15 July 2013 at 9:05 pm #9370rtsaiParticipant
I came here today to take the first step (again) to try and battle this vicious disease we have known as compulsive gambling. My name is Rob and i’m 24 years old living in the US.
I have been battling being a compulsive gambler ever since I was 17 years old in high school. It all started with online poker which evolved from playing small $20 and $50 dollar stakes to $500 and $1,000 stakes. I had, at that time, ended up overdrafting a sizable amount in my bank account in which I had to finally fess up to my parents. At that time, since it was a first occurrence and the term “compulsive gambler” hadn’t even hit our minds yet, they had bailed me out and covered the debit balance. Of course, I spent the next year or so working as a waiter/bartender to help pay off the amount they had fronted for me.
Fast forward to my senior year of college, I was probably about 20 years old at this time. I was pledging for my fraternity and for reasons still unknown to me, I had one day decided to give online poker another try. All hell broke loose as I started to lose all the money in my bank, told lies and deceived people with ludicrous reasons as to why I needed to borrow money, while all doing so to feed my addiction. At that time, I STILL didn’t really believe I had a gambling addiction. I kept telling myself that poker is a player’s game and that I was good enough to at least make some money. While this may have been somewhat true, what really brought me down was the thrill and excitement of the blackjack option they had readily available in the top right corner of the screen. Once I started playing blackjack…the speed, thrill, and excitement overcame me. It got to a point where all my friends were suspicious of all this money I was borrowing that they had an intervention to stop me. Details of what happened after are still fuzzy to me because it was such a traumatic time in my life but I do remember owing a grand total of about $70,000. As a 20 year old, that was an amount too unfathomable to even comprehend. However, I sucked in my gut and took on 2 jobs to start paying back what I owed people.
As we jump almost a year after that, I was staying on the straight and narrow until I turned 21. I have a lot of friends that are my age but since I am young for my year, they turn 21 before I did. So I kept seeing facebook posts and texts about my friends going to Atlantic City to celebrate good times and to gamble and the wheels in my head started to turn. I thought…since I’ve always had ****ty luck online and now that online gaming sites were illegal now (at that time), maybe I could try my luck at AC and see how that went. This is went it got really bad. Everyone knows the story that this is a progressive disease. After all that was said and down, I ended up owing $300,000+ to people I know. How I managed to convince and lie to all these people to give me all this money scares me. So again, my family and I sat down with each person individually to discuss what had happened and to beg for forgiveness and a chance to pay restitution to fix what I had done. I might note that I had come up with a bull**** lie about them giving me money for an investment involving cars to return a profit blah blah blah which is probably why they gave me the cash in the first place. They believed me to be well mannered, well spoken, well dressed…but when you throw a compulsive gambler to that mix…it can be the worst and most dangerous combination ever. I went out on to work and again, slowly pay people off.
Fast forward to the present…I had been a year and a half without a bet until a month and a half ago. This was the same time I stopped going to my GA meetings and my therapist. I was under so much pressure from paying these people back and the pressure kept mounting that I wanted to relieve some of this worry by trying to make some extra money to either use for myself or to pay them a little extra so they would leave me alone that I reverted back to the casinos. On top of the existing $300,000k + that I had accumulated the last time I gambled, I ended up owing another $80,000 on top. In addition, this time around…I had done something illegal to obtain some of those funds. Creating fake bankers/cashier’s check for someone to hold as collateral as they gave me money.
Anyways, this past weekend I had confessed again to my parents, my girlfriend and 2 of the big people that I owe this time around. I am so lucky to have a loving family that is STILL willing to stick by my side through all of this. I know some of you may think some of their actions are enabling but if it weren’t for them helping talking down these people, I would be in jail right now. I came here looking for support, to tell my story, and to help others that follow because I truly want to start new. I want to fix my life so I can have days that I don’t have to worry about things except every day normal problems which seem trivial compared to the problems caused by compulsive gambling. I still have a few people to confess to but I know this has to be done soon so that the healing can start. Continuing and keeping up with my GA meetings, my therapists meetings, and maybe an in/out patient center will be key in my road to abstinence.
If you were able to read through my word vomit, I appreciate you doing so and thank you again for letting me post here.
Rob — 7/15/2013 9:39:14 PM: post edited by rtsai.
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