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A Gamble Worth Taking?

Updated on March 31, 2019
Anafa Siegel profile image

I grew up with a parent with a gambling addiction; an adult child who’s a gambler and I live with a shopping addiction.

Gambling Addiction


Growing up with Gambling

Casinos, Horse Racetracks and OTB’s are all places that those I’ve loved most, have at times of losing, wanted to blow their brains out. The despair comes following spending down their savings; credit; second mortgages and their families’ lives and livelihoods.

I moved around attending 7 different schools prior to 6 th grade due to my dad’s gambling. Shylocks/and. loan sharks would come around swiftly with threats to our families safety in reparation for unpaid loans and unkept promises. This is why we moved often throughout the States. We’d establish some weakly developing roots only to uproot swiftly and move once again. No time for relationships or connections, and toys, friends, pets and teachers were left behind time and again. Most of our moving took place after dark living like rats in the sewer pipes of the night.

I developed a compulsion to shop and spend especially from yard sales and thrift stores to reclaim all of my belongings left behind.

Dad’s gambling seemed much more toxic than innocent nostalgic thrift stores; second hand stores and yard sales.

Both allure you to spend money on a find that can’t be found elsewhere and on on a high that can only be reached with a big or little win or a find. The money you decide to spend is already spent as you eyeball all of the rest of the unique items you just don’t need, won’t go with anything else you own and will only be donated back again after pouring your savings your food money your self care into the purchases. Leaving with several bags of purchases, you leave with elation, anxiety and despair, realizing again that you’ve been manipulated by the goods that you don’t need nor even want. By throwing money at gaming tables; racetracks and games you can only win at for awhile, as all gamblers learn that their dreams of holding onto their winnings are elusive and delusional. In the end you lose it all, your family, home and security and piece of mind. You often lose the trust of friends and loved ones. The bills pile up the bank accounts become overdrawn and there isn’t enough money to feed your family. As a gambler, this means borrowing more money to gamble more, to try to get out of debt and winning keeps you coming back for more as does losing.

Gambling costs you your life’s savings very quickly and shopping at thrift and antique stores and yard sales become a longer drawn out process but it’s really the same thing, isn’t it?

It’s all a gamble on taking from the future and the present and one is no better than the other, I am no better than the gambler who’s no better than me. We share different facets of the disease of never enough and always needing more. My son is addicted to betting on sporting events and at Casinos. Right now his gambling is in remission and I only pray for it to stay that way. I receive help from a self help group which slows done the progressive nature of compulsive spending and debting, for which I’m thankful. My dad died a gambler and in his final days of living with dementia, asked me to break him free from the nursing home and bring him to a racetrack to place a final bet.

Today I will not gamble away my future and I pray that you don’t gamble away yours and your family’s.


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