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100 day as my first goal

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: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:44 pm

Thanks Jerry. You certainty make a good point about the strategy of thinking through other ways to reward myself other than gambling. It is an important strategy. And it works when the rational part of my thought processes has the upper hand. But it doesn't always - the gambling demon is devious and powerful, and it can completely overwhelm all rational intentions and thoughts: As jimi68 outlined, you get " a sudden unexpected feeling that even surprises you in its intensity". It won't go away, but it can be controlled with planning, barriers, strategies and accountability. And never giving up on giving up. It's awful but it didn't get me today!! Day 17.
Last edited by DFP on Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:01 pm

Hi jimi68

I really like your line " it might be hiding in the background like shingles and try to come back one day." This is exactly how I see it - and shingles is a perfect analogy. I have gone for months and months in the past, but it came back! I firmly believe it will always be there but from now on I will always be working on keeping it at bay.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby jimi68 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:20 pm

bloody hell dfp,
I keep retiring from this forum to move on but I cant resist one last look and I keep seeing stuff that makes me want to stay on........
How can I resist not to reply?..
hhhhhmmmm!
I think theres still one more important thing you can add to your bag of tricks.
bear in mind I'm no expert and I'm just another person on this forum I don't have years of experience but
here goes.... this is what I did.
the psychologists I have seen seem to think that once cravings take over the brain its very hard (some have said impossible)
to change the state of mind so they seem to focus on lifestyle and attitude and avoidance of the stimulant. etc..
I have a limited experience with modern psychology there but that's been my impression.
Its all amazing and useful..
But I recognized that I had to stop myself somehow as I got this feeling pretty strong.
I could prepare all week but how do I deal with this sudden urge which just hijacked my brain?
cant spend rest of my life hiding under the table.
I think I need a strategy to use at those special moments.
What if I could tackle those moments directly!
makes sense to me.....
So I narrowed it down to THOUGHT STOPPAGE
and some kind of strategy to act when I was already overwealmed and was beyond the"' point of no return"'.
I call it the "point of no return technique""
think of a deer crossing a country road at night and it gets shocked and paralyzed by fear at the headlights of an oncoming car.
It is unable to leap quickly out of the way because its FROZEN in an emotional state.
I looked at those moments as similar to the urge filling me to gamble possessing my body.
However I realized that even though I cant leap out of the way quickly..
I still can move very slowly out of the way until I'm off the road..
almost like autopilot...
still flooded with the feelings...
I move.....
seemed to be happening in slow motion....
step by step..i move.
and now I'm on the side of the road..
I made it out of the path of danger.
what if I could train myself with an automatic thought behavior for that situation!
which clicks in like an auto pilot.
You know drivers can drive a car without much thought
what if I could use that to steer me away when I wanted to go in.
If I found myself at the venue door
I would stop (see stop sign in my head)
stand still
wait a moment ( still full of all the strong urges)
and then I would
TURN AROUND AND LET MY LEGS WALK ME AWAY IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION .(almost like they were separate from me possessing their own consciousness))
AND LET MY MIND AND FEELINGS CATCH UP WITH ME LATER.
that helped me because that means I can get away and I don't have to answer all the questions at that moment..
if I can just get away I can think it through later.
Theres still something you can do.....even when paralized.
I would practice by approaching a venue and stopping at the door a couple of times a day.
I had never stopped at that door I had allways in the past gone in.
my mind says GO IN when it sees that door . its never known anything else.
I trained a bit at that door with "don't have to go in"'
I would stand there and relax and
then listening to all the different thoughts that pop in and out as a exercise.
so I could feel them.
I then would walk away deliberately when I got the thought to go in
(only had $10 just in case)
and repeat in my mind the mantra
LET YOU LEGS DO THE WALKING _ LET YOUR MIND CATCH UP LATER.
sometimes I would say it out loud.
I realized as well that not going in gave me an incredibly deprived emotional pain but I just accepted that
and let my legs take over and walk me away.
I would feel better later and then reward myself with a coffee or food.
I now had an alternative behavior to do.
I don't have to go in their!!!
and I believe it because I have now done it many times..
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
such a long post but I want it to be thorough as I get the feeling you might understand the concept.
I now believe I don't have to go in!!!!!! (even with an urge)
Its a great feeling to have
its not the answer to everything but I became conscious and realized I have allways had the power to resist that situation.
even at its worse moments
I just didn't have a history in my brain of me doing it.
Because ive practiced it so many times already now I have confidence that ill be ok in the future
because I feel I know what I will do.
Nevertheless I still have to experience many gambling situations that I havnt yet thought of
and I may find myself back here one day..
needing help
maybe advice from you!!!!
but that's what seems to work for me so far.
hope you get something there even if its (that crazy jimi68 is deluded!!! hes a know it all and he talks too much)
maybe you could train yourself too........ that if you get that unexpected urge taking you over
and you end up at that door
STOP.
YOU DONT HAVE TO GO IN THERE.
keep at it
AND WIN BY NOT GAMBLING
Last edited by jimi68 on Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:36 am

Hi jimi68

Excellent post - clearly we are on the same wavelength in terms of both having the problem and thinking through about how to control it.

The scenario you describe is very familiar: "I could prepare all week but how do I deal with this sudden urge which just hijacked my brain?" Only someone with the gambling disease (as I call it) can understand this - AS IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY RATIONAL SENSE AT ALL.

I read something recently which resonated - "DON'T TRUST YOUR FIRST THOUGHT". I think this is akin to your advice of THOUGHT STOPPAGE. Essentially I see it as the emotional part of the brain working much faster than the rational part. All the strategies are based on rationality, but the pokies work on being an emotional attraction. Therefore, you need strategies to allow the rational part to have a chance - thought stoppage or don't trust your first thought are part of this. And I agree that it makes sense. Your advice of an experiential learning process to approaching a venue, stopping at the door and training the brain to adopt a reaction of " you don't have to go in" is very interesting and I'll certainly work on that (with safety of only having limited funds as you advise). Almost a hypnosis approach in how you can react in such a circumstance. I give this a go as it sounds useful - also part of a sustainability strategy (as the hardest part is not quitting but on staying quit).

Another scenario that's very familiar to me (not sure if you feel this too) is - at some deep subconscious level, there's an 'autopilot' working hard to get me to a venue and it works away with suggestions that are nothing to do with the pokies themselves. It is devious in working away at getting me there, knowing that when I am there then BAM! there's a high chance that I could be sucked in. The justifications it pushes include;
- just go an play keno, you can control that so just do that
- the steak is cheap today, so just go in an have that
- you deserve a beer, and it's cheap there so just go and have a relax on your own, you deserve that

So it works on getting you there knowing there's a fair chance you will be sucked in. Which is of course the strategies that the venues themselves deploy to get you there - they know what they are doing, and who they are trying to attract.

So I have been working on recognising these thought patterns that sound reasonable (perhaps along the lines of your earlier thoughts on 'rewarding yourself'). I now try to recognise the thought pattern and call out the deviousness of the disease with "aha you won't get me that way".
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby Springhope17 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:29 am

Hi there,

Thanks for recommending me to check out this post it is definitely helpful!

I can relate to a lot of the discussions in here.

I also use to travel a lot for work and I would always be trying to get out of going out for dinner and drinks with colleagues or making excuses to go back to the hotel early where really I would just be finding a venue and gambling!

I get paid fortnightly and there has been many times where I would get paid at midnight and be straight to the casino losing all my pay and then stressing for the next 2 weeks how I would pay all my bills.

I am today going to try to change my cash withdrawal limits on my atm cards its currently at $2000 per day and I want to look at changing my credit cards to stop cash advances. If that isn't possible on the credit cards I am going to chop them up as suggested.

Congrads to staying strong so far in the 100 day challenge.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby jimi68 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:54 am

dfp,
I really love the way you talk. you sound very articulate and thoughtfull..

I keep imagining you wearing a lab coat and smoking a pipe with a beard ......like Sigmund freud..!

you said
Another scenario that's very familiar to me (not sure if you feel this too) is - at some deep subconscious level, there's an 'autopilot' working hard to get me to a venue and it works away with suggestions that are nothing to do with the pokies themselves. It is devious in working away at getting me there, knowing that when I am there then BAM! there's a high chance that I could be sucked in. The justifications it pushes include;
- just go an play keno, you can control that so just do that
- the steak is cheap today, so just go in an have that
- you deserve a beer, and it's cheap there so just go and have a relax on your own, you deserve that

Yes I have a lot of that.
but I noticed something a few times which I thought was fascinating......
I sometimes had what I would call undefined or thoughtless urge feeling
which I after having then added rational thought like "go in with only a $50 you can afford that"'
after that thought the whole feeling increased because I had given the gut feeling something to latch on to.
so it seemed...
sometimes feeling comes first (almost blank of definition but full of symbolic energy like sound music and dreamy vagueness)
Then mind adds a context which then feels like an explanation..
completing the cycle.
I'm satisfied now that I have finished the mental sentence with the correct answer
Which seems to be "go in with a $50 you can afford that!"'
It now feels like the right thing to do!!!
I get the feeling first...
I'm then asking myself why do I feel this way...and then I look for an answer to explain.

I believe as well in the AUTOPILOT you mention.
after all we perform so many actions each day on this autopilot.
I think I remember someone saying.....
( I can walk through portions of my house in the pitch dark and I feel I know where everything is...
occasionally I stub my toe which is allways a shock and unexpected.
That shouldn't have happened....!!!!! who put this here??!!!!)
perhaps this autopilot is from the area in the brain that wants us to eat, sleep and survive.)

but then sometimes it seems to be that the rational thought already formed, pops in the head on its own
as well, in the form of "' Go in with a $50 you can afford that"'
so which comes first? rational thought or feeling?.
not sure so more analysis is required there................
you said
, there's an 'autopilot' working hard to get me to a venue and it works away with suggestions that are nothing to do with the pokies themselves. It is devious in working away at getting me there
YES ,YES ..... AND YES!!!!
I was drinking alcohol daily for years and when I stopped gambling I stopped that too.
It was easier to do but I remember once..
My mum is very health conscious and my "'project of lifestyle change "'I would share with her. At the time we were looking at blood pressure
as a health focus with our home blood pressure monitor we purchased .
I had already stopped alcohol for a few weeks but I found myself coming up with the idea to buy a bottle of wine and drink it and
then see the measured result on blood pressure from alcohol consumption.
I reasoned with her how this would be valuable data to learn
but she didn't seem to think it was a good idea.
I later realized that she was right....... that my primal urge for alcohol was trying to get me to have a drink
and using the blood pressure project as a trick so it could be satisfied!!!!
I can understand the concept of blood pressure without doing the experiment.
I felt strangely deprived when I decided not to do the experiment which shows where the feeling/thoughts had come from.
How devious our minds are to trick us to do what it wants.

so many times I was on the tram going somewhere else and I would get the impulse thought "go and gamble""
I would dismiss it but as I travelled further trying to put my mind on other things, I carried at the same time in my gut the feeling to go and gamble
which would keep popping and trying to birth itself into reality as rationalization thoughts.
ie- no one will know ican get away with it.....il only play a $50..
Maybe I need to go to that shop next to the venue...
I found myself even getting off the tram pretending to need to visit a nearby shop
walking now like on autopilot as I get closer I realise the shop idea is empty holding no reward for me, but the pokie urge has all these rewards that smell good.
And then it clicks and I say "'STUFF IT IM GOING IN"'
I have to almost run, giving myself no time to think about it and fighting the"' don't go in feeling and thoughts "'which I'm pushing away with all my might.
Once I'm in I can relax and get relief from the struggle by gambling!!!
now I here I don't have to think about it anymore.
being aware and conscious of your processes is of great value I think if your a certain personality type.

I use to fill my pantry with emergency junk food in case I got visitors but I allways ended up eventually eating it all myself.
That was when I was on a diet.
I'm not buying it for me!!! (that was what I told myself!!!)
"the steak is cheap today..so just go in and have that"'
I'm not gonna gamble.....

one more thing..
that going to the venue door and practicing technique may not work well for some people unless they at some point do it with a strong urge in their mind.
emotional engagement gives energy as I think that's when your brain wants to act as it thinks the event is important for survival and files it away as important.
Unless your engaged in the process it probably wont have much impact
If you manage to do it the first time at least once with an overpowering urge , your brain now has an emotional context to
give the practice door occasions significance and meaning.
I used a stop sign in my mind at the time to establish a connection
with the stop sign I would use when I practiced.
Some people would read all this and think its blah blah blah
but if you believe...then it can mean lots to you.
the youtube documentary "katching pokie nation"' has a eye opening section on the brain processes involved with gambling.
I found the bit about the rats very interesting.
with his reward centre stimulated with an electrode the rat kept pressing the wrong lever over and over till he died of exhaustion..
It took priority in his mind even though he was starving.
poor rat.
Last edited by jimi68 on Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:26 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:33 pm

Jimi68
I am very familiar with the "go in with a $50 you can afford that!" line from inside me. Funnily enough it only really comes on strong when I have (or have access to) more money than $50. So it knows that the real aim is for me to blow thousands. In circumstances where I really do only have $50, I am able to override the thought with a "that would be stupid, because that's all I have and I need that money". And that's why I say that the most important strategy of all is the limit access to funds strategy.

I can absolutely 100% relate to your description of:
"And then it clicks and I say "'STUFF IT IM GOING IN"'. I have to almost run, giving myself no time to think about it and fighting the"' don't go in feeling and thoughts "'which I'm pushing away with all my might. Once I'm in I can relax and get relief from the struggle by gambling!!!

I am just remembering now times where I have been almost running to get to a venue and in doing so wanting to get there before any rational resistance kicks in. And then that feeling you describe of relax and relief once I am in.

So avoiding venues wherever possible is a sensible strategy I recon. Why risk it? Why test myself? Just go somewhere better instead. If I go to a pokies venue there is always a chance that the disease will get me - as they say " if you sit long enough in the barber chair, you are going to get a haircut'
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:12 pm

Hi Springhope17

Your comment here brought back (bad) memories:

"I also use to travel a lot for work and I would always be trying to get out of going out for dinner and drinks with colleagues or making excuses to go back to the hotel early where really I would just be finding a venue and gambling!"

I would go out with friends, walk back together to the hotel we were all staying, agreeing when to meet up in the morning, say goodnight ....... and then as soon as everyone was out of sight, turn and head out to a gambling venue. The urge was so strong and the disease made me so deceptive. Clearly I would usually lose hundreds, get back to the hotel for a second time in the early hours, be stuffed for the next day (and perhaps skint so no breakfast) but pretend that nothing had happened and I had just had a good night sleep .

Awful disease. It won't get me today as I have the contingencies in place and I'm alert to its deviousness.
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby jimi68 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:50 am

well dfp,
It sounds like you have great insight into your gambling and your cash limiting strategy is sound.
Even though I do such long posts and go to such long efforts to get my points across I really do mean only that you could consider my input/strategy/ideas as supplimentary information.
which may or may not benefit sometime.
I guess one of my strongest beliefs is that there is a way to deal with the individual situations in our minds.... DIRECTLY WHEN THEY HAPPEN.

I think you will do well.
because....
You have a plan
You have support.
you are someone that thinks through their actions.
You don't try to justify gambling in any way.
You are open to other ideas.
the part of you that wants to stop is bigger than the part of you that want to gamble.

yours is the last post I have viewed as I leave this forum..
so goodbye and goodluck.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WIN BY NOT GAMBLING
IT FEELS GOOD NOT TO GAMBLE :)
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Re: 100 day as my first goal

Postby DFP » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:07 pm

Hi jimi68
It's a shame that you are leaving as I find your insights very useful and applicable. I will certainly be trying your suggested strategy of being outside a venue and getting into the brain to train it how to react if the worse does happen. That will be useful for me.

My comment about avoiding a venue was more to do with not being sucked in by their marketing of cheap meals and beer. I'll avoid those, and go somewhere better instead!

I will always be susceptible to gambling. I am sure of that. So I can't avoid venues completely, and a strategy that kicks in at the point where I am about to make a bad decision is absolutely part of the toolkit I need.

I hope you do return. But in anycase all the best of wishes for the journey!
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