An Escape Not Necessarily A Means To An End

In 1991 - I started to develop not intentionally - the habit of casino gambling. I remember the exact day I started to think about going to a casino. It was a Saturday in the summer months, it might have been June or July, I don’t remember the exact month but I do remember it was a Saturday. I had just finished my usual routine of going to the movies and going grocery shopping after that - which I did religiously every Saturday. I didn’t have a car then, so taking the bus to the movies, and going shopping after that, pretty much took the whole day or most of it. I remember after I left the supermarket - walking down the path to catch the bus to go home with my groceries, how totally bored, I was feeling. I remember thinking to myself I’m so tired of spending my Saturday afternoons at the movies. There must be something else I can do for recreation, something that is more exciting. I started to remember that in 1989 I took a trip to a casino resort with some friends of mine. That was my first trip to a casino.

That’s an idea I began thinking to myself and it might be something different to do, plus I could get away for a day or a weekend. So I made my decision to do just that. I did the research on how to get there by myself. At that particular time in 1991 there was a train that was running a special daily trip, 7 days a week, which stopped in my hometown, and then non-stop to another state that had a casino resort. You could go for the day and return at night, or stay overnight and return the next day. This seemed easy enough and a perfect solution to my problem, I was delighted so I set out to do it.

After a period of time passed this started to develop into a habit or for lack of a better word an escape. Whenever I started to feel bored or facing any situation I did not want to deal with at the moment, I would choose to get away. So, I would either jump on the train or the bus to head to the nearest casino to spend either a day or a weekend. Not realizing that whatever I was running away from would be waiting for me when I returned home, and when I returned home I was usually in a worse condition having left all my money in those slot machines. You would think that would deter me from ever going back again but it did not because I had this false hope of one day hitting the jackpot as most people do - that would solve all my financial problems - BIG MISTAKE.

When I think of all of the money I’ve lost through the years just by going to those casinos and playing the slot machines and losing more money than I won; I realize what I thought was an escape from boredom, was actually an escape to financial disaster. With all the money that I’ve lost through the years I could have saved it and put it to good use to finding another way of escaping from what I thought was boredom. It's only now; I am beginning to realize, that what I thought was boredom, might not have been boredom at all. It’s possible that what I had been experiencing was a period of depression; that might have had something to do with the fact, I was nearing menopause, and I was misreading the signals. If I have learned anything at all, I have learned this. When a problem comes up whether its depression, boredom or anything else it’s better to seek some kind of help – rather it be professional, talking to a spiritual advisor, or just talking to a close friend. Facing it would be better than trying to escape from it. It’s better to face it and deal with it. The solution would be a lot easier than seeking help by artificial means, which more than likely would be a recipe for disaster.

Now I'm stuck with a huge gambling addiction on my back that I cannot shake off. It's all I think about. Everytime I get money the first thing I think of is going to the casino. Now a new casino opened up 7 min. from where I live. When I go the the casino I feel like I'm on top of the world because I feel as if I'm going to win a lot of money. When I leave I am totally depressed because I've lost all that I had, with me. Last year I spent 6 months behind in my rent. I went to a few Gamblers Anonymous meetings but I was so upset at my perdicatment that everytime I tried to tell my story, I started to cry. I look for the day when I can quit gambling in any form. I'm so sorry I took the first step to the casino. I cannot understand how a slot machine could have so much power over me. Maybe once I do understand it, I will be able to stop it. It's truly a recipe for disaster. I've been reading a lot of your stories, and it has helped me a lot to face my problem. I know I am not alone in this fight. Thanks for your stories.

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I remember when I first
Submitted by denisec on Mon, 2007-01-22 09:59.

I remember when I first started going to Gamblers anonymous I felt so foolish because I would cry everytime I went in the beginning, but I promised myself 30 days. I went to a meeting everyday for thirty days and it was hard because I was so emotional but something I was forcing myself to do became something I wanted to do. I gambled for 19 years and told myself almost daily that I needed to stop. Gamblers anonymous was the only way I have learned how to stop. It's the best gift I have ever given myself.

There is also a website called safe haven which is a great site for those times in between meetings when you need support. There is always someone there on line to talk to and who will get you through and urge. Here is the website . You are right you are not alone Rocky there are many of us fighting this fight and it is much easier when we do it together.

Denise C. - 3 years 10 months and 13 days without a bet