New rules – part 2

Nurse on the department accepted me kindly and relaxed. I had to fill in obligation papers. They checked my health insurance (in Slovenia treatment of gambling addiction is included in basic health insurance). I wasn’t really listening to instructions she gave to me. I got schedule of activities, rules of behavior and she accompanied me to my room which I shared with three other guys. I was lucky that other addicts had activities so the room was empty. Nurse showed me how to make my bed. They checked it out daily to see if I did everything properly. It is similar like in an army. I was listening and doing everything almost like in a trans. I was wondering, am I really here? Why is this happening? How long can I manage it here? Because I was new, on the first day I had no activities. In that way they ease adjustment for you. I put all my stuff out of my suitcase. I checked the list of things they gave me that I needed to bring with me. Then I put all my clothes in wardrobe. Because I had free time, I started to read a book. But I didn’t last long, my thoughts rushed through my brain. I couldn’t reconcile with the fact that I ended in psychological hospital. I am not crazy. Why am I here? That makes no sense, I am not like an alcoholic. How can I tell someone where I am? I was ashamed of this. My thoughts were interrupted with voices of people who ended with occupational therapy. I met my new roommates. They were all quite older than me, I would say about 50 or 60 years old. They were all here because of addiction to alcohol. They introduced themselves to me and continued with relaxed conversation. My quick analysis of them was that if I met them on the street, I would not think that they have an addiction problem. Two of them looked totally normal. They were talking about next activity. They told me that you can pick one activity which you like as long as it still has a spot left. Schedule is always the same. You have to arrive 5 min before the start of an activity, if not, you or even whole group can get penalties. Preventing this from happening, they assign you a mentor, this is an experienced patient. After few hours on department I already knew half of patients. This is not that hard, because there is usually between 20 to 25 patients. That number is changing fast because the treatment is free and you can leave it whenever you want. But if you leave, you cannot go in any other hospital in Slovenia for next three months. Violation of rules is common thing here (violation of abstinence or something similar) and it can get you kicked out of the hospital. I figured it out fast that it is like a school, with constant residence and strict rules. ˇSchoolmatesˇ and ˇteachersˇ are diverse and some even difficult to work with. You realize that some are even more lost and hurt than you are. And some looked like there is nothing wrong with them. From the first day I also remember common dinner, which is every day at the same time and after dinner we had to watch news on the TV as a part of a schedule. I did not understand why this is important. In the evening I met all of the patients from this department. There were 90% men. The staff was almost just women. At 11 pm there has to be silence and lights turned off. First night felt like it lasted as long as three days together. I couldn´t sleep. Different thoughts and questions without any answers were rushing through my head. My roommates were snoring so loud, they slept with the help of pills what just increased the level of snoring and it was really disturbing me. Nurse was checking our rooms at night and she noticed that I was not sleeping. She offered me a pill, but I was sure that I don’t want to try it. Because once you get used to them it is hard to stop. I convinced her that I have just woken up and that I am sleeping well. I am not sure if she believed me, but at least she left. That night I found first positive thing. My bed was that one next to the window and radiator. That is important. Because autumn was coming to an end and it was getting colder. Heat from the radiator was pure happiness to me and represented a spark of hope. The other benefit was that I had view on a night sky and stars. In that moment I did not know that it will play an important role on my path. In the morning, very loud alarm of blasts of a trumpet from my roommate´s phone woke me up. And different life has begun.  

Nova pravila del 2

Dežurna sestra na oddelku me je prijazno in sproščeno sprejela. Izpolnil sem nekaj obrazcev in preverili so moje zdravstveno zavarovanje (pri nas v Sloveniji zdravljenje odvisnosti spada pod osnovno zdravstveno zavarovanje). Nepozorno sem sledil vsem navodilom. Dobil sem urnik dela na oddelku, pravila obnašanja in sobo. Na srečo so imeli ostali zdravljenci aktivnosti, zato sem bil nekaj časa v sobi sam. Sestra mi je predstavila tamkajšnji (vojaški) način  postiljanja postelje in povedala, da mora vedno tako izgledati. To so tudi vsak dan preverjali. Vse sem poslušal nekako na pol, v transu. Spraševal sem se ali se to resnično dogaja? Le kako dolgo bom zdržal tukaj? Sobo sem si delil s tremi zdravljenci. Ker sem ravnokar prišel, sem bil prvi dan oproščen vseh dejavnosti, z namenom da se v miru adaptiram. Takšen je sistem. Izpraznil sem potovalko, zložil oblačila v omaro in pregledal ali imam vse nujne stvari s spiska, ki so mi ga dali. Ker sem imel prosti čas, sem se lotil branja knjige, a nisem zdržal dolgo. Misli so mi drvele skozi možgane. Nisem se mogel sprijazniti z dejstvom, da sem pristal v psihiatrični bolnišnici. Pa saj jaz nisem neumen. Zakaj sem tukaj? To sploh nima smisla. Jaz nisem takšen kot alkoholiki. Kako naj komu povem, da sem tukaj? Mene je sram. Ukvarjanje s temi vprašanji je prekinila glasna skupina, ki se je vrnila z delovne terapije. Spoznal sem cimre. Vsi trije so bili krepko starejši od mene, rekel bi da so stari med 50 in 60 let. Vsi so se zdravili zaradi odvisnosti od alkohola. Na hitro so se predstavili in sproščeno nadaljevali svoj pogovor. Na prvi pogled niso kazali znakov odvisnosti, vsaj dva od treh ne. Če bi ju srečal na ulici, ne bi nikakor izstopala. Pogovarjali so se o nadaljevanju dnevnih aktivnosti. Povedali so mi, da pri delovni terapiji lahko izbereš aktivnost, ki ima najmanj udeležencev. Urnik je vsak teden isti, na vsaki aktivnosti moraš biti 5min pred začetkom. Če zamujaš ali se ne udeležiš aktivnosti si kaznovan ti, lahko pa tudi celotna skupina. Da se to ne dogaja, ti dodelijo mentorja. To je eden od izkušenejših zdravljencev, ki te usmerja. Po nekaj urah na oddelku sem jih spoznal že skoraj polovico. To ni tako težko, ker nas je bilo med 20 in 25. Število zdravljencev na oddelku je dokaj fleksibilno, saj je zdravljenje prostovoljno. Program lahko zapustiš kadarkoli želiš, posledično pa ti je za 3 mesece onemogočeno zdravljenje tudi na drugih podobnih ustanovah v Sloveniji. Pogosto se zgodi, da kdo krši pravila (kršenje abstinence ali kaj podobnega) zato ga odpustijo iz bolnišnice. Hitro mi je postalo jasno, da je vse skupaj podobno šoli s stalnim bivanjem in strogimi pravili. Tako ˝sošolci˝ kot ˝učitelji˝ so bili zelo različni in včasih je bilo sodelovanje z obojimi kar težko. Zdelo se mi je, da so nekateri zdravljenci še bolj izgubljeni kot jaz, drugi so pa izgledali, kot da jim sploh nič ni. Prvega dne se spomnim samo skupne večerje. Ta je vsak večer ob točno določeni uri po njej pa sledi še obvezno gledanje TV poročil. Zadnja obveznost se mi je zdela zelo nenavadna, saj nisem razumel, kakšen doprinos k zdravljenju lahko ima. Obeh dejavnosti sem se udeležil in obenem na videz spoznal vse paciente z oddelka. V glavnem smo tam bili moški, okrog 90%. Med osebjem pa skoraj same ženske. Po pravilih mora na oddelku ob 23.00 biti tišina in ugasnjene luči. Prva noč se mi je zdela daljša  kot zadnji trije dnevi skupaj. Spal nisem skoraj nič. Težke misli in vprašanja na katera nisem imel odgovorov, so se mi prepletala po glavi. Zelo moteče pa je bilo tudi smrčanje cimrov. Ti so spali pod vplivom uspavalnih tablet, kar intenzivnost smrčanja samo še poveča. Dežurna sestra čez noč preverja zdravljence. Opazila je, da ne spim in mi ponudila tablete, ki sem jih zavrnil. V sebi sem bil boje in premleval, kaj sploh počnem. Bil sem pa prepričan, da ne želim tablet, raje ne spim. Pretvarjal sem se, da sem se samo prebudil in da drugače dobro spim. Nisem prepričan, da mi je verjela, a me je vsaj pustila pri miru in odšla. Tisto noč sem ugotovil prvo pozitivno stvar. Moja postelja je bila najbližje radiatorju in oknu, kar mi je zelo ustrezalo. Ker se je jesen bližala h koncu in je postajalo zelo mrzlo, mi je toplina radiatorja predstavljala čisto srečo in iskrico upanja. Druga pozitivna stvar je bila, da sem skozi okno lahko opazoval čudovito nebo in zvezde. Takrat se še nisem zavedal pozitivnega vpliva tega na mojo pot. Zjutraj me je sosedova izredno glasna budilka (igranje trobent) vrgla iz postelje in začelo se je drugačno življenje.

Confession part 1

My biggest fears came true. I got so deeply in troubles that I had to give up and tell the truth to my family. That´s a thing you cannot prepare for. I tried to but I couldn´t sleep for a few days and nights. I was wondering how to tell that I´ve fallen again. That I am in debts, huge debts. After all the promises that I gave to them, that it was the last time. But I was sure that now I will do it, that I will succeed at this. And this time I really meant it. Family took me back after my first collapse. I got back their trust and they helped me. I know it wasn´t easy, not for them and not for me. I still remember my father, who couldn´t figure it out. Asking how I cannot see how this is going to end. He didn´t understand how can someone be as normal and clever as I am and still spend one thousand euros in one night, get more money and then spend it again at the same night. He was yelling at me and wondering how? For him this seemed insane. I really didn´t know how to define it. I tried to explain that it just pulls you in. You talk to yourself, you tell yourself off, because you know you should not play. And you don´t gave in, not for the first time, not the second and not even the third time. But at the fourth time I was powerless, my will and desire were too strong. I felt like I had to win back all the money that I have lost. And now I had to tell my family, that I was hiding something from them for a long time. That I had new-old problems that were even bigger that time. Situation was helpless and I was desperate. After few weeks of preparation I still did not have the courage to do the next step, until my position forced me to reveal the truth to them. All the breaks fell, all the shortcuts were gone. There was only one way, and that was to beg for help and for their forgiveness. At this point I was under extreme stress, I wasn´t sleeping for weeks, my interception of the world was foggy, illusions were all around me. Burden and fear, which was my biggest opponent, drove my body to physical and psychological exhaustion. I will never forget the moment when I told the truth to my girlfriend and my family. After eruption of information’s, feelings and honesty, my body became light like a feather, like all the burdens of this world fell off me. After few long years of escalating pressures and stress came a relief. Even if I actually didn´t solve anything yet. But then something else happened, now the lives of my family collapsed. That stroke them down brutally. After all my promises I did it again. All those years I was lying and deceiving them. Even though my feelings were numb, that meant new troubles for me. New knockout. I put down my girlfriend and family again, the people that I love the most on this world. After three years of break I visited my psychotherapist once again and told him everything that happened since our last meeting. After long time of talking, I told him everything truthfully. Meetings normally last 45min, now it was more than 2 hours. We decided that there were two possible ways of how my life is going to continue. If I continue without help, there will be just struggling from day to day blind from gambling addiction. That would likely lead to losing job, family and additionally in criminal. Without help I wasn´t able to made turnover, I was living in virtual world in a vicious circle that is very difficult to escape. I was so powerless, weak and resigned to my faith that I wasn´t able to help myself. Other path was, that I face with my addiction problems with help of experts. I chose treatment in psychological hospital at the department for addictions. Of course I was afraid, because I had no clue how it will look like. Even more I was ashamed, how could this happened to me. Why did I have to go in psychological hospital? That is a place for crazy people. Does that mean then that I am crazy? I had a lot of problems at my job, I was in trouble because of my behavior and sloppiness. I was surprised that my bosses accepted the course of treatment so well. They were very supportive and kind. I am truly grateful and thankful for this. Here in Slovenia hospitals don´t have departments only for gambling addictions as this area is not well researched. Because of that I was accepted in the department for people with alcohol addictions. When the time for my hospitalization came, my thoughts were killing me from the inside. Should I go? Did I really reach such a low point in my life? This will be dark mark on my life forever. On the inside I was fighting my crazy thoughts, but on the outside I was just following my girlfriend who escorted me to this terrible and fearful institution. In front of me were a few months of isolation. At reception they gave me instructions and I had to say goodbye in a hurry to my girlfriend who stand next to me. I did it awkwardly, frightened and with tears in my eyes. I left her and put all of my energy, all last atom’s into walking and trying to look as normal as possible.

Priznanje – del 1

Uresničil se je moj največji strah. Zabredel sem tako globoko, da sem se moral predati in z resnico soočiti najbližje. Nekaj na kar se ne da pripraviti, saj sem kar nekaj dni in noči namenil pripravi, kako to povedati, da sem spet na tleh, v dolgovih in to ogromnih. Po vseh izrečenih obljubah, da je bilo zadnjič, da bo zdaj drugače in da sem zdaj trdno prepričan, da bo tokrat šlo in da bom naredil vse, samo da mi bo uspelo. In vse to sem tudi resnično mislil. Vsi so me po prvem padcu sprejeli, mi počasi nazaj zaupali in bodrili kar seveda ni bilo lahko, ne za njih ne zame. Spomnim se očeta, ki mu nikakor ni bilo jasno, kako je možno, da lahko nekdo pri zdravi pameti in v prisebnem stanju, zapravi tisoč evrov in še isti večer dvigne več denarja in spet poskusi srečo. Pa kako? Ali se ti meša? Zakaj bi kdo poizkusil še enkrat, če vidiš, da to nikamor ne vodi? In sploh mu nisem mogel razložiti, zakaj. Preprosto povleče te. Rečeš, ne bom in veš da ne smeš. Pa spet rečem ne bom in še tretjič tako ampak četrtič sem bil pa že brez moči. Hrepenenje je bilo premočno in občutek, da moram, moram priigrati nazaj izgubljen denar. Sedaj pa moram tem istim ljudem povedati, da že dolgo skrivam nove-stare probleme, tokrat še veliko hujše kot zadnjič. Situacija je bila brezupna. Po večtedenskih pripravah nisem zmogel tega koraka, dokler me moj položaj ni prisililo v to. Vsi jezovi so popustili, vsi zasilni izhodi so bili porabljeni edina možnost je bila, da prosim za pomoč in odpuščenje. Ko sem povedal, kam sem zabredel, sem bil sam pod neverjetnim pritiskom, spal nisem že več tednov, moje dojemanje sveta je bilo že zelo omejeno, breme, ki sem si ga nakopal in strah, moj največji nasprotnik, so moje telo fizično in psihično izčrpali. Nikdar ne bom pozabil trenutka, ko sem partnerko in družino soočil z resnico. Po izbruhu podatkov, čustev  in resnice je moje telo nepričakovano postalo peresno lahko, kot bi vso breme sveta popustilo. Po večletnem naraščanju pritiskov v meni je sledilo olajšanje, pa sploh ničesar nisem rešil. Samo povedal sem. Zgodilo pa  se je nekaj drugega, sedaj se je svet podrl moji družini, povsem jih je strmoglavilo in jih potrlo. Sploh niso mogli verjeti, po vseh obljubah sem spet ponovil vzorec. Vsa leta sem jim spet lagal in jih zavajal. Kljub mojim sicer otopelim čustvom je to pomenilo novo breme, nov polom. Razočaral sem točno tiste ljudi, ki jih imam najraje in mi pomenijo največ na tem svetu. Po treh letih sem obiskal mojega psihoterapevta in mu povedal vso zgodbo, ki se je odvila od mojega zadnjega obiska. Po dolgem pogovoru, ki je bil iz moje strani tokrat povsem odkrit, brez vseh skritih resnic, ki jih prej nisem upal povedati. Običajen termin, ki traja 45min se je zavlekel v 2 uri. Prišla sva do ugotovitve, da resnično ni več veliko možnih poti v mojem življenju. Trenutno sta realni samo dve in sicer nadaljevanje agonije prebijanja iz dneva v dan, v omami odvisnosti od športnih stav, ki bo skoraj zagotovo vodila v izgubo službe, družine in kasneje v kriminalna dejanja. Brez pomoči nisem zmogel preobrata, stik z realnim svetom sem že izgubil in se vrtel v začaranem krogu, ki ga je izjemo težko prekiniti. Sam sem bil tako nemočen in vdan v usodo, da mi zagotovo ne bi uspelo. Druga možnost je bila, da se soočim s svojo odvisnostjo v celoti s pomočjo strokovnjakov. Izbral sem zdravljenje v psihiatrični bolnišnici na oddelku za bolezni odvisnosti. Seveda me je bilo strah, saj si tega sploh nisem znal predstavljati. Še bolj me je bilo sram, da se meni lahko to zgodi. Oditi moram na psihiatrijo. Pa tja gredo samo tisti, ki se jim zmeša, se je meni zmešalo?  V službi sem ob vseh nevšečnostih, ki sem jih zakrivil s svojim obnašanjem in malomarnostjo na veliko srečo naletel na pozitiven odziv vodilnih ljudi v podjetju in na podporo pri zdravljenju, za kar se iskreno zahvaljujem in sem hvaležen. Ker nikjer ne zdravijo izključno odvisnosti od iger na srečo (to področje je pri nas zelo slabo razvito in raziskano), sem bil napoten na oddelek kjer večinoma zdravijo odvisnost od alkohola. Ko je prišel datum mojega sprejema, so me misli razjedale. Ali naj res grem? Sem resnično tako nizko padel? To bo najhujši madež mojega življenja, to me bo zaznamovalo za vse življenje.  Med notranjimi boji sem samo sledil partnerki, ki me je usmerjala tisti dan in me pospremila v to strašljivo in grozno ustanovo. Čaka me večmesečna  izolacija od zunanjega sveta. Ob sprejemu so mi dali navodila in na hitro sem se moral posloviti od partnerke, ki mi je stala ob strani. To sem storil nekako nerodno, prestrašen in z rosnimi očmi. Odšel sem in z zadnjimi atomi moči poskušal hoditi normalno.

Odvisnost od iger na srečo – športnih stav Moja zgodba – uvod

Začelo se je popolnoma nedolžno kot oblika zabave s prijatelji v osnovni šoli, ko sem prvič vplačal stavni listek z nekaj tekmami. Le kdo bi lahko vedel, da bo to del mogočne zgodbe. Med srednjo šolo sem občasno stavil ampak nikoli resno. Sem velik ljubitelj športa in vešč v statistiki in poznavanju igralcev, bil sem tudi navdušen nad računalniško igrico Football Manager, ki me je prevzela. Med študijem na univerzi v Ljubljani pa sem začel svojo svobodo in več prostega časa namenjati športnim stavam, na začetku v glavnem nogometu. Nekako sem igro FM zamenjal za stave in v prepričanju, da lahko lepo zaslužim sem vedno več denarja namenil temu. Bil sem deloven študent, saj sem si veliko denarja prislužil s študentskim delom, zato sem si igranje lahko privoščil, ne da bi bil za karkoli prikrajšan. Težava se je začela stopnjevati, ker sem vedno več časa namenil stavam, načrtovanju in sanjaril o pravilnih strategijah ter kako premagati sistem. Več kot sem zastavil, bolj me je bilo sram in pekla me je vest, vedno bolj sem se jezil sam nase, da sem sploh začel. Začel sem popuščati pri študiju, izogibal sem se prijateljem in se vedno bolj izoliral. Zapiral sem se vase in vse strogo ter premišljeno prekrival pred vsemi.

Bil sem vedno nasmejan, pozitiven a sem se vztrajno izogibal resnih pogovorov. Pred partnerko in družino sem vse prikril ter jih vedno zmanipuliral, da slučajno ne bi česa posumili. Bolj kot sem zabredel, več sem lagal in živel dvojno življenje, ter se skrival pred resnico. Spravil sem se v veliko neprijetnih situacij in vsaka je pripomogla k razvoju odvisnosti. Velikokrat sem emocionalnost iztiril, vse se mi je zdelo nesmiselno, počutil sem se grozno, dolge ure in večere sem razmišljal o smislu življenja in se smilil sam sebi, obtoževal sistem. Občutek nemoči in sramu me je pripeljal tudi do najtemnejših misli, če nemara ne bi bil svet brez mene boljši, saj sem neuporaben in samo v napoto. Pred najhujšim me je obvarovala misel, da če pobegneš v tem življenju boš pa to reševal v naslednjem in še težje bo. Študija nisem dokončal, odnehal sem tik pred ciljem, kar me je še dodatno potrlo. Vedno sem nekako nihal med hudimi in malo boljšimi obdobji. Velikokrat sem zapravil vse kar sem lahko. Več kot bi imel, več bi zapravil. Možgani so mi preprosto odpovedali, nenadzorovano sem žele nazaj priigrati izgubljeno. Ko sem zapravil vse, sem besnel, preklinjal, se razjokal in se zaklel, da je bilo to zadnjič, da je treba končati in se strezniti. Po telesu me je mravljinčilo, spraševal sem se, pa zakaj ravno jaz, zakaj mi ne uspe. Kaj delam narobe. Popolnoma sem se zavedal, da to nikamor ne vodi oziroma ne v pravo smer. Vse mi je bilo kristalno jasno, ampak želja in hrepenenje sta bila močnejša. Poizkušal sem prenehati na mnogo načinov. Večkrat sem imel dobra obdobja abstinence. Včasih sem zdržal par tednov, včasih tudi kak mesec ali dva, ampak ko sem se zavedal, koliko sem že zapravil, me je vedno povleklo nazaj.

In ironično je, da daljše kot je bilo abstinenčno obdobje, hujši je bil naval na stave, ter adrenalin na razburljivo doživetje. Več kot sem zapravil, hujši so bili občutki krivde, jeze, obupa, tesnobe, pojavila se je depresija. Nisem vedel kako naj se borim proti temu, edini izhod sem videl v tem, da sem si izposodil denar, najel kredit in povečal vložek, ker sem moral vedno več nadoknaditi. Vmes mi je velikokrat dobro kazalo, včasih sem si izplačal več tisoč evrov v enem večeru(večino časa sem igral preko različnih spletnih stavnic kjer lahko igraš vedno v živo brez nekih omejitev, potrebuješ samo dostop do interneta, bančno kartico in denar), lahko je bil tudi dober teden, a na koncu meseca sem potreboval nov načrt, ker sem bil še v hujšem minusu. Komaj sem se prebijal iz meseca v mesec. To je začarani krog iz katerega nisem videl izhoda. Lagal sem sam sebi tako močno, da sem si verjel. Lagal sem vsem, ki mi v življenju največ pomenijo in jih imam rad. Trpel sem, ker sem izigraval, goljufal in manipuliral s tistimi, ki sem jim zaupal in še huje, s tistimi, ki so zaupali meni. Odvisnost me je spremenila. Izgubljal sem stik z realnim svetom.

Imam dobro službo, ki sem jo nekako obdržal, bolj po zaslugi naklonjenosti nadrejenih in mojem dobrem odnosu do dela v preteklosti. Menim, da sem zelo dober in zavzet delavec, kar se mi je na koncu nenazadnje obrestovalo. Za to sem neizmerno hvaležen. Sem pa prestal res turbulentno obdobje, motivacija mi je padala, izgubljal sem čut za odgovornost, postal sem površen in sebičen. Prevzela me je negativna miselnost in čustva so mi otopela. Bolj kot si pod stresom, bolj te vleče v oblake, v omamo. Vedno znova sem pred odgovornostjo in srečanjem z realnostjo pobegnil v svet igranja športnih stav. Po petih letih sem prvič padel na tla, obupan, brez rešitev.

Svoje težave sem moral zaupati svoji partnerki in družini. Poiskal sem si pomoč pri psihoterapevtu in na klubu anonimnih hazarderjev. Počasi sem začel okrevati, se pogovarjati o težavah in jih poizkušal reševati. Tudi donosi so se postopoma izboljševali, pridobival sem samozavest, sprejel marsikatero novo mišljenje in širil obzorja. Res ogromno sem napredoval s pogovori, ampak se takrat tega še nisem zavedal. Marsikatero moje prepričanje sem moral pretehtati in ponovno ovrednotiti. Ampak globoko v srcu, si nisem zaupal, nisem bil odločen, da sem s tem končal za zmeraj. Nisem se še zavedal resnosti situacije. Še vedno sem nosil masko, veliko sem si priznal, vsega pa še ne.

Po desetih mesecih sem bil zdrav, ozdravljen(to bi vam rekel takrat). Psihoterapevta sem postopoma prenehal obiskovati, anonimne hazarderje prav tako in počasi a vztrajno se je vračala misel, samo malo lahko poizkusiš, saj zdaj si zdrav, zdaj se lahko kontroliraš, samo za zabavo, samo nekaj eurov. In kar naenkrat se je zgodilo. Prekinil sem abstinenco. Po nekaj tednih sem bil nazaj v formi, po nekaj mesecih sem si moral najeti novi kredit in potem vedno znova, še več, še večji krediti, še večji vložki. Ko sem porabil vse možnosti, prešel vse limite in bil kreditno nesposoben, ko sem si že začel izposojati denar pri ljudeh, ki jih drugače niti v sanjah ne bi prosil za denar in si nakopal dolgove vredne čudovitega stanovanja ali hiše, sem po osmih letih takega življenja prišel do točke brez izhoda. Moja odvisnost od športnih stav je bila tako huda, da sem se popolnoma zavedal, da me je nadvladala, da nimam možnosti, da je močnejša in da takšno nadaljevanje pomeni pogubo. Bil sem na dnu, na dnu oceana.

Nisem se odločil, da bom prenehal, nisem imel moči, da bi se to odločil in zdržal. V to me je prisilil položaj, ogromni dolgovi, vedno hujše laži in manipuliranje, spet sem vsem lagal in se zapletal. Potrošil sem ogromne količine energije in časa zaradi prikrivanja in bežanja. Meni se je zdelo, če izvejo, da sem zapadel nazaj v odvisnost, se mi bo podrl svet. Neznanski pritiski s katerimi sem se navadil živeti, moje patološko laganje in zavajanje, moje brezciljno tavanje, trpljenje z vsemi občutki nemoči in razočaranj, življenje brez ciljev in vsa iluzija moje podobe kot člana družbe bi se zrušilo in na srečo, se je.

Gambling Addiction – Sports Betting My story – Introduction

It started totally innocent as a fun activity with my friends in primary school when I have bet on my first match. Who would have thought it will become a part of mighty stroy. During my highschool I bet occasionally, but never seriously. I was always a big fan of sports and I have had skills in statistics,  I would know all the players and I also loved PC game Football Manager. When I started studying at university of Ljubljana, I had a lot of free time that I was using for online sports bets, mostly on football. Somehow I switched PC game FM for gambling in good faith that I can earn some money. I was always a hardworking student, I earned quite a lot of money working as a student, so I was able to spend it gambling and still had it enough to live a normal life. Troubles appeared when I put all my time in gambling and making plans for good strategies so that I would overcome a system. The more I spent, more guilty, ashamed and angry I felt. I was asking myself why did I even start. I left behind my studying, I was avoiding my friends and I was self isolating. I stopped talking to anyone and started  to hide everything. On the outside I looked positive, always with a smile on my face, but I have been avoiding converstaions on serious toppics.

My girlfriend and my family didn´t know a thing, I hid everything. I was cleverly manipulating them, so they wouldn´t get suspicious. The bigger the troubles, the more I lied. I was hiding from the truth and I put myself in many uncomfortable situations, each of them getting me closer and deeper into an addiction. I often got emotional blackouts, everything seemed hopeless to me, I felt terrible. For long hours at nights I was thinkig about meaning of life and I felt sorry for myself. I blamed it all on the system. My embarrassement and feelings of powerlessness brought me to the darkest ideas, that life without me maybe would be better for everyone because I am ussles and not worthy. From the worst scenarios  saved me the thought, that if I run in this life and end it, I will have to face this in another life and then it would be even harder. I did not finish study, I quited just before my diploma and this was also a big disappointment for me.

I was alwasy in between feeling quite good and having extremly hard periods. A lot of the time I spent all the money I had. The more I had the more I would have spent it. My brain did not work properly, I had no control over myself, I just wanted to gambel back everything that I have lost. When I lost all my money I was feeling upset, I was cursing everything and everyone. I cried and I swore to myself that  this is the last time and that I had to stop this and get sober. I was shivering down my whole body and was asking myself, why me, why can not I do the right thing. What am I doing wrong? It was cristal clear to me that this is not right and all this is not going in the right direction. But the extreme hunger of winning and desire was too strong. I tryed to quit by many methods. I have had a few good periods of teetotalism. Sometimes it lasted for few weeks, sometimes a month or two but everytime I realized how much money I have lost, it always pulled me back. It is ironic that the longer the period of teetotalism was, the stronger was desire to get back betting, back to feelings of adrenaline and exiting activities. The bigger amount of money, the more intensive were feelings of guilt, anger, desperation, anxiety and deppresion. I did not know how to fight these emotions. The only way out that I saw was to borrow more money, get more loans and bet higher amounts of money, because I had bigger debts. A lot of times it seemd really good, I have transfered several thousunds of euros to my account in one night (I prefered online gambling as all you need is a credit card, internet and money and you can play any time and place you want), but at the end of a week or for at least at the end of every month I needed new plan, because I lost all my money again. I was struggling from every months salary. This is a vicious circle that it is very difficult to escape.

I lied to myself so passionately that I believed myself everything. I lied to all the people that mean something to me and that I love. I suffered because I was cheating and manipulating those who I trusted to and even more sadly, to those who trusted me. Addiction totally changed me. I lost connection with the real world. I have a good job,  that I did keep somehow. Probbably because of friendlyness of my bosses and because of my good histroy in company. In my opinion, I am a very good and hardworking employee, and at the end that saved my job. I am very,very grateful for this. I had very turbolent times, my motivation was very low, my emotions were numbed, I became sloppy and selfish. I was very negative. The more  stressful the situation, the easyer was for me to run away in virtual world. The world of online gambling was my shield from the real world and my responsibilities.

After five years I fell for the first time. I was feeling deperate and without a solution. I had to tell about my problems to my girlfriend and my family. I have found a help at psychotherapist and anonnymous gamblers. Slowly I started seeing some progress; I was talking about my problems and learning how to deal with them. My relationship started to grow, I felt more confident, I accepted new mindset and saw things clearlier now. I was making a huge progress with talks, but I was not aware of it yet. I had to rethink my beliefs and reevaluate my world. But deep inside, in my heart, I did not trust myself, I was not ready to get rid of addiction forever. I was not aware of how serious the situation is. I was still wearing a mask, I have admited a lot of things to me, but not all of them. After 10 months I was healed (at least I thought so). Slowly I stopped visiting my psychotherapist and club of annonymus gamlers. A thougt slowly creeped back in my mind, telling me that I am stronger now, I can try it, just for fun, just a few euros, I can afford this. And then it just happend, I ended teetotalism. After few weeks I was back in my gambling shape and after few months I had to take new credit and then again, and again, more money, bigger stakes and new loans. When I have reached the point, that I have spent all possibilities of crediting, of new limits, when I satrted to borrow money from people from whom I would never thought of even in my dreams and when I had debts worth of wounderful flat or a house, then I realised that after 8 years of living like this, it has to come to an end. I was aware that my gamling addiction has beaten and conquered me. I had no power over it. I knew that if I continue like that, it will destroy me. I was at the bottom of the Ocean. I still did not make a choice to quit, because I did not have a power to do it.  My position forced me to do the rigth thing. 

Huge debts, more and more lies and manipulations were starting to kill me. I spent unbelievable amounts of energie and time on hiding everything and running away. I felt that if my family realises that I have fallen back into gambling, my world will collaps and I thought that that would destroy me. So I learned to live with big preassures, my pathological lying and deceptions, my aimlessly wandering, suffering because of frustrations, living pointless life and my illusions of how do I look and where do I belong  as a member of this society will collaps.  And luckily, they did.