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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello and Happy Holidays Recovery Friends,



So another holiday season is upon us and those of us in recovery can have a tough time around the holidays. I have in the past with self-sabotaging my Christmas season. How do you ask? Let me share a "war story of Christmas past." We can learn and grow in recovery when we safely look at "Then & Now of Christmas's Past" as an addicted or problem gambler."



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Many of us in recovery advocate to show to others who still suffer from this cunning addiction the importance of sharing our experiences, strength, and hope with others when we do tell some of our "war stories." It does show how insidious this addiction is. It is one the area's I don't feel is proper about 12-Step programs. They tell us not to share war stories as it could maybe trigger someone in a meeting. But, if we don't learn from these mistakes or choices, how do look back and find growth in our recovery? Yes, you can see growth by just doing the 12-steps, but many need more than that to recover fully. I know I did.

I recall one Christmas that has to be my worst within my gambling addiction and will never forget because I was gambling out of desperation. And it is why I make sure all holidays now are safe, happy and full of JOY. It was back in 2005. Our home we had lived and worked very hard for had to be sold through a short sale or we would have lost everything we put into it. But even then, it felt like we lost it as we are still paying on the balance that was not covered by the sale. It also caused me to make a few bad choices, residual addicted "thinking,: I had committed a crime that big catastrophy I wrote about in my memoir, and I was reeling. I stopped taking my bipolar meds, then took them all at once! I was so angry with myself, feeling so much shame, guilt, low self-worth and again suicidal because I knew it was because of my past gambling is how we got into this mess in the first place! Of course, no excuse’s, just insights.


We were so financially broke. The guilt and shame would hit me each year hard as I knew much was my fault why we were. I remember being in JCPenney walking around aimlessly wishing I could buy this or that for the family for Christmas. Luckily all our family lived in other states than Oregon. So I had to do the same lame thing I had done for many past Christmas's, just send a card. It was tough already that we both had job loss, the very beginning of the economy and markets were getting ready to pop. We had a hard time finding good paying jobs, and I ended up back in an addiction/mental health crisis again with another breakdown right after the holidays. It was all too much!


When I got released from the crisis center, I knew I had a lot more recovery inner work< which included financial inventory to take and work on. I had been doing well in my recovery and gamble free at the time, but something was nagging at me. See, you need to know that no matter the addiction, it’s always waiting for us. 

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