Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Is it an 'Addiction'?

I am not sure what the definition of addiction truly is...

I looked it up on the web..several sources...and some get close to it...but so far...I just haven't found the right words to say exactly what it is.

i don't pretend to have a definiton either :)

My experience with gambling did not BEGIN as an addiction...but I imagine that I gambled compulsively that very first time (tho I cannot recall it).

I am pretty sure that every time I have EVER gambled, I gambled compulsively.

The thing didn't affect my LIFE.

I would go to a school fair, or a bingo, or to Las Vegas...wherever...and while I was there, I would gamble like a wild woman....honestly....long before gambling was a problem in my husband and i were in Vegas and we brought quite a bit of money with us..for just a short trip.

We blew it all (well...I cannot recall the details..but I imagine that he gambled like a normal person while I went crazy...then...I gambled away all of 'his' money too).

ANYWAY...I can remember the two of us going to the counter...we decided to take a cash advance on a credit card...after all, we were on VACATION!! LOL...this was before we all had ATM'm showing my age here :) ...the thing is...neither of us had ever taken a cash advance before (never had the need to)...and...we..or at least *I* was a little bit embarrassed that we had done that...and we agreed not to tell anyone.

Well my husband has not done anything like that since that one time, probably 20 years ago...and *I* didn't do anything like that for another 10 years. (Eventually it was a 'normal' occurance for me).

I probably didn't gamble for two years after that incident...didn't gamble, didn't think about gambling, nothing...but..gambling was obviously a problem for me way back then.

So...I had a gambling 'problem'...but...I could (and did) walk away from it easily.But...the more I gambled...the more I WANTED to gamble...and I eventually got to the point where I actually NEEDED to gamble.

So..the compulsive behavior was always was obsessed.

When I gambled, I gambled in wreckless desperation...when I WASN't gambling...I was THINKING about gambling...about how much money I had available to gamble with..when I would get more money...what I had to do to hide what was going on...can I talk anyone here into going to the casino...and if not...what excuse can I use?? where can I tell them that I have to go so that I can sneak off???

It was constant...the obsession..

For *me* THAT is the addiction.

*AM* I an addict?

Some would say no...after all...I was not ingesting anything...there was not a SUBSTANCE that I was was a behavior...can that truly be an addiction?I don't think I've ever said this aloud before (does typing here count as 'aloud'?) but....when I was at the height of this thing...if I had been video candid camera...if every moment of my day were captured...oh mywell..if you cut out all of the scenes where I was gambling (if you did that, it would be a very short film)..and you just watched my behavior when I was NOT gambling...and you didn't know that I had a gambling would watch that tape...ANYONE could watch that tape..and would think that I was a junkie.

Not always....when I was with other people..with my family or at work, I appeared quite normal...but...when I was alone...I can recall gambling one day..and running out of I go to the bank, use my ATM card to get cash...hurry back to my machine...then that money is gone...can't go back to the bank...would look to suspicious (to my husband....although...that thought was so insane...if he ever saw a bank statement back then, he would have freaked out..REGARDLESS if I made two withdrawals in one day...twisted twisted thinking) I couldnt go back to the bank, but..I wasn't I'd go to the grocery and buy something for $10 and use my ATM card to pay for it, and get $100 cash back....the bank statement will look like i paid $110 for groceries....I'd go blow that...then....I'd do the same thing at the pharmacy..get another $100...I can recall one particular day (although I am certain that this happened more than once) after having done all those other things, walking into my closet and...well..I have TONS of purses...and when I change purses lol I tend to take out what I need and put it in the new purse...leave all the junk (including change dropped in the bottom of the purse) in the old one..and place it on the shelf.s

o i remember this one day...going into my closet and I am hurrying..the girl is saving my machine...I have to get back there...rummaging through my things….one purse then the next purse, collecting all of the change...and then..bringing that to a place that has a machine, counts the change CHARGES you a fortune (what did i care? i was flushing that money anyway)..all the while...I am antsy..hurried..needing to get back there...I imagine I looked just like a drug addict does...needing my 'fix'...and the absurdity of it I am cashing in change (and in all likelihood going home broke that evening) after hundreds (or more) of dollars had passed through my hands that day?and at the end of the day...when my family would come home..I would feign normalcy..frantically cook, clean, take care of all of the things that I'd neglected to do all day..and then...once we'd eaten, and the tasks were done...I would start obsessing....what excuse can I use?

it's so hard to believe I spent so much time doing that.

no more.

Addiction, disease, impulse-control disorder.....whatever it holds nothing for me.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story on this blog. It is so famililar to me and it really helps to know that I'm not alone.


cheeky said...

Hello and thank you very much for organising this site. I am finding it very helpful especially the part about it being a brain problem and the way it affects it.