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From Tom

I’m 36, living in Glasgow, and I’m struggling with a gambling addiction. It started off as a bit of fun, just a way to blow off steam after work. But over the years, it’s spiraled out of control. I’ve lost thousands of pounds, my savings, and now I’m drowning in debt. It’s affecting my marriage, my job, everything.

I work in sales, a high-pressure job with targets and commissions. When I hit my targets, the rush is amazing, just like winning a big bet. But when I don’t, the stress is unbearable. I started gambling more to cope with the pressure, thinking I could win big and solve all my problems. But it’s a vicious cycle. The more I lose, the more I try to win it back, and the deeper I sink.

My wife, she’s been patient, but her patience is wearing thin. We’ve had so many arguments about money, about my gambling. She’s threatened to leave me more than once, and I can’t blame her. I’ve lied to her, hidden debts, even borrowed money from friends and family without her knowing. It’s tearing us apart.

I’ve tried to quit, more times than I can count. I’ve joined Gamblers Anonymous, tried self-exclusion from betting sites, but nothing sticks. The temptation is always there I’ll do a few weeks without gambling, think I’m in control, and then one effed up day at work or one argument with my wife, and I’m back to the hole.

The stress is affecting my health too. I’ve got high blood pressure, I’m not sleeping well, and I’ve lost weight. I’m constantly on edge, worried about the next bill, the next debt collector’s call. My mind’s always racing, trying to find a way out, but there’s no easy fix.

My job’s on the line too. My performance has been slipping, and my boss has noticed. I used to be one of the top salesmen, but now I’m barely making my targets. The anxiety and guilt are crippling. I’m scared of losing my job, but I’m also scared of what I might do if I don’t have that income. It’s a catch-22.

I’ve thought about getting professional help, but the cost is a barrier. We’re already struggling financially, and spending more money on therapy feels impossible. But I know I need to do something. I can’t keep living like this, lying to my wife, risking everything for a bets.

If anyone out there is struggling with gambling, I just want to say, I get it. The highs are intoxicating, but the lows are devastating. It feels like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of hope and despair. But we’ve got to keep trying to break free. For our families, for ourselves.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time, focusing on small victories. Paying off a bit of debt, spending quality time with my wife, staying away from the betting sites. It’s not easy, and I slip up, but I’m not giving up.

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