Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Confessions of a gambling addict

Keith Taylor: ex-gambler and writer. (via Everyday Economist). Here is an excerpt:

I won't take you through all the tawdry details of my addiction, but online gambling cost me around £25,000 ($45,000) over three years. I had to drop out of university for a spell, and by the time I re-enrolled I'd fallen so far behind I had to repeat a year of study. I destroyed friendships. I damaged my relationship with my family almost beyond repair. I forfeited the right to trust and respect. It was only blind luck that I had people around me who still cared enough to bring me back from the edge.

You'd think, then, that I'd support any measures that might save others from going through the same agony. You'd think I'd hate gambling for what it did to me. Well, no. You see, what I learned is that it wasn't gambling that almost ruined me. It wasn't the flashing banner ads that enticed me at every turn on the Internet. It wasn't the temptation of easy money. I don't blame the bookmakers, websites or casinos one bit.

The fact that I gambled was my own fault. I worried obsessively about my life, and the only avenue of escape I could imagine was to gamble. You shouldn't expect solid logic from a compulsive gambler, but in my head I truly expected to win enough money so that I wouldn't need a degree; enough so that I'd never have to work. I wanted to escape from the pressures of university, and the uncertainty of what would come afterwards.

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