6 March 2013 at 11:31 pm #11107
After 22 years of playing the ponies and loosing everything due to both the inability to quit when I was ahead and the very compulsive nature of my being, I have officially hit the bottom (I hope). It has been 3 days since I have placed any wagers after loosing the last 50 dollars that I had designated as the “done fund”. Upon the official loosing of this money, I finally tallied up the extent of my losses 11066 and this is just online since 2001.
In 1997 after 3 years of losses I could not afford I quit for 3 years. I was coaching soccer and working at my given trade Lab Medicine and was happy. Met a good friend that had a lake house and we enjoyed a lifestyle of fishing and hunting that were my best years. I met my ex-wife and with her being a doctor we go married and I was living the good life. I did enjoy being around the sport of horse racing as I enjoyed the history of the sport. My ex wife had the dream of owning a horse farm and being that I could not match her earning potential I took the plunge into learning the horse business. I walked away from a good job working as a lab tech to start out cleaning stalls. While I was working as tech I was trying to finish my Bachelors in teaching to coach soccer, but I put that all on the back-burner to become the labor force in our dream of becoming horse farm owners. Withing 2 years my knowledge of horse care and the racing industry got so good that I became an Asst Trainer and Bloodstock Advisor It also allowed me the insider knowledge that was very useful in cashing bets. It was 2003 and we signed the mortgage on what was our dream. 17 acres of heaven in central PA that was our horse farm. We also were expecting the birth of our first child, a daughter who is the reason I am alive to write this. Within months of my daughter being born, my ex decided that she really did not enjoy the thought of being with a horseman and farmer the rest of her life and decided that it was time for her to start looking for another man. To be fair I should mention that throughout this whole process up until we got to PA, I was smoking way to much pot and would periodically get very drunk. A process that was learned by a very ****ty childhood as I was raised in a gambling household and my father who died when I was 13 was an alcoholic and both of my older brothers were gamblers and pools sharks.
Back to PA. So when I got to PA, I quit drugs mainly because I could not find any which made me a grouch ******* most of the time, and my drinking was confined to a once a month stagger fest that always ended badly. I was not making very much money due in large to having horse laid up and it would be until spring until we could get money generated. So I figured as most CG’s do, well I will start playing the horses again and make us some money. Not that I should have just went a got a lab job that would have been the smart but being full of ego I started playing again , and loosing. This compounded the misery. My ex had a good paying job but she was tired of carrying everything on her shoulders and who could blame her. I remember that day when her phone rang and she was sleeping so I answered. The hung up. Already being suspicious, I looked the number up and found it is one of the local police officers and I got unnerved so I woke her up and asked her why a cop would be calling her. She said it was just a friend. The next weekend she got up and left the house at 2am, as she worked nights she often could not sleep and go and get groceries so I thought little of it. When she arrive home at 7 am with no groceries I knew what was going on and went crazy. Well things fell apart after that. Having a very poor self esteem already and feeling terrible for not contributing to the farm in any way other than being a cost center she turned her back on me and I behaved like a child that had there toy taken away. Within 2 months I left and hustled her into signing a divorce decree that gave me a huge sum and left her with little to take of the farm and my daughter. I had my daughter with half time custody for the first 4 years of her life and we bonded very deeply. All the while I had one horse that I was trying to get broke and ready to race and was going back to school to finish the Bachelors and was also working part time at hospital. I never really admitted to myself that I no longer had that big income stream that came from a doctors salary and just kept on like it will all be ok when my horse starts to run. I made almost 7Ok from two horse that I had before and fooled myself into thinking that I had the midas touch when it came to training racehorses. So the income from my two horses dried up as the animals were retired and the little money I was making from the hospital was barely paying the bills. My credit rating at the time was very good and so I started taking cash advances when they would come in the mail all the while fooling myself that my horse would make that all back. Within 2 years all the divorce settlement was gone and I was struggling to meet my monthly needs. I still kept fooling myself and now was drinking more and more and found a connection for pot and one the days when I was not with my daughter I was drinking and smoking all the while fooling myself into thinking I was Superman and could keep doing this. I met a lady whom I started to have relations with and while tiring to fool myself that I was Ok, I still loved my ex.
Then the fateful night came when I drank a whole bottle of Rumble Mintz and decided after talking to my ex that I just wanted the pain to stop and tried to drive of the road and end the pain. I guess because I was too drunk to realize what happened, The car ended upright and I tried to drive it home on two wheels and all the glass shattered out. I made it a block and got caught by the police. DUI and a 5000 fine kept me sober for 2 years and I got within 2 classes of finishing my degree all the while spending money I did not have. In 2008 my daughter became old enough to go to preschool full-time and this meant that we would no longer have any contact during the week. It is amazing how the worst day possible can all be made up when your shild runs across a day care room yelling daddy and all things are good again. This was now being taken away. I just shut down. I started using again and dropped out of school and then the gambling bug really bit hard. I started playing the races any chance I could to convince myself that you could make a living do this. I was working part time and now after 3 years figured out the horse that I had pinned all my hopes on could not outrun a fat man. I gave her away and walked away from the horse business, or so I thought. My gambling escalated and was slipping further and further into debt. My depression started acting up and now realize that gambling and drugs were that real reasons. I used my loosing my daughter as an excuse for this behavior. No longer paying any credit debt, I just kept hiding and ignoring the fact that things were getting bad. I can just make up the cash by being a better horseplayer. I broke up with a very good woman because she did not approve and then another so as to not have to share my time and actually have to admit to someone that I had a problem.
In the meantime, I had a chance to go full time at the hospital I was working at and since my car had been repossessed, I figured I had better do something. The insidious nature of being a CG will never allow for any self esteem, the full time job only lasted 4 months. Loosing more and more, my relations with my peers started to suffer. It is funny that as a CG we become jealous of anyone that has a good life and this in turn ruins our self esteem more and more. I found a job as farm manager at a new racing outfit that was just getting started and thought this might get me out of the funk. Within 2 months, the farm was starting to have financial problems. The owner, knowing that I was gonna spill the build the beans, let me work from home building their website, all the while I was playing my favorite meet in Saratoga. I went back to the farm and saw the chaos and realized that I had to get out of here before things got two bad. I figured I deserved to eat less than those poor little babies who never asked to be brought into the world. Now for the first time was going to try and play the horse for a living. What a miserable failure that was. Within a month I was broke and the food was even gone. I was lucky to land a job in medicine again. And laid off wagering till I built a bankroll to get started again. What a twisted web we weave.
I continue working at the job, hiding from my creditors and spiraling into financial ruin. All the while just saying to myself that I just needed the right tool to help my handicapping. I found a piece of software that started showing results. Even though my software was giving me the right numbers, I was playing them all wrong and my anger against myself continued to grow. I would post selections to handicapping forum and while others were making money, I was self defeating. This continues for the better of two years until my self esteem is shot, so that whenever I made a mistake at work or in my life I just derailed and had no good self to fall back on. Then, at work one day, a guy I was working with got tired of getting blamed for things I had done posted a note on bulletin board to remind people that I was the one that had the bloodshot eyes from trying to find the right horse in the 8th at Penn National. This was a big embarrassment and now things got real bad. I was giving up my weekends with my daughter in order to gamble and if she did come I would let her hang out with her friends just so she would give me time to play the horses. My car was 2 years out of inspection and I would only go out when I had to work or pick her up. 8 hours a day at work and 6 hours a night handicapping. When my work started to suffer, I took the first opportunity to get out of the hospital and took a job training horses and move further away form her to Philly. I jumped into it full tilt not even thinking about the consequences. After putting in a note to my mobile home park association and since my home was soon going to be sold for the taxes owed. What did I have to loose. I lost the job after week due to not having the right organizational skills to manage such a large operation. Funny how being a stoner and being constantly worried about money will effect your job performance. After loosing the job, I decided that I would just back to playing horses again and this time for sure things would work out. I cashed out all my retirement money and lost it all within a month and a half. My car which was already broke down, gave out completely and that was sold this last Monday for scrap just so I could pay rent. Well as I sit, I am 100k indebt have 50 bucks to my name and no car. Can not get a job because of my poor rating and looking at utter ruin. Won’t lie and say that I have not considered suicide but I could not do that to my daughter. It has been since Sunday since I have wagered and I am feeling stronger each day. It is amazing that if you don’t beat yourself up for loosing that you can feel good at the end of the day. I also found that most of the horses that I took care of for the second farm ended up in the wrong hands and ended up either sold for slaughter of dying of malnutrition and a horse that I took a big beat on this summer was defeated by a horse that was juiced up on illegal drugs. So maybe I am the lucky one. I for moral reasons refuse to put another nickel into the coffers that do this to animals (I pray for this). What I guess I was really looking for in moving down to Philly and getting into this situation so that I could force myself to hit bottom. Well I am here. I woke up this morning and had the urge and through fate my little girl calls and leaves me a message reminding me that she misses me and loves me very much.
It is kind of funny in a way that I am happy today as I can look in the mirror and say It will get better. Will it get better? It is gonna get worse before it gets better I know, but today I walked to the grocery store and spent money on food rather than buying ramen noodles and green dot money pack to feed my account. I am gonna be 45 this year and really unsure what will become of me, but I know that I want this to be the bottom and have finally realized this is not about me and lying to myself anymore. This is about starting over and wanting to try and finally be a man and father. Words are really easy, it is only through our actions that we can make progress. I have been answering the phone for the last couple of days and finally talking to my bill collectors. Will probably declare Bankruptcy and try to start over, but this time I just want to be my friend without the lies and self loathing that comes with being a looser all the time. I have been 3 weeks drug free and 3 days wager free. The hardest part is going to be keeping myself busy, but since it has taking me 8 years to fall this hard, I will try and spend my time getting out of this debt. I worked for an attorney a few years while doing an internship for my pre-law degree and ironically that was the same attorney that helped me during my DUI. I learned how to prepare a bakruptcy. Ironic is it not.
Thanks for reading my book and I hope to be posting here rather than the horse handicapping where my name was turninforhome10. Now I am stayinhome10 to stay out of trouble and stay on the right path. Sick and tired of being sick and tired– 3/8/2013 12:06:56 AM: post edited by stayinhome10.7 March 2013 at 3:34 am #11108bettieParticipant
It was nice to meet u in the chat today.
You will find that a lot of people have cross addictions. I know people in a 12 step program that are cg but have 20 years sober. Makes me wonder what happen in the first recovery that led to the next adiction?
If you want to stay busy maybe try 90 meetings in 90 days. That helps a lot of people. Staying busy is so importaint especally when all we want to do gamble. I know drinking is a trigger for me, so I don’t drink much anymore and never alone. Thats a recipe for disaster for me.
bettie7 March 2013 at 9:05 am #11109AnonymousGuest
***** and welcome to the forum, a very honest and heartfelt post.
When personal circumstances effect us, it leaves us very vulnerable; we want a quick, easy escape and gambling gives us that. The problem is that once you leave the machines, those problems are still there and we become obsessed with that fix, that easy way out – even the fun things in life like holidays and socialising become mundane, almost a hindrance because we think of little else.
I think you have a very good chance of conquering this. You have spent a lot of money over a long period but thankfully, not got yourself into a situation which can’t be pulled around. I do not not know about US law but if you can go bankrupt, do so ! I gambled for the last 30 years and am 51 now, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I have not bet now since 21st January this year, and although I have lots of debt, I can see a plan for me and its slowly getting a little easier. each day it improves. not saying its a walk in the park. I did spend 3 months in Delaware in a pharma co like you about 10 years ago and used to sneak off down the I-95 to Delaware park every moment I had the chance. So brutally hot all the time for me !!! Anyway, won some, and lost many at the track and definitely do not miss it. I have lost probaly $500,000 over the past 30 years and caused a train of detruction along the way, a bit like your story. You can get through this my friend. Get barriers in place, ensure you have little access to cash at all ***** and think of your daughter !!!!!!! and her future. You are still young enough to have another potential 40 + years, so start fighting this disease/condition today .
I would try and put a plan together of what you want out of life going forward – the problem is that people who are either depressed or in the midst or addiction cannot see any way forward and that brings them down further so it is very important to focus on the future and a happier time when you are free of this affliction and things are going better in your personal life. I can see positivity at the end of you letter and a focus to make a recovery.
It will be difficult at first because all of this will be running around in your head for a while yet – the one thing I can promise you is that these feelings will subside after a time and it will be easier for you the longer you can abstain but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do so – take it literally one day at a time, try and focus on the day itself and what is to come, as opposed to what happened.
All of this is much easier said than done I very much appreciate but I really believe that you can do this. Stay positive my friend, good luck to you.
7 March 2013 at 9:09 am #11110DuncKeymaster
Hi StayInHome, A Warm Welcome to Gambling Therapy
Having found us you have also found a diverse community who can help and support you on your recovery journey.
Here on the forum you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment and by reading others stories am sure you will see that you are very much not alone in this addiction
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Harry25 year poker player, 25 year Hierarchal fool, 25 year ego boost… Intellectualisation was my down fall, simplicity was my salvation7 March 2013 at 5:46 pm #11111
Once you realize that you have a problem and decide that you want to stop this process, this is the hardest part. It is the 7th day of the month and have to find a job. I have 15 years in the Lab to boast my resume, but it only takes an employer to check my credit rating and ****, those 15 years mean nothing. Plus, not having a vehicle is a big downer. The nice thing about being in Philly is that the buses are always going. I would love to have some feedback here so this is my question. I have 8 months left on a lease here in Philly. I have applied to almost all of the hospitals and all the while only getting one interview, which they did not even call me back. I could take a lower paying job where I could walk or take the bus and stay here to finish my lease. Or I could go back to the hospital that I was working at before, swallow my pride and beg my supervisor for a second chance. This would require me moving, trying to get out of the lease and the only place that I could live is with a girlfriend that offered me a place and a car. The only catch is that with the girlfriend she is a little nuts over me and is not very motivated to get a job since she gets welfare and baby daddy checks. She scares me a little as this would be an open invite for her to think that we are going to get married or the like. If I go back to my old job, I would get to see my daughter on the weekends that I don’t work which would be good. If I live with her, then I would probably feel like I would be using her. Just really confused as I really want to do things for myself, but when you got nothing, pride is not really a determinant is it? Would like hear what other think.
I have also to report that it is day 4 and still no wagers and I am starting to realize that there is no easy way out. The easy part was getting into this mess. I read a real good article this morning on how the pathological gamblers brain works and realize that I have to overcome 20 years of hard wiring to overcome this. We as PG’s have completely altered our brain chemistry and it is a disease. I also found out that exercise and meditation are going to be a big help. Till I find a job I am spending my time with Bankruptcy forms and reading all I can to better understand the disease.
One thing I find interesting is how there is a link between how the brain of a PG is much the same as someone who is addicted to crack or *******. At first we experience that high and then we spend the rest of the time chasing that first high. Repairing the pleasure centers of brain to respond to stimuli that is healthy is the hard part.
Looking forward to any input and will continue to post
Sick and tired of being sick and tired9 March 2013 at 6:50 pm #11112
Weekends are always the hardest for me to refrain from Gambling as the big pots and ability to have so many tracks to wager on are a big draw. Today is day 6 without any wagers and finally have a lead on a very good job. Also had a really good heart to heart with an older friends who gave some really good insights into just being a friend to yourself. All thoughts of moving back to my old job and living with the old girlfriend are gone as she went a bit nuts yesterday and is actually starting to scare me in the sense that she is turning a bit psychotic. All I can do is to try an avoid her and I suggested that she really ***** tot get psychiatric help. Spent the morning redoing my resume and actually enjoyed going to the grocery store and spending money on food rather than “greed” dot packs. Will spend the afternoon watching movies , going for a walk and working on my bankruptcy forms. Feeling stronger everyday with regards to not fooling myself into thinking about anything but recovery. Thanks be to the higher power for giving me this sunny day with the power to change.
Sick and tired of being sick and tired11 March 2013 at 2:50 pm #11113
Made it through the weekend, no wagering at all. Yippee. Worked on Bankruptcy forms and got my resume out to 2 new employers. Light at the end of tunnel and if its a train, I am ready to dodge. Blessed day and thanks to higher power.
Sick and tired of being sick and tired11 March 2013 at 3:39 pm #11114bunkers22Participant
I have read your story. Thanks for sharing. I am over in Montana and spending the day with family hoping to rediscover myself and dodge some trains…
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