Sunday, June 26, 2005

Day 952 - Still Making Difficult Choices

Hello All,

First I would like to take a quick moment and thank all the nice e-mails and comments from you regarding my post of a couple of days ago regarding my lack of "personal journaling" here of late. It does have an impact. Thanks.

So, I am one the oldest of six brothers in my family. This weekend one of them got married. The wedding took place in Boston, MA and of course I live in San Diego, CA. Attending would realistically mean taking almost a week off from work, and the cost of a plane ticket, hotel, and food for a few days. Probably about a thousand dollars.

Thankfully, I actually have this kind of money in the bank now. Since I placed my last bet 2 1/2 years ago things of course get better all the time financially. I mean when I am not spending my very last dollar at the blackjack table thinking I was "going to come back" and then "leave when I got back up", money problems are lessened. I also somehow actually have a few thousands dollars worth of credit cards available to me again with ZERO balances on them. I live pretty much cash in hand type of life these days. I still am amazed that I can go from homeless shelter to having credit again in the time it took...about a year before I got my first one, and then 6 months later another even bigger one.

BUT, the cash in the bank is there for emergencies, and I already owe enough money so I try not to use my cards except for gas etc. and then I pay them every month. Also, even though money problems are lessened now, I still owe A LOT of money to people.

Hence my dilemma about my brother's wedding. This would have been the first time in approximately 10 years that all six boys would have been in the same place at the same time, something VERY important to my mother. Also, one of the things about not gambling anymore is that I am INVITED to these family functions again. For a long time they could have cared less where I was. After all, they were tired of the lying and stealing I was doing back then.

So, in the end I had to weigh several factors. In the mix was that when I don't work I don't get commissions. I make most of my money off those commissions, so the cost of the trip itself would have then had lost wages on top of it. Also, I am committed to spending about $400.00 this fall for my attendance at the National Gamblers Anonymous Conference in October (details on the right by the way!). I justify this by the realization that if I don't make my recovery priority number one, NONE of the other stuff matters because at some point I will go back to gambling. That is what a compulsive gambler does when one gets complacent. So, the money is a good investment, even for those I still owe. It makes it more likely they will see there money at some point.

In the end I decided I could not afford to go to the wedding. I did send a gift, and I spoke to my brother and bride on the phone. Not ideal, but I think the family understands.

I hope so at least.