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Full Version: First time here after numerous attempts at stopping by myself.
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Hi Im Sam 

I have gambled since my late teens and have really been too slow to make this step but better late than never I guess. 

In lots of ways I am very lucky in life and definitely have a lot to be grateful for however my compulsive gambling has caused lots of issues in my life.

I have always gambled in various ways including poker and sports betting but online slots have really caused a lot of difficulty in my life. I have no control over my play on them. It doesn't matter how much money I have lost and what difficulty it may cause me in the real world the sad truth is I will still mainly be upset that I have to stop playing. It is only when I have stopped playing that the realisation of what I have done AGAIN sets in and that familiar darkness returns. 

I live abroad and feel somewhat isolated with my problem as I don't feel I can talk to anyone about it safely. I have issues with anxiety which also make it difficult to talk to people about this and is probably partly why it has taken me until my 30s to even make this step having known my gambling has been an issue for some time.  

Losing lots of money during my time gambling is a given but thankfully I am not in debt from it and have a good job that will allow me to recover as long as I am able to stop gambling.  The most harmful effects of gambling for me are mainly around my mental health and how it stops me being able to engage/enjoy life as I would like to. 

As mentioned above I have issues with anxiety and when my gambling was most out of control last year my anxiety was so bad I had physical symptoms I had no idea could be related to anxiety/stress which had a big impact on my daily life. During this time I would be constantly playing online slots on my commute to work, at work and at home. It was out of control. Thankfully in recent months I have a better grip on it and can have periods of time without gambling. However the urges return and I rationalise gambling to myself saying "it's only xx pounds" etc etc but of course that is never the case. The loss of control really upsets me and makes feel ashamed of myself. It hurts even more the longer it has been since I last gambled as the reality of there being no escape from this addiction is clear. 

I am hoping becoming a member of this community will allow me to become accountable for my actions, learn from others and help people with similar issues in any small way I can. 


Dear Sam

A warm welcome to the fellowship and thank you for your share.

Your post reminds me of the situation I was in and your about the same age as when I first reached out for help to the fellowship.

Yesterday was 3 years since my last bet, and I have to give credit to GA and my Higher Power for this accomplishment.

I completely through myself at everything GA for the first 18 months, went to a weekly meeting, was the tea maker at my home meeting and then done a short term as a meeting secretary.
Doing this helped me feel more involved in the meeting and made sure I kept going back.

I then got a sponsor (lots of booklets on this matter on this website) and worked with them for a period of time, I did not complete the whole process due to it wasn't for me personally, but I do respect it and learned some useful stuff.

I really studied all the books on this website and booklets you get at the meetings, I got deeply involved in the history of Gambler's Anonymous and Acholic Anonymous. There is a brilliant film on Bill Wilson on you tube called a 'A gift of hope' which I am currently watching while writing this post.

A major part of my recovery was the introduction of a higher power, for me it was more religious awakening and that has kept me on the straight and narrow, but being Spiritual is more than enough for most.

I have had to make a real effort in changing my way of thinking for the better and try and do good deeds without getting the attention and glory from noboby, other than my higher power, Faith without works is dead quoted by the great Bill Wilson.
I don't always get it right, but do take a daily moral inventory, and do try to right the wrongs quickly, I watch for resentments as they are a culprit for relapse in my book.

I just want to wish you all the best on your journey, it has been one beautiful roller coaster of a ride for me.

In Unity
Hey Sam,

Martin has covered many of the suggestions available and I would strongly encourage you to utilise and research what help is available in your local area.

Stopping gambling and staying stopped can be two very different things and often the tools needed for one person can be different to the next, so i need to 'try try try again' in my own recovery.

Have I beaten this illness? Absolutely not, but there is certainly hope for abstaining and learning a new way of thinking and living.

Any thoughts or comments, feel free to reply...

All the best Smartie xx
Hi Martin and Smartie 

Thanks alot for the kind welcome and support you have offered!

Just joining this community has given me a real sense of purpose compared with previous admittedly half hearted efforts at stopping.

I have not bet since writing my first post. I would like to say I haven't been tempted but that wouldn't be entirely true. I have caught myself trying to rationalise gambling in other ways to slots which have been historically less compulsive/destructive for me in the past. 

I am trying to learn as much as possible about gambling addiction from various sources and am finding even the little I have learnt so far is helping me be more mindful of my thoughts and impulses, especially in terms of triggers that make me particularly vulnerable/wanting to gamble.

Thanks again 

Today I was watching youtubers playing online slots and I wasn't sure if this was a dangerous thing for me to be doing, a good way to get rid of urges or irrelevant. 

I have watched youtubers playing slots for a few years now, often when I had lost all my available money to gamble with. I had never really thought about the implications of such videos because I have never really been this committed to stopping gambling before. 

The most obvious issue is that the business model for these channels is to work as affiliates for gambling websites, in effect they are incentivised to get as many of their viewers as possible to gamble. One way they do this is by showcasing the different games available on the websites they represent. When I was gambling I would often try out the games that streamers were playing in their videos. This wasn't really a conscious choice, I was just drawn to the games I was familiar with from the streams. I think as time passes these videos will be even more alluring to me as there will be new games released I have never played which will be very tempting. This issue is only compounded with all the adverts and offers watching these streams will expose me to. One of my biggest aims is to remove gambling from the forefront of my mind and I feel watching these videos is going to make this so much harder.

Some people in the chat for these videos have said the videos are a good way for them to get rid of urges by living vicariously through the youtubers instead of gambling with their money. I can understand this viewpoint and doing this will eliminate the financial harm gambling does whilst still getting the entertainment however I do find this problematic for my personal recovery. If I am watching these videos to fill the hole left from stopping gambling it means I'm not confronting the issues that have led me to being an addict, especially as the videos were an integral part of my gambling behaviour.

As these videos are part of my gambling pattern I have decided to stop watching them. This may sound silly but I am feeling quite anxious about stopping watching these videos and am worried I wont be able to stick to it. I have self excluded and downloaded gamban which has given me confidence in stopping gambling and made it logistically much more difficult to do. There is no such help for the videos and I don't trust myself without these tools. I understand that watching a video is obviously no where near as harmful as gambling and I don't wont to put unnecessary pressure on myself but I feel this will make me much less likely to relapse.

 The fact that this decision has had such an emotional impact on me makes me convinced its the right thing to do. 

This has also highlighted a wider issue that I spend too much time on my laptop in general and should find more ways offline to entertain myself. My first step to this has been to join my friends five a side team which I am looking forward to starting next week.

I am using this forum as a diary to help me air out what I am thinking and to increase my accountability for my actions. Due to the nature of a diary what I am writing is purely my opinions and reflections on what's best for me. If people here find positives in watching such content I am in no way saying that is wrong just that it's not the right path for me.

Hi Sam, There is nothing silly with not watching the videos, if anything it is the right thing to do.
If you were betting on horses the suggestion would be to stop watching racing. If football was your thing then don't watch it for a while until you're able to appreciate the game. Same with slots on Youtube, except there should never really be a time when you're ready to watch again. Think of the time you'll get back.

Good luck with your journey.
Hiya Chris thanks for the supportive words. 

Echoing what Chris said I'm finding that since stopping gambling I have an insane amount of free time and feel a lot less stressed/anxious. I am really enjoying this and have started to view my previously gambling in a slightly different perspective. Previously I have always viewed the problematic side of my gambling purely through the financial issues it has caused and this is of course something not to be down played but I had ignored its other consequences. 

Out of the blue I went to the cinemas on Sunday without giving it a second thought (by myself as my missus is currently back in the UK for a short period), her reaction to this really surprised me, she was shocked. She said I would never normally want to do anything and I needed encouraging to do things she knew I would enjoy. This made me feel really guilty about all the time I had wasted gambling at home that could have been much better spent and how this must have made my gf feel when all she wanted to do was spend time with me. 

This realisation highlighted how selfish I am, especially in how I view my gambling behaviour as it took this interaction to really consider the day to day impact my behaviour has on the people closest to me. This was upsetting to me as I have never considered myself as a selfish person, yet I have clearly become one. When my girlfriend is back I am planning on using this free time to do lots of different things with her and to hopefully show her a much better time and happy me than I have done over the previous years.
Thanks for sharing Sam...

For me its a reminder that recovery can be a complicated process...  Often there are no rights or wrongs to how a person learns to stop gambling, as long as that person keeps trying.

I've had many set backs in my recovery, but i have always tried to be honest with my family, myself and those around me.. .not easy, but again, effort is everything...

Keep trying Sam and keep sharing if you can....

Smartie xx
its a month since i have not gambled now which is easily the longest I have managed when ive had money to have the option of gambling and for that I am proud. 

However personally I have been struggling. Even with good intentions such as playing football I seem to always end up drinking and drinking to get drunk at that. When I drink too much I'm aware I'm loud and obnoxious and this leads me to feel really embarrassed and anxious for the next few days so I hide away from my friends. These feelings make it really hard for me to hang out with friends so I end up having a drink before I go out and just repeat the same mistakes. It also makes me isolate myself at work as being an expat lots of my friends come from work so there's no separation between my work and social life. I am not an alcoholic but have relied on alcohol to socialise since my late teens and have never really developed the social skills to feel comfortable in such situations. I am fed up of living in this cycle and have agreed with a friend to not drink in November. Secretly I plan to keep it going longer than this but haven't told anyone as I am worried having developed this drinker persona over the years I've lived in China if I stop people wont have any incentive to hang out with me. 

My fiancé has been having a really difficult time having recently tested positive for covid, Physically she is ok and describes her symptoms like a cold but with no sense of taste but as an asthmatic she's is understandably really worried about the possibility of getting worse. We are also really unsure of how testing positive will effect her ability to get back into China once she is better and finished isolating. Having got her visa days ago it really seemed we were close to living together again and both of us are struggling with the fact this may have been delayed. We speak everyday on the phone however due to my work and the 8 hour time difference it can be difficult to speak at length and  to my shame I'm often drunk at this time especially on the weekend. She is lovely and is no way annoyed that I go for a drink with my friends but understandably loses interest in talking to me on the phone if I am drunk.  I feel really lucky to be with her and am worried all this time apart is creating distance between us and I am exacerbating the problem.

In short I am happy to not have gambled and feel a lot less stressed in general because of it but it has not had the wide reaching positive effect on my life I was expecting and feel down about that. It is clear I was naïve to expect changing one thing would fix everything in my life but it was my biggest problem and having some semblance of control over it at the minute has made me aware of the other things that also need attention that I was ignoring before.

I am finding writing this blog really helpful in better understanding how I feel and also just enjoying the process and would highly recommend doing the same to anyone else!
Hey Sam,

Totally agree that sharing your thoughts in a blog can help. I also share on the phone, text, chat rooms more these days ( Covid).

Stopping gambling absolutely brought many other issues to light in my life. Gambling masked many of these and it took me quite a while to accept that just stopping gambling wasn't enough. I had to change who i was as a person in order to recover long term.

Keep up the shares Sam!!

Smartie xx
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