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.