I did something really stupid a few days back, I bought a lottery ticket. What’s the big deal, right? I can’t gamble. Just like I can’t smoke, or drink. Porn isn’t much of a friend either and sugar is way more trouble than it’s worth.
See the rearview mirror? That’s where the lottery goes in my world. I want the lottery to be in the rearview mirror and faded away. I placed it there a couple months ago. It’s not easy getting to the place where I can decide to shelve a bad habit. But I did.
The way it works is I sit down and write about the situation. With the lottery the situation is I try and try again determined to win. On some days I almost blend in with normal people who might spend a buck or two and leave it at that. Sometimes I manage to skip a day, but other days I play different combinations of numbers with tenacity thinking I can win. Just one win.
In fact I just won Powerball. I won $12. I lost on the Daily Number. I lost on Mass Cash. I lost on scratch tickets. I lost on Keno. I spent over a hundred dollars trying to win the lottery today. I’m chasing bad money with good hoping to win back some of “my” money.
My desire to win fuels the lottery machine.
First of all, I’m not surrendering here. I’m not saying this is hopeless and I have no power over this desire. I do. It just takes a lot of effort to enforce. Once I make the decision to not gamble I have to back it up. I get to the decision point by writing my thoughts.
Here’s my thought process. I’ve tried many, many, many times to win the lottery. Whenever I win it only intensifies my desire to win more. The more I want to win, the more I play. The more I play, the more I lose.
I’ve lost over $2,000 in one day playing the lottery.
How is that even possible you wonder? Playing keno.
The day before I played five numbers for a dollar. That pays $450 with a 1 in 1,550 chance of winning. I played the same number five times, a dollar each. And won. Total payout $450 x5 which is $2,250 in cash. Big wad of cash in my pocket. I love wads of cash.
The next day I stopped by the keno parlor. This time I decided to play three numbers. If you put $20 on three numbers you win $500. I played $40. I wanted to win $1,000. Turns out, the luck from the day before had dried up. How hard can it be to hit three numbers? I’ve done it before, Quick $500 many times.
I played and played and played and played. Hours went by. I was determined to hit it.
That’s how I lost $2,000 in one day playing keno.
I go in and out with Keno.
I’ve been out of the keno loop for about two months. A couple of weeks ago I decided to play Mega Millions and Powerball. Bad idea.
When I play any lottery game it always starts with an urge to “test my luck.” Since then I’ve had several days where I’ve lost over $100.
Making a decision.
I sat down with my journal and worked through my thought process. I know that my reasoning is one win is all I need. I catch my thoughts and I question them. Even the ultimate wish, to win the biggest jackpot of all. Do I really want that? Can I let that desire go? How many people have won the lottery and are more miserable than before they won?
You can’t lose if you don’t play.
That’s my mantra. Think about it. Want to win the lottery? Don’t play. The hardest part is to get one day down, then two… then whatever day you’re on. I’m getting enough experience with this that I can make myself busy enough to get past a day. The cravings can be persuasive and tenacious but give in and it’s always the same result, wasted time and money. The lottery wastes not only your money, but also your time which is just as valuable, if not more so.
Skip the middleman. Why do I play the lottery? This is a new thought, a new realization, a profound revelation. I play the lottery to solve my problems.
A sane person will read that and realize what a fool I am.
I’m playing the lottery thinking maybe I’ll win and mitigate some of my losses. Maybe I’ll win a jackpot and pay some bills. Maybe I’ll win and buy something I’d like to have. Maybe I’ll win and make some money.
This is almost painful to write. It’s embarrassing. I’m trying to make money playing the lottery. It’s so sad and pitiful it’s funny. I’m actually smiling as I write this. Chuckling actually. I am such a fool. George Costanza has nothing on me. “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Skip the middleman.
The lottery is not going to solve my problems. It costs a fortune to try. After a session, all you can do is another hopeless session. On those rare, rare occasions where you actually do win something, yes it happens, it’s never enough.
I’ve decided to solve my problems. That’s why I’m playing the lottery. I want to solve my problems. Now it’s just getting pitiful.
So here I am, the wee wee hours of Sunday morning. It’s almost five a.m. on daylight savings time spring ahead day and I’ve decided to get right back on the wagon. I call it the wagon. On the wagon I don’t go into convenience stores. There’s nothing in a convenience store I want or need.
Sunday 3/11/2018 is day one.
I’ve been here before. I’ve actually gone a couple years or so without playing the lottery. It’s like when I quit smoking. I didn’t quit smoking one time. I had to quit again and again until I finally decided once and for all to put it in the rearview mirror and leave it there.
I quit smoking thirty years ago. How? I got really clear about what I wanted. I wanted to be a non smoker more than I wanted to be a smoker. I made a decision and I stuck with it one day at a time. Moment by moment through the day. The cravings were intense and incessant. But each time the urge was denied the intensity decreased and the length between urges increased. Now, thirty years later the thought of smoking is so far in the rearview mirror I rarely think about it.
Smoking pot was faded into the past the same way, long ago and far away. Drinking? Same thing.
In the same way I can’t smoke just one cigarette, I can’t place just one bet. I can’t “try my luck.” Gambling is so toxic that if I place a bet it activates an insidious process that begins attacking all of my habits. I hate toxic habits. Gambling is super toxic.
That’s all I’m going to write about this for now. I’ll come back here later or tomorrow and as the days roll on to update on where I’m at.
I hope that I’m getting good enough with the process of establishing clarity, getting past one day at a time, moment by moment that I can power through this downturn and put this away for good.
I’ll keep you posted.