Comments

Jane
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Having some monster urges, I’m afraid. Not anybody’s fault because I know people are just telling their story, but the talk about winning back losses plays with my mind. The trouble is, if one of us can gamble again and win their money back, what does that say to other people in the same situation? I think we respond to each other on here much more, because we can relate directly to the situation of others and also because we are all trying to give up gambling. So when one of us relapses and wins, their influence has more weight. Their stories are known to us and we go through all their ups and downs and that is what makes their message much more powerful than just a simple ad for gambling. We respond differently.
I haven’t gambled for half a year now, and it is taking its toll on me. The road ahead is such a long one and every day is stressful which does not help with the urges.

It occurred to me yesterday, that I not only miss gambling, but I miss the distraction of gambling. This is going to sound really strange, but I understand exactly what I mean.

I actually miss the stress of gambling.

The reason for this is simple. I gambled to escape my problems. I gambled to create new problems so that I did not have to deal with the things I really needed to. I intentionally self sabotaged in such a way as to create a dilemma for myself so that I could focus on the problems that gambling created, because it was easier to deal with than what was really wrong with me. So now, without the stress of gambling in my life, I am alone with my own thoughts. I have to face my own reality and that is not always easy for someone like me. It’s not pretty inside my head and sometimes, I really need to throw myself into something in order to fight away the monsters. Still, I will hold strong. I haven’t come this far to throw it all away, but it is hard without something to focus on, be that gambling and winning, or gambling and losing. Either one was a distraction and I strangely welcomed it.

I’m not listening to the urges, I know that it is just the addicted part of my brain trying to justify another bet.
The original plan was to stop gambling when I had got my money back. I learnt my lesson, in terms of gambling being a loser’s game, but I also wasn’t willing to let go until I had undone the financial damage that years of gambling had caused.
The thing is, we all want to stop gambling don’t we, but for many, we want to stop gambling AFTER we have won back our losses. That is the closure many of us seek. The problem with this, is that it is incredibly unlikely that we will stop, even if we do get the miracle we are looking for. After all, we got into this mess because we won sometimes. It is the winning that keeps us trapped. If we lost every single time, it should sink in that we are never going to win, but we don’t do we? There’s always that little carrot dangling in your face isn’t there…..the elusive win that draws you back in.

I am going to focus on the reality and not the silly daydreams of winning back losses. Gambling cost me a small fortune, after all, and my health and well being. I have nothing at all to show for any of the wins, so why should it be any different if I gambled again? We all tell ourselves it will be, but the only real way we can get through this is to let go of gambling, completely with both hands. After all, winning is nothing more than gambling credits and it seems these credits can’t ever be used for anything other than more gambling. It is like a win is cursed and destined to go back to where it came from and this is something I think we could all do with remembering.
Sorry for the long post….feeling out of sorts.

P.s Hope you are hanging on in there too, Nik.

kate
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Hope your daughter does well in her GCSEs Jane – mine is about to complete her finals at University – only 2 exams because the majority of her work has been assessed essays. She seem OK at the moment and is working hard – philosophy, economic and politics – clever stuff! She did let me read a couple of her essays over Easter – it was a little bit like watching University Challenge – I didn’t know any of the answers, but it was interesting to watch!

Joanne/guest
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Hi Loser ,

Didn’t expect any replies to my final post so thanks for responding , means a lot to me. I’d been following your progress on your 100 day challenge and was gutted you didn’t make it ,but it’s only a number and you did absolutely brilliantly! You then left the forum rather abruptly which wasn’t like you so I was concerned about you, so it’s great to see you back so upbeat! The winner never quits, the quitter never wins! So keep trying to beat this addiction.

You suggested I try a counsellor, I’m not keen. A few years ago I escorted a friend for CBT therapy with a psychologist and I ended up having a relationship with him ie the psychologist. I was only transporting my friend so no rules broken. I thought he was into me until I accidentally bumped into him , arms entwined with his fiancée! Don’t you dare laugh!!!!!!!!!! I wasn’t too bothered he was getting on my b****y nerves, always analysing everything I said and did! He told me I was so straight I was complicated! I think he was more hurt in the end.

Anyway, I played again late last night and of course lost the deposit so overdraft fees again next month. There’s no point in me being here as I don’t think I want to give up gambling entirely. I always buy a ridiculous amount of lotto tickets every week so even if I stayed of the slots I couldn’t say I was gamble-free because it would be a lie.

Just wanted to say a proper ‘good-bye’ to you. I always smile when I think about you! I’m glad our paths crossed in life. Good luck, I hope life treats you kind. Joanne Please don’t reply.

LOSER
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Hi Joanne,
Of course I would respond to your post! I’m amazed I had not been on for a while and the day I come on there is a post from you! It was meant to be! I left the forum because I felt like I was being ignored, hardly anyone replied to my posts. Dosn’t matter it’s all good I have joined another forum and get reply’s all the time. Also I have found a friend to private message when times are tough. The 100 day’s dosn’t worry me nor do I really care I didn’t reach it. Should I be concerned it’s not important to me? hahahah For me stopping gambling forever is the aim not just for 100 day’s. I knew I would go gamble after 100 days anyway thats why I decided to gamble on day 96. I wish you would stay as then we could chat to each other all the time here. If you have decided to leave then I simply will be a monthly visitor here just checking in now and again. I am sorry to hear you gambled again last night, even if your addicted to the punt you have to ask yourself is the feeling of losing your money worth it?
I’m confused with the man you mentioned, he had a fiancee while you were dating him?
You have to find inner strength Joanne and really fight this addiction! Lock your money up so you cannot gamble it, if you can’t stop put methods in place to hep you stop. Cut up all your credit and debt cards!
I really hope you will one day love yourself enough to treat yourself well enough by stopping addictive behaviour….Gambling.
Take care Joanne xoxo

Jane
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Yes, Kate, I suppose it’s about trying to find new and engaging activities that we can really lose ourselves in, and that we actually want to do, rather than just trying to kill time.
That is the challenge for me since it is the risk in these activities that gives them the edge over other choices. It’s like we become kids again, isn’t it, in that we are most interested in doing things we aren’t supposed to do or that aren’t good for us.
There’s nothing like swiping something from the fridge when no one’s looking! (or is that just me?) Getting away with things is part of the lure too, isn’t it, like gambling in secret. It only makes it more ‘yours’.

You may knit yourself into oblivion, while you search for something that really connects with you and I am drowning in a sea of books in an attempt to stave off any urges! I am a bit afraid of free time, because it lends itself to wandering thoughts about gambling, so I have turned into a bit of a workaholic at the minute.
My daughter is sitting her GCSE’s next week so that is helping to keep me busy at the minute. We are spending a nice amount of time together doing past papers and it is surprising how much I remember too.
(still got it after all these years!)

My other love is food, unfortunately and like most people when they are down, they turn to carbs. I’m only 9 and half stone, but you would wonder where I put it all if you saw what I can eat! I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, but I love cooking and I love real, tasty food. Think home cooked meat and potato pies, served with home made fries cooked in duck fat or lasagne and freshly made bolognese topped with parmesan. Carb heaven! If ever I am struggling to fill my time, I think about food. I have been known to finish the kids plates too.
Just as well I am so active, and outdoorsy, otherwise I might have to have the doors widened as that is one guilty pleasure I am not willing to part with!
:)

kate
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Hi Jane. It is really sad isn’t it, when you look back and see the patterns we got into ….I can completely identify with what you say ….and I do feel shame – although this is softened by a growing understanding of my nature and how easily I can slip into addictive habits….. I think for me the trick is to acknowledge my addictive personality and work with it – it doesn’t really matter if I become ‘addicted’ to knitting …what’s the worst thing that can happen ( don’t answer that!!!) I might turn into one of those ladies who knits an exact replica of her own house, or gives knitted nativity scenes to friends & family for Christmas ( it does happen!). The other thing I need to find are ways of self-soothing that don’t involve gambling, alcohol, carbs or cigarettes ….. walking Woody is a great way to self-sooth – but I have to keep reminding myself to take in nature, not to just look down and ruminate. So I am learning more about myself and what I need to do to stay healthy and manage the underlying anxiety and depression. I know you and others on this site are doing the exact same thing – acknowledge that we have an addictive tendency, accept it, make the choice to stop unhealthy ways and start to find ways of channeling this energy more constructively . I might slip up, but I am steadily growing more towards the positive side of things

mat
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Just an update from me, I couldn’t let go the £560 I lost at the grand national and, I gambled during easter won all my money back incl. the £2k that I lost 5 weeks ago plus some from last years losses, I almost broke even, means I haven’t lost money in almost a year. I only used spare cash I had to gamble all money been put away and invested, I will not give any of it back to the bookies, last year was the worst in my 9 years of gambling as it went out of control, when I quit gambling for almost 2 years in 2013-2015 I should have never started again. I know I would like to win more but I don’t trust myself enough so I put it away. Lucky escape like that is rare, I’ve had it before and didn’t appreciate it enough and kept gambling before 2013 I was gambling at low levels and it wasn’t really bad few hundred here and there won and lost.
Seen the news that government will postpone the fobts review as expected, they will never touch it, too much profits for them and crooked politicians are paid off by them. the only way to save yourself is to put the money where you cant access it instantly or use card to gamble otherwise you will keep losing large amounts, account where you get paid is must be limited too, no direct debit and set withdrawal limits they don’t care about our wellbeing just profits they will never ban these machines. This addiction is strong and will make you most likely return at some point that’s why you need these limits.

Jane
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Mat, nice to hear from you. :) Although I care, and I want to say I am pleased for you, it is hard because I worry about how this win will affect your ability to quit. You may not know it now, but this will have given you a very false positive feeling about gambling, both in terms of being able to win and also in terms of being able to hold on to it. Hence, the reason why you are posting. Life is good today, right? And it is good because you gambled, and this is the mixed message that you get in your brain.

I know that we all win some and lose some, and that it is all part of the game, but it is not going to be the same for everyone out there is it? I’ll be honest, Mat, I would love a big win like that, and I’m not going to lie, I still want to gamble some days. Of course I do. It doesn’t go away. (I’ve just got by with £35 to last all week for four of us) but I am not stupid enough to think that it will be the same for me if I gambled again.
I might not have much cash at the minute, but I have a lot of money freed up on credit cards, (several thousand that I have paid off since giving up gambling) and I am desperate to keep it that way. Thinking about it now, it is best if I request that they lower my credit limit so that I don’t risk filling the cards up again with gambling debt, because I do get twitchy some days, especially when I am upset or angry.

You got lucky, Mat, but as you know, it could easily have gone the other way. I don’t want a win like this to sucker you back in for more punishment. You have been through enough, don’t you think?
It is easy to feel optimistic right now, about keeping your money and quitting, but that may change as time goes on, since it is incredibly hard to stop gambling, especially after a win. You have been here many times before Mat, so be very careful.
Lock all your money away, and keep it this time. Try not to regard this win as closure for the losses that went before, as this is like giving gambling credit for helping you out. It gives a negative action a positive ending and this will affect your attitude towards gambling in the future.
Why don’t you self exclude from the bookies? I don’t recall you ever mentioning about doing that, Mat? Don’t let this be another slippery slope because you will not be able to cope well at all if you gamble and lose this again. It will set you back no end and mess with your head terribly and I don’t want this to happen to you again.
Take care, Mat and good to hear from you.
All the best.
Jane

kate
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Glad to hear you are doing well still Jane. It is interesting what you posted this morning too – about the 2 types of gamblers – I think maybe from what you say about bills that you do/did feel that gambling could make money for you? I don’t think I ever really did – I hated losing, and the occasional thrill of winning a big payout was part of it – but I just couldn’t stop – a win just prolonged the play – I literally had no self control over it. I don’t think though that I saw it as entertainment in the sense of loving it and enjoying it for itself – it was the self-soothing/escapist aspect I got hooked on I think ….having said this, my first immersion on the cruise with my mother was a game called Cash Crop, and I did find it very entertaining. I had never come across video slots – I thought only one arm bandit type machines existed, so I was thrilled at first by the fun aspect …so maybe I could be classified as an entertainment seeking gambler. Whatever the motivation, the sad truth is we both end up in the same place – broke! All the best and keep posting – I always find inspiration and insight in what you write

Jane
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When I first started gambling, Kate, it was very much about distraction, and escapism from my depression and self loathing issues, so similar to the reasons why you got hooked too. The money was nice but it was about the way this made me feel, more than the actual winning. Gambling for me started out very lucrative, I was winning a working wage each day and I got cocky. I felt like something special and it was my little secret, which only added to the allure of it all. Gambling and winning gave me a pat on the back and it seemed like it was always there for me, but then things just got ugly and I was hemorrhaging money left, right and centre.
I then started to hate gambling and did it only for the purpose of winning back losses, (even turning off sound effects to dissociate from it.) It became cold and clinical and the fun was well and truly gone out of it. Gambling in the last year and a half or so became all about the money, it became about making amends, winning back losses. In order to do that, I had to bet big but as we all know well, that did not work at all, it only added insult to injury.
So yes, I do/did see gambling as a way of getting money, ironically, more so as the years went by. It seemed the more I lost, the more I thought I could win it back! Despite all the harm and evidence to the contrary, I still have days when I think that gambling is a good way to pay the bills. I know it isn’t, but the thoughts still come.
I suppose it is worsened by my debt. If it were a case of losing money in the bank and then giving up gambling, then maybe it might be easier to change that mentality, but when every day is a struggle, financially, because of what happened in the past, then there are going to be days when a quick fix still seems attractive, because I haven’t just lost money in the bank, I owe thousands on cards too.
I suppose in a way, Kate, having gambling debt keeps gambling relevant. It keeps it real and that is a good thing in a way, but it also makes it hard to move on because it makes gambling an obvious part of every day just because of what happened in the past. I know you are more than aware of this too. It follows you around and reminds you of your shame. Still, I am wearing it like a battle scar, a sort of badge of honour. It is ugly, but it is part of me. I may not be able to hide from it, but I can turn it into something positive.

Duncan
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Hi folks,

With gambling addicition we inevitably hit rock bottom before we can stop and actually think about the full extent of the financial, psychlogical, and physical damage we have done to ourselves. How much we’ve sacrificed our time and energy, destroying our relationships with our family, friends and partners. Underperforming at our jobs. The problem isn’t that we lose money, the problem is that we can’t stop gambling until it’s all gone.

We need to accept these losses and realise that gambling is futile and will only get us deeper into the hole should we continue. The addiction does not discriminate.

A gambling addiction can affect anyone, and is so strong that any logic we have is thrown out the window when we play. We lose the true value of money, take irrational risks and compulsively chase losses with zero control when gambling. That’s what the addiction does. It tricks us into thinking we can control it, that we can play small or just walk away with a small loss. That we’re smarter than that. It’s all just the addiction convincing us its ok to gamble. Truth is, for people like us, we simply cannot gamble at all. We cannot control ourselves. We need to let go of our pride and accept that we are powerless to this addiction. We can beat it but it will be the toughest battle of our lives and it’s a lifelong battle.

Do whatever it takes to overcome this and we can reclaim our old lives back. What we lose most from gambling is not the money itself but we lose our former selfs. We become something else which we are not proud off.

Let’s make ourselves proud and reclaim our lives back. As Nik says “let the bookies starve”.

Here’s to another day gamble free.

Jane
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Let’s get our lives back. I like the sound of that, Duncan!
Count me in.

kate
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thanks Andy – I really wish you well with both too – I have found giving up the ciggies hard to be honest, but now I have gone through the withdrawal phase I am finding giving up gambling much easier too – I think it must be to do with brain chemistry, that once you stop mucking yourself about with nicotine, or whatever stimulant it is we are using, your brain calms down and then, after a while starts craving other addictive habits less – that’s what it feels like anyway. I really hope this is the big breakthrough ….health wise I am noticing a big difference. All the best

Jane
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There are many reasons why people gamble, be it for money, for fun, distraction, boredom, debt…….When a person gambles for entertainment, it is obviously very hard to stop because the gambler who does so, does so for the love of the games, and can see no value in a win. A win is merely a way of getting to play for longer. Therefore, the person who gambles for the love of the slots etc….will see no point in coming away with a win, since this is not the primary reason for gambling.
Winning money simply enables the person to play for longer. That is the trade off. That is the reward.

Money is exchanged for the game play, so to this particular type of gambler, the win prolongs the play. It is the game play itself that creates the high, and losing money is a necessary consequence in getting this game play. It is as if this type of gambler is willing to ‘purchase’ the high they seek by playing these games and they are often willing to accept losses more readily than a person who gambles for money, since the person who gambles for money, needs to win to get their high. The gambler who does so for money, does so to profit as this is their primary reason for gambling. This type of gambler will not engage with the games when they are losing as they are not getting anything from it, in the same way that a person who gambles for entertainment does. Money is still important to all types of gamblers but they regard it in different ways. For some, money is currency, for others, money is time. Time spent gambling.

I would liken the entertainment seeker’s mindset to a day at the theme park, in that they pay to play, they get their thrills, they leave with nothing, but they had a nice time.
That is why it is so hard to quit gambling when you actually enjoy it because this type of gambler will consider their losses to be a necessary sacrifice in exchange for time spent on their favourite games and may continue gambling simply because they continue to enjoy it, despite the costs.

john
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Keep it up kate lets do it to all that have ploblem with gambling take care everyone

kate
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Hello to you too, and keep it up John! Day 18 for me – as I said yesterday, I tried to tackle stopping smoking and gambling at the same time, and it has been harder to stop gambling ….but I am starting to feel I have both under control, and am starting to feel quite secure. All the best to everyone. Nik, maybe ‘100’ days puts pressure on you? I think it was Loser who slipped up at around 100 days. But like birthdays, it’s just a number – just a non-gambling day like any other for you. Good to hear you are doing well Mr X Gambler, thanks for posting – it is heartening to know. Kate

john
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Hi everbody day 7 gambling free hi to jane kate ducan sadlady guest mat keep it all

Kate
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75 days cigarette free – should have been the same number of days gamble free, but I had a couple of lapses, so 17 days gamble free. Feeling positive and proud of myself, and the urges are not too bad. I found stopping two things at once was a bit much, so focused on my health first, and now that I been through the cigarette cravings, i am more able to deal with not gambling. Hope everyone is doing OK ?

Jane
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Kate, that’s awesome. Well done to you. Addiction is very powerful and it is very hard to give up on one addiction when you have another, since the added stress of giving up one will inevitably push you into leaning more heavily on the other. You have managed to do very well indeed to go so long without cigarettes.
The trap is, Kate, that you may find that you lean on your gambling more and tolerate your gambling losses more, because you have given up cigarettes. In other words, you may subconsciously feel that you deserve to bet because of how well you are doing with your other addictions.
That is the kind of mentality of an addict. ‘Well, I’ve done this, so I am entitled to do that’.

It’s just your addictive brain trying to justify your cravings. When you feel strong enough and able to apply this same mindset to your gambling, you will feel more able to refrain from gambling.
Just be aware, Kate, that there may be a possibility that you are telling yourself that it is too hard to give up both so that you can allow yourself to continue gambling. It’s our brain, again, trying to convince us that we are not ready to give up, so that we don’t have to sacrifice our addiction. I know, because I told myself this too. For a long time, I continued gambling even though I knew I needed to quit, because I convinced myself that I didn’t need to give up yet because it ‘wasn’t too bad’. My sister tells me all the time, despite health problems, that she can’t give up cigarettes because that’s ‘all she has’. She looks at it the cigarettes as a stress reliever and feels as though she would not cope without them.
It may be a sign that you don’t want to let go of your gambling because maybe part of you still enjoys it? I guess, it was easy for me to stop, Kate, as I learned to hate it. It ruined me and it stopped being fun for me. If part of you still clings to the excitement and anticipation of gambling, then perhaps you could try to really address the negative effects of your gambling and focus on how it has harmed you in the past.
We need to concentrate on these negative factors so that we don’t go running back for more punishment because by doing so, we are allowing ourselves to tolerate our addiction in a bid to soften life’s problems and this is completely counterproductive since gambling undermines our quality of life and removes our ability to cope with stress in any other way.

Gambling is like a computer virus and once you click on it, it won’t let you out until you identify it and remove it from your system. We can remove the ‘virus’ by understanding the path way that leads us to gamble. If we identify the problem we can tackle it and bypass it by breaking the connection in our brains that lead us to gamble, just like cleaning up the registry on your computer. It’s like a re-route. If we allow the virus to remain in our system, we will continually encounter problems until it is correctly identified and removed, because the virus will crop up in everyday situations, sometimes when we least expect it. Whenever we are under stress or upset, our infected ‘browser’ will re-route us to a potential gambling situation because that is the default setting we have created by years of gambling, and if allowed, this type of ‘virus’ will steal far more than just your money.
Best of luck to you, Kate.

kate
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Hi Jane

Thanks for your message – you don’t say how you are doing, but I think I know the answer – you are doing very well. I am so pleased .. you have come such a long way. I think I needed to get the nicotine out of my system and get over an initial few weeks withdrawal/habit when i really did feel I ‘deserved’ a boost. Hence a few lapses – but only once a week or so ….but since I have moved into a different phase of not craving cigarettes, it seems I don’t crave gambling as well …..it’s interesting really and I just hope it continues and I remain gamble free. All the best

Jane
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I am doing well, Kate, thanks. I still have some urges, like the other day, I had spent a good hour, sorting my finances and paying my way and was happy with the little I had left in the bank as it was enough to scrape by on. Then I checked my emails and e.o.n had sent me my gas bill for a whopping £180. The first thing I thought about was gambling on my credit cards to try to cover the cost of it. It is interesting how the ideas still come, but the difference is in how I choose to respond to them.
I decided it was best to just put the bill on my credit card instead. It hurts to do that because I am really trying to get the cards down but still, it is interesting to note that for a while there, the idea of loading the cards up with gambling debt seemed a good idea too!
It will take a lot of brain training to get back that sensible me. She is still in there, but sometimes, I get excited about the idea of a little flutter. Trouble is, it never is just a little flutter. It is almost a given that it will turn into another thousand pound lost. That was always the pattern. I just can’t do half measures. I get took up with it and end up going crazy. So best to steer clear.

I guess I will be back on the baked beans this week! :)

LOSER
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75 DAYS Cigarette free is BRILLIANT! Think of all the money you saved! 17 Days gamble free is a great effort Kate, keep it up! I am not far behind you I am on Day 14 so don’t let me pass you lol Let’s do this together!!!

kate
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Hi there Loser …really good to have you back posting today. I have been thinking about you and hoping you had got back on track – sounds like you have – that’s great. I agree with what you said to Nik – the 100 day challenge – deep down we probably have got so used to f…ing up that we fall into the trap of thinking we can’t do it. But we can – we really can ….
Both cigarettes and gambling have been my secret addictions – I know I was kidding myself that smoking was a secret (duh! ) – but in my head it was my rebellion, going back a long time – much longer than gambling. It has been quite hard to give up things I have kept secret – who do I have to pat me on the back! Well, today I have been open, and I have been patted on the back, and it feels great! Thank you Loser, thank you Jane, thank you Andy, thank you John ….I appreciate it

Andy
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Hi Kate, well done on giving up the cigs, I’m currently on day 15 quitting them. I’ts funny, I findf giving up smoking much much easier than gambling, I never thought i would, always been 20 a day person, but just did it 2 weeks ago cold turkey and going great!
Wish the gambling was just the same, but unfortunately not.

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