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      Hi everyone.
      Well, I admit it. My gambling problem is controlling my life and has gone far too far.
      I’m sure like most of you on this forum, you have a story. I feel the need to share mine.
      I’m 25 years old and am a gambler. I’ve been gambling since about the age of 15 when my dad used to bring me a fixed odds from the bookies and we’d have a £5 bet on football matches in Britain. It would normally be 3 draws that we’d try and pick for winnings of about £160. Needless to say the odds were large for a reason and I think in the space about of a year we maybe won once. It was really my first taste of gambling and it’s something that’s grown into this monster today. As you can imagine, I was curious gambling when I was able to do it legally, so learnt how to put football bets on for myself when I was 18. Still small stakes which again rarely conjured up many winners.
      From a personal point of view, I’ve always found myself a bit of a lonely person. The older I get the more I seem to get distant from my friends and wider family. Most of my good friends from when I was younger have moved on to better things than I have or lead more exciting lives. I found myself in a bit of a dead end job and there was a bookies across the road from me at work. I used to go there and spend £20 on virtual dog racing on my lunch. If I won, then great. I somehow always had a knack of knowing when to walk away. Wether I was up or down, I knew when to leave. Occasionally, when I was up from my lunch time punt, I’d spend a little amount passing on the way home. Playing with winning money essentially.
      And then, I found online gambling.
      I’ve always been into gaming. Like most teenagers, I spent too many hours glued to a computer screen. So finding that I could gamble on virtual games, football etc from my home was a fun thought! The problem with this is, I couldn’t, and still can’t seperate figures on a pc, to actual money in my bank account (possesion). It feels like a game. And the only time it doesn’t feel like a game is when I’m skint. My social life has gone from a rather quiet, to a non existant one. Simply because of my online gambling. I have no idea when to stop, and have no control over my gambling. I don’t know when to walk away anymore. The only time I do that is when I’m forced to by my bank. Back in Febuary, I had no overdraft on my bank account, yet they cleared my online withdrawals to over £300 over my limit. My card got reported the next time I tried to use it and I embarassingly had to confess everything in a bank full of people paying off mortgages etc.
      I thought that would have been the wake up call. It wasn’t.
      So after they blocked overdraws on my account, I found myself skint again a week after being paid, with birthdays and dig money to pay. I LIED to my then boss, telling him that money was stolen from my account. After work one night, he drove me to a bank machine, withdrew £150 for me and I told him I’d get it back to him in 2 weeks. On the way home, I went into a bookmaker and stuck £20 on football accumulator to try and get back my losses. I everything back a couple of weeks later.
      Seeing him take his own money to feed my habit should have been the wake up call….. It wasn’t.
      I had one moment of clarity one night after I’d bankrupt myself for the umpteenth month running. I was skint again, and needed more money. I told my mum. She was more upset than angry. I genuinely thought she would have thrown me out the house. Part of me wishes she did and her kind ways seemed to think what I’m doing isn’t so wrong. She trasnsferred £250 to my account. I said to her that I was doing everything in my power to stop. And at that point I was. I signed up o every online bookmaker I could find and took out lengthy self exclusions on myself. That was an easy thing to do, because I didn’t have any money to spend. After I got paid, I gave my mum back every penny, paid a couple of bills again and found myself a different online bookmaker. I spent every penny, got myself self excluded, didn’t have any money to spend for 2 weeks, never seen any of my friends again and carried on as normal. Then I got paid again. And the same happened again. Found a different online bookmaker, spent all my wages after about a fortnight, got a self exclusion and never seen any of my friends.
      Its now September and I’ve barely gone 2 weeks without gambling in my life. The thing is, when I do actually get out of my gambling routine (more due to having no money than actually stopping) then its the happiest I feel. Like a weight lifted. Unfortunately I’m in trouble. I was paid 6 days ago and after having found a different online bookmaker and currently have £9 in my bank account. The problem is, I’ve got a holiday in 3 weeks time. Fortunately its a day AFTER I get paid, but  until then I have abot £40. I can probably cope. But this is just the lowest I’ve felt in my life. I just really NEED to stop this.
      If anyone has any advice, please. I’ll listen to anyone. I can’t bare talking about my gambling problems in person or over the phone as I am really embarassed to speak about it. So I’m seeking help here. Please get in touch with me and give me some advice to help change my life.
      Thank you, Gary.

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