1 Year Down

14th August 2022 was the last time I had a bet.

Back then I was feeling so down, I felt worthless, useless. I couldn’t express my feelings, I couldn’t open up. I would always bottle everything up and then just explode and then take it all on the people that loved me the most. I felt like my life was pointless. I didn’t feel like I was living, I was just existing. I would lie about everything, hiding all my problems, intercepting the postman.
My life was so bad I even attempted to take my own life just so I could get rid of all the pain and stop all the suffering.

Now I feel like my life is worth living. I have a purpose in life now and that is to be the best dad, husband, friend and person I possible can be and I can only do this if I stay gamble free. I can open up and tell people how I’m feeling, whether its about work, my mental health or just everyday problems.
Of course I still worry about money, I think I always will though, Its just part of life of being a dad.
I have realised now that being a dad and part of a family with children is not all about money and material things. It’s about being there for them, loving them and making memories as a family.
I can now watch my children grow up instead of having my face in my phone and them walking on egg shells cause they don’t know what mood I will be in.

I Still have all the steps in place and they will stay in place for the rest of my life, because I never, ever want to have a bet again. Gamban, Gamstop, barred from the local bookies, banned from casinos.
Making sure that I don’t watch the horse racing which includes Cheltenham and the grand national.

My wife has got my online banking on her phone so every time I spend money she gets a notification on what I have spent and where I have spent it.
I still avoid going into shops that have scratch cards at the counter and when I go into supermarkets I make sure I use the shelf checkout.

When I entered gamblers anonymous for the first time, I didn’t have a clue what to expect.

It is a room full of people of all different ages, races, religions and backgrounds that all have one thing in common to stop gambling”

Its not just a support group full of gambling addicts, its a group full of Passion, Hope and Inspiration, where no one judges you on the things you have done in your past. 

While attending GA I have learnt that being a compulsive gambler is nothing to be ashamed of.  You should be proud that you attend the meeting because there are thousands of people that just haven’t got the courage to walk through the doors and ask for help. Gambling is an illness and GA is my medicine for this silent addiction.

The room not only changed my life, it saved it. Without going to the room I wouldn’t be the person I am today and the person I hope to be next year. I owe my life to GA and the people that go there as they saved mine.

During the last year I have changed as a person. I have become a better dad, husband and friend. I have started to build bridges with the people that I destroyed while gambling and slowly starting to regain their trust ( which I know will take a very long time).
I have taken responsibility for my actions and admitted my mistakes and I hope to make up for them in years to come. I’m paying my debts off so me and my family can start a clean slate and look toward the future.


There is more to life then sitting all day, every day with my head in phone studying the form of football teams I have never heard of, horses for racing in countries the other side of the world.
I have learnt that my family need to come first, they need to become my main centre of attention, my life needs to resolve around them and making sure they are happy.

The most important thing I have learnt over the last year is that having loads and loads of money, having all the flash cars and the big houses, and everything in the world, doesn’t make you happy.

Food on the table, a roof over your head, laughter, making memories, seeing the people I love happy, that is the main thing. Me having them makes me the richest man in the world.

I know I’m not there yet, I might not ever be fully there , but I know if I stay off gambling I have a very good chance of making it. 

God grant me the serenity,
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Sam Irwin
Recovering Gambling Addict
[email protected]