Monday, 10 June 2019

Working The Steps: Step Two

My name is Russ and i'm a compulsive gambler. My last bet was April 2nd 2019. I had previously posted Step One back in May so now I thought I would share my work on Step Two. Anything in bold or italics is from the work sheet, the rest of the nonsense is my own.

Step 2, Exercise 1: Our Thoughts & Behaviours
Abnormal Thoughts Normal Thoughts
More money would make life easier I have money to live a comfortable lifestyle
Gambling makes me happy My family and friends make me happy
I can be profitable gambling I cannot make money gambling
Bad luck is why I lose There is no such thing as luck
I can gamble my way out then stop I can stop with my recovery
It’s ok to lie to borrow money I do not need to lie or cover my tracks
It’s ok to gamble borrowed money I do not need to borrow money but if I do it’s for a purpose such as fixing my car
It’s ok to not pay people back I need to deal with my debts and make affordable repayments each month
People want to interrupt my gambling My family and friends want me to engage with them and I find it enjoyable
Self-Destructive Behaviours Healthy Behaviours
I used every penny of my spare money to gamble I have spare money to be able to do things like go for a coffee or a beer
I used money for bills to gamble My bills are paid on time each month
I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch as I could not afford it/wanted to use that money for gambling I eat breakfast most mornings and have lunch. I use some of my monthly budget to purchase food for breakfast and lunch
I did not buy myself new clothes I have bought myself new clothes
I did not give my kids my full attention My kids get my full attention when I am home
I was argumentative with my partner I have been less argumentative with my partner. Very few arguments since I stopped if any
I was miserable to be around I am a better person to be around
I felt self pity I feel proud
Lack of sleep Trying to get into a routine with sleep
Unreliable More reliable. If I say I will do something I will do it. I will not commit to something if there is a doubt I can do it.
Lack of self worth In recovery I now know my kids think I am the best daddy in the world and that I am one of the most important people in their lives.
Gambling was all I thought about I no longer think of gambling 24/7. I am focused on my recovery and trying to improve as a person.

Step 2, Exercise 2: Our Beliefs & Values

  • What happened each time you attempted abstinence on your own before you came to GA?
I would stop for periods of time, months, one time nearly a year, but I would also find my way back. Normally I stopped because of money pressures and tried to get myself some breathing room before going back. Each time I started back in a controlled manner before losing control and making things worse.

  • How is your abstinence within the GA program different?

I have finally admitted to myself, family and friends that I have a gambling problem and I need help. I have accepted the fact I cannot gamble as I know what it leads to. I have a support network this time instead of trying to stop on my own. This is a recovery, not abstinence.

  • Three core beliefs and/or values that gambling caused you to ignore, abandon or compromise when you were active in your addiction.

Integrity – I was always brought up to be an honest person and feel like I was before my addiction. Once it got a hold of me I lied to people for money and lied to cover my tracks.

Family/Friends – I was always there in person for my family during my addiction but in my head I was focused purely on gambling. I was gambling while playing with the kids and gambling while out with friends or family. It started to get to the stage where I was shutting myself off from the people closest to me.

Intelligence – I abused my intelligence and charm to manipulate people and get my own way. I was able to con people into believing my stories and excuses and continue on with my addiction. I once took a test to see if I was a Sociopath and scored extremely well such was the level of my deception.

  • With your abstinence within the GA program, have these core beliefs and/or values been restored to you? How do you feel about that? What difference do they make in your life today?

I am now an open and honest person and am currently going about rebuilding the trust people lost in me. The only way to do that is to keep on my recovery journey and keep being honest. I spend more time engaging with my family and friends than I have done in about 10 years. The difference in those relationships is noticeable already. I now use my intelligence and charm to reach out and help others trying to deal with this addiction and also to help my family or friends if they are in need of someone to talk to.

Step 2, Exercise 3: Willingness

Step Two asks us to open our minds to the possibility that there is a Power greater than ourselves. YOU create YOUR OWN concept of a Higher Power. There can be many sources and inspirations for it: religious upbringing, family tradition, life experiences, group membership, reading, training, travel. Ultimately, it is a personal, spiritual choice -- one of YOUR OWN understanding at this time. Keep in mind that, as the fog from gambling clears and you let go of your need to control people, places and things, that understanding may change, grow or deepen. At this point, we need only become willing to make it part of our recovery process.

  • Is your mind open to the possibility of a Power greater than yourself/ If not, what things are keeping your mind closed? Pride? Ego? Self-centeredness? Stubbornness? Fear? Would you be willing to set them aside, just for today?

My family are my Higher Power, they are my inspiration to continue on my road to recovery. They stood by me when I admitted I needed help, they reached out to help me as I reached out for help. Without them I would be on my own.

  • Have you ever seen a “Greater Power” at work in the lives of others? Have you ever experienced such a Power at work in your own life?

I think a lot of normal people have a “Greater Power” at work in their own lives. People I know work to provide for their families. I feel like they are also their “Greater Power”. I was in the midst of my addiction when I had my kids so, as hard as it is to admit, I did not put them above gambling the way I should have done.

  • Three things that you believe in and trust today.

My family/My friends


Problem Gambling Support Group

  • Belief + Trust = Faith. Does writing about what you believe in and trust give you a sense that there is or could be a force at work in your life beyond your own will? Are you willing to welcome this safe, loving and supportive presence into your recovery?

Yes. My family, friends and support groups are welcome into my recovery.

Step 2, Exercise 4: Restoration

Restoration to a Normal Way of Thinking and Living.

At the start of Step 2, we examined what a normal way of thinking and living might look like and wrote down some things that were meaningful to us. Things like taking better care of ourselves and others, acting with integrity, being accountable, driving safely, eating better, developing healthy diversions, respecting the value of money, becoming more spiritual, achieving balance.

  • Take another look at your list. Note how many of those things have been restored or begun to be restored in your life. Has willpower alone made it possible or is some other power at work in your life.

My Higher Power is what has made it possible. Willpower does not achieve anything apart from a white knuckle experience trying not to gamble.

Step 2 allows us to become reacquainted with what we believe and trust to be true for ourselves and moves us in the direction of faith.

  • Do you have a better sense of what’s right for yourself today? Are you willing to continue to move forward in faith?

Write about:
The most meaningful thing you learned about yourself through working Step 2.
Something for which you've become grateful while working Step 2.
Something good/positive you've done for yourself recently.

I’ve learned how many healthy behaviours I have already been working on since entering recovery. I also learned how much my family actually means to me.

I am grateful for the way my family and friends have stood by  me after admitting my problem. I am forever grateful.

A recent positive I have done for myself is buying myself new clothes. New pair of trainers, some socks and new hoodies. I haven’t bought new clothes myself in about 10 years.

I've found step work to be an enjoyable experience and something that makes you really think about your thoughts and emotions. Maybe someone who reads it can relate and potentially work the step themselves.


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