Tripping on my brother’s shadow, I fell into a vacuum of self loathing. In a means of shouting out my existence, I became fiercely competitive. Of course as the younger sibling my skills seemed relatively inept.
When I was 16 my brother and his friends brought me to Vegas on a whim. I found that luck was more my forte. Deflated, they lost their hard earned money while my bloated ego reveled in newfound glory.
My next trip was with his best friend who, in order to stir up sibling rivalry, was now my boyfriend. I became wrapped up in his compulsive habit though I couldn’t fathom how he could withdraw money from his father’s credit card. Little did I know that years later I’d steal over five thousand dollars from my beloved parents.
On ski trips to Tahoe I’d gamble with my family, not wanting; not able to leave the casino. Once, we stayed at the casino due to my reluctance to leave and as my winnings increased so did my sex drive and I was arrested for giving head in a public area.
Throughout college I gambled every chance I got to escape the pressure of assignments and lectures. I was arrested for being underage and laughed it off with a howl of hubris.
My judgment deteriorated as I got older. When I lived in San Francisco I’d make frequent trips to Tahoe, compulsively spending money I didn’t have. When the money ran out the desperation sank in. I started to hustle from lonely men whom I’d escort to dinner, exchanging company for chips. Though I never slept with anyone I manipulated, I had become a woman for sale.
When I suffered from endometriosis and was virtually bed ridden for two years I’d go to State Line ( How could I wait the extra half hour to Vegas? ) when the pain had subsided. The oxycontin was so potent I’d often pee in my truck on the frenetic drive to the casino. I lost approximately two thousand of my inheritance each visit. I quickly blew fifteen thousand dollars and borrowed more because I thought I was entitled due to my suffering. This exaggerated sense of entitlement led to justification of preying on lonely, pathetic men with money. Oh, I was the pathetic one…
Because of my mental illness I’ve spent much of my life in pain. Therefore, I thought I deserved a reward after every time in a psych ward or scratchers each panic attack I had. Since these are so frequent I started dropping every dime I had on those mindless tickets.
Since I’m on disability my parents control the purse strings. Therefore, I lied about my expenses, stole out of their wallets, and started to hit up my friends for money. I would scour the carpets for change like an crack addict scrounging for that stray rock.
It was desperation time. My solace (or insanity) lay in those tickets. Every time I won, the money would go back into the system again be it at a casino or into the California Lotto. After a gambling binge where one of my best friends attempted suicide, I vowed never to step foot into another casino again. Approximately a month later I was back to my 16 year old delusions.
The final straw was when I got into a fistfight with my homeless friend over a three dollar scratcher.
Heeding my therapists advice I came to gamblers anonymous and can breathe again. My parents and friends are giving me tremendous support and I’m gradually regaining their trust.
I’m now grateful to be an addict for without this additional illness, I wouldn’t have acquired the coping mechanisms I’ve gained from GA to handle my chronic mental disorders.
I now have the agility and acceptance to walk along other’s shadows and not look back towards my own.