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18 Years of Hell & 180 Days of Freedom!
#1
Hi everyone, my name is Steve and I am a compulsive gambler. I’m 32 and had been gambling for around 18 years, starting off on the fruit machines at as young as 14 with my pocket money and whatever change that was lying around the house. At the time I didn’t really think anything of it, just thought of it as a bit of harmless fun. 

My addiction soon got a whole lot worse as I turned 18 and I was allowed in the bookies! Although I placed bets on the weekends football this wasn’t the real problem. The FOBTs were my weakness, I would be on them almost every evening and weekend putting in one xx pound after another. I ended up going bankrupt at the age of 21 with debts of around £xx. My credit rating was destroyed, which was a good thing because it limited the damage I could do going forward, at least for the next 6 years, which is how long it took to come off my credit record. This of course didn’t stop me from gambling my wages away every week.

I very quickly got myself back into debt with loans, credit cards etc and at 29 I had to go through the process of an IVA! The last three years of my life haven’t been gamble free as I’ve had my wages to squander away, however the last 6 months have been. 

On Tuesday the 29th January 2019 I went to my first ever GA meeting, something I should have done a long time ago! I went to three other GA meetings the following week and it was by far the best thing I have ever done! 

After speaking with the other attendees, before, during and after the meetings I made the decision to NEVER gamble again, no matter the situation. I made a solum vow that I would quit once and for all, and to make sure of it I made sure I did each of the below:

I went on the GAMSTOP website and excluded myself from all UK online gambling sites (as this had become a serious issue for me in recent years).

I went to all the bookies in my area and filled out self exclusion forms. Most bookies are actually able to exclude you from multiple shops in the region, so this can save a fair bit of time.

I purchased a pre-paid ASDA card and loaded it with enough money for food and drink every month on payday. You can’t withdraw money off of these, only make purchases, which made it a great option.

I made sure I read the ‘Towards the first 90 Days’ handbook at least once a day. As far as I am aware, most GA meetings give these out to all new comers at their first meeting.

I converted 50% of my surplus income into gold (bookies don’t yet accept this as payment so I considered it a way to keep my money safe should I find myself in an area where there’s bookies/casinos that I am not excluded from. (many would argue it’s a good investment anyway)

I went to 2 GA meetings a week, and still do! This is without a doubt the most important one, I honestly can’t express the importance of attending a GA meeting!

I found a hobby and dedicated the majority of my free time to it. It’s very important that in the early stages of recovery you have something else to focus on! 

Now I know I’m only 180 days in and I am only ever one bet away from disaster, however the above has really worked for me and I can honestly say that my life is a hundred times better now that I’m not gambling! 

All the best

Steve

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Just today I will not gamble!
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#2
Good post Steve. It's heartening to see blocks put in place that have clearly benefited you. The word HOW is used a lot in meetings when new members ask how they can stop gambling. Honesty, open mindedness and willingness are the answers. It's quite clear you are willing to put gambling down.
Now you've achieved 180 days, can I suggest working a steps program (if there is a group near you) to bring about the next phase in your recovery?
Well done though.
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