Comment: The fantasy world of the compulsive gambler

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IT’S only now when I think back at the amazing life I was going to live and the events that would befall me, that I can have a little chuckle to myself.

I got so seduced by the lavish lifestyle I was going to lead that I got stuck in time, I never moved on or developed as a responsible human being. Instead I got more obsessed with the pursuit of my fantasy world.

Time would cease to have any meaning. I simply went from day to day hell-bent on getting the riches that I was meant to receive.

My conversations with other Problem Gamblers have suggested they had a similar misconceived notion, that gambling was the answer to achieving this fantasy world that they had penned out for themselves.

It seems to me that this is the lure which gamblers cast on themselves, a lure that eventually creates the obsession with gambling, which becomes so hard to move ourselves out of.

All the losses which we incur only go to spur us on even more. This is a state of mind which promotes a tunnel like vision. Then with our focus placed solely on one ambition we lose interest on all others.

In my recovery I have met many impressive people who had the potential to achieve a comfortable if not luxurious lifestyle, people who instead of maximizing their potential at work through their obvious talents went on to mediocrity at work through their singular devotion to making real the fantasy world which could only be theirs if they keep gambling.

So what is the outcome for the majority of people like me?

Compulsive gambling is the type of obsession which only leads to a sense of failure and in time a sense of hopelessness.

We lose time with loved ones and in all too many cases we become remote figures, we isolate ourselves from the real world and become lonely and lost, with no understanding of the needs of others we run the risk of being cast out by our families and supporters.

Being compulsive or obsessive is synonymous with being selfish; it is however never too late to redress this state of affairs. Having made a conscious decision to stop my gambling, I have been granted a second chance at a fulfilling and enjoyable life.

My family has returned and continue to support me, all I have to do is one thing. That is not to gamble today, when I wake to a new day the only thing that is not on my list of activities is gambling. Anything else is there for me if I want it.

If you have a problem with gambling, it is not to late to do the same.

> If you identify with this and would like to seek help,

You can find information and help-lines 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.