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Could this be my blessing in disguise?

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Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby Itsmetime » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:26 am

Yesterday was a very bad day. I have been struggling with the pull to go to the casino even though I know I should not be there. I banned myself in 2015 after my husband begged me to. I swore I was committed, but deep down I still needed the fix. Well, today my world came crashing down.

I played my favorite machine and hit a jackpot. I tried to pass off as someone else and got caught. I was humiliated, distraught and scared. I was not arrested, but I now face a fine for trespassing. The feelings are horrible and I cannot sleep, eat or manage my life. I want to be able to attend counseling or group meets, but my work schedule does not really permit that. I’m reaching out here to ask for help, guidance and support. I cannot do this alone like I thought I could. I need the madness to stop because I have so many blessings in my life, but the addiction is so great I can’t seem to overcome. Yesterday scared me and now everyone knows who I am. I won’t walk in to that casino ever again, but unfortunately there are 3 others in my area. I look at this as hitting rock bottom and I need to know that it will be ok. Thanks for listening.
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby rainbowcolor » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:32 pm

Hi Itsmetime, although you have not been to the casino since 2015, abstinence from gambling is not the same as recovery. It is important to see gambling as a self destructive activity rather than something that can be indulged in a controlled manner from time to time.

This may indeed be a blessing in disguise because it mean that we are still vulnerable no matter how long we stay away. Knowing why we gamble and replacing it with other more wholesome activity, connecting with people who have the same problems and are trying to remove gambling from their lives may be keys to staying away for good.

It is not easy but not impossible.
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby NewSunRising » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:04 am

Welcome , Itsmetime .

rainbowcolor wrote:abstinence from gambling is not the same as recovery.


This is so true . Since you self-excluded 3 years ago , are you saying that you were still going to the casino and only recently got caught ? What has been the longest time you've stayed away from gambling ?

I consider my addiction to be a sort of living entity that needs to be fed in order to to stay alive . Denying it "food" triggered it into full-blown survival mode . The urges were incessant and demanding . I woke up wanting to gamble and went to bed wanting to gamble .

I made lists of things I could do to take my mind off of gambling that were pages long . I tried them all . Distracting myself from the urges worked for anywhere from a minute to a hour , sometimes not at all . I kept moving down the list , keeping what worked , discarding what didn't .

One thing I did notice - within the first 2 weeks of stopping , I was sleeping better . Within a month , the distractions began to be more effective and would shut up the voice in my head for a few hours instead of a few moments .

After 3 months , I started to feel my own strength and the twisted logic of my addicted thinking became apparent . I began to see through the lies that the addiction used to keep me feeding it . I went for days , sometimes weeks , without the urge to gamble and when it did come , my rational brain was able to shut it down because I knew it for the con-job it was .

At 6 months I learned to forgive myself and I could finally look to my future . After 7 years of financial destruction , it wasn't pretty , but I focused on rebuilding it . That became my new obssession for a while . My relationship with money - having it , hoarding it , not trusting myself with it - began to normalize . I discovered things about myself ( again , not always pretty ) that fueled my desire to escape by gambling . Things that needed fixing . I'm still a work in progress but it's getting better .

At one year , I knew I was going to make it - as long as I never let my guard down . I finally understood that my gambling addiction will always be trying to come back and take over again . Even after 3 and a half years of recovery , I still get occasional gambling "thoughts" when I'm stressed out , tired or faced with something I really don't want to do . The old constant and compelling urges don't happen any more . They're whispers instead of screams . They have no power over me and they are dismissed almost instantly . I've learned to recognize the "why" of their appearance .

One thing that helped me very much was this forum . Not only was it a place to vent and share my story and my struggles , it helped me to encourage and support other who were struggling too . It was comforting to know I wasn't alone , I wasn't just some weak , defective freak among humanity .
I deserved a life without chains like everyone else .

It's a long and often hard journey , Itsmetime . There will be days when you want desperately to give in and give up because it's just easier than constantly battling your own brain . We'll be here to help you make it through those days , those hours , those moments . At the end of this hard road is freedom and we'll be with you every step of the way .

You can do this .
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby Aries411 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:02 am

Beautiful timeline NSR!! People should really take your words and make them into posters!

rainbowcolor wrote:abstinence from gambling is not the same as recovery


I remember saying those exact words at a GA meeting and it really opened one members eyes.

When my wife first found out about my addiction, I abstained for 3.5 years, but it hindsight, I was lucky to even make it that far. My mind was mentally weak to the thoughts and I never really looked inside to see how I could change. I just avoided gambling as much as I could. Out of sight, out of mind. However, once I got a really strong urge after those many years, my house of cards came tumbling down.

This time around, after 6 months of recovery, I knew my mind was much stronger than the 3.5 years of abstinence because now I was mentally prepared.
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby happy_bean » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:24 pm

I am at this forum, at this time, because the urge to go and gamble is Soooooooooooooo strong for me right at this very minute.
Today is day 38 gf for me and I don't want to throw that away. It's been hard work and I know I deserve better. NSR has said to make a list of other things to do that will help to overcome the urges. And I did and I just got back from walking the dog for a whole hour. Unfortunately I still got them urges. I don't feel like watching tv or reading i'm so listless that gambling is all I can think of. this really sucks.
I know I must quit this addiction but in my brain it will not compute right now. Up until today I was feeling so strong and confident but now I feel so powerless and hopeless. If only I can hang on just for today. in the past I have managed to give up drinking and smoking but this is so much more difficult. :evil:
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby NewSunRising » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:58 am

Glad you came to the forum HappyBean .

True , there are times when nothing seems to work to shut up the voice in out heads . Those were the days when I got mad and frustrated . I was trying so hard , dammit . Why wasn't it working ?!

The only thing I can tell you is that increased and unrelenting urges are proof that it is working . My addiction went into extinction burst when it became apparent that I was serious about killing it.

This is the worst part of the withdrawals . I reminded myself that the urge to gamble cannot physically damage me . I spoke out loud to it . Most of what I said is , um ... not allowed in a family friendly forum . I pictured it as a child throwing a massive shrieking tantrum over a denied piece of candy . Sometimes I laughed at it . " lol - still trying , are you ? You're not in charge anymore . Give up , cos' it's not gonna happen ."

I lied right back at it - " Sure , you can go and gamble - tomorrow / next weekend / after you clean out the closets " . When all else failed , I got in the shower . You can't do much when you're naked and soaking wet . Online puzzles helped me - jigsaws , connect three games , crosswords .

Hang in there HappyBean . I'd love to tell you the worst is over but I can't . What I can tell you is that nearly 40 days of no gambling have given you a strength that is growing day by day . You might not see it , but it's there and the fact that you came to the forum instead of the casino is proof .
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby happy_bean » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:25 am

Thanks NSR for the encouraging words. I tried to take a nap after posting and fell asleep for about 90 minutes so that helped too. It's tough. This thing is so strong most people don't understand that. I'm glad I came back to the forum after and read your reply to my desperate plea. It helped a lot. I think now I will watch a little tv and then go to bed. whew what a day.
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby rainbowcolor » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:09 am

Hang in there happy bean, you are doing great, it gets easier as time goes by. When I was new at trying to stop gambling, I spend a lot of time in this forum and some other sites reading all the stories, trying to communicate and connect with others and also join a chat group. (5 hours a day, no time to gamble)

I am now at 233 days, you can do the 100 days challenge, I know you can do it, cheers :D
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Re: Could this be my blessing in disguise?

Postby Itsmetime » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:26 pm

Thank you all for responding. I can say that this forum is what I needed. Knowing that I am not alone makes all the difference. Even if I wanted to gamble I am sure that my picture is plastered all over th other 3 casinos in my area. I felt ashamed for being caught, but I’m glad that I was because if I hadnt I would probably still be going.
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