are you a compulsive gambler?

 

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Written by Pete Latham

July 11, 2019

Compulsive Gambling- Are You A Compulsive Gambler?

The chances are that if you’re reading this site and have had to ask yourself that question, then you probably are a compulsive gambler. Gamblers Anonymous currently have a 20 question form on their site to help you determine whether you have a gambling addiction.

Take The Test

Q1: Do you lose time from school or work due to gambling?

Q2: Is gambling making your home life unhappy?

Q3: Is gambling affecting your reputation?

Q4: Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?

Q5: Do you gamble to get money with which to pay debts or solve financial difficulties?

Q6: Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?

Q7: After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?

Q8: After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?

Q9: Do you often gamble until your last pound has gone?

Q10: Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?

Q11: Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?

Q12: Are you reluctant to use “gambling money” for other expenditure?

Q13: Does gambling make you careless of the welfare of your family?

Q14: Do you gamble longer than you had planned?

Q15: Do you ever gamble to escape worry or trouble?

Q16: Have you ever committed, or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?

Q17: Does gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

Q18: Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create an urge within you to gamble?

Q19: Do you have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?

Q20: Have you ever considered self-destruction due to your gambling?

If you answer yes to 7 or more of those questions, then they say you will likely have a compulsive gambling problem. If you only answered yes to a couple, then I wish you well good sir/ madam. I doff my cap to you and hope you never have to visit my site again…But you’ll always be welcome if you do!

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The Gambling Amateurs

I could always pick out the true compulsive gamblers in a casino as opposed to those who weren’t. The people that clearly weren’t were the ones who had made an effort for their evening out. They would be dressed smartly for an evening with their friends and they would usually be playing in groups of three or more. These were the people who, whenever I looked up from whatever slot I was playing, would be celebrating their wins quite vocally whatever they were playing. More often than not it was roulette but it made no difference as they annoyed me just the same.

They would celebrate any win as though they had won the lottery. Maybe they had actually won big but more likely, they were betting with £1 chips and had just had a single number land for them winning them £35, maybe £70, possibly a bit more. For them, that win would be a real victory. A buzz.

These same people would be equally as vocal over their losses…Even if they only lost a few pounds as opposed to losing ALL their money gambling. No matter which way it went for them, their behaviour would always irritate me. This would largely be down to the amount of noise they would make which invariably snapped me out of the gambling bubble in which I was enveloped. They would always manage to snatch my focus from watching my machine cycle through its latest batch of spins. Their intrusion provoked my jealousy; they were having a good time! With Friends! ‘Pfft! Flaming amateurs!’

The True Compulsive Gambler

However, in amongst that lively group of friends having a good time would be the lone person at the roulette table/ blackjack table or slot. Someone like me- the totally obsessed compulsive gambler (You can read About Me and Gambling Addiction & Me.) I’ve just waved at you through my computer screen as if you could see me by the way! Unlike those dressed for a night out, they’d be more casual. Not outwardly scruffy because amongst other things being a compulsive gambler is about keeping up appearances. I know I was never scruffy, but then nobody would ever have seen my holy socks inside my reasonably priced footwear. Of course this would be footwear that I always begrudged buying as it meant I had less money to gamble with.

Casino Zombies

These people (the people like me,) aren’t there for fun- rather they are the zombies of the casino. They’re not there to win big for the money and the nice things that can be bought. Rather they’re simply there to carry on the cycle.

They will be the people sitting there who are potentially winning (but more likely losing) thousands of pounds without displaying any outward sign of emotion, silently drowning in debt. So what’s the Reason? What’s going on in the mind of a true compulsive gambler?

Well firstly, any large win that ought to provoke a loud and joyous “amateurs reaction” is smothered by the sheer relief that the win came at all making it a compulsive gambler’s reaction. Then comes the thoughts of what debt can be cleared with that win, or thoughts of how despite just blowing their monthly wage they can now afford to live again until the next pay day. This is how it was for me and I was living all the time on an absolute knife edge. There have been months where I have left a casino on payday virtually broke for the entire month ahead. What if the car broke down? Can I afford the dentist if I need it urgently? What if my dog needed to go to the vets? I would have been screwed and quite often I was.

Conclusion

So for a true compulsive gambler, the relief of a big win can’t provoke an amateur style reaction because we all know that relief will never last. If we are lucky enough to snap out of the gambling bubble for long enough to cash out and walk away, we’ll soon be back to repeat the pointless cycle. That’s ultimately what compulsive gambling is- an utterly pointless cycle.

It may be the 20 questions that strike a chord with you. Or it may be my holy-socked, crowd judging, emotionally bereft bubble that sounds familiar. Either way, you should stick around with me a while longer and learn how to stop. I’ll explain how I actually woke myself up from this cycle, exposed the lies, and finally stuck the finger up at the gambling industry to reclaim my life. 

Have you got a similar story? Share it in the community! Or you can read about my continuing story here.

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