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.