Real life stories

Was I blinded by addiction?

05 March 2021
​A heartfelt and inspirational story shared by someone with lived experience of harmful gambling.
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I was a problem gambler for over 15 years.

Had I finally hit rock bottom? Could I recognise it? Was I lying to myself? Is there a way out, or was I blinded by addiction?

There were so many factors that I couldn’t recognise when I was addicted to gambling on horses. I was addicted to the rush of winning (and losing), I didn’t keep track of my outgoings, and was living life for the next pump of adrenaline. Retrospectively - all such unhealthy behaviours in this space, but as only an addict knows - we don’t even see it as a problem.

Even though I acknowledged that I gambled to my new partner a few months after being together, she thought it may be a good idea to track my wins and losses with a simple spreadsheet. I agreed, as I acknowledged to her that I had a problem and any help or advice would be great. That spreadsheet lasted about two months, then I started hiding bets and lying about betting.

The breakthrough moment was when my partner gratefully gave me an ultimatum - “It’s either me or gambling!” And rightly so.”

I’ve met the lady of my dreams who I want to spend my life with, and I’m going to throw it all away for some short-term excitement - WTF am I thinking? Why is this thing so hard to stop...?

She is so caring, and was still holding some hope for us, but I needed to seek help and make some drastic changes. I’d thought about phoning PGF or another help group a number of times, but in some way felt ashamed and wasn’t prepared to acknowledge my addiction.

I phoned PGF and let it all out. I told them everything; the full extent of my gambling problem, and said I wanted to stop.

They have a sensational program, and their family is amazing. Their planning and support helping me/us through the “exiting gambling forever” decision, is second to none.

I got off the phone after writing down a few pages of notes and felt so welcome and understood. I felt like I’d had a revelation and I’m not a “religious” person…spiritual perhaps. I broke down and cried.

Why had it taken me so long to do this?

I can only thank my partner for giving me the push to hit up PGF. You get no judgement, if you’re honest with them, they will support you through the process.

I’ve been through many life changing moments since that moment -

  • I’ve taken on new sports in my spare time 
  • I’ve refreshed my group of friends 
  • I’ve done a lot of self-work - self-awareness / ego / true happiness, using Audiobooks and YouTube 
  • I’ve decluttered - dispensed of unnecessary assets
  • I’ve sold my house (not due to gambling)
  • I’m moving out of my comfort zone and I’m on my way to re-engineering myself for the better (ie. this is a continuous thing / no quick fixes)
  • I have not gambled or even watched a race for 12 months 
  • I do not engage in gambling chat anymore.

I am proud of what I have achieved. I know that you also can do the same - you have to want to do it. Making a call to PGF and having loving support from the people that care about you, will make all the difference. Make the step - call the team - take that leap that you know you need to - you will not regret it.

Chin up, we all have a way out!”