Gambling Therapy logo

I am writing this for my benefit only. I know I could write this privately, but as part of my recovery process I am writing this here as a blog, as I would on any other blog.

My first recollection of gambling is as a child. My aunt in Germany (sister of my mother) had a boyfriend who was a jockey. They lived in Northern Italy near the racetrack where he raced. I remember my step-father (who I will called my dad from now on as he raised me from a young child of 4. My real father died when I was 4 months old) placing a bet for my brother and myself for him to win. He didn’t. I would have been 9 or 10.

My second recollection of gambling is at Scarborough where my dad was from. I can remember going down to the seafront and loving the 2p and 1p sliders as well as the 1 arm bandits. We are the only country in the world I think where children can gamble. I loved those machines and would always pester my mum and dad for pocket money to play on them. I would always walk away when I had a win and buy ice cream.

My third recollection of gambling comes in 2 parts from high school. 1 is playing penny against the wall and the other, when we were 5th years, playing 3 card brag with the science teacher. There were 6 or 7 of us who used to play. I remember loving that. I would have been 15 or 16

I have no more gambling memories until university when we used to play pontoon and poker for pennies. Just fun. In my second year and third year I developed a little bit of a crush on fruit machines, and they caused me a bit of grief, so I stopped that after a few months. They did cause me to miss meeting a mate who was coming from London to visit. He was quite pissed off as I was in the arcade when he got to my house. A quick play turned into hours. IN my 3rd year we played more poker and pontoon with mates and I remember chasing losses. I was starting to play the fruities more as well, losing time when I should have been studying. When we played poker I would get aggresssive if I made a bad call and would often lose my money. I was starting to lose the ability to manage my money by then. I was, and I think I still am, very immature.

My gambling stopped after uni as I stayed on in Leicester. Despite have a good degree I wanted to hang out with mate and because I couldn’t find a job in media (though I didn’t really look very hard) I found work selling double glazing door to door. being outwardly confident (and inwardly full of self -loathing but didn’t realise it) I started to lose myself in a haze of party drugs, raves, free parties which went from Ecstasy, Speed, LCD and Dope to heroin within a year. I always wanted to try heroin, infact I would try anything. I soon lost my way and 3 years later was a wreck. I never sought help for this and eventually after moving back to my mum and dads stopped using. I then got onto an MA for Filmmaking in Sheffield, found heroin again, almost fucked this up, but managed ot get through it. I was now 26 years old. I met my current wife there and after we graduated came to London. I found a job in media sales, where I again developed a thing for a fruit machine in a local pub, and started poker with my uni mates. But the gambling wasn’t a problem.