How To Stop Gambling

Written by Pete Latham

March 9, 2020

Gambling Therapy- It’s Been A While…

So it’s fair to say that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done anything meaningful with QuitTheCasino both in terms of writing blogs, self-therapy, or updating the site in general. All that’s changed recently with the launch of I BET MY LIFE!   which is an educational resource on gambling addiction. So I have been working in the background, just not as much as I would have liked. The reason? Grief.

However, this hasn’t been grief in the typical sense. This has been grief for the loss of my Border Collie and I’ve been blown away as to just how powerful it has been. It’s true to say that from 10th November 2019, it’s stopped me dead in my tracks. I haven’t been able to concentrate properly, I haven’t cared much about anything and I’ve put on quite a bit of weight after beginning to get quite fit this time last year. There will be people reading this who simply won’t get it and that’s totally understandable. People have overcome unimaginable grief far, far worse. There people in the world suffering all sorts of abuse and people who have had their entire families wiped out in disasters or other tragedies. And then there’s me. Unable to get my act together because of a loss of a dog.

I’ve tried to rationalise it myself without success. I felt worse by the fact that at around the same time, a close friend of mine lost his mother after a long battle with cancer. He has coped remarkably well under the circumstances and without going into too much detail is managing to overcome significant difficulties in his own life despite the massive loss of his much loved mother. Not only that, he has helped me no end with creative ideas for my website and advice on how to move it forward. I’m not exactly sure where he gets his determination and strength from but it’s enviable.

Back To Basics

When I started this website last year, it was a mix of self-therapy and also experimentation. Could I write my story and make it reasonably interesting? Could I create a website as a platform and make it look reasonably good? If so, could it actually have the potential to help people? Well it would seem that the answer is so far, so good. What is even better is that I no longer have an issue with gambling, and my OCD is barely noticable.

However, the original intention of the site was to share my story in the hope it would be relatable therapy to anyone else who has suffered the harm of gambling addiction. To that end, the purpose of this post is to go back to my original intention of self-therapy and write about what’s been going on. Now that I’ve claimed a small part of the web I thought, “why not use it to pay tribute to the greatest sidekick ever?” I own the site after all, and if people think I’m crazy then so be it. However if you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ll understand.

Ellie-Dog The Therapist

Ellie was a rescue dog that I adopted in 2013. When I set out to look for a dog, I knew I wanted a Border Collie. Collies are loyal and I think that choice says a lot about me. I don’t keep a wide circle of friends but the ones I do have are special to me. A Border Collie was always the perfect choice for me and when I found Ellie, we hit it off straight away. Ellie was special in lots of ways but what set her apart from any other collie was that she wasn’t typically smart. She was never going to learn lots of commands and never did grasp the concept of ‘fetch!’ She wasn’t exactly agile, and often tripped up over herself when going upstairs. But what she lacked in super intelligence, she made up for in adorability and was a world champion in cuddle support.

Ellie was most definitely an emotional support and she just loved being hugged. She was the most huggable dog I’ve ever known and instinctively knew when you weren’t feeling great. Ellie was there for me every time I’d suffered the devastation of losing all my money gambling, and she was there every step of the way when I created QuitTheCasino. She was a form of therapy in her own right!

When she became ill in November last year, I thought it was something fixable and at first that’s how it appeared. However, numerous visits to the vets over the course of one weekend proved otherwise and at 4.20am on Sunday 10th November I had to say goodbye to her. It was totally unexpected but she was just too ill to pull through. Her loss has been devastating to me but losing her has highlighted a fact that is so important that it cannot be ignored.

An Important Reminder

When Ellie became ill, it was over a weekend when my regular vet practice was closed. Vets are expensive at the best of times, but when you have to use one out of hours, they become considerably more expensive. In the course of 36 hours, I had spent close to £1000 in vets bills. This is something that I could never have afforded had I still been gambling. At one stage, it appeared that an operation would be able to fix her and that would have cost a further £2000. Sadly, it turned out that the surgery wouldn’t have been viable but not because of the cost. I could have sorted it and again this would not even have been a consideration 18 months ago. Thank God I stopped when I did!

So as much as I miss Ellie, I at least have the knowledge that I did absolutely everything possible to save her without being hampered by a pointless money draining addiction. Whilst she was alive, Ellie was always there for me. Now that she’s gone, she serves as an important reminder never to go down the gambling path again. There are things in life far more important and I’m just glad I was able to be there for her when she needed me the most.

The gambling therapy starts again!

So now that’s out of my system, hopefully it explains the lack of progress with the site. However, it’s time to move on and I can’t carry on moping. Hopefully QuitTheCasino will continue to grow and I hope my ramblings help in some small way to help others get over their gambling addiction.

I’ll therefore leave it at that by putting this piece of self-therapy on the site to give the greatest sidekick that ever lived her own corner of the web.

You go chase those squirrels, Ellie! X

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