatly as well. Although my husband would never really understand what made me gamble all this money he is really supportive, and we even allow ourselves to joke about it on occasion. To me the most difficult part was telling him as I wouldn't had been able to put all measure in place otherwise. Not to mention all secrecy, guilt and sleepless nights consuming me alive. I wish I found gamcare much sooner at least would’ve given me some understanding as I honestly thought I was the only person in the world going thought this nightmare. I need to run now, busy day ahead but will pop back later.

​Take care! 

Posted on:
Sat, 13/01/2018 - 14:03

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 29 GF.

Yesterday, after I posted here, I went to do my things all in all pretty normal Friday. Came back home just after lunch and for whatever reason could not get out of my head the urge to bet. I could almost see the spinning reels and how they align in my favour. I had so many things planned for the afternoon, but there was no power in the world to make me get up and do them. The struggle was real. Luckily no work to go back to, so the only thing I could do was to snuggle up with the dog on the sofa and take a nap. Woke up couple of hours later and all gambling thoughts were gone. I know urges like this will come and go and with time will be fewer and far between, but how do I fight them if I don’t even know what sets them off?

Posted on:
Fri, 19/01/2018 - 15:28

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

I feel like writing today, but then again, my college assessments had been sitting on the shelf forever! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, perhaps due to fear of personal identification, but I am trying to finish my HND and I am determined to do so. And then go onto my degree year…Great in theory but busy household and nearly full-time work not so easy in practical terms.

Anyhow…So, 35 days gambling free. I prefer to write it all GAMBLING FREE and not the short GF as it is somehow more meaningful to me.

Things have been well, and I am really looking forward to March where I should see in real terms the advantages of the budget exercise I am trying to stick to. I spent hours upon hours last night going through a year on schedule / spreadsheet to see if we can potentially manage that October holiday I am dreaming about.  Difficult but not impossible, besides husband willing to contribute to it as well. Debt as of today stands at £11,406.34 and sticking to my budget should see that amount at the end of the year reduced to just slightly over £3k. I’ll keep you updated on how well, or not I am doing on this front.

With regards to gambling I’ve not had any real urges since last Friday I wrote about it in my previous post. Hopefully nothing major will burst my little bubble before is been long enough to cope with it responsibly.

It is funny the stages I am going through this recovery and my counsellor was impressed, once again, how quickly I manage to pull myself together. Other people reading my diary may feel like I was never in suuuuuuuuuuch mess as they are. Wrong! I relate to every page, every post, every little thought I read in this forum. I can still see my bank account transactions on second page reading as follows: 15 December 2017: £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £30; £100; £40; £30; £30; £40; £30; £30; £30; £40; £30; £30; £70; £30; £40; £30 plus £100 on one credit card, £100 on another and £60 via paypal. This is an actual transcript of my transactions that last day before I picked up the phone and called Gamcare. The day before does not look any better I can assure you. I always had the ability to recover quickly from bad situations mainly due to my what seems to be an endless pool of optimism. I would mention again recovery for me couldn’t start until I had told my husband, as I wouldn’t had been able to put all measures in place.  Keeping it in secrecy was eating me alive. Transparency is the way. Take care and stay gambling free!

Posted on:
Mon, 22/01/2018 - 00:00

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 37 has come and gone. It is now 20 past 11 pm and I will again not have gambled today. I’ve been reading through the forum all day on and off and cannot help but admire how many of you manage to keep up with their own diaries and others! I am not so good at personally addressing people, hence why all birthday cards I ever signed read “Happy birthday, all the best!”. Maybe with time I will feel everyone here much closer and build up the confidence to address in a more personal manner.

I’ve been thinking lately about all the personal information I share here. There is of course the fear someone will identify me, and I might end up in a real life awkward situation. The more I think about it the more I feel like I don’t care. Frankly, if someone here is reading this identifying me as they go along the lines, the likelihood is they are probably not perfect themselves and face similar issues.  

I’ve been getting little obsessed the last few days checking my bank account, making budget spreadsheets, money in and money out projection for the whole year. Replacing one obsession with another is probably not the best thing to do, but for as long as it keeps me away from gambling I shouldn’t complain.

Yesterday I though I would hang around Money Saving Expert forum for tips on food bills. I felt setting the budget at £100 per week for the 3 of us was too low and would be really challenging. I do cook from scratch mostly and has been a while since the last take away. I’ve got to admit I was absolutely shocked to see people having much lower budget for much larger families. Furthermore, some of the money saving tips were waaaaay too extreme such as charging phone at work.  I know I’ve done wrong and I know gambling was my choice and so the debt it something I must deal with, but surely watching every single penny would not help rebuilding my self-esteem and if anything can take me back to squire one?!

Friday is a payday so looking forward to it. Last instalment to personal loan 2 is a few days later and from March I would be better off by £222 a month. More money to put towards other debt!

I haven’t really been thinking about gambling this past few days. Yes, the small urge would come and go as quickly, so it would hardly affect my day. I cannot help but make a parallel with the time I gave up smoking for few months. I was so sure by month 6 I would never ever have another cigarette in my life only for the following day to have 20. Pathetic.

Posted on:
Fri, 26/01/2018 - 13:44

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 42 of being gambling free.

It’s all about finances today as it appears to have been the case in the past month. Wages got paid earlier and few DDs to leave the account on 1st. All being well I should have reduced my debt by the staggering amount of £1000 since 15th December. After DDs are out around £700 should be there to cover February’s my share of the household bills until next pay day. Never really realised how much money is coming to my account each month and how much of a savings I am capable of…to read how much money I was gambling!

I thought today I would shift the last £700 on a 19.99% credit card to 0% to give me a chance to clear the overdraft quicker as the charges are ridiculous. Excellent credit rating and pre-checks gave me the green light only to be rejected an application. WTF? A bit annoyed to be honest not to mention the knock-on effect it’ll have on my credit score.

From day one I’ve taken on board pretty much every advice here in order to regain control over my life including reading the forum as much as. So…I’ve noticed that on days where I would be reading other people’s stories for hours the gambling urges increase. I wonder if anybody else experiences the same?!

Anyhow…sat my exam earlier today think I did well, had my work appraisal this week much, much better than expected, looking forward to seeing some changes materialising on that front. Here is to another nearly completed week gambling free. Started by counting the days, now weeks, soon will be months and hopefully years in no time.

Take care everyone!

Posted on:
Sun, 28/01/2018 - 17:43

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Day 44 gambling free.

Feeling quite low, annoyed and depressed for no apparent reason. So much to do around the house but cannot bring myself up to start.  Not so long ago reckless gambling would’ve seen me through days like this. Punishing myself for not being on top of my affairs without a care in the world if I won or lost. The following day I would try and convince myself what is done is done and there is nothing to do about it just move on. Repeat in the evening to chase some loses until I go into a manic state hitting and hitting the spin button. I will eventually win something to make up for some loses, perhaps most of the last two days, but a bit too late, as I no longer care. Lose it in the end.

If only I knew what I wanted from life things would’ve being so much simpler.

I really need to force myself now off the sofa and try to occupy my mind with anything but my selfish self.

​Full recovery is so close and yet so far...

Posted on:
Sun, 28/01/2018 - 17:53

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

Hello NNF,

Its a tough battle. The first few weeks of stopping felt like i had woken from a nightmare and it took me a long time to "assess the damage" of what i had done (both financially and mentally). You are right its so easy to hide by gambling. You need time to forgive yourself and to build up some self-respect that has been lost. This will come back as you accept who you are and where you now find yourself. Personal acceptance is a big hurdle to overcome after so long spent doing what is a kind of mental self harm.

Stick with it, you just need to ride out the emotions that are coming out after so long holding them in. It really is a journey of self-discovery and that takes time. Be kind and be patient. You're on the right track.

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 02:38

Stephen The Strong

Joined:
2017-05-10

Hello Nicenormalfamily. Congratulations on 9 weeks GAMBLE FREE. Be wary though because addictions have a nasty habit of knocking on the door unexpectedly as was proved after your 6 months off the ciggies. I guess people who share our compulsive behaviour patterns must forever be on their guard.

I get the impression that behaviour which can drag us down can also be a real asset if used in a productive way. Your ability to bounce back from bad situations, by meeting challenges head on, does seem to put a sparkle into your work and enhance your performance at college. 

Full time work where you have embarked on a demanding new project, working hard on your O.N.D studies and running a house and home. You certainly have a lot of energy and desire. You have set out a strategy for repaying your debts and are thinking positively of the future, with the welfare of your family uppermost in your mind.

They say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Maybe the challenges you had to endure in your formative years have given you a certain resilience and ability to cope with unpleasantness. Compulsive gambling has certainly caused you to feel shame, sadness and regret. You really don't want to go back to that. You showed courage coming clean with your husband. Your words said how you felt at the time "Secrecy was eating me away. Transparency is the way." It also touched a raw nerve when your young son asked if you ever won anything. Gambling addiction seems to take away our self respect and plays with our sense of what's right and wrong.

Thank you so much for your kind words when I lost my way recently. I have struggled over recent months but support from friends like yourself continue to lift my spirits and stop me from giving in. Please accept my apologies as I thought I had replied earlier. 

Wishing you peace, contentment and good adventures.

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 09:48

Nicenormalfamily

Joined:
2017-12-15

Thank you for stopping by sjwsjw and Stephen the strong and your support!

Sjwsjw, I meant to respond to you after you posted and then couldn’t really find the right words at the time. I am noticing now it has been nearly 3 weeks! The guilt and shame are gradually fading away and in the past week I found myself drifting back to some old habits. Need to revisit my first posts here to remain focused.

Stephen, I’ve not had much time to read in the forum in the past 10 days or so, perhaps fair to say I was avoiding it as not felt great myself. I see your count is once again going up and must say you are a great inspiration to others, myself included, for not giving up! Old habits do die hard as cliché as it sounds. I hope to catch up with your diary soon.

Two months yesterday was my last bet in other words 63 days gambling free. Past couple of weeks have been intense dealing with an angry teenager and trying my best not to go back to old habits, shopping the sales namely. Couple of days ago I ended up opening and old casino account that wasn’t self-excluded and for a good few minutes struggled to resist a deposit. Self-excluded for 5 years and closed the tab with relief. On another positive note I declared 2018 not just gambling free, but also 0 alcohol year and happy to report that my lass glass of wine was on New Year’s Eve. In all fairness I wasn’t big drinker, so don’t find this one particularly tough.

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:15

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Well done mate, you are doing so, so well, keep up the good work

Wilsy

Posted on:
Sat, 17/02/2018 - 10:38

Stephen The Strong

Joined:
2017-05-10

Morning Nicenormalfamily. Excellent progress with your recovery and a great attitude. 

Wishing you a happy weekend, peaceful and contented...stephen x 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 09:49

Stephen The Strong

Joined:
2017-05-10

Morning Nicenormalfamily. Great to see your continued good progress.

Congratulations on 81 gamble free days.

Posted on:
Sun, 25/03/2018 - 21:27

Stephen The Strong

Joined:
2017-05-10

Congratulations Nicenormalfamily on 100 days gamble free.

A wonderful achievement. Wishing you well as you continue on your journey...stephen