“A Day In The Life of a Compulsive Addicted Gambler”~ A Bad Day At The Casino.

” Is Gambling Just All Fun And Games?  ~  A Personal Share ”

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Senior woman playing a slot machines, Atlantic City, NJ, New Jersey, USA
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“I was sent an email recently by a person who asked me to not feel afraid to share more of my “actual personal gambling acts and experiences of my gambling addiction.”  We call these in recovery, “War Stories.” Because you are in constant “Battle” when addicted to gambling in mind, body and your thoughts.

Well, at least that is how I understood it to be, how it felt to me in the worst of my addiction. I did email them back with a thank you for the comments. I told this person that since my blog post they had referred to was for a Treatment Directory Website, I was not sure doing so would be the right platform to let her RIP! Well, I changed my mind. I thought I would post this today of what a typical day was be for me when I was addicted to gambling and when I partook in a day at the casino that turned deadly . . .

Now also keep in mind this happened before I was also diagnosed with mental and emotional illness and disorders. So most everything I felt was so more heightened than, but not today…. nine years in recovery, therapy and medications for these disorders keep me in check. My anxiety, depression and OCD were at bipolar mania levels at this time. My gambling was at it’s very worst, as it brought out my severe symptoms of Bipolar Depression as well in 2002, which was also my first ‘Suicide’ attempt and 21 day stay a crisis center.

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The morning started like many. I didn’t sleep much the night before, as I obsessed most of the night of how much money I’d bring with me to gamble with and if I would finally hit a jackpot!

The build up of excitement had started a couple of days before payday. I hadn’t made the house payment yet, so there was plenty of money in our checking account, plus my paycheck. I kept wondering how much I’d have to spend before I’d hit that big JACKPOT!! Then I could replace the money I’d be taken for the house payment. Lies upon lies.

In the past I used to only bring $50 to $100, and I’d be just happy to go home with what I brought as I would break even.  But now a days, I can’t go to the Casino with less than $300 or $400 or more!  I’d have to wear my “Lucky” jeans too! All gamblers have a lucky something. My hubby had worked out-of-town, so I didn’t have to worry about coming home before he got home from work and have to tell more lies.

The morning got here, and I showered and off I went at 6:30 am sharp.  The Casino was about 41 miles North of our home. I had went to the bank and took out the money I needed to win the BIG ONE they day before. I even put on a pair of women’s low-rise “Depends” so if I got on a “Hot Slot Machine,” I wouldn’t have to leave my winning machine to go “tinkle” (sick, I know, right)…  I had only there for an hour and a half and already all my money was gone!

WOW, what a bad day here. So I went to the ATM and took out another $200. I started at the $5 machines and won $950! So I put the money I’d lost back in my secret hiding place and I continued to gamble. See, when you’re an addict? You will be there all day and night until every penny is gone or played back into the machines thinking you’re going to win an even bigger jackpot! But when you lose? It will also keep you the cycle as you chase your loss’s.

I had not eaten yet, and thought I would go get a snack, but my machine was doing so good I didn’t want to jinks myself. By then it was 1:30 pm. I just kept smoking and drinking free coffee. Then I gambled away the money I won except for the “secret money I had put away, so I used $100 of that and finally won $1300 on a quarter machine! By then it was 4pm. I was getting a headache from not eating all day, so I went and got a snack. Then back to the slots! Now any normal person would have taken the money they won and left by now . . .

Well not me, not the addict, the winning had me on the chase to win more! It seemed each time I won more money, I felt more like I was being held “Hostage” until all the money I won was gone! More hours of gambling, more money wasted. I was so out of control. And that is exactly the nail on the head, Control. We have lost that as addicts and it is part of the disease and addiction cycle. I gambled all the money I’d won that day, even my secret money, and another $1200 jackpot!

I don’t even remember going back to the ATM 2 more times after all the money was gone. Then I started to shake and feel sick. So back to the ATM one more time, and by this time it was midnight. I’d taken so much money out that it would only give me $40 dollars, plus the house payment money and my paycheck …. gone.  I knew I’d spent all our money, and my heart sank. I should just leave, but it was like this unseen evil power kept my gambling until every cent was gone. When I finally left and started the drive home it was 2 am. I’d been there for 18 hours – WHAT!?

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I cried on the drive home, I talked to myself, I talked to God. I said I’d never gamble ever again! Just like I told myself a million times before. I was sick and tired of doing this. I seen the semi-truck ahead of me. I pondered, I could just speed up and slam my car into that truck and all my cares and addiction would go away! I should have never been driving on the freeway in that state of panic I was in. I was feeling suicidal. It was raining really hard on the way home. I felt sick to my stomach. I just knew I had gambled my pay check, house money and more!

I didn’t know how I’d tell my husband I gambled again too.  See, I’d been started an out-patient treatment program to stop gambling. But my best friend had passed away of cancer, then my mom passed not to long after and I was using gambling to cope with grief and escape the pain I was feeling.

I wasn’t ready for such life events while being in recover. So instead I lapsed. See, when you lapse or have a slip, you don’t start all over as far as the addiction is concerned, you start where you left off with this disease. That’s what makes a slip or a lapse deadly. For me, these life events got the best of me and I didn’t have a relapse prevention plan in place. So I went to the casino but was supposed to be at my best friends memorial service for her passing, as we know I never made it.

I was so tired from only being home a few hours from the casino. Instead, later that morning I had called my addiction councilor and told her I wanted to just die and I was going to cut my wrists because I had gambled again and I CAN’T STOP GAMBLING! The shame, guilt, and damage I caused was too much for me to handle. I felt the walls closing in. Our house was already just in foreclosure and no way could I tell my husband I gambled the money away.  Well, from there I blacked out as I had all the kitchen and butcher knives out on the couch and all around me as I found out later by two policeman who came to my house and took me to the hospital.
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Next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital briefly, and the next time I woke up I was in a Mental/Addictions Crisis Center with bandages all over my wrists, arms, and I’d cuts on my legs. I didn’t know the police had come to my home, as my councilor had called 911 to have them come check on me. Everything had just went black!
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The rest of my story is written in my current book out now titled; “Addicted To Dimes” (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat) .  .  .  Yes, that was one of the worst times at the casino, the worst times of my addiction, and the worst times of my LIFE!

Again, we call these in my support group at “Gamblers Anonymous, Gambling War Stories.”
We usually don’t share much of them in our meetings, it could be a trigger to others who are new to the meeting, and may go out and gamble. I know, I did this myself in very early recovery. So we don’t do much “describing” the act of our gambling. But the cunning nature and insanity of this disease can cut you down, chew you up and spit you out. It is so sneaky as it slowly turns problem gambling into uncontrolled, addicted, compulsive gambling. The biggest and most important part of my recovery was when I was taught how to break the cycle of this addiction down piece by piece. There are many parts to the “cycle” of any addiction.

A trigger or urge can come from a disappointment,  life stress, arguments, life events and many more reasons we can become triggered. Then the build-up happens days before you even go out and gamble. Then the actual act, then the let down of relapse, then the shame, guilt, disgust, let down, and rage inside you can really put you in a bad state of mind and emotionally as well.

It’s why gambling addiction currently has the highest suicide rate than any addiction.
It really is a silent killer. We tend to suffer in silence. While we may look fine on the outside, there is so much hate & rage of ourselves on the inside because we feel ashamed of our weakness. At least for me that is what it felt like, and because we also take our loved ones on that roller coaster ride too. The ups and downs of doing well for a while in recovery, and then bam! we have a slip. I really honestly don’t know how I kept my marriage in tact. Was it rough? YES, but I’m blessed that my husband never gave up on me. Nor did my HP I’m one of the blessed ones that gambling addiction and suicide didn’t get . . . . I’m still alive, and now I am able to share my story and experiences with others who may still be suffering in silence from the disease of compulsive addicted gambling … It is Real.
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My past will never define the person I am today in recovery. Because I refuse to let stigma take away all the hard work I’ve put into my nine years in recovery.  Gambling Addiction was just a “temporary solution” for many of my problems and underlying issues that started to haunt me again in my adult life. And even though we know we can recover without knowing why we gambled in the first place, I was blessed to find I was suffering from some mental and emotional disorders, and childhood trauma that I’d never processed properly. So I was using gambling to escape all those feelings that I had hidden and stuffed away for so years.

So that was part of my gambling addiction nightmare. I wanted to share on a more personal level so those who don’t know about this disease can have an in-depth view and other addicted gambler’s will no there is no shame for reaching out for help.  If You Need Help? Please Call.  .  .  Gambling Addiction is not worth your life.

*National Gambling Help Line* ~ 1-800-522-4700
*National Suicide Hotline* ~ 1-800-273-8255
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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Social Media Public Relations
at Addicted Minds Treatment Directory ~ LyonMedia@aol.com
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Catherine is  the best selling TKG author of “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat”  available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and here on Addicted Minds. Catherine has fast become well known throughout social media recovery websites. She has been featured on many recovery radio shows and featured guest author in many articles. She shares her recovery story and message of hope to many.. .. ..