I made my last bet February 3, 2018. I will forever be thankful as well as grateful to God for his grace and mercy on this day. For this would be the beginning of my recovery and the ending of a long abusive and compulsive relationship. My story: His name was Gambling Addiction or GA for short! He was born November 1990. He became compulsive by nature! We had been in a 1-way relationship for over 28 years! In the beginning, he introduced me to the Lottery, with a meager $5.00 every weekend on lottery tickets. Then in 1995, during a visit home to visit family in Louisiana he introduced me to casino slot machines. These trips home cost me $200.00 once a month every visit for 3 years. Then in 1998 he added blackjack to the relationship. This relationship began at a mere $200.00 per month to over $1500.00 per month and on occasion my entire paycheck for the month-$3500.00 During this 1-way relationship he stole values that meant the world to me-family, honesty, spirituality, relationships and time just to name a few. He had complete control of the relationship and my mind. I thought of only of him day and night even when I was with or without him.
On February 3, 2018 he had such complete control of my mind, he actually convinced me to jump off the Mississippi River Bridge. I no longer was valuable to him because I did not have access to any more money and I had also alienated all my friends and family. I had bottomed out! As I was driving, I stopped in the middle of the bridge and got out of my car. I prepared to jump off the Mississippi Bridge, I prayed and asked God to forgive me. In a twinkling of an eye, the only sound I heard was that of a bird landing on my windshield and his face was that of my son. It was at that moment I realized that God had sent a bird with my son’s face as my saving grace! The bird stayed there while I entered my car. As I cried uncontrollably, I asked God to please, please remove this desire for gambling from my heart. I did not want to feel or live that way anymore! It is almost unexplainable but he did it in a twinkling of an eye. It was as if no other vehicles were on the bridge because the bird flew along with me until I exited the bridge. In Luke 17:6 the Bible speaks of having faith the size of a mustard seed, however after the bridge experience with the bird and the picture of my son my faith is the size of an elephant now. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
On February 8, I checked into an inpatient treatment center for gambling addiction. During, this 28 day treatment program, I learned so much about this compulsive addiction and the tactics the casinos use to cause this addictive nature. I also found out that GA was just a symptom of the real illness that I was suffering from which was Depression! I used gambling to block out this depression and to make me feel like I had complete control of my life when in reality I had lost all control! I found out that I was depressed because year, I relocated from thriving Dallas, Texas to poverty stricken Tallulah, Louisiana with four foster children that were my niece’s kids and I also found out after moving that I was pregnant to date I have never received a thank you from my niece for keeping them together for 4 years. Yes, I was severely depressed! However, during my treatment I fell in love with someone who loves me for me, who didn’t want to steal my money and time. I fell in love with someone who wanted to spend quality time with my family and friends. I fell in love with someone who is so thankful to God that he saw fit to save a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, I was blind and now I see! I know I will always be in recovery! However, I am now taking it one day at a time!
I have been off the bet (OTB) for the past 400 + days as of writing this story and I’m loving my new life! I now have peace within my soul. A peace that truly surpasses all understanding. One thing I do know is that I will not rewrite those 28 chapters of my life. I’m writing new chapters now, beginning with sharing this testimony. I now start and end my day with Psalms 23. Throughout the day I listen to motivational and inspirational messages from some great ministers, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Dr. Jazz and Rickie Rush to name a few. I spend time with my family and I also teach Servsafe Certification classes on weekends. I now know that God has a purpose for my life.
It is my hope that my story will inspire, encourage and motivate someone else to Give their life to God. I also know personally that you cannot completely heal what you do not face. Be prepared to go through something. I told my story to someone I trusted and respected and she used it to cause me great humiliation, embarrassment within my small community. Confession was good for my soul, however it was bad for my reputation. I was once again a wounded and broken spirit. I quickly regrouped and reflected back to that day on that bridge and I reminded myself that if God had my back then, then surely this won’t kill me! I made up my mind that I was not going to give my enemy free advertisement and walk around with my head hung low. I know I’m a child of God and he said he would never leave me nor forsake me. God is with me in this battle, so I give him the glory! It was not what was happening to me in battle, it was how I was handling it-with faith in God to give me the strength to climb this new mountain. I continue to give God all the praise and glory for I know from whence I came! I no longer define myself by my circumstance! To anyone out there suffering with any form of addiction, please know that there is life beyond any addiction! Pray and ask God to remove the desire from your heart. Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart you shall be saved! Trust God to resurrect you with new life and new grace which he gives freely to all! Remember that all Saints are just sinners that fell down and got up! God always turns it around! He did it for me and I will forever be thankful! I also thank God for the support of my family and those who continue to believe in me. They all truly have been there for me and I will forever be grateful.