Okay so what now, well firstly when it comes to beating my own gambling addiction I know that God was watching over me despite not being connected with my faith at the time because there were things which back then made no sense yet were pivotal. It may sound daft but at the time when things came crashing down I was in decent physical shape yet unexpected ill health meant I had to quit my job and I ended up going on benefits whilst also having to confront my debts. There was no reason for that ill health to happen, no warning that it was on the cards but it ended up important part of my recovery as it led to me breaking the gambling habit. And whilst I would never say that I know what God’s plan is for me I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew some day I would be sitting here typing up this blog post on my experience with gambling addiction because he has someone somewhere else on this planet who needs to read it and know not only that they are not alone in dealing with it but there is hope even when there seems to be none.
But I also have to tell you that it was not easy to stop gambling, truth is that when ever I did have spare money back then I would play the lottery as I wanted to win big to change my life and have all the nice things other people had. But I did force myself to never go somewhere where there was a slot machine to tempt me and if I had to I would ask someone I knew to make sure that I didn’t start playing them. Trust me, admitting you have a problem to a friend and asking them to help you is much better than dealing with the pain and self loathing you feel if you succumb to temptation. And look if you do succumb to temptation you have to let it go and start again, what has happened is gone you can’t change that so don’t beat yourself up over it but you can work towards not doing it again.
I also put my recovery from gambling addiction down to not going bankrupt but facing up to the horrendous debt I ran up. It meant for years I had no spare money to gamble with and in doing so it helped to break the habit, something which I am not sure would have happened if I had chosen to file for bankruptcy. On top of that I have to say those years of living on the minimum, not buying things I didn’t need helped to strengthen me, I know that if I didn’t get any money today I can get through to tomorrow and tomorrow is a new day full of fresh opportunities. Yes I wish I had never gone through any of this but I also know these things have made me the person I am now and that God can turn the bad stuff which was part of my life in to something good by using my story and experiences to help and encourage others. And trust me God works as just six months ago I would never have dreamt of sharing my gambling story with others let alone putting it on the web.
So that is my story of gambling addiction a painful one which I wish had never happened and hope no one else has to go through. But on a side note let met tell you what happened whilst writing this blog post. Halfway through writing the first draft I looked to the sky and said to God “you did this for a reason” and the next thing I heard was this line from a song on the radio: “You will fulfil Your purpose for me”, that line comes from the song “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman. As I have said; whilst I may not understand God’s plan for me he has one and he can use the bad we go through for good even if we don’t understand at the time why these things happen. And most importantly when it seems that hope has run out, just hold on as there is always hope because whilst some things take time to change some things can happen in an instant.
Again this is my encounter with gambling addiction and if you are dealing with gambling addiction I urge you to seek professional help who can give you solid advice. In the UK there is the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) as well as GamCare (http://www.gamcare.org.uk/) and in the USA there is the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) as well as their website https://www.ncpgambling.org/.