THERE is a perception that the greatest loss to a compulsive gambler is financial.
In no way do I dismiss the financial burden that compulsive gambling creates to the compulsive individual, or indeed to those who support such a person. The greatest loss, however, is trust and time.
After years of dealing with the hurt caused by lies and abandoned promises, family and friends become indifferent to the excuses and the dramatic ravings, which in time become more and more unbelievable. It’s the accumulative effect of this that induces the kind of mistrust that takes many more years to overcome.
This may seem like a hopeless task to the still compulsive gambler, but with patience and fortitude, trust in yourself and from others will return. The only thing between the compulsive gambler and such an outcome is another bet.
The money lost through gambling is exactly that: “It’s lost.” But you can make more; time is something you can never replace, so the question the compulsive gambler will need to ask at some point is: How much more time am I going to waste?
When you count the hours instead of the money it can be a pretty sobering experience, no one knows how much time we have left which begs the question ‘how can I make best use of it?’
To the still compulsive gambler time is irrelevant; we simply wake up and attempt to spend as much time as possible gambling. After a certain period of time we no longer know why we gamble as we do, ask yourself honestly if you gamble to win or if you now simply gamble for time?
When I consider the time I lost through my addiction it fills me with the determination to lose no more and to fill the time I have left with as much joy as I can manage. I do this by helping where I can and spending quality time with my family and network of friends.
I no longer seek to accumulate money; I now seek to accumulate time spent with the people who ask nothing from me but my company.
If you can see your life following the same path, it is not too late to change.
If you identify with this and would like to seek help you can find information and helplines on the internet. By entering sources of help for compulsive gamblers/other related addictions and compulsions; you will be directed to supportive sites such as Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
You can also call me, if you think I can help, on 07799041865. If I am not available at the time, please text ‘gambling problems’ and I will get back to you as possible.
All conversations will be strictly confidential.
> Stephen Gardiner is a recovering compulsive gambler with four years abstinence from gambling.
Stephen became addicted when he was about 21 years old and very quickly became perceived as a hopeless case.
He entered a rehab clinic aged 43 and exited a changed man. As a result of the help he received he now has a diploma in counselling and the experience and skills to help others recover.
He blogs for the Citizen as The Reformed Gambler.