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Self Sabotage

The 100 Day Challenge is a program where you set your goals - reduce your gambling or stop gambling altogether, it's up to you. Log onto the 100 Day Challenge website to follow the real stories of four Australians trying to give up gambling for inspiration and get the tools and support you need to find the real you. Click here to sign up, and post about your own challenge here on the Gambling Help Online Community Forum!

Self Sabotage

Postby Desperate » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:08 pm

I have joined today because I can no longer live with my self sabotage. The pokies became a part of my life many years ago and I regret the day a friend introduced me to them because they have all but destroyed me.

I have lost my house, I have lied, I have hidden my problem from everyone around me. At one stage I opened up, thought I had it under control and had gained control of my life but then one thing after another happened and I soon found myself back at where I could forget everything bad that was happening ... only to make things worse.

I am tired, I am in debt and I have lost 2 close family members over the last 2 years, was made redundant, been (or feel) abandoned by my daughter and not coped at all. I soon found myself back in venues spending money I do not have and now feeling totally out of control and continually wishing I could go back in time. But I can't.

I have no-one I can turn to, and I want to feel like my old self but it has been so long, I wonder if I ever can again. It's like I don't even know to live a normal life anymore. The only place I ever think of to go to when the loneliness and desperation overwhelms me is a venue. I hate it. I hate myself for putting myself in this position.

I am 60 years old (turned 60 in May), now found employment but dropped $20K in come, renting and $30K in debt. Is there a way out of the darkness? Can I release myself from the hooks that the pokies have so embedded into me? Can I ever laugh or feel happy again? Please tell me the sun will shine again one day.

Desperately seeking hope.
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby Jerry (facilitator) » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:45 pm

Hi Desperate,

You will be able to laugh and feel happy again. The sun will shine again one day. But only if you put the work in.

You can change your relationship with gambling, but you might need some help. It sounds like you have heaps of things on your mind at the moment, the loss of family members, loss of a job and a house, financial debt. Any one of those things must be overwhelming, no wonder you are struggling.

I couldn't cope with that without support.

Maybe it is time you found some extra help?

Many people find talking with a counselor useful. Give help line a call and they can link you with a free counselor in your area.

You have a lot to deal with, but you don't have to do it alone.

The sun will shine again.
Jerry (facilitator)
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby Joy » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:46 pm

Hi Desperate,

Life will get better and you need to try remember that. A wonderful thing about being on the bottom ..... after finally realizing that that's where you are, is that you get to go up. it isn't easy though as you know. I'm struggling to hang onto the bottom rung. I know if I hang on long enough I'll get to pull myself up. Maybe we can follow each others progress. Good luck, keep checking in because the facilitators have a lot of insight and lets face it, we can all use the help. (by the way, I can totally relate to your story, I'm 59 .... except its my son who's not talking to me}
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Location: Coffs Harbour

Re: Self Sabotage

Postby Desperate » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:46 am

Thank you Jerry and thank you Joy. I will try to keep coming on here and reading posts - it helps to know you are not the only one who has lost control. I am just so very disappointed in myself and it affects every aspect of my being :(
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby pamela » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:11 am

Hi desperate and welcome to the forum. Even though everything looks gloomy at the moment there is time to change and now is the right time. Have you considered face to face counselling as I find it very helpful. Perhaps you could search the area you live to find other activities that might interest you. If you make up your mind to stop then you can do it with hard work and it's not too late to start living your life again. No matter how bad things look now the only way to go is upwards.we will encourage and support you
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby Desperate » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:37 am

Thanks Pamela. I tried the online counselling and found that talking online with someone about gambling only increased my urge to go to a venue - which I did, Sunday night. So start again Monday. (Not a very good beginning).

Anyway, I have decided that counselling online is not for me given that experience. Also I have never found counselling has helped me before when I have tried it so am going to try and find other alternatives this time.

Thank you for the support.
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby blastoise (facilitator) » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:29 am

HI Desperate,

Welcome to the GH Forum, and thanks for sharing your story with us. I know it seems like this is a dark pit we can't escape, but as long as you want change, it can get there. Everyone here will support you and provide advice and guidance, so use this space to talk about it. lapse and relapse are very common in this process of change and recovery, and you are not alone.

If counselling is not you cup of tea, perhaps Gamblers Anonymous meetings, or other support groups might be a possibility?

Take care
blastoise (facilitator)
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby jimi68 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:59 am

hey desperate,
The best councelling I found was simply reading all the posts here regularly. It gave me ideas , a chance to tell my story, and a feeling of HOPE to know others have this fight too and some of them are winning,
I guess the longer we do something the more of a hold it can have on us.....
AS the saying goes "'PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT""
and if you have practiced gambling for years.
Each time you go you are reinforcing a behavior in yourself...
Hopefully you can now explore the reasons you go
the feelings and thoughts that drive those little decisions in the day that lead you there...
Find something else to do and practice that....
YOU CAN DO THAT....... keep searching
Small victories..
one day at a time.

So why when we SWEAR NEVER TO DO IT AGAIN IN TEARS do we end up back there?
Its not a question of character...
We might feel guilty afterwards like we morally failed
but what if ALL THAT HAPPENED was a thinking/feeling process....
Like people who crave chocolate, or food.....other addictions....
I guess we feel its worse because of the BIG MONEY LOSS and all of its consequenses...
Imagine the chocoholic has a bad day and went to coles and bought a few big blocks and ate themselves sick
they would then feel guilt hopeless and confusion(I though I quit!!)
I would say to them your not BAD PERSON OF LOW CHARACHTER your just addicted.....

Its confusing to think all week like a non gambler and then suddenly get an overwealmingly strong temptation.
Why is this?
If you havnt already you need to watch the documentary on youtube "katching pokie nation"'
Get mad at the machines ...be gentle with yourself....

So analize yourself!!!
Why did talking to the online councilor increase your desire to go gambling?

Have you figured that one out?
Was it that focusing on gambling made you think about it more?

or were you anxious because you were feeling if you get help you would no longer be able to gamble
and you felt like you would be deprived of your fix which made you anxious and you wanted to escape that stress by gambling?
Get one more session in before you quit? ( I USED TO DO THAT)
Did you feel they were not relevant , theres no answer here, I may as well go play pokies as I am doomed?

I tried online councilor once and found that I felt detatched as I could not build a real relationship of understanding when limited to
a chat dialog of short responses....
I felt this person was trying.... but I wasn't able to engage in real conversation like I would with a real person.
I could also sense some answers were generic like they were cutting and pasting from a manual some of the answers
which felt impersonal (I guess there probably trained to do that)
I concluded that online chat was probably only the first contact place for a lot of people
and that real councelling happens face to face with many sessions over time
and as time goes by they get to know who you are,
how you think,
and what you do....
I'm having a good councelling experience that I feel helps SO I FEEL SAD that yours didn't help.
You could allways try again..

You said at one stage you had it under control...
even though you ended up back again...
that shows that
How do you get back to that place again?
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby Desperate » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:14 am

Hi Jimi68

Thank you for your response. In regard to the online counsellor, I found it, as you said, very non personal and stock standard answers that did not even feel as relevant as those I give myself. The more they talked about the actual pokies, the stronger the drive to go became. I was so frustrated that I closed off the session, changed and headed down to the venue - losing more than I normally would. At that point I decided that online counselling was not an avenue for me. I am going to try and go to a GA meeting today and see how that goes.

Previously when I had stopped, cut up my cards and was starting to get back on track (a long time ago now) my mother would beg me to take her - she made me feel guilty and selfish for not taking her as she kept telling me it was the only thing left she had that she enjoyed. At first I was strong and would take a book to read while she played but eventually they got the better of me again and I was back playing, more than ever.

Then, down the track, I had to give up work and care full time for my Mum - and you can imagine how things spiralled downhill then. Add the isolation of caring for someone 24/7, the loss of any real life and you have a recipe for disaster. When I eventually had to put my Mum in High Care, I was so far down the path of depression - then add a large dose of guilt - and well it just became worse.

I moved back to the city after Mum had been in High Care for a year and thought I had found a suburb to live in with no machines - I was so determined to leave that life behind me! But then one day on a casual stroll I came across an RSL, it wasn't long before I was visiting regularly. And the new life I had been trying to build came crumbling down. Now, 2 years on, I have lost my house (all proceeds in the pokies), am in debt and hating myself with such intensity that I have on a number of occasions just thought of ending it all.

I don't even recognise myself anymore and what I see, I don't like :(
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Re: Self Sabotage

Postby jimi68 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:51 am

good luck with the GA meeting.
I have not yet been to one so I don't know what its like.
Could you share your thoughts and feelings about it here after you have been?
do you feel it can help?
are you going back?

I still believe people should do one on one councelling.
Its free ,Its different than the phone or online
And you can tell them about ALL THE ASPECTS OF YOUR STORY ( your mother, your past, your depression, your hopelessness) and maybe get some advise on what other services are available
to help you...
Its confidential.

sounds to me like you have bad depression because of gambling.
How you feel is not reality.
its just your feelings..and the thoughts in your mind about reality.
and if you have a concentration of bad feeling/thoughts and guilt, ALL THE TIME no wonder it seems hopeless.
your drunk on a bad feeling.

because of all the people that have already fought and won this gambling fight...
Just like you they felt lost...
but look at them now....
That's going to be you in the future too!!!!!!
You must forgive yourself and get on with the job of winning against this demon.
If you don't know how you going to do it ...then find out..
It takes time.
you cant change your past .
Find a way to accept it
and move on..
ps- and if you find yourself thinking about suicide you really have to do something about it
go to a gp and tell them whats going on...
or ring the lifeline.....
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