We take you through the first week that Arlene made the conscious decision to stop gambling. This was a very emotional period where Arlene’s self esteem was at the lowest in her life. She’s a single woman who was just about to turn thirty-six years old and her life was crumbling around her. Her weakness was a poker game called Texas Holdem. But if she couldn’t go to the casino, she was online playing the poker games on her screen. And even though they had “free play”, that didn’t give her the thrill.
Arlene decided to share her story of how she made it through her first week as a non gambler. Her goal was to reach out to others who also have a compulsive gambling addiction because she remembers the pain she went through.
From the first day until the seventh day, Arlene went through various emotional revelations that helped her to achieve her goals. She was a special person with a good sense of humor. Even through her self destructive period she always had a smile on her face. For this reason alone people close to her never realized she had a problem gambling.
Arlene easily made it through her first day because she had already depleted her checking and savings accounts. She had also maxed out her credit cards. She fortunately would have to wait three more days till pay day before she could gamble again. In the past she borrowed from friends and then would have to give them half her pay check to pay them back. She remembers the pain she was in with no one she could tell or talked to. She was afraid her family and friends would not understand. She didn’t even understand how this happened to her. She decided to go online and find help. She tried a year earlier Gamblers Anonymous, but it was something that she could not relate to. She found a website. She liked the name of the site and decided to give it a try.
She purchased a self help manual and a year membership to the chat room. Her first thought was “How can something under fifty dollars really help a person who has lost thousands of dollars gambling in one year?” Then she thought maybe she shouldn’t spend any money right now. Her mind was playing tricks with her. During this time she was confused, had major amounts of guilt for losing so much money and her self esteem was at her lowest. She decided to make the investment in herself. This was her justification for the purchase. She eagerly read the manual. A whole new world opened up for her.
In the chat room she met others who could relate to her and help her understand what she was going through. Each and every day she would follow the manual and pop in and out of the chat room. There were times where the chat room was quiet, so she left messages on the tag board of when she would be chatting and other members joined in.
As each day passed during Arlene’s first week, she noticed changes in your behavior. For the first time she was taking it one day at a time. She was planning for her future and starting to realize she could live with out gambling. She admitted to people that she was contemplating suicide because she felt there was no way out. She once told me she wouldn’t mind living in a cave as long as her life was peaceful. Her self destructive behavior and low self esteem was taking its toll on Arlene.
The one other thing that kept Arlene from going back to gambling was the pain she was in and finally realized she can now move forward with an anticipated positive future.
Some people have close friends they can talk to. What ever it takes to share what you are feeling will speed your recovery. It’s going to take time to talk about how you feel. Listening to others that have walked in your shoes will help you start the healing process.