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Time to quit.

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:51 am
by Martin
Day One
Today is the 28th December 2014.
Due to my job I am unable to attend GA meetings, and so I intend using this forum to log my journey towards some sort of recovery from a lifelong gambling addiction.
My past is littered with failed attempts at quitting and there is no guarantee that I will succeed this time, but I woke up this morning with the realisation that I have to make another determined effort to quit.
I am 49 years old and have been gambling since I was 12.
More to come....

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:58 pm
by Martin
Day 1.
Many things are going through my mind as I take these first steps. I keep finding myself envisioning a perfect life, with all of my problems solved, once I am no longer gambling, which is an unrealistic and dangerous way to approach this. I have to consciously keep bringing myself back to the present, dealing with any urges and problems that arise now, and live in this moment rather than fantasising about the future. A future that will look after itself, and will no doubt be very different to any that I could picture in my fantasies.

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:24 pm
by AnnaB (facilitator)
Hi Martin,
A warm welcome to the Forum! Great to see you here. I hope you find the community a great source of support on this journey. You have already taken a step away from the gambling by posting here today.
Looking forward to hearing how you go

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:54 pm
by Keeton
Hi Martin,

It's great that you haven't given up in your fight against the gambling demon. You just have to keep trying to give up. As you said you have to make a determined effort to quit. Don't lose motivation to change. The real you might be closer than you think. Just look at it in that any day you don't gamble is doing you good. Look at setbacks as a way to analyse your urges and triggers. You might also find the self help modules on the gambling help website helpful if you haven't already.

All the best on your journey.

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:10 pm
by Martin
Thank you AnnaB and Keeton for your support.
It means a lot knowing that there are others who understand how difficult it is for an addict to give up gambling. Even though non gamblers can offer support as well, it is very hard for people who haven't been addicts themselves to fully understand how hard it is to quit. I look forward to reading any feedback and support that anyone can give. At the same time I look forward to helping others on this site if I can.

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:47 pm
by Martin
Day 2
I'm getting urges to gamble (last night and today), but they aren't too strong at the moment. There are physical sensations that accompany these urges (sweating, hot flushes), as well as the psychological stuff.
I'm dealing with these urges by just observing them as they arise, observing the physical and psychological sensations, and then watching them as they pass. They do pass, and from past experience they will come less frequently as time goes on.
The most dangerous time for me has usually been around the 15-60 day mark. I will need to be especially aware of letting my guard down in that period.

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:06 pm
by Martin
Day 2
Things that trigger the urge to gamble:
1. Financial stress.
The mind is cluttered with thoughts of loan repayments, trying to juggle more bills than I can afford to pay, and trying to work out how I will afford simple day to day expenses. All these things bring on the urge to risk the money I have and go for the big win.

2. Boredom.
Gambling has so many aspects to it. The adrenaline rush, the mathematical intricacies of the betting markets, the handicapping of a horse race or sports contest, the pitting of wits between punter and bookmaker, the possible financial rewards for getting it right.
All that has been such an integral part of my life for so long, and I'm not sure anything can ever replace it.

3. Habit.
Gambling has become almost like breathing to me. From the moment I wake up and check overnight sport and racing results, and then through the whole day, either actually betting or spending time analysing an upcoming event, devising betting systems and staking plans, to when I eventually get to sleep, usually with the sound of Internet radio in my ears, I'm constantly involved with gambling on some level or another.
Just listening to the cricket today I have to keep checking myself from thinking about the game from a betting angle.

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:53 pm
by Noah (facilitator)
Hey Martin

I like what you wrote about observing thoughts and feelings and letting them pass. It reminds me of the old adage 'This too shall pass'. Examining triggers can be useful too.... have you come up with anything that might help to get you through those triggers?

Keep in touch!


Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:30 pm
by Keeton
Hey Martin,

It's great that you have identified the reasons why you gamble. I find that replacing those three triggers with healthy alternatives it a key part of recovering from gambling. As you said it has been in your life for so long, now you should find others things that will if you like fill in these gaps. It may be something you used to enjoy or something you haven't tried.

have you considered signing up for the 100 day Challenge. I did and I am glad I made the choice.

Hope this helps

Re: Time to quit.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:05 am
by Martin
Hi Noah,
Observing the urges to gamble as they come up without reacting to them is a technique that I learned through Vipassana meditation. I've done two 10 day Vipassana courses (in 1990 and 2006) and what I learned has helped me to deal with many things in my life. Using it at this time is helping me immensely.
It's absolutely true that "this too shall pass". An urge to do something is just a sensation that will pass, and as long as we don't get attached to it and react, then it is soon enough replaced by something else.

I can see that filling in the gaps left by gambling will be difficult at times. Right now it isn't a problem, but that's just because I'm getting so much out of being gamble free and enjoying the freedom of mind that comes with it that I don't need anything else at the moment. However I will need to find something else to occupy myself with soon enough.
I enjoy learning and would like to make up for a lack of education, so I may find something that interests me enough to do some study.
One problem I have is that as an interstate truck driver, and doing so much of my gambling online, I need to replace the constant stream of Internet sport broadcasts that I am used to listening to. Audio books will probably fill that void as I've become bored with most music. Audio books can also be educational, so two birds with one stone there.
As far as filling in the time when I'm out of my truck, I really need to get myself into some sort of a healthier physical state, and exercising would be a good way to fill in some time. It's shameful the way that my gambling addiction has caused me to neglect my health and hygiene, as well as me neglecting maintenance on things like my car, so there's some basic housekeeping that could do with some of my time.
Other than that I'll be enjoying the freedom to explore anything else that interests me without worrying about getting a bet on. Simple things like reading a book.
Just writing this makes me realise how much time gambling has cost me over the years. Like the money that is gone, that time is also gone forever. Hopefully I can use what time is left more constructively.