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My Road to Debt, Recovery and Relapse.

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 22/02/2016 - 00:08

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Good evening all, 

I am a 23 year old accountancy graduate and I would like to share my gambling experiences with you all and various insights I have had during my recovery. 

Like many others, my gambling started at a very young age and has progressively got worse over time. My gambling began in amusement arcades on family holidays, my parents have never gambled much and didn't think anything of it. At such a juvenile age, that feeling of excitement of watching 'all' of them 2p's fall down  into my catchet was the highlight of my family holiday. Little did I know that 10 years on I would become a compulsive gambler. 

I spent my 18th birthday in a casino, Unfortunately I won £100 and proceeded to open up a betting account online the very next day. I thought I had a plan, I told myself " I'll put £10 and keep £10 in my betting account and see how much I can win", this worked for a while, I placed very small stakes, limited myself to £10 a month and once the money had gone, it had gone.  During the next two years despite my parents helping me out considerably with rent and other expenses at university, I felt like I had nothing. Luckily, I was unable to take out a loan to feed my addiction but I did take out an overdraft. My parents hated overdrafts and the thought of my being in any kind of debt, they asked my why I had taken on an overdraft, I lied to them and said I needed it and blagged about how it was interest free. Once my overdraft was maxed out, I began stealing from my housemates, the worse thing was I felt nothing about stealing from them, gambling desensitizes you from thinking about consequences of your actions and this has been reflective in other instances during the past couple of years. At 21, my final year of university, I remember going in to a ******* once in a full fancy dress outfit, It was my best friends birthday, and I thought I'd win a bit of extra cash for the night ahead. Little did I know, I would lose £1500 in that shop, the entirety of my student loan for that term. I confessed later to my mum, who came up to see me, consoled me and helped me get some counselling. 

Unfortunately the counselling service was unsuccessful, and although I stayed away from gambling for around 8 months, I relapsed in September 2014. I was now living at home again following successfully graduating from university. I got a job almost straight away and began working. The 'come down' of routine and living a normal, boring, everyday working life hit me hard and I took out my first loan of £3000 in November 2014 following staking huge bets online. It was only going to get worse, following a 6 week winning streak from January 2015- March 2015 I was up circa £6k and paid off the entirety of the loan. I was betting online everyday and pumping my winnings back in, if I was down, I would chase my money and continue to chase my money. I remember being down £2k one day, and staked my 'hidden' credit card which had a limit of £3k to win the money back. Thankfully, that day, I did win it back, and cashed in an additional £200 'bonus' for my troubles. 

On the weekend of the 7th-8th March 2015 I lost 15.5k. Following losing 2k (remaining bank balance plus overdraft) and 3.5k (credit card balance) I took out a loan of 10k on online banking for a 'car'. I lost this money in the space of 6 hours following staking £1000 spins on the roulette. I cried for hours and faked that I was having chest pains to my parents, they took me to A&E. On the following Monday, I wrote them a letter confessing everything what I had done, pleading for help. They were shocked and angry, but reminded me that they loved me and wanted to help me. At looking at the financial mess I was in, my father, an accountant, formulated a financial plan which I have adhered too ever since. My father takes control of all of my wages, and drip feeds me money every week. He also checks my statements every month, and started taking me to GA every week (although I stopped going after 3 months). 

Although I have moved away from home now, we still have this arrangement. I now have a good job, but the financial burden will be on me for another 2.5 years. I have had to make sacrifices, sell my car, no holidays but I can honestly say that I am a better person now, after 11 months of not gambling, that I ever have been. I had a small relapse last month, but once I realised what I was doing I was physically sick in the toilet and walked out of the shop straight away. I reminded myself how far I had come and I have been back attending GA since that date. 

I have learnt numerous lessons about myself during my recovery My decisions have always been ones that lead to short term gratification, whether in gambling or in other areas of my life. This is because I have been so impatient. I never think long term, and never think of the consequences of my actions. Traditionally, I have shown many other undesirable traits including being a compulsive lier, being completely selfish and showing a complete lack of regard for anyone else, and doing anything to get my own way. During my recovery, I have had a lot of time to reflect and although I still despise myself for the way that I have behaved in the past, I am beginning to realise how a rational person should behave and I am trying to mould myself around this 'ideal'.

There is still a long way to go as the mental impact that gambling has had on my state of mind still somewhat remains and in some cases, manifests itself in to anger and frustration. However, I am no longer the deceitful person I once was, and I pray that one day I can become a person that people look up too. 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on:
Mon, 22/02/2016 - 00:41

ALAN 135

Joined:
Before 2009

Great honest post my friend , very inspirational and good to see youv'e come back to a better place !.

Best wishes for the future and deep respect !

Posted on:
Mon, 22/02/2016 - 09:04

cardhue

Joined:
2013-01-18

Hi
Well! Quite a journey you've been on and that's brilliant you've been able to take such committed action to get better.

I like the idea of modelling your behaviour on how a rational person behaves. That's basically saying you want to behave or 'be' the person you really want to be.

As an addict I became accustomed to avoidance -avoidance of difficult thoughts, feelings and experiences. I therefore lost my way, my sense of purpose and identity. So a big gap developed between what I wanted to be...and what I was.

I'm now all about trying to take action and set goals according to my values. Move closer to who I want to be.

Thanks for sharing.

Louis

Posted on:
Mon, 22/02/2016 - 16:44

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Thanks both. 

Louis I can relate to avoidance, I'm a firm believer that gambling is a disease of the mind and avoidance is a symptom of that disease. It's great you are making strides in your recovery. 

Posted on:
Wed, 30/03/2016 - 22:23

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Hi All, 

I've been complacent in the last couple of weeks, I had done well to save up almost £1.5k to reduce down my loan in the last 3 months. Today I lost it all. 

In order to try and win the money back I visited Santander in the hope of getting a credit card, prior to the credit checking in, I broke down and informed the banking associate that I had no way of paying it back. She sympathised with me. I never cry, I only cried because of the pain gambling has and still does cause me

I've been here before, but I've decided I'm going to make some lifestyle changes. Words are cheap, actions talk. 

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Thu, 31/03/2016 - 09:44

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Hi, Callum,

Take action that will talk: go back to GA. You can do in a group what you can't do alone.

Recovery's not about the money, it's about changing the mindset. That's doable but it's long term and needs maintenance.

Wish you well, 

CW

Posted on:
Thu, 31/03/2016 - 10:42

Rose80

Joined:
2016-03-08

Hi Callum,

Think about the triangle; time, money and location.  Remove at least one and you cant gamble, so if your doing it online get software blocker, if you are going into casinos / shops then you can self exclude from them all.  Temptation will always be there for us CG's but if you focus on the triangle it does relieve some of the pressure and urges, i have found this on my recovery journey.

Will watch your progress and wish you all the best!

Posted on:
Thu, 31/03/2016 - 15:00

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 1 (Following Relapse)

Thanks Cynical wife and Rose for your replies. I'm planning on going back to GA. 

The worst feeling for me right now is betrayal, I have betrayed my parents massively both of whom have been amazing to me, particularly last year with my dad taking me to GA every week and my mum taking me to counselling. 

I feel empty, vulnerable and worthless for what I have done. I'm a selfish pig and deserve everything I get.

Posted on:
Fri, 01/04/2016 - 00:01

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Yes, well, beating yourself up doesn't turn the clock back and it isn't the same thing as taking the action you need to take. There's a difference between guilt and shame. Feeling guilty is fine, it's about what you've done wrong, you can regret it and do what you can to make amends ie show your parents how the triangle is staying broken, go to GA, apologise and ask for their support.

Shame ie beating yourself up and thinking that you're bad therefore there's no point in bothering. That's just the addiction telling you nonsense and excuses. Don't listen. 

You can do what you need to do, but you need to do it. Make those changes.

CW

Posted on:
Fri, 01/04/2016 - 18:56

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 2

Dear all,

Thanks CW, you're right, I have started to make changes already, I'm restricting all access to money now. I'm only asking my parents for money I really need. From now on, everything else that I earn will go towards paying off my loans.

I'm feeling slightly better today. I have given some thought as to what caused my relapses, the cause tends to me being reluctant to pay for small little things that I feel I shouldnt have to pay for. For example, on Wednesday, when I relapsed, the laundrette charged me £10 bill, I'm not used to paying this and thus it annoyed me. I then went to the bookies to try and win the £10 and I lost everything I had. I've done this for being unwilling to pay for other small unexpected costs before like bus/train fare. When I'm in the bookies it's a different story, It's the compulsive gambler in me that stays in the bookies and wants to feel that adrenaline rush and chase every last pound that I am down. The lesson from this is that I need to change my mindset completely and realise that I do need to pay for these small things and there is no such thing as an 'easy' £10.

Thanks and have an enjoyable weekend

Callum

 

Posted on:
Sun, 03/04/2016 - 21:43

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 4

Hi all, 

The weekend has gone OK. I haven't gambled so that's always a plus.

I have not been out at all this weekend and have hardly eaten, I have done this primarily to save money. It's difficult to comprehend that I have been working in my new job for 7-8 months now and have absolutely nothing to show for my hard work. I guess this is a feeling that is experienced by every compulsive gambler. I look around, everyone my age has cars, many have booked a holiday for this year, some have purchased a house and have a mortgage. I have worked since I was 16 (Including during my university years) I am now 23, I don't enjoy these priveleges despite working longer and harder than the majority of people my age. I am riddled with debt and the small amount of money I do try and save up to pay off the debt is gambled away.

I'm fed up of people telling me I'm an intelligent guy with a decent future ahead of him. The reality is, I'm not intelligent because I keep on gambling, I may sound pitiful but quite frankly I don't care. I failed to take on board all of the advice that the counsellor and those at GA gave me, I relapsed, after promising myself that I would never gamble again. 

Apologies for the moan, but I'm feeling low tonight. 

Callum 

Posted on:
Sun, 03/04/2016 - 22:24

adam123

Joined:
2015-06-09

Hi Callum, just read ur diary and I would like to say 23 blimey I wish I was tht young when I found out I had a problem with gambling. To realise soo young and be smart and in a job is in ur favour. Good luck I hope u can stag gamble free and enjoy youth. I have recently purchased a house and got a mortgage and I'm 34 and I'm one of a few of mg mates who have most haven't yet. You have plenty of time when I was twenty three I spent all my money after renf on socialising..... .... U have to enjoy your youth try not to put itself down.. One step at a time

Posted on:
Mon, 04/04/2016 - 07:33

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Callum, go back to GA. You're not the first and you won't be the last.

BW,

CW

Posted on:
Mon, 04/04/2016 - 07:43

cardhue

Joined:
2013-01-18

Hi Callum

You may be intelligent you may not be. Frankly it doesn't matter as it's not relevant to your gambling addiction.

You acknowledged above that gambling is a form of escapism. I would say gambling is linked to a struggle with difficult thougths and feelings. What are you struggling with that is causing you to escape? As CW says, I suggest you go back to GA or set up some sessions with a good pysch.

Best wishes

Louis

Posted on:
Tue, 05/04/2016 - 18:59

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Hi All, 

Day 6,

Thanks Adam, CW and Cardhue for your replies to my previous post: 

The issue is, GA is a 50 minute bus journey from where I live, I would love to go back, and I think it would do me good. Practically though it is extremely difficult to attend given my job and my location. I hate to use this as an excuse but I won't be able to commit to it every week without as it also falls on the hours that I work.

Louis, I have been diagnosed with both anxiety disorder and dyspraxia during the last 3 years. I had been taking medication (fluoxetine) but it made me extremely tired and I wasnt able to perform at all well in any aspects of my life. I've had counselling, for me it wasn't effective and this is why they prescribed me with medication as a substitute. In December I came off the tablets, without telling anyone, although I now feel more awake I feel extremely anxious and this is what perhaps contributed towards my relapse. It's difficult for me to know what to do- whether to go back on the pills or to keep off them. 

Anyway, the last two days I havnt gambled, quite frankly, I have no money to gamble without taking on additional credit. This is good, and I'll be giving the money that I earn and don't need to my parents. I fell out with my manager today at work, she doesn't think I seem in control of my tasks/jobs and she is not confident in me presenting our corporate proposal in front of customers. She told me that I don't convey myself as a "professional" and justified this through my 'poor' appearence levels and generally petty things that I tend to do. I disagreed, as for me, this is quite discriminatory. Anyway, an episode like this would previously cause me to gamble, however, I am now off for a run instead. 

Take care and look after yourselves. 

Callum

Posted on:
Fri, 08/04/2016 - 10:51

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 9

Hi everyone, 

No real updates to provide. I have not gambled, another weekend ahead of staying in and saving money. 

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Sun, 24/04/2016 - 19:20

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 25

Hello everyone, 

Just a note to say that I havn't gambled for 25 days. I'm filing up my time working and studying at college. I'm restricting my access to money by ensuring my dad gives me less of an allowance each week where the remaining will go towards paying off my debts. 

I was reflecting today on how gambling has impacted on me as a person. Gambling has crushed my confidence and my levels of self esteem. However, at least I'm not the deceitful, selfish, person I was when gambling heavily. 

I'll check in again later in the week. 

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Wed, 27/04/2016 - 18:52

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 28

Almost a month in now, no real urges to gamble.

2 years today and I'll be debt clear  

 

Posted on:
Wed, 27/04/2016 - 18:56

I wished

Joined:
2014-04-25

Well done CC on 28 days of getting your self esteem back and actually winning:)))

Keep strong and keep taking one day at a time:))

Suzanne xx

Posted on:
Tue, 10/05/2016 - 17:05

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 41, 

Thanks Suzanne x

Hi All, 

Just checking in to say that I'm 41 days Gambling clear. I'm following the 3 way triangle through self exclusion and limiting my access to any money.

I've started taking my tablets again for my mental illness and I am beginning to feel slightly better about myself.

My record is 270 days ish. 

Cheers 

Callum

 

 

Posted on:
Sun, 08/10/2017 - 19:31

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Hi all, 

I've relapsed and I think it's necessary to bring this thread back to fruition.

I've lost aboutt £200 during the last two weeks, I'm not sure what caused me to relapse. I think it's just general boredom with my life currently. It's extremely disappointing and I've got that feeling of making sacrifices again to make sure I can recoup the money back I've lost. I'm still in around 3k of debt from my gambling in 2015. 

The same feelings have emerged, demotivation, guilt and low self esteem. How do you guys cope with such emotions?

My parents still control all my money, but I've lied to them during the last couple of weeks saying ive bought a new phone exc to fund my gambling addiction

Thanks 

Callum

Posted on:
Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:39

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 4

Positive day at work today. Kept myself busy and concentrated on filling my time, no real urges. I just need to ensure complacency doesn't kick in. Updating on this helps me maintain focus

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Wed, 11/10/2017 - 20:26

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 5

Extremely busy at work and studying at college which is good. Looking forward to being a week GF since my relapses started!

Stay strong all and keep that wild animal within under control. I've tried to think longer term, which is helping

Posted on:
Thu, 12/10/2017 - 21:05

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 6 

First time I've thought about gambling since last Friday, temptation to go to the bookies was strong after work today but i resisted. Think I'll be leaving my bank card at home tomorrow! 

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Sun, 15/10/2017 - 20:14

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 9

Been hungover all day today with no money to gamble given I spent my weekly allowance getting drunk at the weekend. Reminded me of how much I hate hangovers!

One day at a time, looking forward to 14 days come Friday

Posted on:
Mon, 16/10/2017 - 19:29

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 10

Still GF, leaving the card at home really helps - would recommend to all. Taking away 'one' of the traingle

Thanks

Callum

Posted on:
Fri, 20/10/2017 - 21:21

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 14

2 weeks GF! Bit of a success considering the 3 weeks prior to that I gambled each week. 

The feelings are still there. I've decided once I get to 28 days I'll go to a GA meeting here in Bradford. This should hopefully prevent any complacency kicking in

 

Posted on:
Sun, 22/10/2017 - 16:08

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Day 16 

The weekend has been a test. I needed my debit card yesterday to collect my train tickets but I left it at home, with the feeling of having to pay for them again, gambling came into my head as a quick win. 

With the option of gambling as a last resort, I asked someone at the train station whether I could borrow their debit card to activate the ticket machine, luckily the man agreed and I was able to collect my tickets without gambling - Massive relief. I need to try and get the thoughts of gambling out of my head when situations like this happen, it's as if the situation shouldn't of happened and I therefore need to gamble to get a quick win as I shouldnt have to pay for it - if that makes sense!

The football today was again tempting but not tempting enough for me to put a bet on! which is good. Life does seem emptier wothout gambling, but I'm a much more content person and don't have the urge to do bad things in order to get my money back 

Thanks 

Callum

Posted on:
Tue, 27/03/2018 - 20:04

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Hi all, 

I've just paid off the last of my debt from 3 years ago. I'm feeling quite down about it, I think it's suddenly hit me how much I lost and how little I've got left from 3 years of solid working purely to pay back a debt. 

I'm unhappy at work in a minute and I'm feeling very insecure. I should be happy but instead I'm in tears. Has anyone else felt like this after paying off their debt 

Thanks 

Callum

Posted on:
Tue, 27/03/2018 - 22:51

tara2

Joined:
2013-01-27

Hello Callum,  I just happened upon your diary and read the previous entries then saw this most recent one.  It sounds like remorse set in in hindsight of now being able to take a look at all that hard work; the work it took to pay off the debt.  It's a marking point and I would think that what your feeling is completely natural.  It's not like working really hard to make a downpayment for a car where you can see what you have with the material evidence and proud feeling of driving it around.  The accomplishment that you just have made is not evidenced by material thing (s).  The accomplishment you have just made is far far greater and commendable than money can buy.  The addiction of compulsive gambling is insidious, as you well know.  You are young and you have gone through it and now , even though  you wonder what you have gained because all the money went to pay off debt, YOU have done something that cgs struggle to do for 1/2 their adult lives.  If you can nail this addiction and stay put with the debt behind you and solid ground beneath your feet.  Hold your head high... and if you even fall back do just as you have in the past, get back right away to recovery.  The cg cycle is endless.  The rock bottoms keep getting lower.  Please feel the honor you deserve of making it to this point.  Congratulations!  Some tears , yes.  And now a pat on the back and celebrate.  tara2

Posted on:
Thu, 29/03/2018 - 23:07

CC12345

Joined:
2016-02-21

Thanks tara :)