Vol. X Issue No. 10 October
- Because of an error I made on the link to Women
Helping Women, the new link is femalegamblers.info. Please make
the necessary change to your search.
- "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
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
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
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
If you have not read or seen my book, you may click on:
www.grippedbygambling.com 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 Amazon.com. by the
title, author or Isbn #
Marilyn Lancelot , AZ
- 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
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
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
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
Isia in Poland
POINTS TO PONDER
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
►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
►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.
go beyond the understanding of the mind.
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