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HABITUAL LOSERS DIARY  

 
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Wow,

Almost 12 months & finally sussed out you click on Recovery Diaries rather than Overcoming Gambling Problems. Well day 1, the age one left school was 15 in my day. Work ethics, i was one of 6  kids and from the day i was legally old enough i had a job. Aged 13 i was up 4 to 5 hours before most kids got up for school either delivering milk or newspapers to someones door. Never thought as one of six kids brought up by a single mum i was badly done to. I understood no other way.

I came from a family of 6 children brought up by a single parent who couldn't give us everything we wanted but always gave us everything we needed & instilled in all of us what was right & what was wrong. However no sooner had we left school we soon learned we had to go out into the big world & earn our keep. I still remember my 1st real day at work & my mother standing at the bus stop on her way to her job too & straightening my tie brushing off dog hairs off my brand new suit ( which i'm sure was bought on credit) and hearing 2 girls giggling behind me thinking " what a mammy's boy.

I didn't really care as this was my turn in life & THE WORLD WAS MY OYSTER.  It wasn't just good to be earning money, but being a Man an ADULT able to make his own decisions in life was like an aphrodisiac to me. Workmates ( of all ages ) & being able to have a pint with my dad in the local working mens club made me feel like a real man. That's where the downward spiral all started. Right next to the club was a bookies and my dad had tried to get me to follow him home, but i had now became A REAL MAN, AN ADULT CAPABLE OF MAKING HIS OWN DECISIONS,  and so i started my journey of hell. Not just mine but everyone else i infected too.

In hindsight you know when you're at work & yet your thoughts are in a betting shop, you're on the road to hell. Younger CGs please try & understand what it was like in those days. No live pictures, 1 speaker on the wall giving a commentary 10 seconds at least behind what was happening in real time & FOBTs hadn't been invented let alone internet betting.

Most would think of filthy dingy bookmakers as a rather dull place with a printed list of runners and a board marker updating prices in black & white felt tip marker p**s & the awful smell of stale beer & cigarette smoke but even then i KNEW this was where i belonged, yet oblivious to the fact that this was to become not just my destiny but the beginning of my journey to hell, not just for me but for so many others.

Maybe i'm not doing things quite right or perhaps different to the way many others do it on here, describing one day at a time. This isn't about wallowing in self pity or thinking POOR ME  but hopefully getting just ONE  person to listen & understand where i started, what became of me and the inevitable consequences.

Each day i want to share my experience, learn from others & try hard to be better whilst giving a true insight into addiction & what it can do to someone. Far too long a story to write in one night  but worse than that far too much pain & depressing reading to expect anyone to digest in one night. I'll continue to write ONE DAY AT A TIME.

 

Stay Strong

 

AL

This topic was modified 4 months ago by slowlearner
Quote
Posted : 5th August 2019 11:57 pm
SB28
 SB28
(@sb28)

Hi Al,

 

Thank you for sharing your story...truly honest account written above.

 

A year g free is truly lovely achievement and you should be very proud! Please...don't leave place for complacency..it can come any time when we are least expecting it.

 

Celebrate your new found life every day, you're so worth it and worked really hard to get there!

 

Now...maybe on this amazing occasion...a 🌹🥀🌺🌻🌷..Will see their way to the missus?...just an idea...you know me and flora 🤗..

 

Take care, keep winning for real and be very proud!

 

S&B xx

ReplyQuote
Posted : 6th August 2019 8:32 pm
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Hi San, 

What a breath of fresh air, you taking the time to post despite your own struggles. Maybe it won't be good for you reading about me & the awful journey my addiction took me on. Yet in the same breath i think of you & those struggles & horrible Saturday afternoons in the early days when racing & football were so tough to get through. I'd always log on and there were you waiting to give me a thousand reasons why i shouldn't go back to that life. I know i upset you when i described wanting to kill my 2 grandsons as they bickered & fought before the school gates opened. It was a figure of speech only San ( the fault was on my part for not choosing my words more wisely ) but trust me San i love them both dearly no matter how much they test my patience.

I've been reading your diaries for a long time, the ups & downs, feeling positive & so much better then that awful feeling of being in a passenger jet that's about to crash to the ground. There ain't anything about this journey that's easy & history has a habit of returning & biting us on the a**e as soon as we dare to feel comfortable & get complacent.

I wish i had a miracle cure, or knew all the answers but reality tells me i'm 64 and for 3/4s  of my life i've hurt & let so many people down whilst being hopelessly addicted to gambling. If i give up the struggle what have i got left ?. A funeral & people saying HE WAS NO GOOD AND WOULD PUT HIS SHIRT ON A HORSE or perhaps at least one family member able to say AND MEANING IT  towards the end he wasn't a bad dad & grandfather & tried hard to be better towards the last part of his life. I'm guessing but suspect you're younger than me & all the more reasons to not concentrate what gambling has taken from you, but what you can give back. Your parents & sister sound like wonderful caring people so get your head down, grit your teeth & tell yourself I'm gonna give something back.We all write our own histories.

 

Kindest Regards 

 

AL

This post was modified 4 months ago by slowlearner
ReplyQuote
Posted : 6th August 2019 11:35 pm
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

1979 aged 24 i was manager of a large furniture store having been promoted for being best salesman for 3 years running. Wow keys to the kingdom, no longer having to ask a boss if i could nip out for 5 minutes but having a free hand to to and fro as i pleased and spend a large part of my working day in the bookies. The usual story losing, but always convinced the BIG WIN was coming any day soon. Then after several losing days i had the perfect solution. An odds on certainty that couldn't get beat at odds of 4/9 so i helped myself to a grand of my employers money & stuck it on my nap of the day.

To many younger folks on here a £1000 may not seem that much money, but to put it in perspective i was on about £90 a week ( decent money in those days ) and i'd recently bought my first house for £12950. The first bookmaker i tried would only accept £400 on the horse so my stake was spread between 3 different bookmakers. All was going well until the 2nd last hurdle & the horse fell. Needless to say auditors paid my branch a visit & all was revealed. I was suspended and then 2 coppers knocked on my door resulting in prosecution.

I did try but didn't have the decency or the courage to warn my family & the first they knew about it was when they picked up the local newspaper & saw my name with a headline reading MANAGER STOLE FROM EMPLOYER. I was one of 6 children brought up by my mother and out of all of us i was the only one who'd ever been in police custody or had any trouble with the law. My elder brother was an accountant for a large PLC, my elder sister was chief cashier in a bank and my younger brother had a career locking up criminals as a prison officer. My mother was heart broken when she heard what i'd done.

Did i think my gambling was a problem ?. Honestly no i didn't even consider it. The courts gave me 120 hours of community service and i was now jobless which resulted in me eventually going from homeowner to tenant as i couldn't pay the mortgage. I eventually found employment on and off as a building labourer & dead end factory jobs. I even tried to become a taxi driver but the local authority refused me a license because of my criminal record, however the licensing officer gave me some good advice when he told me to stay out of trouble & re-apply in 6 months. As good as his word 6 months later he granted me my license.

Driving taxis is probably the worst job in the world for most people i've lost count over the years how many times i've had to clean puke up off some drunk who didn't even have the decency to apologise & didn't even want to pay for the journey home. But for a CG it was perfect,a constant flow of cash & no having to wait till the end of the week or month for pay day. Every day was pay day. You worked did a few runs then in the bookies. Some days i worked 16 hours, the first 8 to gamble & the 2nd eight to take some money home just to prove you'd been to work.

I did this for over 20 years & engaged in every form of gambling from live sport to casinos. Although i didn't mind visiting casinos with my colleagues i can honestly say although i would get caught up in the moment i was never addicted to black jack, roulette or slots. Live sport, horses, football, tennis rugby were always my forte. Once i changed my career for a normal hours job i never set foot in a casino again or visited online casinos.

As we had children later on in life i found work as a debt collector mainly specialising in rent & council tax arrears. As my kids grew up i was the dad who was never there for school open days or to see my son score his first goal for the school team. I always had some excuse to be absent standing in some bookies shop gambling what i'd earned & totally detached from family life & my responsibilities as a husband and father. There's so much more to tell & so i'll continue soon.

 

Stay Strong

 

AL

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31st August 2019 2:07 am
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Hi Smartie,

Thanks for your reply it was much appreciated. If my story helps others that can only be good for me it's all about reminding myself of how embroiled & entangled in the chase & such terrible pain i inflicted on others. I brought shame & pain to so many innocent victims. The days of cash betting were bad enough but once i discovered online betting things got so much worse. More than anything in this world i want just one young person to read my story & not be naive enough to think " THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ME ". I came from a decent family & although we didn't have much money we were always taught right from wrong and to value & respect others. Once you become addicted all those things are forgotten and it destroys all of the good in us. Every day i thank god none of my children are gamblers.

Stay Strong

 

AL

ReplyQuote
Posted : 31st August 2019 11:47 am
KS2
 KS2
(@ks2)

400 days !

How time flies.

I trust you realise that not only should your recovery be a great source of pride to yourself and your family but it has inspired others on the forum as well. In the nicest way possible, I hope those grand kids are exhausting you.

Hope you are okay AL and the doctors appointment didn't throw up any bad news.

Stay strong my friend and always keep an eye out for any complacency.

 

K2

ReplyQuote
Posted : 13th September 2019 4:35 pm
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Hi Ken, 

Good to hear from you as always. My daughter took kids to Turkey for a week last Saturday so instead of children keeping me busy it's her 2 golden retrievers i'm looking after as well as my old jack russell. Been to doctor's and he's referred me to the memory clinic, so just waiting for hospital appointment arriving.

My daughter's been ribbing me about it ( not in a bad way just in fun ) but she won't be laughing at xmas when there are no eggs under the bonfire lol. Over 400 days & still telling myself Just For Today everyday. My counsellor contacted me recently and asked me if i would attend an event in October whereby experts in the treatment of compulsive gambling ask you various questions about the addiction from the start to the present. She told me these people can possibly improve the way they treat addiction by studying people like me. My counsellor is also starting a support group ( i suppose a bit like AA where addicts talk about their addiction ). Anyway i've volunteered for both so i'll keep you posted. Given the help & support i've had i'd like to think it's giving something back and that's the least i can do.

It's taken a long time but i can honestly say i don't miss gambling now. I'm honestly not bothered watching horse racing or football results. Although i don't particularly like myself i've given up on hating myself and i'm trying harder to contribute to family life and slowly reconnecting to the outside world. I had an amazing chat with my son last weekend on the phone whilst my wife was out. I told him how sorry i was for the sins of the past and letting him down as a dad over the years. I also told him how long i'd been clean & volunteering for this upcoming study in October. He told me how enormously proud of me he was not just for not gambling but freely letting these professionals talking to me in order to help others.

He's a wonderful boy Ken, he teaches maths in a school for kids that have been expelled from mainstream school for both behavioural & emotional problems. When he talks about getting them qualifications & helping them turn their lives around you can feel the passion & belief in him. I'm so proud of all he's done with his life despite having a father like me. But that was then and this is now. 

I can't change my past but i can change the future and i'm determined not to miss out on my grandchildrens progression from school to their careers. I could go on forever about how much i've lost & how many people i've hurt but i now know that in order to be better i need to stop hating & punishing myself.

Thanks again for posting Ken you've been a source of inspiration & strength for me since you first posted. I know sometimes it feels like we're moving forward when we look at the debt & wanting it to reduce quicker but it will and life will get better everyday if we start the day thinking Just For Today. Please keep posting old friend.

 

Sincere Best Wishes

 

AL

This post was modified 2 months ago by slowlearner
ReplyQuote
Posted : 17th September 2019 7:46 pm
Sarahs16
(@sarahs16)

Hi al,

im so sorry you have been worried! That was never my intention! I do hope this is your diary thread as I can’t seem to navigate this site these days. 

So to bring you up to speed - new job is going well, my relationship with my brother is growing daily (can’t believe it’s nearly a year since I nearly gave up on everything)

i did have a rough time at the beginning of summer but I’ve put that to bed now too. 

I hope you, your wife and your grandchildren are ok. 

Love and best wishes,

 

sarah xx

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30th September 2019 7:20 am
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Wow Sarah,

You've made my day getting in touch, I've been struggling with health issues recently but the fact you've got back in touch has given me such a lift. When you say you had a rough time at the beginning of the summer do you mean you had a relapse ?. I'm so glad the relationship with your brother is improving that's a good reason to stay away from gambling. I'm convinced i couldn't have stopped without the wonderful support i've had both here & other partners such as counselling services.

I hope family relationships and your happiness continue to improve, and if you can't post as much or don't have the time to pop into the chatroom remember there's the helpline on here where you can talk to someone if ever you get tempted to give in to the addiction. Thank you so much for posting, i'm sure i'm not the only one on here that miss you and the support you gave to us whilst fighting your own demons. Please stay in touch.

 

Sincere Best Wishes

 

AL

ReplyQuote
Posted : 30th September 2019 10:10 am
KS2
 KS2
(@ks2)
Posted by: slowlearner

 

Thanks again for posting Ken you've been a source of inspiration & strength for me since you first posted. I know sometimes it feels like we're moving forward when we look at the debt & wanting it to reduce quicker but it will and life will get better everyday if we start the day thinking Just For Today. Please keep posting old friend.

 

Sincere Best Wishes

 

AL

Hi Al,

Sorry its been so long since I replied. Hope you are well - have you had your appointment to the memory clinic yet ?

Don't know whats been the matter with me recently. Keeping stopped is the easy bit really, helped by self exclusions and access to funds.

However, just struggle with motivation in the rest of my life at the moment. I find I'm procrastinating and wasting time on utter trivia. Struggle to make decisions. Maybe I've always been like this and just used gambling to fill time and as escapism.

I "lurk" on the forums sometimes but don't post much these days.

I do know this. I was blessed to join at a time when yourself, ALN and Signalman all started roughly within a month of each other. It was a massive help. I felt slightly bereft when ALN left and Signalman stopped posting for a while.

We had all clearly 'been round the block' on the gambling front and I don't think anyone one of us was just looking for a temporary halt on things, but actively wanted to make a permanent change.

The debt hangover gets me down - although I know it really shouldn't as I just need to accept it.

Got my daughter hopefully going to University next year so its going to be really slow on the debt front for the next 4 years. Keep chipping away I guess. Just glad my kids take after my wife in most ways.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 13th October 2019 1:30 pm
slowlearner
(@slowlearner)

Hi Ken,

Wonderful to hear from you as always, and i have my memory clinic appointment on 5th November all being well. However following a recent biopsy on my oesophagus ( due to years of gastro reflux disease ) they found some cell abnormalities which are being investigated rather urgently so i might have a bigger battle to fight at the moment. The good news is that if it's what they suspect they've caught it in the early stages and it's treatable.

As far as your struggle with motivation, i was like that for months after i stopped gambling and to be honest for such a long time i really didn't think i could live without gambling & the gambling industry. That's how enslaved i'd become with my addiction. When i first signed up to my 5 year exclusion it felt like being made to divorce someone i loved passionately. How on earth would i cope without them.

430 days on i can smile again and given how much i've blown over the years i now wonder how they're coping without a fool like me, and the many others like us who have managed to turn our lives around. I rarely count the days but have continued to take your sound advice about waking up every morning and saying to myself "JUST FOR TODAY". Like you i'm still paying off debts but if i was offered the chance to be debt free on condition i gamble again, i'm pretty sure i'd choose being in debt.

In September NECA (north east counselling & addiction ) contacted me as they'd provided me with counselling in the early days. They asked me to attend a forum which was attended by various addiction treatment professionals & GPs to talk about my addiction and journey of recovery which was held on the 1st of October. It was a terrifying experience getting up on stage in the conference room of a hotel & being asked questions, at the same time it felt good to perhaps give a little bit back to those who have done so much for me.

Recently in both Manchester & Leeds centres have opened by the NHS Primary Care to treat gambling addiction. In Sunderland in December a 3rd centre is opening. Some GPs had commented about treating people for depression yet not knowing the real reasons for the depression as CGs are often reluctant to tell the truth. A GP asked me if i'd been treated for depression & i answered yes & admitted that i hadn't told my GP the real cause of it.

A GP asked me what they could do to make people be honest in my opinion. I replied that in any doctors surgery you can see posters saying IF Theres Blood In Your Poo tell your GP, If You Think You Have A STD tell your GP, If You Have A Cough That's Lasted More Than 3 Weeks tell your GP, If You Think You Have A Drink Problem tell your GP, If only there was a poster saying If You Think You've A Gambling Problem tell your GP. I left shortly afterwards to let the professionals chat amongst themselves.

Later that day i got a phone call from NECA telling me they were delighted with the positive feed back they'd received from many of the GPs and that they would give my idea serious consideration & discuss it with other doctors within their practice. The day got even better when i told my son what i'd done he told me he was so proud of me finding the courage to attend & speak out. It's worth pointing out that they gave me their word that no one would take photographs or reveal my true identity and ordinary members of the public were not allowed to attend. I was known only as ALAN.

Who knows if it will encourage people needing help to be honest and perhaps speed up referrals to the new NHS centre soon to open but i'd love to think so. Moving on I know it's a tough road Ken but you will get there with the debt & for sure life will get better for both you and your family as each GF day passes. I'm a little bit scared on the health front but you know what, i was honestly more scared about being able cope without the thrills & spills of gambling just over a year ago, yet i conquered that fear so i can conquer this one i'm sure.

 

Stay Strong & Sincere Best Wishes My Friend

 

AL

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Posted : 13th October 2019 4:47 pm
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