Thursday, July 31, 2008

One thing at a time

I didn't make the meeting.

I've been working 12 hour days all week for a deadline at work.
Today was the deadline.
I met it...but I still have a lot of important tasks that must be done asap.

Funny...I live my life tired.
I'm always tired...exhausted.


as little as I've been sleeping...and as much as I've been working...and under quite a bit of pressure...I feel ok.

Most of the time I feel like I am spread too thin, not doing anything well enough....rushing here and rushing there....doing SOME work at the office...SOME work at home...I try so hard but I just don't have enough (of ME) to accomplish what is on my plate.

and....don't get me not the answer...I'm neglecting everything else....the house is a wreck...I'm not spending much time with my family or my friends...

but SOMETHING is being done well :) energy is FOCUSED....I am not distracted at all when I am at work (at the moment).

I know that balance is the answer....
and I THINK...

that if I can FOCUS on ONE thing at a time...and do that thing WELL...

that my life will be easier
and I will feel better.

sweet dreams,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rock bottom?

I hear people talk about having to hit 'rock bottom' before we can quit.

I've heard people say that we each have our OWN rock bottom (many of us have stopped without reaching quite the bottom that some others have). my OWN experience...having stopped was all very different.

the second time I was caught up in the cycle was very different than the first time...and the second time that I stopped gambling was very different as well.

Some might say that I wasn't 'as bad' the second time.
I might even say that.

Once I sat down at a machine, I was DEFINATELY as bad as I ever was....but.... I hid my gambling (both times) at all costs...and the SECOND time...I had little access to money...or methods to get it without being found I gambled less often, and with less money.

I was pretty sneaky ....and did some stupid things...but...since I didn't have access to as much money

I gambled less

so I wasn't quite as 'insane' as I was the first time....

when I was gambling for hours and hours every day....or for a few minutes here and there, anytime I could sneak away.

The second time....I wanted it...I wanted it badly...but my whole world did not revolve around it.

I was not at rock bottom.

I wasn't GOOD, by any stretch of the imagination....but on 10-30-06 I was so much better off - in EVERY way - than I was on 4-15-02.



I have spent so much time thinking about this....I mean...if we could put our finger on exactly what happens....why, when we couldn't stop for days and months and years....and then, we can....if we could figure out WHY....well...that'd change the world, wouldn't it?

and it's not about rock least it wasn't for me....not on 10 30 06 anyway.

for me....on that was about...KNOWING that I could live a better life than I was living.

Really knowing It was possible.

in 2002...I didn't THINK I could stop, I didn't WANT to stop, I knew I'd never ever be satisfied with life if I could not gamble again...yet....I knew that I HAD to stop....if I wanted my family...and I desperately wanted my I tried....and I did.

Several months was difficult to believe that I'd ever felt that way.
I felt so GOOD.

Things weren't great between my husband and I for a long long time...but I was OK anyway....and he slowly came around.

I knew I'd never gamble again.
did I? the back of my mind...I knew that I would....I *KNEW* that I would have to deal with loss (death) again, and when I did, I would have an 'excuse'. I'm sure that was in the back of my mind.

and of course it happened, and of course, I gambled.

that started my second cycle.

after two years of gambling....I found and entered safe harbor chat room.

I wasn't looking to stop.

I wasn't that bad!

I only went into the chat room because my Addiction Dr. had been pressuring me to get back to g.a. -- I argued that it took time from my family...if g.a. had meetings WHEN I WAS GAMBLING...maybe I could do that instead of gambling (ha!) but...night time meetings didn't fit into my life.---

that's true...but, really, it was just an excuse.

I didn't want to stop.

So he'd tell me to find something ONLINE.
He told me there were online meetings, I should find them, and get a sponsor.

I'd say 'OK'...then I wouldn't do it.

So I had an appointment with him soon...and I didn't want to hear him give me sh*t about not finding something...and I didn't want to lie...

so I googled 'gambling problem chat room'....and found safe harbor.

Like I said...I wasn't looking to stop.

But...when I entered...there were a hand full of people there...and we chatted for a bit...and

it was a CHAT ROOM....reading typed words on a screen....I could FEEL that...they were OK.

What I mean is.....sitting here....talking with them....was sort of relaxing...soothing....for a short time I was not my tense, anxious, stressed-out self.

and it sort of came back to me....what I felt like....when I'd stopped.....that 21 months that I didn't gamble....I was happy....and...hmmmm ?content??

like they seemed.

I sort of REMEMBERED that...the feeling that I NEEDED gambling to be happy was an illusion that disappeared a while after I stopped.

I had done it before.
I believed I could do it.
and that things could be better.

I had hope.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Don't test or tempt yourself

In G.A. they say 'if you don't want to gamble, then do what page 17 says'.

Page 17, #3:

"Don't test or tempt yourself. Don't associate with acquaintances who gamble. Don't go in or near gambling estblishments. Don't Gamble for Anything. This includes the stock market, commodities, options, buying or playing lottery tickets, raffle tickets, flipping a coin or entering the office sport pool."

I just wanted to point out that just because I was fine this weekend....doesn't mean it was particularly smart.

It's not something I feel comfortable doing.

I know the danger.
I know how desperate I horrific living had become....I don't ever want to be there again...and...

this 'illness' is baffling.....part of the danger is.....the NEXT time someone suggests something that I know isn't really 'safe'....I'll reason that...I was fine THIS I'd be OK....

the downward spiral begins.

I have been free before....for about the same time as I've been free now....and the morning that I 'decided' to gamble....that was the beginning of a two year 'episode'.

two YEARS.
I couldn't pull myself out.
didn't want to.

didn't want to gamble, but didn't want to stop either.
you know.

*ONE* reason (there are several) that I couldn't share this in a g.a. meeting is that....some people might hear that *I* had done this...and reason that THEY could....

and who knows....maybe they could?

but I don't want them (or you) to risk it because of something that *I* said.

best not to risk it at all.


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Today is my sister in law's birthday.

Ten of us went out with her last night to celebrate.

No 'set' plans...but I knew that we would go out to dinner....then for drinks.

The arena football championship is in town so a lot of streets were closed to accomodate the number of we were on foot...and it started to rain....and I suddenly find myself following the others out of the rain....seeking shelter at the entrance of Harrah's Casino.

My husband is so sensitive to this....over the years...I have 'educated' him on things that I should and should not do....what common triggers are, etc.

Everyone there KNOWS I have a gambling problem...but they obviously don't 'get' it.

I 2002, when I was ready to share this with my inlaws....I sat down with them and told them that I have a gambling problem, and how bad it much debt I had created....and they both told me how proud of me they were...that I was getting help...and that....we would just not go for a while...until I got it 'under control'.
I explained to them...that I couldn't gamble....ever again.
They were shocked....

but everyone respects that.

and they KNOW how bad it was.....

but I guess...there is still a lot that they don't get....

so my brother and sister in law are trying to decide where they want to eat....and they decide on the restaurant INSIDE of the casino.

I knew it was coming.

I'm sure my husband did too.

They KNOW I can't gamble...but what's the big deal with just walking thru the place?
Plus...they know I went to Vegas a few months ago...
I'm sure they didn't think it was a big deal at all.

My husband said...'we dont have to go'.

and, he's right..we DIDN'T have to go...

and to be honest...I didn't WANT to go.

I have spent far too many hours in that place...but I haven't stepped foot inside since 2002....I feel FINE...but...

there's no point in pushing it...ya know?
it's just not worth it.

but then....
how free is that?

Don't get me wrong....I do not want to be there.

There's a night club in there somewhere and a girlfriend of mine asked me to meet her there for a drink one night and I laughed at her..."I CAN'T go THERE!' lol
we met someplace else.

but here we are....ten of us....if I said I couldn't (or wouldn't) go.... they would all have done something else...but...

do I want to do that?

I didn't.

My husband asks me...'are you sure it's ok?....'
I tell him it is.

We go in.

Several people in the group have to go to the restroom.
My husband has to go.
I am fine. I'll wait.

He looks at me...and says....I'll stay with you.

I laugh...'OK...I will go to the restroom!' (so that HE could go...and know I wasn't 'out there')

we go to dinner....and we leave.

It's strange....the feeling....queasy??
Like...I am hmmmmm in danger?

Twice in one weekend I've had that feeling....faced with gambling.
I didn't feel tempted...still don't....

I do NOT think it's particularly wise for me to enter a casino.
I know it's not.
But if I'm in a position where it's necessary, I can.

I don't plan to anytime soon, tho.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So I received a phone call today from an old timer at my g.a. group.

I haven't attended a meeting since November of last year.

Honestly, I sometimes think to go...mostly because there are a few people there that I really like...and I don't see them otherwise....

but then...going...gets harder and harder to do..the longer I don't go.

anyway...he check on me...said people had asked about me recently...if anyone had heard from me - so he called.

that was very very nice of him.

he asked how I was...'great!'...he asked if I was still clean 'yes, I am'.
he was surprised.

i told him that I still do my online stuff.

'you know those really aren't meetings?' he said.

I laughed...'yes....they ARE meetings....they just aren't *GA* meetings!'

'right' he said...'they don't count'.



I'm thinking I will try to go this week...on Thursday...I'm not quite sure why.

I have attended meetings at different times, for different reasons.

I've attended meetings in order to help me to not gamble.
I've attended meetings because I needed a place to 'talk' about this stuff.
I've attended meetings because I thought if I didn't go regularly, I might gamble.
I've attended meetings...when I felt like I really didn't Need to be there...but presence might help someone else.

I'm not sure why I am thinking I will go.

I don't feel like i NEED it....although I did have an 'experience' last night.

My son was competing in a sports event, so I stopped at a daiquiri shop to pick one up for my husband and's a local place that has three machines..I used to play there a lot.

I've gone in a handful of time (to get daiquiris) without any sort of problem...well....a few times I've seen people the button press the button press the button press the button...they don't even look up when you walk in...they are in the 'zone'....and I have felt glad that it wasn't ME sitting on that stool.

so I walk in last night...and two machines are empty...a woman that I 'know' is playing...she is facing the door and sees me walk in...'hello' we say to one another, but I don't stop to chat...I walk up to the bar to order the drinks...and the woman at the machine hit's the jackpot.

she says 'you are good luck'
I smile...and say 'good'.

I get my drinks....hand the lady a $20 and turn around and walk out without getting my change...LOL
I realize it right away and go back for it.

as I'm leaving...I'm pondering how I feel.
I didn't want to gamble.
Not at all.
But I didn't want to be watch a 'win'.

I was I left....that...while she just won $ has been about 6 years since I gambled in that particular place...or since I've seen her....
and I wondered how much money she put INTO those machines during that time.

and how much time.

I'm glad she won.
I don't want to.
I don't want to press the button.

but still...the feeling that I had ...was...(I'm so bad at this)....i if I had been ambushed.

but I didn't feel resentful or deprived...
I was OK.

That is an experience, tho, that I could never share at a g.a. meeting...they would freak....
guess I understand why...I imagine many people have been in similar situations...and start doing the rationalizing thing....I've been there myself.

This truly is a 'baffling' illness-

but today I am good as I've ever been.

I may attend that meeting Thursday...I'm not sure why...but I just might.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I've been thinking about it.....if I had to just pick one word for how I felt last week....that would be it.... 'Insecure'

I didn't feel OK.
If I laid down to sleep, my thoughts were scattered and jumped around to all sorts of things.
Wondering if I said the wrong thing to this one or that....
I couldn't bring myself out of it.

Sometimes I had some relief....

Some of the things that lifted me...that made me feel like 'I am OK'...
I got a few emails from people who had just found the blog....and their notes were filled with hope. that felt, somewhere, I make a difference....even if it's a small one

Then.....there was this lady...I met her at this function last year and I really liked her....her name was on the list of attendees but I didn't see her all week. The last night....the big function...she walks in (had just arrived at the conference) and comes over to was was obvious that she liked me too..was looking for me...we visited for quite a while and are going to stay in touch via email.

there were other times...
the point is
I was looking to OTHER PEOPLE to make me feel like I am ok.


I know that I am OK even if you don't like me :)

but there's more....

there's the difficulty in sharing that.
it was so hard to do....
to tell you that I wasn't OK...
to acknowledge that I *NEEDED* to be validated by others.

it feels....weak??

vulnerable...that's what it is....

let's see...

if YOU know that I'm not perfect then...

then what?

no-perfect isn't already know I'm not perfect...and I don't pretend to be.


Strong?...yeah, sort of...


that's what it is.

If I am dependent on others for anything at all...I am vulnerable....and...when it is my SELF IMAGE that we are talking about...that's a pretty big vulnerability.

I don't WANT to care what others think about me.

I do less and less...but...last week...I did...and the feelings were pretty intense.

I imagine it's obvious that I'm working this out as I'm typing....and...I know why this started...this feeling I had to take care of myself in all things (and that I absolutely COULD)....

and there are I guess it's something I need to visit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The difference in me...

It's good to be home.

It's always crazy when we're trying to get out of here, ESPECIALLY when the boys aren't going with us....they each went in different directions so I had to pack separately for each of us.

It aint easy, but I usually do pretty good.

This time...I forgot my meds.

I've discussed my views on medication

I am not a doctor and I'm not implying that anyone in the world should be on medication....except me.

and if I ever doubted it before....geez...

So...over these past 21 months I've learned a lot of new 'skills'....

When I begin to get anxious, I can usually calm myself down.
It's pretty easy to keep things in perspective...when someone makes me angry or things just aren't going my way....I can usually respond in a fashion that is relative to the situation.
I usually feel OK-not GREAT...but OK.

So I forgot my meds...and....I didn't think it was a big deal...I forget to take them from time to time.

It was a big deal.

Putting my finger on precisely what I'm feeling isn't easy for me to do....I've talked about's not easy for TWO reasons....first...I'm just not that in touch with my emotions...but SECOND....It's not easy for me to say...I'm not OK....and I wanna talk some more about that soon...

but for I was feeling --

I'm struggling here.
Lack of confidence? that's not it exactly....but....ahhhh
that FRAGMENTED'm just not together...I don't feel whole.
ok-I'm not doing such a good job here...

I was easily irritated -
Worried about what other people thought of me....sometimes obsessing over something that I said or did....after the fact...little things...that are really NOTHING at all...but didn't seem that way at the time.
Obsessing...yeah....I did a good bit of that.

Lack of confidence was NOT a good term...I felt like I looked good...and we were with a large group of people...I knew very few of them....and at a few functions we needed to mingle...and I have no idea how to do that with complete strangers....after a few days...I knew more problem...

LOL -- wait....
after a few days???
I'm just realizing....ahh...after my girlfriend overnighted my wellbutrin to me????

The improvement wasn't immediate....the second day back on them I was feeling like myself.


I know I've done a crappy job of trying to explain how I felt without it...but

I didn't feel OK...and I didn't ACT like myself --

what I *CAN* say...with a great deal of certainty is...

When the chemicals inside of me are not in balance-even all of the skills and tools that I've learned are of little use to me.
I canNOT relax.
I canNOT calm myself down.
I canNOT keep things in perspective.

and even when I *KNOW* that my feelings are inappropriate (like...getting really irritated about very minor things)...I am not necessarily able to temper my response. In fact...I was RARELY able to temper my response.

I can liken it to.....
I *KNOW* how a sober person looks and acts...but...
if I get drunk...
I couldn't think and act like a sober matter how hard I try....
it's just not possible to do when I'm chemically 'altered'.

It's good to be home.
and to feel normal again. thoughts on the physiology of my addiction were just THEORY's not just theory any more.

If I had high blood pressure or high cholesterol, I'd take medication to control I could be OK.

This is not a 'happy pill' doesn't solve anything at all....I was on this medication for a long time and remained active in my addiction.


when I got to a place where I was really able to try this....and to start learning about the common things amongst us....
when I decided to start learning ways to address those that I COULD change the way I think and live....

my medication enabled me to implement those things more easily.

If I had to....could I do it without meds?
I do not know.

I do believe there are ways to alter our brain chemistry via thoughts and behaviors (gambling sure did it!) perhaps I COULD do this without medication...

but....I'm not gonna try.

I see no need to try.

but that's just me :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Letter to a Friend December 2007

* printed here with permission from my friend

I am powerless over very little.
One thing I AM powerless over is gambling....once I start.
Today...I have power....I have lots of power.

you said 'i feel, i feel, i don't know what i feel'

THAT is what this is all about.

G.A. says this is an 'emotional illness'
that pissed me off the first time i read it...sounded like they were calling me a nut. safe harbor....i started learning about my EMOTIONS.
I almost never knew how i felt. First of all...I wasn't AWARE of my feelings...just didn't THINK about 'how do i feel?' and second...if I DID try to pinpoint how i felt...I did not know the word....even now, i struggle with it often (but I'm working on it...naming our feelings is important) now when i cannot find the word, i google 'feeling words' and there are a couple of sites out there with some great words..there are THOUSANDS of them...go figure!

this sucks in the beginning..for many the beginning, there is an emotional AND a PHYSICAL withdrawal...and that sucks..we have to fight our way thru's not easy, but it's doable...but then...the way i see it..there are two ways we can proceed (in recovery)....we can fight the battle daily, throughout our lives
we can learn about it....change the way we think about it...change the way we live...and find JOY.

You end your note with 'i still dont know what to do, how to do this'

right now...the only thing you need to do is NOT GAMBLE.
to do that...just focus on right now...just don't gamble RIGHT NOW...maybe you will gamble tonight, maybe you will gamble tomorrow...NONE OF THAT F***ING MATTERS!!!! JUST DON"T GAMBLE RIGHT NOW.

for the next ten minutes..dont ANYTHING else...just don't gamble....then...when time is up...say

i can not gamble for 10 minutes...i just did that....maybe i will gamble in 20 minutes...but i can not gamble for 10...and DO THAT.

for 10 minutes find something else to do...ANYTHING else...but get thru that ten minutes.

that is the most important thing right now...just DONT gamble.

If you can get thru another 'sane' time (and it will come....just hold on and it will come) then we will talk more and more about things you can DO (toward recovery).

this is going to sound crazy..but...I went thru hell...I am crying as i type this...just remembering what it was was's almost ?scary to say a way...I'm sort of glad it happened to me.

I am learning how to live in ways that most people don't....I am not here to stop gambling...that is just one little bitty part of it.

I have PEACE...i have JOY....i am learning to accept people..i am learning how to REALLY live...most people...addicted or not have this ( i had not done this gambling shit...I wouldn't have had to go thru that existence PRIOR to wasn't was ok..but it was no where near this GOOD.....I had to go thru THAT to be HERE..and HERE is pretty damn good.

you can be here...just don't gamble right now..just today....that's all that matters right now.

Going away

I'll be gone for a week.
Time away with my husband.
I'll have access to email but won't be blogging.

Take care of you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Clearing Gambling Debt

Often, once we seek help, we are drowning in debt.

It sure FEELS like drowning.

If you're anything like me...sitting down and facing it extremely difficult.

THere's no way out of overwhelming debt without a plan...and to make a plan....we must face all of the facts.

that means....sit down....list what we owe...what our expenses are...what our income is, and make a budget.

the b word.

I'd never lived on a budget before....i lived on credit cards.

when i first stopped gambling...the debt was overwhelming and the budget was depressing... didn't take long before SOME progress was being made.

and that felt good.

I was gambling, on average, a couple hundred dollars a I took a CONSERVATIVE $100....every day that I didn't gamble...I figured I WON that much.

one week of no gambling, I was up $700
two weeks in....$1400
once I hit the 30 day mark $3,000 wasn't REAL money...I my 30 day milestone, I did NOT have three grand in the bank...but....I was NOT in as much debt (by at least $3000) than I WOULD have been.

we are REALLY good at that 'one day at a time' mentality when it suits's only a hundred dollars....that isn't gonna put a dent into my debt...I may as well, blah blah blah

If you haven't already had a look at the link I recently added for the Top Compulsive Gambler Sites For Recovery you might want to check it out...or even if you HAVE....if you are looking for debt management solutions, I have added a couple of forums that seem to have great resources.


is consolidation the answer?

I don't pretend to know what YOUR answers are....I can only share with you what I have done and what I have seen.

It is extremely common for us to get ourselves in a situation that seems desperate.....and we find a way to consolidate...

maybe...a new credit card offer comes in with an introductory rate...transfer the balances from your high interest rate cards.....or
maybe take a second mortgage (or third) on your home....

the thing is...
once we do that.....we now free up the ORIGINAL lines of credit.

oh yeah...we SWEAR we won't do that...

but...inevitably, we find a way to justify it...'now that I have a clean slate, I'll be able to CONTROL it' blah blah blah...

so we end up in debt.
we take out a consolidation loan
then...we rack up more debt.

NOW...we owe what we owed BEFORE (when we were freaking out) PLUS we owe the consolidation loan!!!

get organized,
make a plan

one of my friends says a great roadblock for her was to STAY BROKE...

once she caught up on her bills....she began to pay EXTRA on that she didn't have money in the bank...temptation.

having money
or credit
can be a trigger.

it's important and it feels great to begin to free ourselves from the debt...

be careful.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some people would ask...

If I am 'free' why don't I walk away?

Why do I continue to read and post on support sites?

Why do I write this blog?

If I were truly free....I would be out living my life.

well....yes and no.

for a long time I was stuck at this pc...all day and half of the night...reading and posting...trying to learn...and to help.

I NEEDED to be order to GET free.

These days....I still research addiction because I am very interested in it.

But my primary focus now is not abstinence from gambling. Not at all.

In the beginning of my recovery, I was reading books like 'Willpower is not enough' and 'AA Big Book' and....maybe the one that really made a difference for me 'Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems -- Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded' by Anne Fletcher....I don't have a drinking problem....but reading the Big Book of AA taught me...that what I the same thing that alcoholics have...we just use a different' method of treating it.

Anyway...I used to read books like learn how to be free.

Now...I read things like 'Awakening' by Anthony DeMello...'A New Earth:Awakening to your lifes purpose' by Eckhart Tolle....'The Games People Play' by Eric Berne...stuff like that...oh yeah....and some other things I read simply for FUN.

Anyway...what I read now..what I focus on ME....who I am...what life do I want to to be happy...what really matters.

So....why do I do this then?
Why do I remain active in my 'communities'?
If I don't...will I relapse?
Am I 'required' to do this forever???

I have no idea.
I don't think so.....
I think...that as long as I am focused on who I am...what life I want to to be happy and what really matters....there is no way I would return to the cycle.....gambling is in opposition to these things.....they are not compatible. I will be fine.

I do this for a number of reasons...

I remember the hopeless and helpless I felt...and I am so grateful that I found people..who had been there...but had gotten thru it...and shared that hope with me.

I'd like to pass that on.

Also.....if I am searching for what is important in makes sense that a part of that would be...contributing to humanity in some small way....even if I only touch one life....if I really can make a difference for someone....why on earth would I not?

Is this such a terrible thing to 'have' to do?

The thing is...I do not feel 'punished' or 'obliged'....and to be honest...I really do not believe that it is NECESSARY for me to do order that I might continue to be free :)

I'm pretty sure it's not.

Will I do it always?

I suppose...I will stop...when I have nothing left to say.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A shift in perception...

There's more to it than just going to meetings...or just being a nicer person...or just deciding to do the right thing.

There's that pain.....the stuff that we weren't dealing with BEFORE we began gambling.

For me...just talking about those things changes me.

WEll...I've talked about them before...but...when I USED to talk about my 'stuff'...I was making a CASE...I wanted to be RIGHT..and I needed whoever I was telling my story be on MY understand WHY I felt the way that I do...and to recognize that I was JUSTIFIED in feeling whatever it was that I felt...hurt, betrayed, angry...WHATEVER.


I needed I CREATED drama sometimes.

being rid of my about getting it out.....telling the story...WITHOUT the drama...WITHOUT...wanting to be RIGHT.

The fact is...if I feel angry or betrayed..or WHATEVER....

it really doesn't MATTER if I'm right or not...*I FEEL IT ANYWAY*.


it benefits find a way to let it go...and move on.

Some things are easier to do that with than others.

I mean...there have been times in my life when I was REALLY REALLY ANGRY at someone....and I'm not angry at them any more.

I let it go.

The thing is....some of my 'stuff'...I'm not really clear on.

Isn't that something?

I don't even KNOW what it is that is hurting me.

There are worksheets for working Step Four (of the Twelve) ...but....I've talked about it before....what that step is getting down to the CAUSES AND CONDITIONS.

If I identify a resentment....
what I need to do not focus on what the OTHER person is doing (which is what I tend to do.....justifying my feelings)....
what i need to do is
figure out....what in me make me feel this way?

Some other person....might find themself in the exact same position and not be bothered at all....what is it about ME...that makes me feel this way?

I have a friend...a compulsive gambler who has been free since Christmas 2007. We were chatting the other day (he has given me permission to share this story here) about the fact that....he has a place to live, with internet access...all of his needs are taken care of....he didn't always have those things.

Recently, he's been camping a lot.
Going out..into the wilderness...sleeping under the over a fire...he feels PEACE....
he sort of needs get away from LOL life...
but he has a choice now...he is out there...but he has the option to go 'home'....and have tea :)

so we were talking about this....about how much he enjoys it...being out peaceful it is....
and he starts reminiscing...about...when he was sleeping outdoors 'before'.

he says 'believe me, there is nothing worse than being outside, alone - cold - hungry - and nowhere to go'

"but this time....helps me to understand...that what seems like hell can actually be heaven too. It's perception."

"It depends on you."

"Inside you."

Man says prescription drug caused compulsive gambling

A spokesperson for Pfizer said the company had not marketed Mirapex since 2005, when medical studies first linked the drug to compulsive behaviors, including gambling.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I gambled.

I was in a restaurant that had a machine.

I was with a few acquaintances...who don't know I am c.g.

I didn't play long...just a few minutes...just a few was ok...i was in that 'zone'...when suddenly...standing next to a woman that I know....who knows me.

I wanted to run.
to hide.
what had I done?
I'd done something 'bad'.

I was trying to keep it in perspective.
how big of a deal is it really?

I mean....if I am on a diet...and I am doing great...and I lose 10 pounds...then I wake up one morning and eat a it THAT terrible?

is everything that I've done suddenly un-done?
No...I have STILL taken off ten pounds....this just a blip.

I was trying to tell myself be ok with it.
21 months I haven't gambled.
I would have to come here...
to you...
and 'admit' what I'd done.

what does it mean?
are we hopeless?
this few minutes...this few dollars....isn't the end of the world.
i didn't KILL anyone.

i was going back and forth...trying to comfort keep it in perspective....but the shame....the regret was overwhelming.

and then...

I woke up.

and still....I had mixed feelings...took me a few minutes to understand that it was just a dream.

a nightmare.

tell me again??? WHY do I want to gamble?? do I ever want to feel that way again?

I don't.

not even in my dreams.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Instant Gratification

It's not just's widespread in today's society.

The new I-phone is out today.

People stood in line all over the world to get one.

Some people have been in line for days.

I stopped in AT&T today to see if they had any.


what was i thinking???

but....I could order one..and have it within a week if I want to pay $15 to expedite....within two weeks if I don't.

and people stood in line for DAYS???

for a PHONE???

in a few weeks....I'll have one...and the guy who waited for days will have one...the only difference will be...I didn't wait in line for days.

It occurs to me, though, that we don't wait for least I never have (until recently, of course).

We don't stop til our credit cards are maxed.


The price of fuel is through the roof.

In the seventies when we had an energy crisis....the increase in the price of fuel meant that my parents cut back elsewhere.

You know....

if gas cost $30 more per month...then we bought $30 less groceries, or clothes or SOMETHING.

most of us don't live that way today.

most of us could not say what our approximate incoming and outgoing funds are.

yeah...we know how much we much we spend?

we don't really care....or....if we do....we care...but...we do it anyway.

We rarely say 'no...I can't afford it'...we just charge it!

I'm sure that that line of thinking....the fact that I thought and behaved that way even BEFORE I gambled....allowed me to accumulate so much debt due to gambling ....if I wanted something...I bought it.

and that mentality followed me right inside the casino.

I have a friend in recovery who has a '48 hour rule'.

I try to use it myself.

No impulse buying.

If I see something and I want it...EVEN if I can afford it....I wait 48 hours....if I still want it, it's mine.

Surprising how often I don't.

or is it REALLY that surprising?

How many times was I still paying for dresses or shoes or make up....long after I'd become disillusioned with the item?? LOL sometimes I was paying for things after they were discarded! still has ups and downs....but...some of the 'downs' that I've experienced were of my own creation....

learning how to be not make purchases on live on a cash basis.....only buying what I can afford...

it isn't easy

at the moment that I WANT feels yucky

but....LATER I feel good.....knowing I didn't want that thing after all...or....maybe I bought it..but I PAID for it too.

This is far more satisfying than the way I used to live.
For all of the reasons I've already mentioned....

I'm taking back control.
just a little bit....

taking back control of ME.

and that's a good thing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The lure of gambling

For many addicts, the lure of their drug of choice is immediate gratification....the RELIEF we get when we 'use'.

But gambling offers something more than that.

How many times was I in panic mode...over the huge sums of money I had lost that particular day....feeling anxious and angry and STUPID...and then, suddenly...I'd hit....and everything would be OK...or at least my immediate catastrophe would be repaired.

That's why I couldn't stop when I was losing.
The NEXT press of the button....could fix it all.

even when we're not caught up in the process of actually gambling at the present moment....when we are sitting at home..wondering how we are going to pay off our debt...or even how we are going to pay the rent...the thought that...with just a FEW dollars....everything could change.

ALL of our (financial) problems could be solved...and often...when we are in the midst of financial seems like fixing THAT would fix everything in our whole lives.

I mean...SOMEBODY's gotta win....People do!....*I* if SOMEBODY's gotta may as well be me!

Hard to argue against that.
I's true.

The problem is...for *ME* anyway....that...the act of gambling does something else to takes over me...I mean...if it didn't....every time I won money, I'd have gone home with it - ESPECIALLY on those occasions when I really NEEDED to go home with it. does something else to me.
it makes me want more and more.
more money?

I don't think so.
If I were gambling today....and I won $55 million dollars....that would be more money than I would need to pay taxes....and for me and my children and my children's children to live happily ever after.

Do I think for a moment...that if I gambled...and won that sum...that I would stop?
I mean...if it were NOT about money...I would never gamble need, right?

when I gamble....something in me wants more...not more money...more GAMBLING...even when I don't want to gamble...there is a part of me that cannot stop...I can actually recall on a few occasions...being completely exhausted....just wanting to stop....and go home and sleep...wishing I would 'hurry up and lose this money so I could leave'.

something in me...wants to keep going....
and takes over my life even when I'm NOT gambling.... I become consumed with thoughts of gambling and/or are frantically trying to fix whatever mess I'm currently in BECAUSE of my gambling.

If SOMEBODY's got to win....I say...let it be someone else.

I have too much to lose.

and I'm not talking about money.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A bed of roses??

Sometimes there seems to be 'themes' that are running through my life...I will have a conversation with someone...then someone ELSE will post on the same just keeps coming up over and over.

It's happening now.

I have a friend in recovery who sends out an email that he calls the 'gift of the day' and today's gift deals with the fact that...once we stop 'using'.... we often expect that life will be..well ..wonderful.

Some people experience least temporarily....I have heard it referred to as the 'pink cloud'...

whether you end up on that cloud or will inevitably turn on you, as it tends to do.


no matter WHO we are...compulsive gamblers...or perfect saints (ha ha) we are going to have snags.

we are going to have cars that break
people will let us down
we will lose people that we love
we will experience disappointments of all shapes and sizes


when we choose to 'numb out' to those things....we unfortunately numb to EVERYTHING...including...the moments that would otherwise give us pleasure..or joy.

The gift of the day says "The difference is, now we can keep these situations in perspective. No problem means the end of our world. Before, even the smallest of problems sometimes devastated us."

It took me a while to get learn how to calm keep things in took practice.

Until I was able to do that on my own (and still occasionally)...I turn to my friends....who are practicing these things in thier own lives....

I call it staying 'grounded'.
Keeping it real.

No...stopping gambling is NOT going to turn our lives into a magical garden of joy and tranquility.

there is no such thing.

but....stopping gambling gives me the clarity of mind that allows me to become self aware....and to learn

and how I can continue to TRULY live it....and be matter what.

I have often heard it said...that 'my worst day now is better than my best day gambling'.

some may scoff at that..thinking...I remember this ONE day when blah blah blah


if you're here....if you're reading this....then...I imagine...that ONE day was overshadowed by other, painful my OWN experience....those gambling days that were so WONDERFUL....

were just another part of the illusion.

Today, I'm keeping it real.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I continued to gamble -- More of my story

My Story - the beginning is here...

The progression is here.

Then.....The confession……

and Gamblers Anonymous

So I had a 'disease'...I was 'powerless'....

I had an excuse.

I continued to gamble.

I was attending g.a....and I continued to gamble.

It wasn’t easy….I didn’t have access to money…..and my husband was watching me like a hawk.

A few times…he went out of town…left me cash to buy groceries, etc…and as soon as he left for the airport I was gambling.

You know how that ended….I *NEEDED* that money…I had to account for every penny….so I *HAD* to win.

I didn’t.
So I gambled more of it.
Then more.
Til it was gone.

Then I panicked.

I called someone at g.a.
She said she wouldn’t loan me money…but she would buy the groceries.
No help.

I called a friend.
She still talks about that day.
I recall it, of course…but…I cannot imagine what I must have sounded like.

I scared her.
She was at the hospital..her brother and sister in law were having a baby..she was there with the family….
I was frantic.

She told some lie to her family and met me outside…I picked her up…drove her to the ATM where she withdrew the cash and gave it to me…I took her back to the hospital.

To be honest…a whole lot of that time is a blur to me now.

I remember…returning some bags to the dry-cleaner…I had a deposit on them…twenty dollars, I think…gambled that.

Change…any change I could find…I would bring to those change counting machines at grocery stores….get bills…and gamble that.

I had a $20 allowance per week…it was to cover ALL of my personal expenditures. I gambled that too.

On July 5th, 2002…nearly three months after I’d confessed…I was talking to my husband on the phone.
He was out of town.

We were talking about our finances (it was the only thing we talked about for a long time)….

I said “will you ever be able to forgive me?”

He said “just get well. If you will get well..I can FORGET about it.”


“You can forget about it while we are still in debt?”

He said “JUST GET WELL.”

Suddenly….I thought….maybe things COULD get better?

He SAID they could??

I could try.

And so I did….

Sunday, July 6, 2008

University of Minnesota study

A drug commonly used to treat alcohol addiction has a similar effect on pathological gamblers -- it curbs the urge to gamble and participate in gambling-related behavior, according to a new research at the University of Minnesota.

snip snip

"While the drug is not a cure for gambling, Grant said it offers hope to many who are suffering from addiction. He also said the drug would most likely work best in combination with individual therapy."

"Medication can be helpful, but people with gambling addiction often have multiple other issues that should be addressed through therapy," he said.

Full article here:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Accept the things I cannot change...

So… I was talking to a friend the other day…about…detaching….about…not allowing what other people are saying or doing to affect us so much.

But you know…it strikes me that….that is what we SAY we want….but often…it’s not REALLY want we want.

What we REALLY want… for those other people to behave in the manner that we think they should behave.

At least…that’s what *I* want.

I don’t want my boys to fight amongst themselves….I don’t want my husband to be angry…I don’t want..blah blah blah

I don’t REALLY want those things to continue and *ME* to be OK with it (or be OK in spite of it).

I want THEM to behave the way that *I* want them to!

Come to think of it, I have ‘scripts’ for just about everyone in ‘my world’.

I know…how I want my boss to behave, my mother in law, my friends.

It makes perfect sense that that would be frustrating….I’m trying to CONTROL things that I have NO CONTROL over.

If we REALLY want peace…we have to learn how to ACCEPT the things we cannot change.

My having negative feelings about things that I have absolutely no control over…only punishes ME.

My negative feelings do not encourage others to change…it does not change anything at all…the ONLY thing that is accomplished…is I feel badly.

Once I REALLY understand this….the way that I THINK is changing….and that causes the way I FEEL to begin to change.

The only person, place or thing that I can control is me.

It’s almost a relief…once we ‘get’ that…

Because…most of us have our hands full trying to control ourselves….

at least *I* do.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

Independence \In`de*pend"ence\, n. [Cf. F. ind['e]pendance.]

1. The state or quality of being independent; freedom from dependence; exemption from reliance on, or control by, others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one's own affairs without interference


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Throwing the baby out with the bath water?

I've been thinking....

I wonder if one of the reasons that more people aren't successful in g.a. is because....

We *KNOW* that SOME of the stuff that they 'claim' is we discount ALL of it. ???

I ran into a woman recently. She is managing a local shop. I knew her several years ago....we were both in trouble.

We talked for a few moments.
We are both free.
She looked great...happy...I'm sure I did too...I certainly FELT that way.

So we talked....she said....she was able to pay off her (rather substantial) debt without her husband ever finding out....and that she hadn't gambled in ages....and doesn't plan to....ever...

I know this woman's circumstances well enough to know that she would have answered yes to more than seven of the twenty questions. a LOT more than seven.

but she hasn't gambled in years?
and she never attended g.a.
not once.
and she is HAPPY???

so......would g.a. say that she isn't a REAL compulsive gambler?
what about the 20 questions?
I mean...if SHE isn't a REAL compulsive gambler (and can do this all by herself) then maybe *I* am not a REAL compulsive gambler (and can do this all by myself). >>I'm not really suggesting this....I am trying to illustrate the conclusion that many of us would come to.

and...there's the 'meetings make it' slogan

but I know many people who have been attending meetings regularly for years....and they still gamble...

I'm not trying to discredit G.A.
not at all.

What I *AM* that....since a LOT of what they teach *IS* accurate and *CAN* be useful...let's not discount the program completely because we don't agree with EVERYTHING.

yeah, yeah....they tell us....we cannot pick and choose what parts of the program suit us.....and...our thinking got us into trouble not to rely on our thinking.... more thing that I disagree with :)

don't they also say to 'take what you need and leave the rest' ?

most of the information available to us, about 'us' is found in that's a shame that many of us deny ourselves that.

after all...the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling.

'they' may tell us "you MUST do this" or "you CAN'T do that"

but the person in charge of my me.
the person in charge of my me.

I am willing to do whatever it live MY life....

whether it's popular or not.

I don't feel the need to argue whether or not I am 'right' (and it's not my convince 'them' that they are 'wrong')....if what I am doing is is right for ME.

If whatever you are doing isn't working for you....change it.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.