Back on Saturday 27th July 2019 this year I finally admitted to myself & my girlfriend that I have a gambling problem.. I called the National Gambling helpline & broke down in tears of emotions I never knew lived inside of me & I could feel the pain I’d put myself & those around in & that made me feel sick. I was doing all the right things advised to me with blocking software & Registering with “Gamstop, Gamban & Aquarius”, I spoke it through with my girlfriend & agreed I’d keep her closer to this for support & to aid me on staying on track. I agreed that we’d look out my finances to see my incoming & outgoings to identify what my available monies would be & we brought a lockable money box to put that available money into so that it wasn’t readily accessible to me should I have urges... So yeah back in July of this year I was looking focused & supported to try & start correctly on dealing with this..
Fast forward to today Saturday 28th December 2019... I’ve been gambling again & my last bet was yesterday Friday 27th December 2019.... I’ve just been talking things through with the National Gambling helpline for over an hour & before that I broke down in disgust with myself to my girlfriend..
What I didn’t realise fully back in July when I admitted I have a problem is that I’d not been 100% honest with myself & everyone involved with & around me... I had all the best intentions of going through with everything that was offered out to me & I was using them & they were helping..
What I wasn’t doing was talking about it daily to anyone or recording my progress on a timeline or managing my success. I’d allowed myself to ignorantly believe that I could carry on “business as usual” without any aids or assistance but in an ignorant way of not talking about the monster of gambling as if it didn’t exist... I’ve kept myself active I go to the gym 4/5 times a week, I’m in a new job & love it so my time is hugely taken up with that, I’m planning for the future with my girlfriend, I’m planning out things with my so & my girlfriend... So I’ve been aware of my time & being active but ignorant to the fact there’s a monkey on my back or an elephant in the room that I’m not talking about...
What’s different this time? Why do I think I’m going to be better now? How do I not know I’ll relapse? - Honest answer???? I have no foo-king idea..?
What I do now know is that I can’t be ignorant... I can’t think that because things seem ok that they are ok...
This is the first time I’ve blogged/diaried or wrote down anything real & true to my gambling & for me this is a great feeling. This is something I’m going to continue with as it’s talking & expressing those demons I have around gambling... But for me I can’t stop there as I know a big list of my triggers & one of them is ignorance to a tick list in proof to those around me, so... Now I’m making a promise to myself that I’ll be open to my diary, I’ll make a progress/success line of some sorts. I will go to GA meetings I will call into the National Line on good & bad days... I will talk to my girlfriend about my feelings & right now I’ve just decided that I’m going to name my gambling addiction “Amanda”... So from now on my gambling addiction is called “Amanda”... I don’t know if this is going to help or not but I’m trying to identify with what I will keep to & promise to myself I will work with...
I am writing this to myself as I think & feel that honesty to myself is where I will get the correct gains & help I need to be honest with everyone. I want to be proud of myself & know that I’m not broken by something that consumes my thoughts, I want to tell “Amanda” to f**k off & be able to ignore her & not think about her. “Amanda” is a b***h but I let her in & now I’m doing this to get her out.
I want a better life & better feeling so for today this is all...
Speak again tomorrow
I was over 150+ days in on my recovery & feel like a huge fool to myself but that doesn’t come close to what I know it’s done to my girlfriend.... I’ve only just checked the number of days now to what my recovery was.... This is never going to be fully known or quantified BUT... Had I been aware & been giving myself these successes of cleaness to my recovery would I have relapsed? Would I have felt the need? I’d have felt so fricken good about how far I’d come I think that I’d be challenging myself for the next 150+.... And if I’d spoken about these with my girlfriend we’d together be planning something & looking forward to it... And that would & should have been the repeating pattern... BUT it wasn’t... SOOOO... I will be doing “The Promise To Myself” as above... Only blurting again now as I’m hurt that I didn’t see how far I’d come until it was too late...
EYES ARE WIDE OPEN NOW!!!
We've edited your post to remove a line about what you'd like to do to your addiction, which you have named 'Amanda'. It sounds like you have given your addiction a name because you want to see it as something which is not core to yourself, and which you can, therefore, let go more easily, as something that is separate from your core self? If you find that useful as a way to feel less attached to your gambling, then that is how it is for you, however, please be careful about how you post about "Amanda" in case your words might be misinterpreted as misogynistic. The forum is a shared space and we try to make it a space that feels inclusive and safe.
Your post reminded me of how Churchill personified his depression as a 'Black dog'... another way of looking at recovery is to see it as learning to take better care of yourself and your feelings, so in this case, you might notice the presence of the dog, you might hear it barking, as in you might notice your gambling urges, or you might notice thoughts that are part of a gambling mindset. Sometimes this can help you to identify triggers and help you adjust your relapse-prevention methods. You might then do something to avoid those triggers or do something to soothe those unsettled feelings or focus on a thought that supports your recovery mindset.
Hi Forum Admin
Thank you so much for you words & response... I know "Amanda" is part of my core being I'm just looking at tackling this from a different approach this time as I want this to be my last first time of processing.. I want to be "Amanda" free. Your support & reference to Churchill have really touched me, I think I'll need to look back into Churchill now to see what issues he had & what he did.
Thank you again.
Day - 2
I'm on Day 2 of being clean from "Amanda" (Gambling) & have woken up with massive hangover guilt of what I'm doing to myself again & those around me... Mainly my girlfriend who I told yesterday but I’m yet to go through properly which will be today, so I'm worried & scared about that because I don't feel myself right now & feel very vulnerable to my own stupidity... My son is 6 & not aware of my problem but there must be an air of atmosphere that he picks up on when he's with me (I have him every other wkend & every Wednesday).
I hope now & this time I can truly appreciate that my selfishness effects the ones I care about & love the most as well as my own inner demons... I feel awful right now, so I don't know what it's making my girlfriend feel of the situation & of me... And that again makes me feel lower knowing that I've let not only myself down but her as well.
Today I want to try to be strong even though I feel weak & look at the first stages of my battle plan.. I already go to the gym 4/5 maybe sometimes more a week so this is staying as this is part of my healthy lifestyle. I'm going to look at using technology less (scrolling through my iPhone reading) & picking up an actual book(s) to stimulate my mind & brain from the thoughts of others - I've got a stack of books already so I'm going to just work through them:
Tyson Fury - Behind The Mask / Simon Jordan - Be Careful What You Wish For / Ant Middleton - First Man In / Jordan Belfort - Way Of The Wolf / Ant Middleton - The Fear Bubble / Jason Fox - Battle Scars / Ollie Ollerton - Break Point / Mark Billingham - The Hard Way..
This is the order I'm going to go through them & not going to give myself a timeline for completion just to enjoy the knowledge (if anyone has any recommendations for other books/reads I'm all ears).
I'm going to go through my finances today with my girlfriend & this unsettles me & makes me anxious with guilt but it's a step I suppose in trust again... I'm hoping to feel better about this step & not the pain of sickness I'm feeling about going through the sit down which isn't going to be easy.. Looking back to when I first called the National Gambling helpline on the 27th July 2019 to when I first then bet on the 25th November 2019 I’d gone 121 days clean, just realising that now is so stupid... I could have helped myself with just being in the knowledge of my own success, but I ignorantly haven't tallied it.. From the 25th Nov' 2019 to 27th December 2019 I was gambling & gambled £603.46 returning £200, I've only just sat back & worked that out & seeing it is so frustratingly painful thinking about what I could proactively done with that amount of money for me & my family..
I called the National Gambling helpline yesterday (28th Dec' 2019) & here I am right now trying to own my mistake & trying to put the first stages of recovery together again... And hopefully the last first stages. "Amanda" has been part of my life for 20 years now & at first she was a bet when England games were on & it'd be 1st goal scorer, I was about 18yrs old then so it wouldn't have been a lot & just a little bit of fun this was the general way of my betting for a few years & it was on & off betting & I could leave it alone for months/years without a problem.. Fast forward to my late 20's c27/28 I think & I had got myself involved with payday loans & there wasn't enough income against my outgoings as a standard to normal bills, this is where "Amanda" came into my life full steam ahead & without warning I was betting on football, horses & sports in foreign counties that I have & had no idea about.. I was way out of control trying to find my way back to clearing what I owed, and the debt wasn't due or down to "Amanda" it was due to an ex that had run up debt in my name when we were together & at the time it was OUR debt but when we broke up it's all in my name & I has no way of getting her to help. I was suffering in silence & had that cloud over me of worry & panic so that's why I initially turned to payday as at the time I couldn't get another loan because I already had a large one with the bank...
Hindsight & all that... If I knew then what I know now I'd have just done without the payday loans & spoken directly to the creditors & I possibly would be in a better position or would I?? I will never know..
Going through this new process what I can say is I feel a little better for venting & the recovery diary, so this is another stage I'm using.
I hope to have a positive day.
Speak again soon..
I've just replied to your post on another users thread, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for this honest post too and to reassure you that there's so much help and support for you and your Family.
Thank you for your diary post and for sharing your thoughts and journey with us, please continue to keep posting. Many people find this really helps them and their recovery, I really hope you feel the benefit of recording your recovery diary too.
Well done on achieving your day two, this is wonderful. Another well done on your previous achievement of becoming gamble free, you've done it before and you can do it again.
It may help to make an appointment with your GP to discuss the low mood you're experiencing so they can also provide you with support. There are helplines that you can call for support too such as MIND and CALM.
Remember you're not alone and we're always here for you if you want to call our helpline (0808 8020 133) or our Netline.
Take care, believe in yourself and your ability to make the change.
Another clean day away from “Amanda”...
Today I handed over access of my banking details to my girlfriend, I’ll admit it that it was difficult for me but I’ve done it now & shows another step of my commitment for trust honesty to this process & my girlfriend.
Worked out all of the income & outgoings & what spare money I have & what I’m going to do with it... SAVE!!! So I/we as a family can plan for some good memories!
Been to the gym & smashes a huge super set Chest one today so I’m buzzing from that as I felt bloody strong today...
I woke up annoyed a little bit, well after I’d woken up. As I logged onto here & found that a post I put on yesterday seems to have disappeared?!.. I contacted the Forum Admin & they can’t locate it, which annoyed me further as yesterday it had been loaded x4 times but now it’s nowhere to be seen or found..?? That upset me as I’d bared my thoughts & soul into what I was writing as it was how I was feeling at that particular time, Forum Admin suggested I should repost it??? That upset & annoyed me further again as I can’t recreate a feeling & the thoughts I had when I was writing from raw to remembering what I’d put down! Well I can’t change that now but I feel the need to vent that out of my mind so it’s dealt with..
Back to my day... I’ve had some really encouraging words come through from someone I respect a lot overseas today & it’s made me feel 10ft tall... So I say to myself & to those who listen, encourage & be positive as you never know who you are inspiring!
Speak again soon!
Just dropping in to say hi to myself today... I’ve had a day of cuddles & playing with my son. He is the light & love of everything I hold dearly. Another “Amanda” free & clean day too so all is well.
Thats all I have today, back to my son & see out the year with him & seeing the new one in with him, I’ve done that every year with him since he was born & I hope to keep that tradition going for ever!
Speak again soon
Happy New Year...
My boy & I have had a tradition since he was born that we spend New Years Eve together & see the new year in (well I started it as he’ll have had no idea what it is or was)... Last night was the first time he’s ever managed to see it in & stayed awake!! Albeit that he was extremely tired & fell asleep at 00:13 & woke at 9am this morning bless him. God I love that boy..
Anyhow another clean & free day from “Amanda” done today & a lot to be thankful for! X
Another clean & free day away from “Amanda”...
Looked at making a full year long plan today & worryingly it didn’t scare the s**t out of me?!.. I hope that this isn’t just a honeymoon period of my sobriety & that I can continue with this early days strength throughout & be stronger mentally.
Today was a good day so I’m taking that on board & accepting the pay on the back that I’m giving myself!
Speak again soon
Another clean & free day away from “Amanda”...
Not sure if it's because I'm extremely tired or if I hit a wall today but found that my mood is all over the place today. Mental rollercoaster of emotions today but none of them have found me looking at "Amanda", feeling a little drained of energy & have a stress headache.
Well it's the weekend now & i'm with my boy so it's fun filled & outdoors time for action with him.
Speak soon & I hope that it's a fatigue & tiredness thing?? I will be giving myself a shakeup if it's not!
Speak again soon
Hope you don't mind me posting on your diary. I posted a reply to you on 'the straw that broke the camel's back' post where we were discussing a few days ago. I'm not sure if you had the time to read it but it might help you stay focused.
Don't be too hard on yourself for 'hitting the wall'. It is completely normal to feel like this. It is just your brain searching for the high that it is used to. It is withdrawing from gambling and the chemistry inside your brain will be out of whack for a while. Go easy on yourself during this period. You will feel high and elated some days at your decision to quit. Other days, you will feel like you have backed yourself into a corner and your brain will try to offer you gambling as a solution to your stress.
Don't fight these feelings when they do happen. Just quietly acknowledge that you are having them and that it is normal to still think about gambling. I still think about betting after these two years gamble free, but the difference is I don't need to go through with it. I can just decide not to and it comes easy to me now. I keep all my measures and safety nets in place because management is for life. The urge has gone but there are still embers quietly burning and I think they will always be there. As addicts, we don't necessarily get cured when we quit. We just learn ways to manage our addiction and we get well by not allowing ourselves to bet. So long as we stay away from gambling, the monster sleeps.
It does get a heck of a lot easier and I have long stopped counting the days. I found that it helped in the early days to keep focused and stay busy. I gave myself lots of little tasks to complete and rewarded myself with small treats to mark my achievements. I did DIY around the house and set targets for my savings and these helped me to be encouraged to stay on track. I also involved my family and every month, I made a chart and I would have a treat out with the family and something nice to eat. Having my gambling out in the open made it so much easier. I could talk about it finally and it relieved the pressure of having to hold in so much pain and worry. I didn't want to keep gambling in the end, but I felt I had to keep going as I was in so much debt. The hardest part was learning the value of money again. I used to walk to the next shop in order to save 10p on the price of a loaf but I would throw thousands away on a roulette machine. It didn't make any sense.
I also enjoy being outdoors and we have lots of walks out as a family. I have been practising Mindfulness and find that being outdoors gets me out of my head and makes me appreciate the small things, all the perfect and wonderful things that you miss while you have your head stuck in a machine.
You will get through just fine. You have your mind set on what you want and you will succeed. I have faith in you. Have faith in yourself and know that everything you are going through is completely normal. 🙂
Thank you so much for your words.. Apologies I’ve not come back to you until now. My head & emotions have been up & down (still Amanda free). I’ve had the weekend with my son & been active & busy with him, something I cherish & devote all my attention to as he is my world. I hate not seeing him or being around him.
Your words & mechanisms seem strong, and I like that you’ve spoken about mindfulness. I’d love to know more & be able to incorporate some techniques into my routine.
Thank you for checking in it means everything to me that someone’s cares & understands x