About ten years ago my family told me I needed treatment for problem gambling – and I went – but I never really felt like I needed it. Even so, I stayed away from the casinos for probably five years.
When I got laid off from my job, I started feeling very lonely and disheartened. I started hanging out at a casino and spending money. I would sit in the casino and there was no reason why I couldn’t get up and walk out, but I just couldn’t.
Everything I had worked for was all gone. I was by myself. I tried to commit suicide three different times. My daughter knew of my attempts and knew that I had been gambling again. One day she called and asked, “What do I tell your granddaughter?”
I replied, “Just be honest. Tell her that grandma has a gambling problem, and she just feels like there is no reason to live anymore.” That conversation turned into a screaming match because she wasn’t listening to me. She wanted me to hear her concerns, but she wasn’t listening to how I was feeling. We were very close, but gambling took that away from me. Gambling took a lot of things away from me. I hung up and ended up back in the casino, where I stayed for three days and three nights.
That binge was a wake-up call. I wanted to have a life with my daughter and granddaughter. I called the treatment center I had been to seven years ago and admitted that I was powerless over my addiction and that I needed help. I asked for an empty bed, and they told me to get there as soon as I could.
Now, I have a totally new life and a future – a future with my family. My daughter lets me know she’s proud of me and happy to have me back in her life. I have a great relationship with her and my granddaughter. In recovery, I also found a whole new family.
I have no problem talking to people about the gambling addiction. I still have good days and bad days, but I don’t gamble now. I choose not to gamble. I have found that my life has become meaningful again.