Month: November 2018

Gambling Today

As I write this the government review that was expected to reduce stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2 will now take effect in October 2019 not 2018. In that extra year £1.8bn will be lost on these machines and at least two more people, every single day, will commit suicide because of gambling-related problems.

So FOBTs create vast profits for the Gambling industry and it doesn’t take Einstein to see why they do not want this money machine to end. Yet the gamblers are real people, flesh and blood, that can be losing thousands of pounds a time playing on the ‘crack cocaine’ of betting machines. Terrifyingly it is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.

These Fixed Odds Betting machines were clearly designed to create addiction and reap huge rewards for the betting industry without a second thought for the consequences to those that become addicted. The lives for the addict, their loved ones, colleagues, families, all affected in the most devastating ways. Debt, Fear, relationship breakdowns, antisocial behaviour and suicide are often products of this industrial greed and disregard for human life.

Online gambling is now how most people gamble. Bombarded with adverts all day on the TV. Laptops, tablets and phones. Supposedly harmless Bingo through to Roulette and ‘exclusive’ sites that want your money just like the others. As soon as you look at anything that is Gambling related on line you will receive regular adverts, flashing lights and images trying to seduce you into the next site often with free stake money incentives included.

This is not a battle that is easily won. Addiction is not breakable through logic alone. As an example of this there are still doctors and nurses working on cancer wards that smoke cigarettes even though they are surrounded by the heartbreaking consequences of others doing just that. We cannot logic ourselves out of addiction we must retrain our subconscious mind to think differently and being tempted daily at every turn by the very thing that is causing you such pain is not making any of this easier.

I am often told that on days where the will to stop gambling is strongest a person will contact the sites that they are members of and explain why they want to be locked out / barred, only for more to jump up to tempt them in yet again. This can be a constant process and takes strength and courage and resolve to persevere, exactly what people with addictions don’t have at the start of their journeys to break free of them.

This is all cold, calm and calculated marketing, playing on the vulnerabilities of people that need support and a way out of their gambling issues. This is highly manipulative tactics by the companies and organisations that gain from this pitiful situation. To deal drugs is illegal, to deal Fixed Odds Betting Machines and advertise Gambling sites boldly everywhere is not.

Working with one of my clients a few years ago we discovered together the root of his addiction to gambling. As a very young teen his mother and father had brought him along to the pub every Saturday and Sunday lunchtime and way into each afternoon. He was bored stiff and out would come money for the Fruit Machines to keep him busy and amused while they sat with their friends drinking and smoking. He learnt to see the machine as his friend, the only one he had in that situation. He learnt to win by understanding how it functioned and felt clever and proud of himself for his financial reward and flashing lights and victory sounds. When he lost he just got more money from his parents. By the time I started working with him he was losing his wife and son and his home through gambling. He was hugely in debt and I was his ‘last resort’. Together we worked on his perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and myths around gambling and he stopped. He stopped just in time to start to rebuild his family and his life.

There is always hope of a better future. You CAN stop gambling and you CAN live a better, brighter life. First you have to see the pain that it has caused you and others, start to wake up to where you are and want to make the changes to how you think, dropping the old and unwanted myths of your mind that have kept you addicted.

Sheep or Eagle?

A sheep follows the flock, is full of fear, has no unique thoughts, only ones of survival. An eagle is full of confidence and self belief. It flies high above the storm, thinks for itself, trusts its wings to hold it in the sky, has no fear. So which are you?

Albert Einstein said: ‘In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep’.

I’ve worked with business owners that know their whole team are using drugs to get through their working day, to meet expectations, to compete with their peers. Young teams that self prescribe drugs to keep them keen, on their game, buzzing, eager to succeed. I’ve recently been told by one very successful business man that their Sales Team are the only team in the whole company that are not randomly drug tested as ‘there would be no one left in it if we did’. You probably recognise this scenario. I’ve also heard more than once of managers kicking away the chairs of their team and, until they have met the days sales target, they cannot sit down. Stress, Stress, STRESS and the driver of all negative emotions: Fear. So are you fearful of failing, losing face, not keeping up? Take your ego out of the equation and see that you are lacking Self-Love.

Why, if it is now perfectly normal to use drugs to help you succeed at work, is that OK? Why is that normal and accepted and almost part of the job role? ‘Because everyone else is doing it’ doesn’t wash. ‘Because everyone else is doing it’ is what a sheep would say if they could talk. ‘Because everyone else is doing it’ is the saddest thing I can think of as a response. Because we are NOT sheep. We are unique, awesome individuals all with our own skills and talents and potential. We are all full to bursting with unlimited power to be and do anything we choose. The drugs that you believe keep you sharp have side effects that you are aware of. Worth it? The drugs that keep you ‘on the top of your game’ take their toll and eventually destroy you, mind, body and soul.

We are all here to live and experience and be super proactive in our own days, weeks, months, years. We are all here with our own personalities, thoughts, beliefs, actions, gifts and desires. We are all awesome in our own way. Unique. Individual. Fascinating. So why follow the flock that walks you all into one space, shape, habit, thought, experience? Now more than ever before we are finding ourselves lacking in self belief, self love, self confidence. We can’t see that we are enough. We can’t see that there is no Perfect. We can’t trust our own wings to keep us up.

So please, if you are reading this, spend some time writing a list of things that make you who you are right now. Then look and see what needs to go. Then write a list of what makes you truly happy and start to discover who you really are. Because you are far more than you believe you are. You are far more than you have been. Now is the best day to start to become you and act, think, behave, believe and speak like you. If you need help to build self love and confidence then ask for it, it’s out there. You have the power to create change in your life. YOUR life. You are limitless and you are 100% capable of having the most wonderful life by being YOU. You are NOT a Sheep you ARE an Eagle.

Alcohol the Fake Friend

We are living in times where drinking to excess is acceptable to many. It’s almost the norm. Party people right through to one solitary person drinking at home alone. How sad it is when getting drunk is worn as a badge of honour. How deeply distressing to see this happening everywhere. A harmless few drinks with friends and the odd tipple now blown up into a full scale relationship; you and alcohol. Ultimately it’s a poison, it’s a depressant. ‘I’m fine, I’m used to it, it doesn’t affect me because I’ve built up a tolerance’. Well look again, are you really fine?

So many of us are seeing alcohol as a treat for a hard day, a long week, a tough contract to complete, a nightmare boss, dealing with the children’s tantrums etc etc etc. Wine opened, glass poured, sometime later (that time getting shorter) another glass poured. To start with you just had one or two glasses a night; a ‘reward’ for the day. Then you finished the bottle each night. Then you had two bottles. Maybe it’s Whiskey or Gin or Bourbon. Then you discovered you couldn’t stop, caught in a net you didn’t see coming.

Perhaps you hide the empties? Perhaps you hide the full bottles? Maybe you react badly to anyone pointing out your ‘problem’, your ‘over drinking’. Have you lost touch with a caring friend or relative that had the balls to talk to you straight about your self destructive drinking? Is everything falling apart as you continue to drink, unable to stop or even think about stopping? Is the fear of stopping just too much to cope with on top of the actual drinking itself?

You don’t feel ill yet so; ‘I’m fine, what’s the fuss’?

You can’t see the damage that is going on below the surface. You are not getting away with it so stop believing that you are. Your body is full of toxins, you are literally destroying yourself mind, body and spirit as these toxins do what toxins do unchecked, how fast is up to you. You’re looking older, your skin has lost it’s glow. Your eyes have stopped shining. And no one is buying the fresh smell of mints on your breath any more.

You have a 1000 reasons why you don’t want to, or need to stop, but they are all myths. You say that you can’t stop but this is a myth too. There are so many people out there to help you. Help you to find a place of freedom from alcohol, a place of freedom and peace, away from the emotion of fear. A place where you can be you again and make changes in your life to create a happier life, a happier you than before. It takes courage and the knowing that there is a better life possible…and there is.

Awareness is your first wake up call, getting your attention to see that you are not where you want to be and that numbing your pain is no longer more important than living a brighter life and allowing happiness to creep back in. If you do wake up you will begin to understand that where you are is so painful that you are willing to make changes to help yourself. There is no blame or shame, many have been where you are now and walked out of it. Your past is not your full story and you are 100% capable of ending the separation from your true self and turning fear into self love and self trust.  You can have feelings, dreams and hopes for a better day, week, year, lifetime.

You know that you will not find freedom or compassion in a bottle, how long will it be until you take control once more and start that journey home to you? Reach out. Take baby steps if you must, but start to walk out of the darkness you have found yourself in, out towards the light.