In July 2018 my life was in a complete mess, I was staring down the barrel of £40k worth of debts built up from gambling (casinos were the main culprit if I'm honest)
Luckily I had a job otherwise going bankrupt would have happened already.
Anyhow I found this organisation called GamStop, they were building their database of gambling companies that you could ban yourself from using.
I knew I had to do something but I knew my addiction would probably stop me signing up if I thought about it. So I didn't think & went with my gut feel & excluded myself for a year.
The next day I checked my gambling accounts & I was suspended!!! I was like o*g what have I just done!!!!
The next few weeks were hard, I won't lie as it felt my lifeline of solice had been removed, however it was total I could not gamble online anymore!
So my journey started there, in 2019 I extended again for a year, then again in July 2020 & August 2021.
So to present day July 2022, my exclusion still runs for another month
My financial situation, my debts are down from £40k to £4k. I have a life, I have money, my credit rating means I can get 0% deals for fun if I want to.
How do I feel? Without stating the obvious ---- brilliant
Do I miss the casino's? Hell NO
I waited 4yrs to post this up as I wanted it to be real & explain it is not a short process but it can be done if you take it out of your own hands.
GamStop took it out of my own hands.
Hopefully my little story might help others who feel they have no hope & future.
Hi Golf and congratulations. 40k to 4k!! You role model and an absolute privilege to hear your story.
It shows the opportunity out there for a better life, I too am on my way to clearing debts. 3.4 years to go until i’m debt free of my gambling failings which started 12 years ago. It’s a lot of hurt i carry every day but nice to count down the years.
The only way is to be the success that you have become! Thank you
I was able to invest more time in meetings which helped me so much.
The meetings were going to help me heal my pains and understand my unhealthy reactions to people life and situations.
It took time to open up and give therapies yet it was very helpful in my recovery.
When I was being in action I was hiding more and more in my fears.
Having such high levels of fears I was not being the healthiest person I could be.
My fear of telling people was being rejected or abandoned.
One meeting a week was not enough for me, I not only needed more meetings but a meeting where people were seriously dedicated to finding healing and healthier lives.
In time there was less and less focus on money owing and more understanding of my emotional triggers.
By understanding I was unhealthy and that could find a much healthier life with out addictions or unhealthy habits.
Living in my fears and holding back was due to the pains of my ast that were not healed or resolved.
Today I am debt free, yet money now is not an emotional trigger for me.
The guilt shame regret remorse was me living in the pains of my past, that was not healing those pains.
Serenity helps me understand that I can not change my past.
I can learn from it yet living in the pains of my past serves no healthy out comes.
Part of healing is forgiving your self.
In time I was able to have empathy with in myself and for myself.
In time I was able to have more nurturing and encouragemet towards myself.
In time I was able to love and respect myself.
The money was never going to give me emotional resolve or healing.
Living in fear and worrying about things did not resolve any thing.
Once you understand how much you have to pay back on a regular basis and keep to that arrangement the debt gets reduced more and more.
Once debts are paid you have more choices in your life.
By taking very slow baby steps exchanging unhealthy habits in to healthy habits I became more productive and self sufficiaent in every avenue of my life.
Please stick with your recovery and your healing.
Find the healthiest meeting for your self.
And if possible find a very healthy sponsor.
Love and peace to everyone
AKA Dave of Beckenham UK
@beat_gambling_today thank you for your reply.
Sounds like you have a plan & are working through it.
I found as my debts got below £15k that all of a sudden the credit card providers started helping me out with 0% deals which helped a lot.
Ironically I could take as many as I want now & the time when I desperately needed help none was forthcoming.
The amount of interest I had to pay each month before I could reduce the debt in the black days was staggering.
I still choose to clear @£300 debt a month even though my minimum payments are now £60 - will be all gone in about a year.
It really is great to read such a success story..... i too had that feeling of should i join gamstop or shouldnt i, it takes a lot of courage.... but i also did it and now my finances are great....
I'm coming up to my 1000 days gamble free in next month.... really cant believe im saying that tbf......i almost stumbled a month ago and tried to go online poker again..... but the gamstop stood storng and stopped me..... ive really got to make sure i sign up to it again as soon as it ends..... its all about thinking clearly...
All the best adam
@gadaveuk thank you for taking the time to write such an in depth message.
A lot of what you said I did not have the luxury of that help and support.
Was pretty much a lone project so to speak until I met someone in the October of 2020.
I was still carrying around a lot of monetary baggage but she believed in me & saw the determination in what I was trying to achieve. That helped a lot, so much so that I able to help her with her own issues that were far far worse than mine.
It has been a bumpy road but we are still together & everything is building for a healthy future
Nige (aka Golf in Colour)
@adam123, good morning Adam
Nearly three years for yourself which is such a massive achievement. Never thought about the time factor in days as regards myself but as it was 4yrs on the 21st it is getting closer to 1500 days.
Interesting to read re your attempted blip, luckily Gamstop prevented this happening.
I have had one blip which is dealt with so I am able to talk about it.
I removed my restriction in August 2021 after it had expired. Then had a painful personal issue to deal with & went online for one evening. I got totally lost in the madness of the online gambling world again & lost £700.
I logged off at 4am the following morning, saw what I had done immediately & re activated my exclusion on Gamstop.
Maybe that was the reality check I needed, I was angry that I had slipped back but also very pleased with the fact that I had recognised immediately & took action.
I will not be removing my exclusion until all my debts have gone (probably another 12months) but even then I might leave it in place. Just depends on how I feel.
So don't hit yourself hard as you might have blipped, just realise this is still lurking there & recognise it.
Nige (aka Golf In Colour)
It’s lovely to hear all your success stories in quitting gambling. We’ve just found out that my son has relapsed again! This is about the 4th time. He’s racked up thousands of pounds of debt and each time he stops , longest being over 12 months. He had put gamstop on his phone but over last two days has lost £13,000 as he used his partners name on the websites. We’ve now found out that you can put on Gamban which stops absolutely any sites being accessed. He has had online help from Gamcare with phone call sessions but they stopped about three months ago . He and his partner have a house and a 21 month old little girl. He has a good job but I’m so worried that she is going to leave him and he’s going to lose everything. We have been in touch with a councillor who is going to ring him tomorrow. Does councilling work . He really does want to stop. He was so upset yesterday. He told us he is ill and needs help. I just don’t get how he can keep doing it knowing the devastation he is causing us all. I have a very close relationship with him and he has been telling me each week how he’s been doing so well. No betting. I have access to his bank account but have found out he applied for a credit card and has been using that ! Just don’t know how it’s all going to end. I’m also worried about his mental state and afraid he may do something bad. He looks terrible
@annie92 my advice through my own experience is to get him to a GA meeting. He’ll meet others like him and he’ll get a lot of support and guidance. He’ll also get to understand that he’s not alone and a lot of us have had bad thoughts about ourselves when we feel there’s no escape.
There is though and there is hope, he just has to want it.
Any questions please just ask.
Thanks for your advice Chris. Yes my husband is going to go with him to a GA meeting this week. Think like you say he needs to speak and see others that are in the same situation as him. I have no more advice or answers to give him anymore. As I’m not a gambling person I just don’t understand how you can do it time and time again.
his partner is even less sympathetic and feels he has done it as he just doesn’t care about anyone but himself.
he isn’t a bad person on the whole. He doesn’t go out drinking with mates , holds down a good job and is an amazing dad, it’s just this reoccurring gambling that he keeps doing. It only lasts a couple of days but he loses thousands of pounds.
@annie92 It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s just when the gambling takes over unfortunately there’s nothing more important at that moment in time. Once the money has gone then his brain allows him to be remorseful and caring again.
This is one of the reasons that at GA we say he has to want to give up for himself, not for you or his partner or child. It might sound selfish but if he’s truly had enough then and he puts the work into it then he’ll have a better chance of stopping.
I couldn’t stop for my children or my marriage but that didn’t mean I didn’t love those people any less. Now I do it for myself and those left around me get the benefit of me not gambling.
I wish your son well.
@annie92 Hi Annie & good afternoon.
I am going to respond based on my own personal situation. The last 4yrs has not been the whole story as a lot happened before then. Luckily GamStop saved me as without that option I am not sure I would be typing this reply. I have extended my GamStop for another 5yrs, not because I fear I will relapse but more for the fact that I can do this!
Ok counselling, my honest answer is it will only help if you son wants it to help. If it is a case that he is doing it because it has been suggested to him then I'm not sure of what benefit it will be.
The most effective means is to remove all opportunity of gambling, GamStop & Gamban (I dont know anything about this though) will be the way forward.
The fact he has gambled in his partners name is not good news & his partner if they find out are going to have massive trust issues. I lost a marriage in 2004 due to my gambling issues as the trust had gone, I had a youngish child as well so that really hurt me.
I would be willing to speak to your son if he was open to it, maybe hearing from the horses mouth so to speak might help him & to show him there is light at the end of the tunnel outside of gambling
Thanks for your replies guys. Very much appreciated. When you say you had gamstop so did my son but he said he just took it off! Is this possible do you know ? A bit pointless if you can . The trust issue is a worry. His partner isn’t happy at all and says it’s like living with two different people. If he loses her and his little girl I’m not sure what he might do
@annie92 when the exclusion period is still running on Gamstop you can't do anything....however
When the exclusion period expires it still stays in force unless you contact them and ask to have it removed.
They will check are you sure etc, but apart from that you are free to gamble again 24hrs later.
My advice is if he really wants to get on top of this addiction & also save his relationship then exclude for the maximum 5yrs.
This won't stop him walking into betting shops but it will stop all forms of online gambling.
Wishing you well, Nige
@golfincolour thank you. He said he had put a 5 year one on last time but maybe he didn’t. We’ve put the 5 year one on this time so hopefully this stops him gambling this way. I think he does it as much as he does as it’s all online and far too easy isn’t it !
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