A friend of mine who is a great high school basketball coach once told me “The best you can have happen in a game is to have the other team’s worse shooter make his first shot – very similar to the confidence you feel with a gambling addiction. They will think they are a good shot and keep throwing upshots and missing them. But they keep shooting because they made the first one.” This same attitude got me addicted to gambling. The thought that what happened once, by pure luck, was going to keep happening and I could control it. Instead of walking away and being content with a little good fortune, I stuck around long enough to prove his statement true, not for basketball, but gambling.
I got into gambling which resulted in my gambling addiction the same way people get into it. My friends and I would play cards when we were in high school for a few dollars. The feel of winning, even back then was a rush. That feels better than any drug. Other people may get this feeling through exercise, the runner’s high, or closing a big deal at work. The difference between their feeling and the one I got was the high, or sense of accomplishment. The difference between myself and the friends, I play cards for entertainment and fun. They may have had that same feeling I did, but they didn’t let the feeling overtake their mind and way of life. They, like most people, realized if they won, they were lucky. Sure there is a tactics, but in gambling, it is better to be lucky than good.
I have been gambling, with a gambling addiction, and going to casinos since I was eighteen years old. Back then, you only had to be eighteen to gamble at casinos. Back then I would take the money I got from working around the house or a part-time job and I would head down to the casino on Friday night after school. What I won or lost would dictate how the whole next week would go until I receive payment. If I won, that next week was fun. Most of the times though I am scrambling for extra work for money or borrowing from friends. I wish I could look back and laugh and say man I was just young and stupid. The problem is it got a whole lot worse and the thinking did not change. Feast or famine was the way I lived my life.
Sex, Drugs, Gambling and Chocolate A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions (2nd Edition)
A. Thomas Horvath, Ph.D., is president of Practical Recovery Services, San Diego, California, which offers an alternative to 12-step and disease-oriented addiction treatment. He is president of SMART Recovery, a non-profit network of support groups for individuals abstaining from addictive behavior. From 1999-2000 he served as president of the American Psychological Associations Division on Addictions (Division 50). Author A. Thomas Horvath Studio Impact Publishers, Incorporated Format Book ufabet.com
I gambled throughout my twenties ( not realizing I had a gambling addiction) and early thirties with few major problems. I would win a little here and there, but I never had a big payday. Then two years ago I walked into the casino with forty dollars and walked out with one thousand five hundred. The following ten months were the most self-destructive ten months of my life. The bigger problem was in this time how many people I lied, blamed, and would not listen to. In the end I lost a ridiculous amount of money; but what was worse I lost the trust of everyone in my life. Some have started to forgive me, but others never will. I would not blame them. I still don’t trust myself.
After that first big “payday”, I gambled more in the next ten months than I had ever done before. I would estimate I gambled two hundred and seventy out of the three hundred days that this all took place in. The only reason I took those other thirty days off was I was flat broke – classic gambling addiction.. During this stretch of time, I won much money. The problem was, among many problems, I am never content with what I was lucky enough to win. If I won five hundred, I would lose it trying to win a thousand. I had Friday nights where I would win eight thousand dollars. By Sunday , when I would leave, it was all gone. It didn’t matter how much I would be ahead, in the end, the casinos and I both knew I was walking away down. The last few months I was so bad I would not even get the rush, or high, from winning. I knew I was going to lose it eventually. It stopped becoming fun and a game, it became my life.