Humans of Scotland

My story of gambling and recovery

"When I did win big it wasn’t enough. I was trying to fill a void in my spirit with gambling."

This story is about: Long Term ConditionsAddictionGambling

“Gambling started at a very, very young age. I grew up in a family that was quite dysfunctional, we had all different addictions. I was introduced to gambling at the age of fifteen. I was sneaking into the bingo halls and when I started playing these fruit machines I came alive, I’d arrived.

I ended up with a very unmanageable life. What I didn’t have money wise I would gamble to try and win. When I did win big it wasn’t enough. I was trying to fill a void in my spirit with gambling.

I joined Gamblers Anonymous but I didn’t grasp it. I totally lost my personality through gambling. I was selfish, inconsiderate and greedy. I was very dishonest. I was all that stuff and I just didn’t know how to stop and that progressed for many years.

Sadly at 25 years of age I tried to take my own life. At that point I wasn’t going to gamble again. But it was too powerful. I came out the hospital and next day I was gambling. I went on to steal. That’s where the addiction took me to, to desperate, desperate measures.

I was in and out of Gamblers Anonymous for many years. I wasn’t willing to work it. I failed myself. But I came back about four years ago. I’d had enough. I was lost in addiction. I really meant business. I had to give it my best shot. And that’s what I done. I got good people around me who understand. I get therapeutic value working with another addict. It’s been hard but how I stay well is by giving back to my family. This is a family illness and a family recovery.

My experience is you can recover. I have a beautiful life today. I have a loving, caring partner who I love with all my heart. I’ve got love in my heart, I’ve got happiness, I’ve got peace, I’ve got sadness. I’ve got all the emotions that one person should feel. And I’m able to be a mum, that’s all I ever wanted.”