First work I had to do in the treatment, was writing a biography. I had to describe my feelings, experiences, important events in my life, fears, disappointments and desires. It is important that you remember your childhood. That you find your first memories and feelings about them. I had big troubles with finding my first memory. It was difficult to know what really was my memory or just something I knew from photographs. You have to be honest to yourself and that is not always easy. You have to talk about your relationship with your parents, family, friends, relatives and schoolmates. You have to describe your gambling addiction in details and talk about all of the consequences that happened along the way.
Second work was to learn commitment, to obey rules of the hospital and the department of addictions. Meaning that information about other patients is forbidden to share in public. Because of this I will be strictly talking only about my story. I will not use other patient names and their information.
Treatment is better if your partner or a friend is cooperating. In my case that was my girlfriend who accepted my invitation to cooperate in the treatment. I chose her, because I imagine the rest of my life with her. I knew that if we want to develop authentic relationship, improve communication and rebuild trust, this is a step in the right direction. I took this like a challenge, that we can learn something from this hard experience. My girlfriend´s decision that despite that I betrayed her trust again, she would cooperate in the treatment, gave me new inspiration and motivation. I have to admit, that I asked myself a few times, why did she decide to stay. Why didn’t she quit this messy relationship? I caused her a lot of troubles and gave her quite painful experiences. And she is still standing beside me. Is this because of love? Or is she also lost in this world as much as I am? Is she not brave enough to leave or is she strong enough to believe that I will resolve all my problems? Maybe she trusts me more than I trust myself. I didn’t have answers to those questions. I expected, that I would be alone in this. Honestly I was really happy about her decision. Her cooperating meant that we have had lessons and therapy session once a week together. That is also a kind of protection for health staff that patients will talk truthfully. Therapists find out quickly, that many patients tell totally different stories when someone is with them compared to when they are alone.
Final work I had to do before my first weekend exit was description of my addiction from very beginning to where I am now. When I stared to talk, I forgot where I am and who am I talking to. Details about everything were just bursting out of me. From the tiny first signs of addiction to the situation now, when my whole world has collapsed. During my student times I had a lot of time and small amounts of money. But progress of my addiction was incredible. I totally isolated myself from my best friends. I stopped talking about my emotional life with my family. My answers to my family were always the same. How are you? Fine. And how is this? And that? Good. Also fine. I will. Ok. But I am saying to you that I am fine! I was relieved when I was able to go to Ljubljana. I was alone there and I had peace, my PC and online sports betting sites. If I was lucky, I got all day long gambling sessions, planning, moments of enthusiasm when winning and scary anger when loosing, only for 10€. When I had to go for new PSC (pay safe card) on the same spot over and over again I got embarrassed. The lady on cashier desk looked at me sadly. I always only bought PSC. I had no money for magazines or drinks. I didn’t want to spend it on anything else. I always thought to myself I can drink tap water. I had to have 10€ in case if I lost again. Just in case. On my mind was only gambling, nothing else. From that form of living I developed severe depression. When I was lucky, I was excited and was plotting about resolving my situation and how I will prove to everyone that this can be a way of living. But at the end I was always sad, with no money and full of negative energy. But then I was thinking that luck is just avoiding me now. That I always miss it for a moment, that I just need luck and everything will be fine. This is a complicated mind of a gambler.
When I finished with my story in front of all other patients, nobody didn’t ask me anything. They were just quietly looking at me, visibly in shock. Only a therapist said that she cannot believe how openly and full of desire I talked. Because I was talking from the heart, my competitive energy and desire to win were shining out of me. At that point everyone else realized what I had already known. Addiction has completely overcome and supervise me.