Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Letter to a friend written August 2007

*posted here with permission of adressee

yeah...I felt that way....wanted to believe that I was in control...that is exactly why so many people 'slip' or 'relapse'...because...as miserable as we once were...once we are able to find a way to break free..and get some RELIEF..we start to feel better...we start to feel WONDERFUL even...and, I liken it to childbirth :) we forget the pain....we start to think...maybe I wasn't that bad? maybe I made a bigger deal of this than it really was...maybe I exaggerated the whole thing...and....I feel confident that I can control it (now that I have myself back together) and on and on and on....in the same way that we rationalized all of those OTHER things that we did when we were in action (spending absurd amounts of time and money for..well...for nothing really)....in the same way that we did that..we start convincing ourselves that it is 'ok' to gamble again.

Some people, when that happens....recognize the error immediately and get back to help....others (like me) figure...what the hell? and we keep rationalizing and rationalizing (I abstained for 20 months...then began gambling again and continued for 22 months)...and throw away months (or years) of our lives.

The GOOD news is...yes....it is very very difficult to make the initial break...our brains (thinking, feelings, and chemically) are all screwed up and we feel hopeless, desperate and ashamed... BUT...with help..we CAN break free...AND...if we educate ourselves (and not listen to the inner voice that tells us we can try again) and get support from others (I am not sure yet why that is so important..but connecting with others DOES seem to be key)...we can STAY free....only a small percentage of people do that (stay free always)...and it has been my experience that those people (who return to gambling) often have not stayed connected and/or have stopped 'working' (learning about the disease and taking steps to make changes for the better in their lives).

G.A. is good...because...the LAST time I stopped gambling....I had no urges...I was OK....I stopped attending meetings and that meant I stopped doing ANYTHING at ALL regarding...gambling...recovery....GROWTH.

I attend g.a.

I know people who are abstaining who do NOT attend meetings. I have tried it both ways...without g.a. didn't work for me (cuz I didn't stay connected and working on this).

G.A. ...well....some of the stuff...it doesn't work for me...but...some of it has given me my life back..so I take what I need and leave the rest...for example...most people who are successfully working the program (at least most that I have seen) hmmm kind of live in fear, i guess? they live in fear of the next bet..they go to meetings every week because they are afraid that if they don't, they will gamble (and get back in that hell).

Well...it's not for me to judge...some of our hells were much worse than others..and *I* say....if it works for you...fear..whatEVER...then, good for you...

But I don't want to live that way.

I don't want to feel sad about this horrible 'diagnosis'. I mean...I was at first...I guess I felt a whole lot like you do now...I've been thru a lot since then, have learned a lot...this is where I am now....

I did some things that I regret when I was gambling. It sucks that I did those things, but I cannot undo them...I can make amends for what I have done and I can not do them again.

I do not know if I will attend g.a. forever..and i do not CARE about forever..forever is too far away...I would like to think that one day I can walk away from meetings and g.a. blah blah blah (but that may be that dangerous little voice telling me that?)

I don't know.

what i *DO* know is...that for right now...it is what I need...so I will do it right now.

I do not live in fear.

I do not want to gamble again.

I am determined not to gamble again.

TODAY..I am taking steps to ensure that I don't....and I'm happy and healthy and fine today.

**Update- I am currently not attending g.a. meetings regularly...but am more involved in working...ummm...it's not a 'program' really....it is my LIFE..... today I am 'working my LIFE'

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