Hi I would like to remain anonymous, I’m 23 and for the past 3 years I have been a compulsive sports and racing gambler who has lost thousands of my hard earned money. It all started when my partner left me in which I slipped into a dark place where gambling gave me some sort of a temporary relief. All of my gambling was done through online accounts such as TAB and Sportsbet where my pay check would disappear within hours of receiving it. I have used lenders to borrow money to gamble which has pushed me further into debt. There have been times during this 3 years period where I have managed to give up for a month or two and was able to save enough money to buy what I wanted to buy without having to rely on my parents or my mates to help me. But those times where short lived as I would notice I would have some money in my bank account which I could gamble. I cannot believe I have started my life like this and have wasted the money I have wasted, I could have a new car and a deposit for a house right now if it wasn’t for gambling. For me now after sharing this story, I have managed to self exclude myself from all online bookmakers and sports betting companies. The hard thing about this is however I cannot even watch the football on tv, read the newspaper or listen to the radio without betting tv commercials appearing right in front of my eyes, it makes me feel so sick to the point where I have to walk away and take a few deep breaths and reassure myself that I’m not going to get lured in. At the age of 23 many of you would say I’m still young and my life is still ahead of me, and that is true, but it’s time for me to become a man and face my addiction and my weakness, it’s time to put this sad and miserable 3 years behind me, it’s time to do my absolute best to save as much money as possible so I can live the life I want to live, it’s time to put myself first and get my life on track, it’s now or never

Hello there!

It sounds like the last three years have been incredibly difficult for you with the emotional turmoil that must have accompanied the gambling behaviour as well as the separation from your partner.  There’s no doubt that the availability of online gambling has been a bit of a game-changer,  because it allows a person to access gambling from any location.  It thereby the removes the restrictions that previously existed as a result of physical separation.  Thank you for digging deep and sharing your story with us.  It must have been quite confronting to access those memories and feelings, and it’s a brave thing to put yourself through that and then share it with strangers!  

I can see that you’re still processing what has happened over those last three years, and there’s still a lot of regret about what has happened.  It appears that you’re also comparing your situation to those of your peers and wondering what sort of life you may have if gambling had not been a factor in your life.  However, I’m curious to know what sort of life you see for yourself in future.  What sort of ways will your life be different six months from now if you can get a solid period of abstinence behind you?  What sort of ways will it be better?

I’m sorry to see that things like football on TV and various media are continuing to be quite triggering for you.  It must feel a bit overwhelming when things that are difficult to avoid create such feelings of dissonance within you.  This is something that gamblers are confronted with during their recovery, and I hope in time the emotional reactions you have to these stimuli will lessen in severity.  In the meantime, I would like to express how great it is to see your level of commitment to recovery, and your determination to change the gambling behaviour and live your life in a different way.  This commitment and determination is very palpable in your post!  What sort lifestyle changes will you make that will help you in this endeavour?  What sort of ways will you pass the time that is now free in your post-gambling life?  

It may be helpful putting some software on your devices to block the gambling sites and apps to give yourself an extra layer of protection!

In addition, it might be helpful to talk to a gambling counsellor, either over the phone or face-to-face!  You can ring the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 any time you want and there will always be a gambling counsellor to talk to.  

All the best in your journey,

Counsellor Sam

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