Wanted to start a new diary as I prepare for 2019. Had some bad relapses during the last month & need to stop now before it escalates to a point of no return. Trying to sort my financial mess out so that when 2019 starts I can forget about my debts & concentrate on staying clear of gambling. Will update my progress periodically on here to keep track of what/how I’m doing.
Welcome home my friend. It is sad that you abandoned your gamble free adventure but it is good to see you back.
Your highly spirited response is just what the doctor ordered and will hold you in good stead when the going gets tough.
You know the score and certainly don't need advice from the likes of me so I will just wish you well ...stephen
Jan-19 (Day 23)
The start of a new year & an opportunity to wipe the slate clean psychologically & start being the person I want to be. Since I last posted I’ve juggled by debts around so that now I have 3 credit cards which I owe money on & have set up direct debits for a fixed amount on each of these to come out at the start of each month. Debts are interest free for the next 2-3 years so just going to let the direct debits pay them down until the interest starts kicking in. The cards have gone up in the loft with the Xmas decorations so I can’t spend on them. I’ve got another credit card with a smallish balance which I’m going to pay off as soon as possible then close the account. I’ve already closed another credit card I had, & cancelled my overdraft. The reason for all this is to both limit my access to available credit & also to allow me to forget about my debts whilst I concentrate on staying gamble free. Previously I’ve looked for quick solutions to my debt problems which have lead to an increase in my stress levels & drawn me back into gambling. The repayments I’ve set up now are quite small so won’t cause me any extra stress. I have to remind myself that I don’t have a money problem I have a gambling problem, & that if I don’t gamble my finances will take care of themselves.
Tried to renew my self exclusion at the local bookmakers on Saturday but no advisors available to talk to. Was promised a call back but never happened. Tried to call again today but lines closed presumably because it’s a bank holiday. Though my self exclusion ended on 29th Dec I’m still banned until June unless I request to got back to gambling (which I won’t be doing). Will ring again tomorrow before work to renew my exclusion so hopefully will get to speak to someone. Want to add some extra shops in the neighbouring town that I used in 2018 to cut access when I have weak moments.
Not discussed my problem with any family member or friend, which I’d like to do but not strong enough as yet. It’s the debt problem that’s holding me back as my wife would understandably be angry about this. I know addiction thrives on secrecy so this is not ideal but can’t deal with the fallout right now. Just going to be honest about what I’m up to ie no secret gambling.
Would like to explore additional treatment options available like CBT, counselling, or GA. Will see what’s available near me.
All the best to anyone reading this that’s trying to overcome their gambling problem. Just remember whatever happens gambling will only lead you down a self destructive path. Concentrate on what we as individuals can control & let the rest take care of it’s self. Stay strong and life will begin to get better & better.
Feb-19 (Day 6)
I've extended my self exclusion after managing to speak to an advisor on the self exclusion helpline. I've also added some extra shops which are located in the neighbouring city to me as I visited them during the last few months of 2018. I've also closed the credit card which I previously had a small balance on so now have just the 3 cards (in the loft). However after a postive start to the year I had a gambling binge Sat 19th to Sat 26th Jan-19. The details of the binge are below. I've kept it separate from the main body of my post so that people can choose if they wish to read it or not. Though I've not done too much damage to my overall financial position it's diverted me away from my plan of staying secure, responsible, & avoiding unnecessary stress. It's left me very short of money until the end of Mar-19, which might just be manageable but is not ideal & something that I could have avoided. Looking back the binge started after I was upset & wanting to escape/change my mood by gambling. Though I tell myself it will be a one off & that I'll only bet a certain amount it always ends up running away from me & I lose control. The plan is to now take stock & not do anything rash (like try to win back the lost money) as I know by the end of Mar (& beyond) I'll thank myself for not gambling. Hopefully when I post at the beginning of Mar-19 I can report a gamble free Feb-19.
Happiness & good health to everyone.
Like the usual rollercoaster of gambling it started small but quickly escalted to higher stakes & then £700 down. When I say it escalted quickly it was literally minutes chasing my losses playing roulette on the FOBT's. I ended up doing £50 spins, covering just 4 or 5 numbers. At £700 down I put £200 in & got a lucky streak on the roulette/blackjack/slots cashing out £1,160. I finished the day losing £60 on football bets. On the Sunday played more on the FOBT's (predominately roulette) & won another £500. Gambled during the week, Tuesday after work, & Wed before work & at lunch time. On the Tuesday I was £500 down playing slots in the arcade but ended up only £50 down after winning £500 off £50 on 100/1 roulette playing on a FOBT in a bookies that I'm self excluded from. Got paid on the Friday & with my winnings was able to pay off my overdraft. That evening went to the bookies after work and played roulette again winning £150. On the Saturday went to the bookies hoping to win around £100 to put on football bets. Started playing roulette and was up almost £100 but then had a bad run on blackjack and lost the lot. As usual started upping my stakes trying to win my money back. Ended up playing 100/1 roulette betting max stake covering only 10-15 numbers. The luck I'd had previously had run out & I ended up losing £760. I'd drained my bank account plus an extra £120 from my/wifes joint account. Because I'd cancelled my overdraft I was let in the position that I was unable to pay my monthly bills. I tried to reinstate my overdraft but my request was refused. Paniced I tried to apply credit online (loans/credit card limit increases) but was refused due to my current high debt levels. In the end I had to take out a payday loan, which means I'll have to pay back £650 at the end of Feb-19 to clear.
Oct-19 (Day 34)
Been about 8 months since I last posted, and unfortunately I've been gambling on & off in this time. Its been 8 months of losses which have left me in a worse financial position than at the start of the year. I currently owe approximately £18,800 across 4 credit cards, all as a result of gambling. Thankfully I'm able to keep up with the monthly repayments at the moment but if my debt were to increase anymore I fear I would be struggling. At the moment I have managed to stay gamble free for just over a month now which has calmed things down somewhat but I still have the urge to gamble. I definitely use gambling to relax me but have struggled to find a more healthy activity to replace it with. Not going to set any gamble free targets just going to take it a day at a time & hope it gets easier as time passes.
Nov-19 (Day 56)
In terms of gambling been doing well avoiding gambling & the urges have definitely lessened. I have however been really stressed recently. Because of my debts I feel trapped like I can't move on with my life as they're not going to go away anytime soon. I don't particularly like my job but it pays me a steady wage that I need to pay down my debts. Gambling helped me null out my emotions but now I have to feel them & its getting me down. I think I've been gambling for so long I don't know want it is to feel normal anymore. My confidence is really low & I'm feel down trodden. Just hoping that if I stick to my plan & avoid gambling things will get better.
Hello The Ghost,
It sounds as if you are doing some good things to maintain your recovery. Paying off debts can be difficult but sticking to your commitment to pay them can also be an indicator of your motivation and focus, as you continue to chip away at them.
Your emotions: it seems you are learning to "become friends with them" can be a bit up and down but, like the debts, just keep in there. If you ever wanted to talk about how you were feeling, we are here to support you - now 24/7
I don't know if you have had counselling before, but If you wanted to access free counselling treatment please speak to one of the GamCare Advisers either via the Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or chat 1:1 with an adviser on the NetLine.
Wishing you well
Dec-19 (Day 85)
Had a good month since my last post. Using up my holiday allocation at work before the end of the year so had quite a few days off recently. I've also decided to consolidate my credit card debt into a loan so I can have one monthly payment & forget about it. Didn't think I'd get approved but thankfully I did at a reasonable apr. Think it will help with my debt worries & allow me to concentrate on my recovery. I don't want my money worries to push me back into gambling. The loan money should be in my account tomorrow so I'm going to immediately pay off my credit cards & then get the accounts closed. This way I won't have the temptation to use them in the future.
Gambling urges have reduced but always on my guard & keeping the blocks in place. Looking forward to Xmas & a good 2020.
Jan-20 (Day 116)
Happy New Year everyone. Feeling positive about the new year, which will hopefully be gamble free for me. Still taking it a day at a time though as don't want to look to far ahead. The new year gives us all a clean slate to work from which is great psychologically. Being almost 4 months gamble free I can definitely say it gets easier the longer you abstain. Just got to take it a day at a time & let the rest take care of itself. I read an interesting article the other day about taking cold showers. It said the benefit of taking cold showers wasn't the cold shower itself but overcome the 'flinch'. This is the moment before you do something which you believe will be uncomfortable which causes you to hesitate in doing it. You therefore end up putting off difficult situations and never resolving them. So my new years resolution is to overcome the flinch and tackle every uncomfortable situation at the earliest possible moment. I think this will ultimately give me a clearer more content 2020.
Have a great 2020 everyone, & look after each other.
Feb-20 (Day 147)
Managed to navigate January without gambling which is a positive. My mood has been up and down though, where a happy medium 90% of the time would be better. Thought about gambling but not had many strong urges to gamble. Gambling is definitely less in my mind. Financially Im slowly becoming more stable which is good. Still sensitive to the stresses of day to day life though. I've been gambling pretty much all of my adult life though so I suppose my brain needs time to adjust.