Gambling used to be for fun, to entertain or pass the time, but some people nowadays have turned it into sports, a living, and an addiction. According to psychologist Elizabeth Hartney, BSc., MSc., MA, PhD , “Gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling, compulsive gambling, problem gambling, or gambling disorder involves maladaptive patterns of gambling behavior that the individual persists with, despite negative consequences.” Rich people gamble away their money because they can afford it. Sadly for some people, gambling is a hope to get more money. They think that they could get richer if they win one time. Then they get the great feeling of power by assuming they are capable of winning, and the excitement whenever they think of it finally happening.
Then they lose more than they win, and they keep on coming back with the hope that it’s going to be their lucky day!
My name is Brian, and I am a self-confessed gambling addict. I used to live in a peaceful town in North Carolina where my parents grew up. I always dreamed big and hoped to make it to big cities. After I finished college, I hurriedly moved to New York to experience the hustle and bustle. It was all exciting for me. I got myself an apartment and a decent job at a technology company creating software and the like. I have to say life was good to me.
Then after a few years, I met Tatiana. I fell in love with her so deeply, and we went to all the adventures we could get. Finally, we got married in Vegas and how crazy it was to decide to move to the city. She was from Vegas, and her family was running a small diner.
Everything was going well. I spent some of my savings to help renovate their place and got myself a share of the diner because they were struggling to keep it. It was all going well and working out just fine.
I met a few people who can be considered friends, and they invited me to a casino one night. I was mesmerized. Somehow, it was like a fantasy. The place was colorful, and everybody was friendly and smiling. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I was thinking that time, “These people must have a lot of money.” They were all happy.
Billy taught me poker, and it was fun! I had a few to spend and who knew if I was going to win! I thought it was beginner’s luck. I came home that night so overwhelmed with the feeling of thrill and excitement plus $5,000 richer. My wife will be happy!
Then, it went on and on. I always feel like a newbie and that there’s something I need to achieve. There are times I would win, but most of the time, I’d lose. I feel the need to win back the money I’ve lost and somehow the need to experience the feeling I’m getting whenever I sit in that casino seat. There’s something about the bright lights, beautiful women, wealthy men, wine, tobacco and everything else in it that made me come back every single time even though my wife and I have been fighting over it.
Before I knew it, it has been their years since I started gambling, and I’m now broke! My wife and I are on the brink of getting a divorce. I never realized how much we grew apart. She said she feels like I’m a complete stranger and that she doesn’t know me anymore. Then finally, she revealed she was pregnant, and she didn’t want our baby to grow up knowing a gambling addict father. Gambling addict! According to psychologists Seyed Amir Jazaeri and Mohammad Hussain Bin Habil, “Gambling disorders are highly comorbid with other mental health and substance use disorders, and a further understanding is needed of both the causes and treatment implications of this disorder.”
At first, I thought it was absurd. I thought I was just starting. I’m hardly half the age of most men in the casino. But then something stopped me. “I’m a gambling addict. I lost my savings, and I’m at the casino thrice a week. I barely spend time with my wife, and I would usually come home drunk. What was I thinking?” I said to myself.
I knew right then I had to do something. There was still hope for me. I didn’t want to grow old like one of those men I sit with every night. They may look happy, but now I realized, they were not. They were cheating on their wives and probably didn’t spend much time with their families. Yes, they had loads of money, but I say they’reusing it to ruin their lives. “What a waste.”To think I was almost a waste!
I decided to get help for my gambling addiction because I knew I never wanted to lose my wife and our baby to a temporary feeling of thrill and excitement. I have to admit it wasn’t easy. There was always the craving of holding a deck of cards, thinking of the hands and chips, the laughs and the scents. They all flashback all at once, and it often gets me very irritable.
I knew I couldn’t stay in Vegas anymore, so we decided to move to North Carolina where my parents own a ranch. It’s a beautiful place to grow a family. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I knew I had to do something before I completely lose everything. Whenever I feel the need to gamble, I think of my wife and my baby.
Fighting gambling addiction is hard. “Recovery from addiction is more than possible, but requires a person’s strong commitment to change,” according to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. Support from the people around you is crucial. You also need the will and drive to stop. Acknowledge the problem and have the courage to face it. Know what you want in life and recognize the things that hinder you from getting there. Gambling addiction is hard to stop, but it’s a battle worth fighting now than to lose everything without putting up a good one.