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Born Gambler - Day one  

 
Gordon Bennett
(@gordon-bennett)

Hey All

Yep, this is day one for me. Signed up to GamStop and Betblocker today and I'm pretty scared of the consequences of that, but I just had to do something. There's a sense of dread, but also hope.

I'm not sure why, but I want to tell my story. I was around 8 or 9 years old when I first understood the concept of gambling. I learned that fruit machines had the potential to spit out more money than you put in. Are you kidding me! Sign me up. I was hooked before I even put a penny in the b*****d. I genuinely believe that I was born a compulsive gambler. Now 35 years later I find myself still a slave to gambling.

I remember as a kid weeks before I would go on holiday with my family I would get excited about the campsite/holiday resort having an arcade and the potential of hitting a jackpot on a slot. I would obsess about it and dream about the excitement. I remember my Mum once stretching her budget to give me £30 to spend on a school trip to a funfair and I spent the entire time gambling on slots whilst my classmates had a great time on the rides. I remember the guilt. Mostly I remember the feeling of guilt.

As an adult I remember spending my weekly wage at the local "Amusements". I remember walking out of the arcade one day after losing my entire weekly earnings and immediately walking past a pretty girl who smiled at me - rare at that time. I was broken and unable to respond, even if I had somehow mustered the courage to do so, the guilt of gambling had taken a piece of me.

Now I'm fortunate that I have a good job and a loving family, but I can't shake the gambling. I've try to justify it by concluding that I'm smart - I play blackjack online with perfect basic strategy, so the RTP is over 99.5%. Yet I'll choose to play slot machines with RTP 96% because I get bored with Blackjack. Truth is I'd gamble at 70% RTP as long as I get to gamble. The logic isn't there. What's the best case scenario? I win a million? Never gonna happen at this level. I know this but I still gamble. So much wasted time, so much wasted energy. And when I win a million, then what? I gamble more. No real goal.

Sorry I'm not really asking a question here, just letting it out.

Well done to all you guys who've got a handle on this thing, I  want to be able to be grateful for what recovery can offer. Also thanks to those who make this website possible, it's good to know there's people out there that care.

GB

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Posted : 23rd February 2020 1:30 am
Emily82
(@emily82)

Hey GB

i’m also on day 1... How it sucks! 
Today I’m too broken to articulate words but just want you to know you are not alone. 

Em x

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd February 2020 2:37 pm
Gordon Bennett
(@gordon-bennett)

Hi Em

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

I just read your other post and I'm sorry to hear what you're going through. If I can offer any advise then I will say Em please *** the hope and think about all of the positives of giving up. You're strong, you've done it before and you can do it again.

I wish I had the answer to Why do we do it? Me, I've always done it from the moment I discovered it. I was a happy little boy without a care in the world, but I'd take any and every opportunity available to gamble. Thankfully I had far less opportunity back then. I have no one person or event to blame for my addiction, it's just been there.

I'm all too familiar with hitting a big win then losing the lot. Those times hurt more than anything because you feel like you had all the answers. Winning just makes it worse though, we never really get to keep it. When I've cashed out with 100x my buy in I've always ended up raising my stakes over the following days & weeks and losing more than the big win. I wish I'd never won a bet in my life.

I can only speak for myself and say it's the prospect of one day being happy and content that will get me through. Gambling creates incredible highs and lows, but when I look back on my fondest memories, none of them have anything to do with the highs I experienced when gambling. Their value is the sum total of nothing.

For me it's the amount of time gambling and not living life that's become the main problem, sure the loses hurt, but what gambling 30+hrs per week was doing to my mind is the worst part.

I just want to feel content with everyday life and be happy in my own skin. No shame, no guilt. That's it.

Day 2 done. Goodnight.

GB

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd February 2020 11:58 pm
Emily82
(@emily82)

Hey Gordon

You’re so welcome! I’m just sorry I can’t offer anything more inspirational right now 🙁

I’m totally done with hope! If I can’t take a large win when it rarely happens what’s the point. I’m just concerned that now I know it’s possible and I feel so ashamed with myself, that I’m going to try and make another go of it in an attempt to redeem myself and prove that I can withdraw... The only problem with that is it took 22 years to get a large win and therefore the probability is that I’m just going to screw myself even more financially.

honestly you’re so right. ‘Winning’ does just make things worse as we never really win.

im so confused as gambling offers me 99% lows and 1% highs and yet I’m still struggling to just STOP. For me it’s not only the time spent gambling which is significant but moreover the time spent in utter despair over the consequences. I’m so scared I’m going to relapse again as this is so raw and everything is screaming at me to try and get the opportunity again. I have an entire business that I own to lose. I’m already in trouble with this as it is. It’s really helping and reassuring to know and speak to other comrades who’ve had similar experiences and at a similar stage in their recovery. Thank you for sharing.

I will continue to follow your journey and hopefully be able to help you too one day.

Em x

ReplyQuote
Posted : 24th February 2020 7:41 am
Joydivider
(@joydivider)

Hi

An Interesting Title and you are not alone GB.

Born with it...I dont know but I have been vunerable to it since the age of 12. The truth is that a fruit machine suddenly made me feel totally alive on a holiday I was bored with. More disturbingly it suddenly gave me an intense purpose...a goal...something so important to do

I was a lonely child a bit confused and down with ordinary life. I was inward looking and shy in that I didnt know how to get enjoyment with other people. I hated school and if anything I didnt like other people so had few friends.  Friends were just trouble to me and snapped me out of a perfect dream.I was a dreamer in a depressed way but didnt know how to control my life to make it better.

So maybe that was the vulnerability to a gambling drug that ruled my life for the next forty years. I now know it as a drug addiction...my drug of choice. I had to get to that machine with a pocket full of coins...sneaky but so vibrantly alive it was a total high...it think that quickly changed my brain forever.

That high lessened but I was hooked on the fix even if it just lifted me above numb

Its not an intelligence issue. I think certain characters are  vulnerable to choosing it. I now realise that the money didnt play the main part for me. It was the craving for the feeling of playing. Even more recently I would put a jackpot back in immediately or withing a day or so.

I felt it was the most sensible of the addictions as I didnt smoke drink or take drugs. It was chance to gain and add to my money...how sensible....NOT! How deluded and ill I was

The money was never enough. I had no control and what I was seeking was an escape trance more than anything. I didnt even realise how addicted i was...just thought I was being more than a bit silly but who cares eh

The answer is openness, honesty seeking help and a full recovery. For the rest of my life I will say I am a compulsive gambler for that is the way I am wired. However I am now in full recovery and have control of my life back.

When I fought my most powerful foe properly I got my life back. I never had the money to waste yet I threw tens and tens of thousands away. My mind had created a comfort zone that wasn't too bad in my rubbish life....its a crazy and extremely dangerous addiction.

So you do the cold turkey but its not about your willpower alone...you all need help, the strongest foundations, strongest blocks and close monitoring

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

 

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
ReplyQuote
Posted : 24th February 2020 11:07 am
Gordon Bennett
(@gordon-bennett)

Em

You're probably thinking if I could just go back I'd cash out and everything would be different, but if your addiction is anything like mine then instead you'd probably just choose a different game to play and risk it all again. I've done it so many times. I don't know if it's a good idea to talk about winning and numbers on here, but just to give some perspective I can tell you I once won 35k with a small buy in, failed to cash out and gave it all back the following day with 2k bets. Following this I just couldn't fathom what I'd done, I've never felt so empty and utterly worthless. It's not possible to smile when you're so low. Life changing money just thrown away. I don't know what I was hoping to achieve. If I'd doubled it I still wouldn't have stopped.

I think you're brave to tell your story the way you do. I'm not open enough about my problem, I'm not ready to share everything. Only my wife knows and she's been great, well maybe too great if I'm honest. She doesn't put any pressure on me, which you would think is a bad thing, but for me I think it's right. I know how my gambling has made her feel and she knows I know.

I feel confident about quitting now, but then my bank account is empty. I know from experience that the gambling devil will want to catch me off guard. When you're happy with the present, money in your pocket, feeling in control, then the thought 'I've got this, no problem it's just a few quid' pops in your head. And just like that 'one cigarette will be fine' after quitting goes, you're back at it. This time I'm gonna pin that devils ******* ears to the wall. Hey I've noticed this website sometimes makes asterixis when you haven't even sworn. Neat! It's actually the first forum I've joined. I really need to learn to type faster.

I'm going to try to fill the time I spent gambling with doing something else. Maybe running, biking or some kind of  sport, but probably more likely Nintendo. I'm trying to make changes to my routine to fill the huge gap.

Em we're counting together - 3 days done.

joydivider

Hi, thanks for sharing and for the warm welcome, I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

A lot of your story sounds familiar, I suppose many stories do to all on here. I too remember the excitement level of playing slots as a kid was off the chart. Not like playing a video game, the risk/reward was key. Here's the thing though; no one else around me seemed to care about the machines all that much, yet I was completely mesmerized and would put every penny into them every time, from the very first time. Personally I don't feel like a switch was flicked and the addiction started for me, I feel like the switch was always on. Not that it makes much difference, once switched on I'd say the switch is never truly off, just maybe taped up.

The money was never the main part for me either. I thought it was when I was young, but getting a decent win rarely ended the session, it just extended it. Playing the game was all I needed, until I was out of funds or falling asleep after an 8 hour gambling binge. Instant extended gratification with no end goal. I'm trying to learn to always see it for what it is.

You described a trance and that's how I was and it often lasted for hours. That can't be good for a person. Since I stopped a couple days ago I've been avoiding my usual spot on the sofa and moved to a different area, just to distance myself from what has been my little gambling sanctuary in the corner.

There's one aspect I worry about with my recovery and that is as you mention above, the need for openness. I am honest and will be completely here (except for my username - do people usually use their real names?), but I'm a very private person and I couldn't imagine ever joining a group in public. We're all different and whilst I can't say it wouldn't benefit me, I'm just not ready for that yet. I do hope and I have to believe, at least for now, that it's possible for me to quit without declaring my problem in public. It's a stretch for me to join a forum, but I feel it's already helping me.

I'm really happy to hear about your recovery and others here who have done the same.

I jumped straight in when I posted here a couple days ago and I think I should have taken a bit of time to read about some of your experiences on here first. I intend to do that.

Many Thanks

GB

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Posted : 24th February 2020 11:12 pm
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