I have been gambling for 15+ years however it is only in the last 6 or so years it has become a major problem in my life. The day I took out a payday loan to chase my losses was when I realised this was serious. I assume this will be such a familiar story to many on here....I continued to take out loans as it was 'only a matter of time before I won it all back and more, paid off my loans and everybody wins'. Safe to say it only ended up with every penny lost and now I had multiple payday loans eating up my hard earned wages.
Skip forward a few months, I was financially at a stage where I couldn't afford to gamble or pay off the gambling debt and therefore had to admit the problem and seek financial help from friends and family. For me personally, admitting i had a gambling problem to close friends/family was both very embarrassing....i felt ashamed of myself but also it gave me a huge feeling of relief. The long days of gambling were finally over...getting up at 6am as I seen a bet i wanted to put on or staying up until 3am to catch the South American football match...my life revolved around gambling and it was all over!
After roughly 18 months, thanks to financial help from family/friends, the debt was clear and I had not gambled the whole time. I start to think I can maybe do a 'fun' bet every other weekend, you know...£1 on for £15,000 return. First month or two, it was purely a 'fun' bet. I didn't get any urges to gamble more/chase losses then i won a bet and the feeling was back, it felt great..i could just try another bet to win again...i could buy X with this if i could win that money. Grabbed by the demon that is addiction once again and fell down the same rabbit hole as before. Losing...chasing losses...funding via payday/personal loans. I had just set myself back 18 months in the space of a few weeks. All that hard work gone! Again, i hit a brick wall in terms of finances and had no other choice but admit i had relapsed and done it all again, only more excessive this time. The money gambled was higher, the debt was higher, stress was higher....however it took 2 years to clear this debt and be gamble free yet again.
Jump to today, as i sit here typing this, back in the same situation as i was at the very start (only worse). Been gambling again for the past 6 months and I am now at the point that is now very familiar. No money to gamble, debt is higher than my salary, wondering where it all went wrong, asking the same questions with no answers.
Why do I feel the need to start gambling again when I personally know how it ends? I am now owe more money than i earn, can I get help? How can I stop another relapse in the future (without feeling like taking the cowards way out)?
I used to live a very happy life and have continued to live a happy life through the breaks in my addiction but every time it grabs me back in, it destroys me mentally and physically.
Sorry for the VERY long post, I'd rather post my life story to get it out there than keep any more bottled up like the last 6 years. Hopefully the answers to my questions are out there somewhere. Thanks for anyone who took the time to read and more so anyone who is willing to help. Thanks in advance.
Thanks for posting this. You do feel better for getting it off your chest. Knowing that you have put it out there and have said it.
i know the feeling of chasing your losses thinking I’ll win it back and you don’t The thing is you will never win back the amount you need to pay off the debt.
My issue is I’m currently stressing about my debt and how long it’s going to take to pay off, it feels like a noose round my neck tightening. It’s horrible, it’s that which brings on my urge to gamble thinking I need to win this back and I’m still trying to find a way to curb this feeling. I do know in my head it’s not the answer and never will be.
You have seen the other side, you will get there again, just need to take it a day at time.
Have you blocked the websites or self excluded? Might be somewhere to start in the mean time.
Some very good therapists out there say 90% of all addicts break their own addictions and get clean. 90%. Smokers leave smoking. drinkers leave drinking and gamblers leave gambling. We are no different than any other addiction so I can not see why the therapist should be wrong. We are however groomed by constant equity preditors and reminded that fun is only a moment away. And in the same radio ad breaks, we can take a payday loan to gamble some more that is the next online ad. We are constantly brainwashed by this industry and thus you feel stuck. So turn it all off and get peace or learn to live with it. There are no in-betweens. I am not saying it is easy but what is easy these days?
The problem is you have addressed one part of the issue, the gambling. You have stopped but you have not undertaken a recovery program. You should look up your nearest GA meeting and start attending.
I was like you and countless others who only admitted I had a problem when I had not other choice as I had no more funds to keep going, like you I stopped gambling, sorted out the debt after a year or so and felt I was good to go. But i had done nothing to access or address my behaviour or why I was gambling in the first place. So like you i inevitably relapsed.
Now Im in a much better place, my mindset and outlook are much improved as Im fully engaged in the recovery part of the process. You too can break the cycle. Best of luck my friend.
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