Story summary: Bob began gambling when he was seven years old. As an adult, Bob worked as an actor and tried to live the “high-life” of the rich and famous. He became a high-roller in Atlantic City casinos and played cards in underground gambling houses. Bob started borrowing money from loan sharks and realised that he could never stop gambling when he had money left in his pocket. He started doing drugs and ended up in a treatment centre where they told him he should try GA. He wept at his first meeting, discovering that he wasn’t the only one and found serenity through following the program.
Story summary: Gail’s father was an alcoholic and her Mother was very religious. Gail began gambling as an adult and found the casino to be a refuge from her worries and anxieties. After her husband and children expressed concerns, Gail self-excluded herself from the casino for three months. However, she returned again and found she couldn’t leave when she wanted to. After a casino clerk pointed out that some people stayed at the casino all day and night, Gail decided to attend GA meetings. She hasn’t gambled for seven years and finds that comparing the serenity of her life now with the turmoil of her previous life keeps her on track.
Story summary: Lola played VLTs as they were similar to the video games she loved to play. Things got out of hand and she became isolated, lonely, afraid and ashamed. After watching a film about recovery from alcoholism, Lola started to cry. She drove to a friend’s house and told her all about her problem. It was like a weight was lifted from her shoulders. There are no GA meetings near Lola, but she sometimes goes to AA meetings with her partner and she sees a counsellor once a month. Lola hasn’t gambled since July 2010.
Story summary: Inu2011 Embraced native spirituality as a road to recovery, attending GA meetings, counselling and online support. After watching a film about addiction, she realised that she needed to tell someone about her gambling problem. She told a friend everything and felt a burden lifted from her shoulders. She hasn’t gambled for one year and now sees her gambling problem as giving her a greater appreciation of life and the people in it. She has also suffered with depression and alcoholism but stays positive with group support both online and in–person.
Story summary: Rusty had a problem with online poker and whilst not spending too much money would spend all her time playing, often days at a time. She suffered from depression and some suicidal thoughts. She went to some GA meetings but didn’t find it suited her, so instead had some face-to-face counselling and online counselling with a gambling specialist. It took a year to finally stop gambling but she hasn’t gambled for six years. She decided to train to become a counsellor and found that it provided a rewarding goal in life.
Story summary: Sally was a big risk taker who did not believe in luck. Initially she went to casinos with dates and friends, but eventually ended up going every night on her own. She felt important and like a different person at the casino. She began lying to family and friends and borrowing money to gamble. She gambled to escape from growing guilt and shame. She won a big jackpot but immediately gambled it all away again. Sally had a realisation that the chance of going in with money and coming out with none was greater than coming out with more than went in with. She stopped going to casino and now keeps busy to avoid thinking about gambling.
Story summary: After more than 20 years of depression and problems related to gambling, Chris attempted suicide. During this time Chris hid his problems from everyone due to feelings of shame and guilt. Following participation in two 14 day residential treatment programs Chris has not gambled for 2 years. He describes his former life as “living in the shadows. In the darkness.” Now Chris lives in the light.
Story summary: Gams5 became quickly hooked on bingo when she played it to escape from all her problems. After four years of problematic gambling she went to GA and quit completely for two years. However, she then binge gambled for five more years and went in and out of GA. She went to some spiritual retreats and finally realised that she had to stop blaming others and take responsibility.
Story summary: Dissy started gambling 28 years ago whilst in the navy. He gambled at the casino to hide feelings of inadequacy and convinced himself that he was gambling to give his family a better life. Dissy eventually went to a GA meeting and realised he was not alone. He kept on going to GA, learned to like himself again and how to be truthful with himself.
Story summary: Dave62 considered himself an expert on international soccer betting. Forty five years after his first bet, he walked out of the betting shop with the thought that it was a losers club and he was a loser. Gambling had destroyed all his important relationships and he was gambling to escape. There were no GA meetings nearby but he did use a GA chatroom. Finally, he attended a GA meeting 80 miles away, broke down and opened up about everything.