This is my first post here. I have been reading posts in search of support since Thursday last week (what felt like the final straw) when i gambled away my long awaited bonus.
Let me start by saying i have been addicted to gambling since the age of 16 when i used to set up online accounts with a fake date of birth. I am now 25 and well and truly still in the grips of this horrible illness. I remember the days when losing a tenner gave me gut wrenching feelings and i'd go on to lose another ten or twenty quid and feel like my life was over. Little did i know back then that this would only be the start.
Fast forward almost ten years and i'm £10,000 in debt (this would be a hell of a lot more but i ruined my credit rating at the age of 18), i owe friends and family (the ones who still bother with me) almost £30,000, I've lost two jobs due to my addiction, which i will explain later.
I grew up in a very loving and supportive family surrounded by high achievers and am the first and only to not go to university. This likely stems from my addiction putting a tight hold on a lot of my ambition. I left school with some very mediocre A Levels after having been predicted all As based on my GCSEs. I guess my focus was very much elsewhere when sitting my exams. I wasn't aware of the true affect until very recently but looking back my constant need to bet probably has a lot to do with my underachievement. After leaving school i very quickly went into full time work and was lucky to have a job i enjoyed. The old adage says "Find a job you love doing and you'll never have to work a day in your life" i had found this and due to my love of the job i very quickly progressed and soon I was making good money and really enjoying life. I moved out at age 20, had a lovely rented house with a 15 minute commute to work and felt i was doing really well. The lies and deceit had not stopped though as i continued to gamble in the dark. No one knew about my addiction and at the time i would even say no one had a clue what was going on behind the scenes as every aspect of my life seemed perfect.
The real turning point and the start of my spiral to where i am now came when i was 22. I remember it well, it was a Friday night, i'd just been paid and my friends had suggested we go to the casino. That night i went from losing maybe £2-300 a month to losing £6000 in one night (all of my savings). It wasn't all at the casino as my friends pulled me away but when i got home i felt i had to win this money back. I lost the rest of my savings, went into my overdraft and took payday loan after payday loan that night as I discovered the online game that would be my downfall. I took the next week off work pretending to be ill and finding every way i could to get money to try to win back my savings.
The following weekend i went back to my parents and confessed. They took it surprisingly well and explained addiction had run in the family as my uncle was a recovering alcoholic. He seemed like the person i had to speak to, so i did and it ended up with him gifting me £7000 and me promising to never ever ever gamble again. I'm sure so many people here have said that before and really meant it as i did. Months passed and i didn't gamble until the inevitable happened. I lost the lot plus some more i'd saved again in one night. This time it was all online and all because of one email promotion.
This time i didn't seek help from anyone and decided i would just stay in all month and begin my recovery once payday came. I got paid and lost the lot. This continued for months as i got into rent arrears and eventually had to move back home with mum and dad. I used the excuse that i wanted to save more money to eventually buy my own house. The gambling cycle continued until a knock at the door blew the lid on my secret once and for all. It was a debt collector working for QCS solicitors. I hadn't paid any of my payday loans and they were threatening legal action. Of course, the post had all been going to my previous address and I naively thought they would never find me.
Mum and dad were a little less understanding this time but still agreed to pay my debt off for me. This, i think, was the wrong thing for them to do as it gave me the feeling of being freed from the grip gambling had over me and even enabled me, in time, to get further into debt.
So anyway, in 2017 i started going out to the pub more and meeting new people. I felt much better in myself even though i was still gambling on the sly. I met my girlfriend at this time and she gave me a reason to stop. A whole year went by and i hadn't gambled. It felt amazing and i thought i was cured.
Somewhere around the beginning of 2018 I slipped back into the secretive, deceitful and manipulative state of gambling only this time it wasn't myself or my family i was lying to it was my wonderful, completely innocent girlfriend. During the course of 2018 i was actually winning and taking my winnings. I even had enough to give back to the people who had helped me in the past. Everyone, even me, thought i was better.
In September i lost and i lost big. in the space of 3 weeks i'd begged and borrowed nearly £20,000 more to feed my habit and lost the lot. I stole from the company i worked for, lost my job and the police were involved. This was rock bottom.
Since then i have gone on to lose yet another job, this time due to absence because of gambling. I broke the news to my girlfriend and she has been nothing but supportive. I feel since then i have been doing better, gambling less frequently and with smaller sums but i still haven't paid the people back who i owe big time.
This is a lie I tell myself as on Thursday last week i lost my entire bonus. I am just sick with it now and want it to stop. I have signed up to GameChange and have downloaded K9 security, i have closed my TSB, and Barclays current accounts and now only use my Revolut card which does not allow gambling. I am going to attend gamblers anonymous and kick this horrible addiction once and for all.
This is not a sob story, i am not depressed or angry. I simply NEED to change and by writing this i hope to gain a better understanding of my problems and how to fight them.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Welcome to the GamCare forum. Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. We hope that the act of writing it all down and sharing it here is helping you, and we're sure you'll find others here who can identify and support you.
You were saying you'd signed up to GameChange. Do you mean the new online treatment course from GamCare?
You also said you'd downloaded K9. As far as we're aware K9 Web Protection is no longer available for download, and there's no support available for this product any more. You might want to consider looking at the blocking software options we list on our website:
We also suggest you have a look at Gamstop the national self-exclusion scheme for online gambling.
If you'd like any more information or treatment for problem gambling, contact us on 0808 8020 133 or by Livechat. We're here 24/7.
Thank you for your response and for publishing my story.
Yes, it's the cCBT course and i have had an email from Sara to begin working on the modules.
I downloaded software from: removed link "> removed link
It does appear to block my access but i will also use the options you have provided.
Thanks again for your help 🙂
Hey Rambo 227 that was quite a post to read but one that not only resonates with me but will with lots of people on here. You have given 9 good years of your life to this demon don't let it have any more. Deidre from gamcare in the above post mentioned gamstop. This has been a gamechanger for me excludes you from most uk sites. I signed up for the maximum 5years. 20 years ago I started gambling but for most part was fairly controlled but then 2-3 yes ago started to become compulsive destructive gambling and last approx year gambler daily lost thousands. I've now gone 25 days gamble free taking it day by day longest I've gone without gambling for probably 4years. My husband found out and has taken control of our money and the gamstop has stopped me from gambling. This has given me the space to make better choices and start the healing process. Compulsive gambling destroys your mental health you are still really young with help and commitment you can heal. Over the past few weeks I have got my head around the fact that abstaining will have to be for life. You have had periods in your life of a year without gambling any ideas what triggered you to start again?. I wish you all the best and I'm sure that soon you will get some advice from others much further into recovery and who have a lot more experience. These people have helped me to start to find a way through , hope they will for you too
Let's just say your not on your own as so many on this site will tell you. I lost nearly £8000 in the space off 1h online roulette but I'd been gamble free for 1yr before I got that email that grabbed me and reeled me in. But this was my partners PayPal account so really I had stole the money leaving her in thousands worth of debt even having to use a church food parcels service twice. I nearly lost my life aswell as my family. I did something that was stupid as you can guess. I got out off hospital 5days later and only got back in the house as my partner was thinking of the kids. Well this all happened on the 24th of April and to be honest I'm not counting days but just taken it one day at a time. I hate gambling and what I've let it do to my family. I've reached out and got so much help but I had to put so many blocks in place as I can't say for certain that I won't gamble again as I've said it so many times before and done it again but worse, I get your pain and you need help
Thanks charlieboy and kevthekev40.
It really means a lot to me to hear that I'm not alone. I have now blocked myself for 5 years and I'm determined to stop for good. Like you I cant say I'll never gamble again because we always find a way. It's crazy the more and more I read on this site the more I realise how bad it is for people out there! I feel almost guilty that I'm not depressed. I feel like what I've done and been doing is wrong and I dont deserve to be happy but if I were to feel sad or angry I'm sure I'd gamble. It's a delicate balance but the sorrow is definitely there.
What scares me charlieboy is that I have no idea what my trigger is. People talk about drinking, being alone etc as triggers but for me I really have no idea. I stop and start for absolutely no good reason. Prior to Thurday I'd had £1500 in my account and hadn't even thought about gambling. That then went up with my bonus and I lost the lot. I think it could be the excitement of having money in my account and wanting more maybe?
I am taking action now as I'm terrified that In 5 years time I'll have a house, kids etc and then lose it all. It really messes with me thinking I'll have this addiction for life.
I think I'm going to do what you did charlieboy and give control to my partner. In fact I'm going to do that right now. I dont want to be able to see my money let alone access it anymore!
Kevthekev40 I'm so sorry to hear your story mate, I really hope things are better for you now. Like you say take it day by day and things will soon be better for you!
Before thursday I had no idea there were so many of us. I really thought I was the only person s******g up so bad with gambling. I saw my friends making a bet and enjoying it whether they won or lost and they'd never chase losses. I am different and can never enjoy a bet. I understand that now thanks to this site well and truly opening my eyes!
Thanks again both! Hope to stay in touch!
Like you I was totally shocked at how many people seem to be compulsive gamblers. But I also don't think it's talked about as much on tv/ papers etc as alcoholism / drug addiction. It's very weird when you think about it tv adverts no longer show smoking/ excessive alcohol/ definitely not illegal drugs. Yet we have gambling websites bingo/casinos /sports getting advertised frequently and as if it's a good thing to do.!!
As you say so many problem gamblers
I think as you can't see it like drugs or drink it's easier to hide from people so usually it's a good bit off time before we've got to tell anyone as we've messed up big time and can't cover the loss so the only thing to do is own up to your partner or your chasing that loss all the time thinking you can replace It and stop! As far as I know even if your very lucky you won't stop just thinking I've done it before so will do it again. Just remember you've got to be lucky 365dys the gambling company's have to be lucky just that day and you can lose everything in your bank overdraft and any credit you can get great act my friend given your partner control off your money very wise move and I take my hat off to you and good luck with your gamble free life as I don't know any other addiction that you can spend so much money on in such a short period of time
Guys that's so true! I've always enjoyed a drink but never has it gotten out of hand. Even if it did then the next day you can recover and be fine again. Gambling compulsively even for one day can have lasting consequences and it's so destructive! Even as I lay here in bed watching TV I see advert after advert for online casinos. Imagine seeing one for heroine or C*****e, it would never happen. I've never done drugs myself but I can imagine if I was addicted to drugs then seeing an advert for them would make me want them. It's the same with gambling, when I see the adverts my heart rate increases and I do get urges. I just dont understand how they can do this to us. I'm doing more and more research and it seems almost impossible to avoid every temptation of gambling. I understand why they have adverts to appeal to normal people who don't have the addiction but it must do some damage to someone somewhere every single time the adverts are run. I HAVE to stop, I really do! I'm so done with it now and both of you have given me strength so thank you so much for that!
Thanks for checking in Charlieboy. I'm doing good thank you 🙂 hope you are too! I decided to try logging in to the site I always used and my account is suspended so that was a lifesaver! I don't want to risk trying any others but I'm keeping busy and talking to people about my problem so yeah, not bad at all 🙂 I know I'll soon get that major urge again, I can always feel it brewing but I will resist and the barriers now in place will be my wall I'm sure! Thanks so much for all your help and for caring 🙂 I never thought people would support me the way they have after so many failures!
Hi Rambo227. well done getting in touch with Gamcare it's the best thing I ever done. You are so very lucky that you have had people to bail you out when you got into debt, I am the same. Just think of those people who dont have anyone to turn to. I am now gamble free since May 22nd. I am now in my fifties, which means i have been gambling for over 30 years. I was stuck in the same cycle as you with payday. It was so bad for me that I would wait till 12.30am for my wages to go in each month and then spend 2 hours or more gambling online. Every month i would convince myself if i just win fifty pound a day over 10 days i will then bank the money in savings, but no it just never happens. The brain just tells me to keep gambling and gambling. Winnings just go back and losses build and build. You convince yourself that next time I will get the will power to take winnings, you do this perhaps for one or 2 days then 'boom' it's all gone again. My triggers would be thinking on payday if I win I can pay me mortgage and all my other bill's and have loads of money to spend on myself, also I would convince myself that I would win money to pay for night's out for birthdays, xmas etc. Now realise that was just an excuse in my brain. ,My UpVC front door broke over the weekend and the bill was 300.00 pounds, in the past I would well have been gambling to try to win this back but am proud to say I didnt, which is brilliant for me. Well done Charlie boy as well, keep it going. I was so bad that sometimes i would even go to an ATM for my wife to get money out from her card when she wanted 100.00 thinking i could just withdraw the money go the bookies and win money for myself, when I was totally skint I would even walk around the streets looking for a fiver or tenner on the floor just to have a bet. Music is helping me a lot at the moment. Listen to Dark switch by snow patrol. Lyrics brilliant. It starts 'you found a dark switch in me'(obviously that's the addiction) 'that I never knew existed'.