While in prison due to my gambling I wrote a story. It isn't to long because I didn't have a lot of scrap paper, but after coming out of prison I typed it up. I didn't have any intention of sharing it. I wrote it for myself to help me look back at what gambling had done to me and my life and that really helped get me on the road to recovery. Please feel free to have a read below:
For the last 8 years of my life I have suffered with a serious gambling addiction. It started when I was just 19 at University. I was so excited to go to University and for me it was the start of a new chapter in my life, the start of an exciting future. I went to University to study Sport and exercise Science so that I could follow the dream of becoming a teacher one day. While at University I made the fatal mistake of one day going to a casino with some friends that I had made at University, it was just a social thing with friends with no bad intentions, however what was to follow from this day I could have never predicted and if I could have changed that day I would have. I can Picture the scene in my head now, in the casino flashing lights everywhere, pound signs everywhere, there was a feeling of excitement amongst me and my friends, the thought of winning some money. Unfortunately that day I did win and without evening knowing it myself I had fallen in to a dark and dangerous trap, by winning I thought wow what an easy way to win money and being a student the thought of earning some easy money felt to good to be true and sadly that’s what it was.
Skip a few months later and I had joined multiple sports betting sites, betting on multiple sports every day, throwing away my student loan, lying to my parents and eventually dropping out of university, not just the one but twice, I was given a chance to start university again, start my life for real but then no the same thing happened, the worst part about this time was the fact that I had always felt lonely and like I was never very popular or liked by many which I believe to be a contribution to my gambling but we will go in to that later. Anyway, back to where I was, this time I really did have the chance for a perfect fresh start. I lied to my family and myself, convinced myself I was no longer a gambler and there I was, I’m about 20, it’s the summer holidays and in September I am starting University again, my second chance and this time as I was saying I had it all, I no longer even felt lonely, that summer I started talking to a girl named Lauren online and coincidently she lived down the road from my University and was also starting University in September at the same university, she was the most beautiful girl that I had set eye on, I remember staring at her profile photos and thinking that she couldn’t possibly be real and that someone like me doesn’t get someone like her, with every message she sent me I remember this feeling of butterflies that I got, something that I had never felt before, anyway I won’t bore you with all the details but I eventually met her, and she was real, it was perfect and I genuinely believe it was love at first site, the first and last time that I have ever felt like that, I remember imagining a future with her, kids the lot. Anyway, cutting to the chase a few months later I am still gambling again, even there the happiest guy ever with this amazing girl and yet instead of spending time with her I’d be spending more time in the toilet on my phone gambling. I remember always being so miserable around her, always wanting to drink after the stress of a big loss, cheating on her, being so disloyal with constant lies and all of this because of my gambling, eventually through my behaviour I ruined her, turned her in to a psycho with no trust what so ever, to the point where my parents even hated her but this was only because of who I made her, she was unrecognisable from the girl I first met and fell for.
Anyway, a few years later and that’s over after me cheating multiple times, my gambling turning me so miserable and boring all the time and so on. I am now 21 and the relationship has just ended, I am no longer at University, again I have lied to my parents multiple times and let them down which is the worst thing about this because the gave me the best childhood ever and best present and future, I know everyone says it but I do believe that I have the best parents in the world. Having just turned 21 and just broken up with Lauren I remember once again ruining another shot at my dream due to gambling, who would have thought that I’d have another at life but I did, I had just got a job as a teaching assistant, I remember being so excited and telling myself that’s it now no more gambling and I am lucky that the hole isn’t too deep and that I can start life again, but now déjà vu and here I am no job anymore after less than a year, my mind to focused on gambling not wanting to get out of bed and go to work, to depressed through losing, only ever wanting to do something if I won.
Anyway, by this point I have now lied to my parents even more, constantly giving them false promises that I have changed, lying multiple times about having jobs, using money from my grans will to gamble. Once again that dreaded scared, anxiousness of getting home to mum knowing she knows, the worst feeling ever, but yet it just kept happening. There I am stood in front of my mum many times both in tears, mum screaming at me, me devastated that I could hurt my mum so much and yet I still continued to do it. However, this was the last straw, I couldn’t do this anymore, I couldn’t hurt my family anymore, I love them so much.
By this point you would be stupid to think surely I have stopped now, however I can tell you again I have been given another chance at life, I have a job and one I stuck with, working as a supervisor in a souvenir shop, it wasn’t the best job but I was relatively happy, I was a job, the money was okay and most importantly for the first time in a while I felt like I had friends and got on well with my work colleagues and we had a laugh, which was something that I had forgotten to do. I had also got talking to my old school friends again, people who I’d lost contact with when I’d gone to university and met Lauren, so life was relatively good at this point, the perfect chance to start fresh, but no I still kept gambling and it was getting worst, I remember I would get paid in cash every Saturday and straight away I would pay my wages in to the bank on my lunch, deposit it in to my sports betting account and then I would be in the stock room hiding behind cardboard boxes following the events that I had just betted on on my phone, I remember most of the times I would have lost all of my wages before my shift was even over, I remember that feeling from being happy and excited to suddenly feeling sick I even remember I would punch boxes in the stock room to get my anger out it was that or cry. Anyway, I eventually left there for a personal trainer apprenticeship, it didn’t last long due to the company going bust but it was the same wages straight to the bank then betted.
Skip ahead now because I am about to go on to my last piece of paper as I sit here writing this in my prison cell, yes that’s right, no surprise there, my prison cell.
Anyway, I am now about to start work at DHL another opportunity to turn my life around, some people only get second chances. I however have had many thanks to my parents, who yes I agree I don’t deserve, but yes I have now taken out multiple payday loans and guarantor loans, parents having bailed me out after again promises that now I have this new job and chance that if my debts where clear I could start again and this time I even believed it myself, still at this point I stupidly thought I could just stop, but no every day hurting my family and letting them down. I remember every time I would lose, I felt so angry and my parents would get the brunt of that. I remember every day after work I would lock myself in my room and gamble, how I kept my job for so long I don’t know because each day I woke up so depressed not wanting to go to work after a big loss but some how kept forcing myself. Lets jump ahead before I run out of paper, I am 27 and I have never felt so sad and lonely, I lock myself away every evening after work, I don’t talk to my parents, I am like a zombie the loving, caring, fun guy I used to be is long gone. I have become a monster, I have hurt and lied to multiple women, my behaviour has been disgusting, not just the girls I have lied to, to finance my gambling that I have hurt so bad, making them think I like them but also the multiple girls I would meet each weekend and be such a weird creep to, I look back now and feel sick, how could I let an addiction/illness do this to me and transform me in to such a monster, someone that if I heard about on the news I would say deserves to rot in h**l. At this point I have never felt so lonely, I have destroyed my family multiple times, I have no idea how I still have their support, I am so lucky, I have also lost my brother, my brother who I have always been so jealous of, always wishing that I could be like him, wishing we could be mates, I remember when he was younger, I looked at him like a best mate, I was so proud to have an amazing and cute little brother (even if he was ginger) and I was always so excited for when he became 18, I remember when I was excited about 18 myself thinking I cant wait until Kits that ages to go out for our first pint on his 18th birthday, however that day never came. Still longing to be his best mate but that’s because of the pain I have caused him through his time, through my selfish acts and destroying my family and all of these girls lives I still ask myself as I write this how did I let myself become this person. Anyway, short on paper so let’s get to the now. I have hit rock bottom. I am so lonely, in my head telling myself that I have no future, to me I will always be this monster, gambling is my life, there is no end, already I have been charged with fraud and now have another court date and knowing I am going to prison I cant take this life anymore every night le in bed crying my eyes out writing in my head my last note to my parents and my sister and brother, my sister who I haven’t had a chance to mention but like my family, mum and dad she has been amazing, always so caring and there for me. Anyway, one night in fact I know the exact night, it was Monday 29th April 2019, I wrote that last note, crying my eyes out ready to end things having googled multiple ways to commit suicide, but then I stopped. I thought about my parents and my family and how much I love them and at that point I knew I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t be so selfish, I love my parents so much, they are the most amazing ever, I cant because for me even forever with my crazy but perfect family isn’t long enough! Anyway, here I am now on this day Friday 7th June 2019, I have been in prison for just over a month and I am the happiest most confident, most positive person in the world, with the help of an amazing book that I took out of the prison library to do with over coming gambling, as well as a course that I have done since being here that person in this short story is long gone and so far in the past already. I am writing this today because for the first time (which people will find crazy, having had no professional help) I believe I am no longer addicted, f course it will be harder on the outside, but i believe thanks to prison and everything I have done here and being abstinence from gambling for a month that I have finally won. I am the winner; I have beaten this. Prison is the best thing that’s happened to me, it saved my life, my family and I can’t wait to prove all of this to everyone who doubts me which I understand. I am also so excited for my future, I am dreaming and believing again. I believe I will have a dream job as a support worker thanks to prison. I believe I will find that ONE amazing woman and I finally even now want a family and kids, I am writing this now because a month ago I didn’t think I would be here to tell this story and wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for my family. Not everyone will be as lucky as me and so I want to get through to others before its to late. I was told by the police officer that arrested me that my gambling addiction was the worst that she had ever seen. If I can beat this then I promise anyone can.
The book that I read while in prison was called overcoming gambling by Philip Mawer. I've checked and its in quite a few shops online including amazon and on amazon kindles etc. The book really helped me to get on the road to recovery, took it out at the library in prison and it worked miracles for me. Highly recommend it. I also got my mum to read it which helped her to understand more about my addiction as well so a really good read for friends and family also.