My daughter had a hospital appointment yesterday and asked me to look after her 4 children for an hour or two. Ages are 9 months, 2, 5 & 7. Run of the mill stuff i suppose for the average grandad but for someone who lived in a solitary world of gambling at every opportunity alone with laptop on my knee for so many years i think learning new skills of interaction is a better description in my case.
Managed to change the baby ( after 2 or 3 attempts ) whilst one wanted juice the other wanted an ice lolly, one wanted to watch Pepper Pig whilst the other was demanding i put Horrid Henry on TV. In the end Pepper Pig won the day and i joined the Horrid Henry fan in building with Lego. Even if i say so my self i built a mean 3 bedroom semi with garage too. My fellow builder built a large tower block & all was going well till the 2 year old decided to knock it down & all hell broke loose.
After feeding the baby & trying hard to broker a peace deal with the other 3 i eventually got him off to sleep ( quite an achievement whilst the other 3 were constantly fighting & arguing) but i got there in the end. By this time the sun was beginning to come out so while the baby slept i opened the french doors and took a ball in the garden & agreed to be the goalie while they took shots. Id be useless in a real penalty shoot out.
Anyway despite my daughter telling me it would be for 2 hours maximum she sent me a text saying all done at hospital do you mind if i quickly pop into supermarket ( she never does anything quickly) and so 2 hours became 3 and a half hours. We played together, painted together, read together & built together. Them poppers on babies vests never seem to line up again once youve opened them to change a baby but that aside i think i did ok.
It was great to see them but when they left i began the task of clearing & tidying up the toys lego & painting books etc and made myself a well earned cuppa. When i sat down i laughed to myself about the things we said & done earlier & then did some soul searching. What a wonderful day ive had i thought, then the reality cicked in as i pondered years and years and what id robbed myself of. Indeed robbed my children of when they were younger oblivious to the precious moments i could have created whilst my addiction raged unchecked & untreated.
Some say its a mental illness, some say its the bookmakers fault & their marketing tactics. I dont think im mentally ill, just simply BAD. But to be honest i think i hated myself so much for the first 6 months of joining Gamcare ive ran out of hatred and now im done beating myself up. Next time i get called up for babysitting duties i wont twist or moan in fact ill gladly do it because yesterday i created a precious wonderful memory rather than another horror story.
Loved reading this Al.
I have a 3 yr old, 9 yr old and a 15 yr old. I didn’t think I let gambling get in the way of me being a good Dad, but as I spend more time with the littleun, I realise that maybe it did.
onwards and upwards. What else is there to do?
Youre a strong guy and they’re all lucky to have your support. We can’t change the past, but we can build a future. Cherish them and look after yourself.
It's gone a bit dusty in the office reading that.
Have to admit it absolutely chocked me up.
One thing though. Looking after 4 kids under that age of 8 is hardly run of the mill stuff.
Sounds like juggling jelly. I'm glad I stopped at 2 !
Sounds like a wonderful day Al - best think of it as what we would miss out in the future should we slip into the old ways.
Just read it & it certainly does resonate with me. I could write a book about my sins of the past. My Mrs gone shopping for the day with her sister. Right now on the sideboard theres the window cleaners money, money for the guy who cleans the bin and probably £15 in notes & shrap. Wouldnt consider touching it but its pointless lying 9 months ago might have been a different story.
At first deep down there was an element of resentment when i first handed financial control but ive become a realist as my recovery progresses & know thats how its got to be for a 40 year plus addict, i threw trust out of the window many years ago. ( The fact she left £15 around with me home alone makes me quite flattered lol ). Seriously though the flip side of handing control over is the clear conscience, i dont mind her scrutinising bank statements or looking in on me through EXPERIAN as i dont have anything to hide. I have 2 direct debits mobile phone £15 per month, Private dental plan £12 per month and little left once theyve been paid.
Im a better person now than ive been in years but an addicts an addict & thats how its got to be for me. Its not just about restoring trust & giving my beloved peace of mind It brings me peace of mind knowing that every block possible is in place to stop me going back to becoming the person i was. Everyday i thank god that she is still here with me ( if our roles had been reversed i think id have been on my bike years ago ) she deserves so much better. Getting so much better ONE DAY AT A TIME
Thats food for thought about having access to money in the future. I think maybe sometime in the future i might think about that but i feel right now the JUST FOR TODAY philosophy seems to be working for me and if it aint broke i wont try and fix it. The only way i know how many GF days ive clocked up is because it tells you when you log in. The actual number means little to me as everyday i read about gamblers relapsing. Thats whyi believe so passionately in JUST FOR TODAY.
Thanks for your post always a pleasure to hear from you. I never thought i could love simple pleasures so much as i enjoyed yesterday. Just emphasises what damage gambling does not just to everyday life but your emotions too. God what a cold person i became. Hopefully this is a healing process in recovery.
Thanks for your post and i'm so glad you're seeking help & recognising you have an addiction. Remember we all started at day 1 being GF but i promise you this, if you persevere, genuinely want to stop & can accept you're never gonna win back what you've lost, life will only get better. I look forward to hearing of your progress.
Thanks for posting it means a lot to me and i'd never have came this far without the support of you & others. You're right family time is so precious, & actually enjoying family time tells me my emotions are recovering as well as my compulsive gamblers personality.
One of the earliest pieces of advice i got on here was don't think too far ahead think JUST FOR TODAY and can honestly say that's the first thing i tell myself when i get up in the morning. It just helps me stay focused on staying away from the destructive forces of gambling.
Talking to you & others through the chatline & on the forums have also played a massive part in my recovery. I value every piece of support, every post & hopefully contributing towards helping others caught up & entangled in compulsive gambling. So a big thank you for your valuable contributions past & present.
ah bless ya, yes i think learning to enjoy the present and not think about both the past and future too much helps. I have been trying to enjoy the present and enjoy life without the thought of gaining or losing money. Also looking to generate a healthy relationship with money is difficult after gambling as you think about the cost of everything too much and dont like to treat yourself kindly. So i think we can all work on these things. Lets do this al this year has been hugely successful lets move forwards for an even better 2020 and beyond.
In the recovery program healing my hurt inner child and becoming healthy was a slow baby steps progress.
In time as my fears reduce, my healing grows, my accepting that it is not possible to change my past.
I understand that my pride replaces the guilt shame and regrets, that who I am today is not who I was on walking in to my recovery program.
The choices had to be mine, the boundaries had to be mine, I am no longer the victim, I have a voice absed up on peace with in myself.
I am able to be more stable and more at peace with in myself and with other people.
The pains of my past caused fears in me that I did not understand or even know about.
Am I willing to be completely selfish in becoming healthy.
My addictions and obsessions were just symptoms that I was an unhealthy person.
My addictions and obsessions were just symptoms that I was an emotionally vulnerable person.
Until I am admitted to myself that I was unhealthy no one could help me help myself.
Please keep going to meetings, you will benefit from it in so many ways.
Love and peace to every one.
Dave of Beckenham