Can a compulsive gambler ever go back to normal gambling?

Can a compulsive gambler ever go back to normal gambling?

By Steve Anonymous

Can a compulsive gambler ever go back to 'normal' controlled gambling?

The answer is NO (in my opinion) and I am proof of that. It's like saying can an alcoholic ever drink alcohol again without going over the top.

As addicts we have crossed the invisible line from normal to compulsive behaviour and unfortunately there is no going back. I didn't ask to cross that invisible line but I now accept that I am suffering from a mental illness that cannot be cured. However i can arrest the problem one day at a time as part of my recovery.

Sounds scary I know but after attending gamblers anonymous meetings and being gamble free for over 5 years I thought I was able to control my gambling and just have a small bet each week on football bets (like a normal gambler). But I forgot I was a compulsive gambler and once I started with the odd small bet I craved for more. 

A normal gambler would walk away content with the afternoon of fun of putting a few bets on the football, but I needed to win the money back I had just lost. So I could put some bets on the next day's games or I could try my luck at the online casino trying so hard to win the small amount back which any normal person would have been happy to write off. Suddenly chasing the small amount turns into a more significant amount and the cycle continues.

This carried on for about 6 months with brief spells off in between where I tried to put a stop to it but I wasn't in control. The gambling had full control of me, I was in the quicksand again, and struggling to get out. Although it caused a lot of heartache being found out by my wife on reflection I am so glad she did before things got any worse. As I know that compulsive gambling is a progressive illness and I am thankful that I didn't end up in one of the 3 places;

  1. On the street
  2. In Prison
  3. In the morgue 

I have seen examples of people going to these places at GA so I now accept that I cannot gamble normally again as my compulsive nature will never go away and that's why I'll be in recovery for the rest of my life. I have to steer clear from all forms of gambling as that is the safest option for me as I don't want to end up in any of those 3 places. This can be difficult sometimes as there is a massive gambling culture nowadays (particularly around sports betting) and there is opportunity 24/7 to gamble online.

Yes I still have thoughts of having a bet but I respect the addiction for how powerful it is and I am always on my guard with my barriers in place. No matter how bad a day I am having I know that placing the first bet will only make things worse.

My name is Steve and I am a recovering compulsive gambler. 

Gamble free for 861 days, living the dream and loving this new blogging  opportunity on If my story helps one other person admit they have a problem and seek help then it's worth it. Plus the blog helps me reflect on where I am in my recovery and share my thoughts and feelings with others.