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Starting to stop gambling today

Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:04 pm
by hulkamaniak
Hi guys, 33 year old male here who has played the pokies since I was 18. I remember always going to the pub for dinner with my family when I was 16 and was always so intrigued by the pokies and wanted to play them so bad. Finally once 18 during a family meal at the pub I put $1 into a machine, and betting 5 cents I won $70, for someone not working at the time and having deep depression/social anxiety I finally felt excitement my life was lacking. I remember my early days of going to the pub with a friend and gambling, I would bet 20 cents and on a bad day would leave $50-$100 down and never think anything of it. Fast forward to now and $1.25 bets are the norm and $2.50 on nights I am winning a lot. I have plenty of the usual stories under my belt, long nights at the local pub until I exhausted all the money in my account, nights where I have won $1000s and lost it all, nights where I have won $1000s and then the pub closed so I had to go home, and basically have a 4 hour sleep before rushing back at 10am to lose it all.

I have taken big precautions over the last 3-4 years and self excluded myself from every single venue that has pokies with in 2 hours of me. There are so many venues, I am excluded from a good 100 venues which I had to go into 1 by 1 and exclude myself which took around 30-60 mins each time. Nearly all were so nice and helpful! A few didn't make me feel welcome and it was very anxiety inducing doing the ban, and one unnamed venue told me even though I am excluded they are happy to turn a blind eye if I decided to come in the future. A good portion of these self exclusions were unfortunately done after I had gone to the venue lots of times and blew in excess $1000 and I knew the only way I wouldn't ram my car into a tree was to turn the negative into a positive and exclude myself. In 2021 I can now comfortably say I am excluded from everywhere, I guess the only loophole here is my older bans from 4 years ago have the biggest urge for me to just sneak back in because odds are they won't remember me by then. I can proudly say I did this with 2 of my locals 3 years after the ban and they kicked me out with in 10 minutes and it was super embarrassing.

Next issue, online gambling. Over the last few years I have spent 10s of thousands of dollars on online pokies, I have had to do the same thing and email every single online casino and ask for self exclusions. This too involved me creating many accounts and saying "what the hell, I will gamble first", then I've put 1000s on and lost it and finally excluded. This again has been a long journey as there are literally 1000s of bloody online casinos. I found a good app on my phone called GGG which completely blocks all gambling sites and you just can't remove it, I even tried reformatting my phone and the app refused to let me do so. Only issue was the app didn't block one specific site so I kept going there. Needless to say I again lost 1000s over the weekend and decided enough was enough and I emailed the company and they very quickly blocked the app. So the app can be turned off with a pin but you need to email GGG and they will send you the pin but only 24 hours after the email, so it does require some will power, and that's why I am here. Hopefully sharing my story and having some moral support might make me more accountable.

So anyway, here is to day one. I think the longest I have not gambled in 15 years is around a week so here's hoping I can top that, outside of that 1 week I have at least gambled 3-4 times a week. Typing this out has distracted me from the overpowering thoughts, but I have put in so much effort to stop myself to gamble, surely that means my deeper being wants out and I just need get a streak going which will hopefully make the urges a tiny bit easier to handle. I already am having the thoughts "just sneak into an old venue and only bet 20 cents a go, you'll be fine"

Re: Starting to stop gambling today

Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:03 am
by Calvin (facilitator)
Hi @hulkamaniak
Welcome to the forums ! Good on you for reaching out and thankyou for sharing with us your journey so far.
It’s really great to hear that you have self-excluded from lots of venues, we understand online gambling is very accessible as well.

Even though self-exclusion is a great barrier strategy it’s also important to really recognise your urges, take note of trigger times through a typical day/week and thinking about what activities helps you most in overcoming these urges and challenging and defusing thoughts that influence the gambling.
Take one step at a time and remember that each minute, hour, day, week that you go without gambling is a win in itself. :);