Decided to start a new diary on my recovery.
Im 88 days gamble free today after a previous relapse. I used to gamble online it started off with the odd bet such as on the grand national i grew up with family that gambled, however i quickly got hooked it gave me a buzz at first, hope and an escape..i then turned to live casino games then anything and everything.
The wins brought excitement then i would be going higher then chasing losses, it consumed a lot of my time i would be up the night before payday waiting to be paid then by morning i would have gambled my bill money right to the last penny thinking i could win it all back. Gambling turned stressful and emotionally draining.
I made the mistake of taking out multiple loans and credit cards to continue gambling, untill i found myself unable to pay rent and bills and found help through gamcare.
Signing up to gamstop is the best thing i did it has definitly prevented me from gambling i was doing well. However i found other ways to gamble via social media and only signed up to gamstop for 6 months when the 6 months was up i relapsed. I have gamstop back in place.
Gambling affected my mental health badly i found myself constantly on gambling sites even getting email warnings about how long i had been gambling.it constantly consumed my thoughts, i became irritable upset..anxious and depressed. I felt like there was no hope and i would have to end it until i found gamcare and found some hope.
My mental health is still rubbish but thats something long term ongoing i am trying to work with getting better i am under a mental health team but sadly its not going to be a quick fix.
All in the same year I had trouble at work, faced the potential of loosing my job and fighting for it. My job means the world to me even if its stressful. I then was diagnosed officially with my mental health problem. The work, gambling, mental health all co linked with each other and each affected the other one.
Once i signed up to gamstop originally before relpasing I also got a debt management plan with stepchange a few years ago to aim to pay off my debts..this is going we i continue on this.
I have also done the gamchange ccbt online course i really recommend this working through the modules really helped me reflect on how.the gambling affected me.
I also have found the helpline and chatroom helpful. I have also been referred to the national gambling clinic i am hoping they will help me long term get rid of the urges i sometimes feel.
Hopefully the goal is by october 2021 i will be a year gamble free and also debt free.
Thankyou gamcare for the support so far and to the people that gave me advice and support i needed at the start of my journey. I am very greatful for gamstop, gamcare and stepchange, I feel they saved my life when my debt and gambling was spiralling out of control
Thankyou for sharing your story. I am no expert, however, I do have a few suggestions:
1. Buy yourself a copy Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters for £6.99 from any good book store (Amazon, Ebay)- the urge to gamble is your monkey, not you. The only way to win at gambling is not to play (in another words, not let monkey take over your life).. If possible, sign up with Fintech bank such as Monzo bank that bars all gambling transactions and create a pot that pays yourself £1 daily for not gambling. This acts a visual motivational tracking device, it counts how many gamble free days you are on. This helps you to build a good relationship with money again as well as lifting your self esteem and self worth.
3. Finding a replacement for your gambling, such as short walks, visit libraries, bike riding, reading etc. You are using nature fighting nature, in a way. So they both cancelled each other out. Anything that is counter productive and stuff that interests you. Take pleasure in normal things again. Rediscover old hobbies and discover new interests that make you smile in the morning.
4. If you get gambling urges- stop, and take a few slow deep breaths. Be aware that the monkey is in your mind. Go and watch Utube clips on recovery gamblers such as Only Phil and The winning hand by an Australian guy- find out as much information as you can to beat this monkey.
5. Gambling is not on the life menu- even the Bible states: You shall not covet your neighbour goods. Eventhough, you may not be religious, however, it's an invaluable advice. There are no cure in sight- it is a repeating of human behaviour.
6. Try to distinguish yourself and your behaviour- as they're two entity.
Bruce Lee famously quoted, "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. If you put water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. If you put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
7. As Albert Einstein famously said, "Doing the same thing again and again, but expecting a different outcome, is the definition of insanity,"
8. Time- a gambler need time to gamble. So fill your time with small, productive task. If you've got a gambling problem- there is a ton of stuff you've been neglecting: your personal appearance or health, the house and garden, your work, relationships, and friends etc. More importantly, time is on your side so that healing process can start.
9.Forgiveness - learn to live with it (the monkey self). As time passes, it will become easier and easier to you naturally- regardless of how much money, energy and time lost in the process. And the necessary steps are put in place to help you battle the your inner demon 😈
I hope this helps you in your recovery.
All the best
Ps A thousand miles begin with one step
Well done on starting your new recovery diary and sharing your story with us.
Having read your opening post several times my heart really goes out to you. It is a tragedy seeing people like us being drawn into the world of gambling from an early age.
I sincerely believe your post is one of the most poignant messages I have ever read and if I knew how to do it I would post it on "My Favourite Posts". It would be perfect for reading out in schools as a warning to young children of the dangers associated with gambling
My fathers family was gambling all the time but mothers side never had any issues with it. Strange how things affect some people but not others. It must be in our makeup!
I liked the post from Soysauce and was pleased to see that your advice had been followed in that suggestion 2 had been removed.
I look forward to following your journey of recovery Lou and will be celebrating your 90 Days GF on Thursday.
Love and best wishes.
Thankyou Soysauce number 3&8 is defo something i need to work on the most. I di like the sound of the monzo idea it sounds rewarding to see the pot of progress build up but i guess its similar at the moment with me paying off money towards my debt management plan each month and seeing it go down
And thankyou Stephen thats really lovely to read. I should be 90 days gamble free by late tonight wednesday
Wish you both well in your recoverys
Thankyou all for the support and encouragment. Im greatful for gamcare..the blocks and stepchange helping me get back on track.
Also got some compensation through the post from an old bank today apprenently their collection service wasnt up to scratch..that was a suprise and will go towards the debts. So that was a nice suprise.
Hi lou, it is definitely ok to share how you feel , my praise for how positive you've been is in recognition of hard you are trying, it's not meant to put you off saying how you feel. I have periods when I'm fed up especially with lockdown but I'm the type of person I withdraw and don't bother. It's good that you want to post how you feel so please do it that's what helps you xx