To Ann and everyone else!

Hello Ann!

It's very unfortunate you gambled again. That's the bad news. The good news is that you had the courage to admit you made a mistake. Many people won't do that. It feels good to say, "I'm human. I made a mistake. I'll try my best not to do it again."

For many people, a mistake is unacceptable and they criticize and condemn themselves to no end for the smallest mistakes.

I would try to figure out what triggered the episode. For me, having extra money is a big trigger. So what I've done was cut up all my credit and bank cards. If I need money, I have to physically walk into a bank to get it, during business hours. This forced me to plan ahead. If it's Friday 8:00 PM and I have the urge to gamble, I don't have access to money. The banks are closed.

Stress is another gambling trigger for me. If things don't go as planned or as expected, I found myself gambling. What I did was I planned to do something, a plan A. Then have a plan B to fall back on if plan A doesn't work. Other small things I've done to reduce anxiety:

--If I have to meet someone at, say, 8PM, I try my best to arrive at 8PM and tell myself that person won't be there until 8:20PM. If they're early, it's a bonus. If they're not there by 8:20, I leave. Or if I'm told my tax return will take 8 days. I tell myself it will take 14 days. This removes expectations and eventual anxiety if things don't go as expected or as I'm told.

--If someone disagrees with my point of view, I respect what they have to say and try to see things from their point of view.

--If I made a mistake, I tell myself that I'm only human. I'M SUPPOSED TA MAKE MISSSTAKKKKESS. But I'll do my best not to make the same mistake again. If I do make the same mistake again and again, I'll try not to make it again and again until I get it right.

-- I try my best to let go of the past. I've lost so much time and money to gambling, that if I dwell on the past, it'll drive me crazy.

I have said this many a few times on this board: When I'm comfortable and have a few clean months under my belt, I will think that I no longer have a problem. I will play mind tricks with myself ("I have a better system now", "I've learned from my mistakes," "I deserve to gamble," "It will be only once."....). I can come up with many more excuses for you...then I find myself in the same situation.

I visit this site 1-3 times a week to read the stories and my own posts and they give me insight into my problem.

It's not the end of the world. Cheer up and please smile for everyone here!


Sober and Sane since April 11, 2006.