So I’ve been gambling from around the age of 18 so a good 10 years. At first it was fun and then it got to a point where I won around £2,000 I noticed I had a problem. I’d won this money, but still wanted more. I ended up only cashing out £1,000, but wow still a big win. (Although secretly if I added up all I’d spent and lost, the lost would far out weigh the winnings) I don’t know whether it was the buzz of winning I wanted; or just was missing something in my life. Like many people I’ve had demons in my past, but then doesn’t everyone? So I always assume it started with the feeling of winning. But that was the downhill spiral from there, because apparently I’ve got an addictive personality and just couldn’t stop. Then before I knew it I was gambling to try chase losses (we all know that this is never ever a good idea and never ever really works) Then I started racking up phone bills, I found a site you could pay on your phone bill £30 a day doesn’t seem a lot right? But when you do that everyday and get your phone bill through and £1,000 (Boy is that a shocker) but still not reason enough to stop. It was just reason to borrow and end up in an even worse spiral downwards. Before I knew it I was in debt and was gambling way more than I could afford. It would get to midnight on payday and I’d be online spending £100s before I knew it. Id wake up the next day with what I describe as a “ hangover “ it almost feels like one, sleepy as you’ve been chasing the loss all night and just anxious and guilty for all the money you’ve spent.
Until enough was enough, around 2 years ago I rang the gambling helping line and got a 1:1 counsellor. It was amazing and I was starting to feel less and less anxious as each day went on and oddly every time my gambling counter went up it made me feel so proud and I felt like I was winning at this gambling rehabilitation. I even managed to save enough and took me, my little brothers and my mum to Disney land Paris. It was such an amazing experience and it almost felt when I walked through those gates wow I’ve done this and all because I’ve not gambled. It felt amazing to have money and not feel worried.
Fast forward a few months and I’d hit a set back; I was back gambling again. Why? I don’t really know; it sounds stupid because even I as an addict know that gambling is no good, but i miss it slightly when I’m not doing it. I guess it’s because I’m lacking something in my life and don’t know what it is. Maybe anxiety and the inability to deal with stress.
Well now to the almost present, around 1 month ago I decided again I couldn’t do it. No matter how big or small I gambled, I still felt lost and helpless. I’m doing good at the minute, don’t get me wrong I sometimes want to gamble. I can’t online, everything is blocked (good thing really, as I know full well that if I could I probably would) The urges you go to bingo, I fight these. It’s hard as the feeling of hopelessness and like something bad is gonna happen is all I can describe it as.
So that’s my story so far: I know this was a long ramble. But I feel down tonight and wanted to write something. This has almost calmed me down.
you can do this; one day at a time.
Hi amylong, really good post lots of detail. Have you spoken to anyone close about your gambling as keeping it a secret from loved ones fuels the addiction. When you say about bingo do you mean physically going to a bingo venue ? My gambling started 20years ago with bingo that I actually viewed as fun night out with friends, I didn't view it as gambling. But it over the years awoke something very dark in me which turned into online gambling where my compulsive destructive gambling occurred. I'm 4+ months now gamble free and life is better. You have had good periods when you have turned things around and you can do it again and turn it into a permanent recovery. I think you suffer with anxiety/depression as well? That's the feeling of doom and impending catastrophy . Have you thought about doing more therapy or GA to help you , I do weekly GA meetings and it is really helping me. Hope you find your way in recovery
Sadly, yes it will always be there. I am over two years into my recovery and still have the urges, now though I am much stronger to fight it. You can do it one day at a time and those days will soon add up and you will be much stronger. No matter how much debt I got into, having my sanity and the trust of my family outweigh the need to chase my losses.
Mine started with bingo, but it turned to slots which is always a downhill spiral. As it’s no longer fun to bet 20p a time, it turns into £1 or £5 a time, which is alright if you win, but as everyone well knows 9/10 you don’t. That was truly where the anxiety started and chasing the losses started. I have considered the GA again, it did help last time. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and say you cannot do it on your own.My family do know, but I struggle to put into words exactly how I feel at that time. It’s very very hard to try and explain and urge or any logic, is something that you don’t truly understand in yourself. To be honest the thought of wanting to go to bingo; is just filling a void, because I’ve actually got money right now, so it’s not to try and get more money. For the first time in a while I’ve got savings and starting to save more money and clear some debts. It just sounds stupid what im about to say (I want to not gamble) but it feels like I’m missing it and it’s something I enjoy; which in all he-insight I don’t enjoy that feeling at all. I think it’s just replacing the need for something else and boredom maybe? i can’t even go to the see side and play 2p machines, even my 9 year old brother tells me no. His got more logic than me, although to be honest my 9 year old self would have probably thought no way would I have been in this position. I found a new app though and I worked out 1 month, 16 days FREE. Even gives me it in seconds. I want the 1 year but it’s seems so far away, also is it natural and does anyone think they won’t get there even though you want to? I’m wondering if that’s actually setting myself up for failure? Again sorry about the babble it’s helps to write down yours thoughts and try to logic them.
Hey let me tell you nothing you say is stupid or without worth. You say what you feel and it won't be anything that the rest of us haven't heard before or done ourselves, sometimes putting things down for people to read is a powerful thing that helps. It is difficult for family and friends to understand that's why GA and forums like this are so good, you can express yourself and others understand, we all understand the secrets, lying, deception and more. The only people who understand compulsive gamblers are other compulsive gamblers !! I totally understand and identify with everything you have said, as compulsive gamblers in recovery it is normal to fear failure and I went through a period of worrying about relapse. I shared in my GA meeting and on here and I got the same advice from both , leave it behind dwelling on things is not good whittles away at your determination pulls you down and can then make you more likely to relapse. Also make sure you have closed all doors to gambling, I hadn't self excluded from bingo I had it in my head that one day I would be able to go there have fun like I used to 20years ago. I had a good long think about it, I'm a compulsive gambler I accept that now and I know that I cannot ever gamble again !! I'm being true to myself now what would happen... Go to bingo...next day I'll just have £20 online won't hurt how do you think it would be before I was gambling daily again?? So I've self excluded from bingo as well and I feel better all the blocks in place makes me feel safe and the evil of gambling feels further away. So make sure you have done everything possible to block, protect yourself give your mind time to heal. You can do this the old saying" time is a great healer" is true. Give it time one day at a time, and self care..look after yourself