I have previously posted my story on this forum. I will continue to post it for new members because I believe inspirational story’s like mine and many others on here will give so many people hope. Some people are lost and are in such a dark place, I believe these posts give support and advice when people don't know where and who to turn to.
I started gambling (on line bingo) 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 and 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 more depressed. I knew I had a gambling addiction when I spent every penny of my wages (£1,900) within 5 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 main problems was where I lived. I had never been happy in the house I’d bought in 2007 and looking back It was around this time I started suffering from depression but was able to manage this. 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 can not 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!
Thank you so much for your post - it really is inspiring and we are grateful to you for taking the time to share your story here for others to see.
The road to recovery can be difficult and it can be long as you are no doubt aware but your story is living proof that it is most definitely ACHIEVABLE! Congratulations, I am really pleased you have now found happiness. Long may this continue!