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Posted on:
Mon, 08/01/2018 - 09:28

Smashed

Joined:
2017-08-13

I know because the emails and messages are very sneaky, and usually contain the word FREE somewhere. And by just clicking on a site you could be triggering a reaction or chemical which intern starts your thoughts to gambling, maybe I could just play the free 5 or 10 pounds, what harm could it do. And we all know where those thoughts lead.

Posted on:
Mon, 08/01/2018 - 10:50

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Smashed wrote:

I know because the emails and messages are very sneaky, and usually contain the word FREE somewhere. And by just clicking on a site you could be triggering a reaction or chemical which intern starts your thoughts to gambling, maybe I could just play the free 5 or 10 pounds, what harm could it do. And we all know where those thoughts lead.

Hi Smashed

Yes those "Free" spins and credits can prove to be quite expensive. The last free money I used cost me £1000 and was the final time I gambled as I realised just out of control I had become.

Feeling a lot better than I did last night. Still wished I had told my wife immediately but my feelings of revulsion whilst on the site keeps me positive that I really do not want to gamble rather than fighting urges.

Unless I go and live in a cave I am going to have to put up with being exposed to gambling whether it is TV adverts, walking past high street bookies or online. I just need to learn to ignore it and not let it annoy/upset me.

So that is my start of year self pity/cold/ wobbles out of the way. Time to start 2018 properly. Goal one is not to gamble and it is difficult to put into words just how determined I am to to achieve this. Second goal is to stop allowing exposure to gambling to upset and annoy me so much.

Yes to GF one day at a time but also to GF for the rest of my life.  

Posted on:
Tue, 09/01/2018 - 12:25

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Checking in day 96 GF. No urges or thoughts of gambling which is obviously the main thing.

New Year blues continuing a bit and wife mentioned she was suffering with it a bit as well. Both busy at work so getting home late/tired with little energy to do much in the evenings so seem to be just sitting watching pointless television for a couple of hours before going to bed. Bit of a change from December when seemed to have something on most evenings and every weekend.

Time to kick start some activities before I get bored and do something stupid - I really do not think it would be gambling - tried that and it made me extremely unhappy but best not take any chances.

Posted on:
Tue, 09/01/2018 - 13:54

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Hi Muststop123 - Sorry to hear the January blues are kicking in. How about the scuba diving that you mentioned a while back? That sounded so exciting. 

A couple of years ago, my son went on a school trip to Egypt and he learnt how to scuba dive. He found it magical. Scuba diving is probably one of those hobbies that has a lot of hassle connected to it (the gear, the training, getting to places, etc) - but I imagine the payoff is just fantastic. 

I always picture deep blue seas, shipwrecks, treasure and sharks, all with a bit of James Bond thrown in. 

I get what you mean about TV. It can be a bit of a drain if it's just a filler. Although, depending on what your tastes are, there's usually something worth watching. A couple of days ago I bought the Ken Burns documentary series on Vietnam. I think maybe it had been on the BBC last year  - but it's nearly a whopping 20 hours of documentary brilliance on a sujbect I don't know much about (other than what I've seen in the films). I'm really looking forward to learning about the history and politics of the war. Mrs E overheard me listening to an interview on YouTube with the filmmakers and she's also keen to watch it now. I can imagine it will be a unconfortable and sad viewing at times - and will make any gambling worries I have seem trivial and self-inflicted. 

But I hope you find some activity that will kick start your 2018 into a much better light ...  which brings us back to wetsuit, oxygen tanks, shark cage, diver propulsion vehicle  ... 

Posted on:
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 12:52

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Hi Equinox

You make the idea of scuba diving sound a lot more exotic than the potential reality of me in my speedos at the local swimming pool.  I've started watching Peaky Blinders from the start of series 1 on catch-up - I am halfway through season three so easy to work out how how much time I have "invested" in that since the New Year. If you haven't seen it, it is hardly a spoiler alert to say it is about 1920s Birmingham gangsters. Oddly, although one of their major income streams is illegal gambling, so that is a continuing thread through the series, that part of the storyline does not affect me in any way, guess it is because it is so different to my experience.  

My slight new year blues have been kind of blown out of the water. Firstly for a positive reason as we have decided to go on one last big road trip holiday with our son before he goes off to university so loads of planning to do for that. Secondly I got a phone call from my brother while I was driving home last night to tell me they have just found out his wife has stage 4 cancer. Completely out of the blue and obviously thrown us all sideways. Makes all my moans and minor complaints seem pretty petty and puts my self inflicted gambling issues into perspective. Not sure what future holds for her as only just got diagnosis. Not sure if this necessarily sits in a diary relating to stopping gambling but from reading other diaries I have read about people who have relapsed due to family illnesses. I am making a commitment to myself that this is not going to be a factor in my stopping gambling - first, because I really do not want to gamble again so it is not like I am going to use it as some sort of escape and secondly I think it would be an act of extreme selfishness to bring another problem back into my family when they have a lot more important things to deal with than my issues.

Day 98 GF and with 100% honesty can say I do not want to gamble. 

Posted on:
Fri, 12/01/2018 - 09:31

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 99 GF and won't be gambling today. Idea actually makes me feel ill and there are such horrible consequences that I would have to be insane to consider it. A quick look at some of my early posts is enough to make me realise I do not want to go back there. 

Posted on:
Sat, 13/01/2018 - 17:26

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

100 days GF.

A while ago I think I would have considered that a bit of a milestone. Does not really feel like that. 100 days ago was the important day that I decided I was never going to gamble again.

I am willing to acknowledge i have a gambling problem because I can't gamble responsibly but currently this is not affecting me any differently than, for example, to not being able to eat seafood because of a food allergy. If something hurts me in some way, then I should chose not to do it. I know this is not the same for everyone as addiction affects us all differently but at the moment it is working and life is pretty good (apart from sister in law but that is not gambling related).

The blocks remain because they do me no harm but no urges.

Muststop123

Posted on:
Sat, 13/01/2018 - 20:09

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

Hello Muststop,

It absolutly is a milestone and congrats for it. Whether 100 days GF means any more to you than the 99 before or any day after its still a milestone that shows your commitment and dedication to stopping. I feel like we can forget how hard it felt to reach that point where we realised how deep we were in. The easiest thing is often to just carry on but whatever it took to get us to this point we have put in place what we needed to to stop.

Well done, keep going =)

Posted on:
Sat, 13/01/2018 - 22:15

Scotto85g

Joined:
2018-01-01

Well done muststop123. It’s a milestone for sure. I am really pleased for you.

Posted on:
Sat, 13/01/2018 - 23:42

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Muststop123 wrote:

... this is not affecting me any differently than, for example, to not being able to eat seafood because of a food allergy.

Congratulations Muststop123 on hitting the century. You're an inspiration, my friend. 

You really do have the determination of The Terminator. Gambling just doesn't stand a chance with you. 

And I'm going to start imagining my gambling as a dodgy prawn cocktail dish that will kill dead if tasted. Zero urges from this point onwards. 

Posted on:
Mon, 15/01/2018 - 13:03

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Thanks for the comments all. It is the continuing support and motivation the members of this site give that help me stay determined.  

Difficult to explain why I do not see 100 days as a milestone - it is more that I just see one version of myself who gambled to varying degrees upto 100 days ago and then another version who has changed onto another completely separate railtrack who does not gamble. I don't want my experience with gambling to be a hugely negative defining point in my life, it is just the day I switched onto a different track. I think I am a bit more self aware of myself and how I think now but I am basically the same man, I just choose to not  give away money to online casinos.  

Day 102 and no urges or thoughts of gambling.

Posted on:
Fri, 19/01/2018 - 08:36

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 106 GF.

Stupid busy at work and home at the moment and apart from remembering to come on here I have no thoughts of gambling.

I have no urges and am finding it easier to ignore the TV adverts. I actually feel a bit embarassed when I see the adverts now as they just look so shallow - ooh bright lights, happy smiling people all winning money. They are as bad as the actual online sites when you get on them, the pathetic names of the  games and win-cash-bonus-free ideas everywhere - can't believe I actually got taken in. Anyway that is the past so absolutely no point in dwelling there - guess I just found out I am just as easily led as anyone else despite thinking I was a reasonably sharp cookie!

Posted on:
Fri, 19/01/2018 - 23:40

Scotto85g

Joined:
2018-01-01

I am glad you are starting to ignore them, they ain’t going anywhere anytime soon that’s for sure. Congrats albeit a bit late on getting to 100 days :). Scott.

Posted on:
Mon, 22/01/2018 - 10:14

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Scotto85g wrote:

I am glad you are starting to ignore them, they ain’t going anywhere anytime soon that’s for sure. Congrats albeit a bit late on getting to 100 days :). Scott.

Thanks, yes I think it will be a long time before gambling advertising is as controlled as tobacco advertising but as you say, no time soon:(

Day 109 GF and no thoughts of gambling over the weekend. Very busy with work, outside interests and issues relating to my sister in laws health but pretty sure this is not the reason I do not want to gambling. I am not harbouring secret thoughts of wouldn't it be nice if I could have the odd little dabble occasionally. I've tried it, it created one of the lowest points of my life and I never want to go near it again.

Let's all keep this another GF week.

Posted on:
Wed, 24/01/2018 - 08:47

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 111 GF and no thoughts or urges to gamble.

Bit on radio and television yesterday about FOBTs in bookies and proposals to reduce the max stake from £100 in 20 seconds. I have made my opinion on these before and I imagine I am probably preaching to the converted on this site anyway. What was interesting for me (yes it is all about me!) was my reaction - when similar reports have been on radio/tv previously i have started to feel physically sick at the mention of the names of the high street gambling businesses and got upset to the point I pulled over to the side of the road if I was driving. This time, i still had an emotional reaction but it was more anger at their pathetic defences and arguments. Felt like a stronger feeling than the previous one that felt a bit weak.

Seems like I am getting a bit stronger in my ability to deal with gambling being around me. I still hate it but I feel I can deal with it with a bit more courage rather than having to shy away everytime it is mentioned on tv/radio or I walk past a casino or bookies. I want to shout abuse or stick two fingers up as I pass now but guess that might not be seen as socially acceptable!! I'll do it in my head so I can use all the foul language I want. They don't scare me anymore.

Posted on:
Wed, 24/01/2018 - 08:57

Martin67

Joined:
2010-08-17

Hi Muststop,

I've not been on the site in a little while, but came across your diary. I read the first post. After having read it, I was praying that I would skip to the last post and see that you're gamble free and I was delighted to see that you were! Congratulations on 111 days so far. You're doing great and I'll continue to read your diary in the hope that you can keep it going. All the best buddy!

Posted on:
Thu, 25/01/2018 - 11:58

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Thanks Martin and well done on the last 7 months. Read your diary and it sounds like it has been a hard journey at time but you seem to be in a much better place now.

Day 112 GF today.

Not much to say today except I realised I have managed to devalue the value of my house through gambling. We have a conservatory that faces out onto our garden which gets pleasantly warm in the sun and is quite a nice place to sit and have a cup of coffee out of the way and get some peace as there is no tv or radio out there, just a sofa and a bookcase. It was only this morning that I realised i have stopped going out there since I confessed to my wife about gambling as that is where I told her and it has such horrific memories for me I just don't want to sit out there anymore. I can go in there ok but don't hang around. So for me I have a smaller usable house. Guess it is lucky I did not do it in the kitchen or I would starve.
 

Posted on:
Thu, 25/01/2018 - 15:08

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Although maybe the bathroom would probably be the worst place to have gambled. You'd be gamble free but permantly cross-eyed by now. 

I think you're being hard on yourself again by labelling the room as a no go area. Although this is maybe why you're so brilliant at staying gamble free, you have very clear boundaries whearas I tend to forgive and forget too easily. But it's a great shame to lose such a wonderful oasis in your home. It might be haunted by the memories of that gambling glitch in your life , but if you take fresh and positive ownership of the room, it could be quite empowering. 

This is hardly the same but I think it's slightly linked ... I got to the end of the Ken Burns Vietnam War series. In the final episode Obama was a guest of Hanoi and the Marines were welcomed into the homes of the North Vietnamese soliders to bond, share food and stories. It was a powerful reminder that people can move on from the greatest of hurts - so maybe, it's time to let your conservatory be a place of peace and quiet again.

Posted on:
Sat, 27/01/2018 - 13:08

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Hi Equinox, yes I think you are right, I need to do something to associate better times with it, going to start doing some holiday planning out there. Does seem a shame to let gambling win at this.

So into day 114 GF and busy weekend. Few chores today, step-son and my parents coming over for a meal tonight and day out with son tomorrow. 

Bit spooky this morning, was just finishing writing a post on here about when/if we should ever get any control of family finances when my wife turned to me and said we needed to have a chat about our finances going forward. Her view being that she did not want to deal with it all as "You aren't going to do anything stupid again". Not entirely sure how I feel about this. I am 100% certain in my mind that i am never going to gamble again but isn't that what every recovering CG says? But it is nice that she has confidence in me.

Anyway we will have a chat and whatever we do I am never returning to the position where I have unmonitored access to significant sums of money. Regardless of how confident I am that I won't gamble, I just like the idea of as much openness as possible.

She did finish the conversation with a comment about me not forgetting that should I ever gamble gain that she would be making earrings out of a certain part of my anatomy and I am not so sure it was a joke!

Posted on:
Mon, 29/01/2018 - 10:58

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 116 GF and no urges.

Really want this January to come to an end. So far this month (in date order, not level of severity) youngest split with girlfriend of 18 months, sister in law diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, father in law taken into hospital with multiple age related issues and finally last night step daughter announced that she has split with her boyfriend of 8 years who she was about to buy a house with. Unfortunately none of these are things I can "fix" - only support emotionally and practically. Unfortunately my wife tends to do her worrying at night so once she wakes up in the middle of the night then that is for her it as far as getting any sleep.

Not that I need any additional reasons not to gamble but what sort of person would I be if I added to my wife's worries with selfish gambling behaviour? Not going to happen.    

Hurry up February, I could do with some good news.

 

Posted on:
Wed, 31/01/2018 - 09:00

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Into day 118 GF.

Nothing much to say today apart from TGI 31st January. I don't like to be mean to any particularly month but this January really has been a difficult one to love. Roll on February.

 

Posted on:
Wed, 31/01/2018 - 12:24

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Hi Muststop123 - I'm sorry to hear that January has been a bad month for you and many close members of your family. Your kindness and emotional support, which we get a taste of here, will be such a huge help to those around you. 

I'm sorry that your wife is struggling with sleep - suffering from poor sleep does make the days so much more stressful. I've had dodgy sleep for a while - but the best thing (apart from the occasional prescribed sleeping tablet) is to count down from 10,000. It sounds a bit naff and a touch torturous but it works a lot of the time for me.  I got the technique from the mobile Headspace App and really didn't expect it to work as well as it does. I'd tried counting backwards before, but never from such a huge number.  Starting with such a big number really does help to get away from worrying or anxious thoughts that can easily ruin sleep. I suppose it's just like counting sheep but the Go Large version. Just to endorse it with a bit more credibility, apparently Dr Michael Mosely managed to overcome a 10 year insomnia habit with it after testing it for BBCs Horizon. 

I hope February proves to be a much better month for you and your family  ... just a few hours to go before you finally get to say goodbye to a jinxed January.

Also well done with your 118 days - that's a sizeable chunk of time between you and the 'g' word. 

Posted on:
Wed, 31/01/2018 - 21:45

BW555

Joined:
2017-11-10

Hi muststop

Sorry your going through a difficult time at the moment. I hope things start to look up for you and your family. Massive well done on 118 days. Great achievement your diary amd your comments you have placed on my diary have helped me so much on my journey. Thankyou your always so honest and positive. You seem very strong minded and determined on your own journey.
Hope everything works out for you.

Bw

Posted on:
Thu, 01/02/2018 - 03:56

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

Welcome to February :-)

Posted on:
Fri, 02/02/2018 - 10:49

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 120 GF which is about 4 months which is approximately the time I gambled online. So today I have been GF for as long as my problem gambling period.

Time to update my thoughts because this diary helps me organise things in my mind.

EDIT – just got to the end of this post and it is really long and a bit rambling so if I was you I would either stop reading now while you can still get out or get yourself a cup of coffee and a biscuit before you start.   

So thoughts about the last 8 months:

I don’t believe I am “cured” of my gambling problem in anyway nor do I think I ever will be. In my opinion, it is safest to just accept that once you fall into problem gambling it has demonstrated that your brain is just wired that way and you should never try to gamble in a responsible way again. As I say, just my opinion. I know 4 months is not long and too many stories on here of people who relapse after 6 months, a year or longer – getting complacent would be too easy.

Perhaps a bit more controversial but I do not currently believe I have a gambling addiction. I am not restraining myself from gambling, I just do not want to do it. Perhaps because I gambled irresponsibly for such a relatively short period of time, it is different to people who have gambled for many years and it is partly ingrained in their way of life? Maybe I am fooling myself and it is living dormant because the pain I went through when I first acknowledged my problem and it is waiting to come out at some point in the future when I have forgotten the despair I felt four months ago. I don’t think so but I guess time will tell.

I do wonder if some reading this think I am making too much of it – I lost £6000 in a few months, came to my senses and stopped. Maybe they are right but it sure felt pretty bad at the time and not something I want to repeat, hence taking it seriously.

I have not really forgiven myself for my behaviour and not entirely sure I ever will which probably says more about my personality type. In common with what many other have said, it really is not the money, that has had little or no impact on our day to day life. I think it is mainly the shame involved in the way I behaved. The feelings of regrets and intense levels of self-loathing I felt at the start have reduced to the point that they are like bad memories that I can largely leave in the back of my mind. Reading through the first page or so of this diary is now something I avoid as it still brings up a lot of upset and can quite easily bring me to tears. I also get upset reading some of the posts on here from others, particularly when people first come on here in obvious despair and fright, when they remind me of my early days.  

I am reasonably confident my wife has forgiven me for both the money and my actions – her words and behaviour would suggest that and I have nothing else to go on but I acknowledge that there will always be that little thought in the back of her mind reminding her that the dependable and trustworthy husband she once thought she had never actually existed. The fact that I can’t ever totally delete that thought from her mind is a big regret for me.

I think my relationship with my wife has improved in some ways. I don’t think we deliberately hid stuff from each other in the past (apart from the one big obvious thing in my case) but think we are being a bit more open with each other. Did get told off a couple of weeks ago for starting too many conversations with the phrase “I have got something to tell you…”, seems my deliberate attempts to be more open were a bit clumsy and she got ready each time for some huge revelation when it was usually something fairly trivial.   

As far as the changes we made to managing our finances are concerned (my wife effectively having control of all savings and me having limited and monitored access to other money for day to day expenses) I was never going to start the conversation on this changing any time soon. However my wife recently has raised the issue as I think she would rather we managed it jointly. Whatever happens I will not put myself in the position of being able to access significant sums of money independently. Not because I do not trust myself but just does not seem right.

So the big question really of do I think I will ever gamble again after just 4 months GF? Well I am definitely of the opinion that 100% abstention is the most appropriate method – I don’t believe anyone who has demonstrated the complete lack of self-control that I did should risk trying to bet even small amounts because it would never stay small. If I am honest I don’t think that if I went to the horse racing with my family for the day and I bet £5 on each race with my wife that it would get out of control on the day or I would suddenly start gambling online again but why take the risk? I still have deep feelings of revulsion to the idea of gambling at the moment so I would not want to in any case but I do want to keep it clear in my head that even if at some point in the future I lose this deep seated dislike of the idea of gambling and become fairly ambivalent on the idea, that I don’t allow any complacency to creep in.

Just re-read that and I have still not answered the question of do I think I will ever gamble again? The simple answer is no, I don’t think I will ever gamble again. I realise that sounds complacent/arrogant/naïve to say that after just 4 months but that is how I feel. Does not mean I will change any of the blocks I have in place but I do not feel like I am butting up against them but it does not do any harm to retain them. Today I don’t imagine myself ever going to a horse racing event with my family or to a work related function that is in a casino – not because I think I would be tempted but more because I do not want gambling to be present in my life anymore. Time will tell but this is 100% in my control and I am particularly stubborn person so why would I think anything different?

So those are my thoughts on the last 8 months – not the best 8 months of my life but hopefully come out a little wiser.

January was a bit rubbish and I let it get me down. Time to start being a bit more positive and take some action.

Have booked a few nights away with my wife to get some winter sun in March – sitting around a pool all day is not really my thing (I would rather be doing something) but wife likes it and I owe her such a lot for putting up with me lately.

Son has shown some interest in a hobby we used to share so will put some time and effort into that.

Finally need to get back out and get some exercise – been using the excuse of it being too cold, wet and dark in the evenings. Really no excuse and it really helped me clear my head previously.

Feel like I am starting the year properly now!!

Posted on:
Fri, 02/02/2018 - 11:33

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Really enjoyed reading your last post, much I agree with and truly inspiring. Thanks for your support on my diary.

Wilsy

Posted on:
Wed, 07/02/2018 - 12:50

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 125 GF.

Decided to take a bit of a break trying to offer advice on other people's threads, particularly those new to the site or returning after multiple relapses, following a bit of healthy discussion on here. Not being deliberately selfish but suddenly struck me that I have only been GF for four months and here I am giving suggestions and commenting on a potentially really devastating addiction. People are losing relationships, family, their houses, their financial security, their mental well-being to this. It is not really a subject for someone so inexperienced, however well meaning. So rather than me chucking in my random comments, I think I will leave it to those more experienced.

I will continue this diary as this is really for me so just to be clear any comments I make on here are purely my opinion based on my limited experience and circumstances. I have never had to deal with gambling related debt, mental illness, family/relationship breakdown or multiple relapses, for which I am extremely grateful but acknowledge also means I am not really in a position to advise others on them.

I don't want to stop conversing with those of you that I feel I have come to know as we battle together against gambling so I will try and continue to read as many of your diaries as possible and stick in the odd comment where I think it might be helpful or supportive. 

Good luck all.

 

Posted on:
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 11:07

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Hi Muststop123

I can only speak for myself here, but without your inspired and supportive words I genuinely think I would have struggled so much more.  Your helpful comments stopped me time and time again. 

Although I totally understand what you're saying about feeling inexperienced and wanting to reduce your advice on other people's diaries (and my post here isn't a nudge to try to get you to reconsider). But I just wanted you to know that you worked miracles for me.  No doubt the same is true for many others. It was your kindness, reasoning and understanding that helped me to see gambling for what it is - your inexperience didn't enter into it. 

I'm not happy I started gambling, but I'm really happy that I met you here at the height of your posting.

All the very best 

Equinox

Posted on:
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 11:11

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 126 GF

No urges to gamble and I continue to believe I do not currently have an addiction.

Read a few of the new members returning relapsers posts today and the cycle of "small bet - reasonable win - failure to cash out when ahead - lose a bit - chase the loss - gamble until it has all gone" is just repeated over and over again with the same crash of emotions and financial pain. I think it is mostly this realisation that has helped me stay GF - it is probable that if I started gambling again I would be unable to stop until I had lost every £ I had available to me - this is not some strange occurance that happened to me once, it is happening to many people everyday. Still scary that I have so little control of my behaviour once I get in front of a set of slots or a roulette wheel but it is reality. So I have a problem with gambling if I take part in it so I won't.

Have booked some weekly badmington sessions with my son to help with the fitness bit and have booked a cheap couple of nights away in York with my wife in April which cost a lot less than an hour of online gambling. Part of this is the theory that I need to keep myself occupied (idle hands and all that) but more and more it is the thought I just need to enjoy my gamble free life more and do more of everything. 

 

 

Posted on:
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 11:33

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Equinox wrote:

Hi Muststop123

I can only speak for myself here, but without your inspired and supportive words I genuinely think I would have struggled so much more.  Your helpful comments stopped me time and time again. 

Although I totally understand what you're saying about feeling inexperienced and wanting to reduce your advice on other people's diaries (and my post here isn't a nudge to try to get you to reconsider). But I just wanted you to know that you worked miracles for me.  No doubt the same is true for many others. It was your kindness, reasoning and understanding that helped me to see gambling for what it is - your inexperience didn't enter into it. 

I'm not happy I started gambling, but I'm really happy that I met you here at the height of your posting.

All the very best 

Equinox

Hi Equinox

Our posts crossed so I did not want you to think I had ignored yours. Thank you for the words and whilst I certainly wish I never put myself in the position where I needed to come on a gambling recovery forum I do think a big highlight is the bonds we forge as we battle this evil together. 

Sorry if you misunderstood but I am not going anywhere as far as you are concerned! We are in this together for the long haul.

Muststop123

Posted on:
Thu, 08/02/2018 - 12:57

harry33

Joined:
2009-11-24

Hi Muststop,

A big congratulations on your continued recovery, reading from your diary  it seems that you were one of the lucky ones to having dipped your toes into gambling have discovered that you can not control it, this has taken myself many many years to fully appreciate.  You have done extremley well however the only thing i would say is to never get complacent with this addiction as many have said the once the piot light is switched on it always remains on which is something i have learned to accpet and hopefully deal with going forward.

All the best on your continued recovery my friend.

Harry

Posted on:
Mon, 12/02/2018 - 10:25

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Hi Harry

Thanks for the words - I agree I think the possibility of becoming complacent is probably the biggest risk to me. I have moved out of the early stages where the high levels of shame and self loathing prevented me from returning to gambling and into a much better place where I can accept (and understand to a certain degree) what I did. I think the difference is now, I am refraining from gambling because I see the benefits (mental well being, time with family, being true to my family and rather selfishly just feeling like a better person) rather than just the negatives of gambling (potential family breakdown, mental upset, loss of money). I think to keep GF for the long haul, it needs to be based on positivity rather than fear or negativity. A life without gambling is a much better one than one with it so that means I have got something to celebrate rather than constantly looking over my shoulder at some bad past event.

So Day 130GF.

Still keeping myself to myself on here which does seem a bit selfish when so many others have helped me. I think there is a fine balancing line on giving advice to others who post on here - being too honest/forceful/tactful/tactless/gentle/forgiving/sympathetic/unsympathetic all have their risks and I am not sure I am yet in a position where I know where to put that line.

Busy weekend planning family stuff for the future. Can't change the past but can certainly make sure I make the most of the future.    

Good luck all.

Posted on:
Mon, 12/02/2018 - 10:40

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

130 days gamble free is fantastic, keep it going nice and steady

Wilsy

Posted on:
Wed, 14/02/2018 - 10:08

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 132 GF

Up and down with the emotions seems to be the way. Recently I have been quite positive and happy that I am strong enough to deal with this.

This morning I read a couple of posts on here and suddenly I am scaring myself with what "could" happen. I don't even want to gamble or have any urges but I am getting anxious just with the thought of it. Real sinking feeling in my stomach. Bizarre.

Anyway, day off work today, so best get myself going , do a few chores and do something with my son this afternoon.

Muststop123

Posted on:
Wed, 14/02/2018 - 11:32

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Hi Muststop,

i'm feeling the same, emotions are like a yo-yo up and down, no day is the same, at least we are staying gamble free and you have decided to keep busy by doing some chores and doing something with your son, these are all good choices, keep up the good work!

Wilsy

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:25

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Thanks Muststop for supporting me this morning, i just love this person but they are so hurtful towards me but I don't have it in me to hate them or tell them to **** off, I just soak it up then it breaks me. The heart is so huge inside me that I just can't deal with it.

I hope you are well today, another day you and I choose to not wager another penny because we are worth more than the misery gambling brings us and our families. Just for another day we decide to try and live a normal life.

Wilsy

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:25

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 134 GF.

One of those odd gambling related nightmares last night. Was stood with my wife in front of some odd random number generator machine and she was happily gambling with me on it. I told her I should not be gambling and then she walked off and told me to carry on and I then started losing and starting to chase losses (pretty realistic dream then!!!). Woke up at 3.00am and spent an hour trying to make sense of it but obviously no sense to be made because there is no sense in gambling. Odd lost hour of sleep is a fairly small price to pay but do wonder what provokes dreams like that as nothing happened that I can think of to cause it. 

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:26

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Well done on 134 days gamble free. I have never had gambling dreams but I know many folk who have them, must be scary and I hope they soon fade for you. Have a great day

Wilsy

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:36

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Thanks Wilsy, the dreams are odd but as I say a fairly small price to pay, nothing like the sickening feeling of waking up and realising you really have been gambling the night before and wasted a chunk of money.

Funny but I don't tell my wife about them because I feel slightly guilty/embarassed as if having nightmares/dreams about gambling is almost as bad as actually gambling which I know is obviously not the case. 

Posted on:
Fri, 16/02/2018 - 11:02

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Get you compeltely mate.

Wilsy

Posted on:
Mon, 19/02/2018 - 10:12

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 137 GF.

Had a fun weekend away with a few friends. Topic came up about a raffle game in one of the groups  I belong to. Discussion was about someone (not someone I know personally)  that was cutting back because they were spending too much every week on it. I don't partake in it at all now as is obviously gambling (might have previously spent £2-3 pounds on it occasionally). This guy was spending probably £40-50 a week on it which to many of us on here sounds fairly small but to most "normal" people is too much to be wasting. I could have said nothing but did deliberately state that I don't gamble anymore as it is not really my thing anymore. Still not got the guts to tell my friends about my problem but do want to start getting it out there that I no longer gamble in anyway. Maybe they will twig something has changed which I am fine with. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to say I had a bit of a problem in the past and then maybe one day actually tell them the full truth. There has never been a position when any of them have ever encouraged me to gamble so them not knowing does not endanger my recovery. 

Happy Monday everyone

Posted on:
Mon, 19/02/2018 - 11:07

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Really pleased you enjoyed your weekend Muststop, and you'll gradually open up to your closest friends when you feel ready, just don't feel you need to tell everyone your private struggles, only those you trust the most who won't judge you. At the moment them not knowing isn't such a big deal it means you can carry on as you are racking up those gamble free days.

Have a great week.

Wilsy

Posted on:
Wed, 21/02/2018 - 15:49

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 139 GF and no thoughts or urges to gamble.

Son mentioned yesterday the football world cup coming up this summer as I was joking that I would not let him watch any of it until his A level exams were all out of the way. He asked if we were going to be putting any bets on like we did at the last world cup. These were usually about £2 on a game just so that games like Belgium v Uraguay became marginally more interesting. Told him I was not because I was not really into any sort of betting anymore. He was a little surprised as it had been just a bit of fun before - not sure I can yet deal with the humilaition of telling him the full truth of what I did last year but I am going to explain that I've taken the decision not to gamble anymore. Think I will try and sow the seeds a bit about the damage the gambling industry is doing to peoples lives and how I am not happy to be funding it.

We also for previous world cups did a bit of a sweep stake within the family (including my parents) so we all put in £2 and then each picked out a few teams at random so when the games were on it there was a bit of rivalry between the people who had the teams and the overall winner got the pot. All seemed such innocent fun!! Think what I will do with the sweepstake element (if anyone wants to do it this year) is get my wife to effectively have two entries and pretend one is mine so I don't spoil it for everyone else. Daft really because I am talking about a pot of £16 and my wife and I share all our money anyway so if I won she would most likely end up giving me the cash back at some point to pay the window cleaner or something but I think it is important that I keep 100% clean. Alcoholics shouldn't have a sneaky half pint of shandy just to fit in.       

It is actually kind of liberating to have taken the decision never to gamble again. No ifs, no buts, no fudging the issue or blurring the distinction over what gambling is acceptable, just do not do it. 

Posted on:
Wed, 21/02/2018 - 16:27

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

hi mate 139 days is fantastic and it is liberating isn't it, when you get to as many days as we have, it does feel like with each day we have more and more control over it, just a decision by us to not entertain the idea anymore and just not touch it. Pleased like me you are having no urges. Keep it up mate!

Wilsy

Posted on:
Fri, 23/02/2018 - 10:29

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Day 141 GF and won't be gambling today.

Gambling does not really enter my thoughts during the day apart from when I come on here. Still cropping up in my dreams but I can deal with that.

A fair bit of non gambling related problems at the moment going on within the wider family relating to serious illnesses and relationships which are hitting my wife particularly hard. Trying my best to support her as much as I can and think I am doing better than I would a year ago even if it is only asking her how she is feeling (and listening!) and doing more around the house. I think one good thing that has come out of my gambling experience and the aftermath (particularly the counselling and relationship with my wife) is I feel more in touch with my feelings and emotions and therefore am able to better understanding what is going on in my head and relate to others better. Think i was perhaps a little too logical and black/white in some of my thinking and therefore how I dealt with relationships. Taken me 48 years but finally realised none of us are 100% infallible and we all make bad decisions or say the wrong thing sometimes - we need to give ourselves and everyone around us a break occasionally.     

Happy Friday All

Posted on:
Fri, 23/02/2018 - 11:31

burko26

Joined:
2017-06-16

Muststop123 - thank you. What an inspirational diary this is to read. I cannot thank you enough for writing it and sharing your thoughts, emotions and story. I wish you well, keep going. 141 days is a phenominal effort and I salute you.

Posted on:
Fri, 23/02/2018 - 13:32

Took a wrong turn

Joined:
2012-02-22

Hi Must stop, thanks for your support on my diary and a great big well done on 141 days and for dealing with other issues so admirably, just keep supporting your wife, I know she will be appreciating it. You are a good soul.

All the best mate,

Wilsy

Posted on:
Mon, 05/03/2018 - 17:24

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Checking in day 151 GF.

Have no urges to gamble nor do I think about it much.

Not entirely sure where this certainty comes from but I have it competely clear in my head that if I was stupid enough to try and gamble in a "responsible" way and allow myself say £100 I would not be able to stop. On one hand it is helpful to know this as it means I won't be trying any little experiments to see what happens because I already know it is going to end badly. On the other hand it is a bit scary to know I have such little self control over myself in this area of my life. But, and this fairly significant for me and a big change to my thinking from even a few months ago, I can now more easily accept that this is just a part of me. I am human, have many flaws and will make many mistakes in my life. I just need to make sure I learn from them rather than turning each one into a huge negative experience - I feel in the past I have often been more upset that I have made a mistake than about the actual consequences of that mistake. The opportunities for us all to mess up sometimes seem abundant so maybe it is not so surprising when we do. 

Chatting to my son yesterday and he said he was annoyed with himself because a couple of weeks ago we were going through a toll booth and there was another motorist at one of the other booths who was obviously struggling to find enough change. Cars were filling up behind him, unmanned booth, desperately looking down the side of his seat for some change, kind of thing most of us have experienced at one time or the other. Not life shattering but really annoying and stressful at the time. He said he was annoyed with himself because he could have quite easily have got out of the car and given the guy the £1 or whatever it was he needed. Instead, like most people, we just drove off. Started talking about random acts of kindness and how it really does not take a lot. Sometimes feel like he is the one teaching me to be a better person. Both said we would give it a go. The guy at the toll booth did not deliberately turn up at the toll booth without enough change, he made a simple mistake or forgot or simply had more important things on his mind. It would have taken little on my part to improve his day a little.      

Muststop123

Posted on:
Mon, 05/03/2018 - 18:57

Equinox

Joined:
2017-10-18

Thanks for posting in my diary Muststop123. 

Late last night I dropped in your diary to leave a message, but ended up deleting before posting  - I was aware you were on a break of some sort so I suddenly got a bit self-conscious, for some reason it felt like I was tugging at your sleeve when you were busy elsewhere.  

It's always a joy to read stories about you and your son ... they really are wonderful and just plain heartwarming. A great reminder to me just how unsatisfying gambling is compared to family. 

I also feel as if I should acknowledge a debt of thanks to you for something else - I remember in your early posts you'd mention going for therapeutic fast walks. Since New Year, I try to walk six miles a day (four days a week) in the morning and I'm loving every minute of it. Because I work from home now, my day can feel quite static. But now it feels like I'm doing this wonderfully pointless commute from my front door back to my front door after breakfast. It's a great time to think, listen to some audiobook, music or just walk in silence and really fires me up to get cracking with some work when I return.  

All my very best - and well done for smashing through to day 151 like some sort of invincible Thor figure. 

 

Posted on:
Wed, 07/03/2018 - 11:00

Muststop123

Joined:
2017-10-03

Thanks, Equinox, hope the walks help as much as they did for me. I really need to get back to them but have been making a lot of excuses about it being too cold/dark/wet or being too busy - I found the time before Christmas in the cold and wet so I can find it now.

Just clearing out my email spam account last night, mostly offers of bit coins, **** single ladies and facebook/tweeter updates (none of which I am interested in, except perhaps the....only kidding!). One stood out though was an ad from an online casino which I have never been on with a big image of the game that I really lost my soul to. Once I started feeling physically sick of playing roulette I got hooked on a slots game that had a "high roller" option for stupidily high stakes - won't go into details for the obvious reasons. I played this on two different websites but they were owned by the same company so had some of the same games and I self excluded from both of these sites for 5 years when I stopped gambling last year. Turns out there is a third company in the same group so despite me self excluding from two of the sites and unsubscribing from emails and text from them, they quite happily let the third company in the group bait me with images of the game I lost £1000s on. Not just an invite to the casino but a specific focus on the one game - this was not some random advert, it had my name and just the one game in the advert welcoming me with an offer of free spins.

In order to try and remain 100% honest with this diary I need to admit there was a very short lived spike of some sort of positive reaction to this image - the chemicals in my head obviously are still able to recreate the endorphins based just on the picture of the game. The logical part of my brain very quickly took over and there was never a chance I was going to try and get on the site and gamble but it was just a reminder of how devious the gambling industry is. 

Not sure yet what I will do with this one. I could try and get on the website which it should not let me do because I have self excluded from the other related sites (according to the policy on their websites anyway) and if it does let me on I can then just immediately self exclude. Or I can just ignore it. Don't really like having this potential gap in my armour so I will probably just check that I can't get on. Previously I would have asked my wife to either do it for me or sit with me while I did it because the thought of being on the sites is so uncomfortable but she is going through a bad time with the health of her father so I dont really want to burden her with thoughts that I am having gambling problems again when in reality I feel it is under control. Time to man up and sort it myself - its just a stupid email.

 

  

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