starting my recovery!

Hi everyone! I'm Alex. I'm a man in his 30s from Florida. Like many millenials, I took on a lot of student loan debt with the hopes of earning a good job after graduation. I actually got the job (eventually) but I became obsessed with paying off the loans quickly. I ended up joining a crowdfunding site to try and raise money for my loans, but when I fell behind in the 'queue' I started putting in my own money to jump ahead, first a little bit, then a lot, including taking on credit card debt and chasing losses. I feel guilty that I wasted so much time, energy and treasure, but I'm ready to admit I have a problem and quit. I'd appreciate your support!

I guess it's day one for me- what I've learned about my healthy habits is that they are formed one day at a time through hard work, as opposed to my gambling which is

impulsive. So I'm going to take things relatively slow. For now, I'm starting with 1) admitting that I have a problem, publicly, on here and to my family; 2) taking an honest

inventory of just how much I owe (which is scary but important!); and resolving to quit spending any amount of money, no matter how small, on any type of gambling no

matter the type or amount.

Wish me luck, and the best of luck to all of you as well!

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!

Hi Alex,

Thank you for sharing and I wish you the best in your goals. Stay strong my friend

Thank you! It's been harder than I thought to be honest. Less than 24 hours and my brain is already trying to sabotage myself, saying "well you aren't THAT deep in the hole, maybe after your paycheck..." BUT I put some locks on my phone apps, have a few people I asked to hold me accountable, have another app about managing debts and anxiety... So I'm hopeful that I can stick with it!

Talked to my family about my gambling and resolving to quit. It was really hard and embarrassing to admit that I've been making poor choices. I feel conflicted emotions about it- both relief that other people know and are supportive and a tinge of resentment over being lectured- but ultimately both are valuable in my journey (the latter is one of the consequences I'll have to deal with on the road to being more accountable). Overall everyone has been really supportive though.

I've designed a budget that could pay off my debts in around 5 years if I stick with it. That really sucks- in the back of my mind I keep having this magical thinking of "well maybe if I get this money pot that falls in my lap blah blah blah..." But I have to accept that this is 1) the realistic slow path, 2) actually achievable with effort and 3) won't be a waste of time energy and money the way gambling is. It's a cliche but "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and all that. I'll update everyone with how that goes.

Deleted the online crowdfunding/gambling app from my phone. I went back and forth about it all day, about when I would finally delete it for real. I kept thinking that I would do it at some point in the future, but that's just enabling and sabotaging behavior. It's been such a big part of my life for the last two years- the numbers after my name are the ID number for the app, to remind myself it was toxic- but I already feel an enormous relief after having deleted it, like a weight is off of my shoulders. It's a good feeling. Now the really hard work begins, but I'm weirdly optimistic about that.

It isn't an easy ride and I have written on someone else's post about the aeroplane analogy - that we don't do this in a straight line but in a zig-zag, so there will be times when you feel it is not worth it, not working or just plain wrong.

Get as much support as you can - the Gamblers' Anonymous meetings are on zoom atm and so much more accessible - the link is here -

Yes it would be good to hear of your progress! I wish you well.

Keep it up Alex! You’ve done the hard things like talking to your family and deleting the accounts. Now it’s just about winning each day by being gamble free!

Thanks! I'm doing well so far. I'm dreading Friday a little because that's when I get my paycheck, but I have a plan in place for how to manage that (with the support of my wife) so I'm not tempted to gamble it, and I feel pretty confident about the plan. I'll keep everyone posted with how things go.

Hey Alex,

Checking in, how was your Friday and weekend? Everything go well?

Thank you for asking! It's actually my first Friday where I get paid biweekly. I started my plan this morning where I pay my debts off first, and only save a little leftover for emergencies. It was difficult because I had to pay off the credit card debt I accumulated from gambling last month, but it's a reminder not to do that in the future. If I can keep it up consistently, I'm looking at 48 months to pay everything off, which isn't terrible in the grand scheme of things. Despite leaving me kind of broke to where I was before, at least I'm not throwing away half my check on frivalous gambling desperate for a big win, so I actually feel a lot less anxious than when I had more money. I'll continue to keep you guys posted- hope you are doing well also.

Hi Alex,

Well done on all the action your have taken so far - you are really determined to beat this thing.

Also well done on having a debt recovery plan.

My experience of debt repayment was a little different so I’m just going to throw this out there for you to consider.

One of the biggest benefits and motivators for me has been buying nice stuff for myself (and others)- I especially love sparkly things and have a beautiful room to sit in now with sparkly wallpaper, curtains etc. I also like buying clothes and am about to go to town soon to do so! I also like to see a healthy balance in my bank account and know that no emergency will make me desperate for money - desperate enough to gamble .

So for me I slowed down the debt payment thing so I could enjoy life during the process- if we don’t have money left over for fun stuff we might well be tempted to seek our escape/ fun in the wrong place.(gambling)

My circumstances have changed during this time (pay rise etc) and I find that I am paying back quicker that I expected but also Living a life I enjoy.

Perhaps for now it might be helpful for you to enjoy the benefits of non gambling and get used to spending your money on you again while still making a smaller dent in your debts. You deserve to have nice things no matter what mistakes you have made .

Oh, I need to clarify- I was gambling away my personal spending money, but I'm at least happy to say that I also have a joint account with my wife for paying living expenses and doing nice things for ourselves that I wasn't touching. One of the reasons I knew I had a problem was I was starting to look at that money and consider dipping into it to support my habit, which I'm glad I was able to stop myself from doing. The main thing though is my debt plan is only going to be from my personal expenses, so we'll still have money to do nice things and such, because I agree that's important for self-care.

Tuesday and Saturday were my normal days where I would spend gambling money, due to earning extra 'coins' on those days. I'm glad to say that while I've been tempted to redownload the app a few times, I have another app on my phone that shows me just how much I've saved by not gambling- in only two weeks, it's around $300, money I've used far more sensibly. So I'm holding strong so far!