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Shoebox's Story
(05-01-2019, 04:30 PM)shoebox Wrote: My compulsive gambling started when I was 17 years old, when I joined the Army. I always had a problem of fitting in with other recruits, so I used to play the fruit machines on camp to not feel alone and to fell comfortable with myself.

I would get paid monthly and by the 2nd or 3rd of the month I was absolutely skint, having to sit in my room every weekend, because I couldn't afford to leave camp. This went on for 3 years, even when I was on tour, I would play in a poker school and lose fortunes, I even done a 6-month peace keeping tour and I didn't even manged to save anything. 

When I left the army, it was about the same time as the FOBTS where hitting the high street book makers, I went in one book maker one day to put a bet on a boxing match, then I saw these machines in there, with a group gathered around them, people were queuing up to have a go on them, I thought I must try this. I first played the roulette, I thought it was brilliant, I had my own roulette wheel to myself and loved the clicks and the rattles the machines made when spinning the ball. I would start off betting small, then get bigger and bigger, there was a cash machine next to the bookies, I would keep walking back and forth to it until all my money had gone, I was in a trance like state or a dreamworld, Then panic would set in when I lost all my money, "how would I get through the rest of the week, without food shopping, petrol for the car, and the rent still hasn't been paid?". I would then make lies and make up story's up to my Dad why I hadn't got any wages left, he would always bail me out just enough to get me through the week.

I knew I had a gambling problem when I was 21, I just knew that losing all my money every week gambling just wasn't normal, but I couldn't stop myself. I have tried many methods and measure over the years to stop, self-help books, barring my myself form bookies and casinos, even a Hypnotist, nothing worked for me. My gambling illness was always very cunning a conniving. It always found a way though my guard of sheer determination and willpower.

Towards the end of my gambling days when I was 32, I was really starting to take its toll on me mentally and physically, my friends and family were just seeing straight through me with my lies and story's, I was depressed, I felt isolated, I was constantly walking and with shame and guilt on my shoulders. I was In a dark place, I didn't want to be part of this world anymore.

Then Finally I lost amount of money which a payday loan couldn't cover and my partner was gonna leave me, as an act of desperation I said I would give Gamblers Anonymous a try, I thought this would buy me some more time and at least show some willingness. I went to my first meeting in Leightion Buzzard without no real clue what Gamblers Anonymous was really about, I was pleasantly surprised, everyone made me feel welcome and there were people in the from all walks of life, all different ages and genders. I listened to other gamblers share's, and they were really striking a cord with my own gambling. No one was preaching there, and when I give my share, I felt like I was communicating with people who could relate to me, in the same boat as I was in.

I then become a student at everything with GA, studying and learning all the literature, the 12 steps even the AA big book, I found it kept me busy in the early stages of my recovery, and I was generally fascinated by the program. I would talk to other members in between meetings for hours about our addictions, it really helped me them phone calls.

The biggest help in my abstinence for me, was the Higher Power, I was never religious of spiritual in any way, but when I bought into this idea it was a game changer for me. The problem I had for my 16 years gambling was my Gambling Demon was always stronger than me, I would dance to his tune, but now I have my Higher Power, and he is the stronger than the 3 of us put together, he is my boss. My gambling Demon will be with me the rest of my life, always lurking in the shadows of my mind, looking for an opportunity to get through my guard at my weakest moments, but to get to me these days he needs to get through my Higher Power, and he's there in front of me telling my Gambling Demon "YOU SHALL NOT PASS".

My last bet was the 29th Of September 2017, I have still got a long way to go with my recovery, and I recently got a sponsor to go through the 12 steps with me, and to talk too for day to day support. I am certainly in a better place today than I was before I went to Gamblers Anonymous meeting. I have learned to like myself again, I feel happy within myself. I have got new non gambling passions now, like my motorbike, and I am studying academically, all keeping me very busy.

I have been there and come out of the other side. All it took for me to admit I was powerless over gambling and I couldn't sort the problem out with just my willpower alone, and that I needed help. 

The truth has set me free.


Fantastic therapy Martin, you really encourage me, whenever I have spoke to you in the Chat Room. I wish you all the success in your recovery. You did really well to get out at 32, I was 57 when I got out - I was at it for 37 years. So you have your whole life in front of you - always remember "Just For Today - I will not gamble" - just a day at a time. Cheers Dave.  Smile "In Unity"

Messages In This Thread
Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 05-01-2019, 04:30 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 24-01-2019, 08:27 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 19-02-2019, 11:55 AM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by Chris_b - 19-02-2019, 12:51 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by smartie - 19-02-2019, 02:21 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 25-02-2019, 11:53 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 04-03-2019, 11:39 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by dave27 - 07-03-2019, 03:14 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - 07-03-2019, 06:08 PM
RE: Shoebox's Story - by shoebox - Yesterday, 07:12 AM

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