By Bird Bouchard
Today marks 556 days since I’ve placed my last bet.
Since placing my last bet on October 4, 2021, I’ve been on the longest winning streak of my life.
I am a compulsive gambler and I have no control over my addiction. Once I place a bet, no matter how small or insignificant, I lose control. My gambling addiction, like any addiction, is difficult to overcome as it involves both psychological and biological factors.
I always viewed gambling as an opportunity to show I was a “big shot” and that I knew more about sports than the next person. With every win, I had a strong desire to repeat the behavior, leading to compulsive gambling.
Of course, I never shared when I lost.
There are many emotional triggers that caused me to gamble. I would gamble as a way to cope with negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, or depression. I bet on things I had no interest in, just to escape from reality. I believed the thrill of gambling could temporarily relieve these emotions, which only created a cycle of dependency on gambling as a coping mechanism.
I spiraled out of control. I couldn’t control myself. I didn’t like the person I was becoming.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to bet on sports. Gambling has become increasingly accessible with online gambling platforms and mobile apps making it easier than ever to place bets. Not to mention, there’s an ad every 3 minutes on TV and the radio and a lottery machine inside nearly every gas station. It’s extremely difficult for people with gambling addictions to avoid triggers and avoid relapse.
Each time I would stop gambling, there was a little voice in my head telling me to go back to the dark side. This always ended with disastrous results.
For the longest time, I denied having a problem with gambling. I underestimated the impact gambling had on my life, which made it harder to seek help and overcome my addiction.
While gambling addictions can be hard to overcome, with the right support and treatment, recovery is possible.
I would ask that people please keep this common phrase in mind the next time they are offering someone a drink, a smoke, or asking for their pick on a football game – Everyone is going through something you know nothing about.
Be kind to one another.