Sam, 26, Ireland

Man with blonde hair and light facial hair alongside mental health quote

“For the last 8 years of my life, I have had a gambling addiction, and for 8 years, I kept this secret to myself. Like many forms of addiction, I was ashamed to admit to it, out of fear of what others would think. Unfortunately, gambling is an addiction that is very easy to hide. I had hidden it for 8 years, and nobody suspected a thing. Gambling has had a major impact on my mental health. The constant highs and lows drained me every day. I had to deal with this emotional rollercoaster while still trying to function like a normal human being. It led to me suppressing my emotions and ignoring my mental health for many years, but I knew eventually there would come a breaking point.

I hit rock bottom in October 2022, where after working a well-paid corporate job for 3 years, I had 10 euros to my name. I was in bed unable to move and could not deal with the impact it was having on my mental health. If it wasn’t for my girlfriend at that time, I honestly do not know where I would be today. Opening up to her was the first time I told anyone and getting her support was the best decision I have made in my life to date. She was the support I needed to realise that this was a serious problem and that I needed help.

Gambling is the only addiction where you think you can gamble your way out. An alcoholic doesn’t think they can drink their way into sobriety. In a gambler’s mind, all it would take was one big win. Gambling had become the epicentre of my entire adulthood, and I am only now learning how to live without it.

I have been gambling-free for over 2 months now and know it’s a long road ahead. The first step to recovery is acceptance. It’s accepting that you need support and there is nothing shameful in looking for it. Opening up to my girlfriend at that time was my first step. I was accepting that I was powerless to this addiction and that I needed support from the closest person in my life. The journey to recovery is not meant to be travelled alone. Lean on the strength of those who care about you and have faith that you can get through this one step at a time.”

You can follow along with Sam on Instagram.


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