Gambling started when I was 13 or 14. It was just me and a mate, peers from my school. We liked playing poker. We played cards together when we were around his or mine. We just said, “Let’s play online poker.” We didn’t really understand the overall logic of the game online or anything like that. We were just kids and we thought we were just having fun and that kind of thing.
I remember sitting in my chair and it was just, what do I do now? There is no getting out, getting away with this. There’s no hiding this. This is really bad. At that point, I thought I’m just going to jump out of the window. I’m just going to jump out of the window before anybody can even see it. Before anybody can even see what I’ve done. I was too ashamed, too embarrassed, too guilty, everything. It was just everything was finished really in my head. It was that’s it.
I think all other drugs, all other addictions, they can kill you when you don’t want to be killed, but gambling makes you want to kill yourself when you didn’t even know you wanted to kill yourself. It just creeps up and annihilates everything. Alcohol, for me personally, if I was to relapse today, which I won’t, if I was, I would go and get beer and I would drink that beer fairly quickly because I drink like a fish. I’m not going to be able to spend £24,000 on alcohol. It’s just not possible. Drugs, even drugs, £24,000, I’m not sure if you spend that. I’m not too sure I’m waking up tomorrow, but gambling, I could do 24 grand in a couple of hours, an hour. I think that’s what makes it so dangerous.
If someone cuts me up and I even have a flicker of anger in me or a flicker– straight away, there’s something wrong, something’s not right. There’s something in my brain today that is ready to fight, that whole fight-flight stuff. I’m ready to fight today, which means I’m likely to relapse today. Being able to pick up on something like that, for me, I feel now can save me. That can save my life, just that little moment of noticing stops where I am, makes me realise what’s going on. Whereas before, I never noticed those cues, and they were cues before, they were cues and they were signs that something’s not right with you today.
I just think if more people talk about the whole process, it will help people. It’s an ongoing thing. Recovery’s forever. If I lived till I’m 40, then I’ve got nine years of recovery, and if I lived till I’m 80, then I’ve got 39 years of recovery. Recovery is forever. I think need to understand that a bit more that recovery can take time and go a lot of different ways throughout it. There will be hard times, there will be better times, but it is forever.