Friday, August 13, 2010

Complete abstinence?

So I've been having lots of conversations with my children (18 and 16 yrs) about alcohol, drugs, addiction in general.

I strongly believe that what is wrong with me is not 'compulsive gambling' or 'gambling addiction' but ADDICTION.

I say that even tho I am not a drug addict or an alcoholic.

I do believe that not all addicts are like me....some people are 'normal' until they get hooked....usually on some highly addictive substance like crystal meth or heroin.

but folks like me.....I believe that there's something about my genetic makeup that makes me more susceptible to becoming dependent on some substance (or activity).

I believe that my children are more susceptible too.

So we've been talking a lot...

One of the things that I've explained to them is why I choose not to gamble at ALL. for ANYTHING.

Now I know that there are compulsive gamblers out there who manage to gamble on this or that (not thier 'drug' of choice) without any real problems....and I believe that's fine if it works for them....but it doesn't work for me.

here's why;

While I have gambled in a variety of ways over the 'love' was slot machines and video poker.

I know that playing a football pool or buying a lottery ticket doesn't 'do it' for me (no instant gratification).... so those things are 'safe' for me to do.

and they really are.


I have a brain that wants to be high.

even tho I don't want to gamble...I don't want that life...I really have no desire to gamble at all...

somewhere inside of me...there is a part of me that sort of, kind of, does.


if I were to buy scratch off tickets (I am speaking from experience here)... I might be fine.
maybe i would buy them problem

except...that part of my brain that always wants to be high, regardless of what the rest of me wants....

THAT part of me starts saying things like "ok....stay away from slots and video poker...but you could go to the casino and play blackjack...that would be safe just like lotto'

you see where this is heading.

I choose not to do things that give that voice power. any sort of gambling at all does that (for me).

So a big part of staying 'sober' is learning how to be smarter than myself (the part of me that DOESN'T want to be sober).


since gambling has caused such awful problems in my is a no-brainer that I've got to do everything in my power to stay clear of that.

but what about alcohol? drugs?

as I said, I haven't 'crossed the invisible line' with anything other than gambling...BUT...

I am very careful with (potentially addictive) medications and alcohol.... because occasionally that 'other' part of my brain will speak to me about these things too.

I'm not going down this road again.

So my teenagers think I'm just an old fogey...they roll their eyes when we have these conversations (ummm when *I* have these conversations)...
but that's OK.

either...none of this applies to them...and they will never understand what I'm talking about (this would be my preference)...
if and when they ever struggle with these things...maybe something I've said about my own experience will be of help to them at that time.

For me, maintaining my freedom from gambling means staying away from ALL forms of gambling.

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