Just so you know

When I read back on these posts I can see how ridiculous they can be, I am aware of it but I'm trying to demonstrate the thought process of an addict as he tries to rationalise, blame others and abdicate responsibility. I want to put it in writing so, when I read back I will spot the warning signs as I start to try to find excuses to gamble again, as demonstrated in previous posts.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Below comment was on previous post and I'll try a response.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------You see, gambling isn't your problem and it never will be or has been.
I get thoroughly pissed by amateur psychologists trying their hand at introspection and giving Gambling a bad name. gambling has ruined nobody at all ever. That is the truth of the matter.

But you, YOU know differently, don't you?

Well, actually you might be surprised to learn that you don't.
You gambled and chose to use that vehicle on which to blame your failings as a human being.

If your gambling had brought monetary wealth, you would still have those same failings. 

You're not pathetic because you lost a fortune by continually gambling. Its because you blame gambling for the mental collapse which drove you to seek resolution by gambling.

Counselling gamblers to stop gambling is generally a counter productive intervention and usually does more harm to their mental restructuring.

Hey. but who am I?
Some anonymous commentator on a blog!

Gamble or don't. You probably have a choice. If you were my daughter I would make you gamble because using it as an excuse will never set you free.

But... never stop trying to understand how. Not why, but how you were able to gamble in the beginning.

End of Comment

I have stated in previous posts that I'm uncomfortable with the concept of gambling as an addiction. I am still not convinced, in fact I agree with the comment above. I did chose to gamble, and have no doubt that if I had been successful I would never have stopped. I am a failed gambler.

I still have a choice and may start to gamble again in the morning. I do not blame gambling for my failings as a human being, I'm aware where the responsibility for those failings lay. Stopping gambling has not cured those failings, but it has coincided with me arresting the behaviour associated with them, and I'm enjoying that.

I do not hate gambling or gamblers, in fact I admire those that have the mental make up to be successful in such a competitive field. If it appears that I'm on an anti gambling crusade then that's misleading of me, I'm not, and never will be. I have also stated that I don't believe that gambling was the cause of any collapse I had, it was the vehicle that I chose to enable my collapse.The more I think about the above comment the more I realise how right the commentator is, my behaviour and failings as a human being cannot be blamed on gambling, I chose the path I trod. If going to GA meetings allows me address my failings, and assists me in addressing them, then I'll continue to do so. As you said, it's a choice.I just got fed up of the type of person I am, and I've decided to change.

I don't understand the last line of your comment, but that's just another example of one of my failings.

Thanks for the comment.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Red Rocks for me

Hello my name is Paddy and I'm a compulsive gambler. I haven't had a bet today and it's been over a year now since my last bet.

Am I cured?

No, I can start again tomorrow, and if I start it will be with the same disregard for all consequences that I had for 25 years.

Am I a better person ?
This is the one I can't answer. My behaviour is better, but I'm still the same person. I still have a default answer status of lying, I still feel envy, I still self obsess, I still moan so I'm still the same person that lied, deceived, stole and disintegrated for 25 years. The difference now is that I don't do this all the time, and am aware of the onset of these behaviours.

I was about say that these were the things that "made" me gamble. This is bullshit, I gambled because I wanted to.

I stopped gambling because I was shit at gambling, I had no money left, no more escape routes, and wanted to see what I could be like without hating every living minute of my existence. I stopped gambling because I hadn't the courage to carry out the plan I had to kill myself. I was going to use the term "end it all" but there was no "all", it was an carousel of misery and despair. All this darkness was entirely self inflicted, but I just wondered what it might be like not to be a cunt all my adult life.

The bad news is I'm still made up of all the ingredients that made me a proper cunt. Good news is I'm trying to exist as a lesser cunt, I try to be positive, truthful, caring and normal. I don't know what normal is, for me it was 25 years of compulsive gambling, but today it's not. Today, I can park the craziness, I intend it to be the same tomorrow.

I was reminded of it the other night by an acquaintance about the night we won €500 each on the breeders cup on a bet. Red Rocks, Brian Meehan. I remember it well, but for different reasons to him. I fancied the horse and went out with the intention of backing him. I told one and all that he would win as I knew more than anyone else and this guy asked me to put €50 on for him on my account. I was a big shot so said no problem, and rang Paddy Power. Bit of an issue here as I couldn't get through, so instead of declining the bet, I laid it without his knowledge. I had to have a bet on the race, it mattered not that I was backing against the horse I had fancied to win. I had to have a bet.

He won, at 11/1 so I duly handed over €550 to him. He toasted me for the night, in fact we both toasted me for the night, I kept my counsel, internally imploding and externally celebrating the fact that I "knew my horses", and, when I paid him on the spot my reputation was further enhanced. The fact that the money had been available to me because I had lied on an application for yet another credit card mattered little to me. This was an example of the insane world I inhabited when I gambled. I think the term "What the fuck" was invented for times like those.

I'm smiling at the memory now, fuck knows how, but I am. I'm smiling because I hadn't a night like that for over a year now, I'm smiling because my life does not revolve about a "place bet now" button on a screen. I'm smiling now, because I can, I couldn't smile for half my life, I had no reason to.

I'm glad I stopped, but I wouldn't have been able to type this today if I hadn't ended it.

I still have the madness, the thought process that confuses the fuck out of myself and others on a regular basis, but at the end of it there's a smile or even a laugh. In essence, where there was despair there is now hope. I'd like to say I was quoting St Francis, but I'm not, I'm quoting Maggie, and I'm sure she's looking up at me now and nodding in approval. On that thought it's time to go, and look to the future, I'm fed up of looking back.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, come on in, there's plenty of room in the asylum, just press the link to apply.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Monday 7 April 2014

Easy like Sunday morning

My name is Paddy and I'm a compulsive gambler.

I was going to write a post this week with reference to the Grand National and how the lack of involvement had affected me. I can't, because it didn't, I was actually unaware of the event until last Thursday when I saw the other guys in the office discussing the traditional sweepstake.

In the past this was an event that simply couldn't have taken place without my superior knowledge and wisdom. This year I wasn't even offered a horse. I have not publicised my issues with gambling but I think those that work with me have noticed my behavioral changes over the last few months and I wasn't involved, nor invited to be.

This change set me a thinking, I like to think and analyse. I awoke at 6.30am, introspection was the order of the morning, it always is during quiet times. In the past, these thoughts would have been of regret, fear and self loathing. Yesterday they were a realization that I now can have periods of serenity, however transient they may be.

It's difficult to explain to those that don't wrestle internally with every decision they have made and those they will make. As long as I can remember I have questioned everything, I never felt at ease anywhere, with anyone. I spent years trying to find something that I still cannot identify. I have never felt at home in my own skin.

Why ? I don't know and am now resolved to the fact I may never know. A lot of people seek to escape themselves as a result of traumatic experiences. I didn't have these hurdles to overcome, I was blessed with a cosseted upbringing that sheltered me from the horrors faced by unfortunate others. I was surrounded by a support structure that was always there if needed, omnipresent but never intrusive. Why did I always want more ? I don't know.

What I do know is that my thought process and every action is no longer controlled by a destructive yet intangible need.

What I do know is that I can now lie beside my sleeping wife and not hate myself for what I am doing to her and my family. What I do know is that I can now enjoy everyday things, and I can laugh.

Laughter and enjoyment did not apply to me when I gambled. I sneered, I criticised, I argued and I demeaned. I hated, everything and everyone, I hated you, I hated me, I hated them all.

Back to yesterday morning, my wife and I walked the dog, visited both our parents houses, and came home. It was nice, I like nice.

I can wallow in regret, despair and disgust if I chose, but these were the only feelings I had when I gambled. My past deeds are done, I cannot undo them, I can acknowledge them and move on. I will always regret them and fear that part that makes a despicable me.

Perhaps the most important thing I've learn't over the last few months is that the answers to life, the universe and everything aren't really that important, and I'm not that important. The other thing I learnt last week was "You can't put the shit back in the dog." So, clean it up, dispose of it, make the right choices and walk on.

Thursday 3 April 2014

See, it can come good

Click on the below link to read a story with a shitty beginning and is hurtling towards a happy ending, compulsive gambling, sporting endeavour and most of all, hope.

Niall McNamee Article in national press.

For more contributions on Niall see the link on the side of the BLOG.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Sounds Like me

Hello, my name is Paddy, I always say I am a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet since my last post.

I had a birthday during the week, not one that is usually recognised as significant but as it represents about 50% of my expected lifespan I'd say its significant. So half my life has passed, and half of that was dominated by gambling. As a student I spent up to 16 hours a day in the Vic snooker club in Limerick, playing two poker machines simultaneously, the hypnotic beep beep of the high low gamble "feature" was the soundtrack to my student years. My generosity was bottomless, I gave those machines everything, I sacrificed my own well being, my food, my fare for the 80 miles home, I gave them my soul, just to make sure they were full, and kept singing to me, I can still hear it now.

There are other sounds that still stay with me, the sound of a cash machine counting the money, back in the old days, when I frequented the bookies in Ballybricken. It's impossible to explain the surge of relief and ecstasy I felt, just after entering the security number, waiting for the insufficient funds message, then, the glorious whirring, whizzing sound of that machine as the notes danced from some cold repository to my warm hands. What is certain is that it would be gone, quickly and inevitably, but for that few seconds as the machine sang, I rejoiced. To this day when I hear that sound, I feel the sensation, the rush, doped on dopamine.

Another sound that has the opposite effect is the closing of a door. To this day I do not let a door close unless I'm facing it. Why ? If I hear a door close behind my back it transports me to those nights the bookie doors closed behind me, after the last race, and me out. Often I was beaten, but even if I did win I would find some other way or place of relieving myself of the load the winnings represented. The closing of the door represented the return to the real world, the bookies was my Narnia, it was a fantasy word I preferred to inhabit. Even now, when doors close behind me, I shiver, I feel dread, guilt and hopelessness. Thankfully those are transient feelings today, but once upon a time they were my shadow, both awake and asleep.

Anyway, this is not what I had intended posting about, but much like my journey to this stage of my life, I got here and I don't know how. What I intended to write was though I almost have a half century behind me, my real birthday will be on May the first this year. I will have had a year where my every living thought and deed was not driven by a force that I cannot understand, resulting from decisions and choices I made. Somehow I ended up talking about the beep, beep of a poker machine, and the glorious tune of a cash dispenser. I haven't even got to the online stuff, but that's for another post. The funny thing is I'm closing this post but those two sounds define over 20 years of my life, and I can still hear them now, I often do. 

So, fuck this, I'm off to meet 10 or 11 like me . 
I like them, when I mention those sounds , they can whistle them and smile. That's our arrival tune, here's our departure tune.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Cheltenham time again

It's amazing how quickly one becomes oblivious to events that were once a huge part of ones life when one basically banishes all interaction with an activity such as horse racing. One is also questioning the reason for the use of a third person pronoun to open the post, but one is going to stop using "one" now, if you know what I mean.

I love Cheltenham, I was going to say "loved" but I suspect if I tune in again my love for the event would rekindle very quickly. I love the banter, I love the insightful knowledge displayed by every punter prior to each race. I love the buzz when the tapes go up, with the exception of Manhattan Castle, who reared as the tape went up at the start of a race many moons ago, and dumped all my hopes and dreams on the floor, along with the jockey and all my cash.

I didn't love the feeling of failure I inevitably encountered by the end of the meeting. I hated the emptiness, I hated myself for repeating what I had always done, I hated handing over the last of my money, I hated the lies and the deceit that were required to maintain the veil of normality.

In truth, it was not really the money I was handing over, it was a little part of me, it was a little part of my family and all the things that made life worth living, it was the vestiges whatever humanity I had managed to retain. I had made a deal with the devil, and he was just collecting his dues.

It's hard for a "normal" person to understand the desolation and torment encountered by those of a similar disposition to me when all the fanciful hopes evaporate. The first reaction is one of disbelief, then fear and then emptiness. Desolation is a very difficult place to live but an easy place to find, time is irrelevant, life is irrelevant and the only thing I wanted was for it to end, but that was then.

I still would love to be able to watch a race, and amaze others with my insight and intelligence. I would love to be able to put on a tenner and not continue to bet with a reckless abandon. I can't and I accept that now, but the hankering still lingers.

The desire to partake is not as strong as desire to continue on the path I have found myself on. I will  not return to desolation and darkness. It's too easy to find and too hard to escape. Gambling can be an interest or a pastime for some, but it's my heroin, it thrills me and destroys me. Not gambling means I can be a person, with purpose, with hopes, with a life worth living.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet today or since my last post.