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my story
Hi all

This is my first visit to this site so I suppose I should share my story before really getting involved.

My name is John and I'm 25. It's kind of hard to say when I first started gambling because the further back in my life I look there has always been gambling in one form or another. Even right back in primary school playing pitch n toss for football stickers or fifty pence here and there, I know that probably sounds insignificant but when I think about it now, I got the same buzz playing for football stickers and a few pence as I get now playing for money online... And probably the same sick feeling when I lost.

By the time I was eighteen I was already gambling on quite a regular basis. Me and a couple of friends would go every saturday for a few pints and a visit to the bookies. We would bet on the football and the horses for resonably small amounts and it would always be just a FUN thing to do at the weekend. I've highlighted the word FUN because back then it was, If i lost a few quid on the football it wouldn't matter, it wasn't about the money. If i won, it was a bonus, it paid for a night out, and that's it. Soon enough though I discovered online casinos. I can't remember why I deposited money that first time, maybe it was an email offering me a 50% bonus, it's hard to say. But, regardless of the reason I joined one. At first it was still just a bit of fun, I had been raised always to believe that gamblers never won and I think I always heard that mantra in the back of my mind, so when I lost, I kind of expected it and could live with it. However my problems really started when I won, that wasn't supposed to happen GAMBLERS NEVER WIN!!!! do they? I still remember how much I won too. I had deposited a small amount and two days later I had several hundred from playing roulette and bingo. It was too easy. Maybe I was different to the people who lost, maybe I was really skillful at a game of chance! So I carried on gambling and before I knew it, every spare minute I had, I was gambling. To make matters worse I forgot one of the better known laws of physics "what goes up, must come down". I believed it was impossible to lose that much, I don't know why but I did. But, sure enough, I lost everything I'd won and for the first time felt something new, the feeling that I MUST, at all costs, win it back. Even though I had still only lost the original small amount i deposited, It felt like I'd lost the large amount I had won rather than just giving it back. Even though my mind set was beginning to change I still knew how incredibly lucky I had been winning that money so I knew I couldn't just deposit another small amount and expect to increase it twenty fold. But I had to try. Logic was quickly becoming redundant. It was around this point that I had gotten a credit card too, again I don't know why I got the credit card, it wasn't for gambling at that point (I think it was because I had believed it was a grown up thing to have, but that's another story) However, having all that monay at my desposal meant I could gamble and gambling was by now becoming an issue for me. So, sure enough, before long the credit card was gone, maxed out. I had gotten onto the rollercoaster and I couldn't get off.

At first I was depositing small amounts, but when that wasn't working I started depositing hundreds at a time and raising my bets. Losses began to feel personal, like the casinos knew it was MY money and that they had picked me out of a hat and decided they were taking every penny from me. I began to think completely irrationally, since the date was 20th of August, I'd put money on number twenty or I'd expect to win more in the early hours of the morning, because for some bizarre reason I'd think casinos would pay out more in the morning. Rediculous... crazy... insane... But I believed it. I was changing in every way. I was distancing myself from friends and family. I'd make excuses not to go out with people, because I knew the money that I'd spent going on a night out with them could be saved and spent on gambling instead. I couldn't let them see me looking depressed at my losses either, I'd be paranoid that they would suspect something was wrong with me. That was becoming the worst thing of all, hiding my problem from people. I began to feel bitter that people were happy and I was becoming so depressed. I just wanted to be like them, happy for no apparant reason, because it was sunny for example. The only thing that made me happy though were those two little words "Player wins".

As my losses mounted I started to think of more extreme ways of making my money back. I considered taking out a big loan and putting it on red. I told myself that if I won, I'd be back on track, and if I lost, well, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it. Thankfully, I didn't do that, I wasn't completely out of control, and I took some comfort in that fact. How could I be addicted to gambling if I still had the ability to say no to a possible win? The truth is that the fear of becoming completely trapped by debts was greater than the compulsion to gamble. It was the fear that saved me. That's not to say that I wasn't already in financial trouble, I was and still am. But I knew that if I cut loose from the little bit of rationality I had left, It could be catastrophic. My life could effectivly change beyond the point of repair.

After a couple of years of plowing almost every penny I earnt into casinos my mind set began to change again. I no longer wanted to win as such, I just wanted to be even. I felt that If I could get anywhere near being even, whatever even was at that point, I'd stop. I'd become a human being again, happy because it was sunny. However, being even was so far from me it was hugely unlikely and I think the truth is, it was just another justification to myself to keep going. It was a drug and I was addicted.

So to the present day... Two weeks ago I sold my car I had planned to to spend the money on my debts and cut them down. I've already gambled a third of that money away. Last thursday I lost several hundred in an hour and only stopped because I lost internet connection. Irronically enough though, my irrational gambling mind may, I hope, have finally come to my rescue. Was it just coincidence that I lost the internet connection or was it a sign from somewhere telling me enough is enough? I don't know, but I like the idea of the latter and from that day I haven't made one single bet. three days and counting... I haven't even put a bet of the football today! Luckily for me I'm not too far in trouble for there to be no hope financially. I can still turn my life around IF I WANT TO, and reading other people's stories on this forum has helped me to see that I'm not crazy, I'm just another person who lost the ability to say no. Luckily I have a loving family and a girlfriend who makes me smile even when I think about how stupid I've been and how long it will take to repair the damage I've done to myself. Even as I'm writing this I have tears in my eyes brought on by the thought of what might have been if I had had the ability to say no and not become the person I am today. A gambler who never wins.

Thank you.

PS. I've just noticed after reading what I've written how many times I said the word "luckily"
I can fully identify with your story.Very much the same,ive gambled,businesses,and even blown very large amounts in 1 day,gambling my home away and then having noowhere to live by the end of that day.I still continued to gamble until I reached a point inside me which couldnt take no more.Having abstained for various periods I had a slip yesterday and earlier this week,and now back to day 1 again.Only trouble is now I am on my own,with no girlfriend,very few friends and find myself hating seeing people happy,or even when the sun is shining,I hate it,because it makes everything look good and better,but in reality it isnt,everything is bleak and black.These are the deptyhs of my depression I cannot climb out of,and you too could become like this after 20 years of gambling.But if you stay clean,you will lead a happy and better life.
Hi Andy

The worst thing about all this is the fact that the likes of us cannot reallistically provide any meaningful advice to each other. In many ways it's almost like the blind leading the blind, isn't it? I'd love to be able to say to people "Hey I was once like you but I haven't gambled in years now, and I can help you stop too", but I can't. I'm not even being stupid enough to say that I'm never going to gamble again, I've said it too many times before. All I can say is, I haven't gambled in four days, and tomorrow it will hopefully be five days. I think sometimes we're blinded by the losses we've sustained and forget the most important thing is just being happy with ourselves and feeling normal.

You know since about 2004 I've never set foot inside a casino or a bookies. I've only ever gambled online. The reason is I couldn't stand the thought of people looking at me losing and thinking "You poor thing". I couldn't stand the thought of pity. The thought of people feeling sorry for me was far worse than the thought of actually losing money. Perhaps it's that feeling which is the real reason I want to stop. I mean, at the end of the day if I was a multi-multi billionairre, would I mind losing tonnes of money? Probabaly not because I'd know that noone would be feeling sorry for me, including me.

Anyway I'm rambling again, I know. Thanks for your reply, Andy. I really hope that some day soon you can find happiness again, or atleast a feeling of normality, and not the constant sickily feeling of having to say to yourself "Oh no!... I've done it again, haven't I?"
I just want to say im 26 years old now ive lost a lot of money through gambling, the stupid thing about all of this is i dont need to gamble and if i never gambled i would have had lots of money anyway, i know i have a problem because i lost a large amount on the bookies roulette machines in 1 hour and it felt like the money didnt mean anything, i wasnt hurt after it,

but compared to what money i have, that amount is a lot of money to me, the next day several hundred went then day after slightly less the day after a few hundred thats all in a week) so ive decided to quit now its hard i mean its easy saying that your not going to gamble when u have money, but when u have lots of money the fear is always there, in the mind you always say ill try a small amount but thats never the case...
Johnrain re your story and subsequent posts.

You are a very intellectual person and we share many similarities as we anylise everything even to some point the retional behaviour of a "compulsive gambler". All of what you wrote I did, if I break even and just play a little im normal. Its been three and a half years since I had a bet, I lost my beautiful GF distanced my family (they have forgotten about my dirty secret!!) but I bought a car, started a business, I work, I buy things. I have stopped anylising. What i do however know is I am a "compulsive gambler" that means I know one penny leads to thousands, life will test me again. Im here replying to your mails so I am intrigued by GA once more, just so you know I live in Asia. The fact you sold your car and waisted the money, I sold a TV cost me X amount for x amount just try to win back the thousand I lost, rational thinkers!!. Now rationaly envisage no GF, no family, no posessions, no future..that is where you will go if instead of tackling you anylise. I tackled my problem, I hate gambling, I hate the waste, the time I didnt dedicate to being a decent makes me sick to the core to think of my former self. My advice is maybe you will like me believe you are to intelectual for GA, to above those who sit and pour there heart, but believe I can tell you stories that would make you think I was the lowest person in the world, GA helped me 100% because it surrounded me by people who were no different, they understood what and why I did and its only after some time away from gambling(3yrs+) I can truly stop anylising and live in reality. Good Luck...

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