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Go to meetings and don’t gamble in between.

The title of this post is one of the many sayings we have in Gambler’s Anonymous.  I’ve been clinging to those quite a bit the last 5 months.  This post is long, so if you make it through the entire thing, you’re a rockstar.  I have no idea if it will make any sense.

A lot has happened since the last time I posted here.  That trip to the Bahamas was so cathartic for me.  It helped me make plans and get the courage to follow through on them.  A year later, I was home in Las Vegas and surrounded by my life long friends.

2016 and 2017 were kind of crappy years for me when it comes to grief and mourning.  Actually, I could say the 2nd half of 2015 forward to 2017 were sucky for me.  Catherine, Jill, my dog Josie, my dad, my GA friend Bill C, my GA friend Jan A, my longtime friend Jef, Beck and I got attacked by a dog two days before my mom died.  Beck needed two emergency surgeries (we had a GREAT vet down in Villa Rica, GA), October 1 happened here in Vegas.  So many tragedies.  I felt each one of them like a stab to my heart.

When mom died, my world just sort of imploded.  I had felt lost before, due to so many other losses, but her death destroyed me.  I was lost.  I had no idea who I was or how I would learn to breathe without my mom in the world with me.  I knew I needed to come home to Vegas and be around my people here.

The last two years I was living in New Albany and going to meetings in Louisville, I knew I was slipping away from the GA program while I was there.  I was going to one meeting per week, I was rarely talking to anyone else in the program outside of the meetings – yet, I was constantly chatting with my GA people here in Vegas.  I was isolating myself, I was shutting myself down emotionally and mentally.

I didn’t give a fuck about anything, really.  I was slowly heading towards placing another bet.  I was already practicing my disease without placing that bet.  Had I stayed there, I would have placed a bet.  I know it.  I feel it in my bones.  People think it odd that I came home to Las Vegas in order to avoid placing a bet.  I know it seems odd to a lot of people.  A lot of my friends were worried about me.  Oddly, I was not worried.  I knew this is where I could reconnect to my program and to my recovery.  I knew this was the one place I could be and not even think of gambling; the one place I knew I could connect to as many meetings as I wanted and/or needed.  There is gambling all around me in this town, yet, I have yet to have an urge to gamble.  Have I randomly thought of gambling?  Sure, it’s hard not to do that here in this town when I go to a convenience store and there are machines in there.  I love being back home because my recovery is growing again and I’m growing as a person again.

I had some good years in Kentucky, I was involved in the program, I was getting to know the people of the program there.  2012 and 2013 changed my attitude about a lot of things.  2014 is when I started to isolate and withdraw.  It was two years after I had gained a stalker. I made it clear I didn’t want to hang out with someone and suddenly, I had a Douchebag following me and making sure he showed his face in my presence every chance he got.  I was afraid for my safety… and my sanity.  New Albany was a quaint little town and I really felt safe in that house.  Until it got broken into twice, someone put raw meat in my trash can in the hot summer so I’d have to clean out the maggots, and the final straw was running into my stalker at the Kroger I did my grocery shopping at.   I loved that little house I was in while living in there, but honestly, I had to look at and compare my sanity there to how I knew my sanity would recover if I moved home.   I love my recovery and I knew I had to do something drastic to keep it because it was slipping away.  I was dreaming of gambling almost every night and the next morning, I’d even feel like I had gambled.  The only reason I knew I had not was because, in my dream, I was at the Suncoast Casino (the place I placed my last bet on July 29, 2001).

Moving home, on one hand, was the easiest decision I have ever made.  While on the other, it was very difficult and it was not easy for me to decide to do this.  It was a huge step and I made the decision to do it less than a year after mom had died.  So, I waited.  I made myself wait until the one year anniversary and reevaluated my decision, I went on that cruise, I came home to visit and my BFF and I spent a few days in Carlsbad, CA.  I pretty much gave everyone 9 months notice that I was leaving.  I started talking about doing it (to everyone, not just my closest people), I let my landlord know, I let my employer know, and I started job hunting in February of 2018.  I figured if I found a job sooner, I’d leave sooner.  Otherwise, I was planning to leave at the end of September 2018.

I know there are some people who are still mad at me for leaving.  And while I don’t like that they’re mad, I knew I had to make this decision for me.  I had to do something for me.  My life was falling apart around my ears and I was so unhappy, I could hardly stand it.  I don’t like to burn bridges, but I may have burned one or two.  I’m not happy about that, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it at this point. My doctor and I talked about it every month when I’d go in for my med refills.  She helped me so much through that period of time, I don’t even have the words to express that appreciation I feel for her.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve faced a lot of challenges and hardships.  Things have NOT gone the way I planned them on paper (in writing in Word).  NOTHING has gone the way I planned it; financially, emotionally, employment-wise, nothing.  And after the initial stress over the fact nothing was going the way I planned, I started to just go with the flow.  The jobs I hoped for, fell through.  The jobs I never thought about, I got interviews for.  And then, on January 5, I applied for a payroll administrator job on a whim.  Two days later, I got a phone call and scheduled a telephonic interview that ended with an invitation for an in-person interview.  A few days after the in-person interview, I got an invitation for a second in-person interview.  Less than two hours after that second interview, I got a job offer.  I started that job on January 28.  From application to the first day on the job took 23 days.  THAT tells me I’m in the right job and God was driving that boat.

And now, I’m saving up to pay off some Indiana state taxes and saving up some money for deposits for my own place.  My BFF and her family have let me stay here and they have been absolutely amazing by taking me and my little doggies in.  Beck has had a horrible time adjusting and he’s not very nice to people who are not me and her.  He barks at all the men in the house.  He barks and chases after people who come to visit.  He’s just not been very friendly.  I had hoped the longer we were here, the better he would get.  While he has gotten better, for sure, I do need to chase after him when people come to visit.

I am so grateful I am home and I’m setting in.  I’m grateful for people like my BFF and her family who took me in when they did not have to.  I’m grateful for the job I have because I love it.  At first, I was nervous because it’s in the auto dealership world and I have not ever NOT worked full time in public safety since I was 23 years old.  Going from public safety to the private sector has been a trip, but I’m happy to be making that transition.  I work with some amazing people and I love my team I get to work with every day.

With all this being said, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.  Be true to yourself and keep your side of the street clean and things will eventually start falling into place for you.  And when I say “you” I’m really talking about myself.  I have found when I am true to myself, honest with how I’m feeling, and I keep my side of the street clean, things fall into place for me quicker than if I fight for things.

Thanks for letting me share…

2 Responses to “Go to meetings and don’t gamble in between.”

  • Brenda Rose says: Hi KC, After I read this amazing blog, I can see your growth in all areas of your life! I am so proud of you and grateful that we are on the same journey! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. This really helped me in my recovery! It is quite difficult to get around town without a vehicle. A great man in program picks me up on Tuesday’s and takes me to Good Samaritan for the meeting. I reach out to others, but many are unavailable. I stay connected with my sponsor do church online on Sunday’s. Maybe when you have some time, we could get together and have coffee. I would love that!

    Looking forward to reading more of your blogs!

    Love and hugs

  • Karl says:

    Damn, that’s quite the journey. I’d say you are precisely where you need to be. It also seems like writing is a great way to vent all this stuff. Not that I’m trying to pressure you or anything. Holy smokes, it’s 2019 and I’m leaving a comment. On a blog. 🙂