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  • The relapse

    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!
    Junior Member
    Posts: 13
    Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:13 am

    The relapse

    Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:06 pm

    Hello again (unfortunately)

    I posted my story in 'The Courtyard' last year in October. At the time I was reeling from the most significant gambling loss in my life. It didnt feel like it could get worse. But it did. In a big way. After successfully remaining gamble free for 7 months, it only took one weak moment to convince myself that I could ''throw $25 into my account and see what happens'. Its almost like you convince yourself that you can manage your gambling now that you have such a lengthy time off. Of course on my return, I won. I wish I didnt .

    I use my phone to bet. I do not go into the pub and bet on races there and I dont play pokies. I use the apps to watch races and sporting events. It is all too easy and convenient on your phone to both bet and hide at the same time. I think one of the worst parts of problem gambling is the secrecy, the lies, the cover ups and the person that is not you. The reason I tell you this is because I was able to continue gambling behind the scenes for about a month.. My wife didnt know, my parents didnt know and my best mate who I had confided in had no idea. The availability of apps and advertising on TV is just unacceptable. It facilitates problem gambling and makes it too easy to do on the side.

    I had obtained a credit card early in the year to obtain frequent flyer points in a promotion. I bought it to secure an upgrade for my wife and I to business class on a flight to LA. It had a credit limit I had never seen in my life, i didnt foresee it being a problem. In late July (2 weeks ago) I maxed it out on gambling cash advances. This also accrued fees on top of the gambling spend. I tried to recoup these losses by chasing and maxed out my other card. I truly cannot believe how I managed to do it. Each time I lost after a risky bet I would put more on. Quite often I would win it back and there would be no issue. The more I lost, the more I put on to get the money back. There came a point where I couldn't obtain any more funds to get it back. My wife also had no idea. It was a mess.

    Shame, guilt, self loathing, sad, distraught and out of control. I genuinely had no idea how I was going to get out of this mess. Id already promised my wife I would never gamble again. Once id decided that I had to tell her I was preparing myself mentally for her to leave. I was thinking of how we would divide our assets and all.

    I told my wife and after being extremely shattered and upset, she has decided to stay with me. I am the luckiest man alive in a lot of ways. I betrayed her trust due to something I couldn't control but should never have started. I told my mum and dad. Dad was angry but supportive. i went back on a promise i made to him last year. We are currently working out a way forward and I am just lucky that I have such a supportive network.

    The plan:

    Once my debt is sorted out I will no longer have access to cash. The finances go through my wife. I will not have a credit card. I will have no access to cash unless I go through my wife. I have taken a break on all gambling apps and am in the process of filling out self exclusion forms.

    The take home message is this. If you have a gambling problem, you cannot bet. You cannot gamble responsibly and walk away. You are never satisfied with a win. You always want the credit in your betting account to go up. You often dont even see the physical cash. You get excited by numbers on a screen. When you lose a lot, you will always be convinced that everything will be fine because you will win it back. When things go bad, you will also convince yourself that you got yourself into this mess so you have to get yourself out.

    Well guess what. You won't!I hit rock bottom but I have learnt a lot in the process. This will be a long battle that I will win.

    I hope my struggle helps someone else too
    1 x
    tennisstar (facilitator)
    Posts: 32
    Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:19 am

    Re: The relapse

    Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:22 pm

    Hello Gocats888,

    I'm tennisstar, one of the senior forum moderators. Thank-you for your post. Well done on your achievement on staying abstinent from gambling for seven months, though I'm sorry to hear that you lapsed. It's often the case that people have much more self-control after having time away from it, and convince themselves that they will not fall into the trap again. Also, when combined with a win upon their first return, it can be really challenging to pull back. As you mentioned, gambling is very accessible nowadays, especially with the technological advances where it is now very simple to gamble on your mobile phone and keep it concealed from others. We often find that people who struggle with gambling keep it a secret, as it can be quite shameful and it typically goes against their values. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you to keep your gambling a secret, and chasing losses to recuperate funds is something that is very frequent. I'm glad that you're still in your relationship, and I'm sensing that you have a very supportive family network, which is excellent. It's imperative to have loved ones around you, as I imagine going through recovery on your own would be very difficult. From what you're saying, you have a plan of action to tackle your gambling, and you've put up appropriate barriers to limit your access to money through giving coverage of funds to your wife and not having credit card. Similarly, blocking access to apps and self-exclusion are other strategies people have used to minimize the harm of gambling, so I commend you on your approaches to overcome your gambling. With the appropriate resources in place and commitment to change, people do recover from gambling problems. I wish you all the best for your recovery. If at anytime you're wanting extra support, please contact the Gambler's Helpline on 1800 858 858. Good luck!

    Warm regards,

    0 x
    Senior Member
    Posts: 261
    Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:23 am

    Re: The relapse

    Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:31 pm

    Hi gocats and what a post. I am curious about what may also be lurking around the corner.
    I have been GF for 4 months now, and I am still in the stage of no interest in going back. I do wonder if time will either inforce my resolve or whether i will think i might just have one small bet.
    My husband has told me that if i go back again his trust in me will be completely gone. So for me this is my line in the sand.
    I wish you well on your journey and thank you for your very honest post 😊
    0 x
    Junior Member
    Posts: 6
    Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:22 pm

    Re: The relapse

    Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:53 am

    Hi Gocats

    Great post,
    This post really hits home for me. I struggle with basically all the same problems you struggle with.
    Never actually seeing the physical money is the trap for me. I will happily gamble away $2000 bets at a time because its just a number but I would never go and feed $2000 in cash into the TAB machine.
    I could win $5000 in the space of 1 hour, but then if I lost my next bet of $500, for some reason I just have to chase that loss on literally any game I can bet on.
    Since losing $5000 from a joint account trying to chase my own losses I have now accepted that I have a serious gambling problem and I needed help or I would destroy everything in my life.
    I think majority of Australians have a gambling problem, some just more severe then others. Since I have been gamble free for 1 month gambling seems to be popping up everywhere. Radio Advertisements, TV advertisements, Internet advertisements, text messages about bonus bets etc. You only have to walk into any RSL in Australia to witness 50+ people throwing their hand earned cash into pokie or TAB machines.
    Its sad really because gambling has left a huge financial hole for me and has definitely ruined a lot of my life which I'm sure it's done the same for you.

    Only way is forwards from here. The past is the past, everyone makes mistakes and we cant change that but we can definitely learn from them.
    Take care
    0 x

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