I think I'm gonna go to Gambler's Anonymous

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by dnaj65000, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Has anyone gone to GA for their trading? If so, I'd like to hear what you have to say. I'm considering about going to one of their meetings. Although the profile that they are trying to help doesn't exactly match trading, I think it might still be worthwhile to see if the program can instill discipline. In a way, my trading decisions are like those of smokers, overeaters, or gamblers. I like the instant gratification of entering a trade even when it is against my profitable system. I try to outsmart the cold hard numbers and as a result, nearly blew up my account twice. Successful, profitable, and consistent trading is about delayed gratification. It's about discipline to execute the system when it gives the signal. Although my discretionary trading is based on 6 years of experience, I still feel like it's a calculated gamble nonetheless. I'm not rich yet because I'm not a successful trader. I know what I have to do. I'm just having trouble making myself do it. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. I know exactly what you're talking about. I have the same problem although it's getting much better. I log each trade so I can go back and show myself if I violated my own rules. It's helping but it's a slow and painful process.

    It came to such a point that I feel like my mind is split into two during the trading day. I decided to write down what the "voices in my head" are saying. My impatient and self-destructive side is constantly beating up and blaming my rule-following side. Anyway, I summarized what my bad side is trying to do to my good side and wrote down what's going on. I read it every morning to remind myself about my own internal war!

    I think the only cure to this problem is to trade small and try not to blow up. If we last long enough, the pain and suffering eventually should wire the brain in the right way.

  3. Siwash



    It seems to me the whole problem is "compulsion". The solution is discipline..So where does the compulsion come from ? What emotional benefit do you get from answering the call of the compulsion, what is the root cause of the compulsion? Until you can answer this for yourself(everyone will have a different answer) you can't fix the problem, Discipline will work,but only once you can quell the compulsion. Search your motives for betraying yourself. I realize this sounds fairly esoteric.. but it is the human psyche after all.


  4. lescor


    I used to feel the same way. For about a 7 year period, my trading was very much like gambling, and deep down inside I knew it, but for whatever reason an addict keeps doing things that are harmful to himself, I kept trying to trade (and always losing money). I craved validation, being right, proving to others that I was smart, etc. Of course, this intense desire leads to covering up losses and refusing to admit defeat ("it's not a loss until you sell"!)

    I don't know exactly what sparked the turn around, the desire to succeed, the humility to admit my bad habits, a love of trading and knowing that I had to crack this nut. I knew a little about 12 step programs to deal with addictions, and I realized that following some of the same ideas was what I needed. Being honest with myself about all the things I was trying to cover up and accepting the real reasons why I wasn't succeeding.

    In Alexander Elder's book, "Trading For a Living", he talks about his experience of attending an AA meeting with a friend and being struck at how similar failing traders were to alcaholics.

    When I finally 'got it' and had put those demons out of my mind, my trading exploded and all that tuition paid to trader's university finally paid off and I've never looked back.

    So to answer your question, no I've never attended a meeting, but I think it would be a valuable experience if it can help you find out what's at the root of your failings as a trader. Seeing people with an addiction and hearing their tales might be frightening in it's similarity to your own experiences and serve as a wake up call of sorts.

    At some point the desire to succeed will overcome the desire for whatever need you are satisfying with losing trading. In ten years of working on this puzzle of trading, I'm convinced that Ed Seykota was right when he said that we all get what we want out of the market.

    Good luck
  5. You might not be a compulsive gambler. It might be that you have no trading discipline and you have not learned how to trade properly and are making bad trading decisions. Or you might really be a sick degenerate gambler.... but the only way to know is to answer these twenty questions:

    Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

    1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
    2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
    3. Did gambling affect 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. Did gambling cause 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. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
    10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
    11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
    12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
    13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
    14. Did you ever gamble 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. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
    18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
    19. Did you ever have 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?

  6. ...trading IS gambling. The only issue is whether you have a system and are a winner or trade "discretionarily" and are a loser. You don't need to change your personality at all. All you need is a winning system. I am a maniac, a drunk, and an overall addictive personality, but I could trade profitably while dead drunk and totally maniacal as long as I was conscious enough to follow my systems. Don't beat yourself up. DEVELOP A WINNING SYSTEM, and save yourself the pain of personal change. It's so much easier.

  7. ANY thoughts??? Any?

    Like you're gonna get the "answer(s)" from a few posts replying to your comments!.


    suggestion: buy Mark Douglas' book "The Disciplined Trader"!

    That's a thought!

  8. taught me a lot about myself that I am glad I did not have to learn while trading! This is all about your own psychology IMO. If you do not continuously focus on the development of your own levels of discipline you might as well pile your money up and BURN IT!

    Yes, I can remember many years of boom and bust blackjack play in Vegas and other various Indian Casino's throughout the country (1979 to 1998). Sometimes it feed me and sometimes it bled me! I learned a lot about myself and my limitations during those years...what a ride! From the "King" to the "peasant" to the "King" in 24 hours or less at times...and also the other way around. The psychological beatings I put myself through due to the overall lack of any discipline was amazing. It is such a small line to cross from no discipline to the discipline that can awe others...but to gain a foothold and cross this line is like taking Normandy Beach. We all must have our own D-Day...the day we seize Discipline and make it our new stronghold...this is a must day on the road to our Victory!

  9. Who isn't?
  10. it sounds like you've got a mechanical system that you're trading against, and i can definitely relate to your situation if i read you correctly.

    i think you're on the right track when you (or another poster) mentioned logging trades. i've benefitted greatly from keeping a P&L, and plotting actual trades against system trades. it started as a way to track slippage, but rapidly became a way to realize what i was giving away with net negative discretionary attempts to anticipate the system. if you plot both equity curves on the same graph and the effect stares you in the face every trade you book, this can be one of the most compelling arguments for delayed gratification.

    depending on the frequency of your trades, another thing that has very recently removed discretionary trades from my day completely is to use audio alerts to signal an approaching system trade, and leave the room entirely, especially once a position is taken.

    if your system trades are profitable, the only barrier for you is a mental one. you can crack it. good luck
    #10     Nov 10, 2003