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    • #12885
      markf
      Participant

      It wasn’t until I went into rehab that I finally began to understand my addiction and how it grabbed hold of me.
      In order to fully recover from your addiction, be it gambling or any other form, it is very important that you understand how the addiction works and how it manifested itself in you.
      The answers to the above will be very different for us all but nevertheless I believe you should look for the answers in order to gain control back of your life and beat the addiction.
      I can tell you how the addiction worked for me. My gambling addiction worked by keeping it completely secret from everyone else in my life including friends, family, strangers, work colleagues, absolutely everyone. By doing this it enabled me to continue gambling under the radar for as long as I could. In order to do this I had to lead a double life, my gambling life and non gambling life. To do this I had to lie to everyone about my whereabouts all the time. I had to lie abut my finances all the time as I never really had any money and was continually living on credit.
      But eventually the credit ran out so I had to start stealing to keep feeding my addiction. At first I felt horrible and guilty but as time went on the addiction numbed all the pain and the guilt and allowed me to continue stealing more and larger quantities of money in even more elaborate ways.
      I could go on and on about how it worked or me but I have explored this long and hard over many months and no the answers. The point is that I know (well I hope I know) all the signs that could potentially lead me down the wrong path again. The single most important thing for me is not to keep things hidden and not lie. If I start doing either of those again then it could lead to me gambling again.
      As to how it manifested itself in me. Well this is the million dollar question for most of us I guess. How did it all come to this? Why me? How did it get so bad??
      This took a huge amount of soul searching and understanding. I began gambling when I was very young, not even a teenager. I was addicted straight away. Even though I didn’t realise it at the time, on thinking back I was always the one instigating it, the last to leave, the one who always seemed to lose all his money and the one always left wanting more.
      I have learnt that I gambled because I had a huge need to be liked. I had very low self esteem for what sound like very trivial reasons now. But to an 11 year old boy they were very important. When I went to secondary school I was the shortest boy in my year (out of about 100 of us) and was also no good at sport. Both of these led to me feeling very insecure and affected my confidence. I didn’t want to get lefty behind of be one of those who ot permanently picked on so I became the “cocky gambler”!
      To cut a long story short, I continued living my whole life this way. As I grew older I was always the one trying to impress, the one buying the champagne, the one going on the nice holidays, the one buying the cool gadgets and so on…… but totally living out of my means and all because I wanted to be liked. I would give the impression that I had so much more money then I ever did and pretended that I used to earn far more!!
      The older I got the more lavish life I would try to lead, all the while gambling heavier and heavier to try ot win enough to sustain it but sadly losing more and more.
      That s a very simple explanation as to how the addiction wrapped its arms around me slowly and as time when on strengthened it grip until it had me in a permanent choke hold!  
      On learning all of this I realised where I was going wrong all of these years and what I need to change.
      You see as with all addictions, my gambling addiction is formed as a result of a far deeper underlying issue of self esteem. Until we can understand and change the underlying problems, the addiction is never likely to go away.
       

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