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  • A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    This forum is designed for you to chart your progress in working to overcome your gambling concerns and your oning recovery. Take us all on your road to recovery!
    Kerry
    Junior Member
    Posts: 22
    Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:53 am

    A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:30 am

    I am re posting this from the Courtyard Forum from Monday and will use this as my diary of recovery.

    So – it's another Monday morning and here I sit once again, as I do each Monday morning, with the dogged determination that this day will bring a fresh new start. It's been this way each and every Monday morning for the past 4 or so years. Regrets for my actions during the past week and a disappointment in myself. I just can't seem to control this.

    It's not like I'm a stupid woman, quite intelligent I would have to say, business owner with an excellent reputation but here I have this nagging necessity to put every cent I earn into a gaming machine knowing quite well that the outcome will not be favorable. Time and time again I continue on this downward spiral of destruction. One would think at 50 – I should know better. I gamble up to 4 times per week (sometimes 5 or 6 times) each time walking away and asking myself one simple question! WHY?

    I estimate my losses over the past 3 years to be somewhere close to a few hundred thousand dollars. Wow – reading that figure it just doesn't seem to be real – but yes – it's real. It's a real addiction from which I feel there is no control on my part.

    Financially I have always been extremely secure – more than most I would say – which has allowed for my gambling addiction to spiral out of control. A dollar here, a dollar there, 500 here and a thousand there. I've tried limiting my access to cash (as I see most of you have done) cut up credit cards, limited cash withdrawals, transfers and the like however I always seem to manage to find a new way to obtain funds to gamble with. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul as they say. I tried the 100 days challenge and lasted a few days – my commitment was lackluster back then. I've been self-excluded from gaming venues near where I live however this has forced me to find locations to gamble outside the self-exclusion zone. Given it takes time to travel these distances I no longer drop in for a quick “push” on a pokie as I used to – I now feel the necessity to stay hour upon hour (or at least until every cent I have in my wallet has been spent) I've resorted to hypnotherapy – which worked for a brief while (about a month) however I feel like I am not making any progress with this illness. I rarely gamble with friends however spend almost every alone hour of my life in front of a poker machine.

    So what makes this week any different from the rest? Good question! And if I'm honest with myself – nothing makes this week any different from the others except……..

    I WANT THIS TO STOP – hence my joining this forum to hopefully gain a greater understanding of this problem from people who experience it first-hand. Today is a good day – and tomorrow WILL be better. Last Monday (like most Mondays before) I said no more! Lasted till Wednesday. Today again – I say “no more” Please give me the strength to get through this week so I can battle this addiction one week at a time.
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    Kerry
    Junior Member
    Posts: 22
    Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:53 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:47 am

    It's Wednesday – pay day. Day 3 of my quest to cease gambling FOREVER. What is going to make this Wednesday any different from last Wednesday or all the Wednesday's before that. I'm telling myself that my losses of the past are LOST. I am not chasing losses because I have drawn a line and WILL not cross back over that line to try and win them back. They're gone. Gone for good! Now that I've resigned myself to the fact that they're gone - I have the opportunity to start my life over again. There is nothing to gain by gambling away my hard earned cash. Am I confident – hell no! I've said this time and time again to myself however this time I am saying out loud.

    As I get paid fortnightly – my usual course of action is to pay all my bills on a credit card and use my cash to gamble with. Generally speaking – a fortnight's wages are gone by Wednesday night and I live off and borrow from credit cards for the remainder of the fortnight. Last night whilst in this committed frame of mind I pulled out every bill I could find. First thing this morning – I noted my wages had been paid into my bank so I set into my plan into action. I have given myself an allowance of $25.00 per day. $25 x 14 days = $350 (this too is a lesson in learning the value of a dollar again) I have withdrawn 14 x $20 notes and 14 x $5 notes from the bank in cash and placed $25 into 14 envelopes and marked them with each date for the next fortnight. So – what will stop me from opening all 14 envelopes tomorrow and hitting a gaming venue? Well – I have told a trusted work partner that I am doing a budget experiment and he must not give me more than one envelope per day. (not ready to discuss my addiction with family or friends) I then paid every single cent of my remaining salary off credit cards and bills and left $0 in my bank (I have cut up all my credit cards so there is no way I can obtain cash from them) Cash is my killer. Afternoons are my trigger.

    I think about gambling in one form or another at least 50 times per day. That's addiction. It is day 3 and I am Chasing the Challenge – not the win. I WILL NOT PUT ONE CENT INTO A GAMING MACHINE TODAY.
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    pamela
    Senior Member
    Posts: 1610
    Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:38 pm

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:03 am

    Kerry I think what you are doing is fantastic..I got paid today and it is the first time I havent gambled all my pay away..it is only early days but such a small step feels huge to me today.
    Lets be proud of the steps we have taken
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    Kerry
    Junior Member
    Posts: 22
    Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:53 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:09 am

    Good morning Pamela. Awesome - I know the feeling of achievement. You should be proud of yourself. Even if it seems a small win but not blowing your pay when you get it is a huge step in the right direction. Early days - yes - for both of us. One small step can seem so huge. Today is day 5 for me. I have truly thought long and hard about all the money I have wasted over these past 5 years and I am horrified. Keep it up Pamela. You can do it. One day at a time. Chase this Challenge and grab onto it with two hands. Each day I give myself a small task (that relates to gambling) Yesterday task – I downloaded a year's bank statements and actually added up all the cash (gambling associated) transactions on my account. Wow – what a huge eye opener. More so the fact that I spent almost $1100 in ATM fees over the years. $2.50 sometimes up to 4 time per day. Now that does tell me something. Over the weekend I plan to analyse my cash transactions from the bank statements and try to work out what my trigger points are. Once I know them – I can work towards addressing them.

    Keep up the good work Pamela. Yesterday was a good day – Today will be great – Tomorrow will be Awesome. I'M CHASING THE CHALLENGE – NOT THE WIN. FEELS GOOD.
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    Charlotte (facilitator)
    Senior Member
    Posts: 384
    Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:53 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:46 am

    Hi Kerry,

    I can only say 'wow'! Your approach is really committed Kerry, and extremely creative! I think that's a key to change - thinking outside of the box about ways to intervene with the gambling. Its great that you've broken the cycle this pay cheque - small steps as you say, but today is the most important day in your non-gambling future!

    All the best,
    Charlotte :)
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    Kerry
    Junior Member
    Posts: 22
    Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:53 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:13 am

    So – it's another Monday morning and here I sit once again – as I do each and every Monday morning however this Monday morning is totally different than all the Monday mornings of the past 4 or so years. I am proud to say I did not put one cent of my hard earned money into a gaming machine and for the first time in many years – I feel like I've achieved something. Albeit something very small. Estimated savings – at least a grand possibly more. Two opportunities presented themselves however I expected them and put measures into place prior to allowing this demon to envelope me.

    Opportunity 1. Friday lunch with a friend who suggested we head to a restaurant at Crown. Oh crap. Lunch – Wine – Crown. Never a good outcome for me. Ok - action plan. Limiting my cash access has resulted in my having $40 in my wallet and no access to any other cash. I've got some credits on my Crown card so I could turn them into real $$$$$. The urge is real but the Challenge is greater. Head is in a good place so that did help. Need to think this one through. CHASE THE CHALLENGE – NOT THE WIN. Cut up your Crown card! Free parking will help – need to keep card. Don't go anywhere near the gaming area! NO – FACE THIS CHALLENGE – go in the gaming area and take a long hard look around. Look at people and the expressions on their faces. Look at every person you can possible look at. Do they seem happy? Are they really enjoying themselves? How many of them are exactly like you? Answer – No one appeared to be having a ball! No one at a gaming machine appeared to be enjoying themselves! They all looked flat! Expressionless! And probably half – probably half are exactly like me. Battling addiction and using these wrenched machines as a means of escape. Ok – made it through the gaming area and into the restaurant. Now add wine and see what happens. Limit to two glasses during lunch. That way the alcohol won't make the decision for me. And it didn't. Drinking and gambling usually go hand in hand for me. I used to ask myself “do I have a drinking or a gambling problem.” Truth is – I use one as an excuse for the other. I left Crown on Friday and would like to say “thank-you for the free parking.” For the first time in many years – the parking was actually free and didn't cost me most of my fortnightly salary.

    Opportunity 2. Movie date with a friend. Movies are near a gaming venue and past experience would say I head to the movies earlier than planned and put a few dollars into a gaming machine before they arrive. This day will be different. Once again – head is in a good place. I will offer to pick up and drop home that way I won't be tempted. And I wasn't despite calling into the venue for a cocktail prior to the movies.

    I WON the CHALLENGE this past week but am I cured. HELL NO. I have so far to go – miles and mile to go. I need to constantly remind myself that I am an addict and I have an addiction. GAMING MACHINES are a thorn in my side. It's a new week and the challenge is real. I will CHASE THE CHALLENGE – NOT THE WIN. I will not put one cent of my money into a gaming machine today.
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    User avatar
    Neve [admin]
    Member
    Posts: 70
    Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:52 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:44 am

    Hi Kerry
    I just wanted to say how absolutely happy I am for you. Yes the journey isn't over, but each small step should be celebrated. Plus I can appreciate that this is not in fact a small step for you, it's really quite a big one - well done!!
    Have a great Monday :)
    Neve
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    Dave68
    Senior Member
    Posts: 320
    Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:38 pm

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:45 pm

    HI Kerry. Gee, well done on facing up to the twin challenges head on and really making a point of eschewing the activities that you rightly know have been a real issue for us all, hence we are all on this forum together!

    The crown card....indeed. I used to go into the Casino all the time after i got my package from work in '99 and what's probably worst of all, i would also have my card plus the cards of three mates. Back in that era you would only need 50 points to get a free meal at Crown, and plus you'd get $16 free credits on the card if you got there before 11am. So i'd go in almost daily, play the free credits, get the free feeds and try and wrack up the points again. Most often i would (and paradoxically my Crown escapades of that time were probably marginally more successful than my regional city gambling i'd do too of the same era).

    Of course i still ended up spending all my package of about $30K over a year or so, and my visits became less frequent. As i worked more (thanks to being in debt) and also as Crown upped the points needed for a feed to 100, then 150, my visits slowed, then stopped. I think after 2006 i've been in there three times, the last in 2012. But, and a big but it is...i continued to play in my regional town up until April last year, as well as online too.

    But the Crown card is a big hook to get you back in. For me, perhaps it was by design on their part but making it a requirement to get more points quickly reduced that lure for me to go in. I also am a very unsuccessful pokie player, i'd rarely win so i'd find myself not achieving the points. Thus, with no free credits to come back in for, and no meal...it became easy to stop going in. Cutting up the card can indeed cut that link, and given your powerful technique you've already employed in restricting your fortnightly spend to those envelopes, you've got a great tool to rapidly escape the clutches of the gambling bug. I reckon you'll do this, you are a very intelligent person with an excellent job, and you are using your brain to try and kill that gambling bug that takes great delight in destroying all our rational thoughts when plonked in front of a machine. Those machines seduce, hypnotise and almost command us to just throw money into them, without a thought as to how hard it is to earn that money, and the consequences of losing it. Beat that bug in our brains, and we beat the gambling addiction. Keep up the good work Kerry!
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    Keeton
    Senior Member
    Posts: 154
    Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:19 pm

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:42 am

    Hi Kerry, the fact that you have come to a place in your life where your trying to change is something to be proud of and well done for admitting that yes we do have an addiction but that doesn't mean that it's the end. Its never too late to turn things around. And although I myself don't have debt I'm positive that stopping gambling for anyone is a great achievement because as we find out is that life is pretty awesome without those pointless machines ruining our lives.

    I also am finding the true value of money again and looking back at how rediculous gambling is in general. They give us a quick reward system but with direct access to our money and lives. Those machines change us into someone else and as the 100 day Challenge says. It's time to find the real you, or something like that.

    well keep it up both of you and it's great to see us all supoorting each other in this road to recovery and a better life.

    All the best,

    Keeton
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    Kerry
    Junior Member
    Posts: 22
    Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:53 am

    Re: A desire to prove this cycle can be broken

    Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:56 am

    Pamela, Keeton, Dave, Charlotte, Neve and everyone else who has offered support in my quest for freedom – “thank you” Whilst we all have our crosses to bear – each person on this forum has something significant to offer. Reading words of encouragement from people who don't even know you makes this journey a little more achievable so "thank-you"

    This morning I woke as I usually do and one of the first thoughts that came to mind was gambling. How easily we can be tricked by our own thoughts. “Wow – it's been 11 days since I last gambled” “have a few hours to spare this afternoon” “I've been so good – I should go to a venue after work – I've earned it” “It's been 11 days – proof I don't have a real problem” “how can get some cash today - I won't need much” So on and so forth. FACT : These thoughts prove I DO have a gambling problem. Up until today – I have been so head strong about beating this addiction. Ask myself – why is today different from yesterday? Why yesterday was I committed and today I'm only half hearted. Need to get my head back into positive mode and believe that I CAN DO THIS. Why would I want to gamble? My losses of the past are lost so there is nothing to gain back! I'm not a good gambler – in fact – I suck at it! Break the cycle! CHASE THE CHALLENGE – NOT THE WIN. No latte for me this morning. My $25 daily allowance has been left at home as I'm not sure I can trust myself with any cash today. When I write in this diary tomorrow I will proudly post I DID NOT PUT ONE CENT INTO A GAMING MACHINE YESTERDAY.
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