Why Gambling Could Be The One Addiction That Hurts Loved Ones The Most

by Shenkeri
Miquel Llonch

It's a sunny day today. Walking outside, all I can think about is how life has taken such a massive turn. How did one go from being on top of the mountain, to scrapping at the bottoms of my piggy bank? Like an addict, I scratch my palms at the sight of slot machines. Like an addict, I looked as my bank balance slowly turned itself to negative values. And like an addict, I took my phone, dialed my ex-wife's number and asked her for more money.

She screamed with frustration. I could hear her crying; I heard her begging me to put an end to my gambling addiction. Her cries and my kids howls behind her drowned underneath my neurotic need for gambling my money away. I grew up as a person who completely abstained from drugs, smoking and everything that wreaks havoc on the body. However, playing a simple game of poker or black jack didn't seem like it could cause much harm. I enjoyed it. My mother, father, uncles and aunts all took part in the wonderful fiesta of playful gambling, which would soon become the cause of my addiction.

Now in debt above my neck, I can't bring myself to commit suicide and I can't bring myself to quit. Having spent almost all my life savings and assets on gambling, I drifted back to the memories of college where winning was my middle name, where I understood the art of winning as if it was my second nature and the moment I had the epiphany of joining the world of finance.

Knowing I had lost complete control, I sat there crying and weeping while reading "The Do's And Don'ts Of Gambling." Clinging onto my last quarters and hoping someone would loan me $100 to be spent in the dark, never-changing, colorful casino, I sat there defeated and surprised by who I had become. Nothing has affected me ever since the plague of gambling came upon me. Losing friends, family, kids and my job hasn't changed me. I tried to ask for help, but my pride stopped me from accepting any offers of aid and companionship.

I sense the weight of the world on my shoulders. I used my last quarter to dial the last number I can remember before passing out from hunger and tiredness. I heard my wife pick up again. In tears, she asked me what I wanted. All I could say was, "Please, help Me." Echo's was all I heard after that. I heard her scream and I heard the ambulance picking me up from the roadside.

Passing out due to hunger, stress and losing all my money have landed me in a hospital bed. After waking up, I realized my wife was holding onto my hands and mouthing her care for me. After weeks of just liquid food and psychological counseling, I gave into Gamblers Anonymous. Attending the sessions and being a part of the lives of many others who have suffered from this terrible fate has inspired me to change mine.

With the support of the people around me, I became a school teacher at a school that is in constant chaos. Broken families, drug addiction and gangs are its trademark. I realized anyone could succumb to this fate. I started working there to help these kids find the right way out. Your influence and support system is what determines who you become, and that's what I wanted to teach these kids with difficult circumstances. I decided to become their teacher and support system.

I am now free of my addiction. The itch is still there, just as poignant as it was the first time I felt it. However, when I look into my wallet, at my family's picture and all the hopeful eyes of my students, my will becomes stronger. I chose for my path to reform from a gambler, to an educator. It wasn't easy, but now I'm breathing peacefully every night because of the choice I made on that phone call.

I asked for help, and now I've turned over a new leaf. I'm no longer a gambler, but the lessons I learned will always help me shape many futures for the better.