Derek’s Story

After 12 years of being a compulsive gambler and many attempts to quit, I made a call to Lutheran Social Services Gamblers Choice. At the age of 28, I was running two successful businesses and was a subcontractor for a large fast food franchise. When my personal life began to spin out of control so did my hobby of gambling. What was something I used to do for fun, became something that controlled my life causing me to leave my family and wandering in and out of homelessness for years.

For someone who was noted for honesty & integrity by family, friends and work associates, I began doing anything I could to cover up my gambling; including borrowing money, stealing money from projects, pawning tools and even writing bad checks. Even after being prosecuted for writing NSF checks on one occasion, was not enough to make me quit gambling.

Finally, after one of the lowest points in my life, I decided to reach out. It became the only thing left I felt I could do for myself. I began the 12 -step program & Gamblers Anonymous Meetings. For the first few months, I just went through the motions but then something changed. As I began really working the steps and developing connections at GA meetings, I began to face my problems instead of run from them. I continued to surround myself with people who understood & have been through what I put myself through for so many years. For the first time in many years, I felt “alive” like I had a chance in what I did with my life. As I continue to work the steps in my every day life, I see relationships building from people I had been estranged with for a very long time. It has taken some time, but things are actually improving at a faster rate than I ever thought possible. For someone who always felt on the verge of an emotional collapse, I began to feel stable.

Although Compulsive Gambling is never cured, we can continue to work the steps & apply them every day. We can accept who we are but that doesn’t mean we have to gamble. With proper help, me a compulsive gambler can lead a productive, gamble free life.