Listening to gambling stories, you can quickly see the pattern of thought processes that go inside a gambler mind throughout their addiction cycle.
Gambling Stories – The Slippery Slope
- “I can’t wait to go back to the … again to see if I can win again”
- “I didn’t win like the first time, but I probably will again – I won before so I’m lucky”
- “I’ll try my luck again – I could use a bit of ‘me’ time at the … “
- “I lost a bit last time so ideally need to win it back“
- “I’ve used up the last of my account so have taken a loan / borrowed from [savings/wife/card]”
- “I need to go back to the … to see if I can win again”
- “I can’t go back until payday but can get some loans for food and rent (let’s hope I don’t gamble it)
- “I can’t tell my partner/family where I’ve been or what I’ve done, they’ll kill me”
- “I can’t pay the mortgage/holiday/Birthday/Christmas, I need to get money from somewhere”
- “I need to go back to the … to see if I can win big this time”
- “Winning will solve all my problems”
- “Playing makes me forget about all my problems”
And then it goes into a deeper, darker cycle
- “The banks and card companies won’t give me any more money”
- “I’ll borrow from unlicensed lenders – I know I’ll win big soon and pay them off without getting found out”
- “Maybe I can sell something to pay the bailiffs – how I am going keep this a secret?”
- “I’m so stressed I can’t sleep – I have to gamble just to feel normal”
- “I don’t play to win, I just need to play – winning enables me to play longer”
- “I feel nothing except when I gamble, and even then I need a lot of it”
- “I don’t want to, but I can make some fast money by doing insurance fraud – everyone does it“
- “I suppose I could […] to get some money fast to pay the debts”
- “I’m numb from gambling – I can’t think or feel much any more – I don’t live, I just exist”
- “I’m in prison now and everyone gambles cigarettes & phone cards in here, but I’ll be out in 3 years and everything will be different, honest.”
- “I’m a burden. I’m worth more to my family dead than alive – at least they won’t have me pulling them down anymore.”
Gamblers Always end up Losing literally Everything
Sadly over the years I have known many gamblers that have followed this exact path. As well as all their money, Gamblers lose their relationship, their home, and their job. They also lose everyone else’s money as well, leaving them unable to trust anyone ever again.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, they lose their confidence and end up an empty shell. They often become dual addicts self-medicating with drink and/or drugs to get them through the misery of losing everything.
What started out as exciting turned into an expensive nightmare that you can’t afford. Meanwhile it hollows you out from the inside until you are numb and incapable of proper emotions or relationships.
Perhaps you’re at that point already, but too afraid to come clean and confront the consequences of your mess. Don’t be, you can’t manage the big secret forever.
Astonishingly the situation CAN get worse and go on longer
Believe it or it doesn’t always stop there – I regularly meet people who have got through multiple relationships, multiple jobs and lost multiple homes.
So the bad experience of losing everything is not always a turning point.
To a rational person maybe, but not to a compulsive gambler who lives life in a distorted reality.
True Gambling Stories
I stole from a shop
I used to visit several gamblers in prison. One particular guy was inside for 18 months. He had been desperate for money, but had never committed a crime. So he walked into a corner shop and when the lady opened the draw for change he waved a penknife at her and tried to take the money from the till. She managed to shut the cash register on his fingers and he walked out. Or rather limped out as he had a bad leg.
He had no car so limped a mile to his home with the £15 had got from the cash register. They followed him home, and then call the police who came to arrest him. The judge gave him 3 years for robbery with aggravated assault. I visited him in prison every week for 18 months.
When he came out he invited me to his wedding to the Fiancée who had stuck by him the whole time. I didn’t see him for a while but within 6 months I heard he was gambling again – who knows where he is now.
My husband killed himself
Another time I met a young mum. She said that her 30-year old husband and father of two young children had just killed himself. He had been a school teacher and was collecting the kids Ski Trip money, but had a gambling problem which no-one knew about. You can guess the rest.
On the day he died, he kissed his wife goodbye as he was shaving in the bathroom. She said he seemed good within himself, better than normal in fact. Clearly he felt his options were narrowing and he had decided that an exit from this life was the only workable solution, which must have given him a sense of peace. I assured her it was not her fault, but the doubt will always be there for her and their children.
How very sad and what a waste of life.
But it doesn’t need to be this way, he just couldn’t see it at the time.
More Gambling Stories
You’ll find my own at the top of their “Success” section called 25 Years Off, One Day at a Time