By Steve Anonymous
We say in Gamblers Anonymous that when 3 things come together there is a possibility of us gambling - Time, Opportunity and Money.
This blog is based on the subject of time and how I fill my time now I am not engrossed in gambling. When many of us stop gambling it leaves a big void in our daily life and we must replace that void with other things that are more productive. Especially the times when we were likely to gamble - at night (after work) and at the weekend for me.
An easy way to fill my time was to focus my attention on my 2 children and get more involved in their upbringing and offer more support to my wife. They were taken for granted when I was gambling but I can't get that time back unfortunately. Seeing them grow up and achieve so much is very rewarding and gives me a warm feeling inside. I often think that this beats the feelings of having a bet, spending quality, fun time with my family but the addiction inside still craves for a bet.
Another way to fill my time is by going to 2 Gamblers Anonymous meetings a week as this is so powerful and beneficial for me - 4 hours a week which plays a massive part in my recovery. Plus there is the interaction with GA members in between meetings and my Twitter page @gambling_free.
The third main thing I do is running which helps my physical and mental health as well as filling my time. I have done a few runs for charity in the last 12 months and that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I am currently training for a half marathon in March and I've also got a place in the Great North Run in September. Really into my running at the moment and feeling really motivated. I never had this when I was gambling and my motivation was severely lacking in many aspects. I was just in my gambling bubble and not challenging myself at all.
So 28 months into my second recovery my life is pretty much back to normal and very fulfilling. It is 14 years next weekend since I first admitted I had a problem with gambling and despite my relapse in 2014 I am proud of how far I have come in those 14 years.
You cannot get time back with your family and friends so make the most of it. Live for today but enjoy your recovery.