A shared place

  • Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    I will just start this shared place with:
    Firstly, please feel free to ask me anything you would like to know :)

    A little intro to begin:
    I'm not exactly sure how long it took me to become addicted to gambling. Maybe a week, a month.
    But what I do know from when I started the very first time. It's taken 35years of my life away from me. A life I will never be able to experience again!


  • Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    I promise that anything I write is from my heart. I can only write the truth of my experience. I say this because wanting to share my learnings with you. I am not here to judge, teach or will never advise anyone what they should do. There are associations, groups and support to access in this world, but me/you must make that choice. Helping someone accessing or directing should be seen as guidance, not advising someone what is best for them.

    A learning I share:
    I learned that the saying ' once an addict, always an addict' is pressure.
    What damaged me, what was not healthy for me. I choose not to do this anymore. So I must learn to manage my life with it, and I will spend the rest of my life managing myself, without what I was doing-with happiness. In this I mean that I choose not to have any connection with gambling (not even a lottery ticket). Over the years of living the life of a gambler, many times I stopped and started stopped and started....and on. I thought many times, I know I 'cant' do this. Part of new learnings are unlearning behavioural patterns. And 'can't' is a word I learn not to use.

    This word tells me I cannot, so it left me with 'no choice' which takes my options away from me. The more I told myself 'I cant' the more I wanted to do it (sub-conscious level) there is far more depth to the subject of course (learned behaviour). But I am learning that: I can gamble, but I choose not to. Here is freeing myself up to choose. I know this all may sound 'well its the same thing' the outcome is the same (not doing), its about ME taking control, managing my addiction. If I bet a penny today, right now what's the point. Which again 'what's the point' is so significant, because what I have learned, there is no point, no gain, no answers. There are be many, many reasons why I did what I did. And it does stem back to childhood, everything does, as far as I am learning about myself on my journey. But very important, that I will mention from time to time, is I can only bring this from my experience. I have no idea want another addiction, other than gambling can feel like. What I would say is that, addiction is addiction. I suffered the consequences of my addiction, and sadly the financial loss, came way before me, and the suffering, pain, guilt, shame.....and far more. I am learning that the true fact of my gambling addiction wasn't anything to do with money, winning, losing.... in the end I lost, every time. I called myself the most obscene words, abusing myself, languishing in a well, (not consciously) waiting to fall to the bottom. And that was the only pointless point!

  • deeplydesturbed replied to Michael
    4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story with us all :)

  • Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    In my last post, I talked about 'falling to the bottom of the well' in truth the well is 'rock bottom' a place that I will do all that I am able to not be there again. So I will share with you my rock bottom (I have some poems posted while in this time; 'In the air'/'Bottoms rock').

    Living my life with my addiction, was largely always catching up with money, juggling money, borrowing money, working like a mad-man most of the time. But what comes with this are learning ways to; deceive people, lying about money situations, never paying people back. I learned to survive in such a negative light. I dwelled in emotions of; anger; fear; loss, and all the feelings that stem. My happiness so suppressed, along with loving myself.

    Around 6/7 months past, I was in serious trouble financially. Everything came to a head, the s.h.i.t really hit the fan. I remember driving home from the bookmakers, unable to see that well, due to tears and stress. Trying to hide behind my sun-visor, not looking at people either side while waiting in traffic, while trying to control my mouth from shouting at myself, F..K, YOU T.W.A.T... NOW WHAT.. S.H.I.T OH S..T..
    Just to say that this was a regular occurrence, but I knew this time, I really was in the shit.

    I came into my flat and just slumped on the floor, like a child crying is how it felt. I got up, and as I rose up, I saw my face in my mirror above the fireplace. I was so so flushed with so much emotion, and at this point only ever, I felt; HATE I really hated me, while on my own; alone.

    (I feel at this point, its important to remind you while reading any of my writing that: I write to inspire and my experiences shared, because this is what this is all about, so very important my writing is conveyed to help and give some understanding of how my addiction ruined my life then, not now. I will never stop managing my addiction, because it is a part of me :) )

  • Larry Chamberlin
    4 years ago

    I think what you are doing here is well worth the effort it takes to expose yourself. Thank you.

    Your observation that "can't" removes options is quite insightful. It seems to me you have discovered the that "I won't" is much better. "Won't" explicitly acknowledges your options and implicitly recognizes that you have made a conscious choice.

    Bit of trivia here. Gambling is actually an exercise of the most powerful reinforcement schedule: variable ratio. There is a not infrequent reward for the action, but you never know which bet will win. It has the highest resistance to extinction found. Congratulations for escaping.

    For my own part I was addicted to cigarettes from the age of 16 to 26, getting to four packs a day during the last year. When I successfully quit (after many false attempts) I changed my self-image: I convinced myself I was not a person who smoked. Went cold turkey.

  • Brenda
    4 years ago

    Michael, thank you for sharing. Addictions are never an easy thing. I'm happy to hear you are making it work. My ex was the addict. He's an alcoholic and drug user. It cost him his marriage, his kids, etc..he's supposedly clean now, remarried. Still a very addictive personality. Gambling, smoking, I don't believe anything he has to say and thankfully we don't live close to each other so I don't have any interaction with him. So I'm on the other side of addictions, the fallout from being with an addict. Thankfully I am now married to a wonderful man, his story was similar to mine, we don't drink, smoke, gamble, keep a very low keyed life. I don't worry about if we will have a steady paycheck that week or if the bills will get met or I'm going to get a call from jail. It's all good now. Sending prayers your way for continued successes.

  • Michael replied to Larry Chamberlin
    4 years ago

    Hello Larry,

    How nice of you to drop-in, and leave a message :) and thank you for your opening words. This is such a pleasure, to be able to post my story of my addiction on PnQ. My hope my writing will be an inspiration to anyone who reads my story, along with any other posts from members.

    Yes the 'cants' and 'don'ts', I am learning that, only recently that I can allow myself a choice with gambling in particular. Because when I was in the abyss; the hell-hole of my addiction, 'cant' was probably abused as a word, so to speak. It was the most damning of 'not' language. I am working with my therapist and we explore 'not' with its shortened pre-fixes i.e; 'wouldn't' 'couldn't '.... and so on. Its how we use them, not necessarily their true meanings.
    e.g. I..... (careful Michael) (wont take this subject too deep)....( will choose not to take this subject to deep)
    but before using any 'not' words we must have choice. "I wouldn't do that if I were you" what does this statement mean? I will leave that with you Larry or anyone else.

    Good for you Larry with the smoking. The thread with addiction is all the same; an end result of wounds, scars, pain and a possibility of one losing their life with addiction, but the 'forms' of addiction are very different.

  • mossgirl19
    4 years ago

    I love everything I read from here and I'm learning a lot.

  • ddavidd replied to Michael
    4 years ago, updated 3 years ago

    Dear Michael, all these things you saying are reflected in your works, giving them your special depth and fragrance.

  • Milly Hayward replied to Michael
    4 years ago

    Michael, thank you for sharing. You hit the nail right on the head - when depriving self of something its human nature to want it more but by taking control and saying I can have one or do something if I want to but I CHOOSE NOT TO empowers a person to turn their lives around. It has worked for successfully giving up smoking for friends of mine where they would carry a pack of cigarettes and say I can have one if I want to but I choose not to have one. Life is all about learning lessons and progressing ones soul.

  • Michael replied to Brenda
    4 years ago

    Hey Brenda,

    Nice of you to leave a message, and thank you for words of support :)

    You are absolutely right about the cost, and you have experienced this through a partner. I have no idea at the moment how this must of felt, and thank you for sharing. The losses come for both involved with an addiction, along with all the pain and sadness. Maybe if you are happy to share more about the 'recipient' of an addiction relationship, that would be very useful here :)

    I have full admiration for you and your chosen lifestyle. I sense a happiness, along with grounding and self-management, and I hope you continue with your journey in life being happy. Happiness is an emotion, which stems love. and what a beautiful feeling to love yourself, as this allows you to love :)

    When in my addiction, I felt everything other than gambling was boring, mundane and could not think of other ways to replace it. Sometimes people come through programmes, support networks etc. I went into 'Rock bottom' to come where I am now, and yes with support, writing, my sister and children therapy.

    But the most important part of my addiction, was me. Only I could make the choice to free myself from my addiction, ironically being in the abyss of a dark place, such as rock bottom, showed me the very harsh reality. To climb up, or an inevitable outcome.

    Much love

    Michael :)

  • Michael replied to mossgirl19
    4 years ago

    Hey Mel

    That's good to hear, and whether learning, sharing, prevention....
    it is what this is all about.

    thank you for leaving a message

    much love

    Michael :)

  • Michael replied to ddavidd
    4 years ago

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for visiting :)

    and thank you for leaving your message. Yes much of my writing reflects my life, especially addiction.

    working up from the dark abyss, or rock bottom. I started to really search and explore my writing ability. Learning words which reflect my emotions in my poetry. Many words have many, many meanings in a deeper/feeling sense, and I always try to search for words that hits the mark with an emotion, which resonates. And only really just at the beginning :)
    Lots of reading a dictionary haha! as I come from a non-educative background. No 'A's' only one... in my name :)

    much love

    Michael :)

  • Michael replied to Milly Hayward
    4 years ago

    Hi Milly :)

    Thank you for leaving a message.
    Yes I am learning so much on my journey, and its incredible all the little things, make a significant difference.

    Life is all about learning lessons, mainly from our experiences. Its all so easy said at times, putting it all into reality, very tough at times :)

    Much love, and hope you are well.

    Michael :)

  • Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    'Rock bottom'

    This is my experience of rock bottom, as it may vary in feelings with others. I have said this many times before, and used it lightly to describe how I felt. It was the most loneliest place, I have felt and encountered.
    I talked a little previously when I came home and slumped, that is what I now call the fall into rock bottom 'the slump'
    I keep starting to write here about how it really felt, and I can honestly say its tough, as when I wrote some poems at the time. I want to share with all of you my emotion, if I was actually talking to you now, you would see and experience me in the physical. Writing with emotion is truly amazing, and I am working on more poems that bring some emotional life in my writing as with 'untitled'
    The crippling pain with rock bottom, is sheer loneliness, that moment when I slumped, again was the most loneliest I have ever felt. I was numb all over, nothing at that moment felt real. I knew exactly what it meant financially, but anything other than my emotions, are materialistic. However the materials had to be dealt with. But right at that point of the slump, I felt there was no way out of the mess.

    Now, in truth I have been close to this before, but I borrowed my way out many times with all sorts of stories. I must say at this point, that many occasions I won substantial amounts of money. At times I could be on what they call 'a roll' 'purple patch' which only fuelled the fire, so to speak. So what I am saying is that at that point of the slump, it felt familiar, but worse because the financial damage felt irrecoverable. Emotionally, well what I will say is that being stuck in 'anger' 'fear' I just languished in this emotion. So to try and sum it up, it felt the same, but now worse. I hope this makes sense, as even reading it back, I think does this make sense. If you have questions please ask, and will always try to find clarity :) Please remember my story/writing is to inspire and any learnings taken, no matter how my story sounds, (although my journey continues and with do until the end of my days) I have transcended my addiction. I am in a very different place, but! the hard work of the aftermath will continue for some time :

    The depth of rock bottom, for me was when I slumped, nothing could get worse...

    I was in a desperate state when I slumped, and I felt very dark, like I'm never going to ever, ever pull myself away from my addiction. With my experience of my addiction, I adopted so many superficial feelings, such as: 'poor me' and 'why me' and 'its not fair' and so on, almost like I was given my addiction through a syringe. I think that makes sense. but with addiction, also comes ways of surviving through that life. So I learned how to survive, and to cope. Looking back now, I really don't know how. the human mind, body and soul is really an incredible working organism!

  • ddavidd replied to Michael
    4 years ago, updated 3 years ago

    Most of people that addiction happen to them,are those with extra sensory faculties. That is not by any means an excuse. Please do not let your talent burn you or get the best of you , except in poetry. Assent from them to the picks of your gifts.

  • Em replied to Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    Michael Firstly I'm so proud of your bravery. I could never have done this myself and I will admit talking to you previously had a huge impact on me.

    I believe labelling addicts as 'once an addict always an addict' is out of line because that's like saying once a cheat always a cheat as leopards can indeed change their spots if we give them time.. I guess what I'm trying to say is we can come out of addiction if we really have the willpower to over come the control it has over our lifes.

    I totally get what you said with your "can't" statement because it makes things seem like less of a choice which makes them more appealing and risky so to speak.

    Again Michael you're doing so well in sharing your story to help others and rock bottom (I think) is a place we all believe we have been and each of us had our own thoughts on rock bottom ie mine may be less of a hole to fall in than yours and no I'm not saying your addiction was less difficult to succumb than mine but that we have (trying to get the right words out without stepping on any toes) different levels of willpower so to speak. I agree the worse part of being at rock bottom is the loneliness and the thoughts that no one understands or wants to help which then leads to blaming ourselves which yes we got ourselves into the addiction (well kind of because we had a choice) but blaming ourselves only makes matters worse. I'm nodding along here because the materials do need addressing but so do our emotions, they seem to come together. (I hope I'm making sense) writing does help somewhat but the inner emotions and the material/financial worries need to be dealt with too. I'm really please you have come out the other end so to speak but I know from experience (even if my addiction is different)

    Here is my story summed up.. I grew up with an alcoholic dad who was continuously AWOL and breaking promises and I vowed I wouldn't be like him and I wasn't until I met my abusive ex.. he abused me in the cruellest of ways and he made me drink to manipulate me, to send me numb so I didn't know the things happening but in all honesty I did know because flashbacks happen with PTSD.. well anyway I ended up drinking throughout the day when I was locked inside (he called it isolation for disobedience) just to pass time and I knew then that atleast I wouldn't feel the pain of what he would do or his friends would do because there was no use saying no as they'd do as they pleased. When I escaped his clutches I drank to get over the flashbacks due to PTSD but I realised they only made them worse as drink was triggering them so I went cold turkey and my goodness it was harder than any abuse I suffered at his and his friends hands and eventually I went back to drinking. I have been clean for 2 years now but it's still a learning process and I have a very long way to go as some days I know if I picked up a bottle of alcohol that I wouldn't be able to stop then other days I know I'd be able to stop at just a taste but I'd prefer not to even tempt fate so to speak. Anyway it seems I have seen both sides to addiction and neither is easy.

    Again thank you for opening this up.


  • Michael replied to Em
    4 years ago

    Hey Em,

    We have spoken in length in regards to our addictions and what breeds from being in the abyss.
    Its very brave of you to write a small part of your experience, which after reading opens up a dark, cruel and vulnerable picture. Sitting here right now and writing is such a feeling of so much. In this I mean, the emotions within your story, and all that comes with our vulnerabilities while stuck in the realms of addiction. I feel very sad right now, after reading your story, but also the strength of a woman to come through such an experience. What you have written, I hope inspires others (especially younger females) of the dark plight, and sadistic games played by callous individuals. I have no idea what you went through, but by sharing here opens up the reality from ones perspective. And then having to go through more emotions coming through such travesty. Thank you Em, for bringing this and sharing, I am so proud of you, and hope you find solace in your journey to come :) Much warmth and love..

    I agree with what you have written, about differences with addictions. Everyone that goes through an addiction, with their experience and all the emotions that come with it. And also partners, friends and family who have also lived through their experience, and helplessly watched and suffered. Addiction is tough all round.
    I was just thinking back to Brenda's post while writing about this because, I have often thought what would it be like if I could be two of me physically, and feel the emotions from watching and doing. Its quite a profound thought, every time I think about it. But what I will say is its happened, Its real. Now I am the other Michael, and thank goodness I don't have to live and watch the other Michael, go through my addiction. I am a deep person, and I may sometimes go into myself when writing, so I always and important, that anyone reading, makes sense. Also I (apart from poetry) have never written like this and to the extent (but I do secretly enjoy opening it up for people to read :)

    Again Em, its brave of you, to have written your story and share. its what makes this thread really special and inspiring.

    Much love

    Michael :)

  • Michael
    4 years ago, updated 4 years ago

    Previously I was talking about rock bottom, which felt at that time when I slumped. A familiar feeling of many times before. However this time I really felt was rock bottom, as my situation worsened. Which I now believe was meant to be. I am a firm believer of fate I may add.

    I called upon a friend, who I knew for a fact was in no position at all to help financially, but just for support. In fact the only person I wanted to call at that time. We have been friends for over 15 years and I felt that we had a lot of love and respect for each other. I went to see him on the Sunday after my slump. And opened up to him and his wife, is an amazing person. I cried with shame, and my pride did not exist at this point. His wife in particular was a rock of support, and from the off-set that no financial help was available, but wanted to support me in this awful time.

    Just a little background into the financial state, was I owed my landlord arrears and rent, a loan shark, and all living expenses. The offer to help was a way of dealing with it all over a period of six months, but the sacrifices scared the s..t out of me. But most of all loss! At the time, my vulnerability was completed shattered. In fact I was so lost with it all. So their offer was so hard hitting, but such a wonderful way to support my situation. Being older I feel that where I was in life, and to go back and start another life was daunting, especially with what I felt was no option.

    We sat and went through everything financially. The only way out of this mess was the offer to move in with my friends ( and this was incredible offer) pay them no rent or keep, in return walk their dogs and a few little chores. Wow! But what you must remember at this point, and so important. Rock bottom (my Experience) is when there really is nothing else. Nothing! but ourselves.
    So we made a financial plan to work with, I had to alone face all creditors and my landlord, which is the last thing I wanted to do. Give up my tenancy, my space, my environment and at nearly 50 years old, was scary. The fears were so scary, they really were. My money managed, and controlled. This loss was the crown of my gambling addiction, all my life to end up here!

    I will start the next paragraph, and return because I'm now starting to fall into rock bottom (then), and going to take a rest from writing :)

    I thought I was at rock bottom, but wasn't quite there yet..
    I worked through a financial plan, with my friends wife. I had to face my landlord, with the arrears and give my notice to vacate my home, and face the loan-shark with what I owed (who I can say was the most challenging). So the plan was put into action all was set up for months time, when I would move in with my friends. I wont go into all the details, but 2 weeks after dealing with the aftermath, and just starting to get used to the ideas and the future (which was draining mentally).

    My friend dropped a bombshell. After all that has just gone on, he told me that he still had a cocaine problem, and that he had been spending money from their joint account for the last 3 months, and his wife had no idea. Now I knew a year ago he was cocaine dependent, and the same thing happened (money missing etc) and his wife found out. It was an awful time, when she did. they sorted it out with NA meetings, controlling his finances and so on. 3 months ago she trusted him again after a year away from his habit, and all resumed back to how it was. So this now was a dreadful situation, we spoke about it, and he said now that my money was managed, she will find out about the missing money, as she would be paying my money into the account, and will see the £1700 in multiples taken out at random times. I felt bad already, now I felt horrible. Because, I then at that point did not know what to feel, think or do. This woman (his wife) had just offered me a little hope, and all the honesty laid out on the table, the crying, the emotions everything was out in the open, Apart from this now said issue of my friends cocaine habit.

    That very night, soon after he left and went home, he texted me and said she has found out about the missing money. I replied in a worried state for him, and said I can come for support or anything... THEN! he text me to say what he told her. That he had been lending me the money, because of my gambling addiction, he was trying to help me out. BANG! That lie, and the events after will never leave me, but the irony is that I got it. Because this is what our addictions can and did lead to. I felt so devastated for his wife. Anyway the lie was out, and after thinking about lying to her and still moving in, I just couldn't and now faced down in the pit of rock bottom. The true reality of now what!?

  • Brenda
    4 years ago

    Oh Michael, I have so been in that place, the lies, sneaking about. My ex was quite the manipulator. It got to the point I just couldn't believe him. I feel so bad for your friends wife and dealing with this. She wanted to help and your friend used the situation you were in against you to cover his own. I'm so glad you decided not to lie to her also even though it would have helped your situation. It's an awful place to be in with no options. My ex always had enablers, including myself. After I was done with him, his mother continued. I really don't think he ever hit rock bottom. He was sober for a hot minute, pity partied himself and manipulated himself right back up there. He's got a muscular degenerative disease now due to a mutated gene, (supposedly), says he doesn't drink or do drugs. Yet at my daughter's wedding he was drinking. About 5 years ago the kids found coke in his stuff. And you wonder why I don't believe a word he says.