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    • #11143

      I live in a casino-ridden town and have since I was young.  I watched my mother suffer from gambling problems growing up and always swore it could never happen to me cause I saw the grief it caused her.
      Right after I turned 21 I had no urge to visit the casinos or be any part of it.  I was just starting off my career and finishing up my apprenticeship to become a licensed tattoo artist.  I was getting my life together and didn’t want anything to get in the way of my future. 
      One night after work, months after I turned 21, A co-worker talked me into going to the casino with him just for a couple hours.  I was tired of always getting pestered to go out after work so I gave in for just that one time… Or so I thought…  I played $20 and was done for the night… I felt sick for losing that little bit of money and swore I’d never walk back into a casino.
      It was about a month before I finally worked up the nerve to walk back into a casino and try to win back the money I had lost from the time before… This time I brought in $60 and lost it all even after I had gotten it up to $100.  I was getting greedy and I was over-looking it… Over the next six months I knew I was following a destructive path and didn’t know what to do to get away from it.  I moved 3 hours north where there were no casinos in close range and did fine for the time I lived there.  I eventually moved back to Biloxi and for the first couple of months I didn’t have the urge to go to a casino.  One late night after work however, I didn’t want to go home because I knew everyone would be asleep and I knew I’d be sitting at the house bored… I stopped by the casino with my weeks worth of pay ($800) and told myself I wouldn’t leave with less than $700.  I figured since it had been so long since I’d gambled, it would be no problem for me to just get up and walk out at any point in time.  I was absolutely wrong.  I got up from the slot machine with 0 of the 800 dollars I had walked in with.  I felt like a complete fool.  Going down the escalator I thought I’d pass out.  I felt so light-headed and dizzy.  I felt like throwing up. However, all I could think was I had to get that money back.  The next week I did the exact same thing.  I’d go through little spurts of rebellion and promise myself again and again that I wouldn’t go back into a casino. 
      Last year on New Year’s is when I absolutely knew without a shadow of a doubt my life was being consumed by gambling and I had set a trap for myself.  I had taken the money to pay my car note that I was late on for the previous two months and blew it all.  I knew the next thing that was to happen was my car would be repossessed.  Sure enough, weeks later I was at work and the repo man came and picked up my car from the parking lot.  However, even this didn’t stop me from going to the casino that very night to win some money to buy a temporary car.  I lost everything I had that night as well.  I started getting numb to my losses and thought of ways to cover up what I had done.  My family had no idea what I’d been doing and neither did my friends. 
      Five days ago marks the very last time I have and ever will walk into a casino again.  I took the 900 dollars I made for the week and blew through every bit of it in a 2.5 hour timeframe.  I got in my car afterward and cried hysterically.  I knew I would drive myself to an even more severe state of depression if I couldn’t get away from gambling.  I never played card games, never was interested in online gambling… I’d just sit at the penny machines for hours on end at the casino to try and chase a loss I’d never get back and to escape boredom…  Needless to say, at the end of all of this I’ve paid a pretty penny to keep myself entertained and at the same time lose thousands and thousands of dollars, on top of slipping myself into a big heaping mess of depression. 
      Sunday night I went to my older brother and started crying as I told him what I’d been doing.  He’d just gone through the same thing, except everyone knew he was having a problem with it.  He was understanding and not judgemental towards me for it but I knew I needed to come clean with the rest of my family and let them know why they hadn’t seen me in months. 
      Monday afternoon I went to visit my mother and I let her know what had happened and that’s when I found out that I could self-exclude myself through the State of Mississippi Gamining Commission.  I got the phone number and information I needed to drive to the place and fill out the papers to 86 myself from all the casinos in Mississippi. It was about a 20 minute process that none of the brochures I’d ever picked up at the casino for compulsive gambling ever mentioned.  There was a spot to check 5years, 10years or LIFETIME.  I know I’m young but I know that I don’t ever need any part of a casino in my life ever again… Not a buffet, not a hotel room, concerts, MOST CERTAINLY NOT A GAMING FLOOR or anything else they have to offer.  My mother and the ladies at the gaming commission questioned my decision for making it a lifetime commitment.  I said "If I don’t walk into a casino for five years, what would I need it for after that amount of time anyway?"
      Driving home from work earlier, I could already feel a difference.  I didn’t feel sick driving past the casinos.  I know I’ve taken the action and accountability I needed to take to make my life a million times better. 
      The reason I posted this is because it seems like a lot of compulsive gamblers I’ve seen and talked to don’t know this option is available.  I didn’t know about it and I’m sure there are plenty more who don’t. 
       It's never too early to quit.

    • #11144

      I have yet to find myself wanting to gamble and anytime I hear the word casino come out of anyones mouth it genuinely disgusts me.  I’ve been more productive and am taking better care of myself.  Instead of hurrying through showers, I’m actually taking time to enjoy them.  Eating healthier… Working out daily..  I’m not constantly thinking about the money I may or may not lose when I leave work, so therefore I’m more focussed at work.  I realize for most, saying goodbye to an addiction is super hard.  You really have to be ready to let go of something and know the toll it has taken on your life to really enjoy letting go of it.

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