Life with a Gambling Addiction..

Decision-Making by a Recovering Addict

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.” – Stephen Covey

We all make decisions in our lives, small ones, big ones, ones that we feel are necessary and others that can be life changing. A lot of the bigger decisions we choose to make aren’t always ones we want to at that time. They usually come from necessity. Belief that we need to change, develop and move on with our lives. To move forward towards a new chapter.

As a gambling addict and coming to terms with the acceptance I am a compulsive gambler. In order to move forward in recovery, there have been various decisions I have had to make over the past few weeks. All of which I’d known were necessary, however not all I’d been happy deciding on. After reflecting on this, I am now aware the decisions I had not been so keen towards making were ones I hadn’t wanted to fully analyze. This had been due to fear of seeing certain situations as they truly are. I had to acknowledge people and matters in my life that I knew would hold me back. I understand that going forward it is important to remove any destructive patterns, behaviors and people from my life in order to progress.

Last night I was working and I received a message from a friend, a girl I had talked about in ‘My Backstory’ blog. This was the friend I had first visited a casino with. She had messaged me asked if I was in town and if I would like to meet for a catch up. I knew right away what this message was about. It had nothing to do with catching up. We could catch up any time, she literally stays five minutes around the corner from me and could call me up at any point for a coffee and a chat. Yet, she has never done so. I knew the reason she had decided to message me whilst in town, was in hope that I would accompany her in gambling.

Me and this girl have been friends for over twenty years. We used to be able to finish each others sentences, know what one and other was thinking and be able to read each other like a book. The type of friend where if you had forgotten something that had happened to you in your past, you could be sure they would remember. We had grown apart in the last few years, as many friendships go. Both of us had wanted different things out of life. Sadly the only thing we had now in common was gambling.

In reply to her message, I stated that not only was I not in town but I did not gamble anymore. When she replied back to me she asked me why I had stopped gambling and stated that it will be fun to have a night at the casino and to catch up on each other lives. ‘It will be fun’, the statement that sticks in my mind. I would say this when I spoke to anyone about going gambling with me. It certainly was never fun going home afterwards to count out coins and work out how I would scrape by until my next pay day. Fun may have seemed to be what it was there and then but for the majority of the time this was short lived. I told my friend that I had no longer any interest in gambling. I did not want to share with her any details of what I was going through. I have chosen to do so only with a select group of family and friends and viewers of my blog. This is what I am comfortable with going forward. Although she is aware of how much of a gambler I was and the amount of money I would spend. I feel it is important to only let those around you know who you trust in helping you move forward in your journey to recovery. Sadly, even though I have known this girl for most of my life. I knew she was definitely not one of those people.

Message after message came through on my phone that evening from her. She would not stop trying to convince me to go and gamble with her. I knew then that I had to make a decision. I thought about it and finally contacted her back. I told her I would be sticking to what I had said earlier on, that I would no longer be gambling and not to contact me about any nights at the casino going forward. She was not at all happy with this and began to call me out on times when she hadn’t wanted to gambling but had done so because I had wanted to go. I knew she did not know the full situation of what was going on, so I decided not to answer her back. Not answering seemed to only make matters worse and the messages kept coming through. In the end I told her that I had said all I had to on the matter and that if she wanted to be my friend, she would need to stop asking me to go out gambling. After this, she never replied.

What had happened last night made me question whether this girl was still a friend of mine. Maybe we hadn’t really been friends for a very long time. Just two girls who would meet up on occasion to gamble, I do not know. All I knew was that I had to make a decision and I chose to be strong and stick to what I knew was right. I will not lie, part of me wanted to go to the casino with her last night. However, there was also a part of me telling me not to give in and not throw away all my hard word and effort so far. This part of me is growing stronger every day.

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