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starting the challenge today

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!

Re: starting the challenge today

Postby pamela » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:19 am

Hi Joy..well done on one week..take one day at a time ..dont think too far ahead and just keep saying "I will not gamble today" You can do this
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby Jerry (facilitator) » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:59 pm

Hi Joy,

I am going to slightly disagree with Pamela.

Many people on here say take it one day at a time. But I think there is something to be said for planning ahead.

If you just take it one day at a time and don't think about the future you can find yourself with nothing to do on payday.

What I think is easier is to plan ahead a little. If you know that you are going to have a big temptation to gamble on a particular day, then you can plan for that. You can book the time out, maybe you invite a friend for coffee, maybe you book tickets to a show or a movie. Planning ahead can make the temptations easier to deal with in the moment.

Do you know when you are likely to be tempted? Have you ever kept a gambling urge diary?

What can you organize that will make your next likely temptation easier to manage?
Jerry (facilitator)
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby Joy » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:53 pm

Hi all, that's a good point Jerry but it seems that the trigger is memory. I have gone several weeks in the past without gambling, even a month or so sometimes ..... then I feel a little better, have a little money ... and I wander in and the cycle starts again. It seems the only thing that keeps me out is the memory and the shame. Once some time has elapsed that feeling dims and I try to keep it but it goes.

It sucks actually because I think that I need more than self loathing and self disgust as a tool to combat going in. That doesn't seem the healthiest thing to be doing.......... And I say one day at a time because that's all I've got at the moment, but I totally don't want that to be the long term plan. That certainly is a draining thought and not something I'd look forward to on a daily basis for the next 40+ years.

When I haven't been for awhile and the immediate memory of self disgust etc has dulled back ...... I just find myself driving there, unplanned, maybe on the way home from work etc. The thing is, I still know what I'm doing ........ I shake while I'm driving, when I pull into the car park I'm feeling sick and telling myself I shouldn't be here. In spite of the clear physical warning signals my body is giving me ...... I still go in. I'm excited too. It will be different this time. I tell myself I'll just play $ 50.00 on a low bet then leave when it's gone. Hell, maybe the $50.00 will last the night, or maybe I'll win!!!

I shouldn't go in. I know it. I still vividly remember all the money and the self disgust from the last episode. I want it to turn out differently this time. I really really do.
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby pamela » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:38 pm

Well done Joy..keep saying no to gambling and things will start to get better every day
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby Shirley (facilitator) » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:35 pm

Hi Joy, as a gambling counsellor, we know that feelings like shame and guilt are often triggers for gambling (rather than for stopping it). For instance, although money is the currency that you need to play, most people do not gamble to win money. Gambling tends to be an outlet or an escape / a way for people to drown out or numb feelings of pain and discomfort. So using shame and guilt as a motivator may work in the short term but just like willpower it won't hold you long term. What can work for a sustained period is having some skills / tools to respond differently to your emotions and thoughts - this can make all the difference.

Gambling counselling can arm you with these tools so you start to feel more in control. As Jerry says, having a short term goal can also be beneficial as research shows that working towards something builds and strengthens motivation. Even a goal of not gambling for a week can be helpful and then you can reassess the next step once you reach it. Reaching the goal is a motivator in itself as it builds confidence to keep going.

Have you ever thought about what is going on when you gamble? Is it boredom, sadness, reward that leads you back? Notice the kinds of thoughts that persuade you to have another go.... How does your mind frame things? Once you understand more about your triggers for gambling then you can start to prepare for them, For instance if you reflect upon the last six times you gambled despite a promise to yourself not to gamble then check in with where you were, what you were doing and what you thought and felt. If it is boredom, then make some plans for your down time. If it is stress or strong emotions, then have some supports like GH in place for when you feel at risk.

Protecting your money is the other part to this equation that will help to minimise risk. Limiting access to your money reduces the likelihood of you being triggered on pay day and if you have some savings being diverted then it means you cannot access it impulsively, Check out this product if you are interested in protecting your money as it really works well for gamblers https://www.rabodirect.com.au/notice-saver/
For most people they will spend everything they can access, despite all promises to stick to limits. This is because the rational part of your brain is flooded when you are in the triggering environment and it becomes impossible to access logic until you exit the venue again. Cue guilt and shame when logic kicks back in > which then leads to more negative thoughts and difficult emotions> which then leads to more urges to gamble. hence the vicious cycle.

Finally having a plan for when you feel emotionally vulnerable, or on difficult days is key. Write down some steps and keep it handy. Maybe calling the Gambler's helpline, or delaying the urge to gamble by 20 mins. Even walking yourself through how you will feel after you lose (reminding yourself about the probability of walking out with money based on evidence of past gambling)

Hopefully you can implement some small changes in order to reach your desired outcome of not gambling.

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Starting again. So so tired of day ONE

Postby Joy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:06 am

Well here we are again. Day One. So sick of day one. I thought I was making progress. Maybe I was in a strange way. This time I didn't put everything in. I had family down from interstate and toddled off to the pokies with my sister. Haven't seen her since Xmas and that is one of the things we used to do when we caught up. Everything told me not to go but as is always the case ..... thought I could stick to a limit and it would be safe as a one off event. ...... So not the case..... here we are again - DAY ONE.

I hate feeling like this. I only had to say no but I didn't. Now we both feel miserable (my sister and myself) and it spoiled what was meant to be a good catchup. My sister was down for 17 days but it only took one visit to make us feel like crap. :(

One a positive note though. I did stop and leave with some money still available that I didn't throw away. The disgust set in while I was there and we really did leave (before closing .... we could have thrown more into them) ...... could someone please tell me that that is a small victory. I would like something positive to come from it.

I am concerned for my behaviour once my sister leaves. I live a lonely life and may be tempted in a week or so to go back. Sitting here now I don't want to and it is the furthest thing from my mind. It stays that way for a bit then the disgust fades back a bit and I usually go back. I need to clock up a lengthy interval where I can see real results. So tired of the 2 to 3 week stop then the rot sets in again.

My new plan is to make it difficult to get access to cash. I can't eliminate the credit card as it is linked to my savings (HUH .. like I have any) and I may need it for car repairs or an emergency fund if the kids need help. (The kids don't know about the pokie problem). My plan is to put the card in foil and then a container full of water and freeze it. I won't be able to nuke it in the microwave then without sending my home into a electrical frenzy like in the back to the future movies. I'd have to run it under the hot tap for an hour or so to access it and surely surely surely that would be a deterrent

Meanwhile I will keep checking in on the site and reading up on what's been going on for some confidence building. I haven't been checking in for the last couple of weeks while my sister was down and I certainly think I should have been. I do find the site very helpful. I don't feel so alone when I'm following all the posts. Can someone please say something nice about me in a post. I know we don't know each other but I could use the boost. Gambling really does make you fell like an unworthy person and a loser doesn't it. :(
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby jimi68 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:39 pm

I loved the image you put in my mind with that back to the future remark...ha..ha.. :)
I too have a very visual imagination..

You have a lot going for you because you care enough to try again and again
to win over something which seems often bigger than us
You exercised some restraint by leaving the venue early....
and you are intelligent enough to think through and analize yourself so you have advantages there that will help you.
I personally have not gambled for almost a month and I can honestly say that after a while the urges become less frequent
and it gets easier...
I started intensely focused on one day at a time...
but now I don't need to invest so much daily energy on the subject.
Maybe your one day at a time period is just a little longer than mine..
and you can try for a longer period 3-4 weeks maybe?
if you can identitfy the exact thoughts and feelings you have when you get that fortnightly urge
you can develop a tool kit to use
ïn case of emergency BREAK GLASS"'
I have allways been amazed that my attitude can change inside from a committed non gambler ( I will never do this again!)
to............................ ïm going in and nothings gonna stop me"'
almost like I become another person.
I am learning that my temporary feelings that seize me are not my identity and I can take command over them.
if they were then I must have at least 12 people living in here!!!

you said before that you think you need more self loathing and disgust to stop you going in...
I recon probably because when you stop your probably feeling that stuff because you lost your money.
and it seems to stop you for a while...
If you win and leave with extra money will you still self loathe? ( I know I didn't)
but if you spend ALL YOUR TIME self loathing your gonna damage yourself if your not carefull.
and if you rely on selfloathing to stop you it wont stop you going back when you win
because WINNING tells you subcouscoiusly that gambling is good.
maybe you are like me......
I think its a simple equasion
PAIN= problem
NO PAIN=no problem.
I found my attitude would change when I went from"' I am a wicked gambler with no money I have to stop"'
weeks later when I don't feel the consequences as much and I have money again ......
"'now and everything is allright again"'
, it woudnt hurt to gamble because things are ok now""

go and look through your photo album and take a long look at the person you really are....
(not the person you think you are because of gambling)
(hopefully you have lots of good memories) .(no guilt- just observe yourself from outside like scientist or an alien or God)
Look at how beautiful you were as a young child and all of the amazing people and things you have done...
places you've been....
Your life is a long story full of wonderfull stuff...
your bigger than this temporary problem
your story still has ages to go....
If your life was being judged it would not be only on some of the temporary events.....
It would be your ENTIRE STORY from beginning to end.....
so even with a gambling problem you havnt failed life
because theres no way you could ever erase all the good that you have done
Were you a good friend to someone?
Did you ever help people ?
How many small thing did you say or do throughout your life that may have been a blessing to others.
you don't even remember them.
Was the world a better place because you lived?.
Your not a bad person
your just one of the good people with a small problem that's gonna be fixed soon.
"somebody save me from this temporary madness!!!
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby Joy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:36 pm

Thanks Jimi68. Well done on the "nearly a month" .... Cards are in the freezer. :) ...... this time for sure.
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby pamela » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:49 pm

Joy you just need to be determined..you can do it with willpower..
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Re: starting the challenge today

Postby Joy » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:18 pm

Thanks Pam. I am determined and will succeed...... I just read Catherine's post and the Lemon/Lime tart she made to keep busy sounds fantastic. Did the same myself over the weekend. Cooked up "Nonna's" famous schnitzel, heaps of gardening and housework and kept busy busy busy.

Back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks holiday. That will keep me occupied. The credit (card is unaccessable - frozen solid inside a brick sized iceblock :) Thanks for the support. I appreciate it.
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