January 6, 2021
“Today So Far” …. I hear this every time I participate in a 12-step meeting. And…I SAY IT at every meeting when asked what recovery milestone has been met. “Today So Far” is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given! It means I’ve learned a better way of life. And I haven’t had to place a bet or have a drink to live “life on life’s terms.” It keeps me in touch with the fact that recovery is attained one day at a time. It is not an “event” it is a process. Each day in recovery is a gift.
Today (So Far) is a milestone of sorts. It is my 25th “Birthday” in Gamblers Anonymous. It feels right to share this morning’s Journal Entry with you…it’s the best way I can express what I’m feeling today. Journaling is one of the best tools I’ve found in recovery. My feelings and thoughts are expressed unfiltered and unedited…they just flow and I can release them, honor them, and let them go. So excuse any typos, incomplete sentences or grammatical errors. This is how I journal. So..here’s my #TodaySoFar entry.
25th GA Birthday
Curious. Today is a day to give thanks for the endless gifts and blessings of recovery. Yet my thoughts are of Tommy W., Anton’y, and Lanie…those who didn’t survive this insidious, patient, destructive disease. All three of these beautiful souls, along with countless others we lost, experienced glimpses of the gifts…they held the delicate petals of early recovery in their hands and asked in wonder “Can this be REAL? Can my life REALLY be better…can it be THIS good?”
The internal battle of early recovery is palpable..”Am I really worthy? I’ll probably screw it up again, so why bother?”
“No! I want this. I AM worthy. Im going to fight for a better life – free from the bet and free to love and be loved.” Read more →
My first bet was made at age 12. Since I am now 57, I will skip early years of gambling and get to what occurred in my life that got me to the wonderful place in my life called recovery.
I always lived on the edge craving excitement. Whether it was living like an outlaw and seeing if I could get away with it or betting on a 40 to 1 long shot, I enjoyed, and later found out I needed, the rush. The reason I needed it was I had an uncontrollable and an incurable disease. It is called compulsive gambling.
Like most compulsive gamblers, I won… at first. But over the years when it got to the point that there was not enough to win, my life became completely unmanageable. Becoming a great liar and rationalizer I hid my problem from my wife. I would also try to hide from my higher power, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. I surely couldn’t hide from him! Read more →
As has been the case for many others I have spoken with, my own gambling story begins at a young age (10). Family vacations with my father would involve trips to the Ruidoso Downs race track, where I was given $20 for the day to bet on horses. Later, he would teach me how to play poker, and by the time I was a teenager I was playing occasionally, and later regularly, with a group of his colleagues. By the time I was in college, I became involved in a high-stakes pot-limit game, and won enough money over time to move out of the house and get my own apartment while I was in school. There were two men in that game that I (and others) won money from fairly consistently, and looking back I now realize that it was not just because (as I thought) they were “bad” player, but because they were compulsive (pathological) gamblers who would stay in the game until the last card on almost every hand.
When I finished my graduate degree in 1991, I received a job offer from the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas to supervise archaeological work out at the infamous Yucca Mountain Project. I was thrilled to get a job in archaeology, and was excited about the prospects of moving to Las Vegas. For many years after moving to Las Vegas I continued to play live poker. While I never considered myself a professional player, I did well enough to win a little money over the long run, and saw it as an entertaining pastime. I didn’t understand the appeal of the video poker machines…it seemed like a complete waste of time to play a machine, where you had no control over the outcome. Occasionally, I would put $20 into a machine, but never won anything substantial until I hit my first royal flush for $1,000 in the mid-1990s. It was a few years later that I hit a 2nd one, and then very soon after, a third. “Aha! This is why people play the machines!” I thought. Gradually, I played less and less live poker and more and more video poker until soon I was playing video poker almost exclusively. It didn’t seem to matter that intellectually I knew I was never going to beat a computer chip. Read more →
Here I sit with lifeless eyes,
Playing my machine…it’s do or die.
With the spin of the wheel I place my trust,
I’m gonna’ win…I must.
I think to myself I’ve gotta’ be nuts
My money is gone and I’ve gone bust.
Tomorrow’s a new day and I need more cash
“Money Tree” is up the street; so there I dash.
What the hell, I can’t lose this time.
I feel so lucky. I feel just fine. Read more →
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.
Read more →