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    • #54224
      mark6646
      Participant

      Hi everyone, i’ve been looking at these forums a lot lately as well as youtube videos on other peoples stories and reddit posts and have found some comfort in knowing the fact that I’m not completely alone. I wanted to sign up to the forum to share my story to see if anyone else is similar to mine and of course to receive feedback from anyone that may be able to help as I’m getting pretty lost.

      I’m about to turn 30 in a few days and I have been gambling ever since I was 19. I can’t believe it’s already been 10 years. Of course back then it started small, I still remember how it all begun. I went with a few friends to a sports club here in Australia which is filled with over 600 pokie machines in a suburban area with easy access. I put in $20 and I won $80. I thought that possibility was amazing. I used to always play video games a lot and I think that gave me a bit of an addictive personality. I also feel like I run on impulse and I’ve seen this evident in other areas of my life.

      Long story short, over the next 5 years or so until I was 25 I would be gambling every weekend, I would probably be spending about $500 a week on average as my salary wasn’t that big back then. I don’t think my problem was as big back then because I didn’t used to borrow a lot of money from my friends and I wasn’t pulling out loans and credit cards but I was pretty much spending my entire pay every week. After I turned 25, I had a good business deal which netted me around $20k in profit. I gambled this within weeks and I wasn’t able to accept the loss. I started to pull out loans and got myself into around $40,000 debt with loans and credit cards and of course that $20k being gone. At this period of my life I quit my job because I was running a business with my friend and I managed to do all that damage within 3 weeks of quitting my job. I couldn’t function properly anymore and just didn’t care and I was being lousy on the job as well. For around 11 months I would be gambling whatever I earned at the job until this business finally fell through. I managed to get in contact with my old employer and got my old job back. From there until I went on to receive about 55% extra salary in payrises, so the money was good.

      However, the gambling didn’t stop. I get paid monthly and I would be known to spend my entire pay of around $7000. I would be living with my parents during this time too, with nothing to show for it in terms of savings, only loans and debts. At one point I told my mum that I went out to play poker machines and screwed up to get a $3000 bail out but I never told her how big the problem really was. In terms of frequency, I wasn’t the type of gambler that would go everyday. I was the type of gambler that would go once in a week or a fortnight but do enough damage to last the entire month, maybe even more as I get paid monthly and it was easy to keep pulling out money. At this point, I knew for sure that I would have spent at least $100-150k on gambling because I was broke every month with nothing to show for it except loans and debts. Yes I did win here and there, but that money was gone a week or two later as it normally does because you always want more, it’s never enough. Until you lose everything and then repeat the horrendous cycle of feeling sorry for yourself etc, I really hate that cycle I seriously hate it. Because in this cycle, you always become humble and love everyone more because of the shit that you hit. The moment things start looking better it’s like all that goes out the window and you don’t care until you screw up again then you become humble, loving, sad, depressed all at once again. I hate that feeling of not just being able to feel normal emotions everyday.

      Now this pretty much continued until December 2016. I screwed up pretty much the same ways I always have and at that point I said something needs to change, and this is where things get really messy. I thought to myself, if I get a girlfriend then I won’t do this crap anymore so I signed up to an online dating site and managed to meet the most amazing and beautiful person in the world who I am lucky to call my wife now although who knows for how much longer. So when we met I didn’t gamble at all for around 3 weeks. At this point she had to go on a holiday and would be gone for 5 weeks. During that period I managed to rack up $8,000 in gambling debts and I knew I had $13,000 saved with my mum from a while ago. I couldn’t bare to tell her again I gambled so I told her I need the money for moving out. I decided I should move as far away as possible from the area that I’m in now because that’s where I have all my memories of gambling. I moved to a new place with a roommate and said to myself it’s going to be a new start with a new place and being with my girlfriend. This went on for maybe 2 months until I found a new local and kept going again. One thing I would like to add, I never go to gamble in a straight frame of mind. I only go when I’m drunk and high on drugs, however this was a very regular occurrence for me thus going once a week or at the minimum ocne a fortnight and blowing everything I had. I think deep down I want to gamble but I need to go through the process of drinking/drugs before I do. This is what makes getting support so complicated for me, I don’t know if I go for alcohol, for drugs or just go to GA? Which one do I even begin at? I feel like it’s such a unique problem because it involves 3 different things.

      After a while of the same stuff going on I decided if I moved in with my girlfriend that I wouldn’t have anymore problems, so I moved out with her closer to her parents place and then this helped me not go on weekends, but what started happening was that I was going after work on Fridays and doing it that way, not coming home until 3am the next day getting phone calls from my girlfriend asking where I am. One of the biggest lows was I got paid and spent $7000 in the same night. I got home at 7am in the morning from the casino and the day was already out. I had plans that day to go with my girl and watch a movie. Instead I had to tell her what I done. Instead of her leaving me, she found a way to bail me out, pay rent and do everything for me. I thought that this girl was really a keeper. Not even 2 months later I did the same thing again, and she bailed me out AGAIN. How pathetic is that? I cleaned out this poor girls savings to fuel my gambling urges and all she wanted was for me to be happy and for her to be happy. She wants nothing else, so why am I so pathetic and keep ruining what I’ve got with her?

      Next thing that I know, I got her pregnant. Now we’re both the type of people that don’t believe in abortions so I knew that 100% we’re going to keep this baby, and I told my parents and her parents and they weren’t 100% pleased but they were happy because I shortly proposed to my girlfriend and we were due to get married within 6 months. At this point I actually stopped gambling for a bit and we managed to save up for the wedding and for everything. As soon as the wedding was over and we got cash gifts from friends, etc and we were in a better poisiton financially I was right back at it again. Spending all our money. I said to myself, there’s no way I’ll keep doing this after my baby is born etc. However, it only got worse. The fridays at work were me constantly gambling while my wife was at home feeding our baby. Our baby is now 8 months and my wife is overseas again, while she was overseas I managed to win $7000, pay off a $5000 loan, then play with $2000 and lose that. Then I borrowed more of friends totalling up to around 4k. I got a loan AGAIN of 5k to pay everyone back, instead of paying people back I used it to gamble and drink/drugs. Now I have debt to my friends plus a new loan and $8 in my bank account. I’ve got a party planned this weekend for my 30th and need to pay $450 to the venue that’s already organised and I don’t even know how to do that.

      You might be asking how we have money for the baby, rent etc. The thing is all my pay has been going to my wife’s account for around 2 years ago. She has all of my pay and no matter what situation I’m in it’s impossible for me to use that money. I might lie and make up excuses to get $500 here or there but she controls that main amount and that’s how we get by.

      I’ve applied for a variety of loans and that’s how I’ve fueled this over the past 2 years. In the past year alone I’ve racked up $20,000 in loans again, and my wife things my debt is substantially smaller than it actually is. I also get some money from some online investments every month which is around $800. I’ve tried giving my wife my bank card and doing all that stuff, however in Australia you can now do things like cardless cash where you don’t even need a card to pull out momney, and your friends can do it for you as well. all you need to do is go to an ATM machine and punch in some codes and money comes out. It’s very easy to get money when you want to gamble. I’ve told all my friends about my problems in the past but we eventually get to a “good point” again where I look like im better then I manage to get money borrowed again.

      Right now I’ve asked my mother for another loan of $4000. I’ve told her that I never want to go through this again, not as a dad. I want to start saving and building a better future with my wife. If I just stop and my side income can slowly pay off my loans it won’t even dent us, however I’m worried of it happening again. I said to myself I’m going to cut out the drinks from now because that’s where it all begins however I’m still scared it’s going to happen and if I’m only thinking like this now because I’m broke.

      I’ve found a local GA group, and I’m going to go check it out on Tuesday night as I’ve never done that before to see if it helps in anyway. But I’m not sure if I’m meant to go to AA or NA considering the stuff that leads up to me gambling.

      In total I’ve spent over $250,000 in gambling and now I’m in $35,000 debt as well when only last year it was down to $13,000. My wife still thinks it’s that amount. At the end of the day I really just want to stop before my wife leaves me and she has made threats. I’ve been feeling suicidal lately but I know I won’t act on those thoughts because my kid and my wife just mean so much to me. However I’m also scared that those kind of thoughts might get too unbearing later down the track if I keep doing this so I know I need to stop. Even if my wife and kid left me I would never stop working for them even if I lived in a cheap studio and gave them everything else for their future, that’s the thing I don’t really care about money and how much goes to who or what. I prefer life with no money, I miss the days when I was a kid and I didnt need to do anything with money. I just want to stop relapsing in this way.

      It feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks to everyone that read this far. From today I’m going to really give this a proper shot and use all the support resources I can get.
      Any tips or advice from your own experiences would be highly appreciated!

    • #54225
      Steev
      Participant

      Tips and advice from my own experience?

      Well – I know I could get around barriers, but that is not the point. The point of barriers is that they made me THINK about what I was doing to myself. So yes you may be able to get money in other ways – but if you make it as hard as possible then you may think and you may be able to pull out of the bet.

      Similarly – go to GA. Don’t start thinking “oh maybe I need NA or AA more.” If you start replacing one addiction for another then maybe – but I would put your energy into what is causing the most damage. I would also be thinking about counseling. If your situation is that you feel that you need to go to 3 different self-help groups then a broad look at your situation would be helpful – and a skilled professional would help you to manage this, so that you don’t get too emotional and go back into action.

      Finally if you are having suicidal thoughts – please contact a helpline and talk to someone. I know you say you are only thinking and wouldn’t do it, but gambling does have a high suicide rate. Thoughts about ending your life mean that you really want to CHANGE your life. Get as much support as you can – put as much effort into recovery as you did into your gambling and get the life change you deserve. I wish you well.

    • #54226
      Now-or-never
      Participant

      How are you holding up?

      I’m fresh to the recovery scene, 3 days in. I have 2 kids under 4 and a hubby that’s not going to be around too if I continue. Though I haven’t put us in debt I’ve removed all of our saving and it’s upwoods of 250k (I haven’t brought myself to actually work it out). So I totally understand where you are and how hard it is, you are not alone.

      But we can beat this. We can ignore that little voice in our head saying only a $50 cause it’s complete BS. Somethings I’m telling myself is

      – I’m never going to win the amount I lost back. Period. It’s gone. If a miracle happens and I did I’m never going to walk out with it and quit, 100% I’ll lose it again and chase even more.

      – my hubby hasn’t left, my kids still have a chance at an amazing future. As much damage as I’ve done if I continue the damage will be so much worse.

      – we earn good money, if I’m smart with it we can get back in the green and trive as we are still young.

      You need to work out your reason for gambling. If it’s to get back what you have lost then you know that’s not possible. For me I’ve finally figured out its to escape and I’m working on ways to have timeout without it.

      You can do this. It’s not too late

    • #54227
      mark6646
      Participant

      Thanks all, I really appreciate the comments and criticism.

      The last time I played was Saturday evening so I’m very fresh as well. I’ve been spending the weekend researching others stories and also going through where I can get help. I actually went to an al-anon session yesterday thinking it was AA and was totally in the wrong place! However they told me to stay anyway and see what it’s like, it was good to see the world through the lense of someone that’s been affected by certain problems. Gambling definitely is the do or die for me because that’s where all the damage is coming from that is affecting my family.

      I know alcohol starts it but gambling is where it ends, and it’s not like I drink with my wife and then want to gamble it’s only that I’ll do this if I’m at the pub, drinking with mates, etc. I’ve been to a psychiatrist before for this problem and it didn’t work for me. Afterwards I got into running a lot and fitness and that kept me away for 3 months. For me what works best is hearing others stories and hopefully being able to help others while working on myself so that’s one reason I want to give all three a go first, there’s no harm in it right? It keeps me away from the machines, or the drink, or whatever.

      Anyway what’s happened in the past few days is that I told my mum about the situation and to ask her for a loan, I could’ve lied to her and told her it’s for something else but I completely opened up to her, my dad wasn’t as forgiving of the situation and is not talking to me right now which is understandable. My mum has decided to help me and has also told me she doesn’t want me at her front door if I’m ever to do it again. I know I don’t want to make these same mistakes again so I’m getting a lot of strength from these words and that’s why I’ll keep following up with the GA, AA meetings. It’s taken me nearly losing everything to see that I’ve been going too far with the gambling. I’m sick of borrowing money and relying on people for help too. We have decent paying jobs too so I know if I just buckle up for a year I can knock out so much of the debts and be in a happier position in life.

      I’ve got a GA meeting tonight and I’ll go to a proper AA meeting tomorrow and I’ll give both a go, and see which one works best for me and if it’s both then so be it. We can definitely all do this if we continue supporting each other and continue reminding ourselves of the crap that gambling puts you through!!!

      I’ll keep you all updated. Thanks for listening.

    • #54228
      mark6646
      Participant

      hey guys I’m on day #4 today. I went to a GA session yesterday and it was really eye-opening for me because I made a clear connection with my gambling for once. I used to blame the alcohol and whatnot but these thoughts that are in my head that want to take me to gamble are actually always there. It’s scary how much power it has over you and the fact that you don’t even realise it until you’ve finally had enough. I think the group that I’m at is really awesome and has heaps of down to earth people (Many are recovering already for a longer period of time). They’re doing the group 3 days a week (Next one is tomorrow) so I’m really looking forward to keep sticking with it.

      It has also made me realise that the secrets is what kills us the most, hiding what we’ve done from our loved ones. I feel a lot more power after my parents have found out about my gambling 3 days ago and it’s given me a lot more strength. My wife knows about my gambling, but not to the extend the debt has reached (She knows there’s debt) so I will break it down to her tomorrow as well and give her the opportunity to make her own decision on what she thinks. At this stage I just want to stop gambling to stop hurting the people around me and I think if I don’t tell the truth then I won’t be able to move forward properly with that at the back of my head.

      So my next steps are to continue going to these GA meetings 2-3 times a week and to tell my wife the truth that my parents already know as well as my friends so I stop being lent money. There’s a lot of power in having being exposed and I’m ready for recovery after 10 long painful years.

    • #54229
      Steev
      Participant

      Just noticed in your original post, that you have a party lined up for this weekend for your 30th. So not sure when it is but Happy Birthday all the same. We might share a birthday – mine is on Sunday.

      Great that you have gone to GA and found it beneficial. Keep up the momentum now. There will be times when you will not want to go – my excuses were, “it’s repetitive, they’re not really supporting me, I can do this on my own, I’m too busy/tired/depressed … I need to spend more time with XXXXX.” The thing is, I needed to build a new routine into my life. It was only when I started to put as much energy into my recovery as I did into my gambling that I managed not to relapse back into gambling again.

      I don’t know if you looked into counseling as well, but I still feel that this would be an option for you. It may be available via your medic, depending on which country/state you are in.

      I wish you well on telling your partner what is going on and I hope she can share your recovery. Let her see the families and friends part of the forum if she is interested, I hope she is supportive and also gets good support for herself as her life will be affected as much as yours. Keep strong.

    • #54230
      Now-or-never
      Participant

      Nice work! Keep on this track, you got this ! 

    • #54231
      mark6646
      Participant

      Thanks for the comments all, the only reason I don’t go counselling is because I went to a psychiatrist for this before and it doesn’t feel like it works for me I think the group setting of GA and sitting through it with people that also have the same problem and working through it is perfect for me.

      Birthday was yesterday, thank you 🙂 Happy birthday to you as well for this Sunday.

      I’ve been going good lately, however I keep getting thoughts of “What could’ve been” with throwing away the last 10 years gambling. And that feeling when you finally stop however now stuck with gambling debt is haunting me a little bit. However I’ve found strength in the fact that I’m quitting for good and now that I’ve turned 30 it feels like a new chapter of my life, and I even told my self that all the debt is nothing aslong as I don’t gamble again, I’ve accepted the debt now but I think if I relapse into gambling it will make it hurt even more so I’m going to try my absolute best and keep going to the GA meetings. I couldn’t go yesterdays one (it’s Tues / Thurs and Sun) but that’s because my wife has come back from overseas so I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with settling her back in etc.

      I did also have a chat with her and told her what’s occurred in the past two weeks and have also told her that I’m now doing GA, etc and she’s on board with it. I think as long as we’re doing something to better ourselves and become more productive and get away from gambling then our loved ones will support us, but if we keep throwing that away and they go from angry to feeling sorry for us then that’s when it’s probably a few days away from them leaving. My mum is talking to me although haven’t spoken with my dad since they found out but I’m glad everything is out in the open and that I’ve finally accepted the problem and that I’m doing something about it.

      I have been having a lot of thoughts of going back just to try win some money back but the thoughts of my family and loves in my head are stronger at the moment, as well as me not wanting to let any of the crew down at GA, it feels like we’re all accountable for each other.

      One day at a time folks!

    • #54232
      Now-or-never
      Participant

      Hey mark, fantastic job on making it to 6 days! 

      it’s going to take awhile to fully process the losses. When you have those urges remember that money Is completely gone. You will not win it back, period. you can save it back but never win it and walk out ahead . The damage it can do to your relationship is just not worth it. and everyday you fight the urge is another day you have won! 

    • #54233
      mark6646
      Participant

      Thank you for your comment, hopefully things are looking good for you as well.

    • #54234
      mark6646
      Participant

      Feeling the pain ever so much more of what I’ve caused financially for myself and my family. It will take 2 years+ of hard work to get through all these debts before we can even start saving up again for our future house. I’ll be 32 by then and still without a penny in my savings, all because of gambling. I’m hoping the days, weeks, months, years get easier as right now I’m feeling a bit depressed from the damage I’ve caused but this just re-affirms even more how DONE i am with gambling. Just hope things start to look brighter soon. Another GA meeting today (Going to 3 a week). Wishing everyone all the best. God bless.

    • #54235
      hambone
      Participant

      Our stories are similar, but I turn 36 in a few months. I’ve had great jobs, made great money, and have almost nothing to show for it because of my gambling. 8 months ago I hit rock bottom, and I’ve spent the last 8 months working my ass off to get back to square 1. It kills me seeing what I did to my family – but all I can do now is my absolute best to try and make it right.

      It will get better. The urges will go away and the wrongs will be made right. Stay strong and trust me when I say the only way to fix the situation is to remain GF.

      It took alot for you to get in this mess and takes even more to get out and there are no shortcuts.

      Stay strong.

    • #54236
      mark6646
      Participant

      Thank you for your comment man, it helps heaps to know there are others in the same boat. 8 months is a great effort so far to be honest I haven’t gone that long since before I was gambling… The most I’ve ever done is 3 months before I was back at it again creating even more damage. Let’s kick this thing together and laugh about it in 5 years time!

    • #54237
      mark6646
      Participant

      Hey all, I hope everyone is doing well in their gambling recovery journeys. I’ve just hit 20 days on my calendar, so almost 3 weeks GF.

      The past 3 weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, I had a lot bad thoughts about suicide and ending it all (Never close to actually doing it, but the thoughts were there nonetheless and they were very uncomfortable.)

      What’s been holding me together is thinking about my daughter, and envisioning what my life will look like in 2-3 years time. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that if I stop gambling I would be able to:

      1. See my daughter grow up in a healthy, happy home
      2. I would have cleared all the remaining debts that I have left from gambling which is around $40,000 left.
      3. I would be able to start thinking about going on holidays and enjoying nice dinners with my wife and family.

      These are just the 3 most obvious things that come to mind, with many more that are there. The possibilities are endless if we stop gambling, the world literally opens up to us again and all of our talents, skills and dreams that were suppressed by gambling open up once again. One thing that WILL never happen though is any of those things whilst we ARE gambling. It will always be filled with misery, debt, and thinking about how we’re going to pay the bills and the worst of all – losing our selves, our talents and what we’re good at. What makes us – us basically! I think this is a really sad thing to lose and have only came to the realisation of it today after being cleansed for nearly 3 weeks.

      What’s been working for me so far:

      1. I’ve made it my mission to make AT LEAST 1 GA meeting a week, I’m currently doing two (Tues and Sun) however this is something that I am going to maintain for LIFE. This illness has such a grip on us, that going once a week can help keep us away. And why not go? There are always people attending that need help and if you can share a story and help someone in need (Which is what saved me, amazing humans at my GA) then it’s all worth it.

      2. I’m back to the gym and running. I’ve done a marathon in the past so I’m no stranger to this, but these hobbies were swept under the rug while gambling. Try find something you’re good at or used to be good at, and try enjoy that once again. Be you again, all the things that were you before gambling need to come out and flourish again. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit or develop a new one, it’s better to focus on new habits I think as that overrides the negative ones.

      3. I’ve researching and planning to start an online business. Even though I’ve lost over 250k+ gambling, and I won’t be chasing those losses it doesn’t mean that I can’t make that money back through other means. This is by no means chasing, it’s me trying to get something going to support my family financially and possibly override the gambling mistakes I’ve done down the line. If hard work and persistence can pay off my mess, I would feel somewhat more at ease with how much time & money I’ve wasted. I would’ve felt like it’s a journey that lead me to where I am. Well that’s the vision anyway, I decided I want to have a goal and work on something instead of just living my life in limbo / regret working for a company that I’m no longer passionate about.

      I’m really excided to hit 21 days (tomorrow) and then a month in a week and a bit. My creativity is coming back and I’m starting to feel positive about life again. The thoughts and urges still come, but empowering myself through GA meetings, this forum and also working on something for myself I feel like I can overcome this and I honestly believe we all can if we want to. It all starts with a decision!!!!!! We make our own.

    • #54238
      HPT
      Participant

      just finish listen the audiobook: The Easy Way to Stop Gambling by Allen Carr, excellent books and ideas, please read it…

      Also somebody know if it’s possible to assist to a virtual GA meeting (via skype or zoom)?

      thanks

    • #54239
      Steev
      Participant

      I think there are facebook groups which facilitate virtual GA meetings – if you are on fb – do a search for them.  I think most are US based. 

    • #54240
      StevieV
      Participant

      Hey Mark,

      just want to say hell of a read really resonates with me even though my beast is sports betting. This is day one for me and I’m glad I’ve finally made it to a point where I’ve actually decided to do something about it (just seeking out & finding this site) is huge as I’ve found a way to borrow and run up debt to cover it and hide it.

      It’s truly amazing how we all seem to have gone through the same cycles in different degrees with the borrowing lying to friends and family etc… at least we have recognized the issue and are making an effort to right the ship, I went to GA four years ago or so and hated it but of me thinks it might have been because I wasn’t ready or wanting to stop. I haven’t formulated a complete plan yet but this site has been a huge find and I think it will go a long way in helping me recover! 

      Hope you are still going strong and doing well Congrats! 

    • #54241
      mark6646
      Participant

      Hey guys,

      I really appreciate you all commenting on my thread even though it has landed on page 2 or 3.

      First of all what I want to say is that the pain does get better. We ALL feel pain and the pain from gambling is the worst pain of all. When you gamble and you’re day Day 1, Day 2, etc you feel like this feeling will never go away, you think the feeling is forever but it well and truly IS NOT.

      I have gone to GA at least 8 times so far and whilst I haven’t gone for the past 2 weeks due to the coronavirus scare I can say that GA works. The reason I’m not going is because I have a little baby and also spend time with elderly people around me so I don’t want to cause anyone any sickness. I’ve actually been working from home lately and I’ve been working on a new project which has been keeping my mind off gambling.

      I feel like we need to replace the negative with the positive, instead of sitting in a room waiting for the feelings of gambling to go away on their own. We really need to replace negative hobbies with positive ones an this has been working for me so far.

      I hope you’re all doing good and remember, don’t give up. It’s really hard at the start but we have to keep going to avoid this evil which is gambling.

      I’ll keep this page updated as much as I can but I wish everyone luck and don’t give up, the first few days are the hardest but it gets better as time goes by.

    • #54242
      mark6646
      Participant

      Mate it gets easier and easier as the time goes by, the first thing we need to do I believe is keep it in our heads for as long as possible. Avoiding it is the worst thing that I’ve done. By going to GA for about a month I’ve learned to always keep the demon of gambling in my head and remember the pain that it brings. Whilst I haven’t gone for about 2 weeks, I will return as I know when we get complacent and happy that its when the real issues begin. Best of luck to you on the journey mate, the first few days are the hardest but it gets easier and easier then you start to wonder why you even did it in the first place!

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