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In Search of Balance

Excerpts from NATI's Educational Kit, In Search of Balance.


"I always said I couldn't wait until the kids were gone and I'd have no responsibilities. Just the opposite happened. I was miserable. I had no purpose or identity. My whole life had been my kids. With them gone, I had no reason or desire to stay home. I escaped into gambling. For two years, I gambled almost every night after work, sometimes until the next morning. Even when I wasn't physically gambling, I was gambling in my head. I was proud of having been able to take care of my kids, my house, and my friends. After two years of gambling, they were all gone."

- Mary S.
Recovering Pathological Gambler

"Lying: that's the worst part of this addiction. Married almost 44 years, I was willing to throw everything away for a shot at the 'big bucks.' When I was gambling, I was in a dream world. Boy, did I feel important! I certainly couldn't admit to anyone that I'd lost control of my life."

- J.M.
Recovering Pathological Gambler

"We need to continue to do the things that fill us, and so many things like addictions of any kind don't fill us. They rob us. They're empty - so why should I waste my time like that?"

- Lorraine S.

The Senior Gambler Often Feels...

Inadequate - "I am not worthy..." A sense of inadequacy results in feelings of unworthiness. Despite their rather impulsive style, compulsive gamblers tend to be extreme perfectionists in terms of expectations of themselves.

Unlovable - "I can't love me until I perform up to your or my standards." Compulsive gamblers end up feeling that their unworthiness and inadequacy makes them unlovable. Gamblers remain extremely dependant on others for a sense of validity, yet frequently choose people who do not offer that. Winning money while gambling offers the validation they are seeking.

Unimportant - "Whatever I do is never good enough." The compulsive gambler's sense of unimportance is further expressed by whatever I do, it's never good enough to please those around them.

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