I started gambling at an early age, my earliest memory is playing bingo at my 9th birthday party. At age 14, I won my first jackpot playing in a local bingo parlor. Over the course of my teenage years, I would estimate spending at least 3 nights a week playing bingo. When I turned 18, I started purchasing lottery tickets, with a jackpot win in 2006. I also worked in gaming establishments in various forms for over 7 years.
After I turned 21, I began playing pull tabs and this was a major turning point in my addiction. I was spending well over my means and started accumulating several debts to include credit cards and payday loans. I knew I had a problem, it was bad and I tried to fix it on my own. I would set limits on time and money, sought counseling and even hypnosis but none of those methods, for me, were effective.
In 2009, I was still gambling heavily and every aspect of my life was impacted. Gambling had completely consumed me and become horrifically unmanageable. I was in constant worry, struggle and couldn’t find relief on my own.
Finally, I had reached my rock bottom and was given an ultimatum to see a gambling counselor. The first meeting was frustrating and I felt full of defenses. The next day, I made a decision in my own mind to continue treatment because I wanted to change my life. Only when I conceded fully to the program and was willing to give up the so-called control I thought I had, was I able to find relief. I worked the steps, followed the program and listened to the recommendations from the Gambler’s Choice counselors.
A key piece of recovery for me is to choose, one day at a time, to not gamble.
Today, I am 8 years and 6 months gambling free. I have financial stability and my life is completely different. It’s not perfect, but the changes made over the past 8 years have been undeniable. I feel as if I’ve shed a skin and living a healthy, honest life is my new path. I have hobbies and enjoy things in life I never had before such as camping, fishing, volleyball, painting, cooking and vacationing with my friends and family. I’m still working the program, attending GA meetings and have daily struggles but I also have some tools and resources in my back pocket to help me through it. Everyone has life issues and now I’m better at managing how I process them.
Gambler’s Choice and GA have saved my life and given my friends and family a much better version of me. There’s no telling where I might be today had I not found GC and GA.