Day one!

I am posting this I guess as a log and a marker to look back on for progress but also welcome any feedback or advice anyone feels like sharing.

Today after probably the best part of 12-13 years I have finally decided it’s time to stop gambling particularly betting on sports. It’s ruined me for a long time while also destroying relationships with friends & loved ones.

It has forced me to be someone I am not particularly lying to cover my losses and defer paying back people I’ve had to borrow from to cover those loses. I seemed to do ok in the beginning often making large amounts of money and very rarely losing but somewhere it all changed. It’s gotten particularly bad over the last 8 years as I moved to a country where gambling is not legal and therefore almost all of my betting has be done with credit lines and credit lines far higher than anyone should ever have (my largest bet ever on one game was 20k) and I barely make 5x that in a year.

As the losing started and not gambling with my own money the debt mounted and has run up to a ridiculous amount across the board.... cash loans, loans from banks, running up my credit cards while paying off other debt it’s actually quite unbelievable. How it took this long for me to really want to do something about it is pretty embarrassing! I’ve not bet for periods of maybe a few weeks a few months here or there sometimes by choice and probably mostly by being cut off by a bookie who had a heart, gotten sick of slow payment or a friend who had set me up with that stepping in.

I was on track about a year ago until some financial pressures built up and of course I thought ah I’ll just win some bets and help ease the financial stress... problem is it doesn’t stop win one, two, three pay some stuff and just keep on going until eventually I’m digging another hole often a deeper one or there’s already five holes that aren’t yet refilled.

I think I’m pretty great at picking a game but it just doesn’t stop there, the next day or same night I’m just betting to bet and betting on things I know nothing about.

Anyway the damage it’s caused is horrendous and I’m slowly starting to realize if I don’t stop it’s just a never ending cycle that I want no part of. I want to own a home, I want to have a family I want to provide for them, I want people to trust me, I want people not to lose respect for me. Hell I want to not wake up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning checking betting accounts or not be able to eat and sleep due to the stress and worry of the money I’ve lost. As I said I owe friends, family and unfortunately still owe multiple bookies money from this last weeks gambling, I’m beyond tapped and I’m going to have to figure out a way to convey that paying them back is going to be a bit slow regardless of what the threats or consequences are.

I’m going to try sticking to it and try hanging on to the proud and good feeling I get when I clear debt and eventually work on saving some money to feel proud of haha try and get addicted to that feeling instead!

As for the burnt relationships and lack of trust/respect left I guess that’s going to be a long road but hopefully with time that will change, I can’t expect much and don’t but I’m going to work at it.

I’ve been to GA twice probably 4 years ago as things really started getting bad but didn’t like it at all ( maybe it was because I didn’t want to stop) but I’ve chosen to strategize by using this site, the chat room was short but useful and I’m looking at other options outside of GA for support and possibly therapy.

If anyone has ideas or experiences they’d like to share they are very welcome otherwise I guess I hope someone reads this and finds the confidence to do something for themselves and at least try to make a change.

Let’s break the chains stop the hurt, stop the embarrassment, stop risking our freedom together or take that freedom back!

good luck on your Journey Stevie! You seem like you really want to change, I’m rooting for you. Day 1 of many. Please keep your diary updated, I will be reading every post for sure!

Much appreciated! Ive made it through day one and am off to bed! I’m very thankful for having found this site and believe it will be a truly valuable tool & a key asset to my success beating this and cleaning my life up... phenomenal reading some of these threads and just realizing how big of a problem gambling can be for many of us. Haven’t fully strategized my plan but over the next few days I should get there and will likely Re try GA or one of the “smart recovery“ meetings that were Suggested in the chat.

hope your journey is going well and will keep you updated with mine! 

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

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!

Appreciate the welcome! It’s going to be a long road and I’m hopeful I am finally ready for the challenge... Made it through day one and I’m alive! One big obstacle for me is going to be repaying the latest losses and conveying to some not so nice people that it‘s going to take a bit longer than they’d like but I mean theres not much else I can do other than be honest and pay my debt. I think once that’s done it will be a bit easier to see some clear reward other than just the ease on mental stress of not putting all my time and thought into gambling.

I met Charles yesterday in the new members chat and found the chat to be great... He put me into these forums will most likely continue visiting those and also using the forum threads a lot, I truly feel this is a useful tool in the process as it’s been mind blowing reading these posts and realizing it’s not uncommon and really being able to resonate with a lot of the posts from fellow members.

I don’t have all the answers what so ever but I do feel I am on the right track and am aggressively strategizing a way to succeed in my mission... Im looking into meetings mentioned to me by a memeber here through smart recovery, I did GA for a few sessions many moons ago and found it wasn’t really for me. That may have been due to the fact I wasn’t really ready to be there or the fact that none of the memebers there at the meetings I attended were close to my age or were struggling with sports betting so I may also give GA another shot. I work a lot somewhat by choice to repay debt faster and somewhat due to a heavy workload for the past 9 months so the getting to meetings part may be tough at times but hope to make one either today or tomorrow, I feel those combined with trying to be on here daily at least for a good while should help a lot... as I said I really resonated with several posts on here and it’s been amazing just not feeling so alone! 

Again thanks for the welcome and will continue to update for all and as a record of my own journey! 

Well day two is almost over and done with had to work late so wasn’t able to make a meeting but I’m doing ok, haven’t really thought about wanting to gamble at all but two days isn’t much. I did reach out to my “bookies” and ask that they close both my accounts I haven’t bothered to look if they did because I don’t even need to know.... I figure I know what I owe and I feel that even logging on would just be form of failure. Felt pretty good and I feel pretty good considering.

Hope everyone else is doing well with their journey!

Hi Stevie

Than you for your post on my thread.

It is completely possible to stop gambling - I think therapy is a great idea. It is something which I never thought I could do but which has helped me enormously.

I think accepting that paying debts will take time is crucial to recovery .

Many people try to pay back really fast - they don’t treat themselves and the only benefit they get on a daily basis from stopping is handing out money to debts ( and of course reducing debts). Treating yourself to small treats is so important so thay our brains start to really enjoy the benefits of not gambling .

Keep strong Stevie - if you get urges please remember there is a helpline on here where you can talk to someone and also a 24 hour helpline on the Gamcare site .

Really appreciate the kind words and insight I did it! 

I can be pretty determined when I want to be and I think I’m going to be ok. I’m accepting it’s going to take time and I think I’m finally open to actually going to some form of therapy and making it work. 

I will likely go to a meeting tomorrow and see how it is, I would say that’s one disappointment with this site is that we can’t set up some more direct chats and buddy up but I’m sure it’s for good reason. 

I have a pretty decent chunk of debt but if I can make it through the next two months or so it will be a lot easier to handle and start to see some real rewards from not handing it all over... totally agree with rewarding yourself time to time as it will definitely lighten the journey and give that little something to look forward to! 

Well today was a mixed bag really feelings of frustration, anger, worry and also feelings of self pride I guess :)

No urge to gamble was good but still haven’t watched any games... which really kinda sucks because I love sports love watching sports and I’m just hoping it’s not a case where I should avoid watching. I don’t think that’s the case but I’ve really been trying to put thought into avoiding it all altogether so far so I’m not tempted. Not checking scores all the time is actually really nice!

Hi Stevie ,

Perhaps you should avoid watching for a little time until you feel more confident in your recovery ? I’m not sure as sports betting was never my thing but there are things I avoid like computer gaming which is very similar to slot machines and can be addictive also.

As your brain “settles” to a more even keel after years of extreme highs and lows, you will find yourself feeling all kinda of things - it feels like a rollercoaster of emotions sometimes - but means you are doing well as your brain is in withdrawal.

Keep strong ,, keep going - you are doing great !

Appreciate the input and support I did it...

Will definitely be keeping it as a possibility that I can’t watch for awhile. Actually being made sligh easier as a lot of the sport I would be betting on is being canceled or suspended due to this virus circulatin.

again thanks! 

Late entry as I got home and fell asleep on the couch last night... Made it through day four smoothly apart from I guess some of the expected up and down emotions.

Still haven’t really had any urge to gamble nor any thought about it other than the messes it’s caused.

Going strong and will continue to push myself to embrace this journey and the new lease on life it should provide

well done stevie! keep it up and stay strong x

appreciate the encouragement haha im doing it! 

appreciate the encouragement haha im doing it! 

Today is almost over still early evening but I’m going to call game and say five days no gambling.

I used my whole weeks pay to clear debt and it hurts... I need to not forget how much It sucks and use it as a deterrent from relapsing. On the bright side it’s a step towards freedom!

Into the weekend we go!

The weekend is pretty much over and I’m happy to say it’s a week gamble free!

Things have been a bit crazy at Work with the whole virus thing and then also trying to get some stuff prepared for myself.

The no sports being on the last 2-3 day has probably been very beneficial In terms of not being a temptation... I’m surprised I haven’t had any real urges it’s been nice.

Proudly heading into week 2!

Still going strong 11 days in...

things are a bit crazy with the whole coronavirus thing going on so I’ve pretty much been distracted with that.

Another Friday another round of clearing out my entire check to cover debt. Probably another 3 or 4 weeks of that left before I see any of my money so I’ll be trying to remember how much I hate it and use it as a future deterant.

It’s a tough road ahead but one that will lead to far better things just have to keep on pushing on.

Well done Stevie on your gamble free time - the days are building up really fast and you are getting stronger.

Onwards and upwards Stevie

Yesterday was the two week mark for me and I’m feeling pretty happy about it!

Sports being canceled due to this virus has undoubtedly made this easier but I haven’t gone and gambled elsewhere via scratch tickets or daily lottery numbers.

It’s been nice not stressing or worrying about scores and what games to bet, unfortunately as I’ve stated above there’s still a good few weeks of clearing my pay until I see some of it again but other than that it’s all positive.

Even not taking a small portion that could go to debt to gamble has been refreshing.

It’s undoubtedly had a positive effect on my relationships with people as I am not consumed by gambling or taking time away from things to focus on gambling.

Definitely giving myself a solid insight into what life can be like without it!

Onwards and upwards team let’s hit that month mark!

Well I’ve made it to almost a month and I’m going strong... life is pretty hectic and different with the virus situation as my family is away up in the woods at a ski house hiding out to stay safe and I am home alone still working as I am considered “essential” on top of that I still pushing through and working on some side jobs to keep my income up to repay my gambling debts. At my regular job I’ve taken a pay cut down to about 60% of my average pay as I usually work a decent amount of overtime and that has evaporated, it’s causing some stress but I’ll be ok. It has definitely put a dent in my ability to pay things off as quickly as I’d hoped but I’m just focusing on all the positives from not gambling and hanging on to the fact that in a month I should have far less financial stress.

The large majority of my gambling was sports betting and as most sports have been canceled it’s hard to gauge how I am doing with resisting urges etc... I did used to play lottery numbers and scratch offs a pretty decent amount too on a daily basis at times or weekly basis and I haven’t done that at all so it’s not like there’s no gambling options for me to avoid.

My family isn’t sold on it and I can’t blame them after years and years of not doing anything about it it’s going to take time to show them that I am serious about this and doing it.

Look forward to being able to say it’s been a month and even more so to seeing how much life has improved in six months! Haha hell maybe I’ll have even managed to save that deposit for a House I’ve wanted yet pissed away 10 times over!

Onwards and upwards team let’s go!