Journey to gambling-free life - a great experience!

I have lost around $500k in the course of my 8 year addiction to pokies / slots on real machines and online. It's not just the money but also 8 years of my life down the drain because when you're gambling, you obviously don't do anything else. You're not learning, you're not meeting people, you're destroying your health and relationships with everyone around you... basically all important pillars of your life would have fallen apart.


I've come to a point where I have had enough and want to get my life back! 8 years is long enough a time to show me that there is no long term benefits whatsoever in gambling. All it does is bring massive destruction to all aspects of your life. While you may get that moment of high when you're at it, but everything after that comes crumbling down and you have to pay dearly for it.


Today is day 3 of my gambling-free life it it feels GREAT!


Although I am 200k in debt, everyone around me suspects/knows that I am gambler (which is tremendously shameful), my life is in shambles, but I am excited and looking forward to this painful journey of recovery. I can wait till I get to the light at the end of the tunnel.


I've had urges today and yesterday, and I used Adele's methods (link below) to overcome these urges and they worked. I know that intense urges may come later, kinda worried that I may slip, but, bring it on DEVIL! I am ready to fight you!


http://www.gamblingtherapy.org/en/urges


Hi icanbeatthis,

That's a great name and a great post. Day three is a quite an achievement , as I know the urges are really strong at the start. I found the link very informative. Debt unfortunately is often the thing that keeps us in this cycle of destruction as we think one big win and We're clear. Of course it never happens and even if we did it would just feed our addiction sending us back for more, so that we would be in a worse place than before our win. It's amazing after giving up gambling how quickly we feel good again. I have found that ringing debtors and talking to them is the best way t o deal with debt. Usually they are quite supportive and will allow you payments you can afford. Please don't do like i did for so many years and ignore phone calls and letters. There is light attend of the tunnel, and I can testify as Adele in your link does that the urges become less frequent and less strong, until one day you realise you are living a normal life. However I do keep my barriers high so I am not caught off guard. I dont hold a credit card, don't open emails from casinos, etc. you have started on the wonderful journey of recovery, and rather than look back and regret, I find that I appreciate each day so much more now, and I never take anything for granted. In many ways when we overcome addiction we get more from life, perhaps because we know how bad it can get.. So well done for coming on here and sharing your story. I know you will beat this. Your post screams determination . I look forward to hearing much more from you. You 're so worth it!


Dear sad68, thanks for your wonderful message, and congratulations on overcoming addiction! How long has it been since you last gambled? Did you experience any withdrawal syndromes and how did you overcome them?


Today is my 6th day of going cold turkey on gambling! I think about it at least 3 times a day, especially when I was making plans on how to repay my debts! I was thinking about it a minute before I started writing this journal, I thought, "I haven't gambled in 6 days now, I have a strong feeling that I'm gonna get paid out if I played now, about time!". I actually went to my favorite gambling site, and clicked on a new slot game and played the trial version until I got a free game. The urge wasn't strong but the feeling that I will win was quite strong. I then looked at all the casino games and imagined myself playing it for real.... I actually felt sick and disgusted by the thought of it and closed the window immediately.


This is the first time in the history of my 8-year gambling life that I have put my foot down and walked out of temptation to gamble. I feel so now!


A CG told me that no one is slip free. However, I'd like to challenge that statement. I'm planning to reach 365 days of 100% slip free gambling free life and fight every single urge and evil thought that comes to my mind.


Although my situation now sucks SO BAD now and I'm living the consequences of gambling every minute of my life, but I have never felt so pumped and positive. Fingers crossed! I'' be updating my journey frequently on how I combat my addiction and while piecing together my life that has fallen apart.


Thanks again for your wonderful message sad68!


I feel like my supportive partner is slowing drifting away from me, he even admitted to me that he feels distant from me, he's been acting kinda cold as well. He showed not much interest in what I have to say about the progress of my recovery. I feel so alone in this that my only support is disappearing. On top of that, my family is constantly fighting, our family business is facing high dangers of going into adiministration, people are whispering behind my back about my financial and gambling issues. I also have pressing debt problems to resolve.


Feeling tremendously sad, alone, rejected, condemned, and burdened, I would have normally turned to gambling to relief the pain, as well as to win some money back.


However, I proclaim that I will NOT give myself ANY excuse to gamble again. I am angry at the Gambling Devil, and I will not listen to his whispers in my ears.


Have problems? Freaking solve it! Feeling depressed? Freaking suck it up and move on. Boyfriend losing interest in me? Earn his love and respect back! Go for a run, and get my to-do list all checked. That's all. Stop escaping from my problems and face them like a winner.


Hi icanbeatthis, again I must congratulate you on being so positive. Your boyfriend probably does not understand what the big deal is with gambling. Unless you are an addict it is difficult to. Maybe speak about it less to him so that it does not become the focus of your relationship and instead use support outside your relationship? You asked how often were my urges...all day every day. I even sometimes could not resist going home at lunch to blow a few hundred. Pay day meant gambling. Husband away meant gambling. night out meant gambling.Everything meant gambling. So now I do sometimes think about gambling ,but do not have strong urges. I did a christian course online which helped me. I believe it really is a gambling devil! I have seen every part of my life improve, but most notably my relationships, finances and confidence. It was hard at the start and I had a few lapses. I feel like the curse has been lifted and that I have had a miracle. Six days is great and it gets easier, although I found a few weeks in really hard. I had to have my barriers set really high before this so i could not gamble when I really wanted to. I am really enjoying reading your determined positive posts. Keep going !!!


I am really curious to know how you dealt with this and how you are doing now. i have read your confession which is mostly similar to my story but i am still in the same shit- Luckily u had your boy frnd to support you but i lost my love n the only solution which i see from my end is either to kill myself or to get back my money which i lost.


Hi messykris,

When u are feeling really low after gambling it can seem the solutions are few. The thing I have learned is that once we stop we start to feel really good about ourselves quite quickly. When we feel better we see many solutions.

If you are in debt it might be a good idea to contact a debt charity for free advice. Do it anonymously over the phone if you need to .

If you need to stop gambling try cutting off your access to money, time and access . This means cut up bank cards, limit cash you carry, self ban from gambling sites and casinos and put a gambling blocker on your computer.


You will be amazed how taking these positive steps and getting some control back in your life will make you feel .

The money ...can u just let it go? Many gamblers chase their losses only to end up further and further in debt.


You will also be amazed how quickly with good debt advice you get to a place where you are not constantly counting money and worrying about it.


Please if you feel like hurting yourself reach out and talk to someone like befreinders / Samaritans.

You deserve to have a good life and you will have this. With this site you can get lots of support to stop. I did!

How about starting your own thread on here and sharing your own story.


Hi Brave68,

Thanks a lot for your message. Your words mean a lot but unfortunately, my life is different and it is really not easy. I am sure you would have heard the same statement from many people but trust me, i am really cursed n honestly, my only aim is to clear my huge debts and kill myself on the very same day. There is no change to it. I am not writing this to gain your sympathy but life has been a hell. I regret every second i live.. its not just abt gambling, i lost every single important person, love, frnds, family, my social status, every single thing that i was proud of.. i really became a zero from hero.. It would be a blessing if i die tonight and am ready for that.. My only wish is that i die in an accident, so that i would get the insurance money using which some part of my debts would get cleared.. so there is less burden on my family... . I shall start my story soon, which would surely make u feel that the right decision for me is to disappear from this world. I was searching for painless suicides and gambling suicidal stories and i found this story of icanbeatthis which is similar to my story in terms of compulsive gambling. I am sorry if my words are rude but it is the fact and Dont worry abt me as i won't kill myself until i payback my debts..


Do u know where icanbeatthis is now and what happened after her 7th day? its been 1.8 years since this was posted. so was she able to control herself. i am really keen to know abt her.


RUNNING AND GIVING UP CONTROL OF MY FINANCES SAVED ME


Dear MessyKris,


I hope you are well and alive. I was so shocked and concerned to see your message about killing yourself. I really hope I'm not too late in responding. I haven't been online, but I have been focusing on getting better the whole time.


I can feel all the feelings you described. I am very familiar with the feelings of unworthiness and hopelessness.


To give you an update - I am very happy to have had improvements over the last 2 years. At one point, the thought of suicide never left me. The pain was so immense, and the grip that pokies had on me was so strong, one day I felt ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I went for a run at the park, I was crying profusely as I ran but I continued to run.


RUNNING SAVED ME:

I felt a little better after my very first run. I guess the dopamine and adrenaline your body produced from exercising really does help in making you feel good. From then on, I ran 5 days a week. I downloaded motivating songs (like eminem's Lose Yourself) and a runnning app to my phone. I pushed myself to the limit when I run, when I run out of breath, and my heart was hurting, I told myself, YOU HAVE GAMBLED FOR NEARLY 10 YEARS, YOU HAVE GAMBLED 10 HOURS STRAIGHT, YOU CAN CERTAINLY RUN ANOTHER 5 MORE MINUTES BEFORE YOU STOP!


And so... the running went on for a year. I lost weight, I was eating healthy, I was no longer depressed. Exercise really helped tremendously in eliminating my depression and made me feel energised, motivated and happier.


My boyfriend was there controlling all my money the whole time. My salary went straight to his account, and he only gave me small amounts of money whenever I needed. He wasn't the warmest and nicest to me at one point. He was cold, distant, unhappy and moody. I can understand why. But due to exercising and letting my boyfriend control my finances, things gradually improved. Since I wrote my first update on this website (just over 2 years) I managed to pay off all my credit card debts and have saved $23,000. (disclosure: I was living at my partner's parents home to save on rent). I'm now starting a business after having raised enough money from friends by showing them my business plan and web prototype.


Over the last 2.5 years, I would have relapsed around 20 times and lost a total of $15k (rough estimation). This is a great improvement in comparison to the days when I gambled EVERY SINGLE DAY, and lose my entire pay packet within 2 days. However, the frequency of relapses reduced towards the end, and the duration between each relapse gets longer and longer. This year to date (23 July 2016), I've only relapsed 3 times (twice was triggered by the loss of my dad early this year), the last relapse happened last Wednesday which was what triggered me to look at my post again. My urges to play pokies have weakened tremendously. It still comes up once in a blue moon, but it's far less than what it used to be.


Next week I'm going to attend GA meetings to strengthen my recovery journey.


Looking back, I am extremely happy with where I am today. It all started with a run in the park and then, opening up to my boyfriend and let him have full 100% control of my finances. I continued to hone my internpersonal relationhsip skills by reading books on it. (having meaningful and quality relationship makes you feel happy and strong.) One of the key things that motivate me to be pokies-free is my loved ones. I want to be the best that I can be for people i love, and be able to provide for them is what gives me the strenght to stand up again everytime I fall.


MessyKris, where are you now, and how are you doing?


Hi icanbeatthis,


Thanks for your kind words. I am sorry to know about your father and my deepest condolences your family.. Hope everyone in family is out of the shock and is doing well now.


Thanks for your long message briefing your successful journey and it is certainly motivating.. keep up the same spirit... I wish you all the best with your new Business plan. May you achieve success and make up all your loses in the right way. Keep running and do message here with your progress. Your message is certainly inspirational and here is my story...


I have stopped gambling couple of months back.. yes, u heard me rightly !! i finally did it. I no longer think of killing myself or running away and i am certainly leading a better life.. I have only one person to be credited for this... i have met an angel last year and we became very close frnds. since we started liking each other, i was able to open completely to her and she is now leading my life on her shoulders.. She made me promise to her that i would nvr go to a casino and she is literally spending 24*7 with me. We are in different countries but She would stay on call with me all the time (thnx to Google hangouts). She would eat, sleep, work, shop and do everything by staying on call and forces me to follow the her routine.... We wont even hang up when we are sleeping and would speak to each other in our half-sleep.. she considers me as family and loves me more than anyone in this world at the moment. Her love & caring has made stay away from gambling.. I was little tempted on football betting during the recent world cup but since i am spending all my time under her love, i was able to overcome it... Now am able to spend good amount of time with my family members and this angel would help me with everything i do... To conclude, gambling doesnt exists in my life but thoughts of losing her may take me back to the old depressing life... she promises every single day that she aint leaving...


Now coming to the other side - huge debt i am holding, i am still not able to come up with a proper plan.. I work in a different country and my passport is in the hands of someone to whom i owe a huge amount. Due to pending credit card bills, i am receiving multiple mails to fix them and am scared on whether it is going to affect my visa renewal which is due next month.. Staying in the current country would help me sort the debts in next 2 years but if i had to go back to my home country, the debt mountain would kill me as it may take 12 years for me to come out. i regret for everything i have done and hoping that my swiss visa gets renewed.. i want to lead a good life and having my girl with me would certainly help me. i hope god would help me with the visa n keeping the angel i love with me. i have nothing to ask from this life.


I shall let you know in a month on whether my life is going down or up.. Thank you very much for your time and hopefully, we will have a bright future. Take care n wish to see u come out of those small urges too...


Spent the last 9 years with my gambling vice of choice- options markets.  I worked all my savings up to a million dollars at one point and as of last Friday have lost over $900,000 of that.  In the past 3 months alone a frenetic stretch of trading cost me 2 separate 25% losses and then a 40% loss last week.  Meaning I lost over 70% of the money just since June.



Now I'm early 40s and about 0 net worth- just a bit of money for living expenses for perhaps 5-6 months- and given that I spent my 30s on this gambling addiction (yes, this was my sole "employment" as perhaps 1/3 of the $900,000 in losses went to living expenses, charitable donations, etc) I see no hope of finding gainful employment.


Not to mention I have to live with lighting a million dollars on fire because I was mentally weak.  It got bad enough that I had a very lengthy conversation with my mother trying to convince her it was "OK" if I killed myself to leave the life insurance money to a good cause (I have a fairly large 6 digit policy).


Tried repeatedly to explain to her that there's no getting past this, ever.  She wasn't buying.  It isn't being dramatic.  I can't handle that my own stupidity put me in this position when a lot of people could have done great things with that money.


You know I don't really know but I think she will return. I really see that you care about the people in your life, because you are worrying about burdening them with your debt .


This says to me you would worry about burdening them with something much greater if you chose to harm yourself. You couldn't begin to imagine the trauma and loss it would cause, and how that would effect them forever- every single day of their lives for their whole lives.


Look at your loved ones, even those who you maybe feel alienated from right now. What value would you put on each of them? At what price could you live without them?

You can't do it....money is a pain. It worries us - it makes us feel great when we have it, and less when we don't. But we are still the same people.


Can you really see your family caring more about money than you. How about this ..why not trust one of them?

Talk to them. You don't have to change your plans but talk to them first. Talk to anyone .... It really helps to put your feelings into words .


I have just met you and I would be really devastated if anything happened to you. I think we could become good friends.

Read lots of posts . Everyone on here has debts., but people get by..


Stay with this site for a week. Go to as many groups as you can, ring the helpline tomorrow . The staff on here are pretty amazing people, and many are ex gamblers. Talk to others .you can feel alone but you are far from it.


Decide you are going to try recovery for a week and see how you feel then? Could you promise me that?