The testimonials below from our members offer an honest, no-holds barred insight into the life of a compulsive gambler. These stories are here to educate others about the struggles one faces in the grip of the illness, and the impact the Gamblers Anonymous fellowship has had on their lives and the loved ones around them.
My name is Dwayne and I have and I have been struggling with my gambling addiction for almost 20 years. It started when I was fourteen with Bingo, then progressed to Sport Select, VLTís, the Internet, and when I was of age, to the Casino. There was no amount of money that I wouldnít spend and nothing I wouldnít gamble on.
I knew I had a problem at this point, and so I attended my first G.A meeting at age 18. I called someone and they picked me up for coffee. After, we proceeded to walk into this old church and head into the basement. I donít remember much, but I do remember what I felt. These people had a problem, but I wasnít as bad as they were!
That mentality kept me struggling for many more years, as I became a frequent come-and-go-member of Regina G.A. Until a couple of years ago, I would relapse often and when I did sit in on a meeting, I didnít feel welcome and I would judge everyone in the room. Life was terrible, as it was all me, and I was unwilling to accept help from those around me. I felt if I could keep myself busy enough that I wouldnít have to deal with this and look at what my life really had become. I couldnít go more than a couple of months without gambling. I couldnít even comprehend living without gambling, and it got so bad in the summer of 2008 that I was gambling for more than 12 hours at a time. After a couple of months, I was scared and desperate, and I admitted myself into the psychiatric ward of the General hospital.
At that point, I was just about to give up hope because I was stealing from people around me, I was deathly close to losing my fourth job, and I left university for the third time; all because of this stubborn illness. I owed money to everyone I could think of, and I was frequenting the cash store, thinking of committing crimes, or anything along those lines to keep me in action. While in the hospital, I was so sick, that when I was offered a night pass, I took my last couple of thousand dollars on my credit cards and went gambling, and then lied to my doctors and nurses. Then when they found out, I was kicked out, and I thought it was their fault.
With the generosity of my family, I was fortunate enough to attend Slim Thorpe recovery Center in Lloydminster, AB. After my couple of weeks there, things were better, as I gained nearly 6-months of recovery, or dare I say abstinence. I was in complete survival mode and was overwhelmed with what was happening to me, and I went back to the old ways very quickly.
Then in the summer of 2009, I managed to save up enough money with the help of my brother to move into my own apartment. That same week, I returned to the hell that was my life, and had thoughts of being homeless, and jobless if this continued. I was going to lose my job, and more importantly, I felt that I would never see my 35th birthday, and that scared me to death! I didnít want to do this to my friends and family, but I didnít want to live like this anymore.
That is where it changed for me. I obtained the help of a sponsor, began praying each and every day as I walked to and from work. Although my relationship with my sponsor isnít as close as it could be, he has helped me through some pretty rough times and has stuck with me through thick and thin and I will never forget that. My relationship has not only grown with him, but others in the fellowship as well. I go to at least 2 meetings a week, actively participate in service work, and I am very willing to reach out and help other members. What a far cry from the way my life was before.
Today, with a lot of hard work, the help of my higher power, my sponsor, and others in the program, I have been blessed with more than 16 months of sobriety. The future looks bright, and if I continue the things I am doing, I will continue to arrest the disease that has plagued my life for so long. So, if you are reading this and think that your story is like mine, or that you arenít sure if your life can be turned around, give G.A. a try and get back the life that you deserve!
I have been a member of G.A. for a number of years. At one point I obtained 2 years of abstinence and with the pressures in my life I ran back to the VLTs. G.A. is a wonderful place to go and find the people who understand and care about what you are going through. I stayed back in the hell of gambling when I went back for a few years. I tried to go back to G.A a year ago and was struggling. Five months back to the hell of gambling and now I went back again to G.A. I will not ever stop trying to embrace a normal way of living again and have abstinence with this in my life. I know that the program works. I am grateful for all of the wonderful people in the program. I believe God sends us so many heart filled messages through our wonderful brothers and sisters to help us day to day. So to all of the members of G.A., thank you for being there to share in the bond. Never quit quitting and keep the faith!
Greetings! My name is Harry and I am a compulsive gambler. I began gambling when I was a teenager (scratch and wins) and eventually moved on to playing slot machines at the casino, as well as VLTs in the bars. I moved out of my parents' house when I was 19. I wanted to live life by my own rules. From the first day that I had that apartment, gambling took control of my life. When I wasn't working, I was spending all my time at the bars and the casino. I was lonely, and gambling was my way of escaping, rather than facing reality. Any money that I came across went to feeding my addiction to gambling. I had no control over it. At one point I ended up draining thousands of dollars from my savings mutual fund. When I was gambling, I didn't care about anything, including myself. My health deteriorated on all levels. The gambling had blinded me to the damage I was causing myself, and the pain I was causing to my family and friends. Eventually I came to a point where I'd had enough. I was sick and tired of the lies, the lack of sleep and money... I wanted out of my pitiful existence and contemplated ending my life... that's when I turned to Gamblers Anonymous. Through attending meetings regularly, I have learned how to live one day at a time without the escape into the dream world of gambling. With the help of the G.A. program I have not placed a bet since Janurary 2nd, 2000 and I have awoken to the real me. If you are reading this and think you might have a problem with gambling, feel free to come to a meeting. You are always welcome!
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