This seemed to be a good idea at the time.
And now I don't know where to start.
Here goes -
I moved to the UK in 1994 and was introduced to Bingo by my mother-in-law.
It seemed as good as any other excuse to have a bit of time to myself. My marriage wasn't the greatest and at least if I went out with my mother-in-law, my now Ex husband could't start an inquisition about where I've been, who I've spoken to, had I been meeting with another man?!
The other leisure activities was going to the casino with my Ex and watch him play roulette. I used to hate gambling with a vengence, as my Dad was a compulsive gambler(still is, only now rather than play fruit machines, he's concentrating on winning the lottory) but watching my Ex soon changed my mind. He would give me a certain amount of money and told me to go and win on the fruit machine. Strange thing was back then, I usually did(win that is).
But as time went by there were evenings when I lost and although even back then I would have liked to put more money in, my Ex controlled the money and my life, it didn't seem a problem. I cetainly didn't see myself as a compulsive gambler.
After nearly 20 years of marriage, I finally had enough courage to leave him( and that in itself was difficult as he threatened me with all kinds of stuff)
So there I was, on my own, in my own place, working and responsible for only me.
FREEDOM AT LAST
It felt great. Very often, in the evenings after work I also felt lonely. My children divided their time between me and my Ex, so on the evenings I was alone, I decided to go to Bingo(no harm in that?!)
I was sooooooo wrong.
Soon I was getting bored in the long intervals and started playing the fruit machines there.
And then I thought, why waste money on such little payouts, I'll go over to the casino and try my luck there.
The rest as they say is history. I don't need to tell any of you how the story ends, as you all have been there yourself.
I tell you some more about my life when I next log on.
You all have a good day.
Thanks for the encouraging words.
I will carry on with my story, because there is so much of it.
There I was on my own. When I left my Ex in Nov 2002 I stayed with friends for 2 months before getting my own flat. I would visit the casino then, but only occasionally and with a pre-set budget.
While there, I decided to catch up with friends I hadn't been allowed to visit during my marriage(I kept in touch by phone and letters while the old man wasn't looking)
They were shocked at my revelations as they, like many others, assumed I was happy.
One of my friends, whom I have known since I was 16(we met in a youth exchange in Germany) asked if he could call every now and then to keep in touch.
To c*t a long story short, we are no longer just friends. 3 years ago Christmas we moved in together and we're still together.
Without my friend who has become my best friend amongst a lot of other things, I would probably be living in a shoe box now.
My friend worked away from home at the time and would go back to his home, which he shared with his sister, at the weekend. Then when our feelings for each other changed, he would stay one weekend with his sister and one weekend with me.
At one of those weekends I asked, if I could borrow £40 and he left his bank card and pin number with me. He said, he could use his credit card for the week.
It never occured to me until then, that I had a gambling problem.
Until then I thought of it as having a bit of fun, getting rid of boredom after work.
Only instead of ВЈ40, I took out £400 and put it all in the fruit machine at the casino in one night.
It would have been more, but fortunately, my friend has a daily limit of £400 on his card.
That scared me and I stayed away for 2 months.
I confessed to him the same night over the phone and we both thought it was a one-off glitch. God Bless the naive.(him and me)
After two months I made the mistake of thinking I could just go to the casino and spend £50 one night. I was on my own, couldn't sleep, was bored.
After that fateful night I was hooked and spend every possible moment at the casino. I told my friend about debts I had. They were credit cards I used when I was with my Ex and of course now I was on my own(gambling), I had trouble paying them off. My friend, being the gentleman he is, came to the rescue and gave me 2 cheques to bank to enable me to pay off my credit cards in total. As you may guess, that didn't happen. I paid of half on each credit card and then hit the casino and blew the other half over approx 3 months.
I leave it at that for now and add to this page next time I log on.
It feels good to write this down.
hi Charly, I can't believe you spent your mates money!!! In all honesty I would never contemplate doing anything so wrong - especially as they were good enough to lend you what you needed. Anyway, that said, we are all different - Obviously you were in the GRIP of the gambling demon. Have you sought professional help? Has your friend found out? What are your future plans?
In some ways you seem to be seeking some peace for the theft and bad actions that you did to your friend. This site will not exonerate your actions but it will offer you peace of a different kind. Here you will discover strategies to help overcome your addiction. You will need to be strong too and not kid yourself about the depth of your gambling habit. You were not made a thief or a bad friend but gambling has affected you and perhaps your personality to an extent that you allow yourself to do things you would never have done before you became a gambler. I have lied and not been proud of it - but I came to solve my problems.
Sorry to sound blunt.
I know you will sort it out - you owe it to yourself and the person you want to be. Cheers
Great you have started your diary and I have been catcing up with it today..
Hid a raw nerve with me, somthing I had blocked out..When I first hit the casinos over 14 years ago..I beg and I borrowed to get out of a hole..I got a friend (x - friend now) to take out a loan for £2000 as I Had run out of that option doing it my own name..I paid 1 mth payment, left my home town and moved away and declared myself bankrupt...It got me thinking tonight about what I did to him and I have never been in contact since..
Thank you so much for your honesty on your diary, its opened a couple of wounds for me and soemthing I can and will sort out..
So true how we don`t care when we are gambling we become the most selfish people there can be..In september this year I finally cracked just had enough, I gambled away the sofa money my hubby gave me to pay of in full..
Am so happy not to be in that place where we have no control over our actions, this has been a very good reminder of what the demons do to us..Thats not us now, then we had no control nit over money but feelings aswell..
Sorry for going on on your diary, its just thatI can relate to what has happened to you, I conveniently blocked that out, glad its in the open..Now I can deal with it
Lots Of Love
Rosy - I had professional help. I must add that my last bet was on Tuesday, 5th June 2007 and I have been going to G.A. since Sunday, 10th June 2007. I had counselling to deal with my guilt and all the other things I have put in that 'Pandorras box' in my head for so long.
JG - I have found peace through counselling, G.A. and through the friend I was telling you about. The same friend is now my fiance and we are planning to get married next year. A lot has changed since the things I have written about happened. I just wanted to start my diary at the beginning so you guys have a bit more of an inside and also for me to put things down in writing, so should there be any gambling thoughts, I can go back to this diary and read up on the stuff I used to do. And to show gamblers' flaws and what gamblers do to the ones they love, only while in the thick of things gamblers love gambling more.
Lucy - Don't apologise for posting on the diary pages. It is good to hear from others for me to put things in perspective and be able to move on in my recovery.
I'll carry on with my story:
I carried on gambling with any monies I had, I didn't pay my bills, I borrowed from friends and work colleagues. I would have borrowed from my family too, only they live in Germany, so thankfully that wasn't an option.
My friend and I became an item and life was brilliant. Knowing someone for over 20 years and then becoming close is fantastic.
We first started talking on the phone, about almost everything, then we spent a weekend together and things developed into more.
After having been in an abusive marriage, this guy seemed like someone God sent to rescue me - I do call him my guardian angel - for without him I would be nothing.
And still - knowing what a gem I have found, I still didn't admit I had a serious gambling problem. We even got engaged 20 April 2007.
And then came the fateful 5th June 2007.
Again, I had my now fiance's bank card and hit the casino. I left work at 4pm and drove straight there. By 6.30pm I thought I better get home before he gets in from work Only when I came home I noticed that the post was already on the dining table which meant my fiance had already been home, but had gone out again.
That made me panic(just thinking about this makes me feel sick even now - the things I put him through).
I assumed he had been sent his bank statement and found out about my taking money out of his account.
In my panic I jumped in the car and drove to the place by the water where I knew he would drive to, if he needed to think things through. And sure enough, there he was. That put me in utter despair. I raced back home, packed a few things, wrote a letter to my fiance to apologise and left my engagement ring there saying that I didn't deserve it and would he look out for the kids(grown-ups really at 18 and 20 yrs old) and did what gamblers do best - run and hide.
I stayed in my car that night. Unbeknown to me, my little family unit(my daughter, my son and my fiance) was worried sick and was searching for me. When I went to work the next morning, my daughter phoned and all she said was - I'm glad you are safe.
Round about midday I received another phone call - from my partner.
He said" Are you going to talk to me now. I can't, I said, I'm at work. To which he replied - "You either come down here and talk or I come up to your office and we talk there, it's your choice"
He had taken the day off and wasn't going anywhere until we talked.
I must say that was the best thing he could have done. We walked around and talked and talked and talked and the two things that made me take note and made me want to really change and stop gambling were "my parents would be turning in their grave if they knew how we are gambling away their hard earned money"
He had put the money from his inherited half of his and his sister's house into the house we bought.
(I met his Mom when I stayed with them when I was 18 and she was the most wonderful Lady you'll ever meet)
But what got me far more was when he said 'we'
I mean, I'm the one with the problem, I'm the one gambling not 'we or us'
He then asked for me to come home after work and we would sort things out. He said he would always be my friend, he just didn't know at that point if he could stay and be more.
I went home, we talked, all of us. I found out about the frantic search for me and realised what a wonderful family I have. I had put them through hell the night I stayed away. I must add and I will talk about this another time, that my beloved brother, the children's beloved uncle, committed suicide 22. October 2000 so now you understand how frantic they were.
Through his works I was able to receive counselling from BUPA. He decided we would have separate bedrooms for a while and see how it goes and how serious I was about stopping gambling and how serious I was about saving my family.
On the 9th June(Saturday) we drove to every casino and Bingo Hall I have ever visited and I self excluded myself from them all. My fiance came with me because I needed to show him I was serious and he needed to see. Partners need to see your effords to be able for trust to slowly be rebuilt.
And then on Sunday, 10th June I walked into my first G.A meeting and haven't looked back.Well, I do look back and think about all the things I have put my loved ones through and the guilt in overwhelming at times, but I have learned to talk as I go along and it makes life livalble again.
My partner goes to Gam Anon once a month and that was an eye opener for him and for me. I'll leave that for another day.
'Just for today I will not gamble'
A fantastic story, so many similarities to my own. Think a lot of people here will also be able to find or take away bits that remind them of their own gambling life.
A huge well done on being gambling free for such a long time. I'm sure you feel you have come a long way in this time. I'm glad you have been able to put your story into words, it is always good to get things out, and it also acts as a good reminder of how far forward you have moved in your life.
My sister took her own life just over a year ago, so know how hard things can be, and knowing that there will always be unanswered questions. I will be very interested to hear your future post on this, should you feel like going into in more detail.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, all the best with your ongoing recovery...
Thanks for all your comments.
Actually I don't feel I have come that far in my recovery. I have stopped gambling. That's it.
There's a lot of work to be done yet.
I go to G.A. every Sunday because the room gives me stability and routine. Hearing people talk about their way of dealing with the gambling addiction helps. But more imortantly, dealing with the way I feel about all the things I have or haven't done while I was gambling, that is something which will take time to sort through, deal and come to terms with.
Writing some of the errors of my life down opened up my 'Pandorras box' again. I had a sleepless night last night, being revisited by the demons of my life. But that's a good thing. Because, should I ever forget then the gambling demon has a much higher chance to return. And I can't let that happen, so I must stay alert and live with my past.
Every evening I look back at the day and find something positive. Even if I had the most horrible day. There is always something that was good.
'Today I will not gamble'
I just read your diary and its a touching tale. I just wasnted to pop in and say thnks as it is a great reminder of how things could end up. It sounds like you a very lucky to have your man and I wish you all happiness. I have been through a bit with my partner recently but shes still being supportive. It makes me feel even more for thoe who have lost good relationships or dont have that support.
all the best cbd
Hi Charly, can so relate to your posts, i guess its the GA connection in a way and how we do things. Our lives have just begun as you say and the hard work is still to do. Its not just about stopping, its about changing us as a person and the way we do things.
The recovery program is there for us to rebuild our lives, one day at a time.
You are so on the program and the strength shines through. It has got you into such a good place, something to build on as you take it forward.
Thanks for being here, it certainly helps me.