LOST CONTROL IN GAMBLING

Sitting in my hotel room afraid to go home to face my father, not knowing what to say or how to say to him, mom cursing me out through texts, thinking about how disappointing my god parents might be and people blowing up my phone but I'm sure everyone that knows me could've guessed what happened by now..


My name is Tommy I am 29/years old. Today I am admitting how powerless I am to gambling. As I am writing this post I just went on a 100k streak loss in the past month. Lost complete control of my self, I cleared out my personal account, business account, maxed out my credit cards, and have withdrawn money out of me and my parent's joint account supposedly for a downpayment for our new house and we're closing next week.


I started gambling since high school but I don't gamble routinely on a weekly or daily basis. But when I step my foot into the casino I gamble hard and go all out until I'm broke & broken inside out 90% of the time. I play a very important role in the family business but when I'm in gambling mode I can go disappear for a week up to a month and not answer my phone putting our business and my credibility at risks. This past Tuesday January 29th I took off in the middle of a regular work day using a meeting with my accountant as an excuse which I did but planned on gambling to begin with and that was the day I lost controlled in the casino and kept chasing my losses. This cycle happens about once a year since 2012. If I'm not wrong but I'm quite sure I've lost over 350k in the past 6 years. Worse part is I'm taking advantage of my family's financial support, because truthfully I think half the money didn't even belong to me.


Now I'm alone in my hotel room seeking for help online, hoping I can find the courage and the self-will to take the losses clear my mind go home and toughen up and figure out a plan to move on. I don't mind fucking up, but my family, parents and god parent's all have so much faith in me. What I don't want is to disappoint them again and again. I. I've been going through this unstable emotional roller coaster and it needs to stop now!


I must say I seem to be very good at overcoming situations and emotions, through my mistakes I learned that I must let go of my past in order for me to move on. When I'm not gambling I am really focus at work, gym & time to time I would take self development courses. I used to want to be an inspirational successful businessman and become a millionaire by 30. I had all these dreams and goals with a bright future thats pretty much set in front of me, I can't keep fucking up, there is just so much I want to give back to the world but first I need to cure myself. I want to identify what this empty feeling is that I keep having inside of me over time.


My #1 priority is to get rid of this bad habit, recover myself from this disease. Stop Gambling will be my number 1 Goal for the rest of my life. Because I know once I break free from this I can do anything in the world. So please if anyone is reading this I am reaching out for advices, programs or information on whats the first step of stopping gambling and how to commit to it or maybe there's something you can teach me, I am open for opinions


These are the things I know I need to work on,


1. Controlling/managing finances

2. Reaching out for support

3. Sharing my struggles, opening up to families

4. Committing to my words

5. Taking responsibilities

6. Building the right habits

7. And everything else


Hope to hear from you,


Yours Truly

-Tommy


Hi Tommy,


I'm sorry that happened to you, I know that situation all too well. If there is any silver lining in this, it's that you've already taken the hardest and most important step in quitting, and that's admitting you have a problem and actually want to do something about it.


So, where do we go from here? Well, it sounds like the most important thing in your life right now is your business and family. As a first step, I would self exclude yourself from every casino within a 50 mile radius. You absolutely have to exclude yourself as it will prevent you from going back there. I have done this and found it quite awesome walking out of a casino knowing I can't go back there. Just go up to security or the front desk and they will help you out (they take this very seriously and will help you in complete confidence).


Next step is to get betfilter or some other gambling blocking software for all your devices. This was extremely important for me, because I realized I could just play online since I can't play in person anymore. I believe betfilter is $60 for a year, but it is worth its weight in gold. Do this for all devices including your phone. Once you do this, you will have your blockers in place and then the recovery truly begins.


Honestly, from everything you have written, I believe you will bounce back from this. How you want to communicate this to your family (if you choose to do so) is up to you. A lot of people have found that support from loved ones is invaluable. I know this is a very hard time for you, so if you want to think about this more, feel free to. You will always have support on here, and I am glad that I have another person I get to help and recover with. Stay strong


--Nick


Good morning Nick wherever your at,


Thank you for taking the time and effort of the warm welcoming and advices. Truly appreciate it. Yes I am already on with the exclusion from the casinos. I have thought about that last year but never took actions towards it. I don't do online betting, but your advice is valuable to me and I will do it just incase. Also do you recommend GA? Should I consult with a therapist


Yes my family means a lot to me my business comes second, but I feel like I only say that because obviously my actions shows the opposite. I definitely need to change that. One day they'll get sick of my actions and never forgive me. This is also the same reason why I haven't been dating anyone, I don't want to hurt anyone. They don't deserve to be drag into my mess.


I'm still not home yet, I'll be home later on today. I heard my dad is very upset and couldn't sleep.


Do you have any book recommendations?


Tommy


Hello Tommy 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!


Hi Tommy,


No problem, anyway I can help someone who is struggling is a positive for me. I am so glad you took action and excluded yourself. The problem with a lot of compulsive gamblers (actually, any addict of any addiction) is instead of taking action, they usually just say, "I'm not drinking anymore" or "Gambling is awful and this is my last time doing it". This is actually counter intuitive because all your subconscious mind hears when you say this is "drink" and "gamble". It cannot process positive from negative experiences. Ever hear of the phrase "out of sight out of mind"? I believe this is where this comes from. Congrats on taking action, your life will only change with action, and getting over an addiction requires a lifestyle change.


As for GA and therapy, I have never been to GA, so I cannot really say much about it. I have however been to therapy and it has helped a lot. Just the feeling of you doing something about it and wanting to change your life helps a lot. Whats really helped me in particular is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In a nutshell, it is the process of being mindful about your thoughts, and then debunking those thoughts with logic. I've noticed that the more I am conscious about my thoughts, the less urges I have. On the rare occasion I get an urge to gamble (even though I have blockers in place and it is really difficult to do so), I just talk to myself and say, "I am having a small craving to gamble, but I am not going to act impulsively on it. Instead, I'm going to play it through in my head. If I deposit any money online, I will never see that money again. I may win, but I will just give it all back because I know I cannot stop. I want to use that money to take my girlfriend to dinner (or insert other important goal/motive here)." This has been very effective for me.


In my opinion, the best way to break a bad habit (what I call an addiction), is to replace it with new good habits. I've always been terrible with money in general, so I've been focusing a lot of budgeting and having money goals to work towards. Any time I want to gamble, I just slow things down and say that this will set me further away from my goals.


I like that you are asking for book recommendations, it shows me that you are intelligent. I like to read as much as I can, but lately I have been diving into youtube videos and learning what happens at a molecular level when we become addicted to something. I have found that this has been the strongest tool so far in recovery, because knowing is half the battle. When I first started doing this, I was asking the wrong questions. I was putting too much emphasis on my particular addiction. So I would ask questions like, "how to stop gambling" or "how to break a gambling addiction". While there were some pretty supportive videos out there, they didn't really teach me anything. I started asking smarter questions such as, "how to heal an addicted brain" and "what does addiction do to the brain". I found WAY more helpful material this way. If you have the time I suggest you watch these two videos. The first one is a very informative TED talk about what addiction actually is and some interesting findings. It can be found here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqhzFd4NUPI&t=10s


The other video is a bit longer, about 90 minutes, but it my favorite so far. It is a lecture by Dr. Kevin T. McCauley about the Neuroscience of addiction. I like this one the most because it goes into great detail about what is going on in the brain, and I can relate to him the most because he admits he has a massive sugar addiction. It can be found here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z6w5IxZX2U&index=1&t=628s&list=LL6DSNoJ...


I know this has been a long post, but I wanted to be as informative as possible. To recap here is a short summary:


Put up your blockers, they are the foundation to your recovery. Understand as much about addiction as possible. In a nutshell, addiction occurs with prolonged engagement to a pleasurable, highly stimulating activity. Breaking a bad habit causes for life change and self awareness, and replacing it with good habits. Having urges is NORMAL, and every time you do not give into an urge, the brain will heal itself by making those addictive connections weaker (the brain is remarkable at healing and changing). Learn to be aware of your thoughts, and talk them out. Use logic and role play scenarios to debunk these thoughts. And probably the last most important advice, learn to forgive yourself. Know that what you have been doing with gambling is not who you are. You are not a bad person, it's just a flaw in our reward system that thinks anything pleasurable is related to survival. Unfortunately, this reward system cannot process consequences very well (stupid, right?). Just please forgive yourself, and please also make it a mission to be honest and withhold integrity. This should be part of your life change as well. It has all been working for me. Take care and keep posting.


--Nick


Hi Tommy,


I am also pretty new here, today is my 8th day I am on this online forum. I have bee gambling for many years, and the issues you described I can understand it as it happens to me. I emptied all my accounts and played to the maximum so I can win all the lost money back. It reoccur all the time and I lost control. As in my first post, I have been talking about the importance of my family and every time I see them, I say to myself that I had to stop for them but always lose control. However, someone made a good comment on my post: forgive myself for my mistakes and be selfish: stop for yourself and it will have consequences for your family. I tried to kept that in my mind, and during the past weekend I really had a blast time with my family. I am still scared to be back with gambling yes, but I am working with way of thinking in my mind. So, I truly wish you the same thing. Forgive yourself first as Ryan wrote above, and keep talking within this community. I am not an expert yet as giving good advices or informations on how to cope with it, but I hope this text shows you I share your emotions and we can go through to this difficult times together. Yes, it takes time; day by day but am convinced we can do it together. Ot nicknames contains 'quit', so we know want to quit.


All the best,


You will get a lot of good advice from people who, just like you, lost our senses. This does not make you a bad person, you have just made bad decisions.

I would highly recommend seeing a therapist. I was highly against, because I knew it would ultimately lead to me stopping gambling...and I wasn't ready to... But if you are truly ready, I personally feel the one on one support is tremendous. Some have had good experiences with GA, others not so much... It is a little more difficult to find good help for a gambling issue as opposed to drugs or alcohol, but if you find a good therapist (I like the word counselor better) they can be there for you like a life coach. It helps to talk about it, It really helps to understand it.

Take my advice for whatever you think it is worth, but I know that, although I never thought it would help me, I can honestly say I wouldn't be gamble free for almost 3 months without the help, and accountability that my counselor provides!

Best of luck on taking control of your life back