Confessions of an Online Gambler - Day 1

I've decided that today is the day I want to and need to stop gambling. I've gone to therapy in an attempt to quit and it didn't help. I've borrowed money from my wife once to pay off some debt and

continued to gamble, thinking I could win money to pay off the rest. I'm extremely worried she'll leave me if I ask for her help again. I've failed her as a husband and as a man by not being able to

control this addiction. I now owe about $17,000 USD in credit card debt and don't have the money to pay it. I have no idea what I'm going to do next but I know that I need to stop.

Gambling is hurting my family and it's just a stupid thing to continue doing. There is no winning when it comes to gambling and I need to remind myself that every time I even think about doing it.

Hoping this journal and the support from the forum will help me quit for good.

Side note: Is it just me or does this text entry form just continue to keep typing, forcing you to hard enter if you want to go to the next line?

Have obtained a loan to consolidate my credit card debt and I plan on cancelling those cards so I can’t refund my gambling website. Spoke to my wife about the loan and my issues that I’ve been hiding for several months. She is considering leaving me, which would be the worst thing that could happen.

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.

As well as the forums New Members are invited to join Charles in the New Members Practical Advice Group On Mondays at 21:00 (UK) and Thursday at 19:00(UK)

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

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First time I’ve woken up without having placed a bet on a late night game. Usually I’d put a bet in before bed, have a hard time sleeping, and stressing out waking up early to check the outcome. It’s a relief and I hope I can keep it going.

I am just a few days into being gamble free from online casinos and I am struggling too - I feel so out of sorts right now but reading threads on here has been so helpful to me. I am working up the courage to do an online Gamblers Anonymous meeting.

To someone who can't comprehend what it feels like? The feeling of being obsessed with trying to win. It's not about the money because there isn't a dollar amount that would be enough. If you won $10,000, you'd think it should have been $20,000.

How do you explain that the addiction isn't about them and has nothing to do with them. You aren't thinking about losing them or losing the money when you're gambling. You're only thinking about winning.

You are so right! Everytime I gamble, I say I'm going to stop even if I'm only up $100, then I'm up $200, $400 and I think it should be more, so I out all my winnings back in. Then I feel defeated and even worse.

How do we stop that vicious cycle? I just think if I understood why I do that, I could stop.

Hi Reno,

There's so many reasons why we are addicted to gambling. For me, I thought it was because I was addicted to winning or being correct or being smarter than the bookies. But now, I'm not so sure if that was it. Did I truly enjoy the stress of having to pray for a bottom of the 9th HR to win or having my team come back from down 13 in the 4th quarter? And if my team made that miraculous come back, was I really so smart? Did I really enjoy looking at my credit card statement and seeing that I didn't have enough cash to pay it off? I don't think so. Now, I think that's stupid. 

And there isn't one single solution to stoppping either. I think you have to try a combination of different things if you want to stop. For me, being completely open and honest about my addiction and struggles with my wife has helped. This forum has helped. I'm also reading books about quitting gambling. I've given up control of my finances so my wife can monitor me. I've tried counseling with a licensed therapist. I've also attended some of the GA zoom meetings.  You have to find what works for you.

Have attended a few of the GA zoom meetings. It's cool because you can pop into one anywhere in the country, depending on the time of day. I haven't shared in them but have found listening to be a useful and reflect on other's experiences. The urges to place a bet are still there but I tell myself don't gamble. There are more important things in your life than gambling.

Good for you that you took the first step. Can you give me information about the GA Anonymous zoom meetings? I must be inept at finding them on here.

Thanks and keep going strong - one day at a time!

Hi Reno, another member posted a thread about it but the link is above. It is a bunch of GA meetings from all over the world so you can join in any one you feel comfortable. 

My wife has given me a 2nd chance to prove myself and to stop gambling. I will not make the same mistake again. I find it has been helpful to tell myself to win the day and when I get the urges to check odds or a lookup a bet, to tell myself that I am stronger than it. I am smarter than to know to waste my money and future.

Looking for other things to fill the void for now. Been watching a lot of Netflix and playing some video games, doing housework, etc.

I am also on my last chances with my husband and will not screw up this time. It is crazy how much extra time I have as a result of not gambling so I am trying to find healthy things to do- I have been enjoying walking and biking.

Those are excellent alternatives! When I'm busy, I'm not thinking about gambling. Trying to find other ways to replicate the chemicals like video games or working out. 

Has anyone experienced headaches after stopping gambling? For the past few days I've had these constant headaches and I don't know if it's a withdrawal symptom or if it's from something else.

I've been staying off my phone and ipad, which I'd usually be using to check scores and stuff. Not touching them guarantees that I can't be wagering or looking up info to put wagering in my head. It is a relief to not have to check scores or to sit there during a match and be praying that your team comes back when they're getting decimated.

I have been getting headaches and have been really tired for the last four days or so.. so not sure if it's related?? i would think the lack of dopamine would cause issues but not sure??

It's only been a few days for me but I've been having similar symptoms, headaches and stomache aches. I think that (at least for me) these are anxiety symptoms related to debt and keeping up with the obligation of gambling- hopefully they go away as we get further and further away from the addictive spiral. Everyone's experience seems to be slightly different though.

I really feel what you mean about the relief from not having to constantly check mobile gambling apps- you tie so much of your hopes and fears into them. The relief is a reminder that doing this wasn't benefiting our lives in any way.

Hang in there, you're doing great!

Thank you for the encouraging comments. Still have a headache this morning but it isn’t as nagging as it was yesterday. And now that you mention it Steph40, I was feeling tired too. I will say that I do feel happier, not having to worry about hiding things from my wife. I’ve given her all my credit card and bank info so she has access to monitor me. I’ve also been reading the 12 steps.

I Believe this diary has been a big help and being active in the forum, encouraging others has helped to keep me busy.

I agree.. it is very helpful.. I still have not limited myself from having access to money because it is close to impossible but am trying to figure out different habits to limit the amount like paying bills as soon as I get paid.. last night I didn't sleep well as Thursday nights are pay nights - which is being used for holidays so I had no bills to pay. But I was able to make it through by reading on here... still working on doing my first zoom meeting..

Made it through the weekend without gambling so this is day 11. I am still having headaches everyday and not sure when they will stop. At times I do have restless feelings but I am trying to remain locked into the present and be in the moment. I noticed in the past, I wouldn’t be paying attention to things that were going on around me because I was too worried about the scores or results of my bets. I’m focusing that attention on my wife and my dog.

Woke up with a headache this morning but I went to the gym, worked out extra hard and now my head is clear. For the first time in a long time, my head is clear. I don't have a headache at the moment. I have zero inclination to lookup statistics for sports or anything like that. I hope this is the start of freedom.

At the suggestion of someone in the recovery tools forum, i bought the book "The easy way to stop gambling" by Allen Carr. I'm only on page 35 but it is an interesting read so far. Hopefully, it helps me to overcome this addiction that has had a grip on me for so long.

I am currently reading this book for the second time and found very helpful information in it. Great job on making it to day 12!!

Yes, so far it's a good read. I'm skeptical about how the author thinks he can make a gambler just not want to gamble anymore but I'm keeping an open mind. 

Yes I agree.. I don't think the book is enough to just quit gambling on its own- I think there is a lot of good information in there though and definitely one tool to use. I particularly like chapters 5 to 8.

Feeling better today than I did yesterday, didn't even wake up with a headache. Got to page 100 of Allen Carr's book and I can see how he's breaking down the gambling addiction.

I realize that the real trigger for when this addiction began to spiral out of control was when I hit a big jackpot, a few years ago. It really programmed me to think that I could do it again and after that, I needed to bet larger amounts to try to obtain that same feeling. It is exactly like a drug or alcohol addiction where you would need greater amounts of the substance to obtain the same feeling. I've seen on TV that meth or other drug users always chase that first high because there isn't anything quite like it. Gambling is exactly the same way. You can start off betting $5 or for me, $1 a hand of cards when I was in high school and fast forward to present, it is out of control.

Been so busy with work today that I haven't been able to post but I am on Day 14 of being gamble free! I've been feeling very good these past few days, some of the best days I've had in a while. The lack of stress is such a nice feeling.

Got to chapter 10 of The Easy Way to Stop Gambling and i found it very interesting that the author claims you don't need will power to stop gambling and gambling addicts aren't necessarily weak willed. He's trying to unwind the way we look at the addiction so that we feel like we aren't giving anything up by quitting. We're just getting to feel how a non-gambler feels every day.

Onto Day 15 of being gamble free! The weekend is here and for a lot of gambling addicts, this is the dangerous time. There's so many sporting events going on and we're usually not working so we have time to bet. That was the old me. The new me doesn't care about what games are coming up. I would like to get to a point where I can watch a game and be passionate about the outcome without having money on the line. However, I think I'll wait a while longer before watching sports.

I'm looking forward to spending time with my wife and dog while my state goes into further quarantine mode. And hopefully I can finish Allen Carr's book this weekend but we'll see. The important thing is that I'm not having gambling cravings or feeling like I'm missing out on something. That cloud isn't hanging over my head anymore.

Well done on the 15 days! I don't remember if I read it on Allen Carr's book, but I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to change a habit, so you're almost there.

Great job on 15 days!!

Weekend flew by and I made it to day 18. Wasn't able to finish the book but made some progress. Watched a lot of 90 day fiancee on Hulu and that reminds me, there was a couple on there, whom the husband was dealing with a gambling addiction. It was tough on their relationship and the wife didn't trust him with money or to go out at all. I think it's good to see it play out on TV and self-reflect that we are all going through that same situation.

Very busy with work today so I'm really just "checking in so I don't check out" - heard this on one of the gamblers meeting zoom calls. Day 19!

Pretty stressful day with work and trying to refinance my mortgage but have not thought about gambling as a way to "make money". Am very happy with that. I am more fortunate than a lot of other gamblers in that I have no physical access to a casino. I live on an island where there are no casinos so I would have to fly thousands of miles to get to one. Sure, I have access to online betting but I've been good about not touching that.

I've been looking forward to being able to post another day on these forums that I've been gamble-free. It is a bit of a reward as silly as that sounds. Day 20!