Gambling Therapy logo
Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #15069

      My name is Kirk. I am 40 years old and live with my wife of 12 years here in Australia.
      I suppose my addiction began about 12 years ago when the first poker machines started appearing in hotels and clubs. There were nightly poker machine promotions with prizes for those brave enough and double-up a win. I can’t believe it now, but the promoters would walk around with a raffle ticket booklet and encourage people to gamble / double-up a win because if they did and were successful they would get another raffle ticket for the major prize draw that week.
      My wife and I did win a few times – a nice bottle of champagne, a CD / cassette / radio among other things. All the while this activity was being touted as harmless fun, and encourgaed by hoteliers and promoters as a new brand of entertainment. Never mind the fact that it would have actually cost us far more than the dollar value of the prizes we won; we thought we were a normal couple participating in a new craze and nothing was wrong.
      But something was very wrong. And in the years since it has proven that there are different kinds of people who deal VERY differently with the types of stimulus I refer to, whether it be pokies, online gambling or other.
      My wife is one kind and I am another. My wife started to recognise early on that this was unhealthy; I on the other hand became addicted and refused to acknowledge the issue for what it was.
      I started going to hotels before work, standing outside the front doors waiting for them to open. I did so secretly, and with only $20 or $40 at a time. I had a favourite machine, and I strongly believed that the multitude of results that appeared on the screen were not random in nature, but rather a regular cycle or pattern which I could learn and profit from. This was the beginning of my self-deception.
      Early regular wins started becoming more regular losses, which were compunded by the fact that I was ‘chasing’ a loss with a larger gamble hoping to make my loss back and then some.
      My wife was asking questions but I wasn’t listening. She was nagging. She didn’t understand. This is not a problem, it’s just another form of entertainment.
      Until the day I withdrew $1000 from our joint savings account and proceeded to insert the twenty $50 notes into my favourite machine and lost the lot inside 30 minutes.
      I felt sickened. I rang my wife that very moment and confessed. She is incredibly understanding and supportive and we talked about options that night. I decided I would ban myself from going into anywhere that had poker machines available. This lasted a while, perhaps many months, I don’t recall exactly. But there would always be a relapse; something stressful would happen at work, or whatever…and I would go to the nearest pub and thrust $20 bills into a poker machine without thinking of what I had done in the past. I literally could not bring to mind the promises I made to my wife, the hundreds of dollars I had wasted up until that moment in time. The only thing I could think of was the escape and the rush I felt by sitting at a lonely bar stool with a beer in one hand, with my index finger tapping away at the buttons in front of me…until everything I had was gone…
      In moments of guilt and shame I would want to kick or punch something close by, but I would go home and admit to my wife what had happened, and again we would make a pact to do something about it.
      We tried a new method which did work for a long time, perhaps several years…I was restricted from having access to our accounts, and any money that I did have access to was just under the minimum limit for an ATM withdrawal, i.e. instead of having $20, there would be $19. I could still have access to food / petrol etc but could not actually withdraw funds through an ATM, so I had no physical cash on me.
      This did last a long while, but after a time old ways started to resurface and I figured that I could go into my local bank branch and withdraw cash over the counter, which I would then use to feed my addiction.
      There would be occasions when I had no petrol and had to admit to my wife that I had blown the money that she had made available. There was one year when I had a clear choice of whether to buy her birthday present/s with what money I had available or go to the pub. I chose the latter…and lost everything again.
      I have lost count of how many times I have made a promise and subsequently and broken it? Enough times now that my wife’s trust in me has all but dissapeared.
      Anyway, it was about 6 years ago now that I found a way to stop poker machine gambling.
      I discovered currency trading.
      I completed several courses on the subject and decided to invest $15K in an account, with the vain hope of turning this into several hundred thousand dollars in a matter on months. My own tutor makes $1.2 million a year doing this, how hard could it be? You follow some rules, do a little analysis, press a few buttons of your keyboard at home…
      Very quickly my wife discovered that the poker machine addiction had been replaced with something else. Howvever instead of staring at a poker machine screen for 30 minutes, I would sit at my home computer and stare at my multiple monitors from the moment I got home from work until it was time to get ready for work the next day.
      That first deposit was wiped out in a matter of weeks.
      It took a long time to earn back enough trust to try again. I borrowed money from my parents to pay out a personal loan, but $10000 of this went into currency trading again. And again it went missing…
      I became frustrated…I can trade well, there’s no denying it. I kept telling myself that there were gremlins in the market that were seeing what I was about to do and then make the market turn against me. I threw more money at the problem, convinced that it was something I could beat and succeed at.
      I started stealing money from my wife’s credit cards. Small amounts at first, but very quickly this escalated to several hundred at a time. This problem was starting to really get out of control, but I was so convinced and felt so justified in my actions that what I was doing was right. I had reasoned out in my head that I was merely investing the ‘stolen’ money so that I could repay existing debt.
      I had an account with a credit company for an interest-free loan I took out on a laptop a year earlier. They kept sending me letters offering to increase my credit limit, which I ignored. This most recent letter got me thinking however, and so I rang them, ordered a replacement card, and proceeded to invest $5000 into the market.
      This disappeared within days.
      There were more and more discussions, arguments, tears and tantrums.
      I tried Gamblers Anonymous. I went to one meeting and decided it wasn’t for me. They work on the philosophy that abstinence is the only remedy for the disease. I still believe in my heart to this very day that my problem can be fixed by cognitive behaviour therapy and a change in my depression medication.
      Several months ago I got a job with a lovely couple who were investing heavily in the area of home insulation. It was unfortunate timing however, and within weeks the Government rebate scheme was disbanded after several catastophes occurred due to much dodgy installation work by unqualified tradespeople.The couple had invested over $120,000 and I immediately thought of the perfect solution.
      I convinced the pair that I was a good trader of currencies and if they would loan me starting capital of $10,000 I would be able to trade that up and pay back their debt. They agreed.
      Within 3 weeks that was gone, and I now owe a significant debt to someone other than your typical creditor or family member.
      Reeling from this most recent episode, which I managed to hide from my wife, I secretly went to my mother and spoke to her of my skills as a trader, and convinced her to loan me $5000, (without telling Dad…this will be between us okay?)
      It wasn’t long before this, too, had evaporated. So without telling her I used her credit card for another $2000 in the hope I could turn this around. But that went missing also.
      This week just gone, after losing a recent job, I started feeling desperate again. I am 40 years old, have had countless jobs and my resume is very ‘colourful’ to say the least. I always reason that my resume shows that I am a man of many talents, when in truth I just don’t want to work; I want to be a day trader from home.
      So this week I started going to hock shops and pawnbrokers. My first time I got $300 for selling my guitar. If you knew anything about me at all, you would know that I am passionate about my guitar and this was a sure sign of something wrong…at the time I felt emotionless, all I wanted was the cash. That night I traded that down to zero.
      The next day I got $350 for selling some other musical gear. The same thing happened that night.
      So the next day I took a loan for some electronic equipment and a good camera I had. $320 was thrown at my trading account and again it went missing. I started researching how I could get rid of my van, but it was encumbered and so I could not sell it on. I started combing the house for things to sell, or get a loan against.
      I had recently bought a laptop and LED monitor on an interest free term loan. I got a pawnbroker loan of $500 for this. Never mind it will cost me repayments of at least the purchase price of $1500 over three years, plus interest. I wanted the cash now.
      That $500 has all but disappeared also.
      By this stage my wife has stopped speaking to me and for the first time in our 12 years together, we went for an entire 24 hours without communicating. I slept on the lounge.
      I then begged my parents for money, and have been refused.
      The next day I had $28.60 in my pocket which should have been used for food.
      I deposited this into my trading account.
      I am hoping that this forum can assist me in discovering what I need to be able to cope with my addiction, and eventually control it. I believe that cognitive behavioural therapies can assist in teaching us how to alter behaviour by firstly understanding the behaviours as they start to occur, and then changing the situation to break the pattern.
      I have also found that there may be some medications, namely Nalmafene, which may assist in impulse control to some extent.
      I do not want to give up the dream of becoming a day trader from home. I just want to learn how to do so safely by controlling the emotions I experience at the moment I become aware they are starting to rear their ugly heads.
      Am I still being self-deceptive? Or is my dream still possible?Surely I have failed only when I decide to stop trying?Or is my dogged determination to succeed delivering failure anyway?

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.