I want to share a massive life changer with you guys, so here goes.
Throughout my childhood I was in and around greyhounds (my family owned loads) and horse racing each and every day because my Dad had a liking or gambling. He would gamble everything to an extent that homemade chips and beans on toast were nearly always on the menu as he would have gambled every spare penny.
My old man had become what turned out to be a right nasty piece of work. He had been in prison for fraud and numerous times was arrested for anything and everything. Anyway, one Saturday afternoon I decided I wanted to plce a bet on the horses and would spend some of my hard earned wages on this. I had a couple of winners and made a bit of profit and low and behold I was hooked. I quickly got myself a job with a local greyhound trainer and hey presto I was away.
In the beginning I started off gambling a few pounds here and there and at first it was fun and I found I won a few times (beer tokens) for going out with my friends. My friends and I decided to go as far as buying a greyhound and getting more involved. We paid two grand for a a 16 month old greyhound pup and put it into training. After various time trials and fitness regimes this dog was put into a race called an A8 and all was well. The trainer told us to fill our boots as our dog would not get beat on Saturday.
It was tuesday and I was skint, wow I thought time to make some real cash. I got on the phone to my bank and put five grand into my account via a loan. The plan to keep it quiet from Dad. I would bet it on the dog, pay off the bank and bingo a nice profit too. After managing to get my wad on the dog on Saturday everybody can guess yep, he got beat! My life was in turmoil and I was in so much debt and no way to get out.
Over the space of the next 10 years I borrowed, lied and got into more debt and lost (now I see it as an escape) a marriage which also included my son Harry. The gambling was relentless it had gripped me and taken over me. If I ever won anything I very quickly lost 10 times that amount. Wages were gone in a day and by that time I was on £155 a day as a self employed courier so my gambling and losses were astronomical but hey. I did not care. That was until one day I woke up. I had hit rock bottom. I looked awful, was skint and unsurprisingly I had lost everybody close to me.
Realisation had hit home this had to stop. With my last gasp of mental strength I packed a suitcase and walked 5 miles to my mums all in the hope she would give me a final chance. I pleaded with her saying that I wanted to change and slowly claw my life back. My mum agreed.
I handed over my bank cards and everything that was anything to do with money and asked my mum to treat me like a kid. She put me on spending money of £5 a week, and it took me just over a year, but with some serious hard work and love and help from mum and her then (boyfriend) now husband I finally came out the other side and had beat the gambling addiction. I regained a daddy bond with Harry, I regained my friends and I regained my life. Gambling affected and controlled me so much but I have beaten it. This is why I have become a great husband, dad and all round good guy again. People do not realise the effects and how bad gambling can be, but if you have anybody in your family getting in deep then help them asap, it is a life wrecker.
Image credit: Flickr/johnwardell