I keep being asked where is my diary? Well, here we go then. Welcome to my вЂspace' This is my attempt to explain how I ended up on the Gamcare Forum!
This wont be like other peoples diaries on here because I am not a gambler. I will probably use it for my thoughts some good, some maybe different. When I find myself shouting at the screen...( Whats that?.... oh you do as well ! Lol ) I might just come in here and write it instead. To be honest I'm not quite sure what this space will be for, yet 😉
What I will do is go to the past first. A little bit of my life, living with a cg.
I think this is a wonderful site, full of so many kind, intelligent people, with so many experiences. Often similar stories of their lives, yet at the same time, so individual. Whatever their stories are, they all have a common enemy.
I have lived with the most powerful, cunning, addiction that can rip an individual apart. That will destroy anyone and anyone who is part of that persons life. It doesn't discriminate, it doesn't care, it will feed off anyone who thinks they can control it, and will spit whats left of them out.
It is of course Gambling Addiction.
This poem is on the site and is also often read out at a GA meeting, I wanted to put it in my diary:
I AM ADDICTION
I start in small subtle promising many ways things,
I promise you enjoyment and pleasure beyond your wildest dreams,
I deliver guilt and despair more horrible than your worst nightmare,
I promise you power and courage,
I give you feelings of powerlessness & hopelessness,
I will force you to live in fear always,
I promise you relief and escape from all your daily problems,
I create for you greater problems than you ever imagined,
I promise you many friends but
I allow you only isolation.
I promise happiness but
I create much sorrow.
I will steal from you your dignity,your families,your friends,your children.your homes,your demons.your spirit & your life.....For love, freedom & happiness are impossible in my presence.
So NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ME
I am devious & manipulating,
I have no preferences as to who I pick as my victim, rich or poor, young or old, black ,white, yellow or red.
I have killed men, women and children,
I have no conscience.
So if you have met me, always be aware if you think you can beat me... that I will be gone from your life and all will be well again.
NEVER FORGET that I will always be there, waiting in the dark shadows, just around the corner.
I am very patient and I will laugh in your face if I can lure you into my evil world of hell on earth again.
I am married as some of you know to Jim (gull991), he is a compulsive gambler.
He is in recovery, I am in recovery...in fact our whole nuclear family is in recovery.
We have changed, you have to change if you want to rid yourself of this evil addiction. вЂњNothing changes if nothing changesвЂќ, simple as !
Life is good now and a million miles away from those days when Jim was in action.
It has taken its toll on all of us, taken me to places that I will never let myself go to again.
I have rebuilt me from the pieces and I believe the rebuilding never ends. Recovery from this addiction is life long.
I have learnt a lot I believe.
Along the way have come across hundreds of cgs , some partners, parents, siblings and friends. They are always the same stories, just different faces and names attached to them.
I am sadden when I see new names coming to Gamcare and groups like GA & GamAnon etc. But also glad that they have found somewhere, that you don't have to do this alone.
All you need is a desire to stop. If you are SERIOUS it is do-able.
As you have gathered I hate this addiction with a passion, its manipulation, what it does to good people. I also hate the вЂfat cats' who get rich off others with this gambling illness.
I believe also in Karma... so who knows, maybe one day eh 😉
Anyway.... I have waffled on (there will probably be lots of this, in this diary from time to time...Why? coz its my diary and I am a woman!!)
Not quite sure how to start this because I do feel so different now days. It is so easy in вЂhindsight' to really SEE what was happening in the early days. More so in the in between years of our marriage, when I thought naively that he had stopped gambling... how dumb and stupid can you be?
Well I suppose when you love someone, you find excuses for their behaviours... the way it вЂchips' away at your character, your esteem your whole being...Truth is, I just knew nothing about this addiction.
Want to say thank you for starting a diary. For me, and everyone else, it is great to here the partners side of the recovery. i think it is difficult to remember or even realise that our partners are also in recovery. In fact I don't think I hve even looked at it in that way before. I know that partners get the rougher end of the deal but to look at it as being in recovery is something i haven't thought about before so thanks for that enlightenment!
I'm going to enjoy (if that's the right word) following your diary. Having been married to a cg myself and now being one myself it's good to be able to hear the perspective of another wife. But a wife who had the strength and courage to stick by their husband. I have always had real respect for you and Jim also.
.......who was he? Saw him at a вЂgig' in Torquay, across a crowded room, our eyes met, (corny I know...but true!) We were unaware that we had a mutual friend there, who introduced us and it really was love at first sight. Anyway long story short, we started seeing each other and eventually moved in together. I had a young daughter from a previous marriage. Jim was wonderful with her, I had been unhappy for a long time before I had met Jim and now things were just great, we seem to fit like a glove, a happy family.
You know what it's like, so much to learn about each other, about what makes us tick etc. I knew he gambled, not a problem I thought, something he enjoys. My only experience of вЂgambling' was machines on the pier when I was a child on holiday with my parents. I remember them saying I was lucky (apparently I used to win small change & gifts). Since becoming an adult it wasn't anything that interested me. I like to get something for my money when I spend it, so it's just not my idea of вЂfun'... lol
Our life carried on, occasionally Jim would bring home some flowers, treats for my daughter, the odd meal out, courtesy of a win ( obviously now I know it was guilt money, just a little bit of the so called win...after all, the main bulk of the вЂwin' was вЂhis stake money'... for the next bet... definitely not family money!)
He rang me once when I was visiting my mum, to say that he had come home and found we had been broken into, burgled. I raced home with my daughter to the mess...unbelievable, I felt so violated. Of course the rent money that was due to be paid that day had gone along with my daughter's money box. Although we were skint, it wasn't about the rent money it was the thought that someone had gone through all my things...and my daughters. It was obvious from our flat that we didn't have much money, couldn't help thinking how desperate do you have to be to take a Childs savings.
Time ticks on. I come from a happy family background, with parents who loved us and each other. Jim didn't. Slowly, very slowly he allowed me вЂglimpses' of his past. It was harsh and he had been very much denied the love and protection that you should receive as a child. (that knowledge is for us and I will not share it here) Needless to say he had no experience of how a family should be, no decent вЂrole model' to follow but he tried so hard to fit that father/husband image.
Jim had always run away, when things became difficult in his life. This was his coping mechanism. He also used from the age of 16, gambling. He has said that it was something he could do on his own, where he didn't need anyone, he was untouchable in the bookies, in a trance, a fantasy world.
I tried to understand, gave him love and tried to reassure him. He appeared to grow so much in the first couple of years. One day when he was at work I knew that there was a cupboard where he kept some of his old stuff, you know old photos etc from before we were together. Thought he wouldn't mind if I had a look (yeah, I know bloody women can't keep their noses out!).....I had come across his вЂstash', his stake money... so much money...and a bible with a couple of grand in it! Although today we have joked about his вЂbible' which is funny now but far from it when I found it. You see although brought up a Christian, I don't follow any religion and he knew the bible would be the last place of interest to me!
Well after world war 3, we decided to do something about it. We found out about a group called GA about 30 miles away from us and they also ran at the time a Gamanon group from one of the cg partner's homes. Off we went to get him вЂfixed'.
Don't know what they said to Jim at GA but they obviously cured him (!) and he promised never to gamble again. I listen to the moans & groans of these вЂpartners' received some advice but вЂthese people' were just a bunch of friends and anyway... Jim wasn't like their partners. They were friendly enough but.... we just came away thinking, it's a shame they are all hooked on the gambling but we aren't like them.
That it just don't gamble any more. He didn't..... well..... for a while, that is!
We never really mentioned it again, just got on with our lives. Gave birth to another beautiful daughter. Jim was so proud of his girls and family. We got married bought houses, usual life stuff. During the early years we met up with a couple of his вЂbirth' family members, They also spoke of stuff from their childhood years & how Jim was treated. Everything Jim had told me was true.
Why I mention all this вЂfamily stuff' of Jims is because it was always that side of him, which clouded my judgement of him. I know that we are all a product of our upbringing but I firmly believe we can, when we realise,( if it causes negative behaviours in our life) once we are aware, we are able or can work towards changing them.
As I said he had an unhappy childhood but had become a good father and husband. He was succeeding and for a lot of years we were happy. Sometimes he had moods...but then again, who doesn't? When his body language didn't seem right, either he gave good reasons when asked or more often than not because it involved вЂfamily' situations I presumed it was his вЂpast'. ( As I said to one of the staff here the other day...I am forever the amateur psychologist! Always have been, It's just the way Im made. I have always had to analyse things, I over analyze sometimes, it's not always helpful to myself ...little did I know, how wrong I was)
Life became a busy balancing act like it is for a lot of families. Jim worked full time, children had their activates and вЂmust be at' places. I also worked full time on nights and assisting my mother who became ill and needed all care, managing our home and somewhere along the line trying to have time for Jim and I... oh, and the animals!
Meanwhile Jim managed to fit the gambling in, I don't know when he started again, it's irrelevant really, probably not long after I found that money and he promised not too! who knows. I also think he was a fairly successful gambler on the whole and extremely lucky sometimes. That why he managed to hide it for so long.
For Jim, he needed gambling like I needed air to live. Jim like all cgs are fantastic actors and liars. So most of the time, he got away with this secret life of his.
His moods got worse. They would swing so badly, that neither me or the girls could keep up. We never knew which Jim/Daddy was going to come home from work or walk through the door. He would often shout out in his sleep... really angry nasty comments, even swearing (which apparently he does at work sometimes but has never really done it at home.) At first I thought he was yelling at me but he really was asleep, it was scary. He would break out in these terrible sweats, really awful.
Occasionally he would look unhappy, on edge, even scared but always his moods were so changeable, unpredictable.
Life carried on. It feels very strange trying to recall these events because it's all mad when you try to put pen to paper. When you are actually living it, there are happy times that broke up the moody times. The effect on all of us was gradual, a slow chipping away. I am a strong person, I know that, but it eats away at your self esteem living like this. You start feeling its вЂyour fault' that he is behaving in such a way. That the children & I were making him this way. It was like walking on eggshells sometimes when Jim had it bad. Now, writing this makes me wonder how we all let it get that far, it's crazy stuff.
If I did try to talk to him about his moods, to try and find out what was going on in вЂhis world' he just became defensive, angry... вЂќthere was nothing the matterвЂќ ... this all aided the thoughts, that It WAS my fault, that I made him unhappy.
As time went on his lack of consistency in his moods and behaviours were getting more and more deeper... Your face Jim, it use to scare me... You looked so angry/desperate/frighten all in one.
I obviously now know why ... вЂhindsight' is such a wonderful thing !
My mother eventually died. I needed to help my Dad through it all. Anyone who has lost someone close will know that it is a hard year to get through, that first one. Our teenagers starting to play up, all I knew was that I was so exhausted.
Jim had always treated my eldest daughter as his own, I thought we had done everything right in showing her we all loved her. Had always had a good relationship with her birth father, I was determined right from the start that she would never be used as a вЂpawn', no matter the differences between me and her birth father. Until then, it had worked. She turned on Me and Jim вЂThe stepfather' bit was thrown about. Other friends had stepfather problems..and she didn't want to feel left out! (we have learnt this since...so apparently you are wrong whatever you try as far as teenagers are concerned!) Then comes the bit I have to live with.
Whilst we were going through this period with her, it was very hard. She was being reprimanded one day for something quite serious, She turned around and she said that she had seen Jim coming out of the bookies in town.... I thought it was вЂspite', to cause trouble between us, so I took Jims side in this. I should never of done this, took his word over hers but I did and I have to live with that. (My daughter & I have talked this through during the last 2 yrs as to why etc. But I will never forget this or forgive myself, although she has. )
It got so bad the teenage scene where we lived, so we moved to a better area, larger rooms for the girls to have plenty of space for themselves and their friends. Less travelling for Jim for work...next door in fact! A fresh start for everyone, I thought........
I am so, so happy that you decided to start a diary here. You have already helped countless people on this forum, and now your story is going to help countless more. For a CG to be able to see the other side of the chaos they create is amazing. I was lucky in that I was single and mostly far away from family when my gambling was at its worst, so the only one who suffered at the time was me.
You are an amazing woman, Jackie - strong and determined, yet kind and caring as well. You bring so much light to this forum. I am so glad you're here.
Lots of love, Anna
Time ticked on.
I had been working nights, woke from my sleep in the afternoon and found a letter Jim had left for me. I couldn't take in what I was reading.
He had reached his вЂrock bottom'.
The letter contained everything he had been up to, the thousands and thousands of debt. Unpaid loans, credit cards, stealing you all know the kind of thing, I don't need to spell it out.
He couldn't fix it this time. He had run. He couldn't see a way out of this. He knew he would lose me and his children. He was broken. He wanted it all to stop. He didn't want to live anymore....
This was serious, but I couldn't take it in.
It was tea time my youngest was asking where her Dad was, he hadn't come home from work. I remember try to put my вЂok' face on trying to sort her tea out. Told her he had gone to the pub with some mates after work (but he never did things like that) and she knew that.
This is where I feel there is a great difference in the gambler / partner or even the father / mother. I wanted to follow my emotions, act on the letter but firstly I am a mother and I had to make sure the children were cared for first. You don't have the luxury of just walking off as he did, not when you have children.
That where we hurt ourselves with our emotions, because we have to sit on them until appropriate.... and that means turning it inward. It makes you physically ill, your head hurts to think.
I felt soooo angry with him...not just for what he had done re the gambling... but P****** off and leaving me to pick up the pieces alone, the heart break, the children, the debts .... the b*****d!
I kept trying his phone... nothing, didn't know where to start looking. He had dropped all his friends, he had no family of his own (that he would go to)
He wasn't going to do this to me... I had questions... He had the answers... I needed to find him and I deserved more than a bloody letter.
Meanwhile he was distraught, drowning in what he had done. What he had become. He just wanted to die. He was finished.
I don't know why but I will always be eternally grateful, for some reason he decided to contact the Gamcare helpline.... that night they saved his life... they threw him a lifeline.
They told him to face me, to be honest. That it wasn't his decision as to whether I stayed or left him. That was my decision, once I was aware of the truth. But what he could decide was, to fight for his life and rid himself once and for all of his gambling addiction.
The money side, the debts, as we all find out is never worth dying over. With help and advice it can always be managed, there are ways ...... So Jim chose to live and face up to his demons.
He contacted me and came home. We talked, I had many questions that needed answers...I got some. I was in shock....how could he of led such a separate life under my nose.
At the same time, so much now made sense.....'its that bloody hindsight again' 😉
He contacted GA. Started going. Got advice about the debts and put that into action. He was determined.
I have never seen him so determined over anything. He kept busy and tried to sort practical things out at home. Started to take care of his appearance again.
He wanted his life back with a passion.
Me... I kept up appearances (Im good at that, living with a gambler...well it's just a skill you pick up)
I wandered around in complete shock for a while. Didn't know you could feel such pain. Gutted, everything I held dear to me was a sham.
I had let a much wanted placement for an undergraduates course go because I thought It would cost too much of the family money! Huh
.... and now we had so much debt and nothing to show for it. I have always driven old bangers (well Honda's, they just go on forever and become old!)
With what Jim had lost, I could of had a row of tasty sports cars parked in the drive.
I had allowed this. I had enabled him to carry on that life.
I had put him before my children....I was everything I hate in a woman...'the doormat'... Never in a million years would I have ever let myself be in this position... but I did, I was. It was not a good place to be,
I asked serious questions from some of my very closest friends. Friends that I trusted to tell me the truth, not just words that they thought I would prefer to hear.
They did. I took note of them. So much going around in my head. What did I want? What about the children? Such a bloody mess.
I needed to know more about this addiction, I wanted to learn how something that in the general populations eyes is just a bit of fun, could turn into вЂa people and home destroyer'. I desperately needed to understand.
This вЂthing,' was the вЂother woman' in Jim's life... his passion...but it was something that I couldn't physically get my hands on. If I was at all serious in trying to sort out our relationship (and I wasn't sure if I even wanted to)
Then I had to see вЂher' for what she really is.
There were no GamAnon groups. The one that I had attended about 12 yrs previously, was no longer running. The nearest I think was Bristol, too far away.
There was no Gamcare Forums (wish there had been)
After a couple of weeks I went with Jim to his GA group, thought that I may be able to talk to someone during their coffee break.
For me...this is when my recovery really started, over five years ago.
I already, from talking with my friends, knew how I really felt about Jim and whether I should make a new life for me and the girls ( I hate keep referring to my daughters as вЂthe girls'.... sounds like sally from corrie! They are aware that I am writing this story but they wouldn't like their names to be in it) or stay and help him through this illness.
We all agreed that we have had enough hurt but...We did all love each other.
GA talks of вЂone day at a time'( I had read the literature he had brought home) I thought that we could do that...Just for today.
....So where was I... Oh yes, at GA......I was so very lucky that day and as it worked out, for quite a few weeks.
The members decided that as long as no one objected each week, I could sit in the rooms, while the meetings were carried out and listen.
For me, this is where I learnt so so much about this evil addiction and what it really does to good people.
I listened, I heard people give their therapies.
Sometimes horrific tales and some success. I saw the state they were in on their first trip through that door, broken, desperate and lost
( this is also such a reminder, much needed I believe, to people who were already in recovery. Of why they needed to stay stopped. It reinforces their decision. That it is the right decision. This I believe is also why GA can work for you, because this can't happen on a Forum such as this. We can all read those heartfelt stories...but nothing beats seeing it first hand, it is truly a powerful tool and very humbling experience at the same time.)
I listened, learned, laughed and cried with these people. This is what I desperately needed, Knowledge, understanding and most importantly a way forward... Yes we could do this.... The man I loved had hurt me enough.
I will never go through living like that again. Being so dragged down by someone else's emotions. Especially when those emotions are caused by gambling....
So time ticked on....
Jim and I gave it ago. He stopped gambling, went to GA. We tried to rebuild our lives.
He had destroyed my trust and severely tested my love. Bit by bit things improved. Bills became manageable. He got through to a year of not gambling, I was so proud of him. GA gives a badge to commemorate each year of not gambling, they call it a pinning.
He was so glad to achieve that, he had earnt it, I was proud of him. He had gone from being so close to ending his life to a happy non gambling person.
On that evening I read out a poem that I wrote. I have since put it on this site. I am going to paste it here for me, because it's my diary and it feels right that it's here.
TO MY HUSBAND
What a distance we have travelled, these past twelve months
From the deepest of lows
There seemed no where to go
So hurt and frightened, so full of despair
So dark and lonely, with no fresh air
But you found strength to shout out, by using the phone
It was a lifeline for you, a man who thought he had no home.)
My world became shattered, dreams and future all gone
The day you left us, with that gambling bomb.
That letter you left me, tore out my heart
To realise what you have been doing from the very start.
What will happen to my family now, my trust in you all gone
I felt as if I was going mad, but tried to hang on.
My family was in tatters, I needed strength to fight
But it was so hard when crying all day & all night.
GA helped us both to start breathing again
To build bridges & pathways away from the pain.
One day at a time was the GA deal
And this as we've learnt, helps us again to 'feel'.
Life is worth living, being honest was the key
To begin living at last and set ourselves free.
It all takes time and we have only just begun,
What you have achieved, this must not be undone.
It shows on your face, so much my dearest Jim,
Where you are going, is so much brighter than where you have been.
I'm getting my husband back, it's so wonderful to see,
This brave new man, who stands before me.
Each week we learn more, from our friends in the 'room',
How we too, can survive and go on to full bloom.
As for the future, we will have to wait and see
But one day at a time, is OK with me.
We are worth the battle
We have something strong
We just need to search deep, to see where it's gone.
Its slowly returning, anyone can see
The man that I love, is coming back to me.
The children have been through it, I wish they had not,
But can't you see Jim, they love you a lot.
We will make it darling, of that I am sure
I'd better stop writing, before I become such a bore!
To grow old and grey with you, is all I require,
I'm so proud of you darling, you're the one I desire.
Life ticked on....
Because there were no support groups for partners in the area, I looked into setting one up myself. So I started a GamAnon group attached to the GA group that had helped me and Jim so much.
I supported it for some time and it had a group of regulars who use to attend.
My oldest daughter carried on, for several years getting herself into trouble, we were having huge, huge problems with her (I am not going to go into details)
I stopped going to Gamanon. My time was needed elsewhere.
Jim was doing fine, no gambling to report.
I had built my strength up. Jim and I were doing ok.
Things were getting better between us......That I now know in вЂhindsight' is when you have to be the most careful with this addiction.
WE BOTH BECAME CONPLAICENT about the gambling. We stopped reminding ourselves about this addiction.
It is a serious illness, any addiction is powerful...and if you stop respecting the power it can have over you , you are in trouble. It will start feeding the addict the вЂexcuses'. It will encourage old behaviours to start creeping in.
My attention at that time was fully on my eldest daughter. As some of you know, her behaviour in the end resulted in a prison sentence.
I was back once again to a terrible place.
I thought what Id experienced with the gambling was the worst thing to happen to me but nothing prepares you to have your beautiful вЂlittle girl' taken and locked away.... to a world that we knew nothing about. Miles and miles away.
I hope none of you ever have to live those kind of experiences, ever.
I know that we are all responsible for our own actions and have to be made accountable for them. She did wrong and had to be punished, I don't disagree with that.
But she was my вЂbaby,' only just 19. She was naive, not streetwise. Mixing with some bad company. She had developed a drinking problem, which I was unaware of.
Bottom line... did we cause her to go down this route? Did me believing Jim over her, when she tried to tell me the truth way back cause her behaviour to deteriate?
I don't know and I probably will never know. As I said my daughter and I have discussed this and I have said that I am truly sorry for not believing her...but I can't change it , it happened. I live with it.
My daughter is doing really well now days. Hard lessons learnt but her whole future still ahead and I love her.
Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent there!
To get back to the gambling well, as I was saying we both became complacent. Jim stopped going to GA, he knew it anyway(!) and we got on with our lives.
A few occasions I had noticed confliction in his body language about stuff but we had all been through so much with my daughter, in fact it affected everyone she was close to in the family.
She may of been the one who was taken from society but believe me, it was like a sentence for everyone close to her. We all lived it.
So I either let it go...or maybe just couldn't face anymore trauma, I don't know. Well over 3 years had passed since вЂthat letter'.
One day in April I phoned Jim, he answered...
I could hear the horseracing commentary in the background.... my heart sunk.....
He left the bookies and headed for the pub.
He drunk and drunk . then he drunk some more. Jim never has been much good at drinking....but he is a happy drunk. (There is just a very fine line between enjoyment and sleep for him usually ! )
Not this day though, he had taken on board way too much and he didn't care.
He returned to the house, what a state.
So angry, I had never seen him like this, ever. I remember he played music so loud it could hurt my ears. Everything from Kaiser chiefs to the clash, it was deafening.
Jim isn't bad at singing and would often sing along to stuff he was listening to...but this wasn't singing. He shouted the words with so much venom, everything about him oozed anger. This went on for what seemed like eternity.
I just ignored him, I just couldn't be bothered anymore.
You have done this, I thought, no one made you. I absolutely refuse to be part of this cr** again.
I have had more than my share of picking up the people I love, only for them to rip my heart out. I had become ill with it all before.
Not this time... I will not be taken to that place, ever again.
He had totally isolated himself, he was untouchable. He just sat and stared, silent tears ran from his eyes. What a mess he was in.
Part of me felt I should scoop him up and tell him it was ok, that I would help him, that I would somehow ease his pain. But it wasn't ok and I didn't want to help him.
In fact it was terrible and not me at all, but I remember getting some satisfaction from seeing him like this.
I WAS GLAD HE WAS HURTING. He was so feeling it and I was so glad. I wanted him to hurt, just like he had hurt me.
He knew the rules, he chose to brake them.... don't expect any sympathy from me.
Eventually he spoke, still so angry but also a real sadness showing now. He kept repeating still with tears flowing...
вЂњI am a compulsive gambler and I can NEVER have another betвЂќ вЂњThis is me, this is what I amвЂќ вЂњThis is with me for the rest of my lifeвЂќ.
Over and over.
Of course you are, you know that. I know that. You said it every week when you were going to GA you stupid ******...
Then I realised, he had never really got вЂIT'.
I had... I thought he had...but he hadn't.
He was sick, this was an illness.
When you are ill you have to look after yourself, take the medicine...follow your doctor's orders.
In this case the вЂillness' is the gambling addiction, the medicine... is not gambling and choosing recovery, the Drs orders... is following and using the вЂexperience' of others who have walked this path successfully, putting barriers in place, using ALL & ANY tools that are available (not just what you fancy).... FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.....If you want your life that is?... End of...
It's not bloody rocket science but until you truly understand that, then you will continue to gamble and continue the risk of losing your life and everyone in it.
Once you have developed an addiction,
I believe that it becomes irrelevant why you started that activity in the beginning...in this case gambling.
But you did it, you kept gambling and now you are addicted, you can't just stop having it, you can't ignore it .... You have it for life.
Like it or not you have it (so tough s**t, get over it) Do something about it.
You have choices.
If you do what is necessary to change your life, and follow вЂDrs orders' as part of your recovery, then there is no reason why you can't keep this addiction in вЂremission' and be able to get on with your own life and happiness.
Life really is too short to keep P****** around with it, making the same mistakes over & over....Make that choice, and start living.
Sorry, no actually Im not sorry but... вЂI will get off my soap box'...I did warn you at the beginning of my diary that there would be вЂwaffling'! 🙂
So, what went wrong for Jim and me....
Pure and simple, we forgot to respect this addiction. He had stopped physically betting but had not changed anything about himself.
Originally he went to GA each week but put no effort into his recovery at all.
IF NOTHING CHANGES, NOTHING CHANGES.
We also got lazy, we got COMPLACENT... it's a killer where addiction is concerned.
It allows you to lower or remove your вЂbarriers', it allows you to stop using your вЂtools', it allows you to start making excuses and worst of all...
You start believing your own cr** (that your demons are feeding you).... вЂњI feel ok, strong, I know what Im doing...just a small bet, then I'll leave...I can control itвЂќ.....Absolutely f*****g b******t ! You have вЂallowed' the addiction to wake up... the rest as we discovered is history.
We had stopped talking about it, Jim had stopped going to GA, started carrying his cards around with him for no reason.
He felt good & strong. He felt sure he could handle a small bet.
After all, it's not like before, putting ВЈ5000 down at a time. That was greedy & desperate, chasing. Surely £5 would be ok, he could afford to lose that.
He had also learnt his lesson about вЂchasing' he would never do that again anyway.
That's how it started again for him.
The odd £5 here & there...see, he could do this...and walk away, no problem!
What he was actually doing was re-enforcing the behaviour, proving to himself that вЂhe had it licked, was in control'..... What he totally forgot was that he was a cg...and he was just playing with a time bomb.
Before he knew it (and he said to me that was the most frightening thing) he was вЂback in action' and it felt like he had never been away from it.... scary stuff!
We talked and talked. He asked if I would help him. Jim went back to GA.
re established his tools & barriers. He asked me to come with him to all the local bookies, so he could get himself excluded. We took each day as it came.
He was becoming disheartened with the GA group he attended...one of the reasons he stopped going before. But he knew he needed support to be able to do this. He found the Gamcare Forum and introduced me to it.
He has become dedicated to his recovery. He believes in the GA principles and needs that вЂreal people' bit that you cannot ever get online.
Although you may read heart wrenching stories from people here, it is never the same as hearing & seeing those stories in вЂflesh'... it re enforces why you are in recovery, why you MUST do this.
But being part of Gamcare has given him the encouragement and strength to start up a GA group, in our own town.
This has been going for just over a year now.
Jim has been totally bet free for nearly two years and I have every faith that he will receive his 2 yr вЂpinning' on or around the 22nd April. He deserves it and I am proud of him and what he has achieved.
Me...Im still here, still working on my own recovery, in my own way. I like being part of the Gamcare вЂfamily'.
I do love Jim but he has certainly tested that love over the years.
I know that I hate this gambling addiction for what it does to us all.
It has taken bits of me that I don't think I will ever get back, that is the nature of coming into contact with this beast. We all carry some sort of scars.
Jim is a compulsive gambler. I know that. There are no guarantees. I know that.
Well... these are my views and observations. How I saw them (or can remember them!)
My daughters, if they wrote their stories, Im not sure how they would write those years.
I have my own guilt about things, how I should of protected my family better/differently. But we all make mistakes and I did what I thought was best at the time.
That is part of my recovery about the past, I am learning to let it all go.
For me now it, has to be about today.
I'm so happy that you've started your diary...your story...touched me deeply.
Isn't it something...how, as parents, we can recall every thing we (believe we) ever did wrong..and we're sure that those things have caused irreperable damage....and somehow...we minimize all of the wonderful times...the good calls that we made...all of the stuff that we did (and DO) RIGHT...
If that particular incident had never occurred...I imagine you would have found some OTHER thing to focus on...it's just what we do.
A few years back I was with a friend...and I said something like...'sometimes...i just wish i was more confident that I am a good mother' and my friend said 'i don't think that bad mothers sit around wondering whether or not they are good mothers'.
Like you, I fret over some of the calls I've made or ways I've handled things....but...I imagine you and I put a lot more weight on those incidents...than they deserve 🙂
it sounds ridiculous...especially..given how much PAIN I went thru (and inflicted on others that I love)...but...the truth is
if none of this had happened...if I hadn't done all this...been thru what I have.... I would not be living the life that I am...I would not BE the woman that I am....I wouldn't know what was important...that...this moment...is all that there is 🙂
Love to you and to (((Jim)))) thanks to both of you...for sharing your selves..and your stories.
I know that must have brought back some tough and sad memories from the past. Well done you for getting it all out...
I agree with you about GA and talking face to face - yep its emotional, sad and a little laughter but it reinforces how important it is to work at recovery and evevyone nexts bet could be tommorow.. But will tolls in place and teh belief in ourselves it can be done we are seeing it being done..
We get to make them choices and understanding that was teh hardest bit for me - I am also a compulsice gambler and I can never bet again - painfull to say but also glad that I know what I am..
Jac what a wonderful share - full of hope and inpseration - glad you are here..
You have taught me a few things along the way in my own recovery - you have shown me that the otehr side is in recovery aswell and they run at different paces - you have shown me that its ok to let it all out and shown me its ok to reach out for help and shown me that I am not alone..
Youn and JIm have worked hard at this and its now showing - the rewards are there - grab them Jac becuase you deserve happiness..
Its been a long path for you and Jim but you have stood by each other in unity and that is so powerfull and even in teh darkest days it will get you through..
So here is for Just For Today - I am liking today - today I have chosen not to gamble - and life without gambling is a better life..
Thanks for sharing your story - its full of hope and inpseration to all of us xx
All My Love
Hi Jac, im so glad you have decided to start this diary. Im sure many, like myself, can relate to so much of what you have been through. Not all of us have been fortunate enough to keep our partners by our sides through it all.
It was obvious to me from the first time i came on here and spoke to you in chat that you were an individual who i admired and your posts just reinforces the fact.
So much good information in yours and Jims life story and your observations of this illness are spot on.
There is no substitute for seeing and hearing peoples struggles first hand. There are no excuses for not trying anything that will help arrest this illness, because at the end of the day it wrecks lives and in some cases peole take theirs. As you say complacency is a killer and will get you at some point.
I hope members on here, new and old, read your life story and realise just exactly what can happen, if you think it will never happen to you, and what you need to do if you are serious about giving up this addiction.
I wont rant on your diary..lol, but it says it all. Its about making the effort, not the excuses, about having the desire to surrender and accept what you are. I see so many on here still P****** around even after weeks off, the "time bomb" as you put it is lit and its only a matter of time.
I know how you feel about GA, it has saved your marriage and in many ways my life, but we both know you can only lead a horse to water. Hopefully others will see the message in your diary and be as grateful as i am that you are here to continually help yourself and others.
Love Keith xx