Monday, September 20, 2010

To Feed that Gambling Beast

. . . to feed that "gambling beast" . . .

As 2007 draws to an end I find myself reflecting on my year, and all the many things I have to be grateful for. My recovery- One Day at a Time, is number one on that list. Without it, I would have nothing to be grateful for. I would still be living in the desperation and unbelievable insanity, of my active gambling addiction. Prior to March 25th of this year, I struggled with compulsive gambling to the point of having to go into inpatient treatment 7 times, in a 2 1/2 year period. In my addiction I became a person I would never have thought I could become. The progression of this disease is astounding! With each relapse I sunk lower and farther into despair and desperation. I lied to the people I love, and I stole from those who trusted me. I engaged in criminal activity, all in my attempt to feed that "gambling beast" inside me. I over dosed on prescribed medication for my depression, sold my plasma for money and spent many nights sleeping in my car, feeling that I was worthless, a piece of shit. I would acquire 30, 60, and a few times 90 days of abstinence, yet I would find myself going back out for more misery. It was a never ending vicious cycle, which was killing me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I cannot describe the pain and desperation my family felt, especially my wonderful husband Dave. In many ways they went to hell and back with me, fearing that I would die in this disease. I could have and on many occasions I wanted to die to end the pain I was causing them. In my numbed out gambling mode, I felt nothing, but my family could see my complete destruction, and yet they felt helpless to stop me. Only I could stop myself. Only I could make that decision to end the insanity. With the help of God, and my gambling counselor Donleen, G.A, A.A {I have 29 years of sobriety, believe it or not} my family, especially my husband, my friends and my many trips to treatment, along with an amazing counselor there, I have been in recovery for over 9 months now.

I am committed to my recovery from gambling in a way I never was before. I start my mornings out, using many of the recovery tools which I have in my tool box. I had the tools before, yet I was willing to use only a few. Part of my struggle was that I was not willing to go to any lengths to maintain my abstinence from gambling. Today I am willing, and as a result, my life is better in so many ways. One of the recovery tools I use every morning is to write 5 things which I am grateful for, before I journal. This regular practice helps to keep me in "an attitude of gratitude", which has helped my depression, of which I have suffered from since childhood, immensely.

Every year of my adult life, I have found myself in a depression during the holidays, yet this year I wasn’t! Thank you God! I recently became a grandmother for the second time, and I am truly here for my grand children. I am here for my family and friends. Most importantly I am here for myself. I truly have much to be grateful for as I reflect back on this past year. I pray for every woman who is out there struggling with compulsive gambling that you may find what I have found. Be kind to yourselves. Learn to love yourselves. Most importantly, believe that you are worth it. You DO deserve to live a life gamble-free One Day at a Time and you can do it.

God Bless and I wish you all Peace, Health, and Recovery in 2008!

Love Bonnie, Oregon