Thanks for your comments -- means a lot to me to know I'm not alone and that we're in this together.
Last night I took the plunge and went to a local GA meeting in my area. To say I'm stunned would be an understatement. It was a real revelation to me, and extremely powerful. The people in that room are some of the bravest people I have ever met. To be in a room with people who are so generous and open in sharing their vulnerabilities and powerlessness is something I've never experienced in my life. It's so powerful. When it was my turn to speak I was overwhelmed with emotion by some of the stories I'd heard. I admire these people so much and it felt a real privileged to be in the presence. No judgement, no questioning. Just listening and sharing.
I was still reluctant to admit in the meeting that I'm a compulsive gambler, although I clearly am. It's so easy for the mind to play tricks and for me to trick myself to believing that I'm okay and that I can go back to it. But if I want my life to improve and if I want to stop living in a fantasy, I have to give it up.
I know following the GA path is going to be positive for me so I intend to keep going. I'm actually looking forward to the next meeting. Would highly recommend to anyone that hasn't been to go.
This is Day 8 for me of no poker, day 2 no leverage trading.
Despite attending the meeting last week, and feeling like I'd taken a lot in I slipped this weekend - I played poker.
I managed to find a site I hadn't blocked and started gambling, almost mindlessly. Luckily I only deposited a couple of times before I realised what I was doing. I went on live support and told them to block me immediately. As far as I'm aware this is LITERALLY the last site I'm able to play on, so I'm glad I've blocked it.
Obviously I feel ashamed, but I know better than to let it eat away at me. It was a slip, and on the positive side I lost less than I typically would have and had the self-discipline to stop despite desperately wanting to deposit again.
It might sound strange, but I'm feeling oddly optimistic. If I keep attending GA, if I keep on with therapy, if I keep my head down working on myself then I will fight this off. I need to avoid complacency which I'm all too aware of, but I know there is hope. Head down. Now do the work.
Mate you need to be radical here.
You girlfriend has a vital role to play too,or this may end up costing you her and one day your job.
Having blocks in place dont sound enough,maybe handing over laptops phones etc at night to her?
You need a bit of cold Turkey to get you out of this habit you are in, you will find another site to use,luckily for me online sports betting was my bag and I'm banned from them all for 5 years however theres hundreds of these poker sites so access is easier for you,hence draconian measures are needed?? Dunno its radical, can you hand over your finances to someone?
Keep seeking help mate,you are finding ways to play too easy,you can stop ,it will take a huge effort.Good luck
Appreciate your comments guys.
@holycrosser. Yeah, I agree. This hadn't properly occurred to me before until today - I spoke to a guide from Gamcare and they gave me some really good insight about handing over control of my finances. She already has my savings but I just shouldn't have access to my credit cards or my finance when I get paid each month. I should also set budgets for each month so I'm being more financially responsible and now blowing money on stuff I don't need.
The measures I'd also put in place weren't good enough. I'd installed Gamblock on my personal laptops but not on my work laptop which I take home often or my phone. Also I use my credit card and crypto also to get around things. These are things I need to take more seriously and put in place proper mechanisms for.
Anyway, beyond that, today was a good day - I meditated in the morning, did all I needed to at work, kept the GA pledges in mind (accepting the things I cannot change and working towards the things I can) and was there for a colleague who needed support.
Another good day in the books. I got up, didn't try and address all my problems. Focused on going about the day positively, showing up and getting on with my responsibilities. I meditated, did the work I needed, spoke up in meetings and went to therapy in the evening. All good.
One thing I have been struggling with is that my girlfriend and I are arguing. I think I'm probably keen on changing too quickly and she's not sure how to take it. It's like I've turned a switch in my mind and want to totally turn around my behavior and, because I've done that, I expect the same of her. I know that's not realistic or fair. We just had an argument where I told her to P**s off and leave me alone. I never normally snap but it's difficult when I feel like I'm working through a lot and trying to make things work and she is pointing out flaws of mine. It feels like I'm constantly in the wrong when really I feel like I'm doing a lot right and I'm getting on the right track and I just want her to acknowledge that. It's too early though I know...
Anyway, other than that it's been a really good day. I need to keep up this momentum, working through a day at a time.
I haven't written in here for a few days so time for an update.
To be honest, more than anything I've just been keeping my head down and moving forward. I went to GA yesterday and had the courage to speak up and share some of my story -- something I've never done before in front of a group of people. I know GA is going to be an important tool in my recovery and I am taking the process seriously. For now this just means attending meetings and reading the literature -- I find I relate so much to it that I want to learn more, understand more about the addiction and what I need to focus on to develop some of the defective personality traits that I've been using gambling to hide behind.
5 days and feeling positive.
Was all going swimmingly until this weekend.
I had a bit to drink and got the urge - I'd also had a bit of a stressful day. I managed to find a way to sign up to a site where I could deposit in crypto. It was only a small amount I had on my wallet so I stopped after I'd lost it. I requested that they block my account shortly after that.
Then, yesterday, I had a nagging urge - I think because of boredom and feeling down starting to set in. The compulsion was really big. So I signed up to the same site - using a different email address and deposited a small amount. I doubled it and then again lost it all. So I went through the same process -- contacted them, told them to block me again.
The security on some of these sites is pitiful. The safeguards some put in place are so poor - I signed up to GamBan but there are sites outside of that. I have managed to self-exclude from the vast majority but still.
In order to put in place more mechanisms, I'm going to re-install GamBlock on my laptop. I've also been told that Lloyds Bank can block transactions to gambling sites, so that's another safeguard I can install. I have this already on Monzo.
Beyond that I think I just need to find ways to fill my time. I need to build up the self-discipline and recongition that when I'm feeling in this state I should channel my energy into something productive. I had initially started to -- I started writing. But it wasn't enough. I need to go running again, I need to find things to do. Part of the problem is this urge I have to feel 'productive'. In my mind, playing poker is 'productive' in that it's me working to make more income for myself -- the reality is that hasn't been true for a long time, because I play until its all gone.
Anyway, I will attend GA again this week. I'm also hoping GamCare get back to me soon on counselling. I know it will be really useful and insightful. Recovery is a much longer and harder process than I'd anticipated.
Beyond that I think I just need to find ways to fill my time. I need to build up the self-discipline and recongition that when I'm feeling in this state I should channel my energy into something productive. I had initially started to -- . I need to go running again, I need to find things to do.
Why not join a running club ?
Ours goes out 3 times a week & has 5 different groups according to ability.
@k2 - I will be running again soon, I know it's good for me and makes me feel better about myself. If all falls into place I may even go today!
Just a quick update - usually I find weekends the hardest, especially when I'm stuck/lost for things to do. It's been a week since I last gambled and I find that I can get through the week quite easily by immersing myself in work. I feel confident that if I get through today, I'll be able to keep this going. I'm taking it a day at a time.
I'm still attending GA and hoping I'll get a sponsor soon so I can start working through the steps. I'm keen and inpatient to get going, but I know that's part of the personality defects I need to work on. I've been keeping positive over the last week and am feeling confident.
I haven't updated here in a while - but it's a Saturday and I tend to struggle at the weekends, so I thought I'd post on here to keep myself on track.
I haven't played poker or leverage traded crypto in 2 weeks and I feel great about that. I find I'm in a place where I'm more willing to be open about what I've been experiencing and open to the idea of being able to openly talk about my issues with gambling addiction aloud. I've told a few people and I don't feel shame about it - I actually feel incredibly proud oddly that I understand my weakness and that I'm putting in place as many measures as I can to work towards addressing it and getting better. GA has been absolutely pivotal in this shift in my mindset, and I've been continuing to attend meetings weekly.
For the week ahead I'm going to continue to manage my levels of stress, focus on building a positive state of mind, looking after myself and choosing actions that put my wellbeing first over and above anything else. I'm feeling good - focused and optimistic about the future. 14 days in.
I haven't updated here in a while. I'm 30 days gamble free.
Today I was very very tempted to play - the closest I've been in a long time. I actually even attempted to download some software, set up a fake email address, and was hoping I'd be able to get through. But luckily the measures I've put in place mean I've exhausted pretty much any potential avenue for me to be able to play online. And thank God for that.
I feel a little ashamed that I tried to play - but it's a really good reminder for me. I missed attending my GA meeting last week as I was exhausted from work. This is a reminder for me to not be complacent. I'm still so early in my journey, and I'm really determined to make 90 days. I will be attending GA again on Thurs and discuss with the group. Having a program is really good for me - and I'm surprised how quickly I've been able to turn things around financially from not playing for just 30 days. It's great. I need to remember this.
I hope you are all staying strong.
Dear @dandelion ,
I am sorry to hear you have struggled today but you overcame the urge and that is very important so well done for that. You are right, you cannot be complacent as it has proved for you.
Try not to give yourself a hard time or feel ashamed. Please always remember there is support from the helpline/netline both of which operate 24 hours a day now, so please feel free to contact one of our advisers if you're struggling. Just talking to someone can help.
Keep up the good work and keep sharing and posting here.
All the very best
42 days of not gambling.
Proud of myself when I let myself feel it, but also cautious of not getting complacent. I'm still attending GA - I'm yet to work the steps. I have my first counselling session with GamCare next week which I'm extremely grateful for.
90 days is my aim, one day at a time. Let's keep going.