I Quit Gambling Yesterday. Starting my life again.


Hi Everyone,

I have never posted on this board before but came across it tonight since I made a major decision yesterday 7-31. I have decided to quit gambling - the game that has stagnated my life for 13 years.

I am a guy in my mid thirties. I live a pretty good life. I have a nice apartment with new furniture, a stable relationship, a cat, a good job, a profitable internet venture and am healthy.
But the one thing that has held me back from really making it is gambling. Put simply, I am predisposed to feeling those 'urges' to try and make quick money. Firstly, I love games, secondly I am math savvy, and thirdly I am never 'satisfied'. I just want to play, take risks, try and make the hot buck.

I'm doing this because I have been hurt finacially. Enough is enough. Nowadays I lose about $600 a month consistently. My worst days were a few years ago, I lost about $5000 in one day back in 1997 and $10,000 in 2 weeks in 1999. I don't for one minute think I have softened though. The big losses were when I had savings to blow [yeah once upon a time in my early twenties I was able to save money and hold on to it]. My current losses are any spare money I have in my account. I can't keep a buck there I can get my hands on. I have never had money left in my account when payday comes around. I pay the bills, do whats necessary for my realtionship and blow every last dollar of the rest. I love life and would never steal money to gamble, but whats most worrying is I can't hang on to what I earn. Thats whats scary. What would happen if someone were to ask me for $500 unexpectedly?, or an emergency happens?. I have never been caught out yet, but that day would eventually come if I do not stop today.

Most of my losses have been on the horses. I go there with the express purpose of making some money so I can feel better that day. Thats all it is, nothing else. It's gotten to the point where average daily life is hard to appreciate, maybe its a general malaise or a pseudo malaise brought in my mind as I think about gambling, and that draws me back. I went to the horses today and lost $560 in cold blood. I am probably $4-5000 down for the year, making an average of $40 bets!. You probably think I really do suck at this game, how could I lose that much?. Its a combination of things really, the first being the fact that even if you find the best horse, or the best value for money horse - that horse necessarily won't win. In fact, an 8/1 is an 8/1 with dog form or good form, and its really a 10/1 reduced by the house cut. Despite all my form analysis I still got burned, simply because I would search for horses that were over the odds. They were over the odds for a reason. I did better just taking a guess. But it makes no difference how you play. Secondly, while a 7% or 10% loss doesn't sound like much, its all about turnover. In horses its a 16% loss, so roll over $100 in bets about 6 times and its guaranteed gone with even luck. It's a recipe for disaster.

I've known this for years, but I thought I'd point it out for anyone who cares to learn from what I am thinking. gambling is a mugs game. You will lose no matter what, the only difference is some lose more quickly that others. The worst thing, most problem gamblers know all of the above, have felt all the pain of financial loss, yet still go back. I have always gone back because I yearn for that big hit, that big day - that yearning is a symptom of the gambling disease, and acts seperately from your intelligence and motivations. Once you are in the arena, all sense of self, moral thought, personal strength is lost [I took this bit from what someone else wrote here]. Lets face it, the lure of an instant win is extremely powerful, intensely powerful to those who have the gambling disease. As I have said to myself, its the most exciting experience in life - and I'm wired to feel that is so.

So how will I combat this?.

I think 3 things will help:

(1) Firstly I plan to isolate myself from all mediums of gambling and place an unbending law that I am not allowed to enter any gaming establishment. I hope that absence will weaken my urges as I forget over time the experience of gambling. I put up a blog on blogger.com yesterday after my last bet in the hope that I can add to it periodically as I move through the journey to rebuild my life. I'm using the blog as a motivation to keep a clean slate [not lapse] so I can describe my experiences of recovery. I see my self control valve like a burned out tree trunk that is black and hollow and my journey as the process of growing back the green branches and leaves and building a beautiful, living tree again over time. That beautiful tree is the experience of life

(2) I hope that through rebuilding my life and embracing new interests and hobbies and strengthening my relationships that I can fill those voids that have occurred as a result of gambling, or thinking about gambling, or having no money to do anything constructive. Maybe over time a combination of those interests and the time and memory loss from abstinence will make the battle easier. I know I am a gambler for life, the goal will be to reduce the urges to a manageable level.

(3) I think that once I start holding on to money [I haven't kept money in my account for over two weeeks for 9 years now] I will be excited and proud and feel joy in this new luxury. I expect financial stability will feel good, having options in life will feel good and this will also help me move on.

I make no bones about it though, this is a challenge I am walking into with closed eyes. Just because I have this inntellectualized does not mean I know how this will feel. I am naturally a numbers, games, money guy. I have to let a lot of that go, and thats a big part of my brain linked to desire. I hope to try and channel my money making desire into the internet venture. Yeah its a slower money maker, but not a money loser.

I hope some of you will keep an eye on my journey on blogger.com. Just type in the word iquitgamblingtoday [one word] in the search window and my blog will come up. Please drop in and post a comment and say hi and tell me something about yourself. I will tell you more about myself and maybe we can do this together, or you can just watch me battle. I will be honest with you, I won't let you down. Lets see if I have the strength to do this.

Signed,
iquitgamblingtoday

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/01/2006 : 07:24:14 AM
Sorry, forgot to mention, I will be keeping an eye on replys to this post too!. This is a very good forum I have read a lot of posts here.

OK, time for bed. I need to sleep on this!

Stephen Katz
Tatt Junior

USA
65 Posts
Posted - 08/01/2006 : 3:31:07 PM
If interested, check out the below link which details the futility of trying to make money handicapping racehorses.

http://www.gamblingfactsandfictions.com/id29.htm

I will check out your blog and it is hoped that you successfully progress in recovery from gambling.

Stephen Katz

Stephen Katz
Tatt Junior

USA
65 Posts
Posted - 08/01/2006 : 3:40:33 PM
It appears that Google and Yahoo haven't picked up your blog yet. The forum owners here don't seem to mind if links are posted to websites that can help us stop gambling...so posted below is the link to your website.

http://iquitgamblingtoday.blogspot.com/

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/01/2006 : 9:21:41 PM
Hi Stephen
I read every word of your book excerpt. You certainly must speak from experience in writing about this as you understand many of the intricacies that go into racing and why it is a losing game. I am going to buy a copy of the book this week because it will help clarify the obvious message.
I understand everything, and have thought of all these issues at some point over the last several years. It's just so obvious that all of these things are happeneing.
I have noticed one other thing which offers profound evidence as to how how futile a game this is. You see many older gentlemen at the racetrack who have been betting for years and years [usually 30 plus years]. These gentlemen have a common trait - they bet small. This is clear indictaion to me that firstly they cannot usurp their addiction, but also, they are betting small because they know they are minimzing the invetiable monetary loss over time. They know its a certain losing game.
Anyway, I have been on good behaviour today. I was challenged by a few thoughts of 'what if' over my losses yesterday but have at no stage considered playing. I am working through accepting those losses and blessing that they pushed me to this point of no return. If I can walk away from this game as of yesterday, thats the best $560 I'll ever spend.
I'll will be posting quite regularly to this thread so please keep in touch and keep an eye out.
Thank you,
iquitgamblingtoday

lloydcrumlish
Guest User

Posted - 08/02/2006 : 11:01:05 AM
Even though katz has some of his information wrong (mostly pertaining to his section on poker, and how -no one- can win at it consistently (obviously untrue, proven by the existence of professional poker players), his message is good. Gambling will ruin your life given a long enough time, and its good you decided to get away from it now. Congragulations, I hope the best for you, and pray you overcome this.

Stephen Katz
Tatt Junior

USA
65 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2006 : 3:04:46 PM
iquitgamblingtoday - Thank you for your comments.

You are so right about those older gentlemen at the racetrack. And of course the money they obtain to bet with isn't from gambling winnings, it's mostly from their employment or small business, or from pension checks and social security checks.

I knew an older gentleman who was one of the best "handicappers" at this particular racetrack. Yet at 72 years old he was cutting lawns and pulling weeds with a small landscaping business to make ends meet. Last time I saw him, he was being forced to move out of his house and into a cheap apartment because of squandering his hard-earned money by gambling.

Stephen Katz
Tatt Junior

USA
65 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2006 : 3:27:59 PM
lloydcrumlish - Good comments about gambling. Just a quick note - I have never once stated or implied that there isn't any such thing as professional poker players. If you care to discuss this further, then please start a new thread. Thank you!

Stephen Katz

penney
Newbie

USA
11 Posts
Posted - 08/04/2006 : 06:20:50 AM
You definately sound like you are on the right track, and you got there before it was too late. I felt like you once, I spent every spare cent I had, then I would find myself in the hole and so many times just when I thought this was IT I was so far in the hole that I would never get out and my secret would finally be discovered, something came along unexpected to pull me out. (Unfortunately it usually came in the form of something that ended up costing more that it covered.) When my luck finally ran out and the money more than ran out, I (and my unknowing husband) were over $25,000 in debt. I have been lucky in one area though, my family has supported me and stood by me through it all and that beat a royal flush any day. (I do have to repeat that to myself constantly however and remind myself of what could have happened and still can if I forget it and go back to chasing that royal again.)

Good Luck.

dharmadog
Newbie

USA
4 Posts
Posted - 08/04/2006 : 4:09:04 PM
Keep up the good work Iquit! I have also just quit so your story has helped me a lot. Sending you prayers, love and encouragement to beat this thing. Be good to you, okay? Love dharma

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/06/2006 : 12:17:27 AM
Hi Dharma
Thanks for replying to my post.
I wish you well in your decision to quit. The best way is just to find other things to do. Keep lots of people in your life. The gambling game is just a finacial drain.
I will be posting regularly under the moniker iquitgamblingtoday at blogger.com. Just post in that word and you should be able to find my blogs. i just posted day 5 today.
Please do comment on one of them so we can communicate while we go through this.
iquit

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/06/2006 : 12:18:30 AM
Penny you are doing extremely well!. Stay on it!

my pleasure is my pain
Guest User

Posted - 08/08/2006 : 7:07:39 PM
I too have quit gambling today. I have put myself on a list to keep me out of the casinos here in MO 5 years ago. I lost $700 last night online and I am sick, and I have now blocked the urls. I know exactly what you feel like. Always spending my money on a last chance. Never having but just enough to get by. Then when I do have it, I start gambling hoping to double my money quickly. I'm not going to do this anymore!

I like this site and I will check it daily.

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/08/2006 : 10:19:23 PM
Hi Pleasure/Pain
Good on you. Welcome to day 1. I was there 8 days ago so I'm 7 ahead of you. Ahead of you lies doubt, boredom, frustration, desire etc etc.
But I'll tell you one thing. I'm sticking to this task, and I'm going to detail just what I go through every day. If I fail, I will let everyone know honestly. But I won't let that happened. I have been abused enough, I know what I was up against so i know what I am stepping away from.
I invite you to look up by continous blog on blogger.com. Just type in iquitgamblingtoday into the search window and send me a comment and a bit of info about you and lets do this together.
Thanks for replying, I hope to hear from you
iquit

mustsurrender
Newbie

Canada
1 Posts
Posted - 08/11/2006 : 06:55:16 AM
hey there iquit,

i am about to move in that direction myself after about three years of playing the slots. i have already banned mysef from the casino and started seeing an addition counsellor but have found myself playing online the past week or so. arrggghhhh. i plan on attending my first GA meeting this weekend. your blog has given me hope that i can get through this one day at a time and in my case, with the help of my higher power.

i guess i am officially on day zero. tomorrow is day one.

iquitgamblingtoday
Guest User

Posted - 08/11/2006 : 8:49:11 PM
Hey mustsurrender.

Nice to hear from you. Welcome to day 1. I'm at day 11. Get ready for the reality check at around day 8 or so. I've been feeling really bored the last few days. Kinda numb. I just want to sit around, not think, not care. I wonder where my life is at - looks empty right now. There are a lot of things I used to do I don't do now. There is nothing challenging and rewarding around me because I replaced the challenge with gambling and wen't there when I want a gee-up. Now I don't have that I realise just how empty my lifestyle is right now of any type of excitement or challenge.

Previously I had glimpses of these feelings, but they were short-lived because I would wait until I had some and then run down the betting shop for another day of high drama. Whether I won or lost on a particular day [mostly lost of course] I guaranteed myself some hours of high drama that would leave me buzzing and alive for the rest of the day. Its amazing the heightened sense of awareness, aliveness, and even peace you feel after an afternoon gambling. If I won I was gleeful and planning the next day to capitalize. If I lost I had plans running through my head like crazy such as 'lets get my life straight now!', or 'I know why I lost and learned something' or 'I'm goinna save and get it back!'. If I lost all my money I would also feel heightened and aware, but this was an awareness of the sadness I felt watsing away my day and having no way to get it back. I appreciated temporarily the non gambling aspects of my life at a higher level - like my gf, or a simple game of baseball or whatever. Feelings that are normally not as profound on a normal non-gambling day.

Now I don't have this buzz, and I also have no instant recourse because I have made my decision to change my life and habits or otherwise end up permanently ruined. I understand that I will feel this way for a while but it will get better. I plan to get up and make some changes so I don't feel like this all the time, restore some of the non-gambling actvities that gave me joy. I have to face this now because I don't feeling this way - crap and bored.

I'm gonna post this on my continual blog at blogger.com. Thanks for stimulating me to write. I need to document how I feel, maybe it will help someone else in the future, and even me if I ever look backward.

My ID at blogger.com is iquitgamblingtoday

iquit!


I created this account

I created this account strictly to respond this post. I want to understand another gambler and get a deeper look at the feelings and thought processes of someone who knows the feeling of painful losses. If you are aware of the trauma and depressive-like emotions that come after a terrible loss, why doesn't it stop you from returning? Is it the little bit of chance and hope; is it the thrill? Both??

My boyfriend grew up on gambling. Dice to be exact. It was pretty much the only thing easy enough to understand at a a young age that was easy, fun, and most of all popular ( NY) However, he expanded his liking to blackjack at the casino. I've seen him with a $17,000 streak and lose it all. Thousands and thousands of dollars have been lost at his expense. He was doing good for about 3 months (to my knowledge) and had a relapse of another $3,000 loss. I can bring up his children... bring up their future.. his future.. our future.... the past and how it affected today and how he can improve.... i honestly feel there is no way to cure the addiction unless you want to. iS THERE ANYTHING anything!!! that provoked to you to actually make this decision? anything a family member said? what made you draw the line?

please respond thank you


prokopton's picture

It's different from person

It's different from person to person.

For some, it's an escape from Life, which can be harsh. Some use drinking, some drugs, others gambling.

Some are attracted to the lure of easy money. However, "If you could make money gambling, nobody would have to work." If you could win $17,000, why not $170,000?

Some like the thrill. Gambling releases the same feel good neurotransmitters as cocaine. It's the high and the chase.

Some have a mental illness that have not been addressed. Either psychological or physiological, or both.

Some do it out of habit. Their family did it, their friends are doing, people on TV are doing it. Why don't I do it? It's the cool thing to do.

I hope everything works out.


Dealing with problems.

I have found reading blogs on this site both heart rending and heartwarming.Stories of much despair and humiliation but also of hope and encouragement.Yes my addiction,began simply as a bit of fun,a lighthearted form of escapism during very difficult times.In many ways I'm a very strong person.Have endured quite a few traumas ( Won't list them all here) and come out the other side.i have mastered living with pschysophrenia and while ill with that,nursed my mother after she had a stroke + given up smoking 2 years ago,(albeit because I had lung cancer! ).'Many Mountains to Climb ' stuff,and here I am with all of you guy's with yet another climbing challenge!!!I know that everyone will learn something from discussing triumphs and failures and I hope some that my contributions in the future may turn out to be useful.