Comments

kpoole8Kate
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Sorry to hear that Carl ….you mean Bingo or other gambling?

kate
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That’s right Loser – and it might be fun and more sociable – let me know how you get on. All the best

Carl
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Well i gave it a try but went on a mad one now back to day one gutted

Jane
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Is this Carl from the site before, or a new Carl? Either way, Hello Carl!

kate
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Hi Loser. Sorry to hear you are struggling – sounds like you have a lot of stress in your life to deal with too.I used to play bingo with my grandmother and have some fond memories of it – although in those days you used to win hideous prizes, so I would bring home a collection of plastic dolls, tacky lampshades etc! I don’t think of bingo in the same category as slots …if you limit the stake why not give it a go? If it helps relieve your stress it is certainly less damaging than a full-on slots binge.

LOSER
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Hi Kate,
Plastic dolls, tacky lampshades? Hahahaha that’s funny! I looked a place up and it’s $30 so probably 15 – 20 pounds. Bingo can be expensive it appears depending on what prize money is offered. I will not go over $30, planning to go next week. Losing $30 for a hour or so is better than losing $300 in a hour!

kate
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Hi Jane

Thanks for your posts today – the freeze state is something I learned when i was growing up – I was very much the outsider in a very boisterous sports-mad household, with, as previously stated, a very aggressive, champion sportsperson and bullying mother. All I wanted to do was play music and be quiet ….and I found the noise, rows and banter really hard to deal with – but I was afraid of being turned on and told I was stuck-up, miserable, ‘too good for us ‘ etc, so I think I learnt the freeze response – kept me from being turned on, kept me out of trouble. Since then I have found it useful if I am in a painful/potentially painful or stressful situation – like the dentist, or when I had my foot re-set after a bad break ….I can just go into the freeze state at will. Also, professionally, I spent many years as a researcher conducting focus groups – no matter what the topic, and some were very mundane, I could appear interested, and ask prompt questions, ” how does it make you feel? tell me more, how interesting, does anyone else feel like that ….” and then so long as the interviews were being recorded, pretty much zone out. People have often said I am a very calm person …this is the impression I have learnt to give, but I don’t think it is a natural calm. However it is a useful technique at times,. So the freeze state is a learned response to stress I think – so when I found online gambling and that it quickly induces this state in me, I was quite understandably hooked

You raise an interesting question around whether it is possible, knowing this about myself, to be a responsible gambler? It is certainly the case that I got some benefit from gambling last weekend – it really did help lift me out of an agitated state, so on this basis, it was money well spent. It certainly didn’t seem to trigger a really compulsive phase again. I’m not saying I am going to try just using gambling as a kind of self-soothing drug, because I don’t think i am sufficiently in control, but I can certainly forgive myself for using it in this way. I am learning so much from this site, and from your insights – thank you Jane – and thank you all who keep posting with such sincerity and insight

Jane
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Kate, the description of your household growing up is very similar to mine. I didn’t get into trouble much, growing up, and I wasn’t interested in breaking the rules. I was always the chalk in my family’s cheese sandwich. I didn’t like noise either and I am quiet and artistic. I love libraries and the whole academic scene. I was never competitive, sports wise. I loved pushing myself with exams and studied off and on, well into my 30’s, purely because I enjoyed it. I find real inner peace in a book and can literally lose myself in my own world. I am odd, in the sense that I don’t quite fit in with my own family, even now. I am seen as the sensible one (the irony!) and I guess from my exterior, no one would ever know what was really going on with me.
I became very good at hiding my emotions, burying them, almost. I don’t like to bring people down with my problems or emotions, so instead I just get busy and try to mask it with smiles. If I ever I did confide in someone over a problem, they would never take me seriously because I always had the tendency to down play everything and make light of things, (much like you do, Kate, with your counselor) when really, something might be bothering me a lot. Because I was always seen as okay and happy, stable almost, it was as if I wasn’t allowed to have problems. If I did have an issue, I would be letting others down by having it, because I wasn’t being my usual strong self. If ever my sister had problems, she would get help and support, where it would be assumed that I would just get on with it. So I literally stopped talking about stuff and kept it in.

This is why I found escapism in gambling. It didn’t judge me or make me feel inadequate. It kind of became a friend, to turn to when things got tough.
Without gambling, I am finding life good, but there is still something missing. I’m not sure what, but it is like I haven’t quite filled the gap that gambling left in my life. Maybe it never will be filled, because like you said before, it is hard to get your brain to accept that doing other things is better for you, because you don’t quite get the same level of satisfaction from doing ‘normal’ things.
I am enjoying life without gambling and I certainly do not want to go back, but I miss the escapism. I am still trying to find something positive, that gives me the same level of relief, but as you know, this is difficult because of that all important high. You have to also watch that you don’t just replace one addiction with another, so I have to be careful that I don’t seek escapism in something that will also become problematic.

I am aware that I am drinking a little more than usual, since giving up gambling, but this is primarily down to the fact that I am socialising more and not locking myself away in a room with the laptop. Still, it is important to be mindful of the ways we fill our time when we give up gambling, because it can be very easy to slip into an equally harmful activity. This is commonplace with some addicts who move from one vice to another and convince themselves that they have got over their addiction by simply replacing it with another.

Jane
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I think we have to ask ourselves what we want and what is best for us. Are we looking to control or manage our gambling, or are we looking to leave it behind completely. I know from my own experience, that there are aspects of my gambling that never became part of my addictive problem. For example, my love of the horse races. As a problem gambler, I hardly ever used racing to feed my addiction. Actual live horse racing was always for the love of the race, not the bet.
For me, the addictive side of gambling was always that instant gratification, the quick fix, having the outcome decided in mere seconds. That was the killer and that was the draw for me. It was this instant outcome of your bet that kept me playing over and over again because you are constantly getting that hit, anticipation and excitement. Hence why the roulette was such a problem for me. Of course, the super high speed at which the games play out is what cost me a small fortune and only after a few years, when I tried to control what I spent, did I start placing slower bets on things like sports games. I hoped that the pending outcome of the bet might help me to get that excitement throughout the day until the outcome was decided and stop me from blowing hundreds in minutes.
Other people on this site have also reported having different sides to their gambling, for example, poker playing and lotto. I think that lotto and bingo are seen as socially acceptable forms of gambling, and many people do not see them as a form of gambling, also the fact that many people who play bingo and lotto often don’t gamble in any other ways. If you asked my gran when she was alive if she was a gambler she would laugh and tell you ‘no, but I like to play bingo’. This is also the reason why the bingo ads found that loophole in daytime advertising where other ads were aired after the watershed.
In honesty, if I seen a bunch of folks waiting outside the bingo hall, I would not think the same as if I saw a bunch of people hanging out at the local bookies. It is still a form of gambling, but I believe it is different because the focus is on the social aspect, not the bets. I see it as the difference between drinking at home alone, and going to the pub with friends.

It is not uncommon for people like us to have aspects of our gambling that are separate to the addictive side of our gambling. Aspects where it never became a problem or stayed for the love of the game or for fun. Different environments also trigger a different response. I only gambled online and found it scarily easy to part with a grand at a time. If I tried to gamble in a casino you would have to literally prise it out of my cold, dead hands. I just would not be able to do that, just as I can’t part with money easily anywhere in the ‘real world’. It is the fact that I can do it anonymously online and no one knows my shame or recklessness.

Responsible gambling is about setting limits and controlling the amount of time we play and the amount we spend. Usually, what happens is we gamble small to start with, it starts out fun and then the bets start to grow. It becomes reckless and so we try to impose controls upon our gambling by setting limits and trying to gamble responsibly. At this stage, it either works, or it doesn’t. If you can stick to what you set yourself, great. I tried to gamble responsibly but it never worked. I undone all the efforts I made to control myself. Setting limits did not work, cool off periods and self exclusions did not work. There are nearly 300 gambling sites that I can bet with, without moving out of my chair and unless they bring out the universal self exclusion tool that enables you to self exclude from all online sites in one simple step, then a determined gambler will always find a way. Hence the reason why I had to change my mindset with regard to gambling, as it is just too available if you want it.
I really believe we all need to do whatever we can to help ourselves. This will be different for all of us and some of us may agree or disagree with another’s methods.
I can hold my hand up and say that I am not capable of gambling responsibly. I have tried it for years and it does not work for me. I had to stop completely, and do not gamble whatsoever, even if it is free.
The most important thing is being true to yourself and making this nightmare go away. You all know your own selves far better than we know each other and you all know what will or won’t work for you. In essence, my point is, it is difficult to say that something is wrong if it works for someone.

Have a great day, everyone. :)

Jane
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Hi, Kate, I do know a little about freeze state. If I remember rightly, with stress, for whatever reason, our bodies and minds respond either by dealing with the situation head on, (fight) by running away from the situation, (flight) or by delaying or suspending a response, (freeze). A freeze response can also be regarded as allowing a situation to happen, sometimes experiencing a feeling of observing yourself from outside your own body, where time slows down in a bid to protect you from having to address whatever trauma or emotions you are going through.
Your love of the slots provides you with this means of suspending time and delaying thoughts and feelings. The trance like state that a lot of people report while using these games has been likened to being anesthetized, it numbs the pain and acts as a sort of barrier to our emotions. Often these responses are automatic, ie, the brain chooses which option is best at the time, after doing a quick risk assessment. Sometimes we fight, sometimes it is in our best interest to run, other times, it may be best to just stand still and pretend it isn’t happening. Your brain’s priority is the present moment and that is why it can mislead us into thinking that something bad is actually a good idea, because it just focuses on making you feel okay in the short term and disregards the long term consequences.
With regard to gambling, the freeze state is the most desirable as it provides solace for you and your troubled mind. It is your ‘safe place’. Trouble is, it is an illusion and as I said before, ‘a false memory’. Gambling does not bring you happiness, but quite the opposite.
When we are stressed, we have impaired judgement because we are in an emotional state. Perhaps if we could learn to see our situation from an outsider’s perspective, we could see the situation for what it is and react differently, without gambling. We could ask ourselves, ‘what would we say to another person if they were in this situation’? Then maybe we can learn to be more objective in our response to stress and make better judgement.
We also have to have a chat with that critical inner voice and correct it when it tells us negative things about ourselves. If it says, ‘you are stupid, you can’t do anything right’. Tell it, ‘I’m not stupid, I could have done that better and I will try and do it better next time’. Also, Kate, try to accept that you are not perfect and don’t have to be, and that things will always go wrong in life. I know it is hard with everything you have going on right now, but learning to accept the things you cannot change is healing in itself because it empowers you by freeing you up to change the things that you can. It also stops you from feeling hopeless and powerless because it is self defeating to beat ourselves up about things which are beyond our power to change.
I will send you a (( hug )) to cheer you up. Take care, Kate.

LOSER
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Just wanted to say I still play lotto tickets and there has been mention here of Bingo being a form of gambling. Well I am considering playing Bingo I do not see it as gambling because firstly its good for your sight, ear’s, alertness and memory. Secondly for 20 bucks or less you get hours of entertainment. Anyway DAY 75 for me and urges are coming on strong and heavy and with the situation I am dealing with won’t resolve for another couple of months so will be a struggle. If I make it to 100 days I think I may fail after that.

Mat
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One ore thing, sad to see nothing is being done on fobts, the recommendation was to make them down to £2 a spin instead of £100 but its quiet, they still continue to ruin lives and steal peoples wages. There is an article on this site in the top right corner ‘Too much focus on FOBTs, says GambleAware’ it really shows what they are definitely not trying to help anyone they now these machines cause the most problems to the most people, they suck the money from poorest people, young people and cause rise in crime and suicides but profits are more important to them sick and evil people from gambling industry even worse than drug dealers because they cause more damage to more people. How is it that bookies themselves fund these research and supposed help groups when all they want is more problem gamblers and more profits that why they have so many shops and machines, they are only open because of problem gamblers that will lose months wages in less than 1 hour that’s why they don’t want the stakes reduced down to £2, they want to take as much money as they can as fast as possible that’s the truth.

Mat
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Day 36 I visit site less often, still think about gambling sometimes and want to play a little as it was a habit and got used to it, winner would be nice but I know that once I start I am really stubborn and will play over my limits if I don’t get a winner early. Fobt machines are bad, money goes way to quickly, predetermined result and zero skill involved also £500 jackpot is not worth it bigger wins rarely happen, will £500 or £1000 make me happy? these machines are designed that you play them often and lose a lot, mugs game really any slot machine.
I moved on and soon I will have the money back I lost recently through working extra, gambling is a waste of money I see people spend everyday on lottery, odds used to be 14 million to 1 now they added extra numbers and its 45 million to 1, Im sure you can have a bigger chance of aliens abducting you or plane crashing on you than winning anything there even just matching 5 numbers. Think how much money can be saved in 10-15 years and investing it instead what you spent on gambling, you would have a pretty nice jackpot sitting there.

Jane
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I agree, Mat. The hardest thing with giving up gambling is accepting that you will never have a chance of winning again. It is easy to accept that you won’t lose money anymore, that is the easy part!
Well done for reaching day 36.

Kate
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Thanks for your post Loser. I think I will look for another counsellor …. prob a specialist in addiction . You hit the nail on the head with the word ‘release’ … that is exactly what addictions have in common isn”t it …. the pressure builds and we look for that release . It’s just that the releases all have their downside and are addictive. I also turn to carbs when under pressure and have an ongoing weight struggle. I remain a non smoker but I miss the release . But I also take your point that there are people who are a lot worse off ….whose lives have completely fallen apart as a result of one or more addictions. We are functioning reasonably well, most of the time and self and professional help is the route to go down. Hope your pressures ease too and you remain gamble free . All the best

LOSER
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Hi Kate,
I think you need to explore that “unhappy place” and resolve some of the issue’s there. Maybe not all issue’s can be resolved so then you will need to find a way to live with these issue’s without feeling so hurt with them. I would find a new counsellor I was sort of like yourself joking at the start and then the counsellor asked me to speak of certain things like my childhood and other things and when she taps on something that hurt you in the past trust me you won’t be laughing and joking. Now in answering your question I believe you can heal that part of yourself that wants to go gambling of course you can! I believe you can heal all issue’s in life that create painful feelings and some other issue’s like your father you can only learn to manage and live with the hurt. However what I was trying to say in my post is this……We use gambling to feel better, whilst gambling we go into our own zone where there is not a problem in the world and so focused on that next push of the button. But through everyday living we will always come up against new problems, new issue’s and without learning how to deal with them we may resort to the only way we know and that’s gambling. So hence why I said we will never be cured, but we can manage it so in other words always be aware gambling is a risk to us. Why do you think people are obese, alcoholics and heavy smoker’s? That’s there release to problems in there lives……food, smokes and alcohol. As close as I was to gambling last week and as much as I tried to not go I instead broke my diet and resorted to eating junk food. I needed a release I couldn’t take it anymore and I rather ruin my diet than ruin my days. It’s going to take along time to manage feelings and find a different form of release. ah life is hard isn’t it? I guess you have to think other people are in a much worse position and enjoy what you can because we do not live forever.

kate
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I agree with everything you say Jane – it is difficult to change our response to stress, but this is what we can all aim to do if we become more attuned to the processes going on in our heads. For me it definitely feels like a pressure building – and a fight/flight thing where I feel literally trapped in my head – a very negative pressure builds and then I find release. I imagine it is exactly the same for an alcoholic, or any ‘holic’ ….. at times when the pressure builds I also have strong urges to smoke again ( I gave up but it never feels like I have really given up) . Fortunately I have never been offered anything stronger than cigarettes, or else who knows what else I would be struggling to give up. One of the problems for me is that at times of stress the obvious thing to do would be to go for a walk, meditate, read a book, listen to music, go for a swim, but I don’t seem to be able to get my brain to accept that this is what I really need. When I saw a therapist she said there is a third state as well as flight or flight, and this is freeze ….and this seems to be the state I get into ….in a freeze state, the most soothing thing for me is the repetition of gambling on slots, or maybe a game on my phone ….mindless, repetitive, but soothing. Anyone have any ideas of how to deal constructively with the freeze state?

Jane
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I don’t think we can ever say we have beaten gambling addiction in a ‘I’m cured!’ sense. I think what we learn to do, is accept that we are susceptible to addiction and learn different ways to deal with the stressors in our lives that lead us to gamble.
To do this, it is imperative that we understand our own gambling process, we need to strip it back and see the pathway. The easiest way to do this is to ‘feel’ it as it is happening to you, ie, when you have the urge. For me, I can literally feel the process happening.

It goes something like this….
I’m emotional about something and I don’t like the way I feel. My thoughts race and my heart quickens. My brain reverts back to a time when gambling brought me escapism and relief. It reminds me that gambling is an option for the way I am feeling right now. I start to agree with it, my excitement grows and I can feel the anticipation of bets. My basis for gambling is an emotional one, not a logical one. There is no truth in the ‘memory’ that gambling brought me pleasure. This is the point that I can turn to gambling and this is the peak. I will gamble now, unless I go through the next process.

Which is….
I rationalise my thoughts, logically. I remember that excitement and anticipation is the way gambling starts but not how it ends. I log on happy yet log out depressed and full of remorse. I am able to see that gambling brought me harm, not pleasure and can make the decision not to gamble, because I know that what I am feeling in the first part of my urge is not true. It is impulsive and irrational.
My decision not to gamble is based on logic, not emotions, and so I know that my decision not to gamble is a good one. I have worked the urge through from start to finish, and it passes without harm.
I can feel that my urge, if drawn out on a graph, is a definite wave. It rises steadily, reaches a peak where I would normally gamble, and then starts to fall as I work it out rationally. This is the way I actually feel my urge and I think if you can feel this happening, you can stop it from progressing to the next stage.

We may never be able to say we are cured from gambling addiction, but that doesn’t mean that we will still gamble, what it means is that we will still have to work at dealing with our stressors and our emotions in order not to gamble. I think it is vital that we either have a barrier in place to prevent the next stage happening, or learn different ways of diverting the urge by our own methods. Or perhaps a combination of both. We need to know what causes our urges in order to deal with them correctly, but what we need to remember most of all, is that we have a choice. We cannot relapse unless we make the conscious decision to gamble. There is a process involved in giving in and it can be prevented at any stage before relapse happens, if we take the time to assess our urge and address it properly.

This can be done, my dad gambled for years as a youngster, he worked for nothing, throwing all his wages away, week after week. He met my mum, quit gambling and quit smoking and never looked back. He has NOT gambled for 53 years and says he did it by seeing the stupidity of what he was doing. He wanted a better life for us as kids and wanted to leave it behind and become the person he wanted to be.
People can change and gambling addiction may still be part of us, but it need not affect us. We can learn to disconnect the dots that lead us to gamble and our lives can return to normal. The addiction will still be there but it will be managed. When our triggers arise, gambling may still be in our thoughts and urges may still come, but we can manage our addiction by managing our urges.
It is not harmful as such, that we have times of stress, sadness or discontentment, but rather, what we do when we feel this way that affects us so adversely, since gambling only adds to our problems. It makes no sense to gamble and risk harming ourselves during a period of stress, it makes sense to tackle the issue head on.

Cheryl
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Hi everyone all I did relapse back at the beginning of February but I did stop myself from doing anymore damage,only because I realised I did have rent to pay and needed food to eat.

kate
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Thanks for your kind message Loser – I appreciate it. I haven’t had an urge to gamble since my weekend lapse, which I think is progress. I take your point about support – gambling is a secret addiction for me I admit. One friend knows, but she doesn’t check to see if I am doing OK – she lives in Abu Dhabi now and is very busy with her job. I do have a counselor who was very helpful , and I could go back to her. I find it hard to be honest though. I think I tend to make jokes at my own expense rather than express the real sadness and depth of emotion I am feeling.
What I have recognised since last weekend is that I have my own special ‘unhappy place’ – maybe we all do? When the unhappy place is triggered, this is when I feel the urge to gamble. My unhappy place represents an immature part of me I think – it is angry, resentful and destructive …. and when I am in it I really don’t care about money, responsibility or what anyone else would think. Now I recognise this part of me I think I have a much better chance of learning how to manage it…so although it is a shame to have relapsed, i learnt something from it.
I think I will take my unhappy place theory back to my counselor and work on how to manage it.
Do you think when you say we will never be cured from gambling you are really saying we will never heal that part of ourselves that makes us want to gamble? The unhappy places in ourselves? The parts we hide even from ourselves, and certainly try to hide from those closest to us? This is how I am starting to see things ….maybe we can’t cure or eliminate these parts of ourselves, but we can learn how to manage them – and I think this is your message you me. Thank you

LOSER
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Hi Kate,
Sorry to hear you relapsed but with the enormous pressure you have been under I am not surprised. People here get support from someone whether it be a counsellor or partner and it appears to me you are supporting everyone in your life but no one is supporting you with your addiction. We are all trying to stop gambling but I think if anyone thinks they can be cured they are sadly mistaken. I have stopped 9 months once and again I went back to burn a lot of money. Mat has stopped 2 years and he went back. You need to have a safety system put into place when the urges arrive. Being under pressure and stress makes you want to go gamble to relieve the pressure, it might work but long term it will not help your addiction. I was very close to gambling as I have been under a lot of pressure and stress and still am, I guess I just made last minute decisions to help me like no access to money etc.When I relapse I have always started again from day 1 because to go through it all over again and knowing by the time yo reach day 30 it really is helpful to think I don’t want to start from day 1 again s it’s more of a deterrent to relapse. You relapsed because you couldn’t cope with the stress and pressure so it’s important to now find another release instead of gambling to deal with these emotions. My counsellor is teaching me mindfulness google it and look into it, it really is slowly helping me. This addiction is a long life disease that needs to be constantly worked on, but I can only assume as the years go by it will get easier. Learn from this relapse, make adjustments in your life so not all the pressure and stress is placed upon you. GOODLUCK

Kate
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I agree Jane – thanks for your comment – it’s important to remember that in fact we have come a long way – from complete denial and scary compulsion to a much more aware state ….all the best to you

Jane
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Kate, Jenny, what is most important here is not your days, but that you do not lose focus. Counting our days is a nice way of seeing how far we have come, but it is only an indicator of what has been, not what will be. What matters most is the day you are on, not what number you are on. This is the one that can determine your future, not what has happened in the past. That is why I always say that I value only the day I am on. I do not like to look too far ahead as I can only control the future by controlling the present. That is about all I can do with regard to gambling. If I promise myself that I will not gamble, each day I wake up, then I can safeguard my future, one day at a time, and with this disease, that is about the only certainty that there is.

What is important, is getting back on track and doing whatever works for you in order to stay motivated. I know from my last relapse in November that I did not gamble just the once, but continued to gamble as I figured I ‘may as well’. That is the unfortunate attitude that can follow a relapse and can put you in a downward spiral if you are unable to shake it off and move forward.

Giving up gambling is about making the future bright, not changing the past. We all have gambled in the past, whether it was yesterday or a year ago. Gambling will only become part of our future if we gamble in the present, so take care of each day as it comes and the rest will take care of itself.

Wishing you both the very best. x

kate
Reply

Hi Jenny – that was a good tactic – wish I’d thought of bingo! I think the idea of maintaining the number of days gamble-free, minus any days of lapse is very sensible and motivating – it makes a lapse less of an absolute failure, which could trigger a more serious lapse …’what’s the point, I’m such a mess’ etc – rather than – ‘OK, I had my reasons, I’m not proud of myself, but on the other hand, it’s not a disaster’.

Jenny
Reply

Hey guys, hope your all well. i also gave into to the urges Kate although i am proud that i choose to go onto a bingo site rather than slots where my £100’s off pounds are gone in the matter of half a hour, although this is still a form off gambling. I like your idea Jane because i also feel like crying over starting day 1 again and all my progression was lost, so heres to day 9 tomorrow!!

Kate
Reply

Good idea Jane – I do have a spreadsheet with the days, so I will just do that – it does seem demoralizing to play snakes and ladders! I haven’t felt the urge to gamble against since the slip at the weekend, and realized that the gambling was very directly linked to a surge of stress I was feeling – so it was very clear to me why it happened. I think I am back to a more balanced state now. I think the problem for me was that I had underestimated the potential side-effects of radiotherapy …my poor husband has developed a very nasty condition called radiation colitis – very unpleasant. I hadn’t said before, but this illness comes as just one in a fairly long line – starting with a brain tumour in 2012 …I think because he overcame this, I imagined prostate cancer would be a minor thing to cope with – the condition itself is less worrying, but the treatment has had pretty awful effects. He also has a heart condition, so yesterday when the doctor called and said she thought maybe he should cut down on some of his heart pills because they may be causing the severe symptoms, both he and I had to laugh when he said he didn’t much fancy dying of a heart attack trying to cure diahorrea!
I am sorry to hear about your worries for your daughter – I know from the experience of a friend and hear daughter that part of the problem with the condition is that the sufferer doesn’t always make the right decisions for herself …my friend said it must be like waking up every day with a hangover and blurred judgment goes with this. I do hope you sort your appeal out Jane
Thanks for reaching out – much appreciated

Jane
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Hi, Kate. I got a notification this morning and it looked like the posts all went on in one go, but some were from friday and some from yesterday. I think it’s probably best to just check the site, rather than rely on notifications, I don’t think they are working well right now. For me, it was as if no one had post for 3 days, then they all went on in a block. Weird.
I actually did not post for the entire weekend!! Shock horror. :) Been busy sorting out an appeal. They stopped my daughter’s disability for her illness and said she should be able to cope now she is nearly 16. Perhaps they would like to see what it is like when she has her hypo’s, becomes uncooperative and falls asleep with low blood sugar. They presume that she can care for herself just because she is older now. If anything, Kate, she is worse. Now she rebels against her meds, won’t check herself when she is with friends and goes without food, sometimes all day at school. She comes home across busy roads with blinding headaches and I really worry sometimes. She has mentioned that some of her older friends are interested in alcohol. I’m glad she can talk to me about it, nonetheless. She is the youngest of her peers and many are heading for 17. It is hard, Kate. I feel like I can only protect her when she is here with me, but now she is older, she wants to be out all the time but she doesn’t want to take care of her problems and what teenager would? They figure they have enough issues going on!

Do not worry too much about the weekend, Kate. Mentally, it feels awful to go back to day 1 but this doesn’t really tell the whole story does it? You aren’t starting from scratch because you have learnt so much in between. What I would do, is draw up a chart for yourself and ‘x’ off all those days that you racked up to the point of your weekend slip. Then put a different mark in the box where you relapsed and carry on marking off your days. That way, you can still really see all those days where you did so well and they look really good compared to the odd day that you relapsed. It is a fairer, visual representation of how well you have really been doing.
That worked for me, as relapse felt demoralising and I often found that it lead to extended relapse because you lose motivation.

Wishing you well Kate, as always.

Kate
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The urges seem to have gone again and I feel on top of the stress today. Thanks for your support Jane – it means a lot. Do I have to go back to zero? I would find this quite depressing ….but I suppose I should really. I don’t seem to be getting many posts .. only one from you Jane since i think last Friday? Maybe it is just a quiet patch?

Jane
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Day 114 today. Hope you are all doing well. Thank you all for your posts and for your comments regarding me logging on to old accounts. I respect your opinions and your advice. You are right, that this is risky even though I am excluded, and there is no way I would do that when I was having an urge. I have never played free play on sites or gambled in any shape or form since 6th November. No lottery, nothing. I have extended all my exclusions to bring them all back up to 5 years. Seems daft that this is the maximum they offer. I was told that I could close the account permanently, but it would not be an exclusion if I did it this way, and could literally reopen it at any time. In order to be excluded properly and unable to bet with any of my accounts, I have literally got to keep extending them myself because they can’t offer anything bigger than 5 years.
Seems that they figure we will all become magically healed after this time.

I had the very same mind set of getting to 100 days and thinking that I had earned a bet because of how well I had done. I posted about this when I was having urges around day 92. That was what triggered that crazy week I had. I kind of felt like I was due a bet. How ridiculous? But that was what was going through my mind too. It did pass, but it was a tough week. I don’t know why gambling would feel like a reward for going without it for so long. It is also the way I looked at cooling off….’I can bet again if I give it a rest for a few days’. I was quite shocked to find that they offer cool off periods from as little as one hour! Shows you how bad this disease gets people if they cannot go for more than an hour without intervention.
Anyway, I am sorry to hear that you had a tough weekend, Kate. Don’t look at this like it is a fix for gambling, but more of a giving up ‘process’. It is kind of like a roller coaster, you will have lots of ups and downs before you eventually get off for good. I wish you well, Kate. x

Jenny, well done to you. Glad you keep posting. I enjoy reading your posts. You will do very well, I know it!
Ray, hope you are okay too. A very interesting and heartfelt post. It is never a waste of time to air our views. It is great to share our joys and our pain. I really hope you can find a way to make this work for you. I also wonder about the chicken and the egg with regard to gambling. I gambled because I thought I was unhappy and discontent but then gambling made me feel so bad, stressed and unhappy that I realised my life was good before and all I wanted was my old life back! It is perplexing isn’t it? Do we gamble to escape our problems, or does gambling create the problems? And then, do we continue to gamble to escape the problems we then make for ourselves?

Mat, apologies for being defensive. It is unfortunately part of my personality to be defensive. I always struggle with my emotions. I know you mean well and I will take your advice on board. I just really want to succeed with giving up for good and I want us all to do well :)

Mr X, good luck with all your future plans. You have made so many changes in your life and have grown as a person and as a non gambler. Everything we achieve while not gambling still stands to us, even if we fall again. It all helps create a strong foundation on which to build a life without gambling. Relapse may be something we all have to face sometimes, but it does not mean all the time in between is pointless. Every day without gambling is still a good day.

Glad to hear you are doing well, Duncan. Despite all our differences, we are all similar underneath aren’t we? This is one of the most important things I will ever do in my life. It isn’t easy but it is so worthwhile. Thank you for your continued support and guidance.
Hope you are doing okay, too Nik, haven’t heard from you in a while.
All the best, everyone.

Jane
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My email notifications just stopped for no reason before, and I found out an old email and clicked the unsubscribe button at the bottom of it. It will then say something like you are not following any blogs, make a comment as usual on rethink and click the box underneath to receive email notifications. It may or may not appear on mobile but it is there on the desktop/laptop version. It seemed to get them coming through again.
If you never received emails and want them, just click that box at the bottom when you post.

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