eventually the hobby became too expensive to continue.
You ought to check out some open source projects and tools. There is a ton of information on the internet that'll teach you programming. The first language I learned was C. You can download gcc (the gnu compiler collection) which is free software and includes a C compiler among many other things.
For simple things, you can literally write a main function and a few lines of code in a text file with the extension .c and then run gcc on it to create a program.
Like others have said, once you realize how to think like a programmer, you can learn any programming language. Programming languages are far simpler to learn than natural languages, due to a lack of ambiguity, dialects, customs or neologisms.