Gambling: The Curse for the Family
Oxford’s Learner’s Dictionary defines addiction to be
“the condition where an individual is unable to stop doing or using something which is especially harmful to his physical or mental well-being”
While the term addiction includes both substance abuse and regretful habits, people generally think of the former upon hearing the term. The latter is also very true and can be seen most profoundly in habits such as gambling. Gambling is a terrible habit fueled by the enhanced secretion of neural chemicals that initiate a feeling of goodness in people. The urge to win from doing nothing and winning small bets from time to time gives these neural receptors a boost such that the body is pumped with dopamine and all an individual craves for is one more shot at the slots.
The story of Dan and Diana is indeed a very sad one when it comes to tragic gambling stories. They had a happy, simple life with their children if not for the terrible afflictions of Dan- gambling. It had all started slow and steady for Dan like any gambling stories. He was heavily into sports and one fine day he tried his luck at a bookie’s. Though he did not win the first time, the rush of chemicals in his body had already seized him and he knew he liked the thrill of the deal. And thus began the downward path for Dan.
Diana remembers the date 3rd January 1983 vividly. It was the first time that Dan had come back from a not so small debt. It was the day for an exciting match between the Minnesota Vikings with the Dallas Cowboys. Betting was soaring high in every direction and Dan couldn’t control himself from placing a $1500 bet on the game. And he lost! That was a huge amount for the small, happy family and Dan’s continued affliction with gambling was not helping one bit. It was continued losses after that fateful day and Dan’s debt had already started to pile up. It was soon that a bunch of guys came down to their home to take away their VCR player. The kids were young then and Dan explained to them that the VCR player was not functioning right and thus was given for repair. A lie! There were more lies to follow this because of Dan’s continued dependence on gambling.
As with all gamblers, they are always looking for more and more ways to gamble, to keep themselves occupied, to keep the thrill up! Dan was pretty advanced with his gambling now and he kept a bookie for himself. The only two days he wouldn’t gamble were the Mondays and Wednesdays before and after the big all-stars baseball game- those matches were betting free! His lies were also getting elaborate and unbelievable and even his children could slowly see through them. However, none of them had any idea about how deep he was into gambling.
Sometime later, Don’s bookie was being investigated by the police and since Dan interacted at such close quarters with him, federal agents even showed up at his place. This was the time when Diana realized that she couldn’t take it anymore and she packed up her bags, took the children, and left Dan for good.
Diana’s departure came as a wake-up call for Dan and he realized that his ways had not given him anything good at all. He joined the Gambler’s Anonymous meetings and started seeking professional help to help his problem with gambling. He begged Diana to come back, claiming that he had changed and given up on his old habits and Diana did come back. It was all a happy family once again.
It was not long after that Diana found a piece of paper with a list of football games. When Dan was enquired about this list, he laughed it off saying that it was a list of old football matches. Diana, who knew Dan pretty well by this time, needed only a little bit of research to know that it was a list of all the games yet to happen in the coming season, she was onto his dirty little secret and kept her quiet, giving him the chance to rectify himself, change himself!
However, there was no stopping Dan. He was forging his wife’s signature to bring out loans. He had learned how to move checks between different checking accounts so that he could always call for money when he needed it. In ways, he was loaning himself money free of any interests to keep up with the demands of his gambling habit.
One fine day, 8 years after his first Gambler’s Anonymous meetings, he asked his co-worker to cover his shift and went off to Vegas to gamble on slots. He got immersed into the slot machines and missed calling his wife in the afternoon- something that he routinely did every single day. when Diana didn’t get her afternoon call, she knew something was up. Don did call her up later that day only to ask for a $100 check. Diana couldn’t take it anymore and outright asked Dan to do whatever he wants to do.
That night, when he returned home, he found his children and Diana locked up behind the bedroom door. They left the next day and never forgave Dan. The lives were so ruined by this time that his daughter even refused to let Dan attend the day she graduated. He wasn’t even invited to his own daughter’s wedding!
Need to see another real life gambling story? In the following 15 minutes you learn what it takes to escape from the gambling prison.