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goldilox
#1 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Wow!am feeling dreadful right now, not even answering my ph, the dread of having to explain myself to my friends and family..the same story every wednesday (payday of course)..they know i when i stuff up, they can hear it in my voice, no matter how cheerful i try to sound. I really thought that i could stop this time, but starting to wonder if i can ever!! Almost 20yrs of my life this has consumed and i am tired of all the false hope and promises that i keep making myself and everyone else! I have an adorable 8yr old boy who is happy,thoughtful and so understanding and yet i continue to feel sorry for myself and find any emotional or financial excuse to try to justify my urge to gamble every week! Am just getting myself into a vicious cycle and finding it harder to get out. Rung the gambling helpline and got in touch with a counciler last week and even though i was really determined to stop, i am now feeling as if i only did it to get myself out of the rut i was in at the time ie:-(no food and overdue power bill)I wish i could stop because i really wanted to and not just because i know i need to!!
would love to talk to anyone else that feels the same! thanks for listening
goldilox
#2 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Please!!! I need someone to talk to and i really cant deal with talking to anyone on ph or in person right now. Friends and family dont understand,or maybe they just sick of same story day after day..I know i am! Keep being told that i have to WANT to stop, but if it was as simple as that..then why cant i!! common sense keeps telling me that what i am doing is ruining my life and others around me that care, but seem to have lost any common sense the day i starting this horrible addiction!!!
taysh
#3 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
taysh

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Hi Goldilox

I'm not sure where you are (are you in New Zealand or another country) as your posts were in the middle of the night here and so not getting a response quickly was mostly due to that. I know what you mean about people saying you have to want to stop but the truth of the matter is that a big part of it is the recognition of the need to stop. There is a big part of me that still wants to gamble, feel the excitement, get the rush of a win even though at the end I always feel stink (as I gamble until I had lost). However there is another more logical (adult if you like) part of me that can see the damage this causes and tells me that my desire to gamble is only going to cause me more harm and that part of me wants to stop. Sometimes it is literally both parts of myself arguing and it's really about me, my thought processes, and effort going into backing the 'adult' part of myself. I still have a few slips but have managed to go for long periods of time without slipping (most I think was about 6 1/2 months), and my slips are small amounts compared to previous gambling experiences before I began my journey to stop. I remember the first time I realised my thoughts were clearer, that was an exciting moment for me as I had no idea how much of my thoughts were taken up by imagining the big win and wanting to gamble. I began to feel more like 'me', and slowly began to rebuild my life. Just because you stop gambling doesn't mean there isn't some more work to do, it just means you are now more capable of doing it. I was quite socially isolated when I stopped as I spent all my time gambling. I slowly began to increase my social outings, meeting friends etc and finding other ways to occupy myself. I know it's awful but sometimes its those awful things that make us recognise that we do 'need' to stop and that there is a sane part of ourselves that does want to stop even though the inner child still wants to gamble. There are people here who will give you good advice about limiting access to money etc while you are quiting but the first step is reaching out and acknowledging that the problem needs recognition. You seem to be there, now it's exploring that part of yourself that does want to stop gambling because of what it is doing to you and your life. I began by writing out what I want for my future and how further I could have been along that road without this problem,not as a way of blaming myself but as a way of recognising how devasting this problem had been to my life and how much better my life could be without it. Hope to hear from you again on this forum and wish you the best for your first counselling appointment.
goldilox
#4 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Thank u Taysh.
I know deep down i want to and need to stop, yet every time i try to i seem to find an excuse for needing to go back, if that makes any sense?
I think it is because i feel like i am going to lose something that i love (and yet hate also) It seems as though it is all i have known to do for so,so long and has consumed my thoughts every day, that i dont know what else i will do.
Yes, i have an amazing son and family and friends,yet i feel so powerless to even want to change this destructive behaviour, if not just for myself, but for them as well! I keep telling myself how wonderful things would be if i could stop this horrible addiction and yet i feel scared that i will not like the new life that i get. I used to be a really happy, sweet,thoughtful person before i became a compulsive gambler and yet all i can see now is a selfish,manipulative and moody person.What if i can never get that person i was back?
It is not even about money anymore to me because i can always find a way to get more and get out of debt,(pawn,sell things,borrow etc etc) It is about trying to find some inner strength to want a better life for myself and my little man. The silly thing is, i know i am strong because i have been rock bottom so many times in my life and have always managed to pull myself up,so maybe i am just exhausted from being so tough and battling at everything i do! Really just wish somebody would wave a magic wand and zap me back to when i was trully happy. If only life was that simple aye!! Me just feeling sorry for myself and know i need to snap out of it, just tired of thinking about how and where to start.
This website is really reassuring though, knowing that there are so many other people very similar to myself, that have beaten there demon.
Many thanks for listening
circadian
#5 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
circadian

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Hi Goldilox
I understand so well what you are going through. Take comfort in the fact that all of us, every single person who posts here, have felt this way at some stage. When I found this forum, I was so low that I thought I had lost myself. There is lots of good advice to be found here, and if you need to cling to the forum for a while like a drowning person to a lifebelt, then do it. If you are really serious about quitting you WILL quit, you WILL find yourself again and things WILL get much better for you. Firstly you need to know that you are not powerless, you have all the power you need to beat this. You can change your life with one very small word... no. When we are used to indulging a craving, albeit smoking, drugs, drinking, gambling or whatever, your whole being will throw a tantrum when you start saying no, but just like a child, it learns. Sometimes we slip up, sometimes we give in, but saying no becomes easier and easier, until, one day, you find that you have not had a thought about gambling for a day or a week. Ofcourse you feel scared that you will not like your new life, it will look very boring compared to blowing your paycheck on the off-chance of hitting a jackpot, but once you start realising that the money that you feed to the greedy slot machines can actually buy STUFF that you need, it becomes fun. In the beginning I would take an amount of money that I would usually gamble away in about 10 mins, and see what I could buy for it. Carrying 3 bags of groceries into my home was a great improvement on carrying a load of guilt and anger into my home. Try it.
goldilox
#6 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Thanks Circadian, yes i do feel like i have lost myself and all control of my life. I have just been sitting around all night crying and ignoring the phone..i just cant face everyone,the same pity in there voices and asking why i did it again when just the other day and week i was saying how much i wanted to stop. I know they really want to help and they try so hard to understand, but they just dont get it!! and fair enough,cause neither do i!!
My sort of ex partner just came round and made me feel even worse,,he knows everything i do and has helped me out financially quite a bit, but emotionally he is completely useless..almost as if he likes to see me fail so he can rub it in and feel like he is in control of his life.He is a gambler also,but in his eyes he doesnt have a problem because he doesnt blow all his money each week..instead just studies the horses from wed through to sat and only bets what he can afford!!..he even takes me to the pokies on wed morn and justifies it by saying that i would go by myself anyway. Anyway, enough about him..i do not care what he does with his time anymore..time to break away from that habit as well, (we only happy together when both have money)
Just wish there were no phones at the mo,my sis txt me before to ask how my day was and my landline has rung a few times..hoping if i dont answer it my probs will dissapear for now.. need to get a good nights sleep, but cant imagine that very likely tonight..my mind is going full speed wondering and worrying about how to get some more money tommorow..for food, bills, petrol etc...but realistically i cant see that happening...(spending any money i get on those neccesities, i mean)my thoughts keep going back to the dreaded pokies..my escape from having to think about everything else!! and yet my ideal escape right now would be as far away from them as possible..an island without technology.. but then i wouldnt have people like you on this forum to talk to and relate to what i am going through.I feel like i am just babbling on now cos i cant seem to focus on anything else, none of it makes sense, i just want to clear my thoughts so i can stop crying and get through the next few days with some light at the end of the tunnel.
hocko
#7 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
hocko

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Hello Goldilox, as Circadian and Taysh have both said, you can give up gambling. I have been a compulsive gambler (pokies) for the last five years and struggled to give it up, whilst relapsing very regularly. I too couldn't understand why I allowed myself to be pulled into this addiction, as in other areas of my life I have been a very strong person and also brought up my child on my own. However, when I realised that I could NEVER gamble, even just a little bit and once I started I couldn't stop, it dawned on me that FULL STOP is the only way. I found myself a "buddy" who I talk to over the internet who is a reformed gambler and since then I haven't been back to the pokies. With his advice I've started to rebuild my life, contact friends I haven't seen in a long time and filled by days with work and hobbies. It doesn't leave me time to gamble. I still get the urges, but when they come, I tell them to go away. Give them a name, make them real, not just a thought and it's much easier to tell them to get lost. You can do it - you just need to to "no". Now, that's not simple, but every time you get the urge, think about what gambling has done to your life. You don't want to continue the way you are and you can change this. We all understand as we have all been there or are still there. If your ex partner encourages you to gamble when he knows you have a problem with it then he doesn't really care about you. If he did, he would support you in your quest to stop. Posting on this site, or even just reading the posts, has been a tremendous help to me and as you have already found, pour your heart out to us and we will all help you along the way
goldilox
#8 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Thank you Hocko
Well i woke up today feeling slightly better managed to get a good sleep..(think only because i was so exhausted from crying and thinking so much)I realise now that i really do WANT to give up and have to for the sake of my precious little man and my own sanity. Am so sick and tired of feeling sad,stressed and angry all the time,always feeling sorry for myself and expecting everyone to understand and reassure me that i am an ok person..need to start realising that for myself, as you say, only I can change my behaviour! Wow!, where do i start though?...all my thoughts right now keep going back to money and where and how i can get some this week to be able to buy some food..i know that shouldnt be my main focus right now, but i also know that if i dont get that sorted then i will be stressing even more and use needing to get more money as an excuse to justify going back to gamble! I had a food grant already last week from winz and i have exhausted any other options over time of friends and family helping me out, and quite honestly even if they offered right now,i dont think i would accept, because i am worried i will let them down again!
goldilox
#9 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Well, a few hrs later and i answered a txt from my friend,she offered to get me some food, as she has extra money this week,and even though at the time i declined her kind offer,i have now decided to accept her help..I know i cant do this on my own and if it means accepting some handouts then that is what i will do! Also finally answered my phone,and think it was a sign of some kind!, because it was my new counciler asking if i was ok and if he could arrange a time today to come and see me.Made an appointment for 1 oclock today and as much as i am relieved to be able to talk to someone that can help me, am also quite anxious.. think that is because i am feeling totally exhausted (mentally).I do know from past experience that talking about it all does help, yet i also know that it can make me feel worse having to think about the daunting task that lies ahead of me..finances,counciling,apologies and having to force myself to focus on something else to keep me busy and away from those dreaded machines.I do have plenty of artistic ability and skills that i love to keep myself occupied, but once again it all comes back to having money to be able to even start a new project.Yes, I know, one day at a time!! i am getting ahead of myself now. Maybe that is why i have this addiction, because when i start something new i like to give it 100% and end up becoming so focused on getting it done to perfection, that i seem to forget to enjoy it!..Wow! what a revelation that statement is...I just summed up how and why i became so addicted to those dreaded pokie machines...started out as a bit of fun with the thought of winning some money that i didnt have to work hard to get..that in itself is a contradition!!
Because, my gosh!,I have worked so hard for the past 15 or so yrs at playing those machines..
My CV would be quite impressive if gambling was a real job..
Have devoted 40+ a week of my time being a dedicated, reliable gambler. Was always there on time every day, no sick days used (always managed to drag myself in no matter how unwell i felt)... only really ever complained if my favourite machine happened to be out of order (but only because i knew it would be fixed within a day)...communicated well with other fellow gamblers,(always lifted my head up from my machine for a few seconds to congradulate them on winning the jackpot)..even though i had been in there for hrs longer than them and had worked much harder and so therefore thought i deserved it more than them),but i was always curtious!...Never asked for a pay rise or bonus of any kind..(Well not outloud,anyway!)
Yes!! I was certainly a dedicated worker..even took the pressures of my work home..slept, ate and breathed my job as a COMPULSIVE GAMBLER!!
goldilox
#10 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Just a small comment to add to my above statement... Today i am going to quit my job as a COMPULSIVE GAMBLER!!..cant ever see me getting a promotion..so time to move on LOL!!
taysh
#11 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
taysh

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Hi Goldilox. Wow you seem to be in a more positive "take action" frame of mind. I'm glad you had a friend come through with some groceries. There are food banks you can also go to if things get bad. Hopefully everything will go well with your counsellor. Just a suggestion I have in this first wee bit of quiting that although I found difficult worked for me. It is important in the first few weeks of quiting to try and limit your access to gambling. This might mean not hanging out in gambling places or with others who will encourage gambling. It can also mean doing other activities to distract yourself and limiting your access to cash. Basically if you don't have the access to cash and access to the machines you won't gamble. Now you can't go out and close down all the machines but there are ways to limit access to cash. One way is to have a trusted family member take control of your income, pay your bills with it and only provide you with spending and grocery money (or go grocery shopping with you each week). I couldn't do this as I had no family nearby that I could trust this to. I approached the free budgeting advisory service through my local citizens advice bureau. They have this thing called 'total money management' where my wage went into their bankaccount and they paid all my bills (power, phone, rent etc) and transferred an agreed amount into my bank account each week for groceries and spending. I will tell you the truth and say I absolutely hated it but it got me through the first couple of months after which I requested control back. It is a good service and they help with the actual budget as well. At least if I did slip I knew my rent and utilities were paid for. That does of course still leave you the grocery money but other strategies can be worked out for that such as having someone do groceries with you on the day you get paid so you don't blow it on gambling. I actually had the gambling helpline monitor me one day when I felt I was going to blow my grocery money. They asked me to ring them (free number) when I got to the shop, and when I got home and if they didn't hear from me they would ring after a certain time. It helped having someone that carefully monitoring me to get my urges under control.

Goldilox, I'm not trying to tell you how to go about this but I guess I am saying it won't be easy and sometimes it helps to admit "hey at the moment I am untrustworthy with money and need some monitoring/help with control". It's hard to admit we are untrustworthy when it comes to gambling as I essentially think of myself as a very honest person, but I had to admit it about gambling as in respect to that behaviour I was not a trustworthy person. I would spend all my pennies and not even think about how it would effect others or myself. It was all about the moment and the stupid fantasy of winning. Anyway, just some suggestions. It's worth checking out budgeting advice anyway.

Hope counselling went OK.
goldilox
#12 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Hi Taysh,thanks for your advice and yes conselling went really well..has made me a bit more relaxed..helped me to put things in perspective and stopped my mind from racing around in circles trying to figure out where to start with my money worries and exactly what my prioroties are right now...and that is to focus on everything else that is important to me ie:my little man, my very thoughtful friends and family and to start looking after myself (physically and mentally.
Your advice about money is great, however i do already have that all in place...when i moved into my flat about a year ago, the first practical thing i did was to set up payment for my rent to go straight to my landlord from my benefit, so i never need to worry that my rent is not been paid. also have just recently arranged the same with winz for my power to be paid each week, unfortunately i left this a bit too late and now find myself behind in my bill...wish i had done it sooner! My dilema with money has been with spending whatever amount i have left in my account each week and that is food and general living money,(feeding the pokies) and once that is all spent all i can think about is how i can get some more to go back and play them..usually justifying it by saying that i need to win some back so i can buy food etc...but i know that never happens, because even if and when i win some back it doesent go towards food for our mouths, it goes straight back into feeding the mouth of that hungry "pokie machine"...sad to think that i love it so much that i am willing to feed a machine more than i am willing to feed my precious little boy!!
All this writing about how i feel and the reality of my gambling addiction is making me feel better already..really makes me see the ridiculous and yet destructive side of this addiction.
Maybe i need to laugh at myself for being so sucked in by those flashy, deceiptful machines!!
Because at least while i am laughing at myself, i wont have time to feel sorrow for myself!!
cookie
#13 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
cookie

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morning goldilocks,

on a positive note for you at least your not looking at eviction or the prospect of having no power, i can well imagine that this disease has sucked many if not all of us financially dry drawing resources from anywea just so we can give it all to the pokies, just think of this, me and my little boy will be safe and warm in our home tonight.
1 would think that giving up for our children or that some1 special in our lives would be the motivation, oh how we try, at the end of the day we need to give up for ourselves.
talking is great, i learnt that 2 l8, by the time i was ready to open my mouth the law was involved and the wheels of criminal prosecution were in motion...now that has to be at the other end of extreme consequences but u no what it's been a bloody wake up call and in it's way a healing for me as well, shux it really puts in2 perspective who ure m8s are that's 4 sure and blessed be for me my m8s and family have been gr8.
keep posting in here if it helps to keep you motivated to stop, it's not easy and WHEN u get on top of it the urges will still continue to come long after....(cheeky buggers)
I'm in a really good space right now, believe me when i say that this time last year i couldn't have said that, tears, irratic behaviour, depression, criminal behaviour, how the heck i held it together at work is beyond me considering my job involves alot of responsibility and accountability, i became anti-social which the machines love cos then u got more time for them all in all i turned in2 myself and shut every1 and everything out...lucky pokies they must've thought that they'd struck there own jackpot with me....anyway a year on, counselling is going great, i've outted myself to my whanau and friends and i've managed to calm my gambling down to $20 a month if that, i've not completely banged it on the head and u no what i'm ok with that but it's a damn sight better than $1000-2000 a week (truly).
i'm still taking baby steps and i still need a hand every now and again these days i'm not afraid to ask for help.
here's how i no that i've been blessed. i told my employer what was going on for me and the potentiality of pending criminal charges and they've stuck by me. i still have my job and a gr8 reference to take to court when i am sentenced next year.
keep ure head up and continue to post
take care
goldilox
#14 Posted : Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:15:00 a.m.(UTC)
goldilox

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Hi everyone, well i had a nice weekend for a change..gamble free!! and not just cause i had no money, but because i am mentally erasing it from my thoughts. If the thought even comes into my head at the moment i remind myself how awful i felt last week and the week before and the week before etc...My head seems so much clearer from talking and writing about this nasty addiction.Ok! so its not payday yet,but i dont even care about that at the moment, because if i even let myself for one moment dwell or stress about what i will or wont be spending my money on come payday, then i know exactly what will happen and i think everyone reading this knows exactly what i mean! I have been doing alot of soul searching lately and trying to figure out why i have continued so long CHOOSING to be miserable...yes! it has been my CHOICE to continue to feel sorry for myself and to keep finding emotional and monetary excuses for not being able to change my behaviour! Not sure what has triggered my change of thoughts so suddenly, maybe i have just exhausted so many chances of quitting in the past and am now realising that i have to WANT to stop gambling as much as i WANTED to gamble to start with!!.. Am ready to put all my energy into being happy again, have wasted too much time and energy gambling my life away! My little man,my family,my friends,my counciler and this forum are my support and incentive to HAVE to stop this horrible cycle...I deserve alot better than how i have been treating myself! and i am ready to CHOOSE a happier life!
Am not cured yet, but am sure as hell heading down the road to recovery and not going to take my eyes off the road for fear of crashing! cause i know the next collision could be fatal.
Look foward to reading everyones thoughts and journeys on this forum and i will keep writing my 'public diary' on here, as it is great therapy for me. Thank you all.
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