I didn't really know what to put for a thread title I suppose.
Here I am at 4:29am. I've been up for the past 4 hours or so and, considering what i've just done, i'm strangely calm about the whole situation. Maybe it's shock or denial, but i'm sitting here calmly working out how I can once again dig myself out of the very deep hole i've just thrown myself into again.
I got my Universal Credit payment about 4 hours ago and it's all gone. Quite literally all gone. I've got 41p in the bank to last me 34 days until the next payment.
I'm already in massive rent arrears due to Universal Credit and considering my past, and continued gambling, I'm in debt up to my eyeballs as well with four doorstep loans on the go (two with provident, two with morses clubs)
I'll be putting the last thing of value that I own on eBay later just to hopefully get enough money to possibly have £1 a day for the next 34 days and maybe cover my council tax and some token payments to the loan companies as well.
The rent is, in some respects, too far gone for me to be able to do anything about it, although I've applied for my local council's discretionary housing payment offer so that might hold them off a bit longer.
What makes this situation all the more .. frustrating I suppose, is that last year and early this year I went 6 months without gambling. Six whole months.
I can't remember how, or why, I relapsed but I did around March time and it's been getting progressively worse until earlier on this morning. It's a never ending cycle of having no money at all, getting some money and trying to gamble it up to get just a little bit extra for even the basics or essentials like toiletries and/or cleaning products and then losing it again and being right back to square one just fighting to survive.
But then about 3 weeks ago I was gambling again and had a very good run. I had, at one point, enough to put enough money towards the loans so that i'd have them all cleared within 3 months. I had enough to spend £100 on a cinema gift card for myself and i'd even had £100 left over just for money to enjoy myself.
I'd gotten myself into a very good position and was looking to start making inroads on the rent arrears from the end of July, so of course later than night I wanted to try for "just a little more" and lost it all.
And I hate this life. This constant struggle to stay afloat and hide everything. And I do have to hide it. I do. My elderly mother is in poor health and if I laid all of this on her and it subsequently caused any problems then I honestly don't know what I would do.
But it's just exhausting. Day after day after day just grinding out each day and fighting to survive - sometimes on a single packet of biscuits or a few sandwiches.
Which is why it's so weird that i'm currently still quite calm about the situation. This is easily the worst one yet. I've done it a couple of times when I was on ESA benefit but that was "easier" because I got paid fortnightly. This time, it's 34 days away and I have massive rent arrears, and i'm about to go into arrears with my doorstep loans as well so I imagine I should be freaking out.
Maybe it'll hit me later on, or maybe it's because I've already come to terms with the fact i'm selling this computer gadget i've got that will, if it sells for what I think it should sell for, give me enough to scrape through again.
I've tried the big ceremonial "right, this is the final day and my new life starts tomorrow" thing, and that's not made any difference. I've tried "just stopping" and that's not lasted either so I just don't know.
I need to stop and I want to stop because I just get so sick and tired of this constant struggle, but I can't seem to figure out how.
If you've made it this far, thanks for listening. It's helped getting it off my chest somewhat but I think I need to try and get some sleep now, if that's even going to be possible.
You are not alone in this battle. First of all, you need to join gamstop asap! It wont let you go on any online gambling sites. You also need to get help from someone close to you, someone you trust with you finances and let them take hold of them, just giving you enough to live on day by day.
This is going to be hard, but you can do it with support.
I'm only on day 11 myself, but I feel so much better.
Please get help asap. X
as Kell says above, you should really join gamstop! I joined in March and it really does work, I had a wobble last week and I couldn't log in anywhere!
Yes it's tough at times, it's an addiction, but I am so glad I did it!
with you current situation you need to speak to someone, maybe your landlord could make an arrangement with you, you could stick to if you join gamstop. Visit the CAB see if they can help, it's worth a go.
I have been in your position so many times over the years, but as I say GF since March. I now have days where I don't even think about it. But I know that when I do gamstop is in place to protect me.
hang on in there! Things can get better.
hey kell, thanks for the reply.
I don't really have anyone close to me around me who could help in that respect. I live on my own in one county and my mother lives about an hour way in another, along with my brother and father so the day to day practicalities of essentially administering, well, "me", I suppose, wouldn't really work I think.
i did tell one of the few friends i have about my problem a few years ago and basically had no real reaction, which still gets me to this day as i've known him for over 40 years. The last time it was ever mentioned, which was probably well over a year ago, he said "So, er, how's .. um. How's that situation going ?". I think a lot of it with him is that he doesn't really understand addiction so it's not something that he ever concerns himself with.
There's actually a reason I can't join gamstop as well, as absurd as that sounds and, to be fair, this is likely the reason I probably ended up relapsing back in march if i'm being brutally honest with myself.
I don't really want to get in to it in any kind of detail though as it's very specific to me and if anyone came across this then I could very well be identified.
What I can say though is that it's a "lifestyle" bet I placed with a bookmaker back in March that will pay out a fairly large sum of money (large to me anyway) in March 2020 should I achieve certain targets.
Now I fought for over a year to get this bet and it's currently the one thing that's actually getting me out of the house every day and if the bookmaker became aware of me having joined gamstop, it would be cancelled and I just can't face that happening.
I'm going to try and take some practical steps today at least by referring myself back for counselling. I've been to see a counsellor many times before and it's not worked, but I need to try again.
I'm also going to contact Stepchange for advice as well regarding everything. If i'm working with them, they might at least be some help in keeping the council at bay with regards to the rent.
Thanks for the reply Lyn, I was taking so long to write this post I didn't see it 🙂
My flat is a council flat so they're the ones who I have to deal with. They've told me in the past that there are around four of five different stages of enforcement when it comes to rent arrears so it's not like I'm going to be kicked out any time soon - they have to follow procedure so i'm going to have points where I can maybe come to some kind of agreement with them.
My addiction and obsessions was a form of escape from people life and situations when I was emotionally vulnerable.
I use to think that by getting easy money through Gambling I was feeling successful.
Each time I went to gambling I was giving up all faith and hope in myself.
By attending the recovery program in time I would start to feel and heal.
In other peoples therapies I would learn how to cope with people life and situations in a much healthier way.
The recovery program helped me understand what my emotional triggers were.
The recovery program helped me learn how to interact with people rather than react in unhealthy ways.
When I walked in to the recovery program I was emotionally traumatized, I did not know what I was thinking or what I was feeling.
Each time I went to gambling was a form of self abuse, working for days weeks months and giving all my money to a complete stranger.
Did I not value myself. Did I think I had no value.
At what time was I willing to say to myself that hurting myself is no longer acceptable.
The highs of my compulsive gambling were very heightened due to anticipation excitement the thought of risk taking fear and adrenaline.
When I went to the addictions and obsessions were a way of me escaping in my fears from people life and situations I could not cope with emotionally.
Guilt is self inflicted pain due to the fact I went against my own conscience and against spiritual values.
I could not love other people until I loved myself.
I could not respect other people until I respected myself.
When I walked in to recovery program I did not know how unhealthy I was.
Please keep going to meetings, you will benefit from it in so many ways.
Love and peace to every one.
Dave of Beckenham
I fully understand the dilemma i'm currently in with regards to this lifestyle bet, but the money isn't gone. The targets I have been set are very achievable with some focus and dedication and, as i've said, it's the only thing that's actually getting me out of the house and actually interested in life in general because I honestly feel i'd just curl up into a ball in a corner if i didn't have this.
Yes, it's the worst possible thing to be focused on as it stands and I truly, truly get that, but it's something rather than nothing.
I've always had a pretty chronic lack of self esteem, alongside the depression and anxiety, so, for me, changing my lifestyle for my health or the health benefits these changes would bring wasn't really an issue - it didn't bother me.
The friend I mentioned above asked me a few years back what i'd do if i ever had a health scare, or even a heart attack, and whether or not it would make me change my habits or try to improve my health and i said "probably not" and that was the absolute truth.
So that's why I have to hang on to this bet. As well as that, it's something that my family actually do know about so they're all behind me and want me to succeed which also helps with my motivation.
@gadaveuk thanks for the reply. once again i was taking so long with the other one 🙂
I don't go to meetings and probably won't because it's not something I could face. But what you say does ring true with me quite a lot. It's stuff i've talked over with various counsellors in the past. I did have one counsellor who i really did make some progress with and one of my biggest mistakes was ending the sessions with her.
She really did have me figured out and kept challenging me every time i saw her to do things and think about things and I do wish that i'd carried on with her as things might have gone down a different path.
I do know she works at the service i've referred myself to so I'm going to try and get to see her again hopefully.
ok, your post is tough to read, this will be hard ok.
i get the thing with the bet, can you not ask the online bookie if you exclude will the bet still stand and if it comes in you can still claim the bet? im sure thats ok to do in the rules? worth asking.
why dont you in the meantime exclude for 6 months? the account is only frozen and you could then log in to get any winnings then exclude for maximum 5 years?
you must stop gambling, its the only way to beat this, i kinda think i know the bet you have had .however you must not keep this as an excuse, the money is gone and its good you know you have to find a way to sort a payment plan out.
tough times but the absolute key to this and getting a better life is to neve be able to gamble again.
the choice is yours
Thank you for your response and your honesty.
Any thing you can do which is healthy for you is important to do.
Sadly healing and my recovery could not occur if I was not admitting my pains and my fears to myself.
Just for today I will not Gamble is a healthy boundary that means I no longer want to hurt myself any more.
Just for today I will not Gamble and will not smoke means I am exchanging another unhealthy habit, yet just for today I will means my dedication towards being more productive today.
My wording I used I have to indicated that my thinking was obsessive, I then worked out what were my needs, what were my wants, what were my goals, and writing them down and making my lists made me more accountable to myself.
I needed to abstain before my inner child had any chance of healing from the pains of my past.
Going to a counselor is a very healthy decision to make.
People have asked when do you know when you are ready for counselling.
I think it was for me when I was able to talk about any conscience memory of all memories with out any fear in me.
For me counselling was the time when deep seated emotional trauma came to surface and I started to cry when exposing the pains of my past.
There was one memory that was very painful, it was of a time when I was abandoned and sent on a train to a place where emotional pain and physical pains were very regular.
During this time of exposing myself fully other suppressed memories came out and I so traumatized that it took me over 11 days to process every emotion and feeling that came out.
During this healing time I felt very sluggish, I felt very disconnected, but after the 11 days I was very much more aware and had a much faster response time.
I often talk to my wife about dreams on first waking up and find it is helpful.
The healthy people in the recovery program would help me come out of myself, they would help me give therapies where I would expose more and more of myself.
People often ask me if I have not gambled in some time why go to meetings, the answer is that by mixing with like minded people who are seeking healthier lives we find out that we are being challenged in so many ways, our steel is being tested, things that use to make me respond in anger now make me laugh.
As we work on our recovery things will for sure happen that we once found were impossible are happening because our steel is being tested, our emotional vulnerability reduces, our emotional loneliness reduces and our fear of emotional intimacy reduces.
When I walked in to recovery program I did not know how unhealthy I was.
Please go to meetings, you will benefit from it in so many ways.
In time your fears will reduce and you will be able to be your self in so many ways.
As your fears reduce your trust will grow.
Love and peace to every one.
Dave of Beckenham
@holycrosser If the bookmakers get wind of any kind of self exclusion, the bet is gone. I suppose in some respects that's a good thing if they're being that hot on any kind of problematic gambling, although I appreciate that not all bookmakers and websites are the same.
I just can't have that though. I fought for a year to get that approved and I'm not giving it up that easily. Even now, some twelve hours on, I'm looking to it as extra motivation to keep getting out and keep doing what I need to do to complete it. It's better to do that than to be sitting indoors on my own reminding myself of what i've done and how my life is.
I've got an appoinment for a telephone assessment for counselling in about a week and a half and I had a near two hour phonecall with stepchange earlier on as well, so that's something.
I desperately want this to stop because I've honestly had enough.
I just need to hope that I can sell something in the next few days for food otherwise it's going to be a long month.
"It's better to do that than to be sitting indoors on my own reminding myself of what i've done and how my life is."
I hear your dilemma but you don't have to stay in not reaching your goals, reminding yourself of what you've done. Reach your health and lifestyle goals for you. Not for a bet. Cut your losses. Surely you want the lifestyle change for you and not just a bet?
What about changing bank to Monzo? Don't need good credit rating or anything to have an account with them. They can ban gambling transactions so even if you do keep your account open for the lifestyle bet then you can't load any money on with your bank card? Cut up the rest. No credit cards. It's great bank account for budgeting too.
Good luck regardless, I hope you can start to beat this addiction and reach your lifestyle goals- remember you can do this!
@foxcub I'd love to switch banks, but I can't because I don't own a passport or have a driving licence. My credit rating is terrible as it is, but without those two forms of ID I can't do anything about it and I don't think any of these new startup banks have implemented any other form of ID checking yet.
I can prove my identity about a dozen different ways but none of which would be acceptable.
I can certainly understand the approach of doing things "for you" and "for your health" but this never worked or never meant anything to me in the past and probably doesn't now because I don't really like myself all that much. Couple that with the chronic lack of self esteem that i've mentioned and you can probably see why I needed some form of motivation that wasn't exactly conventional.
I suppose, if you look at it objectively, that's probably a large part of the reason why i've never been able to fully stop gambling, because I can't do it "for me" because of how I feel about "me".
I suppose the one thing that makes it somewhat different is that my family are fully aware of this bet, so if i did win the money next year and then gambled it all away then i've got no real way of explaining that away so in that respect it's "safe" because explaining it away would force me to tell my family about this addiction and I just can't do that.
And don't get me wrong, again, I fully appreciate that this is a ridiculous situation to be in. I know i'm basically trying to stop gambling while still gambling and it's absurd and I know it's absurd but I can't do it any other way.
@aln Thanks for the reply. I do appreciate what you've said and I have no issue with harsh words when they're true - the harsher the better I suppose because I do need it.
I've had CBT multiple times in the past and it's never worked.
I think that, maybe, part of the problem with the CBT, the counselling and the various psychiatrists i've seen over the years is that i've lived on my own for well over 30 years and live a very insular life. I'm not really socialised in the "normal" way that I think you'd expect. Human interaction bothers me a great deal so I go out of my way to avoid it wherever possible. That's a large part of the reason I wouldn't go to a GA meeting.
Consequently I've become very detached from my emotions so the lies, the theft and everything else doesn't really register or mean anything. Everything becomes very black and white for me. Everything becomes a problem to solve rather than anything that causes any introspection and makes me look at the bigger picture.
The one constant, and this is the absolute honest truth, is that I don't want to gamble because I hate the life it's given me. I don't want to be constantly thinking how i'm going to find money to eat or whether or not i can survive the day on a packet of biscuits.
I'm committed to going back to counselling whatever happens though and, hopefully, if i can see the woman I was seeing before then I'm hopeful that we can actually make some progress.