Didn't think gambling addiction could EVER happen to me - I was too smart for it
I have been blessed in one way...that I didn't lose everything that I owned or have saved... But, I've lost a lot. I've lost about 2 million dollars in the course of 5 years. Here is my story:
From the time I was about 15 years old I could read you ever single line from the college and football scoreboards. I knew what over and unders were, and I knew if my father had covered and what the "juice" was he had to pay. That was my introduction to gambling. I loved it. I loved the excitement of watching a game when my dad won, and being really sad when he lost.
While I was in college I had a great bar tending job while going to school full time, but a lot of my money went to my dad to cover his gambling debts. I, then, started sports betting myself since I wasn't quite 21 yet and able to go to the casino. I won/I lost. It was a crazy roller coaster ride.
When I turned 21, my dad took me to my first casino. I instantly fell in love with it and I won $7,000+ on my first trip there on a $200 buy in. I was in love. Just being able to make such "easy" money was a fabulous feeling.
Fast forward a few years.... after many losses... small considering where I was recently. I felt that pain inside my stomach and ran through all of the things I could do with the money I had lost. Thus, it led to guilt and more guilt and more guilt.
I didn't realize at the time that I was gambling away my money to redirect my depression and sadness in life. I have so much sadness and depression that gambling was the only way that I was happy, but even when I was up $100,000 that didn't matter, because I gave it all back and then a whole lot more.
As I got older and accumulated more money my gambling trips were becoming a way
for me to spend $20-$75K per trip. I never had it in my mind that I was going to win, but rather that I was going to lose. Very sick way of thinking, but the truth. Even recently on 2 trips to the casino, I was up another $50K. It wasn't good enough. I ended up giving it all back and then another $90K. I don't have the same bankroll that I use to so I am going through my savings.
It is a very deceptive illness. I can't tell you how many times I have said: that's it, I'm done gambling forever, and meant it at the time, but then I resort back to it when something in my life happens, or I just get this crazy impulse to go.
I don't want to end up homeless, unemployed (even though I have 2 masters degrees). I don't make much money, less than $40K a year. I still have a small cushion, but one last trip to the casino could wipe it out. I am powerless over gambling and my life has become unmanageable.
The truth is: In order to get better and not gamble we really have to focus on the underlying reasons as to why we do what we do and fix those things. We won't begin to heal and get better until those things are fixed. I beat myself up every day for choices I have made in the past. My appearance doesn't matter as much, and I know that I am depressed. 4 years of therapy didn't help much. There were a lot of issues that I don't feel like describing on here.
So, you don't have to reach rock bottom in the sense of losing everything you have financially, but you can hit rock bottom by feeling like you don't have any value in your life and holding on to the past. We have to fix our insides instead of our outside first and foremost.
I hoped this helped. I have to take it a day at a time. Good Luck everyone!!