“I had my first bet on a horse ridden by Lester Piggott in 1981 which won me £4.50 and until this year I rarely stopped. From standing in a smoke-filled bookie shop aged 15 to sitting beside my girlfriend last year, glued to my phone checking results. Hours after her father died of a heart attack.
I was completely consumed. You would never know though. Held down my job, somehow kept my relationship intact but while most people went off to enjoy their weekends, I would be buried in the racing papers plotting my next flurry of losers or sitting alone wondering how to get money to gamble or in fact, eat. Gambling can take you to really dark places and although it didn’t take my life, it most certainly took most things from it. Not only nearly every penny I earned, but any social invites would dry up because I always made excuses to gamble instead. £100 loans became £1000s and I spent most of my adult life juggling or avoiding bills. I was heavily in debt and my relationships were superficial at best
Gambling greatly improves your ability to lie. And that’s what it was. A 35-year period of lying to myself and others. The irony is, that for most of my working life, I’ve worked in coaching and training. Showing others what to do and help them clear the path to success. But I could never apply those skills to my own situation.
Thankfully since February this year, I am bet free. I still attend GA not only to maintain my own recovery, but like many ex-addicts, have developed a real desire to prevent others going down the same deadly path. I’m now very active on social media whether that be campaigning for gambling reform or putting myself out there so others can benefit from my lived experience. I would encourage anyone with gambling addiction to seek help. You won’t get the money back, but that’s a small price to pay for having the life you deserve.”