My name is Russ and i'm a compulsive gambler. My last bet was April 2nd 2019. I've managed to break the one month milestone and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to recap and review my first month in recovery.
I've had a lot of spare time to fill now that gambling has been removed from my life and the things that go with it, such as daily budgets to work out how i'll survive for the rest of the month or thinking of ways to get money to either pay bills or gamble again. With that spare time (and it's a lot) I've tried to keep as busy as possible.
Cooking has been something I've always loved doing, I'm the chef in our house, so decided to try out a new burger and sweet potato wedges recipe I found online along with making a batch of mini egg fudge. Both were awesome and the sense of pride and achievement making something that tastes good is a great confidence boost. I'll stick links for the recipes at the end of the blog, they are so good. I'm going to try and cook something new each month and keep improving my cooking skills. It's a fun way to keep busy.
Being in recovery has given me the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and I have actually been socialising and not just sitting on my phone gambling which has been a massive change. I used to hate going out to places because it would just get in the way of my gambling but turns out socialising is actually quite enjoyable.
Watching sports has been something of a revelation for me, no longer am I focused on betting I'm actually enjoying the sport for what it is. This may not be for everyone in their recovery as it could trigger them to gamble but for me I've had no problem with it.
I'm an avid NFL dynasty fantasy football owner and the rookie drafts have just started again in May. That is something that is going to keep me busy during the next 30 days. These are fantasy leagues that play for money but I play in awesome leagues with awesome people whom I opened up to about my addiction and I am able to continue playing in these leagues for free. I can't win any money either so I can continue on with a hobby I love without the gambling aspect. Miles Sanders is the one player i'm trying to draft in as many leagues as possible this year.
Finally, I get to the main bulk of my recovery support, GA and the Problem Gambling Group on WhatsApp. GA has been massive in the first month of my recovery. I've been to 5 meetings and it's just an incredible group. I get so much from the people there telling their stories and how they are coping with life. I look forward to my Monday meeting every week and every time I leave a meeting I am absolutely buzzing. As for the Problem Gambling Group it's just full of wonderful people all striving for the same goal. There is a Skype meeting every Wednesday which I had the opportunity to chair last week and the inspiration I get from that group is hard to put into words. I owe the people in that group a lot of gratitude for my first month of recovery. A special mention has to go to Jeff who has put the group together and organises the Skype meetings.
Overall I'd rate my first month of recovery 5 out of 5, it sure as hell beats my pre recovery lifestyle. I still have a few things I need to work on going forward in my recovery. I still tend to get a bit angry over things too quickly, I need to work on that. I need to work on my sleep pattern, it's still messed up from years and years of sitting up late gambling on sports. I need to work on my money management, I don't get access to my full wage as my partner is in charge of that but I am sent my monthly money which is for me to spend on whatever I want (not gambling!). I need to learn to budget that a bit better so it lasts the full month. I've had no urges to gamble, I have the barriers in place and an amazing support group surrounding me. I'm still taking it one day at a time and each day things get better and better. Recovery is possible and for anyone struggling with gambling it's a journey worth taking.