Thursday, 30 May 2019

Mixed Emotions: Part 2 - Dark Emotions

My name is Russ and I’m a compulsive gambler. My last bet was April 2nd 2019. This is a follow up or counter piece to my blog “Why Did I Fall In Love With Gambling?” As I stated in that blog a lot, if not all, of the emotions and feelings I wrote about were from the early days of my gambling journey before I crossed that invisible line into addiction. From that point on a lot of my feelings were darker, more menacing and more consuming. There were rarely any of the fun feelings that made me fall in love with gambling in the first place anymore, I was a wreck, and what I write here are the reasons why I know and have accepted that I can not gamble again. There is no option for me to start gambling again in the future in a controlled manner because what I write here is how the addiction has changed gambling for me. As I have said before and I will say again, I am not anti-gambling, I just accept that I am unable to do it.

For years now gambling became less of a social thing and went way beyond enjoying spending time on my own, I was simply in isolation and it was getting worse. Gambling was isolating me from my family, if we went out somewhere I was constantly on my phone gambling and not being in the moment with them. I was spending absolutely zero time with my friends in person, yes I would still message back and forth, but that actual human interaction was gone. I would sit in every single weekend gambling on my phone and looking back it’s thoroughly depressing to think about. When someone attempted to disturb me from my gambling it would put me in a terrible mood. Friends messaging me during a gambling session would have me yelling at my phone in my room to be left alone and muting the chats. If my partner asked to me do something simple I would make a big deal out of it like she was ruining my life. There were only two things ruining my life, me and my addiction.

My emotions were also all over the place, gone was the laid back happy go lucky guy I was before, instead, there was this shell of a man. For a while I noticed when I was gambling I would become frustrated quickly, impatient, angry at myself and at others but I was also able to switch back into my old self when I wasn’t gambling. I would say for the last 2 or 3 years I was unable to switch back and I just became the alter-ego my addiction created. I was miserable but kept finding excuses as to why I was feeling that way. It was never my fault and it was definitely not because I was gambling, that was the only thing keeping me sane I thought. I blamed others, for the way they were acting or what they were doing, feeling like people were going out of their way to piss me off. After a while I started to blame myself, that I was the problem, I hated myself by the end. I never would have hurt myself but I constantly had the thoughts that those closest to me would be better off if I wasn’t around. I was a screw up, I was shit with money, I felt like a waster. Still, I never blamed gambling. That’s what the addiction did to me, it took me away from everyone and everything I cared about and turned me against them so that it was just me and gambling, that’s all I had. I’ve no doubt I was depressed during this period but I never reached out for help, I assumed I would be able to figure my own way out of the mess but I just kept going deeper and deeper.

The fact that I can never stop until my money is gone is more proof that I will never be able to gamble again. I was never comfortable until all my money was gone, that was the point when I was able to stop gambling for the month. Then I’d spend all my time and energy into working out how I would survive until payday and who I could borrow money off to pay a bill that was due or even just to borrow money to gamble. It was all consuming, my productivity in work was zero and at home I was in a world of my own. If I ever won money when I gambled I immediately upped my stakes and started trying to win more, it was never going to be enough. No matter how much money I had won I would want more, by the end money was simply the fuel that allowed me to gamble.

I had lost all respect and value for money because of my addiction. I would have no trouble depositing £100 in an hour into my Bet365 account but there was no chance I was paying £4 for a sandwich at lunch time. Money became gambling tokens for me and unless I had to buy something to keep my addiction a secret I was not spending a penny on anything other than gambling.

As I touched on above I wouldn’t buy anything for lunch as I considered it a waste of my gambling money. I never ate breakfast either, I was just getting up and going to work and coming home and eating dinner. I stopped looking after myself completely. I may have bought a packet of cheap biscuits and an energy drink and that was pretty much my diet. How I didn’t have any health issues over that time because of it I’ll never know.

I’ll end on this point as it’s a tough one but probably the most important reason me for as to why I can never go back to gambling, and again I’ll emphasise it is because of my addiction, not gambling itself. I was a shit Dad to my two kids for those last few years. Now I was always there for them in person but in my mind I honestly could not care, they were getting in the way of my gambling and at times I resented them for it. That’s such a shitty thing to be writing as they mean the world to me but if I am being honest it is the truth. The addiction even positioned itself to mean more to me than my children and that disgusts me. I never neglected them, they were always looked after, but I was not the best Dad I could be and now that I am in recovery I can see that. They do not care how much money I have or what I can buy them, all they want is my attention and my love and that costs nothing.

Russ

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