As a gambler - What's the first thing that enters your mind when you begin to dwell on your financial troubles?
Have a bet, have a gamble. Try to win. A chance of getting lucky. A chance of making money. The possibility of a big win to relieve the financial strain and pressure. To make you feel happy and exhilarated?
But hey, haven't we been in this position time and time again? With endless losing bets behind us - what's different this time? Nothing! Same old, same old - like a broken vinyl record. Then stalking away like an injured animal. Shameful, weak, disillusioned and out of control...
But it doesn't have to be this way.
When you hit rock bottom and think there's no further to fall... think again. Wherever you are with your current status - things could get even worse!
Or they could get better. But only by facing up to the hard facts and getting deadly serious about changing your life.
My situation: I could have gone down the step-change route 3 years ago and taken control of my finances, giving some sense of order, discipline and respect. But no, I still had the notion of a big win to pay off the debts and become wealthy.
Fast forward to Dec 2019. Further out of control. Increased debt. Frustration & sadness. Maybe things would have been different had I been on my own without the family pressures, commitments and expenses. But no excuses.
The gambling never really stopped and although I never really considered it to be the main cause or reason for my financial woes, it certainly didn't help!
I've got to the point where I hate the essence of gambling (not the industry itself) - some gamblers think that it's always someone else's fault! My hate for gambling is now based on fact and experience. It's the thing that always takes more than it gives. But I've given up counting the thousands of pounds lost. Regret serves no purpose! The fact is - I've tried and tried to make it work for me. Every possible type of bet: singles, doubles, trebles, accumulators, lay bets, double ups, odds on, lucky numbers, scratch cards, lottery, FOBT's, permutations. The list goes on. And, if only I had put the same amount of effort and belief into building a career?
Maybe I was looking for the holy grail - or looking for a light at the end of the tunnel (but the tunnel was blocked!)
So now things have got to change. When I get thoughts in my head of making money through gambling I must quickly rewind. Face reality. Remember all the losses and heartbreak. Accept that I would be highly likely to lose more money. Instead I must look forward. Explore other possibilities. Be positive.
On the plus side my long-running, ongoing project is now completed and ready for presentation. So there is still the prospect of a brighter future. But only if I continue to channel my hurt and anger in a steadfast manner, to keep the gambling demon far, far away.
Many thanks for visiting my diary changemylife. I was pleased to see that you are reasonably happy and contented.
Congratulations on progressing well with your project. I have the utmost respect for your positivity and admire the way you never give up on anything.
You certainly come across as a very talented, intelligent man with immense potential but sadly, the gambling keeps trying to drag you down.
I hope that you find what you are looking for and enjoy your life while you are looking for it.
Thanks Stephen for your kind and thoughtful comments.
I think that my post indicates my intention and resolve - it's just not a game anymore... it never really was! Gambling has always been a stupid and pointless activity.
There's never a reason for gambling and excuses don't wash!
I will now strive forward with optimism - it's the only way. I know that I have said this in the past, but I believe everyone is entitled to the chance to change (however many times they've come unstuck).
I know it's all in the mind. Thoughts proceed action.
Such as the following process, with a positive response and outcome:
* I feel anxious about bills to be paid. I don't know where I will find the money to pay. The pressure and stress is unbearable.
* I think it may be possible to win some money.
* I know I shouldn't gamble but I can't think of any other solution. And perhaps I may win and everything will be fine.
* There's always another solution. Banks, authorities, friends and family are there to help us (if we help ourselves).
* I think that I will go for a long walk to clear my mind, followed by a hot bath and a hot chocolate. Watch a bit of television or read a book then sleep soundly, knowing that I have shown strength to defeat the gambling demon once again.
This is my day 5 without gambling. And this time I AM counting. Because this time it's completely true.
16 days without gambling - although I've certainly had to be strong willed and determined. Every now and then I still get thoughts of having a gamble - but so far I have been able to dispel them, seeing sense, before it's too late.
It's a long road to recovery but I am trying to concentrate on building some positivity into all aspects of my life. The only way is up!
Thanks Stephen. As always, mutual respect.
I am now 21 days without a bet which might not seem much but it feels like a long time. The little voice of enticement and temptation creeps up now and then ... But what I've concluded over this short term is that gambling activity is very much dependent upon habit. And the more you resist, the stronger your resolve becomes. As time goes by, any thoughts of gambling should evaporate and the activity is no longer habitual. Similarly, I was a habitual nail-biter, an activity often associated with stress and anxiety. Then after 3 years of biting my nails until they bled - I suddenly stopped! And I think it was the embarrassment of my nails being noticed at a job interview that urged me to stop for good.
I think that the cycle of gambling can be broken by mind control, with the help of barriers and accountability. But often we need a distinct moment of clarity to have a complete and comprehensive life plan.
I read a post on the forum recently that struck a chord with me. The meaningful post suggested that giving up gambling by itself is often not enough. If we refrain from gambling for a length of time but without any real change in our lives, we should extend our purpose.
In other words, should we remain anxious, miserable, desperate or angry - despite quitting gambling , we must expand our recovery programme. We must strive to solve problems, become better parents & partners, achieve more and live healthier. All of which may seem easier said than done... but we should prioritise change and improvements in every aspect of our lives, so that the absence of gambling has a more profound impact.
Remember: If nothing changes - nothing changes!
Leading on from this point I am able to outline a few positive notes in my life, additional to my ongoing gambling free status.
I have recently been offered a new job that I start 6th January, having decided that the night shift work was detrimental to my health.
I have decided to give up drinking alcohol - not just for 'dry Jan', but permanently. I had realised for a while that my heavy drinking would lead to serious health problems, and it was up to me to take control, without regrets. I really believe that I can quit for good having achieved abstinence of 31 days and 48 days respectively throughout 2019.
I have also decided that the way forward to pay off my debts and gain some financial control is with Step Change, which should also bring peace of mind, confidence and less anxiety.
Finally, I confirm the ongoing business venture - my invention/project is still active and full of potential, although I cannot be foolish enough to pin all my hopes on it.
Onwards and upwards. Love and hope to everyone.
Welcome back Change. Hope you have been keeping well. Congratulations on the new job and hope it is to your liking.
I found myself giving a lot of thought to your post regarding "If nothing changes - nothing changes."
I agree with that statement wholeheartedly but think one must consider carefully what constitutes change!
1/ Is there any point to the changes or are they merely a grandiose gesture.
2/ Could they do more harm than good?
3/ Might such changes cause unnecessary suffering to others.
4/ Are the changes achievable over a long period?
5/ Would failing to adapt to these changes have a detrimental effect on recovery?
6/ Do they serve any real purpose or are they purely to appease others.
Take good care of yourself dear friend and best wishes for 2020.
Thanks Stephen for your thoughts and input. Clearly it would not be a case of change for the sake of change, or substituting one addiction for another. And we should also accept that lifestyle changes are often small and measured, rather than radically diverse.
The other important factor is that nobody is perfect, and we should not aim to be that way. Life is full of ups and downs. We all have something to contribute, despite our flaws. Happiness is a state of mind and with that notion, clarity and control are paramount.
I am beginning to sort out things in my life. A new debt consolidation mortgage, a new job and better sleep. I'm gradually feeling healthier, less stressed out and more content. But every day is a challenge to stay in control of my mind. When I'm feeling down I have to take some deep breaths and focus on positive things. I must not allow myself any self doubt or pity. I must continue to reflect on the good things in my life and be active with hobbies.
I am trying to make a big effort to connect with people in a social sense. Reaching out to family and friends with a genuine outlook. But it's not easy for me. I don't really like people that much - I find them irritating and annoying. But that's because I am a bit of a loner and generally find life is less stressful and more peaceful when I'm on my own. That said, no-one is an island and we should try to integrate because some of the best experiences of our lives are created when people get together for laughter, inspiration, understanding and hugs.
How are you doing Sir, it's been a while since I last logged on as have had so much going on good and bad. My own project is moving forward baby steps, but forward. Unfortunately lost my Mum in November, she never felt well and went to Hospital and never came out, never ever been to Hospital before. Life is always a mental struggle and gambling is seriously messed up, it's like a chameleon and can morph into anything as it always will want to drag you back in by any means necessary. The new job while better is much harder and for not that much more money, in a way it's a good thing to inspire me to push my own self forward which I do everyday I hope but sometimes am so tired I find it difficult to motivate myself to keep pushing on. Like you I don't like people much, being fake and seeing through people makes it hard for me to be fake like them in their pretend "look At me" world. But make sure you keep on you path. Two more days of work and then I'm off to Tenerife with my best friend to recharge the batteries and chill out for a week. I'll keep checking in to make sure your good. Take care mate.
That's amazing Smashed - another well earned trip to Tenerife for yourself. I will be thinking of you chilling out on the wonderful island of tranquility with its spectacular, rugged coastal scenery and (hopefully) - clear blue skies.
I am so sorry for your loss. As you will recall I lost my Mother nearly 3 years ago; the bereavement process for a loved one never really ends. But it's true what they say - 'life goes on'. The human spirit for resilience and survival is unsurpassed.
It seems that you have continued to make positive progress while working and striving for happiness and further success. You will get where you want to be because your past experiences and struggles only serve to make you stronger and more determined.
I am hoping and expecting my project to be realised within the next few months, but I have to continue to be patient and carry on believing.
All the best mate. #keepingtheTenerifedreamalive