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INSECURITY - A reason to gamble?

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#1 Posted on:
Thu, 24/08/2017 - 23:12



It seems to me, based on my own experience and from the accounts of others on this forum, that there is undeniable evidence to support the notion that a persons gambling activity has been influenced or initiated due to their feelings of insecurity.

Also closely linked to this may be a lack of confidence or self-esteem. Not necessarily the same for everyone, but certainly in the majority of cases.

To feel insecurity as a child, perhaps due to an absence of love, understanding or encouragement could create an underlying weakness and a vulnerability, often perpectuated by stressful events such as bullying or criticism.

CG's may claim that their over-riding intent and objective for gambling was either for the buzz, or to gain free money. But I would challenge this on the basis that most people who are sensible and assured would not have become involved with gambling in the first place, as opposed to someone with underlying issues or insecurities.

Posted on:
Fri, 25/08/2017 - 05:06



Its an extremely dangerous addiction because its based on several threads running through us which become twisted and distorted in the mind. 

Its firmly based on insecurity, lack of confidence and lack of self esteem. I feel it gets into us in slightly different ways on how we prioritise those feelings.

We are also a human mess of contradictions or maybe the addiction has just taken over at this point. I was a dreamer but also a miser with a stubborn streak. However its deeply complex in that the miserly behaviour starts with an ill relationship with money and perhaps in my case a spell on the dole did not help matters.  The addiction continues a vicious circle so the end we dont know what it causing what.

I was lost lonely clinically depressed and some would say a bit lazy. I had negative neuron paths about work due to bad experiences and I didnt feel generally liked even though I was making no effort socially. I strongly felt the world was against me. All of this is a tinder keg to spark gambling

It does in my view all come under a broad heading of escape. Even just wanting the money is an escape thought from the life we have. However I believe that the money plays a much lesser role in the majority of problem gambler cases.

Somehow the thought of "free" money had taken over even if that is so far from the mathematical truth. Every period of stress would spark me and even buying a pair of socks would spark me because I felt I deserved that money back to spend on other things.

This is where the complexity has to be mentioned again because I would not have spent it on other things....I would have gambled it.

Also I wasnt playing for any money that would have really changed my life. I threw thousands away chasing relatively small amounts and it all starts to look more than pathetic.

I now know its complex because nobody in their right mind could compute money was on tap as and when I needed it. Countless times of losing everything but it was all going to be different next time.

There is also that feeling which some call the buzz. You all know the feeling which is like a surge of chemicals running through the torso and arms. Butterflies in the stomach call it what you want but it proves we craved chemical rushes of that sort. I must have preferred that to shopping or anything else. Depressed people seek a buzz just to feel normal

The psychologist know all of this and crucially the fruit machine reels are designed to induce a trance. Thats what spinning reels do coupled with all sorts of devious gimmicks to wind us up. That was my poison and it was my shot into the vein of escape. That "drug" of gambling activity took everything over and I couldnt walk away. Wanting to "play" was more important than the money. At times I knew I should walk away but I couldnt...even going to a servicetill wouldnt snap me out of it

This makes no sense in the cold light of day and its entirely understandable why non gamblers are deeply shocked.

Many people are very scared of the term mental illness because thay associate it with straight jackets and being taken away. However thats what it is and the sooner its faced up to the better

I feel its crucial that we learn and come to terms will all of this

Best wishes to everyone on the forum


Posted on:
Sat, 26/08/2017 - 22:28



Incredible response thanks Joydivider! - As always you give a clear, defined intelligent post backed up with knowledge and personal experience.

You are correct when you state that CG is a complex addiction. Hence, how on earth can F&F even begin to understand or comprehend something that we cannot really fathom ourselves!

Somebody once said 'knowledge is power' - which I think can be applied to addiction. I will continue, as yourself, gaining further information to help with the understanding of this 'illness'. Why? Because it had held me in its grasp for so many years; offering so much - freedom, happiness, wealth, excitement. When in fact it only delivered stress, anxiety and debt, as well as relationship and psycological problems.

I have tried to find a common thread amongst CG's and still believe that financial and emotional insecurity lies at the heart of things. Personally, when I think back to before my gambling days, there have been some quite disturbing issues which I now find bewildering. At the age of 16 I began working in London, travelling by train from Kent each day. I knew nothing about finance or budgeting, and very soon realised that I was spending beyond my means. I'm ashamed to say that I even contemplated mugging someone in order to get money for my travel expences. Thankfully, that never happened - But the fact that I seriously considered this course of action shows just how stupid and insecure I was. All I had to do was talk to my parents open and honestly to find a positive solution. But, like many teenagers I would rather have buried my head in the sand - than face up to things. 

Posted on:
Sun, 27/08/2017 - 06:46



Yes, I would agee with both of you. From personal experience and from what I can tell of others, addicts are insecure. I now see that as an 'is the Pope a catholic' type of question.

You raised 'self-confidence' and 'self-esteem' too. These are less clear. When I think of confidence - I think of being confidence in a specific area. Confidence is like having a trust in yourself to do something.  You can be a confident cyclist but not a confident car driver. You can be a confident cook or a confident public speaker. Everyone's confident at something - even if it's brushing your teeth. Maybe you mean socially confident in certain types of situations? I think this what many allude to when they talk about generalised self-confidence. I just think it's unhelpful for anyone to say they're unconfident as it's such a broad clunky statement you're hanging around your neck.

As for self-esteem, well I think it probably is linked to addiction. But unlike with unconfidence or insecurity, the answer IMO isn't to seek the opposites. It's certainly good to be confident or secure. It's not necessarily good to have very high self-esteem. Esteem is just the opinion you have of yourself. It's extremely judgey - it's all about how you see yourself against others rather than what YOU stand for.

I think we all know people who have very high opinions of themselves - people who think they're great. And these often aren't people that you want to emulate. You can have high self-esteem but have deep personality flaws. You can be completely self-obsorbed, lack any empathy or kindness. I suspect you can also have high self-esteem and be highly insecure. I can't get Donald Trump out of my head for some reason.

The problem with self-esteem is that you can lack values - kindness, empathy, trustworthiness, openness, reliability, humour, etc etc. As an addict, or as any person, what is clearly in your control is to work on your values. I would suggest that this is a path out of addiction and a path to gaining better assuredness. And by practicing values you can gain confidence in specific areas. Confidence only comes after practice - never before.

Posted on:
Sun, 27/08/2017 - 08:09

Merry go round



Cardhue that's so weird you mentioned Donald trump!! I was sat in garden with cg yesterday and I asked him if he felt better, he did 100 days this week. Feelings are big marker for him, starting to feel again. Anyway we were talking about addiction and he's said 'it's like Donald trump, power is his addiction' as in he's not connected to reality anymore. I think self esteem has a lot to do with gambling. It's a place to hide. Unfortunately it doesn't really give you any good feelings, when you're done you feel worse. I know my cg isn't a socially confident person. Will not do certain things because of failure. But I don't think that's true for all, some cgs are charming wearing a facade.



Posted on:
Tue, 05/09/2017 - 22:58

46 and out


What great posts, very thought provoking and helpful to my recovery. Thank you all.

I can relate to most of this, especially insecurities as a child being perpetuated by stressful events such as bullying or criticism. I was resented at school and verbally bullied as a result. I have always wondered if there was something deep rooted in my past that may have caused the flaws in my personality which turned me into a CG.  I am starting to accept that the bullying may have played quite a part in my gambling addiction. Is my obsession with money linked to a belief that it would create confidence and increase the likelihood of acceptence by others - quite possibly? 

This may be one deep rooted reason why I became a CG but as it became a way of life all those years ago there have been so many other reasons since why I continued to gamble, often to 'escape' and switch my mind off to other problems but equally when feeling sad, angry, happy etc.   I am quite an emotional person with lots of feelings and like everything to be just so (OCD ish !!) and I wonder whether any of these traits are common with CG's like me?

Best wishes

46 and out

Posted on:
Tue, 05/09/2017 - 23:39



I do love a thread like this. I echo comments before me, very valuable thread. 

Undoubtably for me gambling came along when I was feeling lacking in the self esteem department. Which is odd because I actually had succeded in what I had always wanted (first class degree and my dream job with healthy salary). I think my inadequacies came about as all my family are high flyers working allover the world etc, all do very well for themselves in work and in play. My partner has a very well paying job but also hobbies and interests (that he can make money from), the kids compete in pony shows, eventing, show jumping and dance and do very well etc. I felt left behind, selfishly the celebrations about my new degree and job were fading. So when I could be on the computer and win some cash, I felt I had acheived something, finally my hobby i can make money from aswell. Then addiction set in and the darkness. 

So although low self esteem is (i think) a crucial part of this addiction. Where we develop this low self esteem is very different and can catch us all at different times! Its an debate as to whether we are predisposed or all at risk?

Posted on:
Sat, 23/09/2017 - 06:02



Gambling like any other addiction is just a voice in your head, and it's only if you listen to addiction. So for us addiction likes us if we've had a bad day at work because then we listen more, I know after stopping how it talked to me. Adiction: "Had a bad day" Me: "Yeah, knackered, was stressful"  Addiction: "Get some beers on the way home" Me:" Nah, its a wednesday, maybe Friday" Addiction:"No get some today, just 4 you deserve it" and this would go on until you gave in to addiction and are at the corner shop again as the shopkeeper slips your 4 Heinekens into the bag. You do all your dinner and your chores, you sit down crack open beer 2 watch a bit of TV, laptop out a bit of YouTube, oh dear your watching a video MUST SEE 2000x HUGE WIN, oh oh addiction wants a word Addiction: "Shall we have a crack at that" Me: " No, I gotta be careful" Addiction: " Come on just a sneaky £50 a quick double up" Me:"Nah" this goes on ums an ahs and then weve deposited, weve lost and we want our £50 back another £50 lost now we deposit £100. Addiction: " As soon as we get our £200 back we will go" and the funny thing is on a lot of occasions we get it back we creep to £300 our money back plus £100 profit, time to stop obviously. We all know how these storys end. But the point is to undertand addiction, triggers, the how and why,and Gambling can be beaten any addiction can, as my Gran would always tell me there is no such word as Cant.

Posted on:
Sun, 29/10/2017 - 01:12

J heaven


I think the insecurity and the lack of love for the self will be a key driver here.

A victim of insecurity can you pull yourself out of this before you become that gambler again?

Mental illness my son went through the demons the dreams the body taken over, an addiction it was linked too drugs , psychosis his mental illness.very sensitive person. Are we looking at more sensitivity to human being with addiction gambling

Does drugs cause this or are we born sensitive or some hurt pain of the past this can lead to back to the insecurity.

Posted on:
Wed, 24/01/2018 - 14:05



Joydivider's response (and everyone elses) is incredible and I wish all cg's could read it.  Thank-you.  I've been reading and responded alot on here lately and it helps me.  As to the insecurity fueling gambling addiction. Yes indeed it did .  It was a strong component.  The slot machines are inately designed for creating addicts out of the largest percentage of the population that they can get to.  Some of us are more suseptable than others, I think.  Tara2