Online gambling addiction can have very serious consequences. Not only can you drain the contents of your pockets, but the impact of this addiction is very wide ranging from physical, mental to your life as a whole. As told by an online gambling addict.
I am a gambling addict. Three years ago, I was punished for white-collar fraud, after I stole more than $ 130,000 or about Rp1.3 billion from my boss to indulge in an insatiable addiction.
The toxin that is my choice is not a poker machine, but gambling online.
Horse racing, horse racing, train races, dog races – I am not picky, provided I can bet and channel the addiction.
The stakes will range between $ 5,000 ($ 50,000) and $ 20,000 (Rp212 million) per day. I’ll bet up to 3:00 am, try to sleep for three hours and bet again for three hours later in online racing in the United States.
I’ve always thought that gambling addicts have stereotypes if they’re a middle-aged male or female working class sitting in a local club, feeding their favorite pokies machine four or five nights a week. But I rarely visit local gambling like that.
Gambling while the children are bathing
At the height of my addiction, my status has been married and has two beautiful children and works as a financial manager in the local government.
When I was with my family, I was physically there – but mentally, I was miles away, thinking about gambling: when can I bet next, where did the money come from, will I be a winner again?
I think about gambling almost every time – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I place bets at home, at work, shops – anywhere I can still receive a signal on my phone.
I will walk with my children and our pet dog, but I still try to place a bet. I even bet and watch the race on the phone while watching my children who are bathing.
Knock on the door
I have been thinking of stealing money to deal with my debt problems for months, but I can not do it because I know the consequences will be terrible.
Then one night, I got a visit from two big men with baseball batons, strongly asking me to pay off a considerable debt in that week.
They punched me and threatened to use his baseball bat on “next chance”.
I was left bruised and battered as a warning to them. It was very scary. I sometimes still remember the incident and my body back shivering.
Traditional gambling locations such as Greyhound racing show the current trends where most gambling is done online.
That night, I made the decision to steal from work. I feel physically and uneasy. My mind will not stop gambling. I know it’s wrong, but I do it – know sometime I can get caught.
The first time without a doubt is the most difficult – but once you do, stealing becomes easier. I have nothing to lose. That’s how I “reasoned” then. However, stealing becomes another issue to add to my list of issues.
I always worry about getting caught. When someone knocks on my office door, when I’m on the phone, when my boss calls me to a meeting, I’m never sure.
The fear slowly kills me, but I can not admit it, and can not eliminate it. I am at the end of a horn with no solution, no way out.
It was Monday morning when I was finally caught. I was summoned to the CEO’s office and they gave me very much proof.
I was caught, but I still deny it. I know my career is over and the prison has been waiting for me.
But at that stage, I was relieved. Nothing else saw from behind my back. Lies and tricks can stop.
When I was caught and jailed, the gambling addict I met in prison had a similar story. They are middle-aged, intelligent, well educated from a good background, all being race addicts and not criminals – certainly not the gambling addicts with the stereotypes I’ve ever imagined.
This addiction I have to redeem very expensive. I lost my job, all my possessions including home, car, everything I had.
But that is nothing compared to the loss of the relationship I have had.
My marriage was ruined. I lost access to children. I never spoke to my family again and also to most of my friends. I do not blame them.
For years in prison, I had enough time to reflect on all the damage it caused and when I was released, I knew that I could not go back to that lifestyle again.
You have plenty of time to contemplate in prison. I keep thinking about the kids, but I decided to stop gambling not because of them. The constant pressure and 24-hour thinking about gambling has destroyed me: physically, emotionally, and financially.
I know if I do not stop gambling it will kill me.
Get help before it’s too late
I write this story not because I think of it as a cathartic experience, but because I hope my story can help others to seek help before it’s too late. Or for family and friends addicts to intervene and offer support.
For people who are “close to this” or think of cheating, the solution is simple: get help.
Seek support before you reach the lowest point. The most suitable help for me is from my psychologist, private chats one on one – but to others it might be Gamblers Anonymous.
For family and friends of addicts: please do not give up to help them, this is a very bad illness and they need all the support you can give.
My life throughout the year 2017 is certainly not perfect, but it is a much better experience than my previous years.
I have regular access to my children, I rebuild lost relationships, I have found some temporary jobs – and I have not gambled since 2014.