My name is Steve and I'm a compulsive gambler. Date of my last bet is 18th October 2014.
I first admitted I had a problem with gambling in 2003 and my life was in a mess. I had finished university with a bit of student debt and found gambling a good way to supplement my income and help pay off my debts (initially).....
Internet gambling was just starting off and I was enticed by all the free bet offers so I opened several accounts on various sites. I started off betting on football (soccer) just at the weekend but soon I was finding other forms of gambling such as online casino's / poker etc.
Initially I had some success and think that spurred me on to bet more frequently and increase my stakes. I never asked to cross that invisible line from normal gambling to compulsive gambling but in 2001 I crossed it.
I was a very secret gambler and my parents, partner and best friend had no idea how much I was gambling as I would sit on the computer late at night gambling alone but soon I was starting to get into debt due to gambling. I was starting to lose control and when I lost i started to chase the money and when I won I wanted to win more (double it / treble it). I couldn't walk away win or lose and that's how gambling can take over you and become addictive.
I had to start covering my tracks regarding my finances and I was supposed to be saving for a deposit on a house with my partner. Little did she know that instead of saving I was blowing my monthly salary in a couple of hours. This type of gambling is unsustainable and soon my debts were mounting with several credit cards and loans to feed my addiction.
I often tried to stop gambling and thought I needed to tell someone about it but then I would think that I could have a big win and everything would be payed off and sorted. My gambling was spiralling out of control and getting progressively worse and this was impacting my mental health, my relationship, my reputation, my career and I was like I was in quicksand and unable to pull myself out. I started to have suicidal thoughts as the only way out to clear my gambling debts but thankfully I never went through with it.
I was hitting rock bottom when I decided I needed to speak up and tell my partner and parents everything. They were shocked, disappointed but also supportive and realised I needed help to recover from this emotional illness. That's when I found Gamblers Anonymous and my recovery began in 2003.
GA has saved my life although it didn't stop me relapsing in 2014 when I got complacent and stopped going to my meetings. Luckily my wife caught me out and she decided to give me another chance (for the sake of our 2 children). This time I putting 110% into my recovery and I attend 2 meetings a week which is working for me. I've accepted again that I am powerless over gambling and I'm actively working the 12 steps to become and better person.
I have seen the depths people have gone to with this addiction - on the street, in prison and suicide and I don't want to go there.
Just for today I will not gamble
Sent from my iPhone
I am Steve I am a recovering compulsive gambler from the U.K. I'm 37 now but I have been in recovery since 2003. I'm married and have two adorable children. I also have a fantastic job but this did not stop me almost throwing all of this away in 2014 when I had a major relapse. Now I'm back at Gamblers Anonymous and fighting this addiction 1 day at a time. I'm also sharing my experiences via my blog www.gamblingfreeste.wordpress.com
Hoping I can help others seek help with gambling addiction and see the benefits of recovery (like I have)
#serentiy #recovery #unity