“My name is James and I have an addiction“. Thats what they say in the movies isnt it? then everyone claps and says welcome and everyone discusses their issues.
Well unfortunately my life isn’t a movie and this is a battle I have been facing for 19 years! 16 years of gambling every day and the last 3 of thinking I’m doing better to then have a blow out and put me back at square one.
Lets begin at the start and see if I can unravel where it all began. Growing up we as a a family never had anything and survived on the breadline. I remember when I was about 14 on my mums payday we would always have a cheap chippy tea and I would go and get it. In the chip shop there was a 10p a go fruit machine with a jackpot of £5. with the change I would put 50p in and hope for the best. I remember the first time I saw the lights and the noises and I was instantly hooked. I would come out of there every time with either nothing or a few quid without really understanding how much of a monumental feeling it was. I was hooked!
fast forward 5 years and I joined the navy and I had free bed and food on ship and a decent wage with no out goings. Every day I found I had money to gamble because that’s all I would spend my money on. I had no house, no car and no other bills other than a phone bill. Every month I would bet on horses, football, slot machines, scratch cards and casinos! I was certain that I was going to win big and the fact that majority of my shipmates were doing it I just thought I was young and enjoying normal life as a sailor. However in reality I was throwing money away all the time and then borrowing to live month to month. it didn’t take long for me to find Wonga and every other payday loan and then it got worse. I would gamble all my wages payday and then borrow for 30 days (unless I won of course) to pay back when I got paid again. Round and round I went for years doing this. 12 years in the navy with nothing to show for it financially other than debt and regret.
2018 and I leave the navy knowing I can’t continue like this, so I decide to try something new and I got hypnotised. Was such a strange feeling but I came out of there and I didn’t want to gamble anymore. I don’t know how it works but I all of a sudden had a new lease on life. this lasted 18 months and then it all came crashing down again. I don’t know why I did it but I put a bet on and it was as if I had never stopped. I ended up losing about £1000 in a week And I cried myself to sleep because I felt like a failure.
Now for the last year I have been up and down with it and have tried to manage it which for the best part i have been able to do. Until today! today I majorly fell apart and I spent my savings in 3 hours. 3 hours it took to wipe away all the hard work I have done this last year to get myself in a place I want to be. Now I am back to being the same stupid person I was for years and I have to try and claw my way out of the dark!
I do know what the issue is though i just don’t know how to change it. This is what all the professionals don’t tell you though and you never here about. You don’t here about the buzz it gives you and how it makes you feel inside. Gambling in my head is my safe space! when im struggling mentally gambling takes me away from it even If just for a moment. The buzz I get from not only winning but also losing when in the moment is electrifying and I don’t know how to walk away because I always want more.
Today I start my journey of redemption again and I will find away to get back on top because if I don’t then I know where I will end up!
I want better for my family and I want better for myself! I hate the man I am most of the time but maybe if I can finally get hold of this crippling addiction I can start to live the life I should have been living for the last 20 years!
Time for my comeback!