I started gambling when a colleague introduced me to sports betting. It was fun. There’s a thrilling experience of watching the heightened game due to the bet that was involved. It was just a small amount, but it was so satisfying because I won that day. From there, a new habit was born. It was not long after that when I bought a couple of scratch cards and tickets to the lottery. A year after, I find myself spending most of my time in gambling machines.
I must say I enjoyed gambling because I never thought of it as a problem. But over time, I, unfortunately, developed a gambling addiction that ruins my life. My desire to gamble became so overwhelming that it led me to commit all sorts of lies. I sometimes stole things from my wife’s valuables and blow our savings out of proportion. I thought that was okay. But several signs indicated that the normal enjoyment I have for gambling has transitioned into an addiction problem.
Illusion Of Control
Every time I gamble, I believed that I often influence positive probability or chance. Depending on the kind of game I was playing, I felt that some level of control was present. Despite having some choices, whether it involves cards to discard or pick and what number or color to bet on. It was a chance that is primarily the driving force of my winning moments. Thus, it made me feel in control. I know that each new turnover always has a 50% chance. But at some point, I feel like I can always get at least 80 to 90 percent of my hunch correct. I always believed that my chances of winning are larger than they actually are.
But after I experienced multiple losses in a row, the frustration of how unpredictable gambling was led me to emotional turmoil. I overestimated the probability that something unfortunate will happen because my mind is too focused on producing immediate examples of winning from the bet.
Intensified Risk-Taking Habit
In the few first gambles I made, where I won most of it, there was always this amazing feeling. I felt like I was so lucky for gaining lots of cash without exerting that much effort. However, when I experienced a consistent loss, I became sensitive to losses that equal no gaining value. The 5 dollar loss generated a more significant emotional reaction than winning 20 bucks. It became a reason for me to endlessly spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to ‘win back’ my previous losses. I know it was only a small amount, but my way of alleviating the feeling of disappointment or frustration is by gaining it back.
At this point, winning becomes less about excitement and more about making up for my previous losses. I found myself gradually taking more risks where I gambled more than what I can’t afford to lose. These are my relationships, family, job, and basic responsibilities. I even disregarded sleep and self-care. That is where I got stuck in a vicious cycle.
No Room For Satisfaction
Series of wins from my gambling experiences pushed me into the depths of predisposition. It was like my brain got conditioned into desiring for more. The whole gambling winning experience triggered the reward system that altered my perception of fulfillment and satisfaction. There was a negative impact in my brain where I can no longer appreciate small wins.
Gambling made me insensitive to positivity and often pushed me to do negative things. It does not make me happy anymore. It came to the point that I only gamble because I felt like I have to. My mind and body were working on their own, and that I can no longer control the gambling desire. I felt trapped, and I can’t do anything.
Dragging Everyone To The Pit
The worst financial downfall I experienced with gambling was when I gambled until all my money was gone. I was losing all the assets I invested one after another in just a blink of an eye. But still, it does not stop my gambling habit. It came to a point where my addiction leads me to borrow a lot of money from people I don’t even know, only to pay for gambling. I even find myself begging certain individuals for specific amounts. And since none of them want to lend me some cash, I often offer to make some collateral. I even arranged a deal where I put my car, house, wedding ring, and children’s educational savings on the line.
Having a gambling addiction is often characterized by denial and an unrealistic view of things. If you are like me, who suffers from a gambling addiction, seek help immediately. Because the early identification of the condition, the better the chances for successful mental illness recovery.