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Friday, March 13, 2015


Ms. Neally isn't unique in this addiction. From her story I gather she never identified clearly what the problem was that she thought to avoid by addictive means. Many of us lack the necessary coping skills required in life. I agree with much of what she has shared. The 12 Step Programs are designed to provide a better way of thinking and living but to work on that through recovery requires abstinence from the illness. We do this to escape life and not have to think about whatever the problem really is. We are as sick as our deepest secrets. If we don't deal with our true feelings, they will eventually deal with us. Basically what recovery amounts to in my opinion is learning how to love yourself. What Ms. Neally describes as a high when she wins, is really a bailout that allows the addiction to continue. In the early stages of problem gambling, it is about money, but at some point you realize that you will never win enough, so at that point we begin to cross many boundaries we swore we would never cross. The consequences can be life threatening. Personally I believe compulsive gambling problem is an "addictive thinking" problem derived from various past life events and many from childhood. They may be real or just perceived from our environment. You have to ask yourself eventually, "Do I really want to spend the rest of my life like this?" We eventually fall to our knees and realize we can't do it alone. We finally ask for help. Most, if not all, 12 Step Programs help us to get our lives back. I'm glad Ms. Neally shared her story.

Thanks for sharing your story.

I understand Jodie. People can go through very prolonged periods of abstinence only to relapse again. As the therapist at my aftercare program at Canada Drug rehab ( http://www.canadadrugrehab.ca/Canada-Residential-Alcohol-Drug-Rehab-Programs.html ) where I had addiction treatment here in Calgary always preaches, “once an addict, always an addict”. Recovery begins with this understanding.

I quit drinking in 1984 went to casino in 2005 played slot machine and of course got hooked line and sinker.Lost my retirement money and my wife's that's hard to swallow.Loses over 250k...how do I live with that?


Dear L.,
I'm sorry to hear about the experience you've described. You should know that help is available. You can reach the National Problem Gambling Helpline by phone or text (1-800-522-4700) or chat (www.ncpgambling.org/chat). Or, you can use a self-help tool, some of which are described here (http://www.basisonline.org/addiction_resources.html). If you decide you want to speak with a behavioral health specialist, you can start to find one here: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. If the situation is urgent, go to your local emergency room.
I hope you find these resources useful.

Gambling addiction of the worst kind! I lost the plot 16 years ago and have allowed gambling to consume me. Moved on into commiting fraud to fuel it and everytime I did it I told myself would pay it back and did in some cases. As it progressed each time I "borrowed" money I told myself it does not matter because I am going to die as suicide has become a daily thought as this will be the only way out! All there is for me now is to be caught out there is no turning back at which time I will not think twice..........no way can I live with the shame and put the burden on those I love so much. No one can understand unless you walk these shoes.

Dear Mel,

Thank you for reading the BASIS. I'm sorry that you're in a situation that feels overwhelming. It's important for you to know that recovery from gambling disorder and other mental health conditions is possible and with a focused strategy for change, even likely. I have seen it happen. Many people recover on their own, others use mutual help and support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous. Some people benefit from professional help. Some benefit from online resources, such as Your First Step to Change: Gambling (http://www.gamblingselfchange.org/?step=welcome). Still others find that a combination of professional treatment and other resources works best for them.

Although the path to recovery is complex and challenging, taking the first step is essential to making changes. Please consider these options and think about what strategy and process might work best for you. In your note, you mention that you "have allowed gambling to consume me.” If you allowed gambling to influence you, then I expect that you can change your mind and not give gambling such permission. Once you decide to change your gambling — again — you will have the power to change your life — again. If you want other resources or ideas about change, please don’t hesitate to contact the Division.

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