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Why do I gamble?  

 
Looking4solution
(@looking4solution)

Hello folks,

i believe i posted another thread in this forum a few years ago, but couldn't find it.As you can imagine i am back so it didn't go very well for me since then 🙂

I am not even sure if Gamcare is the right place for my post anymore.I still gamble a lot, but it might just not be my biggest issue as of late...

Today i woke up, i made some coffee(which is improvement, because i started with vodka+juice yesterday) and started browsing the games for today so i can make my usual bets.And i did.I lost like 20k in the past week and i don't really have room for a lot more errors if i want to keep some distance from hitting the rock bottom once again... Usually i will be scared at this point, i worked so hard to clear all of my debts and gain some savings, that going back to the zero is supposed to make me really nervous... not this time.Somehow i really don't care anymore.Win or Lose it doesn't matter.I have seen this movie so many times, that i really don't care about the adventures of the main character anymore/which is me.Nothing will surprise me... nothing CAN surprise me.I ve been there i know i will bounce back if i decide, but what is the point?If the cycle just keeps repeating, why should i even bother to work in the right direction?

Why do I gamble? A simple question that i couldn't answer.I am into sports betting for more than 10 years and i just have no idea why i continue doing it.I believed it was because i needed some adrenaline rush in my daily routine, but this cant be the case anymore, since i really lost the thrill out of it.I just don't enjoy doing it.It is that simple.So why the hell i keep doing it?Do i want to make some easy money?Well who doesn't, but the reality is that i had a lot of money to my name multiple times and they never really made me a happy or satisfied person.Somehow money lost their value to me and i know its selfish to mention it in a place where the majority of people are struggling with money problems, but for me that is the truth.In fact i feel like when i am trying to rebuild my life back(after gambling crash) i am in a much better state of mind.I have my goals straight and i fight to regain what was taken from me. I just today realized that i might be the first betting idiot who pray for his tickets to lose so i can stop losing my time with gambling, at least for some time.Just to have some break of it.

I am not really sure why i am posting today, my thought process is really messy as you can see.Last time i posted here i promised to myself i will stop betting and i kept my promise... for like a solid month or so.This time i am not promising anything. I hate betting, i hate gambling, i really do! I hate mushrooms and i never eat them, so why should it be any different with my betting habit?

 

 

 

Quote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 11:43 am
Lost and Found
(@lost-and-found)

Boy do you sound like me! Gambling is about so many different things. It's not always about the money. For me, it was about self harm, keeping myself down, beating myself up. I would gamble so I could hate on myself for feeling so lost in life in general. I lack direction and feel like I don't have a point most days. I realise that I am the sort of person that sometimes needs adversity to see the good in life. I need to knock myself down all the time in order to feel anything real. Some people need to be motivated into doing the right thing and often doing the wrong thing is a great motivator. It puts life into perspective there for a while. You blow a load of money, feel like c**P and suddenly everything else seems a bit brighter. You become positive, start making changes and start feeling like you can undo the mess that you made. Why do we have to make the mess in the first place? I don't know. I guess, for me, and maybe for you, it's about putting obstacles in our own way so that we can feel good about getting over them. I feel numb most days and like you, I don't enjoy gambling, it just became a habit. I didn't even play with the sound on. It was just going through the motions. I did not feel happy when I won and did not feel sad when I lost. I felt nothing at all really.

It was never about the money really. It was just about losing yourself in the gambling. Gambling and losing money helped me to feel purpose. It gave me back direction and made me feel like I could make a difference by not gambling again. How dumb is that? You make a great pile of debt for yourself just so you can feel good about paying it off again. Then you hit repeat again?

This has been my life for 20 odd years. I think it comes down to self esteem for me. I feel like I coast through life. It's all a bit autopilot. I want to feel more out of life. I liked the risk of gambling. Like you, I often felt better after a loss. I would get myself back there for a while. I, too would feel relief when all the money was gone because I knew that I could be free for a while.

I would goad the machine into taking it all. Spin after spin, I would lose and I would throw all my balance away, hating on myself as I got down to zero and then self excluded for another period of time while I rebuilt.

I recently relapsed after going 2 and a half years clean. I got my balance right up but couldn't keep it all. Bearing in mind I am in huge debt, this is ridiculous not to have taken all the money. But I am over it now, in just a few days. I am back singing and doing my thing. The few days that I was gambling and increasing my balance, I felt scared, agitated, on edge. I was not happy to see that figure grow. Why? Because it was like an anvil was over my head. I knew I would never be able to take it. I let gambling hurt me again and again because I think I have come to expect it. I would go so far as to say that I welcome it. I feel so much better now than I did while I was winning because it is over now. I have lost again and I always knew that was going to happen and somehow, I am good with that. I got the result I expected and needed to be able to carry on the life of a non gambler.

Get back on track. Immerse yourself in your interests and keep active. Be good to yourself and remind yourself that you most likely looking for a reason to feel useful, so instead of putting gambling in your way and then throwing all that effort into rebuilding in order to feel good, fill your life with interests and purpose.

Gambling will take all your money but more importantly, it will take your time. That is the most valuable currency of all. There is a reason why we are relieved when our balance hits zero. It's because for some, it gives us the ability to walk away. It gives us back purpose and focus that we don't have when we are gambling. I think on some level, we are sick of gambling, but we cling to it out of habit. I think I am guilty of going back to gambling sometimes just to remind myself that I hate it and then I am almost happy when I get the answer and lesson I am looking for as for me at least, it is easier to walk away and get angry after a loss and it is the best time to turn your back on gambling and use that loss to power you forward.

While I was winning, I couldn't do anything else. I couldn't think about anything else. I didn't even sleep. It unsettled me completely. I am over it now and I feel better for the loss and that tells me something. I went in there looking to put gambling in my way again. I needed to feel negative and make myself feel worse so that when I put it aside again, I will feel so much better. And I do.  I was feeling down about my debt. I wanted a quick fix. I got burned and yet it was what I wanted.

Strange, but true, because now I am more focused and determined than ever and I am still singing. So who needs gambling??? I thought I wanted a quick fix for my debt. I thought I could win some money, pay off some bills, but when I got it, I couldn't take it. I gave it all back. I know now that it was never about the money. I just seem to be that sort of person who needs to derail sometimes to realise how good it feels to get back on track.

🙂

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 1:53 pm
sanpablo
(@sanpablo)

I think the fact you posted on here says you want to get help.

I have relapsed in recent months and like you, I was doing well both sports betting and share trading but it was so unsettling.All I could think about was my account getting to the next target level.

I know we’re all different but just posting on here in the last day and going on the chat room as really helped, speaking to others who can relate to your feelings and situation.

Personally I also but a freeze on my bank account to prevent me depositing into betting and gaming sites.I’m sure this will be tested but for now I feel good this in place.

Good luck.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 3:16 pm
Charlieboy
(@charlieboy)

Hi looking4solutions. Welcome again and isn't the reason why you are back is that you are asking for help? I don't think anything that you wrote is unusual to compulsive gamblers. Your mind is playing nasty games with you and we all understand what that is like, also like many addicts your whole life is out of whack, drinking vodka first thing in the morning proves it. Unfortunately there is no easy answer , your lack of interest and caring about what happens is depression which probably most gamblers have. This is an addiction just like drugs just like alcohol so don't beat yourself up accept help to get better. I did( I know it's not easy to accept) but I'm nearly 4 months without gambling and wow life is better. Addiction is for life, but I'm starting to believe that with the right help recovery also can be for life. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 3:44 pm
Gambling_toad
(@gambling_toad)

Hello looking for a solution, 

You are in the right place by finding Gamcare. The help and advice you get on here will be invaluable.

You say you still gamble alot so that is why you are here. Initially you got a buzz from gambling and being an addiction you continue in search of the buzz even if you don't enjoy it anymore. 

I don't want to be critical but why did you drink so early in the morning? Drink and gambling don't mix and I'd imagine your mind was distorted when intoxicated and you felt braver!

I'm trying to let you see the truth. You are a gambling addict and you lost in a week what some folk make in a year that is why you are here and I praise you for that. 

You say you have seen the movie before and you are the main character. Why don't you watch a new movie? Nothing changes if nothing changes!

You say nothing surprises you but why not surprise yourself once and for all and quit gambling and start on a road to recovery. 

The right direction you take will bring you happiness and joy.

Toad was once like you and I am now on a mountain overlooking my pond. I used to rest on my lily pad and gamble daily. Guess what? It nearly destroyed me.

Please please read plenty of diaries. Climb that mountain like toad. Open your lungs and take a deep breath.

You can do this! 

Toad. 

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 3:49 pm
Looking4solution
(@looking4solution)
Posted by: Lost and Found

Boy do you sound like me! Gambling is about so many different things. It's not always about the money. For me, it was about self harm, keeping myself down, beating myself up. I would gamble so I could hate on myself for feeling so lost in life in general. I lack direction and feel like I don't have a point most days. I realise that I am the sort of person that sometimes needs adversity to see the good in life. I need to knock myself down all the time in order to feel anything real. Some people need to be motivated into doing the right thing and often doing the wrong thing is a great motivator. It puts life into perspective there for a while. You blow a load of money, feel like c**P and suddenly everything else seems a bit brighter. You become positive, start making changes and start feeling like you can undo the mess that you made. Why do we have to make the mess in the first place? I don't know. I guess, for me, and maybe for you, it's about putting obstacles in our own way so that we can feel good about getting over them. I feel numb most days and like you, I don't enjoy gambling, it just became a habit. I didn't even play with the sound on. It was just going through the motions. I did not feel happy when I won and did not feel sad when I lost. I felt nothing at all really.

It was never about the money really. It was just about losing yourself in the gambling. Gambling and losing money helped me to feel purpose. It gave me back direction and made me feel like I could make a difference by not gambling again. How dumb is that? You make a great pile of debt for yourself just so you can feel good about paying it off again. Then you hit repeat again?

This has been my life for 20 odd years. I think it comes down to self esteem for me. I feel like I coast through life. It's all a bit autopilot. I want to feel more out of life. I liked the risk of gambling. Like you, I often felt better after a loss. I would get myself back there for a while. I, too would feel relief when all the money was gone because I knew that I could be free for a while.

I would goad the machine into taking it all. Spin after spin, I would lose and I would throw all my balance away, hating on myself as I got down to zero and then self excluded for another period of time while I rebuilt.

I recently relapsed after going 2 and a half years clean. I got my balance right up but couldn't keep it all. Bearing in mind I am in huge debt, this is ridiculous not to have taken all the money. But I am over it now, in just a few days. I am back singing and doing my thing. The few days that I was gambling and increasing my balance, I felt scared, agitated, on edge. I was not happy to see that figure grow. Why? Because it was like an anvil was over my head. I knew I would never be able to take it. I let gambling hurt me again and again because I think I have come to expect it. I would go so far as to say that I welcome it. I feel so much better now than I did while I was winning because it is over now. I have lost again and I always knew that was going to happen and somehow, I am good with that. I got the result I expected and needed to be able to carry on the life of a non gambler.

Get back on track. Immerse yourself in your interests and keep active. Be good to yourself and remind yourself that you most likely looking for a reason to feel useful, so instead of putting gambling in your way and then throwing all that effort into rebuilding in order to feel good, fill your life with interests and purpose.

Gambling will take all your money but more importantly, it will take your time. That is the most valuable currency of all. There is a reason why we are relieved when our balance hits zero. It's because for some, it gives us the ability to walk away. It gives us back purpose and focus that we don't have when we are gambling. I think on some level, we are sick of gambling, but we cling to it out of habit. I think I am guilty of going back to gambling sometimes just to remind myself that I hate it and then I am almost happy when I get the answer and lesson I am looking for as for me at least, it is easier to walk away and get angry after a loss and it is the best time to turn your back on gambling and use that loss to power you forward.

While I was winning, I couldn't do anything else. I couldn't think about anything else. I didn't even sleep. It unsettled me completely. I am over it now and I feel better for the loss and that tells me something. I went in there looking to put gambling in my way again. I needed to feel negative and make myself feel worse so that when I put it aside again, I will feel so much better. And I do.  I was feeling down about my debt. I wanted a quick fix. I got burned and yet it was what I wanted.

Strange, but true, because now I am more focused and determined than ever and I am still singing. So who needs gambling??? I thought I wanted a quick fix for my debt. I thought I could win some money, pay off some bills, but when I got it, I couldn't take it. I gave it all back. I know now that it was never about the money. I just seem to be that sort of person who needs to derail sometimes to realise how good it feels to get back on track.

🙂

 

You literally completed my posts i am really grateful you waste your time to write it. Knowing you are not alone and other people are experiencing/experienced same s**t you are going through is relieving.

Selfharming with gambling is something that was crossing my mind already since i am pretty sure i have some kind of depression or disappointment with the way my life is going, but i am the type of person who will never admit his weaknesses.Going to a therapy or to AA/GA meetings would never be in my plans so i guess anonymous online sharing is my only saviour.

Thank you for writing to me.I appreciate you.Hopefully i can escape from my nightmare.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 4:03 pm
EmmaPoint
(@emmapoint)

I did that, I think subconsciously, I knew I had to stop, and couldn't, not until i'd lost my entire pot.  Maybe thats where you are.

Hugs, its a S****y place to be in

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 4:33 pm
sanpablo
(@sanpablo)

Obviously it’s not an option at the moment but you might want to consider GA meetings when they restart.

In my experience you receive the same warmth as you do online with say GamCare but in person.Its a great environment and it’s full of support s s stength in unity.Sure, it may not work for all and I believe some meetings might not be to everyones taste but what is there to lose by trying?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 23rd September 2020 11:55 pm
Joe-90
(@joe-90)

I would recommend GA meetings and the 12 step recovery program. Its not easy but most things in life that are of real value are not easy to attain. 

The self destructive behaviour your experiencing are the tell tale signs of addiction, it is the reasons most addicts have to hit rock bottom before they look for help and support. Rock bottom simply means we run out of road, we have no way to fund our addiction and have no choice but to stop. 

The main barrier to recover is of course ourselves, we know better, GA is not for us its this or its that, I cant tell my partner or friend as it would affect them like this or like that. We are addicts and lock ourselves in mentally convincing ourselves we can sort this out ourselves but we know this is nonsense, its just another lie to convince ourselves to keep feeding our habit.

Recovery is no easy path either and we know this, it takes hard work and commitment but you can turn your life around and stop living this lie. 

If you looking for a reason as to why it is you gamble/drink, or whatever you addiction is, you could also look at the work of Dr Gabor Mate.

 

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 24th September 2020 9:23 am
Charlieboy
(@charlieboy)

Hi looking4solutions. I echo what sanpablo, and joe90 have said reclaim your life by change, GA meetings have really helped me find my way forward. In these weird times we live in they run zoom meetings as a lot of groups will be stopping in person meetings again. The GA website gives all the info. I also have listened to podcasts from Dr gabor mate. His work is so interesting and gave me spine shivers when you get that " that's me " feeling.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 24th September 2020 10:01 am
Lost and Found
(@lost-and-found)

You are welcome. And it is never a waste of time to chat on here.

Everyone is different. Understanding why we do things can help us stop this self destructive behaviour. My gambling triggers were discontentment, a feeling of being unsettled, unhappy or feeling stuck, or sometimes its that feeling of being too settled, like everything is mapped out? I don't like that either. I don't like the routine. It's that feeling of coasting through life that gets me, the 'what's it all for?' question that pops into my head some days. 

I need to feel purpose in my life and when I feel like nothing I do really matters in the grand scheme of things, then I hit self destruct mode. I can be inpatient and agitated easily and I am not the sort of person that just fits in with the way the world works. I guess I am looking for more meaning, something more than just chasing wages, promotions and working my way through all the socially acceptable stages of life on my way to the grave.....go to school, get a job, get a house, get married, have kids, retire. It's all too regular for me and every now and again I seem to deliberately stray off path. It seems I am a little numb to normal life unless I can feel suffering which then makes the routine of normal life seem okay. 

I don't think it's excitement I look for, or risk, but I think I am just looking to feel something, anything at all because I have depression and I generally don't feel much of anything anymore. I even stopped feeling the pain of gambling. That too became almost expected. I think that I used gambling as self harm because I would turn to it to hurt myself or punish myself for not being able to be content and settled like other people. Why can't I just sit and enjoy mindlessly chatting over a coffee with a friend?Why does the normal not appeal to me? What is it that I want out of life? I don't really relate to people well or to anything much. I don't laugh often. I'm just here. I exist. That's it really. 

So sometimes when I feel unsettled and numb, I head to gambling and when I lose as I expected to, I feel like I can at least be useful in fixing the debt that I made. I make problems so that I can focus on them and feel useful about fixing them. I have a lot of negative stuff in my head some days and when I lose money gambling, all that disappears because now I have bigger problems to worry about and so I focus on the debt and what I can do about that instead of all the stuff and questions that fills my head most days. After a loss, get back my direction and just knuckle down to normal life again. 

For me, that's why I feel better after a loss. It gives me a purpose and gives me something to focus on and feel proactive about. Without it, even if the debt is coming down and things are looking good, I'm still inpatient, unsettled and irritable in life. Having money doesn't really interest me, losing it doesn't necessarily bother me. I just struggle with my purpose and like you, I often feel much better and level headed after a blow out. I have this discontentment and I don't know if this is what led to gambling in the first place or if the gambling caused it. I feel like it is both.

The depression comes from the cycle repeating itself. We get sick of going through the same stuff, not realising that it is us who is keeping the cycle going. Is it safer to be stuck in the cycle somehow? Is that the devil we know? Is gambling just something to blame for the way we really feel about our lives? Why do we hit that big red button even when things are going well in our lives? It is self sabotage and to understand why we do it, we have to look at what we get out of heading back to gambling. I believe that we are looking for the attachment we have to losing. We connect to it somehow and we relate to it.

When we gamble, we think we are going in there to win money. But there is a group of problem gamblers that are actually wanting to lose on some level. On the surface, you want to win, of course you do, but your unconscious is playing a different game and it is looking for that emotional attachment to losing. It's like an inner conflict borne out of feeling bored, self hatred, useless, unchallenged, just unworthy, and pointless, and going in there to win money in theory covers up those hidden feelings of being worthless because gambling can make you a winner. But the more you lose, the more these feelings increase and the more we keep going back to it. When you gamble because of feelings like this, you do so because you are addicted to feeling this way in life generally. You expect to lose. You expect to hate yourself. The gambling justifies you and you feel valid when you lose because on some level problem gamblers like this tend to feel this way about themselves anyway so it is a feeling they know well. I guess that's why losing doesn't necessarily unsettle me because I already expect that out of life, so I deserved what I got.

For me, at least, that's why I don't mind losing so much because making that loss go away and addressing the debt afterwards, makes me feel better. It is the positive that I take out of the negative situation that I made. I don't know if I am looking to make a mess just so I can feel good about myself when I fix it, or if I am holding myself back because I am afraid of what success actually looks like because I have kept myself in this cycle for so long. (two decades now)

You see unresolved emotions are just that. Unresolved. And when things are not resolved, we are compelled to go on feeling them and they will crop up in all areas of our lives. When we are not gambling, all these issues are still going on, and we know we need to address them, but instead we try to cover them up with gambling to feel better. But when it goes wrong and we lose, those same feelings come up again but undoing our mistakes and coming up with a plan to pay down debt makes us feel like what we have done is actually a good thing and strangely, we feel better. It's like continually putting hurdles in our way to prove to ourselves that we can get over them. When we are just running straight, we are not happy, we need more challenges, up go the hurdles again and we continually make things harder than they need to be. For me, at least, I think there are some self esteem issues here and that's why I like the challenge of making things harder for myself to prove that I am strong and able but also I know that I keep myself down by gambling because the other part of me feels like I am just not good enough.

It's like we gamble to act out these unresolved issues but what we really need to do is address what issues are wrong in our life and fix those instead. Gambling is not the problem in our lives, it is a symptom of something else going on. I continue gambling sometimes because then I can blame the way I feel on the gambling but gambling is not the problem. I am the problem. However, I feel it is easier to stay stuck sometimes than to change because the cycle becomes so familiar that you just repeat it over and over.

For me, keeping on track means keeping super busy, feeling needed and useful. I need to set clear goals for myself and work towards them and I need to see progress. When I don't, I hit the self destruct button and the game resets again. Then I have to go and do it all again, rebuild again and self loathe at the fact that I am forever keeping myself in this cycle.

Gambling again, especially when things are going well is usually failing on purpose. This is precisely what I did in my last relapse. There was no impulse to bet. I planned it, I was patient with it and I thought about it for weeks before I bet. I didn't look for help on here because I didn't want to be talked out of it. I had gone over 860 days without betting but I felt discontent and unsettled at my progress. 

It is about looking for short term relief from pain but creates more pain in the long run. Sometimes, its about expecting things to go wrong, so you just go ahead and make them wrong anyway because then you are the one in control of your own fate. It can come about because of a fear of not being in control. It might be because you are not happy just hoping that things will work out and maybe you don't trust that they will work out so you set yourself up for a fall and make sure that things fall apart which for some people brings relief because you expected it to happen anyway, eventually. Only now, you've caused it yourself so you can accept it more and its been on your terms.

There are also people who self sabotage their own happiness all the time because they don't feel that they are the sort of people that get success in life, so they ruin it for themselves, sabotage relationships, jobs, their finances. Some are afraid of being successful as they don't feel they are good enough. When things go well, they blow it for fear of it going wrong. Self sabotage helps these kind of people to remain unsuccessful and keep these insecurities alive. For me, gambling is doing just that. 

If this sounds like you, take a look at some of the websites that talk about self sabotage. It can really help you to see your triggers and what sends you back to gambling, even when things are going well for you. The fact that you are not happy or content when you build your bank back up again, says to me that you are addicted to losing and need to address some issues around self worth and self esteem just like me.

It is hard to make sense of all of this but once you do and you understand why you do the things that you do, then you have more power to spot these changes in mood or state of mind and make sure that you look for answers in the right place and leave gambling well alone.

Have yourself a safe, gambling free day.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted : 24th September 2020 1:37 pm
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