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Want to DO something about your out-of-control gambling? Read on.....


You may be reading this post because you've lost too much money (possibly after yet another heartbreaking gambling binge) and/or are in other related trouble, the situation becoming unsustainable. Therefore you might be desperate for help. If so, please keep calm, take stock and considering talking to someone, maybe a trusted friend or loved one. You may also consider Gamcare (0808 8020 133) or the Samaritans (116 123) depending on how you're feeling.

Bearing in mind, as we know to our cost, that using our willpower to stop is usually simply not enough, here are two quick hints that suggest practical measures you can consider putting into place right away.

Quick Hint No. 1 ---> Do you need to ban yourself from gambling? Here are five positive things you can do straightaway. Why not *** the nettle right now and exclude yourself from:

  • Online casinos ---> n.b. doesn't cover all casinos yet, but it will by Sept 2018 - and IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE! The teething problems with the service are now fixed. Select the *5 year* abstention option. If online casinos are your problem, and there's one thing you do today - do this. NOW!



  • Bingo Clubs ---> - covers all bingo halls - just ban yourself and save yourself more misery


  • Bookies ---> /" target="_blank"> -- ban yourself from as many bookies in your area, and beyond, as you can


  • Amusement Arcades ---> - easy to do, just register!


Quick Hint No.2 ---> Need a near-failsafe way to stop? In addition to excluding yourself from as many gambling operators as possible (see the paragraph above), why not hand over full financial control to a trusted friend or loved one - no "ifs or buts". Without the means, you can't gamble. They'll respect you for it, because it proves your intent. How long for? For life, probably. But what a better life you'll lead!


Hi there. Have you had ENOUGH of this devastating problem gambling habit? Yes? Good. So let’s do something about it, eh 😉

My name is 'Mixer' and I'm a regular here on the Gamcare forums.

If you are new here, or even a regular visitor, you might find the following interesting, written through the eyes of a (recovering) compulsive gambler who, like you, is determined to stop gambling. Here I look into why we gamble and what we can do about it - for ourselves primarily, but I also consider the impact on our loved ones - let's never forget about them.

Now, I say it as it is. But it's probably what you want (need) to hear and possibly reflects what you're thinking anyway.

There's an old saying: "We are where we are". In other words, regardless how we got here, we start again from here, we start again from now.

We need to put our regret and self-pity aside for a moment and take some time to think things through and understand why we can't continue like this. This is why you're here, reading this.

Firstly, though, here's a video to watch. It's about someone who was hooked into this addiction, like me, like you. I thoroughly recommend you listen to his story ---> 0">

Now, there's a fair bit to read. Why not make yourself a 'cuppa' before you start. If you only want to read some bits or now, then simply click on the blue link to jump to the section you're interested in, and click your browser 'back button' to return here.

*** Contents ***

Before we try to resolve your problem, we need to understand what brought you to this point in the first place. We need to question:

We then take a deeper look, firstly looking into practical steps you can take, here and now. We also take a look at other impacts of your gambling. All this will help you get into a good 'mindset' for the task ahead as you consider:

Let's start by looking at why you might have started.

--- Why did you start? ---

  • You were curious – those adverts with big bonus opening offers seemed too good to be true (and you may even have won at first!). Maybe you were playing apps for 'points' and decided playing for cash would be more &# 39;exciting'.
  • Because others were gambling – Mates in the pub, or friends at bingo etc. were gambling – you thought you'd join them
  • Escapism – Seemed like a distraction from any ‘woes’
  • Chance to make a fortune – This could’ve been an easy way to make money. And maybe you did - at first - before that 'killer' loss.
  • Or some other reason. Something may have happened in your life that ‘triggered’ your first, and subsequent, gambles. It might be symptomatic of an illness.

--- Why are you finding it so hard to stop? ---

  • It’s everywhere – as long as you've got money and time, and there’s opportunity, you're just too tempted. You might say, for example, that gambling adverts are on the telly every five minutes - it's all so 'in your face'!
  • Debt – You may need to get out of worsening debt; just one ‘big win’ will clear it. Just One. Big. Win.
  • Escapism – It continues to distract you from your troubles, or boredom or rut (yet gambling is an even worse rut)
  • It’s enjoyable but you're losing more than you're winning, and, when you actually think about it, it’s actually more tortuous than enjoyable. The losses are far more frequent and catastrophic then the lesser and smaller wins.
  • It’s like a ‘friend’ to mebut you can see it’s not a friend at all. It’s just a way of you handing over my money to some soulless gambling operator; this isn't friendship.
  • 'Feel good' chemicals are triggered - that might be true, but you really can start to wean yourself off this, shaking ourselves out of this compulsion you have. Urges, always strong to start with, can subside.
  • I've got an addictive personality - but, oddly enough, you wasn't addicted to anything before you started gambling. (Ok, maybe you smoked, but same principle.) But is this just an easy 'excuse' to continue...? Possibly.

--- Why is gambling such a problem? ---

  • It’s because we can’t stop. If we win, we keep going until we lose, and then we keep losing. In other, words, we never win. And to make matters worse, the odds are always against us. That's it, really; it's simply too expensive in money, time, and what it does to us. And, sadly, the longer we carry on the more we chase the inevitable losses that always show their head at some point. Financial discipline goes out of the window, many of us sadly waking up having unintentionally lost a small fortune the day before. And, in our desperation, we might do things we shouldn't do, and get into even more trouble.

--- What can we do? ---

We have to stop gambling. Now. Right Away. And we can! Here are four things to help 'break the gambling cycle', steps that will vastly improve our chances of being gambling-free. We need to embrace the four "As" - Acceptance, Awareness, Action and Attitude:

  • ACCEPTANCE & AWARENESS - We must admit we are compulsive gamblers; likely for life, such is the baffling nature of our condition. Therefore, a lifetime solution and ongoing commitment is likely necessary. We need to be determined and ready for this new phase – the 'second half' – of our lives. I repeat; this is for life. I do not personally believe there is a cure, but do believe we can successfully manage our condition, so we don't gamble, forever. Some people who gamble can handle it; they don't become addicts. Sadly, some of us get hooked and become problem gamblers. Wouldn't it be great if we could stop whenever we wanted? But ... we can't. It's the way we're 'wired' - we actually get more excitement from the 'near miss' than the win itself - and, sadly, we have to accept this reality.
  • ACTION - We need to put restrictions in place to make sure that we cannot gamble even if we wanted to. This is important, because, as compulsive gamblers, we can be very sneaky indeed. This includes, for example, handing over financial control to a trusted friend or loved ones, putting self-exclusions in place so you can't gamble online or in gambling establishments like bookies, arcades and casinos. It's good to keep busy, keeping fi t, eating well and enjoying life, and the company of others. And there's an excellent friendly community right here in the Gamcare forums.
  • ATTITUDE - To stop gambling, one day at a time. Let's not expect miracles; let's keep it real. If we stop one day at a time, that's realistic and manageable. Every morning, say to yourself, and mean, and stick to: "Just for today, I will not gamble". Now, life will throw stuff at you, as life does, but whatever it is can be handled much, much better without gambling in the way. Stick to this one simple rule and you can manage this condition, along with good support and sound strategies to help you restrict the possibilities of you gambling, for ever. But always one day at a time.

--- Relapsing ---

We really mustn't gamble ever again, because starting up again can easily get us into as much trouble as before. Relapsing can be extremely damaging. In fact, getting 'addicted' to the self-loathing, self-pity of relapsing, often linked to underlying lifestyle issues, is a vicious cycle we must snap out of. However, if you do relapse, the most important thing to do is get 'back in the saddle' as soon as possible, going gambling-free, always one day at a time. Please also bear in mind the following:

  • We are human. We may well relapse on this lifetime journey of going gambling-free. (I have, to my deepest regret, sadness and personal detriment relapsed several times.) Only ‘beat yourself up’ if you are going to give up’ trying to go gambling-free, or are not prepared to learn from, and do something about, the experience. ("Being human" is not an excuse to gamble again by the way - it's what we learn from it and our attitude to how we respond that counts.)
  • True character is shown from those who, when they fall down, get up again, stronger. If you relapse, be honest about it, think about why it happened and think what you can learn for ‘next time’; what can make a future relapse less likely? What did you 'miss' this time? How can you block it next time? Remember - compulsive gamblers like us can be very sneaky and devious; the 'non-gambling' side of your brain must outwit the 'gambling' side. Share your reasoning with loved ones and trusted friends; be open and honest; don't hide.
  • Keep trying. Don't give up. Remember, we won't relapse if we stick to one important rule: every morning, say to yourself, and stick to, this: "Just for today, I won't place a bet". Sounds simple; but that'll do the job.

--- Is Life boring without gambling? ---

Gambling is a very lonely habit actually, even in a social setting. Look how solitary most people are in a bookies, bingo, pub or casino, for example. And losing the money is just part of it. Some people think life outside gambling is boring, but that's partly because we close the curtains to other things when we gamble, we fail to see fantastic other options life has to offer.

Is life really about that Saturday afternoon football bet fix? Is it a must that the fruit machine is pumped with all your money every time you have a pint? Does a quiet spell at home really mean that we have to spend all our cash on a some soulless online cartoon gambling game (bingo and slots)?

The answer to all three questions is "no" by the way - we just can't see it right now, that's how 'fogged' our minds have become. To illustrate, let's look at each of the above sample scenarios in turn.

  • Football betting - Step back for a moment. Consider this. When you put a bet on, consider whether are you actually enjoying the game anymore. What it's really about. Which should be the teams, the tactics, the atmosphere, the skill, the excitement and more. Yet, when you're gambling, it becomes 'cold'; about the stark result, the number of goals, dependences on other games, the number of corners etc. The enjoyment for the 'beautiful game' has gone; instead, it's about numbers and a 'sterile' scoreline. Why not enjoy the game again - it doesn't need a bet, actually. And what's the point in betting on the game(s) anyway? If you do win, you eventually lose and then lose some more. What's the point? Why not knock gambling on the head and fall in love with the game again, like you used to?
  • Fruit machines - These soulless boxes are everywhere, in pubs, bingo and bookies (FOBTs), all drawing you in with their flashing lights. The thing is, you can win on them, but only if you know what you're doing and only a select few professional punters do; even in bookies.They just need mug punters to fill them up for them. If you're not a professional, then, the fact is, the mug punter is you. Enjoy your pint or glass of wine by all means - maybe in the company of others - and let someone else be that mug punter - not you. Remember - all slots, including FOBTs, are not truly random. They can be, and are, manipulated. Leave them alone.


  • Online slots - they're everwhere, but think for a moment what you are doing. You're sitting down playing 'cartoon games' and wasting your hard-earned money without leaving your sofa; isn't that a crying shame? Remember, you never win because you always give it back. Instead, think about the power of the internet and the wealth of things you could be doing instead. Use social media, watch videos (not gambling ones, they're all a con and trying to hook you in), films, box sets .. you can discover so much and it's all free or nearly free. And if you turn the computer off, more possibilities! Think back. What did you do before you gambled, when you had cash spare? By the way, you can block all your PCs, mobiles, tablets and other devices with software found here.

And consider this. Gambling sessions can be very expensive and remarkably short in duration. Let's say you've just spent your monthly salary in a day. What would you rather be for the rest of the month - bored and skint, or bored with cash in your pocket, and lots of lovely options?

Remember, a whole long, drawn-out month being skint really isn't much fun at all. Just think about what you, and your loved ones, could be doing. Keeping fit, eating better, going out, there's so much more! So, as gambling 'sessions' tend to be quite short, is there really that great a void to fill...?

--- Our loved ones ---

Let's not forget about our loved ones who get caught up with all this. Our gambling affects them, too, and they don't like it much (to put it mildly). They want to see us back to our 'normal selves', back to the vibrant people we really are. Not the frankly unpleasant and neurotic characters we have become, all wrapped up with gambling, and the lies/self-loathing/selfish attitudes that come with it.

We're wasting money that could have benefitted your loved ones, too. We're very good at punishing ourselves. Why punish them too?

We often don't fully consider how devestating gambling can be for our partners, family and friends, because we become so 'wrapped up' with ourselves we become desensitised and numb to it all. Enough!

Take a look at some of the diaries here to see the view from their perspective; it's sobering at best, absolutely heartbreaking at worst. Let's not hide from the impacts of what we've been doing.

--- Willpower and Gambing Operators ---

It seems odd, but quite often willpower isn't enough on its own, because it can be misused to sneakily start up again! That's why we also need to seek support and put in place solid blocks to help us. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

How about gambling operators? We can blame them all we want; the truth is they're going nowhere. The truth is we have to take personal responsibility.

--- Handling the losses and dealing with debt ---

Sometimes, we find it very hard to get over the fact we've lost so much money. That's an understandable reaction; you may have lost substantial sums and possibly be in severe debt.

The only way to move on is firstly to accept that chasing your losses, trying to recoup the losses, is the worst thing to do. You'll just get into worse trouble because, remember, we can't stop. If we do happen to win it all back, and this is unlikely, we will still gamble and lose it all over again, and then more.

That's just the way it is and we have to accept this brutal truth. If we can't accept the money has gone forever, it will eat away at us and we can't move on. It's time to stop beating ourselves up and time to start to repair the damage.

If you have debts but are having problems managing them, then take a look at this page from n">MoneySavingExpert - a bit of planning prioritising and 'juggling' your obligations could save you significant interest charges. If you are in serious debt, then seriously consider getting in touch with /">Stepchange, a debt specialist charity.

Stepchange roll up all of your debts into manageable repayments and stop further interest. They will set everything up. Yes, it will affect your credit rating but in time you can improve this by paying off the debts.

You'll have peace of mind knowing creditors will stop 'banging on the door'; and your debts will be cleared in a few short years. It'll be worth it but require discipline and a true resolve to stop gambling. But you know this.

--- And finally ---

Let's really 'give our all' to stop this. Hey - it's not easy, but we can do it. We have a choice; to live life as it should be lived, or untold misery. Let's choose life!

Where next? Here's a good place to start; a page of key information from Gamcare.

And do seriously consider joining the Gamcare Forums! You'll meet lots of friendly people who have been impacted by this devastating condition. Recovering addicts, those trying to stop, loved ones who have been affected, success stories, suggestions and much, much more. It's a lively community and it may really, really help you. So:

  • Why not sign up, it's all completly anonymous.
  • Then say 'hello!'; just create a new topic. You'll be given a warm welcome and tons of good advice and support from fellow recovering gamblers like you.
  • Consider setting up a diary; many of us find these very useful; they're very popular.
  • Fancy a challenge? Want to spend 2018 gambling-free? Then this is worth a look; the '2018 Challenge' thread (run by Neil C.)

Thank you for reading this. You got this far - it shows you're serious, it's shows intent.

Why not give Gamcare a call? 0808 8020 133 is the number and there will be a friendly voice on the other end. You're also welcome to post a comment or ask a question anytime on this thread.

May I wish you all the very best. Let's do something about this - You can do it!

With my very best wishes,


(one of many recovering gamblers who have joined Gamcare happy to help our fellow Gamcare buddies as they strive to go gambling free, too!)

Posted : 8th January 2018 8:25 pm

I really liked that post Mixer. I think it is very informative and will be particularly useful for newcomers to the diaries.

It will be interesting to see what feedback you get.

Posted : 9th January 2018 12:27 am
Cynical wife

If something needed fixing in my house, I used to wish that I could call Bob the Builder. Or better still, Wendy....

re gambling, Deano summarised the basics in a post which unfortunately got cut when he left. Four pieces of advice: (1) to go to and stick with GA; (2) to go to counselling; (3) to use blocks to keep the time-money-location triangle broken at all times; and (4) to come clean and be honest with loved ones. All to be done in full, no lip service, no half measures, no loopholes.

Not so easy, yet what could possibly be simpler?


Posted : 9th January 2018 8:56 am

Abstainer (Stephen) - thank you very much for your kind words; they are really appreciated 🙂

CW - Couldn't agree with you more 🙂

This post is interesting too ---> click here!

Posted : 10th January 2018 7:00 pm

I don't know how to stop. I am thinking about those machines and nubers constantly, and I always feel sorry about money I lost. I ahve been gambling for 8 years now, lost total about £25 000 altogether

Posted : 14th January 2018 5:45 pm

Hi Dima,

It's a frustrating thing - you stop gambling and all that seems to happen is that you think about it all the time. That's common and my advice is, at this early stage, if gambling thoughts come into your head, then simply let them! It's harder keeping them out.

The difference is, though, don't follow those thoughts through. Feel good and releived that you've 'seen the light' and today, you're not going to gamble. Repeat: "Just for today, I'm not going to gamble", every day. Put blocks in place to make sure you can't gamble, even if you wanted to. Here's where to start. In time, this 'cold turkey' phase will diminish.

I fully understand how difficult it is to rationalise and get over the losses. I've lost well over £250k in my lifetime. But I have to accept it's gone, and so must you. We must learn from it and move on. Let's not let it 'eat us'; frankly, what's the point? There's nothing we can do - except stop doing it. Look, instead, at what we have - a future, options, and a better life. The past is gone. Look back, yes; but don't stare, don't mope.

In these early stages, why not visit Gamcare daily. Get your 'fix' here, amongst people like you trying to stop, many of whom are finding it difficult. Consider an alternative use of your time, although, ironically, losing money doesn't take that long, does it! That's the funny thing; it doesn't take long to lose.

Keep reading the forums, keep writing and do consider couselling, Dima - it's free through Gamcare. Break the pattern, break the cycle. If nothing changes, then, nothing changes. Time for a change. Stop doing this to yourself. Give yourself a break; you, and the people you care about, deserve much better 🙂

Good luck to you. Keep in touch!

Posted : 14th January 2018 8:28 pm

Yes, the problem is that I often win. So naturally I think that I can beat the machines. And also, I see that some people seem to have been winning as well, often someone gets quite a lot of money. Therefore, I have an urge to keep trying.

Posted : 15th January 2018 9:20 am

Sometimes we need to bear in mind that some of those people who do win have an edge that we don't have, Dima - so we win even less. The best thing is to admit to ourselves - gambling isn't for us, because we can't win and it makes us miserable! So let's call it a day and knock it on the head. Acceptance: I think it's quite a relief to reach it, actually... 🙂

Posted : 15th January 2018 8:48 pm

The updated post " Can we do something > YES WE CAN. Absolutely spot on Mixer. Great reading and very informative. Many thanks...stephen

Posted : 16th January 2018 2:04 am

I did not play yesterday, and I hope not to play today. But I am constantly thinking about playing and winning, considering different ways to do it.

Posted : 16th January 2018 10:58 am

Heart & soul as always Mixer 🙂

Just one tiny niggle with your book choice...Maybe you could recommend a few instead? I have read on here about people swearing by the one you currently have a link to but I believe many of the recommendations are from serial relapsers & having tried & failed to get through it myself, I don’t think it has any bones. I’ve just picked up Russell Brand’s ‘Recovery’ which has been highly spoken about by people with many years of just that between them...It’s 12 Step literature for want of a better phrase but I think it would be something that many people relate to.

Posted : 16th January 2018 6:39 pm

Thank you, ODATT, for a lovely post. I fully take your point; Allen Carr's book suits some, but not others, and without hesitation will add your book, too.

People have differing views to Russell Brand, one of life's 'Marmite' people (but that shows character, if nothing else!) but, indisputably, he has picked himself up from the depths and into a success.

I will edit my main post above accordingly and include his book.

Thank you for the feedback ODAAT; and you, too Stephen (Abstainer); it's really appreciated.

Posted : 16th January 2018 6:44 pm

Thanks for this Mixer - it's a fantastic post! Extrememly helpful for me at the moment giving me perspective on things and getting back to basics.

Posted : 21st January 2018 4:56 pm

I am not sure where I am meant to put my post, I have been struggling with gambling for a few years, I feel like I’m drowning and I can no longer cope, I tell my self enough is enough but always end up gambling agin and wasting money that I can’t afford to. I feel physically sick and so disappointed with myself if it wasn’t for my children I wouldn’t be here. I just don’t know what to do.

Posted : 21st January 2018 9:57 pm

Hi there Kel,

I'm really sorry to read you're feeling this way. It sounds like, though, you want to do something about it - you've written a post.

I would give Gamcare a call in the first instance to help clarify your thoughts. This is a time for calm, and to take stock.

First steps, but good steps.

Good luck, you're welcome to reply anytime.

(P.S. TM1985 - thank you for your kind comments)

Posted : 21st January 2018 10:42 pm
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