I haven't written for awhile. Decided to log on and check in tonight, I read through the many posts I've missed and it just brought so many emotions back to when I was struggling to not place another bet. Its been awhile, honestly, I don't even count the days. I did at first, but found for me, that counting the days was almost a game, "lets see how long I can go without placing a bet." Not to say its a bad thing, but for me, its literally been one day, one day at a time. In reading the newer posts, it occured to me, that when I initially decided to quit gambling, I struggled, I was in and out of the casino and each time I went back, it just got worse. I was no longer going to play cards, or place a bet because I enjoyed the thrill of the game, I was going almost like a robot... I was going to chase the money I lost, although I knew, even if I won, I would put it all back again. It was an escape for me, of sorts. It turned out to be years of a living hell.
Today, I am gamble free, and "different, turned into a better way of living, a better life. Today, honestly I don't even think about placing a bet, although I know its lurking and will always be lurking and I need to be very aware of that. I put a lot of obstacles in my way, I self excluded from ALL casinos within an hour from me, for life, not for a limited time, but for life. I remember when I initially quit, I had banned myself from a Harrahs in my area, and thought, maybe they hadn't taken me seriously, or they hadn't done the paperwork yet... so I went. I sat down at my favorite card game at the time and two minutes later, the casino manager was tapping me on my shoulder and asking me my name. I told them I was someone else, they asked to see my ID and I told them I left it in the car, I would go get it and come back. Of course, I didn't go back. So, self exclusion does work. As I drove home, I thanked God.
I also have a very supportive support system, family and friends, all very supportive, although I know I have to do the work, without them, I'm not sure I would have the "will." I also realized, that the addiction was a symptom of my problems and I had to and still have to watch myself and deal with life as it happens, instead of running. I'm a runner. But that is getting better.
Since I stopped gambling, I have excelled with my work, last year was the highest paying year I've had in years, I am a real estate broker. I was emotionally available and did my best work. If I was gambling, I would be sitting in the casino and working from my phone, not taking calls and not really caring. Now that I don't gamble, I'm able to do my job, do it well, and enjoy what I do. Not gambling has enabled me to be financially secure, not rich, but my bills are paid, my mortgage is paid and I was even able to pay cash for major dental work. Now, I have a beautiful smile, and when I smile, I'm not in pain from the inside, I'm not suffering from the inside, because, today, I didn't place a bet.
Do what you need to do warriors, take one day at a time. Reach deep inside, and give yourself a hug. Life was different when I first decided to take my recovery seriously, life is still different but in a very good way.
Stay strong, don't surrender, don't give up on yourself. Sleep well, close your eyes and wake up knowing, that "today, you do not have to place a bet." You can be happy, no matter what life throws at you, but placing another bet, will not make things better, it will only make things worse, not just financially but more importantly, emotionally. Financially, I was a wreck, I'm still making up for some of the financial damage I did, emotionally, well, I was destroyed. When I looked in the mirror, after my binges, I didn't recognize myself. Today, when I look in the mirror, I see a happy, healthy person. Yes, life happens, but today when life happens, I'm emotionally available.
Three and one half years ago I was miserable, suicidal, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially bankrupt. My life was empty and meaningless. But somehow a tiny part of me realized I wanted to live and I wanted to be done with tears, fears and misery. The gambling treatment program, a great counselor, GA, and many tools and friends helped me to face the mess, deal with the monsters in...