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How to Stop Smoking,
(Though Not Recommended)

Last week, as the Power Ball Jackpot reached $340 million, I witnessed something that broke my heart. I was standing in line at a convenience store I saw a couple who obviously were very poor. Their clothes were ragged, their shoes were dirty and had holes in them, their hair was all messed up and they gave off an odor. Their conversation went something like this; "Well, it all comes down to this – do you want cigarettes or lottery tickets" They chose $20 worth of lottery tickets and decided to quit smoking, at least until they could save up enough- money to buy them again. As I listened to them, I wanted to give them some financial advice. But, then I started thinking about all of the other things people give up just so they cam gamble on a lottery ticket. The Gamblers Anonymous website has the following questions to help determine if you have a problem with gambling:

1. Have you ever lost time from work or school due to gambling?
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
3. Has gambling affected your reputation?
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
6. Has gambling caused a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9. Have you often gambled until your last dollar was gone?
10. Have your ever borrowed to finance your gambling?
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12. Are you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
13. Has gambling made you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14. Have you ever gambled longer than you had planned?
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
17. Does gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19. Have you ever had an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. How about you? Do you need to quit smoking? Gambling? Drinking? ETC.?

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward