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The Cycle of addiction (some of my story)

Old 07-17-2014, 06:18 AM
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The Cycle of addiction (some of my story)

I was 17 my best friend Rick was 18. Our last school lesson of the day was a free period, so we sat outside in the hot sun. Rick had mentioned he was going to the local TAB (betting shop) to place a bet on a 'sure thing' after school, I agreed to go along. I had already had a fascination with gambling from as far back as 5 years old and even got in the occasional trouble with cards and dice at school, but those times were kind of like smoking behind the sports shed or stealing a beer from dads fridge, not a big deal in my eyes. This was going to be the first time I actually gambled on a horse race, and although I was slightly apprehensive because I was underage Rick assured me he will place the bet for me, so we rode on our bikes after school straight to the TAB. I only had about $1.50 in my pocket, however as we pulled up on our bikes I spotted a $2 dollar note on the ground and picked up swiftly and handed all my money to Rick to place it on the 'sure thing'. The horses name was 'trench digger' and as we waited for the race I felt excitement and a touch of anxiety. The horse won and the feeling was amazing, i felt connected, the sky was bluer the air was warm and fresh, I rode home with a confidence I had never felt before. I felt like the world was my oyster, my failing at school didn't matter and I had awakened something deep inside that took away years of low self esteem. The $2 note I found felt like a divine gift That day I had a Higher Power and that Higher Power was Gambling.

For the next 22 years I chased that same feeling, sometimes getting close most times not, but progressively falling into a cycle of addiction, starting with that first day feeling like I was riding a powerful white horse and ending with me kicking that horse that had died long before trying to get it to move.

Fast forward to about 7 years ago, 3 years of abstinence 3 visits to rehabs and lots and lots of 12 steps. I sat down with the Big Book of AA and determined to do a 4th step exactly how it was described. I wrote down all my resentments lists and lists and why these people, organizations and principles annoyed me so much. And all my fears and then turned the tables and looked at my part in all this unresolved and toxic emotion. It was my first and to this day probably one of my most honest mindful experiences I have had. I shared the inventory with my GA sponsor that night and the next day I got on my knees to pray and hand it over. I stood up and walk into my backyard. the feeling was amazing, i felt connected, the sky was bluer the air was warm and fresh, I strode around my garden with a confidence I imagined I had never felt before. I felt like the world was my oyster, my 3 years of struggle in recovery didn't matter and I had awakened something deep inside that took away years of low self esteem. That inventory felt like a divine gift That day I had a Higher Power and that Higher Power was I imagined GOD.

For the next 4 years I chased that same feeling, sometimes getting close most times not, but progressively falling into a cycle of addiction again, starting with that first day after my inventory prayer, feeling like I was riding a powerful white horse and ending with me kicking that horse that had died long before trying to get it to move.

Having realized one day how similar those two experiences were, I had a moment of rational clarity. Could it has just been my Brain all along, were all these powerful feelings with a rationalizing thought process Just a delusion made up by me. Slowly I started to see how attached I became to just feeling stuff, how Confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and self justification had me utterly convinced in a Higher Powers and spirituality. How I took the simple and illuminating practices of Mindfulness and turned them into spiritual experiences, how protective and dogmatic i became. i saw how ignorant and arrogant I was towards Science and the scientific method, hiding behind platitudes and protecting myself from reality. I had gone through all that, and here I am today a proud atheist and free thinker, I am not scared of reality today,
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:25 AM
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nice thoughts...I don't have any bias towards spiritual people vs. atheists...but I do think your spirituality is something you have to find yourself..not be spoon fed...

you are having thoughts...clear thoughts..not clouded by emotion or bias..that is always a good thing
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:16 AM
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Interesting story. Did you ever have any substance abuse problems along the way? I am told that substance abusers frequently have gambling problems, and vice versa.

I was definitely an alcoholic, but I never had any gambling problems, even though I like to gamble, and have plans to do more in the future. It never gave me the same sensation that you describe. Last time I posted this I received several PMs telling me I was fooling myself, but I found I was able to engage in one activity (gambling) in moderation, but not the other (drinking). Was that your experience (in reverse)?
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:01 AM
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Powerful story, Samse.

I think you have identified in yourself the key to self determination and empowerment that can carry you in many areas of life, not just fighting addiction.

When you think about it, there is a sort of high connected to self determination and empowerment, when you begin to realize that all your small successes build up to larger and larger ones. The key to not losing that is recognizing that life overall is a product of our perceptions, our world view is of our own creation. And both our successes and our failures are our responsibility.

I fled the church as a child to claim the world as my own after being warned too many times I would be stuck in Purgatory before burning in hell if I did not confess my sins and follow the teachings of the church.

You have a future in creative writing!
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:58 PM
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Thank you for sharing your story samseb. I never had a gambling addiction and I never got into AA (or God for that matter), but I know what it's like to chase after a feeling. Somehow, chasing it always made it retreat further and further, like seeing a mirage puddle on the middle of the hot road in front of you, but never reaching it. It sounds like where you are now is a lot more grounded than where you had been before and I think that's a great place to be to move on from our addictions.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by NightsWatch View Post
Thank you for sharing your story samseb. I never had a gambling addiction and I never got into AA (or God for that matter), but I know what it's like to chase after a feeling. Somehow, chasing it always made it retreat further and further, like seeing a mirage puddle on the middle of the hot road in front of you, but never reaching it. It sounds like where you are now is a lot more grounded than where you had been before and I think that's a great place to be to move on from our addictions.
Thanks and Spot On Nightwatch
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