I'm A Recovering Addicted Compulsive Gambler

by Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
(Sunny Arizona, USA)

My name is Catherine, and I'm a recovering addicted compulsive gambler. Jan 29th, 2014 will be my 7 year recovery B-day. As I spent time reading your website here, I have to say, "THANK YOU" for sharing your story with all who visit here. I didn't come from a "gambling family," although I did come from a dysfunctional one. I'm a sex abuse survivor, as it happened when I was young, from 10 to almost 14 years old by 2 friends of our family.

My mother was very controlling, and used much verbal & physical abuse to keep us kids in check. Later in my thirties came the loss and passing of my brother-in-law, and a couple of good, close friends who passed from cancer. ALL of this started to resurface at this time. I enjoyed gambling every now and then, so my addiction started slowly, and progressed as traumatic life events unfolded.

The facts are that most women gamble to "Escape" such things, and also feelings of hurt, pain, disappointments, and more.

That is how my addiction began. My past hurts came knocking, and them my gambling slowly progressed, and before I knew it, I had crossed that line into addicted, uncontrolled gambling to "COPE" with Life, Past and Present! I wrote my Personal Story in a book called, "Addicted To Dimes" (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)......By: Catherine Townsend-Lyon Available on Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble.

I continue my story, and help others who are reaching out for Recovery from addicted gambling on my Recovery Blog:

Please feel free to come by anytime, and check out my Recovery Resources Page. I Advocate to "Shatter the "Stigma" of others in recovery from addicted compulsive gambling. WE CAN RECOVER & WE ARE WORTH IT!!

God Bless, Catherine

Comments for I'm A Recovering Addicted Compulsive Gambler

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Dec 24, 2017
I don’t want to be this way NEW
by: Anonymous

I have been gambling for over 20 years. It use to be fun and I thought I had the money because I owned a business. I sold the business (not because of gambling) however in my mind I still want to gamble at the level when I had my business but I don’t have the money. So I come up short all the time. I don’t want to do this. I️I hate myself for doing this I don’t know how to stop. I don’t gamble daily or weekly. I binge I spend way too much when I go. Don’t know how to stop. Please give me some advice. I think I have lost my family in all of this. Is this a disease?

Jan 12, 2017
Thank You NEW
by: Mark

Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you all the luck on your journey to long term abstinence!

Have you reviewed any of the material on this site to determine what type of support system will meet your needs? I recommend that you have people in your life who you can depend on, and share your struggle with, including a therapist. All the best!

Jan 12, 2017
I'm Done Done Done!
by: Anonymous

I'm a woman in my early 30s from TX. I have always loved having money & even graduated high school early at 16 so I could take a year off & work full time & save money. When college started I still worked full time even though I didn't have to. My parents wanted me in the books & living with them but stupid me wanted my own place so I could party & do whatever I wanted. So not only was I receiving $1000 a month in VA benefits, I worked full time for $500 extra a week, & made another extra $1000 on the side hustling wood blinds for new homes.

Gambling is illegal in TX but they still had under ground slot places you could go to & I would go on Fridays but give $ to my grandmother & watch her play I wasn't interested. Seeing her happy was my high. She was. Ores & it kept her mind off losing my grandpa.
When she passed away I got married & moved with my now ex husband to Louisiana. Things were fine in the beginning then the fights started. I'd take off all day & blackjack was my scape goat. Especially when he was offshore I'd stay there in a suite for days. I did well though...I'd put $100 of my money on the table then win it back & put in my purse. Now it's the casinos $. I'd take breaks if the cards were bad, I'd get up! I'd review the players to make sure they knew how to play & I always had a goal of $2100. "21" for blackjack. Sometimes it would take all night all morning but i wouldn't give up. I took my time & had my game face on!

Then I started getting bored with it so one time I told myself I'm going to get up $60 keep $500 & go to the $5 slot machine and hit max. That was my first jackpot I hit $10,000 & while I waited on my "check" that I requested I hit 2 more jackpots & left that place with $17,000! I'll never forget. So that was my new gig. Free trips to Atlantic City/ Vegas on a jet free hotel stay....my gambling became out of control. I never left with that much again though. Maybe $5000 here and there if I didn't play it all back!

So here I am...what started as a "I have this under control" to a sloppy player. I'm so over it. I have a good job a nice place a nice car, why am I doing this again? It's not a scapegoat anymore cause I don't even think of my ex husband it's been 4 yrs since our divorce. I used to workout now I hate it. I used to get up early on the weekends now I'm hungover and waste the day until I get the energy to go at it again.

My job is the only stability during the week but my weekend is another story which I'm sure you guys can relate! I just want to be healthy again and make money like I did in my younger days on the side. It's hard but tomorrow is day 1. Wish me luck and I could use lots and lots of prayers!

Jan 09, 2017
by: Mark

I'm so sorry to hear about your problem, and thank you for sharing. Have you considered looking into one-on-one therapy with a gambling addiction specialist? If you have medical insurance, there's a good chance it will be covered with a nominal co-pay. Your state may also include a certain number of free sessions.

My first instinct would be to recommend moving your family out of Las Vegas as it seems like a massive temptation. HOWEVER, it's my understanding that people gamble due to other underlying issues, and the key is to uncover and address those. Even moving out of Vegas wouldn't stop someone from gambling despite it being less "convenient". That said, I would speak with a therapist and get their opinion.

In the meantime, can you possible relinquish access to money by putting your cards, bank accounts, etc. in your wife's name? This wouldn't address the underlying problem, but would help to stop some of the immediate bleeding.

Have you talked to your wife about the problem, or is it still a secret?

On a side note, I find it disturbing that radio stations and the like would give that kind of attention, which seems to sensationalize gambling. I would expect most people ultimately understand that the house always wins, and that gambling for addicts is a massive life altering issue....ugh.

Please let me know what you decide to do, and how you're doing!

Jan 07, 2017
Lost and out of control!!!
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone
I wanted to just write somethings about me. I'm a 47 year old male who wants help. I have gambled for the last 10 years off and on . It first started off with small $5-$10 parlay sports bets. Over the years it has grown to $100-$500-$2000 per play. It doesn't even bother me when I lose. I always feel like I can make it up on the next play.

I live in Las Vegas where gambling is all around me. You see, before I moved out here I was just a small town country boy from Texas, and I had no idea about gambling at all. I do not drink or use drugs. I'm married to a beautiful wife and I love her so much.

This gambling problem started after I realized I thought I was a good gambler. Sports books would monitor my bets because I would win more than most. I thought I had it all figured out. I started a pay-for-picks website, and had a ton of followers and clients. I have been on many radio stations giving my sports betting advice.

Jul 19, 2016
Dear Joe,
by: Mark

Thank you very much for sharing your story. I'm so sorry to hear about all of your pain. I think it is positive, however, that you seem to be truly insightful about your situation. You understand that it goes in cycles (you gamble for awhile, then stop for a year or two, then start again). Note that with each cycle it's said to get worse (i.e. you'll gamble longer, and lose more, and lose it faster than the last time). You also understand that there's no cure. You also understand that while casinos are evil, it's your responsibility to stop going.

I honestly believe that one-on-one therapy is a great approach. It needs to be with someone who is qualified, and experienced to treat gambling addictions specifically. If you don't have insurance that covers it, many states allow for a number of free sessions, and there are programs at some colleges/universities that will take patients into their research programs for no charge.

Only once you identify and treat your underlying pain/trauma will the urge to gamble be easier to fend off. GA doesn't dig deeply enough in my opinion.

In the meantime, is there someone you can entrust with your finances who can be responsible for paying your bills so as to minimize your access to cash and credit cards? They can transfer money to a prepaid debit card that you can use for gas, groceries, etc., but that can't be used to take out cash advances. They would also need access to control your income. Executing this is much easier said than done of course.

This won't solve your gambling problem; you'll still need treatment, however, it can help stop the financial bleeding so you can minimize getting into further debt. If you do owe money, you can work with them to devise a feasible payback program, and help you negotiate with creditors who may be calling you (though you should be directly involved with taking responsibility to negotiate; they can be there for support). You'll need to find someone you trust 100% or it will likely never work. It wouldn't be easy for them either, so both of you will need to agree on a plan and stick to it.

Anyway, I hope some of this helps. Please let me know what you think you'll do as your next step, and please stay in touch as to your progress. All the best!

Jul 18, 2016
In Deep!!
by: Joe

I started gambling over 14 yrs ago. So far to date I have probably lost over 100,000 of my hard earned money. I stop for short periods of time usually 1-2 years then find myself going back and getting in a hole again. I was 24 when I placed that first bet now I am 38. I bet part of my 401k about 3,000 last week and lost it all. Yeah it's my own money!! But I feel sick to my stomach!! I don't feel like working or doing anything.

I have tried GA in the past. It did not work for me. Talk is cheap!!! And that's all that is done in these meetings. I don't feel like these groups really help. I'm at my wits end with this problem that seems to never go away!

I have been divorced, lost a house, a car, and a dog. I don't think there really is a thing such as a cure. I'm so far in I don't think I can be cured of this slow but powerful addiction. I love myself so suicide is not in my repertoire. I am kind of blaming the Casinos. I think they should be shut down. They are getting away with being crooks. It's more in their favor than the gamblers. They rig these machines to only pay out so much.

Unfortunately, this will never change, because they are a sovereign nation!! And they pay the government off so they keep them happy!! It's so crooked. Yet I still go back!!! I guess I'm the dumb ass!! I don't want to lose anymore than I have already. But I just don't know where to begin.

Lost in darkness can't see the light! I know there is better out there, but how to get from point A to point B is almost impossible!!

Jul 28, 2015
Never Give Up!
by: Anonymous

I SO hear you! I felt the same way when I tried to make my first year in recovery from this cunning disease. I can tell you I was a person that needed to do and try all I could get my hands on as far as recovery. I like GA, and don't get me wrong, but a 12 -step program was not enough for me. I visited many helpful websites like this one to get support and understanding.

The break through for me was to work with a gambling recovery coach/specialist. I also started going to "Celebrate Recovery" which is run by Saddleback Church, Pastor Rick Warren who wrote, "The Purpose Driven Life" which is a wonderful book. They have celebrate recovery at many church's.

The big brake through for me was breaking down and learning about the "cycle" of addiction. There are many pieces to it. Once you learn it thoroughly, you can use and apply your skills and tools to interrupt that cycle. I wish you continued HOPE, as I know you can beat this addiction!

Come by my Gambling Recovery Blog as I have a wonderful Relapse Prevention Guide that you can copy and paste, or print out. I have the whole workbook up and it is free.

It is on my list of PAGES, not posts.

God Bless,

Jul 26, 2015
by: Anonymous

I been fighting to stop my gambling for over 10 yrs , I tried therapy , I tried GA meetings, and I continue to slip back into gambling . The longest I haven't gambled is 5 months, but I slipped and now I lost all what I saved in those five months. I have taken a title car loan and now I'm broke and in debt . I tried to believe that I can overcome this illness and live a normal life, but it's been a horrible journey . I will try to recover again and continue to do the right thing!

Jun 02, 2015
GA Meetings
by: Catherine

Thanks for sharing that info Mark.

I think we should share that GA has a great website to go and look up all the meetings in any area and in any state we may live in. Just go to their website at: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org

From there you can put your city and state and find local meetings any where you are. I do still attend GA at least twice a month, but I suffer Agoraphobia, so there are times I do my meetings on-line, or visit the 24 hour gambling chat-room at Safe harbor.


Jun 02, 2015
Mixed GA Group
by: Mark

There are also GA groups that are mixed gender where both men and woman are welcome. If you're having trouble finding a local women's group, or a women's group that you click with, I recommend looking for a mixed group in your area. It's all about finding the right fit. I just wanted to share my thoughts that it's not required that you go to a women's only group. All the best.

May 31, 2015
I'm a recovering addicted compulsive gambler
by: Anonymous

Congratulations I am happy for you. I am an addict. Gambling seems to be my downfall. I need help to stop it completely. I am going to attend women's GA next week. Hopefully it will help me face the devil in me.

Nov 30, 2014
Congratulations on staying clean!!!
by: Adnan

Congratulations on overcoming your gambling addiction. I'm glad you did it. I also look forward to reading your book.

You said you are from AZ... in which casino were you gambling?


Jan 19, 2014
by: Author Catherine Lyon

Hi David,

Thanks for your thoughts! And Fantastic on and Happy Recovery Birthday. It really is a beautiful way of life isn't it? I too make at least 1 meeting a week, and I enjoy attending *Celebrate Recovery* as well. Another Great On-line community I enjoy for Unity, Friendship and Support is http://www.sfcghub.com. They have an excellent Recovery Resources Room. I wish you many more years of Happy Recovery!

Hugs & Blessings,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon :-)

Jan 18, 2014
Another Compulsive Gambler
by: David S.

Great job staying clean. I just celebrated my fifth year of abstinence on Jan 9, 2014. It is hard but so fulfilling to stay clean even after 50 years of gambling.

Going to at least at 1 meeting weekly and working the steps has been my answer.

David S.

Nov 20, 2013
*Just Thank You Mark*
by: Anonymous

Thanks Mark!
Looks Great and I appreciate the platform to share my "Experience, Strength, and *HOPE* with others. We can we recover from addicted gambling!

God Bless,
Author, Catherine Lyon

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