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.