Gambling Addiction: run past the darkness

So the word is out there….there is such a thing as gambling addiction.

Keeping with the theme I want to share some of the things that have helped me through some very dark times. The darkness or, as I have affectionately named it, ‘the Beast’ inside can strike at any time without warning. This side of my personality triggers gambling….but it is then the voice that tells me, ‘you’re worthless, there isn’t any point!’ The darkness follows and thoughts of how to end the pain and cycle niggle away in my head.

It is this feeling of worthlessness that I’m sure many people can relate to, but not necessarily feel comfortable conveying to friends and family. I’ve felt that way…but I’ve tried hard to involve people in my life over recent years and share the bad, and of course the good, so they can get a glimpse of how my mind can work against me. I’ve sought help professionally to explore things for myself and regularly see people to talk it through, also I begun writing about my experiences for public consumption here. Albeit slightly scary, they all help the fear and doubt diminish.

One of the most positive activities over the last 5 years that has really helped is exercise, in particular training for an event. My ‘positive vice’ has been marathon running. I’ve ran three marathons now and the feeling and excitement of being involved, and training to be the best I can be, has done wonders for my mental state and self esteem. Noticeably though, darker days do return when injuries hit and I’m not able to train.

My first marathon was in 2007. Having never done a half marathon, I applied straight to the full distance and entered the London marathon, possibly driven by the compulsive gambler inside me. I entered this during my residential treatment for my addiction and it became a part of my recovery scheme. I have to say, it was the single most miraculous and rewarding thing I have ever done! The structure and commitment to training kept me thinking positively and not letting ‘the Beast’ get a look in. The build up and the day itself was oh so good, 26 miles may seem too much for some but that day I wished I could have kept running for another 26 miles. The feeling of warmth and excitement from the supporting crowd made me feel like a king, it also brought me closer to friends who supported and congratulated me for what I had achieved. I have ran  two more since that time and look forward to doing one this year, age and injury aside…..

My encouragement, and call to arms, is for you to consider such a challenge and of course in conjunction with CALM we could raise a few needed ‘£££’s’. I hope to run another marathon later this year around October or November (2012) so if anyone would like to consider the challenge then get in touch with CALM…note that it may be tough going but come the end you’ll see why you did it! See you there!

Click here to go back to Gabling Addiction: Lose Lose?

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