We take you through the first week that Arlene made the conscious decision to stop gambling. This was a very emotional period where Arlene’s self esteem was at the lowest in her life. She’s a single woman who was just about to turn thirty-six years old and her life was crumbling around her.Arlene decided to share her story of how she made it through her first week as a non gambler. Her goal was to reach out to others who also have a compulsive gambling addiction because she remembers the pain she went through.From the first day until the seventh day, Arlene went through various emotional revelations that helped her to achieve her goals. She was a special person with a good sense of humor. Even through her self destructive period she always had a smile on her face. For this reason alone people close to her never realized she had a problem gambling.Arlene easily made it through her first day because she had already depleted her checking and savings accounts. She had also maxed out her credit cards. She fortunately would have to wait three more days till pay day before she could gamble again. In the past she borrowed from friends and then would have to give them half her pay check to pay them back. She remembers the pain she was in with no one she could tell or talked to. She was afraid her family and friends would not understand. She didn’t even understand how this happened to her. She decided to go online and find help. She tried a year earlier Gamblers Anonymous, but it was something that she could not relate to. She found a website called I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/ . She liked the name of the site and decided to give it a try. She purchased a self help manual and a year membership to the chat room. Her first thought was “How can something under fifty dollars really help a person who has lost thousands of dollars gambling in one year?” Then she thought maybe she shouldn’t spend any money right now. Her mind was playing tricks with her. During this time she was confused, had major amounts of guilt for losing so much money and her self esteem was at her lowest. She decided to make the investment in herself. This was her justification for the purchase. She eagerly read the manual and joined in the I Stop Gambling chat room. A whole new world opened up for her.In the chat room she met others who could relate to her and help her understand what she was going through. Each and every day she would follow the manual and pop in and out of the chat room. There were times where the chat room was quiet, so she left messages on the tag board of when she would be chatting and other members joined in.As each day passed during Arlene’s first week, she noticed changes in your behavior. For the first time she was taking it one day at a time. She was planning for her future and starting to realize she could live with out gambling. She admitted to people that she was contemplating suicide because she felt there was no way out. She once told me she wouldn’t mind living in a cave as long as her life was peaceful. Her self destructive behavior and low self esteem was taking its toll on Arlene.The one other thing that kept Arlene from going back to gambling was the pain she was in and finally realized she can now move forward with an anticipated positive future.Some people have close friends they can talk to. What ever it takes to share what you are feeling will speed your recovery. It’s going to take time to talk about how you feel. Listening to others that have walked in your shoes will help you start the healing process.Another website that deals directly with teenage compulsive gambling addiction and also has stop gambling resources is the Stop Teenage Gambling Website [http://www.teenage-gambling-addiction.org/].
Why would I say that gambling addiction is a great destroyer of lives? Well for one, I have seen the trail of destruction that it has caused other people. I have also been impacted by this addiction myself personally.This affliction is a relatively silent addiction because many people will not know that you or a loved one is addicted to gambling.You cannot smell this addiction on someone. Many people with a gambling disorder look like regular people that go to work everyday and pay their bills.Many people with a compulsive gambling problem do not seek help and they continue to suffer in silence as they are unable to stop gambling.Even though this is a behavioral addiction, it still creates chemical reactions in the brains of those who are actively gambling. The adrenaline rush of gambling is very similar or even more powerful than that of a drug.Slot machine addiction is considered the crack cocaine of addiction and it has created millions of dollars lost by the victims of a slot machine addiction.So why is this addiction a great destroyer of lives. Here are 5 main reasons that I believe this to be the case.1. This addiction can create total social isolation on the part of the gambler whether it is online gambling addiction or casino gambling addiction. The gambler loses friends as the problem progresses. This can create extreme loneliness on the part of the gambler.2. Gambling problems cause more financial devastation than any other addiction combined. It can take years to pay off gambling debts and many people never fully recover.3. Severe gambling at its’ worst can create depression and despair in very powerful ways. The mental health of a gambling addict becomes worse and worse as the addiction progresses.4. Lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrition and exercise by an individual with a gambling problem can create a slow or rapid deterioration in physical health over time. People with a compulsive gambling problem can neglect themselves just as much as those with a severe drug and alcohol addiction. Lack of self care is a huge problem for a gambling addict.5. This addiction has the HIGHEST suicide rate of all others combined. Need I say more.
It’s hard not to think of the glittering lights and non-stop pace of the Las Vegas strip when you think of gambling. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week there are people crowded around the blackjack and roulette tables hoping to hit it big. Gambling has long been a topic that leads to heated debates for a long time. However, gambling in the United States has a history that dates us back a long time before Las Vegas came around.Gambling can be dated back to the earliest days of settlers in the 17th century. Attitudes about gambling varied by settlements as each one was founded by different members of the British colonies. The Puritans outlawed pretty much any form of gambling including dice, cards and even private tables. There was a lot of hostility towards the thought of someone who made gambling their profession. The English on the other hand, saw gambling as a pleasant and harmless distraction from everyday life and it was a popular past time. Eventually, people came to blame the problems of the new colonies on gambling and acceptance of it waned.Once the early 19th century rolled around, gambling was still prevalent throughout the United States but it had begun to take on new forms. Lotteries were a very popular way to raise revenue for the states. The proceeds from lottery profits were used to build public works building such as schools and churches. Another form of gambling that popped up in the 19th century was horse racing. It was not nearly as large nor as organized as horse racing today but this is the first time we see gambling taking on new forms.As the settlers of the United States moved west, so did gambling. It began to take on a more organized form in the sense of casinos. The purpose of these establishments however was not so much to raise revenue for the community but to take advantage of those making the long trek west. During this time in the 1800s, criticism of gambling on moral grounds was increasing. Scandals throughout lottery institutions and more permanent gambling casinos that were taking advantage of people were hit hard by social reform and eventually most forms of gambling throughout the country was prohibited.When the gold rush hit California in the mid 1800s, people were itching to spend their new found wealth and gambling found its new mecca. Gambling spread through the state like wild fire and both private and public parties were relying on the revenue. Eventually, the popular mind set against gambling made its way west to California and laws were set in place to limit gambling. By the end of the 19th century, most forms of gambling were illegal but this of course did not stop people – it simply drove them out of sight of the authorities.Limits on gambling began to subside into the 20th century and by the time the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, the public attitude towards gambling eased up significantly. All of a sudden gambling was not seen as a crime but as a way to help stimulate the economy. Forms of gambling such as bingo and horse racing saw a huge comeback during this time period. It was also during the 1930’s that gambling as an industry was formed in the state of Nevada – by organized crime professionals. There is still a fine line to walk between the crime world and the legal political world when it comes to gambling and forms of gambling other than government regulated lotteries are illegal in most states. There will surely be another shift in how gambling is viewed in this country and there will probably never be an agreement on the moral implications of such a practice but, it is sure that gambling will continue to evolve.