I am so thankful to have found this forum...I have been going through it. I am 35 years old, and I have been gambling on/off since 2015. It's getting to a point where I feel that each bet takes a part of my soul away. I have a great support system - I have always admitted when I gambled - so I know about accountability - but I just can't seem to get control of my impulsive behavior.
I gamble every 2-3 months - so I'll gamble all at once 15K, spend 2-3 months paying it off, and right when I promise I am never doing it again and that I learned my lesson, I do it ALL again. I know that must sound so familiar.
What I am struggling with MOST right now is letting go of my losses with my recent binge - I have lost $20,000, and I can't seem to let it go - God-willing, I will be able to pay it off in 6 months if I do everything correctly and DO NOT GAMBLE, but I just can't seem to start moving forward as quick as I would like to - like in the past. Everything has slowed down now - I feel like I don't have the energy or strength anymore to pay off another binge. I can't seem to let go of the regret - the thoughts of "wow, a week ago my life was different.. if I didn't do this, if I didn't do that..." It's almost bordering on OCD behavior as far as how often those "what if" thoughts run through my head. I feel guilty, ashamed - more than I ever felt previously - could this really be the time where I am at rock bottom? @lostandfound - I read so many of your posts - you are so inspirational - and I feel like you explain in your posts things that I don't know how to ask because I can't word them correctly.. I hope someone can give me some tips on how they let go and started moving forward... I just feel like a failure...
Thank you all for reading... Jon x
Welcome to the forum. Thank you for posting about your experience.
A great support system is a precious thing, so it's brilliant to read that you have that in place and that you are able to be open and honest about your gambling. This can be really valuable in your recovery, but there's lots of other tools and support that you can supplement it with.
If you would like to have a chat about what's available to help you stop gambling, including options for free treatment, you might want to contact our advisers. They are available 24 hours a day on the Helpline (0808 8020 133) or Netline (our webchat) and can help you find what works best for you.
unfortunately rock bottom is when we run out of road and end up with no other option but to come clean. You instead work hard and pay off your debt so you can go on the rollercoaster again.
There is good news, you can spend 3 months without betting and you must earn a decent wage if you can pay off the debt in such a small time frame. You have acknowledged it is your behaviour that is the cause of this and focussing on money that has been lost, this is classic with addicts. So much of this is in our own thoughts as we try and maintain some control. Its also one of the reasons why the 12 steps of recovery in GA are so good as they force us to come clean and share this with others leaving the addiction with no hiding place.
You should look up your nearest GA meeting and start attending, its probably virtual meetings during lockdown, be open and honest with the other compulsive gamblers there and listen to any advice given. You can turn this around and enjoy the rest of your life. I wish you well.
Man, I can identify so much with your current loss and current feelings. I too, had a relapse binge in September there. I lost, net 15K. Last bet was Sept 30th. For the next 10 days I had quite possibly the worst gambling hangover. It would not lift and it would not clear. I was constantly ruminating on "what if" and could not accept the net loss. Thankfully, I had a 1-2-1 with a decent adviser on here who imparted the simple advice when I conveyed how I felt - "it sounds like it's beginning to sink in." 100% correct. Luckily, I too earn a decent wage and have an idea of how quickly I can pay it back, god willing. But then the next piece of advice I received from a Mod on here was in regard to becoming "complacent." That is so true for me. I feel like once I get myself back into a "winning position" I can become completely complacent. I realise, for me, that is my trigger. Nearly 20 days in, I know I will never win that 15k back. Never. Initially, it was so painful to accept. Presently, it is now hard to swallow. But accept it, I have too, or the consequences will be even worse for me. My short term target is to pay off my debt, but my long term target is to never become that complacent again. That's my motivation from now on. The bookies will always beat me, I'll never win. All the best and good luck.
@Sassaman - it is bittersweet that you know how I feel. It feels good to know someone else feels the same thing about this, but also it's sad given the topic. You used the term "gambling hangover," wow that resonates so much! I didn't think of it like that, that's LITERALLY what this feels like, like a really bad hangover.
It's almost like I am stuck in place and can't move forward - usually I bounce back so much faster - I'm usually already trying to figure out how to make money and do the grind and pay everything back. @Joe-90 that's where the rollercoaster ride that you mentioned comes in - it's like I pay everything off, and then boom, I binge all at once, just to keep going up and down and in the same circles over and over again.
I tried going to GA - I don't know what it is but it felt like SUCH a trigger for me - I don't know if that's an excuse though - I haven't thought about it much deeper - but hearing about people gambling and how much they would win / lose gave me such a trigger, but then again, I'm like why isn't this forum triggering me then, right? So that is something to think about it.
I also saw a therapist last year who triggered me big time - not really triggered, but she told me that I didn't have an addiction with gambling when I thought at that point I did, she said I had a problem gambling and was compulsive - so that gave the crazy part of my mind the permission to be like "OH so this means I can try and control it and try to fix it, it's not something I have to avoid completely."
Thanks for reading...
Completely resonate with you Jon and what others have said. I have been in denial about my gambling problems and kept believing id pick a winner sooner or later and get back on an even keel. My current loss is about 10k, I have a decent job but a lot of outgoings. Its going to take me some time to pay this back. I've been gambling since I was 16 and now I'm 33. It has got progressively worse, bigger stakes and less and less control. I cant give you any tips Jon, wish I could. This is my Day 1 and I've had enough of this feeling so I intend to stop properly this time and not kid myself im one of those people who can have a bet from time to time. I cant! I do not want it to hold me back any more. Time to change.
Decided I would use this thread as an accountability journal since I started it.
It's been a few days since my last bet. The fog is lifting a bit, but I still feel a bit anxious about the future as far as the debt goes - the aftermath. I find this is the hardest part of it all. I don't feel like I want to bet, it makes me sick to my stomach, but I know that one day that feeling will disappear and that's where the real problem will reappear again...I blocked all sites on all my devices, I closed my accounts, put up self-exclusions - now I just have to deal with paying off the debt - finding the strength and energy for it - and not comparing it to times prior... trying not to think about where I could have been now if I hadn't gambled all the money I did over the last few years.. it's very hard not to compare.. or second guess.. but I guess I just have to REALLY believe that TODAY is the first day of the rest of my life - the past doesn't matter - I must let go - and start anew - empires fall but they rebuild.
Okay so I had a relapse...
It feels terrible. I don't want to use the excuse that something came over me and took control etc., because I know it was my choice, my decision, but sometimes it really does seem like something does take control... but then I realize it only feels that way once I am DOING IT, not right before.. I still have the power right before to say no or walk away... but once I am in the puddle, it's harder to swim.. I have to stop myself from getting to that puddle.... I gambled away another 10K last night... feel gutted.. but at the same time, feel optimistic... if this truly is the last time I gamble and really walk away for good, it will be one of the best losses of my life... I hope that's the case... starting fresh today, October 24th, 2020. God, please have me back on Your side..