Perspective Threw Me Off Track

Feb 1, 2011 by

I have a confession. In the last post on perspective I wrote about a childhood friend, Joanna, who had recently lost her husband. As I was putting the finishing touches on the post I was reflecting on her loss and the pain her children must be going through. I couldn’t imagine losing a spouse so early in life. What would she do? What would she tell her children?

Then I heard about a news article written on the death. My friend had been arrested for murder.

How could this happen?

I began questioning what’s real. One minute our friends were asking for help with meals to get Joanna through this terrible period in life. The next minute they had turned their backs and were saying how she was always so selfish and crazy. They all of a sudden weren’t surprised that she would kill her husband.

My head was spinning. How could people turn so quickly? Joanna is still human. She is still our sister. She’s clearly disturbed and needing help (and jail time). Where did everybody go when she really needs them?

This abandonment really hit me hard. I went into reflection for a few weeks. I don’t condone murder. She committed an¬†unforgivable¬†act. Period.

What about helping people when they are down?

When I was struggling with my gambling addiction I wanted people to stay by my side. I needed them to hold my hand and help me through the mess I had created. Even if it was just to share that they still love me no matter what. I needed to know that I was still ok even though I had screwed things up so badly. That made all the difference to me.

To this day there are people who look down their nose at me for my addiction. Are they upset that I’m airing my dirty laundry? Maybe they are afraid that I’m embarrassing myself. I wonder if it gets too close to their own lives and they just aren’t ready to deal with it.

In any case, they wash their hands of me. They won’t talk about my struggles. They won’t talk about my triumphs. They don’t acknowledge the positive impact I’m making by sharing my experiences with others and making sure they know that they aren’t alone.

What do they know anyway?

I will not abandon you, no matter where you are in your journey.

GA teaches that if you don’t quit all forms of gambling then you are considered a failure. You have to start your “clean” time all over again. I hated the way I felt when I had to go into a meeting saying that I only had a day of time because I had played video poker that morning. I felt worse than I did to begin with and, quite frankly, I acquired a f-it attitude. I figured I had already screwed it up anyway, so I may as well go even bigger. Of course, with this attitude, my losses became even bigger too.

From these meetings I gained quite the perspective and I made myself a promise:

When I was doing better and someone came to me for help I would not turn my back on them. I will accept you where you are.

I don’t care that you’ve played when you’re trying to quit. If you quit cold turkey more power to you, but that was NOT my experience or the folks close to me. I know I used to quit all the time before I got a grip on my gambling. I accept you as a human being who is asking for help. I am here when you’re ready to move forward in your life. I’m here to help you find out what happened and what you can do differently…or not. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line, even if it’s just to say hello. You don’t have to do this alone.

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