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Overcoming recent urges - growing stronger


I am currently taking some time to myself and feel like I can help someone else out there to know how important it can be to trust and believe in yourself through the tougher times in recovery.

I have not chosen to gamble since March 19th 2021, and often don't tell myself how proud I feel about that. I am very proud of myself. In that time I have received endless amounts of support from GamCare, and also family/friends too; I believe that my willingness to remain open to others helping me has played a huge part in my recovery to date.

The importance of having support around me has played a big role, but I shouldn't ignore my own strengths in learning about my triggers, habits and automatic responses when faced with challenges. Understanding myself better has been a journey so far that feels like going to the gym and strengthening muscles, except I am strengthening my brain and how it automatically responds.

Upon reflection, my journey I describe sounds relatively fun and easy. But it hasn't always been that way, and in recent months I have felt incredibly difficult gambling urges suddenly drawn upon myself. The lowest moment I reached was somehow getting around my GamBan on a gambling website, logging in...however fortunately and very gratefully my GamBan prevented me from depositing any money. I sat there in that moment and paused to question myself and what I was trying to achieve - and it was through my better understanding of myself and all the support I have received that I noticed I was stressed out lately and looking for a coping mechanism. I decided to share this urge with my loved ones because I know my talking about it, I can weaken that urge much quicker and retain self-control...which is exactly what happened as a result.

Since October, I have faced 3 to 4 strong gambling urges and each one has actually strengthened my response when it arrives. I am much more aware of locating what triggered the urge, and I use the techniques I have been taught to establish a much safer coping mechanism. That varies from going on a short walk and just reflecting to myself about why my life is far better without gambling, or to simply doing something productive like washing up, hoovering etc because I feel better in myself when I have achieved something too.

My journey so far has taught and reminded me that recovering from an addiction isn't about climbing to the top of a mountain, it's about strengthening the response to an urge - and that this is going to be a daily battle. Most days I am in control and feel happy - whilst the odd day I can be caught by surprise and feel urges, but knowing I have stronger tools to fight it off calmly and carry on safely with my day.

If this can encourage one person to keep going, I will be over the moon.

Keep going, or get started - life is far more enjoyable than you think without gambling.


Topic starter Posted : 7th December 2021 10:04 am

Hi Azza, many thanks for your comments on my diary, much appreciated. Congratulations on being gamble free since 19th March, great achievement! The going to the gym analogy and building muscles is a great one, it is exactly that but these are just invisible. Well done on resisting the urges and I am sure I will have this to come also. I would be silly to think it is all plain sailing. You're comments and diary are really helping me to stay positive and on track, thanks again for that. As you know I am currently at the start, hopefully I can be in your position soon enough. 

Cheers mate.

Posted : 7th December 2021 12:23 pm
Gerard G

I love your post. Well said and congratulations on your recovery progress. You helped me to feel more motivated. 

Posted : 8th December 2021 11:54 am
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