There are many signs pointing to a gambling problem and you are completely oblivious to them. The quicker you notice them the better. If you leave it too late, the hole you’ll be in will be a thousand times worst.
But remember “There is always a way out”
One of the main signs that you have a problem is you may notice you’re struggling with your finances. You may go searching, borrowing or stealing money and any spare money you have you’re betting with. You may also be hiding money from people.
Some people even fail to pay bills; getting credit cards and loans, borrowing money off friends or family just to fund their addiction. This could also include breaking into saving accounts or taking loans out on their family home.
One of the other main symptoms you may notice is that you are lying to people about where all your money has gone and/or how you’re getting so much money. You will tell lie after lie just to get that next bet down and win the big money.
The money problems will eventually get worse. When the interest starts kicking in on the loans and credit cards you will start to panic, so you then start to gamble more and more to try and win the money back. As the months go on the debts get bigger and bigger and so does the gambling.
Chasing your money:
The worse thing you can do is start to chase your money. Chasing your money is basically trying to win back all the money you have lost. When you start doing this, you start to bet more with bigger stakes. Even if you win that money back, it is still not enough to cover your loses so you gamble it all again and again. You are now back to square one but with even more debt and bigger money problems.
I always thought I was the best dad and husband in the world because when I won a bet I would always treat them and splash out the cash. Take them on nice holidays, day trips and nights away. Whatever they wanted they got.
On the flip side, I was losing a lot. My Family and myself. I had become a vile person, shouting and screaming at them. I was angry all of the time with a short fuse which didn’t take long to ignite.
I believed I was an amazing dad spending all my time with my family, but in fact I was just sitting there on the sofa on my phone. They would ask me to play with them but I was too busy on my phone. I would even buy takeaways so I didn’t have to waste my precious gambling time making dinner.
My wife would be struggling to make ends meet because I “didn’t get that good of a wage” or “we didn’t get a bonus this month” because I needed that money to gamble with and always knew a family member would bail us out with the money. I was so selfish when gambling, I didn’t care about anyone else apart from myself.
I am truly sorry for all the pain I caused to everyone when I gambling.
When you know you’re truly in trouble and gambling has got you by the horns, you start to keep secrets from your loved ones. You hide away in the hole you have dug and don’t dare tell anyone the mess you’re in. You try and pretend that everything is okay and you don’t need any help. “I’ve only had a small bet today”, ” I’ve cut my gambling down”. “Look at this bet I’ve won”. You become in denial saying to yourself and others that you haven’t got a problem, that you’re not in debt and that you’re not gambling too much.
Gambling is the “hidden Addiction”. The fact that it is so readily accessible online means that more and more people are being sucked in. It is easy to gamble online in the comfort of your own home. It almost feels like you’re not really gambling at all because you’re not in the bookies. You don’t keep an eye on the money you’re spending because it comes straight from your bank. It’s far to easy.
Unlike other addictions, problem gamblers do not show any physical signs. There are no marks on their arms, no dilated pupils, and no noticeably impaired physical behaviour. But the compulsive behaviour of gambling creates other symptoms including depression, anxiety, and at times, suicidal thoughts.
The shame associated with the addiction often prevents individuals from seeking help and treatment. I felt the same when I was at my worst but it was the best thing I ever did. If I didn’t ask for help I don’t know where I would be now, probably homeless or dead.
Do not be ashamed or embarrassed if you need to ask for help, Just do it! no one will think bad of you. Most people will already have suspicions that you have a problem and will praise you for asking for help. Some people may also have a problem you didn’t know about and it may encourage them to ask for help too.
There are a lot of people out there in the same boat as you and the first step to a brighter, gambling free future is to ask for help. Once you have done this you will automatically see the light at the end of the tunnel. Straight away you will realise you’re not alone and you can be saved from this horrible addiction.
Have faith in a higher power and with help and support, you can find peace in a future worthy of you.
Recovering gambling addict