I wanted to work with certain gambling help companies but unfortunately nothing came of it. One of the things I would have liked to set up was a fixed post or page called "WHAT I DID".
One of my current favourite sayings is "I don't care what you think, I care what you did". I can't take any credit for it but I'm putting it out there now.
The point behind it?
It was normally your thinking that got you in trouble, but your actions that got you out of trouble. Unless you've walked in someone's shoes, or been in the hole that I have previously posted about, how can you give advice?
It's all well and good saying someone should do this or shouldn't do that, but the addiction makes us all do things that we wouldn't normally do and that also includes swaying our decision making over doing the right thing at the right time. Some addicts need to get to a certain point, a rock bottom moment, before they can start to rebuild and listen.
I notice a lot on here people telling others who have asked for advice what to do. Can I suggest that you tell them what you did. It has more gravitas if the addict is getting advice from someone they can identify with. The advice doesn't have to be taken, and unfortunately as we have seen over the years, very few people do take advice until they've tried it their way again and again, but at least if what you did to help you keep the addiction at bay and recover your life is somewhere where it might be read, it just may be read by someone else who can see some value in your way. You could be helping others without even knowing it.
I hope to hear how others did it.
On the other side, if there is anyone with letters after their name, well learned, and a so called expert in this field who thinks they can offer advice, but has not been through any of the experiences of compulsive gambling, I'd genuinely like to hear why that is.
Thanks for reading.
Hi Chris I'm glad you've written this post. Recently on the forum I've been upset at the tone of some users posts and I did for a week or so let it put me off coming on. I've got past that now, 6months tomorrow and as well as GA a lot of my recovery has been down to using this site reading and listening to advice. I have become more discerning now with who I listen to. I find it very sad when people turn the screw a bit more into others who are struggling, which is totally different to constructive advice. Now I'm getting settled in my recovery and with the help and camaraderie in GA know the path I'm treading and know where to go when I need help, but at the beginning of my recovery would have been very different scenario
@chezzy If a therapist or counsellor would like to offer their opinion then I'm open for it, but as I said in my post, how someone did something is surely better than just telling someone else what they think?
Take you for example, have you stopped gambling, for how long and how did you do it? Would you listen to advice offered by someone who hadn't necessarily followed their own advice?
Hi Chris, this is good advice and is probably just the way some people word their comments. I always try to use "I" when advising someone rather than "you" as it does explain the tools I have used to get to where I am now. Some people who use you will mean they did it themselves but it can sound a lot more beneficial if you talk about yourself.
It can seem strange sometimes giving advice when 6 months ago I was at rock bottom but it can also be very satisfying if someone takes notice and maybe use a little bit to help them on their way.
Onwards and upwards
If you struggled, and failed well then thats an experience you should share. We all, ultimately, fail and succeed with things in life as we go on the journey. And talking of 'failure' I'd like to share my experience(s) and why we should never be smug and think we've got over something.....
Few years ago I was earning very good money in a job abroad and had loads saved up. The job came to a natural end and I returned to the UK after 15 years away and had a big lump in the bank, a property with no mortgage and not many outgoings. For the first time in my life I was free of financial pressures and enjoyed a year or so doing nothing but whatever I wanted and eventually got a part time job to meet people and get a bit of pocket money. I'm in my 40's and most of my friends are busy trying to pay the rent/mortgage or looking after their kids. I was free and easy and to cut a long story short- bored. I started gambling and quickly found myself 13k up. Whoopee! This is easy, right? I then suffered what can only be described as a head-f**k and lost 60k in 72 hours.
My whole body was shaking, I threw up, I sweated and couldn't sleep. I suffered like you cannot believe. I hated myself to such an extent I even considered the unthinkable. I couldn't believe the arrogance and stupidity of throwing away that amount of money when there are so many people who really need that and could have made something of their life given a 60k start. I cried and thrashed about and was so angry I wanted to blame everyone and everything.
Then I started a small business and worked and saved and worked some more and within 18 months had re-couped that money by sheer hard work and determination. I got back my self-esteem and my money but I have to admit I still felt anger with myself. That will never go away I guess and I have to learn to love myself again. It's genuinely not the amount of 1000's that's important but the fact that we all work so hard to get it and then hand it over on a plate to those that would exploit us. I could rant for hours but for anyone who is still reading, I have two things to say.
At the time I sought advice on various forums as to whether I should tell my wife about my losses and I chose not to, against the advice of 99% of people that replied to my posts. I'm sure their advice was well-meaning and I really appreciated anyone taking the time to care enough to try to help but I always knew that was the wrong thing to do and I replaced the money without her ever knowing. Yes its not good to hide things from those you love but I truly believe it was better not to in my case. We are all different and thats why its so tough to give concrete advice on other people's situations.
The last and maybe most important point I want to make is that after 18 months without gambling I suddenly decided to go back about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I chose the perverted gambler's logic of 'I'm due a win' 'the casino owes me' and quickly lost 2k. So I'm not 'cured' and I won't ever be. I'm an addict- and gambling is one of my addictions- as it turns out the most depressing and futile of all my compulsions and certainly the most expensive.
Don't ever let your guard down. and share your experiences . Best wishes to all
oh and for the record, I tried the 12 step but it wasn't for me. I tried therapy and it was nice but not particularly enlightening or helpful. It a shoulder to cry on which was good but it didnt give me any insight or methodology on how I can change. Running did help but nothing helped as much as getting that money back. Again I wish you all the best and will share more details if anyone is interested.
Yes its food for thought Chris but its very difficult to give advice to a gambling addict. In an open forum people are trying to help in the best way they know.
I would need to see these examples of badly worded advice and Im sure the moderators are looking out for such examples. Ive seen wrong advice but it soon gets pointed out. I havent seen anybody being too direct or rude and it soon gets taken down
I dont walk through life generally giving "advice" like Im some sort of god. I wouldnt dare give advice in a gambling environment...I would just be hounded out and laughed at.
I hope people that join here will start to be open minded, read and even question what we are saying so we can talk about it. If they disagree I hope that will say that so we can talk it through and perhaps try another approach
There are people who never act an the advice and return in a few months saying back again. They do this repeatedly so what would you do there? They are not taking anything onboard even whether I or you is used
The recovery foundations are tried and trusted. Most people giving confident advice have lived through it.
Im not sure it matters whether they say I think or I did. What I did is added to what I now think. I sometimes try a balance between the two by adding my story...maybe some people dont want to hear my story and want me to tell them the things to do...I dont know what everybody wants to hear.
Confused and sensitive are two of the main traits of a new member of the forum.
I think people giving good advice realise that. I was once told that I was playing at it and I became so offended that I deleted all my posts in a childish huff. I now thank that person from the bottom of my heart because It was the truth! Freedom of speech and he/she was absolutely right to be direct about it at that stage.
They were right to say that but I noticed it also offended posters who preferred to say there there take care hun. I was lapping up the softer comments which made me feel warm but I was still gambling.
There is good and bad counselling. I dont think the "experts" have to have lived it when they have the medical/psychological knowledge and have seen countless people with a gambling addiction
@adam123 That really runs alongside what I am saying in the post. If you take my "I want to know what you did" part of the saying, my thought is that the advice has more substance if it is shown to work on the person giving advice. It's effectively saying you know what I'm going through, you've been there and you know how to get out of the hole.
I'm sure those people who are struggling can be supportive, absolutely, but if I want to hear what someone did to get well, I'm not really going to listen to someone who doesn't do it themself.
Personally I would rather the person who is struggling to reach out and ask someone else how they did it, not what they think. Actions over words.
@joydivider Except it's not really giving advice, it's saying this is where I found myself and this is how I got out of it. I did A, B and C. And here I am now.
Someone struggling may start to see a theme running through the recoveries of those doing well, and maybe try what others did. If everyone who is doing well or has some good time away from a bet has attended Ga or gamecare counsellors, someone seeing that may think I'll have some of that. But, if someone says go to GA, I went once, didn't like it, and I'm still gambling, where is the positivity that a new addict can take from that? Where is the recovery that encourages me to do the same?
It's like the advice you took offence at initially and threw your toys out of the pram. All someone did was offer their opinion. If they had said what they did, how it affected them and how they learnt to overcome their objections, you might have thought differently about it.
I also don't mean to be rude but you are giving an example in your reply. You're telling me what you think about how "Experts" don't need to have lived it. If you are an "expert", counsellor, whoever, explain how that works for you when you help people like me, otherwise it's just an opinion. I don't know what it's based on??? If you can tell me that you saw a counsellor, this happened, that happened, and you felt better for it, that has meaning and that I would listen to and use that to help me make a decision.
Think how many times we, and me included, tell people about Gamstop. If someone asked me how Gamstop helped me and I turned around and said well I don't really use it but it's really good. And then they asked me why I don't use it and I said I didn't need to, or I just haven't gotten around to it, where is the value or meaning in my advice? If on the other hand though, I said how I signed up, why I signed up, and how long I signed up for, plus gave an example of how I was feeling down one day, looked online at some sports, saw a bet that couldn't lose and just thought I'd win my feelings away, but when I tried to sign up I was blocked and in those few moments realised I was being complacent and because of the block managed to let the urge pass, isn't that a better example?
In GA, one of the welcome cards talks about don't lecture, just tell your own story. I realise the irony of me lecturing now but I hope you see my point.
There is a very good term in NLP saying "the map is not the territory". In short, that means that everyone's map of the world is different. I am not saying that your idea is wrong. It may be hard to implement though as everyone here is in their own little bubble and that can mean that you will get 100% attention from someone or you will get none at all. I agree with Joydivider when he says that people give advice in any way they can and I like that diversity because it has something for everyone's map of the world.
If I don't like what is written I know that there are posts that I can read instead.
It's woolworths come back..pix n mix. We post what we can. Sometimes people will like sometimes they will take offence, but one persons advice might get through to them whatever that might be. You do not have to have lived an experience to have an understanding of it. That's why it's important to look at the MIX of views and PIX what might be a help to us. No right or wrong answers.
As you know, recovery is not a simple, straightforward event. The same way as having a gambling problem doesn’t come in one singular shape or form. People gamble for a myriad of reasons. And part of the recovery process is understanding why one gambles and understanding what the triggers are and either learn to cope with the triggers or find ways to manage these trigger situations. There are some basics in recovery that will apply to everyone, mainly the access to money, time and place element. If someone wants to stop gambling, they will have to block or limit their access to all of these three. If these blocks are put into place the right way (as I always say, if people leave back doors open they will walk through those back doors eventually) this will make it really hard to gamble. However, this is just the first step on the road to recovery. It is so much more then not being able to gamble. It is about creating new habits around approaching money, it is about creating new habits around how to cope with stress or trauma. It is about learning to like and love yourself again. It is about reaching out and building bridges through honesty and care with the people we’ve hurt along the way. In some cases it is about getting the right specialist support for past trauma. And it is about understanding that all of this takes time, it takes effort and in some form or another this will be something one will have to keep an eye on going forward.
None of this will happen in one conversation or even in a hundred conversations. Without action change is not possible. At least not sustainable change. But we are here to help everyone along the way. Recovery is difficult at times. There are setbacks. Knowing that there is a place people can turn to and won’t be judged and that they are not alone is an immense help for many. Over the years I have spoken to thousands of people. Every single person I spoke to was in a unique situation. Often in a crisis and in great deal of distress. For these people having someone at the other end of the line who can show empathy, who doesn’t judge them, who can show they genuinely care and want to help them is a lifeline. I often say to new advisers (or anyone who wants to know about what we do here) that we are saving lives every day. And we really do. And to do this, we don’t have to have experienced the exact same things in life. We have a number of advisers with lived experience but more of us didn’t have a gambling problem. What is crucial is that we care about the individual and that we know the basics of what works and can explain why we recommend or advise these things.
We also always recommend callers go to GA, come on the Forum or to Chat for the experience of talking to others and to see what they did. To be able to talk to people who have had similar experiences.
So in summary I would argue that both are important and useful – advice from someone who is trained to give advice and advice from someone who can share their own experience in a similar situation.
Wishing you all the best,