I just wanted to write a post on here to tell my story which will hopefully give some people hope.
I started gambling back in 2013, this was controlled at the time and was something that I enjoyed. In 2014 there were a lot of changes going on at work, new manager, hospital moved location (I work in Mental health). I started to suffer with stress and anxiety and to escape from life’s pressures I frequently turned to gambling. I was taking more time off work, becoming socially isolative and depressed. I knew I had a gambling addiction when I spent every penny of my wages within a few days of being paid at New Year, that was when I knew I had to tell my closest friends I was addicted to gambling. They were extremely understanding and vowed to help me but like anyone with an addiction you begin to lie, sneak around, basically do anything for that fix so my relationship with friends were affected.
Work was becoming increasingly difficult to focus on, also my own feelings of shame and guilt stopped me from talking to people and seeking help. When I eventually told my Manager I unfortunately didn’t get the support I needed at that time, I continued to struggle through everything while trying to hide my addiction from friends and work colleagues.
Things turned around at work when I was sent to occy health and was diagnosed with a mental health problem and my gambling addiction was acknowledged and discussed in depth.
This was a turning point for me, I looked at what was making me unhappy and one of the problems was where I lived, I had never been happy in the house I’d bought in 2007 so that was the first thing I needed to sort. I had missed payments on my mortgage due to the gambling and also the value of it had dropped considerably. I sought advice and eventually decided to voluntarily surrender my keys so I just walked away from the house and rented a lovely little flat nearer to my friends and work. My happiness was more important than having a mortgage.
This was another turning point for me with regards to my gambling addiction. I knew I had to seek help and look at ways of how I could help myself. I decided the best thing for me to do would exclude myself from all gambling sites. I researched different websites and eventually chose Gamstop (free). This has been my life line, I excluded myself for 5 years and believe me for the first week after I registered (it was very much like cold turkey) I tried to join different sites to try and play bingo and It would not let me. I cant recommend this site enough, it has probably saved my life and the sad thing is its not advertised and talked about enough.
I have had various therapies including CBT and EMDR, this helps my thought process and also helps me deal with stressors of everyday life. Throughout what I can only describe as a catastrophic time in my life, I lost friendships, ended up in debt (I had 12 payday loans at one time), couldn’t afford to eat, lived a very lonely life and suffered from depression. I look back at all these things and think about all the people out there who are going through the same, honestly with the right tools and help you can overcome your addiction but first and foremost you need to want to!
I’m not going to lie, its been hard and sometimes I have fleeting thoughts about gambling, especially as the tv is full of adverts for on line bingo sites. I just look at what I have now, my lovely flat, money in the bank again and most importantly my happiness!
Hi ,what a great read, I am just starting on this journey, and hearing that there is help out there makes me feel relieved.
The last 2 days has cost me my partner and best friend of 20 years,lm lucky she is willing to help me ,telling my parents was a nightmare but helped halve a problem. I have a long way to go and your account is so good and gives me hope.
I am in a very dark place and can't wait to get to the doctor tomorrow and some councelling in the week.
High five to you
Honestly you wont be in that dark place forever. Your going to have good days and bad days but you have taken the first step by telling those close to you. Gambling is a silent addiction, you may not drink and do drugs but the devastation in your life is equally immense, physically, mentally and financially.
I tried everything from counselling to medication to on line support groups, I admit none of these things worked for me at that time, I guess I wasn't ready to stop gambling so I wasn't 100% committed. Support from family and friends is crucial for you to get through this so always be honest with them, even if your having a bad day, pick up the phone and tell them that you are.
You will get through this and this site is a welcome distraction and a comfort in lots of ways.
Good luck Wayne