From Entitled Self-Destruction to Earned Serenity and Recovery
Deborah F 2-19-12
I was raised by a child-molester. He was my stepfather from age 1 year. I let it define my life until I walked into Gambler’s Anonymous in 2005.I believed that I had a right to my addictions. After all, my childhood was less than desirable and I had come through it without going to jail, abusing my children or becoming a societal deviant, or so I thought.
I have a compulsive personality that I battle on a daily basis with the help of my Higher Power. I weighed three hundred pounds in my twenties and overcame that. I shopped until I had maxed out all our credit cards and struggled to pay bills. I drank too much, smoked too much, read too much. I overdid anything that I could escape with and felt that I was owed that escape. As long as I stayed In Utah, the worst thing that may have happened to me is that I may have had to file bankruptcy, as I was always spending more than I had. I moved to Las Vegas. I do not want to imply that living in Las Vegas is the only reason I became a compulsive gambler. There is easy access to casinos from any city in Utah and I had been once and could not wait to return.
The first moment I walked into a casino, I felt at home. I breathed in the smoke and the noisy atmosphere and knew that I belonged there. I was hooked. I started by playing Bingo. I won $500 the first time I played. I bought a new VCR for my kids. I was so excited. Soon, I was going to the casinos by myself. There was an hour between Bingo sessions and I discovered poker machines. That was the end of Bingo.
One year later, I spent 38 hours at one poker machine and knew when I left, broke and defeated, that I was a compulsive gambler. I was driving home that Sunday morning and decided that I was an unnecessary human being and I should drive my car into the retaining wall on the side of the road. I bounced my car over the curb and then jerked it back onto the road. I remember sitting there crying and feeling so hopeless. I went home and looked up GA. I started May 13, 1986. I made one year, but never found a sponsor, never worked a step and still hung on fiercely to my sense of entitlement.
I left GA shortly before my 2nd birthday. My marriage ended. Pride, entitlement and my belief that my life was still manageable allowed me to justify my gambling again. I lost two long-term relationships, my relationship with my youngest daughter and my son, my house and my reputation at work.
17 years later, in July 2005, I admitted not only that I was “POWERLESS“, but that my life was no longer manageable, I could not stand me. I had options: prison, insanity, death, Gambler’s Anonymous. I am happy to say I chose GA. This time, I was determined to do it right. I got a sponsor. I did my steps and still continue to do them daily. I am committed both to GA and to me. I discovered that my entitlement had influenced my life in more ways than I can count. I was wrong about the self-destruction only hurting me. It hurt all that I loved. My first GA birthday was a cleansing of that entitlement, but unfortunately, I have found that like many character defects, it still shows up, but now I recognize it and use my gifts from recovery to put it back where it belongs. I did not think that I would ever find the life I have today. I am still making amends to my family for the years of neglect and self-absorption. We are all close and loving now. I enjoy my grandchildren without the taint of the gambling obsession. I have come to understand and relish my connection to a Higher Power. I call on Him for all my decisions and thank Him daily for my blessed life. In terms of society’s measure of success, I am marginally there, but in terms of personal success, I have exceeded anything that I thought possible or even dared hope for. I have joy and peace and the satisfaction of knowing that through recovery, I can face anything. I am never alone. Thank you Gambler’s Anonymous.