Life with a Gambling Addiction..

One Week into Recovery by a Recovering Addict

“Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking of what we want to become. Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking about who we don’t ever want to be again.” – Shane Niemeyer

It has been just over a week since I last gambled and a week today since I admitted to being a gambling addict. There has been many ups and downs over the past week. However, I am proud to say I have not gambled and that I continue to battle on in my journey to recovery.

This last week has taught me a lot. I have learned to come to terms with the fact that I am a compulsive gambler, I have learned that there are many people out there dealing with the same problem as I am. That there are many ways of getting the help you need to turn your life around. By seeking out help, I have maintained recovery and now view life from a different perspective to what I did before. I would say above all, what I have learned most this week is who my real friends are and who the people were that were only gambling acquaintances. I looked at the different relationships I had with people. Sussed out the negative influences in my life. Thought about peoples intentions towards me. Analyzed if they were honorable or if they had just wanted to drag me along on their destructive path.

I felt really happy this morning, I was delighted with my progress so far. I felt that I had a lot more structure in my life and I was looking forward to my GA meeting, later in the evening. I could see the difference not gambling was making to me. I have been a lot more sociable, have made various plans for the future and my relationship with my dad and other family members is now a lot better than it has been for a long time. The main thing I noticed was that I was smiling again. Not that I didn’t smile before but this time it was real. It wasn’t a front, I was genuinely content with life and excited for the future. I was starting to believe in myself again and felt that I was beginning to overcome my addiction.

All had been going well until the late morning. I received a message from someone I now considered to be part of my past. I read the message and didn’t know how to take it. It was one that could have been seen as either supportive or a dig made towards me. From how I was feeling at that time, I decided to look upon it as a message of support. I messaged this person back saying thank you and that I felt I was now on the right path.

Late into the afternoon the message from this person continued to bug me. I was no longer in the good mood I had been earlier. They had managed to knock me off my stride. I was beginning to think that the message had been a dig as the last time I had spoken to this person, the conversation was less than a delightful one. I had said goodbye to them. They had been a very negative influence in my life, in various ways, not only to do with gambling. This had been the case for a very long time. I had enough and I don’t think the person realized that this time I was closing the door on them for good.

It really irritated me, the fact that this person had got in contact with me. The fact that they had also managed to have such an affect on my mood, didn’t make matters any better. I was not at all pleased and wanted to find out if this person was trying to be supportive or if they had just been trying to have a go at me and hold me back. I contacted this person in hope of finding out the true intention behind their message and they decided to ignore me. Later on that day, I contacted them again. I couldn’t understand why this person would get in contact and then suddenly decide to ignore me. Yet again, my message was disregarded. Was this a game to them? When I calmed down and thought about it afterwards. From knowing this person, I wish I hadn’t reacted to their message. I knew this person would be taking pleasure in the fact that they had left me feeling annoyed and uncertain. It was a quick reminder of why I chose to say goodbye.

I attended my second GA meeting this evening, it was in a different building to the last one. It was however, in the same area. My dad took me there and back to save me paying for a taxi, which was very kind of him. I must say my dad has been my rock in all of this. He has been there for me anytime I have needed someone to speak to about my recovery. Always there to lend an ear and offer advice where he can. I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful father.

At the GA meeting, I saw quite a few faces from the one I had attended on Thursday. The people I had met on Thursday came over to say hello and told me that it was great to see me back again. The people I hadn’t met before were just as friendly. They came over and introduced themselves and welcomed me to the meeting. The topic of this evenings meeting was ‘The Twelve Steps to Recovery.’ We were asked to pick one of the twelve steps and discuss our views on it. When I was asked to speak I chose to discuss step one. This step is about accepting the fact that you are a compulsive gambler. I discussed my experience of it openly and told of how I viewed it be the most critical step towards recovery. After this, I was asked to discuss my first week without gambling. I talked about what I was doing to ‘fill the void’ and how I was now determined to live a life that was gamble free. I also spoke of how I had to remove certain people from my life in order to move forward. I remembered one thing in particular that had stuck with me from my first GA meeting last Thursday. A woman had spoke of what it was like to be in a relationship when you are a gambler. How you aren’t actively taking part in the relationship, only existing within it. This comment really made me think over the last few days and the more I thought about it, the more I could relate to it. This woman was at tonight’s meeting. During my talk I told the woman how this part of her discussion, had an affect on me. That I can now see how negative and destructive my last relationship was. I thanked her from opening up my eyes to this. I have only been to two GA meetings so far and they are already having a positive affect on me.

When I returned home from my meeting, I thought again about the message I had received earlier. How I had let a negative influence into my life once more and allowed them upset my day. I chose to deal with this by sending this person one last message. I told them that I had put my gambling ways and anything that was once between us, behind me. I told this person that I was happy now. I want to continue smiling and for it to be real. For me, they are a chapter in my life that has now ended.

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