I am a compulsive gambler. I know this, even though I struggle to accept it. Like many people I started out just betting what I could afford. I bet on sports, I wasn't one for casinos or cards. I gambled for a number of years and in that time I built up a lot of debt and I was dishonest with a lot of people. I was found out last year. My world was turned upside down. I had to come clean to friends and family and it was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I had to put a plan in place to pay people back. I started GA and counselling. I stopped gambling. However, this year after doing a lot of hard work I started to slip back into my old habits. I found myself on gambling sites again just browsing and found an old account I previously used and I noticed that I had a free bet sitting there. After much deliberation I used this free bet to wager on a football match. I felt bad but I consoled myself in the thought of "well at least I haven't spent money on gambling" and "it's not really gambling if I am not spending any of MY money on it". The bet won and I had some money in the account now. This trend continued on for awhile, me putting on bets with "free money". I would log into the account every few days and put a very small bet on something, again using the money from the initial free bet. The account I was using wasn't even in my name, so I knew that any winnings that I might eventually accrue, I could never withdraw it. I was just seeing how I would fare. Setting myself a target to achieve. Again this consoled me in that what I was doing could never "really" hurt anyone. I likened it to someone addicted to smoking, now using a vape machine. Or a previous alcoholic now having 1 unit of beer a week. I thought, or probably more correctly, I "convinced" myself that this was OK. I still had not spent a cent of my own money on gambling and in the interim I had reconciled with friends and family, improved my work output and paid back a huge chunk of the money that I owed. However, very recently I have been feeling guilty. The outside world is giving me a lot of pats on the back as on the surface it seems I have corrected most, if not all, of my behaviour. I started to analyse my actions from other people's points of view, would my parents approve of what I was doing if I told them? How about my friends or my partner? In my head I have 100% told myself that I will never, ever let my gambling get as bad as it was in the height of my addiction. I know that this is true. Whatever actions or catastrophe befalls me I will never go back there. I thought of this as a fair trade off. Testing myself against the bookies with not my own money, but a very small amount of free money. But as I say, when I start to analyse it again, I am gambling. And probably most worrying is that I am gambling not for money, but just for the gambling. I feel the need to be right, to have my opinion vindicated. To say that "aha I knew that was the wrong price" or "I really fancied so and so". I just wanted to share this with everyone and get their opinion.
@happy123 Congrats on all your progress but please, please be careful.
You know as well as I do you're on Slippery slop.
It's like an ex smoker taking one drag at the weekend. Even if it's only one drag it will eventually end up in a full cigarette and so on.
You've done so well. Do yourself the ultimate favor and self exclude from any site you're on and unsubscribe from any marketing emails they're sending.
I honestly think you're playing with fire. I just hope I'm wrong.
Hi Happy123 and Welcome to the forum.
I will just cover a few interesting points you have raised.
Gambling is a drug addition and nothing the gambling dens seem to give you is really free. You know this and they have deviously calculated that it keeps people hooked and reaps rewards for them. A free gift is something nice and wholesome you feel proud of owning. Even money out is stained with other punters sweat and tears so the gambling dens are not really into free gifts. Do you think they are risking their food money?....all the risk is with you!!...they have a huge hedge fund carefully calculated to make a profit
Once the addiction is in your bones you have no control over it so trying to set a limit is delusional...any whim, trance or chasing behaviour will keep you gambling to extinction. Just because you walk away one time (say a family member is outside and it burst your bubble) doesnt mean you have any control over it.
Oh it cant hurt is a delusion we all suffered from. Gambling is an activity which creates addicts fast. The addiction controlled me for forty years and it was actually killing me. I was a drug addict for gambling for forty years.
Focus on dropping money down a grid in front of your kids or other family. Yes they would cry and be very shocked. Thats what you are doing so it always hurts somebody and even your stress will hurt your family
We know its wrong behaviour which is why it becomes secretive. I was never proud of it and its a devil may care naughty attitude giving us a drug fix. Yes life can seem hum drum at times and gambling is a powerful escape drug fix we become hooked on.
I hope you have told your family because abstention is the only way.
Youve made a good start...you are a compulsive gambler and you need to stand infront of your loved ones and say that. Truth and honesty are your saviours and then you can reach out for the help you need
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
What would your GA group say? Without knowing you or your gambling history, just ask yourself if your behaviour has changed since this restarted?
If you're looking for the one person on here who will say it's okay just to give you the peace of mind that it's okay I think you're wasting your time. If you carry on you will end up using your own money and then he rest of what problem gambling is will follow.
Just remind yourself why you went to GA in the first place and close the account and stick on Gamstop or carry on testing yourself. One way will work, one way will destroy you. Your choice.
Thank you Amzer, Joydivider and Chris UK for your very honest responses. The points you made and some self reflection allowed me to arrive at the obvious conclusion that I was being completely delusional with my behaviour. Why risk it all for a few free bets, it actually pointed out to me that I am probably more addicted than I first feared. I suspended the accounts, confessed my transgressions in my GA meeting and am back working hard on my recovery again. Thank you for your time and support and I wish everyone well on the forum.
I am now on my 7th day without gambling! I thought things may have started to become easier at this stage but I find myself still fighting the same battle again, this post is just purely for some advice on how to overcome these urges. The last time I gambled I lost life changing money and the feeling of devastation is like a dark cloud Hanging over my head. From the moment I wake up till the time I go to sleep all I can think about is how irresponsible I have been and how I can get back what I worked so hard for but yet threw away in a just few hours. I feel like it this thought isn’t helping my progress but yet It won’t go away. I now have taken steps With Gamstop so that I am unable to gamble again in the UK But I still feel like an addict and gambling has occupied a large percentage of my brain. If anyone knows of any method I can use to overcome this feeling then I look forward to hearing it. I’ve tried occupying my mind with other things, exercising, talking to people, but none of these tactics are working. They may bring the sun out for the first hour or so but then the cloud returns. I apologise for posting this as I know it is a projection of my negative thought pattern but I need help in the form of good advice.
Hi consumed. Don't apologise that's what this forum is for to express your feelings both good and bad. Also it's for support and for others like us to give opinions and advice if it's appropriate. I'm day 18 today the thoughts and urges have started to lessen, I also found the first week hard. You are being hard on yourself give it time. You seem to have a relapse hanging over your head ?? Don't do it you will go through the self hate all over again the stomach churning, sweats, racing heart !! Are you having the counselling to talk it through? I wish I could save a magic wand for you but unfortunately for me it's been gritting my teeth and I'm telling you the truth when I say that this last week or so thoughts are less and easier to shake off. Best wishes
Thanks for your reply, reading other people’s comments does actually help. They make me feel more positive about my situation. I can look forward to knowing that I’m just getting over my hardest steps and in week one and things will look up as time progresses. I never want to feel the feeling you described so accurately ever again