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  • After 9 years of compulsive gambling, I am finally able to take the "one day at a time, one step at a time"

    For people making and maintaining change in their gambling. Connect, ask questions, offer advice, and share your story in here. If you are new to the site drop in and say hello!
    Iamlucas123
    Junior Member
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:32 pm

    After 9 years of compulsive gambling, I am finally able to take the "one day at a time, one step at a time"

    Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:50 pm

    Hi everyone / anyone,

    Soooo, I have been a long time member of this little site pretty much since 2012 or 2013 with a few different logins, I would only ever login out of rage that I had just lost everything and looking back at it, was desperate for an instant answer or a whimsical savior who would take all my problems away, I would look at the forum and be grounded for a little bit, maybe 12 hours if I was lucky or I would chat to the counselor than in the end get frustrated it was not the instant help I thought in my head and the way everyone had packaged getting help / recovery, I would then think that it is a hopeless cause or think I had this without really staying the path or bothering to find a support network that worked for me, because lets face it, not every counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, friend, family member, group etc etc are going to have the same affect on everyone, but for some reason, I am now back, but for the first time, as a positive, I am not going to give a time of how long since it has been since I last gambled, because I found for my self, counting the time was a false expectation or false hope and realistically, a slip up is not a fall down or the end of the world, it was an opportunity to see what wrong THIS TIME and what I could maybe do or be mindful of for next time in the same circumstances (as for most gamblers, those circumstances are just any time you have even a dollar in your hand. )but I count it little victories like for the first time since I started gambling, I have paid six months of consecutive rent, on my own, I have got through 2 pays without losing over half of those pays combined minimum, usually it was a lose the entirety of one as I am paid monthly when I find my self in stable employment, then pull my self together, cover the losses, might actually do a shop for the bare minimum then lose the rest, that was my cycle, hell there was one year where I lost every single cent of my pay for every pay day and was enabled and propped up by mother who was old and on the pension and had overcome a gambling problem her self but refused to ever admit she had one. More on that another time. But my recovery has become more a milestones and going through the **** rather than finding an excuse around it, it has been about trying to solve the problems and most importantly, realizing I am not just a anonymous person, not a burden and that I am by far the harshest critic than anyone else and finding the confidence and self belief again to stand up for my self, have honest and open discussions and actually talk about the mechanics of my gambling more so than just the "Hi, I am Lucas and I am gambler" Or "I ***** up, I lost everything, can I spot some cash", so much of this came down to discussing the mechanics to people for my self, who did not understand what it is like to have an addiction where it is no longer a choice, but it is the only way to survive. The what I would think where "stupid questions" where the ones that actually made me think about where is my thought process and how do I stop looking at an experience as a whole that i felt defined me, to what happened here and how do I learn from this from the last experience only, I had to break down every experience, because whilst I felt like every experience was the same, I am months into this process and I feel like I still find something new every day I have to work through in the terms of thought processing and coping mechanisms and just general force of habit and second nature.

    My experience with gambling was a strange one, I remember being 4 and going with my mum to a TAB so she could put on a bet and she would ask me the numbers she should put on, I remember the aural experience and the energy of the venue (the 80s, a hell of a lot different to now), I remember being 8 and being with a babysitter and their family and waiting in the car for 4 hours with them whilst the only person who could drive, was in the TAB on a friday night placing bets on the dogs. I remember being 15 and putting my first bet on for my self as my mum gave me 5 bux to do so, I put 1 dollar on a harness race on a horse who's name I thought was hilarious, can't remember it now, did not even look at the odds. Turns out it paid $100 for the win. I remember then years of random and scattered experiences with gambling and the first feelings of invincibility by being so scared of gambling because of what it had done to my family life, but would have a punt every Melbourne cup or Geelong cup and do surprisingly well. Then I hit 29 turning 30....... Life had changed dramatically, split from a long term partner, stopped drinking and doing drugs, was struggling with a lot of decisions I had made and general stuff we all go through, then I found my self at a cross roads, everything had cleared up, I found my self not socializing with anyone and I remember thinking, I just might have a punt as I have some extra cash, so I did, lost $500 but did not care, should have been the first worrying sign. I did not think I would try again. Fast forward 4 months, that 4 months I don't remember what my gambling habits where like, I think they where still experimental, but I had a couple of wins and was hooked enough. I was working at a new job and when it came ot banking, the TAB was closer to get change from then what it was the bank, so the advice from management was go to the TAB and grab change. On those change breaks, they started getting longer and longer. My 5 dollar bets and betting patterns started to change, i started becoming more invested in techniques and strategies and fooled my self into thinking I had a system, next think you within the next six months on that job, I had started betting a minimum of $50 despite the most I would be able to walk out of the venue was just over a K, but I had started dipping into the banking, to the point where I had lost around about 5k of the banking. I had been so oblivious to it. I remember having a good takings day and I thought to my self, one last shot, I took in another 2k. Was down to the last 200,, I put 200 on the 12 on trackside to win, the trackside sucked me in because it was playing to he manic nature that my gambling had morphed into, every 2 minutes I had a chance to do it all again! no matter the day or time! you ripper. Anyway, that bet won, you ***** beauty! I just won everything I had lost from work, plus extra, I went and banked only 5k of this, left 2k there at work, at the time I thought nothing of being able to get all that money straight away (i had many experiences later on with bigger sums, soon I found it really depended on the franchisee and how well you knew them and how they would find their sneaky little ways for you to take all your winnings in cash from the venue, knowing it would go back in) Anyway, I gambled that 1k left over that night, ended up winning another 6k, I was on a absoloute streak, I had then gone blown a few K on drugs and sex workers, did not sleep for a couple days, did not have to work for a couple days, kept gambling. it was not until the last 24 hours of this bender and being steadyily around the same winning margin in hand despite heavy gambling and drinking and still buying more drugs, it went pear shape, I ended up doing 500 bets and lost 10 in a row. That was the end of that. I ended up going into work after hours, going into the safe, taking the banking that was left and another 3k that was added. Lost all that within a few hours. I then had many awkward convos with work for the nextg 2 weeks, they finally started catching on, I mysteriously vanished from the job, I hid out for 4 weeks (all whislt gambling any cent i could get and selling everything I owened including an extensive record collection) ended up catching up with me, I got off lightly, debt was recovered, nothing further happened. I thought this was going to be the end of my experince. no way. It was just the start. the next 8-9 years I lost EVERYTHING repeatdly, ***** up my family life with my kids, ***** up any relationship I would find my self into , distanced my self from friends, found my self actually working for corporate bookmakers in the end and about 7 years into the addiction, this is when it was starting to hit boiling point again with the worst it had been, i was with a large online bookie, my gambling was spiraling (in this time mind you I did find it very easy to self exclude my self from online gambling, everywhere sept my work and one other place that i ended up excluding from a year later because I completely forgot they existed) i found my self on the longest lunch breaks across the rd, back to the 250 or more minimum bet, armed with one of the bigger pays I was getting and working for the industry and learning more tricks to keep enabling my self. Then it came crashing down, not only had I lost everything, I had also in that tenure lost 10s of thousands that I actually won ( a few years earlier I had my biggest day ever which was a stupid stupid stupid amount, i lost in the course of 4 days) but also found my self feeding my self free bets (that are not free to the company, 20c to the dollar it used to be, it is more like 35c to the dollar now it costs for the company due to fees and taxes) and I did not realise how many. Next thing you know, I get a phone call, come into the office we have to talk. I was confronted, I said everything open and honestly, I was lucky my addiction was so bad I never withdrew and i also knew that was a line i could never cross as it would be no return but i kept betting these free bets. in the end it was over 50k worth of freebets I had given my self.... not including turnover from that..... and somehow yet again, i escape it out of there with no charge and them going to the point of trying to find everyway possible to keep me. I remember that conversation with my then boss clearly he said "You are an absoloute ********, you where in a great great spot with us, but I really wish you the best of luck because it breaks my heart that we had to let you go, but that was by far what you just did in t hat room with us was the easiest thing of this journey you will do, it is the next part is going to be the hardest" my heart sunk, thinking, hang on, they told me I was in the clear. a couple months went by, gambling started to slow down a little and i began to realise what he meant, he meant changing and overcoming the addiction is going to be the hardest. Then what happend over the next 12 months, was one out of my control and no gambling related disaster after another, it became too much, I did find my self in another job somehow tho and still the same cycle of gambling every afterwork or on my lunch break when i got paid, i would find my self eating out of bins or just shoplifting every meal i had or going back to where i was staying and eating the left overs there. Then came all the suicide attempts, Then the change started, my last attempt, i kept going to work straight after i got out of hospital with each attempt, but the last time i didnt, i went well ***** it, something needs to change, i started dealing with a couple of situations that where triggering me, started feeling good, still gambling but could feel these steps where coming (mind you i had seeked so much help in this time, been on this site many times, but nothing started clicking til i said out loud and to someone important to me, this has to ***** change and it starts now) and in that instant of saying ***** it i need change i also made the big step of going i also have to move back to a support network or to friends, even tho it may not help, just having that feeling of old friend familiarity and maybe I will start feeling comfy confiding in them. that is when it changed. The next 7 months preparing ot move was hard. but i got there. somehow. Then i got back "home" which leads me to the main part of why I am back on this site. Finding what recovery meant to me.

    Getting home was great, I had also been so open about my mental health and gambling in that 7 months with everyone of my friends on social media. *****, they even started a go fund me to pay my rent when i got 8 weeks behind again. and it pulled through. wow, never thought anyone would do something like that for me. But i got home in mind with I need to be consistent, I need to say see something through to I was told it is the end or to when I was at a point to where I am at now. But at the same time, it was not great, i was practically homeless. I had to crash at a friends for 3 months til i somehow found a house (through pure luck and assistance from a work mate as it was their family house) but I had to find something that would work still in terms of overcoming my addiction. Then, I found it and it was not what I thought it would be, recovery was not how it been sold to me, it was not one action, it was millions of internal processes but the most important thing was I found a community that worked for me in terms of group, social worker, speaking out to my friends, psych etc etc and I also was being intensely watched for six months (which I cant really go into currently) but that was just another community, i knew i needed something to hold my accountable, and i did not think it would be, my actual self and just talking about my experiences for a couple hundred hours then thinking about it even longer. The more i got through the process, the more i dealt with the slip ups along the way. i had some massive losses in those times, close to my whole pay, but never my whole pay which was a first, and little milestones like that started to fall, too many to even mention, but for once, i did not have a defeatist attitude, i just kept going even tho so many times it felt so stupid thinking about certain things or talking about it, but the one day at a time thing was key, I ahd to pace my self, i had to slow my thoughts down, i had to slow my consumption down, and once the slowness started, the space gambling had taken in my head, had shifted, it was no longer overwhelming my my mind and my whole body, i would not work out the door intending to go shopping for food or pay rent and end up in the tab gambling it all, i had to be pretty much babysat at times when i knew would ***** up, I had to safeguard my self, but most importantly, i had to stop thinking of falling into my addictions as a ***** up, i had to find the positive spin. because in the last 4 years of my gambling, it was not about winning, it was about losing, i had to lose to function and to feel what i thought was normal. But now, I have found my new normal, and I guess this is me ending my relationship with this site even tho that rant was not even about the site ( i could rant so much about help services and my troubles there, but where will that get me) but this is a way of I guess closing another chapter that was open and unfinished. So forum and gamblinghelponline, thank you for being a resource that is so few and far between, but whilst at times it did not feel like it helped, in the long run, this was one of the many processes that had to happen in order for me recover. So thank you.
    2 x
    pamela
    Senior Member
    Posts: 1803
    Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:38 pm

    Re: After 9 years of compulsive gambling, I am finally able to take the "one day at a time, one step at a time"

    Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:02 am

    I read your story with both sadness and pride.
    Getting off that merrygoround is tough..and we all get off at different stops.
    Well done on finding yourself and I wish you all the best
    1 x
    tennisstar (facilitator)
    Member
    Posts: 31
    Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:19 am

    Re: After 9 years of compulsive gambling, I am finally able to take the "one day at a time, one step at a time"

    Fri May 01, 2020 3:58 pm

    Hello Iamlucas123,

    Thank-you for taking the time and effort to share your story. We're sorry to hear that gambling has brought you a lot of adversity and turbulence, and has contributed to significant difficulties in your life. Giving up gambling can present with its many challenges and setbacks, and unfortunately there isn't a one-size fits all approach towards extinguishing the behaviour. We're glad to hear that we've been a helpful resource for you, and that you've opened up a new chapter towards recovery. Keep up the momentum! Please continue to use our forum and website as a tool within your repertoire of strategies.

    Kind regards,

    tennisstar
    2 x

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