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DB's story

A lot people look down at compulsive, pathological gamblers like they are pariahs or junkies. They are shunned as though they have made a conscientious decision to throw everything away; their entire bankroll, family, friends, relationships, reputation, dignity, self-respect and even their life.

While they pursue what they envision to be their high, goal, or ticket to freedom, they too often discover they are living in a fool’s paradise.

This is my first week in recovery and I hope it’s a prosperous one. In spite of all of my losses, and there were so many, the biggest lesson I'm coping with is that when you are a pathological gambler, you're possessed. You're not in a healthy headspace and your brain will do everything in its power to provoke you to gamble. In my existence of suffering, in terms of gambling, my brain would not keep me from stopping but would work with every ounce of strength to ensure that I did whatever it took to keep going. This of course, blinded me to all the consequences that stood before me as they were inferior to gambling.

This is where I was at in my life, and the path I was heading down terrified me. I lost everything but my life to gambling and had nothing to show but feelings of eternal emptiness and remorse.

I was and am terrified to learn that I have to design and live a new life free of gambling. At my worst, gambling was the centre of my universe and everything revolved around it. It arrived to a point where I didn’t enjoy or embrace it but was held captive to its power. The demonic force of gambling had totally invaded by conscious and subconscious and I could not escape its unyielding power.

In closing, what brings me here today is either I fight for my life and everything in it or let gambling take me for good. I have, from a sober perspective, witnessed the terror that gambling has caused me and all the valuable people and things in my life. What we have to realise is that it is a disease and one that is nearly impossible to defend ourselves against. If you have a gambling problem you're not a bad person, a loser, a junkie or failure. The mind is hardly equipped to protect itself from the malevolent power of gambling.

It all starts with step one. Tell someone you love, go to a meeting, seek counselling and make a conscious choice to not let gambling win. I do not wish what I went through and am going through on anyone in the world and if this reaches one person I would be so happy.

Please, if you are like me, join me in the first step and start living a new life.