So after calling gamcare for the umpteenth time!! Seriously I call them almost everyday!! This is after I stopped almost 4 weeks ago - after 7 years of what became compulsive gambling! Now as many on this forum this addiction has cost me so much, financially emotionally, any sense of self care, friendships etc..
But once I put Gamstop in place and so can't play online slots, which was my thing! I have not missed it at all?? I'm proud of myself for doing it and felt huge relief! But the aftermath has brought anger and shame of what I did and the lies I told, whatever it took so I had money to spin those slots.. Turning from a kind, pretty moral person to this person I never recognised anymore... Just insanity!
So what I have learnt after my very very many calls to gamcare! Who have been extremely patient with me!! Is that it's all about relationships, with myself, my childhood, my family, my lack of belief in myself and my high expectation of others and seeing things almost through rose coloured glasses? Then feeling so let down and hurt.. Not realising that the many hurtful actions from others actually was all about them not me!! Of course I have take responsibility for my behaviour. But it really was all about not being able to cope with life and hurt that kept me gambling.. If it wasn't that it would be something else? I have also decided to quit smoking, I have smoked for over 40 years!!
I actually thought I had actually gone insane!! As who would choose to live on food banks for years and sell everything they have just to keep playing.? I realised it was never about the money! I could win £6000 and I would just let it go to zero, even knowing I didn't have any food in for a month!! Crazy!!
Now I have to move forward and really make the most of life.. Whether friendships can be rebuilt or mended time will tell? Regaining my own self respect and finding my voice again, because the thing about, for me anyway, due to shame and guilt that came this addiction I definitely lost mine!!
I am interested to hear people's thoughts on addiction and whether they think that gambling is very different type of addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes? Or as somebody said to me recently addiction is addiction is addiction??
It is a built-up wall of behaviour that gets more and more solid as you continue to build it. And be under no illusion is that when you decide to tear that wall down it can be as easy as cake or the hardest thing you have ever done. As we build our decision-making on past behaviours this addiction may pop up down the road just to make itself known and that is where you need to be very tactical in how you handle life. I.e. no television, adverts or radio in the car etc. They (the industry) constantly mind f... you to think gambling is a bit of fun. Well, even for well-routinated addicts they can forget why they were sick so it is now about constantly reminding yourself why you got to this point to start with and also fill your days with new routines so you may walk in peace down that new future that is yours to enjoy.
Never give up and never surrender!
In my opinion, a gambling addiction, in some cases won’t be as bad for your health as drug and alcohol addictions. Obviously the repercussions of gambling addiction are - depression, mental health etc. But I believe it’s just as hard to quit, possibly even more difficult.
I’m lucky, in that I’ve not lost too much to gambling, unlike a lot of others on here. I’ve lost plenty of money over the years and currently owe my partner over 20k. But I still have him and my family. I still have all my family. Gambling has not (currently) ruined my life. (Family do not know extent to my addiction) For that I thank my lucky stars.
I just want to say how I can relate balances online, and doing exactly the same as you, letting it go to zero. Afterwards I’d stare at the screen in disbelief. For me, it was up to 3k, many times, but as soon as I started to lose, I’d increase the stake - I had to get back to 3k balance. It’s madness. Whilst I was winning I was happy. As soon as I started to lose, I’d be snappy with OH. My mood was dependent upon how my balance was! Money is merely the fuel to play - it bears no other use when you are a gambler. That’s why you used food banks and allowed yourself to spend every penny, like so many of us. That is why when my mum, in the early days used to try and talk some logic into me and the situation..... “think of all the lovely things you could buy yourself if you didn’t gamble” she would say. It made no difference.
I’m only on day 10, but I feel extremely positive. I’ve gambled for probably 40 years!! But online has been my “problem”.
Good luck, T xxx
Hi Joannieb. I'm on day 2 after losing a lot of money 2 nights ago playing online roulette. I had all sorts of blockers in place but got a new phone and hadn't installed them. Well you know the rest. I'm pretty down at the moment. So disgusted with myself for letting this happen again. Been reading your posts and they have given me encouragement. I always say I have an addictive personality but is that me just trying to make excuses for my gambling and all the hurt its caused.
Hi Jill, Tizzy and c43
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stories. Jill I can relate to that questioning of "excuses" I am always having that debate with myself! There are many, many people who will just say that there is always a choice when it comes to gambling or not??
So effectively we are to blame, I can respect their opinion, but I just don't believe that being part of a blame culture. This does not help anybody! It just causes more shame and guilt and Where's the positive in this? I believe in being accountable for our actions, this is different, we can own that whilst at the same time get help to understand why we became compulsive gamblers? Did we start out through distraction, traumatic events, not being able to cope with everyday life? Whatever the reason.. Where it begins and where it (compulsive gambling) has alot I believe to do with the rewiring of the brain.. The money is as has already been said is just fuel to keep on playing... Not greed, as many will know the lack of self care, the living on food banks etc... Is definitely not about reward! It becomes self abuse. But I believe because of what happens within part of the brain, the logical part has no chance against that part that now has you well and truly addicted??
So Jill, as much as I understand your feeling of guilt and beating yourself and feeling shame.. Remember guilt and shame are different.. Shame usually makes you feel "I am bad" and guilt "I did something bad" you are not bad because you gamble.. You may be guilty of behaving in a way that hurts other people? If you used money that wasn't yours to gamble, lied to close friends and family, but you can right wrongs there and pay money back, apologise, explain your reasons (compulsive gambling) be accountable... But non gamblers are not perfect, nobody is, they may have done things that they feel guilty about? You are not bad! Just as all of us on here, you are struggling and trying to get on a better path to a full filling and content life as you deserve!
I wish you well and I'm sure that with support you will get from empathetic people on forum, you will soon be in a happier place 😁 you can do this! I'm at 4 weeks GF now and listening to others stories has been so inspirational to me and I hope it is for you too 🤗
I look forward to following your ongoing story, which I'm sure will be one of success and also inspirational!
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