Just before last Xmas 2001, I stopped gambling. Even today, a year later, I’m not too sure if it was an addiction or an O.C.D. I do tend to see it as a bit of both. I’m not sure why I stopped then, maybe I got lucky for a change. I was delighted though, I had tried to stop for years. I’d been going hard at it for about 12 years, plenty of debts and not very much of anything else to show for it at the finish
So after I stopped, it was like I just started feeling all my feelings again and I was really struggling with it. All I used to do before was go to work and gamble, I didn’t have a social life or any interests or hobbies. So I got free phone counselling. It wasn’t easy, I used to get anxiety attacks talking about myself on the phone but I stuck with it. I was also struggling to go out shopping, going out and doing anything was really difficult. And before I used to tell myself that I didn’t do anything cos I didn’t have any money – but now I did have money. After a couple of months it dawned on me that I had and needed to deal with my anxiety. I think I decided it was my main problem.
All I knew about anxiety was panic attacks. I phoned MIND or SANE and they gave me a number for NO PANIC. I got a lot of literature from them which helped me a lot, cos I wasn’t sure what was happening and thought I might be totally losing the plot in terms of being mad. I would have said I was in the grip of G.A.D, panic attacks, social anxiety and maybe little bits of others. In general I’ve had to struggle along alone, its not that I didn’t want too but I just am not very trusting. And it hasn’t all been success, I fell back out of the tree for a couple of months with the gambling – maybe getting a girlfriend, then getting dumped and stopping smoking was a bit more than I could chew at the time. I haven’t given up or stopped trying, I am strong. I’ve also done the Mentor scheme and Telephone Recovery Group with NO PANIC, which no doubt have helped in there own little ways. I also have been going counselling for about 6 months.
I am so much calmer now and rarely attack. I still don’t mix very much, but I do keep regular contact with friends I’ve made. My recovery is on going.