So, I'm 93 days GF now.
It has been tough. But as soon as you have those controls in place and have the support there, it is possible. For me, the most important thing was absolute acceptance that I had a problem that I couldn't just overcome and fix on my own.
The past few weeks, I've not even thought about gambling and my past life of frittering £10s and £10s of thousands down the drain in desperate, heart wrenching attempts to recoup lost money.
I have not spent a penny on anything even remotely gambling related, not even a raffle at work! And I plan to keep it that way!
I was away on a camping holiday so have had a 4 week break from counselling. My self worth and self esteem still need to be worked on- and I still need to practice living within my means (it's hard, as we all know).
My marriage was almost destroyed by this, but we are getting better. My husband trusts me again and loves me. I have repayed £6K of debt in 3 months. And still managed to have a holiday but picking up some extra work and going camping instead of abroad.
The addiction nearly killed me. My mental health, my physical health, my marriage, my career, my relationships with friends and family- everything was at risk. Now, I can see the dire place I was in because of gambling and I know I'm strong enough to never ever go there again.
I am not gambling, What I did does not define me. Those mistakes are solidly in the past and I plan to ensure they never happen again by working on me and my wellbeing- whilst building up the things I destroyed in the madness.
Here's to the next 90 days!
If it's useful, here's what worked for me but we are all different:
- attending counselling
-phoning gamcare daily (and sometimes hourly) in the first few days after telling people and my husband
-writing everything down in a letter for my husband
- giving my husband space by moving out for a few days
- letting my husband lead any discussions and telling him exactly what he wanted to know
- giving my husband credit report logins for proof and other statements etc
- changing bank to Monzo and putting gambling blocks in place
- telling a few close friends
- drawing a little symbol on the calendar each day I haven't gambled
- putting in place Gamban
- putting in place Gamstop (5 years)
- shuting down all credit card/ bank account except Monzo
- looking after and rewarding myself with time to read/exercise/ having a massage once a month
- making a spread sheet for finances with staggered goals for motivation- e.g. This debt paid off by X date- so I will have £300 a month more in my pocket then. Planning what I will treat myself/ my husband to.
- saving the rounded up change to create an emergency pot
- engaged with the forum. The people on here are amazing and it's so nice to know you're not alone and also to offer support and empathy to others.
What I didn't do:
- I didn't hand over all financial control to husband. Personally, both he and I didn't feel that would work for us and I wanted to know I would not gamble with or without him checking my every move- although I keep reinforcing he can look at my phone/ online banking at any time with no notice and he has a couple of times. My blocks are pretty tight though otherwise and I've not even tried to gamble at all. This isn't what works for everyone but for me, and my husband, it does and means we have remained true to our thoughts and opinions about marriage and being independent people.
- I didn't tell everyone. Our families don't know. My husband wanted it this way and so did I. We have difficult family lives on my side and I owe parents and brother money but I have continuously paid it back every month and we have avoided the upset of coming clean about lies for borrowing. Soon it will all be paid back. Again, each to their own on this one but I couldn't borrow from them again without my husband knowing and they will be repaid quickly and in full. I didn't want gambling to define who I am to everyone we know- it doesn't define me. I'm much more than it. 5 people (including my husband) know.
- I have not beat myself up or totalled up how much I spent on gambling- I know the figure would haunt me and most of t was within my salary and not borrowed. I dread to think and know roughly. But for me, the exact extent and number wasn't important to know. It's gone now. Of course, I know the debt figures and that is different for tackling it, but expendable cash that I spent? No thanks.
- I have not went to GA. just counselling for me.
Wishing everyone the best on their journey through this hideous addiction. The moral support and advice from all of you literally saved my life and turned things around for me.
Ive still got a long way to go but I get shudders and nightmares even thinking about returning to where I was in that dark, hopeless hole of gambling.
Thank you for all your support so far.