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How I became addicted to the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on CNN Vital Signs – 12/07/2015 – By:

151120160626-kate-seselja-medium-plus-169When I came out recently about my gambling past, one of the most common responses I got from people is, “you don’t look like a gambling addict!”

What does that even mean? What does a gambling addict look like? Well, in my case a gambling addict looks like a 36-year-old mother of six.

I guess from an early age I had a fascination with winning money and I thought that it was somehow the answer to life’s struggles. I would hear family members talking about lotto, I would get “Scratchies” (lottery scratch cards) in birthday cards and of course, if we ever went to a club I would walk past the “Pokies” (slot machines) and think “Wow! I would love to be able to play them!”

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When I was 23, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder

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When I was 23, I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This was after years of struggling with my moods, swinging from days of manic behaviour to even longer periods of depression. Like many people struggling with a mental illness, I tried to self medicate – in my case, with alcohol.

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My daughter was an alcoholic.

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I think I was in denial for the longest time. There was no way that my daughter was an alcoholic.

At first, I thought Michelle was just being a typical teenager, drinking with friends whenever they could get their hands on some liquor. I didn’t like that she drank but I couldn’t get really mad at her. After all, I think we’ve all done it at that age.
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What price would you put on sobriety?

Before you answer, let’s think about what it costs to continue abusing alcohol or drugs. Even a moderate alcoholic or drug user can spend thousands of dollars a year feeding their addiction. The spending often increases as the addict becomes more susceptible to moderate doses, requiring more to feel the rush, or satisfaction of the substance. If you’re honest with yourself and do the math, you’ll see how all those trips to the liquor store or your dealer quickly add up.

And that’s just the beginning.

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I was terrified of living sober but I was even more terrified of not living at all

I remember the first time I tried heroin. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket and letting all the cares of the world – all my anxiety and worries – just float away. It was like nothing I had ever felt before and I loved it. Eventually, the high faded and I was shoved back into the world but it wasn’t long before I wanted to do it again. Read More …

I don’t like it when my mom drinks

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I don’t like it when my mom drinks. It’s like she becomes a different person. Like she’s not my mom anymore.

Mom and Dad came to my Christmas concert last week and I know she was drunk. It was really embarrassing watching her knock chairs around as she struggled to get to her seat. After the concert, she was talking to my friends’ parents and I could hear her slurring her words. I could also smell the booze on her. I’m sure people could tell but they didn’t say anything. She probably would have lied if they asked her.
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Every year, I tell myself: this time will be different…

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Every year, I tell myself: this time will be different… This time, I’m not going to drink too much at the office Christmas party.

It’s not like I set out to get drunk. Honestly, I plan on just having a good time and letting off a little steam.

It probably doesn’t help that I need a few drinks at home just to loosen up. I know I’m not the only one. After all, you have to prime the pump, right? Maybe others don’t drink a pint of vodka or a bottle of wine to do it but I don’t see the point of stopping when there’s only a couple drinks left in the bottle.
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I didn’t always hate the holidays

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I didn’t always hate the holidays…

When my husband Greg and I first got married, the holidays were fun. We could spend the entire time going from party to party, visiting friends and family and having a festive time. He was one of those guys who could keep a party going all by himself and be the center of attention. In all honesty, it was fun. I didn’t even mind that he’d drive us home afterward – half cut, radio blaring and a window cracked to keep him alert. Sometimes, there’d even be ‘one for the road’ sitting in the cup holder. Read More …

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