Well today is the day that its hit rock bottom but hopefully for the last time, I am a university student who has always gambled since being able to. Mostly just betting on sports and only small amounts which never affected my finances to a degree where it could be considered a problem. However over the last few years I have had spouts of playing live casino games, where I would then feel out of control and lose a lot of money. I must have lost at least £4000 over the last couple of years just on these games. I would then proceed to tell myself after a big loss that as long as I stayed away from the live casino then I could place bets on sports at the weekends without problem. This would then be okay for a few months and then the spiral would start again. Today I have lost around £1000, most of that from trying to claw back losses. I can not keep this process going anymore as its killing me slowly. I now have next to no money left with Christmas just around the corner. I do not dare to tell anyone close to me as I would find that so shameful. I am sure this is a classic case but just wondered if anyone had any thoughts?
Thanks for reading.
Hi there FML123
Thank you for sharing your story on the forum today. You have been very brave to speak up about your struggles. You have made the courageous decision to make today the day that you make a change.
You mentioned that you are do not want to speak to anyone close to you and I understand that this would be a big step for you to take. It often helps to open up and share even if it is one close friend that you trust, to support you. Do you have someone that comes to mind that you can turn to? You are of course welcome to continue posting on the forum or join our chatrooms.
You have expressed that you have next to no money till Christmas, do you have enough food, gas or electric and essentials to see you through till you are next paid? Please do contact the helpline on 0808 802 0133 or our webchat for any further help and support. We are available 24 hours a day.
All the best,
Thanks for your reply. I do not have anyone immediately in mind but will have a think on that one if you suggest it may help. Luckily I am at home currently (away from uni) so do not have lots of expenses but how I am going to get around buying Christmas presents for family I am unsure yet. I suppose I will try and cross that bridge when I come to it. For now I think the most important thing is to take each day as it comes and try refrain from going near a bookie.
Towards the end of the day now, going to keep updating this diary as I think it will help me and maybe who knows, one day some others. Going to count tomorrow as Day 1, I have put blocks in place for all my gambling accounts with Gamban. Worried about my financial situation but keep telling myself its somewhat positive as this can be the beginning of the end.
Your story sounds like mine was and I know gambling is very hard to stop. I lapse here and there occasionally but I get back in the saddle and try again so that I don't lose too much. I find it better to not gamble at all. It just doesn't get better it usually only gets worse. Hear what the forum administrator said and try to talk to someone. It would help you I am sure.
I once read a gambling book that was very helpful to me. It stated that gambling MAY be possible if you only place a few bets wait until you win and then put that winnings in the bank and NEVER gamble again. This way you will hold on to your profit. But as we all know, problem gamblers like us cannot do that. We win, we get excited and bet more until we lose the lot. The other thing the book pointed out was the math perspective of gambling. If you gamble for a prolonged period of time ( like several hours or an hour here and there over several days or weeks) your odds of coming out with a net profit are only 4%! That is to say, 96% of the people who gamble long term end up with losses, sometimes very substantial losses. Please try to remain hopeful that you can turn things around. I'm rooting for you to succeed. Best wishes.
I really appreciate the time you have taken to share your experiences and how you are feeling.
You have done the hardest part in admitting to yourself that your relationship with gambling is problematic and needs to stop - so well done!
Like many others, I can certainly feel your struggles right now in telling others about your situation, particularly right before Christmas. I have learnt from my own journey that the support of family/friends is really important, and I would recommend opening up to them. Sure, you are probably right in that they're not going to be singing and dancing about it - however it is a step in the right direction to YOU getting better. And forget what time of year it is because love comes in more forms than just money, so if your loved ones don't get a gift off you but know you are choosing to stop gambling - then in many ways that is your gift to them. Plus as I mentioned, you can show love in more ways than one.
Back yourself on this one 😀
Hi Gerard, thank you, you have spoken a lot of sense, that unfortunately is the gamblers fallacy of believing we can make it somewhat profitable, but we never do walk away. Them odds really are shocking, but I should not be surprised. There is a reason that it is a multi-billion pound business. Congratulations on your time gambling free and keep going.
Hi Azza, thank you for your kind words of advice. You are right in saying that I need to put things in perspective of quitting gambling rather of the short term problems that I will face because of that. You're so right that it would mean more to them than a materialistic thing.
Sincerely many thanks to you both, I notice its a running theme that you guys mention I should try and tell someone about this. I really am going to try and do this but I think it may take some time until I feel like I am ready? I do not know if I am just telling myself that to never do it.
Hi Froschkonig, thanks for commenting, I have a long way until I am 40 so I decided to try do it earlier haha! Currently everyone has been very supportive which is nice, I am sure people who leave something negative are only trying to help in their own way. All the best.
So, last night was difficult, sat there thinking what am I going to do, who am I going to tell. Eventually put these to the back of my mind for now. Managed to get to sleep quite late but woke up this morning feeling refreshed and surprisingly like a small weight was off my shoulders. However there are the obvious black clouds of not having any money and Christmas around the corner hanging over me. I have recently quit smoking as well which was a big jump for me, I went cold turkey for a year and then recently relapsed. Just trying to make positive changes in my life right now. I am currently sat here at lunch time and thinking what am I going to do with my day? I have been slowly falling behind on University work as gambling was taking a priority. I should try and tackle some of that today. I also think I am going to go for a run, get out and clear the mind as they say. My physical fitness took a hit over lockdown, would be something good to get back in too.
Sorry for the long post but I feel this is helping. Hopefully the first of many days gambling free.
Still Day 1 but just an update on how its gone. I did end up going for a run today which I felt good about however I was blowing out my backside for half an hour after! Need to keep that up though as it will be good for me in the long run, pardon the pun. Haven't had many thoughts today of gambling, a few when I remembered the champions league is on tonight but refrained from attempting to act on these thoughts. Not managed to tackle any uni work today and going to really try and push that tomorrow once I get back from the girlfriends. I decided to total up the finances of gambling, I went through 6 and a half years of statements on my phone as I was that intrigued. In my first post I thought I had lost around £5000 due to this but it actually totalled £11,250. That has been quite shocking today just thinking what that money could have gone on etc. Especially when in the next few years I want to be looking at a mortgage. I luckily have not encountered much debt due to gambling but understand a lot of people do and can only count my self lucky.
Not sure if anyone is really interested in reading these but I will keep posting anyway for now.
Day 1 over, Day 2 to come.
If you are still a student, I advise you to really spend all your willpower to stop playing. Better to focus on your studies. If you have a lot of free time then find a job.
Hi Terry, thanks for your post. I am trying very hard to take that advice and focusing on my studies as it is my final year. I am also trying to get a job around my studies to fill up my free time and help with finances.
Day 2 - Stayed at the girlfriends last night, I did open up and tell her I had lost a substantial amount of money gambling and now had little left. I didn't go into the full depths of the addiction and how much I have lost over the years. Thinking that in due time I will be able to open up more and tell her the full extent, we will see. Thanks to the people that suggested this was a good idea, it did feel like a small weight was lifted. Woke up this morning thinking what am I going to do with the time I would usually be gambling and betting on football. Have been thinking to myself 'what if I put a deposit limit on and just bet £10 a week'. I then realise after these thoughts pass that its still dangerous and will only continue the addiction. Going to aim to crack on with my University work today as I really need too. Really unsure what my hobbies are, I know I love football but unsure wether I can watch it right now without having a strong urge to bet. Worried at the weekend what I will do also because I have bet every weekend for the last 6 years. Worried about the Christmas period with all the sport on and what I will do then too. Guess I just need to take it day by day for now. Any thoughts will be appreciated, do think this diary is somewhat helping.
Thanks for the post and for reading some of my diary, hope you found it useful.
I have now read yours and have the following thoughts:
You are a young person at Uni with your whole life ahead of you, a world full of opportunities. You dont have debt. You have only lost £11k - you need to forget about that amount - its gone and money is all relative to what an individual has/earns but its not a huge amount in the wider scheme of life. You mention rock bottom - you are nowhere near rock bottom, sorry to be blunt, I know it may seem like it for now. I gambled for nearly 40 years, much of it compulsively, lost a fortune but its not just about the money, lost relationships, affected other people, affected my physical and mental health, had to re-mortgage, thought that was rock bottom, started gambling again.
You have taken a great step to join here - both the Forum Admin and other members can offer a range of options and recommendations to consider. Take it all in and do what feels best for you - there is no magic solution but there are a host of options. You mentioned use of Gamban - thats a good start. Someone used the term willpower on your diary - willpower alone is not enough. Problem and compulsive gamblers have their brains wired differently and a little bug inside them that will urge them to gamble and if you dont have serious blocks in place you won't be able to resist. You can get your bank to stop gambling transactions, get your girlfriend or someone else to manage your money at least for a while, self exclude from casinos, high street bookmakers if necessary, you may be tempted to go there if online has the gamban on. All options.
Putting a small limit on and betting sensibly - dont try it - I've been round the houses literally hundreds of times, trying to bet only on certain sports, certain events but ultimately not many can do it. What you need to realise is you are not gambling to make money, you are doing it for the buzz, the escape, the feel good factor when you are 'in the zone'. Any money won is just ammunition for the next bet, we rarely buy anything with any winnings, the money just goes around until its lost. You bet on football and a last minute goal lets your bet down. You find some other random thing to bet on to try and get back your losses. And so the cycle continues.
Sure you may find it difficult to watch sport without gambling on it. Maybe you will be able to after a while but best to avoid just now. Get your fitness level up. Think about how you can productively spend your time you used to spend gambling. Spend more time with your girlfriend and family. There are loads of hobbies and interests you could consider at your age.
Keep updating your diary. Read other diaries. Join the chat sessions and talk to peers at 1300 and 2000 daily.
And re telling your girlfriend - good that it made you feel a bit better but how did it make *her* feel - ask her - has her view of you changed? Was she shocked? Will she help you in your recovery? Take care of her.
Happy to offer more advice and support but thats my initial overview and thoughts.
Firstly thank you for your comments, I do appreciate you taking time out to read my diary and offer your advice. I suppose you are right in rock bottom, the thing is it is very subjective to each individual isn't it. I have read multiple diaries with the things you state in them; re-mortgaging, piling debts, lost family members etc. Which upon reflection really is that point. It was just as I was writing that first post I felt c**P after emptying my bank account that day. Don't worry about mincing your words. I'm not a soft soul haha.
I will look at the options you have mentioned such as someone else handling money and blocking myself from bookies. I have never really gone and placed bets in bookies but you're right in saying now that I can not do that online, I may turn to this at some point when the cravings are there. Very true about the 'gambling sensibly' thoughts I was having, nonsense. I think this is the addiction trying to find a way back in. I did notice it was a theme in your diary of going through that process which has ultimately ended at the conclusion where you are now of that it doesn't work. I will heed that advice.
I really am going to work on my fitness, something which will be a positive not just physically but mentally also to help combat this. Then if I do get fit I have been thinking of going to a boxing gym, I have always been interested in boxing for many years and is a favourite sport of mine as well as football.
I feel a bit bad because you are correct in saying that I never even considered how me telling my girlfriend about it would make her feel, quite selfish really. I would imagine that is quite common to just worry about yourself getting better rather than how it makes other people feel and their thoughts of you. I will ask her these questions when I next see her.
I am definitely going to continue writing this diary and keep it going for as long as I feel it has a benefit. Really appreciate your words of wisdom. Sorry I can not really contribute to helping you as I don't feel it would be anything of worth due to inexperience.
All the best
Day 3 - With the weekend approaching, wondering what I will be doing to fill time. My friend asked me if I wanted to go for a few drinks on Saturday so I will be doing that. Will be good to get out and fill time, however when i'm drinking this is when I struggle the most to refrain from smoking. Feel good today in the fact I have not gambled over these few days, I know it is just a start but progress is progress. Really like this forum, feel like the people on it are very supportive and more experienced than me in life and within the problem. This can only be useful to me however do feel like I should be giving something back, unsure what I have to offer in that respect. Going to really try and crack on with university work today as this has to take the forefront with it being my final year. Also will try and pop in to the chat this evening and see what that is like.
Day 4 - Having thoughts today of; have I overreacted? Do I really have a problem? What if I can just stick to a football bet per week? I know these thoughts are counter-productive and am going to continue to fight them. Feeling like I am not in as bad of a position as others on here and considering wether I am wasting peoples time when others need the help more. Still not doing enough uni work, have no motivation whatsoever for it, just keep putting it off. Unsure whether I am going to continue the diary to be honest. If not then thank you to everyone who has helped, I do appreciate it a lot. Could break at the weekend but we will see.
It sounds like today has been hard for you. You are doing so well, please keep going. You can make it through the weekend too. Everybody is worthy of being on here and your experience is just as valid as anybody else. Please keep the diary going as well - it will be helping others if nothing else and you can see that as your contribution (not that you have to).
You have made some big steps and inevitably there will be days which are more difficult. Today is just one of those days. There will be better days and chances are, they are just around the corner.
I hope you are okay and please keep going, you’re doing great!
We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can also contact us for free on 0808 80 20 133. If you would like to find out more about the service before you start, including information on confidentiality, please click below. Call recordings and chat transcripts are saved for 28 days for quality assurance.