9 Days Near My Favorite Casinos

Apr 7, 2015 by


I returned to Phoenix knowing that I would be in numerous emotional situations. My husband’s niece was getting married and there would be a fair amount of his family in town for the event. Including his ex wife. I considered not going. In fact, I leaned toward it. My husband asked me to go for him so I chose to make it work.

I hadn’t really thought through the fact that my favorite casinos would be there to catch me if I fell. They used to be my companions when I was feeling down in the desert. Even though I love Arizona it brings up many emotions of failure and loss for me. I’m still not great at allowing myself to enjoy something either. The combination of the two was usually a cocktail too powerful to deny. 

This time I didn’t even think about it before I went. That’s a good indicator of where my life is now. My mind was on other things. I was focused on the challenges of family and my role as a wife. I was imagining the different places I’d like to visit because I have missed them. I was getting excited about just being in a place I adore.

Midway through our vacation my husband had to leave for a business trip. I had a car, a checking account and time on my hands.

You just never know where your triggers are going to come from.

It would be easy to assume that I thought about the casino because I was free. Actually, I thought about the it because I went to the Botanical Garden. That even surprised me! 

What on earth does a Garden have to do with gambling?

Through the years I have learned to take a look at my feelings. I try to embrace them and really work on learning what they have to show me.

That’s when it hit me.

The ATM I used to go to in desperation is just down the street. 

Desperation – you know that feeble attempt to get out of the casino (maybe I can get it together and not have to go back inside) or save on ATM fees (I lost enough in the casino I didn’t need to give them any more from getting cash out).

It made me cringe thinking about it! Oh, the things I could do now with that money!

It also made me realize how far I’ve come. 

How did I see that?

I wanted to enjoy that Garden! 

Gambling doesn’t have the same hold on me that it used to. Through the years in my recovery I have gambled and it hasn’t always gone so well. It has, however, always been a fantastic learning experience. I very intentionally worked to replace the home gambling had in my heart. I replaced the power it had over me.

[I’m definitely not saying that this is the path you should take. I have a healthy respect for gambling remembering where I came from. I realize that dabbling isn’t for everyone. You know what you can handle…or not.]

There were plenty of other times during the week that I could have run to escape. Instead of misery I chose to go hiking, check out parks, a Renaissance fair and Plexus headquarters (a company I love), just to name a few. One day I even went for a 2 hour massage (ahhh).

I have so much life to live. I choose to do better things with my time now.

You may be in a situation where gambling seems to be taking your pain away. In reality we know that it’s actually making it worse. You may be getting a rush or using it to find your socialization.

I offer my story to you – doing things that help you and that make you feel good can seem pretty foreign to you at first. You may not even feel like you deserve a better life. I didn’t think I was worthy of much at all. As time goes on I continue to work on allowing myself joy. It may start small at first but it grows when you continue to nurture it.

Please hear me when I tell you that you are worth the good life. The world needs the passions and talents you have. You’re not alone and I know you can do it!

Be Blessed,


P.S. I didn’t even set foot in a casino while I was in Arizona. My how times have changed!

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  1. Pam

    Hi Kim – I am so proud of you!!! I have a huge challenge coming up at the end of June. My children know how much I love to gamble, so they thought they were doing a nice thing by planning a family trip to Las Vegas as a Christmas gift for my husband and me. They are going with us, along with some of their friends. I’ve never stopped gambling after many years of financial loss, but I have cut back quite a bit. I’m not looking forward to this trip, but I can’t hurt their feelings. I do plan to do other things besides gamble – my fear is having so much temptation around me. My 29 year old daughter loves to gamble as well (I should never have brought her to a casino) so she has free nights at the Flamingo. I wish I were as strong as you are! Again, I’m VERY proud of you. Take care my friend. You are an inspiration to us all. Pam M

    • Pam,
      I hear you saying that you aren’t looking forward to your trip. I think that is having a healthy respect for yourself! Truth be told we know there isn’t an easy fix. I could suggest you plan a pretty tight schedule, or tell you to open yourself to the beautiful playground (Red Rocks are gorgeous, so much shopping, cheap, safe reflexology, etc). Of course you know that you could set up account blocks or leave your cards behind. It probably wouldn’t be worth it to expose yourself to the objections of family if you didn’t join in the “fun”. I wanted to look normal so I would gamble with my father in law and when he was ready to go do something else I told him I’d meet him later. Just a few more minutes. I knew that I couldn’t stop once I got started (until I ran out of money, of course).
      So, all that being said, and knowing that you are probably really well aware of all of that, I have a bizarre suggestion that I’m pretty sure helped me. I have been learning about how our guts effect our immune system and our health overall. It’s actually called our second brain. It’s a direct path for the neurotransmitter serotonin to enter our system. Serotonin is commonly thought to be a main contributor to feeling of well being and happiness. I could go on forever so I will leave it at this: a few months ago I started taking a regimen that is specifically meant to improve my gut health. Not wanting to play isn’t normal for me, but neither are the results I’ve been experiencing. I wonder if it could do the same for you?
      And thanks for you kind compliments. We are in this together!

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