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My Story

The 100 Day Challenge is a program where you set your goals - reduce your gambling or stop gambling altogether, it's up to you. Log onto the 100 Day Challenge website to follow the real stories of four Australians trying to give up gambling for inspiration and get the tools and support you need to find the real you. Click here to sign up, and post about your own challenge here on the Gambling Help Online Community Forum!


My Story

Postby puggles » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:26 pm

Hi, thought I’d share my story. I know that reading about other peoples experiences on here made me feel a little better, a little more “normal”, if that makes sense. So hopefully I can help others feel the same. There is nothing worse than feeling like a monster because of this, that you are the only one with this affliction.

People have told me in the past to “just stop”. If it was that easy, then why are we all here? Why would we purposefully make rational decisions that are detrimental to our own lives and those that we love? It clearly doesn’t make sense.

I’ve been gambling since I was around 16. I’m now 36. I consider myself to be smart, with a good career and a couple of uni degrees – with a heavy emphasis on mathematics and statistics, and rationally I know that gambling is a hiding to nothing.

However, a little bit of rationality didn’t deter me… gambling was something fun and endorsed by everybody right??!

Gambling has left me as a shell of a man. It destroyed my marriage. I had to sell our family home in inner Sydney. I’m lucky to see my son once a week. I have no assets and a $100k debt (still after selling the house and splitting the profit through divorce). My self confidence is completely shot, and I’ve let my gambling (past and present) define who I am and how I feel.

I always ignored looking at the total amount of money I spent and I was staggered when I calculated my last year of gambling spend – over $70k straight into the machines. Amazing. An average of over $1300 per week. For what? I won $2000 once. Felt fantastic. For 24 hours. I only have to do that another 35 more times without losing anymore money to breakeven – easy! I better just keep plugging away then!

I have been to counselling a number of times, the most successful was the most recent, and I lasted a staggering 31 days before I gambled again. Just a little one, $200, but then I soon fell into the trap of trying to get that back a couple of days later, and failed after I had invested $1000 to get that $200 back. Then of course, I had to go back the next night and get that now $1200 back… you get the picture. Since that 31 days in Oct/Nov, I’ve clocked up a total of $5600, all trying to get that $200 back I suppose..!

So, I’ve got to finally take that sage advice and “just stop”. I know that if I can do 31 days, then I can do 32. And then I will be able to reach 33…

When I was on a roll of my GF days, I felt the best I had felt in years. And that’s what’s driving me to give up, reclaiming my self worth, as well as proving to my son that you can change for the positive and you should always strive to improve.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you aren’t a gambler, then you don’t really understand how this addiction can grab you and hold you so tight. It’s like a giant python, tightening its grip and preparing to swallow you whole.

So I will do 100 days. And then another 100. And I’ll keep going.
puggles
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Re: My Story

Postby Mona58 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:42 pm

Welcome Puggles '

Watch Ka-Ching Pokies Nation Nation on ABC iview . It explains how the machines work on brain washing and getting us addicted. Also google AustraIia's problem gambling. You will find stories by professors, politicians, lawyers and housewives all fallen into the gambling traps.

Thank-you for sharing your story. Stories written by newcomers to the forums keep me strong. Everyday life has a new meaning simply by staying gamble free.

Mona in day 76 GF
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.~Confucius
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Re: My Story

Postby DFP » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:20 pm

Hi Puggles
I can certainly relate to your story - I'm also from a maths/stats background, and I find it incredible that I'm hooked on the machines (as I can work out the odds). That's why I feel it is an irrational disease that I have - and one I will always have BUT one I will be able to control.

I found GA very useful when I first needed to realise my problem. Then the key elements for control are (in my opinion):
- being honest to family and friends, both about the past but also the current journey. Commit to not lying
- limit your access to funds - preferably by giving control to someone else. Otherwise don't carry ATM and only have a small amount of $$$ on you
- stay accountable to yourself and others (use this forum, GA group, family to stay accountable)

As you progress, you will probably rediscover lost interests and then realise to pokies took away your true personality. Invest your time in your newly rediscovered interests and people.

Then keep working on it. NEVER feel that you gain control - it will always be part of you, and always need to be controlled. It is hard work but the rewards are significant - you get your true self back!!!!
Always a 'work in progress'
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Re: My Story

Postby pamela » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:56 am

Hi Puggles and welcome ..your story is much the same as all of ours and you are here with the purpose of stopping..I gambled for 18 years and ruined my life till I got to the stage that enough was enough.I haven't gambled for 2 and a half years now and its fantastic.I was tired of living a life of stress and lies and of being broke and in debt.It took grit and determination but I did it and so can you.Don't overthink it and don't look too far ahead but just take one day at a time and say to yourself I won't gamble today.Good luck,dont give in and think strong..You can do this and then you are the winner
Pam
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Re: My Story

Postby puggles » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:35 pm

Thanks for the feedback people. It means a lot.

I watched that Ka Ching documentary today and that was a bit of an eye opener. It actually made me angry listening to the people who design the machines and the fact that no one pulls them up on it.

It's been a couple of days now since my last binge, so still feeling it a bit but also having some bursts of positivity.

Here's to a new beginning in 2018! I hope you all have a great New Years!

Thanks again.
puggles
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Re: My Story

Postby Jeddie » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:58 am

Dear Puggles, watch that movie a few times. It is criminal that these machines are made and it disturbs me to think of these people with no moral compass doing it knowing full well what the end result is. I would like to think that I would say no if offered a chance. Anyway that’s my bit..another movie is one called “going for broke” . It’s a movie based on real life..
IN GAMBLING THE MANY MUST LOSE IN ORDER THAT THE FEW MAY WIN
George Bernard Shaw
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Re: My Story

Postby Dave68 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:23 pm

G'day Puggles. I can relate to much of your situation, as i too gambled for almost all my adult life, from 18 until 46 which is now about 44 months ago. Probably dropped well over $250K in both TAB for the first half of that span, with pokies pretty much consuming my time and money for the second half of that period of time. I guess in my case it's only myself that i've hurt, i've always been single and have no kids.

LIke you, i would be aware of the 'playing to extinction' aspect of the mythical 87% return, and would just go in to play, never for particularly high bets (most i bet would have been $2 a spin, and mostly between 50-80c, but i was spectacularly unsuccessful in my playing. I note with some mild amusement the recent Victorian initiative to allow up to $2000 of winnings before a cheque is required to be paid to the player. That was a moot point for me, i never once won an amount enough to win a cheque payout. In any case, as i saw with a gambling friend and with many others, the old $1000 limit would merely see people play off up to several hundred dollars of winnings so they can get a cash payout. I think that rule was clearly made by people who are not gamblers.

But eventually after realising that i was 70K in debt and was actually spending more than i was losing, i was able to give up. I just got angry with myself, angry with the machines and the venues, and after a three hour session of 50c betting that saw me traipse three times to a Westpac ATM to avoid the $2.50 in-venue withdrawal fee, i walked out having lost $413!!

And thought, how stupid is that, talk about penny wise and pound foolish. I also thought about the fact that i had never got the five wilds in a payline, which might have a top payout of maybe $500 for a standard one credit bet. And i calculated that i have had millions of spin events, over games with up to 100 paylines in all my playing. So here i have played the pokies for 15-odd years, and NEVER won a mere 50000-1 payout (assuming for a 1-cent bet). As you'd be aware Puggles, statistically that's a pretty stupid thing to be continuing to do. Eventually i just gave them up. I started playing this word twist game online which i still do, and that helped me in the first few months, and for about the last three years, i've happily played the facebook app pokies which give me the same thrills and feelings, yet involve not a cent to spend.

Not everyone might agree with me playing those, but for me it's been a significant help as i've just basically forgotten about any lure of going into a venue, or even playing the online casinos which i had also done for a few years. I have only very slowly made some inroads into the debts, but at least i was able to refinance my house to help pay off the credit cards.

You just have to find a way inside you to get angry enough at the machines and what they have done to you to make the call to never give them a cent of your money again. You may find perhaps as i'd do, you'd go to a supermarket as a gambler and really rationalise prices to a few cents, yet think of how crazy we are to throw $50 notes into a machine. Somehow we are seduced into doing that, almost an out of body experience. In no other sphere would be hand over our hard earned for such a paucity of an outcome. That Pokie Nation video does explain a lot as others have alluded to.

Good luck anyway, just try and make sure you try to 'get back' at the machines, the venues and the like the best way you can, by not giving them any of your money again. We all work hard for it, and yet the pokies takes it away without a yelp. Time for us to start yelping our heads off and stop doing it. Keep in touch, we're all pretty much in the same boat.
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Re: My Story

Postby puggles » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:40 am

Day 4 today, been feeling a bit irritable and short tempered but at least i know why. Just have to keep reminding myself that not gambling is doing that, nothing else. And that it will get better.

Dave68 i know exactly what you mean with penny wise and pound foolish. I am exactly the same when it comes to soending my money on things, generally pretty careful and considered, but money for me loses all value when it comes to gambling, it is an out of body experience.

I had a counsellor once ask me if i would buy a couple of ipads every week - i said i'd consider buying one every couple of years maybe, why would you buy a couple every week? But tbats how much money i was gambling. In the context of buying stuff, i would never consider spending that much... crazy right?! But put me in front of a machine or at the TAB, suddenly seems like a sound idea.
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Re: My Story

Postby puggles » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:17 pm

So i've made 1 week gamble free, the longest i have gone in the last couple of months. Really been taking that advice of focussing on one day at a time.

Looking forward to navigating the weekend succesfully so i can hit double digits on Monday!
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Re: My Story

Postby Jeddie » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:49 pm

One week, 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
Well done
IN GAMBLING THE MANY MUST LOSE IN ORDER THAT THE FEW MAY WIN
George Bernard Shaw
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