I've been on here before. I've always liked a flutter. I'm curious. Before when I used to gamble I'd spend most of what I earned without going into any debt. I read stories on here of thousands and thousands of pounds worth of credit card debts. I'm still gambling (more moderately) and I've even started saving. So without doubt I'm being more sensible and I wouldn't say its out of control. I think the question here is how much is too much to be spending on gambling?
@big_brad From my experience it's not about how much you gamble.
Gambling itself isn't illegal and is considered a normal activity for a lot of people, in the same way that going to the pub for a few drinks is considered normal.
The term problem gambling or compulsive gambling is very different. I think there are different stages of gambling and if you are so inclined, you could end up at the latter end of those problems. So it starts off as fun, or a hobby. Then it turns into a habit, and finally a problem. If it's still fun, still a hobby, not affecting other parts of your life, then okay.
But for some people, and I talk about me, is that it turned into a habit at a young age and a problem not much later. So compulsive gambling now for me includes getting into debt, gambling away money which should be used for other things like food, transport or rent. I beg, borrow or steal money when gambling as the urge and need to continue is too much. My addiction is insatiable!
I lie about what I'm doing, lie about where I am. I put gambling in front of friendships and relationships. I don't sleep, I can't sleep, my mind feels like it's in a fast spin on a washing machine while on a roller coaster!
I neglect jobs, family, myself.
The only time I get peace is when everything is gone. It's like a release, and towards the end I'm almost begging to lose, just so I can get it over with. Then there's the suicidal thoughts. Only fleeting but still there.
Now I know that's an extreme version, but it's one you might hear more and more on here.
Not everyone gets to that point but if you have the right disposition you could end up like that.
As I've been writing this a thought has come to mind. Go to the GA website and look at the twenty questions. It's been around for over 50 years so is a good guide to the question "Am I a compulsive gambler "? If you score more than 7, it's considered that you have a problem.
I can't control my gambling or my life once I gamble, that might be a simpler explanation.
Hope that helps understand my take on it a bit. It is based on over 40 years of having this problem and I'm only 51 now.
Thanks for the replies. For me what I don't like about my gambling habits is I couldn't admit to how much I was gambling. It's this guilt and worry that is affecting my mental health. Very rarely do I treat or spend on myself and when I have to pay £20 out of necessity for something it annoys me where as if I spend it on a bet it's deemed acceptable in my head. The last couple of days I've really had a good think and I've decided this needs to stop. The thing that gets me is the spend so much and that betting site gives you a free bet next week...It's a vicious circle. I don't think I'm wired to ever use credit cards or steal to bet with and for me I'm in control to a degree. I do find myself day dreaming mid conversation with people and I do feel gambling is the route of my anxiety and poor mental health. Although I've made a conscience effort to start saving, its making me think well now I want to save more. I know deep down I can't do this all my life...secret gambling. Another part of my worry is to actually consider how much I've lost over the years. I know this has gone, and I can't dwell on this. I need to use that as my motivation to not spend on this habit.
I used the free bets in my accounts yesterday and had a 9/2 winner. I've withdrawn this last night and said to myself right this is it. No more. It's the first day of the rest of my life and I don't want gambling a part of it.
Hopefully checking in here is a way to a better and healthier life for myself and my family.
Please believe me that although you want to do it on your own, I spent so many years and so did others meaning that we could do it on our own only to relapse. It's not about willpower, it's about admitting an addiction. The problem is bigger than you or me.
To be fair, if you are determined to stop then having Gamstop is jsut your way of putting two fingers up to the addiction.
It's one of the best tools around at the moment, other than the groups and counselling.
I wish you well in coming to your own decisions.
Hi Big-Brad and welcome.
My view is that people get hooked very quickly as gambling addicts. They can go for years or even decades without realising how much they are hooked.
You make an interesting point about control. I thought I was generally in control for years. However I now realise that I never really was. Dropping £30 a session as a kid or a hundred as an adult was never a sign of control. I rode it like it wasnt the end of the world but it was often everything I had in my pocket that night after a round of drinks.
I never thought I could get hopelessly addicted to anything and didnt realise how hooked I was. Yes I had breaks which I mistook as control but I could binge gamble at any time I was near machines.
Its also a progressive illness so I ended up binging a grand per session or over a couple of days which is crazy. I felt totally rotten afterwards but was soon back doing it
Its a complex addiction If I dropped a tenner in the street or somebody tried to invite me to watch the ball and cups scam, I would get really miffed.....yet I would be drawn to an arcade or bookies and waste hundreds
I would say never be complacent with feelings here as the mind will do a damage limitation exercise trying to look for positives.....oh Im not in debt yet....Ive still got money for the bills etc etc.
However it soon progresses to stories of life savings being stolen from biscuit tins and far worse. Gambling kills people who cant take it any more... to be blunt....this is no game about a silly flutter.
Its a nasty insidious drug addiction and its extremely dangerous. I think you know the answer to your own question..wasting a pound is too much and gambling is a mugs game wasting most of your wages is evidence enough of a problem....I never earnt enough money to waste the amounts i was chucking away......its not "spending"...youre dropping it down a grid on those odds and the money is never enough.
Put the blocks on, tell people close and stop gambling now. The recovery is not about thoughts of saving more...it will take abstention and cold turkey for your mind to heal.
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
Thanks people for your thoughts...means a lot to know there's people out there who have been through something similar to what your going through. Nearly through my first day and even with plenty of football on I haven't missed the urge to place a bet...good start but I know there's going to be harder times ahead especially the weekend when I'm not at work but I'm determined to be a better person for it and get through this!