Saturday, 4 April 2020

Light-Bulb Moment

My name is Russ and I am a compulsive gambler. My last bet was April 2nd 2019. I celebrated my one year anniversary the other day and I am so grateful that I have come this far in my journey but there is no destination and the growth will continue as long as I continue to put the work in. The day I start to think I have this addiction beat is the day I start gambling with my recovery.

Day 1

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

Henry David Thoreau

Describe the moment you realised you were addicted. 

The moment I realised I was addicted was April 2nd 2019 which was the date of my last bet because that was when I finally realised I needed help. Now, looking back, there are many red flags that should have been enough for me to realise I was addicted (these are covered here) but I truly didn’t have my “light-bulb moment” until April 2nd 2019. So what happened? 

Well, at 08:52, what would turn out to be my last bet (as it stands) was settled a loser on Bet 365. This was on some terrible women's tennis match in the Far East between two people no one has heard of outside of me and their immediate family. That was it though, the last of not only my money but also money that should have been used for direct debits. I was a mess. I sat at my desk at work looking at a notebook trying to figure out how I was going to make it through the month. This was something I did often and usually found a way but this time not even Houdini could get himself out of this. I’d only been paid a few days prior and it was all gone. My mate who sat opposite me saw there was something clearly wrong and he asked if I was OK. That question was probably the beginning of my recovery.

Normally I would have lied to him, said I was fine, I was just thinking or some other bullshit but I just replied with “no”. It was the first time I realised things were not OK. He offered to take me for a pint at lunchtime and have a chat and off we went and I opened up to him and explained what was going on. He didn’t judge, he just listened, let me get it all out. I was fighting with myself if I should or would tell my partner, running through all the scenarios in my head, generally focusing on the worst case that she would kick me out and I wouldn’t see my two kids everyday. By the end of the pint (alright maybe it was two pints but who's counting) I realised what I had to do. I realised this was it. This was the time to come clean.

So I spent the rest of the afternoon in work writing out all my debts to the penny, a budget going forward and found my nearest Gamblers Anonymous meeting address and wrote it down as well. I was shitting myself. I went back and forth all afternoon if I would tell my partner or not and the stress was getting too much. She had went to the gym as well so I was pacing back and forth waiting for her to come home and when she did I finally spat it out and told her “I have a gambling problem and I need help.” 

I feel like the reason I finally opened up to my partner and my family was because I realised that day what gambling was doing to me. I was oblivious to all the red flags beforehand but that day it became clear. I could see the person I had become was not good, I was broken. I was rotten. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be for my kids. They deserved better. I realised I would rather be a part time Dad in recovery than a full time Dad in active addiction so I was willing to open up to my partner and take whatever consequences came my way.


Quote and question taken from “The 365 Addiction Recovery Journal: Daily Journaling With Guided Questions, To Become A New You” by 21 Exercises.

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