The Worst Thing That Can Happen To a Gambler

Aug 26, 2010 by

Before I realized I had a problem I knew a guy, I will call him Brian, who gambled too much. He knew he had a problem, but just shrugged his shoulders about it and said he was ok where he was at. As we were talking about it, Brian said something in passing that I will never forget.

The worst thing that can happen to a gambler is that they can win.

What? That’s the whole reason to play, isn’t it? I remember thinking “poor guy, it must suck to be him.”

Years later I completely understood what he meant and it sucked to be me!

When I hit a jackpot my optimism was renewed. I knew it was possible to win, I just never knew when it was going to happen. I thought I could gauge by a hot or cold cycle. When it wasn’t giving anything in return I was just sure it was about to hit a big one. If a machine was returning a fair amount of wins I was still sure it was about to hit a really big one. Either way, it was about to hit…even when it hit. I was superstitious and “knew” what to do to win. I swear sometimes it actually worked!

One of the ways I knew I had a gambling problem was when I would hit a jackpot. Let’s say, for example, the hand pay was $2000. Something in my head told me:

  • I was on a winning streak
  • I had enough of a cushion to play a bit more
  • I wasn’t ready to go home yet
  • I was having fun and I wanted to win MORE

Usually there was a tiny voice (Jane) that said, “Wow, that’s a lot of money! Let’s go home.” The voice of reason has never been my strong suit. So I would play some more and by the end of the night I would end up in the hole and wondering what just happened.

  • ~ How could I be so stupid?
  • ~ What was I thinking?
  • ~ This is the last time. I’ve got to quit.

Then I would go home, go to bed and start all over again the next day.

It was a new day. Surely I could control myself today.

Play, lose, repeat.

Eventually I got tired of being so miserable. I still know that it’s possible to win. It just isn’t worth feeling so bad anymore. I used to always think that I could handle it and that this time would be different. Now I am well aware that it won’t be different. I can’t make it more than about 30 to 45 minutes in any escape before the hooks take over and my brain completely checks out (I feel like someone else is pulling my strings). A little escape is good. Being gone for days and weeks is not.

Yes, you can win money. Is it really worth losing your life?

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  1. Cindy

    Yep-parlayed $250 into $5300 – the most money I’ve ever had in my life at one time in my hand – and lost it all and more – within a week. So not about the money – money is fuel to feed the fire of the gambling addiction. Very grateful to have found your blog and am going to spoil myself with your book as the first thing I spend money on for myself when I’m back on my feet. Peace

    • Nicely done on the $5300! The bummer about gambling addiction is that it’s never enough. One of my favorite sayings is that to the gambler the glass is going to be full any minute now. Unfortunately the chase is a brilliant high, especially for us. On a binge night before I went into an outpatient program I took a picture of my winnings. I hadn’t had that much money in my hand either. Mine only lasted a few days too. Now I have that picture to remind me who I have been. And I remember that its ok to be human. I hope you go easy on yourself. Hugs.

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