I was hungry and I knew the pokie venue would feed me. I also wanted to play. Just a few dollars that’s all. Just a few dollars – have a bit of fun.
I squared my shoulders. No more of this nonsense about not being able to control myself. I can control myself, of course I can, all I have to do is try. I just haven’t been trying hard enough is all.
I tried to use my self-talk but it didn’t work. Something inside me was rebelling.
“I’m NOT an addict, that’s NOT who I am, that’s not who I used to be. I want to be the me I used to be – the one who didn’t have to worry about gambling. The me who never had a problem with gambling of any sort!
I haven’t bought a scratchie or lotto ticket for more than 20 years! I can’t be a gambler, I’m NOT a gambler, I WON’T be a gambler.
I want to be able to go anywhere I like and know I will be in control of myself just like other people are. Like I always used to be. I want to be able to put money in the the pokies and stop without losing more than a few dollars any time I choose.
I don’t want to be this person – this addict – this loser! I WON’T be this person!”
So I went and I took my card with me and I lost because I couldn’t stop.
At first it wasn’t too bad but I crossed a line at some point. I went for a smoke and some guy practically ran to “MY” machine then saw the reserved sign and looked annoyed. I got competitive and resentful. That mini-jackpot was “MY” money and I vowed not to leave the machine until I got it. It was “mine” and I would be damned if I would let him get it! If I had to I would spend thousands to stop him.
Where was my real self? The self I am when I’m not gambling? The generous, caring, nice person I am or try to be? I sat at the machine hating it, feeling like it hated me, hating myself.
I pressed the buttons in time to the angry, self-despising, nasty chant that started up in my mind. “Loser, loser, loser, loser,loser.” I knew I was being stupid but I had to get that jackpot – I couldn’t stop – I couldn’t let him have it.
As my money dwindled I began to savage myself.
“You’re a loser – see? Here’s the proof if you need it – you are a loser! You are a worthless piece of nothing and you always have been. You can tell yourself you are worth something, you can tell others you are worth something, you can run but you can’t hide – not from the truth.
The truth is you are utterly worthless. All the bad things that happened to you – you deserved them – all of them. They were right – all those abusers – they were right and you know it. You are not human, you are not real, you are a thing. You have always been a thing and you will always be a thing only now you are a thing nobody wants any more.”
Some slowly drowning, mature, healed part of me started laughing and asked, rather sarcastically, “Are we having fun yet?” It shut me up and I stopped saying such horrible things to myself but then I went numb and stopped thinking altogether.
I got the jackpot but I was still down by 50 dollars and I couldn’t go home. I was reluctant to leave the venue. I guess some part of me knew what would happen when I did and wanted to put it off as long as possible. So I stayed and I lost another 150 dollars and then the venue closed.
As I walked to my car I felt beaten.
The tears began on the drive home.
“This is NOT who I am! This is NOT who I want to BE! I want to be the person I was before this happened! I don’t want to BE a gambling addict – that is not who I am!”
I cried all the way home. I didn’t want to write this entry. I don’t want to be this person I have become but I don’t know how to be someone new.
How do I become a reformed addict when I don’t want to be an addict at all!
It feels like I’m damaged. Some part of me is weak and brittle. I cannot trust it and I have to control it and I don’t want it to be this way. I want it to be all better and it won’t be.
It won’t ever be the way it used to be again. I will never be who I used to be again. For the rest of my life I will be a gambling addict and I don’t want to be one. I don’t want to be one – reformed or not – I don’t want to be a gambling addict.
I want to be who I was before I developed this addiction!
Tonight I saw that I have to let my old self go. Wanting to be that person, trying to be that person, refusing to accept I have lost who I was is only making things worse for me.
The tears continue to flow and I must make them tears of grieving. I must bury the person I was for almost 50 years – the person who was invulnerable to gambling. I can cry, I can grieve, I can mourn but when the tears dry up I have to accept that the person I was is dead.
I am a gambling addict. I cannot control it. I must accept that and find a way to live with it. Find a way to accept who I am now and make the best of it. It’s my only hope.
It hurts. It hurts so bad to suddenly realise I am not the person I want to be and I never will be that person again.
I hate the gambling industry so much right now. I may still be living and breathing but those slot machines killed me all the same and I hate them for that.