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time to make a change, but know i need help
I am 24 years old, and am a compulsive gambler.

I realised a long time ago that i had a problem with gambling. it started when i was about 16, with football bets. then when the machines came out, them too. over the years, it would be impossible to recall the amount of times ive walked into a bookies out of sheer boredom, n walked back out with not even enough money to eat. theres been times over the years when iv felt like giving up on everythin, always after a long losing streak. even then, i think it was more trying to get the money back id already lost if that makes sense.
in 2008, i won a hell of a lot of money. although its hard to recall actually spending it on anything, except other bets.

The embarrassment of finally going into a betting shop and askin to fill out a self banning form and attaching a photo was somethin i knew i had to go thru.. i went into a photo booth n got twenty passport sized photos of myself. At the time, the blackjack machines were killing me. i once wasted 3 months wages in a machine over the course of four hours. with my last couple of hundred, i managed to get it back up to almost what i started with. But obviously with me being a compulsive gambler, i continued until id lost it all.

It was then i made the decision to get the photos taken. i went to all the major bookmakers in the area, gave them photographs and filled out forms to ban me for 60 months. then i thought, 'problem solved'...

it wasnt long before i was traveling ten miles out of town to put bets on. sometimes, after several months, i could even get back in the shops where id filled the forms in!! Now, two years on, and more or less financially ruined, im at my rock bottom. iv tried all sorts of ways of stopping gambling, from blocking myself from sites to barring myself from anywhere that takes bets. and yet i still manage to get bets on, still manage to lose. im writing this now after getting myself in a proper hole, and then putting everything i had on 'one last bet' to win it all back... it folded, as thy always do.

iv logged on to gamblers anonymous and iv decided to attend a GA meeting on thursday. for some people, self banning forms might work, but with my personalty, it wont work for me. i wish i had done somethin much more than get some photos taken all that time ago. Now, i know i have a very serious problem, and if it continues, it will threaten to ruin my family and possibly my life, if it hasnt already... i sincerely hope the meetings will help, if not, i dont know where i will end up...
Welcome, you have come to the right site to get the best advice for your addiction. Great that you have made the decision to get to a GA meeting. I wish I had done that when I was your age but unfortunately I went on to gamble most of my entire life. In the GA book it tells you that if you continue to gamble three things will eventually happen, insanity, prison or death. I think the insanity piece has probably already happened to you as you look back and see the things we did over and over again with the same outcome. The most important advice I can give you is to go along to the GA meeting with an open mind and keep going back, if you don't get it to start with the program will eventually get you. I have seen hundreds of people come the first night and never see them again. Well there is no magic cure for us and Gamblers Anonymous is not an easy answer, you have to work hard at it for the rest of your life, but things do get better and you can go on to live a full and happy life without ever gambling again. Take the time to read some of the other postings on here and you will see the results of recovery.
I wish you well
Helen a GA member
Not going to post much to you that you dont already know!!

I have been there got the book and the T shirt.

The best 2hours you will spend every week will be inside a meeting!! I wont say it will be a cure, it doesnt work for all and there are lots of people who come and go but if you dedicate your time each week and realise it is a neccessity to always go then you have a chance to live a normal life.

I found your story quite interesting in so much as you banned yourself for 60 months but they still let you in. I used to stand in one arcade saying "why cant you bar me??" the answer to that quastion is simple "does a bookmaker/arcade/gambling place actually care if you eat tonight??"

Well fortunately i hate gambling more than ever now after nearly 4 years off. Gambling deprived me of dignity, pride, social responsibilty, trust and respect and even when i screamed at the places that i couldnt cope they didnt care.

When you go to your first meeting you join a fellowship of men and women that have come together to do something about there gambling problem, this wont be a cure, I will say now you cannot trust everyone there. But it will give you the tools to truly tackle this desease, by following a programme of a better life.

Now I am "day by day" for the rest of my life.....the arcade/casino/bookmaker has lost and i have won because now im a different person.

Get strong my friend, get to them meetings and stick to that programme....forever!

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