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The illusion of having control
August 31, 2014
11:49 am
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hitmanlam
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August 31, 2014
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Hi,

I'd like to share my story from a different perspective. Rather than talk about x dollars and telling the story from an event base level, I thought I'd rather share my story from the perspective of what is going in my head and what I'm feeling whilst I gamble. Why do I gamble? In the moment, when I gamble, it just happens. My mind will make an instantaneous decision. One minute, I'm talking to a friend, next minute, I'd place a bet on. Something will trigger me and the next thing you know, I'm gambling. I'm into online sports gambling, cfd trading and the casino, shifting from one to the other depending on my mood at the time. I'm in great pain right now because I have lost a lot of money. No gambler will realise they have a problem until they go bust. Upon reflection, I call it "the illusion of having control" - until the day you go bust. This illusion of having control will build back up after a period of non-gambling until another relapse occurs. Gambling for around 10 years now, I have gone bust probably 30 times over the last 4 years swearing after each time I will never gamble again. I understand now there are days when I feel like I'm in control is all just an illusion. I am a dollar away from my next gambling binge. I don't have control over gambling.

I've learnt now, understanding your triggers is one thing but understanding how my mind works and the thought patterns leading up to it is just as important. I have debts up to my ears and the more I think about it, the more pressure I feel. This pressure leads me vulnerable to gambling. Pressure can be created from debts, it can be created from the loses you've made, the expectation of where you should be in life financially, it can be created from a bad living environment or even basic everyday problems. These life pressures lead me to a point where I am susceptible to gambling. Pressure doesn't cause me to gamble. But what it does do is make me vulnerable to my triggers because my mind is in the wrong state. The more I think about life, the more pressure I get. Avoiding triggers will partially solve the problem but not the root cause. The underlying root cause is still there waiting for the next trigger to start my gambling binge again. When I make that choice to gamble, that pressure is lifted, my mind slips into a dreamlike world where anything is possible. I am not addicted to the gambling act itself. I'm addicted to the state of mind or feeling that I get from gambling. A drug where suddenly all my problems seem to disappear. Where I could hit a winning steak and solve all my life issues, regardless of how improbable the odds are. That adrenaline rush when you've got massive coin on a game is like nothing else in the world. That "in the zone" or mental rush that you get cannot be studied and measured. You only get it when your own money is at stake. I laugh at gambling studies that study gambling in a controlled environment. Gamblers know when their own money is at stake. Your brain is not going to react the same way in a control environment vs you gambling with your own savings on the line.

Ultimately for me, I gamble because I see it's the only way out of this mess, even if the odds are against me. Your survival instincts kick in, and I will gamble at whatever cost. I will lose my family, my friends and my life savings to feed this habit. Everyone reacts differently with pressure and not everyone is a gambler. It's either fight or flight. But for gamblers, its flight, flight of everyday pressures of life with gambling. Some people can control the amount and the time they spend gambling. I cannot. I do not have control.

It has taken me 10 years to realise this now - the illusion of having control. I am a compulsive gambler.

November 21, 2014
10:47 pm
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Chriss
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November 20, 2014
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Hi Im Chriss,
I have posted a few topics in the last few days. This particular one I totally relate to.
You said it exactly as I understand it too. It has happened to me the same way. Moment of tiredness, pressure in my head that triggers something totally out of the blue. This dis-ease totally crept up on me in my life and has taken me by surprise. I have done a lot of work on myself but recognize that this same 'illusion of control' is where I fall back and relapse.
I want to know more about this. It frustrates me that just when I feel that I have healed of this problem it strikes me out of the blue. Everything else I can understand but this and not knowing how to control my thoughts and actions at that very moment that feeling hits. I am challenging myself again to get back on the path and I have. I feel ok and have taken stock of my responsibility but I am worried about this happening again. I don't want it too.Confused

November 23, 2014
2:41 pm
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Mark30
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November 23, 2014
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It's very brave of you to admit you have a problem. I whole heartedly agree with the title "the illusion of having control."

You think you're in control when you get a couple wins and begin to think "if I play sensibly I can make some money out of this as long as I keep emotion out of it." Wrong. Emotion and the thrill of winning a bet go hand in hand. For me anyway.

I work very hard for my money and do all these things to be thrifty and try to save for my future yet when I gamble I am in the zone and money has relatively no value. Especially when I lose and begin to chase winnings. Spurred on by the thought that the next big win will get me out of financial duress. Then I lose once more and double down. My heart is racing and my adrenalin is jacked. I am now in the zone and will stop at absolutely nothing to "win back." I don't care about anything else in life or the important relationships at this point I only care about getting more money to bet on something else. I keep going until I have lost it all or I win. When I win I say I am in control. Even though I know I am not. I ignore it and say I can still play sensibly. I forget very easily and justify myself by the winnings.

I knew I had a problem even as I was "winning" yet I chose to do nothing about it because of the illusion of self control. Justifying myself by saying that I have won some money so I'm not hurting anyone. My mind wanders and even if I am with my family or friends my mind is always thinking about the next bet. I hide so much anxiety and stress from everyone even when I win as I always want to win more. It's not until I reached rock bottom where I have spent not only my own but my partners savings on gambling frivolously.

I have been gambling on and off for 5 years. I am really hoping this time I can kick it for good. I am going to try through counselling and sheer perseverance to quit and rebuild my life. I have lost everything but strangely enough I feel optimistic because I am not ignoring the problem as I have done in the past.

I am a compulsive gambler and hope in time with support I can overcome this obsession.

Good luck cheers for the post.

December 16, 2014
10:59 pm
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Chriss
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November 20, 2014
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Hi again,
Id like to share that i am on track again. I had set myself another 100 day challenge just to set A goal again but more importantly what I am learning is that after each and any relapse the most important and uplifting thing is to lift yourself up and move forward and start again. PERSEVERE PERSEVERE AND PERSEVERE..and you will reach progress and better ways of coping and getting your life together. It is getting out of the illusion and into a place of strength and courage to embrace your life and make it better.
I have also found a place within myself that is reminded to feel and focus on gratitude and what is good in my life and when I do, it brings me back to a place of humbleness and peace of mind. I then proceed to reading what I can in self improvement online or through books, anything that will educate me in better ways of living my life and dealing with my thoughts and anything that will add value to my life and outlook.
We must take responsibility for our lives and our own happiness and through everything we learn we become empowered and that's a good thing.
To my friends who are sharing on this site id like to say I have been through this for years and am seeing the light and progression and success in dealing with this and with perseverance and sharing and talking about it and working on it, it gets better and you do find yourself in a better place and time. Let go of the past and think of the now and what you can do.
All my love and best wishes for better choices and new beginnings for the new year.

January 6, 2015
9:37 pm
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Chriss
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November 20, 2014
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Hi again and Happy New Year 2015.
I am sharing that I am on track with my 100 day challenge. Although I have had stresses and the thought has struck me I have reminded myself of the horrible downer if I lose my savings and that thought has helped me snap out of it and refocus on something else. Life is a constant lesson. It trully is about the journey. There is no final arrival except to the obvious. I have learned a deeper level of gratitude and appreciation of my life and it feels better.
Till next time, take care everyone.

April 6, 2015
3:27 pm
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sharbar
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April 4, 2015
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Really motivating. I am just terrified I don't want to be able to choose in life and am therefore always stuck in a hole. Money one day and none the next. I am facing these dilemmas head on and being brave to write this. Wish therr was a closed group on Facebook. Actually am going to start it as we might be able to help each other with more interaction. Will post group in a minute going to set it up now.

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