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    • #32138

      Hello all,

      I’ve been umming and arghing (quite literally) about posting on this site but hope I can share some positivity in regards to my story.

      I’ve gambled, gambling is cool, but gambling is bad. I’ve read loads on here about “my game is” and “I’ve bet $2500 on a single bet” but actually, no matter what level of gambling, the story is the same for all of us.

      I love slots…..the flashing lights, the feeling of a massive win and this is how I out of control. Free booze, comping of hotel suites, it’s a rock and roll lifestyle that really it i you who paying for it. While I can talk about money lost, money won….what does it matter? It’s all a part of a problem that manifests in a variety of different ways.

      The symptoms are the the same, the outcomes are ALWAYS the same, the urges are the same.

      I’m speaking to you as someone who is as of today 45 days gambling free. Here is my story…..

      I used to gamble, years ago and it has been ongoing. It started off as entertainment, first dabble, won $100 for doing nothing. Introduced by a friend (who btw ended up with a massive problem, and a road I could have gone down.) Next gambling event, lost all my winnings plus more. Continued to gamble more and more to chase that feeling, not the money. The feeling of getting a win over something that isn’t designed to win was intoxicating. But as the income rose, the money spent to get that rush also rose.

      Let’s fast forward, years forward, income went up, so did gambling….in proportion until recently. I earn a nice income, I work very hard for the money I earn. But I went from gambling $40 to $300 per night for a while. Some nights I won over $1000, some nights I lost it all. I’m sure everyone here has won a decent amount one day, then lost it the next. We think, yay, bills paid, rent paid, mortgage paid then suddenly, boom, all gone. This is gambling. This is the roller coaster of emotions that catches us out.

      I had a great relationship, I lost it all….not to gambling, but to other issues. Gambling was an escape, income was good so I gambled more money. I’ve had nights when I’ve been up $1800 then given it all back plus another $1000 or £2000. Why do we do this?

      It’s the lure. Gambling is everywhere, casinos, online, service stations, airports, Vegas! A good night had by all, not for gamblers. Could we lose everything we have? Sure, rent check vs the feeling of beating a system that we are never supposed to beat? Could we be the few who win big and cash out? Never to gamble again? Not on your life! I didn’t even think about the affect it had on my bank and reputation. Sure, they don’t care what you spend you money on, so they give you more. He’s a gambler………..give him more. He wants a house, let’s look at his finances….no house. But get clean, no gambling transactions of up to year….he’s cured. Banks barely look at your finances. Good news people, you want their help, don’t show your gambling transactions. Better still, go clean for up to a year…..never a problem. I’ve researched this, I’ve talked to my bank……..they are sound. When I’m was a gambler they were happy, when I stopped, they are equally happy. I can get a mortgage today despite a litter of gambling transactions. All they say is don’t do it for six months. Yet when I was gambling, they say, here is and extra $5k or OUR money……enjoy yourself.

      Gambling is recognized as a sickness, and rightly so. It’s sometimes impossible to beat and the psychology behind it can come from anywhere. There is no hard and fast rule why we gamble. We just love the rush, the adrenaline, the feeling of winning and can easily assimilate the feeling of lost when need be. I used to be, well I won $6k the month before so losing $8k isn’t a huge deal. Fictitious numbers, but scary numbers if you let it continue. Justifying why you spent the money. Would you go into a shop with $3000 expecting to spend it? Unless it is a worthwhile purchase, then never. Day to day spending, gas, groceries, you’d never spend that. So why give it to the gambling industry? Never. But we have.

      So after a pattern of 12 years on off gambling, going to a slots website in attempt to feel better in myself but ultimately feeling worse, I realized a lot.

      I gambled as my wedding, which I paid for fell through. I actually called it off even though I had paid for it all. I realized I was gambling on my future happiness, my money was being ebbed away due to the relationship. It’s not anything I have read on here but another trigger. To escape the pain, I gambled….even though in reality I couldn’t afford it as I really had to get myself straight and settled. I lost ultimately due to one very bad night. I’ve always held my own but the traits are the same. Win, lose, win, lose, never again, do it again, have a bad day, do it again, weather is bad, do it again, ate bad food, do it again, have a bad date, do it again…..any excuse. Stop for gas, have a flutter. Lose on a scratch card, try to make it back, gamble again then $1000 more even thought the initial investment was $1. So many triggers in my life…hated it.

      So left in debt, not ALL due to gambling, due to being a dumbass. Thinking gambling will make me feel better when everything seemingly felt terrible and out of control. Control, I had lost control in my life!

      So, I’d happily tell you I was $10, 000 in debt, $20, 000 in debt due to gambling. Stop comparing yourself….whether you are a newbie who just lost $300 on online blackjack, to the veteran who lost their life, their business, their home, their wife, their kids… can happen to us all. From famous celebs with more money than sense, to the every man who fancies a flutter…it’s an evil thing.

      So I gambled to escape the pain. I enjoyed it some days, I’ve hated it others. I’ve said never again. I’ve done it the next. I’ve spent more than I should and then consolidated in the many ways that are wonderfully available. I’ve felt great, but really did it due to a gambling loss. Temporary pain saving. Would I have taken out that loan otherwise? No. Do I look for bargains when shopping? Yes! Even though it is a saving of a few buck…..yet could lose 100x that saving in a heartbeat.

      So having recognized a pattern, and not a little flutter here and there, 12 hard years of dealing with this rollercoaster of emotions and boiled it down to this.

      Gambling preys upon the weak. I have been weak, very weak. But by character, I’m strong and get stronger every day. This is a feeling I think everyone can have. Can we accept gambling, the industry, the advertising, the endless apps showcasing winners, tv shows, commercials (not anymore) and easy access do this to us? Can credit lines really benefit us? No, really not. No-one holds a gun to our heads to feed this illness, ultimately we do this to ourselves. We are weak. I have been a weak man.

      To combat this, and yes, I was in full blown addiction, I looked at the impact on my life. $20 meant nothing in terms of finances, hell $1000 meant nothing as the end of the month it was paid back, hidden, terrible, a lie. $3000 meant nothing as in three months, which really in real life passes in the blink of an eye, means nothing. But really that is time we should be doing great things. There is a way out. If I were $40000 in debt due to gambling, I’d still have a way out. It’s years longer, and punishing, but ultimately will right itself.

      So what did I do……

      I looked at how gambling affects me……here is my conclusion…..

      Myself…….the adrenaline, the emotions, the consolidation, the opportunity cost of buying something nice, buying something necessary was crazy. Functioning in a great job but as a recluse took it’s toll. Feeling terrible every morning, or even feeling great the next day after a week took it’s toll. Paying next weeks rent check one week then losing it all the next had a toll. Not affording food had a toll. Spending “won” gambling money had it’s toll as I’d soon lose it and have an inanimate object sitting in my house when I was starving hungry was odd. I couldn’t last much longer seeing the faux universe I had created.

      My friends…….one minute, splashing the cash, the next cancelling on engagements as the reality was I had one potato left for a week. Feeling flush and playing slots with them and wondering how they can stop at $30 and build it into a night out when I’d drop $500 then wait until midnight by the ATM waiting for my next withdrawal. They’d say stop, I’d say I’m enjoying myself. But have I enjoyed myself gambling? Once or twice when I felt invincible, 99% of the time I felt terrible. So why do it? The rush, the escapism, the adrenaline? Maybe boredom? Maybe self destructive, but always the same long term outcome. You hate yourself for gambling. You have no confidence or self esteem.

      My relationships……I have to admit, on occasion, I have gambled on the back end of an argument. Slip into the nether, think things can not get worse, but guess what, gambling makes it worse. I’ve never had a partner find out, I’ve even suspected a partner of doing the same thing. Never called her on it as I was the same.

      My job…..great job some days felt amazing, some days did not want to wake in the morning. Felt worthless to society, although I provide a great and valuable service. Inconsistent is the word. Confusion, totally.

      My family…..raised me to be an upstanding member of the community but in reality could not sort my own well being out. Nothing to show for my life aside from a few letters after my name and a massive amount of debt. Not all debt from gambling, but it added to it. It added a good amount.

      Quality of life….well there was none….gambling consumed me. Not every day, but often a complete surprise. I will not gamble today, but soon found a way to.

      My reputation….he’s a gambler……HATE IT.

      The lies….a good friend who knew I gambled years ago asked me if I still did it as he had a friend who was in a bad way. Possibly himself as we all know we lie through necessity, not character. At that point I was two years gambling free, I told him it’s a mugs game. A week later I had a flutter and it went big and lost four figures after two years dry.. Never again I told myself and it went bigger. Another four figures.

      Quality of life…..yeah, it’s good, on my own, nice house (that I rent and do not own, but could have owned), everything I need, TV, PS4, fun times, great friends but living a lie. The days after a four figure binge where I don’t want to face life. Days at a time ruined, let’s be honest, weeks, months, even years.

      Future relationships…..well who wants a degenerate gambler in their lives? Lying, hiding, false. Not a great way to start, my problem, not theirs. Not done one and too scared to now. Maybe fear of my past catching up with me, although it never will IF I am gamble free. Too much responsibility……and as I let this happen, I’m not responsible.

      But actually I am. I am well adjusted, aren’t we all? I realized a problem and took it into my own hands. We can’t win at gambling, we can’t be the big shots, but we can win at being the “non gamblers”…….it’s designed to feed us a little, get us hooked then take us down. Fact!

      So, my recovery. 45 days sticking to my recovery program, self made.

      I have debt, 75% relationship, moving, buying, supporting, 25% gambling, escapism, quick fix, self esteem boost, rush. So easily without thinking and continuing on this self destructive path, the numbers could be flipped. It could be 5% relationship 95% gambling as I have $125000 in unsecured credit available to me. I have assets worth $20000 in my house, not including my car (which I bought through winning $8k, then losing it after the purchase, on the same evening.) I’d typically gamble until every cent is lost and have been there, no money, can’t afford to eat, credit lines gone…thankfully as being in a good job, I saw sense after my last binge although was $3k down in a matter of 10 minutes.

      So my steps……

      1. Most importantly, I confided in two close friends. One who know about my limited past, one who recently met me and had no idea. Both would kick my ass if I did it again. Both who were very supportive. Having an outlet is very important. If you get the urge to gamble, speak to your friend. The urge will pass. They taught me, yes, you have a problem, but money can be earned through your life, losses cannot. You will lose. Even the odd, “I will never speak to you again in you continue”. Tough love, but what I needed to hear. These people care about you and do what it takes to make you see sense. Question your closest relationships….gambling or real life friends? Easy choice. Not initially but eventually.

      2. I consolidated my debt to see what the mess I have put myself in through personal bad choices. Luckily got interest free cards. Yes, I took 100% responsibility for my actions and trailed my path of destruction. I’l be honest, it was $15500 total debt. Not life changing you may say, but actually, yes….it closes doors (buying a house, settling down) and makes you chained to your job. I love my job, yet I love it less as I am chained as it pays off my debts now.

      3. I FROZE my debt. 0% interest…….until Sept 2017. Cut up cards and froze them in a block of ice in my freezer. Yay, not adding to my debt and each month it gets lower. The beauty is, the days, and there have been many in these 45 that I have wanted to gamble, I either have to chip away at the ice to get the numbers or wait hours for it to defrost. I have waited hours and guess what, my sanity brain kicked in and I refilled the ice pack when it was almost empty and carried on.

      4. Installed gambling blockers online. I cannot gamble online. There is the odd site that filters through, and I was even one click away from re-activating an account. No cards needed, just click and play. So what did I do? I installed ANOTHER gambling block, although I have to admit I nearly went back to chase my losses.

      5. Cut out “DRY” gambling. Free ipad apps, amazing online sites that offer free gambling play with gametech etc fun games that we have won and lost thousands? Dry gambling almost got me back into it. Three days of playing for free and I was mentally hooked again. Blocked all that, and when my router wouldn’t block that site, I went mad and thought, it’s will power now.

      6. Set short term goals…….whether it is job, quality of life, debt, hobby, relationship….I set them and set dates to meet them. Felt great, progressing with my life. On the up, each time I hit a goal I ticked it off in my diary, on my iphone, on my Pebble. Great feeling. Moving forwards.

      7. Re-assessed my attitude towards money. A weekly shop for groceries is $30, yet I would bleed that in a heartbeat plus $2970 extra in a single night without thinking. Would you spend $3k on groceries? Never? What do I need? What do I not need? I need the basics, I have some cool extras, but I could have so much more, I could eat well, the basics. I dunno, I’m ok, but really I could own a house, be happily married, have kids if it wasn’t for gambling. I have none of these. Material goods are one thing but a different, happy life is a whole other ball game. Yeah, I’m ok, and will always be ok now I’ve stopped, but I could be $125k in debt and spend the rest of my life paying it back. I choose now not to.

      8. Resign losses to being losses. I remember when I lost my last massive amount and came clean with my friends, I told them I was suicidal. I wasn’t, not even close, I was crying out for help. They reminded me that my life, the joy I can bring, the advice I can give, the relationships I can form are more important than money. We all earn money, we all scrape by, we will all be fine. We need to value the importance of life outside of money. Money can be earned back. Can you put a financial value on our lives? I cannot say someone is worth more than another.

      9. Got help. I went to a gambling councillor. Help that is available for this sickness is massive. I took some, it helped. I don’t need it now…….that’s a positive.

      10. Learnt to hate gambling. See an advert, read a story……realize that for every huge win, there is a massive loss behind it. For every win, there is a huge loss in front of it. We are not designed to win, the house always wins. They would not exist otherwise.

      11. Appreciate the smaller things in life. I have no personal family so cannot use partner or kids to keep me strong. But I have hobbies, music, outdoor sports, movies. Channel my energy into that. I’m creative so I wrote a book. Different types of escapism, free ones, fun ones, sense of achievement. Open new doors.

      12. Look to the future. A gambling free one is a happy future. one where we are plagued by this is a negative one. Gambling will beat us into the ground and we will rise and rise and rise until we can rise no more. No brainier hey?

      13. Accept mistakes. I’m an idiot. I won’t be an idiot anymore. I now have a future. I’m still an idiot but I can let that part, abliet a third of my life, go.

      14. Stop comparing. I was $15500 in debt. Some people have it worse, some people have it better. The symptoms are the same.

      15. Accept that you will NEVER EVER EVER WIN, despite how many years you put into this. It’s not an income. Look at the stars with millions to burn. Divorce, arrests, bankruptcy…….stupid.

      16. Keep a private journal. I write a blog, to myself. Not online. I put an event in my iphone saying I HAVE NOT GAMBLED. That is an event in my book. EVERY DAY.

      17. Very important. Recognize triggers. For me it’s a wedding ring commercial, a gambling website, being drunk alone, movies, tv, music…..gah, it was EVERYWHERE! Limit them. I now only watch Disney for the time being and don’t drink!!!

      I don’t gamble. I’ve found most days easy. I’ve found some days hard. I found myself one click away from getting on it again. I’ve found myself “dry” gambling. Massive lottery jackpot anyone? Nearly bought it.

      I accepted that a $2 bet will get me thousands of debt eventually. I accepted that I cannot gamble until every cent is lost, despite massive wins. I’ve accepted I’m sick and I need help. I’ve accepted help from others but ultimately it’s up to me. ME, little ME.

      The final thing is accepting the positives from gambling. In the 45 days of being gamble free I have pushed myself to be a freer and better person. I’ve done things I never would have if I continued on this path. I am now not only enjoying my job more than before, I have become a freelance journalist, I get paid to review, I write music for media, I use my personal skills for once in my life. I have self worth and recognize that I have value in this world. I’ve managed to pay back $5500 of this money due to endevours that I never would have had tried if it wasn’t for gambling. My credit rating is great as I lost all this money mindlessly but have paid a third back. I’ve recognized I’m on the up. I continue this path and I will become a model member of society right? Maybe not, I become a better person, and addict in eternal recovery, but a happy addict in eternal recovery.

      It’s been hard, but it’s been a learning experience. It’s been 12 years, not a drop in the pond but finally getting my life on track. The ultimate goal is that I feel good about myself. I am in control, I can offer someone a reliable, worthwhile partner now and the thought of gambling now sickens me to my soul. when I was one click away from going back and I didn’t, I rewarded myself with a new PS4 game. It’s acceptance. I could probably find a way to gamble right now. I choose not to. It’s empowering. I’m a better person for this addiction, this sickness…..but only because I choose to be. My big thrill is not giving the gambling industry a cent of my hard earned money. Every day I get that thrill. Writing this affirms this and gives me my thrill. I can beat this. I’ve relapsed in the past but this is real. This is ME.

      Apologies if I sound trivial. This is my journey. My figures are $15500 debt as of 45 days ago, $10500 now. Eight months and debt free. But we all know the reality is far worse than that. This is my “escape” figure. If I could have the choice between $50k in cold hard cash or everything I have put through a machine, a casino, a website….I’d take the latter as I believe it is worth far more. Sure, I had big wins here and there…..but it went back. It always went back. It always will.

      I chose not to gamble 45 days ago….I never will, I am certain. But I think about it every day but can recognize I’m a better person for having stopped, and the urges are subsiding. Also yes, the first week was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my pathetically privileged life. Luckily, this time I quit, I didn’t do it alone. I had a plan, I have my life back.

      Take care, I hope it helps. We are not bad people, just people caught up in a sickening disease. I can never gamble again, not even $1 on a scratch card as it will lead to something bigger. Triggers are horrid and they can strike at any time.

      For me, it’s done. I hate gambling and cannot see myself doing it again. But look at my cost, and look at how I have to live. Will I ever be normal with this? No! But a problem I’ve recognized, got help and became a better person.

      Take care.

      For today, you will not gamble. one day at a time. We can all beat this together.

    • #32139

      Well done for coming here that is quite a wonderful post you have written there and you have some awareness of your addiction.
      Congratulations on your 45 days. It is the beginning. Keep going. All we can do is just don’t gamble for this day


    • #32140


      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.

      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!

    • #32141

      Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps you to write it out and I’m sure it will also help others.

      Best wishes for your ongoing life in recovery,


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