One Last Bet
I’ve been feeling pretty down lately for several reasons.
I went gambling almost a week ago and lost way more than I intended so that depressed me a lot.
I just don’t understand why I am not able to stick to my plan. I can afford to lose a few dollars now and then so I keep telling myself I will set an amount that is affordable then leave when I have lost it. That only happens if I win enough to keep playing without losing any more of my own money. If I lose the amount I have allocated without getting anything, a win or free games, I can’t stop until I do get something or I lose so much money it sinks in that I better stop.
Why do I keep lying to myself? Why do I keep believing this time I will stay in control when I know, if I lose too quickly, I will just forget my resolve and keep pouring money in trying to get something for my money?
Worst of all is the fact that, even if I do win, I keep playing until I lose it all anyway.
Another thing that’s getting me down is that lately I have been feeling, in the terminology of my old church, “convicted of sin”. It’s connected to the gambling among other things. In the short time I have been gambling I have lost several thousand dollars in total.
What sort of true follower of God throws thousands of dollars into some stupid machine when there are people in this world who will actually DIE because they do not have the food that money would have paid for!?
I disgust myself!
I have tried to write a blog entry about this three times already. This is attempt number four. Three times I had an entry all ready to go and three times I felt God saying not to post it. It got pretty disheartening so I asked Him why and He just told me to leave them and read them again later.
Each time I went back to them I could see they were nothing but self-indulgent attempts to excuse myself for not behaving as well as I should. I decided to give up trying to write my way out of blame for my behaviour and take a good hard look at reality.
That meant examining my current financial situation which I have been avoiding doing. Today I took a deep breath and faced the facts up close and personal.
Bills have been coming in and other expenses are due soon so I sat down to work it all out and realised one of the bills was actually due today. I bit the bullet and got on the phone to pay it along with next months rent and my car registration. It cleaned me out.
I have enough left to live on until next pay and enough for the registration fee I have to pay this month to stay eligible to practice as a psychologist. If I don’t waste any more money I will have a little bit left over come next pay.
What I don’t have is the 1500 dollars or more that I need to get my tooth fixed.
I had a filling fall out and, to avoid a dental fee, I ignored it. I avoided the dentist for months but, finally, it began to hurt. The dentist said if I had come in as soon as the filling fell out she could have just put it back in. By leaving it I had allowed decay to reach the nerve. Now I have to have root canal work done.
It’s a visible tooth so I can’t have it taken out without ending up with a gap in my smile. It has already cost 240 and it has only just begun. I have to go two more times at a cost of 180 each to have the tooth prepared for a filling and the filling will cost 170. If the tooth is not considered strong enough after all that I will need it capped and that will cost another 1100.
What I don’t have is the 1200 or more dollars I need to get my car serviced and have the brakes and radiator replaced.
Both those items needed replacing last time I had the car serviced but I couldn’t afford it then. I’m told the radiator could burst at any time and my brakes are getting to a point where it’s dangerous. Both those items are ultra expensive because I have an old car and it is hard to get suitable parts for it.
What I don’t have is the 1500 or so dollars I will need to pay the tax man in October.
The pay I get is being under taxed. The guy who does the pays has told me he has to do it by hand and he forgets. He told me I will have to remind him but I keep forgetting too.
What I don’t have is the two to three thousand dollars I will need for moving expenses.
My kids currently share a flat together and I have my own flat. We are paying two sets of rent for two small, cheap, grotty little places so we want to pool the rent money and get a nicer place together. It is taking a long time to find the right place because we want one with two living spaces. Ideally we will find a house with a granny flat so we can share the expenses but still have our own space. It’s just as well the right house has not yet come along because I can no longer afford to move into it if we do find it right now.
I decided to face some more unpleasant facts so I picked up my current pen and paper diary and turned to the first entry. It was dated February 13 of this year so this diary covers roughly three and a half months.
I have been battling this gambling addiction for a lot longer than three and a half months and I have 67 exercise books containing 27 years worth of pen and paper diary entries. One of the things I was told to do to help fight the gambling addiction was keep track of how much I lose. Every time I lose money I write a diary entry with the amount lost noted at the top of the page. This has become a habit despite the fact that it has failed to help me until now.
Today I paged through the three and a half months worth of entries and added up all the recorded losses. They came to almost five thousand dollars. I have lost almost five thousand dollars in just three and a half months! Three thousand of that was savings I had accumulated during the time I managed to quit gambling.
If I had not gambled in the past three and a half months I would have almost five thousand dollars in my bank. I could have paid almost all of those coming expenses now!
When I realised that I felt the old, familiar, blanket of depression start closing in around me cutting off air and light. I haven’t felt that blackness closing over me for a while now and I suddenly realised it has been four days since I last took my anti-depressant pills.
The pills ran out and I just didn’t get around to getting the prescription re-filled.
I decided, true or not, I would blame the depression I was starting to feel on not having taken my medication. That helped me shake it off a little bit. Enough to try and set some goals anyway.
Tomorrow I will get my prescription renewed and go back on my medication and, from now on, no more lies to myself. I cannot control my gambling. I cannot afford to lose so much as one more cent now so that’s it. No more gambling.
It isn’t hopeless. For the first time in my life I am earning enough to pay all my bills and save a little as well. If I stop gambling now my savings will begin accumulating again and, if I drive as little as possible, the car might hold out long enough to save what I need to get it fixed.
I should be able to scrape up the money for each of the lesser fees for the root canal work and they said I can deposit money in advance for the cap, if it’s needed, and they will do the work once I have paid them for it. I may even be lucky and not need a cap.
I have been told the Australian tax office will let people pay off their tax debt if they need to so that can be dealt with too when the time comes.
As for the house – we haven’t found it yet. I will worry about that when we find it.
Everything will work out OK if I just stop gambling right now! I did it once before. I can do it again. I have to. Sigh.
I’m placing one last bet. This time I’m betting on myself. I’m backing myself to the tune of the thousands of dollars I will lose in the future if I don’t win this particular bet.
I bet I can stop gambling for good this time!