In 2 days time I’ll be hitting my 4 month gamble free mark.
This will be the longest I have ever been gamble free for after gambling for 11 years and badly addicted for around 6 of those years.
I contemplated not coming back to the forum out of fear of speaking too soon and getting ahead of myself. Just wanted to keep moving forward and ignore that my addiction ever even happened.
But then that wouldn’t be fair to anyone on this forum who is going through exactly what I have gone through, and I’m aware that sometimes you just read that one thing that makes you determined to quit.
I am by no means out of the woods, in-fact I don’t think I ever will consider myself out of the woods. But 120 days is better than 0.
After about 20 failed attempts of quitting and going back, I decided in October 2020 after a £12,000 1 week gambling binge, to try quitting again. With very little hope in myself that I could ever do this, but I did owe it to the family members who I was hurting.
So I picked up a book called the Fifth Vital, which was about someone with a drug addiction and his battles through quitting his addiction. I immersed myself into the book for 3 days and it really helped me see what my addiction was doing to the people who care about me. it gave me the initial determination I needed to quit gambling.
Later on into October I randomly found myself into a new hobby, I needed to find something to make me feel the excitement and rush that gambling made me feel. But also something far less harmful.
I got into collecting Pokemon cards, at 29 years old. Collected now days by mostly adults, I found a rush and excitement in opening Pokemon packs. I’m a sucker for artwork so owning specific cards with beautiful artwork that are valuable, does make me proud.
Once I collect good cards, I send them off to be graded and I let them appreciate to gain value. I’m having fun along the way and albeit I am spending money, I’m not spending out of control, I own something valuable at the end of it and I’m enjoying it without that horrendous after gamble pain.
You don’t need to wait to have hope in yourself. I didn’t have a single hope for myself. But finding something else that you enjoy and love and trying new things could be the very thing that helps you turn your back on gambling.
You’re gambling for a reason, you’re filling a void of some sort. If you don’t fill that void with something else or fix that void. You’ll keep wanting to go back.
Congratulations on 4 months gamble-free! Many thanks for coming back to update us. It's especially good to hear you overcame the tricky time you had two months ago. Your determination is paying off! It's good to hear that you've found another activity which helps you. It's very important to find other activities to fill the void as you say. I would add just one note of caution - with collecting Pokemon cards, there is a risk that you can fall back into gambling-like behaviour. Buying packs of cards when you don't know what's inside can mean that you end up spending a lot to get the item you want, and like loot boxes in gaming, buying them can become addictive. Why not set a budget for how much you want to spend on this activity and just keep a watch on it? If you ever want an objective check, the self-assessment test on our website can be used for this activity in the same way as for gambling.
Do keep us updated and you're welcome to contact us on 0808 8020 133 or by Livechat any time.
I enjoyed the frankness in your post and could identify with a lot of the things you were saying. My last bet was around the same as yours. I lost about 15k net over a 3 week period. Took 10k in loans and blew 5k in savings. It was a torrid, empty time. Complete desolation and mental turmoil. Thankfully, that period seems like ages ago. As you said, the key is to find a new pursuit, which can take up your time. I agree with that. I love my music, so I'm now always searching out new records I've not heard and making playlists. Harmless fun, but crucially keeps you away from those all consuming thoughts of trying to recoup losses that will never be recouped! I think that's also key into accepting any gambling sobriety. Well done, Lola. Reading your story and successes bolsters me. All the best.