Comment: The high expectations of an addict

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HIGH expectations of life can motivate people to work harder and even sacrifice initial desires for longer term lifestyle improvements.

My experiences as a compulsive gambler, and also as a person who is involved with other compulsive gamblers, has suggested that many obsessive gamblers lose their ambition to achieve through hard work once they become emotionally dependent on the excitement created by their particular mode of gambling.

With this dependency comes a new inability to see their high expectations of themselves coming to fruition through their various other talents. Working overtime is no longer an option, nor is going the extra mile to build a rapport with their workmates or colleagues. Interests and hobbies also become of secondary importance to their gambling.

The excitement they feel when gambling is such that over a period of time it becomes all encompassing. When I picked up my first big win it triggered the irrational response that it was so easy, I can do it again and again and if I keep trying I will hit the big win that will catapult me into the big time and all my expectations of life will be met.

The trouble with that perception is obvious to those who do not suffer from a compulsive mind, by putting all my eggs in one basket I became more and more committed to gambling my way to success.

Addiction and compulsion are insidious, the compulsive individual can not see the point at which he/she has crossed the line, no longer can they control it and it now controls them.

If you can see your life following the same path, it is not too late to change

If you identify with this and would like to seek help you can find information and helplines on the internet. By entering sources of help for compulsive gamblers/other related addictions and compulsions; you will be directed to supportive sites such as Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.

You can also call me, if you think I can help, on 07799041865. If I am not available at the time, please text gambling problems and I will get back to you as possible.

All conversations will be strictly confidential.

> Stephen Gardiner is a recovering compulsive gambler with four years abstinence from gambling.

Stephen became addicted when he was about 21 years old and very quickly became perceived as a hopeless case.

He entered a rehab clinic aged 43 and exited a changed man. As a result of the help he received he now has a diploma in counselling and the experience and skills to help others recover.

He blogs for the Citizen as The Reformed Gambler.