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  • First Day Here - Have been at rock bottom for weeks

    A place for our whole Gambling Help Online community to connect. Includes special forum events, monthly rundowns and a place to chat with forum friends.
    Junior Member
    Posts: 2
    Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2023 7:14 am

    First Day Here - Have been at rock bottom for weeks

    Fri Jan 27, 2023 9:30 am

    Hi there,

    Im just going to outlay my story here because it’s the only thing I know with complete clarity and understanding right now. There are so many tangents to my addiction and this vent is going to be a long one - sorry in advance.

    I can honestly say I’ve had gambling problem for years, not every kind of gambling, just pokies. I turned 29 this week, and my life is a ***** mess.

    From the second I turned 18, I remember one of the first things I did was go to the pokies, it was always a ‘fun’ concept to me. For a couple of years, it was always for leisure, i never bet more than I could afford and I can honestly say hand to heart, It didn’t become problematic until about 9 years ago and the moment I decided to gamble by myself and not just on the weekends with friends if we just happen to be out.

    I lived at home with my parents who I do not have the best relationship with. They are good people and I know they love me and as an adult now, I know they gave me everything (physically) I wanted and needed growing up - but gambling aside, I’m not their ideal version of a daughter. Even without the gambling, my personality, the things I believe in and value don’t align with their idea of who I should be and I can’t change that. Their disappointment of me as person is something I will never not have hanging over me.

    As such, the day I decided to go gambling by myself was so I didn’t have to go home and be around them. They were the first trigger. I hated my job and as a smoker I just wanted to be somewhere by myself where I could have a cigarette ‘in peace’ and not have to enter the house of judgement for a second. So off I went to the closest pub to my work, texting my mum that I’m going out to dinner with friends. Not the first time I lied to her about where I was, but it was the first time I lied to gamble.

    Gambling seemed like a ‘safe’ place because when I would gamble for leisure, I’d get lucky a lot. Like seriously, it was a bit of a joke. I’d come home virtually every weekend from a night out, up on my money by a long shot telling my parents that I won as some kinda point of pride. I didn’t have a good idea of what you could lose gambling at the beginning, I know that sounds stupid, but that was just my reality at the time. I didn’t have a bad loss or frankly even a noticeable loss until I started going more frequently.

    The bets were getting bigger, the loses were getting bigger, I started going pretty much every day. Because as sad as it is, no one is judging you when you’re sitting there in front of a machine. They’re not focussed on you. They’re focused on winning. Which is the next trigger, or reason for my gambling - an opportunity to make more money than I earned and this romanticised fantasy of what I wanted for my life. I have ALWAYS lived beyond my means. I started working at 14 and spent every single cent I earned on whatever I wanted. I never saved a thing, again, to much disappointment to my parents. I liked going out, I love music so a lot of the money went to concert tickets and gambling (on the good days) facilitated an ideal lifestyle of spending money on whatever I deemed worthy, which was everything.

    Fast forward a couple years and gambling was just full routine now and I was well aware I had a problem. I have always been dangerously self aware, I knew what I was doing was problematic from the second I started, there was no delusion or fallacy that what I was doing was okay or good. I just never said it to anyone but myself out of shame. I called my first gambling hotline and started weekly counselling over the phone which I found helpful at the time, because in hindsight, it was early days. I stopped for a while, and I found that the counselling did it’s job and I was free of it.. but not for long.

    I think I lasted a few months, I changed jobs, ended a relationship, which comes to another trigger - big life changes. That was when the money I was gambling was getting obscene, fast forward another couple years and I blew a paycheck, on the day I got it, in a matter of hours. That was rock bottom (again, at the time) and that’s when I told my parents. I had come clean to my friends also, they were and have always been as supportive as they can be. That afternoon I went to an in person gamblers anonymous meeting - I was crying the entire time, relating to everyone’s stories. But in comparison, I was 40 years younger than most of the people there and the only thing I had really lost was money. I was around people who had lost houses, families, had committed crimes to gamble and In comparison, my problem was minor. I didn’t go to another meeting because the relation between recovery and God was never something I was going to latch onto. That meeting also stopped me for a few months again..

    I relapsed again, I was still living at home through all of this and at 25, I then got some medical news which triggered my anxiety and depression. Up until that point, I was still active and could exercise when I wanted to, and the diagnosis would, and did affect all of that. I gained a lot of weight, my declining mental health was polarising and gambling was an escape from my own head, a distraction from my reality.

    Fast forward again to right before Covid, I worked in the travel industry at the time, and being one of the first industries to feel the immediate effects of the pandemic, I lost my job. But with that came a great payout - I paid off all my debts and had money in savings for the first time in my life and decided to move out of home - FINALLY. I dreamt of moving out for years, and sometimes convinced myself in the moment that gambling would help me get there, once I moved out, I underestimated the strength of my anxiety. I was so terrified of having panic attacks, alone in my new place that I would go gamble to prevent a panic attack. Flawed and ridiculous logic, I was just replacing one problem with another.

    Lockdown happened and being in lockdown for several months actually did my addiction a world of good. I had money in savings, I couldn’t go out to spend it on anything, but best of all, I couldn’t go out to gamble. I stopped by force. And while I had gambled online in the past, I didn’t turn to it because I didn’t need to. I had money and nowhere to go to spend it so, that was enough for the time being.

    As things started to get back to normal, I had other medical problems pop up which exacerbated my mental health to a point of no control, which then turned my gambling to a point of no control. I’m in such bad shape mentally, it’s terrifying and winning (on the very rare occasions it happens) was becoming the only positive.

    Fast forward to now and my mental health is in the worst possible place, I have blown thousands of dollars in the last few weeks without a care in the world because I’m so numb and my head isn’t strong enough to even think about stopping me. I’ve been living out of home for two years, and in the worst mental state of my life, I am about to move back home with my parents in a couple of weeks because our rent has risen to a ridiculous amount.

    I woke up this morning thinking about how bad a place im in, thinking over these last few weeks, these last 9 years and how i am about to move back in to the place that pushed me to want to gamble in the first place. I am a wreck.

    I haven’t spoken to my mum my addiction because talking about it with her is moot. She doesn’t take bad news well and there is NOTHING good to tell her here. The last time she asked how I’m going with it, I told her the truth and she started crying. Some out of concern for me, but mostly because she sees my gambling as a reflection of her, and she can’t handle that. And she doesn’t even know that she’s part of the problem.. she also wants to have a financial chat, and I am thinking of every way not to, because the truth will be more damaging to me long term than to her, and I already know what the truth is. Her solution is for me to give her control of my finances which is what she’s always wanted, even pre-addiction. And on-top of moving back in with her and my dad, I really don’t think I’m gonna be able to handle that. My parents have never trusted me as a person and telling them about my addiction has only justified their belief. The distrust is justified, but if I come to them with problems, all it does is validate their disappointment and distrust and does absolutely nothing for me.

    Im seeking help, I have a psychologist appointment next week but I currently have $0 in my name, nothing in savings, and the only cash I’ll get access to is that which I earn from Uber driving, which I only took up to cover my loses from gambling.

    I will not turn 30 like this. Gambling has destroyed my life, and my addiction is completely out of control. Reading through the forum today has helped and I’ll be here everyday looking for guidance.

    Thank you to all those brave enough to post on here, you’re helping me and so many others ❤️
    3 x
    Posts: 1000
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 8:12 am

    Re: First Day Here - Have been at rock bottom for weeks

    Sat Jan 28, 2023 12:13 pm

    @mmarz20 thank you for being so open and raw. You've had a hell of a journey, but I really want to emphasise that optimism and strength I'm hearing in those last few lines. Even though things have been up and down with your health, and there's been that added pressure of the relationship with your parents, your words shine through with so much motivation. Getting that psych appointment in place is a great first step, I'm wondering what other things you've got in mind to help support you at the moment?

    It sounds like there's a lot of difficulty in opening up to your family, so I really want to emphasise that we are here for you. It's really powerful that you can recognise that they aren't necessarily the right people to be supporting you right now. But that also just makes it so much more important that you get the right types of supports in place. Have you heard of SMART Recovery? It is a peer group, but unlike GA it isn't based around religion, and it's a lot more mixed in terms of demographics. I'd recommend you check out the website and maybe pop in to a meeting if you're able to.

    Let us know how you're travelling today :)
    1 x
    Junior Member
    Posts: 2
    Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2023 7:14 am

    Re: First Day Here - Have been at rock bottom for weeks

    Sat Jan 28, 2023 1:59 pm

    @Printemps - thank you for your response. I’m doing okay today, I worked and earned some money last night and the day before and haven’t gambled - I know it’s only two days, but small wins.

    I am going out for my birthday tonight - I don’t really think I’ll have the need to gamble, especially because I cut up my debit card over a year ago so I cant withdraw money unless I transfer to a friend who are all aware of my current situation. I’m not as concerned today, because I have a strong support system and I don’t like to draw attention to my gambling when I’m around my friends.

    In terms of other support systems, my bank allows me to put blocks on gambling websites so I’ve activated that. As well as the site I use also has a temporary exclusion, so I’ve just turned it on.

    The psychologist I’m seeing has a background in addiction, so honestly I’ll be turning to her for guidance also. I’m not trying to kid myself with any delusion that I know how to handle this, so I’m just doing basic things and just focusing on one day at a time.

    I’ll definitely check out that peer support group.
    1 x
    Posts: 512
    Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:48 pm

    Re: First Day Here - Have been at rock bottom for weeks

    Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:37 am

    Hey @mmarz20,
    Happy Birthday from everyone in Gambling Help Online! How was your night yesterday? It's nice to hear about how supportive your friends are, well done on sharing your journey with them.
    It's good that you are thinking about potential triggers in the day, this way you can plan out things to help you go through the trigger if there is any. And yes, one day at a time is all you need to do. What's your day gonna look like today? :);
    0 x

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