After 8 years and over $500k, thinking of hanging myself.

RE: In 8 years, I have lost over $400k on just Pokies (slots).


Ps: English is not my first language so please excuse any grammatical and structural errors in my journal.


Today was when everything finally fell apart when my massive secret got exposed. There are 2 parts to my journal:

1) Pokies (slot machines) when I lived in Australia

2) Online gambling when I came back to Malaysia


I JUST WANT TO DIE:

I could not stop thinking about hanging myself, cutting my wrist, or jumping off a building. I would have done so if it wasn't because of my truly amazing and supportive boyfriend who has stuck by me through thick and thin. He is the only reason why I haven't harmed myself yet.


MY BACKGROUND:

Someone once told me that most gamblers have a complicated background, I am not sure about most people here, but I did grow up in an abusive (physical & emotional) and neglected environment, had multiple suicide attempts, a depressed & suicidal mother, an abusive father (who had sex and orgies with our house maids on my mom's bed), lived with my dad's first wive and her children etc etc. My dad had a history of compulsive gambling as well but he got back on his feet eventually and became a successful businessman (but remained a real jerk and womanizer). Perhaps compulsive gambling is genetic? Not trying to blame anyone here, I completely take responsibility for my own actions.


HOW IT STARTED:

It all started 8 years ago when the love of my life cheated on me and eventually left me. As you can see, there was an acute lack of love and healthy relationships in my earlier life and finding love from a partner was my whole world. I was studying and living in Australia (I'm from Singapore), and he was the only person I had there. He was pretty much my entire world. When he cheated on me and left me, my world crumbled. Seeing how depressed I was, my friends took me to a bar with Pokies Machines (Slots) and told me that it would make me feel better when I play it. As with many gamblers, I started off not very interested but my friends were playing, so I joined them. My bets were small but I kept getting big wins. These Pokies machines are designed to get you hooked, the sounds it make when you get a win, the colorful and beautiful graphics, the catchy background music etc. It was very easy to get me hooked.


PART 1: POWERFUL ADDICTION TO POKIES:

Eventually I became extremely addicted to the Pokies. Initiall I gambled to escape my pain. But this addiction persisted even after I found happiness again. During the early stage of my addiction, I always felt really happy and excited in the Pokies bar. I knew the people there, I get free food and wine, I talk to like minded sad people, great chimes and music of big wins etc. I belonged there! All the Pokies places that I went to always seem to have a very nice distinctive smell as well. The moment I walked into the bar, the smell... ahhhh... it was like drug to me. Everyday at work, I could not get my mind off pokies, I kept hearing the pokies music playing in my head, the ringing sound it makes when a free game was hit. Right after work, I would skip dinner and rush to the bar and play until they close at 4am. When I was playing, money does not seem to be money anymore but like plain paper that I kept feeding into the machine without any pinch. I felt tingling on my skin and fingertips while playing. I would play until I have lost every cent I have on me. I would come out of the bar penniless, feeling numb, emotionless, and no money for food. At 5'4", I weighed only 42 kilos at that time. I also suffered occassional memory loss during the peak of my addiction to the pokies. There's been episodes where I blew my entire fortnight's pay in 1 night, and the next day, I would go out thinking that I still have the money. I have totally forgotten that I have blew the money the night before. I heard the pokies music in my dreams, I dreamt about dramatic wins. I just could not function properly without Pokies. I lied to my friends about being late, or piking on them. I would tell them that I was caught up at work but in fact, I just couldn't remove my bum from the pokies seat.


DESTROYED RELATIONSHIP:

During the course of my addiction, I had 2 boyfriends. The 1st one could not handle my addiction and eventually left me because I was constantly broke and lying to him.


THE HANDSOME KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR:

The second one was an angel sent by God to save me. We are still together today even after he's found out that I've been gambling behind his back. He went through the disheartening discovery about 5 times. The first few times he found out, he was so sad about the lies that he teared up. He perceived it as betrayal. He described his feeling as "sick in the gut" and "heart broken". When I heard that, I swore to NEVER ever touch those devil machines again. However, the devil machinese power over me was too strong. I kept going back until the day I had to leave Australia to come back to Malaysia to help my dad in his business (another dramatic episode that I was discuss below). Actually, I had a fantastic job that pays me well, I lead a team under me, was a hard worker and was good at what I was doing. However, even after 4 years of working, I had no savings and no assets under my name. Before I met this bf (lets call him Z), my angellic sister looked after me. Housed me, gave me food, bought me clothes and gave me emotional support. She also paid off my maxed out credit card bill of over $10k, and she had not much money left after that. She's only 1 year older than me but 10 times more stable and capable than me. After I met Z, all my basic needs have been provided by him. I would have become homeless and starved to death if it wasn't because of my sister and Z. I felt that God has somehow protected me all the way by sending angels to my side to look after me.


RETURNING TO MALAYSIA TO WORK FOR DAD:

I had to leave Australia to go back to my country where my entire family is. My dad's business was not doing well, and an old employee had told me that my dad's girlfriend (my dad is 70 and she's 1/2 his age), has been stealing company's & his money in the hundreds of thousands. She has also brainwashed him into making bad business decisions that lost him millions! I saw it as an opportunity to avoid Pokies, but of course, I also wanted to come back to kick her ass.


THE DRAMAS:

The life I had at my dad's company was something out of the movies - Super Dramatic. Coming back from a developed country for 7 years and having had worked in a highly professional environment for 4 years, I experienced an extreme cultural shock at my dad's company. His girlfriend was the general manager of his company. She's 4 feet 9 inches, sounds like a man, super rude and obnoxious, treats low rank workers like dogs etc.... Her daily work schedule was: comes to work at 11am, eats breakfast while stalking people on the CCTV, starts actual work at 12pm, goes out for lunch with my dad the boss at 1pm, comes back to the office at 3pm, sometimes she goes out again for a hairdo and manicure, comes back at 3-4pm, have a nap in my dad's office, wakes up at around 5pm and sit around the office gossiping about our clients for another 30 mins, then pack up and head home at 6pm. As a general manager, she never did lead or did much work at all. All the staff under her had not much work to do either. No wonder my dad's company was going down in pear shape. Long story short, I started my investigation on her misusing, stealing and defrauding company's funds, making double or false claims on expenses, and challenging every bad business decisions she made, and chasing her constantly on project timelines. This started a war between us in the office and my dad sided and protect her over me. He constantly scolded me for giving her a hard time. You guessed it right, that triggered me to gamble again.


PART 2: $400k ONLINE GAMBLING ADDICTION

There was no pokies whatsoever in Malaysia. The only casino was up in the mountain far far away. During my first 6 months in Malaysia, I was 100% clean from gambling. I had 20k in my account and I felt fantastic. However, my desire to gamble kicked in when I was overwhelmed by the stress. I started dreaming about Pokies again but I was in good hands because I had no avenue to gamble! One day, I was looking at Facebook and on my news feed, an old friend had a status update about playing poker online. That instantly gave me an idea! I googled for the best online Casino, picked on that appealed to me, registered an account and started playing online slots. It started real small but grow exponential. I savings went to 20k to negative in no time. Over the course of 2 years, I have lost about $300k. I had a company sub-account under my name and I stole money from it to fuel my online slots addiction. I've always paid back the money I took within a few days.


I have self excluded myself when things got out of hand, but some sites, particularly the ones operated by Asians, allow you to reopen your account by just an email. I've held numerous accounts with numerous online casinos. Bet365, 888 and EuroGrand have fantastic self exclusion system as you have absolutely no way of re-opening your account during the self exclusion period. However, Asian sites like M88 and Dafa88 does not care. You can re-open your account easily, or, you can open several user accounts and they will allow that.


ONLINE CASINOS ARE FATALLY DANGEROUS:

At the peak of my addiction, I experienced physical reaction to gambling similar to those of amphetamine (has street name of Speed) that was prescribed to me to treat depression. Tingling feeling on the skin, neck, heart race, unusual excitement and fidgety. With the Pokies Machines, the maximum bet you can place per spin was $10, so there's only so much you can loose at a given amount of time. However, with online casinos, the maximum bet per spin could go up to $2k. In Australia, I was playing at 1.5 per spin and I managed to lose everything I earned. With online gambling, I was spinning at $100 per spin and within 10 minutes, I would have lost $1000. Losing 20k a night was a frequent thing. To be fair, I had huge wins as well, I once pulled out 40k after a gambling marathon of 10 hours straight. I thought I'd be jumping with joy, but I actually felt depressed even after the win. I wanted to continue playing but I was so tired and exhausted that I could play no more, so I had no choice but to cash out $40k. I did a research on why I felt depressed even after winning $40k. It has something to do with "dopamine overdose" and the feeling of emptiness once the gambling stops. So, win or lose, I still felt depressed. WTF right? That was an awakening call.... I wanted to keep the 40K and stop gambling once and for all because it doesn't make me happy anyway. HOwever, I went straight back into it the next night.


THE SITUATION NOW:

I could not pay back the $18k I took from my company's sub-account (which is under my name). I have racked up a credit card bill of 99k (it's a infinite card with 100k limit). It's my dad's subcard and I am scared to death that he or anyone in my family or company will find out. I am owing my best friend, my sister and my boyfriend a total of 100k. I am heavily in debt and my emotionally unstable, fierce and harsh mother has been spreading her suspicion about me gambling around the family,behind my back. Today, she told my younger brother to snoop on my computer to check for traces of gambling and unexpectedly, he found evidence of me gambling.


Actually, 2 days ago, I have uninstalled 3 casinos from my computer and closed ALL my gambling accounts and planning to install GameBloc (a filter that blocks out gambling sites).

I felt extremely angry at my mom for exposing me when I am trying to recover. I don't agree with her method of doing shit behind my back without talking to me face to face first.


I felt I was being stripped naked and thrown onto a street full of people. I felt extremely shameful, vulnerable, disgraced, etc etc etc and I could see a mental image of me hanging myself.


To be continued.....


Wow that is quite a story. You are right, we all have them.

First and formost please call someone-anyone. Sucide is a permatate soloution to a tempory problem. Maybe it is good in a way that your secret is out. The time to take action is now. No lies, come clean, seek treatment. Trust will have to be earned. People without the problem think we are just acting childish and stupid. To a "normal" person looking from the outside in it does seem childish and stupid but as an addict we know it runs much deeper than that.

How did you Dad get clean? Maybe he could be a good resource for you.

Please keep us updated-people here understand

bettie


Thanks for your reply Betty. The moment my mom spread her suspicions to everyone in the family, and when I hear the word "gamble" from their mouth, I really felt like dying. I know I would never do it because though, because my partner has been 110% supportive and he's gone through too much for me to lose me now. It spent some time feeling depressed and suicidal, but today, I feel stronger and better, and I want to make a decision to turn over a new leaf.


My dad lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table as well, but back in those days, there was no easy access to a casino. There was also no online casinos either The only one available in the country is up in the mountain far far away. I guess he stopped because of the lack of convenience to gamble.


I will be continuing my journal in the next session and thank you so much for listening. I'm so glad I found this place!


Hi - i just read your message and can not beleieve how much i can relate to it - in every way, even to 'why i fell so bad when i win' also when i lose i actually fell better??? i have focus, feel calm and unlike the rest of the time when i do not gamble - it is very strange and i do not understand why i feel 'opposite' than i should, then after a day or so i feel depressed again - i can not seem to find anything to replace gambling with, i have 3 children and gambling has ruined my life and my families, i could go on,

i hope you found some releieve from your situation.

thnak you.


This thread is from 2014, I'm not sure if icanbeatthis is still posting on the forums.


If you are genuinely wanting to stop gambling you might find it helpful to start your own thread in the forum.


Nobody is doomed to gambling, although I'm sure at times we've all believed that it is our destiny.


We can all change, we can all live without gambling.


Hello and thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy forums


Here at Gambling Therapy we pride ourselves on being a caring and diverse online community who can help and support you with the difficulties you’re currently facing. We understand that this might be a tough time for you, particularly if you’re new to recovery, so come here as often as you need to and participate in the forums, access online groups and connect to the live advice helpline if you need one to one support. We’re in this together!


Here on the forum you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and accepting environment. The beauty of writing it all down is that you can take your time and you will be creating a record of your progress that you can look back on if it ever feels like you’re not moving forward. So, share as much or as little as you like but do try to stick to keeping just one thread in this forum so people know where to find you if they want to be updated on your progress or share something with you.


And on that note....


I’m going to hand you over to our community because I’m sure they will have some words of wisdom for you :-)


Take care


The Gambling Therapy Team




PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our


privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!



Yesterday, I stopped my journal on THE SITUATION NOW. I went to bed feeling like the world was ending, and spent most of today feeling like shit. Embarrassed, ashamed, and constantly wondering what everyone thinks about me. I'm over 200k in debt and have absolutely no way of clearing it any time soon.


A FRESH START

"If you hate your position now, move! You're not a tree!"

"A problem that you can make go away, is not really a problem"


After having enough of black clouds around my head, inspirational words started playing in my head. I hate where I am now, and I want beat this addiction so I never have to be in this sucky terrible position again. This addiction is not a terminal decease, I can beat it, right?


I'm due to return to Australia for good next month. There hundreds of Pokies machines in Melbourne city alone. There's one pokies bar every single f**king corner. To be honest I'm really worried and scared for myself, I'm not sure if I'm able to resist the temptation of walking into one while shopping, or after a coffee with a friend.


MY STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME GAMBLING ADDICTION:


COMPLETE SELF-EXCLUSION

There is no way better than going completely cold turkey, both online and real machines. Here's what I am planning to do:

1) As soon as I touch down, I will visit ALL the pokies club and the Casino in Melbourne to apply for self-exclusion.

2) I will install the GameBloc on my computer to block myself from gambling online

3) An optional step is to apply an account with ALL the online Casinos I could possibly find, and then self-exclude myself indefinitely. But this is gonna be really difficult because there are way too many out there...


As with all addictions, I'm pretty sure that I will be suffering from withdrawal syndromes while going cold turkey, so when that happens, I will:

1) Immediately talk to my partner about it,

2) Transfer that energy to intense exercise

3) Read my first journal so I can reminded about how extremely shitty I felt.


FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY & RECOVERY :

It's all down to the money. To minimize the chances of me slipping and "accidentally" blowing my dough again, here are my plans:

1) Let my partner take full control of my finances - have a joint account and have him control it.

2) 100% of my salary and profits from my business will go into the joint account, which will be used to repay my debts.

3) My partner will give me a weekly allowance for my personal expenses.


SETTING LIFE GOALS:

In order to divert my attention away from gambling and stay focused, I need another focus in life.

1) Get fit and healthy - since I've been spending most of my life sitting on my bum gambling online, my body and fitness is completely out of shape. About time I get it back on track.


2) Get my business to where I've been wanting it to be!


3) Be able to come back to my family one day and tell them, I've made it! I have not gamble for yearsssss now and I have been running a stable and profitable business and be able to provide for the family.


4) Be able to tell my partner one day that everything he has done for me has not been in vain. He's loved me at my worst, and I will try my utmost hardest to give him the best of me. He deserves to be a happy man.


I found this here on GT very early in my recovery. It is by Marilee. Thanks M, wherever you are. You have helped so many.


It often crosses my mind that being an addict is like trying to communicate with a deaf world. You are trying and trying to say the words, but no one can hear you. It is a disease of incredible loneliness, isolation, secrecy, fear and depression. Since you don't walk with crutches, have a cast, bandages or bruises, others do not know you are sick. In the beginning, you don't know you are sick either. It may be more visible to others who notice your mood, your unhappiness, your withdrawal, than it is to you. Make no mistake - the denial of a problem is protecting the addict from a pain they are not ready to handle. With all addictions, moving from denial is a risky process. It involves putting your relationships, your self-esteem, your sanity on the line. To get from denial to acknowledgement, those who surround you need to understand this: gambling is NOT about the money. Money is only the tool that helps us continue to use a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. The power of the addiction is that, in the beginning, this tool worked amazingly well. In the beginning, a casino feels like a safe place. No one asks anything of you, the lights and noise distract your thoughts, for one hour or ten, you have nothing to do but sit and press a button that randomly rewards you. Go back to any Psychology 101 class and you will find that it is proven that random rewards are far more powerful in sustaining the behavior. This would be an ideal solution, except that - like an alcoholic who needs more and more alcohol to get drunk - a gambler needs to go more often to shut off the negative emotions and the anxiety, depression and despair that those emotions cause. Eventually, the financial losses accumulate, and you add yet another layer of problems to the many you already couldn't cope with. In many ways, it is easier to see the financial problems as the only ones you really have. There isn't a gambler out there who doesn't say "if only I could win $10,000 my problems would be solved". Well, they would be solved on one level - relief from the stress of unpaid bills, collection calls, legal action - but the reasons why you gamble have not been addressed and you would begin the cycle all over again.


Gamblers are both alike and different. We are alike because we have chosen a coping mechanism for psychological pain that, without question, will lead to financial ruin, destruction of relationships and often death. We are alike because we all play a negative tape in our heads - "I am stupid", "I am worthless", "If anyone really knew me they would not love me"; and on and on it goes. We are only different in the life situations that cause us to have the negative emotions.


What can those who are close to a gambler do? Perhaps it is easier to list what I believe they should not do. Do not judge, belittle or demean us. That is what we do to ourselves in our head. Words like "shocked" "disappointed" "angry" will not help us. They will increase the negative emotions, and increase the drive to release that pressure by gambling more. Do not place the blame for your emotions on us. "You hurt me because you lied" "You have taken my trust". We can't deal with our own emotions, how in God's name are we supposed to deal with yours? Those close to a gambler need to work concurrently with us - find your own outlet and help for your emotions while we are dealing with ours. We are not indifferent to how those around us are feeling, we are simply not capable of helping them. Do not expect a gambler to tell you why they gamble. For some it is a lifelong pursuit to understand it themselves. At a minimum, it is a lengthy process of uncovering the many things in their past that brought them here. Do not expect a gambler to just stop once they have acknowledged the gambling. You are an addict for life. Recovery often involves relapse. Think of it this way - if someone tells you that you can never, ever have chocolate again, wouldn't you run around and binge on it before it was gone? A gambler is losing the only crutch they have and it is very scary. Until other, different and healthy coping mechanisms are in place, we are terrified to be without our gambling crutch.


What can you do? Always, always have compassion. Someone you love is in terrible pain. If they had a physical disease, you would unquestionably be there to support them. But they have an emotional disease - and they need you even more. Tell them you love them, need them, and want to suppport them to get well. Don't threaten them - "If you gamble again I am leaving". Unless of course that is how you really feel. If so, say it, mean it, do it. This is an intensive battle for the gambler's life. If you're not in it for the long haul, then get out of the way. It is okay to place reasonable conditions on your support - "I'll drive you to your meetings but I won't give you money" - but that doesn't mean your love can be conditional.


Respect the gambler. There is no dignity in this disease. We have spent a long time and a lot of energy creating a false mask for others in order to hide our disease and our pain. Admitting you are an addict takes more courage than most people will ever know. We deserve to be respected for this.


Hi bettie, thanks for sharing the article by Marilee. It is so spot on that it brought me to tears, every part of it.


One time I cashed out 40k in winnings and was able to cover all my immediate/urgent debts and have a little bit more to spend. However, I did not feel happy. I continued to feel depressed and was pretty confused by my own state of mind.


I felt incredibly depressed, hopeless, lonely, scared, stressed and hopeless. The feeling is so sickening, I really do not wish to be in that position anymore. I know I have turned to gambling to get relief from pain, boredom, depression and any negative emotions, but not only has gambling made those emotions worse for me, it gave a whole new set of problems that I never had (on top of my existing problems)! There is no win to gambling, only temporary relief that comes with heavy side effects.


I have admitted to gambling, and I am determined to kick it's ass for good. I have a target to go cold turkey at gambling for 365 days, today is the 6th day! I will be sharing my journey in here: http://www.gamblingtherapy.org/en/journey-gambling-free-life-great-exper...


One thing that I really want to share is, LOVE is the most powerful force on Earth, even more powerful than addiction. The reason why I feel so determined and positive about quitting gambling and accepting my consequences, and paying for it (perhaps for the next few years of my life), is because of LOVE. People who loves me have suffered enough from my addiction, it is unfair that they have to suffer because I have decided to use gambling as a crutch to escape from my problems.


Every decision we make determines our future. Today, I decide that I take control of my life and fight every problem that comes my way. There are many unfortunate people in this world, sick, disabled and poor who are struggling to get even the most basic human needs, for me to waste my life away when I'm 100% healthy... it's just not right. If I die I should die helping people, not die in my room from gambling addiction.


Everytime I get the urge to gamble, I think about the people who loves me, and all kinds of suffering that people are going through from all over the world, it gives me the strength and determination to quite gambling for good. I know it's not gonna be an easy journey, but I am 100% determined to do it.


Hi there.. just to let you know.. self exclusion in Melbourne is much simpler than going to all the venues to exclude separately they actually have a system there where you can exclude much easier and you dont have to walk into a venue to do it, one of our members Kathryn who has lived the gamble free life excluded from there so it can be done.. Unfortunately where i am the rules are not the same.. how i wish they were, i have to go to each one on an individual basis which is impossible but hey i am getting there with the tools i have.. if you have the opportunity to exclude, please do it, i wish i did.. would make life so much easier. You are not alone, stick to this site and find your local gamblers anonymous meetings, you can go for counselling also if you want.. carry little money. only enough for lunch or coffee or what you need for the day. Just dont give up.


P


Hi, well come and well done on starting a thread on the forum. I am a CG in recovery myself and have been using the forum as my starting point towards my recovery.

Reading your thread one can see you have been trough a lot in your life. I am sure with your determination and caring people in here you will find all the tools you need to overcome gambling . I personally find that stop gambling is the first step towards recovery and that counselling may play a big part in the recovery process.

As you mentioned that you are due to go to Australia, I have found some web addresses that might be helpful in self- exclusion process for you.

All the best

Sam.
https://www.austgamingcouncil.org.au/self-exclusion-programs?field_progr...


http://www.mgv.org.au/self_exclusion_program


http://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/accessing-support/self-exclusion/


Hi icanbeatthis,

I do admire your determination and thats a great start. Use that anger to help you through the early days of recovery.

One day at a time-ODAAT-thats all you need to build your "Clean" time.

I do know cg's, myself included, that thought after a year or more that "i got this", only to find myself back in front of a slot machine. Don't set yourself up to fail. Today is the only day to concern yourself with. Just for today don't gamble. Tomorow you start again.

You will find all kinds of great info at www.gachicago.org.

Have a great day!

bettie


So what happened?