Comments

Joanne
Reply

Well done John for reaching 31 days… brilliant! Thank you for mentioning me, you’re very sweet.

Day 24 for me

I hope you’re all practising self-preservation, we only get ‘one crack a life’ , who wants to live it with the trouble and strife that gambling brings. Keep fighting your way out of the ‘gambling coma’! There’s nicer things to spend our money on!

loser
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Hi Joanne,

24 day’s woo hooooo yipeee, Congratulations great to see you back on track!

Duncan
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for your post.

I can completely understand why you would turn to poker in an attempt to curtail your gambling problem.  I agree that an element of poker is down to skill and many people can find it a profitable pastime.  I think it’s the film ‘Rounders’ in which Matt Damon’s character questions the perception that poker is down to luck by saying something like “it’s no coincidence that the same people end up at the final table at the World of Series of Poker every year”. There is no question that people can make money from poker; however, I’m almost certain that the large majority of these people will not have a gambling addiction.

The problem which you have is that every time you gamble your brain releases a chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine will be released regardless of whether you’re playing poker, punting on horses or playing FOBT’s.  When you play poker you get an “endorphin rush” and the more that you play the more that you’ll crave that rush.  

It’s interesting that you consider that poker is basically doing you no harm.  Whilst poker may be doing you no harm financially, gambling addiction is so much more than the money – it really does play tricks on the mind.  When I was a gambler, I used to come up with various strategies in an attempt to prolong the reality of my situation i.e that I was a gambling addict.  I’d stick to betting on a particular sport, I’d play poker, I’d try to limit the amount and frequency of my gambling.  The problem was that I was never in control as a gambler and I’ve realised that the only way to take back control is to not gamble.  

I know that depression/ anxiety can often be the perfect trigger to gamble.  Like alcohol or drug abuse, people do things they know are not good for them in an attempt to forget their worries.  The problem is that gambling/ alcohol/ drugs offer a short term fix which unfortunately exacerbates existing problems.  It is important to remember that gambling does not alleviate stress but in fact causes it.

I genuinely believe that you need to stop playing poker in order to address the bigger issue – gambling addiction.  I’ve mentioned A. Carr’s book ‘The Easy Way to Stop Gambling’ on this forum more times that I’ve had hot dinners; however, this book really helped me change my mindset to gambling.  I also think that regular exercise is critical, albeit I appreciate that you’ve injured your leg just now.  Finally, and as regularly recommended by Loser, get a councilor/ therapist in an attempt to fully understand why you gamble.

I really wish you all the best Steve and here’s to another day gamble free.

Steve
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Thank you for your reply Duncan and Jane! It is much appreciated! Your right about all what you said as I been on and off gambling for over 20 years now. Only Last year ago my mate who is not a compulsive gambler taught me about bet laying, he taught me a way I could not lose by betting at bigger odds and laying Them at shorter odds if you know what i mean! I think he felt sorry for me as I was gamble free for 6 months when he told me and I started winning little 50s here and 100 there but after a while it got boring! If the horses were not winning I would not win anything and missed the buzz of picking me own horses and them winning with a nice amount of money on! I missed the buzz of the fobts which I could hear all the time when I was bet laying in the bookies! I kept a grand float on me all the time! About 600 in my exchange and 400 in my pocket to bet the horses in bookies 600 in exchange to lay them and so many times I lost that 1000 float and most of time more! Got it to 2500 once and blew it by just thinking I will try a score in the roulette! (Crazy I know) anyway b4 my 6 months gambling free I saved over 6 grand and lost the lot by taking a grand out everytime thinking I will start with a new float now and won,t lose my head blah blah blah. It took me about 4 to 5 months to lose it all and that’s when I relized this could never work for a compulsive gambler as hes addicted to the buzz and not all about the money! I do get thoughts of going back after over 7 months now of not bet laying but i seem to lose a big amount before that anyway as I said this yeah I lost 1000, then 2 months ago 700 and 300 2 days ago. But I have won about 700 from playing poker tournaments in that time I suppose. But yeah absent is the only way to beat this!

Jane
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I suspect, Steve, that you consider poker to be harmless, purely because you enjoy it. While other aspects of your gambling have annoyed you, let you down, wound you up etc…you continue to enjoy the satisfaction that winning poker brings you. You probably consider there to be more control on your part. You can control the game more, because you have the edge and that there is less left to chance and more odds stacked in your favour, because of the element of skill involved.
There is a great deal of sense to this, Steve, if you take it apart. You are using your brain to play poker, so that when you do win, there is satisfaction in it. There is a connection with poker that you don’t have with other types of gambling, and that is because win or lose, gambling can leave you feeling empty. It is a hollow experience, and I can say honestly, that I struggled to connect with gambling, and got no satisfaction or fulfillment from winning. Don’t get me wrong, winning was nice, but it still didn’t mean anything and that’s why we give it back. It is just like the old saying, easy come, easy go! Poker for you, is kind of like being paid for being smart, so it gives you the gambling buzz, but it also pats you on the back. I think that is probably why you see it differently, because it has both self satisfaction and the high of gambling, but this is also what will keep you in the betting frame of mind, making it hard to stay away from other forms of gambling. Your brain is being rewarded for playing poker even more than other forms of betting, because you enjoy it more so it is even more potent.

I felt uneasy and unsettled no matter what the result when I was gambling, and that is because no amount is ever enough. It’s not about the money for me, or for many people. It is purely the act of gambling and that is why win or lose, it is so hard to walk away. Winning just means you get to play for longer.
I just want to feel normal and balanced again, but when you have gambled for some time, it seems like nothing else quite hits the spot. Despite all the harm that gambling did, it still has a fascination that I can’t seem to fully shake and it is made worse by the constant barrage of adverts on TV telling us to bet. I love sports of all kind and it is really hard to enjoy them with so much focus on something you are trying hard to give up. Hopefully, in time, I will learn to leave it well alone and focus on getting myself back. I just need to remember how to be content and not lean on gambling.

Best wishes to you, Steve and to all.

Jane
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Steve, hang in there. I know this is hard. You’re suffering from depression and anxiety as am I, and I perfectly understand your point, that gambling is easier than dealing with that, even though it hurts too.
My last relapse was a biggy, £3,000. I hadn’t gambled for half a year and then, bam! Just lost the battle and chased like crazy until there was nothing left. I also self harmed following the relapse, which was upsetting because that had stopped for ages too.
The thing is, Steve, I think you know as well as I do, that there is no amount of gambling that will satisfy your urge. There will always be days where you chase and move away from all the limits you impose upon yourself. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. There’s no such thing as responsible gambling, once you have identified a problem. It just lies low, until you lose, then it comes out of nowhere and controls you.
Of course, it is best to completely leave gambling alone. It’s the only way to repair your mind and move on from all of this. I perfectly understand what you mean about the skill with poker, as I have this element with horse racing too, and find that the horses never turned into a problem either. It was for the love of the race, and betting was irrelevant. I lost all my money on roulette. I hate it. But I love it. It’s so strange. Trouble is, Steve, while you still continue to hold on to poker, you continue to immerse yourself in the gambling frame of mind and it will be very hard to stick to any plan you set yourself, as you have already found out.

I’m back fresh from relapse too, and although it is hard to forget the losses, it is really important to our well being to be able to move on. I lost 3 grand again in November and swore never again, but after 6 months of being free from gambling, I just folded and it was as if I had learnt nothing. There was no control. It was scary. The lesson in this, is that no amount of time can make you safe from gambling again, no amount of restrictions can safeguard you, if you are determined to bet. You have to continue to work at it, and this is something, you just can’t do while you continue to gamble with poker, no matter how small the bets. It’s not about the money you see, it’s about the mentality.

I think it is really important to try to find something really positive to do with your time. I know it is difficult with your injury, but we have to remember that we can’t ignore the reasons why we gamble. Gambling will only add to your depression, as it has mine. I have been told recently, that I am bipolar, which I suppose explains why I took to gambling to lift my mood. Why, I don’t know, because I continued to make myself feel worse by self loathing terribly after every time I lost, but still, gambling seemed like a good way to distract myself from my problems, much like you do Steve. Trouble is, it can’t go on like that. It’s counterproductive to hurt yourself when you are already hurting.

Shake the idea that gambling is fun, because let’s face it, it aint. It hurts like hell, and you will give yourself a chance to break away from the cycle you are in. There’s also nothing stopping you from showing how skilled you are at poker. You don’t have to put money down to have a good time.
All the best, Steve.

Steve
Reply

Well I busted my right leg some how and suffer from depressed so been home all week as can hardly walk.i been on here many times over the years and I lost 1000s over the years on horses, fobt ect but I tried to commit myself to just poker this year so I opened a account with paddy power this year and tried to stick to poker tournaments and just low ones like 3, 5 and 10 Euro ones. From my 50 deposit in January I got up to 500 as I won 450 euros in a tournament I won last month and had other tiny wins ect but basically poker is doing me no harm! The problem is sometimes this illness catches me off guard and I transfer money to have a bet on the horses like I did yesterday as it was on tv and thought I try a little score but will all know the outcome! Well mine was a 300 lost! 200 on horses and i could not get it off my mind so 100 pound on Southampton to beat Man U last night! Of course they never won and missed a pen to rub it in even more! Relasped 3 times this year and believe it or not that’s good for me! First relapse a 1000 then last month 700 and last night 300. Now I need to go to bank and replace that 300 and put it in my paddy power account as i got no debit or credit cards ect (wise choice) as I like to have a 500 float in there anyway as you need to have a bankroll when playing tournaments! But my question is shell I can playing poker as I believe it’s skill and I know I,am better then most players on there but at the same time the evil horses and fobts catch me off guard at times when the depression helps me! I know deep down as I been though this evil over 20 years! Even making a 4000 bet on a tennis match which I lost many years ago! Yeah as I was saying I know in my heart that absent is the only way to beat this hell! But I play poker for enjoyment and to pass away time as I got plenty of it as I don,t work as I suffer from depression so got a lot of spare time and can,t just watch tv all day and night! Also I feel like I want to bet on horses today to get my money back but I always get this feeling when I lose which do go and you just accept after a few days! I just know I will be down a grand today if I carry on chasing and only got 1200 spare in the bank and if I lose that sudcide thoughts will come into my head! Truely Sorry if I went on a bit and i don,t blame you all if you think I,am crazy as I am tbh as I suffer from anxiety and depression and I believe it’s a much easier to be a gambler if you suffer with this but that is no excuse and anyone however intelligent ect can suffer from this illness! I would just be grateful for anyone’s advice and what do they do when a gambling urge comes into there mind and they feel weak. As we know we all say to ourselves NEVER AGAIN when we lose a big amount but never seems to work out that way! Thank you for reading all and good luck to ones who’s trying to still fight this addiction and truely well done for the ones who beat it or are doing well staying away so far. Peace all.

Jane
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Hi everyone. I’ve thrown myself into exercise. If I keep going, I can shake that pesky stone that’s been clinging on since Christmas. I have a great reason to be motivated…. My partner has been offered some overtime next month as orders are picking up at work. He came to me yesterday and said that he has a surprise….we might still be able to get our holiday! He says that it is not a reward for not gambling, because that would be the wrong message, since I shouldn’t be gambling anyway. It’s more of a focus to get a healthy state of mind back. Yay! I could do with a dose of healthy state of mind!
Also, he says that it is not sitting well with him that I feel like I have punished the family by relapsing again, because although this is essentially true, I have tried hard to stop and did really well before having the last wobble. It was, after all, the best I ever did, so now I have to better that target and in the meantime, work on my health and not just count days.
Something nice to focus on is good for all of us, and who knows, this last relapse could actually be the start of real, positive change. I’ve already done more in the last 10 days, than I’ve done in these past 6 years. I know I can motivate myself to stop gambling, but I went about it wrong before. Too much focus went on just quitting gambling, not enough focus on the triggers that made me gamble in the first place. So of course, it was inevitable, that the gambling would rear its ugly head again, as soon as emotional problems appeared. I guess you could say I built a nice house on shoddy ground. Now I have to start over, but it will be strong this time. It’s a nice theory. Hopefully, it will work!
How is everyone else. Mat, Nik, Duncan, you’ve gone quiet. Hope you are well and free from urges. Hope everyone else is well / gets well. Keep posting. Well done, John. You’ve gone a month without gambling! Great stuff. Keep going.

Have a super-smashing gambling free day, everyone, and the very best to you all.

john
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Hi its 31 days gambling free lets do it

john
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Hi its 31days gambling lets all do it jane loser kate mat carl joanne and all that posed on this site

loser
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31 days well done John!!!

Jane
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Kate, I too, toggle between anger at myself and anger aimed at the gambling industry as a whole. I think, to be fair, this is completely acceptable. I think it needs to be fair on both sides, on their part and on us, as consumers. We accept responsibility for our gambling, but in turn, the industry also needs to accept responsibility for the ease at which they offer and advertise their services.
In my time spent gambling, I have come across the situation many times where I have had to jump through hoops in order to withdraw my ‘winnings’ and prove my identity etc…but suffered no such questioning or verification in order to deposit thousands into my betting account. I have been a member of nearly 70 websites, and not one has asked me to prove my identity before making deposits. It’s all geared around getting the money off you and into their pockets, but it doesn’t work as easy on the few times when you want something from them.

What also annoys me, is the relationship between sport and the gambling industry. The two are so tight, you can’t get a hair between them, yet in the light of players being penalised for betting on the sport, all they can do is punish them, and shame them, while the clubs profit from the sponsorship of this unholy alliance.
People like Brendan Rogers say things like, these player’s are just made that way, and if it wasn’t gambling, it would just be something else, but this is just papering over the cracks. The fact is, the problem ‘is’ gambling, it isn’t something else, and they need to address the fact that these players are people too, and just because they have lots of money, does not mean they are happy or safe from this kind of addiction. Yes, people still bet before the bookmakers got their fingers in the pot, but there is no disputing that the problem has escalated since the rise in betting sponsors. Couple that with the industry being so accessible now, and how normalised gambling has become and you have a real problem.
Some of the talk around tackling the problem, makes me laugh. Where is the logic in banning non sports related gambling ads, until after the 9pm watershed, when their logo’s are plastered all over player’s shirts in the middle of the day? It supposed to be illegal to advertise gambling to minors, but what they actually mean is that it is illegal for minors to advertise gambling, hence why the betting sponsors logo’s were removed from kids shirts. This was not a move to protect children, but more, to protect the industry from the law.
I wonder how many kids are looking down at their own innocently designed shirts when they go to a game, or perhaps they are looking at the billboards, the hoards of adult fans and the player’s that they idolize with these logo’s plastered all over them? It’s such a funny world.

Joanne
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Hi, Sorry to be a nuisance but could I have the e-mail address I posted removed please. Thank you in advance, kindest regards, Joanne

simon
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done

john
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Hi to everybody i hope you all stll gambling free like me lets keep going jane kate joenne mat loser kate carl and everbody on this site lets do it

Jane
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Yes, day 11 for me, John. Let’s all keep going. The days are going fast and I am keeping busy.
Hope you are doing well and not having urges, John. I have no interest at all in gambling at the minute, but this is usual after a bad relapse for me. Sometimes I go into denial and chase my losses, other times, my own foolishness and anger fuels me into staying well away.
I’m in rather a good place at the minute, and feel like I can really do this, now that I have had a good look at myself. I feel as though relapse would continue to occur, so long as the underlying problems exist. I’m sweeping the rug right out from under my gambling feet, so that it doesn’t have a leg to stand on. I have had happiness and contentment in my life before gambling, and I know I can get it back. I have only been gambling for 6 or 7 years now, so I can turn this around.
From now on, I am a gamble free zone and I hope we all can stay that way too.
Here’s to happiness!
Best wishes, John and everyone.

Kate
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Glad you hear you sounding positive Jane. Having been gambling for about the same length of time as you, I also feel this is in my favour – it’s not a life-long habit and came out of the blue ( the cruise ship casino incident) so it can leave me now just as quickly as it came into my life. I really don’t have any urges to gamble and find it quite hard to relate now to the compulsive gambler I was, ripping through my own hard-earned savings , slouched over my computer half the night, risking our financial future, hiding debts ….. terrible how quickly it can happen isn’t it, and how quickly it escalates so that the new normal becomes blowing literally £000s each week. I had stopped turning my anger towards the gambling companies – at the end of the day, it was my choice and my choice along to blow my savings and get into debt – but I am returning again to the irresponsibility of gaming companies and their utter lack of morality -not sure what I am going to do with, mind you, apart from making sure I don’t given them another penny of my money. All the best

LOSER
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Well done John, how many day’s have you racked up now? I’m still unwell so this will be short and sweet. I am on Day 17 now and had urges but too unwell to go to the casino, the day’s are adding up quickly I think I might be able to do well this time as most of my money is locked up, we will see how we go. Always nice of you to consider everyone in your post, keep up the good work John.

LOSER

Kate
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Poor you Loser – sounds like you have a really nasty bug or something? Hope you start to feel better soon ….hope you don’t think I am making light of your illness, but at least your calorie count will be down presumably AND you can’t get to the casino, even if you had the urge …so every cloud? Wishing you well

loser
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Hi Kate,
Thanks for your well wishes but I’m confused? What does “so every cloud” mean? This is the worse flu ever, I feel good for like 30 min / 1 hour and then I go downhill again. I hardly ever get sick but I have gone down like a sack of potatoes! As for weight loss forget it, my mother has been telling me to come over to feed me (i don’t recommend driving while sick) anyhow she said she will have shepherd’s pie the next day and to come over. Hungry or not I love food so I went over and no aroma, no one in sight? I thought where is she? Where is my Sheppards pie?
Finally I knock on her bedroom and hear, “Go away you’ve given me your flu” lol Oppsie
Congratulations on 97 days smoking free and 37 days gamble free. your on a roll Kate I think we all will be celebrating your 100th victory soon!

Kate
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Oh dear, sorry to hear your mum has come down with the same flu ….it sounds very unpleasant. Hope you both shake it off soon ……

Kate
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Well done John – yes, I’m still gamble and smoke free – 97 days non-smoking and 37 days non-gambling. Occasional smoking urges, but no gambling urges ….so feeling strong and positive about the new me. Hope you continue to stay strong and thanks for posting. All the best

Jane
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Some nice recommendations on here and advice, thank you. Been in to the doctors again and she diagnosed me as suffering from long term emotional distress and bipolar. I have to come in every 2 weeks for ‘talks’. She recommended hypnotherapy, but I’m a bit skeptical about that. Not sure I want to dig up old memories. I’ve obviously buried them for a reason, but if it helps? Also been discussing CBT which I knew she would recommend as I have read a lot about it. She says it will also tackle my OCD. It’s just hard for me to deal with all this at the moment. I don’t like a lot of fuss. I have a tiny file at the doctors for a reason. I just don’t go! My file only exists because of the kids, other than being pregnant twice, I’m kind of off the grid and that’s how I like it. I want to deal with things in my own way, but my own way is to just get busy and focus on positive things but the doctor tells me that I have to unearth all of these feelings in order to deal with them properly, once and for all. :(
Not liking the sound of it all, to be honest but I will give things a try. Not having any urges to gamble, so that’s something. I thought I would be plagued with thoughts of winning back losses, but I have a kind of solemn acceptance that it is gone. £1,000 back in the bank now, only £2,000 to go. My repayments on the loan start in 2 weeks, and it will be good for closure to see some money back in the balance.
I’m making headway, though, and feeling strangely upbeat. I always get like this, following a bad relapse. It’s weird but it kind of makes me feel empowered to make change happen. Like, it’s happened, there’s no point crying over it, now what are you going to do about it?

I guess that’s why I kind of strangely enjoyed the distraction of relapse in the past, because it got my attention and focus away from myself. The focus then became about making money to make amends and getting busy undoing my own self induced misery as a way of coping with things I’d rather not deal with.
Trouble is, it’s not sustainable. I have to face facts and I have to learn to deal with my problems properly instead of always creating bigger problems to focus on, instead. Otherwise, I will cripple myself and my family with this addiction for ever.
Well, the good thing is, I don’t want to gamble for the thrill of gambling, anymore. It really is just about self sabotage/escapism now, where in the earlier days, the urge was really for the love/thrill of gambling. At least now, I can focus on getting well, and hopefully, I can really nip this addiction in the bud, since my emotional distress is my trigger for gambling. Remove that, and the hope is that the addition will die. That’s the plan, anyway!
Hope you are all coping and doing well. Best wishes to all of you.

Joanne
Reply

ON-LINE GAMBLING

For those who have a problem with on-line gambling ………

Cancel your debit/credit card, when a replacement one arrives, ask someone to scratch off the 3 digit security number on the back of the card. This way you can still use the card but obviously not for on-line transactions. Of course I do realise that some of us gamble via paypal.

If you find you are losing the battle with an urge, ring up the bank and cancel your debit/credit card! A bit drastic I know, and of course inconvenient ,but better than losing a 1000 quid or whatever.

If you’re finding blocking devices ineffective, why not pop along to your nearest Argos/Homebase whatever, and buy a cheap safe/box with a key and put the modem under lock and key! Your partner/parent obviously takes control of the key!

And if you’re a singleton, I guess we have to rely on devil’s advocate!

LOSER
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Hi Joanne,
Your husband is very sick and came on here quickly just to see how your going. I see you have finally given me your email address (it must be love) lol I will send you a email by the end of the week when I am feeling better. Day 20 is fantastic please keep it up and I am so happy to hear you enjoyed your week and saw how good life can be without gambling. I am on Day 15 ended up in hospital last night, interesting night lol tell you all about it later on, my head is ready to explode, fever is going up, need to rest now. xoxo

Chat soon

Jane
Reply

Coming back to life a bit now. Been looking into some blocking software for the devices in the household. I’ve had them on before, but always undone every effort I made to make things work, so I need to find something that is Jane proof. Like I said, I can get round things, I know little tricks and for some reason, I always go out of my way to undo the barriers I put in place.
In the past, I accidentally discovered ways to gamble without having money in my bank and that has caused me terrible financial distress in the past, as you can imagine. I have used this to gamble in the hopes of winning, before my pay even goes in, and then I would lose the lot and a load on top. Then 2 days later, all the debits would come out and my account would be overdrawn. I thought I was clever doing it, but I was an idiot. All it did, was enable me to gamble away more and more money, and then have the stress of worrying what I will do, when the bank calls and says I am a grand over my overdraft limit. Hence the reason why I would have palpitations at night.

I have spoken to companies about the payment methods they accept when gambling, because I did not want this to be something that others did. It is too easy for people to gamble without actually having pay in their banks, and for the addict, like me, it was all just too tempting. I was gambling ahead of myself and losing money before it even hit my account. Gambling websites should only accept payment by debit cards, so that you have to have the money right there in your account in order to gamble. Credit cards are bad enough, but there are methods of making gambling deposits out there that have made my life a misery and I wish I never even found it. They will let you make about a thousand pounds in deposits this way, before they switch you to a direct payment like a debit card. It is completely irresponsible and needs to stop. Not all gambling sites allow these type of payment, but many do.
Stay away from gambling in any shape or form. The stress and effects on your life and health are just not worth it. Like Duncan, I can say that gambling brought me no pleasure. It always left me feeling hollow and empty, even after a win. It felt cold and I couldn’t relate any emotion to it when I was gambling, it just all feels numb and messes with your head.
I have to force myself now, to feel enjoyment out of things, because gambling took the fun out of everything. I did it in the first place to bring a bit of fun to my life, but I wish I never even placed that first bet, because life seems strangely subdued now, because of gambling. Nothing feels the same anymore. I always feel like I’m on the outside, looking in, like in a dream, disconnected…..

I am working extra all this work to atone for the weekend, so it will be a long one. I have sold £800 worth of stuff from around the home to replenish the bank. Some of it, I won’t miss, but a lot of it was stuff that I struggled to get back after I sold things the last time I relapsed, in November, so that felt a bit empty doing that again.
Still, chin up. No one said this would be easy. I hope you are all doing well and are gamble free.
All the best.

Joanne
Reply

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

‘A recovering addict shares practical wisdom’ by Justyn Rees Larcombe. Available on Amazon

Although this book may not be compatible with everyone’s faith or religious beliefs , I don’t think that should deter you from buying this book. This book is brilliant, it’s a bit like having your own counsellor. I have been doing the exercises at the end of each chapter and finding it very therapeutic.

EXERCISE 1

Get yourselves a large sheet of blank paper, draw a line down the middle …………..

On one side, write down everything negative that relates to your gambling habit, how it makes you feel, the effect it has on others ………

On the other side of the line, write down what your freedom looks like and all the good things that will happen when you leave your habit behind,

Last week I had a ‘taste of freedom’ , enjoyed some shopping in Knightsbridge, (Harrods!) and Oxford Street. Okay, I was mainly ‘browsing’, still seriously skint from the last gambling binge! However, it really struck home when I was looking at the price tags of some of the luxury handbags, etc that although a £1000 is a lot of money for a handbag , I could easily spend that in less than half an hour on slots. It’s absolute madness the way we burn money in casinos/bookies!

I had an enjoyable week of nice meals, light drinking, good company, and buying nice things in the shops. Now that’s PLEASURE not sitting in a grubby, sh*t hole casino burning money.

Day 20 for me, I’ll have that luxury handbag next shopping trip! LET ‘EM STARVE!

Joanne
Reply

Whoops, ‘One day at a time: A recovering addict shares practical wisdom’.

Joanne
Reply

SELF – EXCLUSIONS

I’m feeling very positive, I’ve just received some emails from some ‘slippery’ casinos that I self-excluded from. They’ve informed me that I am self-excluded for 100 years!

According to my book, when you have urges, you should visualise them as something or somebody that you dislike and basically beat the crap out of them!

john
Reply

Hi everbody sorry to say but jane you soppost you cant get loans and you cannot use gambling site when stop from gambling the firt thing you had to do is you block your gaming sites and block loans you need to dont have any acces that it is in gambling so you never realsed agian do it pls

Jane
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You are right, John. I thought I was safe. This is the 2nd loan now that I have took out and the first one was great. It went straight to pay for my credit card bills. But this last one came at a bad time. The loan was took out with all good intentions, to pay off debt, but it came through to my bank account, just when I was weak and I gambled it away. I should have told my partner that the money was in, and got rid of it but I was on a mission, it seemed to self destruct.
I still have to pay it back so now I am up to £43,000 and more if you count the interest. It’s been a hard lesson, but hopefully, it will serve me well. Online gambling is so very hard to give up. I have self excluded from so many sites, only to open accounts elsewhere, and new ones just pop up every day. You just can’t self exclude from every one, it’s like trying to run away from your own shadow. That’s why I try to change my attitude to gambling as well as self excluding because you need something else in place to keep you safe.
Gambling is here in our living room 24/7 and it is so hard to escape from it. It’s piped into our eyeballs daily on television as if it is something normal and social to do, but no one advertises the harm that it does.

I have good support at home and I will start over again. We are all only as good as the day we are on and I am going to make sure that every day from now on, is a gambling free day.
All the best, John.

Joanne/Guest!
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EXPLANATION

As some of you know I’ve been away for most of the week and returned late last night. After checking the bank balance! , I decided to have a catch-up on Rethink Gambling and noticed my name being floated around so I’ve decided to offer an explanation as to why I returned to Rethink Gambling.

As you know I left the forum in total disgrace on the 26th of January, something I’m deeply ashamed about and if I’m honest I became some-one I didn’t recognise, although I’m in no way excusing my behaviour. I could have walked away, after all we’re only a bunch of random strangers thrown together because of our desire to rid ourselves of this addiction. But for some reason it bothered me, I needed to put things right, restore the forum to the way it was before I caused all the upset and havoc. So I guess, that’s what I’ve been doing bit by bit, Jane and Kate back good friends the way it should be, Jane and Loser communicating, all the guys back supporting each other, great to see Mr XGambler back. I think there is only one person missing to complete the jigsaw and that’s CARL. So, if you chance upon this I hope you will come back and let the others know how you’re doing, I’m sure they will be delighted to hear from you. I realise that some of the girls left through their own choice but I hope you’re all getting by, sweet Cheryl, Louise, 2 Jennys, Sadlady (been thinking about you, hope you’re doing okay). Great to see some newbies, John, Ray, etc In between times, I was just putting up posts that I thought might be helpful to both the lurkers and the regulars.

As for me, we’ll let’s face it , first impressions last and I’m never going to lose the ‘toxic Joanne’ label. Even LOSER made a quip about being surprised that I was behaving myself! (ouch). I guess I can move on now, start afresh, the forum is pretty much restored to the way it was when I found it. Day 19 for me!, all the very best.

Jane
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Good to hear from you, Joanne. There is one more piece of closure needed on this forum and that is for me to reach out to you and say let’s forget the past. I just can’t seem to walk away, either! I tried to, after I threw a bit of a wobbly after relapsing at the weekend, but I know that I can be an idiot sometimes. I always mean well, but I suffer from emotions and they do get the better of me at times.
The baked beans are back on the table, Joanne, after losing 3 grand this day last week. Still, it has had some positive results, and has forced me to speak openly about this with a professional. I’ll admit, I feel like crap, but this is part of the journey and I chose to get off the bus early, so now I get back on and finish this once and for all. I will do this because I am as stubborn as they come!
I really hope some of the oldies come back too. I have mentioned Carl a few times and one Carl did post, but he didn’t answer if it was the same Carl that left.
I hope he and all the others you mentioned are doing well. Beans are on hold for now, I am settling down with a bunch of fried chicken and a can or two of beer….Diet does not exist on weekends. 5 days on 2 days off, and I am making the most of it! It’s Eurovision night! Hurrah. What a wonderful way to waste an evening. :)
Well it doesn’t take me long to type in my days, the figure has shrunk a little of late….but hey ho, it’s not over till the fat lady sings!
Day 7

john
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Hi everbody i hope everbody is ok i still.free of gambling and i hope all of you stay away from gambling lets do this and i sorry you replesed jane but you are a good person so you can make it agian without gambling take care jane kate loser mat and everybody gambling is hell like bookies

Jane
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You are a good person, too John and I am so pleased you are still gamble free. Thank you for your kind wishes. We all can relapse from time to time. It’s not like this is the first time, it’s just the first time in a long time, and I forgot how bad it feels to relapse. I have to remember that I have not gone backwards, I have learnt a lot and grown in character and one 4 hour gambling binge can’t undo 6 months of trying very hard to leave this destructive habit behind.

It is easy give advice to people when they relapse, and we all do, but I’ll be honest, when it’s you that relapses, it’s harder to take. I fell apart a bit, but I am on the mend. I am kind of glad that it happened. It’s weird, but it forced me to address a few things that I have been ignoring.
As I have said before, it’s no use papering over the cracks. You have to deal with the underlying issue and I have been blatantly papering over that for years. I’m on my 2nd roll! I feel I am lucky in a way, because I get the chance to turn this around. I know what is wrong, now I have to figure out a way to fix me. This starts with swallowing my pride and addressing the fact that I am not coping, I can’t just laugh everything off and sweep it under the rug. I’ve done that for years and it got me deeper and deeper in a mess. My family is suffering because I have not dealt with things properly. Now, it’s time to get this sorted. I’ve concentrated so much on giving up gambling, that I have ignored problems that I should have addressed as these are the problems that lead me to gamble.
I really hope you get sorted too, John. You’ve made a great start on this forum and you are well on your way to becoming a non gambler.
Really hope you stick around.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, only try harder! :)

Kate
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Hello John. Good to hear from you. Yes, I’m still gamble free thanks – let’s all stay this way for ever now…

LOSER
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Hi John,
Well done on being gamble free, needed to read this today as I am having urges. Day 13 for me so far :) Now thats a unlucky number and i am stuck with it for 24 hours lol

Jane
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Hi everyone, hope you are all well.

I’ve thinking about some of the advice you all gave me on here. I am failing to tackle the underlying reason why I gamble. Hence my relapse. I realised that I did not want to gamble. I wanted to hurt myself. I did not have urges to gamble, and there was no hesitation like there was before, where I would reconsider my decision. It was a head on car crash for a reason. I intended it to be. £3,000 in deposits went into my account as I gambled for 4 hours straight. Nothing came out. Strange thing is, I felt peace afterwards. I felt both relief and remorse? It was like something just had to give.

I did something yesterday that I should have done a long time ago. I went to my doctor. I felt like I was waiting to be shot. My partner came in with me. It was painfully obvious that he is hurting, and it was clear to me, that this is why I gamble to punish myself, because I don’t want to be this way. I don’t understand the way I feel sometimes, why I feel so good, and then another day, I feel so bad. I know I am hurting myself and my partner even more by gambling but I am sometimes, unable to deal with feelings in any other way. My mind just races sometimes. There are days when I feel like I can take on the world, that I am really doing well, then there are days when I feel pathetic, and I will question how I ever thought I could make this work.
Anyway, the doctor thinks I could be suffering from Bipolar Disorder. It’s not something I know too much about, but he says I should come back in again to discuss a proper diagnosis. I always thought I just had periods of bad depression followed by good days, where I’d pick myself up, but the doctor says this pattern is characteristic of Bipolar. I guess that’s why I was so optimistic about life sometimes, (and gambling) and other times, so low. Some days I would look at my debt and think ‘yeah, I can do this’, but other days, I just felt like there was an immovable mountain in my way, and that I was a fool to think I could sort this out. Then I would gamble again…..then punish myself….and so on.

The task in hand now, is to tackle my head. Gambling seems to be off the back of my other problems, so I am going to concentrate on sorting my mental health out, because I realise that this is my trigger for gambling. If I can address my mental health, the gambling should resolve more easily. I have also talked about seeing a therapist to discuss some issues which have not been dealt with properly. Issues that I believe led to the self harming. I realise that I have been using gambling as a form of self harming. It was no different to me physically hurting myself, except that it was easier to hide. I see that now.
Apparently, there are lots of women out there, like me, who use gambling/self harm in this way, to distract themselves from emotional suffering. If anyone is interested, there is an interesting little piece here:

http://www.lizkarter.com/gambling-self-harm-distracting-from-emotional-pain/

Makes me feel like I’m not going crazy, after all!
Anyway, got extra hours at work , starting next week. I will have an extra £300 coming in for the next few months, so that will help.
It is not my usual job though, it is data inputting in another section. It is mind numbing, but it will keep me busy!
Must remember to bring snacks.

Kate
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Hello Jane. It was brave of you to go to the doctor, but also a very good step ……..some people think bipolar is a long bout of depression, followed by a long bout of mania, but it can be what’s called rapid cycling, where the moods swing between the two poles daily, or more than daily. I know this from Steven Fry’s autobiographies (!) – he suffers with the rapid cycling type. This sounds more like what you have described on the forum ….. up one day, down the next. I hope you can get a diagnosis and help – counselling, drugs ( don’t rule them out) and support from family and friends. I can quite see that gambling is a form of self harm and produces the same sense of release/calm ….and an illusion of control whilst we are doing it – it makes perfect sense to me because that’s what I was doing. Take care Jane – you are doing the right thing. Kate

Jane
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Hi, Kate,
Well that was a fast 2 weeks. Lol. Time flies around here! I didn’t see the point in sulking away from the forum at the time I needed it most. I was just so disappointed in myself but I have to move on.
I feel better for talking with the doctor. I was literally crapping it, but I knew I had to do something. Seeing my partner break down when I told him what I had done, was enough for me. Still, he offered nothing but support. That is the last and final time I will ever let him down again.

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few years ago, but I think that has evolved slightly as it is not just depression anymore. I have periods of really feeling great and I feel very focused at times and really positive. Then I come crashing down and feel completely pointless. I think it really helps that celebrities are open about these things. It makes it easy to relate and easier for us regular folk to talk about. This is the first time I have ever been fully open about both the self harm and the gambling. My partner also feels relief because he said he felt as though he was responsible for me, since no one else knew. Now he feels like he is getting the help he needs in order to help me too, so I am happy the pressure is off of him as well as me.

The self harming is something that happened before gambling. I never plan to hurt myself, it just happens. Strangely, I didn’t ever see it as hurting myself, more as a way of blocking out things I would rather not deal with. I suppose in a way, I saw it as protecting myself, if that can possibly make sense? Self harm is a funny subject, (not ha ha funny) but funny in that we don’t regard it as harm, we use it as a way of shielding ourselves from things we consider to be worse. It’s like someone stamping on your foot, when you have a pain in your head. One pain cancels out the other and becomes the focus. Gambling was a perfect tool to use for this purpose and as I mentioned before, I would welcome both wins and losses as they all served the purpose of distraction.
I’ve been saying for a while on this forum, that I have been using gambling as a way of punishing myself, but I didn’t see it in the same sense as self harming but the doctor says that this kind of progression is typical, as people might change the way they deal with their issues, usually to hide it, but the overall effect is still the same.
Hopefully now, I will be able to put this gambling behind me for good.
Glad you are still gamble free, Kate. All the best to you and to all.

Kate
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Hi Jane. Thanks for your message ….I think every new insight we have into the reasons why we gamble helps us to stop – the more we know about ourselves and our reasons the better able we are to understand and forgive ourselves too. I really hope you are able to put this relapse behind you and move on again – you can do it, you know you can…and you will. All the best Kate

Luke
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Thankyou for all the comments!

Woke up today feeling terrible not going to lie because it’s usually the case when this happens.

I still haven’t had the courage to tell my girlfriend or family yet I’m putting it off BUT I will over the weekend. I’ve also messaged a friend who understands and also stopped gambling and the change it has on his life.

The next 2 years will be paying off debt going to be a struggle but I’ve put myself in this position about being a man and getting out of it.

Il keep you updated on how things are going.. I do really appreciate the support thankyou

Andy
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Chin up Luke, It will get better. All the very best mate

Kate
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Hi Luke – stay strong and keep posting ….it helps

oracle
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Day 200 for me. the hardest part for me personally was the first month i havnt had any urges for atleast 100 days now it gets easyer just gota keep you’re head up and keep busy.

hope everyone is having a nice day

kate
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Wow Oracle – brilliant ….. I agree about the first month ….just passing this myself and things are getting a lot easier

Jane
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I have been gambling for 15 years and can’t seem to stop. I have lost a home, countless jobs and now my sanity is questionable. I don’t know how I am going to recover from this last bout.

My X gambler
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How long were you clean before you relapsed,?

LOSER
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Hello Jane,
I am assuming we have two Jane’s on the forum? There is a lot of people on the forum who can offer you wonderful advice. You mention you have been gambling for 15 years and I would like to let you know stopping is possible. I have said it many times so i will make it brief:

1. Limit access to money
2. Get a counsellor
3. self exclusion
4. Get a new hobby
5. Work out times / days your most prone to gambling and plan to meet friends or activities instead
6. Confide in someone you trust that you can call anytime of the day when you have urges.

Losing your home would have been devastating however you don’t clarify why you lost countless jobs? You are on the right track by recognising you have a problem and now it’s up to you to use all the strength and determination to fight this addiction.
Duncan here on the forum has gone a year without gambling so it can be done.
Take the 100 day challenge and keep in touch

LOSER
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Hi Everyone,
Just thought I would clog up the feed again oppsie! hahahahaha
It appears I have swapped my gambling habit for a sugar frenzy! I ate everything I saw and several trips to the supermarket to get more! YIKES…..
I’m lucky I didn’t eat my dog! :(
Day 11 today so now it’s 89 days left till I hit 100 days gamble free. That mountain seems high yet I shall climb it. I even have money in my pocket and haven’t gambled!
As NIK would say…let em starve

kpoole8kate
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Hi Loser
I think when Nik says ‘Let ‘em starve’, he isn’t suggesting that YOU eat all the buns instead! But I think it is a normal reaction when we stop gambling that we displace the ” treat” with something else ……. I think when you start salivating when you see your dog you should seek help, or at least put the dog out of your way until the craving passes …… I went through a bit of a bingey spell to be honest too – giving up smoking and gambling at the same time ….somehow I needed to stuff my face ….but this seems to be passing now too. What are we like eh?

loser
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HAHAHAH Kate you are too funny!! I couldn’t stop laughing reading your post! Yes my day’s are racking up and so is the scales! I couldn’t eat my dog she is too cute! Yet a nice Hot dog would hit the spot! Tonight I smell of alcohol and I hardly ever drink! I don’t know how you gave up gambling and smoking you should be proud of yourself! I feel if I don’t eat I probably would go gamble, I am seeing my counsellor next week haven’t seen her in ages hopefully i can last till then. What day are you up to now?

kate
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Oh good – glad I made you laugh – we need a bit of fun. I am day 88 non smoking and day 32 non gambllng – thank you for asking – very proud of myself. I feel happier as every day passes . Glad you have a dog too – Woody is now a huge part of our lives. Gambling, smoking, eating buns, drinking alcohol … they are all ways of comforting ourselves or helping block out feelings we would rather not deal with ….. if there was a game called ‘addiction bingo’ I would be in with a good chance ….although not as successful as my brother who is also addicted to fishing, bird-watching ( feathered type) , possibly TV quiz shows …… nature or nurture, or a combination of both?

Duncan
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Hi Loser,

Can you stop clogging up the feed otherwise I’ll be forced to write a strongly worded email to Rethink…..lol!

You were so close to reaching the 100 day mark last time. Your posts clearly demonstrate an understanding of gambling addiction and i think you’re more than well equipped to reach 100 days and way beyond. I have the upmost confidence that you will succeed this time and continue to be a non gambler.

Here’s to another day gamble free.

loser
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Thanks Duncan for this post today, I really needed to hear it as the urges are coming on strong and deep. I have been eating and drinking alcohol which isn’t like me. (The alcohol part) I feel I am trying to replace the gambling with comfort food. I am really enjoying your posts of late, I hope you remain a constant contributor here. I enjoy clogging up the forum hahahahah but it appears I am hogging it a bit as I don’t get email notifications and searching for reply’s and new posts is like finding a needle in a haystack here! All I see is my posts, boy I can talk a lot hahahah here is to day 13 cheer’s or as some say salute!

Luke
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Hi all,

I’ve hit rock bottom in my life and I really don’t know what to do now.

Been gambling since I turned 18 I’m now 23! It’s destroyed my life social aspects, relationships, leisure and generally just enjoying my life. Yes of course I’ve had wins but most of the times its loses and like today I’ve lost it all and most of which isn’t even my money!

I dont know how I’m going to tell my family or my girlfriend as this isn’t the first time. I’ve honestly had enough now I need to make a change otherwise I won’t have a life. I’m so scared my family will be so ashamed honestly feel like I’m going to lose them.

Haven’t got a clue where to start with my girlfriend as I’ve been lying to her for the last few months since she knew I had a problem. Completely lied to her saying I only limit myself to £10 a week.. She going to leave me why would she want to be with not only a lier but a compulsive gambler!

Truth is that I’m not under control I have no concept of money £4,000 gone in 4 weeks which was all payed by Loans!

I’ve got no one to speak too because I don’t want my friends or anyone else knowing the real me. It’s so embarrassing let’s be honest you gotta be stupid losing all that money!? But the reality is I’ve got a problem and the fact I’m always in denial really doesn’t help.

Just need a bit of guidance what to do guys :/

Thanks

Kate
Reply

Really sorry to hear about your serious struggle with gambling Luke. It sounds to me like you need support – yes, the online forum can help, but I would also suggest you find your nearest GA ( Gamblers Anonymous) meeting, and get there for a meeting as soon as you can. Try and do this whilst you are feeling like you have reached rock bottom, because this is the best time really to really begin the process of change .you are going to need to go through if you seriously want to shake off this gambling thing. Spending money from loans is a very worrying sign that your gambling is out of control – as you say, money has lost its meaning. But you really don’t want to get into a position where you can’t pay back these loans. Be brave, take a deep breath, get on line and find your nearest meeting. Go along, tell your story and ask for help and support. As for telling your family and girlfriend – opinions on this forum are mixed, and it seems to depend on the nature of your relationships. Personally, I have told my daughter and best friend, but not my husband, because I know it would shatter him and I don’t want to just confess to make myself feel better or ‘cleansed’ in some meaningless way. Take time before you make this decision….it is a big one, and there is no going back once you have told close ones. The good news Luke, is that being at rock bottom means you have no further to go and the only way is up …..it really can be the start of a much happier life for you ….but you need to act now so that, in your anxiety and fear, you gamble again to make yourself feel ” better” ….you won’t feel better, you will feel worse. It’s just the same as an alcoholic feeling rubbish when withdrawing from alcohol and hoping one last drink will take the pain and anxiety away. It won’t. Please let us know how you are doing Luke, but please, please, do something positive for yourself right now.Best of luck Kate

Duncan
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Hi Luke,

Thanks for your honest post.

Firstly, i think it’s important that you take positives from the fact that you have acknowledged that you have a gambling problem. This is a big step and numerous gamblers will make up all sort of excuses to deny that they have a problem. You’re only 23 years old and have your whole life in front of you. You can make the pro-active change to become a non-gambler.

When i hit rock bottom like yourself, i read A Carr’s – The easy way to stop gambling. Reading this book was a turning point for me. It opened my eyes to gambling and completely changed my mindset towards it. You can buy it online or download if u have a device.

In terms of your family, i completely understand the reluctance to be honest. As you say, it’s embarrassing. However, gambling addiction is an illness and it’s something that you can lose control over. Your mind plays tricks with you. Tell your girlfriend the truth. It might break the relationship but you’ll no longer be living a lie. Also, tell someone in your family. You might be surprised with the support that you receive.

You gave got so many things on your side Luke. Your young and have so much time to turn things around. There are very few people who have not made mistakes at some point in their life and this episode can be something that can help shape you as a stonger and better person.

All the best and here’s to another day gamble free.

LOSER
Reply

Hi Luke,
Your so young and only been gambling for 5 years so you have every chance to turn your life around. Of course no partner wants a gambler however if your girlfriend truly loves you she will help you not leave you. I think maybe confide in her, tell her the truth and then ask her to help you by holding your cards and any access to cash you may have. You yourself can only stop taking out loans however if you replace gambling times with going to dinner with your girlfriend, or organising to catch up with mates you then won’t find the time to gamble. Self exclude and get a counsellor see her/him weekly. Stop having access to money is the best way to stop at the start then as the days add up it will be easier. Gain as much knowledge from gambling as you can reading books and posts down this forum always helps. If you want to stop bad enough you can and will. Don’t fear if you ever relapse, it will actually make you stronger when you get back on track again. GOODLUCK

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