I have struggled with compulsive gambling for 20 years. Casinos, bingo, and lottery tickets have destroyed me. I always saw the lottery as my only way of ever making it in life. I have been in therapy for years going faithfully trying to find the answer to my problems. I have suffered a lifetime of abuse from school bullying to my brothers verbally abusing me all my life. I have tried medication, therapy, electric shock therapy, and 12 step meetings. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have struggled with suicidal ideation for years. I am getting to the point of coming to terms with just no hope in sight. Years of gambling have taken it’s toll. I now am 47 and severely overweight from the stress of nothing working out for so long. I am tired and just don’t have it in me to try anymore. I have come to the point of thinking that things are out to screw me and I never had a chance in life. I am the only one in my family that never had a career or made less than 60,000 a year.
September is National Suicide Prevention month. Gambling addiction has the highest suicide rate of all addictions and the statistics do not reflect that many of these suicides are mistakenly reported as single-car accidents, wrong-way drivers, heart attacks, cerebral stem strokes (from an overdose of anti-depressants), and so forth. This is a true story of two friends of mine, who both planned their suicides down to the last detail and thankfully, both survived. The names and details have been changed to protect their identities, but the stories and devastation are true.
Mary, a 60 year old psychologist became so depressed with her inability to stop gambling, an activity that was consuming her every moment and thought, that she had to stop seeing patients because she no longer cared about their problems. Her husband, her one true love had become ill and diagnosed with dementia, as well as complications due to a congenital heart defect and diabetes. She had her own physical limitations due to severe crippling from rheumatoid arthritis. Mary had 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren- the light of her life. All that being said, Mary still could not tear herself away from the video poker machines to get home and check on her husband. She missed many of the grandchildren’s recitals and sporting events because she had hit another jackpot. Her children stopped telling the grandchildren that she would be there because of their disappointment and sadness of being let down, over and over. Mary found herself unable to concentrate and many times after hours of gambling could not recall how she actually drove home. Read more →
Lost in my Gambling Addiction
November 12, 2012
I awoke in the hospital and l remembering looking over and seeing my son. I thought I was dead, because I had not seen him in over three months yet we live less than five miles from each other. Earlier that week all my lies had finally caught up with me. I hated myself and no longer wanted to live. I have only one child and had no relationship with him due to my gambling addiction. If I didn’t have him, I though, I have nothing. My gambling addiction was so out of control that I would look in the mirror and not even recognize myself. I was on high blood pressure medications because my blood pressure was so high due to the stress. I was lying, cheating stealing, whatever I could do to get the money to go and gamble and it was all coming to an end. I could not take the pressure of my actions. I had been found out by friends. My shame was so great. I needed an escape and I thought dying was the best solution.
I came home from my counseling appointment that day and decided I couldn’t do this anymore. I had no control over my gambling addiction. I wrote letters to my son and a few friends apologizing for my actions over the past few years. I remember thinking my son deserved a better mother than me. I thought he had a great wife and two beautiful children and he would be all right without me. I had hurt so many people in my life, some that do not even know yet about my addiction. I remember thinking before I closed my eyes on that day, after taking 110 pills that I was scared and I didn’t want to die. I thought it was too late. I had taken all those pills and I was going to die. I didn’t even get to tell my son I loved him, only through a letter. Well as I closed my eyes I felt I was finally going to get some peace, something I had not had in my life in a long time.
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Suicide, attempted suicide and suicidal ideation is common among compulsive gamblers. By the time the devastation of the disease reaches the tipping point in a pathological gambler’s life they face grave financial problems, their families and relationships are in ruin, self-esteem has been decimated and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness is pervasive. Generally, by the time an addicted gambler “reaches bottom,” every aspect of their life has been destroyed. Suicide is all too common in those afflicted with the disease of compulsive gambling.