I seem to have worked through the returned memories mentioned in the past few entries and I am no longer thinking about that chapter of my life. It feels like it is finally over and the emotional reactions to those memories have settled down now.
It has left me feeling a little impatient with clients who want me, or someone else, to fix their problems instead of being willing to make an effort themselves. So many people seem to feel entitled to so much and they bog down in resentment because bad things have happened to them. They arrogantly tell me I can’t possibly understand what life is like for them and assume they are entitled to expect me to feel sorry for them.
“I’ve had such a hard life,” they whine to me, “it’s not fair and nobody else cares so why should I?” They want me to pity them and take responsibility for making them feel better but they don’t want to get some exercise, join some activities, see a therapist, take their prescribed medications or learn better ways to relate to people.
I happen to know, for a fact, that it is impossible for me to make life better for them all by myself! I happen to also know it is possible to endure a whole lot of unfair experiences and still find the strength to overcome them if you are willing to try.
I’m filled with admiration and compassion for those who are willing to try. I have all the patience in the world for them because I happen to know, for a fact, trying to overcome past abuse and trauma is incredibly hard to do. It’s the ones who don’t want to do anything but blame others and complain that I have trouble with at the moment but I am working on that.
It’s been a couple of months since I last lost serious money gambling. I have lapsed twice in that time and gone gambling but I had rigid boundaries in place when I went and they did seem to help me. The first time I went I quit playing after I had lost five dollars and the second time I quit when I got my twenty dollars back.
One of my new rules about gambling is that I am not allowed to go if I am feeling emotional and triggered to go. Any time the urge to go is strong in me I know I can’t go because I will not be able to stay in control. The two times I did go I was calm, fully expecting to lose, aiming only to pass a couple of hours and relieve boredom.
I also set some limits to the amount of money I was prepared to lose, the amount of time I was prepared to play for, and the number of lines I was willing to play. I was able to stick to those limits because I was not feeling emotional, not needing to win, not expecting or even hoping to win. I was there to kill a couple of hours and lose a maximum of fifty dollars. I stuck to the five line play limit knowing it would reduce my chances of winning but also knowing, more importantly, it would make my fifty dollars last longer!
I’m still 100 percent convinced my bank statement is the only thing that matters and it says I have never won a single cent – I have only lost money so losing is what I expect to do when I go. If there is even the faintest hope in me of winning I do not let myself go play!
My other rule is designed to help me avoid getting into the habit of playing again. I will not permit myself to play more than once a month regardless of whether I lost all the money I allowed myself or not. The urge to play again is always strongest after I last played but it weakens the longer I go without playing.
I’d like to believe the day will come when I will not have to worry about losing control if I play the slot machines but I am not going to fall into that trap. I am a problem gambler and I need to remember that at all times and never let my guard down or break my rules.
It has not, of course, been as simple as just setting boundaries and finding the strength to stick to them. I still have the underlying need to escape that gambling has been pandering to but I have found another way to do it that doesn’t cost me anything but time.
I’m playing in an online role play game again but this time I am being careful not to get too caught up in the fantasy. I go there to relax and I can “mine” or “fish” there which is very similar to gambling.
I type “fish” then repeatedly press enter and my character throws an imaginary fishing line into an imaginary lake and catches – nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, a silver flask! I am excited because the flask can be sold for 7 gold. I keep pressing the button, just like on the slot machines, and just like on the slot machines I keep getting – nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, an old boot! It’s better than nothing but just barely as an old boot can only be sold for one copper but now I want to catch one more because if I sell a pair of old boots I get three copper for them. Two pairs will get me 7 copper and I can’t stop fishing if I have an uneven number of old boots in my catch.
Mining is the same but instead of catching something I find gold or gems and can sell them too. I’m trying to save up the massive amounts of gold it will cost me to get the outfit I want for my character. I’m also trying to build up a strong, well rounded, character.
Tonight I finished work and headed home. I briefly thought about stopping in at my local to get some dinner and, maybe, play the pokies for an hour or two. I was hungry and the idea did tempt me for a second or two but it hasn’t been a month since I last played. Then I realised I was actually more interested in coming home to get the extra stamina point for my character that I was so close to getting than losing money on the pokies.
There has been some lapse into fantasy of course. I have that weakness in me. I’ve been able to keep all the other players at arms distance but I met someone who said a few things that triggered a belief that he is the man I have been wanting for so many years now.
I’m convinced this character is him but he left the game just over a week ago and said he would see me in a week or two. If he really is the man I want he will not be back. That is what this man does – says he will see me later then never comes back. I’m not waiting for him to return but it does add a certain kick to the game thinking he was there in the first place.
This website used to be a bit of an obsession for me but that has faded a little. People keep asking me for help and refusing to let me put their letters, and my replies, on the website. Most of them don’t even bother to say thanks for my reply and it is frustrating not knowing if I helped or made things worse! I am not used to not being able to check if I have understood the problem properly before trying to help someone so I am thinking I might discard that function of the site.
I’m also losing enthusiasm for the blog. According to the statistics people are reading it but nobody is commenting so I am wondering why I make the effort to update even when I have nothing much to say. I’m doing that for the readers not me. I don’t mind if people make no comments when I have written something because I wanted to write it but I’m resenting the need to update frequently for readers who never give me anything in return.
My website designer says I need to read other people’s blogs and leave comments on their work if I want people to comment on mine. I don’t want to artificially popularize this blog so I am not going to do that. I started this with the goal of sharing my life in the hope God would be able to use what I write to help people who stumble across the site in their internet travels and I have lost sight of that.
Many of the entries are here simply because I had to write something or risk losing regular readers and my status with the search engines. I’m thinking those things were never part of the original plan and I should go back to the original plan. I think, from now on, I will only be updating when I have something I really want to share.