THE STORY OF L.P., 90 DAYS OF RECOVERY, BUSINESSWOMAN, OTTAWA
My obsessive "love affair" with gambling is not so much dramatic as it is tragic. In a five-year period,
I lost everything of value to me -- my marriage, my relationship with my children, my self-esteem, my
values and a great deal of hard-earned money.
This "affair" with gambling began harmlessly enough on a trip to Reno in March, 2002. I was immediately
infatuated with this world that promised glamour, good times, excitement and fun -- the very things that
seemed to be missing from my life. At the age of 55, my marriage had lost its luster, my adult children, of
course, now had their own lives; and I had become a workaholic thinking that financial success would bring
me happiness and fulfillment.
I continued my gambling "affair" as soon as I got back from Reno. My "new love" was good to me at first as
I won a lot of money. I gradually went from spending a few hours of gambling at the Casino every few
weeks to gambling 3 or 4 times a week. As this new relationship became more obsessive, it also became very
secretive. I lied about my gambling outings to my family, friends and employees and lost interest in all
I would rush to the Casino when I felt stressed, lonely and upset as well as when I just wanted to escape
from the realities of my boring life. As months and years passed, I spent anywhere from 6 to 18 hours at a
time in front of slot machines. I often didn't know how much money I fed into the machine; or how many
times I had gone back to the ATM to withdraw amounts of money that seemed to have lost all value. My only
fulfillment was my time at the Casino where I grew greedy hoping to win more jackpots so I could play longer.
At the end of a night of gambling, on my way home alone in my car, I hated myself. I felt so ashamed for
all the time and hard-earned money I had wasted; and I fervently vowed to never gamble again. However, I
could not keep that promise to myself and found myself back at the Casino within a day or two.
Finally, in April 2007, I was at my lowest point emotionally. My marriage had ended which caused my home
and business to be sold. I was alone, depressed and very frightened of the future because I still could
not stop gambling. I had to admit, that as much as I did not want to gamble anymore, I could not stop
gambling on my own. I attended a Gamblers Anonymous meeting where I heard people recount their stories
of despair of how their own lives had been destroyed by this compulsion to gamble. As well, I heard
many of them tell how they had been able to stop gambling and rebuild their lives by following the
Gamblers Anonymous program one day at a time.
I can not imagine never gambling again; but I found that if I do not gamble today, my days free from
gambling accumulate. I feel hopeful for the future because I am not alone. I'm so grateful for the
support I get to cope with my disease from other compulsive gamblers who understand exactly how I feel.
I have not gambled for 90 days by accepting that I have an illness that cannot be cured but can be arrested
just like diabetes. I have accepted help from others; and I remember that I donít have to gamble - just