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Simon's Recovery Diary  

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Simon50
(@simon50)

Day 1

Sat, 23 Feb 2020: The pain of gambling is so unbearable. I feel physically sick. My stomach is empty. Mentally, I cannot bear the chaos in my mind at this moment. I thought the day would get  easier. It hasn't. I am unable to control the thoughts and feelings racing through my head and it all feels too much; I am desperate for it to end. I've had a couple of large glasses of red wine to try and soothe the pain with no effect, worse if anything. I am a gambling addict. I need to remind myself of this should gambling thoughts come back anytime soon. An overwhelming feeling of despair, and so much fear of how to get through the rest of this day, let alone the next. A strong undercurrent of hoplessness and self-loathing. This is day 1 following 18 months of gambling after a 7 year period without a bet in GA. Gambling is a serious disease. Simon.

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Posted : 22nd February 2020 12:23 pm
RouletteRegret
(@rouletteregret)

Simon,

Welcome to the forum.

First off, well done for coming to the forum and starting your diary. This next chapter of recovery starts today.

I had went 4 years without a bet and then gambled for about a year and it got progressively worse until I reached the point where I simply could no longer deal with the chaos and destruction that I was in. I stopped again 150 days ago and havent bet since.

The first days were hard and worry and concern and sleepless nights lasted for a few weeks but then everything got immediately better. Now, in the present day, everything is good - I sleep well, don’t worry about debt/money and I’m optimistic about a bright future without gambling.

I had to get through those first few weeks. It can be hard but the hardest part is the beginning and then it gets easier.

For me, I focus on the benefits of not gambling. I focus on the benefits of not hurting myself and that was enough to get me on my way.

I wish you well.

RR

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Posted : 22nd February 2020 1:25 pm
Simon50
(@simon50)

Hello RR, thank you for your kind comments and I note the advice towards the end. I'll try and write more tomorrow but for the moment I must go to bed. Thanks again and keep up the great journey.

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Posted : 22nd February 2020 2:04 pm
Simon50
(@simon50)

Day 2

I've been on a bus for most of the day travelling from Phnom Penh (the capital of Cambodia) to Siem Reap where I will stay for the next 3 days before returning to Thailand.

Lots of thoughts around gambling, ranging from strong thoughts of wanting to return to chase my losses to questioning why that thought is so strong when I know its the very worst thing possible. What I was really in touch with was the fact that if I did pull it off and won back my losses, how devsatating that would actually be since it would obviously lead to more gambling meaning the change of behaviour thats needed would never happen. I realise then, that losing is the thing that absolutly must happen and losing enough for it to hurt. This is interesting as I've often convinced myself that gambling is not about money and much more an emotional problem. I still believe very strongly it is an emotional problem, but I think I am starting to realise since my last bet that it definitely is a finacial one too. I find it so hard to accept when I lose and the thought of having to write it off and accept its gone is the hardest challenge for me and ulitmately what keeps my pattern of gambling behaviour going.

The good news is that I haven't googled the city I am in to find out where the casinos are so this is a positive start for my second day. I am determined to live a day at a time and working hard to let go of the past and not compound every single loss from the past and try to calculate an overall figure. Its pointless I know and will only ever keep me stuck in the past. So this is my challenge as I see it for the moment.

I am also going to be open minded to all advice offered on this forum be it through forum threads, the chat room (which I hope to check in to regularly) and other support offered. My own efforts to stop or to think I know best are clearly holding me back. I suppose I've never liked listening to others and my ego has always been a problem. Actually, I was also thinking today about how sad being in a casino really is. It's the most negative of environments in many ways; smokey, miserable croupiers and dealers who probably wonder what the hell people are doing coming in night after night throwing all their money away, miserable and unhappy customers doing and thinking the same thing, angry people who are losing, winners who are emotionless as a win is only more fuel for the fire unless they decide to stop, local Cambodians (my current location) watching all this madness and seeing people bet a year wages for them on one spin of the wheel and so on. I am their, participating in all this asking myself what the hell I am doing and why I am supporting this, yet unable to walk away and to stay away.

Today, I do not want to gamble. Today, I want to learn to become a different person, a better humanbeing. Today, I want to love myself that little bit more and to know that I am deserving of so many better things in life. I am always unhappy when I gamble, win or lose, its the same pattern of behaviour and living this way that causes this. Today I will do something differently.

Simon.

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 10:33 am
Recovery Russ
(@recovery-russ)

Simon,

That was a good read, selfishly I hope the longer you are gamble free the more we get to hear about your travels round Asia 🙂

For now though the most important thing is you stop gambling. I totally get what you mean about the financial problem vs emotional problem, I believe it is an emotional problem from the point of view that I, like you, never stopped. We weren't in it for the money, the money was our fuel to escape whatever it was we were escaping. The money is gone, you won't win it back as every win a future loss. You've been to G.A. you've heard the advice but did you listen to it. That's the key. I was the same as you, huge ego (wrote a 3 part diary entry on my blog such was it's size lol) and if I didn't know something it wasn't worth knowing. In recovery, I need three things to be successful, "HOW". Honesty, Open-Mindedness and Willingness. Recovery ain't easy, not every day is great, but a bad day in recovery is better than a great day out there gambling. 

Use this travelling as an opportunity for real self reflection. Read the diaries, use the support on here. You can get through this if you want, it's there for you to take. I loved this quote I seen early in my recovery...

"At some point there is no excuse, either you want to do everything it takes to make it happen, or you don't."

I look forward to speaking to you again and following your progress.

Mark 

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 12:41 pm
Emily82
(@emily82)

Hey Simon

ive just returned to the forum after years. Thanks to this place I stopped gambling for 4 years and then relapsed 1.5 years ago. The money I’ve lost in this short space of time is shocking and today I’ve returned here with my tail between my legs on day one. It’s interesting that you say you convinced yourself gambling wasn’t about money. I’ve thought it was for the longest time until last night. I realised there is no win big enough to sort my problem. Today I’m truly broken. Your diary is the first I’ve read on my return here and it’s already inspirational. My aim now is to stay one day behind you! 

I haven’t really got any words of wisdom right now, I’ve been crying for hours but I promise to keep checking in to see how your doing. You’re not alone 

Em x

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 2:32 pm
Simon50
(@simon50)

Good evening Mark, thanks so much for your reponse. I was rather hoping you would pop by and comment as it was clear from the chat room last night that you are strong in recovery and a very caring person wanting others to do well. That's the type of person I want and need to spend company with if I am to succeed and find strength. I appreciate your comments very much and will read them often. It has been a successful day without a bet so I am really pleased about that, especially as gambling is so fresh in my mind currently with so many strong thoughts about wanting to go back. Its just gone 10pm here and I am going to bed in a few minutes as we are up at 4am leaving for Anker Wat to see the famous ancient ruins here in Cambodia. I have had a few drinks and definitely more than tipsy! But any state of mind that isn't related to gambling at this time is a huge achievement.

I was hoping to visit the chat room earlier this evening, which is around 8pm this time, but we were out with our tour guide having dinner so I was unable to make it. My hope is to check in as often as I can so hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks to all those reading and supporting me and others, and do please comment as its so helpful to hear of others journeys and the experience and advice they can share. My best to all, Simon.

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 3:07 pm
Loulou
(@loulou)

It's great your going back to Thailand no gambling there ! You've done well coming on here.

I went to thailand few years ago chiang mai in the north was my favourite place went to the elephant nature park when I was there they rescue elephants.

Stopping gambling should give your more time to enjoy the travelling and more money in the long term.

Lou lou 

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 10:47 pm
Emily82
(@emily82)

Thanks for commenting on my thread Simon, your words and understanding come at a very needed time. 
The revelation of being on edge/ uneasy when things are good and ‘comfortable’ when things are bad only came yesterday and I tell you it has hit me like a brick! Are some of us self harming? Looking for ways to destruct anything good that’s going on in our life. The notion is a troubling one but for me one that may sadly be true. I suppose I need to be thankful that ‘this’ happened, at least now I can embark on a true journey of self discovery. It sounds like you are absolutely doing the same. I look forward to sharing our journeys and having someone to share upcoming milestones with. If you ever feel week please feel free to reach out and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can. 
like you I had a long period of abstinence followed by a 1.5 year long downward spiral of gambling chaos that ENDS NOW.

Despite my good intentions, I’m struggling to even get out of bed let alone work. 
Just have to hope things these feelings get less intense and frequent.

Keep fighting the good fight... One Day At A Time.

Em x

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Posted : 24th February 2020 11:21 am
Simon50
(@simon50)

Day 3

Feeling so tired as I was up at 4am for a day trip. In bed now on laptop pushing myself to write about the day since this recovery diary is an important step for me on the road to recovery.

Thanks to Emily, Loulou and others who have commented, its really helpful and a great source of support. I will write more on your thread soon Emily and I am looking forward to reading Lou's and others also.

So today has been very difficult but I managed to get through it without a bet, thank God. I had to fight some very strong thoughts of wanting to gamble from the moment I woke up. The thoughts were so frequent and strong that I could barely take in the wonderous site of Anker Wat in Cambodia that I was visiting with a G-Adventures group tour. I was feeling angry about my last loss. It was a lot of money and I wanted to get it back. I was then angry again at myself for having these thoughts, so my inner critic was having a field day. I say it like that but truthfully its really painful and horrible and I am sure many can relate.

I know I have to accept all losses to date but they are so big one can't help but wonder how I could have used that money in a more productive way, but I didn't, so I must be mature and responsible and accept and own these feelings, something I suppose I really don't want to do.

There's been a little bit of self love throughout the day but not much. I also missed the chat room again tonight (lunchtime one UK time) which I wanted to be part of. Being on a tour with timed events and dinners particularly makes it difficult to do this but, my tour ends in a few days so once I decide on a place to settle in Thailand for the next 2-3 weeks it should be fine and I can post and share much more.

I do still want to stop gambling today. I know there is nothing of substance or value for me when doing it. I know whatever I am looking for in life will never be found in such a place. The addiction is fresh and strong in me and wants to tempt, test and convince me that gambling has something to offer me - but I know it doesn't and I will keep reminding myself of this over and over again; chant it regularly or repeat thousands of affirmations to myself if I must, but one way or another I want to stay in control and make my own choices, not let gambling make them for me.

Note to self, "Well done Simon, you're on the road to recovery. Stay on it and check in again tomorrow. No excuses. You can do whatever you set your mind to and you are so deserving."

Best wishes to all reading. May we remain strong in unity and recovery together. Until tomorrow, Simon.

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Simon50
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Posted : 24th February 2020 2:31 pm
Simon50
(@simon50)

Day 4

Arrived back in Bangkok after a 7 hour bus journey from Cambodia.

Thoughts to gamble even stronger, no doubt fuelled by the Cambodia/Thailand border where the Chinese have built a number of casinos, many of which I peered inside as we walked past crossing the border. The urge to gamble again is so strong and I am mad at myself for having these feelings. I've gambled since age 9, compulsively since 13 yrs old or so; what the hell is wrong me? I am addicted and gambling is a sickness - a disease - I know, but still I can't stop thinking about it.

GA's first step states that you need to accept you are powerless over gambling and that you're life is unmanageable. Well yes, of course it bloody is and I do accept it, but still the urge to return and do more gambling is so strong. I really hate this disease and the problem with that is I then start hating myself for having the disease.

So yes, today I am feeling angry, frustrated, bitter, resentful, depressed, miserable and pretty bloody P****d off in general for all sorts of reasons. I have other personal issues to contend with such as gender dysphoria, which has been present since a youngtster too. I am still all over the place with that and constantly living in fear about it and repressing feelings. It's all too much to bear, so no wonder I want to escape to my addiction.

It is the last day of the tour today and we are having a final grouo meal in 15 minutes so I need to get changed. Hopefully I can make the chat room a little later on which will be 8pm local time in Thailand.

Don't give in Simon, you can do this. Remember, just today... a day at a time. No bet so far, well done. OK, so you're P****d off, that's life, deal with it. Simon.

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Posted : 26th February 2020 10:16 am
Recovery Russ
(@recovery-russ)

Simon, 

Sorry to hear you are having a tough day, but it's not always easy in recovery. The way I look at it though, a bad day in recovery is better than your best day out there gambling. As for the urges, you aren't responsible for your first thought but you are responsible for your first action. Like yesterday, when your action was to push yourself to write on your diary and today you are doing the same thing.

Hopefully catch you on chat

Russ

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Posted : 26th February 2020 12:31 pm
Simon50
(@simon50)

Thanks Russ, just heading into chat now 🙂

 

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Posted : 26th February 2020 1:06 pm

Hello Simon.

Many thanks for posting on my diary, I appreciate your support and encouragement.

 

I see you are travelling in the far east and assume you are on holiday, so hope you have some wonderful adventures.

 

Wonderful that you had seven years gamble free and that proves you can live without gambling.

 

It is good and takes courage to open up on the diaries about a compulsion to gamble along with other personal issues that may be causing one distress, confusion or worry. I respect your honesty and openness but I ask you to question the wisdom of having your photograph on display! 

 

We have the same stop gambling date and I hope and pray that is the way it will stay.

 

Best wishes

Stephen 

 

 

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Posted : 26th February 2020 2:07 pm
Recovery Russ
(@recovery-russ)

Simon,

Sorry I was busy when you started talking about the mods and their experience or lack thereof when it comes to addiction. I understand where you are coming from that you want lived experience and that is exactly what the chat offers, the mods are simply there to ensure it's a safe space and to signpost, among plenty of other things the excellent mods do on chat. So if it's lived experience you are in the right place and it doesn't matter if the mod has ever had a bet or not, in my opinion.

Everything in recovery is merely a suggestion anyways, it is up to the individual to implement said suggestions into their recovery if they want to. My suggestion for you is to think about the amount of recovery options available to you in your current situation (travelling) and is it worth closing the door on the chat room over this issue...or is that your addiction talking?

Russ

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Posted : 26th February 2020 3:02 pm
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