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What is success?  

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Maybe in another 35 years, I’ll be able to talk about my “success story” until then, I think, I’ll be very cautious about doing so.

What is success, how do any of us really know if we’ll ever gamble again?

I know over the last thirty odd years I’ve been to many GA meetings up and down the country and have met several people who have had many successful gamble free years only to return to gambling. Many of them getting into even worse trouble than they had done previously. By the same token though, I’ve also had the privilege to meet many who continue to live gamble free decades after making a commitment to stop.

I certainly wouldn’t class my own story as a success story, I lived my life abysmally, all because I couldn’t see past gambling. I’ve done horrendous things, I’ve been to prison 5 times because of the merry dance I let myself be taken on. I’ve spent time in psychiatric wards, lived on the streets countless times. I wasn’t a thief who started gambling, I was not a bad person. I was a gambler who started thieving.

I had 17 years in between my last two prison sentences. Never thought I’d be going back, not until I discovered the FOBTs, the worst gambling in my life. I committed the worst crime of my life, so I could play on those machines. Crazy. Wish I could say “never again” but how do any of us ever really know?

What I can say is “not today”. I don’t physically say it, sometimes I don’t even think it, but that is my mantra.

I gambled from 1981 until December 2016, I would think for the first thirty years of that there was not one single day I didn’t gamble or plan my next gamble. Even in prison you could get a bet on.

Of course, I am very happy that I havn’t gambled in any way shape or form for more than a year, but I’m far from elated about it. I’ve been very aware of my addiction for a long long time, and should have quit years ago, there is no excuse for it really, saying “I’m an addict” dosn’t excuse or explain it.

However, it was what it is, at least I’m not there today, and I so could easily have been if I’d have given in to the only urge I got in 2017 at Christmas.

It was so very hard to say no. I can honestly count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been able to fight an urge. I am pleased I did say no, but when I read people saying it gets easier I don’t know if I necessarily agree.

I live without gambling, I hardly think about it. I am fortunate that I don’t handle my own money, it doesn’t have any impact on my life what so ever. At Christmas I ended up with about £900 in my own account and I had loads of free time. I know if I’d have said yes, whatever the outcome on that day I would still be gambling now or locked up. It would have been that easy.

Once I’ve been in recovery for as long as I’d gambled, then I might say I have a success story to tell.

No disrespect to any one here, there are some great inspirational threads, and I’m only expressing my thoughts concerning my own journey.

Each one of us will know our own success when we get there, and it is good to share.

Reading this back, it looks like I’m an angry man, and I’m not really.

Just had a spare half hour!

Take care everybody.


Posted : 1st February 2018 4:00 pm
Forum admin

Hello Geordie,

Thanks for sharing this post.

It sounds like you are succeeding in avoiding complacency, and you are working your recovery one day at a time. You recognised that at Christmas you were faced with the triggers of access to money and free time, and that was a challenge for you. It sounds like most of the time you have arrangements in place to reduce your exposure to those sorts of triggers. It is good that you reflect on the risks of relapsing, and that you have a conscience about your behaviour. At the same time it is also good to allow yourself moments of feeling gratitude, relief or achievement, for your efforts in living your life in recovery, today.

Take care,

Forum admin.

Posted : 4th February 2018 5:53 pm

I'm succeding today, and when it comes to being gamble free, it is only today that matters. It is a massive relief to say "NO" to gambling quite comfortably.

Like a lot of people I learned to say no a while ago, but it was always a slightly uneasy "no". For years even when enduring a lengthy period of abstainance there was always a deep rooted feeling of impending doom. Not doubting myself, but an almost ingrained certainty in my mind, that I would gamble again. I would convince myself I didn't want to gamble hoping I could believe this lie, like I'd believed the countless others I'd told myself over the years.

That feeling of impending doom has long since left me, I have replaced it with a deep rooted feeling of tranquility within myself.

I don't have to gamble, it is not my lot in life. It is not anybody's. For me the biggest battle was not stopping gambling, it was learning to believe in myself accepting that I could change.

I'm not the biggest believer in triggers I'm afraid. Having excess cash I dont think was a trigger, I think it was bloody stupid mind, but not a trigger. Historically not having enough cash has been just as much a trigger as having too much.

I had gotten complacent in my recovery, I wasn't talking or posting.Todays posting or talking helps prevent next weeks gambling in my mind.

My life is not easy I have some awful things to contend with over the last year. What got me through it was talking simple as that. Thats what does it for me.

I was in a coma in 2015 when I came out of the coma it was a good few weeks before I remembered I was a CG, imagine that. Once I had remembered though I was a homeless bloke who had been in a coma. Pathetic.

It's not too much of an effort to live in recovery today to be honest. But I am grateful and relieved it is like this now, I am also so thankful that I have found the serenity, courage and wisdom to be able to progress through life without gambling. The biggest effort for me was accepting I could change.

Thanks for replying Admin.

Posted : 7th February 2018 9:35 pm

Geordie, your opening post on this thread is a great read for anyone currently in addiction, starting off in recovery, or also in long term recovery. Great words. No way do you sound like an angry man, far from it. That is inspirational and a warning for all. There’s no success yet for us in recover, progress definitely. The one day at a time is so important. I go to GA and many members say “today I will not gamble” but I remember one guy saying “yes but on a night I also a well done to my self for not gambling” that stuck with me. Because each day is progress.

Massive well done for not turning an urge into an action at Christmas 2017. Stay focussed and strong and thanks again for sharing your opening post, hope it gets the reads and appreciation it deserves in this section, which like you I don’t personally like. Cheers and all the best.

Posted : 7th February 2018 10:14 pm

Hi Geordie

Have read your posts with interest and echo Shep72's sentiments as to your success. You come over as a very modest and humble person. Whom has taken a wrong turn in life. But are obviously trying your hardest to help yourself and others in a similar position.

Maybe like myself and others on this site, your self confidence/self esteem has taken a huge blow. You wrote in one of your emails.....

"I felt pretty hopeless I can tell you who would employ somebody like that?"

Not aware as to what your current situation is re work. But you seem to have some very good atttributes that an employer would appreciate. You come over as being very open, honest and caring. Many people taken on by employers have had a "chequered past". In many ways it is a "win win" situation for the person and their employee. As in most cases the employee being given a new start, performs far better. Appreciative of have been given the opportunity?

Maybe carrying on not being complacent. But also be less hard on yourself? Yours is a success story. Your past is history and as Oscar Wilde once said.....

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"!

Posted : 8th February 2018 7:32 am

Hi Gra

That comment was how I felt then, 8 years ago. I’ve edited now and it’s a bit more coherent, well I hope so.

I was very lucky actually. I got a voluntary job in 2010 driving a community transport minibus and ended up with a “proper job” I love driving. And the job ended up with me being put on a permanent contract with dial-a-ride in London.

All good things must come to an end though, and the community transport got disbanded in the austerity spending cuts. They were very kind to me and paid me some redundancy that I wasn’t really entitled to.

I was offered a proper job with dial-a-ride but unfortunately it required an enhanced CRB check, and because of my criminal record I wasn’t allowed. I was gutted.

That was Sept/Oct 2012. I did drive a minibus during the Olympics which I really enjoyed, especially driving in the designated Olympic lanes, but I digress.

I did struggle a bit after I got made redundant.

In November 2012 I took a job as a self-employed driver for a nationwide appliance supplier. Delivering fridges and washers. I made fantastic wages, but I had started gambling again. Not every day but it didn’t matter I was sucked straight back in, some weeks I would earn over £1000, but I managed to get myself in that deep with the gambling again I still fell behind with rent and borrowed left right and centre.

I had my usual gamblers mentality, “I’ll be ok, I’ll stop next week” I’d tell myself, not really believing my own b/s.

I was still working for that company when I took I’ll and was rushed to hospital to get my appendix out in Oct 2015. My heart reacted to the anaesthetic and I ended up being induced into a coma after my heart had stopped for 44 minutes. I was in the coma 9 days, then in a hallucinogenic world for a couple of weeks.

I couldn’t return to that job for six months, What made it a lot worse was the fact I hadn’t paid any tax or NI for the duration, so I didn’t want to claim benefits.

There is a consequence for every action.

I maybe should have posted this on that other thread, it just may give that chap a bit of hope.

I work nights now, still driving but in a much easier position. The wages I get now are much less than I got then but I managed to provide more for myself last year, than I can ever recall in previous years. I eat nice foods I have my own car, I have one thing to contend with and that is my tax......I’ve been putting it off and putting it off.

But writing this has given me a kick up the backside, I’m going to ring them today before I go to bed.

I think there is a chance I might get arrested for it. I will update this post once of I’ve rang them.

Funny how things come about, I know I will do it now, well later today. If I hadn’t of posted through the night I would have postponed it.

Don’t know whether to thank you or punch you Gra!!! Kidding mate it something that’s imperative I do I can’t have another year of getting away with it. I dread to think what the bill is, a bankers’ bonus I would think.

Posted : 8th February 2018 8:18 am

Hi Geordie

Good luck with the tax people if you ring them. At least you are being "proactive" and appearing to be trying to address the issue. Hopefully, if needs be they will be understanding.

In the meantime. Maybe you might want to take this up this as a hobby?!

All the best


Posted : 8th February 2018 1:35 pm


Hi Geordie

Good luck with the tax people if you ring them. At least you are being "proactive" and appearing to be trying to address the issue. Hopefully, if needs be they will be understanding.

In the meantime. Maybe you might want to take this up this as a hobby?!

All the best


Unbeleivable.......after an hour and a half and calls to three numbers, I got to speak to an appropriate person.about my tax.

There is a letter on the way, but it dosn't sound good..because its more than four years worth I could end up back inside.I'll see what the letter says, it will be here tomorrow, well should be she said it will require a signature.

It is a consequence of my wayward past, but honestly Gra, I'm pleased I rang them.

Watched your vid, lol, aye I'd love a shot at that!

Posted : 8th February 2018 7:51 pm

Cheers for comment on my diary mate appreciate it. Hope your good

Posted : 10th February 2018 7:34 pm

Success is making a phone call to the tax people and getting it sorted out. If it makes you pleased to have done something, to address an issue then that has to be counted as a success. Whether i or anyone else would have made the same call is irrelevant. I am pleased you are pleased with what you have done, there are issues i would like to address from the past and i know that when i do get around to it i will be pleased also so well done mate. You say you have done horrendous things and maybe success in the future will be looking back on your life and coming to terms with what you did so they don't seem so horrendous and just become things. I don't know you and i won't judge you and maybe it's time to go a little easy on yourself, sounds like you have paid some of what you have done with your prison time. The rules are there and you have gone through the system so you can't punish yourself more than what is set out by law. Not putting any more of your hard earned money into the bookies and shareholders pockets is a success also.

Posted : 11th February 2018 7:21 am

Thanks man!

You know that is near enough exactlly what I would say to someone else in this position. I suppose it took me a long time to get into all the messes I've put myself in. I have spent nearly four years of my life behind bars, I never learned my lesson then but I am learning it now.

Facing up to my behaviour with the tax man is nearly the last thing I need to face up to, but by facing the consequences of my past I am moving forward.

I was so dishonest it is shameful, but now I'm completely the other way. I used to miss the skull-duggery I dont now. There's only one way I want to go and that's forward.

I wont be gambling today and that is nearly always the biggest bonus. The biggest bonus of all is that I don't want to. 🙂

Thanks very much for your post.

Posted : 11th February 2018 11:35 am

I havn't posted anything for a while, I was suprised to see my gambling free life has been in full swing for 507 days. A drop in the ocean compared to the number of days I gambled.

Still wouldn't class anything about my journey as succesful, and wheras once-upon-a-time I would class any single gamble free day as a "success" I don't now. Life is life we are all given one it's up to us how to use it.

Nobody asks to be an addict, or a compulsive gambler, but here we are thousands of us are. When we are "at it" nothing else matters except the gambling, at least that was true for me in the most part, and listeninning to many others and reading here leads me to believe it's the same for all of us.

However I have learned to live my life more honestly, and am different in so many ways, I know if I can change then it is possible for us all to.

I've said many times that for me the hardest thing wasn't stopping gambling, it was believing in the fact that I could change, and finally setting about implienting those changes.

Life for these past few months has been very hard for me, but I'm getting on with it the best I can. I've never considered gambling at all but at the same time I think I've been close to it by old behaviours I've noticed creeping back into my routine.

Like everybody else,whatever peoples's opinions on triggers are, I am just one bad decision away from the next bet. The next bet could very possilbly and almost probably open up the floodgates once again, the floodgates to a life I dont think I could tolerate again.

Life has been very hard to tolerate of late for me, but it is still preferable to lying, cheating, decietful way I used to live.

Like the past 507 days, just for today I wont gamble.

Posted : 19th June 2018 2:31 pm
Compulsive Gambler

geordie - did you manage to come to an agreement with the tax then?

Posted : 19th June 2018 11:25 pm

Thanks bluescreen, I'm pleased you took the time to post, it's a very well written and very welcome post

I dont ever want to go back to that life either, I believe I have left it in the past, just for today I know I have.

Thanks again for posting!

Posted : 19th June 2018 11:39 pm

Compulsive Gambler wrote:

geordie - did you manage to come to an agreement with the tax then?

I have spoken to them at length, but a problem crept up when I received a penalty notice from companies house, the letter advised not only of the £100 penalty but also said if I didnt submit two years of accounts within 30 days they would strike my limited company off the register. I relayed this to HMRC who said if I prepared the accounts plus estimates for previous years they would contact me after the 30 days.

Within a couple of days of this I got informed that the bakery I work at is closing down on August 1st, I wont qualify for any redundancy as I am a contractor. I have decided to let my limited company go to the wall because of this and only to woek in future on a PAYE basis, that way HMRC can deduct what I owe at source which is better for everyone.

I only have prepared estimated accounts and very basic, I wont owe corporation tax but will still owe penalty..

I am still waiting for the call back, 30 days elapsed a fortnight ago. Because my job is coming to an end I am not as anxious to resove things with the same matter of urgency as I was a few months back.

There is power to be gained by posting though. If I hadnt have posted about it at the time I doubt I would have contacted them yet.

Posted : 20th June 2018 1:47 pm
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