WHEN GAMBLING BECOMES A PROBLEM, THERE IS HOPE

I am an ex gambler. I had been gambling for the past 14 years. I loved to gamble online and it could be anytime or anywhere, as long as I had my mobile-phone with me. I gambled for various reasons.

It started with just a small bet while watching soccer and it grew slowly to feed my lifestyle. Later I was chasing losses, and it became a vicious cycle of losing, borrowing, returning and lying. During the course of past 14 years, many of my loved ones were hurt. Friends, army friends, and almost anyone I could think of, helped and bailed me out each time I got into heavy debts. There had been countless of bail-out and each time the amount of debt went higher. During the last relapse I promised not to gamble again as the losses were too high, and the bail-out from my relative was a loan to my father so that he can bail me out. I was not honest with all my debts and thought I was able to cover a few of the money lenders myself and not gamble again. I was wrong. I fell into relapse again!

I was in a fearful state during my last relapse. The first thing I wanted to do then was to declare myself a bankrupt. An officer at IPTO who was helping me with the completion of the forms suggested that I seek help for my gambling problem at One Hope Center.

I attended the first new comers’ support group meeting where I learnt to humble myself. I was encouraged to share my problems with the facilitator and the other members in the group, I began to feel less fearful and felt “lighter”. I realised that it was my choice to “face the music” and be responsible or just ignore the problem and push the blame to someone else.

During the counselling sessions, I realised I was chasing my losses and I was caught in the vicious cycle of gambling debts. I also learnt that I have to let go fear of the imagined situation, but to be prepared for things that might happened.

Do my parents want me to return them the money I owed them, or just want me to stop gambling? How many good years do I want to give my parents? These were also the two questions I was asked to ponder, and they have been in my heart that set me to the recovery road. The first thing that I did was to shift my focus point to my loved ones and not gambling. Since then I have been attending recovery group meetings regularly to learn more things along the way.

I have been on this journey of recovery for around eight months. I would say it is a meaningful experience. Many things are shared and learnt from the brothers and sisters at OHC. For example, how they overcome their problems and how to improve their situation. I begin to get more motivation from them. One of the main learning processes is that I have to pick up the main key sharing and apply it to my own situation. One example would be accepting our own mistakes. This helps me understand my own attitude towards the recovery. What I also learnt is that attitude plays a big part in my recovery. To quit gambling, the theories do not help me much as I have known all of them but never have the attitude to understand the reason behind them. Knowing where I stand and making changes to my attitude in life makes me understand what I have done and how much hurt I have brought to my loved ones. Another learning point is that I need to share more in the recovery group. By sharing my views and situation, I would be able to get more opinions and advice. People’s opinions would help me see the situation at many different angles and help me make a wiser choice.

In conclusion, I would say OHC plays a big part in my transformation as I get to know myself more in depth and also start afresh. The recovery is against time for me so I would like to give myself less excuses in future and do what I am supposed to do. This is to always cultivate a positive attitude to remind myself. I hope in the future, my loved ones would see my efforts and forgive me in their hearts. I also wish that others could learn from my mistakes.

Authored by Gerrard Lee