Comments

JP
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Mat
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Hi all I didn’t gamble after that win, I know how lucky I got getting £1500 back after I blew £2000 in one session six weeks ago, I put the money away and keep working, gambling started for me when I was young and didn’t have a job, the thought of quick free money is what kept us playing, Jane just said £1500 in seconds in comparison of working to get £300 a week working, you can win big but also lose big if it goes out of control, it will affect you long after you stopped gambling. Majority of gamblers have low paid jobs, mostly young and unemployed and old pensioners if you look inside the betting shops, if I was making £1000 a week I would never even thought of gambling. Gambling is not the answer to anything, it will only cause you being even poorer than you already are. I was lucky not to be in debt as I have no credit history and couldn’t get anything and only gambled with money I had, credit cards are really bad and if I was given one I wouldn’t be able to pay it most likely as there were times where I was in and out of job due to sickness, my family took credit cards and they never could pay on time and if they did it was just interest and late payment fees.

Jane
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So true, Mat. It is hard being in debt, but I know that it will get better so long as I stay strong and remember why I am doing this.
It is impossible for me to use any of my credit cards now as my partner has them all hidden away at my request, so my debt can only go one way, down.
I can’t cut them up, because I hope to get better deals on interest rates and possible balance transfers in the future, but they will never be used for purchases again, only to move debt around. I have locked all my catalogues to future purchases, so I can’t make any more debt for myself that way either, so if something breaks, it stays broke till I can actually fix it, or pay cash for a new one.
From now on, I’m only going to buy what I can pay for outright. I have learnt the hard way, I’m afraid and having kids that are always needing one thing or another, has led me to add lots of rather unnecessary purchases to catalogues.
The main reason I gave in to a lot of the purchases was because I felt guilty, knowing how much I had wasted by gambling, so who was I to tell the kids they can’t have stuff, when I have wasted so much money.
Now, we are all living much more within our means and buying only what we need and although the debt is difficult, I have to focus on the positive side of things and appreciate all the little things.
Main thing is, Mat, I feel so much better for not gambling, but I wonder if I will ever stop thinking about it? Maybe, maybe not. But I will just take this one day at a time and see.
Glad to hear you are doing okay and have not gambled since, it is just really hard to adjust and go back to a normal view of the world after years of gambling. Money loses all meaning, whether you win it or whether you lose it. Winning large amounts of money and not working for it, affects us in so many ways, it makes you lose appreciation and perspective for money and what you can actually do with it. Even though we all have lost much more than we have ever won, it is still the wins that we recall the most because they are associated with positive memories, while the losses, we try to suppress are negative. £10 has little significance to me, because gambling has distorted the way I value money, but to my partner, £10 seems like a lot of money.
Money is the currency, the middle man if you like, which we use to get our all important high. We barter with it and trade it in exchange for the high. Often this trade only works one way, and we get nothing back for our money, yet still we carry on raising the stakes….throwing more at the trade for the high which will never come.

LOSER
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DAY 88 for me and all I want to do is reach DAY 100 so I can go gamble OMG! When I went to bingo I felt a similar excitement waiting for the number’s to be called. I have to be careful I could get hooked on that too and some of the set’s are very expensive! Been working out at the gym and dropped nearly 12 pounds!!! Feeling good but still got that urge!

Duncan
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 Hi Jane,

I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling with gambling urges of late; however, the most important thing is that you have not succumbed to these urges.  I understand that debt can be a depressing, particularly when credit card interest rates are so high, however this debt has been created as a result of gambling addiction. Money worry is a devastating condition in its own right, regardless of whether it’s caused by gambling or something else.  It’s only natural that you look at your current financial situation and feel a sense of anger/ desperation/ disappointment; however, there will be days when you’re able look at your financial situation and feel a sense of pride at the level of debt that you have successfully managed to reduce.  It is important to remember that the debt won’t last forever; however, re-entering the vicious gambling cycle has the potential to result in a lifetime of unhappiness.

Gambling addiction would not be such a tragedy if it was just about losing money.  The real problem is the way it makes us feel when we know we are hooked.  It’s like Jekyll and Hyde: part of use knows that gambling is causing us and those close to use terrible harm, yet another part keeps compelling us to gamble, in the belief that it holds the solution to our problems.

It’s a classic story: the problem gambler who’s hit rock bottom and decides to blow his/ her last possessions on one final bet.  It could be the one that wipes out his/ her debts and puts him/ her back on their feet again, ready to carry on his/ her life as a new person, free from the torment he/ her has been suffering as a gambling addict.

There are two problems with this:

1.The likelihood of winning is far smaller than the likelihood of losing everything.

2.If he/ she does win, he/ she will forever regard gambling as their saviour and they will quickly fall back into its clutches again.

You know all of this, Jane, yet it’s these illusions that can trigger the urges to gamble despite the damage we know that it causes.

Stay strong, Jane.  Your words of wisdom and advice are inspirational to numerous people who visit this site.  Weather-the-storm and you will be back even stronger than before.  I believe in you Jane and know that you will continue to give this fight your all.

Here’s to another day gamble free.

Jane
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Duncan, it is no wonder you have gone so long without falling for the lure of gambling again. Your words always resonate with me and I can relate to what you say so easily. It is clear that you have found happiness in being a non gambler and I am pleased to report that for the most part, I have too. Hopefully, time will heal all the pain and I can learn to appreciate small improvements in my situation. The memories of being ‘given’ £1500 in seconds, cannot compete with a working wage of £300 a week, because gambling distorts the way we regard money and our attitude towards it. It takes time to come back to reality and do things the right way, instead of looking for quick fixes. It may be slow, but it is certain. There is no certainty in gambling, after all.

If we truly valued money, we would not gamble at all. We would take care of it, so the whole idea of gambling for the love of money is messed up. You are right, that it is not just the loss of money that is so damaging, but the depression, stress, anxiety and whole host of personal and social implications which go along with it. I might not have any money right now, and I have stress because of trying to make ends meet, but I am happy knowing that I am doing the right thing. My mind is at peace and I can settle at night, where before, my mind would literally race and my heart would pound with worries about being found out.

I can also tell you that I was thinking to myself, yesterday, ‘if I’m going to bet, and lose all my days, I am going to bet big.’ That way, I would either lose big, or win big, but as you say, I would then regard gambling as my saviour, and in doing so, doom myself to more misery in the future. Then, I started to worry about losing a lot of money, so I just deposited the £200 and I asked myself, honestly, can I literally have one bet and walk away, win or lose? The answer was no. Most definitely, no. So I took the money out.
I know that part of me wanted to bet, but part of me was just unwilling to accept that I could lose the money, lose the fight, and lose my days.
It just felt like I would be cheating on myself, if that makes sense. The fun element wasn’t there, and I just cannot accept the risk anymore, like I used to. There was an awful lot of thought and hesitation, and I am pleased about that, despite, being upset that it has happened twice now. Still, I suppose, it is not the things we think about doing, but the things we do in life, which we are accountable for.
Best wishes, Duncan. Still smiling. :)

LOSER
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Well said Duncan!

Kate
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Jane .. I hope you can hold on and not go back to gambling. It is not the answer. I am in the middle of a project working harder than I have for years but I know my earnings will just go to pay down debt. This is the price I pay for years of reckless gambling . One good thing about working harder is that I don”t have time for gambling , which is a relief. My urges creep up when I am bored . The reality of how much money we have thrown away should be incentive enough to never want to do if again , shouldn’t it? You can blow the equivalent of a weeks’ pay in a matter of hours . It is nuts . I sincerely hope I never do it again.
I have let myself indulge in self-destructive gambling again over the last month or so, and set myself back again financially but I am back on the wagon now .
No one can stop you from gambling Jane if you are determined to , I just hope you manage not to . You say the first week and a half of your wages are going to pay debt. You really really don”t want this to go to 2 weeks, or even higher . You know we all lose when we gamble… it would be exactly the same pattern … stay strong

Jane
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Hi Kate, thank you for your words of support. I hope you are doing well.
It’s just really hard because it is like I am still gambling, in a way. I’m not seeing any money for all the work I do, and it will be like this for such a long time. Just like yourself, Kate, all our money is just paying down debt. Of course, this is a good thing, but my bank account is still in the red and it feels like I am still gambling purely because it will be so long before I undo all the mess I made and start actually having some money in my pocket.
Debt is a huge incentive to gamble, and this in itself is completely counterproductive, but I know debt is a big reason why people risk what they do have, in a bid to try to make even more.
I’m still on board, and feel better today, yesterday was scary. Another bumbled attempt to gamble. I’m relieved I did not go through with it, but now I don’t like the fact that the deposit shows up on my bank, that irritates me and makes me feel like I did it, even though I didn’t.
I guess I am just guilty of wanting more progress than is actually possible. I mean, how bad would my situation be now if I carried on gambling, given how bad it is anyway? I need to remind myself that if I think I am struggling now, how much would I be struggling if I gambled and lost even more money. Hopefully, this is just a period of feeling low and it will lift as things start to get better. It has been very difficult, stress wise, and that doesn’t help does it? I am just so frustrated because I feel like my hands are tied. I can help myself get out of debt so much quicker, if someone can help me get better credit deals. It’s bad enough having £12,000 of debt, but I am paying this twice over with interest. Let me get across just how bad the credit deals are that I have:
One of my credit cards has a relatively small balance of £1169, if all I can pay is the minimum payment, the projected date I will clear my debt on this card is January 2039! (APR 49.9%) If I can pay £50 a month on this card, I will save £2346 in interest and be paid up by January 2021. In what world should you ever be able to save £2346 in interest when your balance is only £1169 ?!
Of course, I can’t pay too much more than the minimum because we only have about £30 a week spare after paying bills.
I feel like beating my head against a wall because the money is already really hard to find, Kate, yet it just goes back on again, the next month. :( I want to leave gambling behind for good, but my debt is a constant negative reminder of the mess I made and it makes every day more difficult to get by.
Take care, Kate and thank you for being there.

Lou
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I’m really struggling with stopping gambling I can’t stop even though I want to I have times when I think I’m doing really well but somehow I’m back on a site gambling away again! How do I do this?

LOSER
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Get a counsellor it will help you and eliminate all access to cash.

Jane
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Lou, I used to say things like ‘I really want to stop, but I can’t’, and the truth was, I wasn’t really ready to let go of gambling. Part of me just made excuses because I regarded gambling as something I wanted to do, something fun. I would resent my actions if I self excluded because I couldn’t bet then, so I would just go sign up with someone else to bet. I think this is because I always tried to stop myself from gambling, instead of changing the way I thought about gambling.
I refused to accept that gambling was the cause of so much pain in my life and would turn to it like it was a friend. Members on this site, Duncan, especially, have really helped me to cement this idea in my brain. To help me move away from the idea of using gambling to lift my mood. It should be obvious, that gambling always brought me down, made me depressed and full of regret, but after a few days or weeks, I would forget the pain, and be back looking for another harsh lesson.
I stayed this way for quite a few years, ‘trying’ to quit, but never really being fully committed. Once I did fully commit, things changed. I found I could go longer between relapses, and make an informed choice not to gamble. As time went on, I grew stronger, and although I still think about gambling, I am finding that I am reasoning with myself so much more, instead of just running off and gambling again. I am still battling with this, but the impulse to gamble has gone, and it is more a case of thinking about it and on rare occasions, missing the buzz.
It is important to have a reason to give up, a source of motivation, whatever that may be. It is important also, to understand why you gamble, what your triggers are etc…My trigger is my emotions, if ever I am particularly stressed or upset, angry or even happy and optimistic, I think about gambling. Extremes of any mood can trigger an urge for me, be it an extremely good mood or an extremely bad mood.

Try to remind yourself that you want to let go of gambling because it is causing you pain and distress, as well as bleeding you dry, financially. People often keep going back to gambling because they regard it as something exciting and entertaining, and this is a false recollection. Gambling is not fun in the long term, and if you can tap into the idea that you are preventing yourself from harm, instead of preventing yourself from having a good time when you quit, then you will better equip yourself to stop.

Best wishes, Lou. :)

Jane
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Put money in an account again and took it out. This is getting stupid now. I’m losing it. I just don’t think I can do this anymore. I am so torn.
I’m in debt because of gambling, and yet I still can’t fully let go, because when I do, I let go of the hope of getting rid of my debt sometime before the turn of the next century. I have been clean for 130 days now, and I am so crippled with debt. The progress is so slow because of how much I am paying versus the interest which is going back on. Why I keep thinking I can fix this with more gambling is beyond me. I know this is irrational, but the whole gambling scene is irrational.

I have asked the bank for another loan at 3% so I can pay off my credit cards which range between 17% and 49.9%. They can’t help me until I have paid down more of what I owe. Some cards are interest free, but the others are really high. For example, I paid one card (vanquis) £90 for my monthly payment and £52 went back on in interest. My credit score is trashed from all the debt, so I can’t get any decent deals. All I want is a chance to prove I can do this, for someone to have faith in me, and give me a low interest card so I can help myself get out of this mess.

I am so frustrated. I am losing literally a week and a half’s pay every month in interest and it is that which is killing my spirit and driving this irrational urge to gamble. I feel punished, that’s what it is. Punished because I have worked my ass off to try to help myself, suffered so much like we all have with this horrible affliction and paid so much off only to have a huge chunk go back on again. It is like a big slap in the face every time I get my statements back and I am nowhere near where I should be because of the interest. it’s just really trashing my motivation, what with all the stress and other problems going on right now.

I’ve asked my 0% credit cards if they’ll increase my limit so I can do a balance transfer but they can’t help me yet as I have too much debt already. I’m not looking to increase my debt, I am looking to swap over my debt by increasing one low interest card, to pay down another which is robbing me every month.
I hate what gambling has done to me. I hate the way I lean on it still. I’m so angry with myself for this mess I made. So many stupid, thoughtless decisions that are all coming back to haunt me. I know this would go away if only someone would meet me half way and help me to help myself. I don’t want handouts, or loans from family, and I accept full responsibility for my debt. I just want to see my money finally go to good use. Instead, it’s going into the hands of greedy banks like Vanquis who make the most out of people who can’t get credit elsewhere.
There’s no way in the world I would ever take out those cards now, but I did it at the heart of my gambling, and at that time, I would have done anything to be able to gamble, including filling up high interest credit cards. There was never any thought about the future implications, that’s the problem with gambling.

I’m obviously still really struggling with this, but despite depositing again, I just can’t get myself to click on that bet button. At least, that’s another positive thing. I suppose I’ll be asked again, why I took the money out without wagering. Maybe I am a money launderer after all…..I did once wash my jeans with a fiver in the back pocket.

Jane
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Think I’m going to fall today…..

NIK
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Jane,
Please don’t do it.
Look at my post below and think of all the problems gambling has caused you in the past. You have come so far now it will be a terrible shame to throw it all away now. You will feel even worse afterwards when you have lost, and even if you win as you have said yourself you will not really win because you will inevitably lose it all again and more.

Please stay strong and don’t throw away all you have achieved.

Jane
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Just checked my emails. Petfre (Gibralter) Limited sent me £200 with Paypal. It’s not a win, it’s just my full deposit back again. Didn’t get questioned about it this time. Another account closed. Betfred, this time. I can’t keep doing this, Nik. One of these days, I am going to end up going through with it, and that would crush me.

Something really powerful is stopping me from actually placing my bets, I don’t know quite what it is, but it is stronger than my desire to gamble, but not strong enough to stop me from trying. It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Like a weird battle going on inside. I don’t know if it is the idea of throwing away over 4 months of being clean, or if it’s the thought of doing this again to the family. I think deep down, I know that I can’t just bet and walk away. I would have to go into the bet knowing I can’t lose, and that’s not possible, so I just have to keep away.

I just feel really unstable. Off balance with the whole thing. I wish this were easier, Nik. It’s the debt, it should be a deterrent, to keep you from gambling, but instead, it is a very powerful incentive.
Makes no sense at all.

Putting my money back in the bank now. This is a really stupid patch for me. It wasn’t like this when I first gave up! I think it is the fact that I am still suffering with money problems, even though I am not gambling, so it is conflicting in my brain. It would be different, I suppose if the money I saved by not gambling, were my own, but it’s not. It all goes to the debt. So no matter how much I do, or how much effort I put in, I don’t see a penny of it. That’s what so hard about this. The effects of gambling stick around for so long, even after you have quit for months…it stays with you and follows you around, reminding you of the mess you made. Even when I pay out hundreds, hundreds go back on in interest. I’m just beat down with it all.

Jane
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Meant to say thank you, as well, Nik. It struck a chord, what you said about not throwing away all that I had achieved. I’ve never seen anything anywhere near like this kind of progress and if I give up now, I will start to think that no matter how long I go, I will still go back to gambling.
Thank you for your support. I really wish I were in your position though, having cleared your debts and all. Must feel really great, but I know that you have had it really difficult to get where you are, and I have to wait it out too. The only way to make sure this gets better is to never go back to gambling. That’s the only way I can improve my situation in the long term. That, and hard work.
That’s twice now that I have put money in new accounts, only to take it out again without betting. Bet the gambling companies aren’t used to that, eh!? Probably thought, ‘here comes another sucker!’ but I snatched it back from their greedy hands. You’re right, Nik, we should let them starve.
I feel more like myself today. I don’t know where I would be without you all, although I have support at home, and I am forever grateful for that, it’s not the same as talking with people who know just how bad this can get sometimes. Some people just say, ‘why don’t you just stop?’, but of course, it’s never going to be that easy.
Hope you are doing okay and making headway with your book.
Best wishes.

Nik
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Sorry to hear some of you are struggling.
I know it is easy to say, but when you get the urge please just think of the bad times gambling has caused you. You know you can’t win as even if you do you will only go and give it all back and more.
I am on day 55 now and still get the urge but then I think about the above. I look at my bank balance and think it is mine and I am not going to throw a single penny away on stupid pointless gambling – if you want to give it away give to charity not the bookies, let them starve. Think about how much more better things you could do with the money.
I think of how far I have come. I am now on a record period of abstinence, that alone is too precious an achievement to throw away. I vowed to never gamble again from this year on. I have had the one relapse on January 14/15, I am determined there will never be another.
Please stay strong everyone. Do not give them a penny more. Let’s all stop forever and ruin their downright evil businesses.

kate
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Dear Jane. Sorry to hear you are battling the urges …. you are right – it’s like a bloomin’ monkey on the back isn’t it? I had another relapse last week – it was very stressful ….. the pattern seems to be at the moment, have a relapse, pull back, spend a week or so not really thinking about it …..then another relapse. However, I am not beating myself up ….and I am starting to talk to my close friends more openly and honestly ( but not the gambling ) . Today I feel gamble free and confident that I can kick it – but maybe tomorrow things will be different! Hang on in there! Take care

Jane
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Thanks, Kate. I’m sorry you too are struggling. You just never know how the day is going to find you with this. One day, you are on top of it, next day, you come crashing back to reality. I am glad that you are finding it easier to open up to friends. It’s easy for me to say there is no shame in it, but I’m afraid we are never going to enjoy airing this kind of laundry are we?
I’ve sat and had a good old cry today. I did the sensible thing and told my partner that I am struggling. There’s just so much going on right now. I haven’t got gambling to run to, and I feel like I am spiraling down a hole. I just want to feel okay. I’m tired of being weak and pitiful. I have forgotten how to deal with things the right way. Gambling has made me vulnerable and reliant upon it, now I am lost when things get rough.

I haven’t got any spare money to gamble, but I have money available that is for bills later on. I have paid as much as possible early, so that I don’t spend it, but I have to leave several hundred in for direct debits at a later date. This is what happened when I lost rent and bill money before. I used it for bets, hoping for a win, but lost the lot. I can’t believe how stupid I was to do that, and how stupid I am now, to still feel that there is a chance to win. Some days, I honestly don’t think I have learnt anything. The urge just trumps all the common sense.
My mum has to wait till Thursday for her op. It hasn’t been easy, she has been in so much pain but it was complicated and they had to wait for a surgeon. I have had to take care of her because my dad had an accident and hurt his back a while ago, he was stubbornly moving a caravan with a friend and it fell off the blocks and squashed the bottom of his back. He couldn’t even help her up off the pavement when she fell, so he needs support to help her. Little do they know that I am on the verge of crumbling too. They think I am strong and reliable but I just want to fold. I’m tired of playing this strong person. I know that it is okay not to be okay, but other’s won’t accept it. When I opened up before, my parent’s reaction just made me gamble and I lost £1,200 for sharing my feelings. Now, I just tell everyone I am fine. It’s easier. Thank God I have my partner to share this with or I would crack up.

I can’t get my head around the appeal I am working on, and I only have 10 days left to submit it. I am trying to hang in there, Kate, but I feel physically sick. I am so irritable and out of sorts. Hopefully, a good nights sleep will help. Till then, I am asking my partner to keep an eye on me, because I am my own worst enemy. I have gone out of my way to bet before, knowing full well that I didn’t really want to. I am quite capable of having a complete meltdown. I am so irresponsible at times.
Hope you feel better soon, Kate. Hope we all do! This isn’t like other things, where you expect it to get easier in time, it’s so unpredictable. You just never know when it is going to strike.

Jane
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Having urges today and yesterday. Wish this would just leave me alone. I am trying so hard to kick this crap, but all the talk about horses is killing me. Stupid Cheltenham and it’s stupid races.
Horse racing is on telly all the time, but somehow, it’s these big festivals and events that really get me. I decided to watch the science and nature channels thinking I’d be safe, relax for a half hour, only to find the betting ads on there too. It’s in my head again and I hate it when I feel like this. I’m all unsettled and unable to concentrate. I have so many other things I need to be thinking about, so many problems to sort out. I wish there was a way I could unplug my brain. Even though there is no impulse to just go bet, and I have control in that sense, it is just in there, I can literally feel it. It feels like a piece of wood stuck in my brain. Maybe it’s just stress, I don’t know, but I just want it to go away. I want to feel normal again, and I do for a while, but then, there it is again, tormenting me.

LOSER
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Massive urges so decided to go to Bingo instead only to find pokie machines in the hallway before you enter bingo room!!!! Disgraceful really I am staying away!!!

Jamie
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Hi, I have recently been found out to be a compulsive gambler, this has led to my wife of 13 years leaving me, taking our 3 children with her. The family home destroyed, my life in ruins. I have been threatened, constantly criticized and now my wife just wants to dig further into my bank account, even before I knew her. I am not allowed to see the children, which kills me and them. My wife has indicated we may be able to move forward so I gave up all my bank details last night, this has just made things a million times worse. I hate myself, feel ashamed that I have not put my kids first but this was not the real me, I am not a bad man and have been a great Dad. Currently trying to get help but I have not gambled since 1st March.

Jane
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Jamie, the hardest thing for me, was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t a bad person. I have wasted so much money and time, threw away so many days that could have been special, even Birthdays and Christmas’s. The shame and distress I caused was unbearable at times. I didn’t want to look in a mirror and would physically punch myself in places that would not show. My partner and kids have both had to sell their stuff at times, because of me. I could very well still hate myself, but then that would continue to punish the family and that is not fair. If I can get over this, then they can move forward too and have the life they deserve and the mum they deserve.
I tried to stop for a long, long time, but the secrecy kept me gambling, kept me trying to win it back, so that I could forgive myself. The debt got worse, so I gambled myself into a really big hole one night in a ‘do or die’ kind of fashion, and lost big time. I had to come clean because I had spent our rent and so it all came out in a fit of tears of dread. I think part of me wanted to be found it, I wanted it to stop and I needed help.

Having not gambled for four months, I am totally ashamed of the way I behaved and want nothing more to do with that side of me. I have learnt to accept that when you are addicted, you behave in an abnormal way and you should not punish yourself for not putting the kids first. I didn’t either, Jamie. All I remember is locking myself away upstairs with the laptop for hours on end, in a horrible cycle of winning and losing. I would see the kids in from school, then they wouldn’t see me for hours, asking all the time, when tea is going to be ready and sometimes they would not get fed till 9pm.
I spent my daughters money in her college account, she doesn’t know, but my partner does. It will take me 2 years to put it back, hopefully before she needs it. I wasn’t myself. I was controlled. There is no way I would hurt them like that, if I were thinking rationally.
I have learnt to put all this shame and disappointment in myself behind me by turning this whole, horrible experience into something positive. I am making this up to them, one day at a time. I am not gambling, and I am paying down the debt and working hard. I know that deep down I am a good person, but that I made poor choices and got involved in something that got hold of me in a way that I could not control.
Fact is, I would die for my kids, but I am not willing to die for this addiction. I have chose my kids and my partner over gambling and I am going to undo the mess I made by making them and myself proud.
You can do this too, Jamie. We cannot change the past, but we have power to change the future and if you draw a line under your gambling, having already gone nearly 2 weeks without it, then you can turn this around and look back and be proud. We are never going to be proud of what we have done, but we can be proud of what we do about it.
Bad things happen in life, and as I always like to say, we are not our mistakes, we are our own solution.
Best wishes Jamie.

Stupid boy
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After 22 years I admitted I had a problem yesterday , I fee ashamed and embarrassed feel anxious my face arms and legs feel itchy fee spaced out been playing by these poxy online slots for years I used to have and habits in the shops don’t go in them anymore , never had issue with horses and football could take or leave it but online be slots have got me I’m in loads of debt I earn good money how stupid and irresponsible I am I’m totally ashamed my wife doesn’t even know I’ve hid it for 20 years all the bills get paid but it’s not right I’m disgusted with myself will I ever get over it will my mind ever go clear I feel like I’ve given up smoking or crack or something gambling should be banned it’s the devil

Jane
Reply

On the contrary, you should feel a great sense of relief and pride that you have taken the decision to leave gambling behind. You should not feel ashamed, we all make mistakes and it is what you do about it now, that counts, not the past. I also hid my addiction for many years because I used up all our savings to gamble, and then took out credit cards to fuel my gambling. The bills also always got paid, so my problem went unnoticed. I carried on gambling foolishly believing that one day I could win myself out of this mess instead of owning up to the mess I had made.
After years of making our debt worse, I finally came clean and admitted that I had squandered our savings and made £12,000 worth of debt for our family. I also felt ashamed and disgusted with myself but I was lucky and received a great deal of support and kindness from my partner who has written the money off as if we never had it. It really is the only way, because if you cannot accept that the money is gone, then you will doom yourself to gambling for the rest of your life, trying to get it back.

I know it is difficult, but perhaps you too, could talk about this with your wife. You can spare her the exact details, and amounts, but just to be able to say that you have a problem with gambling will help you a great deal in your recovery. I gave away nearly 40 grand and I still cannot understand why I did it. It seems like it was someone else, not me. It doesn’t seem real but unfortunately, it is.
Set yourself daily targets not to gamble, go one day at a time because the first few weeks are the hardest. I would really encourage you to talk this out in some shape or form with your wife. She can really help you. I thought that I would be yelled and screamed at but I couldn’t have been more wrong. If your wife can see that you really want to leave this behind and you want her to help you, she will feel good, knowing that you can turn to her with this. Much better than having her just find out, because when you live with the fear of being found out, it keeps you gambling, adds to your stress and pressure and just fills your relationship up with lies and deceit and this is what makes you feel so low. It is not just about the money, it is about that feeling of distance in your relationship because of the addiction you hide.
I really wish you well and good luck.

Mat
Reply

Yeah its like an impulse natural reaction to gamble, I only ever played £500 slots and fobts especialy roulette I never touched other games, Still nothing being done about them, would really feel better if they reduced the spin down to £2, that was the recommendation but its quiet, Im starting to think they will never do that, too much money for them from addicts, all this responsible gambling is total rubbish all they care is profits. These machines are so dangerous because of how easy it it to play, you see I was in town working and next minute I’m doing a £30 spin, I managed to win it then had few other wins on couple of spins and walked out of there in 5 minutes, but if I didn’t I could lose £1000+ it happened before. One evening went out to buy some take away and ended up losing £1600 in 15 minutes couldn’t eat anything after that cause of how it stressed me.

Jane
Reply

Mat, these things happen. It isn’t going to just go away because we have decided we don’t want it in our lives. It is often a case of weaning ourselves off of it, bit by bit. As you can see, although you had a win, you are unsettled and don’t know what to think about gambling again. This is because win or lose, gambling messes with your head, Mat. The outcome of our bets really is irrelevant. Gambling knocks us off balance, whether we win or whether we lose, because it is not normal, rational behaviour and so we are conflicted when we gamble, whatever the outcome.
The fact that you feel unsettled is positive, Mat. You recognise that this is not what you want to be doing, even though you have won and your attitude is changing into one which is moving away from gambling.
Sometimes gambling like this can be an instinctive, gut reaction almost. I know from my own experience that there have been times where I seem to be on auto pilot and have logged in to gamble without even giving it a thought. Next thing I know, I am making deposits and placing bets and this is most likely because it is what we have taught ourselves to do. It becomes natural.
I also had no urge the last time I nearly gambled, I just really wanted to bet. I managed not to gamble because I felt strange having placed a deposit. I was disappointed in myself. Seeing the money there in the balance column was strange after all this time. I spent a while looking at horses and although I filled out my betslip, I went upstairs to take a time out. I said to myself, ‘I still haven’t gambled, I have only deposited, I can still turn this around.’ I knew I didn’t feel right so I took the money out and closed the laptop. I didn’t know what to make of that at all, I was very confused, but relieved.
Most important now, is just getting back on track. You have done exceptionally well given the stress and problems that you have and all those days without gambling still stand to you.
Best wishes, Mat.

Mat
Reply

I gambled again I started exactly on a 6 week mark after quitting, I put £30 and had a winner, I was talking to someone I know from bookies and 5 minutes later I gone to a machine without even thinking and placed a bet, don’t know what to think, I didn’t gamble yesterday or today though. Didn’t feel the urge or nothing before I gambled I was at work doing errands it just happened out of nowhere after I was like what the helI I gambled again didn’t even plan it like a normally did. Im still back where I was before the £2000 loss that happened 6 weeks ago, still I have to take it easy and not get carried away. I signed up for gym yesterday and had a training session today, I must keep my mind off gambling.

loser
Reply

Mat maybe it’s just like a instant reaction for you like when you make a coffee for someone and you ask if they want sugar and they say no and you put it in anyway. I have had the same experience when I am on a diet. All of a sudden I find myself pigging out on something and then thinking “Damn i’m on a diet I forgot” Don’t stress about it get back on track!

Andy
Reply

Cheltenham next week, always loved it, still do, haven’t gambled now for 3 weeks, next week is going to be the toughest week of my life

Jane
Reply

First of all, well done Andy for reaching 3 weeks. The first few weeks are always difficult after relapse. Secondly, yeah….the horses. Don’t think for a second that I haven’t had this on my mind either. Cheltenham is one thing, I can begrudgingly let that go, but the Grand National? I may have to be sedated. Haven’t missed a bet on that since I was a child. Big problem for me, that one.
I am not capable of seeing this as an isolated event, so I have to stay away, otherwise one race will lead to another, and to another, and so on….and it will all start up again.

Wake me up when April 8th is over.

Duncan
Reply

Hi Andy,

I was at Cheltenham last year for a stag do. I’d also not gambled for 3 weeks prior to the festival and managed to remain gamble free.

It’s important that you don’t look at the week in isolation – look at the bigger picture. If you convince yourself that you’re able to bet next week then you’ll undoubtedly find yourself back in the gambling trap that you’re trying so hard to break free from. Even if you were able to turn a profit next week, you know that the longer term impacts will far outweigh any money you make. Try not to delude yourself into thinking that you can have a couple of bets next week. I’ve done this on numerous occasions and always found myself back in the vicious cycle, gambling again.

I wish you all the best in remaining gamble free.

Jane
Reply

So true Duncan. There is always another horse and another race. Once it starts again, there is no stopping it. It’s like a snowball effect. It just rolls away with you and before you know it, your ‘one bet’ has spiraled downhill into another horrible spell of uncontrollable gambling. It’s just not worth it.

LOSER
Reply

DAY 80 for me and the only reason why I haven’t broken is because I am too busy. Although being financially comfortable, it doesn’t help stop my gambling. I just booked another holiday and my thought’s keep going to why not go to the casino and try to win some spending money. I am not even using the techniques I learn’t from my counsellor to prevent myself from going but instead trying to find time in the day to go gamble. Yesterday was tough but stayed on track. I am amazed how quick my rational thoughts towards gambling go out the door when stress or a problem arises. I have even go teen to the point where I feel I have earnt a day at the casino once I complete 100 days! I will have to get into the Bingo instead only haven’t had time. Keep strong everyone, this addiction is like a freight train throwing you off when you relapse.

Jane
Reply

Thanks, Kate. I think we can be our own worst enemy. I know I can be incredibly self critical and it really is counterproductive. I too, have been slipping into my nursing role today. Been up at the hospital again. A two hour appointment, turned into another 5 hours due to complications. Apparently, my mum has damaged her shoulder too badly for several of the easier options to fix it. They seem to think that her bone density is very low as a result of osteoporosis and the cancer treatment she had and they are worried that they cannot put pins in to fix it so will need a shoulder replacement in the major trauma clinic.
I’m really glad I didn’t relapse as this added pressure would really make me feel lousy, right now.

I think we have to accept that we are doing our best, because all of the ways we criticise ourselves, can lead us to gamble to escape our problems and feelings. I am doing my best to hold onto my days and focus on being positive but it is hard right now. I seem to fix one problem and am presented with another one in its place. I just want it to let up for a bit and let me get back on my feet. I can deal with problems and stress fine, but when it keeps coming it can push me past the point of being able to cope and then of course, ideas turn to gambling for a lift. Due to all the problems right now, I do not feel in control of the situation and this conflicts with my ocd because I need to feel like I can sort things out.

I have made it to day 122, gone 4 months now. I know that things can still go wrong and that people can return to gambling at any time, but I have never seen anything like this amount of progress in 6 years, so I am going to allow myself to enjoy it and be proud of it. If we don’t, and are constantly thinking we will relapse eventually, then what are we doing it for? A day at a time after all, and if we are worrying about relapsing in the future, then we are not able to enjoy the happiness we have now.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for little outbursts, Kate. We are all only human. It doesn’t mean we don’t care just because we are frustrated, sometimes. Gambling used to be your outlet for this frustration and so you will find that it may come to a head sometimes and you need to allow yourself to feel all of your emotions, the good ones and the bad. Sometimes, people suppress the negative emotions, but they have their role to play too, and you need to allow yourself to be upset, be angry, be frustrated and know that it is okay.
Wishing you well, Kate. I don’t have my £2,400, but I still have my days :) Shame it’s not currency though!

NIK
Reply

Just checked my junk email and there are currently 16 pieces of rubbish in there. Amongst all the nonsense about beautiful girls wanting to hook up with me, some African leaving me millions of pounds legacy if I send my details and the opportunity to have a larger penis, there are 5 emails from gambling companies.
The junk box is where they belong and where they will stay!

Jane
Reply

Ha ha, I get the Russian girls after me too, Nik and surveys from gambling companies asking me how I enjoyed my gambling experience. My answer: not very.
This BetBright company won’t leave me alone either and I don’t even know who they are.

LOSER
Reply

Hahahahah NIK Not getting laid and not gambling :( Well saying “NO” to gambling is good but hey the Beautiful girls????Hmmmmmm

Duncan
Reply

Hi Jane,

Thanks for sharing your story.

I’d like to congratulate you on showing the resolve to remain a non-gambler, particularly when everything was in place for you to gamble.  Stress can be a difficult issue to deal with and for the gambling addict there is a misconception that gambling can alleviate stress.  Make no mistake about it  gambling reduces our ability to cope with stressful situations by adding to the stress.  You have experienced a difficult time with your mother; however, you have shown great mental strength in the resolve that you have shown.  I understand that you may have concerns resulting from the fact that you opened up a new betting account and deposited money; however, the most important fact is that you have remained a non-gambler and you should use this experience to reaffirm the positive life change that you have made.

Prior to my changed mindset to gambling, I used to fantasise about bets that I would place.  I would think about a horse/ football team that I thought was going to win and how much money I could make.  On numerous occasions the horse/ team I fancied would win and I’d feel that I’d wasted an opportunity to make money.  Eventually I would cave and I’d find myself stuck in the gambling trap again as I was unable to place a single bet.  The fact that the horse that you were going to bet on won is irrelevant.  Winning keeps a gambler firmly trapped within the vicious cycle more than losing.  Winning reinforces the illusion of pleasure and the illusion of control.  We do not control our gambling, it controls us!!

Hope everyone on the forum is well and here’s to another day gamble free.

Jane
Reply

You are right, Duncan. The fact that the horse won is irrelevant. It did bother me at first, but not half as much as I thought it would. Normally, something like that happening would just rattle me enough to head straight for another bet, but strangely, it was more of a quiet acceptance.
I was worried that it got so far as to actually putting money in and filling out my bet slip, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it. It didn’t seem a fair swap. A chance of winning, yes, but I would have to hand over my days.

Considering how much debt I have still, the win would have encouraged more bets and inevitably, more losses and I am just not willing to accept the way gambling makes me feel anymore and even the fact that I could have won, didn’t change that. That’s how vile gambling made me feel. I wanted to curl up and die when I gambled. Win or lose, I was always so unsettled when gambling, It just ate me up so badly inside. I want to make money the right way and feel proud of myself and I know I can never do that with gambling.

I told the kids, because I don’t like to shield them from real life issues. They are old enough to understand and I think it is important to discuss these things some times, then it stops being a taboo. My 12 year old son said to me that he was glad I didn’t bet because he knew if I won, that I would bet again, and lose it, and then we wouldn’t be able to afford to see King Kong at the pictures! Kind of brings it home to you, how other people’s lives and happiness are in your hands while you gamble. You don’t just affect yourself, those you love suffer too and that is something I just cannot do anymore.

Kate
Reply

Hi Jane – sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I am so impressed that you withdrew what you had deposited ….. I can’t imagine anyone would wish to be anything other than easy on you ….. but the most important person who needs to be easy on you is YOU….. you were tempted, but you pulled back …that takes some doing Jane. I’m doing OK this week and haven’t been tempted… so many of my friends/acquaintences /church community seem to have husbands who are unwell …must be our ages …. but I am finding a support network through this. None of us are ‘natural’ nurses to be honest – but are trying our best to fit the role ( with the odd impatient outburst) ….we’re used to our independence and find it quite a challenge to transition into a caring role. But marriage/partnership is for life/ in sickness and in health …. this is the deal. But it’s good to be able to share our frustrations and not feel guilty that we are not perfect in the roles we find ourselves in. We all need to accept that good enough really is good enough! All the best

Jane
Reply

Nearly broke yesterday. Had a lot of stress lately and a few things have stacked up on me. Took me seconds to make an account with Betsafe. Tried to make one with Bet Victor just before, but got told I was already excluded. Can’t even remember making one with them, but I must have done. That’s how it got me, I would exclude from my regular sites and just look for anywhere else to bet, it didn’t matter what they were called. Any site would do.

Deposited £300 and decided that if I was going to bet, I would stay away from roulette and bet on a horse instead. Some part of me thought it might be easier than going back to my old game. Made my selection and hovered over the ‘place bet’ button. Wasn’t feeling the urge to bet, just wanted to. I wanted a lift. Things have really been going wrong for a while now, I feel like it is one thing after another and been feeling like it was all getting a bit much.
There was no impulse to gamble, I just missed the anticipation. I seen that the bet would have made me £2,400. Played around with the idea for a few minutes and decided that the chance of a win just wasn’t worth losing my days for. It just didn’t feel right. My progress mattered more to me.
I withdrew the entire deposit I made without gambling and had a security call from the money laundering team because I had took my money out without wagering. I explained that I had felt low and that I wanted to place a bet, but decided against it because I was trying to leave gambling behind. They understood and put the withdrawal through for me and I put it back in my bank, and self excluded while I was at it.
Anyway, the horse won.

It bothered me at first, because it felt like I couldn’t do right for wrong. I didn’t want to waste any more of our money, but then when I decide not to bet, I find out that it could have made us money. I am okay with it now, because a win is not worth starting all this up again. Although I could use the cash, a win would only set this horrible cycle in motion again and without doubt, would make me want to gamble again, so I am not disappointed with myself for making the account. I am pleased with myself for making the decision to stay strong, even with money in the account and my bet almost placed. I kind of had a feeling that it would win if I changed my mind. That is the way my luck goes. But I know that had I bet and won, it would not mean the same, because I would be disappointed in losing my progress, so I am happy to accept that I could have had the money, but I chose my days instead. No bet is going to bring back all the money I lost. I’m too far gone for that. So it is best to leave it be.

In other news, been at A&E all day with my mum. She fell while getting off the bus and has smashed her shoulder, broken her humerus and has a nasty dislocation. We were there for 9 hours and they still could not help her. She has to go back tomorrow to talk about when they can fix it because they had no specialist there who could deal with both a dislocation and a break!

Pretty shattered now, so I am off to bed. Just wanted to share my story with you. Please go easy on me, because I am feeling a little delicate.
Hope you are all okay. x

NIK
Reply

Hi Jane,

Sorry to hear about your difficulties, but glad you managed to resist.

I am now on day 51. It hasn’t been without temptation but I am getting towards and may even be beyond my record of abstinence since my addiction took hold about twelve or thirteen years ago, so that will be a massive achievement for me.
As I say it hasn’t been without temptation, but I think once you hit 50 days that is something to be proud of and not to throw away with a moment’s thoughtlessness.

I have a number of ways I combat the urge when it comes on. The main one is to think how far I have come and to refuse to throw away 50+ gamble free days. I was gutted when I threw away 34 days on January 14th and 15th because I wanted to go all year about gambling. I cannot do that now, but I can go the rest of the year and so far have managed to do that. An ever increasing record of abstinence is very precious and not something to throw away lightly. Linked to this I look at my increasing bank balance which is now nicely in the black for the first time in years and I don’t owe a penny on credit cards. It is a great feeling.
My microwave broke down at the weekend and I was able to simply go out and immediately buy another one. A few years ago I would have been cursing and struggling to do this. Having money in the bank to cover unforeseen circumstances is a great feeling.
I also changed my car yesterday for the first time in eight years (the longest I have ever kept a vehicle). This means I will be in debt again, but I have no other debts and the car is essential for my business. It is also tax free (the previous one cost me £22 per month) and twice as economical, besides being eight years newer and having 73,000 miles less on the clock and a long warranty, so ultimately will perhaps save money in the long run.

I am also continuing to work on my new anti gambling book. It is only progressing very slowly, however I have a plan as to where it’s going and it is something else I can turn to when the gambling urge appears. Researching the terrible effects of compulsive gambling certainly focuses the mind and helps put me off getting hooked again.
I have no idea when it will be ready for publication, although I am optimistically aiming for some time in May.

Ironically I had a call from Betway yesterday. Before he had a chance to speak I told him straight away I didn’t gamble anymore and hung up. Doubtless he was going to offer me some fabulous bonus offer, which ultimately would be totally worthless as I wouldn’t be able to withdraw any winnings until I’d rolled it over something like 35 times.

So when I get the temptation I think of how far I have come, the money in the bank and the the things I can do with it, the bad times gambling caused when I only had a few pounds to last every week, was in massive debt and struggling to pay bills, and I also work on my book. So far this is all working well.

There was a time maybe around 2010/11 probably the middle of this addictive period which began around 2005/6 when I really though the only way out was to end it all. Even after this I continued to be addicted for another five years. But it can be beaten and debt can be overcome. It takes years of hard work and discipline, the occasional lapse and recurring feelings of despair, that it will never end but it can be done.
I am by no means wealthy, indeed one serious lapse and I could easily lose all I have achieved both financially and spiritually within the hour.

I am more determined and confident than I have ever been that this will not happen ever again – I do not want to return to that very dark and awful place.

You know what my motto is – everyone do not give them another penny, let them starve!

Take care and stay strong!

Jane
Reply

Hi Nik, good to hear from you. I am really pleased you are still on track and have reached 51 days. A really good achievement. Our days do matter, and they are a really good deterrent in making you stay gamble free. My days really were a strong pull in getting me to not hit that bet button. I was surprised at myself for actually depositing the money, but even more so, for withdrawing it.

I am glad that you are still working on your book. I am sure that all that research provides you with a great reason to keep going. The stuff you uncover will probably give you nightmares. I think we are the lucky ones, Nik, in that we at least, acknowledge that we have a problem and are trying to deal with it. I was still stumbling around blind this time last year and was suffering more than I can say. I just couldn’t see a way out but I knew something had to change and that something was me.
I wouldn’t look at the car as debt as it is really a sign of things looking up for you. After all, if you were still throwing money away, you wouldn’t be able to get it. It is your new status symbol! A sign of things to come. I often wonder how much money I would actually have if I just didn’t gamble, I always thought I had to win money to have money, but I was wrong. I just had to learn to keep what I had.

I wish you really well, Nik and keep going. Whenever temptation comes calling, I am always aware now that I have a choice. I can choose not to gamble at any stage before relapse happens and that is something we have to remember.
All the best.

NIK
Reply

Yes, I also wonder how much I have lost on gambling over the years. I lost my property. I inherited it mortgage free and raised a couple of mortgages on it because of my gambling before eventually having to sell it to pay my debts, so I have easily lost well over £100,000 because of gambling. And it is still costing me because I have been paying rent for the past five years and will have to for the rest of my life. It is now up to £530 a month, so I am instantly that much worse off per month every month and will be for evermore because of gambling.

Jane
Reply

I know, Nik, I am lucky to have some of my debt on interest free cards, but about £7,000 of the £12,000 I still owe, accrues interest each month. I pay about £900 a month, purely in credit card bills and only about £600 comes off my balance. The rest is thrown back on in interest. I got good deals on credit cards at first, but wasn’t ready to quit gambling, so I just filled them up with more bets instead of using them to transfer my balances over. Then, as my gambling and debts got worse, I could only get more credit on higher interest cards. It sucks but it is the bed I made for myself. Deterrent enough to stay gamble free.

LOSER
Reply

Sorry to hear Carl, best thing to do now is ask yourself the true reason why you relapsed. Were you upset? Bored? Did you need money? Once you work out the reason then work on the issue. If there was no issue and you simply wanted to gamble then work on prevention methods like eliminating cash etc. Then start to work on the reality that gambling isn’t fun in the long run and as for winning money we will simply put it all back in and more. We need to manage this addiction, don’t be so hard on yourself just start again and look at the positive from this and thats that you can and have stopped for a while and can do it again!

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