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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:24 pm

Thanks NotLookingBack, I very much appreciate the post. You are right, my number one Priority has to be to not gamble. Today it IS my number one priority. I was up for about 16 hours yesterday and I think I spent about half that time just “thinking” about gambling in the stock market, but I didn’t take any negative actions, and most of the time thinking about it was just about how much gambling has hurt my life. I have withdrawn my funds so I cant trade right away, and I am determined to never trade again. The brain patterns are deep though, 27 years deep. Perhaps the first 21 days are the biggest test, and hopefully the shame/guilt/urges will start to go away.

I can be thankful though. I have spent the last several days watching gambling addiction stories on youtube, and in almost every case, the addiction has caused marriages to end, bankruptcies, or even jail time. I am thankful that, if I know last week was my last day of trading ever, that I can escape this disease without a tragic end to my addiction.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby NewSunRising » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:57 am

Well done , Tbone .

Understanding that the addiction is going to fight back is crucial to your success . In your case , you've been feeding it for 27 years and now you've suddenly cut off the supply . You need a battle plan .

I made lists of distractions that I could use when the urges hit me . My success came principally from that and from my use of roadblocks . No access + no money = no gambling . It's that simple . I could "want" to gamble every minute of the day but I made sure there was no way possible to actually do it . This was my timeline , roughly :

1-30 days : Daily , often constant urges to gamble . Disturbed sleep , vivid gambling dreams , random headaches and irritability . Endless attempts by the addiction to undermine or reverse my roadblocks and to convince me that I didn't really have a problem . Feelings of fear at the thought of having access to cash or being exposed to anything related to gambling . Constant revision and implementation of my battle plan . Decreased feelings of physical stress . The beginnings of hope that I can be free of this .

30-60 days : Better sleep , no more headaches or irritability . Increased clarity of how the addiction manipulated my mind . Guilt and disbelief over how I fell for the addiction's lies and the money I'd thrown away . Regular urges but reduced in strength and duration , faster results from the use of distractions . Occasional gambling dreams , panic upon waking and thinking that I'd actually gambled . Continued nervousness regarding money access and exposure to gambling . Confessed the extent of my addiction to a trusted friend and felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders . Increased ability to see my future without gambling in it .

60-90 days : Continued urges and attempts to undermine my resolve but easier to ignore and move on from . Increased clarity and recognition of " addicted thinking " . Increased social activities . Still some obsession with money saving / debt reduction . The beginnings of self-forgiveness , the beginnings of normalization to my relationship with money . Continued re-assessment of my battle plan regarding weaknesses in existing roadblocks and useful distractions . Increase in battling the temptation to believe I'm " cured " . Improved self esteem and understanding of the mechanics of addiction .

90-180 days : Acceptance that the addiction will never stop trying to regain its control over my mind and my life . Urges still come on but are random now , more like intrusive thoughts than compulsions . Still a great deal of regret but working on self-forgiveness . Still mildly obsessed with money and slightly panicked by the thought of my future financial state ( I'm roughly 5 years from retirement age ) . No more gambling dreams . Increased social and leisure activities , re-discovery of past interests and the enjoyment of life . Hope is replaced by the belief that I can overcome this addiction , that I have the strength to make it happen .

Once before , I had reached the 6 month mark ( without a battle plan ) and then allowed the addiction to convince me that I was no longer a gambling addict - that I could gamble in control like a normal person if I wanted to if I just followed a set of self-imposed " rules ". The resulting binge was terrifying in its intensity , the spiral into loss of control and despair was swift and unstoppable . The effort to stop gambling again was so difficult that for a time I considered ending it all . Having a plan made the difference and I am convinced to this day that it saved my life .

There are no Gamblers Anonymous groups where I am but I believe that they are a powerful resource and would have spared me so much struggle if I had been able to access them . Doing this alone is 100 times harder . Accountability to others is a powerful weapon against this disease.

You can do this Tbone but do not underestimate what you are up against . Addiction will do whatever it can to keep itself alive . Prepare for battle .
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 pm

I am so happy for you NewSunRising. You represent a success story that I would like to emulate. I am definitely in day 1-30 and feeling a lot of things you did at that time. It is so difficult for me to get the thoughts about gambling out of my mind. Its almost as if my consciousness observes two brains, one fighting to create reasons for me to start gambling again, and another that is resisting the part of the brain that wants to start gambling again.

This time feels different though than the many times I have stopped gambling before. I have read everything I could on how the brain works, and have also started a daily meditation practice, which has got me to be introspective and understand what my addiction was doing to my brain. Everything came to a head last week when it all kind of seemed to come together for me after a really bad day. I also realize that all the other addictions I have (alcohol, social media, etc), although less toxic/harmful, were feeding on one another, and I taken steps to address them too. I have probably stopped and stared a dozen times in the past 27 years, having a break down and saying this time would be it, but having that only last a short time (usually a few weeks at most) as my addiction overwhelmed me, so I know how difficult this is. I am hoping to get to at least day 180 w/o any relapses, because I think I will be 90% of the way there then, although I realize the addiction will never go away 100% for the rest of my life.

Thanks again so much for the response. Being able to hear that others have similar problems and the success stories related to that gives me and others hope.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby chilaxis » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:44 am

tbone, I can understand what you are going through. I'm so glad to find your thread as it seems I've found people who have shared similar experiences to me where gambling via trading has had a devastating effect on my life.

I have been experiencing trading addiction since 2005 myself when I first got introduced to shares by my friend when I was 25 years-old.

At first it was dollar-cost-average investing into blue chip shares. But then when I first saw the share price rise and drop for the first time, and the prospect of going in and out for a quick profit (especially on penny stocks) - the concept of 'trading' (gambling) started to take a stranglehold on my life.

14 years on, I have lost a total of close to $250,000 on trading (plus 9 months of a stupid sports-betting stint), and how many thousands of precious hours glued to the ticker/candlestick charts of shares/commodities/forex. Sure I have had the amazing trade once in a while where I've gained $100,000+, but overall, I've lost much more than I've gained. Monetary-wise, time-wise, energy-wise. All down the drain.

Over these 14 years if I had just stuck to dollar-cost-averaging a portion of my savings from my salary into blue-ship shares or just an index fund, it's safe to say that it will be comfortable living for me, my wife and my two children by now.

I have tried to study a lot on trading strategies and do trading the proper way (keep losses small, trend-following, let winners run, risk only 2% per trade etc.) - but I think my psychological make-up (perfectionist/compulsive/ocd/optimist) always causes me to frequently move my stop-loss when I shouldn't, revenge-trade, addicted to trading (constantly glued to the trading screen, even at work and at home). I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop trading cold turkey. Dollar-cost-average investing into blue-ships or index funds yes, but trading - need to stay away big time.

Just today, I lost $8700 on just one trade alone shorting the DOW, 2 months' worth of our household monthly savings. Money meant for rent, meant for credit-card repayment, meant for kids' education, meant for groceries, meant for wife's small business. :( :(

I have decided today (12/09/19) to take a stand and say enough is enough. I am 39 years-old and there are still two thirds of my life to go. I want it to be trading and gambling free. I want to provide the best for my wife, my young daughter and son. I have decided to withdraw the peanuts that is left of my IG trading account and close the account permanently.

I'm in a pathetic situation right now as a father and husband. Mired in credit card debt (yes how silly was I to take out loans to trade), still renting and no house to call our own, rising costs of two children, and an addiction to beat.

Hopefully today will be my first day towards a better future, I'll be struggling to pay back my debts, and definitely will expect to go through tough trading addiction withdrawals - but I think the future will be brighter for my family with me taking this stand. First mission is to work hard to repay all existing debts, and then start saving again (and keep it out of trading harm's way).

Day-1 Gambling/Trading Free - One day at a time!

tbone, thank you again for starting this thread - and also to all those who've opened up their hearts to share their experiences on this thread as well. It has truly given me the motivation to quit trading. I wish you all the best with your quitting process as well. May we encourage each other on to beat this addiction together.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby chilaxis » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:29 am

Day-5 trading-free.

- Closed my trading account as planned.
- Woke up in the middle of the night with a lot of 'what-if' thoughts. Needed some effort to brush them away.
- Confronted with reality of the $65k debt. Keep thinking I should've stopped trading when $170k up. But I know it is futile thoughts, as the gambler in me would never have stopped.
- Psychologically damaged. Woke up in the middle of the night again.
- Work affected. Distracted. Can't concentrate.
- Will tomorrow be better?
- At least there can be no more damage done via trading.
- One day at a time.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby NewSunRising » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:10 pm

That's good progress Chilaxis . 5 days is a brilliant achievement and you should be proud of that .

There's a kind of detox period when we quit feeding the addiction and physical symptoms are not uncommon . I was irritable , had headaches and dreams about gambling . They weren't constant and they did stop a few months into my recovery . It wasn't fun but I just had to muscle through it .

Physical exercise helped a lot - I walked more and started yoga . Letting go of the regret isn't quick either but with time , it can be done . Honestly , for me - the debt was the easiest thing to resolve . The hows and whys of my becoming addicted to gambling took a lot longer to understand and address .

Time ... it's our greatest asset in this battle . Time away from the destructive behavior increases our strength against the addiction with every passing day . Time to heal and to learn .

Keep going !
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby chilaxis » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:40 am

Thank you for your support NewSunRising! I need to trust that Time is a friend that will help me heal and learn in time.

I've read up about the 'urge surfing' technique involving being mindful of the sensations of my body and breath when urges come - and try to just be an observer of the urge and let it pass. So far it's been helpful - hopefully I can keep training my mind to do that whenever the urge comes.

I've so far resisted the temptation to use my savings to further trade with this technique.

However, I'm struggling to repay debt and handle business and family expenses without having to dip into our savings. Have to be especially skimp over the next few years to tide by while repaying my large overhanging debt and tackling all these upcoming expenses.

The suffering that I have caused my wife and children to endure - I really could've given them a better life :( How I wish I could go back in time to give my younger self a stern warning...

Day-9 GF. One day at a time.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby Aries411 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:26 pm

chilaxis wrote:I've read up about the 'urge surfing' technique involving being mindful of the sensations of my body and breath when urges come - and try to just be an observer of the urge and let it pass. So far it's been helpful


Very nice! That sounds a lot like Mindfulness. I practice that too and it has been my key defense against the addiction and urges for the past few years. You will definitely be able to train your mind with a bit of practice. Whenever I have urges or if I am exposed to a trigger, my mind goes into the state that you described. All thoughts are suppose to be recognized and eventually it passes. Sometimes if the urge is very strong and is stuck in my head, I go into meditation (I like 4-square breathing) and after a minute, it always passes.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:45 pm

Hi Chilaxis, just reading your posts-thank you so much. I cannot tell you how closely your situation is to mine-I feel for you and Im going through this with you. I am so happy to say I’m now 1 month and 6 days w/o trading/gambling. Ironically, I came on this site today because I had a trading urge, but held myself back from trying to reopen my brokerage account. I noticed the brain pattern a million times before-A strong urge that I have a strategy that will (for certain, haha) work over the long term-internal dialogue that this time will be different because I know I will stick to the plan, a calculation on a spreadsheet at how quickly I will get to an amount I can retire-then I go into a trance-like state as I put money into my brokerage account or I enter my new trades.

I think the biggest challenge to overcome (which I thought I had done in past years) is to understand, completely and fully, that you cannot significantly beat the market over time by trading. Just being smart and “understanding” the markets doesn’t get you anywhere. Im a perfect example-I have an MBA from a good school w/27+ years of trading experience, and Ive lost money nearly every single year of my life. I have tried every strategy there is (you name it, moving averages, Fibonacci’s, sentiment indicators, breakouts, support levels, every options strategy there is, etc etc, etc etc). Not only do they not work, but I could never stick to any plan, because in the end, the risk always had to be MORE to get the same level of excitement as I had in the past, and I would eventually take an extreme amount of risk and get wiped out. It was a curse that I started out by making a great first trade 27 years ago, and that I also had a friend who made a ton of money in the market (I only learned many years later he had taken a ton or risk to get it, and then later lost it all). The $250K you lost in 14 years is about what I have lost over the years per year, but I perhaps have lost closer to a half million over 27 years. It sometimes makes me get physically ill, and I know the feelings you are going through about how you have let your family down. But I know you can change the future for the better, and I know I can.

If you stop now, your debt will go away over time, especially now that you will be more focused on productive ventures. 39 is young to me, and I am more than a decade older. If I could go back to 39 years old and stop trading my life would be infinitely better financially right now. I think I would be retired frankly as I have a decent income, and would have had a higher income if not so focused on gambling. You have two paths you can take-continue trading and have virtually no extra money, or stop trading (and conservatively invest) and have a life of prosperity. Imagine yourself at 50, which will come one day. You will still be young in my eyes, and Im sure you will want to be a spouse and father than can be there to support your family-to get there, there is only one choice. I will repeat this again-you cannot and will not significantly beat the market over time, and I would say there is a 90%+ chance that you will significantly underperform the market over time and will likely lose more than you can afford to lose. I think in more recent years at some level I knew this, and the gambling addiciton overrode my logical brain, so Im hoping that doesnt happen to you. But this is a marthon, not a sprint, and you will be amazed at how these short term problems you are having now will evaporate over the coming years.

Also, I agree with Aries411. For me, I think what eventually got me to stop last month was in large part due to a daily mindfulness meditation practice which I started a few months back. I eventually came to understand my mind and how it operates so much better. I understand my urges better and how parts of my brain are simply trying to trick my consciousness into taking actions to get a dopamine fix. Over the last 37 days, I have been able to dive into these urges and see them clearly, which has helped a lot.
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Re: Stock/Option "trading", I mean, gambling

Postby tbone3443 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:29 pm

I suggest all of you that have a gambling/trading addiction to watch the movie with Philip Seymore Hoffman called "Owning Mahoney". It is about a gambling addict (he gambles mainly on sports and in casinos, but it is IMO the same psychologically as those with trading addictions) who is a bank loan officer who created millions in fake loans to feed his addiction. It is a true story.

One part of the movie stood out. Mahoney had lost millions over the years and he had one amazing day in blackjack/craps and made $7 million, enough to pay back both all the money he stole from the bank, and to have enough to retire in comfort. He kept going though, and eventually lost the $7 million he won plus a few million more that day, when he was forced to call it quits and give himself up to authorities. Why didn’t he stop up $7 million? I think it is because it was not about the money, it was about the excitement which filled some psychological need he had. Chilaxis-I know you said you had wished you would have stopped at $170K when you could. But that is not how it works with addicts. You NEVER quit when you are ahead because that is when your confidence is highest-you keep gambling until you are forced to stop financially or you have some kind of emotional breakdown. All gamblers have the "get back to what I lost" mentality, and it always backfires. Even if you were to "get it back"-no doubt you would "re-lose" the money you just made.
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