gambling

Living One More Boring Day With Schizophrenia

Well, actually today wasn’t really bad at all. I am starting to get concerned about my sleep habits though. To be on the ball, I need 7 hours or so, but it seems that I am just not getting it, unless I nap. A number of people I know don’t nap, but I love doing it. There truly are times when I shouldn’t nap, but one of the main causes of my napping has to do with just not having anything interesting to do. That’s why I wanted to write this blog. Right there I have touched on a key issue. I need to be interested. I need to be stimulated. Serious problem. Let me explain.

Years ago I fell into a crowd that I would say at best was neutral, but at worst was a complete disaster. It was AA. I went to a lot of meetings. Hundreds. The worst part was that they would have the meetings at night and when you were there, the only thing you could really do was drink coffee. Soon after joining I literally became a coffee addict. I am doing a lot better now, having half of my daily beverages as tea or other stuff. Part of the problem came in after I got back from the meeting and had nothing to do. I would walk a long way, get a comic book at the book store, then go to the arcade. Still on that caffeine high, I would go home, read my comic, then watch TV until late. As long as I was going to meetings though, my landlord was happy. He did have some problems though. One of them was that he would let himself into my room when I left it locked without any notice. I told him he couldn’t do that and he replied, “It’s my house, I can do whatever I want.” This infuriates me even now, especially when a more recent caretaker was in my building and I came home one day to find him leaving my suite and locking my door. I don’t know if I would harm a person for this sort of thing, but it is entirely possible that I will consult my underground book “Revenge” one day to pay some of these people back.

To get back on track, when I was staying up all night (living on social services, not looking for work) my landlord was also my AA sponsor. It was his job to advise me and help me work the steps. I actually have a lot of respect for AA I should say here, but I had some very serious, very risk-filled problems that started with me making friends with people from AA. I love the book though, it is what the program is founded on and has a ton of wisdom. There are few books like it, one of them is “The Richest Man in Babylon” and another is The Holy Bible.

So anyhow, I was in AA for a while when I started going to Casinos. Though I didn’t really have much of a drinking problem, I didn’t want to drink any alcohol, but I saw the Casino as a place to pick up some easy money. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I think where it really started in earnest was when I watched the movie, “Casino” with Robert Deniro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. All the glamour and glitter of gambling seemed so exciting. It seemed like it would be an easy thing for a disciplined person like me to skim off a decent living working and/or hanging out in casinos. The truth was, I would go to one, play for a very long time, and often lose my shirt. That was the way it worked. I knew the odds when you play a game in the casino are only slightly in the house’s favour, but that just made me think all I had to be was a little bit lucky. The truth was that if the odds are slightly towards the house winning, over time the house will take all of your money. And I subjected myself to the torture and degradation of not being able to properly control my own money. At one time a doctor even intervened and had all of my finances taken over by a trustee.

So anyhow, I was talking about my old place and my first sponsor. When I was gambling, he noticed that whenever we got together I would get restless. I would fidget, pace around, smoke a lot. He was wise enough to see that I had accustomed myself to the excitement and adrenalin of playing casino games. What I had to do was to simply stop thinking about the casino or any of the games. This was how I quit smoking once, and how I was able to use a lot of discipline by redirecting thoughts. What I would do was when any thought of gambling came to mind, I would think of something that was more powerful, like a girl I liked naked. I even spent a lot of time journalling and deep in thought regarding money. After a lot of thinking, I realized that money really isn’t important.

As time went on though, even among my family and friends, I have come to be known as someone that likes to make money, likes to get paid for things. I am always willing to give a day’s work for a day’s pay, but I have often had opportunities to make ten days pay for an hour’s work as a writer. Still, that doesn’t mean I will give up working, even for free. But what it does mean is that I am conscious that money is needed in some aspects of a person’s life, and things like strength, courage, ethics, morals, and study are needed at others.

Where the problem comes in is when I decided to start saving and investing my money. I had been told a lot about ETF’s or exchange traded funds, which give a decent return after a year’s time, so I consulted with a friend’s dad who convinced me to buy individual stocks. I bought a few of his suggestions, and some made a little money, some lost a little money. All the while as I did this, I tried to learn a little about day trading. It seemed fairly simple. Look for a bargain, buy some shares, sell when they get a bump.

I made a few trades, and things went extremely well. I did suffer a loss of a few hundred dollars but I pulled out. I wanted to stop. It was extremely time consuming to sit and watch a stock to see if it is going to go up at all, and anxiety causing to see it go down. I realized I was triggering a lot of the same emotions and reactions from my casino days. I talked to a friend who was going to help me stop gambling but we didn’t follow through. I started checking stocks I had sold to see what they were at in the present day, and I even started doing a lot of reading in financial information. I have this theory that stock markets aren’t gambling because over time, most stocks will gain. And there are often anomalies out there that you can find if you are patient that can give significant returns with very little downside or loss of investment.

So basically Dear Readers, that is the tough nut I need to crack. A person can’t trade and let it get to him. He will be dead in months. And someone with my lack of experience shouldn’t trade so eagerly in volatile stocks. Now, as I write, it is 1:33 AM. I can’t sleep. The market opens at 7:30am and there are stocks I need to keep a close eye on. I am near the point of not really knowing what to do. It is exciting, it is fun, you really can make money, but I can’t tell you if the cost counted in quality of life is worth becoming a trader. More to come. Remember, Jesus saves, Moses invests. (forgive me Jesus, couldn’t resist).

A Little About Dreaming and Sleep Aids

DSC_0042

Well, above is another bee photo I took, this one in my kitchen.  I really like to take photos of insects, but bees especially not only because they are beautiful to me but also because bees are an extremely important part of our ecosystem.

In the news for me this week some may know I had my camera stolen.  Thanks to the fact that I have been working hard and saving I was able to replace it and with some luck I might also get some help in doing so.  I have a casual part-time job as a photographer for the City of Edmonton so it was pretty necessary that I get another one right away.  I was going to get another Nikon D3200 as I was very happy with my last one, but I found out they have been discontinued and so I spent a little extra and got a Nikon D3300 which so far seems to be a very nice camera.

As far as my mental health goes, I don’t know how much of this I should share, but I seem to have come across something that is really helping me.  I recently visited Toronto and found out that my sister’s husband takes a herbal medicine called Skullcap when he gets too far into an ‘up’ or ‘manic’ mood, and I decided to try it myself.  I have also been trying something that I got at a health food store called ‘True Calm” which has valerian and Taurine (one of the ingredients of energy drinks) among other herbal stuff in it and I occasionally take them when I need to sleep.  I have found that they calm me down, get me to sleep and seem (when I don’t take them more than one night in a row) to give me a full night’s sleep rather than just a short sleep which often leaves me feeling tired the next day.  I am very much against sleeping pills and tranquilizers, but lately I have been taking something called ‘Rivotril’ or ‘Clonazepam’ which has calmed me down but I worry it will be addictive, so I try to use it very sparingly.  It is so hard for me to sleep sometimes though, so for now I am going to keep taking it once or twice a week, alternating days with trying to sleep with no help and using the skullcap and true calm and occasionally also using melatonin.  I think the biggest difference with this new stuff I am taking is that it seems to allow me to have dreams that are much less disturbing.  I could write volumes of theories on the subconscious mind and things like delusions and dreaming, but they wouldn’t mean much because I am not qualified to speak on such matters.  I guess I will kind of sum up what I think in a few sentences, but please don’t look to me as any kind of an expert.  Basically my theory goes something like this:  I personally feel it is impossible to have more thoughts than we have had input into our brains, but many people, including myself have things like disturbing dreams and delusional thinking that seems to come from somewhere.  What I feel all of this is, is something that is taken from our subconscious mind, that huge massive 2/3 of the iceberg that we don’t see, the part that is hidden underwater.  These thoughts surface when our grip on our conscious mind is weak, but they are things we have experienced and learned but have forgotten for a number of reasons, sometimes our minds have made them unavailable to our conscious mind because they are disturbing.  Anyhow, I don’t want to get into this any further, but I would love it if anyone who regularly reads this blog could comment and start a discussion with me.  If anyone out there wanted to talk and needed a peer supporter to email, feel free to contact me at viking3082000@yahoo.com  Hope you all had a good Canadian Thanksgiving/US Columbus Day and don’t forget to scroll down to read today’s poem!

 

Growing Up

 

I was so naïve and stupid

Thinking I could beat all the odds

I just simply had to try it,

Hope I had favor from the gambling gods

 

When I look at what they turned me into

Those games of luck and skill

It means so very much something saved me

Despite my self-destructive will

 

One wouldn’t think a simple game of poker

Or the pull of the arm of a slot machine

Could destroy someone so completely

Make them into something lowly and mean

 

How old could I have been

Those all too many years ago

When that demon crawled under my skin

And possessed my very soul

 

I started with scratching tickets

Even with money that wasn’t mine

I found with each bet my beating heart would quicken

As I strayed further from the straight and narrow line

 

I went through pain, withdrawal, depression

At times I wished I could totally give in

But soon with help my resolve was newly freshened

And I learned a weakness isn’t in fact a sin

 

With a lot of work and help I recovered

Managed to set gambling aside

It scares me now the lies I told

In the name of manly pride

 

Love never seemed to find me

Back when I was pissing my life away

The need for risk and danger blinded me

And pushed family and friends away

 

So many terrible addictions

I had to overcome and more

I found precious golden freedom

When faith opened a totally new door

 

Leif Gregersen