Never Thought IT Would Happen To Me

I’m a recovering female gambling addict.  I’m a middle class woman who had everything and gambled it all away.  Today is just the second day of my attempt at recovery and I’d like any woman who has ever experienced those  dreadful feelings of self-hatred, loss,  remorse,  misery,  fear,  sickness and all of the feelings that become so familiar, to come on this journey with me. It’s going to be a really difficult one.  But, female online slot addiction is becoming an epidemic in this country,  and I do not ever want any other woman to feel as bad as I did through it.  So,  if you’re a female online slot player carry on reading. 

The world of online gambling was my drug. …online slots.  It started pretty innocently of course,  with a game of bingo here and a game of bingo there,  but after a while that wasn’t enough. And so I started playing the mini slot games on the side. Bingo was taking too long for my instant gratification fix that I soon started to need. These mini games were different. ..They were more entertaining and fun. ..and it wasn’t long until I soon gave up bingo altogether and moved onto the full size games.

And that’s when the rot set in. Of course I didn’t see it as rot at the time.  At the time it was fun,  good fun,  in fact.  Twenty pence spins and big wins.  Twenty pence spins soon turned into fifty pence spins, which soon turned into £1 spins until in the end I was maxing every bet, and the wins were becoming less.

That didn’t stop me though,  and I started to look forward to my time with the slots.  Preparation was key! Get my cup of tea,  fags,  ashtray and off I’d go.  I’ll stop once I get a bonus game,  I’d say to myself.  But I didn’t.  Once I’d got the bonus game I was chasing the free spins. Once I’d got them I’d be chasing the bonus again. …yes. .that was all great fun!

It was my time. My escape from the toils and troubles in my life.  It was a progressive decline into addiction. It happened over many years,  easily five or six. And little by little I disappeared into this vicious, evil addiction.

As I sit here now writing this,  my heart is racing,  I’ve got palpitations, my hands are sweating. It’s withdrawal symptoms.  I don’t want to go out of the house.  I don’t want people to see me.  In fact I haven’t opened my curtains for years.  I became a slave to this thing.

So, ladies,  I  wish to tell you all this.  You will never win the jackpot,  you will lose your property,  your family,  and most importantly you’ll lose yourself.  If you think you’re getting a bit too attached to these slots,  I suggest you try to stop now before it becomes too late.

Last week I ended up suicidal over it.  I had destroyed and lost everything,  from my house to my family.  When you are a gambling addict you don’t care about any of this.  You will beg,  steal or borrow,  to get money to gamble.  You will definitely start using payday loans.  You’ll pay them back a couple of times,  then you won’t be able to afford to,  because each time you’ll be borrowing more and more to feed your addiction.  You’ll get into such a mess you’ll lose your home. You’ll borrow from family to pay your mortgage first though.  But you’ll gamble that in the hope of having a big win to clear up this mess once and for all. You’ll start doing your salary all in one go.  You’ll sit up,  or set your alarm,  to midnight so you can check if your wages have gone in so you can gamble.

What you’ll say to yourself is. …I’ll just treat myself and stick on twenty quid. And you will.  But you were lying to yourself,  because before you know it your whole months salary is gone overnight. …and you have nothing to live on for four weeks. So you’ll borrow some.  You might get into selling drugs, or even yourself,  to fund your addiction.  You’d be surprised how manipulative you’ll become.  You’ll definitely lie to everyone.  You’ll definitely lose friends.

But still you’ll go back,  time and time again.  Because gambling has now become your best friend,  your comfort zone,  you’ll have got rid of most of your real earth friends,  either because you’ve borrowed and not paid them back,  or you’ve withdrawn into gambling so much that they don’t recognise you any more,  think you’ve gone a bit weird and leave you to it.  Your family will also notice a change in you.  You’ll start to neglect them,  they’ll try and get your attention. …you’ll talk to them but your mind will be elsewhere. Once the addiction gets hold of you,  you’ve lost yourself.

This is all bad enough and pretty familiar to most gambling addicts.  But what happens if you’re a woman??? You’ve been drawn into this fun world of online bingo and slots and allowed it to take over your life.  Through no fault of your own,  I have to say.  Becoming a gambling addict is not a conscious choice no matter what anyone tells you.  It is something that creeps up on you and takes over your entire life. It fills a need that you’re not getting or haven’t got over the years. In the end it will destroy you.

Like I say,  I  started online gambling about five years ago.  It was when my mother was dying of cancer.  Going online and having a flutter used to take my mind off all the horrible things that were going on associated with that period. When she did die, I would use it to block out the feelings of loss. ..It became my comfort zone.  But then it took over. My life.

Only a gambling addict can understand a gambling addict.  Your family and friends think you can stop whenever you want.  When, or if,  they start to notice you’re spending too much time online they’ll start to nag you about it.  Then you’ll start to become secretive and hide your lap top or tablet, whenever they come in the room,  because you don’t want to be caught again.  You’ll start to organise your day around your gambling so that it’s just you and your “friend” without any interruptions. Money will become a huge problem and when your family and friends notice that, you’ll start making excuses as to where it has gone.  And you will lie through your back teeth to try and cover yourself.  You’ll tell the family you’ve paid the mortgage,  when you haven’t.  You’ll tell them you’ve paid the bills,  when you haven’t,  you will eventually lose everything for them. And you won’t be able to find it in you to tell them.  You will withdraw gradually until you are a shell of the woman you used to be. And you’ll go back to gambling to try and find that elusive BIG WIN that’s going to sort it all out.

You have it all planned in your head. …you’re going win big. ..it’s going to happen one day. ..but it never does.  And, of course,  to win big,  you have to spend big.  The more the big win eludes you,  the more you chase it.  But it won’t happen.  You tell yourself that when you win big you’ll sort out your family,  you’ll treat them all to something nice,  you’ll pay for that holiday,  you’ll buy that new settee,  whatever.  You need to ease your conscience.  But you never will,  because once you’re that sucked in and when it’s got to the point that you’re starting to hide bills and stuff,  you’re too far gone,  and eventually it won’t be about the money anymore.

In fact,  in the end it’s not about money.  How can you say that, you ask.  Well it’s true.  Yes,  you want to win big,  yes you need to win big,  and yes you probably will win, but not as often as you used to.  And guess what happens next?  You win,  you are so relieved!!!! You’ve won back enough money to pay the mortgage this month,  for example. HALLELUJAH!  You’ve clawed back just enough to get you out of the mess you’ve created this month.  So you withdraw it.  Sigh a big sigh of relief and leave it at that.

But now what? ?? A couple of hours later. ..you’re craving to play your favourite game again.  You’re bored, you’re needy,  someone upsets you,  something upsets you,  whatever. You are craving for that buzz back that you got when you won.  Before you know it. …you’re back.

Now,  these online gambling companies are very clever.  When you withdraw your money it doesn’t happen immediately.  They leave it “withdrawal pending” sometimes for up to two or three days.  The temptation is too much.  So, you say to yourself. ..well I will just reverse a bit of it to play with and leave the rest.  After all,  look at me,  how great am I? I’ve just won back enough money to pay the mortgage this month.  I’ve saved the roof over the family’s head, I deserve a treat. The family, of course, being blissfully unaware the roof over their heads was in jeopardy in the first place.  You never tell anyone how bad it has got,  because you “know” that you are going to win it all back one day,  and no one will be any the wiser.

So you start reversing your withdrawal.  You may reverse a part of it first. ….In fact you definitely will only reverse a part of it. You’re not stupid.  You know how lucky you were to win that money just in the nick of time to sort out whatever bills you’ve been ignoring.  Remember,  Hallelujah!  You’ve “saved ” the family from hardship, the mortgage can now be paid.  Let’s see if you can win some more!! This is great fun!!

You think so? Wait till you hear what happens next.