Today I am one month gamble free. Like many of you, I'd been here before after half-bothered attempts and telling myself I'd never gamble again- empty promises. However, this time is different and I know it is because I took all of the following steps with no compromise or half-efforts.
1. Spoke to my best friend honestly and openly. My first time telling any one made it suddenly very real. Hiding it had helped protect the habit
2. Told my husband everything. Which I NEVER thought I could or should do. I made every excuse- he'd leave me, we would never be the same, whatever happens I just can't tell him, I thought I would rather die. However, I came to the realisation that- no matter if it ended things with us, I couldn't live with the lies and deceit any longer and he didn't deserve that. I told him EVERYTHING. Gave him all the things that affected us now, and gave him space to digest by staying away for several days until he felt ready to talk. It is better I told him than he found out, which he eventually would have. I got away with it for 5 years but couldn't forever. It's so scary and so distressing to take this step but it's vital.
3. Switched to Monzo bank, shut all other current/credit accounts completely. No where else for money to be, no hiding. The switch was easy and the service is great. It's helped with budgeting and is really helping me take control. Gambling transactions are banned.
4. Joined GameStop, 5 years
5. Downloaded Gamban onto every device.
6. Replied to every gambling ad email saying I have a gambling addiction.
7. Log on to the forum and read everyone's advice and experiences- engaged with others with the same problem.
8. Referred to counselling via gamcare and have been attending weekly.
9. Made a financial plan.
10. Kept myself busy with gym and playing guitar. Seeing friends and watching boxsets/films.
Nothing was as bad as I thought. Gamcare were on the phone to me for hours and hours that first week but it does get easier. I promise! The relief of being free from lies and taking back control is unbelievable. Life might just be worth living again. Yes, it's still not fixed and it will be an ongoing battle, but to think I was suicidal and felt no escape just over a month ago seems unreal. You can do it too. Don't let yourself have any excuses. I haven't told everyone, I'm not singing it from the rooftop, life hasn't changed that much in terms of everything around me that was difficult anyways. But now I can cope more and now I feel free of the guilt and despair- now I've given myself a real chance of beating this addiction- not only for me but for everyone around me. Seriously, I didn't think this day would ever come when I had told someone and taken these steps. You can do it too. But don't be in denial, like I was for so long. I would be tens and tens of thousands richer if I'd taken this step before- it will spiral and you will do things you never dreamed you would if you don't give yourself the best chance to beat it. Let's all beat this addiction! Not a penny more to the back pockets of the bookies! We all need it back in our pockets and the only way to do that is stopping forever- no half measures!
Your ability to be honest and open indicates you have over come your fears of rejection and abandonment also indicates you are able to over come your fears of emotional intimacy.
For me my honesty helped me to be able to interact with other people in healthier ways.
In time my guilt and shame were reduced with confidence and pride with in myself.
Every exchange of unhealthy habits in to healthy habits and helped me become more productive in every avenue of my life.
For me saying to myself I will never gamble again indicated I thought that I could control gambling.
I gave saying I will never gamble again and stayed focused on just for today I will not gamble, this kind of boundary helped me accept my emotional vulnerability.
As I heal the pains of my child hood my fears reduce, my ability to interact in healthy ways grew.
My emotional triggers were my pains not healed, my fears not faced, my frustrations were due to my unreasonable expectations of people life and situations, my boredom was due to me not being motivated, and my loneliness was due to my fears of emotional intimacy.
Only when I was able to love myself was I able to love other people.
Only when I was able to respect myself was I able to respect other people.
I use to say to myself I wanted to be normal, today I understand that what normal people say and do to each other is not very healthy.
The recovery program is all about healing for me, healing from the pains of self abuse but more importantly healing the hurt little child in me.
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.
Please keep going to meetings, you will benefit from it in so many ways.
Love and peace to every one.
Dave of Beckenham
I just wanted to say thanks for posting this forum topic.
I have read through it and the steps you have taken I am also following a few of. I am now 32 days GF and I feel better for that but still feel a knot in my stomach of how I was gambling so much and how much I have lost.
I wanted to wish you good luck and say well done.
This forum really is a life saver in some cases and it has certainly helped me put one foot forward after another when things were at there worst.
Its an ongoing battle so good luck and please keep posting on here as you seem to have joined and started posting at the same time as me.
All the best.
thanks so much for your kind words. It's great to have someone who started this GF road at the same time. Well done on the steps you've taken and a month gamble free too! Hopefully we can check in with each other as we progress with the days/months ahead and count those months together as they pass by.
Totally agree with how hard it is to put the money aside but one thing that's helping me when I start to dwell is how useless it is to even spend a second thinking about it. It's totally futile. We can change literally nothing and the guilt/shame/sadness we feel towards it 1. Doesn't change what we've done 2. Doesn't bring the money back 3. Could drive us towards the gambling again and most importantly 4. takes the focus away from moving forward and looking to the future. The money lost is sickening and I could do a million things with it, if it was back, but it never will be unless we focus on the future and building financial stability for the future. We would have gambled any big wins away anyways- I know I did many times, £11K in a winnings in a week once!
Thanks Dave, really appreciate your reply and all of your posts.
Yes it would be great if we could check in as its good to hear someone is going through things at the same time.
Your points about the money are great and they helped massively when I was having a down patch yesterday! I was just gambling anything I won but I was winning more and more but the inevitable cycle of losing it all plus more happened. I only recognise it now after doing it numerous times. I`m trying to focus on rebuilding my finances and being stable as luckily I don`t have any debts to cover apart from the obvious mortgage! I truly believe that if I can beat this addiction, it will make me a better person in so many aspects of my life.
Its a fight and hard work but nobody ever got anywhere in life by not putting that effort in!
We can do it.
Stay strong and think of the future and not the past!