What do they say...the definition of insanity is repeating the same things and expecting a different result? Or something like that anyway. Well, almost a year ago, I self excluded from various exchanges and successfully kept off gambling for 7 months+. A five month bash from May this year (obviously signing up with other 'service providers' - there are so many out there) has smashed me for £12k or so, including £4.5k just yesterday :-(.
The processes each year have following a typical pattern. Recommencing gambling with a fresh 'attitude', getting lucky (really?) and winning some money...wanting to win more and more....inevitably hitting a losing streak and not being able to handle it. The inner child wailing 'not fair' and demanding the lost money back, that the impaired synaptic system in my (compulsive gambler) brain twisting logic and obeying the petulant demands. A loss of perspective and money somehow becomes irrelevant in the voracious maelstrom. An emotional vacuum precludes the logic that a non-addict would apply.
Is it really an illness? I'm not totally convinced. But when you lose control - trouble relaxing/sleeping, work productivity reduces, family relationships suffer and desperation and depression lurk, it's dangerous and certainly not good for your health, so maybe it is.
The lost money has gone and won't be recovered. History tells me that it would be futile to bother chasing, as statistically it is likely that I would lose. The trouble with an addict is that it takes a major issue to hit home and it has....yet again. History also tells me that I will recover...great....but that I am highly likely to recommence gambling again.
In the past I have just relied on will power to stop, with self exclusions dotted about here and there. This time I will increase commitment by keeping a diary to hold myself to account on here at least.
I'm not doing GA, but will consider an emotional therapist, which I have done before. Mindfulness training has been suggested and that's interesting too. Increasing exercise in my new spare time will also be good, more reading & most importantly better quality time with my family. My family know that I am a CG, but although I know my wife strongly suspects I have been gambling, I have hidden it in this latest period, through the usual deceit, evasive episodes and general sneakiness.
On previously quitting, I have been furious with myself for losing such quantities of money, but I expect that part to be manageable. I'm disappointed of course and a bit sad. This time, I'm more angry with the industry, which allows people to gamble far too easily and far too frequently and far too much. Yes a person can put controls in place, but surely the 'service providers' have a responsibility too? Maybe if you self exclude from any site, this should go on a national database and stop that person successfully signing up with any other regulated firm? Also, the system of re-admission to sites following self exclusion should be better. A few pathetic questions, that any addict can answer falsely to regain admission is simply not good enough.
Anyway, off the soap box for now. The point of this post for me is to state that I need to be positive. I know I live a far happier life without gambling and that's what I'm setting my mind to right now.
Here's to a happier future!
Good luck on your journey , Sir.
I also abstained for several months this year and had a healthy balance only to fail again to stay off and then proceeded to lose savings and a lot more.
Now starting again as I need to save money from my next 4 pay packets as I don’t want to ruin another Xmas.
Amounts I have stupidly lost keeps me up most nights. Had actually brushed it off when I stopped earlier in the year and balance was good but it’s back to the grind again.
i hope you get back on track and everyone else fighting a daily battle to quit permanently.
Thanks for dropping in RPC and Success Story. RPC - thanks for the good wishes and same to you. Absolutely stay strong and enjoy Xmas this year - you'll deserve it.
Had OK day at work yesterday. Strange not trawling betting websites and actually doing something useful.
A weird evening/night. Both my mum and wife asking whether I was OK, didn't seem like myself etc., even though I thought I was acting normally/happy. Took my younger daughter to dance class, then rushed to see the second half of my son's football match. I was feeling a bit low and frustrated about the losses, but we went for a Maccies on the way home, which went down well, except when we got home and elder daughter moaned that we didn't get her anything!
Dreamt that the bookies had taken my losses illegally and that £5,000 was ordered to be paid back. Woke up a little disappointed. Never mind.
Hi Holycrosser - thanks for dropping by & hope everything is well with you
Yesterday was a bad day - so much for keeping positive and being happy. I think I have had low grade depression for much of this year, which has increased since recommencing gambling in May (I was gamble free for the year until then). My Dad died in Feb and I sorted everything out for him for the 3 months before this and all the post partum stuff - funeral, estate etc. I wasn't really that close to him, but it was good to look after him in the last few months of his life, when my sister (who was his paid carer) decided it was all too much for her and downed tools last October. So it was a lot for me to take on with a full time job and a family too.
Yesterday's down was pretty bad. Like I say, no doubt my depression is at the mild end, but it there was a heavy dark blanket over me yesterday, sapping my energy, motivation and mood. Four people have asked me whether everything is OK with me over the last couple of days, all female and clearly very perceptive. I can't imagine how people cope with full blown depression - scary!
It didn't help that, from habit, checked the horse racing runners/odds etc. Then I stupidly picked out what would have backed and finally ridiculously kept a virtual tab of what I could have won/lost. The tally on my imagined bets accrued a virtual profit of in excess of ***, so that did not help my mood at all. I won't be doing that again. I have never won that amount of money in a day and doubt that in the throes of a gambling binge, my decision making would have been so straight forward anyway. In any case, it's the psychological and physiological affects of compulsive gambling that eventually catch up and harm.
I'm feeling a bit better today. I slept well - I'm probably oversleeping at the moment. But I was a bit anxious and agitated first thing this morning. Had a good meeting with my boss, who was very upbeat and positive about a few projects on the go and now I'm set for a day's work. I pledge to keep off any gambling related sites!
Well done on the early progress, the realisation that in truth you can never gamble again if you want to leave this repeated ridiculous behaviour of ours.
Thats hard to take in truth and the tests that lie ahead are many, distance yourself from gambling in these early weeks is essential then understand its a long long road,acceptance of that is key.
Welcome to the fight of your life mate.
I actually sometimes picked out what I would have done but thankfully most of mine wouldn’t have came in. Most people avoid doing that for situations such as your one that happened.
But look at it this way, even if you would have won X amount of money, it would only be with you a matter of weeks, days or maybe even hours before it’s in again, then the rest.
Well done in taking the starting steps, I’m by no means a veteran but I’ve hit day 35 today and it’s not even entering my mind at the minute, the positives out weigh the negatives.
I’m sorry to hear about your father. Gambling is most definitely not a good way to cope with grief, it will only add to it.
Keep it up.
Dear @detrimental ,
First, I'd like to congratulate you on getting back on the wagon and on your third day gamble free. This is not an easy thing to do and I hope posting on the Forum helps you keep on track.
I am really sorry to read about your Dad's passing. It sounds like the three months before his passing was a stressful time and I can imagine you had a lot to think about and sort out in the aftermath. Is it possible that you perhaps underestimate the impact this had on you psychologically and emotionally? Sometimes these things can catch up with us, and emotional and mental pain or distress can trigger gambling episodes. The loss of a parent is a painful experience, even if you feel you weren't particularly close.
I would definitely recommend you seeing your GP, have a chat, see if perhaps medication, even if temporarily, would be helpful.
Placing 'imagined' bets can be dangerous, I think your summary above will serve as a good reminder going forward. However, it sounds like you have looked at the races perhaps because you were having such a difficult day. If gambling was your way to switch off and/or to cope with stress, then it is important that you start looking into new ways to de-stress and switch off. Life will carry on being challenging, it's 'just' important to find less harmful ways to cope with these challenges.
One of these new coping mechanisms could be for instance calling our Helpline or Netline, sometimes speaking to someone can help in these situations. You can also discuss 1-to-1 treatment support with the adviser. And of course writing and posting on here is really helpful as well.
Keep up the momentum and keep sharing @detrimental, you are not alone.
Wishing you all the very best,
Eva - thanks so much for your post. It makes so much sense and rings true.
I had a good day yesterday - didn't pay any attention to horse racing at all and that was a massive step and relief. I was much more interactive with colleagues at work, which as a manager is what I'm supposed to do!
My elder daughter decided to take a half hour train trip to get her eyelashes done, but it was a 25 min walk from the station, so she called Dad's taxi to pick her up. A 40 minute trip from work in rush hour traffic was a bit of a pain, but the sort of sacrifice that your family appreciate. Something I may well have declined to do had I been in a gambling state of mind, so it was worth it.
I'm looking forward to the weekend - tonight possibly out with just my wife for a rare 'date', or possibly for a meal with her the 'big 2' children. Football tomorrow - my son's team in the morning and a FA Cup match in the afternoon. Then beers if we win and beers if we lose!
Most importantly no urges for horse racing yesterday/this am and I'll go with that.
No issues yesterday. Feeling more like myself. Went out for a meal with my wife in the evening and this got a bit stressful when she was asking where my head was at. I think we both agreed that there had been a shift in my life and that I need to rediscover me and how I want to move forward.
I do feel at a bit of a crossroads, so let’s see how things pan out over the next few months.
I’m feeling a bit anxious this morning. Just waiting for my son’s football match to start and no doubt that will kickstart my day for the better.
Anyway, a gamble free day for sure.
Day 6 Day 7
Not a bad day yesterday. Went for a run, did a bit in the garden, then my son's second football match of the weekend. He scored on his league debut, but the team lost 4-5. A good effort nonetheless. No gambling urges.
So here we are 7 days on from last week's mad Monday. I'm sure I'll be fine this week and there are absolutely no gambling urges today.
Onwards and upwards.
A good few weeks - anxiety has been slowly reducing. One aspect of the 'crash' process that I always have struggled with in the past was (self) forgiveness - forgiving the fact that I have lost so much money that could be used on better things - home improvements, a new car etc. Well this time I am forgiving myself and quicker i.e. looking forward and not back.
There is no doubt that gambling is a very dangerous activity for a CG. Even when winning, the mental stress is very damaging. Controlled gambling just never works.
We need to be resolute and resilient and just not do it!!!
You sound as though you have a plan there, do go and see a doctor so you can discuss how you are feeling. Recovery from gambling means filling a space that is usually taken up gambling, so if you haven't addressed this already, then try to think of something that will help keep you occupied. Never underestimate the power of a new hobby! It can also help you to focus and perhaps relieve you of some of your stress and anxiety.
Feel free to chat to us, one to one, on the helpine or Netline.