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    • #13641

      Hi, my name is Ali.
      I’m 25 and a compulsive gambler.
      This is where my addiction began-
      It all started 7 years ago really, when I was 18. I’d just started college and would receive money each week to attend. I found an online website where you could bet on a game and win if you correctly guessed where the hand of a ‘clock’ would stop. My bets were small and any win was exciting, but at that time it wasn’t out of control.
      After college I got a job, this increase in money led to an increase in gambling and the odd go on the clock game changed to bingo, where I would spend a large portion of my wages, after a few months I left behind the bingo games and moved onto slots. Pretty quickly what started out as a bit of fun turned into a major addiction. All my money was spent on the slots, I’d have the occasional win but end up putting that in…always under the illusion that I would be able to win again. It began to become a game I felt I knew the rules to. I’d kid myself that I understood how these sites worked, if I didn’t win on a slot today then tomorrow they’d have to let me win, if I won on a couple of slots in a row the site had decided that it was going to let me win so I’d up my bets. Of course none of it was true and after a few minutes or sometimes hours the money was gone again.
      I’m naturally a shy person and land based casinos or bookies have never appealed to me. With online gambling I was able to keep it my secret, no one knows I’m a ch but everyone’s affected by the after effects. I’m constantly broke I turn down nights out with friends or pretend I’m sick. I’m easily angered so living at home still (where else would I be, saving up for my own place was never an option) isn’t easy. I get mad and make my family feel bad because feel bad. I don’t talk to them for days or eat for days on end to punish myself and then end up punishing them.
      Eventually I discovered I could spend money I didn’t have…by going overdrawn. Another major turning point, I’d get paid at the end of each month, after a few days those wages were spent and I was overdrawn which led to bank charges. Sometimes I’d be so overdrawn that when I was paid the next month my wages just about covered my debt to the bank and I was left with five or ten pounds to myself, which I gambled thinking that I’d win big and it would make everything ok again. But it never happens does it? and with the bank charging me up to £300 a month in charges it all completely spiralled out of control. I don’t think a month has gone by since 2005 where I haven’t received bank charges and where my wages have lasted more than a week. Even when I went to university I spent student loans within days.
      My cg led to me becoming sneaky and deceptive, I learnt to lie and I lied well. Somehow I had to explain to my family why the day after payday I didn’t have any money. And I’d never admit my problem so I would lie. It makes me sick to think now that I’ve lied to the faces of the people I love. I’m deeply embarrassed and ashamed to say that I’ve even lied to them to get money to gamble, which when I did I’d lie again to explain where it had gone. The last six years has consisted of me lying and gambling in a vicious circle, and now I want it to stop.
      I’ve become manipulative and angry and this is not the person I want to be. Gambling has stopped being fun, it has stopped becoming the answer to my problems and become the problem. It used to numb the pain I Felt when I felt worthless and now its part of the reason I feel worthless. I’m not going to lie sometimes I’ve felt so low I’ve considered ending it all, I know that gambling isn’t the sole reason for this but the anger I feel at myself after a binge usually has me screaming at myself inside my head that the only way I’ll ever stop gambling is to just be gone.
      The day I stopped gambling.
      Today I have not gambled for three days, I have decided enough is enough. I have a major problem and I will face it.
      All the casino sites I was a member of are now closed and I won’t be visiting again. I still need to pick up the courage to tell my family (though part of me is sure they must know, at least a little) and I know this will take time but I will do it eventually, I owe them all an explanation. I am positive I can beat this addiction and start living instead of existing.

      Sorry this has gone on a bit, well a lot, but this is the first time I’ve ever admitted to any of this and once I started getting it down it was making me feel better and positive that I will no longer gamble. I’ll be using this as a journal to record my progress so will post frequently, hopefully in future they’ll be shorter!

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