Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler.

This is my first time to this site and therefore this is my first post. It is not a forum question or statement but something that in hindsight has been waiting to come out for some time. Please don't feel you need to read it. I'm sure much of it is a similar tale to other stories on here. But I needed to get this get out, to write it down, to see it in words and to attempt to process it. I guess you could say this is me admitting to myself and whoever else reads this, that I have a problem. I am a compulsive gambler. And this seemed the best place for it.

I have been gambling for 18 years. It started when I was 16, putting a couple of quid on horse bets and enjoying the bright lights and game play of fruit machines. Being an adventurous teenager it was all about trying new things and I loved it. The odds, the variables, the statistics, the number crunching - all suited me perfectly.
By the time I left school it had become a daily occurrence. I felt I couldn't miss the next day as it might be the day all my horses come in.

I justified it that I was still there as I was waiting for my big win - then I'd quit. Many of the old fella's in the shop would talk about the day their acca's came in and they pocketed a small fortune. I won a few hundred on occasions but not the thousands I was convinced would come my way and give me the perfect moment to stop gambling. Over the next few years this habit continued and worsened. I had to get some of the money back that I had 'invested'. I also started to notice i was gambling larger amounts and wouldn't leave when I had won. I could win the jackpot on a fruit machine and then give it all back. I started to realise I wasn't just there for the prospect of winning money.

The introduction of the roulette machines were a total killer for me. I still wouldn't put more than a few quid on the horses and fruit machines took time to lose money on but roulette... gee... that could be a weeks wages gone in 10 minutes. And before long it was. Although I had a very small income - within a month I was losing sometimes hundreds a day. I was lying to family, friends and work about money, where I had been and why I must nip off. I knew I had to act, I was totally out of control and it scared the hell out of the me. The problem was, I would always give up tomorrow and tomorrow was taking a long time in coming.

Eventually I confided in a friend. Everyone knew I liked a punt so it was admitting that it was now out of control. She recommended a hypnotherapist that had helped her stop smoking. I went with a real desire for this to work and although I don't think it did a lot to cure my subconscious it gave me a 'tomorrow', a starting point and I stopped... completely.

Initially it was hard but the feeling of freedom was empowering and helped me to simply stay out of the bookies. As I could now speak in past tense about the period of my addiction, I started admitting to it to more people. In a way, that was cleansing and I felt it gave me less and less chance of falling back into it. That peoples knowledge of it was a safety net over the abyss.

I remember admitting everything to my wonderful and devoted older sister. She told me the most important thing I could do now was to forgive myself. Forgive myself for the lies I had told, forgive myself for the life focus I had let it rob of me and for missing out on wonderful times due to being broke or depressed. She didn't blame me for it either, she was insistent that I had an illness and that I should be incredibly proud of diagnosing it, admitting to it and making myself well again. Although I still felt really guilty that I should take any credit for this horrible saga, I started to actually be proud of myself again. And that felt great.

So that was me for 5 years. I got a decent job and then a better one. I finally moved out of my family home. I had money to spend on holidays, on my girlfriend and I started to keep on top of my still relatively enormous debt I'd accrued. Fruit machines didn't beckon me over, I flicked over the racing on t.v and I skipped the racing pages in the paper and, most importantly, I walked straight past the high street bookies with an (almost) total sense of control. I remember even feeling a sense of pity for those inside. Then my sister died.

No one knows why she died. She had a cold symptoms on Wednesday, more like flu symptoms on Thursday, was rushed to hospital on Friday when she woke up blind and died Saturday morning. I arrived after she'd slipped into a coma. I never had a chance to tell her to be strong, to thank her for your love or to say goodbye.

It broke me. It broke my family. Things started to unravel. I broke up with my long term girlfriend. With the banking collapse, I lost my job and I couldn't get another one and my old gambling debts were on top of me again. Mum and Dad asked me to move home and help them get it ready to sell. In return I wouldn't need to pay rent and they would pay off my debts once the sale had gone through. It seemed the right thing to do.
Except I was returning to the scene of the crime. I had a gambling problem almost the entire time I had lived in that house. A few weeks after I'd moved back I over heard some guys discussing the upcoming England game on a train. One was talking about a bet they were putting on with Eng to win. I remember thinking "hey, thats what I would guess too". I put my first bet on in over 5 years. It lost.

The following months I found myself more and more in the old bookies again and back on the roulette. I was very controlled at first. Only a few pounds in and then walked away if I didn't win.. but it didn't last. I was back on the path again and I remember loving the rush. Dad paid me a good sum for my work but instead of throwing it at my debts, I threw it harder and faster at the machines. I was so caught up with them I almost forgot to put any horse bets on. I had numerous moments of clarity, moments of telling myself you can't go down this road again, you can't do this to the memory of your sister, you have to stop. But I didn't.
More money meant for my debts entered my account and although I managed to pay off some of the debt before I had a chance to blow it, a lot of it still went down the road. Into the machines, into oblivion.

That was 2 years ago now. I never got on top of the debts and now they have crept back up to where they were before my parents help. I am now totally out of control. I have drained every financial resource I could find. I've borrowed more off my parents, more off the bank, I've gone cap in hand to my other sister crying poverty... and then run off to the machines when the cheque has cleared. I blew hundreds in one day on the machines a few months ago and followed it up with more the next day. That kind of thing just eats you up inside. You're almost in shock for next few days. Until you get more funds and do it all again.
I just want to turn the clock back, to go back that moment on the train when I decided to put a bet on again. The moment when the first big installment went into my account. Even to return to last week when I hadn't blown money!

I have no idea how I will forgive myself for this - but I guess being on here is a start, reading others plights, hopes and battles is a start and writing all this down so I can't pretend it hasn't happened is a start.

So to anyone who has got this far... thank you. You have helped me start this long and difficult road.
I must remember I have done it before... and with your help, I will do it again and this time for good.


P.S. If anyone attends the Central London meetings - I'd love to know of a friendly face before I arrive.

Messages In This Thread
My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by Guest - 22-11-2011, 11:12 PM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by Guest - 24-11-2011, 12:43 AM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by barrieexgambler - 24-11-2011, 05:25 AM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by Guest - 24-11-2011, 09:02 PM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by Guest - 25-11-2011, 06:50 PM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by Tomso - 25-11-2011, 07:25 PM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by barrieexgambler - 28-11-2011, 05:16 AM
Re: My name is John, I am a compulsive gambler. - by crazy horse gang - 29-12-2011, 05:39 PM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)