My name is Tom F. I am a compulsive gambler.
I started gambling at a very young age.
It was my sophomore year of high school.
I always loved sports, so I got latched onto
And I became very comfortable with losing
my paychecks at a young age.
It consumed my brain.
It’s all I thought about.
If lost money, it was how quickly I could
If I won money, it’s how quickly I could double
it and triple it.
I found ways to keep my habit going even though
my life was kind of crumbling around me.
I went from borrowing against my 401k, borrowing
money from my friends.
I graduated to taking out cash advancements
on a credit card.
I just chose to ignore it and do what made
me feel, feel happy which is to gamble as
much as I can.
My marriage was falling apart.
My wife asked me for money to go grocery shopping
for her and myself and our two young kids
and I had $300 on me and I gave her $80 to
go grocery shopping for four people.
That was when I hit rock bottom.
That killed me.
It’s a very lonely, hidden disease because
there’s no visible scars.
You’re kind of, you’re by yourself and you
have to hide it.
So, you’re doing everything on your own.
And being able to keep track of your lies.
I’d learned to master it.
I just, I learned how to cope with my misery.
I discovered that I am bipolar.
I did have a mood disorder.
I also had an alcohol addiction that went
hand-in-hand with my gambling.
I was a very simple creature.
It was drinking, gambling, obsession with
You combine them together and that was my
Wake up. Gamble.
Go to bed. Repeat.
I wanted to just free myself of a stranglehold
that gambling addiction has on you.
It’s very powerful.
I found a Bettor Choice Program.
It was the best decision I ever made.
It’s still a work in progress, you know, I
know I’m only one day away from falling back
into that lifestyle, but recovery works and
you can definitely get your life back if you
decide to take the first step, which is to
reach out to someone.