Publisher:  Marilyn Lancelot   

Vol. X  Issue No. 10   October 2008        


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"Whether you think you can or think you can't, either way you are right."  
 Henry Ford (1863-1947)
. . . I crossed that invisible line. . .

I gambled compulsively from the age of 15, even at that young age I was in the hands of the loan sharks. When I was 15 my Father died which left me, my Mother, and my older Sister. As you can imagine there was not a lot of discipline coming my way, more or less I got on with my own thing.

Although Bookmakers' shops were illegal in this country at that time I had the dubious pleasure of having the bookmaker as my next door neighbour. Believe it or not I was still quite a normal lad in many ways at that time. I had some sense of right and wrong and I had some morals. But as time went on and the gambling took a stronger hold on me things were to change.

When I crossed that invisible line, obviously I didn’t see it, and it was to take me on a journey that I never want to travel again. By the time I was 18 and truly hooked on gambling, I met my wife Evelyn when we were both 16 and already talking about marriage. Poor lass didn’t know what she was getting into. Anyway, we did get married, on a shoestring I might add, and then my gambling really started to cause problems. At that time I was a driver/salesman for a large bakery company and I had access to lots of ready cash. This was a fatal mixture, cash and a compulsive gambler. I could never tell the difference between what was mine and what was theirs. Obviously I ran up massive debts to this company and I covered it up for a while by some very imaginative bookkeeping, I am sure you know what I mean by this Marilyn, having read your story. Somehow I escaped Prison this time and after three years of ducking and diving I was sacked, still owing them thousands of pounds. Evelyn and I had been married three years by this time and we had two little daughters Caroline and Yvonne.

From then on things got steadily worse, alcohol also started to create more problems. My character completely changed, from starting out quite normal I became a very violent person, that is with everyone else except my family. This behaviour was to take me to prison a few times. I lived on a three course meal every day. The first course was resentment. Before my feet hit the floor in the morning I could always find something to resent. The second course was self-pity, which followed very quickly. The third course was the one I liked most and that was hate. I was comfortable with hate, I hated everyone and everything. This was the way I led my life until reality caught up with me and I sought help from our wonderful Fellowship.

Marilyn this a very brief outline of way my life was before I came into the Programme, today I would not let that guy down my street.

Tommy from Scotland.

       Gripped by Gambling  
    In a candid, almost casual way, the author shares her journey through multiple addictions and recovery. Along the way, she recounts the all-too-common psychosocial events and traumas which occur in the lives of most female addicts/compulsive gamblers. Very readable, this book provides a good introduction to 12 Step Recovery, and is rounded out by a final section of short articles by professionals with expertise in the treatment of addictive disorders/pathological gambling. Highly recommended for women of all ages *and those who love them* who are struggling with compulsive gambling and/or other addictive diseases.
  • If you have not read or seen my book, you may click on: and take a peek at the information inside the cover.  The web-site contains a list of events I've experienced which qualify me to write such a book, an autobiography with some photos of special times in my life, and several reviews sent to me by readers. The book may be ordered from by the title, author or Isbn # 978-1-58736-770-0. 
    Marilyn Lancelot , AZ  

     QUESTION 18: Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?

    Translating the GA Literature is a very difficult task as there is a rule: word for word. There are many equivalents in my Polish language for English words. But GA literature is not like poetry or a novel where you can use many different terms. Translations have to be done precisely so that each book, brochure, and pamphlet have the same terms. From the first moment I picked up GA Literature, I fell in love with the information for not playing games with my mind even though I couldn’t see how logical and magical it was. All I knew was that to share as a chairperson at GA meeting, I have to have something to share. All I knew were war stories or stories that gambling will lead us nowhere. By us, I mean the group in my home town Krakow. Later on when I read the story of Algamus Society I was happy that I was right at that time.

    I came to Polish GA in January 2006 after 15 years of gambling of total madness, I was just One Minute from death. I was dying and there was no cure for me. There was no GA Literature available in Polish. In order not to make any mistakes in my translations I was spending with dictionary long hours at the computer reading GA websites from different countries; I was spending hours reading and translating WHW as well and I loved it as it was like a comment, an explanation. Each passing day everything was more and more clear for me. The most difficult part was to accept it. I was lucky enough to be given an additional gift, Marilyn L., my internet Sponsor. I was asking hundreds of questions and Marilyn L. always was kind enough to explain or to make a suggestion.

    Which part of Combo book was most difficult for me to translate? 20 Questions. 20 questions makes compulsive gamblers history. At that precise moment someone answers questions if she or he doesn’t gamble. So all of questions should be written in past tense.  Did you? Have you? Were you? Did you have?? I said 19 times yes as an answer.

    But there was one question I didn’t know what to do about, Question 18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?

    It was the only Question in written in the present tense. Why? What clever GA has in mind? I was asking myself over and over again. Is it really possible that nothing in this world will upset me and I won’t go gambling? Is it really possible? I was shocked. I could remember very well at that time how it was before: rainy weather or sunshine - good reasons to go and gamble. Happy birthday and funeral as well. Any reason was good enough to go gambling.

    So I was asking myself: maybe there is a difference between English words urge and impulses? Is an impulse something that comes out in my brain and I have no influence over it? I could remember very well impulses, especially at the end of my gambling days - it was something very, very painful. My body and my brain were in pain. I was sweating and shivering. I was in physical pain and it was an incredible physical and mental suffering (once in order not to go gambling I chained myself to radiator/heater near a window? a long story anyway).

    So maybe an urge is some kind of pattern I have created? In stressful situations my answer was to go and gamble? And is it not a matter of impulses that I have learned to react this way? To hide into gambling? And I have created an urge? A pattern to escape as a way of rewarding myself for bad situations in life which I couldn’t handle? But what about good times? I was in casino as well. Any reason was good enough for gambling.

    Why? Why is this Question 18 - The one and only, in present tense? I was asking myself this question and my answer was no. It was a big surprise to myself. So I have asked myself do I have any impulses? My answer was no. And I have asked myself again.
    Is there any reason good or bad enough to go and gamble? And my answer was no again. So I have decided to wait for impulses. And it has been none till today. So is an impulse a thought? I have learned in GA Program, I am not responsible for my thoughts, I am responsible for what I do with it. I have spent the last two years asking myself Question 18. And my answer is constantly no. What does it mean? It means I have learn to handle difficult situations and not to create urges -patterns as a reward for stressful situations.

    Is not to gamble a matter of impulses, urges or my decisions now? This urge from Question 18 was some kind of pattern I have created. This pattern as a way of escaping life was totally wrong. From bad and good situations as well. Recovery is a gift. So you know what? I don’t now why I was given this gift. But just in case not to loose it I am going right now to GA meeting. It is my urge the good one? Is urge my conscious choice, the best one I ever created?

    What I am curious those days is, whom I was meant to be? Unhappy, miserable female gambler? NO WAY! As I have learned: “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”  Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

    GA, thank you for Question 18, my GOAL-PURPOSE- DESTINATION (which one do you prefer?)

    Isia in Poland



    By Bobbe McGinley, Clinical Director/CEO of ACT – Counseling & Education

    On March 5th, 2007, the Office of Problem Gambling hosted Arizona’s first Symposium in honor of National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, which was proclaimed by Governor Janet Napolitano. The presentations were interesting and thought provoking by some of the nations foremost on the topic of youth and gambling and offered attendees much food for thought.

    Points worth mentioning include, but are not limited to the following recollections regarding children:

    ►Gambling is becoming more present in children’s lives via advertisements, increased venues, social acceptability, and gambling games/toys;
    ►Gambling has become a new rite of passage;
    ►Most parents do not see gambling as problematic, rather they view it as entertainment and,
    ►Many parents do not warn their children about the dangers of gambling.

    Gambling and Our Youth

    Adolescents with gambling problems are more likely to engage in other addictive behaviors with the top three reasons why children gamble are: enjoyment, excitement, and money (in that order).

    Favorite Gambling Activities for Children

    ►Cards and the lottery or scratch tickets supplied by adults;
    ►Children spend more hours gambling, sometimes staying up all night, which impacts their education;
    ►Some children want to become professional gamblers;
    ►Gambling is more popular among male children than female;
    ►Gambling is more prevalent with children than adults, by 2-4 times and
    ►Internet gambling sells using sex and free money to children.

    Other Points to Ponder

    ►The average person has three credit cards, problem gamblers have seven to ten;
    ►Most people do not have a gambling problem, problem gamblers are approximately three percent of the population.
    ►Winning is only important to about 2 5% of those who are problem gamblers (being able to continue to gamble is their true focus);
    ►Money is a means to continue gambling, not necessarily the goal;
    ►Gambling has moved out of isolation and into mainstream society;
    ►Problem youth gamblers are at a high risk for other addictive behaviors like smoking, drinking and using marijuana;
    ►Preventive efforts for problem youth gamblers may need to address the constellation of high-risk behaviors, not just focus on problem gambling.

    I sincerely hope this Symposium is one of many we will see in the years to come. The energy of the professionals and the vitality with which the presentations were delivered was most noted by the attendees. The evaluations were consistent with the hope that more researchers and pioneers in the field be brought together to educate and process findings, and allow the professionals a moment to add the new and fascinating information to their multitude of professionals gifts. It was an honor for me and my staff to be instrumental in bringing this momentous occasion to fruition and hope this will be the first of many occasions to bring the Valley’s brightest together for the sole purpose of finding solutions and prevention and education for our youth.

    Bobby McGinley has worked with Problem and Compulsive gamblers since being Certified by the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc. She is Clinical Director, Counselor and Consultant at ACT Counseling & Education

    Spiritual connections go beyond the understanding of the mind.

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