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I need help
I've become a compulsive gambler

Before I could go in somewhere, win a few pounds profit (Or even just get some of my money back) and walk out.

Over the past couple of months I have got worse and worse, leading up to this week.

This week funds have been low in my bank account, but I still had the urge to gamble. So I kept taking out small overdrafts and paying them in the next day, which was fine (My bank luckily don't charge for them as long as they are paid back in during the next day). Mid week I was overdrawn and suddenly found I had no funds to repay the overdrawn amount, so I had to lie to my mum so she would transfer enough funds across to cover the overdraft. I told her I would pay her back on Friday which was payday.

Thursday and my Mum had actually given me more than the overdraft amount, guess where I ended back up. Ended up overdrawn again as I knew by Friday morning I would have been paid and could cover the overdraft back.

Friday came and my pay had arrived. Which instantly sent me to the bookies. I then proceeded to win, around 200% on what I staked. Then I got greedy and ended up walking out with nothing.

Today, the weekend. Nothing to do but the bookies are open. Went in, won my stake back plus a little on top but then kept visiting the cash machine trying to chase the jackpot which of course I didn't win.

I've spent my entire wage in 2 days and now don't have enough to cover my Mum. Luckily I have a savings account to cover this but know unless I stop now as soon as I start dipping in to my savings account it will also be gone on stupid gambling.

I'm 21 and cannot afford for this to ruin my future. Please help!!! (Any GA meetings in the West Yorkshire area would be much appreciated, especially if there are any on a weekend to keep me away from gambling!)
Hello John,

Today is Sunday. Please read all my reply and try to keep an open mind. Yes the bookies are open (they didn't use to be when I gambled but there you go, this is progress <!-- s:roll: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_rolleyes.gif" alt=":roll:" title="Rolling Eyes" /><!-- s:roll: --> ). Another institution opens its doors today and welcomes visitors and regulars alike. You can sing (dance even at some) meet people, have a coffee at most and there's no bandit/roulette/space invader in sight. Having filled in your morning with no gambling there is a meeting in Sheffield at 7.30 this very evening - look forward to going and make this your target for today. There is no substitute for meetings. If you don't get to read this until Monday, no problem, fill your day in as best you can - work, library, walk in the park whatever and then get to a meeting in the evening.

Within Yorkshire as a whole, there are meetings six nights a week. Sheffield has a daytime meeting on a Friday. West Yorkshire has meetings four nights a week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. All are accessible by public transport if you have no "wheels". From the "Home" page click "Meetings" then "North East" then select from the drop down list the town or city you wish to visit the meeting in. Clicking on the blue writing gives you a map on how to get there and all from the comfort of your desk (is this progress <!-- s8-) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8-)" title="Cool" /><!-- s8-) --> - I found GA through a poster displayed in the citizens advice bureau waiting area and telephoned the number given for directions).

Well hope this is helpful John. Get yourself to a meeting as soon as you can and see how GA can help you.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees, we are self supporting through our own contributions. GA is not affiliated with any sect, demonination institution or politics, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stop our gambling and help other compulsive gamblers to do the same.

Also, I may go to church, but it doesn't mean that you have to.

Kind regards

'Poster' David (Barnsley)
Many thanks for your kind words David, I did not read them until blowing yet more money on my lunch hour from work on Monday. I then read your post and was instantly struck by it, although the demons took another chunk from me this lunchtime too <!-- sSad --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_sad.gif" alt="Sad" title="Sad" /><!-- sSad --> . But on the positive side, the small amount I put in today made me feel sick and after losing it all I walked out into the sunlight and thought 'Enough'. I have had this feeling before but with the sun out today it felt a lot stronger.

I also have got a rewards card for a certain bookies which I have decided I will cut up and throw away the next time I am anywhere near the bookies. I have been reflecting recently on how bad my addiction has become, thinking I would now feel guilty just playing on penny machines at the seaside.

I will definitely be going to a GA meet as soon as I can (By the end of this month at the latest, before my next pay), Sheffield is a little far for me but Leeds or Wakefield are 2 ideal locations for me.

<!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
Hi John,

Good luck with your recovery- David's advice to get to a G.A. meeting- or as many as possible-is probably the best advice you could possibly recieve.

However, in my opinion (and this is just my opinion), his suggesting church as your first port of call is not a useful suggestion. May I reiterate that G.A. is NOT a religious organisation. This is laid out very clearly in our fellowship's guidelines:

Is G.A. a religious society?

No, GA is composed of people from many religious faiths, along with agnostics and atheists.

Since membership in GA requires no particular religious beliefs as a condition of membership, it cannot be described as a religious society. The GA recovery programme is based on acceptance of certain spiritual values, but the individual; member is free to interpret these principles as he chooses.

Also, alluding to a place where one can 'sing, (dance even at some) and meet people' just sounds cult-ish and creepy, and has nothing to do with recovery from a compulsive condition. If David's reply was doctrine free, he would not need to ask you to read all his reply and keep an open mind- the mere inclusion of this statement reveals how damaging linking religion and GA is, and how many members we have lost before they have even had a chance to begin recovery cannot be underestimated. His disclaimer that 'I may go to church doesn't mean you have to' is entirely redundant when going to church has been his first suggestion- Sunday morning or otherwise.

I write this not from an anti-religious standpoint, but because time and time again I have seen people baulk from GA because of the language used in our literature, and religious advice such as this. GA is a fellowship which draws its strength from its members and their experiences, not from religion. If you need some inspiration on a Sunday morning, I suggest the forum on this very site, populated by people who actually have experience of the condition of compusive gambling.

Good luck with your recovery- I hope you find a meeting which works for you.
I'm happy to report I carried out no gambling on Wednesday and have managed to come home having done no gambling today either, despite being in a major city centre surrounded with gambling venues. In fact, I even went for a pint in the lovely weather today.

Although this is the start of a long journey, the real test is about to begin. Friday evening and the weekend will be torture for me, although I am certainly hoping to get to a GA meet during this period. The fact I have virtually nil in my bank account linked to my debit card is also helping, so another test will be my next payday.

I should point out I do not go to church as I have been an atheist for several years, although I do respect people with their own religious views.
Friday was fine, I came straight home from work and didn't gamble a penny.

However this morning my Mum asked if I wanted to go to bingo tonight. I initially said 'I'm OK, got no money' (She doesn't know I've gambled it all away, she thinks I've been locked out of my bank account for the moment), but she offered to lend me some so I agreed to go as otherwise she may have been suspicious as to why I didn't want to go so much.

The bingo was fine, nothing won but it isn't too much to play. Again I got drawn to the slots, initially I had a small win but it didn't last long. By the time I had walked out of the bingo, I had lost the 'loan' from my mum and also an additional amount of money which I withdrew from my bank without her knowing (Making me overdrawn which will mean a fee as they're still checking details to let me in to my savings account and I have no money from elsewhere to bail me out this time).

I got home and have found the tune the bingo hall play (To announce the intervals are over) on YouTube. Listening to this now brings back flashbacks of the night and is making me quite upset. <!-- s:| --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_neutral.gif" alt=":|" title="Neutral" /><!-- s:| -->

I thought I was starting to make progress but this has knocked me right back to square one. It almost feels like I gambled more than I knew I could today due to the lack of gambling the past couple of days building up inside me and getting released tonight.

My mum commented 'it is a lot of money to lose' in reference to the fact I lost the money she lent me, not knowing I had withdrawn a matching amount from my bank. The money she lent me was around 1% of the money I have lost gambling over the past 3 months.

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