I do remember my first bet very well. It was
a £5 free bet. I saw an advert for a £5
bet on one of the advertising hoards by the
side of the pitch. After my first bet I just
began to watch sport a bit more. I began to
be more interested in football and rugby.
I began to read up about it a bit more, and
I began to gamble more. I kept it a secret.
I kept everything a secret from Emma. A tennis
match was coming up, I needed a £1,000 to
win all my money back in one go if that bet
was successful – and I lost that bet. I had
stepped over a line, I had gone from being
someone that just has an occasional bet, to
someone who was doing something more serious.
I began to put bigger bets on, larger bets.
I began to spend more time gambling. I began
to withdraw as a husband. In the end I lost
three quarters of a million pounds over the
course of three years. I’d lost my job directly
as a consequence of my gambling. Emma had
left, she had taken the children with her.
Well, I reached rock bottom, I realised I
was either going to take my own life, or I
was going to commit a crime. That’s when
I was completely broken, totally humiliated.
I had a black bin liner of stuff and £73,000
worth of debt, but now it was all out in the
open I could do something about it. The first
thing I did was, I got down on my knees and
I asked God to forgive me, and I asked Him
to come in and fix me. I went along to Gamblers
Anonymous and discovered I wasn’t the only
one out there. I began to exercise again – and
that helped me with my self-esteem which was
very, very low. I was ashamed of what I’d
done. I run a recovery course at my church,
which is exciting. We get 40 or 50 people
each week that come along, with all kinds
of addictions and giving something back is
really important. So, life now is much better,
got my priorities back. I’ve got my relationship
back with Christ and I do feel for any addiction,
that you have to replace it with something
that is more wholesome – and for me, that’s
my faith, my relationship with God.