Gambling Addiction – Sports Betting My story – Introduction

It started totally innocent as a fun activity with my friends in primary school when I have bet on my first match. Who would have thought it will become a part of mighty stroy. During my highschool I bet occasionally, but never seriously. I was always a big fan of sports and I have had skills in statistics,  I would know all the players and I also loved PC game Football Manager. When I started studying at university of Ljubljana, I had a lot of free time that I was using for online sports bets, mostly on football. Somehow I switched PC game FM for gambling in good faith that I can earn some money. I was always a hardworking student, I earned quite a lot of money working as a student, so I was able to spend it gambling and still had it enough to live a normal life. Troubles appeared when I put all my time in gambling and making plans for good strategies so that I would overcome a system. The more I spent, more guilty, ashamed and angry I felt. I was asking myself why did I even start. I left behind my studying, I was avoiding my friends and I was self isolating. I stopped talking to anyone and started  to hide everything. On the outside I looked positive, always with a smile on my face, but I have been avoiding converstaions on serious toppics.

My girlfriend and my family didn´t know a thing, I hid everything. I was cleverly manipulating them, so they wouldn´t get suspicious. The bigger the troubles, the more I lied. I was hiding from the truth and I put myself in many uncomfortable situations, each of them getting me closer and deeper into an addiction. I often got emotional blackouts, everything seemed hopeless to me, I felt terrible. For long hours at nights I was thinkig about meaning of life and I felt sorry for myself. I blamed it all on the system. My embarrassement and feelings of powerlessness brought me to the darkest ideas, that life without me maybe would be better for everyone because I am ussles and not worthy. From the worst scenarios  saved me the thought, that if I run in this life and end it, I will have to face this in another life and then it would be even harder. I did not finish study, I quited just before my diploma and this was also a big disappointment for me.

I was alwasy in between feeling quite good and having extremly hard periods. A lot of the time I spent all the money I had. The more I had the more I would have spent it. My brain did not work properly, I had no control over myself, I just wanted to gambel back everything that I have lost. When I lost all my money I was feeling upset, I was cursing everything and everyone. I cried and I swore to myself that  this is the last time and that I had to stop this and get sober. I was shivering down my whole body and was asking myself, why me, why can not I do the right thing. What am I doing wrong? It was cristal clear to me that this is not right and all this is not going in the right direction. But the extreme hunger of winning and desire was too strong. I tryed to quit by many methods. I have had a few good periods of teetotalism. Sometimes it lasted for few weeks, sometimes a month or two but everytime I realized how much money I have lost, it always pulled me back. It is ironic that the longer the period of teetotalism was, the stronger was desire to get back betting, back to feelings of adrenaline and exiting activities. The bigger amount of money, the more intensive were feelings of guilt, anger, desperation, anxiety and deppresion. I did not know how to fight these emotions. The only way out that I saw was to borrow more money, get more loans and bet higher amounts of money, because I had bigger debts. A lot of times it seemd really good, I have transfered several thousunds of euros to my account in one night (I prefered online gambling as all you need is a credit card, internet and money and you can play any time and place you want), but at the end of a week or for at least at the end of every month I needed new plan, because I lost all my money again. I was struggling from every months salary. This is a vicious circle that it is very difficult to escape.

I lied to myself so passionately that I believed myself everything. I lied to all the people that mean something to me and that I love. I suffered because I was cheating and manipulating those who I trusted to and even more sadly, to those who trusted me. Addiction totally changed me. I lost connection with the real world. I have a good job,  that I did keep somehow. Probbably because of friendlyness of my bosses and because of my good histroy in company. In my opinion, I am a very good and hardworking employee, and at the end that saved my job. I am very,very grateful for this. I had very turbolent times, my motivation was very low, my emotions were numbed, I became sloppy and selfish. I was very negative. The more  stressful the situation, the easyer was for me to run away in virtual world. The world of online gambling was my shield from the real world and my responsibilities.

After five years I fell for the first time. I was feeling deperate and without a solution. I had to tell about my problems to my girlfriend and my family. I have found a help at psychotherapist and anonnymous gamblers. Slowly I started seeing some progress; I was talking about my problems and learning how to deal with them. My relationship started to grow, I felt more confident, I accepted new mindset and saw things clearlier now. I was making a huge progress with talks, but I was not aware of it yet. I had to rethink my beliefs and reevaluate my world. But deep inside, in my heart, I did not trust myself, I was not ready to get rid of addiction forever. I was not aware of how serious the situation is. I was still wearing a mask, I have admited a lot of things to me, but not all of them. After 10 months I was healed (at least I thought so). Slowly I stopped visiting my psychotherapist and club of annonymus gamlers. A thougt slowly creeped back in my mind, telling me that I am stronger now, I can try it, just for fun, just a few euros, I can afford this. And then it just happend, I ended teetotalism. After few weeks I was back in my gambling shape and after few months I had to take new credit and then again, and again, more money, bigger stakes and new loans. When I have reached the point, that I have spent all possibilities of crediting, of new limits, when I satrted to borrow money from people from whom I would never thought of even in my dreams and when I had debts worth of wounderful flat or a house, then I realised that after 8 years of living like this, it has to come to an end. I was aware that my gamling addiction has beaten and conquered me. I had no power over it. I knew that if I continue like that, it will destroy me. I was at the bottom of the Ocean. I still did not make a choice to quit, because I did not have a power to do it.  My position forced me to do the rigth thing. 

Huge debts, more and more lies and manipulations were starting to kill me. I spent unbelievable amounts of energie and time on hiding everything and running away. I felt that if my family realises that I have fallen back into gambling, my world will collaps and I thought that that would destroy me. So I learned to live with big preassures, my pathological lying and deceptions, my aimlessly wandering, suffering because of frustrations, living pointless life and my illusions of how do I look and where do I belong  as a member of this society will collaps.  And luckily, they did.

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