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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Here I sit with lifeless eyes,
Playing my machine…it’s do or die.
With the spin of the wheel I place my trust,
I’m gonna’ win…I must.
I think to myself I’ve gotta’ be nuts
My money is gone and I’ve gone bust.
Tomorrow’s a new day and I need more cash
“Money Tree” is up the street; so there I dash.
What the hell, I can’t lose this time.
I feel so lucky. I feel just fine. Read more →
The Nevada Council on Problem Gambling has been doing more with less for several years. Recent budget cuts have impacted the Council’s ability to serve our community, and yet through the remarkable work of a small, focused and impassioned staff, this community service organization continues to provide exceptional resources on problem gambling, supports those impacted by problem gambling, and NEVER let’s the phone go unanswered! They need the support of our community! It is unfathomable to me that, as of this writing, only two individuals have contributed to this drive to keep the phone lines going. I can only guess that this is because the generous Las Vegas community does not know the need exists. Please consider a contribution to keep the phone line (a life line to many) alive!
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I learned to play cards at the age of 5 or 6. I came from a large Italian family and my Dad taught us to play cards. I loved it and none of the adults let us kids win. We had to know how to play or had to leave the table. From that point on I loved to take chances. In 1951, at age 14, our family moved from Ohio to CA. I was always betting on things: whether or not I would get a good grade in class, dollar bill numbers…whatever. It was all fun. Read more →
Deborah F 2-19-12
I was raised by a child-molester. He was my stepfather from age 1 year. I let it define my life until I walked into Gambler’s Anonymous in 2005.I believed that I had a right to my addictions. After all, my childhood was less than desirable and I had come through it without going to jail, abusing my children or becoming a societal deviant, or so I thought.
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I always knew that I was a gambler, willing to take risks and bet money I didn’t have from a very young age. I can recall stealing money from my mother’s coin purse to feed my addiction of flipping cards and coins, playing marbles, and paying off lost bets at about 6 years old. My first gambling venture was attending a weekly bingo at the local Officers Club with my mother at the age of 12 and winning a television set…..that pretty much hooked me early on for playing bingo. My bingo playing got out of hand in Arizona in the early 80’s and I was obsessed with playing 7 days a week to feed my addiction; including driving roundtrip up and down an unlit, dirt mountainous road in order to make bingo in Phoenix each weeknight. Read more →
Jeff B. 2-4-12
I am 15 years without a bet, and they have been the best 15 years of my life. I have found direction and purpose, structure and clarity. Confusion and aimlessness has become focus and drive. I have begun to achieve the potential held dormant through years of gambling. Read more →
“Putting the pieces together” is inherent in addiction. Living a life of purpose and passion is the gift.
Recovery has given me the greatest gift of all – a new lens through which I view the world and the perspective to see the blessing in having twelve dollars to my name after a year of abstinence from gambling. I share my personal journey in recovery in a story entitled “Twelve Dollars” in the book “Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together.”
My life’s purpose, serving as a catalyst for social change in problem gambling, was illuminated through the heartbreaking experience of losing Lanie, and is shared in the ”book “Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion.”
Another gift of recovery is that my new lens shows me clearly that it’s not “all about me!” That’s the irony of addicts. We enter recovery with high egos and low self-esteem. We are lonely and yet we isolate. Today my perspective is that I am here to serve – as a messenger of hope and a conduit for change. And I am not alone! I am joined in this journey with 26 incredible authors who share their message, their experience, strength and inspiration with heart and authenticity.
And now YOU have the opportunity to hear their stories, to be inspired and to ignite your own passion by attending Life Choices: The Event, March 23-24, 2012 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas!