I joined the forum in 2012 and I'm currently 1230 days (3 years and 4.5 months) off a bet.
In the early days I was committed to abstinence for short periods of time i.e. 100 days, 3 months, 6 months etc. but I always returned to gambling. This forum was a great help at the time but there was no real accountability on my part.
It wasn't until 2015 that my life changed. I became a father and for the first time in my life I realised I had a responsibility bigger than myself. I continued to gamble for 6 months after this but my life descended into chaos, the breakup of my relationship and not seeing my son whenever I wanted. Gambling gave me a release, it numbed the pain and helped me cope with all the pain in my life. How ironic that it was also gambling that in part had led me to that point.
I placed my last bet on 30th May 2016. For a while leading up to that day I had extreme highs and lows and had seriously been asking myself would everyone just be better off if I was gone. It was a dark day indeed but even at the time I didn't know if I would gamble again. I'd promised myself hundreds of times before that I was done with it and this time didn't seem any different on reflection.
Over the next few days I had decided to come completely clean and tell all my family beginning with my Mum. I explained that I was finally going to seek help by going to Gamblers Anonymous (GA). They were all very understanding. I suppose I was lucky that whilst I had accumulated quite a large debt (Loans & Credit Cards) I didn't owe money to anyone in particular and all the bills were being paid with food on the table.
I attended my first GA meeting 9 days later and it was one of, if not the best decisions I have made. I had long considered going but always thought I wouldn't be as bad as 'them'. I realised very quickly I was one of 'them'. I could type all day about the help and support I have received in the rooms but all I will say is if you need help then give it a go, a proper go as in 90 days.
GA has helped me with much much more than abstaining from a bet and then getting into recovery. It has helped me with life issues most namely bereavement. My Mum suddenly passed away a few months ago. It was definitely the most difficult period in my life but I had the guys and girls in the rooms to help me through. If I had have still been gambling when Mum passed then God knows what would have become of me, maybe I wouldn't even be here to tell the story.
With all that said, I am in a good place now. Gambling is all around us and if I really wanted to have a bet then I could. I choose not to have the first bet though, simply because I don't want there to be a 2nd or a 3rd and so on. In all honesty I don't miss gambling, I do miss the social aspect though i.e. playing poker with my friends. It's a small price to pay for the serenity a gamble free life gives me.
Great post Bud and nice to see you doing well and certainly a story that belongs in the Success section. Sorry to hear about your Mum passing away at least she was able to pass knowing you was back on track and im sure she was extremely proud of you.
As i'm sure you'll remember for our conversations back in the day GA was a big influence on myself and still is, its difficult to explain how a group of men and women sat taking about our gambling issues works but you and me are proof of that. keep it up mate never get complacent.