Gambling Addiction Stories You Should Read Before Betting Online in UK
Gambling Addiction Stories You Should Read Before Betting Online in UK
There are too many gambling addiction stories in Great Britain to mention here; unfortunately, more than a million people across the country may have fallen into the trap of compulsive gambling. A survey authorized by GambleAware indicated that nearly 1.4 million people, or 2.7% of adults in Great Britain, are compulsive gamblers.
Gambling addiction stories often begin innocently, such as weekend trips to the casino with friends. However, for some people, it eventually can turn into a dark obsession. They not only gamble away their money, but also their friends, family members, and career. Like any addiction, gambling can quickly destroy lives.
The fact is, the same neurochemicals that cause alcohol and drug addiction can similarly react to gambling. The fun and excitement of gambling activate dopamine and other brain chemicals, and the gambler feels a “rush”. Because a person prone to addiction compulsively wants that feeling, again and again, they lose control over their ‘hobby’.
Before you sign up for an online casino, please read through the following facts and gambling addiction stories.
Jodie ended up in prison, losing everything to her gambling addiction
Like many compulsive gamblers, Jodie had a family history of addiction; not only had she been addicted to cigarettes, but like her father, Jodie was an alcoholic. Fortunately, she had kicked those habits by the age of 37, without the aid of 12-step support or therapy. Or so she thought.
While Jodie had successfully managed to abstain from smoking and drinking, she really hadn't gotten over her addictive personality. She understood these habits were bad for her, but she did not understand herself. Jodies didn't realize that when she quit drinking, it wasn't enough to simply not drink. She never gazed deeply into the hole she was trying to fill. Like all addicts, deep down, Jodie felt empty inside.
On the surface, all was going well in Jodie's life; she had earned a Master's degree, had a great job, a loving husband, a wonderful family, and a beautiful home. She was 50 years old, and had achieved her dreams.
However, that was all about to change when I attended a conference held at a casino. In between the meetings, she relieved her boredom and stress at the slot machines. Little did she know, this seemingly harmless act would awaken the sleeping giant within her.
What happened next was the worst thing that could ever happen to a gambling addict; she won. From there, gambling began to consume her life.
Jodie's gambling addiction stories begin in earnest
A desire to escape feelings of anxiety played into the moment when addiction once again overtook her. Slots machines were now her drug of choice. She adored everything about the flashing, spinning machine that had rewarded her.
When she got back home from the conference, she kept obsessing over the machine on which she had won. She just wanted to go back to it, to get back to that unbelievable high; it was a high unlike any she had ever experienced. The slot machine now represented renewed possibilities, in which money would be easy, and her life would be better.
Soon, she was going to the local casinos every chance she could get. Within a few months, she went from playing penny slots to playing £100 slots; the greater the risk, the greater the high. Every day she woke up, knowing she was going to a casino, she felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
Within six months, Jodie had lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. She went through all of the credit she could get, and borrowed from everyone, under false pretenses, of course. Less than 2 years after that, she had been fired from her job for embezzlement. At the age of 55, Jodie's gambling addiction had landed her in prison.
Jodie's Great Awakening
However, the two years Jodie spent in prison were actually a Godsend; it gave her the time away from her addiction to think about her life. Also, she was required to attend therapy, and the prison 12 step program.
Hearing the gambling addiction stories of others, Jodie realized she wasn't unique. She finally realizes, there weren't enough jackpots in the Universe to fill the back hole consuming her. She realized, she learned, she had to fill it with something else. Jodie was finally on the road to recovery.
She also realized, no other addiction will call you a winner. The reward makes all the difference. There is no chance at a life-changing jackpot with alcohol or drugs. Gambling feeds the desire to be a big shot, to be somebody.
Jodie revealed in the glamour of the casino life, honestly believing winning at the slots made her an important person. She felt better and smarter than others, a cut above the ordinary world. The world of illusion and control spun by the slot machines distorted Jodie's thinking and warped her mind. It came to a point, where she did not know who she was.
While listening to the gambling addiction stories at her 12-step group, one person said that gambling sucks out your soul. Jodie realized how true that was. Finally, she knew, only by believing in herself as an honest person could she begin to heal. Feeding her spiritual life, not a slot machine, would eventually fill the hole in her heart.
Life after prison
By the time Jodie was released from prison, her husband had divorced her, and sold the house. But while she had lost everything, she could also acknowledge that her family had been the true victims.
However, Jodie's journey of recovery wasn't over; she eventually began a rewarding career counseling others. Also, she has made amends with her family. Taking life one day at a time, Jodie gives thanks that she is no longer controlled by gambling.
Mary thought it was all fun and games
Mary began playing slot machines over the weekend, as a way to have a little fun and relieve her stress. Like most gambling addiction stories, Mary's began innocently enough. However, her weekend fun eventually turned into trips to the casino every other day. Every time, she lost hundreds of pounds.
While she wanted to stop, she was now a “slot zombie”, sitting hour after hour, on auto-pilot, mesmerized by the machine. Before she knew it, she had no control over how much time she spent in front of the machine. Even worse, she had no control over how much money she spent.
When she ran out of cash, she took cash advances out of her credit cards. Soon, she had maxed-out her cards, and couldn't even make the minimum payments. With no money left, and deeply in debt, she was forced to stop gambling for nine months. But, that was only because she didn't have access to any money.
Once Mary's finances were looking better, her curiosity led her back to the slot machines at the casino. Mary “just to see what would happen” if she began playing again. As luck would have it, within days, she was hooked again. In less than a week, she had overdrawn her bank account, forcing the bank to close it.
Subsequently, Mary began embezzling money from her company; she was president and CEO, so she thought no one would ever find out. Mary naively thought she could “borrow” just a little money from the company, here and there. While she intended to pay it back, she couldn't.
Mary's gambling addiction story not only cost her her personal fortune, but also put her reputation and job at risk. As president and CEO, her employees and the board of directors certainly expected better of her.
Andy's gambling addiction story took a dark turn in Las Vegas
While the advertising catch-phrase luring tourists to Sin City promises, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, that's not true with a gambling addiction. Andy's gambling addiction stories just go to show, problem gambling spans every continent.
Andy took a job as a nutritionist in Las Vegas, and promptly moved there from Seattle. Away from his friends and social circle, Andy felt adrift in the new town. His new job felt mundane. While Las Vegas and the state of Nevada have much to offer besides gambling, Andy didn't see it.
Every time Andy felt anxious, angry, bored, lonely, worried, or even happy, he sought out the company of slot machines. Machines never judged him or asked uncomfortable questions. As long as he fed the machine money, it would whisk him away into a carefully crafted dream world. He quickly forgot how much he felt alone, disconnected, and unsatisfied with his life.
Moreover, the thirty years old's self-esteem was very poor; he thought he should be on track as a world-famous nutritionist with a six-figure book deal, and a Hollywood lifestyle. But instead of re-evaluating his expectations of life, and readjusting his goals, he played slot machines. Sadly, his life goals were solely dependent on external validation. Without that, Andy felt like a failure. The more disillusionment and shame Andy felt over his perceived failures, the more he gambled as a means to escape.
The more Andy gambled, the more he spun out of control. The more he lost control the more he felt ashamed and disillusioned. Over the years, he gambled away his rent money, borrowed thousands from out-of-state friends, and lied to everyone. He was a financial wreck.
Andy experiences “missing time”
While mesmerized in front of a flashing, UFO-themed slot machine, it occurred to Andy that this is what UFO abductees mean when they experience ‘missing time’. Incredibly, he had been in front of that machine for nine hours, but it felt like only an hour. Andy didn't feel hunger or thirst, and he didn't need to use the loo. As long as he remained hypnotized by the cartoon aliens controlling the slot machine, the time-space continuum was suspended. But five minutes after breaking the spell, Andy's body turned on again. He was starving, and he had to pee.
For 5 long years, Andy successfully hid his gambling addiction; unlike alcohol or drug addiction, hiding a gambling addiction is relatively easy. But following a casual comment from his boss that he seemed like a “financially responsible guy”, Andy broke down. He spilled out his gambling addiction stories.
Fortunately, Andy's boss patiently listened, and suggested he attend a twelve-step program, like Gamblers Anonymous. While Andy could transfer his job away from Las Vegas, his boss wisely noted that Vegas wasn’t the problem.
Three days later, he went to his first Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Surrounded by people who understood him, Andy no longer felt alone. They all had similar gambling addiction stories. His compulsive gambling was fueled by feelings of shame, loneliness, isolation, and secrecy. But, those feelings began to melt away, along with the emotional armor his addiction provided.
Andy's gambling addiction story has a happy ending; he hasn't sat in front of a slot machine in over a year, and he now has real-life friends. His journey is far from over, but every day he avoids the slots is a good day.
Gambling addiction stories affect more than the gambler
Denise had been married to David for 30 years, before she realized her husband was addicted to gambling. Married in 1979, the Sheffield couple immediately bought a nice, 3-bedroom house; but with the birth of their first son and a set of twins, the modest home was expanded to 5 beds.
Once the twins came along, Denise decided it was best to stay home, as a full-time mum. She was also more than happy to let David take over the finances, once she stopped working. The couple had separate bank accounts, and David paid all the bills and transferred money into Denise's account for household expenses.
As far as Denise knew, they were financially secure, with plenty of savings for David's eventual retirement. The couple lived modestly, there were no fancy vacations, no splashing out on fancy clothes or cars. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at all. As far as Denise knew, David was very responsible with their money. But, Denise understood that, David had to “escape” to the pub occasionally, to get away from their stressful home life.
Life goes topsy-turvy
But then one day, out of the blue, David lost his job, at the age of 54. David told Denise that the company had been taken over’ but she eventually found out that was a lie.
Then things really began to take a dark turn; for example, the boiler broke down for two weeks, and Denise was shocked when David said they couldn’t afford to fix it. Apparently, they had no savings in the bank. David made the excuse that all of his substantial earnings had gone to the mortgage and bills.
Denise was relieved when David started a new job; she trusted that he would get their finances back on track. However, his new job required him to work away all week and he only came home on the weekends. Denise had no suspicions that anything about that was unusual at all.
Then one evening, her husband told her he had to go to court, on behalf of the company. It wasn't anything bad at all, and he would be home by the end of the day.
But the next afternoon, a man telephoned, saying he was a solicitor. He said, “David’s been given a two-year sentence. He’s on his way now to prison, in Liverpool.”
Denise's world crumbled, and she had a million questions, but the solicitor simply hung up. Denise didn’t even know that her husband had been in trouble or what crime he had committed.
The next day, her husband was allowed a 30-second call from prison. Their oldest son picked up the phone, but all David said was, “I’m sorry… look after your mum and your brothers for me.” For days, the family didn't know what he had done, or why he was in prison.
David's gambling addiction stories make front-page news
It wasn't until David made headlines in the local newspaper, that Denise and the boys found out what had happened. David had embezzled £53,690 from his job, to pay off his gambling debts. To Denise's shock, she read that her husband had been battling with a gambling addiction for 30 years.
Shaking with anger and grief, Denise had no idea who her husband really was. She later found out he'd been wasting hours at work, gambling at online casinos. To pay for his losses, he had been double-billing his employer. She was so angry, she refused to visit him in prison.
Denise eventually did visit him; he was remorseful, but Denise couldn't shake her anger.
Sorting out the mess
Denise and her eldest son had to begin sorting out the financial mess. They were appalled at what they found. David had remortgaged the house, and was behind on the payments; Denise's home of 30 years was close to being repossessed. That's not all; they were a full year behind on their council tax and utility bills, and owed £1,000 on their mobile phones.
From credit cards to pay-day loans, 21 loans were totaling £500,000. Moreover, every bank statement they looked at had hundreds of payments to gambling websites, ranging from £40 to £200. One payment showed that David's generous £5,000 salary had been gambled away in less than three days.
It was a nightmare, but they managed to negotiate lower payments, so that Denise could make it on her modest pension.
Despite the betrayal, Denise refuses to leave
Denise believed David was still good inside, but that he had a mental illness, and needed help. His gambling addiction had overtaken his common sense.
In prison, David joined a gambling support group, where others like him could share their gambling addiction stories. After his release, joined Gamblers Anonymous. He also has a private therapist.
Once out, it was hard for David to find work, other than as a delivery driver. But he was determined to turn his life around.
Along with his oldest son, David established the Safer Online Gambling Group; it's a place where people can safely share their gambling addiction stories. In addition to using his gambling addiction stories to help others, he also hopes to make his sons proud of him again.
Denise is keenly aware that their friends have paid off their mortgages and are enjoying a comfortable retirement. On the other hand, they'll be paying for David's gambling addiction for the rest of their lives.The gambling addiction stories are always at the back of her mind. But, despite it all, their relationship has grown stronger.
From Adolescent Gamer to Adult Gambling Addict
Sadly, gambling addiction stories often begin in childhood; that's what happened with Steve's 12-year old son. In his early 20s, Steve's son is now a compulsive gambler.
Steve has spent months researching what could have happened, and he now believes his son's gambling addiction began at 12. Like many kids, he was obsessed with playing online video games, especially football. He would play alone in his room for hours and hours, and all of his mates were doing the same.
However, Steve didn't really understand what online games were all about, and he thought, at least his son was busy. Not in a million years did Steve think that online video gaming could lead to gambling addiction.
Finally, after years of struggle, Steve thinks the difference between online gaming and gambling is subtle. Moreover, kids who spend excessive amounts of time gaming online, are at risk of developing a gambling addiction. Whether the game involves winning or losing money doesn't really matter. It's the obsessive nature of gaming, games of chance, risk, and the resulting thrill.
Unfortunately, many gambling addiction stories start quite young; a 2018 report conducted by the Gambling Commission found that 55,000 11-to-16-year-olds in the country were problem gamblers.
However difficult, Steve firmly believes that parents need to know what their kids are doing online. Furthermore, he believes in using parental controls online, to monitor and restrict use. He also warns against so-called “free games”, that lure kids to buy loot boxes.
A hard realization for Steve and his wife
One night, Steve's son came to his parents distraught, and asked for help. He had lost an entire week's wages in minutes, playing online roulette. His parents did what most other parents would do; they bailed him out, thinking it was a one-off, and hoping that would be the end of it. Sadly, it wasn't.
Steve and his wife had known for quite some time that their son enjoyed gambling. But lots of people do, and it didn't seem out of the ordinary. However, a year later, they were shocked to find out their son had been gambling with other people's money. Moreover, he was losing huge sums.
Soon, they realized their son had a very serious problem. They didn't know what to do and they felt isolated. Eventually, they began going to GamAnon meetings, for the families of compulsive gamblers. Now, their son is also getting help.
Steve left his teaching job and set up GamFam, to help other parents who might have a child with a gambling problem.
Steve's family is doing better, and his son's last bet was months ago. Hopefully, their horrific gambling addiction stories are behind them.
They hope that GamFam will be able to not only provide help online, but also talk directly to parents and visit schools. By telling gambling addiction stories, they hope to educate both parents and children about the dangers of online gaming and gambling.
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