The way things were before: Finds me a busy wife and mother of 3. My growing up years were filled with loving parents and one sister. Both of my parents came from large families and I had 64 first cousins many of which lived in the area. I started going to the casino in my late 40s as a way to escape any stress but felt it was a hobby, just fun.
How things changed: My mom passed away in early 2000 and I was given a substantial life insurance. Gambling became something that was not just a hobby anymore. Seven months after my mom passed away we went to MN for a Vikings game and Valley Fair. My husband spent the first night playing pool all night long so I went to casino the next night. I had won $10,000. I was ecstatic and thought it was one of the best moments of my life. This turned out to be the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. From that moment on I was either gambling or planning on gambling. My family never knew the amounts I was spending and before long I had spent my life insurance and the winnings. It was only when all of my money was gone and I had loaned all that I could and now I was robbing peter to pay paul and hiding the mail from my husband, always scrambling to get more money. I would not buy myself anything because I needed gambling money. The night I call my “rock bottom” It was a Sunday night so I was trying to tell my husband that I could win the boat or something, that if I wrote a check it wouldn’t come in until he got paid the next Thursday. I went to my favorite casino and after and losing it, then another and another until I hit my limit of $1500. I had now been at the casino all night long, winning a little bit but never my money back, feeling sicker by the minute as it is sinking in that I have lost all of this money. What was I going to do. I went to bathroom to get sick, back to the machine, up some, down some. I remember the machine had 62 credits when the screen went black and there appeared my mom on the screen, she said, “Why are you doing this to Wes?” I grabbed my purse, didn’t even check out and ran out of the casino crying my eyes out. I have no idea if this was from lack of sleep and stress or my higher power but whatever it was, it scared me so bad. For the first time in my life I thought, I should just pull out in front of a truck and kill myself, my family would be better off without me. I called my husband and he assured me that we could get through it and they needed me. He set me up with LSS Gamblers Choice and I started treatment for compulsive gamblers. I decided that I had put so much time and money, blood sweat and tears into gambling that I was going to try to give that much to my recovery.
Where I am now: I go to GA meetings once a week and alumni Gamblers Choice once a month. My fellow GA members are my second family. I feel so fortunate that my family didn’t give up on me and that there is life after gambling. I have 3 great kids that have turned out to be wonderful human beings. My husband and I enjoy traveling I feel that treatment saved my life and although things are not perfect by a long shot, I’m happy.