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  • Chase for freedom

    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!
    overdue
    Junior Member
    Posts: 4
    Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:41 pm

    Chase for freedom

    Sun Mar 14, 2021 9:53 pm

    Just want to share my journey here as I've always found that reading about people in similar situations weirdly puts you at ease in the hardest and loneliest times. I can't count how many time I've been at 'rock bottom' but I hope I never have to go there again.

    I started gambling when I was 18 on table games at the casino, recreational like it always is. Although there were times where I would lose more than I planned to, it never became a real problem for me as physically getting myself to the casino was always somewhat of a barrier. Shortly after, I'd signed up to online casinos and I guess this is where it all took a turn for the worse. The big wins would always be diminished by the even bigger losses and before I knew it I had stolen money from my father to fuel my addiction to online blackjack, it didn't last long before my antics were exposed. I can't describe the shame I felt from my family knowing what I had done but this was just the beginning... Though I didn't seek professional help, I had good support networks and I haven't touched a table game to this day, in person or online.

    I've always had an interest in sports and less than a year later I was back having casual punts using online bookies platforms such as SB, LB, Bet365 (and the like). And along with punting on sports, this is where I was introduced to racing. A sport that runs basically everyday of the year, morning until evening, when that's over, somewhere else in the world is just starting their morning card, it never stops.

    5 - 6 years pass of living paycheck to paycheck, relapse after relapse. Continuing the same thing in a cycle of insanity. I'll say this again, I can't count how many times I've been at rock bottom, its always the same place/situation:
    - nothing in my pantry or fridge
    - pawned off everything of any value to me, jewellery, electronics, furniture, presents u name it (very empty house)
    - multiple pay day loans active and dodging calls from the collectors
    - rent and bills unpaid
    - getting paid and blowing the fortnights wage in less than a few hours without seeing a single dollar
    - just 330 odd more hours left until I get paid again with no idea where my next meal was coming from - I hate that feeling so much

    There were times I would be weeks or even months free from gambling but I would always go back and it was always 2 steps forward 5 steps back... Those were the darkest days in my early 20s, I guess what made it all even worse is that I am a master of burying my feeling and the reality of my situation to those around me. Hiding my antics behind the screen of my smart phone was just too easy. No one else needed to know about it so life rolled on.

    It took me a long long time to finish my studies, managing my addictions (not just gambling) and crippling depression, but I finally got there and had landed my first job earning a decent wage. Although at this point I was regularly seeing a counselor (which helped a lot and I really loved it) it didn't stop me from continuing my toxic behavior. After about 6 months of working 50-60 hour weeks and having nothing to show for it I'd decided enough was enough and I embarked on a journey of abstinence - this begun in the spring of 2018.

    I was working ALOT of hours and so I was pulling in good money and I was able to reverse my financial situation fairly quickly. I started to enjoy life perhaps for the first time in my adulthood managing to saving over 50k in the 383 days I was gamble free! I was happy in moments and I felt so proud of myself. My life improved but I was also burnt out from constantly working, and with my new found confidence I decided to take a break and then search for a new job. During this time I relapsed again, I had much further to fall from this time and being during the time of the pandemic my support networks weren't always there unfortunately. This degenerate episode lasted for 134 days where I lost everything I had worked so hard to save and obviously more. I had found myself back at rock bottom.. once again.. at 28, but this time jobless too.

    One of more lasting effects of chronic gambling addiction is that it distorts your spending habits, even though I'd saved a lot of money I never spent a dime on rewarding myself on meals or buying new clothes or materialistic goods because my brain was programmed to only do that when I had a big win, and since I wasn't gambling I never spent money on myself. I can't describe how disgusted and ashamed I would feel after I throw away nearly 20k in a period of a week as soon as I started gambling again. I know I could have easily bought a home outright if gambling wasn't a part of my life - I hate thinking about that because it hurts so much that I literally have nothing to my name once again. But another thing I also know for sure is that: I'll never win back my losses.

    No win, no matter how big will satisfy my ego and no loss, no matter how big could destroy it. I will always gamble until there is nothing left. I AM a degenerate gambler.

    I have signed up to every bookie under the sun and self excluded myself from all of them as well as betting outlets but I will still find a way to wager money if I really want to. Controls definitely help in mitigating the action of gambling but by no means could it ever stop me. The only thing that has worked is accepting that I deserve a better life and deserved to be loved (from myself, as well as others). That along with keeping busy :D

    Been meaning to get on here and write something for a long time so I'm glad I've finally put something together even if it doesn't tell the whole story (we never can). I hope a few can find some peace reading and knowing they are not alone. I've done some pretty terrible things to others and myself as a result of my addiction... but before any of us can heal we must forgive ourselves for those actions.

    Anyway back on the horse again, just ticked over 7 days gamble free. I promise myself never to go back, ever.
    5 x
    Safari
    Moderator
    Posts: 19
    Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:26 am

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Mon Mar 15, 2021 10:04 am

    Hi @overdue ,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here, it was very moving.
    I'm sure there will be a lot of people who relate to it! I'm so sorry to hear you've been through all of that pain because of gambling. It really is a system designed to steal your money.

    It sounds like through many years of experience, trial and error, you're starting to really get a grasp of what your life needs to look like in order to prevent yourself from gambling - and keeping busy, pursuing new and interesting hobbies or projects can really help you feel fulfilled.

    Congratulations on 7 days gamble free! Are you still getting some support through counselling?

    Warm regards,

    Safari
    1 x
    AGHS
    Member
    Posts: 64
    Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:43 am

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:46 pm

    Wow, what a story and what a journey. Thanks for sharing. Your ups and downs with gambling would resonate with many people on this forum including myself. Try not to look back too much, what's done is done. You can win by beating this addiction, you can win your self esteem back, your worth, your life, your time, your money. Take back what is rightfully yours, a gambling free life. I really wish you success in your journey.
    1 x
    overdue
    Junior Member
    Posts: 4
    Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:41 pm

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:20 pm

    Thanks for the kind words guys, The best thing is support from people that understand or have experienced the same as you have.

    @Safari I am currently not engaging in counselling, I had to part ways with my last counsellor due to moving away and it's been hard for me to muster the enthusiasm to connect with someone new - you know tell my story all over again and regain that connection - I'm sure I'd be fine with anyone after the first couple of sessions though. I called lifeline (for the first time) a few weeks back when I had lost everything, although I respect their service, it just wasn't for me. Maybe it was all too raw at the time.

    So not much support, no one knows about my relapse at this stage, I guess that's why I've finally split it all here !! haha, I think I may have come across as very optimistic but by no means let that fool you. I have nothing but 1500 vehicle, all my valuables at the pawnshop and I owe a lot of money to my family (lent to me on the pretence I was on top of my addiction). It sucks so much I've done this to myself and my family again! Indeed it is all stressing me out but I know how I got here and I know how to get out...

    @AGHS Self-esteem and confidence are as hard if not harder to regain as the money in my opinion. I would love to have a partner that cared about me but I lost the love of my life (back then) about 6 years ago due to the way I was and this continued lifestyle has meant (or made me feel) like I haven't been the same person since. Hence I haven't even had a chance with anyone in a very long time. When reflecting, a lot of times I deal with it by finding humour in just how broken the brain was during relapses - I'm not sure if that sounds crazy or if other people do that too but it seems to relieve me in some weird way. Perhaps it is a way I trick my brain into reinforcing that, that my behaviour when in the midst of punting is NOT rational/normal/me. All the shame and guilt built up knowing some of the atrocious things I've done in the name of gambling is buried deep somewhere down there, I've got a lot of it out but I know I'll definitely need to get this recent episode out someday (by far the most detrimental to me financially and saddening after being GF for over a year).

    Super Saturday and footy season coming up so some more hurdles to get over in the coming days.
    1 x
    pamela
    Senior Member
    Posts: 1952
    Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:38 pm

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:51 am

    Well done on coming here and sharing your story..as hopeless as everything seems right now..it will get better once you stop.
    You won't recoup all your losses..but you will regain your dignity.
    Giving up gambling is a tough thing to do, but with determination it can be done
    It means retraining our brain to a different way of thinking
    Don't give up the good fight..
    2 x
    Kevcollingwood
    Member
    Posts: 72
    Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:23 pm

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:23 pm

    @overdue rack those days up mate, wishing you all the best, will be watching as you beat the beast with us.
    2 x
    overdue
    Junior Member
    Posts: 4
    Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2021 7:41 pm

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:40 pm

    Just dropping in to say I've made it to 6 months! Life is getting better again. Stay strong to those out there doing it tough. Everyday is a big step but it's all worth it. You can do it!
    1 x
    Lovely Cat Lady
    Moderator
    Posts: 684
    Joined: Mon May 03, 2021 9:30 am

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:57 pm

    Hi @overdue,
    Congratulations! That is a fantastic milestone. :cool: Thank you for sharing it with everyone on here.
    Are there any strategies in particular you have been using to keep on track?
    0 x
    Sadly, it's my last week as Moderator. Thanking you all for allowing me to be a part of your journeys and wishing you all the best! :);
    ryan1019
    Member
    Posts: 37
    Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:43 pm

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Sun Oct 31, 2021 6:44 pm

    Blew out a few grand todays goes so easily and not one bit happy about that, when punting one doesn’t think how quickly money goes. Yes still battling away.
    0 x
    Lovely Cat Lady
    Moderator
    Posts: 684
    Joined: Mon May 03, 2021 9:30 am

    Re: Chase for freedom

    Mon Nov 01, 2021 8:59 am

    ryan1019 wrote:
    Sun Oct 31, 2021 6:44 pm
    Blew out a few grand todays goes so easily and not one bit happy about that, when punting one doesn’t think how quickly money goes. Yes still battling away.
    Hi @ryan1019,
    Sorry to hear you experienced a lapse but good on you for still battling away.
    Was there anything in particular that triggered the desire to gamble?
    Well done for reaching out! Keep us posted on how you're going.
    0 x
    Sadly, it's my last week as Moderator. Thanking you all for allowing me to be a part of your journeys and wishing you all the best! :);

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