My name is 'Kimmie' and I am a Compulsive Gambler.
I have not gambled (compulsively) for nine years - I'd like to say 'Iv'e not had a bet for nine years' but for reasons (good reasons) that I won't go into right now, I do still buy a lotto ticket.
Considering the severity of my gambling addiction in the past, I'm quite surprised that this is my first gambling related ramble.
Anyway, I need a gambling 'Therapy' and as symptoms of mental illness prevent me from getting to GA (gamblers Anonymous) at the moment, blogger will have to do!
I'm feeling incredibly vulnerable at the moment - fearful, insecure in my marriage, terrified of 'the powers that be', really struggling with symptoms of mental illness, and not coping as well as my 'mask' would have other people believe I am.
My gambling addiction did more damage (mentally, physically & financially) to me, and to my family, than anything else (until recently) has ever done, and yet at the same time it was (still is to date) the only thing (ever) to bring me any real relief from symptoms of mental illness.
For me gambling was escapism - I knew I was hurting myself and those I loved, but at the same time, all the while I was 'in action' I felt safe!
My gambling was fast & furious - manic - time consuming - mind consuming - ALL CONSUMING! There was no room in my head (whilst in action) for anything else - Intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, relationship issues, debt (I had plenty of debt!) anxiety, fear....all gone!
When I walked into a casino, I left everything else (everything else!) on the other side of the doors, I was safe....I was free!
It's all to easy when life goes tits up (and my God has it gone tits up of late!) to find yourself craving that safety and freedom again, it's easy to remember only the good things related to obsessive/compulsive gambling........
The extreme highs - running around like a lunatic playing four tables at once with a load of pink (£100) chips weighing heavy in your bag - chips piled high when your numbers come in - the buzz - the sweep - the payout - squeals of delight when you look up and realise three of your four tables dropped your way on the last spin - the journey home with £5,000 in your handbag - children's faces when they come home from school the next day to find it's Christmas in July!
It is my friends a head recently full of such (wonderful) memories that have prompted this ramble.
You see I really (really) want to run away at the moment and all the while my head is full of 'Christmas in July', I am in danger of falling back into the world of compulsive gambling!
Of course symptoms of agoraphobia would prevent me from frequenting a casino or bingo hall these days, but I am (Thanks to other GA members) very aware of just how easy it is to access (and get sucked into) on line betting sites.
Am I tempted? - Of course I'm tempted. I'm a compulsive gambler.
I'm here tonight because I need to remind myself of the 'far from wonderful' side of a compulsive gamblers life....
I need to remind myself of the extreme lows that ALWAYS followed the highs.
I need to remember the 'Christmas in December' that saw me begging my parents for money on Christmas Eve, and then flying around 'ASDA' after dark trying (In vain) to fulfil my children's wish lists!
I must never forget the 34 year old woman who sat on a stool at the Mecca bingo one afternoon and wet herself because she'd pumped too much money into the fruit machine she was playing to chance another punter stealing her win while she went to the loo!
I must never forget how once the machine had finally paid out, she shuffled her stool (bum firmly attached so as to hide the wet patch) along to the next machine and pumped best part of her winnings into it.
I must never forget the wet patch she left on the back seat of the cab that carried her an hour or so later (late for the third time that week!) to pick her children up from school.
I need to remember the night I slunk through the casino doors (looking like death warmed up) with (my very last) £40 in my pocket (£4 of which I knew I MUST hold back for the kids bus fair to school the next day).
I needed to win that night! I had no food in, numerous bills were over due, I owed a friend money, and it was my daughters 11th birthday the following day!
I entered the gaming area with a £20 note in my hand which I intended to change up (I had a plan - bet small -win big!) as I passed the first table a croupier to the left of me called "last bets please".
Frantically, and without thinking, I shot forward and slammed the 'twenty' down onto the table yelling "14" as I did so....within seconds my *half of all I had* was swept away and replaced with chips....Too late to change my mind -The bet was on!
With my head full of "Oh god, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God"" and my heart banging so hard in my chest I felt dizzy, I watched as the wheel slowed, I watched (kicking myself for my stupidity) as the ball dropped and kicked around numbers 0 - 36 until after what seemed like an eternity it came to a stop in.........Number 14!!!!
Get in there! And Yes, I did actually shout (scream!) "Get in there".
In less than 5 minutes I had just turned half of my last £40 into £720!
In just one spin of the wheel I had made enough money to put food in the cupboards for a week, pay back my friend, deal with the most urgent of my bills, and ensure that my daughter 'squeak' had a half decent birthday present the next day.
Words cannot describe how wonderful I felt as that £720 was swept across the table toward me.
Luck (It's never judgement) was with me that night, I doubled the last bet (as you do) and 14 came in a second time and then a third (my initial bet now trebled). I was on a roll, I couldn't stop at that point, I'd have been mad to stop; I couldn't stop!
When I (eventually) got home (early hours of next morning) I baked bread for my kids (It would be that or nothing the next morning) and wrote out 'Squeaks' birthday card
'Happy birthday, darling
*We owe you £40*
Lots of love
from Mum & Dad'
from Mum & Dad'
Thankfully I'd bought a Birthday cake the week before, and was able (later that day) to borrow just enough money to feed us that day and the next two into pay day.
The kids didn't go to school that day.
I told them they were having a day off as it was 'squeaks' birthday - I told the school they were ill.
The real reason for their day off? - I didn't have their bus fair!
My kids were all smiles that day - They'd bagged a day off of school, and mum (with an Oscar winning performance of 'every little things gonna be alright') played, baked up anything remotely bake-able, and smiled all day! My daughter had (to the best of my knowledge) had a happy birthday.
Years later I would find the *I OWE YOU* card hidden in 'squeaks' bedroom, and I would know (beyond any doubt) that I was 'the mum' who broke an eleven year olds heart on her birthday, and that she was 'the child' who loved her mum too much to let it show!
I love my kids and they love me. I have never set out to hurt them, but when I was gambling, hurt them (more than once) I did! - If I gamble again, I WILL hurt them again.
Just for today I will not gamble!
Just for today I will try to live through this day only and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for 12 hours that would appal me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
God bless those and all those you love