Recovery with Gamblers Anonymous

I went to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting the last two days on my lunch break. I haven't been to a lot of meetings the last few weeks with my vacation and working swing shift so it was really nice to make a few in a row. The topic today was valuing your life.

It's funny when I first came to Gamblers anonymous I didn't really value my life much. I was just going through the motions really and after years of self destruction it wasn't surprising looking back. Today not only do I value life but I value the little things that remind me that I truly am living my life for each moment. There were years where I just didn't really live my life, I was just there and today I feel like there is so much making up to do that I just don't want to miss anything. So I pay attention to the little things and I have slowed down so much so that I can see them. The weird part is, is that I can get so much more accomplished today and yet I feel as if the world has slowed down.

The insanity has stopped in my life and with it gone I can see what it was I was missing.

Just a topic in a meeting, with people that are struggling just as I did trying to get out of the grips of this gambling addiction and sharing with me who is given their gift, a reminder that my addiction is still out there just waiting if I chose to feed it again and my gift to them is the same gift that was given to me. Hope.

I love how meetings work and can't really explain why or how they work, I just know that the do and that they are a gift.

Denise C.
3 years 2 months 13 days
You know I really didn't expect that being on a cruise ship away from everything would make me think about gambling. Here I was on this cruise ship going to Alaska, a trip of a life time, and I was thinking about gambling. Let me just tell you there is not a lot to do on a cruise ship if you don't drink or gamble. Laughing. I figured there would be a lot to do on the ship.

I did mention Alaska right? Laughing. It's cold outside so there was no walking out on the deck or swimming. Even the reading room was packed. Needless to say I found things to do besides gambling and my thoughts always went to my friends in Gamblers Anonymous when I even let gambling cross my mind or if that old, "who will know" ever came into my head, so my friends from Gamblers Anonymous, my program, and my knowing that it can never be an option saved me once again from this gambling addiction of mine.

I have to take my recovery with me everywhere I go because I never know when that old mind of mine will start talking to me again. It will try to tell me that it would be ok, that I could control it. I always laugh if that thought ever comes to mind. I know that one for sure, I can't control it.

A big thank you to all of those people in my recovery that I think of when those crazy thoughts come to me, they save me from myself. I chose recovery today.

One day at a time

Denise C.
3 years 2 months and eleven days

Yesterday I took my brother to the airport but before I did we went out to breakfast and walked in the park. My brother said something really interesting to me, he told me that he was glad that I stopped gambling that he felt like he got his sister back. He said he didn't even realize he had lost me until I stopped gambling and the sister he once knew reappeared over time. My brother said that he was very happy that I was part of his life today.

I smiled and told him that I was happy I was part of my own life. Today I'm present; life is new each day and I look forward to it. The weirdest things come to me, I notice the little things where in the past it seemed I never had time to do anything. I was always rushing. Seems weird because I do so much more today than I ever did when I was gambling. Even so it seems as if I have slowed down so much more. The constant craziness in my head is gone.

Life is very good for me when gambling is not in my life. I had talked to my brother about the last couple months that I had been thinking about gambling. He said that when I told him that it really surprised him, he said he just couldn't understand why I would think about gambling when my life had gotten so much better without it. I explained to him that it was my addiction talking and that unfortunately that part never goes away. If I let my guard down I know my addiction is ready and will welcome me back at any time. My brother didn't really understand, I'm glad he doesn't understand. I hope he never understands because if he does he will be a compulsive gambler.

Needless to say I'm out of my funk that I was in and I'm not even thinking about gambling again. I know that gambling can't be an option in my life. Life is good right now, I'm going on vacation the day after tomorrow on a cruise to Alaska. Another thing I would have never been able to do if I were still gambling. More than anything I just enjoy being present, being part of my own life and the part of others.
Recovery is good.

Denise C.
3 years 1 month and 26 days since my last bet
This was a topic yesterday at a meeting and I found it pretty interesting. Through listening to others I have found that my willingness to recover has changed over the years. When I first came into the program I was desperate, I wasn't sure if Gambler anonymous was going to work, but I knew that I needed to stop gambling. I was willing to do whatever it took to stop.

After three years in the program I still go to at least one meeting a week, usually more and I run a meeting, but I don't do half the stuff I used to in the beginning. Through going to meetings though I hear the pain of others and it helps me to remember where I was when I first came into the program. Hurt and desperate for help. I knew that I didn't know how to stop on my own, that was about all I knew in those days.

I still have a willingness to recover and I know that I have to keep my recovery in the forefront or it will drift away. I guess that is why I continue to come in here and read other people pain of gambling and the lying to themselves about how they can control it. It's like going to a meeting, some people you see just once and then you don't see them again for another six months or even a year. There are a lot of first time users here. It's the pain. It keeps me in my recovery because I know that pain very well, I was there for years.

One day at a time, I have to focus on that.
I went to a meeting the other day and a friend of mine that has been in the program just six weeks short of my time went out. I have seen a lot of people come and go in this program and it isn't' hard to except. I think about gambling and I know that as I am in recovery my addiction is out there doing pushups as I'm here trying to work to stay away from it, so it's not hard to believe that someone with time would go out. It's just harder when it's someone that you think has good recovery.

This gambling addiction is a b***h. At first I felt betrayed, hurt and angry that my friend could go out and just come back the next day as if nothing happened. It took me a few days to let it go, to realize that this is my recovery and I can't let others affect my own progress. I do hope my friend continues in the program and doesn't let the addiction pull him back to it.

Gambling was so consuming for me, my world revolved around it; whether it was thinking about my next bet, money for the bills I blew, or just being plain stressed out, it was always part of my world. Someone wrote about having to be busy all the time; I read that and thought about my life as a gambler. I always had to be busy, going at a hundred miles and hour with my hair on fire was a comfortable place for me. Life just isn't that way anymore. I like that there is no craziness in my life anymore; oh things happen, life happens, but there is calmness in my world that helps me deal with things. One day at a time has reached into many areas of my life. I know how to relax today, I never thought I could figure that out and it was very uncomfortable learning.

I have a new life today, one without gambling and it's good, very good. Thanks to Gamblers anonymous and the people in it I have learned many lessons through others.

Christmas Eve I found out that my best friends daughter had leukemia. She was flown the next morning to Oakland Children's hospital, which was Christmas day. If anything could have effected my recovery it has been this event in my life. At the time that I found this out I was coming up on three years without a bet. This was the first time in my recovery that I truly wanted to run away, hide from what was going on and yet I knew that gambling couldn't be an option.

Gamblers anonymous has taught me so much over the years, how to cope, feel and face the things that are before me. It doesn't mean that life is always peaches and cream but it gives me the strength to face things one day at a time.

I try to be there for my friend and her beautiful daughter; I try to be the best friend I can be. I know that if I hadn't found Gamblers anonymous I would have never been able to be a good friend to anyone. I would have ran so fast to the poker machines over this needing to zone out. My life has changed and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a better person. I have a lot of making up to do and everyday gives me that opportunity.

It has been a hard three months and it continues to be difficult, but to gamble would only make things worse. Gambling can not be an option no matter what happens in my life. The other day my sponsor was talking about herself in a meeting and she stated that sometimes when things get hard she forgets to work the program. I shook my head and laughed because I felt as if my higher power gave that message directly to me. Ever since that day things have been a little easier because I have been working my program. Gamblers Anonymous saved my life and gave me a better life, I will always be thank for another chance.
It's hard to believe that I haven't made a bet in over three years. The day I walked into Gamblers Anonymous I wasn't sure the program would work. I had tried Gamblers Anonymous seven years before when I lived in Vegas and had stopped gambling for 8 months. Of course I didn't really work the Gamblers Anonymous program I just went to the meetings once a week and that really helped.

This time I promised myself I would do whatever they suggested because it was the only way in the past I had stopped gambling. I went to meetings everyday, because I gambled everyday. After 114 meetings my first ninety days I got a sponsor, I worked the steps which helped me to see a lot of the reasons I did gamble. When I came into Gamblers Anonymous three years ago I felt like it was my last chance, I was desperate for anything that would help me to stop gambling.

Gamblers anonymous changed my life and I know that without it I couldn't have stopped gambling. I tried too many times to stop on my own. I said the daily speech in the mirror everyday that I wouldn't gamble today, that I wouldn't bring my ATM card or cash. I know everyone is different and we all have to do it our own way. I'm just glad that I didn't have to do it alone, that didn't work for me. Self help books and spiritual books have been a big part of my recovery along the way, but I know I could have never stopped without the help of the people in Gamblers Anonymous, the 12 steps and the meetings.

This gambling addiction sucks, there is no special pill you can take to make it go away. If there were I would have been the first to stand in line when I first stopped. I'm glad that I took the path I did, I learned a lot about myself and how to feel again, cope with problems instead of hide from them and build relationships in my life. I'm proud of myself that I haven't made a bet in over three years.

It's been a hard road, but a simple one. Life without gambling is life. I don't ever want to be that person again, the person that gambles. One day at a time.

3 years and 3 days without a bet
That just blows me away that I haven't made a bet in 2 years and 11 months. Its always a little weird when I come up on these anniversaries, I feel much better when they are just over. It's much easier to focus on one day at a time when there isn't a year date just before you.

My life has changed so much since I stopped gambling. I actually have real relationships in my life again; friends, family and people that I actually talk to and want to be with. I used to blow people off so much so I could just be alone and gamble. Even if I was home I would ignore my daughter because I was stressed about money or antsy to make the next bet. I used to blow her off even when I was there. Today we spend a lot of time together, it's a different life.

Things don't bother me like they used to because my head is clear and I can focus on the issues at hand. I used to worry about everything before. Its almost hard to think back about how crazy I was within my addiction, but important for me to remember.

I have heard often that my gambling addiction is doing push ups while I'm in recovery just waiting in the wings for me to feed it. I truly believe that and I know that if I ever go back out I will be in the exact place I was instantaneously.

Almost three years without a bet; I remember when a month seemed hard to grasp. I had to struggle to make it two days without a bet before I went to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting and it was a struggle. These truly are the birthdays I want, the other ones I could do without. Grin.

Today I pat myself on the back, 2 years and 11 months without a day at time.
I can never give to the Gamblers anonymous program what I have gotten from it; I mean how do you repay someone for another chance at life. I can only give back, give a little something that was given to me. I can be there to listen, I can run a meeting, I can share my own struggles and story of recovery in hopes that it helps someone else.

The great part about giving back is that as much as I give it returns to me again and again. I help mentor a new comers meeting and it gives me so much in my recovery. Just to see the light in someone eyes when they get it, when they know they aren't alone anymore, when they know they aren't crazy, that there are others like them, and to see the hope. I remember the first time I went to a meeting and found hope that first day; it wasn't about having years in the program, I couldn't think that far ahead, but to know I might make it through today without a bet because of the people in that room. It really helped me.

Anyone that shares in a meeting is giving back in my book, everyone that walks through the door gives something and carries a message. The new comers today give me the message that it's still out there as ugly as it was when I left and the pain is very real. I just try to listen and share how I got the time I did without a bet, one day at a time.

Giving back started with Gamblers Anonymous, then Gamblers Anonymous didn't seem like enough so I have felt the ripple effect move into every part of my life. The more I give the more I receive, and my life becomes full. I was so empty when I was gambling, I don't ever want to go back there.

I am a compulsive gambler and I have two years, ten months and 30 days without a bet, one day at a time.
How many times will I say this to myself how many times will I say this is the last time I will gamble every time I do it I just want to crawl into a hole you can't help me stop.

I know that.....I need to find a way to stop myself I am totally out of control you holding my credit cards doesn't help...I'm like a little child searching through the house to find I threw away eight hundred dollars.....and in the last week it's been fifteen hundred

I can sit here all day and say it's stupid that we are struggling and yet I'm throwing a way money I'm sick....I feel sick today I didn't come home until five am last night.....hell there is nothing I would rather do then to come home and fall into your arms and yet I chose it.....this ****ing thing that haunts me and it only get worse......gawwwwd I wish there was someone that could help me

I don't think Gamblers Anonymous will help this time.....I feel so damn lost right now I'm throwing away everything I have and I have soooo damn much why??......gawwwwd I wish I understood why there is no set amount of money that is enough.....I can't stop

plllllease make me stop......someone.....please help me.....I just can't do this alone anymore I'm totally ****ed up hell I can't even promise myself I will stop......and believe me I have tried.....I hate living where I live.....damn!
I had lunch today with a friend from Gamblers Anonymous and I feel so much better than I did the other day. Just to talk about some of the stuff that has been going on with me helped me to let some of those feelings go. Never in my life have I had friends like I do today, people that I have met in the program. They truly are there when I need a friend.

Sometimes just listening to someone makes such a big difference and today I felt as if I was heard. Tomorrow will be another day and I hope to be there for another so that I may listen but today someone was there for me. Thank you Gamblers Anonymous for continuing to show me that life without gambling is a much better path. In my life before I wouldn't let anyone close enough to really know me. Today those are the friends I treasure those that wish to really take the time to know me. I know longer have time for the superficial stuff, lets be real. I had enough bull **** to last me a life time and most of it was mine.

Today is a good day.

Denise C.
2 years 10 months and 23 days without a bet
On March 9th it will be three years that I haven't made a bet. That just amazes me. When I first decided that I was going to give gamblers anonymous another try it was two days before my days off and I wasn't sure if I could make it two days before I went to my first meeting. Today I still have to focus on today and just telling myself in the morning that I will not make a bet today. It is much easier today then it was almost three years ago, but still there are days when one day at a time comes in handy.

Recently there have been some life issues that have made me think of my old ways as an option. It's made me want to run and hide, not think or feel. My best friend's daughter, who is 15, was diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Eve. The last month has been very stressful and I have had more gambling dreams in the last month then I have had in the last three years. I knew eventually something in my life would give that something would happen that was hard. I know that gambling is not an option in my life, it would only make things 100 times worse, but my old habits, my old ways try to haunt me during this trying time.

I have been to meetings almost everyday and it has helped a lot, but still I want to run and hid from my feelings. I use the serenity prayer, I tell myself I can get through anything one day at a time, and I am even reaching out again for help like I did when I first came into the program. I know I'm doing all the right things, but life sometimes is still hard. Almost three years ago I got my life back and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, simple but hard, I'm not willing to throw that away for anything. I'm just having a hard time.

I'm glad that next month I start again with my new comers program that always keeps me more connected to the program and out of my own head. I never thought gambling dreams would be an issue for me again, I guess I just need to focus on today and not making that bet. One day at a time has saved my life in so many ways; once again I know I can do this one day at a time and not by myself. Meetings do make it, friends do make it, and program does make it.

Thank you Gamblers Anonymous for keeping me sane.
I wrote this in 1999, four years before I came into Gamblers anonymous. I definitely felt like the victim in those years. I'm so glad that I don't feel this way anymore.

Dirty Secret
By Denise C.

I wish for one moment I could walk without you
That for one moment you didn't control my life
The moves that are ahead

Oh I hold you off
Even pretend that you have no control over me from time to time
But there you are, almost laughing at me

To think of you brings so many emotions
But one in particular is a helplessness that fills my veins
And a question...Why me?

Why did you choose me to give your attentions to?
You take me in your arms
You squeeze me until I feel I can't breath another breath

Just as I feel life will leave me
You allow me one last breath
Only to take it away later
I went to a meeting today, something I do often, and a friend of mine spoke about being the victim. I had forgotten what it was like to think of myself as the victim, it's been a while since I have heard myself say, "Why me?" or blamed everything on the casinos.

I could never figure out why it made me angry in a meeting to hear someone bad mouth the casinos, but after I heard my friend speak about it today it made total sense. I need to be accountable, it's not the casino's fault that I'm a compulsive gambler, they run a business. I have always had the choice to gamble or not to gamble, although for years I didn't feel as if I had the choice. I was the victim; the casino was an easy target of my anger. When I joined Gamblers anonymous I then began to think maybe it was my mothers fault; after all she was a compulsive gambler, she taught me my skills. Today I know I am a compulsive gambler, I don't need to be the victim anymore, I just am.

After accepting that fact, I could move on and work on recovery. It doesn't really matter why I am a compulsive gambler, but for me it matters why I wanted to numb out and not feel. Working the steps has really helped me look at a lot of those things and has given me tools to learn to feel again. I have learned to work through my feelings and allow myself to feel, however I feel at the moment. It's ok, it's just how I feel; good or bad.

I don't ask why me anymore, I just know that being a compulsive gambler has taken me to where I am today. Someone that wants to be a part of instead of hide from, someone that wants to be part of their own life, instead of numb out, someone that wants to share their time with friends and family, not lie or make up stories so I don't have to go somewhere.

I won't be the victim anymore, I will stand up and face what needs to be faced and I don't have to do anything alone anymore. This gambling addiction, as horrible as it has been in my life, has also brought me to Gamblers anonymous, which has given me a new life. Would I chose to have this gambling addiction, heck no, but recovery I will choose one day at a time. It has saved my life.

Haven't made a bet in two years, seven months and 27 days, one day at a time.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." --Gandhi

Such a small statement with so much in there. What a world it would be if we could all do that. I know for myself it starts on such a small level. Stopping gambling was so huge to me when I first came to Gambler's anonymous. Gambling had consumed me in every area of my life. Once I could think without gambling or the results of gambling with in every thought I found there was much more to life.

At first it truly was all about me, then it reached into the relationships in my life, quickly it started to ripple outward touching every area of my life. How easy I found it was to change someone else's day just by listening, noticing something different, being there for someone, a smile or tip of the hat. The more that I begin to make small differences the more I wanted to make bigger differences.

I took on my own meeting, became the Intergroup secretary, then on to Intergroup Chairperson, sponsoring other members, always knowing that Gamblers anonymous saved my life and so I wanted to give back the gift I had received. Going to meetings and hearing the words and messages I still need to hear, knowing that recovery is a continuous cycle where we all give to each other.

Gandhi said it, "Be the change you wish to see in the world", when I first heard that statement my mind was filled with huge things. Making a difference that would be global, but today I know that we can all make small changes which effects those around us daily, and in effect changes others that they come in contact with.

I try to keep Gandhi's statement on a smaller scale so I can make changes that I would like to see in the world on a smaller scale.

One day at a time I try to make a difference, sometimes it's just asking someone how they are doing today and taking the time to listen.

What started out as wanting to stop gambling has turned into a new way of life, caring about those I share my life with. Life is a beautiful place when you are sharing it with others. Gambling for twenty years took me away from everyone, including myself, I forgot who I was. One day at a time I discover who I am and have joined the human race.

Have a wonderful day.

Denise C. 2 years 7 months and 8 days without a bet!
I went to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting yesterday and someone once again reminded me that I need to remember that little saying, "One day at a time". Life has gotten so good in recovery that I sometimes forget that I need to focus on One day at a time.

I remember my first ninety days without a bet and that concept kept me going. I didn't have to worry about stopping "forever", in fact to this day I would never say I'm going to quit "forever". "Forever" is a scary concept, but today I'm NOT going to make a bet. It is so much easier to focus on "One day at a time". When I heard those words yesterday in a meeting it was exactly what I needed to hear. Once again I have to remember that I need to focus on "One day at a time".

Sometimes when things get so good it's easy for me to get ahead of myself. Switching back to those old patterns of mine. I work in a casino so it's an everyday reminder that I'm a compulsive gambler and everyday I know that I need to focus on my recovery, "One day at a time"

Thanks to those people in Gamblers anonymous that remind me of the things I need to hear, today I'm not going to make a bet!

I have two years, seven months and six days today without a bet, One day at a time.
Last night I went to a meeting and I found that topic interesting. Who am I verses what I do. My answer is that I'm scared, insecure and want to be loved and yet what I do is portray a strong person that has it together. I have really tried through recovery to bring who I am and what I do closer together and through meetings it helps me let who I am out much more often.

I don't feel like I have to be perfect anymore and through showing who I truly am people relate to me much easier. I see that in all areas of my life. I don't have to be so afraid anymore because I know I will make mistakes and it's ok. I think before, I was so concerned that someone wouldn't like me if I screwed up that I would hide any mistakes I made or I wouldn't take claim to them. It's much easier to just say, "hey, I screwed up", or "I don't know what the heck I'm doing, can you help me?" then to put up the elusion that I have it all together.

Being a more honest person in every area of my life has been difficult at times. Being honest and saying what I really think about a situation and standing by my own convictions instead of worrying about someone else's feelings or that they might disagree with me has been a difficult path at times. Its another area where I have to try to put myself first, which has always been difficult for me.

As I hear often in my life these days; let it go. If I can't change the situation I can just let it go. If I can change the situation I find the strength to move forward on it. I can do most things, one day at a time, one step at a time.

I think I will continually grow and who I am verses what I do may grow closer together, but it doesn't have to happen today. Today I just have to focus on not making a bet and the rest just seems to fall into place naturally.

Denise C.
2 years six months 16 days of recovery
Stopping the gambling has changed my life. The thought of going on vacation was always a stressful one in the past. I was always worried that I wasn't going to have enough money and then I would be resentful by the time the vacation got here. I hated the fact that I had to save my money to go on vacation. Of course many times I would chase my money to get enough for vacation and lose everything. That is an ugly feeling when you have to go home the day before you are supposed to leave on vacation and tell your other half that that money is gone.

This last week I went on vacation with none of those feelings. I went, I had a blast, I relaxed, and spent a lot of time with my other half. I could have never done that without recovery from gambling. Once again I have to thank Gamblers anonymous for putting me on the right path. My life is just not the same now that the addiction of gambling doesn't have it's claws in me.

Oh it's still work, recovery is work, but it's worth every meeting, every moment that I spend on recovery both hard and easy. My life is mine today, I get to be a part of it instead of watching it from a distance.

One day at a time, I get to live my life. Thank you!
Last week I had jury duty and it was a very emotional case. The death of a child was involved. It was so strange to me that my internal dialog started up again. For the week that I was on jury duty and a few days after all I could think about was the case and the details of the case.

It was strange because it reminded me of when I was gambling and I would have that internal conflict going on and on. Don't gamble, you want to stop, or I would argue with myself and call myself stupid after I had lost everything. Rationalization was part of my everyday life. I think the thing about jury duty was that it reminded me once again how good life is today. That I don't have to struggle through all the crap in my life wondering what I will do next.

The internal dialog was on last week because I had stepped into someone else's crap, it wasn't mine.

I'm so happy and grateful today that I can just approach issues as they come forward and I don't hide from everything.

Everyday is a better day without gambling. 2 years 5 months and 23 days without a bet.
Two and half years ago I would have never dreamed that I could stop gambling. I walked in the door of a gamblers anonymous meeting feeling like this was my last chance. I had tried gamblers anonymous before and it hadn't worked. That was one of many excuses that I used to continue gambling for twenty years.

I remember promising myself thirty days, if it didn't work I would have to try therapy or something else. I was nervous that first meeting I went to, but left feeling as if I were not alone anymore. That was huge for me. You see I gambled to run away from feelings and problems. Gamblers anonymous gave me the tools to learn how to feel again, learn how to face things as they occur, the program gave me a life that I really didn't think was possible the day I walked in.

I had isolated my self to the point where I felt quite alone. Today I have many relationships in my life; I have rejoined the living if you will. It's hard to imagine how I found time to gamble when I look back now. It's a new life.

Don't get me wrong, recovery is hard; simple but difficult and emotional at times. A friend of mind in the program once told me, "If it took you twenty years to walk into the forest you can't expect to walk out in a week." Recovery takes time and yet each day away from a bet seems to bring more treasures into my life.

Life is good, I'm so glad I'm living it today.