Pete, 29, from Birmingham is a compulsive gambler. What started as an occasional flutter soon progressed to a full-blown gambling addiction that threatened to tear his young family apart.
We are proud to be able to report a number of Port of Call recovery stories and wish to assure anyone reading that there is always help at hand.
In a series of gambling addict stories, the following Port of Call blog tells Pete’s journey from active addiction to recovery.
Pete’s gambling story
I have a gambling addiction. It took me a long while, and a lot of money and stress, before I realised it. But that’s the truth of the matter. I can look you in the eye today and tell you that I’m a compulsive gambler.
My addiction started in my early twenties. Me and my mates liked a flutter at the bookies, every now and then, to liven up a Saturday night out. Usually we’d put on an accumulator and watch the results come in at the pub. It was fun, a buzz, especially on the rare occasion that one of us would score.
By my mid-twenties, most of my mates were settling down and having kids. They didn’t have as much time to go down the pub, or the bookies for that matter, but I wasn’t interested in slowing down. My weekend gambling was what got me through the week. It was all I could think of to get me through the boredom of work and everyday life.
But it wasn’t enough. As well as being a regular at the local betting shop, I’d joined a nearby casino. I began playing the Black Jack tables and roulette on Saturday nights. Often to try and win back my losses from the football, horses, dogs – whatever I’d bet on earlier that day.
Soon enough though, I’d be visiting the casino three, four, five nights a week at the height of my gambling problem. When the bookies or the casino were shut, I was gambling online. I did it all; online poker, in-game betting, sports betting. I got such a buzz from the wins, no matter how big or small. When I was up, I’d never walk away with my winnings. They’d go straight back on another bet, in search of a bigger rush.
My long-term girlfriend Sarah and I would get into blazing rows about how our money was just running through our fingers. I wasn’t just squandering my own wages but I was dipping into our joint account too. We were barely able to pay for food, let alone the bills and rent. The trouble is, the worse things got the more I turned to gambling to escape reality. I’d carry on regardless, gambling bigger stakes each time to try and dig us out of a hole and feel good about myself again. Neither of which ever happened.
The tipping point was when Sarah told me that we were expecting our first child. When Jasmine was born, I got a real wake up call. I knew full well that, without help, I would gamble away our money. Money that we needed.
So I called Port of Call. They arranged for me to go into rehab. I’d have regular therapy sessions to help me to change how I was behaving and manage my impulses to gamble. It was tough. Not the sessions so much, but stopping. Occupying myself in other ways.
It was a long slog, but I stuck with my treatment programme and I’ve managed to stay off gambling completely. My life and my family are too important to me to ever change back to my old ways. If I could offer advice to anyone, it would be to get help now. It is the only way and you won’t regret it.
Contact Port of Call on 08000029010 to find out more about treatment for gambling addiction, including gambling rehab. We offer 24/7 free advice and support to help people overcome addiction.
Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.
Compulsive gamblers can always find a way of betting. If the bookies are closed, online gambling is all too easy to access. In many ways, it’s an issue that can link really well to becoming addicted to your smartphone.
Gambling and casino addiction are very real issues that, if allowed to spiral out of control, have the ability to tear families apart. Luckily, Pete took it upon himself to get in touch with Port of Call and is now looking forward to a future with his young family.
If you feel you can relate to our gambling addiction stories and are concerned by your habit, please do get in touch with us. We work with a network of trusted addiction rehab centres throughout the UK, find your nearest clinic here.
Make us your Port of Call and begin looking towards a future free from gambling and casino addiction.