10 September 2014 at 12:26 pm #26488
My name is James, and I am trying to figure out how to get off the path of the gambler I have been on for 25 years.
The start? I don’t know if it was the start, but I flipped for quarters in school. Someone called odds of evens and you collected money if you won. There were little card games in high school, before school. Something like baccarat..Again for small money..I played pool as more then a hobby in high school, playing for 60-70 hours a week, but it became apparent to me that while I could be better then 97% of the population, I was never going to be in the top 3%…
Then I turned 21, and my in laws took me to Reno!!! Ahh Reno!!! Land of milk and honey. I won 900 dollars playing blackjack at Harrahs-and lost it plus another 1000 in Vegas at Caesars.
But that was 25 years ago, and once you left Nevada there was no play at all “online” as “online” was in its infancy. I could get on dial up but there was no way to gamble. For the next 7 years I would play slots occasionally (very occasionally, 2 or 3 times a year) and I played pool for money on occasion. A card game here and there.
And then I won a trip to Lake Tahoe. And I sat a blackjack table for 48 hours plus in one sitting, and I won about 22k….but even then online was not a big deal, and once you left a gambling casino you were pretty much done.
Over the next few years I won many trips to Vegas and Lake Tahoe..I would win big or lose big, and that would be that. In retrospect I was probably behind in total. A 50K win would be offset by 55K in loses over the next 2 trips. During this period I did not gamble at all at home. Nothing online and no slots…not even pool or the occasional card game.
Then in January of 2004 every changed. I had just gotten a big bonus and was visiting my brother, and he was playing on Party Poker. What a great concept!!! Play from home, link your bank account with net teller and if you had the money you could play to your hearts content.
I got online and became lost-the first time I got on I won a couple of thousand dollars-this is great! I can do this full time.. .Over the next three months I lost in excess of 100K. I was sleeping very little as I had to get my high. I started playing online blackjack-and would win 20K and then lose 30K in the same 2 hour period. I would go into a rage when I lost, not against anyone but just against myself.
I banned myself from Party Poker in June of 2004. I stayed off all online sites for the next 8 years…A occasional trip back to the states or to the Philippines or Korea or Vietnam or Germany or Amsterdam would lead me to a casino, I occasionally won, usually I lost. I almost think I had to lose to complete whatever I was punishing myself for. Even if I won early I did not feel worthy of winning and would play (and get pissed) until I gave it back.
In 2009 I played with Day Trading, online gambling that did not carry a stigma….but it was gambling none the less. I was up!! Until the crash..then another 100K disappeared.
In 2011 I happened upon poker stars and played small money. Black Friday had happened and US players could no longer fund their accounts. I lost a 100 someone had given me and that was that..
In 2012 and 2013 I won trips back to Vegas….and again I dropped money like it was water…
This year I ran across a old friend, and he had a tri weekly poker game! I started playing in…sometimes I won, mostly I donated. That lead me back to Poker Stars multi tabling 3-4-5 tables at a time..I was doing good staying away from the temptations but when they hit they really hit. (I have since self banned from Poker stars-I did so of two months and just got on to extend the ban, but they will not let me. I cannot self exclude again until the current exclusion ends on 1 Oct. How insidious, they will “welcome” me back with a email and only then can I get on and self exclude.)
So why am I here? Why am I writing on this site? I found online football (American Football) betting. I placed two bets on “Top Bet”. They funded my 500 dollars by putting through the deposits appearing to be someone other then then who they were. Anyhow-I lost one and won the other, but then I jumped on the site and and saw they had a casino too! So I started to play Baccarat. I turned my 500 deposit into 0, and then turned an additional 1700 dollars into 0.
So here I am again vowing to quit gambling, but not knowing how to stay away from it. Fact is, I like the thrill of it. I like the rush of it. I have never gambled to the point of not being able to pay my bills, I am honest about my wins and losses to those close to me, but I am tired. I am tired of thinking about what I could have and where I would be if I did not ever start gambling. I am tired of thinking about where I will be in ten years if I do not stop. What sucks is intellectual I fully understand the damage gambling has done to me. I understand the OCD in me has a lot to do with the compulsion to gamble. I don’t understand why I can’t walk away after winning-why I must gamble until I have nothing.
Thats a short version of my gambling life. My last bet on Baccarat was two days ago, and I emailed the company and self banned from the site. My next obstacle is the weekly poker game on Saturday. I know I can’t go, but I know I want to go. But I know I can’t go. After that is a trip to the Philippines next month and Filipino Casino to navigate. After that is a trip to Germany and Amsterdam in November. Germany casinos are easy to avoid, Amsterdam not so much. Even typing the obstacles is depressing and hurts my head. I know I must avoid them, but the conflict of wanting to go and not wanting to go is a huge internal struggle.
If you made it this far 🙂 thanks for reading.
10 September 2014 at 12:35 pm #26489janey1Participant
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 youre currently facing. We understand that this might be a tough time for you, particularly if youre 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. Were 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 youre 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….
Im going to hand you over to our community because Im sure they will have some words of wisdom for you 🙂
The Gambling Therapy Team
10 September 2014 at 9:42 pm #26490AnonymousGuest
Hi James. Welcome to the site. I read your story and several of us on here have similar tales to tell. It isn’t easy to stop gambling but read through some of the posts and you will see that several people have succeeded. You have taken a really positive step coming on here. I look forward to your next post
12 September 2014 at 9:32 am #26491
Friday night Poker night-9pm start….I am going to miss it tonight, but I am sure going to miss it tonight…I told the host that my Boss is in town (which he is) and the night is not my night(but it actually is)…maybe not the most upfront way to get out of the invitation but I suppose any port int he storm.
Did tell my girlfriend I was going to stop gambling and what I was doing, (to include making a real life appointment with a real life therapist) I expected a reaction…nothing. But a lot of of reaction when I do go play. I was more then a little pissed. Her lack of encouragement would have made for a really good excuse to go play tonight. But-
I really don’t like me when I gamble-While I don’t look like a nice guy I actually am a nice guy, but not on the table. I am a total asshole on the table. Guess that goes to the lack of control in playing in the first place. I am a horrible loser when playing for fun, I take it to a whole new level when there is money involved. And when money and alcohol is involved–thats a higher level altogether.
So I won’t play tonight-and Ill be out of town most of the next 3 weeks. I will work on the Oct 3rd game when it gets closer. I I have to self ban-again-on 1 Oct from PokerStars. They will welcome me back that day, and I will have to log on, and not play. But that is a ways in the future too.
Tonight Ill clean my house, again…OCD does have some benefits if put it in the right direction. I am a hell of a housekeeper.
12 September 2014 at 10:14 am #26492janey1Participant
Make sure you check out the group schedule for tonight. If you find yourself feeling drawn to the poker game or you contemplate rewarding yourself for NOT going to the poker game by gambling some other way, we’re here.
12 September 2014 at 12:50 pm #26493
No groups in English though-:)
25 minutes to the Poker Game-Started to go to the club-but the club means slots-so didn’t go to the club.
Ahh the shuffle-the dopamine rushing to my head and I finger the chips, the anticipation…what are the two cards, will they hold up, will they hit, will the board help, is the opponent tight or loose, strong or weak, what does his bet mean, pot odds, implied odds, what am I getting in return for my bet, the turn card, the river card, showdown, bluffing, bad beats, good bet, the aftermath, sleepy tomorrow, useless at work, win and want to play again, lose and really want to play again, agh-the dopamine wears off and all that is left is the doubt and regret…
15 minutes…6.2 kilometers away-escape awaits-cant go-wont go-but want to go….
But I think I will always want to go—
12 September 2014 at 4:35 pm #26494
I get you on the lack of support Elder…
I was let down there too. However, when I went missing in action, “significant other” would have no problem making a nasty comment with words like “Why am I not surprised?”!
To be honest, I don’t blame ANYONE for not trusting a CG. Sometimes I don’t trust myself.
As Janey says the group this evening would be a help.
Maybe we will “meet” there!
Cheaper than the casino and you can be guaranteed a “buzz”!
12 September 2014 at 5:12 pm #26495
Thanks for the message:-)
I actually have never gone missing on her-she just does not like gambling…but whatever-life goes on-
Poker is game 4 hours old-Im past it for tonight:-)
12 September 2014 at 5:18 pm #26496
Every CG “goes missing”, Elder….think about it!!!!!
12 September 2014 at 5:33 pm #26497
I respectfully disagree-but I appreciate the conversation…..
12 September 2014 at 5:39 pm #26498
Point taken Elder!
Live group starting in 20 mins.
see Support Groups above
12 September 2014 at 6:57 pm #26499charlesModerator
Hi James. I’m here in the groups for the next couple of hours if you are able to talk. Well done on getting out of tonights poker game. Why not tell your firend you have decided to stop gambling? Otherwise you will continue to gt the invites and the temptation that goes with them.
When it comes to the online sites, again well done on self exclusion and on planning to renew that exclusion. How about getting a blocker for your PC though? Again it removes the temptation of ending a ban or finding another site. If you are unable to connect to one of the groups here, though the time of your last post was less than 1/2 an hour before my first group this evening, maybe see if you can connect to the live one to one helpline? I don’t know what the time difference is where you are but some of your earlier posts today would ahve been made while that helpline was open.
Keep posting and hopefully I will talk to you in a group soon.
13 September 2014 at 8:02 am #26500
Thanks for the note-
I have told my friend before, unfortunately I don’t have a lot of credibility with him when I say I am done. He won’t offer support so I am choosing not to tell him..I have told one other person…
I could probably find a blocker, but the fact is I need to maintain some accountability in the process. I can’t put a blocker on all the devices I use everyday-I just have too many. Plus if I want to gamble I can also find a way. There are 100 slot machines within a mile of my work location, and another 100000 slots and pachinko machines relatively close. I have to want to stop. I do want to stop.
I am on Tokyo time, and my last post was close to going to sleep time. But I appreciate the invite…and the message..
13 September 2014 at 6:04 pm #26501
Been trying to figure out…why. Its not enough to say I gamble to excess, I gamble to my dollar, I lose more then I should…I want to know why.
I usually don’t care why. If your late your late, the why doesn’t matter. But I want to know whyI can’t gamble like a “normal” person. Normal people set a limit, lose it, and walk away. I set a limit, lose it, and set a new limit.
I know that if I am not gambling I will replace the compulsion with something else, food or shopping.
So I am not sure if I am just CG, or CG is just the most expensive of my addictions 🙂
1 June 2015 at 3:32 pm #26502
Its been a few months and 20-30 grand since I have last been on the site. Theres been baccarrat in the Philippines , Slots all over the place, and a lot of Poker.
Self banned from Pokerstars and Full Tilt last night for the 180 day period-the longest I could. Tried to get on here last night-no one on…and spent another couple of hundred on online slots. (That was a first-boring as hell-but I did it).
Went and saw a a Doctor, but his specialty was not really gambling addiction. I talked-he listened, and after 7-8 200 dollar sessions I got bored.
I know I can’t gamble like normal people (and the people I play with are not normal anyway) and quite frankly I am tired of the roller coaster. Want to get off and try for something resembling normal…
Day one starts in 25 minutes…..
2 June 2015 at 3:45 am #26503kpatParticipant
Welcome back! That roller coaster is expensive. I hope you read the journals here and find some tools to help you through to a more normal life. There is a lot of life passing us by when we choose to let gambling control us.
Posting your thoughts may help you in the early days when everything seems to pale in comparison. I felt really down spirited at first, but it was worth it to start finding myself again. Great start by excluding!
2 June 2015 at 4:00 am #26504
Really am to the point where choice is not part of the equation:-(( I still have a job, I am not dead broke but am certainly on the edge..Either I quit or I fall off the cliff of full financial ruin:-))
As destructive as I am willing to be with Gambling-I am not willing to take the last step.
Getting away from the online poker stops a couple of grand a month from leaving the coffers, and I didn’t miss it the last time I self excluded. (Its insidious that the sites welcome me back exactly at the 6 month moment-all I have to do is send them a email and I am back. When I get that 6 month email it triggers desire that I find hard to ignore. In order to self exclude I have to get back on the site. Its a very screwed up process.)
No real test for the next few days. I don’t have the money to play online (luckily all my remaining credit is on cards that are not internet casino friendly—what a coincidence.)
I can’t fund netteller without help as I live in Japan….and I won’t ask anyone to help me.
So the next real test is Sunday at the weekly poker game I will not be attending:-))
Anyway—-Day one Halfway done!
2 June 2015 at 11:17 am #26505DuncKeymaster
Im sorry for whatever reason we couldn’t connect on the helpline yesterday.
Reading through your thread shows a lot of commitment, and your right as soon as a self exclusion time is up you may well get reminded and that will bring on urges.
Have you considered taking this to the next level. 6 months is the minimum self exclusion period written into the regulations of self exclusion, but the other end is 5 years exclusion with some operators offering life time exclusion
By doing an extended exclusion your remove so many urges.
Another useful tool is to change your email address, thus stopping unsolicited emails that act as triggers
Lastly have you considered gamblers anonymous, Japan has a huge amount of meetings. Over the years Ive come across many English speaking people attending GA in Japan with no language issues http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/addresses
3 June 2015 at 8:47 am #26506
Thanks for the message Harry-no problem on the help line. I saw my turn had come about 20 seconds too late:-))
There are G.A. meetings on the US bases that are not a option-all the other ones, even if they are in English-are a few hours away.
The site will have to suffice–but it really does not matter how much support I have or do not have. I have to want to stop-I didn’t before-I do now.
Did get a invite to a game today-but I declined…first challenge passed.
Sending my credit cards that can be used for gaming elsewhere—I will not have access. Reducing my atm limit to 100 bucks a day (should say I want to-have not asked the bank yet but I don’t imagine its a difficult request). On one entry somewhere on here someone recommended The Easy way to stop Gambling by Allen Carr-have no idea if the book is worth anything but it can’t hurt so I bought and am reading…..
3 June 2015 at 12:28 pm #26507DuncKeymaster
Well done for refusing the invite to play, James I believe im right that Poker is illegal in Japan so I’m assuming your playing with friends or illegal clubs
Due to this it becomes harder to implement barriers, so its great to see you looking at ways of ensuring you haven’t access to cards when your aware of a pending game
Over the years Ive read of many people posting their cards to themselves, putting them in water and freeze them then have to wait for them to defrost , even a lady burying her husband cards under his prize cabbages in the garden has proved to work, The types of barriers whilst some may seem as extreme are proven,…. no card… no cash… no gamble
Where it can fail is with your own self honesty, reducing your ATM limit is a great idea. $100 is about £65, would you need $100 a day or could you make it less
I found for me , I’m also a poker player, I had a almost prerequisite amount of money needed to attend a game, the chances are the $100 isn’t enough for you to be tempted.. but what happens if you have the ability to withdraw $100 a day and spend $20, leaving you as potential $570 in cash in 7 days… a figure that is much more likely to cause urges than a reduced figure
3 June 2015 at 12:39 pm #26508lauren05Participant
James, it’s not easy undoing or getting out of the grip of gambling but you must want to stop. I’m an online slots gambler. I’ve kept the backdoor open while trying to control my gambling and be normal. It didn’t work. I lost loads of money but it didn’t affect my outgoings but that changed this year. It seems that one progresses to this level where it’s all about gambling with no regard for the rest. I’ve gambled with my salary this year and lost everything including my bonus in March. That was a very bitter pill to swallow but still wouldn’t self exclude.
I’m going into GMA next week and didn’t gamble this month cos I had no money to gamble. One day before payday, Vera challenged me to self exclude for life. I toyed with the idea and decided then it was the only way and secured my salary.
But only now have I decided I want to stop gambling for life. Until we get to that point, we’ll keep chasing our tail and stay in this vicious cycle. I’ve also read on here about the book, Easy way to stop gambling so I’ve bought it and it should be delivered today.
You have the right focus, James. Just turn your back on it. Seems you’re surrounded by casinos wherever you go so self excluding is one barrier. Learning to stop and understand what triggers the gambling will help more in getting this addiction out of your system and replacing it with positive, meaningful things in life. Try to watch this. It’s not long but will bring a smile to your face. “Stop It” Skit by Bob Newhart. https://vimeo.com/97370236.
Stay strong and focused today and the urges will subside.
3 June 2015 at 1:07 pm #26509I_MaverickParticipant
Welcome back Elder. I had not read your posts before as you joined before I did and when I joined and went through hell you were going through your own hell.
Well done on coming back and being so honest. Reading your posts frighten the life out of me because there but for the grace of God go I. I am on day 62 and I feel recovery starting to work. I went to GA last night (a new GA in my home town not London where I used to live as I no longer live in London due to my relationship falling apart because of my gambling and mental health issues and now back with my parents).
I found this site to be invaluable just to vent, who cares who reads it. The power of writing it gets it out of my head. I look forward to hearing more of your story and as you stop the madness that is gambling forever.
3 June 2015 at 4:30 pm #26510
I appreciate all the comments-Second day done-:))
Oh if it was just as easy as stopping it-even earlier today I heard the slot machines calling my name–Pharaohs Fortune-and I can’t exclude from where the slots are. 500 meters from work-have never actually won anything on slots-never. But I will still shove money in and wait for the possibility of a jackpot.
Makes no sense, its not logical. I do not enjoy it. Even if I win I do not enjoy it…but sounds…….
But I did not go-I did not put my money in…
Day 3 is 30 minutes old..
7 June 2015 at 6:14 pm #26511
Thought I had tonight all figured out-its Sunday-Poker night-but had a date-but she was not feeling good—-so I reverted to my old vice and hit the poker game because this time will be different:-)
1200 dollars later I leave the poker game feeling like shit (not that it matters but I flopped a set of Kings—on the turn he bets, I raise, he calls—with 2,3-and hits a club on the river to to take my 1500 dollar pot down with the smallest flush you can have-but he beat my set of kings. Win and I am ahead 300, lose and I am well, here, typing on the computer…but it doesn’t matter. If the crash did not happen tonight it would happen later )
Now the depression comes, and the why the —- am I so stupid comes, and the overriding want to stay in bed all day tomorrow comes, and the why did I lose again comes. (The guy who won the last hand had not won all night-had not hit anything all night-but like clockwork he hits against me).
So i leave the game in a rage-the stupid drunk should not have been in the hand. There is no way I lose when I am 90% to win with one card to come. I raised it 200 pre flop and he called with 2,3. I checked the turn because I was so far ahead-if I had bet it he would have folded as he had to hit runner runner to win. But If I push I win a 400 dollar pot and am about even. But I played it right, no way he makes that push with 2,3. But he did, and the card Gods —-ed me once again. Over and over they —- me…I know they are going to —- me did I really have to lose 1200 dollars proving once again what I already know?
So I vow once again to stop, and to try and find some normal in my confused and —-ed up world. I took the next step, I left the Facebook group that announces the game, I deleted all the people on line who invite me to games, I told my very good friend (who runs the game I was at tonight) that I did not want to hear about poker games, about his wins or loses, if he does not respect my boundaries I will block him)
Ive seen this —-ing movie so many times, every time I take another step towards getting the —-ing monkey off my back. But this time really feels different. I have never gone this far before.
Have to find something to feel the gap that will be left, Something to take up the OCD.
Trying to figure out how I feel-and its almost nothing. The healing process begins almost immediately. I can so quickly forget how utterly shitty I felt a short hour ago. The —-ing disease is insidious. I remember but I can’t recall the pain. I have no more money to lose or I would probably go back and rebuy.
But I truly don’t —-ing want too-but I truly —-ing want too-
—- me-replaying the last hand over and over again-always a crash-sometimes I play bad and lose, sometimes I play good….and lose. But I usually lose.
Have to stop- can’t keep going.
Its 212am-God I hope sleep will come quickly—
10 June 2015 at 6:08 pm #26512I_MaverickParticipant
Dude, I know exactly how you feel. That has happened to many times to me online. Infact, it happened to me ALL the time live and online. no matter what I had, straights, flushes, fullhouses – someone got a the river to beat me.
What the point. There is no point. treat yourself to recovery. I am day 69 and my life is SO much better than it was even 4 weeks ago. Every day I wake up knowing I didn;t gamble the day before, every day I achieve the small number of tasks I set myself, I feel better and better. GA works for me – have you tried it. If not, give it a god. If you want it to work, it will. I have driven 80 miles this week just to go to 2 GA meetings – 1 in Derby 25 miles away and one in Stoke 15 miles away. Both were great meetings, both had many reasons to remind me why I can never gamble normally. Even if I win, I will lose. I cannot win. None of us can.
I know you want recovery, but first you must grasp abstinence by the horns and wrestle it tto he ground. Then put it in a headlock and keep it there until it weakens.
you can do it fella – keep posting, stay away from ALL gambling related shit.
All my thoughts to you and yours
15 June 2015 at 5:57 am #26513
Well-that was a week with not a penny gambled.
16 June 2015 at 2:09 am #26514
Great week, Elder! Weeks turn to months, then years…Time flies.
Hopefully, the first of many. One day at a time.
16 June 2015 at 3:22 am #26515
Thanks Vera-my concern is I was never a everyday gambler (with the exception of a 100K Party Poker splurge in 2004) I go awhile and then fall hard…But I have taken steps this time that have to help. I have given all my credit cards that have cash advance capabilities to a friend who lives a hour away. I still have access but it is not easy. I am self banned from the poker sites. I am trying to keep the amount of money I am carrying down to a minimum…
Today is day 9—I guess thats progress….
16 June 2015 at 1:13 pm #26516
It IS progress, Elder. It’s what we do with our G free days and how we change our mindset and attitude that counts. I often held my breath and “chained myself up” (well not literally , of course)for days/weeks, then escaped and went wild. These days having little or no money keeps me from gambling but it also gives me time to reflect on why I would/wouldn’t gamble if I did have money.
Try to use your G free time to sort out your thoughts before they get another chance to turn to actions. Time is a good healer.
16 June 2015 at 9:21 pm #26517pParticipant
Well done on your gamble free days. I think with compulsive gambling you dont need to be an every day gambler.. its just what happens when you do gamble. For me once i start i cant stop.. so i cant start. Its the same every time, its never different only getting worse. It is good the steps you are putting in place, whatever works for you, if thats excluding if you can do it where you are, Gamblers anonymous meetings, counselling, coming here, there are lots of options. Throw all you can at this addiction its a very sneaky one.
22 June 2015 at 3:15 pm #26518
2 weeks and a day down, 3-4 poker games missed…
Money controls help..I don’t have access so I can’t gamble as easily.
Made it about halfway through Easyway-not sure if it is a good or not but am going to try to finish it this week.
Putting energy into cleaning, organizing, and diet…
Stress level is much lower without gambling. I don’t get the highs but there were not a lot of highs-but the trade off is I don’t get the lows either and there were a lot of lows.
Sleep is better, life is better-I wish I could keep the pain of losing closer to my brain, but it tends to disappear quickly.
Another day tomorrow:-)
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