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      I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler

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      • Forum Legend - Fagan
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      I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      May 17, 2016 11:41:30 pm
      Sorry if this has been done before but wanted to create a thread for those affected by gambling addiction.....I don't mind if this gets zero relies but I hope a few take something from my experiences.

      In this age it seems to me everywhere I look, particularly if you are sporting minded you are forever tempted to have a flutter in one format or another, it's something that's always presented as being so glamorous and exciting. I'd like to share my story which is one I'm sure many will relate with which presents the other side of gambling.

      I started gambling on a very recreational scale, mainly online around 10 years ago when I started getting a decent wage. It was all very innocent to start with, betting small amounts, normally losing but not thinking much of it. The danger signs should have been evident for me though early on; I struggled to show restraint or discipline in my behaviours when gambling - I remember one instance in particular where I took a small stake of maybe £20 up to well over £1000. Being 18 at the time with no commitments that money would have went a long way but it was lost as quick as it was won.

      I then drifted away from it for a few years, some negative experiences and lack of disposable income in those student years meant I kept clear. It was as I went into my mid 20s and starting working full time that temptation presented itself again. Within a short space of time I discovered the FOBTs in the bookies and that casinos were not restricted to Las Vegas - I was hooked.

      For at least 5 years all of my extra £ and then some went to gambling. When I wasn't gambling I was thinking of it. When I was I was in a zone, away from whatever I was hiding from. Gambling became a part of me - every occasion or night out or event when I should have been enjoying myself and those around me had to be preceded by a session - if I avoided losing great, I could enjoy myself, if I lost I couldn't. Gambling controlled me. It controlled my mood, my happiness, my motivation, everything revolved around it.

      Time after time after time gambling delivered me to the depths of despair. The worst thing about compulsive gambling, like other forms of addiction is the come down afterwards, particularly if you'd lost. The rush, the excitement, the escape is gone and you're back to reality. If I'd lost money, particularly as the years went by when I knew full well I had a big problem I couldn't control the feelings of guilt and shame where crushing.

       What in my mind at the time got me on the chair at the casino or the terminal at the bookies generally was the idea of a bit of fun and some extra £ to do something unplanned because miraculously through the years I have maintained a relationship.(in reality I was running away from different things I didn't want to confront.) When afterwards you realise you've lost amount x which could have went towards cause y it's heartbreaking. I struggle to put a figure on how much money I've lost to gambling but can safely say it's north of £25k....amongst that was rent money, mortgage deposit money, my girlfriends hard earned £ and innumerable instances where money lost meant that my girlfriend and those around me lost out on life's experiences.

      Of course you don't lose all the time, they need to let us win now and again else no one would play their game. I've had many 4 figure winnings in my time and I'll be honest the high is exhilarating. However for compulsive gamblers gambling creates a false economy. If you're able to summon the resolve to drag yourself away from gambling and claim some winnings I always did one of 2 things
      1 : gamble it all away again very quickly
      2 : spend it on sh*t to get rid of it else number 1 will happen
      I remember the Sunday of a bank holiday weekend few years ago winning just shy of £5k at a couple of casinos. By the Monday night I'd spent most of it on non-essentials just because of the fear of giving it back to the casino. Hence when you lose you lose when you win you still spunk your £

      I knew for many years I had a big problem with gambling but couldn't fully drag myself away from it. Again like in other forms of addiction excuses are made, lies told, sense ignored. For those familiar with GA I went to my first meeting and answered YES to 18 of the 20 questions including YES to the following q
      "Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?" but I kept gambling on and off.
      I think when it finally comes time to confront addiction the lightbulb moment will be different from person to person. For me it was when I yet again went off the rails with gambling and lost God knows how much £. On this particular occasion I stepped back and asked myself why I did so knowing full well what the outcome would be. In this instance I seen exactly the connection between things in my personal/working life pushing me over the edge with gambling always being my release of choice. Whilst I always knew this in the back of my mind at this point I knew to confront gambling addiction would involve dealing with other daemons and managing the triggers.

      As things stand I've not gambled in 2016 and feel strong and all the better for it. It's something I'll be managing the rest of my life, I know it'll never go away for me but if I don't keep it away it will take everything from me.
      I hope, if you've made it thus far and in any way can relate with my story, whether you're at the start of the path I started or further down the road than me that you take something from my experiences. If you atall do feel you need help its out there, life doesn't need to revolve around gambling. If you're unsure if you're a problem gambler or not answer the 20 questions - - don't be scared of gambling just be honest with yourself and those around you.
      • Guest
      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #1: May 18, 2016 07:20:42 am
      Mate of mine was the same mate, he's got a well paying job, but had nothing to show for it, living in rented accommodation, spending his kids birthday/christmas money to fund his habit etc etc.

      He's been good for 18 months now, I spoke to him at length about it, how he needed a hobby that give him the same kind of buzz, he took it on board and is now dealing in retro gaming consoles and is in the process of buying his first home.

      It can be beaten, he's like a different person, stick with it.

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      • @MrPrice1979
      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #2: May 18, 2016 11:58:36 am
      Thank's for sharing that Alfie, a problem I will never have as I am a notoriously sh*t gambler.

      Hope you keep it going mate and also that people with the same problem read and take something from your post.

      • Forum Legend - Fagan
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #3: May 19, 2016 11:22:43 pm
      I think it's disgusting the amount of adverts for gambling on TV and around every single sporting event now. Warnings are given all the time about cigarettes and alcohol but gambling is made out to be fun when it's a life wrecker.

      "It's more fun when you've got money on it", my f**king arse.

      Fair play to you Alfie, good luck fella, get angry with those who want you to do what you don't want to do, make that your focus.
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #4: May 20, 2016 01:23:13 am
      Thanks for sharing Alfie....good luck with staying off the punt mate.

      I feel guilty having a 50 cent bet mate, only beacuse I normally lose all the time. I was betting on one racecard, every race every day of the week. But just kept losing pissed me off so just sticking to Saturdays, hopefully trying to get a quaddie or a trifecta. With mne it's only minimum bets and I've been able to keep it to Saturdays for just iver a month now and don't miss it during the week at all.

      Hopefully I'm on the right track.
      • Guest
      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #5: May 20, 2016 08:53:09 am
      Spoke to my pal about this again last night, he said to me dealing in the retro consoles gives him the same buzz as he's still technically gambling his money on making a profit and for all the profits are not huge, he gets the buzz from good judgment and he doesn't have the shame of huge losses and spending money he shouldn't have been.
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #6: May 21, 2016 07:34:33 am
      Thanks for sharing you experience Alfie. Don't think I've ever really gambled in my life, bar fruit machines the odd time in pubs but I know lots of people that regularly do, especially on football, there are times when I get tempted to do it online just for fun as they make it so easy now, but to be honest I don't trust myself not to get addicted.
      Hope you manage to stay off it mate. Good luck!
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #7: May 21, 2016 10:23:18 pm
      Very brave of you sharing your story Alfie,like redlfcblood mentions I too have a very good mate who was bitten by the gambling bug big time,He used to blow every penny he earned in the bookies  7 days a week even his keep ,he couldn't even afford to go out for a pint at the weekend  with me & our other mates.
      I'm going back over 30 years now so it was only horses & the dogs when he started  or snide card schools ,it was nothing like it is today where the temptation is everywhere.
      He has straightened himself out with help of friends and family and is doing well for himself.
      Spend your hard earned on yourself & loved ones Alfie,seeing there smiles of happiness & appreciation is all the buzz you need.
      Best of luck mate

      Frankly, Mr Shankly
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #8: May 22, 2016 05:23:50 pm
      Seeing the adverts for numerous gambling sites is getting beyond queasy despite some of them coming with a shallow and meaningless slogan 'When the fun stops, STOP!'. Worse is the adverts (or rather the Ladbrokes advert) that portray these 20 something 'lads' pouting and putting themselves about as if gambling companies are trying to equate gambling as a necessary of a vacuous macho, alpha male identity, a stereotype and identity that seeks to bring men back into the dark ages.
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #9: Jun 04, 2016 03:04:47 am
      Good luck Alfie
      Brave man to admit to his problems and to face them.
      The Kopite91
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #10: Jun 05, 2016 10:19:39 am
      They say the worst thing that can happen to you is that you win your first bet... It's all too easy after that.

      I haven't gone as far down the road as you Alfie but I have had my problems. I got rid of my online account 2 months ago after I was refused finance for a car because of the high level of betting activity in my bank statement. Apparently banks are coming down hard on it too when applying for mortgages.

      I work in with horses for a living and as they say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I could know every aspect of a horse due to run and see him as a "sure thing" only to be reminded time and a gain that there is no such thing as a "sure thing"! Then I would be as guilty as anyone of chasing my losses then. I would find myself laying favourites in handicaps in America and South Africa, of which I know very little about the racing, in an act of desperation.

      I never got fully engrossed in betting on football but have still lost my fair share on it. The cons far outweigh the pros. My current outlook is I am not losing anything by not having a bet and I still enjoy racing and any other sport just as much, maybe even a bit more when the pressure is off me.

      Keep it up Alfie, you've done the hardest part.
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      Re: I'm Alfie and I'm a Compulsive Gambler
      Reply #11: Jun 09, 2016 02:07:59 pm
      Bet you a tenner you stay clean in 2016.....oops only kidding mate!

      Takes a brave man to admit things like this and by doing so you must be clear in your mind.

      Well done.

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