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A Gambling Addiction Recovery Story

A Gambling Addiction Recovery Story

We Interviewed Ms. Peg A, a former compulsive gambler. Peg shares with us how gambling addiction slowly took over her lifestyle, what happened when she had nothing left to gamble, and how she eventually recovered. You can find out more on her blog, My Recovery from Gambling Addiction.

AllTreatment: Tell us a bit about yourself
Peg: I’m 46 years old, married, the mother of two teenage boys.
I’m smart, loyal, responsible, and successful (by societal standards).

AllTreatment:Do you feel you have an addictive personality?
Peg: I’m not sure it’s a ‘personality’ issue…I would certainly say that I have addictive tendencies. A ‘predisposition’ might be a word I would use. I do believe that some of us are more susceptible to addiction than others…but I really don’t think my ‘personality’ has anything to do with it. I’ve met many different types of people from many different cultures…with very different ‘personalities’…although there do seem to be some commonalities (behavior patterns, etc.)

AllTreatment: did you first start gambling? Were you ever concerned of your likelihood to become addicted?
Peg: I probably started gambling in my late teens…the occasional card game with friends or family… then later, the occasional trip to Las Vegas (once every few years)…and whenever I DID gamble, I absolutely overdid it…but I rarely gambled, so it wasn’t a concern.

When gambling came to my home town…I didn’t participate for a long time…not because I was TRYING to stay away….I just wasn’t DRIVEN to do it.

When I DID start going to casinos, it was much like gambling had always been…WHEN I went, I went overboard…but I really didn’t go often enough to cause problems in my life.

My mother died of cancer when I was 32. She and I were very close and I began gambling more often…and staying longer…eventually it was the only thing I wanted to do….when I gambled, I did it alone. Often it would start out to be a social thing (I would arrive at the casino with friends or family) but as soon as I got there, I took off…found a spot where I could be alone…I would get into a ‘zone’…my ‘bubble’ I call it…where everything else went away…

AllTreatment: What was your lifestyle like during your addiction?
Peg: Eventually my whole world revolved around gambling, it was a constant cycle of gambling….panic about covering my tracks (lies about where I’d been and trying to conceal the missing money)…then I’d get through that crisis and start plotting when and how I could get away again….and then I would.

I was late for everything…or I just didn’t show.

I was lying to everyone about everything.

My insides were always racing…I was always hurring to be somewhere or to do the things that I should’ve been doing while I was at the casino…I neglected everyone in my life.

AllTreatment: How did your addiction affect your relationship with your friends and family?
Peg: I abandoned my friendships for a while. When given a choice of activities (lunch or shopping with girlfriends) I always chose gambling instead.

I still spent a lot of time with my family..but even when I was with them, I wasn’t REALLY there….I was trying to figure out a good excuse to get away.

It was constant. I clearly recall one Christmas morning…rather than enjoy my lil’ guys excitement over what Santa had brought…I was preoccupied with whether or not I’d be able to convince family members to go to the casino…and how long would I have to wait to bring it up, etc.

AllTreatment: Was your professional life affected?
Peg: It was. Eventually I got to the point where I would gamble on my lunch hour. I was usually gone for several hours….and on a few occasions I did not make it back to work at all.

Fortunately, I finally got help and I was able to retain my position.

AllTreatment: What was rock bottom like?
Peg: I wanted to die.


My life was a wreck and I didn’t see any way out of it. I did not think I could repair my relationships or my finances…I thought that with my death, my family would receive insurance money that would help THEM out of the mess I’d created.

Plus, I wouldn’t have to deal with their disappointment.

I did not act on this..but I seriously considered ways that I might best accomplish suicide. It was the worst time of my life.

Even so…I did NOT want to quit gambling.

I just wanted it to stop causing problems in my life.

Imagining a future without being able to gamble….seemed almost worse than the present I was facing.

AllTreatment: Was there an intervention?
Peg: Not an intervention…but a ‘coming clean’ day….our finances had collapsed and on April 15, 2002 I was supposed to write a check to the IRS…but the savings was gone, our credit cards were maxed and I had already ‘borrowed’ money from the friends and family that were in a position to ‘help’ me. I had no choice but to confess what I’d done.

My husband was completely in the dark. He knew I gambled. EVERYONE knew I gambled…but lots of people do (including most of our family…HIM)…no one knew how often I went or how long I stayed or how much money I blew….until that day.

AllTreatment: What advice do you have for people who are currently suffering from gambling addiction?
Peg: Reach out.

You are not alone.

There are many different types of help. There are many online resources. or call Gambler’s Anonymous to speak with someone live 888-424-3577.

AllTreatment: Where do you think you will be in a year?
Peg: I have no idea…my life is so full of twists and turns…some wonderful and some terrible…but I’m pretty sure that in a year….I will be living it…whatever it brings….gamble-free.

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Call Now for Immediate Help:
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For Immediate Treatment Help Call:
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