“Safety isn’t always safe. You can find one on every gun.”
I didn’t have any typical pattern if I am being honest. I gambled because I loved it and it was the only thing I felt that I had in my life. I would gamble every waking moment of every day when I had money and if I ran out of money I’d spend all my time working out how to get more. If I was happy or sad I would gamble. It didn’t matter. There was no one thing that led me to gamble. In recovery I have started to realise it was an escape for me from my life, from reality and responsibility but there was no set pattern that would lead me to gambling.
“If you place your head in a lion’s mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off.”
Come up with three simple solutions to break this pattern before you relapse.
There are a few sayings I constantly have in my head that has helped me during my recovery, especially in the early days:
You are not in control of your first thought but you are in control of your first action - This is a simple reminder that no matter the thought or urge, it cannot make me gamble, I have the control over that action. As long as I am aware and do the right thing, such as reach out and talk to someone, then I will not place that bet.
HOW, Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness - I truly believe these three things are the cornerstone of my recovery. Being honest with not only those around me but also with myself, being open minded to recovery and the benefits of it and also to other people's suggestions when I do reach out and a willingness to reach out. Reaching out didn’t come naturally to me but I have found talking and even just venting is one of the most powerful tools at my disposal.
It’s not a financial problem, it’s an emotional problem - This reminds me that if I have a thought about gambling that it isn’t about money, it’s about something deeper so something must be getting to me for me to be having these thoughts.
Those three things are all linked for me. It’s all about awareness and realising that there are various opportunities to prevent a relapse from occurring but I need to be able to recognise the signs and those three things have been huge in my recovery.
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
What have you tried to escape with your addiction?
The two R’s, reality and responsibility. Those were two of the main things because I thought I hated my life. It was so dull and boring and it was just the same shit, different day. I had kids pretty young and I felt it robbed me of any sort of life that my friends had. This was all bullshit and just what the addiction made me think. My life is actually amazing and I am an extremely lucky man but during my active addiction I was blind to that. Another thing I tried to escape was myself. I suffer from low self esteem and I hated myself and thought I was useless and a waste of space.. I spent my days trying to please everyone and give off this idea that I was a happy go lucky laid back guy when actually I was fucking miserable. The only place I could be myself was online gambling. It didn’t ask any questions of me, it didn’t expect anything of me, it just allowed me to escape and all I needed was money and I could escape for as long as I wanted. Once the money ran out then I was forced back into reality and that is when the desire to chase my losses kicked in because I was so desperate to get back into what I considered my safe space of online gambling as I only felt happy when I was gambling.
Day 12/Day 13
“When shall we live if not now?”
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
What would you ask your 80-year-old self and what would he or she answer?
I’ll keep it pretty broad because I don’t think I’d want to know the future so I would ask “Are you happy?” and I believe the answer would be “yes.”
If I could kill a word and watch it die
I'd poison "never", shoot "goodbye"
And beat "regret" when I felt I had the nerve
Yeah, I'd pound "fear" into a pile of sand
Choke "lonely" out with my bare hands
And I'd hang "hate" so that it can't be heard
If I could only kill a word
Kill A Word - Eric Church
Quotes and questions taken from “The 365 Addiction Recovery Journal: Daily Journaling With Guided Questions, To Become A New You” by 21 Exercises.