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      Hi, I’m Elbee. I’ve been gambling (slots and bingo) for over 10 years and of course have amassed enormous debt as a result. I found this site about a week ago – I had just come home from the casino where I’d lost about $1,200 and was feeling absolutely sick about it so I started searching the internet looking for something that could possibly help me – and came across GT.  I felt really inspired after reading some of the posts – I even copied some of them where I could easily access them. I created a new spreadsheet to monitor all my spending habits. I adjusted my budget so I could manage my living expenses until the next pay cheque. I felt strong and in control. And then yesterday I went back to the casino and lost another $1,100.
      So, this morning I went into GT and clicked on the link to speak to someone in live chat, and I met Harry. He was great. I am going to the casino today to "self exclude" because I don’t ever want to go back there again. Harry sent me some great links, one of which is Gamblers Anonymous and I found out that there’s a Monday night GA meeting about 15 minutes from where I live. Today is Monday but I’m not sure if they’re meeting tonight because it’s a holiday here (Labour Day), but I’m going to call to find out. If not, it’s already on my calendar for next week.
      As we all know, nothing good comes from gambling. I make an extremely good salary and yet I live hand to mouth – sometimes even having to purchase groceries on a department store credit card. I can’t take any trips, I can’t buy a new car (mine is 10 years old), I can’t do anything because there’s no money. I have spent thousands and thousands at the casino chasing that "big one". And I’ve never taken home any winnings – I always played them and then went back to the bank machine for more money.
      And the reality is, if it weren’t for gambling, I could retire in two years. But because of the debt I’ve incurred, there’s no way I could afford to retire in the foreseeable future. It’s incredibly depressing – many of my co-workers are around my age, and they all attend retirement planning seminars, they have retirement savings… they have a plan or they’re already retired. I can’t even begin to think about retirement – that won’t be possible until I clear my debt.
      I’ve often said that living alone makes it easy for me to gamble – there’s no one waiting for me when I get home, no one to be accountable to. I can do what I want, when I want – my kids are adult and living on their own, I’m not married or involved with anyone, and I figured I wasn’t hurting anyone else. I’m the only one who’s been hurt, and I’ve managed to find a way to live with that.
      I’ve told a couple of friends about my gambling but I knew they wouldn’t judge me or abandon the friendship. The only problem is, they don’t/can’t help me. They’re great friends and I love them dearly but they don’t have the answers and to be truthful, they couldn’t help if they wanted to because they haven’t been where I am. They don’t have a gambling problem. I need to talk to people who CAN help me.
      I’ve tried everything I know how to do to get myself back on track but I can’t do it by myself. It takes a lot more than positive thinking. So I plan to become a "regular" here. With the exception of Harry, I haven’t met any of you yet but I hope to do so very soon. I’m looking forward to participating in the online forums and in reading your posts. Thanks for reading mine.
       Taking my life back

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