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A lifetime ago  

 
niceoneyo
(@niceoneyo)

Within seconds of handing over my last pound in the world to the cashier behind the counter; I knew then that it was the end. It was either the end of me or the end my gambling. As he handed me the betting slip, (it had 3 football teams on it predicting correct scorelines, I 'needed' a big win) I almost instantly scrunched it up in my hand and aimed for the bin. That was it. Time was up.

Exactly two years ago, on this day, 15th January; I placed my last ever bet in a small betting shop on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park. It was a cold, wet evening on my way from work to my apartment which I shared with my girlfriend and 2 others.

Like many times over the last few months, after my exit from the tube station; I made the hurried, secret entry to the exact same bookies to try and find a fix; telling myself each and every time that this would be the last. That evening was no different; except for it was the first time that I stopped lying to myself.

The previous August, I had 'come clean' to my girlfriend about the addiction that had me in its clutches and wouldn't let go. I felt it impossible to escape. Through my tears I told her everything; the lies, the losses, the loans and the lows. The weight immediately lifted from my shoulders. Some light was beginning to emerge from the dark hole that I had fallen into. I believed, genuinely believed, that it was all over. I believed that I was right there and then, a gambler in recovery. And I was; I went cold turkey for a whole Then, it started again, back in the bookies; losing my money and my mind.

At the age of 25, I had been a gambler for about 10 years. I still remember the day that drew me in; Irish grand national day, Easter Monday from Fairyhouse. I don't remember the horse I backed or who rode it. The only visible memory of that day was collecting my winnings and from there, they had me.

The next decade contained a series of gambling binges; some lasted months or weeks, others lasted hours and sometimes only minutes. Winnings were fuel for further destruction while losses were always written off against better days to come. My subconscious constantly told me that something wasn't right. As the years rolled, I mastered the challenge of muting that little voice in my head that was saying "STOP". Most of the people close to me never knew the extent of what was going on with my gambling. If I had mastered ignoring my conscience, I had gained a PhD in lying to those around me about what was going on in my head. If I needed to borrow money for gambling, I always had an excuse - "rent was due", "I didn't get paid this week", "college fees had to be paid", "I've been put on emergency tax", I had become so well versed in spinning tales, that no-one questioned me, I was always taken on my word.

I have countless tales of big wins and catastrophic losses. The high of the wins - though less frequent - always override that sinking feeling of walking out of a bookies with empty pockets, unable to explain to anyone what had happened to my weeks wages.

Eventually, I think the low of the losses began to take more of a hold on me. I became more aware of the negative effect that gambling was having in my life. Still unable to stop. Sleepless nights. Torturous days. I needed an out. Previous experience had told that a big pay out was highly implausible. I had convinced myself for years that the next big win would be enough to see me out of my habit and I'd never look back.

The end came with no fanfare. Technically, I still had a live bet in the bin at the bookies by the time I contacted Gamcare. It didn't matter to me if that bet paid out 10 grand at the time (it didn't); I just knew my betting days were over. From that first initial contact, to being assessed and all the way through my 12 weekly one-to-one counselling sessions I became very eager to recover from the addiction that had stifled my life for the best part of 10 years.

From February through to May, Tuesday evenings in a small office in Clapham junction became my sanctuary. I told my counsellor everything, absolutely everything. I spoke about thoughts that had never crossed my lips in my entire life. It became an amazing release.

During my recovery period, I came clean to my family. This was, without exception, the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I can't imagine that there will ever be a harder thing that I will ever have to do. I hope not. The reaction of my family was overwhelming. The love and support I received was incredible. If my own experience can ever help anyone else in their recovery, I hope it can give them the courage to tell someone what you're going through.

January 15th 2014 is exactly 2 years ago today. It seems like a lifetime ago. That day was my last inside the bookies. If I said that it’s been an easy ride, I'd be lying. Lying is something that I don't want to do anymore. I'm mindful of where I've come from and how it felt to be trapped in addiction. I know now that I don't want to go back to the lies, the losses, the lows and the loans.

It's been 730 days since my last bet. One day at a time.

Quote
Posted : 15th January 2016 4:51 pm
Garyl1976
(@garyl1976)

Superb. Well done and congratulations.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 15th January 2016 5:13 pm
niceoneyo
(@niceoneyo)

Thank you Garyl1976. I hope my post doesn't gloss over how hard recovery is. For everyone it is a different journey. It's a journey worth taking

ReplyQuote
Posted : 15th January 2016 5:38 pm
I wished
(@i-wished)

Beautiful honest inspiring post, niceoneyo, thank you for sharing, totally understand that last bet, mine one was my very last pay day loan that I knew would be swallowed up even before I placed that first bet.

Massive high 5 to you on reaching 2 years,

Suzanne x

ReplyQuote
Posted : 15th January 2016 5:45 pm
niceoneyo
(@niceoneyo)

Thank you Suzanne. Starting out, 2 years with no bet seemed impossible. It proved to me that nothing is impossible if you truly commit. Keep fighting the good fight

ReplyQuote
Posted : 15th January 2016 6:32 pm
LifeBegins
(@lifebegins)

Thanks for sharing your story. It's always good to hear from someone who has done so well.Recovery is possible.

Keep it up!

LifeBegins x

ReplyQuote
Posted : 15th January 2016 8:04 pm
triangle
(@triangle)

niceoneyo wrote:

Within seconds of handing over my last pound in the world to the cashier behind the counter; I knew then that it was the end. It was either the end of me or the end my gambling. As he handed me the betting slip, (it had 3 football teams on it predicting correct scorelines, I 'needed' a big win) I almost instantly scrunched it up in my hand and aimed for the bin. That was it. Time was up.

Exactly two years ago, on this day, 15th January; I placed my last ever bet in a small betting shop on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park. It was a cold, wet evening on my way from work to my apartment which I shared with my girlfriend and 2 others.

Like many times over the last few months, after my exit from the tube station; I made the hurried, secret entry to the exact same bookies to try and find a fix; telling myself each and every time that this would be the last. That evening was no different; except for it was the first time that I stopped lying to myself.

The previous August, I had 'come clean' to my girlfriend about the addiction that had me in its clutches and wouldn't let go. I felt it impossible to escape. Through my tears I told her everything; the lies, the losses, the loans and the lows. The weight immediately lifted from my shoulders. Some light was beginning to emerge from the dark hole that I had fallen into. I believed, genuinely believed, that it was all over. I believed that I was right there and then, a gambler in recovery. And I was; I went cold turkey for a whole Then, it started again, back in the bookies; losing my money and my mind.

At the age of 25, I had been a gambler for about 10 years. I still remember the day that drew me in; Irish grand national day, Easter Monday from Fairyhouse. I don't remember the horse I backed or who rode it. The only visible memory of that day was collecting my winnings and from there, they had me.

The next decade contained a series of gambling binges; some lasted months or weeks, others lasted hours and sometimes only minutes. Winnings were fuel for further destruction while losses were always written off against better days to come. My subconscious constantly told me that something wasn't right. As the years rolled, I mastered the challenge of muting that little voice in my head that was saying "STOP". Most of the people close to me never knew the extent of what was going on with my gambling. If I had mastered ignoring my conscience, I had gained a PhD in lying to those around me about what was going on in my head. If I needed to borrow money for gambling, I always had an excuse - "rent was due", "I didn't get paid this week", "college fees had to be paid", "I've been put on emergency tax", I had become so well versed in spinning tales, that no-one questioned me, I was always taken on my word.

I have countless tales of big wins and catastrophic losses. The high of the wins - though less frequent - always override that sinking feeling of walking out of a bookies with empty pockets, unable to explain to anyone what had happened to my weeks wages.

Eventually, I think the low of the losses began to take more of a hold on me. I became more aware of the negative effect that gambling was having in my life. Still unable to stop. Sleepless nights. Torturous days. I needed an out. Previous experience had told that a big pay out was highly implausible. I had convinced myself for years that the next big win would be enough to see me out of my habit and I'd never look back.

The end came with no fanfare. Technically, I still had a live bet in the bin at the bookies by the time I contacted Gamcare. It didn't matter to me if that bet paid out 10 grand at the time (it didn't); I just knew my betting days were over. From that first initial contact, to being assessed and all the way through my 12 weekly one-to-one counselling sessions I became very eager to recover from the addiction that had stifled my life for the best part of 10 years.

From February through to May, Tuesday evenings in a small office in Clapham junction became my sanctuary. I told my counsellor everything, absolutely everything. I spoke about thoughts that had never crossed my lips in my entire life. It became an amazing release.

During my recovery period, I came clean to my family. This was, without exception, the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I can't imagine that there will ever be a harder thing that I will ever have to do. I hope not. The reaction of my family was overwhelming. The love and support I received was incredible. If my own experience can ever help anyone else in their recovery, I hope it can give them the courage to tell someone what you're going through.

January 15th 2014 is exactly 2 years ago today. It seems like a lifetime ago. That day was my last inside the bookies. If I said that it’s been an easy ride, I'd be lying. Lying is something that I don't want to do anymore. I'm mindful of where I've come from and how it felt to be trapped in addiction. I know now that I don't want to go back to the lies, the losses, the lows and the loans.

It's been 730 days since my last bet. One day at a time.

Well done on your 2 years!

Gambling illness is different for everyone

Congratulations to you and fingers corssed to those suffering this horrible illness

ReplyQuote
Posted : 17th January 2016 2:26 am
kevz123
(@kevz123)

niceoneyo wrote:

It was a cold, wet evening on my way from work to my apartment which I shared with my girlfriend and 2 others.

Three girlfriends? How the hell did you afford to gamble??? 😉

I love these success stories, they are what keep me logging on. I am a few days gamble free but already feeling the difference with my attitide and temper, I hope to God I can get two years under my belt.

You should be immensely proud of yourself, as should those around you. It's not easy beating any addiction, but an invisible one like gambling with no real outward signs is probably the hardest, as you and you alone have to face it and beat it.

Thank you for sharing your story. (I was kidding about the three girlfriends). 🙂

Kev

ReplyQuote
Posted : 18th January 2016 10:44 am
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