Hi everyone. I’ve found my way here because I’ve finally admitted I’ve got a problem, which I should’ve done years ago.
I’m someone who has gambled on and off pretty much my entire adult life. There have been times where it’s been for fun and times when it’s been uncontrollable, just recently it’s been the latter and the penny has finally dropped. If I don’t stop I’ll lose everything.
Brief profile of myself, 34 year old male, decent job earning circa £50K P/a, £25K worth of credit card / loan debt - a lot of it has been caused my gambling no doubt.
Currently going through a separation with girlfriend and having to sell our house and move on separately, which has nothing to do with my gambling I’d like to add, not directly anyway.
I have managed my debts and never defaulted on any payments but I’m at the point now where I realise this isn’t sustainable and I can’t go on like this. I’m not really clearing the credit card debt, make a small payment or move a balance to a new card freeing up more credit. I seem to be credit worthy at the moment so a lot of lenders will offer me credit.
In the last month or so, coinciding with my relationship breaking down I’ve lost close to £5K and I’ve put this on credit, my credit card allows me to make money transfers for a small fee so the money I used in my current account can just be replaced like that. It makes me sick and in my current circumstances this could potentially completely mess my life up. As I alluded to above, we are selling the house and moving on separately and I will need to borrow more money on my half of the mortgage to buy a new property, I don’t even know if the mortgage company can lend it to me based on my current debt, they’ll no doubt see me as high risk, the only saving grace is that I will stay with the same lender and because they’ve got all my details, income etc then they don’t need to see my bank statements.
I’m totally embarrassed, ashamed, down, sickened and disgusted with my actions. I should have a decent amount of money behind me but I don’t, I’ve got debt. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to really quit before because I was so sure that I’d get that big win to make it all worth while but now I realise I need to quit before it gets too late and I start getting into serious trouble. The first steps I’ve made is registering here as well as gamstop. I am reading some of the stories in the forum and taking inspiration from how people are recovering, it’s really pleasing to see and you should be so proud of the steps you’ve taken in recovery. I am so determined this time to do this and hope I am able to stay on the path to recovery.
Welcome to our forum and thank you for sharing your story.
I’m sorry to read about the financial harm that you have experienced partially due to gambling, it sounds tough and along with the breakdown of your relationship, you must be going through a difficult time right now.
I’d like to let you know that this is help out there for you; a debt charity will be able to help, and it may be that they can discuss a Debt Management Plan with you. Their services are free, we have a page on this site that gives you details and how to get in touch with them - https://www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/finance-and-debt-management/
It might also be that you would find talking to 'Relate' helpful, they support those experiencing relationship difficulties and I’m sure would be very happy for you get in touch them to talk about how you feel - https://www.relate.org.uk/ .
Please don’t feel that you are lone in all of this, I understand that this may feel very raw for you at the moment but there are a ways move forwards. If you haven’t already, have a talk with one of our Advisers on our helpline or netline. We will be able offer our support on all of the issues that you having to manage as well as help with your gambling recovery.
Just wanted to say Welcome and I truly believe you will “beat this beast”😉
I reached the similar point as you described about 100days ago and since then I never gambled again.
It is possible and not as hard as we think.Taking the first step requires the biggest courage.
I wish you all the best🌹
Recognize that story of yours well. The credit card debts. The moving around with money and the wheeling and dealing to try and keep the ship afloat. But it simply sinks. Fast or slow. You will never stop that ship from sinking till you step away from it. Now that is pretty hard to do when you are the captain but the choice is clear. Sink with your boat or get into a liferaft. The liferaft is coming clean. Canceling credit cards getting gamblockers and doing therapy. The bad part is that it is going to take time. The good part is that you will start to feel normal again and that normal is worth every penny that you have in your account and more. There is no need to sugar coat it. It is just a fact. Being normal and living normal and doing normal things is far nicer than stressing around after the next credit to cover your tracks.
You can do whatever you decide to do. My therapist said once you are the only player on the soccer field. You can do whatever you want. We only sit on the stands and cheer you on.
Thanks for the warm welcome and advice. I’m really determined this around. I’ve called GA today to see if the meetings are taking place at the moment, I spoke to a really empathetic volunteer who congratulated me for picking up the phone and reaching for support. I know it’s a long road ahead and they’ll be bumps along the way but I’ll get there in the end. I’m going to keep coming back here and interact as much as I can as it really does help. Thanks again
Brilliant story , and soooo similar to my story and can relate to pretty much everything you have said other than I’m 1 year older . Alway good to have someone to chat to so if you ever need to talk I’m here . I’m 6 days in having relapsed big time so big rebuilding project on at the minute , so let’s support each other and take a day at a time mate , you will get there
Thanks for message Tom, appreciate it. One day at a time, when you wake up tell yourself you’re not going to gamble then before you go to bed congratulate yourself on not doing it, you’ve got to day 6 and that’s a big achievement. I’ve just found someone on YouTube called ‘Only Phil’ and it’s really helpful, recommend his videos if you haven’t seen them already. We have to stay strong and we can get through it. Likewise if want to talk then here for a chat
Hi biscuit31 and welcome to the forum.
You have made a great step by joining and you will build a pride in building a strong foundation of openness and honesty.
It would help if you could confide in somebody close as any secrets are no good for you. There is no shame in opening up. Before recovery, I wouldn't have dreamed of telling people that I cried in a room for three days. I'm a grown man...lol...... but now I have no fear of telling people I was mentally ill with addiction. I have no shame in telling trusted people that I was a gambling addict.
I was killing myself and I sunk to the point when I realised that FACT above all else. Then and only then was I ready to do something positive that worked.
No your debts are not sustainable in relation to your salary. The pride will take over from the fear when you face that properly. Most of us have been there. I was bankrupt at the age of 26 with around £35,000 of Credit Card debt in todays money. Its mind boggling how I was lent that sort of money as a lowly clerk...not entirely my fault but I have to face full responsibility for my past actions.
Please Dont rush ahead of yourself. Get some financial advice from an independent source. You will have to deal with it in an organised way before stress takes over. You can only pay what you can afford and possibly need to be on a payment plan as soon as possible.
My best advice is use every thought process not to worry yourself ill. there is no point and people are there to help.
There is also no shame in getting a health check and talking through your core feelings. Its often linked to stress depression and the hurt inside. For years I hated my jobs and I realise now that the whole backbiting, rat race environment was making me ill.
I drifted in and out of relationships like a leaf on the wind because I actually had self esteem issues.
When I actually started believing I was a nice person inside with more to offer, things got much better for me
My best advice is you have a lot on your plate so please take one step at a time.
Foundations first ...openness and honesty...That really is the key that opens the golden or spiritual lock......wax on..... wax off you build yourself up from the basics again
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
Thanks for the warm welcome joydivider, for the short time I’ve been on the forum it’s been a real help for me, long may it continue.
Appreciate the advice, the debts I have aren’t entirely down to gambling although a large proportion can be attributed to it and whilst it’s a fair amount it is being managed and will be cleared but only IF I stop gambling which I am absolutely determined to succeed in doing. My plan is to clear it in 3 years, my loan is now £9K (from £15K) at a low interest rate with a leading high street bank, I’ve never missed a payment and it’ll be done in 22 months. The credit cards are all 0% interest at the moment and I’ll clear what I can until I get offered another 0% rate and transfer that over but to do this I CANNOT gamble a penny, I have to completely give up and this is why I am seeking intervention (Gamstop, gamcare, GA). The main turning point in doing this is because of what’s happened in the last 6 weeks or so, £5K down on online casinos. I’m just lucky it wasn’t more and I called it a day there because I’ve got access to double / treble that amount at the click of a button. It’s finally dawned on me that I cannot do that, before I sort of knew I had a problem but I’d lose £100 - £150 over a weekend on the football and whilst I was annoyed I didn’t really care, I didn’t really want to stop, but losing this amount in such a short time frame it’s finally sunk in. I know I’ve got it in me to give it up but I won’t be able to do it on will power alone, I need the help and I’m getting the help.
Sounds so easy on paper doesn’t it. Pay £750 a month off my debts, £900 a month on my mortgage / household bills and live off the rest approx £1000 a month. I could even save a fair whack BUT.... I’m a gambling addict. Easier said than done. I’m going to give it the best shot I can, getting all the help I can. Seems silly saying it but day 3 of GF but I’m still hurt from the loses on Sunday, the real test will come when I’m over it, which will be soon but I have to stay strong. Once again, thanks for all the support and help, I’ll regularly update on my progress and support others where I can as well.
Many thanks for sharing your story.
Most people will fully understand where you're coming from.
Here are some suggestions for you:
1. Fill your time with small productive activities, such as small walks, reading, exercise, write stories etc. Anything that doesn't hurt you financially, emotionally and spiritually
2. The only way to beat gambling is to walk away, entirely for life
3. If the gambling urges turn up, stop, go and watch some Utube clips on recovery gamblers such as Only Phil etc.
4. Go and purchase a book called Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters (the best £5.99 investment made) from any good book store, as he explains more about the Monkey self, you, and the computer etc.
It is going to be a long tough road. However, a thousand mile begins with one step.
Stay sane, safe, calm, and take one day at a time
Thanks soysauce147. Good advice. I’ve recently found Only Phil on YouTube and his diaries are amazing, what an inspiration, so much good advice and everything he says strikes a chord! He could definitely have a career in public speaking, so good! I’m going to buy the book on the chimp paradox, I’ve been recommended this for a few things not just for combatting gambling.
I’m so determined this time and I’m going to do everything I can to cut gambling from my life. I’m arranging my first GA session for next week too.
thanks for the support
I am glad that you had found it useful- I definitely did. I used him (to watch his video clips) as a bookmark when I get gambling urges. After a few video watches, the urges has gone. You start to realise:"why I am hurting myself financially, emotionally, and spiritually,"
You also have the power to walk away and not let the monkey (this is where the book comes in) ruined your life. The book explains that the monkey is 3 or 4 times stronger than you.
Stay sane, safe, calm, and take one day at a time
Just thought I’d check in on my original post. Seems a bit silly typing this but I’ve gone 7 days without a bet and it feels good. Was so refreshing, liberating and stress free watching the weekends football not being concerned if I’m going to lose a tonne of money. I’m taking it day by day and watching only Phil on YouTube who is helping beyond belief. Here’s to next day, week and the months and years to follow. The hard work starts now