Long post but a few takeaways at the end.Hey all I used to post a lot in the spring of 2020 but stopped in the summer because I started to relapse then quit again and was too tired to write about it and because once I found out I was pregnant that really became my focus. I thought I’d do an update post.I have always been a casino and bingo gambler. I wanted to quit in 2020 and had been trying. I went on a 5 day work trip at the beginning of March and realized how bad my issue was as it was a big deal to me I could not gamble for 5 days. I tried to use that as a stepping stone but I did gamble a bit when I got back. Then just a few weeks later covid closed everything and I used that as my true quitting beginning.Things were great for 4 or 5 months. I will always look back at March, April, and May of 2020 fondly. I was sad to give up certain things and events due to covid but I loved not gambling and focusing sooo much on my well being (the extra time as work from home and no social plans). I also used the pause on student loan payments and interesr to get ahead budget wise and take some time to not be triggered by financial stress.In the summer I was laid off. Technically I’d been laid off since March from my part time job that I took to help pay debt but that was okay. Getting laid off from my full time job was a first for me. I went on CERB (Canadian covid benefit) and tried to enjoy my summer off, which I found out part way through was my first trimester, with home projects and outdoor friend visits.In the summer I had my first relapse. It was unexpected. I had self excluded from the casino and didn’t follow updates of when it reopenned but I was driving and stopped at a “charitable gaming place” which is where bingo happens- it has slot machines in the back that they call “spinning reel games”. I went back a few times to chase my losses, made it worse, then stopped. I had a mini version of life with gambling- the loss, the stress, and I didn’t like it. I stopped again because of that and also because in the fall my area finally started to get a few covid cases again. (We have had very little)In the fall and winter I was somewhat quit. I also was able to work both a full time job and part time side hustle for awhile as I felt so great in second trimester and that helped. But I was still doing things like getting occasional scratch tickets or buying 50/50 tickets for local charities I support more than I should. I was aware and trying to watch that and not to do too much but I still knew I wasn’t actively sober from it.Last week I had a big relapse. I gambled online which has never been my thing. I went up then lost it. Tale as old at time. Again, had to self exclude on the Take A Break page. I think this happened from the stress of knowing baby and mat leave are coming. Despite being happy and healthy overall, knowing I won’t have any control of my income for 8-9 months when I’m off (not taking a full year as sharing with husband) gets to me.Anyway, this is super long but here are my takeaways: 1)any time I spent sober from gambling did help me to rebuild routines and remember who I truly am- my personality and goals and priorities. This made it easier to get out when I did relapse after.2) I will always be triggered by finances. The better I am doing financially (less stressed) the less likely I am to gamble. Being aware of my finances and budget is the only way for me to be okay. Having a second income/ side hustle really does help me to not gamble as it makes me feel in control.3) I can never online gamble ever again. I never let it in my house before and I definitely never can again now that I’ll be a tired mom at home soon.4) prioritizing my self care and mental health sounds cheesy but is worth it

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