Comments

Andrei
Reply

Don’t look back Andy. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I was even sicker than you mate on 30 June this year I gambled in early hours before work 3.800€. Get your act together telling your wife it’s up to yourself but just tell someone you trust. I’m in -25.000€ from my shitty gambling career in the past 10 years. Good luck and be strong. It’s day 71 gamble free for me. Have a nice evening everyone

Monica
Reply

I also reached the point where I felt beyond help and gambled my last penny away deliberately when in a slot trance. That is how the sickness ends up. We play to lose it all. Like some awful self fulfilling prophecy with carrying all the guilt around gambling about how we do not deserve good in our lives. It is truly horrible. None of us are beyond help. We have to fight this. It is a sickness truly it is. All it takes is a decision that you have had enough of feeling like this, truly had enough. Tell someone. Go to GA. What it takes to hit that rock bottom point is different for everyone. To me it was he repossession order on my home. I think you are hitting your point Andy where it has to stop.

Andy
Reply

I feel sick

Jane
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Andy, you are sick, we all are. We might not like to look at it that way, but that is the truth. There is nothing to be ashamed about, although I know that I found it very hard to come clean. Guilt, mostly. That’s why we have to get help with this. Some people may be able to do this alone, but the majority of us cannot, and struggle greatly until they get support from family, friends and counselling.

I got pretty much nowhere with this, until I told my partner. Fessing up made me lose those urges to undo my mistakes because there was no pressure on me to conceal it anymore. Continuing to gamble was my way of trying to get myself out of the mess I was in, trying to cancel out all those losses because I thought that I could move on then. I was really scared of being caught. Winning back losses would be like forgiveness, that’s the way I used to think. The guilt keeps you gambling, so if you can share this, you will feel that weight lifted.

Having someone to talk to about urges is great too. They can make you see sense in what you are doing. Also, if you tell a loved one, partner, etc, you become more responsible for your actions. You can see the connection between what you do when you gamble, and how this affects those you love. It makes it more real, and you can feel like you want to do well for them too.
It can be an excellent deterrent.
Gambling in secret can be very dangerous because you are able to overlook responsibility. The lies will grow, the deceit, it eats into relationships. My partner thought I was having an affair. He thought I was upstairs talking to someone online. I was so distant all the time. My head was just full of gambling. There was no room for normal, everyday things. No joy in normal, everyday things.

Life becomes numb, yet all you feel is pain. It’s ironic.

If you have someone that you are responsible for, tell them. If you have close family, friends, tell them. Tell someone. Gambling becomes like a runaway train. Once set in motion, it gains momentum the longer it goes on and the effects can all come crashing down on you. There is no one in the driving seat anymore, no control. It gets very scary when you feel like this, Andy, as you know. It made me feel like I couldn’t even be alone for a second. I was volatile, angry and not to be trusted.
You can fix all of this, Andy, but do not try to do this on your own. Reach out to a loved one. You may be surprised at the reaction.
Best wishes to you and take care. x

Andy
Reply

Thanks Jane. I feel so s*** right now, the only saving grace is that I still manage to pay the bills on time. I play rugby part time which pays a bit plus I have a little job on the side. I had 25k savings. Gone. My wife doesn’t know it’s all gone, I’m not sure if i can face telling her, but I think it’s time I manned up and confronted this head on. Thanks for your words again. I know we all say it after a loss that we will never gamble again but I truly mean it this time. From today I’m doing the Xmas challenge. This is my day 1.

Jane
Reply

Right here with you, Andy.
Same for me too, Christmas challenge. That will be my gift to myself. I need this.
Had a little cry today, felt better afterwards. Just scared of myself sometimes. But I know I can do it. I just wish that I could lose the fascination. It’s not normal to want something that hurts us.
I also lost all our savings too, Andy. Same amount. £25,000 from years of saving up. Then when that was gone, panic hit me. I needed to get it back. I took out so many credit cards and run them up to £15,000 too. Half were in my partner’s name. He didn’t even know I took them out. I was so deceitful, hiding the mail, deleting things. That bothered me just as much as the gambling as it made me feel like I was trashing the intimacy, you know, the trust we had. It just felt plain wrong. Fortunately, my credit score is so trashed now, I can’t take out any more but I am still stuck paying off about £12,000 on them. It is going down slowly.

I took full advantage of the fact that my partner left all the money issues to me. I changed all the bank statements to online, so I didn’t have to keep catching the post and destroying the evidence. He went on a course once and a chap worked out how much money we should have after spending, and when he came home, he said that he couldn’t understand why we were always so tight when the man at work said we should be comfortably off.
I passed it off by saying we had quite a few catalogue bills for the kids and stuff. He was so trusting and left me to it, and I made a real mess of things. Yet he still trusts me to fix this, and that’s why I want to do this for both of us.
My partner said that we should look at it as if we never had the savings and that helped somewhat. Then, we just have the debt to focus on, which made it seem more doable.
Telling him was really difficult, but necessary. Before, I just kept undoing all the hard work I did. Paying down debt, only to run it back up again with another relapse. Always having to sell my stuff and pretend like I didn’t want them. Although it was hard to confess, it was such a relief, afterwards.
Finally, we could work together to fix this.
Let’s do this together, Andy.

Kate
Reply

I had a cry today too … just reviewing the madness. I do feel for you Andy …. carrying the secret of how much you have spent is a heavy burden. I agree with Andrei …. you should tell someone . I told my bf and my daughter but not my husband …. not because I think he’d throw me out but because it would make him very anxious and upset and I don’t think he would believe we are still ok financially. My debts are not household debts and my gambling has impacted on my savings and borrowings .. but not on our joint account … so I feel it is down to me and me alone to fix it. I don’t say this in any way to undermine Jane, who I have the utmost respect for …. but I do think every relationship is different and only you can judge whether your wife will be able to understand and support you or whether she will be too worried … or angry …. marriages break down as a result of gambling and the last thing you need right now is a massive fight. All the best …

Jane
Reply

Sorry you had a cry too, Kate. Still, it does us good to look back, so long as it is in the interest of moving forward.
Yes, every relationship is different. I think everyone will deal with this differently. Some people may accept their partner’s gambling, others may not understand. I was lucky in that my partner understood and was very supportive. That’s not to say that he rolled over and just let me tickle his tummy, but he did understand how it got to where it did. I had been paving the way, shall we say, for quite some time, talking about topical things like gambling and moaning about all the irresponsible ads….plus, of course, he knew I gambled. He just didn’t have any idea things had got that far out of hand.

The most important thing is to share this with someone, anyone. Really feel it for Andy, too, and all of us, for that matter.
Wish things were easier. I would love a magic ball and to be able to have a glimpse into the future, just to see if I really do make this work! If 5 years from now, I could look back and see 13th August 2017 as my last bet, that would be amazing!

Went looking for some wallpaper today. Came back with about 10 samples that I have randomly stuck to the walls!! ! Feels nice to do normal things, Kate. I have missed it. It’s got to go on the card though, but it’s a good spend, because it reinforces my positive attitude. Helps me feel like things are moving along.

Have a lovely weekend, Kate, and all. x

Andy
Reply

Another 500 gone. I’m beyond help. Literally done every penny I’ve got, think it’s time I confessed

Monica
Reply

Agree with you about TV Kate. I am very choosy about what I watch and find ads very annoying. I think as a culture many of us are in a process of change and no longer buy into all this crap.

Monica
Reply

Yes, there were a lot of gambling ads on last night. I noticed them too. Bring a mixture of urge and disgust to me! And yes, they are quite smart in how they hook in, and that is what it is, just a nasty little hook. I actually dread new sites coming up that I am not excluded from. Stays at the back of your mind. Cannot wait when we can just sign up and be excluded from all of them. I choose now re urges to see this as a mental pattern that I am now releasing and it is just the remnants that are there. Just keep saying bye bye to it and welcome in new life.

mat
Reply

Jane that’s why its best to throw away the TV, for the past 12 years I don’t have one I watch things only I choose what and when, they control people with all the ads and bullshit, I see alcohol ads while watching sports and I want to have a drink, they brainwash people, same with gambling.
Yesterday I saw a friend and he told me he won £300 on roulette and bought clothes, he made me angry, today he is probably losing way more than he won, he loses all his wages on these machines, its shocking how he quickly forgets his loses and brags about £300 win which is nothing, I told him look all these years you have been losing if you didn’t gamble you could still have over 50 grand that’s what he lost in past 7 years.

Jane
Reply

Hi, Mat. It’s so stupid isn’t it? We can be down £50,000 as you say, but if we win £300, we think we are entitled to ‘treat ourselves’ to clothes. Stupid gambling mentality. It doesn’t make any sense. The only sense is in stopping.
You are right about the TV. It really unsettled me last night. I went to bed and my heart was thumping in my chest. I was absolutely on fire, but apparently it wasn’t even a warm night.
It took me a while to get to sleep, I just kept imagining the outcome of bets….seeing my number light up, but thankfully, I woke up feeling level headed again.
Your friend has lost a similar amount to me, and in a similar time frame.
7 years with nothing to show for it.
Nothing but debt, that is.

Jane
Reply

A few hours of urges last night, caused by some stupid repetitive TV ad for daily live roulette. The numbers that came up on the ad were mine, so it triggered a little flurry in my heart. Makes me mad because I was trying to relax, watching Deadliest Catch at the time. Adverts are just freakin everywhere. I turned over from Sky Sports because of all the ads in the first place, and now have to put up with ads from Pokerstars, Ultimate Bet and Party Poker on what used to be a nice break away from all that crap. It’s the slowed down spinning of the wheel, the ball bouncing slowly from one number to the next. The heartbeat sounds….It really gets me. They know what they are doing, don’t they. My partner was apparently talking to me at the time, and I didn’t even hear him. I don’t like the fact that I still zone out to these ads, and I hope that will change in time.

I pushed the urges away with a kick back to reality by checking my bank balance. That seems to work for now. But what happens when things pick up and my balance looks healthy again? What then? I can only hope that since most of my urges come from not having money, that they won’t affect me so much when I actually get out of debt.
I will have to lock my money away just in case, and put it in one of those secure accounts, because WHEN I am done with all of this, there is no way, I am going through it again!

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Kate
Reply

Hi Jane – just shows how on our guard we need to be – I had the same reaction recently to an ad for Starburst – a big win – that’s all it took to get me craving the poison again – but I resisted too – it will give you strength to know that you can find the strength not to respond – but isn’t it interesting that you had a physiological reaction – yes, they are clever, and they know exactly how to re-trigger desire. Conditioned response a la Skinner rats again – but you can break the conditioning. Well done you!

Jane
Reply

Yeah, it is sinful the way they reel you in. It’s funny, we like to think we aren’t suckered in by ads, that we’re not gullible, but obviously we are to some extent. That’s why the companies pay the big bucks to run them.
The sports ads, although they remind me of gambling, don’t affect me so much because they were never my thing, but show me a roulette wheel and I can feel my chest thump. It’s crazy.
x

Andrei
Reply

Good evening my dear friends well done all. It’s day 70 gamble free for me. Stay strong and God bless your all.

Kate
Reply

Good evening to you Andrei …. thanks for your kind message. All the best . Kate

Jane
Reply

Day 70 is great, Andrei. Really pleased for your progress.

Monica
Reply

Dear Jane, I feel as though you, Kate and I are kindred spirits. I found your post moving and absolutely on point as of course, I know this but you put it into words so eloquently. My concern has always been around the length of this downturn and how much worse it could get with so much fear/anxiety around that. I spent the whole night awake and in pain with the guts (I think). My ex told me to go to urgent care centre today as cannot get an appointment with GP. I had a phone interview this afternoon for a job and was very anxious beforehand as know my confidence has been shattered by a car crash of an interview last week. I considered cancelling it but didn’t. It actually went very well and I was pain free throughout. I felt normal again and quite excited in doing something I am very equipped to do. No matter what the outcome of the interview, it was good as it made me feel a hundred times better in myself. I can do this. I think we should write a book about women CGs. I even have a title for it. Could only be published with a pseudonym and when we are all well into recovery.

Jane
Reply

Monica, I am really pleased for you. Hope it all goes well. This is you putting yourself back in the driving seat, taking control of your life and where it takes you. Gambling took that control away from you. We are all at its beck and call until we become strong enough to break free and leave it behind.

You are making such an effort to keep your head above water. It is admirable. I really hope you stay true to who you are and don’t let recent heartache change your outlook on life.
You are a gentle soul and as such, you have suffered just as much emotionally as financially through all of this. I am really glad you came to the site for support, because your efforts are an inspiration for all of us.
x

Kate
Reply

Hi Monica ….glad to hear you sounding stronger and glad the interview went well . I think there is a very interesting story to tell …. all the best

Jane
Reply

Day 25 of the rest of my life. #feelingconfident.
Of course, I’ve been confident before, but then again, I’ve got a real sense of purpose this time. I feel like I have direction. Whether it works out, whether it doesn’t, I am happy right now, and I am grateful for that. I stay on my guard, but I don’t see any point in expecting to fail, either.
Hope everyone is alright.

Joanne
Reply

I took a walk on the wild-side, ie gambling. It was fun to begin with, but I got in over my head! I seriously f**ked up, it cost me around 100 grand. The party is over now, I’m kicking myself for my stupidity, time to clean up the mess.

Day 13 of the clean-up operation!

Joanne
Reply

p.s.

I’ll re-phrase that ……….. I’m kicking myself for my own stupidity but I also lay some of the blame at those smart- ar**d, ba*****s who designed these machines to be addictive.

Joanne
Reply

pps Day 13, the only person who will get me out of this mess is myself! Let them starve, I say Let the b******s starve!

Keep strong and remain focused on being gamble-free.

Joanne
Reply

My experience of playing the slots was that they’d give you a small win when you first started to play knowing that you’d want to play longer! After that it was an endless game of cat and mouse , giving you a bonus, a win ,but never giving you enough so that you could walk away a winner. Like I said those machines were designed by w*****s, designed to mess with your thinking! Designed to slowly hypnotise you so that you can’t think straight, designed to give you a decent win after you’d been playing a long time , at the point where you’re so far gone, in some kind of trance that the money means nothing, you just want to keep pressing the spin button ! The machine then takes the money back from you when it knows you’re in that trance like state.

The only way we can outsmart those smart-a***d b*****ds , is by not giving them a single penny more.

Joanne
Reply

Yesterday I went into a discount shop, a shop I use now and again for buying cheap items like cleaning cloths, dusters , toiletries, etc you get the idea.

Lo and behold what are they selling now ………. National Lottery Scratchcards!

Why in the hell does a discount shop need to sell scratchcards!

Joanne
Reply

Then I walked past the bookies, it was around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, it was busier than any of the shops I’d just been shopping in.
A young couple were coming out of the bookies door, the woman was pushing a pram, the guy was looking forlorn, I knew by his face he’d lost money, it was heart-breaking to see it.

Joanne
Reply

and finally …………………. rant over, I’ll shut my mouth up now, for a few more days!

Joanne
Reply

should have added …………. balance zero, game over.

But it isn’t game over, because when you come out of the trance, of course you kick yourself because you’ve lost the winnings. So, you’ve lost the winnings but there was winnings to begin with. You can’t lose something you never had . So the slot machine has cleverly planted the seed in our brain that there are winnings to be had. So naturally we want to go back and reclaim the winnings. And guess what, the slot machine shafts us all over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat until they get every pound or dollar out of us. Like I said, they sure were clever the people who designed those machines. We didn’t stand a chance. We’ll I’ve finally woken up, it taken time and it’s cost me a lot of hard-earned money , well they ain’t getting a penny more out of me.

Joanne
Reply

And they do it all under the disguise of fun, entertainment. Entertainment, my arse, more like fu**ing daylight robbery!

Joanne
Reply

Don’t give the devious b******s another penny of your money …………….. STAY STRONG!

Joanne
Reply

And guess what, they won’t be giving a f**k if they don’t get a penny more out of me, why, because through advertising, they’ve been hard at work reeling in their next victims.

Joanne
Reply

Of course every now and then they pay out a big jackpot, splash it all over the newspapers, just to entice a few more victims through their doors ……………

They say it’s ‘survival of the fittest’, sometimes I think there’s a lot of truth in it. How else can you explain how these clever, devious , b******s get off with what they’re doing , practically mugging people in High Street bookies and through on-line casinos /bookmakers.

Like I said, STAY STRONG AND REMAIN FOCUSED ON BEING GAMBLE-FREE!

Joanne

We’ll never get back the money/time we’ve already lost, but we can stop gambling NOW and make a better life for ourselves.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Check back in on Sunday!

Joanne

Suitcase packed , off to the city for a couple of nights, Yipee …. and remember don’t give them another penny of your money!

Never, there’s no way there’s cities in the wilderness of Scotland! lol lol lol lol lol

Jane
Reply

Monica, as you’ve probably worked out from some of my posts, I also have faith. I wouldn’t say I have religion as I kind of moved away from the church when I was growing up, so to say I am catholic, would only be in name sake. I believe that religion comes from man, but faith comes from within. Two very different things.
One is for the love of God and the other is to suit the purpose of man.
Where faith serves to bring goodness and indifference, religion seeks to separate.

Throughout my gambling, I’ve found it difficult to understand why I have been allowed to hurt the way I have. But the danger of gambling is something we have all, long been warned about.
It is normal to experience trials in our life.They are like evolution, they force change through adversity. You suffer, you persevere and you come out different, a stronger person.

Some people turn to God in times of trouble. But there are times when we might feel abandoned. Left to suffer. God is trying to guide us, but we can allow grief and anger to harden our hearts, and in order for God to support us, we have to feel his presence.
It doesn’t take long, Monica, to realise that when we gamble ourselves into oblivion, it is not God who has abandoned us, but it is us, who have given up on ourselves. We even use words like ‘why do we keep torturing ourselves’….and you, yourself have also described gambling as self harm.
All of our instincts are there to help us make good choices and not take risks. Our emotions are there to help us realise that something is bad for us, but we don’t listen to them. It is human to be flawed and God knows this.
You don’t actually need to pray for what you need Monica. But you do need to listen. We all do. God knows our needs before we ask. You have probably been offered what you need, several times, but chose not to listen and this makes you angry because you feel you have wasted so many chances to make it right. That is why it is more beneficial for our anger to be aimed at ourselves. This way, it will force change. If we blame someone else, we are free to carry on gambling.
When we continue gambling, it becomes obvious that we won’t learn from our mistakes, so we are led towards an outcome which will force us to change. To give us an experience which will make us take our lives in another direction.
Try to remember, Monica that even the harshest of lessons are still good and come from a good place. It can be a case of getting what you need, not what you want.
God is about goodness, and so he has no place in gambling. When you chose to gamble, as I did, we chose to turn our backs on what we already intrinsically know to be wrong. We put ourselves in a bad situation when we decided to walk down the dingy, dark alley way of gambling. If you want to find God, you will not find him in these things. Gambling will push your faith away, to make money your God. You can’t have both a love for God and a love for money. One repels the other.
Gambling destroys everything good. People stop doing their hobbies, their talents. They stop being around friends and family. Others can suffer for what we do. No good can come from gambling. We have proved that to ourselves time and time again. It is now time to start listening to what we already know.

Jane
Reply

* Meant to say faith serves to bring goodness and equality, Monica, don’t know why I put indifference! (must need coffee) :)

Monica
Reply

Hi Mat, I understand your anger. I also feel angry that this has happened to me and also that I hav e had the life I have had. Angry with God but probably more so with myself. This society gets everyone to believe in happy dreams but these are all illusions and the very sad fact is that many people’s lives are unhappy. I include mine in that too. Also work alone and often away when I work too so also feel isolated. I am clinging on to hope and do not want my story to be a sad one and end this way. I am a lot older but you are not and have youth on your side to regain back yourself. I have lost who I was and I think it will take time to get her back. GA incidentally has all ages. I am one degenerate that finds it helpful.

Andy
Reply

When the fun stops, stop. The fun stopped 5 years ago.

mat
Reply

Andy fun stopped as soon as I had my first bigger loss which was in 2008, few days after I started playing FOBT’s roulette. But even when fun stops we want to win our money back, that’s how human brain works we hate having things taken away from us, especially money we get greedy and this cycle never ends.
We can stay off gambling but after time passes we build up some money and then repeat the gambling process again and again it gets out of control quickly. There is no fun inside the bookies just look around, sad losers, bums and benefit scroungers that lost their life that only have some pocket change and showers once a week or a month in some cases, the staff that works there isn’t any better, chavs and losers that couldn’t get anywhere in life and can’t even screw in a light bulb working for £7.50/h trying to get people on the FOBT’s with bogus tournaments and free watered down instant coffee.
That’s the problem we quickly forget our losses go back to the old habit, believing ‘this time I will win’ mentality there need to be ultimatum and constant reminders to truly stop this and restrictions to money is a must.

Monica
Reply

Hi, Mat have you ever been to GA? If you can find a well set up meeting which I fortunately have 2nd time around, the fellowship can be a support and take the edge off loneliness, a feeling I know only too well. I do find GA helpful, albeit very outdated in some of its concepts.

mat
Reply

I never went to GA, very busy now, I work every day and go to the gym I don’t know what they could tell me that I don’t already know, I don’t think it would help with being lonely to meet some gambler degenerates probably twice my age. I stepped into shit with this gambling and cant really find myself I am lost, I have no purpose really, just working to get back what I lost what’s next for me I don’t know. Feeling really hopeless, I have lack of skills in every part of life, I have a social phobia, gambling and my job (I work alone) made me really isolated and angry.

mat
Reply

And I forgot to add FOBT’s are no way random like they claim to be, the research on them was done by place owned by the bookies, ABB are also owned by the bookies so is things like Gamcare that supposedly wants to help people. Its like drug dealers would set laws in their favour and advertise drugs and run drug rehabs. FOBTs are nothing more than a scam, daylight robbery, there is no such thing as random number generator look up online, nothing ever is random. Each time when you play the FOBT is playing against you giving you bad cards while the dealer (machine) gets blackjacks or pick a number/area on the roulette and 9/10 it will f*** you, the only time you seem to win its only after some poor soul lose £1000s then the machine spits out some wins to hook more people in. These machines are the worst pieces of shit and worst form of gambling at maximum £100 a spin very dangerous designed for people to increase stakes and chase losses,
few minutes of playing can end in over a £1000 loss, they say its entertainment what a joke.

Jane
Reply

Agree, Mat. There is no need for them in the bookies, whatsoever. Used to always just be a place of pens and paper, maybe a couple of tv screens to watch a race. Now, they play at being casino’s offering high risk ‘games’. I think the words ‘play’ and ‘games’ should be removed from gambling. It is used deliberately to give the impression of something fun and safe.
Makes them seem innocuous. Couldn’t be more wrong.
I also think gambling is rigged, at least in some part. Online stuff too. I have NEVER EVER had a big win early on. ALL big wins have only come after chasing a heavy loss, and even then, it’s only ever been money back. You realise you’ve spent hours playing on them, and if you’re lucky, you only get your money back. That always made me want to gamble more because I felt like I’d got nothing but stress for my money. I think they know it too. That’s why we never get big wins early on, so there’s no walking away with it.

Don’t give up shouting about these machines, Mat. I am determined to make someone listen.
As for ending up on the news, that is the sorry end for many compulsive gamblers. If it goes too far, people can’t see a way out. How bad can it be if death seems a better option?
So sad. You take care of yourself, Mat.
x

mat
Reply

I see some of you mention FOBT’s let me tell you something they stole 9 f****** years from my life, destroyed my life completely, instead of finishing school, meeting people, travelling, enjoying my life or doing something productive, I put almost every note I had on my for many years and every 2-3 months I was skinned selling my phone and other things. I spent time playing games, watching movies and hiding from people, only go out to get food
When I look at past 9 years I see nothing, blank, its like I was in prison or in coma, I have almost no memories from the past 7 years. Even though I have money now my life is shit, I have no one, I cant enjoy my life and wont spend any money as I am constantly saving and trying to get more money its sick, if I spend money it brings urges, its like hell.
I had to stop as I was going mental if I kept this longer I would end up on the news probably that’s how bad they made me feel.
FOBTs are a cancer aimed at young people to addict and ruin their lives.

Monica
Reply

Part 2 – darn site… So it is different for women like us. Mine was lack of emotional support, loneliness intimacy yet still everyone coming in family to me to borrow money. I have gone through life very unsupported and I find this hard to get over. I am still here though which is a miracle in itself. I am still working Step 3 re surrendering to higher power. With all the pain have gone through I keep thinking that God has abandoned me (a bit like Jesus on the cross), knowing on the one hand that this isn’t true but on the other hand, that the gambling addiction has affected my mental and physical health and praying it doesn’t get any worse. Day 23.

Monica
Reply

Kate, very informative post. Thank you. I agree entirely with you. Like you I am a professional woman, who just before cancer was starting to do very well albeit late in life after working and studying hard for many years coming from a very poor background. I think someone should do a thesis on the link between self harm and female on line gambling. It is all done in secret at home. This is where I find GA to be completely out of touch in respect of the character defects and harm done to others they focus on. I have not borrowed money from my family for gambling. It is was all my own, credit cards, loans, business account etc. For me I gambled because my life changed post cancer, with my relationship going down the pan and the loss of all intimacy and sharing. I have still not recovered from that and have spent the past 5 1/2 years with no close emotional bond aside from my family but only to a certain extent.. I think I have some health problems now as a result of the stress I have put myself under and avoiding the doctor. But I think I must go. Maybe we could form a different group just for women like ourselves.

Kate
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I can relate to your story Monica … my father died and then my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour …, both in 2011 . It was very scary and lonely … we had recently moved from London and I hardly knew anyone in our new home..,and I convinced myself my husband would die on the operating table. The gambling was an escape and a comfort … I couldn’t stop and sometimes imagined being widowed …. but at least I still had my online “friend” giving me bonuses for good behaviour , hey got to VIP level … hey , unlocked another achievement .

I certainly don’t wish to diminish the harm of FOBSs but just to tell this other story …. my background is market research …. every market can be segmented and every market has a Pareto … of 80/20 where a small number of users make up at least 80% of the profit. Gambling companies make their profit on the unfortunate addicted 20% or5% or whatever which is why it is totally sickening and dishonest to say when the fun stops, stop! I think there is scope to tell the story of women like ourselves …, again, in no way diminishing others … who have a different story to tell.

Jane
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As you all know, I completely believe that FOBT’s should have the minimum stake reduced. There is no questioning the affect that these machines have on people’s lives.
However, the push to reduce the stake has come off the back of very obvious harm and distress, suffered by the players because they are right there on the high street for all to see. People see the distress, they witness the harm, they see the smashed up machines and broken windows…all tell the story of very obvious suffering.

Jane
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But as Kate says, who tells our story? The story of the elusive online gambler? A lot is made about the £100 max stake on these FOBT’s, but I can tell you that I have played £350 a spin before, perhaps more. I lost £3,000 in minutes. I was losing once on my usual roulette and needed to stake a higher bet, so that if I hit a number, it would cover my losses. So I switched to high stakes premium roulette. Maximum bet per straight number, (not per spin, I might add), being £100. The maximum amount you can bet online is messed up. I have seen some of the major sites offer £500,000 per bet. Take a look at this page, it will make your eyes water!

Jane
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These are not backyard, shady sites, these are the big bookmakers.
I am in no way, taking anything away from the need to change FOBT max stakes, I actively support this change. However, people cannot easily realise the harm when it goes on in your bedroom, your living room etc..
I lost thousands as I said in seconds, I did not smash up the place, it didn’t make the papers, the room was left just as neat as I found it. I just cut into my arms and went down to make tea.

Jane
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William Hill Age of the Gods Roulette, Vegas Roulette Max bet £500,000
888 casino Immersive Roulette, Sport Roulette Max bet £40,000
Ladbrokes 3D Roulette, Video Roulette Max bet £250,000
Betway Playboy Roulette, Multi Wheel Max bet £30,000
LeoVegas Monopoly Roulette, Ra Roulette Max bet £65,000

Andy
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Ridiculous that is

Jane
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Yeah, the only reason I stopped at ‘smaller’ amounts was cos I ran out of money. Thank God I didn’t have access to more, because there was zero control once I started losing.

Hope you are feeling okay, Andy.

Kate
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I used to play Retro Reels where each reel moves independently . If you are close to a big payout I regularly spent £75 on single spin and only occasionally hit the £500 payout

Jane
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Posts not going on again. So annoying.

Monica
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Eloquently put Jane. We have to realise the mind plays tricks on us constantly to keep the addiction going. Even now I have a nagging voice at the back of my mind which I say no to over and over again. No to pain, heartache, self destruction and misery. Jane, you were right in saying it is the toughest battle you will ever fight in your life and it is a battle raging within yourself. How crazy is that? Fighting yourself… the enemy within. Giving up is exhausting but so worth it. It hits your energy levels and motivation. The brain just wants to get the hit again. Pre-gambling 5 and a half years ago I used to have a mega healthy bank balance. I could have payed my debts off three times over, bought a house etc. But here I am destitute and almost homeless. That is the damage gambling has done to me. Day 22.

Jane
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I know, Monica, sobering isn’t it.
On the positive side, you will be so much stronger for all of this. It may not pay the bills, but it will certainly help you stay focused, emotionally. You more than likely turned to gambling because it seemed like a good, easy option. It was easier to gamble, than to address issues etc…Now, through adversity, you have grown in strength, character and determination, and as myself and Kate have learned, these are the things that push gambling away because we start to fill that void with meaning, instead of mindless games.
It’s all about self awareness, Monica, when you let go of gambling, you learn so much about what you are about, and the more you know about yourself, your triggers, etc..the easier it is to fight. x

Good luck with the masterpiece, Nik. I wonder will we feature in it? :) You’re gonna need a bigger book!

All the best, everyone.

Kate
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It is no co-incidence that you, me, Jane and others became addicted to gambling around – 5-7 years ago – in line with the development of on-line betting companies. I would never have thought of gambling going into a betting shop, but on-line is very insidious and hooks you in very quickly indeed. I was instantly hooked. I notice that the number of people reported as being addicted to gambling is now 2million – but these figures only go up to 2015 – I bet ( bad choice of word!!) there are many many more people since then. I know FOBTs in shops are highly addictive too, but the data from the gambling commission shows a clear pattern – FOBTs seem to be more of a problem for younger men, whereas online addiction for women. This certainly fits with the Forum. I know it’s important to focus on FOBTs , but I would like to see more attention paid to the more silent problem of online gambling, and female gamblers too. Like you Monica, I had savings and I ripped through them very quickly. I then started borrowing on credit cards – money lost all meaning for me. I know I am an otherwise intelligent woman, have had a very good career, with a previously spotless credit report and no borrowings, apart from a mortgage. I’ve always prided myself at being good at budgeting!! All I can say Monica, is that you are not alone – picking up the pieces from my 7 year gambling binge is not easy, and this is the biggest f*** up of my life, by a long long way, but hey, I am still here, the world hasn’t ended and I am still gamble free …so there is hope. Self-acceptance is hard, but it is essential – I’m not playing the victim, but through education about slot machine gambling and the effects on the brain, I am much more forgiving of myself for the mess I’ve got into …. people who become hooked must have a susceptibility to finding ways of self-soothing through the repetition of slots/roulette ….. so we are in an unfortunate minority, and we could have gone through life without ever discovering this susceptibility – our bank balances would have been OK ….but on-line gaming came along, and we fell into a pit. Don’t think online gaming will disappear, so all we can do is make sure we stay very strong, and stay away from the drug. Sounds simple, I know it isn’t, but I think one of the things which has helped me is to accept what has happened, acknowledge the harm done, and stay well away from on-line slots for ever. All the best

Monica
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Part 2 It isn’t real money to us, just a number on a screen until we stop and then realise we cannot even buy any food for the week. Up and down, up and down on that roller coaster or even worse, nothing, goes straight through. That has happened so many times. It is utter madness to do this to ourselves. The only way is to say, enough I do not want this soul destroying misery any more. It is destroying me, my life and id time wasted I will never get back. The depression and the suicidal thoughts – that is the destructive impact of gambling. Without gambling, would not be there. I am there. There will be no first bet, for the whole rollercoaster to start again. Ben, you can do it.

Jane
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So true, Monica. We want to close the chapter on gambling, but so many times, we keep one foot in the door, afraid to make that all important step, still believing that we can control it, that we’re okay. It’s just a little bet, after all. We lie to ourselves to protect our habit. We are unsure what we are afraid of. Unsure what we’ll do without it. It has defined us for so long that it is hard to see ourselves without it. But the truth is, Monica, we are everything without it and it is nothing without us.

We’ve got to get that distance between us and our last bet. This is really important because it acts as a barrier and a deterrent to gambling. We feel dreadful when we stop gambling, it’s normal. But give it time, and things will get better. Our brains will return to normal and we won’t miss it quite as much. If we always give in and relapse, as soon as things get twitchy, then we never give ourselves chance to get over that first hurdle and we never get to experience how much better things can get. It also means we have to keep repeating the process, over and over again, and each time, we risk losing motivation.

Think of it like heading out to sea in a small boat. Getting out over those breaking waves is really hard, it is tough going, and it takes determination. It is easy to give up and paddle back to shore, but persevere, and push on past those waves, and the water is calmer and easier to navigate. Then, the journey gets easier and the way is smoother. Giving up gambling is much like this. Stick with it, and see what’s on the horizon.

:)

Monica
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Inspiring post Jane. Look forward to reading the book Nik. In 2 posts again as this site the post comment keeps disappearing. With relapses, they play themselves out. Once you start on that first bet, it is very difficult to just stop. We think we will have some control this time, just to get your money back plus a little more, and maybe once, the first time, you might have a little control and cash out when your stack starts to reduce, never as much as it was,. Then the insanity starts until we have nothing. The trance and sickness takes over. These companies know when you start pumping the slots with cash. They either give up release a big win, or more often than not, repeat the 0 win cycle over and over again. Wins do not get cashed out, it is just to keep going and going.

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