I started my engagement with slot machines when I was in my early thirties after splitting up with my husband. I had other behavioral addictions. Bulimia and food addiction, sugar and exercise when I was in my early twenties along with a long history of love addiction and codependent relationships. There was a huge amount of pain and unresolved shame and guilt from my years growing up. My father died of cancer when I was in my teens and I hid the pain with marijuana usage. I tried counseling so many times over the decades of my life to heal and resolved these problems, feelings and issues. I made some headway towards healing in college, taking some psychology courses which aided me in understanding family dynamics etc. Growing up with a Christian focus and spending lots of time in nature as a child gave me a connection to spirits which I believe helped me to survive over the years. I pray and practice gratitude, kindness etc. I also have always had a desire to focus on health and being. So, I kept trying to keep my health as best I could during the 13 years that I was engaged in the slot zone addiction. Yet, my health did suffer tremendously. I entered a casino against my best judgement when a boyfriend finally convinced me to try out slots and only take $20. I have always been frugal, extremely frugal and saved my money easily so this first loss of $20 was not easy to swallow. It was another time after that when I won $80 that I became slighted interested in exploring. One day when I was very upset because my boyfriend was with another woman. I went to the casino and found that it numbed me. It was something to do in a very small sleepy town. I was lonely hurting person with years of guilt and shame under my skin. This guilt and shame compounded with the choices of who to love. Long story short. I left the casino when my $20 or so was exhausted and headed to the bank’s ATM to extract $500. I went back to the casino and played for hours, losing it all. From that point, I went on to be involved with slots for 13 years and must have lost between 50 and 100 thousand dollars. My recovery journey started around 5 years ago by calling a hotline and finding some Internet groups. If I had not found any help or hope I believe that I easily could have died, either took my life or died of a heart attack as I ended up needing to take herbal medicine for 2 years to finally calm my heart. I’ve had countless horrifying and dangerous experiences due to my addiction to slots. It’s been a long journey but I keep getting up and dusting myself off and trying again. Every bit of help I found along the way. Every time I tried again, I did get a little bit ahead in my recovery and learned from my own and other’s stories. My belief is that if we keep on trying and never give up we will build something stronger than this addiction in our lives and that something that we build will be something that we do not want to lose. Gambling addiction will cause us to lose everything. Each time I regained my sanity it strengthened my appreciation for well-being. Each time I spent the pay from the job that I finally secured, the act of losing my pay became so ridiculously absurd that I had to get stronger or lose that sanity I spoke of and the money. I need to see and have something concrete for all my hard work. I began to see how my relationships were suffering due to me being sick, tired, depressed, nervous and all the other symptoms of addictive engagement with the slot zone and losses. These relationships started to become deeper and more dear, also healthier over time. I did not and do not want to lose my connections. I started to feel self respect and respect from others and compared to the self loathing I felt after the casino visit… there is no comparison. I began to cherish the good feelings. Because I ended up being a binge gambler; although I lost a lot, the gaps in playing (of months or weeks) allowed me to see what life could be like. Ultimately, I had to choose. Really, for a person like me who is not really a gambler by nature but someone who was addicted to the zone that slot play was designed to create while draining all our reachable funds, it was like choosing life or death. Once I had the awareness of the industry and had heard countless stories of others like me. I knew that I did have a choice and was not simply ADDICTED IN THE DARK!!!!!!!!!!! I’m choosing life. I’m still here on the recovery journey. It’s not always easy but it’s better than being the walking dead. I’ve tried many diverse resources that aim to help with gambling and talked to countless people. Each bit of help DID help. Any bit of recovery adds up over time if we keep getting up dusting ourselves off and begin again. So, I see recovery as an additive process. Recovery accumulates and does not go away if we continue to try.