I have decided to create this post, in hope it may help anyone take a positive step in beating this evil disease.
My story, I started gambling at the age of 16, slipping in the odd bet in on a website before it shut me down or else getting someone older to put bets on at the bookies. However this was only every other weekend. I gambled regularly from the age of 18 till 21, mainly on sports bets, as often as five times a week. As I was a student this limited how much I could really afford to put on and while I did put more bets on that most of my friends, I didn’t identify this as a major problem.
When I was 22 is when the disease gripped me, I was regularly gambling on online casinos and had my first big scoop of 5000 on roulette, however it was clear I had a problem because that money was soon put back in. I was gambling my monthly wage and surviving on the bare minimum. My Grandma died and left me around 4000 pounds and this to went, I was chasing losses every month with my wage to try recover the inheritance that I had lost. The shame and guilt of losing the money she had left me, the fact I was hiding this from my long term girlfriend and parents, balancing mounting debt from credit cards and overdrafts, all led me to serve depression and at the age of 23 contemplating taking my own life regularly as the only way out.
Then one night at absolute breaking point, I broke down and told my girlfriend everything. The following weeks were the worst weeks I have ever experienced, the pain I put her through was so much for any couple, especially such a young couples. However she stuck by me and this was the changing point.
My advice, please please tell anyone you can, partners, parents, doctors, literally anyone, because as soon as it’s out there and they’ve heard it, then you can’t take that back. You’ve admitted you have a problem and while you may feel guilt and shame, this is an illness. You cannot get the losses back, if you are in crippling debt then you can not hide this from loved ones, you deserve help and your loved ones will help you. Once you have told someone, then you need to put as many barriers in the way as possible, using Gamcare, self excluding for five years from all betting sites, blocking your card through your bank from allowing you to deposit to gambling sites are all huge steps. Allowing someone else access to your bank statements and creating a plan on how to pay off debts can help massively. Limiting yourself from using your phone and especially social media, is a must while recovering, because these ads are everywhere.
Take each day at a time and you can do this. I am one year free of gambling, now I am debt free and saving up to buy my first home with my girlfriend.
Good luck and be brave, you have got this!
Good evening Callum,
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your inspirational story, you offer some great advice, providing first hand experience for others taking their first steps to recovery.
I am so pleased to hear how well life is going for you and your girlfriend, so thank you for taking the time to put your experience into words. It really will make a difference to others.
Wishing you and your girlfriend a wonderful 2021
Well done Callum2397 for gamble free year. May this continues in many more years in future.
It seems that the gambling culture has part of the social fabric. However, it costs you nothing to stop and walk away from gambling establishments or gambling sites.
Thank you! I am sure it will continue if I take every day as a new challenge and remain focused.
I couldn’t agree more!
All the best