Overcoming Gambling Addiction

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    I was debating whether or not to share my journey, I have decided that I will, because if even one person is going through this and see’s my journey, he/she will know they’re not alone. Apologies in advance if this journal is all over the place, I am writing what comes to mind first. I will be as personable as possible to show others who are going through the same that there really truly is people out there like yourselves. I will do so while hiding who I am in case someone I know ever reads this (I am ashamed of my gambling issue) I am in my lower 20s (20-23) years old and have been working since I am 18. I have a job that pays nearly 6 figures a year after taxes and all, yes I know it is hard to believe but I was very lucky and worked extremely hard. I am very fortunate, thankful and appreciative for the job I have. In no way am I trying to brag, I feel like me giving numbers will help this journal, and as no one knows who I am, who am I bragging to? LOL. I don’t go around like a million dollars, it’s just not who I am. Over the few years I have been working I managed to save up 70k after the few bills I have to pay every month and getting the car I wanted. All was going well. 2 years ago I had a mini addiction to scratch offs which I got over quite fast, I maybe spent $3k-$4k the whole year on them. I was proud of myself for overcoming it, and things went on. Fast forward to 3 months ago, I finally took a well deserved 3 day vacation from work. On the second day of vacation my plans got cancelled for whatever reason. I was driving around and remembered a friend had always asked me to go to a casino with him that was nearby and I always shrugged him off. A big mistake I made that day: I walked into the casino, something I wish to this day I would have never done. But what can a $500 loss do already? I HAD so much saved up! As you can imagine, I went in and lost that $500, what repeated after was relatable to anyone who is struggling with gambling, I wasted over $2k that day but that didn’t phase me at all, I left and went to my hotel. Next morning comes and I just have this crazy urge to go back I give in go back and lose another $2k. Now for about a week I was fine as I was so occupied with work after vacation that i didn’t even remember about the losses but then the following weekend I went again and lost $5k in a single night. Now keep in mind you generally do not lose $1k at one time, it is over the course of a few machines. Going once a week let to going 5-7 times a week losing $500-$1k each time! I did enjoy myself there meeting a whole bunch of interesting characters that wasted even more money than I have but as you leave reality sets back in to place. There is no concept of money once you step food into a casino, any sense of value is outside those casino doors. I refused to buy myself a pair of shoes because they were $5 more than last time, yet I go to the casino and gamble 10x that! I wasted nearly $20k, I lost count at some point, in the casino, the same casino mind you. It has come to a point where I see I have a massive issue on hand and I am addressing it to the best I can. I went to the casino again last night and wasted $1.3k again! At this point I have put most of my money in High Yield Online Savings accounts and I put it online for 2 reasons. 1. Interest rates are high! 2. I do not have easy access to cash, it takes 4 days to transfer money to my regular bank and in that time I can think about what I am doing. All you need is an extra minute before withdrawing from the ATM to think about what you are doing and walk out. I have set certain rules for myself: no taking money from savings, no cash advances, no bringing cards to the casino. Thankfully it has been working well for me as I know I will/should not break these rules. A few tips to help while you’re at the casino:1. Bring cash and ID, nothing else!2. Try to get up at least once and hour and walk a few steps to clear your mind.3. Don’t stay hungry/thirsty. I found that when I am either of the two my decision making isn’t great.I hope to overcome this, it will not be easy but I know I can do it! Anxious to hear what everyone has to say or if you have tips or advice. I will be updating this periodically.

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    Contact Amudim. They have resources for helping you deal with your problem. And find something you like that you can do instead of going to a casino. Casinos make a science out of taking your money, and you don’t stand a chance. I know the math involved – they make a profit because no one can beat the odds for more than a short period.

    Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski also has books and resources for helping gambling addiction.

    Good luck in your fight to beat your addiction.


    I’m not an expert on this subject. But I would think that staying out of casinos would be a wise decision for someone with gambling issues. A quick web search shows that in many cases, you can even “self-ban” yourself from casinos, if that seems warranted.

    The little I know


    I believe you will manage with your addiction best by complete 100% abstinence. Since you experienced a swap of forms of gambling, from scratch offs to casino, you are familiar with “gambling is gambling is gambling”. Perhaps checking with Gamblers Anonymous to see their experience proven definition of abstinence might help. I know a gambler who was advised to not only refrain from any form of betting, but also not to flip a coin. And others know the experience that they break every rule besides complete abstinence. You are correct in stating that boundaries are always needed. For someone who has already been the victim of compulsive gambling, the boundary might be farther than for someone who has not reached that level.


    Amudim is a great resource. Rabbi Twerski’s books seem to all broach the subject of addictions. Only one, I think, addresses gambling directly. Several Judaica stores have a separate section of his books. If it’s out of print, check online.


    A ban from casinos may help. But there are so many other forms of gambling, including sports betting, racetracks, lotteries, and even raffles. Yes, a compulsive gambler who buys a ruboff from a boy selling for his yeshiva or the raffles and Chinese auctions is placing himself at risk. Other reasons to stay away from casinos include what MW2 described. The system is built to take away your money. They can part with some jackpots now and then, as long as these bring in more hopeful customers with lots of money to burn. The entire environment is rigged to increase their income and your loss. There is nowhere to sit, free drinks, skimpily clad nekaivos, etc. The lights and other aspects of the ambiance are all calculated to maximize your loss of money. And winnings are taxable, all reported to feds and states. There is more to lose than win, and this includes everyone.


    You are amazing for coming out with your story.
    Addictions are from the brain and are extremely difficult to overcome. You have done very well.
    There are a choice of therapies to help you with this. It requires professional intervention from an experienced therapist. It is paramount that you meet one. Just locking up your money is a good start but doesn’t solve the underlying issue. You don’t need to worry about meeting a professional, they are required to keep everything confidential by law and are highly trained in this regard.
    Good luck.


    At some point in my life I felt this tug.
    I was in ner Yisroel, Atlantic City was sort of on the way home. But being the prepared person I am , I didn’t walk into the casinos unprepared. I memorized several basic strategy books. But as others have said, basic strategy for blackjack will allow you to reduce the houses advantage from something like 40% (with emotional betting) down to 2% or so.
    So foremost in every “professional “ gamblers mind is the fact that you can maybe reduce the house advantage to only 2%. KNOWING I couldn’t win conquered the tug toward compulsion . If you haven’t read the books , then please do . Know the math.
    But addiction is a hard thing to beat without help. So if you feel like you can’t stop by yourself please seek help.
    A gambling addiction is a family killer. An almost certain path to divorce and misery. So get cured.


    Gamblers anonymous is your best hope to rid yourself of this terrible disease.


    there is a 12 step program for all types of addictions. it does wonders if you work it properly with full dedication.


    The original poster, jack42626, who has not responded to any of the replies, did not ask for help with gambling addiction. He gave some tips on how to engage in casino gambling without losing control, and asked for feedback.

    I have trouble believing that the post is serious.


    The way the kollel system is presented today to yeshiva boys and bais yakov girls is not much worse then this fellows addiction. The only difference is you have a couple with a bunch of kids instead of a single person. Its still a major gamble.
    Im not knocking for those who truly want to live kollel life style, but for those who are doing it because pure social presdures or to satisfy your friends or wifes family is simply s gamble and a recipe for a disastrous marriage.

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