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.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What to do ?

Hello again, 'tis I, the compulsive one.

No bets, but the amount of time I now have available is beginning to concern me. I am stunned by the huge portion of my life that was consumed by the activity of gambling, thinking about gambling and other destructive activities associated with gambling. Put quite simply, I have loads of time and energy that needs channelling. I spent long enough wasting these resources so now I need to find something productive that will have a tangible benefit.

I have always toyed with the idea of creative writing, and the more I mull over it the more attractive it seems. The problem is, the only projects that appeal to me tend to be dark, and not exactly uplifting.

Here's the type of subject matter I was considering.

I love the idea of a tale along the lines of American Psycho but from the perspective of an Irish rural psycho, and the worst thing is I feel I could assume the perspective of the narrator quite easily.

I am also intrigued by the concept of a stage play, loosely in the format of 12 Angry Men but in the environment of a Gamblers Anonymous meeting, with 12 monologues charting the the progression of a member or members, along the road to recovery, or failure. I'm a bit uncomfortable with this one as I feel it may be a betrayal of the kinship of the members of  GA, and strangely enough I seem to have a loyalty towards the fellowship. That in itself is progression for me, the fact that I have even a hint of loyalty show I have grown emotionally from the husk that I became when I was gambling incessantly.

I love the idea of a farce, based in the world of corporate bullshit with extreme characters demonstrating the ridiculousness of it all, and based on my experience the exaggeration required may not be as significant as one might think.

All of the above are fanciful and probably just a bow towards my proclivity towards escapism, and an overestimation of my literary skills.

I still have a nagging feeling I should direct my energies towards formal education and attain some kind of an academic qualification. I could probably do it through my employment, but, keep finding reasons not to do it. I'm trying to identify the cause of the reluctance but I think it's because I will discover I'm not capable of succeeding.
I attended college for years but never passed final exams. I abdicated blame for this failure in another post by highlighting the fact I was a compulsive gambler during this period, but it's a convenient excuse to hide the fact I may not be intellectually capable of success. Gamblers are escapists, and I managed to convince myself through the years I was intelligent, but if I strip away all the bullshit I have no proof.
I am learning to accept my emotional deficiencies by attending GA, but I'm not so sure I will accept my intellectual failures quite so easily.

What to do ? I don't know, but I'm still Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, and a confused one at that.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Higher Power ?

Step 11 of the "recovery" program is

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. "

This is a bit of a dilemma for me as I'm not religious, I only associate prayer with desperation or seeking forgiveness, and those are two mindsets I'm avoiding. As soon as I hear reference to God I tend to tune out, but, at a recent meeting I was interested to hear the other members describe their higher power as something other than a deity, it is whatever the person wants it to be.

I do a lot of walking now with our new puppy, and I speak to him as we walk, yip, I told you I was nuts, but I have decided he is going to be my power, but, by virtue of his size, a lower power.

On another note, I noticed last night that I now have the same hands as my father, if only the rest of me was similar, life would be a more noble journey.

Anyway, no bet since the last post, aren't I the great fellow ?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What's different ?

Hello, my name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler and I haven't had a bet for over 6 month now.

So what has changed ?

First things first, I admitted to myself I have a major problem, this admission was forced on me by my circumstances but it does not make it any less true.

Making the admission is fine but how does this result in one changing the habit's of a life time ?

The most important step I took was telling the truth to my wife and siblings. This seems relatively simple but the concept of telling the truth after a lifetime of deceit is not even on a compulsive gambler's radar. I was lucky and was immediately offered support by my wife and family. Support came in the forms of emotional and financial, but the emotional support and the sense of relief I felt after sharing my issues far outweighed the financial stress.

The next step I took was to approach MABS (money advice) and worked with them to act as a third party between me and my creditors to create an agreed payment plan. I discovered that if one is willing to try the financial institutions will negotiate and come to some kind of agreement. The presence of a recognised intermediary was crucial in this process for me as it removed the stress in the process.

I handed ALL my access to finance and funds over to my wife, with the structure as follows.

My wages are paid into a current account, we have direct debits set up to service our mortgage, agreed payments to creditors and regular household bills. We then have a small surplus (agreed through the MABS budgeting service) to cater for other budgeted costs such as education, childcare, clothing, car expenses, medical costs. This money is removed from our current account and lodged every month into a Post office account that is only accessible by my wife. When my wife went to open this account she was asked for a utility bill or similar that had her name and address on it as proof of identity bit did not have one. She did not have one because I controlled all financial aspects of our lives for over 20 years, such are the manipulative powers of the gambler in me.  It sounds contradictory but this is a great relief, If I have access to money there is a strong chance that the gambler in me will surface. I do not have much, but I have more than I had when I was "winning".

I also do not carry money, the maximum I carry on a day to day basis is €5, and it now astonishes me how little I need to spend.

I was also advised also not to read the papers because of the drawing power of the back pages. I don't purchase them, but I do spend a large amount of time perusing electronic media. I love sport and read the sports section keenly along with current affairs. I do not visit the racing section as I have no interest or compulsion to do so.

I try to be truthful. My default response for years was to lie, it's a hard habit to break but I'll get there.

I participate in home life, homework, chores, and all the things normal people do, I ignored these for years and isolated myself from them.

I talk to my wife and tell her how I see things. I spent years internalising and obsessing, now I verbalise and it just makes things simpler.

I try to live for today, if I obsess about the past I will return to the place of self hate and re ignite all the negative things that were present when I was gambling. If I dwell on the future I will begin to worry and scheme. This is not good for me so I try not to do it.

I go to GA meetings at least once a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays are when I get my GA medicine. Once a week is not enough for me at the moment as I find my mindset changing if I go too long without listening to others, where they have been and where they are now. There is also the fact that I have never left a GA meeting feeling worse that when I entered it.

Which step is the most important ?

I don't know, everyone is different, for me the relief I experienced when I shared my issues with my wife was a paradigm shift. The financial improvements and the subtle behavioural changes I made simply would not have occurred if I had not shared. For others it's admitting powerlessness over gambling, but deep down, I always knew I was powerless.

I'll never be powerful, but I will be better.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler and I'm stuck with me, but it's better, so much better.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

How did I get here ?

How does one become a compulsive gambler ? I don't know but here's my story.

My first memories of betting are as a kid in our village playing pitch and toss. This was a regular enough event in the village, usually a Saturday or Sunday morning where people bet on the resultant toss of 2 coins, the "tosser" traditionally backed 2 heads and threw the coins and he didn't toss until he had someone to oppose the bet. The mechanics are irrelevant but what I now realise is that when I did get involved there was only one of two outcomes for me, win it all or lose it all. I never considered leaving the "toss school" until I was broke or everyone there were broke. My losses would be very small as I was young and 1 or 2 pounds would be my bankroll. The financial aspect to this is largely irrelevant but the mindset I had was already developed at 15 or 16 years old. The dream of "breaking the school" was my only aim and I could not figure out the others who could win a couple of quid and leave or conversely, lose a couple or quid and leave.

I went through school pretty uneventfully with good results and finished secondary education with a myriad of options regarding further education, and was lucky enough to have a family home that was able to support me in further education, despite it being in the middle of a recession (mid 80's). At the time I didn't realise this ,so off I went, oblivious to my fortune and I can now see that this is where my real obsession began. I spent a lot of time in a snooker club that had poker machines. When others were in college, I was in a dingy club watching a blue screen and listening to the non stop beep, beep, beep of these machines. When I did actually attend college I spent most of my time in a poker school that had formed in the college canteen, again the results were binary, I lost everything, or I won everything. When I say I lost everything, I mean my rent, my food money, my bus money and often hitched the 60 miles home in the rain having not eaten for 2 or 3 days. I regularly invented scenarios that required my parents to send on more cash to keep me funded but saw nothing wrong with it. Manipulation and lies were second nature to me, all to fund my gambling.

I bombed out of college in third year having failed my exams, somehow I managed to get to this stage without attending lectures or tutorials by virtue of having a good short term memory and the ability to distil the important information from reams of irrelevance, I also have an aptitude for numbers and hence science based subjects were never really a problem for me. It still hadn't dawned on me that the reason I failed was purely and utterly because of gambling, If I had dedicated the huge amounts of time to study that I did to gambling I have no doubt I would have graduated.

Did I regret this ? No, is the simple answer, I can see now that I was already a compulsive gambler, liar and thief. It's hard to explain but when a gambler reaches this stage he simply doesn't care about the lies, the larceny, the people we deceive and those we hurt the most. We only care about one thing, money for gambling. This troubles me now, as crazy at it seems I had no tolerance for these traits in others, people were either good or bad. No middle ground, no mitigating circumstances, not tolerance for others, but this did not apply to me, I simply did not realise that the things I hated most in others were what I had become.

My girlfriend and I had a child at this stage and I entered the world of full time employment. My father had a major role in securing me my first job and I was not grateful as this was my entitlement. That's the thing with gamblers, we are entitled to everything. I'm entitled to your money, his money her money and everyone's money. My girlfriend worked and we intended to marry and set up savings accounts to save for our first house, just like everyone else fortunate enough to be in full time employment. I made sure I managed the funds, I made the lodgements, I made the secret withdrawals to give the money to Paddy Powers. I stole from us, I stole from our future. Again, I had no guilt, it was my money, I could do what I wanted with it. One can ask now as to why my girlfriend did not notice and there's a simple answer. She loved me, hence she trusted me and it never occurred to her that the love of her life was a lying thief. Normal people have trust, they don't suspect that the one they love is not like them. Gamblers are not normal, we control, we manage all events to suit our needs, the needs of our addiction.

We got married, but we could not afford a traditional marriage so we went to exotic climes with a couple of members of my family. I progressed in jobs, earning more but no richer. We built a house, we got a mortgage, we appeared to have the life of a normal couple. All during this time I was gambling, I had loans that my wife knew nothing about, I had credit cards she knew nothing about, I had a life she knew nothing about. I juggled a bank loan, multiple credit cards, credit union loans just to hide my addiction. How is this possible ? I had a good job as I never had issues progressing by virtue of being a hard worker and demonstrated competence. How did I have so many loans ? How did I get credit ? This was simple, I lied, I am an accomplished liar. I also have a hyphenated surname , so if my name is "Compulsive-Gambler", I got loans and credit cards out in the name of "Compulsive" and "Gambler" and "Compulsive Gambler". I got loans out to pay loans, I got credit cards to transfer balances onto, in one case I had 4 cards from the same company, making 4 transfers a month to pay each other. We extended our mortgage term by multiples of what it was originally, I convinced my wife this was necessary, why did she accept ? It's simple, she loved me and accepted what I said.

Did I love her ? In my mind I loved my wife and child but in reality I did nothing to show it. I stole from our future, I only loved my mistress and she is insatiable, she takes all you have and gives nothing back.

In case this post is me trying to portray myself as the victim I do not mean it to be. I am not seeking absolution, this is the way things were. This existence continued for years to the point where we are still married but with another little girl and my wife's world has changed utterly.The last few years of my gambling almost killed me and here's why. I stopped getting credit so I had to begin to pay my credit with real money. When I looked at my income versus my commitments they could not be maintained and I concentrated my gambling to achieve the unachievable. I was on Betfair, initially straight betting,but then trading, predicting the price movements and trying to profit as a result.

For the past 3 or 4 years my life had become unmanageable, and here's how I existed. I came home from work and did not eat, I went to the laptop and turned on the races. I entered "my" room at 5:00 pm and gambled. My wife is a kind, loving person, but I did not interact and our relationship was purely one way, she gave, I took. My kids now had a Dad they didn't know. I was a shell. My mind was full of only the following, money, debts, betting, fear.

I spent every waking hour thinking of money, thinking of how to get more, I couldn't sleep and didn't go to bed until 4 or 5 in the morning and when I got up at 6:30 the first thing I did was check the account balance. I stood in the shower before work most mornings and cried. I did not cry from self pity, nobody made me do this, I did it, but I did not know how to make it stop. I looked at my wife and all I did was hate, I hated myself  because of the love she had for me that I did not deserve. I looked at my kids and hated myself for what I was dong to their lives, their future. I looked in the mirror and then I really hated.

I decided I would end it, I picked a spot in a wall that I would crash into and die, I have a good job so my wife and kids would be cared for financially, and I knew they would have been better off without me. At this stage it was not the bills, it was not the money, it was that I knew what I had become, a worthless person.

This is where the gambler kicked back in and I found an out. I begged my brother for money and even manipulated that situation to get him to keep it secret by emotionally blackmailing him. I began attending Gamblers Anonymous for a couple of months and felt better.

I didn't commit to GA so I used the money my brother had given me to clear debts to gamble again, and I lost it all. Last may I went back to him again for money, he refused money but did not refuse to help. He told my sister because he feared form my mental state, she arranged for me to break this to my wife , they saved my life. I have no doubt that I would be dead now if it hadn't been for this intervention. My wife would be a widow, my kids would be fatherless, and they would not know why.

I broke down, I told my wife of my sins, of the lies, the theft, the person I had become. Her response to being told that 20 years of her life had been a lie was "We'll get through this". I still cannot understand this unconditional love for another, would I have been so forgiving ? I unburdened my sins and a weight lifted from me, I had actually told the truth for the first time in as long as I can remember.

So what happens next ? I obviously have a huge financial burden that I cannot manage so I went to MABS and they acted as intermediaries between me and my creditors. I will pay them but it will take 8 or 9 years.

I went back to GA and still go, I'm going in 45 minutes to today's meeting. I am learning that I'm not alone in my issues. I'm a gambler but I'm not gambling today and have not gambled for 6 months. My life is unrecognisable, I spend time with my wife and kids, not with betfair. I'm learning how to love, both others and myself. I don't obsess about money, about debts. I don't spend all day every day in a shroud of fear, loathing and angst. I don't want to die.

I am not a good person and have done horrible things to those that love me the most. All is not rosy, my default personality is not nice after 25 years of lies and deceit. I am learning to change, I am trying to mature.

I still obsess about whether gambling is an addiction or if this is just a convenient get out of jail card, and perhaps I'll never know.

I do know that if I attend GA meetings I will not bet, I can atone and become what I hope I can be, someone who can laugh and cry, love and hate, and create rather than destroy. I don't know why these meetings work and I don't care.

I do know if I stop going I will gamble, I will lie and steal, I will hate and I will decay, and then I will die.

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

Gamblers anonymous website

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

New BLOG to Visit

Hello, I have just added a link to a new BLOG that covers a similar subject matter to mine, please drop in and have a look.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

It aint all that bad.

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

When I read back through this BLOG it strikes me that it can be interpreted as one long tale of woe and misery. This is simply not true.

I post when I feel I need to, when I'm suspicious about myself, my behaviours and my thought patterns.

I don't post when things are good, when life is not overcomplicated or I'm happy. This is most of the time, the last 6 months have been an awakening for me. Sure, I still have bad days but the good ones far outnumber the bad ones and I think it's important for me to state that. Not Gambling has given me a perspective on life and myself that I couldn't have thought possible.

Here's some of the positives,

I don't wake up every day full of fear and dread.
I am building real relationships with the people that really count.
Every day is not a day I wish I don't exist.
I don't feel the need to lie at every opportunity.
I am learning how real relationships work.
I don't try to manipulate everything I do to suit my means.
I am in the process of reclaiming my life.
I still have the same insecurities and crazy thought processes but now I recognise them for what they are.
I am building a sense of self worth, and by learning to value myself I am valuing others.
I am a human being that has all the frailties of every human being.
I want to live.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, but hey, it aint all that bad.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

There's none so blind as those that cannot see

Hello my name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I haven't had a bet today or since my last post.

I attended a GA meeting last night, on the way I was questioning the relevance of these meets as my thought process has recently changed regarding my "addiction".

They way they usually work is someone is nominated to be the chairperson for the night and speaks about their experiences and feelings, thoughts and actions. It sounds cosy and a bit questionable but as the meeting progressed the relevance of it became more and more apparent to me.

Not for the first time the thread of the meeting seemed focussed on the very questions I had been asking myself recently, regarding the question of powerlessness and abdication of responsibility, self justification and self pity. The structure was quite unusual in that the sharers (cosy term for contributors) followed a clockwise pattern round the table. Three previous speakers articulated their mindset, and their observations on their journey. It's an eclectic mix comprised of the young, the old, the brave and the bold, all different, all the same. These are people who have been dealing with their issues a lot longer than me so acquired wisdom should apply rather than inexperienced insights.

For some reason they all referred to the stage of their journey that I am at now as one of the most dangerous. The honeymoon period, the one whereby you convince yourself that the reason you gamble is as a result of your odious character, that you are now cured, that it's not really an illness. When one referred to the fact that this "addiction" is the only one that convinces you that you don't have it, it struck me, that's me this week. I  bored you with it yesterday and I still think it today.

Whether they or wrong or I am wrong is irrelevant, what really matters is that based on what I heard at the meeting I am now at a point of reasoning that these people were at before, and they returned to betting and gambling. No one told me what to do, or think, but I heard of the consequences of their "return to action" and the resultant desolation, and the rapid descent to rock bottom.

Rock bottom is a personal place, for some it is homelessness, for others it is loneliness and self hatred, for some it manifests itself in illegal activities, for me its a world devoid of hope, no will to wake up , no will to love, a mind that contracts so fast that I don't want to exist. I've been there and I don't want to return. I struggle to accept helplessness, addiction, but I now know that if I attend a meeting I feel better in my skin.  I can live with that, I'm not sure I can live with the other.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I haven't had a bet today or since my last post, but that means fuck all.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

6 months on

Hello my name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler,I haven't had a bet today or since my last post.

In fact I haven't had a bet in over 6 month now and my world is a different place. I still spend an inordinate amount of time over analysing myself and every little thing that occurs in my tiny universe.

I revisited Gamblers Anonymous just over 6 month ago, broken and bewildered. It was a massive step in continuing my existence and empowered me to deal with the bumps on the road I encounter as part of everyday life.

The first step in the process is an acceptance that one is powerless over gambling and all that is needed to attend is a common desire to stop gambling. I admitted and subscribed and my life is better. I owe money, but I don't hate the world I inhabit, I don't hate myself or everything that surrounds me.

Whilst acknowledging the powerlessness was cathartic for me 6 months my thought process simply doesn't accept this abdication of responsibility any more. Every bet I placed, every penny I wasted and every destructive thought and action I initiated was NOT as a result of some irresistible external force, it was an action I knowingly took and disregarded the consequences.

They were the actions of a selfish being, and although I can try to convince myself otherwise through the adoption of the "powerless" defence I know this is not true.

I am the person who made those decisions, and that side of me is still there, dormant, but ready to reappear without notice. I can no longer blame external influences for my odious shortcomings, but I can now see there is another path, the one that the vast majority of people follow every day of their lives, it's called normality, or decency.

I despise people who are incapable of accepting personal responsibility, ergo, I despise the me that destroys. I cannot hide from me, I can recognise what and who I am, and only I can decide who I will eventually become. The choice is mine, I am not powerless, I am cowardly and immature, but I don't have to be.

Ian O' Doherty gets it right, again.

Anyway, my name is Paddy, and I'm a compulsive excuse seeker, but I can fix that.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Are you having a laugh ?

Just got below comment and it shows I must not be able to deliver the message of this Blog

"hello, i am betfair full-time trader since 4 years and since short time i started to trade for customers with a ROI of 35% per month on average. If you are interested to join me or share trading views dont hesitate add me in msn **********@hotmail.fr or mail me in that adress. good luck on Betting is not the issue"

Either is is some poor misguided lunatic offering to help me beat my compulsions or it's someone with a great sense of humour.

I knew how to trade, I knew the mechanics, but the biggest part of trading was not the mechanics, it was the correct mindset, the ability to cut and lose, the ability to remain emotionally sterile and stable, and if anyone has read previous post they would realise that emotional stability is not one of my stronger points, akin to saying that Hitler wasn't really a nice guy.

The other thing that is slowly returning to me is the ability to find humour in things that would have made me very angry before, the above comment is a case in point, sometimes you gotta laugh, just laugh, but definitely not gamble.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Betting is not the issue

Me again, still a compulsive gambler, still have not had a bet since my last post.

Positives, and green shoots as Dave commented in the previous post. I do not feel compulsions to bet as one might imagine.
Betting compulsions are not what drives my character defects, it is the converse. I manifest my defects by betting and use it as a vehicle of destruction and hide myself away from the real world by entering the fantasy world of gambling.
I have many issues that I have managed to dismiss over a 30 year period, a lot of them in common within our group at GA. Talking to others about how we think, how we rationalize and how we behave causes us to realise that we are not unique, the issues we encounter are not specific to us alone, we are just poorly equipped to deal with them, unable to recognise that we have to approach and deal with them in a manner similar to 99% of mankind.
We are emotionally immature and underdeveloped for whatever reason, I cannot point to a difficult past or childhood, I cannot point to years of abuse or deprivation, I can however identify my inadequacies and learn to deal with them with the tools I am slowly awakening to.
I have a choice, my natural disposition is to focus on the past and my failings, that leads to depression, I can obsess about the future but that will lead to stress. I can live in the now and that will result in me focussing on whatever is actually relevant and not what may or may not happen, and, just for today I will not gamble.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The best of times, the worst of times.

My little voice has returned and the honeymoon is in danger of ending.

The facts are in normal font and my inner voice is in red. I am not justifying or trying to explain it, it's just how my "brain" works, and I fucking hate it.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler and have not had a bet since my last post, and that's a fact.

I have handed management of all finances to my wife.
You are too much of an incompetent idiot to be trusted.

I have reached acceptable financial repayment terms with all my creditors.
You are incapable of even the most basic life skills.

My eldest daughter has managed to get a funding to do a PhD.
She doesn't need you any more, in fact she never did.

My wife has blossomed now that I don't try to dictate her thoughts, her actions and everything else in our relationship towards my goals .
She doesn't need you any more, let her go, she'd be better off. 

My youngest daughter is bright, witty and beautiful, now that the tension that accompanied my gambling has left the house .
She'd always have been better off if you weren't there.

The last 4 months have been the most serene I can remember.
What the fuck have you ever done to deserve serenity? You don't deserve hope, you don't deserve happiness, you fuck things up, you always do and you always will, do it now, you know you will eventually. You're a worthless peace of shit that poisons anything near you, don't kid yourself, you WILL fuck it up, you know you will. Why wait, do it now, DO IT NOW,DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW.NOBODY WANTS YOU, NOBODY NEEDS YOU, WHY DON'T YOU JUST FUCK OFF AND LEAVE THEM ALONE, THEY ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT YOU.

My head is about to explode, my hands are shaking, but I will prevail, the good me, it has to be in there somewhere, I feel nauseous, I feel weary, but just for today I will not gamble, just for today I will beat this bastard down, just for today. As for tomorrow, I hope it's better.

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

Monday, 5 August 2013

One day at a time

Pertinent comment on the previous post. One day at a time, very true. Part of my problem with this is my job requires me to plan in detail for multiple scenarios. That's the way I think and always have done, I'm a planner, but this program requires me to take one day at a time, bit of a conflict there.

I need to start compartmentalising my addiction and try to keep a different mindset than what is required in my professional life. If I cannot do that, then I need to consider my choice of profession. Sounds ridiculous, but when ones mind is programmed to think and analyse on a continuous basis it is exceedingly difficult to try to stop analysing at will. There you go, the Mr Kipling of self analysis, that's me. Exceedingly fucked up.

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

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The devil makes work for idle hands.

My wife and kids went on a ladies expedition last night, getting schoolware 6 weeks in advance, so I stayed at home. Alone time started at 5:30 pm and it was a long, long evening.

Introspection began and a fidgety mindset kicked in.

It's quite strange really, when I was gambling the only thing I sought was solitude, and I always found it on the sofa, in the front room with the laptop and television on some sporting event or At the Races. I did this for years, a hermit in a bubble of angst and despair. I only emerged to smoke and shit, manufacture a verbal skirmish, and then return to my refuge.

The other place I found solitude in the past was the bookies, even if full of people, it's full of empty people, alone, no one speaks, just a casual grunt of recognition, and then back into the mental foxhole, watch the races, lose more, feel ones spirit ebb like a spring tide, the last race signifying the last bet, the nadir, and the imminent journey home that I hoped would never end.

Now I fear solitude, I hate being alone for too long and 4 hours is too long for me at the moment. I sat down and flicked the remote, ended up on At the Races within 4 channel changes, as my default channel was 415 for years, I dwelt on it for about 30 seconds and moved on. That's all it took, 30 seconds and I wanted to bet, I wanted to fire up this laptop and have a bet. The urge passed and I moved on. It's the first urge to bet I've had in some weeks and it was easy to deny. It was easy to deny because I carry no money, I have a Visa Debit card, but that is for a joint account that has the exact quantity needed for monthly bills and debt repayment with a small surplus for use in case of emergency. My wife puts the rest into an account that only she has access to, and I'm so glad. It's easy not to bet with no money.

It's hard to recognise the fuck up I've become, I can't even be trusted to function as a proper human should. I'm in need of an operating system change, an upgrade from Wanker 9.0 to Decent human being 1.0.

I try to give myself some succour by recognising that I am trying to change 25 years of behaviour in a couple of months and that's difficult. It's also bullshit.

I'm a compulsive gambler, that makes me a liar, a thief, a derelict husband, a derelict father, a derelict son and brother, a narcissistic prick that made the world revolve about himself for 25 years. I say I'm all the above because I'm a compulsive gambler, but deep down I rally think I'm a compulsive gambler because I'm all of the above. Chicken and egg, but the egg is rotten.

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

Friday, 12 July 2013

Risk and reward.

I've always associated risk and reward as inseparable as yin and yang, as Cheech and Chong, or as The Fonz and latent homosexuality.

The rewards I envisaged as long as I can remember were always grandiose and fantastical, the castle in the sky, infinite wealth, eternal happiness, yada, yada, yada.

Rewards can be small, but significant.

Waking up in the morning without a shroud of dread and despair is a reward.
Looking at my wife and kids without the angst of deceit is a reward.
Re establishing relationships with my family is a reward.
Starting a financial plan is a reward, the duration is long, but the load is bearable.
Looking in the mirror and noticing I need to shave, rather than needing to self immolate is a reward.
Not dreading the postman is a reward.
Being able to think without the entropic distractions of mental chaos is a reward.
Taking a day off to spend with my brother, father or youngest is a reward.
Closing a post to this blog with a smile of contentment, rather than a tear of desperation is a reward,

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

Sunday, 30 June 2013

All or nothing

One of the definitions of a mature person in the gamblers anonymous handbook is that we have got past the stage where everything is categorized as "All or nothing".

This time 3 months ago I made a conscious rational(?) decision that the money I had available to me would either finish me with gambling or finish me. I decided that I would make back all I had lost through a carefully  managed strategy or I would kill myself, simple as that. The money lasted a few days, and followed the path of all the money before. The fact that I am posting here today is not proof that my brilliant scheme worked, or that that the internet exists in the afterlife, merely the fact I crawled back to GA.

I know how I was going to self destruct, I picked the wall on the route home, the only thing that bothered me was the fact that when the accident investigators reported I hadn't had a safety belt on all insurance would have been null and void. My plan then was to fray the seat belt in an inconspicuous place so that when 16 stones of shit was catapulted at 90 mph it would fail, and I would be no more.

Was that rock bottom ? I hope so, I don't want to get lower, the scariest place I can think of is despair, it's not a defined location, it's nowhere, it's everywhere.

The reason I didn't do it is because I'm a coward, and this simply wasn't the easiest way out. This is a recurring theme at my bi weekly meetings, all of us refer to the fact that we saw gambling as an easy means to making money, success and more pertinently, happiness. All of us seek happiness, not smiley, happy, happiness, we covet internal happiness. The lack of self esteem (warranted ?) permeates the atmosphere, we take pride in each other's accomplishments but never our own. We begin each monologue by staring at the floor, we say "my name is XXXX" and the we glaze over, speak, sometimes good things, often bad things, and we are so similar, the way we think, the way we hate, the way we struggle to love, the things we have done, the things we haven't done, we are all one and the same, like tendrils of a giant hidden organism of fear, loathing and disgust. These meetings are not self pitying, the fact we are here is proof that we don't lean on that crutch any more, we're trying to understand ourselves, we expose our worst deeds and fears, we tell of the good things, but most of all we are proof that survival is possible, redemption is an aspiration, we need each other to remind ourselves that not only are good things possible but that despair, destruction and annihilation are only one bet away. That's all, one bet.

I drove home from Friday night's meeting via the route I had earmarked for my end, I slowed down, safety belt on and drove past, tears vision clouded my vision, I went home and went to bed. One bet Paddy, that's all it takes.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet today or since my last post, it's a beautiful day, I'm off to the match.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Nadir to Summit

Yesterday was crap, today was one of the best days of my life, my eldest achieved her dream. So happy for her.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet today or since my last post and today, I'm the proudest man in Ireland.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Father's day ? Not so.

I was greeted this morning by a text from my eldest wishing me a happy father's day, closely followed by my youngest bursting into the bedroom with similar sentiments as she brandished a school crafted gift.

All good ? Not really.

There is nothing quite so humbling as the unconditional love that a kid can show, particularly when the recipient  has demonstrated themselves to be unworthy of that affection. It could probably be very hard for a kid to realise their Dad is not quite what they believed him to be.

Let's list some of his more prominent traits and words that apply to him, I'll try to go alphabetically to add a bit of structure.


and too stupid to come up with words that apply beginning with W,X,Y and Z.

To be honest I'm so depressed having arrived at V that I leave the rest when I resume the flaggelation.

Happy Fathers Day Paddy, your'e the best.

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

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Gambling, all in the mind ?

I'm learning that gambling addiction is not a just a financial issue, it also is the manifestation of emotional issues. I continue to seek information on a broad range of topics and one subject seems to have many parallels with my emotional turmoil when it strikes. The below link is to a blog that has gained huge media exposure recently here in Ireland and the author sums up the thought process and stream of consciousness much better than I can, bear in mind he is only 22, a brave soul with demons to vanquish, haven't we all ?

Alan O'Mara's Article, read it and weep.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

12 Steps to Freedom ?

My wife I am in the process of trying to figure out our finances and carry out an inventory of the damage I have done over a lifetime of insanity. I was printing out my current account statement and noticed my last transaction with Betfair was May 1st. That means I have not had a bet in over a month.

Have I missed it ? No.

Have I thought about it? Hell yeah.

I still cannot figure out how I got myself into this mess, or rather how I allowed it to get so bad. Every time I go back and try to analyse the various steps I cannot seem to identify any paradigm shifts. It was a gradual deterioration that culminated in my recent rock bottom. I use the term recent because I thought I had reached rock bottom on May 16th 2012, leading to my first post 3 weeks later.

Tomorrow, I return to MABS, and effectively allow them to represent me in trying to reach settlement with my creditors. It's going to be a long road, I figure 8 or 9 years, but I will pay back what I owe. I'm not comfortable mentioning the sums involved, but to some they are huge, and to others they are trifling, to me they are the cost of a wasted 25 years.

I use the term cost rather than price, I am lucky in that I can still pay the price and attain a proper life with my family. I often used the excuse that I would be alone if I faced the truth about my addiction, I would lose my family, my sanity and perhaps more. I had considered the nuclear option, but needed the outcome to appear accidental to guarantee financial benefits, these ideations came at me in waves, always at the end of a betting binge. They were short term but I obviously managed to get past them.

It's impossible to explain the onset of despair, a cold shroud of fear slowly descends, in my case it starts with the temple throbbing, pulses of sweating followed by a cold shiver as the reaper touches me on the shoulder. As the pressure increases my pulse intensifies 'till my heart feels like it's about to explode, and all the time like I'm shrinking, and I'm going foetal, back to where I began, and hopefully before that. I want to rewind the tape, to when I didn't exist.

I have not had that experience in over a month now, I do not want it again, I have debts to pay, financially and emotionally, I have to learn to be a husband, parent, brother and son again. I'm trying, and it's not that difficult, the rules are easy, implementing them is not quite so easy. I have 25 years of shit to clear, I still think  in the same way I always did. I have spent longer being an addict then not, I am still the same person, but I am more aware of him, I watch his behaviour for the signs, the mental loafing, the selfishness, the same sense of superiority, the intolerance, the sharpness, the nastiness, I watch for him, I fear for me.

Right now, the sun is shining, I'm taking my hairy, sunburned,chicken legs to the beach with my kin. I'm going to lie back, close my eyes, soak in the sun and count my blessings, and just for today, I will not gamble.

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

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sneaky, sneaky gollum.

I was thrilled with my progress for 2 weeks as I had not had a bet nor an inclination to bet.

Last Friday I got paid, and through an administration error in work , I got paid into my own current account. I have taken measures to transfer the financial management to my wife, but due to a mix up it ended up in my account. All of a sudden I had access to a tidy sum to "invest", the fact that I owe multiples of it didn't occur to me and I reverted to the fantasy land of the gambler. Saturday , I was awake by 5 am and my brain was spinning with "possibilities", and had a strategy in place to divert funds for a couple of days, multiply them and no one would know.

Saturday 10:30 am, my 'phone alarm rang to remind me of my Saturday am GA meeting. I had subconsciously managed to remove it from my mental calendar. I drove to the meeting and had driven past it before I realised where I was heading - to the ATM. I turned around, went to the meeting, went home and immediately transferred the money (my wife was also present) to it's rightful place.

I didn't gamble, but by Christ I very nearly did, I had even rationalised gambling to myself. It scares the shit out of me. I now know I had a 2 week hiatus because I had no access to cash, as soon as the opportunity arrived I considered it again. "Insidious" is the word I have heard that describes this addiction, it's apt

  1. Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects: "the insidious effects of stress".

My name is Paddy, I am a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet today or since my last post, but fuck me, I nearly did.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

So many Charlie Parkers.

Strange weekend, just finishing another John Connolly novel and not sure if I like them or not. Charlie Parker is an interesting character, full of conflict, with a dark side, but essentially good. He reminds me a lot of the people that attend GA with me. Our dark sides do not lead to death via a firearm, but a slow death of self esteem and will to live through years of self imposed strangulation. I cannot figure out the difference between those that enjoy a flutter as a form of entertainment and those of us that us gambling as a weapon of destruction. If I could I would never have arrived at the doors of desperation and greed, maybe in times to come there will be a gene identified that results in a predilection to addiction, but for now it is beyond me. I'm currently in the honeymoon period as I'm bet free (2 weeks tonight) for a short period and cannot figure out why I returned to the misery I initially tried to banish a year ago. I'm not delusional, I know it's still there, always will be, I have caused financial armageddon within the four walls of my house, I'm not to be trusted, but how in Christ's name did I drive myself to it ?

I have often heard of troubled and destructive souls that have had circumstances conspire against them, troubled childhoods, violent upbringings, lack of love or intellectual challenges.None of the above apply to me, I had loving parents and a great childhood, in fact it was so good I used to feel it wasn't real and there must be something bad round the corner, or present that I wasn't aware of. I still am convinced I wasn't worthy of it, and have proved that over the past few years. What is it that drives us to take something good, not trust it and set about destroying it? I don't have any answers and am not expecting an epiphany an time soon, maybe I need to stop looking for the bogeyman, maybe he does't exist? What is it that makes me gamble beyond reason? That's an answer I need to find, and fight.

I have no impulse to bet now, but have so much time now that I'm struggling to fill it. 
If there are any suggestions as to how a forty four year old, broke gambler, with an over active imagination can improve himself and those afflicted with him, please feel free to advise. It can't do any harm, that's my job.

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

Friday, 10 May 2013

Just for Today .......

This is a subsection of statements of intent in the GA handbook that are pertinent and relativly simple. I will quote them every now and again to to to reflect reality.

"Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not try to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for 12 hours that would appal me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime"

Yesterday was pretty relevant to the above intention, Mrs Dickhead and I attended MABS (money advice) and the first thing I was instructed to do by the councillor was to stop thinking of every possible scenario in the future. I firmly believe that many gamblers have over active minds (washing machine analogy in previous posts) and this is reinforced by the people I listen to in the GA meetings every week. I really do realise that I am capable of starting again and the damage I can do in a 12 hour period is really appalling.

There is something cathartic about having shared my addiction with family, and now outsiders via the MABS route. I can think clearer, I can focus for minutes at a time rather than seconds, and the other thing I am beginning to notice about myself is that I am less critical of others, I am discovering a sense of empathy that I thought had been eradicated many bets ago. This is a paradigm shift for me in the space of 12 days, and if I can continue to reduce the abhorrent aspects of my personality by staying away from gambling there may be an upside for those I have hurt. I am not naive enough to believe all will be roses or I am cured, this is a condition that will remain with me forever, but, when I hear guys talk at meetings, after multiple years without gambling, and I fell their enthusiasm and lust for life it helps to keep this idiot focussed. There are many like me at the genesis of their recovery, and the darkness an despair that envelops us is sadly universal.

On a side note, I tried to cancel my Paddy Power account on line, not an option. I am now about to ring them but surprise, surprise, it's very difficult wonder if I was a winner would it be so difficult ?

I have self excluded from Betfair (6 months is the max) and Betdaq (5 Years is the max) and am in the process of shutting them down. It's largely irrelevant as I have handed control of all finances to my wife, had to be done if I'm serious about this.

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

ps. As a Liverpool fan, I'm delighted Fergie is gone, hard to dispute his legacy as one of the greatest.

See, told ya I was getting soft!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Night of the long addition.

3:07 am : OK, lets add it up again.

Credit Card 1 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 2 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 3 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 4 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 5 : ***** Euro
Mortgage : **** Euro
Car Tax : **** Euro
Overdraft : ***** Euro
Personal subs from brother and sister : ***** Euro.

OK that's what I have to pay or owe. Now here's my income :

**** Euro.

Sweet Jesus, I'm fucked, the only way we can get out of this is if something happens to me and the family get the insurance. What are the options ?



4:03 am : OK, lets add it up again.

Credit Card 1 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 2 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 3 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 4 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 5 : ***** Euro
Mortgage : **** Euro
Car Tax : **** Euro
Overdraft : ***** Euro
Personal subs from brother and sister : ***** Euro.

OK that's what I have to pay or owe. Now here's my income :

**** Euro.

Sweet Jesus, I'm fucked, the only way we can get out of this is if something happens to me and the family get the insurance. What are the options ?



5:17 am : OK, lets add it up again.

Credit Card 1 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 2 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 3 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 4 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 5 : ***** Euro
Mortgage : **** Euro
Car Tax : **** Euro
Overdraft : ***** Euro
Personal subs from brother and sister : ***** Euro.

OK that's what I have to pay or owe. Now here's my income :

**** Euro.

Sweet Jesus, I'm fucked, the only way we can get out of this is if something happens to me and the family get the insurance. What are the options ?



6:11 am : OK, lets add it up again.

Credit Card 1 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 2 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 3 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 4 : ***** Euro
Credit Card 5 : ***** Euro
Mortgage : **** Euro
Car Tax : **** Euro
Overdraft : ***** Euro
Personal subs from brother and sister : ***** Euro.

OK that's what I have to pay or owe. Now here's my income :

**** Euro.

Sweet Jesus, I'm fucked, the only way we can get out of this is if something happens to me and the family get the insurance. What are the options ?



This is how it goes, all the above problems are of my making, and familiar to all gambling addicts. I have an appointment (with the wife) tomorrow with a money advisory group (MABS in Ireland) to try to come to some arrangement with my creditors. When they see my income (very good by modern standards) they are going to wonder how I can be in financial trouble, and I'm going to tell them.

My name is Paddy, I'm a compulsive gambler, I have not had a bet today or since my last post, please help my family to have a life again, please.

Monday, 6 May 2013

1200 Spin or 1400 ?

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

I went to another meeting Saturday morning as I felt twitchy, very twitchy. I tried to describe the ball of angst  that was bouncing around inside my head and chest and the other gamblers described it to me as "the washing machine". Your brain just keeps spinning like a nuclear powered washing machine, you can't remain in the now, you can't focus on anything.

It's really mental for me at the moment, but in hindsight I've always had it , since I was a kid. I often read 2 books at the same time (not simultaneously as I'm not Dr. Reid from Criminal Minds) but it never dawned on me that it's not quite normal. I really had fun when I was reading the 5 Hitchhiker's guides as by finishing a chapter in one and then moving onto another chapter in another without realising it wasn't quite normal. I should have copped it when my chemistry teacher named me "entropy", as in disorder in a system.

Anyone who has read any posts here, or elsewhere will immediately notice the completely unstructured rambling collection of incoherent thoughts that reflect my thought process. Combine this with my obvious deficiencies and some mad shit goes on between my two brain cells. I cannot accept praise, not that it's often warranted, in fact whenever somebody pays me a compliment I still have a strong belief that I am a highly functioning but heavily retarded person that knows that I am such, but believes that others don't realise that I know I'm heavily retarded and hence wish me well as I fight to overcome my challenges. If you can follow that, you know what I mean about my thought process.

There is also the fact that I cannot accept that others may love me. Yet again I have fucked up, and gone back to family to confess my sins, and they have not abandoned me, they have demonstrated a kind of support that I, had not believed could be forthcoming. My wife has been exposed to what I do, again, that on a daily basis I lie, I deceive and steal from those closest to me and her response was "We have to stop it, together". I simply cannot understand that she can accept what I am, who I am, to have that kind of love for someone who is obviously devoid of virtue is beyond whatever part of my brain that allowed compassion for others.

When I read back on these posts I can see how self serving and snivellous (new adverb , go on me!) 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. Bear with me, it's going to be a long night.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Never again ?

Almost a year since this BLOG has started and been abandoned by me. I abandoned it because I had been cured and stopped the journey to self destruction. Not a word of it, I started again and the big hole I found myself in got bigger and bigger, and now I think it's a black hole.

To say "I found myself in" is inaccurate, I put myself in it. 

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

I went back to the Gamblers anonymous (GA) rooms his week. I turned up, not sure if I was ashamed or feeling sorry for myself, but I went, and tried to start the process again. Many spoke, an eclectic cross section of our society, just first names, all so very different, all so very alike. It started round the table, anti clockwise, but that didn't surprise me as gamblers tend to eschew convention. 
Eventually, it was my turn, I spoke, I confessed, I listened to my words, I shocked myself a what I have become, my behaviour, my recklessness, my complete disregard for those that love me, and those I purport to love. I am Gollum, only worried about my precious, but I am not the only Gollum, I am at a festival of Gollums.

One is like me, back to the well, full of remorse and possibly seeking succour, it's not available in this room, but, neither is malice, merely an understanding that we cannot understand ourselves, and why we do what we do ? If we continue to try, there are others there to try to help, but we must try help ourselves before we can dream of helping others.

Gollum enters the fellowship, Mr Jackson never included that in the final cut.