Gambling On My Sobriety

Okay, so I’ve been hesitant to share this but talking about it gives me accountability. In my sobriety from alcohol and pills a new addiction has surfaced; gambling. It’s bad enough that it is interfering with my growth in recovery and putting me at risk to relapse. So last week, after spending nearly 24 hours straight in the casino, I decided it’s time to draw a line in the sand. I need to treat my gambling like alcohol and abstain completely. Gambling is a bit of a different beast and even my counselor doesn’t have a lot of experience in dealing with it. I have taken it upon myself to dive in and learn everything I can about gambling addiction. I have done lots of research, been to my first GA meeting, and I’m considering using SMART Recovery as my primary program for this issue. So if anyone has any experience or resources on gambling addiction to share, please reach out.

It’s super frustrating to have a new battle to overcome at this stage of my recovery. I’ve been hiding this problem pretty well and it’s just time to shed some light on it so it doesn’t wreck me and everything I worked for over the past 14 months. My motto is “own sobriety” and sharing the struggle is part of doing that.

Gambling isn’t a new issue for me.  I have gone on compulsive gambling binges in the past.  Bad ones that have cause financial problems for me.  However, I was always drunk so I wasn’t sure how much of a role alcohol played in my gambling habits.  While it did add fuel to the fire, it clearly is not the underlying cause.  In fact, and I had kind of forgotten about this, but it played a major role in my last relapse after significant clean time.  During that previous period of sobriety, I began going to the casino regularly and mostly losing money.  I remember when my car broke down I did not have the money to fix it and that was part of a slew of stressors that lead to my relapse.  This time, I see the issue as it’s happening and I am taking steps to get ahead of the problem.

I know that this is the beginning of my relapse cycle.  I know I need a plan to stop it and that I need to put that plan into action right away.  The plan is to slow down.  The plan is to get into treatment for my gambling problem while getting back to basics in my overall recovery.  I have strayed away from tracking those mooring line behaviors that I was so adamant about last year.  One of my major signs of relapse to avoid was gambling.  It’s time to break that spreadsheet back out and start tracking my behaviors each day again.  It’s time I start really putting the SMART model to work and start really working the program.  It’s time I get to meetings to learn more about how others have addressed their gambling addiction.  It’s time I be proactive and cut this off before it ruins everything I have worked for over the past 14+ months.  Relax.  Breathe.  I can handle this.  And I’m not handling it alone.  I have great support.  I have a great therapist and a great case manager.  I have a great team at Park Center.  I have many supporters.

With all that being said, thank you to everyone who has supported me and continues to support me on this journey.  I would love to hear from anyone who has experience in dealing with compulsive gambling addiction.  I would love to hear thoughts from anyone at all.  Please like, share, comment, and spread my message.  By sharing, we show others that it is okay to talk about these things.  It is okay to admit your faults and to ask for help.  It’s okay to OWN sobriety.

Love y’all!
Mike