I should not have put that three dollars into the slot machine! It started something that snowballs with every new lapse.
Yesterday I was bored so I invited my son to join me for dinner and we went to the pokie venue near his home. My son is not as rigid about protecting me from myself as my daughter is but I still expected his company to prevent me from playing the pokies or slot machines as they are sometimes called. My daughter could not join us as she was working across the road until 11 pm.
My son and I ordered our meals and talked while we waited for them to come. We ate and talked some more as we ate. When we finished eating we headed through the pokie machine room to get to the car park.
Neither of us really wanted to go home. We were both bored. I hesitated, he did too, I suggested we play a few dollars, he said yes. For some bizarre reason his acceptance of me playing removed all my restraint.
I put twenty in and lost it. I put another five in and lost it. I put another twenty in, then ten, and then I had lost all the money that was in my purse.
I looked around for my son. He was playing. He wasn’t watching me so I sidled out to the ATM and withdrew another fifty dollars. When I lost that too I again checked to see if my son was looking then went and withdrew another hundred dollars.
As I was losing the last twenty dollars my daughter appeared by my side and tore strips off me.
I hung my head and agreed with every word she said but, even as I was nodding, my hand was still pressing the buttons and I continued to lose the twenty dollars.
When it was gone I allowed my daughter to drag me out of the venue but it was too late. I wanted to win. I needed to win. I got in my car and drove to the next corner where there was another pokie venue.
My son and daughter share a flat together and they went in the opposite direction to return some DVD’s they had borrowed.
I walked into the new pokie venue and withdrew fifty. I had regained a smidgeon of control because I talked myself out of withdrawing a hundred. I told myself I had already blown it so I may as well make the most of it because tomorrow I would have to give it up forever.
The machine I wanted was being played by someone else so I prowled the venue looking for a machine I wanted to play. As I turned a corner I ran into my daughter and she was looking very fierce and utterly disgusted.
I turned around and my son was behind me looking more distressed than anything else.
They had decided to go around the block on the way home. As they passed the venue my son had jokingly said to my daughter: “Look! There’s Mum’s car!” As my daughter turned to look my son said he started to laugh but then his eye fell on my car and the joke was on him.
Earlier in my battle with this addiction I had given my children permission to do whatever they wanted to do to help me even if it meant breaking rules they had been taught to obey – like being respectful towards me.
Now my daughter took me up on that.
“Are you going to come quietly or do I have to make a scene?” she said grimly.
I considered my options. How committed was my son? One look at his face told me he would not hesitate to physically drag me out of the venue. One look at my daughters face told me she was quite prepared to get into a screaming match with me if the need arose.
The venue had security guards and I knew, if I chose to resist, my kids would get into trouble.
I would like to believe the day will never come when I will love gambling more than I love my children but I’m sure many other parents have said the same thing. I’m sure the parents of all those children who died in locked cars in gambling venue car parks didn’t think they loved gambling enough to let their children die for it!
There was no way I was going to let my children get into trouble or become the focus of negative attention so I surrendered gracefully.
I allowed them to escort me to my car and I even managed to find the funny side to being on the receiving end of my children’s disciplinary measures. I am just so glad I taught them to be accepting and forgiving of human weakness and frailty.
They never said a word to indicate they thought I was a bad person – their focus was on the fact that my behaviour was bad.
This time they followed me home and escorted me up to my flat. My daughter informed me she was not leaving until I had changed into my nightgown and she was sure I was not at risk of going back out.
We had a family conference. What next? What can I do about this? How can they help me with this? We problem solved by brainstorming all the options.
Move to a state that doesn’t have pokies on every corner, surrender my finances to the kids, find other fun things to do and so on.
The kids like the idea of moving to another state. All the moving around from house to house and state to state that we did when they were growing up has left them with itchy feet. They like making big moves every few years. We discussed that option at length and it looks like a favourite at this point but it’s not something we can do for a while yet.
The only thing we can do right now is try to keep me out of the venues.
I have renewed my commitment to giving up the pokies completely and they plan to make sure they do not invite me, or go with me, to any venue that has pokies.
My daughter has threatened to make periodical telephone checks on me to see where I am and she says if I am not where I am supposed to be she will hunt me down hehehe.
I’m worried. Very worried.
When I was in the full grip of this addiction it was a lot worse than it is now. I was not able to go a single day without wanting to gamble. I have not gone that far backwards yet but I seem to be on the way.
I’m back on the wagon but this time I intend to stay out of the venues entirely. I can’t take any more risks. Sigh.
It looks like I need to create a new category for my blog entries so that people who want to follow me in my battle with this thing won’t have to page through entries they are not interested in reading. I’m going to call it, of course, My Gambling Problem and re-categorise the earlier entries on this topic.
I hope and pray this will be the last entry I need to add to the new category!